Chapter 10:

Chapter 9. A day out.

Another Story [Hiatus]

It is early, around the third quarter of the morning. It is good to have a long, well-earned sleep after a lengthy and tiring day. Jayde seems to be awake already and is busy cooking. It seems so natural for him to wake this early as he is already in high spirits, hearing him dancing around stirring the pot wildly as if some professional chef. To be honest, though, the smell being emitted from what he is cooking is appealing. A smell of fruitiness and dairy. I walk up towards this smell trying to deduce what he is actually making. I leave my room, go through the hallway passing the bedroom doors of Mimi and Mia. Once I enter the living room, I soon realize that it is indeed porridge. This is the third day of the week I ate porridge. Even on my birthday, porridge. But I guess, it doesn't hurt to try his food. I can, after all, just buy food at the market later.

"Hey, Aura! Good morning!" He greets. "You're up so early!" That should've been my line. "It is still some time before we go to the market later, you know?"

I can't help but notice his weird outfit, yellow shirt with black buttons, and matching pajamas. It somehow makes him look like a banana.

"Yeah, but I can't help but be attracted by the smell of what you are cooking," I reply while looking at his porridge.

"This? I am just experimenting with a new recipe! Sorry if I woke you up!"

By this time, I sit down by the table near the kitchen. "No it's fine, I would want to try tasting it!"

"Alright! just give me some time to let the milk simmer."

"Milk? What kind of milk?" I ask in excitement.

"Cow's milk? what else?" He replies, doubting what he just heard.

"Nothing, nothing. I just like cow's milk more than other milk."

I can't believe it. I get to taste cow's milk again after almost a year of only having sheep's milk. Sheep's milk tastes strong and sheepy, it's hard to explain.

But this is exhilarating, just waiting for him to finish cooking. I love cow's milk.

Footsteps come in from the hallway towards the living room. "Good morning, what are you cooking?" Mimi asks Jayde. I guess even the royalty wakes up early.

"I'm just experimenting with a new porridge recipe. Aura is waiting to try it, wanna try as well?"

Mimi looks at me afterward with disgust as if she hasn't forgiven me about the incident yesterday. "Sure, but I don't want my porridge to be from the same pot as his porridge," she ordered insistently while pointing at me. "we don't know what kind of fantasies he might get. . .".

Hey, I am not some creep!

I frown my eyebrows in disagreement.

"U-uh, I don't think that is possible." Jayde shrugs it off as a joke. Mimi seems to be very pissed off. I hope to get our friendship established soon. It is not a good thing to have a bad relationship with your division mates.

"Okay, then." She gives up, drops her shoulders a little. "Since I am hungry, I will allow it just for today."

Her sassiness has no borders. Even if it is morning, she still possesses the same sass as she had yesterday.

My division mates seem to have a pool of energy inside them, where they get their unlimited energy from, how does that work? Is that even physically or magically possible?

After the milk has simmered, we enjoy our porridge. We all sit down by the table, Jayde next to me and in front of him, Mimi. Jayde's cooking is indeed phenomenal. Despite him saying that it is just an experimental recipe, he still makes it taste like heaven on Gaia.

"I am not going to lie, this is pretty good. I give you permission to serve me food every morning!" Mimi says with great satisfaction, apparently.

"What an honor! I will try my best to deliver you all the greatest gastronomy within my knowledge." Jayde said as if thinking that this is a joke.

"Why don't you cook every morning for all of us? If you enjoy cooking that is. I like your food as well!" I propose to Jayde. Mimi seems to agree with me, surprisingly, for the first time.

"Oh! What a great idea, Aura! I will do that! Leave the cooking to me! If you have any suggestions, don't hesitate to say so!" He replies with great excitement.

We go on enjoying the porridge in silence, relishing whatever we have in our bowls. One bowl still steaming by the empty seat next to Mimi.

After around five ticks or so, Mia comes in with her pink matching pajamas, "Good morning, everybody!" She said with reverence, then she yawns. Drowsiness seems to have bested her exhilarating energy.

"Good morning," the three of us greet her. She then joins us eating porridge to which she eats in happy silence as if eating the porridge made her speechless. I guess good food makes her silent, on top of magic.

