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"Well, uh... I think I should talk to my father for a bit." I say, somewhat sheepishly.
Mistress smirks at that. "I guess I should have known you'd say that." Her face darkens a bit and she mutters something. I catch something like "Not that I can talk". I remember now that her own relationship with her father isn't exactly the best.
"I'm sorry if I've reminded you of bad memories, mistress."
She jumps a little and brightens up instantly, although I can tell she's faking it. "What? No! You didn't do anything wrong." She looks right at me. "But seriously, what happens between me and my old man is our business and no one else's. Not even yours. Got it?"
"Yes, mistress." I hurriedly reply.
"Hey, what did I say about calling me that?"
I can't help but cringe. I know it's her will, but to me, she is nothing less than my beloved mistress. I don't think I could call her anything else even if I wanted to. Not yet, at least.
It must have shown on my face, because mistress let out an annoyed sigh and says "Well, let's call it your assignment. I want you to be able to call me 'Hey, you!' by the end of the month."
Dread fills me and all I can do is gape at her powerlessly as she happily turns on her heel and heads for the door. "Well?" She says loudly over her shoulder, a wide grin on her face."Shall we get going? I wanna see how fast you are in the air!" She points an open palm towards her broom for emphasis. The broom responds immediately, eagerly jumping into her open hand. Mistress then sprint to the door, calling out "Last one there owes the other a meal! And don't forget to lock the door!"
That is NOT fair! Though to be honest, I shouldn't expect much fairness from my mistress. I love her more than anything else, but that doesn't mean I am blind to her faults.
Still, this is a good chance to test out my new body! I quickly snatch my main body from the table and vault over it towards the door, almost catching up right there and then. Unfortunately, while my superior youkai muscles allowed me to reach the door in a single bound, my grasp of bipedal balance is not quite enough to ensure a smooth landing. As I lie on my bum, looking at the morning sky for the first time, I muse for a short moment about how beautiful it is.
Then I remember I have a race to run and a door to lock.
I hastily get up, close the door and apply a simple magical seal to it, one that mistress always use when leaving home. It's not going to keep experienced magicians or overpowered shrine maidens out, but it will do for the average feral youkai.
Satisfied of my security measures, I take a running start and jump with all my might, never to come back down.
Well, until I decide to come back down, at least.
I quickly spot mistress' magical signature and accelerate towards it. Of course, she's already out of sight, hidden by the many trees of the forest of magic.
As I leave the small clearing of our house, I can't help but notice how dense the vegetation is. Everywhere I look, it's nothing but trees, mushrooms and mushrooms growing on trees. Much of the sunlight is blocked by the thick canopy, preventing water from evaporating.
This place is just too damp to burn well.
"Yo!" Mistress' voice interrupts my musings. It appears I have caught up. "That was quite the spill back there. You're okay, right?"
I beam back at her."Not even a bruise! Your hakkero is tougher than that!"
She takes her eyes off from her current heading for a second and smirks at me. "Then you won't mind if I crank the difficulty up?"
Before I even finish, mistress blasts off at absolutely terrifying speeds, somehow retaining enough manoeuvrability to avoid crashing into trees. This is obviously a challenge, and I rise to it, accelerating to my maximum speed.
This is a terrible idea.
Trees zoom past me with horribly sharp wooshing sounds as I try my hardest to keep up, occasionally brushing against a trunk or bursting through thin branches. But no matter how hard I try, Mistress is simply too fast for me. Finally, I spot a break through the trees and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that we have arrived.
In my relief, I stop considering my current trajectory for a moment, which bites me in the butt half a second later when I realise that I am headed straight for the final tree between me and my goal, with no way of fully preventing a collision. I quickly flip my body around in the hopes of using my legs to absorb some of the impact.
It's... Mostly successful.
I bounce off from the tree, legs screaming in pain, and land in a faceplant that makes my earlier fall look like a stubbed toe. After rolling around for a good distance in the most undignified manner possible, I finally skid to a halt right at mistress' feet, face up. As my vision stabilizes, I see that she looks concerned.
"Aiko, can you hear me? Are you alright?"
Okay, so... Face? Hurts like hell, but everything seems in place. Neck? Horribly sore yet functional. Legs? I don't think they're broken, but the muscles have taken a beating from the strain. Main body? Still safe in my pocket. All in all? Nothing permanent.
I break out in a painful smile and yell "I'm alright!" as convincingly as I'm able.
If Mistress saw through it, she didn't comment. She simply extended her hand, her trademark smirk back on her face. I take it, ignoring my legs the best I can. Don't want to worry her, after all.
"Wow, you're a tough one. Just look at the tree!" She says, pointing behind me.
I turn around and quickly see what she means. There are two vaguely foot-shaped indents in it at the point of impact.
So that's what that noise was... Better you than me, buddy.
"You know," Mistress pipes up cheerfully, " next time, you might want to consider just using your rear and break right through it."
I let out a nervous laugh at that. She's joking, right?
"I'm not sure my bum could take that..."
"You won't know until you try, right?" And with that, she turns around and head towards a building at the center of the clearing. I had almost forgotten what we came here to do.
Mistress, however, didn't. She opens the door without knocking and yells "Yo, Kourin! There is someone here who you really oughta meet!"
I hurry inside, closing the door after me. Looking around, I see a wide variety of... Stuff, I guess. Things from the outside world. I also see a tall woman with long blue hair standing near the counter, looking somewhat intrigued. Finally, behind the counter sits a white haired man, his golden eyes staring at me dispassionately from behind rectangular glasses.
"Welcome to Kourindou, how may I help you?"