Pandora's Box

Chapter Six - Wanderer's Path

Shinichi, Heiji and Shiho walked into a small town located near a highway. There was a big marketplace there, as well as an inn, a bar, and an item store at the entrance area. The small town also hosted a small church with a pipe organ, and beyond the entrance area, to the left, was a small park with a fountain. Beyond that was the neighborhood area and a small clearing.

The town was known as the small town of Domina, where many strange characters gather together. A fortune-teller who told fortunes using fruits, an onion-head warrior much smaller than Olbohn and with no eyes, Sproutlings, a talking chicken-like self-proclaimed canary, a juggling monkey, a music-playing tadpole, a postal worker pelican, and many others. It was a diverse town, and it was looked after by the Wisdom named Gaeus.

A long time ago, Anuella the Artificer gave life to a huge cliff to help her delay an attack led by enemies. After the war was won, she came back and found out that the living cliff was actually very wise—even wiser than her. Together with five other people, the seven wise creatures formed the group first called the Wisdom of Gaeus. It was later on renamed to be the Seven Wisdoms.

A lot of people were freaked out when they first saw the talking face on the cliff, and some didn’t dare go there for fear of the truth. Gaeus was kind-hearted and he rarely gave straight answers. He helped the people coming to him fish out the answers from within themselves, helping them realize what they really wanted.

“It’s already late,” Heiji commented. “We’ll stay at the inn for tonight, and leave for Luon Highway tomorrow morning. Afterwards, we’ll head straight to Geo and hopefully will reach it before nightfall.”

The night was uneventful and the duo nearly felt as if something was missing. Usually, they would either come across the eccentric jeweler, the strange inspector pair, or both. As they were going to bed in peace, Shinichi wondered when he had come to miss the annoying presence of a certain jeweler.

“You miss him?” Heiji asked as he looked up at the ceiling of their room—they shared a room to cut the costs since Shiho had a room for herself.

“You’re psychic,” Shinichi said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes. “It’s peaceful, isn’t it? So much so, in fact, that it’s a bit... boring, if I must say.”

“Yes, I have to agree,” Heiji said. “But we’re picking up your boyfriend after this, so you’ll have to bear with it for a day. You can do that, right?”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Shinichi said as he frowned. “He thought you are my boyfriend.”

“We’re not.”

“Yes, and we aren’t either,” Shinichi added. “Don’t conclude things without facts. You’re making assumptions again, Hattori.”

Heiji stared back at him strangely. “I caught you two kissing on the back of that Cancun bird. That is not proof enough? What do I have to do? Catch you having sex with him?”

“Language, Hattori,” Shinichi said as he frowned disapprovingly. “And no, that isn’t proof enough. He kissed me. I didn’t kiss him.”

“You let him.”

“Whatever. Go to sleep.”

“Fine.”

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

The next day, the three gathered in front of the inn’s front desk, and after paying for their stay, they walked out of the town. Shiho noted that Shinichi was sulking while Heiji was grinning idiotically, but decided against asking what happened. They probably had an early morning banter of some sorts.

“Stop grinning,” Shinichi grumbled as he kicked another pebble in his path. “You should get yourself a lover. At least then you wouldn’t bother me so much.”

“Oh, you don’t know?” Heiji asked in mock surprise. “I’m dating your sister. That’s why we call each other by first names.”

“You’re kidding me,” Shinichi said as his eyes widened in surprise. “No! That’s impossible! Shinku would have told me if something like that happens! You’re lying!”

“Hey, hey, calm down. No need to get all worked up,” Heiji said as he placed his hands on Shinichi’s shoulders.

“She’s my sister!”

“So?” Heiji asked, lifting an eyebrow. “Relax, it’s not official yet. She insisted that I have to speak to you first, which is strange. I mean, she can make decisions on her own, especially of this matter, right?”

“She’s being a good sister and not giving me heart attacks,” Shinichi said as he glared at Heiji. “Imagine what happens if one day your sister comes to you with a wedding invitation. What would you do?”

“I don’t have a sister.”

