37 – Board Games

You nervously flag down the waiter.  “My acquaintance left me here with her share of the bill.   I don’t have enough money to cover her, because I was about to head into Creation.  Can I pay for her share when I come back to Yu-Shan tomorrow?”

The waiter looks annoyed.  “It will come out of my paycheck.”

“I’ll be back tomorrow and I will give you a really big tip.” You reassure the waiter.

The waiter looks you over and sighs.  “Okay, Kid.”

You pull your money pouch out of the front pocket of your bag and start to pile Jade coins into small stacks.  When you have enough to pay for the cake, the waiter slides the coins off the table and into his hand.   “I start my shift in the afternoon.”

You thank the waiter and grab your bag and head towards the gate.  The line at the Vanchow gate is rather long, but you catch the eye of one of the Celestial Lions and he waves you through.  You nod in thanks and head past the front of the line.   As you are about to enter the tunnel, you notice that Ika is being detained by the other two lions.  They are searching through her bags.   You consider asking her for the money she owes you, but decide not the get involved with whatever business she has with the Lions.   You turn away from Rikali’s daughter and start to head down the tunnel.

“Hey!  Wait!”  You hear her yell, but you ignore her and continue down the tunnel.

Later that evening, while everyone is playing a board game, you tell your friends the story of what happened at the café.  You open a bag of taffy you bought on your way to the school.

“Are things really that expensive in Heaven?” Chiyoko asks as she considers her next move.

“The exchange rate is insane.  Wanahton keeps threatening to buy a place in Meru and commute to Yu-Shan, but he hasn’t done it yet.  Sasha says the Elders won’t let him.”  You watch Chiyoko rearrange some of the game pieces and pass the turn marker to Aiko.   When she notices you watching, Chiyoko smiles shyly at you.  Your cheeks burn as you look down and fiddle with the bag of taffy.  You pop a piece of taffy into your mouth and pass the bag to Masaru.

Though your Dragon blooded friends remembered that they are going to the Martial Arts Tournament tomorrow, you still had to reintroduce yourself as the Quiver when you first got to the dorms.  After hanging out as yourself for a few hours, the situation between you and Chiyoko is less awkward. You consider various excuses to get Chiyoko alone tomorrow.   Having the whole circle around was frustrating at times.

“Svante!” Aiko’s voice snaps you out of your thoughts.  “It’s your turn.”  She pass you the turn marker.  As you consider the game board, Aiko causally asks, “So, have you managed to cast any spells yet?”

“Ignore her.” Chiyoko advises.  “She’s just trying to distract you so she can win.”  She takes the taffy bag from Masaru and roots around in it.

You look up from the game board.   “I haven’t tried yet.” You admitted.  “This is the first free time I’ve had since I got the book.”

“Then why are we here playing games?”  She stands up.   “We can get the book and try now.”

“Aiko, don’t end the game just because you are losing.”  Chiyoko accuses.

“We aren’t summoning demons in my dorm room.” Masaru adds.

“We don’t have to summon demons.  There are plenty of other spells to cast.  Get your copy of the book, Svante, and we will pick one out!”

“I’m not casting anything now.” You aren’t even sure you can cast a spell yet.  You didn’t want to fail and look stupid in front of Aiko….or Chiyoko.

“That’s right.  We are not casting anything now.” Chiyoko asserts.   “We are going to finish the fucking game, Aiko.”

Aiko sit back down. “Fine.”

You focus back on the game board, but your mind can not shake Aiko’s challenge.   “I need to try to cast something tonight.”

“Why do you need to cast something tonight?” Chiyoko demands.

“I need to give the book back.”

“Why the fuck are you going to give the book back?” Aiko demands in the same tone that Chiyoko used.

“Because my tutor knows I stole it.  He’s giving me a chance to give it back before he lets my guardian know.”

Chiyoko narrows her eyes at you.  “Do you really need to cast a spell tonight?”

Uh oh.  Your mind hurries to figure out a solution to your dilemma.   “Of course!”  You have an idea.   ““If I make a copy of the book, I won’t need to cast anything tonight.   Okay.  I need two journals, a pen with some ink, and a potted plant.”

“A potted plant?  Why do you need a potted plant?” Masaru asks in confusion.

“You’ll see in a bit.”  Chiyoko and Aiko go get a house plant while Masaru looks though his things for two journals large enough to fit the text of the White Treatise.  You are setting up an empty desk with the journals and ink when the two girls return with a half dead houseplant.

