(Ask First) Parsee's Search

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(Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 28 Aug 2011 08:08

Time at the bridge passed the same way it always did: Slowly. Parsee leaned against the railing, staring out at the river, as she always did. She had spent all morning here, simply watching the waves. She was not a patient, sagely youkai, finding beauty in the constant, slight motions of nature, or a poet drawing inspiration from every little quirk of the environment. No, she was simply bored, in the aftermath of her failed attempt at stoneworking.

After all, there was nothing to do here, and so she was left with little to do but watch, every day and night. Whether there was any point in separating the two down here was, of course, another matter entirely. Time and again, she had considered walking along the river, and done so, until each end led into smaller channels, with a marked lack of banks. Swimming out of necessity was one thing, but doing so across long distances in the freezing, frankly less than pristine waters of this nameless river was quite another.

Knowing nearly nothing of a place so close to the bridge she had called home for the better part - in the strictly figurative sense - of her life irritated her, certainly, but there was nothing for it. And so, Parsee did what she so often did: she gave up. It was, perhaps, her single most practiced skill at this point.

Still, perhaps there was another way to explore the river. It was a small, petty task to obsess over, certainly, but what else did she have to fill an eternity with? Something could be done, but... no. That would mean going to the surface. But maybe, just maybe, there would be one down here. When killing time was the only true goal, the search mattered as much as the object. But she could never do it herself, not alone. And that... that would mean asking for help. From the only one who would even consider helping: Yuugi. Unfortunate, but necessary. After a few minutes of her typical procrastination, she looks away from the river, beginning her trip down the rocky slopes that lead deeper into the caves.

---

Parsee's walk from the bridge to the snowy city was drawing to a close, and already she wished it hadn't, half-considering retreating to her home. The city - more of a village, really - below the earth was quite an oddity, existing where no such thing had any reason to. More to the point, it was loud, crowded and, thanks to the bonfires and lanterns, a good deal brighter than the rest of the caves.

Noise, crowds and bright lights; all things the youkai was not accustomed to in the slightest and disliked greatly. But then, quite a number of things could be described as such. Avoiding the parades of ghosts and youkai alike, she remains silent, drifting through alley after alley in her pursuit of silence, somehow less lively than the many spirits of the dead in the city.

Eventually, she arrives at the oni's house, a path she knew quite well at this point, having walked it a good deal more often than she liked to think about. She had, apparently, replaced the front door since the last time. Good. While accidentally removing doors from hinges was... perhaps a little inevitable in Yuugi's case, there was no reason to leave them that way. After clinging to a wall to let a few youkai pass, she finally knocks on the door a few times, hardly expecting the sound to be heard over the din all around her.

"Yuugi?" Parsee asks, somewhat more quietly than is strictly advisable. She was never one for raising her voice much. "Are you home?"
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 28 Aug 2011 21:49

Today's agenda for Yuugi the Strong of the Four Devas of the Mountain?

SPIRIT WRESTLING.

No, seriously.

The oni had their agreement with the youkai of the surface: No interference from above, and in exchange they'd keep the spirits of the underworld from causing much of a ruckus down there. And the oni were nothing if not dilligent, a fact which could be traced to any number of reasons. The most prominent of these would, of course, be the strong sense of honesty; it was the duty of all oni, after all, and if an oni didn't do their part, their peers would mercilessly jab them for not keeping to their word, so to speak. And almost as much as that, if you fell behind your peers in keeping up, you were clearly weaker than they were!

There weren't many oni who could keep up with Yuugi the Strong.

Grinning broadly and looking for all the world like she'd just had a nice light workout, the Deva was happily striding her way on back to her home. She'd had a pretty good day keeping the rowdy things in line, and showing off in the process, but now it was time to head on home and get started on the night's sake. She was trying to think how she'd keep herself entertained along with her evening drinking, but the train of thought was promptly derailed by unexpectedly arriving at its destination: the bridge princess!

