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Author Topic: Moonlight Night: Chapter 5 [12/15]  (Read 3435 times)

Offline yunagi

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Moonlight Night: Chapter 5 [12/15]
« on: October 03, 2013, 07:21:19 AM »
It’s October! Finally! And since it’s October that only means one thing… October fest!

Unfortunately I’m not much of a drinker so I’m not gonna go prancing around town looking at the festivities. It’s a pain anyway, looking for parking space that is. So I’m gonna celebrate it my way. Have I ever mentioned I love Halloween? We don’t celebrate it here but I always love the idea of ghouls and things that go bump in the night, even though in rl I’m a big scaredy cat.

So without further ado…

Moonlight Night
Chapter 1

₪₪ Once, by the outskirts of a small village long forgotten by man, nestled a young woman in her quaint little cottage surrounded by masses of shrubbery and tall densely packed trees. Now none of the villagers understood why such a young beauty would willingly live in such a place, separated ways from their civilization, when she could have lived in their small town. Everyone in the village was friendly enough, and the young woman was as polite as a young maiden should, though not without her quirks.

She had come one day, claiming that the cabin was owned by her aunt, recently deceased, and she had come to take her claim on the land. Said cabin had long been abandoned, no one knew who the last proprietor was, as far as they could remember, and had been overlooked for decades. An old shack in the middle of a forest isn’t something a person in their right mind would see as habitable, least that person was of a hunter’s descendant, and none of them were. They had tried to persuade her to abandon her thoughts of living in the squalid cabin, but the young woman was persistent. Many males, young and old, have extended their hand in refurbishing the small cabin but were waved away with a grateful smile. It had taken her time but, to the astonishment of the villagers, she had made the once sordid cabin into quite a pleasant sight.

Though just because the place was now habitable, and is actually being inhabited by the young woman, does it mean that the place was any less regarded with apprehension. It was once rumored to have been inhabited by witches back in the darker days and the older generation told of haunting stories of the spirits of the deceased to roam about the path to the cabin during the night. Suffice to say everyone stayed clear of that path once dusk started to settle, in fear of being taken by the darkness that lies within the shadows. The young maiden had no conundrum with the way the villagers see the path to her house and, though the villagers may not know it, actually find it rather favorable for herself.

One late afternoon, when dusk was just settling over the horizon and the temperature was beginning to drop in one of its lowest for the autumn season, a band of merchants on their way to the neighboring country decided to settle in for the night. Bundled in their ragged coats they scurried into the warmth of the lone tavern, shouting a merry evening to those that hung about. The older males quickly assembled themselves on the biggest table they could find and ordered a round of drinks. The females, left with nothing to do, had gone to look after the reservations of their rooms. One girl, a daughter of one of the honored man among their group, sat herself by the window, looking out to the slowly deserting square. It was odd, she thought as she watched a mother calling for her child who refused to return home from playing with his friends. She had been to places all over the country, watched fellow men interact with each other in their daily life, making merry of the night, swooning their love interest under the twinkling stars. She had watched children scurry about the streets in the night, gleefully playing hide and seek under the watchful stares of their mothers. And yet, in this village it was as if it was a ghost town. There was nary a soul left on the street, and it was such a beautiful night, with the moon nearly on its fullest form hovering in the night sky in its glorious white light. It was such a shame to not enjoy what was a lovely atmosphere.

Pulling her coat tighter around herself the girl raced past her mother, calling out a goodbye as she reached the large oaken front door. “Risa! Where are you going?” her mother called.

“I’m just going out for a walk. I’ll be back later.” Risa called back. She turned to her mother, waiting for the confirmation she was sure was going to follow. “Well, as long as you be careful, and keep warm. When it starts getting colder come back immediately you hear?”

“Yes ma’am.” She chirped, quickly slipping out of the tavern before her mother could change her mind. Once outside she lightly shivered as the cool autumn air caressed her exposed skin. Fixing her coat around herself she stuffed her hands into the warm confines of her coat pocket. She tilted her head up, looking up at the white moon, and began walking aimlessly around the village square.

She had heard of tales about witches coming out during the full moon, riding their flying brooms to hunt for children who have strayed a little too far from their parents, or of witches who sings a beautiful melody to enchant sleeping children out to their doom. She didn’t believe in any of those tales. They were nothing but poppycock, a bunch of hoo-hah her father would scoff. Besides it wasn’t the full moon, and furthermore she wasn’t a child anymore, she turned 19 a few days back. She was more than capable of taking care of herself, or at least know enough not to blindly trust people she didn’t know.

Her head snapped to her side at the sound of a crack coming from the dark small path leading into the forest. It sounded a lot like a twig snapping under a heavy weight. Cautiously she began backing up, her hands coming up defensively in front of her. She paused, straining her ear to listen for any signs of life behind the mass of forestry.

“H-hello? Is anyone there?” she tentatively called. She was replied with the howl of the wind as it went through the trees, rustling the few leaves left, desperately clinging to the branches. Her eyes scanned the shadows, looking for any minute movement. There was another rustle, this time coming from the bushes right in front of her. She took another step back, inhaling deeply in case she needed to scream for help. She wouldn’t consider herself a fast runner, her cousins had always beat her to their camp every time they had a contest, but she could probably run fast enough to dodge whatever it was while calling for help.

The hair at the back of her neck prickled, because of the cold or of fright she couldn’t tell, but she was sure the heavy feeling of her gut dropping was the tell-tale signs of dread of the thing behind the bushes. Just before she could turn to run back to the tavern the thing making the noise jumped out to the open, freezing up in front of her. It was a small brown jack rabbit.

“Oh God. You scared me.” She said to the rabbit as it hurriedly scrambled for cover on the opposite direction. She held her hand over her chest, feeling the quickened beat of her heart through the multiple layers of her clothing. She shook her head, then paused as a light colored figure came into her peripherals. She turned back to the small path managing to catch a glimpse of a small figure running further into the forest.

“Hey!” she called. She turned to look around her, searching for an adult nearby. There was none present. Her mouth formed into a frown. How could a parent let their child run around in the night without supervision? Now that was just irresponsible. She took a glance at the tavern they were staying in and, to her shock, not see the large sign of a keg over the big oak doors. Had she walked farther away than she thought?

A giggle brought her back to the dark path. She couldn’t see the child anymore but she could still hear the soft giggling. “Hey, where are your parents? Shouldn’t you be going home?” she called.

The voice giggled again. “Come find me.” It called back.

“It’s too dark. Aren’t you scared? Come on out, let’s play out here.” Risa coaxed.

“Come find me.” It called again.

“Come now, it isn’t safe to play in the forest at night. Come on out and let’s get something warm to drink.” Risa tried again. The child giggled again only this time, to Risa’s distress, it was decreasing in volume.

“No! Wait!” Without further thought Risa ran into the path. She called for the child to stay where it was but the giggling only seemed to get further and further away. So focused was she on looking for the child that she did not notice the advance of an eerie shadow as it jumped from tree to tree, silent like a cat on a hunt.

“Where are you?” Risa called. Exhausted she had stopped to rest on an old willow tree. She doubled over panting heavily from the running. How could she not have seen the child after the distance she had already covered? She may not be a fast runner but it was impossible for a child to out run her, especially since the path was a clear straight line. It was then that she felt something was terribly wrong. Her body felt light, it was like she was in a dream, but the dull throb around her chest area says otherwise as she tried to regain her breath. She turned to look back at the path where she came from. Her eyes widened in shock when she couldn’t see the clear path she had been running through and instead came face to face with trees and thick vines. It was like the path was never there.

A movement to her side startled her to momentum. Without looking at whatever it was that made its presence known Risa made a bolt for the path in front of her. Her lungs were starting to burn from the effort of trying to supply her legs the oxygen it was utilizing to distance herself from that thing and her head was starting to feel light from the lack of oxygen getting to her brain. A snapping sound to her right made her turn at the last moment, which was quickly followed by a loud crashing sound of a tree bark snapping in half from a strong impact. She screamed, her hand coming up to her head to protect herself from any flying debris as she detoured through the trees.

Tripping on a protruding root she stumbled on the hard forest ground, her hand scraping on the rough tree bark as she desperately tried to grab onto anything to balance herself. Ignoring the sharp pain on her libs she scrambled to get her footing, knowing that whatever was behind her was getting closer to her every second she got delayed. She wanted to scream for help but feared that whatever it was might pinpoint her location if she did and so she kept quiet and focused on swerving through the trees.

Finally she broke through the cluster of trees, tripping from the uneven ground, a ditch, and landing painfully on the gravel road. Panicked she turned on her back, her feet frantically pushing her backwards as her eyes darted from tree to tree, looking for the thing chasing after her. She pushed herself up, ready to dive back into the safety of the trees, when a low light caught her vision. She glanced back to her side, where a little ways from where she stood was a small cabin. She could see a silhouette of a person walking back and forth through the closed curtains. With hope raising her spirits she set her direction there, put in all her remaining energy to her legs and began to run towards the house. She immediately began pounding at the door, hoping whoever it was inside would let her in.

She screamed when a low banging of something dropping from the sky sounded from behind her. Her back pressed against the door, her arms coming up to her face as a means to protect herself as she shut her eyes, preparing for the worst. Now her head felt incredibly light, everything around her seemed so surreal. As if in slow motion, she felt the door behind her give way and her body slowly fell backwards to a warm embrace. She opened her eyes, trying to catch a glimpse of what could possibly be the last face she’ll ever see.  Through the dark spots surrounding her vision she gazed up at the beautiful face of a young woman whose mouth was set in a small frown. The woman’s mouth opened to say something Risa’s ears could only pick up as muffled garble of words, before a flash of bright light blinded her and everything faded to black.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 06:56:09 AM by yunagi »
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Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 1 [10/03]
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 10:28:35 PM »
Ooh~, dark and mysterious... I like it. :thumbsup

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 1 [10/03]
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 07:42:13 AM »
Spooky stuff! Yay~! Can't wait for more.

Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 2 [10/13]
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 02:47:07 PM »
I think this is the first time I tried writing spooky stuff. I'm afraid I might not reach your expectations, but I'll try my best to keep it interesting in the spooky kind of way.

Characters will be introduced in this chapter. Enjoy


Chapter 2

₪₪ “Is she still unconscious?” a young woman in a rich chocolate colored, long sleeved gown asked as she curiously peered down at the unconscious Risa, wounds tended to and now bandaged, on the couch she had just moments ago took refuge on. A hand slapped her from behind her head, she winced and pulled back to rub the stinging spot. She frowned at the shorter girl, the one who had slapped her, and got an eye roll in return. The shorter girl was clad in a turquoise silk strapless gown, her back covered by the black cloak she adorned.

“Of course she’s still unconscious. It’s only natural, after what she’s gone through.” The shorter one said a bit irritably. She crossed her arms over her chest, dully staring at the sleeping girl on the couch before her eyes shot back to her friend. “She’s not like you, you know?”

“But she’s been asleep for nearly half an hour.” The taller girl mumbled.

