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File 14718351067.png - (657.11KB, 630x840, Learned a lot about gun safety.png) [iqdb]
27001 No. 27001
Previous Thread: >>26675

[X] Lie through your teeth
- [X] This is our gun collection. We collect guns. Its a hobby.

Okay, take a deep breath.

In... Out. I'm okay.

Actually, I'm a bit surprised at how calm I am here. I think that seeing Yuzuki freaking out set my expectations a bit high. This situation right here doesn't really warrant a full on panic attack or anything like that. Don't get me wrong, this is still a very bad horrible thing that I really wished did not occur and I hate that it has, but I should at least try to work through it before I declare it a huge emergency. I feel like keeping calm here is something of an accomplishment. It doesn't really do anything to improve the situation, but at least I'm not making things worse.

I walk forward toward the table. It looks like I'm going to have to do some more negotiating here. Aya seems quite pleased with herself, but it's important to note that she's still here. She must want something more than just some pictures of a bunch of rifles spread out next to our camp. Either she wants more information about the situation, or she wants to blackmail us or something. I can at least try to figure out what she wants for now. Action can come later.

"Hello Aya," I say as evenly as I can when I reach the table. I pull out a chair and sit down in Chiyo's seat, directly across from our unexpected guest. Can I just say that I really don't like that she took my seat? It almost seems like a power play, but she couldn't have known it was mine in the first place. It's just a coincidence, but it's a coincidence that happens to throw me off a little more. I'd be more comfortable sitting in the place that I always sit.

"Seiran, right?" Aya sits up attentively in her chair and glances down at her notes. We did only meet once, so I guess she might not remember which rabbit is which by name immediately. "Good afternoon. You're looking fantastic today, even better than last time. Glad to talk to you again. Did you happen to get a chance to read that article that I interviewed you and Ringo for?"

I had just woken up last time that I talked to her, so the compliment doesn't really mean much to me. I guess she's just trying to make some small talk before talking about the elephant in the room. Well, in the camp. There are also no elephants in Gensokyo. Whatever. Metaphors. "Well, no," I answer. Truthfully, I don't even know what day she would have even printed it. "We don't really have a way to get a copy."

Aya flips back a page in her notes and reads something. "Right, right. I had forgotten to talk to you guys about if you wanted a subscription or not, that's one of the things I came by for. I got a bit sidetracked last time by the development of a new story. You know how it is," No, I don't. "There sadly wasn't a whole lot more to the story other than speculation though. I couldn't even find the spider thing for a picture after I left here. There wasn't enough content to put the article up front and center after it was written and edited, you know? Pretty disappointing for actually getting your story out, but I hope you can understand how these things go."

Ugh. I had kind of forgotten about it before, but Aya sure does talk quickly. She's being fairly polite and everything, it's just a little harder to follow than someone talking at a normal speed. "R-right. No, that's no big deal," I struggle out after parsing through everything Aya rushed out. Honestly I'm kind of glad that it wasn't a front page thing. That's kind of irrelevant to solving the actual issue here though. Maybe I should try to bring her back around to talking about what she wants from us instead of letting her set the pace of the conversation. "Did you come here just to check if we read the story then?"

"Not just that, although that was priority number one," I'm pretty sure she's lying, but she continues on before I can say anything about it. "I was also checking in on an interesting situation that may or may not be developing here. I thought maybe I could get your input on it as part of the investigation."

I'm pretty sure that she's still not talking about the rifles. "I guess so?" I might be really bad at setting the pace of a conversation.

Aya leans back in her (actually my) chair and flips several pages forward in her notes. She reaches whatever she's looking for, reads for a moment, then begins. "Right, so the situation is something like this; Some cute bunnies show up down on the lower part of the mountain out of nowhere one day. Shortly after that, a goddess comes into town asking about a missing rabbit. I think it's perfectly fair to connect those events. It makes more sense for them to be related than not. Something like that really isn't much of a scoop by itself of course. You can just put two and two together and decide that our friendly neighborhood mountain goddess was doing a favor for those poor bunnies out of the kindness of her heart."

"Okay?" You don't have to speak vaguely here Aya, I know who you're talking about. Is this just how she keeps things straight in her notepad? I know that Yuzuki said she wrote in a lot of shorthand or something.

"A day or two later, I notice the goddess come by again, apparently looking to strike a deal of some kind. It wasn't obvious from looking at her, but that smug look on some of the elder's faces was a pretty big tell that they were getting the better of it too," Aya finally looks up from her writings, looking directly at me. "That was the interesting thing. What's her angle there? She's opting into a bad deal for a random youkai. I just want to see what else there is to it, so here I am."

Well, it does seem likely that Aya would know about things going on in her own village at least. "Right, here you are. We don't really-"

Aya holds a hand up to stop me before I can explain anything. "Sorry, hold on one moment. Before I could even get to asking questions about that issue, I came across something even more interesting that I'd much rather talk about. Namely," She reaches down beside her and pulls up a rifle that I guess had been leaning against her chair. She places it on the table between us. "All these things lying around here."

"Uh, yes. These things," Okay, we're finally at the important bit now. I wasn't really sure when she was going to get around to it, and had been so preoccupied with trying to make it happen that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say here. "These things are guns," I intelligently point out, trying to stall while I think. This isn't really working. "This is a collection of guns," Kind of technically true. I can't really just stick to the truth here though. "I collect guns. It's a hobby."

"Not much of a collection then is it? They're all the same kind," Even though Aya is talking evenly and taking the time to write things down still, I really don't think she's buying it. I don't have any evidence of that really, but I can't see how anyone would buy it. I'm also a terrible liar who doesn't like lying. That probably has something to do with it.

"Well these ones are uh... They're very well made, you know? I like them a lot," We have a bunch of other kinds in other crates, but maybe I shouldn't point that out. I'm not even really sure what I'm saying at this point. Definitely something. Maybe next time I should be the one helping Yuzuki and Ringo can do the story making up stuff.

"Yeah, seems like they are," Aya pauses her writing to pick up the rifle and look it over. Even though I know it's not loaded, I still feel myself cringe slightly when she looks directly inside the barrel. I guess they don't teach proper gun safety practices here. Please treat it like it's loaded even when you know it's not. "Nobody in Gensokyo is big enough into manufacturing to make and distribute something like this in large volumes. Preeetty impressive that you've got so many laying around. Must've been hard to gather them up without letting anyone know that you exist," Well that's a veiled accusation of something if I've ever heard one. "What are they called?"

"They're L-" Wait no, I shouldn't actually say that. The name starts with Lunarian. I don't have time to think of a good lie though, I've already started talking. "Rifles. They are rifles," I am the smoothest liar I know.

"Hm," Why do you even need to write that down?! Couldn't you already tell that much? "Could you maybe be a liiiitle bit more specific?" See that's more what I was expecting.

"I'm uh," Apparently expecting it didn't mean I was prepared for it. "No. I'm not very good at my hobby yet," I mumble awkwardly.

"Huhu," Aya makes some kind of smug chuckling noise. It annoys me more than it probably should. "And any info on where you got them all from?"

"We... Found them."

"Right," Aya flips her notes closed and leans forward over the table. I have a little bit of trouble meeting her eyes when she's looking directly at me like that. Aya clears her throat quickly. "Let me be a little bit frank here Miss Seiran, I really don't appreciate not being taken seriously. I don't see why you would think I'd be satisfied with a bunch of vague non-answers. This isn't some tiny little thing that I'm looking into here. I've found a heavily armed group of previously unknown youkai hiding out just below my home. I think you can understand why I'm not just going to let this drop with some half-hearted excuse."

I can see her point at least, but that definitely doesn't convince me to tell her the truth. Convincing Aya that we're not a threat would be pretty difficult, even if I was being completely honest. We are from the Moon. We are not supposed to be down here. Telling her the truth just isn't safe when she could easily spread it everywhere else.

Aya stares at me while I'm trying to figure out what to say. After some time goes by in silence, she finally breaks it. "But, if that's all that you're going to tell me, then I guess that that'll be it," She stands up. "We can leave it at that for now."

"Wait, really?" I don't get it. Isn't that kind of contradictory to what she was just saying?

"I don't plan to beat anything out of you. It may be easy to do that, but it's just not my style. It's too brutish, and I have other options. I'm not a monster or some thug," Aya proudly folds her arms over her chest as she makes her speech. "I'm a reporter. I'm going to keep looking for the truth of things using all the sources I have available. I'll develop my own theories and use what I have to confirm or deny them. I've given you a chance to give your testimony here today. With that, I can head out and cross-reference with other things to reach a conclusion. That's my job. That's what I do, and I love it."

She's getting kind of worked up here. "Uhm, okay," I say awkwardly.

"But I will say this," Aya continues, looking down at me accusingly. I'm a little uncomfortable, but she seems to be on a roll, so I can't say anything. "The Bunbunmaru is not here to make people who try to hide the truth look good. I've been doing this for centuries now, so I know better than anyone; things will always turn back around on liars. It may take hard work, it may take time, but the truth is always in there somewhere. If it's up to me to drag it out for everyone to see, then that's what I'm gonna do!"

Aya stares at my stunned face for a few seconds before she steps away from the table. Surprisingly she's considerate enough to push her chair in after she moves away. I let out a sigh of relief when she finally stops staring at me so intensely, instead looking over at the rifles laying out on the ground. While Aya's not looking at me, I take the time to glance back at where Ringo and I landed.

Oh hey, it looks like Ringo's calmed Yuzuki down. They're standing off to the side awkwardly. I don't know what all they heard, but Ringo is looking at me meaningfully, pointing over at Yuzuki. When I look at Yuzuki, she in turn points me somewhere else. Wait, across camp? I try to look at where Yuzuki's indicating but... Ohhh.

Chiyo's hiding behind her tent. I guess she's been there for a while, for some reason deciding not to help me avoid putting my foot in my mouth. When I catch her eye, she pokes her head out a little further and holds up something. Is that? Yeah, that's an electroshock gun. She'd probably be able to get a shot off before Aya knew what was happening if I gave her a signal of some kind. Those things are definitely strong enough to bring a youkai down. I'm not exactly sure if that's a good idea though, and apparently Chiyo isn't either given how she's looking me questioningly.

"If that's all you want to tell me," I immediately move my gaze away from Chiyo when Aya starts speaking. Her wings are spread and she looks ready to fly away. "Then I guess I'll be going for now."

If I'm going to do anything about this new Aya situation, I guess I have to think fast and do it now. My conversation with her stalled her long enough to let Chiyo get in a position to knock her out at least. That should let us subdue her, which solves the problem in an immediate sense. I don't know what we'd do afterwards though. What would we even do with a captive tengu?

She did prompt me to talk some more as well. I could still try that. Lying straight to her face seems to have motivated her to get to the bottom of this though. I think she might have a bit more of a negative opinion of me now. It might be a bit difficult to try and trade enough information for her to look the other way.

I could also just let her go. Even if we let her investigate, she's going to have to come back here to actually confirm anything. By that point we'll definitely have everything hidden away too. Letting her go now would give us more time we could use to plan something to get her off the trail.

[ ] Let Aya go for now
[ ] Attack Aya
- [ ] Capture her
- [ ] Break her camera. If we hide everything, the only evidence left is the pictures she's already taken.
[ ] Bargain with Aya
- [ ] Give her gossip. Aya has already abandoned two of the things she said she wanted to do by coming here. I probably know something that will distract her.
- [ ] Give her sensitive info. She originally came her to figure out the deal with Kanako. Maybe she'd still be interested in hearing that.
- [ ] Give mission critical info. Maybe Aya can be trusted to keep quiet when the Lunarians are involved?
- [ ] Give favors.

So there was a bit of mismanagement by me and I feel pretty bad about it. I like write-ins, so I didn't want it to just be 'Aya knows you're BSing, says screw you, and leaves', but Seiran has been noted multiple times to not like lying while also being bad at doing so. There also weren't enough votes for a second option that she could fall back on. The last thread was autosaging by the time I mentioned that it would help to have one too, so nothing really happened to fix it, and here we are.

The write-in basically changed how effective certain choices will be, making some of them more likely to work and some of them less so. It also gave Seiran a bit more time to think about them. This also means that Seiran is too calm to panic, and the option to just let Aya go is here as well. My apologies if it feels like I'm rehashing the vote. I think it's probably preferable to the alternative.
Expand all images
>> No. 27003
[x] Let Aya go for now

Our conversation with Tewi indicates that Aya's newspaper has a reputation for being wild and exaggerated. Even if Aya does write about our guns, most people won't take it seriously.

Attacking her is a bad idea because we have no where to hold her effectively and we have no real use for a captive tengu. Also, letting Aya go completely unharmed will only reinforce our gun collection lie, since an evil military force would surely use their gun hoard to silence anyone who discovers them. However, a peaceful collector wouldn't care if someone came to admire their collection and would let them go unharmed.

The only reason we would have to bargain with her would be to stop her from writing about us. But since her paper's reputation is in the toilet anyway, we don't really have much reason to worry about it. Besides, Aya already doesn't particularly like us after or BSing, so she wouldn't really be inclined to bargain fairly anyway.
>> No. 27004
[ ] Attack Aya
- [ ] Break her camera. If we hide everything, the only evidence left is the pictures she's already taken.
Hey look, the suicide option!
Let's not.

[X] Let Aya go for now
-[X] But come up with a better excuse before she comes back!
>> No. 27005
[X] Bargain with Aya
- [X] Give her sensitive info. She originally came her to figure out the deal with Kanako. Maybe she'd still be interested in hearing that.

This is a bit of a difficult situation. Sure, Aya isn't exactly a well-reputed reporter in Gensokyo by any means, but her publication still has an influence on what a large sum of people see and hear. If she goes around saying "Mysterious Rabbit Youkai possess massive Arms stock for uprising" or something along those lines, we'll be drawing an annoyingly large sum of attention, and our cover will eventually be blown in a horrible fashion should we try to extend whatever lie we come up with.

Although it will make us look a little more incriminating in Aya's opinion, trying to bargain off information on Kanako's deal is the best option. It's entirely unrelated to our group's goals, unlike the other ones, and it's relevant enough that the tengu will certainly be interested.

Essentially, distract her attention as a reporter with more juicy information with solid evidence and testimony behind it. She was literally just talking about she had little to go off with her earlier story, and now isn't much different.
>> No. 27007
[x] Let Aya go for now
-[x] But come up with a better excuse before she comes back!

Honestly I voted for that write-in exactly because it would piss Aya off and accomplish nothing. Fuck her, she's an asshole. If it wouldn't completely derail the story I'd vote to stun and then murder her.

But if you don't want to accept really dumb write-ins just say "no, that's dumb, vote for something else" or write a short update and then the same vote. Which is what you did, but without the short part.
>> No. 27008
[X] Let Aya go for now

It doesn't pay to underestimate Aya. She's pretty strong, and bargaining would just make us look bad. The grave have been dug, now we just have to lie in it.
>> No. 27009
>>27004
>>27007
Do you have any actual suggestions for a better excuse? I think the excuse we came up with is as good as we are going to get. A gun collection is one of the very few reasons someone peaceful would have a large stockpile of guns.
>> No. 27010
[X] Tell her about the deal.


The truth looks worse than it is. Kanako made a deal just to get an in with a group not to take over the fucking mountain.
This means that we'll have to be honest with the YGN as well though, Swagihime (that's her name now) will not appreciate being lied to if (when) Aya publishes this. Besides, it's not like we don't have a reason to honestly join that group. The only questionable thing is the original motive.


So yeah, full disclosure of everything except our Lunarian origin and let's hope she keeps the secret (we won't actually tell her, but she can guess it)
Don't even start about her reputation, if she feels there's a threat here, she will start yelling until someone starts to investigate us and then it is over.

Still, Aya finding out feels like a nonstandard game over for the story. I wish the bunnies could kill her (they don't stand a chance) or we could throw ourselves in a lake and restart.
>> No. 27011
[x] Let Aya go for now

The problem here is the large amount of guns we have, and the fact that we lied about them. With how we've acted, she might not fully believe what we would say about Kanako (however truthful it is), especially since the guns won't factor into that story at all. Speaking of, we might want to go talk to her fast and get Sumi back, before Aya starts asking her questions about us.

Also remember that we kinda still have things going on with Eientei. Reisen knows that something weird is going on with the portal and comms being down, and Tewi still wants to collect that favor. How and when that all plays out will definitely have a big effect on Aya's investigation.

This is a very bad situation, but the only thing I think we can reasonably do here is let things play out while trying to cover our asses as well as we can. Get Sumi back and bury our equipment ASAP, and brace for the worst.
>> No. 27012
[x] Bargain with Aya
- [x] Give her gossip.

Misdirect her as much as possible. Make it a pain in the ass to get any real info. That's how you deal with annoying press.
>> No. 27013
File 147209520022.jpg - (921.50KB, 1200x1600, Soft and comfy boss.jpg) [iqdb]
27013
(Just realized I put the wrong previous thread link in the first post. WHOOPS, it should be >>26674)

[X] Let Aya go for now

No, no, no. Every plan that I'm thinking of has some kind of dumb caveat. We don't have the room to hide her even if we took her down now. If we even COULD take her down now that is. I don't know if I have anything that's safe to use to negotiate with her either. Lying to her seems to have lit a fire under her. I'd have to hit her with something really interesting to get her to lay off our trail, and even that's not a guaranteed success.

"Okay, that's fine," I say out loud. I'm purposely being a bit louder than I need to be just to talk to Aya. This is meant for Chiyo to hear as well. I don't want to accidentally say something that she thinks is an indication to attack, so I choose my words carefully. "I don't have anything else. You can go."

There's no sudden crack from the long range stungun thing that Chiyo fished out from somewhere, so I guess she got my meaning. Instead of what would probably have been a much more satisfying pained reaction to sudden and unwanted electroshock therapy, I instead get to see Aya's pleasant if it wasn't so fake business smile. "Well then, I have some things to get to investigating. Thank you for your time. I hope you have a good rest of the day."

Aya flies off like a shot without even waiting for me to say goodbye back. I'm okay with that honestly. I'm totally ready to be out of horrible stressful situations. Not that her flying away fixes anything in the long term. If anything, it just gives me something else to worry about. At least nobody else should know the actual truth aside from the people at Eientei, and at least Tewi and Eirin didn't seem particularly fond of Aya's paper. Maybe it'll work out? I don't know. We've talked to a lot of people about a lot of things now, and there's no telling what kind of evidence we may have unintentionally left.

Ugh, you know what? WHAM. Ow.

I didn't really expect that slamming my head on the table would actually help, but at least it's distracting. Screw it, I'll just lay here for a while. This whole entire everything sucks.

I stay perfectly still for a bit, trying to not think all of the worrying thoughts and continuing to utterly fail at doing that. I start to consider pulling my head up to slam it down again when I hear the ruffling of clothes as someone comes up behind me. Oh right, the other members of the unit are a thing that exists. I guess they'd probably be averse to me damaging the table. Or my head.

"Hey, take it easy," Ringo sets her hand on my shoulder. "It wasn't that bad."

"She's gonna ruin everything," I whine pathetically into my arms.

"Pfft. Hardly," Ringo casually dismisses my worries. She pulls me against her so that I'm kind of pressed against her side and hips. She's also rubbing my shoulder a bit. It's not as reassuring as I think she wants it to be, but at least she's trying. "What she's really gonna do is go out there and fail to find anything useful about us. You don't have to worry about it now. We can deal with this."

I groan out loud. That's way too optimistic Ringo. "I could have talked her out of it," Well, possibly. Maybe. I don't know. Maybe I'm being to optimistic there too. It doesn't matter though. I didn't do it even if it was possible. "I just always say the wrong things."

"I dunno about that. You made up something pretty quickly, and it's not like it was impossible that it was true either," Ringo's voice gets lower down, closer to my ears. I guess she's leaning down or squatting or something. "I don't think there was a better story you could have told anyway. We got caught out at a bad time."

Please let me be angry at myself for a little longer. "Who cares? I still sounded like an idiot and made it obvious I was lying. I could have made that work but I messed it all up instead."

"Oh come on, not this again," Ringo huffs in annoyance and stands back up. "Seiran, look at me," I don't.

"Wha-!"

Ringo grabs me under the arms and effortlessly lifts me up out of the chair. I'm taller than her, so she has to hold me up above her and lean back a bit to stare at my face. "Listen to me Seiran," She says clearly. "I have never once told any of you guys that you had to be perfect. I'm not perfect, and I'm not gonna expect anyone else to be either. I don't care if you made any mistakes or whatever you think you did," She holds me up a bit higher, probably unintentionally. "What I care about is you. You're still here with me, and I'm still here for you. We're gonna work through this together. Whatever dumb shit happens in this dumb mission is all gonna work out. You can do this. I can do this. We can do this together, alright?"

I'm not quite as moved as I think Ringo intends for me to be, but I guess I feel a little bit better. It's rare for Ringo to get worked up over things, so seeing her get excited like this over me does feel a little nice. "... Fine."

Ringo smiles. "Thanks Seiran," And then she pulls me closer to her and uh...

Huh, you know, it's been a while since I've been hugged by anybody.

I guess Yamame kind of held me a couple days ago, but that wasn't really the same thing. It's irrelevant anyway. That was a different thing for much different reasons. This...

...

This is nice.

...

I move my arms to wrap around Ringo's shoulder and end up with a faceful of ear and some hat when I lean toward her a bit. Still nice though. Soft too. I hope she doesn't mind it. I don't really like people touching my ears very much.

