Summary: During the frog troubles in Hyotei castle, Sengoku the magician was so inclined to dump eight or nine of the things in Sakuno's room.
The morning after! Coming in to rescue his bouncy green friends, he wakes Sakuno up and proceeds to unnerve her in great measure. Mischeviousness, personal jibes, innuendo, and some outright terror are had, before things turn a little somber and Sengoku is fed up, as before, by his captive's complete cowardice.
Somehow or other, Sakuno had managed the night before to go to sleep; it had taken hours, but eventually even the eerie croaking of the frogs in her room was drowned out by exhaustion, and she'd burrowed into her pillow and closed her eyes. She hasn't moved since. Even now, curled up on top of her blankets, her eyes closed and her mouth in a small, sleepy frown, she looks like she'll remain asleep for hours to come; her face is pale with exhaustion.
From a frog's vantage point, the long, smooth expanse of her cheek looks like just the place to settle once it's wiggled its way up onto the bed.
Not that the frog needs much help in deciding that matter considering Sengoku has picked it up and happily aided it's movement to Sakuno's neck.
The frog croaks contentedly as it's plopped down on her skin; taking a second to crouch down and get leverage, it springs delightedly into the hollow under her chin before it begins to wriggle up onto her face.
Sakuno, still half-asleep, shivers at the damp touch on her skin, her frown wrinkling as she raises an unconscious hand to brush the length of her neck.
Sengoku had decided to visit solely to collect his wayward minions of cleverly disguised evil. They were very cute and jumpy. He sets the bucket that has the other lively little amphibians down and leans over to run a finger up Sakuno's neck.
Making a small, uncomfortable noise, Sakuno attempts to push the finger away. The frog, feeling adventurous, hops up her cheek.
That's all it takes to make her eyes drift slowly open; when she's focused her view, and notices the small, green creature directly in front of her, it only takes a few seconds for all the color to drain out of her cheeks and for her to scream loudly.
Sengoku, who's been watching the preceedings curiously, laughs. It's really just too funny, the look on her face ...
A look of complete terror on her face, Sakuno scrambles back and raised a clumsy hand to her face to shove the frog off, not even noticing in the first few seconds of panic that Sengoku is only a few feet away.
The frog plops to the bed and Sengoku happily picks it up and drops it into his bucket, beaming at Sakuno, "You found the last one!"
"I--I--I--ahh--" Sakuno can't help her breath coming in quick, nervous pants; it takes her a moment to even look up at Sengoku and think of a way to respond. She doesn't do very really well on that front, as all she manages to squeak is ". . .S--Se--Sengoku-kun?"
Sengoku smirks at her, straightening so he can lean over the bed and reach out to trail a gloved finger down Sakuno's cheek, "Yes, S-s-s-sakuno-chan?"
She freezes, her eyes trailing his finger with something that looks very much like fear.
"I--ah--" She scoots back.
"You?" Sengoku leans farther forward, nearly climbing onto the bed with her.
"I . . . Why--why . . . are you, ah, in here . . . ?"
Sengoku smiles ever so innocently, "I was getting my frogs, bunny-chan."
". . . Oh . . . ." She wishes that he wasn't sitting so close.
"How old are you?"
"I--I--" Sakuno blinks. ". . . What?"
Sengoku repeats the question, "How old are you?"
"I . . ." (. . . why . . .) She looks down, bewildered, as she answers, "One . . . hundred seventeen?"
He snickers, "Damn, you're old and decrepit for such a cute little thing."
Sakuno squeaks, biting her lip as her face reddens.
Sengoku laughs, pulling back suddenly and standing straight again.
She can only watch him a little warily as he gets to his feet, thinking that she doesn't understand him at all, and that the sound of him laughing makes her feel so uncomfortable . . . .
Looking down again, Sakuno manages to ask, "W--why did you ask that?"
"Because I was thinking about kissing you, sweet cheeks."
"W--" Sakuno's eyes fly wide open; for a second, she stares at Sengoku with a mixture of surprise and alarm. ". . . What?" she squeaks.
"But I guess you're too young," is the sly little comment accompanied by a smirk.
At first Sakuno's too startled to even think of the right response, and so she starts to say, "B--but you said I was ol--"
Suddenly, biting her tongue and scrambling backward on the bed (by this point, she's almost pressed herself against the wall), Sakuno realizes that she shouldn't argue.
"Young by elvish standards, neh?"
