"Well, first-" you reach into your back pocket and produce a folded piece of paper, "-could you tell us a bit more about this area?"
Spreading it out on the table (which is also, you notice, supported by books), you point to the outline of a lake in the center.
"Ah, the misty lake?" Keine cranes her head around, turning the paper to face her. "It's almost the center of Gensokyo, so quite a few humans have settled around it, myself and Morichika you've already met. It's aptly named, the fog over the lake hasn't lifted in close to a century."
"The cold climate attracted a lot of ice fairies, or it may have produced them. As their numbers grew, the area got colder, which brought more of them, until the place is practically overrun with them. As such, not many actual Youkai live around there; too cold, not enough food, too many annoying fairies, the reasons vary, but most youkai hate it, which is enough to attract a certain kind of human. There is, however, one exception."
Taking a breath, she moves her finger up to the north of the lake, where she produces a pencil and sketches in a little peninsula with some kind of house on it.
"The Scarlet Devil Mansion. It's ruled by an incredibly powerful vampire. I've had the misfortune to fight her before, and I will tell you: If you value life and limb, avoid her if you have any choice."
The stick figures she's drawn around it somewhat spoil the effect, unfortunately.
"Where did you get that map?" Renko asks, peering over your shoulder.
"I drew it last night."
She lets out a low whistle.
"Was there anything else?"
Keine turns toward you, folding her hands on her lap.
"Do you know anyone else who would be willing to give us help?" Mary in chimes from the couch.
"Hm, yes..." the pencil returns, and she begins to place scribble small names around various sections of the map, adding features as she goes. "Rinnosuke you've met, of course. He deals in tools from the Outside, but in reality he'll buy and sell just about anything that strikes his fancy. He's also got a keen eye, so he can help you identify anything you might come across. Naturally, I'll be available any time you need information, and if you happen to come across Miss Hieda I'm sure she will help you as well."
She straightens up, her drawings finished.
"Marisa Kirasame runs a magic shop in the forest. While I would advise you to be cautious of anything she sells, especially what she makes herself, her services could still prove most useful. Hakurei Reimu is the resident shrine maiden, it generally falls to her to resolve any major incidents that occur. However, short of something threatening Gensokyo itself or her shrine, she cannot be expected to intervene."
"Eientei is located in the bamboo forest, though it's residents are mostly youkai they are friendly. Eirin, the resident doctor, is truly magnificent at her work, I'm certain she could treat any kind of injury or sickness you might discover. Lastly, there are quite a few kappa at the foot of the mountain. If you manage to find one that doesn't run away, they will probably be willing to help you. Probably."
"It's pretty accurate, too... did you take pictures or something?"
"No, it was from memory." You gently push Renko off your back. "Can you tell us more about the creatures? You've mentioned fairies and youkai."
"Of course. Fairies, are, as you know, manifestations of nature. They tend to be mischievous rather than malevolent, reincarnate quickly, and lack both strength and intelligence. The great fairies are a partial exception, they can sometimes become quite fearsome, and often learn human language. They are still just fairies, though.
"Youkai are the embodiments of human fear, be it collected in an existing container such as an animal, a tool, or even another human, or condensed directly into a conceptual youkai. Youkai vary greatly in almost all respects, though as a rule all of them must attack humans. The level of said attack will depend on their specific temperament and type, but nonetheless you should never lower your guard around them." She counts off her fingers.
"Lastly are the gods. They are the embodiments of humans' faith, and are the antithesis to youkai. The odds of provoking one are extremely low, not in the least because Gensokyo's gods have slowly dwindled in both power and numbers in recent years. Of course, it would be a mistake to completely lower your guard around them, as some of them are more... archaic in their ways."
She takes a punctual sip of her tea.
She sounds like your teacher from first grade.
"You sound like my teacher from first grade," Renko remarks, lying on the floor.
Keine blushes slighty. "Ah, I do?"
Is she... smiling?
By the time she stops, you've manage to make your expression carefully blank.
"Ah, was there anything else?"
"No, I think that's all. Thank you for the tea."
"You're welcome. And please remember to tell Miss Hieda to come back if you see her."
Map updated -
Youkai Mountain added.
Marisa's shop added.
Bamboo forest added.
Hakurei Shrine added.
Quest activated: Missing scholar.
You step out into the sunlight again and stretch. While your encounter was quite educational, it did take up a lot of time.
Renko comes out behind you, carrying the map.
"So, where should we head for next?"
Pick a destination!
[ ] Youkai Mountain
[ ] Misty Lake
- [ ] SDM
[ ] Forest of Magic
- [ ] Marisa's shop
[ ] Bamboo forest
- [ ] Eientei
[ ] Hakurei Shrine
You'll have time to explore maybe one area or so before you need to head back for the day.