“And you apparently lack imagination as well.”

“Guys, can we head out to Luon now?” Shiho asked as she sighed, tired of their banter already. No wonder they only traveled in pairs. The third person would feel like a third wheel, no matter what. “I don’t really care about who goes out with who. I mean, if you’re jealous that she gets a boyfriend before you do, that’s a bit irrational, Kudou.”

“I’m not jealous,” Shinichi said as he frowned. “I just don’t like not knowing anything about my twin.”

“And you didn’t tell her you were kissed by this Kuroba person, why?” Shiho asked, lifting an eyebrow and Shinichi sulked again. “Right. Now that that’s settled, can we just go to Gaeus now? This is stupid.”

“Alright, we can go now,” Shinichi agreed, then shot Heiji a look. “Are you telling me the truth? I mean, are you really dating her? I mean, you’re not just messing with me right?”

Heiji shook his head and sighed. “No, I’m not messing with you. It started sometimes before the war, when I took you out of Etansel. Haven’t you wondered why I sometimes go up to the attic when we were at the house?”

“You told me you were going to the second floor, jerk,” Shinichi said as he glared at Heiji. “Humph... still, there’s no one else I can trust her to, so I suppose you will do.”

“And what is that supposed to mean?”

“Do you want to date her or not?” Shinichi asked back, his lips pursed into a straight line. “If you don’t want me to become the mean in-law, you will stop teasing me.”

“But that’s too fun to pass,” Heiji said as he grinned. “I’m sure she will agree.”

“Alright, we’ll just go to Luon for now,” Shinichi said quickly when he sensed Shiho’s murderous glare directed at the two of them. “When we’re back at the house with Shinku, we can discuss this further. It’s no use here. I don’t want to exclude her out of such discussion.”

“Alright, let’s go.”

Minutes later, the three finally reached Gaeus, the talking cliff face. On one hand, the two were thankful that Shiho was with them because she was a good fighter, and she could put them in their places, although she’s a bit too stern and cynical to their liking. They were sure they’d reach Gaeus much later if she wasn’t there to keep them in check. On the other hand, they had to explain everything about the Jumi to her, from the ranks, the pairs, the wars, everything, and by the time they reached Gaeus, they weren’t in the mood to speak.

Maybe that was another of her trick to stop them from arguing again. The plotting woman.

“Hello, my child,” Gaeus greeted when he saw the three walking closer. “Come closer.”

“Come on, step onto the stone hand,” Shinichi said and Shiho did as asked. The stone hand moved and brought them closer to Gaeus’ face and Shiho was grateful she wasn’t standing near the edge or she would’ve fall. Next time, she’d make sure to hold onto them so that if she fell, they would go down with her.

“Is something the problem?” Gaeus asked. “You don’t look well, Chosen One.”

“We haven’t found Crimson,” Shinichi answered. “Where should we look next?”

Gaeus let out a low chuckle-like sound. “Nothing can be found without patience, Chosen One. You have to be patient. It will show itself to you when you’re ready to accept it.”

“Why am I not ready to accept it now?” Shinichi asked as he frowned.

“There’s nothing wrong with you, my child,” Gaeus spoke kindly, and Shiho knew just why people liked to go see Gaeus for advice. He was wise, knowledgeable, and fatherly. “However, a prophecy has to be fulfilled, doesn’t it? I don’t know what exactly the prophecy says, but Selva has the scroll. Ask him.”

“I see,” Shinichi said as he nodded. “Is it really a Jumi treasure? Is that why no one seems to know what or where Crimson is?”

“Crimson is nothing but a big, red gem,” Gaeus said. “It’s the belief that it is mystical that can make it so. Do you believe?”

“Yes, I do,” Shinichi answered, and Gaeus’ smile got higher. “Thank you, Gaeus. I think it’s time for us to go now. We’re going to see Rosiotti next.”

“Chosen One,” Gaeus spoke and the three turned back to look at him. “Where do you get that sword?”

