Chapter 1: Unnecessary Fiancés
Seeing the strange grey car parked outside her house caused Myoukei to frown. Her parents hadn't said anything about visitors today which made her frown deepen. This normally wasn't a good sign.
Sighing, the girl climbed the stairs that led to the shrine that was her home. She left her bag and shoes at the front door and continued on into the living room.
Her father was there chatting with and older man while three much younger men occupied the couch. When she entered the room all four turned to look at her. Two turned away after a cursory glance. One to turn back around to listen to the older men's conversation the other to stare out the window obviously bored. The other two continued to stare at her, one shyly, the other with a grin. It took all of the girl's considerable willpower not to yell at her parents. She had no doubt at as to why these four strange men were here.
Acting as the properly shy maiden, Myoukei kept her eyes fixed on the floor as she addressed her father. "Papa you didn't tell me we were having visitors today."
"Go help your mother in the kitchen." Was the reply. Myoukei's lowered eyes flashed. She did not like being ordered about.
She bowed to her father and waited until she was in the hall before she began fuming. Still, she composed herself before entering the kitchen.
"Mom, who's the strange man visiting?" Myoukei asked as she helped her mother chop vegetables.
"His name is Kunan-san and he's an old friend of your father's. Both he and your father are hoping that one of his four sons might prove to be a suitable fiancé for you since none of the local boys seem to be showing any interest in you at all." There was a hint of accusation in her mother's voice.
"They probably think I'm some kind of demon." Myoukei muttered forgetting her mother's sharp ears.
"Myoukei! That's an awful thing to say! You ought to know better. Now why don't you go bring the men some tea?"
Myoukei nodded and gathered the things she needed and in only a few minutes she was smiling as she carried a tray of cups into the living room.
She carefully served the two older men before placing the tray down on the table in front of the boys and handing them each a cup. She took the last cup herself and when she caught the two from before staring at her blushed and hung her head. Learning to blush on command had been an excellent skill to acquire.
The girl gently sipped at her own tea and watched the four boys all gulp theirs. She restrained a smile with great difficulty. This was almost too easy.
Slowly, so slowly the boys themselves didn't notice it, they all fell asleep. Last to succumb was the bored boy who glanced at her before beginning to snore quietly. Myoukei grinned and continued to drink her tea pretending she hadn't noticed a thing and since the two men were deep in conversation it wasn't until Myoukei's mother entered the room that the sleeping boys were discovered.
"My apologies Kunan-san, I should have realized your boys would be tired after such a long trip. We'll let them sleep until dinner."
The tired old man nodded and continued talking to his friend. Myoukei was finding it difficult not to hum her pleasure. These boys weren't going to be any challenge at all. All she needed to do was give them a properly worded warning and they'd refuse to remain in the same room as her.
Until then she was going to have to be careful not to let her parents notice anything odd. Her mother seemed to be suspicious as it was. It wouldn't do to give her anything to confirm those suspicions. Myoukei had worked too hard at getting rid of distractions to fail now.
Dinner came and the boys were shaken awake. Three of them seemed slightly confused before turning to look at the fourth one. From the looks of it, they believed the bored one had been the culprit. The bored one himself was watching her in the most peculiar fashion making Myoukei wonder what he was thinking.
So much for this being easy, Myoukei thought to herself as she sat down at the table. Myoukei's father cleared his throat and introduced everyone. "This is Kunan-san and his four boys. This is the eldest, Dainin. He's twenty-two" This was the boy who had been listening to the adults' conversation. He had dark brown hair that matched his eyes. "Next is Irootoko. He's twenty-one." This was the one who had been smiling at her. He was slightly lighter hair then his older brother but with green eyes. "After him is Bunchi. He's nineteen." This was the shy one. He had black hair and the same brown eyes as Dainin. "And last is Akugi. He's eighteen." This was the bored one who didn't seem so bored anymore. He had ash-blond hair and dark green eyes. He was still watching her carefully.
"This is my daughter, Myoukei. She's seventeen." Once again the girl made herself blush and look down at her plate as if too shy to meet their eyes while her mind worked, thinking of new ways to get rid of the boys.
