Caught Between Worlds
The Party - Transitioning Back to Reality
What?!” said Amara loudly, over the pounding background of raucous bar noise.
“I said ‘That was a hell of a welcoming party. They’re lucky they didn’t hurt worse than they did.’ But I’m trying to keep my voice down since we just assaulted some people,” hissed Raith, a bit louder than previously. The Halloween party was in full swing in the British pub, and it was filled with drinking revelers in a chaotic swirl of costumes.
“Well, I’m surprised he didn’t try and hit that guy in the head,” replied Amara. “Since we were pretty sure they were zombies.
“I’m guessing James spends more time watching Moneyline and less watching The Walking Dead,” said Raith. He was on his second beer. He really was thinking of lighting up, even here in public. Transitioning back to reality was always disorientating as suddenly things moved quicker and his responses were clumsier. They feeling of power and control seeped out quickly, and the idea of mundane life brought both a sense of relief and depression.
An orc jostled him from behind, and he was already reaching for hilts that weren’t there when the drunken frat boy behind the mask belched an apology. Halloween wasn’t helping this process much.
Amara reached down to scratch Rex’s ears, but found only air. Automatically, she reached out with her senses but instead of the feeling of warmth and safety that usually pointed to him, she felt nothing. She remembered that they had to leave him sitting outside. He had whined, but after only an hour back he already seemed less alert and intelligent. More like…any old dog.
“Where are the boys with the next round,” she shouted, looking around.
Jaxson and Dorion came up to the table at that point, squabbling.
“But it was a very pretty green color!” insisted Jaxson. “And it was bubbling up white and yellow gasses! That’s how you know it’s going to be a good drink!”
“No, that’s how you know that it’s either going to leave you blind or waking up next to horse-faced cougar,” countered Dorion.
“Well, the other one had fruit floating in it! It was probably some sort of punch!
“Dude, do you know what goes into Hairy Bufflao? They can use it to clean the floors after you vomit it up, for Christ’s sake. You didn’t have to buy any of those thinly disguised drain cleaners,” Dorion responded to Jaxson. “There was plenty of bottles and booze on tap.
“I don’t particularly like beer, and if it’s my money then I’d prefer to buy what I’d want. You’re not my mom.”
Raith chuckled, but it turned to a cough when Dorion’s gaze swept over him. Raith downed the rest of his beer to cover it up.
Jaxson started to pout, but his heart wasn’t in it. Ever since he had traded away part of his essence to the Master Shaper in the Entropic Knot, he had felt less impulsive and more centered. But after swearing that he had seen the Matron dressed as a goth here in the bar…
Was she really gone? No, not gone. Lost. Gods, he did need a drink.
“So…what are we going to do? I’m out of cash after buying the last round,” said Raith.
“Uh, maybe we don’t have to worry?” said Amara as her look drifted over Raith’s shoulder to the bar. Jaxson and Dorion followed her gaze to see…
Amethyst was talking to some frat guy at the bar dressed in a Roman toga. No, more than just talking. She was almost leaning against him. She laughed coyly at something he said and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. She leaned forward to whisper something and balanced herself by resting her hand on his bare thigh. She pointed back to their table with a smile and then turned and sauntered over.
“Um, what was that?” said Raith. Amethyst didn’t seem to mind that they had seen her.
“No worries about the beer, mates,” she said smugly, sitting down. “My new friend Robert there is going to buy us a round.” Sure enough, a waitress had already appeared with pints of a British Lager.
“Wow, that was fast,” said Dorion. “He must have been pretty…motivated to get the bartender’s attention that quick.” He couldn’t stop himself from raising an eyebrow. Amethyst didn’t seem to notice as she gulped down her drink.
Then ‘Robert’ came up to the table. “So baby, since I got your friends that round why don’t we do like you said and go someplace-“
“Piss off,” spat Amethyst, not even sparing him a glance. His eyes widened in shock and then narrowed, but looking over the rest of the people at the table he didn’t like his chances. He muttered something nasty under his breath and melted back into the crowd.
“There’s more where this came from if we need it,” she smiled. “Lots of wankers here with deep pockets.”
Everyone else at the table was staring at her.
“Amethyst, don’t you feel a bit um, bad for leading that guy on like that? Maybe a bit guilty?” Asked Amara.
Amethyst put down her mug and seemed to really consider this. She was focused inward, searching.
“Nope!” she replied cheerily. “And it’s bloody great!”
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