Description: Stories of a long time ago, when the Ryouhara village yet stood. Back then the Ryouhara clan was split into two distinct families. Despite a tumultuous start, the shinobi of Hirano and Ryouhara had a strong alliance, one that resonated through history. The children, on the other hand..
If Seori was found, Arinori couldn't be that far off ahead. That was the running nugget of wisdom that was an overall theme of Arinori's forays into the woods. Little Seori, by virtue of the fact that she wasn't as quick to go off in search of adventure, would always end up slowing Arinori down, even as she tried her best to keep up, like a diligent puppy constantly getting entangled in a child's feet. Or a manacle, depending on how close she managed to trail behind the boy. She was a long ways from the child who lingered at the end of the woods, her face stained with tears. Now, she was managing to catch up, even as Arinori himself got more and more daring with his missions into the forest.
This time, the adults found Seori high in a tall cedar tree, sniffing with the threatened beginnings of tears, with brave Arinori further up still, just about to reach a prized bird's nest with a particularly unique shape.
And that's how Seori comes back now, long dark hair still sticky with sap and green needles, which her mother diligently tries to pick out with her fingers before giving up. "Go on and play, it'll be a while before we can get a bath ready. That sap's going to take a while to get out." Combing a few more fronds of greenery from her daughter's head before smoothing it out, she shakes her head. "Can't believe you two got up that high..."
Awkwardly, Seori nods, moving off into the meadow, clutching a few feathers to her chest.
That was her prize for getting that far.
It was rare he really knew much about Arinori's comings and goings. It wasn't something he was really okay with, running off and climbing trees and getting into what they said was fun. Sounded like a whole lot of trouble to him, really, and not the sort he could deal with, really..
It was spring, with the day falling on an exceptionally pleasant warm sun, which meant that most of his family was out of the house. Mother was off somewhere near the river, he knew, with sister. His father was attending to something important that he wasn't allowed to tell anyone about, but then Seishirou was typically lost whenever he tried to follow what his father was doing. A lot of the finer aspects were simply beyond his reach. For now, anyway... really.
There was only so long the Ryouhara boy could read at the house, so when he was reasonably assured that a lot of bothersome questions wouldn't get asked and that it would be some time before anyone would be back, the boy made the decision of carting out his most recent project. Some sort of silk kite.
Or at least, such was the plan when he gathered up the parts in a small wagon and brought them out to the meadow.
By the time everything was set up, the wind wasn't really moving enough to ensure that his frame was going to keep the air in it. The troubling idea was reinforced by no less than at least four (he started counting late) crashes. The wobbling airframe lands, unceremoniously, in a pile of flowers, sending petals tracking rapidly through the wind.
It's of course, right around the first crash landing that his fears come true. It seems like a few of the other adults and kids came back from their trip, much to the boy's dismay.
The crash of the wobbling kite catches both mother and daughter's attention. Seori's gaze pivots straight to the dismayed older Ryouhara, then looks back over her shoulder at her mother. Shuuen, looking at Seishirou and his kite for a brief moment, then gives a nod, a small curl of a grin on her lips.
Maybe some of that serious studiousness will rub off on the girl, to counter her husband's attempts to make Seori the mischievous child he hoped she would be.
"Um..." White petals pass by on the wind, some sticking to the dark tendrils of Seori's hair as she moves cautiously towards the kite. Quiet dark eyes stare over at the older Ryouhara's face, then to the cart by him. "You're..." She halts, but pushes herself to continue speaking. She has to be brave. She can't hide behind her mother forever, or always be Arinori's trembling shadow. "You're Arinori's big brother, right?"
Her feet stop next to where the kite's crashed body lay. She slowly kneels down, studying the frame and the silk cloth. This wasn't bought- it was made. Maybe. It looks incredibly constructed- but in the eyes of a child, perfection is something far easier to see in the work of others older than you, even if they're only older by a few years. "... You made this."
Seori knew that much about him. Granted, he could lie to her right now, and she would believe him; that was the power he held as someone older. ".... It looks neat." She reaches down, just about to pick it up, before seizing back, realizing that the sap from her fingers could possibly ruin anything delicate. ".... My fingers have sap on them." She's heard of things like that- never getting your fingerprints on things that were delicate. Though maybe it was another adult way of saying 'don't touch, you'll break it'.
It's also someone else's. It's not hers to touch without permission. "Can I help?"
At first, it's like the young boy is the only one in the field. His long black hair spilling over his shoulders, the boy crouches down on the ground by the kite, scrunching up against his knees until they meet his chest, as he looks over the length of his kite.
When he's crouching like that, the kite is almost as tall as he is, a geometric shape, with bits of silk fastened to an aluminum frame. It's screwed together with screws of varying sizes, colors and shapes, but all are quite small for their application. While most held, the frame sags now, bent at the middle due to a screw that apparently came loose or broken somewhere. This the majority of the young boy's focus, who, in his distress, might not even make the realization that he's not alone at the crash site.
