Arsenal, CharlotteCarrendar, Classroom Kyoko, Classroom Toshiro, drama, fantasy, Kazuhiko, Kyoko, Night Kahue, role play., SageWisdomce, story, test, The Capital, The Moss House Kahue, Toshiro, writing
Turned to face Kazuhiko, there was no way she could hide the look in her eyes, the sheer confusion she was feeling. The kiss on the dance floor, was impossible to describe. Whether it was induced by the mist created by the witches, or the champagne Kyoko didn’t know. All she did know was that she had fallen for the Prince, and with no inhibitions she had kissed him as she had wanted to the very first moment that they met. The more he spoke, the more it made sense, but she couldn’t help looking away, till finally she stared at him and said why she ran.
“Kazu…I don’t know how to say this…but I have fallen for you, and I never expected this. Not so soon. I kissed you cause…I wanted to so much, then I thought I had gone too far.”
As they stood there, rain started to fall, as the crack of lightning illuminated the street. Thunder rolled on through the clouds, and Kyoko was starting to get wet. She was starting to shiver from the cold of the night air and now the rain. Her eyes implored him to tell her if he felt the same.
But Toshiro did follow her. He was not about to give up , now that he found a chink in her armour. He had said something to set her off, but the question was what? He rounded on her and blocked her path. Leering at her after she had hurled a barrage at him about not knowing what a woman wants. In fact, he was sure that he did. Now he was moving in for the kill.
“I know all about you and your dear Casimiro. Tell me, what is it like to work under the same man that was involved in his death? Hmm? I am sure he tried his darnedest to make it up to you. Keeping you around so he didn’t feel guilty. And now, he has Kyoko…so. Where does that leave you, Kahue? Your special place in the squad being threatened by an upstart from the home country. Kazuhiko gets to have his cake and eat it too. A wife and an SMS. How convenient.”
At this he simply smirked and then turned to walk away.
“Course…I know nothing about what a woman like YOU wants. Night Kahue.”
The rain fell down in sheets around them and before him Kyoko was shivering. Her words filled his soul with a happiness he hadn’t known before. She was the woman he subconsciously hoped to always meet and she was looking at him as if her heart would break if he didn’t feel the same as she did. He took a step closer and placed his hand under her chin making sure that they were staring at each other eye to eye.
“Kyoko, there is no too far anymore because I am falling right along with you. I thought I had taken things too far. I would never want to disrespect you.”
He wrapped his arms around her trying to keep the cold at bay. Her body felt perfect against his and he leaned in for another kiss before holding his hand out to hail a bicycle cart. “Let’s get you back before you catch a cold.” A bicycle cart stopped in front of them and Kazuhiko let her get in before him.
The Moss House
Kahue hadn’t felt the urge to cry in a long time, but Toshiro’s words had hit a sore spot. How did he know about the team? All info about them was readily available to the nephilim masses, but who would actually dig that information up? Her legs felt unstable as she headed for the exit. Lucas called to her, but she ignored him only wanting to go home and cry herself to sleep. The storm outside was the perfect setting for her depression and she walked home alone in the rain.
Though wet and cold, at least in the small buggy they were now under some cover as the rider peddled the bike as fast as he could, to get the couple back to their home. Kyoko’s hair was literally plastered to her head, and with droplets of water still on her face, she had nothing with which to dry herself off with. Instead, she kept close to Kazuhiko for sheer body warmth, but also because they had their first real breakthrough as a couple. Admitting to each other their true feelings, they knew where the other stood.
Kyoko took Kazuhiko’s hand and locked her fingers tight with his, a smile on her face though her lips were a little blue from the cold night air. It was hard to hear each other through the rain, but she felt that it was better to speak mind to mind as it was their gift.
I promise not to run away anymore, not after tonight.
