23 Banquet“s End
As Wilbur left a kindly middle-aged blond lady came over. She was a bit plump though she'd clearly lost weight recently. She was carrying two bowls of soup with a few skewers packed with vegetables.
"Come on you two! You'll regret it if you let the boys eat everything." She says holding out the two bowls. "We wouldn't want that, now would we?" Elanor laughs as she nudges Laurel playfully.
"Nope, we wouldn't want Vickie's hard work to go to waste," Laurel said smiling as she took a bowl. "She had a restaurant in town. People came from all around to eat her food!"
"I'm looking forward to eating then," Elanor says grabbing her bowl with a big smile. Vickie blushes and waves her hand coyly. "She exaggerates. We don't have much to work with so don't expect too much." The plump woman replies with nervousness in her voice.
The aroma was intoxicating as Elanor took a bite from one of the skewers. The grilling was completed perfectly, giving the vegetables a satisfactory crunch. As her teeth sank in the juices squirt out filling her mouth. Her tongue dances with joy as the sweet taste permeated her mouth.
As she swallows, her eyes grow wide with shock. She felt a gentle energy dissolve and flow into her meridians. She couldn't understand how food grown by mortals could have this effect. Normally to get food, like this, you would need to travel to some famous restaurant.
"It's so good," Elanor moans. "Yah sHo gud!" Laurel says while stuffing her face.
"Ha ha, you praise me too much," Vickie says with a smile that went ear to ear. "The credit has to go to the vegetables. They are the most incredible ingredient I've ever seen."
Elanor was about to reply when out of the corner of her eye she saw Laurel pause for just a moment. "Aunty, don't you think you should set some out for our guardian spirit?" Smiling she said coyly. "You know how much he loves his vegetables he'll definitely want a taste too."
Vickie hit the palm of her hand with her fist in realization. (like you would for rock paper scissor or roshambo. Also called Nattoku.) "You're right. We can't ignore him and leave the big guy out can we?" She turns away saying, "You two enjoy."
Over by the food, there were three young boys of similar age fighting. Vickie wacks one on the head and yells, "You three are acting like we haven't been feeding you. Do I have to teach you all manners?" She scowls at the boys as they all answer in unison. "No miss." They looked sheepishly at each other before they all got a fist to the head. "Now go entertain our guest of honor instead of acting like hyenas." She scolded. "Fine," the boys say deflated rubbing their heads.
The boys ran over shoving each other. "Hey, beautiful!" The tallest boy with blonde hair said while swishing his hair back. Elanor raises her eyebrow as the other two boys snicker. "Sorry boys, you have to be this tall to ride." Putting her hand above her head which was twice as tall as the boys.
"Roy you're so dumb!" Laurel says sticking out her tongue "Elanor is mine," She retorts grabbing Elanor's arm protectively. Laughing Elanor says "Why don't you introduce your little friends."
"Fine," Laurel replies rolling her eye as she points to each boy. "The tall idiot is Louis, the one with an ugly face is Roy, and the pipsqueak is Douglas."
The three boys faces turn grim. Douglas his curly hair bouncing as he pointed in anger at the rude girl, "just because you're a year older doesn't mean you're better than us!" "That's right mom says I'll grow into my face," Roy retorts with tears forming. "Don't listen to her she's just jealous of my good looks," Louis says while posing elegantly.
"Well hang in their kids," Elanor continues to laugh holding her stomach. "They're only nine so they don't understand how the world works," Laurel says while tugging on Elanor's arm.
"Hey boys, come over and help us." A small woman that was about five feet tall calls over. The mother's of the three boys were clamoring over the food with large bowls. "Yeah, Roy stop making a fool of yourself and get over here." A grim homely looking woman yells.
"But mom!" Roy whined. Only to see his mom giving him the evil eye. All the boys shrank and mumbled curses as they shuffled away. "Perk up, it's an honor to feed the divine spirit. " The small woman said with a big smiles patting Douglas's shoulder. Douglas's mom waves at the young ladies while Roy's gives a polite nod.
