The World Time Has Forgotten

Unrest 1

Time is a tricky thing. It slips by unnoticed until you look back and realize turns have passed. SoYa was so busy for so long, it caught up with him all at once, when he saw KiNa and ShiKon walking back from completing their latest mission.

Instead of the freckly faced boy that SoYa caught pickpocketing him long ago, he saw a young man, returning to the base with the air of victory about him. Even the childish freckles were fading. Or maybe they had been fading for a while and SoYa just never noticed.

Time did little to alter KiNa’s humor and eccentric nature. Life with the resistance was a good one for him, giving him the outlets he craved for invention, adventure and reckless rebellion. His mechanical creations became more brilliant, inspired and amazing. Though he still looked to SoYa as his Master, KiNa had a natural mastery of his mind mage abilities with little need for guidance from his teacher.

ShiKon fared just as well. Despite her initial suspicion and lack of commitment to their movement, she grew into a young woman full of wit, fire and nurturing. SoYa found early on that the adventurous girl held a quiet, more studious streak, and fed her enjoyment for books and other scholarly pursuits. While she didn’t display as wide a range of abilities as KiNa, her control over mind magery was also excellent, especially once she finally began to trust and learn from SoYa in earnest.

Their skill sets complimented each other well, and between the two, SoYa was confident that they could accomplish just about anything he sent them out to do. However, there seemed to be some lingering bad feelings that held the two back and often resulted in argument, rather than accomplishment. Because of this, he often made sure to pair the two when sending them on jobs, hoping that in time, they would be able to overcome it.

When this didn’t happen, SoYa looked deeper into the dynamics and came to realize what neither of them seemed to see. He just never found the right time or place to guide them further on the matter.

Even now, as the two approached, they bickered and snapped at each other. Something hadn’t gone as planned.

KiNa huffed and turned to see SoYa, face blanched, “It would have been perfect if she didn’t always mess everything up!”

“ME?” ShiKon flared, “I’m the one who’s making sense!”

“By rushing down into the warehouse like that? You almost got us caught!” he argued.

“I didn’t. And I got the job done,” she retorted.

“Barely,” KiNa crossed his arms. “Next time you want to go out there and risk your neck, I’m going to leave you to it!”

“So you’d rather sit on your butt and do nothing?”

“Jumping down there without knowing what you’re jumping into is crazy!”

SoYa peered back and forth between them with a long-suffering look. “Do you have something you want to report to me?”

“Yeah,” KiNa snarked, “How about I report how sick and tired I am of you always sending this liability out with me on these missions! Next time I want someone with more sense to come with me.”

ShiKon was hurt, but didn’t let it show, “If I wasn’t there to save your tail all the time, you’d be–”

“No one would have to save my tail if you didn’t keep rushing off and messing up my plans!” he interrupted.

“KiNa. ShiKon. Calm down,” SoYa lifted both of his hands to them. “Let’s talk about this.”

“No,” he answered hotly, “I have nothing to talk about. I’m done with her.”

“KiNa,” SoYa said chidingly.

His student simply shook his head, always the over-emotional mind mage, and stomped off without another word. His frustration was so intense, it almost condensed over his head like a lingering darkness.

“There he goes. Stormclouding again,” ShiKon flipped her hand, trying to act as if she didn’t care.

“Stormclouding?” SoYa echoed.

“He gets all angry and this little stormcloud starts following him around. I’m surprised lightning doesn’t come out of it.”

The mind mage chuckled a bit. Then he looked more serious, “KiNa doesn’t mean what he says, you know.”

“Yes he does,” ShiKon peered down at her feet. “And he’s right. I’m reckless. But he’s so slow sometimes! All he does is wait… wait… wait… and…”

She turned to look at where KiNa strode, storming away in the distance. He looked to be heading back to his room when he was suddenly intercepted by one of the girls.

KiNa’s new flavor of the month girlfriend.

“Another one?” she huffed.

“He’s popular, I suppose,” SoYa tried to hide his grin.

“He’s dated every girl in this camp. Some of them twice over,” ShiKon crossed her arms.

“Not every girl,” he commented.

She chose to ignore him, “What do they even see in him? He goes through them like socks.”

“Maybe he just hasn’t found the one that he’s looking for yet,” the man suggested.

