Reva looks away from the Shogun’s Secretary at the sound of Masaru’s voice. “Masaru.” Tense drains from her when she sees her son. “Quick, you and your friend come here.”
Without a thought, Masaru ducks behind his mother. You hesitate and decide to join Masaru. Elder Kejak’s eyes dart from you to Reva. “Ah, you must be Masaru! It is wonderful to meet you finally. I have heard so much about you recently. You take after your mother… except you are a Water Aspect… and look! You are completely safe.” The Secretary coughs. “You shouldn’t go wandering off on your own and worry your mother. She may do something… unwise in her worry.”
Reva narrows her eyes at the Secretary’s words. He folds his hands and smiles benignly. Reva huffs in annoyance and turns to examine Masaru. Her eyes take note of the disarray of his clothing, his muddy boots, and his lack of armor. She brushes his bangs to expose a half healed cut. Then Reva clutches her son to her chest. “When your brothers told me they couldn’t find you at school….”
Masaru hesitates for a moment and then relaxes his mother’s embrace. “We are fine, mother.”
“Where is the rest of your circle?” The Fire Aspect asks.
“They are inside the manse, Aunt Basma. Lung Chiyoko is attuning to the manse.”
Reva raises an eyebrow. “Your circle managed to claim an Anathema Ruin?”
Masaru breaks away from his mother and nods. “The guardian was lonely, so she helped us bypass the security inside.”
“My question is how you managed to enter the manse in the first place.” The Wood Aspect fingers the trigger of his crossbow and stares at the Secretary. The Secretary holds up his hands in a shrug and tries to look innocent.
“We… kind of crashed a Skyship into the manse….” Masaru mumbles.
“It was my idea!” you lie. “Not to crash the ship, but to fly it. But we had no choice. We were kidnapped and…”
Reva holds up a hand. “Slow down. Who kidnap you?”
“Vayu Khalid, Abioye Ru, And..” Masaru looks to you. He wants to tell his mother about the Lunar. You shake your head. Now in the middle of the ruins is not a secure place to share that information. “…And Lung Sunan.” Masaru finishes. He does not mention Lung Duri.
Reva notices the interaction between you and Masaru. “Masaru we will discuss this matter later. Why do you introduce me to your friend?”
“Mother, this is Cnead Svante.” Masaru mentioned nothing about being a Sidereal or a Wood Aspect. “Svante, this is my mother, Raijin Reva. And her circle, Yeh Sujay” The Wood Aspect gives you a brief nod. “and Shula Basma.” The Fire Aspect smiles.
“Hi.” You give everyone a little wave.
“What about him?” Sujay points his bow at Elder Kejak.
The Secretary smiles and shakes his hand no. “Oh, I don’t need to be introduced really…”
“That’s not what I meant.” Sujay growls.
“Come on, Secretary.” Basma smiles, barring her teeth. “Surely, you plan on being around longer than the last secretary.”
“What happened to the last secretary?” Masaru asks.
“The Shogun executed him last year.”
“Speaking of execution, what about him?” Sujay repeats.
The Secretary holds up a finger. “If I may offer a few suggestions that don’t involve execution….”
“Shut up.” Basma orders. The Secretary lowers his hands and falls silent.
Reva smooths Masaru’s hair and sighs. “Let him go. He is more use to us alive than dead.”
“Let him go, she says.” Sujay lowers his bow. “You are one lucky man.”
“The Fates smile upon me.” The Secretary replies.
Basma groans at the Secretary’s words. Sujay frowns and rests his bow on his shoulder. Reva begins to head towards the manse entrance and then pauses. She looks down at your feet. Mei Mei, fur covered in river mud, sits by your side. She wags her tail and barks once at Reva. Elder Kejak winces.
“Svante, where did you get this puppy?”
Where did you get Mei Mei?
- Full Truth. It was a birthday present from Elder Kejak… or the Secretary
- Barebones truth. It was a Birthday Present.
- Partial Lie. It was a Birthday Present from your Uncle.
- Complete Lie. You found Mei Mei wandering around Vanchow.
- Say Nothing.