"This is ... really, just the worst thing that could happen. How am I going to even... oh, man. Really?"
He's in the midst of maybe pushing a few stray flowers out of the way on the off chance the screw fell somewhere easy. Or at least, that's the plan until he's made painfully aware that there is a very feathery person really close to his stuff. "Ah--!" Seishirou squawks, leaning forward quickly--notably, his first instinct is to throw himself over his kite, draping arms over the hasty construct as if a blanket. "Ah--it's fine, really!" he insists. "D--don't touch it!"
He pauses. Arinori? Did someone mention...?
Wait. He squints.
"Why are you sticky and feathery and smell like a pancake."
"I won't touch it." Sober dark eyes gaze at Seishirou, the small girl's lips twisted in a thoughtful frown. "... I don't wanna break it."
She just squats there, hands over bent knees, her gaze flicking back to the kite in the awkward silence.
He asks a question. Seori pauses to think on this. "... Arinori wanted to climb this really tall cedar tree," she offers, as if it was the most logical answer in the world. Then, belatedly, she sniffs her clothes. "I was scared, but Arinori told me there was something really neat up there, and I was scared if I didn't, he'd fall... and..." She crouches down further into a sitting position. "I'm not as good as he is at climbing. I got scared. I didn't get to see the nest. I hope there weren't any babies in it, because they were probably really scared."
Wait. Feathery? Seori blinks cluelessly, until she realizes- oh, right. Those feathers! Finally, she smiles, eager to talk about her latest find. "I think they're magpie feathers." Taking one out from its hiding spot, she points it into the sunlight, twisting the feather between her thumb and index feather until the iridescent blue hue blossoms along its grey-black length. "See? It's hiding colors in it. Turn it this way, and it's gone."
Suddenly coming to the present, she looks at Seishirou. "Um... can I help you with it? I promise I won't touch it. Um... I'll give you my feather if you let me watch it fly."
Seishirou remains draped over the airframe like a particularly child-shaped blanket, huffing as he tries to breathe with one of the kites embedded in his middle. He wobbles slightly as he listens to the story. "Eh?" he asks, no one in particular, before looking down into the frame of his kite, his hair flopping over his head with the motion. He does this roughly halfway into the kid's explanation, and a short, abbreviated puff of air causes bits of hair to fly up everywhere.
It becomes crushingly evident that the middle Ryouhara's attention span for ... really, anything at all ... is not really that long, even where his own curiosity is involved. "Eh, really," he mentions, faintly vexed by something unknowable.
"Arinori was involved!" he gripes, reaching through the struts and pawing absently at the ground. Um, at least he's kind of paying attention? "Just figures!! He better not be anywhere around," Seishirou complains. "He's a menace, really, and ... ehhh--!!"
When Seishirou looks up, he notices Seori has crouched down a little closer. The difference of an inch or two is enough to cause the young boy to visibly jump. The exaggerated start gets him gathering parts warily to him a little more, his hair now completely eclipsing his face in a very haphazard and thuroughly uncombed way. He tries to see what Seori is holding up, blowing air outward. "Eh, a magpie feather? Really? I can't see it. Ano... I could use something like that in glass blowing.. but where is it? Puff, puff."
Black wisps of air fly in a few different directions.
"I don't know, tho. This is really important work I'm doing, puff puff. Like, really big. If I can fix this, then I'll be on the verge of really important stuff, puff puff."
Seeing Seishirou complain openly about Arinori, Seori looks away, her words quickly stumbling from her mouth in the little brother's defense. "I-I like him. I know I'm not strong or fast like him. But he's nice to me. Even if I get scared." She scrunches up her nose, lost in her own little world of determination. "I'll get better. Just have to watch him and see how he does it. Then I'll be strong like he is. He says things that make me laugh. Um..." She trails off."
Putting the feather away at the mention of glass, Seori's eyes grow wide. "You blow glass?! Can you blow it like blowing bubbles?"
Wait. Seori studies Seishirou's puffing hair from his face, her head tilted. Inching closer like she was sneaking across a small sparrow, she unpins a clip from her own hair and, inspecting it, rubs it clean on the inside of her shirt. "... Um." She can't solve any of Arinori's problems, but maybe, she can help Seishirou in this way? "... Here."
Placing the tip of the hairpin in her mouth like she'd seen her mother do when working with her own hair, Seori slowly reaches out, her hand brushing the front of Seishirou's fallen messy mane of hair. Her words betray a momentary glimpse of confidence. "Hold still." If she can manage it, little fingertips carefully gather and grasp a width of hair in front of Seishirou's eyes. If she succeeds with that, she lifts the hair up from Seishirou's eyes, scoots closer in on her knees in order to fold and gently pull the length of hair back. Taking the blue clip out, she clips it in place. "Um..." She gives a worried frown. "It's a girl's hairpin, so don't let him see it, okay?"
Arinori, presumably. Though seeing him with a 'girl's hairpin' may not be the least of Seishirou's worries, depending on how good a grip Seori got on Seishirou's hair.