...

Comfy...

"Ahem," The sound of somebody clearing their throat. Oh right, there were other people around. Well I only need two chances to guarantee that I guess who that was correctly.

Ringo let's go of me kind of quickly, breaking away to face the other two rabbits. I stumble slightly at the sudden lack of support, but I'm fine. I'm not really sure now that I think about it, were the others here watching that exchange the whole time? I don't know where else they would have been, so I guess so. "Oh, sorry," Ringo very quickly excuses herself to them. "I was just giving her the same kind of speech that you got Yuzuki. Pep talk and such. We're good now."

"Yes, I know. I was right here," Yuzuki answers evenly. Then she puts on a fake look like she's faking thinking about something. "I do seem to remember my hug being significantly shorter than that though. Did she need more pep than I did?"

"Something like that, yeah," Ringo turns her head away from the others and looks off to the side. No one's even over there Ringo, what are you doing? "Anyway! We should probably have a short meeting about a couple of things," She adds on somewhat quickly and maybe a little nervously. You're acting a little out of character there Ringo.

"Oh thank you. You are the best commanding officer. A break! What a concept!" Chiyo says with sarcastic joy but real relief. I notice she doesn't have the electroshock gun anymore.

Yuzuki rolls her eyes. "I was going to give you a break when everything was in the right place," She says tersely.

"Right sure. I had it marked on my calendar," Chiyo replies. "Only two years left to go!"

"Alright, come on guys, we kinda have to talk about today," Ringo chooses to bring things back on topic instead of joining in the good natured jabs. I guess things are going back to normal then. I do feel a little better now at least. I guess having the others around and acting like they always do will do that for me. Does that make me simple? Maybe just easy to distract. Oh well, better that than beating my head against a table.

Speaking of the table, Ringo moves to sit in her usual seat, so I decide to go around and do the same. There's no difference in the chairs themselves, I just like the familiarity of sitting in the same place every time. Once the Chiyo and Yuzuki have taken their seats as well, Ringo nods to herself and starts the meeting like usual.

"So, you guys probably don't have all that much to say about today, especially since it's only like halfway over, right?" She asks the two people who haven't left all day. They stay silent, so Ringo continues on. "Right, so this'll just be a mini-meeting to cover what happened when we left. Basically, if we make a long story short on our end, I can sum it up pretty quickly. Sumi's coming back sometime later today, and in exchange we have to go to a party."

"Sounds like a good deal," Chiyo nods, making an impressed face that's too obvious to not be exaggerated.

"I am a master negotiator," Ringo nods as well, smiling smugly.

Putting aside the massive cut to details, even the things that Ringo said there weren't completely correct. "It's not a party Ringo, it's a meeting, and we're going there for an actual purpose," I remind her. I knew she was thinking of it like a party, but now she's actually admitted to it.

Ringo laughs a bit. "Hey, I just know that the words 'drunken revelry' were used by someone other than me. Sounds like a good time, right?"

You're still leaving out too much stuff Ringo. "Kanako only said that because she didn't know anything about what they actually did. Wakasagihime was pretty clear on it just being a social thing,"

Ringo looks like she's going to make another quip, but Yuzuki cuts in first. "Uh, excuse me," She says, a bit cautious about interrupting for some reason. "Could you perhaps make your long story made short a little bit longer?"

I decide to do it before Ringo does. "Kanako was able to find Sumi and is getting her back to us some time later today."

"She was in jail," Ringo quickly adds.

"Of course she was," Chiyo snickers.

It wouldn't exactly be out of character for her, that's true. Well, it would be a different type of disciplinary action than what she's used to on the Moon at least, but whatever. I should keep going. "But because negotiating Sumi out of jail took a lot on her part, Kanako decided that we would still kinda owe her something for doing it."

"We coulda tried breaking her out ourselves," Ringo says. I wasn't really planning to mention that bit. "But Seiran and I decided we'd rather not have to plan out a full out infiltration into the tengu village."

"Right, so Kanako wants us to do some recon work for her and spy on a group of youkai to figure out what they're doing," I continue.

"And we already had a chat with one of those group members and got invited to her nice party tomorrow night," Ringo finishes for me. Now was that so difficult or so long? You could have done that by yourself Ringo. "Seiran said she'd make some mochi."

Ugh, this again. "I did not," I deny quickly. Although, I guess it wouldn't be too bad of an idea. We definitely have the ingredients around. "I mean, I guess I could, but I didn't say that I would."

Yuzuki, seeing that my explanation is done, looks like she still has some questions. "So what information did Kanako want us to get specifically?" She asks for clarification.

"She wasn't specific. We'll worry about that tomorrow," I'd complain about Ringo not being helpful to a completely reasonable question, but she's not really wrong with her answer. "I think we can move on to you guys a little bit though, how's the move going?"

Yuzuki still doesn't look happy at the lack of instructions, but goes along with the change of topic. "Well, aside from the obvious issue, it was working out well," She says. Add on a bit of discomfort to her already dissatisfied face. She's probably still unhappy about the Aya thing too. "We were likely going to be done in another hour or two," Chiyo groans quietly.

"Does that include cleaning? Because I was thinking maybe you shouldn't do that for now," Ringo says cautiously. "You know, just in case."

"Aya only caught me off guard because of how fast she came by. Anything slower than her I would have been able to hide from," Yuzuki makes some excuses. She's probably not lying either. "I understand what you mean, but I'd really rather I cleaned them now than leave the ones I haven't yet gotten to dirty. I'd have to change how things are organized if some things are clean and some aren't," And Chiyo groans again.

"Well you're probably gonna need to change things anyway," Ringo explains. "I was thinking it'd be better to put some guns in Seiran's tent too, just to go along with the story she gave. Maybe put them up in some nice displays or something, you know?" I hadn't really even thought of that. I guess I have enough room for it, but I don't know if it's really necessary. Going with the story to that extent would mean I'm expecting Aya to sneak into my tent and snoop through my things and... Okay I guess that very well could happen. It sucks that you can't really put locks on tent flaps.

"Hmm. I suppose I can do that. I'll have to spend some time fitting things back together though," Yuzuki quickly falls into silence after that, drawing something on the table with her finger as she thinks. "Chiyo, come help me," She says, suddenly standing up and moving toward the equipment tent.

Chiyo gives Ringo an exasperated look before standing up. "Why would you do this to me?" She asks hopelessly, then leaves without waiting for an answer.

"Yeah, good meeting, good meeting. Have fun you two," Ringo laughs. She didn't really tell them the meeting was over. I guess that's all we really needed to cover though, so it should be fine. Ringo turns to me next. "So what about you then? We've probably got a couple of hours until Sumi gets back, what do you want to do?"

[ ] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.
[ ] I feel bad for Chiyo. I'll try to distract Yuzuki with some danmaku practice to give her a break.
[ ] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.
[ ] I think I'll head out for a bit and go... (Write in location/person)
[ ] I think I'll take a nap

A bit of a lower pressure choice this time, something that Seiran probably appreciates. Who knows though, maybe there's some deep hidden meaning behind it. Wouldn't that be something?

>>27007
Woah. That's pretty aggressive.

>>27009
Definitely something to think about.
>> No. 27014
[x] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.

Yeah, let's finish this pronto.
>> No. 27016
[X] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.

Bringing sweets is never a bad move.
>> No. 27017
[X] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.

Wouldn't want a return trip (or someone else showing up) to make things worse now would we?
>> No. 27018
[x] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.
>> No. 27019
[X] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.
>> No. 27020
[X] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.
>> No. 27021
[X] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.

Food bribes are the best bribes!
>> No. 27022
[x] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.

Finish what was started, etc.
>> No. 27023
[x] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.
[x] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.

Day's only half over, and we're a hard-working rabbit.
>> No. 27024
I, for one, would have stated that some of those rifles were from the moon, and then claimed that Reisen traded us those.

But that's just me.

[x] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.
[x] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we ALSO YOU GUYS running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.
>> No. 27025
>>27024
Yeah that would have been a nice write in. Next time, vote fornit
>> No. 27026
>>27024
While at first I think that's a good excuse, you have to remember that Aya could easily just ask Reisen about it. That would involve going to Reisen and asking for a favour when Eirin probably doesn't want to see the rabbits, and they still owe Tewi.

Still, nice thinking.
>> No. 27027
Okay well it seems like people are (intentionally or not) engineering a tie here. That's fine, I'm okay with putting both options in the next update, but the order they're done in kind of matters. If somebody could tiebreak by voting for the one that will be done first, that'd help me.
>> No. 27028
[x] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.

Get it done before someone else sees it.
>> No. 27029
File 147244194527.gif - (334.15KB, 500x393, Look at her go.gif) [iqdb]
27029
[X] I feel bad for Chiyo. Maybe I can help the others out to complete the equipment moving.
[X] Ringo wants me to make mochi, and weren't we also running low on dango too? I'll cook some things.

"Well, our pants are still down," Ringo quickly glances down at my legs. "Metaphorically," I'm not even really wearing pants Ringo, I shouldn't need to add that. I'm also sitting down, so she wouldn't have seen much anyway. "We really should get everything out of sight before somebody else shows up."

"Bleh, that sounds awful," Ringo replies quickly. That's pretty much what I expected. "I don't think you have to worry about it much. Yuzuki said she'd have it covered as long as somebody really fast doesn't show up."

I shake my head. That's not quite good enough anymore. "I think it's better safe than sorry here. We've already had one problem today. I'd like to minimize the chance of another one."

"Fine, fine," Ringo gives up arguing, but still doesn't look thrilled about it. I bet she's thinking of how to avoid having to help. "How about I be the lookout then?" Yup, there it is.

"That sounds suspiciously like a job that doesn't involve you actually working."

"No, it sounds like a job where I have to look," Ringo explains calmly. "Out," She adds after a slight pause, pointing her thumb in a random direction toward some trees.

I sigh. This morning the job was technically only assigned to only Yuzuki and Chiyo. That doesn't seem like a good enough explanation though, there isn't really any particular reason why Ringo can't help now that she's got nothing more important to do. "I still think it would help a lot more to have another person moving stuff around," Especially one with what is basically super strength.

"Weeeell," Ringo considers for a moment before making up her mind. She puts her hand on my shoulder again. "Lemme know if you guys find something you can't handle on your own. I'll be up and around,"

"Great, thanks for the help," I make sure that Ringo can see me rolling my eyes. She laughs at me and gets up from the table.

I get up as well and head over to the equipment tent. I'm not actually sure where the other two are, but I know that I saw them head in this direction at first. I poke my head into the tent to see if they're still around and uh, wow. The inside looks pretty damn chaotic. I guess it's difficult to move things around and keep them clean at the same time, but at this point I don't see how Yuzuki would even be able to stand being near this mess. Maybe she isn't.

"Hey," Chiyo's voice comes from deeper in the tent. After a moment, she pokes her head out around a couple of crates. I guess it's not surprising that I couldn't see her before, given her size. It wouldn't take more than two crates to give her something to hide behind.

"Hey Chi," I answer, stepping inside and looking around like I'm going to see anything other than a mess. "I thought I'd come help out so you guys can get done faster."

"Hm," Chiyo turns back to another box she had been rifling through. "You'd better talk to Yuzuki if you actually want to help. I'm just here to do grunt work."

I watch as Chiyo leans over and sticks her head into the crate she's looking through. "Is that what you're doing now then?" I ask, probably unnecessarily. What else would she be doing? Too late though, I already said it.

"Basically," Chiyo doesn't seemed annoyed at my obvious question. "Yuzuki says she wants the crate with the backup generator in it next. Says that it's listed on the clipboard and heads down to the bunker. Doesn't really work out that easy."

"Why?"

"Look for yourself," Chiyo's arm gestures vaguely in the direction of where the clipboard is hanging up next to me.

"Oh," I say as I grab the clipboard off the wall and attempt to read it. This is an absolute mess. There were already a few marks on it when I looked a few days ago, but it's gotten much worse. I guess Yuzuki went through and decided to mark down where everything had been moved in her last reorganization. The problem is that she marked EVERYTHING down with perfectly straight lines. It's pretty hard to tell when some of these lines are supposed to be turning or when they're just crossing past each other. If I really really looked at it, maybe I'd be able to figure it out, but it really is something that only Yuzuki can reasonably understand. "Well uh, she can probably make sense of it."

"Doesn't help me any," Chiyo brings her head back up. "Well, doesn't help me actually succeed any. Gives me a pretty good excuse to slack."

Oh not Chiyo too. I already have Ringo slacking. This is pretty much the usual though. "It's probably better if we get this done sooner rather than later," I say patiently. Even if the others are usually lazy, they can also typically be persuaded out of it.

"And the sooner I can do something else, I guess that's true," Chiyo sighs and walks out from the jumble of crates. "You got any ideas rather than digging through stuff at random?"

I'm not sure what Yuzuki's plan for the workflow is here, but it can't be that efficient from what I've seen. It doesn't take much for me to think up something a little better. "How about we just move everything over to the bunker entrance right now? Then we'll be able to ask Yuzuki what she wants more easily," I suggest. "One of us can lower the crates down, the other can be in the entrance, catching the crates and handing them off. Yuzuki can put stuff how she wants more quickly then."

Chiyo shrugs. "Sure, I like it better than Yuzuki's plan at least," She turns and grabs a random unopened crate.

-

Moving the crates is just manual labor, so it requires no actual thought. It's just a long period of boring and tiring work. I'm a bit worried about bringing everything out into the open like this, but if it gets the job done faster, it's probably better than hauling things out one at a time.

As a random aside, the crate that Chiyo had randomly grabbed ends up being the one with the backup generator in it.

Once finished, we have a lot of time to stand around. Yuzuki occasionally calls for a crate or some pieces of equipment, but for the most part we're just waiting while she works. There's not enough room for us to help, and chances are good that we wouldn't be able to anyway. She has her own system for this type of things, and we can't really follow along. This has the side effect of giving Chiyo and I a lot of down time to stand around and talk.

"I woulda hit her you know," Chiyo tells me suddenly between crate drops. I've been the one going up and down the ladder into the bunker. I'm taller, so it makes it easier. Right now, we're both sitting near the entrance, waiting for Yuzuki to ask for anything. "That bird girl."

Oh, she's still thinking about that? I didn't really think she would be worried about it, but maybe she wants some kind of reassurance.

Aside from me on a good (or bad depending on how you think about it) day, Chiyo is the best shot that we have in the unit. I remember back when I had first heard about her over comms, before she was even assigned to us. It was a rumor about some up and coming soldier that was vastly outperforming expectations based on her training. As time went on, it was pretty much a sure thing that she was going to get promoted to some higher rank, assuming that the war went well, that is.

Unfortunately, even though she did well in the one battle that she was a part of (I assume anyway, she doesn't talk about it much), things didn't work out well for her. Chiyo's power started to develop before Command did anything to promote her. Developing a sudden streak of being ridiculously late for things kind of ended up making her look bad and killed that discussion if they were even having it. By the time she got things under control and was able to have some influence over her perception of time, she wasn't really a candidate for anything anymore. That's assuming Command was even thinking about it though. It may have all just been rumors the whole time. Command likes to keep those kind of things secret, along with just about everything else. It's a Lunarian thing.

Still, with all that, I know that Chiyo is more than capable of shooting an unaware youkai. It's not exactly a small target, and she wasn't very far away either. Even if Aya is really fast, she still would have had to have known something was coming in order to dodge it. "I know you would," I tell Chiyo.

Chiyo nods, keeping a neutral expression at my reassurance. "Which reminds me," She says, reaching for something behind her. She pulls up her shirt a bit and unstraps something that was wrapped around her. "Catch."

Chiyo tosses something that I just barely manage to grab before it lands on the grass. Oh, it's the electroshock gun that she had before. Chiyo, that's kind of dangerous. I know it's not exactly the same thing as a normal gun, but it would still suck if I didn't catch this thing and it shocked me. "Why do I need this?" I'm a bit more curious about this question than I am interested in lecturing Chiyo over gun safety.

"Dunno, just in case I guess," Chiyo answers, casually fixing her clothes. "You've been really proactive the past few days. Figure you'll probably end up in trouble eventually. Just strap that on you somewhere for safety."

I look at the gun and the holster that it's stuck in. I guess I could wear this on one of my legs without much trouble and nobody would know that it's there. Considering it's got decent range and should be capable of quickly knocking out a human or youkai, it could be good to have. "This isn't exactly danmaku," I say jokingly. I'm pretty sure that this kind of thing would be against the rules.

"Blah blah blah, danmaku sucks," Chiyo waves her hand dismissively as she stands up and looks at some of the crates that Yuzuki asked for things out of. "Oh yeah, you want me to set out some of the hardware for your budding collection?"

Ugh, that. I guess it might be worthwhile to have some amount of consistency in my randomly made up lie. I can't see it standing up to a very thorough investigation either way, but I might as well put some effort in. "Sure, just grab a couple of whatever," I answer. "Stuff like that should be hard to come by in Gensokyo, so my collection can be a little anemic."

"Except the crate of rifles," Chiyo reminds me.

"I'm still working on a better explanation for that one, but yes," I say reluctantly. I really don't want to clutter up my tent with a bunch of guns that I'm not going to need to use. "Keep the crate of rifles up here."

"Well I don't have a story either, so it's not just you," Chiyo says, walking over to the shaft for the bunker. "Hey Yuzuki! I'm grabbing some stuff out for Seiran's story! Pay attention if you really care that much!" She yells down.

I can hear Yuzuki groaning in frustration. Taking out more equipment does have the side effect of giving Yuzuki more work to fit into her own organization scheme. "It sounds like she cares," I say, feeling a bit bad for her.

Chiyo smirks to herself and walks away to look through the crates.

-

Once Yuzuki finally has enough things settled underground, Chiyo and I dismiss ourselves. There isn't really much space down there once all the crates have been moved. Yuzuki probably wants to do a lot of fussing around, but we've done our jobs at least.

Chiyo ended up picking out a few different firearms. I have to instantly veto anything that is obviously Moon tech though. When it comes down to it, we decide to go with my comment that I'm not very good at collecting guns yet, so I don't have to have all that much. I grab a couple of the older models of pistols and the crate of rifles, and decide that's probably good enough for the cover story. I also elect not to have that much ammo around either. That's something that's probably even harder to find than guns in Gensokyo.

When all of that has been moved into my tent, I decide to grab up a few more things as well. Ringo talked about me making some mochi, and honestly it doesn't sound like too bad of an idea. I got a chance to check it out, and apparently we're mostly out of most of the freeze dried stuff that was stored away. I guess somebody got hungry at some point. Not a big deal. At least we still have plenty of the rice that is used to make more. I just have to spend some time squishing and mashing it and all that. I also pull out the ingredients for dango, just because I know that Ringo's been burning through a lot of them.

Making mochi isn't that difficult a process, but it takes a really long time when it's just me. Chiyo and I have had enough finger injuries due to bad timing to know that she's not exactly good at assisting me, so I let her go back to her tent. Considering that Yuzuki is busy, that just leaves Ringo as my only real option for help. I just have to find her.

Yuzuki is a little annoyed when I get my mortar (the cooking kind, not the artillery kind) and the rest of the ingredients out, but at least they're not buried too deep. She knew I was going to end up using this stuff at some point, so put it somewhere that I could actually get to it. I'm assuming it isn't a coincidence at least.

"Do you know where Ringo is?" I ask on my second trip down to the bunker for a few more things. It's probably easier to just ask instead of having to hunt Ringo down.

"She's..." Yuzuki pauses slightly. I guess Ringo's a bit of distance away from the bunker then. "Up in a tree near the Southeast portion of camp for whatever reason."

Well that is pretty much on the other end of camp then. It's far enough that Yuzuki probably wasn't paying that much attention to it unless something started moving suddenly. "I guess she actually is being a lookout."

"Not really," Yuzuki shrugs, going back to working on her organization. "She's asleep."

I smile wryly. "Well, at least she tried," I don't know think that's actually true, but whatever.

I say thanks to Yuzuki and haul my things out to the Southeastern outskirts of camp. Once everything is more or less set up, I float up to look for Ringo. Because of Yuzuki's hint, I can just focus on the taller trees around the area. I actually find Ringo fairly quickly. She looks surprisingly comfortable up here, nestled between a couple of overlapping branches to form something like a makeshift seat that cups her butt when she lies down there.

Well, better wake her up then. Just like a few days ago, I grab Ringo's ear lightly and blow into it. She makes another "Iyaaahrrngh"(ish) noise and wakes up quickly. She almost loses balance but I move my hands up to stop her before she squirms her way out of the branches she's balanced in.

"Oh uh. Hey there," Ringo says after she's recovered and remembers why she's up in the air.

"Nothing to report?" I ask.

"Haven't seen anything but some fairies flying around," Ringo stretches her arms out and looks up toward the sun, probably to get an idea of the time. "You guys are done now, right?"

I'm a little curious what she would do if I told her we had been attacked or something, but I don't think I could pull a prank like that off. I'm just not a good enough actor. "You aren't going to try and pretend that you weren't sleeping, are you?" I ask her.

"Well not now that you said that," Ringo laughs. "No biggie though. Doesn't sound like you're coming here about an emergency."

"Yeah, we're done now," I admit reluctantly, letting the issue drop again. I'm aware that this is the kind of thing that I should be calling her out on, but I think it's pretty well established that I am a screw up. "I wanted to get your help to make some mochi."