Well, this was something she didn't foresee, but she most certainly wasn't going to complain. Whenever Parsee decided to actually come visit her, instead of the other way around, it was always something that at least kept her entertained. And that wasn't even counting the playful teasing. It was kinda fun getting her flustered.

So maybe it wouldn't be such a boring evening after all!

Of course, Yuugi wasn't above getting the festivities started a little early. Seeing the bridge princess's demeanor, the oni quieted her steps just a little, using the din of the city to cover the sound of her geta getting closer. She waited until she was within about a foot of Parsee, then leaned forward, and reached down a hand to clamp firmly on the youkai's shoulder. At the same time, she lifted her voice enough to be heard over the sounds of the city easily, perfectly timing it with the contact.

"YO!"
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 29 Aug 2011 02:55

The bridge-princess flinches in shock, collapsing on the spot, dropping the large but rather light bag in her hand. Scrambling around frantically on the ground to face Yuugi, she stands up and dusts herself off, in a vain attempt to hold on to something resembling dignity.

"D-don't do that again," she stammers, then suddenly trails off. This was Yuugi, there wasn't much of a point to her protests. "You're going to do it next time, aren't you?" The youkai guesses with a slight sigh and shake of her head. Well, there was nothing for it. There was something about the oni that made her rather nervous at the best of times, but then, that could be applied to anyone else too - perhaps more so, at that. She was, effectively, a hermit; dealing with others was a skill she held in a past life, and one which did not survive the passage of time.

"Hello, Yuugi," she mumbles, somewhat belatedly, as she bends down to pick up the bag. "I... needed your help with something," she adds, reluctant to admit it, as ever. Guilt played some part in that - Parsee hardly ever came her unless she needed something from the oni. "I was hoping to find a tree. To make a boat. That and a few repairs to the bridge, I suppose, but... well, you know me, I can't leave. It has to be a tree from down here. Unless... I mean, unless it's a bad time now."

She slumps her shoulders slightly, quite aware of how absurd it all sounds. "Sorry. Ridiculous, I know, but I thought it might be worth a try. Never mind that, anyway. This is for you." The bridge-princess passes the bag in her hand to Yuugi, opening it a little. It contains a small pile of paper lanterns, slightly uneven in size. The work of an experienced amateur: Hardly perfect, but not exactly a beginner's work either. The paper on each has been painted a bright crimson - how she found the paint is anyone's guess - and a few have been decorated with a star and red horn.

"Just a few lanterns. You seem to go through them quickly enough, somehow, so I thought a few more couldn't hurt," she explains, quite quickly reminded of why she was typically so reluctant to do this sort of thing. Showing her somewhat inferior work - she was, after all, only a dabbler - to anyone always felt rather uncomfortable. With any luck, the oni would be too drunk to notice any mistakes.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 02 Sep 2011 07:19

By the time Parsee turned around, the oni was laughing heartily. The expression on the smaller youkai's face was just too good. "Ahahahaha... man, y'gotta keep your eyes around the place. I coulda been..." She stopped to think about that. What kind of idiot would go around attacking visitors in a city full of oni? A memory of red and white danced through her mind's eye, and she finally concluded, "I coulda been a shrine maiden."

At being accused of planning to do it again, Yuugi looked a little guilty. "Well, I won't go *looking* for a chance, but if I get the opportunity..." She really couldn't lie. It would be positively un-onilike!

But Parsee had something to discuss, and the deva was nothing if not attentive. "Hey, if you got a problem, just ask! I figure you'd do the same if I ever needed somethin'." She crossed her arms and listened to the bridge princess's dilemma, and in the end, she nodded her head solemnly. "Mm mm. It is a pretty tough sitch."

Yuugi's arms uncrossed, and she planted her fists against her hips, grinning. "Well, I ain't gonna tell you wrong, be a lot better if we could just climb up to the surface. Lotsa trees up there, and sturdy ones too! But, if y'ain't good for that, I'm sure we'll find somethin' you can use. I sure ain't givin' up 'til you've got all the wood y'need!" She thumped her chest rightly, right on the sternum. Exploration and adventure were perfectly acceptable and respectable things to do with one's spare time, after all.