"Efu, puff puff, efo efo."
At this point, the young boy isn't paying his hair any more mind than anything else, the momentary occlusion taking a backseat to his kite, which is perfectly fine because the self-declared precision mechanism is actually still underneath him. So as far as Sei is concerned, his hair isn't in the way at all of the important things in his life. The young boy shifts suddenly and warily as the other kid admits to liking Arinori, crowding his kite to him, now very unsure if Seori was a menace as well. Draped across his kite thus, it's actually very hard to get any work done, but until he can make a decision on this thing, it's important he maintains a tactically safe position.
Though really, if he was going to get out of here, he needs to make repairs.
Now, trying to maintain his current defensive readiness, Seishirou sort of--really kind of just gets a foot in and mounts the kite, wobbling as he balances on the bottom half. Once he achieves a real and lasting balance he moves on, reaching into a tiny pouch on his side, hanging from the ties on his jinbei. Finding a replacement--or at least what he figures to be the right size--replacement screw, he works on getting his kite put back together. "A little," Seishirou admits, while trying in vain to fit the screw. "Only because we're studying refraction of light right now, and making bubbles helps... but Arinori broke my last one," he thinks aloud.
"Aren't you really one of the Hirano girls? But, ano, you're not really in cahoots with my little brother, are you? ... if you're gonna menace me as well, I'm really really strong," Seishirou remarks, nettled. -!!- "Whoa! Hey--!! what are you--"
The moment Seori tries to get ahold of him, she might realize that Seishirou wasn't actually paying attention to what she was doing.. right up until the point she touches his hair. Now, thusly embattled, Seishirou wobbles dangerously atop the kite's superstructure, causing the entire frame to fold underneath him, and then slowly, ever so slowly, tip over, with him on it, holding onto pretty much anything for dear life.
"A structural failure!! Noooooooo..."
The kite unceremoniously plops on its side, with Seishirou insinuated somewhere underneath, and potentially partially inside it. "...th.. this is really bad."
Kneeling in that squatting position, Seori watches as Seishirou props the kite up. Listen to people, her mom always told her. That's how you get to know their stories. How is Seishirou's story different from Arinori's? Is it because he's older? "Refrak-shun." She repeats the word. "What's a refrak-shun?" Nono, she needs to be quiet! She gets annoying when she asks questions like that! "Um... I'm sorry Arinori broke your refraction." Maybe that's what it is. It's glass. "He's really nice, he just... breaks things sometimes."
Then, it seems, Seishirou seems to notice her once again. She nods readily, her lips spreading wide in a happy smile. "I'm Seori! Um, it's nice to meet you!" Mom said that was a good thing to say to people, even if you're not sure yet if it's really a nice thing. "Cahoots? No, um, I don't think so..." Seori's brow wrinkles. Menace? Does that mean 'mean'? "Did you do something mean to him? If you did, I'll..." Her small lips tighten, resolve brimming in her black eyes before it recedes like a tide. He *is* taller than her. Probably stronger. "... I'll tell." There. That works. "I'm not scared of you."
... so says the girl who was unable to speak a complex sentence a few moments ago. Those words may have more bite to it if she had actually tried to speak above a whisper. He's not actually scary to her now that she's talked to him directly, but he is grumpy. Just a little.
She does, however, gasp when her outstretched hand happens to be one of the things Seishirou accidentally grabs, falling down into the heap with the boy, and the kite on top.
She doesn't cry, thank goodness. That'd be embarrassing.
Well, this is a problem.
The kite, or what's left of it, has been upended entirely by the slow tilt and eventual tip of the Ryouhara boy's weight on it. Despite his unusual grasp of some pretty tough words, the young boy apparently has no agility whatsoever, and is now all but buried underneath a pile of bent aluminum struts, silk, and Hirano. "Ah--"
This is all in contrast to the events of a moment prior, where Seori and Seishirou were set in stark opposition on the whole matter of Seishirou's little brother. Not that Arinori was that much younger than Seishirou, all truth told, but the handful of time that passed between them is, at least as far as Seishirou is concerned, an insurmountable gulf that will never be crossed. Definitely the difference between reasoned engineering and wanton mayhem.
"Puff. Really?" Seishirou asks, a thin patina of defiance settling over the youth in response to the threat. "That's not just at all. You're probably out to break my things too--it's a word that means light bending!" He suddenly realizes, nettled. The question, of course, was asked a moment ago. Not that he's paying any attention to that, really.
Because now they're both buried underneath in the wreckage of the kite. What's even worse is that he has a girl's hairpin in. At this point, Seishirou begins to wiggle aggressively in an attempt to right matters, managing an impressive flop, and in moving the kite and all attached parties most of an inch before he tires out.
Settling to the ground in efeat, the junior shinobi has no choice but to declare his appraisal of the situation. He's always prided himself on his ability to notice things. "Agh, it's no use. We're really trapped here," Seishirou warns. "Potentially forever."
