Story: Once Again (chapter 3)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 3


Love Hina: Once Again


There was a quiet bustle to the hotsprings town, the sense of things moving forward as people began to arrive for the summer season. Up at the Cafe Hinata things were picking up, too, with more people coming in for the good food as well as visiting the lovely young ladies who ran the place.

Mitsune Konno smiled as she set the order down in front of Ema. "So, there's a new fortune teller in town?" Kitsune asked.

Ema Maeda nodded, her long brown hair flowing down her back, her pet lizard perched on her shoulder. Possessed of a unusual interest in the supernatural, conspiracies and other similar things she was a reliable source of info. "Apparently she's quite good," Ema said, "using tea leaves and astrology, I've heard."

"Huh," Kitsune looked thoughtful as she mused, "wonder if I could get some good numbers from her for the races?"

"Somehow, I just knew you were going to say that," Shinobu Maehara noted as she took off her Cafe Hinata apron and sat down by Ema. She looked at the other woman thoughtfully, "Have you been down to see her, yet?"

"Not yet," Ema admitted, "I was a bit too nervous to go on my own."

"You were looking for some of us to come down with you?" Kitsune asked shrewdly. She smiled slightly, "What the hell, sounds interesting."

Not long after Kitsune, Ema and Shinobu were heading into town, walking down the flight of steps from the dorm. Both Ema and Shinobu wore summer dresses, skirts flowing around them while Kitsune had chosen simple slacks, her t-shirt tucked into her pants.

"Did Mitsumi mind closing up the cafe?" Ema asked curiously.

"No," Kitsune shook her head, "she could use a afternoon off." She grinned, "Besides, we're doing well enough we can afford to take a day off or two."

"Does that mean I get a raise, Kitsune-sempai?" Shinobu asked impishly, then both she and Ema laughed at the startled look on her face.

"Very funny," Kitsune shook her head with a smile, "remind me to sick Su on you when she's feeling really needy."

Seeing Ema's faintly confused expression Shinobu explained, "Koalla Su is a very nice girl, but occasionally she gets a bit lonely for home. She tends to fixate on certain people, and can get a bit... enthusiastic playing with them."

"Ah," Ema nodded.

The trio wove through the shops and people, nodding greetings to the people they knew. Eventually they reached a shop that had closed down last year, now reopened with a sign advertising fortune telling. It was all decorated fairly simply, newly painted walls and door, the only unusual element being the lovely roses that someone had painted.

"All right," Kitsune led the way, "let's check this out."

A bell rang as they pushed the door open, the shadowed room beyond lit by small lights. The violet haired young woman looked up then chuckled, "Welcome."

"Anthy-san?" Ema blinked, recognizing the new resident of the Hinata Dorm.

"I'll be..." Kitsune smiled slightly, studying Anthy thoughtfully. Boldly she asked, "Are you the real thing?"

Anthy looked more amused than anything else, "Actually, yes."

"Kitsune!" Shinobu scolded then turned to Anthy, "I'm sorry Miss Himemiya, I don't know what she was thinking..."

"It's all right," Anthy reassured her, "I'm well aware of how many fake fortune tellers there are." She took a teapot and poured carefully into two cups, "Who would like to go first?"

"Could I?" Ema looked at the others, then when they nodded she took a seat in front of the table Anthy sat at.

"Drink your tea," Anthy smiled at her as she sipped from her own cup, "then we'll begin."

The tea itself had a odd strawberry tinge, smoothly going down as the candles flickered around them. Putting her cup down she smiled, "I'm done."

Anthy took the cup from her with an oddly serene expression, gazing into the cup contemplatively. "You arrived at the Hinata Dorm hoping to enter Tokyo University," she murmured, "because of the stories you heard about it's powers." Softly Ema gasped as Anthy continued, "You intend to apply your research skills as a librarian."

"How did you...?" Ema blurted. She knew her research about the Hinata Dorm was known there, she had mentioned it to Shinobu for instance, but she hadn't told anyone about her interest in being a librarian.

Quietly Anthy continued, "I can't foresee if you'll succeed in achieving that goal, but you will make it into Tokyo U."

"Me next," Kitsune said firmly once Ema had gotten up. She sat down and drank her tea from a fresh cup, wondering about this oddly enigmatic woman across from her.

Taking the cup Anthy smiled, studying the remains thoughtfully. "In business you've largely been successful," she finally said seriously, "but love has been more difficult. Your first true love you gave up to someone who was like a sister to you, while the other you have never spoken of."

Kitsune blinked, "I'll be damned. There's no way that you could have learned that from talking to anyone at the dorm."

Shinobu took her turn, then the four of them left the shop after Anthy decided to close up. "I'm sorry if I said anything inappropriate," she said quietly, "I don't always control what I say."

"Are you psychic?" Ema asked eagerly.

"Something like that," Anthy said as she pushed her hair back nervously, "I don't know all the details myself."

'Now why do I get the feeling she's lying?' Kitsune wondered.

Shinobu had a faintly.. disturbed look on her face. "I didn't like what I heard," she finally said to Anthy softly.

"I'm sorry," Anthy said. Taking a breath, "I could be wrong, and a person's fate is unwritten until it happens. You can make other choices."

"Still," Shinobu sighed, "I think I always knew I couldn't have sempai, but having it spelled out that way hurt."

Ema reached out to gently squeeze Shinobu's shoulder. "And it doesn't mean you won't fall in love with someone else," she said softly.

Shinobu brightened a bit, "True."

Kitsune looked down at Anthy, studying the young woman in her almost archaic dress. "Would you be interested in a business opportunity?" Kitsune asked with a grin.

"Oh?" Anthy looked up at her curiously.


"What?" Motoko Aoyama blinked in surprise, reaching up to feed her bird Shippu, currently perched on her shoulder.

"A ghost busting company," Kitsune continued, "or maybe even more." Anthy sat beside her, looking on with bemused interest more than anything else.

"Why would I want to...?" Motoko trailed off.

"You yourself mentioned to me that you wanted to use your God's Cry training to help people," Kitsune said patiently, "this could be a excellent way to do so."

Motoko looked at Anthy, "And you're involved in this?"

"More waiting to see," Anthy smiled, "I have certain gifts that Kitsune thinks might come in handy." A thoughtful pause, "I think an old friend of mine would be very amused to find me involved in something like this."

'Interesting,' Motoko blinked.

"I already have a name in mind and can have business cards printed by the end of the week," Kitsune said eagerly.

"What would you call this little venture?" Motoko blinked.

A smile from Kitsune, "I was talking to an associate, she says we can be a branch of the Phantom Quest Corp."

To be continued...

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