by Dark Ice Dragon
Lan glared at the file in her hand before glancing at the headset on her bedside table. She shook her head. No. She needed to do her coursework first – she had left it for long enough already.
And if she knew just how hard it was going to be, she would have started it earlier!
‘Stupid Gui,‘ she grumbled to herself, slouching further into her chair, ‘giving us coursework.‘ He’d known they were going to start – well, okay, he hadn’t, because he’d given them the coursework a couple of weeks ago.
And she should really get back to work.
To stop herself from being distracted, Lan turned away from her bed and focused back on the file.
The fact that she could still see the headset out of the corner of her eye didn’t help.
Logging in, Lan landed in a heap on the closest chair. She had done about half of what she was supposed to do, but when she’d started to go cross-eyed staring at the data pad, Lan had decided that enough was enough. The problem was, it was already early morning.
Ugh, no wonder she’d felt so tired. She was surprised that she’d been able to stay up so late – or maybe she’d actually dozed off a few times without realising. She wasn’t sure. At least she didn’t have a class until the afternoon, so she could sleep in without worrying too much about the time.
Absent-mindedly, she rubbed the back of her neck as she looked around. The inn was fairly quiet, with only a few people sitting at the tables. Or maybe there was one too many as she felt another pair of hands join hers and start to massage right where the stiffness was.
“If Your Highness all right?” Gui’s voice murmured. “We were worried when you didn’t log in.”
‘That’s because I was doing the coursework you set.” But she kept her mouth shut, too tired to yell at him or make him stop. “You’re good at that,” she said after a minute, almost feeling like she could purr. Unconsciously, she leaned back into his touch, her eyes closed.
Gui chuckled. “My mother… She’d sometimes get a sore neck after reading for too long.”
“I know how she feels,” Lan groaned. Hours. She’d spent hours trying to understand what the author was saying. Even then, she couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
She nodded tiredly.
He hummed, hands still working away. “It’s good that you took a break.”
‘Yeah, but that just means I’ll have more work later on! Wait…’ Lan opened her eyes and tilted her head back to look at Gui. What was going on?
He noticed, his hands slowing down. “We were worried about you,” he repeated. The next part was muttered, but Lan still heard it clearly. “And Yulian thought you might have boarded another ship.”
Erk. Once she’d rested for a little bit, she would mail Yulian to let her know that she wasn’t off to another continent.
“How come you’re still on, Gui?” Lan asked, twisting around so she wouldn’t end up with a sore neck again so quickly.
“I don’t have a lecture until later.”
Oh. Right. Her afternoon class was History of Chinese Literature.
“But there are a few things I need to do first to prepare for it.” Gui smiled softly, and then bowed, one hand sweeping his cloak back as he did so. “Do you think you will be on tonight?”
Lan shrugged, thinking it over. “I’m not sure; I’ll have to see how the work goes.”
Gui inclined his head, acknowledging the answer. “I will inform the others then if you do not turn up. Sleep well.”
She waved until Gui logged off. When he did, she thunked her head on the table and just lay there, arms sprawled. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea – she was exhausted, and her thoughts were jumbled, tripping over each other as they tried to reach coherency. And she was starting to develop a massive headache.
Dammit. She couldn’t concentrate right now, and no-one else was on anyway, so there wasn’t much point in staying.
She eventually sighed and slowly pushed herself upright, decision made. Get proper rest first, see what time it was when she woke up, do some more of the coursework -if she could- and then go to class.
Lan logged off and was instantly asleep as soon as she had slipped the headset off.
“Oh, great,” Lan groaned in frustration into her pillow. She’d finally finished the damned coursework but now her brain was still buzzing, constantly repeating phrases and sentences in her head, and it didn’t feel like it was going to shut off any time soon.
Her fingers twitched as she thought of something that could help. She could re-read the essay; that would send her back to sleep. Lan stared at where she’d left it, on top of her desk. But then she would start thinking again, and that was just too much work at the moment. She’d probably end up in the same predicament as she was in right now anyway.
Grumbling, Lan fluffed up her pillow and fell back on it. If anything, it woke her up more.
Two more things she’d learned over the last few days: she would never leave her assignment to the last minute again, and she would similarly never write them so late at night.
After countless hours of tossing and turning, and failing at not thinking, Lan eventually drifted off.
~ ~ ~
“Your Highness!” Gui bounded over to her, waving an arm in greeting. “You’re on late again.”
