28 – Trust

You go to lock the door.   That should give you warning when Masaru comes back.  You sit cross-legged on the bed and pull the spider out of your pocket.  The emerald encrusted spider slowly unfolds itself on your pillow.   After stretching its legs, the pattern spider crawls closer to you.

“When did the headmaster ward the gate to the Restricted Section of the library?”   A line of silk falls from the stone ceiling of the dorm.   The spider swiftly ascends and disappears.   In a few seconds, it drops back down to your pillow.

“No results found.”  Hmm…  The headmaster is an Air Aspect.  It is possible that she warded the room herself.  The Headmaster must be hiding something in there!

“What is contained in the Restricted Area of the Library?”

“Fifty copies of the White Treatise.  Five Copies of …”  The Spider goes on to list various books.   Some of the books are out of print.  Others are manuals for the Immaculate Martial Arts.   Nothing else interesting besides the White Treatise.  If there is something else in the Restricted Section, then it isn’t widely known in Creation.   You’ll have to figure out a way past the wards to thoroughly search the library.

You decide to switch topics.  “What is Chiyoko hiding from me?”

“No results found.”   The Pattern Spider says on its return.

“Hmmm…. Not enough people must know.”   Something everyone in Creation can figure out, Aiko said.

You think about everything you know about Chiyoko.  Her name is Lung Chiyoko.  She is a fire aspected Dragon blooded.    Chiyoko has long fiery orange hair.   When she gracefully moves though her sword katas, her ponytail sways like a candle flickering in the breeze.

You take a deep breath to clear your head.  Chiyoko must have connections in the Shogunate to attend this school.  Her cousin’s name is Hui Aiko.   Chiyoko’s aunt died while on a Solar Wyld Hunt.

“Tell me about the Wyld Hunt that Chiyoko’s Aunt was on when she died.”

The spider returns with the following information.  “Three of Lung Chiyoko’s Aunts have died while on Wyld Hunt.   In what order would you like the records?”

“The most recent one only.”   Masaru would be back soon and you didn’t want him to catch you talking to your Pattern Spider.

“Four years ago, Jasara Qureshi exalted as a Solar of the Night Caste twenty nine miles outside of An-Teng.   Two Scales, under the command of Lung Saki, were ordered by the Shogun to track down the Solar.  After three weeks of searching the Wyld Hunt managed to locate and execute Qureshi.  Two Fangs of Dragonblooded were slain over the course of the Wyld Hunt, including Lung Saki.   Would you like to know more details or continue on to the next record?”

“How did Lung Saki die?”  Maybe her aunt’s death was important.

“She was assassinated in her tent.  Would you like to know more details?”

“No.   How many of Chiyoko’s family members have gone on Wyld Hunt?”  Perhaps a member of her family took down an infamous Anathema or were involved with a famous Fair Folk battle.
“Since the founding of the Lung Gent 487 years ago, 1358 members of the Lung Gent have been on Wyld Hunt.  56 of them have been extended family of Lung Chiyoko. ”  That… was a large number of people from Chiyoko’s gent.

“Whoa.   Why do so many members of Chiyoko’s family go on Wyld Hunt?”

“Shogun Lung Daiki declared that each of member of the Lung Gent will….”

“Wait….” You interrupt.  “Shogun Lung Daiki.”  Chiyoko couldn’t be related to the Shogun.   The current Shogun is….

What was the name of the current Shogun?

You search your memory for the name, but couldn’t remember.   But you are certain you knew the name at one point.  No wonder Aiko thinks you are stupid.   How could you not know the name of the Shogun?

The Shogun specifically requested you, you remember Elder Kejak telling Sasha.  You shake your head and continue to quiz the Pattern Spider.

“Who is the current Shogun?  And how is Chiyoko related to the Shogun?”

“Lung Haruka is current Shogun.  Lung Chiyoko is her second youngest granddaughter.”

Maidens!   Chiyoko is the Shogun’s granddaughter.  She must think you are such an idiot for not realizing this!   You groan and hide your head under your pillow.  How could you be so stupid?  You hear Masaru at the door.  Your spider crawls under the pillow with you and pokes your forehead with its leg.   You open your eyes and see a faint green glow.  Shit.  You must have asked too many questions.

Masaru unlocks the door and walks into the room.   “Hey!  It’s almost time for class.   Last day of class before rest day!”   He says cheerfully as he puts his toiletries away.   Masaru walks over to your bed.   “Are you okay?  Why are you hiding under the pillow?”

“I’m fine.  Go on to class without me.”

“Um…. Yeah.   I’m not leaving you here to hide under a pillow.  Is something wrong?”

