Chapter Six: Why me?
Jennifer sat there staring at the feathers on the ground. She couldn't figure out how they got there. Kumo had said she did it but she couldn't have. She didn't remember anything that had happened so how could she have done it. Kumo sat back watching her. He seemed almost angry with her but still confused. Jennifer gently touched her back to find that her shirt had several large rips in the back.
"Kumo, what happened?"
"You just changed. You grew wings. Then when you came out of that daze the wings burst and the feathers went everywhere." He said. Jennifer didn't look at him as she stood. She started to walk away. "Where are you going?" He shouted.
"I have to think." She said. Kumo frowned.
"What do you have to think about? You have to train!" Jennifer turned and looked at him. Her eyes flashed dangerously.
"Kumo, I'm going." She said in a final tone. She started to walk away again. Kumo jumped up and grabbed her arm. She looked at him.
"Don't go." He said softly. Jennifer stared up at him and felt her face go a slight pink. She shook her head. She pulled away from his hand.
"Just let me go." She replied. Kumo growled. His fox ears fell back against his head in irritation.
"Jen! You need to train!" He shouted. Suddenly he was hit with a small but strong twister. He fell back. Jennifer stared at him.
"You just love telling me what to do don't you? Is that the only reason you keep me around? Is it because you need someone to boss around? I know you hate me but I can't stand the way you treat me." She turns away from him.
'I especially hate the way you treat me because of how I feel about you. If I hated you I wouldn't care. I would just leave but I find that I just can't stand to leave you. It breaks my heart to be away from you and it kills me to be with you. There is no in between. I can't win with you. I can't be with or without you. What can I do?' She thought to herself as Kumo stood up.
"Now wait I don't-" He started as he took a step towards her.
"I hate you!" She screamed at the top of her lungs. She shouted it so venomously that Kumo had to take a step back. He was stunned at her words. She refused to look him in the eyes. She pushed past him. As she pushed past him, Kumo noticed tears flowing down her cheeks.
She sprinted to the castle; which left Kumo standing on the hill abandoned. He suddenly fell to his knees and then he fell flat onto his face. He let his face hit the ground. He didn't try to break his fall with his hands; he felt he deserved to get hurt.
'I knew that I would someday tick her off to a point where she would tell me she hates me. I thought I was ready for it but now. I know. I know that I'm not ready for her to hate me. It makes my insides turn just to think that she hates me. It was never this hard with the other chosens. Maybe it was because they were just silly little girls. Maybe it was because that deep down in my heart I really didn't think much of any of them. But I. I truly respect Jennifer. I don't know why but I do.' He breathed in the reality of his situation. He realized that there was no time for her to train with anyone else. They were moving so much quicker. He slammed his fist into the ground leaving a large sever behind.
"Damn it all to hell!" He bellowed. He slowly stood up and leaned against a tree. His eyes didn't have life left in them. He watched two butterflies, one light blue and one dark blue, race through the air playing together without a care in the world. They landed on a leaf and started, seemingly, to converse. The light blue one flew off for no apparent reason. The other butterfly floated over to Kumo and landed on his hand.
"You and I are not so unalike. We both lost someone who isn't ready to go off on their own." The butterfly flew off. Kumo stared after it. He grew angry and slammed his fist against a tree. "Go! Fly away! I don't need you!" He shouted. "God, I'm insane." He mumbled. Something silver flashed on the ground. Kumo grabbed it. It was his ring. Fervor. The ring he had given to Jennifer to protect her.
"She... left it?" Kumo asked. He squeezed the ring tightly in his hand but he could feel his heart sinking. He swore and started to walk back to the castle. Rakken walked up to him. He seemed angry. As soon as he reached Kumo, he punched him in the face. Kumo fell back onto the ground. He stared up at the angered demon. Rakken's green eyes glared down at Kumo.
"You're an idiot you know." He spat. Kumo's silver eyes narrowed at him. "You were told to protect her and now look at what you've done. You've chased her off. Do you realize that she can't train with anyone else? She was working on different things than the rest of the chosens. There aren't any other guardians to spare."
Jennifer stood in her room. She glanced about and grabbed a few of the clothes that hung in the closet. She quickly made her way to Kasumi's room. Kasumi had just gotten back from her morning run. She stared at Jennifer as she stood in the doorway. She didn't ask any questions until Jennifer fell into her arms.
"I told him that I hated him." She cried. Kasumi looked confused as she pushed Jennifer back so she could look at her.
"I told Kumo that I hated him."
"Because he hates me. He was trying to get me to continue our training but I wanted to sit down and think but he wouldn't let me. So we started arguing and then I told him that I hate him." She said.
