Broken Trust [finished]

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Broken Trust [finished]

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 08 Jan 2012 02:29


Minutes pass. Then hours, and finally days, each marked by the pocket watch, left in a small box below the bridge with Parsee's other possessions. Only it and the flowers, still protected by the flickering remnants of a viridian barrier, remain untouched by the calamity that has visited her home. The half-sundered bridge, a shattered remnant of what it once was - hardly impressive in itself - stands, however tenuously, but only as a ruined shell.

Upon the bridge lies its keeper, as broken as her home. Most of her skin has been burned away, even revealing bone in a few spots, and she is all but covered with cuts, bruises and splinters. Blood has leaked from a multitude of wounds long ago, only to conceal others, and her bones are bent at strange angles in many places. Burned, broken and barely identifiable, only her shallow, ragged breathing makes it clear that Parsee still counts herself among the living.

Small, sharp footsteps finally rouse her, after a long sleep. Long, but not nearly long enough. Had the choice belonged to the bridge princess, she would not have woken up at all for a few weeks yet. Slowly, she opens her eyes, raising her head to find the source of this disturbance, still unable to stand. Her green eyes - the same eyes that had stared wistfully at the other side of death's door, only to return - find this much soon enough.

Yuuka Kazami towers over her prone form, the shade from the parasol obscuring most of the taller youkai's face. This was probably for the best; the flower-queen could not have possibly been pleased by the neglect to her charges that two days of unconsciousness would cause. Though she is dimly aware of how long it has been since she fell, this thought does not occur to Parsee. Instead, she is filled with blank relief at the sight of a familiar face. This, at last, was someone who would care, someone who could help her.

Feebly, she reaches up to Yuuka with a trembling, scarred crimson arm. Yuuka, who would save her from the aftermath of her fate. Yuuka, who had come to mend what was broken. Yuuka, who would finally make sense of this chaos. Shivering slightly, she attempts to speak. At first, she fails, producing nothing more than a wheeze and a quiet rush of air. Then, finally, she succeeds in choking out two words.

"Water," she begs, as so many had before her. "Please."
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Parsee Mizuhashi
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Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Yuuka Kazami » 09 Jan 2012 06:33

"Water. Of course." Parsee, in her horrifically-burned, half-dead state, hears the green-haired youkai reply after what seems to be an interminably long moment of silence. Her voice soft, gentle, the words pronounced with a silky smoothness that she'd come to know as typical for Yuuka. "Yes. Water. Your throat is parched, your mouth dry. Letting you go thirsty as I've found you would be...irresponsible of me. Negligent, even."

A small sigh, and there's a rustle of crimson plaid cloth as Yuuka seems to reach down with one hand, as if making to take the bridge guardian's visibly-burnt, terribly-wounded one.

"And we cannot have that at all, can we...Parsee?"

Another moment of silence, of stillness - before Yuuka, with such violence and savagery that was all but disproportionate to her calm, soothing words - suddenly reaches past the bridge princess' craven outstretched hand, instead taking a literal handful of Parsee's hair. And her scalp.

Singed clumps of the blood-caked, straw-colored strands coming away in her terrifyingly strong grip - and with a sickening tearing sound - some flesh, as well.

And without another word - without so much as a sigh from her lips - it's then that the Flower Master of the Four Seasons drags the limp, ragged thing that was once the guardian of the Forgotten Bridge towards the riverbank. Dragging along the sharp, barren, rocky ground what was once someone she considered a fellow gardener - and daresay almost an equal, with that respect. Painting a dark furrow of wet, sticky blood behind them, the slowly-healing wounds on Parsee's body being torn open, dried cuts and lacerations being scraped raw and fresh once more at this savage act of cruelty.

A small mercy is then granted to the horrifically-disfigured bridge princess, as the cold, sharp earth beneath her yields to the soft carpet of warm, fresh grass that had sprung up with Yuuka's assistance. It meant, besides the fact that Parsee was now watering the flowers she'd given so much to protect with her own blood, that they were now at the lip of the riverbank itself, with the sound of the rushing river gurgling in their ears. Close enough that she could feel the coldness of the water, taste the slight brackish purity of it.

Another rustle of cloth and grass as Yuuka crouches down here, slightly, the parasol still held open behind her, the stalk resting upon her shoulder - and it's with a small sigh of resignation that she all but shoves Parsee's face - up to her ears, up to her neck - into the water. Holding her down there. Letting her partake of the water as much as she wished.

