Sister Sun caused a stir. Many, many stirs as a matter of fact, almost all creatures great and small started stirring when the first warm rays of Sister Sun glided across the land. Two creatures in a small house in Clear Lake Town, one big and one small, also stirred - or rather, the big creature stirred while the small creature was still asleep.
The large creature was Summer Sky, golden-furred Mry with subtle markings, waking up at the light of Sister Sun as she was used to. The small creature was Hazel Krecek, cream and brown-furred hamster, sleeping blissfully in the embrace of Summer Sky's feral forepaws as well as her arms, as she was much less used to waking up at the crack of sunrise but more used to waking up to an alarm clock. Not even Summer Sky's stirring woke up Hazel, tired out as the hamster was from a very long day they'd had the previous day, as well as the healthy fresh air of the Nezinoma Salis island.
Stretching and rubbing her eyes, Summer Sky yawned quietly and used one paw to wipe locks of hair from her face. She smiled as she looked down at the sleeping hamster cuddled up between her feral forepaws, leaning over a bit to run her fingers through the tuft of thicker, longer fur on top of Hazel's head.
"Are ya awake, darlin'?"
"Mmm," was the sleepy hamster's response, stirring a bit and nuzzling up against Summer Sky's feral chest with closed eyes.
With a soft giggle, Summer Sky trailed her fingers along Hazel's cheek and up to an ear which lightly flickered in response.
"Mebbe wake up a bit more, darlin'? Sister Sun's up, it's bath time."
Slowly and gradually, Hazel stirred more as she began ascending from the depths of sleep and make her way into the waking world. A quiet yawn, a full-body stretch, a slow blinking open of eyes which she then rubbed with two fingers before looking up at Summer Sky's smiling face.
"Mmh... is this awake enough?"
"It'll work," Summer chortled, stretching again and letting go of Hazel with her feral forepaws so she could roll onto her feral tummy and rise to her four feral feet. "Ya can wake up even a bit more while I go an' get the soap an' towels, 'kay?"
"Sounds good," Hazel nodded with a smile, rolling onto her back and stretching from head to toe again, letting out a squeaky yawn.
She giggled at Summer Sky playfully ruffling her over the head with a paw while stepping out of the heap of pillows. Rolling back over onto her chest and tummy, she looked at the Mry stretching her feral lower body as well, then rising up out of the pillows as Summer Sky stepped out of the small bedroom. A playful smirk curled Hazel's lips as she looked down herself, using both her paws to smooth down her peaky and tufty fur, or at least attempting to smooth it down as best as she could. Golly, sleeping in a nest of pillows certainly was very nice, but it sure gave one a terrible case of bed fur.
Stepping out of the small bedroom as well, Hazel giggled softly again when she saw the hind end of Summer's feral lower body sticking out from the doorway near the ice box in the kitchen part of the house, while the Mry's front end was hidden inside the room behind that door. Only a moment or two later, she received a wink from the feline taur as Summer stepped back from the door, holding a small block of soap and two towels draped over her arm.
"Ready to go, darlin'?"
"I suppose so?" Hazel smiled. "I honestly have no idea how this works."
"It's real easy," Summer chortled. "We grab some soap an' a towel, walk to the lake, converge with all the others, get into the lake an' start washin' ourselves an' 'elpin' each other."
"We walk there like this?" Hazel asked, motioning a paw at her naked self.
"Sure, gotta get all naked for the washin' anyways, so may as well, right?"
"I guess that makes sense," Hazel nodded with a soft laugh. "Well, in that case, I'm ready to go."
"Le's go, then," Summer smiled, holding out her free paw.
Hazel nodded with a smile, taking Summer's paw and following the golden-furred Mry out of the small house. She for a moment shivered lightly as they stepped outside, since that early in the morning the breeze was still a bit chilly. The next moment she was through it, though, calmly walking along with Summer Sky and looking around her at the small houses and other buildings of the town. In the daylight, the hamster could see how similar the architecture was to the houses and buildings she had seen in Oceanside. The thing that most stood out was the coloring of the plastered walls. Like in Oceanside, the houses and other buildings were built out of stone, covered in smooth plaster and plankwork or latticework, but where in Oceanside the plaster had been colored in subtle shades of light blue, turquoise and teal, in this town the colors were a much deeper green and blue, as well as a sand-like beige.
