Chapter 6 - A Revelation
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Usagi couldn't help but notice that Naru had been acting strange all day. She seemed to be looking off into space, seeming either lost or deep in thought. Other times she was distracted and fidgety, turning something around in her hands over and over or playing with her hair. Every time Usagi tried to talk to her she would smile and apologize for being "a little spaced".
Naru could not help it. She kept wondering if today would be the day she would see him. She could not believe that everything that had happened recently was true. She was restless and excited, but also worried.
She loved him, she had told him. But never had he told her he loved her, and she was not sure he did. And if he did, would he still care for her even after all this time? Nothing like this had every happened, and every second that passed by was torturing Naru's relentless anxiety. She kept trying to tell herself to stop thinking about it but she could not even though she could never know what it will be like until it happened.
When the finally rang, Naru abruptly gathered her textbooks into her bag and made her way out the door, only stopping to say a quick goodbye to Usagi. She made her way to the bus stop two blocks down that would take her close to the forest.
Stop getting so excited, silly, it might not even be today, she told herself. But then, she always had to ask, what if it is?
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The bus ride had not many people on it as it was heading outside of the city. It was a long one though had taken much less time when Jadeite had driven her. Naru had mixed feelings about the strange man who had captured her but let her go. Often times she was scared of him, with his cold and indifferent demeanour. She also noticed though that he seemed a little desperate, pensive and a little lost himself. She could not really conclude anything about him, more than anything, he was mysterious.
At the last stop she got off, looked around, and began walking along the dirt road that would take her to the mansion. Despite her anxiety and excitement, the walk seemed to calm her down as she observed the forestry which seemed much less portentous while it was still bright outside. After a while she could see it, and stopped from afar to admire it.
Although it was gothic and had seemed threatening in the foggy night, she now looked at it with newfound admiration. It was almost charming she thought, if there were perhaps some flowers in the garden and the house was given just a little bit of care.
Naru walked up the stairs to the door and knocked, but even after a while there was no answer. She turned the large doorknob to find it was unlocked and walked inside. The front entrance made her gasp at its exquisiteness with a large chandelier made of hundreds of crystals that shone like stars, hanging from the tall ceilings that seemed almost up to the sky. What really blew her away however, were the immense stained glass windows with such intricate detail, which were right above the wide marble staircase. She could not have imagined a more impressive room. The night before they had only dashed passed the hallway to leave, and she had barely noticed anything then.
She was not sure where she would find Jadeite, but the idea of calling out his name seemed unreasonable as it would disturb the peaceful state of the house and might be rude. Instead, she decided to go towards the room where she thought knew he had brought her, in hopes he might still be there. She remembered it had been a large study-like room at the end of the galley hallways. On her way there she peered into the other rooms, which she found were the dining room and parlour, only to be a little shocked. There were bags, cans, and boxes of take out and junk everywhere. She could not believe he had been living like this.
Finally, as she came to the end of the galley she cautiously pushed open the tall oak doors to the study and tiptoed her way in, silently closing the door behind her. This room, at least, had not been littered with food and garbage.
The room was much the same as she remembered it from the night before. This room too had beautiful stained glass windows near the top of the high ceilings and were much prominent in the room since heavy purple drapes covered the floor windows. At the back of the room there was a wide empty desk, surrounded by dozens of tall bookshelves filled with seemingly hundreds of books. The center of the room was furnished with expensive plush furniture, gathered around a massive elaborately carved marble fireplace. That was where she found him, sprawled casually across a chesterfield with his back to her. She was not sure whether or not he had heard her come in, as he seemed to be deeply immersed in the book he had in hand.
Apparently he had heard her come in though, as not shortly after she shut the door he ever so slightly raised his head from his book, without wholly looking at her.
"You're early. You can do whatever work you have for school to do there until it's time," he said distractedly, gesturing towards the empty desk.
At first Naru went directly to the desk and set her book bag down, and began working on her homework. For a little while, they were both silent while he read and she worked but it was not long before she was done her work and could not sit a moment longer. She made her way by the unlit fireplace and sat herself down on the settee opposite him.
He was still occupied with his book until he saw her and put it face down, crossing his arms.
"Yes?" he asked, irritation searing in his voice. He was clearly not the type of man who liked to be interrupted. Naru took a quick glance at his book to see that he had been reading Macbeth.
"I only wanted to say that if it's all right with you, Mr. Jadeite, I'd just like to clean up a little in the other rooms – in case Nephrite comes back today – I promise I won't be any trouble," she added. Though initially, that was not her intent to go over to him, she knew now that he would not enjoy her company. And besides, she thought, the house really is a mess.
