by Julietta Suzuki, 193 pages
It's almost the New Year and everyone's doing their best to prepare. For the shrine, that means going to pick up their ofuda (a talisman that works as a kind of fortune / good luck charm) from the deity in charge of the coming year. Nanami decides to tag along with Tomoe and Mizuki (partly to keep them from fighting) and finds that to get Mikage shrine's ofuda they each first have to walk through a gate that shows the deity what they've been doing the last twelve years. This is nothing new for her shinshi, but Nanami has a harder time getting out and the other two have to enter her gate in order to retrieve her and finish their errand. There, Tomoe gets to see a side of his headstrong tochigami he hasn't seen before and realizes she's not as tough, or as weak, as he thought.
Aw, little Nanami is cute. She's had a rough life, but her mom taught her well. This story reveals a lot about Nanami and Tomoe, both, including some plot-relevant hints that they don't pick up on but the reader does. The other New Year's stories and snippets in this volume are good, too, and show us what various characters are up to and how they've grown, including a peek at conflicted Kirihito's continuing efforts to get his body back and Yatori's still-hazy involvement in everybody else's business. Suzuki does a nice job presenting little seasonal side stories that still advance the larger plot and add to her characters' development.