Chapter 4 – Tour de Place

After reaching the ground floor, Sharon sees an old man exit one of the branches in the hallway. He is dressed in white and yellow robes and is leaning on a cane.
“Hey, Arun-Char!” she shouts to catch his attention. He looks at Sharon and walks over to them.
“That’s master Arun-Char, Miss Gail,” he says with a grumpy tone. He turns towards Aléi.
“And you must be miss Aléi Farnos that master Martin has been speaking about,” he gives Aléi a bow.
“Nice to meet you,” she responds and nods.
“Master Arun-Char Kimadold Toliro of Farajill’s high council of defence,” he looks up, proud with having that title.
“Now, I’m sorry to leave in a rush, but I was just about to head back to my own world for a while,” he says.
“Stay out of trouble and respect your elders,” he says and turns around, walking away to the lounge.

“He was created as the wise old man for a fantasy roleplaying game,” Sharon says when Arun-Char is out of hearing range.
“He is usually very grumpy, but for some reason likes classic movies we show in the cinema,” she nods towards the hallway he had emerged from before.

“Next up is the arcade!” she suddenly turns happy and drags away Aléi into another branch of the hallway.

The arcade is a brightly lit room. It has two entrances opposite to each other. Along the walls and littered around the room is arcade machines featuring various games. Aléi reads some of the titles: Andy’s Quest, Ecological Warfare and NQMTFWATD. The latter one makes her very confused, but she’s trying not to mind the weirdness any more. The arcade also got a pool table and a ping-pong table.

There is a green haired boy who is playing a game called ‘Greenmushroom: The Game’. The guy is dressed in green as well. He has not noticed them enter. Sharon walks up to him and taps him on the shoulder. He pauses the game and turns around.
“Oh, hi,” he says with a friendly smile.
“I’m showing Aléi around this place,” Sharon tells him. He nods.
“Alright. So I’m one of the other Martins around here. Martin of Team Awesome, at your service,” he says to Aléi.

At least this Martin doesn’t sound like the others, Aléi thinks for herself. He doesn’t even look remotely close to the others either.
“Where are the others?” Sharon asks Martin. He shakes his head.
“I have no idea. Probably in their rooms, I’d guess,” he answers.
“So, um… are you also from a roleplaying game?” Aléi asks. Martin is at least a head taller than her, so she has to look up. He shakes his head again.
“No, I’m actually from the same universe as The Superhero Martin, but a different part,” he answers.
“I see,” she says, even though she has no real idea of what he’s talking about.
“He’s actually a human that turned into a Bulbasaur and then beck to human,” Sharon explains, and once again realises that Aléi probably has no idea of what a Bulbasaur is.
“Bulbasaur?” she predictably asks.
Sharon opens her mouth to explain, but can’t find a good way to explain it, so she closes it again.
“It’s a lot to explain. I can tell you later if you want,” Martin says with a smile. Aléi smiles back.
“That would be nice,” she says.

In the stairs to the next floor is where they have the next encounter with another patron who is on his way down. This guy is in a white lab coat and tall. Very tall. He is forced to stop not to run into the other two. He looks down at them.
“Hey, Tristan. This is Aléi,” Sharon introduces them.
Tristan inspects the blue-skinned girl. He has spiky, dull, dark blond hair that’s raised up and a Petit goatee. He doesn’t look too happy.
“A blue one, eh?” he says.
“Nice to meet you,” he says, but doesn’t sound like he mean it that much.
“So who are you?” Aléi sheepishly asks.
“My name is professor Tristan Murk. I’m a doctor in genetics,” he says and looks up while putting a hand on his chest.
“Mad scientist of gene manipulation,” Sharon corrects.
“You don’t know how thin the line is, Blondie,” he frowns and looks at Sharon.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was on my way to get some coffee,” he shoves past Sharon and Aléi.
When he’s gone, Aléi looks at Sharon and asks:
Sharon frowns.
“He never addresses a person by their real name, but uses nicknames instead. Slightly demeaning nicknames at that,” she sighs.
“Let’s go,” they keep walking up.

The next floor has many more corridors than the other two floors. There are also many doors, suggesting that this place is the living quarters. Sharon confirms it.
“And on this floor is where all the bedrooms are.”
Aléi looks around.
“You can sleep here as well?” she asks. Sharon nods.
“If you want to. With time being random there aren’t any really sleeping hours, but you can customise your room to something you like,” Sharon says and walks Aléi to a door.
“Like mine,” she says and opens the door to her room.