But of course, onto other topics - like lanterns. The oni peered into the bag, and her eyes lit up with faint surprise. The smile that spread itself across her face was positively beaming, and she quickly took a couple of the lanterns out, holding them up. "Oooh...! That's really great of ya, Parsee!" She was pleased; in a way, the slightly imperfect lanterns were better than flawless ones. The flaws gave them character, and served as reminders of who had made them.

Happy with the gift, Yuugi reached over and ruffled the hair on Parsee's head playfully. "Y'got any particular trees in mind? Or should we just get huntin'?"
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 02 Sep 2011 19:12

Yuugi's statement - said with complete certainty, the only way the oni seemed to say anything - catches Parsee off guard. Not that she shows it for more than a second or two, of course. Still, the question is there: Would I? If anyone deserved her help, it was Yuugi, of course, but all the same, there was a little doubt there.

At Yuugi's initial suggestion, she shakes her head slowly. "It would be easier, yes, but... well, you know how it is. I can't leave hell. I shouldn't even get this far away from the bridge, really." A part of her thoughts - a part that is, thankfully, soon silenced - reminds her that she is not alone in being trapped in hell. Thousands, or quite possibly more shared that fate, of course, but they all did something to earn it.

Are you telling me you didn't?

Shaking that particular thought away for a moment, she counts something on her fingers absent-mindedly as Yuugi looks at the lanterns, before answering and realizing there was nothing to count in the first place. "Oh, it's not like I had much to do at the bridge, anyway. Having some work always helps. As for trees... well, no, I'm not picky. As long as it's large enough, I suppose. But I'm still not sure how we're going to carry i- oh. Never mind." Sometimes, Parsee managed to forget that she was talking to an oni of frankly ridiculous strength - and rarely talking to anyone else, for that matter - generally remembering a few seconds after already making a fool of herself.

"Any tree will do, really, if we can somehow find one down here. Where did you have in mind?" And really, how could she be any more specific than that? After all, she could barely recognize a tree these days, after so many centuries. Of course, she would never admit that to anyone.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 07 Sep 2011 18:26

Yuugi caught the brief bit of contemplative silence on Parsee's part, but decided not to comment and make things awkward for the poor girl. She had it hard enough as it was, forcing herself to come into the city and be social. The oni was working on fixing that part of her, but it was slow going. "I still think y'oughta give it a try some time." She'd already made it abundantly clear she would gladly guard the bridge for a day or two while Parsee went up for a jaunt around - and truth be told, she thought it sounded like fun regardless - but she wasn't inclined to push it.

"Anyhow, wait right here." She turned to her own home and pulled the door open, being careful not to apply too much force in the process (nevermind that this time the door was reinforced), and carried the bag of lanterns into the house. If she bothered to look inside, Parsee would see the oni carefully opening the bag and pulling them out one by one, lining them up for later hanging. Then the deva moved deeper into the house for a moment, followed by some rummaging sounds, a brief crash, what sounded like something breaking...

Finally, she emerged from her home again, with her signature red saucer in one hand, already filled with sake. One quick sip was all she took for the moment, before holding it out in offer to Parsee. "Want some?" If the smaller youkai accepted, she'd stand and wait patiently, perhaps a bit surprised, and if she didn't, the oni would simply shrug; either way, it was a short interlude.

"Alright, hope y'feel like flyin'. We're gonna head down south outta the city. Used t'be a great big ol' forest o' the damned out there. Or maybe it was just some underworld noble's estate... don't really know. See old trees out there now'n'then, so we oughta be able t'find you more'n enough wood for whatever y'need."

With that pronouncement, Yuugi floated up into the air, waiting to make sure that Parsee was with her before turning to properly take off over the city.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 08 Sep 2011 05:59

Parsee shakes her head slightly, declining the drink. Rude, perhaps, but she was never one for alcohol. That aside, there was a good chance that even a small sip would render her thoroughly incoherent for the rest of the day; the bridge princess was hardly known for her ability to handle strong drinks or, for that matter, much of anything.

