The Distant Trail of Ciara Badvia - 1-6-4 Meeting Ruth at the Store
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The Saria Magic Academy
Part 6: A Disquieting Shadow
MEETING RUTH AT THE STORE
“What an odd girl.” Misty finally broke the silence.
Tyril forced a smile. “I don’t think she’s a bad person, though.”
“Well, maybe. But I feel tired.”
Misty smiled wryly, and of course, Tyril agreed. Actually, she wanted to argue she was the most tired, but competing was pointless and she had no energy for it.
“Still might be best to be careful,” Zell chimed in. “The girl seems interested in the daughter of a legendary mage and not in you, Tyril. In a way, she’s no different from the people gossiping about you from a distance. Get too close and you might get hurt.”
I see. That’s one way to look at it… Tyril turned a little more wary. Compared to the trio who was openly hostile to her yesterday, Leela was more likable and her behavior didn’t put Tyril on guard, unlike those who gossiped about her in hushed whispers.
It felt like she had to doubt everyone who approached from now on. A dark, gloomy feeling settled in her—but Misty soon cleared it away. That was happening more often of late.
“Well, there’s no need to worry so much, right?” Misty said lightly, waving her right hand upward. “If that girl does anything, I’ll punish her severely.”
“How scary…” Zell jokingly trembled.
Tyril did, too. Misty’s cheerful smile blew away the dark clouds in her heart and replaced it with an entirely different one—a cloud of joy, floating above a green field dotted in pink.
“So, what should we do for lunch? Should we just eat here?” Misty asked as she finished her coffee. Zell had gone as well, and the cafeteria felt emptier without him. As they’d taken the time with their cups, the place slowly filled up as lunchtime approached.
“What to do…” Tyril tried to give it some thought for a moment, but she shook her head and immediately answered. “Ah, maybe it’s better to go somewhere else.”
The hall was more crowded now. Perhaps Tyril was being overly sensitive, but she could tell the gazes focusing on her were mounting. She hadn’t been able to take a break and relax for lunch in this cafeteria recently, in fact.
“Let’s go eat outside, maybe buy something. Is that fine?”
“Why not? I haven’t been to the store in a long time.” Misty stood up, her voice light. Whether she was aware of her concerns and was pretending not to notice or just genuinely didn’t understand, Tyril was grateful for her promptness.
They went outside and headed towards the main path. Along it were about four simple tents selling snacks. The sandwich Tyril had yesterday was from one of these stores.
She didn’t actually have much of an appetite. When Misty asked what she wanted to eat, Tyril deferred to her and decided to go with whatever she picked.
“Well then, I think I’ll go for the galraud* stuffed with sausages. I like that one.”
“Ah, that looks delicious. I think I’ll try the one with eggs, then.”
In truth, anything would do. Tyril knew she was going to have to force it down somehow, or else Misty would worry.
There was a line forming at the shop selling galraud—or, to be exact, a small group was loitering in front of the shop. There was still some time before lunch break, so there was no sign of people in front of the other stores, which seemed like they were slowly preparing for the upcoming rush. Students occasionally looked at the store with interest, but only two or three actually made their way to the front.
Tyril put a hand on her cheek and turned to her friend. “It’s so crowded… Should we go to a different store?”
Misty had a suspicious look on her face at first, a look which then suddenly morphed into realization. She sighed and muttered, “That idiot…”
Wondering what she meant, Tyril followed Misty’s gaze and observed the mob in front of the store. Then, she noticed it, too—a familiar face in the crowd. She certainly didn’t want that person to come over with that large group of theirs. I hope they don’t notice us…
Unfortunately, just as she thought that, the group noticed them.
“Hey, Misty, Tyril! What a coincidence, meeting you here!” In the center of the group, gold, spiky hair swayed. “You came to get some galrauds? Come on, I’ll buy you whatever you like.”
“Hey, that’s not fair! Treat us, too!” His train of girls began clamoring.
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s get the lovely vendor to treat us all!”
“Who’s treating who?” The young female vendor glared at him. “You are paying, aren’t you, Ruth?”
Ruth shot her a playful look and held up his right hand. “Oh, come on, don’t say that. Just do me a favor. Please?” he said in a tone like he was petting a cat.
Tyril wanted to escape this instant, but some of the women were eyeing them with suspicion and a bit of hostility. She exchanged glances with Misty and communicated with their eyes—It doesn’t look like we can just leave, does it?—and both let out a deep sigh at the same time.
“Jeez, you’re such a pain,” Misty said. “Making her serve you guys like this. Aren’t you getting in the way of our food?”
All the girls’ eyes in Ruth’s group focused sharply on Misty. The look on them seemed quite vicious, as if Misty was directly speaking ill of them.
“Why’s that? I just wanted us all to have a good time having a meal together. It’s not that big a deal.”
“Please. You’re just using that as an excuse to flirt with the vendor because she’s cute. You’ve got some nerve, dragging this whole entourage of yours and still hitting on other girls.”
“What’s with this bitch? So rude. Insulting Ruth like that is just awful. Hurry up and leave already!” Ruth’s train of girls hurled insults toward Misty one after another—but Misty couldn’t care less. She glared only at Ruth, not even noticing the rest.
MTL/N: I really do not understand how the author names their food or if they have irl counterparts. I’m assuming the names are fantasy and they don’t exist irl, so if I fucked it up, I’m terribly sorry.
*That said, a galraud is apparently baked/fried thin buckwheat dough stuffed with another food.