as it flickers in
School grounds after dark feel emptier than usual, in a way they are not supposed to feel.
She is glad to have her daisho: with her thumb on the hilt of her katana she feels safe in a way she does not feel in her day to day life, especially since coming to Rokugan High.
She knows they are oni before she knows she is striking them down, but she strikes them down with cracks of thunder and her hair stands on end as if she is herself being struck, but by lighting: she strikes them down with the uninhibited pure power of Osano-Wo, her blade the only incarnation of plasma on the face of the planet. As she strikes them down there is no sense of there being an end to the hoard or to the fight, simply that she has cut them all as easily as a sickle through wheat.
breathing deep and clear
Now she kneels in the warmth of Amaterasu Herself, and the sun on her hair bring the smell of thunderstorms to her, and she knows that Amaterasu has decided that to be her gift: even when her katana is not white with lighting, its edge has the blessing of the kami.
The smell of thunderstorms is tempered by the smell of sakura blossoms, the ever most popular scent, and it is the sun that is keeping her warm under these thin sheets, the sun and the silk body of Kanoko: the white-haired shugenja is sound asleep with her head on her breast, her arm draped over her stomach, a pale blue origami mantis between her fingers.
empty lungs demanding deeper breaths
Kuroko is standing at the end of the bed and the windows are open. Thunderstorms are on the horizon but they are many miles from here. There is only a bow in the bed, and the green sheath of arrows too far away. Kuroko grins a smile too wide, and there are paper cranes everywhere, their wings too shiny to be parchment alone. Eevee covers Kanoko to protect her skin from the cuts that come even as Eevee crawls across the too large bed to get to the arrows. They are unbalanced, their fletching half bare, and no matter how many she fires they are wide, they are shallow, they bury themselves in the feather mattress, and now there are feathers everywhere, feathers and metal cranes.
“Since when did you need a katana? Where are your kama?” Shirou is no help. At least he knows she is no wasp with arrows. At least he has seen that. She is filled with shame, and the bow bends and twists in her hands: they do not even do the justice of being kama, though for a moment she might use them as such, though she had so rarely taken them up they would be as ineffective.
Kuroko has Kanoko in her arms now, wrapped in sheets, and Eevee knows they are both oni, they are both demons but she cannot strike the older without killing the younger. Duty is to strike them down. Duty is to protect the school and herself from such dark things. Does no one else see the Crane for what they are? Feathered oni?
“What does that make you?”
A feathered mantis?
She is being painted. She covers her front with her Crane uniform, holds her wild hair to one side, and her back is bare, Kusori’s canvas. Shirou is on one side of her, holding her daisho safely for her, and Kanoko is on her other side, crafting silk into flowers and tying them into Eevee’s hair.
As Kusori’s brush moves over her skin she feels feathers sprouting from her back, long and teal green.
They fill her with pride.
“Kuroko will be jealous.”
How much of a threat can one feathered mantis be?