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The Innkeeper – Chapter 185: Simple days[Bonus chapter] Bahasa Indonesia

In the haunted forest, as some of the kids from Earth had started calling it, Helen sat alone. Well, she wasn’t alone if you counted the various peacocks, pigeons and squirrels that followed her. Though they did not need to rely on her to be fed, as they did in the early days of the Inn, they continued to follow her whenever they encountered her. They had formed a friendship that none of the new or recent guests at the Inn could form.

Helen did not mind, and in fact sort of preferred the company of these simple animals these days. She wanted to change something in her life, and until she figured out what exactly that was, she would spend her time like this. Sometimes, she imagined herself to be like those cartoon princesses that all the forest creatures loved and responded to. But she was no princess, nor did she want to be one.

She was sitting on a picnic blanket, and Velma had brought her a lovely basket full of sandwiches, pastries, some drinks, as well as some things she could feed the animals. Sometimes Velma would accompany her and ask her so many questions! In those days, Helen would share some stories of her childhood and schooldays with her. Though technically Velma was still in a school going age, she hadn’t been back in a while. Velma especially loved gossip of any kind, and the more scandalous, the better. Yet, somehow, Helen felt like they had very different understandings of what constituted scandalous. The most outrageous scandal, according to Velma, that Helen had shared so far was once when their school organized a trip, but due to poor planning, left all the kids alone in a hotel unsupervised. The scandalous part, for Velma, was the abysmal service the hotel had provided to those annoying, bratty teenage kids. Today, though, Velma was too busy to join her, so Helen was back to her regular activities. Or so she had thought.

Normally, she would be playing with the animals and eating her snacks, but today her focus was on something else entirely. One of her little squirrel friends had brought her here and shown her something wonderful. It had had squirrel babies!

Unbeknownst to all, these were the first beings to be born in the Inn, and could be called true natives of this wondrous land. Helen only smiled and watched the new squirrel parents as they fussed over their babies and proudly showed them off to her. The sleeping babies were nestled in the mother’s embrace, who seemed to be gloating at all the other squirrels watching. If she didn’t know better, Helen could almost believe the other squirrels looked at her with envious looks. But she did know better, so why did she still think they were jealous?

This kind of behavior may seem unlike a normal squirrel, and though these squirrels had not yet cultivated, they were to some degree influenced by that once colossal change the Inn had undergone that had scared Bastet away. If one day they began to cultivate, they would be true prodigies. For now, they were simply proud parents that had a complex understanding of social relations between species, and knew how to make other jealous.

“You’re not chipmunks,” Helen said as she looked down on the babies fondly, “but I’ll name you Alvin, you can be Theodore and you can be Simon. When you grow up, you can sing and put on a performance for me, and I will bring you delicious food from the Inn.” Of course, no one other than her would know these names, but who cared? Helen had given names not only to these babies, but to many of the animals as well.

“Today is a day that calls for celebration. Let’s have a feast!” she summoned her personal hologram and ordered a rather extravagant order of pet food, before holding her own feast for her furry friends. She made plates out of leaves and made all the animals sit around the picnic basket before beginning. They seemed to be unusually obedient, as well as intelligent! She did not need to repeat her orders even once!

In the distance, Little Blue watched all the fun as it hid between the trees. It was too shy to approach on its own, but enjoyed watching all the fun, nonetheless. It had often seen Helen in the forest, and though she seemed nice, it still had a phobia of most humans. Secretly, in its heart, the baby whale wished Helen would discover it, and force it to join in their activities. Yet it was too good at hiding, and Helen never expected anyone to be spying on her, so its secret fantasies were left unfulfilled.

All the hubbub of the ‘tea party’ eventually woke the baby squirrels, and Alvin looked at Helen with curious eyes. It’s parents talked to it and its brothers, as if explaining that Helen was their godmother. Helen smiled at them, but did not try to touch or pick them up. As much as she trusted the animals, being protective of newborns was a very strong instinct ingrained in all living beings, and she did not want to agitate them. She just waved and took a bite from an eclair.

As unusual as it sounded, and as strange as it may seem to an outsider to view, Helen truly felt happy during these short moments. She forgot to worry about the future and forgot the troubles of her past. The expectations she had for herself slipped away, followed quickly by the weight of the expectations of others.

In a small corner of the vast universe, these simple beings enjoyed their simple happinesses. Their activities neither touched upon the destiny of worlds, nor influenced the grand scheme of things, yet in these simple moments of shared joy, they captured one of the most profound meanings of life, one that often escaped even the wisest of beings.


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