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Tensions are rising in Tacea after the destruction of their Territory Court at the hands of its Queen. Unable to continue their traditional cycle of succession because of accusations of treason, Tacea must find a Queen capable of uniting the land while building bridges to the world outside its borders.
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Author Topic: Sheltering Wings  (Read 369 times)

Description: Attn: Ureshi-sa; Hinata

Offline Shion no Kagen

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Sheltering Wings
« on: Jul 10, 18, 10:50:28 PM »
The first thing she was aware of was the rain.  Pounding from overhead and down on her in a steady rhythm.  Dragging at her clothes and making them heavy against her skin.  Water dripped from her hair down into her face.  The next thing she was aware of was the cold, a constant shiver racking her soaked body.  Then the feeling of the ground underneath her, hard and made of stone or hard packed dirt. 

Sound filtered in next, booming thunder and the loud sound of rain hitting the ground and the roofs of nearby buildings.  The wind whistling through the trees, branches striking each other and the occasional crack as one snapped and crashed to the ground.  Her eyes flickered open only for her to slam them shut as lightning cracked across the sky overhead lighting the area she was in with a blinding flash. 

Shion groaned as pain shot through her head.  She waited a few moments and tried again.  Brief flashes of light, thankfully not overhead this time, illuminated an alley between two buildings.  Water running down the sides and pouring from the roofs.  She was lying sprawled on the ground, her legs twisted uncomfortably, clothes drenched, hair plastered to her face. 

Why was she lying here? 

She frowned and tried to think past the throbbing in her head but couldn’t seem to focus.  Fighting the shivers that wracked her body with every breath she tried to push herself upright.  Only for a shooting pain to rip through her side, dumping her back onto the ground with a muffled shout.  Tears filled her eyes and mingled with the rain still pouring on her from the sky above as she rested a trembling hand on her side and then pulled it up so she could see in the brief flashes of light.

Red, crimson red, stained the skin. 

Shion stared for a moment, water wasn’t red, wasn’t thick and sticky.  She was bleeding.  She pressed the shaking hand back down, hissing as the pain finally registered leaving her gasping for breath.

Why was she bleeding?

The question echoed in her head but there was a sense of growing weakness in her body and she knew she was going to need help if she was going to survive.  So she shoved the question aside, gritted her teeth and carefully leveraged herself into a standing position.  Once upright she leaned against the wall behind her, sucking in air, head spinning as the world danced in front of her.  She could feel a tremble in her fingers and legs as the alley seemed to go in and out of focus. 

Panic set in for a moment but then there was a whisper in her ear ‘this way’ even as a spark of Opal danced in front of her eyes.  As she took a staggering step after it, a sight shield wrapping around her, she distantly registered that her Purple Dusk was drained and that she was using her Tiger Eye.  It was a flitting thought though, there and gone again in the space of a heart beat.  Her gaze focused on a gleam of Opal that seemed vaguely familiar.  She stumbled as she exited the alley, dark eyes noting the rumpled pile of cloth and the gleam of metal stained red that she kicked with one foot.  Then she was out in the empty street everyone with common sense having sought shelter from the storm.

Later she would wonder what she had tripped over, later she’d come back to this place to see if a body had been in the alley.  Later Shion would wonder if she had killed someone and if so why.  Now though nothing else mattered but getting to wherever she was going.  With every step liquid flowed between her fingers, her clothes grew more and more drenched with water and blood, the weight dragging at weakening limbs.  Fog filled her vision, as the light became a thread wrapped around her wrist tugging and pulling as she fought the urge to let her legs fold under her and just sleep

As the urge to sit, to let her eyes close and the darkness take her grew the voice changed becoming more insistent and demanding.  Taking a feminine tone she recognized that called and cajoled her whispering, 'This way.  Don’t stop.  Almost there.  This way.  This way.

The words became a mantra sounding in her ears even as her vision narrowed to a pinprick of light and a brightly colored string.

Then suddenly she was aware that the pounding sensation of water from above had ceased.  She blinked at the door only an inch from her nose, vaguely realizing that the rain hadn’t stopped she was simply standing under cover of some kind.  She reached out a hand, leaving streaks of red on its surface as she rang for entry.  Moments passed and she rang again, knocking on the door as well enhancing her hand with a touch of Tiger Eye.

