"Forgive me for interrupting you, Lord Eirlys but will you be late again tonight?" One of the elderly servants, Mia, ventures out softly as she comes up next to the young noble.
"Yes, and forgive me for not notifying you of it last night, Mia." The respectful apology and answer is just loud enough for the lady to hear. His amber eyes flicker over to the elderly man sitting down at the low table just a few feet away.
"The night seems to have fared you well. Are you feeling better, Grandfather Chiyo?" He greets civilly as his eyes narrow at the slight grimace that crosses the other's face before resting on the cup of herbal tea in the wrinkled hands while Chiyo merely sighs at the underlying hostility.
"I will be fine, boy. Now shouldn't you get your haori? It's almost time for you to arrive at the barracks." Chiyo reminds the young man who simply sighs before leaning near the table.
Gazing at the two bento boxes on the table, Sasaeru quickly calls out, "Mia?"
Mia rushes forward as he hands them to her and asks almost frightened, "Do they not please you, Lord Eirlys?"
Sasaeru blinks slight before quickly halting the woman from leaving, reassuring gently, "No, Mia. I could never be anything but pleased with your meals. I merely wish for you to hold them for me as I go get my haori."
"Yes, I'll have it ready for when you leave." She quickly bows as they felt the intense glare of the man who abruptly stands up and exits.
Unfazed, Sasaeru rushes back to his bedroom as Mia watches him leave with a sad gaze. 'I hope he doesn't push too far. He doesn't look like he's been sleeping enough."
Sliding the doors shut behind him Sasaeru sighs heavily. Forehead rests against the cool oak wood as tired eyes shut briefly. Exhaustion clings to every bone and with a wince the ebony haired man grips the red haori from its peg beside the door. Shuffling from the room and enter the garden Sasaeru stops at the sound of Mia's voice.
"Here are the bentos." She hands the bentos over before looking away with a faint blush.
A gleam of excitement sparks in his eyes as he leans forward to plant a soft kiss on her cheek, "Thank you, Mia."
As she stutters out a response his laughter echoes the manor garden while he rushes away to meet his team at the barracks. Slowing to a walk he glances up at the sky. Heat from the searing sun warms his face as he takes in the out of season cherry blossom trees as they fall in the breeze. Resting his hand upon his katana, he murmurs in his thoughts, 'Hey, Raron. You there?'
'How could I not, Sasaeru? My soul is yours to an extent. Now what do you wish of me?' The warm voice responds with a lecturing tone that makes the soul slayer roll his eyes before answering the man's question.
'I feel like something will happen today. It makes me anxious.' The confession stuns the soul residing within the sword for a few minutes as they reach the barracks.
'Now that you brought it up. I am feeling this as well. Still, there isn't anything we can do at the moment. Now go, your leader is calling for you.'
"Yes, sir?" Sasaeru questions softly as the man comes up next to him. The man wore the same haori as his only altered slightly to be longer.
"We have a lot of work to do today." Tsubasan smiles warmly at his second in command who merely smiles faintly back.
"Of course, Tsubasan." Sasaeru chuckles as the two weave their way through the hoard of slayers chatting and sparring to reach a large office separate from all the other buildings.
"I need you to spar against me later." The calm declaration is received with a warm chuckle from the younger man.
"Alright, but we're not going full out." Sasaeru firmly asserts to the amusement of the other.
"Oh, afraid I'll injure you?"
The noble simply grins openly, "No, sir. I'm afraid I might wind up cutting off that beautiful long hair of yours."
Smirking Tsubasan retorts, "Do it and you'll be doing paperwork for a month."
Sasaeru stops to stare in sheer disbelief before quickly stammering out, "I won't, I promise."
Satisfied having won the argument, the blonde haired man pushes the reluctant noble within the office. Stacked upon two desks were precariously stacked papers almost two feet high. The two groan softly at the amount before settling down to attempt to make a dent within the stack.
A few hours later Sasaeru inquires softly, "Where are Yuzura and Yommr?"
"They're busy finding some rare item that I so graciously asked of them." Tsubasan states calmly and Sasaeru laughs quietly at the obvious deception.
"Before we have our nightly spar, can you go on a patrol in the northern woods?" Tsubasan asks a few minutes later after a quiet silence.
"Sure, I'll go after lunch in a few minutes." Sasaeru remarks as he places the last of the completed paperwork in the basket just as Yuzura runs in shouting.
"Leader Tsubasan, I found it!" She holds up a black seashell causing Tsubasan to wince while Sasaeru laughs at his leader's expression.
"Well, sir, good luck with the training for today. I'll be back later. Ja ne!" Sasaeru smirks at the helpless glare sent his way while he jumps out the window with a bento in hand.
Strolling through the woods with chopsticks in hand he absently begins to wonder if there would be any souls out tonight. Just after placing the bento away the screams of a small girl pierce the night air. Tensing with indecision of which direction the sound was coming from he waits anxiously for the next.
As it comes he quickly rushes along the path north, hoping that he would get there in time. Stopping in front of the clearing he spots three souls shoving a child of mere seven or eight to the ground. A short soul aims a kick for her head just as Sasaeru grips his arm, amber eyes dark with rage.
"What do you think you're doing?" He hisses as the souls freeze in fear at the visibly furious slayer in front of them.
"We weren't going to do anything." The small one stutters as Sasaeru pulls out the katana and crashes it against the three skulls too fast for the three to attempt to flee. The girl's dark eyes peer at him in mixture of fear and awe.
"Why didn't you join in? Most do." She states quietly as he leans down to untie the rope around her wrists.
"That's because I've sworn upon the pride of my family to protect those that deserve it." Sasaeru firmly explains as he finishes tying up the three souls and pulls free a notice flare. Lighting it with the fire he asks her quietly, "Do you have a name, shifter?"
"What's a name?" She whispers as she sits next to the fire with a bright grin as it dances within the air. Still she keeps her hands away from the heat as if knowing from experience the flames were not to be touched.
Sasaeru opens his mouth to reply when the appearance of his friend, Hanae, enters the clearing before spotting the three souls. Relieved that the souls would make it back, Sasaeru carefully picks the girl up as she drifts asleep and rushes back to the barracks.
"Sasaeru! Welcome back. Your grandfather is looking for you." Yommr dutifully announces as he enters the barracks about twenty minutes later with the small girl still clinging to his haori.
"Thank you, Yommr. Hanae is bring three souls. I'll make sure to explain what happened after I make sure the child is safe." The swift response is given as he walks away towards his room within the barracks.
"Sasaeru, who is that child?" Chiyo demands sharply as he takes site of the pale girl his grandson held onto protectively.
"She has no name. If she wishes I will adopt her into this family." Sasaeru declares as he places the child down on the bed.
"I will not allow some commoner orphan into the noble Eirlys family!" Chiyo defies harshly as his grandson turns to face him with fiery eyes.
"I will protect her from anything. Even family, grandfather." The veiled threat startles the man before he storms from the room.
Glancing down at the child, Sasaeru sighs. Something about this child brought out the protectiveness he had rarely felt if at all. As her eyes begin to flutter open he found himself unable to care much for the trials this decision would make. He would protect this girl, his soon to be sister.