For a moment, neither of them moved. Hanana's breath caught in her throat, she almost couldn't breathe as she stared, getting a good look at his face.
He grabbed the fabric of his cloak, part of which was still in her hand, and gave it a sharp tug, freeing himself. Quickly putting the hood back up, he turned to walk off. "Leave me alone," he shot over his shoulder. He took a few steps into the forest, and by extension the snowstorm, and then it was as if he suddenly disappeared.
Hanana's legs buckled as she regained the ability to breathe. She fell to her knees, staring straight ahead into the forest. That...he was...That was a snowman. Not one we used to make in the yard at home, but a real one...
Suddenly, pieces of the story came rushing back again. A long time ago, there'd been an awful winter...Someone walking around the forest, a horrible blue glow....She'd gotten a good look at his eyes; they had been blue...
So the stories were true, then! She sw
Frost -seven-Frost -seven-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
"Fair folk are rather vindictive, aren't they?"
Hanana looked up from the page. "What?"
"Well, I couldn't help seeing that there are a lot of fair folk who hurt humans for the silliest of reasons," Yukiki explained, waving a hand at the book. At Hanana's blank expression, he sighed and looked back down. "Keep reading."
She did, suppressing a little smile. Over the past few days, she'd learned that her friend here was a very fast ready--and not because he just skimmed, like some people she knew. He actually read the words, soaked them in and understood the story. She'd found that out after he tried to turn the page before she was done with it the first few times, saying he was finished already--at one point she'd just shut the book and held it to him, then told him to tell her what was one the page, then, if he'd really read it.
She ended regretting that because there had been a plot twist on that very page.
And Yukiki had to force himself not to smile at the look on her face whe
Frost -three-Frost -three-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Worst. Idea. Ever.
He didn't have stupid ideas often. Actually, he didn't think he had stupid ideas much at all, really. The last time he thought of something so idiotic was when he decided, about a year after the initial enchantment, that he might as well freeze the rose to death and seal his fate right then and there, not bother waiting for it. All he got for his troubles was the feeling that his heart was being squeezed and a boulder was on his chest, and he had to stop.
So yeah, that was dumb.
But this whole day surpassed that little incident.
He'd left the forest, just for a moment, to see the snowfall, see how bad it truly was. An odd little fascination he had...Ever since he was first cursed, the winters had worsened, and he had a morbid sort of curiosity about it. Wanted--needed, maybe--to see it for himself. He just hadn't expected to see or hear anyone else outside. It'd be useless to try and approach them, and frankly, he thought he knew what would happe
Frost -five-Frost -five-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
The rest of the day and half of the next were rather...odd.
He was so used to being by himself, he almost forgot that this bubbly girl was even here. He'd be harshly reminded every time he walked into a certain room, or came back to the house and BAM there she was, either sitting and looking through a book or walking past him, off to do something else. He'd pull his hood further over his face when that happened, but she acted like nothing was out of the ordinary. She just smiled and held up a hand, or nodded, or said "Hi!"
And that was it.
He didn't get it. She wasn't acting like someone who was trapped with a monster at all. It was like...It was like he was normal, and they were just neighbors. Or even friends.
His earlier conclusion that she wasn't all there seemed to be more accurate by the hour.
Actually, it was a little unnerving, being treated like this.
He finally said something about it that evening.
"You're a very strange one."
"Hm?" She looked up from the book (
Frost -two-Frost -two-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
"It's really coming down," Hanana murmured, peering out the window.
"They weren't joking around, were they?" One of her "sisters" stepped forward to join her, staring out as she adjusted her glasses. "When the baker said they got a lot of snow, I thought it was, you know, a foot or two."
Actually, there wasn't two feet of snow on the ground just yet, but it was coming close.
A week ago, the day after Hanana's unsuccessful "flower-venture" in town, one of the villagers--the baker--had come knocking. At first the family had thought someone had finally come around to try and actually be friendly, but it wasn't quite the case. "Winter's coming," he'd said, his tone having a strange edge to it. "Right around the corner, so to speak." He'd gone on, telling them to bar the door, close the windows as tight as they could, and under no circumstances were they to leave their home. Since they were out on the very edge of town, right by the forest, the demon would surely come for them
Frost -seventeen-Frost -seventeen-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Everything had happened so fast.
