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Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 8/28)

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:56 am
by Hoitash
Mirage_GSM wrote:Then this Mash probably shouldn't be looking for a career in First Aid training ^^°
I take it you are unfamiliar with the 70's TV show known as MASH. Understandable.

Or you are making a funny and it went over my head.
Of course in the case of a severe concussion (symptoms that include nausea, partial amnesia, double vision etc. in addition to the headache) you should always visit a hospital, but for a light concussion sleeping is actually the best thing you can do.
So, you're saying tv series from the 70's about Korean Conflict surgeons might not be the best source of medical information?

Would also explain why I felt better after the nap, too.

Speaking of, my wrist is a bit stiff, but I can still write fine, which isn't too surprising since I only use two fingers.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:59 am
by Hoitash
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Previous Chapter

Chapter Fourteen: The Firstborn’s Tale

After a downhill trip and several hours at the hot springs, which included yet more photographic splurges by Miya, we had an early dinner at a conveniently placed restaurant before taking a bus back to the suite.

I figured after the bus ride everyone would be too tired to do much of anything when we got back, but I failed to take into account the energy of youth or parental desperation. Or we were so used to the driving we were able to rest on the bus ride.

Either way, shortly after we had settled back into the suite, Uncle Hisao took me aside to speak with me.

“Kenji and I were thinking we should do a double date thing with Miya and Hana, to get some time to our ourselves,” Uncle Hisao explained, “so while we’re gone, you’re gonna be in charge. They’re old enough to be fine on their own, and you can handle Refia and Hisato no problem. If you’re worried it’d be too much, though, we can stay put.”

“I… I think I can handle it,” I replied, “It’s only for a few hours, right?”

Uncle Hisao smiled and nodded, “Yeah. Just make sure the kids go easy on the cookies, brush their teeth, all that. We’re not doing much tomorrow, so they can sleep in and go to bed late. In fact,” his smile turned mischievous, “I’ll text you before we get home, so you can be the cool Big Sis who let them stay up late. Sound good?”

Apparently Kenji had been an influence of sorts on Uncle Hisao, too. Well, they had known each other as long as I’d been alive.

I couldn’t help grinning myself as I gave an affirmative nod, “Sounds cool. Thanks, I’ll make sure they behave.”

Hisao grinned and gave my head a gentle pat, “I know you will.”

And that’s how I ended up in charge of the kids that night. Youthful energy or not, everyone was pretty worn out from the hike, myself included. Hisato was too tired to raise a fuss about his parents leaving, though he was obviously upset about it. Fortunately Satomi decided to handle that for me, and had quickly gotten him absorbed in a coloring book she insisted she had for just such an emergency.

As a result, the two were lying on the floor in the living area, working through the coloring book together.

“So what color should we make the princess’ dress?” Satomi asked.

“Hmm,” Hisato started chewing on the top of his colored pencil, examining the partially finished artwork as he thought, “…maybe green, to match her eyes?”

Satomi grinned, “Great idea!”

It was hard to tell who was having the most fun coloring, really.

I was sitting at the dining room table playing chess with Akio, while Refia was… somewhere.

“Refia!” I called, “Where are you?”

“I’m in the closet!” Refia replied, “I’m going to spend the night in here encamped on the summit of Mount Everest!”

“Did you brush your teeth first?”


“Okay, then. Sleep well.”

“Thanks! You too, Hee-neesan!”

I smirked and went back to my game. Akio was kicking my ass, and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I tend to not win at chess, just lose slowly. I did notice I was in danger of losing one of my rooks, so I moved it to the side behind the safety of some pawns.

Akio sighed and examined the board. I really didn’t have a strong position, but he seemed to be giving the game a lot of thought. While he thought, I found myself alternating my gaze between the small stack of cookies I had with me, and his eyes. They were violet like Aunt Hana’s, but they had little flecks of blue that swirled from the pupil out through the iris. Like a miniature galaxy surrounded by white void. Some form of heterochromia, maybe.

“Soon-hee?” Akio asked, making me jump slightly, “Something wrong?”

“Sorry, no,” I said, “I was uh… your eyes…”

Akio blinked and started to blush; probably embarrassed I was looking at them. Stupid on my part, I know.

“I’m sorry,” I stated, “I should know better than that.”

“It’s, um, it’s fine,” he said. Coughing into his hand, he added, “People tend to do that.”

