Thursday, August 27, 2009,8:02 PM
If mirrors could talk
not Traveller update yet, sorry. As soon as possible, I promise :P
Until then, enjoy this little fluff TakaGaki story.


If mirrors could talk



“She's staring at you, again

Kame's voice is just a whisper in my ear . I was reading the lyrics from some random song when she sat at my side. The studio is pretty small and some of the others girls are still around, even when the practice ended five minutes ago, so she's making sure that nobody's able to hear us.

“Eri, we've talked about this before...” I say, forgetting what I was doing and looking at her. A sigh just left my throat without realizing “She's my best friend, if she wants to look at me, there's nothing weird about that”
“I'd agree with you if we were talking about a friend's look, but she's totally checking you out!” She'd raised her voice a little for the last part of the sentence, but luckily for me, almost all of the other girls have left already. There was just Reina packing some things inside her bag at the other corner of the room and Ai-chan, who suddenly was too busy practicing again in front of the mirror. None of them seem to have noticed us. “Look, I know that you think that I have too much imagination and I see things where there's nothing to see...” she have lowered her voice again to the level of a whisper “...but I know how you feel about her, and I'd never, never, give you hope if I wasn't sure about it. Trust me in this one, ok?”

I gaze at our leader, looking over Eri's shoulder. She seems to have stopped her solo rehearsal and now she's just staring at her own reflection in the mirror. I can see that little frown in her face that only appears when she's struggling, trying to resolve whatever it's going on inside her head. I wonder (and in the deepest part of my heart, hope) if there's any possibility that I'm the reason of her uneasiness.

“According to you, oh Almighty Turtle, what should I do now?”
“Well...” she takes a moment to think the right words before answering “You could show her, somehow, that you are interested in developing your relationship with her to a level beyond any friendship bonds”
“And how I'm supposed to do that? You know that Ai-chan can be really naïve about those things”
“That's something you'll have to figure out yourself” she said, sticking out her tongue and mocking at me “I'm not going to be the one doing all the thinking here”

You know the world is near its end when you found the Erien being the mature one in a conversation.

“Thank you, Eri, for everything” And I truly am, thankful. She's the one who's been there all those times, when I can't bear to spend the night in the same room with my best friend because this stupid longing for her is killing me inside. She's been the one holding me in her arms while I can't stop crying and I want to die 'cause I'm afraid to take a step further. She's the one who never asks anything in return...
“Thank me when you get the girl”

And with a bright smile in her face, she stands up and go join Tanakacchi. They seem ready to leave, something that reminds me that I should get going too if I don't wanna find myself alone in this room with Ai-chan. That would be rather troublesome right now. So, I drink some water, put the bottle and the lyrics I was reading inside my bag and stand up, heading to the exit. I took my cell-phone to check if I have any message and I'm about to crash against a closed door when I raise my head in time enough to stop just two inches away from it.

“Uoha..., that was close” Who the hell closed the door, anyway? I look around, Eri and Tanakacchi already gone. That means that I'm alone with Ai-chan “Better get out of here, Risa” I say to myself.

You know when you think that your life can't get worse and then, suddenly, it does? Well, that's what I've thought the moment that I've realized that the door isn't opening. I turn the knob again, wishing desperately that it's just my imagination playing some cruel game with my mind, and I pull to open it. Nothing. The damn door is locked. Just when I'm about to shout for some help from outside, my cell-phone rings. I've got an email and something tells me that it's one that I'm not going to like.

Hey, PPP here. I'd thought that I could give you two some time alone, if you don't use it wisely I'll tell Ai-chan myself, you're warned. Oh!, and don't try to ask for help, I've made sure that there won't be anyone around in at least two hours. Have fun!

Eri

Psd: I know you hate me right now, but take a deep breath and live the moment.


“I'm gonna kill her, I swear! I'm gonna kill that turtle and make soup with her for dinner!”
“Gaki-san?” Oh God “What's wrong?”

Live the moment
, she said. Well, I don't think I'm gonna live much longer if Ai-chan keeps staring at me like that.

“Hm... door.., we're locked in here” I manage to say.
“Oh” I don't know if she didn't understand what I said or if she doesn't care. Ai takes her towel, dry some sweat of her face and I wanna shout because she looks extremely hot like that and I'm dying to touch her.

Live the moment. Kame's words echoing in my head. I read the message again and looking at my phone it occurred to me that I could call my manager or someone else to come and rescue me. What I coward I am... I'm tired of this. I'm tired of running away from these feelings, tired of using Eri as a safety shield... I wanna be myself again and if the only way is taking a step further, I'll do it. I'm done being a coward.

But, how I'm supposed to do this? I told Kame, Ai-chan is too naïve and a simple I love you won't work. Think, Niigaki. You'll be alone with her in this dance studio for almost two hours at least, that's plenty of time, even if you want just to watch her practicing, looking at her perfect waist and her hips moving slowly... She loves torturing me, doesn't she?

Breath...

That's it. Two can play that game.

“Ne, Ai-chan...” I say, dropping my bag again at the floor and walking towards her.
“Huh?”
“Something's bothering me lately and I wonder if you could help me”
“Sure”
“It's about the way I dance. Do you find it... sexy?”

That, definitely, captured her attention and I could swear that I've heard her gulp.

“I guess it's fine?” she answers diverting her eyes from me. Is she nervous?
“Mou, Ai-chan, I'm serious about this! Every time I look at you or Kame dancing, the way you move it seems so natural, so easy, but then, when I try it myself, I still feel like if I'd got some stick in my ass”
“Your ass seems pretty fine to me...”

I've heard that. I guess she didn't mean to say it out loud 'cause she's as surprised as me and now she seems to really regret to be locked in here. I don't know what I'm doing anymore, but this is going too well to stop now.

“Come here” I put myself front of the mirror and gesture her to stand close behind me.
“What?”
“Come here. I want to show you in a way you can understand what I'm saying”
“Risa, I don't think it's...”
“It's ok, come on” as soon as she's behind me, I took her hands and place them at both sides of my hips. I do it slowly, letting her feel my movements “See?” I say now with a huskier tone in my voice. God, if this doesn't work I'll kill myself to stop the agony “It feels right to you?”

I swear I didn't mean it to sound like that, but hearing her gulp again tells me that I'm on the right track.

