Lera got up and went outside to meet Jev. He sent her a message last night saying that he was going to meet with her. Cleaned, clothed and ready to have breakfast, she greeted him.
"Good morning Jev." She was glad to see him wanting to talk to her, so it was time to reciprocate that back with him.
"Morning to you too. Ready to join the others?"
"I am." She followed beside him. "I read that they are going to be having burgers for lunch."
It wasn't much, but it wasn't all that awkward.
"Is there anything you want to do later today?" She offered a question towards him.
"Nothing in particular." Now it was awkward. A long silence followed that. "I'm sorry Lera. I've been busy thinking about something. I want to try that board game, the one with the extended table?"
"I think it was like a variation of chess."
"Yes, that one. Want to give it a try?"
"You're on!" She added with a bit more enthusiasm than she wanted.
"… and we really want to finish the series, so we plan on watching the rest at home if necessary." Paroppe was telling the group how wonderful their viewing choice was last night.
Ayanni was glad that Paroppe was with him. That movie was especially thrilling because it was based on magic. Blood magic, but not specializations. There were no magical girls like Sparkling Gate. It wouldn't have worked like that anyway. The more blood used, the more powerful the magic. Simple. The weirdest and best part about it seemed to be there were no human or humanoid creatures.
Translating was of no consequence when you had the ability to understand all languages and SPINE there for them.
Anyway these topics were just mundane thoughts. Important for later, but there was a threat. Honestly after taking the night to think about it, maybe they were being overprotective of Lera. If they told her about the threat, then everyone could be prepared. After Jev brought that up, he had thought about that point more.
The only reason not to tell her, was to handle this themselves and hope they were more than enough to protect her. He couldn't deny that it was better for Lera to enjoy this vacation, but not telling her could have consequences if they failed. She might lose her trust in them. If it got really bad, she just might wipe out everyone in existence. Jev had made him paranoid these past few years.
Well he did doubt it, due to how good of friends she and Paroppe were. Still they did know she had some instability. After all that was how they found her.
So having someone watching over her at all times was alright. If she was ever controlled… If he brought that up to her, with her powers, couldn't she make sure that could never happen.
He knew about her abilities vaguely, never really asking her to test them out. Actually he wanted to many times, but Paroppe and Jev had stopped him in the past. Now if he brought it up, they might be willing to let him. He could learn-
He was getting lost again. Ayanni took, silent, deep breaths and got back on track.
Ayanni had told Paroppe about their discussion last night. She was fully aware of the situation and completely agreed that Drahyun wasn't out to do any good by Lera. Weirdest part she said something similar to Byyuan. That did puzzle him…
Back on track. Ayanni was planning on taking over tonight after Jev. Tomorrow Paroppe and Byyuan would be taking over in the morning and night respectively.
"This game has quite a lot of layers." Jev placed his next piece on the hovering board to his left.
"It does. The game seems complex, but once you understand it, it is a fun game." Lera smiled and moved her piece to the upper middle board.
There were four boards in total. Similar in design to chess, each board, but fundamentally different pieces and spaces on the board. Differing rules that diverge from what chess is. It was a competitive game that had a longer play time.
As Jev thought about that, he remembered the time he was in the Light Festival tournament. Other than his parents, Lera was the only one there that watched him.
"Lera, I don't remember if I thanked you, but thank you. During the tournament, you watched me compete. Thank you for coming to watch me back then." He offered a timid smile towards her.
"You're welcome." He watched her eyes turn away from his, before speaking up. "I always listened to what you said… I know I said this before, but I mean it. Thank you for being you. You don't need to change…"
"Lera, the old me was a jerk. I still am I guess, but I'm trying to be better.
"You think they're getting along?" Paroppe was asking the other two around her. They were currently at a table nearby enjoying sweets and the view out in space.
"I think they're getting used to it. Lera is… Lera. Jev just needs time to get adjusted to this change. I have to applaud him for finally changing his tune." Byyuan made his thoughts known about them.
"He's been like that for a long time. I'm happy to see him actually smiling." Paroppe thought back to their conversation a while back.
They were in Ayanni's house, sitting at that small wooden table. She avoided telling both Jev and Ayanni what happened over her travels. Those life and death situations she was in. Instead she had just ignored that and made it seem like her adventure was all fun and games.
She should talk to them about it.
"Drahyun's here." Ayanni got her attention.
