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File 14900702981.jpg - (155.54KB, 850x826, Everybody knew.jpg) [iqdb]
27514 No. 27514
Previous Thread: >>27257

[X] Sumi was with Ringo the whole evening, and might be in a better mood to talk

Honestly, I kinda wanna go to bed right now. That's not really because I'm tired though. If anything, I'm still pretty energized from going on a successful date. If I were to go to bed, it'd probably take a while for me to fall asleep. I'd be busy thinking about a lot of different stuff, most of it spider girl related. Even after having such a long day, I'm still pretty wired, it's just that the situation I'm in right now is tempering that enthusiasm a bit.

Really, this whole thing is a bit beyond my ordinary social pay grade. People that I know are being weird and acting strange and I can't help but feel like it's all my fault. I don't know how I'm supposed to maneuver myself out of it either. That's also a bit too high level for me and my social issues. All I know is that I have to do something. That doesn't help that much, but it does make it so I can't go to sleep. I have to figure this stuff out.

Okay. "I'll try to take care of it," I say to Yuzuki, exuding confidence like only I can. Turning toward the hallway with all the bedrooms, I realize there's a slight problem in me actually pulling that off. I don't know where exactly I'm going. Definitely don't want to knock on somebody else's door by mistake. "Err, which rooms were ours again?"

"The room Sanae originally showed us was four doors down and to the left on the first floor," Wait, there's more than one floor of dorms? I guess if anyone would know that, it'd be Yuzuki. Sanae didn't mention it though. "Ringo is one room further down the hallway from that."

Okay, that's one down. "And Sumi?"

"The next one after that," Yuzuki says, giving me an unimpressed look. "You know that Sanae already told us that, right?"

"R-right," I've kinda had a lot of other things on my mind. Probably a few more than Yuzuki has, but whatever. I'm not annoyed or anything. "I'll talk to her first," I decide.

Yuzuki raises an eyebrow, but doesn't stop giving me that look. "Not Ringo? I'm actually a little worried about her, while Sumi appears to be completely fine."

"That might be true," I admit, although Yuzuki is going off even less information than even I am. "I'm honestly not sure what exactly to say to Ringo right now though. It's partly because I'm not used to how she's acting but also because I don't even know what's wrong. Sumi knows, and she should be able to explain the situation to me before I screw anything up," Screw anything up even more, that is.

"Oh so you're involved as well," I think Yuzuki probably already expected that, but I just confirmed it for her. "Did you guys all have a fight or something? Is that why you were late getting back?" She asks, then quickly reconsiders before I can answer. "Wait, no. That doesn't seem right either. Not with these reactions."

She's kind of right? "I don't know what we had to be honest," Sumi and Ringo were kind of fighting but it was about me and then they got over it only Sumi was still kind of mad and... Ugh. "Sumi knows though, so it's probably best to have it explained to me as bluntly as possible as soon as possible."

"Hmm. Good luck I suppose," Yuzuki doesn't look at all satisfied, but there isn't much she can do to help the situation with only my vague explanations. "Even if neither of us know what's going on, it seems like you're more equipped to deal with it than I am. All I can do is hope it all works out."

I answer with a nod. The support is appreciated, even if it isn't much. I just need to remind myself that we're all trying to work together. Even if there's some kind of disagreement going on right now, we should be able to work through it for the sake of staying alive. Everyone here is reasonable enough for that to be true. At least most of the time. As far as I know anyway.

A few doors down the hallway later, I'm standing in front of the door to the room that Sumi apparently took possession of. I don't really know what I'm going to say, and it's kind of hard to plan anything either. What if Sumi gets mad at me? She doesn't do that to me specifically all that often, so I'm not good at dealing with it. Well... Whatever. I reach up and knock on the door a couple of times. "Yo, what's up?" Okay, she sounds normal at least.

"Hey Sumi, it's me," I try to be loud enough that she'll hear me through the door, but not loud enough to bother any people in any other rooms. Luckily, I shouldn't have to say much. Sumi obviously knows my voice, and will easily be able to hear anything I say with her powers.

