-  [Settings] [Home
[Show or hide post box]

[Return][Bottom]
Posting mode: Reply
Name
Email
Subject  (Reply to 27001)
Message
Captcha
File
Password (for post and file deletion)
  • First time posting? See our frontpage for site rules and FAQ
  • Further overview of board culture in this thread.
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, WEBM, WEBP
  • Maximum file size allowed is 4096 KB.
  • Images greater than 200x200 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • View catalog

File 14718351067.png - (657.11KB, 630x840, Learned a lot about gun safety.png) [iqdb]
27001No. 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?)
>>No. 27104
[x] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [x] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.

Kogasa wants a spook--a spook it is! Goodness willing.
>>No. 27105
[x] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [x] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.

By far the most reasonable target.
>>No. 27106
[X] Distract Kogasa with conversation
- [X] About that floating head girl

Best distraction is something somebody is already interested in.
>>No. 27107
[X] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [X] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.

I'm pleased with this result
>>No. 27108
[x] Help Kogasa scare...
-[x] Ringo

Let's hope she gets scared-or acts like it, anyway
>>No. 27109
[X] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [X] Chiyo. I don't think she'll react very strongly even if we manage it.

Surprise~
>>No. 27110
[x] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [x] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.

If it doesn't work, at least you tried.
>>No. 27111
[x] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [x] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.
- [x] Yuzuki. I'm around 99% sure this is doomed to failure.
- [x] Sumi. Another tough opponent. I hope she doesn't end up punching Kogasa in the face or something.
- [x] Chiyo. I don't think she'll react very strongly even if we manage it.
>>No. 27112
File 147572704594.jpg - (154.97KB, 1106x1200, There's mischief to do.jpg) [iqdb]
27112
[X] Help Kogasa surprise somebody
- [X] Ringo. Well, I still have to drop off this mochi, might as well try.

Is this really necessary? This girl just kind of came out of nowhere, and there should be plenty of other options if I wanted to ask around for information. This may end up being a time sink without much reward. On the other hand, Kogasa seems friendly enough. If I can help her out with wanting to surprise someone, I doubt she'll withhold any information that she has.

As long as I'm going to put in the time for this, I should go for the best outcome that I possibly can. The better this goes, the better an impression I make. A better impression will probably translate into a more helpful youkai that I can talk to. I shouldn't half ass this, I should actually try to make it work.

"I guess I can help if it's just that," I decide out loud. She did just say she wanted to surprise someone. That's relatively harmless. Actually, that reminds me, didn't Wakasagihime mention something about a startling people vice before? I guess it was a very specific example of a real thing.

"Yay!" Kogasa cheers excitedly even at my simple answer. Looking happy, she repeatedly spins and looks in random directions, only occasionally facing toward any of the groups of youkai in the area. "Who should we get?"

I glance around as well, though with a lot less extra movement. Well, if we're just talking about my friends, I don't think there are a lot of options. Pretty much all of them have some issues that make scaring them less likely to work. If we have to surprise them, Yuzuki's powers put her out of the running immediately, and the same is pretty much true for Sumi, although she's at least possible in theory. Chiyo could work, but even if we managed to sneak up on her, I don't know what her reaction would be. She's been pretty quiet lately, so I haven't gotten a good idea of where her powers are right now. That really just leaves Ringo then.

"You see that girl over at the food cart?" I ask. Conveniently it looks like Ringo and the girl at the counter are the only people there at the moment. Although Ringo is slightly obscured, it's still easy to pick her out from here.

Kogasa stops looking around and faces the correct direction. "The one with the poofy shorts?" She asks, but doesn't wait for an answer. Instead she immediately starts walking straight toward her new target. "Okay, let's go!"

I grab Kogasa by the shoulder before she can get away from me. "Hold on a sec. What is your plan here?"

"Plan?" Kogasa looks at me curiously. Are you being serious here girl? "Oh, I can just get her with my signature move," She confidently declares.

Okay, so she doesn't have a plan at all. "And is that signature move you walking up to her and yelling boo?" I guess based only off of what she's already done.

"I also use my umbrella," Kogasa offers happily.

"Right," So now there's the issue of her lack of a plan along with the issue of her overly straight forward approach. I have a feeling that Ringo would just laugh Kogasa's signature move off. In fact, most people probably would. "Does that usually work?" I'm pretty sure that I know the answer.

"S-sometimes," Yeah, that bit of hesitation is really all I need to hear.

"Let's work on the plan a little more then," I suggest, trying to sound helpful. "Your move didn't work on me, and Ringo is an even higher hurdle. It might be difficult to make this work if we just go at it without thinking."

"It just didn't work on you because you were pre-surprised," Kogasa defends herself. I'm not completely sure if that's true or not, but I don't feel like I need to argue it.

"It's not all that," I say patiently, finally remembering to let go of Kogasa's shoulder. "It might have still worked if I hadn't heard you coming. You need to be more stealthy in your approaches. That should help you catch people off guard."

"I was trying..." Kogasa deflates slightly, looking a little discouraged at my criticism. It doesn't last very long before she regains a smile though. "I was even sneaking really slowly. That's why Banki got to you first."

"There's more to stealth than going slow. You have to walk so that your footsteps and your clothes make as little noise as possible," I'm about to start explaining specifics when I happen to look down for a moment. What are those? "Uh, that might be a problem."

Kogasa just looks at me obliviously. Apparently not thinking to look where I'm looking. She's got blocky wooden sandals on. They're literally just solid wood the whole way through, aren't they? Yeesh. "I don't think you'd ever be able to sneak up on someone in those,"

"Oh my geta," Kogasa finally gets it, looking down at her feet. "I always wear these. What's wrong with them?"

I guess she means aside from them looking really uncomfortable. Well, different people like different things. I can't imagine they have good arch support though. She must just be used to it. "On anything harder than dirt, you're going to be making a ton of noise while you're trying to sneak."

"But we're on dirt right now," Kogasa looks down at the ground while answering.

That's not really the point I was making. If she's addicted to surprising people, how has she even managed so far when she acts like this? "Whatever, just... Maybe just try to float instead of walk when you're sneaking up on someone," Even though she doesn't look like she gets it, she still nods as if I'm giving sage advice. Honestly, it's kind of the easy way out, but it should work. I don't need to make her a master of stealth, I just want her to be able to scare Ringo once.

"I guess you're right. I have a slightly higher success rate when I attack from above," Kogasa agrees.

Only slightly? I'm assuming that means her success rate is either very high or very low then. It's a pretty easy guess which one is more likely too. "Maybe we should also talk about what you do after you reach someone too," I continue instead of vocalizing my thoughts.

"Right, I want to use my signature move," Kogasa repeats. "It's a classic. You can't go wrong with the classics!"

I don't really get it. Just yelling BOO? It's just a noise. Maybe it's a reference to something or other. I decide to just call it another cultural thing and move on. "I don't think it'll work here is all I'm saying."

"Well... I'm willing to take suggestions. I'm not happy about it though," You look pretty happy to me.

Let me think. When it comes to surprising Ringo, I think I've only managed it consistently when she was asleep. She's usually too chilled to get riled up by anything. Although I do have to admit that I don't make it a habit of pulling pranks on my superior officer, so I can't guess as to how well this will go. I guess when it comes down to it, I'll just have to try what I know. "Maybe we can try my normal method here," I mumble uncertainly to myself.

Of course, Kogasa hears me. "Okay what do we have to do?" I don't know if she's eager to hear my idea or just eager to get it over with so we can get started.

"We'll go for her ears," I answer. It actually sounds a little lame like that.

Kogasa looks up slightly at my ears. "Oh," She puts her hands together and lets out an impressed noise as if my vague idea was somehow brilliant. "Those're cute by the way," She adds, happily complimenting me. "I don't get to talk to many rabbits. I thought that you guys would be easy to surprise, but from the ones that I've met before, that hasn't been the case at all."

I'm kind of surprised she's met any, considering they're apparently all hidden in the bamboo forest. I wonder where Kogasa lives. Well, questioning time comes later in any case. I should explain further. "Ringo's ears are like mine. They're sensitive enough that it's easy to annoy us by touching them."

"So I should sneak up on her and grab them," Kogasa concludes before I finish. I kind of don't like that groping motion she's doing there. Even if she's only doing that to ears, I think it'd be pretty uncomfortable.

"No that might be a bit much," I stop Kogasa before she moves to put her own plan into action. "If you just want to surprise her, just blowing in her ear will be enough," That's what I always do anyway, and it definitely gets a surprised reaction out of her.

"Are you sure?" Kogasa asks skeptically.

"I've done it before. I know that it works."

Kogasa looks at me for a moment before shrugging. "Okay, if you say so, then I'll believe it. Can we go try it now? I'm getting excited!" Yeah, I kinda caught that pretty easily.

Honestly I feel kinda silly about setting up a stupid little prank during our military based mission. Even if it's just playing the part to get information, it's still kind of hard to get myself behind fooling around like this. Maybe I'm being too much of a killjoy. Luckily it looks like Kogasa has enough enthusiasm for both of us. Maybe a little too much actually. "Just don't go overboard," I advise her, trying not to sound too stern. "Even if we're messing with her, Ringo is still my best friend."

Kogasa gives me a wide smile. "Of course! Just gonna give her a spook! What's a little spook between friends?"

Well, I guess that's good enough of an assurance. I'll be right there anyway, what's the worst that could happen? "Right. Well, I'll distract her for a bit first. Then you float up behind her and blow air into her ears. Okay?"

Kogasa gives me a salute and floats a few inches into the air. "Yes ma'am!"

I suppress a sigh and move to get into position. All that really means is that I make my way over to the food cart that Ringo's sitting at. It's a short walk, but it's not exactly the best path available. The land here is surprisingly uneven and seems even more poorly cleared out than the area around our camp, which is a bit of an achievement. They can't have held very many meetings here it seems like. I guess that's a bit of info learned. This group doesn't always meet in the same place.

As for the cart itself, it's a fairly plain, wooden thing, but it's kind of quaint in that way. The warmly glowing paper lantern and sheets designed to give some amount of privacy to the patrons give it a comfy kind of feeling. I also notice that it looks like it's meant to be a temporary setup. The ground around the base isn't cleared away, and I can clearly see a couple of holes where wheels could be attached, although they're missing at the moment. Even though it looks like it can comfortably seat about five people, Ringo's the only one sitting at it right now. Well that might make things easier or harder depending on how you look at it.

I brush aside one of the paper sheets and move inside of it, deciding to just act natural. Distracting Ringo shouldn't be all that hard, and these sheets will probably make it even easier for Kogasa to pull this off. I'll just leave it up to her.

I set down the container of mochi on the counter, grabbing the attention of the girl behind the counter as well as Ringo herself. "I hope you're not planning on spending the rest of your money here," I don't even know what this stall serves, but I know that Ringo isn't particularly picky about food.

"Hey, I'm allowed to if I want," Ringo laughs. I guess it is true that I can't exactly stop her. Note to self, don't let Ringo be in charge of money in the future. "But nah. It sounds like the grassroots youkai network has quite a nice hookup here. Mysty here is catering for them! Free food!"

"Oh no..." That's really not a good plan. I turn to talk to the girl manning the counter. She's obviously some kind of bird youkai, given the feathery wings, but I don't know enough about Earth animals to know what kind. She's a little on the short side, and is wearing a plain brown kimono under her apron. "Maybe you should reconsider that for Ringo at least," I start to explain to her.

"Thanks for the warning, but it ain't a big deal," The girl grabs the container of mochi and opens it, inspecting its contents without missing a beat. "Oh, nice. Anyway, catering only covers one free meal set and water. Anything extra, especially booze, comes out of your pocket. I gotta make a profit somehow, you know?"

"No bonus for bringing our own food?" Ringo asks hopefully.

"Eh, I'll give you guys a small discount on something or other. We'll work it out once I'm actually open," The girl takes the container and stashes it somewhere under her counter. You know I'm gonna want that back, right? "Mystia Lorelei," She introduces herself once she's stood back up.

"I'm Seiran. Nice to meet you," I respond as I pull up a stool. The ground is a little uneven, but I manage to find a good enough place to plant the legs down.

"Yup yup. I was just talking with your friend here," Mystia continues as she idly does some kind of prep work with various tools around her small kitchen. "Sounds like you guys have had it rough for a bit."

"Something like that, yeah," My answer is somewhat half-hearted as I turn to look toward Ringo. While it's innocent enough to glance at her, I'm not really trying to. What I'm really trying to do is check on Kogasa. It looks like Mystia is already doing a pretty good job distracting Ringo, so this should be easy even for that goofy umbrella girl to pull off whenever she comes over here.

"I don't know the details, but getting kicked out of your place is always tough," Mystia doesn't seem bothered by my weak response and just keeps the conversation going. "Well, not that I'd know really, but I've talked to plenty of people that do."

"Mysty seems to know a lot of people," Ringo chimes in.

"R-right." I'm not paying a lot of attention. I'm busy trying to give myself away as I watch Kogasa approach out of the corner of my eye. Okay, she is floating, so it should be quiet. She just needs to avoid the paper screens and it should work fine.

"Well, I've actually done pretty well for myself, as far as youkai go," Mystia explains herself. "It wasn't that long ago that I could barely even read and was getting beaten up by shrine maidens and magicians and stuff. Now I'm doing all sorts of things with this group, my cart, my band. It's all pretty great."

"Yeah, it sounds like she's got some pretty interesting stories," Ringo looks at me as if she's trying to hint something. I'm not catching it though. Looks like Kogasa's close enough and at a good enough angle that she's going to make her move right now.

Kogasa leans down slightly to Ringo's head level and takes a deep breath. Actually, isn't that a bit too deep? It's loud enough that Ringo is... Yup, she heard it. Ringo turns her head just as Kogasa moves forward to start blowing. Wait, don't do that now you're going to-

"Ah, wah!? Hey!" Ringo stammers out several confused noises when her turn causes Kogasa's lips to contact her cheek. Wait, I didn't tell you to kiss her! That's not okay! Ringo scrambles loudly out of her stool, almost falling out but managing to catch herself.

Kogasa quickly springs backward, throwing her arms up in the air triumphantly. "Two for the price of one!" She loudly declares to the world. Well, I guess I was kind of surprised too.

"W-what the heck?" Ringo has her hand on her face and looks a little flustered.

Okay, I know it was just an accident. It's no big deal. Kogasa got her surprise, so let's just move on now. "Looks like she got you pretty good," I try to stay as even as possible. I don't know what I'm feeling right now. I'm kind of amused, yeah but...

"Messing with newbies again Kogasa?" Mystia asks, chuckling slightly to herself as she continues to work.

"Ehehe," Kogasa's answer is just a fit of giggles as she slides into her own stool next to me. "That was great!"

"What the heck was that about?" Ringo demands. She doesn't sound angry, just confused. I guess anybody would be if they were suddenly kissed on the cheek by somebody they don't even know.

Well, I could just answer Ringo honestly here, or...

[ ] Answer honestly. "Just a prank, bro."
[ ] Feign ignorance. "Wow, who is this mysterious youkai? I had nothing to do with her surprising you."
[ ] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

After that... (Pick however many you want, but time is somewhat limited here)

[ ] Talk with Kogasa
- [ ] About herself
- [ ] About that floating head girl
- [ ] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
- [ ] About something else (Write-in)
[ ] Talk with Mystia
- [ ] About herself
- [ ] About her business
- [ ] About other people she knows
- [ ] About her band
- [ ] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
- [ ] About something else (Write-in)
[ ] Get away and go somewhere else
- [ ] (Where?)
>>No. 27113
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network

Hearts and minds!
>>No. 27114
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

The more the merrier!

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network

Not sure what to talk about, so I'll just bandwagon.
>>No. 27115
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

The more the merrier!

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network

Bandwagoning even though I barely go into /eientei/
>>No. 27116
[x] Go for a second surprise. "You call that a kiss?"
-[x] Show your CO what a real kiss feels like.

Be strong Blue, there are no fraternization rules during an undercover mission!

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
>>No. 27117
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
>>No. 27118
[X] Answer honestly. "Just a prank, bro."

[X] Talk with Kogasa
- [X] About herself
- [X] About that floating head girl
[X] Talk with Mystia
- [X] About herself

I feel like a kiss is a bit too out of character for Seiran.
>>No. 27119
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
>>No. 27120
[x] Go for a second surprise. "You call that a kiss?"
-[x] Show your CO what a real kiss feels like.

Be strong Blue, there are no fraternization rules during an undercover mission!

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network

Romance is lacking!
>>No. 27121
[x] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"

[x] Talk with Mystia
- [x] About herself
- [x] About her business
- [x] About the Grassroots Youkai Network
>>No. 27122
File 14760720107.jpg - (121.77KB, 850x850, Lives to work.jpg) [iqdb]
27122
[X] Go for a second surprise. "Love at first sight?!"
[X] Talk with Mystia
- [X] About herself
- [X] About her business
- [X] About the Grassroots Youkai Network

I could just answer this honestly. Ringo looks a little put off by what just happened. Really though, I'm not sure how I feel about it either. I know in my head that it was an accident, Kogasa didn't mean to kiss anyone, but I'm still weirdly... Annoyed I guess. I'm not sure why. I'm at least aware that there isn't a good way to act on that feeling right now.

You know what would probably diffuse the situation? Humor. Well, probably. I just need to think of something funny to say. I'll just throw out a silly joke and then we can move on with another topic that is definitely not kisses. Hey, maybe I can even get Kogasa a second surprise. I don't know if it counts if she's not the one doing the surprising, but whatever.

"Sorry about that Ringo," I try to put some light amusement into my voice. "She told me it was love at first sight, and she just had to get your attention."

"Wha-?" Ringo takes a sudden step back, away from Kogasa and I. Once she's gathered herself enough to respond, she loudly clears her throat and starts speaking awkwardly. "Ehem, well um... So, I'm flattered but uh..." Ringo trails off, glancing at me. It looks like she can't figure out what to say at the moment, but I don't know what she's hoping to get by looking at me. It doesn't really look like she's begging me to help her, but I don't know what other reason there'd be.

Kogasa can't hold back anymore and bursts out laughing. "Wow, you doubled up!" She congratulates me. "You're really good at this Seiran!"

I can't help but giggle a little bit as well. It's not like I'm that interested in tormenting people, but looking at Ringo getting a little flustered is still amusing. It's just not something that's happened very often, so watching her blush and be uncertain of what to say is a bit of a rare occasion. I feel a big smile creeping onto my face as I watch Ringo's reactions.

"Tch, gah..." Ringo makes some uncomfortable noises and tries not to look anybody in the eyes as she takes a seat back in her stool. She drops one elbow on the counter and leans her head into her hand. She turns and tries to give me an unamused look, but with her face still kind of flushed it doesn't seem to have the right effect. "Jeez..."

"Hey, come on, it was just a joke," I put a hand on Ringo's shoulder and smile at her. Ringo's face softens pretty quickly. There, no harm done. It was all a joke.

"And a surprise!" Kogasa chimes in.

"Yes, and one of those," I agree. I decide to lean back a bit so I'm not directly between the two people sitting on either side of me, then introduce them. "Ringo, this is Kogasa. Kogasa, Ringo."

"Hi!" Kogasa greets happily. I'm pretty sure she's somehow managed to get even more cheerful now that she's surprised someone.

"Hey," Ringo doesn't match the enthusiasm and just answers normally.

"Kogasa has a thing for surprising people, so I thought I would help her out a bit," I explain. "It just turned out that you were the easiest target."

"It's not just a thing," Kogasa happily interrupts. "I actually feed off of surprising people. With what just happened I won't need to eat for a while!"

"Oh so I shouldn't have to make you anything tonight then?" Mystia slyly asks. She had previously just been quietly watching us talk, looking moderately amused.

Kogasa's face freezes. "W-wait."

"I'll take her share!" Ringo immediately volunteers.

"Hmm, maaaaybe," Mystia pretends to consider it as she goes back to cleaning up her kitchen.

"Oh come oooooon," Kogasa whines, although she doesn't actually seem that worried.

I giggle again, then take a quick look at the others. It seems like everyone's back to normal now, so I take a moment to try and review what Ringo and Mystia were saying before. I was kind of distracted by Kogasa at the time, which might have been a bit rude considering I was being introduced to someone new.

So, let me think. This new girl, Mystia, apparently caters food for these meetings. She also 'knows lots of people' according to Ringo. All things considered, it seems like Mystia might be a better source of information than Kogasa at this point. Maybe I should focus on talking to her. It kind of makes helping Kogasa earlier a bit of a waste, but I can come back to that umbrella girl later. I don't think she'll go anywhere.

"So uh, Mystia?" I'm not sure where to start the conversation or what Ringo has already covered, but I know I need to get the girl's attention first.

"Hm?" Mystia turns back to me, idly cleaning some kind of skewers.

I might as well start off honestly. Maybe try to improve whatever first impression I gave off. "Sorry if I was distracted when we first started talking. I was watching for Kogasa."

"Oh, it's fine. I know that I'm not going to be the focus if customers are doing their own thing," Mystia seems considerate and reasonable at least. "I could tell something was up though, so maybe the two of you will have to work on your sneakiness if you want to team up in the future."

I glance back at Kogasa, who's gone back to spinning her umbrella slowly as she listens to us talk. "Well, I don't think that's gonna happen much," I decide. Not to be rude to Kogasa or anything though.

"Hm-mm♪," Mystia just hums a few cheerful notes as she lets my response go. Even though it was just some random tones, it sounded quite pleasant. Well, she is some kind of bird, so I guess that's probably normal. Ah, that's a good opening!

"So if you don't mind me asking, what kind of youkai are you?" I hope that that's an okay question to just ask people here. Back home we already know that everyone is either a rabbit or a Lunarian. "Like I know you're a bird of some kind but I don't actually know a lot about bird species," We were somewhat briefed on the flora and fauna of Earth, but that only goes so far. I also admit I didn't pay as much attention to that information as I probably should have.

"I'm a night sparrow," Mystia answers calmly enough.

"It's like a normal sparrow, but a mostly nocturnal youkai one," Ringo follows up. Well thanks I guess. That's something I didn't know just from hearing Mystia's answer. "I asked the same question."

"And did you ask anything else?" Just to make sure that I'm not covering the same information she already has.

"Most everything else she asked me was about the stand and the food," Mystia answers for her. Yep, pretty much as expected.

"I have very specific priorities," Ringo sounds amused as she defends herself. "And finding out what's on the menu happens to be on top."

Even though I know Ringo would probably have gotten around to better questions eventually, I still sigh a bit. Well, might as well compile everything Ringo's gotten so far then. "And what all did you talk about?"

"Well, I run this food stand every night that I'm not busy with something else. I move around a lot, but I'm typically somewhere near the road between the human village and the Hakurei shrine. As for the food, my specialty is grilled lamprey, but I've got all kinds of stuff," Mystia answers for Ringo again. "Well, aside from yakitori. I refuse to make anything like that."

I don't know what a lamprey or a yakitori is. When I look at Ringo, she just shrugs at me. I guess I'm not alone there. The menu isn't that important to me anyway, though maybe I will want to try something later. "Do you always do this food catering thing for these meetings then?" I ask, trying to bring the conversation back to something more useful.

"Ever since I joined up, yeah," Mystia nods, finishing up her skewers and moving on to some cups. I'm pretty sure that stuff is already clean, but I'm not going to stop her from making sure. "The flat money they pay me per meeting isn't that great, but I can usually turn a nice profit on extra sales afterwards. It's not as much as a good night operating by the roadside, but having a group of friends around makes it less risky at least. I think it's a good deal all around."

I kind of want to ask who the 'they' that she mentioned is. Apparently whoever is supplying money doesn't have a whole lot to spare on this. Or they might just be cheap. I can't think of a good way to ask about it without it seeming suspicious though. I'll just settle on something else I guess. "What do you mean by risky?"

"You know how it gets at night. I may be able to defend myself sometimes, but it's a bit of a crap shoot whether some really dangerous youkai is gonna show up and cause trouble," Mystia explains. Well, we haven't run into anything that dangerous at night, but it seems like we were correct to be cautious about it. "I've actually considered hiring somebody to help out and act as a bouncer, but I know I wouldn't be able to afford it every night."

Well I don't think I'm steering the conversation to anything interesting. I can file what she's talking about away as a way we could maybe make some money, but that doesn't help much with gathering information. "Can't you just ask to get paid some more?" Err, maybe that wasn't the most intelligent way to put that.

Mystia doesn't seem annoyed by my bluntness. "Nah, I don't think I should. Like I said, it's a good deal over all. I've got my normal work and my band to bring in profit, so I should focus on improving those before inconveniencing other people," With the way she talks about all this work, it seems pretty clear that she enjoys her job. I can't say I relate. If anything, I'm a little envious. "Plus, if this network thing starts working out well, then maybe I'll have more humans come by, which would help a lot."

"What do you mean about it working out well?"

"Well you know, just showing humans that not all youkai are out to get them all the time. I got some bad press with humans previously when I was doing some dumb shady stuff, but now I'm legit," Mystia sighs lightly. "I'm not gonna force them to come anymore, but it'd be nice if humans would at least acknowledge me cleaning up my act."

I don't know exactly what shady stuff she's talking about, but I feel like that might be getting a bit off topic again. It seems like something she wouldn't want to talk about. "So that's what you're in this network for?"

"Yeah," Mystia nods again, moving to put the now clean cups away. "Sekibanki and Kagerou stopped by my stand one night a while back and told me about it. We worked out the deal right there and I've been working with them ever since."

"Seems like they'd need food pretty early on to keep people happy," Oh nice to have you in the conversation as well Ringo. "Were you one of the first people brought in?"

"Hmm, lemme think," Mystia excuses the pause as she ducks down under her counter again.

"Mystia joined after me," Kogasa says helpfully.

"Yeah, I came in after almost all of the tsukumogami, but aside from that it was just the Princess, Banki, and Kagerou I think," Mystia comes back up and leans on the counter. Either she's done cleaning for now or she's just taking a break. "I brought in a number of people after that by myself."

Ringo's question might actually be pretty useful. It sounds like if we want to learn more about the group as a whole instead of the specific people in it, it might be better to talk to the more senior members. Well, Kogasa technically qualifies in that, but she still might not be the best lead. While she seems like a cheerful enough girl, I don't think I would really trust her with any secrets about how my organization was run if I was in charge of one.

"What about you guys then? What are you here for?" Mystia takes my silence as an opportunity to ask a perfectly reasonable question.

I don't really want to lie, so maybe I'll just try to be vague. "We're just here seeing what all this is about," Yeah, that seems truthful enough. "Cirno came to our camp one day, and she told Wakasagihime about us. Once we met with her, she decided we had the right attitude to join up, so she invited us to come and check things out."

"Well, you seem okay to me so far, so I agree with her," Mystia shrugs. I'm relieved that we seem to be fitting in well. It actually feels kind of nice. It'd be nicer if we weren't deceiving everyone all the time though. "Princess and Banki seem to have an eye for this kind of thing, though I can't say the same for Kagerou. Speaking of Princess though..."

I'm about to ask what she means when I hear a light splash of water from behind me. Wait, what would be making that... Oh that's what that was about. Near the center clearing setup with all the chairs, it looks like Kagerou finished the thing she had been setting up. It was really just a big washtub full of water for Wakasagihime to sit in. I guess that makes sense, she is part fish after all. It must be better for her to be able to sit in the water when possible.

