-Chapter 24-

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- Aphmau's POV-

"Left, right, uppercut, and strike!" Adam called out stance terms to me. A small sweat beaded my forehead. Adam was good at using a sword, he was sharp and ready to fight. I tried knocking him off his feet, but he dodged. While he was recovering, I turned and kicked him over a dummy. My eyes widened at what I just did.
"Oh my gosh, Adam I'm so so sorry I didn't mean to do that, I was only trying to get you unarmed-" I said while I felt tears at the corners of my eyes. Adam looked up at me and started laughing. I stood in surprise. Why would he laugh?
He got up and wrapped his arms around my small figure. My cheeks went warm, and I tensed up a little. His hug was gentle, but yet it was as if he didn't want to let go. He let go, and part of me didn't want him to. He stepped back and smiled.
"It's okay Aph, you've gotten really good, I'm not hurt." Adam brushed himself off and fixed the knocked over dummy. I still felt horrible that I hurt him. "Are you sure it didn't hurt?" Worry coated my voice.
Adam looked and flashed his dorky grin. "Not really, it felt like a potato was kicking me." He smiled while trying to muffle his snickers. My face flushed with red. "Sh-shut up! I'm not a potato!" I said while giggling along with him.
And just when things were going good, a certain person came and interrupted.
"Hey love birds, Sensei wanted us to eat some food, but he needs help with prep, can you hurry and come?" Red called waving us over. Adam blushed fifty-shades of red.
"I'm going to get him back with that comment." Adam said while still blushing deep scarlet. My cheeks were warm too. "Y-yeah, he's d-definitely in for a surprise." I stuttered out. My heart was beating against my chest, and my head felt light. My eyes wanted to look up, so I did. My eyes met Adam's, those deep ocean blue-green eyes, I could get lost in forever.
I stumbled back and hurried towards the main building, leaving a dazed and blushing boy. Why am I like this around him? Am I that head over heels? I shook my head trying to scatter my thoughts.
      I walked up the steps to the main part of the temple, and slid the papyrus and wood doors open. Sensei was kneeling in front of a lowered table, placemats set in place. He looked up when he saw me.
      "Ah! Aphmau, there you are, can you help with food prep?" His eyes crinkled into a pleasant smile.
      "Sure Sensei, what do you want me to do?" I asked while walking over to a set of aprons folded on the counter. I slipped it over my head and tied a neat bow in the back.
      "Do you know how to make Californian rolls, and wontons?" He asked while setting some cups on the table.
      "Of course, this will only take a few minutes!" A smile played at my lips. I slipped the extra hair tie I had on my wrist, and twisted my ponytail into a messy bun.
       While Sensei was adding some chopsticks and small bowls on the table, I went ahead and washed my hands.
Just as I finished drying my hands, the sound of a door sliding shut grabbed my attention. I looked up to see Max holding a small pile of chopped wood in his arms.
       "Oh hey Aph, I got some firewood for the stove, when did you get in here?" Max said while walking over to the stove and putting the logs into the ashes that remained before.
       "Not too long ago, how about you?" I said smiling. He closed the door of the oven and stove-top, and brushed his hands off.
      "Probably 10 minutes ago, I was out chopping the wood for the fire, as you saw." Max replied.
"Thank you again for chopping the wood, I didn't want to ask of you to do more work, but I couldn't do it on my own." Sensei said bowing his head in gratitude and shame.
Max waved his hands in front of him. "No no no, it wasn't any trouble at all!" He smiled, a sight that I haven't seen in awhile.
Max turned and opened one of the many cabinets, and looked around for ingredients. He pulled out salt, pepper, and jars of Thyme, Oregano, Chile, and some Soy Sauce. He turned to me. "Ready to cook?" He smiled. I grinned. "You bet."
We went to work working on the food we would eat later. I rolled out squares of dried seaweed, and cut them in half. I put some rice in a small pot, and let it boil on the wood burning stove. I looked down and realized the stove hadn't been lit yet.
"Hey Sensei do you have a match or a lighter somewhere?" I asked looking in a few drawers. He looked up in surprise. "Your lighter is right there." He said and chuckled. His finger pointed towards a surprised Max. "Oh! One sec!" He said and turned towards the dry wood.
Max rested his hand on his gem, and his eyes lit up to a red-orange color. The veins in his arms changed to the same color as his eyes, and small flames danced in the palms of his hand. He turned and cast one of his hands at the logs. The flames that he created shot out, and hit the cluster of logs, causing them to erupt in flames.
"Nice Max!" I said clapping my hands. He extinguished his hands and bowed. "Thank you, thank you I'll be here all week." He blinked and his gem deactivated. They return to their normal brown.
"Well done Max, you have more control of your powers, you will be very skillful with wielding fire." Sensei smiled clapping his hands in respect. Max grinned at the compliment. He was getting better. Would I get better at using my powers? It's not easy to use our powers. It's actually harder than it looks. I brushed my loose thoughts away.
I soon placed the white rice into the pot of water, and put the lid on. I soon went to work cutting up the shrimp and salmon for the Californian Rolls. The knife blade sliced through each fish with ease, and within minutes every shrimp and salmon was cut into small slivers or chunks.
      I grabbed a zucchini that lay on the counter nearby, and begin to peal the dark green skin off. I soon chop the green vegetable into thin slices, and then chop those into smaller pieces. The smell of rice fills the air around me, and I walk over and move the pot of boiling rice over to a cooler spot, and stir the contents around for a few moments.
      Max was working on the dough for the Wontons, and preparing a small pot of oil to deep fry in. He had just finished kneading the dough, when Ross and Jin walked in the main door to the kitchen.
      "There you two are, we were hoping more people would come and help." Max said while cutting out small circles of dough. Jin and Ross exchanged looks. "Umm... I don't know how to cook." Jin said while rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment.
