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Obligations: Chapter 9

 

"He tried to EAT you??????" Miyuki was obviously horrified at the thought.

Ryoga felt some justification – Miki was the only one he'd told who hadn't brushed it off.

"G'g'good God." She frowned, "But then, you h'hadn't been a pppig long… maybe it didn't show. The consequences off'f a Matane being eaten… It hasn't happened since, rr'right?"

Ryoga took back some of his satisfaction – he was now thoroughly puzzled. "Well, yeah. Shampoo served me up to Ranma for lunch. Her great-grandmother tried to make me boiled pork. That rich couple," he looked to Ranma to see if he remembered. Ranma nodded and Ryoga went on, "didn't cook me, but they tried to feed me roast pig…"

Now Miyuki was the one puzzled. She looked to Ranma, "Sham'mpoo?"

"The Chinese girl you met with me the first day."

"Ah. Am'mazz'on. She k'knew w'what she was doin'g – or you real'ly would be dead." She frowned, "B'bu'ut't--," she cleared her throat and started again, "it's od'dd for an Amaz'zon to off'fend the Matane. Un'nless she kn'new about Jusenkyo?"

"No…" Ryoga looked to Ranma, "Your story."

"In China, I defeated Shampoo while in girl-form. She tracked me back here, where I accidentally defeated her in my guy-form, that mea—"

Miyuki interrupted, "I k'know what it m'means. How does o'one 'acc'cidently' defeat an Amazon?"

Ranma opened his mouth, thought for a moment, then closed it. "Never mind. It was an accident, believe me." He went on with the summary, Miyuki interrupting when he mentioned Akane.

"You a'n'nd Akane are engag'ged?" She grinned, "C'congratulations!" 

Ranma blinked, "You know, Mi-chan, I have a hard time remembering I just met you two days ago. Did I really grow up without you by my side?"

Miyuki grinned at him, "Sam'me her're." They shared a look of perfect understanding and the sibling love they already knew was theirs.

Watching them, Ryoga was startled to realize he was jealous. But that doesn't make sense! If Ranma and Miki get together, then Akane will be left for me!! His anger took a familiar route, how dare Ranma betray Akane to another! But he instinctively felt that was not right – not right at all… I'm definitely missing something here…

Ranma went on, finally getting to the point where Shampoo served up P-chan on a platter.

"Ah," Miyuki nodded, "T'typical Am'mazon. Al'lways mul'lti-task'k the lev'vels."

"Huh?" Ranma and Ryoga looked to each other and found equal bafflement showing.

Miyuki rolled her eyes. "'Kay," she ticked off the points on her hand, "First message to R'ranma, t'three parts: one, 'I will make you a good wife – I can cook'; tw'wo, 'good wife – can defeat enemies of husband'; three, 'good wife – will leave actual decision of disposal of enemy to husband.' Sec'cond messag'ge to Ryoga, three parts: one, 'I make a bad enemy, and am cunning and can defeat you'; two, 'leave my husband alone'; th'r'r'ree, 'you're not much good as a protector.' Third messag'ge to Akane, three parts: one, 'He's mine – back off unless you want the same', tw'wo, 'I have defeated your Guardian, I can take you too'; three, 'I have done something you have not, ridding husband of enemy.' It's n'not Sh'hampoo's fault she misinter'r'—mistook the rela'ationship 'tween y'you two," she gestured between Ranma and Ryoga to indicate who she was talking about, "Matane are nor'rmally st't'traight'for'r" she closed her eyes.

"Straightforward."

She nodded.

Ranma muttered, "Matane?" but was drowned out by Ryoga's question, "She said all that? So it wasn't an accident when she knocked me out by landing on me?"

Miyuki blinked. And looked to Ranma.

He finished the story.

"Oh'h, th'hat's sad'd…"

"Huh?"

Miyuki looked out over the pond, "Y'you don't't know wh'hat it means for an Am'mazon to be exiled…"

"Miyuki – how do you know so much about them, anyway?"

She shrugged, "My Sensei was's onc'ce an Am'mazon. She was ex'xiled for the s'same—fail'lure to compl'lete the 'kiss of dea'ath.'"

They looked at her expectantly. Miyuki shook her head, "It't's her story to t'tell, not m'mine. B'but you mention'ned a g'great-grandmother?"

Ryoga explained that one.

