"-nami. Nanami, wake up!"
Nanami Momozono, high school student and human land god, groaned, rolled over, and stuffed her head under her pillow.
The blankets and pillows were ripped away, Tomoe, Nanami's familiar, completely unsympathetic as she whimpered at the rush of cool air.
"Whaaaat?" Nanami whimpered, curling into a ball on her futon.
"You have a letter from the goddess Yurie of Raifuku Shrine. She wishes to meet with you at your earliest convenience."
One bleary brown eye peeked up at the white fox yokai.
"Her familiar is waiting for your reply in the courtyard."
"Oh." Nanami shoved herself up into a sitting position, scrubbing the sleep from her eyes. "Okay, I'll be there in a minute."
Tomoe eyed her suspiciously for a moment, then his eyes softened and he stooped, pressing a swift kiss to her forehead before leaving the room silently.
Nanami smiled softly after her familiar, then got up and started dressing for the day.
A fresh cup of tea waited for her on the porch, steaming softly in the morning light, but when she looked around the courtyard, all she saw was a deer, nibbling delicately at the neatly cut grass, with a small satchel slung around its neck.
"Familiar-san?" she called, and the deer glanced up, then walked smoothly over.
"Are you the familiar to Yurie-san of Raifuku shrine?" Nanami asked, and the deer inclined its head, then reached around and pulled a crisp, white envelope out of the satchel and offered it to her.
"Oh, thank you. Would you um... like some tea while you wait?"
The deer shook its head, and went back to grazing as Nanami opened the envelope.
Dear Human Land God of Mikage shrine, it started,
My name is Yurie Hitotsubashi, of Raifuku shrine, and there is something that the two of us must urgently discuss. I do not trust this information to paper, but it is something that you, as a new god, must know. I will be available to meet with you at any time in the extremely near future, since I am currently in Tokyo for some business of my own. Please give Shika your return letter with a time, date and location if you choose to meet with me.
My best regards,
Yurie Hitotsubashi, Middle-School Girl God of Raifuku Shrine
Nanami frowned slightly, folding the letter back up and replacing it in the envelope before taking a sip of her tea.
Important information she should know? Wouldn't Mikage have told her everything she needed to know, once he'd returned? He'd been helping teach her more about the responsibilities of a god, after all. And Otohiko had helped her a lot, too, telling her how to use Shikigami, and what they were for.
But maybe this was something they didn't know? And that middle part of Yurie-san's title; Middle-school Girl God. That sounded suspiciously like a human who became a god... or maybe she was overthinking this.
"So your name is Shika?" Nanami asked the deer, who paused its grazing and nodded at her. "Have you worked with Yurie-san for long?"
"No," the deer replied, moving over to lay down near the porch. Its, no, his, voice was a light tenor, and Nanami barely managed to keep from knocking over her tea when she heard him speak.
"Only thirty-one years. Yurie-sama is a relatively new god."
"I see... Well, give me a second, and I'll have a reply for Yurie-san, okay?"
Shika nodded and curled up a little more before closing his eyes, and, to all appearances, going to sleep.
"Mizuki," Nanami called softly, "will you please bring me some paper, an envelope, and a pen?"
There was a startled noise from behind her, and Nanami stifled a grin as Mizuki stammered an affirmative and went to find the requested items.
Ever since her two familiars had found out about her severely shortened lifespan, one of them had been with her at all times, staying within easy reaching distance, and watching her as though they were expecting her to collapse at any moment. It was mildly stifling, but the barely concealed fear in their eyes stilled any protests she might make, and instead she had made a sort of game out of guessing which one was nearby, but out of sight, at any given time.
Paper, pen, and envelope slid into her peripheral vision, and she turned, smiling brightly at Mizuki, before taking them and starting to compose her reply.
"So what did Yurie-san want?" Tomoe's voice was conspicuously absent of any curiosity, and Nanami shrugged as she dug into the breakfast he'd prepared for her.
"Something about godly duties." Nanami's voice was equally devoid of guile. "I told her I'd meet her at the ice cream parlor near Kamezuka Koen tomorrow."
Nanami narrowed her eyes at Tomoe's carefully bland tone, and took another bite of rice.
"You'll come with me, won't you? It'd be nice to have some company on the train."
Barely noticeable tension eased, and Tomoe inclined his head. "I am, as always, at your service."
Nanami shot him another look, but Tomoe had busied himself with his own breakfast, and she let it drop.
Tomoe's retreat into formality bothered her a bit, but aside from simply ordering him to tell her what was wrong, there wasn't anything she could do.
Besides, she had a feeling she already knew what was wrong. He'd been so set on what had happened five hundred years ago not repeating itself when he'd drunk the evolution elixir, and now it turned out that it was going to anyway?
Yeah. She had a pretty good idea of what was wrong.
She just wished there was a way to fix it.