The pallid maidservant of Liwanag was inside their homely nipa hut, sitting comfortably on the smooth surface of the wooden planks. Her eyes beheld the beautiful sight of the small village from a distance, even if the shadows of the skies slightly marred the scenery. A fresh breeze blew by the door softly, occasionally caressing her short raven locks.
Her fingers were busy sewing a blue cotton strip, mending it on her lap with a handmade bone needle that she bought on the market for a reasonable price. It was a real tedious work yet she truly wanted to make this present to serve well.
It has already been two weeks since the last visit of the radiant deity in the shrine. This was unusual, because before the time of her assignation, she frequently caught sight of the deity in the forest taking a pleasurable walk or hurrying over the other side of the small town.
The priestess Tenten, on the other hand, was more relieved of this development. She never knew why the older priestess was even glad of this, when she was the one who is the most concerned about their deity.
Perhaps, she mused as she placed the final stitch in place, it was to avoid Miss Sakura from more trouble. In silence, she agreed to that decision to keep their mistress away for the mean time.
That exuberant, loud voice initiated a series of reactions to poor Hinata. The woman pricked her finger, nearly jumped from her seat and emitted an audible grasp. Instinctively, she stood up quickly to hide her recently finished work. Soon enough, the sound of hammering feet on bamboo stairs reverberated in throughout the whole house.
Cream eyes darted towards the blur of orange and blonde as he came busting from the door with a grin on his face. She took a piercing intake of breath through her mouth and tried to conceal the rush of blood on her face by darting her eyes on the ground.
"I'm glad that you are here!" He suddenly whiffed up a laugh. "Where is that noisy female blonde and haughty killing priestess?"
"T-The village." She could not really help but still stumble over simple words as he was looking so intently on her. When those azure eyes were all focused on her, her mind just swirls in mixed delight and embarrassment. She was also taking into consideration that both of them were on the same room, breathing on the same air and alone.
"I wanted to leave a message" He spoke, scratching the back of his head when he found the certain nervousness floating, from this sudden silence with Hinata.
"Well, its important." He pursued his lips as if to put the situation in grave circumstance.
Hinata blinked at his words. Important?
"It's a secret, okay?"
Her cheeks automatically reddened.
Naruto trusted her!
"Tell it to Lady Liwanag when she arrives, please? I'm going towards the harbor, alright?" He confided with a grin. "Right now, the old perverted hermit is hiding somewhere, so I am better off hunting someone else. If Lady Liwanag comes, tell her that I went there and leave the scroll to a guy named Lee living by the river."
"I trained with him." He gave a wry grin and a weird expression. "But he has been living off by rowing boats."
She had to do it now! They were here, alone. No one was watching. Except him.
Not trusting her words, she suddenly raised the blue cloth in front of him with a determined set face, her knees trembling with the effort of not to collapse in front of him.
He boisterously boasted to himself that at least he exceeded on that arrogant bastard in some point.
"A girl just gave me a gift! From Hinata!"
"It keeps the hair away from your e-eyes." She smiled softly, implicating her cherub face. "I hope you--" Then she stopped and looked at him gently, as if trying to convey the things she would not say. "--you like it."
"Of course!" His sword-worn hand grabbed her work, carefully settled it on his forehead. Sure enough, the pale strands were away from his clear blue gaze. "Thank you!"
Waving his hand, he finally stepped out of the threshold and said his enthusiastic goodbye to a dumbstruck, extremely flushed ("Huh?") Hinata, who waved back dreamily.
"Time." A hand blurred to reach swiftly for the hourglass.
A fast second past, the curved timepiece was turned upside down. "is up!"
The deity of wisdom strode torwards the slumped figure on a very haphazard desk (which reminded her very well of some goddess who was sleeping probably like this as she thought of it). The paper on the middle of its pile though, was neatly written and the object of her perusal as she grabbed it from her pupil.
Onyx eyes scrutinized carefully the minute texts, muttering some comments and nodded approvingly to her. Her pupil, who now stretched sleepily on her perch, waited for the decision with a bored pout on her face.
A minute later, Sakura raised a drowsy eye to her senior. "Mmm? Alright?"
Shizune inhaled a breath and let out the relieved air.
"It is excellent." Sheaves were settled on the fine oak wood when suddenly her student changed its demeanor into a vigilant child asking for a toy.
"Can I go? Go now?" Gleaming olive orbs pleaded as pale rose strands leaned towards her in excitement. "I am finished with all the work. I cleaned up my mess. I am cooped up here for almost a month. And Lord Kidlat would just not let me pass ! So please?" She added to blink in the most convincing manner of innocence.
"I talked with your maids." The dark-haired goddess side stepped to avoid her from pressing that begging expression to her face. "They can handle to cover your duties for the meanwhile."
"What? But that is already the fifth time you used that excuse on me-"
"You need to practice your next practical lesson, My Lady." The older deity merely shook her head in disapproval. "I am sure that they will not summon your presence."
