By the time Chow had finished setting the table, Koopus had produced a rich, hearty broth in the stew pot, the stir fried vegetables were sizzling away. All that remained was to add them to the pot. The kappa was happy with the way the meal had turned out. His nerves at having a guest over were starting to fade and he was beginning to relax.
The arts department on campus was not very big, it was housed in a sort of square building that blended in with the others. With a closer look you’d see a subtle attention to detail worked into the facade and decorative iron-barred windows though. It was common for scaring students to go their whole college careers without stepping foot inside, however.
The interior was drastically different from the rather soft-spoken exterior. A mural (for lack of a better term) decorated the halls and walls. It was a remarkable thing, built up over centuries of students passing through and leaving their marks, no one image dominated it, sort of flowing through the entire building, one artist’s work melding into anothers, criss-crossing, overlapping, embracing, intertwining. There were colors flooding the hall, leaking into the classrooms, spilling across the ceilings and floors. ‘Beautiful’ wasn’t really the term most monsters would use to describe the amalgam of paint and pastel and unknown medium, if anything the higher faculty had often complained of it as an eyesore, though while it remained inside the arts building, they didn’t care too much, and the staff of the place refused point blank to let it be scrubbed from the walls.
This was the place professor Koopus had called home for the past 15 months, quartered in a small apartment in the upper stories. He had come to think of it fondly and protectively, and the students in his care as well.
It was a sleepy afternoon, a few days following the Midnight skirmish at Monstarbucks, and Koopus was alone in the high-ceilinged drawing studio, setting up a dynamic still life for the students. As he was alone, he had cautiously pulled out a couple aural beads and was utilizing them to hang a couple props precariously at the peak of the pile, and to wrap a degree of bright red yarn around various corners to serve as anchors for the student’s observation. He was quite content, and humming to himself, not expecting to be interrupted at all.
The kappa sighed happily. The stew was simmering on low heat, bringing out the flavors of the fried veggies. He was casually adding spices and salt to the pot every now and then, but his pace had slowed down considerably.
"This part will take a little while. Perhaps we can start with some appetizers while we wait." He suggested, strolling away from the oven and to his trunk where he opened the crisper compartment and extracted a large, fresh cucumber. "Obviously." He said with a shy smile at Chow, holding the gourd up to show him. Kappas were mythically known to favor the climbing fruit, and it seemed that the professor followed that stereotype.
"Sure." Chow smiled at the professor of art. "We can continue our chat while we wait."
The kappa brought the cucumber over and kneeled across from Chow. He glanced over at the stew, which was bubbling away normally. It would still be at least 5 or so minutes before it would need to be attended to. He couldn’t think of what to say though. The silence was deafening.
"So, if you don’t mind, could you tell me what those beads you use really are and why exactly you needed them? Then I can tell you why I have so much power." Chow stated as he shot Koopus a smile to test the waters.
Koopus looked stunned by the question, not that it was offensive or prying, but that he really didn’t know how to answer it… Without it getting too complicated that is.
"Er… That is… a very fine question, Chow. I wish I could answer it succinctly, but… it’s a tricky matter to explain, very tricky, and I don’t want to bore you to tears… um," He gesticulated frustratedly, grimacing, trying to find the words. "Well, to start with…" He withdrew one of the beads in question and set it on the table. "This is an aural bead- say hello, dear." He spoke to the bead, and it jerked up into the air, glowing faintly and rotating. It chirped a cheery greeting to Chow. "You can see, they have their own consciousness, to a degree. They’re channeled through the aura of my own life energy. How to explain aura…" He scratched his curled beak in difficult contemplation. "Well, think of it as… sort of clouds, currents, streams of energy that surround and enshroud entities of this world." He waved his hands around at the room and the window, indicating the world at large and Chow himself. "Everyone has it, everyTHING has it… Well, IT has everything, rather… If that makes sense- no, it doesn’t, does it? Ergh… Well, to cut to the chase, I project my own energy to give life to the beads, concentrating that power into their otherwise inanimate forms. Their consciousness is a manifestation of the power- they aren’t exactly… ‘me’, persay- they obey my commands and the like, sometimes begrudgingly,” He smirked up at the bead, which was drifting around Chow lazily, rolling over in the air, doing tiny cartwheels and humming quietly. “But as it’s my own aura within them, they don’t generally refuse- okay, that’s enough!” He raised his voice as the bead was starting to get a little too close to Chow, plucking at his shirt and rolling along the contour of his protruding gut. Koopus blushed deeply as he reeled the bead back and tucked it away hastily. “Like I said, they’re a cheeky lot.”
Just then the soup began to boil over and Koopus jumped to his feet.
"Oh good heavens, I forgot!" He bolted over and took the stewpot off the burner, stirring it carefully to bring the broth back down. "Phew… I think I saved it… It’s very hot, but it should be ready to eat." He carried the pot over and placed it on a thick potholder so it didn’t burn the table. The smell was quite overwhelming and incredibly enticing. "Shall I dish you up a bowlful?" He lifted a ladle in offering. He seemed a bit nervous again, face flushed and fingers chewing up his palms.