Lan shrugged, running a hand through her hair. “It was because of the uni work again, and it took me sooo long to finish.” She looked around but couldn’t see anyone she recognised, apart from some NPCs. The surrounding area was pretty player-deprived, but there were at least more present than the last time she’d logged in.
Gui smiled in sympathy. “You’ve been working hard on this.”
“I just hope it pays off,” Lan groused. “Anyway,” she said, shaking her head, “are the others on?”
“Yes. They’re waiting by the lake.” Gui started guiding her somewhere, a hand gently pushing at her shoulder.
There was a lake in Infinite City? She didn’t know that… But she hadn’t had a lot of spare time to explore it, so that was probably why.
A number of minutes later, they were standing in front of a huge sparkling lake that was encompassed by grass, with lines of trees, and there were a few small boats skirting on its surface. Off to the side, a little distance away, was a pier, where more boats were moored. Everyone else was there, either sitting on the bank, or splashing about in the water. Lan was a little surprised that they hadn’t been mobbed by other players yet, but maybe they had been better at hiding this time around.
She wasn’t sure who it was who had shouted, but then everyone’s attention snapped to her. There were grins all around and they quickly made their way towards her.
Lolidragon was the first person to reach her, with a wicked gleam in her eyes that Lan did not trust at all. “Hey, Prince, since we’re here, and I just happened to bring these along with me” -Lolidragon reached into her pouch and pulled out something fabric… and very, very small- “let’s take a couple of pictures before we start, shall we?”
When she didn’t respond, as she was trying to figure out what those items of clothing were (they didn’t look like they had enough material between them to cover anything), Lolidragon waved the clothes like a flag. Yep, there were at least three in her hand and when one fluttered away from the others, Lan realised they were swimwear.
She tried to picture what one would look like on her. It was the less painful option compared to sticky tape, with the same result. Sighing, she took the clothing from Lolidragon, ignoring the older woman’s leer, and then searched for somewhere to change.
And kept searching.
Nervously, she looked back at Lolidragon, whose leer deepened. “You could change right here; I don’t think anyone would mind.”
Actually, she knew a couple of people who would, herself included.
That started another dispute and Lan kept herself to the sidelines while they battled it out.
Yulian came up behind her while they were busy, trousers and a number of accessories in her hand.
“There’s a knot of trees over there,” Yulian said quietly, pointing at a slight hill. “No-one can see you when you’re in there, and it’s right next to the lake.” Which didn’t make a whole lot of sense until Lan saw the photocritter hovering by Yulian’s shoulder.
Right, of course.
Glancing back at the squabbling group and seeing that it wasn’t going to abate any time soon, she snuck off in the direction of where Yulian had pointed. She found the cluster of trees easily and weaved in and around the greenery until all she could see was trees, and the only sounds she could hear was the rustling leaves and birdsong. After another careful look around, Lan pulled off her top, folded it up and set it down on a convenient rock that was about knee-height. She had her hands on her belt-buckle when she looked up and saw the photocritter flapping above her head.
Ack! “Don’t take pictures now!” she hissed, scowling.
Lan flailed at it. “Go! Shoo! Shoo!” The photocritter dodged her hands, taking pictures all the while.
An idea formed in her mind and Lan snatched up her top, throwing it at the photocritter. It didn’t hit, the photocritter ducking under it. Jumping up before it was completely clear, she snatched the corners of the top and dragged it down. In seconds, she’d tied up the ends, trapping it inside. Its wings got tangled up as it tried to free itself and it hit the ground with a muted thud.
‘There. That should hold it for a while,‘ Lan thought, wiping imaginary dust off her hands. ‘Or… not as well as I thought,’ she amended as she watched the photocritter struggle to get out. It wasn’t successful, but it was still able to move, sometimes clearing the ground for a few seconds. Scanning the area quickly, she saw some smaller rocks surrounding the larger one that she’d used as a table, and one that she’d be able to pick up easily.
Her top flopped around like something possessed as she hefted it over. She dropped the rock on her top, narrowly missing the photocritter. It continued to struggle, but it at least wasn’t leaving the ground any more. After checking for anything else unexpected and finding nothing, Lan quickly changed.
When she freed the photocritter afterwards, it flew straight up and smacked her in the face. “Ow!” And then it started dive-bombing her. “Ow! Hey! Would you – ack! Ow!”
Just as she was about to draw her dao, it stopped, hovering right in front of her face. Even while it was doing that, Lan could tell it was angry.
