Olde Lapara Towne’s Rocky Raccoo hasn’t quite given up on the idea of moving to Collagesity, despite his cousins Racket and Sport setting him up nicely with that cabin high up in the Lapara hill country. He can work at the Grand Lapara Hotel, but doesn’t have to live in his old crawlspace area there — quite yet. Life is pretty good. Still he sometimes pops down here in the middle of the night to take a look at the apartment and ponder on the life that could have been. And there’s also the fact that winter is coming. Winter is almost here!

My name remains on the mailbox, Rocky thinks. Bookworm must not have used the town’s postal service during his stay.

There it is. The Hana Lei portal. Baker Bloch worked quite hard on all of this Grassland re-creation. Baker Blinker too.

Portal’s still warm, he says to himself after walking over and feeling the sand castle’s walls. Someone’s used it recently. He’s sees the glint of the green jewel. Hmm. Dare he?

First he decides to take a look upstairs.

I bet you this Bookworm fellow didn’t even meditate, Rocky continues. Scripted Dr. Who throw pillow and great view squandered!

But *they* can look down on him. That was a big factor in his decision not to come here, although he didn’t really express this drawback adequately to The Bakers. Kidd Tower renters could see everything that goes on. And no drapes! Although I guess I could have asked for some. Lots of things happening at once, though: loss of my market, switching jobs, switching places to stay. I didn’t have time to think all the possibilities out. The Bakers promised that I could run Collagesity’s Bodega Supermarket as well.

It’s right down there. I could see everyone that goes in and out from this perch. Advantage. I wonder if this window could be tinted black at night. Kind of a Wall of Jasper effect.

Through the opposite window, there’s a view into the 4th and last apartment in the SoSo Mall complex. The Bakers says it’s rented by a biker guy and his cybernetic lady friend. So that’s more potential spying neighbors. But at least on eye level this time. Still: pretty good view of Collagesity North and the newer part of town next to the Rubi Woods.

Rocky goes back downstairs to the table beside the dune portal and begins making a checklist. Kidd Tower neighbors can see in: negative. Winter is coming to Olde Lapara Towne: positive. 4th Apartment renters can see in at eye level and indirectly: negative, but less of one. Winter is coming: positive.

Rocky puts down the notepad, starts shaking his head. “Winter is coming,” he repeats aloud and looks over at the sand portal. “This will be the final test, then. How far it will take me; how much grass and weed I can find out there in the Great Beyond.”

He digs the owl’s head ring out of the sand in the widest castle turret and places it on the appropriate finger. One twist should do it. Right or left this time? he debates. “Let’s try counterclockwise.” He twists the ring with his body still touching the castle.

“Well this is different.”

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