Outside the Moss House
Toshiro was positively pleased with himself. Sure, Kyoko may have gone home with her Prince tonight, but the seeds of hate had well and truly been sewn with Kahue, and if he knew women as much as he said, it was safe to say that Kahue was not going to make Kyoko testing easy….at all. He found a way to tear apart the poor girl’s heart, and for what? Well, he needed an ally within the Arsenal, and whether Kahue realized it or not, she was about to be his star pawn.
Lucas was too easy going to convince that the Prince’s leadership was coming to an end. But if Toshiro had his way, the following day, the Arsenal would be completely fractured, and one girl named Kyoko would be going home.
He didn’t care that it was raining, and whistled as he walked down the rain soaked streets, laughing as he turned the corner.
Kazu held on tightly to Kyoko’s hand as they rode back to the castle. The places where they touched felt like the only warm spots on his body. The night had turned into quite a mess, but Kazu looked like he had just won the lottery. A wide grin played across his lips. Kyoko spoke to him in his mind and her words were sweet and reassuring.
And I promise to try my best not to do anything that makes you want to run away.
The bicycle cart dropped them off in front of the castle and Kazu walked Kyoko to her room. It took everything in him not to ask to come inside, but they both needed their rest for tomorrow’s test. So he kissed her deeply on the lips before bidding her good night and going to his room. He set the bath on high and stripped himself of his dripping wet clothes. Thoughts of Kyoko ran through his mind during his night time routine and while he lay in bed trying to fall asleep. One day she would share his bed and it was starting to feel like that day couldn’t come soon enough. However, he would be patient and let Kyoko dictate the terms of their relationship.
Kazuhiho’s Living Room
The next morning Kazu jumped out of bed with excitement lighting his eyes. Today Kyoko would prove herself and become a member of the Rise Arsenal. He left his bedroom to grab a glass of orange juice and was beyond surprised to see Kahue sitting in one of his armchairs. Her eyes were ringed in red and she appeared exhausted as if she hadn’t had a wink of sleep. He had never seen her look so vulnerable and the next thing she did surprised him the most. When her face turned toward his, tears streamed down her cheeks.
Not even at Casimiro’s funeral had he seen her cry and it made him very uncomfortable. They were quiet for a very long time. Kahue sniffled every now and then not bothering to wipe away the tears. She looked truely broken as if the grief had finally caught up to her. Eventually he began to hear her thoughts in his head. The words were very faint as though even in thought speech she couldn’t trust her voice.
You have been my commander for a long time and I never doubted your ability until the day Casimiro died. And I know that isn’t fair, but my mind had to rationalize the situation somehow. I guess it was easiest to blame you. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to still believe in your leadership. Just promise me that you will be fair today. If we all treat Kyoko like any other applicant and she passes, I will never question her place on the team again.
Her words surprised him and he came and sat on the armrest next to her. He pulled her into a hug against his side and she didn’t get upset or push him away. He knew that this must have really been bothering her.
I hadn’t planned on giving Kyoko any special treatment and she wouldn’t want me to. Everyone earns their place on this team and that’s how it will always be.
He held her for a little while longer before she batted his arm away and stood. She rubbed the tears from her face and looked over at him with a small smile. Muttering something about needing to catch a nap before the test, she left with a renewed resolve. Kazu shook his head unable to believe the strange encounter he had just had and continued on his route to the refrigerator. He read bits of news and ate breakfast and before he knew it only an hour remained before the test. He went into the bathroom and got ready before knocking on Kyoko’s door a half hour later.
Kyoko’s lips still tingled long after Kazuhiko had said goodnight, and left her at her apartment door. She just stood there, dripping outside her door, before getting that cold shiver, and turning sharply, to open her door, and let herself inside. The night out was filled with all sorts of emotions, and incidents, and yet what stood out for her was the kiss on the dance floor. Oh how she wanted to feel that again. But she had a huge day coming, and standing in her foyer soaking wet was just going to give her the chills. She carefully padded over to the bathroom and turned on her shower, before taking off her wet clothes and placing them in the hamper. The warm water of the shower was a welcome relief to her chilled bones, and she leaned against the glass, while the waters sprayed down her back and on the frosted glass.