Wakasagihime takes a deep breath before speaking as loudly as she can. "Excuse me!" Well, with the airy way her voice sounds, it still doesn't carry very well. "The meeting is going to start soon, so if everyone could make their way over, that would be appreciated!"

"MEETING'S GONNA START SOON!" An extremely loud follow up comes from the direction that Sumi and Chiyo had gone in. Whoever just repeated Wakasagihime has a much higher max volume.

I turn back to Ringo. "I guess we should go over there then," Ringo nods and stands up from her stool, as does Kogasa.

"I still need to do some more setup. There's not gonna be enough seats if I don't find somewhere to put some tables down," Mystia tells the three of us. Oh, I hope we weren't keeping her from getting work done. "You guys go ahead."

"Okay. It was nice talking to you Mystia," I try to thank her, hoping that we didn't cause a problem.

"Let me know if you want to give Kogasa's meal to somebody else," Ringo says it jokingly, but I know it's not actually a joke. Kogasa gives a small 'HEY' of annoyance, but doesn't seem actually annoyed either.

"We'll see," Mystia laughs back and gives us a small wave as we head toward the main meeting area.

When we make our way back through the trees, it seems like a lot more youkai have gathered. I can already see Sumi chatting happily with a couple of girls with Chiyo nearby. Yuzuki has also come back and is sitting near Kagerou, a couple of seats away from Wakasagihime's washtub. Apparently she's okay with not talking to anyone.

Maybe I could take this time before the meeting starts to squeeze in another introduction with someone? I do have to pick somewhere to sit after all.

[ ] Oh, that headless girl has found her body somewhere. I'm pretty sure that's Sekibanki from what people have said.
[ ] That girl with the long pink hair doesn't look like she's having a good time. Well, she doesn't look like she's having a bad time either.
[ ] That woman has a raccoon tail, so she's a tanuki right? I think I remember that one from our briefing.
[ ] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth? I guess.
[ ] There's a woman there with... Does she have a scythe sitting next to her?!
[ ] Sit near Yuzuki. She's close to Kagerou and Wakasagihime, and I know those two are important.
[ ] Sit near Sumi. She's talking to some girls with weir strings wrapped around their outfits.
[ ] Stay with Ringo and Kogasa.

>[x] Show your CO what a real kiss feels like.
Pretty sure this would have ended up being the "Seiran drops her spaghetti" option.
>>No. 27123
[X] Oh, that headless girl has found her body somewhere. I'm pretty sure that's Sekibanki from what people have said.
>>No. 27124
[x] Stay with Ringo and Kogasa.

> [ ] There's a woman there with... Does she have a scythe sitting next to her?!

Ferrywoman or gatekeeper? I have no idea why either of them would be here.
>>No. 27125
[X] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth? I guess.

One of my favourite extra themes, iirc.
>>No. 27126
[x] Oh, that headless girl has found her body somewhere. I'm pretty sure that's Sekibanki from what people have said.
>>No. 27127
[X] That girl with the long pink hair doesn't look like she's having a good time. Well, she doesn't look like she's having a bad time either.

Neutral expressions!
>>No. 27128
[X] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth? I guess.

A Raiko is fine too.
>>No. 27129
[x] That girl with the long pink hair doesn't look like she's having a good time. Well, she doesn't look like she's having a bad time either.

>[ ] Sit near Sumi. She's talking to some girls with weird strings wrapped around their outfits.
Um, that kinda' feels like it could be a problem for our cover story, but I think if we ignore it, maybe it'll go away on its own.
>>No. 27130
[X] There's a woman there with... Does she have a scythe sitting next to her?!

Someone who might know about travel to other realms.
>>No. 27131
[x] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth? I guess.

Best drum.
>>No. 27132
[x] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth? I guess.

We don't get enough Raiko around here.
>>No. 27133
>Seiran dropping her spaghetti

Man, I wish I could've read that.

[x] Headless gurl
Let's get a headstart on the meeting by going ahead and talking with the co-head of this little group.
>>No. 27134
Had unexpected things happening today and only got half an update written (the Raiko part). I will have time to finish the rest of this (the meeting part) tomorrow after work.

>>27129
I didn't get what you meant for a while, but now I think you might be thinking of something much more dangerous than the truth.
Consider a different pair of sisters.
>>No. 27135
File 147641464884.jpg - (190.71KB, 1200x1600, Banging euphemisms are overdone but DAYUM.jpg) [iqdb]
27135
[X] There's a red haired woman who looks like she can't stop tapping on things. Her outfit makes her look really... Smooth I guess.

As I look around, one of the miscellaneous youkai that has sat down happens to catch my eye. She just looks really... Smooth? Well, saying 'cool' would probably be a more normal way to describe the feeling that I get, but for some reason 'smooth' comes to mind first. I guess it's something about the combination of the quietly confident way that she's sitting and her outfit. Whatever.

Her outfit though! A white sport coat and skirt with a purple tie, accented (Is that the right word here? I don't know a lot about color combinations, I just wear blue all the time.) by a red and black plaid shirt underneath. I really like it! Well, I don't think I would have the figure to pull it off like she does. I really want to stop being so impressed by the looks of all the youkai that I'm meeting, but this woman isn't making it easy on me. Why are they all so attractive all the time?

"Hey new girl, you having a good time yet?" Eep! Oh, oops. I hadn't really been thinking about it, but apparently I was walking toward her while I was checking her out. Okay, don't act like you're surprised that she's speaking to you here...

"Ah, um, sort of," I answer lamely. Let's just keep talking with something simple. "My name's Seiran, nice to meet you."

The woman nods to me. I notice that the whole time that I've been looking at her, she's been tapping out various rhythms with her fingers. It doesn't look like she's putting much focus into it, which is kind of impressive given how complex the patterns seem to be. She even switches to different parts of her chair to get slightly different pitches sometimes. "Raiko Horikawa, likewise," She answers me, giving me a pleasant smile.

Okay, I'm not swooning or anything, though I think I feel my heart rate go up a little bit. I distract myself by taking a seat right next to Raiko and sighing. "I'd feel a little better if I didn't have to keep introducing myself to everybody," I mumble without really thinking about what I'm saying.

Raiko laughs lightly. I know it's supposed to be one of those 'with you not at you' things, so I'm not insulted. "You don't have to worry about it too much. We keep pretty friendly company around here. As long as you play nice, everybody else'll do the same."

"That's what we've all been trying to do, yeah," Well, I assume so anyway. I don't know how successful it's been for everyone else yet.

"I'll believe it," Now that the conversation has really started I notice that Raiko has switched to tapping along at a more even cadence. It's fairly slow, and feels a lot more calm than what she had been doing before. "I've only met Sumi, Chiyo, and yourself so far, but you all seem like pretty good girls."

"I don't know if a good girl would be the best description for Sumi," I point out somewhat hesitantly.

Raiko laughs again, it seems that either it's easy to make her laugh or she's just good at humoring me. "True, true. Well, I'd just call her rough around the edges. At least it seems like her and Yatsuhashi hit it off pretty quick," She explains. I don't know who that is, but I'm still glad that Sumi didn't scare people off by acting like... Herself. "I'm pretty good when it comes to watching out for my girls, and I didn't see any warning signs worth worrying about."

Oh nice, it seems like somebody actually understands that Sumi is relatively harmless. "Yeah, Sumi just talks way before she thinks about what she's saying."

"Yeah, that's the idea I got about her. Nothing I haven't run into without coming out worse for wear before," Okay, I'm going to settle on Raiko just being easygoing in general. She's kind of like Ringo but a bit less lazy. Thinking about it that way actually makes me feel a bit more at ease. "Aside from Kyouko getting in trouble when she decides to pick up a few less than nice words, there's no harm."

I will say that it's a little difficult when Raiko keeps namedropping people that I don't actually know. For some reason I feel bothered that I can't seem to keep up with all of these people, but I know I have an excuse. If I slow down to ask about every name that I don't recognize though, I know that we'll be here all night without getting anywhere.

As I'm thinking what to say next, Raiko's hands stop moving for a moment. "You can ask questions if you want. I'm not gonna get annoyed just because you're new," She assures me during her short pause.

"Sure..." I guess it was obvious that I was falling behind a bit. Well, there was something that she said earlier that I'm wondering about. "What did you mean by your girls?"

"The other tsukumogami mostly," Raiko resumes her drumming as she answers. "Yatsuhashi and Benben are the only ones younger than I am, but I still find myself needing to watch out for all of them. Even though Kogasa and Kokoro are both older than I am, I'm still somehow the best off when it comes to fitting in."

"Fitting in with humans?" I guess at exactly what she means.

"Yeah, aside from one of our fearless leaders and Mamizou, I'm pretty much in the best position to get a handle on how humans are feeling about youkai at any given time. I can get by in the village just fine by myself. That's kind of what they brought me in for originally, more or less," How does she shrug without even missing a beat in her taps?

"Have you been a member for a long time then?"

"Well it hasn't been all that long that we've been active, but yeah, relatively," Raiko continues. "I happened to run into Sekibanki by chance in the village one time, and she explained the idea to me. It's not like they've kept membership records anywhere, but aside from those three," She moves her chin to point towards Wakasagihime and Kagerou, since her hands are still busy. "I'm probably one of the earliest members."

Okay, but if the third person she meant to point out is Sekibanki, that still brings up a question. "If Sekibanki was already living in the human village, why did they need you to gather info for them?"

Raiko considers the question for a moment, her pace slowing down slightly as she does so. Honestly it's kind of weird that I'm not finding the constant tapping annoying. I normally would. "Honestly I think Banki wants to work smart rather than hard. Originally she gave me some line about being worried that she'd have Keine after her if she got caught spying on things. I guess the idea was that I'd be better off since I'm much stronger, but I've never run into any problems like that," It sounds like there's some gaps in the story there, though I don't know if Raiko is hiding anything. "She just saw a chance to delegate some of the work to me and took it. I was already doing that kind of scoping out for performances and concerts anyway. It just worked out that this network thing would want that kind of information too."

"Performances?"

"We've got quite a few youkai musicians here. We all tend to collaborate and share band members back and forth sometimes. These meetings just let us all get together and talk things out," Hm, I think Mystia mentioned something about a band too. I wonder how many bands are here total. "That's the reasoning that I told everybody that I brought in at least. It's worked out pretty well."

Well, I kind of glossed over the whole band thing with Mystia before. It sounds a little interesting, but I don't think it's relevant to what I'm trying to investigate. Before I can think of a way to bring the topic back around to more important things, I hear a quiet sloshing sound.

Wakasagihime pulls her torso out of the washtub she's sitting in, rising up slightly to talk to the group around her. "Okay everyone, I'd like to get started now," I'm okay with cutting my conversation short at her words, but a lot of pairs or groups don't seem to have the same courtesy. The overall noise level is going down, but not very quickly. Well, at least it doesn't seem like Wakasagihime is bothered by having to wait. She's just sitting quietly in her tub, trying to hurry the people who are still talking along just by giving them looks.

Come to think of it, it seems a little strange that Wakasagihime has a leadership role at all. It's true that from the interaction that I've had with her, it's not like she's been bad with words. The problem is that I've also picked up that her voice is generally pretty soft, and it doesn't at all seem like she would be pushy toward people to get things done. Nice people aren't always the best leaders.

"So how come they have the one with the lightest voice doing all the announcements?" I turn and ask Raiko, feeling a little bad about ignoring Wakasagihime's request. I'm not the only one, but I'd still like to avoid holding things up.

"Well she's the official leader after all," Raiko answers casually.

Strictly, I suppose that answers my question. There's still a pretty obvious follow-up though. "Right, but why is that?"

"Hm, you ever heard the term plausible deniability?" Raiko asks, I'm not sure if she's trying to sound innocent or not.

I have heard of it, but I don't see how it applies here. "I'm not sure what you mean."

"Eh, I'm not sure either," Raiko shrugs again. "It was just a guess anyway. You can forget about it."

If she really wanted me to forget it then she shouldn't have said it. Now I just want to consider it even more. Let me think... Wakasagihime being leader allows plausible deniability. When people come to investigate the Grassroots Youkai Network, they would normally want to talk to the leader first, right? So I guess the idea is that Wakasagihime might not know about everything that's happening within the group. The question then is who she's giving cover for, and if she's doing so on purpose.

Although, if it's just a guess, Raiko might just end up being flat wrong.

"Okay, thank you all for coming," Wakasagihime interrupts my thoughts when she finally starts talking to the group as a whole, despite one or two people still carrying on. Goddammit Sumi, shut up. "I'm really glad that we manage to continue increasing our attendance week after week. I hope that everyone is enjoying the meetings as much as I am.

"So to start things off, we have a few new potential members. A group of rabbits from a ways up the mountain were displaced by some kind of disaster. They're now looking to make some contacts while they figure out what to do next," Well I don't think we explained it quite in that way, but it's a reasonable enough explanation for why we're here anyway. Wakasagihime continues by introducing all five of us by name (did we even tell her Yuzuki, Sumi, or Chiyo's names?) and pointing each of us out. I try not to look to stiff when it comes to my turn, try being the operative word. Let's not talk about measures of success. "If any of them have any questions, please do help them out."

Finishing up with the preliminary introductions, Wakasagihime settles down slightly in her washtub while she continues talking. "Moving on then, there are only a few things that I want to talk about. First off, I know that last meeting there was a lot of talk about the prep work for a Choujuu Gigaku concert. How has that come along?"

"It went very well actually. Most everything is already settled," One of the girls that Sumi had been talking to answers. Well, I don't know her name, but she has long purple pigtails and some odd strings wrapped around her body. She's wearing a plain brown dress and seems to have forgotten to put on shoes or something. "This may end up being our largest concert yet."

"Our largest one yet!" Another girl immediately repeats. This one has shorter teal hair and some kind of floopy animal ears that I can't immediately identify. I'm pretty sure I recognize her voice as the one that shouted about the meeting starting earlier. "Lady Hijiri said she wouldn't stop me from using my time off how I want, so we're setting up a ways down the road toward the human village. We'll be able to pull in a huge crowd!"

Wakasagihime claps her hands together happily and smiles. "And when is it scheduled to take place?"

"Five days from now," The first girl answers. "Don't worry, we made sure that it wouldn't conflict with next week's meeting."

Wakasagihime nods. "I appreciate the thought, but that was actually the second thing that I wanted to bring up. Our next meeting is scheduled a week from now, however that is also the night of the full moon. Some of us are more affected by that than others, so I wanted to bring up the possibility of rescheduling either a day earlier or a day later. What do you all think?"

There's some murmuring among a few people around the seats, but there doesn't seem to be anyone speaking up strongly one way or the other. I notice that Wakasagihime takes the brief pause to turn back toward Kagerou, who gives her a sheepish look and a shrug in response. That's apparently all that Wakasagihime needs, as she quickly turns back to regain control of the meeting.

"Well, consider your own personal schedules for a bit, we'll put it to a vote later," She decides, pushing the issue off to keep things moving. "Let's move on. Banki? Could you please summarize the current situation with respect to human opinions?"

"Sure," Okay, that's finally some actual confirmation that the (formerly) headless girl is in fact Sekibanki. She gets up from her chair to address the group. "After compiling info from all of our sources, it looks like humans have gotten a little bit more nervous since last week. It's mostly due to a few minor problems that should blow over quickly. Fairies in general have been more active lately, which is usually a bad sign. It's usually like that around bigger incidents, and humans have taken notice of it, so they're a little wary. Then a few days ago there was some report of a man having his money stolen by a youkai," It takes a lot of willpower not to look accusingly at Ringo. "Well, it's not confirmed to be true. That kind of story isn't usual when somebody wants to hide a bad night of gambling or something. The man has been very vocal about it though, which is hurting public opinion a bit."

"And what does this mean functionally?" Wakasagihime prompts her to continue.

Sekibanki pauses for a moment to consider her answer. "If you guys are planning on a concert later this week, it should be fine," She decides. "Although it would probably help them out if everyone here can keep youkai-like activity relatively low in the meantime. At least near the village."

"So no scaring humans?" Kogasa raises her hand as she asks her question.

I can't really see Sekibanki's face given her large collar, but I can somehow tell that she's smirking. "Sorry."

"Aaaaawwww..." Kogasa whines but doesn't add anything else.

"What would you suggest as a backup plan?" The purple haired string girl asks. "If something occurs between now and the concert that makes humans less willing to tolerate us, should we cancel?"

"Well like I said, the issues should blow over soon enough. I'd just say be prepared to move the venue as a last resort."

"I'll talk to Mystia," The girl sighs and slumps her shoulders just a bit. "Maybe we'll have to downsize plans a little bit."

"There there, Banki says that it will work out, so let's not be too sad about it," I imagine if Wakasagihime wasn't stuck in a giant bucket she'd be patting the disappointed girl on the back. "For now, let's move on to more general information sharing. If anyone has anything that you think it would be helpful to share with everyone, we'll talk about it now. I'll start.

"Cirno has told me that the three fairies of light have gotten their hands on a few explosives. If you're ever near their territory, be cautious of a confrontation." Actually, they should only have had a couple of grenades left, so I don't think it's a big deal. I can't exactly say that though.

"Pass," The next person to speak is some kind of winged silver and blue haired youkai girl in long black dress. She waves her hand dismissively. "Everything's the same in my neck of the woods."

Err, wait, does this mean we're going clockwise? That would mean that next is a bunch of empty chairs, then Raiko, and then me... Oh hello again social anxiety, I can't really say that I missed you but I knew you'd be back.

"I already gave my info to Banki, and she used it in her report," Raiko goes next. Okay, yup. I'm actually going to have to talk next. Please no. "Aside from that, I did find a nice bar in the village that's generally pretty tolerant as long as you don't make a scene. If anyone's interested, let me know. I'll be down to go out for drinks any night I don't have a show."

Raiko's turn ends way too quickly for my liking. Oh no everyone is looking at me because I'm next please help. "Uh, wh-what should I um..."

"Just any general info you have about anything that's happened to you," Raiko saves me from having to stupidly stammer out my whole question. "Could be about jobs, humans, youkai, anything really."

"You're also more than welcome to pass if you would like," Wakasagihime helpfully tries to give me another out.

Uh...

[ ] I can say something about helping Minoriko. That was a job that paid in food. People usually like food.
[ ] Could I say something about Hina here? She helped us out. Maybe the youkai here could benefit from misfortune cleansing.
[ ] Maybe I could ask about guns here to try and reinforce that gun collection cover story.
[ ] I could tell everyone about the drone. Although it's been captured, maybe they'd be interested in hearing about it.
[ ] I don't know how to do it without being suspicious, but if I could bring up the Moon or dream world that would be helpful. (Phrasing write in required for this option)
[ ] Pass.
[ ] (Something else)

this update felt much longer when I was writing it
>>No. 27136
[x] I can say something about helping Minoriko. That was a job that paid in food. People usually like food.
>>No. 27137
[x] Maybe I could ask about guns here to try and reinforce that gun collection cover story.

Ass-covering is go!
>>No. 27138
[x] Hina
[x] Minoriko
[x] Gun story (mention that we're willing to exchange favors for them and that they don't have to actually work, just look good)


I can believe we're still going with that gun collection thing
>>No. 27139
[x] I can say something about helping Minoriko. That was a job that paid in food. People usually like food.

Helpful without drawing too much attention.
>>No. 27140
Just throwing this out there guys but... Why the hell do they even want to go back? The Lunarian corps abandoned them and treated the group like freaks from the start.
Literally everyone is happier here. If Erin is troubled by them keeping the secret, they could move with the rest of the refugees in Eientei.
>>No. 27141
>>27140
Eh. That's quite the leap of faith you're asking from the moon bunnies, considering how their run-in with Eirin earlier turned out.
>>No. 27142
>>27140
Well, for my part I'm certainly hoping this ends with at least some of them staying and settling down with some nice Earth youkai, but considering they've spent their whole lives on the moon and they don't actively hate it it'll take time.
>>No. 27143
[X] Could I say something about Hina here? She helped us out. Maybe the youkai here could benefit from misfortune cleansing.
>>No. 27144
[X] Could I say something about Hina here? She helped us out. Maybe the youkai here could benefit from misfortune cleansing.

Couldn't hurt to give Hina some good PR.
>>No. 27145
>>27139 here, changing vote to

[x] Could I say something about Hina here? She helped us out. Maybe the youkai here could benefit from misfortune cleansing.

to break the tie and support best goddess.
>>No. 27146
File 147667663647.png - (720.90KB, 872x1391, Nicer than the old meetings.png) [iqdb]
27146
[X] Could I say something about Hina here? She helped us out. Maybe the youkai here could benefit from misfortune cleansing.

It would be perfectly acceptable to just say pass and let things move on without saying anything. I know that. That definitely looks like the easy option too, the one that I'm sorely tempted to take. Anything is better than being put on the spot in front of a bunch of people I don't know. I can't shake the feeling that I'm being judged even though I know in my head that that probably isn't really the case.

Or, well, maybe it is? It's (hopefully) not being done in like a mean spirited way, but I am kind of being judged by some of the people here. That's kind of what first impressions are, right? A judgement. I would probably look a bit better if I were to actually contribute something positive to the conversation instead of passing up the chance. I just need to actually think of what that positive thing would be.

It takes me a few moments of thinking before anything comes to mind. "Well, there's Hina," I say out loud before I've really thought of how to phrase anything. "Er, Hina Kagiyama, the misfortune goddess," I clarify. "We met her shortly after we had to move, and she's helped us out a lot by giving us information about the area and the people in it. She also got rid of a lot of my misfortune, so if anybody is feeling really unlucky, I'd suggest you look for her."

The reaction to my unplanned advertisement seems a bit mixed. If I had to guess, I would say that most people don't know anything about Hina and don't really care to. As a result, most people treat my turn about the same as they treated all the previous turns. A few people do seem to be a bit more affected by what I said though. Yuzuki's looking at me encouragingly, but some others are a bit more hesitant.

"I've heard about her, but only just barely," Sekibanki sounds neutral about it. It's more like she's just continuing the conversation. Maybe I didn't say enough? "Humans seem to want to avoid the topic, and I mostly just got uncomfortable looks the couple of times that I asked."

"It's because humans are scared of her. She is kind of creepy," One of the small group of kappa speaks up. That's kind of rude isn't it? "We'll occasionally see her wandering around the mountain by herself. She just walks around spinning all day."

"That's just her doing her normal job," I explain quickly. "I don't know exactly how it works, but it seems like she goes around the mountain in order to keep misfortune from building up in any one place. If you see her around, she's probably drawing in misfortune near where you are. She's not going to cause you any problems."

The kappa girl doesn't look convinced, and for that matter, neither do her friends. Actually, why do they all have the same kind of outfit on? Is it some kind of kappa uniform? "The air is always really weird around her, and it seems like we only see her when things have started to break."

"The fact that you see her when things start breaking means that that stuff was going to break anyway," Oh now Yuzuki's joining in. At least she doesn't sound upset or angry or anything. "Hina being there absorbs the misfortune and probably makes the situation better than if she wasn't around."

"Well maybe," The kappa admits dismissively. "Other places get by just fine without a goddess creeping around all day though. We let her be because it's too much trouble to track her down or keep her away."

"Well I'm just bringing it up so that people are aware," I try to force things forward, since I don't think there's much point in arguing about Hina's importance here. I don't actually have much evidence in her favor. I don't know enough. "Hina's been nothing but helpful to us ever since we moved, and I think she'd be willing to help other people if they need to have misfortune removed."

"And how would they find her?" Wakasagihime asks politely. It seems like she's ready to move things along rather than let them get dragged down as well.

"Well she kind of wanders around a lot, so it might be a little difficult," I'm not sure how I would even find her if I wanted to. Aside from that time we went to her shrine, every time I've gotten to talk to Hina has been by chance. "You could just pray directly to her, or you could try her shrine. It's a bit off the main path up the mountain."

"Don't gods usually want humans praying to them, not youkai?" Kagerou asks me.

I have no idea how any of that faith gathering stuff works so I just shrug the question off. "I think Hina's at a point where she'll take what she can get," I hope that doesn't make her sound desperate, although it is pretty much true.

"Well thank you for the information Seiran," Wakasagihime is either sincere about thanking me or is really good at acting like it. "That's not something that we've had people talk about at a meeting before. I, at least, had never heard about your goddess before tonight," She's not really my goddess exactly, but I don't feel like fighting to make the distinction. I gladly sit down, relieved that my turn is over. "Let's continue then. Wriggle?"

The next youkai up is a boyish looking one with little antennas. "I don't have anything really. Aside from reminding all the musicians here that it's getting colder. After the show next week, it's going to be difficult to get too many of my boys together to do lighting stuff," Oh, okay, at least her voice gives her away as a girl.

"Well we're pretty much through peak concert season as it is. That's fine," The purple haired string girl from before states.

"Yeah, that's what I figured."

After that, the kappa stand and start talking about some small gadgets that they've managed to sell to humans. I'm not all that interested in the subject since I don't really have to care about humans that much. From what they're saying, it seems like most of what they're selling is appliances. Do the humans even have electricity? Maybe the kappa are just running a racket on batteries or something. I don't know. It mostly seems like they're just gushing about their inventions, but I could see how the youkai here might care about what conveniences humans want.

Next up is a... Tanuki, I think? I remember hearing about that kind of youkai in our briefing. Well, she quickly passes on her turn and we go on to the next youkai. It's that green haired girl with the floopy ears next. "Like usual, Lady Hijiri is always looking for people to help out around the temple!" She says excitedly.

"Did the deal get any better?" The bird girl before Raiko asks. "Last time I came by to help out the pay was kind of lousy for hard we worked, and your boss wasn't very transparent about wanting me to join up for real afterwards."

"Hehe, I'll ask her about it."

Once the previous girl sits back down, the next people up are all pretty similar. All three of them just look like normal human girls, but of course I know better. They probably have something to them, even if I can't tell just by looking. "We're not doing any concerts for a while," The blonde one with the black clothes mumbles plainly.

"Not officially anyway," The shorter one in red continues for her. "We'll still show up for events and parties and stuff, but we thought it might be nice to take a break for the rest of the year."

"But you'll still be up to jam?" Raiko asks, sounding more hopeful than worried.

"Of course," The third girl, this one in pink clothes and light blue whitish hair. Raiko nods happily and all three of them sit back down. It seems like the three of them are pretty well in sync. I don't think even our unit is automatically coordinated like that.

Okay, so the seat after those three is... That purple haired girl with the pigtails again. "For the most part, I've been focused on working with Mystia," She explains. "I suppose just remember to tell everyone you know about our concert. It's probably going to be our last big official one for this year too."

"Man! Winter is lame!" That animal eared girl whines loudly.

The pigtailed girl frowns slightly. "It's hard to make much profit on concerts as it is. If people aren't going to come out, it's usually not worth it," She sighs. "Other than that, we can move on."

"I've got something this time!" The next girl hops out of her seat excitedly. This is the one that Sumi had been talking to before this part of the meeting started. She's also got those large strings around her, but hers are all pretty neatly around her skirt. "It's a solo performance, and I'm actually kind of nervous about it," She doesn't sound nervous at all. "Raiko helped me out and I'm gonna be performing harp stuff at the Scarlet Devil Mansion in a couple of days!"

"Oh wonderful!" Wakasagihime exclaims happily. "How did that come about?"

"It was pretty lucky," Raiko picks up the where the girl left off to supply more information. "Ever since we switched her power source to something outside, both Yatsuhashi and Benben have had an easy time increasing their sounds to encompass more modern instruments, just like me with different drums. Yatsu happened to pick up something pretty close to a harp sound, so I've been working to help her market herself toward people who would like that kind of thing."

