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[X] Ask to meet back up with Ringo and Sumi at the plant
That question actually feels really hard to answer. Ordinarily yeah, of course I would want Ringo to come along. Like she just said a moment ago, the two of us have been close for some really long period of time. I don't know the exact amount but that isn't really important. The important thing is that Ringo is my best friend and I almost always want her to be around. This just might be a situation that falls outside of that almost always qualifier.
To be honest, I already feel like I haven't been repaying Yamame's kindness properly. For pretty much the whole evening I've been a nervous, stuttering mess. Even if she acts like it's okay and it doesn't bother her, I still think she'd be happier to be guiding someone that could keep up with her socially. In most social situations, my normal answer is to bring Ringo in. She can handle that kind of stuff better than I can. That isn't going to work here. If anything, it would be rude. For whatever reason, Yamame asked me out specifically, and I decided that I wanted to give it a chance. Even if I'm being awkward, my nervousness about dating isn't going to get better if all I do is hide behind Ringo.
"I think we should maybe plan on meeting back up later," I answer. It comes out sounding kind of unsure, but that's more due to not knowing how to phrase it properly than not knowing what I want to happen. I want to spend a bit more time with just me and Yamame, but I don't want Ringo or Sumi to be upset. I guess they could be though, I did lie to them and try to sneak around on my own.
"O-oh okay. Um, yeah sure," Ringo seems slightly caught off guard, but looks like she's trying not to show it. It's easy for me to notice though, Ringo never stutters. "So like somewhere else in the city or...?"
"Well, I was more thinking it'd be back at the plant," I feel kind of awful about this because Ringo doesn't seem to be happy about my answer, and I'm not sure if I have a way to make it better. Might as well try still I guess. "I mean, that makes sense right? It's somewhere that all three of us can find our way to easily. It also means we don't have to worry about meeting back up at a specific time, we can just head back when we're done for the night."
Ringo purses her lips for a moment, glancing off to the side before quickly getting back to a more normal expression. Yup, makes sense. Can't argue with that," She nods a few times, but doesn't really look at me. "Then I guess I'll keep Sumi on a leash for a while and keep looking around. We'll see you later, okay?" Then, as an afterthought. "Also, uh, try to keep safe and stuff, alright?"
I'm a little more concerned about them than I think they need to be about me. Yamame is going to be guiding me, so I'm sure we won't end up anywhere dangerous. "Same to you," I answer back casually. "See you later Ringo."
"Right," Ringo gives a softer than normal smile before turning back toward Sumi, who has been watching the exchange with an increasingly sour look on her face. "Come on, let's see if we can scrounge up some money somewhere or something," Ringo sounds a little halfhearted as she starts walking back the way she and Sumi originally came.
Sumi gives me a small wave of her hand before following along with Ringo. "God fucking daaaamn. I still cannot fucking believe you," She groans. If Ringo responds to that, I don't hear it. She's already far enough away that whispers or maybe even soft talking would be inaudible from this distance. Actually, doesn't it seem like she's walking a little bit faster than normal?
Yamame and I watch my friends leave in silence for a bit. "So," Yamame starts after they are definitely out of earshot. "They seemed um..."
I don't really blame Yamame for not finishing her sentence. That was probably a pretty weird first impression. Well, let's be a little fair here. "Ringo was acting a little unusual, so I wouldn't judge her based off that," I explain. I don't know how much it will matter or how much Ringo and Yamame will actually meet, but I'd still rather that Yamame not have a negative impression of my best friend. "Although I admit that Sumi was pretty much completely normal. It's amazing how much stuff she can say that goes over my head given how direct she is. It can be a little tough to deal with her, but I'm used to it by now."
"Hmmm," Yamame accepts my words without too much comment. "Are you sure that you should just let them go like that though? It's not really my place to say but..." She trails off, looking in the general direction that Ringo and Sumi are walking. "Well, I guess you know them better than I do," She finally decides.
That's definitely true, although I kind of get what Yamame is trying to say. Ringo's behavior is definitely still bothering me a little bit. I need to talk to her later and ask what the problem is I think. I kind of expected her to be upset at me for lying and going off on my own, but it seemed a little more complicated than that. Actually, now that I think about it, wasn't I planning to talk to Sumi about the thing between her and Yuzuki at some point too? Ugh, this day never ends.
Not that I'm in a hurry to get away from Yamame, of course.
