But as they expected, there were no empty houses or even rooms for rent. They tracked down Bismuth and proposed a solution that would benefit them now and New City in the future. If the city had the lumber, the twins would build a floor into the shelter.
Bismuth replied that that was not a project the city officials had considered. The twins offered to negotiate; their parents and aunt and uncle had been harshly insistent that they learn effective strategies of negotiation. They felt confident that they could strike a satisfactory deal.
But the meeting with the city officials did not seem to go well. The city officials were stunned. Never before in their memory had young men looking for mates thought to propose anything new. Policies and decisions were what they were, and not to be changed on the whim of strangers. The answer was a resounding "No!"
The twins respectfully bowed and returned to their shelter and began packing their belongings.
Bismuth had accompanied them, expecting the chastened pair to accept their lot and pay for another day of residence. So when the two began packing up, he asked what they had in mind.
Feldspar answered as he rearranged his armor for travel.
"We are going to move on. It seems that people in New City are inflexible and overly stubborn. While there are many lovely young women here, we have no interest in courting them if they possess the same inflexibility shown by their officials."
Gypsum took up the explanation. "There are two other towns for us to visit. Perhaps Far New City also has pretty young females and a more reasonable assembly of officials, or at least a temporary residence that offers more protection form unpleasant weather." He and Feldspar exchanged glances and nods, then shouldered their packs and walked out the door.
Once outside, and in clear vision of of many citizens, they bowed to Bismuth, thanked New City for the accommodations, and turned to walk down the main street in the direction of Far New City. They did not hurry.
They did not get far. Word had apparently spread quickly that the two handsome young men were leaving without so much as an attempt to court even one of the beautiful young women. This was inconceivable!
Our heroes were accosted long before they reached the edge of town. Nearly a dozen young females, including the two that had exchanged glances with them upon their arrival, asked why the twins were leaving.
Gypsum, whose speech tended to be gentler than that of his older brother, explained the problem and their reasoning.
The young ladies, all of them, urged the tall, strong, and handsome young men to delay their decision for a short time. Perhaps the city officials could be made to see reason.
Feldspar presented a stubborn and offended attitude...much like that of the city officials. But Gypsum managed to soften his brother's attitude, and the two reluctantly agreed to give the officials some time to rethink their view. They would not, however, return to the shelter. The two shed their packs onto the ground and sat upon them.
There was a brief argument among their new escorts. No one wanted to allow others to stay with the two while the rest went to present their demands...arguments...to the rulers of the city.
The men assured them that they would wait until someone returned with news. That allowed all the petitioners to depart as a single and single-minded gang to present their grievances to the city officials.
Feldspar speculated to Gypsum that the presentation would be neither quiet or terribly polite.
Their elders had been correct. There was more than one way to negotiate.