Children from various families all seemed to crowd around us at a respectful distance. I guessed at the time that the parents of the children had forced them to come and listen to what the headmaster had to say.
The headmaster had cleared his throat before saying clearly " Young Yuki, your father said you were in need of a fundamental earth arts teacher, since you have a bit of an issue with control. So we had spoken to arrange a new teacher a few months ago."
He looked over to his side where the earth arts teach Lady Yu had been standing. She had her hands clasped behind her back and I was sure her back could not stand any straighter. She looked as sharp as a knife.
She looked at me up and down before saying. " Young Mr Akiyo, I am sure I do not need to introduce myself. The time one first learns magic is not only confusing, but can also be overwhelming. We will have one year together where you will be my apprentice. Fail to live up to my expectations then I will not teach you it is that simple." her voice was so stern it made my back stand a little straighten then it normally would.
[ Whoa Lady Yu? Will teach me!? ]
I nodded before saying " Yes Teacher Yu!" before bowing low.
Whispers filled the hall.
" She is taking in that Akiyo boy? He has it rough! " mumbled a young boy dressed like a peacock.
" My brother says she is really hard on people " whispered a young girl.
" Is he being punished? " said another crowd member.
[ Harsh huh? Well at least I know my magic will be strong after it! ]
The look of determination must have shown on my face and lady Yu merely ignored the whispers and nodded at me before walking off.
The headmaster trailing not far behind her.
"Congratulations young master, it looks like you have been given a fantastic teacher!" said a voice from behind me.
It was Ki she was smiling wide and looked at me while she grinned. I said back at her and grinned to. The princess had then latched back on to my arm and gave Ki a dirty look.
[ I can't even talk to other people? Dating you would be a nightmare! ]
I coughed to break up the awkward atmosphere and tried to excuse myself.
" I haven't seen Ren or Riku yet, I'd like to go find them if you would excuse me" I said out loud as I tried to escape.
" Can't you take me with you? " Pouted the princess.
" Sister, he is the guest of honor tonight, you will have plenty of time to play with him later! " the crown prince said looking at my discomfited expression.
" It's not fair…" the princess said as she let go of my arm.
I looked at the two princes and said my goodbyes before taking one last look at the princess. Her face looked like she wanted to say something but stopped herself. I didn't want to deal with her gloomy expression so I left.
"Are you sure that was wise Yuki?" Kibbles voice mewed in my head.
[ Uhh… now that I think about it I was a bit rude ]
" Mmm remember meowster, the old Yuki and the princess almost spent everyday together, now she barely sees you at all. I am sure she is not feeling too happy about it" Kibbles responded sensibly.
[ How can I get along with someone who doesn't understand personal space? ]
I huffed a little and my steps became a little forced. It took me ten minutes to finally track down Riku and Ren who were surrounded by ladies of the court.
I looked over at them dumb struck.
I mean they were right in the corner of the room, there was not even snacks nearby. It looked like a bunch of women meeting their idols after a concert.
[ Well I guess they are pretty handsome.. I.. ]
For some reason I got a tad bit annoyed thinking about them running around and spreading their wild oats around the neighborhood like stray cats. I tried to stop myself from getting grumpier and walked towards them.
[ Sigh what a shitty birthday, why am I so mad tonight? ]
" YUKI! " Riku and Ren said as they looked at me being squished between some women.
I reached out to try and grab one of their arms but I seemed to be stuck.
" Now now ladies, please our friend Yuki and the man of the hour is trying to say hello, please make some space" Ren said in his most polite tone.
" Ahh did you hear that he sounds so dreamy! " Said one girl
" Mm he can "train" me any day!" Said another quietly from behind her fan.
Ren seemed to break down from embarrassment and stopped trying to help me get through.
[ Useless! ]
" Please let him through we must show propriety at such events " Said Riku sternly as he realized that Ren's coaxing didn't work.
The women around finally made some room for me to enter. I looked at the women still angry from being squashed by them and they all seemed to take a step back.
" Riku is so regal! How can he be friends with such an angry boy! " Said a bystander.
" Mm definitely scary" said another girl.
