"An order of arrest?" XamTam cried incredulously. "We haven't even
set foot in town!"
Shikiri sighed as she looked at the bulletin posted on the wall to
the city, near the gate. The sign had descriptions, names, arrest records,
and even a reward. There was no doubt about it. XamTam: Wanted.
"Xam, you didn't happen to have been here before, have you?"
The woman gave her companion an incredulous look. "Are you implying
that I caused some sort of ruckus that made them put up this?" She jabbed
the notice sharply with a slender finger.
Shikiri merely gave her a look that said: "What else would I be
XamTam sighed. "Well, maybe I was. But it was a long time ago."
Shikiri looked back at the notice. At closer inspection, she could
see where rain had stained it, and that the edges of the parchment were
yellowing, and the corners were curling.
Shikiri was just about to turn back to XamTam and ask her if she had
any ideas on how to get into the city --without being jumped, cuffed, and
thrown into jail. Again. -- When another notice caught her eye.
Another wanted notice. This one distinguished itself from the other;
it had a sketch of a young man on it. The man had a dull expression pulling
on the corners of his mouth. The seriousness of the sketch was totally
thrown off by the laughing eyes that seemed to say: "Ha ha! Look at me! I'm
a wanted criminal!" Curly locks of hair lay in disarray, falling I in a
messy mop, partially covering his eyes. All in all, the man was quite
handsome. Shikiri looked to the caption under the sketch.
"Saio Miguel Jido III . . ."
Following her gaze, XamTam looked at the notice. "Well, it looks like
Mister Saio Miguel Jido the third has quite a fancy price on his head,"
XamTam snorted. "A pretty fancy name to go with it."
"Saio Miguel Jido III . . ." Shikiri mused aloud. "Why does that ring
XamTam whistled, impressed. "Young master Saio Miguel has quite the
record. Theft, vandalism, and generally being a nuisance," that made XamTam
laugh. "The things they come up with . . . Nuisance?" With further scrutiny
of the message, XamTam's eyes widened. "Whoa, not to mention several
accounts of 'sexual harassment'." This sent XamTam into fresh peals of
Shikiri looked around nervously, worrying that XamTam's hysterics may
bring curious bystanders.
"Um, Xam?" Shikiri asked, still looking around nervously.
"Got any ideas on how to get into the city without being jumped,
cuffed, and thrown into jail. Again?"
"Like I wouldn't have an idea!" XamTam waved a hand as if dismissing
the subject as ridiculous. "C'mere, you. Nobody'll recognize us after I'm
through with you." XamTam grabbed Shikiri's arm and began to drag her into
a bush, laughing softly.
Shikiri didn't fight, though she swallowed nervously at the sinister
note to her friend's soft chuckle.
* * *
Shikiri shifted uncomfortably. XamTam had definitely kept her
promise. "I doubt even my own mother would recognize me!" XamTam had
pulled out several times - she called them "tools" - from a canvas bag. She
had put a brown hat on Shikiri; the hat was a bit too small, making her
ears stick out a little. She had taken a dark brown powdery substance and
rubbed it onto Shikiri's face and hands, giving her a rough, "farm boy"
look. She had finished the look by taking the sword off of Shikiri's back,
and putting it in the bag. Shikiri was the spitting image of a young farm
XamTam had draped coarse, grubby, brown shawls over her shoulders and
head. The woman had mixed some of the brown powder with some gray powder,
and applied it to her face, giving her an old withered look. "Okay," XamTam
began. "Here's the plan. You're the farm boy come to town to sell your
"And you?" Shikiri asked, slinging the bag over her shoulder.
"I'm your grizzled, hard-of-hearing mother that you couldn't leave at
Shikiri wrinkled her nose with disgust. "Where have I heard that
story before?" she muttered.
XamTam chose to ignore her. "Okay, lets go."
The two approached the bridge that spanned a wide ditch outside the
city wall, with XamTam leaning heavily on Shikiri, hunched over like an old
lady. Two guards with long pikes stood at the end of the bridge closest to
As they approached, the guards crossed their pikes, barring the
entrance to the city.
"What is your business here?" one asked stiffly.
"Have no fear, friends," Shikiri announced as she stopped in front of
the guards. "I am here to sell my harvest in the city."
The two soldiers glanced at each other. "Who're you?" the other one
asked XamTam none-too politely.