It was a few hours later, and Hanana was kneeling by the bed, her head in her arms as she tried to wrap her mind around everything that'd happened, everything she'd been told. Her gaze shifted from a spot on the wall to Yukiki, lying on his back and still unconscious.
But at least he was breathing.
Almost immediately after the last petal dropped from the rose--and seeing that filled Hanana with intense fear, though she still didn't fully understand why--there was a brilliant flash of yellow, and she found herself sitting in the middle of the room she'd slept in during her stay with Yukiki. She glanced down, to make sure...she didn't know what. But she let out a small sob of relief, seeing she still held her snowy friend, saw he was still breathing. She hugged him tighter, relief surging through her as she felt his heartbeat--stronger than it had been back in the forest, thank god.
"Let's get him up here," the enchantress said, pulling the blankets ba
Frost -ten-Frost -ten-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Since he'd actually seen the rose, seen how many petals had already fallen and how quickly, it wouldn't leave his mind. Even reading with Hanana wasn't the same anymore; he wasn't fully there, his mind was divided between her and the story, and his situation.
It wasn't very easy or pleasant to think about. Firstly, there was himself...rather, what he was now. He couldn't say he hated it, not really. It took getting used to, and he couldn't say he completely didn't mind it...but it was alright. A few years of solitude and he felt fine being alone. And it had its benefits, he supposed...he usually didn't feel pain, not til yesterday, he healed quickly, he could go anywhere during a snowstorm and be fine (heatwaves were another story, but it was merely unpleasant, not deadly, which was another plus). And while he didn't always use them--actually, he rarely used them at all in the past few years, but the odd freezing powers were nice. Even if he didn't fr
Frost -twelve-Frost -twelve-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
It was nearly time.
Far away, a young, still somewhat-inexperienced enchantress was poring over her own books and notes, trying to find something that would answer her questions. A century ago, her master had cast a powerful spell solely out of bitter spite and anger. A century ago, she herself had been unable to lift it, only soften it.
But she'd gotten a bit stronger, more experienced since then. Still not enough to do as many wonders as her master had been, but still enough to realize that something was wrong with that old spell. Her sensitivity to magic had only heightened since then, and when she focused on that day, focused on both of the spells cast around that time, she felt an odd sensation. A prickling on the back of her neck, a chill of dread in her heart.
Something wasn't right with the spell. She hadn't been able to see or sense all of the original spell's conditions. Now that her own spell was drawing to a close, she couldn't help but think...
...that maybe she'd i
Frost -fifteen-Frost -fifteen-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Hanana was true to her word. Every day at sunset, when it was growing dark but there was still enough light to travel by, she'd show up on the doorstep, letting herself in and announcing herself. Sometimes Yukiki was awake to see her, sometimes he found himself being shaken awake and have to see her concerned expression. Either way it went, they still managed to get by this way. And Hanana discovered she quite liked how the garden looked after dark--the light would spill from the windows of the house and hit the roses in such a way that it looked even more magical than it surely already was, and some of the roses's colors were nicer in the dark, odd as that sounded.
But of course she wasn't still coming over just for the roses. She was here to see her friend; no matter how much she liked the garden or the book, she couldn't truly enjoy either if Yukiki wasn't with her. So on those nights, she'd end up tugging him by the wrist out to the garden, voicing more concerns over him when he dr
Frost -nine-Frost -nine-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
"I take it you like it, then?" he couldn't help chuckling.
Hanana didn't answer, instead turning around and running back to him, hugged him tight for a few seconds. "Thank you!" she said. "Thank you for showing me this--oh my--!" Suddenly pulling away (her face only burning a little bit when she realized what she did), she stepped further into the garden, turning this way and that to try and take in all of it. The area wasn't too large, one could see all of it from wherever they stood, but there were so many flowers and so close together that one had to look several times to take it all in. Not even her own gardens had that many.
She slowly and carefully made her way around some of the rosebushes, wanting to see all of them at least once before looking again more carefully, Yukiki following. "How did...how did you get all these?" she asked, stopping and turning around. Her cheeks were still a little pink.