“Yeah”

It's now or never. If I don't do this I'll regret it the rest of my life.

“You know...” I begin to say, taking her hands again in mine and placing them a little higher, right over the hem of my pants and under the fabric of my shirt, making my skin burn at the contact “Eri says that you've been staring at me the whole week. Is that true?”

I look at our reflection in the mirror and there's that frown on her forehead again. She seems to be scolding herself for being discovered and struggling with what she should say next. After a few seconds, she simply nods.

Kame, you don't know how much I love you right now.

“Why? I can't help but ask.
“Because you're too gorgeous to not do so”

I wasn't expecting and answer so straight forward. She seems to have reached a point where she doesn't need or want to be rational anymore and, suddenly, her hands are bolder, beginning to explore under my shirt on its own accord. This is too much, too good to be true, and I'm going to surrender and kiss her once and for all if I can't stay cool at least for a few more minutes. I need to know that we both want the same.

“And..., what are you thinking while looking at me?”
“That I miss you” Here eyes are closed now and seems to be really enjoying what she's doing “That now there're others closer to you and we don't talk anymore, others that soon or later will see how beautiful you've became and will steal you away from me, forever. That I am a coward...” her voice seems weak now “...'cause I've knew from the beginning how beautiful you were...”
“Ai-chan...”
“And lately..., It's been overwhelming. It seems like you've been doing it on purpose to torment me. The way you move, the way you smile, the sound of your voice when you're humming some random song... It makes me...”

She seems to hesitate. There's no place for doubt, Takahashi, not after all you've said.

I turn to face her and I can see clearly that she's ashamed. Her hands disappear suddenly of my skin and I feel lost. There's fear in her eyes.

Don't step back now, please.


“Tell me” I encourage her. She's staring at the floor, trying to avoid me, until I take her hands again and put them in my back, holding me. I place mine in both sides of her face and raise her head, forcing her to look at me “Please, Ai-chan, tell me”
“I want you”

I smile. I smile as I've never smiled before, and my heart is jumping out of his place, and a little turtle in my head is dancing like crazy... and then she's smiling too, and I swear that it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my whole life.

“Then, take me” I say without thinking.
“What?! Now?!”

I don't know what I'm doing anymore. Should we wait? Talk? Maybe I'm going too fast, maybe she's not ready for this, maybe the place where we work almost every day isn't the best... The only thing I'm sure is that I miss her hands caressing my skin and that I'm hungry of her.

“Yes, now”
“But we can't here... Anyone could...” She's stopped mid sentence. My lips are on hers preventing that any other word leaves her mouth.
“We're going to be stuck in here for at least another hour and no one is going to disturb us”
“How do you...?”
“Stop talking” For God's sake “Haven't we lost enough time already?”

She's going to say something again but I'm faster. I surround Ai's neck with my arms and pull her closer, capturing her lips with mine in an eagerly awaited kiss. She doesn't seem to react at first, but probably it's my fault for being too bold for her mind to process in time, she've always done things on her own pace after all. Then, I feel her arms tightening the grip around my waist, wanting me closer, even if there's no distance already between us, and it's the signal that tells me that she's stopped thinking.

Don't know how, but in the blink of an eye my back is against the mirror and her tongue inside my mouth. I think I'm going to like this new side of her very much. She's wild, bold, aggressive and tastes like fresh water of an overflowed river. And I'm drowning.

She's broken the kiss and just when I'm going to complain, I feel her teeth nibbling my earlobe and one of her hands going painfully slow from my back to my butt. I can't help but moan and grab her head with my hands, entangling my fingers with her wet hair. I don't need to see it, I can feel her mouth to turn into a huge, satisfied, grin against my skin. She continues, leaving a path of hungry kisses down my neck until she's stopped by the fabric of my shirt and growls.

“Something's wrong?” I ask her playfully, half laughing, half frustrated 'cause she's stopped.

Ai-chan doesn't answer and, for a moment, I fear again that she's having second thoughts about this. But no. Then she looks at me, fiercely, like a starving predator, and devours me with her gaze just a second before of doing it with her mouth.

“This... off... now” Ai-chan says with faltering voice, already lifting the piece of cloth without asking permission.

And here I was thinking that I was going too fast...

+++

I take a glance at my watch. We still have some time left 'til Eri (or whoever she asked to open the door) comes back.

We're now sitting on the floor together, my back against the mirror and Ai-chan curled up between my legs. Clothes are back on, emotions under control again... Probably, someone who'd see us right now couldn't tell that we've been entangled in a hot and sweaty battle just a few minutes before. Passion isn't completely gone, though (God knows that I'm dying to get out of here and take her home with me), but this is one of those moments where you're fine just holding the other one in your arms, knowing that she feels the same.

“I'll never be able to see this room the same way” she laughs softly, playing with a lock of my hair.
“I know what you mean. I can't look at that mirror at practice anymore without imagining you naked..”
“Hey!” she's blushing madly and makes her look amazingly gorgeous.
“I'm just saying. It's gonna be a bit difficult to stay focused on work and you know it, leader. Thank Kame about that”
“Eri?”
“I told you, she's been trying the whole week to convince me that you were interested back and today she seemed really, really, sure about it; so the turtle decided on her own that the best she could do was to lock us in here until we'd resolved our little problem
“Uuhm...” my girl (that still sounds weird) seems to be thinking about something important right now. 'That' frown, remember?
“What?”
“Reina” she sighs “She probably encouraged Eri to do it”

I must look really confused right now. Ai-chan turns a bit to face me properly.

“Remember last week, when we went to karaoke with Eri, Reina and JunJun?” I nod and she continues “You were singing the Cutie Honey theme with Kame-chan, all dancing and being silly, and I'd must been really engrossed looking at you 'cause Reina suddenly said 'You really like her'. She didn't ask, she stated, and I nodded without even thinking. That yankee caught me so off guard that I couldn't deny it. She probably told Eri after that”
“So... you liked my Cutie Honey dance?” I ask mischievously and her face is again red like a tomato.
“Gaki-san!”

I laugh like I haven't done it in a long time and when I finally stop, I hold Ai-chan closer while she buries her face in my neck, sighing deeply and content.