"But Lady Shizune-"
"For the mean time," Shizune weaved her way towards the large doors. "I am called for duty to attend some needs by your mother." Its hinges creaked as she opened it carefully. "Please do not do some mischief while I am away."
"You will know, My Lady!" The younger one merely laughed as the other one disdainfully shook her head in hopelessness.
Silence now permeated the room, making Sakura sigh and stare blankly at the endless ceiling beyond her head. She leaned on her silky seat with hands on her lap and her locks swaying gently with her slow movements.
One jade eye glanced at the sliver of space left by the open door. Shrugging to herself, she stood quietly and made her way towards it with a frown and closed it slowly.
It was not hard to guess why she was not allowed to go back. For this past few weeks,the Karimlan has been taking drastic actions to eliminate their mortal subjects---if not the deities themselves---in this gradually brewing war.
The deity of light, as one of the main goddesses, was in their top priority to be protected. Since her recent visit, there have been too many weird occurrences to the Lupa ng Timawa. Villages were slowly deteriorating, with famines and droughts killing mortals one by one. Some of the deities, too afraid to look at these incidents, were now frightened to descend towards the humans.
This made her worry greatly.
Without much careful thinking, she strode again towards the door to ask Shizune one more time.
Planting rice was always never fun.
You never have time to sit, stand or even wipe that sweaty brow with a muddy arm. Indeed, the work of a soil toiler was a work of the peasants. They will only gather the fruits of their hard work in exchange for the dirt they inhale to their lungs or the moist soil to nestle in between their toenails.
However exhausting their work might be, the chances to see a beautiful, flaming blond woman passing the sturdy road beside the rice fields was one of its advantages, quickly forgetting the old pessimistic farmer's maxim.
The eye-catching priestess with the most twinkling turquoise irises flashed. Her white robes billowed in elongated trails of pale cotton as her sandals swiftly brushed the rough road. She did not seem to mind the vivid, curious stares of the people beneath the wide straw hats, their eyes only stopping as soon as she reached the small path of dry land situated near the resting place of their farm animals.
The dry land, which the pretty lady reached, was surrounded with a crowd of low- hovering insects. Some of them perched on an inanimate, dead, object: A languid young brunette man lying underneath a guava tree, staring at the gaps in between its sturdy branches.
If she never knew that he was smarter than the Lazy Juan in old childhood stories, her mind could have drifted to think that he was waiting for a fruit to fall right into his mouth.
It could be. He was that lazy. And men could be that stupid too, sometimes.
"Hey, stupid bum!" Ino settled herself to sit beside him dejectedly. "There is nothing exciting in the sky to stare with it, you know?"
When she got no reply, she waved a hand in front of his dazed stare. It did not register any response as his gaze did not even seem to waver.
She was getting impatient. "Shikama-"
"They are less troublesome than you." He grumbled, as if he was obliged to answer.
The grass was too comfortable to leave her seat.
"You are so troublesome yourself, Shikamaru!" With a groan, she also imitated the slave and accepted the risk for grass stains in her white garment. "It was really busy down in the village! There were many sick people asking for cures and guidance that I am beginning to miss that forehea--Lady Liwanag right now."
"Then why are you bothering me?"
"Tenten said she could handle the rest. That woman thinks she can do anything" In a bated sigh, she closed her strained eyes in order to relax them. "Right now, I've got nothing to do."
"Yes, you do." The young man drawled. "You are staying right now here with me."
In a bitter mocking smile, she nearly gave a sarcastic laugh. "That's thrilling."
"Troublesome." In an attempt to bring the atmosphere to its peaceful state earlier, the slave prompted to be quiet. This made the usually talkative female to avoid start her mouth. Fortunately, she got the gist and opted to stare over the floating white precipices on the dull, grey sky.
But that was too good to last. "When do you think Sakura will come back?"
"Who knows? It is much better, I guess." Shikamaru sighed, attempting to cut short the conversation and just preferred to be with a calm blonde priestess even for just one afternoon. "Besides, this means the deity is more protected of demons and peepers."
No matter how much you tried, you would never succeed in trying to shut Ino up.
"But I miss her."
"You call yourselves soldiers?" A small, soft voice was ringing audibly in the air, making a thousand of wounded yet strongly capable young males to cringe in fear. This massive number of pair of eyes followed the flowing mahogany strands of the minute girl walking in front of them.
The large room, seemingly used for large audiences, was temporarily used for treating male godlings who were wounded from combat. They were slowly recuperating right now from the added terrible defeat they underwent from trying to save another burning village.
But in this moment, their attention was caught when a girl no larger than half of an average man entered. The midget was attractive, but she held such a lethal aura that no one dared to breathe loudly.
Her small face was contorted into obvious disdain as she sheathed slowly a sword coated in soot and mud from some anonymous flabbergasted soldier.
"Do you see this blade?"
No one dared to even move.
Her small hand acidly flicked the blade, twirling deftly on her fingers until the excess crimson fluid splashed on some faces. "I can wield this better than any of you."
