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ToKyotchi Chapter 29

Wait! She’s a Princess?

Che didn’t know Legaros Academy had so many students. Or that so many people, let alone classmates, could fit in one tower. Still, it shouldn’t have surprised him given its futuristic design.

The sun was at its brightest, though it wasn’t as hot as he felt it should be at midday. The sky was a deep blue, with not a cloud in sight. There was a slight breeze that almost felt like a hug when it brushed against his skin.

That was when he realized this was the first time he’d even had a chance to really take in the scenery since he’d first arrived. The tour he’d gotten a few days ago was nice, but it had all been so rushed. Of course, it wasn’t as if he didn’t still have a mission to accomplish, but the beauty of Legaros Academy was worth taking a few moments to appreciate.

Professor Avis had broken the news in first period that they’d be excused from the rest of their classes after fourth period. Che didn’t like the idea of missing out on Sparring. He had, after all, made an agreement with Lorenzo that he’d be ready to infiltrate the Marbot Research Facility, and he knew he needed to get much stronger than he currently was.

Still, he made his way to the courtyard, watching as the other students ran around in earnest. Che had gotten used to the soft hum of the maglev cabs, but today the air was filled with the sound of several buzzing around at once. It seemed the entire academy was alive with activity, and it only fueled Che’s curiosity further.

“I think they’re gonna open up the gates soon,” Tyson muttered, bringing Che out of his reverie. He nodded in agreement as the other students began edging closer to the entrance. Che looked around, hoping to spot Nikki in the crowd, but couldn’t find her. Maybe today would be too much for her after all. He hoped she was doing okay. He didn’t spot Kim or Bella either.

The gates were flanked by two guards on either side, and Che assumed they were in charge of opening them up. He couldn’t help but marvel at their size, strength, and armor. They looked as though they were not only of high rank but high level as well.

He could feel his classmates growing restless as the moments went on. A few more minutes passed before static filled the air as what sounded like a gigantic speaker came to life. A man’s booming voice then announced, “Legaros Academy gates will now open!”

“Everyone seems excited,” Che observed.

“It is pretty cool,” Tyson replied, smiling. “I bet everyone can’t wait to show off what they can do in front of their families!”

Finally, one of the guards turned to face a console behind him, quickly entering a code into it. With a loud click, the gates opened wide, revealing several rows of people eager to get inside. Che watched as several students rushed to reunite with their families, while others hung back and waited for the right moment.

Che looked over at Tyson, who nodded, before gesturing for Che to follow him. They were just about to start off toward the gate when a familiar voice called out from behind them.

“Here they are, Vista! Team Weak Ass Shoes themselves!”

Che sighed as he turned to face Reagan and Vista. Of course they’d use this moment as an opportunity for a fight. Why did they always have to pick the most inappropriate times to cause trouble?

“Can you two PLEASE get a life?” he groaned.

Reagan smiled, his silver teeth as sparkly as ever. “Oh naw! Don’t think just because ya parents are here I won’t whoop you in front of them! In fact, I’ll whoop them too since I’m sure they’re just as lame as you are!”

“Lame!” Vista repeated. “Corny!”

“That’s right, Vista!” Reagan agreed as he struck his signature martial arts pose. “Throw your worries over the deep end!”

“Into new dimensions you can’t compreh-” Vista froze mid-sentence (and mid-pose) as Reagan looked on in confusion. “Oh, no…”

“The hell you mean ‘Oh, no?’” Reagan demanded, still frozen in place. He then turned to see what had upset her, and his expression morphed into disgust. “Wait a minute! Is that who I think it is? Damn, why’d they come here?”

Che followed Vista’s terrified gaze to some commotion happening at the gates. Everyone was clearing a path for a couple that made all eyes turn to them. From what Che could make out, it was a man and a woman, though they were both dressed immaculately.

The woman wore a shimmering white dress adorned with a gilded design reminiscent of ivy climbing up the walls of an abandoned tower. Her ears were pointed, sticking out of her white hair like small antlers. Her eyes were jet black, a complete contrast to her pale, white skin. A golden tiara sat atop her head, glinting in the sunlight.

The man next to her wore an entirely black ensemble, a mixture of armor and robes, with a cape that seemed to float off his back. He had long dark hair, though he was just as pale as the woman next to him. His eyes were a deep, sapphire blue, while his crown, though ebony, rose high above his head resembling the branches of a great tree.