"And the Scarlet Devil Mansion falls into that?"

"Guess so," Raiko shrugs. "It came as a surprise to me too, but I guess it's just a whim on the part of the lady there."

"If I end up sucking, and they wanna eat me or whatever, you guys know where to send the rescue team," She sounds like she's joking. I think.

"I'm sure it will go great," Wakasagihime smiles brightly. "Do remember to stop by and visit me while you're in the area."

"Sure thing!"

Well, since we just covered the girls that Sumi was talking to, up next would be Sumi herself. "I've got nothing, unless you reeeeally wanna hear about tengu jail," She laughs out loud. "And let me say, you sure as hell don't want to hear about tengu jail. It's boring as shit."

"Sounds like there's a story to this one," Sekibanki sounds lightly amused more than anything. Personally, I wouldn't want jail time to be a part of my first impression with people, but Sumi plays by her own social interaction rules I guess.

"Nah, the real story is next time I go around there again. I'll have to bring a bone or something for dog girl and see if I can get her to beg," Sumi pauses for laughter, but only really gets it out of the girl next to her. "Yeah, I'm joking. I'm sure everybody already knows this, but I didn't. Don't dick around in tengu territory. Other than that, pass."

"Same here, pass," Well, it's not surprising that Chiyo doesn't want to share anything. Aside from Kasen's house, she hasn't really been anywhere that the rest of us haven't as well.

Two seats down from Chiyo is Ringo. "I found out a couple of days ago that if you go near the human farms and ask real nice, you can work the fields for a day in exchange for some vegetables and stuff."

"Rural humans just let you do that?" Kagerou asks, sounding surprised.

"Oh yeah, no it wasn't the humans," Ringo corrects herself. Well, she didn't know she had dealt with a non-human until we pointed it out. "I talked to Minoriko first. She set it up for me."

Several people seem to understand quickly after Ringo says Minoriko's name. "Well it is that time of year," Sekibanki shrugs. "Still, good for people who want some vegetables."

Kogasa doesn't even stand up at her turn, she just throws her arms up at her turn. "Paaaass!" She calls out happily. Well, I guess it really isn't a big deal to not contribute.

After Kogasa is a blonde girl in a long dress with suspenders and a bow tie. She has a white ribbon in her hair and wings of some Earth animal that's name is escaping me right now. I know it was something really short... Bat! That was it. Bat wings. Err, wait, sooo a vampire?

"Pass," Well, she doesn't sound like she's in a good mood. Actually, she looks kind of pale. Is she sick? I hear that happens to people on Earth a lot because they don't have very good medicine.

After her is a woman with... Is that a scythe sitting down next to her? Well, I'm the one carrying around a hammer everywhere, so I guess I don't have room to talk. Maybe she has some kind of powers that use it or something. "I'm still looking for stable work after my last position was eliminated," This girl is blonde too, but while the last one had long straight hair, this one's hair is short and curly. It even forms little drills! I don't know why I find that so cute, but I do. "And I don't really want to bring this up again, given the reaction from last time, but Kurumi still needs help finding a stable source of blood as well."

"That's... Still not something that we really deal with getting Elly," Sekibanki states hesitantly. The girl with the bat wings groans and holds her head in her hands at the response.

The next girl that stands up has a mask on the side of her head that I've noticed has changed several times over the course of the meeting. I've also noticed that her face seems to be stuck in a completely neutral expression regardless of what is happening. "I spoke with Reimu recently," She begins, speaking in a way that matches her face. "She seems to be stuck in a bad mood."

"Ah, that could be a problem," Wakasagihime smiles wryly. "Everyone will have to be careful then. What is Reimu upset about?"

"The last incident, right?" The tanuki from earlier guesses. Well, maybe it's not much of a guess, since she gets an immediate nod in response. "Sheesh. Things are mostly cleared up, but that last occult ball is still a big question mark for them. Anyway, Marisa and Kasen are working on it. Stay clear of the shrine maiden until you hear otherwise."

"That's not exactly new, is it?" Raiko jokes. Well, it's said jokingly but I've gotten the impression that 'near Reimu' really isn't a nice place that we'd usually want to be.

"I've already done my bit," After the expressionless pink haired girl, Sekibanki excuses herself without standing up.

"I don't have anything to talk about," Yuzuki passes as well.

The last person in the semicircle is Kagerou. She stands up, actually looking somewhat nervous as well. Hey, maybe at least one other person here understands my pain. "Miss Fujiwara is often gone from her house lately because of..." She glances at me. "Reasons," Oh right, I know what she's talking about. "If anyone is looking to get to Eientei, they may have to take that into account and make sure that Miss Fujiwara is going to be available first."

With that, Kagerou quickly sits back down while Wakasagihime rises in her place. "Thank you all for sharing. There was some useful information there," The mermaid states cordially. I'm not sure how much of that stuff is useful to me personally, but I can definitely understand what the point of all this is. "It looks like Mystia has finished setting up, so we'll break for now. I'll be asking people's opinion on the timing of our next meeting throughout the night. In the meantime, feel free to talk among yourselves, get food, and have fun for the rest of the evening."

There's a lot of shuffling as many people stand up from their chairs while some stay seated and continue talking among themselves. Well, I guess I have to find something to do...

[ ] Talk to somebody (Who?)
[ ] Go get some food
[ ] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits
>>No. 27147
[x] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

Assemble!
>>No. 27148
[x] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

Bunvengers! Assemble!
>>No. 27149
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe

Maybe Seiran could learn a bit about the dream world from Elly and bond with someone else who carries a large weapon around with them.
>>No. 27150
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe

Now this is a lead if I've ever seen one.
>>No. 27151
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe

Now what's her deal, and how can we turn it to our advantage?
>>No. 27152
>>27149
Damn, I thought it was the OTHER scythe gal. Now I feel stupid.

[x] Elly
>>No. 27153
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe

Gotta agree with everyone else here, Elly and Kurumi by extension sound like a good lead right now, though the possibility of having to deal with Yuuka worries me more than Eirin does.
>>No. 27154
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe
I honestly just want to see someone write Elly.
>>No. 27155
[X] Talk to somebody
-[X] The girl with the scythe
>>No. 27156
File 147693551217.jpg - (173.15KB, 849x1202, She doesn't even do agriculture.jpg) [iqdb]
27156
[X] Talk to somebody (Who?)
- [X] The girl with the scythe

While I'm not surprised to see Ringo making a beeline back toward Mystia's stand, I don't really feel a need to follow. There should be plenty of time left in the evening to go and get food. Well actually there should be plenty of time to do most of the possible courses of action that I'm thinking of. I don't know exactly how long this meeting is going to last, but I don't get the feeling that we're going to be suddenly kicked out soon. It's still pretty early in the night, and for now I feel like I should find someone else to talk to.

For some reason or another, I find myself interested in that girl with the scythe. I guess I could say that it's because we seem to be the only two people who ended up getting the 'bring your impractically large weapons' memo. That seems a bit superficial to me, but I can't really think of any better reason. Well whatever, even if it's not that good of a reason, it can at least be something like an ice breaker.

Luckily, even though most people are now getting up and milling around in various directions, it seems like this scythe girl (Pretty sure Sekibanki said her name was Elly) is content to stay put in her seat. Actually content doesn't seem like the right word here. That's not a content posture. From how she's slumping down a bit and her face is mostly hidden behind the wide brim of her hat, she could either be disappointed, tired, or relieved. Or some kind of mix of those things I guess.

Once I've made my way over to Elly (and the equally slumped vampire girl next to her) I take a deep breath. Oh come on, I should be used to this by now. It's just talking to strangers. These ones can't possibly have heard anything bad about me beforehand either! "Uhm, excuse me. Uh, Hi," I try to greet her as casually as I can, but I kind of need her attention first.

The light pink hat in front of me perks up quickly before moving out of the way so I can actually see its owner's face. "Oh, good evening," Elly's voice sounds quite pleasant, if a little forced. I think I also catch some tiny amount of an accent in there? It's not that strong, and I don't know enough about all the different ways of speaking on Earth to actually place its origin, but the fact that it exists is still kind of interesting. I would have thought that anybody at this meeting would have been in Gensokyo and therefore been speaking Japanese for long enough to get over something like an accent. "You are one of the new girls, Seiran, correct?"

I nod quickly at that. Well, at least Wakasagihime's quick introduction to the group should make this kind of thing a bit smoother for me. "And you're Elly?" I ask that as if I wasn't already sure of it. If I hadn't already known, I wouldn't be risking embarrassing myself by guessing.

"Yes that's right. Elly," I feel a bit relieved when she doesn't tack on a fancy title, although I guess Raiko didn't do that either. Elly did pronounce her name slightly differently from how Sekibanki and I did though. I guess it's some nuance that's more pronounced in whatever language her accent is from. Well it's not exactly a normal Japanese name, so I have an excuse. She's not making a big deal of it anyway.

"So," Ice breaker it is. "It seems like you're as ready for an emergency as I am," I say, casually holding my hammer up in both hands.

Elly glances down at the scythe resting against her chair, blade down near the ground. She laughs quietly, a 'fufufu' kind of sound. "To be honest, it's more of a bluff than anything else," She openly admits. I don't think it's a good bluff if you just give it away like that. Not that I'm going to do anything about it anyway. "I'm a bit out of practice, so I may not be as useful as you think."

"Out of practice in what?" I ask, then remember the obvious answer. "Spell cards?"

"Not exactly," Elly idly grabs the handle of her scythe, moving it around pointlessly without picking it up. "It may be more apt to say combat in general."

"So you carry the scythe around just to scare people off?" I guess that's kind of a bluff. I don't really know how well it would work though. Most people don't seem particularly impressed with me carrying around a mallet. Even though a scythe is a bit more intimidating, I don't see how it matters in an environment where non-lethal combat is SOP.

"Yes, I can't simply exude strength like Miss Yuuka, so I have to make some effort to keep away the riff-raff," Elly explains. "I believe it also doesn't hurt to remember where one comes from."

I know that letting someone talk about themselves is usually a good way to keep the conversation going, but immediately asking for personal information like where she comes from feels awkward to me. Maybe I should stick with something a bit more relevant to the current situation. "So uh, have you been a member for a long time?" Well that could have been a bit smoother, but whatever.

Elly gestures toward the chair next to her, though it takes a moment before I actually recognize that she's telling me that I can sit down. I quickly do so once I realize what she means. "Not at all. Were it not for you, Kurumi and I would still be the new girls. This is only our third meeting. We're still technically provisional members."

Oh, so it seems like I'm not going to get too much information from her then. At least now I know that Elly and the vampire next to her are definitely associated with each other. Not that it was that hard to figure out. "Well I guess I'm okay with taking the title of newbie from you if it helps you become official," I answer happily before glancing over at the other girl. She hasn't really been participating in the conversation, and when I look I realize it's because she's to busy being slumped down in her chair and absentmindedly clutching her head. "Uh, is she gonna be okay?"

"Noooo..." The vampire moans, sounding more irritated than sad.

"Kurumi is suffering from a lack of access to blood," Elly cuts in to explain. "She is a vampire, so the thirst is getting to her a bit."

"Riight..." I mean, that makes sense. I have heard of vampires and what they do. Not that we have any on the Moon. "But is she gonna be okay?"

Elly glances at Kurumi and sighs lightly before turning back to me. "We'll take care of it later. This meeting just happened to come during a particularly long dry spell for her. She'll be fine."

"Err, you're not going to be getting blood out of humans, right?" Not that it's any of my business, but if they're out sucking human blood I feel like that's kind of counter to the whole purpose of this Youkai Network thing.

"Oh! No no, of course not," Elly vigorously denies it. "Even we know that messing with the humans in that way is just asking to have a certain shrine maiden come for you," She shudders involuntarily. "I'm not at all interested in having that happen. No, we'll simply have to go hunting. Animal blood meets Kurumi's basic needs, though according to her it is not at all satisfying."

"I see..." That's fine I guess. Just another weird thing about Earth youkai life I guess. Actually, it's just now hitting me how strange this topic feels. Maybe I should just drop it and let the vampire do what she needs to do. "So uh, I guess that explains what you were asking about before then?"

"Yes, to be honest, Kurumi and I are somewhat scrounging to make things work out," Elly sighs again. Hm, is it normal to admit stuff like this to someone you've just met? "Although it may be a bit selfish of us, we joined up with this group mostly in the hopes of getting help. I'd love to contribute more, but we must make ends meet first."

"If you've only been here for three meetings, that's only three weeks," I almost say Earth weeks, but blowing cover aside, that's a pointless distinction anyway. There aren't Moon weeks in the first place. "Were you struggling before or did something happen?"

"Yes, my previous position was... Eliminated," Elly has to pause when phrasing her response, and afterward she quickly moves on to defend herself. "I wasn't fired!"

"We got canned," Kurumi apparently disagrees with Elly's defense. "Lake dried up, mansion cut in half. Boss called us bums and said we had to make rent or get out."

"She did not use the word bums," Elly reprimands Kurumi curtly without turning back to her. "Miss Yuuka was being perfectly reasonable. She was completely justified in cutting us off. We have been freeloading off of her for centuries."

"I'm gonna die," Kurumi says bluntly.

"We will go hunting after this and you will be fine," Elly decisively ends the conversation with a loud "Hmph!" before remembering that I've been watching the exchange. "Ah, my apologies."

"It's fine," People argue sometimes. It doesn't seem like this is anything serious between these two anyway. I'll just keep things going. "But what do you mean by cutting you off?"

"Miss Yuuka our... Previous employer," Seems like she really doesn't like that she has to refer to her as 'previous'. "Was using a large amount of her magic as a way to pay us for our work and servitude. It was an arrangement that held for quite a long time, that I had thought we were all comfortable with."

I can already see it coming, so I'll just say the next word for her. "Buuut..."

"But nobody has been anywhere near Mugenkan in many years. There's very little point for Miss Yuuka to spend all that energy on us if we're not actually guarding her home from anything," Elly concludes for me. So they were guards then? "I understand Miss Yuuka better than perhaps anyone else does, I know how powerful she is, and I still must admit that maintaining the magic that she did for as long as she did must have been quite a task."

I don't know exactly what she's talking about, so I'm kinda missing the context. "What kind of magic was involved?" If it's anything too technical the answer to this will probably go over my head, but whatever.

"Well for Kurumi, Miss Yuuka preserved an entire lake of blood in pristine condition. Perfectly safe and clean for her to drink from for years," At least that makes sense even if I don't exactly like hearing it.

"That's uh..." Really gross? Creepy? Disgusting? "Interesting."

Elly seems to catch my reaction. Not just the one that I say, but the ones that I try not to say too. "I'm aware that some people were rather averse to it, though I think it made for quite an interesting bit of scenery, myself," That's creepy too, but then, she does walk around with a giant bladed weapon. Even if Elly has been pretty polite and easy to talk to, I can't pretend that I know her full character just from this short conversation. "However that was much less difficult than what she did for the mansion itself. Miss Yuuka kept half of her mansion, Mugenkan, merged seamlessly with the Dream World at all times."

I have to hold myself back from jumping up in excitement. "The uh, the Dream World?" I stammer out, trying to sound calm, but interested. I really hope I'm controlling my face right now. This is a lead! Somebody who actually knows something that could help us! I don't know who this Yuuka person is, maybe she'd never help us in a million years, but still. It's a LEAD.

"Well, technically the exact connection that was used is into the Fantasy World, though the distinction between that and the Dream World is mostly in some exact details that I'm not privy to. Magic like that isn't my strong suit," I struggle to contain myself while Elly continues to explain after being prompted by my question. "I know that at the very least it's safer to go there with your physical body. I've never had to deal with a baku for instance."

'Avoid any and all bakus' was definitely something I remember being instructed when we were told how going through the Dream World would work for us. I don't really know the reason, I just know that they're dangerous. If there's some connection into the Dream World that automatically avoids them, isn't that even better than our portal? "So how did being connected to that Fantasy World help?" I ask, I kind of want her to keep talking while I calm myself down and think of better questions and a way to make this lead actually become something tangible.

"The Fantasy World is simply a realm where it is easy to make things happen, magically speaking. It was fairly trivial to conjure up food and other necessities or luxuries so that we could live very comfortably inside Mugenkan for a long time." Elly sighs wistfully and pauses for a moment, seeming to get lost in some kind of memory. "Miss Yuuka really is so wonderfully generous..." She finishes, sounding kind of... Dreamy?

"Until she canned us," Kurumi says again.

"We're still allowed to live in Mugenkan," Elly continues on as normal after Kurumi interrupts her daydream, but doesn't acknowledge her. "But now the back half of the mansion is no longer connected to the Dream World, and Yuuka has asked that we pay her for rent from now on, since we're not doing any actual work for her."

"And the lake dried uuuuup," Kurumi whines to nobody in particular. "I'm soooo thirstyyyy."

Okay, well I more or less understand their situation now. It sounds like they've recently descended from a life of luxury and are having trouble adjusting. I can at least understand that, though aforementioned luxury kind of softens the hardship in my opinion. Well, this is a lead, so I should look into it some more. Kurumi doesn't seem like she's in the best state to talk, but Elly's been pretty forthcoming.

[ ] Ask about Elly
- [ ] Her background
- [ ] Her scythe
- [ ] Her job search
- [ ] Her connection to Kurumi
- [ ] Her connection to Yuuka
[ ] Ask about Kurumi
- [ ] Her health
- [ ] Her options other than hunting
[ ] Ask about Yuuka
- [ ] Herself
- [ ] Her Dream World magic
- [ ] Her mansion
- [ ] Her reasons for cutting them off

Of course, as usual, write-ins are acceptable here. You have plenty of time in the meeting still, so ask away. Though doing an 'All of the above' might be a bit much for Kurumi and Elly's patience.
>>No. 27157
File 147694236780.jpg - (68.17KB, 500x500, elly vision.jpg) [iqdb]
27157
[X] Ask about Elly
- [X] Her background

[X] Ask about Yuuka
- [X] Herself
- [X] Her Dream World magic

I doubt she'd be averse to talking at length about her idol.
>>No. 27158
[X] Ask about Elly
- [X] Her background
- [X] Her job search

[X] Ask about Kurumi
- [X] Her options other than hunting

[X] Ask about Yuuka
- [X] Herself
- [X] Her Dream World magic

I feel like most of the other options will be a bit irrelevant or already mostly covered from what Elly's said already. If we need to do a bit of give-and-take then querying on Kurumi's options means we may find a way to help her get human blood, or at least a stable supply of blood.
>>No. 27159
[x] >>27158
A bit too much but I like it. I want to see a wall!
>>No. 27160
[X] Ask about Elly
- [X] Her background
- [X] Her job search

[X] Ask about Kurumi
- [X] Her options other than hunting

[X] Ask about Yuuka
- [X] Herself
- [X] Her Dream World magic
>>No. 27161
[X] Ask about Elly
- [X] Her background
- [X] Her scythe
[X] Ask about Kurumi
- [X] Her options other than hunting
[X] Ask about Yuuka
- [X] Herself
- [X] Her Dream World magic
>>No. 27162
File 14772815061.jpg - (580.52KB, 566x800, Following along.jpg) [iqdb]
27162
[X] Ask about Elly
- [X] Her background
- [X] Her job search

[X] Ask about Kurumi
- [X] Her options other than hunting

[X] Ask about Yuuka
- [X] Herself
- [X] Her Dream World magic

This has some potential. I would want to discuss it with the others before making a call on if we're actually going to look further into it, but first I should try and get as much info as I can. To start off with, it might be best to hear about this Yuuka person that Elly's been talking about. "So what kind of person is your previous employer?" If it's only up to me to guess, I'd go with 'cruel at best' given the way that she seems to have just dropped her employees without any way for them to support themselves. One of them is even an addict.

"Oh, you haven't heard of her?" Elly seems a bit surprised. I guess I hadn't been reacting properly to what should have been a rather important namedrop, just going by her reaction now.

"We haven't heard of much," I answer, technically being honest. That's the best I can do.

"I see," Well I didn't mean to disappoint her, but she still seems to be a bit let down. Not my fault. At least she quickly cheers up when she starts talking. "Miss Yuuka Kazami is one of the older and certainly one of the most powerful youkai in all of Gensokyo. She's a beautiful, confident, and amazingly intelligent woman. One that I'm very happy to be associated with."

That doesn't give me much that I consider useful, but I was the one that asked a vague question. "What kind of youkai is she?" Chances are good that I won't know anything about the answer. We were only given basic descriptions on common youkai types during our briefing. It's still probably better to have that to go off of rather than hoping to get specifics out of Elly's gushing.

"Well to be honest, I'm not exactly sure myself," Elly admits, "Miss Yuuka never told me what she is exactly, and after a while I gave up on asking. I don't believe that it matters all that much. Miss Yuuka is who she is."

It matters a little to me, that's why I asked the question. "She must have some kind of power that would give you a clue or something, right?" I ask hopefully. Although now that I say it, it sounds kind of dumb. Powers don't necessarily say anything about the type of youkai. Just look at all the variance in Lunar rabbit powers in our unit for example.

"No, nothing like that," Yeah, that would be too easy, wouldn't it? "Most people would say that she's some kind of flower youkai, but I've been with her long enough to know that that isn't really the case. Miss Yuuka has dabbled into a lot of different things over the years. It seems like she can do anything that she wants once she sets her mind to it. Although she's always had a love of flowers, manipulating them isn't anywhere close to all that she's capable of."

"Like for example she's able to magically interact with the Dream World?" My leading question is answered with a pleased nod, so I continue. "What's involved in doing that?"

"I'm not sure exactly," Elly leans back a bit, and I just now notice that she had been getting excited while talking about Yuuka. "I know it to be quite difficult just based on what Miss Yuuka has said, but I mostly just accepted it as something that she managed to make work. Well, right up until it didn't anymore, that is. Do you know much about the Dream World?"

"Err," How much can I give away here? Well, it's not like I was told the specifics of how my one trip through the Dream World actually worked, so I can probably get away with being vague but honest. "It's like another dimension, right? And you're not supposed to be able to get there physically."

"Yes, from what I understand, the Dream World is very large. It encompasses every world where people sleep and dream, so it's also very multifaceted, with many different regions and areas that all have their own rules. To be able to understand those rules well enough to open up a rift between dimensions, let alone keeping it open for as long as she did is just..." Elly pauses, a dreamy smile on her face. "Miss Yuuka is amazing."

"Sounds impressive," I try to act like I'm not noticing her acting like some kind of fangirl. "How many years would that have been?"

"Hmm, we moved here shortly before the barrier went up, so I suppose it would be around a century," Elly answers after a moment of consideration. "Give or take a couple decades, of course."

"You've been with her for that long?" I decide to suppress the second part of that question where I ask 'And she still just cut you off suddenly?'

"A bit longer than that actually!" Elly laughs, seeming pleased with herself. "I met Miss Yuuka by chance while she was traveling through Europe a couple of centuries ago."

"Europe..." I'm pretty sure I know where that is. Maybe? In my defense, I bet most people on Earth wouldn't be able to point out where different regions of the Moon are either.

"More specifically Brittany, though by that time it had already became a part of France," Elly goes into more detail, but it really doesn't help. I don't know what those words mean at all. "Well, most people that I meet in Gensokyo now don't know anything about it, so I normally stick with just saying Europe."

"Yeah, I'm a little lost," I admit reluctantly. "I'm not that knowledgeable about things outside of Gensokyo," Or things inside of it for that matter.

"I suppose that also means that you haven't heard of an Ankou before?" Elly asks casually.

"Err, no," I don't suppose that's another region or something? "Sorry."

"That's quite alright. It's not so important for the story itself," Elly shrugs off my confusion as normal, which makes me feel a little better about it. "Suffice it to say that Miss Yuuka and I happened to meet by chance when she was near where I was living at the time. I had plenty of free time back then, so I helped her out with regional knowledge and directions. We became friends quickly after that. When she decided to leave the country, I decided I wanted to join her rather than stick around where I wasn't needed. The rest, as they say, is history."

She probably glossed over a lot of details there, but I can't really ask Elly to explain what is apparently centuries of time between her and Yuuka. We would be here all night and then some. I do want some more detail about a small bit of what she said though. "What do you mean by sticking around where you weren't needed?"

"It had to do with my job at the time," Elly's face looks somewhat uncomfortable, like she doesn't want to go too much into it. "Basically the group that I was working for was already struggling, and had to get absorbed by another part of the organization in order to continue functioning. People like me were gradually being phased out, so I didn't see a reason to stay around and wait to get laid off when another opportunity was available."

"And that opportunity was Yuuka."

Elly nods. Yup, it looks like all it takes to make her smile is bringing the conversation back to Yuuka. "It wasn't exactly a job at the time. It was more like I was merely a traveling companion, although Miss Yuuka was the one deciding where we went and what we did. I just helped her however I could. It wasn't until we moved to Gensokyo that she set up Mugenkan that I became a gatekeeper."

Oh, that's the job she was doing? That must have sucked. I hate guarding things. It's always really boring. "Not to be rude, but isn't going from travel buddy to door guard kind of a step down?"

"I quite liked it compared to the job I was doing before meeting Yuuka," Elly states with a light shrug. "At Mugenkan, I could wait for people to come to us instead of having to go find them. And even then, Kurumi did most of the work in keeping people away before they would even reach me. Most of the time I was able to spend my days quietly in the mansion," She pauses and lets out a small sigh. "It's unfortunate that it's over now. It was a wonderful position."

"So what are you going to do now?" Well she already talked about getting a job, but I've already said it before I realize that I'm just rehashing stuff she's already brought up.

"I'm not sure. The search isn't going all that well to be honest," Elly admits. I had kind of gotten that impression, yeah. "Even though it's simple to pass as a human if I leave my scythe at home, people can still tell that I'm not exactly from around here by my looks and voice. It's not as simple as walking into the village and asking for work. Humans are wary around me. I'm still hoping that one of the youkai here will be able to help me instead."

"Right..." I mean, I would like to help, but I'm probably the least likely person here to know of any open jobs. I don't even know what goes into finding a job! I've been in the military forever. "Well are you looking for anything specific?"

"Not particularly. No matter what it is, I know it will be worse than working directly for Miss Yuuka. I'm prepared for that at least," I feel like that's kind of pessimistic, but I guess it would be hard to top the 'live in my mansion and do whatever for free' deal she had before. "Aside from hoping it isn't too much of a step down, it would be nice if Kurumi could get a job with me. Failing that, I would need to be able to support both of us."

I look up at Kurumi, who at some point had gotten tired of listening to Elly and I talk and gotten up out of her chair. She's now pacing a slow path around the mostly empty semicircle of chairs. She doesn't seem to be paying much attention to anything, she's just moving mechanically with an unpleasant look on her face. She occasionally stumbles to one side or another, and seems to be mumbling to herself a bit as well.

"That sounds like it might be hard to pull off," I point out. Watching as Kurumi shuffles past Wakasagihime's washtub and completely ignores the mermaid's awkward glances. "She doesn't seem like the best people person."

"I believe that she would be fine," Elly immediately defends her friend. "Most people here have gotten a bit of a bad impression of her, but Kurumi really is a sweet girl when she's well fed. If we could just clear up the issue of food, then she would be able to function just as well as anyone else."

"I suppose that just hunting more isn't going to cut it then?" I guess.

