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File 148030846453.png - (637.74KB, 720x900, Back in business.png) [iqdb]
27257 No. 27257
Previous Thread: >>27001

[X] Leave Sumi alone

I feel like I'm looking at something that I'm not supposed to be looking at. What I'm seeing Sumi involved in here would at least be frowned on if not outright against the rules of the Lunar military, but I know that's never stopped her before. Sumi's rap sheet was already massive before she joined our unit, and even though she's calmed down some recently, she's still the type of person to do whatever she wants regardless of the consequences. Apparently what she wants right now, or at least last night when she fell asleep, is to cuddle with some tsukumogami girl that she just met.

The door didn't make much noise when I opened it up a minute ago, but I still find myself trying to swing it closed as slowly and quietly as possible as I back out of the room. I'm not going to be the one that bothers the two of them. Even though I know that all of us rabbits need to get up and get going, and there's no guarantee that Sumi will wake up on her own anytime soon, I'm willing to do her this favor. I... Might also be a little bit embarrassed to get involved in this kind of stuff, but that's not the point. This is Sumi's business the mix of curiosity and awkwardness that I'm feeling now isn't enough to make me butt in.

Okay, anyway, that's three out of four of us safe and accounted for. The only remaining rabbit is Yuzuki. If she's awake, then it's much more likely that she'll find us rather than us finding her. In fact I can probably check on that now. I take a moment to do the standard arm-waving Yuzuki summoning motion, but don't see or hear anything in response after a bit of waiting. Either she's still asleep or she's out of the range that her powers will show her. I don't know how big the place we're in right now is, but I guess it could be large and unfamiliar enough for Yuzuki to not notice me.

Come to think of it, I haven't really considered much about where we actually are right now. The whole description that I've thought up is 'some kind of old house or mansion thing that is a bit less Japanese than expected', which doesn't really narrow anything down. I walk a bit further down the hallway. Maybe if I could manage a quick look outs-ow ow ow.

No, don't give up on this, I just need a glance for some information and then I can be done. There are even curtains next to the window, so I can shut the horrible pain bringing not nice light off afterward. Okay. When I look outside I can see... Some more generic Gensokyo wooded landscape. Not really sure what else I expected to be honest. Oh wait, but there's the mountain! So if I use my limited knowledge of Gensokyo geography and judge based off of the angle that I'm looking at... Uh. I don't think we went all that far from the meeting location probably?

It feels like something is attempting to gouge my eyes out from the inside of my head right now. I don't know how somebody would have gotten in there, but I really wish they would pick a less painful way of getting out. Ugh, I think that's enough looking outside for now. I quickly close the curtains with a groan of relief and slump over to think about things a bit. We're not in the big lakeside mansion, if that were the case then I would have been able to see the lake itself outside. We must be in another building that I don't know about. Did something like that exist? I guess it's possible. I don't think that myself or any of the others went out all that far in this direction while we were still gathering information under stealth. I'm sure there's still a ton of stuff that we don't know about.

In any case, it shouldn't be hard to navigate back to camp from here once I've gathered everybody and everything up. Or at least it should be easy after we actually get out of the building. From what I could tell, I seem to be on the second floor, and this place seems reasonably nice, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's a lot of rooms left to look through. I guess that just means that I have to get started.

I walk back down the hallway again, poking my head into the bathroom. Yup, that's pretty much what I expected. Chiyo's leaned over the toilet, with Ringo holding her ears and hair back so they don't droop down into the water. I... Don't really want to get close enough to see whatever mess is being made in the bowl. When I hear Chiyo give another cough and some suspicious plopping sounds follow, I realize I don't really want to be anywhere close to this right now. Especially if the noises end up giving Kagerou or Wakasagihime a rude awakening.

I make a few vague hand gestures to catch Ringo's attention. I'm trying to tell her that I'm gonna keep looking around while she handles things here, but we don't really have any kind of sign language like that worked out. She still nods at me once after noticing though, so I'm just going to assume that we're on a good enough wavelength that she gets my intent. We've been together long enough that that's probably fair to say. I still give her one more point downward at the end. We'll probably want to meet up downstairs unless we're going to be leaving out of a window.

So with that taken care of there's more snooping around to do. Well, that's probably a bad way to put it, but it's at least honest. Let's see here...

Another bedroom, just like the other two. Seems a bit better taken care of in relative terms but it's still a bit messy in more absolute ones.

Some kind of reading room or mini-library? It looks like most of the bookshelves are dusty, unorganized, and in questionable repair, but there's at least a small armchair in the corner that's comfy enough for Raiko to be sleeping in. She's missing the jacket for her suit, and seems to have gained a some kind of hat that I forget the name of, but is otherwise fine. I'll leave her alone.

Another bedroom, possibly the master bedroom just going by the larger bed and furniture? It looks nicer than all the other ones, but the dust seems to suggest that it's used much less.

A kind of wardrobe room, I guess. It's full of nothing but clothes, mostly on racks and hangers, but some unceremoniously scattered onto the ground. I'm already dressed, so I won't bother changing again, but it probably would have been better if I found this place first. I could have taken something that looks like nobody would mind instead of something out of a room that was obviously in use. Oh well. I'll give it back.

And it continues on like that until I finally reach a staircase that leads down. I see a couple more of the youkai from last night in a couple of the rooms, but don't find any of the things that I'm actually looking for. In general, it looks like the party moved to this place (wherever this is) last night for some reason (whatever that is), and broke off into groups as they continued partying (for however long).

So yeah, still some blanks to fill in, but it's a work in progress.

Walking down the stairs turns out to be a little bit tricky. Around the middle of the staircase it looks like a part of the banister and a couple of steps somehow collapsed or got crushed or something. It's not too difficult to navigate right now, but I kind of wonder how drunk me managed. Maybe I just flew or something. Regardless, I make it down safely, but not as easily as it should have been.

This means that I'm now in what I'd guess is the foyer. The windows (which are of course not covered, but at least not facing east) show that I'm near the outside at least, so that's the front door. If I didn't have a bunch more things to do, I could easily just fly back to camp and sleep off this terrible feeling in my everywhere. Too bad I'm too busy though. Right now there are multiple different hallways that I could randomly wander down and search through, but I don't really have... Okay, I definitely just heard some kind of crashing coming from my left. That's probably a good enough place to start.

I head down the hall that I had heard the sound coming from, and it surprisingly doesn't end with a bunch of doorways. Instead, it opens up into some kind of ballroom, or at least most of one. I don't think that part of the ceiling is supposed to be collapsed like that. The rubble gets in the way of using about half the room, and the low quality replacement ceiling kind of hurts the overall mood. It seems fine otherwise, if a little messy and filled with instruments and other assorted junk. It probably looked really classy in its time.

And in the middle of the room, surrounded by various instruments and awkwardly picking up a cymbal stand from the ground is Kogasa. She looks a bit more disheveled than most of the other youkai that I've seen this morning, and seems to be scrambling a bit. Well, I can at least help her out, since she seems to be searching for something.

"Hey Kogasa," I call out from the entrance, holding her umbrella out. "I think I found..."

She's over to me and wrenching the umbrella out of my hand before I can even finish talking.

Kogasa hugs the umbrella against herself tightly. The thing's expression changes slightly, although I'm not that good at reading something with just an eye and a mouth. I guess it looks a bit happier? "Oh my gooooosh..." Kogasa whines out before heaving a huge sigh of what I assume is relief.

"Um," I stammer a bit. I'm just a little bit surprised at how quickly and desperately she moved toward me. It was a little bit frightening actually. "You're welcome?"

"Ah!" Kogasa only remembers that I'm here when I make a noise. When she looks back at me though, her smile is a bit too happy and genuine for me to feel annoyed. "Thanks for helping me get back together Seiran. I was really worried for a bit there."

"R-right... I uh, found that thing when I woke up and thought you might be missing it," I explain simply. There should be more explanation than that but I can't remember it so I'd have to make it up. "I guess I was right."

"Yup! I'm a karakasa obake, so this is me, but this," She holds her umbrella out and spins it so that it's facing me. "Is also me. Separating me from me isn't good for me. I can't fly and am cut off from a lot of my magic when both of me aren't together."

That's... Something of an explanation I guess. I don't know which me is which from how she said it, but whatever. I don't really need to understand how other youkai work. The explanation probably just boils down to 'it's magic' anyway. "So I found that in place of where my mallet should have been, did we like, swap last night or something?" I guess.

Kogasa considers it for a moment. "Hmm... I don't remember last night. You made me drink too much," Er, was I being that forceful about it? I don't remember. I think it's kind of fair though. I only started drinking in the first place because of Kogasa's special cupcakes putting a bunch of spiciness in my mouth. "But yeah, when I woke up I had your hammer thing."

Oh good, that means I don't have to keep searching through random rooms for it. "Great, where is it?"

"I left it in the kitchen," Kogasa answers with a simple smile. I'm surprised she didn't carry it around like I did with her umbrella. I would think that she'd be used to doing that.

I turn to walk to the kitchen, but then I remember that I don't know where that is and turn back to Kogasa. "Well can we go get it?" I suggest. "I'd really like to have it back."

Kogasa has a look of realization and suddenly looks sympathetic and a little worried for me. "Oh, is that also you too?"

"No, nothing like that," I assure her. It's just a normal mallet. Not magically connected to me at all. "It's more like a... Security type thing. Holding onto it makes me feel calmer and more in control of... Things," I explain vaguely. In truth, I had happened to stumble on it being useful for controlling my powers by chance. Keeping it around helped me remember that I was always at least somewhat in command of some part of my powers, even during... Worse times. "I've also had it for a really long time, so if we could go get it now..."

"Sure! Come with me!" Kogasa happily agrees before moving past me, smiling and twirling her umbrella just a bit. She leads me out of the ballroom and down a hallway to the right, deeper into the house.

We come to a stop in the entrance of a surprisingly modern looking kitchen. I would say, compared to the rest of the house, this place is probably the most well kept room I've seen so far. I also doubt that most of these electronics like the refrigerator and microwave are things that came standard with the house. They were probably added when the house got electricity.

There are two girls both manning a stove with their backs turned to Kogasa and I. I wasn't really introduced to either of them that I can remember, but I know they were at the meeting too. They're the ones that look a lot like Lunasa but with different color schemes.

The one with the light blue hair and pink clothes notices us first, turning her head and calling out in a sing-song voice. "Good morning~!"

"Gah," The shorter brunette next to her recoils at having someone yelling so close to her head. "Merlin, could you not be so loud?" She hisses.

"It's fine," The first girl, Merlin I suppose, assures her happily. "You shouldn't let a hangover get you down Lyrica! Just power through! We can do it!"

"Yeah yeah..." Okay so, Lyrica and Merlin. I can remember that easily enough. Lyrica turns around to look at Kogasa and I. "Oh, glad you found what you were looking for Kogasa, and you're... Seiran, right? We didn't talk much last night, but good to see you up." She says, sounding pleasant enough but a bit subdued. I appreciate it a bit more than the other girl being so loud at least.

"Good morning," I mumble out as Kogasa happily skips over to the large dining table. She apparently stored my mallet on one of the chairs while she was out looking. I follow along and meet her halfway, happy to feel the familiar wooden handle again when she hands it back to me. It's a surprising relief to tension that I was only vaguely aware of.

"Lyrica and Merlin were making breakfast!" Kogasa tells me happily. "You want some?" I don't think she's allowed to make that offer for them. Although when I look, Lyrica gives me a shrug and Merlin gives me a warm smile, so they seem to be fine with it. I am rather hungry, I don't even remember if I ate anything last night, and it might not be a bad idea to get some more information while taking care of that.

[ ] Sure
- [ ] Where are we?
- [ ] Have you seen Yuzuki?
- [ ] What happened last night?
- [ ] Who is Suika? Where did she go?
- [ ] Does that drinking stuff always happen at meetings?
- [ ] Do you have anything that would help with a hangover?
- [ ] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?
- [ ] Something else...
[ ] I actually need to get going soon, so I'll skip breakfast
Expand all images
>> No. 27259
[X] Sure
- [X] Where are we?
- [X] What happened last night?
- [X] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?
>> No. 27260
[X] Sure
- [X] Do you have anything that would help with a hangover?
- [X] Have you seen Yuzuki?
- [X] What happened last night?
- [X] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?
>> No. 27261
[x] Sure
- [x] Do you have anything that would help with a hangover?
- [x] What happened last night?
- [x] Have you seen Yuzuki?

Mmmm, that fresh new thread smell.
>> No. 27262
[X] Sure
- [X] Where are we?
- [X] What happened last night?
- [X] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?
>> No. 27263
[x] Sure
- [x] Where are we?
- [x] Have you seen Yuzuki?
- [x] Do you have anything that would help with a hangover?
- [x] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?
>> No. 27264
File 148056947841.jpg - (235.93KB, 650x670, Looks.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Sure
- [X] Where are we?
- [X] What happened last night?
- [X] Have you seen Yuzuki?
- [X] Do you have anything that would help with a hangover?
- [X] (I'm too curious to not be nosy) Can you tell me about Yatsuhashi and Sumi?

"Sure, I'd be happy to join if it's not going to be a problem," I respond. If anything I'm just happy to have a chance at a free meal. Even if there's food back at camp, this could be a nice change of pace. Plus, I'm kind of dreading the flight back, considering all the sunlight and wind and ugh... One more thing comes to mind though, so I turn Merlin and Lyrica to bring it up. "Oh, I don't eat meat by the way. If that's a problem you don't have to do anything for me."

"Nooooot a problem! I'll hook you right up!" Merlin calls cheerfully as she hops over to the refrigerator and starts digging through it. I'm not sure how common refrigeration is in Gensokyo, or really how common electricity is for that matter. Should I be acting more impressed than i am right now? Ugh, whatever. My head hurts too much to worry a lot about keeping my cover story up. I doubt I'll do a worse job than whatever I said while I was drunk at least.

"Rare to see a vegetarian youkai though," Lyrica says, seeming to just be making some simple conversation while she continues cooking the whatever she's cooking. I see Kogasa taking a seat at the table, a pleased expression on her face as she clutches her umbrella with both hands and making it bob back and forth in front of her. After a moment, I follow her and grab a seat for myself. I resist the impulse to lay my head down on the table in favor of keeping some conversation going.

"Well, I am a rabbit, so it's not that weird," I feel like that's a decent enough explanation, even if I don't know much about how Earth rabbits do things. Lyrica just shrugs in response, so I guess she agrees. Personally, I'm not as against the idea of eating meat as I think everyone back home would be. It does seem like kind of a strange concept to eat something that used to be able to move around on its own, but I think it's a concept I could eventually get used to. I just haven't given it all that much thought up to this point. I never had a chance to try it before, and I don't really have a compelling reason to do so right now.

"A rabbit youkai," Lyrica emphasizes. What's your point? "Most youkai that I know are at least a little bit carnivorous. If only for the purpose of scaring humans. Not a bad idea to have multiple food sources, especially since I hear you new rabbits were living outside of society up until this point."

Err, I guess she has something of a point. I've mostly been coasting on our original cover story, but if you look too closely at it, there are probably more than a few holes you could poke at. "Well, we managed," I answer vaguely, hoping that Lyrica will accept that as good enough. She gives me a curious look for a moment, but doesn't press the issue, choosing to go back to cooking. Maybe I should move this conversation away from myself sooner rather than later. "We don't exactly have a mansion like this, so maybe we're not that civilised, but we managed," I reiterate after some thought.

"Pshh. Kehehe," Merlin snickers, bent over and leaning into the fridge still. Err, aren't you sticking your butt out a little too far? Maybe I should just focus on Lyrica right now instead... "I don't know if you saw most of it, but this place isn't exactly the picture of high class."

"Well I did notice a couple of places that could use some work," I admit. Pretty much every room that I looked in had some amount of mess somewhere, whether it was from the building or whoever lives in it. "What exactly is up with this place anyway?"

"This is the not so glamorous Prismriver mansion," Lyrica smiles wryly as she answers. "It's, well, technically us three sisters' house right now. The place is a bit of a mess, but well, we've all got busy schedules sooo..."

"Plus, we're poltergeists!" Merlin interrupts happily, standing back up with both arms full of fruit. "It's against our nature to keep things clean. We gotta make some noise and make some messes!"

"Not right now though, please," Lyrica pleads. Merlin is definitely lacking in an inside voice. After bringing a hand up to rub her temple for a moment, Lyrica continues. "Well, that's her excuse anyway, and it's more or less true. Sorry if we're not the best hosts. This whole thing was a little short notice."

"No not at all, it's fine," I assure her, I don't want to be rude. "If anything, I'm glad that we wound up here. Getting drunk like last night could have ended with us in much worse places, I'm sure."

Merlin laughs again as puts everything down on a nearby counter and starts doing... Something. I can't tell, she's facing away from me. "I wanted to have the whole thing here, and that was part of my argument too!" She explains, turning her head toward Lyrica. "Drinking was gonna happen last night regardless, so why not do it somewhere safe instead of the wilderness?"

"It's a meeting, not a house party," Lyrica doesn't turn to face Merlin but still responds to her tersely. "The rooms that are big enough to hold everyone that came last night are already trashed in one way or another, and we don't need to make it worse."

"I told you we should've hired a maid," Merlin says smugly.

"And as the one that takes care of finances, I told you that we can't afford something like that unless we're paying like crap," Lyrica sounds like she's getting a little annoyed, but also like she's had this argument multiple times before. "No human is going to come all the way out to the famed 'ruined western mansion' to work for peanuts. Not to mention how much worse you'd make their job whenever you got rowdy."

"Err, speaking of last night, what exactly happened?" I interject just to try and break this argument up and get us back on topic. I don't feel like they were talking about anything that relevant to me. "Everything gets kind of hazy for me after a certain point."

"Everybody got smashed, what more is there to it?" Lyrica asks bluntly.

I already know that much. "I was kind of hoping for some specifics."

Lyrica finishes up whatever food she's preparing and starts scooping some of it out of her pan and onto some plates. "Well I wasn't there when it all started. We kinda got pulled in after you had already began, so I don't really-"

"Oh! I know, I know!" Kogasa lifts up her umbrella as she interrupts proudly. "Seiran, you ate one of my surprise cupcakes and got a flavor that surprised you!"

I'm a little annoyed by how proud Kogasa seems of what happened. "I definitely remember that," There isn't really any reason why I wouldn't.

"It was a big success, I was really happy that it worked out!" If by 'big success' she means 'the reason I feel horrible right now' then she's probably correct. "Anyway, Suika showed up offered you some of her sake to help your mouth, and after that everybody took it as a cue to start drinking."

"I remember everything you've said so far. It's after that that I need help remembering," I tell Kogasa. "What did we do after that?"

"Uhmmm, lots of stuff," Kogasa answers vaguely. Great, thanks for the help. I guess she got drunk too, so I can't really blame her.

"Hm, lemme think..." Lyrica picks up where Kogasa left off, putting down her utensils to tick things off on her fingers. "Party tricks, tests of strength, drinking contests, made up party games, multiple performances from all the musicians, cards, danmaku..." For every point that Lyrica mentions, Merlin has been adding an 'and drinking' on to it in the background. "Yes Merlin, we get it."

"Uh huh..." Well I can kinda remember bits and pieces of some of those things. It sounds pretty benign, and honestly, I'm a bit sad that I missed some of it. It was probably a lot of fun. "And at some point we decided to move from where the meeting was to here?" I ask.

"Yyyeah," Lyrica cautiously agrees as she brings three plates over to the table. She doesn't put one in front of me so I guess that squishy looking yellow stuff is some kind of meat? I've never seen it before. "It's a little hazy for me at that point too," She admits, sitting down across from me.

"I remember!" Merlin calls out as she finishes up what she's doing. She bounces (in more than one w-STOP THAT) over to me and sets a tall dessert cup down on the table. It's full a variety of fruits, most of which I don't even recognize. We don't have this kind of variety on the Moon! Let's see, I recognize some sliced up apples, strawberries, oranges, watermelon... I don't know what the rest of the stuff in here actually is.

"Uh, wow... This looks really good," I say honestly. It might not end up being all that filling, but I'm still looking forward to it. "Thank you very much!"

"Don't mention it honey~!" Merlin slides into the chair with the unclaimed food in front of it before continuing. "Anyway, by that point the people that were still sober wanted to go home, and some people were already passed out so they couldn't go home. I figured it was a good idea to come back here, since it was close by and relatively safe."

"Aside from the hole in the ceiling," Lyrica points out between bites. I glance up above me, but she must be talking about somewhere else. Maybe just that hole I saw in the ballroom, although that one was covered up pretty well.

"I did say relatively," Merlin laughs. "So most people agreed and here we are. We played around a bit more, truth or dare happened for a bit, eventually more people started passing out or falling asleep and the party wound down."

"Everybody involved would later wake up with a hangover and a few new regrets," Lyrica finishes the story bluntly.

"I don't know if that's right. Most everything that I saw happen was pretty tame," I'm really glad to hear Merlin say that. "I've been to much wilder parties."

"So I didn't do anything too embarrassing?" I ask, just to double check. I could have done or said anything, but if I managed to go an entire evening without acting stupid, then drunk me might actually be more socially competent than sober me... That's kind of depressing to think about.

Merlin looks at me curiously, concentrating on trying to remember anything. She gives up after a few seconds. "Not that I can remember, although I don't recall lending you those clothes, so maaaaybe..."

Oh, these are hers. That makes some sense now that I think about it. Merlin is wearing pajamas similar to the ones I saw in the room that I found these clothes. I must have been in her room. "Er, no, I had to borrow these this morning," I explain awkwardly. "I apparently slept in the bathtub so..."

"It's fine, you can keep them. You pull it off great! Real cute, double thumbs up!" Merlin smiles widely at me and gives me two thumbs up. That's the second person so far that has seemed to really like me in these clothes. It's a little embarrassing but I'm also kind of happy about it too. Er, am I blushing right now?

"R-right," I talk to get things moving away from my embarrassment. "So do you know where Yuzuki went last night? I've found everybody else in my group this morning but I haven't been able to find her."

"Hm, Yuzuki..." Merlin considers the name but doesn't seem to recognize it. Oh yeah, I guess that Merlin or Lyrica wouldn't really have talked to her much last night.

"Pinkish hair, short ponytail, yukata," I list off what most people would notice pretty quickly about Yuzuki. "Kind of rigid posture?"

"Ah!" Merlin snaps her fingers as she recalls something. "She was one of the sober ones," She declares. "Yeah, she left last night instead of coming here."