“That doesn’t make it right,” I said, “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Akio assured me.

I sighed and shoved a cookie into my mouth, while Akio went back to the game. As he moved one of his bishops forward, he stated, “Mom says I have her mother’s eyes.”

I nodded for lack of anything to do.

“It’s weird,” Akio muttered, “Having a connection to people you’ve never met.”

I found myself nodding lightly, “I never knew my grandparents, either.”

Akio looked up at me, perhaps surprised I had said that, “Dad talks about his grandparents every now and then, but Mom… I don’t think they were alive when she was young, or….”

“They would’ve adopted her,” I finished.


“You two are being depressing,” Satomi griped, “Can’t you talk about something else?”

“I could talk about what a whiny brat my sister is,” Akio remarked.

I saw Satomi open her mouth –I was facing away from the door to the balcony- and pointed a finger at her, “Behave. Both of you.”

Satomi closed her mouth and glowered at me, but nodded and went back to her work.

“Satomi?” I asked.

Satomi looked up at me, still looking miffed. I tossed a cookie at her and she grabbed it.

Satomi smirked at me, “Thanks.”

I nodded and turned back to Akio, who was sheepishly still thinking of his next move.

“Sorry,” he muttered.

“No worries,” I said, and thought about my next move.

Akio patiently waited for me to make my move, while I tried to extrapolate as many possible outcomes from as many of my moves as possible. All that thinking started to hurt my head a bit; I’m not used to that kind of abstract thinking.

“I’m no good at this game,” I grumbled. Closing my eyes and sighing to help clear my head, I added, “I’m no good at thinking ahead.”

Hell, I was still getting used to the fact that I had an ahead to think to. When you spend years just surviving day by day, there is no ahead. There’s the now, and only the now. Thinking ahead makes you slip up, and then you might not have a now. I learned that quick; They made sure of it.

One of these days I’d stop being weighed down by my past. I hoped.

“There is something to be said for gut instinct,” Akio remarked, bringing me back to reality.

“Yeah… instinct….” I advanced my rook to threaten one of his knights; it’s only defense was to retreat, which I hoped would stall him while I moved my bishops into place to win.

Akio smirked and moved his knight, “Of course, the problem with instinct is you don’t have a chance to look at the big picture.”

I raised an eyebrow, but after a moment I realized his knight was moving to take my white bishop. If I lost that, I’d be hard pressed to recover; not enough of my other big players were out yet, unlike his.

I sighed, “The other problem is, if you rely solely on instinct, you’re no better than an animal.”

Something in my eyes must’ve revealed what I was thinking, because Akio’s eyes widened and he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t-”

I raised a hand to cut him off, “I know. It’s fine. If I had become an animal, I would’ve died a long time ago.”

I would have become one of Them.

That might have been the most deep, philosophical chess game I ever had, come to think of it.

Satomi thought so, too, apparently, “Are you guys even talking about chess?”

We both shrugged, and I rethought what to do with my bishop. It took me a few moments, but I finally had a new plan I was reasonably sure might work. So I adjusted my bishop to go after his other knight.

While Akio made his move, I thought a bit about what Satomi had asked. It was odd, but thinking about the past abstractly, through the game, made it easier to think and talk about. It was a tactic my therapist had implemented whenever we had hit a block or needed to slow down.

Although that could make actually playing the game problematic, as random crap kept floating around my head while I played.

Akio made his move as the game continued. I tried my best to hold my own, but I didn’t really have a chance, and eventually the inevitable came.

Akio smiled at me from over the board after he made checkmate, “Good game.”

“Thanks,” I said, grimacing, “Sorry I’m not very good.”

“You’re probably better than Aunt Miya,” Satomi remarked.

Akio gave me a sheepish grin and shrugged. I was inclined to agree, but was too polite to mention it.

Instead, I said, “Thank you for the game.”

“Same here,” Akio said, “I um, hope we can do it again some time.”

I checked my watch, “We should have time for another game, if you want.”

Akio smiled, “Sure. Thanks.”

Akio reset the board, turned it around, and we began again.

Next Chapter

Sometimes I think I should have been a psychologist.

I also sometimes think I should be a bear hunter, too, so make of that what you will.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:59 pm
by Mirage_GSM
The line about being like an animal should probably come from Akio.

Akio didnt give off as many vibes of being smitten in this chapter... Coincidence?

