“Lesson one of running with a unit: remember that you’re not alone.” A deep voice spoke just to the right of him. Before San could react, a broad hand pushed up from the small of his back. San pulled himself up onto the ledge, and Hachi came up after him, dusting off his hands. “We watch your back and you watch ours, if you’re one of us. But that means you have to think about the rest of the team before you act too. Where we are, what we'll do."
San said nothing, turning the words over in his mind. Then, catching his breath, he sought his sister, only to find her further up, speaking softly to the cat. “Ready to keep going?” said Juu, indicating the top of the tower with a toss of her head. San nodded, then followed in her wake as she picked up the climb.
This time he sought his own path, tried to remember where she and Hachi were, but it was different. When he had been a nameless boy under the thumb of the trainers, he had trained alone, or else with sparring partners that came and went like passers-by at the markets. It was easier with his sister, but he had been with her since the beginning; it was sheer force of habit to always know where she was when they were together.
“You’re slow,” she said to him when he crested the final ledge. Her dark eyes were bright under the bleached-white light of the moon. The cat watched, its face unreadable, from the neat seat it kept beside her, while Nana surveyed the city below on the other side.
San sat on the edge of the roof, not far from where Shi was standing. The city spread out beneath him, dappled with light. This far up, in the depth of the night, everything was quiet but for the wind.
“This is it,” said Juu, spreading out her hands. “The layout of our territory, though I’m sure they taught you the boring part already.” Her tone was conspiratory as she edged closer to San and Shi. “But between you and me, it’s also the best view in the city. And we have it all to ourselves." Catching San’s eye, she winked at him. “One of the perks of the job.”
“Robin would beg to differ,” said Hachi, amusement coloring his voice as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Hang Robin,” said Juu, sticking her nose in the air. Hachi laughed, and even Nana snorted, though she hadn’t given any other indication that she had been listening. “He’s a sunken-eyed blond bastard, and his tower isn’t worth shit. You can tell him I said it.”
The smile that had been creeping over San’s features froze on his face.
He’s a sunken-eyed blond bastard. His hands clenched, shook--- his breath came short. It was a warm summer night. The same white moon. Bruised knees to the floorboards. Looking up into grey eyes, gold hair washed pale by the light. His sister--- His sister---
Someone to his left. He turned, caught the hand reaching for him--- Hachi. Hachi, who broke his grip easy, pulled on San’s arm with his other hand--- the world went bright for a moment as San hit the tiles, all the wind going out of him with a half-choked gasp.
“Watch your mouth,” Hachi said. It took San a moment to realize that Hachi hadn’t been speaking to him. As his eyes came back into focus, he saw Hachi turned away, looking at Juu.
His sister, standing beside him, had clenched her hands into fists.
“Are we done here?” Shi said.
“Well, you survived the climb,” said the cat. It hopped off the edge of the roof easy as anything, slipping liquid-like into the shadows.
Hachi eased back, holding out a hand to help San to his feet, but San rolled over onto his side and rose by himself. Juu looked between them, blinking, uncomprehending.
“It’s nothing,” he said to the unspoken question in her gaze.
Their first job was simple. Go in, retrieve a missive from a foreign delegate’s chambers, then get out without anyone the wiser. San went, bare faced, in servants’ clothes. Roku was patrolling outside, the others waiting below or within, disguised. His heart hammered in his ears as he slipped through a window, then into a hall, past another set of doors and into the room of the delegate.
But it was almost too easy to slip his lockpicks into the chest beneath the desk, to slip gloved hands in and come away with a letter sealed in wax, to rearrange everything the way it was and slip back out again, where Hachi waited for him to hand off his prize.
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Is the site that is going to be used to host all those images also the type you'd need to pay for? (definitely noticed the broken images yeah. Photobucket feels like it is standing on its last legs. X3 )
May 21, 2020 0:13:57 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm just kinda nervous about them going down before things get moved over completely. It's prolly nothing to be worried about though. :3
May 20, 2020 22:13:15 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Thank goodness we're moving out of there? XD
May 20, 2020 21:59:22 GMT -6
Renathan: Ugh, photobucket has the images broke again. x3
May 20, 2020 21:18:53 GMT -6