He was barely paying any attention to her now. "Do what you want, I'll find you when it's time." He waved his hand as if to dismissively shoo her, his eyes still fixed on the book.
Naru left to find the kitchen, where she found all the cleaning supplies she would need in a closet by the pantry. Although the room itself was cluttered with empty take out boxes and bags, crumbs and things spilled everywhere, the stove and counters themselves seemed untouched. Jadeite was no cook.
She spent some time picking up all the garbage, sweeping, dusting and wiping down all the surfaces. Though it was tedious work, she felt a joy while doing it, knowing who it was for.
When she was nearly done, she saw Jadeite as if he had suddenly appeared in the room.
"It's almost time," he said holding out the music box to her, "meet me back at the study in a few minutes." At that he disappeared off into another room.
Naru put the cleaning stuff away and was about to walk out into the hallway when she caught a reflection of herself in the mirror. Her hair was messy and tangled her complexion pale, she had dark rings of exhaustion under her eyes and her clothes had become stained and dirty from her cleaning. She could not help but dread that Nephrite might see her like this and took a few minutes pinching her cheeks and trying to fix her fiery hair.
When she reached the study room, Jadeite was waiting for her. Through the large windows the pinkish light of the sunset streamed in and were slowly fading. He gestured for her to go ahead.
Again, she held her breath in anticipation as she turned the delicate knob and the sad beautiful tune played. Yet again, the tune played out to the end and no Nephrite came.
"I guess not today then," she murmured quietly.
Naru looked up to see Jadeite's frustrated face, and his fists unclench. Without a word to her, he walked to the other side of the room where the purple curtains were and pulled one back to open a door to the terrace and went outside. She waited only a moment before she followed him outside and saw him sitting on the sculpted rail, looking absentminded and troubled.
She looked up at the stars, they were shining so bright and seemed to be casting subtle shining rays in their direction. She looked at the music box and how it shone, almost like a star itself, almost much brighter then than with the morning's sunlight.
"Of course! How could I miss something so obvious?" she heard Jadeite ask himself and could see now that he as well was looking at the music box. He stepped over and snatched the box from her hand and ran his fingers over the engravings.
With the power of all stars and skies, he was wording to himself over and over.
"Of course, of course, the stars know everything," he continued to say to himself in a low voice.
Naru gawked at him, utterly confused and opened her mouth to say something when Jadeite quickly put a finger to her lips and motioned for her to wait while he held the box up high to examine it. He finally turned to her to explain.
"Do you see how it shines, so brightly, so magnificently in the starlight? No regular jewel does that, you know. No, the engraving implies power from the stars. The stars, the stars, Nephrite knew all along." He was speaking so quickly Naru was having a hard time following.
"It's obvious now," he continued "the visitation should occur only during the evening, while the stars are out. We will see him only from dusk to dawn on that day. The stars, the power of the stars is responsible."
This was to him such a huge revelation that for the first time Naru saw a small smile spread across his lips. He was coming closer to making sense of everything.
Naru just sat there quietly, not really knowing what to do. She did not really know much about him except for that he came from the same place Nephrite had. She wondered how well he knew him. A few times she thought of asking him questions, to get to know him or figure out more about Nephrite but was just a little too intimidated. She was curious as ever about him, but decided she would ask Nephrite instead.
He was looking at her now, the Jadeite character, and his revelation seemed to have put him in a good mood. He looked as if he were examining her, and she was sure he wanted to know how she, a regular Junior High student, had gotten mixed up in all of this. She was so sure he was about to ask her too, he looked as if he was going to interrogate her but his expression changed and he seemed to change his mind too.
"You can go now." He nodded to her as a dismissal.
Naru said goodbye and started off to walk back but then remembered the tall dark forests and how frightening it was at night. She walked back to the terrace and found him still there. She approached him timidly.
"If it's too much to ask – Mr. Jadeite – would you be able to drive me into town?" she asked, timid and embarrassed.
He did not seem to catch on and looked a little confused.
"You don't remember the way? You're too exhausted?" he asked, as these did not really seem viable reasons.
"No," Naru responded uncomfortably and humiliated, "I'm – just a little – afraid. With the forest being so – dark and – deserted and all."
She felt as though he would be annoyed with her but in stead he agreed, though in his usual indifferent way.
Yet, as they walked to the car, she thought she saw his eyes twinkle in amusement at her a bit. He thought it was funny.
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return to Index / go to Chapter 7
The Nephrite and Naru Treasury