Click click click

Mizuki watched as Lorska clicked the two sticks together as he multi-tasked eating and reading. Without looking, the bahmi took up a chunk of meat from his bowl and held it out for Pancakes to take, returning the chopsticks to pick up a piece for himself, dexterous in the task despite his meaty hands.

“Staring is rude.” The warrior didn’t look up from his book, having been informed of the attention by his furry companion.

“I’m just in a bit of awe on how well you handle those things.” Her tone hid no mocking, she was for once genuinely in wonder about the man.

“Helps to grow up with them.”

The high elf realized that before entering the fight against first the Defiants, then alongside them with the Empyrean Alliance, she had never really gotten to know a bahmi, nor their culture. She had always seen him carrying an eating set that held both the chopsticks and a knife for cutting sections of meat off while being held, but she never really thought about it until now.

“Can I try?”

Lorska finally looked up from his book and stared at Mizuki.

“W-What, the chopsticks?” Lorska was actually quite caught off guard. He had no good reason to deny the request, he had forks and the lot to eat with, hell his hands if needed. And she did seem quite interested, her green eyes sparkling with intrigue. The sticks were politely cleaned off and handed over. Mizuki may have been a bit too used to handling learning a new skill with ease and quickly grew flustered as her fingers refused to work with the long sticks.

Off to the the side, HaKiale watched with more than a little bit of bated breath. They were actually getting along and he almost expected Lorska to start mocking Mizuki for her troubles, debating whether or not to intervene. He stopped when the beastmaster took the implements from Mizuki, not harshly, and held his hand out to the kelari.

“Let me see your pair, those will fit her hands better.”

Lorska had gotten a pair of chopsticks for HaKiale, and though he rarely used them, he carried them anyway. They were dug out and the kelari watched as not only did Mizuki let Lorska coach her on using them, she didn't yell at him when he moved her fingers for a better grip. She tried to pick up a chunk of meat from her bowl once she thought her grip was good enough, but the bit rolled out from between the sticks as she lifted them. Lorska let her try a few more times before he stopped her.

“Wait, I have an idea.” Without saying any more, Pancakes brought over Lorska’s bag and seemed just as happy as HaKiale that they seemed to find some common ground. The battlecat was weary of their fighting, though he was well aware that they didn’t fight nearly as much since they first met in Tempest Bay.

The bahmi dug around a bit before producing a length of scrap leather and a matching line of thong. He folded the scrap until it was about the size to fit well between the chopsticks and placing them on either side, wrapped the thong around it to produce a pair of training sticks. The pad created enough bounce that caused the sticks to return to their original position and the thong helped stabilize the utensils for easier use. Mizuki was able to grab the meat first try and held it out triumphantly.

“How did you know to do that?” The high elf turned the sticks to look closer at the hodgepodge get up.

“Well, usually kids start out with a pair with a bridge across them, but that’s a quick make up some people use.”

Mizuki’s face faltered a bit before recovering. “You made me children’s chopsticks? I-I suppose everyone has to start somewhere....” She hid the little bit of shame by grabbing more bits of dinner.

HaKiale came to the rescue with a laugh and a sheepish look, “At least you didn’t flip it into your eye.”

Lorska couldn’t hold back a laugh as he remembered the kelari’s first foray into chopstick learning. Mizuki joined in as the thought of it eased her shame.

“I suppose I should be happy I didn’t”