“You should attune to the manse, Chiyoko.” You have been an asshole over the past day especially to Chiyoko. Perhaps this will make up for it.
Chiyoko bites her lower lip. “I don’t speak Spirit Speech.”
“I can teach you,” you offer.
“I’ll teach you,” Aiko says less than a heartbeat later.
Chiyoko hugs yourself and turns away from the flame. “You take it, Svante.”
“What am I going to do with a manse in Creation?” You shrug. “If I am in Creation, I’m with you.”
Aiko rolls her eyes. “I’d love to claim it but let’s be honest. You know no one is going to trust me with a manse. If I attune to it, they are going to just take it away.”
“You don’t want it, Masaru?” Chiyoko asks. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
Masaru’s response comes out in a rush. “You mean, if I hadn’t crashed the skyship into manse, we wouldn’t have been forced into a dangerous situation where we would have died if the manse’s guardian wasn’t lonely.”
Chiyoko closes her eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Oh.” Masaru stares at the floor, cheeks burning. “The manse is fire aspected. You are a Fire Aspect. Who better to attune to the manse?”
Chiyoko paces away from the others. You slowly approach as she stares at the wall of the hearthstone room.
“I don’t deserve this.” She whispers to herself.
”Why?” She jumps at your question. You take her hand. “You show an affinity for the lioness despite the language barrier. You are an Fire Aspect. You are the best person to claim this manse.”
Chiyoko looks up to you and for a moment, you see the empty darkness in her eyes. The same darkness you saw at the bridge. Then it is gone. She gives you a weak smile and squeezes your hand. Chiyoko takes a deep breath and turns towards the fire. The lioness waits beyond the flame.
Chiyoko reaches out with a trembling hand and grips the hearthstone. She screams out in anguish and falls to her knees as the flame engulfs her.
“Wait!” The lioness stands between you and Chiyoko. You peer around the lioness to see Chiyoko unharmed and in an attunement trance.
The ruby lioness stares off in the distance at what you cannot see. “There is a disturbance outside the manse. A group of Dragonblooded, led by an Air Aspect named Raijin Reva, is arresting a man. “
“Oh no,” Masaru closes his eyes. “Of course, my mother is here.”
“What can you tell me about the man?” you ask.
“No name has been spoken.” The lioness tilts her head, listening. “The Air Aspect just referred to him as a secretary.”
Elder Kejak. With Mei Mei at your heels, you race out of the hearthstone room. You bound down the stairs. When you reach the bottom of the stairs, you pause. You glance down both sides of the hallway, unsure where to go.
“Svante, wait!” Masaru storms down the stairs after you. The lioness is right behind him. “Please don’t piss off my mother. She is a formidable sorcerer. Maybe we should come up with an explanation about what happened with the crash.”
“The crash?” You had forgotten about the crash. “Why would your mother arrest the Shogun’s secretary?”
“I don’t know anything about the Shogun’s Secretary. Maybe he pissed her off? More likely, he pissed off my grandmother.” Masaru grimaces. “Everyone pisses her off.”
The lioness leads you to the exit of the manse. Masaru holds out a hand to stop you from opening the door. “Be careful. There are rumors that my mother has a second circle demon bound to her.”
“Rumors? How could she have summoned a second circle demon? Do you know which one?”
Masaru shrugs. “That is what I heard from Shen”
“How could you not know for certain? She’s your mother.”
“She….” Masaru frowns. “She’s not a bad mother, just busy.”
You nod and push the door of the manse open. Night has fallen and the sky is overcast. The evening breeze chills you after being in the warm manse. Golden lights flutter and buzz within the glass bulbs of the streetlights. The hair on the back of your neck stands up straight as the Air crackles with lightning.
“Lady Reva,” Elder Kejak pleads. “I only have the best interests of the Shogunate in mind.”
Elder Kejak…pleading? Never in your life have you expected Elder Kejak to plead. You take in the older oracle’s appearance. A few dark hairs stray from his ponytail. His hands held high, his fingers stained with ink. His deep green robes are disheveled with a smudge of ink near his right pocket. A measuring stick protrudes from his pocket.
The Key. You are not seeing Elder Kejak. You are seeing the Shogunate’s Secretary. The Secretary’s eyes dart to you and then return to the woman standing before him.
Raijin Reva is stocky Air Aspect, the rounded shape of her face reminding you of Masaru. Her long pale blue hair is pinned on top of her head. Her icy skin glows in the night darkness. Concealed under a dark blue cloak, her pale silver robes are elegant and understated. Raijin Reva carries no weapon, but as a sorcerer, she does not need one.
Two other Dragonblooded encircle Elder Kejak… the secretary. A Wood Aspect carries a jade crossbow and wears well-worn leathers of green and brown. His boots are clean of mud but the dried water stains show this is a recent occurrence. The sun has baked his skin into a deep tanned leather. His pine green hair bound into a tight braid. His pine green eyes never leave the secretary.
The Fire Aspect smirks as the whole situation amuses her. Her charcoal brown skin contrasts with her bright long braided orange-red hair. She wears jade chain mail and her sword drawn and lit, illuminating the scene. She is the one that notices you and Masaru. “Reva.” She nods in your direction.
What do you do?
- Speak up. Talk Masaru’s mother into letting Shogunate’s secretary go
- Stay Silent. Elder Kejak must have some way out of this situation, right?
- Let Masaru talk to his mother. Support him when needed.
((This scene would have been really interesting if Masaru was attuning to the manse. ))