"Is there a reason why the walls of the buildings here are so different in color than those in that ocean town we were in yesterday?"
Summer smiled and gave a light shrug.
"Not specifically, no. It's jus' we're a lot more inland 'ere, an' when the first Mry found all these towns an' whatnot, some o' the 'ouses 'ad a bit o' color, an' we jus' kinda went with that. It seems, an' we later adapted, that the colors reflect the geographical position o' the towns. Oceanside is right next to the ocean, so they 'ave colors there that are like the ocean an' the beach an' whatnot. We're way inland 'ere, next to a big lake, so the colors in our town are more like the green o' the fields an' the blue o' the lake, ya know?"
"I see," Hazel nodded slowly. She smiled brightly. "That makes sense in a way, and it's even very nice, I like the idea of that."
She looked around her again, taking in the general sights of the town as well as many of the details and waving cheery greetings at many other Mry who were walking down the streets in the same direction. Of course each and every one of them looked at Hazel with surprise, having never seen a creature like that before - several joined her and Summer on their walk to ask Hazel who and even more, what she was. Hazel happily answered their questions and asked several of her own, mentally making notes and in passing noticing how, indeed, all the Mry were naked as well. She also noticed how she could quite easily tell the difference between the males and the females, of course obviously due to the females having one or two pairs of breasts, but also due to the males having a much firmer build. Mostly in the face, the males having rounder heads with firm, strong jaws and almost square muzzles.
It wasn't before too long when Hazel was surrounded by a number of the young Mry, the kittens of the town, who found her a very interesting and fun creature and who were openly curious and amazed, firing question after question at the hamster. Without even having noticed it, they had walked out of the town on the other side. Hazel only noticed it from a bright sparkling catching her eye.
Looking up, the hamster drew her breath and for a few moments stared in silence. In front of her stretched out a magnificent lake. From the west, along the edge of the town, a stream ran into the lake, on both the north-west and south-east sides dense forests surrounded the large body of crystal clear water. At the mouth of the creek small ripples reflected the early sunlight in bright orange and golden sparkles, the rest of the surface was as calm and smooth as a mirror, the water so clear the forms of fish could be seen flitting around in the deeper water in the middle. Soft grass dotted with numerous little flowers surrounded the entire perimeter of the lake, except for a small area where the shore had a smooth, gradual decline into a sandy plateau, cleared of all reeds and shore vegetation and even any underwater vegetation, with a large number of rocks along one side for the placing of towels on, clearly maintained. Along the south side of the lake, there were also a few small buildings visible near the shore, with small things that seemed like low rope fences reaching into the water.
A good number of Mry already were milling about on the plateau in the water, the others quickly joining them to engage in their ritual of a communal morning bathing. Even the Mry children, who had all been trooping around Hazel, left the hamster to splash into the water cheering and giggling. Summer eventually gave Hazel a playful little nudge with her hip/front feral shoulder and sent the hamster a cheery grin.
"Quite a sight an' whatnot, no?"
"It's magnificent!" Hazel said earnestly. "Even if it's daily used for a bath, it looks so... natural, so lovely."
"Prettiest lake ya ever seen?" Summer asked with a chortle.
Hazel closed her eyes for a moment and drew a deep breath again, then looked up at the golden-furred Mry and chortled softly herself.
"Well, one of the prettiest, yes. I have seen a decent number of lakes and rivers, and there are some really lovely natural lakes in Minnaluna, such as the lakes in the nature preserves, and Rainbow Falls Lake is even famous for how beautiful it is with the many waterfalls streaming down into it. But this lake is certainly up there among them."
"Glad to 'ear it," Summer laughed softly. "There's only four lakes in Nezinoma Salis, this one 'ere an' the Big Lake way over there..." she pointed towards the west, "...which is so big ya can't even see the other side, no matter what side yer standin' on, Cliff Lake way over there..." she pointed to the west-southwest this time, "...where Cliff River Town is, an' North Lake up there between Brackish Bayou an' Island Strait." For a moment, she ran the paw she had pointed with over her muzzle and whiskers. "Well, an' there's also a tiny li'l lake in Viola Town, but that's so small it's no more than a big pond really. On the map, ya can't even tell it's a lake, it looks more like a bit of a wide part where the two creeks come from."