When it finally slid open Shion swayed and as the individual stared through her with a wary expression she realized the sight shield was still wrapped around her like a second skin.  As darkness seeped into the corners of her eyes she let the shield slip away, revealing herself to the person in the doorway.  She would have explained herself as their eyes widened in surprise and they took a half step back in reflex but before she could speak she finally lost the fight to stay conscious.  Everything went black as if a switch was flipped and she felt her body crumple to the floor, distantly hearing a call for help.  Just before the darkness took her under completely she could have sworn she felt a gentle hand on her brow and a voice telling her she was safe.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #1 on: Jul 11, 18, 04:48:53 AM »
It had been one of the younger sons that had answered and been started upon the sight they saw. He darted back inside within Ureshi-sa proper to call for Ryuuen and Naoji. There was a ghost, the young son said, but that made absolutely no sense. Ryuuen left the young son to Naoji and went to see just what had called upon them. There were concerns still, about the potential of attacks and otherwise upon Ureshi-sa, but this would have been an escalation.

Many thoughts went through his mind and all of them were dismissed when he saw the pattern of blood upon the wall. There were emotions, nearly lost and fading, as a sight shield melted away in front of him. There was a Black Widow, nearly gone, bleeding before him. Familiarity niggled at his senses, something about the slope of her nose and the line of her jaw, but right now it mattered not.

"Chie!" he called out, voice amplified by craft as he also reached for the Healer, staff to distaff. Ryuuen caught the Black Widow as she truly began to crumple. A hand pressed to her brow, the brush of a Hunter's Mark against her to monitor her.

"You will be fine, little lost spider. We will keep you safe here," he told her in a quiet voice, lifting her up into his arms and bringing her within Ureshi-sa. Chie was there, ushering Ryuuen to bring the Black Widow to one of the spare rooms so that she could begin to work.

Carefully setting her down, he stepped back as Chie set to work upon taking stock of her injuries and healing her. A look went to Ryuuen, an unspoken question asked as he nodded his head. "I will keep watch, Healer." His Hunter's Mark upon the unconscious Black Widow allowed him to do so, to know when she was truly beginning to waver.

"Another moment longer and I do not know if I would be able to save her," said Chie, hands resting upon the Black Widow and beginning to heal. Inevitably when Naoji joined, having calmed the younger son, Ryuuen still stood as a silent watcher.

It took a touch to his arm to bring him out of his focus as Chie continued to work herself. Even the Warlord Prince needed to be mindful of not losing himself here. "Someone has done a great harm," he said in a low voice to Naoji, "and we will need to report it."

A grim nod was his answer, Naoji standing vigil with him.

Eventually, Chie had done everything that she could, the Black Widow left in a healing sleep and recovering. "She will sleep and sleep deeply until it is time to wake. I will continue to check on her but she is no longer so close to death," the Healer had said before retiring for the night.

The familiarity remained, Ryuuen certain that he knew this Black Widow. If he did, however, it had been years ago when they were likely a youth. Between him and his son, along with Chie and Shinobu, there was always someone checking in and keeping an eye upon the healing Black Widow.

The change of the guard had just happened, Ryuuen stepping in to allow Naoji to attend to his duties. It was when he saw the flutter of eyelashes, a soft noise of discomfort made, that he was moving towards the bed and pressing a gentle hand to her shoulder. "Not so fast, little lost spider. You are still recovering."

Normally he would be more mindful of touching with familiarity, the hand upon her shoulder stilling her, but right now his concerns were with helping make sure she took it easy.

*She is waking up,* he sent along a Summer Sky thread to both Naoji and Chie.

"I will help you sit up if you would like to do that," he offered.

Offline Naoji Kirijo

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #2 on: Jul 11, 18, 05:27:17 AM »
It had been a most peculiar disturbance, truly. When the little Warlord Prince (for Ureshi-sa always had a reputation for many of its sons being of that caste, even if Naoji and a couple others were not) had come running into the back room making claims of a spirit, Naoji hadn't been sure what to expect when Ryuuen had practically sprinted towards the entrance, exchanging his own presence for the youth instead. The First Son knew his cue then and instantly knelt down upon the floor with a reassuring smile, a trickle of calming Craft flowing through the embrace he offered his little brother.

