Carpathia III: Episode 69 - Time Passes

Vayhama House, The Unassumed Lands

Kaoru took a deep breath and rocked back and forth on his feet. He'd been standing for hours and after the many singing lessons Tarja gave him, it never got any easier. He cleared his throat, hoping that practice would be finished soon.

Tarja: Okay, I think that's enough. You're ready.

Kaoru gasped both in surprise and delight.

Kaoru: Really?

Tarja: Yes, you are. Have you picked out a song for the occasion?

Kaoru rummaged through the stack of CDs they'd been using for practice. After finding what he was looking for, he showed Tarja the back of the case and pointed to a song.

Kaoru: That one.

Tarja looked the case skeptically.

Tarja: Hmmm...

Kaoru: I know the lyrics aren't quite right, so I'm going to rewrite it a little.

Tarja seemed satisfied and took the CD case from Kaoru.

Tarja: That'll do, then. I'll just give this to Reuli so that he can practice.

Kaoru smiled as he spread his arms wide and hugged Tarja. At the same time, Ixon strolled leisurely into the room.

Ixon: Hey, that's my wife, you know!

Kaoru took a step back and smiled impishly at Ixon.

Kaoru: You'd better be careful, or someone might steal her away from you!

Ixon put his hands on Kaoru's shoulders and squeezed as he shook him gently.

Ixon: Is that so? Do I have to worry about a pipsqueak like you taking her away from me?

Ixon stopped shaking and grinned.

Kaoru: Ha ha! I'm going to go check on the field. I'm having a good crop this time.

Kaoru sat on a stool next to the front door and started putting on his boots.

Ixon: Fourth time's a charm.

Kaoru pulled the laces tight on his boots and began tying them.

Kaoru: I think I have some lettuce that's ready. I'll bring a couple in tonight for dinner.

Kaoru pulled his final knot tight and strolled happily out the front door and closed it as Ixon and Tarja watched.

Ixon: He'll make a good son-in-law.

Tarja: That he will. Just one thing. If I ever agree to teach someone to sing again without checking if he has the talent for it first, you have my permission to shoot me.

Ixon's eyes widened.

Ixon: Oh? Is he that bad?

Tarja: He's passable now, thanks to me, but it took three entire harvests just to get him there.

Nita's House, The Outlands

Nita scraped the last remnants of food from her iron skillet onto Aten's plate. Aten picked up his fork and lazily pushed his food around while Nita had a seat at the table.

Nita: Aten, quit dawdling and eat your food.

Aten paid no attention and continued absentmindedly playing with his food.

Aten: I miss Jaze.

Jacob: He'll be back. He always comes back. Say, how long has he been gone this time, anyway?

Nita: Almost thirty days, I think. I hope he finds something soon.

Jacob: Well, can't hardly blame him. He's gotta do what he's gotta do. Nice of him to help me with harvests whenever he comes back, though.

Suddenly, the front door flew open with a bang, startling everyone, especially Aten, whose fork flew up into the air and landed on the other side of the room.

Ryuu: Nita! Come quick!

Without a word, everyone leapt from their chairs and followed Ryuu out the door. After a short sprint down the dusty road, they found Jaze, being supported by Roose, as they trudged heavily towards Nita's house. Jaze's leg was heavily bandaged and Roose was struggling to support him as they limped along together.

Roose: Help me out here. He's heavy.

Jacob: Here, let me take him.

Jacob deftly raised Jaze's arm over Roose's head and then around his own shoulder.

Nita: What happened?

Jaze: One of the soldiers shot me.

Nita: Let's get you back to the house. I'll check you out. I'll run on ahead and start getting my supplies ready. Aten, get the fire in the stove started. We'll need hot water.

Aten: Okay!

Ryuu flew ahead while Nita and Aten sprinted down the road to the house while Jacob, Jaze, and Roose slowly followed behind.

The Palace, Zhail City

Adell and Riven laid together in the plush bed. Adell had his hands perched behind his head as he stared at the ceiling and Riven was turned on his side. Riven was full of questions, as usual, about Carpathian government and Adell was doing his best to answer as patiently as possible.

Prince Riven: I have nearly completed transcribing your constitution from your phone. Why is it so very long? Was it a neccesity to explain in such great detail the meaning of the word "person?" It is understandable to specify that the word includes nekomi and humans, but it is excruciatingly detailed.

Adell: In class, we're taught that a lot of things are there to avoid mistakes of the past. There was a nation long ago that also included corporations in their definition of "person." The teacher said that caused all kinds of problems.

Riven furrowed his brow as he contemplated Adell's words.

Prince Riven: Corporations? Do you mean businesses? That does not sound like a sensible position.

Adell: Yeah, that's why our constitution is so long. The writers wanted to prevent dumb things like that from happening.

To the surprise of both, the door to Riven's room suddenly opened without a knock. Both Adell and Riven sat up in the bed just as Artemis marched in like the room belonged to him.

Adell: Artemis! What are you doing?

Artemis: Don't mind me. You two lovebirds just keep doing what you're doing. I accidentally dropped something in your satchel last time you were downstairs.

Artemis strode to a nearby credenza, upon which rested Adell's satchel. Artemis began to rummage through it.

Adell: You mean you carefully opened my satchel and then "accidentally" dropped something inside?

Artemis pulled some manner of device out of Adell's satchel and walked back towards the door.

Artemis: Maybe.

Without another word, Artemis left and closed the door behind him, leaving behind a very confused Adell.

Adell: That made no sense.

Just then, Adell realized that Riven was giggling.

Prince Riven: Adell, as painful as it is for me not to speak upon such matters, I shall refrain. Certain things must be concluded on one's own.

Adell didn't have time to ponder Riven's words as a knock came at the door.

Prince Riven: You may enter.

The door opened and, this time, Shai stepped in.

Shai: Pardon the disturbance. I would like to inquire if my Prince is ready for his bath.

Riven rolled his eyes.

Prince Riven: No, it is not time for that yet. I have yet even partaken in supper yet.

Shai immediately looked down at the floor and frowned sadly.

Shai: I understand. I shall take my leave.

Once again, the door closed and this time, it was Riven who found Adell giggling.

Prince Riven: Absent more disturbances, shall we continue with our lesson?

Somewhere on Yseri

Toma stood over the dead body of a nekomi in the center of the arena. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he didn't even hear the thunderous roar of the crowd perched upon the seats surrounding him. He was only aware of the nekomi and his own labored breathing.

Toma: I am so sorry. I hope you find peace, wherever you are.

Toma didn't react as the ringmaster grabbed his wrist and held it high into the air. The crowd responded even more enthusiastically than before.

Ringmaster: We have a winner!

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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