"I take your word for it, I haven't even seen any maps of Nezinoma Salis yet," Hazel giggled softly.
"We'll get ya one when we're pickin' up my autocart in Arrow Reef Village. There's not so many roads ya would get lost drivin' 'round Nezinoma, but it'll probably still be 'andy for ya to 'ave a map anyways," Summer promised, taking Hazel's paw again. "Now c'mon, we're almos' the las' ones in!"
Hazel laughed softly and nodded, quickly trotting along with Summer to the cleared part of the shore. She waded in rather carefully, as the clearness of the water was a bit deceptive; Hazel couldn't quite tell how deep under the water the plateau was. As it turned out, the water reached to just over the feral lower backs of the adult Mry, which translated to about the height of Hazel's shoulders, making her feel secure enough to move about freely on the plateau so she could easily walk around Summer Sky to help the large Mry with the washing of her lower back. She also found out the water was of a quite pleasant, lukewarm temperature, which she contributed to the much warmer climate that seemed to envelop the Nezinoma Salis island.
Again, within a few moments, the hamster was surrounded by many of the Mry children, who had finished their bathing and were asking Hazel if they could help wash her. Hazel agreed cheerfully, letting herself be led to a shallower part of the plateau and standing as still as she could while the Mry children washed her. They were openly and quite loudly surprised about, and asked questions about the hamster's short stature, her for them very unusual tiny hairless tail, the for them quite unusual shape of her sex, why she only had the two legs, where she came from, what it was like on the Minnaluna mainland, why she came over to Nezinoma Salis, how long she was going to stay, in such a rapid-fire succession Hazel could hardly keep up with all the questions. She still did her best to answer all of them, in the process, from some of the reactions from the Mry children to her answers, learning a bit more about Mry history and culture and even a little bit about Faekitties.
All too soon, bathing time was over, the Mry children being called over by their parents or older siblings to be dried off and Hazel joining Summer Sky to dry themselves and each other off as well. Waving cheerfully and calling goodbyes at one another, all the Mry as well as Hazel and Summer Sky dispersed and started walking back to their houses.
"That was a lot of fun," Hazel commented with a bright smile. "I can imagine you all love that bathing so much."
"Oh yeah, it's one o' the main reasons why we Mry 'ave such a close an' strong bond with each other," Summer nodded. "Everyone reacted much better to yer looks than I 'ad expected, too. I reckon ya 'ad a good time? Ya sure seemed to 'it it off real well with all them kits an' whatnot."
"Oh yes, they were a blast!" Hazel chortled. "I thought I could ask a lot of questions, but they sure gave me a run for my money! And it was so much fun having all of them washing me, too."
"I'm sure it made ya feel like a princess, no?" Summer winked with a cheerful grin.
"Being taken care of like that? You better believe it!" Hazel giggled.
Summer laughed shortly and held open the front door of her house they had reached in the meantime.
"Well then, princess, care to step inside an' put on some clothes an' whatnot? An' would ya mebbe be disposed to transport me in yer chariot over to Arrow Reef Village so I can go an' pick up my own autocart?"
"By all means, fair lady," Hazel giggled. She playfully poked out her tongue as she stepped into the house, walking into the small bedroom and picking up her suitcase. "Do you happen to have anything I could unpack my suitcase into by any chance, too?"
"Sure, 'ere, use this," Summer nodded, stepping up to a small cabinet and opening the drawers to take out a number of colorful cloths similar to the one she had been wearing around her anthro upper chest the day before, and a couple of simple shirts. "I'll jus' put these on the bed if yer not gonna be usin' it anyways, ain't much 'ere that can be ruined in any way an' it don't matter much if any get misplaced or whatnot."
"Aw, thank you," Hazel smiled. "I did not mean to encroach into your personal space."
"Nonsense, darlin'. Yer a guest, an' guests deserve the top treatment. B'sides, it's kinda more important if yer stuff is safe, if some o' mine slides off the bed or whatnot it ain't a big deal 'cause it's my 'ouse anyways so I can always find it again laters."
"I suppose that makes sense," Hazel nodded. "But thank you anyway." She started unpacking her suitcase and putting everything in the drawers of the small cabinet. "What do I do with the dress I wore yesterday? I don't suppose you have things like washing machines, right?"