"Jen, did he say that he hated you?"
"Not exactly. I know he does. He treats me like I'm some stupid little girl. He doesn't show me any respect!" Jennifer said angrily. Kasumi laughed and patted Jennifer's hand. Jennifer frowned at her.
"Kumo doesn't show anyone any respect. Just go back and apologize to him. You need to complete your training before we enter the tournament." Jennifer still seemed hesitant to go. "Do you feel better now that you've told him off?"
Realizing that Kasumi is making a point Jennifer shook her head. "I guess that maybe I expected to get a reaction out of him. He just stood there staring at me as if I were an idiot. The sad thing is. I. don't hate him. I just told the man that I have the utmost respect for that I hate him. My heart is breaking." She admitted. Kasumi's jaw dropped and her eyes grew large. She sighed and shook her head. "I threw his ring on the ground and left it there."
"That was Kumo's ring?"
"You told me you got it from someone irreplaceable to you. You always told me that Kumo was nothing special. You told me he was a disgrace and that he wasn't worth-"
"I know what I said. I was lying. Kumo has been very dear to me even when he was Nick the creep. I couldn't let him know that I had some stupid crush on him. I couldn't. My pride wouldn't allow it. I was too stubborn to be the one who came crawling to him. I wanted him to apologize." Tears ran freely down her cheeks. "Kasumi, I can't talk to him. I'm afraid of what he might say to me. He told me that I must train. My energy is weak and I haven't trained my spirit yet. You have to train me. Please. I can't see him again. Not until he's had a chance to calm down at least."
"I'll train you. But you have to promise me that when your energy has gotten stronger you'll go tell Nick you're sorry. Also the training will be tough. Don't think that just because I'm a girl I'll go easier on you."
"I'm glad we understand one another. Come on."
"Yeah. It's still morning. You've got some training to do." With that Kasumi pulled Jennifer off of the couch and out into the bright sunlight. She pushed the chosen to her limit. At the end of the day Jennifer was half dead. Kasumi had to be the most brutal person she had ever met. Kasumi's training had nearly killed her. She did twice as much work than she did when she was with Kumo. Jennifer suddenly missed him a lot.
For the next five and a half months, Kumo and Jennifer were kept apart. Kasumi worked Jennifer like a dog, while Kumo and Rakken were constantly training. Jennifer had perfected her energy control. How could she not? Kasumi ran her ragged. They would spend up to twelve hours suspending themselves above jagged rocks and glass. The trick was to push her energy out of her body and hold it there. They fought scrimmages everyday while they were powered up. Kasumi never saw the wings. Jennifer had never pushed her power to a point where they would be released from her inner self. Kasumi tried to push Jennifer to where she would grow the wings, but it never happened. They ran miles everyday and they were always lifting weights. Jennifer soon learned that she could shoot little fireballs from her fingers. She began working that skill to improve her aim and to power the balls up.
When Jennifer trained alone she worked on her agility and her evasive maneuvering. She would practice diving and recovering from her dives to land an attack. She relentlessly trained. It was all she could do to keep her mind off of Kumo. Kumo on the other hand was much harder to convince. Though in the end Rakken won and the two trained just as hard as the girls did.
Rakken and Kasumi walked through the halls. Both were silent. It was past midnight and they were the only ones occupying the way. Kasumi stopped and waited for Rakken to notice. He immediately stopped.
"That party is tomorrow night. The trials to make the team are on Monday. And then the trials to get through to the demon realm are the week after that. What are you planning for tomorrow night Kasumi?"
"Just get Kumo there and you'll see." Kasumi kissed Rakken as they left one another.
Rakken had a hard time getting Kumo ready. The demon did not want to go but after an hour long struggle the two left for the ball. Kumo wore his gate uniform. It was a dark navy blue suit with gold cufflinks and buttons. A gold chain fell from his left shoulder, swung under his arm, and buttoned to his same shoulder. He tugged at the chain as he stood looking bored. Kumo was truly bored and aggravated. He thought back to the argument presented to him not even an hour earlier.
'Kumo, they'll take away your gate job. You won't be a guard if you don't go.' Rakken had said. Kumo, realizing he was right, swore and got ready.
He didn't look at anything as he stood standing in a dark corner. He was there. No one said he had to do anything else. His eyes found Rakken and Kasumi dancing together. He recognized the song the band was playing. It reminded him of his most recent childhood. A few lines stood out in his mind.
'I'll be your cloud up in the sky,
I'll be your shoulder when you cry,
I'll be hear voices when you call me.
I'm your angel.'