Yuugi's remark, meanwhile, meets some surprise. Oh, she had hoped there would be something to find down here, certainly, but she had never really expected to meet any success, let alone find an entire forest. Still, any good fortune was quite welcome today, though there was something about the oni's remark that set off a memory or two.

"An... estate?" She had heard a story or two about a manor - a veritable palace, come to that - far below the ancient city. Though all of them were presumably exaggerated, few were pleasant in the slightest. But then, with Yuugi around, what was the worst that could happen? Any number of things, as she, ever the pessimist, quickly reminds herself. Still, with any luck, the rumours were just that.

And then there was the matter of flight. It was for her sake, of course, so she could hardly complain. All the same, while many youkai were quite comfortable with taking to the air, Parsee was not one of them. To fly underground, with a constantly looming stone ceiling, only served to remind her of her limits, her effective imprisonment. It was partly her fault, of course - she associated practically everything with her current place in the caves. After all, she managed to find flight somehow limiting, when so many saw it as a sign of freedom.

She shrugs, attempting a small smile and taking off after Yuugi. "Yes, that... that seems like a good idea. Thank you." The bridge princess hovers along behind the oni, somewhat clumsy in the air even by comparison, focusing on staying in the air. At least flying kept her occupied enough to avoid fretting over their destination.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 11 Sep 2011 03:59

If Yuugi considered Parsee rude for not wanting to drink, she sure didn't show it. Most people, after all, tended not to handle oni sake well. Her feeling on the matter could best be summed up by the words 'oh well'.

Out of concern for Parsee, Yuugi didn't push herself particularly hard. The bridge princess didn't seem all that comfortable with flying; the deva resolved they'd probably walk back, but for the most part she just wanted to take the smaller youkai over the realm of the oni so she wouldn't have to deal with it. Granted, it was nice to be able to just take it easy once in a while, and see the sights over the city.

As they flew, the presence of oni homes began to dwindle, and more and more of the land was nothing but the rocky terrain so typical of the home of the oni. It was one of the things they liked about it. "Aah, I don't really know," she replied to Parsee's question. "Coulda been that, coulda just been a forest. Either way there's almost nothin' left. I see an old tree here'n'there once in a while, but I'm usually not lookin' for 'em, so this'll be a little bit of a hunt."

The oni peered down at the land below, and after a little while longer she began to descend, taking the opportunity to sip some of her sake in the process. Was she showing off her strength and control of her own body? Perhaps. But she was an oni. It was expected. "Hmm... If I'm rememberin' right, I've seen one 'r two around here. You see anything that looks dark brown or black, tall, twisted and wooden?"
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 11 Sep 2011 13:18

Parsee shakes her head slightly, still dizzy from the flight. In the process, she somehow succeeds in bashing her head against the cave ceiling, flinching away and holding one hand to the bruise, muttering to herself. Whatever she might have been about to say, she opts for a small sigh instead, looking sheepishly at Yuugi. "Sorry, I'm still a little clumsy in the air. I... I'll see what I can find."

She peers around at the ground below, scanning every bit of barren rock for a tree, before eventually facing Yuugi and shrugging slightly. There was a lot of brown and black around from the rocks, certainly, and a few things lying on them that may or may not be trees, or at least parts of them. Still, they could well be something else entirely, and Parsee was in no hurry to make a fool of herself again. That aside, she had no recollection of what a tree might look like, much less any that might grow down here. Too much time had passed since she last saw the surface.

No, she reminds herself. This is how it should be. I belong here. I'll just... have to rely on her. Even with Yuugi's help, she barely had any idea of what to look for, but she was hardly going to admit that. The bridge-princess was hardly known for being open or, for that matter, known much at all.

"I'm... not quite sure. There might be a few down there, but I can't-" she cuts off, scrambling for an explanation, before eventually settling for "I can't see, it's a little too dark here for me." A patently ridiculous excuse, and Yuugi could probably tell immediately, but it was better than the truth.