You decide to tell him the truth.  At least some of it.   “I know about Chiyoko.”

“Shit!  I was hoping you wouldn’t find out.  Who told you?”  The Water Aspect sounds distressed that you found out Chiyoko’s secret.

“Does it matter?   Why did you tell me?!”  You voice sounds muffled under the pillow.

“It’s awkward to talk about.   But you know how it is, Svante.  It’s not like we get a choice on who we get betrothed to.”

“Betrothed?”  You start to lift your head towards Masaru but then realize that would reveal your caste mark.  You quickly put your head back down.

“What’s that green glow?”  Shit!  He must have seen the light from the mark.

“What green glow?”  Playing stupid might work, considering how stupid you have been recently.

“Are you hiding something under your pillow?”  Masaru starts tugging at your pillow.

“No!”   You grip the pillow tightly.  “Go away!”

“Come on!   I want to see!  I won’t tell anyone!”  Masaru almost rips the pillow out of your hands, but you hold on tight.   “You can’t hide under a pillow all day!”

“Yes, I can!  Leave me alone!”  You kick at the Water Aspect to keep him away.

Masaru easily dodges your kick.  He lets go of the pillow and sits on the edge of your bed.   “Dragons! I’ll leave you alone.  “  Masaru sighs.   “Chiyoko and I are betrothed.   It’s a political match.  Her grandmother is the Shogun.   My father is the Admiral of the Western Fleet.  All my other brothers are already married or spoken for.  And Chiyoko and I are about the same age, so I guess it works out.”  Masaru sounds about as excited to marry Chiyoko as he was to receive the The Adventures of the Immaculate Dragons in the mail last week.

“You don’t want to marry Chiyoko?”  You are surprised by this.  Who wouldn’t want to marry Chiyoko?

“Chiyoko is nice, but…  I don’t know.  It’s awkward.”   Masaru repositions himself on the bed.   “It’s good finally being able to tell you.   Chiyoko didn’t want you to know.   I don’t like keep secrets from circle mates.”

You clinch your pillow tighter over your Chosen of Secrets caste mark.   “Aiko is keeping secrets.   She had me break into the restricted area to steal a book.”

“Really?   When?”

“Last night.”

“Wait.  You went wandering around the school again after hours.   And you brought Aiko instead of me?   Dick move, Svante.”

“She didn’t give me any choice!  She…”   You stop.   Perhaps now is not a good time to reveal Aiko’s doubts about your dragon blooded status.

“She what?”

“Never mind.”

“You guys coming to class!”  You hear Aiko’s voice from outside the door.

“Tell her to go away!”  You hiss.

Masaru gets up from the bed. “Give us a minute!  We’ll meet you in the class room.”   He flips the lock on the door and sits back down on your bed.

“So, are you going to come out from under the pillow?  Or are we going to be late for class?”

“You go on.  I’ll wait here.”  There is no way you can wait for your caste mark to fade and make it to class on time.

“You do remember that if one of us gets in trouble, we all get in trouble.”

“Tell that to Aiko.  She ditched me in the library when Chuzei came to investigate.”

Masaru shifts on the bed.   “I know Aiko can be…”

“A bitch?”

“I was looking for a more diplomatic word.  She’s my fiancé’s cousin, remember.”  You are silent as you wait for Masaru to continue.    “Fine.  We’ll go with bitch.  Aiko can be a bitch, but when you stood up to those bastards with the goat…..  She was right behind you, just like the rest of us. “

Masaru continues.  “I don’t know what is going on, but we are all keeping secrets from each other.   Chiyoko and I about our betrothal.  You about those artifacts you keep hidden in the wall.   Aiko about who knows what.  ”

“Wait.  You know about my hidey hole?”  You must be the worse Sidereal ever.

“I’m a Water Aspect.  I know about all the hidey holes in this room.   I keep my Green Blaze Manga under a loose floorboard next to my bed.  Anyways, all these secrets can’t be good for our circle.   You know everything I was keeping secret now.”   Masaru leans closer to the pillow.    “I’m just asking you to trust me.”

You continue to hide under your pillow.   You still have a while before your caste sign completely fades.

“I do trust you, Masaru.  But there are some things I am not allowed to tell you.”  You hear Masaru sigh in disappointment.

“I wish I could tell you,” you quickly add.   “but I can’t.   I know I haven’t done anything to earn it, but I need you to trust me.”  A hollow sensation grows in the pit of your stomach.  You feel like you are betraying the dragonblood.   Masaru is a good guy, but you can’t compromise your cover.

An eternity passes before Masaru speaks.  “All right.   I trust you.”