Shinichi looked down at the sword strapped to his waist and took it, presenting it to Gaeus. It was a crystal sword with dark blue and golden hilt. The scabbard had many gems embedded into it, and an inscription of incantation was written all over it. “Hattori was the one who got this sword, but he gave it to me. He said it’s for self-defense. Why?”

Gaeus then looked at Heiji. “How did you get this sword, child?”

“I went to the tower of Leires’ room of fate,” Heiji answered. “After defeating the guardian of the room, he gave me this sword and asked me to give it to the person I want to protect. Why? What’s wrong with that sword?”

“Nothing,” Gaeus said as he chuckled again. “That is the Sword of Fate. It’s the only weapon that can kill Deathbringer. The Diamond Knight forged a sword that is very similar to this sword—her diamond sword. Her victory over the Deathbringer was due to the sword, but she didn’t kill him. She declared the war and gave false securities to the Jumis.”

“The Deathbringer is seeking revenge then?” Shinichi asked. “But Chris is dead.”

“It’s not necessarily so, Chosen One,” Gaeus said. “All I want you to know is that your sword is special. If you have to use it, use it. If you don’t have to, then you don’t have to.”

“I understand,” Shinichi said as he nodded thoughtfully. “Thank you Gaeus. We’ll see you again some other time.”

Gaeus lowered the stone hand, and after bidding him farewell again, the three continued on their far from merry way to Geo, the mystic city of magic. Again.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Because it was still the business hours of the store, the three walked into the jewel store without knocking. No customer was present and Kaito was hunched at the back, seemingly working on another jewelry of his. He didn’t even look up when the bell hung beside the door rang, and Shinichi wondered just how he managed to get someone to buy from him.

“Kuroba-san,” Shinichi called as he walked over to the workbench. “Hey. Are you busy?”

“Depends,” Kaito answered as he pulled at the heated metal and shaped it like a feather. “If you’re asking me out to coffee again, then no, I’m not.”

“Then when are you busy?” Shinichi asked again as he stared at Kaito flatly. Kaito, on the other hand, kept working, pulling at the edges to create a ruffled feather look.

“If you ask me to make something for someone,” Kaito said as he finally looked up. “Oh, hey there. Who’s that woman?” he asked when he saw Heiji and Shiho standing behind Shinichi—Heiji with a lifted eyebrow and Shiho with a deadpan expression.

“That is Miyano Shiho-san,” Shinichi answered. “She used to be a monk serving the Temple of Healing, but since she’s released of her duty, Selva asked her to travel with us.”

“Which isn’t a good decision,” Shiho added. “You got to feel like a third wheel all the time.”

Kaito chuckled as he stood up and extended his hand to Shiho. “I’m Kuroba Kaito, a jeweler. This is my shop, so if you see anything you like, you can tell me. Since you’re a friend of a friend, I can give you a special price,” he said as he introduced himself, and Shiho looked at him strangely while Shinichi rubbed his forehead, trying to lessen the headache.

“Oh, right, Shin-chan, here,” Kaito said as he took out the flower hairpin, now with the bird feathers at the tip. Shiho had to admit that it was beautiful, and that no wonder people said there was a very talented jeweler living in Geo. He pushed Shinichi’s hair back and kept it in place with the pin.

“You look pretty,” Heiji said teasingly as he grinned. “Don’t take it off.”

“I feel like kicking your shin,” Shinichi said as he growled slightly. “You know, I think it’ll be better if Shinku is to wear this. I mean, she’s female. And she likes jewelries.”

“No,” Kaito said as he frowned. “I made this for you. I can make another for her, but I don’t want you to give this to her. Every custom jewelry is made to fit the wearer, so you can’t go around giving it to others.”

“Okay,” Shinichi agreed. “But I look like a cross-dresser like this.”

“No, you simply look like a girl,” Shiho commented and Shinichi shot her a dirty look, which was replied with a challenging look and Heiji laughed at the side.

“You’re going to stay at the inn again?” Kaito asked. “If you are, then you have to hurry before it’s booked full. There’s an exhibit held by Kristie, and some of the visitors might want to stay overnight to come back there again.”