".....this is all your fault, really."
"... S-sorry." Seori's head drops to the ground in a sort of mini-'bow', cedar sap-smelling hair piling on either side of her head. "I didn't mean to, really... It just looked so... cool." Her mouth wilts into a morose frown. "You're always working on stuff like this. I know I'm not smart like you, but I wanted to, um, see if you were gonna be able to do it." To fly the very thing that's now on top of them, holding them to the ground. "I'm not strong like Arinori, or smart like you, or, well..." There was their sister: Kiria. The girl Seori could only hope someday to be like. Granted, Kiria's not that much older than Seishirou, but to Seori, she might as well be something akin to an adult. "Not as cool as your sister. B-but, I'm trying to be good at something!" Her brain searches around for a talent. Something. Anything. .... Yes, these things'll do. "I'm really good at bird calls. And Mom says I'm good at sewing and braiding! And Arinori says I'm good at... um..." Her head flops down in defeat. "... telling on him. But I just wanna make sure he doesn't get hurt..."
Seori is about to defend herself against Seishirou's accusation, but his next words manage to distract her from that task. Light... bending. Light bends? Like rainbows? Something about glass... But maybe the feather, too? He said he needed it. "So... the feather wasn't hiding a color, it was bending light? That's..." Seori thinks on it for a while, shifting the notion. "I think it makes sense. Like the crystal mom gave me. It makes rainbows."
The excitement of the moment isn't enough to overcome Seishirou's own morose assessment of the situation.
It's no use. They're going to be stuck here. Forever. And... what's worse, it's all her fault. Of course she believes Seishirou. He's smart. He's the smartest person she knows, out of a pool of... well, he's very smart!! ".... I just... wanted to see you... fly the kite..." Her bottom lip quivers. Nonono, she's not supposed to cry, she's not supposed to cry, Arinori tells her that she cries too much, she promised she wouldn't be such a big baby-
Her solution is to sit her face in the ground, in order to muffle her crying, petals shaking from her hair.
".. who's smart, really?" Seishirou comments, from his defeated pile somewhere at the bottom of the kite. Seriously, it seemed like the kite was getting progressively bigger, more labyrinthine and even more inescapable by the minute. If Seishirou's emotions were animated, a cartoon cloud would be growing over his head, were he not on another train of thought entirely.
"We've got some other stuff, if we really want to worry about something."
Right now, Seishirou is bound up in the excess silk runs, and stuck pretty fast. He's pretty sure his ankles are tied up in something down that away, and his left hand is somewhere behind him, and his other hand is tied up in a batch of wire and sail. Right now he couldn't really move if he wanted to.
"Yeah, they're called prisms," Seishirou mentions, trying to wiggle his ankles free, and probably jostling Seori around in the process. If he can just reach his tool pack with his off hand. "I don't know what they can all do yet, but my dad says they use them for the big light ninkou thing on top of the mountains. So they must be really important. I'm going to make one that looks like a hawk soon."
In his mind, it's probably possible to create a prism made in the shape of a giant predatory bird, which should then come to life and rain lasers over anything that bothers him.
Oh, hey, no--"don't do that--"
Seishirou frowns pretty deeply as Seori starts bawling, a deep flush coming to his cheeks. Oh, this isn't going well at all. Wiggling a little, he inchworms over to Seori, "Hey, hey, really?" he asks, poke-patting her impotently with a silk-wrapped mittened hand. "No, hey, it doesn't matter if we're trapped here forever possibly with you as the sole culprit, doomed to starve to death... wait, no, that's not right. erm, sorry." Pause.
"We're more likely going to thirst to death first, really."
A sap-covered petal drifts over and sticks to his nose. Oh no.
"Hey, uh, listen, okay, stop that and I'll let you help me break us out of here, okay?" Seishirou wobbles excitedly, starting to sweat. "Listen, you can tell on Arinori and get us out, okay? No, um-- no, that's not really right. Okay, maybe you can sew us loose! No, that would just make it worse. UM. Here, hold on, listen, give me your hand. And watch where you're putting your foot!"
Strangely enough, when Seishirou's budging around, Seori doesn't really seem to complain over than a wince or, at worst, an audible 'ow', but nothing accusatory. He's trying to get himself free, obviously. Seori almost wants to try to move from her spot over to help him, but seeing how the structure just may shift until the force of two children wiggling around instead of one, she waits instead, in case Seishirou has an idea.
"I think you're smart," she insists again, even if the question may have been rhetorical. "I bet... if I gave you my doll, you could probably fix it." The sentences flow together better in her head, but she continues on, none the wiser. "Arinori tried to brush her hair. He... um..." She looks away. "I didn't tell on him then..."
She never had seen the boy look so sad, when he saw her try not to cry.
Maybe it's less the crying that hurts, and the face she makes when she's trying not to cry.
That could be why Seishirou reacts the way he does, even if Seori's trying her hardest to hide her tears from him in the way only a little child would think to do. At least she's quick enough to stop. Mostly. Just once Seishirou stops talking about how they're going to die.
