Tea Leaves and Red Silk

Dinner Party Announcement

Match Five: Dinner Party Announcement:

Around six in the evening, the countries arrived at Ju's house for the dinner party. The whispers already filled the dining room. Kiku's hands trembled at the table. He couldn't get the image of fire out of his head. This marriage cannot happen. This marriage cannot happen! Ludwig gave the Japanese man a strange look.

"Are you feeling okay, Kiku?" he asked. His ally turned his head. Ludwig had never seen him with such tired eyes in his life.

"What?" the Japanese man asked.

"Are you sleeping well?" the German man asked. Kiku slowly shook his head.

"What's the matter, Kiku?" Feliciano asked. Ludwig rested his hand on the Italian man. Kiku looked down at his hands. He couldn't tell anyone what was to unfold just yet. Right now, the Japanese man could feel a pair of cold eyes staring him down from behind.

Meanwhile, Alfred looked around with his arms folded across his chest.

"Where's the food?" he asked. "I'm starving over here!"

"I'll be happy to have a salad," Lydia said.

"Can't you be patient?" Arthur asked. "We are the guests here. Show some class."

"But I'm hungry!" Alfred complained. The English man sighed as he buried his head in his hands.

"You are hopeless," he muttered under his breath.

Ju peeked out from the kitchen. She did a quick head count at the table.

"It looks like everyone is here," she whispered. Yao rested his chin atop her head.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked. Ju sighed.

"We've been over this, Yao," she said.

"I know. I just don't want you to end up regretting this."

"Let's just get this over with so that we can move on with what we need to do."

"Right." Yao pushed open the door and let her out first.

The countries looked up when the doors opened. Ju put on her biggest smile.

"Good evening, everyone!" she greeted guests. "Welcome to my humble home."

"How is everyone tonight?" Yao asked.

"When do we eat?" Alfred asked. Arthur kicked him under the table.

"Ow," the American man said.

"Knock it off," the English man whispered.

"Dinner will be served in a couple of minutes," Ju said. "Right now, we will have some wine." Two women from the catering staff came around and served the guests wine. Kiku tried to use the alcohol to calm himself down. Yao and Ju took their seats at the head of the table. The former held up his glass.

"I purpose a toast!" he announced. Ju's eyes darted upwards as he pulled her to her feet. Kiku felt his stomach drop as he looked at the couple. Here it comes, he thought. The Japanese man could see the gates rattling to try and rip open. In fact, he anticipated it, counted down to it. Yao held up his glass.

"Everyone!" he said. "We have an announcement to make." Yao gently nudged Ju on the arm. She fought to keep a smile on her face.

"Yao and I are getting married," she said. At first, shocked silent filled the room. Kiku's eyes widened at the gates to the Wasteland cracked open. He downed another glass of wine. Ludwig touched his wrist. The Japanese man turned his head.

"When did this happen?" Francis asked.

"Three days ago," Yao answered.

"We don't have a wedding date yet," Ju added.

"Wow!" Feliciano said. "Congratulations!" An applause filled the dining room. Kiku held his glass as he tried to keep himself together.

"Thank you," Yao said. "Thank you so much!" The hosts and guests toasted and took a drink. It's too late to turn back now, Ju thought. She could already feel her soul dying even further with the announcement and it wouldn't stop when the female carters wheeled out hot and fresh Chinese cuisine. Yao and Ju sat down as their guests received their plates. The evening might be fine, but one question still remained.

Who was going to march into the Wasteland first?

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