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Chapter 8: Town of Trash

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The closer and closer we got to Jora, the worse the smell of the air was getting.

"Ugh, why does the air smell so bad?" Kyra asked, holding her clothing up to her face to block the smell. We were all doing it, except Stan, who, as usual, didn't seem bothered by it. When I asked him about that, he said,

"Oh, I abe somfin' I shouldn' 'ave back in Iora. Now my nose is all clogged, but I can sill fyb!" I gave a confused nod at him as we entered the town of Jora. We knocked on Jora's door and heard him say to come in. As we walked in, we saw the house was a mess! Food, clothes, and whatever you could think of were everywhere! It actually smelled worse in here than outside.

"I'm... gonna go wait outside," Jennifer said, leaving.

"Me too," said Chris, Sobie, Helen, Kyra, and me.

"Wussies," Stan said. He walked over to Jora. "Lisun, you. Why is your pace a pigsy? Ib smells worse in here dan ib does oub dere! Dis isn'b healby libin', ya know!" All Jora did was laugh.

"Well, that was amusing," he laughed. "I don't really mind the smell, nose plug. It keeps enemies away and I just don't feel like cleaning it. You want to?"

"Heb, no! I'm no cleeber! Jusp bell us where da Gem is?"

"I don't know," Jora answered. "Lost that thing years ago!"

"You did what?" Andrew yelled out. "If anyone gets their hands on it, who knows what'll..."

"I know it's still in the house," Jora interrupted. "I just don't know where. So Exitilus doesn't get his hands on one Gem. Big deal."

"Ib is a big deal!" Stan yelled.

"Stan, I suggest you don't say anything until you feel better," Andrew said.

"Why don't you use a Gem to find it?" Jora asked. "You should have, like, seven of them, right?"

"Eight," Andrew answered. "And we were told to use them just to warp to the towns we've been to."

"Well, that's limited, isn't it?" Jora said. "The most powerful objects in the world are in your hands and all you can do is warp?" There was a long pause. "Tell you what, if you find it, you can have it."

"...Very well," Andrew and Stan walked outside. "Hey guys, come on in here. We need your help."


We all walked inside to see what we had to work with. Helen went to the store and brought back several cans of air freshener, some brooms and dust pans, window cleaner, and aprons and gloves. We each split into different parts of the house: Chris and I took the bedroom, Stan and Sobie took the bathroom, Jennifer and Helen took the kitchen, Andrew and Kyra took the living room.

"You know, you could help us," Andrew told Jora. "It is your house after all."

"Yeah, but that would mean that I have to get up," Jora said sliding into a more comfortable position on his chair. Andrew was ready to hit Jora with the broom, but Kyra grabbed his arm.

"If he wants to be a bum, let him be a bum," she whispered. "We're just here to look for the Gem,"

Andrew calmed down and started working with Kyra. We all worked hard over the course of the day, scrubbing grime off the walls; moving trash out to the nearby junkyard, which is what was causing the awful smell across town. We started around eight in the morning and by four in the afternoon, Helen finally goes,

"I found it! I found the Gem!" She reached over to pick it up, but before she could, it started rumbling. The Gem started pulling things together, which included Helen, and formed a giant robotic monster formed from trash.

"Ib's never going bo be easy, is ib?" Stan asked. The monster grew to be so big that it ended up breaking through the house. In order for it to move around, it took the rest of the roof off. This entire time, Helen was screaming at the top of her lungs, "Help me! Stephan! Andrew!" Eventually, enough trash came together that we couldn't see or hear Helen anymore.

"Well, I'm out of here!" Jora yelled. He got up and ran away.

"Now he gets up," Andrew said. "That big, fat..."

"Andrew!" Kyra yelled. "It's headed for the junkyard!" The already large monster took enormous steps to get to the junkyard, but when it reaches it, it would become even bigger. Stan readied his Fire Wand and I did the same with my Lightning Wand, but Andrew made us put it down.

