Chapter 6:

The great pillars

The Journey

The Flock had just arrived at one of the pillars sustaining the Sky, where everyone gathers food and resources. That said, everyone had to have lunch before the operations could be started.Bookmark here

As it was a special day, today Gray, Nico and Natta were having a lot of meat, or at least, they soon would, for the food was still being cooked.Bookmark here

In front of the brazier, as he prepared the food just like always, Gray could feel the nice smell of the carrots and marjoram being boiled. Now what was left for him was to put the meat in the water.Bookmark here

As he did so, he noticed that, besides the meat, there were some mushrooms. They were part of the donations they received during the funeral. Bookmark here

Usually, he didn’t really use mushrooms in his food, but he also didn’t want to waste them…Bookmark here

So maybe this might be an opportunity to talk with him, even if it's small.Bookmark here

“Hey Nico.”Bookmark here

When he said that, Nico seemed like he was surprised, like he had just been taken out of his own world back to ours.Bookmark here

“…What’s it?“ Nico asked softly.Bookmark here

“What do you think of having some mushrooms today for a change?”Bookmark here

When Nico saw the mushrooms in Gray’s hand, there was something which immediately caught his attention: they were red mushrooms, of the type he had always loved.Bookmark here

Seeing them gave him the lingering feeling of something weighing in his heart, for they remembered him a little of his mother, but even then, in his eyes you could see glowing excitement.Bookmark here

“Mushrooms?”Bookmark here

“Do you like them?”Bookmark here

“Uhum“ he nodded. “Especially the red ones. Bookmark here

“Ok then“ he said with a smile on his face.Bookmark here

Even if it wasn’t like everything was perfectly fine, to Gray, just being able to cheer up Nico a little bit already made him happy. It was a long path towards his objective, but slowly and surely, one day he would achieve it.Bookmark here

But, on the other hand, Natta still looked at them with pure scorn in her eyes. Just like always. It has gotten to a point where this attitude of hers was even making Nico think if maybe she did ever feel something besides hatred and disgust at all. That said, at least she didn’t do much to them since yesterday.Bookmark here

It wouldn’t take long and lunch was ready. Bookmark here

Just like always, as they ate, they all stayed silent, but today, Nico noticed something different from the normal.Bookmark here

Resigned, guilty and worrying, these were the types of looks Gray always had in his eyes. But today, no, maybe since yesterday, his eyes exhibited determination.Bookmark here

Nico wondered for what was such determination. Again, Gray looked different from before, yet, once again, he seemed the same. Bookmark here

When Nico realized, Gray was looking back at him. Bookmark here

At him, not at the ground, not at somewhere far distant, lost in his mind.Bookmark here

“What did you think of it?”Bookmark here

“A-ah …of what?“ Nico asked, a little surprised by the sudden question.Bookmark here

“Of the food. Is it good?”Bookmark here

“Y-yeah, it’s pretty good.”Bookmark here

“Good. Maybe I could try using these mushrooms again next time”Bookmark here

“So can you gather some here?“ asked Nico, looking towards the great crystals of the pillar beside them.Bookmark here

Hearing this, Gray turned his face to the pillar behind him and asked:Bookmark here

“What do you think of trying to go there together with me?”Bookmark here

“Seriously?“ said Nico, looking for confirmation with his eyes beaming with excitement.Bookmark here

“You’re a bit young to this, but it’s good to start soon.”Bookmark here

“Ye-“Bookmark here

“Good, now let’s see if you can be anything more than a useless parasite child.”Bookmark here

Looking at both of them from across the brazier, Natta interrupted Nico. As everyone went silent for a moment, as always, in her face, with her mouth slightly open with it’s extremities a little raised, she showed a thousand different emotions: contempt, hatred, and what to Nico seemed like a new addition: the slightly insane sense of satisfaction that comes from vengeance.Bookmark here

“Natta, shut up.”Bookmark here

When those words aggressively left Gray’s mouth, Natta seemed surprised and slightly shocked. That said, as soon as she saw the hesitant and guilty eyes and the clenched fist Gray had, she returned to normal. She knew how difficult it was for him to oppose her directly.Bookmark here

“As you wish, oh honorable father“ she said in a mockery manner while staring directly at Gray’s eyes for a moment.Bookmark here