"Water." Yuuka murmurs, almost absently. "One of the three things I asked of you to give to the flowers I entrusted to your care, Parsee. Do you remember what those three things are?" The weakly-struggling bridgekeeper's face is lifted up from the water with a gurgling sound, with such startling ease that there was no doubt, had there been any, of the youkai's strength. "Water. Protection. Companionship. Three things, Parsee. Three simple things that anyone can provide in their spare time - and you, as we've talked about in our first meeting, have no lack of that. And I told you what would happen if I found you wanting of that. If the flowers found you wanting of that." A moment later, and Yuuka savagely holds her under again, her fingernails digging into Parsee's scalp now, trails of crimson now floating downstream.

"I trusted you, Parsee. I trusted you, and you broke that trust like it meant nothing to you."

Yuuka's voice had never changed tone, never broke her inflection. Every word was said placidly, politely, as if nothing remarkable was happening. As if she wasn't, right then and there, trying to murder Parsee by drowning her.
Yuuka Kazami
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Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 09 Jan 2012 08:21

Despite the pain of being dragged to the river, shards of gravel and rock embedding themselves in her - what was left could not rightly be called skin - Parsee does not react in the slightest. She remains stunned, barely aware of the world around her. Is there pain? Certainly, and a great deal of it. Somewhere far away, where she can only dimly note its presence. Not for a moment does she cry out or resist - the effect is rather like carrying a corpse; a situation which will, no doubt, come to pass soon enough at this rate.

As her head is dunked beneath the water, time seems to slow to a crawl. Water flows by, all around her, cold and soothing. A relaxing balm, salving her wounds, choking the life out of her. She could not have minded less. She would miss air a little, perhaps - the feeling of breathing - but it was an acceptable loss. Slowly, her eyes begin to close, as she begins to doze even in her final moments.

And that was the end of Parsee Mizuhashi. That was the end of the green-eyed monster.

Or it might have been, if fortune had not intervened. It takes a powerful act of will to rouse herself from the compulsion, and what she does next, in her brief lucid moment, takes a far greater effort. In an instant, she causes what could almost be called a small miracle. Somehow, Parsee succeeds in breaking Yuuka's grip, raising her head back above the water, momentarily resisting a youkai far stronger than herself.

Fresh air brings pain with it, stinging her face as if the very air were made of thorns. Entering her lungs, only to remind her that they had been filled with water. She coughs almost immediately, choking on the water she had breathed and gagging in an effort to regain her breath. It takes a few moments before she can face Yuuka and speak with any sort of coherence.

"No," she mumbles, still half-dazed, a weak protest. She does not seem bothered in the slightest by the green-haired youkai's outright attack, not objecting to Kazami's method, but rather what she had done, in a peculiar sort of way. "Not... for me," she finishes, still shivering from the cold.

Slowly, wincing in pain as if only beginning to register it now, she reaches down before her attacker can seize her again. Collecting a scoop of water in her cupped hands, the bridge princess slowly crawls back to the flowerbed, spilling a few drops along the way, before giving the blossoms what water she can.Nothing more than the smallest trickle, and certainly of no practical use.

The broken youkai leans down slightly, bringing her face level with the plants. She whispers something into the air, a brief, simple but sincere apology for her own failure. The apology is not meant for Yuuka, it seems - Parsee, after all, does not face her for a moment. Instead, it is directed at the field of flowers, her helpless charges.

Trust, she realizes, is what this all came down to, as Yuuka had said. The trust she had been given, which meant so much to her. Trust by one who had never afforded such a luxury, given to her only to be broken and discarded within mere weeks. There were few things she could not tolerate in the world, so very few that the bridge princess held nothing but burning loathing for. And here she was, having become every last one of them, a monument to all that she despised.

She could scarcely blame Kazami. This, she decides with a small nod, is only right.

A few seconds later, she finally faces her assailant, and any traces of the barely-awake delirium in her face are gone now, leaving her sharp-eyed and well aware of her situation. She edges away from the other youkai, if only to give herself time to speak.

"Then I would ask one thing of you first," she replies. "A final favour to the condemned. Further down from here, you will find Yuugi Hoshiguma, an oni, and an old friend. It would not do for her to simply stumble upon my corpse without any preamble, but I do not expect you to trust me with the message, either. Inform her later, if you would be so kind."

She moves closer to the mad flower-queen, a small gesture of good faith, as if such things carried any meaning now. A heavy sigh precedes a brief glance towards the river, then back to Yuuka. When she speaks again, she seems entirely unperturbed and businesslike, as if all this were of no consequence, happening to someone else. Atonement was a simple matter, to be met with calm compliance, not resistance, and never tears.

"Now then," she declares in an oddly matter-of-fact manner, though her voice is beginning to grow rather strained. "I believe you were about to drown me, miss Kazami. By all means, continue." She pauses as a thought strikes her, then adds "unless, considering the gravity of my offense, you would prefer to employ a knife. There should still be one on the bridge, though I can't vouch for its condition."