"Steady, young Prince. There is no ghost. The darksparks of those passed watch over us in peace and from a distance," Naoji murmured, moving about getting the youngster tucked back into bed, even while the voices of Ryuuen and Chie rang clearly within the walls of Ureshi-sa.

Someone had been injured. A Black Widow, a revered Lady, was what he'd surmised from the urgent-sounding conversation. It sent his instincts both as geisha and dark-jeweled Warlord into high alert, but he kept that same wave of calm ebbing through himself as he managed to get the smaller son situated back and waited for him to fall back asleep entirely.

Moments later he followed the psychic bearings and sounds of Healer and Warlord Prince into one of the other rooms, padding fluidly and silently to come up on Ryuuen's side, his eyes first watching his mentor intently and offering a wisp of that same, soothing Craft via a light squeeze of the older man's shoulder. Naoji's own gaze darkened at the grim nature of what had happened and he was in agreement that it needed to be dealt with and documented, but that was for later when the Black Widow - of whom he almost felt a distant sense of familiarity about, but that he couldn't actually pinpoint - woke up.

Even that didn't seem to happen for some time, with the four of them taking rotations every so often as the night progressed. Naoji had barely stepped out of the room from his last round and began to prepare the okiya for the next morning when Ryuuen's voice across the Summer Sky caught his attention, causing the Warlord to sweep promptly back into the room and Chie appearing only moments after himself. The pair of them moved to the other side of the bed, but while the Healer got close enough to make her assessments and vital checks, Naoji knew enough to stay out of the way while being appropriately nearby if the Black Widow needed anything.

"Is there anything I can get for you, Lady? Something that would help put you further at ease or make you more comfortable?" he asked softly from where he was standing, hands lifted just so to convey that none of them meant her any harm - safety was paramount, and who knew if she even knew where she was? - and inward energy coiled reflexively at the ready for any request she might've made.

Offline Shion no Kagen

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #3 on: Jul 11, 18, 09:04:57 PM »
Shion woke to a feeling of discomfort, an ache in her side and a dull throbbing headache that seemed to be trying to pound it's way out of her skull with every heartbeat.  There was a faint memory of rain, blood, a voice and wolves in the forefront of her mind but nothing that made any real sense.  She tried to open her eyes to figure out where she was only to wince in pain as the light in the room seemed to add fuel to the headache building behind her eyes. 

She tried to move in an effort to aleve the pain or to shift and try again only to feel a hand on her shoulder.  She'd grabbed the wrist attached, eyes opening wide in surprise, fingernails digging into flesh just slightly as she shoved aside the pain that doubled in her head and the ache that grew in her side at the sudden movement.  Shion blinked rapidly in an effort to bring the individual into view even as she recognized the strength and clarity of the Opal that she had followed to this place, wherever that was.  It took a moment for his words to register and a second longer for her to convince her trembling fingers to release him.

Her fingers slipped free as she stammered out, "I'm sorry. . . I . . . I didn't mean to. . ."

Her voice trailed off as her headache grew and she found herself struggling to find the words to explain.  Shion let her eyes slide closed partly in frustration at her spinning mind and partly from the pain of a growing headache. She placed her fingers on her forehead as she tried to rub the ache away for a moment as she tried to gather her thoughts before slowly pushing herself upright accepting the Warlord Prince's help.  When she was sitting she tried to open her eyes again, allowing them to adjust more slowly to the room and it's occupants.  As he made to step away she reached for his arm again, this time she was more gentle as her eyes focused on his wrist and she checked to make sure she hadn't injured him.  It was a silly worry as she doubted she could hurt this male, but Shion only relaxed when she was certain his skin was without marks.

When she was finished with her examination she acknowledged the Healer and the Warlord wearing Green who stood nearby. The Healer like most she'd met immediately laid her hands on Shion and began asking a variety of questions which she answered to the best of her ability telling her where she still felt pain and where she didn't.  It was worrisome to her that simply sitting up seemed to have sapped what energy she'd had and as she studied trembling fingers in her lap she swallowed and asked quietly, "I almost died, didn't I?"

Her stomach rumbled as the Green Warlord asked her if there was anything she needed and she blushed in surprised embarrassment, "Could I have something to eat Lord . . ."  Her voice trailed off and she hesitated for a moment eyes darting across all three figures in the room asking instead, "Who are you?  Where am I?  Do you know what happened to me?"