XamTam cocked her head and held a hand behind her left ear. "Eh?
Wassat? Speak up, sonny."
The guards exchanged another glance.
"This is my poor old mother," Shikiri answered for her friend. "A bit
hard of hearing, and a bit wrong in the head."
The hand that XamTam had resting on Shikiri's shoulder tightened its
The guards exchanged one last glance, and turned back to look at
Shikiri, who looked earnestly back at them. They sighed.
"Fine, go on in," the lowered their pikes to let them pass.
Shikiri tipped her hat in thanks and walked slowly through, XamTam
putting on a slight limp.
The young girl looked about in awe. Expecting to find great splendor,
and busy city life within the great walls, Shikiri was sorely surprised.
The city was nothing short of slummy. Buildings that looked like several
houses stacked on top of one another loomed tall and gray above the
streets. The dark cobblestone street wasn't much to look at either. Narrow
and dark, the sides of the road were flooded with garbage and refuse.
Deathly skinny, and hollow eyed children peeked out of glassless windows.
Other stood in the doorways, partially hidden by the threadbare cloth used
as doors. Sunken checked and tired looking women watched the two with wary
eyes while washing clothes in murky water.
"Pretty bad, isn't it?" XamTam muttered out of the corner of her
mouth. "What were you expecting?"
"Anything but this," Shikiri whispered back, eyes wide.
A group of boys playing a game that included three balls, long
sticks, with nets tied to them, and a large rock suddenly halted their play
as the two approached them. The boys parted to let them through, their dull
eyes burning holes in the traveler's backs.
"Come on," XamTam gripped Shikiri's arm. "We'll be out of this soon."
Shikiri nodded and swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly dry.
XamTam was indeed true to her word. The two of them left the slums
behind and entered a middle-class development.
Here the buildings were whitewashed and clean. The houses were still
stacked on top of each other, and clotheslines were strung between the
upper levels. The streets were still narrow, but the sides were free of
litter and waste. Children ran amuck, giggling and chasing each other.
Women gossiped loudly while watering window boxes of flowers, or shopping
at the various stores and stands. Roadside vendors shouted at passersby,
trying to sell their goods. Shikiri jumped as a young girl rode by in a
small carriage that she had harnessed up to her dog; another young girl
chased after her, shouting for her friend to wait for her.
Compared to the outskirts of town, these middle class regions were
teeming with life, vendors, women, children, shop owners, dogs, cats,
horses, craftsmen and their apprentices. Everyone and everything had
something to do, or somewhere to go.
Shikiri and XamTam ducked into a shadowed alley and shed their
disguises. XamTam repacked her bag as Shikiri strapped her sword to her
back once again.
"All right," XamTam said decisively as they stepped back out into the
bright light of the main streets. "We'll be here for a while. Better wind a
place to stay."
"Oh?" Shikiri gave her friend a skeptical eye. "Someplace other than
jail, you mean?"
Shikiri's sarcasm fell deaf on XamTam's ears. "Precisely."
Shikiri rolled her eyes. "You know a place?" She asked, looking down
the street to her right.
"Yep. Right there," XamTam pointed to a small 3-story building
crammed between 2 tall housing developments. A sign hanging in a small
rectangular window read: A Rose, a Pint, and an Armadillo.
"Nice name," Shikiri sniggered.
XamTam chose not to answer. Instead, she crossed the busy street to
reach the small building, Shikiri trailing after her.
The woman placed a hand on the door handle. But, before she opened
it, she turned to Shikiri. "Stand out here. I'll get you when I need you."
"Okay," Shikiri wanted to question her friend, but XamTam's tone was
"Good!" XamTam smiled, "don't wander off, either." With that, she
walked into "A Rose, a Pint, and an Armadillo". The bells on the door
jingled as she pulled it shut.
The room was dark and smoky. Several round wooden tables littered the
room. Some people looked up at XamTam as she entered, though most of them
kept their eyes on their card games, drinks, or their companions. It wasn't
noisy, nor was it quiet. The soft rumble of voices, and the clinking of
glasses created a soothing atmosphere.
XamTam headed towards a bartender standing behind a counter near the
back of the room. The woman noticed that each wooden table had a tin vase
holding a solitary yellow rose in full bloom. She made it to the back of
the room with ease. The bartender didn't look up from cleaning a glass,
even when XamTam sat on a stool in front of the bar.
