Mvmt I. Da Capo (From the
Ranka sat in front of the mirror in her St. Maria's uniform. She
picked up a makeup brush and carefully spread some eye shadow on her
eyelid. When she opened her eye, her eyelid sparkled like tiny
stars. Suddenly, the mirror lit up and her hair rose in
surprise. Shimmering light coalesced into Sheryl's face.
The room began to dissolve and she floated off her chair.
Meanwhile, Sheryl reached out from the mirror and grabbed her
hand. As the Galaxy Fairy pulled her away from the chair, her
clothes morphed into her yellow and orange concert dress.
Together, they floated over the Frontier colony and sang into the
starry night sky.
Guided by the constellations, our
As they sang that line, they reached for each other, sunset-hued eyes
mirrored on sky blue ones. Ranka would have continued singing but
she felt a tap on her shoulder. To her horror, Sheryl was
devoured by a large green salamander that was held by a giant Ai.
"WAKE NOW!" thundered Ai.
Ranka woke with a start. Next to her bed, Ai held her wriggling
phone which was playing Lion as a wake-up tone. A small video of
Sheryl played on its light projected screen. She drowsily took
the phone from Ai and squeezed it silent. "A few more minutes..."
"No! You say, then say again. Up now!" cajoled Ai who
yanked on her arm. "If late, teacher mad! Stand outside
"Ok... ok..." With a yawn and a stretch, the green-haired girl
lurched away from her bed and grabbed a bathrobe and a towel.
When she walked out into the hallway, sounds of activity came from the
kitchen. Brera beat her to making breakfast. Another yawn
escaped and she plodded her way toward the bathroom.
As warm drops of water rinsed her skin, she sighed contentedly and
shampooed her hair with Meltene ProZ. Since she did that
commercial for the manufacturer, she received a year's supply of the
Her thoughts went back to that dream. ."Camp hasn't even started
and I miss her already..." she mused. That particular dream often
reoccured, especially when they were busy with school and work and did
not have time for dates. However, it was a nice dream and one
that she did not mind having again.
After showering, she wiped her body and wore her bathrobe. Then
she sat in front of the mirror and began to dry her hair with the
towel. It was then that she noticed those daring eyes and
mischievous smile which were printed on the fabric. That the
smile was only inches away from her cheek. Slowly, her hand moved
to close the distance and the soft fabric caressed her cheek. She
closed her eyes and leaned into it, imagining the real Sheryl
instead. Warmth rose to her cheeks as her imagination went
overboard. A knock on the door interrupted her daydream.
"Ranka done?" asked Ai.
"Ah! Yes... just a minute!" Ranka grabbed the hair dryer and
brush. She opened the door. "I'm done, go ahead."
"Ok." Ai went into the shower.
"Don't forget to close the door!" said Ranka and closed the bathroom
door. Despite all her explanations, Ai still did not grasp the
notions of propriety.
When they were ready, they went downstairs for breakfast. Brera
had already prepared some sausage links, egg and pancakes. Each
plate had two symmetrical pancakes of about the same size, two sausages
browned evenly, two scoops of scrambled egg and two square slices of
butter. The sausages and egg scoops were neatly arranged on the
pancakes while the slices of butter were carefully stacked on top of
each other. As Ranka surveyed the identical portions, she grinned
in amusement at her brother's precision cooking style.
After breakfast, Brera's drove them to school in his Subaru Impreza
WRX. As they walked to the auditorium, they passed the lines of
pilots in the parking lot. Ranka craned her neck and her face
brightened when she spotted Sheryl. She was about to get her
attention when an instructor spoke into the mic. Disappointed,
she turned away.
"It's ok..." she consoled herself. "I'll try the link later."
At the auditorium, they met up with Nanase and waited with the rest of
the Performance Arts students who passed the requirements for boot
camp. Including themselves, there were about fourty students in
the auditorium. A few minutes later, the director of Fine Arts
and Performance Arts, Roy Roverock, walked onto the stage and spoke
into the mic.
"Good morning, everyone! How's everybody feeling today?" greeted
Mr. Roverock with his usual flamboyant style.
The students cheered in response.
He acted disappointed. "Are you still asleep? I thought all
of you were looking forward to camp!" His voice rose in challenge
and he punched his fist into the air. "DO YOU WANT TO GO?!"
Along with the crowd, Ranka and Ai imitated him and answered. The
auditorium echoed with their enthusiasm. "YES!!!"
"Alright! That's more like it! We've got an awesome three
weeks lined up for all of you. Follow your homeroom teacher to
the buses outside. We'll give you more details along the
way." His arms spread out in a welcoming gesture. "Let's go
The students cheered wildly. As they made their way to the buses,
Ranka was high with euphoria. A quick glance at her classmates
indicated that they were feeling the same way. It was as if a
current of excitement was running through the students. At that
moment, she felt so happy to be in the PA course at Mihoshi.
While they rode the bus, their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Veffidas,
explained the boot camp format. She handed a stack of folders to
the students at the first row of the bus. "Camp runs from 7 to 6
PM. Workshops are two hours long and are led by a guest
instructor. Here's the workshop schedule. Take one and pass
it along. Sign up for as many as you want."
Ranka received a folder and found the schedule. She began marking
off classes. Singing and acting were automatically added.