"That's right, we wash clothes an' whatnot at the washin' place in town, with soap on a washboard," Summer nodded, putting down all the cloths and shirts she had taken from the cabinets and picking up Hazel's dress from the day before. "I'll put this in the basket for ya with the rest, aftermorrow's the day I usually go to the washin' place."
"Ah, thank you again," Hazel smiled, putting on a fresh dress. "I'd like to go with you that day, it'll be quite a new experience for me."
"Sure, darlin', feel free," Summer nodded.
She stepped out of the bedroom with Hazel's dress and her own top from the previous day, returning a moment of two later and picking up a folded cloth with horizontal blue and white stripes which she tied around her anthro upper chest. Together with Hazel she stepped back out of the bedroom, and out to the side of her small house to get into the car Hazel had bought. By Summer's directions, Hazel drove out of the town via the road they had followed the previous day, following the road towards the crossing and going straight on towards the southwest.
After a little more than an hour of driving between the grassy fields and plains, a small river separated the plains from a forest with a backdrop of mountains. A stone bridge without walls or even a railing crossed the river, prompting Hazel to drive across the bridge very carefully before picking up speed again on the rest of the road. It followed the line of the forest for a good while, before making a wide curve to the south, running straight towards a town in the distance. A good half hour later Hazel drove them into the town, going along calmly with the flow of the sparse traffic and following Summer Sky's directions to get to the harbor.
The harbor was quite small - not much more than a brick quay with two very short piers on the ends and two only slightly longer piers in the middle. Along the quay was a road paved with the same stone, leading to rows of large storage buildings on either side, while two slightly narrower roads paved in quay stone enclosed a large rectangle in which were several buildings, back to back, facing either side, each either processing fish or materials brought in by the boats, or producing items or materials to be shipped out. Of course there were a number of small food stalls or even diners as well - as Hazel parked the car and got out, she found the air was thick with the scent of brine, ocean air, tar, wood, wet rope and different kinds of smoke; smoked fish, smoked meats, smoke of tar or tree resin being melted, smoke of wood fires from smithies or ore melting houses. It was kind of overwhelming, but also kind of pleasant in a strange way.
Sounds were plentiful in the air as well. The screeching of seagulls, voices both male and female calling out and shouting at each other, hammering, pulleys creaking, sails loudly flapping as the were either lowered, or raised and billowed in the wind, wheels and cogs creaking and grinding, voices loudly presenting and praising wares for sale, even voices in song. Once again, Hazel found herself with eyes and ears too few to take everything in as she closely followed Summer Sky along one of the roads towards the more southern end of the quay where the outmost short pier was.
A male Mry with quite wind-swept fur in an off-white color with pale blue tabby markings was in a small boat moored at the pier quite close to the quayside, cleaning the boat with a sort of small square broom he dunked in a bucket of foamy water every now and then. At Summer Sky calling out to him, he looked up and leaned on the long handle of the broom.
"Hoi Summer Sky!" The off-white and pale blue tabby Mry pointed his free paw at the sea. "I were 'spect'n ya to come from thattaway!"
"I moored my boat in Oceanside," Summer Sky said, lowering her voice a bit as she stepped onto the pier but still speaking quite loudly, one arm around Hazel's shoulders. "I ferried to Minnaluna to pick up a friend who's gonna be stayin' over 'ere for a while."
"I see," Daykeeper nodded, placing his feral front paws on the pier so he could lean over and shake paws with Hazel. "Welcome to Nezinoma Salis, Hazel."
"Thank you," Hazel smiled, adding a soft chortle. "You're the first one to not say I look strange."
"I c'n 'magine ya woulda gott'n a lotta that," Daykeeper chuckled. "Near no one seen som'one like ya 'round this island."
"But you have?" Hazel chortled.
The male Mry tilted his head a bit and cupped his free paw behind one of his ears.
"I'm sorry, what'd'ya say? Gotta speak up a bit." He gestured at his ears. "These 'ere things dun' work as good's they used to nay more, ya know."
"Oh! Okay, I'm sorry. I said, you have seen creatures like me before?" Hazel said in a louder voice.
Daykeeper smiled and nodded, lowering his paw again.