" Shhh that is the princess's fiance " tweeted a blue dressed teenager.
" Eep! Wait the birthday boy? Yuki!!!? " the final girl said.
They all bowed and apologized before leaving quickly.
[ Geez where they raised in a barn?! ]
I rubbed my arms with my hands as they seemed to be slightly bruised from all the commotion. I looked at Ren who was staring at me almost apologetically. He was wearing his formal battle attire which is used in the event of diplomacy or military events. His hair was tied in a perfect top knot with a wooden sword pin accessory in his hair.
" I'm sorry I am not very good with talking to women, to be honest they scare me a little " Ren mentioned.
" You seemed pretty good at it to me" I said a little sarcastically.
" Yuki, how is your birthday so far? Having fun? " Riku said trying to change the topic.
" uhh.." was all I could muster in response.
" Wanna sneak out? " asked Ren before laughing.
" That bad huh? I guess a bit of fresh air is good for clearing the mind. " Riku said and nodded.
The girls that had surrounded us before were still eyeing Riku and Ren off as we left towards the front door. I wondered how long before their tongues would fall off after all that gossiping they were doing.
Kibbles looked over at the crowd and blew a small puff of smoke in disgust at them as they watched us finally leave.
[ At least someone is on my side! ]
"Mmm very annoying " Said kibbles mentally to me.
Ren, Kibbles, Riku and myself all made our way to the pond in the center on the courtyard. We sat around on the grass and listening to the crickets chirp.
It calmed me down a little.
" You know Yuki, I can't speak for Ren but if you ever need to talk about anything I am here for you…" Riku said in a low tone.
I looked across at him to see him smiling and looking up at the stars. Following his line of site I looked up too. There was a star scape so beautiful that I stopped blinking. Unlike back on earth there was two moons but on different corners on the world.
I'd been so busy trying to fix my own life that I had never actually noticed. There was different colored stars shining painting like milk on a black canvas with a sprinkle of stars that looked like little lanterns.
[ I guess I really haven't had much time to really appreciate this place.. I have always just been trying to make sure I was the best person I could be..]
Ren then said after a few moments " You know I am here for you too, I may not know a lot about things outside of battle, but I have your back if you need it."
I saw he had his hand out in a fist.
I laughed slightly before fist bumping him back.
" What was that? " Said Riku as he watched us.
" It's called fist bumping, Yuki made it up, it's a sign of friendship! " Ren said almost gloating.
" Oh? " Riku looked over a little dejected and seemed to pout.
[ Haha he really can be childish ]
" Hey Yuki, can Riku learn our friendship sign too? " Ren looked over at me and said seriously.
" Uhh I guess " I said a little embarrassed and dumbfounded.
" Really I can learn the friendship sign too?! " Riku said smiling.
" mm but you can't show anyone this secret sign, Yuki made it !" Ren said again nodding like he was initiating Riku into a secret club.
[ I am starting think saying that I invented fist bumps was a bad thing ]
I watched as Ren somehow spent the next 10 minutes explaining the ins and outs of the fist bump and how it meant valor and honor in battle as well as some other nonsense he seemed to make up on the spot. Riku nodded along happily just happy to be included.
I honestly couldn't believe how dumb those two looked.
But for the first time in what felt like a very long time, I had laughed a true laugh that came from my very soul.
[ Having friends can be pretty damn amazing! ]
This small moment with Riku and Ren would be something I would never forget. They watched me as I laughed and smiled along with me.
After a moment, Riku and Ren looked at one another before they held their fists next to each other like a semi circle. I watched as they they looked at me to add my fist. I joined mine to make a triangle of fists.
We all showed our pearly white smiles then spent the rest of the night, talking about nothing much and laughing happily.
[ I really need this tonight ]
Thank you to everyone for your power stones! They are keeping the book in the top 100!
I have also set up a section for fan art so know your art will be displayed if you send it in.
Griseldamaldonado, MoonlessLotusLake please pick a Japanese name for some new characters I have. I see your power stone contributions!
Special thanks to Dao for editing as always!
Finally I appreciate your continued support for the book!
Ever have one of those nights where you just really need your friends?
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