"So anyway," When it seems like I'm getting lost in my thoughts and worries, I'm interrupted by Yamame continuing the conversation. She takes a few steps away from me, toward the center of the street. Traffic here is still relatively light, and there don't appear to be any vehicles aside from the occasional cart, so she's not really in the way standing out like this. "Before you noticed those two, we were talking about places to go. Or rather I was asking you if you had any preference."
Oh yeah, now that we're alone together again, it's time to get back to the actual date thing. "R-right," Unfortunately, even if she asks me for a preference I don't really know what the options available are. Considering that I'm broke, there probably aren't too many of them either. Oh, that's something to bring up. "Well, I still don't have any money, and I'd prefer to not have you pay for both of us the whole time, so um..."
Yamame laughs, starting to walk down the street and beckoning me to follow. I don't know where we're going yet but I guess it should be fine. "I don't mind spending a little more you know. You're definitely worth more than just the price of some tea," She assures me.
"Well..." I get what she's saying, even if it is a little embarrassing. I'm well aware that going out and having fun usually requires spending at least some money.
"I can see that it makes you uncomfortable though, so we can keep it simple this time," It doesn't exactly make her wrong, but it seems that a lot of things actually make me uncomfortable. In fact, having it pointed out how uncomfortable I am is making me a little uncomfortable too. Guh, I'm going to get stuck in a discomfort spiral or something. "I don't mind, by the way. You already explained yourself, and I understand," Yamame assures me, which makes me feel a little bit relieved. I move up a little bit so that I can walk beside Yamame instead of behind her. "Plus, and forgive me if it makes me sound like a sadist or something, your awkwardness really is cute to me. I know that you're honestly trying, and it's kind of refreshing when most people down here are all about keeping up false or exaggerated bravado."
I feel myself squirm slightly at the compliment. She keeps calling me cute! It's not like I don't think that I am, it's just weird when other people say it out loud. I'm blushing again, aren't I? Quick, deflect before she notices! There should be something I can bring up. Oh, I know! "What's a sadist?" She said that word, but I don't think I've ever heard it before.
Yamame giggles slightly as we continue walking toward a more densely populated area. I don't get it. Did she think I was joking? I silently wait for her to finish laughing, and when she does, she notices that I'm not laughing too. "Err, you really don't...?" I just look at her curiously, which causes her stride to break as we stop and stare at each other. Oh? Now she's the one that looks a little embarrassed. I feel like I just accomplished some kind of minor victory here. Yay? "Hmm. Well you don't really have to worry about it. Let's just keep walking, I've got an idea on where to go, and we can talk along the way, alright?" Well, she was the one that stopped first.
We continue on through the city in a similar manner to before. Walking along, I get to hear stories and tidbits of info from Yamame about random places that we pass. We mostly stick to the main roads, occasionally having to cross a short bridge over one of the rivers. I've kinda lost my sense of where we are relative to where we've been, but I'd guess that we're heading into both larger and older parts of the city just by the architecture. At the very least it's a more popular part of it. We actually have to avoid running into people here. Not that I find that to be all that difficult. I have lived in a big city before after all.
"Anyway," Yamame continues after a while. We're a little bit slower, and have to stick a little bit closer together, but it's not so bad that we can't keep making conversation. "You asked that question about what sadist means earlier, and that does bring up something I wanted to ask about," But she's not going to tell me what it means, is she? Why do people keep doing this to me? I would know what more of these weird words mean if people would just tell me about them! "I don't want to be rude, but I have to know. How are you so pure?"
"W-what?" The question surprises me enough that I bump shoulders with some slimy looking youkai. Like, literally slimy. Eww, what is that goop? No, that's not the important thing here. "Pure?" If anything, I'm not pure at all. Earth is pretty impure, and I've been down here for months. I've been gradually breaking more and more rules, and it's not like I put a lot of thought and effort into all the rules for what is pure and what isn't back home. I just did what I thought was best. Any lunarian that really looked into it would probably find plenty of impurities in me.
"Yeah, I mean, at first I thought you might have just been ignoring my obvious come-ons because you weren't interested, since I wasn't really trying to be subtle. I was shocked when you just directly asked me if I was hitting on you like you genuinely weren't sure. I didn't expect that somebody would miss subtext and innuendo so easily. It's especially surprising now in hindsight with how your friend Sumi acts," Urgh. Well I'm just not used to it and... I'm blushing again, but for a different reason this time. Well at least my circulatory system is getting a good workout today, having to keep bringing all this blood up to my face. "I mean, don't get me wrong. It's actually completely adorable, and I really do like it. I'm just amazed that someone like you actually exists. There can't be that many people from the surface that are like you, right?"
