« » The story so far (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) On the second morning of the ship's departure, just as the sun set, the waves deliberately hitting the ship from behind weakened and eventually stopped. Luca's eyes baggy eyes were revealed with the first light. He let out a yawn and made his way down to the lower deck with a tuna sandwich in his hand. He had only slept a few hours during the time before the sun had set the day before. He hoped to find a drink down there that could help him down the bread and fish. According to the captain, one of the barrels had some ale. He didn't really like the thing but it wasn't like he had much of a choice. This whole plan was stupid. Why had she even thought this would be exciting? Why hadn't she been way more careful or deciding a more comfortable manner to travel? Cursing herself mentally, Mei started to however think about another problem. How would she get something else than apples? How would she get access to clean water? Clenching her hands into fists, Mei was growing more discontent about her decision. This was her worst idea ever. Even more than when she had thought she wouldn't need any training to ride on a horse. That plan had ended terribly, but it wasn't as bad as the current one. The boy started to mutter a sea shanty as he started opening the lids of the barrels to find the liquid clear. "... Fish... Fish... Water?" He sniffed the liquid and dug his hand into it. "Salt water with fish... Fish... Bread... Mei... Fish... Bread... ....!" He froze in his tracks as he was about to close the lids for the bread barrel. He took a few steps back and opened the barrel in which he'd seen the girl, raising an eyebrow. He shut it again, sighing. "I need some sleep..." Her eyes were big and wide open. Her mouth had even lowered, but no sound came from it. But as she feared what would happen, the lid was closed. Blinking several times, Mei still stared at the lid. That was it? Though having turned a bit pale, Mei wasn't sure if she was dreaming or not. Had that person just ignored her? Was it something usual, people traveling in barrels? Confused herself, Mei started to grow worried. What if she had managed to get into a smuggle of humans? What would happen if they would sell her later as some sort of slave? Panicking, Mei wasn't sure if it was wise to stay in the barrel. Luca had taken a bite from the sandwich right before he stared back at the barrel. Wait.... His mush brain started working as he got his nourishment. He quickly walked back to the barrel and opened the lid again. He stared in for a good few seconds, squinting his eyes until he could actually discern an image. "...Mei?" She flinched. Slowly looking up, Mei looked back at a face that was quite familiar. Squinting her eyes as well, Mei wasn't certain of anything anymore at this point. It was probably due those apples. They were poisoned, she was certain of it. Clearing her throat, Mei reacted back. Trying to sound cheerful. "Yeeess?" Trying to smile, Mei wasn't certain if he would buy the act. "What a nice weather, isn't it? And a nice surprise to see you here. Also on your way.... euhm... Luca? Right? Yes!" The boy raised an eyebrow. "You've been in here since we left?" he asked, seeing how he hadn't really taken notice to her presence earlier and how she was hiding inside a barrel, all cramped up. He couldn't help but snicker, walking backwards, away from the barrel in order to get more room to laugh in as quietly as he could. A day and a half in that thing. She tried to shrug, but it wasn't really something she could pull off. It felt very uncomfortable. "Perhaps. Have you been on deck since we left?" She asked back, trying to be funny. Only to give up a second later. "Could we please, keep this between us?" She asked, trying to pull herself out of the barrel. Only then she noticed how annoying it was. Getting in wasn't a problem. But staying stuck in a barrel for some time and then trying to get out was an annoying pain. "I wouldn't imagine telling the captain," he said. "You must be hungry, huh?" He took a large bite from his sandwich, some of the bread stuffed out of his mouth, before holding the rest out to her. "You can have this if you'd like. There's plenty food upstairs." Swallowing the bite, he flashed a smile as his hand hung in the air. Managing to get out of the barrel, Mei looked surprised at Luca's direction. Sure, he had seemed pretty nice and friendly before. But she hadn't considered him to be this helpful. If it were up to her, she would've probably blackmailed him if things were the other way. Accepting the sandwich, she glanced past him. "There is?" Taking a small bite, she quickly started to think. Clearing her mouth, she would ask him something. "I know we don't know each other for a long time, but mind to help me out? I'll try to pay you back later." "Sure," he said with a grin. "I'll bring you some food now and then so that you don't die of hunger, though I hope you have a stomach made of steel. There's really nothing but tuna sandwiches." He thought for a moment before detaching the pouch wrapped around his waist. He opened its lid and gulped some of the water down and then lent it to Mei. "Here, have some water. Don't finish it though; that's all I have." That went surprisingly easy, she thought to herself. Not sure if he was just gullible, Mei found herself actually liking the fact that he was willing to help her without much of a second thought. Smiling, she nodded. Accepting the pouch, Mei stared it for a moment. Then she took a sip from it. It was strange how nice water was if one was surrounded by apples for a long day. Letting out a loud sigh, Mei took another sip, this time a bigger one. "Thank you very much." She said, her tone however a bit soft. "By the way, where is this ship heading towards?" Mei asked, trying to start a more comfortable conversation. The boy took the pouch and attached to his belt before turning back to her and replying. "To Shangtan," he replied. "I was thinking of going to the Fire Nation but there was a ship, and I've never really been to Shangtan, so..." He thought for a moment. "How about you? How did you end up in that wooden barrel?" he asked, bemused. Shangtan. Mei thought about it. The city didn't really attract her personally, but her curiosity grew. Perhaps it would be a city where she could fill her wallet with money and then not need to do anything shady to fill them again. Disturbed from her thoughts by Luca's question, Mei blinked once with her eyes. "The barrel?" She threw glance towards the doomed object. Not a particularly happy glance. "I was running low on money. So I decided to take a cheaper way. Not really my best idea, I can assure you of that." Luca chuckled a bit, seeing how the captain was the one who would be the one paying up once they arrived at port. "I guess that makes sense," he said, the sound of amusement still hinted in his voice. He felt that it was best not to mention that at this point. "Do you have a plan or a route once we arrive at Shangtan?" he asked curiously. We? Mei was confused for a moment. She hadn't considered to travel with Luca. It made her waver and then shrug. "I've not thought about it. I have several places in mind." Thinking about her list, Mei smiled while she stared in front of herself. "I've been wanting to travel to the far east of the Earth Kingdom. To the Southern Water Tribe and of course Viola." Mei looked at Luca, her smile growing. "I've heard that the culture there is diverse. People from every nation has settled there, making it a sort of mix. I'm very curious for that particular place." "Well, it's not a very adventerous place," he said, sighing. "It's stable, peaceful and even decent but it's not really a place where mischief is commonplace. The authorities there are quite strict..." Luca paused for a moment. "East Earth Kingdom... Y'know, I live there," he said, grinning. "In Ba Sing Se. Normally, at least. I don't plan on going back home for some time, though..." That didn't indeed sound very interesting. Even a bit disappointed, Mei had to admit. "At least the culture would be interesting." She mumbled to herself. She still wanted to visit the place. It had something alluring. "You lived there?" She was surprised. He had lived in Ba