"It's not exactly an issue of quantity so much as quality right now. Kurumi doesn't need much more blood than she's getting now to survive, but she's never going to be happy when it's all animal blood," Yeah, she definitely doesn't look happy right now. "I've thought about buying blood from doctors in the village, but that might be a bit too suspicious to get away with. The price to get both the blood and the silence of the doctor I'm buying it from would probably make it quite unsustainable."

I imagine that that might look a bit shady, yeah. That doesn't mean it's impossible but... "There must be some other options."

"If you're offering, I'm sure Kurumi would be more than happy to take some from you," NOPE. "I kid, I kid," Elly takes a moment to laugh at my reaction. "I'm still looking into possibilities. I know that there are other vampires in Gensokyo, so they must be getting blood from somewhere as well. Whether it's learning their source or convincing them to share, I don't expect it will be easy. From my attempts so far, they don't seem eager to talk to us."

"Why is that?"

"I keep getting turned away at the door. It seems that the lady of the Scarlet Devil Mansion doesn't want to talk to a 'low born weakling' like Kurumi," Elly half grumbles her explanation. "I've half a mind to force my way in there and tell her off, but that may be a bit too drastic. Plus, I'd hate to do that to the gatekeeper there. She's only doing her job."

"Hm..." It feels like I'm not really in a position to do anything at the moment. It seems possible that somebody else in the unit could have a better idea when I talk to them, but that doesn't help the conversation that I'm having right now. I got a pretty good idea of the situation, so I guess I should wrap this up and decide if I'm going to follow this lead later. "Well uh, I'd like to help, but I don't know exactly what to tell you right now."

"Yes, it's difficult," Elly sadly agrees. "But I'm sure that everyone here together will help me come up with something," She sounds like she only half believes that. "Still, if you learn of anything that could help Kurumi or I before the next meeting, do let us know. At least one of us is usually at Mugenkan, so don't hesitate to come by."

"Sure," I agree, before realizing that I'm kind of missing a crucial piece of information. "Where's that?"

"Oh yes," Elly smiles in amusement and a bit of embarrassment. "In the mountains to the north of the Hakurei Shrine. Just look for the dried up lake, the entrance will be near the bottom of the northern bank."

"Alright," I say, standing up from my chair. "I'll let you know if I think of anything."

"Thank you Seiran," Elly stands up as well, catching that the conversation is pretty much over. "Well then, I suppose I will gather up Kurumi and we'll have a bit to eat before we have to go hunting. What will you do?"

[ ] Talk to somebody (Who?)
[ ] Go get some food
[ ] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

I didn't know writing while sick would be this hard.

Anyway, you're not caught in a loop or anything, I just didn't see a reason not to have this choice again, since nothing about the over all situation has changed other than time passing.
>>No. 27163
Well with that at least they can now think about the dream world solution, but I still would like to see them stay here.

Oh well, Hope you get better writefag.
>>No. 27164
[X] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

Part of me wants to talk to Mamizou just for the sake of it, but she's a smart motherfucker, and we could do with one less well-connected mastermind being aware of our true identity, so I think it'd be best to avoid her for now.

Hopefully the others have done some sort of legwork, so grouping up and sharing info sounds like a plan to me.
>>No. 27165
[X] Go get some food
>>No. 27166
[x] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

Goin' for this.
>>No. 27167
[X] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

See if anybody else has some leads to follow up on.
>>No. 27168
I have a really gross but effective idea on how to get Kurumi some blood. The Grassroots Youkai Network, like most of the rest of Gensokyo, is composed entirely of women. If there is one thing women are good at, its bleeding profusely and uncontrollably once a month like clockwork, whether they want to or not.

What we have to do is convince everyone to wait for their periods to come, and then sit on a big jar for a while to collect all the blood. They could relax and read while they're doing this if they want. Then they bring the jar to the next meeting and give it to Kurumi. In exchange, Kurumi and Elly can do something nice for everyone, like let them hang out in their awesome dreamworld mansion. And since it was our idea, they can give us a tour of the dreamworld, because that sounds like fun.

We would need to bring this idea up with Wakasagihime so she can help organize this as the leader. We can call it "The-lets-all-help-Kurumi-get-some-blood-before-she-goes-mad-with-hunger-and-attacks-a-human blood drive."

[x] Talk to somebody (Who?)
-[x] Wakasagihime
-[x] about our gross idea to get Kurumi some blood
>>No. 27170
>>27168

I'm gonna be that guy and bring up the part where only higher primates actually have an embryonic development process biologically invasive enough to warrant having evolved the process of menstruation, and other mammals like rabbits and (echo)dogs and the like get on just fine without this sort of thing.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-evolutionary-benefit-or-purpose-of-having-periods
>>No. 27171
>>27168
While yes, such a thing COULD work

Good luck getting:
- everyone to consent
- everyone to have their period on the same day
- the blood transported to Kurumi reliably
- convincing Seiran that it is perhaps not the creepiest thing to say, ever
>>No. 27172
>>27171
To be fair, is there any way to talk about collecting large quantities of blood that isn't creepy and gross? If anything, I would say this is one of the least creepy ways to get blood, since this method does not involve hurting anything to get it. Its a natural bodily function that will happen one way or another whether they like it or not.

The only non-creepy way I can think of to get blood is to get a doctor to collect it with a syringe. But since that would guarantee a trip to Eintei, getting blood that way would be suicide.

Also, they don't have to all have their periods on the same day. They just have to individually collect the blood on whatever day their period is, and store it until the next meeting.

And maybe it is out of character for Seiran to think up something this gross. But if we bring up this blood collection problem with the other rabbits, I'll bet Sumi would be raunchy and vulgar enough to think of it.
>>No. 27173
God damn, can the conversation move on to let's say... literally any other topic? This was certainly not was I was expecting to see after reading the latest update.


[X] Go get some food
>>No. 27174
[X] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits
>>No. 27175
[x] secret reunion!
>>No. 27176
So basically I drastically underestimated how long this update was going to end up being/how long it would take to write it/how much time other random stuff would take out of my day, so the whole update isn't finished yet. I'd say that I'm slipping but I'm actually pretty happy with how the writing for this update has gone so far, so I don't really think that's accurate. Maybe I'm just not skipping enough stuff, who knows?

There's a decent break point half way (Or more like a third maybe?) through, so I'll post the first part now and finish up the second part tomorrow.

>>27168
My verbatim reaction to this:
"Ha ha ha. Oh wow... Gross."

And then I decided to veto it because I know I wouldn't want to write it for various reasons (some in story, some out of story). Sorry about that.

But uh, no.
>>No. 27177
File 147754054235.jpg - (68.67KB, 745x1327, Why is this my job.jpg) [iqdb]
27177
[X] Have a private meeting with the rest of the rabbits

"I need to talk to a few more people," Is my vague enough answer. It could mean anybody really, but I don't think it matters that much to Elly aside from confirming that I'm not going with her to get food at the moment. It's not that I'm not hungry right now, but I have a better idea on how to spend the time.

"Very well. If I don't happen to see you again before we leave, it was nice talking with you. It's nice to be able to vent with someone who is sympathetic," Elly thanks me sincerely.

Well we're kind of in a tough situation ourselves. Honestly it'd be nice if I could talk about it with somebody too. Dunno who that would be at the moment though. "It was no problem. I'll see you around Elly," I say, getting a nod and a smile as Elly moves to gather up Kurumi.

Alright.

If I'm going to be efficient about using my time here, then I think I should pause for a second and plan out what to do. The others have been doing things and talking to people on their own (they're kind of ignoring the 'keep track of each other' suggestion that Ringo said earlier, but I'm guilty of that as well so I won't say anything). They must have picked up some amount of info from whoever they've decided to talk to tonight. It makes sense that we should try to consolidate some of that knowledge so that we don't duplicate any of our information gathering efforts.

Well that kind of came across as an impersonal way to look at what should just be a nice social opportunity, but whatever. Word choice isn't exactly my specialty, even in my internal monologue. And this is supposed to be a mission before it's supposed to be a fun anyway. Ugh, story of my life right there. I need a vacation.

Okay, first I need to locate everyone. Actually I doubt that it will be that difficult to do that. I can see Yuzuki from here, still talking with Kagerou and Wakasagihime. Even if I couldn't see her, she would be able to see me, so it's functionally the same thing. Moving on then, Ringo's location is more of a certainty in my mind than it is a guess as well, so I'll just have to pop over to the food stand to grab her. As for the other two, I noticed Sumi go off with her new musician friends earlier, but I didn't see Chiyo go with her. Finding Chiyo is probably going to be the most difficult part, and even that shouldn't be too bad.

I get up from my chair and start looking around for where Chiyo would have gotten off to. By now the sun has long since disappeared, so the number of places with any kind of light are rather limited. The trees here are fairly dense, so the light that's shining from Mystia's stand doesn't cover that much of an area on its own. There are a few other sources of light around from what I can tell, probably just small lanterns so people can see each other talk. I just have to check in on those and I'm sure I'll find who I'm looking for. I really doubt that Chiyo would wander very far away on her own when it's so dark.

After a quick search of the area, I end up being right. At least, right about her not having gone far. I do end up being wrong about her being on her own. She's with some of the other group members. I'm okay with keeping track of people's names, but I'm pretty sure I haven't heard what each of these girls sitting around with Chiyo are called. Let's see, there's the expressionless pink haired one, the winged girl in the pretty black dress, and that boyish green haired one with the antenna. I don't know any of them well enough to know if there's some connection between them or if they were just randomly assembled. Whatever, I can just ask Chiyo about that once I pick her up.

I'd feel bad about interrupting something, but from the looks of it, if they ever were talking about anything, they've stopped now. It seems like they're all just watching as the green haired one (Actually, I think Wakasagihime called her Wriggle?) coordinate some kind of tiny light show between her hands. I'm assuming that's some kind of magic. It seems weird how the lights are fading in and out so weakly like that though. Maybe she's just not that great at magic or something. Or I guess there could be more to it that I just don't understand. Wouldn't surprise me. Earth is weird.

"Hey Chiyo, can I grab you for a second or two?" I ask as casually as I can, hoping that I don't surprise anybody too much. I hadn't exactly been sneaking, but maybe one of them might not have noticed me anyway. For the most part nobody seems bothered, but I do see that the little lights in Wriggle's hands react to my voice. They start jerking about frantically for a moment before their conductor's hand motions get them back under control, returning to some regular patterns and shapes. Huh, dunno what's up with that.

"Hmm? Oh, sure." The group had all been sitting around on the ground talking, so Chiyo picks herself up and dusts her legs off a bit. "I'll see you guys later."

"It was nice meeting you Chiyo," Offers the pink haired girl, her face not at all matching what she says.

"Yeah likewise," Chiyo gives a light wave to the group as she walks over to me. She seems a bit more comfortable with talking to these strangers than I remember her usually being. Maybe I'm just projecting or something though.

I lead Chiyo away, rounding around a few more trees but still not quite heading back into the largest open area where all the chairs were set up. Once we're out of earshot of the group she just left, Chiyo asks me a simple question. "So what's up?"

I give Chiyo a brief (and intentionally less businesslike) summary of my reasoning for gathering everyone and she instantly agrees with me. "I don't think I'll have much to report, but sure," Okay, one down, three more to gather up.

Getting Yuzuki's attention is simple enough. I first double check to make sure nobody is within eyesight so I don't look like a crazye person, then I wave my arms in the air a bit before pointing down at my feet. Yuzuki says that this sign is pretty easy for her to notice when we do it, so we typically use it to get her attention from far away. I have a personal theory that doing this much isn't really necessary and she just likes making us act stupid, but I don't really have a good way to confirm it. Whatever. Yuzuki should start wrapping up her conversation and make her way over to me soon.

Next up is Sumi, who has a similarly easy way to catch her attention, although I do have to catch her eye first. It isn't hard to find her, I just have to go to where the most noise is being made. The scene there seems a little chaotic, with a bunch of different youkai playing a bunch of different instruments, spread out in something even less circle like than the layout of the main clearing's chairs. They mostly seem to just be tuning, but occasionally it Raiko (who apparently plays the drums) will start into a rhythm that the others seem to automatically fall into.

Alright, I know (or at least I'm pretty sure) that Sumi herself doesn't play an instrument so she should be... Yeah, there she is. She's off to the side talking with uh... Man, it would have been much more convenient for Wakasagihime to introduce everyone to us, not just us to everyone else. Then maybe I would know some of these people's names. Whatever, Sumi is happily chatting with the floppy eared pink dress youkai.

I maneuver myself into Sumi's line of sight and try to point at my ears as nonchalantly as I can. She gives two quick nods, so I back out of sight from any of the musicians that could conceivably see me. Well, maybe I'm being unnecessarily stealthy here, but overtly calling everyone together just feels too conspicuous. "I want to group for a short meeting. I'm gonna go grab Ringo, head over that way soon," I mumble quietly to myself, knowing that Sumi will be able to hear it.

Last is Ringo, who I can't really do anything with other than approach normally. On the way over, I notice that Mystia apparently set up some extra tables and chairs around the area to make sure everybody can be seated. There wouldn't exactly be enough room for the whole group if the stand was their only option, so I guess it makes sense. The area isn't exactly sized properly for it though, so tables end up kind of squished between trees and more often than not don't exactly have restaurant quality lighting. Well there's only so much that Mystia would be able to do about that.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, Ringo's sitting back on her stool in front of the main cart itself. It looks like she's already gone through whatever food she originally ordered and is trying to convince Kogasa to share with her. Well, I guess whatever Ringo choose to order turned out to be good then. There's something for me to look forward to.

"Alright, stop harassing the girl," I say as I grab Ringo by the shoulder and move between her and Kogasa's stools.

Ringo just laughs it off. "Hey, she did the unwanted kissing thing first, so I have more of a right to claim harassment than anyone," Well, she kind of has a point, but she definitely doesn't look like she's bothered by her and Kogasa's initial meeting now.

"Hey Seiran, can I get you anything?" Mystia calls out happily. She definitely seems to be in her element right now, deftly cooking some... Something while she talks.

"In a bit," I don't know what she's making, but it does smell pretty good. "I want to take Ringo off your hands for a bit."

"Awww," Ringo gives a playful groan as she stands up. "Fine, you got off easy this time, Kogasa and Kogasa's food," Kogasa responds by sticking her tongue out at Ringo and laughing. Well, I guess the two of them became friends easily enough.

Okay, with Ringo and Chiyo following me, I've finally gotten everybody's attention. Now I can just find a private spot and wait for Yuzuki and Sumi to show up.

-
>>No. 27178
"Anyway, all I'm saying is you guys have got to try the lamprey," Ringo's been gushing about whatever it was she ordered at Mystia's for a while now. I have to admit that she kind of has me interested in giving it a try, but dinner recommendations aren't exactly what I gathered everyone here for.

"The fuck is a lamprey?" Sumi demands.

"It's like a long fish tube thing," Ringo explains while making some vague motion with her hands. "Dunno really. Tasty is what it is."

"The fuck is a FISH!?" Sumi, you know what fish are. Just because we don't have them back home doesn't mean you're that ignorant.

"I know that we were told beforehand that they eat living animals down here but um..." Yuzuki seems to blanch at the thought. "Eugh."

"I'd try it," Chiyo decides suddenly, having mostly just been listening to the conversation up to this point.

"Uh, guys?" I really need to get a hold of things here. "Point of order?" Well, at the very least everyone seems to stop talking at my interruption. Ringo's still casually sitting on a large root, reclined against the trunk of the tree, while Sumi is hanging upside down from another tree's branches. It's a little hard to see each other though, given that we've stepped far enough away from the few scattered light sources that we should have some privacy. Whatever, I wanted this meeting and I'm going to make it happen. "Meeting first, then food talk?" I suggest.

"Sure sure, but what's the meeting about?" Ringo shifts slightly so that she can stay leaning back but still face me.

"Seiran wants a status update," Chiyo explains for me. I think that's sufficient enough, but then she continues. "She's keeping things running while the boss is stuffing her face," Okay, she said that on her own, I definitely didn't say any of that explanation.

Sumi whistles loudly from where she's hanging. "Look at you!" She says appreciatively. "Everybody was telling me that you were being super proactive down here. I didn't think they were all just making shit up, but it's still crazy to see."

It's not like I was lazy back home! I'm just trying to do my best while we're stuck down here. Is that so out of character for me? "I just want to keep the mission going."

"I'm fine with it," Well thanks for your approval Ringo, not that you're ever not fine with anything we want to do. "But you get to go first."

Ugh. Not this again. "Why do I always have to go first?"

"Tradition."

That doesn't even make sense. Who decided that? Why wasn't I a part of that decision? "Maybe we could make some better traditions?" I suggest hopefully.

"Pfft. Rude," Ringo rolls her eyes and acts annoyed, but can only keep that up for about two seconds before moving on. "Eh, fine. Chiyo, you go first."

"Wha? Oh, sure, whatever," See, was that so hard? Just ask somebody else to go first for once and I'm sure the meeting will go just fine. "Before show and tell, I was with Sumi, so I don't really have anything to say about that. Afterwards, I was curious about something, so thought I would ask around a little bit about the Buddhists."

"What, you gonna convert?" Sumi jokes.

"No," Chiyo gives a blunt response before continuing on like Sumi hadn't even said anything. "From what Seiran and Ringo said, Kanako suspects that the buddhists are involved here, so I figured I would figure out if they actually are."

"And what do you think?" Yuzuki asks.

"Dunno yet," Chiyo decides, shrugging her shoulders. "I talked to Tokiko because she mentioned during the meeting that she's helped out at their temple for some pocket change. Kokoro has also stayed there for a while. The impression that I got from them as outsiders is that if the Buddhists were involved here, they would be trying harder to recruit people. They're usually pretty transparent in trying to convert people that come by their temple."

"But that impression doesn't prove anything," Ringo states, half questioning and half stating.

"Yeah," Chiyo agrees. "I would have talked to Kyouko since she actually is a buddhist, but she was kind of being kept busy by-"

"By me!" Sumi interrupts, dropping down from her branch and managing to land on her feet. I don't think she even used any flight there. It's not all that impressive, but I can't help but think about what would have happened if she had messed it up. Probably would have been funny to see, and I doubt the drop would have hurt her much.

"Right. She was being kept busy by Sumi, who just volunteered to go next," Chiyo continues, barely seeming to be interrupted by Sumi butting in. "Take it away."

"Weeeell, I don't really have much to say," Sumi admits, not sounding the least bit embarrassed about her lack of results. "I've been hanging out with the Prismrivers, Tsukumos, Raiko, and Kyouko the whole time."

"So all the musicians then?" Yuzuki guesses. We don't exactly know everybody's names yet, but I think that's a reasonable assumption.

"Yup. I like music," Sumi offers a really simple explanation. "Well, they don't really have the equipment for my normal type of jams, but what are you gonna do? It's Earth. They use what they got. Actually I'm pretty sure I could get Raiko to do some uhn-tiss uhn-tiss uhn-tiss stuff if I asked, but whatever. Not the point."

"And what is the point?" Yuzuki asks, I can tell she's losing her patience with Sumi being... Sumi.

"Basically... Pass!" Sumi then turns back to go back up her tree.

"Sumi..."

"Nah I got nothing," Sumi assures us as she starts climbing up again. Once she's reached a high enough branch to hang from, she continues talking. "From what I can tell they're a dead end mission wise. Like they're all cool people, and I wanna hang out with them some more, but I don't think any of them are gonna know any secrety stuff going on. I'm pretty good at eavesdropping, and I haven't heard anything shady from them."

"Well sometimes when you look for a lead it doesn't pan out," Ringo cuts in to excuse Sumi's unimpressive result. "Kinda like me."

"Don't tell me you're also passing?" Yuzuki says, obviously trying not to sound exasperated.

"Not exactly. I've mostly been talking to Kogasa since Seiran... Was nice enough to introduce us," Well, Yuzuki probably already knows what happened when I introduced them, but I guess Ringo doesn't want to mention it to the others. I think it's mostly due to Sumi.

"Kogasa didn't really strike me as the type to know a lot about this group either," I explain. That's kind of why I didn't go too far with questioning her after helping her out. I was distracted by people that were more likely to be useful. "According to her though, she has been a member for a long time. Did you get any info?"

"Nothing relevant to the mission," Ringo answers with a shrug. Where did my ability to be surprise go this time? "Kogasa was telling me some interesting stuff about the village though, since she lives there. Seems like her and Banki have got a system for marking places that are youkai friendly, tolerant, or hostile, and she let me in on it. If we need anything from the village, it should be easier for me to find places that are safer to look around in now."

"That is, of course, ignoring the angry mob that will be chasing you down," Yuzuki crosses her arms, looking about as unimpressed as I probably do.

"Pfft. You think that guy could get enough people together for that twice?" Ringo laughs. "After one chase with no reward, people aren't just gonna show up for him whenever he wants. Plus, you know what he's like now, so we should be able to avoid any problems like that."

"You're still assuming that we'll need to go to the village again for some reason," I point out.

"Dunno that we'll neeeeed to exactly. Maybe we'll just want to at some point though."

"We shouldn't focus on doing things that we want to do until we've finished our mission here," Yuzuki says tersely, using her 'you don't know what you're talking about' voice. "Both the information gathering and the return to the Moon."

"Yeah Ringo, it's not like we'll be immediately stuck on some other braindead assignment in the middle of buttfuck nowhere when we get back home. This definitely isn't our only chance to check things out down here or anything!" Sumi calls down from higher up in her tree.

"Guh..." Yuzuki doesn't seem to have a good argument on hand to counter that.

"Well, I'm not really all about getting assblasted by Doctor Terrifying either, so fine," Sumi continues, providing the argument that I would have used for me. "How did you advance our missions then, Miss Perfect?"

"I spoke with Kagerou and Wakasagihime," Yuzuki starts, quickly regaining her composure and stepping forward into the bit of light we have available so that it's easier fo us to see her. "I decided that, if we want to learn about this group, the leaders would be the best place to start. From what I've learned, I'm pretty sure that I didn't actually end up talking to the real leaders."

That doesn't quite make sense to me. "What do you mean?"

"I mean that while Wakasagihime and Kagerou may be two of the founding members, calling them leaders is a bit of a stretch," Yuzuki explains. Oh yeah, I think I talked a little bit about this with Raiko. "Wakasagihime is stuck at the lake most of the time, so all she really does is handle the talking at these meetings and speak with people that come to her. That's really not that much for somebody who's officially the leader. As for Kagerou, she mostly just does whatever she can to help out, but is more or less a follower that just happened to join up first, so she's considered important. I don't think she even really wants to be in charge of anything."

"So then the actual leader..." I can see where Yuzuki's going with this.

"Would mostly be Sekibanki," She concludes for me. "The answers to my questions kept coming back to her managing most of the actual work that goes on in this group. She has to be the reason why most of this is even possible."

"So there's no secret boss or mysterious backer? Just one very busy girl handling everything?" Ringo asks. I think she sounds a bit disappointed.

"I didn't say that," Yuzuki disagrees. "I still haven't had a chance to sit down and talk to her, so I wouldn't rule there being something more to the situation out. I was planning to try and get her attention soon, but I'm not sure whether she'd want me interrupting her when she's getting reports from her uh... Other heads."

Her what? "She has more than one?"

"Several," Yuzuki confirms. Okay I still have no idea what a rokurokubi really is, but apparently they're really weird. "They seem to be mostly patrolling the area. I don't know exactly how many there are though. There have been some that have gone outside of my range."

"You say she's getting reports from them, but what is she actually trying to do?" Ringo asks. Actually, if Sekibanki is in control of her other heads, wouldn't she be able to know what they were seeing without them reporting back?

"It's a little early for assumptions, but I would guess she's using her heads to patrol the area and make sure that nothing dangerous is coming by," Yuzuku still takes a guess even after just having said to not assume things. Well, her guess is more likely to be right than any of ours I suppose. "Like I said, I was still planning on looking into it more."

"Alright, keep up the good work then," Ringo ends Yuzuki's turn before turning to me. I actually feel pretty ready for this. "And last but not least, it's finally your turn Seiran. You happier now that you get to go last?"

"Yes, actually," Well, if I didn't have anything useful to report I would probably feel more apprehensive than I do, but as things go, I'm actually kind of excited. I decide to skip over the (probably) less important talks and get right to the good part. "I talked with Elly and Kurumi."

"And who are they?"

"Well Kurumi's a vampire and Elly... I'm not exactly sure what she is," She didn't really specify. "That's not the important part anyway. What's important is that their old boss knows how to get into the dream world!"

The others all seem to perk up at that. Well, for Sumi it's more like perking down technically, but what I really mean is that they're definitely interested when I mention that I've found a possible solution to our problem. "What's the catch?" Ringo asks, leaning forward on her tree root seat.

There wasn't really one, but then, I didn't exactly say what I wanted either. I was just feeling out the possibility. There would probably have been more conditions if I actually asked for what we want up front. "She didn't say it out loud, but I don't think that Elly is going to just do us a big favor and convince her old boss to help us for free. We would probably have a better chance of succeeding if we helped her out first."

"She was looking for a job and some blood, right?" Sumi recalls. "Well, the job is one thing, but at least we've all got blood. Any volunteers?"

"It's not as simple as a one time thing," I clarify. "Kurumi would need a regular source of blood, or at least a large supply. Donating some to her would only feed her for a little bit. It wouldn't actually solve her problem."

"So it sounds like we're not exactly the best people to solve their problems then," Ringo concludes for me. That's kind of the difficult part, isn't it? We don't have much in the way of connections here, though I guess we do have a few people that are willing to help us. I'm not sure if any of them could do anything though... "Well, we'll think of something if we have to."

"Yeah," I agree, somewhat reluctant to just put this issue aside, it would be a big relief if we could solve this right away. "Elly told me where she lives, so if we think of something, we should be able to go talk it out with them."

"Worst case scenario, we could always tell them we're gonna get blown up if they don't help out," Sumi decides casually. "Guilt them a bit. Nobody'd be okay with five cute bunny girl deaths on their conscience."

"I'd rather not gamble on that," Yuzuki says plainly. "Let's try to think of something soon."

"Agreed. In the meantime, I think that's everyone, so the meeting should be over now I think," Ringo ends that line of conversation before looking at me somewhat expectantly. Well, I guess I was the one that called this meeting, even though I didn't really lead it that well.

"R-right, thanks for checking in everybody," I say, feeling like I should bow or something but not actually doing it. "Keep up the good work."

"Alright!" Sumi drops from her tree again. What's the point of climbing it when you're just going to fall out of it like that? It's just a distraction. "Merlin and Yatsuhashi both said they'd be up for some danmaku, so don't mind if I do!" She immediately starts walking back toward the main area of the meeting, with Chiyo following after her quietly.

Ringo stands up from her seat as well. "If anybody wants to come along, I'm thinking I'm going to spend the rest of my money on some more food," She offers, though I don't think she's planning to share at all. "Could always use the company."

"I'll pass for now. I still have to talk to Sekibanki," Yuzuki declines before turning to me. "And actually, I wanted to talk to Seiran about something as well, but it's not mission related, so it can wait if you're headed somewhere specific."

Well, I don't know about heading somewhere specific, I haven't really thought it out yet.