The room is kinda what one would expect a room to look like. It’s normal sized with a bed with red sheets opposite to the door. On the wall to the left is a simple shelf with a small silver statue of Sharon and a crown. The closet has a sliding door and is built into the wall next to the bed. There’s another door that leads to a bathroom on the right wall. Clothes are scattered around. Hanging on the walls are various things: a yellow cane, a blue and silver shield, and finally a golden pendant.

“My room isn’t anything special though, I just went with something I liked,” Sharon smiles.
“You just tell The Superhero what you need and he’ll get it for you.”
Aléi is just half-listening. She is looking at the various objects, fascinated. She walks up to the shiny shield.
“Duncan’s Shield,” Sharon says.
“I found it during an adventure in Ireland.”
Of course Aléi had no idea what Ireland is, but she doesn’t care. The shield looks peculiar, the surface is deep blue with a silver lining. As an emblem it looks like two silver moons on top of each other.

Sharon takes it down from the wall and equips it.
“It got the power to create forcefields, try to attack it,” Sharon says with a smile and holds it up.
“Err… okay?” Aléi draws her sword and strikes.
Just before the sword hits, a blue forcefield appears in front of the shield to block the strike. The sword bounces off.
“Nifty, huh?” Sharon smiles.
“I have stumbled upon quite a few magic artefacts on my travels. I can show you the other ones some other time,” Sharon says and hangs up the shield again on the wall.

Someone suddenly knocks on the door, catching both of the girls’ attention. Two more girls enter. The first one has silky black, long hair. The other one is shorter and is dressed in all green. Her hair is also green and set up in a ponytail.

“We thought you would visit us, but you took too long,” the black haired girl says. She’s not angry or annoyed, but says it with a smile.
“Sorry, I just showed her my room,” Sharon says.
The black haired girl walks up to Aléi and bows.
“Maria of Team Awesome,” she says. Aléi copies the gesture.
“Aléi of Dawn Chasers. Nice to meet you,” she says, more sure of herself than she has before ever since she got here.

Maria steps away to let the green haired girl greet Aléi. She decides to do so with a small hug, throwing Aléi off guard.
“Hi, I’m Chikorita, but everyone calls me Chiko,” she says as she lets go of the hug.
“I’m Martin’s sister.”
“Which one?” Aléi asks, even though the answer should be obvious. It’s obvious she’s starting to catch on. Maria smiles.
“The Team Awesome one,” Chiko answers with a smile and a giggle.

Maria turns to Sharon.
“Are you done with the tour soon?”
“We only got Ashling and Greenmushroom left,” Sharon answers.
“Alright, I’ll tell Martin,” Maria says.
“Which one?” Sharon gives Maria a wink, prompting Maria to chuckle and shake her head.
“I’m kidding,” Sharon says and raises her hands.

A minute later; Sharon, Aléi and Chiko are standing in front of a slightly bigger door at the end of the corridor opposite to the stairs. The door looks like all the other doors. Sharon knocks, but there’s no response for a while.
“So, what do you think of The Meeting Place so far?” Chiko asks Aléi while they wait.
“Honestly? It’s a bit weird,” Aléi responds.
“But everyone is being so nice.”
“Except Tristan and Rodney,” Chiko and Sharon says at the same time. The response felt like a reflex if anything.
“Anyway, I need to go. See you later!” Chiko says and waves goodbye. Aléi waves as well.
Sharon knocks harder on the door, getting impatient. Footsteps are heard from the other side of the door.

A tall (but far from Tristan tall) person with red hair in a ponytail opens. The person looks like he just woke up and hastily had gotten dressed. He rubs his right eye while leaning on the door frame.
“Sorry, I was taking a short nap,” he says and yawns, then turns towards Aléi.
“Hi, I’m Ashling, the only person who actually lives here.”
Aléi greets him with a nod.
“Yup, our lazy Creator created me but not my world, so I’m stuck here until he does. He has said he would finish it, but he never does and I think he never will,” Ashling continues.
“Sure it’s nice here, but I really want a real place to live in,” he yawns again.
“One day I’m sure you will,” Aléi tries to cheer him up with a smile. It might have worked as Ashling looks a tad bit happier than before.

“Now, I should get ready for later, so if you don’t mind…” he says and looks back.
Aléi notices his room is much bigger than Sharon’s room, probably as a compensation for not having his own real place to live in.
“Sure, but hurry up, we only got Greenmushroom left,” Sharon informs. Ashling nods and closes the door.



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