Chapter 32


I grew Afraid of

- ni Obieteita -





Flicking the letter open the first thing he noticed was that there was more drawn on the paper than written. Only a few words in jiberrish made up the top of the letter. Marred lines underneath lined out what seemed to be the rough shape of a hand, fingers spread and inlined with more, but finer lines making up symbols of what appeared to be a language. The paper was old, yellowish and appeared to be fragile to the point of throwing it away would rip it into a thousand pieces. How it ended up in the tree was another such mystery. 

How did an old leather bag end up in the labyrinth, high up in a tree, with a jar with an insect inside of it that would only light up at night, that made noise, stacked next to books and and a paper? This was a clearing unknown to all explorers, or so it had seemed. Situated in the near center of the second floor, past the territory of a Doestag, and many flowers littered the floor like a carpet of seedlings, good luck and a scent that should have alerted any Ferae with a good enough nose. But the scent could not be found outside the path leading to it, only past the wall, inside the path leading to it. 
How in kami's name had Len managed to find it in the first place?
Why had he been awake to see the light? It didn't make any sense, but then again, Len never did. He never did...

The only thing that was understandable, in the normal sense of the word, where 2 symbols on the top righthand-corner of the too-old-to-be-readable paper.



The Japanese symbols for their guildmaster's name.

Being one of the two present who could actually read, to Ritsu the words looked crooked and written too fast to be understandable. How the others would see the paper would be even less approvingly. Len however, looked over the paper with more interest showing in his eyes than actual confusion. He would look from the paper to his left hand from time to time, his mouth moving without making a sound. This was a language, and one he knew, Ritsu noticed, his confusion increasing tenfold.
He knew the boy could read more than one language, but this made no sense at all. There was only a drawing, and two lines of jarred symbols. How could one read something like that?

The boy looked up, his eyes clouded in thought but slightly startled to be called out of his thinking progress. It took him a few seconds to realize everyone was staring at him and the paper held in his hands warily. The penny dropped as his eyes sharpened a little.
"Oh, sorry..." He muttered looking at Ritsu apologetically before turning to explain what he was doing.
"This is an old language." He started, motioning for the others to get closer so they could read, or watch, better. "It was created by a merchant's people who lived their lives in silence." Rinka's right ear dropped in a confused manner but Len kept explaining, pointing at the drawn hand on the paper, a faint smile on his lips at a memory he did not share with any of them. "To ensure the people could still communicate, a language was created using touch, rather than sound."

Ritsu suddenly remembered a small passage in one of the books his father owned. A language <spoken> by touching the other's hand.
"The Language of Emperors." A small shiver broke out among the lot. Everyone knew the story by now, a language was created among the ranks of the last Emperor of the City.
"Yes, though that is another dialect." Len whispered softly, shaking his head. "It's no longer used."

A dialect, heh. Ritsu blinked, but no one seemed to notice. The Language of Emperors used to be the talk of the city, as far as he could remember. He had never had been able to learn it, it was only spoken along the ranks of the Emperor himself, but his father had... He had known it. 

"I don't get it." Rinka huffed pointing at the drawing of a hand. "Why are there numbers on the fingers?"
"Numbers?" Len looked up dropping one of his ears. "What numbers?"
Rinka wagged her tail from right to left, happy to be able to help it seemed, bowing down to point at the left hand's middle-phalanx of the ring finger. Two lines making a tip at the top, like the roof of a house. "That's one."
"A number?"
"No, 'one', as in the digit."

"That's the place for ha." Len says, getting a notebook out quickly and writing it down.
Ritsu blinks, the things adding up. "Where's the one for two?"
"There." Rinka points at another finger. "ku" Len adds. "haku, red. The third?"
This time Rinka points at the tip of the thumb, where more than one symbol is scribbled down. "n"

"hakun, red, but the object is missing." Rinka nods.
"hakun ron. Red flowers, or fiery flowers."Len concludes.

"Red flowers?" Usagi whispers, before getting her notebook out of a bag and flipping through the pages.
"It goes on." Rinka points again, and again until they've reached 8 digits, and a sentence is formed.
"Red flowers become the path."

"What does it mean?" Bakaito cuts in still half asleep, he doesn't do well when woken up in the middle of the night. After the adrenaline of being woken up to possible danger, he's drained.
"I don't know." Len looks irritated as he says it, Ritsu notices. That while he always seemed excited about solving puzzles in the academy's library, for fun, or to help the librarian. He would always smile around like it wasn't raining outside to the point of being stuck in the library. The boy seemed angry, for some reason Ritsu couldn't find out. Something triggered the outburst from a few hours ago, something he didn't feel like telling yet. "It's a riddle, maybe a test, I think." The boy looked at him, startling him out of his thinking process. Not that it showed on his impassive face, though Len seemed to notice change in his thinking more than even his own sisters. Another strange thing about the boy. Something that almost scared him sometimes. 

Ritsu had grown up knowing that no one seemed to know what he was feeling, what he was thinking, and it gave him some sense of security that was mostly ill-placed. He knew. It was even dangerous, because he would always have to tell people what he was thinking when it mattered, and because of it he had lost many kind people around him. It wasn't that they disliked him, but it was hard communicating when you couldn't tell if they were interested.
This was how his sister had explained it to him when he had come home one day after a project had miserably failed and he had been blamed for being "ritsu".

"Maybe we should get some rest." Rinka says, before adding with a jawn: "Ifhts been a lohng night."
"Len." Usagi cuts in just as Len is opening his mouth to answer. He looks at her startled by the serious tone. It takes him a few seconds to realize it's the dark Usagi again. She'd been appearing less the past weeks, but that time appears to be over now.
"Yes?" Len answers, careful not to call her Usagi now. It seems the girl will either ignore or hit him if he doesn't, according to Rinka. She can know, the protector took care of her for years, together with Yukito.

"Reddust." The girl answers. "It's the only red flower reported."

/don't forget to vote & comment/

I decided to give you some more background on Ritsu. He's one of the more complicated characters, must say I didn't tell you everything though, I never do. Haha. XD I gave you some nice questions, and I answered some (I hope).

I hope everyone liked it, its one of the longer chapters. 

- Akira

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