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  1. -[ 22:45.03 ]- -( @Nephene ): Summer 12, early morning. Early enough for the sun to just barely peek above the treetops of the Alizarin Forest.
  2. -[ 22:46.18 ]- -( @Nephene ): Neph is sitting behind the counter, with the bar not even officially closed, as she hadn't flipped the sign on the door. The chairs are still in a bit of disarray, with some dishes left unwashed.
  3. -[ 22:48.16 ]- -( @Nephene ): A single glass, reddened with the Blood Cherrim flavoring, has sat on the counter untouched. Currently, she's wrapped herself in a blanket, nursing a cup of hot chocolate, with a barely used pillow and a Torchic plushie sitting nearby.
  4. -[ 22:49.16 ]- -( @Nephene ): She's flipping through her notepad, filled with scribbles, speculations, and thoughts on love. She's never mentioned once in it.
  5. -[ 22:51.05 ]- -( @Nephene ): Not particularly saddened by the circumstances, she simply collects her thoughts on how she got here to begin with.
  6. -[ 22:52.05 ]- -( @Nephene ): Her father always insisted on trying out new things, and pushed a similar outlook on life onto his daughter. He didn't become a Ranger until well after he met Mom, he'd remind her.
  7. -[ 22:52.09 ]- -( @Nephene ): Martial arts here.
  8. -[ 22:52.26 ]- -( @Nephene ): Trying a bit of fishing there.
  9. -[ 22:52.31 ]- -( @Nephene ): Textile work, perhaps?
  10. -[ 22:52.50 ]- -( @Nephene ): Maybe she'd try out her father's work, she eventually decided.
  11. -[ 22:54.15 ]- -( @Nephene ): For a couple of years, she did just that. She remembered the unique sights, the quiet voice of the wind, and just having a lot of -time-.
  12. -[ 22:55.17 ]- -( @Nephene ): It was nice, just having a bit of time to think about her future, about her dreams, about what she wanted to do.
  13. -[ 22:55.30 ]- -( @Nephene ): She drops a marshmallow into the still-steaming cup of hot chocolate.
  14. -[ 22:56.09 ]- -( @Nephene ): Four years ago, those times ended.
  15. -[ 22:56.48 ]- -( @Nephene ): Her father was out of work due to a crippling leg injury, and her mother couldn't take care of him and the inn simultaneously.
  16. -[ 22:57.32 ]- -( @Nephene ): She chose to take care of her husband, and in so doing, made Nephene's life choice for her in turn. She was to be an innkeeper, despite not knowing the first thing about it.
  17. -[ 22:58.30 ]- -( @Nephene ): Her boyfriend at the time left for the city, regretfully having found a great opportunity there.
  18. -[ 22:58.51 ]- -( @Nephene ): How would things have changed if she went along?
  19. -[ 22:59.09 ]- -( @Nephene ): The family would struggle. She had to stay, and give up her own dreams.
  20. -[ 22:59.50 ]- -( @Nephene ): They were gone for now, travelling. Perhaps they deserved a break.
  21. -[ 23:01.16 ]- -( @Nephene ): Ever since she inherited the responsibilities of the Lazing Slaking, her mother told her to look out for the one for her - something that was difficult to do, considering she was rooted to the town.
  22. -[ 23:01.26 ]- -( @Nephene ): Ease the burden.
  23. -[ 23:01.36 ]- -( @Nephene ): Selfish, perhaps.
  24. -[ 23:03.20 ]- -( @Nephene ): But Neph was quickly reaching the age where her mother was pregnant with her first child, and had nothing to show for it - she hadn't left home, and she only ever did what her parents told her to do.
  25. -[ 23:04.19 ]- -( @Nephene ): With some bitterness, she sets the cup aside, and rests her head on the pillow. The inn probably wouldn't open today, despite what any sign said. She needed her old time back, even if it was just a few hours.
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