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It really has been a while hasn't it? For that I really have no real reason. Those that were following this story, I can understand how bitter having a story suddenly stop can be. There are many things I would like to convey but I can say that L&L will be my only interactive story thread that I will create until it is finished, no matter how long it takes. I have not forgotten about this story nor will I ever, THP has been a source of countless hours of entertainment and its roots run deep. There were many times I came back wishing that I could finish writing what I started but I suppose that is me just complaining about my lackings. So in the end I want those that enjoyed the story to continue to, despite what I have done personally, a story free of the situations and the writer that happened to it. Here, please enjoy the continuation of the tale about an earth rabbit and an unnamed tailor.
Traveling has always been valuable time to reflect while letting the surroundings seep through your senses. The barely audible and hinting chilled wind, that slips between the trunks and twigs, whispers a song to all its friends in nature. Mixing and dancing together, the soft glow of branches and the flickering remnants of the sun's rays separate the horizon. The trees dance and dance as the sun goes to sleep, their shadows grow longer in celebration. The forest's edge mimics the dirt's path along the ground, or perhaps it is the other way around. Bound to the road and the prospect of shelter from the cool night you continue on.
For a while now you have been watching the constant march of foot prints in the soft ground. Accompanying the marks, in rhythm, is an distinct tappings of a bamboo deer scarer which can be heard from a distance. The maker of indentations is your companion before you, her movements are serene and relaxed. Small wisps of dust escape from beneath her feet to avoid getting pressed into the worn and dry path. How different she is from the rest of the comparatively frantic scenery. She would look back, as though she was making sure she didn't lose you on this difficult trek. A practically straight line. Every time she does, you can not help but give a smile and a short nod in which she returns before leading again. Had it not been for that you could have not noticed her. Without that she could have easily been a part of the background.
That is why she draws your attention and thoughts, you'll have to devise a plan. The sound of bamboo hitting against flat stone becomes more clear and distinguished as a small inn takes up more of the view. As much as you would like to simply walk in and rent a room with Tewi, there is the problem of her distinct features getting in the way. There is no telling how the owners would react to have a youkai stroll into the building. Stuffing her into a bag would be a simple way to sneak her in. However, since there isn't any room left in yours it is impractical. Impractical, yet an amusing idea. You hadn't realized it but Tewi had been doing one of her routine checks and noted the grin on your face with a verbal punch.
"Did you think of something funny?" Apparently the change was enough to pique her curiosity. Her position has shifted with a quick spin of her heel and now is pressing foot prints in the opposite direction as she walks. There was a long enough pause so that the tracks you were following are now uniformly backwards in front of you. During that time you were able to take a quick glance at the building to ascertain the most prominent features. Mainly the style of windows they have, they are of the sliding variety and they are sets that embeds themselves near the top of the walls of each room. The building, in general, could probably hold a few sets of guests.
"I did, but I've thought of a way to get you inside." You attempt to push away the thought of having the small rabbit scrunched up with her knees against her chest, whispering for you to hurry up from inside cloth confines. Based on what you have seen from her athletic ability she should be able to make that jump for the window. The only thing to worry about is not getting seen and timing.
"That's simple though, I just walk in through the front door. Or do you not want to be seen with me?" She tosses a loaded question at you and expectingly waits for your response. It's brief but she shows you a lazily hand-concealed grin and an amused gaze to match, completing the sly look.
"It's not that, I just think it would be the best if we don't cause a commotion as we travel. As soon as I get more material I'll make you something so that you won't have to jump through hoops..." You say seriously at first but taking jab back at her is the only thing that will leave you satisfied. "However, you should be grateful that you even get to share a room with me." At first Tewi is surprised by what you said but adapting to the situation seems to be a skill of hers as the expression fades as fast as it came.
"Oh what a fool I've been, gentle tailor of needle and thread let me be by your side. Nyehehe." Playing along she does a curtsy with that fine pink dress. "Tell me the plan that will keep us together on this long night."
After telling her the method to get in, she takes action. As quick as sound, she vanishes from the path and blends into the tree line. Now it's your turn to setup the rest. Approaching the main door you can tell of the quality craftsmanship in the walls and floor. It is a fine place to stay, hopefully it won't cost too much. Pushing to the side the cloth separator covering the door, you are met with the warm air of a crackling fireplace hinted with the aroma of dried flowers scattered about. There is a subtle sweet smell hanging on the edge of your breaths, immediately smoothing any tenseness and worries from before.
Stepping inside you are met with the sight of two workers. One is resting behind the desk in a chair working on something hidden by a few small ornaments on the surface. The other is sweeping close to the entrance against the few stray leaves and dirt that have drifted their way inside. They both are clothed in similar samue outfits, the taller of the two is wearing dark blue and the smaller one has a faded orange one. The durable but loose fit for freedom of movement has always made it a good choice when it comes to working. It consists of two main pieces. The top that is similar to that of a robe in the way it wraps around the body. The bottom is a simple large piece of overlapping sheet of cloth that encompasses the legs almost to the ankles, although the standard version commonly worn are pants. One of the distinct properties of this particular style is that despite being loose, the wayward fabric is usually secured by bands that wrap around the waist and the around the shoulders for when one needs to roll up their sleeves. It is pretty impressive that they have a vibrant pallet of colors for an out of the way place like this, dyes have always been an expense that many forgo.
"Welcome!" The first one to notice me is the one maintaining the floor with the broom fashioned with fine branches and string. She is the taller of the two, it is apparent even when the one in orange is sitting down.
