Alone, in a field of flowers, sits a quiet home. The slow-moving wind bends the flowers to its whim. Yellow, white, red, it mattered not. The wind proceeded unhindered. Only a dirt road, with a small vehicle parked there, sat there. The beautiful red house with a single window in front, sat alone. Probably the last of its kind, it was one of very few places left. Atop the brown roof, a young girl lies, looking up into the sky. Her purple hair constantly retreating to the front of her face as the wind blew it. A smile came to her lips as she repositioned her hair. Her blue eyes seemed delighted to see it. The black skirt moved slightly in response to the wind, shifting direction. The purple shirt and shoes she wore happily. Everything seemed quiet and peaceful. She lie quietly letting the wind drift across her skin. The coolness it brought she enjoyed.
???: So, I wonder what you could tell me if you could speak? The stories you could tell me, the people you've seen, the wonders you've beheld.
She sits up quietly.
???: I wish I could be like the wind. Drifting anywhere and everywhere, seeing things I've never seen before...
A butterfly quietly approaches her. She smiles and lifts up her finger, and the butterfly quietly perches itself.
???: Hello, little butterfly. Would you lend me your wings, so I could fly?
The butterfly flies away after she speaks those words.
???: I thought that'd be your answer.
???: Miwa! Miwa, where are you?
The girl moves hearing the voice. She stands up and turns around and walks upward to her window. Her mother stood in the room. The mother had her black hair braided across the front of her body. Her blue eyes staring at Miwa as she entered. The woman wore a pair of blue jeans and a long-sleeved red shirt. On her front, she wore a white apron.
Miwa: Yeah, I'm here, mom.
???: Lying on the roof again, huh?
Miwa: Yeah, I was. Its really breezy today.
???: I've given up on stopping you, so just be careful when you're on the roof, alright?
Miwa: Yes, mom.
???: Come on down, lunch is ready.
Miwa nods. This woman was her mother, her full name was Yukiko Suzuki. For as long as Miwa could remember, the two of them had always lived together alone. If there was anything that had to be done, her mother would take care of it. These walls were always the same. How she longed to escape this home and venture out into the real world. However, she was neither old enough or experienced enough to make such a decision. She was too young to even think about the idea. Her mother wanted her to focus on one thing that was upcoming, the Ars Magus aptitude test. Though the school year had already started, her mother insisted she try, because she wanted her to get a good education. Each day had been filled to the brim with studying. Miwa sat at the table and saw a sandwich sitting there. She quietly picked up the sandwich between her fingers and took a small bite.
Yukiko: How is your studying coming?
Yukiko: Its not going to be too long before your test.
Miwa: I know, mom.
Yukiko: If you could be enrolled into the academy, think of all the doors it would open for you.
Miwa: I know.
Miwa takes another small bite of the sandwich. Miwa did want to get in to the academy. Being able to say she was in the same school as people from the Duodecim, not only could she help her mother, but she could learn all sorts of things. She did want to escape, but she doubted whether or not she could get into such a school. The school would accept students of any age, that wasn't the problem. The problem was showing the NOL she had some sort of promise. Yet, as she took another bite of her sandwich, her confidence was like the tides. At times, she felt like she could do it. At other times, it felt like an impossible task.
Miwa: Mom, how is dad?
Yukiko: Your father? He's fine.
Miwa could tell when her mother was lying. It had been years since her father had entered into this house. Her thoughts drifted toward the idea that her mother also wanted to leave this place. As she finished another bite, she asked her mother a question.
Miwa: Mom, why do we stay here?
Her mother chuckles.
Yukiko: Because its our home silly.
Miwa: No, I mean, why did you and dad decide to live here?
Yukiko: Well when we did, we thought we might like to have children. We wanted them to grow up in a serene place.
Miwa: But, way out here?
Yukiko: Are you unhappy Miwa?
Miwa: H-huh? N-no, I'm fine.
Yukiko: I see, you're getting to that age, aren't you?
Yukiko: You feel like a little caged canary.
Miwa's mother could always read Miwa like an open book.
Miwa: I'm fine, mom, really.
Yukiko walks over and rubs her head.
Yukiko: Its only natural a girl like you wants to see the world and dislike staying in one place.
Yukiko: Ever since you were a baby, you couldn't stay in one place dear.
Miwa: I couldn't?
Her mother laughs.
Yukiko: As soon as you learned to walk, you took off like a train. Wanting to see the world around you.
Miwa: I did, huh?
Yukiko: That's why I so badly want you to get into the Academy. You'd have a chance to meet new people, make new friends, learn how to defend yourself, and get a good education.
Miwa: (Not to mention be able to support mom, too.)
Her mother rubs her head.
Yukiko: I think you'll do great.
Miwa nods and finishes her sandwich. She places the plate in the sink and begins to wash it. Her mother cleaned the counter. Miwa goes to the window and looks to see a their backyard. The flowers were in bloom, including the ones she planted.
Yukiko: They're beautiful, aren't they?
Miwa loved seeing the flowers she planted grow. Each flower was beautiful and her eyes then catch sight of flowers she had not planted. Ones that had been there ever since she was born.
Miwa: Mom, those were the flowers dad planted, right?