“Will this work?” Chiyoko asks.

“I guess.   What happened to it?”

“We can’t have pets in the dorms, so Aiko and I got a plant instead.”

“Oh.”  You pluck a dead leaf off of the poor plant.    “But why is it half dead?”

“We aren’t very good at taking care of house plants.” Aiko explains.

You shrug and put the house plant in the chair.

“You aren’t actually expecting the plant to copy the book for you?” Aiko asks.

​”That is exactly what I expect it to do.”  You clap your hands over the plant and it transforms into lean man of average height.   His hair is the color of dying leaves and his skin is a variegated with green and yellow.

“Water!” the man croaks as he crashes out of the chair unto the floor.  You quickly brings him a glass of water.  He grabs glass out of your hand and chugs it down.   When the glass is empty, he picks himself off of the floor and sets the glass down on the desk.   He composes himself and sits down in the chair as nothing happened.

“Good evening, Oracle.  How many I be of service to you?”  the Savant asks in Spirit Speech.

You answer in Earthspeak. “I need you to copy this book twice.  I have two journals you can use here.”

The Savant opens the journals and flips through them.  “There should be plenty of space for the White Treatise.   I will need more ink, but I can get started with what is here.   It will take me two days to copy the book twice.”

“Awesome!”   You are pleased that you found a loophole in the Owl’s demands.

“Do you need anything besides water?” Chiyoko asks.  The savant ignores her as if she didn’t speak.

“You can answer her question.” You tell the savant.

“While I am in this form, I subsist on the Oracle’s essence.  Though… I wouldn’t mind sitting next to a sunny window while I work.  And more water.  “

“I’m not sure we can manage the sunny window.”  You really don’t want the savant to be seen. “but we can supply you with water. “   Chiyoko refills the glass with water from the pitcher and replaces it on the desk.

The savant drinks half the glass and sets it down on the desk.  “I will also need a copy of the White Treatise.”

“Oh!” you go to your bag to get your copy.  You open the bag and find, sitting next to the White Treatise, a small white brick, no larger than the size of your hand.   You pull the brick out of the bag and examine it closely.  There are no markings on it and seems to be made of pressed powder.

“Is that Celestial Cocaine?” Masaru whispers.

While the savant copies the book, everyone stares at the brick of cocaine sitting on Masaru’s night stand.

“Where did you get it?” Chiyoko asks.

“I don’t know!”  You remember Ika knocking into you.  “I think that lady who ran off on the bill sunk it into my bag.”

“But why you?  You are the worst person to smuggle items with.  No one would recognize you to get their stuff back!”  Aiko points out.

“I know!”  You think for a moment.  “I guess she used me because I wouldn’t be searched by the Celestial Lions.”

“Celestial Lions?”   Masaru perks up.  “I remember someone telling my dad that they were going to have the Celestial lions start searching for contraband few months ago.  “

“Do you know who?” you ask.

Masaru shrugs.  “Probably one of the Harbormasters or something.   I don’t really remember. My dad talks to a lot of people.”

You nod and drop the subject.   It wasn’t important which Sidereal told Masaru’s father that.  What was important was what to do about the brick of illegal drugs.

“What are Celestial Lions?” Aiko inquires.

“I’ll explain later.  I need to figure out what to do with this.”  You point at the cocaine on the table.

“Well…  Has anyone ever done Celestial Cocaine before?” Aiko asks.

“We are not doing drugs!” Masaru declares.

“I was kidding!  But seriously what are we going to do with it?  Turn it in to the Chuzei?”

“We can throw into the sea.   Then it isn’t our problem anymore.”  Masaru says.

“Masaru, your brother is still assigned to Vanchow.   Why don’t we sell it to Lotaro? ”   Chiyoko suggests.

“I don’t think my mother will be happy that we gave Lotaro more drugs.”

“How would she know?” Aiko asks.

What do you want to do?

  • Turn it into Chuzei
  • Throw it into the sea.
  • Bring it back to Yu Shan and turn it into the Lions.
  • Go to Masaru’s brother and see if he can sell it.
  • Other

((  OOC:  This is the first time in a while that Svante has actually tried to Socialize his way out of something instead of using Presence to go “I’m a creepy Sidereal kid, so you better do what I say!” ))

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