Chapter 25:

Chapter 21. A new group for a new adventure.

Another Story [Hiatus]

"Sorry that I didn't introduce myself last time. My name is Louisia Oliani, Jayde's mother," as Louisia introduces herself while we are eating. We have come to this restaurant again to eat lunch. We have some time to go and hang out while we are waiting to leave at around the second quarter of the afternoon. "Jayde has told me all about you kids!"

"Oh, I am sorry as well for we didn't really introduce ourselves the last time we were here," Mimi vouches in for us.

"That's alright, princess," Louisia replies. She seems to know that Mimi is a princess, probably Jayde told her during the weekend. "It's our pleasure to have you eat here with us."

"Oh, No no!," Mimi feels surprised as well that she knows her identity. "It's our pleasure, the food is really good! Thank you always for your patronage to the royal family."

She wasn't wrong, the food is indeed splendid. The quality of the ingredients complementing the intricacy of the well-blended concoction is superb. The mushroom soup was the best I have ever tasted, no wonder that this family has been serving the royal family on special occasions. To actually eat here and savor each and every genially blended gastronomy. What an honor. Oh god, I think I have been getting the passion for food from Jayde recently. I tend to become more conscious of what I am eating and criticizing it.

Louisia bows at her highness, Mimi Grania. Despite her usual mean stature, she really does hold a good act being a princess ー only when the time calls for it, though. "Please enjoy the food, I have to return to cooking."

"Ah! Mom!," Jayde stops his mom. "Can you prepare some packed lunches for us?"

"Why, certainly!," she replies and continues to walk back to the kitchen.

A few moments pass as we continue to eat the delicious food. Mia seems to be a little more quiet than usual. The demure stature she possesses, to which I got accustomed with, is replaced by a silent and somewhat sad face. I cannot help but ask her what's wrong. "Mia, are you alright?"

As if surprised that someone talked to her, "ah!," she shrieks. "Me?," she asks while pointing her index finger at herself. "I am fine."

"Are you sure?," Jayde asks. He seems to have noticed her unusual posture as well.

"Yes, I am alright," she smiles but after a few moments of holding her smiling face, her smile turns again into a sad frown.

"What's wrong, Mia?," Mimi asks. "Did anyone hurt you?," Mimi accusingly turns her eyes towards me in a piercing gaze.

"No, no!," she replies. "It's just that I am so worried about you," she says while looking at all of us. "I, no, we won't be together for this mission."

"We don't know that yet, Mia," Jayde tries to console her. "They just told us to go to the field camp with the group. That does not mean that we would spend the whole mission like that, right?"

"Yeah, it's just for a day," I add as well. It seems that inside, Mia is still a small child. I cannot blame her, all of us here, are twelve-year-olds in Earth's standards. I cannot help but think that they would allow people like us to go to life-threatening missions like this.

"Okay. . ." Mia seems to have relaxed a bit.

"Anyway, what do you think of your teammates?," Jayde asks. "Well, mine are very nice people. They seem to be very strong and dedicated to their mana manipulation.

"Mine as well, to my surprise," Mimi also continues. "How about you, Mia?"

"Well, to be honest, I am quite nervous when around the new people. They all are very serious," she replies.

"That's alright. It's just for a while. Do not think too much about it. Just have fun, as you always do," Mimi consoles her, a sight I did not expect from Mimi.

"How about you, Aura? What do you think about your group?," Jayde asks me.

"I know one person from my group, Andri Laurelia. I went to his place during the end of the week," I then explain everything that happened at Andri's place. "We made this potion," I say while taking out the potion from my sack. I show them the potion Andri and I made. "This potion is for mental defenses and to cover for the side effect of the incantation, Andri also added a Fiaran incantation to eliminate the fatigue."

"Oh wow, that's actually really cool!," Mia regains back her enthusiasm, to my pleasure.

"To think you successfully made a potion!," Jayde also seems surprised. "Did you know that that is also a kind of cooking; making potions?"

"Really?" I say while laughing at his remark on cooking.

"Oh, yes!," Jayde replies in his usual passionate demeanor.

"Okay that's cool and all, but do you guys remember the area where we were supposed to meet at the western forest?," Mimi tries to make us regain our focus on the mission.

"Yes, I remember. Isn't it near the town of Urumia?," Jayde asks. "I heard that that town sells very excellent wine for cooking! Also, it's near the sea!"

"Yes, I have been there with my father once for a funfair. They do have lots of vineyards instead of the usual wheat and barley fields here," Mia recalls.

I have never actually been outside of Orma, so all these pieces of information struck me with great awe. To think that there is such a place over in the west with vineyards that would stretch to the horizon ーas far as one could see. I can’t wait to see the sight of people sitting on porches and lolling against the walls, sipping the delicious local wine, and eating cheese. Chattering and laughing gently while tossing dice, or playing cards, enjoying life, and its exquisite produce. Oh, how I wish to just relax like that.

As if reading what just went on my mind, "we aren't there to play around on some vineyards and drink alcohol. We're there for a mission, focus!," Mimi tries to get hold of our focus again.

"Okay! okay!," Jayde puts both his hands up trying to show that he is innocent.

