Tuesday, May 22, 2007,10:12 PM
Traveler ch. 23




23

The first thing that Yossi saw in the new world was the floor’s rough surface.

Once the blinding light disappeared, the sharp pain of hundred knives hit her head. It was nothing like the first time; it wasn’t just a simple headache. The pain overwhelmed her senses, she felt sick, she felt her strength leaving her body and her legs couldn’t stand her anymore, making her collapse to the ground.

“Yoshizawa-san!”

Kaoru saw her falling and kneeled at her side, but Yossi didn’t answer. Her mind was blurred, unable to form any word.

“Wait here, I’ll find help!”

Yossi wanted to scream ‘no!’ to stop the younger but her voice couldn’t leave her throat. Kaoru had disappeared from her sight. The young traveler didn’t seem to understand that their priority was to go home and that being separated wasn’t a good idea. It was like if she hadn’t learnt anything from her previous adventure against the man-eating monsters. She tried to stand up, regretting every minute to have left the other world. No matter how dangerous it was, anything else was better than the pain she was feeling now.

As Yossi concentrated all the strength in her legs trying to leave the ground, a strong wind began to blow. Her legs failed again, her vision blurred and that damn wind… It was like if fate wanted her to not move from there.

Exhausted, she let her body fall and ended lying upwards on the ground, trying to recover some air. Finally, the pain seemed to leave her at the same pace that the wind lost its strength and became just a little breeze caressing her skin.

“Captain?”

The singer didn’t need to open her eyes to recognize that voice. Again, someone familiar in an unknown world.

“For God sake, what happened to you?”

“Long story, Mako-chan…” she said smiling slightly “…long story”

***

Kaoru was totally lost. She repeated once and again in her head that had been a bad idea to leave Yossi back there and go alone to find help. Maybe it’d been better to go straight to the next world and the next and the next ‘til they finally reached Kaoru’s and could send Yoshizawa back to her own place. But what if the sudden changes made things worst? The whole travelling thing seemed to affect too much the older. First the headache, now that horrible pain reflected on Yossi’s face. Something was wrong. Something was really wrong and it was in part because of her, because of that stupid trip. All that never would have happened staying quietly at home, living like a normal student and forgetting her stupid fantasies.

I must have listened aunt Ayumi…

The funny thing was that she couldn’t remember clearly when all start it. Maybe was the day she found that letter hidden inside an old book…, or maybe began with all the tales her mom told her before going to sleep when she was a child, tales about far away worlds, about courage and friendship but, most of all, tales about a shinning knight who used to fight for the sake of a better world.

Now, after being able to meet that person, the tales her mom told her didn’t seem so unbelievable. Yoshizawa Hitomi wasn’t just a fantasy. Not that Yossi was the super-hero type that she had imagined, she wasn’t even the Yoshizawa that her mother knew, but someway, there was something extraordinary in her, an amazing aura of self-confidence and the power to make her feel safe. Even if she was dying in pain like right now.

I must hurry…

She kept running, even if she didn’t know where to go. The priority at that moment was to find someone who could help Yoshizawa-san and then go back home as soon as possible. That was the plan. It should be easy.

Someone must be hearing her prayers up there ‘cause, finally, she saw a pair of silhouettes not so far. Two men to be exact. Two men wearing what seemed uniforms and weapons. Guards maybe? Kaoru didn’t care. There wasn’t time and they could help. Full stop.

“Excuse me!”

The men turned their heads to find a foreign girl running towards them.

“What’s wrong, Miss?”

“My friend, she needs help!”

“Ok, calm down, girl” said the taller of the two men “Where’s your friend?”

Kaoru couldn’t recall exactly where the place where she left Yossi was, but she tried to describe it and explained to the guards the way she followed ‘til reach where they were now, describing as much as she could the things she saw during her run. Luckily, the men knew the place and a faster way to get there.

“So, where’s she?”

The guards stared at her as if they’d been just tricked and waited for a good excuse for it.

“She’s probably hidden somewhere near” said the girl a bit confused too “Just…, wait a minute, ok?”

Where the hell she went? Was all that Kaoru could think. Even if she was feeling better enough, Yossi knew that she would go back for her as soon as possible. She should have waited there. Or maybe…, maybe something happened. Maybe that place wasn’t so safe as she thought at first and had been a really, really bad idea to leave her alone. What if…

“Yoshizawa-san!” she shouted with a bit of desperation in her voice. She couldn’t be far, she couldn’t…

While she was still searching around, one of the men approached her with a serious expression on her face.

“You said Yoshizawa?” he asked rudely.

“Yes” Kaoru didn’t pay to much attention to the question ‘cause she had more important things to worry about, but when the taller guard took her arm something told her that there were more trouble coming through.

“Yoshizawa Hitomi?” asked again the man to confirm it.

“Ye..s…”

The taller looked at the other man, who nodded in understanding.

“I’m sorry girl, but you’ll have to come with us”

“Eh? Why? I’m sure she isn’t too far, just wait”

“Don’t worry. If she’s here we’ll find her” then the man turned to his comrade “You stay here and start the research. I’ll take care of the prisoner and inform the others about this”

“Ok”

“Wait, prisoner?!” still with the grip of the guard around her arm and hearing those words, Kaoru began to panic “Why am I a prisoner?!”