"I didn't," he answered, shrugging his shoulders
Frost -one-Frost -one-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Paper flowers. Paper flowers...Hanana sighed, reaching out to gently poke at one of the tissue-paper petals, flinching a bit at the sound of the paper crinkling. They were nice and all, very well crafted and wouldn't wilt but...it just wasn't the same. "Excuse me?" she called to a passing shop-keeper. "But do you happen to have any real flowers in?"
The woman shook her head, flashing the younger a condescending smile. "Sorry, dear," she said, the 'dear' being a mere placeholder instead of anything indicating affection or anything of the sort. "We won't have any real ones until summer. You can come back, then or if you're too impatient..." Though Hanana didn't voice her immediate thought--Summer's awfully late for flowers to be in bloom--her face clearly said it all, for the shop-keeper changed course suddenly. "It is a bit unusual to have them so late, perhaps, but it's just how it's done here. Now, if you need flowers for a party or a gift, then we have other kind
Frost -sixteen-Frost -sixteen-3 years ago in Romance More Like This
Honestly, for all the stories told about "the demon," not one of the villagers had ever seen him up close. Nor had their parents, or their parents' parents. They'd only ever seen him from a distance, and even then they'd only been able to make out a dark shape (his hood and cloak, apparently) and on occasion, that awful glow. They never thought he'd look like...this.
In any other situation, it would have been funny. It was taking the form of a snowman, how silly, something like that. But not now. Not like this. The general concept may have seemed "un-frightening," but when one took into account the dark shadows on his face, teeth bared in an almost-feral snarl he'd just let out, the wind whipping his cloak around, that horrid glow...it made him look like the stuff of nightmares.
Most of the crowd quickly turned and fled. About seven others stood their ground, but made no move to attack, voices stuck in their throats.
The only one to speak was Hanana. "Yuki..." she whisper
Wartime - Ch. 9Wartime - Ch. 94 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"Something's wrong with that guy, yo."
Mekeke hadn't been paying much attention to the goings-on around him, his focus locked on the strings laced around his fingers tangled into various shapes, the current one resembling a striped cat's face. It took a light shake of his shoulder to pry his eyes away from his work. He frowned, not liking to be disturbed when he was in a thoughtful state, but upon seeing Putata's worried expression, all annoyance went flying out the window.
"What's up, Putata?"
"It's that Yukiki guy," the artist said, lowering his voice. "I think something's I dunno. Wrong with him!"
"Whad'you mean?" Mekeke glanced around, half-expecting the frosty addition to their team to spontaneously materialize in the room and overhear their conversation.
"I passed by him in the hall on the way here, and only just brushed him and he looked at me like he wanted to gut me, yo!" Putata lightly shook his head. "I know he was all crabby when we found him on the mountain, bu
Wartime - Ch. 6Wartime - Ch. 64 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"How much farther, Zarere? My feet hurt!"
"C'mon, we're almost there. Don't quit on me now!"
Mukoko sighed, dragging along behind her brother. She wasn't exactly thrilled about being pulled along to a remote mountain. True, it was beautiful up in the range, but getting there had been grueling. Zarere motioned eagerly for her to follow him up the rocky cliffs.
"Come on, we're almost to the first cool spot!"
"What's so cool up here?" Mukoko grabbed her brother's hand, who pulled her the rest of the way up. She got her answer as soon as she straightened up and took a look around. Before them was an old army camp, two decaying watchtowers casting shadows on them. Her eyes widened, and she curiously ventured closer. "Whoa "
"See? Told you! This was one of the important stops for people relaying messages neat, innit?" Zarere ducked under an overgrown branch and stepped over the broken chunks of wood from the old gate. "They packed it up a long time ago after the war was over. Didn
Wartime - Ch. 7Wartime - Ch. 74 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Uncomfortable was a good way to describe the air inside their temporary base. Uncomfortable with a side of awkward, and a light sprinkling of tension. Virtually no noise could be heard outside of the room. No fighting, no discussion of plans, nothing. Mekeke shifted in his seat, picking up a screwdriver from the table. As strange as the utter silence was, at least it gave him time to fix the joints on his marionette. The recent downpour they'd been surprised with had made the old iron rusty and in desperate need of replacement. Most of the sanding and gluing had been done already, with new screws being all that was left to put in place. Putata sat across from him, eyes down at a pad of paper resting against his crossed legs. A pen scribbled furiously across the page.
