"Who are you? Why are you here?"

Chapter 3: Hatsumi's 15th year; Life 2 (Part 1)

"Aha!" Ririsu thought as she spotted Eve at last. She had definitely sensed that odeko's energy from this place. Her sister was just walking through the school gates with a girl who looked about the same age, a classmate perhaps. The two of them were chatting rather animatedly as they made their way up to the building… wait, what? Eve had never spoken when she went to play in other worlds previously. Just what was going on here? For a moment, Ririsu thought she had made a mistake and that was not Eve at all but the aura and giant forehead were unmistakable. There was more to this than Eve playing around and hopping worlds this time. Of this, Ririsu was sure. Settling herself out of sight inside a couple of bushes, she was going to wait. Wait for her good for nothing sister to get back out here and receive what was coming to her! As she waited though, it felt as if each minute of the large school clock displayed took an hour to pass. Ririsu could not believe a school day was this excruciatingly long. Eventually despite the leaves in her face and the twigs digging into her side, she somehow dozed off.

The next sound she heard was the crunching sound of car tires braking on asphalt nearby. It had woken her up and to her surprise, who was in that car but the girl of her dreams, Hazuki, the girl she had likened to Yami Yama. A catlike grin settled upon her face as she stalked up to the car, being careful to stay out of sight.

In the meanwhile, the woman in the car had sunk fairly low in her seat and even though parked under the shade, had kept her sun glasses on.

"Ha-zu-ki."

The dark haired woman started at the face pressed against the glass of her car window with a catlike expression on her face. Ririsu rapped her knuckles against the glass and pointed to the lock, obviously wanting to be let into the vehicle. Throwing the door open and sending the short blonde sprawling in the process, she couldn't believe her eyes even as she took in the sight of the girl who was now rubbing her rear and looking at her ruefully.

"Ririsu!"

Hazuki's mind was filled with thoughts and questions. It was very possible that the other girl was there to take Hatsumi away from her and back to the Great Library. Since Ririsu had appeared here, it meant she had found Hatsumi, right? It was too much of a coincidence if she hadn't. How far would she go to take her sister back and what could Hazuki do to stop her? She wasn't sure how to handle the situation, it had been over sixty years since she had last seen the guardian of the Great Library.

As though sensing Hazuki's uncertainty, Ririsu sidled up to the tall girl suggestively.

"Haven't you missed me? I know I've missed you."

Her back was pressing into the brake handle and her sunglasses were sliding down the bridge of her nose but Hazuki was none the less still trying to get away from bold girl's advances. Even after all these years, Ririsu had not changed at all. In both appearance and personality she seemed exactly the same.

In the past, Hazuki had coldly brushed her off all her advances in her single minded focus in finding Hatsumi but now she found herself flustered. It had been so long since had been around someone she didn't have to pretend that she wasn't nearing eighty years old and simply looked like she was in her late twenties. In a sense, the girl clinging to her now was the person who knew her best in the world because Hatsumi as she was now no longer did.

"I... Why are you here, Ririsu?"

"It's Eve! She ran off without me again. Wasn't that mean of her Hazuki? She's always leaving me behind."

Hazuki was faced with the familiar watery eyed expression and puffed up cheeks that she had seen so many times before in her travels with the strange librarian. It was the furthest thing from a threatening expression as you can get but the words Ririsu had spoken plunged a cold spike through her heart. She was there for Hatsumi after all!

Schooling her face to a determined expression, she took hold of Ririsu's shoulders and held her back at arms length before stating firmly, "You are not taking Hatsumi anywhere. I won't let you."

"Bun bun!" Ririsu made her displeasure known with her usual noise, "You always take her side! I didn't say I'd take her anywhere, I said she left me behind. Again! Hazuki is a meanie and I came all this way too. You could at least be a little happy to see me."

Well, her plan has been to retrieve Eve and head back to the library but definitely not until she'd had her fun. Besides that, she didn't know if she could force Eve to go if she wasn't willing. The big forehead was pretty powerful in her own right. There was the whole talking thing too, there were too many unknown factors. Ririsu wasn't as dumb as she tended to act and she knew she'd have to get some more information before she could do anything. Getting to spend some time with Hazuki was just a bonus. She could see her words had had the desired effect since tall, dark and beautiful was now sporting something akin to an expression of guilt. This made it the perfect time to pounce.

"Hazuki..." Slender fingers made circles on the on the other girl's chest as Ririsu once more positioned herself too close for Hazuki's comfort. "I have a favour to ask you..."

xx

The door to Hazuki's modestly sized flat opened and the two of them entered with Ririsu charging ahead to examine the living space.

"Oh, just one room!" She exclaimed excitedly.

Hazuki who had just made her way in from the entrance strode easily across the living room to pull the door to her bedroom closed.

"You can sleep on the couch." She said plainly yet firmly.

"Bun bun!"


Ch.3 note: Although Ririsu jumps into the book at the end of chapter two it is not a mistake that she appears in the story at Hatsumi's 15th year. It's my belief she can jump into any time of any world simply by choosing the corresponding page/book. Therefore it is possible for Ririsu to start looking for Eve as soon as she disappears but appear in Hazuki's world now. It would do her no good to find Eve and bring her back to the library as a baby anyhow. ;)