Leivell's mind was still reeling. What Giki had told him... it was almost unbelievable. If he hadn't been experiencing his own feelings that something was wrong with the world lately, he would have dismissed the stories he heard as fantastic works of fiction, yet somehow it all seemed to click. He'd always been told this was because the stories were fabricated to slip between the facts and raise doubts in your mind, but he was having a hard time believing even the most creative, intelligent people could make up such a story.
Now he couldn't get the thoughts out of his mind, and he caught himself nearly walking by the eatery where he normally ate midday.
He felt strange not having Kifa there with him; the pair of them had eaten together every midday since they'd first become friends. He figured by the way that she had been dragged away by Ruha that he wouldn't be seeing her, but he was still disappointed when he didn't see her sitting at their favourite table. Their other friend, Logi, was there already, since he got out earlier than Leivell and Kifa, but it wasn't quite the same. Leivell had even invited Giki to come along to try to fill the void, but the boy had refused.
"Just because I feel obliged to spread the truth does not mean I wish to associate with you now," Giki had said, and Leivell was almost hurt by the statement.
"Suit yourself," he had eventually replied, shrugging it off with his usual nonchalance, but inwardly he was puzzled by the boy's behaviour.
"Hey Logi," Leivell said, raising a hand in greeting as his friend spotted him and stood up.
"Hey. Where's Kifa?" Logi asked, looking around Leivell as if expecting to see her behind him.
"She's... probably not coming. Ruha dragged her off after class." Leivell took a seat across from Logi and regarded the listing, a pointless gesture considering he bought the same food every midday.
"Why would she do that!?" Logi demanded.
Leivell looked up from the listing at the look of indignation on Logi's face and laughed. It was no secret Logi fancied Kifa; even Kifa knew it. In fact, Logi has asked her for permission to court her on many occasions, and always with the same result: polite denial. But still Logi acted like he owned the girl.
"She told Ruha I'm a Pret," Leivell said, looking down at the listing but watching Logi through his peripherals. He figured there was no harm telling his friend; he would find out soon and might as well hear it from the horse's mouth.
"You're a Pret?"
"And Kifa knew?"
"And you didn't tell me?"
"Pffft. Some friend you are."
Leivell smiled mischievously at his friend. "You don't seem fazed. You don't care that I'm from a family of rich, controlling, heartless businessmen?"
Logi leaned forward in his seat, resting his elbows in the table in front of him, and shrugged. "What do I care? You might be rich, but you're definitely not controlling, or heartless. Who cares what your name is?"
"About ninety nine percent of the school's population," Leivell said, and Logi laughed.
"No kidding. Tomorrow is going to be fun, if Ruha's big mouth hasn't already spread the news before midday is over."
"Think there will be a fight?"
"Oh, definitely. That jerk Fano, his dad lost his job because of a Pret. I bet he'd love to take it out on you."
Leivell looked more amused than worried about this. "Got my back?"
"Are you kidding me?" Logi said, leaning back and flexing his arms, which were definitely the sort of arms made for flexing. "Look at these muscles! I got your front. You can clean up the mess when I'm done."
"Alright," Leivell said with a chuckle, "deal."
The boys finally got around to ordering their food, and sat waiting for it to arrive. They ordered Kifa's usual, too, just in case she happened to show up.
"So what about you? Anything interesting happen today?" Leivell asked, sipping on a cylin of water.
"Yeah! You hear about the turnover? Our professor was telling us about it. Maybe I'll pick myself a fancy new name like yours," Logi teased.
"I'm thinking of changing my name officially, so yeah, I've heard about it," Leivell said, nodding.
"Well good for you. But that's not even the interesting part. During the middle of the professor's speech, we get a new student. His name is Brint."
"Brint Fa Fa Fa Fa," said Logi, raising an eyebrow and smirking when he saw that Leivell actually looked surprised.
"Yeah. Apparently the kid's an amnesiac or something, and he's got no ID chip. So they gave him a new name."
Logi seemed most interested with the name, but Leivell was more curious about the lack of an ID chip. Everyone had them, no exceptions. What was different about this boy?
Their food arrived then, and they settled in to eat, Logi with great enthusiasm, and Leivell somewhat distractedly. Today had been such a strange day, he was having trouble processing all the information.
"Starting midday before a lady? You two are so rude," came a teasing voice, and the boys looked up to see Kifa standing not far from their table.
"Kifa!" Logi exclaimed through a mouth full of food, standing abruptly from the table. Leivell simply nodded, and waited for Kifa to sit down before beginning to eat again, as was polite.
"Nice to see you, too, Logi," Kifa said, pulling out her chair and sitting down before Logi could pull it out for her. "Thanks for ordering for me, I'm famished. Getting rid of Ruha is worse than cluster-running."
"So you managed to shut her up? Impressive," joked Leivell.
"No, she was still talking when I left," she said, and they all laughed. "But I got away. I tried to convince her that, you know," she looked meaningfully at Logi and back to Leivell, "the thing was just me getting flustered, but I'm not sure she bought it."
"Logi knows," Leivell said, and upon seeing the shock on Kifa's face, he went on. "I told him. I don't think even Ruha works that fast."
"It wouldn't... surprise me," said Logi, between massive mouthfuls of food.
"Such a pig," Kifa commented disgustedly, though she may also have been amused. "But he's got the right idea. Let's get eating. I get the feeling we've got a big afternoon ahead of us."
She didn't have to tell them twice.