Chapter 1: Intro
We have a friend, to whom we have never met. Our friend is, apparently, a recluse and, apparently, people don't write her letters. Of course, Houka, Gamagoori, Uzu, and I never anticipated her to write back, as we wrote her just for kicks, just a bit of fun. She didn't know that and, meticulously, wrote us back. Her letters were brief, not stating much, and, as noted before, meticulous. She probably had no experience writing letters, however, she really did put much effort into them. However, at the end, she never signed her first name, instead ending her letters with "Lady Kiryuuin."
Things grew to be more interesting when Lady Kiryuuin invited us to stay with her for the winter.
Chapter 2: The Invitation and the Mystery Begins
It's odd to receive a letter from someone we never met, however, letters are one thing, invitations are another. We've never met her and don't even know too much about her, then again, she probably just wants to know us better, thus she would like to spend the winter with us. Frankly, she doesn't seem like she would deal us any harm and is probably just a bit lonely. So far, things get boring very fast in the winter, so, perhaps, visiting our mysterious friend would spice things up.
"Well, I think we should visit her, after all, she did invite us and she's not being pushy." I said, citing how polite her invitation was. Houka was skeptical, stating that we don't even know her first name. He did have considerable point, considering she always signed her letters with "Lady Kiryuuin" and never anything else, however, Nonon pointed out that she could be shy or, since, she never seemed to have written letters before, she probably figured everyone ended their letters on a formal basis.
Uzu insinuated that Lady Kiryuuin was lonely and would like some company, after all, she never mentioned having anyone else stay with her, along with the fact that she stated she only had one friend. He also liked to think of what she looked like, stating that she sounds really pretty. I should note that she hasn't even sent us a photograph but we can assume she would look like she was around our age, at the same time, she could be a nice elderly woman.
Nonon gave her opinion as we should go and stay a bit, saying, "Well, we don't hardly ever do anything when the winter comes, so, let's go."
Chapter 3: Arrival at Kiryuuin Manor and the Little Sister
It was an awfully long drive and it was nightfall by the time we got there. Her house, certainly, was a mansion and, while seemingly built in a recent time, was certainly old-fashioned. Going by the fact of it being so large and having at least a few stained glass windows, Lady Kiryuuin must certainly be wealthy and probably has more money to spend than how long she would ever live. Of course, she doesn't seem to have neighbors, as the nearest house had to have been quite far, considering how large her property is. I don't think she'd mind, considering that she was a recluse.
Hesitantly, we walked up to the door and knocked. It seemed eerie but the glow in a window seemed inviting. We stood there for about a minute before the door creaked open. It startled us and caused Uzu to pee his pants. We walked in and made our way to the parlor, where the fireplace was.
"Well, this is nice." Nonon said, making herself comfortable. This began a long discussion which was stopped suddenly when the door closed. We thought nothing of it, at first, and went about our conversation, until Gamagoori nearly jumped out of his chair. We slowly glanced his direction and saw what startled him.
What startled him was a little girl placing her hand on his arm. She was a small girl with her hair in ruffled messy curls, said hair being black with a red streak and she had blue eyes. She wore a white nightgown with a black shawl draped around her, along with her foot only having one sock. She seemed to have been up for some time or had just woken up, at the same time, she seemed to be interested in meeting with us. It hadn't taken us long to figure out that she was the one who had opened the door for and closed it behind us.
She rubbed her eyes and said, "Hello, I am the Lady's little sister and she bids you welcome to our home." She then went on to say that our rooms are upstairs and that we have night clothes waiting for us. She didn't say much more before she lead us upstairs, saying, "You are expected for breakfast, tomorrow, at eight o' clock." We didn't argue with her but we found it strange that the Lady didn't mention that she even had a little sister, however, she is reclusive and, clearly, her little sister is much loved and quite well-protected.
She bid us good-night and said that we'll see her again at breakfast.