[ ] Go get some food with Ringo. I'm hungry.
[ ] Stay with Yuzuki
- [ ] Go find Sekibanki
- [ ] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has
[ ] Wait, Sumi's getting in a duel? That probably won't end well.
[ ] Chiyo followed after Sumi, so she's probably going to go talk to Kyouko. What's up with the buddhists?
[ ] Talk to somebody else (Who?)
>>No. 27179
File 147762952191.jpg - (454.42KB, 1414x1000, hmmmm.jpg) [iqdb]
27179
[x] Stay with Yuzuki
- [x] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has
>>No. 27180
[x] Stay with Yuzuki
- [x] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has

If it's Yuzuki then it's probably gonna be important, even if it's not mission-related. We can always tackle Sekibanki afterwards, since I doubt she'll be leaving anytime soon.

Plus it's important to let the rabbit squad know we care.
>>No. 27181
[X] Stay with Yuzuki
- [X] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has
>>No. 27182
[x] Stay with Yuzuki
- [x] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has

I'm kinda curious what this is about, so yeah.
>>No. 27183
[x] Stay with Yuzuki
- [x] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has
>>No. 27184
File 147788373960.jpg - (85.67KB, 850x1133, Who you go to for advice.jpg) [iqdb]
27184
[X] Stay with Yuzuki
- [X] Talk about whatever not mission related thing she has

I have to admit that I haven't really put much thought into what I'm planning to do next. I know that there definitely must still be useful information to be gained around here. There are plenty of people that I haven't met or talked to and things I don't know, I just have to pick out priorities and go from there. The problem has just been in picking my priorities. I guess it helps that the others seem like they're covering things that I'm not, so hopefully by the end of tonight we'll have gotten as much information out of this meeting as possible.

For the moment, Yuzuki is right in front of me, and is generally pretty easy for me to talk to. If she says that she has something she wants to bring up, even if it's not mission related, it'll probably be a good idea to hear her out. The likelihood of it being a dumb joke like I would probably get from Ringo or Sumi is practically zero. It also occurs to me that I haven't talked to her about her not-secret-anymore morning visits to Hina's shrine, so I can get that out of the way at the same time. So this is kind of efficient in a way. Kinda.

"Yeah, that sounds fine," I answer Yuzuki before turning over to Ringo. "Sorry Ringo, looks like you'll have to wait a bit for our company," I do still intend to get something to eat eventually, but there's just so much to do right now.

"If you guys aren't gonna come eat, does that mean I get your shares?" Ringo says. It sounds like it's mostly a joke, but I definitely notice a tiny bit of hopefulness in there too. It's not like you've been deprived of food leading up to this Ringo!

"We're still going to come eat eventually," Yuzuki shoots down Ringo's hopes. "And maybe don't spend all of your money here? You're not going to starve, we could save it for something more important."

"Hmm," Ringo considers it for a moment before turning away and walking back toward the light of Mystia's food stand. "Not promising anything," She calls back happily.

I wait a moment before Ringo rounds some of the nearby trees, disappearing from sight and hopefully earshot. "So that's a no," I flatly explain to Yuzuki. "She just didn't want to say it to your face."

"Oh I know that," Yuzuki sighs. She has known Ringo for almost as long as I have, so I guess I don't really need to give guesses about our commander's behavior to her. She'll already know. "But I believe I should at least make my opinion known so that she has to consciously ignore it. If I don't say anything, then she can say 'Well why didn't you stop me?' when things go wrong," That kind of thing has happened pretty often actually, so she has a point. "It's not that important anyway."

Right, Ringo will be how Ringo is. You can convince her to do otherwise, but only if you're nearby. I chose to stick around with Yuzuki, so I should focus on Yuzuki things. "So what did you want to talk about?"

"R-right," Yuzuki suddenly looks a little uncomfortable now that we've moved away from the comfortable normal of lightly complaining about Ringo. Not that we actually dislike her or anything, it's just a bit of a relief to be able to complain about your job with someone else. "Well, to be honest, I didn't really expect that you would prioritize talking to me. That's not to say that I was going to be insulted or anything, but I just recently said that we should be prioritizing the mission above other things. Like I said before, what I wanted to bring up isn't really related to the mission. I don't really mean to be a hypocrite, and I wasn't originally sure if I wanted to say anything at all it's just that uh..." Yuzuki seems to catch that I can tell she's avoiding bringing up whatever subject she wanted to talk about. "I'm not sure how exactly I want to say this," She finally admits.

Okay, fine. I think I know how what the most likely thing she'd want to talk about is anyway. "Is it about Hina?"

"Err... Sort of," She admits. Well it sounds like I'm mostly right then.

"Yeah, that's what I figured," I've noticed that most of the other rabbits have gotten kind of bad at surprising me lately. I don't think it's the same thing the other way around though, so that kind of makes me feel proud. "If it helps, I also had something to talk about, so I can go first," Yuzuki nods at my offer, so I continue on. "Right, so. I already know about where you've been going in the mornings."

Oh, maybe I shouldn't have gone first. Yuzuki's awkward look becomes a little bit uncomfortable. "That was part of what I wanted to bring up, yes," She says reluctantly.

"It's a little reckless that you decided not to tell anyone what you were doing, but honestly I don't mind that you go out there," I assure her. I didn't really mean to accuse her of anything bad, although I would have been justified in doing so.

"I was just bothered that you and Chiyo were making fun of me, so I didn't want to say anything," Yuzuki almost mumbles out her words, looking off into some random area of wilderness instead of toward me. It's true that we poked fun at her a little bit, but I don't see why she would be that bothered by it. "I realized that was stupid eventually, but I felt apprehensive about bringing it up after I had already left without permission. I'm sorry."

"Hey, like I said, I don't mind. I doubt that Ringo will either," Although one of us should probably tell her at some point, just so that Yuzuki and I aren't the only ones who know what's going on. "Hina appreciates the help by the way."

"What?" I can see Yuzuki's ears jump up and she turns back to me.

"Hina happened to be around our camp this morning while you were out," I explain. "She knows what you've been doing and wanted me to thank you for it. It seems to mean a lot to her. Particularly all the prayers."

"Really?" I knew this would improve her mood. She sounds pretty excited about the news.

"Yeah, she said that she hasn't had a consistent source of faith in a while, so even just having somebody who's as enthusiastic about it as you are helps her out a lot," It's just a quick paraphrasing of our conversation, but I'm sure that Yuzuki will want to hear it.

Okay that's definitely a full blown smile now. No more awkward or uncomfortable look. "That's great. I'm really glad that I'm helping."

In place of the discomfort, there's instead a weird kind of mood that I can't quite identify right away. Her tone seems like she's pleased with herself but she also sounds a little dreamy. It's kind of similar to how Elly was describing Yuuka just recently. Err, Yuzuki, you're still maintaining that this is not a crush, right? I probably shouldn't ask that. "Anyway, you had something that you wanted to talk about?" I prompt her, she's definitely in a much better state of mind to talk about whatever she wanted to talk about now.

"Right... So something happened this morning while I was out. You already knowing what I've been doing speeds up the explanation, but there's also a bit more to it," Yuzuki starts. She pauses for a moment and glances up into the sky. I notice a few bright flashes of light. Looks like Sumi's duel started. After a moment there's a series of loud noises from some musical instrument. A trumpet? "Do you remember the day that Reisen came to camp the first time, when Chiyo and I left?" Yuzuki continues after the notes end.

Wait, that question kind of came out of nowhere. "Well, yeah."

"Do you remember that we had been attacked by a youkai, which is why her and I were separated at the time?" Yuzuki continues.

"Sure," What does this have to do with what she wants to talk about?

My answer comes immediately. "Well this morning, Hina's shrine was visited by that youkai."

I can't really remember anything about the youkai honestly. Like I know that when Yuzuki came back to camp she mentioned fighting it, but that's all there is in my memory. I don't really get the significance of it showing up again. "So...?"

"She didn't want to fight this time. Although honestly, I'm not sure if she even recognized me, which is a little worrying too," Yuzuki pauses again for another blast of trumpet notes. Isn't that kind of going to give the meeting location away? Well, maybe Gensokyo is used to stuff like this. "Instead, she wanted to talk to Hina."

"Hina pretty much told me this morning that she doesn't really have any followers, so I'm guessing that it wasn't about worshiping her," I reason.

"Unfortunately not. When I told her that Hina wasn't around, she asked me if I could get in contact with Hina for her to deliver a message," Yuzuki explains. "I obviously am not going to trust someone that was indiscriminately shooting at me a few days ago, but I still decided that I should learn what I can. I lied and told her that I would be able to deliver her message soon, just to try and pick up on what she wanted. Apparently the youkai's name is Seija, and she's an amanojaku, whatever that is," Actually it sounds kind of familiar to me, but I can't recall off the top of my head where I've heard that type of youkai before. It wouldn't have been in our briefing so... "She claimed that what she had was a 'business proposition' for Hina and her shrine. She didn't go too far into specifics, but she seems to have some kind of scheme that would help Hina's standing and allow her a better chance at gathering faith."

"That seems kind of vague," Although I will admit that I don't know exactly what gathering faith entails other than having people pray to her.

Yuzuki sighs. "Well I'm only supposed to be delivering the message, so obviously I wouldn't be told everything about the deal."

"So what are you worried about then?" It seems simple enough to me. "Hina was around our camp this morning, so she should still be in the area tomorrow. You can just find her and talk to her about it."

"Because I can't help but feel that there's something shady about the situation," Yuzuki argues. "Some youkai that is apparently okay with just shooting at innocent rabbits comes around, armed with ton of hidden magical items, and wants to talk to a goddess about solving all of her problems without even mentioning a price. The whole thing stinks. Either Seija has no self awareness, or she's hiding something. Either way, I don't trust it. You agree with me, right?"

"I can't really say anything when I'm just hearing about it secondhand," Yuzuki's mind seems pretty made up already anyway. "Why do you need to bring it up with me though? You're the one that was given the message."

"I thought that it would be helpful to ask for the opinion of someone else who cares about Hina," Yuzuki calms down and pauses for some more trumpet noises. I hope Sumi isn't getting beaten too badly up there. "You brought her up during the meeting just recently before I could, so I know that you definitely fit the bill. Plus, I can't exactly ask any of the others what they think."

That's not exactly true, I'm pretty sure the others would be happy to help if she asked them. I think Yuzuki really just wants someone to agree with her here, and I'm the most likely candidate. "Well, I guess I can at least see why you're concerned."

"Right, you see?" Yuzuki nods to herself, satisfied by my reply. "So I should just leave it alone and forget about it," She concludes.

"I didn't say that," That's kind of a jump. "Shouldn't you still deliver the message anyway? If you're really uncomfortable with it, you can just include your own opinions on it being shady and let Hina decide what to do from there."

"It's just that..." Yuzuki struggles a bit to think of a way to explain herself. "Hina is in a bad spot right now, we both know that. I'm worried about her being desperate enough that she'll let herself be taken advantage of. She's already fallen into a bad deal with the Moriyas. What if me bringing this up makes things worse for her?"

I can kind of see her point, but only somewhat. I don't think this is the same kind of situation. Still, I know that Yuzuki often has problems dealing with pressure, especially in situations that she's not used to. She sees the world in her own unique way, and used to have a lot of trouble understanding that other people weren't the same as her. I still remember several of the times when she got in trouble for getting into other people's stuff and trying to 'fix' things that she decided were 'incorrect'. It used to be difficult for her to respect other people's boundaries.

This time, even though she's already made up her mind as to what she thinks is the best answer, she still second guessed herself enough to ask me about it. That's good behavior that I should encourage. I should take this seriously.

"Yuzuki, I think that..."

[ ] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [ ] "And ask that she let you come with her to respond to it."
- [ ] "And explain your misgivings about it."
- [ ] "And let Hina make her own decision."
[ ] "You're right. You should ignore the message."

Then...

[ ] Go get some food. I'm hungry.
[ ] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.
[ ] Check up on Sumi's duel. Just to make sure she's not getting too carried away.
[ ] Check on Chiyo. Did she manage to find a buddhist to talk to?
[ ] Talk to somebody else (Who?)

I kind of wanted to draw Yuzuki for the update image just so I didn't have to fall into the standby of 'use another random Seiran picture', but then I remembered that I can't draw for shit and am a lazy fuck. Maybe some other time.
>>No. 27185
[x] Give the message to Hina...
-[x]... And explain your concerns about it

In the end it is her choice but, with all she has done I think she has earned the right to have an opinion.
Speaking of goddesses, shouldn't we talk to Kanako at some point? We fucked things up by letting Aya see those guns.

[x] Buddhist option
If there's someone who would want to help us help a Youkai feed without harming humans it is them.
>>No. 27186
[x] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [x] "And explain your misgivings about it."

[x] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.

Time we talked to the head honcho!

...I'll show myself out.
>>No. 27187
[x] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [x] "And explain your misgivings about it."

Hina is a big girl, she can take care of herself. But even if just for peace of mind, it might be better for Yuzuki to state her opinions on the matter.

[x] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.

And now back to business.
>>No. 27189
[x] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [x] "And explain your misgivings about it."

[x] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.
>>No. 27190
[X] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [X] "And explain your misgivings about it."

[X] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.
>>No. 27191
[X] "You're right. You should ignore the message."

NOPE. Seija is bad news and Hina deserves better than to get caught up in one of her schemes.

[x] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.
>>No. 27192
[x] Give the message to Hina...
-[x]... And explain your concerns about it
>>No. 27193
File 147814347446.jpg - (635.28KB, 708x1000, Been at it all night.jpg) [iqdb]
27193
[X] "You should still deliver the message..."
- [X] "And explain your misgivings about it."

[X] Stay with Yuzuki and go find Sekibanki.

"... You should deliver the message along with your misgivings about it," I decide. Even if the situation might feel a little shady to her, I still think there is some obligation on Yuzuki to involve Hina in this kind of decision. This is Hina's business, the only reason Yuzuki is even aware that something is happening is because she happened to be in the right place at the right time to learn about it.

"I'm just concerned for her," Yuzuki explains, she's not arguing very forcefully, but she is arguing all the same. "I want to help her as much as I can. If it's possible for me to minimise the chances that Hina will fall into another bad deal, shouldn't I do that?"

I shake my head. Yuzuki's being stubborn, but doesn't seem to have very strong justification for what she's saying. I think she'll listen if I just explain some more. "Boundaries, Yuzuki," I remind her. "You shouldn't decide what's right and wrong for other people. It's fine to give them advice, but you shouldn't be forcing them to do it your way."

Yuzuki's deflates as she looks away with an admonished expression. It's probably because I'm bringing up something that she knows she's had trouble with in the past. She normally acts like she's over this kind of behavior now, and honestly she usually is, but this Hina situation seems to have made her slip back into old habits. "I know..." she mumbles, sounding dejected.

Well, I didn't mean to make her upset. It's just that telling Yuzuki that she's wrong can sometimes have that effect on her. Usually it happens when she knows that she's actually in the wrong and doesn't know how to argue back anymore. It's a little immature of her, but it's just her honest reaction. I find myself feeling kind of bad for her. It's not her fault, all of us rabbits have some mental stuff that we have to work around. We do our best, but having each other around is important to keep us grounded.

I walk over to Yuzuki and put my free hand on her shoulder, not really sure what else I should do or say. I don't really need to get her attention, she knows what I'm doing even if she's not looking at me. I just want to try and make her feel a little better. She doesn't need to feel ashamed of herself or whatever it is that's making her avoid looking at me right now. I know she really has been trying to make things work out, and I definitely appreciate that. She's probably been at it just as hard as I have, which is more than I can say for some other members of the unit.

"If it helps," I finally break the silence after I've had some time to think up something to say. I just want to help Yuzuki not be so worried about the situation. "I have faith in Hina to do the right thing, whatever that ends up being."

"Faith..." Yuzuki mumbles, a slight tone of surprise, but mostly she just sounds thoughtful. After a few quiet moments to consider it, she nods and turns to me. "You're right," She decides. "You are absolutely right Seiran."

She isn't really smiling yet, but it's still easy to see that Yuzuki's mood has improved a bit. "So just talk to her tomorrow, explain how you feel about the situation, and leave it at that. You just have to believe that Hina will make things work out for herself," I summarize for her. Honestly I kind of wish that I could apply this kind of confidence to other issues in my life, but it's just easier to do that with things that are left up to a literal goddess. When it's just dumb me in charge of things I'm not so sure of the outcome.

"Right, I'll do that," Yuzuki pauses and gives me a short look, consideration toward something or other showing on her face. When she makes up her mind, Yuzuki swiftly pulls me into a short hug. It's just long enough for her to give a rushed "Thank you," before she pulls away.

I'm feeling rather surprised as I look at Yuzuki's somewhat sheepish expression. "I thought you hated hugs."

"That's mostly true. I don't really like it when anyone touches me," Yuzuki fiddles with her hair, assuring herself that it's still as perfect as always. "But I can understand what they're for and why they need to happen sometimes. The look on your face made it look like you wanted to give me one, so I let it happen."

Her giving me a hug is a bit different from me giving her one, but I don't really feel like that's a point worth arguing. Her assumption was more or less correct. Even if I hadn't been thinking about wanting to hug her, I certainly don't mind it. We're friends. We support each other when we can. "Well, thanks then."

"It's nothing," Yuzuki immediately assures me, straightening her already straightened out clothes. "That's all that I wanted to talk about though, so I think I'll go talk to Sekibanki now. What are you going to do?"

"I think I'll stick with you a bit longer, if that's okay," I answer. The other options can wait for now, I'm feeling pretty good about the me and Yuzuki chemistry at the moment. We can probably get a lot done together. "I think you're right about it being a good idea to talk to the most leaderlike um... Leader available."

"Alright. We'll ask her some questions together then," Yuzuki agrees. "I don't really expect that she'll tell us every secret ever at the drop of a hat, but it's worth looking into."

"That's assuming there are many secrets to tell," I point out. It could still technically be possible that Kanako misread the situation and that there's nothing more to this group than how it appears. "I haven't noticed any kind of shady undertones or anything like that. It just seems like a big group of people getting together to talk and help each other out."

"There are still unanswered questions. Even if the answers don't turn out to be anything sinister, they're still worth learning," Well, that's a pretty fair point from Yuzuki. "Anything at all about how this organization works would be helpful toward our objective."

"True," There's not much point in arguing the small stuff anyway. I already decided I was coming along. Whatever we end up talking about, it'll probably be helpful information, or at the very least it should be interesting.

The process of finding Sekibanki isn't difficult, or at least it isn't for Yuzuki. We make our way back to the center of the meeting area, where Yuzuki quickly decides a direction and starts walking. Given that we're just wandering around in the dark woods, I can't imagine this would go nearly as well if I didn't have somebody with ESP to guide the way. While walking, I think I catch a glimpse of Sumi flying through the sky, but I can't see her very well from down here. I hope she's not losing too badly.

Once we reach far enough out that I'm having a lot of trouble even following her along, Yuzuki slows down. I'm assuming means that we're close to who we're looking for, but I can't see Sekibanki anywhere. Why did we- "She's with one of her heads... Shh," Yuzuki quickly shushes me as I open my mouth. I shut up immediately and manage to catch a soft voice talking to somebody.

"-n't need to namedrop. That's the easy way out, but it's not worth using on this. Just do normal negotiations for now. Tell her that if anyone complains, I'll get them to stop. We're not trying to bother anybody," Just judging by the sound of the voice, Sekibanki should be behind the tree to our right, and maybe a few feet away from it.

"Got it," The exact same voice says back. "Have fun at the party then, I'll be out doing all the work."

"I don't need sass from my own head," I can only really use the context to know whether it's Sekibanki or her other head talking. They sound exactly the same. "Go."

"Tch," There's a light noise of annoyance, then silence.

Yuzuki and I stay still for about a minute. I can kind of guess at what happened "It's clear now," Yuzuki finally declares to me. "Let's go."

I nod, but Yuzuki doesn't move first. It looks like she's expecting me to lead the way... Oh not you too! It's always my job to talk... Blegh. I'll just go. Sekibanki did invite me to talk to her earlier, so I'll just act on that. Right, right, no information gathering stuff, this is just me and Yuzuki trying to have a chat with one of our hosts. that's the story. Easy.

I round the tree and immediately see Sekibanki staring calmly into the sky. There's still the occasional flash from danmaku, but it's definitely slowed down a lot compared to when I was talking with Yuzuki. Maybe whoever is beating up on Sumi is running out of steam or something. Whatever, that's not important.

Okay, casual greeting. "Hello. You're Sekibanki, right?" Although I've been hearing her name all night, we haven't really been properly introduced.

"Hm? Oh, hey," Sekibanki's gaze quickly lowers out of the sky and notices me. Putting aside the somewhat dramatic clothing (I blame the cape part), she really does look like just a normal human. Well, not that I'm that qualified in what is normal for humans. I'm just guessing at it really. "Yeah, that's me. You guys are Seiran and Yuzuki right?" I'm sure she's heard our names as well, so I'm not surprised she already knows them. "You guys need anything?"

"Not exactly," I answer casually. It's probably not the best idea to immediately jump into questioning. have to work my way toward an interesting subject first. "You mentioned that I could come talk to you earlier with Kogasa, so I thought I would try saying hello."

"Ah right, that," Sekibanki recalls after a moment of consideration. I'm not that forgettable, am I? "Sorry, I've been running around all day and haven't had time to talk with people much."

"Are you busy with something right now?" Yuzuki asks. "We can come back if it's something important."

"No, it's getting taken care of already," Sekibanki answers calmly, glancing upward again. "Hopefully I can relax after this," There's another bright flash in the sky that causes Sekibanki to wince slightly. "Hopefully," She repeats.

I decide to make the obvious guess here, just to get Sekibanki talking. She doesn't seem like the most talkative person, so dragging information out of her might be a little difficult. "Is it about the danmaku?"

"Yeah," Sekibanki confirms with a shrug. "Duels spring up occasionally at our meetings, and it's usually not that much of an issue. There's lot of noise and light involved though. I'm just making sure it isn't going to cause a problem with the locals."

"Oh," That's a little bit worrying. The danmaku was Sumi's idea that she apparently got at least one person to go along with. If having a light show in the middle of the night sky causes an issue, it's kind of her fault, which makes it sort of our fault by association. "Sorry about that. Sumi gets carried away some times. Luckily she isn't that good at danmaku, so it should be over pretty soon."

"Nah, lack of self awareness is normal for youkai," She doesn't sound like she's joking, so I feel like that statement would be a little rude if it wasn't completely true. Especially when talking about Sumi. "It won't be a problem. We can talk now. What's up?"

[ ] About Sekibanki
- [ ] Who she is
- [ ] What's up with the multiple heads thing
- [ ] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [ ] She and Kogasa seemed kind of affectionate, is there something going on there?
[ ] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [ ] How it became like it is today
- [ ] How they have the money to pay for all this
- [ ] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?
[ ] About this specific meeting
- [ ] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
- [ ] How long does a meeting like this normally last?
- [ ] Are there any members that didn't come tonight that normally do?
[ ] Write-ins

(I was really feeling the first half of this update, if only everything I write could come out so smoothly.)
>>No. 27194
[x] About this specific meeting
- [x] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
[x] About Sekibanki
- [x] Who she is
- [x] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
[x] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [x] How it became like it is today
- [x] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?

> - [ ] She and Kogasa seemed kind of affectionate, is there something going on there?

Never enough KogaBanki.
>>No. 27195
[X] About Sekibanki
- [X] Who she is
- [X] She and Kogasa seemed kind of affectionate, is there something going on there?
[X] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [X] How it became like it is today
- [X] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?

Speaking of possible relationships, we can't forget about meeting Yamame again sometime.
>>No. 27196
[x] About this specific meeting
- [x] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
[x] About Sekibanki
- [x] Who she is
- [x] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
[x] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [x] How it became like it is today
- [x] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?

Asking about her and Kogasa might be a bit too personal for a first meeting.
>>No. 27197
[x] About this specific meeting
- [x] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
[x] About Sekibanki
- [x] Who she is
- [x] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
[x] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [x] How it became like it is today
- [x] How they have the money to pay for all this

Where they get the money from was one of the things Kanako specifically asked us to find out about, so we should probably do that.
>>No. 27198
[x] About this specific meeting
- [x] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
[x] About Sekibanki
- [x] Who she is
- [x] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
[x] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [x] How it became like it is today
- [x] How they have the money to pay for all this

These seem like the immediate priorities.
>>No. 27199
File 147830526746.jpg - (209.96KB, 850x517, __kishin_sagume_reisen_udongein_inaba_ringo_and_se.jpg) [iqdb]
27199
[x] About Elly
- [x] Who she is
- [x] Dream world?
[x] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [x] How it became like it is today
- [x] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?

We are close..!
>>No. 27200
File 147849419488.png - (724.79KB, 1023x724, So many questions.png) [iqdb]
27200
[X] About this specific meeting
- [X] What kind of problem would the danmaku duel actually cause? Is there danger?
[X] About Sekibanki
- [X] Who she is
- [X] What she does for the Grass Roots Youkai Network
[X] About the Grass Roots Youkai Network
- [X] How it became like it is today
- [X] We heard that Reimu came by before, how did the group manage to get out of that?
- [X] How they have the money to pay for all this

Okay hold on, I know that she just dismissed it and said that there wouldn't be an issue, but Sekibanki also specifically sent off a message to make sure of it. There has to be some kind of worse case scenario here. Call me pessimistic, but I don't think that we can just write something like that off. "You only said that you'd hopefully be able to relax after this. What happens if you can't? Is there some kind of danger?" I ask.

"Well no, it's gonna be fine. I just have to check in with the neighbors," Sekibanki calmly assures me once again. "Even though we're in the woods like this, we're close enough to the Scarlet Devil Mansion that they'll be able to see us. Or at least they'll be able to see the ones who, in their vast wisdom and experience, decided to shoot a bunch of fireworks at each other."

It's pretty clear how Sekibanki feels about the situation, but she could just prevent it from happening. Heck, I could probably prevent it from happening. "Do you need us to tell Sumi to stop?" I offer. "She'll probably... Err," Okay, there's a non-zero percent chance that she'll stop when asked at least. The actual number just happens to be very small.

"Like I said, it should be fine. The gatekeeper over there is pretty nice, so I can just explain things to her and she'll leave us alone to do our thing," Sekibanki pauses. "Probably."

"Probably?" Yuzuki repeats skeptically.

"There is the off chance that the great and powerful miss Scarlet decides that we're an annoyance. Then we might have some less friendly company," Sekibanki admits. She thinks for a moment before smirking and continuing. "Sakuya, this otherwise perfect and elegant night is being disturbed by that group of obnoxious boors. Get down there and silence them so that I may continue sipping wine and staring at the Moon in peace," She says, raising the pitch of her voice and speaking in some kind of snobby tone.

"Seems like you know her voice pretty well," Yuzuki points out. I don't actually know the person that Sekibanki is imitating, and I'm pretty sure that Yuzuki doesn't either. I guess it's just a blind compliment to keep Sekibanki talking.

"I haven't practiced it, but it's not exactly hard. Just act like you're rich and have nothing important going on," Sekibanki shrugs. "Anyway, if Remilia sends somebody down here, I'll be able to talk our way out of it. I just need to know what's going on so nobody else does anything stupid."

Yuzuki nods in agreement. "There do seem to be a few people with that kind of predisposition," Am I the only one here that isn't going to insult people behind their backs? Even if it is kind of deserved, it still feels kind of rude. "At least you seem to know what you're doing."

"I like to think so," Sekibanki glances up at a few more flashes of light. She shakes her head slightly, then continues. "Anyway, yeah. It'll be fine. We can talk about whatever you need."