And I'm happy because I know that, for now, we don't need to talk about what we are or what will happen, we don't need big words to say how we feel 'cause we can see it in each others eyes and we, definitely, don't need to tell the world, 'cause the only world we know is the one inside this little dance studio, with its closed door and a mirror that, if could talk, would tell you the silly history about two friends in love and the turtle that made it possible.

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posted by Lorena Enciso
Permalink ¤ 32 comments
Thursday, January 29, 2009,3:42 PM
Traveller ch. 30
yeah, I'm back and I hope that next time won't take me so long to update.


30



“Nakazawa-san,,, Even if you are de Great Consellour... I don't know if it's ok for us to be here...”

Yuko didn't pay attention to what the other woman had said and walked into the room, gesturing Natsumi to close the door after them. She looked around, scanning the room with narrowed eyes until she found what she was looking for in one of the corners. Then, she walked towards the spot and Natsumi, after thinking a moment if she was allowed to do the same, followed her superior.

There, hidden behind a silk transparent curtain, there was a little portrait of a young woman, shinning with a beautiful smile in her lips.

“He never forgot her, right?”
“None of us could never forget her” replied softly Nakazawa, while she caressed the frame of the paint, passing her index finger slowly from the top to the bottom “The Queen was truly special...”

Then, Abe heard a click, like some kind of resort opening.

“...and she will save our future”

Natsumi had been so engrossed trying to understand Yuko's words that didn't notice the paint turning into a little door. The real reason for the portrait to be there it was to hide something else. Something inside a little box that was now in the hands of the Great Consellour.

“That's the big secret?” asked Abe-san curious.
“Just the key”


***


Ai-chan and Kaoru were still looking at each other, unable to decide what to do. With their faces covered, the Princess obviously had taken them as simple maids and now it was going to be difficult to explain the truth. They both turned to Risa asking for help desperately.

“Your Majesty...” the little Lieutenant cleared her throat before continue speaking “...they're not here to clean...”

Her friend understand Niigaki's words as a cue to reveal their identities. If it was the right thing to do or a suicide the Princess would have to decide it.

“Ishikawa-sama” Takahashi's voice trembled for a moment while taking of the shawl covering her face “I know it's inappropriate for us to came into your room this way...”
“Takahashi-san?” asked a surprised Princess.
“Before you call the soldiers to arrest us again, there's something we need to tell you”

Kaoru discovered herself too, not afraid anymore about what could happen. In the eyes of the Princess had seen again her mother's, the same way she had seen it before in the other worlds. Those beautiful eyes would never hurt her.

“Who's that girl?” asked Ishikawa staring at Kaoru.
“That's why we are here. She's looking for Captain. She said that Yoshizawa-san needs help”

The look on Rika's face darkened suddenly.

“For what I know, she's doing pretty well alone...”
“But we need to demonstrate that she's innocent”
“She stated it pretty well that she don't need my help”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, she came to me, said that didn't remember anything and then ran away again without a word. If she wanted so badly to go back to her other life, at least could have told me...”
“Your Highness...” said Kaoru finally speaking “I really need to find her”
“And I have more important problems that I need to take care of” cut the Princess with angry “So, please, leave this palace. For the years you've served me well, Takahashi, I'm not going to tell anything, but I'm not going to help either”
“But...”

Risa took Ai-chan's hand as a signal to stop it.

“We're sorry to have disturbed your Majesty” said Niigaki with an apologetic tone “We'll leave now”

The girls couldn't do anything else but resign themselves and get out of the room without any clue about what to do next. Risa told them to wait for her there a moment and returned inside one more time.

“Princess, if you need something...”
“I'm ok” was the only answer from Ishikawa before turning her back to the girl and walk towards de balcony.
“As you want. I'll be near if you need me”

Just when the younger opened the door again to leave, the Princess called her, still without looking at her.

“Niigaki”
“Yes, Highness?”
“The Blue Hell”

Risa smiled lightly and bowed before leaving definitely.

When the door closed, Rika was still staring at the view from the balcony, with her eyes stuck in a single point. Then she sighed.

“She's probably back at home...”

And then, something changed in her mind, because she suddenly turned towards the door with a resolute expression in her face.


***


“God...” said a breathless Ogawa “I thought that... they had... caught us... already”

Yossi looked at her and smiled, surprising, without any trace of being tired at all.

After running for several minutes, they had reached the outside of the castle and went into a deep forest. Probably it wasn't the safest place to be, but it was better than stay inside and be exposed to another patrol. Nobody could assure that they would win again.

The singer stared at the sword still in her hand. She had felt something back there, she was sure, but now was gone.

“Are you going to tell me what was that?”
“What?” asked Yoshizawa at the sudden question.
“You just made those men fly away like mere leaves with just a movement... How?”

As if Yossi wasn't wondering the same.

“Guess I'm lucky”
“And what happened to your sword?” a frown appeared on Ogawa's face “That one's pretty rough...”
“Makoto, I need you to trust me...” said the singer “Even if I can't answer your questions”

The Lieutenant was taken aback by the sudden and serious request. The younger could count with the fingers of one hand how many times her superior had called her by her given name.

“I do trust Captain. I wouldn't be here If I didn't”
“Yossi”
“What?” asked a confused Ogawa.
“Just Yossi it's ok. I'm not your captain” Hitomi saw the expression in Mako's face and understood that she should found a way to explain herself without revealing her secret “...at least, not anymore, since I'm being wanted by murder. I guess you can tell that it's like I'm fired so, no captain, ok?”

Ogawa seemed doubtful for a moment.

“Can't you just see me as a friend who needs help?”
“I... can try”
“That's enough” said the older with a relaxed smile. Maybe she could finally rely on someone without fearing to be discovered and worry just about finding Kaoru as soon as possible.

Makoto sat down at the humid groung and laid against a tree. “And now what? Do you have any plans to prove your innocence?”
“Not really” answered Yoshizawa sitting at her side “First, I have to find my friend, then we'll see...”


***


“What's the Blue Hell?”

The two soldiers and the young traveller were again at Ai-chan and Risa's room almost arguing about what to do next. The older proposed to follow the Princess's hint but Risa wasn't so sure about if it would be a good idea.

“It's the name how the lake and it's surroundings is known.. It's a beautiful spot into the deep forest with a waterfall, wild animals and all that stuff -said Takahashi- It could be heaven in earth if it wasn't so dangerous.
-It's bandits territory -interrupted Niigaki- And that's why I don't understand why Captain should be there. It's like going into the lion's den.
-And the best place to hide yourself from the world -retorted Ai-chan trying to impose her logic.

