The airship quietly works itself through the air as it gets closer and closer to its destination.
Kiyoko: Really? You live in a house surrounded by flowers?!
Miwa: D-doesn't everyone?
Kiyoko: Of course not!
Kiyoko: A lot of people live in the hierarchical cities, but most of them are built with a lot of machines and electronics around them. Where you live must not have been touched by people.
Miwa: I don't know.
Kiyoko: Of course you don't. I wasn't asking you.
Miwa: Where do you live?
Kiyoko: Oh its this cool place I like to call the 'Fox Hole'.
Miwa: The...fox hole?
Kiyoko: Yeah, I'll show you one day. I promise.
Miwa: Um, if you say so.
Kiyoko: Can't you be enthusiastic for once?
Kiyoko: You just react so matter-of-factly. Its like you're depressed.
Miwa: But I'm not.
Kiyoko: I'm not saying you were!
Miwa: You weren't?
Kiyoko: See what I mean?
Miwa: Sorry, I didn't know what to say.
The two seem to exchange pleasant conversation throughout the entire plane ride until it finally settles into port.
Kiyoko: Remember, you promised that you'd come visit my home.
Miwa: I never promised anything.
Kiyoko sighs and grabs Miwa's pinky and places her own pinky in hers holding it between them. Miwa recognized this. A pinky promise.
Kiyoko: Now you do.
Miwa: Yeah, I promise.
It would give her a chance to get away from her home if nothing else. With that, as they stepped on to the port, the two separate. Miwa seemed kind of lost. She didn't know where to go?
???: Are you one of the people who came here to take the test?
Miwa turns towards the voice. A girl with the school outfit for the military academy stood there.
Miwa: Um, yes I am.
???: Come with me, I'll show you the way.
Miwa nods quietly, though hesitating with going with a stranger. Within a short time, the girl had shown her to the school.
???: If you keep going that way, you'll find where you're supposed to me.
Miwa respectfully bows to her.
Miwa: Thank you, ma'am.
The girl hesitates before quietly leaving. Miwa just stands and looks around. The school in all its entirety was right before her. It was bigger then she thought. She knew that Torifune was basically the school. She quietly steps forward only to see and hear three girls walking through the hallway. One with blonde hair and green eyes. One with red hair and blue eyes. Lastly, a girl with brown hair and eyes. The last girl also seemingly had a squirrel tail and ears.
Miwa: (Is she another beastkin?)
Miwa didn't know much about beastkin, but if she were to apply what Kiyoko had told her, then it would make sense. She turns her head to avoid staring.
Miwa: (Its impolite to stare.)
It was something her mother had taught her. It was impolite to stare at someone. She walks toward the room where the test would be administered. The hallway was completely quiet. Not another person in sight. As she steps into another room, an administrator stands there.
???: Miwa, correct?
Miwa quietly nods.
???: Then lets begin your test.
The test consisted of various tasks with which to test her. Each test more difficult then the last. She did everything as the instructor told her to do. The entrance exam was more daunting then she originally thought. Physical tests to see her strengths and weaknesses, mental tests to test her brain, and the ars magus test. Finally, with all the tests done, Miwa sits outside the room as the instructor decides her fate. She quietly awaits her results.
Miwa: (I did my best. Another chance to take the test won't be until next school year.)
The instructor quietly walks out to meet her.
???: Miwa Suzuki?
She looks toward the instructor. The instructor then takes a sheet of paper off her clipboard. Miwa quietly takes it.
???: I'm sorry, but you will not be joining us here at the academy.
Miwa's face turned into one of sadness. She had failed.
???: I hope you will try again next year.
The instructor just leaves her there and goes back into the room. Miwa just stares at the paper. She had failed at everything. Phsyical, Mental, and Ars Magus. They completely rejected her. She crumples the piece of paper in her hands, gripping it tightly. Her hopes shattered, her dream crushed, and her future now uncertain. Everything hinged on making it into the school, and now, it seemed even more impossible. She wipes her eyes, trying to avoid crying in full view of any other students who might be there. She quietly exits the school. Unhappy and saddened by the situation, she now had to figure out something. How was she going to be helpful to her mother? All the things she had sacrificed so she could raise her. She felt like nothing but a drain on her mother. Without noticing where she was walking, she accidentally bumped into another student. She dropped the test, and the young lady picked it up and handed it back to her.
???: Everything okay?
Miwa: Um, yes, I'm sorry.
???: You seem sad.
Miwa: ...I am.
???: I'm sorry.
Miwa: Huh? Why would you apologize?
???: You wanted to come to this school, right?
???: Did you make it in?
Miwa shakes her head no.
???: I know how difficult it is to get into this school, but you should never stop trying.
Miwa quietly listens to the woman. Her blonde hair and green eyes seemed saddened that she couldn't get her to respond back to her again.
Miwa: Excuse me, I must be going.
With that, Miwa rushed past the woman, trying to avoid her completely. She takes note that the woman who had been speaking to her had not followed her. Miwa didn't want to be by anyone. She quietly returned to the airship and boarded, she found a quiet secluded place so no one would bother her. Of course, a fox beastkin found her all the same. She stood over her as she sat in the corner.
