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Late, sorry. Couldn't find a good point for an option so that's for the next update.
[x] Let her eat her lunch in peace.
- [x] “You wouldn’t happen to have seen a pair of rabbits hop on by, now would you?”
- [x] After that, ask her if she could lead you to a hill or something overlooking the Human Village so that you can find Reisen.
You open your mouth to ask, Mokou? I was wondering, did you happen to come across a pair of rabbits in the forest?
But your thoughts refuse to translate into words, and after catching a fly or two, you wisely decide to shut your mouth. And keep it shut.
Of course you would never actually say that now; the girl has made it perfectly clear that interrupting her mealtime would earn you nothing short of an asskicking. Or at least implied as much. You’re not going to take any chances though; she probably very well could, even if she wasn’t being serious. Which, you’re sure she was in fact, very much so.
Instead, you simply watch on as she roasts her chicken kebab, occasionally checking the insides with a knife to see how well-done the meat is turning out as the smell rising off of the fire causes your mouth to water unconsciously. Your stomach complains, loudly, reminding you it wants food badly. The temptation at one point gets bad enough that you almost do speak up and ask the girl for a bite, a morsel even. But bothering Mokou for anything -worst of all things, food- right now is like playing with an open flame. Very, very, dangerous. It takes considerable willpower to tell your gut to shut up and bear with it, but it’s worth it. Not incurring the white-haired girl’s wrath is definitely worth going hungry for a bit.
After waiting for a time, the girl inspects the skewer and – waitwaitWAIT.
Great, you knew this was coming next but it still catches you by surprise to see her do this. Of all things to torment you with, this is probably the worst of all and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.
She’s eating it.
And not with any sort of regard for table manners or any kind of etiquette, either. She tears into the tender chicken hungrily, greedily ripping large chunks off the spit before chewing and swallowing with an intense haste, then repeating the entire process all over again. The way she treats the meal, it’s almost like she hasn’t seen any kind of food in days. It’s certainly not the most ladylike display you’ve seen (ladylike? There’s nothing ladylike about her eating habits), but that’s not what concerns you.
What concerns you is how fucking good she’s making that thing look.
There’s a wet smacking of lips as Mokou devours her grilled poultry, savoring each and every bite. As she chews, a mixture of sauce and juices trickle down from the corner of her mouth unnoticed while she continues to work away at her food. She makes a loud, messy slurp, inhaling yet another golden-brown piece of meat while you gulp uncomfortably at the sight.
You have to wonder, why is she doing this to you? She really, really doesn’t seem to care what she looks like as she eats. Granted, she doesn’t know how very starved you are, but still, it’s painful to see her enjoying that chicken so goddamn much in your current state.
Several torturous minutes go by, before Mokou finishes her grilled chicken at last – only to begin licking her fingers clean as a final, unintentional taunting gesture. She looks a little less… grouchy, or at least appears to be far less irritated than when you first met her. A full stomach does wonders to calming people down, doesn’t it?
“Right then,” she begins, wiping her hands off on the front of her pants. Her tone remains coarse, though now she doesn’t sound quite as annoyed as she did before having lunch. The change in the girl’s attitude is a welcome relief to you. Although you weren’t able to get something to eat for yourself, she’s at least approachable now, unlike before lunch when she was, *ahem*, kind of a bitch. “Human village, was it? Unless of course, you have someplace else in mind.”
“Actually, I was about to ask if you saw a pair of rabbits pass through here. I was looking for them and lost my way back during the search.”
Mokou rises, putting a hand to her chin. “Rabbits, huh? Nah, I haven’t seen anything else ‘till you showed up. Were they taking you to Eientei?”
“Uh no, we were going to the village; they sorta just came on their own to help us avoid the pitfalls scattered throughout the woods. You really haven’t seen them?”
She shakes her head. “Sorry buddy, ain’t seen nothing else today. Or yesterday either; it’s been awfully quiet ever since those flames appeared in the sky.
A defeated groan escapes your lips. You should have known how unlikely it would have been for you or the girl to encounter another living being in these vast woods. It’s been a wild goose chase getting here; now you’re going to have to explain yourself somehow to Reisen once you get back. Still, you did try at least.
Wait. Back up a moment.
“Flames? In the sky?” That’s not surprising to you at this point, considering just how visible your arrival was yesterday morning, but you’re curious to know more about the impact of Guillotine on Gensokyo’s residents.
“Yeah, there were these huge-ass flames that rained down,” Mokou directs your attention toward a spot above a standing group of clouds. “Haven’t you heard? Everyone’s been talking about the one that crash-landed in the village. There were a few other places those things landed at, ‘cept they didn’t mention the one that landed in the forest nearby; they musta lost track of it in all the chaos. Judging from its heading though, I reckon that one probably landed near Eientei if you haven’t already seen it.”
She scoffs a little before muttering, “Tch, I seriously hope it landed on that moonbitch.”
“Ah, I see.” You’re not sure who she’s referring to as “moonbitch”, but there’s definitely a satellite fragment in Kaguya’s room that should probably be kept a secret for now. The princess didn’t take too well to the thought of bringing people in to inspect her room before they began hauling the large module away.
“Soo… back to your lost bunnies, you gonna keep looking for them, then?” The girl makes a very good point. You’ve burned a lot of daylight already and you still have two full packs of medicine to sell - is finding the rabbits worth perhaps another hour or two of searching?
