The idea of owning a home in the peaceful, snowy region of Mt. Komorebi enticed the Fiers. They decided to spend two days vacationing there to see if building a home in the area would be worth it.
There was space for eight on this vacation, so Asher and Adelise issued an open invitation to their adult children to fill the four empty spots. The newlyweds (Dawn, Dysis, and Dyna) were too busy, so that left the vampires (Aster, Calanthe, and Deli) and Darius. Elmire was stoked at the idea of spending time with siblings she didn’t normally see.
Also, no matter what her parents said, Elmire could not shake the feeling that there was an unaccounted for vampire in her family (maybe Elmire herself) because most vampiric traits didn’t appear until adolescence. The problem was that she didn’t have a way to identify young vampires. Until now?!
She’d taken forbidden fruit from the garden because her vampire sister ate it often.
But not once ever had anyone told her that she would gain knowledge (about her potential to be supernatural) from eating this. In fact, they told her it would make her sick and that she could eat any fruit (apples, pomegranates, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, pears…) from the garden, except plasma fruit because it was for vampires 13 and older. Elmire pondered that for a moment: the potential for self-poison instead of self-realization. Still, would it really be bad just to try it?
The fruit was a pink-purple color. Plasma was yellow, not pink. Was this actually blood & guts fruit with a polite-sounding name? She did not know much about plasma or blood, but she imagined the taste of a raw dead (and no longer fresh) animal, something gross and chewy splattered with a cold, metallic liquid, and no longer felt so tempted.
Besides, she reasoned that her mother’s reaction would not be good if she got sick from eating something that she had been told multiple times not to eat and what if it were deadly for children?
Elmire put the “plasma fruit” back where she found it thinking that surely there were other ways to identify young vampires.
The Fiers arrived in Mt. Komorebi during the evening and were staying at a vacation rental on the mountain designed by Felixandre.
While the rest went to sleep, the vampires spent the entire night on the slopes. The others joined them in the morning.
Not one of them could ski or snowboard well.
Despite perfectionism being something of a toxic and common trait in the Fier family, no one cared about being awful at winter sports because they were beginners and it had been fun, except…
Elmire, the only one who did not fall, was disappointed. She complained to her father that she had almost fallen after the jump. He was surprised. His kid was brave to take a jump on her first run, but more reckless than he preferred. He tried to encourage her.
Asher: You’re fine. Let’s go again. It’s boring if everything is perfect from the beginning, anyway. Learning to conquer imperfections is fun. Having less control can be fun too. The danger and uncertainty are thrilling, but no more jumps for you for now.
Elmire wasn’t over her disappointment and was becoming disappointed in herself for being disappointed, but she wasn’t going to quit skiing. She might not have had a handle on her perfectionism yet, but she could handle most mistakes with grace and laughter. She went on another run—it was fun, so she cared a bit less even though her form was still wobbly.
Continuing the themes of forbidden food and having expectations that didn’t align with reality, Elmire ordered a coffee from the food stand.
Elmire: Hello! I would like one coffee please.
Vendor: The Chilled Chatter Coffee? Okay, would you like it with a pump of valcino, carmcino or hazelcino? Long, Ooki or Nijuu? 334, 351 or 358 Kelvin?
Elmire: Umm… just regular please.
The vendor noticed the kid’s lack of familiarity with the lingo and thought maybe she should try to persuade her to order something more kid-friendly, but luckily someone else stepped in.
Calanthe: Elmire, don’t get coffee! It’s bitter.
Elmire: Okay. I just wanted to try it.
Wouldn’t it be cool to sit at the bottom of the slopes, where snow was drifting magically through the air, sipping a warm cup of coffee and enjoying the moment? Bitter or not, full of caffeine or not, it would be better than “plasma fruit”, but whatever, she’d try something else.
Back at the rental, there was music. Elmire had battled several temptations recently: plasma fruit, perfectionism, and coffee. She didn’t have the willpower left to resist a piano, especially not one that was clean and in tune. She wanted to run through a few pieces, including the one inspired by Aster that was for her upcoming special performance. She just had to warm up her hands first. Luckily, for everyone around, Elmire was an extraordinarily skilled pianist.
Aster was so touched by Elmire’s playing, she cried.
Also perhaps touched, Asher and Calanthe hugged Aster. As for Elmire, she was shocked. She had wanted to make her sister happy, which had happened, but since Elmire was a child who still struggled daily with expressing herself, being reasonable (and not childish), and controlling her own emotions, being able to convey nuanced messages through music clearly enough to evoke happy tears felt like a superpower. She would have been satisfied with a smile.
Note: I had zero control over Aster and Calanthe.