By the time she reached the Tree of Knowledge’s lobby, or as Roche put it, the entrance hall to the world of knowledge, Hocha felt bone-tired in a physical and mental sense. The teenager, or more accurately, the prepubescent that called himself Yord dropped her – gingerly – on one of the chairs scattered around the tables. He didn’t even sweat carrying her from where they were to the Tree’s lobby
Honestly, she had thought that those two kids had the secret way to reach the cleverly hidden place they conversed in. Turned out they just jump out and navigate the tangle of root using some protruding part as a footpath, reaching the dirt passage where she heard the conversation from easily.
Even the little kid that looked younger than robin could traverse the difficult obstacle easily while she had to crawl and inch bit by bit to prevent injury. It looked so easy that she, a young girl, er, a woman at the prime of her life, felt that she was already an infirm elderly. The feeling intensified when she stopped halfway to breathe and those two kids exchanged a brief silent conversation using facial expression and fast hand gesture.
And then the teenager jumped closer as easy as it was before and picked her up easily, her weight didn’t even affect his balanced step on the protruding root. At first, he was going to lift her up bridal style, and she made an amused comment inwardly on his gentlemanly behavior, but it didn’t work out surprisingly. She was too tall for him to carry that way. He then changed her position to be over the shoulder carry and went to the tree of knowledge in a fast-paced jog.
The journey was a bit long, and in an effort to avert awkward silence, she tried to converse with Yord – who named himself on the way - with much difficulty from the way she was being carried and the speed he went for.
And then she was here, sitting in the lobby, trying to catch her breath. ‘Why does being carried could still feel so exhausting... Just what did they feed kids these days’ she idly wondered while looking at the two kids who didn’t have the decency to look winded for solidarity.
From deeper inside, Roche and Gram walked out, carrying a box of something while conversing in and trading genial jokes. When they caught the sight of her – currently trying her best to put the air back into her body like a landed fish – and her two current companions, they walked closer with the same pace as before.
“Hocha. I thought you’re going to make sure you had a plate to use when you want to eat next day,” Roche started before pausing for a bit to smile at Yord who was walking closer,”...and a place to lie down on the floor lazily without sneezing from dust.” He finished teasingly.
“Hey kid, what’d you need?” Gram only glanced briefly at her before addressing Yord who was meanwhile inspecting what they currently carried.
“Where is professor Clover?” Hocha asked from her position, still draped on the chair in a careless manner.
Roche raised his eyebrow at her and glanced sideways at Yord and gram before looking back over his shoulder, pointing backward with his thumb. “in his office, I guess? Probably doing another ‘casual’ reading, like usual”.
Hocha tried to stand but her legs were still wobbly so she sat back down again “Could you call...” she paused, changing ger word “Could you bring these two to meet him, It... kinda urgent, I think.”
Roche smiled indulgently at her before nodding to agree with her pleas... demands. He headed to the conversing pair sitting on the table nearby who spoke animatedly while occasionally gesturing and touching the content of the box and their conversation paused.
After a bit of short and barely inaudible conversation, Yord stood and followed Roche inside. Hocha thought that he would speak alone but halfway to the door he stopped to call his little brother over and both continued to follow Roche.
There was only her and Gram left on the lobby, and she can see that there was a glint of curiosity on his eye. But instead of asking her what had happened, he patiently waited, sitting calmly in silence. The thoughtfulness that he gave her made her exhausted self felt calmer.
“Thanks for waiting, gram.”
“Sure,” Gram replied with an understanding smile and continued, “I would be feeling unhappy if I was in your position and someone couldn’t wait to ask until I could recompose myself.”
She took a deep breath before starting, “I’m... worried about Olvia.”
“This? Those two kids bringing news about her?”
“No, it was...” she stopped, and tried to put her words in order, “The world government barely tolerated our research of poneglyph, and we sent a contingent of researchers to seek poneglyph outside...”
“What brought this on?”
“Do you remember the rumor about buster call?”
“But It isn’t something that will happen in west blue...?” Gram paused briefly before suddenly focusing his gaze on her. “You mean they would consider leveling this island to the ground if they now Olvia and others are looking for poneglyph outside?”
“But that’s absurd...”
“It somehow escaped our thoughts that the one who erased the void century was still there instead of fading together into history... and it was imperative for them to keep it that way to preserve their position and power...”
“But it just didn’t make sense that...” Gram paused in contemplation before sighing resignedly “it’s the Celestial Dragon, huh. That’s the only unreasonable party that I could imagine calling buster call on us...”
For a time, they both lapsed into silence, Hocha busy with her own thought while Gram sat in contemplative silence. The second grows into minutes but she didn’t want to break the silence, instead preferring to stare into the door leading deeper in the library of the tree of knowledge.
There was a sound of footsteps coming closer and the door opened, letting through Roche and the two kids. The only glanced briefly at Hocha and Grams’ direction, with only Yord waving at them as a sign of acknowledgment before walking into the exit. Roche walked behind them with a slow pace and somber expression, turning to their direction and sat next to Gram’s seat before he spoke.
“We’re... going to call those people who went to the sea back, and made them to urgently head home”
When there was no answer to his sudden proclamation, Roche smiled to himself, muttering” I guess Hocha had told you the bare bones, huh, Gram?”
“The kids were pretty convincing... it was something that sounds like paranoia, but he was very persuasive” He cast his sight on both Hocha and Gram successively, peering into their gaze in utmost seriousness. “He also knew many things that only people who can read poneglyph and few other know...” he sighed a long forlorn sigh “the ancient weapons...”
“What of it?” Gram jolted in his seat.
“He says that we will be vilified, accused of trying to make one of those ancient weapons using our ancient language knowledge.”
“Knowing things that he shouldn’t know?” Hocha mused slowly before realizing “that was almost similar to the account on one of our travel log about seer...”
“Yeah...” Roche nodded before continuing “at the very least, Professor Clover decide that we should make preparation to evacuate all of our books and made duplicates if it need be.”
The two people mulled that information in their thought, and the night lapsed into silence once more.