"G'good G'god. Cologne-sama lef'ft the t'town????" Miyuki was pale.

Ranma and Ryoga looked at each other again, "Do you really get the feeling we're missing something here?" "Yeah, I do."

Miyuki shook her head, "T'trust me. She kn'new about the curse. No w'way would that one mak'ke a mistake. Or an'nger a Matane. S'she was play'ying a practi'ical joke on you." She glanced up, "T'there was one m'more?"

Ryoga explained about the rich couple.

Miyuki fell over laughing.

Ryoga glared at her, blushing, while Ranma stared at her in surprise.

"Oh!" Miyuki dashed the tears off her face and tried to stop laughing. "Oh, Hibiki-sama! Th'hey did it t't'to h'honor you!!!"

"Excuse me???"

Miyuki laughed some more before settling down. "They thought you were a Matane. The r'r'roasted pig was to show their understanding. A r'real Matane would have been delighted by the irony."

"Miyuki, you've used that word several times now – what the heck is a Matane?" Ranma was thoroughly puzzled. And it sounded like something he should know. It seemed he was right by the look of startlement on Miyuki's face – a classic 'you don't know?' from her.

"Ahh…" Miyuki held up a hand, "H'hold on."

After a moment, Kasumi came out, her hair loose about her shoulders. She gathered it up into the usual ponytail as she walked towards them. "Yes, Miyuki-chan?" 

Miyuki started to gesture at the guys, "Th'hey d—"

"Hold on a second here!!!" Ranma looked from Kasumi to Miyuki to Kasumi. "I don't remember hearing…" he trailed off as he remembered the way Miyuki had responded to his unspoken thought. And Kasumi had brought the hot water earlier… "Uhh…"

Kasumi smiled lightly, "My mother was a Shrine Maiden. I have only a portion of her training, but it's enough to talk with Miyuki when we need to."

"Oh…" They all glanced to Ryoga, who was staring in surprised realization. "The other day – you two were talking the whole time!"

"Well, not all the time…" Kasumi's face was a study in puzzlement. Miyuki rolled her eyes, "It's part of Healer training, b'butt also n'ne's—" Miyuki raised her hand to her throat and grimaced.

Kasumi gave her one of her focused looks, then nodded, "I see why you called me out – stop trying to talk, Miyuki-chan. Were you shouting at them?"

Miyuki nodded. The boys blushed. And then Ryoga studied Miyuki curiously, "Miki…" She glanced at him as he frowned, "When I knew you… before… you couldn't talk at all. It was the other kids who told me who you were. And you never spoke once…"

She shrugged, "I c'could. But't it was w'w'worse, then – ittt hurt. I d'didn't, m'much."

Ryoga, Ranma, and even Kasumi looked at her. Miyuki made a very minute shrug.

Kasumi turned to the boys, "What was it you needed to know?"

Ranma sat down next to Miyuki, "What's a Matane?" Ryoga also sat down, keeping Ranma between him and Miyuki.

Kasumi stared at them. And then looked to Miyuki, who nodded. Kasumi's face shaded to slightly annoyed, "You two thought we thought P-chan was a normal pig this whole time??? Just how dumb do you think we are?"

The boys shrank back under her gaze. Miyuki burst out laughing.

"Okay, okay, wait a sec…" Ranma muttered under his breath, "I've got it! It's a wizard's familiar, right?"

The girls exchanged speaking looks that even the boys could read. Kasumi sat down, arranging her skirts around her legs. "Not quite. They can be." She started fresh, "Matane are creatures from before the age of Man. They look like animals of this world, and even can act like them, but they have intelligence equal to humans and are definitely not animals. They have a special affinity for magic, and they do occasionally assist a human magic user, whether for their own curiosity or because of what the human has promised them is unclear. Sometimes one will attach itself to a human on a long-term basis, but it is always of their choosing. Just like humans, they can be many things – good, bad, neutral; nice, cruel, indifferent. The good ones will help people – guides and guardians. The bad ones delight in mischief and trouble. Some people think they're humans in the shape of animals, but that's wrong; they are not humans. They are Matane. The appearance of animal shape is no accident – that is the shape they were born with, and the shape they will die with. But always remember that they are not animals." Kasumi paused for breath and looked out over the pond. A koi jumped out and she smiled, "And, no, there aren't any here at the dojo. Unless you count P-chan."

