It's been a day. One day. Everyone else slept through the night as I sat and watched. I wanted to feel something, but there was nothing for me to feel. This want… is it new? I feel a weight in my chest that was never there before. Was it the egg? When I took Kusukusu's blood, there wasn't a burst of magic. Maybe my master was right; maybe it is just a wive's- tale. The heaviness returned.
I left the tent they gave us. It had been Kusukusu's, made only to fit one. I do not know how we all managed to fit in its red and white, diamond cut patterned confines.
The moon gazed down on me, us, as I ventured out. It accused me, wondering how I did not grieve when it had witnessed the same as I. I wondered the same thing. But the moon had no right! I could have asked it the same thing as it sat in the sky, cradled by stars, still full and beautiful. It should be waning. It should be dark. It should be raining, crying. So should I.
The field of flowers wasn't very far. I walked away from the accusing moon and towards the shadowed waters. I past the grasses, roses, sunflowers, poppies, and ri. I past all of the happy emotions and went straight to the edge. It was away from the ship, but still by gray sand.
I found the perfect flower; a bluebell. It hung low on the stem, as if it were mourning. Its beautiful stamina was blocked by close hanging petals. The petals dressed themselves in blue, the color of sadness. Not bright blue, like the sea at midday, but the dark, agapanthus blue that I associated with Ikuto. It was the color of his eyes, his hair. Ikuto was always sad, except when he was with Amu. The blue got brighter, happier- like the sea- when he was with her. But this flower was dark and sad, like he was any other time.
I placed this flower into my hair, letting the prickling roots make themselves at home. As the roots pricked my scalp, a similar sensation occurred in my eyes. A small stream of water leaked out, most likely left over from when Yaya soaked me.
My head bent and the water continued to leak out. Finally, I felt like I was feeling the right emotion. Kusukusu, I miss you.
"Rise and shine!" Amu called as the sun lit our tent the next morning. I just looked at her, not have fallen or ever been able to reflect light.
"What do you mean?"
Her movement stopped except for her mouth opening and then closing without any sound. Had her reeds given out? "It's just a saying," she finally explained. "It means wake up and be your best."
"I never sleep and am nothing less than best." Amu tilted her head. Was this a new emotion?
"Rima's voice is different! It's lower and doesn't ask so many questions!" Yaya observed loudly. "Did something change?"
I took some time to think. Could I even think now? I felt. Well, I felt some things. Like that heavy feeling. It hadn't disappeared, not even after last night's adventure. This flower was having more of an affect than I had anticipated. Unconsciously, I reached up to stroke the petals while saying, "I do not like sadness."
"None of us do," Ikuto said as he touched my head in a way I assume to convey companionship.
"I will get rid of it." I grasped the blue flower of sadness and prepared to pull, but a gentler hand stopped me.
"Yaya thinks we need sadness," the girl said. "The only way to overcome it is to add more happiness."
One of her hands was outstretched towards me. Not sure what to do, I gently laid my own palm in her own. In response, she grasped it tightly and pulled it in a different direction, leading my body with it. I looked back to see everyone becoming smaller. Ikuto and Amu were laughing and Kukai was going around talking to various natives. He held his stomach in a way I assumed was pain, yet he did not bleed, nor cry out. It mustn't have been a strong pain. Yaya was still ahead, silently leading me. Where was Nagihiko?
I turned to see us approach the all too familiar field of flowers. My forget-me-nots may run out from the amount being spent on this place. She led me into the thicket.
"Poppies," Yaya announce as we stopped midst the rainbow flora. "You need poppies." She gently plucked a handful and started braiding them down the front of one lock of hair. My lips curved up in a way I see a lot on other people as Yaya's fingers brushed against my scalp: the only place I felt such contact.
"Is Rima happy yet?" Yaya asked when she was finished.
Happy… "I don't think so." The weight was gone, but something was still missing. I felt the way a plant feels when it finally breaks ground, but hasn't spread its bloom yet. "I do not think I will be truly happy until I am human. But I am full of thanks for Yaya. The sadness has receded into its blossom."
Yaya tilted her head questioningly. "Rima doesn't know much, does she? But she once mentioned K-"
"Yaya! Come help me!" Nagihiko called from farther down the beach, interrupting whatever Yaya had been saying. "You can bring that thing too."
At least I now know where Nagihiko is.
"Rima's not a thing!" Yaya yelled back as we started traveling to his position by the ship. "She's a… a…," Yaya faltered.
"Golem," I finished.
"Yeah! Nagihiko shouldn't insult Rima for being different!"
"Of course not," he conceded. "I meant no harm." His words were ones of apology, but the way his eyes darted to me seemed contradictory.
"Where have you been?" I finally asked, the cattails getting the best of me. If there was one thing I didn't like, it was not knowing. Master had drilled facts into my forget-me-nots, and I asked Kukai as many questions as possible just to avoid that irritation. But it wasn't emotional like I see on Musashi when he can't follow Master's train of thought. It's more like pricks in my cranium, as if the part that transfer the emotion from the flowers is searching for the right one, but it's missing.
Nagihiko just stared at me, those eyes like two black star sapphires. His face was a dead garden; emotionless. "Where have I been?" he replied stonily. "I've been on this ship since before the moon rose, sleeping on the deck, and waking before the moon set just to prepare it for launch tonight while the rest of you slept all cozy in a tent, ignoring all responsibility." His eyes narrowed, reminding me of the thorns on a rose. "Where have you been?"
"As you said, I was in the tent," I replied, thinking it quite obvious. Why would he ask a question when he already knew the answer? There was a weird sensation on my scalp, an almost itching, like the sensation caused by toxic ivy. It was searching, confused as to what it found. Maybe I was missing an emotion? Or there was the possibility that I had a similar emotion to the one sought, there being many sub-categories to feelings. No matter the cause, the probing caused irritation, a soft pain.
