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“Oh hey,” you call out weakly, trying not to startle whoever is in there. “Is someone there?”
There’s no reply. The rustling intensifies for a moment. And then stops altogether.
“Hello-?” you say a little more firmly, taking a step closer to the source of the disturbance.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” you say, just in case it’s another frightened human who has lost his way. And if it’s not… well, it’s still a disarming gesture. Probably.
You cross your arms, waiting for a reply. Maybe they’ve gone? No more rustling at all. All you can hear is the soft whispers of the breeze across the bamboo above you.
In the time it takes you to draw another breath, you find yourself suddenly staring up at the sky. You wince, feeling the pain of being knocked back flat on your butt. And then, the realization that someone is grabbing on to you. Their weight pressing down violently on your chest and legs.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?!” you exclaim, frowning at whoever it is that’s tackled you.
A pair of red eyes star back at you, brightly reflecting the moonlight. “What do you think you’re doing?” she asks, long nails running down softly, but provocatively down your neck.
“Seeing if there was anyone else around,” you reply, frowning even harder and meeting her eyes with your own gaze. It’s important that she know that surprise tackles are not acceptable in the middle of the woods. “So are you always this rude?”
“I could ask the same of you,” the girl asks, grinning and showing off a few pointy teeth. Not as many as you thought a youkai would have. “Spying on a girl is completely unacceptable.”
“Spying?” you try to shove her off, but she growls and pins your arms down with preternatural strength. Her nails dig into your forearms, hurting you slightly. You realize that you won’t win in a contest of strength. “I was just minding my own business in these woods,” you tell her calmly, feeling that maybe you should be panicking harder than you should be. Granny would want you to, after all. “You were doing all that rustling and moving around. Hard to ignore. So I called out and announced myself as is appropriate.”
“I don’t believe you,” she says, raising a very skeptical eyebrow. “Would you have me believe that just the moment I’m adjusting my clothes is the one that you decide to make your presence known?”
“Yup, dunno what else to say,” you attempt a shrug. Doesn’t go to well with you on your back and with your arms pinned. “So, are you going to eat me or what? I’d rather you let me go if it’s all the same to you.”
“No, I’m not going to eat you,” she says, frowning. Her animal-like ears droop some, as if unconsciously, “are all you villagers this stoic?”
“Well, panickin’ ain’t going to do me any good,” you tell her, “you clearly could rip me apart if you wanted. So, really, this all I can do.”
“Hm...” she closes her eyes and smiles, “I guess you have a point. Still, you have to admit it’s not a typical response.”
“Maybe,” you try to shrug again, to similar results, “only other thing that comes to mind is trying to flatter you. Call you pretty and all, see if I can catch you off guard. But I’m already in love with another youkai, so maybe things would get messy if the truth ever got out.”
She laughs and shakes her head. More importantly, lets go of your arms. You're not sure she believes you entirely, especially the part about being in love with someone else. You flashed her your most honest look, but that's probably not enough to dismiss all doubts right away. She keeps her body on your legs and torso, keeping you from sitting or standing up. “You might have had some luck with that,” she says, “I’m not exactly vain or anything, but I admit that I’m a bit self-conscious about my appearance. We all have our weak points.”
She relaxes and finally gets off you, extending a hand to help you up. You take it and are pulled up with a strength unbecoming such slender arms. She wipes the dirt off her long dress and adjusts the brooch that sits near her neck.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” you ask. A girl with long, auburn hair isn’t that rare… but you can’t help but feel that you’ve seen her face somewhere before. In the village, probably. Without the ears and the teeth, obviously. Still someone's cousin? A festival? You can't quite figure it out.
“Nope! Don’t think so!” she replies hastily, pulling at the edges of her sleeves. The motion is entirely unsubtle and draws your eyes to whatever it is she’s hiding. The thing about the pale moonlight is that it's hard to see up someone's sleeve at the best of times. Let alone when their wrists have retreated into their clothes.
“Hm...” you pause for a second, thinking of what to say next. Stories about encountering youkai in the wild usually end in bloodshed and tragedy. Staring at a strong, yet evasive youkai girl after she tackles you for a misunderstanding isn’t exactly standard fare. Though if you squint just right, she looks like a regular ol’ girl.
 What kind of youkai is she, anyhow? You don’t know much about them.
 You don’t know if she’ll believe you anymore but, for whatever it's worth, you do think she’s pretty.
 It keeps on bugging you that she looks somehow familiar. Gotta prod more.