Saya wallked the streets, deciding to have a small sightseeing. The heat had cooled down and the breeze was playing with flocks of her hair. Just like any modern cities in the world, Hanoi did not sleep at night. Neon lights, panels… colored the streets while noises of all kinds filled the space. Tonight the streets were even more crowded as it was Saturday. Young couples were everywhere, chatting, hugging and even kissing, no one paid a single attention to a young, beautiful but lonely girl not accompanied by any men. Looking at the look on those faces, Saya let out a mental sigh. If Haji were with her, she would not look less happy than any girls around here.
“ If you truly love him, you can think the way he thinks; feel the way he feels “
Her mind was flooded with thoughts about what Min had told her earlier. Saya loved Haji, that was true. She wanted to see Haji again, that was also true. But would she be able to think the way he thought, feel the way he felt ? Now thinking about it, Saya knew too little about him. Haji had been her companion for over a hundred years and yet, she barely knew his name. She knew his name was Haji but she did not know his last name. She did not know anything about his family or where he had come from. She did not know what he had done during her sleep. She had never asked him about those things. Back at the Zoo, she had always been busy practicing her swordsmanship, riding a horse or choosing the right dress. Then, on her journey, she had been busy chasing after Diva and eliminating Chiropterans. She had always been insensitive to his feelings. It was him who always cared for her, always protected her, always thought for her best, always knew her. And her, she had never done anything for him, except robbing him off his time, dragging him into her war with Diva and hurting him, physically and mentally. He was always the giver and she was always the receiver.
Saya was so lost in her thoughts that she did not know her feet had led her to an old town, where seemed to be rather quiet compared to the rest of this city. She hadn’t left Hanoi since she couldn’t decide her next destination. She had thought of Russia but it was immediately shaken off her head. She was not sure that Haji was in Russia; this place did not hold many special memories after all. Roaming the world searching for her dear Chevalier was her first and possibly not a wise idea. So she took the time to think carefully about what Min had told her, which could shed some lights on her clueless mind right now.
Vietnam had once been a colony of France. Until now, there were still some traces of France left in this country. This old town was a clear example. The designs and structures of houses and streets resembled those she had observed in Paris, during her battle with Diva. That time, Saya had sunk into deep depression because of Irene’s tragic death. Haji had shown her his favorite place to comfort her.
“ When people were fast asleep, I could walk along the street all night. Without sleep, all alone.”
While she was snuggling in her warm cocoon, Haji walked the street, dealing with his loneliness, all by himself. It was so unfair that she had her hibernation of thirty years and he could never close his eyes, even for a few seconds.
“The feeling of cobblestones under my feet, the scent of damp air, the noise of distant car horns, and the cries of animals… “
Right now, she could smell the scent of humid air melted in the breeze, hear the sound of her boots on cobblestones, vehicles running from distant and the cries of crickets signifying summer. Loneliness struck her heart like a sharp needle. She wondered if she could really feel the pain which Haji had to endure for several decades.
“ Even when I could not see you there, could not feel you there, mysteriously, I could still feel you. And then I found the answer. Just as I needed to be at this place at that time, you need something as well, Saya”
Something emerged in her head. Paris was always Haji’s favorite place. Could he be at that place ?
Even though there was no guarantee that she could find Haji there, as long as she had a clue, as long as she had a hope, she would never give up. Just as Haji had never given up on her.
The thought warmed her heart, encouraged her on her journey to bring back the one she loved.
“ Kai, aunt Saya has a call for you ! “ Rikku rushed into the kitchen, holding the phone in her hand.
“ Bentou for table 1, sushi for table 2 and yakisoba for table 4. And two beers for the men in table 6. “ Kai took the phone from his daughter and gave her a huge tray of food and drinks in return, which Rikku gave a frown upon. It was the most crowded time of the day and Kai wouldn’t make it without abusing his Chevalier’s speed a little. He had thought of hiring a few helpers but he would rather be as busy as a bee than having his family’s little secret exposed to the outside world. Rikku and Rikka could only help him by serving the customers. This kitchen was a sanctuary that he never allowed these two lubbers to mess up.
“ Hello Saya. So you left Vietnam. I see. Next is Paris, right ? Thanks, we’re doing fine at home. “
Their conversation was short. From Kai’s response Rikku could figure out what they were talking about. Her aunt had left Vietnam. She probably asked about how things were at home and informed Kai her next destination. Nothing special.
Later, when Omoro was closed, they had time to gather around the TV, enjoying their favorite drama. Rikku, after hearing Kai and Saya, came up with an idea. Without Kai’s notice, the blue-eyed girl whispered into her sister’s ear and finally, they decided to speak to their father.
“ Kai, about what aunt Saya told you… “
“ Not much. She told me she’s heading to Paris. “ Kai replied dully, paying little attention to the girls since his mind all focused on the TV screen. “ Turns out Frederick is her lost father. I thought he cares for her because he likes her or something. Che, they really know how to spoil the romance. “
“ I, no, both Rikku and I, think you should go to Paris for aunt Saya.”
“ Huh ? “ Kai was a bit surprised. “ Saya didn’t ask me to. “
“ Even though she didn’t ask you, you should come for her. She’s alone in a strange country, what if she needs help ? “
“ She’s not alone. We have some friends here. Like Joel. She can come to him if she needs help. “
“ But you’re her Chevalier. “ Rikku emphasized. “ Her only Chevalier now. “
“ Beside, you haven’t taken time to pay your friends a visit, have you ? How long have you not been out of Okinawa ? “ Rikka added.
“ Hey, it’s you two and the restaurant that has taken all my time. Moreover, if I leave, who will take care of Omoro ? “
“ We will. “ Rikku quickly replied, not taking a second to consider.
“ We are mature and responsible adults, who are totally capable of taking care of Omoro and ourselves while you’re away. “
“ Aren’t my ears deceiving me ? “ Kai laughed with sarcasm.
“ We’re being serious, Kai. “ Rikku pouted, arms folding on her chest.
“ Are you sure about that ? “ Kai adjusted his tone so that he, too, sounded serious. “ You two can take care of the business ? “
The twin nodded, showing Kai their utmost determination.
“ I did plan to come to Saya but I worry about you two and Omoro. Now, I think I can take a trip to Paris. I want to check how Joel’s doing too. “
“ Yes, Kai ! We won’t let you down ! Just count on us ! “
“ By the way, could you talk to uncle Joel about…uhm… Joel being my Chevalier ? “ Rikku was hesitated.
“ Wait a minute ! Something’s fishy here. Is that the real reason you want me to go to Paris ? “
“ No, just a part of it. “ Rikku smiled apologetically.
“ Did you ask Joel yet ? “
“ Yes and he agreed. I didn’t force him. “
“ Why didn’t he tell his father himself ? “
“ I’m afraid… We’re afraid… uncle Joel may… you know what I mean. Since you’re friends, it will be much easier to talk about this matter. “
“ Fine, I’ll tell him “ Kai sighed. “ And you, Rikka ? How’s thing going between you and David ? “
The red-eyed girl replied with a triumphant smile.
“ We’ve told his parents. Aunt Julia was a little surprised but she accepted it positively. Uncle Davis was hesitant at first but finally, he was convinced. “
“ That was easier than I thought. “ Thought Kai.
“ Then, I’ll leave tomorrow. Be sure not to burn Omoro while I’m away. “
“ We’re not kids anymore ! “ Said the girls in unison.
“ If something happens, call me immediately, OK ? “
“ You worry too much. “ Rikku laughed.
“ Like an old man. “ Rikka teased.
“ That’s because I’m an old man. “