"Good evening, I would like to rent a room. Are any available?" You respond with a standard greeting.
"Ah of course." She leads you to the desk and takes places a scroll out in front of you. It gets unfurled and reveals its contents, all the up to the end it is just blank. "We just finished opening recently, it was pretty tough work but it will pay off in the end. The garden especially, it always has problems with wild animals." She comments about the empty scroll preemptively. That is rewarded from a quick glare from the one behind the desk.
"Don't mind my sister she is always talkative. I'm sure that you are weary." She straightens out the papers she was working on and then suggests a price.
It seems a little low just based on the inn's appearance but they suggest since you are one of the first customers they would offer you a deal. In the end you gave the two a generous amount under the guise that you shouldn't be bothered since you have important work to do.
"Please don't hesitate to come get us if you need anything." You are taken to a simple room with the usual amenities for lodging and given a simple line for her to retreat back to her own business. You give her a nod before examining the room a little more closely.
Built in drawers and closets line the wall. That is probably where the bed is hidden, with a quick check it confirms your thoughts as a loosely rolled bundle of cloth makes up the futon. In the center of the room is a small table that has four floor pillows distributed on all sides. It is a little plain compared to the front lobby area but that is alright. The most important is the design of the window nestled on the opposite wall from the door. It is high off the ground but still has a common sliding construction. Those of shorter stature would have some difficulty enjoying the view.
Accompanying the sound of the wooden frame opening is the cool and warm air swapping places. It is a slight breeze but it will be alright for a while. A glance left and right through the freshly opened passage makes sure that area is clear. Then with a quick hop and lifting yourself onto the window's support, you are able to seat comfortably half in and half out. The opening is large enough to not have to duck too much as you signal with a beckon to the edge of the forest.
The rustling in the distant foliage is followed by a pink flash escaping from the few remainders of green that have been caught in the current of such agility. A zig-zag pattern assembles in your mind as you watch the rabbit approach, at each change of angle you are able to see a few moments of her movements. A series of short leaps cover ground quickly as she shifts her weight with the help of her arms and hands. Imagining is the best you can do, it fills in the gaps that your eyes cannot. A natural sway from side to side as the length of the dress adjusts to the sudden shifts of gravity, the twist of her hands and arms as they make contact with the ground to provide adjustment and balance, and the powerful forward springs just before landing again.
It does not take long for that sizable field of grass be overtaken by Tewi. Just as she nears the building her style of stride suddenly changes to a more straight forward style of jump. The distinction between the two is jarring, she lands on the wooden walkway below extending the length of time she allows contact with the ground. Completely silent, having her slowly lower herself while landing makes her just like a feather. During the final length between you, she extends her arm in the duration of her jump. As planned you take her hand and pull her in. Your eyes have not betrayed you when you lift Tewi through the opening, that small frame could not be anything but light. What does catch you off guard however is how soft her hand is despite her recent display on how she maneuvers. Placing her down with a muted thud the both of you make it to the comforting interior.
"Thank-" Tewi begins to speak but she quickly finds herself holding her nose as she is caught off guard. "It seems like they went overboard with all the flowers." You can't help yourself but watch her face scrunch up while she looks around the room. However, her discomfort doesn't last long as she is soon sitting rudely on the table in the middle of the room. Slowly alternating and shifting legs bend as they hang from the side of the wooden resting spot. "Do you think they have anything to do here?" Her attention returns to you after a quick glance around the room. It is pretty obvious that she is not impressed and her boredom clearly shows.
"I don't think they have anything besides the usual food, bath, and bed." You try explaining to her as you close the window behind you. It somehow seems that she missed the point that an inn is made for resting.
You take a seat at the table and pull out the small book from your bag that was found in that literal hole in the ground. This is the first real chance that you had time to look at it.
"I'm going to see if I can figure something out from this, maybe some answers." You explain to Tewi, you can't really help that she seems bored but you had spent most of the day with her already so it wouldn't be too much to ask.
You look up from the pages that contain nonsensical information and wipe the fatigue from your eyes. It is like wading in a sea of knowledge, grasping at anything nearby for a reference point just to even get a semblance of direction. Perhaps the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together or maybe not. Reorienting yourself from being lost in the pages, you realize that Tewi had left the room. Oh, there was a time where you thought you heard Tewi say she was going for a walk or something along those lines.
Any remnants of a daze that lingered is instantly dissipated when you hear the familiar sound of thunder booming. Have you really been that distracted that you haven't even noticed the rain falling outside? Now entering your senses is the consistent sound of rainfall splashing against the roof of the inn and the waning echoes of the sky's call.
You wonder to yourself if Tewi could even catch a cold as you wander through the inn, the bright hue of the sun has faded and night had quickly taken its place. The surrounding rooms have their doors stand open until their occupation so they can receive warmth emanating from the central fireplace. However, one door remains close on this hall. It's owner is instantly given away when you spot the title carved into the wood pillar next to the sole sealed gateway. It belongs to the keepers of the inn. The remainder of the building remains just as barren as the unrented rooms, The kitchen and the front entrance way included.
Where is everyone at? They wouldn't be outside would they?
So you find yourself standing in front of the only place that you haven't checked inside.
"Sorry to bother you." You announce your presence as you knock just under the title in the sturdy support structure.
Time passes uneasily as you await a response, the autonomous operations of the fire and clack of bamboo from the garden are the only signs of life.
[ ]What you seek is not here but in the garden.
[ ]The truth is just beyond the gate.
Feedback and critique are always welcome. It might be a little slow for me to get back into things in the beginning but it should be fine for the chance for everyone to vote.