Despite it being midst the winter holidays the paperwork and mail stacks high on top of the principal's oak desk; hovering, precariously in a corner. Even though she had just previously spent hours reading each letter meticulously and signing the important documents Haruyo barely made even a dent within the massage stack, growing larger as the day grows shorter. It is at constant risk of tipping over and scatter all over the stone floor.
With a weary sigh the ancient woman carefully sets her pen down to move towards the window with belying grace.
She gazes memorizing at the thick, brilliant snowflakes that fall heavily down to the frozen ground. With trained eyes she spots a group of children tossing snowballs of war of taunting hostility.
Moving with quick, confident strides she heads for the door. Waving her hand elegantly towards the closet her winter cloak comes into her waiting hand. Assembling the thick cloak carefully around her she leaves the room to join the children for a bit of winter air.
The heavy limestone doors close with an echoing thud; alerting the young children to her presence. As she walks up to them a few of the braver first years grin mischievously. One of the older children smiles charmingly at her to which she returns. Just as she turns to head towards the forest in search of an old centaur a snowball impales on her back. Spinning she glares at the student whose face lights up bashfully as she raises an eyebrow at his challenge. The very challenge he made every single year for the ten years he has been here. Even now she can remember the young seven year old who tossed one at her in his first year. Not so much as a regret when she turned around to scold him.
"Don't you get tired of losing, little one?" She inquires softly while glaring sternly.
He simply grins and shrugs. "It's not losing if you're having fun, ma'am." He counters back.
Chuckling in mirth at them she decides rather amusingly to show just how much she outmatches them. With a sly grin she raises her hands dramatically and focus on forming several snowballs. As hundreds of snowballs form around the group of children she almost laughs at their rapidly paling faces. Their eyes turn to stare at her in sheer astonishment. With a grin she orders the young man firmly, "Call a truce?"
The boy merely shakes his head in denial causing several of the first years to shout, "Come on man! She's going to release snowballs of death and you won't call a truce?"
Inside she fought with all her might to keep from laughing at their alarm. Shrugging she comments offhandedly, "If he wishes to pay the price for this challenge so be it."
Concealing her laughter she sends the snowballs flying at the group. Still she controls the speed to make sure none of them would be injured by a ball of frozen water.
A few minutes later the boy calls to her as he and his friends struggled out of the pile of snow. "Did you have fun, ma'am?" His guiltless tone makes her control slip and she laughs hard at his friends' mocking glares.
"Indeed. I found it very amusing, young sir." She warmly smiles at them. "It was a worthy battle, gentlemen." She approvingly nods to the pile of snow they were once waist deep in.
"Battle? Battle! It was mindless slaughter with snow!" One of the friends screeches; stuttering with disbelief.
"Yes, well the next time you need a lesson of humility just ask." She teases good naturally as she waves to them in farewell. Still having a good chuckle at their baffled expressions she turns towards the North where the woods are located.
Even in the harsh winter wind she continues with a one tracked interest to seeing her wise old friend. As she enters the deep thicket the chattering of inexperienced squirrels lightens the air with the laughter of the children she previously departed from.
She reaches the edge of the centaur territory just as the faint sound of a twig breaking underneath snow alerts her to a presence of some sort just a few in front of her. Tensing instinctively she watches the scenery carefully until she could feel the familiar scent of her companion, Farer.
He treads forward cautiously but as his dark eyes fell upon her he abandons all caution to rush towards her. His odd behavior is startling but upon a closer inspection she understood at once. Upon his back lay a small child soaking wet with both snow and blood. The visible hand clutching her chest is stained with dried blood and bent awkwardly.
Pushing her sleeve back; shuddering internally at the biting chill crawling through her now exposed hand, she carefully touches the young girl's face. Heart breaking at the child's terrified whimper at an unwanted touch she carefully whispers, "Where did you find her?"
Farer glances back at the bushes and murmurs, "Amongst one of the outer camps around dawn. You must hurry, Principal. Take her to your people of cures."
"Can you not leave the territory?" She questions urgently as her hands cautiously shifts the child.
"I'm sorry, Principal. I must not leave, the young foals have come down with an illness and I'm the only one in the vicinity until a few more hours." He gazes apologetically at the small child, "Let me know how she fares, madam."
Not bothering to argue with his point, Haruyo tenderly moves the fragile child into her arms before rushing back towards the only family she could trust with this dire situation, the Hikaran. Walking as fast as she dares with such a wounded child she felt her mind struggling to reason who had allowed such a child out in such harsh weather. Dreading the reason she quickly pushes it aside as she determines the quickest way to get to the doctors. They were the closest for the school nurse was away with family for the holidays.
A few minutes later Haruyo finds herself staggering down a slick snow covered hill leading to the front door of her destination. Gasping for air she shouts out desperately, "Steven! Silas! There's an emergency!"
The sound of a person running towards the door a few seconds later allows her to breathe with relief. They hadn't left for the holidays. Shaking off her relief she glances down at the small child to see the barest movement of her chest.
The door opens to a young man. He takes one look at the pair and ushers them in quickly asking, "What happened?" His eyes gaze worriedly at the small child as he takes her from the Headmistress to carry her with considerate movement to a nearby bed.