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:11 pm
by Hoitash
Mirage_GSM wrote:The line about being like an animal should probably come from Akio.

Akio didnt give off as many vibes of being smitten in this chapter... Coincidence?
Akio might not have the whole picture, but I think he has enough sense not to imply Soon-hee's an animal.

Especially with the racial connotations.

She, on the other hand, is very aware how close she came to crossing that line.

As for the crush, Akio's just focused on the game. Although it's entirely possible he and Hisao had a talk at some point about that.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:13 pm
by Mirage_GSM
If he didn't say it, why is he apologizing in the next line?

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:16 pm
by Hoitash
Mirage_GSM wrote:If he didn't say it, why is he apologizing in the next line?
For causing Soon-hee to remember.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:19 am
by mindtrapdragon
It has been a wile since I found myself frequenting these forums and few hours ago I thought that I might catch some sleep. Then I thought that a few more minutes wouldn't hurt and I remembered that this place exists. So I found myself here and came across this in those "few minutes." Now I am here having caught myself up on most of your works. I thank you for providing a much better, or at least more entertaining, way to spend this night than sleeping.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/04)

Posted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:34 am
by Hoitash
mindtrapdragon wrote:It has been a wile since I found myself frequenting these forums and few hours ago I thought that I might catch some sleep. Then I thought that a few more minutes wouldn't hurt and I remembered that this place exists. So I found myself here and came across this in those "few minutes." Now I am here having caught myself up on most of your works. I thank you for providing a much better, or at least more entertaining, way to spend this night than sleeping.
Well, I don't normally advocate sleep deprivation, but at least your time spent not sleeping was well spent :)

EDIT/NOTICE: Next Chapter will be posted tomorrow.

Long live the Republic.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/12)

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:36 am
by Hoitash
“History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” –John F. Kennedy

Previous Chapter

Chapter Fifteen: The Father’s Tale

“I can’t believe we came to another country just to look at a school,” Satomi griped.

“But it’s so pretty!” Refia chirped.

After a late start and brunch, we headed out to the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in Asia. In spirit if not in construction –the university had moved to its present location in the 1920s, and the original campus was destroyed during World War II. In everything else but construction, though, the university was the same.

Founded in 1611, the university had seen no less than four flags raised above it, each one claiming dominion over the center of learning –five if you counted the Vatican. Through it all the university had endured. Colonialism, revolution, counter-revolution, nationhood; it still stood, and still accepted students.

Though it was summer break for them, too, and the place seemed oddly desolate as a result. It wasn’t completely abandoned, though. Groundskeepers were hard at work sprucing the place up for the next semester, just like they did at Yamaku. Somewhere to our side a priest was on his way to the parish, a group of summer students eagerly following in his wake. Not far from us was a tour group, taking in the view of the Arch of the Centuries –one of the few surviving relics of the old university.

Still, without all the students and professors walking to and fro, the place seemed a lot emptier. It reminded me a lot of Yamaku before I left for this vacation, and I said as much while we were looking at the Arch.

Uncle Hisao nodded, “Yeah, I’ve never liked being in schools after classes or during breaks for that reason. A place of learning with no learning going on is kinda creepy.”

“The school is pretty quiet after baseball practice,” Satomi agreed.

“Do you ever see any ghosts?” Refia asked her older sister.

Satomi rolled her eyes and looked down at Refia, “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

“The Occult Club at the high school where I teach disagrees,” Uncle Hisao stated.

“So does the one from college,” Kenji added, “Never did get those stains out….”

It was odd sometimes how much of what Kenji said seemed to lead to a story. Or how he and Uncle Hisao could carry on a seemingly private conversation amongst the rest of the family. Rather than elaborate on his remark, Kenji just looked up at the Arch, the bright sunlight reflecting off his glasses and his expression oddly neutral.

The Arch was an interesting mix of Spanish and Asian architecture, with pale stone, angled tiles, and various carvings along its surface. It was certainly nice to look at, but I wasn’t quite capable of getting Satomi’s complaint out of my head. I mean sure, the buildings had a Spanish design to reflect the original university. But we had seen buildings that dated back to the first colonial cities, and in comparison, the university wasn’t much, really.

“Okay everyone,” Miya said, camera in hand, “group photo time. Could someone grab my tripod?”

Miya had brought a tripod and had strapped it to her back. It had made the jeepney ride here interesting, though I was once again distracted by trying to keep down my latest meal.

