Minamoto no Hiromasa was bored. Terribly, terribly bored. He detested inauspicious days. —that is, it was natural, of course, to dislike inauspicious days, on account of their being inauspicious, but that wasn’t what he minded the most. It was the boredom that he truly disliked. He couldn’t go out, of course, and couldn’t receive visitors. The blinds were lowered, so it was no use trying to contemplate the garden. Usually he could while away the time by playing his flute, but today was supposed to be so severely inauspicious for him that he was advised not to risk even that.
Hiromasa sighed and hung his head, closing his eyes and willing the time to move faster somehow.
“What’s all the sighing for?”
“Aaah!” Hiromasa’s eyes flew open and he startled backwards in shock. He glared at Seimei, who was laughing at him.
“Seimei!” he cried in annoyance, then paused and frowned. “…wait, Seimei, you’re not supposed to be here! Didn’t you see the sign by the gate? Today is terribly unlucky for me, and some of my ill luck might rub off on you!”
“Oh?” Seimei raised his eyebrows in amusement. “And who told you today was so dangerous?”
“An onmyouji, of course,” Hiromasa answered, then flushed as Seimei laughed at him again. “It was Kamo no Yasutoki-dono, if you must know.”
“And you trust Yasutoki’s judgment more than mine?”
Hiromasa floundered for a moment, then managed to splutter out “Seimei! That’s not a fair question! Don’t you have any respect for your colleagues?”
“Are you up to another bit of excitement today?” Seimei asked, ignoring the question.
“I shouldn’t go—” Hiromasa stopped and huffed in annoyance. “You won’t take no for an answer, will you?”
In response, Seimei produced a small willow taboo-tag from somewhere and leaned over to tie it to Hiromasa’s cap. “There. Now the citizens of the capital will be safe, having been warned about you and your bad luck.” He smiled mischievously at Hiromasa, then turned to go, clearly expecting Hiromasa to follow him.
Hiromasa hesitated for a moment, then rose to follow Seimei. A reluctant smile spread across his face—at least he could never complain of boredom with Seimei around!