The truck pulls to a stop in front of the wide stone foot path, men take boxes up the path and into the Grey Flower House. The men deposit boxes inside the dark entry way adding more and more to the pile. Some struggle with large furniture in the narrow winding halls that lead to even narrower stair ways. Three girls and a boy wheel suit cases from a long black town car down the stone pathway, the two in front red heads, the girl in back and the boy have hair black as coal. The first girl announces in a shrill voice, "What a dump, I hear this building hasn't been used in years. I suppose it doesn't matter though, this is where the old woman chose for us to stay. I'm just glad we got to chose our rooms and that they are private rooms."
The second girl spoke much softer but very clearly. "Sister, please your tone offends. Please keep it down. Mother Hatake wished for us to be here for certain reasons I am sure. The list of other dorm renters alone must have perked some interest in her."
The boy with coal black hair and deep green eyes spoke up. "Madam must have some interest in at least one of the residents here or in one of the other buildings that share our court yard perhaps, I agree. Otherwise I don't believe she'd have chosen a place such as this, but then maybe this is to teach us something. Who knows, maybe the rich old bats loosing it. Let's just get our shit up to our rooms and eat. No one else arrives till tomorrow anyways, so relax for now."
The girl in the back with the mid back length coal black hair stared off into space only slightly registering what had been said as she was the last to enter the sliding ashen mock rice paper door. They each grabbed their luggage up and headed down the narrow hall and up the twisting stairway to predestined rooms. Several trips were made, eventually the men from the moving company left, twenty minutes later food arrived, delivery from a restaurant a few blocks away. The four huddled around a paper sack eating food out of Styrofoam containers. None of them spoke, they picked up their garbage when they finished and one by one left to go sleep for the evening. Not even bothering to dig for sheets or bedding in their still packed boxes.
Some time in the early morning a shadowy figure dressed in official school robes stuck flyer neatly into the corner of each and every door frame belonging to a student in the district. The flyers boasted bright colors in high gloss announcing the entrance ceremony would be a masquerade ball to be held the next evening and all students had to attend, fancy dress and mask required. The early morning sun broke through the cloudy morning as great big moving trucks lined up outside and more men unloaded boxes and furniture carrying it up the wide stone path and to the dorm. Hours later the residents who's belongings had been delivered arrived and began to order the movers around. The boy with coal black hair and deep green eyes sat alone unpacking in his room. He pulls a worn teddy bear from a box and shakes away a sad thought. Instead he thinks of something his father once told him, a truer idea he'd yet to hear. His father had said to him, ladies are best in the raw, naked in both body and soul, hiding nothing, but that those ladies were also the most dangerous. His mother had been one of those women he was sure of it. He tossed a pillow onto a large king sized waterbed and sighed. All those new fresh faces, all those pretty girls. Beautiful and loaded, purses heavy as they were shallow. They would swoon and blush making hushed remarks at first, then they'd be hard to keep at bay. He couldn't wait.
In another room the shrill voiced girl twirled in front of a large full length mirror, her waist length curly red hair fell in neat springy spirals around her small curvy form. She batted her light green eyes and smiled to herself. She would win her mothers wealth for sure, all that power would be hers and she'd crush everyone else beneath her slender heel. Her younger sister was no competition, always worried about appearance and manners. That boy, he was trouble, a lady killer. He'd be a good match for her if he wasn't in her way, but he was so he had to be destroyed. She pulled another box off the pile and pulled clothing out slowly folding and placing on her large pink heart shaped bed. She twisted her hair between slender fingers and laughed to herself.
Next door the soft spoken girl with short bobbed red hair and eyes green as grass sat in a unpacked room sipping a glass of fresh brewed tea before a mid sized frilly white lace bed set. Dried flowers lay across an antique dressing table next to hair pins and brushes. She hums softly to herself as she thinks about times long ago when they'd been young. A festival they'd been allowed to go to once, and only once. All of them had been enchanted by the atmosphere of the evening lights and booth lined streets, the shimmering golden kites and the tiny golden fish they'd taken home. Mother Hatake had gotten angry, they'd acted to immature, running around and giggling. She killed their fish, to teach them to behave. It had been a harsh lesson. The girl sipped her tea again slowly.