“Right. I’ll go book us two rooms then,” Heiji said. “Come on, Miyano. Let’s leave these two lovebirds to catch up with each other. You don’t want to feel like a third wheel again, do you?”

“No, let’s go to the inn,” Shiho said in agreement and the two left, leaving the other two in the quiet, jewelry store. It was then that Shinichi noticed that the store was lacking the classical music usually playing. It was way too quiet for his liking.

“Um... so, how have you been?” Shinichi asked finally as the silence became more and more unbearable. He knew Kaito was capable of just staring at him for hours on end, but his nerves weren’t that strong to stand such test. “We went to Domina yesterday, but... it was a bit quiet.”

Kaito stared at Shinichi some more, then broke into a grin. “Aw... you missed me? That’s so cute.”

“I’m not cute!” Shinichi protested as he backed away. “Uh, so, coffee?”

“Sure,” Kaito agreed, smiling at him. “Just let me finish this one first, alright? It’s a custom order meant to be finished by tomorrow. Guess who ordered it.”

“Is that a brooch?” Shinichi asked as he watched Kaito insert the cut gems into the jewelry and seal them there. “Is it someone from the Magic Academy? The headmaster, perhaps?”

“Correct,” Kaito replied, humming slightly. “He likes brooches. His silver brooch became black so he asked me to make one from steel this time. Cheapskate.”

“Hey, you shouldn’t talk about your customer in that way!” Shinichi chided. “I won’t mind having a steel jewelry. They look the same, anyway, right? So tell me, what is this one made of?”

“Rhodium-plated platinum,” Kaito answered and Shinichi choked on his own saliva. “No, it’s just rhodium-plated silver. Don’t give me that look.”

“You are positively mental if you give me a rhodium-plated platinum jewelry for free,” Shinichi said as he shook his head. “Then again, if you charge me for this, I’ll just return it to you.”

“Too bad you don’t have a receipt and we don’t accept returns,” Kaito said with an indifferent shrug. “Alright, I’m done. Let’s head to the fruit juice parlor this time. Won’t want to make your friends feel like third and fourth wheels for running into us accidentally, hm?”

“I feel like kicking you as well,” Shinichi said as he rolled his eyes. “Alright then, show the way.”

They walked out of the jewel store, and after Kaito locked the door, walked towards the outdoor parlor area, which was, surprisingly, still open and bustling with activities even when the sun had set. They quickly located a small table for two in the middle of the crowd and sat in it.

“What do you want?” Kaito asked as he looked around. “That store there sells excellent fruit pies. You want some?”

“Sure,” Shinichi agreed.

“Lemon?” Kaito asked again, and Shinichi looked at him in surprise. “Just a lucky guess. I’m not a stalker.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Shinichi protested.

“You were hinting at it,” Kaito said nonchalantly. “So a slice of lemon pie for you then. I’ll get some strawberry cheesecake or something. What about your drink?”

“I’ll have some pineapple juice,” Shinichi answered and Kaito nodded. After excusing himself, he blended into the crowd and quickly disappeared from sight. People kept coming to their table and asked if the empty seat was taken, and Shinichi was getting tired of answering to the point where he just nodded and glared if someone tried to take it away when they thought he wasn’t looking.

Ten minutes later Kaito came back carrying a tray full of their orders. He set it down on their table and sat back down on his chair. “Hey, I hope you didn’t wait that long.”

“Oh no, but I almost fell asleep,” Shinichi said as he snorted, then laughed. “No, really, it wasn’t that long. Thanks for treating me again.”

“No gentleman lets the lady pay,” Kaito said with a wide grin. “Although you’re hardly a lady and I’m hardly a gentleman. Well, it’s the thought that counts.”

Shinichi rolled his eyes and opted to just quietly eat his pie.

“So, how have you been, Shin-chan?” Kaito asked as he cut a piece out of his cake and put it in his mouth. “Still no luck with Crimson? Who have you seen?”

“We’ve seen Gaeus,” Shinichi answered. “He said that it isn’t time yet for me to find Crimson, and that a prophecy has to be fulfilled. I don’t know what prophecy he’s talking about. He told me to ask Selva.”

