I look over another one of the pieces of paper that the tengu brought in and try to from an understandable answer. "You do raise a point. I can't really explain my reasoning to Mokou in particular, partially because I'm not sure if I want to accept the answer yet, and partially because Mokou would call it a load of bullshit." Confident that I have in fact read enough of the letter to give a solid answer, I set it back down on the table. "I must confess that freeing Letty from her existence as a snow woman so that she can resume being an alchemist, or at least get her to remember who she was would be in my interest since I don't really have anyone to talk about it aside from Marisa and Eirin." I then prop my head up on one hand in exasperation before continuing. "Even then I wouldn't exactly want them coming around to my house. The former would surely make off with something, perhaps without even realizing it, while the latter would surely redouble her efforts to make me her apprentice. And while Eirin is brilliant doctor and alchemist... Well, you've seen for yourself why I don't trust her explicitly. Plus her eccentricities would surely be my doom."
"Hey Ivan, what're you talking abut? And for that matter, to who?" Mokou steps into the room without my noticing. I know I've been keeping an open door policy for this segment, but would it kill the guests to knock first?
"Oh, I'm just responding to the questions and theories sent to me by the readers. They come up with the strangest things sometimes." I don't think Mokou's going to understand this that well but there's always the hope. I did make a point of swiveling my chair around to face the phoenix woman so I don't appear rude.
"Fan-mail, huh? I didn't think you were much for the public eye." Mokou sticks a fresh stick of pocky in her mouth before stepping up to the table and picking up a piece for herself.
"Uhh, Mokou, I'd watch which ones you read, some of them are a little-" Even though I'm reaching for the paper in her hand I already know it's too late. I've seen what's on that particular letter and she sure as hell won't like what's on there.
The phoenix woman's right eye twitches noticably, which is my cue to dive out of the way in case she incinerates everything in the room. I'm not going to stop her now that she's got the job of answering this letter. "The fuck is wrong with you?" I note that she's reading and re-reading the letter numerous times in order to grasp the intent behind it. "Okay, first of all I have to say the only way this could possibly be more sick is if you were aiming to get Ivan, Kaguya and I into a threesome." She then gives it at least one more look before continuing, and merely sighs. She's mellow today isn't she? "You're treating this like I'm in love with Ivan and am willing to share him with Letty. Well, you're wrong on both counts. Ivan's a friend at this point, even if I'm a little reluctant to admit it. And the reluctancy is mostly because I'm immortal and if I did get into a relationship it would be really, really painful to watch the guy grow old and rot away while I never change. I went through that a coulpe of times already and pretty much swore off mortals after that. It's not that I'm too proud, I just don't want to get hurt like that again." Mokou takes up my previously occupied seat in order to make herself more comfortable while she goes through with this. "If you seriously want me to hook up with him, you're gonna have to make it so he's as unchanging as I am or somehow reverse the effects of the Hourai Elixir." She then pauses for a moment in order to compose herself. "As for Letty, as much as I hate her guts for freezing me solid multiple times every fucking witner I admit she's probably the better choice between me and her. She may want to fuck his brains out but she's been nice to him so far and the two might be able to share a hobby, and maybe even more than that if you can make her human or something." She then takes a drink out of my water glass while pausing once again. "As for that obnoxious little fairy, forget it. She won't show up until springtime, which is not only three months from now, but most likely just as the story comes to a close since this only deals with winter. Same goes for the harvest goddess and her sis. And that's assuming Ivan's willing to commit to polygamy in the first place. You gotta remember that not everyone's into the harem deal. Also? Your pun sucks."
"I'd also like to point out that you probably meant 'flammable' rather than 'inflammable', because unless I've got my prefixes wrong 'in-' would suggest that I cannot be set on fire. Let me assure you that I have been set alight before, and by the same person you accuse of doing so." I poke my head out from behind an upturned table I had been using as a blast shield in case Mokou did blow her top. "I note that I haven't exactly mentioned it, but she's burned my hair off before."
"That one was an accident." Mokou even goes so far as to neatly fold up the letter and set it back on the table.
There's no stalling this, and I dare not take the direct route lest Mokou lecture me about how I shouldn't trust Letty like this. I do get the feeling that I know the answer to why I let her in in the first place, but am I really ready to accept it? Well, I could fling her arguement back in her face and hope it stuns her into a reasonable state... "Mokou, I don't know precisely why I chose to let Letty into my life, but I assume it's the same strange impulse that makes me constantly pursue a woman who makes a point of reassuring me that I am in fact, inflammable."
Mokou's look is one of mild surprise, which is made somewhat goofier thanks to the fact that she was eating at the time. Once she finished she actually admitted something. "Okay, I concede the point. And I'll even take back the part where I lump Letty in with the rest of her kind and re-ask the same question, but with the name Letty in place of snow woman." She bites off another chunk to give herself more time to think, or perhaps for me to consider my answer. "But really, why did you invite her in? You're not the type to get drawn into a woman just because she's got a nice body."
Letty simply focuses on eating her portion of the meal and does nothing to help or hinder the conversation. For all intents and purposes she is officially a neutral party in the conversation, though I note that she's paying attention to what I'm going to say.
I finish up my first kabob and set the used stick back down on the plate. I've come to something that I hope with constitute a believable answer. "Because she holds an interest in alchemy and has no other way to indulge in it. I found it easy to sympathize with her in that regard and gave her perimisson to read one of my books here." I really hope that this will be enough to placate Mokou for now. She may not approve of this, but...
"So you're lonely, is that it?" Mokou's response smacks me upside the head in a way I didn't think possible. She continues in between bites, and I'm not sure how much of this I'm going to like. "I can see why. Keine's a nice woman but her brain's just not build for alchemy. I don't make that good a conversation partner either, that forest witch makes off with your stuff, and Eirin... The two of you get along don't you?" Is she really that curious about that?
"We do, it's just her..." I struggle to find the words to describe the lunar doctor's oddities. She's brilliant, has made it perfectly clear that she wants to apprentice me, and can actually force me to put effort into keeping up with her when it comes to alchemalbabble.
Mokou holds a hand up to stop me, which is good because I'm having a linguist's block. "You don't have to explain that one. I'm just running through the possibilities in the hope that maybe I can convince you that this one isn't worth the effort." She jabs a thumb in Letty's directin, who doesn't seem bothered by all this. This is concerning her after all. "But nobody's ever managed to convince you somethng wasn't worth pursuing so I'm just wasting my breath here. What I should be asking is if you've got any plans for the day."