Up on the top of one of the two rooftop rooms lay the girl with the mid back length coal black hair in a spongy green bed of clover vines, her hair fanned out around her, her pale white slender wrist shielded her clear icy blue eyes from the sun as she stared up at the clouds dancing across the blue grey sky. She closed her eyes in an attempt to clear her thoughts but failed. She sighed, worried about things she didn't even fully grasp, her parents,so long gone, her brother, so full of himself. How was it that her life had ended up this way, she wondered. Soft rustling came from the rooftop below. A smooth male voice shouted angrily for someone to leave him alone, a door slammed shut and footsteps hurried away. She rolled on her side, the wafting scent of tiny whitish pink flowers filled her nose and she stifled a yawn. The sun crept across the sky.
The evening approached quicker than any of them had prepared for, hurried frantic panic behind each of the residents sliding doors. Carriages had already begun to arrive to take them the short distance to the schools grand ballroom, short fat wooden boxes with two wheels and a single white horse pulling them along. One by one shadowy shapes sneak out the doors to their waiting transports. The many clomping hooves against stone pathways echoing through out the early evenings calm quiet.
The grand ballroom was massive and could have been seen from blocks away had the carriages not been covered. The structure was solid, carved from grey and black stone, trimmed in fine cuts of rosewood, a large tower jutted up from one side with a great stained glass window portraying two figures holding hands with loving looks in their eyes. A former student gifted this structure to the school almost twenty years before. Each carriage deposited it's guest at the wide open double doors, a man in all black wearing a white mask handed each a announcement sheet upon entering into the grand lobby. No names were allowed to be used until later this evening, any student caught breaking these rules would be immediately removed from both the ball and the school said the tiny white papers. Beyond the lobby was a great wide staircase that lead up into the ballrooms balcony, the balcony rails wrapped tightly in lilies and orchids. Another wide staircase poured down into the ballroom itself, exquisite chandeliers hung neatly in two rows reflecting tiny beads of light off the polished grey green stone floors. A tall wide fountain, a couple embracing, of black marble poured water out of a jug slowly down into its shallow basin.
Along the left and right sides were long elegant tables spread with fine foods and punch bowls, behind them stood rows of men and women in all black save the white masks ready to serve. At the end opposite the staircase stood a line of tall throne like chairs, the tallest in the middle. On them sat well dressed men and women holding solid black circles before their faces on long thin poles. Students arrived in a solid stream, pouring down the wide staircase in elegant gowns and fine silk suits, many girls donned the traditional porcelain geisha masks trimmed in gold leaf, the boys in simple thin ball masks that covered around their eyes. A few rare masks stood out as antiques or art, floating in and out of the crowd.
She stumbles slightly on the bottom stair, a strand of coal black hair falls loose from her bun twisting around the dainty silver wire mask and brushing against the translucent shimmering white two inch wide silk cloth tied around her eyes. She brushed the loose hairs behind her ear with a flick of slender pale fingers and lets out a soft sigh. Giggling voices made comments from nearby, even without knowing each other girls bonded over fashion, she frowned. She'd hurriedly dressed in a simple black silk floor length dress that laced up the back with a fat silver ribbon that rested just above the base of her spine in a spooling elongated bow. A tiny bit of lace and bead work made her gown seem plain in the sea of fancy designer fabrics. She bent down and smoothed a crease out of her skirt, running her slender pale white hand slowly down the length from her hip to her ankle.
A firm push from behind and she barely manages to catch herself, preventing an embarrassing spill. She gracefully righted herself turning towards the offending party. A silver fox in a tuxedo, she thought, he wore black with a silver white mask with shaggy silver hair pouring out from behind. He was quite tall, a good six inches over her and his skin was a pale peach tone.
He bowed slightly and said in a smooth even tone, "I am so sorry, I didn't see you there."
She followed the direction of his gaze to a group of giggling girls, typical he wasn't even looking at her. She bowed her head slightly and said very softly, "I don't believe thats an excuse."
He turned towards her and paused for a moment. "Perhaps then a dance with me will make up for my offense? I do apologize."
She laughed covering her mouth with the crook of her hand. "No thanks. Your apology is fine, I don't care to dance with you. Go play with those girls you were drooling over and leave me be." She turns to leave.