With her piece said, she sits silently, awaiting the taller youkai's decision as if Yuuka were the Yama she had so recently traded blows with: Judge, jury and, soon, her executioner as well.
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Parsee Mizuhashi
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Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Yuuka Kazami » 10 Jan 2012 10:41

Having risen to her feet the moment Parsee started to crawl away, poised to strike - Kazami Yuuka found herself dumbstruck. Surprised. Shocked even. She was not expecting this.

This acceptance. This calm, almost businesslike approach.

She'd killed before, that much was certain. Youkai, humans, faeries. Perhaps a few oni. She didn't really pay much attention back then. It had always been about killing surely, killing quickly, and leaving their corpses behind as examples. Her calling card would always be the quickened decomposition of the bodies, helped along by a token growth of bloody sunflowers taking root.

But the constant had always been - and this was important - she never prolonged it the process. She had never made a deliberate effort to draw the entire ordeal out, to savor the fear and terror that took the breath and fight out of her victims as surely and as quickly as her hand being shoved right through their chests, spearing through their bodies and pulping their organs. Quick, relatively painless, and certainly a good deal less troublesome than flinging danmaku at each other.

But they always ran. They always panicked. They always tried to plead, to beg for their lives, trying to buy sand for their hourglass when Yuuka was clearly not in the business of selling any. A notable few tried to be defiant, attempting to make a last show of force, but even that dissolved into the same routine. Fearful, tormented, they all cried out for mercy at the end.

Except for Parsee.

Up until the moment that Yuuka had started her attempt to take Parsee's life - admittedly something that was spur of the moment, a decision made for the youkai by the crimson tinge of rage and fury blocking her vision - Parsee had never once struggled. Never once tried to fight for survival. As if she had, even in her state - which the green-haired youkai was now slowly processing - had immediately understood, and accepted, just why Yuuka was trying to drown her.

When she all but broke away from her grasp, caused by a moment's hesitation on Yuuka's part, the Flower Master of the Four Seasons was expecting it. The tears, the pleas, the begging. She was waiting for the straw-colored bridge princess to prostrate herself in front of her, to ask for forgiveness.

Instead, she...

It was at that exact moment of clarity and lucidity - a lightning bolt of crushingly-cold realization snapping through the red haze of rage and anger that had consumed her the moment she saw the unattended flowers that she had entrusted to the bridgekeeper - that Kazami Yuuka realizes that Mizuhashi Parsee had defeated her.

Completely and utterly. No contest whatsoever.

That this base, low-born youkai kneeling before her, cursed and confined to guard an old rickety bridge in an abandoned giant hole in the ground - had defeated the legendary, vaunted Flower Master of the Four Seasons, in a way that meant more than simply besting her in a contest of strength, or a spellcard duel. She had been beaten soundly, solidly, by the one that had absolutely no right to.

Her complete and total surprise of this revelation showing, only briefly, by the way her own crimson eyes widening. The polite half-smile, half-smirk curling her lips dropping, replaced by a half-opened mouth of astonishment.

An expression that, by rights, should only be there for a moment - but stays there, in full view, to Parsee, to the flowers around them, to the wrecked half-bridge that lay miserably across the gurgling waters of this abandoned, desolate hell.

She could easily kill Parsee, that much was obvious to either of them. Now, too, more than ever, with the bridge princess sitting in front of her, placidly. Seemingly content to have settled her affairs with a request for the youkai to notify someone - Yuuka had already forgotten her name - of her passing. It would not, she realizes, take any time at all, nor any inconvenience in her part. Parsee would not run, would not fight, she would simply accept.

The question was, she now asked herself, was that could she really kill Parsee herself in the first place?

"Why?" She finds herself asking. "What are you doing, Mizuhashi Parsee? Do you not realize what you're saying? What you're doing?" The politeness in her voice gone, the composure shattered, replaced by a stark confusion, of bewilderment. "How can you sit there facing your own death? Have you forgotten who I am, and what I'm about to do to you?"

She takes a step towards the bridge princess.

"Aren't you even going to try and fight back?"
Yuuka Kazami
Free Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 10 Jan 2012 11:41

In answer to Yuuka's bewildered expression, to her question that showed nothing but confusion, Parsee only shakes her head slowly. A sad smile creeps across her face, hovering there, as if deriving some imperceptible measure of amusement from the sheer absurdity of the flower-queen's query.

"No," she replies, as if baffled that she should even be asked such a strange question. "There would be no point. And in any case, I have some principles, however few - I intend to stand by them. Two days past," she begins, pausing slightly before nodding to confirm her estimate. It was nothing more than a rough guess which happened to be correct, based on the state of her flowers. She was in no state to notice Kazami's timepiece, after all.