To her disappointment, the piano workshop did not start until the
second week. She signed up for it anyway and decided to take
scriptwriting during the first week. After checking her free
time, she looked over the list and decided to include modern dance and
Once satisfied with the time slots, she helped Ai pick hers. When
Ai first started drawing, she asked her why she liked it.
Ai replied, "Humans not like Vajra. I see, you not see. So
draw. Ranka see drawing."
Ranka understood. Drawing and painting were other ways that Ai
could communicate with other humans. Those classes were added to
her list along with singing. Ranka left gaps in her schedule to
give her extra time to work on her classes. Although Ai was
considered a student, the teachers were aware that she was Vajra and
was not at the same level as other students. Instead of a letter
grade, they awarded pass or fail. Furthermore, since Ai was there
to learn about human culture, the director made an exception for her to
be in boot camp.
"Oh my god!" exclaimed Nanase from the seat behind them. "Andrea
Lohraw is teaching the photography workshop!"
Ranka leaned over the aisle to look at her. "Who?"
Nanase pointed to a picture. "Andrea Lohraw! She's a famous
photographer! I can't believe she's a guest instructor."
The finger moved down the page. "Oh! Oh! Howie
Zakimia is teaching film!"
Her eyes went round at the familiar name. Zakimia directed an
academy award winning movie, The Flying Castle. "Where did you
find this information?"
Her best friend flipped to the front cover. "I found it in the
folder. It lists the instructors for each class."
Ranka found the booklet and her jaw dropped in surprise when she saw
the instructor for singing. "Megan Knackegymma..." Megan
was recently inducted to the Entertainers Hall of Fame and had several
platinum albums. She scanned through the rest of her
instructors. When she finally put the booklet down, she realized
what the director meant. It was a really awesome lineup.
The surprises did not end there. Her jaw dropped once more when
the bus dropped them off in front of a large Victorian mansion.
Once there, the students separated by gender and an instructor led the
girls to their rooms in the North wing while the boys went to the East
wing. Along the way, they gazed in awe at the wide courtyards and
Ranka entered the room that she would share with Ai. For several
seconds, she just stood there and marvelled at the elegant furnishings
and the canopied bed which Ai was already bouncing on.
"Is nice!" remarked Ai with delight.
"Be careful, Ai-chan!" warned Ranka with alarm when she noticed that
the bedposts shook with each bounce. "It's an antique!"
"Ant, tick?" repeated Ai with confusion.
"Not insects. I mean... it's old, so you have to be
careful. You might break it."
"Then throw away. Use new one."
As usual, Ai's perception about human culture made her think twice
about things that she took forgranted. However, Ranka did not
want to spend time explaining why people kept antiques at the
moment. "Just don't bounce on it, ok? We're just borrowing
it for three weeks."
After putting their luggage away, they met with their homeroom teacher
in the courtyard. Mrs. Veffidas handed out a map of the mansion
and gave a tour of its various facilities. Except for Brera who
maintained his customary aloof expression, everyone was obviously
bubbling with excitement. The first set of workshops started
As they walked through the main courtyard, several buses drove up to
the mansion. Mrs. Veffidas stopped and gestured at the students
coming out of the buses. "By the way, we'll be sharing the
mansion with the students from the Frontier Academy of Arts and
Performance. Please get along with them."
Immediately, a sense of apprehension swept through her
classmates. In many competitions, FAAP students often vied for
first place against Mihoshi. The apprehension carried over during
lunch when the Mihoshi and FAAP students sat facing each other in the
long dining tables. Any attempt at conversation was limited to
the weather and how nice the mansion was.
After lunch, Ranka checked the map to find out where the singing
workshop was held. The booklet listed the room as 'The
Serene Song of the Seductive Sea Siren'. She giggled and looked
at the names of the other rooms. The rooms were workshops were
held had interesting names. The room next to the singing workshop
was called 'Stillness on a Golden Canvas'. A quick check of the
class schedule revealed that the painting workshop was held there.
Ranka walked excitedly to the singing workshop. Before she
entered, she noticed a sign above the door. 'The Serene Song of
the Seductive Sea Siren' was printed on it in blue cursive text and
embellished with gold foil. She giggled again.
When she opened the door, she immediately stopped in her tracks when
she recognized a student in a FAAP uniform. The student
recognized her as well.
"Why, hello, Ranka. Fancy meeting you here," greeted Miranda
"Hello, Miranda," replied Ranka calmly as she took a chair with a fair
distance from her fellow actress. During the filming of Bird
Human, Miranda acted as tempermental as the actor who played Shin
Kudo. She was not in good terms with many members of the
production crew. Ranka never forgot the unkind words that Miranda
said before the director cast her as Mao.
"And who might this be? Your sister?" Miranda walked over,
her bulging chest jiggling slightly with each step.
Ai offered her hand. "I'm Ai," responded the Vajra with practiced
"My cousin," explained Ranka while Ai and Miranda shook hands.
"I hope she doesn't sing as well as you. Otherwise, I'm in for
some stiff competition," said Miranda jokingly.
"She's ok. You can judge for yourself later."
"Speaking of judging, I hope Megan's a fair judge. Then at least,
my talents can be recognized properly."
At that moment, Ms. Knackegymma came in. Everyone took their
seats with great anticipation.