“Well, it depends. I also need to get back to my partner.” You look at Mokou. Appearance-wise, she just seems like she’d know these woods inside and out. Perhaps she could help you look for them? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask.
So you pose the question, “Out of curiosity, do you think you could find the rabbits, by any chance?”
Mokou’s eyes widen in disbelief. “You mean, track them? You must be joking - catching one of those rabbits is… damn well impossible. This is their forest and no one knows the thicket better than they do. They have ways of instantly disappearing into the brush; I’ve seen it, trust me. And I even hear they have their own, “secret road” between the village and Eientei.”
“They’re that good?” Her glowing remarks take you by surprise. When you first went after Himitsu and Shizuka, you thought you were chasing after rabbits. Not ninjas. But after hearing Mokou’s unabashed praise of their talent, they’re starting to fit the descriptions of the mythical assassins from your history texts.
“Indeed,” she replies, nodding slowly, “the best.”
Her response simply confirms how futile it is to continue the search. On to the other matter: finding Reisen then.
“Well, I guess catching up to the rabbits is out of the question now. Moving on then, I need to find a hill overlooking the Human Village. Would you be able to show me the way? My partner, Reisen, is waiting for me there.”
The bunny girl’s name causes Mokou to perk right up. “You came with Reisen? I’m guessing you’re helping her sell medicine then, huh?”
“Yeah, we’re selling a bit more than usual so they can pay for, uh… some things.”
She nods her head in acknowledgement. “Mmm, okay. Let’s see… a hill… ah! I know the place you’re talking about. It’s a short walk from here; you just need a good sense of direction to find it.”
“Oh, that’s good.” You’re distracted by an overpowering and pervasive smell. Smoke… something’s burning again. You point behind Mokou, towards the only possible source you can see nearby. “Uh, hey, I think we need to put that out first.”
The white-haired girl looks back and nearly jumps out of her pants when she realizes she’s completely forgotten about the fire. “Crap! I shoulda put that out as soon as I finished cooking my chicken!”
The fire, having been ignored the entire conversation, had decided to busy itself in the meantime by consuming nearby dead foliage on the forest floor, growing in size and out of hand. Mokou rushes over to the blaze, frantically kicking up the dirt in an attempt to smother the flames. The sprinkle of dust however, does little to stop the fire as it wildly flails about in the breeze.
Standing a safe distance back, you yell over the crackle of flames, “That’s not working; isn’t there anything else you can do?”
In response, the girl begins trying to stamp it out with her foot, putting all her energy into suffocating the stubborn thing. She still has enough energy left, though, to retort back, “Hey! I don’t see you doing anything to help… Aww, fuck it.”
Inexplicably, Mokou suddenly faces her back to the fire, crossing her arms and standing rigid, feet together. You’re not sure what she’s trying to do, posturing like that during a time like this. It looks as though she’s about to do one of those trust fall exercises, except she’s doing it – waitSTOP!
Leaning backwards, the force of gravity soon takes over as she falls straight into the scarlet plumes and disappears. The flames are too tall and erratic to make out the girl’s form; her entire body is engulfed by the fire. As you look on, stunned at the girl’s apparent suicide, you notice that the blaze is weakening. Somehow, the fire is dying.
Peering into the fire, you notice something’s moving about. It’s very fast as it rolls amongst the flames. As the fire continues to dwindle, you finally recognize what that thing is. Dumbfounded, you stare numbly as the girl puts out the fire with her own body. There have been weirder things you’ve experienced during your brief stay in Gensokyo, but not one, was as stupid-looking as this.
With the fire now only a few glowing cinders, Mokou picks herself up out of the ash, dusts herself off, and walks over to you. She looks fine… good even. There’s not even a single scorch mark on her clothes.
“Well, the fire’s out,” she announces blankly.
“No kidding. Are you out of your mind!? Where the hell’s your common sense!?” There are a million things you want to ask the girl right now. The first one being, [b]WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE THINKING?[b]
“Huh, well, see it’s like this,” she begins. Ash tumbles from her hair as she scratches her head; probably asking herself the same burning questions you’re thinking right about now. “Well, I was thinking of a good way to extinguish a fire when I remembered that if something’s on fire, you should stop, drop, and roll to put it out.”
The girl’s logic process almost makes you want to cry. “Nooo, that’s for if you’re on fire to begin with.”
“Oh… I don’t have that problem though,” she replies.
“What do you mean, ‘you don’t have that problem’?”
“I mean,” the white-haired girl continues, “that I don’t catch on fire.”
“Say that again? You don’t catch on fire?” Did you hear her correctly? It’s starting to become confusing, holding a conversation with her.
“Let me explain,” Mokou elaborates. She holds a hand outstretched in between the two of you… and wills forth a flame, startling you. She briefly admires the conflagration in her palm as it wavers delicately. “I’m able to control fire, see? So I’m naturally resistant to this sort of thing.”
“Alright then,” you reply. You’re beginning to understand how she survived, except for one thing. One glaring oversight. “If you can control fire, why didn’t you just command the fire to die out, instead of having to use yourself as a fire blanket?”
“Yeah, about that,” she severs her link to the flame, letting it evaporate into the air as she takes a look at the soot and ash left behind by the blaze. “I’m able to start fires, not stop them.”
“Oh, well that could be a real problem sometimes, couldn’t it?” You can imagine plenty of instances where that could end in disaster.
The girl forces a chuckle. “You have no idea how much it can be.”