Martial artists can sense ki - a person's fighting spirit. Some can sense it from across a room. A select few can sense it without even seeing their opponent. Azusa had a variant of this ability. She could sense kawai.
Cuteness. In the same way a raging elephant bull always knows where that one human is located that's in need of some serious squashing. And at the moment, her kawai senses were going off like mad. She looked around curiously, one hand with a death grip on one of Jolie's tails.
There. A flash of orange. Rosalie? She saw the short beige tail. Rosalie! She started to run after her, but Jolie dug her claws into the ground, slowing Azusa down.
Azusa bit her lip, pouting prettily as she tried to puzzle a way through her dilemma. She wanted to go after Rosalie, but Jolie was being silly and carrying her with her would be hard. The answer presented itself in the limp form of Etienne.
A few minutes later, Azusa skipped happily through the forest, leaving a very frightened Kirara, tied to a tree with Sesshoumaru's tail.
Rosalie had disappeared. She had bounded behind a tree in front of Azusa and no one had been on the other side. Azusa had seen a floating pink balloon in the sky, but nothing else. She pouted and glared but when that produced no response from the quiet forest, she decided to go back to get Jolie and be on her way.
Her attention was caught, however, by a white blur on the ground. She bent forward and it came into focus. A tiny little rice cake sat happily on the ground. It has little whiskers and ears that made it look like a bunny. Azusa blinked. How cute. She picked it up carefully in her hand, mentally dubbing it Jean Michel, and continued onwards.
Up ahead, another white rice bunny sat innocently in the dust.
Marcus, Cecil, Guy, Leon and Rene later, she arrived at a well situated in a small clearing. It looked slightly familiar. And there on the edge of the well was the last of the rice bunny brothers, Lucien. The strategic part of her brain that made her such a nasty opponent on the ice skating rink was telling Azusa to be cautious, but she couldn't leave that last kawai bunny alone.
She reached for it, and it jerked suddenly, floating up and over the centre of the well. In a matter of seconds, she was on the edge of the wall reaching up to grab Lucien. She could almost reach. Her hand closed about the bunny just as it jerked up, throwing her off balance. With a cry of "Luciennnnn!" and a spray of rice bunny parts, she plunged into the well.
With a pop, Shippo transformed out of his balloon version and stood on the edge of the well. He peered in, absently eating Lucien after removing the string that had been holding the bunny up. Miroku, Sango and Kagome approached.
"Is she gone?" asked Miroku. Shippo nodded.
"What will you do if she's still there when you go through, Kagome?" the kitsune asked.
"I don't think she'll be there. There's nothing cute in the well house. When I go back, I'll have Granpa or Sota put a lock on the door – the inside of the door."
There came a cry, a great yelp of some sort that echoed through the forest. It came from the direction of the village. They all stared in that direction, thinking of the unconscious Sesshoumaru, Inuyasha and poor Kirara.
"All in favour of staying here and eating these delicious rice cakes, say 'hai'," said Miroku. Both the women glared at him and took off running. With a sigh, he went after them, leaving Shippo alone. He stared at the well. Something that girl had said was bothering him.
Wait a minute, had the girl said Rosalie was a she?
Shippo frowned. Stupid human.
Far away in the modern world, a little girl in a pink dress skipped happily along, telling her rice bunny Marcus, the only survivor of the tragic death of his family, all about his new home.
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