[X] Ignore them
You whisper a few words to Medicine.
Look straight ahead. Stay close, and don’t say anything to them.
Medicine nods and grips your hand as the two of you approach the men at the front of the bridge.
“Well look who it is-”
The only acknowledgement you give them is shoulder-checking one of them out of your way before he could block your path.
“Hey! You think you can ignore us, you piece of trash?”
What’s it look like, dumbass? At least they’re smart enough to not get too close to a youkai with power over poison.
They don’t even live near you. What’re they getting their loincloths in a twist for?
“You’d best get that monster away from the village before we do, or-”
Medicine flinches. She looks like she might start crying again.
You lean down and, in an audibly ordinary tone, ask Medicine what kind of food she’d like for dinner tonight. It is, after all, a very special occasion.
“I don’t know.” She manages, trying to keep her eyes on her shoes.
That won’t do. Would she prefer something western or local?
“I don’t know.” She repeats. “There wasn’t anything to eat on the hill.”
Did she seriously eat nothing but vendor food from whatever festivals she made it to?
“What kind of food do you eat?” She asks.
Nothing fancy most nights, you don’t have the money or the time for it. Rest assured, you do know how to cook, though if you’re feeling particularly lazy or indulgent you’ll head to one of your favorite restaurants. Mystia makes some really, really good lamprey.
Anyways, you’ll figure it out when you get home. Does she like cake, though?
Despite the abuse being hurled from behind her, she perks up at that.
Oh, that got her interest. You figured you might appreciate it, so you picked up a small strawberry cake at a bakery in the village before meeting her today.
Su-san appears lost in dreams of moist and delicious cake. Medicine is more composed, although you can tell that she’s impatient.
“You better watch your back, race traitor!”
You peek behind the two of you. Damn, don’t these guys have literally anything better to do?
“Hello, Antidotus. What’s this?”
You stop right before you walk into a familiar face. You greet Meira as well and explain that you were walking home with your newly-adopted daughter. Was she out on patrol?
“That’s right.” Medicine shrinks as the guard captain’s gaze passes over her and narrows, though she doesn’t make any remark. The four villagers behind you, however...
“Congratulations on the adoption. Were these gentlemen giving you trouble?” She asks, as though she could have failed to hear the racket they were making until the second she appeared.
Not at all, you say, glancing back. In fact, they just promised to never bother you or medicine ever again.
She looks at each of their faces like a hawk sizing up rodents, her hand resting on the grip of her blade. “Is that true, gentlemen?”
They stammer out something approximating a yes, looking very much like they wish they were somewhere else.
Meira chuckles to herself. “That’s a relief. I would hate for you lot to make a liar out of him.”
Her smile turns to a grimace the moment they scurry out of sight. “Damn. I don’t think they’ll be quick to bother you again now that I know who they are, but I’m sorry they gave you grief to begin with.”
It’s alright, you tell her. You’re only grateful that she showed up when she did.
“If you’re thinking it’s oddly convenient, well, it was.” She says, walking on the other side of you from Medicine. “My father forgot to refill his joint medicine, so I went over to see if you were home. I heard those troublemakers in the distance while I was waiting, and went to take a look.”
Didn’t you leave the ‘closed’ sign on?
“You did, but c’mon, were you really going to say no to your ‘big sis’?” She teases.
It’s your turn to blush as you cover your face with your free hand. Is she seriously going to embarass you in front of an impressionable kid?
You don’t really mind, of course. Medicine’s relaxing, and that alone is worth quite a bit of discomfort.
“Are you two really brother and sister?” She asks.
“No, we just played together a lot as kids since he lived close by.” Meira explains.
Yeah, back when she swung around tree branches and got scolded for almost poking another kid’s eye out.
She snorts. “You never did understand the warrior’s path.” She declares with mock-seriousness.
You reach your home without further incident. Medicine starts looking over everything right after taking her shoes off and returning your cloak.
Does it match her expectations from the photos?
“Yeah.” She says, walking over to your hearth and poking at your cookware. “Hmmm... you’ve been taking okay care of them.” Medicine declares.
It’s not like you’ve got enough money to be wasteful. Anyways, would she like to get acquainted with her new room?
Medicine eagerly nods and follows you with Su-san in hand to her door. She scampers in to examine everything in a similar way as before, as if she can’t believe that she has a room to herself that’s not a prison.
“It’s nice.” She announces, sounding hopeful for the first time you’ve heard. “Ah, do you have any... rules for me?” She adds, curbing her enthusiasm.
You shrug. It’s her room, so it’s more about her standards. Just don’t let it get too messy or do anything illegal in it, you guess. If she can keep it from smelling, rotting, or otherwise breaking down, there probably won’t be an issue.
She nods and goes back to running her fingers over her new blanket, with Su-san busy trying to roll herself up in it like a doll burrito.
You excuse yourself and close the door.
“Cute kid.” Meira says while you rummage around for arthritis medicine. “How come you haven’t mentioned it to anybody?”
Keine recommended discretion when she approached you, you explain.
Meira sighs. “Makes sense. She’s a worrywart, but I understand why you’d want to keep your head down. I gotta say, though, I never knew you could be this responsible.”
Ah! Such words, they wound you so!
“Oh come on. I mean, I always knew in theory, but I never actually saw it in practice.” She says, waving at the inside of your home. “I mean, I can tell that you put some real thought into this. You’re that committed, huh?”
Yeah, you suppose you are.
She smiles. “That’s good. Lotta guys out there who like to daydream about doing the right thing but don’t know a good plan from their own ass when it’s go time. All talk and no action. I’m glad you’re not like that.”
As flattered as you are, it sounds like someone’s been having courtship troubles again.
“Why you little-” She groans and laughs. “I should have expected you to get me back. I guess I really am getting old.”
It’s not her fault that none of the single men her age seem to have any taste, you tell her as you hand her the medicine.
“Ain’t that the truth.” She says, giving you payment. “Ah, here’s something extra.” She says, putting a few more coins on the counter. “I’d have gotten her a gift if you’d thought to tell me you were bringing a kid home. As it stands, get her something nice with this, yeah?”
“She might like some nicer bathing stuff. Heck, maybe a nicer bath in general. She’s still a girl, after all.”
For dinner, you and Medicine got...
[ ] Western food that you made
[ ] Local food that you made
[ ] Takeout from Mystia’s