The young Lieutenant sighed. After some years of living together, Risa learned that, if there was something impossible in this life it was to understand what was going on inside her friend's mind, not less try to change her mind when she's got into something.

-Ok, let's think, hypothetically, that we find Yoshizawa-san there -said Niigaki finally giving up- Then what? How are you going to demonstrate that she's innocent?
-We'll find the one who did it.
-The evil twin you saw killing our King...
-Yeah.
-Takahashi, you sound so sure that scares me.

Meanwhile, there was a certain traveller wondering what was she doing there watching the friends arguing about if they should go to a place where she definitely shouldn't go. Kaoru was beginning to panic inside, not just because the Traveller was at Yoshizawa's wrist and she couldn't left without the older, but because of the state that the other girl was in when she left her. There was no way she could have go out of the palace grounds.

-I don't think it's a good idea to go to that place -said Kaoru- I'm pretty sure that Yoshizawa-san must be still here.
-If Captain's smart, and she is, she probably left already.
-At that I must agree with Ai-chan. The whole Imperial Guard looking for her? She's good, but not so good. The smartest thing to do is get out of this place.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door that made the three girls jump.

-Lieutenant Niigaki? -asked someone from outside.
-Yes, one minute -she turned to the girls- Hide, now.

Risa walked to the doorway and opened to see who was looking for her. It was one of the men under Ai's commandment until three days ago, Seita, if she remembered well. They talked for several minutes until it seemed that they achieved some kind of agreement and the man left.

-Safe now.
-What happened? -asked Takahashi appearing from behind the secret door.
-It seems that they found Captain at the west gardens.
-Is she ok?!
-Probably. She left a few unconscious guards behind her and ran away -answered Niigaki to calm Kaoru and then turned to Ai- They said that Makoto was with her and went towards the forest.
-So...?
-So, you're probably right and she's heading to the Blue Hell.


***



At a certain floor of a certain room there was a path of clothes. A nice silk kimono made a ball, a pair of rough boots and wore out trousers, socks, sheets, blankets and some pillows were all scattered around the bed where two girls laid now exhausted.

-It was a suicide to come here with all that's been happening.

As a reply, she received a soft kiss at the base of her neck.

-I'm serious, you know? You've been lucky to be able to escape...
-You'd have been upset if something happened to me? -she accompanied the question with another kiss. Sure there was a mocking tone in the voice of the younger, but some... hope maybe? hide too.
-I'm just saying... -she sighed when a hand caressed her abdomen- ...it's dangerous...
-Wouldn't be so dangerous if I could, actually, defend myself. Well, at least, not dangerous for me.
-See? That's what I mean -Shibata managed to recover her senses and kept a cautious distance between Maki and her, just to be able to speak without any other interruptions- It's not just because you could hurt people. You're so full of yourself, so sure of your strength that maybe, someday, someone stronger will appear and you'll be the one getting hurt.

There was a intense silence filling the room suddenly. Just after a few seconds, realization hit Maki.

-Oh my Goddess...
-What? -asked the older, confused.
-You really do love me, don't you? -this time there wasn't mocking tone, nor half smiles or second meanings.
-I... well, you are..., you know, important... in some way...
-I always thought that it was some kind of distraction, like a way to forget the boring palace life.
-You have a very low impression of me. I've already said it... that I love you, didn't I? -said Shibata a bit hurt.
-Well, yes but... -Maki stood up in the bed and stay kneeled at Ayumi's side- It's just... I've been with a lot o people, a lot -emphasized making the older frown at this point- But that doesn't matter. What I mean is... -Maki took some breath- I've heard the word love so many times..., but in the end, no one ever cared... It feels surprisingly good to know that someone does, that someone wants me to return safe and it feels even better if that someone is you.

Shibata sat on the bed, looking at the younger with a wide smile on her face.

-Mrs. Bandit, that was a love confession? -the vengeance was sweet and Ayumi wasn't going to waste the opportunity to turn back all the times Maki embarrassed her.
-You'll never hear me say those words. Ever -a slightly blush appeared at Goto's cheeks and Ayumi felt realized- It's cheesy and overrated.
-Well then -Shibata moved closer her lover, making the distance disappear between their bodies and resting a hand at the back of Maki's neck, caressing the sensitive skin before placing a soft kiss at the base of her ear- I don't need words. Just prove it.

Maki smiled. She was an action girl and wasn't going to let Shiba-chan's offer get wasted. The younger pushed her girl to the bed again and proceed to give her the proof she asked for. First, a soft kiss on the lips that soon intensified and turned into a desperate way to feel everything of the other. Then a skilled hand that began a journey following Ayumi's jaw line and travelled down her body, leaving behind a path of goosebumps and sending shivers down her spine. Shibata seized her lover's head, keeping her close, not wanting to break their kiss soon, while her body heated and stopped reacting to rational emotions.

-Shiban-chan, are you there? I need your...

Ayumi needed a whole second to let her mind process what she heard. That, definitely, wasn't Maki's voice.

-Oh God... -spoke the voice again.
-Great... -this time it was the bandit. Kisses stopped and hands suddenly disappeared.

The older looked at the other girl in her bed and then at the unexpected guest in front of them. The burst of rage was almost instantaneous.

-Do you know why the hell doors exist, Rika?!

The princess was taken aback by the angry friend in front of her.

-Well, sorry. But you should had told me that you were going to have, uhm.., company -the Princess then looked at the girl in question. She sure wasn't ready to find who she was- You?
-I'd like to say it's nice to see you again, Princess, but considering the circumstances -she then looked at Shibata- I guess I'll get going.
-No! -both Ishikawa and her friend shouted at time.

The bandit looked at them confused. She was already picking up her clothes from the floor and trying to get dressed as quickly as possible.

-Well, I understand why Ayumi wants me to stay -she said while passing her head trough the shirt's neck- but you?
-I'm going to the Blue Hell and it'll be easier if you guide us.
-The Blue Hell?
-Wait, us? -asked Shibata interrupting.
-Why do you want to go there? -both bandit and princess ignored the girl that still was naked under the thin silk sheets- It's not a place for people like you.
-I'm going to find her and I need you to help me.
-Oh no, no, no, no. I've got enough of Yocchan's problems for today. She's out of my life, end of the story.