That's actually not that surprising. Yuzuki definitely isn't the type to drink, although before last night, I wouldn't call myself that type either, so what do I know? Well, I at least know that Yuzuki wasn't around during what little I can remember of last night, so it's easy to believe that she went home early. She did want to talk to Hina this morning, so she might be doing that right now. "That's like her," I say with a shrug. I pick up a spoon to start eating. "Well, I'm sure she's feeling much better off than the rest of us now."

"But she didn't get Merlin Prismriver's custom fruit salad deluxe, so who's the real winner here?" Merlin asks, spinning her index finger around in circle for a bit before bringing it to a stop pointed at me. "This girl~!"

I can't help but smile at Merlin's enthusiasm. "I don't exactly feel like a winner, but I guess I would feel bad if I missed out the... Experience that last night was," Even if I don't remember most of it. Next time (there's going to be a next time?) I'll have to drink a bit more slowly.

"Yeah, but this kinda stuff happens when you spend a night getting plastered," Lyrica says ruefully, holding her head with one of her hands. "We can't all be masters at it like Merlin," She adds, earning a giggle from Merlin in response.

"Is there some kind of secret to it?" I ask hopefully. Anything that would make my headache hurt a little less would be very welcome. "I have stuff I still want to get done today, so if you could help at all..."

"Pacing yourself and drinking lots of water while drinking is the most important thing, but that doesn't help now, does it?" Merlin sets down her silverware as she lectures me happily. "Well you can still drink lots of water and get lots of rest, but there isn't much you can do now other than suffer through it. A lot of places will try to sell you a hangover cure, but unless it's from Eientei, you're probably just going to get ripped off," She concludes, but then has a second thought and continues. "Well, unless they're selling you more alcohol. Getting drunk again is technically an option."

"Ugh," I feel a little sick at the idea. "I don't think so," I'm not against the idea of drinking ever again, it's just... Not now.

"Darn," Merlin says, not sounding discouraged in the slightest. "I'll go and get you some water then," She decides, getting up from her seat.

There's a few minutes of silence while everyone eats their breakfast. I have to say, I really enjoy a lot of these Earth fruits. I don't know their names and can't think of a subtle way of asking, but I definitely wish I could find and grow some of these things back home. More variety would be really nice.

After an entire breakfast of restraining myself, my curiosity finally reaches a breaking point. "So uh," It might be nosy, but I really want to ask. "You two were around her much more than I was last night, but I heard that Sumi kind of hit it off with someone."

"Oh yeah, that," Lyrica answers me unenthusiastically.

That's not the nicest reaction right there. "Er, it's not a problem, is it?"

"Not really," Lyrica begins, "Yatsu's always been pretty outgoing, so of course when she meets your friend with the... Interesting attitude, the two of them find it easy to talk to each other. Yatsuhashi doesn't really have any friends outside the two bands, and even then she's not in either of them. I think she was just enjoying having somebody new to talk to that doesn't treat her like part of a set."

"Oh, so there wasn't anything uh," How to say this without sounding awkward? "Romantic going on?"

"Not that I know of," Lyrica shrugs.

"Hmmm~? I wouldn't be so sure," Merlin butts in. "Remember how quick she was to help Sumi during that duel?" She asks rhetorically. "And I may have been a bit tipsy myself, but I'm sure I saw them giving each other a few nice looks," She adds.

"Looks?" I'm not sure what she means.

Merlin leans forward over the table, seemingly unbothered at how this pushes her breasts up under her. If anything she seems to encourage it, wiggling a bit in order to expose what little cleavage she can under her pajama top. She looks directly up at me with half-lidded eyes, shaking her hair a bit to make sure none of it is in the way. Her lips twist into a sly little smile as I feel a weird kind of intensity from her stare. I'm... Uhm. My face feels like it's heating up. Is it normal to look hungry like that when you look into somebody's eyes? She definitely looks hungry, but not in a wanting food kind of way. This is, uh... When I finally feel awkward enough that I have to look away, Merlin sits back up as if satisfied. "Looks!" She declares happily.

"I uh. I see," I say, still not looking directly at Merlin. My heart is beating kind of fast right now. Nobody's ever given me those kinds of looks before. I'm simultaneously embarrassed and a little bit thankful for the demonstration.

"Well, it's not our call either way," Lyrica continues as if nothing weird just happened. It was weird, right? How can you just ignore something that got my heart going so fast? "I just hope that Yatsuhashi isn't trying to act out for attention. There have been times when she's purposefully tried to act more mature than she is."

"I don't think anything bad will come of it," Merlin says casually. "It's pretty cute honestly."

"Okay. Well either way, I'll talk to Sumi about it later," I decide out loud.

"What are you planning for the rest of the day then? Just heading back to wherever you're living and sleeping things off?" Merlin asks me.

That honestly does sound really tempting, but I don't think that things will go that well for me. The flight back to camp is already going to be horrible, but after that there's still a lot of stuff that I could and probably should get done today. We're working under a time limit here, so hangover or not, it would be better to get things done as soon as we can. We went to the meeting last night, so that means we can deliver a report to Kanako today at least.

Oh wait, we were still missing some possible info on that. Yuzuki suggested yesterday that we try tracking Sekibanki to see if she has any hidden contacts. Pulling that off might be an issue. Sekibanki is asleep upstairs right now, but if I leave to go get Yuzuki and come back, she might leave while I'm gone. I could try doing the tracking by myself, but I'm not as skilled as Yuzuki and Sumi are.

[ ] Gather the others and go back to camp for a meeting
[ ] Go back to camp, get Yuzuki, come back, and track Sekibanki together
[ ] Don't go back to camp
- [ ] Track Sekibanki alone
- [ ] Wake up Sumi, then track Sekibanki together
- [ ] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.
- [ ] Do something else

You know what there aren't enough of? Pictures of touhous in pajamas.
>> No. 27265
[X] Gather the others and go back to camp for a meeting
>> No. 27266
[X] Gather the others and go back to camp for a meeting

I'm open to suggestions if people think we really need more intel, but I think we have enough to satisfy Kanako's basic requirements and I'm not really interested in helping her beyond that point.
>> No. 27267
[x] Gather the others and go back to camp for a meeting
>> No. 27268
[x] Don't go back to camp
- [x] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.

> You know what there aren't enough of? Pictures of touhous in pajamas.

>> No. 27269
[x] Don't go back to camp
- [x] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.

With Sumi asleep and Chiyo puking last time we saw her, on top of Seiran's own hangover I doubt we'll be accomplish much no matter what we choose, so let's get a little rest instead.

Also this gives Merlin more chances to be flirty
>> No. 27270
No can do friend, we iPhone route now.

[x] Don't go back to camp
- [x] Track Sekibanki alone
>> No. 27271
iPhone route? What's that?
>> No. 27272
[x] Go back to camp, without bringing anybody with
-[x] Track Sekibanki alone - after you've gotten a good pair of binoculars, of course.
>> No. 27273
[x] Don't go back to camp
- [x] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.

As good as striking when the iron is hot can be, I think it's best we get numbers and our wits about us. Try to track a youkai with many sets of eyes, literally, when we're hung over sounds like a recipe for disaster.
>> No. 27274
Well, iPhone is an Apple product and Ringo means Apple and... Well, it was funnier in my head.
It was going to be "Mac" route but Rinno is already called that. And iPad brings out old Sakuya jokes.
>> No. 27275
There's a tie between going back to camp for a meeting and staying at the Prismriver's for some rest. Those are kind of mutually exclusive, so if I could get a tiebreaker that would be good.

I got it, for whatever that's worth.
>> No. 27276
[x] Don't go back to camp
- [x] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.

I can't imagine 4 hungover rabbits tromping through the unknown wilderness will end well.
>> No. 27277
I am very annoyed.

I want this scene I'm writing to be better than it is but it is just not happening right now. I need more sleep or something goddamn. I can't focus on anything.

>> No. 27278
File 148098815321.jpg - (97.91KB, 850x478, Something about iphones.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Don't go back to camp
- [X] Rest until the others are up. This hangover is terrible.

Ugh, even after having discussed the idea of tracking Sekibanki with Yuzuki, I'm still ready to abandon it right now. We've done our job. We don't have to go out of the way to uncover everything about the Grassroots Youkai Network right now, or really ever. We've already met the minimum requirements for what Kanako asked us to do, so unless we really feel the need to impress her, we should be fine to leave well enough alone. I can't say that I'm very eager to chase a youkai all over Gensokyo based off of an idea that we might possibly pick up some information that might possibly be useful but isn't strictly necessary. And that's assuming we would even pull it off. Sekibanki has a bunch of heads with two times as many eyes, so following her discreetly would be hard to manage even without the state that we're currently in.

Honestly, the whole idea of going out there is giving me a headache right now. Although I guess that could just be the hangover continuing to be horrible.

"Something like that," I give a vague answer as I reach up to try to rub some of the pain away from my head. It's not really working. "We'll probably head back after everyone's awake. I'm not looking forward to the flight though."

Lyrica nods sympathetically as Merlin reaches forward to slide my glass of water closer to me. Oh yeah, she did say that water was supposed to help, didn't she? "There's no rush, just so you know," Lyrica assures me. "I don't know whose idea it was to come here last night, but we're not going to chase anyone out now that they're here."

"Thanks," I mumble before taking a gulp of water. Hm, well if they're offering more hospitality, it might not be a bad idea to take it. "Maybe I could just stay here and rest for a bit then?" I ask hopefully. It's not just that I don't want to go out in the sun right now, it's also the fact that the others still aren't ready to go either. Chiyo's probably still getting sick and Sumi's probably still... Busy. I'm not going to forcibly round them all up at this very moment, so why not try to work on feeling a bit better in the meantime?

"Sure, there's plenty of room for you to lie down somewhere or other," Merlin answers happily. "I'll try not to make too much noise for a while."

"I've heard that one before," Lyrica mutters, loud enough that everyone else can hear. Merlin just snickers in response.

Oh, it kind of sounds like Merlin had plans. "Are you going to be doing something?" I don't want to get in the way.

"Merlin practices her music in the morning," Lyrica explains for me. "Trumpet, trombone, tuba, french horn, baritone... Doesn't seem to matter that Lunasa and I have asked her to stop and at least wait until everybody else is awake."

"I have to do something with my time. I'm just not the type of person who can go back to sleep after I get up," Merlin defends herself, but sounds more amused than indignant. She turns to me next. "So unless you really want me to, I won't be joining you in your nap."

"N-no thanks, I'm okay," Merlin's flirtiness is obvious even to me, but nobody else seems to be commenting on it. Maybe this is just how she talks or something, but I'm not really used to it. I don't know how to respond that well. It's kind of like with Yamame again. I'm flattered and a little confused but uh... What do I say? And how do I avoid stammering like an idiot?

"No cuddlebunny for now then. Oh well~," Merlin heaves an exaggerated sigh, then goes right back to eating with a smile on her face.

Lyrica continues on without commenting on what was just said, and I don't know if I'd prefer her saying anything or not. "Mine, Merlin's, and Lunasa's rooms are all right next to each other, so you can help yourself to a bed if you want," She explains. "Just don't make a mess and don't go into the other bedroom."

"The master bedroom?" I ask. Lyrica gets a complicated look on her face. I guess I kinda gave myself away right there. I should probably explain myself. "I kind of looked in there earlier already. Sorry."

"Well just... Don't, okay?" Lyrica suggests vaguely. I don't have a problem with keeping the request anyway. "It's a personal thing," She adds. Merlin nods along as well, so I guess it's something between them, and probably Lunasa as well. The look Lyrica is still giving me suggests that it really isn't my business to know though, so I'll leave it at that.


After I finish eating, I get up to head back upstairs. Merlin and Lyrica remain behind in the kitchen to clean a bit, while Kogasa goes off on her own. She claims that she's just going to try and surprise a few people while she waits for Sekibanki to get up. Given the state that most people here are probably going to be in when waking up, I can't imagine that Kogasa's shenanigans are going to be very welcome, but I don't really put in any effort to stop her. Well, hopefully whoever she scares next won't danmaku her too hard or whatever.

Nobody seems to have gotten up to wander through the halls like I was earlier, so it's just a quiet morning in the Prismriver's mansion. It would be a lot nicer if it were overcast or raining outside, but that's just my hangover talking. I don't actually have that much to complain about. Heck, if I were in a better state, this would be downright enjoyable. It sure would be nice to have an actual home with real walls and some amount of privacy and security instead of a small base of tents huddled together in the woods. Why can't I ever have nice things? Oh right, military.

I decide to float up the stairs, just because I don't want to put in the extra effort of having to climb over the collapsed part. On setting down on the landing I decide that it makes the most sense for me to rest in Merlin's room. I know exactly where it is, and if I hang my dress over something then it might be dry enough for me to wear out of here by the time I wake up. That way I don't have to go to the trouble of returning the clothes I'm wearing now. It might be nice that people keep complimenting me on these, but I really would be a lot more comfortable in what I usually wear.

Merlin's room is exactly how I left it, mess and all. You would think, given her enthusiasm and apparent habit of getting up earlier than the others, she could afford to take some of her spare time to clean her room a little bit. It doesn't make much of a difference to me though, it's at least clean enough that I can still drape my dress over the chair in front of her desk and close her blinds. With that done, all that's left is to collapse into Merlin's bed.

Oh wow... This is so nice...

A bed! A real one! Not a cot! A real squishy, soft, warm, comfy bed! I worm my way under the blankets and try to get comfortable, not that that's difficult. Honestly, getting comfortable here might be the easiest thing I've done in weeks. I haven't slept in anything so nice since... Possibly ever. We only have cots back at camp, and there's no way that the beds at the mare bases or in basic training or in the hospital would be this high quality!

I'll just focus on relaxing myself for now. The throbbing in my head seems to be matching up with my heartbeat, so slowing that down is probably for the best. If I can fall asleep, then that's all the better. In the meantime, I guess it'll just be me and my thoughts for a while. I can't say I'm that excited about that, but hopefully sleep will come pretty soon.



Mmf. Don't do that...




"BWAAH!" I jerk awake when a sudden gust of air hits my ear.

"Heh heh heh," A pleased voice from somewhere to my left laughs sinisterly. "Revenge!"

"Hmbwff..." I mumble out some kind of noise and turn to look for the voice. Ugh, my vision's blurry and everything's still too bright. Need to rub my eyes...

"Having a nice nap there Seiran?" As my consciousness returns enough that I'm aware of what I'm looking at, I discover that the culprit is Ringo. Yeah, I guess this is payback, isn't it? I kind of doubt that my reaction was as amusing as Ringo's normally is, but we're both probably too biased to judge that fairly.

Lemme think here... I was sleeping in this big comfy bed because... Oh, right, the Prismriver's mansion. Right, right. It's all coming back to me now that I'm waking up properly. How long was I asleep? "... What time is it?"

Ringo is still leaning over me with a pleased smile on her face. Her ears are drooping down on either side of me. I could probably blow into them from here as payback for her payback, but it's not really the same if she isn't asleep. "Still morning," She assures me. "Chiyo felt good enough to get away from the toilet, so we went exploring for a bit. Lyrica said you'd be up here when we asked, so I thought I'd check on you. How are you feeling?"

How am I feeling? Urgh, headache is still there. Lights are still too bright. Sound is still too loud. Everything is at least a little better than before, but from what Ringo's said, I haven't been asleep for that long. I probably could have lived with a little more time to rest. "A little better than before, still not so good," I answer quietly. If we both keep our indoor voices, I can manage a conversation just fine.

Ringo's expression softens as she rolls over so she's not hovering above me. "Same," She declares while taking up a spot next to me and laying her head on an extra pillow.

There's a brief pause where the conversation stops. Instead we just look at each other, me huddled up under the blankets and her laying on top of them. Err, Ringo, if you don't have anything to say, did you need to wake me up? It's just awkward when all you're doing is staring at me like that. "So uh, where's Chiyo now?"

"Hm? Oh, she's still downstairs," Ringo answers dismissively, putting her hands behind her head and staring at the ceiling. "Needed to wash her mouth out. Then Lyrica offered some breakfast and she took her up on it."

That's surprising to hear. Not the breakfast offer of course, but that Ringo apparently isn't taking advantage of it. "And you're not down there too?"

"Wanted to check on you first, you know?" I can see Ringo glancing at me without turning her head. "Did you find the others?"

Oh right, the thing I was doing before I gave myself a break. I probably could have reported this part back first now that I think of it. "Yuzuki went back to camp last night, so we don't have to worry about her. As for Sumi," How exactly do I phrase this? I'm oddly embarrassed about just coming out and saying it. "I found her, but she was um... Not alone."

"So?" Ringo asks before thinking about what I'm saying. "Oooooooooohh," she draws out once she realizes.

"They were just cuddling!" I hurry to explain. I don't want Ringo to get the wrong idea about things. It's not like they were kissing or anything. I definitely would have been too embarrassed to say anything in that case. "I still thought I shouldn't bother them,"

"Yeah, probably the same call I would have made," Ringo says with a shrug. "That girl works damn fast though," She adds, chuckling lightly to herself.

"Works fast?" What, did Sumi have some job that I didn't know about? That's a surprise.

"Well, you know..." No, I don't know what you mean Ringo. I look at her expectantly, prompting her to continue. After an awkward pause she gets the message and does so, albeit reluctantly. "I'm sure Sumi's got the same kind of feeling that I've been getting lately. The one I'm pretty sure that all of us are getting."

She's being too vague. "The what?"

"Mmmm," Ringo purses her lips and concentrates for a moment. Maybe she's unsure of what she wants to say or something. "That thing that I mentioned it a few days ago. The urge to do uh... Stuff," Is what she decides on. She could have done a bit better than that in my opinion.

"Yeeeeah," I kind of remember her saying something weird about wanting to do 'stuff' before. I didn't get what she means then and I still don't. Why doesn't she just come out and say what the 'stuff' is?

"Right, so I dunno, maybe it's Earth's impurities finally getting to us. Maybe we're just realizing that we can do whatever we want since nobody from Command is watching. Maybe we're just pent up after all these years. Maybe it's a combination of all those things. Maybe it's something else I'm not thinking about. I dunno," Ringo continues, taking my unsure reply at face value and apparently ignoring the confusion behind it. "I'm just surprised at how quick Sumi's acting on it, though I guess I shouldn't be. It's not like she wasn't already keeping herself busy back on the Moon."

Okay, I really have to stop her before she keeps going on and on. "What exactly are you talking about?"

"You don't...? Err, uhm," Ringo actually stammers out, losing pace in her speech about whatever she was talking about. "Nevermind," And now she's actually blushing!? "It's a dumb thing, and it's not a big deal. Let's talk about something else."

"Sure?" I guess?

Ringo glances around for a moment, searching for a topic almost literally. "So you were just resting for a bit then?" She asks after calming down a little bit.

"Y-yeah," I'm a little confused still, but I guess it's fine to just move on. "I was waiting for everyone else to get up, and I figured that resting would help with my headache."

"Solid plan," Ringo nods sagely. "I'm glad you're finally picking up some tricks from yours truly," She adds with a smug smile.

I wasn't really trying to imitate her. "Sleeping in after a night of partying and taking a nap after having your base attacked are two entirely different things," I point out. "Though I'm pretty sure Command wouldn't be happy about either of them."

"Pssh, Command. Who cares about that?" Ringo dismisses my comments easily, then grabs onto the blankets and begins shuffling toward me. "Anyway, scoot over, I'm coming in too."

"Wh-what?!" Wait, Ringo, I don't think that's the best idea here! I jerk away from Ringo instinctively, but there's only so much bed that I can slide across. I'm practically falling off the side already.

Ringo moves over again and I don't really have anywhere else to go. "C'mon, the others are still gonna be busy. I'm just going along with your original plan," She argues. I mean, I can see the point, but that doesn't mean she has to stay right next to me. There are other beds!

"Lyrica said we could use her room too," I suggest, trying not to sound too nervous.

"Sure, but I'm already here, and you've got enough space," I don't want to admit it, but that is true. Whether it was made for it or not, this bed is definitely big enough for two. "I'm not bad company and I don't snore or anything, so what's the problem?"

"There aren't enough blankets!" I argue kinda lamely, pulling the blankets that I have into a tighter ball around myself to try and seem more convincing. It doesn't work.

"Then don't hog 'em all," Ringo laughs as she easily tugs the blankets off of me. Man, super strength is not fair. I have to let her have them or else we'd probably rip Merlin's sheets.

There must be something else I can argue with. "S-Sharing your bed with anyone else is against the rules!" That's true actually. They were really clear on that back home. If you got caught in somebody else's bed you were in big trouble.

"We're just sleeping," Well yeah, of course we are Ringo. That's what would be against the rules. "And I just said that nobody has to care about what Command thinks."

Okay, I'm out of arguments now, so I guess I'll just have to give up on the whole sleeping plan. Maybe I can excuse myself and go over to Lyrica's room by myself. "Actually I'm awake now so I'll just um, uh, WHA-" I catch my legs in the blankets as I'm trying to get out of bed, almost falling to the floor if it weren't for Ringo reaching out to catch me.

"Seiran, calm down," Ringo's holding me up just by her grip on my shoulder and speaking to me in a surprisingly soothing voice. "What are you freaking out about?" She asks patiently.

Dammit. "I haven't been taking my pills," I admit, staring at the ground. I didn't really want to talk about it, but I can't really risk sleeping near anybody when a random nightmare could make me shoot them on accident. I'm already really glad that I managed to last the night without hurting Wakasagihime or Kagerou. I really shouldn't take another chance here.

There's a brief pause before Ringo pulls me back up into a sitting position next to her. Once I'm back up, she gives me a soft, but still slightly concerned smile. "I trust you," She says evenly, looking me straight in the eyes. "I'm not gonna tell you what to do either way, but I trust you."

Ringo that's not really fair to just say that. Of course I don't dislike having you here with me. Of course it would be nice to have somebody else warming up the blankets. Of course I would like to be able to think that I won't lose control of my powers but...

Ringo is lying in a pool of blood, clutching her stomach and wheezing in pain as she presses her face down into her bunk. I hear panic and calls for help from the rabbits around me, but all I can do is stare. I did this.

I don't know if I trust myself.

[ ] Go back to sleep with Ringo
[ ] Sleep somewhere else
[ ] Do something else (What?)

