A light rain had been falling since sunrise and it absolutely matched Akemi’s mood on this particular morning.
“I’ll be back before you even know I’m gone,” Suzu said to her tearful daughter, offering a gentle smile. Akemi pouted pathetically.
“I don’t understand why you need to leave at all,” Akemi whined, dropping her parasol dramatically, “Can’t you send Diana or Tatiana or one of the attendants? How about Phoenix?”
Suzu sighed and shook her head, stifling an eye roll.
“No, dear one, it’s important that I be the one to travel to Osa. I might be able to make a prosperous contact in regards to our tea trees.” Akemi looked past her mother with a scowl directed at Phoenix. He was her least favorite person in this clan, aside from Yela.
Her dislike of Phoenix was simple: once he defended Yela when the children were caught in a scuffle over a broken dish. Akemi didn’t know why he wouldn’t try to earn her favor and it puzzled her; he had deliberately thrown Akemi under the bus! (She had been the one at fault but that was neither here nor there…)
As for Yela, there was a time when the two had been good friends (despite their argument) but that time had definitely passed. Yela’s transition to womanhood had been the start of Akemi’s true dislike and it had only gotten worse as Yela grew into her body. Akemi was so jealous of Yela that she hadn’t even noticed her own blossoming take place.
Resigned to the news, Akemi pouted severely and folded her arms, looking away.
“Be a good leader while I’m gone,” Suzu said, setting down her parasol and taking her daughter in her arms, “I’m counting on you.” Akemi took in the feel of the hug and tried to keep a memory of the smooth silk of her mother’s dress under her fingers.
Giving her one last pat on the cheek Suzu stepped into her palanquin and took off down the road. Akemi watched her leave out of the corner of her eye and sighed as her mother rounded the corner.
Jun, one of their newer attendants, suddenly stepped into view.
“Lady Akemi…” Akemi stared up at him, eyes widening. No one had ever called her Lady before, not even when the fancy village women visited her mother. Jun continued, “What would you like for your breakfast today? I could make those spicy noodles you like so much.”
Spicy noodles were not usually a breakfast food but they were her favorite. Could she eat whatever she wanted with her mother gone?!
“Spicy noodles… sound great!”
She beamed at the young man who smiled kindly back at her and bowed his exit towards the gate. However, before he could even take one step she held out her hand and said loudly, “Wait!” The two men stared down at her and she went on, her voice high but firm, “For dinner I want to have roast duck, too… and one of those yummy fruit drinks you make for mama.”
Jun glanced at Phoenix who did not react. Jun bowed his head.
“Yes, lady. We will prepare for your dinner tonight,” He made his exit and Akemi smiled brightly, nostrils flaring in excitement. She unceremoniously tossed her parasol against the gate and gave Phoenix a knowing look as she rushed away to play in the growing puddles.
When she had turned her attention elsewhere Phoenix noticeably grimaced. Duck was very expensive. He wondered if Lady Suzu would notice the difference in the ledger when she returned. Would she scold her daughter when she found out? Phoenix didn’t know but he was curious to find out.
With Akemi “playing ruler” this was definitely going to be an interesting week.
AN: It was a fun challenge to try and get some pics to go with my writing (and not use poses, whoops!) I hope you enjoyed Akemi’s descent into spoiled brat. It should only get worse from here on out…
Here’s one more look at our lovable Lady…