“Will the two of you stop hovering over the poor girl? God, she’s not a wild animal.” Another girl snapped. She was seated on a stool, much like the one’s found in a bar, her dark red gown neatly arranged under her as not to wrinkle the material. She sat with an air of haughtiness that one could only get from having a posh upbringing. In front of her was a large, ragged, leather bound book that nearly covered the whole square dining table. “Didn’t you mother ever tell you that staring is impolite? Such obnoxious behavior shouldn’t be tolerated.”

The shorter girl, after sending the posh girl a hard look, one that was blatantly ignored, grumbled under her breath before snatching the arm of the girl beside her and began dragging her along with her. She sat on the opposite side of the posh girl and continued to glare daggers at her, regardless if she was being ignored or not. The other quickly scampered over to the posh girl’s side, looking over her shoulders to stare at the large text written in a foreign language.

In the tiny kitchen, the owner of the house shook her head at the sight of the other three. She was preparing their tea, diligently standing by the iron stove waiting for the kettle to boil. Unlike the other three she was clothed in a white cotton sun dress and a brown apron tied securely around her waist.

“Shouldn’t you three change your outfits?” she asked.

“Why?” the eldest of the three, the one in the chocolate gown, asked.

“Well, you don’t really see a lot of young girls here who wears clothes as refined as yours. And when they do be sure they will post questions about it, and with that speculations that we really do not need to have.” She reasoned. Pulling the kettle out of the fire she began pouring the hot water into a smaller ceramic pot where she had already put in a mixture of dried herbs.

“Why bother? It’s not like anyone will be coming here anyway.” The shortest one argued, not wanting to exert the effort to change into something else when she was comfortable in what she was already in.

“The girl,” the posh one started, motioning with an open palm at Risa “managed to come here, as foolish as it was to even think of walking in the path this late in the evening. Who’s to say others will not follow? Surely someone will notice her absence and come looking.”

“The girl was lucky not to end up with the lost. Others will probably not be as lucky.” The shorter one retaliated.

“Even so, it is just a precaution. It’s better to be safe than sorry later.”

“Well, we could always tell them we come from a line of lords. Or better yet, for them to mind their own business.”

“God, Reina! Must you be so hard headed?” The posh one shot.

“Well Sayu, do you have to be so annoying?” Reina growled, rising from her seat. Sayu was about to stand when a firm hand rested on her shoulder, halting her movements. She glanced up at the older girl, wincing a bit from the look of disappointment given to her before slowly sitting back in her seat, once again building an air of nonchalance around her. Reina, noticing the look, turned on her heels.

“Fine, I’ll go change first.” She grumbled, disappearing into a separate room and shutting the door with a soft click.

The owner of the house, after setting the ceramic cups and pot, a gift from an admirer coming all the way from China, on the free space left on the dining table, sent the elder of the three a grateful look. It wasn’t every day that the normally bubbly girl would act her age and pull back the reigns of their two younger friends. Sometimes even she would initiate one of their verbal fights, in which case usually ended in chaos, unless there was one brave, or foolish, enough to step in between the line of fire.

“So, did you find anything about our little ‘playmate’?” she asked, enunciating the last word with a little mixture of sarcasm.

Sayu grimly shook her head. “Sorry, not yet. I’ve been trying to narrow down my search, but it proved to be harder than I had initially thought. First off, the spirits seems to be a bit too restless, even more so than the usual during this time. Whether it be from the sudden appearance of that beast or due to the nearness of the full moon on Hallows’ eve I cannot tell. To be blunt, they’re beginning to be more of a pest than of help. Secondly I don’t suppose any of us actually had a clear view of our little ‘playmate’ so I can’t exactly find it through appearance. And lastly, I don’t understand the energy it left. It’s all over the place and seems to have more than one source… That, piled up with what we’re supposed to be doing, is giving me a frightful headache.” She said, dropping her head on the table at the last sentence.

“Don’t worry Sayu, we’ll figure it out sooner or la-“

“There is no later, Eri.” Sayu interjected, her head springing back up. She rubbed her temples, trying to ease the forming headache. “We don’t have much later. Hallows’ eve approaches and it’s not just the spirits that are getting restless. Even the lost are acting up, as if the spirits aren’t a bother enough.”

“You know Sayu, if you keep bad mouthing the spirits they might not be as willing to help you later on.” Eri warned, placing her hands on either side of Sayu’s shoulders.

Sayu scoffed, tilting her head backwards until it rested on Eri’s stomach. “Please, the spirits need us just as much as we need them. And you know what I mean. Every year, when it’s nearing Hallows’ eve, they get too riled up and end up messing things up half of the time instead of helping. If I didn’t need most of the ingredients that only they could provide I would have preferred to stay as far away from them as possible, at least until Hallows’ eve is over.”

“Now, now Sayu, just hang in there. Hallows’ eve is just but two night’s away. It’ll be over before you know it. We just need to keep the lost at bay for the time being.” The owner kindly stated, passing a steaming cup of tea to Sayu.

“Yeah, and find out if our new friend will post as a threat or not.” Eri added. Sayu tilted her head further up to give her a dubious look.

”The beast was chasing after the poor girl. What part of that didn’t seem like a threat to you?”

“Maybe it just wanted to play.” Eri said innocently, shrugging her shoulders.

“Is this better?” A voice asked. The three girls turned towards the back where Reina had just come out of the room. She was now dressed in a white cotton long-sleeved dress shirt and a red skirt with a dark brown cotton vest covering her torso instead of what would have been a corset. A beige knitted shawl hung loosely around her shoulder looking as if thrown over her as a last minute thought. “Much.” The owner replied. Eri happily skipped over to the younger girl, taking her shoulders with both her hands and turning her this way and that for a closer inspection before she nodded her head agreeably and lightly pushed her towards the direction of their group.

“My turn~” She sing-sand before disappearing behind the door.

Reina sent the older girl a frown before walking up to their group, huffing loudly as she sat on the chair beside Sayu and pulled the book towards herself. Sayu’s brow rose at the action, but wisely chose to keep her comments to herself and instead engaged in a pleasant conversation with the woman seated in front of her. A moment later Eri rejoined them in the dining room, clad in a light yellow sleeveless dress and a knitted scarf around her neck. She turned gaily, her dress flowing smoothly along with her movements.

“Isn’t it a bit cold to wear that?” Sayu asked after looking over Eri’s chosen outfit. Eri grinned, before pointing at her scarf. “This is what that’s for.” Reina scoffed, but pretend to be busy mulling over their current problem. Sayu turned to the older woman for help. “Ai?”

Ai shook her head in silent amusement and dainty put her cup down. “It’s looks lovely Eri.”

Sayu huffed as she stood. “Fine. Don’t come running to me when you get cold.” She said crossly as she brushed past the older girl, sending all of them a rather peeved look before shutting the door behind her, though everyone knew this was a bluff as they have always looked after one another. Eri was about to head over to the group when a low groan made her pause in her steps. She looked at the other two who seems to have heard the sound as they looked to the couch in the living room.

Risa groaned as she slowly sat up, her hand shooting up to her pounding head. Her eyes opened, blearily taking in her surroundings with undisguised reservation, before stopping at the fireplace to stare at the flickering flames. Ai was the first to react, pushing herself out of the chair and grabbing one of the unused cups and pouring the light colored brew, nearly filling it to the brim. Not one to bother herself with courtesy Reina chose to ignore the new development and instead busied herself looking up information. Eri swiftly turned on her heels, making her way to the room where Sayu disappeared to and swung open the door earning her a shrill scream, before the door closed with a low thud after her, muffling the bloody threats that followed.

Before long, Ai was at Risa’s side. She put the cup down on the small end table by the side of the couch before she turned to face the younger girl fully. “Hey, how are you feeling?” she asked.

“My head aches.” Risa replied quietly as she clutched her pounding head and shut her eyes close.

 “Yeah, we figured it would.” Ai mumbled to herself as she looked up just as Eri reemerged from the back room, a tin canister in hand. Eri immediately trotted over, opening the canister and taking out a clear chunk of something that resembled a rock candy.

“Here, eat this.” Eri said as she crouched down beside Ai, pressing the clear rock to Risa’s open palm. “It’s going to taste a bit strange, but it helps ease the head pains.”

Risa opened her eyes, wearily staring at the small candy-like object in her palm, just now noticing the white bandage neatly wrapped around her hands, before raising her head to properly look at the two women before her. Both women smiled kindly, Risa could not feel a trace of malice with the two, and they were nice enough to bandage her hands, though she couldn’t quite remember how she got injured no thanks to the pounding in her head, but kept her guard up none the less. She was still in the company of strangers and her father had always warned her of how people weren’t as what they often appear to be. She stared at the object in her palm again, before looking up at the two women. Gingerly she raised her palm up, still stealing weary glances at the two before fully tilting her hand, permitting the candy-like object into her mouth, figuring she could hide the thing behind her tongue and spit it out later. Much to her surprise as soon as the object touched her tongue it seemed to instantly melt, a bitter flavor she couldn’t quite understand coated her taste buds. Her face contorted into an overly exaggerated grimace as she ran her tongue through the roof of her mouth, trying to get rid of the taste. Ai passed her the cup of tea to which Risa instantly downed the warm content, flushing what was left of the taste in her mouth.

“I’m sorry about the taste, but the headache is gone, is it not?” Risa’s eyes widened as she realized her headache had indeed disappeared.

“How did you do that?” Risa asked in complete awe. Eri giggled as she slowly stood up. She made her way to the back of the couch, placing her hand over the top of Risa’s head, as if to ruffle her hair, but then quickly retracted her hand to her back. “If I tell you then I’d have to kill you.” She said, winking playfully at the sudden ashen face of the stranger.

“Don’t worry, she’s harmless.” Ai said as she took the empty cup from Risa’s hands.

“Okay…” Risa said as she played with the bandage around her hand. Her brows knitted together in thought as she checked the rest of her body, finding her knees in the same condition as her hands and rips all over her clothes, the most damaged was her coat. She took a piece of her coat in between her hand, bringing it up to her face for closer inspection of the tear. “What happened?”

“You don’t remember?” Risa shook her head.  Ai paused, sending a look towards Eri who was grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Ah well, I’m sure you’ll remember sooner or later… though you’d be better off not remembering.” She mumbled the last part, her hand coiled in a loose fist, resting it against her bottom lip while her thumb rubbed the underside of her jaw in thought. She shook her head. “So, stranger, where do you come from?”

Risa’s head snapped back to Ai. “Excuse me?”

“I may not have lived here for as long as any of the village residents, but I have been around long enough to know everyone by face now. Besides, the people in the village never come out here during the night. They know it’s not safe. You are not from around here.” She stated matter-of-factly, her gaze not leaving Risa’s face. She tilted her head, her eyes squinting in the slightest, showing mild curiosity, and something else dark as she scrutinized the girl before her. “What is your business here?”

Risa swallowed drily. For some reason she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the woman’s face no matter how much she screamed at her mind to do so. It was as if she was spellbound. She could have just lied and told her the first thing that popped in her mind, but a dark foreboding feeling in the back of her mind made her think otherwise. It wasn’t like she was doing anything wrong anyway. “I’m just passing by-“

A loud banging cut her off. Ai was the first to break her gaze, and in turn Risa, now able to move freely, turned her head to the direction of the noise. Dressed in a light pink tunic that was designed to have a wider collar opening and a dark pink skirt, Sayu angrily marched over to the living room. “Eri! You twisted girl. When I get my hands on you…”

Eri squeaked at the harsh tone as she quickly took refuge on the other side of the couch. “Relax Sayu, I didn’t see anything.” Eri defended, cleverly slinking behind Ai’s small frame to hide herself from the bunny’s rage.

