You clench your bag so tightly, your knuckles turn white and the bag’s handles bit into your skin. The multi colored glass Essence Lights which line the walls of the Bureau of Destiny pass by much faster than you are used to. Was Akachi walking faster than usual or was time moving faster due to your nerves? You take a deep breath to calm yourself. If everything goes according to plan, this may be your last weekly session with Elder Kejak. After your Sorcerous Initiation, you tried to get out of the sessions, but Elder Kejak insisted you continue to attend.
“Ready for your lesson today?” Akachi asks.
“Yeah.” you lie as you fiddle with the straps of your bag. You didn’t get to finish your assigned reading this week. Even with the help with Wanahton and Elder Kejak’s receptionists, it took some time to arrange your surprise for Elder Kejak.
Akachi pauses before the deep violet stained wood of Elder Kejak’s office. “Svante, you can’t even get away with not doing your homework with Keeper. What makes you think Chejop will be any more lenient?”
“I get away with not doing my homework with the Owl fine.” You boast. “I mean….” You fall silent before you incriminate yourself any more.
Akachi crosses his arms and stares down at you. “We will talk about this later.” You enter Elder Kejak’s office to try to escape your guardian, but Akachi walks in right behind you. You walk cross the wood floors of Elder Kejak’s cooly light reception area. Elder Kejak’s receptionist warmly greet you and Akachi. “Elder Kejak’s last meeting is running late, but he should be back momentarily.” The Receptionist offers you a plate of Apricot Shortbread cookies and gives you a sly wink when Akachi wasn’t looking. You smile at her in return. Apparently everything is going according to plan.
Akachi sits on the edge of the receptionist’s desk and chats with her about a new restaurant opening up in Yu Shan. You munch on your cookies and wonder why Akachi was still here. Since your trip North, Akachi has been less smothering of you and allowing you to go to places on your own. Why did he escort you to this session in the first place?
Before you could finish your first cookie, Elder Kejak sweeps into the reception area with purposeful steps. He stops short when he notices Akachi chatting with Elder Kejak’s receptionist. The Elder Oracle digs through his messenger bag and pulls out the newest issue of Pretty Dragon Princess Meru.
“Akachi, have you seen the latest Princess Meru?” Elder Kejak taps the manga in his hand.
“No, I don’t think Svante received his copy yet.” Elder Kejak grunts at Akachi’s offhand reply. “Is something wrong, Chejop?”
Elder Kejak points with the manga at your guardian. “Really, Akachi. Must we devolve to such juvenile tactics?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Akachi shoots you an inquiring look. You shrug and try to seem innocent. Did Elder Kejak know about your prank? You glance over at the receptionist who slightly shakes her head no.
“This Uncle Jack character… You obviously wrote him to mock me.” Elder Kejak accuses.
“What?” Akachi takes the offered manga and pages through it.
“He’s introduced on page 6,” the Receptionist helpfully points out. The goddess ignores Elder Kejak’s probing regard and focuses intently on her filing.
You stare at your shoes, trying not to draw Elder Kejak’s attention. Akachi, his face intent, reads though the manga. After a few minutes, Akachi begins to giggle.
“Akachi?” Elder Kejak calls out. Akachi turns a page and ignores his name. “Akachi!”
“Oh, sorry.” The Joybringer smiles sheepishly. “I got caught up in the story. Was this character?” Akachi holds open the manga and points out lanky bald man fleeing from Princess Meru, her fist raised in indignation. “Uncle Jack looks nothing like you! Yes, he’s tall. Painfully thin. More Attractive.” Elder Kejak rolls his eyes. “And bald. You aren’t going bald right?”
You snicker. Ayesha Ura and a few other Sidereals saw an Elderly Chejop Kejak in the Loom of Fate a few months ago. Ayesha quickly spread her description of the Elder’s soon to be receding hairline. You have to get a copy of this manga.
Elder Kejak unconsciously raises his hand to run it through his long dark hair, but stops short. He narrows his eyes and snatches the offending manga back from Akachi. “Come along, Svante. We wasted enough time here.” The Elder Oracle leads you through the door to the back offices. Akachi follows, continuing to harass Elder Kejak about the manga.