"But, my Lady, they were-" The pliant protest, which astonished everyone (except her), was suddenly cut off.
"Did I ask you to speak?"
"Ah, Lady Hanabi?" The short-black haired deity of wisdom finally emerged from attending to the other side of the room. The unwelcome display of the midget's prowess was not good for promoting fast recovery. "I think I can handle the rest."
"And cannot I teach these pathetic souls?" That precocious little shrimp glared at her senior goddess, as if daring her to continue. Shizune always wondered why in all of fates she was chosen to be bullied by all-knowing brats and all-powerful, drunk divinities.
"You are a child, Hanabi." A trained deity of combat, Anko, spoke wearily. She entered through the door in a dark, light-weight armor strapped on her breast and waist that reeked of torn flesh. "Children do not meddle in these matters." Fingers scratched at the back of tied-velvet tresses. "You have not even been in a battlefield."
A feral smirk made way to her lips, too odd to be seen on such an angel-like face.
A cowering shiver froze the spine of everyone as she turned her back away from the gazes.
"You will see, My Lady." They just know that the creepy smile was still on her face. "I do love that color of red on your suit though."
Goddess Tsunade, graciously robed in a lustrous molten gold, materialized from the cream-marble chamber walls. Everyone almost jumped out of their places at her loud, cackling laughter that bounced off the walls. The dark honey eyes crinkled in amusement at the midget-deity.
"You are still scaring these poor people out of their wits?"
"I am merely speaking the truth, My Lady." The petite woman merely inclined her head in respect for the highest divinity. Without any further delay, she retreated towards the silver coated doors that ends the circular expanse of the room. "I am going to replace that impertinent general, anyway."
As if on cue, the doors opened majestically and a busy reading Kakashi stood over the doorway.
"Move over, old pervert."
As if suddenly aware of the child's presence, Closing his much beloved decent literature, he moved sideways and gestured his hand with a flourish for her to come through. "Of course, have a nice day, my charming lady."
A collective sigh of relief was out since the dark-haired midget was out of the premises. The leader of troops clucked her tongue and muttered unnecessary curse names along with the lines of 'little shrimp'.
It made almost all of the god lings to gaze nervously at the path that the girl just exited earlier and The Kidlat to pat the insulted grown woman with "She's just a kid, you now?"
"Don't mind that, Anko." The Karunungan laughed a little too anxiously to pacify any signs of treacherous fight that might ensue. "She's a talented genius, after all."
"She is still a brat." Anko only replied bitterly beneath her breath.
Tsunade merely shook her head, a disbelieving smile on her face.
"Besides," The violet tresses now swayed slightly as she turned to the queen of heavens. "The child did not know who we were dealing with. The demon of stealth was leading this army we fought."
"His right hand?"
Shizune was too absorbed in the conversation when she suddenly realized a crucial thing.
"Lady Tsunade, what are you doing HERE?" The frenzied deity exclaimed frantically. "You are supposed to be doing that work!"
"That thick-hided snake is really striking when the iron is hot." The goddess continued, blatantly ignoring the panicked stuttering of her trusted deity.
"We must find him soon. If not, everything will be under the reach of that freaky tongue." Her sharp-nailed hands cupped her chin in contemplation. "Kakashi?"
"We have no progress in the search, Your Highness."
"Lady Tsunade, Please go back now! You have too many things that--"
"By the way, Shizune." Now the woman spoke with an unmistaken authority in her voice. "My daughter might not return in the Lupa ng Timawa for the mean time."
"She is getting restless." The right-hand deity of the Lady spoke disappointedly. "We must let her go even for an hour or so to check her friends, Your Majes-"
"No, we cannot, Lady Shizune." Anko spoke with her eyes furrowing together. "It is for our bride to be protected. She needs to be safe in all cost for the Bathala."
"Shizune." The Goddess has spoken and Shizune kept her tongue in place. "For now, that will be my decision."
They have not noticed that small gap in the door, where a lone wide jade eye watched silently.
The first scene with Naruto and Hinata is one of the methods of courtship in Prehispanic era (especially on the North).
When a warrior is courting a woman in marriage, he must pierce the wooden stairs (or the soil before it) with his spear before going up to the house of the maiden. That is why Hinata kept on blushing when Naruto came up the stairs swiftly, which was forbidden back then when the lady was alone in the house. (She forgot the spear-piercing part.).
Lazy Juan is an old folktale that used to tell children about Juan and his misadventures due to his supreme indolence. One of the most memorable was when he saw a guava fruit on a tree. Too lazy to climb up the tree to acquire said fruit, he slept underneath the shade with his mouth open to wait for it. And you know that it isn't healthy to sleep with your mouth open because many nasty things will attract it. XD
I'm sorry if this took a while to update. The reason was, my old files were deleted. So I could not do anything but search for the old papers where I first wrote Myth. (I found it somewhere there are cobwebs and such). Let this be a present for Christmas, alright?