And really, what isn't? You wouldn't dare hurt your reputation with the truth. Always another lie.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 15 Sep 2011 19:08

The thump of head meeting ceiling caused the oni to wince. "Ouch. Y'allright?" Sure, Parsee was a youkai, and something like that was completely inconsequential, but she could still be a little concerned, right? Once she was sure her companion was fine, she moved on, though, unworried. It was a good time to set down, landing in one of the 'valleys' between particularly large rock formations. She promptly began to march onward, sure there was something in that direction. Probably.

But when the bridge princess said it was too dark? That came as a slight surprise to Yuugi. She'd have thought Parsee would have fairly good darkness vision for a few different reasons. But it couldn't be helped, she supposed. "Aah, don't worry about it, I'll find somethin' for ya. Pretty sure I saw some this way..."

She marched on steadily. Even after a day of handling the spirits, she was still energetic, more than prepared for a party later that night, even, perhaps. The deva briefly wondered just what she'd use as an excuse to call other oni to another party... but then just gave a mental shrug. She'd come up with something, she was sure. Maybe she'd use Parsee wanting to do some exploring as an excuse, and make the hashihime the guest of honor! Sure it'd embarrass her, but she could stand to get used to people a little better.

The look Parsee got right then was probably worrying. Yuugi's 'I'm planning something' face was unmistakable. Just a side effect of the fact the oni wouldn't make a very good poker player at all.

But even as they walked on, though she had to shove a boulder out of the way once where it'd tumbled into the path, the terrain was evening out. The thin layers of dirt overlying stony foundations were giving way to deeper pockets of soil, the sort that might actually have supported plant life once upon a time. "Aah, here we go, terrain's gettin' good."
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 16 Sep 2011 15:45

Parsee stumbles and trips across the rocky terrain, in a surprisingly near-successful attempt to keep up with Yuugi, however clumsily. She makes her way across the mess of stone without a single complaint, for once, trailing behind the oni before suddenly stopping dead in her tracks, as boulders give way to earth. She bends down to the ground, hoping Yuugi will not notice her, which was rather unlikely; the deva was often quite imperceptive, but had an excellent eye at all the worst times.

She takes a few handfuls of earth, as many scoops as she can in the few seconds she has, before stuffing it into a small pouch. Soil was... not something she saw often or recently, to put it lightly. She could have a use for it, some day. If nothing else, it made for a good souvenir, a small reminder of a world she never admitted to missing.

With this done, Parsee hurries after Yuugi, as if nothing had happened, until she is once again side by side with the oni. She looks up - Yuugi towered over her, as was the case with practically anyone else who stood next to her old friend - and gives a somewhat theatrical sigh.

"Yuugi," she says rather bluntly, "you're scheming again. What is it this time?" It was hardly her fault if she could read the deva's expression like a book, was it?
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 20 Sep 2011 20:41

"Huh? Schemin'? Me?" Yuugi grinned, aware she was probably completely found out. "Don't be silly, Parse," the oni replied, her grin only getting wider. "I don't scheme. Schemin's for tengu. I plan." Totally different! And it satisfied her oni honesty. Of course, it would only buy her a moment or two before Parsee asked the inevitable 'okay what are you planning then', but that was all she needed to latch onto another topic.

The large pile of rubble from what appeared to be a decades-old rockslide would probably be a good one to go with!

"Well now, what we got here," Yuugi said, rather loudly. "These rocks are lyin' kinda funny," she observed, turning to walk towards the rocks with curiosity. To the layperson, they probably just looked like an ordinary pile of rocks, but Yuugi had been climbing mountains for well over a century; to her, the signs were as obvious as night and day. "Hold on, now, I wanna see what we got here." She took one large sip of her sake, then set it aside and began thumping on one of the rocks with her fist. Thud thud thud. She grabbed ahold of it and 'shook' it a little, testing its give, and then moved onto the next one and repeated the gesture. Thump thump. Shake.