Even as she asked her questions, there was a niggling thought in the back of her mind that she should know the Warlord Prince in the room.  That she knew his face and his voice even though she was certain it had been many years since she'd seen him.  There was another tug in the room on her attention as well, a thread of Green that was wrapped around Rose.  As she studied the pair of males in the room shadows of wolves seemed to fade into and out of view around them, her fingers traced the bird shaped birthmark on her wrist as she asked, "Are you part of the Kagen clan?"


To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

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      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #4 on: Aug 02, 18, 02:48:58 AM »
"There is no apology needed, little spider. Not for that," reassured Ryuuen gently. "Instinct is instinct; you to protect yourself, us to protect you." Which was to explain his hand upon her shoulder and the presumption there. Any other situation and he would have kept his hands to himself, as was proper, but she was injured and movements would only hurt herself more.

Ryuuen helped her move into an upright position, propping pillows and otherwise behind her at Chie's quiet instruction along a thread. When it was clear that the Black Widow was concerned about his wrist, he pulled back his sleeve and showed her the unmarred flesh. Not even pink crescents remained from where her nails had briefly dug in. "Do not worry," he told her, "for I am quite resilent."

Not that the Black Widow could not have done something to him that would have laid him low. All she had to do was unsheathe her snake-tooth, for it to pierce his skin, and he could have been in a bad situation. Every Black Widow's venom was different, not all were deadly, but that did not mean they were not capable of great harm all the same.

He listened as Chie looked her over, the Healer speaking to both himself and his son along a thread as she checked upon the injuries. To the Black Widow, she spoke aloud: "If you had not come upon our house, you would have, yes." Then, as she was satisfied that she was no longer in danger and healing. "That is no longer the case but you have suffered a great deal. Both your body and mind need time to recuperate."

He looked to Naoji, watching as his son took care of what was asked for. "The miso is ready, is it not? I think that would do her good." More questions came, of course, and those Ryuuen could handle.

"I am Ryuuen Kirijo, Otou-san of Ureshi-sa, an okiya within the flower district of Ito. Lord Naoji," a gesture made as his son was preparing a tray in the room, "is my son and heir." Which meant he was a Kirijo too but that was neither here nor there. "While we are not officially part of the Kagen Clan, as such would be inappropriate, we are favored by then. Lady Chie is a Healer of the Kagen Clan."

It was her fingers moving and tracing that caught his eye, Ryuuen moving closer again. "May I, little spider?" he asked for her hand, waiting for her to offer it to him before he took it into his own. A breath was sucked in as he took note of the birthmark, eyes raising from it to Naoji and then to the Black Widow.

There was no mistaking that mark and suddenly the familiarity made sense. Ryuuen nudged his glasses back up his nose with his other hand, truly studying the Black Widow once more. Shion no Kagen had gone missing so many years ago and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance had nearly sent his Queen, beautiful and strong Hinata, into a rage. Especially as certain truths had come to life about Shion's training. (Which had nearly sent Satomi, the Head of the Hourglass, into one as well because when his Queen was agitated so was her Black Widow lover.)

"Shion?" said Ryuuen, a soft note of surprise and hope creeping into his voice. The Warlord Prince remembered her well, having doted on Shion as his Queen had. More than once he had been the one to see her down from trees, though he had let her jump from the high branches into his arms so that she could - for those short few moments - feel the wind about her as if she were flying.

Now why he felt the need to call her little spider made sense. He had called her that often enough when she had been around his Queen and her Daggers.

"Is it truly you?"

Offline Naoji Kirijo

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #5 on: Aug 12, 18, 05:59:03 AM »
The unknown Black Widow had, beyond a shadow of a doubt, stumbled across what was probably the most ideal place in her bewildered and injured state (short of either Ito's court or the Territory Court itself), of that Naoji was absolutely certain of. The role of men within Tacea, and especially the geisha, were to not only soothe the sharp edges of the Territory's women but also to see to their wellbeing and protection. With Ureshi-sa being as large and renowned as it was, their resources were more than most and their men were (in the Warlord's personal opinion) among the best-trained.

With Chie no Kagen acting as Healer rather than bodyguard for the moment and both Ryuuen and Naoji overseeing the young woman, she couldn't have possibly been in any better hands at that point in time. Not as far as Naoji was concerned, at any rate.