"Hey, MalMal, didn't know you still ran this old joint!" XamTam
crowed, resting her elbow on the bar table.
The bartender looked up, startled. His look of surprise melted into
one of pleasure as he saw her. "TamTam! Nobody's called me 'MalMal' since I
. . . Well, since I last saw you!" He hugged her over the bar. "I always
figured you were in jail, or something."
"Been there, done that," XamTam excused the subject. "So, Malmoree,
how are you? It looks like you might've shrunk or something!" XamTam looked
her friend over. It was always a joke with them about his height.
Malmoree was enormous. He topped off 6 feet and five inches of height.
Despite his height, Malmoree probably didn't weigh much more than 160
pounds. He was literally skin and bones. His brown hair was long, falling
half way down his back, and was pulled into a low ponytail at the base of
his neck. He wore simple baggy brown pants, and a light blue apron over his
white short-sleeved shirt. His eyes were a soft brown, giving him a warm,
"Perhaps," Malmoree smiled. "Maybe you grew taller!"
"Unlikely." XamTam answered dryly.
Malmoree laughed. "Anyways," he changed the subject. "What brings you
back here? I heard rumors about you being a wanted criminal!"
"That's exactly my reason for coming here," XamTam replied, lowering
her voice. "I knew you were the only the person we could rent from, without
being turned in."
"We?" the bartender asked, looking around.
"Yes. My companion and I," XamTam pointed out the window at Shikiri,
who was looking around self-consciously.
Malmoree suddenly looked sad as he gazed at Shikiri. "Time's sure
have changed, TamTam. Even the young carry weapons now."
"Yes," XamTam answered before turning back to the bartender. "But,
trust me, never underestimate Shikiri. She's a lot older than you may
think. And a hard fighter to boot."
Malmoree's face broke into a prin. "Perhaps she's enjoy our training
ring out back/"
"Hit it right on the head there, MalMal," XamTam said in response,
smiling as well.
"Great," Malmoree picked up the glass and resumed cleaning it. "I'll
room you two for free, if she can bring the boys down a peg or two."
"Deal," XamTam agreed, getting up from the stool.
"Hey!" he called after her ash she walked across the room. "How about
telling me your full name? I don't believe I've ever caught it before!"
XamTam raised a hand in farewell as she reached the door. "Forget
about it, Mal!" She called back, her back still facing him. "There ain't
nobody who knows my full name."
With that, she opened the door and stepped into the blinding
Shikiri looked up as she heard the bells on the door jingle. "Hey,"
she said, eyeing some boys who had been watching her from across the
street. All three of the boys had a smug look plastered on their faces.
Their eyes watched the girl's every move.
XamTam picked up the canvas bag that she had left outside with
Shikiri. "I got us a room in this old inn, here," she said, not noticing
the boys on the other side of the street.
"How?" Shikiri asked, surprised. "You know we haven't much money."
"Oh, the owner and I are old friends," XamTam answered vaguely.
"C'mon. Lets deposit our stuff. I want to show you something."
Shikiri glanced back at the boys one last time. They were still
standing there with those stupid looks of superiority. The girl wrinkled
her nose and stuck her tongue out at them before stepping into the inn, and
out of sight.
* * *
"So this is why those boys were watching me," Shikiri thought as she
twisted nimbly out of a downward chop. "They were trying to size me up. See
what kind of opponent I would be."
After finding their room on the third floor, XamTam had taken Shikiri
back downstairs and out back. Shikiri could hardly contain her surprise at
what she had seen. It was a very nice sparring arena. Equipped with
practice swords and armor. Several guests were sitting on chairs, watching
the practice matches.
Only seconds after Shikiri had entered the arena, she was jumped by
the three boys and challenged to three one-on-one matches. Shikiri had
beaten the first two boys with ease. This third one was giving her some
"But, I must say, they didn't do a very good job of it, if you ask
me," Shikiri couldn't help but think as she dodged yet another predictable
"You're such a girl!" the boy growled, obviously annoyed with her
defensive strategy. In the course of 15 minutes, Shikiri had only crossed
swords three times. Two of the three were defensively.
"At least I don't fight like one," Shikiri answered coolly.
Her opponent blushed as the crowd cheered for Shikiri.
