He's playing it by ear. Kyoko groaned as Ryu set up yet another stupid game for them. It was obvious to her how unplanned it all was, but he seemed to have an uncanny feeling for what worked.
The club members had spent three hours divided into two, three or four teams, competing in one inane was after another, and how Noriko had managed to scrounge up prizes was beyond her.
They're working like a tag-team. I've never thought of them as scary before, but just look at them!
Beside her Yukio failed horribly at wrapping an erected tent in sleeping pads. That had their team coming in last. Kyoko smiled at him. Even when you fail you're my hero.
She walked over to where Ryu had filled two buckets with water and dropped an apple in each. Beside each bucket a smaller box sat half filled with flour, and if the rumours around her were true, a marshmallow hidden somewhere.
“Oh no, shit!” she heard Yukio's voice from behind her. He groaned and continued: “Someone else represent our team.”
He knows this game?
Kyoko glanced at him. He only stood staring at the preparations with a mischievous smirk on his face.
Yeah, he knows. She took a long look at the set-up again and then understanding slowly dawned on her. “No way! No way I'm doing that!”
She felt Yukio's hands on her shoulders. Then his mouth was just behind her ear.
“I love you, just so you know,” he whispered.
She was about to turn around and hug him when he raised her right hand into the air.
“Kyoko just said she volunteers,” Yukio shouted and waved her arm around.
You! You! “Yukio!”
“Look, she's out of words for sheer joy.”
She shot him a glare she hoped he read promises of horrid retribution into. There was no getting out of it now. With a shrug she let her left arm join her right in a boxer's victory-gesture. “Who's my opponent. Who dares face me in epic combat?” She could just as well play along.
From the corner of her eyes she saw Noriko come dancing in exaggerated bounces. “I'll take on the little girl, with one change.”
Kyoko wondered about the last part until she saw Hiroyuki-kun and Sango-chan approaching them from the camping ground with a bucket and a box each in their hands.
“Founder's death-match!” Noriko yelled. “Yukio, wherever your beloved goes you must go.” She guffawed and grinned at her brother. “Planner of mischief, idiot bro. Show us you can compete in as well as plan these games!” She bowed and swung deep with all the flourish of a French musketeer right out of Dumas'.
All four of us? I'm so not going to end up last!
They lined up. Hiroyuki-kun shouted out the rules, and around them all the club-members gathered hooting and laughing.
With her hands on her back Kyoko felt adrenaline rushing in her as the wish to compete grew stronger and stronger. Yukio, eat dust!
Hiroyuki-kun quickly came to an end with the rules. “Ready! Steady! Go!”
Kyoko threw her face into the water and snapped after the apple. It bobbed away and floated back up beside her head. Another attempt to get a bite of it failed as miserably. What the hell! And she had an idea. Almost diving into the bucket she forced the apple to the bottom. This time she got a good grip of it with her teeth.
Triumphantly she brought her head back up with her prize in her mouth. Water splattered all around her, but she had the apple. A hand was stretched out and she spat it out.
Without a thought she dove face first into the flour. Where is it? Her world was white, her face smeared with goo and sticky dough dropped down her clothes. It didn't matter. She hadn't found the marshmallow and she slammed her face into the flour again with frenzied vigour. There! Got it! She grabbed it between her front teeth and rose with arms outstretched.
To her right wet sounds told her Noriko hadn't managed to get her apple yet, and Kyoko swivelled left. Yes! Both boys were face first deep in their flour boxes.
Distantly she heard cheering, and it took a while before the understood she had flour plastered to both her ears as well.
“I did it! I did it! Who's the champion!” she yelled.
“And the winner is, let's hear it for her...”
“Kyoko-chan!” the crowd roared.
She was grinning wildly, and it was just a stupid game, and she was filled with elation. I won! That wasn't a feeling she was used to.
Ryu and then Yukio resurfaced with their marshmallows in their mouths and managed to look crestfallen when they realised she had won. Noriko still made strange and watery noises. She hadn't got the hang of fishing up the elusive apple. When she rose for a new attempt she stared at them and laughed.
“You look like idiots!”
Kyoko looked at Yukio and Ryu. She didn't have to say what she planned. A few moments later Ryu had moved behind his sister and grabbed her arms.
“Oh, no, don't you dare!”
“Watch us!” Yukio grinned and at that signal Kyoko grabbed Noriko's box.
She smiled as sweetly as she could to Noriko. “My dear friend. You look hungry. Some dessert?” Noriko pushed the box to Noriko's face while Yukio pulled her head forward. Then all three let go of their friend and backed away.
“Idiot, you said?” Ryu taunted his sister.
“Bro! Idiot Bro!” And with those words Noriko sprinted after her fleeing brother with a box in her hand. The crowd quickly gave way to avoid being smeared with wet flour.
Through the gap opening Kyoko saw a car climbing the road only to stop at the camping grounds. As the door opened she saw Noriko's mother climbing out of the car and search the students with her eyes.
“Ryu, Noriko, over here! Matsumoto-san and Takeida-san, you're wanted as well.”
Noriko ceased hunting her brother, and Kyoko grabbed Yukio's hand and walked towards the car. Wonder what's up?
“Excellent, kids, you're needed at… what on earth… how do you look?”
“She won,” Ryu said and pointed at Kyoko as if that explained everything. The look on his face was so deadpan that Kyoko doubled up and guffawed.
“We'll be right with you,” she said when she had caught her breath again. Looking at Yukio's face made her giggle again.
Noriko's mother shook her head in exasperation. “You can't look like that when… Oh hell, we don't have the time. Jump in!”