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“Are you afraid of anything?”

The inquiry posed is brought up out of nowhere, Shirasu notes, though knowing the way Isanami’s mind worked, he supposes that there’s nothing really random about it. It was just the way it was phrased that seemed to slightly perturb him- just slightly, of course. He was always talented at masking emotions he deemed unnecessary.

A placid smile tugging at his lips, the white-haired shinobi would merely shake his head in response. “No. I find that I’ve spent most of my days here in peace and worry-free. And I have you to thank for that, ever since you request that your Lord allow me to reside here.”

Isanami blinks at the acknowledgment, though she can only nod in response as she leans back, swinging her feet lightly. “I see.”

Her reply is brief, which is something that’s definitely rare of the talkative priestess. She looks expectant, and Shirasu allows a soft chuckle to escape as he glances at her from his peripheral vision. “What about yourself?”

It’s hard to not laugh at the way she suddenly inflates. The priestess stretches her arms out, letting out a yawn before she casually leans to the side and plops against the elder’s arm, pressing her cheek into the soft fabric of his kimono.

“I’m… afraid of betrayal.” She murmurs, and if Shirasu was not someone who had a great amount of control in his body language, she would have felt him stiffen at her remark. Isanami pauses for a brief moment before she continues to speak, seeking comfort in the silence of the shinobi. “Before… before Shirasu-san came here, it had only been a few weeks ever since… I had experienced it for the first time. Being betrayed…”

She hides her golden-amber gaze beneath her eyelids, exhaling softly as she welcomes the darkness that closing her eyes brought out. “It… it hurt a lot. When she said those words… and even now, I still want to ask her, ‘Why didn’t you take my Kushimitama?’… because she had a lot of opportunities to do so before…” The priestess lifts her eyelids halfway, peering at the grass with regarded curiosity. “That’s why I wondered if it happened. If she really did betray us… because it hurt so much, that it was hard to believe…”

Isanami smiles then, turning her face so it was buried in the other’s sleeve. “But I…. I think she’s happy to be back. Ana doesn’t show a lot of emotion, must be a ninja thing — ” A small and lighthearted laugh, as she then tilts her head up to peer up at Shirasu. “But… I’m glad she’s back. And even if I wanna know why, I think… it’s probably better if I don’t know. I’m not a child anymore… but I guess some things are better if they aren’t mentioned.”

He only lifts a hand to ruffle at her head, to which she responds with a small hum, for it’s been a gesture that’s always served to comfort her. “You’ve matured in the short while I’ve known you, Isanami.” His tone of voice is teasing, despite the fact that behind his amethyst hues there's a newfound darkness that hadn't been there before. To think that Isanami would bring up something like this around him... did she know of his plans? She's always been sharp despite her carefree personality. Yet as she gazes upon his face with a pout, the stern expression fades away and he smiles gently in return.

“I’ve always been mature, Shirasu-san.” She says, to which he laughs again. 

"Yes, yes. My bad." It must be a coincidence. And the timing of it is impeccable. The fact that she's already told him something so personal speaks greatly to the influence he's had on her the past couple weeks. She isn't the guarded type, but he can tell when they had first met, she had been harboring something inside of her. Now he knows it's the pain of betrayal that she keeps within herself, for the sake of that smile he always sees her with. This information is a sign she trusts him, and it will be by the tendrils of his forsaken mission that this sign of trust will be used against her... again.

The irony is bittersweet. Shirasu sighs as he allows the priestess to flop herself onto his lap, deciding to take a nap right then and there. He resigns to lightly stroking the top of her head, fingers brushing against the hairpin known as the Kushimitama. The seal that restrains great power. The power that he needed for his clan.

And for a shinobi's desire to restore what has been lost, how many more times will this young girl know the sharp sting of betrayal?