"Hey-hey, check this out, Sis!"
Amidst the bustling crowd in the Fallenray shopping district, two ladies with fancy clothes were having a fun conversation. One of them was holding a bright-colored flyer.
"Ew, really? Tentacle in the sky? Another one of the King's eccentric jokes?
"Yeah, but like, seriously? The King may have a crazy sense of humour, but I say this is his craziest one yet".
Unbeknown to them, a man in a tattered fur coat had been staring at them for a while, most likely attracted to their figures. As he overheard their conversations, the man slowly walked towards them.
"Excuse me...ladies", he said with a deep, hoarse voice. "Can you tell me that in detail?"
The moment the two ladies turned to answer the question...
Seeing the man's figure, covered in a tattered blue fur coat, along with his pale, ghastly appearance, the two ladies frantically ran away. So hurriedly they run, to the point that one of them almost tripped herself, and the other one dropped the flyer she was holding.
"Hey, hold it, ladies!"
The man, slightly annoyed from being treated like a freak and failed to get his answers, picked the dropped flyer and tried to catch the already running ladies.
"Heey...I'm not...trying to do anything funny..."
The man tried his hardest to run, but all his feet can muster wass a wobbly walking, that of a crippled man. With just a few walks, the man tumbled down, realizing he's out of energy. Feeling completely exhausted for standing up or catching up to them, the man can only shout "wait" hoarsely while dragging his body along the ground. A group of men who had been staring at the recent commotion started gathering towards the guy.
"What are you up to, huh?". One of the men started questioning him.
"Yo, you hittin' those girls or something?", said another one, fueling the fire.
"What the hell, a bum like you? Have you even tried looking a the mirror?", another one of them started adding more insult.
The surrounded guy tried to defend himself and calm them.
"Gentlemen, I...have no ill intent. I only need to ask something...", he said with a soft, hoarsed voice. However, his words fell to deaf ears, and the men responded with angry rants and abuses.
"Huh, what did you say? Speak clearly, dammit!". One of the men spoke loudly next to the guy's right ear.
"C'mon, we haven't started anything yet! You've got to put more effort, you bum!", the other one shouted right to the guy's face.
Hearing their responses, the guy understood. The group of men never wanted to hear any explanations or clarifications. All they want was a medium to release their stress after a busy day working in the shopping district. Some sort of scapegoat to be picked on, along with a justified cause. And fortunately for them, someone unfortunate enough appeared, along with a good reason, albeit a very superficial one. After realizing that, the guy then turned quiet, resigning to whatever abuse or bullying he'll soon receive.
As things were looking bad for the tattered guy, suddenly a woman in an apron ran towards them.
"Move, move", she shrugged of one of the surrounding men, then grabbed the tattered guy's arm, "John, so this is where you are!"
"Oh, Lady Pom! Em, your acquintace?" asked one of the men.
"Yeah, this guy's a distant cousin from my long lost uncle. Alright guys, shoo shoo!"
The men quickly dispersed away. Most of them actually didn't believe what the woman said. However, she was well respected and acquainted with many people on the district, so they just let it slide. The lady then began to drag the guy, which was surprisingly easy despite the guy actually tried to resist. Sensing a light resistance, the woman then whispered quietly.
"Just be quiet and follow me!"
The man, realizing he's too tired to do anything, complied. The woman then brought him to the front of a shop. A small restaurant, painted in red called Four Seasonings. The entrance was an open view, with stalls, cooking ingredients and utensils, and the chefs themselves cooking the food situated on the front, while the tables for the customer situated on the back.
Inside the shop, the woman dragged the guy into one of the tables and told him to wait. Then, she went to the cooking area and prepared some food. After a while, she went back to where the man was, along with a bowl of food and a glass of water.
"Here!" she said as she served the food and drink to the table.
