Chapter 25 – Secret affair
Rikku swiftly grabbed onto Ran before she hit the ground. Her breathing was even and he could see that her brows were more relaxed than before. He let out a deep sigh. He wondered about the road ahead. He had only heard a part of the conversation. He shook his head, he shouldn’t and couldn’t pry. Everyone had a reverse scale, something they guarded fiercely. And for Ran, it was her past. Well, it wasn’t like he had been completely honest with her either.
He picked her up and headed to the carriage.
“Rikku-sama…” Kan Yune’s voice sounded behind him.
Rikku stopped but didn’t turn around.
Kan Yune pressed down an uncomfortable feeling. “Rikku-sama, how is Ran-sama? Should I take a look?”
“No need.” Rikku moved on without a care. From the corner of his eye, he saw Dorian and that spark of mischief turned into an idea.
Through her cloudy mind, Ran felt relaxed and without worry. She had drifted through a dreamless state, one without pressure, without expectations nor torture.
“How long was I out?” Ran’s voice was almost a whisper. She was lying on her side and that so-called gentle rocking didn’t feel all that comfortable to her anymore.
“Couple of hours. We should arrive at the camping site soon,” he said.
“You are not going to ask me questions?” Ran massaged her shoulders, she really felt like taking a bubble bath.
“Are you going to answer me?”
“I’m reflecting over myself.” She sighed.
“You should. I would be embarrassed if I were you.”
“Am I that bad?” Ran stretched.
“For a 13 year-old throwing a tantrum, not too bad.”
Ran stuck her tongue out. “I am told I’ve never really grown up.”
“I can see that. That personality of yours has too much personality.”
“Hahaha. According to some guy with glasses, I have more than a personality problem.” Ran finally relaxed, she took out a bottle of wine to sip on.
“Let me guess, you are also a high functioning sociopath?” Rikku added with sarcasm.
“How did you know?” Ran was surprised he was spot on. “One with a pretty bad persecution and god complex syndrome, borderline personality and some others things I didn’t listen though. I doubt they knew what they were talking about.”
“Then, they let you leave after that?” Rikku was amused.
“Of course not!” Ran pouted. “I had to break out and run away.” She puffed up her chest proudly. “They could never catch me again.”
“Don’t tell me that killing people got you in the psych yard?” He wouldn’t be surprised if it was the case.
“Torture, Darling.” She rolled her eyes. “This is how they sent me to the crazy house in the first place.”
“The police caught you for torture?”
“Nope. I was in a way working for them. Something about getting accreditation that needed a psych evaluation. Failing miserably is just an understatement. Anyway.” She shrugged.
Rikku rolled his eyes. He didn’t believe everything that she said; at least, he was relieved to see she was more energetic.
“So, what’s your plan from now on?” asked Rikku.
Ran thought for a minute. “Taking a bath comes first. Then, eat and get plastered.” Ran looked into the distance with forlorn eyes. “I miss alcohol so much.”
“Can we have a serious conversation here?”
“Then, it should be me asking what are you planning? I saw that little glint in your eyes. You’re up to no good.” Ran teased.
“Why not ally with Dorian and Parvian? Sure, we can take off with just the two of us, but I was thinking about creating some troubles in the long term.” The glint of mischief was bright in Rikku’s eyes. “Dorian isn’t an idiot and Parvian isn’t weak.”
“I don’t mind.” Ran replied after thinking for a while. “It will be safer that way too. How are you going to contact them?”
Rikku smiled mischievously, reclined on the back on his seat and closed his eyes. He had no intention of revealing his secrets.
Several minutes later, Rikku realised something and asked, “Should we create chaos and let the others escape ?”
“Of course not!” Ran almost jumped out of her seat. “Everyone else has to reach town and get protection.” She could see that Rikku didn’t follow. “Darling, there will be a demon invasion or some war. If there’s no hero, adventurers will have to step in. I’m going to be an adventurer. Why should I do someone else’s job?”
“Aren’t you afraid of being hunted by whoever’s behind our summoning?” Rikku frowned.
“So what if they know we set them up? What can they do? There is no way the Church is going to publicise that 2 otherworlders are on the loose. They will be too afraid of the consequences.” Ran shrugged. “As to who will hunt who in the end, nobody is clear on that yet!”
Ran didn’t have the time to enjoy a small nap as the caravan slowed to a halt. Rikku signalled Ran not to move then knocked on the door. Soon, Rikku’s maid approached and asked, “Do you need anything, Rikku-sama?”
“There is no need to set up Ran’s tent. She’ll stay with me tonight.” The tone of his voice didn’t match his face; he spoke coldly whereas he was actually trying to suppress his laughter.
“How bold!” Ran whispered coyly.
Rikku rolled his eyes at her.
Rikku’s maid frowned and informed Belle. Belle didn’t say anything and just stood on the side. The maid informed Kan Yune and started to prepare upon his approval. Kan Yune didn’t think Rikku would be so over-protective. It wasn’t a bad thing by itself, Ran was his weak spot. As long as he held on to her, he could make Rikku bend.
Dorian stared at the vanishing message written on the wooden wall before him.
I have a way out.
He knew it came from Rikku. If he really had a way out…
The campsite was bustling with activity. When Rikku exited the carriage, he was holding a seemingly sleeping Ran in his arms, princess-style. He strode with pride and directly headed to his tent, unaffected by the commotion around him. He caught sight of Dorian staring at him in the distance. He slightly tilted his head then disappeared into the tent.
Dorian had his eyes fixed on the tent. He had made his choice. He turned around and walked away.