      Ross looked away blushing. "I-I don't know how to either, I've tried, but I'm not that good..." He mumbled the last part. Max chuckled at the two. "Then can you guys at least help set the table and round the others up?" Max said while grabbing a pan and beginning to cook a beef shrimp mixture.
       Jin and Ross looked at each other and smiled. "Sure, I don't know how to cook, but I know how to make Herbal Tea and other Herbal drinks of the sort." Jin said while grabbing the teapot on the table and going over to the stove. "I can help with setting the table, and additional help cleaning up after." Ross said while grabbing some chopsticks Sensei handed him and placed around the table in their set order.
       "Alright, you guys in the mood for Oriental and Sushi?" Max asked jokingly. "Yee." Ross replied while setting the last chopstick down on the table. "What kind of sushi are you making?" Jin asked while using the rest of the water to fill the tea pot. He was rummaging through the cabinets trying to find ingredients.
        "Californian Rolls and Wontons." Max said while finishing the shrimp and beef mixture. He brought it over to the cut out circles of dough he made earlier, and began to fill each piece with the mix, and folding them when he finished.
         Jin turned to grab more water from the water bowl they were using, since their wasn't any running water inside the main part of the temple. "Uh, you guys we ran out of water, where did you get the water from before?" Jin asked showing us the empty container. Max turned to see the problem. "I grabbed it from the Well outside, it's close to the pile of wood that's chopped." Max replied.
        Ross spoke up. "I could grab some for you guys!" He waddled over to the bucket and grabbed it and hurried to the back door. Max laughed at the funny walk Ross just did, and I couldn't help but giggle too.
        Max soon finished the last of his folding, and soon took the folded stuffed pieces of dough, and dipped them into the pot of oil on the stove top. They crackled and sizzled in the oil, the smell wafting through the room. It smelled wonderful!
        I took the rice from the pot and set it aside in a wooden bowl. I grabbed some sweet sauce nearby, and squirted some in the bowl. I reached over and pulled a wooden spoon out of a cylinder container. An assortment of utensils could be found standing tall inside.
        I grabbed the sweet rice, and began to cover the outside of each seaweed piece. Each roll needed the same amount of rice, not too little, and not too much. Max started taking the wontons out, each a beautiful golden brown. The smell was just has heavenly.
      I grabbed the shrimp and salmon I cut earlier, and placed two of the fish in each roll. I then added the Zucchini bits into the unrolled sushi, giving it some more flavor and color. I tucked any loose pieces that might have slipped, and slowly roll each rice and seaweed roll tightly, all the while using a bamboo mat to help me do so.
      Sensei had left the kitchen, and walked out into the dining area. He grabbed some soft scented candles, and set them in a decorative way.
      "Max?" Sensei called out, gesturing to the candles. Max smiled. "Say no more!" And walked forward and placed his hand on his gem. The fiery color glowed inside the gem, causing his eyes to change to the same color. He ignited his pointer finger, and went along to each candle and touched the wick, giving a burning life into the white candles.
       Max blew his finger out, and deactivated his gem. Brushed his hands off, and made his way back to the kitchen where I stood cutting the sushi rolls.
       The blade of the knife  sliced with a soft crunch through each roll, creating smaller ones for more bite sized proportions. I set the freshly cut rolls aside, and work on the sweet and spicy sauce.
      I grab a chili pepper and mash it with a stone against a smooth stone. After about a minute or so, the chili pepper was crushed into small pieces. It's sweet but yet spicy smell could already be detected. I grabbed some avocado and cut it open, removing the pit, and slicing the green fruit into slices, then mashing it up into a paste like form.
       I took the chili pepper and added it to the avocado, the colors mixing well, and giving off a vibrant mix.
       I grabbed a small bag and tuck the paste inside, and cut the tip of the bag with a small knife, and begin to pipe the sweet and spicy sauce onto the rolls. The colors and smells looked and worked together so well.
       Max was getting a big plate out of the top cupboard above him, and he turned and looked at the Californian Rolls. "Those look so good Aph." Max said while reaching in the cupboard and grabbing another plate for the rolls. He handed me the smaller plate.
        "Thanks, I love making Sushi!" I replied tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. Jin looked over. "Both of your dishes look amazing, nice job you two!" Jin said complimenting our cooking. He removed the teapot he was working on, and added some last minute spices.
        "This should do the trick." Jin smiled while taking the tea pot off the stove and bringing it over to the table. Max and I brought our dishes over setting the on the table. I grabbed the Soy Sauce and pour some into small bowls to dip the Californian Rolls into.
       The final touch was salt and pepper added to the table, and the meal was completed. "Wonderful job you three, dinner looks amazing." Sensei said while clapping his hands together. I learned that with respect, Sensei deserves old fashioned respect. I gently dipped forward slightly, doing a traditional bow. I looked up and smiled.
      Sensei stood surprise, but immediately melted into a smile. Max and Jin copied my movements, and put their fist against their palm. We respected him, and he respected us too. He glide over to the table and sat down. He looked up at us.
      "Can you call everyone to supper?" Sensei asked politely. We nodded and went ahead to go find our friends. I honestly couldn't wait to eat.

     -Hey guys Crystal here! Thank you all so much for your support and love, it means the world to me, the kind comments, and the funny ones too. (Looking at the comments from chapter two and three, wtf you guys? XD)

      I'm sorry for the delays with updating, I've been a fat, lazy potato for not updating. - w -
BUT, updates will be more frequent, Imma work my butt off to get chapters out for you guys.

      Again, sorry for the delays, sorry for short chapters, long chapters are coming up soon! Love you all so much! Gem Squad rocks, you guys are the best! Bye!

-Crystal 💎

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