Sing Se? She had heard stories about it, but couldn't believe them. "Is it true that there are huge walls, so high that they touch the clouds in the sky?" She asked, but directly asked another question. "And is it true that it is so huge that it is almost a nation itself?" "Well, I never actually climbed it," he said jokingly, chuckling. "And sure, the city's large but... It's not that large." A smile grew on his lips as he thought up something. "I know the place pretty well, though. If you ever need a guide there, I can help." Luca put one hand on his back and flicked at the lid of the pouch. For a moment, Mei was lost in her day dreams. She was still wondering about the rumours she had heard from several traders. Of course some stories and rumours were a bit 'too much'. Sighing softly, Mei returned to the present. When he implied he wouldn't mind to act as guide, Mei frowned and looked a bit amused. "Are you now suggesting we should travel together, Luca?" She asked, on a friendly tone. It was an interesting thought. And one that made her waver. She had been on her own and had came to like the silent and peace. Nobody else to watch over or knowing what one liked or disliked. But then again, some company would be nice. Luca was a bit surprised at the question. His eyeballs rolled up for a moment as he thought. "Hm... Well, I haven't really thought about it but it would be pleasant to have someone around when travelling," he said with a grin. "If you're also looking for a travelling companion, I'd be glad to fill that role." He looked back at Mei, his eyes gleaming. Looking surprised, Mei had thought he had made a suggestion. Suddenly she let out a soft laughter, trying to surpress it. Holding a hand for her mouth, for a moment, Mei managed to reply after that. "I'll consider it, I trully will. You seem decent and capable of being useful." She winked, saying it in a teasing tone. Placing her hands on her lap, Mei thought about it. "What is your plan then? Are you going to another place soon after Shangtan?" "I don't really have a plan, to be honest. I was just thinking of going to the nearest city," he answered with a pleasant tone. "Though I might visit home. For a brief while, at least." His answer made her consider her decision already. He thus meant to travel back to Ba Sing Se, which was one of the places on her list. It would be nice to have a companion, cause then she would have somebody to rely on if something nasty would happen. "I'll sleep a night over it, but seeing you've been helping me, I think it is my turn to make sure I can help you back." "Oh, that's right!" Luca jumped in his spot. "It's morning now. You might wanna catch some sleep now, if you're planning on getting any at all. At night, not many people go out of the quarters. Well, except me, but, that's my shift...." Sighing the boy glanced at the door. "I oughta get some sleep too. I've been up all night. It's tiring work..." Sighing, the boy took a few steps towards the door. "You can find me on the deck, at the stern of the ship, if you need anything like food or water once the lights are out." Mei nodded, to show she understood it. "Thanks a lot, Luca. Sleep well." Looking around, Mei wasn't sure where she could sleep without having a too huge risk of being discovered. Perhaps she should try to hide back into the barrel, but the thought made her shiver. It wasn't really something she enjoyed. Deciding that she would look for a place where she could hide herself and yet lay down, Mei smiled towards Luca, rising up. "And thank you. I owe you one." "Not at all," Luca said as he turned one last time before walking outside onto the deck. A few minutes later he briefly opened the door and threw in a large, red blanket, big enough to consume and conceal Mei. It hit the ground as the door quickly slammed. First scared, Mei looked over her shoulder. She was trying to look for a decent place, but then saw the blanket slowly falling to the ground. Blinking several times, she wasn't sure. Walking towards it, Mei stared at it for a long moment. Picking it up, she was still surprised. Throwing a glance at the door, Mei would turn around and find a place to hide and sleep. With a smile on her lips. ============== After a three day trip, the ship neared land at Shangtan City. The sagging sails were being tied up as the ship seemingly moved on its own without the hint of the sound of a motor. The view of the city didn't really reflect its reputation from the harbour they were at. There were several docks next to the marina the ship had gone into. They were, of course, much more comfortable and less labour-demanding than the one they were on throughout the road. Sleeping on some sandbags was Luca, getting some rest after a long night's work. He felt a light kick in his side to wake him up. "Boy! Get yer ass up!" After the warning from one of the crew members, not clear which, Luca sat up groggily before sneaking back under. "Mei? 'You there?" he asked, yawning. "Ssshhh." A soft whisper answered after a few moments. Hidden away, Mei waited another moment before she would appear. Pushing a bag slightly away, her head popped up. Her hair looked like a mess and it was clear that Mei wasn't in a good mood by the look on her face. "What?" She asked, though her tone not being hostile or negative. Luca looked around frantically for a second before noting the suddenly appearing skin and hair covered skull. He recoiled upon noticing that it was Mei and heaved a heavy sigh. "We're at the docks. You can come out now," he suggested, rubbing his forehead. "I don't think that captain'll recognize someone to not be a part of the crew at this point." Raising her hands, Mei rubbed her eyes. Would it really be true? Would this nightmarish hell ride be over? No more sleeping and hidding all over the place. Doing nothing all day. "Give me one second." Her head moved back down. Only to pop up a few moments later with a smile. Her hair still wasn't as tidy as at the start, but it didn't seem that it bothered her. "Let's get going then!" Mei said with a cheerful tone. She couldn't wait until she would be off this ship. The boy nodded, smiling gleefully as he made his way towards the stairs. "Must've been real cramped in here, huh," he complained in her stead. His hand reached for the door's handle as he looked back at her and then back to the door. "Some fresh air'll do you some good," he said jokingly as he swung it open. There were seagulls flying around, their earscratching gawks now unhinderd by the closed walls. The smile was dropped for a moment as Mei threw a glare in Luca's direction. "You. Don't. Say?" She muttered underneath her breath as she found nothing funny about it. But the whole grumpy mood vanished, as snow for a desert sun, when Luca opened the door. For a moment, Mei had to squeeze her eyes to slits as she hadn't been in the open air for what? She didn't even know how many days had passed. "Great. Time to get going then." Mei mumbled, more to herself than anybody in particular. Walking with a confident pace to leave the ship and get herself on some dry land, Mei was already considering what she would do. With the money she had, perhaps she could arrange a place to sleep and then figure out where to go next. The boy clasped his hands together behind him as he followed Mei. Among the crew flowing out of the ship, the girl's unfamiliar face was hardly recognizable. The crew only looked at their shining gold and the captain to his empty pockets. Luca turned to Mei and made a couple large steps sideways to reach where she was. "Do you have any plans or anything?" he asked, grinning stupidly and yet somewhat innocently. At first, Mei wasn't sure if the question was aimed at her, but as she turned her head she noticed Luca walking next to her. "I've not figured it out completely yet. First I need to arrange a place to sleep and perhaps some supper. Then I might plan to go either to Viola or Ba Sing Se. Hm." She thought about it. Going to Viola meant taking the route with a ship. Only if she would, then this time she would make sure that she wouldn't take the same way as she had done before. If she would ever see the inside of a barrel again... "There should be a few ships going out to Viola from here," Luca said as he skidded down the plank, briefly