"Of course, I will return momentarily," he addressed both Widow and Warlord Prince in kind, bowing and turning on his heel to depart towards the back where the small kitchenette was, his motions impeccable and fluid as his form disappeared out of sight shortly after.

Naoji didn't tarry or putter around the kitchen as he might have were the situation less urgent. Instead he was both quick and efficient in retrieving a bowl of the aforementioned miso as well as a mug of freshly-brewed green tea, shielding both tightly to encapsulate the heat from the liquids and prevent any from potentially spilling. Not that such a thing was really a risk coming from him of all people. His natural, innate grace and sense of balance had been a boon both during his formative years of geisha training as well as within the present, the Warlord had never been afflicted with ungainliness or any sort of awkward clumsiness like some of his brothers.

It was only a short span of conversation that Naoji had missed thanks to how pointedly expeditious he was, but what he did return into the other room to hear was more than enough to be considered jarring and, had he been practically anyone else, might've caused him to freeze in his tracks or drop either bowl or mug in his surprise.

"Shion?"

Surely he'd misheard, or Ryuuen must have been confused in his conjecture as to the Black Widow's identity. (He doubted either of those things was legitimately the case, but the realization seemed almost so strange that it could've potentially been a possibility.) Shion no Kagen had up and disappeared several years ago, causing no shortage of strife within Kagen Clan and the rest of Hinata's family. Naoji himself was only a couple years older than the Black Widow and recalled on more than one occasion having interacted with her during their younger years when her Queen grandmother would visit the okiya with any slew of her brood in tow. While he was always the most fond to lend his attentions to Yumi first and foremost, he had befriended several others and Shion had been one of them.

*The hour is late but I think we would be gravely remiss not send word to Hinata-sama if it genuinely is her,* he connected along a thread once more, though made no outward indication of doing so while instead waiting curiously for the Black Widow to confirm or deny her identity.

Reaching the bedside once again, Naoji carefully extended the bowl of miso and the tea to their current guest, offering her a small, warm smile before stepping back once he was sure she'd maintain her grip on both steadily. "Please, eat and drink your fill, Lady. There is plenty more," he insisted gently as he allowed the woman her personal space again.

Offline Shion no Kagen

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #6 on: Aug 14, 18, 12:14:42 AM »
Shion swallowed nervously as Ryuuen leaned in closer studying her more carefully.  The moment he had said his name and Naoji’s she’d understood why she felt so safe here.  Her vision correcting for age and the wolves around the pair suddenly making sense.  She took a moment to consider her options.  She was afraid of what her family's reaction to her reappearance would be, well aware that while her mind was healed there were scars and cracks that would always remain. 

Would her family want her back as she was or would they try to fix her?  Would her grandmother be angry with her?  Hinata had always been the one family in the person she wanted to please, one of her only blood family relationships that she had treasured and missed while on Kaesong.  Even as those thoughts raced through her mind she felt as if a hand was on her shoulder urging her to relax as if a voice was whispering in her ear,  "it’s alright", the words helping her to relax under Ryuuen's scrutiny. 

She desperately wanted to see her grandmother again and telling them felt right, why else would the Darkness led her here?  Clearly she was where she was supposed to be for the time being at least. So as Naoji repeated her name and Ryuuen's sharp gaze took in her features and the birthmark on her wrist she eyed him in turn.  Ryuuen had been one of her grandmother’s daggers and one of Shion’s favorites.  He’d always seemed to have time to play and had never gotten onto her for climbing as high as she could, even letting her leap from the trees into his arms.  There were times in her childhood where he had seemed more of a father to her than her own had ever been. 

She didn’t try to remove her wrist from his grasp as she answered him quietly, “When I was 8 you fished me out of the Koi pond when the limb I was on broke.  It was icy and cold and I should have known better but I just wanted to be left alone.  I thought you were going to be angry with me for not listening to you, but you didn’t get mad.  You just helped me back to the house and you came with my grandmother and sat with me when I got a cold afterward.”  Since she was certain there were only two witnesses to that particular winter escapade Ryuuen and Zhihao, perhaps three as her grandmother had educated her that spring on how to tell a good limb from a bad one, she knew this memory would help confirm her identity for him.

