Gunpowder had been oblivious to it, but a little further down the road, there was a rather large carriage. The large rat had already waddled most of his way towards it, shouting curses about walking slow along with Gunpowder’s name. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but the creature’s rants were difficult to understand. Gunpowder’s legs weren’t exactly eager, but he followed shortly after regardless.
The carriage itself was actually hilariously unfitting for its occupant. It was ornate and well taken care of. A large size, too. More than big enough for Gunpowder and this fellow. There were two seats inside, opposing each other. At the front of the carriage, which Gunpowder could only assume was the creature in charge of pulling, was a large black and white.. thing. It was on all four legs. It looked very strong. It was bigger than Gunpowder, too. He knew who to pick fights with, and this beast would never be one of them. It looked friendly, though, and smiled at Gunpowder. He smiled back to be polite.
“Like the setup, yeah? I built it myself, I did!”
Gunpowder didn’t believe that for a second. Not one damn bit. He didn’t push it further, though. It wasn’t worth the effort. While telling the story of the carriage’s construction, the rat handed Gunpowder the jug of water he had fetched. It was unopened. Gunpowder stared at the rat fellow, and there was an unspoken agreement. The rat knew what Gunpowder meant, and while still continuing his tale, helped open the jug and handed it back. Gunpowder promptly shot down the liquid.
It was so freeing. His thirst was finally quenched. His face immediately lit up. He was happy for the first time in days, over a glass of water. How humiliating. Unfortunately, his afterglow was not meant to last. It was that rat’s raspy voice.
“So, be straight with me. What’re ya’ll doin’, anyway? Where ya headed?”
Gunpowder hesitated for a moment. He did that a lot when talking with strangers. He didn’t really trust anyone, except Anana. But now he didn’t really trust her either. No harm in telling this guy where he’s going, though.
“Aye.. Headin’ to uhh.. what’s it called? Tao? Summin’ like that.”
“Oh? What business ya’ll got ‘round there?” asked Otis, unusually more inquisitive than previously.
“Just.. lookin’ for a bit of work. I got some heavy baggage, if y’ know what I mean. Need a fresh start, heard it was a good place.”
“What baggage?” the rat creature thought to himself aloud. He began to search for a bag, confused, though he did give up after a short while. He must have thought Gunpowder was still struggling with dehydration and shrugged it off.
“Well, Tao’s a good place. Plenty o’ places to work! Could work at the Café, could work-for-hire with some merchants, and if you’re really bad off, that shady Devonshire fellow might have somethin’. He takes all kindsa workers, no questions asked, I hear.”
Gunpowder’s interest was piqued. Work without questions sounded like something he could really use. “How could I find this er.. Devonshire character?”
“Eh? Well, I don’t know much ‘bout him, other than he’s from Tao. I’m not from there, myself, but I think someone said he’s in a shady, boarded up ol’ buildin’. Not sure, though, so best t’ ask around.” Otis paused for a moment, walking up to the door of the carriage. “I’m a merchant myself, of sorts. A farmer, sellin’ seeds. Tao is my next stop, why dontcha hitch a ride? No charge, it’s no skin off my back.”
How.. convenient. Perhaps too convenient, but Gunpowder was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. He graciously accepted the offer, hopping into the slightly-too-small-for-Gabites cabin. He couldn’t stand, but he could at least sit comfortably. Or maybe lay down. That seemed like a mighty good option, too. Either way, it felt great to not be standing for the first time in a while.
The inside was well-furnished, fitting with the decor of the exterior. Gunpowder pondered what he’d look like as a farmer, only briefly, as it seemed to turn a profit, given this rat’s belongings. It was a bit too much, though, which made him snicker a bit under his breath. The seats were as comfortable as they looked.
The carriage began to shake, and it scared Gunpowder at first, prompting him to look out the window, only to see that they were moving. Since Otis wasn’t panicking, Gunpowder assumed this behavior was normal, and he calmed down.
“Never been in a carriage before? It can be a bit scary at first, but it’s comforting! Ya’ll can take a nap if you’d like! Figure we’ll be there by the end o’ the day.”
Part 9 of "Well of Memories" by