"I brought the Yama to my home, to plead my case. I sought justice, in the form of freedom, nothing more. Not even revenge against the long-dead souls who brought me here, only the sun before my eyes and the wind on my back. I was denied. Was the judge in error, as I assumed at the time? Or do I deserve my stay here? That is neither here nor there, and truth be told, I do not know myself. In any case, I challenged her to a duel. My principles demanded nothing less."

She points to the wrecked bridge, then to herself, a haggard, charred, broken creature staring out at the world through terribly tired eyes. "The result is clear to us both, no doubt - and, in hindsight, predictable. I knew it would end this way, but refused to stand down, to stay my hand. Seeing justice served means a great deal to me - punishment for a promise broken and trust betrayed, doubly so."

For the briefest of moments, she stares Yuuka in the eye, an almost piercing gaze coming from one so weak. "Finding myself beneath the guillotine, accused of the same deeds," she concludes, "has done little to change my views. I still abide by what little code I have."

"And besides," she continues, her tone changing ever so slightly, taking on a hint of optimism as she gestures expansively at the surrounding caves. The movement proves too much for her, causing a loud crack to come from one of her arms.

"What will death mean in the end? Pain, for a short while. And then... well, you and I both know that heaven is quite out of the question. Reincarnation? Another chance at life would be much appreciated, certainly. Or would I be given a much-deserved return to hell? That, too, would change little. The greatest fear death carries, miss Kazami, is the thought of losing all that one has, and I have nothing."

The somber note in her voice returns as she continues speaking, absent-mindedly twisting her ascot. A few small motions, without her noticing, turn the bottom half into a small dangling circle at the end of a large knot - a hangman's noose. Without paying it any mind, she picks the shape apart in another handful of seconds.

"I will not disguise my wishes. I prefer to live, without a doubt - who would not? I also realize, however, that I deserve no such thing. In fact, as I said, even death seems too light a sentence, if it is one at all. Still, I'm afraid I have no better suggestions; my creativity appears to have failed me. But enough of my thoughts: the crux of the matter and the answer to your question is this."

She is still once again, no movement save for her head rising slightly as she locks eyes with Yuuka: Something which most executioners need not endure, but this was hardly an average case. With a light sigh, willing her resolve to remain with her, she states her conclusion.

"I will not fight; it would serve no purpose. I will not flee; I am a prisoner. I will not ask for forgiveness; I have done nothing to deserve it, from you or from myself. And most of all, I will not beg for my life."

Her shoulders sag slightly, the sharpness in her gaze all but dissolving away, as what strength of mind remains seems to leave her. "After all, as you would no doubt tell me yourself, I have no right."
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Parsee Mizuhashi
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Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Yuuka Kazami » 14 Jan 2012 07:20

It takes Yuuka a moment to fully comprehend everything that Parsee told her, blank and utter disbelief crossing her features, before giving way to stark realization. What little of the sheer, overpowering anger that had permeated to her very core was now all but extinguished; and the knee-weakening confusion that replaced it soon followed as well.

Pleading her case with the Yama. Fighting to overturn her decision. Ending up in this...sorry state. Holding up a hand to her forehead, the green-haired youkai lets out a tired chuckle. Am I still so focused on keeping that sort of image that even in important things like these, even when lives are in the balance, I am so ready to kill? So quick to go for the throat? She shakes her head. A monster I irredeemably am, but need I forget that one does not need to be a monster about it? I must be getting old...

Yuuka sighs again, a small rueful smile on her lips as she sinks to her knees in front of the bridge princess. Quite the rare event, to be sure - the Flower Master of the Four Seasons, kneeling in the cold, hard dirt - in front of a meek, humble youkai who guards a lonely bridge in an abandoned place of penance and suffering. The parasol is closed with a heavy metallic click, before being placed carefully beside her. A gesture to free her hands that now reach out to gently touch Parsee's own. Cradling those burnt, broken fingers carefully in a soft, delicate grasp.

A moment more, and it's then that she looks up, to look into Parsee's eyes. That polite smile returning to her lips.

"...I have made a grave mistake, Mizuhashi Parsee." Yuuka says, finally, breaking the silence between them that had settled ever since the bridge princess had finished with her own side of the story. "I will be honest: I was not exactly in the best of moods when I came to see you. An accident in my garden has leveled nearly half of this season's blooms, and while I settled things with the culprit, there are some things I've irrevocably lost in the sordid event. As such, I...I may have been a bit too hasty with what I've done. Jumping into such an irresponsible conclusion. Dunking your head into the river like that, like a bullish prank in school." She laughs, slightly, shaking her head. "It doesn't reflect too well on me, does it?"