I would normally be worried at this point, but I don't actually know what we would be up against in the worst case. I guess we'll just have to trust that Sekibanki knows what she's talking about. "Okay then. I had actually met with both Wakasagihime and Kagerou before the meeting, but I had only heard your name. I thought that now might be a good time to actually meet and talk to you. So uh, hello."

"Hey," Sekibanki responds. At first I think she's just going to leave it at that, but after an awkward pause she realizes that I'm waiting for a bit more than that. She finally decides to introduce herself. "I'm Sekibanki. I'm a rokurokubi that lives in the human village. I moonlight as a member of some kind of shady youkai organization with my friends. Nothing too exciting," Sekibanki then moves off to the side slightly. "Can we move while we're talking for now? I still have a couple more things to check before I take a break."

It seems like our host is pretty busy still, and I don't want to hold her up. "Sure I guess," The three of us start walking through the trees. It's pretty dark out here, but Sekibanki doesn't seem to have a very hard time moving around. Neither does Yuzuki of course. I guess it's just me and my big cumbersome hammer. "Well, I'm Seiran, a rabbit, and I don't really know what a Rokurokubi is," I admit once we've started walking. I have heard it before, but only from that note that Kanako gave us.

"Not that surprising. What about a Nukekubi?" Sekibanki asks. I shake my head at her. "Dullahan?" Still no. We don't have to worry about identifying all these random Earth youkai types back home. Why would we? "Yeah, that's pretty standard. In fact, I'm all of those things exactly because dumb humans keep mixing up their folk tales. All it really means is that my head and neck aren't quite as stuck in one place as other people."

"Like how you were flying around as just a head earlier tonight," I know not to mention the head that we just saw. We were supposed to be hidden at the time. Earlier when she got caught by Kogasa is safe to mention though. "I was kind of worried you didn't have a body at all at first."

"I only have one body, but I've got lots of heads. You just happened to see one of them earlier today," Oh, so is this head not the same one that I talked to before? That's still really weird to think about.

"How exactly does that work? Can you see through all of them at the same time?" Yuzuki asks.

"I can do that, but for the most part I don't," Sekibanki explains. "They're magically connected to me all the time, but completely controlling them is a pain. Micromanaging all their actions and decisions is too much when it doesn't also duplicate my brain power. I just tell them what to do and let them figure it out. It works out okay. I can trust my own heads to not do anything that I wouldn't do."

"I think it works out pretty well. The meeting's going off without a hitch," I compliment her, but Sekibanki doesn't seem flattered by it.

"Aside from Kagerou spilling the tub for our Princess to sit in earlier," I had already forgotten that, but I guess Sekibanki didn't. "That one wasn't my fault though."

"Speaking of those two, I had a chance to talk to them earlier tonight," Yuzuki says. "From what they said, it seems like you're the one doing all the hard stuff. Is it fair to call you the leader of the Grassroots Youkai Network?"

"I don't know about it being fair, but I wouldn't want you to call me that," Sekibanki answers, curving around a large tree. I think this direction is taking us deeper into the woods, so the vegetation is getting a bit more dense and hard to move through, especially given how dark it is.

"But it wouldn't be incorrect if I did, right?" Yuzuki presses. "You're the one that handles finding and securing meeting locations, communicating with the members outside of meetings, making sure that food is supplied, and apparently keeping the meetings from being broken up once they've started," I guess Yuzuki was pretty thorough in her questioning. "Those all sound like things that a leader would do."

Sekibanki lets out a sigh loud enough for us hear. "Sheesh, sounds like you were pretty curious about how all of this works. No, if anything, all three of us are leaders. I'm just the one that does all that stuff that you mentioned. The others have their own jobs and I have mine. The group wouldn't be able to be like it is without all three of us. Oh, hold on a second," Sekibanki walks up to a pile of rocks, where another one of her heads is sitting motionlessly. "How's things?"

The head swivels around on the stone, facing up toward her uh, self. "Nothing to report really. There were a couple of curious fairies, but they were easy to scare off."

"Alright, keep up the good work," Sekibanki says to her head.

"One of us has to," The head responds dryly, turning around and staring off into the darkness again. I see Sekibanki roll her eyes before motioning to us with her hand to keep walking. She changes direction, so I think we're now headed back closer toward the main meeting ground.

"I guess you don't have to worry about getting lonely," I try to joke. I still feel like it's pretty weird to watch somebody talk to an identical copy of their own head. Even more so for the thing to talk back to them.

"Depends, would you get lonely if you only had yourself to talk to?" Sekibanki asks me.

I definitely know the answer to this one. It's not a happy thing to think about, but then years in a hospital rarely are. "... Yes," It is definitely lonely to only have yourself to talk to.

"Same thing here. Just because myself talks back doesn't really make it better," Well, I never got that far at least, but Sekibanki has an actual excuse other than being crazy. "Talking to my heads has really just made me aware that I'm kind of rude sometimes. I need other people around or else I'll get sick of getting sassed by my own face."

"So you keep working hard to make it easy for you to talk to other youkai?" I take a guess.

"Pretty much. In my case, I already pass for a human as long as I keep my head down," I'm pretty sure that was an intentional pun. Nobody laughs, but Sekibanki doesn't seem like she's expecting us to. Why make the joke then? It was corny. "I don't need to worry that much about human youkai relationships like the others. In fact, if it were up to me we would just be a group that meets for fun and parties every once in a while."

Yuzuki continues for her. "But it's not up to you."

"Yeah, I'm kind of forced into doing more,"

"By Wakasagihime and Kagerou?" Yuzuki guesses.

Sekibanki pauses for a moment. "Err... Yeah," She hesitantly confirms. She doesn't sound very sure about that one. "I happened to know Kagerou and she happened to know the Princess. We started meeting up for fun and I found that I liked hanging around with them a lot. I'm not going to leave them now. We've been through much worse things than having to chase off fairies and keeping door guards from kicking our butts."

"Like when you tried to uh," I'm halfway through the sentence before I think that maybe I shouldn't bring this part up. It's a little too late to start now though. "Overthrow society?" I ask nervously.

If Sekibanki is annoyed, she doesn't show it at all. She just keeps walking. I notice that we seem to be getting closer to the lights, so we should be back in the main meeting area soon. I think. "Yeah, the 'dangerous youkai' stint. It wasn't a well thought out plan, but we were hopped up on magic and weren't thinking things through," Sekibanki shrugs again before she continues. "As a bit of advice, never opt-in to an incident. You don't want that kind of stress."

It's a little too late for that. "But isn't making a group this large opening yourself back up for trouble? Why keep having official meetings?" I ask.

"We didn't for a while," Sekibanki explains. "But then somebody had the idea that we should try to help other youkai who don't want to have any trouble with humans, so we moved to become a group that could do that. We talked to some youkai that seemed like they'd be interested, had them invite their friends, next thing you know we have a decently sized group of people all contributing toward the goal. It wasn't too difficult once we had an idea of what we wanted to make happen."

"Who's idea was it originally?" Yuzuki asks.

"What? Er, it was Kagerou's, I think," Sekibanki once again sounds unsure of herself. "It was a while ago."

"I see..."

It seems like there were a lot of steps missing in Sekibanki's explanation, although she obviously isn't going to tell us everything. Just looking at Yuzuki, I can tell that she's figured something out, so I might as well keep going in hopes that she'll pick up some more information. I'll ask her about it later. "Well it's good that things came together with your group so well. I heard that you even got Reimu to sign off on it. How did you manage that?" I ask, remembering back to our meeting with Kanako.

Sekibanki turns to me, clearly surprised. "I uh, didn't know that people knew about that," Crapcrapcrap.

"I heard about it earlier from Kagerou," Yuzuki quickly covers for me. "I don't think she meant to say it, it just slipped out."

"Oh," Sekibanki sighs again, seeming much less surprised. Oh good, it looks like that worked. Thanks for the save Yuzuki. "Well it's not a big deal I guess. We just had to talk with her for a while and convince her that we were harmless and that we would keep her informed on what we're doing."

"That's all?" I question.

Sekibanki looks a little embarrassed. "Well, I guess there was a bit of grovelling in there too," She reluctantly admits. "You do what you have to when dealing with the Hakurei. She can be pretty damn terrifying."

"Right, that's what Kagerou said as well," Yuzuki explains. I notice a slight look of relief on Sekibanki's face. "I don't blame you. I don't know what else you could have done."

"I guess we could have tried just bribing her too," Sekibanki suggests, sounding like she's mostly joking about it. "I hear she's usually hard up for cash. Dunno if she would have gone with it though. Probably would have been a pretty big risk."

Oh right, money. That's another point that Kanako suggested we look into. Well, it looks like Sekibanki has given me a lead in here, so I should jump on it. "Wouldn't it be hard to pull that off? You're already paying to cater the food and transport all the equipment and stuff, right? That must add up over time."

"Right, well uh, I do have a normal job in the village during the day, and Princess sometimes finds some nice stones and stuff in the lake that we can pawn off," Sekibanki explains, trying to sound casual about it. "We make ends meet, but yeah, I guess that bribes would have put us a bit over budget," It sounds like she hadn't really been thinking about it and is backpedaling now. Maybe people just haven't been asking her where the money is coming from previously and she doesn't have a good cover story.

"Do you have any other sources of money? It must be tough on you if you're supporting this whole operation by yourself," I try to phrase my question innocently, even though I'm sure she's hiding things at this point.

"We... Sometimes get donations," Sekibanki admits. "Like from some of the musicians or any of the others who want to help out," She adds vaguely. I wonder who exactly she means by 'others'. "We make it work."

There's a lull in the conversation as we make our way back into an area that I actually recognize. A few more trees passed, and we suddenly find ourselves in the main clearing where all the chairs are set up. It seems like everyone has left the area. Even Kagerou and Wakasagihime must have decided to move, the washtub isn't here. I can still hear a lot of talking off toward the direction of Mystia's stand, as well as some music now coming from where all the musicians were set up. I hadn't really been paying attention, but at some point during our talk with Sekibanki, the flashes of danmaku had completely stopped. I guess Sumi's done getting beaten up then.

I think we've done a pretty good job of getting information. I doubt that Sekibanki is going to come out and say 'Hey, here's all of our secrets', but just from what she has said I think it's pretty obvious that Yuzuki was right and there are secrets to find. I'll have to follow up with the others and we can figure out if and how we're going to figure out the whole truth. For now though, we should probably stop interrogating Sekibanki. I feel kind of bad about it, even if we have been posing most of questions as nicely as we can.

I lean myself against one of the empty chairs and try to look casual. This was just a nice chat, not an interrogation. That's what I'm going for anyway. "Well, thanks for the talk," I say to Sekibanki. "I'm glad that we got to come to this meeting."

"Same here," Yuzuki adds. "I'm glad you guys are doing what you're doing."

"Right, no problem," Sekibanki keeps walking until she's on the other side of the semicircle, then turns back to face us. "I'll still be around until you guys leave if you need anything specific. There isn't really a defined end time for the meeting either, so feel free to do whatever."

"What are you going to do now?" I ask.

"Just one more head to check on," Sekibanki looks like she's going to sigh, but holds back. "Then I'm giving myself a break. How about you?"

[ ] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.
[ ] Sumi's probably fine, but it might not hurt to check on her.
[ ] Chiyo should be somewhere around here...

Shoutouts to daylight savings time giving me another hour that I didn't use for anything productive.
>>No. 27201
[X] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.
>>No. 27202
[x] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.
>>No. 27203
[X] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.

We can find out more while eating with the others.
>>No. 27205
File 147851924733.jpg - (49.97KB, 320x436, dANIH3V5KlZXWn_z4ekvwmhp2Ku6ygVK-041YmKY9DI.jpg) [iqdb]
27205
[x] Chiyo

Well, that was a ton of good info. Most importantly, we know that someone is backing the team up and had the original idea that allowed the group's Head to turn over a new Leaf, so to speak.

I doubt they have much to worry about though. If you ignore the shrine maiden most humans are pretty nice.
>>No. 27206
[X] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.
>>No. 27207
[X] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.
>>No. 27208
Update not done, could rush something out, not going to. Bleh.

Tomorrow.
>>No. 27209
File 147882952947.jpg - (299.55KB, 640x1280, At your service.jpg) [iqdb]
27209
>>27208
This was a bad idea for various reasons. More on that later.

-

[X] I'm feeling hungry now, I think it's time for some food.

It's not like I'm starving or anything, but my stomach is definitely trying to take a more active role in the decision making here. I have kind of been putting this off, it's just that there's just so many people to talk to. Well, all of them have left this open area at least, so there's no point in staying right here. "You guys are treating us, right?" I ask rhetorically. "I haven't eaten anything yet, so I think I'll go over that way."

"Good call. I'll probably do the same after I finish up everything on my end," I thought she said before that she only had one more head to check, but somehow I doubt that will be the end of it. "There's always so much going on. At least the night is still young for youkai, right?"

"Sure..." I don't really know what she means, but I'll just go along with it.

"I'll even give you a tip," Sekibanki offers. "Ask Mystia about the Kogasa special. I'm pretty sure Kogasa said she was going to makes some and bring it in today."

"What is it?" Yuzuki asks.

"I think I can guess this one. It's a surprise, right?" I answer, her, checking with Sekibanki, who nods in response. "Of course," Is it still a surprise if it was predictable? Weird. Anyway, I can appreciate recommendations, but there's a slight problem here. "It doesn't cost extra or anything, right? I don't really have any money."

"Yeah you're not the only one," Sekibanki wryly agrees. What about the donations you just mentioned? "Doesn't matter though. Mystia usually doesn't charge for anything brought in by other members. She says that she can't guarantee the quality if she doesn't make it herself. Probably a good call when it comes to Kogasa, but it's not like Mystia's working a five star restaurant herself."

Sekibanki is more just talking to herself at this point, so I might as well break the conversation off and get moving. "Well, thanks for the advice. See you later Sekibanki."

"Just Banki is fine. Most people end up calling me that," I did kind of notice that. I guess it is a little shorter and easier to say. Probably the same reason everyone seems to call Wakasagihime Princess. "See you."

"Right, see you," I repeat as Sekibanki turns and walks away.

Yuzuki and I stand quietly and watch until Sekibanki disappears behind the trees. Once she's out of sight, I turn to Yuzuki. I kind of noticed this before, but Yuzuki's face right now clearly says 'I figured things out'. That's good, because I can only take guesses about the secrets we've been trying to figure out. "You look pleased with yourself," I start off casually.

"I see no reason why I shouldn't be. You and I have made significant progress on both our primary and secondary objectives for the mission," Yuzuki says proudly. She walks away from me a bit, moving around and adjusting the positions of some of the unoccupied chairs. "Even if we don't make any more headway tonight, we can even follow up on our leads at our leisure tomorrow."

I guess she kind of has a point. There's still more information we could probably drag out if we tried really hard, but our primary objective was vague enough that we've technically already completed it. That's without much help from the other three rabbits as well. As for our secondary objective, the thing with Elly is only a possibility, but it's better than earlier today when we had no clues whatsoever.

There is something that I don't get about what Yuzuki said though. "Tomorrow?" I ask. Why not now?

"It's clear that somebody helped the Grassroots Youkai Network become what it is today. The explanations have been too vague and Sekibanki's stories didn't even fully match with the other stories I've heard tonight. I believe that this backer is the missing piece to the puzzle," Right, logical enough. Yuzuki slowly continues adjusting chairs as she explains. "It makes sense that whoever their patron is is likely going to want to know what happened with tonight's meeting, especially given that they're evaluating some new members tonight," There's a brief pause as Yuzuki stops to harshly glare at one of the seats. After a moment of consideration, she picks it up and moves it out of sight behind a couple of shrubs. "Sekibanki or at least one of her heads is going to have to deliver all the information gathered here to that person. Sumi or I, perhaps both of us, could easily track Sekibanki to see who and where that person is."

I can understand her thought process here. I probably would have hit a similar conclusion if I had more time to think about it. Although I think there are some other possibilites that Yuzuki is dismissing off hand. "Couldn't she be reporting right now? If she has lots of heads flying around, one of them could just fly over to whoever their leader is and say something."

"I considered that, but talking to Sekibanki makes that seem unlikely. She said that she doesn't micromanage the thoughts of her heads, she treats them as separate entities. That means that it's not an open communication channel between her and the leader. It's intermittent," Yuzuki finishes her full circle of the area and come back to me. The chairs aren't really any more orderly than before in my opinion, but I know that Yuzuki has her own sense for this kind of thing. Whatever makes her happy. "Sekibanki will wait until after the meeting to report on everything that was brought up tonight. Otherwise she would just be wasting effort and time on multiple trips," She concludes, finally giving me her full attention again. I guess some things just can't wait with her.

"What if their patron is already here at the meeting, and just keeping themselves a secret?" I don't really know of any suspects, but it's not like I've met absolutely everyone here yet. Even if I had, I'm not the best at reading the actions of strangers anyway.

"Hmm... I suppose that's possible... That could end up making tailing Sekibanki a waste of time," It looks like Yuzuki genuinely hadn't considered this possibility, so I feel a little proud. I really am trying to help here! "Well, we can decide on that later. To be honest, I would like to simply call it here for tonight."

That's a bit surprising. "Wow, Yuzuki is willing to leave a job unfinished?" I ask jokingly. "We've been down here too long. Maybe Command was right about the Earth's impurity messing up our brains."

"No comment on that," Yuzuki says tersely. Hey, I only meant it as a joke. "But remember that Kanako has no real expectations of us, nor does she know how long our investigation is going to take. We've identified a way to get more information if we want to, but if us being here is just about us paying back our debt to her, reporting what this group and its members are doing should suffice."

It would suffice sure, but we know we could do better. The only reason I can think of for Yuzuki being okay with not giving this specific mission her all is spite. I'm very much aware that Yuzuki's gotten a bad impression of the Moriyas, even though they really haven't done anything wrong to us in particular. The Hina thing aside, Sanae and Kanako have actually been quite nice and helpful. "Having more information gives us more leverage to bring to the table," I explain patiently. "If we're going to keep working with Kanako..."

"We'll be leaving ourselves open to being screwed over," Yuzuki cuts me off and finishes my sentence with something entirely different from the point I was making.

I heave a sigh. I don't really feel like having this kind of argument on an empty stomach. I just want to move on. "Come on, let's go get something to eat," I change the subject by walking in the general direction of Mystia's stand. "You're so hungry that you're getting cranky. Somebody needs to feed you and take care of you before you start yelling at Sumi again."

"Hah hah," Yuzuki gives a couple of sarcastic laughs, but doesn't argue with following me along.

While I was off talking to people and getting stuff done (wow that feels good to think), it seems like this part of the woods has become the main hub of activity. Everyone kind of broke off into their own groups after the formal part of the meeting ended, but the promise of free food appears to have gradually pulled people back to a central location over time. Well, mostly everyone. I don't notice Sumi or Chiyo among the few tables that we come across on our way to the stall, and I'm pretty sure there are still quite a few other youkai that we don't know where they went, but it's still notably busy around here either way.

I'm vaguely reminded of mess halls back in basic training, but only a tiny bit. There's the same atmosphere of many different groups of friends (which of course I'm not a part of) coming together to have some fun while they eat, but that's about where the similarities end. The disorganized, randomly spread out tables, stuck wherever they can fit between plants and trees are a far cry from the neat and orderly cafeterias that we would eat in back in the military.

The smell especially is something entirely unfamiliar to me. As we move closer to the food stand itself, the smell of... something continues to get stronger and stronger. Okay, I know that this should be the smell of food being cooked, but it's still completely different from what I'm used to. There's the obvious smokiness from Mystia's grill, but the rest of it isn't something that I can think of good words to describe. Maybe sort of salty? It kind of stings my nose a little, but I also notice my mouth watering a bit as well. I don't know how I feel about it.

"Hey guys, nice of you to drop by," I'm interrupted from my confusion by Ringo talking to me. She's once again sitting on a stool right in front of the counter of Mystia's stall.

"Uh, hey," I greet Ringo back, trying not to sound confused. Honestly I'm a little surprised at how much the smell of cooking food had distracted me. It was enough to make me not pay that much attention to where exactly I was, instead just making me walk in a straight line toward the source.

For her part, it looks like Ringo has been enjoying herself. There's only a could of empty dishes sitting in front of her, which is a much fewer than the dozens I would normally expect when going out to eat with Ringo. I guess the money issue is holding her back. Either that or she's showing an unusual amount of restraint. Pretty sure I know which is more likely. Well, it doesn't exactly matter what the reason is. The end result is that Ringo SHOULD be satisfied with what she's eaten, even though she'll probably still try for more.

Sitting to Ringo's left is still Kogasa. I don't know if those two hit it off or what, but it looks like they're at least not bothered by each other. Further to Kogasa's left is one of the girls that Chiyo had been talking with earlier. Either Tokiko or Kokoro I think, Chiyo didn't specify which was which.

Well either way, there's more than enough room to Ringo's right for Yuzuki and I to sit down, so we go ahead and do so. Mystia glances up at us, pausing whatever song she had been humming to greet us instead. "Welcome you two," She chirps happily as she splits her attention between us and whatever it is that she's cooking. I guess that would be the lamprey that ringo talked about earlier. I've never seen it before, but I think that's a safe guess to make. "What can I get you?"

"I'm not sure exactly," I admit. Usually wouldn't you have some kind of menu or at least go through what you have available before asking that question? I guess most people that come by must already know what they're getting into or something. "What do you suggest?"

"The grilled lamprey really is my normal staple, but I can do other stuff easily enough," Mystia glances around behind her and underneat the counter. "I've always got plenty of rice, I've also got noodles around for yakisoba somewhere around here..."

"For what it's worth, I recommend everything," Ringo happily chimes in, gesturing to her empty plates. "I haven't had a single thing that I dislike yet."

"There are foods that you dislike?" I ask, trying to fake sounding incredulous. It might be unnecessary, but I still feel like I should apologize to Mystia a bit if Ringo's forcing her through a full sampler of everything. "Sorry if she's being unreasonable," I say, turning back to the cook. "Ringo has a pretty big appetite."

Mystia smiles and lets out a short laugh. "Girl, I have had much much MUCH worse," She says. "I've had people so hungry that they worked through my entire stock for the night and then wanted to eat ME afterward. You rabbits aren't even carnivorous, so there's no way you're going to be the worst thing that I've ever dealt with."

"You say not carnivorous, but thos don't look like the remains from something vegetarian on Ringo's plate," Yuzuki points out. I hadn't really noticed anything being left on the plates myself, but it's Yuzuki. She would notice that kind of thing.

Ringo turns and grins widely at Yuzuki. "Yup, I've awakened to my bloodthirsty youkai nature. All it took was two plates of lamprey," She declares menacingly. "The only safe thing left for you to do is feed me some more, otherwise I might decide to use my big sharp nasty pointy teeth on you next."

Yuzuki responds with little more than an eyebrow raise and an unenthusiastic "Terrifying," before turning back to Mystia. "You have some vegetables and greens stored around, right? I'd just like a salad," She decides.

Mystia looks thoughtful for a moment, but doesn't refuse. "I guess I can get something together. You sure about that order though? You're covered for a bit more food than just that. Don't feel bad about enjoying the hospitality."

"No, just a salad is fine," Yuzuki assures her. I'm pretty sure that Yuzuki is still hung up about the idea that the usual food served here was actually a living creature at some point. I'm kind of weird about it as well, but apparently it's normal down here. I don't know what the Lunarians may have been eating behind closed doors, but I can at least say that I know us rabbits have always been vegetarians back home. "You can make it as larg as you think is appropriate, if that helps."

Mystia shrugs. "Customer is always right I guess," There's a short pause as Mystia thinks better of what she just said. "Well maybe not always. They're always right unless they're being unreasonable or think that I'm on the menu. That's a little closer I think. Anyway, coming right up. What about you Seiran?"

[ ] I'll just have a salad too, I'm not used to eating meat.
[ ] Ringo said that I should try the lamprey, so I guess I'll have that.
[ ] Yakisoba is just noodles, right? I'll have that.
[ ] Sekibanki mentioned asking about some kind of Kogasa special?

[ ] Stay and eat with Ringo, maybe I can keep her from spending all of her money
[ ] Wakasagihime and Kagerou are off eating together, maybe I could talk with them some
[ ] That group of kappa seem to have a table to themselves, let's see what they're talking about
[ ] Some of the musicians have come back over here, although I don't see Sumi with them. I could check and see what happened.

So I got into a car accident today. That was fun. I'm perfectly fine (my car, the only one that was damaged, is much less fine) aside from the airbag gasses burning my left hand a bit. So basically a good portion of the second half of this update was written one-handed, with occasional help from lefty whenever he felt good enough to break away from the ice pack. That kinda sucked. Should have just forced it out yesterday. Oh well. My hand will probably be better soon enough, so it shouldn't matter all that much.
>>No. 27210
[X] Sekibanki mentioned asking about some kind of Kogasa special?
[X] Some of the musicians have come back over here, although I don't see Sumi with them. I could check and see what happened.

Shame to hear about your car accident. I hope your hand heals soon.
>>No. 27211
[x] I'll just have a salad too, I'm not used to eating meat.
[x] Some of the musicians have come back over here, although I don't see Sumi with them. I could check and see what happened.

> car accident

Ouch.
>>No. 27212
>>27209
Holy fuck you really took that 'rush' thing seriously, eh? Hope your hand gets better and you can recover something out of the car.
>>No. 27213
[X] Sekibanki mentioned asking about some kind of Kogasa special?

Never going to not pick the umbrella option.

[X] Some of the musicians have come back over here, although I don't see Sumi with them. I could check and see what happened.

Uh oh, what did she do this time?
>>No. 27214
File 147910085197.jpg - (621.79KB, 945x1315, It wasn't meant to be.jpg) [iqdb]
27214
[X] Sekibanki mentioned asking about some kind of Kogasa special?
[X] Some of the musicians have come back over here, although I don't see Sumi with them. I could check and see what happened.

I know that Ringo seems fine for now, but I'm a little concerned about just suddenly eating whatever fish stuff is normal down here. Our digestive systems might not know exactly how to handle it, and I'd rather not take the chance at getting sick if I can help it. I should probably just ask for a salad, although something else comes to mind as well.

"I was told that I should try the Kogasa special?" I say, trying not to sound too unsure. Mystia didn't mention it when she was going over options, but Sekibanki suggested it, so it must be a thing that exists, right?

When she hears me, I can see Kogasa jump up in her seat. I don't know exactly what she was talking about with that pink haired expressionless girl, but apparently it's less important than my question. Kogasa sits tall enough on her stool that I can see her (and her umbrella) giving me an excited look from over Ringo's head.

"Oh that," Mystia answers, not sounding that excited about whatever this special thing is. "Yeah, gimme a second so I can find it," She ducks down, leaving only her wings poking up above the counter. "Even though she makes it every week, Kogasa doesn't just hand it to me like a reasonable person. She always hides it randomly."

"I always put it somewhere where you'll find it without looking for it," Kogasa says with a childishly helpful tone even though it really just sounds like she's being difficult to me. "That way it catches you by surprise!"

"Not really surprising when you do it every week," Mystia mutters, moving over to the far side of the stall. "Here we go," She declares after another moment of searching. She stands up again, holding a medium sized box in both hands. "So these aren't exactly filling and have extremely questionable nutritional value. You might want to get something else along with it."

