Chapter 4:

Worthy?

Spirit Chess


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As I sat in the bathtub full of hot water, the balmy liquid started to warm my shivering body. The room was being filled with steam from the warm water and had misted over the windows. From the outside, a silhouette of my figure could be seen.Bookmark here

"Why is he doing this?" Thinking about it, no normal person will take someone they just met and bring them inside their house, let alone use their bath. Plus, I'm a spirit, so that makes it even odder.Bookmark here

"I mean sure, he saw that I was freezing outside, but even so, he had no reason to do so..." As I was contemplating his decisions, I heard someone knock on the other side of the door. I answered.Bookmark here

"Yes? Who is it?" Bookmark here

"Umm, it's me." Bookmark here

"Oh thank god..." I was scared that there was another person in the house. I'd have to explain myself if someone else knocked on the door. He continued.Bookmark here

"Here are some clothes for you." Bookmark here

Hmm... I indeed needed some clothes. The dress I had worn the whole day was cold and I finally got out of that thing, so I did need a replacement. Guess I'll take the offer.Bookmark here

"Umm, thank you so much, please leave them there." Bookmark here

I asked them to leave the clothes at the front so he didn't have to enter. I didn't want him to see me taking a bath naked. I blushed at the sudden thought. Suddenly, I heard the doorknob twist, and the door opened.Bookmark here

"Shoot!!! Shoot!!! SHOOT!!!" My mind started panicking. I asked him to leave them outside because it would be awkward if he sees a girl bathing. Luckily, the bathroom has a glass door so he shouldn't be able to see me. Although I knew that, I was freaking out inside my brain. Having a boy enter the bathroom with you inside is a girl's nightmare unless that boy is your mate. I blushed even harder and my cheeks became a deep red.Bookmark here

"I'll put the clothes here..." I heard him say. Bookmark here

"Eh?! Here?! Here Where?!" My mind was still panicking. My muscles tensed up as he got close to the door. If he opened the door, I think I would pass out. But surprisingly, he stopped right before the front of the door and turned to his left. He seems to be placing something in the cabinet, which was probably the clothes. Finally, I decided to answer.Bookmark here

"Yes, thank you." Afterward, he left the room without a word. At last, I was alone again. I finally calmed down. My cheeks returned to their normal appearance and I was no longer tense.Bookmark here

"Thank god..." I thought. Bookmark here

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A few minutes later, I decided to leave the bath. I had removed the coldness of my body so best not to linger here for too long. I used my hands to grip the edge of the tub and pushed my body up. I slowly got out of the tub. I grabbed the towel, dried up my body, and afterward, wrapped myself in it. I tied it up at the side of my chest and held it to not let it drop. Using my free hand, I carefully grasped the glass door and slowly opened it a bit. I took a peek, making sure no one was there. I looked around, there was no one. Bookmark here

"Thank God..."Bookmark here

I fully opened the glass door and stepped out with my levitating feet. I turned to my right and saw the cabinet with some clothes on the second shelf. Bookmark here

"These may be his..." Bookmark here

I held the clothes he left for me. I slowly took off my towel and placed it on the shelf next to the clothes. I decided to put on the shirt first. I unfolded it, seeing the blue stripes on the front, and opened it up with my hands. I put it over my head, pushed my hands and arms through the gaps at the side, and passed my head through the middle opening. The size was a perfect fit for me. I arranged the bottom part of the shirt, pushed it down to my waist, and pushed up my hair that was tucked in the shirt. Bookmark here

"I should hurry..."Bookmark here

I didn't want him to wait for long. I quickly took the red joggers and put them over my hovering legs. I grabbed the towel from the shelf and used it to dry my hair, pushing down the water from it. It was still a bit wet but it wasn't dripping. I put the towel on top of my head, just below my small crown, to continue drying my hair. I went to the door, twisted the doorknob, and opened it. The steam from the bath was quickly leaving for the opened exit. I stepped out into the air with my right leg first. When my feet landed mid-air, I stepped out with my left. When I got out of the bathroom, I saw a boy wearing a long white coat over a black shirt and dark blue pants with his mouth wide open. He looks like he just saw a ghost, which is sort of true. Bookmark here