Chapter 4: Conversations with the Mousy Girl
The next morning was quiet until about at exactly 7:30 am, I was startled out of my sleep by someone grabbing at my hair. At first, I thought it was the Lady being playful but, when I opened my eyes, I found it was a little girl, different than the one who had greeted us last night. Like the little sister, I don't recall her ever being mentioned in the letters the Lady had written.
She was shy and wearing pink nightgown with matching socks. Her pale platinum-blonde hair was short, curly, and stuck out on all sides of her head, which made her look like a dandelion, and her eyes were blue. Her nose was twitching and her hands were shaking. I took it that she wasn't used to visitors, considering that she seemed to be scared of me looking at her. She flashed a quick smile and said simply that breakfast was on the table. Clearly, since I didn't know her name, I decided to refer to her as "Mousy", not that she minded, actually, the name made her giggle and extend it to "Mousette".
Mousette small hand wrapped around my fingers and she led me downstairs to the kitchen where the others were waiting. "The Lady made breakfast sooner than we anticipated," the younger sister said, holding a tray with a teapot and a teacup, "I'll be back in a second." She left the kitchen for a moment, leaving us with Mousette, who said, "The Lady is awful shy."
This made us curious and Houka asked, "She is?" Mousette twitched and squirmed, before replying that the Lady was shy and painfully so, so shy that she couldn't describe how shy she was, however, she did state that she had first seen her a good two weeks after she had come to stay. "Really?" Nonon asked.
"Yes, I...I...I haven't seen the Lady until after I had been here for two weeks. I saw her friend, Iori, and, her sister, Ryuuko but I didn't see her quite yet. I...I...I g....g...guess she wanted me to find her, so I did, but, when I tried to find her, I walked out onto one of the balconies."
"What happened next?"
"Oh, well, that is when I saw her, as I had almost fell to the ground but she stopped me, catching me before I went over the railing."
"What did you see when saw her?"
"Oh, she's really pretty. She has long black hair with a streak in it and blue eyes, kinda like Ryuuko, except, her streak is kinda like silvery-white. She's also pretty tall and she don't get out in the sun much."
"How did you come to live here?"
"Oh, I was an orphan once and then I remembered the headmistress coming to me to tell me that I was going home. She didn't say who adopted me but I was picked up by the Lady's friend and brought here, where I met Ryuuko."
"Why is she so shy?"
"I don't know, I just know that she is shy. I guess she's always been shy but we don't mind much."
"No, then again, we don't have neighbors and we don't get many visitors, except Iori and the butler but they're gone away for the winter."
"How else is she like?"
"Oh, she's awful nice and has a really pretty smile. She's also real smart as, she speaks lots of languages and even taught me French, and she's also real quiet, as she doesn't talk much, really."
The little sister--Ryuuko-- returned, saying that she was helping her older sister with something, however, she never stated what. She then went on to say that we'll see her sister soon, before the winter is over. I suppose we could be patient, after all Mousette said that Lady was very shy and, even though she adopted her, Mousette hadn't seen her for two weeks. I wonder what could have made her so shy.
Chapter 5: Conversations with Ryuuko
Apparently, their television is an old one, considering the antenna, and it doesn't look like it gets any channels. The girls were occupied, clearly, as Mousette was doing needlepoint and Ryuuko was drawing pictures. I took it that this was a normal occurance for them, considering that they were going about their business. "Sometimes," Ryuuko said, "we play in the snow but this winter is colder than last winter, so we stay inside."
Naturally, I was curious as to what they do for fun and I asked them to which, Ryuuko responded, "Oh, lots of things. If we aren't doing what we're doing now, then we are playing with our toys or listening to the Lady sing or play the piano." I recalled one letter mentioning how she enjoyed the sound of the piano, thus it made sense of her playing it. Almost as if her sister has asked her to specifically, there was a piano playing. It was for a short spell and it came to a soft halt. "Oh, that was her playing. She'll invite you to watch her when she feels a lot less shy." Mousette said.