Kenji pulled out the tripod and handed it to Miya, and while she set it up we arranged ourselves between the Arch’s two pillars. Aunt Hana, Uncle Hisao, and Kenji were in the back, while I was in the front with Satomi and Akio. Refia was in front of us, and I left a space next to me for Miya.

“Shoulda known we’d end up like this,” Satomi muttered.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Aunt Hana declared.

That kept Satomi from complaining for a while.

It took Miya three takes before she was satisfied with the photo, after which we moved on. Sticking close to the Arch, we next looked over the Fountain of Wisdom. It was an impressive fountain with a woman holding a globe high above her head, supported by several sphinxes and surrounded by stone owls.

“I think I remember this,” Satomi remarked.

Kenji nodded, “Looks based on Athena, doesn’t it?”

“Who?” Satomi asked.

“The Greek goddess of wisdom and war,” I replied, “the owl was her pet bird. On the other end, I think the Fountain of Knowledge might be based a bit on Artemis, the goddess of nature, but that’s just based on the deer.”

Satomi rolled her eyes at my nerddom and turned to Miya, “Can I take these photos?”

Miya nodded, “Sure, but the water might cause some blurring, so make sure you frame it right.”

After taking a look around both fountains and the parade grounds, we split off to look at different things, with a plan to regroup at the main building. Kenji, Hisato, Miya, and Akio went to walk around the Parish, while Hanako, Refia, and Satomi wandered around the edges of the campus for a bit.

This left me with Uncle Hisao at the main building. Built in the 1920s as part of the move, it was definitely built with Spanish architecture in mind. The entire building was stone, with high arched spaces for windows across each storie, and I knew from my research that it had the old fashioned inside courtyard design the Spanish had seemingly been using forever.

Its size was a bit daunting, really; university buildings were a lot bigger than the buildings at Yamaku. It made sense, of course, but seeing the change in scale brought home just how much different the two were.

Hisao looked up at the massive stone structure and gave a wistful sigh. Smirking lightly, he glanced down at me and said, “You’re probably wondering why we came here.”

“…I presumed to see the sights,” I replied.

Hisao shrugged, “I guess. Honestly I think I do it for the nostalgia.”


Uncle Hisao chuckled, “There’s something about being on a university campus that brings back memories of my own college days.”

“Oh. You went to the same university as Aunt Hana, Kenji, and Chairperson Williams, didn’t you?”

Uncle Hisao nodded, “Yeah, although she was just Lilly Satou back then. Sometimes I thought it was weird, going from the same high school to the same college together. Made for some interesting times, though.”

“Like that road trip to Tokyo?”

Uncle Hisao nodded, “Yeah, that was a trip, all right. You should have Emi tell you about it. That was actually one of the more normal things we did –side effect of hanging out with Kenji, I suppose.”

I tilted my head slightly, “Huh?”

“Eh, nothing,” Uncle Hisao said, grinning lightly.

Despite the dodge, Uncle Hisao had piqued my curiosity. No one in my family had gone to college, obviously, and I was curious what it was like. Even though it was some time in my future, I did need to start looking over my options. Especially if I was going to study overseas.

We wandered around to the right side of the building –left from the building’s perspective- passing by a small group of students studying under a tree near the corner. They spared us a glance before resuming their work.

While Hisao looked up at the building, his eyes showing that he was mentally kilometers away, I figured I’d ask him about his college days, as long as he was in a nostalgic mood. Besides, it might help me learn more about Kenji and my more or less adoptive family.

“What were your college days like, if I may ask?” I asked.

Hisao blinked as he came back to the here and now, though I had to repeat the question before he heard me.

“Well… adventurous, I guess would be the best description,” Hisao replied, “Did Kenji ever talk to you about his high school days?”

I shook my head.

“Well,” Hisao grimaced as he chose his words carefully, “…suffice to say back then, he was never boring. Not that’s he’s boring now, just… a little more grounded. I think Miya had a lot to do with that,” Hisao chuckled lightly to himself, “Back in college, I never woulda figured Kenji for the fatherly type, but I was never good at that kind of thing. Sorry, I’m rambling. Anything you wanted to ask in particular?”

“Um… sorry, I didn’t think this through.”

Hisao grinned, “Don’t worry about it. I could tell you a few things about who I went to college with, if you like. I hung out with some… interesting people.”

I raised my eyebrow, “How so?”