“I see,” Kaito said as he nodded. “Well, don’t lose hope yet. He said it isn’t time yet, right? Then that means you’ll definitely find it, doesn’t it?”

Shinichi smiled a little at Kaito’s optimism. “Yes, I’m sure. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Kaito replied, his signature grin never faltering.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

“Hey there,” Heiji greeted when he saw Shinichi walking into their room—he had asked the receptionist to give the key to a pair of twin-like men. “How was your date?”

“It was okay,” Shinichi said with a shrug as he took off his cloak and let it hang on the coat hanger. “Could be much worse, I suppose. I kind of feel bad for you, you know.”

“Don’t,” Heiji said as he chuckled. “We meet once a week, don’t we? That’s good enough. Plus, we’re not the ones having a long distance relationship like yours.”

“Since when do I have a relationship?” Shinichi asked, lifting a questioning eyebrow.

“Since you didn’t deny that your outing is a date?”

“Anyway, go to sleep,” Shinichi said quickly. “We’re heading out to the jungle tomorrow. I sense some magical power from the jungle. It seems some faeries have come to inhabit the jungle, just like Lake Kilma.”

“Then make sure to hide your core real well,” Heiji said in agreement. “We don’t want to cause unnecessary fights there. Is Kuroba coming with us to Lumina?”

“No, he’s returning to Geo,” Shinichi said as he shook his head. “He has a jewel store to take care of, after all. Can’t just travel around Fa’Diel without returning once in two days.”


“Aw, that’s too bad,” Heiji said with a grin. “Don’t be too sad. It’ll work out.”

“Go to sleep. Now.”

“Did he give you another kiss?”

“Sleep. Now.”

“Fine, fine, sheesh...”

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

The next day, Shiho noted that the situation was much or less the same as the previous day with Shinichi sulking and Heiji grinning, and she quietly wondered if the two always woke up that way. Again, she decided not to ask, because it really wasn’t her business, and she supposed they were just eccentric in that way.

“So we’re going to the jungle today,” Shiho commented as she took a sip from her cup of coffee. “Anything we need to be careful of? Like, crazy land penguins?”

“They don’t bother you unless you cross them, I suppose,” Shinichi mumbled as he tapped his chin thoughtfully. “You should be wary of the faeries. They’re tricksters. I haven’t forgotten the war with the faeries. They might still remember as well, so make no mention of the fact that we’re Jumis, unless in Rosiotti’s throne room.”

Shiho nodded and they walked to the jewel store next door to pick Kaito up. Apparently, he was out delivering the brooch he was finishing yesterday, and when he saw them knocking on his door, he felt bad for not putting up the ‘Away’ sign. Shinichi quickly dismissed it while Heiji teased him about it and Shiho glared at the two.

“Alright, shall we go?” Kaito asked, holding onto his long sword. The others agreed and they began the short trek to the jungle, which really wasn’t that far away from Geo.

The trip to Rosiotti’s throne wasn’t really eventful. Because it was a jungle, of course there would be beasts there, but since there were three experienced swordsmasters in the company, any beast that tried to attack them was killed in a matter of seconds. The penguins that stayed in Rosiotti’s throne room exited to give them some privacy.

“Hello, child,” Rosiotti said when he saw the four. “What brought you here?”

“Have you heard of Crimson, Rosiotti?” Shinichi asked. “We haven’t had luck finding it. Gaeus said it is not the time yet. What do you say?”

“Well,” Rosiotti started, “listen to what others are trying to tell you then. There’s something you have to before you gain Crimson. A treasure always needs a sacrifice, doesn’t it?”

“I suppose,” Shinichi mumbled. “But then what do I have to do?”

“Only you know the answer,” Rosiotti said as he shook his head. “Fate might have written a book of what is going to happen, but in the end, it’s still your choice that makes all the difference. What will you do when presented with a difficult situation? Will you fight for a happy ending or will you wallow in misery?”

Shinichi nodded. “Alright. Thank you Rosiotti.”