Before the man now lied a bowl of yellow noodles in a pool of soup stock. Various meats, seasoned with onion leaves, fried garlics, chillies, and ketchup was arranged neatly inside the noodles. The steam from the hot food softly flied to the man's face, soothing him with its tantalizing aroma and stimulating his appetite. Before he realized it, his stomach started to grumble, and the man unintentionally took a gulp.
"Um, I'm sorry, but I...don't have any money...for this...", the man said, his eyes slightly tearing up, with snots and drools started pouring from his nose and mouth.
The woman quickly grabbed a tissue from near the table and slapped it to the guy's face. "Ew, gross!", she chided the guy. And as the guy held the tissue over his face and wiped it, the woman then gently tap his shoulder.
"It's okay. On the house, okay, John?" she replied, her eyes looked straight to his.
"John" looked at her, and seeing her kind eyes, along with the tantalizing aroma of the food, he cannot hold back any longer. In an instant, the man took a spoonful of the noodles into his mouth. The texture of the noodles, the soup, and the meats, all melted in his mouth, and it got even tastier when he began chewing them. That moment, he can feel his tired body slightly being revitalized once more, and that he felt really grateful to be alive. But, after taking three spoonfuls of the noodles, he then stopped, as if his mind finally returned and that he just now though of a possibility.
"But, I'm not John, though..."
The woman sighed, "Obviously, I said all that so those men really think you're my acquintance. Learn to read the situation, boy!"
The man, now fully realize the woman's kindness was truly for him and not a mistaken person, smiled and nodded, then continued to eat his unfinished meal. Despite the food still being particularly hot, the man ate them with surprising pace and vigor, while sometimes took a sip of water from the glass. And in just a few minutes, he finished all the servings.
"Alright!", the woman finally spoke. "Now that you're full, would you tell me about yourself? Are you a beggar?"
The man shook off his head.
"Have you been robbed? Or getting into trouble?"
Again, the man shook off his head.
"So, what are you doing in Fallenray with such a shabby appearance?"
The man wrapped his hand onto his head, then fell into silence. After a while, he then gave his answer.
"Lady, I'm really sorry. I really appreciate your kindness and the food, I truly mean it. But I'm afraid I can't answer that, because..." The man rubbed and twirled his hair, "Because, you see...I think I lost my memory..."
Hearing such a reason, the woman suddenly grabbed the man's head, startling the man. Then, she stared to the guy's eyes, her eyes squinted, with a look of disbelief all over her face. After staring at the guy for a while, her face went back to normal.
"Well, that sure was some corny and lame explanation. For a second, I though you were playing around. But looking at your eyes, it doesn't look like you were lying."
The woman then pulled herself away.
"So, what do you remember about yourself for now?," she asked eagerly. "How about your name, at least?"
The man wrapped his hand on his head again, then answered faintly.
"Edoise...Yeah, Edoise", he repeated with a slightly more confident tone.
"Okay, Ed". The woman nodded while casually shortened her new acquintance's name. "So, any ideas as to how did you ended up here? And some leads towards your missing memory?"
Edoise then began explaining his situation.
"My first memory was when I woke up in an alley nearby. When I look at the scenery, it was already afternoon. I tried looking around, but nothing shows any hint of my memory or identity. I then decided to walk out of the alley, and that's when I stumble upon the crowded road."
"Ah, so it was just recently, then," the woman nodded.
"As I walk around, I noticed two ladies with fancy clothing talking. Something about them piques my interest, especially what one of them was holding. But apparently, I freaked them out when I approached them. I tried to catch them and calm them down, but ended with a group surrounding me. You know what happened afterwards". Edoise ended his explanation.
"Ok, ok". The woman nodded continuously. "So then, you mentioned about something the lady is holding. What could it be?"
Edoise reached to his clothes, then from his right pocket he pulled a piece of paper.
"This flyer", he said as he fixed the crumpled paper, that of a flyer with a bright-pink background.
"Oh, that one, eh?", the woman tok the flyer while smirking. "Seriously, that king! Not only the content, but even the coloring makes it look like some strip club promotion pamphletes", she said while giggling.