braking several times before reaching the bottom and stumbling over the rock pier only to, in a way one might put, gracefully save himself from the fall. "Port cities like this always have some. And of course, there oughta be a train to Ba Sing Se, or at least a transfer after a short boat ride." She smiled as she saw him go. Taking it a bit slower, Mei considered his words. Using her free hand to try to tidy her hair a bit, Mei looked back at Luca. "And where are you're going to then? Home?" She asked, trying to sound as friendly as she could. The bad morning mood was still a bit present, but Mei tried to focus on more important matters than cursing her way of how to travel to this place. Luca shook his head and rolled his eyes up, cupping his chin. "Hm... Well, I was thinking about visiting a couple of places before going back to Ba Sing Se," he said. After a brief moment's thought, he looked over to the ferries floating to the pier. "I'm not really sure about where I should go. Have you made up your mind between Viola and 'Sing Se?" Mei wavered. For a moment she wasn't sure if she could tell Luca. He was nice, but what if he wanted to come with her? She wouldn't want to lie to him as he had helped her out after all. Placing her hand on her hip, she looked away, towards the ship they had came off from. "Sing Se is quite far away. I think I'm first going to lunch. Perhaps I can make a decision once I've eaten." She told him, considering something. "Want to join me? I still owe you one, I remember." "Sounds swell," the boy said cheerfully. Her talking about food sounded like music to the ears. Luca looked around, trying to spot a nice place to eat when his eyes stuck on some black smoke from the inner city, young and distinguished from the air surrounding it. "On second thought... I just had an idea. The port is nearby. If we want to get some food, we could get it on a ship to Viola. Those international-ships oughta have some good food..." She was surprised, but as Luca suggested it, Mei caught sight of what he saw in the distance. There was indeed an ominous feeling growing in Mei's stomach. "Perhaps it's just... nothing?" Mei said. She wasn't sure if she would be overreacting or not, but she wasn't actually sure what she should do right now. Going back on sea? Mei wasn't a real big fan of sea travel by ship after the last trip anymore. "Perhaps," the boy grumbled. "But I thought you wanted to go to Viola. You know, you won't be sitting in a barrel this time." Though what he said might've sounded like a joke, neither the tone nor the expression had any hint of joyful kidding. "The city is quite beautiful, though," he added, trying to give her some more motivation. Throwing a cautious look at Luca, as she was doubting he would want to rob her of her posessions, Mei thought quickly. She then sighed, throwing one last glance at the smoke. "I better hope for your sake that there will be some food on board." She mumbled, gesturing that he could lead the way. Pouting a moment later, she hadn't failed to notice his 'barrel comment'. That would be something she wouldn't try to do ever in her life again. Barrels, a nightmare they were. Luca's lips stretched upwards once more as he became gleeful. "Then it's a plan," he announced, joyfully marching towards the white port. He waited for a moment and thought back to their first meeting. Something she'd said back then had bothered him. "I'll go ahead. Meet you there in a minute," he said grinning and sprinting off towards the port. Surprised, Mei flinged her arms up. What was that supposed to be? Then it dawned upon her what he could have in mind. "Oh no you won't!" Mei started to give chase, but he had a starting advantage over her. "Luca!" Mei called him out, trying to catch up to him and stop him from what she assumed him to do. "Luca?!" Mei's tone gave away that she wasn't happy with the current situation. "Huh?" Luca slowed down and turned around when he first heard his name get called by the familiar voice. "Something wrong?" he asked, raising an eyebrow and slightly pouting as she caught up to the standing boy. The boy gave her a strange look. Coming to a halt, Mei tried to flash a smile. "I... Well.. I just thought." She paused. She had expected him to pay for her or do something such friendly act. He had done enough for quite some time for her, in her opinion. "Thought we were going together until Viola?" Luca slightly tilted his head to the side, seemingly confused. He smiled and hopped in his spot once. "Well, why not?" he said joyfully. The boy turned on his heel and pointed at the building. "Let us away!" he said with enthusiasm. It looked like she wasn't going to let him get ahead and get the tickets but still, that didn't seem like too much of a problem. Glad that she hadn't look like one big idiot, but perhaps a bit of one, Mei let out a soft sigh. "Lead away then." She replied. For a moment, she was half disappointed with her choice and yet happy. A traveling companion wasn't really so bad, so far she had experienced. But she still wanted to repay his friendly gesture from before. The boy nodded and moved towards the docks, this time only at a marching pace. On the building, there was a sheet that had the times of departures and arrivals on it. Conveniently enough, there was a ship that left in ten minutes. It was large enough to be seen from over the roof of the building. Luca ran his finger through the list before moving towards the counter. "Two tickets, please!" "One. I can pay for myself." She knew it! She knew it! He had been planing this from the start. Glaring sideways at him, Mei wasn't happy, yet she was. "One ticket for both of us." She repeated, wanting to make sure that there wouldn't be any discussion. "Aww... Come on," the boy said with a happy tone. "Money isn't really much of a problem for me." The woman sitting at the counter stared at them from behind her glasses, his eyes open in surprise. Although she always saw people arguing over tickets, it surprised the woman everytime. "Um... The tickets... Which ship are they f--?" Before the woman could finish her sentence the boy spoke. "First one to Viola." "Hang on, please!" Mei flashed a sort of smile to the woman behind the counter. Turning herself around to face Luca, Mei placed her fists on her hips. "Now you listen. I can and will pay for myself." Having said that, Mei glanced back at the woman behind the counter. "One ticket for me to Viola. The first one to leave." "But--!" "No! I told you that-" "Come on; it's not like it'd be a problem--" "It is a big problem! Do I look like some poor beggar to you, do-" "Of course not! It's just mone--" "Money that I have as well, I-" "Wait, wait! Look!" The boy turned to the counter. "How much is a ticket?" The woman was watching them, startled. It took her a few moments to flip the pages and remember the cost. "Oh...! It's 250 gold to Woduhe, where the first ship goes." "250 gold?" Mei asked, surprised and a bit startled. That was for her a gigantic price. But what other choice had she? Staying in the city that gave her a bad feeling? Or perhaps trying to hide herself in barrels, again? No. No, that never ever again. She bite her lip, feeling a bit defeated and bitter. "When is the next ship going?" "In... Five minutes." Luca's eyes widened. "Mei, we'll miss the ship!" he said in an alarmed state. He quickly dug into his pockets and pulled out a small checkbook that he'd borrowed. He quickly wrote on it 500 gold and copied a handwriting he'd memorized, writing the initials F. C. "She'll forgive me for this," he muttered to himself, thinking of the name he'd written. He slammed it on the counter. "The tickets, please!" The woman placed the tickets on the counter. As he grabbed it, his other hand went towards Mei's wrist, hoping to be able to drag her before she could object. "We're gonna miss it!" She kept staring at the woman behind the counter as she made some weak attempt to stand still, but Luca managed to drag her away. "But... but.. but.." She muttered. 