Kumo rolled his eyes and tried to forget ever writing those stupid lyrics. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes as he leaned against a pillar. His eyes opened without his consent. They fell upon the very pretty girl on the dance floor. It was Jennifer. She wore a light peachy spaghetti-strap dress that went to the floor. Her hair flooded over her shoulders and down her back. She was in the arms of a young demon. He swept her around as if he were a pro. She smiled and moved with him. She looked up and her eyes connected with his. She never broke the gaze as she and the other man danced.
Kumo couldn't do anything. He stared at her and grew angry. He wanted to rush out onto the dancefloor and take Jennifer away from the other young man. He gritted his teeth and produced a soft growl. It was almost as if Jennifer heard him. She stepped back and thanked the young man for dancing with her. He left her in the middle of the dancefloor. Kumo stared at her in a confused manner. She waited for him to move but he didn't. He waited for her to get angry and stalk off but she didn't. Instead she walked over to him.
He could hear her footsteps nearing him. Though there were tons of people and music, to Kumo they were only background noises. He could hear her breath as she tried to catch it and her heart beating rapidly in her chest. She stopped right in front of him. He immediately let his hands fall into his pockets. He had forgotten about the ring but there it was in his pocket. He was slightly shocked but let the surprise melt from his face.
"I am your angel." She sang with the music. He tried to figure out the hidden meaning as she looked at him. His eyes met hers. He restrained the smile that he wanted to show her. He didn't just want to smile. He wanted to wrap her in his arms and hold her.
"No remarks about my horrible voice?" She asked. Kumo didn't acknowledge her remark. He half expected her to grow angry with him but she didn't. "Kumo, I want you to know that I don't hate you. I know that I'm super annoying and that you think of me as some stupid little brat that only pesters y-"
"Jen, I don't think you're THAT annoying. And you're not some stupid little brat. You're my stupid little brat." Jennifer blushed as she looked at the ground.
"You're an idiot." She whispered. Kumo smiled while she wasn't looking.
"We're going to work through this tournament together. You and me."
"How can we be partners if you'll be working at the gate?"
"Who said I was going back to the gate?"
"Rakken and Kasumi said that you were going to the gate because you thought I didn't want you as my guardian." Kumo frowned slightly.
"I'm not going to the gate until after the tournament. So, we can be partners right?"
"Only if you dance with me." She said. Kumo shook his head.
"I don't dance." He replied. It was too late. Jennifer had already gotten him onto the dancefloor. She placed his left hand on her shoulder while placing her right hand on his hip. She held his right hand with her left one. The music was soft and gentle. They started to dance. Jennifer moved gracefully while Kumo tried desperately not to look awkward. He was failing that mission. He stepped on Jennifer's foot.
"Ow." She stated plainly. Kumo huffed and tried to walk off. Jennifer caught his arm and pulled him back to her. They started dancing again. Kumo managed to miss a step and, while trying to regain it, bumped into another couple. The other demon glared at him. Jennifer came to Kumo's defense quickly. She jumped in front of him and stuck out her tongue at the other man. She made a comment about how the other demon Kumo had bumped into needed to learn how to dance.
"I can't do it." Kumo said as he turned to leave. Jennifer caught his arm once again but didn't pull him. Kumo looked back at her. He could see her begging him with her eyes. He suddenly wanted to give her everything to keep her from crying. He turned around and took her hands in his. He danced her around the dancefloor without an error. She smiled as he pulled her into his tight embrace. With the close of the song Kumo dipped her. He stared at her and she up at him. He came close to kissing her but before he made the move to he stood her back up. He laughed and said that he had a little too much champagne. Jennifer smiled and allowed him to lead her off of the dancefloor. They talked the night away. Jennifer did anyway. Kumo couldn't find anything to talk about but the tournament.
Before it got too late Kumo and Jennifer headed to their room. They stood in the living area and didn't say anything to one another. It was an awkward silence. Jennifer moved suddenly over to him and hugged him goodnight. She walked to her old room and shut the door behind her. Kumo stared after her but didn't do anything. How could he? He was still confused as to why she hugged him. He could still feel her warm body against his. He shook his head and headed back to his room.
That night he was plagued by a dream. He would wake but then drift back to sleep and dream it again. He kept waking before he could get what he wanted. It was both awful and wonderful. It was so real but at the same time so dishonest. He could never have this but his mind and heart teased him for the rest of the night.
Yay! I'm done with this chapter. Sorry it took so long. I saw some flaws so I had to fix 'em. Well, it's 2 a.m. on a school night and I have softball tomorrow. Goodnight y'all.