Ember Part 5
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Toroa, June 20th, 1500

 

PoV: Hocha

 

While the new library in Toroa Island had a residence hall for library personnel built into it, most of the researchers still prefer to rent a place or buy a house in Haruka town proper. So even if the library was already functional, there were still some scholars of Ohara who can be seen walking around in Haruka town. Whenever their shift at the library was done, they would mingle with the locals and carry on like how they usually did on Ohara.

 

Hocha was one of the people who rent out a room in the town, and she didn’t move into the library proper even if library residence was free. Hocha remained to rent a room at Haruka town because she felt that living together with other people in the library’s residence hall would mean that she wouldn’t be able to laze around whenever she felt like.

 

It might have been okay to laze around and delay housework if she did choose to move in, but she didn’t want others to know that she liked to live sloppily. Roche had already liked to tease her as it is, and he didn’t know how she acted at home. Other people would also easily know that she like to delay doing things she thought of as inconsequential If she moved in with the other to live at the library residence hall.

 

And while the teasings were not malicious, and being teased as a lazy person wouldn’t actually bother her, she still didn’t want Roche – or others who were actually being malicious – to have another ammo that they could use to tease. A girl had to have her pride and a clean reputation, even if both were actually non-existent.

 

And after half a year living in Toroa to oversaw and to care for the books, Hocha slowly went back to her usual routine. She would put off any cleaning and other non-essential activity when she felt it was such a bother to do it. She would delay until the place she lived in started to feel uncomfortable because the hygiene level was lowered too much before she would bother picking a broom.

 

Or she would wait until she had to do things she didn’t want to do and pick up a broom and sweep the place to put off doing it.

 

When she had the mood to do it, she would clean the place until everything was tidy and there was no more dust in the hidden corner. But sometimes her mood vanished halfway, and she felt that she didn’t want to continue like what happened this day. She had already designated the day as a cleaning day since a week ago, but looking at the pile of paperwork in the table made her want to find other things to do.

 

And as Hocha lounged about in front of the table, she chanced upon the sight of Yord coming out of one of the grocer’s shops carrying a lot of things effortlessly. She looked around the room at her unfinished chore and shrugged her shoulder, abandoning it as a lost cause. She might as well see what Yord got up to because he usually had an interesting way to pass the time.

 

...

 

When she passed by the crowd of townspeople going through their day and could see him again, he was already walked to the direction of his home. She walked faster to chase him while doing a cursory inspection of what he bought off the grocer to try to guess what he was going to do.

 

To her dismay, it was mostly foodstuffs so it would mean that he was just out to do grocery shopping. She was hoping that she could amuse herself by watching Yord – and his brother – doing something interesting, but it looked like today was just not the day for that. She was going to walk away to find other things to pass the time, but Yord saw her walking closer so she decided to at least say hi.

 

“Grocery shopping?” after the usual exchange of greeting, Hocha asked while gesturing with her chin towards the goods that Yord carried on his shoulder.

 

“Yeah, for tomorrow.”

 

“What’s happening tomorrow?” Hocha suddenly felt curious, buying food in a large quantity and specifying it for tomorrow’s consumption. What kind of event did he arrange for tomorrow? she might have found something interesting to pass the time.

 

“It’s a birthday party,” Yord answered. When she raised one of her eyebrows in querying expression, he continued “Wuld.”

 

“Oh, so it’s for him.” Hocha paused before voicing over what she wondered about for quite a long time.“how old is he anyway?”

 

“Five, tomorrow,” Yord answered easily without slowing his stride, while Hocha paused in shock.

 

”Really? I thought with his...” “ she chased Yord who kept walking and match his stride while using her arm to trace an abstract gesture to emphasize what she said. “...he would be older than that.”

 

“Well, he’s been like that since...” Yord looked up in thought and suddenly he stumbled over a sticking out stone tile in the path, but he righted himself promptly even before what he carried could tilt over. He looked down and fix his hold over what he carried before continuing his conversation “...since he was 3, I think.”

 

Yord watched with amazement over the ease in which Yord righted himself. Were she be the one in his place, she would definitely fall down and injured herself.

 

Hocha was busy imagining things that she didn’t watch where she stepped. She stumbled over another loose stone and almost planting her face to the ground but York caught the collar of her jacket and stopped her.

 

“Be careful of where you step,” Yord told her with a smile. Hocha who was held by the back of her collar like a cat could only smile sheepishly.

 

When she successfully stand up again and continued walking, she found out that Yord had stopped. She looked back and saw that he was looking in the direction of the sea beyond the Haruka Town, narrowing his eyes to inspect something in the distance.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Did you see that?” Yord gestured using his free arm toward something in the distance. “I think it was a ship... is it one of yours?”

 

Hocha narrowed her eyes and even held her palm above her eye to provide cover from sunlight but she could only see a small speck of something in the distance. “Really? I can’t see anything at all.”

 

Yord looked at her with a considering gaze after hearing her answer before turning back to continue walking. He shook his head and said: “I guess it didn’t really matter. We'll know sooner or later”

 

Hocha stopped in place, torn between following Yord’s home or walking back toward Haruka Town and waited at the dock for the ship to land there.

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