Finally standing from the bed and putting some clothes on, Ayumi walked closer to her lover and helped her tying the belt she was having trouble with since Ishikawa mentioned the lake. The hands of the older on hers seemed to have some relaxing effect on the bandit, who sighed and rested her hands at her sides, letting Shibata do what she wanted. Of course, it would had been better is she could undress her, not the contrary.

-Rika-chan, I don't think it would be a good idea to leave the palace now -she said finally facing her friend- You have to think about what Nakazawa-san said. If we're going to war, the less we need is one of the Princesses disappeared.
-It will be just one day, two at maxim. And don't think that I'm doing this just because I'm selfish or something. You know that we need her.

Shibata felt Maki's hand on hers and turned to look at the girl wondering what she was doing.

-A war? -asked the younger- I thought that the big problem was the King's death.
-Side effects. A kingdom without king is a weak kingdom, plus, the best captain of our army is no longer on our side.
-She left us, her family, for her -said Maki to the shorter girl while pointing to Ishikawa- Wouldn't ran away of her side just because some people think she's a murderer, which I can tell you she's not. Must be something else...
-Then help me find her -asked again the Princess, already a bit desperate.
-That's the second time today that someone asks me for help. I'm a bandit you know? I'm not a good person.
-Yes, you are.

Looking at her lover, she found herself being attacked with puppy eyes. Maki couldn't stand that look on a girl. If she had a weakness that would never reveal to anyone, were puppy eyes. It was the only way to reach her soft side and the bandit hated to admit that she had it. The worst thing is that, when she looked away from Ayumi, she found the same expression on Rika's face.

-I hate you -she finally said- Both of you.


***


-Ok, could you stop walking now? This isn't going anywhere.

The Great Consellour turned to look at her friend. They'd been walking through stone corridors for a while now and Abe seemed to have lost her confidence in Yuko knowing the way.

-We're not lost, if that's what you thinking -said the older- We're almost there.
-But what's so important that the Queen had to keep it under the palace, in a place like this.
-I'm sure you'll discover it yourself soon.

When Yuko said the last word, Natsumi noticed that they already had reached the end of passage and in front of them there was just solid rock. Then, Nakazawa took out the key that she borrowed from the King's room and approached the wall. The next thing that happened seemed like magic, or that's what Nacchi thought when the stone wall moved to the side revealing a door. The door where the Queen's key fitted perfectly.

-What you're about to see it's a secret passed through generations at our Queen's family and I was entrusted with it when she got sick. Not even the King knew about it.
-And you're going to show it to me now?
-The time when we'll need them has come.
-Who?

The door opened and revealed a huge room, a round cave larger than the largest hall in the palace. It was all grey stone, lit just with a few torches around so mostly of the place was still in darkness. Abe tried to advance, but before she could take a step, Yuko hold her back. She had taken one of the torches at the door and pointed the flame towards the ground, or where it should had been the ground. In it's place there was just darkness.

-Stay behind me.

There was a narrow stone bridge that they crossed walking close to each other until finally reached a solid platform at the center of the cave. Nakazawa place the torch she was holding in a place similar to a stone altar and then walked back a few steps. What happened next almost made Abe fall on her knees.

The whole room began to move in a way that seemed like if the ground under their foot was spinning. Suddenly, light intensified and Natsumi could see clearly how four round columns were rising from the dark abyss.

-What's all that, Yuko? -she was still trying to adjust her eyes to the new light and could believe if what she was seeing was true.

The columns were around the cave and, when they reached the roof and its base joined the platform at the center, the whole room had floor. The bridge disappeared and the door closed.

-This, my dear Nacchi, is our secret weapon.


To be continued...
 
posted by Lorena Enciso
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008,11:08 PM
Traveler ch. 29

29

“There’s no one here, Captain”

Yossi wasn’t totally expecting to find Kaoru there. In the few days that she shared with the girl, the singer had begun to understand her a little. If the younger was worried about her, she probably would be looking anywhere but the place where they arrived. Yossi couldn’t blame her, she was just trying to help, but as soon as she found the girl, they should talk about her craze to disappear.

“We should leave before someone notices us”

Makoto’s voice took Yoshizawa’s attention just a moment before she fixed her eyes in the traveler. She had put it on her wrist before leaving the previous world and didn’t have time to return it to its owner. Right now it would be really easy to just press the button and jump to another place and another until finish the damn program. Then Konkon could send her back home… Of course, not before asking what happened to the young student and making her feel really guilty for leaving the other behind.

“Aah…” Yossi let her body rest against a wall before rolling down and sitting on the floor.

The Lieutenant heard her superior sigh and kneeled beside her.

“Really, Captain, we must leave” Makoto thought for a moment and then spoke again “You can tell me how’s the person you’re looking for and, after finding some place safe enough for you, I can came back and keep looking. But please, we have to go”

“Ok”

The younger didn’t expected to convince her so easily, but seeing the Captain standing up she wasn’t going to complain, so Ogawa just followed her when she began to walk.

They couldn’t advance too much, though, because five soldiers were blocking the way.

“Yoshizawa Hitomi, you’re under arrest”

***

While her way back to the castle to see Rika, Kaoru kept dreaming about how that person would be. Seeing her mother in those other worlds, younger and with so many different ways of life, made her wonder how she could still be the same cute, kind and smart woman that she loved so much. The girl sometimes had heard her aunt telling that Ishikawa Rika was like a princess when she was younger; well-mannered, talkative, with a charming aura that could make to fall in love the most insensitive of the hearts… Now she was going to meet a real one.

“We have to be cautious” said Takahashi, grabbing Kaoru’s arm to make the other girl follow her steps walking along a dark corridor “Nobody else but me and a few friends know this path, but once we get into the palace we’ll be exposed to be caught”

“Do you have any plan?”

“There’s someone who could help us” Ai-chan stopped for a second and felt the wall looking for something “I just hope that she still believes in me”

Suddenly, the rock moved aside and, soon after that, they were in a small room, lightened slightly by the soft sun of the twilight coming through the window.

“What’s this place?” asked Kaoru.

“My room”

“And, why a secret corridor under the palace leads to your room?”