“What’s there to see anyway?” Reina commented off-handedly. Sayu looked absolutely livid as she stomped over to where Reina was sitting. Sensing the steadily growing ominous aura coming from both women, and to save the poor girl from seeing something she didn’t need to see, Eri excused herself from the two and hurriedly went over to the two glaring, and slightly growling, parties to try and diffuse the growing tension.

“Are they going to be alright?” Risa asked worriedly. Ai bit her bottom lip as she stared at the three troublesome girls. “Yeah, they’re going to be just fine. They’re a handful but they know when they’ve gone too far. God knows how their parents’ dealt with them while they were still under their wing.”

At the mention of parents Risa gasped as she glanced out the window. “My parents! How long was I out for? Oh my God! My father is going to have my head! And my mother, what would she think?” By then Risa was already slightly hyperventilating, her eyes wide, filled with dread at what’s to befall her when she faces her parents’ wrath.

Ai watched her with renewed interest, taking note that the girl wears her emotions on her sleeve, a very enticing character to have, though it could prove to be more of a problem than an advantage in a worst case scenario. She grinned, putting her hand out invitingly to the fascinating girl before her. “Come, I’ll take you back to the village. Let me speak to your parents and try to ease any qualm they might have. I tell you now, I can’t make a promise that it will work, but still let me try.”

Risa looked up at Ai. Ai could tell she was battling with her mind whether to trust her or not as her hand tentatively began to reach out, only to retract back to her lap. “You don’t have to be scared. I don’t see any reason to see you as a threat, so shouldn’t you. I’m not asking for your complete trust but do believe in me enough when I say I just want to take you back safely.” Ai spoke softly, kindly. Any hesitation Risa felt before instantly vanished as she stared into Ai’s kind, brown, doe-like eyes. Her hand reached out to take Ai’s proffered hand and Ai easily helped her up. By then the three girls had moved farther away, arguing in hushed angry tones, Risa could barely understand a single word spoken. Ai led her outside, grabbing a thin blanket from the couch as an afterthought, to act as her makeshift coat.

A light fog had cloaked the surrounding forestry, giving the place an eerie kind of atmosphere. Risa shivered slightly as a cold prickling sensation ran up her spine, which she immediately identified as fear. The fear, however, subsided as the warm hand in hers gave a light reassuring squeeze. Ai led the way, Risa obediently following behind. They didn’t speak as they slowly walk through the path. Risa, for the most part, felt detached from her body, as if the only thing keeping her down was the hold Ai had on her. Despite the light haze in her mind Risa noticed that the older would occasionally throw her a glance, sometimes quizzical, and later on a reassuring kind of smile and every time she did their pace would increase just slightly. Only when they arrived at the entrance to the path did the lightness in Risa’s head vanished.

“Well, here we are, back in the village. I told you I’d bring you back safely didn’t I, stranger?” Risa turned to Ai and slowly nodded her head, she made a quick study of Ai’s expression, looking for any signs of query she had thought she saw the woman wore earlier. “So you did.” She said as she turned to look at the path they had just exited. A tug at her arm brought her gaze her back to Ai, then she realized that she was still holding onto Ai’s hand like a lifeline. Blushing a deep crimson she pulled back her hand and muttered an apology to which Ai only chuckled.

“So stranger, I’m guessing you’re staying at the tavern. Shall we head on over there then?”

“It’s not stranger.” Risa piped. Ai tilted her head slightly, a questioning look on her face as if asking Risa ‘what then?’ “It’s Risa.”

“Well, Risa… I guess it’s only common courtesy that I introduce myself properly. My name is Ai. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Ai said, making a small curtsy.

“No, no, the pleasure’s all mine.” Risa said, making a curtsy of her own. “And thank you. I get the feeling that you’ve helped me a lot, more than I can remember as of the moment. I am in your debt. To you and your friends.”

Ai smiled and waved her hand dismissively. “Think nothing of it. Come, the longer we dawdle the more your parents worry.”

They walked the remainder of the way in complete silence. Like before Ai led the way with Risa following behind, only this time Risa had her arms over herself, trying to keep her own warmth from escaping into the cold breeze. Once the oak door of the tavern opened to permit the two young women in Risa was instantly met with her mother’s wail followed by a warm arm engulfing her in a bone crushing embrace.

“Risa! Are you alright? Look at you! Are you cold? You poor thing! Where have you been?” The older woman fluttered about her daughter, taking her coat and securing the freezing girl in a warm blanket. Risa smiled apologetically at her mother before her eyes roamed about the establishment. She was greeted with multiple familiar faces, smiling with gratitude that she was back safe and sound, save for a little scratch here and there. Her eyes stopped at a haggard looking man sitting quietly at the back, his dark brown eyes were fixed on her, his jaws clenched tightly. Slowly he stood, his chair scraping on the wood floor. The tavern instantly turned silent, every eye watching the actions of the man as he made his way closer to the women. Risa stepped out from her mother’s arms, her head hung down, eyes shut close, as she waited for her punishment. She could faintly smell the stench of alcohol the man had consumed.

“Where were you? Do you know how much your mother and I were worried about you?” he seethed. Risa bit her bottom lip to stop them from quivering before looking up at the stern face of her father. “I’m-“

“I’m sorry, it was my fault.” A voice cut in. Risa turned to Ai, who had till then stood to the side, silently watching the welcome party. Ai smiled apologetically as she walked towards the middle of the circle, stopping right beside Risa. “She was helping me bring back some things to my house and on the way there she tripped on a root. I asked her to stay and rest, warm up for a while. My apologies for holding her far too long… and for worrying you lovely folks.” She said, ending with a bow. Risa’s eyes widened at how easily the woman had lied through her teeth. When Ai had raised her head back up she caught Risa’s stare and, in that short instant, surreptitiously sent her a wink. Risa could feel her cheeks warming up as she turned her gaze to the floor, the tips of her boots suddenly becoming an interesting subject.

“Well…” Risa’s father started, a ghost of a smile spreading on his lips as he stared proudly at his daughter. “I’m glad to hear it then. And thank you… um…”

“Ai.”

“Miss Ai, thank you for accompanying my daughter back and mending her wounds.” He said as he put out his hand. Ai reached out and took his hand, shaking it firmly before pulling back.

“Think nothing of it. Well, if you’ll excuse me I have to get back home before it gets any cooler out.” She said.

Turning to the bar she nodded her head in greeting to the owner. “Mighty fine evening miss Ai. It’s quite a rare pleasure to see you here at this time. Might I interest you in some of our fresh brews? It’s in the house.” The owner grinned.

“Thank you for the offer, but I’ll have to refuse. I’ll see you in the morning.” She said as she passed him by.

Hearing the click of the door closing Risa snapped her head up and stared at the closed door. Excusing herself from her parents she hurriedly ran back out to the cold. She didn’t need to go far. Ai was still within the vicinity, staring up vacantly at the nearly full moon. Risa shuffled over quietly, not wanting to disturb the strange peace that the older woman had about her.

“I know it’s such a nice night out, but shouldn’t you be warming up inside?” Ai asked.

“I- I just wanted to thank you again.”

“No problem. Now go, you must be freezing.” She was, she clutched the blanket around her a little tighter. “Okay… I- I guess I’ll see you tomorrow…that is, if we don’t leave early.” She said slowly, trying to prolong her time with Ai. It was weird, she didn’t know anything about the woman but for some strange reason she liked being around her. She looked up to Ai’s face again, sketching the contours of her face into her mind, taking in every detail of her serene feature. “Good night then, Miss Ai.” She said quietly as she turned to head back to the tavern.

“Ah! I nearly forgot!” Ai started. Risa paused in her step and turned slightly towards Ai’s direction to hear better, but not enough to see her figure. “Do not, in under any circumstances, go into the path after dusk. It’s not safe. And whatever you may remember come morning, I suggest you forget about it. If not then keep it to yourself.” Ai said mysteriously.

Risa’s brows scrunched together in confusion. “What?” she asked as she turned to face Ai. She took a step back, her eyes widening in surprise when she couldn’t find the young woman anywhere.
._.

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 2 [10/13]
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2013, 05:46:29 PM »
Ooo, more players in this party.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 2 [10/13]
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 08:43:01 PM »
I'm smelling some Takagaki!!!

Once again my favorite members and in a spooky story! This is so perfect!!  :lol:

Can't wait for more~


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Offline kuro_808

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 2 [10/13]
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 05:51:20 PM »
Me like the theme to this story and the characters seem perfect without being cheesy :nervous
Random Thought:

tumblr

R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 2 [10/13]
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2013, 02:59:26 PM »
Rndm: There’s going to be a couple more~ and my head is still screaming for more @.@

MsSmigge: Well… maybe there’s something there… but then again maybe not.
And more shall be coming! As soon as I get my head straight.

Kuro: There’s just this thing about mystery and fantasy that draws my attention… then again maybe it’s because I watch tv way too much.

No update yet. I’m having a little trouble with a certain ‘scene’.
._.

Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 3 [10/25]
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2013, 09:43:47 PM »
It's 3:30 Am... and I can't sleep  :cry:
But because of that I managed to get my imagination working again. I think I'm gonna cry, from being able to write another chapter again or from loosing sleepagain I can't choose. But anyway here's the next chapter. Gonna be a bit long though.


Chapter 3

₪₪ Risa tossed in her sleep, her brows scrunched together and small whimper escaped from her slightly parted lips. Her teeth grated together, her fingers digging into the sheets around her as if clawing at the hard ground. Another whimper, her head tossed to the side. Her breaths came out in short pants, small beads of perspiration gathering at her forehead.

She was running through the forest, the bright glow of the moon her only source of light. She didn’t have any specific direction in mind. She just needed to run further into the forest, get as much distance from whatever it was chasing after her. Her legs hurt, her lungs burned as she greedily gulped in the cold air. She could feel herself getting pulled out of her body by some unknown force permeating the forestry around her. Her vision started to turn black around the edges, scaring her even more. Finally, from what felt like forever, she emerged from the cluster of trees, losing her balance when the toe of her boot caught on a ditch and she felt her body dive head first onto the ground. She turned to her back to look around, her legs pushing her away from the forestry, when she caught sight of something in her peripherals. There was a cabin up ahead. Getting to her feet she ran towards the cabin. She banged her fisted hand on the door, her head feeling lighter and lighter by the second.

A loud banging from behind informed her of the arrival of the hunter. She turned her back to the door, her arms shooting up in front of her, and closed her eyes shut. She felt her body falling backwards and got the strange sense of déjà vu as she opened her eyes to look up at a familiar face. It was Ai. She was muttering something in a foreign language, then a bright light flashed blinding her.

