- (117.54KB, 600x849, aacabb44474a9ec67afe114248bf1404.jpg)
The Moriya girl stood stock-still amidst Satori's prized rose garden, awkward and nervous. Satori's wine-red eye swivelled in place, fixing Sanae's heart with its hateful gaze — and Perceived.
At once, Satori saw the surface of her heart and knew many things. She knew the human girl had come thoughtlessly, her immature mind only thinking on this visit seriously once she touched down past the Palace’s wrought-iron gates. She saw the flash of her memories of the past months, and how Rin had become a regular guest, bringing gifts, faith and compliments to the goddesses of the shrine, ingratiating herself to them in the most traditional, time honoured way there was.
Rin had kept her informed of her progress, of course. Sanae was troubled, pressured, vulnerable to matters of the heart as young humans cannot help being — it hadn’t been so difficult to convince the goddesses she had need of outside help. Rather than making the girl herself come, it had been more effective to get them to suggest the idea. Sanae would not go against their wishes. She saw how uncomfortable the girl was with her Kasha, how the shrine maiden was always bothered by the faint scent of rot she brought with her. She never dared say it, for Lady Kanako was always left in a good mood after the cat's visits, and especially dared not think it now, in front of her mistress.
Sanae’s head was a nervous jumble, understandably. That last thought stood frozen for a couple of seconds, and before a word of greeting had touched the air, she bowed deeply, preparing an apology in her head, desperate to not ruin her first impression on a person her goddesses had judged important. In truth, Satori found it adorable that the worst thought Sanae could muster up about her was how Rin smelled, and that she was ready to profusely apologize for that alone. Most who met the mind reader had far, far, far worse things in mind.
She saw the notion of escape wither and die away now that they were face-to-face. She smiled and raised a hand, inwardly pleased, interrupting before she could say anything. “Don’t apologize. She lives with me, I know how she is.”
It sent Sanae’s mind into another sputtering scramble, and Satori realized she was too flustered to converse properly. Silly, earnest girl. She had to throw her a bone if they were to get anywhere today. She shifted the door open wider. “Aren’t you cold out there? Come in, please. You’ll catch a chill.”
She was cold, in fact — the Palace wasn’t close enough to the remains of Hell to be heated by its Flames, but the airflow caused by the temperature difference pelted all of the palace in a constant breeze, cooled by the long trip through the tunnels. Not thinking, Sanae had dressed for the warmth of the sweltering sun outside, forgoing her outfit’s detached sleeves and ankle-length skirt for something more summer-y; A flowing blue skirt, simple and light enough to flutter at the weakest draft, ending just above her knees; and a blue-trimmed breezy white top that was perfect for hot days, at the cost of allowing others glimpses at her sarashi and navel when her wind whipped around too much. She’d been regretting the decision in the way down.
“Ah,” she squeaked out, rising from her bow and running a hand through her hair once her brain caught up to her ears. “Y-yes. Thank you, um, Lady Komeiji?”
She laughed. “Just Satori is fine. Owning a hole in the ground full of drunkards and ghosts is hardly worth a title, I think.”
Sanae chuckled politely at the bad joke as she passed the Palace’s intimidating front doors, but it nevertheless did its job in allowing the shrine maiden to gather herself enough to act as she thought she should. 'Manners, manners,' came the order to her head once the door was shut behind her. She bowed once again, just as deeply as before. “It’s an honour to finally meet you, S— Lady Satori,” she said, unable to be that casual. She had to be at least respectful, given their status as somewhat fragile business partners. “I’m sorry it took so long to come pay a proper visit.”
Although it was clearly a fleeting feeling, she actually was sorry, and Satori noted the lack of an excuse with a pleased little nod. The girl seemed like something of an airhead, but clever enough to know not to be dishonest in this situation. Either that or she was refreshingly guileless, Satori couldn’t tell just yet.
The mind-reader guided her nervous guest through the admittedly ominous empty halls of the Palace of Earth Spirits, itself only slightly less cavernous than the actual caves outside. Reading her thoughts, Satori realized that the mother goddess was just as thoughtless as the child: it seemed Kanako had told her priestess to come down in an off-hand comment, and, critically, not told her what exactly she was coming down to do. The stupidly earnest Sanae had, of course, taken her words as the gospel they were and come down without asking her more, assuming it was some kind of mission for the good of the shrine. The goddesses' voice played through her head: “You should go down and talk to Satori. You haven’t met her yet, have you? No, that won’t do. Go sometime this week. We’ve arranged a little help for you.”
Satori was thus stuck with the unenviable job of telling a shrine maiden that she was about to open her heart to a hated youkai. She grumbled to herself; gods never did any good. They reached the prepared room, the mind-reader pulling up the chair from behind her desk and settling in before the couch where Sanae sat. The only goal in this first session was to make her want to come back. The question of what she was even doing here gnawed harder and harder at Sanae, plainly. She smiled awkwardly, her head filled with needless anxiety.
[ ] Satori chose to make tea, chat, put her at ease, and attempt to avoid or delay the subject for as long as it proved practical.
[ ] Satori chose to come out with it outright, explaining what she meant to do and reassure the girl of her pure intentions in the strongest terms available to her.
[ ] Satori chose to start out with something completely different — a relaxation exercise for the restless girl. She’d explain the situation later.