She crossed her arms and glared right back. “If you don’t want me to do that again, then don’t take pictures while I’m changing, okay?”
The photocritter seemed to consider this, tilting to the side, its wingbeats slowing down. Then it nodded, its entire body tipping forward before it straightened itself out.
Lan smiled at it. “Right. Let’s get this photo-shoot over and done with.” She brought her dao out and marked every tree she passed as they made their way out. ‘That should help me find my clothes again.’
They exited right next to the lake, and Lan was momentarily blinded by the sun’s reflection on the lake’s surface. Shading her eyes, Lan checked to see if anyone was watching, and after seeing that the place around her was deserted, she waded into the water.
It was warmer than she expected, the air feeling cooler because of it. The water lapped soothingly over her ankles and she could see the bottom clearly – well, she could until she slipped on a rock and sent silt everywhere. Being more careful this time, she went deeper until the water was past her knees and she could feel the undercurrents trying to drag her out further. She ignored it, adjusting her footing whenever she needed to, posing for the photocritter as it floated around her, taking a picture every couple of seconds.
‘Aaand, that should be the last one,‘ Lan thought a few minutes later. For some reason, it hadn’t been as draining as the last photo-shoot, but maybe that was because there had been no-one else with her this time.
There was suddenly a strong pull from under the waves, nearly yanking her off her feet. It was only by wind-milling her arms that she was able to keep her balance.
Lan blinked when she heard a ‘plop‘ somewhere behind her. Turning, she didn’t see anything. She frowned, puzzled. So what had that been? She’d felt something lightly touching her hand and…
Slowly, Lan looked down at her hands. More specifically, her wrists. Yulian had given her three bangles to wear – she’d put two on her right wrist, and the last one on her left. Except the one on her left was now missing.
Which meant the ‘plop‘ was probably the accessory getting lost to the depths of the lake. She stood there, staring down at the water, unsure what to do. If she dove in after it, all that she’d accomplish would be to muddy the water further, making the bangle even harder to find. It’d be better if she just waited for it all to settle again before trying anything. A strong wind then blew from behind her, tugging at her hair and the other accessories she wore. She hastily stuffed her hands in her pockets, partially to keep them warm, and partially to make sure that she wouldn’t lose anything else.
She froze and then stared incredulously at the photocritter. “You took a picture of that?”
It nodded once before it flew up to her and nudged her head, pushing until it was in the same position as before. It tilted left and right before it tapped her scalp with a wing; Lan obediently dipped her head lower.
Resisting the urge to fidget too much, Lan waited as the photocritter snapped happily away, also watching the murkiness of the water clear up, far too slowly for her tastes.
Long before it had reached its crystal clarity again, she was scouring the bed for the bangle. ‘No, that’s not it. Is that-? No. It’s not-‘ Something shimmered, barely visible, catching her eye.
The photocritter moved into her field of vision, blocking her view of the maybe-bangle. She stared at it, surprised. Had she moved around too much? Instead of whapping her like she’d expected it to, it did a loop-the-loop and then stayed there.
“You’re… done?” she hazarded. The programmers should really give these a mouth…
It nodded, backing off.
She grinned instantly, working at her face muscles. And now, if she did this right… Carefully, she slid her hand into the water, and combed the dirt with her fingers. It felt like an eternity before Lan touched something that didn’t shift at the littlest of pressures. She peered at where her hand was, but couldn’t see anything past the water’s reflection. Shrugging to herself, she gently pulled whatever-it-was out.
It was the bangle, Lan saw with relief. That done, she carefully placed it in a pocket and then splashed back to the shore. She felt like she was dragging her feet the closer she got, the water weighing her down slightly. When she reached dry land, she stood there, leaving a quickly forming puddle under her. Shaking her legs didn’t do much to get rid of the excess water, so she wrung out whatever parts of the trousers she could. Finally, she stopped dripping every second, and they started to make their way back to her clothes.
The trousers were still wet though, and they were baggy enough that they slapped her with every step she took. Soil clung to her feet uncomfortably and she gave up cleaning them because they’d end up dirty again too soon after.
Her clothes, thankfully, weren’t that hard to find, the scores in the trees guiding the way easily. ‘Maybe I should do that all the time when I’m going somewhere,‘ Lan mused, picking her top up. Remembering what had happened the last time, she looked around carefully. The photocritter was there, just off to the side. She crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, waiting. It took a while, but it finally got it; its flapping sped up like it was panicked and then it turned around.