"No Wands!" he yelled. "We might hurt Helen that way! Aim for its feet!" Me and Stan rushed in to reach the monster's feet and sliced! The monster slowed a bit but quickly reconstructed his legs and continued. We would have to keep slicing at it until we could get to the Gem. Stan and I continued attacking one leg as Andrew and Kyra worked on the other. Chris and Jennifer shot as many projectiles at the creature's head as they could and Sobie rushed to higher ground to jump and swung at the creature's mid-segment. The creature fell apart and landed on the rest of Jora's house, causing a big thud upon landing. It tried to gather its legs back together, but we continued to prevent that. I jumped onto its chest and tried to pry it open with my sword. When the hole was big enough, I reached in and felt around until I found the Gem. I yanked it out and the creature started shaking and collapsed. Helen was still inside the pile of trash and we spent the next few minutes trying to get her out. When we found her, she was still alive, but nearly suffocated from the trash. We brought her to the Inn and found Jora there.

"So this is where you're hiding?" Andrew said. "Make us clean us your house and then you leave in the middle of a crisis?"

"I'm no fighter," Jora said. "...Is she all right?"

"Yeah," I said, holding Helen. "She just needs to rest. Got a room open?"

"Yes, there's one upstairs," the innkeeper replied. "Just the girl, right? That'll be 5 Sers."

"Here," Andrew gave the innkeeper the money. "Take her upstairs." Andrew and I carried her upstairs and sat her on the bed in the open room. I stayed up there with her and Andrew went back downstairs, taking the Jora Gem with him. He directed everyone outside to where Jora's house used to be.

"Though you may be a bum, Jora," Andrew said putting an emphasis on the word bum. "We can't just leave you without a house." Andrew held up the Gem and Jora's house slowly came back together. "There, exactly the way it was."

"Exactly the way it was?" Jora asked. "No robot butler, no food replicator?"

"There is one difference: It's completely clean. I expect you to keep it that way."

"Who are you, my father? I'm over a thousand years older than you!"

"Doesn'b mean you canb learn somefing new," Stan said.

"Here are the brooms and cleaners Helen bought," Jennifer said handing them to Jora. "Put them to good use." They all headed back to the inn, leaving a confused and stunned Jora outside his house. When he tried to enter it, though, it was locked.

"Oh, come on, kid!" he yelled. Then he looked at the broom and saw the key dangling from it. He used it to walk into his house and looked at the floor. "So that's what the floor looks like. It's a nice color." He walked over to his couch, sat down, and looked around. "It smells much better in here now. Maybe I should try to keep it like this. Eh, maybe after dinner... which means I have to get up again. ...This is gonna take some time to get use to."

Back at the inn, we paid the innkeeper for the rest of us to spend the night. That night, I decided to ask Andrew something,

"Andrew?" He rolled over to look at me with a tired grunt.

"What's up?"

"I was wondering what you knew about my parents,"

"Why?"

"Back in Iora, when I used the Lightning Wand to defeat the electric eel, I had a dream or something. I was in a large building and I saw someone in the elevator. I couldn't quite tell who he was but I think he was my dad." Andrew just let out a grunt. "And you said you saw someone bring me to Fora when we were talking in Hora. I just want to know what you do."

"I don't know much," he said. "I didn't actually see the person that brought you to Fora. I was in my house at the time. But I heard about some sort of accident the day before. I don't remember what the accident was, but many people died it in." I almost started crying when he said that.

"Was it a burning building?" I asked. "Because that's what happened afterward in my dream."

"...I think so. Listen, Stephan, I can assure you that they were good people. Their first intention must've been for you to get out. I'm sure they wanted you safe." I nodded. "Now, go to sleep. We're headed to Lora tomorrow." Andrew closed his eyes and remained silent the rest of the night. As I was falling asleep, I kept thinking about what had happened, where that building was, and what kind of people my parents were.

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