"Come morning, come sunshine~ Yu'er, darling, are you up yet?"
Yu's little messy head of hair popped out of the blankets. With piles of pillows, blankets and throws surrounding him like a nest, he looked like a baby chick.
Mei Kamitani giggled. Of her three sons, her youngest was her darling. The other two were also her babies but they had grown up and no longer clung onto her robes, calling 'Mama!' like they used to. Perhaps it was due to the social rules of the time. When boys grew up, they eventually became estranged from their mothers, adopting martial attitudes and valuing the opinions of their peers. It was only her youngest baby that still wanted to be coddled and didn't mind her fussing.
He stared dazedly at his mother and yawned widely, still shaking off the vestiges of sleep. He let his mother pull him up to get ready with a soft "Let's go, darling." Mother seemed more giddy today.
Blue skies dusted with clouds and the occasional songbird made for a peaceful atmosphere. For once his father joined them at the pavilion for breakfast. He observed the taciturn man and noted that, though very subtle, the slight quick of his lips belied the same giddiness of his mother. Only when they finished eating did his father speak, surprising Yu'er with a pat on the head.
"Brush your hair. It's unsightly. Who knows who you got it from."
His first comment to him and with it was an insult. Goodness, it would kill the man to show any fondness to his son. Little Yu tugged the ends of his unruly hair with grievance. He completely missed the amused smiles his parents shot over his head.
His father left with a curt nod to his mother.
Yu brushed his unnecessarily long sleeves to the side as the maids helped him change. These sleeves only got longer and stupidly clunky as one got older.
Yu followed his mother to the banquet hall, where the celebration for his fourth birthday would take place. Several clan members had pushed the clan elders for an introduction to the little prodigy who pleased the clan patriarch, who, in turn demanded his mother to organize the whole affair. Since this fortuitous affair happened to coincide his fourth birthday, it would be jointly celebrated by the clan.
Little Yu loathed publicity and crowds, both of which this event would have plenty. It was all clan politics. Ambitious adults, a pliable, four-year old prodigy, and an overprotective mama-bear in the same room. What could go wrong?Though, his mother had promised that he would be freed from the clutches of these vultures after he was introduced to the clan by the clan patriarch. His words, not hers. He had schem- plans, ahem that's right, plans he'd made yesterday after an insightful conversation with his mother.
"So, Yu'er, tell mama about your day. Did you make any friends?" His mother pushed her face right up in his face. Her glistening green eyes and happy smile made his spirits dim a little.
"Ah." A non-answer. He paused thoughtfully. "Mama, do we have any bruise cream?"
"What? Why? Yu'er, are you hurt? Let mother see." His mother immediately panicked, pulling her tiny son over and divesting him of his layers.
"Not me, Mama!" Yu'er struggled out of her reach. "It's for one of the other children."
He'd noticed Shun (AKA Freckles) wincing when he whisked his sister away.
"Oh?" Kamitani Mei's eyes flashed with intrigue. "Did you make a friend, darling?"
"Not a friend." He explained the matter of the bullying to her, but left out the promise he made to the guards. They mistook his intentions: he wouldn't mention it to anyone, but he also wouldn't hide anything from his mother. Even if he didn't bring the matter to the higher-ups, he still had his methods. Every debt would be collected, and every favour repaid. It was only fair.
Mei pulled aside the screen door and pulled one of the maids over with instructions to bring the bruise cream to the Fifth Branch's residence. Although Yu didn't know the names of the brothers and sister, it was easy deduction. Only core clan members are allowed into the inner courtyards. The only family with two sons and a daughter was the fifth branch of the main family who had recently lost their master to a wild boar attack. It was a shame; after such a grave loss, the new widow and her children were bullied by not only other clan members but by their own relations. A prime example of throwing rocks at someone who's fallen down a well .
His mother seemed to ponder this for a while as she pulled him into her lap and rested her chin on his mop of unruly black hair. The tiny Yu'er fit snuggly in her arms. Hugs were one thing that he loved and had in abundance in this life. He was truly lucky.
Since he loathed politics with a passion, clan politics included, he would let his mother decide what to do about the guards. The parents of Kamizou Chu (the bully) were another matter altogether. Parenting strategies will forever be a matter of dispute and a sensitive topic. It would be difficult for his mother or father to mention Kamizou Chu's behaviour without offending the First branch. As Chu was their only young master, he was doted, smiled sweetly upon, and praised to the high heavens and back. He was spoiled rotten.
Let adults frolic and politick with the other adults. Yu would take on the bullying matter himself. He would pursue justice the marauder's way.
The tiny doll-like Yu waited patiently outside the redwood doors. He could easily make out the patriarch's low, raspy voice in his usual rambling speech from where he stood. Gather today, joyous celebration, numerous accomplishments, makes the clan proud, blah, blah, blah. Finally, he heard his cue.