"Err, I'll just have a salad too then," I say without really thinking about it. I'm more interested in looking at what's being presented here. Mystia sets the box down on the counter in front of me and opens it up unceremoniously. Er, these are just cupcakes, right? Or maybe muffins? Whatever, they're some kind of baked good. "What about these is the Kogasa special?" Well, I know that they're more of a western type of food than you'd typically see here, but I feel like there must be something more than that.

Kogasa leans over in front of Ringo and grabs a muffin. "I made them, and they're special!" She declares happily.

I get the feeling that that's not the full answer. "Sure, but there's some surprise to it, right?"

Kogasa giggles to herself and sits back down in her seat. She takes a bite out of the cupcake that she grabbed, smiling widely. Well, she seems fine, so I guess it's probably safe. I might just be acting paranoid. If this Kogasa surprise really had some kind of sinister motive, Mystia wouldn't just serve it to people, would she? I glance at Mystia questioningly, but she just shrugs and moves away to start working on preparing our food. Well whatever.

There's a short break while we watch Mystia work. She seems quite used to splitting her focus between multiple dishes at the same time, but I guess that's normal if you're going to run a stall like this by yourself. She finishes up the grilling of a couple of lamprey (still smells pretty good I have to admit) and hands them off to Kogasa and whoever that other girl is while preparing salads for Yuzuki and I.

Once she's finished, the end products that Mystia gives us are a little smaller and have a bit less variety compared to something that we'd have back on the Moon. Hm, salad and a cupcake. Kind of a weird combination for a meal, but I guess it could be worse health wise. Not that I really need to be concerned about eating that healthy. I'm pretty sure that being a youkai kind of gives us a lot of leeway on our diets. That's the only explanation I can think of for Ringo and Sumi's bodies. Despite the former eating way too much and the latter exercising way too much, they both generally stay at about the same weight and figure all the time. Not sure how that works other than just hand waving it with the 'we're youkai' explanation.

Speaking of Sumi, I haven't seen her since our impromptu meeting. Same thing with Chiyo. They both said what they were going to do, so I'm not exactly worried about them, but I am a bit curious. The flashes of whatever danmaku duel Sumi brought up have entirely stopped at this point, but that's all I know. I turn around to look at the surrounding area, just in case I can see either of them somewhere. I could just ask Yuzuki, but there are other people around to hear the question, and we generally try to keep everyone's powers a secret when possible.

I don't see either of the rabbits that I'm looking for, but I do see Raiko and a couple of the other other musicians sitting at a table in the distance. Maybe I can ask them about Sumi. When I shuffle off of my stool, Yuzuki gives me a curious look while Ringo actually looks a little bit... Disappointed? "I just want to check on something," I explain vaguely, grabbing my salad and one of Kogasa's cupcakes and walking away.

The small table that the musicians are sitting at is sqare shaped, and sized for four people. Luckily it looks like there's only three people sitting there at the moment. I know Raiko already, and can at least recognize the other two. One is that purple pigtailed string girl, while the other is part of that set of three nearly identical girls. The blonde one with the black clothes specifically. All three of them glance up at me as I make my way over, though only Raiko seems to have much of a change in expression.

"Um, Hi," Okay, not the worst start. I hadn't really been thinking of an opener while walking over here but I know I can totally do this. "Is this seat open?"

"Yeah, you're fine," Raiko answers happily, patting the seat to her right. "How's the night treating you Seiran?"

I'm really glad that I already know her. It's making this much easier and less intimidating than say, trying to sit at one of the tables full of strangers at a mess hall back home. Let's not think too much about that kind of trauma, moving on, moving on. "It's been going pretty well," I answer honestly. We've actually been getting a good amount done. "Hello Raiko and um..."

"Oh right," Raiko picks up on my unasked question quickly. "These two cuties are Lunasa and Benben," She points to each girl as she finally lets me attach some names to faces. "Lunasa plays strings as part of the Prismriver Ensemble and Benben plays bass for Choujuu Gigaku."

Benben sits up straight in her seat and gives me a small bow. "I would prefer to be known for playing the biwa," She corrects Raiko after leaning back up. "But that doesn't really have a place in punk."

"And you do?" Lunasa asks. Her voice is quiet and her expression is fairly muted. I instantly get the impression that she doesn't talk very much.

"My new power source is an outside world bass guitar, so I manage," Benben defends herself. "I admit I don't quite have the temperament for it though."

Raiko laughs at that. "You get into it just fine. I've seen you rocking out harder than Mysty or Kyouko plenty of times," She assures Benben, patting her on the back.

I put my salad and cupcake down on the table. It looks like the others have already eaten, since Benben and Raiko just have empty plates in front of them, while Lunasa has a half eaten lamprey that she's slowly picking away at. "Well, hello you two. I'm Seiran," I introduce myself as I sit down. "I think you guys already know Sumi? I'm one of her friends."

"But," Raiko continues for me. "I talked to her earlier and she doesn't have the same quirks as Sumi."

Yeah, I know a lot about Sumi's quirks. The fact that Raiko thought it was a good idea to make that assurance is probably not a good sign though. "Has she been causing you guys problems?" I ask, trying not to sound worried.

"Not exactly problems," Benben answers. "It's just that our sisters and Kyouko can be a bit easily excitable at times. Your friend picked up on that and seemed to get a lot of enjoyment out of riling them all up. After introducing herself and satisfying her curiosity about our music, Sumi quickly started asking questions about if anyone would be interested in a duel. Merlin and Yatsuhashi both accepted immediately."

"That's not that big of a deal, is it?" I'm under the impression that doing danmaku stuff for tenuous reasons isn't that weird here.

"No it's not a big deal," Benben agrees. "It just got out of hand a little bit."

I sigh. Of course it did. "What did Sumi do?" I ask reluctantly. It can't be anything that bad if Benben is still willing to talk to me, but I can't imagine that it's good either.

"It started out as a normal duel, although it was a bit one sided," Benben starts.

"Sumi's not very good," Lunasa adds on, reaching about three fourths completion on her lamprey. That reminds me that I could be eating right now too. I take a moment to unwrap the paper on the bottom of my cupcake. I know that I should technically eat the salad first, but I'm an adult. I'm allowed to eat desert at whatever point of my meal that I want.

"And when she started to lose, Sumi decided to do some unorthodox things," Benben continues. I bite into my cupcake. This seems pretty standard so far. Is the surprise that there is no surprise?

Raiko laughs and holds up her hand, ticking off points with her fingers. "Using insults instead of bullets, which didn't work because Merlin laughs stuff like that off," It would be nice if Sumi wasn't too vulgar, but I know I can't hope for much. "Shoot into random trees to try and scare fairies to act as meat shields," I don't see how she would have even been able to pull that off. Maybe Yuzuki could, but Sumi would have to know fairies were there first. "Call Yatsuhashi up to help her, which made Lyrica join in as well, so it became a two versus two," I guess that's why the duel lasted for as long as it did then. If it had just been Sumi I imagine she would have lost pretty quickly. "Try to air tackle one of her opponents when bullets weren't working, crashing them into a tree before Lyrica remembered she's a poltergeist and can just phase through things," Sumi definitely cannot phase through things.

"So she ran into a tree? That's how it got out of hand?" That actually sounds kind of tame from what I might expect from Sumi. I bite into my cupcake again and... OH! This has frosting in the middle of it! And it tastes like strawberries! If that's the surprise I am all for it.

"Two trees," Lunasa corrects me.

"She thought the first time was just a fluke," Raiko sounds amused.

"Well everyone thought it was pretty funny, so I guess it's fine," Benben decides. I think it's kind of funny too honestly. I doubt that Sumi's actually injured. She's used to losing in danmaku, and I can't imagine the tree thing keeping her down for very long. "The rest of them stayed behind to play around on their instruments and chat for a while longer."

"And flirt, don't forget the flirting," Raiko adds on.

"I would like to forget the flirting," Benben sighs. "I know it's not my choice to make, I'm just saying that I'm concerned as Yatsuhashi's sister. Her interest is obvious, but she has no experience with dating. Not that I can talk."

Huh, I don't know exactly what they're talkin-

Uh.

I just ate some more of my cupcake.

That is not strawberry flavor.

I don't know what that is other than some kind of spicy.

I know that this is definitely the most spicy thing that I have ever had ever.

I know that everything is now PAIN.

I know that I need to drink something now. If I do not have a drink I may be sick. Actually it's pretty much guaranteed that I'm going to be sick. If I don't get a drink I may actually pass out. And then get sick. And then die.

I jerk into a standing position, throwing my chair somewhere behind me. I put my hands over my mouth and turn around desperately. Where is a drink? I need a drink! Mystia's stall! She has to have drinks or something.

I run desperately back to the stall and fling my torso onto the counter, shocking everyone eating there. I don't care. My face is on fire, my eyes are tearing up so hard I can't see properly. I might actually be dying right now.

"DRINK!"

"Uh-"

"NOW!"

Mystia puts a glass down on the counter, then reaches for a jug of water to fill it up. I wrench the jug out of her hands and drink directly from it.

"What did you put in those?"

"Frosting."

"What kind of frosting?"

"My own magic kind. It's surprise frosting! I made it myself. Every time you eat it, it tastes different! I put all kinds of different tastes in there! Were you surprised?"

"I don't know if surprised is the right word for her right now..."

I'm still trying to wash out the taste of fire out of my mouth and am barely paying attention to my surroundings. THIS IS NOT WORKING.

"Now this looks like a party!" Another voice that I don't recognize yells from the side. I hear a thump as something impacts the counter next to me. "Chug chug chug!" The girls voice encourages me.

"Oh gods," Mystia mutters. "Why are you here?"

"I'm always lookin' for parties!" The voice answers triumphantly. "Wait, izzat? WATER? Dammit girl, don' be a wuss," The jug of water is forcefully pushed out of my hands. Before I complain about how badly I need that, something else is forced in my mouth. "Here, drink this."

I drink whatever the liquid forced into my mouth is without thinking. It tastes awful, but after a few mouthfuls, I feel some of the spiciness start to dissolve. There's a different kind of burning sensation that makes me want to cough and spit, but since the container I'm drinking from is being held in place by someone else, I kind of have to keep going.

Enough time passes that I'm worried I might start drowning before I'm finally given a chance to breathe. The purple container thing that I had been drinking from is taken away from my face and I can finally catch my breath and figure out what's going on. I'm lying across the counter of Mystia's food stall, recovering after Kogasa's surprise cupcakes decided to make everything into horrible burning terribleness. Even though I have an awful taste in my mouth and feel a bit dizzy, it seems like whatever I just drank did get rid of most of the spiciness.

"Thanks uh..." I turn my head to see a short horned girl standing on the counter next to me. She wasn't a part of the meeting before, was she?

"No problem. Booze is always the cure fer what ails ya! Now let's get partyin!" The girl drinks deeply from the purple gourd thing that I had just been drinking from.

Wait, booze? Partying? Uh... I feel dizzy...

[ ] Uh... Yeah let's do that!
[ ] I'm okay with this.
[ ] I feel sick.
[ ] Wait, somebody help me.
[ ] Passing out now.
>>No. 27215
File 147910146768.jpg - (433.83KB, 850x1200, __seiran_touhou_drawn_by_rihito_usazukin__sample-6.jpg) [iqdb]
27215
Let out some steam now, or it'll be too late!
>>No. 27216
[X] Uh... Yeah let's do that!

I'm sure a drunk Seiran partying with Suika can only end well!
>>No. 27217
[x] I'm okay with this~
>>No. 27218
>>27214
[X] Uh... Yeah let's do that!
Gotta make that mallet red somehow.
>>No. 27219
[X] Uh... Yeah let's do that!
>>No. 27220
[x] Uh... Yeah let's do that!
>>No. 27221
[X] I'm okay with this.
>>No. 27222
[x] I feel sick.
>>No. 27223
[x] Uh... Yeah let's do that!
>>No. 27224
File 147935933184.jpg - (564.56KB, 826x1169, Breaking Rules.jpg) [iqdb]
27224
[X] Uh... Yeah let's do that!

I... I need a second to breathe. Dizzy. Probably wasn't getting enough oxygen. Too much panicking followed by too much drinking without time to catch my breath. At least the spicy taste is mostly gone now. Something else kinda icky and kinda burny is in my throat instead. I can't really place it or describe it right. I'm just gonna lay my head down on this counter until I feel less dizzy and my face gets less hot. The wood isn't really cool or comfortable, but it's at least not as hot as my cheeks right now. My face is probably really red. Redder than a uh... Something really red. I don't know.

The horny...

*snrk* hehe...

The ho-the girl with horns finally finishes drinking from her flask gourd whatever thing. She jerks it away from her face with a satisfied "Bwah!" noise, staggers and sways a little, then falls. She lands with her butt on the counter, a little way away from me. She's just sitting there comfortably, almost acting like she had meant to fall over the whole time.

Hey girl, I can see up your dress! Oh, she moved. Nevermind.

"AWWWWWRIIIIIGHT!" The girl swings her legs over toward the inside of the stand. Ew there's supposed to be food prepared there don't put your feet near food that's gross. "Let's get this started!"

"Suika, no," Mystia awkwardly holds her hands up as if to stop the horn girl from getting any closer, but isn't actually in a position where she could stop her.

"Suika yes!" Okay I guess horny (hehe) girl's name is Suika. "I show up here cause it looks like a party's going on, you got everything all set up for one. Then I come down here to look and nobody's even half as drunk as me?" Suika holds her arms out and gives Mystia an incredulous look, or at least as incredulous as she can manage with how happy and goofy she looks. "This ain't how we do parties here and you know it! It's like you're not even from Gensokyo!"

Oh, that's me! I'm not from Gensokyo! I'm from the Moon and it sucks there! I'm not supposed to say stuff about that though. Gotta keep it quiet. Shhh.

Mystia groans. "I'm not telling people that they can't drink, far from it really. Most people just wait until later at night before they start."

"Pssh, getting everybody drinks is always priority one! And a buncha the other numbers too," Suika hops over the edge of the counter once she's finished mumbling, barely landing on her feet. She starts digging through some shelves that I can't really see. Mystia ducks down and struggles to stop her and also get her out of her kitchen, but it doesn't really look like it's working that well.

Okay, I know that I'm not an idiot. I have problems. I have talking problems and anxiety problems and brain problems, but I'm not an idiot. I can put two and two and two together. It's six. Or eight. Depends on what math you want to use. Okay so. One) Suika showed up and made me drink something I don't know what it is. Two) Suika went on to start yelling about wanting to party and stuff. Three) I'm now dizzy and I feel weird and silly. Add all that together and you get six, see? So I'm not an idiot. The math checks out.

"Seiran, you okay?" Ringo breaks away from watching the whatever's happening behind the counter to be concerned about me. Aww, thanks Ringo.

Actually, in response to her, the point that I was trying to think my way toward is that I'm reasonably sure that I'm kind of drunk right now. So I'm kind of okay I guess?

Drinking is another one of those things that we weren't supposed to do back home. Some of us (not me though I'm a good girl I promise) still did it anyway, since it wasn't exactly impossible to get alcohol, just difficult enough that my experience with it is definitely zero. Ah, more numbers! No math this time though. I don't wanna focus on that stuff right now.

What's weird is how fast drinking started affecting me I think. I think I thought that alcohol took more time than this to do the thing I think it did... Or at least that's what I remember hearing from Ringo and Sumi when I asked them (they aren't good girls like me). Maybe it's because I still haven't really eaten anything. Or maybe it's just reeeeeeally strong stuff? Probably both. Maybe this is just the start and I've still got more drunker to get too. Oh boy.

I try to lift my head up and- okay woah hold on stop stop stop... Okay. This isn't bad. Things were a little spinny right there for a second by I'm okay now. I actually don't feel that bad at all. My head feels kinda light, but I kinda like it. It's a little floaty. Or maybe bubbly... No maybe not bubbly on second or third thought. I'm not good with words. It's fun though. The feeling, not the being bad at words.

Oh yeah, Ringo asked me a question! She wanted to know if I'm okay. Which I am. I just have to turn to her and give her the classic move. The couple of quick nods. When I do that, I also giggle a little when I catch my ears bouncing at the top of my vision. That's not part of the classic move but it's okay.

Man, I love my ears. They're all floopy and cute. Ah, Ringo is cute too though! My answer to her question even made her even cuter by replacing the concerned look on her face with a smile. I love it when I can make Ringo smile. I wish all my friends would be able to smile all the time. They're the best. I love them. Ringo especially!

"Ringo, I think we need to leave now," Oh yeah, Yuzuki's here too! She's to my right while Ringo's to my left, so I'm right in the middle. Oh, I hope I'm not in the way. Maybe I'll just lay back down on the-oof. Okay I let my head down a little to quick. It's okay though, I'm okay. My face is still hot though.

"What? Come on, we've still got plenty of time, and I've got money to burn," Don't burn the money Ringo, exchange it for goods and services. That's what money's for.

"This isn't about you," Yuzuki hisses, leaning forward so she's over me. Ah, I can hear her still, and Ringo should be able to too, but I bet everyone else won't. Yuzuki's good at being careful like that. She's amazing. My friends are all so amazing. I'm really glad that they like me. "Seiran was just forced into drinking a very large amount of a very alcoholic sake. She has no tolerance for it. She is not in a state to keep going."

"She said she's fine," Yeah I did. Well I really just gave her the classic move. That's eeeeeven better than fine.

"She's drunk," Yuzuki can do math too! "She's not fit for duty, we need to go back now before something bad happens," Hehe, she said duty.

I feel something on my back. Pretty sure it's Ringo's hand. I hope so anyway. "Let her do what she wants. It's not like we're going to get many chances like this. If Seiran wants to get smashed, we should let her. Hell, I'm ready to join in," Smashing me is bad though...

"And you think this is what she wants?" I mostly want to be comfy. That's my secret dream in life. Comfiness forever. "She only drank that stuff because it was forced into her mouth. Yes, it was nice that capsaicin dissolves in alcohol, but she didn't know what was happening."

"Hmmm," Ringo, everyone knows that's just the fake consideration noise. You're not really going to make a decision. "Hey Seiran, what do you want to do? You wanna stay here and party, or do you want to go back?"

Go back? I dunno if I really wanna go back. Everyone's so nice here. I should want to go back. I know that I should, because I have to do my job and stuff, but I kinda like it here. Maybe I'd like it more if I wasn't so stressed and busy, but I don't really feel stressed right now. I just feel kinda silly and a little happy. I'm here and I'm with my friends and everything is going okay, so why go back? At least for right now, I don't wanna go back.

I swivel around in my stool, barely keeping my balance as I turn to find what I'm looking for. There it is! I reach out and grab that gourd thing that I drank from earlier. I almost miss on the first grab, but as a trained soldier, there's no way that stationary object is going to beat me! Once I've got it, I pop it open, then pop the opening into my mouth.

This tastes a lot worse than I remember. It kinda burns but in a different way than spicy. I can handle it though. I had way more just a bit ago.

Once I've drank enough that I want air more than whatever this stuff is, I stop. "I wanna party," I decide, only slurring a little bit. Woah, what happened with my voice?

"That's what I'm sayin!" Suika pops back up from the other side of the counter, arms full of assorted bottles and jugs. She puts them down in front of her and gives me a big smile. "This girl knows when it's time for fun. Right now. The answer's always right now."

Yuzuki groans. "Unbelievable," She mumbles to herself, sitting back down in her stool.

"I'll say," Mystia agrees, giving an unhappy glance to all the bottles and stuff that Suika brought out. "You're really gonna go through my whole stock?"

"Ya got some good stuff here. It'd be a waste to just not drink it," Suika looks proud of herself. "If this was supposed to be bring your own booze, I can supply for everybody, but I'm givin' you a chance to move some inventory. What's the problem?"

Mystia considers that for a moment before sighing. "Fine, just as long as you don't wreck my stand again. Give me a second," Unlike Suika, Mystia takes the time to walk out the side entrance of her cart, then floats up enough that I can't see her because of the roof. "ATTENTION EVERYONE! Happy hour is officially starting now! Two for one drinks, starting now! Only while supplies last!"

Just with that announcement, I can already hear interested people coming toward us. I'm feeling a little bit more dizzy though, so I'm a little bit hazy on who's who. Actually I'm a little hazy on a lot of things right now.

-

You know how Ringo just carries dango around with her all the time? Apparently she uses them just to arm wrestle people a lot. I think that's kinda like cheating, but I won't say anything. Plus, she's losing anyway.

"Best seven of nine?" It just comes across as desperate when you ask that immediately after losing the best five out of nine.

Suika gets a kick out of it at least. "GWAHAHA! Sure, sure. You want me to turn it up or no?"

"Uh, what do you mean?"

"I'm only using thirty percent of my true strength," Suika says acting unnecessarily serious before busting out into more laughter.

Well, at least Ringo's out of money to bet.

-

"And you're sure this doesn't hurt them?" They really do look just like tiny Suikas. Actually that's what they are, so yeah.

"I make 'em blow up sometimes. This ain't nothin."

"Well, I don't know..." I feel like Whack-a-MiniSuika isn't going to catch on very well.

"Hey, if you're not gonna do it, gimme that hammer," Ah, hey, that's mine!

Other people watch excitedly as Suika smashes down on a bunch of tiny hers, occasionally popping up from some holes in the ground. I don't know how she's doing that so well while drunk. Maybe she's cheating or something.

... Well, maybe I'll take a turn after this.

-

"But howzit work?" Sumi's somehow gotten worse after all the alcohol.

"Oh my, oh my~" Waggysaggy's tittering like a real princess. How elegant. A drunken lady. "That's really something that should only be between those involved."

"But you can't scissor a bitch who got no legs, right?! What d'you even have down there!?"

"Please stop..." Kagerou's face looks even redder than mine probably is!

-

"You couldn't have just blown up the Moon," I agree with Chiyo, we would have noticed if we got blown up.

"Totally did it," Suika's a liar.

"You did not!" Can I just say that Chiyo holds her alcohol really well? It's so weird when you consider her short little body that I just wanna cuddle with.

"Onis don't lie, you know?" She's a liar about not lying like a real liar. And mean. Well, also kinda nice. She keeps letting me drink from her gourd thing. "Well I just blew up a fake one really, but I did make it go boom."

"A fake one?"

"Yeah, them Lunarians got all kinda tricks and stuff like that. If you're lookin up at the Moon right now, you're not seein' the real thing, just a fake. They keep the real one hidden out of sight. Damn Lunarians."

I've learned something new today~

-

"Seiran, hit me!"

I don't wanna hit anyone though...

"Girl, I am literally a drum, just hit me!"

W-well... SLAP

"YEAAH! LET'S GO!"

Oh wow, that really got her going. Raiko's playing so hard I just wanna dance along! I don't know how to dance!

Pffft, hahaha, Ringo doesn't know how to dance either! Look at her! I can do better than that!

-

It's... I think it's pretty late now, just going by where the Moon is. The Moon that Ringo and I are staring at while lying in the grass somewhere. Sumi's here too, but she fell asleep or something I think. We're all danced out so we're taking a break. I can still hear the music going so we're not that far away, just far enough that we're away from the trees enough to see the sky enough to see the Moon.

Gosh, the Moon is really pretty. Even if the one I'm looking at is fake or whatever. And even if it's full of jerks. At least it's pretty from down here. Lemme think... Right now it would be sunset up there? And tomorrow of here it'll be night up there. Yeah. Good night Moon~

"Riiiiiiingooooo," I whine out. I hope she's not asleep. This is important and I wanna say it. "I'm gaaaay."

"Same."

She doesn't get it. "You don't get it," I point out to her. She just doesn't get it. "I jus' wanna cuddle with girls and kiss them alllll the tiiiiiime."

"Same."

"Everyone down here is sooo pretty," Or at least the youkai we've met are. "Even though their ears aren't as nice as ours. I still can't get over how pretty everyone is."

"... Same."

"I got a date down here, you know?" I bet she doesn't know. Nobody knows. She looks like she doesn't know. That's the surprised face of somebody who doesn't know things. "I don't really know anything about her but she was pretty and friendly and I don't remember what I was thinking. Somethin' about spiderbutts. She just started hitting on me and I went with it... Does that mean I'm easy? I dun' wanna be easy. I'm just weak to that sort of stuff..."

"... Huh."

"It's dumb though. I know I shouldn't do that kind of stuff. It's against the rules."

"You're drunk," She points out as if she had a point.

"No, you're drunk!" She is though. Like, really.

Ringo giggles, and I find myself joining in too. "I'm gonna go see if there's any booze left... Well, aside from Suika's stuff. You wanna come?" How is she standing up so easily? If I tried to get up that quickly there's no way I could do it.

"Yeah," I'm having a lot of fun tonight. I don't wanna go back yet. What was that thing that Sekibanki said earlier? The night is still young for youkai.

[ ] Pure
[ ] Bullets
[ ] Suppress
[ ] Void

Waking up...
[ ] Too hot
[ ] Wet
[ ] Hurting
[ ] In trouble
[ ] Missing
>>No. 27225
[X] Pure
[X] Wet

>"I'm gaaaay."
Well, that was direct.
>>No. 27226
[X] Pure
[X] Too hot

Yes, everything is going according to plan.
>>No. 27227
[x] Pure
[x] Too hot

Yes. Yes. This was a good choice.
>>No. 27228
[X] Pure
[X] Wet

I knew we made the right decision!
>>No. 27229
I said it could only end well, and I was absolutely right, even if technically we haven't seen the end to this yet!
>>No. 27230
>We've still got plenty of time, and I've got money to burn," Don't burn the money Ringo, exchange it for goods and services. That's what money's for.

Ded. Send help.

>I'm gay

>Same

>I like your ears

>Same

Me too, thanks. Heh, can't wait for the full damage (control) Seiren.

[x] Pure
[x] Wet

Damn, that was a great update.
>>No. 27231
File 147938233768.jpg - (98.15KB, 612x612, waggyswaggy.jpg) [iqdb]
27231
[X] Pure
[X] Wet

Waggysaggy. For a second I read it as "Waggyswaggy", which would have been a lot more fun.
>>No. 27232
[x] Pure
[x] Wet

Dammit, Seiran×Yamame when?
>>No. 27233
[X] Bullets
[X] Missing

Such a good update. I'm still excited for that date.
>>No. 27234
File 147969963310.jpg - (503.74KB, 684x1036, Is this pure.jpg) [iqdb]
27234
[X] Pure
[X] Wet

Lately I've been taking up the responsibility of checking on the drone everyday. Is it only lately or was it always like that? I don't know. It's not something that's written in my job description at least, not that 'soldier' has much of a job description other than 'do what you're told' anyway.

But yes, I like going out and checking up on the drone enough that this time, along with some unspecified number of other times, I volunteered to do it for one of the others. It gives me time to relax, fly out away from camp, and quietly take it easy. It's not that I don't like the other members of the unit. I really, really do. It's just that sometimes being allowed to be by myself for an hour or two is a much needed change of pace.

It's not that long of a flight over to wherever the drone is supposed to be, or at least it usually isn't. This time is taking longer though. Did that thing wander off randomly again? I don't actually know if it's making decisions autonomously or being remotely controlled by Command, but either way you can usually just follow the really obvious trail that it leaves behind. Earth mountain and forest areas being forcibly transformed into pure lands is pretty obvious when you're not a part of the youkai that the drone is tuned to avoid being seen by.

Maybe it would be easier to follow the trail if it wasn't so dark out. The whole sky is a strange backdrop of dark purples and blues, with lighter shades of red and some more blue creating crisscrossing patterns of lines. Did I leave camp at night for some reason? That's odd. We usually don't do that. Even if we're still cloaked and it should be safe, the nights here are short enough that we don't have to risk anything. At least that was what Ringo decided when we first came here.