Che had no choice but to stare, suddenly feeling insignificant in their presence. He’d never seen anything like them before.

“Who are they?” Che whispered to Tyson.

Tyson shook his head. “They look like royalty.”

Che furrowed his brow as he tried to recall Professor Stufford’s lesson from yesterday. “Are they the Tomore royal family?”

Tyson guffawed. “Heck no! You think we’d be this calm if they were? Plus nobody related to the royal family would ever go to school here. I’m sure the princes have private tutors.”

The crowd grew silent as the intercom sounded again.

“Students of Legaros Academy and their families, we are most pleased to be graced with the presence of King Hoam and Queen Expi of Sall Kingdom!”

The entire courtyard was then filled with gasps as everyone began to bow in reverence. Che and Tyson quickly followed suit, though Che wasn’t sure what the Sall Kingdom was or where it was located.

“You must not move!”

Che felt Vista dart behind him and clasp his shoulders as she hid herself from view of the king and queen approaching. Meanwhile, out of the corner of his eye, he could see Reagan narrowing his eyes while clenching his fists.

“Hey, hey, hey!” he shouted. “What are you doing, Vista? Don’t be huggin’ all up on that loser!”

“Stop talking!” Vista hissed from behind Che.

The person on the intercom continued. “The king and the queen request the presence of their beloved daughter and heir to the throne, Princess Vista!”

“Princess Vista?” Tyson whispered, eyes wide.

“Wait, you’re a princess?” Che tried to wriggle free of Vista’s increasingly tight grip on his shoulders, but she wouldn’t budge.

“Please!” Vista’s voice carried a sense of urgency that Che hadn’t thought possible, sending a chill down his spine. “Keep them away from me!”

Che took a deep breath before relaxing his shoulders. He looked over at Tyson, who merely shrugged.

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but don’t involve me in something without my permission!” he hissed at Vista.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever…” Reagan came to stand beside Che, who quickly noticed his change in demeanor. Usually, this was the perfect moment for Reagan to attack him unprovoked. He braced himself in case Reagan tried anything, while Reagan slowly turned to face Vista.

“What do you want us to do?” he whispered to Vista.

Che scoffed. “What do you mean ‘we?'”

“Yeah, don’t look at us!” Tyson added.

Vista did not move. Instead, she snuck a glance at the king and queen before ducking her head again.

“I don’t know…” she replied softly.

“Look…” Reagan was now facing forward, but Che could tell he was speaking directly to him. “You know I don’t like you. At all. In fact, I’m determined to kick your ass today. But this is more important. Vista doesn’t want to be a princess.”

“Well, we don’t want to be sucker punched every day and put to sleep by rose petals,” Che rolled his eyes. “Right, Tyson?”

“Right!” Tyson pumped his fist into the air.

“Fine!” Reagan growled. “No match today! Just help me get-“

He was interrupted by a powerful voice, somehow more powerful than the man on the intercom, coming from the king and queen.

“Crumble your worries in the palm of your hand!” King Hoam took on a dramatic stance, pointing at the crowd with a giant staff he had materialized from his cape.

Che barely had time to process what was happening as everyone around him grew silent.

“From the valley of death, let all hope transcend!” Queen Expi mirrored the king’s stance with one of her own, a wand emerging from her delicate hands.

“In the still of the night, our voice will withstand!”

“The clashing of sabers, of storms unplanned!”

Che cocked his head to the side. This all seemed very familiar. He didn’t know whether to be impressed or annoyed.

“Fear the might of your King of Sall!” King Hoam finished with a booming voice that echoed off the walls of the courtyard. “Hoam!”

“Bow to your queen who tempers all!” Queen Expi took over, her voice a gentle contrast to the king’s. “Expi!”

“Huh,” Che shrugged as he glanced over at Reagan. “So that’s where you two get your dumb speech from.”

Reagan shot him the middle finger as the crowd erupted in cheers. King Hoam and Queen Expi turned to face Che’s direction, and he felt Vista’s grip on his shoulders somehow get even tighter than before.

“You may come out of hiding now, darling!” Queen Expi’s voice was clear though sweet, her dark eyes settling on Che.

Vista released her death grip on Che’s shoulders and finally moved to stand in front of him. She took a hesitant step forward, her face pale and her hands trembling.

“Your Majesty,” she said, curtseying before King Hoam and Queen Expi, before hurrying toward them.

“We’re too late!” Reagan muttered through silver, gritted teeth as reached out his hand toward Vista. “Now they’ve got her!”

