Post Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:15 am


Timestamp: May 3, 21 years before Just Another Day In Prohibition Megatokyo
Location: the Mikawa estate, and a nearby forest
Authors: Arella

It was mid-morning on a beautiful spring day - the third of May, to be exact. The sun was shining brightly overhead, the birds were singing, and the light breeze was gently caressing. The vast beauty of the Mikawa estate spread out almost as far as the eye could see; a great wall as from the days of old surrounded it protectively, lending a sense of security to those who dwelt within, even though the wall itself was not what really protected them. Somewhere to the east, far off in the distance, a great forest could be seen just outside the estate walls, faintly beckoning. And it was in the eastern-most part of the estate that the twins could be found, quietly celebrating their sixth birthday together.

Seated in the garden that they had long since claimed as their own, right at the edge of the lily pond Sayuri was so fond of, they were enjoying a mid-morning tea, which the pretty young girl had served with her usual grace. Standing off to the side, so still that one might have missed her entirely, a beautiful maid dressed in a blue kimono watched over them. Mizuki (for that was her name) was no ordinary maid, but Sayuri's shikigami, first summoned when the child was only two years old. And it was because of this that the twins now celebrated alone; had become outcasts within their own family. But the isolation did not bother them - indeed, they often welcomed it - for they had each other.

"Are we going riding again today, oniichan?" the enchanting young girl asked, using the language they had created together for all but the last word, for which she stuck to Japanese. Her emerald green eyes were shining, and her long black hair blew gently in the wind; she was pretty as a picture, though none but her twin ever seemed to notice.

They had already exchanged their gifts, and the beautiful china doll that bore her likeness now sat in Sayuri's lap. The child had named her Mai, and she was dressed in a beautiful emerald green silk kimono. Shoji's own gift, an ornate wooden swing, now hung from a nearby tree.

"Of course!" a grinning Shoji replied, also using their secret language. He loved to ride, just as he loved all outdoor activities - but if he had to choose, riding would have been his favorite. And then, of course, there was the thrill of sneaking off the estate with their mounts (no simple task, even with all the practice they'd had).

Smiling brightly at the prospect of spending the day out riding with her beloved oniichan, Sayuri turned and said a few words to her shikigami who, bowing deeply, quickly left to prepare them a picnic dinner. They would leave shortly after a light lunch.

Some hours later, when the coast was clear at last, Shoji comfortingly took his sister's hand in his own and led the way out of the estate. She was always so afraid that they would be caught - she never would have done it were Shoji not there - but she also knew that he would protect her, and that so long as she had her twin there was nothing to fear. So the two of them silently slipped away, with the reins of their Australian Riding Ponies held tightly in their hands. Once they were a safe distance away, they expertly mounted their ponies and rode away toward the eastern forest - their favorite place to ride and play, for it was here that they could truly be themselves.

The quiet stillness of the forest was broken by the sound of prancing hooves and the delightful laughter of children as the twins raced beneath a canopy of green. It was Sayuri's joyful, tinkling laugh that could be heard most often as she followed her oniichan over shrubs and rocks and fallen trees; the young girl loved to jump, for one brief moment finding herself airborne and free as a bird. And Shoji smiled to see her so happy.

The two little runaways spent hours just riding and jumping and racing one another as the sun climbed ever higher in the sky above them, oblivious to the passage of time. When they eventually came to a halt by the great tree they always sat under to give their ponies a rest, they then proceeded to climb the nearby trees, Sayuri eagerly following her oniichan as best she could. He had to help her at times, of course - she did not share in his knack for tree-climbing, and often ran into trouble as she scaled the branches - but Shoji didn't mind. Finally, their tummies growling, Sayuri and Shoji took their places beneath the great tree and broke out the picnic that Mizuki had so lovingly prepared for them, much as a mother would. All their favorite foods were there, including refreshingly cool pink lemonade, and chocolate brownies for dessert. But it wasn't until after they had finished eating, and the picnic basket had been packed away, that the two settled down for what may well have been their favorite tradition of all.

Settling back into her oniichan's lap, with his arms wrapped lovingly around her, Sayuri brought out her book - this time, it was a copy of The Jungle Book - and began to read aloud from the story of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi."

"At the hole where he went in
Red Eye called to Wrinkle Skin.
Hear what little Red Eye saith:
'Nag, come up and dance with death!'

"Eye to eye and head to head
(Keep the measure, Nag).
This shall end when one is dead
(At thy pleasure, Nag).
Turn for turn and twist for twist
(Run and hide thee, Nag).
Hah! The hooded Death has missed!
(Woe betide thee, Nag!)"

"This is the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought single-handed through the bathrooms of the big bungalow in Segowlee cantonment. Darzee the Tailorbird helped him, and Chuchundra the Muskrat, who never comes out into the middle of the floor, but always creeps round by the wall, gave him advice, but Rikki-tikki did the real fighting..."

-A glimpse into Sayuri's past as she celebrates her sixth birthday with her twin.
-Written years ago, and available on the wiki.