„I don’t know what to order,” Agathe said. She looked through the menu again, but it was all Japanese to her. With a swift hand movement Morgana snatched the menu from Agathe’s hands.
“Let me take a look.” Morgana who had invited Agathe, her fellow French player out for dinner.
She had chosen the famous Yamasuki Fugu restaurant that served Japanese haute cuisine and it had surprised Agathe, as Morgana never seemed to have been interested in making friends with the other French players. But being the older Fec Cup player she felt a responsibility for her younger team mates, even for Morgana who always seemed so independent and aloof.
Agathe watched Morgana closely while she was studying the menu. Apparently she understood the Japanese characters. The younger player let her finger wander over the menu, was moving her lips and once in a while nodded.
When the waiter approached she shut the menu and looked up to the young man.
„ 私はふぐを注文する“ Morgana said in what sounded like perfect Japanese. “とロブスター天ぷら, 滑らかな日本酒.” She made a gesture to Agathe, and the older player assumed that Morgana was ordering for her, too, which seemed like a good idea.
As soon as the saké arrived they settled in a pleasant conversation about the French team in the Fed Cup competition next year.
“I have thought about some useful training methods,” Morgana remarked. “Let’s say practice matches for the mental toughness, qui? Two teams with two players each. Two single matches, one double match. But only one set to play. So there is the pressure of a deciding set. But not only winning the set counts but also the shotmaking.” She took a sip from the small cup. Agathe had begun to listen carefully.
“Let’s say, one player must win five points with dropshots. And the other with backhands down the line,” Morgana said. She looked up and straight into Agathe’s eyes. “For winning these points with selected shots they get bonus points. Winning the set 6-4 you get twenty bonus points. Winning it 6-2 you get forty. We might have our very own ranking system within our team.” She beamed at Agathe but in her eyes were an observant alertness.
Agathe managed to hold her gaze but had grown very still. How in the world would Morgana know about the rules of Task Tennis? The young woman was certainly an expert regarding Tennis Nurse novels but the books only referred to the game, Agathe and her fellow players had invented. It was never explained nor were the rules written down.
“This sounds very interesting,” Agathe said in a neutral voice. “Let’s talk to Bertrand about it.” She was sure that their Fed Cup captain would dismiss the idea. And she was glad. Task Tennis and all the memories about it belonged to the past. It would only cause tears to bring it up again.
The food arrived, and Agathe couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Blowfish?” Agathe hesitated. “Isn’t blowfish very dangerous.”
“Only if falsely prepared,” Mogana said. “Then it can be lethal.” Agathe almost choked on her saké.
“I can’t believe you ordered that,” she said vehemently and pushed the plate away a little.
“This is a famous restaurant,” Morgana said in-between bites. “They wouldn’t be if they killed their customers.”
“Perhaps today is the first time,” Agathe could only stare at Morgana, whose fish didn’t seem poisoned. Maybe the poison didn’t kill instantly.
“The probability is very small,” Morgana mumbled. She looked up to the ceiling beginning to calculate the correct percentage. With a last look Agathe stared at the blowfish then decided to go for the tempura. Morgana was really one of a kind. Agathe only hoped that she wouldn’t uncover the hidden blowfish in the Tennis Nurse universe. There was no way anyone could prepare that one correctly.