"Hell yeah," Ringo quickly pushes herself up and away from the branches with her arms, dropping through the leaves below immediately. I know she can fly and all, but I still wouldn't have had the confidence in myself to do that. I'd be too worried about catching myself on a branch accidentally or something.

When I float back down to the ground, Ringo has already found my setup. "What do you want me to do?" She calls out before I can even land.

"Maybe you could work on making some red bean paste?" I suggest. "I should be ready for your help with the mochi by the time you've got that cooking."

"You got it boss!" Ringo gives me a mock salute before hurrying over to the pile of ingredients. If only she'd have that kind of enthusiasm in doing actual work, not just cooking. I know she's totally capable of it too.

Ringo used to be a much harder worker, she would have to have been in order to be put in charge of our unit after all. Well, having a team that is generally less emotionally and/or mentally stable than her probably helped her case as well. Either way, when we first met, I definitely remember Ringo being someone that I kind of looked up to. It was just amazing to have someone around who acted like she actually cared. I guess over time she kind of lost that though. As depressing as it is, I kind of have to blame our unit for it. We're too specialized and gimmicky because of our powers. We just weren't used for very much for way too long. Anyone would feel disillusioned about leadership if they never had to do anything with your role. Maybe it would have been better if she had gotten assigned to something else. It's all my fault...

I settle into the motions of just kneading a bunch of glutinous rice while I think to myself. Once I've got a good start I'll need Ringo to come in and start moving it around between hammer swings. For now though, I'm just mashing it around.

A few minutes later, Ringo returns with a small pail of water. "I'm good over here, you ready for me?" She asks. I nod and she kneels down next to the mortar to get to work.

Now we have to settle into a rhythm. We've been together for something like sixty years now, so we're really used to it. It's kind of like a team building exercise, even if we really don't need much help in being a team anymore. I swing, she moves the mochi around to help the consistency, we repeat it. I dunno, it'd probably be better to have Ringo swinging the hammer given her strength, but she always lets me do it. It's weirdly therapeutic for me. Kind of stress relieving too.

We continue pounding at it for over a half hour. It's very mechanical between us, so we don't have to focus that hard on it. I take the time to make some random conversation with Ringo. Just a bunch of random talk of no consequence, but we both enjoy it, so whatever.

-Thump, thump, thump-

"So I was thinking about it, why dango in particular?" We've probably had this conversation sometime before, but whatever. "For your powers I mean. It's just rice flour and sugar, so I don't think it'd be the ingredients. I don't think it's the preparation either. You can eat other stuff that's boiled or grilled the same way that dango is without getting stronger. So is it the combination of those things?"

"Hell if I know," Ringo laughs, not at all distracted from moving the mochi around between hits. "Doctors up on the Moon said something or other about polysaccharides and my eyes just rolled back into my head. I was fine with just accepting the 'it's magic' explanation honestly."

"It doesn't make sense. You don't make sense."

"Look who's talking miss brain bullets."

-Thump, thump, thump-

"You're going to have to be more specific Ringo," I respond to a later question.

"It's just... Things, you know?" She says, being the exact opposite of specific. She looks kind of embarrassed about something. She could just be direct about whatever she wants to talk about. "I feel like I've been wanting to do stuff way more often since we came here."

"Well you're certainly not showing it," I joke.

"Well it's more of just a specific uh... Kind of stuff..." Ringo trails off. "Never mind."

"Sure, whatever."

-Thump, thump, thump-

"Okay, I think that should be good," I set my hammer down, ignoring the dull ache in my arms. It's a good kind of pain in my opinion. A result of some hard work.

"You sure? Here, let me check."

Oh come on Ringo. "Don't eat so much of it. We need it for tomorrow."

"Just a biiiit more."

-

About two hours after we started, sometime around early evening, we finally finish up with everything that I had wanted to make. A good portion of the mochi can get freeze dried for later. We also end up with enough dango to last Ringo for a while. Well, assuming that we don't run into a lot of trouble, which probably isn't the best assumption to make. It's at least better to have more than less, so it's something. I can feel good about accomplishing so much today.

Ringo doesn't really help clean up very much, but she at least has the decency to hang around while take care of it. She also doesn't sneak too much more food from what we've prepared, so I guess she's trying to stay on good behavior. I'm not really that concerned by it to be honest. For the past five minutes or so, I've been a little preoccupied.

I've been trying to watch the something that's been sneaking around outside of camp. I only catch glimpses of movement occasionally, but I don't think it's an animal. I'm reminded of our first day of not having stealth, when it had been Daiyousei hanging around nervously. I don't think it would be her again, she'd have no reason to be sneaking. I guess it could be another fairy though. We have been cooking out in the open for a while now. Any curious or hungry fairy might be coming by.

Initially, I thought it might be Sumi, since she's supposed to be coming back. The only problem is that this doesn't seem like Sumi behavior. If she were here, she would come right to us and talk. Sneaking around is just too indirect for her.

In fact, why would anyone be sneaking around our camp at this point? I'm pretty sure that everyone we actually have business with would just come up and talk to us. Whoever it is is just making themselves seem really shady. Does that mean it's Aya? Would she really come back so soon? I kinda doubt it, but I don't know.

Whatever, I'll just...

[ ] Try to talk to whatever it is.
[ ] Shoot
- [ ] Danmaku
- [ ] Use powers
- [ ] Use the stungun
[ ] Warn Ringo, scatter!
[ ] Act normal, see if it does anything besides watching.

(This choice might seem a little familiar to some people.)
>> No. 27030
[X] Try to talk to whatever it is.

Might as well give it a shot.
>> No. 27031
[x] Try to talk to whatever it is.

>"Sure, whatever."
So innocent, Seiran.
>> No. 27032
[X] Try to talk to whatever it is.

At least we can be sure it isn't the crow again.
>> No. 27033
[X] Try to talk to whatever it is.
>> No. 27034
[x] Act normal, see hlifnit reacts
-[x] Ask our resident targeting system bunny to keep and eye on it, so we can follow it when (if) it bolts

So she wants to do 'stuff' Uh? How... impure of her.
>> No. 27035
[x] Try to talk to whatever it is.
>> No. 27036
[x] Try to talk to whatever it is.

Can't be too serious if Yuzuki hasn't noticed... right?
>> No. 27037
[x] Act normal, see if it does anything besides watching.
>> No. 27038
[x] Wide-angle danmaku, converging behind the entity. An obtuse angle.
>> No. 27039
File 147270085283.png - (260.85KB, 707x1000, Bad News Bun.png) [iqdb]
27039
[X] Try to talk to whatever it is.

I try to keep calm, and am pretty happy with the fact that I manage it easily. I was in this situation a few days ago, and I reacted much worse. Not just because the circumstances were different either. I'm better off mentally now too. My situation might not be the best still, but I've at least accomplished some things. I feel better overall. I think I can handle this pretty well.

I won't shoot first and ask questions later this time. I think it's safer to avoid that here. If whatever is out there ends up being weaker than me, I'm sure it'll be more receptive to talk than violence. If it winds up being stronger, then it's probably better I don't be the one to initiate anything I can't handle.

Although, one question that's nagging me is why Yuzuki hasn't come over here to say anything. I know she's on the other side of camp and busy doing something, but that doesn't seem like a good enough excuse. If I'm dealing with something dangerous here, I would think she'd try to let me know before I get myself eaten or whatever... Ugh, didn't I somewhat decide that I wouldn't rely on Yuzuki's powers for everything all the time? I should be able to do this on my own. Well, maybe a little bit of help might be good.

I turn to the only other person here. "Hey Ringo-"

"I wasn't gonna eat anything," Immediate and somewhat defensive response.

"That wasn't what I was going to talk about, but I don't believe you anyway," She's standing near the containers that I stored the already made food in. You can't tell me that that's a coincidence here. Whatever, it's not the important thing right now. "I'm gonna step away for a bit, can you watch my back?"

Ringo cocks her head curiously. "Hm, sure. What's up?"

"I need to check on something," I say vaguely, putting down the pot I had been washing. Seems like Ringo hasn't noticed the movement outside of camp. Maybe I'm paranoid. Actually it's probably a better explanation to say that she's too calm. There's a case to be made either way, and both of them make us look bad. Maybe I should be less pessimistic.

I walk over to the tree line, not that it's well defined. The vegetation gradually increases, but I stop before I would have to step over anything, so this is kind of like the tree line. Close enough. There doesn't seem to be any movement out there right now, so either I scared it, or it's getting ready to pounce. Well, here goes something...

"I can see you out there. If you have business, you might as well come out," I speak as loud and clear as I can, trying not to sound nervous. Maybe I pulled it off?

The only response I get is an almost imperceptible shuffle somewhere ahead and a bit to the right. When I turn to look, it immediately stops. Now I'm only getting silence. Okay, still haven't ruled out that I scared something, that could be okay. I haven't ruled out that other thing either though, which could be bad. All I've really gotten out of this is that it doesn't want to talk.

"Unless your business involves attacking that is," I decide to add. "Then you should probably go away," I resist the urge to say that I actually taste terrible. That'd probably prompt something bad to check if I was lying.

The silence continues on. I feel a little awkward talking to the seemingly empty forest. I think Ringo is staring at me. Maybe I was just talking to a big animal or something. Those are probably around here. It's Gensokyo. They apparently have tigers and stuff.

"I guess you don't have business then," I conclude after a brief pause. I don't want to turn around and leave my back open, but I still feel like I should back away slowly. Well, Ringo's watching, so she should be able to react to anything bad.

"Uh, it's not that. I'm just not sure what to say," A hesitant voice answers me. Oh good, it's someone who wants to talk. That's a relief. Actually now that I think about it, why was my mind gravitating toward the negative possibility so much? Wasn't I just thinking about being less pessimistic?

There's some much more obvious shuffling of bushes as I see a figure pop out from around somewhere sorta close to where I was looking. Oh, well hello there. Wearing the same work clothes as I saw her in yesterday, Reisen gingerly steps forward out of the shadows of the trees. Well, good thing I didn't try to shoot her then.

"Oh, hello again," I say, trying to be as neutral as possible. Our last meeting kind of ended with her brushing me off, so I'm not exactly sure where we stand. Okay, NOW I will try to be optimistic. "Did you come by to tell us anything about what happened?"

"Kinda. Not exactly," Reisen responds vaguely. She slips her hat off and clutches the brim of it. Maybe a bit harder than she should actually. She fidgets for a bit before sighing. Once all that is finished, she finally speaks again. "We definitely need to talk. Now."

We're already doing that, but okay. I think she mostly said that to get across some sense of seriousness though. 'We need to talk' has never been a phrase for a talk that you want to have happen. So it looks like this is serious time then. I can do that.

"Hey Reisen! Good to see you! You want some mochi?!"

Well there goes that mood. Thanks Ringo. I glance back at her. What the? I thought you said you weren't going to eat any more of it! Bleh, never mind.

I turn back to Reisen, who seems to also have decided to ignore the interruption. Ringo'll probably come over here eventually, or we can go to her. "We can talk right now, it sounds like it's important," I say to Reisen. "Do you want to come into camp?"

"Um, I think that I probably shouldn't..." I guess she was knocked out of her serious voice by Ringo as well. She seems surprisingly hesitant. "Well... Maybe?" She decides to answer.

Our last meeting was kind of terse, so maybe I just didn't gauge things correctly, but something about Reisen's attitude right now is really throwing me off. She came all the way out here, but didn't know what to say when she started talking. She responded when I called out, but doesn't want to get close. From what I remember from way back when, Reisen wasn't any more awkward than I am. I don't really get what's up with her right now.

"Okay, that's fine," I say in response to Reisen's not really decision. "What do we need to talk about?" I notice Ringo walking over towards us. I guess she's gotten bored or at least curious.

"You guys are still stuck here on Earth, right?" Reisen asks. I think that's pretty obvious though. If we weren't stuck, we wouldn't be here. I nod to her and get something of a grimace in response. "You need to fix that," She says vaguely.

"Well we were kind of trying to," I say, kind of confused by the obviousness of the statement. "We don't have much information about what is happening to go on, that's why I asked for your help." "Is that all you were going to say?"

"I didn't really mean it like that it's just..." Reisen reaches up to rub the back of her neck with her hand as she looks at the ground awkwardly. I notice that she looks kind of run-down. Her ears are drooping and almost look wrinkled, and there are obvious bags under her eyes. Even her voice sounds a little bit tired. Is she okay? "Ugh, I need to explain this better."

"Yeah you do," Ringo says, trying to sound casual but obviously interested.

Reisen takes another deep breath and thinks for a moment. "Okay, I'm not really supposed to say some of this stuff. I wasn't even originally planning to come here, but here I am anyway. I don't know what I'm doing. I guess I should just say it now, even if I'm still not sure if it's the right thing to do," She says quickly.

I'm not really sure what she's talking about. "Okay?"

Reisen nods, using one hand to squeeze the bridge of her nose as if concentrating really hard. "You guys were sent down here on orders to let the drone purify whatever Command made it purify, right?" I nod, trying not to break her (for whatever reason) needed focus. "They told you it was just clearing out a vacation home or something, right?" Nod again. "Okay. That was all a lie."

"We kinda guessed that actually," Ringo says quickly. We guessed a lot of things, but it sounds like Reisen is going to give us the truth now. Or at least something like it. "Well, we never really reached a conclusion, but the orders being a front for something else was something we'd talked about."

Reisen crosses her arms in front of her chest and looks at me and Ringo in turn. "The truth is, you were really down here to help it purify all of Gensokyo."

That's not actually that radically different, but it's different enough that it seems nonsensical. "That doesn't seem like it would really work," I point out. If this was a full invasion effort, they definitely would have put more effort into actually making it succeed. There wasn't enough support here for it to work out.

"I think it was a last resort or something," Reisen explains, although this sounds like more speculation than fact. "It took a while to set up, and even then nobody actually wanted to completely pull the trigger on it. By the time the situation was mostly hopeless for them, the capital's hands were pretty much tied."

Okay, I have no idea what she's talking about now. "What do you mean?"

"The Lunar Capital has been under attack for months. Probably since before or at least around the time you were deployed," Reisen seems to be a bit more clear now that she's gotten into the swing of explaining, but is still obviously choosing her words carefully for some reason. "The Lunarians kept it hidden by moving everything into the dream world and surrendering the real capital and the Moon to the invaders."

"Wait wait wait, hold on. You're skipping ahead a bit too much. Who's doing what now?" Ringo cuts in. I'm also a little lost. This is all news to me. How did we hear nothing about any of this?

"I can't really talk about a lot of it actually," But you're talking about it now! "Master swore me to secrecy on a few things after I got back. Just please trust me on this. When I went in that portal..." Reisen pauses for a half second. Did I just see her suppress a shudder? "I went to the Moon and fought off the invaders there. That was SUPPOSED to be the end of it."

Oh, I know what the next word is. "But?"

"But I don't know. The portal is still off, comms are still down, the capital is still silent," Reisen continues. "Master believes that the invaders are still in the dream world, keeping the Lunar Capital from getting out."

Okay, wait, that's a lot to take in. I'm going to try to break it down a bit.

We were here to purify more than we were originally told. That's not too much of a shock, though I'm not exactly happy about it. Purifying enough area that some Lunarians could comfortably have a vacation home is one thing. Wiping out every impurity here is something else entirely. I don't know if I can agree with doing that. I haven't exactly had the greatest time here, but it's not like I think Gensokyo deserved to be wiped out just because I fell down a couple of holes.

The capital is actually under siege and somehow can't fight it off by themselves, but Reisen being there tipped the scales and fixed the problem by chasing the attackers off the Moon. That sounds completely ridiculous to me. Reisen apparently can't tell us more details either, which only makes it worse.

The reason why comms and the portal don't work, is because the Lunar Capital is still stuck in the dream world that we originally used to transport down here. I didn't know that comms needed the capital to work, but I guess I can accept it just based on the fact that they're broken now. I also know that the dream world is quite big, so it probably could be used for something like that.

Overall, I don't think that Reisen is just BSing me for fun or anything. Some of it sounds crazy, but I'm the one that asked her to give us information. I shouldn't complain now that she (apparently against some part of her judgement) has chosen to share what's going on.

"On the next full moon," Reisen continues as I'm still working things over in my mind. She sounds kind of severe right now. "I'm going to take my lunar veil out of storage and fly back to the Moon. From there I'm going to find the Moon's entrance to the dream world and sort things out."

Oh, she has a solution then! Great! "What can we do to help?" I ask quickly.

"That's kind of... Sort of why I came here," Oh, now Reisen's being difficult again. "Not really for help but, kind of I guess."

"So is that a 'Nothing' then?" Ringo suggests.

"Well, no," Reisen looks away, probably trying to think through what she wants to say again. "It would also help me, but it's more for your benefit than anything else."

"Okay, what is it?" I ask.

There's a bit of silence before Reisen decides on her next statement. "You guys need to find a way back to the Moon too. Before I leave."

That doesn't really make sense to me. "We were already working on it. But if you're going to solve the problem with the capital, why do we need to get there first?"

"I only told you my part of Master's plan," Reisen finally looks at us again. "At the same time that I leave for the Moon, she's going to come here. She's going to make sure that you guys won't be able to say anything about me or her when comms get turned back on."

"That's..." I feel like I was just punched in the gut. Did Reisen just tell us that Eirin is going to kill us? Just because we happened to go to the wrong place in the forest?

"Oh," Ringo seems like even she's taking this seriously. "How long until the next Full Moon?" She asks.

"Including today, the next one is in eight days," Reisen says, almost apologetically. We have eight days to get off of Earth somehow.

What do I even say to Reisen here? Questions? I should ask questions or something. I uh. I think I need to sit down...

[ ] Is Eirin going to kill us?
[ ] How the hell are we supposed to get to the moon?
[ ] Can you help us?
[ ] Why did you tell us this?
[ ] Why are you waiting until the full moon?
[ ] Can't you push it back to another full moon?
[ ] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[ ] Can't we just use lunar veils too?
[ ] How will us finding a way to the Moon help you?
[ ] Why are you so tired and doubtful? Are you okay?
[ ] Write-in

(It really bothers me that Moon is supposed to be capitalized but full moon is not.)
>> No. 27040
[x] How the hell are we supposed to get to the Moon?
[x] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[x] Is Eirin going to kill us?
[x] Why would Eirin need to kill us? Why would Eirin send you to help the Moon? With the Lunarains forever trapped in the Dreamworld and us permanently stuck on Earth all of her problems are solved, so why does Eirin care at all?

I am confused about Eirin's motivation in all this. She clearly hates the Lunarians if she is willing to murder a few stray Moon rabbits just because they stumbled on her hideout. If the Lunarians are trapped in the Dreamworld by invaders, and we are stuck on Earth, then Eirin never has to worry about the Lunarians finding her ever again. All Eirin has to do is sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch the Moon burn.
>> No. 27041
[X] How the hell are we supposed to get to the moon?
[X] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[X] How will us finding a way to the Moon help you?
[X] Why are you so tired and doubtful? Are you okay?

And
[x] Why would Eirin need to kill us? Why would Eirin send you to help the Moon? With the Lunarains forever trapped in the Dreamworld and us permanently stuck on Earth all of her problems are solved, so why does Eirin care at all?
>> No. 27042
X] How the hell are we supposed to get to the moon?
[X] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[X] How will us finding a way to the Moon help you?
[X] Why are you so tired and doubtful? Are you okay?
[x] Why would Eirin need to kill us? Why would Eirin send you to help the Moon? With the Lunarains forever trapped in the Dreamworld and us permanently stuck on Earth all of her problems are solved, so why does Eirin care at all?

>>27040
>Eirin hates the Lunarians

Except she doesn't. Yes, Eirin is exceptionally paranoid regarding the safety of herself and Kaguya, and has murdered people out of that paranoia. However, she holds no actual ill intent towards the Lunarians as long as they leave her be. And judging by her behavior in Silent Sinner in Blue, she's certainly willing to outright help the Lunarians if she believes she can get away with it. She did let Reisen II go back to the moon with a warning for the Watatsuki's, instead of just killing her.

Of course, none of our moon bunnies know any of this. Dramatic irony and all. The write-in question is still 100% valid.
>> No. 27043
[x] So Erin wants to kill us?
[x] Can't we use lunar veils?
[x] How us escaping will help you?
[x] Oh that subject, why are you the only one doing something?
[x] Oh and, are you okay? You seem tired and doubtful.
>> No. 27044
Oh we need to tell Kanako about the bunnies she helped being found with guns.

Maybe she can spin the situation by saying she helped release that bunny to follow it to our base? And then, after we escape, tell everyone that she deferred the bad Lunatics invaders?

Sounds like a killer PR deal AND it gives her an incentive to help us gtfo Gensokyo
>> No. 27045
[X] Is Eirin going to kill us?
[X] How the hell are we supposed to get to the moon?
[X] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[X] How will us finding a way to the Moon help you?
[X] Why are you so tired and doubtful? Are you okay?
>> No. 27046
File 147304476045.png - (402.39KB, 500x600, troubled bun.png) [iqdb]
27046
[X] Is Eirin going to kill us?
[X] How the hell are we supposed to get to the moon?
[X] If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only one doing anything about it?
[X] How will us finding a way to the Moon help you?
[X] Why are you so tired and doubtful? Are you okay?
[X] What's with Eirin's motives?