“It was there before I arrived” answered Takahashi while opening the wardrobe and taking some clean clothes “Gaki-san and I discovered it long time ago, just some weeks after we moved here. I never thought that I’d had to used it for something like this”

“Gaki-san is the friend who had to help us?”

“Yeah”

“Why are you so sure that she won’t give us away?”

“Because we trust each other. I know that she’d never betray me”

“Ok then, were do we find her?”

Ai-chan just sat on the bed, resting her back against the wall and stretching the legs, letting her feet hanging from the edge.

“We’ll just wait here”

***

“Shit” exclaimed Ogawa.

The situation was really difficult. Not that any of the soldiers could win her Captain alone, but they were five, and she was pretty sure that soon there’d be more of them.

“Please, leave your swords on the ground and come with us without resistance”

“I’d like to…” began to say Yossi taking the sword out of its sheath slowly. Makoto thought that it was the end. Yoshizawa was going to give up and they would spend the rest of their life inside a dark cell “…but I’m in a hurry”

Hitomi aimed the sharp edge against the soldiers with strength hoping that some of the abilities to fight that she acquired at the previous world would be still inside her. She had done pretty well against the monsters; probably those men wouldn’t be worst.

But her hand wasn’t so sure.

And, at the same time that her knees began to fail, the, until now, gentle breeze rocking the top of the trees, became a strong wind that made the branches shake. And then, she felt it caressing her skin and wasn’t afraid anymore.

Her whole body recovered its strength.

Her hand was firm.

And she knew it.

There was, again, something different inside her.

“Captain!”

Makoto’s voice alerted her just in time to stop a sword inches away from her. The five soldiers at once charged against both girls. Ogawa stopped the first one without problem, moving away from her opponent’s edge in a blink of the eye and hitting him on his stomach with the hilt of her sword.

Yoshizawa would have been impressed if she, actually, would have been able to see her partner fighting. But she was too busy at the moment with her own fight. A thrust passed grazing her cheek but she hardly paid attention and, before the soldier could react, Yossi went ahead and took him by his wrist, managing to disarm him and knocking him down to the floor, where she dealt the soldier one last blow to make sure that he wasn’t going to get up before she could take care of the next, who didn’t arrive alone. Mako-chan could manage to get rid of just one soldier so, the other two remaining went directly against the singer, that received them with both hands armed, one with her sword and the other with the first defeated one’s. Yossi herself was surprised by the agility of her movements, by her capacity to deduce her opponent’s movements and beat them.

Just as expected, the noise from the fight soon attracted the attention of another patrol that didn’t take long to arrive at the place and, seeing what was happening, charged against the fugitive.

“Behind you!”

It was just an instant, but the Lieutenant would remember for the rest of her life that second, when she saw Yoshizawa turning to receive her attackers, with a movement so subtle that only the air that the edge of her sword cut noticed it, and then those four soldiers flying twenty meters away without her captain touching them.

When Makoto reacted, she took an astonished Hitomi, that was still wondering what had happened, by her arm and ran until they could find a safe place where hide themselves for a while.

***

Sitting in a bed, with her arms crossed and shaking the feet nerviosly, was still waiting an anxious Takahashi. Kaoru, even if she wasn’t enjoying the same confort, had prefered to wait hidden inside the tunnel in case that something went wrong.

Ai-chan was going to get up and get out herself to go find her friend when she heard some steps coming from the corridor and a key entering inside the door’s lock.

“You’re sure you don’t wanna come with us tomorrow?”

“Pretty sure, Nakato”

Hearing that name, suddenly Takahashi felt sick. Nakato Toshiro was an arrogant captain from the infantry of the kingdom that was after Risa for a long time already. One of the Lieutenants from the Princess’s Guard could be a great prey to boast about in front of the other officers, and her friend was too innocent to notice the game. Because of that, more than once, Ai herself had had to stop the soldier’s advances.

“Think again, Niigaki” insisted the man “After today’s news, tomorrow could be our last free day in a long long time”

“I know” answered the girl while turning the key and opening slightly the door “But tomorrow I have an important appointment. So, if you excuse me, I wanna go to bed” Risa entered her room and the soldier, that didn’t even flinch, tried to follow her. But the girl, that had seen the movement coming, pushed him and, with a murderer look, made the man move away “Alone, if you don’t mind”

After closing completely the door, Risa let out a deep sight. But the calmness didn’t last long, because turning on the lights of the room she found a totally unexpected visitor.

“I’m so proud of you” said a smiling Takahashi from the bed.

“Ai…chan?”

“I would have slammed the door against his pretty face, you know?” continued Takahashi without paying attention to her surprised friend “I like your stile, is more… sublte”

“Ai-chan?” repeated Niigaki still unable to believe her eyes.

“That’s my name”

“But how…?”

The older stood up finally from the bed and went to hug her friend.

“But you were at…”

“We escaped” and before the younger could say anything, she continued “…but I don’t have time to explain everything now. We need your help”

“We?”

“Risa, I need to know if you still believe in me”

Gaki-san doubted for a moment, but the look in Ai-chan’s eyes made her understand that her friend needed desperately someone who she could trust.

“I believe in you, Ai-chan” she returned the hug with a smile “Just tell me what’s happening”

“Kaoru” called Takahashi turning to the entrance of the tunnel “You can get out now”

“Who’s that?”

***

Ayumi closed the door of her room after her and let out a sigh. Her free day lost because of nothing. After all, what could she expect from that kind of person? That people aren’t known for being able to keep promises.

“You look beautiful in that kimono”

The voice surprised Shibata, who turned suddenly towards the window.

“But you would look even better without it” continued the stranger seated at the edge of the window.

The expression on Shibata’s face change from astonishment to an intense blush, that covered not just her face but her whole body. The lips of the newcomer drew a satisfied grin.

“What are you doing here?” asked Ayumi when she finally recovered from the initial shock.

“We had a date, remember?”

“Yeah, five hours ago. Something that reminds me that, right now, I’m very angry at you”

The other jumped inside the room and walked towards Shiba-chan who, instinctively, avoided the touch.

“Come on… It wasn’t even my fault. I was there early this morning…”

“You know? You don’t need to give me any excuses. I was almost sure that you weren’t going to appear”

“But you waited there, didn’t you?”