“Well…” Hisao looked up at the building with a wistful expression, “Besides the obvious of my wife, her best friend, and my best friend, have you ever heard of the Takarada Conglomerate?”

I nodded, “They’re a major contributor to the Hakamichi Foundation.”

Hisao nodded, “Their current President was our Student Council Treasurer. He was a character all right, but he had a good heart, though he’d never admit it himself. Who else… oh, there was this stoner studying to be a nuclear physicist. He was cool. Married an international student from Israel and moved up north. This was after the earthquake, mind. Hmm….”

“That you, Hisao?” Kenji’s voice asked.

We both turned to the far end of the wall we were facing. Kenji, Hisato, Miya, and Akio had metaphorically run into us through their own wandering, and were walking towards us, Hisato on Miya’s shoulders and Akio a pace behind the other three.

“It ain’t Townshend Harris,” Uncle Hisao quipped, “Decided to take some pics of the main building?”

“I wanted to try some tricks with the shadows,” Miya explained, “Oh, and the others are by the parish. We should probably regroup and check it out –I have some ideas with my black and white film that’ll make some great Gothic style photos.”

Uncle Hisao smirked and nodded, “Sounds cool.”

We took the long way around the building, so Hisao and I could finish looking it over. It really was an impressive structure, and Miya insisted on taking several photos with the black and white film, apparently having entered some sort of artistic mood.

“Those are gonna look great,” Miya declared as we headed for the Parish, “So, you two have fun?”

I nodded, “Uncle Hisao was telling me about his college days.”

“Really?” Kenji grinned, “Did he tell you about the Remember Reach Convention?”

“I try to forget that, actually,” Hisao muttered.

Not sure what to make of that, I blinked dumbly a couple times before replying, “No, he didn’t mention that.”

“What about the Warcraft Accord?” Miya asked.

Kenji and Hisao stopped in their tracks and turned to Miya, “How did you hear about that?”

“You were on the other side of the planet!” Kenji added.

Miya smiled, shrugged, and didn’t say anything.

Kenji chuckled and started walking again, “You’re somethin’ else, you know that?”

“I’d have to be to have grabbed you.”

Uncle Hisao rolled his eyes and smirked at me.

As we got closer to the Parish, which was even bigger than the main building, Kenji glanced in my general direction and asked, “So, you’re thinkin’ about college already.”

“Well, I do need to start thinking about it,” I replied, “Exams’ll be next year, after all.”

Kenji nodded, “Good point. Just, don’t forget about this year in the process, okay?”

“I won’t,” I promised.

“And when the time comes,” Hisao said, “if you have any questions, you know how to reach me,” he grinned and winked at me, “You wouldn’t be the first high schooler I helped prep for college after all.”

I smirked and nodded, “Thanks.”

Fortunately I had some time before I had to worry too much about it. It was reassuring, though, knowing I’d have help along the way.

I was still getting used to that feeling. I liked it.

Next Chapter

I like university campuses. I originally planned to become a university professor, but I cracked before I could get my PhD.

Eh, these things happen.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/12)

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:06 pm
by griffon8
I really enjoy the little hints to various noodle incidents you include.
Hoitash wrote:resent location in the 1920’s
Dates are not possessives.
Hoitash wrote:Built in the 1920’s as part of the move
Still aren’t.
Hoitash wrote:Hisao nodded, “There President was our Student Council Treasurer.
Oh, so close to not having any of these. :(

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/12)

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:06 pm
by Hoitash
griffon8 wrote:I really enjoy the little hints to various noodle incidents you include.
Verisimilitude is my friend, even if I can't spell it.
Hoitash wrote:resent location in the 1920’s
Dates are not possessives.
Hoitash wrote:Built in the 1920’s as part of the move
Still aren’t.
...You sure? Darn; I hate it when the fabric of reality refuses to change on my whim.
Hoitash wrote:Hisao nodded, “There President was our Student Council Treasurer.
Oh, so close to not having any of these. :(
Guess I was due. I shall wallow in shame and whiskey for my failure.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/12)

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:21 am
by Serviam
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. Located in a flood-prone area of the Metro--although by AD 2024 I imagine they've managed to solve that perennial issue.

Which reminds me: I sincerely hope their place isn't flood-prone. Ketsana from '09 brought some of the worst--if not the worst--flooding to the Metro.