“You’re arrested as Yoshizawa’s possible accessory” the man answered serious and began to walk pulling Kaoru along with him.

“But what did Yoshizawa-san?!”

The guard growled as the girl started to run out her patience.

“Princess Guard’s Captain Yoshizawa Hitomi is wanted in charge of the King’s murder”

***

“You’re feeling better?”

The soft voice whispering in her ear, the warm hand caressing her forehead… Yossi was, indeed, feeling much better. The headache and the sickness were already gone. Couldn’t say the same about her body, which was still weak and a bit in pain, but it was something she could deal with. At least, she wasn’t feeling like dying anymore.

Now it was time to evaluate her new situation. So, she opened her eyes slowly and examined every detail around her. She was in a bed, a very comfortable bed, in a really huge room a bit over-decorated, with flowers paints on the walls, thin and pink silk curtains failing from the ceiling and covering the windows…, all very girlish.

And then, Yossi diverted her attention to the woman besides her, to the soft features and the deep eyes looking at her.

“Where…?”

“Don’t worry. You’re safe now”

Even if it wasn’t true, the smile that came with those words would had make Yossi believe any lie.

“You’re sure about that?” questioned someone from one of the corners of the room “We’re inside the palace. Anybody can see her”

“Then you shouldn’t have taken her here at first, Ogawa. But it’s ok” she said turning again to look at Yossi “Even if it’s inside the palace’s walls, my chambers are big enough and no one would dare to enter here without asking permission first”

“But Princess…” tried to tell Makoto again.

“Stop complaining, Lieutenant” the Princess voice was categorical “Better go to find something to eat. She must be starving”

Makoto left the room with a bow and the Princess returned her attention completely to her guest, who was already trying to stand up from the bed to leave as well.

“No way” said the girl in front of her making Yossi sit again against her will. Not that was difficult. The singer was still weak and just a little push made it work “You’re staying here until we find what to do”

“Rika…”

“I told you, Yocchan. You’re safe here…” a gentle and delicate hand caressed Yossi’s cheek and travelled to the back of her neck, playing with Hitomi’s hair and then pulling her closer for an unexpected, brief and soft kiss “…with me”



To be continued...
 
posted by Lorena Enciso
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007,9:25 AM
Traveler ch. 22
22


Silence.

They couldn’t make anything else but wait.

“Miki!”

Rika’s voice shouting desperately was stuck in Aya’s mind together with the image of Fujimoto collapsing to the ground. Matsuura didn’t have time think about it, she just jumped from her place and ran towards Miki as fast as her leg allowed her. All happened so fast that she could only recall a few details…

The younger looked at Yossi, seated against a wall with her eyes closed. She had hurt her right arm, nothing serious, but enough to make Ishikawa dead worried about her for a few minutes. Aya smiled sadly. Even if that girl wasn’t her sister, they were the same… Someone brave enough to risk everything for the ones she loved…

“Take her out of here!”

Yoshizawa had knocked down with her sword one of the beast that was blocking Aya’s way. The younger was disarmed and it could have been the end. She saved her live.

But, it was worth it?

“I’m sorry, Aya”

Next to her, Maki had been in silence all the time. Someway, she knew that, what happened to Miki was eating the younger from the inside. Obviously, something was going on between them since Gottsan left Yuko’s place but Maki knew that it wasn’t a good idea to ask about it now…

“…it’s my fault. We must have returned sooner…”

“You’re ok?” asked Aya, who until then didn’t seem to pay attention.

“Just some scratches… And you?”

“I’m sorry for Ayaka” said Matsuura absently “She had been Hitomi’s friends for so many years… And Tanaka and Kusumi..., they were so young…”

“Aya, you’re ok?” insisted Gottsan “I know that Miki and you…

But, before Maki could have her answer, Kaori arrived to the square where everyone was waiting and Aya jumped from her seat.

“Tell me that you have good news”

Nakazawa was standing in front of her waiting with Aya and Rika already at her side. The taller saw the restless in their eyes and lowered her head.

“I’ve made everything I could do…”

Matsuura didn’t wait to hear the rest of the sentence and ran inside the dorms before anyone could stop her.

***

“You’re good for nothing!”

“It’s your fault!”

Why do you hate me? Can’t you see that I’m scared? That I need you?

“I’ll be always with you”

No, you won’t. Mom was right. It’s my fault. I’m the one who should be dead…

“Be strong, Miki-chan…”

I can’t. I’ve failed you again. I promised you that I’d be strong but I can’t. I tried to be like you, I tried to make this world a better place, I tried… The truth is that I don’t have your strength… I’m nothing like you.

It’s hard.

It hurts.

“I won’t forgive you…”

I know mom, I can’t forgive myself either. Not just because of her but all the other mistakes I made since then. You told me… Her sacrifice was in vain.

“I won’t forgive you if you die”

“Tan… will you stay by my side?”

Aya?

“When you’ll stop risking your life as if nobody cared about it?!”

