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 -seven-Frost -seven-4 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 -five-Frost -five-4 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 -finale-Frost -finale-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
When the village men went to the house that the witch lived in, they found no one there. Not the witch, nor her supposed-sisters, not a living soul. Most of their belongings had vanished too; but the villagers, who hadn't been inside the house proper til that day, didn't even notice.
It took three days for the villagers to find the house in the forest.
To their surprise, the snow hadn't reached this particular place; it was like a tiny pocket of eternal Spring. They went inside, hesitantly, for fear of bewitchment, but nothing happened. After they plucked up their courage, they ventured farther inside, but found no one there. There was some food in cupboards, some furniture, a bookshelf with no books, and, the oddest thing to them, a backyard full of disturbed earth and a few leaves. But there was no living creature in the house.
After a while, they had another story to tell. Once upon a time, a demon who only stayed in one place for a hundred years chose their forest to hide away in,
Frost -four-Frost -four-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
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 -eight-Frost -eight-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
She supposed she should have known better than to press her luck twice.
Hanana sat huddled up on the bed, underneath the covers like they were a tent, feeling miserable. She didn't get it! She'd bundled up better that time--no gloves or hat, but other than that...! At least all it was right now was a slight sniffle and froggy throat. She sniffled again, wiping her nose on her sleeve. "'s awful..." she groaned.
"You're not going to need medicine, are you?"
Hanana yelped in surprise, poking her head out from the blankets. Her host stood in the doorway, an odd look on his face. The way his mouth was twisted slightly and his eyebrows lowered--if she didn't know better, she'd say he looked nervous.
Whether it was about her being sick enough to need medicine or the thought of having to go find some, she didn't know.
"No...no, this is nothing," she reassured him, waving a hand dismissively as she wiped her nose again. "I'll be better again by tomorrow, you'll see!"
Frost -nine-Frost -nine-4 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 -twelve-Frost -twelve-4 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 -eleven-Frost -eleven-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
The sight of that rose was bothering Hanana all that night.
When the petal had fallen, she'd swiftly pulled her hand back, looking behind her as if expecting Yukiki to be right behind her. Ready to say that she hadn't touched it, she didn't make the petal fall. A moment later she'd realized how irrational that was. Why would the sight of a petal falling unnerve her so much?
It was a simple thing, she'd seen it happen to her own flowers enough times back home, but somehow, seeing this rose lose a petal sent a wave of dread through her.
Unable to sleep, she rolled onto her side, hugging the pillow to her chest. What am I supposed to do? Am I just being silly?
After another hour or so of tossing and turning, trying to dispel that accursed rose from her mind, she fell asleep. She wouldn't be able to remember her dreams the next morning, but later she would distinctly remember an image of a wilted, dead rose.
The next few days weren't easy on Yukiki's mind, even
Frost -three-Frost -three-4 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 -ten-Frost -ten-4 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 -two-Frost -two-4 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 -sixteen-Frost -sixteen-4 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
Frost -six-Frost -six-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
She'd been there for three days total before he suddenly realized something: not once had she complained of hunger. He hadn't needed to eat since the enchantment (something he'd only discovered after the shock had mostly wore off a few days later, and he realized that not once did he feel hungry. When he tried to make himself eat something, he'd found that he had no appetite. He supposed it did make a sort of sense...), so it had almost completely slipped his mind that his...guest would need to.
But she hasn't complained once, he thought. And he hadn't heard her stomach growling, so it couldn't be that she was too nice to speak up...though he didn't think he'd put it past her. Maybe this piece of the land had another enchantment on it, one that completely got rid of one's need for food.
He learned that it wasn't the case after all when he returned one night and saw Hanana at the small table, looking up from a biscuit.
"I was a bit hungry," she explained, mistaking his sil
Frost -one-Frost -one-4 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 -seventeen-Frost -seventeen-4 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 -fourteen-Frost -fourteen-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
Something's not right...
Hanana's hand strayed again to the rose in her hair as she bit at her lip. Alright, fine, so the villagers wouldn't normally see a flower at this time of year. But why would the sight of a simple rose make that woman so nervous? Surprised, she understood. But that definitely wasn't mere surprise...
