30 – The Beach

You fidget with the knob of the kitchen cabinet you are leaning against.   You don’t want to tattle on Aiko, but Wanahton is one of the few friends you have that you can be completely honest with.   It wasn’t until recently you realized how rare someone like that was for a Sidereal.   Though Aiko did help you inventory the wards as she promised, you still don’t really trust her.  Who knows what Aiko will do with the White Treatise?

“Hui Aiko, the Earth Aspect in my circle, blackmailed me into helping her steal a copy of the White Treatise from the Restricted Area of the school library.”

“She blackmailed you….”  Wanahton taps his pipe in his hand.

“She is the one that suspect that I’m not a Dragon blood.”

“Giving into her blackmail proved to her that you have something to hide.”  Wanahton shrugs.   “What is done is done.  Tell me about the White Treatise.  What can the girl do with it?”

“I don’t know.   I’ve never read it.”   You admit to Wanahton.   “I know you have to be initiated into the Terrestrial Circle of Sorcery to even cast any spells, much less summon demons. “

“The school wouldn’t bother to lock up the books unless there was something dangerous in it.”   Wanahton notes.

“When Aiko got her copy, I got one too.  I’ll read the book and figure out what she can do with it.”   You offer.   “What are you planning on doing tomorrow?  It is a rest day, so I am free to help with anything.”

“I thought you were going to the beach with your orange haired girl.  “

“What!? She’s not my girl.”  First Aiko and now Wanahton.   Are you really that obvious?  “I shouldn’t be wasting time at the beach.  The mission comes first.  “

“We have been working non-stop for the past month.  You are young.  Enjoy yourself.  Go to the beach.  Buy your girl one of those icy fruit cups.  “

“She’s not my girl.” You insist again.  You slam your head against the cabinet.  “She is engaged to Masaru.   And according to Aiko, there is some other boy she likes.   I haven’t figured out who that is yet. “

Wanahton waves off the topic of marriage as unimportant.  “That is a long way off for a twelve year old.  It is obvious you are the one that Chiyoko is interested in. “

“What?!”  You are speechless.  Chiyoko is pretty and graceful and the Shogun’s granddaughter.  You are just some nobody.  What would she see in someone like you?

Wanahton chuckles.   “I forget how young you are sometimes.  Come, let’s go outside.”  You follow the tall bronze man out the back door.   He leans against a wall and lights his pipe.   Wanahton puffs on his pipe, eyes closed.

“Who does Chiyoko sit next to all the time at lunch?” Wanahton asks.

You try to remember.  “I don’t know.  I really can’t see who sits on the other side of her.”

Wanahton snorts.  “That is because Chiyoko always sits next to you.   Or you sit next to her.   It really depends on who sits down first.”

You still have your doubts.   “What if you are wrong?   She’ll think I am an idiot!”

“Svante, let me give you advice on women.   Always take a chance.   She might say no.   But if you never ask, the answer will always be no.”

“But if I never ask, then how can she give me any answer, much less a no.   And what question am I asking anyways?”

“This is why I always had Nalani talk to the children about romance.”  Wanahton mutters.  He thinks for a moment, smoking his pipe.   “Ask her if she wants to go get a fruit cup.”
It can’t be that easy.   “What if she doesn’t like fruit cups?”

“Then figure out what she likes and ask her if she’d like one of those!  You are a smart boy.   You’ll figure it out. ” Wanahton taps the tobacco ash out of his pipe.

“But…”

“Good night, Svante.”  Wanahton saunters off, leaving you in the dark courtyard.

Back in your dorm room, you lay on the bed and idly flipping through the White Treatise.   Chiyoko might like you.   You flit between elation and terror as you consider what exactly you might say to her.

“Would you like to go get a fruit cup?”  You ask a sketch of a Neomah silently.   That question sounds… lame.   You can come up with something better than that.   You wish you could ask Akachi what to do.   He’s been a Chosen of Venus for over four thousand years, surely he would know the right thing to say to Chiyoko.   Does Chiyoko even like Fruit Cups?

“Spider,” you whisper, trying not to wake Masaru.   “Does Chiyoko like Icy Fruit Cups?”

“Lung Chiyoko likes Icy Fruit Cups…. and Tiger Lilies.”  the Pattern Spider murmurs into your ear.

