They were drenched by the time they reached the coastal city/state of Port Abello. The magnificent sea faring town was renowned for its great harbor and thriving waterfront businesses. Smiles of relief grew on all three of their faces.
"Man, finally we'll have a hot meals and a roof under our heads!" Mikan cried.
"You had that when you lived with Touka," scolded Yajiro. "See what you took for granted?"
The younger girl scowled at the kenshi, then turned to Rushuna who was admiring the city with gladness in her eyes.
"I've only been here once briefly," the Smiling Senshi told them. "I was only eight at the time."
"Sorta Mikan's age, right?" murmured her male partner.
"I'm way older'n that!" she maintained.
They came to a massive bridge which spanned from the mainland over a narrow part of the bay that connected onto the island land mass which made up Port Abelllo. Two guards, bearing AR-15s, blocked their way.
"You'll need to produce identification and surrender your weapons," the older mustached one demanded.
Rushuna and Yajiro exchanged glances. "We're simple tourists," she insisted.
"Our mayor has strict rules about outsider bearing arms," the other guard warned. "You come into our city, you abide by our rules."
"Is this worth the risk?" the samurai questioned his partner.
"We'll have to give people the benefit of the doubt," she figured. "Besides, I'm positively famished, Yatchan!"
He winced when she called him that name in public. Why was his real name so hard to say?
"Rushuna Tendou?" the sentry's eyes widened in shock as he read her ID.
"Why yes," she gave him her best smile.
"Yajiro Kojima?" the other one intoned, glancing at his card. Apparently news from the capital had made it's way up the coast in a short amount of time.
"Can we skip all the red tape?" Mikan inquired. "Rushuna is Tenshi's ambassador."
The spooked watchmen welcomed them through the turnstile without confiscating their weapons.
Mayor Gelatini bristled when word of a Grenadier entering his turf arrived via carrier pigeon from the checkpoint. "Keep them outta our hair," the burly, balding man instructed his deputy, a gangly underling named Samelo.
Mikan had never seen so many boats in one place before. Even Tento's seaport didn't have half as many as she saw right now. Vessels of all shapes and sizes were docked along the great wooden pier. Each served a different purpose: houseboat, fishing craft, transport ship, pleasure yacht. Most of them had quaint names painted on their sides.
Like the previous days, the sky was overcast and the winds quite strong. A misty spray fell from the sky.
"First priority should be to find an inn," observed Yajiro. "And get some food into our stomachs."
Finding lodging proved easy as a span of hotels lined a strip overlooking the waterfront. Although pricey, they catered to the vacationer's needs. Recently, Tenshi had lined their pockets with a generous amount of money.
The first one they came to was The Albatross.
"Shall I arrange for you to share a king with your daughter?" an old concierge asked kindly.
"We're partners," explained the swordsman, blushing. "Separate rooms, please."
"Sorry, but we only have one available," he squinted at his register.
"Let's move on," he turned to the blonde.
"Yatchan, come on!" she whined. "Let's worry about assignments later."
Reluctantly, he handed over the money then took their room keys. The old man promised to send them up some dry clothes. Soon, they came to a top floor corner room with two queen beds and a balcony that provided a scenic view of the harbor.
"Ah, I'm gonna sleep for 10 hours!" Mikan sprawled on the bed nearest the door. Rushuna removed her rain soaked hat, and began to take off her dress. "Yajiro!"
"I know the drill," he muttered, turning his back. The kid could be a constant pain.
They all changed out of their clothes, then wrapped themselves in fluffy, terrycloth bathrobes that hung in the closet. A knock sounded on the door and he answered, greeting a nubile teenage girl. She wore her long reddish hair in a French braid. When her doe eyes made contact with his, her cheeks flushed.
"The clothing you requested," she hesitated.
"Thank you," he took the bundle from her.
"My name is Brandy," the girl smiled shyly. "If you need anything else, feel free to ask."
"Of course," he nodded, then handed her a gold piece.
"There's a hot buffet available downstairs," she informed them all, before walking away.
Yajiro's eyes followed her down the hall. He turned back into the room to see Mikan regarding him with a frown. Rushuna remained her cheery self.
Samelo sat in the back office with the hotel manager. "Assign some of your staff to keep on eye out on them at all times. The boss doesn't want them poking their noses around where they shouldn't."
"Yes sir," the old man shuddered.