Again that damn blush covering all her face didn’t let her to lie. She had waited, almost two hours to be exact, until she lost all hope. But the other didn’t need to know the details. She turned her back to the intruder, unable to look at those mischievous eyes questioning her.

“I was dying to see you…” words were followed by two arms surrounding her waist from behind “…but those stupid guards appeared and I couldn’t escape in time”

“You had another fight with the people of the palace?!” Shibata turned to give a disappointing look to the other, who was still holding her.

“I was caught. That implies that I didn’t fight back”

“Goto…, you are…”

“The one you love the most?” finished the younger with a playful smile.

“Incorrigible”

“But you love me”

“I don’t know why I should…” answered Shiba-chan with a pretended death glare.

“But you do”

The older pouted still not looking at the girl holding her waist. She knew that Maki loved to play with her like that and hated to admit that, somehow, she even liked it.

“Yes, I do”

“You do what?”

“I do love you. Happy now?”

Ayumi’s face was all the red that a face can possibly be and was going to bury it on Maki’s chest to avoid that she could see her blush, when the younger took her chin and, lifting it slightly, made their lips meet for the first time after long time.

“I missed you”

This time any trace of her playful smile had disappeared from her expression and had been replaced by a tender look that melted Ayumi’s remaining defenses. She surrounded the younger’s neck, attracting the other girl towards her for another kiss…

…that never arrived.

“Hey!” Shibata had suddenly remembered something and pulled the taller away “How do you escaped?!”

***

“You’ve been sitting there for hours”

Abe Natsumi was at the frame of the Consellour’s office’s frame as if she was waiting for the other to give her permission to enter. But Nakazawa just stared at the dark grooves of the wood on her desk.

“Do yo know what’s going to happen, right?” she simply stated.

“Yes”

“And you know, too, that there’s no way to stop it…”

The younger just nodded. She knew pretty well that their resources weren’t enough to defense the kingdom against an attack. But then, Yuko raised her head and looked straight at Natsumi with something in her eyes that the younger knew perfectly. She wasn’t going to give up even if it was going to be a lost battle from the start.

“Abe-san, about that.., you could be wrong”

“What?!” Now Yuko could read her thoughts?

This time, the Great Consellour stood up from her desk and walk towards the door.

“Do you have something in mind?” asked a curious Natsumi.

“Just follow me”

And so she did.

Both women remained silent, walking through the corridors and halls of the palace. Well, it was more like Yuko not saying a word and Nacchi afraid of asking. There was something in the mind of the older, no doubt about that, but it was really something that could help them when the war began?

Yuko seemed sure about it.

“What are we doing here?” Abe finally realized where the Counsellor had taken her.

They were in front of a closed door. A door that hadn’t been opened since the King was found dead.

Yuko took the knob and turned it slowly.

“I’m going to show you one of the best kept secrets of this kingdom”


To be continued...

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posted by Lorena Enciso
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007,11:52 PM
Traveler ch. 28


28

“They’re coming” announced Kaoru, who had her ear stuck on the door.

“I told you that we should have waited ‘till night!” shouted Takahashi almost hysterically seeing that their escape wasn’t going to be more than a try.

“What a brave soldier you are...”

The lieutenant glared at Maki who had just made fun of her and was now walking towards the door. She put Kaoru aside and held the knob. It was locked but probably wouldn’t be a problem and they could even use it to get some advantage.

“Move backwards” ordered the bandit.

The other two girls, seeing what Goto had made to the doors of their cells before, weren’t going to question any other request from the older so, they stepped back and waited.

Maki waited too, leant against the door with her right hand holding the knob strongly, hearing every step that the guards were doing towards them.

“I’m telling you” she heard one of them saying while the key began to unlock the door “It’s impossi...”

Before he could end the sentence, the apparently harmless door hit him on the face, directly to his nose, and made him fall dragging the other man along with, too. The youngers couldn’t deny that Maki was smart. She had waited behind the door, knowing that the men would be unprepared and, the first moment that the door was unlocked, she pulled with all her strength and then push it against the soldiers with a sharp blow. Now they were on the floor, one half unconscious with his face covered with blood and the other trying to get up.

Kaoru and Ai-chan ran towards the door where Maki had kneeled already to disarm the broken-nose guard.

“Raise the alarm!” shouted the other guy still on the floor.

The bandit stood up without paying attention to the other man and threw the soldier’s sword to Ai-chan, who was quick on the uptake but didn’t know what to do with it.

“Why me?!” she asked to Maki.

“You’re a soldier, right?”

“And you a bandit” complained the younger “Do your job!”

“I can’t”

“Why?!”

Suddenly, she found another sword aiming directly towards her chest but, luckily, she was fast enough to stop it in time. The guard had already stood up and wasn’t going to let them go so easily.

“I promised that I wouldn’t hurt anyone, ok?” said Goto answering the Lieutenant question. She had leant against the door and was watching the fight with her arms crossed “Do you really think that I let those inepts capture me if it wasn’t that way?”

“But you knocked that guard!” replied Ai-chan that had began to sweat trying to repel her opponent’s attacks.

“Technicaly, the door did it”

Takahashi was so puzzled with that answer that she lost all her concentration for a moment, something that the guard seized to disarm her and throw the sword where she couldn’t reach it at the same time that three more guards came into the room.

If Maki was decided to not move a finger to do something, they were helpless.

But shomehow, when Takahashi was seeing herself again inside the cell, and this time with reason, a silhouette stood in the way between her and the guards waving the sword that she had lost seconds ago.

------------------------------

“Time to practice, little girl!”

“...early...” grumbled Kaoru under the sheets.

“Come on, sleeping beauty”

The sheets suddenly flew away from the bed, leaving a young woman wearing just a tank top and pants exposed to the look of her teacher.

“Goto-san!” exclaimed the younger trying to reach the sheets.

“Ayumi hasn’t woke up yet so, we have plenty of time to practice before breakfast” Maki throw a pair of jogging pants and left the room to let her pupil some privacy to change.

Kaoru was seventeen and she was living with Shibata since her mom died one and a half year ago because of an accident at the laboratory where she was working. Since then, she had never got time to be alone. Her mom’s family seemed to be disappeared before she was born and, since she never met her father, Ayumi, Ishikawa’s best friend from childhood and Kaoru’s godmother, took charge of her. After all, she had seen her grow up.