"Without further ado, this old man would like to introduce our clan's young prodigy, Kamitani Yu."
He pushed the double doors open with a flourish of his sleeves and walked in with a strong gait. Or, at least, he tried to but he was unused to the floor-length hem of his robes and his foot snagged the edge of the fabric causing him to stumble. How embarrassing. All the same, he pushed through and walked through to crowd of grownups to join his mother and the patriarch at the front of the room.
Unknown to little Yu, his 'majestic' impression was dashed from the start. To the room, he seemed a small, adorable animal. It didn't help that he was tiny and dwarfed by his formal robes. "You'll grow into them, darling," his mom had said.
The adults were inwardly cooing at the tiny Yu who, trying his best to imitate a young Draco Malfoy, turned up his chin as though trying to look down on the crowd despite his two-feet of height.
"Yu'er," the old patriarch continued, "will be allowed to join the boys under Ryuunosuke-sensei."
This statement issued fervent whispering and harsh gasps among the crowd. Apparently a 4-year-old joining a class of 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds could shock this group of grownups. Despite the general unease, only one man stepped up to address the elders. It was the same hallow-looking, sunken-eyed man who had disagreed with the stranger-cum-master-cum-child-trafficker who'd tried to take him away.
"Patriarch," he joined the trio on the slightly raised platform, "if I may speak."
"Kajima," the patriarch replied with obvious displeasure, "You may."
"I think I speak for the majority of the clan when I say that little Yu is too young. There is no reason for him to join his seniors prematurely. And despite his supposed genius, he still has a year of his childhood to enjoy."
"Kajima," the patriarch stopped him, "Little Yu has proven himself on numerous occasions. Moreover, I am told he spends his free time in the study, of his own will. There is little need for him to continue his studies without guidance."
"It is presupposed that the child studies of his own free will. His mother-"
"This is your own presupposition? Then let's ask the child. Yu'er," the patriarch looked down, "do you like studying?"
"Yes, patriarch." He answered. The patriarch beamed at him as though he answered correctly.
"And do you study of your own will?"
The patriarch stroked his beard with a content nod. "As it should be of every child."
"Yes, but sir, he has yet to prove himse-"
"Kajima," The old patriarch turned a stern gaze onto the man, having lost patience with him. "He has proven himself to me. There is no need for you to doubt his capabilities - unless you doubt my judgement?" His eyes narrowed threateningly.
Kajima, thoroughly cowed, backed down, "No, patriarch. Please forgive my impudence."
The old man returned to stroking his beard with a juvenile "humph!" Since the old man refused to say more, the other clan elders took over and called the clan to resume festivities. Yu was permitted to join the other children at the very last table for the meal. Although the table was full, none of the children initiated conversation with him. Children were afraid of and easily shunned new people. He himself didn't remember how to act like a child let alone interact with some. He sighed to himself. It was hard being a child.
After dinner, adults mingled and pickled while children were left to their own devices. Which, for Yu, meant he was free to wreak hav- cough, execute his plan, right. He was coughing quite a bit today. Hopefully he wasn't getting sick.
Having spotted his unsuspecting target, he sneaked over to a conveniently placed decorative vase. For once, he was glad of the unnecessary opulence of the room, since the large vase completely hid his tiny body. He pulled a self-made slingshot and a small cloth ball out of his sleeves. With a smirk and a mental evil-villain laugh, he aimed and shot true.
The cloth ball hit smack, dead-centre of the forehead of a (you guessed it) Young Master (Bully) Chu. It exploded in a magnificent cloud of white powder. It even hit the groupies that were bootlicking too closely. Immediately there was a girlish scream. Then several. The bullies started screaming and itching, scratching and spreading the powder to other areas.
That's right. Itching powder bombs, specially hand-crafted, Harry-Potter style, cash only.
It caught the attention of the adults, mostly the fussy moms, who swarmed over, as predicted. They gave him enough cover to clear out of the area and he popped back up far away from the scene of the crime. For good measure, he tugged on the sleeve of a nearby adult, with innocently wide eyes, asked, "Mister, what's going on? I can't see."
The moms, having never come across any powders but face powder, mistakenly tried to brush it off their sons and successfully transferred the contagious powder to themselves. They joined the itchy party that were now jointly screaming, "Poison! Ah! My son!"
The surrounding children and adults intelligently steered clear of the white powdery mess.
His inner Marauder fist-pumped. Boo-yah!
 "throwing rocks at someone who's fallen down a well" : means kicking someone while they're down.
A/N: Thank you everyone for reading, commenting, and favouriting! I'm sorry for the super late update! I'm running out of material quick. PM me if you have ideas or pranks you'd like to see. Peace!