Trades Chapter 6
And To The Republic...
"Morning will come..." she whispered.
"What?" he asked weakly.
The woman moved in, planting a soft kiss on his lips. She then pulled away, gently running her fingers through his hair. "Morning...will come..." she repeated breathlessly.
"Tell me...who you are," he pleaded. He reached up with a hand, lightly touching her cheek.
She took his hand, kissing it, but then she shook her head. "Soon, my love..." With that, she released him, lifting herself off of the bed.
"Wait," the man protested.
But her image seemed to fade completely in the darkness...
"No..." Shu whispered, and then came to.
"What...?" he said in confusion, attempting to get up. Opening his eyes, he remembered the dream, and then collapsed back with a moan. "Not again..." He began to wonder if he should even bother going to bed that night...
"Thank God," Apple said with a sigh of relief as the boat set sail. After all the memories and such, she was finally leaving this damn town. Though it was nearly noon, she had almost missed this boat. The doctor had been right about the effects of the potion, after all...
She turned around with a feeling of regret. As much as she was avoiding any contact with Shu, she had to admit that...she really hated it. She did want to meet up with him, catch up on things, and maybe rekindle the friendship, or--she blushed at this idea--make it into something more. But of course, she was only dreaming. A schoolgirl fantasy, established long ago, and should have been forgotten that long ago, yet...
I just can't seem to get him out of my mind, she thought helplessly. No matter what I do, there's always something there to remind me of him. And if I'm left alone, I somehow end up thinking of him, too...
She lowered her eyes to the floor of the boat with a forlorn gaze. It's just love...yet...
Must it hurt this much?
She shook her head, driving those thoughts from her head. But...it's over now. I'm just glad to get away from here. Although this may have been the more painful route, it's now the quicker one, ever since they started installing the motors on the boats. Just like in the Scarlet--I mean, Toran Republic...
Indeed, at this rate, she would reach her destination in no time.
"Well, good afternoon!" boomed Viktor sarcastically as Shu walked in the living room. "Nice day, don't you think? Or should I wake you up for dinner?"
"Hello, Viktor," Shu replied calmly, ignoring the ridicule. "I suppose Flik is out?"
"More or less, but not the way you were." He smirked back at the man. "So tell me, what were you up to last night? You came in pretty late." The undertones of his speech were rather heavy, but alas, would not be caught by Shu.
"I was just taking a walk around the town."
"And?" Viktor pressed.
"And, I took a walk around the town," Shu repeated. "What more were you expecting?"
Viktor's amused expression changed to one that was confused. "That's weird...I thought she said she was going to see you last night."
That statement made Shu's heart skip a beat. "What? Who?"
"Oh, man, you really don't know, do you? Damn..." Viktor seemed rather embarrassed in addition to being shocked at the fact that Apple hadn't kept true to her word. "I ran into Apple last night at the tavern," he explained to Shu. "She told me she had to leave today, but that she'd see you before she went."
"Well, she lied to you, Viktor," he responded almost automatically, and then became silent for a moment. "How was she when you saw her?"
"She seemed a bit exhausted or something, but I thought she was happy you were back. She started to cry...but...now that I think about it, I guess that can be interpreted in another way." Viktor's face was quite hot now. "Sorry, Shu. I guess she wasn't planning on seeing you after all..."
"I suppose not, but...I'm a little more concerned about what she was doing there in the first place."
"Hey, well, she's old enough, isn't she?" Viktor said back, and then his eyes widened as it hit him. "Oh my God, it was her."
Shu suddenly looked concerned. "What was?"
Viktor put a hand to his forehead, silently scolding himself for not having made the realization until now. "The girl," he said. "The girl who was depressed and had too much to drink, and then broke down in the middle of the tavern, with all the bar scum trying to take advantage of the situa--it was Apple all along. It happened a while before I got there, but...good God, I can't believe I didn't make the connection. I guess it's 'cause I thought she was happy about you..."
"Are-are you sure about all of this?" Shu stammered.
The bear-like man nodded. "I'm pretty sure. She really didn't want you to know she was there. I offered to bring you over, but she practically begged me not to say a word to you. And she seemed like she was in a hurry to leave...I'm pretty sure she's gone by now."
"I think she said something about Toran."
"I see..." The man's gaze dropped to the floor.
Follow her! a voice in his head abruptly screamed.
"I've got to go after her," Shu said immediately, his words fast-paced. He was surprised by this. There was that voice, but how strange that he so eager to see her all of a sudden...
Viktor's smile returned. "Heh heh, that's the spirit. But, uh, if you're gonna go to the Toran Republic, do all of us a favor and bring Flik and me along, would you?"
"Because I'll never hear the end of his bitching unless we go along," the voice from the doorway answered mockingly. Flik appeared a few seconds later with a smirk. "Plus, it wouldn't hurt to see some of our old friends again. But I think Viktor just wants to make sure you two meet. Don't hold it against him."
"Don't you ever shut up?" Viktor shot back lightly, and then turned to Shu. "Anyway, how 'bout it?"
Shu gazed back at the two men, still unsettled about the fact that his friend had deliberately made it a point to avoid him.
"Err..." A sweat drop appeared on Viktor's forehead. "...I'll...take that as a yes?"