He stands stunned for a moment then hurries after her. "You really are turning me down then? Let me guess, your one of those foolish girls who think they've found love or some such nonsense. Or maybe you can't see through that mask you wear. Tell me."
She stops suddenly in her tracks and turns back to him. "You bumped into me and now you feel the need to insult me as well. Regardless of if I can or can not see, your just trying to save your injured pride because I said no, and as to me being foolish or not I don't think thats for you to know."
He shakes his head agreeing before he'd even realized, his cheeks warm, his heart flutters strangely in his chest. She again tries to walk away from him, he grabs for her wrist and misses. A deep red suit steps between them, swatting away his hand with a grin. Short silver hair peeks from behind a elongated wolf mask, a female form in male clothes gives a strange laugh and leans forward her breath against the back of the black haired girls neck. "Dance with me then, oh brooding beauty. Wolves are more fun than foxes any day."
His voice trembles slightly. "Wolves should back away this prey may be to feisty for us both, but I was here first, none the less."
The wolf laughed again. "To feisty for you perhaps, but they are never to feisty for me. Stupid fox."
The black haired girl tries again to leave, the fox takes a few steps away. The female wolf in the deep red suit grabs the black haired girl by the wrists, she tries to pull away but the wolf has a strong grip. A long skinny finger tips up the wolf mask slightly, the wolf leans in trying to plant a kiss on the coal haired maidens lips. A quick jerk to the left, a black silk covered leg strikes deep red pant. The wolf falls to her ass, hitting the polished grey green stone floor with a resonant thud. The black haired girl disappears into the crowd.
An elderly asian man stands at the head of the great hall, rising from the tallest of the throne like chairs. He had long wispy white hair matched with long eyebrows and fu man chu, reminiscent of a b movie kung fu master, in a fine designer suit. He is handed a microphone as he clears his throat. "Welcome new students, to the great Sakura Henge University. I am Headmaster Suichi, if you have any problems please come see me. For those who were unaware this entire city is a part of the University campus, so for the next four years you will be judged on many many things both in and out of class. As you may have heard we only accept students every three years, feel privileged that someone spoke well enough of you to allow your admittance to this institution. Each one of you should enjoy your weekend and take time to get settled into the dorms, classes don't begin until Tuesday. Monday is club recruitment day for any interested, the cafeteria will open bright and early five a.m. tomorrow morning. Schedules can be picked up in the front offices. Please try to visit our shopping district and gardens in your free time, our newly renovated museum and libraries are currently preparing to open their doors. The study labs construction has , sadly, gone over schedule but should open on Wednesday. Now I'm sure your all anxious about who you've been chatting up all night, so if you need to duck away now is the time. You may remove your masks. Enjoy the night."
The girl with the coal black hair loosened the translucent shimmering white two inch wide piece of fabric that covered her icy clear blue eyes, the delicate silver mask fell loosely around her neck clinging to the skinny fabric held by tiny silver threaded stitches. She brushed strands of hair behind her ears and sighed. She was ready to leave. "Kasumi, you are so hopeless, what is this tragedy? You've dressed yourself in that whore of mother of yours gown, how appropriate. Did you plan to catch a big fish with that quaint old thing? Or did you just not own anything else?" The voice shrill and pointed came from behind her. The long curly red hair, obnoxious tone and over priced clothes made Kasumi shake her head in disgust.
A quiet soft voice interrupted. "Ichigo, please your manner makes us appear crude, dear sister. There must be something you can find to like about her, right?" Kasumi, the girl with coal black hair, turned to face the red headed duo. Her Icy blue eyes met the light green eyes of the shrill voiced one. Kasumi spoke calmly, quietly so only the two girls could hear. "Ichigo, I pity whatever fool allows you to dig your claws into him, your just like your Mother. A bitch through and through."
Ichigo turned red, her eyes flared with anger. The other red head grabbed her and they walked off together. Ichigo glared at Kasumi until they were out of sight. Kasumi shook her head and sighed. What a silly thing, anger, she had made a hasty and bad choice in insulting her, she was sure. Ichigo would be more driven now, the old woman's fortune was most likely lost in that small interaction. Even if she'd had a chance before. Kasumi headed outside to the garden to watch the stars before heading back to the dorms.