I like it better than yesterday now.
>> No. 27279
[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo

If you can't trust your comrade's trust in you, what can you trust? Also, she needs to do that thing with Yamame eventually. Maybe not this day, but one day.
>> No. 27280
[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo

I kind of hope we're not wasting time in regards to the whole "must get back to the Moon in 8 days or Eirin will kill us all" thing.
>> No. 27281

[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo
>> No. 27282
[x] Go back to sleep with Ringo
>> No. 27283
[x] Go back to sleep with Ringo

You're not the type to be cruel and make this go horribly wrong... right?
>> No. 27284
[x] Go back to sleep with Lingo

The path to recovery starts now.
>> No. 27285
[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo

Believe in the Ringo that believes in us? Sounds good to me.
>> No. 27286
[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo

We'll be fine. Totally. No problem. Right?
>> No. 27287
I'm glad that events have conspired to continue to prevent Seiran from taking that dream prevention drug, I'm hoping we can keep this up.
>> No. 27288
File 148117219077.jpg - (327.50KB, 913x1000, This is a cute story.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Go back to sleep with Ringo

What am I supposed to say here? What can I say here? I may not be at my best right now but there has to be something better than 'Sorry Ringo, I have massive issues about things that happened a long time ago and am apparently the only one who hasn't gotten over it'. While that may or may not be true, saying it out loud just doesn't sit well with me. It's like I'm giving up on getting better. That was never supposed to be the case it's just... I don't know.

'Sorry Ringo, I'm an idiot who has been deliberately avoiding my not-shooting-people medication so I'm not safe to be around'? No, that's kind of even harder for me to admit to. I don't like saying that I'm dumb when I know I'm not. I can't really think of any other reason why I've been skipping out on my pills though. Well, okay, one night I had to because otherwise I wouldn't have had enough of them left over to last until the full moon. I think that's excused. Then last night I didn't have one on me, and wasn't able to go back to camp because of all the drinking and stuff. Maybe that one's not so much excused but it's at least rationalized in my mind. Two nights ago however, that one I actively chose not to take my very important medication. Why?

Honestly, I guess I'm just curious. It's been a really long time since I've ever had any kind of dream of anything, after all. It's just interesting to see what my subconscious feels like throwing together when it has the chance, whether that ends up being semi-accurate looks at things that happened in the past or just mish-mashes of things that I vaguely remember encountering at some point. They haven't really ended up being pleasant either way, and I've kind of avoided analyzing them very heavily, but they are still a little interesting. It's just a bit troubling that I'm choosing to indulge in that curiosity when it puts people around me in danger.

Anyway, I'm getting away from the point here, or at least wandering around it pointlessly. Ringo's still right next to me. I know that she's not going to rush me into deciding anything, but that doesn't mean she isn't giving me an expectant and kind of hopeful look. Yes, I see you there, I'm getting back to thinking about it, just a second.

Ringo trusts me. This is far from the first time that she's told me as much, but it's never really been in this exact context. It's... Really nice to hear somebody say that right now actually. I know that I still have something of a complex (an entirely justified one) about the whole 'unnecessarily deadly powers that I don't have proper control of' thing. Almost any other rabbit that knew about me would definitely go out of there way to avoid me. Hell, any person who knew about me would avoid me. To have Ringo saying that she still believes in me, especially considering the history there...

I'm really going to do this, aren't I?

There's no reason to take a risk like this. There are plenty of other places I could sleep that would be much safer for everyone involved. Honestly, this whole break is an unnecessary waste of time that I was selfishly doing on my own. Ringo should be telling me to get up and get back to work! She shouldn't be just going along with whatever dumb thing I decide to do!

Maybe that's just another part of what it means when she says she trusts me. I don't know.

"Fine," I declare simply, pulling my body up on my own before letting it flop down onto the bed. After all that mental rambling combined with the headache, I don't really have the mental energy to think of anything more interesting to say. I'm just giving up and going with it. It's dumb and risky, but I'm still going to go with it. I heave a sigh, but Ringo seems too pleased with herself to notice it.

"Great!" Ringo lays back, letting go of my shoulder with a wide smile. "As an added bonus, I'll let you pick which spoon you wanna be. I personally prefer the big spoon, but it might end up looking silly with the height difference," She looks at me, pausing her offer to consider something. "Well, your call either way."


Ringo's smug smile opens up into a larger grin. "It was a joke," She laughs. "Well partially anyway. Was some truth in there too. Don't worry about it."

"I don't really get it," I admit.

"It's one of those euphemisms. Don't worry about it," I don't know how Ringo and Sumi learned all these phrases and slang things that I never have. Even Chiyo sometimes talks about stuff that I've never heard of without explaining it to me. It's a little frustrating. I think they do it on purpose just to see me getting confused.

Well anyway, Ringo may be in a good mood, but I'm still trying to keep myself calm. It's going to be fine. Nothing bad is going to happen. No I don't need to try and think of whether I saw any emergency medical supplies anywhere in the house (I didn't). I won't need them anyway. I am not going to shoot Ringo in my sleep. She trusts me, and I really don't want her to be wrong in doing so.

Ringo moves back over to give me some more room and pats the spot next to her. "Well, let's get started. This hangover isn't sleeping itself off," Don't you sound a little too eager for what is just us going to sleep? It's not like we're going to be conscious for it.

I mumble out a noise of confirmation that isn't any word in particular and move over to the spot she indicated. Ringo lies down next to me with a tiny laugh. We're a little close like this, don't you think? There's enough bed that you don't have to be right right next to me. Well, I guess it might be nice anyway. The heating in this house isn't the best (although I admit it's much better than a tent) so having another person warming the blankets is welcome.

Yeah, just need to keep thinking about positives like that. No negatives. No bullets. Just think about nice things like how soft and cute Ringo's face looks right now and how she's lying RIGHT next to me... Uhm, wow, we're really close like this aren't we? Yeah, we definitely are. I'm really not used to this. I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately. I don't know if that's good or not. Having new experiences (even ones that Command might frown on) is probably good, but freezing up and getting confused when they happen is probably bad. I should work on that. And maybe not have dumb thoughts every time I see a pretty girl.

"'Night Seiran," Ringo says, pulling her half of the blankets up over her.

But it's morning.



There's a crash, maybe like something shattering, ending with a confused cry of pain. Then silence.

I don't know what that was, but I'm surprised that was enough to wake me up. I'm exhausted. I've been exhausted for days. It's especially bad now. I didn't sleep at all the last two cycles. Too many dreams. I'm too anxious. I'm a mess. Can't focus on training. Can't see right. Still hallucinating.

These hallucinations are a disease, right? I've never had a disease before. I know I should go to the doctor, but I haven't. Diseases are an impurity. They shouldn't exist. If I have an impurity, I must have done something wrong. What if they tell me it's my fault? What if I get in trouble? What if they can't fix it? Ughhh, I can't do this anymore. Just let me sleep. No dreams this time too. That's all I want.

There's whispering a few bunks down. That's not unusual after lights out. Those rabbits are up to something a lot of the time, I don't know how they don't get in trouble. I don't know them very well. I don't know any rabbits very well actually. I keep to myself. People think I'm weird because I take the training seriously. They don't get it. I don't really get it either. I just want to be useful. There's nothing wrong with that.

The whispers are answered by... Groans? It's faint. Why groan if you're trying to be quiet? Just whisper some more. That'd make more sense.

Then somebody screams in terror.

I jerk up in bed and open my eyes t-woah. Oh this is bad. The hallucinations have never been this strong before. It's not just bullets flying around at the edge of my vision. Criss-crossing purples, blues, and reds swirling around, with projectiles going everywhere. I can't see. I wouldn't be able to see even if they turned on the lights.

Don't panic. DON'T. Calm down. Don't panic. Reality check. Just focus on what I can sense. I can feel myself breathing. That's a good start. Count my fingers. They're all there. Bring them up close. Too dark to see. I can feel them against my face though. That's good. There's a smell in the air. Something metallic smelling. I can hear people shuffling around, responding to the scream.

Somebody flicks on the lights, and it hurts my eyes. I can see other things now, but there's still so many bullets. So many patterns. It hurts to look at. Somebody else must see this too, right? I can see people getting out of their bunks to see what's going on. They don't look at the bullets though, they're all looking over at the source of the scream. Right, my vision is still hallucinating, but my hearing was right. Another person screams and the shuffling over to the sound increases in intensity. What's going on?

I move to stand up. I'm on the bottom bunk, so it should be easy. It isn't. I'm dizzy. I'm too tired and my vision is too messed up. What I can see that I know is actually there is blurry. Standing up is difficult. I need to brace myself against something. There's a wall near the head of my bed. I'll use that.

My hand finds the barracks wall, and I push against it to steady myself. It's solid, so it does the job I want of it. I manage to stand up fully, but stop when I feel an irregularity. There's a small dimple in the wall here. That wasn't there before. It's very small in diameter, but feels deep enough that I can't get my finger in. It's kind of warm too, and it feels like there's something... Metal in it...?

My vision clears up slightly as a sense of foreboding washes over me. There's a bullet in the wall here. I would have noticed it before lights out, right? Somebody shot something inside the barracks at night. Why? When? How? I look around some more.

One of the lights, hanging up near the growing congregation of people, is shattered. It makes that side of the room much darker. I can see the glass on the floor. The whole thing just exploded. Somebody shot that too. I'm sure of it. Why am I so sure of it? This isn't something that's happened before.

I watch out for glass shards, but still quickly make my way over to the group of people a few bunks down. I have to push a little bit to get past the ring of people, and I almost lose my balance. The patterns and the swirling and the bullets are still a problem. I manage to make it though, and I can see what everyone else is looking at.

That girl. We've met before, but I don't remember her name. Short blond hair. Kind of short. Has lots of friends. Always active in the cafeteria and not in any other place. She's slumped on the ground next to her bed, occasionally heaving out a strangled sob, but mostly just sitting there clutching her stomach.

And she's sitting in a pool of blood.

That's a lot of blood.

Everyone else is just staring. They're not reacting correctly. This is wrong. They have to do something. This girl is bleeding!

My vision blurs more and I start losing track of the area around me. Bullets... They're everywhere again. I'm dizzy. I need to do something else...

[ ] Run
[ ] Look away
[ ] Faint
[ ] Something else

[ ] Wake up

Actually it's only 6 days now, but who's counting?

I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not and I'm okay with that.
>> No. 27289
[X] Wake up

Nope, not in the mood for dream bullshit today, no sir.
>> No. 27290
Nah, wasn't being sarcastic. My impression from earlier updates was that the Lunarians were dicks who jumped straight to preventing her from dreaming at all, rather than any kind of attempt at helping her gain firmer control or therapy.
>> No. 27291
[x] Wake up

I have a feeling this is a trick question, but I don't have any better ideas.
>> No. 27292
[X] Wake up

I get the feeling that's Ringo in that dream.
>> No. 27293
[x] Faint

What happens if you faint in a dream??? We need to go deeper.
>> No. 27294
[X] Faint
>> No. 27295
[x] Bind the wound
-[x] Faint
>> No. 27296
[x] Something else

>> No. 27297
Need to tiebreak again, thanks.
>> No. 27298
[x] Wake up

The tie is now broken.
>> No. 27299
File 148151992386.jpg - (65.68KB, 935x825, Hard to wake up.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Wake up

This is wrong. Something is definitely wrong here. How did this happen? Why did this happen?

I can't really focus on that stuff, even if the questions are all vaguely buzzing around in my head. In fact, I can't really focus on much of anything other than the scene that I'm looking at right now. The red liquid under that girl seems to be seeping out and expanding a little faster than I think it should. That's a lot of blood. Do people really have that much blood? Why isn't anyone else doing anything to help? The other rabbits were just here, I heard some of them scream, but I've lost track of them just like most of everything else.

I want to look away. I want to look away, or run away, or just stop this entire situation, but somehow I'm just stuck. Rooted in one spot as I try to identify this girl through all the bullets.

The bullets. They're still around aren't they? Yeah, they're definitely still here, and they seem to be getting worse again. My vision is getting clouded up. They're making it hard to see, and I don't know whether that's good or bad. I don't want to see what I'm seeing right now, but I don't want to see the bullets either. What am I supposed to do?

Something. I have to do something. Even if my fight or flight reaction has swung massively toward the latter, that still means that I have to do something. That means that I need to see. I need to see something other than the bullets. Something other than this girl bleeding out in front of me.

Maybe I can just push them out of the way with my hands. But they're not really there are they? They're not real. They can't be real. Shouldn't be. If they were real then people would be getting hurt. They'd be getting shot. Getting shot and bleeding everywhere and that's way too much blood why can I still see that but not anything else why won't they just cover that up move move movemovemove!

My arm won't move.

My arm won't move!

What's happening!? I can't get out! I can't get away! I need to move and my arm isn't moving and my vision is blurry and my head hurts and I don't know where anyone went and I can't focus and I think I'm screaming now and I need to get the bullets out of here now before somebody gets shot and I can't move and-



I wake up to the sound of my own screaming and immediately start to panic. Where am I?! What's happening?! My arm! Why can't I move my... Oh.

R-right. That's what was happening... Okay. Take a deep breath. Close eyes. Focus. Everything is okay. I was sleeping off a hangover in Merlin's bed. Ringo was with me. She still is, in fact. She's actually lying on her side, with both of her arms wrapped around my left one. She's clinging to me rather tight, now that I'm calmed enough to notice it. I don't think she's doing it on purpose. From what I can hear of her breathing, she seems to still be peacefully asleep. Lucky her.

Okay, now that I'm calmed down and am in control of myself, I'm probably in a good enough state to address what just happened. Yes, I was dreaming again. Yes, I was having another nightmare that was a mix of stuff that actually happened and some subconscious nonsense thrown in. Yes, I just barely managed to wake up before the bad part.

And yes, even after waking up, my powers are active right now.

It only takes a brief moment of concentration to suppress them again, but that doesn't make the fact that they were turned on less disturbing. This could have ended really badly if things had worked out a little differently. Using my power involves physically pulling bullets through dimensional barriers. It isn't strictly necessary that I use my hammer, or even my arms to do that, but it helps to have a physical sensation associated with what I'm doing. I was probably trying to do that in my sleep. The only reason I didn't was that Ringo was holding on to me hard enough that when I tried to move my arms, I couldn't.

I let out a sigh as I let my body relax into the mattress. There's definitely a miserable feeling that I basically just broke Ringo's trust. Even if no shots were actually fired, it wasn't because of my own ability to control myself, it was just because Ringo got a little clingy in her sleep, and that happened to mess up what I was doing in the dream enough that the surprise woke me up. It was just a coincidence that happened to save the situation from becoming either me causing some random property damage to Merlin's room, or something much worse to Ringo's body.

Maybe I shouldn't be risking sleep without taking my pills anymore. The doctors back home definitely advised against it. Actually, advised is probably the wrong word. It's more like I was under very explicit orders to never ever skip taking my pill. That's not to say that I never missed a day here or there, but it's never been intentional, and nothing ever came from a single day skipped. Now that I've gone without for several days, I can see what all the time and experience with controlling my powers has gotten me. I can also get discouraged when I realize that it isn't all that much.

Ugh, this is depressing to think about. Maybe I should just get out of... Oh. Right. I can't move still, because Ringo is still holding on to me so tight. Maybe if I just wiggle out a little... No, that's not working either. Man, this isn't even her super strength. It's not like Ringo's been eating dango in her sleep. She just has a naturally tight grip or something. This is so unfair. I'm stuck like this until she gets up or lets go.

Fine. I could just wake her up, but she looks comfortable and happy. I'll just wait while I think about something else. I don't know how long Ringo and I have been asleep, but my headache is mostly gone. I don't feel like I'm at my best or anything, but the small bit of sunlight peeking out from behind the window's blinds isn't trying to murder my eyes either. So I'm feeling good enough to get back to work, which was more or less the point of this whole thing. Good job, self. Mission accomplished. You only had to almost shoot your commanding officer once! You know how much she'd love it if that happened!

Wow, I managed to make that positive thing into a negative too! I really am the best at depressing myself!

Too much negativity. Way too much negativity. Just think of something nice and positive without turning it into self-loathing. Shouldn't be that hard. Okay. I'm... Pretty comfortable right now. That's nice. Ringo's squeezing my arm, and I'm a little bit warmer than I need to be with her body heat and all the blankets combined, but neither of those are really big deals. It's not likely that I'm going to get a chance to sleep somewhere comfortable like this in the foreseeable future, so I should try to enjoy this moment for that reason at least. Ringo definitely is.

Speaking of Ringo, she's uh, kind of close, isn't she? I mean obviously she is because of the way she's holding on to me, but something about seeing her sleeping face right next to my own awake one makes me a little nervous. Maybe it's just a guilty conscience. I've seen her asleep tons of times, but I've definitely never woken up next to her like this. Sleeping next to somebody is against the rules, so obviously this is a new thing for me. Now that I'm looking at her and thinking about it, I really hope that she wakes up before anybody-

The door to the room flings open with a loud thud. "Alright Ringo you lardass! I can't take it anymore! If you're done pissing the day away then can we..." Sumi marches into the room, ranting in a way that I can only describe as 'characteristically Sumi', before she notices me and trails off what she's saying. My immediate reaction is to try to hide, but there's only so much I can do when I'm being held in place.

Why did it have to be right now that someone would come in? Ringo is still asleep and I can't quickly get her off of me! I feel myself blushing heavily as I try to force out something of an explanation. "Uhm! This is um... We were..." Argh, I'm just making it worse! Sumi's looking at me with a grin that keeps on getting bigger. I just need to stop stammering and tell the truth! Yes we were breaking the rules, okay?!

Before I can put the right words in the right order, Chiyo pokes her head into the doorway. She takes a quick glance at the situation before speaking. "Bad timing? Do we need to come back later?" She asks plainly.

"Nnnnnnmfff," Ringo makes an annoyed noise at having been disturbed, but doesn't seem to really wake up. Instead she just pulls herself closer to me and tries to bury her face into my shoulder. Ah! Ringo! Don't move like that! You're going to knock the strap for my top down!

I struggle to keep Merlin's clothes on properly for a second, and when I look up Sumi's smile has grown so wide that I can see all of her teeth. Chiyo still looks pretty neutral about it though. "Yeah, bad time. Let us know when you're ready," She says before ducking out of the doorway.

"So you guys finally decided to make it happen, huh?" Sumi asks, looking down at Ringo and I approvingly. "Figured you two would get together eventually. Well, as long as you don't make too much of a mess and don't keep the rest of us up at night, I am all for it! Congraaaatulations!" Sumi adds a wink and a thumbs up.

Okay, I don't know what Sumi is thinking, but it's definitely wrong. "What are you talking about?!" I demand loudly, kind of hoping that I'll wake up Ringo so she can help me out with this. "We were just sleeping here to get rid of our headaches! There's nothing else to it!"

"Right, sure," Sumi sounds amused as she dismisses my response. Just listen to me and stop jumping to conclusions! "Well, I'm gonna head outside and shut the door. You guys can get yourselves up, maybe squeeze in a quickie, get dressed, clean any extra fluids, then come out and we'll all go back to camp. Sound good? Great, see you in a few!" Sumi laughs as she sprints back to the door, shutting it on her way out.


I groan out loud and put my face in the palm of my free hand. It's really warm. I'm pretty sure my face is as red as my eyes right now. Why did Sumi and Chiyo immediately decide that Ringo and I were doing something inappropriate? I mean, we were breaking the rules by sleeping in the same bed, but that's all! It's not like we were cuddling or um... Kissing. That'd be... Um. Hm. Kissing Ringo would be...

Well, I should probably stop thinking about that.


A couple of minutes and one indignant puff of air into somebody's ear later, Ringo and I are both up and out of bed. I'm relieved to hear it when Ringo promises that she'll talk to the others about why we were sleeping together and clear up any misunderstandings, although I honestly wish she had just woken up earlier and stopped any from being formed in the first place. I don't think she would have left me in that kind of situation just to watch me squirm though. I'm sure she would have helped if she had been properly awake.

Anyway, Chiyo and Sumi came in here because they wanted to go back to camp. I'm not really opposed to the idea either, since it seems like Ringo and I slept most of the morning away. It's probably around noon or later now, and it seems that most of the other youkai have already left the mansion. The four of us really should get back, regroup with Yuzuki, and figure out what we're going to do from there. On the way back though, maybe I could talk to one of the others about something.

[ ] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.
[ ] I'm curious about the thing with Sumi and Yatsuhashi.
[ ] I hope Chiyo's okay now. She was getting sick earlier.
>> No. 27300
[x] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

She deserves to know. It seems that her conditions and little to do with willpower, unfortunately.
>> No. 27301
[x] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

Ringo is a good friend and also totally gaaaay. Clearly the long-term solution is for her to sleep with Seiran every night.
>> No. 27302
[X] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.
>> No. 27303
[X] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

That does seem like the sort of thing that would demand an apology.
>> No. 27304
[X] I hope Chiyo's okay now. She was getting sick earlier.
>> No. 27305
[x] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

Preferably with the others in earshot.
>> No. 27306
>Preferably with the others in earshot

Oh you!
>> No. 27307
[X] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

Looks like Seiran never went to therapy.
>> No. 27308

What did I... oh fuck me.
>> No. 27309
I'm having that thing where I want this scene to be better than it is again.

Blugh. Tomorrow. Thanks for the patience. I know most people probably don't mind a day's delay but it still bothers me a lot. Maybe I need to do something different with my schedule. Dunno.
>> No. 27310
File 148186098365.jpg - (82.58KB, 850x531, Out of earshot.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] I should apologize to Ringo for almost shooting her.

It doesn't take a very long for Ringo and I to get back up and going. Ringo just has to slip her hat back on, while I have to gather up my clothes and mallet. I'd honestly like to change back into my normal dress, but the whole thing is still just a little bit damp. That combined with the autumn weather outside means that I don't feel like I have much choice but to take up Merlin's offer to borrow her outfit. Well, at least I know that people seem to think I look good in it. I can live with a few extra compliments.

Ringo and I exit Merlin's room and are immediately greeted by an indifferent looking Chiyo and entirely too many eyebrow wiggles from Sumi. The two of them are waiting across the hall. Sumi's leaning casually up against the far wall, while Chiyo is sitting down, hugging her knees to her chest, occasionally glancing off at nothing in particular. I feel a little awkward just looking at them. I know that there's been a misunderstanding here.

"Ready to go?" Chiyo asks quickly as I come out and close Merlin's door behind me. "You guys get it all out of your systems?"