"Hmm. This pile's holdin' together weird. Stacked in a funny shape too. Think we might have somethin' here."
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 21 Sep 2011 19:07

"What we have, Yuugi," the bridge princess answers with a weary shake of her head, "is a very clumsy distraction." Still, this did not bother Parsee a great deal - a rare feat for almost anything, these days. She would find out eventually. She always did, when it came to Yuugi.

It would, of course, be far too late by then. It always was. One of the risks of being around the oni and, to be perfectly fair, rarely anything too bad. She plays along for now, walking over to Yuugi and watching the rocks, if not terribly intently. As much of it, that is, as she could see under the oni's shadow: Her guide towered over practically everyone, and Parsee was hardly tall by any stretch of imagination.

She picks up a pebble, pretending to examine it before glancing over to the deva. Perhaps she would at least learn something else; she couldn't have someone like Yuugi knowing more than she did, after all. That simply would not do, and so she plays the part of the student for now.

"Well?" She asks, looking up at oni by her side. "Might as well tell me, now that you have me properly distracted. What does this mean?"
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Yuugi Hoshiguma » 27 Sep 2011 01:39

Yuugi's grin would be sharklike if there were even the barest hint of malice to it. But she was entirely too friendly for that... to Parsee, at least. Nevertheless, her plan remained firmly in mind for later. She only hoped Parsee forgot about it before she had a chance to make it 'too late to do anything'. If pressed hard enough, she'd have to come clean.

But the oni seemed to have distracted her temporary travelling companion with the rocky riddle in front of them, so that was good! It also meant a chance to teach her a little something in the process. So she stepped back a bit, sipped her sake once more (when did she pick that back up?), then gestured at the pile. "Well, lookit how it fell. See that kinda curve it's got there? Rockfalls don't fall like that, not naturally. They're normally all spread out or kinda tapered off. Pile that's curved like that, usually means it's hit somethin'.

She took another step forward, and thumped one of the stones hard - it cracked, and the pile shifted some. "And it's somethin' most folks wouldn't notice, but when a pile's nothin' but rocks all the way through, it moves on itself a certain way. These rocks are shiftin' different. There's somethin' big underneath that ain't a rock."

Having given such a demonstration of her knowledge in rockslides (a show of strength, after a fashion), the oni calmly stepped forward, shoved one hand forward hard enough to bury it in the stone up to her knuckles with a tremendous KRAK, then shifted her weight, turned, and HURLED the rock off into the distance.

(Where the tremendous thud echoed from shortly thereafter, it was immediately followed by a great deal of what sounded like spirits cursing.)

"Let's see if I'm right. Springiness feels 'bout like wood should be..." She began moving rocks, one after another, all by picking up and throwing in some form or another. It started off simple enough, but perhaps in a bid to challenge herself, the deva soon started getting... creative.
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Re: (Ask First) Parsee's Search

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 27 Sep 2011 10:44

Parsee peers at the heap of boulders, half-listening to Yuugi. A good deal of it went right over her head, to be quite honest - rocks were not her strong suit, nor were they a subject that could hold her interest for very long. Instead, she attempts to help move the stones aside, but her arms quickly give out, and she stumbles back, exhausted.

"I wish I was half as strong as you, Yuugi," she mutters, though any of her usual envy is kept well out of her tone, let alone malice. Faulting the oni for this, now of all times, crossed a line even in Parsee's mind.

As Yuugi begins hurling rocks in all directions, she flinches in shock, scrambling away and forming a small bubble of green light around her: A rudimentary shield, enough to deflect the odd boulder. Almost certainly an overreaction, but the bridge-princess was in no mood for a concussion. Through the hailstorm of debris, she catches a glimpse of some sort of tree trunk and a few branches, bending severely under the weight of all the stones. She hardly recognized it as a tree, of course, but having worked with wood before, she could at least make an educated guess. It was perhaps a little on the small side, and completely lacking in leaves, but it would do.

"I... I think that one will do," she calls out, still huddled inside the shield. "Er... do call me when it's safer out there. I'd prefer not to be crushed, if it's all the same to you."
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