"Good afternoon, everyone. I'll be your instructor for the
singing workshop. Since we'll be working together for the next
two weeks, I'd like to know you better. Please introduce yourself
to the class and say a little bit about yourself. It'll help me
remember. Anyway, I'll start. I'm Megan Knackegymma.
Call me Megan. I usually sing mezzo-soprano but I can sing
contralto as well. I like strawberry covered donuts and milk
tea." She gestured to a boy on the first row farthest from
her. "Would you like to continue?"
The boy stood up and cleared his throat. "I'm Sam Pheaze, a
second-year. I'm a tenor and I play guitar and drums. My
favorite singer is Nekki Basara."
One by one, each student introduced himself or herself. Then
Miranda's turn came. She stood up, flicked her curly locks with
her right hand and greeted the class with a charming smile.
"Good afternoon. I'm Miranda Melin, as all of you know, of
course. I'm a soprano. Even though I was nominated for the
leading actress award and am the current Miss Macross, I still think
that I have a long way to go. I hope to learn as much as I can
from Ms. Knackegymma."
Their instructor said nothing and just nodded slightly. Finally,
it was Ranka's turn.
"Um... Hi everyone. My name is Ranka Lee and I love to
sing. Oh, I'm a mezzo-soprano. I like children and cute
She sat down and immediately opened her mind to Ai to make sure that
she did not reveal her Vajra nature during her introduction.
Ai stood up. "Hello. I am Ai Lee. I am a
soprano. I like flowers." She sat down quickly.
Ranka exhaled with relief. Her heart almost stopped when Ai
mentioned flowers. Ai always said how much she enjoyed eating the
wriggling blossoms, so the green-haired girl was grateful that her
charge did not elaborate why she liked flowers.
"Are you two related?" asked the famous singer.
"She's my cousin," replied Ranka.
After the introductions, Ranka was surprised at the number of other
idols studying at FAAP. Mihoshi had a lot of competition aside
from Miranda. At least, Sheryl was on her side.
Meanwhile, Megan handed out sheet music transcribed for their voice
range and sat down in the front row. One by one, she asked each
student to sing. As Ranka examined the music, she noticed that
there were no terms at the bottom of the measures to indicate
expression. Megan did not give any instructions to the students
who finished singing either. She just wrote on her digipad.
When her turn came, she imagined what the notes and lyrics were trying
to convey and sang.
The flower which you threw to me
In my prison stayed with me.
Though withered and dry, this flower
Kept its sweet fragrance.
From this fragrance I became
and during the night, I saw you!
I became accustomed to cursing you,
To detest you, to say to myself
Why did destiny have to
put you there, in my path?
After she sang, she took a step towards her seat, but Megan's question
stopped her in her tracks.
"What were you thinking when you sang this?"
Ranka swallowed nervously. She did not expect her to ask, so she
said the first thing that came to mind. "Well... I just thought
that the singer was sad to be in prison. But flower was a
reminder of the giver, and it gave him or her some hope."
"Are you sure? The singer is cursing the giver of the flower in
the last set of lyrics."
"Ummm... it's probably just me... but the music sounded like... the
singer missed the giver of the flower."
Megan nodded and made more notes before asking for the next student to
sing. It was Ai's turn and note for note, she sang it exactly as
Ranka had done. After Ai finished, their teacher just sat there
with her mouth agape for a few moments. Then she regained her
The super-dimensional Cinderella paled. Since Ai had not mastered
sight reading, she just copied Ranka's singing. Most people did
not have the skill or talent to realize how well Ai could reproduce any
song. However, based on her reaction, Megan was good enough to
notice that Ai matched every note and pitch perfectly. Since she
asked whether they were related, she probably did not know that Ai was
Over the link, the green-haired girl told her charge to vary the tempo
and pitch whenever she imitated a song. For the moment, Ranka
hoped that the famous singer would not be suspicious of Ai.
Finally, the last student sang. Megan finished her notes and
stood up to address them.
"Thank you for singing. By the way, the music is an excerpt from
the Flower Aria in the opera, Carmen. For your first homework,
look it up and prepare to sing it tomorrow. Our next exercise is
a group one. I'll put you into combinations of soprano,
contralto, tenor, baritone and bass. Each group will try to
harmonize as best as they can a capella."
Ranka was paired with a tenor and bass while Ai was grouped with a
contralto and baritone. Meanwhile, the tenor and baritone in
Miranda's group fawned over her.
Each group had to sing the same song. After the first few groups,
it was obvious that it was difficult to harmonize properly without any
prior practice. Despite her nervousness, Ranka chuckled when some
groups were way out of tune. Miranda's was especially amusing
since her voice drowned out the tenor and baritone. It was as if
she did not want them to be heard.
In Ai's case, she did not know the song beforehand, so she just
listened for each note from the contralto and sang it. As a
result, she sang the contralto part and was always half a beat behind.
When Ranka's turn came, her eyes swept across the expectant
audience. As the soprano, the melody rested on her. The
tenor and bass would follow her lead. She drew a deep breath and
instead of singing, she clapped.
1 2 3 4, 1 2 3...
