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"Usagi! You're going to make us late for school again," Naru called as she ran ahead towards the school. Usagi also began to run moaning as she tried to balance her morning's breakfast that she carried in both hands.
It was as if nothing had changed, and neither of them nor did anyone else, remembered anything to do with the Negaverse.
The only thing that changed is that Naru now brought with her everywhere her little topaz music box. A few times a day she would take it out, turn the knob and hear the sad music play as she watched while it shone with a look of awe in her face.
"What's that?" Usagi asked one day when she saw Naru pull it out and play it. "It's so beautiful."
"It's a funny little music box. I don't really know how I got it. I asked my mom and she didn't know either. I just know that I've had it for a while, and every time I play it – I don't know – I just feel my heart soar. " As Naru explained this she had a look of deep seriousness and yet she looked as if her mind was somewhere else.
Usagi didn't seem to notice and instead went on about how big the jewel was and how much it shone, and how the writing on it might be ancient and that the box was probably worth a fortune, should she ever sell it.
"That's what my mom said, she wanted to auction it at her store but I wouldn't let her. I just – couldn't. I know it's silly to keep it but I just couldn't give it up. I felt like it was – only for me, ya know?" A smile spread across her face and she put the music box back in her bag. "C'mon Usagi, I'll race you to the ice cream place!"
Usagi stared at her confused for a few seconds, before she got up and began to run.
A few weeks later, Naru sat on a bench overlooking the water at a park by her house. On her lap was her music box, playing softly. Like always, she watched it shine entranced by its beautiful lullaby. Many times she drew her fingers lightly over the delicate foreign engraving, always wondering what it meant.
She had even gone to seen a language and symbol specialist to see if he could decifer it for her. Not only did they not recognize the symbols, they wanted to take it from her in order to study it, also believing that it would be able to be sold for a large fortune. Afraid, Naru ran away before they could offer her anything or take it. After that, she never brought it to show to anyone again. She hid it, playing it only when she was alone.
Today in the park there were but a few couples and elderly people strolling around. Convinced no one would be paying attention to her, she had taken it out and had spent a while watching it play.
Out of nowhere, a long arm reached out and snatched it out of her hands. Blocking the sun directly in front of her, she saw that the arm belonged to a tall young man that was about only five years older than her. He wore a simple white dress shirt and black pants. He seemed to remind her of someone she could not put her finger on, but she was convinced she did not know him. His short blond hair was tousled and his handsome face was scrunched into a frown of anger.
"How did you get this? You shouldn't take what isn't yours, girl!" he asked angrily yet quietly as to not cause a scene in serene and quiet park.
"Give that back! I didn't take it from anyone, please! I think you're mistaken, it is mine, it is!" Naru cried as she tried to get it back from him to no avail and her voice broke.
"Stop it, you're causing a scene. Now, come with me or I'll throw the box in the water and break your arm." The stranger said this calmly and quietly in a tone as if he were just remarking on the weather.
A look of horror crossed Naru's face but she complied and followed him into the forested area of the park, far away from everyone else. When he thought they had gone far enough, he turned around to look down on her with an expression that showed impatience and irritation.
"Now," he explained, "once again, I'm going to ask you what you know about this box and how you got it. You better tell the truth or else – let's just say, I won't be very happy."
Naru looked up into his face trying hard not to look too scared but her tears betrayed her. "I swear, all I know is that I've had it since- since I can't remember. And I don't remember how I got it either, but I just know it's mine."
She knew she didn't sound very convincing and thought that the stranger would hurt her or run away with her music box. Instead, he held it out to her and watched as she took it in her hands. She was about to run, when he said:
"Don't move, we both know you won't be able to outrun me. If it really is yours, let's hear the music."
Confused, Naru opened the box and turned the knob when sure as it was, the lullaby began to play. She was tempted to stare at it again but she pulled her eyes away to look at the face of her captor. His expression was a face of disbelief.
"Impossible! How can – Do you even know what this is?" He looked at her anew as if she were some kind of monster. "Tell me then, if this is yours, how did Nephrite die!"
Nephrite…Nephrite, Naru thought. Why did that name seem so familiar? Nephrite. She turned the name over and over around in her head. Nephrite… And then it all came back to her. The tennis court, the balcony, the lies, how he saved her… how he died for her.
And then her mind went black, and her body collapsed.
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return to Index / go to Chapter 3
The Nephrite and Naru Treasury