#30: Aesthesiogen

Defined as "something producing sensation; a stimulus or suggestion producing a sensory effect"

"How…intriguing," she breathed as she stooped to pick up a collection of brilliant red and yellow leaves. "I should have realized that your vegetation couldn't be the same as that of Mercury's—but changing colors? It's—"

"Intriguing?" he teased her.

Ami sniffed. "I don't recall poking fun at you for being so enthralled by the Mercurian elevators." She promptly dumped the leaves back onto the ground, burying the dirt in color.

Zoisite protested: "They were invisible! How can you not be fascinated by that?"

"Just because your Terran technology is practically primeval compared to—"

His hands went up in defeat. "Alright, I surrender; you clearly belong to the superior planet. But," he gestured around, "you can't deny the beauty of Earth."

She couldn't, Ami admitted to herself as she took in the blue-enameled skies and the gold autumnal tones of the foliage. She couldn't deny that the dull hues of Mercury could never compete with the colors of Earth. She envied him a little for it. People seldom realized how much the princess of Mercury appreciated and loved beauty in nature, in architecture, in…people, she added to herself when she saw the way Zoisite's boyishly handsome looks caught the sun's beams. She tried to shake that thought away—he was undeniably attractive, but she couldn't actually be attracted to him. He was merely showing her around his prince's domain, the forest bordering the castle grounds. In order to pass the time away. That was all.

He smiled down at her. "The best way to experience Earth is to really feel it. To sense it. Close your eyes."

She tilted her head skeptically, but did not protest when his hands rose to cover her eyes.

They walked a little farther on, and Zoisite moved to whisper in her ear.

"Can you smell it? Taste it?" His hot breath had her preoccupied with feeling it actually.

Ami inhaled a smoky scent of meat, a spicy-smelling bread and other intermingling, aromatic smells. Zoisite's hands dropped from her eyes.

"What are they?" Ami asked, staring at the spread of unusual…layers…of food. They were all piled into a collection of dishes set out on a makeshift table, what Zoisite called a picnic table. Stumps served as seats.

Zoisite's face was still close to hers as he inhaled the jasmine scent that seemed to rise in delicate wisps from her person. "Try one." Ami seated herself warily and began searching for something.

"What are you looking for?"


"None needed," Zoisite reassured her. He held out one of the pieces of food. "Shall I feed you?" he asked mischievously.

She hurriedly took the proferred object and took a small bite of the leavened bread and lamb meat. Bread and meat, sauces and tomatoes layered together. Genius.


"It's…" she hesitated. "It's delicious."

Zoisite split into another grin. "It's a sandwich."

Ami summoned up her etiquette training and refrained from spitting it out on the spot. "I'm sorry? Sand?"

Zoisite grinned once more. "It's safe, I promise."

He ducked his head down so that their faces were level with one another, and she could see the gold specks in his green eyes. She could make out a scattering of tiny freckles around his nose as his lips traveled closer to her. Slyly, he took a bite from the sandwich still in Ami's hands.

"Entirely safe."

She sensed something then with a sense beyond the five other burdensome ones. He felt it, too. He'd felt it long before.