Haru didn't respond. She was too focused on something in the distance. Her eyes were glued on a small white object in the underbrush to the north of the hot spring construction site.
"Hello? Haru!" Yuisu called. She was really trying to not get too snippy, but this was far from the first time Haru had been distracted by the local wildlife. "I need you here with me, Haru. We've got a lot of work to do."
Haru and Yuisu were the only ones working on the inn expansion project that afternoon. Mara had lost interest in the project after she finished the brick path, and since a bored Mara was worse than nothing, Yuisu had thanked her and sent her inside. Aluru was still willing to help, but she'd met a new girl the night before and Yuisu hadn't seen root n
On the other side of the conversation, Sya was alert and cheerful, or at least as cheerful as her uptight nature allowed, and Rem was bright-eyed and bushy-eared. She'd been on call through the night, but she didn't need much sleep; a sugary breakfast was all Rem ever needed to wake up.
After going over which cabins were occupied that day, Yuisu leaned on the desk for support and said, "Sya, I'd like you to make a deep-scrub pass on all the bathrooms today, and Rem, can you review the ledger and make sure we've got all the month's stays recorded properly?"
"Uh…" Rem and Sya said simultaneously, both looking a bit confused and concerned. Their cat-like ears flicked in unison, which the sleepy Yuisu thought was the cutest thing.
Rem looked u
Now that shrine guest hours were over, she could finally take action. It had taken all her willpower to wait as long as she already had.
She carefully cradled the cause of her overwhelming happiness in her large furry paws. It was a small black rock, its surface rough from bubbles that had been trapped inside cooling magma. There was also a single cherry blossom petal attached to it by supernatural means.
The stone had been forged deep inside the volcanic chambers of Mt Fuji and the petal came from a cherry tree on its surface, but Hakuto could sense that both originated from the same source: Konohanasakuya-hime, the blossom princess, protector of Mt Fuji and goddess of all volcanoes.
Hakuto still couldn't quite belie
Yuisu looked up from her paperwork and said, "What's up, Sya?" She could tell Sya was trying to hide how nervous she was, which was unusual for her.
"Uh, I was hoping to talk to you about something. I wasn't sure whether to bring it up, given your relationship, but…" Sya trailed off, pawing at the floor with a wide, furry foot.
"If it's bothering you this much, please just say what's on your mind. I won't hold it against you, whatever it is," Yuisu answered. She still wasn't totally confident in her leadership abilities, but she felt she was doing a decent job of being a friendly and approachable boss.
Sya swallowed, pushed her glasses up her nose, then said, "It's about Haru and Hakuto. More specifically, i
Korbin smiled a wide and welcoming smile and said, "As you may have realized, I built Ski Lodge Kobold to be a vacation destination for all people, human and liminal alike. Liminals have only been living among humankind for a handful of years, and this will be the first resort of its kind in the world."
Rosty nodded, watching Korbin with curious intensity. Then she said, "And how do I figure into all of that?"
"Well, you were here on this mountain first, so I feel like I owe you a great deal. Legally, I own the whole area, but human laws mean ver
"Mister Will? Can you hear me?" Hakuto said, trying to position the phone as best she could between her mouth and her ear, which was higher on her head than a human's.
"Call me Agent Will, please," replied the voice on the phone. "And I can't hear you very well. Can you check if that phone has a button labeled 'speaker-phone'? That should work better for you."
"Okay, one second, Agent Will," Hakuto answered, but Agent Will barely heard her because she'd already moved the phone. She scanned the overwhelmingly complex cordless phone, looking for anything that said 'speaker-phone'.
Just as she was about to give up, she found the rubber button and pressed it. "Got it!" Hakuto cheered. "Now what?"
"Now just set the phone on a table or your lap or whatever," Agent Will said calmly. It wasn't the firs
The very day that Hideki met Hakuto, the rabbit-like god of Yuriyama, the young kannushi set out on a spiritual journey. He hoped to meet other mountain gods, find out what the priesthood could do in service to them, and learn from their ancient wisdom.
Hideki burned through most of his meager life savings on travel costs, but he successfully made contact with over a dozen mountain spirits throughout Japan. As he journeyed, his deeds became known both to the spirits and to other Shinto practitioners. The Order of the Petal, a secretive Shinto sect devoted to the goddess of Mount Fuji, even reached out to him and invited
Korbin jogged over to the woman's desk. His shorts and tank top stood out next to her blouse and skirt; he had just finished his 6am run and hadn't had a chance to change into a slightly more professional outfit. The woman had some sort of spreadsheet or database up on her monitor, but he couldn't make any sense of the wall of text. He asked, "What is it, Suzuya?"
She pointed at a specific line on the screen. "We got an international booking, a group of liminals, and I think they might be… special."
"How special?" Korbin asked, but he wasn't worried. He'd dealt with ultra-wealthy liminals, interspecies ambassadors, and even species that were dangerous to humans. He was confident that his team could handle it