“Thank you.”  You are relieved, but the sense of guilt does not fade.  Both Headmaster Raijin and Chuzei Enki know about Sidereals.  Perhaps one day you can tell Masaru the full truth.

“Um…  You dropped your spider figurine.”  Masaru slides your now lifeless pattern spider under your pillow.  It must have fallen off the bed during the struggle for the pillow.

“Thanks.”

“You aren’t going to tell anyone about my Green Blaze Manga?”  You’ve never seen a copy of Green Blaze, but you have heard about it.  Green Blaze was an adult manga involving sex, demons, and all sort of interesting things adults didn’t want kids to read about.

“No.  I’m not a tattle tale.  You aren’t going to tell anyone about my hidey hole or my artifacts?”   You need to be more careful if Masaru was able to find your hiding place.

“Of course not.”  Masaru gets up from the bed.   “I’m going to head to class.   If you need me to talk to Aiko, let me know. “

“All right.”  You hear Masaru leave the room.   He locks the door behind him.

You sigh and come out from under the pillow.  You look at yourself in the mirror, caste mark glittering on your brow.

“What the fuck am I doing?”   You bang your head against the bed in frustration.  Missions were harder than you thought.

“No Results Found.”  The Pattern Spider responds.

“No one was talking to you, Spider!”  The spider curls into a little ball, when you yell at it.

After class, you follow Aiko as she heads to the library.  You watch her as she collects a stool and goes to the shelf where she left the books.   She searches for them and her face grows anxious when she doesn’t find the books.

“They aren’t there.” You say, as you lean against the shelf.

“Did Headmaster Raijin find them?”

“I have them.”  One copy of the White Treatise was hiding in your book bag.

“Good.”  Aiko looks relieved.   “We can go back to your dorm…”

“No.”  You cross your arms.   “You left me here in the library.   Dragons, you probably had no intention of letting me have a copy of the book in the first place.”

“I was going to give you your copy.”  Aiko doesn’t met your gaze.   “I panicked.   I shouldn’t have left you behind.”

“That is total shit.   You didn’t look panicked to me.”   Aiko looked calm and collected as she abandoned you, hide the books, and crawled out of the library window.

She steps down from the stool and confronts you.   “Where did you go?   I was tracking you in the library and then you disappeared.   It was like you weren’t in the library anymore.  But you were still there.   You saw me hid the books.   There is no way you are powerful enough to wear the Dragon’s Shroud.   What are you?“

You ignore Aiko’s question.  “Maybe you just suck at tracking.”

“Fine.  Keep your secrets. ” Aiko sounds frustrated.  “I’m sorry I left you in the stupid library.  Can we go get the book now? ”

“Why do you want the book?”

“Why do you want the book?” she repeats.   “What else is the White Treatise used for?  We both are going to use them to learn Sorcery.“

“Aren’t there schools for that?”

“Yes, but you can’t go to them until you are sixteen.” Aiko smirks.  “You would know that if you were actually Dragon blooded.”

You roll your eyes at Aiko’s jab.  “Why should I give you the book?”

“I’ll tell you what Chiyoko is hiding from you.”

“I know Chiyoko is the Shogun’s granddaughter.”

Aiko frowns.  “That isn’t the only thing Chiyoko is hiding.   Masaru….”

“…is engaged to marry Chiyoko.   Already know that too.”  You can’t help but smirk at the girl’s surprise.  “I’m good at finding out secrets.”

“Shit.  Your stupidity was an act.   You aren’t going to give me the book.”  Aiko turns around to leave.

“I didn’t say that. ”   The Earth Aspect did help you get the White Treatise in the first place.   And you don’t really have room for in your hidey hole for two copies of the book.

Aiko spins back around.  “So what do you want?”

What do you want from Aiko?

  • “I want to know why you believe that I am not Dragon blooded?”   Use Thought Swiping Technique on Aiko.
  • “I want you go around the school looking for strange wards.”   As a Dragon blood, Aiko won’t set off the Sidereal wards.
  • “Does Chiyoko actually like Masaru?”
  • Other

(( OOC:  This post is really long.  I wanted to work the Masaru scene in the last post, but ran out of time.   ))

(( I am very tempted to personify the pattern spider.   Maybe it will grow more of a personality the longer the spider stays with Svante.   I don’t see Svante wanting to dismiss this spider just to have to throw up another one.  I imagine the first time wasn’t too pleasant.     ))

((I used a population estimate to figure out how many people were in the Lung Gent.   I hope my numbers sound alright.  ))

((Is there a way besides Emerald counterspell to get around wards?  ))

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