"Yup," Ringo responds happily, reaching up to stretch her arms a bit. "With that little nap, Seiran and I are well on the way to no-hangover town," This is pretty much true, thankfully. I'm still sore from having slept in a bathtub all night, but my head is in a much better state than it was when I first woke up. While I may not be functioning at one-hundred percent, I'm at least functioning at all now. "How about you?"

I catch Sumi rolling her eyes at the response for whatever reason, while Chiyo shrugs. "I've still got breakfast in me," She responds. Well, she doesn't sound or look very happy, but at least she hasn't been getting sick anymore. "I should be fine. Sumi says some of the stuff we have back at camp will help too."

"Oh," Ringo's small surprise matches my own. Although thinking about it, I suppose that if anyone between us would know about dealing with hangovers, it would be Sumi. "Well you could've saved us some time if you just told us that earlier," Ringo says before thinking about it. "Actually, I don't mind an excuse to nap so never mind."

"Eh, it's just some painkillers. It's not like they're even meant to treat hangovers. You're still gonna hurt like a sonnuvabitch if you drink like any of us did last night, it'll just help out. Anyway!" Sumi explains herself before pushing off from the far wall. She hops over to Ringo and slides her arm around her shoulders. "Ringo, buddy, don't think I didn't catch you dodging Chiyo's question."

"Huh? No I didn't."

Sumi takes a deep breath and closes her eyes before continuing on gleefully. "Okay, think about it. Did you guuuuuys," She points back and forth between me and Ringo a couple of times. "Get it aaaaaaall," She starts rotating her hips around for some reason. "Out of your systems?" She snickers a couple of times before making a couple of kissy faces at Ringo and wiggling her eyebrows again.


"Restroom," I declare shortly while I turn to walk away. I vaguely hear Sumi trying to make me stop so she can keep teasing me, but I'm not listening to what she's saying.

I heave a loud sigh as I close myself into the restroom. It looks like Wakasagihime and Kagerou (and tiny Suika) have left while Ringo and I were asleep, so it's just me here. Just me and my thoughts. Ugh.

I know it shouldn't really bother me. Sumi messing with us, or just me specifically, isn't really anything new. She's found a fun new avenue to bother me and is running with it until it stops being funny or something else comes along. She might even be projecting somewhat. Who is she to talk about what she thinks Ringo and I did together when she was the one cuddling with someone earlier? Or at least I'm pretty sure she was. I don't think I'm projecting like she is...

Whatever. The point is that Sumi's only teasing me because of a misunderstanding. Once Ringo has a chance to clear that up, Sumi will let it drop. She might apologize or she might not, but either way is fine by me. I didn't really come into the bathroom here to escape Sumi's teasing, it might have set me off, but it's more just an excuse. I really came in here for a couple of other reasons. The first is to give Ringo a chance to explain things to the others. The second is because this guilt is making me feel like garbage.

When she woke up, Ringo didn't ask a single question about what happened while we were both asleep. She didn't ask if I dreamed. She didn't ask if I almost shot her. To her, there wasn't any need to ask those questions. She really does trust me that much.

And she's wrong.

It's... Frustrating. Really frustrating actually. I want to be somebody worth trusting. I want to be somebody that can get close to other people without hurting them. I'm not those things though. Not without my pills. Not without my pills and constantly suppressing everything all the GODDAMN TIME-

Ow. Why did I do that? What did I really think I was going to accomplish by slamming my fist on the sink? It just hurt. I sigh again as I glance at myself in the mirror. At least hitting the sink is a little better than the alternative. I could have tried punching my reflection. If I had been looking at it before my stupid outburst I probably would have done that instead. That would have been much worse.

Honestly, looking in the mirror, I see a mess. A bunny girl with dark circles under her eyes and unkempt hair, like she'd gotten it wet but not washed it or put any thought into drying it. She looks exhausted and slumped over, like the weight of the dress awkwardly draped over her shoulder is much heavier than it actually is. She looks exhausted, like the only sleep she's been getting has been constantly interrupted. She looks confused, wearing somebody else's clothes and hiding in their bathroom from what is basically a few insensitive words that she knows shouldn't bother her. She looks anxious, clutching to her hammer so tightly, like it's going to even do anything when she knows the problem is her the whole time. I don't like looking at this mess.

I need to do better than this.

If not for myself, then at least for Ringo, who trusts me.

The first thing I decide to do is not sigh a third time. I won't say that I'm giving up on self pity forever, but I shouldn't bother with it right now. Instead, I turn on the sink, getting my hands wet before splashing some water onto my face. It's cold and unpleasant, but a good kind of unpleasant, if that makes sense. Like I really need to wake myself up and the shock there is just what I needed.

Somebody's hairbrush is sitting nearby, so I grab it and start trying to make myself look a little bit more presentable. I need to get better in lots of ways. This is a small start, but it's something I can do right now. Even though I'm kind of dreading what comes next, I can manage this much. I just have to keep trying.


Sumi doesn't apologize when I leave the bathroom, instead choosing to drop all the teasing while acting like nothing happened at all. That suits me just fine, so I let it go as well. I guess Ringo's talk with her went well, though for a Sumi and Ringo talk, 'going well' has it's own kind of definition. Fists have been involved on more than one occasion, but I'm pretty sure that isn't the case now. They both look fine.

The end result is that all four of us are ready and various levels of eager to head back to camp. While I don't dislike the Prismriver's mansion, finding a way to survive until next week kind of takes precedence over hanging around with the locals. That's not to say that we skip saying goodbyes to our hosts though.

Lyrica says we're welcome to come by again if we want to. Whether it's for fun or to escape some kind of trouble, as long as we don't bring that trouble with us, we'll be welcome. She also talks a bit about jam sessions and next year's concert season, which seems to interest Sumi a lot, but that's not really something that I think should be our concern. That's way too far away.

Merlin happily assures me that I can keep her clothes for as long as I need. Apparently she has more than enough clothes that she barely ever wears. She also adds that if I really want to pay her back, then I should come by and help them clean up their house a bit, so long as I don't mind her making a mess of things shortly afterwards.

Lunasa doesn't say much, apparently still miserable about her own hangover. She gives a brief goodbye, but that's about it. I don't mind all that much though. We didn't interact all that much last night or at all this morning, and it's not like she owes us anything.

All in all, I can say that we've met yet another group of very nice youkai. When are we going to be meeting the bad people that need to be purified anyway?


Leaving the mansion elicits different degrees of groaning and pain from all four of us. Ringo and I seem to have it the best, while Sumi seems at least ready to tough it out. As for Chiyo, if she keeps grimacing like that, I'm pretty sure her face might get stuck that way. I'm much less sure if she cares though, so I don't say anything to her about it.

Looking out the window from upstairs had already given me a pretty good idea of where the Prismriver's mansion is located, and once we're out and airborne, I'm pleased to see that my guesses were right. Well, I'm pleased about being right anyway. I would kind of rather have the flight be a bit longer. Giving me such a limited time puts a bit of pressure on me to get Ringo's attention quickly.

It's already been something like ten or fifteen minutes since I came out of the bathroom, and even that has been an annoyingly long time to feel guilt every time I look at Ringo. I just haven't really found a good chance to get Ringo off to the side and talk to her. We've just been busy gathering up and leaving. Now that we have an otherwise boring flight ahead of us though, this should be as good of a chance as any. I just have to actually do it. You know, the hard part.

Luckily, Ringo takes the lead when we all take off, so I can just accelerate a bit and fly next to her. Hopefully the usual difficulty in hearing people talk while flying will give us a little bit of privacy, though if Sumi wants to eavesdrop there isn't really any way to stop her. I guess this is the best chance I'm going to get. We're definitely having a meeting when we get back to camp, and I'm not sitting through one of those feeling all guilty like this.

It doesn't take all that long for Ringo to catch on that I'm intentionally flying much closer to her than normal, even when she slows down just in case I want to go in front of her. "What's up?" She questions after a moment.

Okay, here we go. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry," I start off with that, but Ringo responds before I can continue.

"Don't be," I'm both surprised by the fact that she cut me off and what she cut me off with.

"W-wait, I haven't even explained myself yet!" At least let me apologize. I'm not going to feel better otherwise!

Ringo chuckles at my reaction, glancing over at me for a moment before facing forward again to make sure we're going the right way. We're almost to the lake already. "Seiran, you already know you have no poker face, right? You wear your heart on your sleeve all the time. When I see you looking all mopey and nervous right after we wake up, it's not hard for me to assume what happened."

"Well then you shouldn't be so okay with it!" How can she be so calm that she can just laugh about this?! Maybe she's just saying she knows but her guess is actually wrong. "I almost shot you," I clarify for her.

"But you didn't," Ringo counters simply.

"Only by sheer luck," I continue. She really doesn't understand the situation, does she? She was asleep at the time after all. "If you hadn't held onto me in your sleep..."

"Then something different might have happened," Ringo finishes for me. "But that isn't what happened. Instead, you and I slept right next to each other and we're still fine."

Why is she being so stubborn about this? It's like she's not understanding the danger she was in and is instead insisting that it was okay that I almost hurt her! How could that possibly be okay?! "You can't just ignore the potential problem because it didn't happen! I was about to start freaking out in my dream, and when I woke up my powers were on! If things were just a little bit different-"

"Seiran," Ringo cuts me off again, still calm in the face of my ranting. "If you're so worried about what might or might not happen, then why did you stop taking your pills?"

"W-well..." To be honest, I've thought through my reasoning a couple of times, but I feel like actually saying any of the conclusions out loud is kind of flimsy and doesn't help my argument. It was just something that I decided to do a couple of times. I'm not sold on continuing to make similar choices, but that doesn't change the fact that I definitely made the decision in the past.

"For the record, I support the decision," Ringo continues when it becomes obvious that I'm not sure what to say. "In my mind, the Lunarian way of 'solving' the problem was a load of crap. They just slapped some pills in your hand that you have to keep taking forever and never thought about fixing any underlying issues or trauma before booting you back into basic training. It's bullshit!"

I'm a little surprised at how heated Ringo starts to sound by the end there. It's really unusual to see her getting angry. "It's still better than shooting people randomly," I point out, a little timidly.

"Which you didn't do earlier," Ringo reminds me again. "That means that you can avoid it, we just have to figure out how to do that. We don't have to bet everything on Lunarian science being as perfect as they like to pretend it is. We don't have to sit here praying that your condition never gets worse, or that the medicine never stops working, or that you never run out on the wrong night, or whatever. We can work on this. Together."

I'm really not sure what to say to that. It almost feels out of character for Ringo to get excited like this, but she's not saying anything unbelievable for her to have at least thought of before. I've had worries about those things too. "You're um... You're acting weird..." Ringo seems to catch my nervousness and deflates slightly.

Ringo pauses for a moment, probably thinking about what to say next instead of continuing to rant. "We have issues," She admits, much more calmly now. "All five of us do, and I'm really hoping that we'll be able to address some of them down here. Think of how many new people and situations we've run into since we lost stealth. Everybody is finding out new things about themselves and all five of us are changing because of that. I really think it's for the better too," I can barely hear Ringo's sigh over the sounds of us flying, but I can still see her do it. "Honestly, six more days just doesn't feel like enough."

I think about just how much has happened so far. It feels like a lot, even if it's been less than a week since Reisen first came to camp. Saying that we've been changing is... Probably accurate. I know that some of the others have already made comments about me being more proactive and outgoing. Even if I still find it a little bit unpleasant, it should be a net benefit that I get better at talking to people. "So... What should I do?"

"It's up to you really. I'm not going to force you into anything," Ringo assures me. "I've said it before, but Command isn't watching. We should be doing what we want. I'm willing to help you with whatever you want to do, so don't give up on any of your options just because you feel like it's a little bit risky," She shows me a wide smile. "I still trust you, you know?"

I think about that as we go past the lake and above the forest. Ringo is being almost irrationally faithful in me. Where did that come from? She doesn't seem to even be accepting the idea that she might get hurt in the process of helping me. That kind of helps my guilt and kind of doesn't. In the short term, I can at least say that I've been honest with her about what happened and she's forgiven me. In the long term, I have a feeling this is going to make me inevitably screwing everything up feel even worse. At least for now, I can accept that Ringo's just being stubborn and a little dumb in her own Ringo way. I guess I'll have to live with that. At least until something bad happens.


In just a little bit more time, the four of us reach at camp. It looks a little bit cleaner than how we had left it yesterday, but I can already assume why that is. Yuzuki had a whole morning to herself here, so even if some of it was spent finding and talking to Hina, she would have had a lot of down time to do whatever she wanted. There isn't too much left out for her to clean up after we moved all of our equipment into the bunker, but that isn't going to stop Yuzuki from being anal about everything she can.

Speaking of which, here she is now.

Yuzuki hurries over to the rest of us, greeting us just as we're touching down. "Welcome back," She says calmly. "I've been here getting things done, so I hope I didn't "

"Oh don't be so passive aggressive about it," Sumi laughs as she claps Yuzuki on the shoulder. "It was a party! We all had fun, and now we're back and ready to get back to work. End of story, no harm done."

Yuzuki gives a skeptical look to the rest of us. "Are you sure?" She asks. "It looks like some harm was done to Chiyo."

"Oh yeah," Sumi remembers as we all look back at Chiyo. The grimace she had from before we took off has only gotten more severe, and she doesn't look so steady on her feet. It's not a pleasant sight. "Hey, come on Chi, let's go to my tent. I'll fix you right up!" Sumi grabs Chiyo's wrist and pulls her along, moving toward the tents.

"We're gonna have a meeting when you get done, so come right back afterward," Ringo calls to the two of them, getting back a thumbs up from Sumi and a groan from Chiyo. With those two gone, Ringo turns back to Yuzuki. "Did we miss anything?"

Yuzuki sighs lightly and closes her eyes. "Yes, actually," She admits, sounding not at all thrilled. I can feel bad news coming already. "She's not nearby right now, but Aya has been flying around camp periodically."

"Ugh," I didn't expect the Aya issue to just go away, but having it come back up definitely doesn't feel good. "What for?"

"Probably just simple info gathering," Ringo guesses. "I kinda had a feeling this would happen. If anything, I'm surprised it took her so long to get started. Maybe she was asking around about us yesterday or something."

Yuzuki nods to Ringo, then continues. "I haven't done anything to tip her off that I've noticed her, but so far all she's been doing is watching and writing down what she observes. I believe she's trying to watch if we have any kind of schedule, as well as what directions we're coming and going from."

"So it's just passive observance for now," Ringo concludes. "We'll want to be careful about what we do and say out in the open, but if we don't do anything fishy for long enough she'll probably give up."

"I think you're understating the problem," Yuzuki argues. "This doesn't just effect us here at camp. She could follow us if we went anywhere, and with how careful she was earlier, I doubt that anyone other than me or maybe Sumi would notice her. That limits how much we can split up."

"Not to mention that she'll see who's coming to camp, which Reisen and Tewi might want to avoid," I point out as well.

"Well, I guess you guys have a point, but I'm not sure how to deal with it," Ringo admits unhappily. "We'd need some way to get her off our backs. I guess we could try just catching her spying and see if she lets up."

"Which could also backfire by getting her even more interested in how we keep noticing her," Yuzuki reasons out. "Or she might just danmaku us."

"Which could work out in our favor if we were stronger or she turned out to be weak, but that doesn't seem likely. That's why I said we don't have a good way to deal with it," Ringo continues. She seems to have thought all this through faster than I have. "I guess we could ask somebody else to distract her or fight her off, but that kind of implicates them as well, and opens us up for some awkward questions..." Ringo trails off in thought for a moment before glancing over to me, obviously looking for my opinion.

[ ] Try not to act suspicious when she's around, but don't do anything about Aya.
[ ] Try catching her in the act. If she can't spy discreetly she might have to give up.
[ ] Ask someone for help (Who?)
[ ] Something else (What?)

The story of the update that just kept growing.
>> No. 27311
First option doesn't solve the problem.

The second option will only make her more curious, unless we can confess that we are, or want to be, refugees, but they haven't decided on that yet
The third option is meaningless unless we get someone with more power. Kanako is already involved we made her look like she's on a conspiracy to take over the mountain and WE HAVEN'T EVEN TOLD HER ABOUT THIS YET AND WE CAN'T DO IT UNDER SURVILLANCE.
But I guess that's all we have.

[x] Something else
-[x] Group meeting to decide what to talk with Kanako
--[x] How to explain what Aya saw? Come clean? Make a lie (better than 'I collect guns' please)
--[x] What do we ask her help with? Going home? Staying here? Getting Aya off our backs?
--[x] How do we pay back? More favors? Lunarian technology? Faith? Promises that we won't follow through?

[x] Ask for help
-[x] (Who) Kanako
-[x] (How) By asking for a meeting to report back with our findings when the Tengu aren't watching (we need the Fluffy-eared Aya detector Mark I)

It's time for the bunnies to decide what they really really want.
>> No. 27312
[X] Try not to act suspicious when she's around, but don't do anything about Aya.

Would getting Kanako involved be a good idea? I don't think she would connect any dots that would be too bad, but that might just end up owing more favors.
>> No. 27313
A Tengu found a group of bunnies with guns, immediately after Kanako forced the elders to release another bunny belonging to the same group.

Only a five year old wouldn't connect the dots.
>> No. 27314

Of course, but I meant more along the lines that there wouldn't be anything that would show a relation between the bunnies and the moon or the rover.

At least that I can think of.
>> No. 27315
Aya might be able to figure something out there if she really reads between the lines. Our cover story is that we're previously unknown rabbits forced out of hiding by the rover. If she's willing to make some wild assumptions and follow through on investigating them, she might actually piece it together.

And we really don't have any good options here. I have to agree with basically everything >>27311 said: being passive will do nothing, confronting her will only make her more curious, and Kanako is the only one we can ask for help, which also makes her (and us) highly suspicious. And I think because we buried most of our guns, we can't even try to sneak attack and capture Aya.

So as far as I can figure, our only practical option is:

[x] Bunny Brainstorm Session: How to Ask the Gods for Help

which is basically just >>27311's vote all crammed into a single sentence.
>> No. 27316
>>27312 Here
Changing my vote to [x] Bunny Brainstorm Session: How to Ask the Gods for Help

After thinking about it, this seems like a much better option. Still, I wonder if Kanako would find this suspicious, or if they could just pass it off as Aya being annoying and persistent.

(Should I delete my old vote post?)
>> No. 27317
[x] Bunny Brainstorm Session: How to Ask the Gods for Help

Well, I can't think of any better option, so I'll go with the bandwagon.
>> No. 27318
File 148212451484.jpg - (2.53MB, 1200x1694, Sitting around and talking.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Bunny Brainstorm Session

Even with Ringo looking at me, maybe not expectantly but at least hopefully, I'm not going to just pull a perfect solution out of nowhere. Between Ringo, Yuzuki, and a little bit of myself, we've already done a pretty good job of thinking why every option is full of caveats. Well, we could probably make any of them work with enough effort, but that doesn't mean any of them are actually good. In fact they all kinda suck in my opinion.

Still, Ringo's expecting something from me at least. "I don't think we can take this decision in isolation," This isn't me avoiding the unasked question, I'm just trying to make sure we're thinking things through first. "No matter what we decide to do about this issue, it'll change how we act going forward. Since we were already going to have a meeting about what to do next, shouldn't we wait until then to make sure everything fits together?"

"True," Ringo admits, turning her head toward Sumi's tent even though she won't be able to see anyone. "This affects the other two as well, so we might as well get their opinions on it. Along with their opinions on everything else going on too."


"Goddamn birds," Is Sumi's eloquently stated opinion once she's been brought up to speed on the situation.

All five of us have gathered around the center table for our meeting as usual. Initially, I was a little concerned about how out in the open this is, but Yuzuki assured me that Aya isn't anywhere close to us at the moment. Even if she could somehow still see us from outside of Yuzuki's range, Aya would still be too far away to hear our discussion. Sound just wouldn't carry that far. We're safe to talk openly for now, thankfully. Well, not really thankfully in Sumi's case though.

"Cacaw! Look at me, I think I'm all fancy because I can fly around like any other fucking youkai!" Sumi limply flaps her arms around at her sides ass he rants. "Better not get too close to my dumb village or I'll lock you the fuck up inside of it! Because that's not defeating the purpose or anything!"

"Sumi, calm down," Ringo advises as sternly as she can while stuffing her face with a couple more dango. To be fair, she didn't eat anything for breakfast, unlike the rest of us. Not that she wouldn't be eating now even if she had eaten earlier, but whatever.

"Nah," Sumi decides immediately.

"Then at least shut up," Ringo counters back. "We're going to deal with it, but we're not going to get anything done like this."

"Aya probably didn't have anything to do with you going to jail anyway," Chiyo points out. She's looking a little less sick already, but is still slightly slumped over the table and looks pretty tired. "No need to get racist about it."

"Bah," Sumi sits back down at the table and leans back dramatically in her chair. "Fine, so what are we doing about it?"

"That's partially what the meeting is for," Yuzuki says calmly. She places a large sheet of paper in front of her and takes out a pen. Noticing a couple people looking at her curiously, she explains herself. "We have a lot of things to discuss, so I think that somebody should be keeping notes."

"Hm," Chiyo regards the paper somewhat skeptically. "You're gonna destroy the notes after the meeting though, right?"

"Yes, it's just for organization purposes right now," Yuzuki assures her before leaning down and bringing her pen to the paper. She writes the name 'Aya' in disturbingly neat handwriting on the top left corner of the paper. "The Aya problem is the most immediate issue that we're facing. She's actively attempting to investigate us, so she can be considered an actual threat to us right now, unlike most things which are only possible future threats."

Ringo finishes the dango she was eating and leans forward. She starts tapping the leftover skewer on the table, though she's too far away to actually point at anything on the paper. "We're also in the business of doing recon, so it's kind of scummy for us to get mad about her looking for info. She's just doing her job. Still in our best interest that she turns up with nothing though," She decides. "Yuzuki, Seiran, and I had a short talk already about what we could consider doing, but it didn't go anywhere. If we ignore Aya, that's giving her free reign and doesn't solve the problem. If we confront or at least catch her that'll probably just make her more curious. If we try to get help that makes us and them look suspicious," Yuzuki paraphrases these points on her paper while Ringo speaks them.

"Plus, we don't have a lot of people that we could ask for help," Sumi adds, earning a shake of Ringo's head.