250 gold dragons? That was one huge amount of money! If she had that, then she wouldn't have any trouble with finding a room in any city. Or trying to arrange transport. And he had paid it like he was used to it. "250...gold... gold... gold.." Luca looked over towards the ship at the edge of the port, his eyes becoming filled with determination. His legs grew stronger. "Snap out of it," he said, feeling like one of those action heroes running away from an explosion, and though the scenario was a bit different, the analogy seemed in place. "We're almost there...!" She didn't want it, but Mei managed. She didn't want to believe that he could pay so much money with just a check. How was that possible? She thought people like those were staying in palaces and breaking bread with other fancy rich people. Was he such a person, she wondered. "How did you manage.. to pay that?" She asked in a soft tone, sounding serious and a tad worried. Once they'd reached the ship, the boy leaned on his knees with his palms. "Well... Huff... Technically, I didn't," he said, sighing. He straightened his back up. "I don't really have much money myself. I had some inheritence but I used a lot of it several years ago. I just copied my sister's signature..." He said the last part with a rather shameful grin. He wasn't proud of it but he found it quite funny. Mei's brow was furrowed as she heard his answer. "So.." She thought over her words. "You're stealing from your own sister? Or did she alllow you to spend 500 golden...500..." It only dawned upon her that the prize was even doubled. 250 golden dragons per person. It was double the prize! What she could do with such an amount of money was beyond her current wildest dreams. "It's not stealing...! It's... It's borrowing," he said, coming up with the perfect word. The boy muttered something afterwards. "In any case, I doubt she'll actually notice something like this..." He walked towards one of the doors leading to the inside of the back of the ship. "Come on, then! Let's get some food. I still have the money the captain gave out so I can buy my own food~." "So you're going to pay her ba-ba-bak.." Mei suddenly grabbed the boy by his shoulders to make him stop. "Hold on, just hold on!" She said, tilting her head a bit as she frowned again. "Now, let's make this very clear, okay? I am just a commoner. I don't want no fancy son of a lord or rich person to pay everything for me. Nor can I repay such... a huge.." 500 golden dragons.. not...something to notice? Mei fell silent as she thought about it. How much gold did his sister have to not such an amount?! "What? Of course not!" he said, startled by the question. He continued to speak with a grin. "I'll just ask her if she could... overlook my little blunder." He frowned, raising his index finger between the two. "And don't get confused! I'm pretty much broke," he said. "I myself don't have any money other than what I carry. It's just that my sister is... a businesswoman, I guess. She's helpful, so she overlooks some... travel expenses of mine." Mei managed to stay focused. Taking a step back, she thought about his words. She would remember it. Yet, she felt bitter and somewhat defeated. She didn't owe him now, but his sister as well! A person who she had never met or not even knew her name, yet she had provided for her. It made her feel a bit ashamed as she hadn't even utter a thanks. "Thanks.. I.. I am not used to being helped out like this. Shall we go?" "We shall," the boy said with a childishly happy tone, sliding the door open and hopping inside. The seats were basically half-turning armchairs next to windows. There was a small shop right next to the door that sold some meat sandwiches, toast, and even some sweets. "Ooooh, I love the smell of fresh bread in the morning!" Walking next to Luca, Mei liked the smell as well. But she wasn't that thrilled. Another travel over sea, just after that horrible last one wasn't much of her liking. But she wasn't sure if there was any other way to travel to Viola. She had after all no wings or anything with wings to transport her there. Stuffing her hands into her pockets, Mei threw some glances at the other passengers. Her eyes caught an easy to pick wallet. And the person it belonged to was a rather plump looking lady. An easy target, Mei thought, but the timing wasn't right. Memorizing the woman, Mei would continue. "This is a huge improvement from the last time." After a few impatient taps on the armrests, the boy flung to his feet. "I'm gonna get something to eat. Be right back," he said, rushing to the small shop. Before long, he returned with three chocolate bars in his pocket and a nice wrap in his mouth and hands with a satisfied visage. "Dis's really good," the boy tried to say, his mouth full with the delicious meat and bread. With Luca heading off, Mei went to check for free seats. Finding a nice spot, Mei stared in the distance. She was considering something that just came up in her mind. With Luca returning, apparently having bought three chocolate bars, Mei shook her head lightly. "You're crazy." She said, a smile playing on her lips as she gaze off again. Another sea travel.. Unfazed by the comment, Luca gulped down his wrap before long, his hand now going to one of the chocolate bars. "Gimme a break," he said, pouting and taking the first bite from his chocolate bar. "I haven't had anything like this in about a week. I have earned the right to eat some!" The ship left the port without much tardiness, flowing towards Viola with haste. ============================== As Luca and Mei furthered through the seas, the wind grew weaker and the mist thicker. Luca was standing on the deck of the small boat, trying to separate the mist, but there was no movement. "Eh... Mei, maybe we should turn and find another route. I don't think this mist is... You know, water," he called out. "It's kinda creeping me out!" "Makes two of us." Mei said with a rather timid tone. She wasn't easily creeped out, but she didn't like the mist. Looking worried, she was hoping they wouldn't crash against a rock or something like that. Not that she was a bad swimmer, but with this mist, how would they find their way? For a moment, she was scared of the idea of encountering a large sea snake or something like that. "Luca, are you sure we shouldn't head back?" "We can just find another way! Don't worry!" he blurted out, flustered. A large silhouette appeared towards the horizon of the mist, taking the shape of a giant dome behind the boy. "In any case, the worst case scenario is that we just keep moving forward and get out! There's nothing in these parts of the sea!" Mei's jaw dropped as she started to turn pale. "Lu..Lu...Lu...Lu...Lu...Lu...Lu...Lu...." She started to stutter, her body trembling as she kept staring in Luca's direction. She wanted to scream, raise her hand and point, but the usual brave and calm girl wasn't capable of upholding her usual composure. "Lu? Lulu? Is that my nickname or--" The boy turned around as he spoke to continue trying to navigate through the fog when he saw what she was trying to say. A loud yet heavy screeching noise was heard, though it was hardly ear piercing. The giant figure slowly started to raise. "Uh... That's just a mirage..." The boy's optimistic guess didn't pay off. As the figure laid itself down, the water started to rise ahead of them. Trying to steer away, Mei's eyes were wide open. "Damn that mirage." She muttered and muttered several curses. Mirages that huge were creatures she didn't want to meet. Friendly or not, they were too big for her liking. Then she thought she heard something else. Stopping, Mei looked around. "Wait... What is that sound?" She frowned and then panicked as she whipped her body to throw a glance towards Luca. "Is it coming our way? Is it?!" "N...No, not really," he said, gulping as a larger, wider blackness covered their view. Luca quickly made his way back, trying to help the ship move away as much as he could by making the water flow, knowing it was too late. Slowly looking up, Mei's jaw dropped, again. Then she realized what it was. "LU-" Trying to rush forwards, hoping she would be able to grab and get a hold of him, Mei stretched her right arm already forward. But the next thing she knew was that the boat started to shift and steer as it seemed that the world was going to turn upside down, causing Mei to slam against the railing and almost falling over it. "Fuck, fuck, fuck." She started to curse, feeling her heart beating in her throat. While she held on to the railing, she noticed what the real cause