Real Hime

Chapter 2: Solidarity: A test of companionship. Part 1

Can I call them family?

"Hmm…" Ririn stretched out her hands while yawning carelessly (unlady-like). "What a good sleep! That was refreshing…" She stood up and scanned the whole room, more like a shack, and found all the blankets that the children used were on the floor, all scattered. She gave out a huge sigh and grumbled about the mess. "Hah! those kids! When will they learn?" She picked up the blankets one by one and neatly folded it, tucking it away in one corner. She gave out another sigh. "These blankets needs to be replaced… hai hai… all you can see are holes in these blankets… They can't even cover up Nami. Winter's coming soon… I must do something…"

Nami by the way is the youngest in the crowd. Nami is also sickly. She is very sensitive to viruses and mostly to sudden weather change. The fact that she lives in the dumpster area just makes it worse.

"Oi! You all!... enough playing and lets eat first… I have, let's see…" Ririn pulled out the cover from their 'food storage bin' and randomly picked up foods. "Okay! We have sardines, Mrs. Tomori was kind enough to donate this, here Kuma! I know you love them." She threw the can of sardines to Kuma.

"We have bread! I got this yesterday on the way home, Mr. Paku was kind enough to give us his end-day left overs… just wipe it a bit and it should still be fine" She gave out a weak smile and continued to pick out foods. "Who wants bananas? Hah! I actually bought this so it should be golden! Haha!" All the children cheered and hurried to get their share of bananas. That's their daily routine. They get food from either buying or donations. Ririn forbid them to pick out food from trash. First, Kuma already got sick from doing that earlier, and second, her philosophy is that a HIME should never go lower, and should remain dignified and honorable.

"We're done now Hime! Can we go play?"

"Yah! Me too, me too!!!"

"Wait for me! Can I go too? Please Hime?"

"Fine, fine, just don't forget to clean up after yourselves! And stay out of trouble"

Despite the fact that majority of the people hates their kind, street kids, many of those that came to know them admire Ririn. They say that she is genuine, gentle, mature and very thoughtful. One even suggested adopting Ririn, thinking that she will be a great help to the family. Even though it is a nice thought, Ririn refused the offer saying that she can't just leave the others alone.

"Jun!, I'm going to work now at Mrs. Heta's flower shop okay? If you need me or if there's trouble you know where to find me… take in-charge for now"

"Sheesh Hime, what do you think of me, irresponsible? And stop treating me like a kid, we're the same age you know!" Jun snorted, crossing his arms. Jun is like the second in command to Ririn. He has the title of 'Sir Jun', the first royal knight of Hime. The children love to role play always and love to give one another titles: Ririn as their princess, and Jun as the first knight. Kuma the court jester, Nami the princess, Tetsu the prince, Shima the countess and so on…

"Hah! we both know you're still a boy despite your age! Jun-kun" taunted Ririn. Jun was about to tackle her when she hurriedly ran out to the door.
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"Not fair Kimari! That's mine! I earned it!" protested Tetsu while sniffing in between.

"Hah! I bet you stole this! You're so small, you can't earn this much, what work can you do anyway huh?" Kimari swung the coin purse back and forth in front of Tetsu, making sure it was out of reach from Tetsu.

"Why do you have to be a bully? I earned it! I worked hard not like you!" retorted Tetsu, still sobbing, trying to get the money.

"Why you!" Kimari grabbed Tetsu's head and tilted it backwards, but not enough to kill Tetsu. "You smart mouth! Are you mocking me?" He then pushed Tetsu to the wall and kicked him on the gut. "That will teach you a lesson!"

Tetsu cried out in pain, holding his stomach. He just stayed there, staring blankly while crying.

Dinner came and Ririn coming from work, unloaded her bags of donated food. "Tetsu will be happy! We're having his favorite food, fried eggs!"
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"Everyone! Dinner's ready!"

The children rushed back home at the sound of Ririn's voice. They all recognized the smell as Tetsu's food.

"Here you go" Ririn handed out half of the fried egg to Rina, and half to Mina.

"And you too…" She handed out half to Nami and half to Jun. There were many of them and so each of them just gets half. They were used to this anyway. The eggs were almost done when Ririn realized Tetsu's not there.

"Anyone of you know where Tetsu is?" Ririn was careful enough not to show her panic.

"I don't know, we both worked at Mr. Tanaka's noodle shop, and I left early because Mr. Tanaka asked him to help him clean up" said Kuma

"Anyone? No one have seen him after that?" Ririn's voice was now starting to be shaky. They all looked at one another and shook their heads. Nami started to cry and ran to Ririn.

"Is Tetsu gonna be alright, Hime?"

Jun looked at her, worried. He stood up and walked up to Ririn. He leaned in closer and whispered, "Don't show that you're panicking, or they'll all cry. Put them all to bed and we, together with the old ones will search the town"

Ririn nodded and turned to Nami who was in her lap, crying. She smiled at her which caused her to stop sobbing. "There, there Nami, Of course Tetsu's okay, he's just cleaning up at the store. We'll just go fetch him. For now why don't you all rest" Nami, upon hearing this smiled. The children all obeyed Ririn's command and went to bed.

"Are they all asleep?"

Ririn nodded.

"Haku, Minoru, Shima, let's go" and the five of them went out to search the city.
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"Humpy dumpy sat on the wall… humpy dumpty had a great fall…" Tetsu murmured under his breath while he laid there on the side road, holding his stomach…

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A/N Chapter 2 done! Okay, this is far longer than I intended it to be, so I have to divide it into two parts. Wow! I would like to thank those people who reviewed Real Hime and for giving me suggestions. I tried to keep those in mind, although I know I still keep on switching between tenses.

I hope you still continue to support Real Hime.