“Auntie! The planet!? Really!?” asked Dani, practically bouncing in her chair.
“Possibly!” replied Aaliyah excitedly. “If you look at your guild menu, you’ll find that you’re infiltrating The Garde and an officer of Hagen’s Rising. How much of the planet is conquered largely depends on your ability to recruit, but I have faith in you three.”
“I’ll join!” exclaimed Cosette. “I can probably convince many of my clan members to join as well.”
“And thus Aaliyah’s evil plot to dismantle my guild works flawlessly.” I teased.
“But I’m your daughter! You’ll never lose me!” insisted Dani. “How much of the guild are we allowed to take?”
“The game is on, my love. Best hurry before we stop your infiltration.” replied Alma.
“We’ll probably give you a couple days head start, since we learned of your infiltration outside of the game. I’m simply trying to be fair, mind you, not giving my daughter unjust leeway.” I told her. “As for the rest of you, let’s keep this secret among us and see what happens. I’m interested in seeing how this infiltration thing works.”
Aaliyah grinned and opened her mouth, but frowned when I shook my head. “Fiiine! No spoilers.”
“Raine, will you help me travel there before you get too far away?” asked Cosette.
“I feel so conflicted right now. I really want to tell my guild about this, but I missed part of the story and don’t want to lose my job.” stated Maple.
“Who are you!?” asked Dani after backflipping over her chair and turning to face Maple.
“You’re pink!” exclaimed Maple.
“You can see!” teased Dani.
“I-I love your hair.” replied Maple, looking startled as Dani stepped closer to her.
“I don’t bite.” promised Dani, stepping even closer.
“Even if she asks?” inquired Cosette from her chair.
“Maple Apple Wood, I’m James’ wife, Alma, and this is our daughter, Dani.” explained Alma as she stepped forward and wrapped an arm around Dani. Then she pointed and said, “The one with black hair who’s going to stop standing on her seat is Kayla, Jemal’s sister. Iris is the one with the ponytail over there. Mind waving Iris?” She waited as Iris stood and waved with a grin. “Thank you. Raine, mind coming over and greeting Maple instead of trying to hide in your seat?”
“Is s-she allergic to c-cats?”
“I’m not.” replied Maple, looking confused.
“No need to turn into one.” stated Alma.
“She’s a shapechanger?” asked Maple, sounding amazed
“She’s part werecat.” replied Alma.
“What’s the other part?” questioned Maple, oblivious to Raine standing nervously to her side now.
“D-Demon.” whispered Raine.
Maple jumped. “How did you…? Weren’t you over there!?” asked Maple, pointing to where Alma had looked when talking to Raine.
“I-I win r-races.”
“You’ll only ever see Raine move if she allows you to see her. She could vacation in Okinawa daily and keep up with her work here each day with ease.” I told Maple.
Raine’s mouth hung open as she stared at me. Then she said, “M-Mila… map! I c-can visit Japan!”
Alma quickly said, “Hold on! You’ll want money. The twins have some Japanese currency on hand, so you can exchange with them if you don’t want to try exchanging there. You might want to learn the language if you haven’t. The twins will also want you to deliver a gift for their family, since you’ll be in the country. If you deliver the gift, I’ll have Izumi prepare some currency for you to pick up.”
“You’re planning on running to Japan… You know it’s an island, right?” asked Maple.
“Raine can fly. She also could run on water if she felt like it. No one really wants to see what she could do to the sea if she swam there.” replied Alma.
“I c-can swim without d-disturbing the water.” insisted Raine.
“That’s not really swimming, Raine. You’re pretending to swim while flying through the water as energy.” I replied.
“R-Really!?” she exclaimed.
“Aaliyah’s done tests.” I assured her.
Aaliyah nodded with a grin.
“Will you get me a souvenir!?” exclaimed Kayla.
“Kayla! Don’t force Raine to get you stuff.” scolded Jemal.
“I d-don’t mind.” replied Raine.
“I’ll give you souvenir money too.” stated Alma.
“Th-this is okay?” questioned Raine, looking at me for approval.
I nodded and said, “I don’t dictate your free time. If you want to travel, feel free. Just don’t be late for work, and please make some time for us. You’ll be missed if you’re gone too much.”
Raine hugged me, so I patted her head.
“Did you see that? She teleported.” claimed Maple.
“She’s just fast.” replied Alma, smiling when Raine hugged her free side.
“You’ll get used to this place in no time.” called Iris. “Just expect miracles daily. My poor dad asked Best Friend For Hire to join his baseball league. Imagine the shock he’s in for.”
“Oh… will I be expected to play?” asked Maple.
“Only if you want to participate. Don’t worry. We’ll get some practice in ahead of time. I’m thinking of giving everyone who participates a bonus this year.” I assured her.
“Daddy, will I get to play? What’s baseball?” asked Dani.
“Ask Mila later.” I told her. “I’ll check with Mr. Storm about whether or not you’d be allowed to participate. Kayla seems interested as well.”
“Thank you, James!” exclaimed Kayla. “Jemal will have to bat for me if I can’t.”
Smiling at her, Jemal said, “I probably can’t bat as well as you.”
“We should add a penalty.” suggested Cosette with a wicked grin. “I get a snack for every missed swing.”
“And what if you miss?” I asked.
“I’ll drop dead from shock unless you or Alma are pitching. Raine would be nice to me.” she claimed.
“A-Always nice.” agreed Raine, hugging Cosette.
“I’ll just have to convince Raine that getting you to push yourself is good for you. I like the idea of her pitching. Her fastball will be incredible.” I teased.
“P-Pitching!?” asked Raine in alarm.
Nodding, I said, “You do fantastic with clients, but you need to grow more accustomed to the spotlight. I’m sure you can manage keeping your pitches down to a hundred miles per hour. We’ll practice.”
“My poor dad…” mumbled Iris.
“The poor league. Plenty of professionals can miss a ball that fast.” corrected Alma with a smile.
I shrugged and said, “We’ll have fun.”