"... okay." Gingerly, Seori reaches out her hand to Seishirou, blind trust in her expression. ".... have you seen it? That big prism ninkou on the mountain."
Again, it flows together better in her head. At least now she's listening.
"He did what?" Seishirou pauses.
"Ugh, he makes us look so bad."
This coming from the Ryouhara who has been soundly defeated by a kite.
When she presses the point, Seishirou's cheeks flush even harder, and then he looks away, while trying to maneuver his far arm. "A--anyway, I don't think there's such a thing as smart. It's not like saying somebody is stronger or somebody is faster, and you can't lift weights for it. It's just what people tell you and what you read, you know? And you can't say, you have a lot of books, or you're more popular, so you're better. I don't think that's really very fair. Agh, here, try this."
In reality, Seishirou's maneuvering is an attempt to keep Seori from saying more weird things to him. There are a few things he could try, but he is also in the proximity of a girl, and that's a serious problem, where he's concerned. Getting her involved with the breakout attempt could keep her from saying more girl stuff to him, or putting more girl stuff on him.
He's pretty sure she was going to try and give him a wedding ring or something next. That's probably how that works. There's really no telling with girls.
"I really have, but.... um, I don't know if I'm suppose to talk about that... really. Okay, so... don't freak out, okay? I'm going to take ahold of your wrist with my hand, and put it into my tool pouch. I want you to reach in the furthest pocket to my back. In there, in a small folding jewel box... I have...."
Seishirou pauses a moment, then states powerfully for effect.
Oh no. She told on Arinori _again_! "... He didn't mean to... he did it because he wanted to make me happy..." Seori's head bobs down, though, thankfully, she doesn't cry this time. "He's never played with dolls before." Wait, does *that* count as telling on him too?!
If Seori's silence was the outcome Seishirou was hoping for, he's certainly achieved it. The girl listens to Seishirou's words and soberly nods, as if she was told a deep secret from the deepest parts of Ryouhara lore. Or something like that. At this point, anything anyone older than her says counts as that.
But, that golden moment of silence is soon broken. "Y'unno, I didn't think of that. It really ain't fair." He's right- that really isn't a fair way of thinking about things. It's less that someone's better than her, and more that they're someone she can learn from, right? "It's... not that you or Arinori or the other kids are better than me. I just have a lot around I can learn from."
The hand is offered to Seishirou even as he tells her something an older child would possibly shrink back at. "It's okay, I won't tell anyone." Seori nods resolutely. "I mean, it's gonna get us out of here, right?"
It's a mission. "So it'd be something sharp? I'll be okay! I trust you!"
Coming from a child of this age, that may not be something very hard to gain.
Should Seishirou grip onto Seori's wrist, Seori allows him to move her hand to the tool pouch, scrunching her body closer in to ensure she can reach. It's not that different from the sorts of antics Arinori got into, really. There had been those times when Seori's smaller body size, patience, and calmer, nimble fingers had prevailed in getting him out of a scrape or two. Like when they got stuck in a hollow trunk of a fallen tree, or when Seori had to be hoisted through an opening to then pull Arinori himself up.
Closing her eyes to concentrate on feeling for the opening of the tool pouch, she asks, "That's it, right?" If Seishirou gives her an affirmative response, she feels the top of the pouch to discover how it's closed. "I think I got it." After squeezing in closer and some fidgeting, she manages to open it, reaching her hand inside. "Dad's showed me stuff like that, so I can have the Koumei Hagoromo when I'm old enough."
One day, she might wield it and serve the clan, possibly under Kiria's guiding hand, just as her father and mother do for Seizaemon. "What shape is it? I think... I found it." Cautiously encircling her hand around it, she tries to extract the jewel box out. "Almost got it...!"
"Happy?" Seishirou stares suspiciously. For a moment, something approaching suspicion smoulders in his eyes. What's with this girl and Arinori. As much as he dislikes his brother for breaking all of his greatest projects, he's not one hundred percent sure what to feel about apparently this Seori girl galavanting off with him all the time. She could be corrupting him... even worse than he's already corrupt.
When she stops sniffling, he seems to regain a little bit of agency, wobbling the whole kite affair one inch back to the left. Something she said has apparently gotten him prickly, because by the time she suggests she might learn from him, he puffs audibly, and this time there's no hair in the way. "Don't overthink it," Seishirou puffs, "I--I don't teach anybody anything, my jutsus are the strongest secret. They're handed down from Ryouhara to Ryouhara, and I will really die to protect them." He's super serious about it. "For real."
"Now listen up, cus I'm only going to say this once, Hirano kid."
Seishirou inches a little closer into the girl (!) and is forced to put his head on her shoulder to get her hand close enough so he can slip it into his back pouch. It's lucky she won't be able to look in this situation, because he is definitely as red-faced as a beet. "N-now," Seishirou manages in her ear, "When you grab that shuriken, be careful. It's a really dangerous weapon, and I'm not to blame for whatever happens. They've said that entire shinobi villages have been destroyed with one, so none of your girl or Hirano kid funny business. You'll get us all killed!!"