"I'm a sailor, lass, I been 'round. I been at Minnaluna coupla times, e'en been at the Lupican continent once or twice. I seen them two-leg folk like yerself lotsa times."
"Right, that makes sense," Hazel nodded.
Daykeeper nodded as well and turned back to Summer Sky.
"So didya come by to intr'duce me to yer friend, Summer Sky?"
"No, I jus' came by to tell ya I'm pickin' up my autocart. Ya put it in the storage 'ouse, yeah?"
"Aye. Ya c'n go right in, it's open. Thanks fer lett'n me know."
"Right-o. Ya thanks for keepin' it safe for me, Daykeeper. 'Ave a great day, 'kay?"
The off-white and pale blue tabby Mry let all four of his feral paws drop back into the boat and resumed the scrubbing, while Summer Sky and Hazel turned to walk back off the short pier. They walked down the outermost road, passing a couple of brick and wood warehouses, until Summer stopped by one and pulled open the large doors, securing them by pulling a loose brick out of the road with one of her feral forepaws and flipping it straight up to stop the doors from swinging back. Quite in the back, with crates and boxes stacked neatly alongside it to keep a clear path to the doors, was one of the Chevrolets Master, in a slightly faded green color. Summer slowly drove it out of the warehouse and stopped a little bit away from the doors so she could put the bricks back down and close the doors again, then letting Hazel step into the car and slowly driving it over to the spaces where Hazel had parked her own car.
Getting into her own car, Hazel calmly and carefully followed Summer Sky as they drove out of the town and back down the road towards Clear Lake Town. Since Summer drove a decent deal faster than Hazel had done, it was only about an hour before the two of them were back at Summer's house where they parked both cars under the wood roof to the side of the house.
"There, all taken care of." Summer stretched after she got out of her car. "Anythin' ya wanna do today, darlin'?"
"I don't quite know," Hazel chortled, leaning against her own car. "I'm still a bit overwhelmed from everything I've been seeing the past two days." She shrugged. "I'll probably work out the notes I made when we were going around that city by the ocean while those impressions are still fresh in my mind. Do you have anything you have to do today?"
"Nah, I took a coupla days free time."
"So you have like a job?"
"Kinda, yeah. I usually ferry stuff 'tween 'ere an' Cliff River Town an' Mountain Forest Town." Summer suddenly looked up. "Oh! That reminds me, c'mere, I 'ave a map for ya somewheres, it'll 'elp ya with the names o' the towns an' cities an' whatnot."
"Oh, yes, that would be helpful indeed, thank you," Hazel smiled.
She followed Summer into the house, looking at the golden-furred Mry rooting around in drawers and cabinets. Eventually Summer pulled out a folded sheet of paper, unfolding it into quite a large map which she showed Hazel, pointing out the colorful dots.
"See, we's 'ere, Clear Lake Town, an' that's where we arrived in my boat, Oceanside. That's Mountain City right there, that's the biggest town in Nezinoma, an' where we just been to is 'ere, Arrow Reef Village." She pointed at two other dots on the map. "I usually ferry materials an' whatnot from 'ere an' 'ere, Mountain Forest Town an' Cliff River Town, to our town, an' back."
"Like, raw materials to turn into products?"
"Yeah, jus' that," Summer nodded. "Cliff River Town an' Mountain Forest Town are real production towns, ya know, jus' like..." She pointed at another dot, "...Two River City, right 'ere next to Mountain City, see? They's close by rivers with a fast current, so they 'ave a lotta water power an' whatnot. Mountain Forest Town mines lotsa stone an' wood an' whatnot. They 'ave a buncha folk there turnin' that into pavin' stone an' furniture an' whatnot, but a lotta it is brought to other towns where folk makes things outta it. That's what I 'elp with, takin' stone an' lumber an' whatnot from there to our town an' Outlook City, an' takin' materials from 'ere an' Outlook City to there."
"Is there a lot of difference between the materials that are produced in different towns?"
"Oh yeah. Like Cliff River Town, they get a lotta stone an' such, 'cause they carve it right outta the cliff. But the ground is quite rocky there, so not very good for like growin' crops an' whatnot. But we 'ere in Clear Lake Town are much more inland an' 'ave much better soil for growin' crops, so we produce that kinda stuff an' either process it right 'ere or bring it to them other towns to be processed there."
