Twist of Daisy chapter 14
Andrew found Sheena waiting for him inside his room, sitting in the corner as she tries to stay invisible with her hands on her lap, her legs pulled underneath her. She looked like she wanted to go to sleep; her head nodding slightly, her eyes fluttering open every other nod.
Andrew sat in front of her and in Nadya, he asked, "Are you okay?"
Sheena looked at him and smiled. She answered back in her own language. "I'm fine, Slate-sama. Thank you for asking."
Andrew smiled back. Time to be Amelia.
"That must be uncomfortable," Andrew said. To have to repeat himself over and over again in normal speech would be a waste. So Andrew continued to speak in Nadya, thinking that as long as they spoke in her native tongue, Sheena would be able to understand what he was asking. He repositioned his sitting position to show what he meant, his legs splayed out before him. He hung his arms in between the V of his legs. He motioned for Sheena to do the same.
Sheena looked uncomfortable at first, her legs twitching as she tried to spread out her legs as if it had always been glued underneath her. She looked up at Andrew, her face in a nervous frown. He smiled gently and waited, not saying anything. Sheena sighed and took a deep breath. She plopped on the ground and when Andrew didn't say anything, her face beamed with delight.
Andrew patted her head. It felt like he was petting a dog or maybe a cat since she was a lot quieter than a dog was. He started to feel a bit bad playing with her like this, but he'd make up for it. Maybe.
"Better?" Andrew asked. He scooted next to her and leaned against the wall. Sheena nodded and tugged on Andrew's sleeve. Andrew looked down at her but she looked away, blushing.
"Thank you, Slate-sama," Sheena said. "To tell you the truth..."
"I'm not sure if I should be saying this but...I was really terrified being assigned to you," she looked up at him, her body caved in, with a shy smile on her face. "But now I realized the rumors were true: you are a nice person...although you did trick me again."
Andrew thought about what she said, realizing she was talking about losing her in the mist of girls. He chuckled. "Sorry about that. I didn't mean to."
Sheena smiled. "It must be hard being in a new country."
Andrew nodded. "Yes, but with you here with me, I think I'll be fine."
He glanced down at her. She was looking at her lap, her face red. Really, was this all it took to make a girl blush? I don't remember Amelia being this easy to please.
"I'm sorry, Slate-sama," Sheena mumbled. "I'm not very good at my job and yet...you said you were fond of me."
Andrew reached over and patted her head, tucking the loose strand of hair behind her ear. Sheena was so innocent. "What were you doing while I was away?"
"Oh," Sheena said, replacing Andrew's hand with her own, her fingers playing with the tip of her ear. "I was trying to learn how to read better."
"You haven't- you have never been taught?"
Sheena shook her head and brought up her fingers, her index and thumb inches apart. "I was only taught the basics when I was young…and only in Nadya."
Andrew smiled. Bingo. He stood up and went to the table that was in the center of the room and picked up the thin black book that he had placed when he first entered the room. He flipped through it, the images of dragons and humans disappearing every time a page was turned. He handed it to Sheena who took it, confusion in her eyes. Andrew sat back down next to her. "How about you read this to me? It is in Nadya, and I don't know what it says."
"You…want me to translate this?" Sheena asked. Andrew nodded.
"If you want, we can practice like this. Every once in a while, when we are not busy doing other things, I can help teach you to read," Andrew said. He tapped the book's hardcover with his index finger, covering one of the characters in the title. "Let's start with translation."
Sheena smiled and opened the book, her face inches away from the page. Andrew laughed. He tapped her forehead with two of his fingers, pushing her head back. "You can't read if you're that close."
Sheena blushed. "I realized…when the words began to blur."
Andrew smiled and repositioned himself, his side leaning against the wall as he stared at Sheena. She glanced at him, as if wondering she could start. Andrew nodded.
She pressed her lips together, her cheeks puffing out from the force. For a while she was quiet, but then she began to talk, switching out of Nadya's sweet voice to the English rough tongue. Andrew just stared at her, trying to understand what she was saying. Her accent was not thick, but it was definitely there.
For a while, Sheena only read things about the Dragon Kingdom- things that do not surprise Andrew anymore. But when she started talking about shape-shifting, Andrew sat up and fixed his gaze on her more intensely. Sheena did not seem to notice, too focused at the task at hand.
"'At a young age, dragons harness the power to shift into the human forms. Not much is known on why these creatures did not inherent other forms such as the demonic Cryfells, but dragons have accepted the skill and have since learned to perfect when and how to transform out of their beastly forms. One form of method is to use the crystals found in the Hashi Mountains, time of discovery unknown.'" She continued reading while Andrew thought about what Sheena just read to him.
'Crystals found in the Hashi Mountains.' Was that what was powering the harness Kai wore during his lessons? Andrew thought, remembering back to the red button Kaito-sensei pushed to draw Kai back into a human form. Andrew covered his mouth with his hand, his eyebrows furrowed. How can I get my hands on them? And…where can I find Space Jumpers here in the Dragon Kingdom to take me to the harnesses and…
Sheena glanced up at Andrew and stopped reading. "Am I…doing good?"
Andrew smiled. "Perfect Sheena-chan," Sheena smiled by the use of her name. "I would like to hear more. Can you continue?"