"We sincerely hope you all get to know one another better and become friends if not more." Myoukei's father said, once again revealing his strong suit in subtlety.
dinner went well enough, Myoukei unable to do anything as she was
under her parents' scrutiny. She contented herself with giving a
meek impression only rarely venturing a quiet comment, a complete
about face for how she normally acted. By the end of the meal, her
parents seemed so pleased with her behaviour that Myoukei was forced
to hide a smile. If only they knew what she planned!
After dinner, Myoukei slipped into her room to do her homework. The work took her no more then a few minutes and then she could concentrate on what was really important: getting rid of the boys.
She would have to get them away from the adults, either singly or together and explain to them in no uncertain terms that they were to leave her alone or face the consequences.
Content with that plan of action, Myoukei changed into her pajamas, climbed into bed and it wasn't long at all before sleep claimed her.
The next morning Myoukei woke early, bathed and changed before heading downstairs to help her mother with breakfast. It wasn't long before the smells of their cooking wafted upstairs summoning the sleepers downstairs in a thunderous herd of stomping feet, yawns and scratches.
Myoukei had taken great care with her appearance that morning, making sure she looked impressive and professional. She was wearing clothes with hard, inflexible lines and bound her hair up in its customary bun.
During breakfast she was as quiet and self-effacing as she'd been last night. As she and her mother cleared the last of the dishes away, her father made a suggestion that almost made her crow with glee. "Myoukei, why don't you show the boys around? We wouldn't want them getting lost now would we?"
Myoukei bowed in her father's direction and then led the boys to the front door where their shoes rested. She led the way past the house and towards the back of the shrine. As soon as she was sure they were well out of earshot and out of sight, she turned to face the four of them, all trace of meekness and shyness gone.
"Listen up you four," Myoukei began. "I don't want a fiancé. This entire thing is my parents' idea and I'm having no part of it. I suggest you leave me alone and show no interest unless you want me to make life very uncomfortable for you. The sleeping pills in your tea yesterday was just a taste. You persist and you'll wish you'd never laid eyes on me."
Dainin, Irootoko and Bunchi just stared at her, eyes wide. Akugi, on the other hand, grinned. "Is that a challenge?" he asked.
Myoukei glared at him. "No it's a suggestion. Now we might as well continue this tour." She replied before leading the three stunned and one amused boy back to the front of the shrine and gave a brief explanation of the history. Bunchi roused himself enough to ask a few question but otherwise the four were silent. After Myoukei had shown them the inside of the temple, the wishing tree and the backyard, she brought them back inside and went up to her room.
The young girl was displeased with Akugi's response. Every other guy had been terrfied of her once she revealed what she could and would do to them, but he had merely grinned and shrugged it off. This was not what she wanted. She'd have to work twice as hard to get rid of him.
The girl was contemplating new plans when her father's voice called out. "Myoukei, come down and say goodbye."
Surprised, she raced downstairs. Her threat couldn't have worked that fast could it? When she reached the front door there was Kunan-san and the boys all ready to go. She was respectful and polite while still managing to flash menacing glances at the boys until they were down the temple stairs with her parents and would be gone shortly.
Smiling to herself, Myoukei re-entered the house. Her smile swiftly faded when she saw Akugi standing there, obviously waiting for her. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm staying," he replied with a smirk. "My father thought a change of scene would do me good. Oh and you needn't have threatened my brothers off like that. I'd already gotten them to change their minds about you."
"You what?" she gasped.
"The sleeping pills were a good idea. I didn't notice them until it was too late. However, I myself prefer a more direct approach." He told her, stepping forward and blowing the powder he'd had in his hand right into her face.
Myoukei inhaled before she could think and paralysis stole over her before she knew it. Akugi caught her before she fell and carried her up to her room. This is not happening, this is not happening, Myoukei kept telling herself.
Akugi laid her down on her bed and sat down beside her, still with that maddening grin on his face. "Don't worry, the powder'll wear off in a few minutes and no I'm not going to attack you, so relax. I'm just telling you, I look forward to you attempting to drive me off. I haven't had this much fun in years. It will be a contest of wills, to see who breaks first and I'll tell you right now I have no intention of losing." Finished, he leaned forwards, kissed her once, had she not been paralyzed she'd have been shaking with rage over that, and left her to wait until she could move again. When she could, she clenched her fist and vowed she'd break him. No boy was going to beat her!