KL: Preview Clip 2 ~ Nikko's Word Confusion

So, the next day, Kaori was sitting next to Nikkō in Takumi’s office. Kaori was having a hard time believing that the quiet little nine-year-old was an Air Keyholder. She was slightly disgusted at the thought. I really can’t escape all this Keyholder stuff, can I? She glanced sidelong at Nikkō. Wind Gate, huh? she pondered.

“Norikawa,” Takumi said, “while I’m working with..Mikichi..” He sat a written quiz down in front of her. “...fill this out. It’s the review on the Earth Gate.”

Kaori snickered. “Nikkō doesn’t have a surname,” she said wryly.

Takumi shot her an irritated glare. “Now’s not the time to play smart-aleck. Get on it.”

Nikkō glanced confusedly between Kaori and Takumi. “Mikichi’s not my name,” he said. “That’s Neeha Kita’s* name.”

“Told you,” Kaori said teasingly.

Takumi glared at her again. “I’m sorry,” he apologized to Nikkō. “Do you go by dë Uakashie, then?”

“It’s just Nikkō. Or Shiéko-kalu. Or Kalu, for short.”

“If you call him by his given name, you can call me by mine – ”

“Enough out of you, Norikawa!” Kaori snickered again. “I’m not teaching kindergarten, here!” Takumi yelled, turning red. “Behave, or I will treat you like a kindergartner!”

“Kindle gardener?” Nikkō asked.

Takumi sighed. “No, Nikkō.” Kaori tried to keep herself from erupting in laughter.

Takumi spun on her and blurted out, “Shut it, Kaori!”

“Huh? Shut what – ?”

Self-control gone. Kaori fell over the table and broke out in wild laughter. “‘Shut what?’ he says! Nikkō, you’re so cute!” she cried. “That was priceless!!”

Takumi turned his back to them and groaned. “I hate kids!!” he muttered under his breath. “Norikawa,” he said, trying to keep his voice even, “you have a test to work on. No talking starting now – or, so help me, I will embarrass you!” When Kaori had finally fallen silent, and his anger had passed, he turned back around and approached Nikkō.

Kaori overheard Takumi softly talking to the little boy – starting from the beginning with him – as she jotted away on her test. She hit the question she had failed to answer the day before. As much as she was messing with Takumi today, she was trying to take the lesson seriously. She couldn’t help a smile. He finally called me ‘Kaori’ – even if he was telling me to shut up. She chuckled at recalling Nikkō’s reaction, then went back to writing. “Done!” she announced.

Takumi sighed, got up and approached her. Kaori handed him the paper, and he looked over the answers. “Good,” he said. “Take out the other packets.”

Kaori fished the Wind Gate and Fire Gate packets from the folder in her backpack. “I read them both,” she said.

“Any questions?” Takumi asked.


“Then I’ll hand you the review sheets for those, as well.” Takumi pulled two more sheets of paper from the edge of his desk and sat them in front of her, then collected the packets. “When you’re done, you can do your forty-minute workout,” he said. “Come back here when you’re all through. I should be done with dë Uakashie by then.”

“It’s Nikkō.” The little boy was blinking up at Takumi.

Takumi heaved a sigh. “Sorry. Nikkō.” Nikkō smiled, appeased.

Kaori started the second quiz. “Why is it so hard for you to call somebody by their given name?” she asked Takumi.

Takumi turned his sad eyes on Nikkō. “I prefer to keep my distance. That’s all.” He walked back to Nikkō and resumed his lesson.

*Neeha = informal, aunt; "auntie"