"It's not even that, actually," Ringo disagrees. "There are lots of people that we've met so far, and I don't think we made a bad impression on very many of them. Now whether they'd be willing and able to make a difference is the real question."

I think for a moment about all the people that we've talked with, but figure I should probably say it out loud as well. "Daiyousei, Cirno, Luna, Hina, Kasen, Minoriko, Sanae, Kanako," I notice that Yuzuki has flipped her paper over and is copying the names as I say them. "Yamame, Kagerou, Mokou, Eirin, Tewi, Reisen, Wakasagihime, and the rest of the Grassroots Youkai Network."

"We can cross a few of those out right away," Yuzuki says once she's finished up with all the names. Well, mostly. Since I didn't list out every single member of the Grassroots Youkai Network, Yuzuki didn't put it on the paper, but this will do for now. "I wouldn't rely on a fairy for anything, and Kasen was already suspicious of us as it was," She crosses off the first three names, skips over Hina, then crosses out Kasen as well. "Mokou didn't want much to do with us, and Eirin should be out for obvious reasons," She continues.

"Which also makes it difficult for Reisen or Tewi to help us," I realize. We still owe Tewi a favor, and I doubt that either her or Reisen would like very much to be reported as helping us when we already know that Eirin does get the news delivered to Eientei.

"Although that's not to say that it's impossible for them if we had a plan and could convince them it was a good idea," Ringo reasons. That's a bit optimistic but I guess it's technically possible.

"I'll leave those two there for now then," Yuzuki decides, setting her pen down and looking over the remaining names. "Although I don't think having them here adds much in the way of options."

The rest of us also look over the list. This doesn't look that good honestly. We would need someone here who was willing and able to help. Willing means that they'd have to either owe us something (which nobody here does), or that we need something to give them in exchange (and we're still poor). Able means that they'd either need to be able to have some influence over Aya (which I doubt many people do), or they'd need to be able to fight her off (and I don't know how powerful she is).

After a minute of consideration, Chiyo finally breaks the silence. "Kanako again, right?"

"Unless you guys talked to anybody during your party that would help..." Yuzuki trails off, sounding only a little hopeful. She glances over at Ringo.

"Pretty sure we just made some more casual acquaintances there. Probably," Ringo answers. "Anyway, it's not a bad idea to talk about Kanako regardless. We do need to visit her to report on yesterday, so if she can help us, we can get all this squared away at once."

Yuzuki sighs, flipping her paper back over to the front page. She moves to the right side of the page and writes down Kanako's name again. "Alright, let's talk about what we're going to do when we visit Kanako," She says primly, not sounding very happy about the subject.

"Hm, bare minimum, we tell her who's in the Network and that's it. That's all we technically owe her," Ringo starts thoughtfully. I'm pretty sure she's making this up as she goes along, but it's still kind of impressive to me to hear her do all the reasoning on the fly. "That's a little risky though. Aya knows that something shady is going on with us, and I given that she's a tengu as well, she's not going to miss that Kanako did us a favor by getting Sumi out of their prison. Honestly I'd be shocked if she didn't already know. If we don't say anything and she hears about it later-"

"Then we can expect an angry goddess and/or shrine maiden in camp at some point," Chiyo concludes for her.

"Most likely, yeah," Ringo agress. "Still technically an option though. If we wanted to find somebody to shelter us from Kanako, we could get away from Aya at the same time. Just an question of how well you think we can keep ourselves hidden."

I'm not too sure about that idea. "That sounds a bit complicated to pull off," Maybe Yamame would help us stay underground? I would think that we would be found eventually in most other places.

"Yeah, it's just brainstorming anyway. Might as well keep our options open when we're just talking," Ringo shrugs. "So anyway, let's say that we don't do the bare minimum and instead we talk it out with our friendly neighborhood mountain goddess. What do we say?"

Yuzuki finishes writing down 'Say nothing -> Go into hiding' underneath Kanako's name. "If we're keeping our story straight, then that means we'd have to tell her the same thing we told Aya. Seiran has a gun collection, and Aya happened to find out about it."

"That could work though, right?" Sumi asks. "Isn't mountain boss into tech? We got plenty of samples we could give her if she wanted, so that might be a lie she likes to hear."

"Until she asks where the guns came from," Yuzuki points, rolling her eyes out as if it were an obviously bad idea.

"Outside world stuff shows up in Gensokyo all the time, right? We can just play dumb about the specifics," Sumi brushes off the problem, but I kind of agree more with Yuzuki.

"But we don't have outside world guns. We have Lunarian military guns," I argue.

"Without training, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Our guns are really out of date. It wouldn't be hard to believe that they were modernish outsider weapons." Well, with Chiyo agreeing with Sumi, it looks like split on this idea.

"So keeping our cover story is technically an option then," Ringo concludes, declining to take a side and instead gesturing toward Yuzuki to write that bit down. "Unless we wanted to think of something better to say. No offense, Seiran," She adds.

"It's fine," I suppress a sigh. I'm not the most proud of the story that I gave in the heat of the moment. Looking back at it though, I still can't think of a better way that I could have talked my way out of that situation. "It might be difficult to switch stories though. If we come up with something believable now, we'd need a reason why we gave Aya a different story earlier."

"Noted," Yuzuki says, adding another option to the list. "So I guess that gives us a few options about what we're actually going to say, but-"

"You're forgetting one," Sumi cuts her off. "We could also tell the truth."

There's a pause as everyone digests what Sumi is actually suggesting. "Err," I feel myself saying without thinking about it.

"Well we have to tell somebody at some point, right!?" Sumi demands, slamming her fist on the table in annoyance at our shocked reaction. "You think there's gonna be somebody out there who's smart enough to get us back to the Moon, but also retarded enough to not connect the dots on why a bunch of rabbits would want to go? Not fuckin' likely."

There's another pause, this one a little bit less shocked and a little bit more thoughtful. I... Hadn't really thought about that actually. It does seem like it'll be hard to get ourselves back to the Moon without having to tell somebody about who we really are. "Could Kanako even get us back home?" I ask.

"Fuck if I know," Sumi slumps back in her seat, calming down quickly. "But she ain't gonna offer if we don't say anything."

"Well, that kind of brings up what I was going to talk about next actually," Yuzuki says hesitantly before writing a new header under the Kanako section of her paper. 'What are we asking for?' it reads once she's done. "If we're going to be striking another deal with Kanako, which I'm not saying I condone but that's where the discussion is, then we need to know what we want her to do. Dealing with Aya is what brought the discussion about, but it's true that we could ask for help with more than just that."

"We don't need much else from her," Chiyo notes. "Either it's just the Aya thing, or we come clean with her and hope she's got a way back to the Moon."

"Or that she can shelter us so we can hide when Eirin comes for us," Ringo adds. "That's still an option."

Ringo seems to be the only one that interested in that option, but I guess she has a point. "Would Kanako stand against Eirin though?" I think out loud. "We don't know the relationship there," Or if there even is a relationship. I'm just assuming that powerful people in Gensokyo all talk at least a little bit, but I could be wrong.

"I guess it depends on what we're doing in exchange," Ringo shrugs. You're just glossing over things again. "Which we don't know until we meet with her. We're the ones asking her for help, she's going to try and get some advantage out of it."

"Then we may as well skip that point for now and talk about the other important point that Ringo brought up," Yuzuki continues. "How are we getting back to the Moon?" She states as she writes the same words much further down on the page. "There's no guarantee that Kanako can do anything, so we should discuss alternatives even if we do decide to come clean."

"We can choose to do nothing, and just find a place to hide until everything blows over. Reisen won't like it, and if we screw it up we're dead, but it's still an option," Ringo repeats for us. Yuzuki writes it down, but nobody else has much to say about it.

"Seiran also found that lead yesterday with that Elly person," Yuzuki says, adding another point to the list. "If we can help her out, then her employer would probably be able to get us into the Dream World. That one seems like a pretty solid lead, we just have to actually figure out how to help Elly and her friend."

There's a bit more quiet consideration, but nobody else seems to have anything to add. "Other than that and asking Kanako, that's all the leads we've got," Ringo summarizes.

"Hey, how about another crazy idea though?" Sumi says, actually sounding a bit unsure of herself. "What if we just turned ourselves in?"

Nobody seems to react to that, we instead look at Sumi, hoping that she'll go on. When it seems like she's not going to, I finally decide to break the silence. "Who are we turning ourselves in to?"

"The shrine maiden," Sumi says with a shrug. "Her name's Reimu right? Yeah, we go to her."

I'm not all that sure about that one. Everything that I've heard about Reimu makes her come across as rather terrifying. Voluntarily going to her and admitting to anything sounds like a very bad idea. "Yeah, that's definitely a crazy idea," I agree nervously.

"I can kinda get what she's thinking though," Ringo says suddenly. "We go to the number one authority figure and tell her what's going on, then she has to deal with it. We're not supposed to be down here, so she has to send us back up, right?"

Chiyo gives a hollow laugh. "Or she'll just exterminate us."

"Don't think so. Worst we'll get is danmaku, and that isn't thaaaaat bad," Sumi shrugs again.

Well, I can't confirm what Reimu would do actually. I've definitely never met her, and I don't know all the rules to when she uses danmaku vs something more damaging either. There are still other problems though. "Then you're opening up a potential conflict between Gensokyo's guardian and the Moon. Command won't like that at all."

"Fuck Command," Sumi answers back immediately. That's a sentiment I've heard tons of times from her before, but this time it seems a bit more bitter and a bit less light hearted. "Besides, we were just talking about telling Kanako. What's the difference? People on Earth are going to have to find out if we're trying to get help."

"Write it down as a last resort," Ringo suggests when it seems like Yuzuki is still a little hesitant. "No reason to leave it off when it is an option. Anybody have anything else?"

The rest of us fall into silence as we think about Ringo's question. I glance down at what Yuzuki's written down. It looks like we already have a lot of different options for a lot of different issues. As for what sounds the best to me...

For Aya
[ ] Try not to act suspicious
[ ] Confront her
[ ] Ask Kanako for help
[ ] Ask somebody else for help (who?)

When meeting Kanako
[ ] Just give a report and nothing else
[ ] Tell the same cover story as with Aya
[ ] Give a new cover story (What?)
[ ] Tell her the full truth

Ask Kanako to
[ ] Do nothing
[ ] Just help dealing with Aya
[ ] Provide shelter
[ ] Help get us to the Moon

About getting back to the Moon
[ ] Focus on the Elly lead
[ ] Plan on asking Kanako
[ ] Find somewhere to hide
[ ] Turn ourselves in to Reimu

So that last vote was more or less me trying to break up an already really long update while also trying to make this update have fewer choices at the end of it. That didn't work out so well. My bad for only giving bad choices, though all of them are still here now so maybe I didn't learn anything at all.

There's a lot to consider here, and this vote is at least a little important, so write-ins to make sure your opinion is expressed properly might be a little better than just voting with the choices presented. Feel free to discuss whatever for a while, since there's probably things here that the rabbits haven't considered or brought up yet.

Also I'm taking a week break for Christmas. The next update will be after that, probably on the 28th.
>> No. 27319
[x] >>27083

I came up with this plan back then and I stand by it now. Eirin considered getting Sanae and Kanako involved, so that's a good enough reason to believe they can help us get back to the Moon for me.

If we join forces with Kanako, we don't have to worry about Aya either. We don't have to worry about Aya digging up all our secrets if we dig them up ourselves first. As long as we tell the whole truth to Kanako, all of Aya's snooping around will do is confirm our story for us, making Kanako trust us more.
>> No. 27320
Not sure what to vote yet, especially if someone comes up with a proper plan, but I'm definitely leaning towards

[ ] Tell her the full truth
[ ] Provide shelter (Hiding the rabbits in the underground maybe? She has an in with Satori I believe)

[ ] Find somewhere to hide

Because I've been hoping to find a way to get the rabbits to abandon the moon for most of the quest now.
>> No. 27321
Screw it, why not.

[x] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.

If we defect, Eirin has no reason to silence us, because we'll have every reason to stay off the loonies' radar already. It's better than the moon, and we've already made a good impression on the neighbours (or most of them anyway), so why not?
>> No. 27322
For Aya
[x] Try not to act suspicious

As long as Kanako is informed, it is fine.

When meeting Kanako
[x] Tell her the truth
We confide our big secret with her. And, in return:

Ask Kanako:
[x] Help get us to the Moon
Either by her getting us there or by...

About getting back to the Moon
[x] Focus on the Elly lead

Helping us with Elly.
>> No. 27323
[X] Try not to act suspicious
[X] Tell her the full truth
[X] Provide shelter
[X] Plan on asking Kanako

This is a hard decision.
>> No. 27324
[X] Try not to act suspicious
[X] Tell her the full truth
[X] Provide shelter
[X] Plan on asking Kanako
[x] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.

Hrm. I think this'll be my vote barring a good write in.
>> No. 27325
Hey, thought I would poke at a few things here even though I'm on break. (New Shantae game is pretty good if you like that kind of thing)

>[ ] Provide shelter

One thing about this choice; The original plan that Ringo's bringing back up here is to just wait things out in a (hopefully) safe-from-moonbrain place and figure out how to get back once communication is reestablished with the Moon. Reisen is already planning to take care of the incident herself if the rabbits don't come up with anything, so conceivably whatever method she uses to get back from the Dream World afterward will be open to use to get back to the Moon. Even if it isn't, Command would (probably) do something about their soldiers being stuck.

Going with this does mean leaving Reisen to handle everything on her own again, but it's not exactly like Seiran owes her anything.

That's all fine if that's the plan that you want to go with, but it can be treated as independent of going back to the Moon vs staying in Gensokyo after the incident. Speaking of which...

>[ ] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.

For some of the rabbits present (Seiran included), this is still a bit of a hard sell. The idea of abandoning almost everything that they've ever known is kind of a tall order. Regardless of their opinions of their experiences back on the Moon, we're still talking about them throwing away their entire lives up to this point. Now given enough time to adjust, enjoy what Gensokyo has to offer, and find new things that they care about, some of them may warm to the idea.

At the moment though, it's a perfectly fine write-in, it's just that Seiran won't be the one to bring it up. (no bonus points for guessing who will)

So, I dunno if it's bad form to comment on votes like this but there you go. Please continue to register your opinions as desired.
>> No. 27326
Oh it's perfectly fine to bring up stuff that clarifies what people are actually voting for, I might just go and change my vote up thanks to it in fact.
>> No. 27327
Here. After the clarifications and time to think about it, I'm changing my vote to

[X] Try not to act suspicious
[X] Tell her the full truth
[x] Help get us to the Moon
[X] Focus on the Elly lead
[x] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.

as per >>27322's vote with the write in as well.
>> No. 27328
Hey, I'm back from my break now and am going to start writing again after work tomorrow. We'll see how well that actually goes.

So with the current votes it looks like the plan is to not do anything about Aya right now. Hopefully Kanako will be able to do something about it when she hears the full truth about everything that's going on. Then the votes are kind of split up and inconsistent. It's currently looking like we want to at least try to figure out a way to the Moon, but whether that's through Kanako or Elly isn't decided.

This all works more or less, and you don't technically have to make a call on a plan until after you at least talking to Kanako, so I can work with this vote.

Although if anyone was out there waiting for a write-in or something before voting, this is the last call to make your opinion known.
>> No. 27329
[X] Try not to act suspicious
[X] Tell her the full truth
[X] Provide shelter
[X] Plan on asking Kanako
[x] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.
>> No. 27330
File 148298943335.jpg - (144.94KB, 1440x1000, Conflicting Rabbits.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Try not to act suspicious
[X] Tell her the full truth
[X] Some other stuff
[X] Bring up the possibility of not going back to the moon.

I pause and take a bit of time to consider. Quite a large bit of time actually. So much that I actually start feeling a little worried that I'm causing an awkward pause in the conversation. When I look up though, everyone else looks to be lost in thought too. It's not just me, and the quietness isn't just my fault. This is an important thing to think about, so it's probably better that nobody is trying to make a snap decision.

It makes it a little easier when, after another minute of quiet consideration, Ringo gives up on looking directly at me. Instead she goes back to staring at Yuzuki's option list like the rest of us. Having everything all written down like this does actually help. Maybe we should be keeping better notes at meetings in the future. That's something to think about later though.

There's another couple minutes of silence. During that time, the only sound that happens is my occasional fidgeting in my chair. Ugh, I shouldn't be this uncomfortable but there's all this pressure right now and aaaaaaaaaa...

"Kanako again, right?" Chiyo finally repeats herself. There's a rush of relief as everyone exhales all their built up tension. It looks like it wasn't just me that was struck with bad thoughts due to the mood.

"Yes, it's Kanako again," I admit. My thoughts had been gravitating toward that conclusion too actually. I'm not just going along with whatever somebody else said first. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to be the one making the call. Even if Ringo was prompting me, that doesn't mean that it has to be me, right? Everybody else is entitled to their opinions too.

"It makes some sense, don't it?" Sumi agrees as well, leaning back and relaxing in her chair. "We've got a few different things to worry about, and goddess lady could have an answer to some or all of them if we talk to her,"

"Or none of them," Yuzuki counters, still sitting rigidly in her chair and looking much less happy about the suggested course of action than the rest of us. "We would be making ourselves vulnerable on a gamble with somebody that we can't predict. That doesn't sit well with me."

Ringo leans forward to tap a few spots on Yuzuki's list. I don't think there's anything in particular that she's trying to indicate, she's just keeping her hands busy. "The thing is, all our options are literally on the table," She says, sounding casual and lightly amused in the face of Yuzuki's obvious displeasure. "If you know of something better, you should've added it to the list in the first place. We could've discussed it earlier and then thought it over during that thinking time thing we just had."

Yuzuki's face stiffens slightly. "I don't have anything that isn't already there," She admits tersely. "But what about Seiran's Elly lead? Why are we just throwing that away? We know for sure that we could get a connection to the dream world if we follow that through. We don't have any way of knowing if Kanako can do anything for us at all."

"It's not like the option goes away if we talk to Kanako first," Chiyo points out.

Even as the person who found the Elly thing, I still feel like Yuzuki's grasping at the idea for personal reasons rather than because it's a good plan. It could end up working fine, but we don't know that yet. "Right, we should be able to figure out what we're going to do based off of how Kanako reacts to us. More information is almost always a good thing to have," I try to sound reasonable, since I feel there's more Chiyo could have said to reason with Yuzuki.

"Yes, but think about the position we'll be at by that point. By then, we've completely exposed ourselves to someone that schemes so much that even Eirin didn't want to risk letting her get involved in the situation," Yuzuki continues patiently. "Kanako won't just let us tell her everything and walk away afterward. At that point we either follow her orders or have to deal with a new enemy. And not one that we can just avoid either."

Sumi sighs in annoyance, making sure it's as loud as possible on purpose. "Well fine, if we're not gonna get involved with the only person who has some connection to the fuckers behind my four day long happy-fun-time getaway, the what the fuck are we gonna do to deal with our new voyeur?"

"We have two soldiers here that should be able to keep track of when Aya is watching us," Yuzuki reminds Sumi. Er, I definitely caught the veiled jab in there. Was that really necessary Yuzuki? "Most of us are able to avoid acting out stupidly for another few days, and then we'll slip into the dream world and it won't matter what Aya does anymore."

"Oh okay, we'll just sit here with our dicks in our hands and hope it all works out later then? That ain't a real plan you smug twat!" Oh no oh no, don't stand up Sumi. Why are you guys fighting? Stop.

Yuzuki ignores Sumi's much more direct insult and stays still in her seat. "No, we will be working with Elly and Kurumi to solve their-"

"What, you think scythe lady has any good references on her resume? Cause otherwise I don't know whose ass you're pulling a job for her out of!" I'm squirming in my seat trying to move my chair out of the line of fire as Sumi leans over the table to fight with Yuzuki. "And not only that, we don't know what her old boss is like either. You're still rolling the dice with some random power-bitch's reaction to an alien invasion!"

"Guys," Oh now Ringo's out of her seat too. "Calm. Down," She orders with a surprisingly stern voice. It's pretty rare to hear her try to actually take command, so it does give Sumi and Yuzuki some pause as they remember that the rest of us are here.

"I am calm," Yuzuki finally replies in a completely even tone. She only needed a moment to compose herself, and I'm the only one that can see her wringing her hands so tightly in her lap, so it probably sounds genuine to everyone else.

"Bullshit," Okay, I guess not. Sumi flops back down in her chair and nods her head toward Ringo to keep going. Oh good, I guess she actually is letting it drop. I was pretty worried for a moment there. I don't think I'm the only one either. It looks like Chiyo's doing her best to act like she's not paying attention to what's been happening, instead staring off toward the equipment tent with an uncomfortable look on her face.

"Anyway!" Ringo continues, also sitting back down. "We don't need to go back and forth speculating how everything could go wrong. Yuzuki, I hate to say it, but it looks like you're outvoted here, so-"

"How convenient for you that that happened without you having to vote. Once again," Yuzuki interrupts. "You won't have to pretend that you haven't given up."

There's a tense moment of silence after Yuzuki finishes speaking. I don't know what she's talking about, but Ringo suddenly looks both surprised and a little guilty that Yuzuki brought whatever it is up. Why can't I just be happy that the argument is over? Now I'm worried about whatever Ringo's keeping from me. "Ringo, what's she talking about?"


"Oh, did you not talk to Seiran about it?" Yuzuki sounds genuinely surprised.

"We... Had a talk that kinda sorta got close to getting around to it," Ringo explains in the absolute vaguest way possible. Explains isn't even the right verb for that actually. "Didn't look like she was gonna react well, so I thought maybe I would wait until she's in a better state and less stressed out to ask her."

Yuzuki nods quickly, taking on a neutral, somewhat unimpressed expression. "But you didn't reserve that same courtesy for the rest of us," She notes.

"Ringo, what's going on?" I ask again.

"It's not like a huge deal or anything, don't worry," She assures me, again not answering the question. "I've just been kinda sounding out an idea with the others over the last couple of days. It's kind of a tough question sooo..." Okay, now she's hopefully getting around to it. "Well, it's an option that I didn't bring up here at this meeting anyway, since it's not exactly tied to any of these goals. We could do it either way, as long as you guys wanted to."

"Ringo, what's going on?" One more time. Why isn't Sumi on your case about being indirect? Oh, she's not paying attention. She probably has us all tuned out with her powers right now. Great. Good meeting.

"Ringo asked the rest of us if we would be interested in deserting with her," Chiyo finally joins back into the conversation by answering for Ringo.