He can kind of feel her getting to the right spot there. It's actually folded up in a canvas folding box, of the kind used to hide small jewels, so it actually takes two hands to get out. "Good, good...now, what you do is, you gently take it out of the box, and you get over there," Seishirou indicates with his nose ineffectually, bumping Seori, "and cut that knot. That'll loosen my other hand so I can get to that wing nut over--there." Bump! He's not really conveying any information at all. "But when you do," he warns, "you do it real smooth. I'm not about to be blamed for wanton destruction."
Maybe he wasn't sure Seori was respectful of the gravity of the situation.
"At any rate, my sister says shuriken are the beginning of all ninkou," Seishirou mentions while waiting, having sometihng to do with the Koumei Hagoromo. "So in essence, I already have my own ninkou. It's only a matter of time before I make another."
The power young Seori wields is mighty, being that of a sort of amiable puppy that seems to want nothing more than to be friends. Sometimes, when it's raining and the ground outside is too muddy for expeditions into the wilds beyond the village, a bored child is willing to try new things. Like half-heartedly playing with a doll his friend loves. It's the worst sort of corruption, and why little girls are the deadliest weapon of all. Soon they'll have you playing house with them and chasing rainbows or whatever, and then there's no going back.
This, of course, doesn't take into account the specific power Arinori has over Seori.
"So is light refraction... a jutsu?" Seori asks, frowning thoughtfully even as Seishirou maneuvers to awkwardly move her hand. "You didn't have to tell me." Well, wait. No, it's not that it'll kill him just by saying it. He's just saying he'll die to keep them a secret. "I don't wanna learn those. Especially if you're gonna die to protect em'."
It's probably a very good idea that the girl doesn't see Seishirou's red face. "My name is Seori," she corrects, softly, but stops there, wanting to hear Seishirou's commands. Being called Hirano is fine, but, 'kid'?
"So like a bird's egg," she murmurs, visualizing the safe, fragile item in place of the real, dangerous one Seishirou is describing in her ear. Snaking her other hand along her arm to the pouch, cradling her fingers around the item. "Okay, gonna take it out."
She might as well be performing a complicated stitch, the way her breath falls quiet and her heart slows. The box is opened, the shuriken extracted. "Okay, the knot over there..." It probably was a good thing Seishirou bumped Seori's head when he was trying to indicate the knot; it allowed her a tactile clue what he meant where better indicators were unable to be used. ".... Okay."
The previous clumsiness is no longer present, as if warded away by Seishirou's commands. She moves thoughtfully, the image in her mind of the weapon in her hand as being a fragile needle, liable to prick her finger if she wasn't careful. Wanton destruction is about the same thing, in the Hirano girl's mind.
The sharp edge of the shuriken is placed against the knot like a placeholder, before Seori steadies her fingers and makes a cut, her brow furrowed. Just like so...!
"No, er...definitely not like a bird's egg," Seishirou complains, wobbling the entire superstructure as if to make his point. "Unless you know of birds who have laid waste to entire villages before...just pay attention, I really don't want to get annihilated."
Luckily, Seishirou understands the seriousness of the situation here even if no one else does, and knows when to hold still. He sits as a statue as Seori mindfully reaches for the most dangerous weapon he had at his disposal, his brows furrowed in intense concentration and also potentially a little bit of concern. It was a little bit like rolling the dice, he realizes. He was told that the Hirano were dear friends to the Ryouhara, but he's certainly met scary members of the family before, and has made up his mind to judge them on a case by case basis. This Seori character has already proven to be in cahoots with Arinori, and who knows what sort of mayhem those two have been up to. He absently resolves to disarm her as soon as possible.
"Just, be careful, that thing is razor sharp on all sides. Don't drop it, or we're doomed," he warns as she slowly and cautiously makes the cut. "Careful.... careful..." he says, poking Seori with his mittened hand for lack of anything else he can actually do. Right up until the cut is made!! "Good job, Hirano kid," he compliments, disregarding her earlier second introduction entirely. That conveniently frees his mitten hand from the structure of the kite, which lets him.. "Okay," he explains, "Now luckily, I'm a good planner. I, uh, 'anticipated' this exact problem, and put one wing nut in the assembly to break it down." It sounded like a good idea at time. "Remember. Secret is the key word," he says. "This is a critical weakness in the design, known only to one other. I'm only showing it to you because I need to. Now, hold still."
At this point, the young boy sort of just--twists around, and gives a good reach with his still-mittened hand. "Now, all I have to do is twist it off, like so."
The wing nut, twisted loose of the machine screw that held it on, shoots into the far distance, ostensibly never to be heard from again. The machine screw, supporting the weight of two children, shoots off into the far distance in the opposite direction, also ostensibly never to be heard from again, unless it meets up with its friend the wing nut in wherever 'never to be heard from again' is from for a nice Sunday okonomiyaki. The kite, for its merit, holds up for a grand total of thirteen seconds before less flying apart wantonly like the nut and screw, but more sagging with a brief and heady sigh of structurally compromised framework, unceremoniously dumping children in whichever direction it pleased.
