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- [c] After that, let’s do Parkour~
[c] Never Say Goodbye.
You take a deep breath. You realize you can’t solve this problem from just standing and doing nothing. The one thing you have in mind is to get some fresh air and let the wind blow away all your problems, and that means going for a stroll at the seaside, and you know just where to go. Donning your headphones once again, you head for the said location.
You’re relieved that no one is present at your secret place, and it matters to you because you want to fully use the opportunity from the situation. You waste no time and strip yourself down to your briefs and lie down on the sandy beach; nothing can beat getting soothed by the southern wind and lying under the South Hemisphere sun, and at once you feel all problems lifted off you and washed away by the gentle breeze. You close your eyes, allowing your body to relax, and you start feeling at peace; you have lost the count on how many times you’ve visited this place, but you know for sure this is the one place you’d go to get away from trouble.
For now, all you want to do is sun-bathe and get your skin tanned.
“Oh, my, you surely have the nerves to bask underneath the sun barely naked~”
The remark is more than enough to bring you out of your dream. Reluctantly you open your eyes and come face-to-face with the purple lady. “Careful, Alyssa. If you don’t watch your back, someone will pounce at you and do naughty things~” she remarks.
“Oh, jeez, stop showing up and scaring me with that stunt of yours,” you groan and cover your face with your hat. It gets removed, however, and you look back at the purple lady in disdain. “What do you want?” you ask.
“Silly Alyssa, like I’m going to let you live your life as freely as you wish,” she says while twirling the hat in her hand. She chuckles as you snatch your hat back, and doesn’t even flinch when you glower at her. “Easy now~ I’m not going to hurt you,” she utters.
“Yeah, and I’m getting tired from seeing you everywhere. Did you clone yourself for that purpose?” you ask. She honest-to-goodness laughs, and you find yourself furious over the response. “Hey, I’m serious here, so stop laughing for God’s sake.”
“Ah~ you’re one funny girl,” she remarks and opens the paper fan to hide her amused smile. “But still, you shouldn’t leave your family just because you don’t like what they do. Remember, they play a very important role in your life.”
You furrow your eyebrows. “How did you…” You get interrupted again as the woman prods the paper fan on your chest, and she merely smiles as you pout at the gesture. “You aren’t helping, you know,” you retort.
“Well, how am I supposed to help you if you never ask?” she replies.
“Jeez, you’re annoying. Whatever, I want to get some rest, so don’t disturb me,” you say and wear back your headphones. Your concentration on your song of choice is disrupted when the purple lady takes the gadget off your head and wears it. “That’s not nice. You should have asked,” you grumble. She ignores you and instead takes your music player to switch to songs only God knows what. You throw your arms up in surrender and lie back on the sandy beach. “Whatever. Do whatever you like, but don’t lose it,” you tell her.
“I won’t go anywhere, dear~” she remarks and closes her eyes as to enjoy the music. You just watch as the purple is nodding her head to the beat of the music, and you can’t help noticing the knowing, if not nostalgic, smile on her face. After what seems to be half an hour of music appreciation, she returns the music player and its gadget to you, placing them on your palm as if she understands they’re your property. “There you go. Make sure you keep them like they’re your most precious treasure,” she says.
“What’s up with that remark?” you ask.
She smiles and lightly taps the paper fan on your head. “Well, do you feel better now?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you say and grab your clothes next to you. “But yeah, I feel better – a bit, if that’s what you meant.” You dress up and get back on your feet. “I’m thinking of doing some free running. Want to join?”
“I think I’ll pass,” the purple lady replies. “I’m afraid I may not be able to keep up with someone as energetic as you.”
“Very funny. The next thing I know, you’ll pop up at our meeting point,” you chide.
She smiles. “We’ll see, Alyssa.”
Fixing your hat to keep it steady, you bid the purple lady farewell and leave the private beach to return to the bustling city. You head to the city park where a group of free-runners are gathering, and you greet them as you approach them. You express your desire for free-running to them, and are delighted when they invite you to join them. “Okay, guys, whoever gets to that building last,” you say and point to an office block nearby, “will have to treat all of us chocolate. Agree?”
“Really now? All we know is that you're pretty lousy in making bets,” one of them remarks.
“I'm on, bro,” his friend adds.
“Oh! Can you buy me chocolate ice-cream, too?” one of your female friends says.