I'm not focusing properly. My brain feels like it's slow. I know that we had already kinda accepted that this could happen. Or at least we should have. Any soldier would have to think about it at some point, especially when they were going straight into enemy territory. Something about the weight of being suddenly told how little time we have before somebody swoops down and kills us just kind of rattled me. I think it's an okay excuse for being a little scrambled.

I feel like I want to sit down, but we're out in the open right now. Instead of plopping down on the grass, I find myself wandering over to a tree that I can lean against. "So... Eirin's going to kill us," I mutter, trying to work my head around it.

"She didn't say that exactly," Reisen answers my not-really-a-question. "She told me that she was going to take care of things, and that I wouldn't have to worry about it. Maybe she'll just erase your memories or she'll just capture you and keep you off comms somehow," Those possibilities are slightly better, but still awful. Reisen might just be trying to make me feel better, and even then it's not working so well.

"Doesn't matter," Ringo dismisses the subject, speaking to me rather than Reisen. The casual chilled out look that she normally has seems to be missing. She looks a little bit unsure of what kind of expression she wants to make, but kind of winds up with some determinedish jaw set kind of face. "She's gonna come around in eight days to try and do whatever, but we're not gonna be there. That's what's gonna happen."

"How?" My question is really about how Ringo can talk so easily when she has no plan, but I decide to say something else instead. "How are we going to get to the Moon by ourselves?" That's more productive I think.

"Wouldn't hypothetically have to be by ourselves," Ringo seems to be reasoning this out as she goes. "We'd just need to find somebody who would help us get up there."

"I don't think anyone here has the technology to pull that off," I say cautiously. I take a glance at Reisen, who is standing there looking at Ringo skeptically. Okay, it looks like I'm probably right in my assumption.

"People have made it up to the Moon before. Remember when the Earth shrine maiden did that invoking gods or whatever show however many years back?" I didn't go to that Ringo, you were the only one of us at the capital at that point. I at least remember what she's talking about though, the whole incident was talked about extensively on comms for weeks. "They came up with a rocket didn't they? So Gensokyo has to have the tech."

"That rocket took them over a month of research and construction. Even then it only really worked because it had a piece of my lunar veil attached," Reisen shakes her head, appearing slightly reluctant to point out the flaws in Ringo's thinking. "It was a janky looking wooden thing that got destroyed in the process of getting there. There hasn't been any effort to travel into space like that since then."

"Even down here, I bet that technology is more inclined to move backward than forward," Ringo continues to be confusingly optimistic as she speaks to both of us. I'm not sure if she believes what she's saying or is just trying to make me feel better. "It's been years since somebody pulled it off, so somebody should be able to pull it off again. Heck, there are probably multiple somebodies. We just have to look for options," She turns to direct her next question to Reisen. "That's what you want us to do, right?"

"Well, yes," Reisen reluctantly confirms. "If you could figure something like that out it would be helpful to all of us but I don't really..." She doesn't finish whatever she starts to say, instead just trailing off into thought.

There's a bit of silence, partially from us waiting for Reisen to continue and partially from us thinking about things as well. "How does it help you?" I ask the first question that comes to my mind. Well, the first question that I expect Reisen would actually have an answer to. "You already have your veil, so why does it matter what we do?"

Reisen gives an unpleasant look to no one in particular. "Flying with the lunar veil isn't really something that I want to do again," She explains. "The Earth and Moon are actually very far away from each other. It's not like you're teleported there, you have to fly the whole distance. It's a very long time spent in the empty void of space," Reisen takes a deep breath before continuing. "Space seems very romantic when you're looking at it from the ground, but it's different when you're flying through it. Spending days wondering and hoping that the veil didn't mess up for some reason and will actually get you where you want to go is a more than a little nerve wracking. Mine has a piece missing now too, which means it will probably take even longer to get back to the capital."

I don't really understand the problem that well, but at the same time, I didn't come here by veil. Reisen's the one with first hand experience. Apparently it's bad enough that she doesn't want to do it again if there's a better option. "How much slower?" Ringo asks from off to the side.

"Master didn't do the exact math for it yet, but she estimated it would be between three and four days," I'm assuming that Reisen means Earth days here and not Moon days. That's still a pretty long time to spend flying through a bunch of nothing. "I'm not looking forward to the trip, so if you find some other option, that'd... That'd help me out a lot."

Reisen falls into silence and looks off in a random direction again. Honestly, I'm not really annoyed by it, but I don't quite get what she's so broken up by. She's not the one that was just told she has eight days to live. "Are you okay? You seem really tired and kind of doubtful," I break the information gathering to ask.

Reisen looks at me for a moment, but doesn't look all that surprised. "I guess it is that obvious," She mutters to herself. "I'm a bit of a mess right now. The incident took a lot out of me, or something like that. I was trying to work through it my own way when suddenly you guys showed back up," She's being kind of vague here. What was so tough about whatever she did when she went through the portal? Should I even ask if it caused her all this stress?

"Yeah, it wasn't exactly our plan either," Ringo jokes quickly.

"No, I don't blame you guys for doing your job," Reisen quickly clarifies. Maybe she thought Ringo was being mean sarcastic instead of joking sarcastic. "In fact I don't think you did anything wrong at all."

"Well Eirin seems to think we did," I point out.

"Right... I can't really change Master's mind about most things. Especially when it would effect the safety of the princess," Reisen looks apologetic, but also isn't really looking directly at me or Ringo. "I'm not even supposed to be here talking to you. Master ordered me not to say anything, but I'm still here telling you things that I'm not supposed to and... Ugh," She ends with a groan, rubbing her face with the palm of her hand.

After it seems clear that Reisen's not going to keep talking, I try to think of something to say. "We appreciate it," That's what I come up with. I'm not happy about the specific thing that I was told, but it's probably better to know so we can prevent it.

Reisen nods but doesn't address what I said directly. "I just would have been a bit better off if I had a few more days to get my head on straight," She finally continues. "I was already stressed after everything that happened, and now I have to go back and deal with even more of it."

"Why do you have to deal with it though?" Ringo asks quickly.

I have to agree with that question. "I was wondering that too. If the capital is being invaded, why are you the only person that can do anything about it?" It really seems to be causing her problems, so why hasn't she gotten any help with it?

Reisen looks like almost confused, like she doesn't understand why we're asking. "Aside from you soldiers and us at Eientei, everyone from the Moon is trapped in the dream world now," She explains. Yeah, she missed the point there.

"But what about the people here then?" I clarify. We've been asking people for help for days and they seemed pretty receptive to it. Sanae even said something about dealing with the drone before, which is pretty related. She probably would have gotten involved if Reisen told her what was happening. "There must be someone else who cares enough to help the Moon."

"Oh," Reisen seems a little surprised. Is Eientei just really isolationist or something? "Eirin entertained the idea of bringing Reimu, Marisa, or Sanae in, but decided against it. She didn't trust the shrine maidens, or more like she didn't trust the people behind them, to not take advantage of the situation. Between having me or Marisa do it, she decided that it would be wiser to keep this as a Moon specific problem."

"Which shoves everything onto you," Ringo concludes for her. "Seems like that went well."

"I... Managed," Reisen answers with some difficulty.

"Hmm," Ringo doesn't look pleased with Reisen's answer. I can't say that I am either, but more because it seems unfair to her. There are people that could have helped Reisen with this, but Eirin wanted to keep it a secret from all of them. I know Lunarians are always like that, but that doesn't make it okay. Reisen doesn't even have a unit to back her up. "It seems weird that she'd bother in the first place," Ringo changes the subject before I can think of a way to mention my annoyance.

"What? Who?" Reisen's not clear on the change.

"Eirin's going to try and silence us to stay hidden because she doesn't want them to know where she is or whatever, sure. But if she wants to stay hidden from the Moon, getting involved in their problems is probably the worst way to do it. Why bother helping them at all?" Ringo asks. I hadn't been thinking about this, but she's making a good point. "She could've just sat back and let them work it out without caring about the outcome."

"I was kind of wondering that too, but I don't make a habit of asking things like that. I just follow orders," Reisen explains apologetically. I don't think it's anything bad though, she follows orders. That's what we're supposed to do as soldiers. "My guess is that even if she's been exiled, she still doesn't want the capital to be destroyed or stuck in the dream world forever. Master has never said anything to me that implied that she dislikes the capital or is angry at them for exiling her."

"Which seems odd to me that she's not upset about being stuck down here," Maybe I'm projecting a bit here, but I'm just used to thinking of the capital as being much nicer than Gensokyo in a lot of ways.

"Why would she be?" Ringo asks me before turning to Reisen. "It's not so bad down here, right Reisen?"

"It... Has its moments," Reisen admits. It looks like she's smiling a little bit, but maybe trying not to show it. She goes back to a serious expression fairly quickly. "But I think it's more about the timescale involved. It's almost certain that, given enough time, she'll be able to go back to the Moon if she really wants to as long as it's still there. She doesn't have to get upset over a few thousand years of hiding."

I can't really wrap my head around that at all. "It's really weird to think with a perspective like that."

Reisen nods. "Thinking along the same lines as Master does is difficult, but I've been trying to get better at it."

"But still no guesses on what she wants to do with us?" Ringo laughs after she says it, but I don't think Reisen or I appreciate the joke. This is still kind of serious.

I close my eyes and try to think of any more questions I want to ask. I'd really like to come up with something that forces Reisen into giving us an easy solution to our problem, but I don't believe a question like that even exists. I'll have to settle for something more mundane. There are a couple of other questions I can think of, but I don't think they'd help all that much. Maybe I should ask Reisen for some suggestions on who to talk to or something. She's had years to learn about the people in Gensokyo and should know the lay of the land better than our stumbling around.

I'm still concentrating on thinking up another question when I'm distracted by movement out of the corner of my eye. That's the direction of camp so-

"RINGO YOU FAT BITCH! IT'S ABOUT FUCKIN' TIME!"

Oh, it sounds like Sumi's back.

A blur of mostly green and brown tackles Ringo to the ground. Sumi's hat falls off in the process, but she looks the same as always otherwise. Surprisingly tan for someone who lives on the Moon, with short green hair and droopy ears. She quickly holds up four fingers in front of Ringo's eyes.

"FOUR DAYS, RINGO! Four goddamn days in a goddamn birdcage! Having to pretend to listen to hoity toity feathered fucks and literal bitches tell me about territorial boundaries. Like I'm supposed to care when all I can think about is how nice it'll be to not have to shit in a bucket!" She yells, gesturing wildly with the arm that isn't stuck in Ringo's face.

Ringo snickers slightly in response, completely unfazed by Sumi's yelling. "Yeah yeah, good to have you back Sumi," She says amusedly before quickly swinging her arms up. Considering that Sumi's sitting on top of her, as well as her just having eaten dango, this ends up flinging Sumi into the sky.

Sumi laughs all the way down, barely catching herself by flying just before she hits the ground. She does a quick backflip before she lands on her feet. "I'm gonna file a hell of a complaint when we get back ya know? Maybe if it's long enough Command'll have the decency to pretend to read it before they use it to wipe their asses."

Ringo makes a small noise of amusement before getting up off the ground. "Doubt it," She answers plainly.

Sumi laughs and turns towards me. "Yo Seiran, looks like you didn't end up needing me." She greets me with a quick wave.

"Hi Sumi," I'm feeling some secondhand embarrassment about Sumi immediately showing off how foul her mouth is. I don't think Reisen's ever met her before and that was probably a bit strange for a first impression. She probably heard some of the rumors from before Sumi was a part of our unit at least. There were quite a lot of them, and a most of them had some amount of truth.

Actually, is it possible to get secondhand embarrassment when there's no firsthand embarrassment? Probably. Sumi sure doesn't seem bothered as she continues with her greetings, moving on to Reisen. "And you're that runaway, right? You know, I could blame all this shit on you, but I'm not gonna. APPARENTLY you're cool with everybody else now and I went to jail for NO FUCKING REASON. So hey, I'm Sumi."

"Uh, r-right," Reisen's face is part confused, part stunned, but mostly just blank. Yeah, it takes some getting used to Sumi.

"So anyway uh, what the hell?" Sumi turns back to Ringo, overacting while trying to look incredulous. "I thought you'd have a party for me or something, but instead I get back to camp and it's just empty! I track down Yuzuki stuffing the bunker with all our shit and she tells me you guys are over here doing nothing."

"We..." I begin speaking before realizing I have no idea where to start. There's so much stuff that Sumi doesn't know at this point. How do I even explain everything? "Well, what has Yuzuki told you about the situation so far?"

"Eh, I didn't give her much of a chance for anything," Sumi says, turing back toward camp and yelling. "Hey Yuzuki! What'd I miss?"

Yuzuki walks over to us, as if on cue. I guess that was kind of a cue actually. "I assume that means your 'grand entrance' is done then?" She asks Sumi, sounding slightly exasperated before bowing slightly toward Reisen. "Sorry about her. Good evening Reisen."

"Hey, don't avoid the subject," Sumi continues "Seiran's saying there's stuff going on other than us being all buddy buddy with the deserter now."

"It's a lot of information to cover Sumi," Yuzuki responds quickly. "I thought it would be a good idea to have Seiran and Ringo around to explain it, since they never went missing."

"What the hell? Why would you have gone missing too? I was the one going to save Seiran, what the hell'd you think you or Chi were going to do?"

"We can explain everything, but it will take time," Yuzuki says patiently.

"Yeah, let's have a meeting," Ringo suggests, reaching down to pick up Sumi's helmet and placing it on top of her own hat. You look ridiculous Ringo. "Could also start making some dinner too," What? You just ate so much mochi! Ringo starts heading into camp, with Yuzuki and Sumi following along.

I'm about to move as well when I look back at Reisen. She looks uncomfortable and almost a little bewildered, but I think she's kind of been a bit like that this whole time. I guess I could invite her to come to the meeting, though maybe letting her know everything that we've been up to might not be the best idea. I'm not sure. Reisen seems to be a bit scrambled right now, so unless it's all an act, I don't think she'll try to cause any trouble.

She did say she didn't want to come into camp earlier though, so what should I say here?

[ ] "You should come too. We're going to need your help to figure things out."
[ ] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."
[ ] "Thanks for the info, we'll come find you if we figure out how we're going to get to the Moon."
[ ] Write-In

(Also don't worry, I'm not going to write out the full text of bringing Sumi up to speed on things.)
>> No. 27047
[x] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

Come on Rei, be a pal!
>> No. 27048
[X] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

So either we fly to the Moon, or we find another way into the Dream World. Or we evade Eirin forever.

The second option is probably the easiest and safest.
>> No. 27049
[x] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."
>> No. 27050
[X] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."
>> No. 27051
[X] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

Be nice to your fellow bunnies.
>> No. 27052
[x] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."
>> No. 27053
[x] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

Dream World... Yuuka?
>> No. 27054
File 147318603328.jpg - (130.64KB, 1480x680, meanwhileinthemoon.jpg) [iqdb]
27054
>>27053
Not a bad idea.
>> No. 27055
[x] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

>>27053
We could also track down, say, Rika (could go very bad very fast) or Mima or Marisa (placate w/ handwarmers?) or even Reimu (donate) for help getting there. The PC-98's a lil ambiguous about if they're the same Dream World as the LoLK one, or even if it's the same Dream World in both SoEW and LLS.
>> No. 27056
File 147330495474.png - (462.20KB, 606x800, Can't resist.png) [iqdb]
27056
[X] "Do you want to join us? I just made mochi."

For now, I think I should try to be nice here. I'm not all that broken up about Reisen shooting me if she's not broken up about me shooting back. I think that's just par for the course here, especially since we had conflicting goals at the time. Right now though, she's been perfectly reasonable, even helpful. I should repay her in kind.

"Do you want to join us?" I ask. Reisen looks a little surprised, like she wasn't expecting it. It seems a little weird that she wouldn't just leave if she wasn't expecting anything else from us. Maybe it's just because nobody said goodbye.

As she considers my question, Reisen looks unsure. I'm getting kind of used to that look by now to be honest. "I probably have to get back soon," She says, glancing behind her. I'm pretty sure that's the general direction you'd have to go to get to Eientei.

"Well, we would appreciate you coming. Or at least I would. In fact, I'd appreciate just about anything you do at this point," Nothing in Reisen's expression hints that I've sold her on coming along. Maybe I should add on another small incentive. Ringo already offered, but it was kind of out of the blue at the time. "I did just make mochi too, if you want some."

Ah, there's a change in her expression. Probably a good one too. It seems like she most likely hadn't been thinking about it, but now that I've mentioned it, it's probably around her dinner time too. Not that just mochi is a full meal or anything. "... Maybe for a bit then," She decides, sounding a little less than sure. It's good enough for me.

"Great!" I try to give Reisen as nice of a smile as I can. I think I pull it off pretty well considering that she answers back with her own much softer smile. All the (many) bad circumstances around or reunion aside, I really am glad to see her again. When she left the Moon it had just been really sudden. Combine that with over forty years of hearing nothing about her, and getting to meet with her again now is a nice bit of relief. She seems to be doing relatively fine.

Heck, she might even be better than fine. Even with the obvious stress, her skin looks pretty soft and well taken care of for somebody who's living down here with all of Earth's impurities. Maybe the Lunarians were playing up how bad it is a bit. I also can't exactly see it that well under her work clothes, but it seems like maybe she's had a much easier time down here physically than most of us on the Moon have it. Her figure seems a bit less toned and a bit more soft than what I remember. It's not at all unattractive of course! In fact I might actually prefer it this... Um, maybe I should get moving instead of thinking things like that.

I grab up the remaining equipment along with the finished mochi while Reisen follows me silently. Once I've got everything gathered, I head out between the tents toward the center of camp. You know, it would have been nice for any of the others to help with this stuff. Okay, I don't expect much from Ringo or Sumi, but Yuzuki could have grabbed a thing or two at the very least.

I unceremoniously drop the extra equipment next to my chair and mentally file it under 'to be put away later'. I also put the container with all of the mochi inside of it on the table. We made a lot, so there's still plenty left for everyone here to eat. I'm still going to handle rationing it out though. Leaving it up to these guys to pick their own amounts wouldn't be a good idea. I do want to end the day with more mochi than when we started after all.

"Where's Yuzuki?" I ask as I start trying to get equally sized portions separated for everyone.

"Said she's gonna grab Chi," Sumi answers quickly. I guess I should have seen that coming. Also, are you going to take your helmet back from Ringo at any point? She looks silly like that.

I look up at Reisen and try to gesture nicely toward the guest chair. Now that Sumi's back, we'll only have one seat open for other people, but I'm fine with that. The one extra seat had just been there because a five sided table seemed kind of weird anyway. Reisen sits down quietly, trying not to draw too much attention to herself. I don't know if Ringo or Sumi catch her intent or not, but either way, they're not bothered by her.

It might be a little vain, but I can't help but feel a little proud of myself once I've served the others and they start eating. I'm used to Ringo kind of inhaling food, but it definitely seems like Reisen and Sumi enjoy it too. "How is it?" I probably don't need to ask, it just makes me feel like I'm fishing for compliments. Too late to take it back though.

"Really good," Reisen pauses to answer honestly while the others just kind of nod at me appreciatively. "It's been a long time since I've had anything Moon made," She adds. Yeah, I suppose that's true. Even if this wasn't made on the Moon it still uses ingredients from the Moon. There's probably a lot of difference just due to the way the rice is grown and stuff.

"Yep, I noticed this with the dango," Ringo chimes in. "They don't make things the same here as they did back home," Even though she's pointing it out, I definitely remember her buying dango from the village twice. I guess it didn't make enough of a difference to her for it to bother her.

Reisen gets a complicated look on her face and slows down her eating. Maybe referring to the Moon as home is a little weird for her for whatever reason. That's my guess anyway. I think I said something about home when I met her yesterday and she reacted to it then too.

I'm interrupted from my thoughts when I hear Yuzuki come back to us. While she sits down in her normal seat, I move to get her some mochi. Luckily, everyone has started eating by now, so she probably won't be able to tell if my portions weren't exactly equal. Actually, can Yuzuki see food inside people's stomachs with her power? I've never asked. I'm not sure if I want to know.

"Chiyo declined to join us again," Yuzuki reports calmly. She nods to me in thanks as I hand her her food. I guess I did a good enough job on sizing then. "At first she told me that she just didn't want to hear a bunch of information she already knows, but apparently her powers are acting up as well."

Sumi doesn't look pleased. "What? I'll go get her then!" She declares, slamming her palms onto the table and getting up from her chair.

"No, just let her rest," Yuzuki insists. "Chiyo's been having some trouble lately," Actually, yeah. It's pretty unusual for Chiyo to have problems two days in a row. That's strange. She didn't even do anything to cause it today as far as I know.

"Bullshit," Sumi answers exactly how I expected. "This is basically my welcoming party. I haven't gotten any Chiyo in days! She's gotta be here to not fuck up the group dynamic! Miss defector here ain't gonna do it for me y'know?"

"Sumi," Ringo cuts in before Sumi can continue. "Leave it," She says, sounding surprisingly serious. Sometimes it's necessary to do this with Sumi, I hope she's feeling reasonable right now though.

"... Fine," Sumi says after a long pause. She plops back down in her chair. "I'm in a good mood today, so I guess Chi can have her private time," Wow, she must really be in a good mood. It's often pretty difficult to get Sumi to listen to what we tell her for various reasons.

"That's not really up to you," Yuzuki says curtly.

Although Sumi drops the subject fairly quickly, the mood still feels a little weird. I do admit that I was kind of looking forward to having the whole group together again, but I guess it can wait for a bit longer. At least I know everyone is safe right now. At least for the next eight days that is.

