Post by haru on Jul 2, 2019 1:25:36 GMT -6
Wings of jade pigment fell and rose in a lulling harmony—a butterfly had meandered into our chambers. It thought nothing of us and simply glided along, carefree. A rare sight in this land. I noticed a single streak of emerald on either wing, which seemed to dance whe—krrrt.
A hand jutted into the air. It snatched the butterfly and then squeezed viciously. I sulked as its innards oozed from between the enraged fingers.
“—Kikuyō! Turn your eyes toward your elder!” hissed the jagged-faced woman to whom the sinister hand was attached. She sat beside a dignified, elderly Kaguya who seemed altogether weary of me. I gave her an innocent look, shrugging my shoulders. Her pupils shimmered with fury.
“Ahem… As I was saying. Your mischief dishonors the Hōn. And... what is this I hear of Haiku and Tanka? Neglecting your duties as a Kagunmei to partake in laymen's rabble? You court disaster. You must change your ways, Kikuyō.”
I could not stop staring at the old man’s long, white mustache—how it bounced upon his flowing beard when he spoke. I fought the urge to giggle.
“Well, Kikuyō?” the elder beckoned with an expectant gaze.
“Oh, yes, of course,” I said, nodding. “I will get right on that.”
His mouth formed a straight line. “This is not a game, child. Do you understand the severity of the situation? Your reputation is at stake.”
“Yes, certainly. I hold my honor dear. Near and dear... Like a game? Never. I am with you on this,” I spoke earnestly. My expression matched my tone, and I clasped my hands behind my back. An honest and dutiful boy—and reputable. Intense smile. I noticed my fingers twiddling behind me and I stilled them. It was the room. Walls constructed of rectangular wooden panels enclosed our oh-so-serious procession. Together, they created another rectangle, each corner forming a perfect angle. A barren box to match their unadorned minds. Every bone in my body wanted to erupt from this enclosure, to shatter the hardwood into splinters and laugh violently as we were exposed to demons that lurked outside like ravenous hyenas before their prey.
I unfolded my hand-fan and washed myself in cooling winds.
“Your younger brother,” he admonished, looking to the corner behind me, “has just graduated from the Academy—and in record time. An entire year quicker than you, in fact. I want you to follow in his example. That is why I have moved your living quarters. He will keep an eye on you, from now on. And if you are spotted in the Yūkaku district once more, we will be forced to resort to corporal punishment.”
“You are dismissed.”
I paused and then turned from my elder, feigning solemnity. My eyes ventured toward my brother. I shot him a smile and a wink before exiting the room.