Sheena nodded enthusiastically and traced the lines in the book with her nose. She shook her head slightly and withdrew, keeping a good distance away from the book so she could see the words better. She continued reading, her voice rough and monotone.
They stayed like that for a while, until Andrew could see the room darken, the sunlight coming from the balcony window lowering. Andrew knew it would soon be too dark to continue and frankly, Sheena's words and sentence structure were starting to become confused as they fumbled and combine with Nadya, Sheena unable to translate them. He was about to call it the night when he heard a knock at his door.
Sheena dropped the book and ran to the door, straightening her skirt and tucking her hair behind her ear so it would not cover her face, before opening the door. Andrew just watch from behind as Sheena talked to a woman Andrew recognized- she was one of the servants that was following Lantana Adira Nasya Airi.
I wonder what she wants, Andrew thought, but he made no move to talk to her and find out himself. He just sat there, not even bothering to change his sitting position into a more 'proper' one. He kept his legs splayed out on the floor, his arms hanging lifelessly at his sides.
But it was strange. There wasn't that many people Andrew met here in Dragon, even though it has been a while since his arrival. If he was to make a checklist, there were only three names of people that he have met so far that would cause some sort of reaction from him: Sheena, Hideaki, and Kai.
No, four people. Lantana Adira Nasya Airi. Although he barely talked to the woman, there was something about her that Andrew couldn't help but question. He couldn't put his finger on it, but she intrigued him.
Sheena closed the door after bowing slightly to the servant outside and then walked to Andrew. Andrew looked up at her.
"Are we going to continue the lessons?" Andrew asked.
"Airi-sama has requested your appearance," Sheena said. She kept her head down as she squeezed and twisted her fingers in front of her. "She had asked that you go to see her now, now that the day is almost over and there shouldn't be any activities you have to do."
Andrew sighed and stood up. He brushed the strands of his wig out, trying to flatten the loose hairs. "All right. I'll go see her." He glanced down at Sheena. "I think I'll go alone though."
"Yes, Slate-sama," Sheena said. Her voice sounded gloomy. "Airi-sama's lady-in-waiting will guide you to Airi-sama's room."
Sheena bowed and stepped aside so Andrew could walk before her. He just patted her shoulder as he passed. It was the least he could do to cheer her up.
He opened the door and looked down at the woman that was kneeling on the ground. She did not look at him, so he was not able to have a clear view of her face, but he did not mind all that much. Sure, it bothered him, but at this time he had more important thoughts occupying his mind.
The girl bowed at him and motioned to Andrew to follow her. Without thinking too much of it, he kept a close distance behind her.
I got it, Andrew thought. Yes, he felt bad using Sheena to gather information, but he justified it with the fact that he did so to teach her as well. And beside, it was necessary. I now know how to get out of here. I need to find a supply of harnesses-no, better yet, the crystals itself. Then, with time jumper…I could change what happened. Amelia, I could save you…in a more efficient manner.
The girl stopped in front of a sliding door, a dim light bleeding through the paper thin wall. She opened the door for Andrew and stepped aside. She kept her head low. Andrew smiled at her and walked in. As soon as he was fully inside, he could hear the door snap shut behind him.
"Welcome Slate-sama," Lantana's voice chilled from the corner of the room. Andrew turned around and saw her in her sleeping yukata wear, sitting on a purple cushion. Grapes and a glass of red wine poured into a crystal glass were in front of her. Lantana had her hair down, the black hair framing her pale skin. There was a yellow tint to her features from the candlestick's light, her wide black almond eyes glistening. "I haven't found the right time to greet you since your arrival. How do you like the Dragon Kingdom, Princess?"
Andrew smiled and gave a slight bow. "This is a wonderful country, Airi-sama."
He looked back at her. She had a stagnant expression on her face. It was silent; Andrew felt as if he was being tested, but that was impossible. Who was Lantana to test him anyways?
Lantana motioned for Andrew to sit in front of her, on the identical purple cushion. Andrew followed suit and sat down, glancing up at Lantana. She leaned over to the side of her and pulled out another glass and began to pour some wine. She handed it to Andrew.
"Thank you," Andrew murmured. He looked inside the glass and smelled it, remembering the makgulli being fermented. Back then, it smelled horrible. But now…it was sweet, tickling his senses.
Andrew took a sip and waited for the meeting to begin. Perhaps this conversation really was about how 'Amelia' felt being in a new country and to see how he was fairing, but somehow Andrew doubted that.
Lantana reached forward and pinched a grape out of its vines. She seemed to kiss it before putting it in her mouth. Because it was so quiet, Andrew could hear the gush of the juice break out of its shell in her mouth.
"I'll get to the point," Lantana said after a while. She took a sip of her wine and looked at Andrew. Ah…this was one thing he liked about the Dragon Kingdom- the dragons do not beat around the bushes. "You're in trouble."
Andrew froze. What did she mean? "Really now? I do not remember doing anything that would get me into trouble."
Lantana laughed. "Don't play innocent." She circled the rim of her wine glass with her finger and smiled up at Andrew. "You're the Prince of Girre. I'm sure you know how much trouble you are in, more than anyone else."