Kris mulled over the two options given to her while Shayla watched her with a relatively placid expression upon her face, waiting for Kris to answer.
Kris glanced up while she did and saw it was getting darker for sure - the sky was inching toward blackness, and the moon was prominent on one side. She sucked her teeth. She really didn’t know, and she didn’t exactly have a whole lot in terms of luxuries for going back to her cozy apartment. The main problem was the fact she didn’t have anything to sleep on, or sleep with, and she wondered how exactly she was meant to do this in a tree or a cave.
Shayla, as if aware of her line of thinking, grinned. “I’ve got supplies tucked away in both places. Not a lot, unfortunately, but enough to ensure we’ve both got some comfort for the night. You’d be surprised how nifty it is to have several spots to crash when there’s no time to make it to my den area.”
Kris’ lips twitched. “How did you get supplies in a place like this?”
“You find ways to barter with those creepy shopkeepers,” Shayla replied, her eyes flicking to the side while she said it. She snorted. “And there are… other people that will trade or sell things for a price if you know where to look. I can explain more when we’re not exposed like this.”
Kris sighed. She was getting tired of having to choose all these things herself - her brain wasn’t cut off for thinking so heavily when she had gone on a walk in the first place to relax! Yet she knew she had to consider something, so…
“I guess the tree, then,” Kris said after a moment. “I’d rather be safe than sorry, since I don’t know this area or what the hell else could be waiting out here.”
“I’ll protect you,” Shayla said, softer now, and she gave Kris a warm smile. “It’s the least I can do for you saving my sorry ass as often as you have. Besides, I know these parts, and I’ve got a good bit of skill using this new body to my advantage.” She smirked. “Most won’t mess with me. You’ll be safe, I promise.”
Kris felt a little flutter in her stomach at that, and her cheeks warmed. “Thanks.”
The pair started on, heading straight for a few minutes before they came across what Shayla mentioned - a massive fallen tree, three times larger than any tree that Kris had ever laid eyes on. Her eyes grew wide, and even her mouth fell open when she bore witness to the sheer size of the tree, with a huge opening on the side that had several thick curtains dangling over it.
Shayla strode up to the gaping hole, then beamed and gestured to it with one hand, using the other to open the curtains.
“It’s not my home, and I doubt it’s anything as nice as what you’re used to, but, it’ll do for now,” Shayla said. “Come on in.”
Kris shook her astonishment off, and did so, entering to find the interior of the massive tree to be rather… homey in a way with how clean and neat it was.
She was also surprised to find that there was an actual bed - a mattress, at least, with some blankets - one on end, and even what looked like a chair not far from it. There were little wooden shelves jutting out from different parts of the tree - with candle nubs on each of them - a few rugs on the floor of the tree, and blankets and rugs, too.
“Damn,” Kris said. “You weren’t kidding.” She brushed a hand through her hair, her mind racing while she took all this in. Her logical side kicked itself into gear. “I’m confused, though. You’re telling me this isn’t where you live? But how…? Why did you get all this stuff here and why, if you don’t live here?”
Shayla eyed her thoughtfully. “Would you believe me if I said this whole area was so gigantic, it makes sense to have more than one hidey hole to live in? Because that’s the truth.” She shrugged. “This place is massive. I don’t know if there IS an end to it, or how it is you get back into the city, or wherever the hell it is you came from. So, trust me when I say that you have to make shelter where you can, then claim it so no one else decides to take it for themselves.”
Kris blinked a few times. “I guess that makes sense. Just… wow.”
“Yeah, it’s bizarre when you really start thinking about it,” Shayla replied with a nod. “Either way, try not to worry too much for now.” She went and flopped herself down on the mattress, which bounced once from her weight. “I know you’ve had a lot thrust on you today, so, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry about that. If it makes you feel better, all you gotta think about for now is whether you want to try and sleep, or if you want to stay up and chat. Got plenty of time for both.”
Kris walked over to Shayla, pausing at the foot of the mattress. “Sleep on… what?”
“Only have one mattress,” Shayla admitted with a shrug. She then swept an arm across the mattress. “There’s enough room for us both. I’ll be mindful of your personal bubble, though, I promise.” She grinned, a bright and toothy grin that left Kris feeling somewhat flustered internally. “And I said I had supplies stashed away. Just say the word, and I can get ‘em.”
“Oh. Well. Um.”
Kris bit her lip. Now what?
Written by Hollowpages on 02 March 2020