“For real, guys?” enquired Haruhi as she peeked into her room. Erska, Fyre and Quincy were on a social media spree considering how viral Erska’s accounts were going off. All she wanted to do was throw their phones to a place where they couldn’t reach. Now, they were going as far as to continue their photoshoot rampage which was completely unnecessary. So, they had occupied Haruhi’s room (though Erska shared it). Erska was in her usual sweats, giving that I-woke-up-like-this-feel. Haruhi’s room did enough to substitute for the green screen, it had fairy lights, monochromatic colours and asymmetrical knick-knacks. Add Tamago in a corner to make the scene a bit more lively.
“There’s no reason for us not to continue,” said Quincy as he shrugged while the other two nodded in agreement.
“Erska,” Haruhi said in a stern tone. “We just went to the doctor and you want to do this?”
“C’mon Haruhi! He said the usual gibberish! Take your tablets regularly ...blah, blah, blah….. what else?”
Haruhi cocked her eyebrows. “I’m sorry if you are going to be this lethargic about taking care of yourself, I wouldn’t mind calling your mother here right now so that she can take you home.”
“Haruhi!” Erska protested. “Please don’t even joke about it!”
“Hey. Why you gotta spoil our fun?” Fyre added, frowning.
“Wow. You guys are looking real friendly for the wrong things,” Haruhi said, pointing Fyre and Quincy who looked at each other.
“The past is past, Haruhi,” replied Fyre to which Quincy gestured an okay sign.
Haruhi shook her head. Turning towards Erska, she said, “You need to take care of your health and I wasn’t joking about calling your mother. You are supposed to take rest now but…never mind..” No one was exactly listening to her, the walls would have been better companions
Bastian barged in without a warning. “Guys, I’m going out…what is going on?” he asked as he turned towards Haruhi, seeing how carefree the rest of them looked. “Didn’t you guys go to the doctor in the morning?”
“Well, the patient is refusing to co-operate,” joked Haruhi half-heartedly, unable to take things any more seriously.
“What did he say though?”
Haruhi groaned. “The usual thing. If she had taken her regular doses, it wouldn’t have been a problem but Erska went on arguing with the doctor that she kept forgetting!”
Bastian narrowed his eyes. “Great.”
“She might have to make some food related changes. It seems she has a chocolate stash somewhere. She looked like Tamago, with the tail between its legs when the doctor kept asking her what kind of food she liked to eat. I knew she liked chocolates but we have a maniac in the house, Bastian!”
Bastian’s forehead wrinkled, his lips downturned in annoyance. “Fyre!” he screamed as the unsuspecting human nearly hit the wall. “What kind of job are you doing? You better make sure Erska takes her tablets or I’ll wring you!”
“Uhh okay..” Fyre mumbled, the words coming out of his mouth involuntarily.
Erska propped on the bed, fuming. “I’m not a little kid, Bastian!”
“Look..” began Bastian furiously but he facepalmed himself, sighing. “Nah, I’m not having this conversation with you. You can’t take care of yourself.” Erska’s jaw dropped. “But you,” Bastian pointed Fyre. “Don’t make me repeat what I just said.”
“What’s getting you all riled up, man?” questioned Quincy.
“I..I totally forgot why I came. I’m going out. See you.”
“You are going out a lot lately, Bastian,” stated Haruhi, her voice laced with a slight threat, which stopped him in his tracks for a moment. He hesitated to turn but continued to walk anyway which proved unsuccessful as soon as Haruhi kicked Bastian on the back causing his feet to tangle with each other, falling flat on his face. For Bastian it was all too soon, he was on the ground with both his arms pinned down while Haruhi fished for something from his back pocket. As soon as she was satisfied with the object procured, she let go of Bastian’s struggling hands.
“Haruhi?! What the hell was that?” he asked as he dusted off his pants. He turned around to see what she was holding, an expression of scrutiny playing on her face.
“I knew something was bloody wrong with the way you were acting,” she said as she looked at Bastian’s Draphacon containing a black coloured gem.
“Haruhi! I don’t think you have to go this far!” yelled Bastian, almost breathless, holding her arm. Is this woman made of stone? Without a word, she had raced outside the motel with his Draphacon in her hand. He had to run behind to catch up before it was too late. He knew where she was going.
“Look, this is going to be between me and Orfer. And I’ve got every right to do that. He’s the Drapha Head. He’s answerable,” she replied, flinging his hand away rather too hard that he flinched back, rubbing his palm while she marched towards Solitarie.
“What is going on over here?” asked Quincy as he looked at Haruhi and Bastian back and forth. Fyre and Erska peeped from behind the entrance of the motel.
“Fyre, get Erska out of here!” Bastian said in a stern tone with unwavering eyes much to Erska’s annoyance and Fyre’s surprise but before she could defend, she was whisked away by Fyre.
Haruhi who was watching the drama unfold, retraced her steps as she pointed towards Bastian’s Draphacon. “Look what I got in my hand, Quincy.”
“That’s…” Quincy got the Draphacon from Haruhi. It took him some time to register Bastian’s name signed underneath the shimmery black gem. “When did this happen, man?”
“I suppose it was during his so-called meeting with Orfer,” intercepted Haruhi. “Didn’t I tell you there’s no way Orfer would let things go like that…”
“Is that true, Bastian?” asked Quincy, still out of his senses.
“Now, hold on!” he said, putting his hands up in the air. “Let me explain before you guys go around making your assumptions, okay?”
“Well?” Haruhi asked, tilting her head to one side, hands folded.
“It’s true that I got to know everything when I met Orfer but it does not mean it was forced upon me, okay? Don’t go doubting Orfer. Geez. I was the one who pushed him to say,” Bastian explained.
