Y: The Tides Are In Our Hearts
“I still can’t believe this is gonna be my home for three years. It’s so big. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”
Despite the ups-and-downs Miieie had with the city earlier in the day, as the clock ticked closer to three o’clock she found herself still being overtaken by the sights of Rosenfel City. Even if Iris was particularly disinterested by her home city, Miieie figured she would have more than enough enthusiasm for the both of them.
“You really are hopeless.” The other girl sighed, “Your head will explode once you see the capital.”
Miieie thought about it for a moment. If she was having cultural whiplash from going from Skilma to Rosenfel, it was certainly going to be even worse once she saw the capital or any of the other major cities that made up the core pieces of the Ieielian Kingdom. There was so much of the world she hadn’t seen. Places her parents had traversed. If she was really following in their shadow it would only be a matter of time before she saw what they saw and felt what they felt.
Would she ever be any closer to knowing who they were?
“Ehehehe, probably!” She giggled as the two drew closer to their destination. “I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome.”
“I mean, yeah. Can you imagine going to see the center of everything? It must be like three times as big as Rosenfel!”
“Probably.” Iris paused, “Looks like we’re here.”
“Oh? Huh, so we are.”
How long had the walk been from the school to the bakery exactly? If she was going to come down here more often she needed to make sure it wouldn’t take too long. She didn’t want to make a habit of being late for things and making for the bakery for lunch seemed like it would be a pretty tight fit unless the periods were particularly long. Back on Skilma, they ate lunch in class. Just another difference between the small towns and the big ones. She wasn’t going to hear the cows mooing outside of class in Rosenfel that much was for sure. As she reached for the door of the bakery and the two moved inside she had to wonder what other differences the city had in store for her.
Miieie skipped forward after Iris had moved inside, going up to the counter.
“Oh, it’s you again!”
“Yep, it’s me!” She exclaimed as she wondered what exactly the two of them should purchase. Too much sugar would’ve made for an even more upset stomach so she knew she needed something a little more savory than the snack she had picked up earlier in the day.
“I guess…” She looked to Iris, “...two pie-thingies?”
The baker’s assistant nodded, “So that’ll be two fish pies with our signature sauce? That’ll be ten rials each.”
The jangling of coins echoed in Miieie’s mind. Her grandfather had told her not to get carried away–that he could only send her only so much money for personal use. Eating out every day wasn’t that much of a luxury was it? Not when the school force-fed her fried slime and called it porridge! Still, every time she reached into her bag for some rials she felt a twinge of guilt, like her grandfather was glaring at her from the shadows. What was a girl to do?
As she pulled out ten rials, the monotone of Iris’s voice caught her completely off guard.
“I don’t have any money.”
Miieie blinked in surprise. “Eh?”
“I don’t have any money.” She repeated.
It was only then that Miieie realized that she hadn’t even asked Iris if she had the means to pay for lunch, only that she wanted lunch. The green-haired girl didn’t want to throw any more rial she needed to, but she felt like it was rude to take her out only not to help her out. It was only five more coins, anyway! She could almost hear her grandfather screaming from Skilma.
“It’s no big deal!” Miieie exclaimed as she put down ten more rials on the counter.
She may have been a farmgirl, but she wasn’t a rude and selfish farmgirl; if she couldn’t buy two pies she would’ve split a single one two-ways. That was just who she was. Her gesture seemed to surprise Iris, though Miieie didn’t think much of it. She would’ve hated herself if she spurned a possible friend like this on the first day.
As they put in their order and took their seats, Iris didn’t say anything until the two pies were placed on their table. Miieie didn’t hear what she said, on account of her immediately digging into the pie like some kind of animal, scarfing down the ingredients loudly and without any sense of table manners. It was perhaps the best pie she had ever tasted. The red snapper was cooked perfectly and melded with the cheeses, herbs, and spices almost seamlessly. The filling was sweet corn and the sauce that held it all together wasn’t too spicy.
“Thsh ish gret!” She said with a mouthful of pie as she drowned the food down her throat with a glass of lemon water.
Iris laughed. Not a normal person laugh, but an Iris laugh.
“No, what’s ridiculous is how good this is!” Miieie asserted, “I have to eat this every day.”
“If only you were a noble, then we wouldn’t have to walk all the way here to get this kind of thing.” Iris remarked, “...or pay for it.”
Miieie nodded as she looked back down at what remained on her plate.
If there were two things this day had taught her it was don’t be late for school and that being friends with a noble was essential to her high school experience.
When both Iris and Miieie finished up their plates they thanked the baker’s assistant for their service and decided to move on from their destination. Iris hadn’t been one to ask much of anything to Miieie, so much like before she had to take the initiative. Her small gesture had seemed to soften up the stoic girl, though Miieie did wonder why it was that she had no rials to her name. Sure, she was a commoner just like she was and money was tight but had she no support from her family? Like at all?
Miieie looked at the sky as the two walked forward, back in the direction of the school. It wasn’t her business to pry into Iris’s situation so she figured she’d find something else to talk about. She wasn’t the type to do that kind of thing. She wasn’t exactly racing out of the gate to face the hard truth about her situation, so why would she expect someone else to do the same?
“You didn’t have to, you know.”
“The food. Paying for it. Wasting your money.”
Miieie giggled, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Just ask my gramps, I’m really good at wasting money. Or really bad?”
Was this Iris’s way of saying thank you? If so, Miieie didn’t really think she needed a thank you. It was a common courtesy. There was no reason to worry about it. Her grandfather may not have liked her spending money, but he wouldn’t have disapproved of the reason she did it. There had always been a longstanding sensibility towards compassion in her family and she wasn’t going to be the first Presson to betray that quality.
“Anyway, what’re you thinking you’re gonna do when we get back?”
“Make sense. I’m gonna check the auditorium, see what’s up with people at the circle.”
“Be careful when you do.”
Miieie raised a brow. Huh? Why did she have to be careful?
“I heard a few students talking about the dueling circle earlier. Some of the nobles… well they won’t appreciate you being there.”
The green-haired girl giggled, “Hey, I befriended you, didn’t I? What’s the worst thing that could happen?”