“Where are you going next?” Rosiotti asked.

“We’re going to see Tote, then back to Gato to see Selva,” Shinichi said. “If Pokiehl ever comes over, could you tell him that I’m looking for him?”

“He came by yesterday,” Rosiotti answered. “He said he’ll be dropping by after he retrieved his music box. You know how he is. He also said that he needs to talk to you, child.”

“I see,” Shinichi mumbled. “Oh, right, my friend wishes to consult you.”

Rosiotti turned to look at Kaito who stood beside Shinichi, holding tightly onto his long sword until his knuckles turned white. His stare was level and hard, as if daring the Wisdom to read deeply into him. Rosiotti chuckled and looked away, and Kaito blinked at him in confusion.

“You are confused, little boy,” Rosiotti said simply. “You are questioning yourself, aren’t you? Why is it going this way? Why am I swayed? Why am I fighting?”

Kaito continued to stare at him.

“The answer is within yourself. I cannot give you a straight answer until you learn the truth,” Rosiotti said as he looked at Kaito kindly. “You don’t know the complete truth yet. This missing piece of truth will enlighten you. Seek it.”

“Where should I seek it?” Kaito asked finally, his voice hoarse and his tone troubled. Shinichi held onto his hand tightly, and wasn’t surprised at all when he felt Kaito’s hands sweaty and cold. “Where is this missing truth you speak of? Who knows of it? Can’t you just tell me?”

“Seek the source of your confusion. That is where you will find the missing truth,” Rosiotti said with a mysterious smile. “Sometimes, you don’t think the source of your problem is your solution as well. Be courageous and confront the truth, little boy. Then you might be good enough for the Chosen One.”

“Rosiotti...” Shinichi mumbled as he frowned.

“I’m not against it, child,” Rosiotti said as he shook his head. “However you two aren’t ready yet. The ultimate test is coming your way. Your choice will decide everything. If you can withstand the test, then I don’t think anything will ever break you two apart.”

Shinichi flushed slightly. “I see. Thank you for your answers,” he said with a small smile. “I fear the test, but I suppose, everything has to be tested to be truly proven, doesn’t it?”

Rosiotti chuckled. “Go in peace, child. You don’t have to seek Tote if you don’t have time, but if you do, then seek him. You have got all the answers you might need from us. The rest you will hear from Selva and Pokiehl.”

“I see,” Shinichi said as he nodded. “Then we will just go to pay Tote a visit. I haven’t seen him in a while.”

“Do as you wish,” Rosiotti said. “Be careful on your way back, don’t go to the fae’s region.”

“Of course. Good day, Rosiotti,” Shinichi said, and all of them excused themselves before walking out of the throne room area. The penguins saw them walking out and walked back into the throne room.

“Kuroba-kun,” Shinichi called. “Do you get the answer you need?” he asked as he stared at Kaito who frowned in thought.

“Yes... yes, I did,” Kaito said with a small smile. “It’s not easy, is it? But I guess, if you are going to be brave about this, I have to be as well. I can’t chicken out now.”

Shinichi chuckled and patted Kaito’s shoulder. “I’m sure you can do it, Kuroba-kun. Let’s head back to Geo now.”

They were walking out when Shinichi suddenly paused. The other three paused as well and looked at him in question. He looked around, then frowned. “Um, do you think we’re walking in circles? I’m sure we’ve passed by this place earlier.”

Shiho looked around as well. “Well, I’m quite sure we’ve seen that huge tree before. So what do you suggest? We’re under a spell or something?”

“I’ve been bothered by the strong magic,” Shinichi added as he frowned. “Must be one of the faeries. But why are they doing this to us? We didn’t do anything wrong, did we?”

“I thought you say they’re tricksters?” Shiho asked back. “Then what do we do now? We can’t break the spell unless the faerie breaks it for us?”

“Unfortunately, that’s right,” Shinichi said, then looked around. “Faeries. I know you’re there. Come on out.”