Another subdued laugh before the green-haired youkai continues. "Well, whatever the case, I bear what loss of face I may incur with this incident rightly. It was...uncalled for, my attempt to kill you for the apparent neglect of the flowers. Had I even stopped to consider that you may have had some trouble with them due to being...roasted alive by that rod-wielding despot who direly needs to be put down a peg or two," it's here that Yuuka's tone of voice started to grow darker while touching upon the Yama. "...we wouldn't have ended up in this situation, with you soaked to the literal bone, and my making a complete embarrassment of myself. You, bridgekeeper, have my most profound apologies. And while I don't presume to care about what most people think, consider yourself one of the only individuals I would genuinely apologize to."

Still carefully holding Parsee's hands - a strange, comfortable warmth settling in the bridge princess' broken fingers as the contact is sustained - Yuuka smiles at her.

"As for your not having a right to beg for your life - you are correct. I would have said that. But in the same breath - had I been in a better state of mind, then - I would have also said that you had no need to, because they already did it for you."

She cocks her head slightly towards the flowers. The flowers that had been neglected for two days, yet still encased in the flickering shields that Parsee had placed around them.

"A stellar testimony, to be fair. You may have neglected them for two days, straight, but up until that point of time, you had not been derelict in your duties. You've watered them, right at the dot, carefully and precisely. Rooted out insects and pests, and even introduced earthworms into their soil to enable them to breathe easier. And the things you've told them...well, they haven't told me anything, but they did assure me that you had been very forthright in sharing your thoughts, feelings and emotions to them." Her smile turns mischievous, before becoming a bit more sincere.

"They feel trusted and happy and safe - and that is all I can ever hope for. That is all they can hope for, and more. And in light of that - seeing as I strive never to emulate someone who judges without understanding someone - I will not take your life, Mizuhashi Parsee." She reaches out to brush a few strands of the girl's mussed, straw-colored hair away from her eyes, tucking them behind her ear. "For to do so is to destroy what the flowers have grown to consider as their caretaker and friend, their only hope of survival in this place. To do so is to waste a life better spent in nurturing these brave little things in such a cold, unforgiving environment." She smiles, again. "To do so would be to destroy a fellow gardener, and I cannot have that."

A moment more, and she withdraws her hands, clasping them upon her own lap. "A second chance. Not granted because of pity, nor of reasoning. Simply because it is deserved. You are a strange person, Mizuhashi Parsee, and you confuse me in ways that anger and at the same time amuse me so. You interest me, and...I will admit that seeing you come to such harm in the future will distress me greatly."

She murmurs something underneath her breath, and it's then that Parsee feels a cushion of thick, soft grass grow underneath her. Immediately, she feels warmer - the scent of fresh-cut viridian and flowers filling her nostrils, the tickling heat of the sun on her skin. On her face.

A moment more, and these sensations disappear - taking with them her injuries. Bones that have been splintered are now mended. Skin charred and broken are now healed, as if nothing remarkable had ever taken place. The pain gone, vanished just like that.

"Please, take care of yourself better in the future. It would simply not do - for me or the flowers."
Yuuka Kazami
Free Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 14 Jan 2012 11:01

For some time, Parsee sits motionless, without a word, without attempting to so much as inch away. There she sits, a picture of remorse and silent contrition, waiting for Yuuka to pass her judgment. Her mind drifts slightly as she waits, entertaining idle, careless curiosity and speculation in an effort to distract itself. Would it be the river's choking grasp, or her own prized knife? A simple spell to reduce her to dust, leaving no trace of her existence, or would Kazami elect to use her own hands?

Her speculation is suddenly cut short, interrupted by her would-be killer's announcement. At first, the bridgekeeper only blinks in shock, completely dumbfounded by the decision. As the other youkai speaks, she remains quiet, listening intently without fully understanding a single word until some time after it had already been said. She had expected these few moments to be her last - finding herself wrong led, at first, only to confusion.

She winces slightly as Yuuka touches her hand, surprise bringing her guard down for long enough to allow her to show pain as another impossibility takes place. The flower-queen admits to having made a mistake, to being in error, and with far more conviction than Parsee might have had, were she to accuse the green-haired youkai of any such thing.

Though hearing Kazami confess to something other than perfection was shocking to say the least, her apology brings down everything Parsee had once assumed she knew about the youkai before her. She stares in astonishment, not knowing for a moment what to make of these words that are neither expected, nor - in her eyes, at least - needed, much less deserved. Scarcely comprehending what she is being told, she remains stock-still, stunned.

For a moment, she considers answering, some small explanation to, against her better judgment, defend the Yama's actions - the same ones she had, in her final moments of consciousness two days prior, finally made peace with. She opens her mouth to speak, only to falter, unable to form even a single word.

