I’m One of the muses, A common wood nymph roaming around Parnassus, Happy with my little sweet pea. With her delicate, fragrant flowers Carried on long, slim stalks, She captivated me. I ran to her flaming with desire. I am flaming. Burning Blazing with desire. Too hot for my sweet pea. Because she’s so delicate, So delicate for me. As I touch her, she transformed into ashes. I burnt her. And out of a haze, you were formed. Like smoke given out by fire. A fireweed that sprang up in the burnt over area. A replacement, I thought. You quenched my thirst. Suffuse my hunger. My desire. I came to you for a crown And you gave me a kingdom. You made me eat on a golden plate And drink from your cup of diamonds. But like a common pitcher plant, Cut your base open And there you’ll find my body’s remains trapped inside. A pitfall in the middle of the forest. I will name you Venus? The goddess with a seducing brilliant red trap. Open to all beings that needs nurturing. Show your bosom and all will crave for your milk. From a butterfly, you turned me to an ant. When I brushed only slightly against your skin, You closed within an instant. Rigid spines on the margins of you blades interlock tightly. As soon as I was trapped, You digested me. Used me as a nutrient material. I know this is about to last for only a week. By the time your leaf reopens, You’ll be reedy for other sufferers. Trapped inside, I accepted my fate. Then there she came one spring day. My little delicate sweet pea. Now a spring beauty in full bloom. A low perennial herb. With narrow, succulent leaves And loose cluster of white and pink flowers. But your leaf has closed. I cannot escape.

Chapter 23  


The second quarter started with the ball in their possession. Rika immediately worked her way towards the goal. She passed it to Sayumi when she saw that she was somewhat open. Sayumi jumped and hit the ball with her head to pass it to Reina who was near the goal. It happened so fast that the goalie reacted late to Reina’s shot. Rika’s team scored and the lead was down to one.

The second quarter started with the ball in their possession. Rika immediately worked her way towards the goal. She passed it to Sayumi when she saw that she was somewhat open. Sayumi jumped and hit the ball with her head to pass it to Reina who was near the goal. It happened so fast that the goalie reacted late to Reina’s shot. Rika’s team scored and the lead was down to one.

“Great job Sayu!!!’ Masae shouted from the bench. Ayumi and the others followed her cheering. Sayumi’s cheek was red from the support that was given to her by their team mates in the bench.

Maki patted Reina’s head. “Good job…”

“Thanks!” Reina replied. All of them readied for the defense. Maki guarded what seemed to be the sub-leader of their opposing team. She looked at the shorter girl meticulously. If you based it on her features, you would think that she was fragile and would easily loose the ball. But anyone who would think like that will be punished by their ignorance for this short-haired girl was tough to defend. Rika was all the same having a difficulty to guard the somewhat taller leader. If Rika couldn’t guard her, Maki thought to change places with her. Seeing Maki looking at Rika, the opponent seized the chance to overtake Maki. Maki however was gifted with a rare athletic body and a fast reaction time. She immediately stride pass the fleeing girl which stunned her. Maki grabbed the chance to rob the ball from the opponent’s side.

Seeing the ball being taken away, Rika and the others immediately run after Maki for back up. Two opponents immediately positioned themselves in the front. Reina run past the two defenders because they were preparing for the next step of Maki. Maki saw the opening in between the legs of one of the defenders and kicked the ball towards Reina. Rika signaled for a triangle play. Reina and Rika were parallel to each other and Maki was in the back, to somewhat form the apex. Reina passed the ball over to Rika at the other side of the court. The goalie guarded the left side of the goal and one of the defender left Sayu to help double team Rika. Rika immediately passed the ball back to Maki which in turn kicked the ball towards the goal.

She was a fanatic of the anime Captain Tsubasa. She applied some spin on the ball when she kicked it real hard. The ball flew towards the goal in a non-conventional manner. This shocked the goalie. She immediately run back to position herself when she saw Rika passed the ball to Maki. The goalie knew that she could catch the ball because Maki was in front of her and only 5 meters away from the goal. All of them were surprised when the ball flew in a curved line instead of a straight line. It went to the left side of the goalie before it went inside the goal. The game was tied to 4-4 in just a span of the first five minutes of the 2nd quarter. The coach of the opposing team immediately called for a time out. Abe-sensei was happy at what her team was showing. Their long awaited championship was within their grasp.

“You’re doing well! Keep up the good work!” That’s all she can manage to say. She didn’t know what else to say. For the last month of arduous training, she saw the competitive behavior of her team. Though she told them to do a strategy, her team wouldn’t even follow that if Rika thought that it wouldn’t work. She laid her hopes of winning to the strategist leader and the remarkable teammates.

The game began. The opponent team changed their strategy. Whenever the ball got to Rika, Maki or Reina… the opposing team would always double team them. Whenever the opponent got the ball, they had a difficulty in scoring due to the intense cover given by Sayumi and Eri. Tsuji was always alert and blocked every ball that comes her way. Both teams remained scoreless for a long period. It’s only three minutes before the game will end. The ball was blocked by Tsuji and the opponent team got it again.

“DON”T FORGET ME!!!!” All of them were surprised by the sudden outburst of Eri. She had decided to put all her effort in these last few minutes. She immediately stripped the ball from the opponent when she tried to pass it to her team mate. Eri ran fast towards the other end of the field. She was midway to the goal when she caught a glimpsed of Sayumi in the right side of the field, near the goal. She passed it to Rika who was in between her and Sayu. Rika knew what was going to Eri’s mind. She kicked the ball upwards and hit it with her head towards Sayu. Sayu saw the flying ball headed towards her position. At first, her thoughts ran wild. What if she cannot repeat her back flip? It can lead to an injury. But then, she saw her teammates’ eyes… She could see the “fire” burning in them. They all desire to win this game that’s why, she instantly removed all her worries form her mind and jumped high to do that somersault again.

The fireworks were being lit as a closing activity that night. Maki and Rika were watching the night sky being filled up with colorful lights in their favorite hangout place.

“It’s a tough day right?” Maki asked.

“Yah… Now I can rest peacefully in our house. Besides from training in the futsal, Ayumi and I were busy practicing the dance steps of Chirarizumu. My muscles ached very much”

“I can massage you if you want… I guess that’s my treat for you this time… as the MVP of the competition.” Maki smiled. She recalled how Sayu shocked their opponent team with her back flip. They were too surprised to move a bit and thus, giving them a crucial lead with only a minute left in the game clock.

Instead of the opponent team to call for a time out, Rika was the one who signaled to call a time out. She instructed her team on how to defend their opponent. She also called for a substitution. She replaced Sayu with Ootani Masae, another great defender. Combined with Eri, she knew that the other team cannot go past them. The lead gave them confidence and thus, earned the title of this year’s Interschool Futsal Champions. Rika was named as the MVP. It’s a success for their school. They grabbed another championship in the cheering squad. It’s not bias or whatsoever. Those who watched the cheering teams perform in the half time breaks clearly saw the host school’s potential to win the said event. The award was received by Koharu.

“That’s a good idea…” Rika answered.

“Ano sa… Would you like to stay with us at Christmas Day after visiting the shrine? And then, I’ll stay in your house during the New Year. Would that be alright with you?” Maki suddenly asked while massaging Rika’s shoulders.

“Hmmm, that’s a good idea. I think I’ll ask my parents about it…. Oohhh. I’m getting excited about it!!!” Rika exclaimed.

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