-

Since Ringo finishes inhaling her food first, she starts giving out details about the situation. It's mostly for the benefit of Sumi, but I don't think she minds telling Reisen either. We don't have to be all that secretive considering Reisen already knows who we are and what our mission was. There's not a whole lot more to hide. Ringo starts out with an outline of what happened when Reisen beat us and just goes forward in time from there.

When she's actually interested in what somebody has to say, Sumi is a surprisingly good listener. The difficult part is keeping her in a receptive mood so she doesn't tune you out. I try to keep things from getting bogged down by details when I have to interject about something that only I experienced. For example, I don't say much about the date that I'm still planning to have with Yamame, because honestly who would want to hear about that? I don't mention much about Yuzuki's Hina thing either, so I'm being fair, right? They're not really the same thing, but whatever. They're both embarrassing.

-

By the time that the outline reaches to somewhere in the third day after our incident, it's starting to get a bit late. It had already been early evening when Reisen came here, but now the sun is just about set. We still have a pretty significant amount of talking to get through, but our guest also has a return trip to make.

During a lull around the time that Ringo starts talking about our trip to the bamboo forest, Reisen suddenly remembers that that's where she still lives. "Speaking of the forest, it's been nice, but I really should get going," She says, standing up out of her chair.

"Oh yeah, you're kinda sneaking out here for this, huh?" Ringo asks rhetorically. "Gotta get home so they don't suspect anything."

"Ugh..." Ringo had been pretty light-hearted about it, but it seems that Reisen doesn't appreciate being reminded about coming out here when she's not supposed to.

"Hey, it's no big deal," Ringo assures her. "Just tell them that your work ran late. You had a bunch of orders you had to deliver or something."

"It's rare that I'm out this late, but I guess I'll have to say that," Reisen shakes her head, seeming a bit sad and tired. I hope things work out for her. I don't think an angry Eirin is something that I'd like to see, even if I was in Reisen's position instead of my own. "Thank you for the mochi. I'll let you know if the situation changes," She says directly to me. The others take turns giving some form of goodbye while I think about my own.

"Thanks for coming," I decide against mentioning that she was breaking orders by doing so. I appreciate it a lot, but I don't think she likes hearing it. "You can come by after work any time," I think I catch Yuzuki raising an eyebrow at that, but I think it's a fair offer. "We'll let you know if we figure something out."

Reisen nods and even gives a small bow before leaving. I feel a little silly about how anxious I was over meeting her yesterday. She's still pretty much the same as before, though quite a bit more stressed. Hopefully she'll feel better and we'll be able to be friends again after all this is over. Even a long distance thing over comms wouldn't be that bad.

-

Once Reisen has left, we continue on with bringing Sumi up to speed. By the time we get to the events of this morning, I'm pretty sure she's starting to get a little bored. When it becomes obvious that Sumi's attention is starting to waver, I decide to cut some more details out. Most everything that we talked about with Wakasagihime gets glossed over and I don't go into too much detail about the Aya thing either. I think I made a wise choice though, Sumi doesn't look at all pleased about a tengu giving us trouble. She might have some issues with Aya's people that she'll have to work out somehow.

I try to hurry things along to the most recent revelation. The whole 'only eight days to live' thing. It's been weighing pretty heavily on me this whole time, but I feel a little better once I've brought it up with the others. Now we have four minds working on it instead of two. No comment on the quality of those minds, but at least the quantity has doubled.

Once Ringo and I have finished, Yuzuki and Sumi think about the problem for a bit. "Of the people we've talked to so far, I don't think any of them will have a way to get to the Moon," Yuzuki's the first to speak.

"We haven't proven that, but they don't really have to, do they?" Ringo asks. I'm not quite sure what she's getting at.

"Unless we wanna kiss our asses goodbye they do," Sumi says what I'm thinking in slightly less delicate words.

"No, I'm not sure about that," Ringo replies, leaning forward and seeming a bit proud of herself. "You guys are fixating on going to the Moon because Reisen set up the problem that way, but that's not the actual solution. The end goal isn't the Moon, it's the dream world that the capital is stuck in."

I get what she's saying, but I don't see how it helps us. "We can't really expect anybody here to know enough about lunar technology to be able to fix the portal," I point out. The only technology we've seen has been the kappa, and I wouldn't trust them to be able to work with our portal.

"You're still thinking too narrow," Ringo says quickly. "We don't have to use the portal, we just have to get to the dream world."

"Do you know of some way to do that other than using the portal then?" Yuzuki asks.

"Hmmmm. Nope," Ringo doesn't seem at all bothered by admitting she's talking without a plan again. "I'm just saying that we shouldn't narrow our choices down right now. We've got time, we can brainstorm and find leads," I'm not convinced. This isn't an issue that I really want to procrastinate on if I can avoid it. While I'm thinking, Ringo continues. "Personally, I'm thinking of plan number three as well."

"Did you skip the part where you named plans one and two?" Sumi laughs slightly, but I think it's a legitimate question.

"Go to the Moon and find the portal there," Yuzuki holds up one finger. "Get to the dream world from somewhere in Gensokyo," She holds up two.

"Find some way to hide from Eirin," Ringo finishes, bringing up three of her own fingers. "We know when she's going to come for us. We just find some way to hide out for a few days until Reisen gets to the Moon and fixes everything."

I don't really like that plan. "That means you're pushing everything onto Reisen," She's already clearly been stressed out by everything. Telling her that we're leaving everything to her just feels rude at this point.

"Yeah, it's not exactly nice to her, but she's going to have to solve the incident either way, right?" You're rationalizing this Ringo, but it's not really working for me. "All that matters is that once the capital is back up and running, we should be able to get them on comms and we can go from there. We just have to find the specifics for all the stuff in the middle."

"I don't think it's going to be that easy," I have to bring Ringo down a bit before she somehow decides to declare the problem already solved.

"Probably not," Ringo at least acknowledges me, but I don't think it makes much of a difference in her optimism. "But hey, it's a goal that'll get us back to the Moon eventually. I was kinda worried that once the five of us were all gathered up there'd be nothing left for us to do other than chill out."

"I don't think you were worried about that at all," Yuzuki says curtly.

"More like you were hoping for it," I add.

Ringo laughs but doesn't deny it. "Anyway, we're down one member at this very moment, and the sun's pretty much set. We should take it easy for tonight, then decide on a course of action tomorrow."

While Gensokyo has been significantly less deadly than I expected up to this point, I guess Ringo has a point. Heading out now would probably be dangerous, so I'll need to fill up some more time before bed.

[ ] Ringo
[ ] Yuzuki
[ ] Sumi
[ ] Chiyo
[ ] Nobody
>> No. 27057
[X] Sumi

Might as well continue the reunion.
>> No. 27058
[x] Chiyo

What's up with her?
>> No. 27059
[x] Sumi

I'm going to laugh if it turns out to be a plot point that being on Earth really is making them hornier.
>> No. 27060
[x] Sumi

>>27059
I think it's more that Seiran is amazingly repressed, and Yamame's flirting opened the floodgates for her.
>> No. 27061
[x] Chiyo

>>27058
Yeah, I'm curious too; just hoping we don't bother her too much or something.

Oh well, curiosity killed the cat, right?
>> No. 27062
[x] Sumi

I'd like to see a bit more of her character.
>> No. 27063
[X] Sumi
>> No. 27064
[x] Sumi

I want to see more Sumi. We really haven't seen much of her compared to the others.
>> No. 27065
File 147364602033.jpg - (114.87KB, 623x960, Why run when you can fly.jpg) [iqdb]
27065
[X] Sumi

"So what, we're just gonna sit here and jerk it for the rest of the night?" Sumi asks Ringo. I don't really get what she's saying. Jerk what? What does that mean?

"Evenings have kind of gotten like this, yeah. We don't know what's out there, so we don't want to head out into danger. Remember we don't have stealth anymore, and there's no reason for us to get ourselves in trouble trying to gather more information," I don't know if Ringo understands the phrase that Sumi said either. She might just be ignoring it.

"Hmm," Sumi considers Ringo's reasoning before quickly shrugging and standing up from her seat. "Nah, that's a waste. I can't just sit still all night. I gotta do something."

Ringo shrugs. "Fine, whatever," She gives up on trying to dissuade Sumi, which is pretty normal. Ringo tends to pick and choose her battles when it comes to Sumi. Personally I don't think she picks enough of them, but I guess that's why she's in charge and I'm not. We should just be glad that Sumi listens to reason some of the time I guess.

"Good," Sumi smiles widely before glancing at Yuzuki and I. "Oh don't gimme that 'oh no she's gonna get ganked by bird bitches again' look, I'm just gonna stretch my legs for a bit," I'm pretty sure I wasn't giving her that exact look. I'm not even sure what that look looks like. "I get locked up for waaay too long, then when I get back you guys have me sitting on my ass for hours talking about absolutely everything that's happened. I just wanna move around now that I've got my freedom."

"Just stay close to camp," Yuzuki advises neutrally. "I can watch out and make sure nothing happens as long as you don't go too far off."

"You guys worry too much," Sumi moves over to the side of the table and grabs her helmet from off of Ringo's head. She throws it up on to her head, then shakes a bit to get her ears to settle into a comfortable position. "You've been out here for days without anything coming by and chomping on you. Nothing's gonna happen."

That's pretty optimistic of her, but I guess she may very well be right. We've all been sleeping out here in our very unprotected tents every night, and aside from a few random morning visitors, nothing has really come around. "I'd like to come along anyway," I say, quickly standing up from my chair. Sumi gives me an exasperated look, so I should probably explain myself. "No it's not that I'm worried, we just haven't gotten a chance to talk in a while."

Ah, there's a much nicer look. "Yeah sure," Sumi says happily. "You'll have to keep up though."

Oh right, Sumi stretching her legs means running some ridiculous distance. Well I could attempt it for a while, but I know I wouldn't be able to go all the way to the end with her. I also don't think I'll be much good for a conversation while that's happening. "Uh, could you maybe start with a walk to warm up then?" I suggest awkwardly.

"You're killin' me here," Sumi slumps over and looks exasperated again, but I can tell she's joking this time. "Fine, just for a bit then," She quickly adds in a more normal tone, before spinning around and walking in a random direction.

I don't think she put any thought into where we're going, but knowing Sumi, it won't really matter. If we're going to end up going everywhere, it makes no difference where we start. I push my chair in and move to follow Sumi, glancing at the others. Yuzuki's getting up to push Sumi's chair in, while Ringo just gives me a shrug. I already know they're not interested in trying to keep up, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to either.

It's something that's always been true of Sumi, even from before she was in the unit. She runs a whole lot. As far as I know, there's not really any reason for it other than it being something that she likes, but pretty much all of Sumi's free time is always spent walking or running around. It was like that back in the capital, it was like that back when we were at the mare bases, and it's still like that now that we're in Gensokyo. We do have a lot less space now, but I guess she's not someone who would let that bother her.

I follow along behind Sumi as she heads away from camp. Once we reach some arbitrary distance away, Sumi turns to the left and starts walking. I notice that we're deep enough into the forest that we have a bit of vegetation between us and the camp, but not so much that we can't see anything there. I also notice that a narrow bit of the grass we're walking does seem kind of worn down. This is probably the same path that Sumi was using to run on before she was captured.

"So what's up?" Sumi asks to start things off. I take a moment to move forward and walk along with her instead of trailing behind. This is a much more comfortable way to have a conversation, though it would probably be even easier if we could just sit down. Oh well.

As for the answer to what Sumi actually said, I'm not really sure. "What?" I ask. "There's nothing in particular..." Other than being glad she's back and wanting to talk to her I guess, but that's not much to start a conversation on.

Sumi looks at me curiously. "Really? If you're coming out here with me when I know that's not normally your thing, I figured there'd be something on your mind," I guess when she explains it like that, it does seem like I wanted something specific. "Probably something you didn't want to talk about with the others around, not that I'm crazy about keeping secrets," Okay I think that's a little bit of a stretch. I get her reasoning, but it's nothing that dramatic.

I try to think up a more exact topic that I want to talk about, and something actually comes to mind pretty easily. "Well, I feel a little bit guilty about what happened to you. It's kind of my fault that you got captured," She wouldn't have left camp to come save me if I hadn't been so panicked over comms after all.

"Forget it. It's not like I'm mad at you or nothing," Sumi shrugs it off. I feel relieved, but I honestly should have expected this kind of answer. If Sumi had a problem with me, or really anyone else, she would make it known as soon as possible. She doesn't keep grudges a secret. That's too indirect for her. "You said you were in trouble, and I reacted the way that I knew how. It didn't work, but I did what I thought I should do."

Well, I appreciate the sentiment at least, but honestly she did kind of make the situation worse by acting on her own. If she had just stayed in camp with Ringo the whole tengu situation wouldn't have happened in the first place. "Well, it worked out in the end either way," If she's not upset about it, then I might as well just let it go too.

We take a moment to step over a poorly placed bush. I guess she hasn't cleared this away from her normal path. I wonder what Sumi does when she's running this way. Does she just jump over it? "Yeah, with only four days of bullshit and one handgun in exchange," She answers after she's back to a normal stride.

"What?"

"They confiscated my sidearm when I got caught and didn't give it back to me," Sumi shrugs like it isn't a big deal. "Kind of a dick move honestly. I didn't even use it or anything."

I know that Sumi pretty much always has a handgun on her, or at least she has most of the time that we've been down on Earth. It's not surprising that the tengu would take it when they jailed her, but apparently they didn't give it back to her either. "That might be a bit of a problem."

"It's just a pistol," Sumi assures me. That's not at all what I was talking about.

"That's not the issue," Although it's true that I would rather not give out Moon made equipment if we can help it. "What story did you give them? It could contradict what I told Aya today."

"I didn't give them anything. When I got caught I shut the hell up," Sumi assures me. "They were a little unhappy about it, but what were they gonna do? I figured if they were gonna torture it out of me or whatever I'd at least make 'em work for it, but they barely did anything. Surprisingly civil aside from the fact that they locked me up for four days for no fucking reason. Still could have lived without them talking my damn ears off about property rights or whatever the shit."

"I can't imagine that went over well," With Sumi's power, I assume she caught none of it.

"Hah! Well I just tuned 'em out most of the time," Yeah, just like I thought.

Sumi has a power that is possibly the least amazing out of any of us. Given the downsides of my and Chiyo's power, along with what Yuzuki's power does to her personality, I guess that might actually be something of a blessing for Sumi. It's just a small simple tool that she has, and it has no real drawback other than the way that she chooses to use it.

To put it simply, Sumi has perfect hearing. Not just perfect in the sense that it's really good, but also in the sense that she has complete control over the volume of what she hears. As long as she knows a sound is being made, she can hear the source as loudly or as quietly as she wants. More often than not, she uses it so she can completely ignore anything that she doesn't want to hear, but it has plenty of stealth and information gathering uses as well.

"Well, I'm glad we got you out of there before they did something drastic then," Most people don't really like being completely ignored like that. I can't imagine them wanting to get information out of Sumi helped the situation at all.

"They were getting a little rough after a while, but I dunno how far they would've gone," Sumi shrugs again. "The shutting up plan wasn't something I expected to hold up for very long. I didn't think it'd take four goddamn days."

I know she yelled at Ringo about that, but I didn't think she was actually that upset. She still doesn't look it, but I feel like I should apologize anyway. "Right, I'm sorry about that. There was a lot going on, and we really were looking for you."

"Nah, you don't need to be sorry," Sumi assures me. I don't know why I keep worrying about it when she's obviously not upset. "From the sound of it, you guys were actually working your tails, and really the rest of your asses off,"

I don't think that's true. I may be working pretty hard, but I can't really say the same about some of the others. "We've really only managed to bring things back to the point they were at before Reisen showed up," I answer honestly. We haven't solved the big problem yet. "And we still have to figure something out to get back to the Moon."

"Yeeeah," Sumi takes a moment to kick a few sticks off of the path, probably to make it easier for her run later. "You're in a better spot to think about that than I am. I've been stuck with no source of info other than a bunch of shitty chirping the last four days."

"The tengu make actual bird noises?" Aya may have talked fast, but sounded normal otherwise.

"No, not really," Sumi laughs slightly and I feel a little silly. Of course not, duh. "Whatever dumb noises they make, they're not gonna be helpful to us."

"I didn't really expect that they would," From the information we have on them, the tengu wasn't really a group I was considering trying to get help from. They're a bit too traditional and old-fashioned. I don't think they'd have a way to help us get to the Moon.

"So yeah, I'll try to help but I'm not gonna know anything more than you do," Sumi concludes before quickly remembering something else. "Oh wait, there is one thing about that goddess that got me out."

"What, Kanako?" Why did I ask that? Obviously it would be Kanako. This is what happens when I talk without thinking. Ugh.

"Yeah. I heard some of the birds talking about her deal," I feel a bit better when Sumi doesn't say anything about me asking obvious questions. "Seems like they're pissed that she didn't do anything when the drone was getting close to their territory. Now that they know she's got it, they want it identified so they know what the hell was happening."

"Well I don't think there's anyone qualified down here," I try to think through a mental checklist of all the Earthlings that we know about. Yeah, none of them are particularly technically inclined. Definitely not to the Moon's standard. Well, there is one possibility. "Unless she ships it over to Eirin, but Reisen said that Eirin wants to keep this a Moon only problem, so she probably wouldn't say anything."

"Could be that, I dunno," Sumi glances back toward camp. I think we've made a complete circle around the area by now. "All I know is that Kanako made the deal. She must have some plan for making it work. Maybe she knows somebody more technologically capable than the kappa."

"Or she was bluffing," I suggest. Would she really do that though? Possibly. We know that Kanako seems to have a lot of scheming going on from when we talked to her. I just don't know enough about the situation to make a call on it. "I guess we could try and ask about it if we keep working with her though."

"I'd be okay if we do. She seemed alright," Sumi shrugs, then seems to think better about what she just said. "Though I admit it's kind of hard to get a bad impression of somebody who springs you out of jail for free."

"It wasn't exactly for free," I remind Sumi.

"Right, somebody who springs you out of jail as long as you can go to a party for her," Sumi sounds amused.

"It's not exactly a party," Is there a point in continuing to give out these reminders when they never actually work? "We have to gather information there too," I'm really counting on having Sumi for this actually. She may not be able to follow every conversation at once, but her powers should pretty useful at the meeting. Being able to eavesdrop on conversations nobody would think she can hear will probably give a lot of information.

"Well I can do that, but if you think I'm not gonna be partying at the same time you're fucking crazy," Sumi ends with a laugh.

Before I can continue, Sumi starts running. I know we've done over one whole circle around camp, but she could at least wait until we're done talking. I guess she just didn't feel like having the argument. That would mean there's no point in chasing after her then. If Sumi decides a conversation is over, it's pretty much over.

-

A couple hours of rest later, I'm finally ready to confront the issue that's been at the back of my mind all day. Well, I say that I'm ready, but really I don't have any other choice than to deal with this now. It's night time. I need to sleep. Usually I would take my pill before bed, and tonight should probably not be an exception. I'm just unsure because of the small issue of the amount that I have left. There are seven more nights that I'm probably going to sleep before the night of the full moon. I have six pills left. It almost works out. Almost.

Assuming we don't get out of here early, there's at least one night that I'll have to go without any protection against nightmares again. I think I'll probably be a bit better off with handling it when I don't just forget to take a pill by mistake, but I'm not sure. I only vaguely remember the dream from last night, but I kind of have a feeling that it wasn't all that bad. It just happened to work out that the dream made me shoot out a bullet. I can probably suppress it on my own. Maybe. I mean, I've been taking these for a long time, it sure would be nice to not have to rely on them so much.

[ ] Take a pill
[ ] Don't take a pill
- [ ] Maria
- [ ] Bullets
- [ ] Suppress
- [ ] Void

[ ] Practice
[ ] Missing
[ ] Goddess 1
[ ] Goddess 2
>> No. 27066
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Maria
[X] Goddess 1

I wonder if flying all the time makes you go out of shape.
>> No. 27067
N.B.: maria is the plural of mare (as in Mare Tranquilitatis and the like).

[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Void
[X] Goddess 1
>> No. 27068
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Maria
[X] Goddess 2
>> No. 27069
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Maria
[X] Missing
>> No. 27070
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Maria
[X] Goddess 1
>> No. 27071
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Maria
[x] Goddess 1

If there's any actual significance to this vote, it's gone right over my head.
>> No. 27072
[x] Don't take a pill

If we're going to have to go a night without the medicine, it might as well be this one
-[x] Void
Oh, scary

[x] Goddess 1

One of these is Kanako the other might be Hina. I hope it is Hina, considering she's the first we met and all.
I want Hina because they put Kanako in a shit position with their obvious lie to Aya and, since there's no progress in the moon escapade plan (goddamned easygoing bunnies) and our MC is going to be just fresh out of a nightmare, we're in no condition to deal with a Goddess of War.
>> No. 27073
So uh, don't panic, but I've had some issues this week which have prevented me from writing or really even thinking about the update that's supposed to be here today. Will have to postpone it for a bit.

Maaaaaybe I'll get something done with the rest of the week, but if not, the weekend should probably be clear. Then we will return to our regularly scheduled bunny girls.
>> No. 27074
File 147425422640.png - (2.23MB, 1500x887, Just a bit brighter.png) [iqdb]
27074
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Maria
[X] Goddess 1

"I hear that Mare Serenitatis has lovely weather this time of year."

