Chapter 21 – Que sera, sera
(It means, whaterver will be, will be)
The carriages set out back on the road.
“How long are you going to pretend sleeping?” Rikku asked.
“I was really tired you know! I didn’t expect to cry that much,” Ran grumbled, making a funny face as an attempt to alleviate the tense atmosphere.
She sat down, stretched and yawned wide. Then she materialised a wet towel, wiped her face and neck. She arranged her hair into pigtails and dug out some sweet bread to eat.
“Comfortable enough?” Rikku asked.
She smiled, took out 3 pillows, made herself a small nest before answering, “Now, yes!”
“Kan Yune stopped by earlier to make sure we had our rings on and to remind us of the dangers of the road. They must be planning something.”
“First, the ring isn’t a problem,” Ran took off her ring to show to Rikku.
“What did you do to it?” Rikku still had some worries about it. He had seen Dorian try to take it off and it didn’t work. He didn’t try in case there was some spell on it.
Ran toyed with her ring, “The ring needs blood to recognise its owner, well, actually, it’s to pinpoint its owner’s location. My guess is that as long as we haven’t gone through the Hero’s ceremony, the ring won’t control us, just track us. Since I used the blood from the 2 guards from this morning, there is nothing to use to bind the ring to us. There is no reason we cannot take it off.” She put it back, “The real problem is with those 2 guards. Since I’ve used their blood, the spell on the ring is attuned to them, and will track them, not us.”
“Can you alter the spell?” asked Rikku.
“Seriously?” Ran rolled her eyes at him, “You know, I’m resourceful but there is still a limit on what I can do. Besides, for now as long as we are near the guards they won’t notice anything. Now, I have to think about what to do when I will leave. Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” Ran took out some black yarn and started knitting.
Rikku couldn’t hide his surprise, “Knitting, really?”
“I’m a weaver. It would be bad if I don’t do anything related to it,” Ran shrugged. Her fingers were flying and under her nimble fingers, a scarf was taking shape. She was halfway through when she paused for a moment before unreeling it. She then started it again from the beginning.
“What’s the point?”
“Practice,” Ran replied shortly, completely absorbed.
Rikku left her to her craft. He parted the curtains and watched the scenery. There were just thick trees and faraway songs of birds. Soon, the forest’s visibility was growing dimmer. But, from time to time, Rikku would check on Ran, before turning back to look outside when he saw that she didn’t have much progress.
“Say,” Suddenly Ran asked, “Do you have any attribute or affinity?”
Rikku squinted his eyes, thought for a while and replied, “Darkness and wind.”
Ran smirked. Seeing that, Rikku’s heart couldn’t help but skip a beat. However Ran did not say anything except this promise,“Alright, I’ll make you a scarf when I find some good material,” Then she resumed her knitting.
“What kind of material are you looking for?” Rikku shifted in his seat, feeling guilty. He hadn’t been completely honest yet she didn’t pry.
“Something interesting,” she paused, “I won’t ask.”
“Because words have power and you always need to be careful how you use them. Look at me! I’m always telling the truth yet,…” she chuckled.
“You…” Rikku shook his head and sighed. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to tell her, it was just that … he stopped dead on his thinking and furrowed his brows. “You didn’t lie at all this morning?”
“Are you able to steal someone’s power with hand cream?” Rikku was highly suspicious.
Ran roared in laughter, “No. I don’t steal. I rob, as in deprive. Subtle difference.”
“It’s the same!”
“No. I make the person lose something and I don’t get anything. At least, when I’m using hand cream.”
“Did you try it on Belle?” He had a vague premonition.
“Of course! Who else? The more she uses the cosmetics I gave her, the faster she will lose her ability to store mana.”
“She hates you right now, I doubt she will use something you gave her.”
“Doesn’t matter. I may or may not have added an addictive component inside,” Ran smiled broadly. “As for Nora, the poison’s effects had almost disappeared when she was healed yesterday.”
“Must be so disappointing that you couldn’t kill her!” Rikku couldn’t not place a sarcasm.
“I knew it from the very beginning,” she rolled her eyes. “Killing her would be boring. It’s much more interesting this way.”
“What if she uses the confusion during an attack to make a move against you?” Rikku worried a bit.
“Oh, she will. I’m pretty sure that she will even team up with Belle to do so. That’s why, when there will be an attack, I will be counting on you not to be in my way.”
“If you don’t give me enough space, I won’t have the opportunity to be alone long enough for them to do something,” Ran rolled her eyes once again.
“You are luring them in,” Rikku asked, “What’s your plan?”
“I’m not going to move against them. I’ll just wait for them to beat me up.”
“Are you looking to die?” Rikku was astonished.
He didn’t think that she could be up against the two women.
“Of course not. I want to show my uselessness after all. If I don’t, I won’t be abandoned when we reach the city.”
“If Nora and Belle work together, you won’t be able to conceal your power. If you do, you can lose your life,” Rikku wasn’t convinced.
Setting up traps and scheming against others is one thing, there was no need to put her life on the line.
“Kan Yune is far too cautious. Even if my status reveals that I’m weak, if he doesn’t see it with his eyes and feel it, he would still be reluctant to let me leave,” Ran threw herself against the pillows. “Furthermore, it will be a good opportunity to spoil any future team cohesion. Won’t you find Nora hateful if you learn she purposely attacked an ally because she lost face? How would you feel as a future teammate? Will you be able to trust her and have her watch your back?”
“Still,” Rikku still thought it was too risky.
“Que sera, sera. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not doing this only to prove a point to Kan Yune, I also have other plans,” Ran tried to reassure him a bit. She sounded more confident than she really was.