Then, there was Goto Maki. That woman always seemed to her a bit... odd. She visited her mom often, sometimes once a week, but hardly talked to Kaoru, as if she was trying to avoid the younger. Sometimes, she was convinced that Maki hated her or something. But then, there were those times when she caught the woman staring at her with a sad expression in her eyes. She was really an enigma.

After her mom’s dead, everything changed and that almost stranger had got the habit to appear in her home early every morning to do what she called ‘training for the future’. Kaoru didn’t understand the sudden interest in her safety, but Ayumi told her that it was her mom’s request and then she couldn’t deny -not to mention that she liked to see her aunt happy and, for some reason, the Goto Maki mere presence in the room made Ayumi’s eyes shine- So, two reasons to do it. Some exercise couldn’t be so bad.

Well, wouldn’t be bad if Maki didn’t wake her up at 6 in the morning every day...

“You’re slow” said the older throwing a new weapon to the garden’s floor.

Kaoru stared at her a moment and then at the object on the ground.

“A sword...”

“Yes” answered Maki.

“Why I need to know how to use that? I like a gun better”

“You know enough about guns. From now on, it’s sword time”

The pupil, resigned to do what her fussy teacher wanted, took the weapon from the ground and glared at the older. Then, something strange happened. Maki smiled, something very unusual in her, and said something that Kaoru wouldn’t understand until some time later.

“If you’re a bit like her, you’ll like it”

------------------------------

Good bless morning practice...

Kaoru looked with the corner of her eye at Maki, who was still leaning against the wall, but this time with a hint of surprise in her eyes. Then she concentrated her senses on the guards. Two against five, or one, if we take into account that Ai-chan was disarmed.

“Lesson two” she whispered.

The five guards charged against them at once.

If you’re in disadvantage, take the weakest link and use it against the others.

“What if there’s no weak link?!”

They were all like giants compared with Kaoru, and she was just a little girl with a sharp toy. At least, her weight gave her advantage.

One first sword passed almost grazing her ear, but Kaoru could avoid it in time and counterattack with a quick movement that, for a moment, destabilized one of her opponents, who lose sight of his objective.

Weak link.

The girl ducked quickly and, turning on her feet, she achieved to make him fall. And the wardrobe that was the guard took two of her friends with him to the ground. Just two more to take care of.

This time, and being a surprise for the two younger girls, Goto Maki moved from her spot at the wall. It wasn’t too much. She just approached the fallen soldiers and took one of the swords. Then she turned to Takahashi and threw the weapon to her for the second time in that day.

“Help her a bit, pet”

***

There was a girl in front of Ishikawa’s door.

She had knocked, twice, but, seeing that no one had intention to open and hearing some noises coming from inside, she doubted that the Princess would had actually heard her.

“Rika?” she asked opening the door slowly and sticking out her head a bit, wich almost caused her to lose it when a silver plate flew just a few inches away.

It was the girl’s shout of panic what made the Princess turn to look at the door.

“Shiba-chan? I’m... I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to...”

“Don’t worry” replied her friend with a smile “As long as I can keep my head with me, it’ll be ok”

Shibata, then, took a look at the room around her. It was all messed up. The bedsheets and pillows all over the floor, some food, wich Ayumi deduced that was minutes ago at the flying plate, spread on the table and part of the ground, a chair with just three legs crashed against a closet and the missing leg inlaid in a near paint hanging in the wall...

“You’re going to tell me what happened here?”

“I was pissed of”

“Well... That’s pretty obvious. But, why?”

Rika sighed and sat on the bed.

“Can we talk about that later?

“Of course”

Silence flooded the room. Shibata looked at the mess again and then at the Princess, who was now lying with her back against the mattress and her eyes closed. She must be really exhausted after almost destroying the place.

“By the way...” said Ishikawa again with her eyes still closed “Hadn’t you got plans today? What are you doing here?”

“Change of mind?” answered the older laying next to her friend and sighing as deeply as Rika did it before.

“But you were really excited about today. Something happened?”

“Let’s just say that I’m a fool who trust people too much”

“Well then, welcome to the club”

***

“Time to split up, ladies”

The two youngers stared at the bandit while trying to recover some air after the running. Someway, they managed to escape from the building and arrive to a little forest inside the walls of the palace where the trees keep them hidden from the patrols.

“Thank you” said Kaoru. She knew that nothing that she could say would make Maki change her mind and help them. It was a waste of time to try it.

“Why? It was you who took us out of there. You fought against the guards and pretty well, may I add. Thanks to you, I’ll be able to appear in front of her without breaking my promise”

“You still broke that guard’s nose” grumbled Ai-chan.

“I told you, pet. The door hit him, not me”

“Yeah... Of course...” said the resigned lieutenant.

With a satisfied smile, Goto Maki turned her back to the girls and got ready to continue on her way but before making any step forward, she stayed quiet, as if she was thinking about something important, sighed and then kneeled to remove something from her ankle.

“This will help you if you have to scape to the mountains” she said walking again towards Kaoru and wrapping around the younger’s wrist a little yarn bracelet. When she finished, the bandit stared at Kaoru for a moment.

“What?” asked the traveller a bit uncomfortable.

“It’s just... There’s something familiar in your eyes...”

“Familiar... how?”

Maki raised her right hand and tapped the younger’s shoulder.

“Some other time” and said that, the bandit turned her back again and began to run “Tell Yocchan that I said hi!”

Soon, Goto’s silhouette disappeared from their sight.

“Now what?”

“Find Yocchan” answered a resolute Kaoru.

“You’re calling her like that, too?”

“You’ve got a problem with that?”

“It’s still weird... Anyway, where are you planning to find Captain?”

“I... don’t know?”

“What a great plan”

“Any better idea?”

Takahashi thought for a moment. If Captain Yoshizawa was, as the stranger said, inside the palace walls, and she wasn’t in the jail with them, there was still a remote possibility that she wasn’t captured and was safe somewhere. There were only two women who would risk everything to protect Yoshizawa Hitomi, just one of them with power enough to keep her hidden from the others at the very center of the palace.

At least they’ll have something to start, even if it was like going into the wolf’s mouth.

“Well go to see Princess Ishikawa”



To be continued...

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posted by Lorena Enciso
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