Then comes the revelation: Yuuka's hands were not stayed by her own thoughts, or at least, not entirely. She had the flowers to thank for that; whatever their reasons, even after so much neglect, they had pleaded with the gardener for her life. That is, if these claims had any basis in reality - she had heard nothing from the blossoms in all this time, after all, and Yuuka was, without a doubt, quite mad.

Here, she realizes as Kazami's final few words begin to sink in, is someone who well and truly cared. Any measure of compassion from one besides Yuugi was, as far as she was concerned, unthinkable. Respect or concern, doubly so, and yet, here she was, having found each and every one of these in a youkai who was known for none of them. The very same one that had almost killed her mere minutes ago. The past hardly mattered - in Parsee's eyes, that much was a small transgression, if it was one at all.

Second latter, her wounds begin to fade under the ministrations of a healing spell - a rare luxury at best, for her. Pain fades little by little, only leaving a strange but not exacly uncomfortable sensation of numbness. For a brief while, she feels the warmth of the sun on herself once again: A momentary, pleasant feeling, certainly, with the strangest hint of nostalgia about it, but nothing more. A few centuries ago, she might have remembered, but now, she has long since lost the ability to recognize sunlight.

In that moment, something shattered, ever so briefly, within her thoughts. Shock and relief had a way of breaking barriers, even one of the many walls that the bridge princess had built around herself. The next instant sees her leaning forward, attempting, with some small measure of success, to hold the larger youkai in her arms, patting Yuuka's back slightly as if to reassure her in the wake of the strange doubt and remorse that had crept into her.

"Thank you," she says weakly, a tired whisper that gives way to a broad, earnest smile, as warm as the sun she no longer remembers, her relief far more apparent than she would usually allow it to be. "But please, calm down; you have nothing to apologize for." It takes only a few seconds for Parsee to realize what she has done, backing away from the green-haired youkai a little hurriedly and standing up, before extending a hand downward.

"I know the chairs here might not be the most comfortable sort," she says, a little jokingly - good cheer was far easier to find now, after all that Yuuka had said, though she was still somewhat nervous - "but I think you might prefer them to the ground, all the same."

Motioning towards the stone chairs and a handful of cushions - placed, as everything else was, in a safe spot beneath the bridge - she then walks over to the little stockpile, dragging one out, followed by a battered watering can. "Now, if you'd allow me a few minutes, I'd best take care of the flowers, first of all." A thought strikes her, and she pauses briefly, before continuing to speak as if all was right and well in the world, as if nothing had happened between them, a polite tone with perhaps a little forced mirth; an effort to distract them both from the events of a few minutes past.

"Shall I make a little tea first? Assuming you've built up a little tolerance for the sort I make, that is. I never did manage to find anything better, but I suppose it can't be helped."
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Parsee Mizuhashi
Alternate Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Yuuka Kazami » 19 Jan 2012 10:06

"T-that...that won't be necessary, Parsee," Yuuka seems to stumble over her words as she gets back onto her feet, parasol grasped tightly by two hands, tight enough that the metal underneath seemed to creak ever so slightly.

"The gesture is certainly appreciated, but..ah...I..." There's an uncomfortable moment as she seems to lose track of what she's supposed to say, and the green-haired youkai suddenly finds the dimly-lit darkness of the cave something of a boon, as it helped hide the fact that her cheeks were quite red right about that moment, for some reason she could not possibly fathom.

"...I have my own garden to tend to. Yes, that's it." Yuuka blinks, and then smiles, latching onto that like a dying man hooks his fingers into flotsam during a raging storm at sea. "I-indeed. I have to make sure that the new blossoms that I've planted to replace those lost are taking well."

She nods after a moment. "That reminds me, then, to bring over some decent tea leaves for you to use whenever I visit, and for your own consumption as well. After all, I can't, in good conscience, let a fr--fellow gardener to imbibe such swill on a daily basis. Perhaps a growth of chrysanthemums, too. A dried blossom or two in a pot of boiling water, along with its leaves, is nothing to be sneezed at. M-maybe some Oolong, too--"

Kazami Yuuka was rambling, babbling almost. Certainly a far cry from the cool, composed youkai who, only moments ago, was nonchalantly holding Parsee's head underwater in a frank attempt to murder her. Surely the unsolicited hug from the bridge princess didn't affect her all that much, did it? Of course not. She was the Flower Master of Four Seasons, she was unflappable. Nothing could shake her.

Certainly, a hug from Mizuhashi Parsee couldn't affect her enough that she almost called her friend?

Stopping herself just in time, Yuuka shakes her head, turning away slightly. "...In any case, Parsee, I must leave. This has been a courtesy visit after all, and I believe it is not exactly becoming of a guest to impose herself too much on her host, considering the circumstances." The smile slowly returns, upon her lips, the same polite one that she'd smiled upon judging Parsee as unworthy. "Your second chance, Parsee. Please do not squander it. Once more, I entrust the well-being and safety of the flowers to you - but I gather I don't need to worry so much about them, now that I know you're their gardener."