I'm pretty sure somebody said that when we got our most recent set of orders, but that was probably just a joke. A bit of sarcasm that only they would think is funny. Lunarians are like that. I can never really keep track of what they're thinking. Not that that's true of most of the other rabbits either, it's just much worse when you're talking about Command. I wonder if Ringo caught it. She's better at stuff like that. She didn't say anything about it either way though.

If I had put any thought into it before now, I'm pretty sure I would have seen the multiple problems with that statement. There is no weather out here. They don't bother making the atmosphere do anything near any of the Maria when there's nobody out here. It's just too much work for nobody's benefit. For that matter, there is no time of year where the weather is much different from any other time either.

It's just a stupid little comment, but I'm still bothered by it. Maybe I don't have a right to complain since I'm the one stuck on the lowest part of the chain, but I didn't sign up for the military just to be mocked. I don't really remember what I signed up for specifically, come to think of it, but it wasn't this.

We've been out here for years. Just staring out over the water and patrolling the area, cycle after cycle. A simple, flat, motionless body of water, expanding far along the surface of the Moon. Actually, what time is it? Where am I relative to the sea right now? When am I getting back to the base? I can't focus on anything. Oh whatever, it doesn't matter.

How many years are we up to now? I don't remember that either. Things have been such a blur ever since I was let back into normal service. Always on some base or another, never doing anything important, and never in the capital itself. There was some talk about a war however many years ago that was, but it never amounted to anything. Not for our unit at least.

Yeah, our unit... We all more or less understand each other now. Some of us get stir crazy easier than others, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. I've had more experience with being cooped up with nothing to do for longer than the others have. They hate me for all of this, I think. How could they not? It's all my fault. If I weren't grouped with them, I bet they wouldn't have to stay out here. They may be weird, but they're not like me. They might not fit in that well, but they're not like me. It's all me. My fault.

"Danger to herself and others," An official decision. So they keep me locked up for a while until they find something that works. The therapy's not doing anything, but the drugs work eventually. Once they can develop something for a problem they've never solved before. It took a long time, and a lot of failures. I didn't want this dumb power either, you know?

"I heard she killed somebody!" A rumor over the comms. I know what the source behind this one is. No, she didn't die, nobody dies here and they all know it. It was just an accident. It didn't happen more than once. It couldn't have. You could just ask her yourself.

"I heard she was the one that blew up a wing of that hospital two districts over!" It was only a fire, and it was an accident. It was years ago, and won't happen again, so why even talk about it? Everyone's already heard all there is to hear. Leave it alone.

"She's always carrying that mallet around, even when she doesn't have to make mochi," It calms me down and makes me feel like I can control things better. What's wrong with that? "I heard sometimes she stains it with some suspiciously ambiguous red stuff. I wonder what that could be, hmmm~," It's just anko, what else would it be? Don't be ridiculous!

"I heard one of the Commanders that went to talk to her went missing!" Th-that was... Come on, you must have seen her around since then. I didn't do anything wrong!

None of these rumors come up at the same time, but that's probably just because I'm so far away from the public eye. People don't have a reason to think about me when I'm out here. A part of me is glad for that, even if I hate it at the same time. You can't do anything to stop those kinds of rumors once they start gathering up speed. If I don't pay any attention to comms, I can pretend that nobody's saying anything.

"Don't worry too much about it. Somebody has to be out here, why not us?" You're just happy as long as you don't have to do any work. This isn't even what our unit is for! They're just shoving us out here so that we don't bother the other rabbits. Well, they're shoving me out here for that reason. The rest of you are just guilty by association. I'm really sorry.

"Nah, the others aren't really complaining. We're all used to this," Yuzuki's been silently cleaning every speck of dust out of every base we've been to. Sumi's been going for half-cycle long 'patrols' that are really her just running around outside. Chiyo's been locking herself in her room because you're not forcing her to come out. Even if everyone is used to it, that doesn't mean that they're okay with it.

"Well, I was thinking that next report I'd try and put in another request for reassignment. I've got a good feeling about this one," Didn't it get denied the last three times? Even if it gets approved it just means moving to another base. It's more of the same. How much longer are we going to keep doing this?

"That's the thing though, you haven't been listening to comms, right? I've been hearing some interesting rumors about some kind of special operation. It's still in the planning phases and even if I ask, there's no guarantee, but we might as well give it a shot, right?"

I stare into the surface of the water. From this angle, I can see the reflection of the Earth.

-

I feel awful when I wake up.

The first thing I do when I'm awake enough to notice myself doing things is groan involuntarily. I don't know what time it is, but I don't really care. I just want to stay asleep for a while. There's this weird blend of confusion and guilt stuck in my head for some reason. I can't really remember the specifics, but I think it had something to do with whatever I had been dreaming.

Oh right, I had been dreaming. Because I didn't take my medicine...

Both my brain and my body aren't very happy with whatever part of me manages to fling my covers off and get up. Too bad for them I guess, I need to check things out right now. My inspection of the area is quick, but thorough enough. I at least feel relieved now, even if I'm not exactly better. Nothing bad happened over night, as far as I can tell. There aren't any new bullet holes in my tent when I check, and nothing is broken either. It really looks like I made it through just fine, moodiness aside.

With that short bit of panic over, I'm pretty much awake now. As tempting as crawling back into bed is, I shouldn't let myself take it easy. I might as well get up and get ready for the day. I know we have a meeting to go to in the evening, but there must be something else we can accomplish with the rest of the time we have. We're on a deadline now, one that isn't going to care about how comfy my blankets may be. Excuses won't make it better.

I get myself dressed and ready, mostly on autopilot. I can't say that I'm really thinking about much, I'm just doing what I always do. Eating breakfast goes just as mechanically. I don't even really pay attention to what it is, and it isn't really important either. Even though my brain may be in a weird funk right now, you can't say that I'm not getting things done at least.

When I finish eating, I take a glance around. Nobody else seems to be awake as far as I can tell, so I've got some time to myself. I wonder if I should talk to the others about getting up earlier. Not that it would help. Everyone else is pretty set in their ways. Ringo doesn't have to listen to me, Sumi won't, and Chiyo can't help it. The only other person I could talk to is Yuzuki, and actually, shouldn't she already be out of bed by now?

I get up from the table and check Yuzuki's tent first. Her blankets are in perfect condition, as if they've never been slept in, but that's normal for her. She's obviously not here. Didn't this happen a few days ago too? That morning before Cirno showed up, Yuzuki was just gone and didn't seem to be anywhere. Well, maybe I can search camp a bit more thoroughly before I start to worry about anything weird going on.

There aren't actually that many places to look. The tents only cover a semicircle on the southern edge of camp, so I can check behind those easily enough by just walking around normally. Doing that doesn't get me anything. That just leaves the (now empty) equipment tent which has nothing around (or in) it, and the bunker, which also ends up being unoccupied. Well, it's pretty stuffed full, and I don't know how well I'll be able to get equipment out of it, but there aren't any rabbits in it is what I mean. Where else should I even check?

Maybe I should look over near the closest river where we usually go for showers. She could just be grabbing water. I start walking North, away from camp. Something feels kind of off about all of this, but I'm not completely sure what it is. I guess some of it might just be the mood that I've been in since waking up, but I don't think that's all of it. I want to say that I've felt this kind of atmosphere recently.

A sudden realization hits me and my legs come to a stop in the middle of nowhere. I take a moment to just listen to what's going on around me. Yup, that's it. It's too quiet right now. We aren't on the Moon anymore, we're on Earth, and that means wildlife. Even if it's getting colder, there should be plenty of ambient sound from animals out here in the middle of a forest. I don't hear any right now, and I know what that means.

Even though I know what's going on, that bit of knowledge doesn't really help me find the cause. I have to wander around for a while before I actually get to what I'm looking for, but it's not like there's any danger in doing so. I'm still worried, but it's not for myself. Heck, if my mood were a little better, this could practically be a pleasant morning stroll.

Once I've wandered around something like three or four minutes northeast-ish of camp, I finally find our friendly neighborhood misfortune goddess, Hina Kagiyama.

I guess I was kind of hoping that Yuzuki would be with her, but it seems like I'm not that lucky. I pretty much expected it, but Hina is by herself in a clear patch of forest, silently spinning in place. Well, last time I saw her doing this, she thanked me for not interrupting her, so I should probably do the same this time. I don't have any reason to stay hidden this time though, so I just watch quietly, hoping that she's almost done.

Last time I saw this, I had felt strangely attracted to Hina while she was doing it. That's still kind of there now, but much less. I guess it's that she already took the misfortune out of me before, so there isn't as much pulling me toward her now. That's probably a good sign at least.

After a couple minutes of waiting, Hina comes to a stop facing directly toward me, even ending her spin with a small bow. I get a weird urge to applaud, but am too embarrassed to actually do it. Uh, what is she expecting exactly? Am I being awkward again? Help.

"Good morning Seiran," Hina is oblivious to my worries as she walks over to me. Okay, I need to stop being stupid.

"Good morning," I greet back as normally as I can. Well, I kind of wanted to ask her about Yuzuki, but it feels a little rude to just launch right into that. Simple small talk it is then. "Still hard at work?"

Hina just nods along, standing calmly with her hands folded in front of her. "Yes, I haven't been by this area in a while, so I thought it best to come around and check on things."

Oh, that might be a problem. "Is it bad here?" I ask.

"No, not at all. This is just a part of my normal rotation around the mountain," Hina smiles pleasantly. Was that a pun or was it unintended? "To be honest, there's rarely a problem with buildup on the mountain anymore. I've had quite a while to work out a system that works, so as long as I'm diligent, everyone in the area should be free from most misfortune."

"Oh that's good then," I don't know what the effects of misfortune buildup would be, but I can't imagine them being anything that I'd want. "I was just checking, because we're kinda camped out pretty close to here."

Hina nods again in understanding. "So those sources of misfortune that I noticed are you and your friends then?"

"Yeah," It feels a little weird to be referred to like that though. "Are any of us particularly full of it?"

"No, none of them are any worse than you were when we first met," Hina assures me. Wow, it seems that even though we've recently been told we only have a week to live, we're still somehow pretty fortunate. "It's just that all of you combined were noticeable enough that I could easily sense you while I was passing by."

Well that's a good enough lead in to ask what I want to ask I guess. "Right, that reminds me, have you seen Yuzuki around this morning? She isn't in camp."

Hina giggles a little. It doesn't seem like she's laughing at me so much as she is just in a generally good mood right now. "Well I haven't seen her today, no," She says happily. "I know where she is regardless."

"What does that mean?"

"As usual, Yuzuki stopped by my shrine a short while ago," Hina explains. She sounds much more joyful than I remember her ever sounding when we met before. "On that subject, if you happen to see her before I do, could you please tell Yuzuki that I'm very grateful for all that she's doing? I would never ask someone to do as much as she has, but because she's choosing to do it all by herself, I'm very happy."

"Okay, hold on," I cut in because I have no idea what Hina's talking about. Well, I can kind of guess, but it's better to just get the facts. "What has Yuzuki been doing?"

"Oh, she hasn't said anything about it?" Hina seems surprised, and maybe a little disappointed, but that goes away quickly. "Well, Yuzuki has been coming by my shrine every morning since we met. She always prays there at least once in the morning. She also will normally pray at some point during the evening, though she doesn't come by the shrine again for it. I still appreciate it though."

"Oh..." Well that's a bit more than I was expecting. At least it explains what she's been doing when she gets up early in the morning.

"I also went back to my shrine yesterday, as I usually do a couple of times a week," Since I'm not saying anything, Hina continues on. "Even though Yuzuki had already came and left before I got there, I noticed that she had apparently been cleaning up around the shrine during her visits as well. I was quite amazed that my small, out of the way shrine had become so immaculate and well cared for out of nowhere!"

"Yeeeeah," That's normal Yuzuki behavior, but I thought she didn't do that without asking for permission anymore. "See, Yuzuki can kind of get carried away about cleaning things like that so..."

"Oh no, it's not a problem at all," Hina quickly assures me. "I'm overjoyed to have a follower that's so enthusiastic. Well, I'm mostly just happy to have a follower at all, but to have one like Yuzuki really is helpful. Even if it's a small amount, I haven't had a consistent source of faith in quite a long time. Not to mention that, with everything being already cleaned up yesterday, I was even able to take a break!"

Just from the way that she's talking, I feel like Hina seems brighter and cheerier than before. All that's happened has been Yuzuki praying to her a time or two per day. I'm actually pretty surprised at how much difference one follower seems to have made. I guess the jump between zero and one is a big deal in this case.

Still, even if there doesn't seem to be much danger in her heading out to the shrine in order to go pray, Yuzuki's been doing all of this without asking. She didn't say anything to me or Ringo, and for that matter she didn't say anything directly to Hina either. I thought that Yuzuki said that she wasn't going to do this kind of thing anymore. I'll have to talk to her about this, because I doubt that Ringo wouldn't do much about it even if she knew.

I could head over there right now and talk to her Yuzuki privacy about it. That's the quickest way to address the issue, but does it even really need addressing right now? She's already gone out there for today, so as long as I talk to her about it sometime before tomorrow, it won't make much of a difference.

On the other hand, Hina is right here. I know from previous experience that she's willing to hand out information. I could spend some time asking her questions while I have the chance, then deal with Yuzuki some other time.

[ ] Go to Hina's shrine and find Yuzuki now
- [ ] She shouldn't be going out in the mornings like this
- [ ] It's fine that she's been going out, but she shouldn't have kept it a secret
[ ] Stay at camp and talk to Hina
- [ ] About her situation with the Moriyas
- [ ] About getting to the Moon
[ ] Leave the whole thing alone, it's not a big deal. Let Hina get back to work, and do something else (Write-in)

(I'm still not quite back into the swing of things, but I hope it doesn't show in the update too much. My schedule should be better now, so I can hopefully get back into it. I don't know why missing just one update is messing with me so much.)
>> No. 27075
[x] Stay at camp and talk to Hina
- [x] About her situation with the Moriyas
- [x] About getting to the Moon

Be a bit rude to go running off right this instant. And we do need to get started on the whole Moon thing.
>> No. 27076
[x] Stay at camp and talk to Hina
- [x] About her situation with the Moriyas
- [x] About getting to the Moon

Since she's there you might as well. When asking about travel, don't forget to ask about getting to the dream world as one way of doing it, since she might not associate dreams with the moon.
>> No. 27077
[X] Go to Hina's shrine and find Yuzuki now
- [X] It's fine that she's been going out, but she shouldn't have kept it a secret

Poor Seiran.
>> No. 27078
[x] Stay at camp and talk to Hina
- [x] About her situation with the Moriyas
- [x] About getting to the Moon
- [x] Remeber to p(r)ay her back! A goddess' time is valuable
>> No. 27079
[X] Go to Hina's shrine and find Yuzuki now
- [X] It's fine that she's been going out, but she shouldn't have kept it a secret
- [x] Pray with her while you're there. Hina is actively keeping misfortune away from you, after all.
>> No. 27080
[X] Go to Hina's shrine and find Yuzuki now
- [X] It's fine that she's been going out, but she shouldn't have kept it a secret
- [x] Pray with her while you're there. Hina is actively keeping misfortune away from you, after all.
>> No. 27081
[x] >>27076

I'm not sure if she can help them, but it's worth a shot
>> No. 27082
File 147451787819.jpg - (1.03MB, 1414x2000, Things are complicated.jpg) [iqdb]
27082
[x] Stay at camp and talk to Hina
- [x] About her situation with the Moriyas
- [x] About getting to the Moon

I know that handling this situation is going to be up to me, like usual. Well, Ringo would probably do something about it if I bothered her with it, but I don't think I need to. If I had to guess, she'd say something like 'I don't mind Yuzuki going out as long as we know about it' which I pretty much agree with. The real issue is that she's been sneaking out without saying anything. We're supposed to be a team here! Cooperation!

But I figure that I don't have to do anything about it right now. What's done is done, and I can talk to Yuzuki about it when she gets back. Having a chance to talk to Hina is probably something I shouldn't pass up when I know my other option isn't very high priority. Hina was a wealth of information before, and a lot of what she said did pan out into us being able to find our friends. It could be too much of a stretch, but maybe she can help with getting to the Moon too.

I should probably continue the conversation though. "Yeah, Yuzuki was kind of... Struck by you," Is that even a good way to put it? I don't know. "She decided pretty quickly that she wants to help you, and I guess stuck to that pretty hard."

"Well, I'm glad," Hina answers before gracefully walking off in a random direction. She beckons me lightly with her hand, so I follow along. I guess she still has more places she wants to spin in today. "I admit that I was a bit surprised at first, but it has turned out to be rather helpful."

"Right, well that's fine as long as she's only being helpful," I don't strictly have to bring this up, but I probably should make Hina aware of the Yuzuki yelling at Sanae incident. "Otherwise, I'm a little concerned about her getting too worked up."

"Hina turns her head toward me curiously. "I'm not certain I understand your meaning. It shouldn't be a problem if it's just her cleaning up."

"Right, but she might not always end up expressing her enthusiasm through cleaning," I try to phrase this delicately. Am I doing a good job? "Depending on the situation, she might be a bit more negative."

"That may be a bit more of a problem, yes," Hina agrees somewhat reluctantly. I think she knows this isn't going anywhere good.

"And it kind of already happened when we met Sanae,"

"Oh dear," Hina's posture is usually pretty stiff, but I notice her shoulders droop slightly.

"We went to the Moriya shrine a couple of days ago based on your suggestion," I should probably elaborate a bit. "You helped out a lot by the way, I managed to find my last friend because of your tips. Thank you for that."

"You're welcome," Hina smiles pleasantly again, though she isn't really put at ease by my thanks. "You were saying?"

"While we were there, Yuzuki brought up your situation. She was a bit forceful about it," Maybe instead of being delicate it would have been easier to just say that she started screaming. Oh well, I'm committed to going the low intensity route now. "I calmed her down, it's just that she got a bit angry at Sanae for a bit first. She was convinced that things were unfair for you, and didn't want to just let it slide."

Hina slows her pace slightly, looking like she's thinking hard about that statement. "Unfair, hmm?"

Since we seem to be slowing down, I come to a stop and lean against a nearby tree. Is there an easy way to look cool while leaning? I've never figured it out. Well, I can at least set my mallet down when we're not moving. "We got some more details about your shrine situation from Kanako," Hina seems surprised when I call the goddess by name. Oh right, I should probably be more respectful and use last names and titles or whatever. "It seems complicated enough that I'm not sure about whether it's a good or bad deal for you," I say honestly.

Hina comes to a slow stop as well, still facing the direction we were walking rather than toward me. "Unfair... May not be a bad way to put it," She admits quietly. "I'm used to it already though."

"You're used to what? The deal?" The shrine had looked pretty new from what I could tell.

"No, I was being more general. I am used to things being a bit unfair for myself," Hina's expression looks calm while she's explaining things to me, but she might be forcing it a bit. She definitely doesn't sound happy or anything. "I've been alive for a very long time. In all that time, it has been extremely rare for me to find any amount of support among humans, youkai, or even other gods. When it seemed that Lady Yasaka was open to negotiation, I jumped at the chance to gain an ally. I was surprised at how good the deal she proposed seemed at first and quickly entered into it."

I know what the next word is going to be, even though Hina doesn't seem in a hurry to say it. "But..." I begin for her.

"But the construction of the tramway, which was supposed to increase foot traffic, is moving nowhere," Hina reluctantly continues at my prompt. "The Moriya shrine also gets many fewer visitors than their behavior would lead you to believe. So visits to my shrine are exceedingly rare right now. Even if anyone does come to pray, if they don't know that the shrine is dedicated to me, then most of the faith goes to the Moriyas instead."

Kanako hadn't mentioned that bit when we talked to her. I wonder if she even mentioned it to Hina before the deal started. "Maybe it's just hindsight, but this deal sounds worse and worse for you the more I hear about it," I try to sound amused to keep things light, but hopefully it doesn't seem like I'm laughing at Hina's problem.

"Anything is better than nothing in this case, even if it turns out to be very little," Hina explains quickly, not seeming bothered by my tone. If anything, she just sounds kind of resigned. "Ideally, the tramway will be built soon, traffic will be increase, and things will work out the way that Lady Yasaka originally explained when she proposed the idea. I can't force that to happen though, and construction has already been stalled for years. Who knows how long it will be until the plan comes to fruition?"

"Can't you just move somewhere else?" There must be plenty of other possible shrine locations that get more traffic.

Hina winces slightly before going back to an even expression. "That may be a bit difficult. I wouldn't want to make an enemy of the Moriya shrine by spitting on their generosity. Even if it's not working out at the moment, I don't believe that Lady Yasaka made our deal with any ill intentions."

So she's being held back by gratitude toward nothing? I mean, I can understand not wanting to piss people off, but I don't see much to be grateful for. "Right, but if that wasn't an issue, couldn't you just move somewhere else?" I repeat.

"My location now is rather nice to look at, but functionally, it would be better to be closer to where humans are," Hina says before shaking her head. "It's pointless in any case. Even if the Moriya's allowed such a move, the authority figures of the village wouldn't. Even if I didn't have a bad reputation, faith is already a heavily contested resource. I certainly don't want to be the cause of an incident."

"Yeah, I guess not," I don't imagine that Reisen would get involved in something like that, but the incident solver that would is probably much worse.