Okay, that's finally a straight answer, but still. "What?" I need more information.

"Technically correct, but I think you're kind of putting a negative spin on it there," Ringo admits sheepishly. "I just brought up the idea of maybe just, you know. Not going back after we've got everything figured out down here," I'm trying to think of how to respond to that when she hurries on. "Well think about it. Everybody down here that we've met has been pretty nice, and I think we could pull it off if we gave it a shot."

"Wouldn't that mean abandoning the Moon completely?" There's more to the issue than just what I think, right? "The capital is still trapped in the dream world right now!"

"Reisen's gonna take care of that even if we don't do anything," Ringo reminds me. Right, and I don't really want to leave it all to her. She was already stressed out enough. "It's a separate issue, which is why I didn't bring it up at this meeting. I was just seeing what people thought about it beforehand. I'm not gonna stay down here if all my girls want to go back."

I look over at the other rabbits. Yuzuki and Chiyo are both looking rather unimpressed with Ringo, while Sumi still doesn't seem to be paying attention. "And what did you guys say?"

"Sumi is all for it," Ringo answers. I guess it's fair for her to do so, considering that Sumi has opted out of the conversation. "Doing it would mean that she's not under my command anymore, and would be free to do whatever she wants."

"Yeah that sounds like something that she would jump at," I admit. I know that Sumi is definitely not a fan of our bosses either, so she doesn't have much tying her down. "What about you Chi?"

Chiyo furrows her brow with a complicated look on her face. "Still thinking about it," She decides after a bit of thought. Well, I'm not sure what I expected. Chiyo isn't prone to using a lot of words to explain herself, especially when she isn't sure of something. I could push her for more information, and it might even help her work through her thoughts if I did so, but for now a solid 'maybe' is probably good enough.

That just leaves Yuzuki, who starts answering before I've even asked her the question. "It's not a part of the mission, so I think we should put it aside right now," She says. "The bigger issue I have is that Ringo is obviously already trying to abandon the Moon. She keeps bringing up suggestions toward it, which by the way definitely isn't the proper attitude for a commanding-"

"Oh for FUCK'S SAKE!" Sumi slams her head on the table before immediately jerking back up to a standing position looking angry. "I tune you guys back in for two seconds because I think somebody's talking to me, and you're already pissing me the fuck off! Say it to her face already!" She demands, glaring at Yuzuki and gesturing wildly toward Ringo with one hand. "Call her fat, call her lazy, call her a terrible leader! It doesn't matter, she's a big girl, she can take it! I do it to her all the time and she just laughs it off! Stop fucking sniping at her and just talk to her if you have a problem!"

"I didn't say any of that. Don't put words in my mouth."

"Somebody has to!" Sumi continues ranting. "If they don't get shoved in there, then you're just going to sit there being all passive aggressive and pretending like you're not still being a huge bitch!"

"Okay, that's enough," Wow, Ringo had to use her commander voice two times today. That hasn't happened in a while. "The meeting is over now. I have to get started on a report for Kanako. Everybody just take a bit to cool off and take it easy. We need to not be at each other's throats if we're going to be negotiating with Kanako later."

Despite Ringo adjourning the meeting, Sumi and Yuzuki continue staring at each other for a while. Honestly, the two of them fighting isn't exactly a new thing. With the way their personalities are and how long we've all been together, of course they've had a ton of disagreements in the past. These kinds of things have gradually gotten less and less frequent over time, but with the stress of the situation, I guess I can see how things would come to a head eventually.

I just wish it wasn't so awkward to be around people when they're arguing.

"Dismissed," Ringo stresses, finally getting a response when Yuzuki and Sumi both get up and walk away in opposite directions.


[ ] I'll follow Yuzuki, even if she doesn't appear upset, I might be able to help her feel better about our plan of action
[ ] I'll follow Sumi, she'll probably feel better if she has somebody to vent to.
[ ] Chiyo still looks exhausted. Maybe we should just take a break together
[ ] Ringo might need some help with the report, so I'll stay with her
[ ] I need a break, maybe Ringo will let me leave camp for a little while (specify where to)

I've just now realized that there's going to be a lot of sitting around and talking about serious things in the coming updates. Need to think of ways to break it up so it isn't hard to sit through. Blugh.
>> No. 27331
[X] Chiyo still looks exhausted. Maybe we should just take a break together
>> No. 27332
[x] Follow Yuzuki

Passive aggressive bullshit destroys groups. At least the rest actually talks about their issues.
Besides she's the only one completely against deserting so she might be feeling alone. Letting her vent with us should help.

As for what to do... I think helping the moon as a final act of loyalty and then deserting is the way to go.

Reisen might make it on her own, as they so confidently stated, but she might also fail. They should be feeling like helping their homeland, right now.
>> No. 27333
[X] I'll follow Yuzuki, even if she doesn't appear upset, I might be able to help her feel better about our plan of action

She strikes me as the type who really needs others to approach her to help her emotionally. I have no doubt Yuzuki has pretty similar thoughts to Sumi despite their contrasting personalities, but obviously won't express them.
>> No. 27334
[X] I'll follow Yuzuki, even if she doesn't appear upset, I might be able to help her feel better about our plan of action

Better now than in front of Kanako, I guess. Still not feeling too confident in this particular band of idiots and assholes though. Maybe we can run off and crash with the Prismrivers forever?
>> No. 27335
[x] I'll follow Yuzuki, even if she doesn't appear upset, I might be able to help her feel better about our plan of action

Yuzuki seems to be more comfortable around Seiran than the others.
>> No. 27336
update status: 2300 words in and I'm realizing I still have a bunch to go to get to a decision point or even finish up this conversation. I'm not putting words down very well at this point either. Delaying until tomorrow (actually today because it's 1 am)

Me stats: Annoyed at the above. At least I have the day off so I'll try to finish this up earlier rather than later.
>> No. 27337
Take your time, I'd rather have a later update of better quality than a rushed one.
>> No. 27338
File 148340344721.jpg - (13.19KB, 300x215, Need more room for more crates.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] I'll follow Yuzuki, even if she doesn't appear upset, I might be able to help her feel better about our plan of action

The three of us that are remaining wait until Yuzuki and Sumi are well out of earshot before we say or do anything. Well, technically Sumi would still be able to hear us if she really tried, and Yuzuki would probably be able to read our lips if she wanted to as well. Expectations of privacy here in camp are a little bit weird like that honestly. It's a little unpleasant when you actually think about it. Neither of them are likely going to be in a state of mind to pay attention to us though. Not after storming off like that.

I finally hear Chiyo slumping in her seat and letting out a heavy sigh, which breaks the silence that Ringo and I were stuck in. "I don't need this right now," She mutters out, folding her arms on the table and dropping her head on top of them.

"Agreed," We really need to be working together, not fighting among ourselves. "Well, I don't blame them for getting worked up over something important like this," I admit. "We're taking risks here no matter what we do. Of course they're both going to be passionate about it when we're dealing with keeping everyone safe."

Chiyo responds by poking her head up slightly and giving me an unimpressed look. "My head still hurts and they were being way too loud," Oh, she was talking about something a bit more simple. Whoops. "Do you guys need me to help handle the fallout or can I lie down for a little bit?"

"I dunno. Probably wanna get started on that report for Kanako sooner rather than later, so it's kinda up to you guys if you wanna say something," Ringo says, reaching over the table and picking up Yuzuki's idea page. I don't think she'll need that to write her report, so I hope she's going to tear it up and get rid of it. It was helpful to have, but keeping it around is just incriminating. "Personally I think you can just leave them alone and they'll come around eventually. Like you said Seiran, they're both trying to keep everyone safe, just in their own ways."

Let me think about that for a second. Leaving the two of them to themselves for a little bit would probably work out okay. This argument was only Sumi yelling and Yuzuki pretending to keep calm, so it's hardly the worst that they've ever been at odds with each other. I can even guess what they're both going to be doing right now. They're both going off by themselves to do something that will calm them down and let them work the anger (or whatever Yuzuki's feeling that she says definitely isn't anger) out of their systems. For Sumi it'll be running and Yuzuki it'll be... Organizing something probably. "I think I'll still go talk to Yuzuki anyway," I decide out loud, standing up from my chair.

"Yeah sure. Could you check back in with me when you're done though?" Ringo suggests. "Just so I've got somebody to double check everything on the report. You saw and heard some stuff that I didn't. Honestly Sumi did too buuuut y'know..."

"Alright," I don't have any reason not to follow along with that request. We'll have to meet back up before heading off to the Moriya shrine anyway.

The three of us all stand up and head over to the tents. Chiyo and Sumi both head toward theirs while I move to Yuzuki's. I don't actually know if she went this way after leaving the meeting, given that this is behind my normal seat, but I think this is as good a spot as any to start looking for her. I'm kind of hoping she's not right here though, because I need some more time to think about what I actually want to say. 'Hey you just got yelled at so I kinda wanted to check and make sure that you're not mad and are ready to shut up and go along with what everyone else thinks we should do' doesn't seem like the best start, even if it is kinda what I'm doing here.

While I'm standing there awkwardly, Chiyo wordlessly enters her own tent without a second thought. I immediately hear the soft floomf noise of her collapsing into her pile of pillows and blankets. Man, she has it easy. Well, more so in terms of not having to do anything. It's plain to see that she's still not feeling well. From what I can remember, she was actually holding her booze pretty well last night, but I guess it's really caught up to her now. At least she's past the point of needing to vomit or clutch her head in pain all the time. With a little bit more rest I'm sure she'll be good to go again. I bet she could probably even use her powers somewhat to make it so she feels bad for less subjective time now that she's in a safe place to do so. I make a mental note to check on her later and leave it at that.

When I glance over at Ringo next, she gives me a nod and a small thumbs up before heading into her tent. It's nice that she's trying to encourage me, even though I'm not particularly worried about her back right now. Ringo isn't really a stranger to having to write up reports. That's just a part of her job as our commanding officer. Granted, most of those previous reports back on the Moon could be summed up with 'nothing happened', so this one should end up being a little different in that regard. Actually, that just makes me think of how big the report is going to be whenever we actually do get back to the capital. As if I needed another reason to be glad that I'm not in charge.

Alright, with the other two heading inside to deal with their issues, that just leaves me here to deal with mine. Or really it would be Yuzuki's. The one that I opted into trying to help her with because I'm trying to be a good friend. I don't need to feel bad about it or think that I'm going to bother or annoy her. I'm doing the right thing here. Okay.

"Yuzuki, are you in there?" My call doesn't come out as loudly as it probably should, but that shouldn't matter. If she is in fact inside there, she'll know I'm looking for her regardless of if she can hear me or not. That's my excuse anyway. I'm not just being reluctant to try and talk to somebody when I don't know how they're really feeling or what I should actually say. No sir.

I wait for a minute or so, but there's no response. Okay, that's fine. There's only so many places in camp that she could be at. Well, I'm assuming she's still at camp. I guess the possibility exists that she'd go somewhere else. Most likely Hina's shrine. Actually, she was supposed to meet with Hina today, wasn't she? I wonder how that worked out for her. Maybe I could ask her about that to break the ice or something. Yeah, okay. That might work.

When I check, the equipment tent is pretty much empty. I wonder if it might be a good idea to tear the thing down, just because it's not being used. Might make us look a little less suspicious I guess. Anyway, that just leaves one more location to check in camp before I have to fly somewhere. I'm trying to remain hopeful, but it doesn't hurt to try and remember the exact location of Hina's shrine, does it?

The bunker is closed when I reach it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's empty. We're technically supposed to keep it closed as much as possible for the purpose of keeping it a secret. I open up the hatch and check inside. Sure enough, the lights are on. Either whoever was in here last (I don't know who that was other than definitely not me) forgot to shut them off, or Yuzuki's down there. Either way, I climb on down.

It's a lot more cramped in here than last time I was inside, but I guess that isn't very surprising. This bunker wasn't exactly very spacious before we moved all of our equipment down here, and doing so only made it worse. This thing wasn't designed for this. In fact it wasn't designed for much other than to be a safe place to hide away the portal so that we could move ourselves and equipment into the area stealthily. You could probably point out that we were supposed to be invisible to youkai at the time, but I guess having another layer of protection wasn't a bad idea. Not that it made much difference when things went wrong, but I understand the thought process behind this place existing at least.

Anyway, right now I'm in the entryway, which should slope down a little bit deeper before the tunnel opens up into the portal room. The crates here are all stacked on the right side of the hallway, which gives juuuust enough room to squeeze through on the left. I head down, but once I've travelled down far enough that things should be opening up, I can barely tell. Yuzuki really packed this place well a couple of days ago, didn't she? Just barely enough space to move through it, but it's definitely not easy. I really have to hope that we don't need to get anything out of here in a hurry. Putting aside that things are probably only organized in a way that makes sense to Yuzuki, most of the equipment is going to be inaccessible without considerable shuffling around of our limited space. This isn't really an ideal arrangement here.

What also doesn't help is that Yuzuki apparently decided that the path through the room shouldn't be in a straight line. There are several sudden, sharp turns to navigate through all these boxes and-

"Hello Seiran," I jump when Yuzuki suddenly greets me as I turn a corner. Okay, I was looking for her but I still wasn't ready for that. She usually waits until she knows we can see each other before talking. "Oh, sorry. I thought you knew I was here already."

The crates here are normally stacked four high, which makes a tower that is pretty much floor to ceiling. Apparently this isn't necessary the whole way through the room though, and now that I'm a few rows deep, the stacks have thinned out a bit. Turning one last corner, I find her. Yuzuki is sitting up on a single crate, holding the clipboard that used to be hanging in the equipment tent. I think she was writing something on it, but I can't see what that is from the way she's got it positioned. Anyway, she said hello to me. "Uh, hey," I respond, not too awkwardly but still recovering a bit from being surprised. "No big deal. Just thought I would check to see how you're doing."

Yuzuki adjusts her posture slightly so she's sitting up completely straight. "I'm doing just fine, thank you," She answers, just a little too primly. "I decided, since the meeting was over, that I would come down here and check a few things. One of the other less delicate members of our unit may have come down here and rifled through things recently, so I wanted to see if anything had been taken out."

"Right," I answer, a little bit unsure. There's kind of a hole in what she's telling me. "Can't you do that without coming down here though?"

Yuzuki's expression freezes for a moment. "Well... Yes, but..." She stops talking, apparently not sure what to say to continue.

Okay, that just makes it really obvious. She wasn't thinking about a convincing lie to tell anyone at all. She just came down here to get away because she was upset about things. When I immediately poked at the obvious problem in her story, she wasn't ready and is now trying to quickly figure out something to say. Boy do I know what that's like. I'll help her out. "So, how was the meeting with Hina?" I ask quickly, trying to shift the focus away from the obvious issue. Let's just get her talking first.

Yuzuki looks a little relieved at the change in subject. "Ah, that actually was rather pleasant," She answers. "It took a little bit of time to find her this morning, but once I did we had a nice talk. She was very thankful for my visits and prayers, and I told her I was happy to help."

"Uh huh," She's not mentioning the actual reason she went to see Hina, which might be a bad sign. I'll ask. "And what about that issue with the message you had to deliver to her?"

Yuzuki stiffens up again at my question. Okay, bad sign. "Like you suggested, I delivered it, along with my own misgivings," She begins with a little bit of hesitation. "Well, I would like to believe she's going to listen to me but... Maybe I'm wrong. Apparently that has been happing a lot lately."

Uh oh, I think she's getting passive aggressive again. "You haven't been-"

"When I express concern about things, people tell me to stop worrying because I'm wrong. When I suggest courses of action, people decide to do something different because I'm wrong. When I offer advice, people ignore it because I'm wrong. When I'm trying to get people to listen to me, not only am I wrong, I am apparently being a 'huge bitch' of some kind," There's a clatter as Yuzuki drops the clipboard on the crate next to her with a loud sigh. "It's," She continues before pausing to think about what she's saying. "I'm just frustrated," She finishes vaguely. Well I could kind of already see that. I'm a little bit anxious about her ranting like this, but I know she's just venting and it's not me specifically that has her upset.

I don't respond immediately. Mostly because I'm not sure what exactly I want to say. While I'm waiting for Yuzuki to continue, I look down at the paper clipped to the board just out of curiosity. That's not the equipment list that was there before. It looks like a piece of graph paper, only some of the lines are much darker than the others. Was she tracing over the lines? That seems a little different than other things that I've seen her doing to calm herself down like reordering a shuffled deck of cards or making sure that all the canned food have their labels facing the same way. Maybe there isn't much left to put in order here so she's just tracing the lines because she knows they're perfectly straight.

"We are soldiers, so it really shouldn't bother me. I know that our job really is to just follow orders," Yuzuki continues when it's clear that I'm not sure what to say. "When it's just the five of us though, I wish that it didn't feel like I was being used like a tool."

Wait, hold on. That's not right. "I've never treated you like a tool," I argue back quickly without thinking.

"You do occasionally, but I know you don't do it on purpose. Nobody ever does it on purpose," Yuzuki shakes her head slowly. "It's still the end result regardless of people's intentions. They listen to me when I'm telling them about their surroundings using my powers, but ignore me whenever I'm giving an opinion they don't like. It's frustrating when it feels like people would rather have some kind of scanner that never talked back rather than me."

"That's not true."

"It's not true of the four of you," Yuzuki agrees quickly. "At least I would like to think that. It's just that when everything seems to be going wrong from my perspective, but nobody else thinks there's a problem, I start to get doubtful about things. What if it's me that's wrong? If I'm wrong then I have to fix it immediately. How do I fix myself so I'm not wrong anymore? When I can't think of the answer to things like that, then I start feeling frustrated."

"You're not wrong just because you have a different opinion than the rest of us," I point out. That's not how opinions are supposed to work.

"And I know that in my head," Yuzuki agrees with me again. "But there's another part of me that needs to see things as either correct or incorrect. Then I can work on fixing the incorrect things and enjoying the correct ones," She explains. "I only feel completely comfortable when everything is correct and proper, so I have to do something to move the situation toward that state. It's just that right now I don't know what that something should be, or even if there is a something."

I kind of expected something a bit more specific when I came down here. Something like her being bothered by the things that Sumi said, or unhappy about working with Kanako. This is turning out to be a bit more of a deep seated issue. "So basically, we've been disagreeing with you a lot lately, and you're not sure if it's because we're mistreating you, or if something is wrong with your opinions and you by extension," I explain, just to make sure I'm getting this right.

"If you wanted to put it simply in one sentence like that, yes," Yuzuki says, picking the clipboard back up and tracing a few more lines on it.

I don't really think that either of those things are true, but pointing that out to her probably won't help. Yuzuki has a different way of seeing things than the rest of us, and I only kind of understand it. It's difficult because, unlike the rest of us, she's always had her powers as far as I know. Having another sense like she does probably affected her a lot, especially in the way that she thinks.

"Honestly, I'm a little bit envious of you Seiran," Yuzuki admits after a short pause. "Everyone listens to you and your suggestions on what to do. Even Ringo. If things were like that with me..." She trails off into another sigh.

It is true that Ringo and the rest of the rabbits seem to listen to me a little better than anyone else, but I don't have any idea how that happened. It's not like I'm in charge or anything. I just say what I think and usually Ringo listens. "So did you want me to say something to Ringo for you? Er, rather, what can I do to help you feel better?"

"I'm not asking you to do anything," Yuzuki quickly shoots me down while still staring down at her paper. "Sumi and I were disagreeing with each other and the argument got a little bit heated. Now we need some time to get over it. There's no reason either of us should be rewarded for that. I'm perfectly fine."

"Right," And that's why she's down here in the bunker, alone, tracing lines of graph paper. "Well I need to meet up with Ringo soon to go over her report anyway. If I was going to hypothetically say something to her on your behalf, what would you want it to be?"

Yuzuki glances up at with an even look. She knows what I'm saying, but I don't think she wants to ask for the help. "I suppose I wouldn't mind it if you asked her to reconsider having us work with Kanako, but that might be a little bit much. It comes down to either following a call that I don't like, or being the cause of the group getting split up even more. Both aren't exactly ideal, but I have to settle for one."

"The first one, right?" I ask, just for clarification.

"Unless you think you can get everyone to give up on the idea, yes," Yuzuki agrees. "But no, I think maybe instead I would just like it if you could explain the situation with my shrine visits to Ringo," She continues on, going back to her paper. "I haven't gotten a chance to tell her about it, and given the Aya situation coming up, it might be a little difficult for me to ask for morning time off to go over to Hina's. Actually, it would also be ideal for me to take all of tomorrow morning up to the afternoon off. Just to make sure that Seija doesn't cause any problems, but I know that that's asking for too much."

Wait, Seija? "I thought you said that Hina listened to your advice."

"I said that I believed that she would," Yuzuki replies, still looking a little bit frustrated. I'm probably touching another sore spot. "She's still planning to meet with Seija regardless, if only to turn her down."

[ ] Yuzuki says she'll be fine, so I'll believe her and drop the issue.
[ ] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [ ] Making sure Yuzuki can have her morning shrine time
- [ ] Getting Yuzuki half a day off to help Hina deal with Seija
- [ ] Maybe not throwing our lot in with Kanako just yet
- [ ] Something else

Also, since this will also come up, who all do you want to come along when going to Moriya Shrine? The others can be delegated other tasks or just left to make sure camp is secure.

[ ] Ringo
[ ] Yuzuki
[ ] Sumi
[ ] Chiyo

Well I know that most people probably don't mind another day of delay, but I still have to give myself a deadline so I don't just keep putting writing off until later. If I miss my deadline and don't at least get annoyed by it, then there's not much point in it.

Just me tricking myself into doing work. It's been successful for a while but I am definitely slowing down on my updates.
>> No. 27339
[x] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [x] Making sure Yuzuki can have her morning shrine time

Don't see why we shouldn't, or why Ringo would say no.

[x] Ringo
[x] Yuzuki

Ringo is a given, since she's the only one who knows what she's doing. And it's her job.

As for Yuzuki... I can't work out if she'd rather be around to give her input, since she seems to have issues with people not listening to her, or if she's dead set against Kanako and would rather we just get it over with. And I'm kind of hoping that the deal with Kanako will work out well enough to give Yuzuki a better impression of her.