Kyoko closed her eyes, and her mind was filled with that of Kazuhiko. She could hardly wait for the testing to be over, and they could get on with preparations for the wedding, and then they will get to have their wedding night. She smiled unto herself at the idea of laying naked beside him. It thrilled her to no end, and she even tried to imagine him naked. Her cheeks flushed at the very thought, and so she set about scrubbing down her body, rubbing the soap in to cleanse herself thoroughly.
After stepping out of the shower and turning off the faucet, Kyoko dried herself vigorously with a fluffy towel, before plaiting up her damp hair, so it would be easier to sleep with. She opted to sleep naked this night after warming up through the shower. Yawning, she really was tired, and turned off the bathroom light, before heading over to her grand king side bed. She crawled in beneath the covers and laid her head on the pillow, only reaching out to turn out the lamp at the side of her bed.
In the darkness, she stared at the ceiling and sighed happily. Everything hinged on tomorrow’s performance, and she made a promise to herself, not to let Kazuhiko down.
The Arsenal Training grounds
It was barely sun rise, and Toshiro was already down at the site where the testing would begin. Dressed in his full uniform, he was surveying the layout and chuckling to himself, as he checked his watch. It was like he wanted to the first to welcome those down from the castle and apartments. He was curious to see Kahue most of all. He knew he had pushed her buttons to the extreme, but did it have the desired effect? Toshiro also wondered if Kyoko did go home with Kazuhiko and if she had slept with the Prince. So many questions, and all to be answered soon.
Kyoko’s front door.
Kyoko was up early, doing her exercises, and then got ready in her uniform for her big day of testing. She had been told that Kazuhiko would come to fetch her, and she waited almost impatiently to hear his knock. Cleaning up her room before that happened, she ended up pacing, whispering to herself to try and keep calm and have a cool head, to help her get through the day.
He waited for Kyoko to answer and when she did he smiled at her and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “I hope you rested well,” he said before leading the way to the side exit that was the quickest route to the DAB. Noon time was the busiest time of day and the citizens of Albisas hustled about on their way to handle various jobs and tasks. It was the most diverse city in Desnonia, inhabited by witches, trolls, the urisk, nephilim and scatterings of the other races of the world here and there. Kazuhiko loved this time of day because people were typically too busy to notice him.
The Desnonian Air Brigade
When they reached the base, the two sergeants on guard duty saluted and let them pass. He headed for the Arsenal headquarters and was surprised to see Toshiro already waiting for them. “You’re here early. I’m surprised you have the stamina for a test today, what with your journey here yesterday and last night’s outing,” Kazuhiko said as he walked past the man to open the door with his tag. He led them past the main room that held a small fridge with beverages and snacks and the round table that Kahue and Lucas had been playing cards on the first time Kyoko had met them. The place was deserted and Kazuhiko took them down a short hall and into a small classroom.
“The others will be here shortly, but before they arrive I might as well explain the test. There are three parts,” he said as he went over to the chalkboard and began writing down the key points of the day. “This test was designed to push the limits of nephilim resolve. The first part of the exam is a written test. It covers Nephilim and Desnonian history. There will also be theoretical situations brought up and you are to answer what you would do in the proposed quandary. That means, as you probably guessed, that some questions have no technical right answer. Later on at your review you may be asked why you chose a particular answer, so be prepared.”
He turned to face them as the others walked in the room. Lucas looked happy and chipper as usual and Kahue seemed to be back to her usual self. She nodded at Kyoko trying to put in a little effort to clear the air between them while completely ignoring Toshiro. She planned on showing him absolutely no mercy later and took pleasure in the thought of exacting her revenge. Kazuhiko greeted the two and after they had taken their seats at the front of the classroom, he continued explaining the examination. “The second part of the exam will require us to leave the city and head up into the mountains an hour’s journey away. We will jog there with our gliders on our backs and make the hike to the take off point up in the cliffs. The two of you will race SMS Miliani, but it is unnecessary to win and honestly you probably won’t be able to as she is the best glider in the DAB. This will simply gauge your ability to see if it is up to Arsenal standards. The race route leads back to the outskirts of the city. At which point we will come back here for the final part of the exam where you will have to spare with me one on one. Are there any questions?” he asked as Lucas handed out the written test to Kyoko and Toshiro.
