Walking back to her dorm, Tsuki sighed. It was the end of another day-- an exhausting one, at that. Shino was starting to get busy with homework, so trying to find alone time with him was beginning to be a difficult task. And to be honest, Tsuki needed to focus on her assignments too. If things kept going the way they were going, she would start to fall behind. Aside from academics, Tsuki was also worried about Kuro.
I wish she would just tell me what's going on, Tsuki thought to herself.
Just as the dorm building came into view from around the corner, Tsuki stopped in her tracks. Slowly, very slowly, she turned around. There was someone watching from a close proximity, she could feel it.
"Hello?" Tsuki called. "Hello? Is somebody there?" Only rustling of trees as a response. She backed away cautiously, using her neko senses to stay alert. Suddenly, she backed up into a solid figure. A figure that she could feel breathing. A figure that was definitely not a wall.
"You're a neko, aren't you? I can tell," a deep voice inquired. Tsuki whirled around and summoned Siechetsuga, her sword spirit.
"So what if I am?" she retorted, keeping her distance from the stranger.
The man, or rather a very mature-looking teenager, looked her up and down slowly, from head to toe. "Don't worry, I don't have any intentions of hurting you. I'd like to ask you a question, though."
Tsuki narrowed her eyes slightly, wary of the mysterious boy. "Ask away. But if I may, what's your name? Stranger Danger, you know."
He nodded and chuckled. "Not a problem. It's Hiro."
"Hiro. Okay Hiro, what's your question?"
The guy named Hiro ran one of his hands through his hair, giving Tsuki the urge to do the same. His hair was perfect; shiny, smooth, straight black hair that didn't quite reach his shoulders. "All right, I would like to know if you happen to be an aquaintance with anyone by the name of Minuka. Perhaps a girl. . . ?"
"As a matter of fact," Tsuki began, then paused. Minuka was Akiko's last name. Why would he be looking for her? Maybe he wasn't looking for her at all. Maybe he was looking for trouble. ". . . I don't. Sorry."
Hiro looked at her and Siechetsuga's blade suspiciously for a moment, then shrugged. "Okay. Well, thanks anyway." And then he turned and disappeared into the trees, leaving Tsuki by herself, the setting sun being her only company as she walked the rest of the way to her dorm.
In Tsuki's mind, Siechet asked, Mistress, you don't think it could be. . . ?
Tsuki replied: I'm not sure, Siechet. But there's no way to find out unless we do our own investigating.
The next day, Tsuki noticed that Kuro wasn't the only one who seemed down. Akiko was beinning to drag her feet during P.M. (Physical Magic; the witch's form of Gym) as well.
What's gotten into these two? Tsuki always pondered as she observed her friends. On the way to lunch that day, she caught up with Akiko.
"Hey, Tsuki said, trying to sound extra cheerful. "What's up?"
Akiko barely seemed to notice her, but that was probably accounted to the fact of how shy she was. After a moment, she replied, "Oh, hi Tsuki. How's it going?"
Tsuki giggled, making an effort to cheer Akiko up. "I asked you first. What's going on? You seem down lately."
Akiko sighed. "Well, things with my br-- uh, new aquaintances, are getting kind of complicated. I want to be friends with them, but one of them is really defensive of the other. I'm just not sure what to do." Akiko's panda familiar, Kai, scuttled up onto her shoulder and sat down, munching on a grape.
Tsuki nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, I understand how you feel. But you haven't seen anyone. . . suspicious lately, have you? I'm just wondering."
Shaking her head, Akiko said, "No, not that I know of. Why, is something wrong?"
"No no, it's nothing like that. I was just curious." Tsuki kept her voice as innocent as possible.
By this time, the girls had made it to the cafeteria. Kuro was waving at them from their table, flagging them down. When they walked over to her, Shino was there too. He had started sitting with the three girls at lunch ever since he and Tsuki had made it public that they were a couple.
All through lunch, the students chatted lightly and talked about homework that they had and their scrying assignment and other school things. Tsuki stayed busy by playing with her food and trying to keep up with the hopping conversation. Her mind, however, was too preoccupied to think of such things as school. She had finished her homework in a rush early that morning, so she had caught up everything. At least that was a relief. But there was still something in her head, some voice telling her that she should be wary of the future. Wary of what was soon to come for the students of the Academy.