Tiger Lilies?   Well girls do like flowers.   “Thanks, Spider.”   You flip back towards the beginning of the book when you come upon an illustration of an Erymanthoi.

The Blood Ape.    You stop and force yourself to read the passage.   The scar on your leg itches fiercely, but you control the urge to scratch.   Your hand shakes a bit when you turn to the next page.   You close the book and slide it under your pillow.  That is enough reading for tonight.

“I don’t know why we bother to come to the beach,” Aiko complains.   “It’s not like it is safe to go into the water with all the stupid water aspects around.”  You hear a lifeguard blowing her whistle at a group of blue-haired teenagers in the water with their animas flared.    She points at the sign depicting a crossed out figure with.

“What did you say? “  Masaru asks. He was looking wistfully at the rowdy group in the water.

You help Chiyoko lay out the blanket you brought from your dorm.    As you do, you noticed Wanahton in his trader destiny walk by.   The man unfolds his chair not far from where you are settled and sits down to watch the ocean.

Everyone settles on the blanket to eat lunch.   Masaru tells stories about the stupid water anima tricks he and his brothers use to do.

“So Noboru just ran around bow of the ship, when this huge wave swelled up and smacked my brother against the hull of the ship.  “

“Was he okay?” Chiyoko asks.

“Oh, he was fine!   Noboru’s whole left side was bruised for days, but it was his own stupid fault.  My father warned him that the sea was too rough to play on.”

“Those are great stories, Masaru.  Makes you wish you’d had a Water Aspect anima.  Doesn’t it, Svante?”  Aiko taunts as she eats a grape.

“Wood aspect has greater utility in combat situations,” you retort.   Will Aiko ever leave you alone?

Aiko smiles at you.  “Come on, Masaru.  I’m thirsty.  Let’s go get some drinks”

“But, we have drinks right here.”   Masaru protests.

“I don’t like those drinks.  We should go get other drinks.   Far away from here.”

“Oh!” Masaru glances at both you and Chiyoko and then gets up to follow Aiko.  Aiko winks at you before she leaves.  You and Chiyoko are now alone.   The two of you awkwardly sit on the blanket, unsure what to say to each other.

“You found out about my grandmother.”  Chiyoko says.

You nod.

“How did you find out?”

“Does it matter?”   you say.   It would be difficult to explain your pattern spider.

“I didn’t mean to hide it from you, but it was nice to be treated normally for once.   You hate me now, don’t you?”

“No.  I don’t hate you. “   You watch Chiyoko’s orange hair flail around in the breeze.   “Um….“  All of the clever things you thought to say flee from your mind.  “Do you want to go get a fruit cup?”

“Sure.”  Chiyoko smiles and offer you her hand.  You take it and together you walk towards the fruit cup stand.   After buying your fruit cups, you settle back down on the blanket.

“You really don’t care that my grandmother is the Shogun.”

“No,”  You take a bite of your fruit cup.  “Should I?”

“Most people do.”   Chiyoko looks down at her fruit cup.

You catch a loose strand of her pony tail and tuck it back behind her ear.   Reluctantly you pull back, but Chiyoko touches your hand to stop you.  Your hand cups her cheek and Chiyoko draws closer.  You tremble as you feel her breath…

“Hey!  Have you guys seen Aiko anywhere?”  You jump away from Chiyoko when you hear Masaru’s voice.

“No!” Chiyoko snaps at the Water aspect.   “We haven’t seen Aiko anywhere.”

Masaru ignores her glare.  “We were in the store, buying drinks and when I went to pay, I couldn’t find her.”

Fucking Aiko.  Of course she had to run off while you were …. distracted.  You glance back to where Wanahton was sitting and see that his chair is now empty.    Searching for the Chosen of Journeys, you find Wanahton walking purposefully away from the beach side store.

What do you do?

  • Stay with Chiyoko and Masaru. You trust Wanahton to handle the situation.
  • Tell Chiyoko and Masaru that you need to go find Aiko.
  • Sneak away and follow Wanahton.
  • Other

((  So close, Svante!   Maybe next time.  😉  ))

((OOC:  For the next couple of weeks the updates will post after 5 pm.   Stupid Work))

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