It'll probably backfire, but I'll go with this for now.
>> No. 27340
[X] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [X] Making sure Yuzuki can have her morning shrine time
[X] Ringo

Yuzuki hasn't had the best relationship with Kanako, and Chiyo probably wouldn't be feeling up to the task.
>> No. 27341
[X] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [X] Making sure Yuzuki can have her morning shrine time
[X] Ringo

Poor Yuzuki. Maybe she can become Hina's live-in shrine maiden and maid, forever keeping her house perfectly neat and organized.
>> No. 27342
[x] Go with Ringo

[x] Discuss giving her your blessing for a daily church visit and the repercussions on the base's defenses
[x] Give her time off to go meet the troublemaker with Hina

Opressed and stressed bunny needs some love
>> No. 27343
[X] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [X] Getting Yuzuki half a day off to help Hina deal with Seija

[X] Ringo
[X] Sumi

I'm still kind of worried about Hina and want to throw Yuzuki a bone there, while Sumi going with us would be helpful in stopping Aya from easily spying on the meeting. Chiyo can take a break and have the relatively easy job of watching over the camp so it doesn't get ransacked while we're gone.
>> No. 27344
File 148359395749.png - (675.42KB, 701x1000, Do your homework.png) [iqdb]
[X] I'll talk to Ringo about...
- [X] Making sure Yuzuki can have her morning shrine time
[X] Ringo

"Well I'll be happy to talk to Ringo about your shrine visits at least," I decide. I don't really expect Ringo to turn a request like that down, but if it's something simple like this that can help Yuzuki feel a little better, I'll do it. "You probably don't need my help though, we both know how Ringo is. As long as she understands why you want to do something, she'll let you do it. Sometimes she doesn't even need that much either."

"That's true," Yuzuki admits, returning her focus to the graph paper in front of her. I'm pretty sure she can trace lines like that perfectly without even looking at them, but she's still keeping her eyes down anyway. "I still find it an awkward subject to bring up when I know everyone other than you is going to be quick to tease me about it."

I choose not to point out that I have teased her about it in the past. "They're just joking around really. Nobody really thinks it's a big deal."

"I don't like jokes like that," Yuzuki grumbles out. "It shouldn't be that difficult to believe that I just want to help Hina normally, should it? There doesn't have to be such an inappropriate ulterior motive as they keep pretending there is."

In everyone else's defence, Yuzuki has been just a little bit weirdly obsessed with someone she just met. With how she's been acting, I'm still still calling it a toss up whether there is or isn't some potentially impure thinking going on there. I'm not really in a position to judge though, so I won't say anything. Yuzuki is even more against breaking the rules than I am, and I don't see any reason to annoy her even more than Sumi already did. "No there doesn't have to be," I agree. That doesn't mean that there isn't, just that there doesn't have to be. "I'll talk to Ringo about that stuff soon then. Are you going to stay down here for much longer?"

Yuzuki continues with her paper, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have many lines left to mark. "Hmm, I will finish up soon. I suppose it would be best to go back up though, while Aya isn't around to see either of us leaving," She answers before glancing up at me. "Why?"

"Sumi is still out running around and Chiyo needs a little bit more rest. It's a good idea to have someone reliable around who can be the lookout," I'm really planning and hoping that nothing happens, and even if it does it's not like Chiyo and Sumi are completely defenceless. It just can't hurt to be sure.

"Ah, so you're leaving for the Moriya shrine soon then? Just you and Ringo?" Yuzuki quickly realizes a couple of the implications of my question. She doesn't seem that upset by them at least.

"That's what I was thinking anyway," I confirm for her while I stand up straight. I had been leaning against one of the larger stacks of crates while we were talking just now, since there isn't a lot of sitting room. Conveniently, things are packed in here well enough that putting my weight against them doesn't cause all these boxes to tip over. "Of course, I'm not the one making the final decision. I just don't think that the other two would add very much to the discussion once we're there, and I kinda figured you weren't that interested in coming along," Although I was a bit more sure about the former than the latter.

"I would be willing, if only so that I could know what was happening instead of having to worry by myself back here," Yuzuki sets down her clipboard as she finishes explaining. Oh, looks like she's traced every line now. She's definitely in a better mood than when I first came down here. I'd like to claim some responsibility for that. Maybe it's like a fifty fifty split? I don't know. "But no, I agree with your reasoning, and I'm willing to trust you and Ringo to handle things. I suppose even in the worst case, this arrangement would mean that only two of us end up captured."

"I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that," Now that she mentions it, I am just a little bit nervous about what's coming up. Yuzuki may or may not have been joking, but it is true that this could backfire on us. "Honestly I'm still trying to come up with a good way to bring the topic up once we get there. There's no way of knowing how Kanako is going to react to having a bombshell dropped on her like this," I admit.

Yuzuki considers that for a moment before standing up herself. She takes the clipboard with her. I'm pretty sure that that's supposed to be hanging up somewhere, but wherever that spot is, it's probably concealed by crates. "If it helps, I believe you'll have plenty of time to think of something," She tells me with a slight smirk.

"Why is that?" We're already in the early afternoon, I'd kind of like to get things started. I have no idea how long negotiations (or lack thereof) will take. I don't really want to be out too late at night. Though given how most of us were out getting drunk last night and nothing bad happened, maybe we have been a bit too paranoid about our policies.

Yuzuki casts a glance up at the ceiling. "Well Ringo's still working on writing that report," Right, she can still tell what's going on up there. "And from what I can tell, it hasn't gotten off to a good start."

Oh, right. I guess I need to go help her with that. Crap.


Ringo was always pretty good at making reports, but was never very good at making them quickly. We had A LOT of downtime back on the Moon. When you couple that with how little actually happened, it was pretty easy for Ringo to explain everything that she needed to report on in the perfect level of detail detail. Now that we're working with a lot of information that needs to be condensed by an unknown degree as soon as possible...

"So I've got the list of everyone who attended, or at least their first names since we didn't get everyone's full names. Is that gonna be good enough? We don't know if Kanako knows everyone by name, maybe we need to add descriptions in too. Youkai types? Probably unnecessary and we've got too many holes in what we actually know to be useful. But then on the other hand more info should be strictly better, right? As long as it doesn't cause too much clutter. Need to figure out all the info before I put it down for real..."

Yes, Ringo has more or less spent most of this time that I was talking to Yuzuki quietly muttering and writing down random bits of information on pieces of paper that she's now spread out around herself on her cot. It's not exactly a pretty sight. I'm actually a little surprised that Yuzuki hadn't found this mess downright offensive actually. She had declined to come help, instead choosing to go check up on Chiyo, and I'm just now seeing there may have been more than one reason for that.

"Everything okay in here?" I ask cautiously before Ringo notices me coming into her tent.

"Hm?" Ringo's concentration breaks and she glances up at me, quickly switching from a thoughtful face to a smile. "Oh yeah, just getting the creative process started," She assures me, though I feel a little bit skeptical. It's just a report, how creative do you have to be? "Unlike reports back to Command, Kanako didn't really give a standard format for this, y'know? She probably wants more than a memo, but I'm not gonna write her a book either. Gotta do things efficiently and thoroughly," Maybe Ringo caught my confusion there, because she definitely went on to answer my question.

"So just like everything else you do?" I ask bluntly. Ringo catches my obvious sarcasm, but only smiles wider at it.

"Yeah, just like that!" She laughs before shuffling a few papers next to her into a slightly (but only slightly) more organized pile. "You wanna help out?" She offers happily.

I really want to say no to that. I really do. This is really just Ringo's job, and she should be more than equipped to do it on her own. I could just give myself a break and wait until she's done. It would be justified.

But do I want to avoid this mess of information and work more than I want to just get it done with? No.

Don't sigh. This is for Ringo's sake. Everyone's sake really.

I really want to sigh, but no. Let's do this.


Say what you want about Ringo being lazy, she's not stupid. Actually, I have to admit that she's probably smarter than I am when she sets her mind to getting something done. Once we sit down and started it really just feels like I'm there so she has somebody to bounce plans off of. She doesn't make me write anything down for her, instead just tasking me with helping her keep her papers straight and keeping her from getting too absorbed in minor details.

We start off the report by expanding on Kanako's understanding of what the Grassroots Youkai Network actually is. She more or less had it right when she told us, but now she has a confirmation of people who have actually went to a meeting. After that we expand to the meeting location (though note that the location isn't static), as well as the frequency of when they happen (every week, although we never did hear whether the next one is going to be moved due to the full moon next week). We also include a brief outline on what kind of information was being exchanged and the general structure of the meeting (we don't mention the drinking, but I think Kanako already knows about that somehow).

The harder part is once we get into the information about the members. We can only make assumptions about what Kanako does or doesn't know about the random collection of youkai that we met there, and whether the information we have is actually relevant or useful. Adding too much makes us look like we're desperately padding, while putting too little makes it look like we're not putting in much effort. There isn't really any way to reach a conclusion, so we end up going somewhere in between the two extremes and hoping it all works out.


"So wait, what was the deal with Suika?" I ask when her name suddenly comes back up. She had just shown up out of nowhere and started handing out alcohol to people. I know I spent a decent amount of my evening around her exactly for that reason, but I'm just now realizing that I don't know anything about her.

"I asked a little about her this morning actually," Ringo continues to idly toss her pen up in the air and catch it. She's not always completely coordinated though, so occasionally she winds up with marks on her blankets or pillow. "Apparently she's one of the great and terrible and much feared oni. You remember hearing about them in the briefing, right?"

"Yeeeeeah," She doesn't really match up with the pictures that they showed us, but the pictures were mostly male oni. At least the horns are explained now. "I vaguely remember her saying something about that," Something about oni's not being able to lie, but I can't really remember why. Ugh, too many gaps in my memory, let's just move on. "So was she a member of the network or not?"

"She's shown up to a couple of meetings, but she isn't a member per se," Ringo explains. Ah, hey! You almost hit me with that throw, keep it under control! "She just loves to party, and sometimes shows up to these ones by chance," She glances over at me while she leans over to pick her pen back up. "And don't try to give me that 'It was a meeting not a party thing'."

"I wasn't going to," The annoyed look I was giving her was from having a pen thrown at me, not from needing to correct her. Anyway, it was definitely a meeting at first, but it definitely evolved (devolved?) into a party soon afterward. I'm not going to argue that point anymore. "So should we include her in the report?"

"Might as well, it's as relevant as anything else when we've got vague requirements."


"Just so you know, Aya is currently flying around the area," Yuzuki suddenly sticks her head into the tent to warn Ringo and I. Well, she did say Aya had been around more than once, but I can't think of anything that we're supposed to actually do about it. We can just wait until she gives up on seeing anything interesting then leave.

"Damn, and we were just getting ready to go too," Ringo snaps her fingers in fake frustration as she looks up from her report. We're getting it done at a good pace now, but we still have a ways to go. "Guess we'll have to wait a bit longer."

"All three of us know that you're not anywhere close to done Ringo," Yuzuki shoots her down immediately.

Ringo turns to me, pouting. "Seeeiiiraaaaan," She whines out. "Yuzuki's cheating and copying my answers for professor Kanako's test!" Wait, what am I supposed to be in this joke, a teacher's aide I guess?

"Oh? Why would I copy answers off of someone who's just guessing at them anyway?" Yuzuki humors her, showing a smug smile.

"Hm, guess you've got a point. Maybe you could help me for a bit instead?" Ringo suggests, patting another spot on her cot.

"Sorry, but no. I think you'll be better off doing the work on your own," Yuzuki refuses the invitation and goes back to a more serious tone. "I'm going to be out here acting innocent and not at all suspicious until Aya gives up. Don't come out unless you're going to do the same."

"Bah, I only came to this school for booze and chicks anyway, know what I'm saying?" Ringo glances over at me and smiles as Yuzuki ducks back out of the tent.

Er, no Ringo, I don't really know what you're saying. Well, I get it but uh... Whatever. Let's get back to work.


"No, yeah, I don't have a problem with it," Ringo answers quickly once I've explained Yuzuki's earlier shrine request to her.

We've gone through a majority of the youkai network's members now, and we're taking a quick break. I wasn't really in favor of it, but Ringo made the executive decision before flopping down across my lap like this, so I figured she wasn't taking no for an answer. Whatever, it is a little nice to just sit here like this, even with the gloom of all the stuff we still have to get done hanging over our heads.

"I figured you wouldn't," I say back. "The only reason I could think to argue against Yuzuki going out in the mornings was if you were really concerned about nobody keeping note of the Aya situation."

Ringo bobs her head back and forth a little bit as she considers what I said. I think she's trying to annoy me with her hair, but since I'm still wearing those pants from Merlin, it doesn't really tickle much. "Actually the morning might be the best kind of timing for that sort of thing anyway. If you remember from the first time she showed up, Aya delivers newspapers in the morning. She probably won't have a lot of time to stop and creep on us while Yuzuki's out."

I hadn't really thought of that actually. "I guess you have a point."

"But anyway, as long as Yuzuki's careful and watches out for herself while she's away from camp, I got no problem with what she does," Ringo continues on, then she perks up suddenly, remembering something. "Which reminds me," She adds, reaching into her pocket and pulling out... Oh right!

"Wait, where did you find that?" I ask, looking at her hand in surprise. She's holding out the electroshock gun that Chiyo gave me before. I had kind of forgotten about it, even though I had been keeping it on me ever since getting it, but now Ringo has it for some reason!

"It was on the floor of the Prismriver's bathroom. I saw it when I was helping Chiyo," Ringo hands the gun to me when I reach for it. "She said it was yours, so I was just waiting for a good chance to give it back to you,"

"Huh..." Well, it's not going to be as easy to hide under the clothes I'm wearing now, but I'll definitely keep it for whenever my clothes dry. "Drunk me proves to be surprisingly cautious for someone who falls asleep in filled bathtubs," I mutter, feeling a little bit embarrassed. I guess it's better than the alternative, given that I don't think Wakasagihime would have appreciated it if I had kept the thing on me when I joined her in the tub.

Ringo just laughs slightly and smiles up at me. I guess it isn't that big of a deal.


We finish up the report with some of the inferences that Yuzuki had told me while at the meeting. The stuff about there likely being another leader backing the group and that they're probably connected to Sekibanki. It feels a little lame when it's just speculation and we can't really name any names, but what we have already should be good enough to satisfy the requirements Kanako gave us anyway.

"Done!" Ringo throws her pen up in the air in a random direction and collapses back onto her pillow.

"I hate to break it to you, but that was probably the easy part," There's still an entire negotiation session we have to get through with Kanako. The report actually took up a decent amount of time, so we're in the mid-afternoon now. "And we don't really have time to relax either."

Ringo groans lightly and sits back up. "Right right," She mutters reluctantly. "So just the two of us then?" I nod in response. I had mentioned the idea to her earlier, and she agreed pretty quickly. It looks like it really is just going to be me and Ringo for this. "So, how do you think we should do this?"

[ ] Act humble. We are literally asking a god for help here.
[ ] Act desperate. This isn't just us, this is the entire Lunar Capital at stake
[ ] Act neutral. Just the facts, let Kanako decide how to react once she knows everything.
[ ] Act cooperative. This is just an extension of our earlier deal. We can do more work, but we need more help.
[ ] Act cautious. We need to be ready to get out if negotiations go sour.
[ ] Something else (Write-in)

This is an update that I thought was going to be much shorter than it was but then whoops.
>> No. 27345
[x] Act neutral. Just the facts, let Kanako decide how to react once she knows everything.

Professionals have standards.
>> No. 27346
[X] Act neutral. Just the facts, let Kanako decide how to react once she knows everything.

Better to not put too much bias.
>> No. 27347
[x] Act cooperative

I'm sure this will be a nice change of pace when compared to Tengu, who like to make everything difficult, Gods, who treat this as a visit to the dentist and power players, who probably refuse to play along
>> No. 27348
[x] Act cooperative. This is just an extension of our earlier deal. We can do more work, but we need more help.

Sorry Ringo, you're going to have to be a lot more straightforward than that if you want to flirt with Seiran. She's as pure and innocent as the driven snow.
>> No. 27349
[X] Act neutral. Just the facts, let Kanako decide how to react once she knows everything.

I don't like surrendering the initiative like this, but it's probably our best option to avoid either pissing her off or getting in too deep.
>> No. 27350
Not finished tonight sadly. Probably going to move my scheduled update days from sunday wednesday to monday thursday. Not that it matters if I can't actually make a deadline.
>> No. 27351
File 148402837670.png - (676.07KB, 1024x603, Here we are again.png) [iqdb]
[X] Act neutral. Just the facts, let Kanako decide how to react once she knows everything.

"It's a little difficult to make a call on that with what little we know about Kanako," I reason while Ringo gets up from her cot. I know that she's still listening to me, but apparently she's also pretty ready to get going. Writing up our report ended up taking a bit longer than I think either of us would have liked. "I've only met her twice, and both times were pretty strictly business focused meetings where she was in control of the conversation the whole time. We don't know how she's going to react when we drop a bombshell on her like this."

"Well I can agree with that much," Ringo says as she moves over to the corner of her tent. There are a few boxes haphazardly stacked over there, but I don't know exactly what's in them. "But the question wasn't really supposed to be about what Kanako is gonna do. We have no way of knowing that. I'm asking how we should break the news to her. Once we've laid it all out we can figure it what to do from there."

I consider things while Ringo rifles through the contents of whatever box she picks out. I can't actually see what's in there, but it sounds like a lot of stuff, and I have my doubts about it being at all organized. "I guess what I'm saying is that if we can't bet on her reacting any particular way then we shouldn't try to act a particular way. Let's just give her the facts and leave it at that."

"Hm, fair. If it were a less serious thing I would say otherwise, but with this it's probably better to not seem too biased or anything," Ringo finds whatever she's looking for in the box and affixes it to her report. "Anyway, are paper clips considered too high tech here? I tried to just keep the non-incriminating stuff above ground but I had to guess on some stuff."

I just shrug and let Ringo work on her own problem. It's not like I'm any better versed on the origins of various office supplies. I'm a little busy wrestling with the growing feeling of nervousness at what we've got coming up.


Yuzuki manages to get Chiyo up before Ringo and I are ready to go, so the two of them see us off. I'm at least happy to see that Chiyo is more or less feeling better. Yuzuki also assures me that Aya isn't anywhere nearby, so we should hopefully be fine to fly without worrying about being seen. At least for the first part of the trip. After that it mostly just becomes hoping that Aya doesn't see us, or at least that she leaves us alone if she does.

Ringo and I take off and fly the uneventful and short flight up and over to the Moriya shrine without incident or conversation. We've already got something of a vague strategy worked out, so continuing to talk it over doesn't do much for us anymore. Either it'll work out or it won't. Well, no that's probably a bit too binary. Either she'll listen to us and help us, listen to us and not help us, listen to us and capture/attack us, or I'll say something stupid and screw everything up. In any case, I'm pretty sure she'll at least listen to us for a bit, so as long as we stick to the strategy we'll be able to make something or other happen.


Anyway, when we touch down I take a break from being worried about that and switch over to being worried about something that is somehow even more of an immediate problem. Namely, Sanae isn't out here in the courtyard. Both of the other times that we've come by she's been immediately available to help us get an audience with Kanako. I guess I was wrong in my guess last time we were here. Sanae must not sweep up the path every single day. Or at least not all day every day. We are here a bit later in the day than our other visits. She probably cleaned up this morning, and the leaves I'm seeing now are just whatever fell down between now and then.

Regardless, this ends up leaving Ringo and I standing around awkwardly in front of the shrine and wondering how to get the attention of its occupants. I know they're probably in one of the buildings further back, behind the main one, but are we allowed to just go over there and find out? That kinda feels like we're breaking into someone's home, but at the same time, we do have business here. Our briefing never told us anything about proper etiquette when visiting Gensokyo religious institutions. Although even if it had, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep myself awake through the explanation. Kind of a moot point.

With a shrug and a vague gesture, Ringo and I head up the small set of steps to the main shrine building. The same one that we had spent most of our last visit negotiating in. I don't have any other ideas on what to do, and I think Ringo is the same. We're just guessing at what to do.

Ringo slides one of the large doors open and steps in to have a look around, but the look on her face when she comes back out shows that she obviously didn't have any actual results from her quick glance around. "Nothing," She declares simply. "You want to head in and look around for somebody?"

Maybe it's just the nerves talking, but I absolutely do not want to do that thing you just said. "I'm definitely not for the idea of trespassing until somebody catches us. That might start things off on the wrong foot," I say, being completely reasonable. "You could have tried calling out to see if anybody was inside."

"Sure, but that'd only work if they were in the building. Guess I'll give it a shot and then..." Ringo trails off suddenly when she glances around the outside of the shrine building and catches appears to catch sight of something. "Oh hey, there we go," She jumps up and reaches for something, but can't quite reach it because of her height. After a couple tries she instead floats up a dozen or so extra centimeters before grabbing at some kind of cord hanging off of a couple of large metal bells. It looks like the cord would normally be longer, but it's tied up for whatever reason. "Found the doorbell!" She says triumphantly.

Thinking about it, Ringo probably could have just gotten up on this big wooden box thing here, although it probably would have put her up a bit too high. The top of it also isn't flat, it looks like it has a lot of slits in it. Maybe you put paper or something inside? Whatever.

"I don't think that's going to be any more effective than just yelling," Though I will admit that it seems a bit less embarrassing. "Are you sure that's a doorbell?"

Ringo gives the cord a few experimental shakes, not enough to actually ring the bells. "Dunno what else it'd be," She says, thoughtfully staring up above the box. "Who knows, maybe it's hooked up to a system of even more bells further back. You know, a low tech solution. Like what we did with our tents a while back."

"I don't really think that..." Before I can finish bringing up my misgivings, Ringo pulls the chord hard enough to ring the bells. "Well... Fine then."

After a few more loud rings, the two of us wait through a couple minutes of silence. Nothing in particular happens. Well, maybe they're just far away? The are this shrine takes up is rather big. Sanae or Kanako might have to walk quite a way to get from the back to the front.

After a little bit more waiting, Ringo mutters out something like: "Hmph, must not have heard it," and rings the bell a few more times. I'm pretty sure that's just going to annoy them if they did happen to hear it the first time, Ringo.

"You're supposed to donate first," A voice from behind startles me enough to make me jump.

I swing around quickly and find a short blonde girl wearing a simple purple dress and a silly looking wide-brimmed hat staring up at me from the foot of the stairs. She looks slightly amused at how she managed to catch me off guard. I honestly didn't hear her at all.

"Err, donate?" I'm still recovering from the surprise, so my mouth moves before I think about it. "Oh, right," Money. I guess that a shrine like this would need help from its visitors in order to keep going. That's not something that would happen back on the Moon, but I can at least understand it.