This causes Ryouhara to flop face-first into a pile of flowers, ugh. "h--hey, Hirano kid," Seishirou manages around a mouthful of soil and petals.
"Where'd you go?"
It's definitely not like a bird's egg. Or a sewing needle, for that matter. But Seishirou asked a question, and despite it being rhetorical, Seori has to answer it. "Itsumade... kinda do. But I don't think they hatch from eggs like normal birds. Maybe tengu? But those are more like..." She manages to stop herself before becoming distracted again.
Just concentrate. You can do it, Seori.
poke poke poke
The mittened hand pokes into Seori's head, but her attention's focused entirely on the sharp weapon in her hand. It's razor sharp, he said. If he said it, it probably is, because why would he lie to her?
"... my name's Seori." And it's good that it's sharp, because all it takes is one cut! Very handy. She'll have to keep it a secret, though, just like this design flaw! She won't even tell Arinori about this- unless he told her it was an emergency or something really weird. Maybe then. But only if he promises not to break anythin-
Seori holds her breath as the machine nut follows its BFF into the distance, and by follow, that means 'somewhere that isn't here'. Seconds pass, and Seori's eyes ricochet towards Seishirou. Is this another design flaw? Another secret to keep. Yes.
A secret that deposits her away to the ground, petals flying in a cloud where she lands.
*puff* "Um..." The Hirano girl is on her side a small distance away, arms rigidly outstretched and tiny hands clasping together, as if she was presenting some sort of prayer to the skies above but got knocked over at the last second. Long dark hair is blown away from her lips, only to fall back down in another position across Seori's face. *puff* "I'm glad it wasn't really an egg, because it'd be squished now if it was."
Her lips flatten in a serious line. "And it was kind of sharp." A serious face, if not for the fact that she's trying hard not to giggle. The sharp pricking in her hands helps keep the temptation at bay as well. "But your design secrets gave me time to hold it so it wouldn't drop." It kind of hurts. But she's just glad she didn't drop it. Getting cut is better than being annihilated, really.
She frowns. "Mmh." There's a magical spell at play here. As long as she doesn't move or see any cuts, she won't start crying. Or laugh-crying, which is the worst kind of laughing and crying. That one usually came when something was really fun at first before the consequences of Arinori's actions began to sink in. "I'm gonna close my eyes, so you can take your ninkou back. Then I think I'll need bandaids. But I don't want to see how many bandaids I'll need." Probably ten. Ten is a very good number.
Her face becomes doubly serious. "And my name's Seori."
"I see, I see..."
Seishirou slowly recovers, quickly getting free of the kite's rigging now that he's not tied up in a kite and a girl, which is vastly the more important of the two things. His first priority is to check the kite's airframe, getting up and running over to the two halves of it. He assesses it for damages quickly, checking the strutwork. As expected, it's been pretty bent up from the crash, and the disaster that shortly followed. There's no saving it here, he'll have to break it down.
One screwdriver and maybe half a sentence later, the whole thing is dismantled and folded down, with a little bit of weight added to bend the bent struts back the other way. Seishirou pays it no mind, resolving to replace the weakened parts later. You can't just use the same metal when it's been bent like that. It just breaks. Maybek ind of like kids, in that regard.
At some point, a minute or two later, Seishirou realizes he left Hirano Kid laying over there like a stunned cat, and that she's been talking for that time. Uh, oops.
"Erp...um, hold on--" Seishirou interjects, letting the folded airframe sit just long enough for him to come over and carefully take the shuriken from her. Kneeling, he takes the shuriken between two fingers, and breathes. "Okay, now let go." Once she lets go, he will then stow it in its keepsake case safely, to disappear into his pouch. He'll only notice the condition of her hands when she's talking again. And once again, he's paying no attention. "You did okay, Hirano kid, but you got all busted up. Hold on, I can fix it." Unpocketting the sailwork that was once mittening him, he starts ripping off strips of silk to serve as bandaging. He'll use it, with a minimum of attention paid to anything but the injury, to dutifully use to wrap Seori's hands the moment she shows even a moment of weakness. He will probably spit in the wound once or twice and clean it out with the hem of his clothes, too, just to make sure.
His first aid leaves a little bit to be desired, but he's ruthlessly efficient.
At this point, Seori might as well be singing a sonnet for all he's paying attention.
Seishirou told her to not let it drop, because of annihilation, which is a word she'd normally not know, but she could tell that it meant something really bad. So, instead of learning what the word would mean, she refused to drop the shuriken for as long as it takes.
So yes, she's sort of staying there like a stunned cat, the shuriken protectively held between her flattened hands like a metal sandwich of ow.