You scratch the back of your head in amusement. “Jeez, you guys,” you say and immediately take your run. “You better catch me if you want to have chocolate!” you yell and head straight to the office block. You can hear them laughing as they chase after you across the streets, dodging and jumping over traffics, blending in the ocean of humans and scaling walls.
You arrive at the rooftop. You turn to your partners who show up seconds behind, and grin victoriously as they're struggling to approach you. “That means you've lost the game, eh?” you say amusedly.
“Not really, but a promise is a promise,” your friend says with a tired grin. “We can never outrun the blazing star, that's the fact.”
“Cut that out, guys, I'm in good mood today, so I'll buy you dinner,” you say. “Anyway…” You turn around and look at the opposite building, not aware of your friends who have gathered around you. “What do you think?”
“You're crazy enough to scale up this building while we have to pass by the security,” he speaks. “But jumping from here to there?” He looks at you, and you can't help seeing the motivated grin on his face, as well as the rest of your colleagues. “Let's do it. All of us. We jump from here to there and continue our run.”
“You're crazy,” you comment.
“Well, aren’t all of us are?” he replies. “Come on, you've jumped off the bridge and landed on the moving barge safely. I’m sure you can do this jump easily.”
You stare at him. “There’s a difference between climbing a building and jumping between buildings,” you say and look at the twenty-foot gap that stretches between the two buildings. “Why don’t you try doing that and see for yourself?”
“Actually… that’s why we asked you,” his girlfriend adds. “We’re kind of… not confident of our own ability, so…”
“And here I thought you people are the best free-styled, unrestrained free runners in the city,” you retort. “Seriously, why are all of us up here in the first place? There are times and places for everything, and this? It isn’t one of them.” Seeing none of them say anything, you shake your head in disgrace and turn around to head back to the door. “That’s it, guys. I’m going home; can’t afford to be late for…” Your steps halt, and you can’t believe who’s waiting for you at the door. “…dinner.”
Your Parkour friends approach you, curious and surprised by your companion’s presence. “Is she your friend, Alyssa?” your friend asks. “She looks… old.”
“Oh, ho~ you surely have the balls to call me old, young boy,” the purple lady says almost threateningly; is it you, or did you just see the air behind her bulging and cracking?
The purple lady chuckles and waves her hand dismissively. “Now, now, all of you, I’m not here because I’m the little comet’s friend or something. I just want to see how far she can reach for the stars before she comes crashing into the earth. That would be nice to see, wouldn’t it?”
“I find that remark insulting, thank you very much,” you retort.
“Oh, come on~ surely you don’t find the opportunity to impress your girl friends enticing, do you?” To your chagrin, some of your female colleagues are blushing, and you look back at the purple lady who merely smiles. “What? It’s the truth; after all, you’re quite infamous for stealing their precious things~”
“I am not, and stop giving people more bad ideas about me,” you grumble.
“Why?” she asks.
“Because that’s the worst thing people will do, that’s why,” you answer. “Goddamn it. Why is it wherever I go people will start having bad impression about me? What am I, a thief?” None of them – not even the purple lady – answers you, and it’s pissing you. “That’s it. I’m going home. No one is making fun of me, and I mean no one.”
“Oh? I believe your ordinary magician mother will disagree with you.” You halt just a few inches short from the door. You turn around and glower at the purple lady. You’re as angry over the remark, as you are intrigued; you’re very certain she was speaking Japanese, but how could you understand her?
“I’ll tell you everything you want to know, dear~” she speaks and closes the handheld fan. “But only if you agree to perform the jump of faith.”
“Are you pulling my legs? That’s a twenty-foot gap between her and there,” you point out. “No ordinary people can make the jump and get to the other side alive.”
“Oh, yes, they can,” she says. “If they’re willing to throw their common sense out of the window.” Once again, she speaks Japanese, and once again you can understand every single word. Your head starts aching, and you almost feel like you’re going to puke and black out. You manage to stay composed and stare at the purple lady, long enough to make her chuckle. “Well?”
You turn to your Parkour colleagues, then back at the purple lady, and finally at the twenty-foot gap. The prospect of hearing everything from your ‘mysterious’ friend is too good to pass up, but you’re concerned about whether you can perform the seemingly impossible feat.
[ ] Do it.
[ ] Don’t do it.
Casts introduced so far:
+ Alyssa Kirisame
+ Reverie Mondlandern
+ Shopkeeper Andrew
+ Natalie O’Brien
+ “Old Man” Drake Mondlandern
+ Missus Vixen/The Mysterious Purple Lady
+ Officer Howard
+ Cheshire Cat