"About this, you see, the flyers was spread into the whole town this morning. Supposedly it was the king's order, a 1st class priority order, but the content is just...weird. It says something about a tentacle in the sky and everyone who sees it must come to the city hall before 7 PM. Like, seriously? Hilarious, isn't it? That king of ours!", the woman then bursted into laughter.
But to her surprise, Edoise stayed silent, his eyes kept staring at the flyer.
"Um, yeah, it's funny indeed. Ehe heh..." he responded with a dry laugh. "But you know what's more funny? I...I think I need to know where the city hall is...em...maybe"
Upon hearing what Edoise just said, the woman turned serious, then tap his shoulder.
"Boy, you shouldn't take the king's joke seriously. Just look at the absurdity of the content. How come there are tentacles out there in the sky? I bet it's just another prank of the king. It happened, you know. You better just go to the public service. Every citizen's record can be found there. I'm sure you'll find your identity in no time. No need to take a roundabout route."
But even after hearing the explanation, Edoise's expression didn't change. He still seemed like focusing his sight on the paper. For some reason, something about it strongly convinced him that the paper was his destination, the lead to his goal and memory.
"Sigh, now that's an expression I hate. You men, once determined to follow your mind and focus on one thing, all seem to make that expression." The woman then picked a memo paper from her pocket, drew a rough map, then guided Edoise through it.
"See, this is your current position. After you go ouside, turn right and walks straight for 20 minutes. You'll see a four-way intersection with a green mailbox near the traffic lights. From there you turn to here, then here, and here, and you'll arrive at the train station. Just take the train going to the city hall there. You'll arrive in about 40 minutes or so."
Edoise nodded, with his face now seemingly gained a brighter color. Unlike when he was just awaken, now he had what can be used as a hint to his goal, a path to his memory, albeit with a slim chance.
"And for that, I think you'll also need a little bit of these."
The woman reached her pocket, then let out some money and coins.
"Here", she said while handing the money to Edoise's hand. "This should be enough for one train trip to the city hall. Just make sure not to buy any cigarrates or drinks or anything else on the way."
Surprised, Edoise tried to push the money back to the woman's hand.
"Lady, please no. I've received much of your kindness already. I'll feel bad for you if you helped me any further."
The woman smiled, "Listen, Ed. As a chef, I never left a food to be half-baked after I started cooking it, nor will I left some food on the plate after I started eating it. Likewise, when I help a person, I won't leave him with just a half-hearted help. Don't think of it as a burden to me. Think of it as me upholding my life principles, okay?"
Hearing those words, Edoise then reluctantly accepted her gift.
"Don't worry!", the woman tapped his shoulder twice. "When you finally find yourself, you can repay me by visiting this shop and orders three portions. Or maybe you prefer offering yourself to the soup stock", she said while grinning.
Edoise then smiled wryly, "Em, I kinda love my life, so I think I'll prioritize gaining the money for the three portions, thanks."
"Well, glad to hear that. Then I'll be back to my work", the woman smiled, then stood up from her chair. "Oh, the name's Pomegrenade Georgia. People of Fallenray commonly know me as Lady Pom of the Season. See you later."
With that, Lady Pom left to the cooking area, and Edoise also stood up and left the shop. And so, the man called Edoise started his journey.
As the train moved along its track, I looked at the distant afternoon sky. Then, I once again took a look at the flyer. The flyer, with it's bright, pinkish background really gave an impression of a strip club advertisement. And the content in particular, written in a red color similar to lipstick only added more weirdness, despite being titled as a king's order.
"By the King's order! Compliance is the utmost priority! My dear citizen, does the tentacle in the sky catches your dear eyes? Then feel honored! Please gather at the city hall for more information. Failure to comply correctly will result in a hot embrace of divine fury "
"...Is this really how a king issues a public decree?". I sighed. Even as an amnesiac person, I understood how absurd everything is. I meant, tentacles in the sky, what kind of sighting is that? Forget about seeing one, the idea itself was blatantly impossible. No wonder people shrugged it off as a joke. Truly, a bad joke. Or at least, it should had been.