Risa bolted up from her bed, her eyes wide and her mouth open in a silent scream. She turned her head to the side where her parents’ figures laid, sleeping soundly on the other bed. She let out a huge sigh of relief, her shoulders slumping down wearily as she rubbed the sleep out of her face and, at the same time she hoped, try to forget the frightful nightmare. She turned to the window, seeing the soft rays of the morning sun being permitted through the small crack of the curtains. She swung her legs over the bed, cringing slightly when the cold air caressed her bare feet. She pushed off the bed, taking her blanket with her as she moved silently towards the widow to take a peek at the view behind closed curtains.

The sun was just barely peeking through the mountains. The town was still blanketed with a light fog, hinting her of the temperature outside. She shivered slightly just thinking about it. Draping the blanket over her night clothes, an old tunic her father used to wear and trousers, she stalked quietly to the door, slipping on her boots on the way out, making sure she wouldn’t wake her parents up. Once outside she hurriedly walked down to the first floor in hopes of getting a hot cup of chocolate.

“Good morning!” A loud cry greeted her as soon as she stepped into the dining hall. She cringed at the volume and quickly shot her hand up to her lips, her index finger held up, as she motioned for the girl to be quiet. The girl behind the counter mimicked the action but held the bright grin on her face as she waved with her other hand. Risa couldn’t bear to glare at the smiling face of the younger girl for long and soon her lips lifted up in a smile of her own.

“Good morning to you too, Koharu.” Risa greeted as she approached the younger girl. Their mothers had introduced them the night before, after the incident with the path that Risa kept to herself, and they had instantly taken a liking to each other. Koharu was the daughter of the innkeeper. She was a real sweetheart, though she really didn’t have much of a sense for reading the atmosphere, Risa had noted with horror when she had suddenly barged in the middle of her father’s private, and very serious from the looks of it, conversation with a couple of blurry looking men. Suffice to say she was given a scolding, albeit a light one, before her father shooed her off.

“You’re up early.” Risa noted as she sat on one of the counter stools.

“I always wake up early.” She chirped, again Risa cringed and motioned for her to lower her voice. The younger girl grinned sheepishly and lowered her voice. “I have to help mom with the morning rush. You know, it gets really busy here every morning, which is kinda funny since every night this place turns into the local watering hole. What’s funnier is that the men who comes here during the night also comes here during the day, all sober and… just different. You get what I mean?”

“I think so.” Risa said, nodding her head as she recalled the times when the men in their little caravan went off to the pubs to get drunk, coming back looking like a mess, only to see them the next day all dressed up in their best clothes for the trade.

“So, whatt’lya have?”

“Hot choco, please.” Risa said as she tugged the blanket around herself. “Is it always like this here?”

“Like what?” Koharu asked as she took out a cup from behind the counter.

“This cold.”

“Oh, this is nothing. You should visit during the winter, sometimes we even get icicles on the beams.” Koharu said, giggling when Risa tilted her head up to stare cautiously at the ceiling. “Just sometimes though.”

“Well, that sounds comforting.” She said drily.

“Hey, you were with miss Ai last night, weren’t you?” Koharu asked as she jogged over to Risa. Risa’s eyes widened as she stood up, the blanket pooling at her feet, her hands coming up in front of her in instinct as she watched the steaming cup of brown liquid slosh dangerously inside the cup Koharu was bringing her. She sighed in relief once the cup was safely on the counter table with Koharu a few feet away, resting her head on her propped up arms to look with curious fascination at Risa.

“Yeah, I was.” Risa said as she sat back down, taking the cup in her cold hands to warm them. She raised the cup to her mouth, blowing lightly at the steam before taking a short sip.

“What was she like?” Koharu asked when it seemed like Risa wasn’t going further into the subject. Risa arched a brow as she slowly set the cup back down the table. “What do you mean?”

“You know? Is she really as nice as she looks?”

“She is…” Risa responded slowly, taking another sip from the cup. She looked at Koharu curiously as she continued. “Why are you asking me? Shouldn’t you know more about her? I mean, she lives here doesn’t she?”

“Well, yes… But Miss Ai barely comes here, in the town I mean. She’s always up in her cabin. No one really knows what she does there but she comes down once a week to buy food or sell herbs and other stuff…” Koharu turns look at the front door, then to the back door leading to the kitchen before leaning further over the counter, motioning with her hands for Risa to come closer. Risa’s brow shot up in query but she silently obeyed to the silent command. “This is just a rumor I heard from the other patrons but they say that you can get a miracle potion for any kind of ailment from her, for a price. Some people kinda think she’s a witch. But that can’t be right? She’s too beautiful to be a witch.”

Risa stiffened at the mention of witch, remembering the dream she had. She definitely saw Ai there, and she was mumbling something in a foreign tongue, plus there was still that good chunk of her memory from last night that was still pretty much a haze to her. And that mysterious message she left her before disappearing into thin air.

“Could she really be?” Risa muttered to herself.

“Excuse me?”

“Ah, yeah, witches… haha… My dad says they aren’t true, just a whole bunch of hoo-hah.” Risa giggled nervously, one hand going up to rub the back of her neck.

“That’s what my mom says too,” Koharu shrilled before dropping her voice yet again at the grimace Risa gave her “except she calls them old wives’ tales, which I don’t get… Why call them old wives’ tales? Don’t they usually tell them to children so they won’t do bad things? Shouldn’t it be kids’ tales?”

“Huh? Koharu what are you talking about?”

Koharu was about to respond when one of the usual patrons came through the door. The old man rubbed his arms over his coat, trying to warm them once again as he took a seat on one of the smaller tables. Koharu excused herself from Risa to tend to the man, promising to be back as soon as she could, a promise which she unfortunately couldn’t hold to as the tavern steadily began to fill with the rising of the sun. Risa had just finished her hot choco when the group who were staying at the upper floors came down for breakfast, further filling the hall. Taking a few loose coins from her trousers she gave her payment to Koharu’s mother, who had by then came out of the kitchen to manage the counter. Pulling the blanket closer to herself she began maneuvering her way through the mass of people towards the door, giving a small wave to Koharu as she passed her by.

Once outside she took a huge breath of the clean air. The temperature, though still cold, was a bit warmer than the night before. Children, some still in their sleepwear, were running about, much to their mothers exasperation as they raced after them. Risa chuckled when two young girls passed her by, one of them waved at her energetically, a large smile in place, while pulling her taller friend who was groaning at her to slow down before saying a short hello to her. At least they had good manners.

Wanting to stretch her leg a bit she decided that a walk around the square would be good for her. Fixing the blanket over her she started to walk towards the bakery first, to buy a piece of bread since she hadn’t had anything except the hot choco. With the bread in hand she set her direction to the right, figuring she could walk the perimeter of the town and be back at the tavern by the time the morning rush hour would subside. Munching on the piece of bread Risa let her eyes take in the sights offered to her by the small town. Unlike the busy city, the country side was really one of the best places to find solace. A sturdy community, surrounded by wide green pastures or dense forestry, the promise of an adventure waiting to be unleashed by the active mind. Unfortunately as wonderful as it is the cool temperature of the autumn season was a huge obstacle. Risa tightened her hold on her blanket as a soft gust of cool air caressed her exposed skin.

“Better get back to the tavern…” she mumbled, shoving the last piece of the bread into her mouth.

“It was nice seeing you again ma’am.” A familiar voice sounded. Risa turned to where the voice was, only to meet a pair of doe-like eyes turning to look back at her.

“Ah, hello there.” Ai called, waving her hello.

Risa felt her lips hitch up in a smile and she quickly chewed the rest of the bread in her mouth. “Hello to you too Miss Ai.” She greeted as she walked closer to the woman. She paused, just a few meters from Ai when she remembered the conversation with Koharu.

‘A witch… it’s impossible… right?’ she thought as she looked up at Ai’s smiling feature.

“You know… you don’t have to be so formal with me. I don’t think that I’m much older than you.” Ai said as she rifled through the basket in her hand, placing whatever it was she had brought from the store before looking back up to Risa’s face. Seeing Risa’s confused look she continued. “Just Ai is fine. Too many people call me Miss Ai, it’s kind of aggravating somehow.”

“Oh… O-kay.”

“So Risa, taking a morning stroll?”

“Yeah, it got too packed at the tavern.”

“Ah, the morning rush. The madam does make a delightful batch of strawberry flapjacks.” Ai said, her eyes glazing over as she thought of said flapjacks. “Anyway, I think I should best get going if I am to return home before the others wake up.”

“Wait!” Risa called without thinking. She pressed her lips together when Ai turned to her, a questioning look on her face. She began fiddling with her blanket, subtly hiding her reddening face behind the cloth. “Uh… would you mind if I go with you? I actually have something to ask you.” A flicker of steeliness crossed Ai’s features, one Risa missed due to her hiding her face in embarrassment. Ai shifted the basket in her hand, her eyes not leaving Risa’s figure. Her smile faltered a little, not much for others to notice, but enough for anyone who was close to Ai to know she was a little conflicted. After a short while, with still no answer from Ai, and feeling a little awkward with the situation, Risa was about to take back what she said when Ai finally spoke up. “Not at all. But, would you mind if we hold off on that question until later?” Risa looked up from behind her fringe, taking a momentary pause to look at Ai’s expression, before nodding her head. “Great. Come, I have to make a quick stop at the bakery.”

The trek back to the bakery was shorter than the one Risa would have had taken if she was to go back alone. Ai, having much more knowledge of the town’s streets, had took a couple of shortcut’s through the alleyways in between establishments, some of which Risa didn’t see before, making her wonder just how big the town was. Once they were at the bakery Risa stood back, opting to wait for Ai as not to draw too much attention. Catching on fast at the action Ai smiled and nodded her head at Risa to indicate she understood and walked up to greet the man behind the counter, who in turn greeted Ai with a paper bag full of, what Risa believed to be, bread.

“Your usual order, miss Ai.”

“Thank you, Sir Suzuki. How’s your daughter?”

“She’s doing great! Her fever has already passed and she’s got her good spirit back. She’ so excited to be able to run around again she’s practically jumping around on her cot, it’s driving her mother insane.” The man made a deep laugh at the thought of the missus scolding the young girl as she tried to do something remotely fun while she was confined on her bed. “It’s amazing, it’s like she wasn’t even sick for the past days.” The man happily chattered, his worn face breaking into a wide beam as he talked about his daughter.

“That’s wonderful to hear. Tell Kanon I wish her a faster recovery, and that there’s a batch of freshly made cookies with her name all over it.” Ai said. Risa could see that Ai meant every word she said, what with the way her face broke into a wide grin as she listened intently to the man’s report or the way her eyes sparkled as she wished for the girl’s good health. It seemed that she wasn’t the only one to notice this.

“I will, and I can’t repay you enough Miss Ai. And don’t think about paying for these, it’s in the house.” The man said as he passed the bag to Ai when she motioned to take something out of her basket, completely taking her by surprise.

“Oh, I- I couldn’t.” she stammered, fumbling a little with the bag.

“I won’t take no for an answer Miss Ai. Take it.” The man said, his voice hinting that he was done with the conversation. Ai smiled at the man, thanking him for the bread before walking back out to where Risa stood.

“Can’t repay you enough?” Risa asked, tilting her head to the side ever so slightly. Koharu’s voice played in her mind about the rumors surrounding Ai, particularly about the miracle potion. “So the rumors are true then. Then last night… my dream... Are you really human?” she asked, staring straight at Ai. Ai turned to Risa, a small frown on her face.