As for Naoji they’d been introduced on one of her grandmother's visits here.  He wasn’t much older than her.  Whereas her own older brothers had never warmed up to her, Naoji had become a good friend and almost a surrogate brother and confidant for her.  Relaxing a little more she gave him a small uncertain smile not quite sure how he would react but decided to refer to him as she had the last time she had seen him, “You wear the Green now.  Congratulations oniisan.”

She hesitated for a moment, fingers tightening and loosening on the tray in her lap reflexively.  There were a pair of Summer Sky threads entwined with the Opal that was Ryuuen and it was one of those that prompted her next question.  The words nearly whispered too softly to hear, nerves and hope both echoing in the words, “Is my grandmother nearby?”

Even as she hoped either of them would answer in the affirmative a shiver of fear raced down her spine.  If they told her grandmother she was here word would surely reach her mother.  It was a momentary panic; sparked by memories of being lost in a fog of colors and shapes with harsh echoing words soothed away only by a hand wielding Green that caused her to snatch a hold of Ryuuen’s wrist once more. 

Her fingers closing tight, pain lancing up her side from the sudden movement, dishes rattling in her lap as she stared up at him with a mix of desperation and fear, “Don’t tell my mother I’m here.  Promise me.  Both of you.”  Her eyes darted to Naoji then back to Ryuuen, “Promise me or I’ll leave.”

Only when she had their assurances that they wouldn’t tell her mother where she was did she relax.  Hissing out a breath as she settled back, pressing a hand to her side for a moment before eyeing the dishes in front of her.  If she hadn’t been so tired the cautious way the Healer  and the two males eyed her after her sudden mood shift would have worried her, as it was she didn’t take note of it.  Her attention split between the food in her lap and the nervous energy that was filling her at the thought that she might soon be reunited with her grandmother.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

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      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

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      Ureshi-sa / Kagen Clan

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Re: Sheltering Wings
« Reply #7 on: Sep 16, 18, 10:07:51 PM »
She was the same, Ryuuen thought, but not at the same time. Yet he could see the little girl he had known, the one he had carried and looked after. She was important to his Queen, so she became important to Ryuuen and this geisha house. Underneath it all there was the same darling little spider, whose scent of Twisted Kingdom was cloying about her but not unsettling as some might have found it.

"I did," answered Ryuuen. "Just as I taught you to use your Tiger Eye so that you might float to the top of the water, in the case of an emergency." He did not particularly want to let her hand go, a strange mixture of emotions flooding through him. Relief to find her, concern as to what brought her here, and so many more.

*That is putting it lightly,* replied Ryuuen to Naoji, though he - just as his son - showed no signs of the conversation. *I will send a runner to request her presence.* It was not out of the question that he could reach for her with his jewels, not with the shared strength between three different Summer Sky jewels, but he would not risk it this night.

Shion's soft words, the nervousness, and hope of her question brought his full focus back to her (for all that it had never truly left). Yet his answer did not come, not as her panic rose and her hand snapped out to close around his wrist and hold tightly.

Ryuuen let out a breath, his eyes closing briefly. His free hand came to cover hers, gently uncurling her fingers from being tight around his wrist. "Careful, little spider," the words were gentle, "as you could easily see me hurt." For all that she was weakened, she was still a Black Widow in full, and the poison of her snake tooth could easily bring Ryuuen low when she was in a panic and were she not mindful of it sheathed in her ring finger.

"... and you will hurt yourself if you do not stop moving so quickly." As Ryuuen's hand touched hers, there was an old familiar rush of Summer Sky and Opal. The feeling of his hunter's mark settling upon her, just as he had always done when she had been younger. "Your mother will not be informed of anything." Then, as she had requested it. "You've my word." Ryuuen did not have to look to Naoji to know that he too would offer it.

"She is not, as I know it, in good standing." Not after Shion had gone missing, not when certain things had come to light. Ryuuen watched as she was settled back into the pillows of the bed, eyes cutting to Naoji in an unspoken communication. "I will leave that for your grandmother to speak to you about. For now you rest and soon, hopefully, you will see her again."

Then, and only when Shion seemed to be comforted and Naoji was able to sit with her, did the Warlord Prince reach for Shinobu and have him write up the missive to be sent immediately to Hinata. He had no doubt that it would reach her within the hour and after that it would only be a matter of minutes until she made her presence known. Ryuuen had no doubt that once Hinata knew that Shion had been found, was within Ureshi-sa, that she would be here.

 

 

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