Outside of the tavern, a short, slight woman with mousey brown hair and wide dark eyes seemed to be playing tug of war with a shaggy old chestnut pony. Her hair was plaited in to a long single braid, although it still looked a bit unruly in places, and she wore a faded brown dress over a pair of well-worn mens leather trousers tucked into a pair of equally worn black boots. It wasn't fashionable attire, but it was practical and modest and that's what one needed to be if traveling to Ryuu-Tokai for the biggest market day of the year. As she pulled hard on the rope that was fastened to the pony's halter, it was unclear who was winning as the pony was very nearly sitting on his haunches and so nearly was she.
"Come... on... Bob!" The girl huffed and puffed and pulled again. "It's only your pack frame. You've worn it like... a... thousand... times! Yesterday in fact!"
The pack frame that the pony was so adamantly opposed to was a monstrosity made from of dark, aged hardwood with leather straps and metal hooks and wooden holds all over it. It was obviously created for stowing the several bags, boxes, sacks, pots, pans and other sundries that a merchant's pony would carry from town to town.
"Stop...being...so...stubborn!" The rope was taut between them and the pony was just inches away from sitting.
"Ok, ok, I'll give you a cookie!"
The pony suddenly relaxed and stepped forward and the girl suddenly found herself sitting on her backside on the ground. The animal snorted and shook his shaggy mane while he let out a soft nicker.
"No, that was not funny," the girl disagreed with him. She picked herself up, dusting off her clothing. "Now come here so I can get this frame on you, otherwise no cookie. And I mean it, Bob. We don't have time to fool around. We've got a long journey ahead and we have to do it on our own this time. I'm depending on you, and mom and Rui are depending on me. So please, Bob. Help me out here."
The pony's ears pricked up and he eagerly moved forward for her to place the frame over his back.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)