“Let’s look around and see what we can find,” As tempting as rushing over to the kitchen storage was, you rather explore the secret passages. You are a Chosen of Secrets. How could you not explore them? You hold out your hand to Chiyoko. She takes it and together you wander the secret passages. For each new passage, Chiyoko tells you where it leads.
“This one leads to the kitchen gardens,” she whispers. The scent of dirt saturates the air coming from that passage.
“Wait,” You hear the clanging of metal. The end of the passage glows with firelight. Chiyoko drags you into a small alcove. She closes her fist around the crystal and purges the passage into darkness. The alcove is so small, you feel the rise and fall of Chiyoko’s breast as she breathes.
The light approaches and younger of the two groundskeepers appears. His dirty blond hair is loose around his sun-tanned face. He juggles metal rat traps in one hand and adjusts a stained leather pouch on his shoulder. Torch held high, he walks past your hiding place without noticing you. The stench of sour beer lingers after he passes. The torchlight pauses and you hear him fiddle with the rat trap. He leaves it in the intersection between two hallways. After a few minutes, the torchlight fades as he walks away.
“I think he is gone,” Chiyoko whispers. You don’t reply, more focused on the spicy scent of her hair. You reach out and take the crystal from her hand and put it deep into your pocket. You run your fingers through her shoulder length hair.
“Here?” she breathes on your neck. “What if the groundskeeper comes back?”
“The groundskeeper is drunk. He won’t notice us.” You kiss her. Chiyoko pulls your closer and you press her against the wall of the alcove.
“Wait,” Chiyoko breaks off and pushes you against the opposite wall of the alcove. “What are we trying to do here?”
“What?” You grow frustrated. You thought it was obvious what you were trying to do here.
“Neither you nor I have any Maiden Tea.” Chiyoko points out.
The words Maiden Tea clears your head. You didn’t think things would get that far. Actually, you did not think that far beyond Chiyoko and the scent of her hair and the feel of her…. You take a deep breath and attempt to think things though.
Danger! The threads of fate vibrate in anticipation of violence. You tense and listen to the empty hallway. You hear nothing.
“What is it?” Chiyoko asks. You cover her mouth with your hand and stick your head out of the alcove.
“Rowr.” A black cat with glowing yellow eyes stares you down. The air around Chiyoko’s body grows warmer as she observes the cat.
“Shoo!” you hiss. Maidens, please let this be a normal cat.
The cat’s tail poofs. It turns away from you and confronts the hallway, growling. The groundskeeper’s trap lies in wait. A dark shapeless form creeps along the ceiling of the passage. It flows down the wall and encircles the rat trap.
BANG BANG BANG! The dark shadow beats the rat trap against the stone floor. You look down to find the cat gone.
What do you do?
- Attack the shadow
- Creep away and look for the cat
- Stay hidden until the shadow passes
- Creep closer and get a better look at the shadow.
((This whole situation is hysterical from the cat’s point of view.))
((Also, yet again, the fates have aligned to make this a seasonally appropriate post.))