A/N: I'm going to get flamed for not working on my other fanfics. Started playing/recording Radiata Stories lately and got inspiration for this little story. I don't think it's been done, so I decided, "Why not?" In any case, please flame me. I love criticism. I eat criticism for breakfast. n_n I promise not to be mean in return. Criticism is both hurtful and helpful. I'm asking for both before I get a big head about my writing.
This may be a crappy fanfic. If it is, let me know. =D
Leona sighed and rubbed her eyes. All the runology translations she'd been working on put her behind in class work. She barely understood what Professor Jill was shouting.
Part of her lacking concentration was her eagerness to translate the Voynich Manuscript Jack delivered to her yesterday. By the time he gave it to her, the library was closing and she had already packed up her things.
All the work Jill continued to assign in the next two minutes pushed the manuscript's translation farther away. What a cruelty her education had become.
Aiden, her lone classmate slouched a little farther onto the desk. Poor kid always had a hard time staying awake this early even with Jill's loud voice. When he started to snore lightly, she poked him with the eraser end of her pencil, giving an apologetic smile as he blinked his tired eyes and sat up on the stool.
Class finally came to a close. Delightfully, Leona packed up her books and left for the library. Descending the mundane stairs of the Star Tower and picking her way through the cluttered cafeteria.
No time to stop and grab something to eat. The teasing hoots and whistles from several boys chased her through the room, quickening her pace. With a blush of embarrassment, she tucked her head and scurried out the door.
The floor was always safe to look to when times got rough. And they got rough often. Especially when she got clumsy.
"Afternoon, Miss Leona," Cecil smiled as he passed her in the hallway.
"A-afternoon," she stammered, nodding and starting again on her way.
He stopped her with a question. "I heard you can decipher runes quite efficiently. Is that true?"
She straightened her glasses, looking to the floor. "Y-yes, Vice President Cecil. I can decipher a little runology. B-but… I'm still not that proficient yet."
"Just as well. The president has found some documents in Vareth's archives that are written only in ancient runes. Would you be willing to translate the documents for the institute?" His request was hard to decline. He'd done a lot for the students; enabled rights that her studies benefited from.
But the workload had piled up quite impossibly in her current studies. "On a normal occasion I would be honored, sir." She paused, contemplating how to get out of this, regardless of the tempting challenge.
"Well, I supposed this isn't a normal occasion." He chuckled.
She looked down. "It's just that… my studies are quite demanding. I would love to take on the task, but—"
"Wonderful!" he exclaimed, spreading his arms. "The president will be pleased to hear that!"
Before she could argue, he hurried off to inform him.
Sighing, Leona reached the library.
Her normal seat lay empty. She could study until the library closed. Leann, the librarian, acknowledged her before returning to the checklist of inventory neatly sorted over the service desk.
Once Leona sat in her everyday comfort zone of the quiet library, she opened her textbooks. Immersed in her work, the room around her disappeared from her thoughts. All outside noise vanished.
An hour gone, her class work was complete. She closed the textbook and sighed, fixing her glasses.
"My, you're quite determined." A uniquely, low-pitched female voice spoke observantly.
Leona blinked and looked up. Through the glass divider that separated the two work tables, a woman with long, silver hair and bright, green eyes smirked to her.
"Oh." She realized she had been staring a little longer than she felt she should. Her beauty was magnanimous. With her gaze averted, she answered, "I'm a bit behind in my studies, you see." A nervous smile crept over her face. Embarrassment from telling the truth made her begrudge her honesty.
"Is that all? Seems you catch up fairly quickly."
She blushed at the compliment. "T-Thank you."
"My pleasure," she nodded, returning to her own work.
Leona pulled out the Voynich Manuscript, carefully setting it on the desk and leafing through its many, enigmatic pages. Cryptologists all throughout Tottaus failed to decipher its text and meaning. But now, her turn had come.
The woman across from her gasped," The Voynich Manuscript!"
"Huh?" She looked up, tearing her eyes away with reluctance. "Yes, it is. How did you know?"
She smiled. "I memorized every page. Detail for detail. That's page three of the introduction. Or what's assumed to be an introduction. The text has six sections. Consecutively: herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, pharmaceutical and a recipes section. Unfortunately, the relation between the text and illustrations are ambiguous. Also, the author remains anonymous."
Leona stared again. "Amazing…" she muttered. Catching herself, "I-I mean, I'm sorry."
She frowned. "What for?" Head tilted to the side.
"It appeared I've distracted you." She gestured to the woman's papers.
"Oh, don't worry. I find it fascinating that someone else is genuinely interested in the manuscript."
A smile brightened her face. "My brother told me about it. He believes I might have the ability to translate it."
The woman chuckled. "Seems your brother has quite an imagination. No one can translate it."
"Huh?" She met the woman's vivid, green eyes.
"But don't let the truth stop you from trying. It has been written by human hands. Perhaps it is possible that human eyes can decode it." Returning to her work, the woman said no more on the subject.
The endeavor did sound impossible. Leona was just a child compared to her predecessors.
But the more pages her eyes swept over, the clearer the meaning became. Hands flew, turning page after page.
Within minutes, the text was clear as crystal. If she let her mind float in the realm of enlightenment, each page fit together in its own world of understanding. A glove only her spiritual mind could fit inside. The author's work was original and left her with goose bumps as she deciphered the very last word.
This wasn't something she could tell anyone. They needed to reach that enlightenment on their own.
Closing the book, she sat back on the stool. Looking up, the woman cocked her eyebrow inquisitively. "Give up?"
Leona contemplated. "Yeah… I can't decipher it." Her lie sounded false as it left her lips. And her averted gaze was a giveaway. Hopefully it wasn't too apparent.
"I see…" The woman gave a skeptic look before adding, "That's too bad."
Fists clenched in Leona's lap as she held her breath. The woman would see right through her lie! But did it matter?
… Of course, it mattered!
Looking to the clock, the woman gathered her papers, piling them atop the desk before scooping them into her bag. "I must get going."
"Oh. Alright." Leona relaxed.
"It was a pleasure speaking with you, Miss Leona."
"Heh? You know me?" She had never seen her before. Though it didn't help that the majority of her scenery included the floor or the inside of a book.
"I'm Felix." She extended her hand over the glass partition.
Meeting her hand with her own, Leona smiled. "What a peculiar name for a wo—" She broke off, feeling her face flush a dark shade of crimson as a gasp flowed through her agape mouth. Felix is a man's name. Though his hands were slender and soft, she distinctly knew the difference between a man and woman's hand.
The tension of his muscles and the firmness of his grip. She also noticed his jawline. The shape of his face. The budding of his Adam's apple. The flatness of his chest. The posture of his stance. How could she miss it? It wasn't his appearance that confused her. Nor the sound of his voice, which was just deep enough for a man.
No. It was the gentle, intelligent disposition that graced her with respect and undemanding patience. His modesty baffled her. He didn't whistle, tease, howl, or otherwise bully her. Who was this wonderful, indiscriminate, intelligent being radiating a genuine spark of placid kindness? Who was this gentleman called Felix who attended Vareth Institute?
Felix's hand slipped from hers and he sighed, "You're not the first to assume I am female."
The blush darkened. She stood and bowed unceasingly at the waist. "I-I'm sorry! I'm so sorry…"
"No, no. It's alright…" He looked away. "I've gotten used to the mistake. Please don't trouble yourself over this matter." He sounded deflated as he lifted his hand in a wave, leaving the deserted library.
Numbly, Leona sat down. Dropping her head into her hands, she sighed. "How could I be so stupid?"