"I see, that is quite interesting," Hazel smiled. "I take it there's a lot of production buildings in and around this town?"
"Yeah, when the original Mry found the towns, a lotta production buildings were like along the river an' by the lake, with jus' 'ouses to live in for the town itself. 'Course, there's some production buildings in the town too, but tha's mos' food refinin', like butcher an' baker an' things like that, ya know?"
"Yes, that makes sense. Oh, when I walk around the town here, or any other town, to look at the buildings and the work done at them and everything, would anyone object to me taking pictures, you think?"
"Nah, they won't mind, some of'em even be thrilled I'm sure," Summer chuckled. "But o'course, it'll always be best to ask firs' jus' to be sure."
"Of course, that's no more than normal. Well, I guess I'd better get to work on my notes. Or no, wait," Hazel interrupted herself, "I'd better first have a good read through that book on the history of this island, I'm sure that will be a big help for when I start to write about Oceanside."
"True, there's a lotta stuff 'bout Oceanside in that book, since Oceanside pretty much was the firs' established town 'ere on Nezinoma, an' became, an' still is, the mos' important link with the outside world," Summer nodded. "Ya wanna lay in the garden while ya do yer readin'? It's what I'm gonna do, yer welcome to come an' lounge 'gainst me while ya read."
"That sounds like a wonderful idea," Hazel smiled. "Yeah, let's do that."
She carefully folded up the map Summer had given her and tucked it in the bag she had gotten from the Mry running the Oceanside bookstore, taking out the book on Nezinoman history. From her own small bag, she took her a small case with her reading glasses in it, her notepad and a soft 2B pencil which she stuck behind her ear - after having taken off her dress and hanging it over the chair in the bedroom. With the weather being as gorgeous and warm as it was, and her nudist tendencies, it would have been more unnatural if she didn't go naked.
Summer was already in the garden, leaning her anthro upper torso against a tree with a wide canopy of large, dark green leaves while her feral lower body was resting comfortably on the side with all four paws stretched out. She smiled at Hazel joining her, making an inviting gesture with one paw for the hamster to make herself comfortable against her feral chest and tummy. Hazel happily accepted the invitation, leaning comfortably against the golden-furred Mry's lower body and laying her notepad on Summer's side while she put on her reading glasses and almost carefully opened the book. It wasn't long before the hamster was engrossed in the book, which, rather remarkably, kind of glossed over the story of how Mry allegedly descended from a group of Flamelin that had been shipwrecked on the island and settled there after finding the deserted towns and cities. It merely touched on that subject in the first chapter and pointed out how that bit of history was lost to the passing of time, and continued on from the first point of known Mry history.
Every now and then, Hazel underlined sentences in the book or took her notepad to jot down notes on what she read, leafing back and forth through her notepad to place small marks at the notes she had made during her trip through Oceanside so she could more easily cross-reference them to the notes she was taking from the book. She also mumbled to herself every so often, causing Summer to look up from her own book and let out soft chuckles, but she did her best to stay quiet. Only when the sun began to slowly shift color from bright gold to a darker orange as it sank lower in the sky, Summer lay down her book and stretched her arms above her while smiling at Hazel.
"Reckon I better go an' make somethin' for dinner. Somethin' in specific ya would wanna eat, darlin'?"
Hazel took off her reading glasses and rubbed her eyes with one finger.
"I have no idea, I don't know most of what is available here, or what you have in stock for that matter," she chortled. "So, surprise me I guess? I'm not really much of a finicky eater."
"Right, fair 'nough. I'll go see what I can whip up then."
Pulling her four feral paws under herself, Summer rose to all fours and easily stepped right over Hazel to get to the back door of her house. Hazel giggled cheerfully at it, stretching for a moment before leaning against the tree in Summer's place and resuming her reading. The scent of cooking drifting out through the opened kitchen window however very quickly drew Hazel towards the house. She stepped inside and to the kitchen, looking at Summer Sky stirring a wood ladle through something thick and bubbling in a copper pot and sniffing at the scents rising up.
"What's that you're cooking, Summer? It smells delicious!"
"Jus' some ruku soup," Summer smiled, motioning at an empty, somewhat crude tin can.
"Oh, you have canned goods here?"
