“I think you should cut it.” Chi coolly stated; her breathy voice slow and calm. She sighed, laying back against the dozen or so plush pillows pressed against the wall of the large canopy set up in the empress' private gardens. On the opposite side of her, Empress Kisaki turned questioningly. The general fluttered her fingers from beneath the long pale blue sleeves of her summer dress. She gestured at the empress without further words and for the moment Kisaki still wasn't sure what the Lan general meant.
“No!” little red-headed Hasu gasped as understanding dawned on her, at the same time coming to the empress who quickly reached her arm around the back of her head, pulling the silky smooth cascade of jet black hair over her right shoulder; her fingers swimming through the dark locks as she hugged them to her body. “Don't!” Hasu turned to the empress, her eyes pleading as she silently argued against the Asrai's desire to see their leader's long hair clipped away.
Kisaki was of equal apprehension. She'd always had her hair long since as far back as she could remember. At the present it fell well below her buttocks. It was thick and healthy, the envy of most. She took good care of it, and had handmaidens who attended to her hair and made sure to keep it luscious and well groomed. It was a rarity to see Kisaki with her hair down, as it was at the present moment. Usually those rare instances happened in the privacy of her chambers, or, as it was at the moment, when she was alone with close friends, away from her royal duties.
“It's just hair,” Chi shrugged, grabbing for a small batch of purple grapes, squeezing one off it's steam and popping it into her mouth. She didn't seem particularly invested in the conversion, despite having been the one who brought it up.
Besides her, the fourteen year old General Xian, looked mortified. She grabbed the long red and gold braid, wrapped in bright colored ribbons, hanging off her left shoulder and nervously held on to it, as if Chi had suggested that she too required a trim. “You don't understand, hair is very important to a woman!” Chi shot the younger girl a dirty look, to which Hasu immediately turned away from; her cheeks a bright red, the color of which nearly matched the hue of her Bogle hair. “I... I didn't...”
“It's fine,” Chi brushed the girl off. She knew the young general had meant nothing by her statement. Bogles did not have many third-genders amongst their race; and Hasu's clan specifically, were said to be distant cousins of the royal family, coming from Sylph's, where the third-gender did not exist at all. Naturally, the somewhat sheltered young general had not been exposed much to anyone like Chi, so of course she didn't understand certain things. Chi knew the girl meant no harm, but had simply misspoken.
“Why?” Kisaki interrupted, pulling attention away from the faux pas, as she ran her fingers through her hair once more, before quickly realizing the gesture appeared far too vain. She pushed her hair back away from her and turned to Chi, still with the question in her eyes.
“Why?” the Asrai repeated, fanning herself as her eyes drifted towards the edge of the canopy, wondering if sunlight might reach her all the way in the corner where she sat. The canopy was mostly in place for her comfort. Asrai did not like sunlight. There was even a rumor that Asrai would melting into puddles of crystal waters if the sun were to ever touch their delicate pale flesh. It wasn't true of course, but Chi often joked as if it might be; avoiding the sun at all cost. “It's too long,” She coolly stated, staring at the extended ray of sunlight that threatened to creep too close for her liking.
The answer did little to satisfy the empress, who sighed dejectedly, knowing her younger friend wouldn't be going much further into detail. As it was, the Asrai general already looked exhausted, having spent far too many hours out in the sun for her liking; though she'd actually not been in direct sunlight at all, as was her usually manner.
Between the two, Hasu happily relaxed against the pillows in front of her. Her pile was much smaller than that of the other two ladies, but she liked it better that way. She laid down on top of them, kicking her bare feet behind her as she peaked out from the canopy's edge. Unlike the Asrai, Bogles loved the sun! They loved it almost as much as Brownies loved it, though not nearly enough to get as darkly tanned as that race. Hasu in particular always enjoyed getting a little color on her cheeks. As a smaller child she'd loved to run around and play in the sun and dirt. With her light completion, however, this often resulted in skin turning as bright as her hair.
“I heard he likes short hair.” Chi's high pitched breathy voice called out again.
Immediately Kisaki stiffened. There wasn't a need to explain who 'he' was. It was hardly a secret, though most pretended they did not know, that Kisaki had long since harbored feelings for a certain Banshee general.
“How would you know?!” Hasu's childishly high voice protested before the conversation could get any further. “It... it's not right!” she went off, listing a number of reasons why cutting one's hair to fit the preference of man was wholly undignified, and how a ruler couldn't be seen to be swayed by the desires of others, and how the elaborate ceremonial headgear required long hair, and how Chi probably just wanted the empress to cut her beautiful hair because of course she wanted her own hair to be the most beautiful and the longest. And on and on the little girl wailed, animatedly bring up one after another reason why it just simply wouldn't do for the Empress to cut her hair.
When she was at last finished, the group fell into a long drawn out pause, all of them seemingly considering the significance of one's hair and important it played for a woman. They remained silent for a good long minute when out of the opposite corner of the canopy, furthest from Chi, and behind the empress herself, a lazy and deeply rich voice broke through the silence. “Longer is better,” the silver haired best friend of the Empress calmly echoed Hasu's sentiments, as his long slender fingers carefully wove themselves through Kisaki's long, soft hair. “Short is good too,” Lee shrugged, yawning softly as he mashed his face against a bright pink satin pillow, gently tugging a strand of the Empress' long hair along with him, before closing his eyes and stating noncommittally, “but long is nice too.”