Forest Secrets

Chapter XV


It took two days of rest before all of them were back to being their normal selves. Naru requested enough tea that Mai nearly told him to move to the kitchen verses staying in Alex's office. Ayako and Takigawa were flirting again (although no one was calling it that to their faces unless it was to get them to stop). Lin was back to his normal silent self, though Madoka had taken it upon herself to get him to interact with everyone else. Yasuhara was scheming (though no one dared to ask what). John and Masako were being the most contained and calm.

"Do you really have to go so soon?" Alex was sitting in the game room playing chess against Rafael. Rayan stood behind her husband, watching the game.

"Yes," Rayan answered. "My mother is going to want to hear about this. She's already going to be annoyed because we deviated on our way to her."

Alex sighed, nodding. "Alright, but don't be to hard on her. She'll probably be upset that I didn't call her to come and help."

Rafael snickered. "You wouldn't have needed to do so much work then. She'd have just scared the creatures away."

Alex rolled her eyes. "Checkmate," she tipped over his king. Rafael scowled at her.

"Why do I play you again?"

"In the hopes that you'll win once in awhile," Alex replied. "When are you going to leave?"

"Tonight," Rayan answered. "What about the others?"

"Wednesday," Alex replied. "That's the only flight they could get that had room for all of them."

Rayan hugged her. "Don't be sad," she told the girl, "now go save your sister before she kills her boyfriend." Naru had just called for more tea.

Alex laughed, shaking her head. "Good luck, be safe, don't get into too much trouble." She gave them both a final hug before leaving the game room to intercept Mai.

"They're going to be calling you flight soon," Alex commented, giving Mai one last hug.

"I know," Mai squeezed Alex a little harder then needed. "Are you sure about this?"

"Very," Alex replied. "You have a life in Japan. Go live it. Just remember, my door is always open if you need anything." She grinned. "Besides, I wouldn't put it past his majesty to kidnap you." Both snickered at that before Alex became serious again. "You know my number if you have any questions, and my e-mail address as well." She removed the bag that was hanging from her shoulders. "This is for you, consider it seventeen years worth of birthday and Christmas presents." Mai moved to open it. Alex stopped her.

"No," she removed the bracelet from her wrist and placed it on Mai's. "Open it only once you've landed back in Japan. The key will open the locks, but not until you're in Japan."

"Okay," Mai agreed, wondering what on earth Alex was giving her. The bag was heavy, but nothing Mai couldn't handle on her own.

Alex pushed her into Naru, wishing the both of them luck and a safe journey. She watched as they disappeared with the others of SPR into the area where only passengers were allowed.

Mai looked behind her, watching as Alex disappeared behind them. Naru glanced at her. One thing he didn't want to ever have to deal with was a crying Mai, mostly because Mai was not a person that tears ever seemed to fit.

"You'll see her again," he said softly. He was not one that was good at comforting, but he was willing to try for Mai.

Mai nodded. "I know," she replied, "but it's still hard. We just met and now we have to part ways."

Naru shrugged. What was he supposed to say?

At that moment their flight was called. Naru pushed Mai ahead of him, making sure she didn't trip on the way into the plane. Mai turned and smiled at him before walking further ahead to sit down between Lin and Naru.

Naru and Alex were both right, Mai decided. She did have a life in Japan. She would see Alex again. Besides, Alex had said that she liked to travel, right?