was. The world wasn't turning upside down slowly, it was a big wave. Trying to look to her right, hoping to see Luca, Mei felt how the boat started to shift and lean more. Causing her to tumble over the railing and falling into the dark blue water. As the ship had initially started to turn over, Luca looked over at Mei and tried to grab her reached out arm, but before he could, he found himself on the wood for an instant and on the metal railings for another. Unbeknownst to anything going on around him, the boy tried to regain his balance, only to fall into the water on his back. As the ship slowly started moving back down, the boy lost his consciousness. The pain was all over her body. Slowly Mei was regaining her consciousness, but with that the pain. Moaning softly, Mei slowly pulled her legs up as she also started to get it cold. Trying to remember what had happened, she wanted to jump up. She had to. Perhaps Luca was in need of help. But while she desperatly wanted to do that, her body wasn't able to do such a thing. Clenching her hands was even a painful thing to do. Coughing, Mei spat out something salty. "Gross... Really, gross." She muttered, trying to roll on her back. Trying to breath normal, she felt her stomach protesting as she closed her eyes. Rolling on her side, she puked. "Really, really gross." Trying to move way from her puke, Mei wasn't so sure if she should be happy to be alive. If she was alive, cause she felt like she was about to - Wait, a second. Her eyes shot wide open. Slowly, she placed her hands on what she hoped would be sand. But instead, it wasn't sand. Mentally cringing, Mei wasn't really sure if she wanted to what it was. Slowly peeking, she noticed it wasn't sand but grass. "What the..." Trying to sit up straight, she could feel her stomach protesting again. Managing to sit still without puking again, Mei looked around. "Is this hell or something?" She questioned out loud as she noticed even trees. Luca was laying a few meters from her, unmoving, at peace. The terrain seemed quite wild, though the sea that had shoved them onto it was nowhere in sight. Vines hung from tree to tree, and some animal sounds could be heard from inside the odd forest. After some time, Mei decided to get up. Proceeding slowly, she wasn't sure if she should really try to figure out where she was. Her body was still aching and she didn't feel that well. Turning around to face the forest, Mei swallowed and regret it a moment later as she tasted the foul taste of seawater. Spitting a few times, she dreaded what more 'surprises' she would encounter today. Taking a step, Mei stumbled and fell face first against the ground. "Seriously?" She angrily muttered, wanting to kick whatever had caused her to stumble and fall. But as she turned on her back, ready to kick what ever had caused her to fall, Mei quickly changed plans. Getting on her knees, she moved close to Luca. "Luca?" He wasn't responding. Trying to remain as calm as she could be, Mei quickly placed her head on his chest. She could hear his heart beating. Realizing that it was a bad thing that he was laying on his back, Mei placed her hands on his chest. She wasn't sure if he needed, but she wanted to be sure that she wouldn't waste valuable time. Pressing his chest several times, her facial expression showed how desperate she began to feel. "Breath! Wake up! Damn it!" She whispered, near the edge of panicking. Then she decided to open his mouth, taking a deep breath. But before she was placing her mouth on his, her cheeks flared up red. Deciding that she should at least try it instead of panicking like some silly school girl, Mei closed her eyes a she placed her mouth over his. Luca slowly opened his eyes as he felt something come over him, his half-awake state preventing him from understanding what. He looked down to see why his chest hurt, only to have some hair get in his way. Raising her head a bit up, Mei took another deep breath as she placed her mouth again on his, trying to do what she thought to be wise. The boy's eyes opened wide as his cheeks grew red. "Me--mmph!" Mei's eyes also shot open as she had heard him making some sound. Pulling her head away, she brushed her hair out of her face as she looked startled in Luca's direction. Then she started to slap his shoulder. "You jerk! You damn...." "O.... Ow!" The boy rubbed his shoulder, grumbling. He stared at her, confused and surprised. "I don't... You...." He kept staring blankly. "Ey! Stop hitting me!" The boy pouted as his chest and shoulder ached. She didn't stop immediately. "Shut up!" Sneering the words, Mei felt like she should say she had puked before. Just to make him feel grossed out, but more she wanted her cheeks to stop blushing and making her face look like a tomato. "Wh--What did I do!?" he demanded as he slowly sat up. His gaze was locked on the sea of mist ahead of them in awe. After a few seconds, he looked over at Mei. "...Where are we?" he asked. "We were... on the boat, right?" Still quite 'unhappy' Mei focused on what was important. The question about where they were. "I've no clue." She mumbled, getting up. Her stomach slowly was stopping to protest, making her able to stand better. "We were yes, but got slammed by-" Slowly Mei stopped talking. An idea popped up in her head, making her moan softly as she placed her hands at her cheeks. "Oh god. What if we're in the stomach of that beast? What else could've created such a wave?!" "Huh? The sky's still blue," he said, huffing. "That means we're outside. We could probably even see the sun if we could see west...." He got up to his feet and looked over at the forest. "Maybe we'll find some clues as to where we are." "Oh.. Yeah." Mei replied as she briefly looked up. That was perhaps better than being inside the stomach of a huge monster. Scratching behind her left ear, Mei turned around to look at the forest as well. "I guess we don't have much of another choice." For a moment, Mei wished that this was just a bad dream. The boy walked into the forest. "You.... You woke up before me, right?" he asked, trying to remember what was going on when he first opened his eyes. "Did you see this thing move or anything that could give us some clues?" "Yes, I did." Mei said with a slightly timid voice. She gestured to the forest, in hope that Luca would start walking and not noticing the spot where she had puked her stomach empty. "No, I kind of stumbled over you and then.... then...." Her cheeks flared up again as she slightly lowered her head. "Let's just see what we can find up ahead." "... Right," he uttered, huffing in disappointment. He pushed aside some vines getting in his way and stepped forward. Another loud and low screech was heard, like the one that had warned them of the wave. "Ehe... No worries. It's probably some seismic activity or something. Hell, perhaps there's even civilization up ahead!" She froze as she heard the screech. Then she looked, baffled, at Luca's back. "Are you deaf? What kind of civilized person would want to produce such a noise?" But she would follow him. Already however, Mei expected another huge wave. Though she wasn't sure if they would survive if they would be struck by another wave of that size. color=#2ECCFA]"I'm trying to be optimistic!"