She turned her head to the side, waving at a man that greeted her. “In a sense I am, and in a another sense I am not.” She said in a soft voice that only Risa could hear.

“Would you like to come with me to the cabin? The girls are wondering how you are.” she asked, turning back to face Risa.  She had a smile on her face, but her tone was emotionless, sending a chill down Risa’s spine.

“I- I can’t.” Risa squeaked. Her eyes darted to the tavern’s front where the wagons were situated, ready to leave at the order of the elders. “We leave today.”

“You can’t possibly leave today.” Ai remarked. Risa turned her attention back to Ai who was looking up at the sky, her expression now blank, unreadable. “Rain’s coming, and it doesn’t sound like it’s a slow one.” She continued. Risa turned her gaze to the sky, watching for any signs of dark clouds. There were none. “How can you tell? It doesn’t look like it.” Risa mused as she squinted, trying to look farther out the vast horizon.

“It’s coming in the afternoon and won’t end until after dark. I don’t know about you but at the temperature of the air now… I don’t think anyone can last out there when the rain comes. It’s better if you and your people stay here for the night.”

“What? But how can you know that?” Risa asked, her voice rising. Noticing that they were getting looks from the people around she bowed her head in apology before taking Ai’s arm and guiding her over to the back of the bakery, hiding behind some overgrowth. Making a quick check of her surroundings she turned back to face Ai, her brows knitted together. “How do you know that?”

Ai started at her, her lips hiking up in a smirk as she moved closer towards Risa, leaning towards her right ear. “Don’t you already know that answer?” Risa’s eyes widened as she took a step back, she didn’t get far as Ai’s hand shot to her wrist, locking onto it like a shackle. Risa’s mouth opened to let out a scream for help when Ai’s hand shot up, her things dropping to the floor, muffling Risa’s voice as she pushed her back onto the wall. She pushed her body onto Risa’s, trapping the younger girl, her head leaned onto her ear making a shushing noise until Risa’s muffled cries died down. “I’m not going to hurt you, okay? You trusted me last night to guide you back, did you not?” Ai stopped, waiting for Risa’s confirmation. With Ai’s hand still clamped around her mouth Risa furiously nodded her head, her breathing slightly getting shorter and faster. “Then trust me when I say I won’t hurt you. Don’t make this hard, I really have no intention of playing with you or anything, but if I must I have to do what needs to be done, even if I don’t want to.” Again she paused, letting her words sink into Risa’s mind and hope she heard the sincerity of her words instead of concentrating on the tone of her voice. “Now I’m going to back up and I want you to take a deep breath and calm down.” Again Risa nodded her head. She felt the pressure on her mouth lessen as Ai took a step back. Like asked she took a deep breath, trying to calm her erratically beating heart. Seeing that Risa was following as she asked Ai began picking up her things, thanking God that the bread hadn’t spilled out of the bag.

She turned back to Risa, her eyes widening in shock when she saw that the younger’s knees had buckled under her. She rushed over to Risa, who continued to stare at her, her emotion clashing between fear, confusion and respect. When she was within an arm’s length Ai stopped, carefully watching the younger’s reaction as she held out her hand. Risa slinked slightly back when she saw Ai’s hand move, shutting her eyes close in instinct. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, the action had tugged something within Ai, one that she hated to feel. She stared at the younger’s face, her mouth falling into a frown and her offered hand slowly retracted to her side, curling into fists.

She crouched down, slowly, making sure the ends of her dress wouldn’t touch the ground. With gentle fingers she reached for a loose lock of Risa’s hair, tucking them behind her ears. Wearily Risa peeled open her eyes, cautiously watching Ai for any peculiar movements. Smiling kindly Ai gradually raised her hand, reaching for Risa’s wrist. When her fingers grazed the top of Risa’s wrist she paused, waiting if the younger would retract her hand, when she didn’t Ai closed her hand over her wrist and slowly stood up, pulling Risa along with her. When they were both up Ai immediately let go and stood back.

“So… I’m guessing that you still have questions for me, don’t you? Well that’s fine, because I have questions for you too. But I think it would be best if we took this somewhere… more private. I don’t think anything I say can come back to me as anything good if someone were to overhear, more so to you and your people if my suspicions about you are indeed the truth.”

“What?”

-0-0-0-0-0-

And I shall now cry in that corner over there.
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 3 [10/25]
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 11:35:29 PM »
OMG what is going to happen next??!!  :panic: So many questions about Ai and everything and just when things are getting even more excited you just stop there XD
But new people in the story~ Yay!

Nice update!


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Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 4 [11/23]
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2013, 07:31:36 AM »
*sneaks in* Is anyone still interested in this?

MsSmigge: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic: I wonder how I'm supposed to answer to that?  :panic: :panic: :panic: :panic:
Just kidding... but I'll leave the questions hanging for now.

Chapter 4

₪₪ Risa’s mind was still high up in the clouds as she compliantly trailed after Ai back to her cabin. They had already asked Risa’s parents for permission beforehand. Ai did most of the talking. Risa merely nodded her head at times when either her father or mother looked at her, the words said to her seemingly going in one ear and out the other. It actually made convincing her parents easier when she didn’t try to butt in, Risa passively noted, and they made their way out the tavern in no time. Ai was a real smooth talker, that was, if she decided to talk, otherwise she was like a clam, mouth clamp shut tightly as if hiding a precious secret.

Ai had remained silent throughout the walk and kept her distance, even though Risa was the one trailing behind and thus should be doing the distancing, but from the far off look in her eyes Ai doubted that the later would even notice. She would occasionally glance back at her companion and, if she thought their distance was dwindling, would hasten her pace just a little, to give a more than adequate space between them, before she would resume walking at their steady pace.

Like Ai thought Risa didn’t notice any of these. Her mind was a bit too preoccupied by Ai’s last statement, the words just bouncing around her mind, unable to penetrate through her brain’s ‘this-has-got-to-be-a-dream’ barrier. Ai took another glance back Risa’s way, slightly worried about the lack of reaction from the girl. She understood the blank face the younger had worn when they passed through the path the night before, but the morning was different, and after their little confrontation earlier she had worn the same look throughout the rest of the time they’ve been together. It was a little bit unsettling, especially after seeing her mini drama after she mentioned parents the night before. Ai couldn’t deny it, Risa’s character was absolutely adorable, if only she wasn’t in her trance-like state.

Then she wondered, was it her fault? Had she spooked the younger girl with what she had said, or did her inner mind reminded her, earlier? She shook her head, ridding her of the thought. If it were true why would Risa even let her take her back to the cabin? Much less willingly follow her there.

“You know… even zombies have more life in them than you do now.” Ai jested, trying to ease the atmosphere around them. The younger stopped in her tracks and blinked owlishly at Ai, the joke had obviously gone over her head. Ai chuckled awkwardly as she shifted the basket in her hand. “Uh… We’re almost there. It’s just around the corner.” With that said Ai took ahold of Risa’s wrist and hurriedly walked up the rest of the way, pulling the dazed Risa along.

Like Ai said, on the next turn the small cabin came into view. They trudged up the path, Risa’s eyes catching sight of the small vegetable and herb garden she missed the previous night before her eyes trailed to Ai’s back. Letting go of Risa’s hand Ai reached for the doorknob, her hand barely an inch away when the door swung open, shocking both girls. They were immediately greeted by the sound of a high pitched squeal followed by Eri’s figure trying to block their view, all the while pulling the door close behind her, or at least trying to what with her sandaled foot preventing her from fully closing the door. “Ai-chan! Your back early!” she squeaked.

Ai’s brows knitted together as she moved her head to try and peer into the crack between the door and Eri’s body. “And you’re up early. What’s going on in there?”

“Nothing! It’s just… uh… not like Sayu’s trying to cook or anything.” Eri said nervously. A loud clanking of pots could be heard from inside, followed by a few colorful choice of words and a yell that was abruptly cut off, which sounded a lot like Reina’s.

“What are you girls doing?” Ai tried to sneak a peek when she caught whiff of an odd, yet frighteningly familiar odor. “And what’s that smell? Oh dear God! Please don’t tell me something’s burning!”

Eri’s eyes shifted from looking at Ai’s pale face to what little she could see inside then back to Ai’s face. “Okay… I won’t tell you.”

“Eri!” Shoving her things to Eri’s arms Ai pushed through the door, just in time to see Reina rushing over to the iron stove, pouring a pot of water over a pan that was lit in orange-red flames. Seeing the wide eyed look on Ai’s face Reina immediately began backing up, conspicuously hiding the pot behind her. Sayu was on the far side of the kitchen, wielding a spatula with both her hands and another pot was placed over her head to act as a helmet. If it wasn’t for her height and dress she would have been able to pass as a child playing pretend dungeons and dragons.

Reina’s head turned to where Sayu was and her hand automatically snapped up to point at her, her facial expression saying ‘it was all her idea’. Sayu, after hearing silence for the last couple of seconds, peeked out from her helmet, her eyes automatically honing in on Reina’s accusing finger then to Ai’s wide eyed look.

“Ai! You’re back!” she squeaked. She made a swat with the spatula at Reina’s hand, sending her a look full of betrayal before scurrying over to the shocked owner. “It’s not as bad as it looks. We can fix this.” Reina’s head snapped at her at the mention of ‘we’, her brows drawn together in a scowl.

“What happened? No, on second thought I don’t want to know.” Ai groaned, pinching the bridge of her nose.

Sayu, desperate for a way out of her predicament, began searching the inside of the cabin for a possible distraction. After a while her eyes landed on a familiar, albeit new face.

Risa, following after Eri, whom had smiled politely at her but was more inclined to follow after the older, watched in awe at the oddity of the situation. It was her first time seeing the inside of a pot actually catching fire. Never in her life had she thought of that ever happening, but with what she had gone through… she didn’t know what to think.

Sayu’s facial features darkened in a mischievous grin, sending a chilling shiver down Risa’s spine. But, just as the grin appeared it disappeared just as fast as Sayu’s face smoothed into a sweet smile and Risa was left to wonder whether she was seeing things.

“Ah~ if it isn’t the lost girl from last night! Pardon the mess, we weren’t expecting company.” Sayu happily skipped over to Risa, grabbing a hold of Eri’s arm along the way. It probably wasn’t going to get Ai to forget the kitchen disaster, but it was better than nothing.

“Sorry, I seem to be forgetting my manners, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Sayumi and this cute little airhead here is Eri.” A look of incredulity crossed Eri’s face, but that quickly transitioned into a pout directed towards the youngest of their group who had stayed in her spot at the far side of the kitchen, snickering at Eri’s expense.

“And that unrefined, snickering midget over there is Reina.” Sayu said, the sentence sounding more like an afterthought, and motioned with her head at the general direction of said midget.

The snickering stopped and Reina bristled. “I heard that!”

“Pay no mind to her. She’s just a sad, bitter, little girl with no one to love her.” Beside her Eri tried to keep a straight face, failing miserably as the right side of her lips quirked up in a smirk, not that Reina could see anyway. It was clear, by the way her shoulders were quaking with suppressed laughter, that she was enjoying her revenge, even though said revenge didn’t come out of her own efforts. But revenge was revenge, and she would gladly take what she can have.