Ryoga shifted uncomfortably.

Kasumi continued, "They aren't animals – neither are they oni or yoma, supernatural creatures of evil. They are of flesh and blood and equal with us. The easiest way to tell a Matane from an animal is that they will have auras equal to humans. And they won't behave like an animal – unless they're trying to trick someone. They have equal intelligence and will converse in their own way with us." She glanced at Ranma, "Or fight equally well."

"And also be of elements?" Ryoga muttered, still smarting over the remark about Earth.

Miyuki stirred, and Kasumi glanced at her, "Well, not… usually. But then, most people aren't normally associated with only one Element. It's rare to…" Kasumi trailed off, distinctly getting nervous with the subject. Ranma and Ryoga traded glances. Clearing her throat, Kasumi started again, "Most people will instinctively avoid Matane, without knowing why. But certain others will be drawn to them. Nobody is quite sure how or even if Matanes are related, or if they have a social structure. They are very independent of each other. Nowadays, they aren't seen very much. They seem to still be about, but apparently the people don't talk about them like they used to."

As Kasumi talked, both boys started to recall childhood stories. Ryoga's memories were from his parents – there had always been some joke there… Ranma's only knowledge was from the old lady in the village. He was starting to realize how much he'd missed out on, raised only by his Pop.

"So you thought P-chan was a Matane?" Ranma asked.

Kasumi blinked in her slow, thoughtful way, and didn't answer.

"I d'did," put in Miyuki. "Th'hat first d'day. Though I st'till couldn't't figure out why it wasn'tt cool for a M'matane to sl'leep with us."

Ryoga turned red.

Deciding it was a good time to indulge his curiosity, Ranma asked, "But didn't you recognize his bandanna the first night?"

"The bandanna, y'yes," agreed Miyuki. She looked fondly at Ryoga, who got the impression that if he'd been closer, she would have reached up and brushed his hair away to touch his headband. For a fleeting moment, he wished he hadn't deliberately put Ranma between them. Miyuki went on, "But when I ttho- reflected on it, I didn't f'find it all that unusual that Hibiki-sama would have c'come across a Matane or two, and that they w'would have h'honor'red him by wear'ring the bandan'na."

"'Ryoga,'" Ryoga muttered. Miyuki ignored him.

"Uhh…" They all looked to Ranma, who was frowning. "Ryoga – you never used to wear that bandanna in Junior High."

All the gazes switched to Ryoga. "'If you take this portrait of me to be real, / Then what am I, really?' – it's my primary weapon while I'm traveling. I don't ever leave it behind."

"In school, you wore a black one. Or a solid yellow outside school."

"Black matched the school uniform." Ryoga shrugged, "I like the yellow and black one, but I wear others."

"It matched… What are you, a girl?"

Ryoga grinned – Ranma's jab had totally missed -- the black headband had blended in so the teachers wouldn't notice that he wore it. But what a wonderful opening… "No, that's you – Mr. 'I won't wear the school uniform,' even after a year. How often does that red shirt of yours get washed? You wear it all the time. Were you this particular about your clothes before you went to Jusenkyo?"

"Why you…!"

Miyuki interrupted, "But why hang it there, / If not to anticipate people getting to know me?"

Ryoga stared at her in complete and utter shock.

Kasumi grinned, "Looking at this portrait, / Can you say that what is hanging there / Is really me? / In that case your mind will never be / Fully united with the wall."

"Hey, Ryoga. Other people can quote verse too." Ranma had to laugh at the look on his friend's face.

Ryoga opened and closed his mouth a couple of times and ended up saying nothing. Miyuki and Kasumi grinned at each other, while watching them, Ranma thought they were talking… That reminded him, "Hey, Mi-chan – what did happen to your voice?"

"Ranma-kun," Kasumi interceded, "It's not helping her recover if you make her talk now."

"Sorry," Ranma felt, and looked, ashamed.

Miyuki grinned and leaned against him as he put an arm around her side. He ruffled her hair in apology. Ryoga suppressed another surge of jealousy, "Can't you just talk to us without words? Like you do with Kasumi-san?"

Kasumi and Miyuki shook their heads, then Miyuki paused, a thoughtful look on her face. "Well…" She glanced at Kasumi, who shrugged slightly. Miyuki reached up to the medallion around her throat and took it off, the leather cord intact. She handed it to Ranma, and gestured to Ryoga to also hold it.

