"So Kageki and Z will be members of the NetSaviors," Laika finished. He and Pride were sitting at the kitchen table sipping their tea.
"Oh I should have been there to help you guys," Pride moaned. "Instead I ended up sitting out and being a big nuisance."
"You are a big help Pride," Laika assured her, "In fact, you are a great help in comforting the Hikaris when I had to run after Netto and Enzan. Also you were protecting Netto's parents."
Pride smiled wanly, "Thanks Laika."
Laika could tell that the princess was trying to hide her disappointment. Then he remembered his conversation that he had with Kageki at the graveyard. He could not imagine what it would be like not to tell someone how he feels about her.
Laika looked at the princess.
"Why don't we have a party?"
Laika blinked in surprised. "Eh?"
"You know, to celebrate. Netto is found and Z being Kageki's NetNavi and they are new members of the NetSaviors. I am thinking we could go shopping for some party supplies. What do you think?"
"I am not a party type person."
"But I think it's a great idea. So how do you feel about Netto?"
Pride gave Laika a quizzical look. "Netto? Why do you want to know how I feel about him?"
Laika shrugged uncomfortably. "Just curious," he said. "If you want, we could bring Netto and Enzan along with us."
"Well I like Netto," Pride said slowly.
Laika sipped his tea to hide his disappointment.
"But I don't feel like inviting him and Enzan."
Laika smiled. Then he heard a loud yelling and stomping upstairs.
"AURGH! WHO PAINTED MY TOENAILS RED?"
After a short pause, he screamed.
"I DIDN"T DO IT!"
Laika heard the thumping noise grew louder and saw a blue blur followed by a red blur running pass him and Pride and out of the kitchen door.
"I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS!"
"IT"S NOT MY FAULT! I SWEAR!"
Laika looked at Pride. She had her hand over her mouth as she struggled hard not to laugh out loud.
"What is that all about?"
Pride gasped, "Enzan thought Netto painted his toenails red while he was sleeping last night." She chortled and fallen back into fits of laughter.
Laika raised an eyebrow at her.
"But it wasn't him who did it. It was me."
"You highness. If I may be so blunt, that was inappropriate for a princess of Creamland to do," Knightman said disapprovingly at her.
The corners of Laika's mouth twitched.
"At least I gave Enzan a proper manicure," Pride giggled.
Laika thought of something, and he threw his head back and laughed out loud.
"Laika san, what is so funny?" Searchman asked.
"Last night was hot and I wished that I could see Enzan's face right now. Didn't you see him before he ran out the door?"
Pride laughed again.
Knightman guffawed loudly from his PET.
Searchman had a confused look on his face, then he understood what his operator meant and he laughed.
Outside, Enzan caught up with Netto. He grabbed Netto's arm, spun him around, grab his shirt collar to force him to look at him in the eye. To Enzan's surprise, Netto laughed.
"Netto, this isn't funny," Enzan growled. "You don't paint guy's toenails when he is sleeping."
Netto laughed even harder.
"Netto, you can stop laughing now."
He tried to say something, but he choked and broke down laughing again. He pointed at his feet.
Enzan looked down. He saw his toenails were painted red and manicured very nice, but he also saw that he was wearing his white boxers. Enzan remembered he forgot to dress up before he chased Netto.
Enzan felt hot and he did what any honorable man would do. He made a hasty retreat back to the house. By the time he came down stairs for breakfast, all the others were inside the kitchen laughing. Obviously, Netto had told Rockman and Blues what had happened.
"What is going on here?" Kageki asked as he entered the kitchen door.
"Oh heh heh," Netto said looking down at his PET, "It's nothing. Right Rockman?"
"Kageki san. I remembered the time when Dawn was laughing was at a school play," a new voice said.
Kageki took out his dark gray PET and looked at his new NetNavi. "Oh yes I remember that time Z."
"That was because you…" Kageki quickly covered the screen with his hand. Everyone, even Enzan laughed.
"I came here to show you guys something," Kageki said changing the subject.
Netto's interest perked up. "Really?"
"Yeah but after breakfast."
"Wow! This is cool!" Netto said in awe.
"Yeah." Rockman agreed. "Compared to Yaito-chan's tree house it's great."
"Without all the fancy stuff."
"Hmph!" Enzan and Laika grunted.
Kageki showed them the same clearing where the boys fought Bear and his army. What they didn't know hidden behind the tree leaves they had one tree house that appeared to be a simple wooden shack and a wooden platform connected by a bridge made of ropes. Under the tree house were the tire swing Netto had seen earlier and a rope ladder.
"What is so interesting about this tree house?" Enzan asked.
"It is called a tree fort or fort for short and it has a lot of memories." Kageki patted the tree trunk fondly.
"Can we climb on it?" Netto asked him anxiously.
Laika shook his head no. "It could be dangerous. The ropes and wood are very old so they could not support your weight."
"It's safe," Kageki assured him. "I came here many times to fix it and I know it is safe."
"Yosh!" Netto cheered. "Last one to the top has to buy ice cream for everyone."
"Not on my tab!" Enzan said, "You still owe me from the last prank."
Kageki and Pride laughed as they climbed up the tree after Netto.
Despite himself, Laika grinned.
Laika and Enzan sat on the cool grass and watched their friends explored the fort.
"Are you going to join them Laika san?" Searchman asked.
"No. In fact, I am planning on what to do tomorrow. After that incident with Ryuko we still needed to train."
"You and Netto can do that," Enzan said. He lay down on his back on the grass. "We needed to finish our work. Right Blues?"
"Yes Enzan sama."
Laika saw a dark green orb growing in front of him. Before he could react, it exploded in his face, drenching him with water.
Enzan's eyes flew wide open. He sat up to see Netto, Pride and Kageki grinning wickedly. They were standing behind two wooden posts with a rubber sling in between them. Nested in the center was a water balloon.
"What are the coordinates?" Kageki asked.
"Two degrees right." Pride said.
Netto moved the sling to the right. "Two degrees right," he called back.
"Up three degrees."
"Up three degrees." Netto echoed.
"FIRE!" Everyone shouted.
Netto let go of the sling. The water balloon sailed through the sky. Laika and Enzan ducked behind a tree. The balloon splashed against the tree trunk, leaving a water mark.
"Netto that is not nice," Rockman scolded him.
"Relax Rockman. This is what everyone should do. Laika wants to train, but Enzan needs a break from his paper work. So we put two and two together and we are training and keeping Enzan away from his paper work, at the same time we are having fun."
Kageki leaned against the railing grinning from ear to ear. "The idea is to get Enzan and Laika busy. I pulled up the ladder and the swing so they can't reach us. Now you know why we called this a fort."
"In return, we are helping Kageki and Z to learn how to work together and using Battlechips since they are new at this," Netto added.
"Uh-oh, guys! Look out." Pride called out.
Everyone ducked as a mud ball sailed over their heads and splattered on the wall.
"Fire in the hole," Pride said.
Once again, the children have returned to their play. Once again the forest was filled with young voices.