"Umm...is something wrong?" I asked the gasping boy.Bookmark here

"N-no, it's nothing" He hesitantly uttered. Bookmark here

It seems he was thinking of something, but I had no idea what. I paid it no heed. He suddenly shook his head.Bookmark here

"Please, take a seat." He gestured to the empty seat in front of him.Bookmark here

"Ah, thank you." I was a bit taken aback by his sudden invitation. I floated on the floor while going to the cushioned seat. I sat down on the chair, well not really. My body was still floating even when I sat down. The same thing happened with the bathtub. Bookmark here

"Anyway, should we continue our conversation?" He asked about the conversation we had earlier outside. Bookmark here

"Yes," I answered seriously.Bookmark here

"Then, Megumi-chan, can you tell me," He was asking me with honorifics on my name. No one's ever called me "Megumi-chan" before, so I was a bit surprised. Afterward, he looked at me sternly. Sweat flowed down my cheek. He continued his statement,Bookmark here

"Who are you?"Bookmark here

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It then occurred to me that I haven't introduced myself yet. Bookmark here

"Ah, my name's Shinji, Naoto Shinji. Nice to meet you."Bookmark here

I introduced myself to her for the first time while reaching out my hand to shake hers.Bookmark here

"Ah, likewise." She shook my hand backBookmark here

"As you already know, my name is Megumi, and I am a spirit."Bookmark here

This "spirit" thing has been bothering me for some time now. What is that all about? Bookmark here

"Can I ask what are spirits?" Bookmark here

"Ah yes." Looks like she understood that I was confused about that.Bookmark here

"Spirit pieces are supernatural beings that possess a certain piece in the game of chess."Bookmark here

"Chess, huh." My face dropped a bit when she said that word.Bookmark here

"Spirits guide struggling or promising players and make them stronger." She continued.Bookmark here

Promising people, huh? Guess they carefully choose who gets one. But still, that doesn't explain why there's one right in front of me.Bookmark here

"Some of the strongest players may have a spirit as their partner."Bookmark here

Strong players, eh? Maybe he has one as well...Bookmark here

"Then, why were you outside the apartment, crippled like a sad person?"Bookmark here

"Ah yes. That's because I was assigned to find someone worthy to be my partner?"Bookmark here

"A worthy partner?" I again was confused.Bookmark here

"Yes, I've been searching for someone worthy of my help for about a year already."Bookmark here

"Almost a year?!" I exclaimed. A year is a long time, and she's been searching for someone for that time period?Bookmark here

"Yes."Bookmark here

"So, how do know if someone's worthy?"Bookmark here

"By playing chess."Bookmark here

Chess again...Bookmark here

"If someone beats me, then that someone is worthy of my help."Bookmark here

"Then, is that why you're here?"Bookmark here

"Yes, I wish to see if you have the abilities to beat me." Bookmark here

She claimed. I don't want to do this, but if I refuse, it would seem like I brought her here for nothing. I took a big sigh.Bookmark here

"Alright. Let's do it." I did it. I agreed to play something I promised not to return to.Bookmark here

"I understand." She placed her hands in front of her chest and closed her eyes. A white light came out from between them and illuminated the lighted room. I covered my eyes due to the brightness of the light. I tried to take a look.Bookmark here

Something materialized from the light. Black and white squares formed out of the shining glow. Dark and light pieces came out after the squares were expelled and placed on the table. A chessboard, complete with the full 64 squares and 32 pieces was formed from the light. Bookmark here

I guess they are supernatural...Bookmark here

The bright light died down and Megumin brought her hands back down and opened her shut eyes to look at me.Bookmark here

"So, Naoto Shinji-san, shall we play?"Bookmark here

To be continued...Bookmark here

Spirit Chess


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