Welcome back to Teaser Tuesday!
Puck fans, are you ready? This is especially for you.
This teaser takes place right after The Iron Knight and before Iron's Prophecy, when Puck leaves Ash and disappears for a little while. Later, he tells Meghan that he was in Kyoto visiting some "friends." The following is a snippet of what exactly happened to him in the time he was gone.
Teaser Tuesday SPECIAL:
The Fox and the Raven
Kyoto in the Spring is one of my favorite spots to visit.
I sat on the railing of the temple overlooking the gardens, one knee drawn to my chest, letting the sakura scented breeze cool my face, watching the white and orange koi swirl below me in the tiny pond. The wind whispered through the branches of the cherry blossom trees and sent a few pink and white petals fluttering into the water. Birds trilled from the rooftops, and dragonflies buzzed through the reeds. It was very peaceful here. Peaceful, quiet, and tranquil.
A smirk played across my lips. Too tranquil in my opinion. I wasn't here for peace and quiet. I didn't come to meditate on the yin and yang of it all. I was here to forget what was happening in the Nevernever right now, the marriage of a certain princess and ice-boy. A marriage that would take her from me, once and for all, forever.
Sighing, I flicked a pebble into the pond, watching the koi swarm below me, my thoughts drifting to my two best friends. I was happy for them, I really was. But I couldn't be there. I needed to clear my head, sort some things out. I needed to stir up some trouble, and a chaos filled romp through one of my favorite cities would be a fabulous place to start.
If my partner in crime ever woke up, that is.
"Goodfellow-san, are you out here?"
I grinned, swinging my boots over the railing and hopping down as a figure joined me on the veranda. A girl in a red and white kimono, her straight black hair falling past her waist like a spill of ink. Cherry red lips, a stark contrast against the delicate, porcelain doll face, were pulled into a gentle smile.
"Itazura-chan," I greeted casually. That wasn't her real name, of course, any more than Robin Goodfellow was mine. Itazura meant mischief in Japanese, and she was the reason I enjoyed visiting Japan so much. Things were rarely dull when the two of us got together. The last time I visited Kyoto, the statue of a famous Buddha mysteriously vanished and somehow ended up on the roof of a castle.
Ah, good times.
I watched her approach, catching a glimpse of the bushy, white-tipped fox tail peeking out from beneath her robes. "Uh, Zura-chan?" I pointed out. "Your tail is showing. Maybe you should hide that before we cause another panic in the marketplace?"
She cocked her head, appraising, and ignored that statement. "You seem pensive today, Goodfellow-san," Itazura said, sauntering closer. For a split second, as she came into the light, her eyes glimmered amber and gold, but only for a moment, before they turned black once more. "Your voice is full of shadows, and you smell like bitter leaves."
I smirked, ready to give a flippant, smart-ass reply, but she stepped close, reached out, and ran a slender finger down my face. Unexpectedly, the soft touch made me shiver as the girl peered up at me with large black eyes, still smiling. "Why so moody, Goodfellow-san?" she asked. "It's a beautiful afternoon, perfect for teasing monks and stealing mochi and tricking mortals into falling into the pond. But you look like a neko-cat who watched the hawk steal a mouse right from his paws."
I forced a grin. "I don't like mice, Zura-chan. They make my breath stink."
The kitsune girl gave me a knowing smile, and for a moment, my insides fluttered. "There are plenty of mice in the world, Goodfellow-san," she said, staring right into my eyes. "Perhaps you shouldn't be looking for a mouse, ne? Perhaps you should be looking for something with sharper teeth." She held my gaze, a beautiful young girl with ancient golden eyes. "I would help you forget her, Goodfellow-san," she said, her voice soft but completely forthright. "If you give me a chance, I would help you find happiness again."
My stomach lurched. Crossing my arms, I raised an eyebrow. "Uh-huh," I said dubiously. "This from a kitsune. I seem to recall the last time I was here, you somehow lured some poor sap into the temple gardens and then stole his robes so he had to run home in the buff."
"No, Goodfellow-san." Itazura watched me, all innocence. "I did the luring. You stole his robes, remember?"
She giggled, pushing her hair back with a smile, before she became serious again. "We are alike, Robin Goodfellow," she said quietly. "The same. A single leaf, split down the middle. Humans, even half-humans, can never truly understand us. I know you. I've seen you for who you really are, and you've seen me, as well. You should know that I would never hurt or trick you." Her voice grew defiant. "And you're wrong if you think kitsune can't fall in love. It happens more often than you think." She glanced down at her hands, her next words almost a whisper. "You've just never been able to see it."
My heart pounded, surprising me. Itazura wasn't Meghan...but Meghan was gone. I'd already lost her. Itazura--wicked, playful, always brutally honest--was right here. My throat felt tight, and I swallowed hard. Maybe she was right. Maybe it was time I let my princess go.
Itazura stared back at me with a stark, open gaze, the breeze playing through her dark hair, and the look in her eyes made my stomach clench. I remembered the times we shared, the places we visited, sometimes as we were now, sometimes as a raven and a small red fox. Itazura was sly, witty, and she made me laugh, which was saying a whole lot. Besides ice-boy, she was the only one who could keep up with me, challenge me. And, unlike ice-boy, she welcomed the chaos and bedlam that often followed in my wake, sometimes causing it herself. We did make a good pair. I was tired of hurting, of pining over a girl who would never love me back. Itazura and I were one and the same. I might...no...I could, very easily, come to love her, too.
If I could stand to let Meghan go.
Taking a deep breath, I made my decision.
Puck: Happy April Fool's Day from your friendly neighborhood Puck! Did you enjoy that little teaser? I did too. Now, whether or not it's TRUE? That is a different story. Do you think we should tell them, Itazura-chan?
Itazura: Well, we could. But what fun would that be, Goodfellow-san?