"Hmm, you, Ryuuko, you're her sister, how come she is so shy?" I asked the girl with a red streak, to which she replied that she didn't know. She tried to draw up some memory that could point to why her sister was so shy but she never came to anything, saying, "She's always been shy, for as long as I can remember."
"Really? Mousette said your sister doesn't go outside much, is that true?"
"Yes, it is true, I mean she had only been out a few times and, when she does go outside, it kinda scares her some or it makes her upset. When she does go outside, one of us holds her hand so she won't be scared. Of course, she does go outside when she has to but it still scares her."
"Oh. Anywho, do you have any parents?"
"No, and I don't remember them. The Lady said they passed away, with Mama dying when I was a baby."
"How old are you all?"
"The Lady is either about eighteen or nineteen and Nui and I are five and a half."
"Do you have any other relatives?"
"No, just the Lady and she's taken care of us since we were really little. She loves us terribly and wishes no harm to come to us if she can do something about it. However, while she is terrified of the outside world, she doesn't try to keep us from it."
"Yup, according to her, we weren't born like she was but I don't know what she meant by that. I guess she was just born different or something."
"Give her time, she'll come out to see you, one of these days."
Chapter 6: The Lullaby
After a good few weeks of getting to know Ryuuko and Nui, we started to hear singing. It was ethereal but beautiful. The Lady, according to the latter, was never much of a talker, however, oddly enough, while she isn't much of a talker, she most certainly is a singer. I took it that she was singing a lullaby and her lullaby was a rather melancholic, as if it were a last memory she had of someone. Her sister mentioned that their parents died and her mother must have sang that to her then infant sister some time before she died. The loss of her parents must still be fresh.
She would sing her lullaby just after we had gone to bed and in the wee hours of the night. Ryuuko and Nui were accustomed to this, as they would sleep soundly and talk about what they heard the morning after. If she wasn't singing at night, then she would be singing during the afternoon or, for that matter, when she thought the girls were feeling poorly. An example of this was when Nui tripped on the stairs. She wasn't injured but she wasn't very happy about it. She seemed as though she would burst into tears but she felt better when she heard that voice.
Clearly, when Nui described her, she is beautiful, however, she even sounds beautiful. I wanted to see her but the others advised against it, as seeing her when she isn't yet ready to be seen could frighten her greatly. However, her voice and Nui's description added more to the mystery.
"According to her," Ryuuko said, absently playing with her toys, "the lullaby she sings is the one Mama sang. Mama sang that before she died." The girl looked as though she could cry and, obviously, she probably wanted to, considering that she never got to know either of her parents, her mother especially. It brought her singing to light, in that her sister was the only connection she had the parents fate was cruel enough to take away from them. Right one cue, almost, the Lady began to sing, which cheered Ryuuko up, as she turned to me and said, "But, as she always says, Mama is always with us."
I didn't know how right she could be.
Chapter 7: "Look after her, please."
I found myself waking up suddenly, in the middle of the night. It was about 1:00 am and I felt a hand on my shoulder. As I looked around, I found this woman staring at me. She appeared to be in her late 30s to early 40s and she was a wearing a black dress with floral patterns on it and had her hair in a loose bun with a flower in it. Around her neck, she wore a locket. Frankly, she looked pretty and not eerie like most ghosts would have.
At first, not gonna lie, I thought I was dreaming, so I initiated a conversation with her, starting out with the basics of who she was, to which she replied, "I'm their mother, Madame Ragyo Kiryuuin." Upon hearing that, I almost jumped out of the bed and was frantic for a good bit, until she reassured me that she meant no harm. She stated that she wanted to talk and that she came bearing a message. She also stated that she doesn't talk to visitors much.
I listened attentively as she said, "I am their mother who watches over them in death and I don't speak with visitors much. I have but few wishes, however, I've come asking that you all look after her, please." I didn't know what she meant but it hit me pretty quickly that she was talking about her daughters, more specifically her oldest one. I asked her anyway, inquiring, "Are you reffering to your oldest one or the younger one?"
"Both, but, more specifically, my oldest one."
"Why do you think she needs looking after?"