“Well… Eri, do you have anything to add?”

The smirk was wiped off Eri’s face as she looked between the two emptily, but then the grip on her arm tightened and perfectly shaped nails dug into her skin. “Ah- Ha- How are you doing? Good I hope. Ahaha…” her laughter died down as she sent a quick glance to Reina, mentally sending an SOS, not that the message was properly received. She tried to pull away, but her arm was quickly tugged back, the grip around it tightening ever so slightly. Giving up on that she stared at their visitor, eyes pleading her to play along.

Risa grinned sheepishly back at the look. “Ah, un. I feel loads better, thank you very much. That candy really worked wonders. Where’d you get it?”

“I mad- got it… uh… somewhere far… in uh… Chi-a sho- trade. Igotitinatrade!” she squeaked out the last part in a hurry, her voice going into a high pitch and her back straightening like a rod. Risa winced at the volume, her mind conjuring up an image of Koharu energetically waving at her.

“What Eri here was trying to say…” a different voice butted in. Reina slinked in between her two companions, subtly prying the death grip Sayu had over Eri’s arm and hiding them behind her. “ was that we got it from a merchant in a trade somewhere down south. It’s supposed to be some sort of Chinese medicine.”

“Yes, that’s exactly it.” Sayu joined in. “Ah, come in, come in. Make yourself at home.” Sayu ushered Risa inside.

Now having a perfect look inside the small cabin Risa thought it looked as if a tornado had recently passed through it. The space that would have been the living room where the couch was looked like it was ransacked. A bunch of blankets and clothing lay scattered all over the floor that it was actually impossible to see the floor. The kitchen looked worse, plates and glass piled up on the sink and of course after the incident earlier the once clean wooden wall was now singed and the floor was still wet with the water Reina threw over the flames.

The cleanest place in the cabin was probably the dining room, and it was smack dab in the middle of the disaster area of a kitchen and the pig-hole living room. There were a few papers and pens scattered over the table, but that was quickly put away, chucked into the living room for clean up later.

Sitting Risa down on the chair Sayu quickly took the one on her other side, taking her hands into her own. “So, Risa was it? What brings you up here?”

“Eh? Uh… I was…” she looked over to where Ai was. The older was still staring at her kitchen, her shoulders hunched and from behind she looked like someone who had just lost something precious to her. Risa somehow felt bad for her. Noticing her stare Sayu turned her head to where Ai stood, her smiling face slowly changing into a guilty pout.

“Ah… I get it. Ai, I’m so sorry. We’ll clean it up, I promise.”

“There you go again with the ‘we’.” Reina grumbled. She was standing at one end of the table, right behind where Risa was seated. “We” she said, motioning with her hands to herself and Eri. “aren’t doing anything because ‘we’ didn’t start a fire. ‘You’ did. It’s ‘your’ mess, so ‘you’ clean it up.” She stuck out her thumb at the end of her sentence, pointing towards the kitchen to her right.

Sayu’s jaws clenched as she forced a smile on her face, one that sent the alarms in Risa’s head off, as she rigidly stood up. Stiffening on her seat she focused her eyes on the table before her, trying to shake off the deathly aura coming from both sides. As if picking up on her nervousness she felt a pair of hands rest on her shoulders, the action slightly easing her quickened heartbeats.

“I’ll be glad to lend you a helping hand Sayu! Reina you don’t have to do anything. Ai~ I’m sure we can get this fixed in a matter of mi- er.. days?” Eri quickly corrected herself, her eyes darting to the girl in front of her. “Yeah, one day. Doable.”

The heavy tension suddenly lifted. Sayu grinned widely as she jumped on the older girl, wrapping her arms around Eri’s shoulders for an embrace. “Eri you’re the best!” she squealed, quickly closing in to leave a kiss on rosy cheeks. Turning to the youngest she stuck her tongue out at her, in which Reina childishly retaliated with a tongue stick of her own.

“So anyway, Risa, you were saying?” Sayu asked, turning the attention back to the girl. Risa bit her lip. What was she supposed to say? Should she just be honest or… Her eyes darted to Ai’s figure once again.

Finally Ai took a step back, her weary face turning to the four girls huddled around the dining table. She sighed deeply once, letting her frustration out with it, following with a long intake of air.

“She knows.”
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 4 [11/23]
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2013, 10:02:10 AM »
Lol, I got panicked at first when I read your reply and those running smiles XD

Those three are so great! It was hard to keep quiet (my roommate is sleeping and having a hangover, lol  :lol:) when I read about their kitchen drama. Absolutely loved it!

But the ending... Awwwww, once again you stop when I am just getting excited. Well, maybe that is kind of part of the writing. Leaving your readers to wait for more~  ;) But it's still annoying, lol.

Nice job!


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Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 4 [11/23]
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2013, 11:08:11 AM »
Using  :panic: at the start of a sentence is kinda fun!
Sorry, and yeah, it's part of the writing... but this one- the original- was too long so I had to cut it off somewhere. :nervous
and I couldn't help but tease the readers a bit  ;)
._.

Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 5 [12/15]
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 06:32:38 AM »
It would seem that I keep forgetting to update this story until like almost a month after the last post.

Chapter 5


₪₪ Risa sat, motionless on the stool. The tense atmosphere from before coming back, this time heavier. It felt as if the air around her was getting thinner, suffocating her. She could feel the perspiration from her forehead run down her face. The warm hand over her shoulder had disappeared, and with it the calmness that it had supplied her earlier. She kept her head down, too afraid to look up at the women around her as her mind conjured up grotesque images of witches and monsters from all the stories she’s heard over the years. No one moved, no one made a peep, as if doing so would call forth a wrath that was irrepressible. Risa swallowed dryly. Why did she go up there anyway?

“Excuse moi?” Sayu said, breaking the silence. Her voice held a sharpness to it, it made Risa jump slightly on her seat. She felt a pair of hard eyes staring at her from the other side. She could feel the gaze as if it was burning through the back of her head. She squirmed reflexively, praying to God for something, anything at all, to happen, just pull her out of her misery.

“What does she know?”

The innocent question wasn’t something Risa was expecting, but it had effectively broken the heavy atmosphere, though only to be replaced by another, but it was far better than having the feeling of being watched like a wounded deer surrounded by a pack of wolves. Gingerly Risa turned her head to the girl behind her. Eri was staring between her three companions, a blank look on her face. Noticing Risa’s stare she tilted her head slightly to the side, sending her an innocent smile. Sayu sighed, rubbing her temples with one hand. Reina rolled her eyes then lifted her hand, lightly bopping the top of Eri’s head with her fist.

“She knows, Eri. She knows.” Reina said, stressing the word ‘knows’ as if it was a code for something.

“Knows what?” Eri asked again, lightly rubbing the top of her head.

“That we’re… you know…” Sayu mumbled, making hand gestures to articulate what she meant. Eri’s right brow rose, her mouth hanging open a little bit, a sure sign that she wasn’t following.

“That we are wi-rhgh…” she tried again. And again she got the same response.

“That we aren’t normal humans you dope!” Reina finally snapped. Risa jumped at the tone, then tried to shrink under the table when she felt the burst of ominous aura coming from both sides once again. Sayu sent Reina a deathly glare and opened her mouth, about to say something, but Eri beat her to it.

“Oh~ well then, this makes it a lot easier.” She said, clapping her hands in delight. “Wait… How did she know anyway?”

“I told her.”

“Ai? You told her?” Sayu asked. Breaking her glaring contest with Reina she turned fully to face the older. Her tone of voice sounded unsure, as if the thought itself was unbelievable.

“Well, I didn’t exactly tell her. She was suspicious… so I untangled the yarn for her.”

“And there you go with those weird sentences of yours.” Reina sighed, running a hand over her dark locks in slight irritation. “Ai, try speaking in this century instead of those weird philosophical sentences old people use to mislead other people. No one can understand you.”

“Ah! I see.” Eri muttered, nodding her head sagely. The action was quickly responded by another slap behind her head. Whining she crouched beside Risa’s chair, wrapping her arms around the startled girl, like a child would to its mother during times of trouble.

“And you! Stop acting like you understood her!”

“What I meant to say” Ai hurriedly interjected, seeing as Reina was starting to turn red from her pent up frustration. “is that she has heard of the rumours… and may have regained her memory of last night, if I have read her… query correctly. She had put two and two together, and I just confirmed it, vaguely.”

“So you didn’t tell her anything directly… anything interesting?” Sayu asked cautiously.

“Not really. We weren’t exactly in a place where I can freely divulge my thoughts without risking our well-being. I thought it would be better if I took her back here. It is much more proper than the middle of town. Now that we’re here we can make sure our suspicions are correct, but it would seem much likely that she is indeed… you know. As I have said she does seem to remember last night’s happenings…” At this she pointed her gaze at Eri. “normally it would have taken at least a whole day.”

While Ai was speaking Risa found herself drawn to her voice. Her head slowly lifted up to stare into the face of the woman who, in her mind, was shrouded in a heavy fog of mystery. I would seem as if just within a sleeps wink of meeting the four women everything Risa thought she knew about life was turned upside-down. Witches were real, apparently. She had proof of it, though her supposed proof was just mostly her own unexplainable experience, believing it to be nothing but a nightmare at this point seems like a laughable idea now, and the words from Ai’s mouth. Plus she hasn’t actually directly verbalized that she was in fact a witch. There was still no concrete evidence to prove all the witchery non-sense, and just the thought of that slightly quelled the flopping feeling in her gut. Just slightly though.

“She still doesn’t believe it.” Eri’s voice startled her out of her reverie. She looked down at the seemingly harmless looking girl, apprehension clawing at the back of her mind. Eri still had her arms around her and she was staring straight at her, but it appeared as if she was looking at something more instead of Risa’s deathly pale face. “She’s still looking for proof, besides your words Ai.”

Multiple thoughts came rushing to her mind, the loudest were to pull her hand free from the hold Eri had on her and look away, but for some reason she couldn’t seem to make her body move to her command. The moment reminded her of a scene exactly alike the one she was in now, except it had happened the night before and instead of eyes with innocent like curiosity they were a dark pool full of wariness and mild interest.

The mini staring contest they had was abruptly cut by a low slapping sound. Eri was the first to break her gaze, her eyes shutting as she let go of Risa’s arm to tend to her throbbing head.

“What is it today? Slap Eri until her brain pops out of her head?” the girl childishly whined.

“Stop being an idiot. The girl looks like she’s about to soil herself.”

“Reina! Stop slapping Eri, she’s going to have brain damage because of you!” Sayu berated, rushing over to the crouching form of her friend. Eri childishly stuck out her tongue, but a slap to her shoulder made her retract the pink muscle back to its place. “And you, you know she was getting scared and yet you kept at it.”

“I was doing research.” She mumbled a weak protest. Sayu rolled her eyes.

“And did you get anything from your research?” They knew it was coming. Eri’s eyes darted to Risa, who in turn looked to the side tensely, her form going rigid.

“Uh-uh. She was thinking too much. It was all just a jumble of words.”

Sayu sighed. “You know, sometimes I wonder why it is that you get to read people’s minds when thinking is probably a foreign action to you.”