Finally, she speaks. "Is the kite gonna be okay?" At least Seori's priorities are along the same order as Seishirou's. After all, it was a very, very awesome kite, from what she could see.
The older Ryouhara boy tells her to let go and she does on command, letting the sharp weapon go back to its rightful owner. "It's Seori," she murmurs again, a child's stubbornness set against an equally, or not moreso strong child's short span of attention. Her parents told her to be patient with Arinori, so maybe, Seishirou is the same way? Just keep saying it until he notices that you have words coming out of your mouth, but not so much that it becomes some sort of weird background noise that can be blocked out, like a strange kind of bird song.
Aren't there some birds that can talk like people? But like, copy them, not actually talk, just- wait, wait. Ow. Owww.
Seori's supposed to keep her eyes closed. That's part of the deal. If you don't see it, it doesn't hurt as much. But what exactly *is* he doing? There's ripping sounds and her palms feel wet and- "Um... I-is it really bad?" It hurts, yes, but she's gotten cut by sharp things before. "Are my fingers still there?" She still feels them, but what would she expect no fingers to feel like?
Thankfully, by the time she does open one eye to finally peek, her injuries are wrapped underneath swaths of silk cloth. She opens the other eye, another dark pupil to soberly stare at Seishirou's handiwork. ".... It's like I have mittens."
She raises up slowly, her head a mess of black hair, petals, and grass, and proceeds to flex each hand and each finger, wincing as her cuts send sharp pricks of pain up her arm. "That was..."
Her eyes light up. "Really really cool!!" Sure she hurts and all that, and yes she nearly doomed them to starve or whatever underneath a kite, and maybe Seishirou's still mad at her, but THAT WAS ALL SO COOL. "It was serious and I got you out and you helped me and it was like a mission! And then we got thrown around and I wasn't sure if things would get annielahated but you were okay and I was okay! And you have a ninkou too, and I held it safe for you just like you said to! You're the best!"
That's when, if Seishirou holds still, or becomes distracted enough to not realize he needs move away from this ground zero of imminent girl-stuff danger, Seori will latch onto him in a sweet hug, laughing merrily. At least her mitten hands are loosely held outward to keep them from being pushed upon, thus making then hurt even more. The torture session lasts a few short seconds for Seori, who lets go, but goodness knows how long it felt for the older Ryouhara boy himself...
"You're really lucky you're still alive, Hirano kid," Seishirou warns absently, a touch of the dire seeping into his voice. "Trained ninjas, they've taken out whole countries with these. But it's alright, I really think your fingers should be okay. I can fix it."
It's not a unreasonable question to him, asking if her fingers were still attached. After all, according to his instructors, a shuriken in the right set of hands could cut the world in two. He hasn't trained much with those sorts of things, so it's pretty important to keep perspective about these things. Once he's finished, Sei dusts his hands on his legs. With attention on the injuries spent, he turns, flitting away to the next project by the time Seori's eyes open.
In this particular case, the next thing to draw the young boy's attention is the folded up kite frame. Somewhere in the grand scheme of things, he dimly remembers her saying something important, some sort of point she was trying to make, or a question she was going to ask. Er, um... it was something important to her... something like... oh yeah.
Hirano kid was asking about if the kite would be okay.
"I guess it'll be okay," Sei guesses in appraisal, nudging the frame with his foot. "I can fix it." There's not a lot he can't, if he put his mind to it. He would just need to get some tools together and maybe some sort of way to get the frame trued up again, maybe.. there's nothing that can't be done, right? He rubs his chin, not really minding how his hair settles over an eye, pin having come loose a touch in the scuffle. He isn't really hearing her while she raves about the experience, busy thinking about how to fix the kite. Honestly, he's not much for holding a grudge, despite not really trusting that girl all that much.
Of course, right around then, Seishirou feels the weight of the Hirano kid burying itself in his back, arms latching around him in an adorable embrace. Instantly the young boy snaps back to this reality, a bead of sweat dripping down his face, warm and flush bright red. For a moment, he is compliant more out of shock than anything else. "Eh.... um...really..."
Seishirou raises his hand and, for a moment, it is absolutely clear that if he knew a single ninjutsu, the world's biggest wall would have separated the two, with force enough to throw Seori into a palm tree somewhere where those grow at. It is seriously nothing more than the most absolute and impassable of imagined barriers, a virtual Changcheng of blockades. "You keep all of those to yourself, Hirano kid!! That was really dangerous, didn't I warn you about the shuriken? Jeez, you really could have destroyed us all."
At this point the young boy gets down, to collect the frame of the kite. As he does so, he warns Seori mildly. "Don't think that because you're tough, that it means that I'll abide by any troublemaking." He shakes his head, hoisting the kite frame under his arm. "I'm packing it up for now, but don't think you're going to get the best of me, Hirano kid. I've got my eye on you." With that, he turns to leave.
"And I guess, bring me that doll," he adds, absently. "I can fix it."
Log created on 22:39:48 12/13/2016 by Seishirou, and last modified on 23:00:01 12/22/2016.