Chapter 15

結束

Connection


Sister Beryl moved into the dining room where Vanilla and Shima sat.

"Sorry to keep you waiting." She said as she sat down at the table.

"Sister, may I ask why you're here?" Shima said leaning forward.

"To see Vanilla, among other things."

Shima leaned back in her chair again crossing her arms.

"Sister," Vanilla said, "what do you mean by other things?"

Sister shifted her gaze to Vanilla then back to Shima. "Vanilla. Have you been bothered by some sort of spirit?"

Vanilla's eyes widened as her jaw dropped slightly. "Y…Yes. How did you…"

"Has this spirit made threats against you or against those you hold close to you?"

Vanilla nodded slowly.

"Sister," Shima said interrupting, "this spirit, I believe it's intentions are much darker than merely causing harm."

"Explain." Sister Beryl said looking to Shima.

Shima hesitated. She stood up moved to Sister Beryl's side and whispered in her ear.

"…That's what I think. I haven't seen this spirit, I only know that Vanilla and now Vermouth Matin have seen it and, in Vanilla's case, interacted with it."

Shima turned to Vanilla. "Vanilla, has this spirit ever laid it's hands on you?"

Vanilla nodded. "On my shoulders. His touch was very cold."

"I see. May I see your locket?"

"My…locket?"

"Yes please. It's important."

Vanilla placed her hand over her locket that hung around her neck. "O.k."

Vanilla removed the locket from around her neck and handed it to Sister Beryl. Sister Beryl held it in her hand and looked at it intently. She then placed her other hand over it and closed her eyes and began chanting. As she did, a blue light emitted faintly from in-between her hands. Suddenly, the light changed to a bright red. Sister Beryl's hands were forced apart causing her to drop the locket as she breathed in quickly.

"My, my, my." Sister Beryl said placing her hand on her head.

"Sister, you dropped this." Shima said holding the locket to Sister Beryl.

Sister Beryl looked at the locket and then to Shima and took it. "Thank you. Vanilla, you may have your locket back now."

"Sister, what exactly did you do?" Vanilla said taking the locket.

"Nothing much." She said standing up. "A protective charm you could say. I need to be going. Shima-san, if anything new develops, be sure to contact me at my convent. It was nice to see you again Vanilla H. Please take care." With that, Sister Beryl left the house.

"All right, off to bed with you, Vanilla. Can you go to your bed by yourself?"

"Yes."

"Good. Goodnight Vanilla." Shima said leaving the dining room for her personal room.

Vanilla left the dining room and moved to climb the stairs. As she walked she removed her locket from her neck and looked at it. Nothing seemed different about it other than a little dust on it from when it hit the ground. Suddenly, the locket was snatched from her hands. She looked forward and saw two boys, Roy and Andrew, running up the stairs with it.

"No! Give that back!" Vanilla called as she ran up the stairs after them.

When she got up the stairs she saw that the two boys we tossing it back and forth between themselves and a few more of the boys.

"Please don't do that!" Vanilla said as she chased the locket around from person to person. The boys laughed, as Vanilla grew tiered of chasing around her locket. Finally Vanilla had enough and collapsed on the floor and broke into tears as the boys continued to throw her locket around.

"HEY! CUT THAT OUT! ALL OF YOU!" Vermouth yelled as one of the boys threw the locket. The locket landed on the ground by Vermouth's feet as he stood crossing his arms by the boy's quarters. The boys quickly filed into their room as Vermouth picked up Vanilla's locket and moved to her.

"Hey. Are you…"

Before he could finish his sentence Vanilla threw her arms around Vermouth and hugged him tightly.

"Thank you! Thank you so much." Vanilla said as she continued crying.

Vermouth's face turned bright red. "H…hey I was just doing what I thought was right."

Suddenly the girl's door swung open as Tina and Jess rushed into the hall to prevent something that wasn't happening. They stopped dead in their tracks when they discovered Vermouth in Vanilla's arms. Vermouth noticed them and quickly stood up removing himself from Vanilla and propped her up as well. The four stood standing in awkward silence before Jess broke the tension. "Oi. You two weren't doing anything weird just now were you?"