...because I saw it.
Up there in the afternoon sky, from the edge of the sun, a tentacle, or worm, or noodle, or whatever it was, was certainly wriggling on the sky, like a flag waving by the wind. No matter how may times I rubbed my eyes, or washed my face, it just wouldn't disappear. It was certainly there. And it seemed, as far as everybody's reaction went, only I can see it.
However, aside from this extraordinary sighting, what really drew me towards my goal was the fact that this was a king's order. For some reason, I felt like the king might have a clue towards my memory. Or rather, I felt like the king held another importance, like some sort of a purpose or goal for me.
"Either way, I just need to confirm things in that place", I mumbled to myself. And after I took another quick glance to the outside, I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
drifting darkness surrounds me
"..pe you can find H.."
"What ridiculous request!"
"I DEFINITELY WILL!"
I woke up frantically. Seems like it was a dream. Various voices, from whose I remembered not, echoed inside my world of dream. But as I tried to recall my dream and whatever else I might remember, an announcement saying that we've arrived at the city hall station echoed from the train's speakers. I then resolved to find the answer another time. For now, my priorities lied elsewhere.
As I got off the train, I looked around the station, then noticed the area map near the exit of the station. After taking notes, I followed the direction the map gave me to the city hall. In about 20 minutes walking from the station, I stood on a wide, blue building, with an entrance similar to a tunnel in the middle. I walked towards the entrance, and a man in a waiter suit greeted me.
"Good evening, Sir, may I help you?"
"Ah, I'm here for the King's assembly order."
"Understood. Please go ahead. The audience seat is from the right stairs. Take a seat wherever you please."
I then walked inside the building. After passing the entrance, what greeted me was a view of a wide circular field surrounded by walls. I looked up to the walls, and up on it lied seats for people, arranged in a stair-like position. Looks like the city hall is arranged like a stadium or arena then, I though. I then turned to my right, then after noticing the stairs, climbed it and walked my way into a seat on a back row.
I let out a yawn. Looks like I was still sleepy despite having much sleep in the train. There's still about an hour until the designated time, so I decided to take another nap. And so I closed my eyes, ready to drift into the dream world again—
-or not. Suddenly I heard someone yelled at me.
"Yo, man. These seats vacant for two?"
I turned to my right to see who just called me. A guy with a tanned skin, bleached hair, wearing black sleeves jacket with yellow inside grins to me. Next to him is a girl in purple clothes, with a particularly eye-catching blue four-leaf clover hairpin, holding the guy's right sleeve. She gave a concerned look to me, as if embarassed for his partner's behaviour.
"Hey, brother, we can just sit without waking that guy up, you know?"
"Non non, dear sister.", the guy responded to the girl's protest while moving his point finger left and right. "You can't sit next to someone in an open place without asking for permission. That's rude."
Erm, I think your priorities of being rude is a little off, dude. Was what I though. However, since I felt rather sleepy, I decided to be polite.
"Sure, go ahead," I replied to him while showing the chairs with my hand, along with the best smile I can pull through.
"Ok, thanks, man." The guy casually sat next to me. The girl glanced to me with a dry smile, as if apologizing for his brother, then sat on the chair next to the guy.
"Oh, and pardon me to say this, but I'm really tired. Please don't interrupt me until the meeting starts, okay?"
"Ah, sure, sure, go ahead." The guy replied with a rather loud and cheerful voice. Honestly that made me worried, but I chose to just take him by the words. And so I closed my eyes, and embraced the long trip to the dream world.
or perhaps not that long
"Yo, dude, wake up! Wake up!"
The guy shok my body to wake me up. When I opened my eyes and saw his face, I feel slightly annoyed, because while it did feel like I'd taken a decent nap, I didn't think it's already about an hour. But just to make sure, I rubbed my face and fixed my expression with a smile.