Then she sang. The tenor and bass joined in. It was a nice
melody. Compared to the wistful longing of the Flower Aria, it
was light and cheerful. Ranka listened to the flowing notes of
the tenor and the rhythmic harmony from the bass. She tried her
best to match their pace, but after a few measures, she realized that
their bass was keeping time with the tempo that she set by
clapping. Using him as a beat reference, she relaxed into the
song, relishing the vibrant melody of arpeggios with the tenor.
After they sang, they bowed. Then Ai clapped. She clapped
by herself for a few moments until Sam Pheaze followed her lead.
Soon, several people joined in applause while they made their way to
their seats. Megan did not say anything. Instead, she
scribbled into her digipad.
As the class went through each exercise, Ranka had the feeling that
their teacher was trying to gauge their abilities in different aspects
of singing. Her suspicious were confirmed by the end of the two
"That's it for now. This gives me an idea of what we should
cover," said the famous singer. "Please practice and I'll see
Ranka and Ai turned to leave, but the teacher called Ai.
"What is it, Ms. Knackegymma?" asked Ranka.
"Megan's fine. Anyway, you don't have to stay. I just want
to talk to Ai."
Ranka tensed up. She did not want to leave Ai alone with
her. "Is it alright if I stayed? Ai-chan doesn't like it
when I'm not around."
"Then please sit down." She gestured to two nearby chairs.
After they were seated, she spoke to Ai. "How well can you
"Not good," admitted Ai.
"To be honest, that's a big handicap and I don't know how you can get
the most out of my workshop."
"Please let her stay!" implored Ranka. "I'll help her so she'll
"What about you? She'll hold you back."
She shook her head. "It's fine. We've been taking classes
Megan leaned back and regarded them. "You have a lot of talent,
so I want to see how far you can go. I'll only be teaching you
for two weeks. Are you really sure about this?"
"Yes," replied Ranka confidently.
"I see. By the way, what gave you the idea to clap?"
"Oh... that..." Ranka bowed her head in embarrassment and
twiddled her index fingers as she revealed the reason. "It sorta
was a habit... whenever I sang with the children, I'd clap at the
beginning of the song so that we can all start at the same time."
"Umm... I volunteer at an orphanage."
Their teacher smiled warmly. "That's kind of you."
Ranka exhaled with relief. At least, Megan did not scold her for
doing something immature in front of the class. However, she was
curious, so she gathered her courage. "Did we... sound ok?"
Megan nodded approvingly. "It was a shaky beginning, but your
group harmonized well in the end."
Her verdant locks bounced up. "Thank you for the feedback!
I was really nervous!"
"Try not to be. Just sing your all." Then her hazel eyes
shifted to Ai. "As for you... in a way, you have talent
too. But... it's a very different kind of talent. I've
never seen anyone do what you did today!" She let out a small
laugh. "Perhaps, this is an opportunity for me to challenge my
own teaching skills."
Ranka brightened. "Then she can stay?"
The famous singer nodded. "Yes. But be warned. It's
extra work for you and me."
She stood up and bowed in gratitude. "Thank you very much!"
At that moment, the door opened to admit the next set of
students. Megan stood up hastily. "Oops, looks like I kept
you too long. Sorry about that... I'll see both of you
"Goodbye!" Ranka and Ai waved and hurried to their next
class. The quarter-meltran dropped off her charge at the drawing
class with Nanase. Then she hurried to her acting class. To
her great chagrin, Miranda was there too. At least, Brera was
there so she sat with him.
Déjà vu visted her again when Miranda arrived in her
"My! Are you following me?" asked Miranda with a sarcastic tone.
Ranka forced a friendly smile. "I could say the same for you."
"Is anyone sitting here?" asked the contralto who sang with Ai.
She pointed to a chair next to Ranka.
"I haven't seen anyone sit in it since I came," replied Ranka, eager to
avoid sitting next to Miranda. "Please have a seat." After
she said that, Miranda walked away and sat in the last empty chair in
the back of the room.
"Thanks," said the contralto as she sat down. "Your cousin is
really strange. What was she thinking? Copying me note for
note... I mean, she sings pretty well, so she didn't have to do
Her heart skipped a beat at her response. She began to wonder how
many students could tell what Ai did. "I'm sorry, she can't
sightread very well."
At her response, her classmate arched her eyebrows. "Why're you
apologizing for her? It's not your fault."
"Well... she's new to Mihoshi, so I watch out for her." She
decided to change the topic from Ai. "But you sang pretty well."
The contralto looked incredulous. "Me? You've got to be
kidding. Didn't you hear me? I was all over the
place! My voice has no depth. Yours on the other hand, has
a pleasant timbre, like a bell chime on a winter's day. And then
Ranka listened in amazement as she compared their performances.
Her opinions gave her a different perspective on how to analyze
music. However, she felt a little sad whenever her classmate
criticized her own singing harshly.
"She shouldn't be so hard on herself..." thought Ranka. Up close,
the contralto's hair was actually a dark shade of purple instead of
black. Her bangs parted in the middle and spiked up over her
forehead. She had slanted brown eyes and a few freckles on her
cheeks. A comparison of their skin tones showed that she had
Her classmate only stopped talking after the instructor came in.
Ranka took the opportunity to ask her. "I'm really sorry, but I
don't remember your name."
The girl sighed defeatedly. "Don't worry about it. Nobody
usually does." She extended her hand. "Robin Guvriel.