"The only real option right now is to wait," Hina recites. It sounds like she's said this to herself dozens of times before. "I have lived on very little faith for a long time. As long as there is misfortune to absorb, I can continue to do so."

Hina's been giving a lot of reasons for how and why things are the way they are, but she isn't really revealing what she actually wants to do. I know she doesn't like this. She even admitted that she thought things were unfair for her, but she's still acting like she doesn't want to do anything. It almost seems like she's making sure that she doesn't say anything that I might be able to act on for her. Kanako said that we should ask for Hina's opinion, but did she know that Hina would avoid giving it out easily, instead just giving flat information?

"Are you okay with that?" I try to sound as serious as I can, looking Hina directly in the eyes. I want her to be honest here.

Hina looks at me for a moment, then glances away. She lets out a small puff of air, almost a sigh, but not much of one. Okay, she's not okay with it, but she knows it would be difficult for her to do anything about it. For that matter, what can I do about it? I'd either have to negotiate to somehow get the tramway built, or negotiate to allow Hina to move to a better spot. Even without mentioning the seven day time limit that I have, I'm not sure how I'd pull it off. Maybe there's something that neither of us have thought of?

"Regardless, I think I would like to talk about something a bit less severe now," Hina moves to start walking again, going back to a cheerful tone. "You said you found all of your friends, correct? What do you plan to do now? Are you staying in the area?"

I pick up my mallet and start to follow along with Hina again. The direction that we're moving changed for some reason. Actually, won't going this way lead us back toward camp? "Well, we'll probably move at some point," I answer vaguely. I probably shouldn't mention that we'll have to go back to the Moon. Wait, maybe I should mention it to see if Hina has any ideas.

"Ah, are you thinking that you're going to join the rest of the youkai rabbits in the bamboo forest?" Hina guesses. It'd be pretty reasonable if our cover story wasn't a lie at least.

"Well, maybe. I guess it makes sense that rabbits would want to be with rabbits, but we don't really know any of them, so it's not that easy," I answer, suddenly struck with an idea on how to segue this. "If we're gonna get thrown into a group of rabbits we don't know, then we might as well go up to the Moon. I hear there are rabbits up there too," I laugh a bit, making it sound like a joke, hopefully Hina follows along.

She doesn't laugh much, just a few polite giggles in response to me laughing. "Well, that might be rather difficult to do, but I see your point," Good enough I guess.

I'll just push a little bit harder here to see if she knows anything. "Yeah, I don't know how we'd pull it off. I don't suppose you have a rocket or anything."

"No, I don't even know what I would do with something like that," Hina continues to sound amused probably just for my benefit. "I remember hearing about the residents of the Scarlet Devil Mansion building one at some point, but they mostly kept quiet about it, even after they succeeded."

I think Ringo and Reisen were talking about that. They didn't mention any mansion though. "Well maybe we'd have to use some other way then,"

"It's not exactly a popular tourist destination, so you may have a difficult time. Outside of miss Yakumo teleporting you there, I don't know how you would manage," I don't know who that Yakumo person is, but it's something I could look into.

I'm about to drop it, but I get another idea for how to ask for more information. Wow, I'm actually on a roll today. "I dunno, I've heard some kind of rumor about a dream world or something. Do you know anything about that?"

"Hm?" Hina looks confused for a moment before realization dawns on her face. "Ah, that. No, I can't say that I do. I believe that's something of an older magic that some youkai were into using quite a few years ago. It's mostly fallen out of style now."

"Oh, it's that old?" I don't know anything about how the portal works, but I had assumed it to be something kind of high tech. From what Hina's saying it sounds like something that could be managed even without lunar technology.

"Well, I know that it was a while ago, but I believe that Reimu and Marisa were around at the time that you stopped hearing about people hiding mansions or secret bases through portals to other worlds. It shouldn't be that old then," Hina seems to be thinking hard about it, so I guess it's not something she knows much about. "Of course, that might not even be the same thing as what you heard about. I don't know any of the specifics for magic like that, but anyone involved in incidents from back then may."

Well that's vague, but I guess it's something. More than I expected at least. She gave some names in there, though the idea of talking to Reimu is a little intimidating just from everything that I've heard.

"I wouldn't attempt it if I were you anyway," Hina continues when I don't say anything. Maybe it showed on my face that I was thinking too hard about it. Oops. "There are rabbits up there, like you said, but the relationship between Gensokyo and the Lunar Capital isn't the best."

"Hm? Why is that?" I try to sound casual as if I didn't just accidentally reveal that I wasn't joking.

Hina gets a complicated look on her face. "It's ancient history. Chances are good that you don't know anyone involved, but with people as long lived as some of the youkai here and the lunarians there, some grudges are still around over an old war," She explains vaguely. I actually do know some people that were involved, but correcting Hina here isn't really necessary. "Combine that with many many cultural and ideological differences, and it seems that we don't exactly get along."

I pretty much knew all of that already, but it's still interesting to hear it from the perspective of an Earthling. Hina seemed to be pretty nice about it. Most of the time you'd get something about Earth people being 'filthy' or 'impure' if you were talking to a lunarian. I wonder what somebody less polite than Hina would say about us.

"Not to mention that Reimu wouldn't stand for it," Hina adds as an afterthought. "I really doubt she would want anyone to get Gensokyo involved with the Moon if she could at all avoid it," Well that's not the best news in the world, considering Reimu's name keeps coming up.

As I'm thinking of a reply, I notice that we've walked enough so that we're now just outside of camp. Good timing I guess.

"This has been a nice chat. I'm glad that you're doing well," Hina seems to be wrapping things up as she stops walking before entering into the clearing. "If you need anything, I'll in the area all day, and will be nearby tomorrow as well. Do remember to thank Yuzuki for me."

"Right, sure thing," I make a mental note to also remember to pray to Hina when I can. It seems like having Yuzuki giving her faith improved her disposition, and two rabbits should be better than one. "Thanks for coming by, Hina."

Hina gives me a light bow before turning and walking slowly away. I've probably kept her from her work long enough, so it should be fine to just let her go now. I need to focus on my own issues now. It's still the morning, so I should have plenty of time to get some stuff done before we have to go to that Grass Roots Youkai Network meeting.

[ ] Stay in camp
- [ ] Practice Danmaku
- [ ] Talk to someone
[ ] Leave camp
- [ ] Investigate an area
- [ ] Look for a specific person

(I'm not giving a lot of options here, because things are kind of wide open at this point. Seiran's leads are all pretty vague still, so some investigation might be required to see if certain things will pan out. Once leads are established, more options might be available by default. For now, discuss and do your write-ins, or bandwagon on whatever sounds good. Either is fine. Different things will take different amounts of time, but Seiran will want to try to make sure to be back in the area by the evening.

You can feel free to specify if you want a specific rabbit to come along somewhere, otherwise it will be up to their(my) own discretion.

Also keep in mind that metagaming too hard might not work here. If you say "look for Yukari because gaps", Seiran a) doesn't know who that is and b) has no idea where to look. Seiran only knows the general geography of Gensokyo and where people she's met/heard of would likely be located.)
>> No. 27083
I have a dubious plan for how to solve this whole Moon problem. Reisen said that Eirin considered getting Reimu, Marisa, and Sanae involved to help solve the Moon incident. This implies that these 3 people are not only willing, but are capable of helping the Moon, which presumably would include having some way to get to the Moon. Eirin decided not to get these people involved, but she also decided to kill us, so screw her. Basically, my plan is that we go get Sanae and Kanako to help us.

To do this, we first go to the Underground Youkai Network meeting and find out as much as we can about them. Then we tell Kanako everything we learned. Then, once Kanako is satisfied, we spill the beans about us being Moon Rabbits, the truth about the drone, and the current Moon problem. To convince her to help us, we also tell her absolutely everything we know about how the drone works, and offer her her pick of any crate full of technology we have in the camp.

This plan runs the risk of Kanako attacking and/or imprisoning us for trying to purify Gensokyo to death, but we only have one week to live anyway so I say its time to take some risks. Hopefully, since we told Kanako everything she wanted to know about the Underground Youkai Network, we will have gained enough of her trust to prevent her from wanting to kill us for the drone incident. She would also need us alive and mentally sound so we can tell her how to work our Lunar tech, so in a worst case scenario she would prevent Eirin from killing us or tampering with our brains at the very least.

In order to put this plan into action, we first need to wait around for the Youkai Network meeting, so...

[x] Stay in camp
- [x] Practice Danmaku
>> No. 27084
[X] Stay in camp
- [X] Practice Danmaku

I wonder if anyone underground would know about getting to the moon. Seiran still need to have that date with Yamame too.
>> No. 27085
[x] Stay in camp
- [x] Practice Danmaku
>> No. 27086
[X] Stay in camp
- [X] Practice Danmaku
>> No. 27087
>>27083
In canon, weren't the moon rabbits only told they were clearing a space for a summer residence? I forget but how much do the characters here know about the true purpose of the rover?
>> No. 27088
>>27087
They know everything about the drone that Reisen told them in >>27039:

>Reisen nods, using one hand to squeeze the bridge of her nose as if concentrating really hard. "You guys were sent down here on orders to let the drone purify whatever Command made it purify, right?" I nod, trying not to break her (for whatever reason) needed focus. "They told you it was just clearing out a vacation home or something, right?" Nod again. "Okay. That was all a lie."

>"We kinda guessed that actually," Ringo says quickly. We guessed a lot of things, but it sounds like Reisen is going to give us the truth now. Or at least something like it. "Well, we never really reached a conclusion, but the orders being a front for something else was something we'd talked about."

>Reisen crosses her arms in front of her chest and looks at me and Ringo in turn. "The truth is, you were really down here to help it purify all of Gensokyo."
>> No. 27089
So, uh Amy relation between Lunarian purity and the misfortune miasma? "
>> No. 27090
File 147485987251.jpg - (179.81KB, 850x1060, Beautiful and Intellectual.jpg) [iqdb]
27090
[X] Stay in camp
- [X] Practice Danmaku

I know that I'm going to have to take a chance at something eventually, but for now I think I'm going to wait. Partially because nobody else is up yet and I don't want to leave on my own, but also just because I don't feel like I've narrowed my possibilities down to anything I like enough to commit to yet. I'm not putting it off, I'm just gathering info to make an informed decision.

Most everything that I've heard from the couple people that I've asked so far are maybes and I thinks. There hasn't been anyone coming out and saying "Yes, I know how you get to the Moon, just go talk to whats-her-face down at the something-something-place and she'll fix you right up," Not that I believe it will be that simple. Even somebody who could do that probably wouldn't. At least not before sticking us with some random (and possibly asinine) favor for them first.

Speaking of which, there's a meeting to go to tonight. I haven't put a lot of thought into what exactly we're going to do there other than show up and try to gather information though. Wakasagihime already said it was fine if I bring more people along than just Ringo, so we should have plenty of ears open to pick up on what's going on. The flip side of that is that it also means we have more people who could say or do something suspicious. I know that nobody would intend to blow our cover, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't happen anyway.

But honestly, we're going to have to let somebody in on who we really are eventually. At least if we want help getting back home. Not everyone is going to give out opportunities for joke lead-ins to questioning like Hina did. Even if I could keep using that setup, it wouldn't do anything toward actually making things happen. Finding somebody who's willing to work with us despite us being Moon rabbits would be the ideal situation. It's just that I have no idea how we would go about setting something like that up. If we picked out the wrong person to let in on our secret, it could go downhill pretty fast. At best, they'd danmaku us, at worst...

Actually, let's distract myself form the bad thoughts for a bit. What would happen in that situation if somebody made me duel them with danmaku and I actually won? Would they have to let me go about my business? Would they be forced to keep me being from the Moon a secret? I don't know enough about the specifics of duels to do anything other than guess. It doesn't make much difference if I can't actually win though.

Hm, Yuzuki did want to practice danmaku with me at some point. Aside from the reasoning she already gave, that's probably another reason why it wouldn't be a waste of time. It's been a couple days now, but there's no reason why a practice session would be off the table. Aside from the fact that Yuzuki is still away from camp that is. I guess I can just get started now while I have some free time, then see what the others think when they're up and about.

I cut across camp and head out of the clearing again. I go the complete opposite direction that Hina had left in, partly because I don't want to bother her while she's out there working, but mostly because I feel weirdly embarrassed. It's odd, but I feel like somebody's going to come and laugh at how bad I am at danmaku every time that I do it. The thought goes away when I'm actually dueling, since at that time I'm too busy to care and my opponent is too busy to laugh, but that's not going to be the case if I'm off practicing by myself. I'm just self-conscious about it.

Whatever, the surrounding trees can't judge me. At least, they probably can't. Gensokyo might end up having magic sentient trees somewhere, but I haven't seen any evidence of them near our base at least. I'm going to just assume that they're not here. That'll probably make me feel better.

Well, I decided to come out here away from camp mostly just so that I wouldn't make too much noise and bother anyone, but maybe that wasn't the best idea. The forest gets kind of dense when you move away from camp, so there's not a lot of room for bullets here. Using my actual cards probably won't work to well. I'll just try to do something more basic.

Focusing on using the environment to my advantage seems like the best option, so I go with that. Most of the patterns that I'm used to all start right where I am and radiate outward, so I try to work on doing something other than that. I force the bullets that I conjure up to spawn farther and farther away from myself, then set them on random curvy paths through the trees.

Yeah, it's taking a lot more concentration than it probably should. I wouldn't be able to pull this off while I also have to focus on dodging. Maybe if I...

-

It's something like thirty minutes later now, and I'm giving myself a break. I feel pretty drained. Considering the military training, I'm no stranger to having to exercise pretty hard right after getting up in the morning, but this is something different. Being tired from using magic is a feeling that doesn't really affect any specific place on my body. It's just kind of all over and inside at the same time. This is another thing that makes it worth taking the time to practice. I don't have a lot of magical endurance yet, considering I've only been using danmaku for months rather than years.

Youkai are kind of innately magical, or at least, I know that us Lunar rabbits are. It doesn't take too much rest for me to be ready to go again. I just need to take a quick breather. It doesn't look like there's anywhere convenient to sit, so I just plop down on the forest floor. Eh, what the heck, might as well just lay down while I'm at it. The grass is a little bit wet and cold, but it's not that bad of a sensation. It's definitely more comfortable than laying down on the Moon at least.

A couple of minutes later, I hear the slight shuffling of foliage. I guess somebody's come to visit. "And there she is," I'm not surprised that it's Sumi.

"Good morning Seiran," And Yuzuki too. I guess she's had plenty of time to finish her business at Hina's shrine then.

"Hey," I sit up to face the others. I keep myself from saying welcome back. Maybe Yuzuki set this up on purpose just in case, but I do feel kind of awkward about calling her out on leaving camp when Sumi's around. I'm probably being too considerate. Whatever, it can wait until later.

"So what, some squirrels giving you shit or something?" Sumi laughs as she looks around at the markings that I've made in the surrounding trees.

"She's practising danmaku. I already told you that," Yuzuki answers for me.

"Right, yeah, I could hear it, I'm just asking why," Sumi waves her hand at Yuzuki, instead continuing to focus on me.

"There's a bunch of reasons," I don't feel like I need to go over all of them. I'm already on board with the practice, so it doesn't matter that much if Sumi is. "But it can mostly be summed up with the phrase, just in case."

Sumi smirks at me. "Just in case the squirrels won't apologize, gotcha."

"Anyway, this was Yuzuki's idea first," I continue, glancing over to see Yuzuki sighing at Sumi's joke. "I would have came by and grabbed her, but she wasn't around when I was looking for her."

"I had some business I had to take care of," Well, she's not technically lying. It's a pretty vague excuse that I could call her out on if I really wanted to though. "I'm ready to practice now if that's okay with you."

"Sure, just give me a little more time to rest," My magic is still coming back to me right now. There's no reason to overdo it first thing in the morning. I still have a whole day ahead of me. "What about you Sumi?"

"In a while," Sumi slowly starts walking away from Yuzuki and I. "I just woke up, so I gotta get in a quick run."

"You ran last night," Yuzuki points out.

"Yeah, but I've been stuck in the bird cage for four days. Gotta make that time back up," Sumi pauses to stretch her well toned legs out. "Plus, we're gonna be partying tonight, so I won't be able to get that sweet sweet cardio later either."

"We're not going to be partying," I don't know why I keep reminding people when they're obviously not listening. "It's a meeting."

Sumi just laughs and starts running in some random direction. I don't think we're close to the worn down path from yesterday, but that doesn't seem to slow her down at all. Well, she did say that she would practice with us later, which was more than I expected. As long as nothing else catches her interest in the meantime, maybe we'll end up with four combat ready rabbits at some point.

-

Another half hour or so later, Yuzuki and I sit down for a break. I don't think that we've made that much progress. In fact I'm not sure if we've done much other than wear ourselves out magically. I mean, I know that practice makes perfect, but it's really hard to tell what perfect, and by extension how close we are to it, is in this case. From the unpleasant look on Yuzuki's face, I think she agrees. Well, maybe not in so many words.

"I think you're still focusing too much on each bullet," From what I know, a proper danmaku duel is going to have you shooting bullets by the hundred (or thousand). Yuzuki's speed could better be described as being by the dozen instead. She's just too slow to be dangerous.

"You're probably correct. I just want to make sure that they're all the same size and shape," Yuzuki sighs as she slowly traces her finger in a circle, shooting another bullet straight up into the sky. She watches it go with a frown on her face.

"That's a bit overkill," I wonder how many digits of precision she can measure to. I don't think that every shot she shoots out can possibly be exactly the same. There has to be some cut off for how closely she measures them. "It doesn't really matter. Nobody other than you is going to notice the difference."

"Yes, but I'm going to notice, so it matters to me," Yuzuki levels her frown at me. Hey, I didn't really do anything to deserve it. Not any more than the sky did anyway. "I'm not going to create something so... Incorrect."

Even though she had to pause to get to the right word, I still understand what she means. It's just another quirk from her powers. "Sounds like we'll be needing a lot of practice then," Maybe if she works at it enough, Yuzuki will be able to get a lot of 'perfect' bullets out really quickly. That's the hope anyway. I don't think persuading her to not care about the shape of a bunch of disposable balls of magic is going to be easy.

-

Sometime during our next session of randomly shooting into the trees, Sumi comes along. She joins in on the practice, but decides to argue that there's no point in just firing at random. With a little work, she manages to convince Yuzuki and I to take to the sky and have some actual duels instead. I still feel a little self conscious, but this kind of thing is probably normal in Gensokyo, right? Nobody comes by to watch at least.

Of course, there are three of us, which means that we can't just pair off. We end up settling on taking turns, where the loser from each duel sits out for the next one. What this means in practice is that Yuzuki and Sumi take turns losing to me. I would have spent time being proud of myself, but I was a little busy being exhausted at having little to no time to recover between fights.

Sumi's problem with danmaku is something entirely different from Yuzuki's. She never had that much problem making lots of bullets. If anything, she seems about as good at it as I am. The big issue is that she has no patience for elaborate patterns. She would much rather group all of her magic up and shoot all of her bullets straight at her opponent in one go. It's the kind of thing that would only really work if she was dueling someone inside a narrow hallway. In the sky, I can just float in any direction and everything streams right by.

"It's just so damn wasteful," Yuzuki complains to me when I point this out to her during a much needed break. "You could take that magic and blow the other guy's head off instead of making a bunch of bullets that are doing fuck all."

"I guess it's supposed to be beautiful and intellectual," Or at least that's how it was explained to me.

"It's froofy and stupid," Sumi decides. "Maybe I should work on bigger and faster bullets or something..."

-

We continue on practicing like this for a while. Well, Yuzuki and I do anyway. Sumi eventually gets frustrated and goes off to do something else. On the whole, practice goes okayish I guess. By the time that we decide to completely call it quits, I feel like Yuzuki and I have both improved to some degree at least.

It also probably helps that...

[ ] I have some time to talk with Yuzuki about things.
[ ] Sumi gives me an idea that I hadn't thought of.
[ ] We go and ask Hina for help.
[ ] We go and ask Reisen for help.
[ ] We get something else done as well. (Write-in)

(I'm assuming from the previous posts that we just wanna go right into the grassroots youkai network meeting. Unless anybody has a good plan to write in, that'll still start to happen in the next update regardless of this choice. Seiran will just pick up a different informational tidbit/spellcard/???)
>> No. 27091
[X] I have some time to talk with Yuzuki about things.
>> No. 27092
[x] Sumi's idea

I'm all for ideas, I'm kind of stuck here
>> No. 27093
[x] Sumi gives me an idea that I hadn't thought of.

Ideas are good.

>"It's just so damn wasteful," Yuzuki complains.... "You could ... doing fuck all."
You mean Sumi?
>> No. 27094
>>27093
Oh goddammit

Yes
>> No. 27095
[x] Sumi gives me an idea that I hadn't thought of.
>> No. 27096
File 147512034012.jpg - (150.84KB, 850x1105, Here's a cute Seiran idk.jpg) [iqdb]
27096
[X] Sumi gave me an idea that I hadn't thought of.

In between matches, after having just beaten Yuzuki, she asks for a break. It's not her turn now anyway, so I let her go, turning as my next opponent floats over to me. I don't know how she does it without feeling dizzy, but Sumi has a habit of never flying upright. At the moment, she's floating upside-down next to me. Well at least she wears actual pants instead of a dress, though come to think of it I should probably be more self conscious about that. "So how much are you using your brain bullet stuff?" Sumi asks me casually, not seeming at all bothered about already having lost three duels in a row.