Giggles filled their surrounding as countless faeries appeared one by one, crowding around them, watching as if they were performers on a stage that they had set up. They looked at each other, then disappeared again, sprinkling faerie dust everywhere. However, unlike faerie dust in fairy tales, these puffs of golden dust caused the beasts in the jungle to become stronger and more vicious, ready for the kill.

“Stay behind us, Shinichi,” Heiji said as he pulled out his sword, and Shiho and Kaito did the same, their stances ready for a fight anytime the beasts decided to pounce on them. It happened not long after, the the jungle was soon a flurry of movements that Shinichi was nearly having a headache just to keep up with their movements.

“Watch out!” Heiji shouted and Shinichi looked in surprise at a tiger-like beast that was lunging at him. He grabbed onto his sword to try and block the attack, but wasn’t fast enough. Just as he thought he was going to die, Kaito stepped in front of him and took the hit for him, before stabbing the beast right through its heart and killing it.

The battle went for a bit longer until the rush of beasts finally died down and the faerie dust lost its effect. The jungle became much calmer, and Shiho noted that their surrounding had changed to normal.

“Kuroba-kun, are you alright?” Shinichi asked in panic and worry when he saw Kaito sinking to his knees, clutching his chest in pain and using his sword to support himself.

Kaito let out a dry chuckle. “I don’t know,” he said. Shinichi tried to take off his cloak to take a better look at the wound, but Kaito wouldn’t let him. After much nagging, he finally relented and the three were surprised to see a cracked amethyst core sitting in his chest.

“You... are a Jumi...” Shinichi said as he stared blankly at Kaito who looked away.

“I’m careless,” Kaito said, chuckling heavily. “I wonder... if everything up to this point has been for naught...”

“Don’t say that, I’ll heal you,” Shinichi said quickly. “I’m a Jumi too. I’ll give you a teardrop crystal.”

“No use, Shin-chan. The crack is already too large,” Kaito said as he stared at his own core, then shook his head. “It’s alright. Maybe this is payment for everything I’ve done.”

“Nonsense,” Shinichi insisted. “No one deserves to die. No one at all.” After he said that, he cried a teardrop crystal. It was a small, round clear gem that crystallized from his tear. As it came into contact with Kaito’s core, it fused with it and slowly sealed the crack, making it a perfect spherical core again.

Kaito stared at his own core in awe as he became speechless. He was sure his jaw would have dropped if it could. “I... how could... that wasn’t even supposed to be possible!”

“Teardrop crystals are essences of life. The Wisdoms told me I have a greater life energy than most people, thus each of my tears contain greater healing properties,” Shinichi explained with a small smile. “However, even these cannot save my sister. I don’t know why I can’t share my life enough to save her.”

Kaito fell silent, still staring at his core. The trip back to Geo was filled with silence and Kaito looked at his core thoughtfully, as if he was considering something. When they finally arrived at Geo, the three prepared themselves to immediately head towards Lumina while Kaito returned to his jewel store.

“Shin-chan,” Kaito said as he held onto Shinichi’s hand tightly. Shinichi wanted to tell him that it hurt, but he knew that Kaito was having a great mental struggle. His hold was so tight as if he was afraid of letting go, and Shinichi didn’t know how to act around this Kaito. “I... I like you.”

Shinichi looked at Kaito questioningly. “I know.”

“No. I mean, I really like you,” Kaito said quickly, then looked away, biting onto his bottom lip in worry. “I... no matter what, please remember that. I will not betray you. No more. Please believe that.”

Shinichi frowned and looked even more confused. “I don’t understand, Kaito-kun.”

“I just wanted to know... ah... no. It’s probably not the time yet,” Kaito said as he shook his head. “Be on your way, Shin-chan, and may the Wisdoms answer all your questions. I will go on my own way as well, and hopefully the next time we meet, we will both have our answers.”

“Yes,” Shinichi agreed. “Good luck, Kaito-kun. Be brave.”

Kaito fell silent, then smiled wryly at Shinichi. “You too, Shin-chan. Be strong.”

Shinichi then excused himself and joined Heiji and Shiho, then went on their way to Lumina, the city of endless night.


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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.