We discuss what plans we have for the day. Today is a free day, so we can just enjoy it to our heart's content. I am thinking of buying clothes which I proposed last night, they happily agreed under the condition that we split up to save time. Mimi seems to be interested in going to a shop selling equipment for practicing. We also plan to eat at Jayde's family restaurant for lunch. Jayde invited us for him to introduce us to his parents, he is ecstatic about having made new friends.

After eating breakfast, we change from our pajamas to our school uniforms and leave for the shopping center. Walking the cobbled streets; we enjoy the view of the snaking stalls. Seeing the very same vendors as to when I first arrived. I, again, admire the potter who seems to recognize me in hostility. The sweetmeat vendor is seemingly thronged by a massive crowd enjoying her product. I tell Jayde and the rest about the good sweetmeat, to which Jayde starts running for and takes a bite. He seems to enjoy it much more than I did. We soon find ourselves through the snaking stalls and find pieces of jewelry that entice our eyes. It appears that they sell rings, necklaces, earrings, and more.

"Hey, hey! You kids! Buy our jewelry! I'll give you a good price! They are imbued with Yttrancian magic that will help you cultivate your mana manipulation." The vendor seems to be a hawker.

Mia looks ecstatically captivated by the words of the hawker. She looks at a few of the pieces of jewelry with a sparkle in her eyes as she inspects each and one of them.

"Do you like that one?" The vendor asks Mia, she is holding something that seems to be a pink gemstone necklace. "It has healing abilities that help wounds heal faster! The mana circuit inside is cast by a very skilled Yttrancian manipulator. Two gold Diryani," he finally says the price, to which my eyes flabbergasted at, two gold Diryani is equivalent to a few weeks where one can eat three meals a day.

Apparently, it is true that the necklace was indeed cast by a skilled Yttrancian manipulator. The mana circuit was made by a Yttrancian manipulator. This manipulator created a series of commands through incantations. These commands execute when a certain event happens, for, in this case, wounds appear on the skin. The necklace takes mana from the surrounding area or the wearer. Exchanging the energy to the execution of the mana circuit. To recharge mana, rest is needed. Because the necklace executes a Fiaran incantation, the blood of a Fiaran manipulator is needed to create the necklace. This makes it dangerous for non-Fiaran manipulators to use the necklace in excessive order, as it eats away the already unapparent Fiaran flow within the wearer.

Creating mana circuits is a hard task as it can take a few days to create something like the pink gemstone necklace, which appears to be a pink sapphire. To top that off, only about ten percent of all Yttrancian manipulators can read the commands through focused meditation and therefore fix some problems within the commands, and a lesser percentage who can actually make such devices. It requires a lot of mana power to embed the commands and make it work independently away from the caster. Two gold Diryani, is not a bad price, after all.

"I-I'm sorry, but I don't have that much money at the moment. Hehehehe," Mia says while admiring the work of art.

"How about you two, good gentlemen? Would one of you be kind enough to buy the necklace for the lady?" The vendor seems insistent.

"Well, I also don't have that much money. Besides, I think our friend already left us." I lied in the first part, but Mimi has indeed left us behind for she is looking at another stall.

Apparently, despite being a princess, Mimi is not that popular. Almost no one recognizes her on the streets. She has always been hidden away by her family for her to have a normal life.

We grouped back again with Mimi. Mia is seemingly disappointed that she doesn't have the money for the necklace. After telling her that we can come back when we do have the money and check if he still has it, she regains her enthusiasm.

After buying some practice equipment from the store which Mimi wanted to go to, we soon realize it is time for lunch. Time goes by fast when with friends.

"Here we are! This is my family's restaurant." Jayde points out the sign of the place.

[Oliani Restauranti]

The restaurant seems to be the size of a cozy terraced house, with stores next to it. The walls are of brick and the door of the place invitingly varnished with brown lacquer.

We soon enter the place and are greeted by two waitresses in a black dress topped with a white laced apron, which appears to be their working uniform. Maids? These two waitresses seem to be working here as they don't seem to act too familiar with Jayde, although they do greet him in familiarity. One of the waitresses points to a table with four seats and has given us menu cards.

"Just choose what you want, my mom and dad cook them with passion. Besides, the tab is in the house!" Jayde points out with pride.

We take his offer happily and each of us chooses different dishes hoping to get a taste of each of them. Mimi seems to be reluctant to share her food with me, though. The food we are presented with is of phenomenal quality and taste. Each dish presented in a mouthwatering plating. The aromas of the dish entice the nose as if teasing it. The quality of the ingredients are fresh and carefully selected, the taste of the food reflected on that. This is my first time eating in such a high-end place so I am relishing the food with excitement.