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/18)

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:02 am
by Hoitash
“I'm... here for you as well...” –Hanako Ikezawa

Previous Chapter

Chapter Sixteen: The Gamer’s Tale

After the University we wandered a bit around town before returning to the suite. I called Maiko again to bring her up to speed. After dinner in the suite, Uncle Hisao and Kenji headed back into town alone, while Miya took Refia, Akio, and Hisato… somewhere. This left me with Aunt Hana and Satomi. Satomi wanted to go to the rec center again, and, with nothing better to do, I went along. So did Aunt Hana, oddly enough. I figured it was to keep an eye on Satomi, but as soon as we arrived, she asked the attendant for two pool cues and some balls.

“Would either of you like to play some pool?” she asked us.

“I was gonna play ping pong with those girls, if that’s okay,” Satomi said, pointing to the same girls who had been playing when we had.

The younger brother wasn’t around, and when Satomi gave them a wave, they waved back. Satomi must’ve come down here a couple times when I was doing something else. Or maybe she was just the type to make friends quickly.

Aunt Hana nodded and looked at me.

I nodded, “Sure.”

“Do you know how to play?” she asked.

I nodded, “Yes, although honestly I’m better using a pool cue as a weapon than for the game.”

Aunt Hana smiled and handed me the shorter cue. None of the pool tables were being used at the moment, so Aunt Hana picked one closest to the far corner and racked the balls.

“It sounds like the Judo Club is keeping you busy,” she remarked while finding the right spot for the tip of the triangle.

I chalked my cue and nodded, “There aren’t a lot of us, but we keep busy, and it’s a pretty tight knit club. I was worried they’d keep me at a distant, but they accepted me pretty much right away.”

Aunt Hana carefully lifted the triangle from the balls, “Your Captain is a senior, right?”

“Yeah… guess the job’ll be mine next year. Not sure how I feel about that, but I got time before I have to worry about it.”

“Do you have any competitions with other schools like the track team?”

I nodded and positioned myself to break, “With the other schools like Yamaku, although we’d probably do fine against a regular school, but the teams too small for that, really.”

When I picked my spot for the cue ball I aimed and gave my shot as much force as I could without sending the cue ball flying into someone. It was a good break, and probably the best I was going to do that game; I suck at math. Granted, geometry is only part of the game, and controlling the power of your shots is a pretty important part –the part I’m actually good at. Still, if someone knows what they’re doing, they can play circles around me.

Really, I’m just bad at most games. I play them because they’re fun and a useful therapy tool. When it comes to winning, I’ll stick to the mats.

Geometry or not, my break was good enough to sink the 14 in a side pocket.

“Nice break,” Aunt Hana complimented, “Looks like I’m solids.”

I nodded and circled the table to pick my next shot. As I did, I glanced over at Satomi, who had unleashed her full ping pong fury on one of the two girls, and was beating her metaphorical pants off.

My second shot landed the 11 in the corner pocket. Unfortunately that put me in a bad spot, and my half-hearted third shot went nowhere.

“My turn, then,” Aunt Hana stated.

I stepped aside and let her make her shot. There was an odd grace to the way she eased into the best position to make the best shot. My form came from control over my body. Hers came from experience and strategy.

It took her a bit to pick a target, but eventually she went after the 2, managing to sink it in a side pocket while also giving her a good position for potential moves. While she lined her herself up for the next shot, I glanced over to the ping pong game. Satomi was playing the other girl. This one seemed more experienced, and based on the score the other girl was keeping with her fingers, had actually pulled ahead slightly of the token Nakai jock.

Aunt Hana made two more shots before her target failed to land in a pocket, instead teetering on the edge. Aunt Hana pouted at the ball that dared to mock her, and stepped aside so I could move. While I examined the table, I saw her look over at her daughter.

That teetering ball was a major problem for me; if I scratched, she’d have a good shot at a lot of balls. As it was, I only had a couple good shots, and they were all precariously close to the side pocket with the waiting solid.

I looked out of the corner of my eye at Aunt Hana, “You planned that, didn’t you?”

Aunt Hana smiled and shook her head, “I’m not that good. If I was I’d by shilling biker gangs for extra money.”

I smirked and chose my shot. I managed to avoid the teetering solid, but I didn’t sink any of my balls, either.

I sighed and waited for Aunt Hana to make her shots, “I am not good at this game.”

“Winning isn’t everything,” Aunt Hana stated, “Regardless of what Shizune might think.”