[/color] he blurted out in frustration, turning to her. "No need to be mean!" Huffing, Luca turned around again only to come face to face what could only be identified as a growling pumalion. Blinking with her eyes, Mei narrowed her eyes as she stamped on the ground. "Says you!" She blurted out back. "You dragged me into this mess, remember? Mister I want to get on a boat!" Stamping again on the ground with her left foot, Mei clenched her hands at her side as she kept on going . "And now you try to tell me that there might be some people making that screech? Stop treating me like I don't know anything! You're... You're.." Not able to come up with a word, Mei huffed. "You're impossible." "Uh... Mei?" "No!" She stamped on the ground with her foot again as she glared up to Luca. "I've been traveling with you and for the last few months I've been almost mugged, almost fallen to my death and now this crap?!" Sqeeuzing her eyes shut, she stamped on the ground again. "And now you're telling me I'm mean?" "Mei.... Please, just--" "SHUT UP!" Her cheeks flared up red again as she started to shout. "LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE! WE DON'T KNOW! WE HAVE LOST OUR BOAT! AND ALL BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA! WELL DONE! WEEEL DONE!" "Mei, this isn't the--" The beast let out a loud roar, cutting Luca off. The boy almost let out a small shriek as he took a step back, making the pumalion leap onto the ground and walk. "...This isn't exactly the time to be fighting!" he whispered as loudly as he could. Her head whipped to the source of the sound as her hands shot to her knives. With a quick pull, her left hand threw up one knife as her already turned around, her right hand pulling out another knife. Catching the thrown up knife, Mei narrowed her eyes as she locked them on the pumalion. Already aiming for the head, Mei kept staring back at the fercious predator that had disturbed her argument with Luca. The beast growled, taking a few steps forward, but doing nothing quick. Luca stared at it for a few seconds, noting a dripping sound coming from it. There was a trail of blood on the grass it was walking by. The boy slowly tried to creep closer. Should've taken that healing training... "Heeere, kitty kitty..." Raising her right hand, ready to throw and making sure that the razorsharp weapon would pierce through skin and flesh to end the predator, Mei looked confused at Luca. "Are you mental?!" She blurted out. Locking her gaze back on the predator, she wavered for a moment. "As if he will let you try to help him, idiot." "It's not like he can stop me when it's bleeding to death," he responded wittily just as the beast weakly locked its jaw on his hand, mostly gnawing. The boy let out a small shriek as he opened the mouth forcefully to pull it out. "S... See? It's weak." "Of all the damned things that I've...." Storing the knives back in the convenient holsters, Mei pouted. She then punched against Luca's shoulder as she would walk a bit away, mumbling some curses. Kicking something away, Mei was still mumbling something and clearly pissed off at the moment. Turning around on her heels, she glared at Luca, but said nothing. "O...Ow!" He'd ripped half of his sleeve after having located the wound on its leg. "Mei! Where are you going?!" He looked back at her, sounding rather flustered and worried. He looked over at the animal and back at her before grumbling and trying to wrap it up as quickly as he could, but the squirming didn't really help. Tapping with her foot at the ground, Mei placed her fists at her hip as she kept glaring towards Luca. "Just one second!" he yelled as he finished tying the knot. He looked at his hand, noticing that there was no cut whatsoever. He raised the lips of the beast, to see that its teeth were dulled. "Um... Coming!" He made his way after her. Narrowing her eyes as she kept her stance, Mei would say the word that most boys dread to hear or read. "Ok." The pace of her foot tapping at the ground increased even after she said the frightening word. He gave her a strange look, rather confused. "Uh... Thanks," he said, trying to figure out whether or not she was upset. She probably wasn't. He took a glance back at the animal that tried to hiss towards them. "Let's keep going, shall we? I don't wanna see what did that to the poor beast. I just hope it'll survive like that." "If this goes anywhere more south, then I'm sure that you'll have something else you need to fear." Mei muttered, the tone giving away in what she mood was currently. Glancing once more to the pumalion, Mei's right hand went to a knife holster, pulling one out. It was better perhaps to be on the safe side and holding a weapon in case what had caused the pumalion to be like that would show up. "Huh? What do you mean?" he asked, as confused as the moment they awoke on the new land. "S...Something else?" Glaring sideways to Luca, Mei's eyes narrowed again. Flipping the knife, Mei held it at the blade. Flipping it again, to hold it back at the handle, she kept repeating the gesture. "Just shut your trap and keep on walking." She muttered. The boy's eyes widened as he gulped, nodding, opening his mouth to say "Yes ma'am," right as he remembered he probably should do as she said and shut his trap. He followed her, his hands at his back. Walking further, the two were silent. Mei now and then threw a glance around. Then she stopped slowly as she stared at something. "Well, fu...me..." She whispered. Seeing the boat upside down, she wondered how it had gotten into the forest. Storing the knife back, she scratched the back of her head. It looked quite damaged and she wasn't sure if they would be able to get fixed. Let alone probably flip it back and then sail away from whereever they had been stranded. "Hopefully some things are inside aren't broken or wasted." She said, walking towards the boat, but clearly cautious as she did so. Luca remained silent, not wanting to disobey her at that moment. Hm... I wonder what she's upset about. He thought on this enigma for a while as he followed her with his legs moving automatically. I mean, it's not like she's angry, right? She's probably just cranky cuz we're stuck here. Eyeing the boat as she approached it, Mei halted as she inspected a hole in the hull for a moment. Approaching it again, she sighed as she stored the knive away. Climbing into the boat, she went inside the cabin. "Oh god." She said. A few moments, a few things were thrown outside. Mostly broken stuff. Jumping out of the cabin, Mei holstered her umbrella almost cautiously on her back. "We till have some food and such but," Glancing at the boat, it was clear that she wouldn't need to say what she thought about the state of the boat. "Are you thirsty?" he asked upon hearing her talk about food but no water. Luca then realized what he'd done, stiffening up. "Uh... I mean... Nothing." He zipped his mouth with a gesture. Glaring at Luca, Mei said nothing in return. Looking back at the boat, she frowned. If they couldn't use it to get back on the ocean and sail to somewhere known, what should they do? She was at least happy with that she had her umbrella back. And they could salvage some food from what she had found in the cabin. But nothing so had came up in her mind what they could do to get away from this dreaded place. The boy thought long and hard before speaking up. "Y'know... If there are animals on this island, perhaps we could find something that could get us down. Perhaps we could find somewhere we could get another means of transport." Turning slowly around, Mei glared again. "And what kind of transport? Perhaps another animal that you want to pet? Look around you." Spreading out her arms to place some sort of emphasis on her words, Mei continued. "I don't see a boat or anything that floats or flies anywhere near us. Do you? Cause that would make my day, which hasn't going so great thanks to you in the first place!" He stared at her, not sure what he had done, but he knew two words could perhaps help this situation. "I'm sorry," he said, his gaze falling down, mimicking the visage he would put on when he broke a vase. "I didn't mean to get us in trouble. But, we could perhaps find something in an opening?" "An opening? Look at it!" Turning around, she gestured to the boat. "It has more holes in it than the whole plan of going on the ocean!" She said. Sighing, Mei rubbed her eyes for a moment. "Perhaps we just grab what we can use and see if we can find the origin of what ever produced that screech. Perhaps we can find some civilization...." "That's not quite what I meant," he said, sighing. He took a deep breath and started talking, unwisely, most likely. "I'm sorry, did I do something? You've been acting really strangely and it kinda feels like you're somewhat angry with me." "No, just forget about it. I want to get away from this stupid place." Mei replied back, quite grumpy. "Stupid island. Stupid adventure. Stupid boat. Stupid wave." She started to mumble as she walked through the forest. The whole situation was stupid! She was still not dried up, her stomach was lightly upset and she could go on. As she did in her mind. "... I feel like you're still kinda pissed," he deduced, following her closely after a quick jog. "Come on! Maybe we can find a way out of this if we just sit and think about it