"The one waving is Harriet. The other one who nodded is Marsha," Laurel informs Anna. Laurel waves to the three women and hollers jokingly, "Don't work them too hard."
They all fill up a water bucket with soup and grilled vegetables. The boys then dragged the bucket off towards the hill. They didn't get far before a bull starts rushing down from the hill. The boys were so scared they threw the bucket away. Before it could hit the ground the bouncing ball that is Joe, opens his maw wide chomping up the bucket whole. As he came to a sudden stop in front of the boys, his belly continued forward almost smashing the boys into a pulp. The out of control belly causes a gust of wind to bowl over the three boys. With a satisfied expression, the guardian spirit leaps back up the hill just as fast as it came.
The boys a bit shook got to their feet. The mothers sigh in relief as they checked their shell-shocked sons. It was good that their protector was so strong. However, they still worry that he might accidentally crush them like ants some day.
Laurel couldn't stop giggling as she pulled the arm of the beauty next to her. "Come on you should meet Anna! She's cool, she's the one I told you about earlier." As they walk over Elanor's eyes fell on a couple with the boy she'd met earlier. The woman had long black hair and green eyes like Franklin. Her arm was limp in a sling. The only thing exceptional about the woman was her eyes that seemed to hold endless determination. The man next to him was muscular with skin like leather. Clearly, he's spent a long time laboring in the sun.
"This is Anna and Arron." Laurels smiled introducing the two. "Nice to meet you. I've heard of your gallantry." Elanor said with a bright smile. "Thanks, but any mother would do the same," Anna replied cordially.
"Ha, ha no need to be modest. You'd be surprised how many bastards are out there." The beauty said as another bottle entered her hand. "Cheers to your gallantry!" She says before downing the bottle. Laurel's eyes bulge, even if this was water a person couldn't drink this much she thought.
Arron clears his throat. "Ahem, I understand that cultivators are well learned." He gestured gently to Anna's arm before continuing, "I don't want to impose, but do you think you could take a look at her arm?" He asks the beauty.
Elanor looks like she'd just ate something sour. "Well, I guess I can take a quick look." As she reaches out her hand hesitates a bit before she bent down to get a closer look. "hm, I'm really not a healer... You know?" She asks with an apologetic look.
"Oh, sorry I only..." Arron trails off. "We didn't mean to put you in an awkward position. Don't worry about it. I'm getting used to it." Anna cuts in with a slight smile.
Elanor felt a bit bad. As she was pondering what to do, Laurel suddenly dodges left, right, and then lifts her leg as mud balls fly by. "Hey!" She turned and yelled before grabbing her head grimacing in pain. Elanor's eyes turned sharp as she hadn't seen the girl be hit by anything.
Mellisa seeing her girl in pain ran over scooping Laurel up. "She's had a bit too much excitement I guess." She says while looking worriedly at her daughter. "Lately she's been having headaches when she's overstimulated." She rubs her girl's forehead and continues, "I hope she didn't hit her head." Then she smiles at Elanor. "Thanks, I haven't seen her have this much fun in a long time," she murmurs.
"It was a lot of fun for me too," Elanor nods with a bright smile, her shiny white teeth glimmering in the campfire light. "We'll be turning in. Please enjoy the rest of the night." Bowing slightly she turns away.
Elanor bit her lip. "Argh, fine." She says stamping her foot dust swirling around her. Everyone looks in surprise at the beauty suddenly throwing a tantrum. "I'll do it you bastard!" She yells at the hill.
Elanor walks straight up to Gregory. "Thanks, for the grand banquet. I know it put a strain on your food stores." Gregory bowed and said "There is no need for you to worry about such things. Your presence here today has given us a bright moment in these dark times."
Elanor ignores the pleasantries as she replies, "I'll come back when I can. My master is a great healer, so I'll try to convince her to return with me." Elanor didn't give him time to respond as she leaps away speeding into the forest.