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“Have you ever wanted to hate someone?”

Hikaru, Umi, Fuu, and Mokona had set up camp for the night. Hikaru had immediately collapsed on the bed, exhausted after the ordeal with first the Escudo and then with Alcyone. Umi and Fuu were sitting at  the table, remnants of their supper in front of them.  

Fuu looked a bit startled as she replied, “I am not quite sure what you mean, Umi-san.”

“I mean, have you ever met someone who is not like you at all, and from the moment you meet them you think, I’m going to hate this person.” 

“No, I cannot say I ever have. I was taught to be kind to everyone, no matter what.”

“That’s not what I mean. I mean someone you’re sure you’ll never be fond of, no matter how kind they are to you or you to them. Someone who just rubs you the wrong way.” 

For reasons Fuu couldn’t fathom, Ferio’s face appeared in her mind for an instant before she pushed it back down to the depths where she had safely tucked it away. “No, Umi-san, I do not think I have ever  met anyone like that. Why do you ask?” 

“Because that first day, with the giant flying fish and Clef, I was sure I was going to hate Hikaru. She was so immature and reckless, immediately volunteering to become a Magic Knight and just not at all  anything like me or my friends. And yet, now, I can’t help but feel like she’s one of the people who is  most precious to me.” 

Fuu smiled. “Yes, Hikaru-san seems to have that effect on people. I must admit, I have grown quite fond of her as well.” 

Umi glanced at their sleeping friend. After creating some food for them, Mokona had cuddled up to Hikaru, who was now cradling him in one arm. “You know, I think we’ll be okay as long as she’s  with us.” 

Fuu nodded. “I think you are right, Umi-san.”