"Ah," Ryoga was a bit dubious.

"It won't eat you, moron," Ranma grabbed his hand and forced him to hold the medallion. Then his face changed expression as he realized what he was doing.

"Let go of me, you pervert!" Ryoga stood and threw a punch at him. Ranma ducked, then came back immediately, landing a solid blow. Ryoga staggered, then rubbed his chin, "That wasn't much of a blow." He launched a kick. The fight escalated, moving away from the pond.

The two girls looked at each other. Miyuki shrugged, "I on'nly have on'ne medallion."

Eventually, the guys came back. They sat down again without looking at each other or the girls. Ryoga pulled out the medallion and held it between thumb and forefinger. Ranma took hold of the other edge just as cautiously.

Miyuki snickered. More seriously, she closed her eyes and folded her hands in her lap.

Ranma and Ryoga looked at each other, then returned their gaze to her. Suddenly, Kasumi winced, "Miyuki-chan – you're shouting."

"Sor'ry." Miyuki tried again.

Ranma jumped, letting go of the medallion. Ryoga kept hold of it, but looked a bit pale. "I think I sortof heard something – it was like an ocean wave."

"It was more like a thunder-crash," muttered Ranma, re-taking his grip on the medallion.

Miyuki opened her eyes, "Get'tting closer."

<How about this?

This time, both guys let go of the medallion. Guiltily, they picked it up. "Uh, I think it worked. Did you say, 'how about this?'"

Miyuki blinked, "Not't exac'ctly. Od'dd."

"Translation effect."

"Huh'h?"

Kasumi explained, "In mental speech, it's the meaning that is projected. The literal words are created by the familiar speech patterns and expectations of the receiver."

They all looked to her. Ranma asked, "Are you saying, Kasumi-san, that when you two talk, it's you who's doing it? Not Miyuki?"

"H'healers…" <Healers learn to project and receive, but specifically we need to scan auras to find out what's wrong with a person. We don't usually talk with them. Sometimes, a fully-trained Healer will try and call someone from a coma, or back from the Gate, but I'm not trained to that level yet.

<AND THE MEDALLION?

"Ouch," Both Kasumi and Miyuki winced, "Ranma-kun, please don't try that. Just speak normally."

Ryoga twapped Ranma with his free hand, "Baka."

"Sorry."

Miyuki grinned at his expression. <My Sensei gave the medallion to me when I was a child. It helps me. And because I've worn it and used it all of my life, I've got a close connection to it. Then they felt what could only be described as a mental sigh. They all got the impression that she was reluctant to continue.

"Miki, you don't have to if you don't want to."

"N'no… If I t'told anybody, ittt be m'mina. It's n'not reall'ly a big d'deal."

Oh no? They looked at the sad expression on her face and didn't believe her, but mentioned nothing outloud.

Miyuki settled back to a professional story-teller attitude.

<It was winter sixteen years ago. A traveling Trader was on his way between villages. The normal road was blocked with a landslide, though not impassable. Being familiar with the area and winter conditions, the Trader decided to over over-land to his next village. As he got to the top of the hill, he saw a baby laying in the snow, half-buried in the drifts. The blueness of its skin stood out from the white snow. He looked around, but saw no one. The baby could not have been more than a day or two. In the remote areas, it is still the custom to lay out the unwanted children, and he sorrowed for the family that had done this. He wanted no bad luck, but had traveled enough to learn other habits. He approached the baby to look upon it. When his shadow fell over the small one, its eyes opened and it moved. It opened its mouth, but no sound came out. The baby thrashed around until snow fell over its face. It gulped down the frozen liquid, then began to cry.

<Impressed with the child's efforts, the Trader put aside his ingrained instinct to not get involved. He picked up the baby, holding it to him. It felt like he'd entered two different hells, as the cold of her arms and legs was like holding a raw icicle to himself, and the heat from her chest and head was a burning coal. He continued to hold her, wrapping his coat about them both, and eventually the baby's temperature stabilized and she fell asleep.

<Now, the Trader had saved her and was responsible for her. He knew the villages immediately around the area, and knew that none would take in a bad-luck baby. Cutting across the countryside, he headed for the one place that he might have a chance of persuading. The journey lasted two days. In that time, the baby drank what he could give her, mostly water with honey mixed in. Occasionally, he could grind up his porridge fine enough, to make a soup thin for her to drink. Sometimes he would soak a piece of meat in the water before she drank it. But none of it would she drink, unless it was cold. Despite his efforts, it was apparent that the baby could not last much longer.