"But it's good that you know the general area where we are supposed to meet," says Mimi in a more relaxed manner than her whilom remarks.Bookmark here

After discussing the mission we are going to face, we start to pack our things up and get ready for our departure from the kingdom. As soon as we left the restaurant, we were seen off by Jayde's parents and gave us each our boxed lunches — sandwiches and an attractive portion of a salad in a woven container.Bookmark here

We were planning on splitting up ways since we will be meeting our group mates in different places. I split from them first because I am going to meet my group mates by the pond —where I looked at the reflection of myself before. I try not to get late because it seems that Liliana is really strict about being on time — not off from my first impression of her. Her vibe gives off someone who is a natural leader. Even earlier, when we were discussing our plan, she took charge and led our discussion in a very smooth way. It's really good for someone like me, who is far from being a natural leader, to have someone like her. It balances out when discussing, I guess. Also in other ways too, maybe.Bookmark here

Once I have arrived at the meeting point near the pond, I see Liliana already waiting for us. She really does seem like someone who arrives earlier than planned. I even arrived twenty ticks earlier than planned. How long has she been waiting? I only caught her attention when she saw me near her. Her expression is of surprise that I wasn't late. Her hair is somewhat similar to mine, for it has the same color but beautifully cascading below her shoulder blades. Her eyes are dark brown and she has a face that would remind me of the people in the Mediterranean, back on Earth; a prominent cheekbone, her lips with a wonderful shape ー somewhat dry though, from the looks of it.Bookmark here

She greets me with a friendly wave despite her stern personality. I am caught by surprise by this gesture and awkwardly wave back at her despite being in front of her. I think I can be called the king of awkwardness. Nevertheless, she still speaks to me with her clear voice, a nice voice, "Hey, nice to see that you're early."Bookmark here

"Thank you, do you know where the others are?," I reply back. I do not know how to start a conversation with her so I drew the most obvious thing I can ask her.Bookmark here

"No, not really. I hope they won't get late, though. I won't forgive them otherwise," she replies angrily. Is this a result of strict parenting or did she learn to be strict by having loose parents? I don't understand.Bookmark here

"Hahaha," I laugh at her remarks, trying to conceive them as jokes. A few moments pass in silence. "Have you eaten lunch?," I have to try and keep the conversation going otherwise it'd be awkward. Well not to mention that it is already awkward.Bookmark here

"What kind of question is that?," she says, her face questioning my intentions, if I even have one, that is. "Are you hitting on me? Just so you know, I see you as a wimp. But I respect you, because of you, your division finished your mission."Bookmark here

Not only is she stern, but very sensitive, I guess. "Thank you, but you're misunderstanding!," I tried clearing it away.Bookmark here

"Okay. I have eaten lunch, yes. Why ask? Wouldn't it be obvious that I would eat lunch before going to travel in the afternoon? Do you think I am stupid?"Bookmark here

The barrage of questions blabbers into my mind that causes confusion, "No, I was just thinking of something to talk about, I guess."Bookmark here

After those exchanges of words, some ticks go by in silence. I couldn't help it, she is too serious. The rest of the group finally came, to my relief. The awkwardness between Liliana and I is unbearable and kind of excruciating. But nevertheless, I have a feeling that she respects and cares for her teammates a lot. Bookmark here

Ono seems very silent and shy, his straight blonde hair framing his gentle face. He is also very short and if I were talking honestly, he is someone one would call cute.Bookmark here

Andri arrives shortly after Ono and we all start planning how we are going to go to the field camp.Bookmark here

"Uhm, do you all know if someone can bring us there?," Ono starts the conversation.Bookmark here

"That's what we are going to find, right now," Liliana replies hastily. "I think I can ask someone who has always helped my family."Bookmark here

"If that doesn't work, I also have someone," Andri also adds.Bookmark here

"Alright, but do you have camping gear for the trip? I already bought mine, but if everyone doesn't have one, we have thirty ticks to do so," Liliana says, trying to plan everything neatly and orderly.Bookmark here

"Uh, I am sorry," Ono tries squeezing in his voice," I need to buy camping gear."Bookmark here

"While at it, I'll also buy extra things for the night," says Andri.Bookmark here

"Me too," I added to the bunch. I didn't know that we were camping after all. I thought that we would be traveling all the way. I never traveled that far.Bookmark here

"Alright, you guys have thirty ticks for that. I know a place, follow me. Don't slack off," Liliana initiates herself in a direction at a fast pace. She seems to be in a hurry. Well. She always does.Bookmark here

We quickly try following her and after a few ticks we arrive at a general store –where everything can be bought; may it be supplies, food, or even some medicines, to buy some of the items we were missing. I buy extra food for travel as well as a pan for cooking. It seems that Andri knows how to cook, so I do not try to buy more cooking utensils. I buy a pair of utensils; a spoon and a fork, so that I won't eat with my bare hands ー for etiquette’s sake. I guess I can start a fire through an incantation, so I try to not buy matches. The rest of the group also seemed to have bought their own things and we were all done buying stuff in no time. Liliana was all coordinating us from a distance to hurry up, after all.Bookmark here

After paying, Liliana is waiting for us at the exit, "You all done? Then let's go meet Maerten."Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.