113 – Mission Tactics

Chiyoko hugs Aiko.  “You have a new home here.  Remember?”  She whispers to her cousin.  Aiko relaxes and returns Chiyoko’s hug.  Chiyoko stares at you over Aiko’s shoulder.

You rub your brow.  Perhaps you should attempt to get along with your girlfriend’s cousin.  “You can’t do my homework for me,” you begin.  One way or another, Elder Kejak would catch you cheating.  “but we can study the book together.”  It seemed like a good compromise.  Studying with Aiko will increase the likelihood of finishing your reading assignment.  Aiko would badger you about reading the damn book if you slack off.  You would rather brave Aiko’s temper than Elder Kejak’s disappointment.  And you will stay in Chiyoko’s good graces… if she remembers.

Aiko turns back to you and nods.  “That’s fair.  When is the reading due?”

“Umm…  Yesterday?”  You admit.

Aiko rubs the bridge of her nose and sighs.  “We better start after dinner then.”

“And we better get back to class.”  Masaru points at the clock.

Chiyoko throws herself face first on your bed.  “I don’t want to go back to class.” She groans.  “I’m going to stay here with Svante and Mei Mei.”  The puppy wanders over and sniffs Chiyoko’s orange flame pigtails.

“But we have the review for our geometry midterm this afternoon.”  Aiko reminds her.

“Even more of a reason to skip class.  It’s not like I’m going to past that exam anyways.”  She mumbles into the bed.

That catches you by surprise.  While you never studied for a test in your life, you never failed a test before.  “You should go to class.” You tell Chiyoko.  She looks up at you and frowns.  “I won’t be here this afternoon.  I have to meet with Chuzei Enki in his office.”

Chiyoko groans and hides her head in her arms.

 

The hallways of the school are quiet.  All the students are in class.  Outside of Chuzei Enki’s office, you hesitate before knocking on his door.  The few times you have been to the Chuzei’s office, you have been in trouble.  You take a deep breath and knock three times on the door.

“Come in.” Chuzei Enki’s voice rumbles though the door.  You enter the office and stand at attention in front of the Chuzei’s desk.   The old Earth Aspect glances up from the scroll he is transcribing.  “I thought you’d be sleeping for a couple more hours.  Sit.”  He points at a chair with his brush.  “I’ll only be a few more moments here.”

For the first time, you take a seat in the Chuzei’s office.  The padded chair is much more comfortable than the chair you spend hours in in Elder Kejak’s study.  You take this chance to look around.   Shelves of scrolls and papers line one wall.  The ajar supply closet reveals padded armor, wooden training swords, and other equipment.

A familiar set of Orichalcum short swords hang on the wall behind the Chuzei’s desk.  While the Chuzei lectured on and on about discipline, you studied the intricate whorls of the carved blades.  Masaru has spent hours wondering about the story behind the swords.  Yet neither you nor Masaru have ever had the courage to ask the Chuzei about the swords.  Perhaps you can ask Yeva when you get back to Yu-Shan.

Chuzei Enki finishes with his scroll and sets it aside to dry.  He folds his hands on his desk and studies you for a moment.  “This is how our working relationship is going to function.  Normally, as the Sidereal assigned to this mission, you would be in charge.  But, due to your youth and inexperience, I am in charge of this operation.  Don’t pout, boy.”  The Chuzei snaps, noticing your disappointment.  “Your ego is the least of my concerns and it should be the least of yours too.  Do you understand?”

“Sir, yes, sir.”  You school your disappointment.

“Good.   Now, you may still be a boy, but as a Sidereal, you have a unique insight I lack.”  The old Earth Aspect pauses.  “Any information or counsel you can give would be greatly appreciated. “

“Yes, sir.”

The Chuzei  continues.  “I also don’t want you to take any unnecessary risks.  I promised your Sifu that you would not come to any harm.  In some ways, you are more important than Lung and the rest.”

“Sir?”  This seemed backwards.  Chiyoko was the granddaughter of the Shogun.   You would have thought she would be the more important.

The Chuzei smirks, reminding you of Yeva.  “You underestimate your importance, Svante.  I’m one of the few Dragonblooded that knows where Sidereals come from.  Creation cannot afford to wait another fifty years for you to be reborn.  Don’t be a hero!   If someone comes after you and the others, don’t fight!   Leave and get help.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”  You muttered.  You hope that you never have to leave Chiyoko behind.

“And don’t let your status go to your head.  Arrogance has killed more Exalts than any blade.”

“Yes, sir… I mean, no, sir.  I’ll be careful, sir.”

“Good.”   Chuzei Enki leans back in his chair.  “Your Sifu tells me you you study the same subjects as the first year students.”

“Yes, sir.”  The Owl grumbled about Yeva meddling with his lesson plans.

Chuzei nods in approval.  “You will be taking midterms along with the rest of the students.  The students should have ample reason to stay on campus during the next rest days.   It would be safer if the Lung circle doesn’t go anywhere.”

What?!  You promised Chiyoko she could go with you on the Potato god mission.  Chiyoko will never forgive you if you tell her she can’t go.

As you freak out, the Chuzei continues.  “I doubt anyone would attempt to kidnap a student, but stranger things have happened this year. “   The Chuzei frowns and looks down at his desk.  “It would be best if your circle doesn’t realize anything is amiss…  Is there a problem?”

Yes, there is a problem!   You hesitate about revealing your secondary mission to the Chuzei.  Then you realize there is something else on your mind.  “Chiyoko and Aiko should know that their grandmother is dying.”

Chuzei Enki strokes his chin as he considers your suggestion.  After a few moments of deliberation, he shrugs.  “Who am I to argue when a Chosen of Secrets decides to reveal information?   Do you want to tell the girls or shall I?”

What do you do?

  • You will tell Chiyoko and Aiko about their grandmother
  • Let Chuzei deliver the bad news to Chiyoko and Aiko
  • Let Chuzei deliver the bad news but you want to be there when he does
  • Other

Also, about your second mission….

  • Tell the Chuzei about your other mission
  • Don’t tell Chuzei about your other mission. Still plan on bringing Chiyoko and the others with you
  • Don’t tell Chuzei about your other mission. Tell the others the mission is off.  Go by yourself.
  • Send a message to the Owl and see if he can find someone else to take your mission.
  • Other

 

 

 

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