Lan frowned but put her top on and then started on the rest of the clothes. At least this way, she knew that it wasn’t taking pictures from the shadows.
A couple of minutes later they emerged from the trees again and made their way back to the rest of the group.
As soon as it saw Yulian, the photocritter glided over to her and then hovered around her head. Smiling, Yulian petted it.
The argument was still going, but it wasn’t as heated, more going over old ground. Lan handed back the trousers and the accessories (and she’d quadruple-checked to make sure she had all of them) and then waited for the five to stop their bickering.
They eventually did, whirling away from each other, ignoring each other like cats. Seeing that they were finished, Wolf clapped his hands, grabbing everyone’s attention.
“Okay, we all know our pairs, don’t we?” he said clearly, voice carrying to everyone in the vicinity. Lan stared at him blankly. No? “We’ll-” Wolf paused, an ear twitching to listen behind him. Curious, Lan peered around him and then paled, eyes wide.
It was a mob. A massive mob of people charging towards them. Where had they all come from? Which really didn’t matter at the moment – all that mattered was that they were there and rapidly making their way towards them.
“Get to the boats!” someone yelled.
As one, they turned and sprinted towards the pier. They tumbled into the nearest available boat, gasping for breath. It swayed under their combined weight, and the NPC who stood on the pier frowned at them.
“If you want a ride – Hey!”
The boat hadn’t been tied up properly; when they’d boarded it, the ropes had loosened, freeing it, and it began to drift away. The NPC made a desperate grab for the rope, but missed. He jumped up and down, gesturing angrily, unable to do anything else.
By the time the mob got there, they were thankfully out of jumping distance.
Sighing in relief, Lan turned to the rest of the group. “So who knows how to drive one of these things?”
She was met with dumbfounded stares.
… Oh, greeaat.
Through trial-and-error they’d worked out driving and moving, and they’d made it to the other side of the lake without too many incidents.
While they were making their way back to non-moving ground, Wolf explained why they needed to be in pairs: they were going to advertise the concert one last time before they began the official performance. They had split themselves into pairs before she had logged in.
All except for Gui.
Which was why the two of them were going around Infinite City, handing out flyers and basically reminding anyone they met about the upcoming concert. And also hiding from the parade of people who kept following them.
Lan grumbled as they sat squashed in between two potted plants, seeing the mass of people stampede past the alley, hoping none of them would turn around. If any did that, they’d have a clear view of her and Gui.
‘We should have bought something at that flower shop,‘ Lan lamented. ‘Then we’d have something else to hide behind. Or maybe we should get new clothes and masks.‘ But then that would mean going out in the open, which really wasn’t doable at that moment.
Gui, unsurprisingly, didn’t seem to mind their close proximity, leaning into her. Rolling her eyes, Lan elbowed him away, but he was back in place in an instant. She couldn’t do much else, because that would draw unwanted attention and if she did end up making him fly away, that would leave her to fend for herself after giving away her position.
Finally, the last of the stragglers charged past and their exit was clear again. Cautiously, Lan eased herself up and peered around the corner. No-one in sight. Good. She waved over to Gui, signalling that it was safe to come out. So if the fans went that way, then they’d just go in the opposite direction to avoid them.
They’d taken two steps away from their sanctuary when a high-pitched squeal echoed around them.
“Kyaaa! There they are! It’s Gui and Prince! They’re over here!”
‘You have got to be kidding me!’ Were they ever going to get a break from this? Lan could already hear thundering footsteps approaching and without looking back, she and Gui starting running for their lives. Again.
In a daze, Lan wandered the university building, keeping an eye out for the journalists; they hadn’t been allowed in because they disrupted classes, but she had a feeling some would try to sneak in anyway. Last night had not been restful, most of it spent dashing from hiding place to hiding place every couple of minutes. They’d passed some of the others, like Lolidragon and Yang Ming, but they couldn’t stay long enough to see how they were doing.
When she’d woken up, she’d felt like she’d actually ran over a hundred kilometres.
At least she’d handed in that damned coursework. That meant she could get on Second Life at a reasonable time now. Or spend tonight sleeping instead. It would depend if she had enough energy to reach for the headset once she hit her bed.
Turning around a corner, she walked straight into someone. Stumbling, the only reason why she didn’t end up with her face to the floor was because the other person grabbed her upper arm before she could. Righting herself, she glanced up and saw that it was Gui.