I'm in class 2D."
She shook her hand. "Ranka Lee. I'm in 2B."
They turned their attention to the instructor. By the time the
class ended, Ranka was even more amazed at Robin. Compared to
her, the contralto was more knowledgeable in set theory and harmonic
Her stomach grumbled. Ranka checked her watch. 6:39
PM. When she looked up, Robin was walking towards the door.
"Hey, Robin! Do you want to have dinner together?"
"I don't think you should. I'm very boring company."
There it was again, that self-deprecating behavior. At that
moment, Ranka wanted to stop her negative thinking. With the
friendliest smile on her face, she replied, "Not at all! I
learned a lot from listening to you." She grabbed her hand and
tugged slightly. "C'mon!"
"Is it okay? You're a star and all. I might ruin your
"It's fine!" assured Ranka as she began to walk to the door with Robin
in tow. "Let's go! I'm hungry!"
They joined Brera, Nanase and Ai at the dining hall. Ranka
introduced the contralto. "On-- ahem... Brera, Nanase, Ai, this
is Robin. She's in my singing and composition workshops.
Robin, this is my best friend, Nanase. And this is Brera.
Of course, you've already met my cousin, Ai-chan."
Brera preferred to keep their sibling relationship a secret. He
claimed that the anonymity was useful in catching people who talked
behind her back. Ranka did not mind, but since he was so
insistent on it, she avoided calling him brother when other students
Robin shook their hands in turn. "Pleased to meet you."
Dinner was served buffet style. After claiming their seats, they
went to the serving tables.
"By the way, how was Ai?" asked Ranka in a low voice as she walked with
Nanase to the entree table.
"Don't worry. Nothing weird happened in class," replied Nanase.
"Thank space!" said Ranka with relief. "How about you?"
"Zakimia's brilliant! I can't believe he's teaching us!"
"I can relate to that feeling. My instructors have been awesome
so far! Anyway, did he give you a project?"
"Yup. We have to shoot a 15 minute skit. I figure, I can
use what I learn in scriptwriting class and carry it over to his."
"That certainly would help," agreed Ranka.
"How about you? Did you get projects too?"
"I'll have to compose something by the end of the week."
They talked about their classes during dinner. After eating, they
gathered in Ranka's room to do their homework.
Ranka logged into the Mihoshi Library Network and found information
about the Flower Aria. It was originally written for a tenor and
was in French. She took out the sheet music that Megan gave and
compared it with the translated original.
The flower which you threw to me
In my prison stayed with me.
Withered and dried, this flower
Kept always its sweet odor
And during all of the hours,
Over my eyes closed my eyelids,
From this fragrance I became
and during the night, I saw you!
I became accustomed to cursing you,
To detest you, to say to myself
Why is it necessary for destiny
To put herself there on my path?
Then I accused myself of blasphemy
And I didn't feel but in myself
I didn't feel but one desire
A sole desire, a sole hope
To see you again, oh Carmen, to see
For you had only to appear
Only to toss a glance towards me
In order to take a hold of all my
Oh my Carmen
And I was yours
Carmen, I love you!
Ranka's music was translated and arranged for soprano while Robin's was
for contralto. The lyrics were edited to make the singer's gender
ambiguous. Furthermore, some stanzas were missing, particularly,
Don Jose's declaration of love.
Robin noticed it as well. "No wonder it seemed strange... the
lyrics have no references to Carmen, and some stanzas were removed to
make it sound like he hated her. That's why everyone... except
you, of course... sang it with anger and frustration."
"Without the terms for expression, you'd only have the lyrics to go
by. When I read the melody, I took a chance with my own
interpretation. I wonder why she did this?"
The contralto shrugged. "Who knows. In any case, we should
probably add in the missing measures and terms if she wants us to sing
it properly tomorrow." She reached into her bag and offered the
green-haired girl some composition sheets.
"Thanks," said Ranka as she took a sheet.
When their homework was done, they bid each other good night and
prepared for bed. Just before she lay down to sleep, Ranka
carefully removed the poster from its protective hardcase. With
some sticky putty, she tacked Sheryl's poster on the wall near the
bed. Then she stepped back to admire her. How she loved
waking up to the Fairy's face in the morning!
"Why bring? Just see Sheryl," said Ai who was already under the
"That's right! I'll do just that!" Ranka turned off the
light and slipped into bed. Then she tried the link.
After a few attempts, Sheryl answered.
"May I come in?" asked Ranka shyly.
"Yes, of course!"
She hugged her Galaxy Fairy. Even in the link, Sheryl felt so
warm in her arms. "How's camp?"
That beautiful face grimaced. "Horrible. Dirt's stuck under
my fingernails from digging and I had to eat this nasty lizard.
Right now, I'm sleeping on a pile of leaves with only this flimsy solar
blanket for warmth."
She kissed her. "Oh my poor Galaxy Fairy! You really
should've transferred to PA. We're in this beautiful Victorian
mansion on a hill. There are fountains in the courtyard and
musical instruments and paintings in each room."
With the link at her disposal, the super-dimensional Cinderella formed
an image of the mansion in her mind and projected it. It was a
trick that she learned from the Vajra queen. When Sheryl's face
filled with awe, she knew that it worked. Eager to cheer her
beloved up, she grabbed her hand. "C'mon. I'll give you the
But Sheryl shook her head. "I'd love to, Ranka, but I'm really
tired right now and the captain wants us up at dawn."