“I don’t know what your problem is, Chejop. Uncle Jack seems like a great character. He’s clever, funny…”
“Uncle Jake steals underwear from adolescent girls!” Elder Kejak yells at Akachi. The office bustle goes silent at this outburst. Akachi grins as Elder Kejak orders everyone back to what they were doing. The office staff returns to work with renewed industry.
“Ah… Uncle Jake is a panty thief.” Akachi shrugs. “Pretty Dragon Princess Meru has never been one of my manga. I have no control over the writers.”
Elder Kejak tosses the manga at you and takes a step closer to the Elder Joybringer. “Akachi, you may not have written a single page in years, but I know you still have contacts in the Industry. What sort of example are you setting for Svante…” Elder Kejak trails off.
“What is it?” Akachi asks concerned.
“Did you hear that noise?” Both elders listen intently.
“Meeeeh….” A muffled cry echoes ominously down the hallway.
“This way.” Akachi strides down the hallway of identical doors. You have been in Elder Kejak’s office many times over the past few months and you still couldn’t find your way around.
“Meeeeh….” You trail behind the elders. You press your fingernails into your palms to keep the smile off of your face.
Elder Kejak pauses in front of one door. “It’s coming from my study.” Elder Kejak puts his hand on the door and counts down with his fingers. When Elder Kejak gets to three, he opens the door and Akachi bursts into the study.
“Meeh!!!” The goat bleats in shock and jumps off of Elder Kejak’s desk. A piece of half chewed parchment flutters down in its wake. The once well-organized desk is littered with torn books and shredded scrolls. Akachi pauses just before he was going to punch the goat. Your guardian cocks his head at the goat and bursts out laughing.
“Why is there a goat in my study?” Elder Kejak demands of the crowd gathering by the door. You lean against the wall outside of the study and cover your mouth to keep from laughing. The office was a mess! This prank was so much better than you imagined!
“Akachi, do you know anything about this?” Elder Kejak narrows his eyes.
It takes a moment for Akachi to catch his breath. “No…. I didn’t do this….”
The goat jumps on the desk and retrieves its half finished meal. Elder Kejak snatches the parchment away and attempts to smooth it out. “Svante, do you know anything about this?”
You take a deep breath and poke your head into the study. “No.” Fortunately, the goat chooses this moment to drop a load of shit on Elder Kejak’s desk.
Elder Kejak rubs the bridge of his nose. “Nevermind. Let’s met in the conference room today, Svante.” You reluctantly follow Elder Kejak, leaving behind your giggling guardian and the rest of the crowd. You are lead to a large conference room with twenty leather high-backed padded chairs. You roll out a chair and gratefully sit down. Why couldn’t Elder Kejak have these comfortable chairs in the rest of his office? As Elder Kejak get settled at the head of the table, you pull out your copy of the Five Moons of Denial.
“I believe we last left off with the chapter on the Sacred Hunt. In my opinion it was by far the most interesting chapter in the book. What did you think, Svante?” The Elder Sidereal glares at you and you avoid eye contact, instead fidgeting with a puppy gnawed corner of your book. The past week has been packed with keeping with the Owl’s homework, going through manga with Akachi and Masaru, and working with Wanahton and the Receptionist to get the goat into Elder Kejak’s office. To be honest, the last thing you wanted to do was to read this boat anchor of a book. The Five Moons of Denial was exactly what you feared it would be: dry, dull, and dumb.
Between Akachi needling Elder Kejak about the magna and your goat prank, you are unsure you want to aggravate Elder Kejak anymore than he already was.
What do you do?
- Tell the truth. You didn’t do your reading because you busy arranging for the goat in the study.
- Make up an Excuse. The Owl gave you more homework than usual this week.
- Give Elder Kejak a sob story. You didn’t do the reading because you were in the Loom with Sasha reclaiming your memories of the childhood you and your sister shared.
- Bullshit your way through the lesson. You skimmed a few pages of the chapter before you came here. You believe you know enough about the Sacred Hunt to fumble through the session
(Trying something different – writing on paper and then typing the post up for editing. What do you guys think?)
(I really need to give Kejak’s receptionist a name. )