together!" "Sit? You better be joking." Mei replied back with an angry tone. "I'm soaked, lost and stranded on a weird place. There is no way that I'm going to sit down. I want to know what that thing is that screeched. Cause it better have a good explanation for causing all this missery." She mumbled, continue walking forward. Luca was dry as one could be. "Well, I guess we could... But don't you think we should just think, first? If you're bothered by the soaked clothes--" "No! I will manage just fine by myself" Mei sneered back. "And think what? Thinking on how to repair the boat, without tools? Can your bending do that? I think not. Just let's get to that source of the screeching. I want to know who I've to beat up." "But--" "Luca, just walk. Just. Walk." The boy frowned as his head fell forward in defeat, following her. He picked up his pace. "I'll look ahead," he said, starting to run. Upon reaching another edge, the boy froze, noting something in the distance. There was a moving block with some stones sticking out, as it seemed. "That's strange..." Just after his words, his head would be whacked. "You stupid!" Mei cursed. Placing her hands on her hips, she glared to Luca. "You saw that the pumalion was injured and then you decide to run up ahead, leaving me all alone. Not thinking or even considering the possibility that I could've been attacked by what ever made that feline into a mere kitten?" The boy's head didn't move, but his eyes followed the slowly moving formation. "No way..." "Indeed, you idiot! That was just stupid of you. I don't leave you behind when people try to mugg, do I now? Hey!" Mei huffed her cheeks briefly. "Are you even listening to me- me..." Slowly she followed where he was staring to, her mouth slowly closing. "Seriously... This is one weird... day..." "It exists... Look at that smoke," he said as some faint smoke rose from the formation. "That's..." An excited grin crept up his lips as he hopped in his spot. "Yes! It's real!!" He hopped a step at a time in front of her, grabbing her by the shoulders. "It's reeeaall!" "Yeah. Great." She remembered about what she said about the source of the screech. . "And now what?" Mei wasn't sure if she had to believe it. And what was worse. Being on the back of a huge turtle and shipwrecked or being on the back of a creature that only existed in folkores and being shipwrecked, while having a bad day. Or seeing a legendary place that they couldn't reach. "Well, this is why I said we should think!" He grumbled. "Something this big can't fly, dummy! We only got caught up in the wave because it was in the water! That means if we find a way down, we could reach the water!" Grabbing Luca by his collar, Mei frowned. She didn't want him to just get too excited and try to talk or what ever with the turtle. "Yes, cause your thinking got us here in the first place." She glanced at the head of the creature again, before back at Luca. If anything, she had lost some of her anger as she spoke again. "You want to think this through, but how do you want to... get down?" "Ehehe.... That's not it," he said nervously. "It needs to be in water, so that means if we just climb down, we'll eventually find water. At that point, we could quickly try finding land. Worst comes to worst, we'll sleep on some ice." "And you sure? What if it... that.. Pfft." Flailing her arms up, Mei felt lost. Everything today seemed to be working against her. Lowering her head slightly in defeat, she let out a sigh. "Well, it isn't like my day can get any worse. Or if there is another way. After you." "Er... You might slip if you're still wet," Luca said. He waited for a few seconds, walking over to the edge and looking down. There were almost cavern-like systems down that could be seen. "Do you want me to... Y'know. Help you dry off?" "Yes, if it helps to get away from this dreadful place." She said, raising her arms as she had no idea what she should do in order to make it easier for him to dry her off. It was at least a start, though Mei felt a bit useless that she couldn't do anything herself about her being still slightly soaked. The boy turned one palm around after putting them on each other and pulled them to the sides quickly as the water on her skin and clothes left in the form of droplets. He glanced down the side of the island, gulping. He took ahold of a vine reaching out from the edge and started to move down. "Here goes nothing..." "Nothing but our lives and future." She mumbled, trying to follow Luca. She had hestitated, but realized that if she wouldn't figure another way that she would forever be stuck on the island. Not a very fun future prospect to her. Certainly not if that creature now and then started to let out a screech or caused huge waves could be nearby. As the vine ended, they'd reach a rocky edge that led into what seemed like a cave. Most of the way towards the mist was achieved by the vine, sure, but now was the hard part. Luca stepped to the edge, looking down. "Aw, man... That looks far." "Don't say such things." Mei said, trying to not look down as she kept looking forward. She could remember the day that they had been in Viola, at the top of that big building. But that was different as they weren't then not on a big living creature that was considered to be pure folkore. For a moment Mei wondered how such a creature could go unnoticed and on other details. What did it eat? And were there more turtles like this one? "Eh?" Luca felt a small crumbling sound under his foot. His foothold suddenly disappeared, making him plummet down from the edge with a loud cry. He disappeared into the mist. "Luca! Damn it! Damn it!" Mei cursed. She had tried to grab him, but her fingers only managed to grab air. Staring into the mist, Mei panicked. "Luca!?" Shouting his name, her face turned pale. Trying to be silent for a moment to hear anything, she got up and straightened her back. Breathing deep in and out, she grabbed two knives. "Okay, okay. Focus." She whispered to herself. Using the knives, she would try to climb down or so was at least her plan. Looking down into the mist, Mei gulped. "Mei! Mei! You there?! Jump down!" Luca was yelling, but he heard nothing. He wondered if something had happened to her as well. It was entirely possible, but he elected not to believe it. He swam towards the giant beast, hoping to climb up a bit. With the water's aid, he got a good push, hovering just half a meter over where he should in water. "MEEII!" She stared at the mist, not sure if she should trust it. Holstering her knives back, she crouched near the edge. "Are you sure it is safe?" She asked back. But hearing no answer, Mei sighed. After being sure that her equipment wasn't going to shoot lose and thus getting lost, Mei let herself drop over the edge, letting out a loud yelp. She had expected to fall on something hard, but instead felt how her bottom contacted with something that wasn't made of rock. "OW!" The water keeping Luca up dissolved as he sunk down into the water along with Mei in a splash. "Great! Water! Just wonderful." Mei mumbled, ignoring the fact she had literally landed on Luca. Wondering however where Luca was, she didn't feel so safe being in the water near the turtle. She half expected a limb of the creature to create a huge wave that would cause her to be dragged into the deep or something as equally dreadful. Luca soon bursted out of the water, towards her, his arm hooking hers as the water propelled them forward through the ocean. "Landlandlandlandlandlandland!" "HOLD ON!" Mei blurted out, letting out another yelp as he hooked his arm with hers. Her cheeks started to blush again as she was unsure what he was planning to do. When he was propelling them forward, Mei felt how tears rolled over her cheeks as she wasn't sure if she would survive this day if things would keep on going like this. Another wave started to grow behind them. "Not an option!" he claimed. As they kept moving forward through the mist, a stone formation appeared in front of them and the waters calmed, the mist dissolving. "Land!" The wind started to blow normally as well, and the monster was nowhere to be seen. "Please.. Please." Mei started to whisper, still feeling warm tears rolling over her cheeks as she held on to Luca. If she would survive this day, she silently promised