Gen IV Chapter 42 - Neighbor

Once they were all settled in Aerie began to feel a bit anxious. Aside from Eowyn she didn't know anyone here, and Eowyn set her aside before they departed on her flight and told her she would become distant. “I just need time alone” she had said, “to mourn in my own way.” Aerie understood, even though it meant becoming separated from the one and only person she knew in Valenwood.

It was then that she made the decision, she scooped up Calypso and headed downstairs. “Let's go meet our neighbors” she said with a smile. She peeked in Meilin's room to ask if she wanted to come with them, and she quickly rejected. It bothered Aerie how much time Meilin spent alone, but she didn't press her. As they stepped outside the weather was simply gorgeous.

Aerie knew she didn't have very many neighbors, in fact, there were only two houses in the area of the woods where she had the house built, and one of them was vacant. Still, she plopped Calypso in the stroller and headed towards the one neighbor she actually had. “Mama flower!” cheered Calypso as they began walking, “yes sweety, that's a flower.” “mama tree! Mama buttfwy!” “Butterfly sweety” Aerie corrected with a smile, which quickly faded as she realized just how quickly her baby was growing up. She was happy, but it was bittersweet. She wanted Calypso to stay a tiny tot for a while longer.

She packed up the stroller as they approached the yard to the small home and for a moment Aerie thought about changing her mind and heading home. “Do people even greet their neighbors?” she asked herself, it sounded old-fashioned and after plucking the single strand of gray hair she found this morning, she didn't need any more reminders.

After knocking lightly Aerie stepped back a bit and waited. It wasn't long before a woman opened the door, and it didn't take Aerie long to realize she wasn't very happy. The woman let out an aggrivated sigh, “what is it now? Cant you people go to the hospital first? You're not screaming witch or carrying torches, so you must want something.”

Aerie stood shocked and dumbfounded, unable to say anything as the woman made her way down the steps. “Well? What is it? The girl doesn't look sick at all, and you look healthy from what I can see. What do you want?”

Noticing her silence was irritating the woman further Aerie decided to introduce herself. “Umm.. hi. I'm Aerie, Aerie Ryuzaki, we're new here. We just moved in down the road, I just wanted to introduce myself since we're neighbors. This is my daughter Calypso.

The woman's face showed clear shock for a moment before it faded, and the seemingly permanent frown faded as well as her glance drifted from Aerie to Calypso and back again. “Oh... Oh I'm sorry... I didn't know and I pounced all over you...” Her glance drifted back to Calypso again, “I hope I didn't scare her.”

Aerie shook her head, “it's ok, she's fine. Do people bother you? I don't mean to intrude, we can leave if you want?” “It's fine, you don't need to leave. You said you're my neighbor? So... you live here? On this side of Valenwood?” Aerie nodded, she knew from her research that the locals were very partial to their side of town. “Do come in, let her play here out front, this isn't like the city side, children can play here unattended without worry. Even so, not many people approach my lawn, let alone step onto it.”

Once inside she introduced herself, “my name is Allaina, Allaina Mayfair.” And for the first time Aerie saw her smile. “I really am sorry for earlier, I don't get many visitors, at all actually. Only people who want something. So, what brings you to Valenwood?”

It didn't take long before the two moved past the small talk. Once Aerie mentioned that she had moved here to start over, a fresh beginning for herself and her daughters Allaina seemed to hang on her every word.

“So what did you mean by people always wanting something?” Questined Aerie, “and the whole Witch and torches thing?” Allaina laughed, “I work at the hospital, I'm the one and only remaining resident there from the herbal wing.” Seeing Aerie's confusion she clarified. “Most people are so quick to jump and take medicine, chemical combinations created by scientists and doctors. When all they need is a soup, a special tea or elixir. The herbal wing is for doctors who use natural remedies as opposed to common medicine. Instead of prescribing pills or injections, I mix herbs, poultices, and other things grown from nature.”

“Which is why you cracked the Witch joke” laughed Aerie. Allaina nodded, “thank you for being polite Aerie, but you'd have to be color blind not to notice. I think you're the first person not to comment on my skin color, but I assure you it's not contagious. It's a rare condition that very few people here have, less than 1% of the population actually. Those of us who's families have lived here for generations.” “I wasn't going to-” “It's ok” interrupted Allaina, “I know you had no intention on asking, I just wanted to clarify that's all. Besides, it doesn't help that on top of being the only herbalist left, searching the woods for certain plants for my work, and having greenish skin. I've been called a Witch on more than one occasion.”

As the sun began to set Aerie brought Calypso inside as they continued to talk. Despite Allaina's reassurances, Aerie wasn't comfortable enough yet to leave her baby unattended out front. Her thoughts trailed to Meilin who was at home alone. Aerie felt a pang of guilt for not pressing her daughter to come with her. Little did she know that Meilin was more than content, hosting her own tea party with spice while her mother was away.

As night settled in Aerie checked her watch and realized it was getting late. She bid Allaina farewell, but made sure to exchange numbers before she left. The two women seemed to get along very well and were practically friends already. As she entered her lawn she realized how late it was and had completely forgotten she needed to cook dinner.

Calypso was already nodding off as Aerie carried her upstairs. Though she still decided to read her a story, she loved to read them almost as much as Calypso enjoyed hearing them. Though the tot didn't last long, and was asleep after only a few pages.

Aerie peeked in Meilins room only to see her curled up with Spice fast asleep, a couple of books lay open on her floor. Aerie smiled as she sneaked in and put them away, not wanting to wake her. She felt bad and hoped she wasn't hungry, but felt better as she entered the kitchen to see the dirty dishes from the leftover sandwiches she made at lunch. As it was getting late Aerie made a cup of coffee, she knew she couldn't go to bed just yet.

She spent the next couple of hours checking classifieds, and browsing job openings. Nothing seemed to really appeal to her, but she knew she had to find work. Only then did she realize she had never worked at a legitimate workplace.

After browsing a while longer and not finding anything that grabbed her attention, she logged off and soon enough found herself doing a bit of freelance hacking. A part of her felt bad, she knew that in reality she was stealing. So she focused on companies she knew from her work in the past with Ms. Wu and the family. Companies she knew were corrupt and treated people badly. She felt a little better, but it didn't change the fact that she was stealing, and she didn't like it.

She didn't necessarily need the money, she had enough savings to hold her over for a couple of years if she budgeted right. But she still wanted some sort of income. Though as easy as hacking came to her, she knew she wouldn't be able to do it forever. Sooner or later people would wonder how she paid her bills, how she made ends meet without working anywhere in town. Aerie knew she had to find a job, and she needed to find one soon...


  1. Awww, that was sweet. I think the new neighbor and Aerie will get along fine. Small but great update. I love the picture on the desk, so awesome to have family pictures around. Meilin and Spice are pretty close I guess, it is good she has someone/thing to talk to or play with, but she will need real friends too. I wonder how she will do in school

    1. Indeed, this was smaller than usual. I just couldn't find a suitable place to stop so I had to cut it a little short to avoid a VERY long chapter. Needless to say the next chapter is already in progress and should be up in a few days. :)

      She wanted to start small with meeting the neighbor, especially since she doesn't know anyone else. Meilin is a bit of a loner, but it was also the weekend when they moved, so school will be starting soon. ;)

  2. I loved this chapter so much. And Allaina's character just jumped off the screen, I can see the depths to her already. I love that Aerie has made a friend. In fact it looks like both women could use a friend. I can't wait to see how things unfold in Valenwood. I hope Aerie and the kids find happiness there. The writing was so simple yet enchanting, I'm really looking forward to the next update.


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