Yukiko: Yes, your dad planted those on the day you were born.
Miwa thought the flowers were beautiful, but...
Miwa: Why doesn't dad come visit?
Yukiko: Oh, well, your father can be very busy.
Miwa: Does dad hate me?
Yukiko: No, not at all! Where would you get such an idea into your head?
Miwa: He never comes home. I don't even know his face.
Yukiko: Miwa, your father loves you. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have the money we have to survive.
Miwa: I know, but...
Yukiko: I hate this too, Miwa. Your father always being gone. One day, we'll all be together. Your father, you and I, we'll live here in peace.
Miwa didn't like the answer. One day. That was always the answer. Miwa felt that day would never come. As if it were just something always stuck in the future, an ever-changing date that never seemed to come. Every time her father set a day for him to come back, it would never happen. Something would come up. Something would happen. That was how it always was. Miwa certainly didn't hate her father, but she wished that he could be right here with them. It seemed as though that her father kept making excuses to not come home.
Miwa: Can you tell me where dad works, mom?
Yukiko: You know I can't, Miwa.
Miwa seemed disappointed.
Yukiko: Your father works in top secret, even I don't know.
Miwa: Why doesn't dad want us to know?
Yukiko: I'm sure he has his reasons Miwa. Now, why don't you go back to studying?
Miwa sighs and decides to go to the backyard. She stands amongst the flowers. Her thoughts beginning to drift. What would happen if her mother was no longer here? What would she do? She shakes her head. Her mother had been a miracle child. She lasted longer then any of the doctors said she would. Until her mother's health began to fail, she resolved to never think on the subject again.
Miwa: (For mom, I have to pass.)
A few days pass by and Miwa quietly sits in the air ship as it takes off toward the city that house the academy. Her mother had purchased the ticket for her to travel to Torifune. The city that housed the NOL's military academy. She had heard everything that involved the academy. Students were from the Duodecim, some were invited, and rarely, students were scouted. Herself? She was none of that. She was a commoner by birth. Someone who simply lived by herself with her mother. Just applying to such an esteemed school wasn't enough to get in, she'd have to show her physical abilities. Not to mention she'd have to show her mental strengths. She had read about how many students were turned away. It was countless people. The hurdles she'd have to jump over in order to get into the school, seemed impossible for a girl like her. She sighed to herself.
Miwa: (All these depressing thoughts in my head...)
???: Hello there?
Miwa looks up to see another girl standing there. Her fox tail danced in the air behind her. Miwa seemed amazed.
???: Do you mind if I sit with you?
Miwa: N-no, not at all.
The young girl sits right next to her.
???: Are you okay?
Miwa: I-i'm fine.
???: Your stammering says otherwise.
Miwa: No, really, I am!
The girl snickers at her.
???: You act like you've never seen a beastkin before.
???: Wait, you've never seen a beastkin before?
Miwa motion that she hadn't.
???: Wow, you're rare.
Miwa: What do you mean?
???: Beastkin are basically humans with animal ears and tails, to be really simple about it.
???: Unfortunately, most beastkin are treated like dirt.
???: Because we're different, I suppose.
Miwa: That's not fair.
Miwa: Just because you look different or act different from someone else, that doesn't mean you should be treated any less than someone else.
???: You really are rare, you know?
Miwa seemed to misunderstand what she meant.
???: Still, you're cute.
Miwa: I-I am?
The girl laughs.
Kiyoko: My name is Kiyoko.
Miwa: Nice to meet you. My name is Miwa.
Kiyoko: I'll hang out with you until we reach Torifune.
Miwa: Huh? Are you going to take the Military Academy Entrance exam too?
Kiyoko: No way. I value my freedom too much.
Miwa: I want to get in.
Miwa: I want to help my mom.
Kiyoko: But isn't being a kid awesome though?
Kiyoko: You really don't know what its like to be a kid?
Miwa: I'm already a kid?
Miwa didn't understand. Kiyoko sighs.
Kiyoko: Listen, when you get back from taking that test. I'll show you what a real childhood is.
Miwa gave Kiyoko a puzzled look.
Miwa: Um, okay?
Kiyoko: Good, no arguments. Do you have any other friends?
Kiyoko: You don't have any friends?
Miwa: Is having no friends a bad thing?
Kiyoko: Of course it is!
Kiyoko: I'm joking. Its okay, but its really not good to have no friends. So I'll be your first.
Miwa: Um, ok?
Kiyoko: No, not like that!
Kiyoko: Really put your feelings into it.
Kiyoko: Like this.
Kiyoko grabs Miwa's hand and places it in hers. Miwa blushes.
Kiyoko: Really? Something like shaking hands makes you blush?
Kiyoko laughs at her. Miwa looks down.
Miwa: I-I'm fine.
Kiyoko: You really are interesting Miwa. You're kind of my opposite. You're really reserved, but I'll help you break out of that shell.
Miwa: Break out of my shell? But I'm not a turtle...
Kiyoko: And here I thought you didn't have a sense of humor.
Miwa still seems confused.
Kiyoko: Either way, I'll help you out. So don't lose that innocence, alright?
The ship continued to sail on toward Torifune. Miwa more confused then ever.
Miwa: (Is everyone like this?)