<He came into the village of ---, and the people gathered to him, surprised to see him before his normal schedule. Searching among the people, he found the foreign Healer and knelt down in front of her. He took the baby out of his coat, and laid her upon a blanket upon the ground. And told her story.

<The villagers were horrified. When a child is abandoned, it is bad luck to interfere. The murmuring was fierce and angry. Then the baby started to cry. "It is mute – proof of its bad luck." "Not so!" The Trader coaxed the baby to drink some of the cold sugar-water. Then she gurgled happily, then cried in a thin, torn voice.

<The Healer stepped back, a hand going to her own throat, "The child is in pain – her throat has been torn apart by the cold and her cries." Hearing the voice, the baby reached out, smiling happily. The youngest child in the village, a toddler three years old, wandered to her side, reaching curiously to this one smaller than herself. The toddler's mother kept her from touching the baby, but let her look. The Healer turned to the Head of the Elders, "This child has a spirit that will grow strong. She has already survived what would kill most Amazons, and she retains a child's innocence. I would say that we take her in and raise her among us."

<The Headman, whose grandchild it was that had wandered in among them, looked again at the baby. "Its spirit might be scarred. Who knows what harm it might do to us if we let it in?" "True," said the Healer, "But I will pledge myself to watching her, and will train her in the Healing Arts so that she will return naught but Good." The baby smiled, and closed her eyes. The Headman nodded, "We will accept your judgment and your Pledge." He looked to the other villagers, "Hear this: We will take this child, Miyuki, 'Silence of the Deep Snows', and she will be raised among us. None shall offer her harm without a judgment of the Elders. This is Our Decision." And the villagers accepted it. And the child was taken into the Healer's care, but raised among them all.

There was a long pause. <At least, that's the story as it's been told to me. Miyuki rolled her eyes, <Many times. She switched to the original topic. <Sensei tried a bunch of things to heal my throat, but the scarring ran deep. Gradually, over the years, it's been getting better. If I remember to stay relaxed while talking, it's usually okay. Unless I do too much talking. Then it starts to hurt again.

The feel of Miyuki's voice receded from their minds. Miyuki looked at the pond, not meeting any of their gazes. But she'd forgotten they still held her medallion, and they felt the fear within her that now that they knew, they would not want her anymore.

Ranma stood up, leaving the medallion with Ryoga. "Mi-chan, I may have only met you two days ago, but you are my sister, and I will fight to the death to defend you. I won't ever let you go, now that I've found you – you're my sister for life!"

Looking up at him, Miyuki's eye shone bright, "Onii-san…" He means it. He really means it. For the first time in my life, I can actually rely on someone else. Ranma knelt down and hugged her close.

Ryoga glanced between them and the medallion he still held. Obviously, Miyuki had forgotten about it – he'd heard all of that last thought. He carefully put it on the ground in front of him before he started thinking. A sister… Ranma sees her as a sister. And Miki had no family. He looked at Kasumi, and the two of them shared a smile – it instinctively felt right that Ranma and Miyuki were together now. Ryoga felt a sense of loss for the time when he thought he'd had a sister. Obviously Ranma had no clue as to what he was doing – the closest thing to a sister he's had until now is Ukyo, and she's more like a buddy. He said last night that he'd never settled in one place. No family. How hard it must have been on both of them. It couldn't have been easy for Miyuki, growing up in a village that only tolerated her for the skills she might give them later. And Ranma, wandering from place to place, never once settling down. Maybe that's why he didn't remember me – he never expected to see me again. The thought touched something in him, something he hadn't remembered was hurt until the pain lessened.

From behind, Akane sighed, "That's so nice to see them together. It's good to have a family."

Both Ryoga and Kasumi jumped and turned around. Akane grinned at them and held up the bags, "I just got back. Kasumi, I couldn't find any fresh—"

Kasumi pronounced a word none of them had ever heard from her before. She grabbed Miyuki's arm, hauling her upright, "Come-on, Mi-chan!"

Miyuki looked up at the sun, and squeaked. They both pelted into the house running full out, their hair streaming out behind them.