It is sometimes good to have such friends.

A few moments later, while we are eating our deliciously prepared food, a lady comes in with a similar black dress but somewhat longer and a normal white apron. Her face resembles that of the face of Jayde. As she walks towards our direction and sees us, she draws a smile. This must be his mother, she smiles just like him as well.

"Hi! I am Jayde's mother. You guys must be his division mates!" She says happily.

"Yes, mom they really like the soup you made." He points at the dish Mia ordered. Each of us took a sip of this earlier and was indeed very delicious.

"That's great! Enjoy the food! It's good to see you all having fun." Jayde's mom finally leaves. Going back to work, probably.

"That was my mother. She, along with my dad, cooks the food you see on the menu. They offer the best food in Dirya!" Jayde's family pride is strong.

After eating and talking a bit at the restaurant, we take our leave in politeness as we wait to say our thanks and farewell to his mother and father. His father, I didn't see clearly as he seems to be busy cooking.

We split up as planned and I bought clothes for casual wear. Jayde helped me pick up some shirts and pants. His taste wasn't that great but it somehow still works with my appearance. We talked a bit while walking around town buying stuff. This might be what they call 'man talk'. I do not understand all these norms, after all.

After enjoying our shopping spree, which includes around a few hours of window shopping, and has bought three pieces of clothing, we go back to the division house. Mia and Mimi said that they are going to go home themselves before we split up earlier. To my surprise, they are home earlier than Jayde and I. They seem to have enjoyed themselves with new clothes and a few sweets they bought. They are getting along pleasantly.

"So, what did you guys buy?" Jayde asks Mia and Mimi, they are inspecting their newly bought items.

As Mia starts to answer his first question, he interrupts: "Wait, are those sweets?" Jayde points at the bag.

"Ah yeah! They are caramel-dipped apple slices. Want some?" Mia says, finally able to answer.

"Oh yeah! Of course, I can't say no to that! Aura, come, come. Grab some as well!" Jayde suddenly goes to join the girls. Apparently, he now owns the sweets.

"Wait! I didn't give permission for him" Mimi points at me, "to join!"

"Come on, Mimi! We have so many sweets! It won't hurt for him to get some, no?" Mia is trying to convince Mimi.

"Fine, just a few." Mimi gives in; she pouts.

After some time savoring the caramel-dipped apples, Jayde begins cooking dinner for us. We begin to sit down at the dinner table. It seems that he prepared some stew and potatoes. He bought the ingredients earlier as we saw some vendors sell some cheap vegetables. The stew includes beef, which he took from his parents' restaurant, and a fresh mix of vegetables.

The smell of the stew is beginning to permeate itself into the whole room. The savory smell of the meat mixed with the broth of vegetables. The smell is really delightful.

"Will you take over the restaurant after your parents?" Asks Mimi while sitting by the table waiting for the stew. Next to her is Mia, reading a book that she apparently also bought earlier from a vendor. The title of the book, "Pada Muli Ignali". "Body and mind", apparently a book that explains flow fluctuations within the mind and body. A good book.

"No." Jayde answers abruptly.

"Why?" Mimi persists.

"Well, I would want to travel around Gaia and see the differences in culinary diversity," Jayde explains as he is stirring the stew and checks the potatoes if they are well boiled. "Did you know that in some places, they have this thing called rice?"

"No? What's that? Is that like some medication that makes you stand up?" Mimi asks unknowingly what rice is. Global trade in Gaia seems to be rare.

Mia giggles.

"No! no! ew!" Jayde notices that Mimi misunderstood, "Apparently, it's some type of grain. I don't know exactly myself but it is very nutritious and is versatile in soaking up different flavors." he finally explains trying to clear the misunderstanding.

After the stew is finally done, we savor the explosion of flavors. We all eat in silence, again, as if the flavors make us all speechless. The flavor is somehow nostalgic, a feeling of being at home. The coziness of my newfound companions makes it as if I finally found my place. This is what I always wanted: a good set of friends, good food, and a sense of content boiling in my heart.

The second day ended fast and I want to have times like that again. As I try to reminisce about the day, I begin to notice that something is missing. Something that might complete the day even to further limits. A piece completing the whole picture of what might define a perfect day.