As he saw all of this, Nico stayed silent, nervous. Whenever Natta said something, did something, he would fear it. He could never know what she would do, only that it would be bad.Bookmark here

And again, that was what he was feeling, for she was approaching him.Bookmark here

He wasn’t in her way, she would walk past behind him and that would be it. Nothing was going to happen. Right?Bookmark here

I don’t have to worr-Bookmark here

She looked at him, directly at his eyes.Bookmark here

At that moment, he turned his face away from her. Look straight forward, and everything will be alright. She wasn’t in his sight anymore.Bookmark here

But, touching the front of his neck was her hand.Bookmark here

“So disliked by everyone that the only one who will stand for you is him… it must be sad to be you“ he softly heard a voice coming from behind his right ear.Bookmark here

He stayed still, shocked, in fear, he didn’t feel like he could move at all, and as soon as he came back to his senses, she had already gone away.Bookmark here

Went away to where? He didn’t know. She didn’t have any friends as far as he knew, nor people who she talked to somewhat regularly. Since he first saw her, she always stayed there, together with Gray, always acting like she just did. Maybe she really didn’t have anything but her hatred.Bookmark here

And he? What did he have? A friend? A man who only cares for him because of gratitude to his father? Only that? Oh yeah, and a bunch of people who either couldn’t care less for him, look at him with disgust, or hate him. Truly wonderful isn’t it?Bookmark here

But…Bookmark here

But maybe…Bookmark here

Maybe it wasn’t so bad…Bookmark here

After all he also had the man from that day.Bookmark here

————————————————————Bookmark here

“The vanguard can start the climb!”Bookmark here

With those words, the climb of the pillar started as around 20 people, equipped with special climbing shoes and carrying long ropes, started climbing the giant crystals. Bookmark here

From the ground to the Sky, the pillar was around 400 meters high. It was a long and difficult climb, which was done only by the most able and experienced climbers. Bookmark here

But now that it had started, they on the ground could only wait, for such a climb would take a few days to complete.Bookmark here

“Nico!Bookmark here

As he looked to the great pillar, with it’s glowing bluish crystals, Nico heard a voice coming from his left. When he looked towards it, he could see Rocco.Bookmark here

“Hey Rocco.”Bookmark here

“Rocco? I think I’ve already heard that name… this face also seems familiar…“ murmured Gray.Bookmark here

“Hello Nico!”Bookmark here

Waving to him as he accompanied his son, Nico was approached by Rocco’s father, Gian.Bookmark here

But as Gian neared, something in him caught Gray’s attention, as his eyebrows raised and his nostrils widened, as if he was in shock. Though, no matter what was the reason for that, he quickly came back to his normal self.Bookmark here

On the other hand, Gian didn’t seem to be even slightly shocked at all, and instead just furrowed his eyebrows in confusion after seeing Gray’s weird reaction. Bookmark here

“Hi Gian.”Bookmark here

“Hello“ said Gray.Bookmark here

“You are…?”Bookmark here

“Gray. And you are Gian, right?”Bookmark here

Gian nodded and then turned himself to the pillar before commenting: Bookmark here

“Looking at the climbers? These people surely have dedication, don’t they?”Bookmark here

“It’s so hiiiiigh!!”Bookmark here

Looking towards the top, Rocco was almost jumping trying to see where the Sky and the pillar met.Bookmark here

“I’ve already asked it before, but which one of you will be the first to climb it??“ asked Gian.Bookmark here

“Me! I’ll see everything from the top!”Bookmark here

“Hmpf, I doubt you’re even half as good of a climber as me“ said Nico as he crossed his arms and directed his chin up.”Bookmark here

“What about the two of you try at the same time?”Bookmark here

“At the same time?“ Nico and Rocco asked in unison.”Bookmark here

“Me and Gray can help both of you to climb a little bit“ Gian answered, directing his gaze to Gray, asking for confirmation.Bookmark here

“Seems like a good idea to me“ he answered with a smile.Bookmark here

Just after he said this, in the corner of his eye, Gray could see Natta coming back alone to their brazier, where they would set up their tent later. In her hand, she carried a glass of beer.Bookmark here

He was a little worried, but also relieved. But anyways, he had other priorities at the moment, after all Natta wasn’t acting much different from the normal, there’s a long time that she has been a heavy drinker, specially when he wasn’t together with her, when she would drink alone.Bookmark here

