I initially forgot to post this with proper tags, so if you missed this, and you probably did, here it is again…
“I know this place,” Kat says, glancing at the sign that informs her:
LYTE’S PUBLIC HOUSE AND INN
CLEAN BEDS AVAILABLE
BEST FISH-ON-A-STICK IN PORTHAVEN
“My aunt and uncle run the place,” Scarlet explains.
“No, I mean this the place where Amara joined her guild,” Kat says. “I came with her when she applied.”
Scarlet nods. “Yeah. That’s Nolan. He’s wanted to be an adventurer forever. His grandfather used to run the Lyte Brigade before he did.”
“Not your grandfather?” Kat asks.
Scarlet shakes her head. “Wrong side of the family. Our moms are sisters, so I’m not a Lyte.”
“But they’re Mendez…es?” Kat asks.
“Well, half, I guess,” Scarlet answers.
Scarlet pushes the door of the inn open and Kat follows her inside. Instantly, there’s a blur streaking across the room and Kat watches as a little girl leaps at Scarlet to deliver some sort of flying tackle-hug.
“Scarlet!” the girl squeals happily.
“Hello, Sally,” Scarlet says, picking the girl up in a tight hug..
The girl clears her throat and holds up a ragged rabbit doll.
“Hello, Count Bunnyescu,” Scarlet says.
Sally’s face lights up as she sees Kat over Scarlet’s shoulder. “Hey, I know you!” she exclaims. “You’re Annie’s cousin! We played chess! Your mom’s cool!”
“Hi,” Kat says simply.
The girl regards her gravely and holds up her bunny. “You’re supposed to say hi to Count Bunnyescu, too,” she notes.
“Uh, yeah. Hi,” she mutters to the doll.
Scarlet sets Sally down and she goes running back across the room.
“Matilda! Nolan! Scarlet’s here!”
A young woman and guy about Kat’s age cross the room to greet Scarlet and Kat. They have dark hair and eyes like Scarlet, but their skin is a little lighter.
“This is my friend Kat,” Scarlet explains. “Kat, these are my cousins Nolan and Matilda.”
“Kat?” Nolan asks. “Like in ‘Katherine’, right?”
“Yeah,” Kat answers, bemusedly eyeing Nolan.
“Wait, so you’re the one Amara’s always talking about?” Nolan asks.
“She is?” Kat exclaims, blushing fiercely. “Powers, Amara…”
Nolan nods. “Yeah. She was even you for Heroes’ Eve.”
Kat’s blush deepens. “Don’t remind me.”
“He’s just jealous,” Matilda notes. “I bet he wishes Amara would talk so much about him.”
Now, it’s Nolan’s turn to blush. “I do not,” he mutters.
“Honestly,” Scarlet says, steering the conversation back on course,
“I’m a little surprised you haven’t met each other before now. Seems like you should have worked together at some point.”
“If you ever need a freelancer, lemme know,” Kat offers.
Matilda smirks at her brother. “And how would you feel about that, Captain?” she asks.
Nolan throws his hands up in exasperation. “I do not have a crush on Amara, okay? I just think she’s pretty…”
Nolan’s voice trails off as he gazes towards the door of the tavern.
“…Pretty cool,” he mutters feebly, still staring at the door.
The others follow his gaze.
Amara is standing frozen midway through the doorway.
“Goodness,” she mutters. “I’ve clearly picked the wrong time to notice I’d forgotten my adventuring boots here.”
“Hi, Amara!” Sally calls across the inn. “My brother likes you!”
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