"No no no no no no!" Vermouth said waving his arms franticly in front of his body. "I was just helping Vanilla get her locket back." Vermouth showed the twins the locket that he still held.

"Here." He said handing it to Vanilla. "Be a little more careful with it O.K.? I can't look after you forever you know."

Vanilla smiled, wiped her eyes with her sleeve and nodded.

"Hey Jess." Tina said. "I think they were doing something weird."

"WE WERE NOT!" Vermouth yelled flailing his arms.

"Fine, fine. You weren't." Jess said calming Vermouth. "Either way, it's time for bed. Come on Vanilla. Goodnight Matin-kun."

"Try not to harass Vanilla-chan anymore, O.K.?" Tina said playfully.

"I ALREADY TOLD YOU I WASN'T!" Vermouth said angrily as the three girls moved into the girl's quarters and closed the door.

"So what was up with that, Vanilla-chan?" Jess said jumping on to her bed.

"It…it was nothing."

"Aww come on." Tina whined. "Tell us why you were hugging Matin-kun. Do you like him? Does he like you? Do you two like each other? Is there a mysterious third party lover that he doesn't know about?"

"Tina," Jess said interrupting, "Please try not to merge fantasy manga with real life."

"But something like this NEVER happens around here. I can't help it if my mind wanders a bit."

"It wasn't wandering. It was running a marathon through the mountains."

"Whatever. So, Vanilla-chan, what's happening with you and Matin-kun?"

"Its just as he said." Vanilla responded, "He was helping me get my locket back."

"Must be a pretty important locket for you to throw yourself on him like that." Jess said teasing her.

Vanilla blushed slightly. "Its just that this locket is really important to me."

"Really?" Jess said. "I haven't noticed it too much."

"That's because you're really a boy, Jess." Tina said throwing a pillow at her sister. "Vanilla-chan wears that locket wherever she goes."

"Is that so?"

"Yup." Tina then clasped her hands together and began to daydream. "I'll bet it's a symbol of love. A gift her one true love gave to her many years ago when they had to go their separate ways. A promise that they'll get married one day! How romantic!"

"Tina, Vanilla-chan's only five and a half."

Tina snapped out of her daydream phase and came back to reality. "Oh, yeah. That's right. Silly me." She said hitting herself on the head lightly. "But really. Why is that locket so important?"

Vanilla sat on her bed. She hesitated for a moment and then proceeded to tell briefly the story of how she ended up in her current situation.

Jess had her hands over her mouth by the time the story was over and Tina was nearly crying.

"Vanilla-chan," Jess said. "I'm, I'm so sorry. I had no idea that happened to you."

"It's o.k." Vanilla said clutching her locket. "I think Mama and Papa would be glad to know that I have friends like you now."

Tina threw her arms around Vanilla from behind and squeezed her. "Vanilla-chan! That's the sweetest thing I've ever heard!"

"Oi, oi, calm down Tina." Jess said "You'll kill her if you keep squeezing her like that. And keep your voice down too. Everyone else is sleeping."

"Sorry sis." Tina released her death grip of love and sat back down on her bed.

"O.k. you two, lets go to sleep. Tomorrow is monthly clean up day and we need to be well rested."

"I don't think I can sleep after that Jess." Tina said.

"Then try your best." Jess moved to the light switch, flicked it off, and moved back to her bed. "Night you two."

"Night sis."

Moments later Tina was fast asleep. Vanilla lay in her bed looking at the ceiling still holding her locket and thinking to herself.

"Jess-san." Vanilla whispered looking in Jess's direction.

"Uh." Jess responded back half asleep.

"You said when I came here that I could call you Onee-chan if I wanted, right?"

"Mmhm. An' Tina too. If you wan'ed."

Vanilla smiled as he turned her head back to the ceiling. "O.k. Goodnight… Onee-chan."

"Ah, 'night." Jess responded.