"I'm not," I respond truthfully, although maybe also a little defensively. Most of the time the others don't bring up my powers, which I appreciate. It's not like I've ever told them it's not allowed, it's just that they know it's not a subject I like that much.

"Okay, yeah, that's what I thought," Sumi nods, though it looks a little weird when her head is down there. "Why not?"

What, I thought you were accusing me of cheating or something. Do you want me to use my powers or not? "It doesn't work for this. At least not as well as you would expect," I could probably count the number of times being able to pull bullets out of alternate dimensions has been useful to me on both hands.

"Nah, that's a waste. You must not be doing it right," Sumi slowly rotates in the air as she talks. "I dunno what the hard part of it is. Seems pretty simple to me. There's danmaku in there, right? Just grab it and throw it."

"It's not that simple," She's oversimplifying a situation she doesn't have any understanding of. It's kind of hard to get mad at her when she's rotated over ninety degrees from how I'm oriented though. There's something about how absurd she looks that has that effect. "It's really visually noisy. It makes it too difficult to dodge properly."

"So just use it when you're on the attack then?"

I could cycle it off and on as needed without too much trouble, but that's not the only issue. "There's too much randomness," I explain. "I can't know what kind of bullets I'll have available so I can't plan anything."

Sumi flips herself back up to the same orientation as me. "Oh who the hell cares about that?! Here, on the next round I'll only dodge for a while. You give the powers thing a shot," There's a small pause where Sumi realizes what she just said. "Oh goddammit I just punned."

"I can't really-" I try to continue the argument, but Sumi's already flying away. She gets an appropriate distance away then waves at me. When I involuntarily sigh, she just laughs at me before sticking out her tongue and changing her hand wave into a middle finger wave. Fine, I'm not bothered by the transparent attempt to provoke me, but if she's not going to take no for an answer, I might as well get started.

I close my eyes and concentrate for a moment to turn on my powers... Wait, has there always been so much danmaku in here? I'm almost one-hundred percent certain that there wasn't this much the last times that I've looked. The vision obscuring and randomness problems that I've already mentioned are still here, yeah, but maybe I actually could use this for something. This can't be a coincidence. Why is it like this now?

It's true that I haven't put a lot of work into figuring this dimension out, but I didn't think I had any influence on it. This is new to me.

Through the various bullets flying all over the place, I can still see Sumi for the most part. She's changed up her taunting to some other gestures, most of which I honestly don't get the meaning of. I know she's still trying to mess with me though. I heft my hammer up, trying to pick out a good clump of danmaku that I can pull. If things are like this, I guess I can at least try this out.

-

"That's what I'm saying!" It's a few hits later, and Sumi looks a bit worse for wear. She doesn't seem bothered by it, but personally I'm just glad that youkai heal quickly. That last barrage couldn't have been fun for her, even if she avoided the bulk of it. "Other people don't know you limits, and honestly sometimes even you don't. I think it's better to act like limits aren't even there. Just go at it until you fuck up bad enough that you have to stop!"

"I think that's a little short sighted," Winning the duel doesn't really matter that much here, I would have done that anyway. If I'm being honest, using my powers just made it harder to control what I was doing. Random bullets means random trajectories and flight paths. If I can't predict it, then is it really better than what I've been doing? It at least used up less magic I suppose. Maybe if I just use it sparingly or something...

"Why? I think it makes some sense here," Sumi takes off her helmet for a moment to wipe sweat off her face. Unlike the rest of us, flying around seems to tire her out more than running. I think she just never got the hang of it. "We don't got time to puss around with kid gloves, and who cares if you end up losing at danmaku? It hurts, but that's it."

"Danmaku is really only supposed to be a just in case thing," We're much better off trying to solve our problems other ways.

"Nah, I don't think so," Sumi puts her helmet back on and begins to slowly rotate again. I wonder if she's just bad at staying still in the air. "In fact, I was thinking I might use it some tonight. Just for fun."

"What?" I really don't like the sound of that. "Sumi, you really shouldn't do that. You'll just lose."

"Like I said, who cares?" Sumi shrugs off my concern. Of course, she's already decided something, so there isn't much hope of changing her mind. "The important thing is the impression I make. If I'm meeting ten people, I'd rather make friends with one of them and have nine think I'm crazy than have all ten of them not give a shit about me because I didn't do anything interesting."

"Ugh," I know Sumi's said stuff like this in the past. I have to admit that when we first met, I would have fallen into the 'thinking she's crazy' category, while Ringo would have been the one friend. Though I do have to admit that I got used to her eventually, so we're friends now. It just took a while.

"Well, that's only if I find the right type of person. No use trying it if people just end up getting their panties all twisted about it," Sumi continues, smiling at me, since it seems obvious I'm not going to argue back. "Heck, maybe it'd be better for you to give it a try."

I like the sound of that even less, although I guess I would have a better chance at actually winning a fight than Sumi would.

"Anyway, let's go grab Yuzuki. She's been on long enough of a break."

-

Yuzuki and I finally call it quits some time in the late afternoon. I float down to the center of camp, nodding a small greeting to Ringo as I grab some water and think to myself.

Putting my powers to use while doing danmaku seems to have a little more potential than I originally gave it credit for. A few duels later, it randomly occurred to me that maybe the reason why I have more influence over the extra-dimensional bullets was because I've been off my meds for a couple of days. I don't have any way to confirm or deny it, but it seems to make some sense to me. There's less suppression on whatever my powers are actually doing, so maybe I can control it somewhat. It doesn't solve the issue of definitely not being able to control it while I sleep though. I'm not sure if that trade off is worth it or not.

Aside from that, Sumi also talked about casually having danmaku matches with random people just to make a good impression on them. To be honest, as much as I hope she doesn't do it, there may be some merit to that. It seemed to work with Cirno, and who knows what other types of youkai we'll end up meeting over the next week? Some people probably respect strength more than talking. I guess it also gives a bit more point to my practicing. It's not something that would have immediately occurred to me on my own, but it's no surprise that Sumi brought it up.

Well, I've already worked hard enough at it for now. I can take a break from danmaku for a few hours at least. I grab a canteen from my tent, then join Ringo, along with an even more tired than I am Yuzuki, at the table.

"Good work," Ringo slides me a plate of mixed vegetables. It's been a few days now, but these still look pretty fresh. I thought the Earth's impurity was harsher on vegetables than this. Maybe it has something to do with getting them from a goddess or something. I don't know all the rules for how things decay.

"How're the others?" I grab a small turnip and nibble at the leafy green part. Yeah, definitely more fresh than expected.

"Chiyo seems better today. She's playing with Sumi somewhere or other," Ringo gives a bored glance beside me.

"Sumi's tent," Yuzuki answers the unasked question. So convenient.

"Right-o. I'll grab them real quick then," Ringo stands up. "We're gonna have to get going soon."

"What, already?" I thought the meeting didn't start until just after sundown. We should still have a little time. "I thought you'd want to arrive fashionably late or something."

"Well, we have to have a quick briefing first. This is a mission after all, it's not a party," I shoot Ringo an irritated look, but she just winks at me with a smirk before walking off toward the tents.

"So!" It doesn't take long for everyone to be gathered at the table again. Once we're all seated, Ringo starts into the briefing in a surprisingly official sounding voice. "The primary goal tonight is to gather information about the Grassroots Youkai Network, the group whose meeting we will be attending. We are supposed to figure out as much as we can about their members, their goals, if anyone is backing them, and anything else that happens to sound interesting. All useful information gained will be delivered back to me, and I will compile everything into a full report for the goddess. Any questions?"

Nobody answers, so Ringo continues.

"I'm adding a secondary goal here, if you can find any info about getting to the Moon or dream world, that would also be worth doing. We're still technically in hostile territory, so we're keeping up our cover story of being displaced rabbit youkai. This might make the secondary goal difficult to achieve, but that's why it's optional. Just do your best, have some fun, maybe make some friends. Also here's hoping the food is good."

She definitely lost her official briefing tone in there.

"Since we were invited to this meeting, we'll just show up as normal, no need for stealth or anything. We have to fly across the lake, a bit southwest of the mansion on the other side. If we leave around now, we'll probably be a little early. I don't think there's any harm in that though. If anything it'll just give us more time to talk to people."

I'm still not that confident in talking to people, but if it's for a mission then I'll have to do what I can.

"We won't take any radios with us this time. If something goes wrong, you are to regroup here at camp as soon as possible and stay here. It's close enough that it shouldn't be hard to find your way back, even at night, so we don't need any independent rescue missions. Even though I doubt there'll be any problems, I would still recommend that you try to keep track of one another, and don't go off on your own if at all possible."

Oh, I hadn't even really thought about the potential of something going wrong. It's good that Ringo has, but now that she's mentioned it I feel a little worried.

"The mission will conclude later on tonight, when we return here after the meeting is over. If there aren't any questions, that's all I've got," Still nobody asks anything. We already had over a day to get any clarifications we needed, so the whole briefing thing feels more like a formality than anything else. "Right, let's do this thing then!"

Despite Ringo's enthusiasm, we're not quite ready to head out immediately when she smacks her hand on the table. I still have to put away the half eaten plate of veggies, then grab the mochi from yesterday. Yuzuki also insists that she needs a couple of minutes to make herself look decent enough to be seen by strangers. I didn't really notice her looking any different than normal, but then again, it is Yuzuki. She's more sensitive to this kind of thing than the rest of us.

Once we've gotten ourselves straightened around, we all leave camp together. The flight over the lake itself is pretty simple, if a little quiet. We don't even run into Cirno this time, which I'm happy for. Not that she's a bad girl or anything, but I'm just trying to focus myself toward the mission. She would only really side track us.

Once we've made it to the other side of the lake and gone across the road and field like Wakasagihime told us, we slow down a bit. Yuzuki takes the lead without needing to be told. We're in an area we haven't really spent much time exploring, so having her out front will increase our chances of finding the meeting place.

Wakisagihime said it was about ten minutes from the shore of the lake, but with our uncertain pace, it's probably more like twenty. Still, even with the delay, the sun is in the process of setting when Yuzuki stops midair and changes direction. As I glance through the trees (have I mentioned there are too many damn trees in Gensokyo? I think I have.), I notice a bit of light where the forest is a little less dense. It might be a little tucked away, but since we're looking for it, we can find it.

Yuzuki leads us down into the forest, landing just a bit away from where the light was coming from. We walk past a few trees until the area opens up a bit. It seems like this area isn't as cleaned up as the clearing that we used for our base. The largest area only has enough room for twenty or so folding chairs arranged in a messy semicircle. Scattered around the area, there seems to be all kinds of activity going on. It doesn't seem very well organized, just a bunch of different groups of people milling about wherever they can fit themselves and their various equipment between the trees.

There doesn't seem to be a clear indication of where to go so uh...

[ ] Oh, I know her! Kagerou seems to be setting something up with some tubs of water.
[ ] It looks like there's a food stand off to the side with some people next to it... Wait, Ringo, you don't even have any money!
[ ] There's a group of people messing with some musical instruments off to the side. Nobody mentioned a show tonight.
[ ] Wait, I think I've seen those people near our base before. Kappa?
[ ] I'm not really sure maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!
[ ] Maybe I should take a seat and wait.
>> No. 27097
[X] I'm not really sure maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!

I think i have an idea of who this is.
>> No. 27098
[x] Are those... Kappa?

Technology!
>> No. 27099
[X] Oh, I know her! Kagerou seems to be setting something up with some tubs of water.
>> No. 27100
[x] I'm not really sure maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!

SURPRISE
>> No. 27101
[X] I'm not really sure maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!
>> No. 27102
[x] I'm not really sure maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!

Boo!
>> No. 27103
File 147546616283.jpg - (47.80KB, 600x960, Spook squad.jpg) [iqdb]
27103
[X] I'm not really sure, maybe I should just wait until-WOAH!

To be honest, glancing around the area again is making me feel anxious. Like I'm being made aware of how out of place I am. Realistically, I know it's probably just my own social awkwardness messing with me, but I'm still kind of unsure what to do. I should just concentrate on my orders. The problem with that is that my orders are really vague. 'Talk to some people and figure out whatever you can' is pretty open for interpretation.

"Well let's get down to it then," Ringo says, apparently also finishing her quick survey of the area and deciding on a course of action much more quickly than me. "I'll see what we're dealing with over here. You guys do some schmoozing wherever you want," She quickly dismisses us and wanders off toward what appears to be food stand. Well, I don't think she has that much money left over, so she probably won't be able to get all that much. Aren't we supposed to be staying together though?

I'm about to say something, or maybe just follow after her so I don't have to be by myself, when I notice Sumi walking away with Chiyo as well. They're headed off in a different direction toward a group of people sitting around between some trees and playing with some musical instruments. And then, yup, there goes Yuzuki off in another direction. Looks like nobody is that concerned about keeping track of each other, even though it was just said in the briefing that we should.

Well, whatever. Everyone is still relatively close by, and Yuzuki will be able to notice any suspicious stuff ahead of time. Where should I go then? Everyone else had no problem picking a group and walking toward it, so it shouldn't be hard for me. Maybe I should start off by freeing up one of my hands first. I've been carrying a container full of mochi the whole way here, so I should find out where I can drop this off. I'm just not exactly sure-

"Food can go over to Mystia."

WOAH! I jump in surprise as a voice suddenly comes from beside me. The words weren't anything dangerous, so I feel stupid at my reaction. Well, I am a rabbit, so jumping is something that I'm kinda good at. That'll be my excuse. It's still embarrassing how hard I jumped though. It's just that there wasn't any noise of anyone approaching me, so it came out of nowhere. Usually somebody sneaking up on you through grass would make some kind of noise unless they were trying really hard to be silent.

I turn to face whatever stealth master just surprised me, and jerk back slightly again. I don't do a full hop this time, but I still can't help but recoil just because it wasn't what I was expecting. The girl's voice had been fairly soft and came from around my shoulder height, so I was expecting some kind of short girl youkai. Instead there's a... head floating beside me. No body, just a head with bright red hair and a big blue ribbon. It's floating around chest level, staring blankly at me with bright red eyes like nothing weird is happening.

"New member, right?" The head continues, glancing up at my ears. "Mystia's the bird girl at the food cart over there," She can't really gesture with her no arms, so instead she just tilts her... self toward the cart that Ringo walked to earlier. I can actually see her sitting over there, chatting with the girl behind the counter.

"R-right," Okay, sure, I'm talking to a floating head. There are all kinds of youkai down here. I know that. I should just treat this as normal. It probably is normal, even though it's definitely weird to me. Introduction! I should do an introduction. "I'm Seiran. My friends and I were invited to come to your meeting by Wakisagihime."

"Sure, Princess already said something about you," It's kind of odd to see a head nodding without a neck. It's just kind of bobbing up and down. Actually, is she even trying to nod? "I'm-"

"BOO!"

Another girl comes out of nowhere from the side. This time I don't need to jump or anything. I'm already on guard after being surprised once, so even if I hadn't heard this one coming, I don't think I would have been as shocked as the first time. Well, this one yelled instead of speaking calmly, so maybe it would have been a bit worse.

I turn toward the new voice and am greeted this time by an umbrella. Well, not a normal umbrella. We don't really have much use for umbrellas back home, but even I know that a normal one wouldn't have a large eye and a giant tongue sticking out from it and waving around. That's just kind of gross looking. Well, not all youkai are going to be cute girls I guess.

I'm not really sure how to react here. Given that all it said was boo, I guess this umbrella thing was just trying to mess with me. It just didn't work. I stare at it and watch it move its tongue around wildly. Luckily it doesn't try to lick me or anything, and after a few moments of getting no reaction, it eventually comes to a stop. The umbrella rises slightly and another face peeks out from underneath it.

Okay I take it back. All of the youkai that I've met so far really are cute girls.

This new girl stays perfectly still and stares at me expectantly with two differently colored eyes. I don't know what to do other than stare back.

"Bankiiiiiiii," The girl suddenly whines loudly to the floating head next to me. "Why'd you have to surprise her first?"

"I was just talking to her," The head answers back plainly.

"You surprised her! And that made it so I couldn't surprise her!" The girl lifts up her umbrella, though it's still staring down at me. That's kind of creepy, please stop weird umbrella face thing.

"I was just talking to her," The head repeats in the same tone.

The new girl makes a pouty face in response. Should I think that's cute? I think it's cute. "Ei!" The girl suddenly lunges forward and grabs the floating head with both arms, capturing it against her torso. "You're going to have to make it up to me!"

The head wiggles around, but not all that violently. It seems more like it's trying to keep its face out of the other girl's chest than it is trying to escape. "I don't think I have to do that at all actually," She says bluntly once she's turned enough to face up to the girl's face.

"You do if you want your head to get free!" The girl playfully threatens. "I'm taking it captive!"

"Ohh noooo, what will I do?" The head moans in complete deadpan.

"Ehehe," The girl just laughs at her captive's response and pulls her tighter against her body.

Well, the focus doesn't really seem to be on me anymore. I haven't said anything, so these two seem pretty happy to talk between themselves first. Actually they seem a little weirdly affectionate with each other to me. Is there something going on between them? Wouldn't it be weird to date a floating head? How would that even work with um... Maybe I shouldn't really jump to conclusions or worry about stuff like that. That's not the kind of information we came here for, even if I'm personally curious. It's the normal rabbit love of gossip acting up.

"If you don't let me go, I'm blaming everything that doesn't get done on you," The head says. The girl holding her still holds on tight, weighing whether to let go or not. "I still have to make sure that everyone that needs help is set up properly, and Kagerou is busy getting things ready for the Princess."

"Ffiiiine," The girl finally relents, reluctantly letting the head float out of her grasp. "But you're gonna have to help me get somebody later! Either here or back in the village! You keep saying you're too busy!"

"Whatever, sure. Later, not now," The head mumbles dismissively as she slowly floats up and out of arm's reach. "The meeting is going to start soon. Probably whenever Princess shows up. I don't care if you want to mess with the new people in the meantime, just don't break anything,"

"Okay!" The girl replies happily. "But where are all the other new people?"

The floating head swivels around, looking around at the few concentrations of people around the area. "Looks like they're all over the place," She noncommittally answers before being interrupted. There's a loud thud over in the larger open area. It looks like Kagerou was moving some large tub closer to the chairs and accidentally dropped it, dumping out all of the water that was in it. She whines loudly in exasperation. "Ah crap. I need to go help with that, sorry. We can talk later if you need something," The head says to me.

"Uh, sure," I was kind of thinking that she had forgotten that I exist.

Hearing my answer, the head darts off quickly toward Kagerou. I'm not sure what she's going to be able to do with just a mouth, but okay. I lean slightly to look around some trees and watch what's happening, when I suddenly feel a hand tap my shoulder. Well, it's not like I had forgotten the new girl, I was just curious about what was going on. I turn back.

"Hi! I'm Kogasa!" The girl smiles happily as she introduces herself. "You're one of the new members, right? What's your name?"

"I'm Seiran," I don't feel like I'm going to be able to match this girl's cheeriness, so I don't try. I just act normally. "And I'm pretty sure that Wakisagihime said that we were just trial members first."

"Oh yeah, that. That doesn't really mean anything. We almost never kick people out once we've invited them. Well, aside from Rumia, but that was all her fault. She couldn't rein it in," Kogasa prattles on happily. She doesn't seem to be very tight-lipped with information. "But anyway, all of the other people you came with are bunnies like you, right?"

Couldn't she just look for people she doesn't know? "Uh, yeah, everybody that I came with is a rabbit," I still find myself answering the obvious question honestly.

"Then they've all got big floopy targets on their heads!" Kogasa laughs at her own joke before pretending to get serious. "I'mma gettem!"

Well I don't know if I like the sound of that. "What do you mean get them?"

"I'm gonna surprise them. That's what I do to people. I prefer humans, but I'll take whatever I can get," Kogasa happily explains herself as she spins her umbrella in her hand idly. "Ah! Actually, you can help me with that, right?"

"Help you surprise my friends?" Just to make sure I get what she's asking.

"Yeah. You know them all, right? So you should know which one of them would be the best for a spook!" Kogasa stops spinning her umbrella, letting it's tongue swing around behind her. That's really freaky looking to me honestly. "Pleeeeease?"

I'm kind of getting caught up in Kogasa's pace here, but at least she's not hard to understand. She, for whatever reason, wants to scare people, and apparently thinks that my friends are the best choice. Given that none of them will expect it, she might be right. Though on the other hand, knowing what I know about my friends, she's more likely to be wrong. Aside from me, I don't think anybody in the unit is prone to getting surprised easily.

Actually, this girl, Kogasa, seems to not think a lot about what she says. At the very least she's friendly and happy to talk. It might be good to try and get information out of her just because of that. Going along with her and helping her scare somebody might help with buttering her up, but even that might not be necessary. The meeting should be starting soon, so the time investment might not be worth it.

[ ] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [ ] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.
- [ ] Yuzuki. I'm around 99% sure this is doomed to failure.
- [ ] Sumi. Another tough opponent. I hope she doesn't end up punching Kogasa in the face or something.
- [ ] Chiyo. I don't think she'll react very strongly even if we manage it.
[ ] Distract Kogasa with conversation
- [ ] About herself
- [ ] About that floating head girl
- [ ] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
- [ ] About something else (Write-in)
[ ] Get away from Kogasa and go somewhere else
- [ ] (Where?)
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