With an exaggerated roll of his eyes (quite pointless, really. I mean, how could you see anything around you when moving them that fast?), Nagihiko turned around and mounted the ship once again. "Yaya, will you please help me with these ropes?" His voice didn't rise, making it more a demand than a question.
The autumn colored haired girl complied, albeit reluctantly. Even her, in her optimistic viewpoint on everything, could see the bitter poison within Nagihiko's words. They worked on rolling sails, tightening ropes, and other general up-keeping that I did not know the purpose of. I waited, stretching my senses to my base, letting the familiarity of the ground beneath me send soothing waves. No matter where I was, the earth was always the same: the same spirit, presence, and sense of home. Just staying there, my flowers on break and my host still, I could feel… something. Not emotions, or warmth, or anything else I'd expect. It was peace, calm, serenity. Everything else was gone and it was like when I was just clay, part of the earth, with no clear conscious or ability to evaluate. I was just there, something a human can never be.
"Rima!" I came back to awareness, to this faux life, when I was shaken. My foundation had become unsure, detaching me from my roots. The light was dim with an orange hue, very different from when I'd last noticed it.
Blinking my eyes at Amu's hand on my arm, I asked, "Yes?"
The rosette motioned one thumb in the direction of the ship. "It's ready. We're leaving soon, so you had better say your goodbyes."
Glancing over at the ship (which didn't look much different, really), I looked back and started following her back to the camp. Yaya was ahead of us, along with Ikuto, while Nagihiko stayed on the ship, still fiddling with a few more odds and ends.
I followed obediently, all the way to the crowded camp site full of vacant emotion and water stained faces. A few eyes lingered on, with intentions I didn't recognize. I wanted to ask them, inquire as to what they were thinking, feeling, but my attention was pulled to a human, one with feminine features and skin worn with age. She looked at me with eyes pale with wisdom and narrowed like a smile. There was no confusion or mystery in them, just kindness.
They were level with mine, and when she took my hand within both of hers, I knew that I'd seen her before. "Dearest doll, Rima, was it?" she asked. I nodded my head, one vertical dip then rise. "Well, Miss Rima, I must thank you and your friends." She looked around the group. "Where is that mysterious young man, the one with such a fierce rage in a delicate little body?" A low pitched laugh came from behind me, one that soon turned into a cough. The woman ignored it and kept speaking. "He silenced that dreadful, dreadful man. That is an honorable act." She patted my hand, not needing any comment as she kept going, "Dearest Rima, you now hold Kusukusu's lifeblood, her soul. She had such a pure, pretty one. If anyone could help you find your dream, it's her. Please, appreciate it. She was a special girl, and I know that you will be too." Her eyes seemed to be shattered, with little pieces lost. There was so much to be seen in those eyes. As we said our goodbyes, water fell over them, glazing them. I saw my own reflection in their pale ocean, and in that reflection, I witnessed the cracks begin to mend. This woman was strong, like a diamond. I hoped that I would inherit that beautiful quality. I'm sure Kusukusu had.
With the final goodbyes, we departed to the ship. Eyes lacked luster and faces wilted, turning from the sunlight that had been the cheerful carnival of the nomads. If only Kusukusu could have seen how the sun set, sending out banners of poppy, carnation, and camellia to send us off. It might just be the budding lily I rescued off the floating moss rafts, but I like to imagine that that light is shots of pigment, diving through the ocean of sky to paint the petals of the summer blooms that will awaken while the sun sleeps. Maybe I'll find one of them.
Maybe it will be the one that finally turns me human.
The room was dark with shadows, the curtains pulled edge to edge in an effort to block the obnoxious neon of the outside world. Whether it was night or day, the artificial light blocked out the moon or sun, the greedy developers determined to beat even Mother Nature herself. Panels on the walls made up scenery you were told was out there, but no one ever ventured out to see the real thing. Even now, in her isolation of knowledge, the fallen angel was surrounding herself with unnatural darkness. A few reflective units showed an eerie white, making up a glowing orb: the moon.
Or at least what she'd learned to believe it looked like. Clouding the sky was mists and permanent fog that captured the many lights and rejected them back. She had never seen the true sky.
Running her fingers over the screen, she turned a section reflective, revealing her joyless eyes to herself. Turning away, she snatched up her cosmetic device and strung a lock of hair between the two hot plates. Purposefully avoiding her own reflected eyes, she focused all her attention on getting the white-gold strands completely straight. Don't think about him, or what he's doing. Don't think about her. Don't dwell on them for a second.
"Miss?" a timid voice called from the other side of the room, the one draped in gauzy midnight cloth. Without pausing in her task, the girl signaled for the messenger to continue. "M-miss… it seems as if your Mr. Ho- your father has been, how do I say this… defeated. He's no longer… living." The steady motion of her hands ceased, her body becoming still. "Miss? M-miss Utau?"
Viper quick, she pivoted around, that steady arm pitching the hot plates forward. Letting out a startled yelp, the news barer ducked out of the room, terrified of the heiress' anger. With its initial target gone, the tool of vanity struck the panel, leaving the to face herself in the mirrored moon, eyes vibrant with long buried life as they glared at the shattered portrait.
"Damn you," she seethed. "Damn you Ikuto."
Ean: Hi! It's been a while. A looong while ^^; I have nothing to say but I'm sorry and that I hope the next chapter comes quicker, but I make no promises. I'm so sorry. Thank you all for being amazing and putting up with me. I hope to take this story far ^_^