And so, the four of them would frequently meet through the next few days.Bookmark here

————————————————————Bookmark here

“The third wave can start the climb!”Bookmark here

When it soon would be time for breakfast, one man shouted from a distance from the tent while hitting a pan, waking up people and slowly capturing their attention.Bookmark here

There had been three days since the vanguard started climbing, and now they had finally got to the top of the pillar. Along the way, they had set climbing points, from where ropes were firmly stuck on the rocks, helping the second wave to advance as they set up the equipment responsible for helping transport big and heavy objects from the top to the ground. Bookmark here

And now, when most of this work is already finished, the third wave was going to start their climb.Bookmark here

“Gray! Gray! Let's go!”Bookmark here

“...Uh? Oh, Nico, it’s you…“ having barely woken up, Gray said without much excitement.Bookmark here

“You said you were going to bring me on the climb, didn't you?!”Bookmark here

Gray blinked a few times, starting to stand up. With Nico beaming with so much excitement, there wasn’t much that he could do.Bookmark here

“Yeah yeah, I did. Just help me to prepare things first. Ok?“ Gray said in a slightly annoyed tone, waving the back of his hand to Nico.Bookmark here

“Ok!”Bookmark here

Having finished waking up Gray, now Nico searched for the necessary equipment and, after some time, saw it in the corner of the tent. Bookmark here

The only problem was: between him and the equipment, was Natta, who was lying on her bedroll, still sleeping, and there was no easy way that wasn’t extremely near her.Bookmark here

That said, as Gray properly woke up and went to make breakfast for the two of them, he had to let everything else ready, so, even if only approaching her already made him shake a little, he continued.Bookmark here

To her right, behind her bedroll, in the back of the circular tent, was his objective.Bookmark here

First, Nico decided to first move his left leg there and, as he stepped on the ground, he immediately moved his other foot. Now between the bedroll and the canvas of the tent, the only thing left for him to do was to take the equipment and bring it together with him.Bookmark here

And so, he extended his arm to take it, but something stopped him.Bookmark here

On the back of his hand, he could feel a warm feeling. It was Natta’s breath.Bookmark here

Not only that, but just after, he could hear her murmuring something. It was barely audible, but it seemed to be a name, one starting with a “C”.Bookmark here

At the moment this happened, anxiety took Nico. What would she do if he woke her up? Would she be mad? Bookmark here

No… No one would be so mad just for being accidentally woken up, right? He didn’t have to fear.Bookmark here

But what about someone who hates you? Would this person be mad? After all, I already bother her just by existing…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

But I want to climb the pillar…Bookmark here

He started moving his hand again. Bookmark here

For him and Gray, he had to bring two steel stakes and some kind of protection to the head, besides a special belt that could be attached to the rope, but this last one was only for Gray.Bookmark here

They were all there, lying in the ground beside her, in front of him, and so, he took them.Bookmark here

Now, he turned to his back in order to get out of there. He had to transpassar her again, but he could do it. Bookmark here

One leg first, then the other one and-Bookmark here

And one of them ended up encountering the other.Bookmark here

He stumbled and lost his balance, but, by chance, managed to avoid falling, but he couldn’t avoid making a lot of noise. Thanks to that, behind him, he could hear Natta, with her eyes slightly open, murmuring talking with some imaginary person:Bookmark here

“Don’t wake me up… I don’t want to ever wake up…”Bookmark here

As soon as she said this, her eyes closed again. He had managed to do it.Bookmark here

He didn’t know why she was so sleepy, but he was thankful for that.Bookmark here

Leaving the tent, he could now see Gray. At his side were Rocco and Gian.Bookmark here

“Hey, why did you take so long?”Bookmark here

“Uh… because…”Bookmark here

Seeing the kind of answer he was getting, Gray sighed and then interrupted Nico.Bookmark here

“It doesn’t matter, just give me the equipment and put yours. Rocco and his dad are already ready.”Bookmark here

He did as ordered and put his equipment. Now, Gian and Gray would teach them how to climb the pillar.Bookmark here

“Well, first, both of you. Do you see the tip of this crystal over here?“ said Gian as he positioned himself to the side of a massive crystal around two meters long sticking from the pillar.“ First you need to be able to stick your stakes somewhere over it.Bookmark here