"Most mothers think their babies need looking after, child, however, she is a little different in that she is fragile.
"Oh, she doesn't break easily, not that sort of 'fragile', I mind you, she's fragile in mind."
"Yes, I suppose she was always like that, since she was a child, not that Souichiro and I minded, however, we worried about what would happen to either of them should something happen to us. Ryuuko's a strong one, always had been, surely, you must know but the oldest one is fragile and it's wonderful to have more than one friend."
"Most of what we want is for someone besides Shiro to look after her. Look after her, please."
She smiled before fading away, leaving behind her locket. Inside the locket were the pictures of she and her husband and her daughters. She asked that we'd look after her daughters and that is all she wanted. However, I wish she could've revealed the oldest one's name.
Chapter 8: Photographs
Ryuuko thought it'd be rather fun to show us her favorite book, which is to say, a photo album. She was giddy, which was the most excited we had seen her. I suppose she never had much people around to share her favorite things with. According to her, they have at least a few photo albums, however, the one she wanted to show us was her favorite and that she would look at it like a bedtime story.
She opened to the first page, which had a photo of a woman in bed, holding a baby, with a girl by her side. She was wearing a white dress or, rather, going by what it looked like, a nightgown and wore no shoes. Her long black hair almost covered her face and she held the mother's hand and seemed rather afraid or, to the very least, shy. The baby, as we could tell, was Ryuuko and, the woman, their mother, but we didn't know who the girl was.We asked her, to which she responded, "Oh, that's the Lady, when she was about twelve and thirteen."
On the page adjacent to the first, was a photo of the Lady cradling her sister. She seemed happy and I guess the two were playing as both seemed estatic. Ryuuko was cracking something of a smile, as only she could for a baby, and her sister was, too. The photo in the space underneath was of the aformentioned two, however, it was a picture with their mother. Their mother wasn't looking too well and the rest of the photographs for a good chunk of the album had pics of them with her, until it just became those two all over again.
She was wearing a black dress with matching shoes and her hair was tied back in two braids, bound with blue ribbons. Ryuuko seemed to be quite sad, just as she was, and she was probably no more than at least a good six or so months There was snow in the window of the photograph. "The Lady says this was taken after Mama's funeral." Ryuuko said, mournfully. Ouch. Her parents were ripped away before she could remember, which wasn't hard to observe, considering that their father wasn't in any of those pictures. We assumed he was taking the photos, until Ryuuko told us that he died in an accident just as their mother was giving birth to her.
She then went on to show us more photographs, one being taken when she was about three. The Lady couldn't have been any more than sixteen and she was reading her sister a book. It was a very worn book, obviously very well-loved, passed down from generation upon generation. "I remember the words," she said, smiling, "and she does, too."
She turned to the next page where it was just the Lady. She was sitting in a chair, with a book in her lap, her head tilted to the side. By that point, it seemed, she started to develop a pale gray, almost white, streak and it was very prominent in her otherwise long black hair, along with it being braided. She was wearing a blue dress with a white shawl around her shoulders. She seemed to be content, relatively, even smiling, which was odd since she's only seen smiling in one photo and, in the rest, she appears to be stoic. She was probably asleep, it looked like, and was having a pleasant dream or she was in very deep thought, thinking about something unknown to us.
The picture adjacent of it was a photo of her Nui. Nui seemed to be just as shy and she was clutching her hand. She was dressed in a frilly pink dress, while the Lady was wearing a light blue tent dress. She looked rather awkward, considering that the tent dress exposed much of her legs and that she stood pigeon-toed. "Oh!" Ryuuko said, chuckling, "This is a silly picture. She laughs 'bout it, too." I suppose she was going for that effect and, clearly, she has to have a sense of humor to laugh at herself.
The picture on the adjacent page was of all three of them together. The younger girls were watching her sew something, a quilt most likely, while doing her hair, biding their time. It was a quiet picture, one taken in the late afternoon, and it was the begining of autumn. I took it that the girls had probably gotten home from school earlier that day, in which case, that photo was taken at its most recent, which meant the girls likely started school, which is more apparent, as the next one shows the girls leaving on a school bus.