"I'm gonna beat you so bad, you won't be able to move for a week!" he
"Easier said than done," Shikiri switched her wooden practice sword
to her left hand. Leaping over an underhanded sweep, she lashed out with
her weapon. The flat of the sword connected with his back, sending him
sprawling head over heels. Shikiri had to admit the display was pretty
A man, obviously the boys' coach, whistled loud and hard with his
thumb and forefinger in his mouth. The man called for a five-minute break.
Shikiri trotted over to XamTam, her stand in 'coach'.
"Nice," XamTam grinned at her. "Make sure you beat him nice and
"I was planning on it in the first place, anyway," Shikiri retorted,
sitting in a chair next to her 'coach'.
"Oh good," XamTam squealed. "Because, Malmoree, the owner, said we
could only stay for free if you beat them."
"WHAT?!?!" Shikiri shouted, jumping up. "You're betting on me!"
"Calm down, woman!" XamTam cooed. "That only means I trust your
abilities enough to rely on them."
"I suppose," Shikiri grumbled, sinking back into her chair.
The girl looked across the ring at the boys' coach. They seemed to be
faring much worse. The coach was furious; his face was turning red with
anger, and Shikiri could faintly hear him yelling at the boy.
The five minutes passed and the match was to resume.
"Go gettem, tiger," XamTam slapped Shikiri's back playfully.
"I sure will," Shikiri answered, her smile deviant.
Shikiri shouldered the wooden sword and headed out into the ring.
XamTam smiled as she watched her retreating friend. The woman knew
she needn't worry; Shikiri was a more than competent fighter. The boys were
just minor annoyances. "Shikiri will have no problem kicking their sorry
butts," XamTam said aloud.
"That's obvious," a voice from above her said. "It's apparent she's
just toying with them."
It was a young man who had spoken. XamTam raised her eyebrows at the
man as he sat in Shikiri's vacated chair. "Well, well, well," XamTam said
while looking the man up and down. "Who do we have here . . . ."
The man was handsome, extremely so. He was well built, but not
stocky. He was tall, but not gangling. His skin was a honey cream color,
contrasting with his bright, stellar green eyes. His hair was reddish
brown, and curly. It fell into his face, accenting his high cheekbones. He
wore a long sleeved v-neck light blue shirt, baring a small part of his
muscular chest. His pants were loose, and dark gray.
"Oh, nobody . . ." the man answered, his leering eyes looking XamTam
over from head to toe. "I'm pretty well known as Raeominzvlaskaya."
"Hmm," XamTam pondered. She crossed her legs and turned slightly so
she could rest her elbow on the arm of the chair. "That's an awfully long
name. Why don't I call you 'Raeo' . . ."
The man leered at XamTam some more. "I don't like Raeo."
"Then I'll call you George."
"So, Raeo," XamTam began, privately laughing at her own joke. "To
what do I owe the great honor of your company?"
"Ah, but what man could not enjoy the company of one so lovely?" Raeo
replied, slipping his arm around XamTam's shoulders.
A small dagger suddenly appeared in XamTam's hand. She rested the
sharp point on Raeominzvlaskaya's pinky. She began to say in a singsong
voice, "Inee, minn-ee, mine-ee, ming-ger," she accented each word by moving
the point of the knife to the next finger of the hand that was on her
shoulder. "Catch a lecher by the finger. If he hollers," she looked him in
the eye and said pointedly, "cut it off." The blade rested on Raeo's middle
Before XamTam could apply pressure to the blade, and sever Raeo's
finger, the young man pulled his hand away. "Ahem," he rubbed his hand
nervously. "Excuse me, miss . . ."
"XamTam," she answered, twirling the small knife between her fingers.
"Ah," Raeominzvlaskaya rested his hand on the armrest of his own
chair. "Do you have a last name?" he grinned at her.
"Don't push it," XamTam replied bluntly, letting the sun reflect the
metal of the dagger.
XamTam smiled, and the dagger disappeared up her sleeve. She looked
back at her company. It seemed he was watching Shikiri intently. XamTam
turned her gaze to her friend. She chuckled as Shikiri feigned to the left,
and as her opponent darted to block her, she twisted to the right and did a
lift handed sweep; the result, the boy fell to his knees, his feet knocked
out from beneath him.
"She'll be a fine woman someday," XamTam heard the man say.
XamTam laughed. "What? Are you trying to hit on her, too?"
Raeo looked XamTam right in the eye and said with the utmost
seriousness, "No. I want to challenge her to a match."
