He's Surrounded by Morons!
Dark shadows creep up the roughly hewn walls. Water drips from unknown places. Footsteps echo. The flickering torches spread their light only so well. Everything is in half shadow. Every quiet breath, every whisper echoes, spreading through the labyrinthian maze of the underground cavern.
Kurei snapped his fingers. Raiha appeared.
"How long have we been in hiding, Raiha?"
Raiha glanced at his watch nervously. "Uh. About 2 minutes, your lordship."
Kurei roared and knocked over his glass of cranberry juice. The plastic cup bounced on the floor. "That's 2 minutes too long! Raiha, get me Neon. And tell her that she prepare herself for the usual. I'm going to use her hard and rough. Rougher than the usual. Actually, tell her to get here right now!"
Raiha scurried out of the cavernous Uruha hideout, but not before picking up Kurei's prized Sesame Street plastic mug he had won in a coloring competition the previous year.
He shook his head. He pitied Neon. She would be in for a lot of pain. Kurei was throwing another one of his uncontrollable tantrums.
Neon knelt in front of Kurei. Her hands trembling, she put gripped his knees and closed her eyes.
Kurei roared. "READ IT TO ME AGAIN!"
Neon's face turned ashen. "But Kurei-sama, I've already read it to you 42 times. My throat… is very sore. Please, may I have something to drink?"
"NEVER. Not until you tell me how goldilocks got away from the three bears! I want to know how that blasted girl did it!"
Neon bowed her head.
Kurei pushed her away from him; he stood up in a dramatic swish of red cloak. "Forget it. You're so useless, Neon. Where's Raiha? Tell him to get here right away. I have a plan!"
Neon crawled slowly away. Her lips were chapped; her tongue was dry; she couldn't bear to think of bears ever again.
Raiha bowed low. "Yes, Kurei-sama? Neon-san told me you had a great plan."
Kurei leant back into his throne and rubbed his hands together. "Yees. I have a foolproof plan. A flash of inspiration hit me when that useless piece of trash was trying to entertain me."
Raiha bowed even lower. "Please, your lordship, share you pearls of wisdom."
Kurei tapped Raiha on the shoulder. "You may stand up straight now." Raiha straightened.
"Here's my plan. We lure that healer girl into a house with sleeping bears. She eats all the porridge that we have placed there to tempt her—"
"No. Normal porridge. The first bowl is too hot for her. The second bowl is too cold. Yes, then we prepare the most perfect porridge. Yes. The last one is Just Right. And then she eats it—"
"Is it poisoned?"
"No, you imbecile! It's JUST RIGHT. You illiterate heathen, haven't you ever read the classics? Jeez. I'm surrounded by savages."
"So sorry your lordship. Please continue."
"Yes. Well, she falls asleep after breaking a number of chairs and perhaps beds. Then we capture her!"
Raiha is silent. "And you really don't think we need any poison?" he asks after a beat.
"NO POISON. YOU IMBECILE. GET OUT OF HERE. GET ME NEON. She's in charge of this mission. You obviously can't handle the concept!"
And that was how Yanagi found three deliveries of porridge outside her house. One of them was too hot. The other too cold. The last was Just Right.
Author's note: I had so much fun writing this! Enjoy!
And please drop by my cooking blog if you have the time or inclination; the link is on my profile!