Chapter Eighteen: One-Way Trip

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One of the few things Luce missed about living in Dogon were the showers. Having a shower head to spray water at you instead of a bucket and scoop was weirdly comforting. Sure, there were a few places on the other side with the same functions, but they usually had to have specific situations, like wealth enough to buy a pressure tank or a water source high enough in altitude.

As she turned off the lukewarm shower, she stepped out from behind the curtain and grabbed a towel off the rack.

The bathroom was crude. An old disinfection chamber turned toilet and shower. The walls were repainted with waterproof white, and the floor flattened with a thick blue tarp. The pipes were reconnected from the former bathroom which had caved in, and water from everywhere flooded the floor, draining slowly out a hole in the wall where it ran outside to be turned to steam and power the generators. Cut off from the grid, Luce had been impressed with how much energy the rag-tag group of dissident had managed to recycle into the thermal generator outside, enough to give them a relatively comfortable existent.

She switched into a fresh brown shirt and black pants, having left her other clothes in the dryer. She walked out while scrubbing the last of the water out of her hair.

Out in the long corridor, some parts of the steel plates that lined the wall had been pulled out for scraps, showing the ugly concrete and rebars underneath. Shou and his group had definitely used the place with a focus on utility over fashion. She walked down the hallway and entered the first room on the right.

The room was one of the last few bunks to have been kept intact with beds, lights, and ventilation. Of the 24 in the buildings, 19 of them had been scrapped for parts. Inside, Adelle sat on one of two opposing beds. Opposite her was the third member of Shou's party.

Upon noticing Luce, the young woman stood up. Still in her work overalls, sleeves tied at her waist, the woman's white singlet was stained with patches of oil and grease. A red cap hung from a carabiner at her belt's side; Her brunette long hair released in a ponytail behind. Her face was freckled and straight. Her bright brown eyes absorbed light under the fluorescent bulb.

"Hi!" she greeted with an outreached hand. "I don't think I've properly introduced myself to you yet. I'm Miu Hotaru."

"Lucinda. You can call me Luce." Luce shook her hand. "Arnold talked about you. You're Shou's girlfriend."

"W-what?" she stammered. "I am not! I'm just... I'm Reggie's mechanic."

"Uh huh..." Luce replied, grinning sceptically. She walked up to Adelle. "What have you got there?"

The elf held up a carbon arrow tipped with what was shaped like a small can. "Trick arrows."

Miu added, "We had some lying around. I was going to scrap them for parts, but I think she'd get better use out of them."

Luce noticed that Adelle had her belt and quiver on the bed, though the container was now facing the left side instead of the right. A new black polyester quiver now dangled at her right leg side of her knee.

Luce asked, "You can shoot from your left?"

"I can shoot from both sides," Adelle replied. "I'm just more accurate with my right, but I'm faster with my left, so the trick arrow goes to my right and my normal arrows on the left."

"Alright," Luce stated plainly. "Whatever makes you happy."

"I'm always happy to be able to break things."

"Where's Josh?"

Adelle replied, "Last I saw, he was talking with Arnold and the Doc. They're trying to work out a deal."

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