"Oh..." However, after seeing that haggard face, she wanted to do
something to make Sheryl feel better, so she sat down and patted her
lap. "In that case, let me sing you a lullaby."
After Sheryl complied, she gathered all the memories from her childhood
and replaced the image.
"Where's this?" asked Sheryl, her eyes full of wonder.
"The meadow behind the lab in the 117th fleet. My mother would
often sing me to sleep here," replied Ranka as she stroked those
golden-coral tresses. How she loved the feel of that silky hair
between her fingers!
With a deep breath, she sang for Sheryl until the link began to
weaken. Quickly, she bent down and planted a kiss on her cheek.
"Good night, my sweet Fairy."
Ai's voice surprised her. "Sheryl ok?"
"Yes," replied Ranka. After a few moments, she added, "Were you
"No. You too loud sometimes," replied Ai.
Ranka sighed. The flow link was accessible to any Vajra who cared
to listen. At least, she was able to talk to Sheryl. In due
time and practice, she hoped that she would have enough control to
avoid disturbing other Vajra. However, that could be tackled at a
later time. Right now, the day's activities had worn her
out. With a yawn, she surrendered to sleep.
With the sun shining brightly, the next day promised more
excitement. After breakfast, Nanase and Ranka accompanied Ai to
the painting class. Thankfully, Vanessa, who taught Ai how to
paint, was there and they asked her to watch over Ai. Then they
went to the scriptwriting class. Ranka prayed that Miranda would
not show up. Luck was with her and Miranda did not come.
Nanase preferred working behind the scenes while Ranka took to the
stage. As a result, their regular classes did not overlap.
So when Nanase signed up for the scriptwriting workshop, Ranka was
overjoyed to have a class with her best friend.
Her next class after scriptwriting was modern dance. Ranka
quickly changed into a leotard. As she stretched and warmed up
near the balance bars along the wall, a girl with braided wintergreen
hair danced slowly in the middle of the room. Her long, slender
limbs moved with effortless grace. She seemed to step so lightly
that the hardwood floor whispered when her feet touched
down. However, what intrigued Ranka the most was the serene
expression on the girl's face. Her eyes were partly closed and
her lips curved to a slight smile, as if she was remembering a pleasant
During introductions, Ranka learned that the dancer's name was Chloe
Lamis. Like her, she was a quarter meltran. When class was
over, Ranka walked over while Chloe towelled off the sweat from her
"That was a really nice dance you did in the beginning, Chloe."
Chloe looked startled and the towel fell from her hands. She
leaned down and picked it up. "Oh... thank you. That's nice
to hear coming from the Cinderella."
Her hair bounced a little at her words. "What kind of style is
"Style? It doesn't really have a style, at least, not yet."
"Oh? You made it up yourself?"
The dancer shook her head and closed her eyes. "No... there's a
melody that makes me want to dance."
Her answer piqued her curiosity. "What does it sound like?"
"It's..." She hummed a little and then opened her pale emerald
eyes. "I'm sorry... I really can't sing it at all.
Besides... it's not even complete."
Just then, Ai's voice echoed in her mind. "Ranka, Nana-chan want
"I'll be right over," replied Ranka in the link.
"Chloe, if you ever finish the dance, I'd love to see it."
"Well... it's not really up to me. But if I do, I'll dance for
"Thanks! See you tomorrow!" waved Ranka as she headed out.
After a quick shower, she joined her brother, Nanase and Ai for
lunch. Then she and Ai went to their singing class while Nanase
went to the photography class and Brera went to the guitar class.
Along the way, they met Sharin McIntosh, an FAAP student and a new idol
who released a single last month.
"Good afternoon, Ranka," greeted Sharin as she approached the door to
the salon where they held the singing class.
"Good afternoon, Sharin."
"Here, let me get the door." Sharin opened it.
As soon as Ranka tried to enter, someone bumped into her on the way
out. She stumbled and fell onto her behind. Her folder of
sheet music scattered into the hallway.
"Oh! I'm sorry! I should've been more careful! Here,
let me help you."
Shivers went up her spine when she recognized that pretentious
voice. However, she was surprised that Miranda even apologized
and offered to help. "Thanks..." said Ranka politely as she took
the actress' offered hand. Meanwhile, Ai, Sharin and another
female FAAP student gathered her sheet music.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" asked Miranda.
Ranka patted her behind. "No... I'm fine."
Sharin handed her the folder. "I think we got everything.
Oh dear, we better get in. Megan's here."
Ranka turned around to see Megan walking down the hallway. They
quickly entered the room and took their seats. For their first
exercise, Megan asked them to sing the original Flower Aria with their
voice range taken into account. Ranka glanced at Robin who gave a
thumbs up sign. Ranka returned it. They were prepared for
it and she even coached Ai on singing.
The quarter-meltran shifted through her disorganized sheet music and
found the Flower Aria. Megan called on Robin and Ai before
calling her. She walked to the front of the room, placed the
music on the stand and sang. After singing, she chanced a quick
glance at Megan for any sign of approval, but the expression on her
face seemed more like disappointment.