The next photo showed her cradling Nui, who is awfully happy, laughing and giggling, hugging the Lady in return. Clearly, she was delighted to be in her company. She didn't seem so shy in this photo, considering how happy she was and the fact that she seemed to be glancing towards the camera somewhat.
The other photo below that one had the Lady outside. It should noted that it was the only photo in the album of her outside, considering that she seems to be mildly agoraphobic. True to what her sister and Nui said, she does frighten easily of being outside and seemed to be rather uncomfortable, otherwise, she was calm, considering that she had Ryuuko and Nui with her. "Oh, she wanted to see the flowers but was too afraid to go by herself, so we took her outside. It was only for about five minutes." she said, turning the page.
The rest of the pages past that point were almost blank, few pictures here and there. "Oh, those are for yet to come." Ryuuko explained, before producing a camera. It was an instant film camera and likely a newer one, considering it didn't look like any of the Polaroid photos we saw prior. "Shiro got her this last Christmas and she'd be delighted to have photos of you all." she said, joyously.
Taking photos was an easily entertaining experience, much of giggling and such. We took so many photos that we had run out of film. Of course, neither girl seemed to mind, saying that we've taken enough photos to start another album.
Chapter 9: Playing in the Shadows
For whatever reason, after some time, I decided to wander the hallways during a night. I was wandering, when felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and found no one. I shrugged it off and went about wandering but then I felt the same hand again. I was scared, mildly rattled, however, said fear was replaced with a feeling that this was someone being playful. Perhaps, one of the girls was defying the rules by being up late at night but then I remembered that I had just walked by the girls' room and they were fast asleep. Neither Houka, Uzu, nor Gamagoori were awake, so it wasn't them.
I took this as some kind of nightly hide 'n seek game and opted to play along. I started quietly darting around, looking into nooks and crannies. I found no one but I did feel the same hand on my shoulder once again. As I played this little game, I had realized who it was I was playing with. The Lady wanted to interact with guests a bit more directly but wasn't sure how, so she thought she'd play with me, after all, I was awake. Her interactions were childish, as to be expected, with a degree of shyness, considering that she would place her hand on my shoulder and retreat back into the darkness.
After a decent while, the moonlight shone on something long and silver and something white. She was partially in the shadows and I saw her hand, along with her blue painted fingernails. I caught a faint glimpse of a smile and her ethereal blue eyes. She seemed not to mind being seen, as long I didn't fully see her. Her sisters never mentioned her as being nocturnal or, to the very least, crepuscular, then again, she probably just wanted to overcome her shyness, one step at a time.
Slowly, she sat on her haunches, making more of herself visible to the moonlight. We looked at each other for about five minutes before she reached out to poke me. Instinctively, I knew not to poke her back, as it could frighten her, but I was intrigued by the gesture there. Like the girls said, they don't get visitors besides her friend Iori, thus, since had taken the time out to interact with me more directly. It seemed we had begun something of a wordless conversation, one of eye expressions.
We had this about a good hour before she got up, bid me something of a goodnight, turned, and scurried away.
She really wasn't much of a talker.
Chapter 10: Interactions in the Library
I take it that the Lady hardly ever comes downstairs, however, I found her in the library. I thought to be coy with her and pretend that I didn't see her but, as I can tell, she wasn't fooled, considering that she was eyeballing me from accross the library, from behind a bookshelf, in something of a private nook. It was interesting to see how she was watching me, of course, then she started to gesture from the shadows.
Not knowing what else to do, I returned gesturing, which elicited a giggle. I suppose she was playing, having something of a conversation before she hesitantly approached me. She was like a fawn, getting close and then backing away, just wanting to interact with someone new but wasn't sure as to how. She took her seat adjacently and opted to watch me read, looking over the cover in intervals to see what it was I was reading or what page I was on.
