A/N- Oh Goddess, this is hella old. Gah. I apologize for the huge delay. I got lazy. Well, then again, I'm always lazy.
Chapter Summary- A moment in the life of a forbidden child and her companions.


Marionettes of Life

Chapter Three


Kuchibue ga kikoeru Hoshizora yori tooku de
I can hear whistling farther than the stars and the skies

Sore wa dare ka no inori no kotoba
It's the words of someone's prayer

Migi te ni nigirishime sotto me wo tojiru
I hold them tightly in my right hand, and softly close my eyes

-Kuchibue ga Kikoeru—Yu Yu Hakusho


December 25, 3099

It's winter and yet, even as I'm dressed in only a white outfit made of the thinnest silk, I'm not cold. I suppose I should thank my mother for my Koorime genes, despite that youkai from all over the Makai won't stop hunting me down to get my teargems.

After all, I'm both an ice and plant element.

I suppose, ever since I ran away from that group of bandits who kidnapped me, I've been wondering if this was truly the life for me. Even so, I'm glad I have my two friends with me. I know that if I hadn't been found by them, I would be dead by now.

So I suppose, I should be grateful. Even if I'm not with my family right now.

--from the diary of Tsuhirei

--

I never really did like my name. I found it a bit weird, which is why I go by the name Hirei now. I've lost all contact with my parents—but I'm sure they're somewhere in the two worlds—and have made quite a name of myself.

When I had run away from the bandits, I didn't know how to survive on my own and thus, I used the thieving skills I learned from them to survive. Of course, it was easy since kitsune were sly and tricky to begin with. I stole to keep myself and only myself alive.

Then I met a boy with the blood of a kaze-youkai and hi-youkai flowing through his veins and a girl who had the mentality of a ten year old. While they drive me crazy at times, they were my first friends and I would do anything to protect them.

Even if I had to sacrifice my own life to do it.

--

A girl looking eighteen years of age stared at the dancing flames of the campfire. Her hair was silver, reaching near her waist and her eyes the color of emeralds. She wore a white outfit made from silk and around her neck was two necklaces: one had two teargems (one was clear and the other green) while the other necklace had a silver pendant shaped as a feather.

She looked up from the bonfire to stare at the dark sky. The moonlight provided enough light for her to see in the forest while the stars twinkled like fireflies. She unknowingly gripped her necklace with the two teargems and looked on worriedly at the sky.

"Why?" she whispered to the night. She heard rustling next to her and she looked back down to see a head popping from underneath the bundle of blankets. The head belonged to a girl looking about the same age and had messy dark green hair that reached to her chin and dull light brown eyes. She rubbed them tiredly as she looked at the silver-haired girl.

"Ri-neechan?" the green-haired girl asked, lifting her head from the pillow as high as she could. "What's wrong?"

'Ri-neechan' smiled and patted the other girl on the head. "Go back to sleep."

The girl yawned before plopping her head back on the pillow, obeying the green-eyed girl. "Night, Ri-neechan."

"Night," but it fell on deaf ears for the other girl had already fallen asleep and was snoring softly.

"She may be young so she can't tell that you're worried about something but I can." The silver-haired girl looked up from the slumbering figure to meet the piercing grey eyes of a black-haired boy. He wore a black cloak which covered his entire body and on his left ear were two small silver hoop earrings: one with a light pink—nearly clear—teargem attached and the other with a crimson teargem attached. "There's something bothering you, Hirei."

She let out a big sigh as she looked at the flames. "Nothing gets pass you, huh."

At the not-so-much-a-question-than-a-statement-but-phrased-as-a-question reply he'd receive from his companion, the black-haired boy scowled. "Just answer me."

"I'm just wondering about my younger siblings and if I made the right choice of not going to find them." Hirei told him, complying with his wishes; she knew that he had the patience of a giant. She then looked up from the flames and met his gray eyes. "I'm wondering if I made the right choice by choosing this life."

The boy leaned against the tree trunk behind him and closed his eyes. "Tell me, do you hear it?"

Hirei blinked, not quite sure what he was talking about. "Hear what?"

"Of course, you wouldn't be able to hear the wind. You aren't a kaze-youkai, after all." His eyes slowly opened and gazed at her. "But I know you can hear them."

Hirei took an educated guess and guessed that he meant the plants. As a plant manipulator, she was in tune with nature and could hear them. "Yes, but I don't get where you're getting at, Firefly."

"And so, you can hear them speak what they want." the boy said, ignoring what she had called him by. "Just as I can hear the winds speak words of wisdom in my ears. It travels around the Makai and the Tentou and it gives me news, although in riddles and rhymes."

"Firefly..." Hirei started but trailed off when she saw him hold up a hand.

"I've never told you this, but I've asked the wind to tell me what happened to your siblings." He looked at the flames, not knowing her stunned expression. "They are fine and well. Your twin is Kurokage, the Black Shadow, while your sister is being raised at an orphanage and is a talented painter. There is nothing to worry about. What we should worry about is what our next destination is."

Hirei appeared to be in a trance but she blinked it away. She registered what he had said and smirked. "I believe we should go to Varrock (1). I've heard of the famous castle residing there."

"Tch, very well." He closed his eyes and relaxed. "Oh and stop calling me 'Firefly'."

Hirei gave a sly smile. "I don't call you Firefly, Taki."

The boy reopened his eyes and aimed a half-hearted glare at her before closing them once more, finally going to sleep. Hirei gave a small smile and looked at the bag next to her. She searched through it and took out what she had been trying to find. She smiled at the wooden flute in her hands and began playing it, sending a soft and gentle melody that was soon carried through the forest by the soft blowing wind.

--

The young girl stepped back to look at the finished painting she had spent nearly the entire day on. It was a front-side view of a teenage girl who was sitting on a tree branch and was surrounded by fireflies. She was looking at the white rose in her hand.

"Saeki-chan, that's quite a painting there. Who is that?" a new volunteer at the orphanage asked, curious. "She's quite pretty."

The girl, Saeki, smiled happily and answered, "My older sister Tsuhirei, of course!"


(1) Varrock is the largest city in the game Runescape which my brother and I used to play. I'm sure some of you have heard of it before.