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[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."
"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."
-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.)