Except for that, the rest of the exercises went well and Megan even
gave her a compliment on her breathing control. At the end of
class, Robin led her out of earshot.
"You sang in the wrong key! Did you copy it right?"
Ranka pulled out the Flower Aria sheet. Robin pointed to a
"Did you mistake this for a flat?"
She touched it and dust stuck to her finger tip. "I don't think
so... it's b minor right?"
"Yes, but... you sang in e minor."
"I did?" Her verdant eyebrows scrunched up as she tried to
remember. If she really did, then that was probably why Megan
"Ai sang in b minor all the way. You didn't. Anyway, I've
got to go to conducting class. See you later."
For several moments, Ranka stared at the smudge before putting the
sheet in her bag. Her next class was acting. She hurried to
the auditorium for a joint class with the theatre workshop. The
students for theatre were doing stage management exercises and they
needed actors to practice on. In exchange, the students prepared
the costumes, props and lighting for the actors.
Already, the props were ready for the Hamlet and Ophelia scene.
Ranka went over her lines while Emma, one of the theatre workshop
students, adjusted her dress.
Miranda and Sharin passed by. They were already in costume.
Sharin looked her over. "The dress complements her hair
nicely. But the heels..."
"If it's tacky, just say it's tacky," said Miranda.
The idol waved her hand. "No... no... it's not that tacky.
I just think that something yellowish would be better. Under the
spotlights, it'll look like gold."
Miranda put an arm around her shoulders and led her away. "That's
enough from you. You shouldn't do someone else's job."
After they left, Emma said, "Let me get you some other heels to
Even though she hurried away, Ranka could tell that her cheeks were
flushed. A few minutes later, Emma returned with two pairs of
heels. Ranka tried them on and only the light yellow pair with
orange leather straps fit. To complete her outfit, Emma drapped a
yellow silk shawl over her shoulders.
Brera was playing Hamlet. Although he delivered his lines so
stoically, Ranka tried to imagine the sting in his words. So when
he advanced toward her, she retreated backwards as if his words were
too painful to bear.
I have heard of your paintings too,
God has given you one face, and you
another: you jig, you amble, and you
nick-name God's creatures, and make
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more
on't; it hath
made me mad.
When she stepped back with her left foot and put weight on her heel,
her ankle buckled and she fell sideways.
Brera caught her. "Are you alright?"
Instead of replying, she quickly sat down and cupped his cheek.
O, what a noble mind is here
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's,
eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair
The glass of fashion and the mould of
The observed of all observers, quite,
Ranka continued until the end of the scene. When she was done,
the acting instructor, Mr. Granger, rose from his seat and walked onto
Ranka checked her left foot. The slender heel had broken off from
"Are you ok?" asked Mr. Granger.
Leaning on Brera, she stood up. "Yes, I'm fine, thanks to Brera."
"Looks like you better show that to your costume assistant.
Anyway, that was a good adlib, Ranka. And a good catch too,
Brera. Now Ranka, your reaction to Hamlet was pretty good, but
please watch your step. While I talk to Brera, please go and
He turned to her brother. "Brera, you need to put yourself into
Hamlet's shoes. Imagine his train of thought when he's saying
those lines. For example..."
By the time Ranka limped to the exit of the stage, Emma was waiting by
the door. She helped her to a bench and examined the shoe.
"I'm really, really sorry about this, Ranka!" Emma bowed low
"Don't worry. These things happen."
Emma took the heels. "I'll be right back!"
She returned with the original pair that she selected. Ranka put
them on and deliberately shifted more weight on the heel. Once
satisfied, she thanked Emma and went back to the stage. As she
walked up the stairs, she noticed Miranda and Sharin giggling
nearby. They were trying out a pair of opera glasses. Brera
and Mr. Granger were onstage.
"For a prop, this works pretty well," said Sharin.
"My! He looks like a girl in that frilly shirt!" said
"Definitely too skinny for a zentraedi. I wonder if he swings
Ranka ignored their comments and concentrated on the lesson.
After the workshop ended, Ranka received a lot of interesting feedback
from Mr. Granger and his critique was unique compared to the
Mihoshi instructors. The next class was composition. The
theory made her head spin, but with Robin's help, she was slowly
understanding the concepts.
Once again, she invited Robin to dinner. Robin made her usual
weak excuses but joined them in the end. In the few days that she
had known her, the contralto did not mention any friends and often
stared out the window in singing class.
"Say, Ranka! Guess what!" exclaimed Nanase brightly.
"There's an orchard behind the mansion!"
Her verdant hair bobbed up in curiosity. "Really?"
Nanase nodded. "Before it gets too dark, wanna take a
stroll? I'll show you where I took some pictures today!"
When they were finished, Nanase led them to the back of the
mansion. They walked through the flower maze and through a fruit
orchard. Ranka reached out and picked a cherry from a branch.
"Hey! You're stealing!" teased Nanase.
"Ah! We can't have any?"
She shook her head. "We're not supposed to." Then she
winked. "But I won't tell. Go ahead. Try it.
It's really sweet."
Ranka did and she was right. Even though the cherry was sweet,
there was a slight sour taste that tickled her tongue. Just then,
she realized something. "Wait a second, if you're not supposed to
eat any, how do you know?"