She turns to leave in silence, without a reply to Parsee's thanks.

The words - and the bridge princess' kindness - were still far too unfamiliar for comfort.
Yuuka Kazami
Free Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 19 Jan 2012 12:02

Once again, Yuuka had cracked, rapidly coming apart in the presence of a single harmless youkai who did not mean her any harm. Her armour, an all-too-thin veneer of composure, shatters momentarily, giving Parsee a brief glimpse of what lay beyond the mask. And what a curious layered mask it was, obscuring the wearer both from the world and, it seemed, herself. A lie taken far enough to deceive its speaker and become more real than it was ever intended to be; the bridgekeeper, at least, was all too familiar with those.

Before her stood Kazami Yuuka, perhaps the only youkai remaining in Gensokyo who could truly be called a monster; a terrible, unstoppable, merciless creature. Kazami Yuuka, keeper of the garden of the sun, flower master of the four seasons, and ruthless killer.

And beyond that, there was something else; something... kinder or more rational, perhaps, behind the madness - it was not yet time to judge that. Something small, weak, suppressed and terrified. A truth so precious that it was, it seemed, to be kept hidden away for an eternity, under lock and key. Something long-forgotten, confused and lost; whether the green-haired youkai was unaware of it or simply wished to keep others ignorant of its existence remained to be seen.

It was a curious, disarming moment, seeing through the panic to what had been hidden away on the other side; a small, vulnerable fragment of the old, confused and terribly strange person Parsee had come to know. The bridge princess hardly knew what to make of it, but there was time enough to think on the matter. There was always time.

Yuuka's momentary slip, too, did not go unnoticed. Unspoken, perhaps, but never unnoticed. A friend? It seemed an odd choice of words for Kazami to lavish on anyone, much more so in the light of her recent actions. They were... something, certainly - even Parsee found herself at a loss to describe just what that might be - but that? It was a flattering, yet entirely nonsensical notion. "Friends" was hardly a word any right-thinking human would use to describe the two, not in the face of the displays they repeated every week, the careful dance they underwent, always on the proverbial knife's edge.

But then, the two were, by all reckonings, neither right-thinking nor human. Perhaps the term would serve admirably well after all, under the circumstances.

And then the visitor began to leave - perhaps her nerves had overcome her at last, getting the better of her. She immediately places the watering can on the cold ground, before turning to follow the green-haired youkai. A thousand words tumbled through her thoughts; there were any number of things she might have said, dozens of platitudes, inquiries or even simple silence. There was a time and place for each and every one of them, but this seemed to be none of those things.

With a touch of resignation, she begins to realize, ever so slowly, that this might call for something else altogether. Nothing short of the blunt, simple, unvarnished truth. Honesty, a detestable last resort; a vile, bitter poison she never wished to speak, the hemlock of words and thoughts. But then, sometimes, one simply had no choice.

As she finally catches up with Yuuka, she looks up to the taller youkai. Parsee's attempt at a soothing, relaxing tone is, perhaps, not the best one could do, but she tries all the same. Worse, she allows a note of genuine concern into her voice that surprises even her. It is, no doubt, completely inappropriate in Kazami's eyes, but then, she had slipped so far that it hardly mattered at this point, in a way.

"Yuuka?" She begins. Using her first name was almost certainly a mistake, but standing by a mountain of other errors, it seemed so terribly small that the bridgekeeper hardly noticed it. "Do try to relax." She manages a small smile; it would not be a voice for the voiceless, but for those who were too proud to speak. "There's no reason for such nervousness, is there? Not between friends."
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Parsee Mizuhashi
Alternate Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Yuuka Kazami » 23 Jan 2012 12:16


Yuuka repeats just as she looks down on the shorter youkai - her eyes crimson wide and staring, the Flower Master of the Four Seasons looking much like a human caught in the light beams of some rampaging mechanical monstrosity eating up a paved road. Having heard - or rather, felt - the bridge princess start to follow her the moment she started to leave, she'd been begging, PRAYING that Parsee would stop her pursuit and leave her alone. Alone to her thoughts and to what currently twisted around her heart like a thorny vine, pricking and painful and agonizingly confusing.

And each step that the green-eyed youkai took toward her felt like pure agony, awakening dulled senses, firing off suppressed reflexes, setting ablaze every nerve in the youkai's body to prepare it for one sudden, violent action. A state of readiness that Yuuka was more or less very acquainted with: the curling of a body in preparation to spring forward to attack its prey, a complete tensing of the entire form with full intent of murder and killing. A primal, nearly beastlike state that prepared one for death and the bloody dealing of.