Unlike the night before, where Toshiro was full of bravado this day he was putting on a new mask; one of absolute seriousness. Oh he was determined to get through the day’s testing, even though secretly he was plotting to bring people within the Arsenal down. He already had one in his sights, and a possible second, but who was that? Whatever Toshiro was thinking, it was going to make for a very explosive day on the field.
With folded arms, and his boot cocked up on the wall outside the main room in the corridor, he watched Kazuhiko enter with Kyoko not far behind. Hearing of Kazhuko’s surprise at him being up and ready so early, Toshiro replied with an air of confidence.
“There is a great deal you don’t know about me, Commander. Let’s just say that I slept like a baby last night after that wonderful spell at the club. I imagine the two of you had a great time.” Course he was hinting about the whole kissing on the dance floor scene, and this had Kyoko turn her head away blushing. He always knew how to push her buttons. A hidden smirk, and Toshiro then silently followed along behind the Prince and his fiancee, arriving at the small classroom
Toshiro took his chair, and pushed it back allowing him to stretch himself out, and get comfortable, while Kyoko sat a table away from him, trying not to lose her focus. Toshiro seemed to want to bring attention to himself through his body language, rather than being vocal. He gave a small salute to Lucas when he entered, and then winked at a hostile looking Kahue when she entered the room
~Let the games begin.~
As Kyoko and Toshiro were filled in on the number of tests and what they entailed, Kyoko kept her eyes front, and made mental notes of what was to occur, and what was expected. Toshiro made the odd face, one was more agreeable about racing Kahue on the gliders. In fact, he was champing at the bit to go toe to toe with her on the gliders.
When Kazuhiko had gone through explaining how the testing would be carried out, and if there was any questions, Kyoko sat silently, while Toshiro lazily raised his arm to ask a question.
“Err..Commander, I would be honored to have the chance to spar you before Kyoko. Call me fickle, but I have kinda been looking forward to matching it with the likes of….royalty.”
It was then his trademark grin came to the fore.
“After all…this is more than a test to me, its to see who is really worthy to own the title of Commander.”
Toshiro was basically calling him out.
Toshiro was bold. That much could not be denied as Kazuhiko looked down at him from his position at the front of the classroom. Gone were the days that Kazu found Toshiro’s presence in Kyoko’s life intimidating. Now he was starting to view him as an annoyance. “Let’s say that you kick my ass, Tosh. I can call you Tosh, right?” he said in a sarcastic manner without waiting for a response. “That means absolutely nothing in the view of the AB as far as rank goes. Everyone earns their position not only through acing the test, but by also proving their value to the team over the long haul. I was appointed this position because I was deemed worthy. It’ll take a lot more than losing a sparring match to strip me of my title.”
Kazuhiko jumped down from the raised platform where the chalkboard and a small wooden desk sat and headed toward the door. “If there are no more questions, Lucas will take over and monitor your progress,” he said as he walked out the door and waited for Kahue to follow. He held out until they were back in the common area to speak. “There’s something about that guy that just isn’t right.” Kahue simply nodded. She was no tattle and she would deal with Toshiro in her own way.
Lucas stood at the front of the room and got the process started. The tests were already handed out, so he found pens in a little cup on the desk for them to use. “This is a timed test. You will be given an hour to complete 50 questions. If you are unsure about something, answer to the best of your ability. I created this test and as such I will also be grading it. Good luck.” He sat down in the seat behind the desk and fiddled with one of the extra pens thinking of ways to pass the time.