"Needs more crosshatching," Putata said under his breath, looking determined. Without lifting his head, he directed his speech to Mekeke. "Almost done?"
"Almost," Mekeke confirmed. "Just a few more screws."
"It's real quie
Wartime - Ch. 4Wartime - Ch. 44 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
The office lights flickered as another shell exploded above ground. Pebble stood there, mouth hanging open, staring at the vanilla envelope. The paper crinkled under his white-knuckled grip. Running to the northern base? How would he make a trip like that alive? Had the commander gone crazy? Dizziness set in, forcing him to prop a hand against the commander's desk. This kind of run was surely suicide-
The voice startled him. He whirled around, eyes wide. Before him was Hitete, looking quite a bit worse for wear. His left eye was squinted shut, blood trickling down the side of his face. He had his rifle resting on his shoulder, his boot on the cracked doorframe.
"Are you comin' back out or what? You got a job to do."
"How long were you-" Pebble felt a slight affront, as if his private conversation had been intruded upon.
"Doesn't matter," another voice barked. Tegogo suddenly appeared from the doorframe's right, her condition just as worn as her brother's. "Come on, we're not los
Wartime - Ch. 3Wartime - Ch. 34 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Night had fallen. Stars twinkled above the mountain camp, the moon shining down its sliver of light, bathing the stone face and marshlands in a faint silver-blue. Through the gap in the medical tent, some of the moonlight washed across Pebble's face. He was no longer asleep, but staring intently at the tent's canvas roof above him. Outside and to the left was Gekiki, his arms folded and his eyes half-shut.
"We were lucky," Gekiki said quietly. Pebble was close enough to hear him speak, and though it made the wound on his abdomen throb, he replied.
"We missed something. Someone made some kind of mistake " He drew a deep breath before propping himself up on his elbows.
"Hare's already at the base by now, I'd imagine." Gekiki scuffed the ground with his boot. "She'll tell them what's happened."
How could something so major have slipped by their radar so easily? Though he wasn't personally at fault, Pebble found himself feeling somewhat guilty for the predicament the camp found itself
Wartime - Ch. 2Wartime - Ch. 24 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"Wow, Peb. You look like how the rest of us feel."
It wasn't the most encouraging comment to hear first thing in the morning, but waking up before the sun rose also wasn't Pebble's idea of a timely schedule. He was used to the sun rousing him from sleep, or a gentle push at his back from his wife. Not the blaring sound of a military horn. He'd gotten used to staying outside of military life since leaving the academy.
"Here. This will help." Gekiki, looking much more suited for early morning activities, handed him a cheap mug. It was filled nearly to the brim with a murky colored liquid. It wasn't coffee, but smelled just as strongly. He hesitantly sipped it, and found that it tasted pleasantly of some kind of fruit.
"What is this?" He asked Gekiki, looking down into the mug.
"Plants from home," he responded, taking a long drink of his own. "I don't drink military-issue coffee. It goes through you like a cheap beer. Not the best option when you're out on the field."
Pebble briefly imagi
Wartime - Ch. 1Wartime - Ch. 14 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
The sooner this was over, the better. Getting shipped out into the middle of nowhere during the wet season like a bunch of cargo was hardly what most of them had in mind, judging by the looks on their faces. Well, the faces of those more like him, Pebble thought. The soldiers in this particular caravan seemed a little bit too eager to rejoin their fellows on the marshy battlefield, their helmets tipped low, their eyes focused on the dirty metal floor of the vehicle, and their hands firmly clasped around the handles and barrels of their rifles. It made him uneasy. He tried to hide that to the best of his ability, but the veterans would pick up on his uncertainty and mercilessly mock him for it.
"Whassa matter, candy ass? Too scared to go trompin' around in some mud?" Pebble was startled to hear that the soldier speaking was a woman, and from the sound of it, she was particularly nasty. She eyed him up and down, like a butcher inspecting a side of meat. "You're cute. The hell're you doin