Nanase stuck her tongue out. "Oops... busted..." Then she
laughed. "C'mon... there's a place you have to see before it gets
They followed Nanase across the orchard. Then the trees gave way
to a sloping hillside. They walked up a short flight of
stairs. At the top, they stood in awe at the breathtaking view of
the suburbs and the city.
"This is the overlook," explained Nanase.
"Wow..." whispered Ranka as her eyes swept across the scenery.
Robin walked up to the safety rail and looked down. There was a
narrow road about fifty feet below. "Yow... it's a long way down
from here." She saw a sign that said: Do not lean on
rail. She immediately backed off. "I gotta say, this is a
pretty awesome place. Mr. Roverock must have connections to get
"He has a lot of friends in entertainment," replied Brera.
The contralto raised an eyebrow. "How do you know?"
"It's there if you know where to look."
"And you know where?"
Brera drew a rare smile on his face. "I have my own connections."
Ranka cleared her throat. Given a chance, her brother could hack
into any computer system. Before Robin could ask any more
questions, she decided to change the topic.
"Is this where you took pictures, Nana-chan?"
"Everywhere! We had two hours to play with and I filled all my
Before the sun went down, Nanase quickly showed them where she shot her
pictures. Then they went to the overlook again to see the
sunset. With the waning light of day, they hurried back to the
As they exited the flower maze, they ran into Miranda and Sharin.
Miranda had a bunch of flowers in her hands.
"Hey, we're not supposed to pick that!" said Nanase.
"I'm sure he won't mind if it's me. The owner of this mansion
provided the flower arrangements in my parade. YOU better not
pick any," replied Miranda coolly.
Nanase fumed silently and grabbed Ranka's hand. "Excuse us, we
have homework to do."
When they were a good distance away, Nanase muttered, "I don't know how
you managed to put up with her during the movie."
"It wasn't easy," admitted Ranka glumly. "And everyone didn't
like her either."
They worked on their homework as usual and finished before 11 PM.
Then everyone got ready for bed. As she lay in bed, Ranka checked
on Sheryl. To her horror, her beloved had a really bad day.
The Galaxy Fairy got injured while trying to rescue another team.
"Oh no!" cried Ranka as she stared at the injured shoulder. "Does
it hurt a lot?"
Despite her evident pain, that beautiful face forced a smile.
"It's just sore. The captain said not to put weight on it."
Ranka hugged her carefully. "Are you going to be ok?"
"I'll be fine. The captain's a good shot and there's tough
fighters on our team."
"I wish there was something I could do."
Sheryl kissed her. When she drew back, her eyes gazed at her
adoringly. "There is... and only you could do it."
Her verdant locks bounced up when she realized what Sheryl meant.
She patted her lap and her Fairy obediently laid her head on it.
Then she sang until her beloved drifted off to sleep. After the
link broke, Ranka slept as well.
Soon she found herself flying naked in link space. There was a
flash by her side, and Sheryl appeared in a nimbus of silver
light. That daring smile flashed across the Fairy's face and
Ranka reached out to hold her hand. A globe of pink light grew
around them and flared into an incandescent stream. Together,
they flew faster and faster, into the realm of dreams.
The next day proceeded like usual. However, when Ranka went to
the drawing class with Ai, Nanase was very upset.
"That Miranda! She must've ratted on us!"
"The owner claimed that several of his trees were disturbed. Then
Ms. Lohraw got the idea that I might've done it with you guys
yesterday, so she scolded me."
Ranka turned to Ai. "Did you eat any?"
"Onii-chan wouldn't either."
Nanase sighed. "I'm not blaming any of you. I'm just... a
little upset..." The charcoal pencil in her hand snapped in two
when she squeezed her fist tightly. "Ah! Damn..." She bent
down to pick up the pieces.
"I'm sorry that you got in trouble. Can we talk later, I've got
to get to class."
"Yeah... sorry for ranting..."
Ranka hurried to acting class where she found Emma mending a rip in her
costume. She did not remember seeing the rip yesterday.
"Please wait a bit," said Emma apologetically.
"Take your time. I'll just ask Mr. Granger to work with the other
Emma bowed gratefully. "Thank you. I'm sorry for troubling
"Don't worry about it. I should be the one thanking you for your
support. Anyway, I'll be right back after I talk to Mr. Granger."
Meanwhile, the prop manager was running around and checking off
props. He asked Emma, "You have the opera glasses?"
He checked off Emma's props and asked another student. The rest
of the class proceeded without any other costume mishaps. Both
she and Brera received positive feedback on their performance with Mr.
Granger. Her good mood was evident in composition class and she
joined the theoretical discussions with more confidence.
At the end of class, a Mihoshi student handed her a note. It read:
Please meet me at the overlook before
dinner. I have a favor to ask.
Ranka hurried to the orchard. She was near the stairs to the
overlook when she heard rustling sounds behind her.
"Nana--- EEEEE!!!" Ranka backed away.
"Don't scream, or I'll kill you..." threatened a stocky man with a
shaved head and matching gray shirt and pants. In his hands, he
gripped a hoe.
In her panic, Ranka screamed anyway and ran.
Continued in Mvmt. II
Affannoso (With Anxiety)
Fanfics / Macross Frontier Fics / Frontier Generations Series