The only thing that confused her, more than Parsee's declaration, her direct addressing of what the relationship between them was - this twisted, nearly suicidal mockery of one - was why she herself was acting so strangely.

What...what am I so afraid of? She asks herself, as if completely detached from the situation, an onlooker observing from a distant point of view. I...I am not threatened. Far from it. My safety is not in jeopardy, and there is nothing here that can remotely hurt me in any way, shape or form. And...and certainly not Mizuhashi Parsee. I've already acknowledged her as a gardener. No gardener will ever lift a hand against another. I've never broken that rule - one of very few I take it upon myself to follow - and I'm not about to start now.

But why am I so prepared to kill her, right now, right this very moment, that I could almost taste her blood in my mouth...?

This bit of introspection - certainly one that would have disturbed Parsee had she been provided insight to it - barely lasts for more than a few moments, and it's right after them that Yuuka seems to finally come to, blinking her eyes slowly, as if having woken up from some trance. She glances at her hands, empty as they were, briefly wondering where her parasol had gone.

No, her hands are not empty. Not as such.

She blinks again, sees that both her hands were full, after all.

One of them had Parsee by the throat, lifting her up into the air. Feeling her pulse - her blood, her life - gently bump against the sensitive skin of her palm, an even staccato rhythm, if a bit too quick for her own comfort. Her other hand was tensed, painfully so, and she sees why: she is holding her parasol's handle, gripping it much like one would a sword.

With the rest of the parasol itself buried deep into the bridge princess' body, piercing through her stomach, innards and spine wetly, the pristine cloth-like material slathered with lumpy viscera and soaked in crimson.


She blinks again, and the vision disappears. Parsee is standing in front of her once more, that small smile on her lips, looking safe, completely free of being impaled by something you'd normally use to keep the rain and sunshine away.

Yuuka lets out the breath she'd been holding, before closing her eyes and nodding.

"Yes. Yes, of course. Not between friends." She opens her eyes, and the mask of politeness is once again there, the murderer's smile returning. Any trace of her earlier distress stamped out completely, to the point of nonexistence.

The only trace of it being the slightly-shivering hand that rested upon her parasol's handle.

"...I will see you again in one week, Parsee." She nods again and makes to leave - but stops, as if remembering something, before turning back and smiling at the youkai. "Please bid your friend, that Oni you had tasked me to deliver the news of your demise, my greetings as well - and that I would like to meet her as well, sometime. If our paths cross."

She departs, leaving the bridge princess to tend to her thirsty flowers.

Friends. Somehow, someway, Yuuka would be able to accept something like that happening for her.
Yuuka Kazami
Free Character

Re: (Private) Broken Trust

Postby Parsee Mizuhashi » 23 Jan 2012 14:57

This time, Parsee only nods slightly as Yuuka leaves, making no further attempts. "In a week, then," she answers, watching the green-haired youkai depart. She remained standing there for a while, swaying ever so slightly now, as what little energy was left in her began to depart. It was not Yuuka's actions that had surprised her, but her own.

This was, to put it plainly, not normal. Not right? That was anyone's guess. All the same, it was not a choice she would ordinarily make, not words that she might speak, or thoughts she might entertain. Evidently, for whatever reason, she was not herself today. That, at least, was something she welcomed; a drastic and no doubt temporary change, but perhaps it was for the best. It could not possibly hurt to be someone else, after all, for a day or two.

"You," she whispers into the air, quite some time after the visitor has already left, long since out of earshot, "are a strange person, Kazami Yuuka. You confuse me in ways that anger me at times and terrify me at others." The bridgekeeper shakes her head with the slightest of smiles, before breathing a theatrical sigh, quite far from any serious expression of dismay. "And yet, you interest me. I can't fathom why I would look forward to seeing you again, after all this. I must have taken leave of my senses."

She turns away, speaking over her shoulder as another thought strikes her, as if speaking to the long-gone gardener. "But then, we could throw every last one of those words at each other all day, couldn't we? And we would both be quite right. There's something terribly wrong with both of us," she concludes with a shrug, "and I suppose that simply can't be helped. But as I've told you before, five weeks past... we make do. We make the best of what we have. And if what we have left of ourselves is a little twisted, perhaps a little broken?"

She lifts the abandoned watering can, slowly watering each and every one of the flowers. "Well, there's no reason for that to stop us from living, is there now?" She nods to herself, apparently satisfied by this. Hours pass as she tends to the plants, a series of relaxing routines, a handful of whispered thanks to the flowers. Though she was surrounded by the ruins of her home and had already almost lost her life once in the hour or two that she had been awake, for the moment, Parsee was at peace.

One learns to make do, after all, even when there is little left.
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Parsee Mizuhashi
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