She didn't talk, just sat in my company. And, yes, she did look like how Nonon described her, except she had an ornate blue shawl draped around her shoulders and floor-length medium-sleeved nightgown (or is that a dress?) with a matching housecoat. Likewise, her long hair was braided, coiled around her head, and most of it was stuffed into a nightcap. Likewise, her fingernails were painted blue.
When I had finished my book, she then handed me another. I took it that she had liked novels, considering the book that she had handed me was the sequel to a book I finished. Like the previous book, we shared, however, I opted to read aloud to her. She sat quietly, barely budging, save when Nui brought her some tea. She seemed to be thuroughly enjoying herself, considering how long it took me to finish and she must have been sitting there for hours, quiet.
When I did finish, she patted me on the shoulder and quietly left the room. According to Ryuuko, later that day, she was very grateful to be read to and asked her to thank me for it, considering that she is much too shy to thank me herself. She then went on to tell me how my reading aloud to the Lady made her day.
Chapter 11: Tea in the Parlor
I was sitting in the parlor, warming myself by the fire, daydreaming, when I was startled by delicate hand on my shoulder. At first, I assumed it was one the littler girls but, when I turned to see, I found it was a girl, certainly, except she wasn't a little girl, rather, she was a girl of our age. She was our hostess it seemed and it was certainly interesting to see her, after having not have seen her in this time, as, up until now, she interacted with us through her sister and adoptive child.
I had taken note of the fact that her hair was black with a whitish streak and the fact that, despite floor being rather chilly, she was barefooted, along with the fact that she was she seemed to be rather bundled, housecoat, blanket, and shawl. She was as gangly as she appeared in a photograph and she was as shy as she looked
I greeted her with a "hello" to which she nodded, silently greeting. I didn't know what to chat with her about, however, I don't think she had much to converse about either but, however, we knew we had quite liked each other's company, whether we conversed or otherwise. After a bit of eyeing each other, we broke eye contact when Nui walked in with a tray that held a coupld of tea cups and a teapot. "It's fresh," she said, "and hot, too, just the way you like." The girl poured two cups and bid us good afternoon, to which the woman responded by petting her head.
She blinked her blue eyes and sipped her tea quietly, glancing towards me and then away quickly. She really was shy, so shy that she had a such a difficult time holding eye contact. I thought maybe I could help her by asking her name. The question startled her and she looked towards me and smiled. In all the time we had been here and encountered her, none of us ever heard her so much as even utter anything.
With a stutter and in a voice that could be surmised as a whisper, she said, "S-S-ss--S-atsuki." It didn't take good ears to hear her and make out what she said. As she stuttered and whispered, I could tell her stuttering put her sounds as "Satsuki", making her "Lady Satsuki Kiryuuin". I needn't to ask her further questions and figured she had opened up enough, as, for someone so shy, giving a new friend her name is opening up. I should note that she seemed winded, as, clearly, enunciating her name to someone she was getting to l know took a lot of strength.
We enjoyed one another's company for a good two hours since before she retreated to her room. The next day, I was quick to bring that up in a conversation with the others. They were surprised, the girls especially with Ryuuko saying, "That's a first, as usually she doesn't talk much." She then went on to say that her sister and Iori were friends long before he ever knew her name. When she stated it was wonderful to know her name so soon, she smiled brightly.
Chapter 12: Dancing in the Halls
Sometimes, wandering around can be rewarding, as I had met Lady Satsuki. I guess she was pretending that she was dancing with someone and was quite enthralled with it, thoroughly enjoying herself, until she noticed me, in which case, she threw her arms around me and pulled me into a dance. It was odd and unusual, however, it was clear she wanted to share her fun with me.
I don't know what she was pretending about but I decided to play along. Clearly, she was an expert at this, as I could barely keep up. She caught onto this and we settled on a slower dance. She was humming a tune I didn't recognize but it seemed to be a waltz. She was probably pretending she was dancing at some grand ball or something. There was a child within her than probably fantasized about such things but was just so terribly shy to really enact on them.