to herself that she would never look weird at a turtle again. Or any marine animal. Not that she had ever done such a thing, but she didn't know what else she could make as she wasn't so sure of her life anymore. One last time, the water gave them a violent push upwards, allowing them to land softly on the rock stairs. "We're alive..." The boy grinned as he looked around, seeing nothing dangerous in sight. "Now all we have to do is get another ride!" Heavily breathing, Mei fell on her knees. She stared at the ground with wide open eyes as tears still flowed over her cheeks. Then she threw a glare in Luca's direction. "That wasn't fun." She managed to say, slightly trembling as she even tried to regain her calm composure. What a day... "Maybe not! But!" Luca raised a finger, swinging it left and right. "We found something important today, didn't we?" "I'm going to kill you..." She mumbled back, trying to calm herself down. Whipping away the tears, she tried to breath regular again. "Just shut up...." She managed to raise herself up as she closed her eyes. Hopefully it was done. No more gigantic turtles. No more pumalions or other surprises. Luca looked over at her, pouting. "Oh, come on! We saw the flying city! That was pretty awesome!" he blurted out. Taking a look around, the boy put his hands on his hips, trying to figure out where they were. "This place kinda looks... Abandoned, doesn't it?" "Your fault." She told him, hitting his shoulder again with a fist strike. "Oh wait... No..... Damn it!" Cringing, Mei squeezed her eyes closed. "We forgot about the food and other stuff in the cabin." Turning around, she however wasn't really in the mood to get back. It meant that they would need to let Luca propell them back over the water to... No, that wasn't an option. "Huh? What's my--OW!" The boy rubbed his shoulder, mumbling something as he walked up the stairs. ".... Come on," he said unwillingly and sourly. "Maybe we can find something in here." "I better hope for you that it is some luck. Cause recently I've found myself in a lack of it." She mumbled, clearly found her grumpy mood back. Following Luca, Mei did take a look over her shoulder. She thought about what they had seen, but then would follow Luca again. Right now other things were more important. As night fell on the abandoned Air Temple, atop one of the towers, just one floor above where they'd made camp, Luca was staring up at the crescent moon, mumbling something from time to time. Rubbing her eyes, Mei didn't want to go to sleep. But she was exhausted. And the day had been really a bad one. They were now in an abandoned Air Temple, with no food or any other useful stuff. Sitting down, she let out a sigh. "Today sucked." Luca curled up into a ball, leaning his mouth to his knees. "I'm sorry I dragged you into this," he mumbled. For a moment, Mei bite her lower lip. Looking away, she spoke back. "I've been rather in a foul mood the whole day. It wasn't all your fault. I mean," Pausing, Mei let out a sigh. "I could easily place most blame on you, but some.. might not have been your direct fault." "... Like how this island was abandoned wasn't my direct fault?" he said with a half-sour tone. He looked at her from the side of his eyes and then set his gaze back on the stone ground. "To be honest, I kinda enjoyed today. It's not everyday you get to see a legend, even from afar, and get a ride on a giant turtle, y'know." Sighing, Mei laid down on her side. The floor was cold, but in the temple they wouldn't bothered by the elements outside. "Yes... I guess it isn't your direct fault." Mei muttered underneath her breath. "And great. Just great. We lost our food and forgot most stuff, but now we will starve with the knowledge that some place like that exists. Next to the fact that gigantic turtles do exist." She half closed her eyes, pouting slightly. "Huh? What do you mean we don't have food?" He gave her a bizarre look. "Ooooh. You think... Okay." He stretched his legs and took off his bag, which had the pouch attached to it. "I thought you were just trying to ration our supplies," he said as he opened it up. There were a couple of sandwiches and chocolate bars inside. "... You really don't carry food with you?" Narrowing her eyes, Mei was starting to grow angry again. "I will be fine for now." But as she said so, her stomach grew rebellious once more. It let out a loud sound, clearly demanding some food as well. Her cheeks gained a blush as she let out a frustrated groan and rolled on her back. "This so unfair. Today is really, really stupid." "Hey, I was the one who kept getting punched," the boy grumbled. "I'm aching all over. My chest, my shoulder, my arm... And there's this weird taste lingering in my mouth that kept making my stomach turn." Mei turned her back towards him, her cheeks turning bright red. "I puked before I did that. Hope you enjoyed it!" She let out, frustrated, moving her hands underneath her head. She just wanted to close her eyes and fall asleep, wanting to forget about today. But her stomach let out another growl as it demanded something in order to be quiet. Flinching, Mei pulled her legs up as she licked her lips. "I'm sorry for punching you... Several times." The boy's grin widened for a second as his cheeks slightly reddened. He suddenly bursted into laughter. "Hahaha! I bet you thought you were saving my life, too!" The boy rolled on his back as he continued laughing. "Hehe... Hihiii... Ah... To think you went ahead and did that to save me." In response to her apology, he simply flashed a wider grin, laying down. Hearing him laugh, made Mei flinch. She felt how she was growing slowly angry again, but also hurt. She wanted to sit up and tell him to shut up, but she didn't want to show her tomato colored head. "I'm going to find a blanket." She said, getting up. Dusting her clothes off, Mei looked around. She felt restless as she didn't want to say something that had flashed through her mind. "Hahah.... Alright," the boy said, laying his head on his bag as he unwrapped a chocolate bar. He took the first bite, the crunchy sound of the waffer coming from inside his mouth and the chocolate. Shooting a glare towards Luca, Mei huffed as she walked away. She tried to calm herself as she walked through the temple. Trying to not of course get too far as she wasn't being sure if it was truly abandoned. And sure after today with all the surprises she didn't want to be ambushed in the dark halls of the temple by something worse than a pumalion. After a few minutes she came back to Luca. Rubbing her left arm, she looked the other way. "I couldn't find a blanket.... Do you have something?" "Sure," he said, sitting up and locking the chocolate between his teeth. He slid off his jacket and held it out for her to take. "Wih dis be enough?" Looking surprised, Mei sat down. Accepting the jacket, she stared it before back at Luca. "But what about you then?" She asked surprised. "Eh? I grew up in the North Pole, y'know," he said, smiling as his eyes closed. "I'll be fiiiine." She stared at the jacket and then frowned back at Luca. "And I grew up in the Fire Nation, but that doesn't make me a fire spitting person. Here." Placing the jacket over him, she moved close to him. "If you get sick, due to getting a cold, we're further in trouble." She mumbled, hoping she managed to keep her cheek's color under control. The boy's face flared as he heard the proposition, but she did have a valid point. "A...Alright," he said, biting his lower lip. "I guess... Good night?" "Good night." She said back, moving a bit closer to Luca so that she could also have some of the jacket over her. It was a bit of a hassle for a moment as she wanted to move her legs up, but that wasn't possible with Luca laying in front of her. It resulted in her moving her legs against his, only to be disturbed by her stomach as it started to growl louder than a north pole bear roaring. The boy couldn't help but snicker. "Maybe you should get some food." "You're really the most clever guy I've met." She mumbled back. "Just give me something so I won't wake up anything else in five kilometers radius around us." He nodded, pulling out a chocolate bar from the bag. "Here." "Thanks." She said back, taking the bar. Though she was starving, she didn't devour the bar as some animal.