"Yeah, there's tin mines in Cliff River Town an' copper mines as well as a coal mine an' even a mine for precious ores an' gemstones an' whatnot in Mountain Forest Town. 'Tween 'ere an' Cliff River Town's a row o' production buildings, takin' tin from Cliff River an' meats an' vegetables an' fruits from 'ere, Arrow Reef Village an' Brackish Bayou Town to make into tinned food an' soup an' whatnot."
"That makes sense," Hazel nodded. "So what is ruku? I'm guessing some kind of bird? That soup smells a bit chicken-y as well as a tad gamey."
"Yeah, ruku's a bird," Summer confirmed. "It's called that 'cause o' the sound it makes. They's mostly gray with a bit o' white, bit o' blue, sometimes green."
"Oh! They sound like pigeons, that makes sense too."
"I s'pose," Summer chuckled, scooping up some of the soup with the ladle to taste it, then nodding. "Done. Ya wanna grab some bowls an' whatnot from that cabinet there?"
"Sure," Hazel smiled.
She turned to the cabinet Summer Sky had motioned at, opening it and finding several earthenware plates and bowls of various sizes. She took two of the bowls and handed them to Summer Sky, who filled them with the soup she ladled from the copper pot before handing them back to Hazel to put them on the table. The golden-furred Mry took a number of smaller pillows from the living room and stacked them on top of each other to give Hazel a seat high enough for the hamster to reach the tabletop, also handing Hazel a spoon made of pewter.
As she tasted the soup, Hazel found that it was indeed pigeon - even if it was impossible to tell from just looking at the soup since it was a thick and somewhat grey-ish liquid with no discernible ingredients other than small chunks of meat. Despite that, it was very tasty, and Hazel ate with relish. The fresh, brisk air had given her a healthy appetite, even while she had not done very much that would have made her specifically hungry.
When they both had finished their bowl of soup, Summer Sky took the bowls and spoons to wash them, leaving Hazel free to walk into the living room and set up her small Underwood Portable typewriter on a low table. After having taken a packet of sheets of paper from the box she had brought with her, the hamster actually utilized the box as a seat by placing one of the pillows on it, creating a seat just high enough to comfortably sit at the low table and work her typewriter. Putting on her pair of small reading glasses again and taking her notes, Hazel rolled a fresh sheet of paper into her typewriter and began typing out her first article, describing the things that had transpired at the newspaper office and which had led into her going on this assignment, her travel to the Nezinoma Salis island on Summer Sky's boat, the looks and architecture as well as the type of enterprises she had seen in Ocean City and the experience of the communal bathing she had shared with Summer Sky and all the Clear Lake Town Mry that morning, interspersed with bits of trivia about Mry history and culture she referenced from the book she had gotten to explain some of the experiences she'd had.
The rattling and clacking of the little hammers hitting the paper, the ding of the bell each time Hazel reached the end of a sentence and the creak of the arm advancing the paper as the hamster slid the carriage back to the right after each sentence soon drew the attention of Summer Sky. For several moments, the golden-furred Mry sat behind Hazel to look at the hamster typing away. Hazel was unfazed by her audience, although she did after some time teasingly ask if Summer Sky had never seen someone working on a typewriter before, or if she had even seen a typewriter before. Which was just a rhetorical and playful teasing question, as Hazel had seen several typewriters in the shops and enterprises she had visited in Ocean City the previous day, and she knew very well - as she had done an article on it once, purely inspired by the fact she still used a typewriter herself - that typewriters had been around since the 1880's already, and the technological advance on the Nezinoma Salis island seemed to have reached at least the level of the early 1940's.
It was mostly the speed with which Hazel typed that had attracted Summer Sky's attention. It also ensured Hazel was done quite quickly with her article, despite the length of it, and a look at her watch showed her she still had plenty of time to phone it into the newspaper office. Using the satellite phone, the hamster dictated her article word for word and engaged in a few minutes of smalltalk afterwards, but she hung up again fairly quickly - the us of the satellite phone was rather expensive, after all.
As it was getting slowly dark, coupled with the fact the Mry rose with the rising of the sun, both Hazel and Summer Sky retreated to the small bedroom to snuggle up with each other in the nest of pillows for a good night's sleep. Content with their achievements of that day, the two of them quickly fell asleep, recharging to be ready for a new day of exploring the next day.