We danced for a good while before she let go and retired to her room. I was left enchanted by her, wondering if we'd dance again.
We would, as the next night, before bed, we danced in the hall for a few moments, before she would again retire. We often danced in the halls for a good duration, until one night she had fallen asleep while dancing. We didn't dance more after but she did enjoy our time and we would sit together. One such night, she got up and, actually, surprisingly enough, she performed a bit of ballet, before curtsying and taking her place next to me.
I recall applauding her and her smile as I did so.
Chapter 13: Holding Hands
One night, while it was snowing, she seemed to be curious about outside, despite her fears. As I observed her, I wondered as to how that must be like where one is curious about the outside world and other people but is so hesitant and afraid to interact with it. Perhaps, disorder notwithstanding, she probably did want to interact with the world outside of her house but, instinctively, she fears it for whatever reason, thus leaving her rather stuck.
She seemed to be content and, besides her curiosity, she wasn't unhappy with her relatively confined existence. She was like a baby and, while babies don't often prefer to stray away some safety, they would like to indulge their curiosities, fear or not. She lived in that kind of paradox but, as with anyone else, she would like to deviate from the norm every once in a while.
Even if she was only in her bedclothes and a housecoat, she was dressed warmly and, once, I found her idling by the window, counting at the snowflakes, mesmerized. I wondered if she knew how cold the snow is, as she was really fascinated and thought it looked pretty, however, I would guess that she did, considering that she'd let Ryuuko and Nui play in it and barred them from playing outside because of how cold it was this winter.
Nui suggested that we'd indulge her curiosity, saying, "She's never touched snow before. She's wanted to but she's scared of outside. We tried bringing her some but it never lasted so you could try bringing her outside and let her touch the snow." Neither one us knew how to suggest it to her but we came to the conclusion that all four of us take her outside for a few moments. We didn’t have to exactly tell her this, as she was standing at the door, practically near swaddled like a baby, her delicate hand outstretched. Holding her hand gently and as she trembled, we led her outside, to the edge of her porch.
With the trepidation of a fawn, Satsuki reached down and momentarily touched her fingers to the clustered ice crystals. She observed what they felt like but wondered if she should taste it. She pondered this for a moment before concluding she wanted to go back inside.
Once we got her back inside, she showed how elated she was and thanked us sincerely.
Chapter 14: Leaving Towards Winters End and Meeting Again in the Spring
We had plenty of fun with the Lady and her young charges but the winter was starting to end. This was bittersweet, double, because Satsuki really enjoyed our company and, in a long time, our being here really introduced her to something new. Initially, I thought it would be wishful thinking to hope that she’d come into the city to visit with us, considering that she was painfully shy and agoraphobic. We did promise her that we’d see her again next winter and that we’d remember to write her when we got the chance.
As we were departing, we found her to be huggy and antsy, like a baby. As we left, she watched at the window, waving farewell, smiling rather bittersweetly.
Some time, after that, in the spring, we were sitting at a cafe when we were suddenly approached by Ryuuko. It was such a surprise and we asked her as to what she doing in town, to which she said, “Oh, the Lady just wanted to visit you all and we did look everywhere.” To our surprise, she wasn’t lying, as right behind her, accompanied by her friend Iori and Nui, there was an agoraphobic Lady, wrapped tightly in a blue shawl and clinging to Iori for dear life.
The moment she saw us, there came a tight embrace. “She’s never been here, before,” Iori explained, “but she was so insistent on finding you all, even if it meant going outside.” He then went on to say that she hasn’t gone outside or left the house in years, so, her wanting to leave the house, regardless of being afraid, was really something, thus we were her reason for wanting to leave the house. I guess we showed her that there was more to life than being inside, that the outside wasn't as dangerous as she probably thought it was. We would wonder if she was so lonely that having us there made her overjoyed. We had broken her routine when we wrote her letters and, from what we could see, she was eternally grateful, hugging us and clinging to us, just so elated to see us.
The visit was short but it was special and, as she left, she thanked us for the nice time and said she would like to visit again.