There was fire in ShiKon’s eyes as she watched KiNa and his girl walk away together. Whatever angry plans the boy had, they were quickly and easily waylaid by a pretty face.

“What about you?” SoYa asked.

“What about me?” she echoed.

“Have you found someone of interest?”

“Nah,” ShiKon shook her head. “I don’t need it. And no one needs me.”

“Come on,” he settled down in the chair on his porch. It was going to be one of those talks. “You’re a pretty girl. I know lots of guys who think so.”

Her eyes cast down in an unexpectedly shy response. “You’re just being nice, Master SoYa.”

He wasn’t exactly sure when she first decided to start calling him Master. It was a time of acceptance for SoYa, when she began to trust him, looking to him as she would the only father figure that she had. He fostered that trust very carefully, knowing she was a child struggling with broken promises and abandonment.

“I’m speaking the truth,” SoYa confirmed. “I know you’re tough and smart and independent, and I respect those things in you. But you can’t let that get in the way of connecting with other people.”

“And become like KiNa?” she wrinkled her nose. But he could see that she was thinking about his words.

“Maybe not to that extreme,” he combed his hand through his curly hair with a sigh. “KiNa knows what he wants. He just has too much pride to accept it.”

“What do you mean?”

SoYa took in a deep breath, wondering how to go about it delicately, “Sometimes guys can be dumb, ShiKon.”

“Most of them are, most of the time,” She snorted through her nose. Then she added quickly, “Except for you, Master SoYa.”

“I’m not exempt,” he grinned widely. “And guys can do some really strange things when they’re trying to get a girl’s attention. Like dating every girl in the camp, just to prove he’s desirable or something special.”

“That’s pretty dumb. And jerky,” ShiKon frowned, unimpressed. “That’s just playing other girls and messing with their feelings.”

“A guy thinks if he does it long enough, maybe the girl will notice him. Or better yet, get really jealous,” SoYa arched an eyebrow.

“Jealous? Who would be jealous of that?” she asked. He could tell she wasn’t being completely honest with herself, though.

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” he folded his hands behind his head. Waiting.

Nothing was ever hypothetical with ShiKon. She always cut the chase. “Who is KiNa trying to impress?”

She already knew. SoYa knew that she knew. She just wanted a verbal confirmation.

“Who’s the only girl in the camp he hasn’t dated?”

ShiKon suddenly began to pace the deck with a fierce look on her face, “No way! Forget it! He hates me and I can’t stand him!”

SoYa let her stew it out for a few minutes, then finally asked, “Is that really true?”

“Yes!” she proclaimed with every part of her that was in denial. Then she stopped and looked down at her feet. He didn’t know what she was thinking about or remembering. It took a while before she finally admitted, “No… But he’s not nice to me.”

“How nice are you to him?”

“He’s the guy,” ShiKon protested. “He’s supposed to be the gentleman.”

“KiNa? A gentleman?” SoYa began to chuckle to himself at the mental image.

“Well, all right. So maybe he’s not exactly gentleman material. But you know what I mean,” she sighed and leaned against the trunk of the tree. Now that it was out in the air, she seemed more confused than ever before. Not that SoYa blamed her for it.

“Why don’t you take some time to think about it,” he offered. “It’s not like KiNa is going anywhere. It might be that you don’t even feel the same way, anyhow.”

“I don’t know how I feel,” ShiKon admitted, uncharacteristically downcast. “But it’s not right that KiNa keeps doing all of this just to try to get my attention. He can’t be happy when he’s always going from girl to girl to girl…”

“That’s probably true,” SoYa nodded, listening to her coming to terms and making choices.

“Then I should put a stop to it,” the girl looked up at him, seeking input. But she had already made up her mind. “I should tell him I’m not interested and that he can quit trying to impress me.”

SoYa was a little surprised by this. Maybe ShiKon was still in denial about what she felt. Maybe she wasn’t ready to embrace it yet. Or maybe she really and truly didn’t return KiNa’s feelings at all. He couldn’t tell at the moment.

“Thanks, Master SoYa,” she told him earnestly as she rounded on her heel. “I’m going to take care of this.”

He watched her walking away with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Perhaps he had just done more harm than good.