“Now that I was going to give you a chance you have to find another way to annoy me, right? I hate you, Fujimoto”

Matsuura was trying to sound angry but her voice was going to crack at any moment. She had rushed into the room, without knowing what she should expect, and had found Miki lying on the bed unconscious, with the wound on her side bandaged and an almost unnoticeable breathing moving her chest.

“You can’t even keep a promise” she said moving slowly towards the bed “Not that I wasn’t expecting too much from someone who has seducing girls as her hobby but, God, this has been the shortest relationship ever…”

The younger seated next to her at the edge of the bed and took her hand.

“Miki, please, don’t leave me alone again…”

“It’s not your time yet, Miki-chan. Live… For me…”

“Let’s make a deal, Tan. If you keep your promise…” Aya leant to whisper in the older’s ear “… I’ll let you do anything you want with me…”

Nothing. Just the same damned silence filling the room. What the hell was Aya expecting? That hearing something like that Miki would jump from the bed as if nothing happened? So she gave up, there’s nothing else she could do and, giving Miki a sweet kiss on her cheek, she stood up and walked towards the door.

“Anything?”

Aya turned to look at the bed again, unable to believe her own ears.

“You know…” said Miki again with her eyes still closed and breathing heavily “…it’s really an…noying to have to be half dead to get some at…tention from my girlfriend…”

“Who said anything about girlfriends?” asked Aya crossing her arms and trying to act cold.

“You… Before…”

“I didn’t…”

“You did it” cut Fujimoto with a wide mischievous grin on her lips.

The younger, even if she was trying to deny any kind of feeling that could make her look concerned, was at the verge of tears. She saw Fujimoto bringing her hand to the wound with a hurt expression on her face. When the sharp pain seemed to stop, Miki opened her eyes and stared at Aya, who had lost the battle and had already a tear rolling down her cheek.

“I love you too, Princess”

***

“She did it before” stated Nakazawa trying to calm down the rest of the girls “Fujimoto’s stronger than all of us together”

Then, Konno appeared followed by Kaoru. They knew that it wasn’t the best moment to tell the news but maybe, after what happened, it was better for them to leave as soon as possible.

“Yoshizawa-san, the Traveler, I think it works”

Yossi walked towards them. She’d almost forgotten about it.

“You’re sure?” she asked.

“Well, I repaired the loose piece that I found but we can’t be sure until we try it” answered Konkon, leaving the machine in Yossi’s hands.

The singer stared at the Traveler for a moment and then turned to Rika, as asking her what she should do. Yossi wasn’t sure anymore…

“So wonderful was your life back there?”

“I can love you the same way… even more…”

What to do? What’s the best? To leave when half of the girls where wounded, knowing that she could help? But if she stayed…, what would happen to the people in her own world? There weren’t any physics rules for that kind of things? Wouldn’t she break the Universe’s balance or something? Her career, the group, Rika… What’d happen if she stayed?

“Go home”

The voice was firm.

“But you asked me to stay”

“I was selfish and blind” Ishikawa was standing next to her, masking the pain in her heart with a soft smile “I can’t make you stay when there’s someone else waiting. This isn’t your place, Yocchan”

“But…”

“She’s right”

Everybody stared at Aya, who has returned from the rooms more relaxed and approached to Yossi slowly. All the jaws dropped when the stubborn Matsuura surrounded the older’s neck with her arms and held her.

“Don’t stay…” she said in a barely audible voice that only Yoshizawa could hear “I couldn’t stand to see you die again…”

Yossi wasn’t able to find any word. Aya moved away from her before she could react and, taking Kaouru’s hand, pushed her towards the singer. The girl looked at Yossi and the older saw the restless in her eyes. She couldn’t let her go alone, not now that she knew how dangerous could be the worlds she’d still have to visit before being able to return home.

“Ok. Let’s go” she finally understood what was the right thing to do and put the Traveler around Kaoru’s wrist.

She wanted to do it fast, even if in her heart she wanted the machine to fail and be forced to stay there, but her finger didn’t dare to press the button. Seeing that, Ishikawa walked towards her and gave Yossi one last kiss, while her hand was searching the taller’s hand.

“Thank you” said Rika before letting her go “At least, we finally can say goodbye”

Yossi felt Ishikawa’s finger over hers just a second before the girl moved away. Then, it was all white again.

***

“It’s a pitty…”

“What?” asked Kaorin turning to her leader.

“She was really good with the sword…” then Nakazawa turned to Rika and Aya who were still looking at the spot where the travellers had been just seconds ago “You two are ok?”

The youngers stared at each other for a moment and then nodded at Yuko.

“We’ll be ok” answered Rika with a sad smile “At least we know she’s alive”

“Oh, talking about that… Aya, how’s…?”

“I think she’ll live” Aya rolled her eyes remembering her little conversation with Fujimoto and replied the leader guessing what Nakazawa was going to ask “She ask me to give you a message”

“What?”

“Seventeen”

Everbody, even Aya, didn’t have a clue about what that message could mean but Yuko began to laugh out loud.

“That deserves a party!”



To be continued...

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posted by Lorena Enciso
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