Shikiri brought her sword up, just as the boy brought his down,
aiming for her shoulder. The practice sword was in her right hand now, and
she held it horizontally. The two weapons met. The boy uttered a cry of
astonishment as his sword suddenly stopped, inches away from Shikiri's
shoulder. The blade of Shikiri's sword had caught his in the cross-section
where the hilt and the blade met, trapping his sword there.
Shikiri smirked. With one flick of her wrist, the boy's sword went
playing out of his hand, lading 20 some feet from them. The girl lowered
her sword and rested the flat of the blade on his shoulder, the sharper
edge facing his neck. This signified the fatal blow.
The boy held her gaze as he sunk to his knees in defeat. "You bitch,"
he growled so no one but her could hear.
"Now, now," Shikiri said, shaking her head. "Is that any way to speak
to a lady?"
"What kind of lady dresses like a boy, and masquerades as a
swordsman?" the defeated boy sneered.
Shikiri bent down so her face was only half a foot away from his
face. "Swords-woman," she corrected. She tapped his nose lightly, and
straightened up. With those as her final words, she turned and walked to
her side of the arena. The boy was left to digest her words in silence.
Shikiri smiled as several of the guests came over to shake her hand
and congratulate her, including the owner of the inn.
"Excellent! Really excellent!" Malmoree crowed, patting Shikiri on
the back. "Those boys had won so many matches, it began to go to their
heads. I'm so glad you showed them who's boss!"
Shikiri was flattered. "No, really, I'm not that great."
"What d'ya mean 'not that great'?" Malmoree cried indignantly. "Those
boys have dominated my sparring ring for ages! You made them look like
Shikiri eventually made it over to XamTam. She was standing up,
beaming at Shikiri.
"There's something about that smile . . ." Shikiri thought warily as
she approached her friend. "All right, what is it? I don't like that look
on your face," Shikiri stopped in front of XamTam, looking accusingly up
into her face.
"Shikiri," XamTam began, causing the younger woman to groan with
XamTam continued despite Shikiri's obvious opinion on the matter.
"I'd like to introduce you to your next opponent!"
Right on queue, a man stepped into Shikiri's line of vision. "Hello!"
he waved at Shikiri and smiled innocently.
Shikiri started as she saw who it was. She found herself taking an
involuntary step backwards. "That face . . . Those eyes . . ." she thought,
staring with disbelief.
XamTam didn't seem to notice Shikiri's response to the man. "This is
Raeominzvlaskaya," she continued. "He would like to challenge you to a
Shikiri looked away from the man. "XamTam . . . Not today." The girl
moved to walk away, but the man held out an arm, blocking her path. Shikiri
looked at the arm. Her gaze moved upwards, locking her eyes with his.
"Please." Was all he said.
Shikiri sighed. "Fine," as she said the word, the girl felt a rush of
excitement and misgiving.
* * *
The match had begun slowly, each person sizing up the other. Before
it had begun, the man had picked out a wooden practice sword. While doing
so, he had introduced himself.
"I know your friend introduced me already," he had said. "But, you
may call me Raeo."
"I figured you'd have a nickname," Shikiri had answered, watching him
pick a sword. "You're amazingly selective," Shikiri commented.
Raeo laughed. "I'm sorry. I just can't find one like my own."
Eventually, he had chosen, and the match had begun.
Raeo seemed to talk incessantly during the battle. Shikiri had to
admit, he was quite proficient at making small talk. The way he spoke and
moved, it made it feel like the duel was nothing more than a dance.
"And so one day, she just up and left. Just like that!" Raeo
concluded, parrying some of Shikiri's blows. He had recently begun talking
about some ex-girlfriend, or something of the sort.
"Maybe," Shikiri began, switching her sword to her left hand and
delivering another blow. "She thought you talked too much!"
The battle then escalated to a point where even Shikiri couldn't
talk. Not only did the match intensify, but also Raeo seemed to fight
seriously. The tables turned as the offensive position switched to Raeo,
leaving Shikiri to concentrate on blocking Raeo's moves. Shikiri had the
sword in her right hand again. She gripped the weapon and swung it at her
opponent's shoulder. Raeo danced out of way in the nick of time, the wooden
edge grazing his arm.
The two crossed blades, each putting their full weight behind their
swords attempting to push the other one down.