"I--yes . . . ." Is he being serious? Uwah, he really can't be, but then, she doesn't know because she doesn't understand him, and sometimes he means the strangest things and sometimes he doesn't mean anything at all . . . .
"Have they married you off yet?"
"They haven't? Why not?"
"I--" She looks to the side; a part of her still doesn't know how she got to talking about this in the first place. Uncomfortably raising a hand to fiddle with one of her long braids, she says, "Well . . . ah, I'm young . . . and I'm, um, not so important, I mean . . ."
"That would explain why there hasn't been a delegate to come get you."
The swift subject change has the effect of turning all of Sakuno's flustered energy into slow melancholy. She blinks, a frown making its way onto her face.
". . . I, ah . . . guess," she agrees quietly.
Though it had it's desired effect, Sengoku scowls, feeling strangely unsatisfied by his attack of pointed malice. She should be fighting it, not agreeing! "You sure you're a princess?"
"I . . . yes . . . ."
Sengoku sighed before brightening, "Want another carrot?"
"H--huh?" Sakuno blinks.
"A carrot." A snap of gloved fingers and one appears on the bed, right next to Sakuno's leg.
"I . . ." She looks down at it with a little confusion; she only really likes carrots when she's a rabbit, but she can't tell Sengoku that she doesn't want it, so after looking at it hesitantly she bends down to pick it up and rolls it a little in her fingers. ". . . Um, thank you." The way he goes from being scary to nice to mean unnerves her; she doesn't know how she should be acting.
"You didn't like the frogs."
"I--" She looks up quickly; what should she say? "I . . . ah . . . well, it's not that I--I was, um . . . I was just surprised . . . ."
"So you like them, then?"
". . . I was surprised," she says again, awkwardly.
"You don't," Sengoku nods to this, making a woeful face.
"W--why are you asking?"
"I was going to let you keep them!"
Sakuno's eyes quickly widen at the suggestion.
"Wouldn't that be nice?"
"I--I--" Uwah, she can't say no, but . . . but . . . "I , um . . . ."
"T--they're . . ." She looks nervously to the side. "Um . . . well . . . ah--when I'm trying to go to sleep, I mean, they're, um . . . a little noisy, and . . ."
"Slimy and gross and leggy?"
". . . T--that wouldn't make you mad, if I said that . . .?" Sakuno asks cautiously.
"Well . . ." She looks down. ". . . Ah, kind of," she admits sheepishly.
". . . So I, ah, guess I don't really want--I--I'm sorry," she says quickly.
Sengoku bends to pick up the bucket, "Why are you apologizing /now/?"
"Because--" she doesn't want him to get angry "--I . . . um, I know you like them . . . ."
He stares down into the bucket of frogs and says suddenly, "No, I don't like them at all."
Sakuno looks up at him suddenly, confused.
He smiles, brightly and with just a touch of not-there, "We're going to have them for dinner!"
After the words have had time to sink in, her face grows noticeably pale.
"Frog legs are a delicacy."
". . . Oh," she agrees weakly.
"I'll bring you some."
"A--ah--oh--um, actually, that's . . . it's really . . ."
"You just want nothing to do with frogs, huh."
Sakuno fidgets a little on the bed before she reluctantly makes herself nod.
"Well, just say so."
"But . . ." She bites her lip.
". . . I . . ." Rocking a little on the bed, Sakuno tries uncomfortably to explain in a way that won't make Sengoku upset at her (though she doesn't know what that is, not really). "It's just . . . I . . . ."
Sengoku gets bored and rattles the bucket, making the frogs croak and hop. "You're a coward. Yeah. I know. Okay. We'll just go now."
Sakuno's face reddens.
". . . Sorry," she says again.
He doesn't answer, turning and walking for the door.
She bites her lip as she watches him go, feeling both relief and a heavy embarrassment; she's overcome with a wave of awkwardness, as she doesn't know what to say or to do.
"T--thank you for taking the frogs out," she finally says, quickly and clumsily, when he's almost at the door.
"You're welcome," it's a perfectly pleasant answer and he even smiles at her brightly over his shoulder before slipping out the door.
When he's gone, Sakuno watches the closed door for a few long, confused seconds, before she slips out of her bed to go pick up the journal on the other side of her room.
In response to this, by the way, Sakuno's made a slew of tiny backdated entries; there are six or seven of them, which should be viewable if one clicks on her journal (since linking them all seems a little silly).