Handy Snack

“… and take Thumper with you,” Chef Salty said. “He never gets to go out,” The grizzly, greying cook tacked on a final instruction to the list of errands. Rook shifted on her hips and crossed her arms.

“Why am I doing this again?” she asked. The young woman made no attempt to hide the displeasure in her voice.

“Because I can’t leave my Earth and do it myself?” Rook rolled her bright yellow eyes upward.

“I know why you can’t go, idiot. I meant why am I going? You’ve got a whole guild of people waiting to serve the Violet Princess,” Rook gestured in the general direction of the barracks.

“This expensive adventure is your fault,” Chef Salty said. He pushed a finger into Rook’s shoulder. She lowered her eyes to the ground.

“Sorry,” she mumbled. “How am I gonna know that she doesn’t have Lunchables on her Earth?”

“Now you know why the first rule of Violet guild is, ‘don’t talk about your Earth.'” Salty smiled. A sudden ruckus came from the kitchen entrance. Rook and Salty turned to see Thumper on the floor. The chubby nine-year-old boy scrambled to collect the silverware he spilled.

“Sorry!” he yelled without looking up. Rook ignored the boy to talk to Salty.

“Since I’ve got a tag-along, give me some extra.” Rook grinned at the old chef. “I’ll make sure he has fun.”

“Funny you should mention that…,” Salty lifted his hand for Rook. She took the hint and held her hand out with the palm facing up. “I did say this was an expensive trip.” He placed two half-inch golden, glowing cubes in Rook’s hand. “It’s your fault, so you’re expected to a majority of the expense.” Rook glared down at the two cubes, then at Salty.

“That’s it? This is barely enough to get me there! How am I going to get back?” Salty shrugged.

“This isn’t an errand the guild is asking you to run; you’re cleaning up your own mess. That means you use your own resources that we both know you have.”

“I can pay!” Thumper appeared between the two with both tiny hands full of golden cubes. Salty raised an eyebrow at Rook. She sighed.

“Save your money kid,” Rook said. She pushed the boy’s hands away, then reached into her jeans. She pulled out a pitch black business card and threw it at the wall. A black portal appeared on the wall then seconds later a pair of young women walked out of the hole.

“Taxi?” the woman with short dark hair asked. Rook nodded. “Cool,” she said then turned to face the hole in the wall. The woman dipped her hand in the hole and it began to shrink. She pulled the black into her hand like a fountain pen collects ink. When the hole disappeared she gave the black business card back to Rook. “Where to?” she asked.

“I gotta visit a grocery store on my Earth,” Rook said. She extended a hand. “I’m Rook,” The woman shook Rook’s hand.

“I’m LlinnnnaaaOO WAY! ROOK?” Llina looked around the castle’s kitchen. “This is the Magi-Knights’ guild hall?” Rook gave her a slight smile and nodded.

“CAN WE GET A PICTURE WITH YOU?!” the red-headed woman appeared beside Llina and yelled the question at Rook.

“Serena! Don’t be rude!” Llina reprimanded her friend, then turned to Rook. “But since she already asked…,” she grinned. “Can we please? OH! Your ride is totally free. Round trip.”  

“Yeah c’mon.” Rook stood up straighter and posed. First with an arm around Llina while Serena took the picture, then the girls swapped places.

“Alright, one grocery store coming up,” Llina wiggled her fingers at the air and formed a pitch black portal.

“What’re you getting on your Earth that you can’t get here?” Serena asked. Rook looked at Salty, but the old man shrugged.

“They’re not in the guild,” he said.

“Lunchables,” Rook said. “The princess has a craving,” she sighed. Llina and Serena looked at each other and communicated with nods and shrugs. Then Llina slipped her grey backpack off her back and pulled out a bright yellow box.

“These?” she handed the box to Rook. “Or are they different on your Earth?” Rook smiled at the “Ham & Swiss” label and nodded.

“This is great!” She tossed the box at Salty. “Mission accomplished,” she said.

“Oh. Does that mean you don’t have to go anywhere?” Llina asked.

“Ooooor does it mean you don’t have to be anywhere?” Serena smiled. Rook laughed and slapped Serena on the back.

“Yeah. I got nowhere to be, so where are we going?”

“MY DAD!” Llina shouted. “Sorry. He’ll kill me if he doesn’t get to meet you though, he’s a big fan.”

“Sounds good, let’s go.” Rook nodded. Llina dismissed the portal with a wave of her hand, then she wiggled her fingers to open a new one.

“He’s gonna flip!” Llina dashed into the black hole followed by Serena. Rook moved to step in, but Llina poked her head out. “Hang on a sec, he’s probably going to want to change and clean up  a bit.” Then her head disappeared into the hole again.

Another ruckus drew Rook’s attention to the door. Thumper was on the floor picking up the silverware, though this time he was facing out the doorway.

“Don’t go too far, we’re going through in a bit.” Rook said. Thumper’s head whipped around with wide eyes.

“Really??” he asked. Rook nodded.

“Yeah, kid. Looks like we got wheels now. Where do you want to go?” she asked.

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