Tea Leaves and White Pearls

Poisoned

Match Twenty-Two: Poisoned:

The poison is already flowing through everyone. Nobody can see it, however. Only Ju's two advisers had a slight clue. They knew when they first saw that blood-soaked article in the dead translator's hand. Another one died while trying to translate it. They destroyed it—twice—as a result. Fei and Hen-to freaked out when that old file reappeared. The resurface alone told them that Hell would be coming for them.

They aren't the only ones who feel it.

Everyone else didn't notice a thing. They are too wrapped up with their lives. However, there were early signs. Most of these came right out of Tokyo. Pochi couldn't stay around his master. Kiku looked at his dog with tired eyes. He looked at his pet with a sympathetic smile.

"I'm so sorry, Pochi," Kiku said, "I don't mean to be like this. I don't know what's wrong with me lately." The dog stared at him silent. He still backed away when Kiku tried to pet him again. Sena watched from the doorway with a bad feeling in her stomach.

All animals keep trying to avoid the human countries because they can see the ruin on them. They have a sense about coming change. If humans had the same gift, they could've stopped the wasteland from coming any sooner. However, that isn't really the case this time.

A small number of people can tell that something bad is about to go down. Though, they don't exactly know the details of how bad this coming storm is. The signs are killing them slowly on the inside.

But… What does all of this have to do with the hungry wasteland just under their feet? Why doesn't it outright reach them and consume them alive? Believe it or not, it seems to be waiting for the right moment to strike. Just like a skilled thief in the night, it waited for the perfect opportunity to swallow them up in its abyss.

Right now, Ju and her high school friends have an exam to complete this morning. There is no time to worry, yeah? Well, don't get too far ahead…

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