Lord Kashi and Adan stared in awe at the pillaged kitchen, now almost completely depleted of food.
"You don't keep much in your kitchen, I'm guessing," Lord Kashi said.
"I'm pretty sure that there was an entire chicken here before I gave Bryant the leg. There was also a lot of dried food, half a round of cheese, and a couple loaves of bread. At least he left the seasonings and one loaf..."
"What did he do with the rest of it? That's the problem. We also need to know where he went."
"I'm surprised he managed to get away with that much, though. I mean, what were we so deeply involved in that he could carry away the entire kitchen?"
"We were talking," Lord Kashi said, displeased, "and he took advantage. Congratulations, Adan. You've taken in a great thief."
"No, congratulations to you, Kashi. The thief is your grandson."
Lord Kashi glared at Adan.
"It's not my fault he's so good at it. He's self-taught, anyway," said Adan.
"I don't care how he learned, but I do care that he stole the contents of your cupboards, and I can't stand having such a bold thief steal dinner from under my nose. Besides, he's a Fallenson. Fallensons aren't thieves; we're as noble a family as ninja can be, and I'll make sure we stay that way."
"Good luck finding him."
"What, aren't you also responsible for him?"
"Only as his sensei and leader, not a parent. Therefore, I don't have to look for him if somebody else responsible is already doing it. I also have a lot of paperwork to do, and I'm already behind because of him. Besides, I highly doubt that he left the house."
"He had to put the extra food somewhere, and he couldn't have eaten all of it. I was told that he only eats very much when he's sure there's going to be more."
"It was Raven who told you that, correct?"
"Did she say that he also hoards food?"
"No. I learned that on my own."
"Fine, then. I'll hear that story later. Now go do your paperwork, if it's really that pressing, and I'll find my grandson and get the food back."
Lord Kashi walked out of the room and began his search. He found nothing, of course- he hadn't the faintest idea of how Bryant thought. After what seemed like an hour, but was probably less, he walked into the library room and plopped into the nearest chair to think. Finding the chair uncomfortable, he moved to one across the room.
Before he could sit down, the cloth covering the piece of furniture seemed to move and peel away- until he saw that it was Bryant, moving to avoid being sat upon.
Lord Kashi quickly seized Bryant by the collar and hauled him away, through the maze of halls and down the stairs. Bryant, perhaps wisely, didn't struggle as hard as he could have.
Lord Kashi threw Bryant into Adan's office before bursting in himself. Adan was appropriately startled and stood up, adding to the confusion created by Lord Kashi's sudden entrance. Several papers had been blown off of the desk and were fluttering down, creating a distraction sufficient for Bryant to hide himself.
"Kashi!" Adan began in protest.
"Yes, Adan?" Lord Kashi replied dryly. He took his naginata staff and began to poke around the office.
"I can see that you found Bryant, obviously, but what do you mean by throwing him at my shelves?"
"I was hoping that perhaps he would explain to both of us what he was doing in the library after he stole almost everything in the kitchen."
Lord Kashi found Bryant and jabbed at him with the staff, forcing him to reveal himself as he deflected it. The staff struck the wall loudly, threatening the existence of a painting hanging nearby.
Adan stood and rushed from behind his desk, snatching the staff before Lord Kashi could manage to damage anything. In response to a withering glare, he said, "Not in my office. And you can't pull ranks on this one."
Lord Kashi, recognizing that he had gone too far, nodded and turned back to Bryant.
"Now tell me, grandson, why were you hiding in the library? And why did you steal almost all of the food in the kitchen?"
Bryant's tone showed no emotion.
"First of all," he began, "I wasn't hiding. I was sleeping until you barged in and tried to sit on me. And as for the food, I was raised to believe that what's in the kitchen- but not the pantry- is pretty much free game. I actually only ate a little. What clearly wasn't going to be eaten for a few days went to the pantry. The chicken, though, it's still in the kitchen. I just moved it to see how observant you are. Obviously, you aren't..."
Lord Kashi listened to the full explanation with a measure of doubt.
"And Adan told me you didn't like to talk," he said when Bryant was finished. "You sure have a mouth on you when it suits your purpose."
Several minutes later, Bryant's explanation had been confirmed. The majority of the food stayed where he had moved it.
"Do you enjoy practicing your stealth on Adan?" Lord Kashi asked Bryant.
"Yes. I would do it to Ben and Lisa, but Ben has a hammer and Lisa is too frightening. Pretty much all of the other grown-ups hate me, even Harris. He literally threw me out of the infirmary once after he stitched up a cut on my arm..." Bryant's voice trailed off.
"You sound depressed, do you know that?"
"Yes. But I'm not depressed."
"What are you, then?"
"I'm a kitsunekage."
"A fair enough answer."
"Mikael says that my life is so much like that manga he's always talking about- you know, kitsune, people hate me, and so on. But I'm not sure I should believe him."
"He also claims that this is all a story written by some weird human-bird-fox hybrid thing with a name I can't remember."
"That does lower his credibility quite a lot. But it would explain the past few days."
"You, too? I'm leaving now..."
Bryant turned back, somehow managing to wander through the narrow hallway. Lord Kashi stood in place and watched him go, wondering why he couldn't figure out his own grandson.ns 22.214.171.124da2