“It’s probably because she’s got a lot of space in that empty head of hers.” Reina followed, smirking devilishly.

“Okay!” Eri shot up, her cheeks staining a light shade of red. “Risa, is there anything you’d like to ask?” she had asked, a smile plastered on her face. Risa could see it in her eyes, the silent plea for escape of her friends’ slightly cruel jokes. It would’ve been easier to play dumb, act like she was too distracted to notice the minute call for help. Say no, shake her head or even just stare blankly back. They seemed like pretty close friends anyway, they were bound to pick up on each other’s emotions. What was more was that they claim that they were witches. And did she just read her mind?

She felt the side of her lip pull to the side, forming a thin smile. “Are you psychic?”

An unexpected laugh. Their heads turned to the source. Ai had one of her hand up to cover her mouth, the other rubbing a tear from the corner of her eyes.

“I’m sorry. It’s not funny.” She coughed into her palm, containing her laughter.

“No, she’s not psychic. The world as we know it would be doomed if she was.” Sayu said, smirking. She was shoved to the side as the person of interest stood up and marched to an open seat at the other end of the table, resorting to pouting for the duration of the talk. But with the way the girl was pouting, crossing her arms indignantly over her chest and turning her whole body away from everyone else, yet still retaining a close distance to make sure that everyone was aware of her irritation, was much like a child’s reaction to having been refused something he/she might have wanted. It was eye-catchingly cute, producing quite the opposite effect of what she had wanted.

“As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted.” She sent a smirk over Eri’s form at the word rudely. “She’s just like us, except she has a special ability to read other people’s thoughts… It only works if she has direct contact otherwise she’s none the wiser.”

“Eh? You mean you all can’t do it?” Risa asked intrigued, slightly straightening up on her seat.

“That’s why it’s called special. Not everyone has them.” Reina supplied. Her fingers were tapping on the table in a stable rhythm and her facial expression clearly expressed her boredom of the topic. Her fingers stopped their ministration, noticing Risa’s eyes on her. Her brows rose in question. Risa blushed and turned her gaze to the side.

“Just a few have these special abilities, each one different from the other. Not all of us witches have them. I guess it just depends on your birth star.” Ai said, passing Sayu to sit on the empty chair beside Risa. She reached for Risa’s hands, gently taking them in hers. She stilled for a few seconds, waiting to see if Risa was alright with her touching her. When Risa didn’t pull her hand away she pulled them towards herself, palm up for everyone to see. Slowly Ai angled her hand so that her thumbs slipped around the side and the rest on the bottom, locking them in place. Her brows knitted in concentration as her eyes fluttered close.

For a while no one made a sound. Every eye was on them, observant to every movement the older did. Risa herself was enthralled by action. Her entire being felt light, a delightfully tingling sensation staring from the ground ran up to the tips of her fingers, as if it was buzzing with electricity. But just as she was starting to delight herself in the feeling it stopped and her hands were slowly guided back to her lap.

“It’s just as I had suspected.” Ai said. “Risa, do you- was there anyone from your family, your grandmother perhaps, who was not originally part of your little caravan?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never asked.” She said, staring back at Ai. Then cautiously she asked “Why?”

“Where is your grandmother?” Ai asked, ignoring the question.

“My grandmother, my mother’s mother is with the rest of the group. My father’s mother passed away when I was still young.”

Ai nodded her head, her lips pursing in thought. “Your father’s mother, what do you remember about her?”

“I don’t remember much about her, except that she smelled of almonds… and that she always disappeared once every month.”

“During a full moon?” Sayu asked.

“I- I don’t know. Why would you ask…” Her sentence trailed. Slowly she turned to look at all four girls, her mind buzzing with all the bits of information she had. Ai’s mysterious words back in town, the conversation that seemed to indirectly prove something to them. “You all don’t think… that is ridiculous! My grandmother… my grandmother is not a… she’s not”

“A witch.” Ai finished for her. “We’re not really sure of that either. But you… It’s latent but I can feel it. You are one of us.”

“I am not!” Risa screamed. She stood up abruptly, sending the chair she was sitting on to clatter noisily on the floor. Her hands fisted on her side, quaking ever so slightly. “Witches aren’t real! They’re just a myth!”

“What are we then? Chicken?” Reina shot back. “Witches are real. We are proof of that.”

“Proof? What proof?! All you have is your words! Why should I believe that? I don’t even know you people!”

“You sounded like you believed us earlier, why the change of attitude now?”

“I-“ Risa faltered. Her hands uncurling as she stared at Ai. “I…” she backed up to the table, using it to hold herself up. “Is this some cruel joke? If it is it’s not funny.”

“I wouldn’t go this far if it were merely a joke.”

Ai stood up. She stared at Risa, making sure she had her utmost attention, then slowly turned to look at the kitchen. She raised her right hand up, her fingers slightly curled, as if she was reaching for something. Seeing the action Sayu had moved to the other end of the table to accompany her peers, but they all knew she was just getting out of the way. A sting of words left Ai’s lips in a low murmur and Risa had to strain her ears for her to hear. She felt the hairs rise up on the back of her neck once she made out the words. Ai was speaking in a foreign language, just like she had in her nightmare- or should it be last night?

Then all of a sudden Ai stopped and she let her hand drop to her side. Risa continued to look at Ai’s form, carefully watching for any signs of witchery. A light glow of a hand, a change of eye color, even the skin turning a ghastly pale or green color, anything she could pull from all those stories of witches. Ai didn’t change; she was as she looked earlier. Inside Risa felt a bit disappointed but she tried not to let it show on her face. It wasn’t hard as most of her mind was occupied with questioning what exactly had just transpired. She was about to ask that question when she realized with a start that the disaster zone had suddenly been cleaned up.

There was no pile of dirty dishes by the sink. The floor was dry and the iron stove nearly sparkling, as if the fire incident hadn’t even transpired just a moment ago.

“Do you believe now?” Ai asked. She had a smile on, one that looked almost cocky.

Risa, mouth agape, could only nod her head before her iris rolled up to the top of her head and her body slumped to the side.
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 5 [12/15]
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 09:38:36 AM »
And the trio goes on  :lol: Lol, Reina is so great once again! I love how she is always teasing everyone (especially Eri~) with her comments.

Risa is a witch? O__O Didn't see that coming... But yay, now she has a reason to stay close with the other witches! And with Ai, hehe~ Now I just have to wish that she is alright after waking up.

“No, she’s not psychic. The world as we know it would be doomed if she was.”

Exactly~  :lol: Nice update! Waiting for more~


Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.

Offline yunagi

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 6 [12/22]
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2013, 12:00:21 PM »
Holy fudge brownies! It's almost Christmas. I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet...  :panic:

MsSmigge: And their antics shall go on~
Risa's a witch. As to how it is that she's a witch without her knowledge...

Chapter 6


₪₪ “Masaki, come here child!” A woman called to her daughter, who was crouching by the entrance to the path that led to the cabin. The young girl seemed fascinated to something behind a group of trees, giggling from time to time. She had been at it since her playmate had been called in by her mother a moment earlier. Everyone thought she might have spotted a rabbit, as she seemed to be the type to easily be impressed, and had left her to her own device.

“Masaki!” Her mother called again. The child held her hand up, wiggling her little fingers to bid good bye to whatever it was that caught her attention, before running up to her mother, grinning broadly.

“What got you smiling so bright today? A jack rabbit come to play?”

Masaki giggled as she clung to her mother’s skirt. Her mother smiled gently at her, patting the top of her head. “Come love, we better get inside. It looks like it’s about to rain.” She said, hefting the little girl up in her arms. Masaki wriggled around, wrapping her arms around her mother’s neck for support. Her eyes glanced back to the trees and she held up her hand, wriggling them once again, bidding good bye to a dark bulk that had been staring at her since earlier.


₪₪ The fire crackled, slowly licking the dry brown wood that was fed to it, leaving behind a black coal like substance in its wake. Its orange glow lit up the small enclosure it was in, projecting whatever it can to the outside of its confines. It was a warm welcome to the four figures, five if you counted the one who was staring blankly into the low glow, disconnected with reality. The four girls were huddled closely together in the dining area with a large leather bound book laid flat out on the centre of the table. They were discussing in controlled voices. And by that it meant that their voices were loud enough to make up for the lack of activity due to the separation of the cabin to the community.

“Maybe it’s a wild dog.”

“Where on Earth did your massive, tree skipping wild dog originate from?”

Eri shrugged. “Maybe it’s from a different universe?”

“Was that a statement or a question” Sayu sighed, rubbing her temples. ” Eri please be serious.”

“But I am serious.” She whined, slumping over the table in defeat.

“Oh! I know! Maybe it was a shape-shifter.” Reina supplied. Sayu sighed once again but this time she tilted her head towards Reina’s direction.

“Well if you had actually read the book, and I am sure you didn’t,” Reina groaned, her eyes narrowing in slits as she glared at Sayu. “though shape-shifters can change their outer appearance they cannot change their energy, nor do they have more than one source of energy, as the beast does. And if you didn’t know that before, as I’m sure you didn’t listen, now you do.”

“Oh shut it miss know it all. I haven’t heard you give out any ideas of the beast’s nature.” Reina shot.

“That’s because, my darling Reina, instead of just calling out names of random beast’s that pop into my head I actually take the time to eliminate certain characteristics that do not fit our mystery being.” Sayu sneered back.

Suffice to say they were getting nowhere with their case. It was still a mystery what the beast was and what its intentions were. They had been at it for a while, putting out their ideas only for it to be shot down and they were back to square one, and then the whole thing repeats itself. It was eating up their time, time they didn’t have much, but there was nothing they could do until they figured out what exactly it was they were facing against.

“This is getting us nowhere.” Reina conceded defeat. She ran her fingers through her brown locks, as if the action could lessen the stress that was building up.

Ai sighed. The tension was growing heavy around them once again. It was one of the reason why she didn’t like hallow’s eve. It was like they were walking on an edge, one wrong step, one miscalculation, and they would tumble to the depths of hell. She wondered how it was for the older generation, had they been in the same situation as them, sitting around in a dining room trying to figure out an answer to something without any leads to guide them. Had someone older been assigned in this team, would they have been able to dispatch the beast roaming about the woods?

Her eyes flickered from face to face, watching their mood reflect it their faces. They looked about ready to throw in the towel. A smile stretched over her face, a fake one nearly perfected over the years. She couldn’t lose face now, not in front of her team. They had a job to do and she would be sure to see it through the end. But it wouldn’t do them any good with their spirits down. They still had time.

“How about we have a break for now? You girls haven’t eaten breakfast yet, haven’t you?”

At the mention of food Eri snapped back up, a wide grin in place as her eyes glittered with delight. “Did you bring us something good?” she asked innocently.

Ai couldn’t help but chuckle at her friend’s action. Standing up she walked over to the kitchen, fondly patting the top of Eri’s head as she passed her by. “I haven’t checked yet, but the baker had graciously given me a warm bag of bread.”

“Well, that was mighty pleasant of him.” Sayu mused loudly as she followed behind Ai, wearily eyeing the bag. “… is it poisoned?”

“No one’s gonna poison Ai. She’s not you.” Reina chuckled.