Before I can point out that I'm definitely broke, I hear a couple of light clatters from the wooden box that I'm standing next to. I look back at the source of the noise, Ringo, who had apparently dropped some change in. "What?" She asks in response to my confusion, dropping back down so that she's not hovering anymore.

It's not a big deal, and it's not like I was in any state to keep track of it, but I'm still surprised that Ringo was able to donate anything. "I thought you spent all your money yesterday."

Ringo shrugs, turning out one of her pockets. "I had some spare change left over," She explains. "Once you get to small enough numbers you can't really buy any more booze with it,"

"Not even enough to buy booze with? Cheeeeeap," The blonde girl complains, but quickly gives up the act of pretending to be serious about it. Her expression goes back to an easygoing smile. "Hm, oh well. Panhandling for donations isn't my job anyway. And it's still better than some youkai we've had come here before," She jumps up the stairs in two hops before coming to a stop directly in front of Ringo and I. It was only like six steps, but it's still a little impressive given how short she is. This little girl is quite a good jumper. "You guys here for something in particular? Our shrine maiden is out right now."

Oh, I guess we just had bad timing and Sanae isn't here now. I guess it's not a big deal, we only really need Kanako... Wait, 'our shrine maiden'? So this other girl lives here or something then? "We were actually here because we have some business with..." I pause as I try to remember Kanako's last name. We've just been calling her Kanako, but somebody who lives here might care more about us using proper respect. I honestly can't remember the name though. "The goddess here," I settle with that, feeling slightly annoyed at myself already.

"Oh?" The girl looks a bit more interested and puffs her chest out slightly. "And what do you need from her today?" She asks, sounding a little proud for whatever reason.

I'm not sure I'm understanding her reactions honestly. "Well, she gave us a job to do, and we're here now so we can report on how that went."

"Business stuff then," The girl deflates slightly, losing her enthusiasm. She looks at us more closely for a moment before remembering something. "Riiiight, you're those rabbits. Well crap."

"Er, is there a problem?"

"Nah, I just lost a bet. No big deal," She lets out a small puff of annoyance before turning toward the door to the main building. "Anyway, I'll go grab Kanako for you, go ahead inside."


A short while later we're gathered around the same table as a few days ago. We're even in the same seats, although the spot previously taken up by Sanae is now empty. The blonde girl doesn't join us at the table and instead mostly disappears. I say mostly because, as Kanako skims through Ringo's report silently, I occasionally see the girl poke back into the main shrine room, look around at what's happening for a moment, then leave without saying anything. Strange girl. I would be more curious about what was up with her if I wasn't busy worrying over the meeting itself.

Kanako keeps an even expression as she looks over what Ringo and I worked together to write. She's either a very fast reader or there's a lot of stuff in there that she can skip over, because it doesn't take her all that long to work her way from the beginning to the end. Kinda hoping that it's the former, but I can't tell just from watching Kanako read. Once finished, she sets the packet of papers down on the table and looks at Ringo and I with the same calm and collected expression.

"I will say, I am actually pleasantly surprised by this report," Kanako starts. Okay, not bad, not bad. "Not because of the information inside. To be honest, it doesn't contain much of anything that I hadn't already assumed or guessed, although having those things confirmed for me is still useful. What I'm more impressed by is how well the information is prepared and how quickly you got things done."

"Well, we have some experience with doing that kind of stuff," I answer vaguely. Maybe it's not quite the time to bring up the actual truth yet.

"And there also just happened to be a meeting soon after you gave us the request to look for one," Ringo adds. "If you had told us to do it today for example, you would have been waiting for quite a while. We kinda got lucky on that one."

Kanako nods briefly in understanding. "Well in any case, it is refreshing to have someone take work for me seriously. I have many allies, but I don't have many competent people that I can rely on to perform tasks for me outside of Sanae," She explains. That's a bit frank, don't you think? "Still, this was a single exchange of favors. With this report, your obligation to me has ended, and our deal is concluded."

Okay, here it goes. "Actually, there was... Quite a bit more that we wanted to talk to you about," I interject, stopping Kanako just as she's moving to stand up from the table.

Kanako settles back down, glancing at the place in front of her. Sanae isn't here, so there wasn't any tea served. She was probably expecting this to be short enough that it wouldn't matter though. "Very well, what can the Moriya shrine do for you?" She still asks cordially.

I take a deep breath before starting in. "Shortly after our last meeting, we had a chance encounter with the tengu, Aya," Kanako's face shows some recognition, so I guess that she knows the name. "She asked us a lot of questions about what was going on, and our answers weren't enough to satisfy her. She's now investigating more closely into what we're up to. That includes our connection with you."

Kanako shakes her head lightly. "That won't be an issue. The truth of the favors I burned through to get your friend out of jail is relatively harmless. If you ignore her and go about your own business, Shameimaru won't be a problem."

"It's not the truth on your end that's the problem," Ringo assures her. "It's ours."

Well, that's a good enough lead in I suppose. "When Aya came to our camp to investigate us, she happened to come at a time when we were moving some of our equipment. The equipment in question was a crate with standard-issue Lunarian assault rifles," I see a lot of expressions pass over Kanako's face in an instant. There's some surprise, maybe a brief flash of confusion, something worryingly predatory, then cautious. Once her face settles down, I can practically see the gears whirring quickly in her head as she considers the implications of what I just said.

"Lady Yasaka," Ringo continues before Kanako can think of a response. Wait, Yasaka! That was the name. "I am Chief Information Management Officer Ringo of the special Lunar Defense Corps infiltration unit, the Eagle Ravi. This is my subordinate Seiran," Ringo gestures toward me, and I give a short bow, since I can't think of what would be any more appropriate to do in this situation. Ringo's being very official here, and it's honestly a little bit surprising. Maybe she can handle this a little bit better than I can. "Our unit was sent to Gensokyo with orders to capture and purify a section of land for later use by Lunarian Command. Our mission was compromised when we were discovered and attacked by a former Lunarian soldier, and we have since lost both our means of communication with and our means of returning to the Moon.

"From the information we have gathered since then, we have found out that the Lunar capital is currently both hidden away in another world and under siege by invaders. We are currently seeking a way to either return to the capital, or to hide ourselves away safely until the situation resolves itself."

When Ringo finishes, I decide to add in a bit more information, partially to give Ringo a break, but also because I'm not sure if she's going to cover everything. Kanako looks like she isn't going to interrupt, and is instead listening quietly with the same attentive expression as before. "While investigating, we were found by Eirin Yagokoro, who has a vested interest in not letting us tell Command her location. If we don't get back to the Moon or find a place to hide within the next six days, she will find us, and she will kill us," I'm really wishing that we had tea right now.

"Our encounter with Aya forced our hand, but it was already true that we were going to need someone's assistance," Ringo continues for me. I'm still surprised at how good she is at talking so officially for so long. I almost never get to see this side of her anymore. I barely even knew it existed honestly. "Given that you had already worked with us, and that Aya's investigation has possible implications for you as well, we decided it would be best to come clean with you immediately. Our hope is that we will be able to reach some kind of agreement or arrangement that would benefit you, our unit, and our capital all at once."

There's no immediate response, Kanako just takes all of our words in quietly. Her expression hasn't changed all that much, although it might have gotten a bit more severe if I look really closely. She's also now placed her hand on her chin as she considers what she's being told. I notice off to the side that the blonde girl is also listening in, although I'm not sure how long she's been there for.

Finally, Kanako speaks. "I'm going to need a moment to consider this," She states calmly, already standing up from her spot at the table. "I will return shortly."

"Of course," Ringo answers calmly as we watch Kanako step out of the room.

I'm uh... Not sure how that went honestly. Kanako has a pretty good poker face. At the very least, she didn't immediately attack or try to capture us, and I didn't screw any of our explanation up. That's the worst cases out of the way. Probably.

[ ] Wait
[ ] Talk strategy with Ringo before Kanako gets back (Write-in here for anything specific)
[ ] That blonde girl is still around, right? Maybe she would be helpful to us...?
[ ] Leave now before Kanako gets back
>> No. 27352
[x] That blonde girl is still around, right? Maybe she would be helpful to us...?
>> No. 27353
[X] That blonde girl is still around, right? Maybe she would be helpful to us...?
>> No. 27354
[x] That blonde girl...

Suwako is the type to let us know if we need to bail, if only to spite Kanako.

And I'd say the meeting went as exoected: "Hi, we were send to kill you all, please help us to return to our home so we can try again"
>> No. 27355
[x] Wait

Gotta keep up our own poker faces.


To be fair, the rabbits weren't ordered to purify all of Gensoukyou. They've mentioned that several times now.
>> No. 27356
[X] Wait

I wonder how she'll take the news.
>> No. 27357
File 148428443662.png - (1.05MB, 888x1243, would've made nice negotiations.png) [iqdb]
[X] That blonde girl is still around, right? Maybe she would be helpful to us...?

With Kanako out of the room for an unspecified amount of time, what I really want to do is take a moment to calm down. While her reactions had been rather muted, I don't think it's a stretch to say that we surprised Kanako with all of what we told her. It was at least enough of a shock that she needed to step away and compose herself for a bit. I guess that could be good or bad, and we won't really know which one until she gets back.

Anyway, like I said, what I really want to do here is calm down. Slump over, sigh, maybe thank Ringo for being appropriately serious, that kind of stuff. I can't really do any of that though, because we're still being watched at the moment. I should at least try to keep up the appearance of somebody trying to keep up the appearance of somebody that isn't really nervous.

The blonde girl from before elected to not join Kanako in leaving completely, and is instead leaned against one of the doorways leading deeper into the shrine, staring at us blankly. Well, maybe not blankly. She's not giving us the same lightly amused but mostly easygoing expression she had before, but she doesn't seem all that troubled by all of the things she heard from us either. Her face is just a little bit more serious, and maybe a little bit more interested in us than she was before. I guess that at least makes her better off than Kanako. That is, if I'm reading things correctly anyway.

I stare back at her. I'm not really sure how else I should react. We don't even know who this girl is! Kanako didn't say anything about or to her when they both came back initially, and didn't seem to mind the girl poking in and out during our conversation either. When you combine that with what the girl herself said when we first met her, it's a pretty safe bet that she lives or is affiliated with this place in some way. With that being the case, I should probably avoid being rude to her. Not that I make it a plan to be rude to anyone, but it might be slightly helpful to be nice to this particular girl.

I break our (totally unintended) staring contest by reaching up and giving her a wave with my hand. I'm trying not to look very awkward here, but I'm not so sure that I'm pulling it off right. Hey, in my defense, I'm still nervous about the rest of the situation. That's reasonable right? At least I'm putting in an effort to be friendly.

The small girl smirks at me in response, then casually strides across the room, making a direct path toward Ringo and I. Well sheesh, if you're so willing to act like you own the place, why did it take you so long? What were you worried about? "So," She starts before she's even finished sitting down at the previously unoccupied spot at the table. "You guys sure aren't making this easy," She declares, sticking her legs under the table then leaning back with a relaxed posture.

I'm pretty sure I don't like the sound of that. Well, this is a difficult situation for us too, but we were hoping things would get easier by getting help, not harder for everyone involved. "What do you mean?" I ask, keeping even.

"Kanako," The girl immediately responds, tilting her head slightly toward the door Kanako had left through. "I've been trying to slow her down with the whole shady deals and secret plotting stuff for a while now, then you guys show up and plop something like this right down in her lap. I guess we're done taking it easy for a while."

That's... Interesting. Mostly because of the way the girl was talking. It made it sound like she had more ability to influence Kanako than what I would expect. Why is the goddess here listening to a little girl about what to do? Who actually is this? "Err, well I'm sorry miss..."

"Suwako," The girl answers my question before I have to ask it. Nice. "And if I were you, I'd save the sorries and see how much you're still feeling like giving them out later," Suwako smirks at us.

Ringo and I share an awkward glance. That kinda makes it sound like we made the wrong choice coming here. No stop, I don't need to get more nervous! "So she's gonna be that tough, huh?" Ringo asks awkwardly.

"Well maybe, maybe not," Even though I'm sure she can see our concerns growing, Suwako remains pretty laid back about things. "I don't know everything Kanako'll try and push you into, but I have some idea what I'd do if I were her. Even if it ends up not being too tough on you, your bosses probably aren't gonna like it."

So Kanako has some kind of business with the capital that we can't do ourselves, and Suwako knows about it. There's more than one surprising part of that idea, but I don't think Suwako's lying or just trying to mess with us. "Command's already not going to like it that we're asking for help," Ringo laughs, slipping back into her more normal tone. Either Suwako's attitude is disarming her or she's just acting like that's what's happening. Either one works for me. "What's one more offense on the heap?"

"Point, but this is a bit of an older issue. Some ancient feud that nobody would want to deal with when they were already under attack," Suwako responds as if she's relatively uninterested in the whole thing, but she still bothered to bring it up. "But then, you'd be hard pressed to find any powerful people down here that don't have some kind of bad blood with the Moonies. If you looked at your options and decided on Kanako, I'm not gonna tell you it's a bad choice."

"But you're not saying it's the best choice either," Ringo points out.

"Caught that one, did you?" Suwako giggles. I think it was pretty obvious honestly. "Well it doesn't matter much what I think. This is business, so it's between you two and her. My opinion? Now that she knows that something's up, even if you want to walk away and she lets you, she's gonna get her nose in the situation. You can't keep her out of it now."

I give Ringo another uncomfortable glance. That doesn't sound good. We don't even know if she's willing to work with us yet, but I'm already feeling pressured away from backing out. I guess we were asking for this by coming here, but it does make things feel a little bit more complicated. Now that we've revealed ourselves to someone, we can't just go back to being a secret anymore.

"Well that's just Kanako. It's what she does," Suwako still doesn't sound worried about anything. I guess she doesn't have to be, even if I am. "You stick her in a situation, and she'll find a way to make it work for herself, Sanae, and me. Not necessarily in that order either. You guys are on the other side of the negotiating table, so she's gonna push you as hard as she thinks you'll go and then some."

"But then she must expect us to push back," Ringo reasons.

"Yup, and that's business," Suwako nods in agreement, folding her arms across her chest. "Not my scene, but then that's what I keep Kanako around for," She giggles again. The way she talks seems surprisingly mature, if a little bit too casual, but the giggling kind of ruins it.

A few moments later, I hear the sound of footsteps coming into the main shrine room. All three of us look up at the doorway to see Kanako returning, still keeping her purposely neutral face. "Suwako," She says, regarding the small girl evenly. "I don't believe I asked you to take part in negotiations for my sake. That's not necessary," Well that's a really roundabout way of saying 'go away' if I've ever heard one.

"No, no you didn't," Suwako continues to take things in stride. "If anything I asked you to do it for me. I could have taken them and talked to them myself. Heck, maybe then that one," She pushes her arm out and points toward me, though I mostly just see her overly large sleeve instead of a finger. "Wouldn't look like she's gonna freak out and start panicking soon."

I don't look like that!... Probably. Okay, I'm nervous, fine. I've said it enough times already. I really need to work on keeping my face from betraying my feelings all the time.

"Regardless, I can handle this without your assistance," Kanako insists, walking over to the table and looking down on Suwako. The massive height difference would be intimidating if it were me, but Suwako seems used to it.

"Hmmmmmm~" Suwako tilts her head so far that I'm not even sure how her hat stays on her head. "Fine. I'll be out at the lake. Tell Sanae to come get me at dinner if she comes back by then," She decides, springing up from her seat and walking toward the far door. Once she reaches it, she turns back and calls something else to Kanako. "Oh yeah, and I know what you're going to try and get out of this, don't act like it's a big secret!"

Kanako flinches slightly and forces a grimace off of her face, but otherwise doesn't react. She instead sits back down in her old seat. I guess the discussion is starting back up.

"Now then, there were a few clarifying questions that I wanted answers to before beginning a negotiation at length," Kanako launches into things, seeming to compose herself as she starts talking. I guess Suwako threw her off slightly, but now she's getting down to business. "You said that your mission was to purify an area of Gensokyo for some future purpose. I need more information about that mission. More specifically, how much area, for what purpose, what was the timeframe involved, and how did purification work?"

"Our mission was poorly defined to us as well, if I'm being honest. We were merely given orders, not specifics," Ringo also gets back into her serious mode. If she's so good at switching between attitudes, how come she's always so laid back when we're with the unit? "We were told that we were going to be clearing enough area for a vacation home of unspecified size," I can see Kanako raising her eyebrow and feel a little bit embarrassed, but Ringo continues whether she notices or not. "We began during late summer, though we don't know the actual date. I don't even know what date it is right now honestly. That's an Earth calendar thing. As for how it all works, we don't really know that either. The drone took care of everything, we just watched it."

"Ah yes, the drone," Kanako leans forward slightly over the table. "That was my next question. I am currently in possession of your drone, though I previously did not know it's owner. I was going to send it away for a more in-depth investigation by top minds, however I would be interested in hearing what you know of it first."

"It is a Lunarian mechanical purification spider probe," Ringo quickly rattles off the full name that we never really use. "None of us rabbits down here are well versed in the technical details to go much beyond the basics. It was controlled remotely by Command. It takes in impurities from the environment and removes them. It also removed some kind of impurity from the five of us rabbits, which allowed us to be invisible to impure Earth youkai."

"Interesting," Kanako considers the possibilities for a moment. I'm really hoping that she doesn't draw the conclusion that we used our invisibility to spy on her. We did a little bit, but I don't think it was an unreasonable amount. Heck we were here so little that we had never even seen Suwako before. It's not like we were being creepy or anything! "So then how were you discovered if you were invisible?"

"Reisen found us somehow," I answer, feeling like I need to move away from the implications I was just thinking of. I hope she knows who Reisen is. "I don't know how exactly, she just showed up five days ago, damaged the drone, and took our portal back to the capital. She was in there for hours, then left just as suddenly as she showed up. The next time we looked at it, the portal didn't work anymore and we couldn't contact Command."

"But you mentioned some of the circumstances around what your home is currently facing," Kanako says, the question she's implying is obvious.

"We've been able to talk to Reisen since then," I explain further. "She was sworn to secrecy on a lot of the details, but still told us that the capital is hidden away in the Dream World and under attack by... Something," I finish lamely. We don't actually know all that much.

"I see," Kanako pauses for a bit to take everything in. After an uncomfortable minute (maybe it just feels that long) of silence, she continues. "That isn't quite the level of detail that I had hoped, however I suppose I can only expect so much information to be handed down through your chain of command. You are merely soldiers tasked with the field work."

"As much as we may or may not like it," Ringo jokes, letting her less serious nature show a little bit.

"And I should hope that you do not," Kanako's voice grows much less even and businesslike. Oh no... "Purification may indeed be seen as a positive thing where you come from, but here it is equivalent to killing the land and its people. That you were complicit in a plan to purify any amount of Gensokyo can be seen as nothing less than a direct attack against the Earth itself. If I were more direct like some of my competition, I would have punished you for your crimes by force the instant you revealed yourself," Oh no oh no oh no. Don't kill us. Should we run now? We might get a head start if we go before she attacks. How far are we from the nearest exit? No, not that way, that would only take us deeper into the building and we wouldn't know where to go. Maybe if we...

"But...?" I feel Ringo's hand grabbing mine under the table as she talks. Ah... Was I panicking too visibly? Damn it.

"But I am not as simple minded as that," Kanako finishes, and I feel myself slump in relief, even though I know I really shouldn't. Ringo keeps hold of my hand, but I don't really mind that right now. "As you already alluded to, there should be some kind of deal that allows all parties involved to gain something. We merely need to negotiate that deal. So let's begin. I am capable of assisting you in the ways that you requested, however I have several conditions for doing so."

Ugh, if she already had conditions figured out, why go through the intimidation thing? I was scared. "Let's hear them," Ringo says calmly.

Kanako nods before launching into a clearly prepared request. "First, before or during the resolution of your capital's situation, I will be given an audience with an authority figure of your government. There is a long standing issue that I need to work through with them, and you don't need to be involved in that any more than setting up the meeting."

This must be the bad blood situation that Suwako mentioned. It sounds like she doesn't want to go into detail, and I'm not sure if pressing her on it would be a good idea.

"Secondly," Kanako continues. "Up to and during your return to your capital, you will follow my orders and cooperate with me. I have tasks that you will see to, both for my convenience and to aid your eventual trip."

So we're basically going to be grunts for Kanako instead of Command. It's probably not that big of a change for us honestly, although the specifics will obviously be different. I don't think Yuzuki will be happy about it though.

"Third, regardless of whether you back to the Moon directly or through the Dream World, Sanae will accompany you. She will act as a direct agent of myself during that time, and orders coming through her can be considered orders from me."

Okay, so I guess that Kanako wants to keep us directly on a leash so we don't try to bail on her once we've gotten our way back, but doesn't want to come along herself. I kinda wonder if Sanae would agree with this, but I don't know her well enough to make that call.

"Lastly, your drone, portal, and any excess non-personal lunarian equipment will remain here with me and my associates for study," Kanako says, just from her tone, I believe that's the last of her conditions.

Ouch, I figured the drone was a lost cause, but the portal and all of our equipment? I don't personally care about any of that stuff, but Command is going to pitch a fit if we agree to that.

"And in exchange," Ringo continues where Kanako left off, seeming to take the list of terms without flinching. I can't pretend to do the same. I'm honestly feeling a little bit apprehensive about things. "You will assist us in either providing us with a way to return to the capital, or shelter to keep us safe when we don't return."

"If those are your terms and you agree to mine, then yes. That is the deal as it stands. The specifics of how we accomplish that will need to be worked out, but I already have at least one plan for how we could go about getting you to the Moon," Kanako sits back, folding her arms proudly over her chest. "What do you say?"

Ringo turns and gives me a questioning look. Well, Suwako did say that Kanako would try to push us pretty hard, and I'm definitely feeling it here. Maybe we could give a little push back and still accept the deal. If we even want to accept it at all.

[ ] Accept the deal as is
[ ] Accept the deal, but try to negotiate one of the terms away
- [ ] Don't get Kanako an audience with Command
- [ ] Don't get stuck following all of Kanako's orders
- [ ] Don't bring Sanae along
- [ ] Don't leave Lunarian technology behind
- [ ] The drone
- [ ] The portal
- [ ] The other equipment
[ ] Don't accept the deal

Some things are more or less negotiable than others.
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