“Uh, thanks, Professor.” Crap. The reporters had taken to following Gui and Zhuo whenever they saw them so if she stayed with one for too long, she increased the chances of people recognising her as Prince.
Gui studied her face, a frown forming as his hand dropped away. “Student, are you all right?”
Lan faked a laugh, hoping it would reassure him. “Yeah, it’s just with all the reporters at the moment…”
He nodded, glancing out the closest window. “They have been getting even more conspicuous lately.”
Curious about the distant tone in his voice, Lan looked at him closely while he wasn’t watching her. He seemed tired, his eyes not as open as they usually were, purple smudges surrounding them, drawing a contrast to his pale skin. His shoulders were slumped as well, making him look… well, younger. Less like a genius lecturer anyway.
Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to her. “I hope they haven’t been bothering you too much.”
Lan stifled a weak chuckle, belatedly aborting waving a hand out of habit. “Oh, no, not really. What about you?” She was just a student who happened to be taught by Gui – there were a lot of other students the reporters could ask about their teacher; Gui, on the other hand, was who they focused on, seemingly being able to single him and Zhuo out from a crowd in a matter of minutes.
Gui sighed, his eyes wandering again. “They’re very persistent.”
She actually snorted. “Anything like the mob last night?” she muttered under her breath.
“Lan!” Blinking and looking down the corridor, Lan saw both Jing and Yun swiftly making their way towards them. “We’ve got a class in a couple of minutes,” Yun scolded her lightly.
Dammit, she’d lost track of time. They only had about… five minutes to get to class – and it was on the top floor. They’d have to sprint like the wind to even have a possibility of getting there on time.
“Sorry, Professor, gotta go!” Gui smiled and nodded in goodbye, and then they were off, dashing to the classroom, hoping that the corridors wouldn’t be too busy.
“Honestly,” Jing huffed, rolling her eyes as they pounded up the stairs, “if you weren’t flirting with the professor-”
“Uh-huh,” they chorused.
Lan grumbled to herself as they continued to run. She knew that the more she argued against it, the more they would believe she actually had been flirting with Gui.
Luckily, they were able to get to the classroom on time. With shaking legs, they went over to their seats and the lecture started soon after.
Lan couldn’t help it; she just grinned from ear to ear once she was logged into Second Life at her usual time, which was part of the reason why she was so happy. No more worrying about the stupid coursework! At least, not until the next one.
Glancing around, she didn’t see anyone that she knew well (a few she recognised by sight, but not by name) but then the tantalising smell of food wafted by her. Tilting her head up and inhaling deeply, Lan followed the scent. It led her to one of the numerous rooms in the castle and after she’d poked her head through the door, she could see a veritable feast laid out over a number of tables pushed together, the rest of Odd Squad sitting around it. Drooling, she took in the sight: steamed dumplings, soup dumplings, deep-friend fillets, oyster pancakes, green onion pancakes and other mouth-watering dishes. If the food tasted even half as good as it looked…
By that time, everyone had noticed her there.
“Come over here!”
She ended up seated between Lolidragon and Doll, with the wonton in chilli oil plate right in front of her. Not bad, not bad.
“So,” Lolidragon began, lightly elbowing her in the ribs at the same time, “you weren’t on last night again.”
“I was too tired to come on,” Lan explained, shrugging as she reached for the first plate. Pretty much as soon as dinner had been eaten and cleared away, she’d crawled under the covers and was instantly asleep. She was sure her brother was the same, if not worse – he’d been nodding off and yawning widely during dinner, setting her off too.
Lolidragon raised her eyebrows. She then leaned towards her and whispered conspiratively in her ear,” I think Gui missed you.”
Spluttering, Lan glanced at Gui, who was acting like his regular self. Okay, he’d been a little different when she’d come on late before, but that was because of Yulian, and he normally said he’d missed her after any absence, short or long.
Gui caught her staring. He beamed at her before she could pretend that she wasn’t. “Have you finished then, seeing as you are on at this time?”
She nodded, grin back in full force. “Yup. Handed it in yesterday, so I should be on at my normal times now.” It felt great saying that.
A cheer went around the table and then they started devouring the food.
Gui approached Lan after the meal, his face thoughtful. “Prince, may I talk to you for a moment?”
“Yeah, sure.” The food had been just as good as they’d looked and there had been absolutely nothing left by the end of the meal. She hummed as she thought about it again, a little disappointed that it’d ended.
