Fanfic by Kogata. Main characters are Kogata, Yorokobi, Laurel, Nejireta, Rui and Kurai.

A quick note that this is set between the time they arrive at the village and when they meet Kurai. Basically they’re still trying to find a way out of the forest.

“That’s a really weird smell,” Yorokobi said, wrinkling her nose. “Do you smell it, Kogata?”

She paused and sniffed. “No, not really,” she responded, giving her sister a confused look. “What exactly are you smelling?”

“It’s like… salt. And rot.” She shook her head. “It’s a weird combination. Are you sure you can’t smell it?”

Laurel slowed down so she was walking at the same pace as them. “Salt and rot, did you say?”

She nodded. “Yes. Do you know what it is?”

Laurel nodded. “Kurai!” she called to the figure in the trees ahead of them. “I’m making a turn. We need to stop here for a bit.”

“Why?” she called back angrily. “Are you tired or something?”

“No, I think there’s something here you need to see.”

That piqued Kogata’s interest. “What kind of thing?” She was thinking along the lines of a demon summoning/banishing circle, since she associated the rotting smell with demons as well as the salt. “Like a monster?”

Laurel shook her head and smiled. “No, something better than that.” They changed course and started heading the other way, Laurel taking the lead this time.

Yorokobi leaned towards Kogata and whispered, “It sounds like ice cream.”

She shot her a funny look, wondering if Yoro was feeling okay. “What the heck is ice cream?” she hissed back.

Yoro shook her head eagerly. “I don’t know. But it sounds like something good, right?”

“So you’re using ice cream, a noun, as a synonym for good, an adjective?”

Yorokobi shook her head again. “I don’t get it. Where does an add jester come into it? And what does it have to do with Nim’s sin?”

“Nim’s what?”

“The sin of Nim you mentioned.”

Kogata resisted the urge to tear out her own hair. “Forget it. Everything that was said.”

“Okay.” Yorokobi forgot it in a matter of seconds. Then she leant towards Kogata and whispered, “It sounds like ice cream.”

Kogata nodded in a resigned way. “It certainly does.”

“There!” Laurel shouted, pointing to a gap between the trees. “We’re here!”

Kurai narrowed her eyes. “That’s not the village.”

“Of course it’s not, idiot,” Laurel said, grabbing the necromancer’s arm and dragging her towards the sand. “I thought we could at least stop off at the beach before continuing.”

“Did she swear?” Yoro whispered to Kogata.

“She said ‘beach’,” Kogata corrected her. “Honestly. Did you never read that dictionary I gave you?”

“Dig-shone-air-heat?” she asked, cocking her head to one side.

“Aren’t you two coming?” Laurel called, making them both jump.

“Come on,” Kogata muttered, starting after them. “We’ll talk about your vocabulary (or lack thereof) later.”

The landscape stretched out before them was unlike anything Kogata had ever seen before. The sand was golden and soft, and filled with funny shaped stones (she mentally matched their description to that of ‘shells’). Behind the sand was a great stretch of water that seemed to go on for ever. Kogata had never thought there was so much water in the world. In the distance she saw a fin above the waves, and maybe a second later a grey dolphin leapt above the waves and landed again with a great splash.

“Whoa,” Kogata muttered, lost for words. No, that’s no good, she thought irritably. I need to say something better. Like a quote that people will remember me by forever. “What I see before me—” she began, but was cut short as her sister let out an excited shout.

“JENTACULAR!” Yorokobi screeched, zipping past her without a moment’s pause.

That’s not a bad one at all, Kogata mused, running after her. I might use that.

Laurel was already in the water, and she had vines wrapped around Kurai’s ankles and was trying to drag her into the water. “What are you doing?” Laurel demanded, throwing all her weight onto the vines. “It’ll be boring if you just stand there! Swim! Swim!”

“Yes, swim!” Yoro chimed in, adding her weight to Laurel’s. “Swim! Swim! Swim!”

“I can’t!” Kurai snarled, digging her staff deep into the sand. “I don’t know how! Viola, help!” she yelped, making various complicated looking hand signs. Kurai swore and scrabbled rapidly to stop herself from being dragged in. “Stupid ghosts don’t like salt water! Oi, White Hair!” she yelled to Kogata. “Help me!”

“Guys, if she can’t swim—” Kogata began, but she was cut off again by Yoro.

“We’ll teach her!” Yoro insisted loudly, giving such a hard tug that Kurai was lifted off her feet and dragged two meters. “How hard can it be? This is the first time I’ve been in the water, too!”

“But you’re a Goddess!” Kurai screeched, clawing at the earth as she was dragged backwards. “I’m going to die! I’m going to die!”

Kogata made a decision and grabbed the other end of the vine and gave a final tug, sending Kurai flying with an ear-splitting shriek into the surf.

More soon! (hehehe)