I should mention that I took a year and a half of basic Japanese in my first two years of college, so whenever Rin speaks Japanese, I promise to be very careful with just what she's saying. Here, for instance, Rin refers to James as "James-chan," which is means she finds him endearing. Generally, "chan" isn't applied to boys, but Rin is using it as a term of affection toward her younger sibling.
By mid-morning, most of the city had heard the news of the disaster by the wharf and, thankfully, most seemed to share the opinion of the foreman: the destruction was an accident. Nothing else was reported, no evidence brought forward to suggest sabotage, no real reason to believe that something sinister had taken place.
"If someone had caused the building to fall, Rin would've found out," James confided in some of his friends.
"Yeah," agreed a brown-haired boy named Ricky. "Your sister can find anyone. Remember the last time she was here an' she heard the people trapped down in the subway? That was so cool!"
The small group of children all agreed with this fact, feeling like a council of old in their fort. In truth, the "fort" was really just a mass of intertwined branches that formed a sort of domed glade large enough for several small children, but in the eyes of James and his current group, it was their castle and they its knights.
"I wish the old playground was still around," a boy named Jerry said now.
"What playground?" James asked his friend. Jerry sat up a little straighter, pleased to have an audience.
"Just outside of the city is this old playground that my dad and I used to go to all the time. But last week, it got torn down so now Dad and I can't go there anymore."
"Why'd it get torn down?" James asked.
"Dad said people found a lotta snakes hiding under the slide and the seesaw and they had to call animal control. Maybe some were poison," Jerry added.
"Nah, there aren't any poison snakes around here," some one else piped up.
"There could be," Ricky piped up. "My big brother told me once that some people steal poison snakes and bring here to sell."
"That's stupid. Who'd want a poison snake?" one of the few girls in the group asked, wrinkling her nose in obvious disgust.
"I would," Jerry announced. "And I'd bring it to school too!"
"Thank goodness you didn't get your hands on one then," a wry voice broke in.
"Hi, Rin!" James called, waving to his sister who stood just outside the branches.
"James-chan, the rest of you," Rin greeted with a small smile before turning her eyes to Jerry. "Now, what's all this about snake pits in a playground?"
"Oh, well, just that people found a bunch of snakes in a playground my dad used to take me to and it got torn down."
"Is that right? Well, I suppose there was good reason to worry then." Rin mused, drawing a claw on one of the branches.
"Maybe," Jerry admitted, his former bravado vanquished by the half-demon's presence.
"Hmm... better safe than sorry, but I wonder..."
"Wonder what, Rin?"
"Never mind," Rin said, sounding more down-to-earth. "I was just passing through before heading off to start my training regime. One must always stay sharp."
"Why?" Ricky asked. "Are we gonna get attacked?"
"Most likely not, but you never can tell. Either way, you kids don't have to worry."
"Because you'll take care of it, right, Rin?" James turned shining eyes to his sister, who smiled widely at him.
"Always, James-chan, always. Now we don't we abandon talk and move to action. I could be mistaken, but I believe I saw what looked like something hidden by that rock cluster over there. Why not go check it out?"
Immediately, the children scrambled out of the fort and raced for the rocks they so often enjoyed climbing on. Rin watched them go, grateful that she had brought some mementos from Hoyaki Island when she'd first arrived.
'A few half-demon treasures will keep those kids amused for a bit.' Yes, and in the meantime, the young half-demon had places to be and things to do.
And by the time she came back, a second accident would have occurred.