"You're lying to yourself if you think you can beat me," Raeo
growled, his face less than a foot away from Shikiri's.
"I'm not the only one who's lying," Shikiri shot back, pushing his
sword away; although she was forced to block his sword as it came back to
again. "You are lying about your name, Mr. Jido the third."
"Fine." He retorted. "You want to know my real name?"
Shikiri felt a bead of sweat roll down her cheek. Slowly, but surely,
'Raeo' was applying more pressure to his weapon. The girl grit her teeth as
she was forced back an inch.
"My," he began, annunciating each word by pushing Shikiri back just a
little more. "Name."
Shikiri took a step back.
Shikiri's arms were burning with fatigue.
Shikiri gasped. Memories flashed through her brain. Something clicked
in her brain. Recollections of her past played as if in fast-forward.
He grinned. "Long time, no see."
With a great surge of strength, Jogano pushed Shikiri back a few
feet. He swung the practice sword in a wide arc to the right, and slammed
the sword into Shikiri's side.
All of the air was pushed out of her lungs, forcing her to her knees.
Before she sunk into total darkness, the girl was able to force out three
last words. "Yea. Long time."
And her vision blanked out.
* * *
Shikiri slowly opened her eyes to a white ceiling. She rolled over
and muffled a cry of surprise as she saw someone sitting by her bed and
staring blankly out the window.
It was Jogano, or Saio Miguel, or Raeowhatever.
She made a small noise of disgust and pulled the covers off. She
discovered that she was wearing an extra pair of XamTam's clothes. Needless
to say, they were practically falling off.
"So, You're awake then!" the voice of the man sitting beside her bed
"Yes, I am," Shikiri replied, getting out of the bed. "I suggest you
leave. I need to change."
The young man had a playful look in his eyes. "Naw, I think I'll
Shikiri snorted. "Quit while you're ahead, Jo."
He smiled. "Ah, but I have to be ahead to do so in the first place,
don't you agree?"
Shikiri turned to face him. "Don't push it, Mr. Alias."
Jogano stood up and raised his hands in defeat. "Okay, okay . . . I'm
Shikiri waited until he door closet and she heard it latch. Then she
set about getting back into her own clothes. Someone had obviously washed
Soon after Shikiri had changed and washed up a bit, XamTam burst in.
"Knock much?" Shikiri muttered as she buttoned the strap on her
"Oh, who CARES about that," XamTam scoffed, flopping down on the bed.
"Why didn't you tell me that you knew him?"
"Who?" Shikiri asked, putting on her most innocent face as she turned
to her friend.
XamTam merely gave her a look.
"Oh, him," Shikiri sighed, defeated,
"Yes, him," XamTam prompted.
Shikiri sat down on the bed next to her friend. "Well, when I was
very young - this is my earliest memory, mind you - I ran into a very nice
boy. He looked out for me for several years . . .
The girl proceeded to tell her long forgotten story.
* * *
Early the next morning, Shikiri and XamTam slipped past some sleeping
guards and out onto the dirt road leading away from the city. Shikiri had
her sword strapped to her back, and XamTam had her bag.
"I hope you weren't thinking of leaving without me," a voice came
from the side of the road.
"We seriously considered it, I'm sure," Shikiri replied dryly as she
and XamTam walked past Jogano.
Jogano came into stride next to them. "But you decided against it, of
course," he grinned at them. Today, he was wearing baggy brown pants, and a
white long sleeved t-shirt underneath a reddish brown vest that fell half
way to his knees. A saber like sword was strapped to his waist.
XamTam didn't say anything. She smiled as Shikiri spoke to Jogano.
"Of course we did. Every girl needs lecherous men following her about," She
"Oh, that hurts," Jogano grinned, putting a hand over his heart.
"Like a knife, right there."
"You could ask XamTam if she would kindly replace that imaginary
knife with real one," Shikiri said coolly.
The three couldn't help but laugh as they set off with no specific
* * *
A/N: ::jams to Jack Johnson:: Hmm . . . I was thinking . . . If
Shikiri is 17, and "Mr. Alias" is 20 . . . that's only 3 years apart . . .
You don't think that's too much, do you? I don't. XD XamTam is like . . .
25 . . . Ah well . . . If we could, I'm sure we'd love to stop the years
from passing . . . Sorry this took so long . . . I'm behind in typing . . .
and without a deadline . . . I seem to work slower. =__=;;