I nodded as Aunt Hana made her shot. And her second shot. And her third shot. And then she scratched.

“…Oops,” she said, “bit too much force in that one.”

“I know the feeling,” I remarked.

Aunt Hana smiled. I caught myself wondering if it hurt for her to do that, mentally slapped myself, and looked over the table.

“Judo Club seems to be suiting you,” she remarked, apparently continuing our earlier conversation.

I nodded, “I enjoy it, and now that the first years have suffered the humiliation of being beaten by someone who’s fifty kilograms soaking wet, a lot easier to manage.”

“I’m glad Yamaku’s such a good fit for you,” she said, “I was concerned it might be a difficult adjustment, but you’ve done very well in a short amount of time. That’s something to be grateful for, and admired, in a way.”

Everyone’s a psychologist. To be fair, Aunt Hana knew exactly where she was coming from. If anyone knew about adjusting after tragedy, it was her. Sure the circumstances were different, but they were alike in a lot of ways, too.

“I was a bit worried at first, too,” I admitted, “and it definitely took some adjusting, but I was prepared, and I knew if things were bad, I’d have people to depend on for support.”

“That helps,” Aunt Hana said, “A lot.”

I nodded again.

“Even so, I do worry sometimes about how the normies handle it.”

I smirked at the term and shrugged, “I’m not really the best judge of normal, really.”

Aunt Hana nodded, smirked lightly and said, “True, although I imagine the more curious students can be a bit off-putting.”

I shrugged again, “I just tell them my disability is being Korean.”

Aunt Hana blinked a few times, apparently unsure how to handle that little minefield. Rather than say anything, she just nodded.

Remembering the game, I grabbed the cue ball to take my shot.

This might come as a shock, but I lost. Badly. Aunt Hana looked like she wanted a second game, but before she could say anything Satomi had dashed over to us. Somehow she had broken into a sweat.

“Hey, Mom,” she greeted, “Hey, Hee-neesan. Have a good game?”

Aunt Hana nodded, “Yes. Looks like you had quiet a match yourself.”

Satomi grinned and nodded, “It was close, but I won. The match, that is –I lost a game. Those two are on their school’s ping pong club, and I got lucky in the last game. I think I need a shower, so I’m gonna drop off my paddle and head back to the suite, okay?”

“Do you have a key?” I asked.

“…Mom, can I borrow your key?”

Aunt Hana glanced at me, “Do you have your key?”

I nodded.

“All right, see you soon,” Aunt Hana said, handing Satomi her keycard.

“Thanks,” Satomi said, and headed off.

“And I thought I had energy,” I remarked.

Aunt Hana chuckled, “Ready to head back to the room?”

I nodded, “Sure. Hopefully Satomi won’t have eaten all the cookies.”

Aunt Hana sighed, “I hope not, or Miya will just make more. Speaking of, having all four of us around wondering how you’re doing is probably wearing on you, so, if we ever get too overbearing, let us know. You are almost an adult, after all.”

“…Thanks, I’ll remember that. You guys are actually really good at being supportive without being overprotective or anything. So thanks, I appreciate that.”

Aunt Hana smiled, “Experience born of practice, for some of us. I know what it’s like to be treated like a damaged doll, and I don’t want to inflict that on anyone.”

“Thanks,” I said again, “although I might be a special case.”

“Maybe, but you’re no doll, or you wouldn’t be here with us.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say to that, so I just nodded and followed her to the attendant’s counter. I may not be a broken doll, babbling in a corner and jumping out of my skin every time someone touched me, but that was only because of all the other traumas. Damaged or not, though, I had help, just like Aunt Hana had growing up. It was kind of cool, in a way, how she was in a place in life where she could help someone like me.

It was things like that that helped keep me going.

Next Chapter

There are two chapters left, and then, we shall enter AUTUMN. And with that, Halloween.


(And yes, I know Fall’ll begin before the final chapter. I’m not that dumb.)

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/18)

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:30 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Looks like you had a quiet a match yourself.”
"quite a match"
I may not have broken doll,
"broken down"?

Re: The Manila Tales –A Summer-ish Series (Updated 9/18)

Posted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:59 pm
by Hoitash
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Looks like you had a quiet a match yourself.”
"quite a match"
Whoops, fixed.
I may not have broken doll,
"broken down"?
"Be a". I changed the sentence mid-thought and didn't notice, apparently.