He took her out of the room and Lolidragon saw them leave, sending Lan a smile and waving her fingers to her bemusement. They found an empty room and after Gui had closed the doors behind them, Lan waited to see what he would say. He made a few false starts before sighing. Was he going to confess to her…? That couldn’t be right. Visibly collecting himself, he looked her in the eyes and said, “You’re Feng Lan.”
Lan gaped at him. “Wh-what? No!” Crap, she’d spent a little too long staring at him in disbelief, and she’d answered too strongly. It wasn’t a probing question like last time – it was a statement of fact.
“Lan’s a girl’s name,” she pointed out, crossing her arms and frowning, scrabbling to get back in character. And Gui had spent enough time with her to know she was a guy – it was one of the first things he’d commented on.
His gaze didn’t waver. “You’ve been busy with coursework lately – so have a number of my other students, and I’ve noticed the time that they’ve been spending in Second Life has been decreasing.” He paused, gauging her reaction.
That couldn’t really be used as solid evidence though. “Lots of universities give out coursework,” she argued.
“Of course,” he conceded, nodding his head, “but it’s not so common that the due-date would be the same.”
“Maybe, but it can still happen.” She started to sweat. The due-date…? How did he know – she just said when she’d handed it in two hours earlier. And he was the one who’d set the date so he’d know for sure when it was supposed to be handed in. …And he was the one to ask about when she’d handed it in!
It didn’t look like he was finished yet.
“Feng’s best friends in real life at Lui and Gu; they all play Second Life, yet Lui and Gu play with you.” … Why did that sound familiar? “They had told me that they came to Central Continent looking for Feng, but they’ve stopped searching recently.”
Lan tried not to show too much relief at what he’d said. “They told me while we were flying from Eastern Continent what they were planning to do: they’d look for their friend, and once they had found her, they’d come back and stay with me,” she explained to him. And she wasn’t even lying.
Gui blinked in surprise, doubt flitting across his face for a brief second. “I… see.” He shifted, playing with the catch of his cloak. “Then could you tell me how Feng knew about you and I being chased by a mob of players, the day after the incident?”
She froze. She hadn’t – oh shit, she had! She’d been too out of it to censor her mouth, but she’d hoped that she’d been quiet enough that he hadn’t heard her properly. Except it looked like he had. Next time she was too tired to think straight, she was going to lock herself in her room; she’d probably end up telling a reporter directly who she was if she didn’t.
While she was cursing herself, Gui had been watching her closely. Crap, crap, crap – she had to say something, anything! But her brain was stuck, flailing in useless circles and all she could do was open and close her mouth like a fish out of water.
Gui smiled softly, a sad one, with a touch of self-mocking. “I wasn’t far wrong when I thought your brother was Prince, was I?” he said quietly.
Somehow, the question rebooted her stuttering thoughts and she wilted, hearing the absolute certainty in his voice. Seeing the clues that had lead him to her identity and after all the responses that she’d given, he wouldn’t doubt that she was Feng Lan. “…No, you weren’t,” she replied just as quietly, warily. What was going to happen now? “Are you going to tell the reporters?”
She got raised eyebrows as an answer. “Why would I? You don’t want them to know, do you?”
“Of course not!”
Gui’s smile softened, and he chuckled. “Then I won’t be telling anyone.” A pause, the smile turning inward. “They wouldn’t believe me anyway – they’re looking for someone male, and you aren’t supposed to be able to change your gender.” He looked at her curiously.
She shrugged, a little self-conscious under the scrutiny. “I was the first person to log in so they allowed me any request I wanted.” He did have a point, but people had already realised who she was, even with that distracter to help.
“Hmm, it explains why no-one’s been able to find any information on you.”
“Yeah.” And she hoped to keep it that way!
The door slammed open, causing them both to jump about a foot in the air. It was Lolidragon who breezed in, a wide grin on her face. “There you two are – we’ve been looking for you everywhere.”
They blinked at her, and Lolidragon sighed dramatically, a hand to her forehead. “The concert…?”
It wasn’t until -Lan checked the clock- very, very soon. Ack! She and Gui shared a panicked glance and then they were dashing off to get ready.
Along the way, Lan couldn’t help but laugh. The coursework had been finished, her secret wasn’t exposed to the whole world, and all she had to do now was have fun and do something she’d always enjoyed doing. There wasn’t much else that could make her happier.