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A Leaf in Spring

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🐈 🌸 🧚♀️

“Crystal!”

Losing one’s pet is always a heart stopping experience. Even for the gods, losing their most beloved animal companion is a burden they have to bare since animals are independent and curious creatures. Especially cats.

“Crystal! Where are you?”

This is why Clear was in the forest. His white cat, Crystal, had wandered off while he was bathing in the springs with some nature faeries. The cat had a habit of running off but she usually came back in a few minutes but she was gone for longer than usual.

“Crystal! Come back, please!” He begged. “Tae-san’s making donuts at the temple!”

As he walked through the forest, he noticed how the leaves had turned from green to a bright red and instead of flowers there were mushrooms. He picked up an orange leaf and watched it turn into an entirely new flower. How strange, he thought. What flower is this? He started picking up more leaves and watching them turn into new plants and fruits. He sat down on a rock and picked a mushroom and watched it turn purple and take a sphere like shape.

“What are you called?” He asked it. “You look different from my flowers.. I think I’ll call you—“

Meow.

“Crystal?” The cat's voice came from his right side but he couldn’t see anything. He grabbed the purple fruit and ran towards the cats meows, he was quick and nimble on his feet as he jumped over fallen branches and the plants moved out of his way. The meow got closer and he heard an angry hiss. “Cryst—“

Well there’s his cat. With another person. Clear jumped behind a tree when the figure looked in his direction. He peeked from behind the tree.

The person was white, literally. Everything about them was white, white hair, white eyes, he was even wearing a white kimono but he had the same face as—

Meow!!

“Aww!! Are you mad?” The white figure cooed the unhappy feline. “You’re such a pretty little beast! I wonder what your mind looks like?”

And that’s when Clear gasped, he swore he saw it. The man’s eyes glowed a bright yellow and the cat started to meow louder and more frantic. Clear had to do something but this man was clearly powerful and had some kind of grip on his cats mind.

“Come on, just a little more.” The white man said, a smile creeping on his face as the cat screamed.

“Shiroba!”

A voice boomed through the forest, making the man flinch and drop the cat. The cat hissed at him and ran in Clear’s direction. He scooped up the feline and was about to leave when a flurry of red and orange leaves blew in. Shiroba turned around and smiled at the figure that appeared in front of him. A Native man had appeared, his brunette hair decorated with feathers and leaves. Clear was in awe of the man, he’d never seen nor heard of him but just by looking at him, he could sense a royal yet dark aura from him.

“What the hell were you doing?” He said, sounding irritated but his stoic expression didn’t change.

“Me?” Shiroba asked, exasperated offense. “I was just taking a stroll in the forest and just so happened to stop here.” The Native man crossed his arms. “It’s true! Ok maybe not the full truth. I might’ve seen a cat and scrambled his brain.” Shiroba giggled at the memory of the terrified cat.

“A cat? In the middle of the forest?”

“Hey, there are wild cats you know.” Shiroba said. “But this cat was quite strange.”

“Strange like your story.”

“No no, I mean, this cat had some magical energy to it and it’s eyes weren’t normal. They were pink almost like a cherry blossom.” He said. “It sort of smelled… sweet.”

The Native man was about to question him until he caught a whiff of something, a sweet smelling aroma almost like lavender. Except lavender doesn’t grow in this part of the forest and it especially doesn’t grow around this time of year. He sniffed the air, searching for the sweet scent, and turned his head in Clears direction. But no one was there.

“Um I don’t see anything over there.” Shiroba said. “Are you getting senile already? You’ve only been alive for a century or two.”

Shiroba continued to blabber on about beauty and his age but Mink wasn’t listening. The large man had walked to the tree Clear was hiding behind and found, not a person, but some fruit. A pomegranate to be exact except it was new, freshly grown. How strange.

🌼🎤💦

Clear sprinted off in the other direction and ran back to the spring. He was out of breath and sweaty but that’s mainly from the panic of almost being caught. Being a god gives you some pretty good stamina and endurance, especially if you’re a nature god.

