We trudged back through the Bastok city gates in the early evening - just about supper time, actually. My stomach made me acutely aware of this last fact.
"I'll go and sell these," said Garrick, hoisting our collection of lizard skins in a worn leather sack. "I think these usually sell pretty quickly, so maybe we'll see our gil tomorrow." He began walking toward the auction house.
"I need to get something to eat," I said with a nod. "I'm going to head home for a bit. You'll come find me when Garrick has our gil?"
"Yup," came the response from Kuto-Lulu, punctuated as always with a giggle. "And if nothing else works, we can always meet at the Bat's Lair for some food and drink."
"That doesn't sound too bad, actually," I replied with a grin. "My mouth is watering just thinking about those hot, fresh bretzels." I considered for a moment, then added, "Actually, why don't we just plan on meeting there? Maybe tomorrow morning?"
"Sounds good," the Taru replied. "I'll let Garrick know." He dashed off in the direction of the auction house, following after the large man.
I made my way through the residential area of Bastok, and finally to my front door.
"Moguri," I called, opening the front door, "I'm back." I shrugged my pack off my shoulder, hanging it on one of the pegs by the front door.
"Good evening, mast-Aspen," came the reply as the Moguri came flitting into view. "How was your lizard hunting, kupo?"
"Not bad," I said with a nod. "We were able to skin twenty four lizards. Garrick is off selling them right now." I looked around at the sparse living area, and added, "Once we get paid, we'll have to buy some furniture."
"After re-stocking the pantry," piped in Moguri, fluttering closer to me. "Our supplies are running a little bit low," he added with a mournful expression on his feline-like face. "Do you want some dinner? We have some rice and vegetables..." He trailed off, waiting expectantly.
"Sounds good," I replied with a smile. "Hunting up lizards is hungry work," I added with a chuckle. I sat in front of the fireplace, happy to be able to relax for a bit.
I must have dozed for few moments, because I awoke to Moguri hovering by my side, a steaming bowl cradled in his paws.
"Here you go, kupo!" he proclaimed, passing the bowl over to me. Inside was a bed of white rice, with several steamed vegetables sitting on top, drizzled over with a bit of some sauce. It smelled great, especially after the long afternoon on the trail.
"Thank you," I said, nodding my head to Moguri before starting to eat. The dish was nice, but a bit more flavor would have been nice. "After I get paid, we'll make sure you always have a full pantry," I said, nodding once again to Moguri. "This dish would have been perfect with a little more spice and some meat."
"I know, kupo!" replied Moguri, hovering near my elbow. "You give me the gil, and I'll make you the most perfect meal, Aspen!" He was fluttering even more rapidly in his excitement.
"Deal," I replied with a chuckle. I finished eating, and handed the bowl off to Moguri. "I think I'm staying in for the evening, but I should get my share of the gil tomorrow. And I might be meeting with a someone who will train me in magic."
I stayed up for a couple more hours with Moguri, just talking. He was actually very interested in the lizard hunting trip, presumably because he didn't get to go outside the city much.
"So Kuto-Lulu killed the Quadav with a Ki focus?" asked Moguri. "That's a useful skill to have. One of my old masters was a monk, and he was still training to use his Ki strike. It can take a long time to master."
"I imagine so," I said, remembering the white aura and devastating impact of Kuto-Lulu's fists. "That Quadav certainly noticed the years of training, just before he crumpled to the ground in pain." I chuckled, and stood up, stretching my back in front of the fire.
"Anything I can get you, Aspen?" inquired Moguri, hovering near my left elbow.
"I think I'm going to head to bed. Tomorrow I'm meeting up to see if we get paid for our skins, and talking to Garrick about his friend that can train me."
"I'll do a bit of housework for you, then," replied the Moogle as he nodded to me. "Leave that tunic where I can find it. It needs a good wash and probably some stitching." His feline nose wrinkled as he spoke, eliciting another chuckle from me.
"I will," I said, walking toward the bed. "Have a good night, Moguri."
"You too," he replied, flitting around the room, probably making some mental checklist.
I got ready for bed quickly, and slipped under the light covers. Relaxing my body as sleep took hold, I managed one last thought:
'It's good to be home.'