Kyoko took a pen from the cup that Lucas offered, and then when he told them they had one hour to complete the fifty questions, she exhaled heavily whilst taking a look up at the clock on the wall. With the test in front of her, as soon as Lucas gave the word, she turned over the first page and started to read the first question. Her head down, she immediately started to write her answer, before going over to the next question.
Toshiro was a little more relaxed in his approach. Taking his time in which pen he wanted to use, and then acting non chalant, when the time came to start. He wasn’t even in a hurry. He just casually flipped the first page over and started to click his pen on and off for about four minutes before he actually started to write his answers.
By the way Kyoko was going, you could see that she was concentrating hard. Every so often, she looked up, then closed her eyes as she mentally went over the question, calculating the answer, and then penning down her choices, before going to the next question. She even ran her pen along as she read, so she didn’t miss anything.
The clock continued to tick, as Toshiro was now chewing on the tip of his pen, and swinging back and forth on his chair. You would think that the man simply could not sit still…for anything. Rather than concentrating on the questions, he was more interested in looking around the room, and even spent time watching Kyoko writing. This was bound to be noticed by Lucas, but Toshiro didn’t seem to care.
The last five minutes, and you could see that Kyoko was going faster with her answers, till finally she came to the last one, and smiled as she instinctively knew the answer to it. Turning over the paper fully, she set down her pen and fell back in her chair letting out a huge sigh of relief. Toshiro was still going, and by the looks of things, he wasn’t even three quarters done. Surely he would not try to purposely fail this part of the testing. Or would he?
As the clock finally chimed the end of the hour., Kyoko looked up at Lucas and waited for her paper to be collected.
Lucas acted as if he weren’t paying much attention to the two, but that was more to set their minds at ease. Nothing like having someone watch your every move. Out of his peripheral, he kept an eye on the duo. Kyoko was taking the test very seriously, checking and rechecking her answers. In all honesty, she was starting to seem more and more like the perfect fit for the Rise Arsenal. On the other hand, Toshiro looked to be bored out of his mind, taking his time and appearing to not even finish the test. Lucas couldn’t help but wonder what the man was up to. Failing any part of the test was grounds for reconsideration. Team members who didn’t take every aspect of their position seriously would not be qualified to join the team.
When the time was up, Lucas stood and collected their tests. He signaled for them to follow him out of the classroom and out into the common area where Kazu and Kahue waited. There was a small row of lockers in one corner. Lucas headed toward one and used his tag to open it. He put the tests inside and returned to the group. Kazu nodded to him and began to give out the next instructions. “For the next two parts of the test you will be given regulation exercise attire, similar to what you wore in cadet training. We will all be wearing the same outfit to keep everyone on equal footing.” Kahue went to a different locker from the one Lucas had stored the tests and opened it using the same method. Inside were five sets of identical outfits. The shirt was royal blue and tight fitting, with breathable, moisture resistant fabric. The knee-length black shorts were made out the same material. Sportsbras for the women, socks, running shoes, a watch and an enchanted canteen that held twice as much water without feeling any heavier, were also included in the provisions.
“All of the equipment provided today will be yours to keep. Use these items wisely,” Kazu said as Kahue handed out the gear to everyone. “Kyoko, Kahue will show you were to change and Lucas, Toshiro come with me.” Kahue lead the way for Kyoko back down the hallway into a small changing area. Though the Arsenal Base of operations was modest in size, it provided all of the essential amenities. Kahue closed the door behind them and began stripping out of her uniform. She had been around men her whole life and didn’t really know what to say to the other woman. So, She remained quiet for the time being.
Meanwhile Kazu led the way to the men’s changing room. It was down a different hallway from the women’s area to ensure privacy for both parties. Kazuhiko began to change out of his uniform and carefully folded the garments so there wouldn’t be too many creases. He decided to strike up small talk with Toshiro in an attempt to learn more about the man. Tosh was largely an unknown, which was hazardous to the team should he pass. “How do you think you fared on the written exam, Toshiro?”