SnapShot

By Ryuu no Taiyo

Chapter Nine

It was a warm but rainy Hillyan summer. Rain was rather rare that time of year, and Jade found herself stuck inside the lighthouse, cooped up by various windows, watching the rain. And it poured. Jade, who had been looking forward to freedom all school year long, was sporting her best Jade-is-not-happy look and was bored.

Pey'J sat by the radio on a little stool, watching Jade for a couple of moments before making up his mind.

"Whaddya wanna do today, Jade?" he ventured, knowing that he was risking a temper tantrum from the young girl. And the weather zapped all the energy out of him; he did not want to deal with the young girl's ranting.

Jade huffed. She puffed a couple of stray raven locks out from in front of her eyes and turned to look at Pey'J.

"I'm bored. There's nothing to do, Uncle Pey'J." she whined.

Her uncle laughed.

"You're a spoiled brat, aren't you, Miss-Grace-Of-An-Ox. Always needing this old ham to entertain you!"

"You're not an old ham!" Jade said indignantly.

Pey'j chuckled again.

"In any case, I've got a surprise for you."

Jade's eyes lit up and she jumped up from her scrunched up position. She hopped up and down.

"What is it? What is it?"

Oh the troubles that seem to be forgotten when you give your child a toy. Pey'J laughed.

"Let's take a tour in the Pedestrian District, waddya think?"

"Uh?" Jade oh-so intelligently replied.

It took them about half an hour to get ready to go and confront the rain. Jade was told to get dressed in some good 'sporty' clothing and to grab a sweater, or at least some heavy garments to protect her skinny little body from the rain. She also put on a good pair of sandals. Feeling ready, she went outside, ran through the rain and into the Workshop, and down to the dock where the hovercraft lay. It hadn't been used in a couple of days, since the downpour began.

Jade hummed a little, a song she'd often heard on their radio. She couldn't wait to see what Pey'J wanted to show her, but she tried not to fidget to much and let it show.

Action reporter Jade must learn how to be in total control of herself.

Smiling to herself, she got caught up in a rather exciting reverie…

"Com'on, girl! The tug boat is waiting for you!" her uncle called from inside the hovercraft.

Blinking a couple of times, she skipped from the dock to the little floating boat, and watched the metal door close.

¤¤¤

The rain clamoured down from the skies. She was glad her bulging sweatshirt completely covered her down to her knees, and he S.A.C. holding her precious camera was safe from the wetness.

Why she was heading inside Ming-Tzu's shop she didn't know. Pey'J refused to answer any of her questions and she was getting tired of waiting.

Really tired of waiting.

They stepped inside and out of the rain, finally. Pey'J, without missing a beat, hurried inside, towards the counter where he greeted the old man.

"Hey, Ming-Tzu. I'm here for you know what!" Pey'J said rather cheerfully, winking visibly.

Jade rolled her eyes, and had she not known better, she could have sworn the old half-walrus did too.

"So!" she said, feeling too irritated to care about how impolite she was being. "What's the surprise?"

Pey'J rolled his eyes.

Ming-Tzu hid a smile behind his long tusks, but went to the door that led to the back.

"Wait here." Was all the old one said.

So they did. Jade fidgeted. Pey'J questioned himself again. Was this a good idea?

Maybe he was wrong. Was it too early?

But there was no way of stopping things now.

Jade frowned. Pey'J seemed unhappy.

"Are you alright, uncle Pey'J?"

The half-pig smiled. "Sure, girl. I'm just tired, s'all. Good use a nice drink at the Bar, after all this!" he chuckled slightly, covering up his worry. Jade rolled her eyes. Ming-Tzu reappeared in moments.

He did no go back behind the counter, however. Instead, he went right towards the two, and stopped in front of the young raven-haired girl.

His strange hands were holding a long thing object.

"This is rightfully yours, child." He said without emotion.

Pey'J watched the interaction carefully. Jade looked afraid for a couple of moments.

"For me?" she said in a small voice. But she knew the answer.

Her small fingers folded around the thin object. And the brown paper covering it seemed to shred away, falling off in torn pieces.

"It is the right time, Pey'J." Ming-Tzu nodded to his old friend.

Jade looked at the odd object. It had grown considerably larger the moment her fingers had grazed it.

She dared her arm to move. Was she…afraid?

"Pey'J, what…is it?"

Pey'J looked at Ming-Tzu imploringly.

"It's called a Dai-Jo staff. It's used in fighting, back on my home planet in the River Constellation."

Her eyes widened, and a smile unlike any other made its way on her face.

"It's…for me?"

The two adults nodded, and a nice smile formed on Pey'J's face. He had been rather worried about the whole ordeal.

"THANK YOU!" the little girl squealed and rushed to hug the two adults (much to the awkwardness of Ming-Tzu, naturally, but he hid it with good grace).

She doesn't even know half of it yet…Pey'J inwardly sighed.

"Everything is settled then." Ming-Tzu said.

"Uh?" Jade asked, looking at her uncle with bright green, curious eyes.

"The training will commence immediately."

A silence enveloped the small room.

"T-training?" Jade stammered.

Pey'J let out a roar of laughter, somehow finding the situation amusing. Jade glared at her uncle. Why did grown-ups always keep younger kids confused?