"You shouldn't go the forest anymore."
"What?" Hanana lifted her head, meeting both her sisters'gazes.
"We could see which direction you'd come from just a little while ago," Aruru told her. She frowned, folding her arms. "I didn't want to think of it, but..."
Hanana waved a hand in front of her chest, shaking her head slightly. "Oh, no, don't worry!" she said, knowing immediately what they were thinking of. A somewhat-tired smile crossed her face as she kept toying with the rose. "It's not as you think it is, honest. There's no demon in there, and--"
Eruru cut her off. "If you're telling the truth," she started, tilting her head a bit as she mul
Frost -thirteen-Frost -thirteen-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
"I think there's something strange about those girls after all."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well..." one woman glanced around to make sure no one could hear her, an action purely for theatrics, as it was still very-early morning, and not many were even awake yet. Seemingly-satisfied, she leaned forward to whisper to her friend, a hand cupped over her mouth. "I heard it from the baker's son...he saw the pink one, the one asking about flowers all the time? She was carrying something into the forest."
The other woman raised her eyebrows, covering her mouth. "Are...are you certain?" she asked. "But maybe she was only paying a tribute--"
Her friend shook her head, her expression grave. "No. Whatever she was carrying was too small to be any living creature, it wasn't moving...and the boy said that he thought she looked happy. And she didn't stop at the edge of the forest, either--she just went in and kept going."
"You suppose...you suppose our hunch was right after all?" the other whispe
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
Frost -prologue-Frost -prologue-4 years ago in Romance More Like This
Once upon a time, there lived a man. There was nothing particularly special or intriguing about him: he was just a man, living his relatively ordinary and simple life. In fact, the only thing in his life that was out of ordinary was that he was neighbors with two enchantresses--an apprentice and her master.
And the more skilled of the two decided she loved the man.
But of course, it wasn't a real love, but a warped, naive imitation of it. She tried to put herself into his life one day, never giving him a moment's peace. The man had only offered he the most basic courtesy and friendship, but he wasn't interested in any romance with her, so he tried to avoid her as politely as he was able. He would try to say he had prior engagements, he was late for an appointment, he was simply too busy to spend time with her...His spoken words to her were kind enough, but short and curt. He was hoping that she would eventually give up on him, see that he wasn't interested, and cease her advance
Wartime - Ch. 8Wartime - Ch. 84 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"And I thought Dokuku was a little creepy he's nothing compared to this guy."
If "uncomfortable" had been the word to describe their base before, it had quickly changed to "creepy." The addition of the ghostly blue figure to the building created a very heavy atmosphere, like a choking layer of fog. The air in the halls had become cooler, almost as if the apparition were sucking the very life out of those inhabiting it. Dokuku and Giruru didn't seem bothered by these changes in the least, but everyone was willing to lend that to them being outside the range of normal.
Not that this was any concern of the ghost's, either. He preferred isolation within the base, simply waiting for the time when Shurara called for him with news that his body was complete. Just what they were crafting it out of was a mystery, and not one he was particularly interested in. Anything would have sufficed, as long as it was solid and could fully interact with the world around him.
"He just floats the
Stone Cold HeartStone Cold Heart4 years ago in Romance More Like This
Yukiki did not want for much. In his opinion, you had to push away those things that caused distractions to be good at anything. One of the greatest distractions that he'd hoped to avoid was a thing called love. He barely understood it, seeing as he'd never felt it. That didn't matter though because he had seen the damage it caused in novels, in shows and in his life.
He'd expected to never be contaminated by its destructive power. That was until he met Hanana. He knew from the start that she would be the undoing of him. Her insistence on a friendship between them made him more and more certain of this. Her closeness and warmth didn't belong anywhere near him.
Part of his worry was his deep rooted fear of losing control. While he told himself often that he had a good grip on his powers, there was a part of him that kept telling him that, one day, the people who had become his family would be affected by him losing control. There could be death or sickness, he had no idea exactly what w
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. 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