“Oh really? How exactly did that happen now?” enquired Haruhi, acting all cocky.
“That…” Bastian hesitated as threw a glance at Quincy. “He showed me a video of Quincy going all bonkers at..the Waiting Room and I started pressing him to answer me..”
“Goodness..” Quincy mumbled, burying his face in his palms but suddenly, he looked up. “Why on earth would he even do that? He didn’t have to do that!”
“He said..it was your monthly evaluation? That’s what Orfer said.”
“Monthly evaluation?!” exclaimed Quincy.
“That slimy old man!” fumed Haruhi with her fists clenched. “There’s nothing called a monthly evaluation, Bastian! He tricked you!”
Bastian looked back and forth at the exasperated duo. “I don’t understand. Where’s the trick?”
Haruhi slapped her cheeks in frustration. “A monthly evaluation does not exist! He tricked you into asking such information because he has every right to deny it! Hell, he can throw you out, even exile you for asking that but he obliged!”
“So, what? I mean, eventually, I’m going to know this anyway. It doesn’t make a difference,” answered Bastian.
Quincy sighed, wanting to beat the living daylights out of Bastian. “If only you had kept away from Erska…”
“Erska? What does she have to do with all this?” asked Bastian.
Quincy’s mouth opened in shock as Haruhi patted his back. She said, “I told you this idiot had no clue..”
“Can you guys stop being cryptic? I’m at my wit’s end!” groaned Bastian, looking all vexed due to the toll recent events had on him.
“I’m definitely sure Orfer forced this on you because he thought you and Erska liked each other in a romantic way and as you know, we aren’t supposed to get caught into human lives,” explained Haruhi. “Orfer went through all that for nothing.”
“That’s true,” agreed Bastian. “Me and Erska?! There’s no way that’s happening, guys!”
Quincy face palmed himself in disbelief. “To think I….all this stupid misunderstanding! You would have been still in active duty if it weren’t for those internet rumours and crap!”
“I guess it is just timing, Quincy,” shrugged Bastian.
“Even I misunderstood it to an extent! You flirt as if it is your habit,” said Quincy as Bastian began to intercept but Quincy continued. “I can’t say that, I know. We are two peas of the same pod, Bastian.”
“Wait. How are you still continuing to be on active duty?” asked Haruhi.
“I struck a deal with Orfer. To complete my assignment before halting active duty.”
“Why is Orfer doing all these things? It’s totally unlike him. I just wish I could crack open his skull and have a look at what’s going on in his head!” said Haruhi, looking all irritated.
“Why do you sound like you’ve got a grudge?” asked Bastian. “What did he do to you anyway?”
Haruhi plastered a smile. “I’ll tell you when you get settled down. So, what about your initiation?”
“After I complete my assignment with Fleur. Until then I’m to be constantly in touch with my reporting officer,” said Bastian.
“You’ve had a long day, after all. Welcome to our world, I guess?” said Quincy, patting Bastian on the head.
Bastian smiled back, double winking as he hugged Quincy while Haruhi looked at them awkwardly. Haruhi shrugged and said, “So, I’ll just back away and-” She was too slow for them and became an unwilling participant in a group hug.
“Okay, guys. That’s enough for today,” said Haruhi, swatting them off after few seconds which seemed to be forever for her.
“You’re just awkward, Haruhi,” giggled Quincy who had his arm slid around Bastian’s neck. Haruhi forced a smile as she gestured an okay sign.
“How did you find out anyway?” enquired Bastian as a sudden thought popped into his head. “I was bloody shocked when Haruhi pinned me down, goodness!”
“You’ve been acting off, everybody could tell that. Plus, you kept nagging Erska to take her tablets. Something was definitely off!” said Haruhi. “Above all that, I knew Orfer was not the kind to keep calm-”
“Okay! Enough about Orfer! If you guys are done with your intervention, we can do some other useful stuff..” said Bastian before Haruhi could start ranting.
“What is your Class anyway?” asked Haruhi after she thought for a while. “Are you informed about your Class yet?”
Bastian gritted his teeth. “How much more do I have to know? What Class are you talking about?”
“We have three Classes – A, B and C. It is based on the percentages of our indicators. There are three indicators – Athlete, Empath and Tactician. Based on these as well as simulation training, our assignments our assigned,” elaborated Haruhi as Bastian’s head got giddy.
“Too much information! I can’t with this!” he shouted but the next moment after he grew calmer, he said, “Explain all those indicators and Classes and whatnot till my brain can understand without being in pain.”
“Athlete means to be physically gifted. Empath, as you know, to understand each other. Tactician refers to the one who is more strategic in approach. These three indicators have varying percentages in each Drapha. If one indicator is of a higher percentage, then they are Class A. For Class B, percentage is equally divided between two indicators while the third one is weak and for C, it tries to be evenly distributed across all three indicators.”
Bastian nodded his head slowly, trying to process it. Haruhi wasn’t sure if he was listening or not. He asked, “What are your Classes anyway?”
“I’m in Class B,” answered Quincy as he raised his hand. “Athlete – 25%, Empath – 40%, Tactician – 35%”
“Class A. Athlete Specialization,” beamed Haruhi proudly. “I’m a bit humble about my percentages though,” she added, waving them off.
“You…you,” Bastian pointed at her as his eyes narrowed. “No wonder you seemed strong. I did not see that coming though.”
She shrugged. “I’m more work-work than talk-talk. Besides if I used my full strength, I bet I could strangle you both.” She punched him in the arm playfully. “We’ll need to know your Class somehow. It may be crucial to Orfer’s new-fangled ideas-”
“That’s it! Enough for today!” Bastian exclaimed, shutting his ears as he stomped into the motel before his brain could figure out a way to vomit.