And this time, Reiko made a fatal mistake.
I was concentrating so hard on my own cards that I’m still not entirely sure what she did. Her cards suddenly flipped through the air and smacked into Maria’s.
Unsteady as it was, Maria’s card house was the second tallest of the group. It was flattened in an instant.
“Ah, I’m s-sorry!”
Needless to say, Reiko was panicked. Maria sat stunned for a few moments before she began rebuilding her pyramid twice as quickly as she had been doing. But given how little time we had left, even if both Shun and Maria’s pyramids were complete, it wouldn’t have been enough. Before she could even complete the third layer, a whistle blew, signaling the end of the competition.
“I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I did something like that…” Reiko kept apologizing incessantly.
“Don’t worry about it. I knocked it over a bunch of times myself, anyway,” Maria said, smiling, but her eyes were empty.
Here, I’ll give a brief introduction of team one. The six members are Shun Aonuma, Maria Akizuki, Satoru Asahina, Reiko Amano, Mamoru Itou, and me, Saki Watanabe. You might have noticed that the names are in alphabetical order, so it would have made sense for me to be in team five, but I somehow wound up in team one. Since three of my good friends are in the same group, I thought it was done as a special consideration to help me get used to Sage Academy.
After class that day, Maria, Satoru, Shun, Mamoru and I walked down a small path that ran along the canal near school. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be friends with Reiko, since we did hang out with her pretty often, but that we felt it might be awkward for her to be around us after messing up so badly.
“I wanna be able to use my full power already,” Satoru said, stretching.
Everyone felt the same way. Since we were still students, we couldn’t use our canti in public. Unlike the classes in Harmony Schools, the lectures at Sage Academy were long and tedious, but we had to go through them before our canti would be unsealed for the practical course at the end of the day.
“When you get to use your full powers, I have to be sure run away as far as I can,” I teased.
“Why?” said Satoru sullenly.
“No particular reason.”
“I already have perfect control. But you’re clumsy as a drunk.”
“I think you’re both really good,” said Shun, trying to placate both of us.
“Hearing this from you, I can’t really be happy,” Satoru kicked a pebble into the canal.
“Why?” Shun asked, genuinely confused. “I’m not lying. I really think that both of you are good. Your cards didn’t go flying the wrong way or anything.”
“Aah, stop it already,” Maria sighed, covering her ears.