Che watched as the king and queen welcomed their daughter back with hugs, tears streaming down their faces. He couldn’t help but smile at the reunion before him.

“I’m not seeing what’s so bad about this,” Che smirked. “Let me guess. She escaped mom and dad as an act of rebellion to come here and defy them, and you were all too happy to lend a helping hand.”

“Man, shut up!” Reagan huffed. “You don’t know a goddamn thing!”

“Oh, I think I know a thing or two,” Che crossed his arms.

“Oh, what? You wanna go?” Reagan started to lunge at Che, but Tyson held him back.

“Come on, Reagan,” he said in an even tone. “Vista’s family wanted to see her, and I’m sure you can both go back to being a nuisance when everyone leaves Sunday.”

Reagan stared daggers at Che for a few seconds before returning his gaze toward Vista.

“Yeah, whatever,” he muttered as the royal family embraced in another tight hug.

“Reggie? Oh, there you are!”

Che turned to see a small, older woman walking towards Reagan. She wore a pink gown adorned with blue flower designs that covered her from head to toe. The breeze shifted the curly, gray afro on her head, giving her the appearance of having a cloud as a halo. She smoothed out her gown as she approached, the act reminding Che of many of his elders back home.

Her face was warm and gentle, her brown eyes neatly folded into the grooves of her face, with a likely permanent smile carefully etched into it. Two large, dangling sapphire earrings swung from each ear as she came to a stand in front of Reagan.

“Grandmama, what chu doin’ here?” Reagan looked terrified as the older woman gestured for him to come forward.

“Now I know you’re not gonna talk to your grandmother like that after traveling all this way!” she said with a laugh, throwing her arms around Reagan and twirling him around in a giant hug.

Reagan stiffened but then slowly relaxed into the embrace. Che couldn’t help but smile at the sight of Reagan, who was normally a constant thorn in his side, being comforted by his grandmother.

“Grandmama, you can’t be traveling by yourself…” Reagan spoke softly, something Che didn’t think was possible, as he held his grandmother at arm’s length. “I told you to call if you ever needed something. I could have come to get you instead.”

“Now, you don’t worry about all that,” his grandmother swatted Reagan’s concern away with her hand, straightening her dress and nodding politely to Che and Tyson. “These your friends here?”

Tyson scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “Hello, ma’am. I’m Tyson, and this is Rowan.”

“Nice to meet you,” Che gave her a megawatt smile, certain it would make Reagan’s blood pressure skyrocket.

Reagan glared at Che before rolling his eyes. “Nah, grandmama, they’re not my friends! They’re lame! I don’t like them!”

“Oh, you hush that now, Reggie!” his grandmother shushed Reagan, winking at Che and Tyson. “I bet you could use a little lame on you for a change! All you do is cuss, yell, and spit just like your Uncle Elroy! And you see how he ended up!”

“Grandmama, he’s a delivery man now,” Reagan sighed. “He’s doing better.”

“And he still spits,” she placed both hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. “It’s a wonder he still even has that job. Every time he gets angry, he sets whatever’s near him on fire! I’m surprised you aren’t a Flame type just like him!”

“Grandmama…” Reagan groaned.

“Now then,” his grandmother clapped her hands together. “You know I gotta see your room. I bet you got a month’s worth of dirty laundry I need to clean, and I know you like to eat too! I’m gonna make you baked chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, cherry cobbler, sweet potato pie, roasted veggies, and whatever else! Just gotta remember what I packed in my…”

She started to trail off as the two of them walked away, leaving Che and Tyson to simply observe the scene.

“Looks like Reagan’s in for a treat,” Tyson chuckled as his eyes scanned the rest of the crowd. “Hey, come on! I think my parents are over there!”

Che smiled and nodded in agreement as he watched Reagan and his grandmother walk off together, arm in arm. He then turned to see if the king and queen were still embracing, and sure enough, they were.

“I wasn’t expecting their families to be like this,” Che said, shaking his head in amazement.

“Me neither,” Tyson replied with a chuckle. “Maybe they’re not all bad, you know?”

Che took a deep breath as his mother’s face entered his mind before shaking his head. He couldn’t get upset now and be forced to try and explain it away. Besides, he wasn’t the only one without a family in this academy. He’d have to find Nikki and the others as soon as he got a chance.

“They don’t know how lucky they are,” Che muttered as the two of them made their way toward Tyson’s parents.