The two kids did as instructed, and after some attempts, managed to properly do the task.Bookmark here

“Ok, so, now, you jump and, holding the stakes firm in your hands, use them as a support so you can pull yourselves with your arms.”Bookmark here

He did as he said while the kids tried to follow suit. They had difficulties, but in the end, with both his and Gray’s help, managed to do it.Bookmark here

On the crystal, the surface was inclined downwards, making it difficult to stay balanced when over it. Because of that, Nico had some difficulty staying still, but with some time, managed to get the gist of it.Bookmark here

“Now the only thing remaining is to find stuff and bring it to the ground.”Bookmark here

And so, they continued climbing the pillar together, searching for food and other things along the way.Bookmark here

As they took time to start climbing, there wasn’t much for them to collect, but as long as they participated, they would receive at least a minimum of food by the Shepherd in accordance with Gray’s and Gian’s age, as Nico and Rocco were too young to receive anything, and they also had food stocked thanks to the donations, so starvation was an unlikely outcome.Bookmark here

As they climbed, they eventually were nearly 20 meters high. It wasn’t the highest they’ve ever been, for plenty of the hills they’ve gone to the top of were a lot higher than this, but it still was an impressive view. From there, as it was a direct, 90° fall, they seemed a lot higher than they actually were, and their sight seemed so vast and free that it looked like they were flying, or at least, as flying as you can be in this limited space between a giant roof and the ground.Bookmark here

“Hey Nico, don’t you think it’s awesome here?”Bookmark here

“Yes? Why the question?”Bookmark here

“Turn to your back and look at this.”Bookmark here

Nico did as Rocco said and turned to the same side his friend was looking. The sight was indeed amazing, but he had already seen it plenty of times.Bookmark here

“You know, you’ve already shown me the view at least four times“ Nico said, slightly annoyed.Bookmark here

“No no no no no. Come here, come here“ Said Rocco as he pulled Nico with his hand. “Now, look down.”Bookmark here

And so, Nico did as his friend said. Bookmark here

“Wo-woah! So high…”Bookmark here

Looking directly to the ground below them, it was the first time he could have a true notion of how high he was. Sensing the breeze passing through him, he felt like he could fall at any moment. The mere prospect of falling from such height scared him, but this sensation of being under risk enthralled, tempted him. It was something he had never experienced before.Bookmark here

“Isn’t this amazing?“ Rocco asked, still also looking towards the ground. Bookmark here

“…Yeah“ Nico answered without paying much attention, his mind occupied by the sensation of being at the edge of the crystal.Bookmark here

“But, you know, if being here is so amazing, imagine how it must be at the end of the world…“ as Rocco said this, he raised his head again, looking at the various hills and cliffs in the distance.Bookmark here

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen it, the end of the world.Bookmark here

“That’s why I asked, idiot,“ Rocco said giggling. “I wonder if we will ever see it… I really want to. Just imagine, somewhere where the Sky meets the ground, where the two of them are connected!”Bookmark here

As he said these words, Rocco slowly regained Nico’s attention. Somewhere where the Sky meets the ground…Bookmark here

“Dad once said that in our lives each one of us will see the end of the world at least twice…”Bookmark here

“Twice? Don’t you think this is too little? I want to see it a lot of times!”Bookmark here

“Do you? What will you do when you get there?“ Nico asked out of curiosity.Bookmark here

“…Hm… Nothing special I think“ Rocco answered with a pensive look.Bookmark here

“So what’s so special about going there if you aren’t going to do anything different from the normal?”Bookmark here

“Because I will know this world better!“ Rocco said, nearly jumping out of excitement. Bookmark here

Nico was slightly taken aback by the sudden reaction he got, but soon he resumed asking:Bookmark here

“But don’t you dislike what you still don’t know?”Bookmark here

“If knowing it is easy, then there’s no problem, right?“ Rocco answered with a smile of satisfaction in his face, as if he was proud of thinking like this.Bookmark here

“So you just dislike difficult things?”Bookmark here

“No! This would make me lazy, and I’m not lazy!“ Rocco said, turning himself to Nico, now seemingly annoyed. “If I really need to do something, then I’ll do it“ he finished, crossing his arms.Bookmark here