Kiyoko: You know, isolating yourself doesn't make it any easier to make friends.
Miwa doesn't respond to her. Her mind elsewhere. Kiyoko bends over, curious as to why she wasn't responding. She takes note of the paper in her hands and grabs it from Miwa's fingers.
Miwa: Ah! No!
Kiyoko quietly looks over the paper and takes note how harshly the instructor criticized her. Kiyoko hands her the paper back and Miwa takes it. Kiyoko sits down next to her.
Kiyoko: The people at that academy could never measure your heart, Miwa.
Miwa's eyes well up with tears. A fluffy tail comes in front of her. Miwa looks at Kiyoko.
Kiyoko: Whenever I get sad, I like to cuddle with my tail, maybe it will help?
Miwa lets the paper fall to the side and she hugs the tail. It felt soft.
Kiyoko: Just, don't pull on it, okay?
Miwa: What am I going to do, Kiyoko? I wanted to support my mother, but I couldn't get into the academy.
Her eyes remain watery as she speaks, unhappy with what had happened. Kiyoko wasn't sure what to do with her.
Kiyoko: Miwa, have you ever had a job?
Kiyoko tries to think of something so that Miwa won't start crying.
Kiyoko: Miwa, think about this. Your mother will just be happy you came back safe. Mothers are like that.
Miwa: Yeah, but...
Kiyoko: Miwa listen, the world is unfair, always has, always will. Be happy you can go home to your mother.
Miwa takes her words in.
Kiyoko: Moms are understanding, I'm sure she'll understand.
Miwa: But what if I lose her?
Kiyoko: Then come to my place.
Kiyoko: Listen, Miwa, if anything happens at your place, come find my home.
Miwa: But I...
Kiyoko looks around and finds something to write on, along with something to use to write. She quickly jots down the way to get to her place. She then hands her the piece of paper.
Kiyoko: This is how to get to my home. Use it in case of an emergency, alright?
Miwa then tears the paper in half, then motions for the pen in Kiyoko's hand. She hands it over and Miwa jots down her own address. She then hands the other half to Kiyoko.
Miwa: This is where I live.
Kiyoko quietly takes the paper.
Miwa: I'd be happy if you'd come to my place too.
Kiyoko: I'll definitely try, Miwa.
Miwa: Kiyoko, can I ask something?
Kiyoko: Sure. Anything.
Miwa grips her shirt tightly.
Miwa: Will you be my friend?
Kiyoko is taken aback slightly. She chuckles a bit. Miwa loosens her grip as she seems confused at her response to her question.
Kiyoko: You don't have to ask, we already are.
Miwa: But, I wanted...
Kiyoko: Didn't I tell you on the way here? I'll be your first friend.
Miwa blushes, slightly embarrassed. Kiyoko then jumps down on to her and hugs her.
Kiyoko: You're so adorable!
Miwa's face is bright red. She suddenly faints.
Kiyoko: Huh? Did I break you?
An hour later, as the ship is in the sky, Miwa reawakens. She finds herself with a sleeping Kiyoko draped around her.
Miwa: (Except for mom, I've never had anyone else this close to me...)
The thought was just a bit scary to her, having someone she barely knew this close to her. Yet, she didn't feel scared at all. She felt oddly comfortable. She felt safe. She didn't move so as to not wake Kiyoko. Her mind drifted toward how little she knew of the world. She didn't know what beastkin were. She didn't know much about the NOL. There was so much she didn't know, and that innocence blinded her. A sad look overtakes her face as she loses herself in thought.
Miwa: (So much I don't know...)
Very rarely did Miwa ever leave the house, even then she was kept from seeing much of the world. It was like she was a well-kept secret. As long as her mother was still around, she was content with staying with her, but the day would eventually come when she would have to learn. That was what Miwa believed. At that moment, a half-asleep Kiyoko looked at Miwa.
Kiyoko: You know, you look cuter when you smile.
Miwa blushes at Kiyoko's assertion of her face. She hadn't thought about how her face looked at that moment.
Kiyoko: And the way you blush after everything, you're so innocent. I wish I could...say the...same...
Kiyoko eyes close as she drifts back into her slumber. Miwa shivers for a moment. It was just a bit too cold for her. She reaches out her arms, and stops midway. She then wraps her own arms around Kiyoko, bringing her close, and Kiyoko's tail instinctively wraps around her. There were still plenty of hours yet before they'd reach her home. For now, Kiyoko's body was warm, and her tail was warm as well. Just this once, Miwa would huddle for body warmth. She needed to keep warm after all, and Kiyoko seemed nice enough. She decided to place her trust in Kiyoko. Her eyes heavy with sleep, she let her eyes close and before long, the two almost looked like little girls sleeping in bed. The air ship continued on, unhindered by the things that went on within it. The long journey home made shorter by the air ship, amongst the night sky and stars, it sailed ever onward. Its task was making sure all it's cargo safely made it to the destination including the passengers. Miwa and Kiyoko slept quietly unaware of anything happening around them.