The patterns that I'm seeing are strangely familiar though. I'm pretty sure I've seen something like this before, and it was pretty recent, but I know this isn't normal Earth sky. I can at least see the Moon, although it seems oddly faded out and barely visible. Oh well, it's probably not that important. I have a job to do, can't spend time worrying about every Earth thing that I don't understand yet.

Just as I start to get worried about how far I've had to fly, I the characteristically gray area that I'm looking for below me. Well, isn't that convenient? I float down and land, but don't immediately find the drone. I guess it's been busy today (tonight?) and I'll have to follow the trail a bit. It should be easy, I just have to look for what used to be plants and go that way. This area was heavily wooded before, and it still technically is, but most of the color and life that was previously here has been drained out. Even the grass has become pale and stiff. It looks like it would shatter at a slight touch, which is pretty much the truth.

I don't really understand why, but looking at the newly purified area, I feel... Odd. I've seen this kind of scene without giving it much thought plenty of times now, even if I can't remember an exact count. What is bothering me about it now? This shouldn't be a surprise, I had the process explained to me quite well on more than one occasion. Every bit of plant or animal life in the area will have the various natural taints of the Earth removed. I've seen what this actually means plenty of times. That newly purified life loses its color and structure, becoming a withered husk that eventually collapses into a pile of fine gray powder. Once that gets scattered by the wind, only pure land remains. The end result actually reminds me a lot of the land back home.

So what is it about this that's bothering me right now?

I suppress a shiver and start walking. It's kind of cold out right now. That's weird too, didn't we come here during Earth summer? The weather should still be warm if I'm remembering the briefing correctly. Although it might be autumn now that I think about it. I guess it doesn't matter either way. I should just get going.

Flying would be a quicker way to track the drone down, but I feel like I should try to take my time and enjoy the atmosphere a little bit now that I'm here. The purified land is pretty similar to the general feeling of back home, which should be giving me some amount of comfort. I know that it's just an imitation and that the atmosphere isn't exactly the same, but that shouldn't be bothering me. Maybe if EVERYTHING in Gensokyo was purified it would feel exactly like the Moon and then I would be better off, but that's not the objective here.

It's an odd sensation, feeling what used to be grass crumble under my feet as I walk. Ordinarily, these purified remains would be naturally eroded by Earth's weather, but it's very clear right now. I must be the first to get to the grass, which now collapses into nothing but dust at the slightest touch. If this stuff is still fresh, then maybe the drone isn't too far away. The purification process does take a while.

A few minutes of brisk walking later, I feel a small impulse that I have no reason to suppress. Maybe I'm feeling a bit proud about how well the mission is going and want to mess around a bit. I don't know exactly. Still, when the path I'm walking down appears to have a purified tree sitting in the middle of it, I decide I'm not going to go around it. We already beat you, dumb Earth tree. You're purified now. All I have to do is give you a little tap-

FWUMP

Ack! Okay, maybe I was a little bit too close to that tree when I touched it. It did break down as expected, but I wasn't thinking about the branches that would be above me. I shake my head a bit and dust the remains off of myself. Ick. I'm going to have to take a shower when I get back to camp. I should have shot the dumb tree instead of touching it myself. I'll keep that in mind if it comes up again.

Feeling a little silly now, I finish cleaning myself off, cough a few times to clear out any leftover dust from my throat, then start moving again.

-

Something is wrong.

I feel like I've been walking for hours now, but that can't be right. The drone moves much too slowly to have covered up this much distance, and even if it was fast enough, going in one direction for so long should have eventually lead away from the mountain, right? I don't know how I'm still seeing the same scenery of freshly purified plant life, but no matter how far I go, it never seems to change.

And I can't stop coughing either.

At first it was slight. I just needed to clear my throat a little more. Then that wasn't enough, I was still having trouble breathing. It turned from isolated coughs to small fits. Now I just can't stop. I don't know why. Pure air should be easier to breath than the normal Earth kind, but it still isn't good enough. My legs continue forward as if on autopilot, so I can't stop for a rest to catch my breath. I'm feeling light headed... Can't breathe...

I feel myself fall forward, creating a small cloud of dust that poofs up beneath me when I land on what used to be grass. My legs have stopped moving now, but I guess my arms are trying to pick up the slack. They reach to try and make me crawl forward, but I'm barely paying attention to them as the lack of oxygen makes my vision blur.

Everything's so gray.

The ground, gray.

The plants, gray.

My arms, turning gray...

Oh, now it's getting darker...

Am I dying? Can't... I can't die... That's against the rules...


-

I jerk awake to the sound of my own desperate coughs as my body struggles to regain oxygen. Forcing out whatever liquid is stuck in my throat, I don't even open my eyes until my gasping breaths return to normal breathing.

Urgh... Why am I so wet? Where am-

GUH. Pain. Throbbing. Head. Body. Eyes. Can't do it. Stop.

I feel miserable and awful in all kinds of ways. Many ways I had no idea I could feel this awful in. My eyes feel like they're being stabbed on the inside of my head even though I only opened the enough to see an indistinct blurry mess. It was too bright to make sense of anything before I had to shut them. My limbs feel sluggish and hard to move, even though the only thing stopping them is some kind of liquid that I'm currently laying in. My head won't stop throbbing. What the hell happened last-

Oh.

Oh right I got drunk.

No, I didn't just get drunk.

I got wasted.

I've never done that before.

With how I'm feeling right now, I'm not sure I ever want to do that again.

Urgh...

Okay. Okay. I'll try to take this slow. I don't think I'm in danger right now. I just woke up feeling worse than I've ever felt after having a dream that I really don't want to think about. That's all. I can just try to calmly try to assess the situation. I will behave properly like a rational military mind. Easy. I've done it a ton before.

Trying to remember what happened last night is probably pointless. Everything becomes an haze of random thoughts and events after my second chug from Suika's gourd. I remember talking to a lot of people, drinking with most of them, and having a lot of fun, but that's it. Nothing specific. I might as well give up on looking to the past to try and figure out what's happening now. I should focus on the present instead.

Okay, the best way to pull that off is to figure out where I am, first of all. I guess that requires opening my eyes. Maybe if I just open them slowl-fffff... No, I can do this. Just work through the pain. I can get used to this. Just go as slowly as I need to...

Well.

That's not exactly what I was expecting.

I am currently sitting, fully clothed, in a large bathtub. It's filled up with enough room temperature water to reach up to my stomach. I guess I was only woken up when I shifted some way or another and my head wound up in the water. Well, at least I managed to wake up at all. It's entirely possible that I could have drowned overnight if things had worked out differently. That's... Really weird to think about actually.

The other surprising (actually surprising might not be the best word here) thing is that I'm not the only person here. Sitting across from me, still peacefully asleep despite being slumped down enough to be almost entirely submerged, is Wakasagihime. She actually looks comfortable like this, although I don't know why she's wearing a seashell bikini top instead of her normal clothes... You know, you can't see it so well normally, but Wakasagihime is apparently quite well endowed...

Anyway! There's one other person in the bathtub with us, though this one probably doesn't count as a full person. Looking off to my right I can see a colorfully painted small wooden boat, almost like it's a bath toy, which it probably is. Snoring away on top of it is a very tiny Suika. I should probably avoid making too many sudden movements. Even though I vaguely remember Suika's little clones being entirely expendable, I still feel like it would be disturbing to watch one drown when the waves of the bathtub knock it overboard, so I'll be careful.

The three of us appear to be in a bathroom of some sort, although I can't see much of it since the curtain around the tub is drawn. The (entirely too bright why does seeing things hurt so much) lighting in here doesn't seem like natural lighting. Wherever we're inside must have electricity. If I knew anything about Gensokyo that fact might help narrow my possible location down, but of course I don't. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. All I know is that my clothes are soaked and my skin is so pruned up that it hurts.

I reach up to drag open the curtain, and immediately hate myself for doing that when more light comes flooding over the bathtub. Once I've repressed the urge to swear out loud, I try to continue getting my bearings. Okay, yes. I can now confirm that this is a full bathroom. There's a toilet and sink over on the other side of the room, along with a towel rack. The whole place looks kind of poorly maintained, with the mirror over the sink having cracks and one of the light bulbs in the room being burnt out. Maybe it's just been lived in for a long time and whoever the owner of this bathroom is didn't expect company to come by and pass out in their bathtub.

Okay, let's take this slow. Not that I can take it very fast given how heavy my limbs feel. That might be for the best though, when I try to stand I'm immediately hit with dizziness again, and it takes a bit of waiting until I'm feeling good enough to fully rise up out of the water. This is awful. I feel awful. I want to go to bed. In a real bed, not a bathtub. I can already tell I'm going to be sore today. At least we have painkillers back at camp. I just have to figure out where I am so I can leave and get back to camp.

Standing up allows me to see the one other person that's here in the bathroom. Kagerou is curled up into a ball, sleeping peacefully on the rug immediately in front of the tub. She's wearing Wakasagihime's normal kimono while using her own dress as a makeshift pillow. I don't really know what the story is here, but I kind of have a feeling that nobody else is going to know either. Regardless, her being there is going to make getting out of the tub a little bit difficult. I don't have a towel or anything and am completely soaked. I'm going to make a mess and I won't even be able to do so on a rug. This keeps getting worse and worse...

Well, sorry to whoever lives here I guess. Maybe I'll clean it up later, but I need to get up and going. Let me see, if I was taking a bath in a tub like this, then I would have put my mallet off to the side riiiiight here. Yup, there it... Oh. This thing that I grabbed is not my mallet. This is Kogasa's umbrella. It's staring at me with one unfocused eye. Great.

My mallet is gone, and that makes me very uncomfortable. Honestly though, there's a lot of stuff here that's making me uncomfortable. Even though I feel like utter garbage, I know that I have to get to work.

[ ] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[ ] Where am I?
- [ ] Wake somebody here up and ask them.
- [ ] Head out and find somebody to ask.
[ ] Where are the other rabbits?
[ ] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[ ] Did I end up eating anything last night? I'm really hungry.
[ ] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.

Pick what you want here. This is more of a prioritization choice than anything. Seiran is going to want to address most or all of these things eventually.

Also my car got totaled and I have to do a bunch of stuff now on top of thanksgiving stuff, so this next week's update might be a little iffy. I'll give it a shot but there may be delays somewhere.
>>No. 27235
>>27234
And by "pick what you want" I really mean "pick however many you want" in case that's not clear.
>>No. 27236
[x] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[x] Where am I?
- [x] Wake Wakasagihime up and ask her.
[x] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[x] Where are the other rabbits?

The fuck did we do last night.

>Also my car got totaled
And what did you do. We don't need updates that badly, man.
>>No. 27237
[x] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[x] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[x] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[x] Find rabbits
>>No. 27238
[x] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[x] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[x] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[x] Where are the other rabbits?
>>No. 27239
[X] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[X] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[X] Where are the other rabbits?
>>No. 27240
[x] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[x] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[x] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[x] Where are the other rabbits?

It may have been done before but I'm okay if this turns into a touhou version of the Hangover.
>>No. 27241
[X] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[X] Where am I?
- [X] Wake somebody here up and ask them.
[X] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[X] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.
[X] Did I end up eating anything last night? I'm really hungry.
>>No. 27242
File 147978588211.jpg - (281.45KB, 708x829, stuff.jpg) [iqdb]
27242
>>27236
>And what did you do.

I mean, you know. Stuff.
>>No. 27243
>>27242
Well, that's one way to avoid writing updates.
>>No. 27244
>>27242
I've heard of stories that crashed and burned, but AI guess I wasn't thinking literally enough
>>No. 27246
File 148010127999.jpg - (204.71KB, 1070x1500, Still missing the hammer though.jpg) [iqdb]
27246
[X] I'm soaked, I need a change of clothes.
[X] Where are the other rabbits?
[X] My head is killing me. I wonder if anybody knows how to fix a hangover.
[X] Kogasa is probably missing her umbrella like I'm missing my mallet.

I nearly fall when I climb out of the bathtub. In my defense, the rug that is put there specifically to prevent stuff like this is currently occupied, so of course trying to get out somewhere else goes a little bit worse than I would like. I manage to catch myself on the edge of the tub, although I bang my knee while doing it. Just another bit of soreness added to the rest of me I guess. A quick look back confirms that my almost fall wasn't enough to knock mini-Suika into the water at least. Although if she hadn't been knocked out while I was struggling to avoid drowning, I doubt there would be much that I could do accidentally that would create waves large enough to knock her overboard.

Okay, I'm out of the tub now, that's step number one out of something-hundred done. I don't know everything that's going on, or what all happened last night to get me to this point, but I feel like figuring that out will come eventually. It's more important that I get back into a state where I can accomplish things. Once I'm up and good to go, I can take it from there.

First order of business then. I am wet and cold and dripping all over the place while I awkwardly stand here beside the tub. There's a towel rack over there, so I'll just borrow some of those and dry myself off. It's not exactly an ideal solution, I can't really get my clothes completely dry like this, and I'd really rather not be gross and soggy all day. Maybe I could find a change of clothes somewhere. Kagerou's dress isn't being worn by anyone, although I would have to drag it out of her arms, so that might not be such a good option. I'll try something else.

On the bright side, even if I almost drowned and still feel gross and miserable, I did have something similar to a proper bath last night. I'm probably a little better off in terms of cleanliness than if I had used the portable shower back at camp. So hey, there's an upside to this, even if it's small and inconsequential.

I grab two towels off the rack, one for my body and one for my hair. I'm probably not in a position to complain about it, but these towels aren't exactly the best quality. It seems like they've been used frequently and for a long time, making them look very worn. The one I rub over my body even has a tear developing from one of the edges. Either this isn't a normal guest room or whoever lives here really doesn't care about impressing people. Oh well. I didn't come here to be impressed. Or for any reason that sober me knows about.

I spend some time trying to dry myself off, but there's only so much I can do after having sat in a tub of water all night. My hair and skin is easy enough to deal with, but it really does look like I'm going to have to find a temporary replacement for my clothes. Going outside, let alone flying through the sky in cold damp clothes like this sounds like a recipe for getting sick. Just because we have medicine back at camp that should cure most Earth sicknesses that we're likely to encounter down here doesn't mean that I should be reckless.

The other occupants of the bathroom seem perfectly content to keep sleeping, so I'll leave the three (2 and a tenth?) of them alone. I'll probably be better off asking somebody who isn't sleeping off a night of getting hammered, assuming that somebody like that is around here. I feel like I should still take Kogasa's umbrella along though, she's probably missing it in the same way that I'm missing my mallet. I could just be projecting though. I've been told that I do that without realizing it sometimes.

With a towel still wrapped around my waist to try and minimize some of the dripping, I open up the door to loo-

Oh dammit. Owowowow.

I let out a pained groan and have to shrink back a bit when I open up the door. It leads to a hallway, though I'm a bit busy trying to avert my eyes so I don't end up picking out many details. There's definitely a window at the end of the hallway, and it is definitely sunny outside right now. Just looking at the light pouring in is making my brain throb inside my skull. I squint my eyes as much as possible, keeping my head down as I scramble to a random door down the hallway and let myself in.

This next room is a bit better off at least. It seems that the hallway that I had to go through has a window that faces east, so the morning sun comes through pretty clearly. This bedroom doesn't have that, instead having a window with a curtain that faces north. At least I assume that this is a bedroom. The large fluffy bed is a pretty big hint. I guess I should look around a little bit to try and pick up information about where I am.

Let me see... The bed is large enough for me to feel a little jealous about it, so whoever lives here clearly has the money to afford nice things. Or at least they did at one point. There's a couple of well crafted but obviously rather old dressers off to the side and a desk sitting under the window. I can see various sheets of paper and a few books scattered on the desktop, but it seems mostly unused. In the near corner of the room there's also a large pile of laundry. There was probably a basket or something under it at some point but I can't really see it anymore under the hill of already worn pajamas. Aside from a strong affinity for the color pink, there doesn't seem to be a very good indicator of whose room this is.

Well, there are clothes here, and there's nobody around to see me get changed, so I think this is a good enough solution to my wetness problem. I do feel somewhat bad that I'm borrowing something without asking, but it looks like whoever lives in this room isn't exactly hurting for clothes. Plus, I'll give them back after my normal dress has dried. Promise.

I don't really want to wear dirty clothes out, to say nothing about them being pajamas, so I throw my wet towels into the dirty clothes pile and head for the dressers to try and find something clean. When I look, there doesn't appear to be any order or reasoning to what's in each drawer, so I just pick some things out at random. I wind up with something surprisingly modern looking. A pair of blue capris and a white camisole which seem to be in my size, although it looks like most of the stuff in here would fit me well enough. The top shows off a bit more skin around the shoulders than I usually go with, but I'm fine with it I guess. Regardless of what I end up with, I can't possibly look as bad as I feel in my head right now.

It might not be necessary, but I make sure to put Kogasa's umbrella down with its eye facing away from me. I don't know how intelligent this thing is, but it's at least alive enough to look around and move its tongue, so I'd rather not have it staring at me while I change. I'm at least nice enough to lay it down on the pink fluffy pillows of the bed, so it should be as happy as an umbrella youkai thing can be.

Changing doesn't take long, especially when I'm feeling too crappy to put a lot of effort into my appearance. I'm sure I look fine, all things considered. Once I'm finished, I bunch up my wet clothes and try to think of what to do with them. It would be best if I hung them up somewhere to dry out the rest of the way, but I don't really know where an appropriate place would be. I guess I'll give up on that one and just carry them around along with the umbrella. I can at least call the 'fix wet clothes' objective more or less complete. I'd like to say I'm good to go now, but that's not really true. I still have a massive headache and am sore all over. I don't have a way to deal with that though. Maybe somebody with more drinking experience than me would know what I should do to cure the headache part at least.

Either way, I need to find more people, and the best people to find are probably the other rabbits. I know that, aside from Yuzuki, the others were also drinking pretty heavily last night. It might be good to make sure that nobody is in a bad situation, though I doubt that any of them could be in worse situations than almost accidentally drowning in a bathtub like a dumbass. The only problem is that looking for other people means leaving the room. Which means going back into the hallway that is almost definitely still full of my unexpected enemy, the sun. At least this time I can brace myself, but I imagine this is still going to involve a lot of wincing and unpleasantness. It doesn't help that I don't know where I'm going either. Ugh, here goes nothing...

Ow. Ow. Ow... Yup, still painful. I can at least do a better job of paying attention to my surroundings this time as I pick a door at random and go toward it. This hallway and the bedroom I was just in were nicely carpeted and looked well built, but also seemed poorly maintained. The walls, or more specifically the wall paper, also give some clear evidence that this building was pretty high class in its day, but that day was a long time ago. Now it's just getting older and dustier, and nobody seems to be cleaning things up.

I move into another room and quickly shut the door behind me, relieved that this room also has the curtains drawn enough to avoid hurting my eyes that badly. In fact this room is pretty similar in general to the bedroom that I was just in. It's got the same kind of simple but high quality furniture in roughly the same places. The difference is that this room is currently occupied by at least a couple of the people that I've been looking for. I guess that a pretty good portion of the party goers from last night moved here just like me. Let's see here...

Ringo is fast asleep on the floor, her hat slid down enough to cover her face. It looks like she might have been on the bed at one point, but either fell or got pushed off.
Chiyo has somehow managed to secure both the half of the bed and all of its covers, and is sleeping peacefully in a bundle of blankets. Pretty typical of her.
Sekibanki's head is sleeping upside down on an extra pillow right next to Chiyo, while her body is lying on the floor. That's kind of disturbing to look at honestly. It looks like some kind of grisly murder.
The unoccupied spot on the bed that is freed up by Sekibanki's body not being there is instead being taken up by Kyouko, who has rolled herself up into a ball kind of like how Kagerou had back in the bathroom.
The winged youkai that Chiyo talked to last night (I really need to figure out which one is Tokiko and which one is Kokoro) is sitting at the desk, leaning over to sleep on her own folded arms. She's probably going to wake up sore like that.
Benben and Lunasa appear to have swapped clothes with each other, and are both sleeping on the floor under a blanket that somehow avoided being captured by Chiyo.

Overall, everyone looks a bit messy and disheveled, but I assume that's normal after a night of drinking. I can see some empty bottles laying off to the side, and there's also a scattered pile of playing cards near the center of the room. I guess this could be a lot worse. Just looking at the aftermath, I don't think it's unreasonable to guess that everyone probably had a lot of fun last night.

Still, I need to get the other rabbits up soon. This is only two out of four, and we need to regroup and recover so we can accomplish things today. I gingerly step my way over to the bed and lean down so I can wake up Ringo in my normal way. Pulling her hat off of her face, I have to suppress a giggle at her somehow having gotten bed head while sleeping on the floor. It's probably just from her hat coming off though. She's pretty much always wearing that thing.

When I lean down and blow a puff of air into one of Ringo's ears, I don't get the normal response that I'm used to. Instead of the tiny freak out and her suddenly being awake, Ringo groans some annoyed noises out. "Mmmfh. Fffuck," I'm not really used to Ringo swearing like that, but I guess it's not surprising. I imagine that, like me, Ringo is not exactly in the best state.

"Sorry Ringo," I whisper to her, but try to make it loud enough that she doesn't just fall back asleep. "We need to get up and get going."

Ringo responds with a pained moan while slowly rolling over and dragging herself into a sitting position. Once she's up, she opens her eyes, shuts them again with a pained expression, then squints as she opens them back up more slowly. After a little bit of adjustment, she eventually reaches a point where she can properly look at me. "Well, good morning beautiful. What's your name?" She says, keeping her voice quiet as neither of us want to hear loud noises right now.

Oh come on, I only changed my clothes. "Ringo..."

"Oh nice, we have the same name," Ringo interrupts jokingly before I can continue.

"You know it's me," I sigh. It's kind of hard to get enthusiastic toward jokes right now.

Ringo apparently doesn't agree, given how she's snickering. "It's still a nice look. You're super cute like that," After a moment, she reconsiders what she just said. "Well, you look super cute in your normal clothes too, this is just an interesting change."

Huh. I'm kind of surprised at Ringo's comments. They feel kind of different from how we usually interact. I don't think anything happened that would have changed things between us, so this feels a little odd. "I woke up in a bathtub this morning," I explain, putting the strange feeling aside. "I had to get something else to wear, and this was something that was available."

"So you don't know who they belong to?" Ringo asks. "Damn, I would have thanked them for their good taste."

"I don't even remember how we got here," I admit with just a little bit of embarrassment.

"We definitely flew here as a group at some point last night, I remember that much," I don't know if Ringo's actually remembering things or just guessing. "Dunno who's idea it is or where this is though."

"You're still better off than I am," I don't remember anything at all about coming to this house, but then I'm also pretty sure I was drinking more than anyone else. Thinking about how caught up I got in what I'm now admitting was a party instead of a meeting makes me a little bit embarrassed to be honest. Let's just move on. "Let's go and get the others up for now," I suggest, handing Ringo back her hat.

Ringo stands up slowly and stretches a bit while I turn to the next easiest rabbit to find, Chiyo. She looks pretty comfy being all wrapped up like that, and I feel a little bad about waking her up. Not bad enough that I'm not going to do it though. She should just be glad that she had a nice rest in a big fluffy bed instead of a tub full of water. I don't really have a normal way of waking Chiyo up, since usually Yuzuki takes care of that. I guess I can just pinch her cheeks, since her face is the only part of her that's exposed right now.

"nnnnmf," Chiyo makes some kind of noise, shakes her head away from my hand, and buries her face into a pillow. "Five minutes," She mumbles out, sounding surprisingly more awake than I expected.

"Five Chiyo minutes or five minutes?" I ask her patiently, those are two very different lengths of time.

Chiyo shifts up deeper into the pillow to try and cover her ears some more. "mmf," Is the only not-response that I get.

"So she says," Ringo observes, stepping over next to me. "Here, I got her," She decides, leaning down and sliding her arms under the wrapped up bundle of blankets that is Chiyo. Once her hands are in position, Ringo effortlessly lifts up our smaller friend.

"Hurp..." Chiyo makes a gross burping sound as she's brought up into Ringo's arms. "-na puke."

"Err..."

"Gonna puke," Chiyo repeats shortly. Oh no...

"Bathroom is two doors down that way," I quickly tell Ringo, pointing in the direction I came down the hallway. I definitely don't want Chiyo making a mess in here, especially with everyone else around and trying to sleep.

Ringo nods to me and hurries off to the door, still carrying Chiyo with her. I can hear her groan out a few less than pleasant words when the light from the hallway hits her, but she still rushes out of the room quickly. Good crisis management, Ringo.

So that means two out of four of the other rabbits are now confirmed to be fine. I'm sure that all five of us are fine actually, at least for some value of fine, but knowing for sure is still a bit of relief. Just two more to go, then I can continue on with all the other stuff that I have to take care of... Ugh. I reluctantly wander out into the hallway and try for another door, this time across the hallway and a bit further from the window.

This is uh... Somewhat different from the situation Ringo and Chiyo were in. This new room that I've wandered into appears to be a lounge of some kind. There's a piano and a large string instrument (a cello, I think?) set up in a corner near an unlit fireplace, with a couple of plush couches and armchairs arranged in a half circle around a small coffee table in the center of the room. Laying down on one of the couches with her hat discarded off to the side and her clothes disheveled enough that she can only technically be considered to still be wearing them is Sumi. That wouldn't be that big of a deal, but she isn't alone.

Yatsuhashi is the name of the other string girl that isn't Benben, right? We were never really introduced, but I know that people mentioned her multiple times. From what I heard, her and Sumi hit it off pretty well, and from what I'm seeing now, that's definitely confirmed. Yatsuhashi is sleeping quietly on top of Sumi. Her skirt is missing but her shirt and underwear are still on. The light red strings that are normally around her body are looped around Sumi's torso. When you combine that with their arms being wrapped around each other and Yatsuhashi's head resting peacefully in the crook of Sumi's neck, it's pretty clear that they're um... Cuddling.

Er... I'm not sure if I should bother them.

[ ] Leave Sumi alone
[ ] Wake Sumi up

I make poor decisions about time management sometimes. I think everything's straightened around now. Should hopefully be good on update times until Christmas.

And hey, the next update will probably be in a new thread, isn't that exciting?
>>No. 27247
[x] Leave Sumi alone! She is a moon rabbit!

And moon rabbits will die of loneliness.
>>No. 27248
[X] Leave Sumi alone

>Yatsuhashi is the name of the other string girl that isn't Benben, right?

Poor Yatsuhashi, even in fiction she gets rapped for her unpopularity.
>>No. 27249
[X] Leave Sumi alone
>>No. 27250
[X] Leave Sumi alone

Must have been quite a wild night.
>>No. 27251
[X] Wake Sumi up

Rallying the troops means getting everyone together, even the ones who don't want to.
>>No. 27252
[X] Leave Sumi alone
>>No. 27253
[X] Leave Sumi alone
>>No. 27254
[X] Leave Sumi alone

So if I had to guess, I'd say the party somehow managed to move to the Prismriver's place?
>>No. 27255
[X] Leave Sumi alone

Bro code.
>>No. 27256
[x] Leave Sumi alone

Oho.
>>No. 27258
Next Thread: >>27257
[Return][Top]


[Delete or report post]
Delete post []
Password  
Report post
Reason  


[Switch to Mobile Page]
Thread Watcher x