The boy jumped back with a start. Though he was not easy to surprise, the stress of last night’s events and the new surroundings left him a bit more susceptible to strange faces suddenly thrusting into his quarters from outside. Fu almost greeted this with slamming shutters, but paused once he recognized who it was.
He decided BikKuRi was just as annoying in the daytime as he had been at night.
“I was well until you did that,” Fu responded grumpily.
“You’re making yourself right at home, I see,” BikKuRi continued without notice, poking his nose back and forth. “It’s looking good.”
Fu hadn’t actually unpacked very much as he was still planning his escape. So how the little room could look “at home” or “good” eluded him. He didn’t bother to bring it up as it didn’t seem worth the effort.
“Is there something you need?” the boy said instead. It was the most polite way he could indicate that BikKuRi needed to make the visit quick and get it over with.
“Actually, I have a letter here,” the Manorite responded, holding out a folded piece of parchment.
“Letter? From who?” Fu asked, mildly curious.
“Your father, I believe.”
The expression on the boy’s face grew dark instantly. “I do not want it.”
BikKuRi looked surprised. “What do you mean?”
“I mean exactly what I said,” Fu grumbled. “I do not want it.”
“But, he’s your father. I’m sure he’s just worried about you,” the man waved the parchment a bit.
“If he was worried about me, he would not have left me here over night,” the boy turned his back to the Manorite.
“Geeesh. You’re in a rotten mood,” BikKuRi leaned all the more into the window, causing the wood to creak.
“I would be, too, if I had your big head shoved in my window,” came another voice from the other side of the wall.
Fu wouldn’t have usually take interest in that, either. But it hadn’t been a voice he expected. It sounded like a girl.
“Come on. Don’t encourage him,” BikKuRi sighed over his shoulder. “If he keeps frowning so hard, his face is going to freeze like—ow! Ow! Ow!”
A slender hand appeared over top of BikKuRi’s head, dragging him out of the window by the scruff of his hair. Wincing, he gave in quickly. Then another face appeared at the window, this one far more appealing.
“Sorry about that. He acts like Mother never taught him any manners.”
It was a girl, indeed, with soft slanted eyes of light green. She wore the same sort of easy smile that BikKuRi had, yet more schooled and slightly younger. Her hair trickled down her shoulders and wisped across her forehead, half tied back, as if she was uncertain of which way she wanted to wear it.
“It is… okay…” Fu found himself grasping for words as he peered at her.
“My name is NikKoRi,” she offered before he could ask. “I don’t know if I should own up to it, but Bikk is my brother.”
“Oh..?” the boy still couldn’t find the proper words, resorting to mere sounds at this point.
“I heard you’re new? Did the Manor request you for training?” NikKoRi inquired with some surprise.
“I don’t think that’s something he wants to talk about right now,” Bikk’s face popped up above her head. “He seems pretty sensitive.”
“I’m sorry,” she offered a look of genuine concern. “Was it a bad experience?”
“I… just did not choose to come. They brought me here,” Fu attempted to explain, putting his complaints into words the best that he could.
“Really? From where?”
“We brought him in from out in the middle of back-water nowhere,” Bikk answered for him.
Fu only frowned, hearing his home termed so condescendingly.
“I wasn’t asking you,” she nudged her brother in the ribs with one elbow. Then, she looked back at Fu, “You’re not from town, then? That’s odd. I wonder why they…”
“He’s a mind mage,” Bikk whispered into her ear, loud enough for Fu to hear.
The boy grit his teeth as NikKoRi’s eyes widened a bit. She seemed to cast around for words, finally saying, “That’s… unusual… too.”
“That’s what I said,” the Manorite nodded, obviously not aware of the trouble he had just caused.
“Well,” the girl’s voice lifted in the sound of strained uncertainty. She was quickly dismissing herself. “It was really nice to meet you… uh…”
“FuSoYa,” the boy offered. Maybe it was foolish, but he didn’t make a move to persuade her to stay. Her brother was friendly enough, and if he invited them in, he doubted NikKoRi would have turned him down if Bikk accepted. But, Fu didn’t. He just watched her take a step back away from the window.
“Are you sure you won’t take this note?” Bikk asked with one last hopeful eyebrow raise.
“No,” Fu answered, feeling more downhearted than even before.
“What should I do with it then?”
“I do not care. Take it back to him,” the boy shook his head and turned away.
There was a moment of silence from outside the window. Fu could feel the exchange of looks between the siblings.
“Alright,” Bikk finally said, knocking on the wood of the windowsill in a motion of departure. “I better not get in trouble for this, though.”
“Tell them I said so,” the boy murmured. Not that he was all that worried if Bikk got reprimanded. At least, he didn’t think he was.
“You bet I will,” the Manorite retorted, his voice thick with attempted humor. It wasn’t working.
Silence rose again. Only the sound of shifting weight upon the stone walkway outside of the window indicated that they had not left.
“Hey, Fu… are you sure you don’t need… you know… anything?” Bikk asked, obviously concerned.
The boy bit back worse retorts, but still answered sharply, “You should have thought to ask that last night when you escorted me out of my house.”
The man took in a deep breath through his nose, “Those were my orders. Maybe they were wrong. I don’t know. I’m really sorry you feel like this.”
“You expect me to feel otherwise?”
“I don’t know. I thought maybe once you got here that you’d…”
“No. I will not change my mind,” Fu talked over him, knowing enough to sense where the conversation was going.
“I see,” Bikk answered somberly. “Alright. Well… If there’s anything I can do…”
“Come on. We should leave him alone,” NikKoRi’s voice rose from a distance.
The sound of the Manorite’s sigh was followed by retreating footsteps on the stone. Silence returned to the world, leaving Fu to his solitude.
“I doubt there is anything anyone can do,” the boy answered after some time, knowing that no one could hear him.