Seeing the reaction of his friend, Nico giggled a bit. Teasing him and seeing his mood change all the time was strangely entertaining.Bookmark here

“So what about trying to fall from here to know if it’s safe?”Bookmark here

“I’m not an idiot! I wouldn’t try this! Also, dad said that there’s no problem in bringing me here, so that means I’m safe.”Bookmark here

“Did your father try doing this so he can know it then?“ asked Nico, who had just noticed Gian looking at Rocco with worrying eyes, tensed up, like at any moment he would jump to take him out of the edge.Bookmark here

“No! Are you dumb?! If he fell he would be dead now!”Bookmark here

“How do you know falling would kill him?”Bookmark here

“I know it because it’s obvious!”Bookmark here

“So if you know what will happen if you fall, then there’s no problem with falling, right?”Bookmark here

“Aaaaaaaarg“ Rocco let out a yell of frustration.“ If I know something bad is going to happen if I do it, then I shouldn’t do it! The problem with things I don’t know is exactly that I don’t know if messing with them will make something bad happen!“ as he said all of this, Rocco turned his face opposite to Nico and closed his eyes, refusing to look at him.Bookmark here

Hearing this, Nico burst into laughter. The way Rocco was acting annoyed was simply hilarious to him. Bookmark here

“A-Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”Bookmark here

But suddenly, his laugh was interrupted by a scream.Bookmark here

As he looked again at Nico, he could see him moving his arms, without any direction at all, while trying to turn himself to his back to recover his balance as he started to fall.Bookmark here

But besides the scream, Nico also started to hear steps. They were heavy and fast, and the person responsible for them was a short man who desperately ran like his life depended on it. Bookmark here

But Rocco was already falling. Nico could see it. His feet weren't making contact with anything anymore, and his hands were desperately searching for something to hang on. In his face, you could see pure terror. Gian wouldn’t make it, there was no way he would manage to reach his son in time-Bookmark here

And at this very moment, Gian jumped.Bookmark here

He jumped into the air.Bookmark here

As he fell, he embraced his son. No matter the cost, he shouldn’t let him die. He should protect him, and wouldn’t ever let himself fail in doing that.Bookmark here

Embracing his son with one hand, with the other, Gian tried to grasp the rope attached to his belt, which the other extremity was firmly attached to the top of the pillar. He managed to slow down their fall, but he couldn’t stop it completely. As the rope slided through his hand, it started to bleed. He wouldn’t be able to do this.Bookmark here

And so, suddenly the two disappeared below him. Bookmark here

He heard the sound of something falling into the ground…Bookmark here

As he started to process just what happened in front of him, he heard someone shouting:Bookmark here

“We are on the crystal below you!”Bookmark here

————————————————————Bookmark here

As they descended to where Gian and Rocco were, Nico could see the backs of the two of them, who seemed to be looking at something. Bookmark here

When he and Gray finally got there, they noticed an unknown third, slightly overweight, man there. Bookmark here

Noticing their friend's arrival, Gian, with Rocco in front of him, but protected by his arms, turned his head to their direction, calling them:Bookmark here

“Hey, you two, come here“ he said, and as the two approached, continued. “Take a look at this.Bookmark here

Illuminated by all sides thanks to the light blue crystals, which gave it an almost ethereal look, there was a huge pile of meat.Bookmark here

“Oh, so you found something good? That’s some great news“ said Gray.”Bookmark here

“Yeah. This place is a little difficult to get to, so no one had taken this meat with them. That said, when we got here, this sir was here already“ Gian pointed to the third, unknown person.Bookmark here

“Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Carlo“ the man said as he extended his arm to a handshake.”Bookmark here

“Hello, I’m Gray.”Bookmark here

As the two gave a handshake, Gian started speaking again:Bookmark here

“He helped us when we fell“ Gian showed his hand, which was covered with clothing, to Gray. “I’m very thankful for this.”Bookmark here

“Oh do not worry, I only did what I should.”Bookmark here

As they talked and complimented each other, Rocco was silent, looking to the ground, bracing himself. He seemed to be still scared of what just happened.Bookmark here

After some time of this, Carlo changed the direction of the conversation to something a little more productive:Bookmark here

“So, anyways, there’s some time I was here, trying to figure out how to take this“ he pointed to the pile of meat by his side“ out of here, until you all came here. Bookmark here

