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[x] I hauled her out for a surprise.
I set a hand on my knee and stood up. She stared back up at me, eyes cool. I smiled back down at her. I also leaned in, grabbed an arm, and pulled.
She didn’t budge. I yanked once, then twice. Damn muscle mages. I sighed and let go. “Now’s not the time to get stubborn.”
“I’m serious, Miko.”
I rubbed my scalp. “Fine then, how about this: please, will you come with me?” I put my hands together, tilted my eyebrows outward, and moistened my eyes just a little.
She gave me a flat stare, then sighed and stood up. “Very well.”
“Excellent.” I turned and threw the door open. Byakuren followed, prim, behind me as I took the stairs back up two at a time. I threw a hearty wave at Murasa as I passed, halfway up the stairs. She evaporated behind me.
I emerged back into the more sedate commotion of the temple’s common halls, a pair of plain-robed disciples walking past as I strode toward a side gate. A pair of short, floppy bunny ears adorned one’s head, who chatted in a loud, cheery tone with her very human counterpart. The very image of Byakuren’s dream, no doubt.
Especially in the way that human kept his hands close to his body, head just slightly bowed, stride firm but unassuming. The rabbit was excited, the boy was nervous. Not terrified, or he never would’ve come here on his own. They passed out of earshot, preventing me from picking out precisely why the rabbit bothered him.
It could’ve been genuine prejudice on his part, for all I knew. But Byakuren followed close behind me, unaware that he had any concerns at all. I stepped onto the grass and listened for fuzzier sensations.
Nothing. I heard nothing but the usual buzz of desires moving about the temple. I took a few steps out, concentrating, before I noticed something off.
Then I heard a memorable heart, desires muted by careful, arcane training. Seiga herself waited for us just inside the tree-line. I rubbed my scalp as if to ease the coming headache. Nonetheless, I walked forward, toward the woods. Byakuren followed close behind as I passed into the cool shade of heavy, aged trees.
Seiga hid nearby, though neither my eyes nor ears told me enough to determine where.
Dexterous hands wove around my earmuffs, wrapping a silk bow atop them. I spun around to find only the edges of Seiga’s dress as she passed by. She dropped a toy in my hands, then vanished into the shadow. Showoff.
I turned back to Byakuren’s wide, blinking eyes. I looked down, holding the toy up to face me. It was a doll. Lean, wearing a complex and lacy, black dress. Expressionless, save the flat mouth, with a well-crafted scar running across one blind eye.
Fingering the body, I suspected a peculiar porcelain construction, though it also held the slightest hint of softness, implying some other material.
Byakuren snickered. “It looks good on you.”
I gave her a flat stare. Then stepped forward and tossed the doll into her hands. “Here, my wedding gift.”
A wry grin settled on her face. “I thought it was the husband who gave gifts.”
“Then feel free to give me something tomorrow. Perhaps something white and three times as valuable?”
She huffed. “This isn’t chocolate.”
I sighed, stepping back into the light. “What do you think of the doll?”
She played with it, angling it around. “Is it evidence for something?”
“Only evidence of a disturbed mind.” For a moment, I half wondered what would’ve happened had I gotten stuck with Seiga instead. I shivered.
She held the doll out, flower tucked into the straps on the front of her robe. “So, what did we come out for?”
[ ] To check back in on Kokoro.
[ ] To set ground rules.
[ ] To talk fashion.
[ ] To spar.
[ ] Write-in.
Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2018/12/27(Thu)19:00