Paroppe followed his eyes and looked over on the other side of this room towards Drahyun and his group. He was waving and smiling towards Paroppe's group, while he made some hand gestures towards his group and they split off from him. Some went to jump in the pool, while others went to grab some food. Even though it was a crowded area, he stood out amongst all the passengers. Well if she didn't count the strange alien races.
"He's going straight for her. I'm going to get a drink and then I'll head over there." Paroppe got up from her chair and went to get a fresh drink for her brother and Lera.
"I'll come with you." Ayanni offered.
She paused for a moment, then let him join her with a sigh.
"I win!" Jev announced.
"Congratulations Jev!" Lera was smiling even though she lost.
It was such a fun game. She wanted to play another, but she saw that a familiar face was coming over.
"Hello Drahyun!" She waved at him and saw that Jev's smile was turning upside down. He quickly changed his expression to a more friendly one. 'Jev's trying his best.'
"Lera, a pleasure. Uh… Jev right? Nice to meet you again." Drahyun reached his hand out to shake Jev's hand.
Jev gave a half-hearted nod to Drahyun. "So what are you doing here?"
"Here to see if I could talk to Lera… I have to say Jev, you're a good man. You have a keen eye and you look out for those around you." The handshake lasted longer than it should have. Lera felt it best to interject.
"Would you like to join us? We're going to be watching the stars pass by soon. It would be fun with more people." She hadn't asked her friends if others could join and felt bad as soon as those words left her mouth.
"They're…" Drahyun had let go of Jev's hand and looked towards where his friends were, she guessed anyway. "They're busy and keep leaving me out of things. I don't know what I did. It's like they're avoiding me." Drahyun pushed his glasses back into position. "Maybe someone told them to stay away from me." He laughed and walked closer to Lera.
"Uh…" She didn't know how to respond to that and chuckled nervously.
"But I would love to join you… and your friends."
"Oh, you will be joining us?" Paroppe was carrying two glasses. Both fruity, or they tasted like fruit, drinks. Lera had really been enjoying them. "Here you go Lera."
She saw Ayanni bringing over a drink to Jev.
"Hey you two, we should head over now. Hello Drahyun, nice seeing you again. Unfortunately we are going to have to leave now." Ayanni started saying. Before anyone else could speak up, Paroppe interjected back in.
"Seriously Ayanni, you shouldn't be rude to Drahyun. We wouldn't mind having you join us." Paroppe was staring at Ayanni.
"But what about what we had planned?" He was gesturing towards Jev. Lera didn't hear of any plans, but she guessed they must have just thought of it and would go along with it.
"Oh, you're right. I'm sorry Drahyun, I forgot about it. Maybe another time." Lera apologized to him before leaving with her friends. Maybe it was an early surprise party for Jev or something. His birthday would be coming up when they reached the Skawaad Cluster.
Jev knew, he just knew. The whole meeting with Drahyun was a message.
'I know you guys know and you can't stop me.'
It was clear from his arrogance. He also noticed something about how he laughed after the last thing he said. It was a double meaning and based on how he said it, it was clear that in Drahyun's group, he was the leader.
As they walked over to the observation deck to get their spot, Jev made a hand signal to his sister and best friend.
As Byyuan had caught up with the group, he saw Jev make a gesture. It was subtle, but he noticed the other two stiffen. It looks like Jev's interaction with Drahyun was informative.
"Jev, Ayanni, can you help me grab some snacks?"
Those two turned around and agreed.
Ayanni was grabbing a bowl for the snacks, while he walked with Jev and Byyuan. For him to signal danger, it meant that their fears were realized and now they had to be ready.
Just before they grabbed the snacks, Jev was looking to the left while itching his ear. That was the signal that there was someone listening into their conversation. Although without magic or close by. Technology could accomplish the same thing in this environment.
When he looked over to Byyuan who had their drinks, he seemed to understand that something was wrong. He drew them away to not give away that something was wrong to Lera, but that doesn't seem to be the right choice.
"What about throwing a surprise party for Lera or should we tell her instead of letting it be a surprise as a thank you for this vacation?" He asked the group.
"I think keeping it a surprise is the best idea. We can handle the planning, so no need to make more work for her." Byyuan was very insistent from his voice. "I know we can handle it."
Jev didn't say anything right away. Just before they approached Paroppe and Lera, he finally stated his opinion.
"A surprise… that is the best idea."
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