“Hey! That wasn’t my fault! And that insufferable man with his delusions of a future with…” her sentence trailed, unable to say the last word. She shivered, her nose crinkling in disgust “I could’ve been killed you know? Murdered!”

“Yes and what a shame he’s been caught before the deed was done.”

Sayu’s cheeks puffed in irritation as she glared at the back of Reina’s head. Her body swivelled around to march back to the table when a jug of milk and a jar of jam were pushed to her hands. “Okay, that’s enough. No fighting on the table, physical or otherwise. Sayu, be a dear and bring those to the table. Reina, Eri, please get the glasses. They’re in the cupboard.”

“I know.” Reina said as she pushed off the table to head into the kitchen, smirking as she passed by Sayu on the way. The smirk, however, was quickly wiped off her face and she let out an “oof” as weight was thrown on her back in the form of Eri.

“Get off… You’re heavy!” she said in a strained voice.

Eri giggled, but none the less got of her smaller companion to skip ahead. “I’m not heavy! You’re just rea~lly weak.”

Ai shook her head. She had missed this, the familiarity. Having gone ahead to secure the cabin, the time it took to renovate the interior and exterior under scrutiny of the public, even though said public was really just three or four woodsmen stopping by to offer help, took months. It was hard to work it out on her own. She didn’t mind the manual labour, no, she was fine with it. And whatever she couldn’t do by herself magic could. But it was just that throughout the renovation she was alone. The town’s people were nice, really decent folks, but still it was different compared to the people she grew up with, people who truly understood her, her kind of people.

She placed the bag on the table. Eri and Reina had placed the glasses, all five she had, on the table and was now sitting on their respective chairs. The three were amiably chatting amongst each other, any and every disagreement that had before water under the bridge. A soft smile unconsciously found its way to Ai’s face as she watched the interaction. She was going to sit on the free chair only to notice one other was unoccupied. She glanced back to the living room… and let out a low sigh.

There was still yet another… difficulty. Risa had come to a few moments after her little black out session. She had taken the whole witch thing a whole lot differently from what Ai had imagined. Or maybe it did, just not the one she liked.

She had asked for time alone, to sort out her thoughts- or so she says. They hadn’t heard a peep out of her since. Ai had thought she might have had another black out were it not for the small creaking courtesy of the old couch whenever she fidgeted.

Risa continued staring blankly at the orange glow, ears deaf to the sounds around her.  Her eyes started to tear up from staring too long at the fireplace and yet she seeing nothing like the scene before her but instead of a past long ago.

It was her grandmothers, her father’s mother, birthday that day. Risa knew this because her mother told her so. She said to gather pretty flowers to give gandma. Her favourite, Risa knew, were tulips, and as luck might have it there were some near camp.

Fortunately Grandma had gone out that morning, announcing that she was going to gather berries a little ways from camp. The men laughed at her statement, saying that there weren’t any berry bush nearby and if there were it wouldn’t bear fruit due to the season, but let her be, to humour her on her birthday.

With a wide grin Risa bolted for the flower bed. She took precious care to cut them all in the same length, choosing the healthiest and the brightest looking one’s. She was so engrossed with her gathering that she didn’t notice that she had strayed too far from camp, wouldn’t have noticed too if it weren’t for a little rabbit that whizzed past her as she was pulling a rather stubborn flower. Startled she stumbled back, falling to her butt, holding the flowers close to her chest. She looked up to the tall trees, wide eyes shooting from tree to tree in bewilderment.

“Mama?” she tentatively called out as she picked herself up. “Papa?” she turned back to where she thought she came from only to see more trees. She looked down to the flowers gathered in her arms, her vision blurring from the tears brimming in her eyes. How was she going to give them to grandma now?

Let the wind sing a rock-a-bye~ to my darling little sunshine…

Risa brushed her hands through her eyes. She knew that song, she knew that voice.

Twinkling little stars glitter in thine innocent eyes…

Sniffling Risa followed the voice, her small feet carrying her through the forest without fear of those that may hide in the shadows. Her eyes darted from side to side, looking for the familiar form of her grandmother.

My sweet little darling, I’ll never let you go… protected in mother’s arms, harm you’ll never know

As the last stanza was sung Risa’s head popped out from the cluster of trees, just in time to see a light green glow fade from withering hands. With her free hand Risa rubbed her eyes and squinted at the figure. “Grandma?” she called. The old woman turned to her granddaughter, her expression not betraying her shock. But just as quickly her face smoothed out into a warm smile.

“Risa my dear… Did you come to fetch me?” she asked smiling the way she would in front of her granddaughter. She held out her hand, inviting the little girl to reach out for her. With great haste Risa trotted over to her, quick to grab the warm hand in her own.

“Grandma, happy birthday.” She said raising the yellow bundle up as high as she could without spilling the flowers.

“Why thank you child. Tulips! Oh! How wonderful!” she said, her eyes glittered with undisguised delight as she gathered the bundle in her arms. Thin, long fingers gently caressed the yellow buds, aged eyes turning a dull shade of brown as her thoughts strayed from the present.

“I know it’s grandma’s favourite.” Risa said after a short pause. Her grandmother, snapping out of her daze, chuckled and reached for the basket, half full of berries in various shades of purple and red. Carefully she placed the bundle in her basket, making sure none of them would fall off. Satisfied she extended her hands to the little bean-faced girl.

“Indeed it is. Come now. We mustn’t make your parents worry.”

“Yes, grandma.”

“You’re such a good girl, Risa…”

“Risa? You okay?” Risa, her vision slowly clearing, jerked back suddenly when Ai’s concerned face came to focus. Startled by the action Ai pulled back and stared wide-eyed at the younger.

“Jeez! I’m… You scared me.” Risa gasped, her hands going up to her chest grasping whatever cloth she could as she tried to calm her nerves down.

“Sorry…” Ai grinned sheepishly “I… I tried calling your name, but you wouldn’t respond.”

“Oh… Sorry, I was…  thinking of something…”

Catching the hesitation in her voice Ai levelled her eyes with Risa’s, her questioning gaze making Risa blush but she didn’t look away. As if frozen in the moment they stay like that, one staring at the other in silent curiosity while the other stared unflinchingly back. It was weird, Risa thought, that staring at Ai could make my heart beat this fast, and yet it’s not because I’m afraid of her, even though I think I should be. Was it because she saved me that night? That must be it, right?

“I see.” Ai finally said after a while, nodding her head. “Well, as I was going to say earlier, would you like to join us for breakfast?”

“Huh? Breakfa- No I’m… alright. I… already had something.” Risa said haltingly “But thank you for the off-”

“I made a special jam.” Ai interjected. “It has a special ingredient in it, something one can’t easily acquire. Have a taste, I promise it taste good.”

“Well…” Risa looked back to the dining room where the three girls were currently giggling over something then back to Ai’s expectant face. “I guess… I could have… one more bread.”

“Great!” Ai straightened up, jutting her hand out for Risa to take. She smiled disarmingly when Risa reached out to take her hand. With a light pull she got the younger to her feet and started to head back to the dining room, her hand still firmly holding onto Risa’s. Risa blushed, but did nothing to pull her hand away, liking the warmness engulfing hers. When they got to the table Ai let go to pull the chair for Risa to take. Still blushing she slid onto the chair, nodding her head at the looks she had garnered when they arrived. The three girls grinned back at her before continuing on with their animated discussion. Ai took a seat at the head of the table, adjacent to where Risa was seated. She reached for the bag of bread, taking two. Then she reached for the small knife, cutting the two breads in half before dipping the silver into the jar and began spreading the reddish-purple substance onto the white fluffy surface. Satisfied she passed the bread to Risa, lightly chuckling to the surprised look she got from the younger.

Risa could feel the heat rising to her head. She ducked her head down, mumbling her thanks as she took the proffered staple, willing her nerves to calm down. She could hear a giggling to her side, only making her blush worse. Shaking her head she took a bite from the bread in an attempt to distract her mind. As soon as the sweet mixture touched her taste buds her eyes widened as she stared at the bread in her hand. Like Ai had said it was good, nothing like the one’s she’s tasted before, and she tasted a lot considering her status as, what one would call their group, a wanderer. It even beat the Iienary’s wild berry surprise- Iienary was known at the West to have the best jams.

“Amazing! This is… Wow!”

“I’m glad you like it.” Ai smiled broadly. “Now sit down and finish your meal.”

The three other girls snickered behind their hands as they watched the young girl’s face change from confusion to shock, after finding that she had indeed stood up from her chair, then to embarrassment as she slowly sank back to the chair, silently stuffing her mouth with the bread.


₪₪ “Mama! Mama!” Koharu called out over the noise of the tavern. She was standing on top of one of the chairs, her hands up frantically waving in an attempt to catch her mother’s attention. The woman sighed as she excused herself from the women she was conversing with to answer her daughter’s calls before she got herself into an accident with her antics.

“Koharu! For heaven’s sake! Get down from that chair this instant and come here!” she called back out.

The younger girl grinned sheepishly as she clambered down the chair, thanking the man who previously sat on the chair before scrambling up to her mother’s group.

“Better, now what is it?”

“Un, some weird man was asking me questions-“

“Koharu!” Her mother cut in, rubbing the bridge of her nose to calm her down “I told you dozens of times not to call people weird.”

“Sorry.” Koharu squeaked.

“So, what did he ask?”

“He asked if there were a lot of children here and if there was a river nearby and is this place… uh… Ferfer? Pfer… per…” her brows drawn in concentration as she tried repeating the word that man had uttered. “eh… what was it… I forgot.” She looked up to her mother blank faced. The woman shook her head.

“So where is this man you’re talking about then?”

“He’s over…” Koharu turned to where she last saw the man, eyes darting through the sea of familiar faces to look for one out of place. “Eh? He was there a second ago.”

“Okay. To the kitchen.” Her mother said, pointing to the back door with finality.

“Eh? But-”

“Help your father out. I’ll handle things here. That way you can rest for a bit.”

“But-”

“Koharu, please be a good girl and stay in the kitchen until I call for you.” Her mother said a bit exasperatedly. She was used to her daughter’s frequent lapses and shenanigans, and though at times it was cute and could induce a giggling fit there were just times when it was just downright grating and she needed a break from it. Koharu looked up to her mother, frowning a bit, but did as asked and quickly made her way to the back room.

“Any problems dear?” A voice asked. The woman turned to find Risa’s mother smiling knowingly at her. She chuckled.

“Oh, nothing. Koharu just got a little… excited. Now what were we discussing?”
._.

Offline MsSmigge

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Re: Moonlight Night: Chapter 5 [12/15]
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2013, 03:30:24 PM »
₪₪ “Masaki, come here child!”

Maa-chan....  :shocked Oh my, this is going to be interesting!!!! XD
And yaaay, more TanaKameShige humor~ I just love those three together. Once again I was grinning like an idiot while reading this  :lol:

But I have some ominous feelings  :ph43r: There's something going on and you're hiding it from us! I can sense it...
And Risa blushing while being with Ai-chan~ Awww. Though after SOME issues that have happened lately it doesn't feel the same as before... I guess there're no other choices than learn to live with it...

Great job once again!! I am so waiting for more. So hooked to this story~


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