“Hello, Clear, I was won— oh my god!” A nature faery gasped. “You look so tired and you’re so sweaty! What happened?” The woman’s worry gathered the attention of the other spirits and they all moved to comfort him.

“I’m fine, I promise.” He said, but the fae were already taking off his silk robes and were pushing him into the spring. Once Clear sat in the water, he took a moment to relax but was still being bombarded with questions and worry. Crystal yelped at the water contact and jumped away from her owner.

“What’s going on?” A regal voice cut through the panic and everyone went quiet. At the sound of the voice, the spirits turned and bowed to the person. This was Aoba.

The blue haired god was almost like royalty, coming from a long line of powerful gods and even fighting in the great Platinum war. He was followed by two guards and stood with a straight back but his face wasn’t stern or mean, it was soft and friendly.

The nature fae that checked on Clear made her way to Aoba and bowed. “Good afternoon, your Loyalness.”

“You don’t need to keep calling me that.” He giggled. “And you can all get up, I’m not Koujaku.”

“Oh um.. I’m sorry..” She apologized, standing straight and a slight blush on her face. The rest of the faeries stood as well, feeling a little silly about their actions. “Clear, it’s time to go!” She called.

“Alright I’ll be right there!” Clear said, getting out of the spring and gathering his clothing. The faeries helped him get dressed in his robes and veil, making sure it was all secure and covered his body. He emerged before Aoba with Crystal in his arms and covered head to toe in fine silk. “Hi, master!” He ran to the man’s side and thanked the faeries in their language. They all chirped back and began to disappear into the forest or submerge into the water.

Aoba and Clear made their through the forest, the guards close behind to make sure no enchanted beast kidnapped them.

“Clear.” Aoba said, gaining the younger man’s attention. “You’re quiet today. What’s wrong?”

“Oh there’s nothing wrong.”

“You’re lying, you’ve been staring at Crystal the whole time.”

“Well.. today Crystal ran into the forest and… she got captured by someone.”

“That’s awful!”

“Well it wasn’t all that bad, I found this.” Clear said, pulling an orange leaf out of his hair and handed it to Aoba. “I’ve never seen a leaf so orange before. Oh and I found this fruit that’s purple but it’s not an eggplant it was so—“

“Where did you find this?”

“I went walking to find Crystal and I kept finding these leaves— Oh!” He remembered the strange fruit. “I found this purple fruit too but I dropped it when the man looked at me.”

“Man?” Aoba asked. He started thinking of something and slowly turned his eyes to Clear. “Um.. this man wouldn’t happen to be very tall and have long hair? Right?”

“Yes exactly!” Clear said. “Who was he? He looked so serious and how did he do that leaf thing?”

“He was no one. Don’t worry about him.”

“Master, you’re not being truthful.”

“Clear—“

“I just want to know his name. He looked so serious and so royal. Is he a god like us? I won—“

“Clear!” Aoba shouted, the leaves and flowers flying all around them. Clear and the guards stopped in their tracks. Aoba turned his head to look at them, his eyes were flashing a golden yellow but his face was calm. “I said drop it.”

Clears glowed yellow for a second then he politely held his hands together and held them in front of him. “Yes, master.”

Now we’re going home and you won’t ask me again about that man.”

“Yes, master.”

“Good.” Aoba blinked and his eyes were back to their normal hazel brown. “Alright let’s go home.” He held his hand out for Clear and he obediently held it and they were off.

🧠 🎶 👁

At the Seragaki temple, the two were greeted by an older woman, this was Tae. The elderly woman was standing at the steps of the temple, her hands on her hips and a mean scowl on her wrinkled face.

“Where have you two been?” She asked.

“Chill out, grandma, I was just getting Clear from the springs.”

“Don’t “chill out, grandma” me!” She shouted. “Did you forget what day it was?”

The two looked at each other, confused by what she meant until it suddenly hit them. Their eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and they rushed inside the temple. Today was the Autumn Equinox.

🌼🎤💦