That's probably true. No, actually it's definitely true. There are only six moon rabbits that I know of on Earth, and none of the others are like me. The others all have their quirks and I have mine. I think mine are the most normal, but I'm admittedly biased in that. "I can't really explain why or how I am this way," I say after a short pause to think about it. At least I can't explain it in an appropriately vague way that is. "I just had a different set of experiences than most people, and now I am the way that I am," That's about as honest and vague as I can get on such short notice anyway.
Yamame nods thoughtfully as we pull into a more open town square type of area. I wonder if this is the same area that Sanae told me to meet up with Ringo and Sumi in originally. I don't see any statue, so I guess not. "Well, I don't know everything about above ground, but there must be a lot to it if it can make people like you just as well as some of the other surfacers I've met," Yamame says with a sigh. Well, it can't exactly do that, but whatever. I'm not going to point that out. "It must be really amazing up there. To be honest, the small area and centralized society down here kind of hurts the diversity. I'm not saying I dislike the people or the city down here, it's just that a lot of them do end up a little samey."
Oh yeah, I can relate to this. It's just like in the capital back home. In fact, the Moon might actually be worse considering all of the rabbits being connected by telepathy. There's definitely a lot of groupthink going on a lot of the time. "I kinda get what you're talking about, yeah."
"But it's not a big deal, just one of my own issues with this place. Not a big deal," Yamame shrugs, coming to a stop near the center of the square. It's awfully crowded here, isn't it? "You just moved down here, and I want you to have a good time, so I shouldn't be talking crap about the city. We should be having fun. Speaking of which, what do you think of this?" Yamame holds her arms out to either side, pointing to both sides of the square. I can't look both ways at once, so I pick the right.
Along the side of the plaza, set up in front of the various buildings and stands, are a large selection of different wooden booths. I can't exactly tell what each one is, but I can at least see that they're all either stalls or shops of some kind or another. The specifics are a bit hard to see, given that most of them have some kind of crowd of tons of different youkai in front of them. Still, I think I know what this is.
"Is this some kind of festival for something?" I ask, probably unnecessarily. We didn't have parties very often back home, but that doesn't mean I'm unfamiliar with the idea.
"Not exactly," Yamame says, lowering her arms back down and smiling happily at me before she begins looking around herself. I wonder if she has something she wants to do here. "Well, it is a festival, but there isn't any real reason behind it. I've said before that the whole capital is in a perpetual state of party, right? Well this is just another part of it. The group that runs this place generally moves location every few days, but they're always set up somewhere in the city."
"It tends to be a bit more popular with kids, so they've kinda marketed toward that niche by keeping things relatively tame compared to other parts of the city," Hm, I have noticed a lot of smaller youkai around, not to mention there seems to be less drinking in general. That's not to say that there isn't any going on of course. There are definitely some oni sitting around drinking and laughing, but it really does seem a bit more subdued than I expected. Heck, I was probably more rowdy at the party last night than the people here are being. That's kind of embarrassing to think about. "That's not really my reasoning for coming here though. I mostly chose it because things are generally pretty cheap, so you don't have to feel bad about doing whatever you want, okay? Let's just have some fun."
I look over the festival some more. I guess I could see myself doing some of this stuff. It might be interesting to do some window shopping, although I don't know if I would ask Yamame to buy something for me. I also see a couple of games that I could try. I'm pretty sure that's a shooting gallery over there, and I might not be suited for it, but it looks like I already have the right kind of hammer for that test of strength thing.
"But hey, if you think it's lame, I'm perfectly open to going somewhere else," Yamame adds. "This was just a random idea of mine."
[ ] Spend some time at the festival (Choose 2-3)
- [ ] Let's look around the shops for a souvenir, maybe one of the other rabbits would appreciate it.
- [ ] A shooting gallery sounds like it should be easy. I am trained for this.
- [ ] If I already have a hammer, I might as well try the test of strength.
- [ ] I haven't eaten in a while. Maybe festival food will be good.
- [ ] Is that a petting zoo? What kind of animals would they even have down here?
- [ ] There's a corner over there that seems to be dedicated to just music and dance. Let's look at that.
- [ ] Let's just sit and do some people watching. We can talk while we do it.
[ ] Leave the festival
- [ ] Maybe we could go somewhere more mature?
- [ ] I'd like to see Yamame's house actually, although that means leaving the city again.
- [ ] I'm still pretty clean, but I don't know when I might get another chance to go to hot springs.
- [ ] Somewhere else (Write-in)
See, it's not just me. I had to wait 3 threads but I'm finally vindicated.