Tea Leaves and Green Jade
Match One: Giant Storm:
Wang Yao and Ivan Braginski sat at the bus stop, waiting. The Russian man turned to his Chinese roommate.
"Refresh my memory," he said. "Why exactly are we out here today?"
"We're picking up Ju today," Yao explained. "She starts winter break."
"Ah," Ivan said, nodding. He turned back to the empty landscape in front of them. Ivan couldn't understand the full nature of his roommate's relationship with his business partner. Neither Yao nor Ju would go into full detail about their affairs. The Russian man began to wonder if they were more than just business partners. Yao danced around the subject for close to a year now. Maybe, Ivan could get a straight answer out of the Chinese man right now.
"Yao," Ivan spoke up.
"Uh-hm?" his roommate asked.
"What exactly is Ju to you?" the Russian man asked once again.
"Business partner," Yao began with again. "We work together." Ivan narrowed his eyes at him.
"What is she to you really?" he asked. Yao froze and glanced at him.
"Why?" he asked. Ivan shrugged his broad shoulders, shaking his head.
"Just curious," he said. Yao scooted away from him on the bench. He wasn't going to fall for this trap again. Ivan was about to speak again when the bus pulled up. Yao rose to his feet with his arms outstretched.
"She's here!" he exclaimed, changing the subject. He walked up to the bus as the door slid open. However, shock came across his face when he laid eyes on his business partner. Ju stood before him with her familiar slender form looking at him. However, that wasn't what blew him away.
"Ju-furen, what happened to your hair?" Yao asked in a gasp. Ju made an odd face at him.
"What about it?" she asked as she felt along the edges. Gone were her long ponytails this year. Instead, her hair came to her nape and ears with the ends slightly curled inwards. Yao shook his head.
"It's nothing," he brushed off. "Anyway, welcome home." Ju gave him a polite smile.
"Thank you, Yao," she said. Ju looked over his shoulder to see Ivan peering at the pair.
"Hello Ivan," she said in a low voice. Ivan waved at her silent.
"Why did you do that to your hair?" he asked outright.
"Oh, this?" Ju asked. "I felt like getting cut." She patted the edges of her hair again. "Do you like it?" the girl asked.
"Uh… yeah," Yao said quickly. "It looks great!" Ju looked at him rather off-guard.
"Really?" she asked.
"Yes," her business partner said, nodding. Ivan muttered something to him in Russian about her hair looking weird, but the two Chinese people ignored him. However, he wouldn't be the only one to voice his opinion about her hair.
"Why?!" Bik cried when Ju made it home. "Why would you do this to your hair?!" The nurse held her clan leader to her chest. "It was so cute when it was long!" Ju tried to break away from the nurse's heavy bust.
"Let go of me!" she cried a muzzled voice. "I wanted to cut my hair!"
"But why?!" Bik wailed.
"I got tired of my pigtails," Ju yelled. "Please let me go!" She managed to push away from the nurse, panting. Bik looked up at her, pouting.
"Please grow it back!" she pleaded. Hen-to cleared his throat.
"Never mind that now, dear," he cut in. "We've got more pressing issues to worry with." Ju tilted her head at him.
"More pressing?" she asked.
"Yes, your uncle is in town," Hen-to said in a somber voice. Ju's eyes widened at this shocking bit of news.
"Oh," she mumbled. The leader glanced up her adviser. "Does he know about my father's death?" she asked.
"I bet that he does," Hen-to said.
"And the shift in power in the clan?" Ju asked.
"I'm guessing that he will soon," the advisor answered. Ju thought about this, nodding.
"How do you think we can keep it from him?" she asked.
"I don't think very long," Hen-to said. "What is your plan?" Ju pressed her lips together.
"Well…"she said. "It looks like we'll have to prepare for a fight." Those words alone tasted so bitter in her mouth. She already had university, Yao, and the odd happenings on her plate. The girl couldn't expect this to get any worse.
"So much for an easy winter break," Ju muttered to herself. "Oh boy…"
"Excuse me?" Hen-to asked. His leader only sighed as she shook her head.