Jan 15, 2016

Black Stained Winter: Chapter 13 - "Prelude to Black Part 1"

“Is this really his place?” Ignis asks to the pink haired girl standing behind him.

Tama nods and wags her tail, “Yup! There’s no mistake. He has a quite distinct scent for a human after all.”

Ignis and Tama standing inside a simple apartment building. In front of them is a dark brown door with number ‘17’ sticks on it. Ignis extends his hand and knocks the door twice.

Not long after knocking, the door slowly open. The one who opens the door is a young looking woman with a long black hair with purple parts at the ends of her hair. She’s wearing a simple white t-shirt with ‘Girls Power’ written on it and a pair of light blue pants. Her left arm is bandaged and supported with a simple clothes hanging from her right shoulder.

“Yes? Can I help you?” She asks with a clear and collected voice. Ignis freezes for a while, not expecting to be welcomed by a beauty like this.

“Ah… Yes, is this… Umm…” Ignis frowns. His eyes move from one side to the other, trying hard to remember something.

“Ren,” Tama taps Ignis’s back.

“Yes! Is this Ren’s place?” With Tama’s help, Ignis finally remember the name of the man he’s looking for.

“Yes, this is Ren’s resident. Can I help you with something?” Once again the young woman talks with a calm voice.

“Well,” Ignis puts his hands to the pocket on the jacket he’s wearing, “Can we see-”

“Mr. Dandy!! Are you there?” Tama suddenly shout towards the room. The young woman at the door frowns at Tama as she shouts.

“Um, sorry about that,” Ignis quickly apologize as he realized the young woman is slightly annoyed by Tama.

“No problem,” the young woman sigh, “Ren is in the bathroom. You’re his friend?” Her eyes are now staring at yellow canine ears attached to Tama’s head.

“Ah, more like acquaintances,” as Ignis answers, her eyes are back focusing at Ignis.

“I see,” she turns her attention to Tama, “A fox spirit, I presume?”

“Yes, yes! You know a fox spirit?” Tama’s face looks delighted and her ears and tails moving around playfully.

“I do,” the young woman shows a slight smile, “So, you must be Tama.”

“I am!” Tama’s ears and tails move even faster.

“And,” she turns her head to Ignis, “Since you’re with Tama, then you must be Rick.”

“Um, no. Rick’s not coming. I’m Ignis.”

The young woman’s eyes widen slightly and her mouth opens a little for a while which quickly covered with her hand, “Ah, I’m sorry. I thought....”

“Don’t worry about it,” Ignis chuckles.

The young woman exhales, “Well, Tama, Ignis, I’m Aqua del Brigginest. Nice to meet you two.”

“Nice to meet you too!” Tama smiles wide.

“Likewise,” Ignis nods and smiles a bit.

“Please, come in. You should wait inside,” Aqua pushes the door open and move aside to create way for the two guests.

“Thanks,“ Ignis smiles at Aqua and let himself into the room with Tama follows behind him. Ignis removes his white shoes on the entrance before going further in. Tama follows by removing her wooden sandals.

After closing the door, Aqua walks inside, “I hope you likes tea. Ren only have those.”

Seeing her injured arm, Ignis quickly decline the offer, “Ah, it’s okay. We’re not gonna be here long.”

“I insist,” Aqua replies while keep walking toward the cabinet near the sink. She opens the cabinet and starts to make tea for them.

While Aqua is making the tea with only one hand, the frosted glass door slides open. “Who was that, Aqua?” Ren comes out from the door with a simple white t-shirt and denim pants. Towel covers his head as he dries his hair.

Before Aqua can answers, Ren already sees Tama, who’s waving at him, and Ignis. Ren stops on his track when he sees Ignis. His hand stops drying his hair for a while. “You… Ignis, right?” Ren takes the towel away and holds it on his hand.

“Hey,” Ren notices Aqua and approaches her, “I told you to leave this kind of stuff to me. You still need some rest.”

“I’m okay. Besides, it is common courtesy to provide drinks for guests.”

“Here,” Ren reaches to the cups, “Let me take over from- Aw!” Aqua slaps Ren’s hand.

“You are underestimating me. I can do this by myself. I started this, thus it is I who have to finishes it.”

“Uh, hey-” Ignis is about to stops them when Tama grabs his arm.

“Don’t ruin the fun,” Tama falls back and sit on Ren’s bed, “This is entertaining to watch, isn’t it?” She smiles and her tails wags happily. Ignis can only sigh at her behaviour. The two of them then watches Ren and Aqua continues to squabble. The two keeps on fighting on who should make the tea for several good minutes.

Ren walks away from Aqua while sighing. He gives up and let Aqua makes the tea. “So,” Ren sits beside a small square table in the middle of the room, “where’s Rick?”

“Mr. Hobo is busy at the camp,” Tama answers while she stands up and walks to Aqua. She smiles as she smell the scent of the tea. Her tail wags showing her excitement.

“Okay, so why are you here? Gerogom?” Ren continues to ask.

“Well, sort of,” Ignis sits down on the floor leaning to the bed, “First, I want to apologize on my sudden attack back then. I was taken in by my anger.”

“No worries. That was mutual misunderstanding.”

“And second, I think you need to go to Gerogom’s lab.”

“No,” Ren instantly refuses, “I don’t want to be involved with that guy.”