The three left behind stared. Akane's mouth hung open. Slowly, she put down the bags, "I didn't think Kasumi even knew that word!!" She glanced to Ryoga, "You don't think it was about the broccoli, do you?"

Ryoga laughed, "Today's Wednesday, right? Dr. Tofu was going to take them to a concert tonight." He looked to the sun, "And I rather think they're late."

"Dr. Tofu is taking them to a concert?" Ranma's eyes were wide, "Where at? – I'll be sure to avoid it."

Akane giggled, "Well, maybe it won't be so bad…" Then she laughed harder, thinking about what Dr. Tofu was libel to do.

Ryoga remembered exactly where he'd heard the girls talking about it. And what shape he'd been in… And that Miyuki hadn't know he was listening… Ryoga sighed. And looked at Akane. Akane-san… I don't want to lose you. I'd rather stay a pig forever than lose you. 'It's a complete betrayal of her trust!' Ryoga winced. And looked up to see Akane and Ranma staring at him. "Ahhh…" Ryoga took a deep breath and plunged in, "Akane-san… I have the Jusenkyo curse also. P-chan is really me." He took a step backwards, his body tensed to run. And he heard Miki's voice in his head, though she hadn't actually said it, 'And don't you dare run!' He waited, trembling with anxiety. He watched as Akane's mouth dropped open in surprise. She looked from him to Ranma, who had taken his own step away from her.

"Ahhh…" Ranma gulped, "That's right."

Akane blinked. And looked between them, "You're telling me? You're actually telling me?" She sat down where she was, stunned. "It's good I already put the groceries down. I don't believe it. You're actually telling me."

Ranma looked at her suspiciously, "Akane… You didn't know,… did you?"

"Well, of course I knew!" Akane flared up at them, "I'm not the total idiot you two have treated me as!" She stood up again, "But now that you've finally admitted it…" Her mallet came out, "Ranma, you baka!" He ran. She chased him, quoting, "'Good thing she's as dumb as a brick …' !! How dare you!!!"

Ryoga sat down on the rock by the pond and watched them. His gaze fell on Miyuki's medallion, still lying where he'd put it. He picked it up in surprise. She left it? Miki and Kasumi had taken off rather quickly. He held it, thinking about the young girl; and the way the earrings looked on her... I actually managed to pick out something right, for once. It hadn't escaped his notice that Akane wasn't wearing her necklace. He looked up; she was still chasing Ranma around the yard. But the necklace would get in the way of her martial arts. I should have gotten a shorter chain – like the one on Miki's necklace. Akane connected with a solid hit on Ranma, and Ryoga winced in sympathy. Eventually he got up and took the groceries into the house, finding the kitchen after a couple of tries. He tasted the soup that Kasumi had left simmering and decided to make some tempura to go with it.

When Akane and Ranma finally came back in, they found Nabiki and Ryoga laying out the table for dinner and the two dads hovering anxiously around the food. Ryoga looked at Akane, "I'm sorry, Akane-san. I should have told you a long time ago."

Akane sat down, popping a fried carrot into her mouth, "It's okay, Ryoga-kun. It's all Ranma's fault anyway. But someday I want to hear the whole story. How on earth did you get to China on your own?"

Ryoga blinked. Whatever reaction he'd expected, it certainly wasn't this. 'It's all Ranma's fault…' She doesn't even see me. Not really. It's all Ranma. He felt his heart shattering within his chest. But there was something still holding it together. He wondered for a moment what it could be, then decided she doesn't mind that I'm a pig. She hasn't treated me any different… I can still keep loving her as I have. My dreams may never come to be, but I can still be with her.

Ranma served the soup, "He probably just got lost enough until he found China. Right, Ryoga?"

Ryoga glanced at him, "Something like that…" He laughed – it was actually a pretty good way to describe how his family got around.

Mr. Saotome gulped down his soup, "We swam. Good training."

"I didn't believe you then, and I still don't," Nabiki sipped her tea, "How could you two swim, without directions, without sleep, without food, all the way to China?"

"It was the 'without fresh water' that was the main problem," Ranma put in, "But we'd left in the rainy season, and while it made the waves choppier, we could get drinks. We held onto driftwood when we wanted to rest, and ate raw fish. As for directions – who needed them? Pop didn't have a clue as to where he was going, anyhow."

"Ungrateful whelp." Mr. Saotome grabbed some tempura.

 


 

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