“Then I said we could help him, and he should just wait for you two to come here.”Bookmark here

“Oh we can surely help you.”Bookmark here

“Thanks. We can divide it between us then.”Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

And so, they all put their hands to work. Bookmark here

First, Carlo took his shirt off, and they all put the meat on it, planning to use it to help them carry the meat. Then, they tied it’s extremities together and then tied it to a large stick.Bookmark here

Gray held one end of the stick and Carlo the other, and together they carried it to the edge of the crystal. Gian, Rocco and Nico, who had climbed up just before, then each one one of them threw one end of a rope to Gray and Carlo, who tied it on the stick.Bookmark here

Finally, with all this preparation, they started to move it across the pillar towards the nearest descending mechanism, with Gian and the kids pulling it, while Gray and Carlo pushed from below. Bookmark here

After some time, they finally got there. The mechanism was firmly stationed and attached to the pillar, supported on a huge crystal. It was huge and made of wood, and had a stone wheel, which was moved by a giant hand crank manned by three people and had a rope attached to it.Bookmark here

Guarding the mechanism, there was a man.Bookmark here

“Hello. Could you inform me about who’s the owner of this mechanism? Or is it one of the few ones for communal use administered by the Shepherd?”Bookmark here

“This one is Marco’s.”Bookmark here

Hearing this, both Gray and Gian hesitated for a moment, but soon Gian continued to talk.Bookmark here

“I’m Gian, and he’s Gray. We wish to use it. How much is the fee?”Bookmark here

“You both can’t use it.”Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

He was met with silence. Bookmark here

Gian and Gray looked towards one another, but the expression on their faces wasn’t the same at all. On one hand, Gray seemed a little frustrated, but in a way that made it look like he already expected this to happen. On the other hand, Gian at first seemed confused, but soon enough, he let out a gasp as if he had just realized something important and assumed a composed expression.Bookmark here

As the two of them didn’t know what to do now, Carlo approached and walked past them.Bookmark here

“Good sir, what if we pay you a fee ofBookmark here

⅕? Please. We have to transport this, we beg you.”Bookmark here

“…Ok“ he answered after hesitating for a moment.Bookmark here

“We thoroughly appreciate your decision“ Carlo quickly thanked with an amicable smile.Bookmark here

They all then started carrying everything to the mechanism, when one of the men operating it took notice of them and approached them.Bookmark here

“Can I help you?”Bookmark here

“Oh there’s no need to, we can do this. Do not worry about us.”Bookmark here

“Someone needs to watch you and receive the fee you know?“ said the guard, coming from behind them. “Now, where’s our ⅕?”Bookmark here

“⅕?“ the man helping them said, surprised. “Isn’t this too much?! The normal is already a lot and you’re charging them double?”Bookmark here

The guard let out a sigh and rolled his eyes, and then looked towards the man, looking annoyed.Bookmark here

“Victor, look at the man in front of you again.”Bookmark here

The man tilted his head in confusion and looked at a bewildered Gray.Bookmark here

“Aaah! He’s the guy my grandfather has a problem with, right? Yeah, we shouldn’t go easy on them!”Bookmark here

The guard sighed again and facepalmed.Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, sure.”Bookmark here

Gray, Gian, Nico, Rocco, Carlo, they all seemed confused and a little embarrassed watching this, and tried to ignore it, focusing on separating the meat for the fee and tying it again so they could put in the mechanism. Bookmark here

With this finished, the load was tied to the rope attached to the stone wheel and slowly Victor and the other two people handling the crank let it descend to the ground. Bookmark here

As this was being done, they all also started to go down towards the ground, so they could receive the “package”.Bookmark here

————————————————————Bookmark here

They had just finished unloading what they got from the pillar and what was distributed by the Shepherd, and now were all eating together at Nico’s tent, having met Natta drinking alone when they got there. Bookmark here

Before this Carlo had proposed to continue searching for things, but they all ended up not returning to the pillar, as Rocco wanted to be as far from the pillar as possible. Bookmark here

As they ate, Carlo, Gian and Gray talked a lot, and while he stood there, seated on the ground, Nico watched them.Bookmark here

The way Gray was acting, it was certainly different from before. More talkative and determined, to Nico, he seemed really different now. Bookmark here

Thinking about it, maybe now he enjoyed being with him.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.