“I understand. But-”

“I already said no.”

“The tea is ready!” Tama comes between them with a tray with four cups of tea on her hands. She puts down the tray on the table and thanked by Aqua who is standing behind her. The two heads to the empty side of the table and sit there.

“Thanks,” Ignis smiles at the girls and takes a cup of tea. He blows at it for a while before taking a sip and returns it to the table. “Okay, so you don’t want to go to Gerogom’s place. That’s fine,” Ignis continues, “But you might want to know about the black mist that has been appearing lately.”

“Black mist? What black mist?” Ren frowns in confusion.

“Ah, remember when we fought the two demons? There was black mist coming out of them, right?” Tama tries to reminds Ren.

“Those black stuff?” Ren turns his head to Aqua, “Is it like the one you encounter?”

Aqua tilts her head slightly, “It could be. What of this black mist you’re mentioning?”

“You see, this black mist has appeared several times for the last few days across the city. From what Gerogom could see, it seems everytime this mist appears, it connected to other realm. He could only detect the one that’s connected to Demonrealm, but he’s sure that it’s also connected to several other realm. Tama here’s one of the proof the mist also connected to Spiritrealm,” Ignis explains.

Aqua listens to the explanation with serious look on her face, “I think that’s the same mist.”

“Gerogom had got some sample to be examined. And it seems he has got some idea of what that black mist is,” says Ignis.

“And so Gerogom told you to get me there because…,” Ren waits and not finished his sentence.

“No. It wasn’t him. A big talking crow comes to me and asks me to get you, Rick, Tama, and this demon girl here, Aqua, to Gerogom’s place.”

Hearing Ignis’s revelation, Ren’s startled. His eyes are widen and his mouth slightly opens as if he wants to say something but couldn’t find the word to explain it. “Are the eyes glowing red?” Ren asks after several seconds of silence.

“You mean the crow’s eyes? Yes, they are, I guess.”

“Could it be…”

“It must be the crow from back then, Mr. Dandy!” Tama says.

“Wait, what crow? What are you talking about?” Aqua looks around with confusion as she’s the only person in the room who hasn’t seen the talking crow.

“Tama and I saw it back on the night when you arrived on Earth. After Rick and I defeated the two demons, a group of crows came led by one big crow with glowing eyes and consume the remains of the demon until nothing is left. The big crow told us that something bad will happen soon before it flied with the other crows.”

“What is that crow? What kind of bad thing?” Aqua throws more question.

“I have no answer to that,” Ren shakes his head.

“That crow said that going to Gerogom would clear everything.”

“Hmm….” Ren puts his hand to cover his mouth and closes his eyes.

“It also said that Aqua really needs to meet Gerogom.”

Ren opens his eyes and look at Aqua who’s looking back at him. After a while of looking at each other, Aqua nods.

Seeing Aqua’s nod, Ren takes a cup of tea and drinks it. “Finish your tea,” Ren slowly stands, “We’re going to Gerogom’s lab.”

Ignis, Tama, and Aqua take their cups and finish their tea. As Aqua stands, Ren shoves clothes to her, “Change to this. What you wear now is not quite appropriate to be worn outside.”

“Let me help you!” Tama follows Aqua toward the bathroom and close the frosted glass door behind her.

Ren grabs a red jacket hanging on the wall and wears it. He also doesn’t forget his pink scarf and circle it on his neck. His hands pulls out a pack of toothpicks from the pocket on his jacket and takes one and bite it.

“Why the change of heart?” Asks Ignis.

“I’m curious about the crows. It seems to know a lot and quite powerful. I want to know what it want to show me by sending me to Gerogom’s place,” Ren answers while tying up his brown boots.

“And also for Aqua, right?”

Ren stops opening the front door halfway as he hears Ignis’s words. He’s pondering for a moment before answering without turning around, “I guess so.” He then continues to open the door wide and let it open. Ignis follows Ren out the room.

“Why do you care?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Do you like her?” Ignis shots the one million dollar question.

Ren looks at Ignis for a moment before answers, “Frankly, I don’t know.”

“We’re done here!” The sliding door let out a distinct sound as it slides open by Tama.

“Thanks for the help,” Aqua smiles at Tama. She’s really helped since it’s hard to change clothes with one broken arm.

“Don’t mention it!” Tama replies with a smile not less beautiful than Aqua’s. Both of them then follows the two guys out after wearing their respective footwear. Ren closes the door behind them and locks it.

“Are you okay with walking a little far?” Ren asks Aqua as the four of them walk out of the apartment building.

“Do not underestimate me. This much is nothing…. How far is it anyway?”

“It’s out of the city, though I’m sure you wouldn’t know how far that is,” Ren answers vaguely since he’s not really know how far exactly is Gerogom’s lab from here.

“By the way,” Ren turns to Tama and Ignis to avoid anymore distance related question from Aqua, “How did you find me?”

“It’s easy! You have a distinct scent for a human, you know?”

“I am?” Ren looks surprised. “Anyway, hide your ears and tail. We don’t want to become a sensation here.”

“Sure!” Tama closes her eyes and concentrate a bit. Not long after, the tail and ears are nowhere to be seen. “Good enough?”

“Good enough.”

The four of them then ride a bus to go to the city outskirt. Afterall, all of them are not in their best condition. Riding a bus is a much wiser choice to shorten the distance.

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