There's a slight pause and a few light footfalls before Sumi's door swings open. She's still wearing her normal shirt and helmet, but appears to have swapped out her camo pants for some more comfortable athletic shorts. I guess it is pretty warm down here, she's lucky she packed something less bulky to sleep and/or exercise in. "Oh hey, you actually did make it back," Alright, she still sounds normal. Not upset at all. Good. "And here I was thinking you'd be out all night, if you know what I mean."

"Um, like a sleepover?" Sleeping over at Yamame's? Putting aside the possible rule breaking involved, that would be pretty irresponsible. We've still got work tomorrow morning!

"With how that girls body was looking, I don't think she would have let you sleep so much," Sumi has a big smirk on her face again. Wait, is this another innuendo? "But yeah, something like that. No, but seriously though," She adds before running her hands down an imaginary body in front of her, making hugely exaggerated bumps in a few places before stopping down at the... Hey! "Like, goddamn!"

"Whawhawha-!" I quickly grab at Sumi's hands to stop her from continuing the gesture. Don't talk about Yamame like that! Her butt isn't that big! Okay, well, maybe it's kind of close, but still! Yuzuki is still around, and is going to notice motions like that! She might even still be within earshot.

Sumi is now obviously laughing out loud at my reaction. Wow, and here I thought I would be able to not be embarrassed for the rest of the night! "You are gonna be an endless source of fun from now on, aren't you?"

So she's just going to tease me forever now? Ugh. Let me just try and force her back on topic. "Sumi, stop it. I need to talk to you seriously!" I hiss, still trying not to be too loud, even though Sumi herself doesn't seem to have the same consideration.

"So go ahead," Sumi answers with a shrug, easily pulling her hands out of my grip. "I haven't said you can't."

In the hallway? Anybody we don't know could hear us. That's not acceptable. "Well... It's about Ringo so..." Although I can't actually see her from here, I glance back in the direction of Yuzuki meaningfully.

Sumi looks where I'm looking, then gets a slightly annoyed expression on her face. I don't know whether it's my obvious attempts to keep the situation away from anyone else, or me bringing up something the fight she had with Ringo earlier, but she's clearly not that happy about it. It might be both things actually. After an uncomfortable moment, she relents. "Fine, we can keep it quiet," She turns back toward her room, swinging the door open further. "Come on in, and don't mind the mess. I'm still getting settled."

Sumi hasn't so much unpacked her bag as she has dumped the contents randomly on one of the beds. I can see a spare handgun, some changes of clothes, some pre-packaged food, ammo, some small electronic devices, bits and pieces of survival gear, and a bunch of other stuff all heaped together in a pile. You know, given how much a fuss she made about not wanting people to look through it, Sumi really doesn't seem to have taken much care with the contents of her bag.

"I'd offer you a drink, but we were too broke to even get the cheapest kinds all night," Sumi says casually as she shuts the door to the room. Okay, we should have some amount of privacy now. "And believe me, the cheapest stuff down here is reaalllly fucking cheap. Bit of a shame really."

I have never been more glad that all five of us are still out of money. That's one crisis averted due to lack of funds at least. "Err, alcohol isn't allowed in the power plant," Did Sanae tell her that part?

Sumi lets out a fake gasp as she walks over to her bed (or at least the one all of her things has claimed) and starts gathering her possessions up. "Oh no! If I got kicked out of here, then I would have to go to the kickass city or bum around gensokyo some more! What a horrible punishment! I'll be sure to avoid getting shitfaced at the thousands of bars that are less than a half hour away from here."

Okay, I guess it wouldn't have mattered even if Sanae did tell her the rules. Should have expected that. "You know if you got kicked out you would still be broke."

"Not for too long," Sumi still sounds unconcerned while she picks up and sniffs at one of her shirts. If that thing wasn't clean already, why did you bring it? "I talked to some people last night and made some contacts. Could set myself up with a sweet deal if we didn't have to get back to the Moon," She explains, finishing up with packing most of her things back into her backpack. She picks the whole thing up and slings it over a shoulder, then gestures to the now empty space. "Anyway, sit."

I'm a little curious about what all she's talking about, but that isn't exactly what I came here for. I guess I should just sit down then. You know, there's another bed that would have worked just as well, I'm not sure why Sumi needed to clean up for me. Whatever. "So about Ringo..." I start awkwardly once I've sat down.

Sumi takes a deep breath. "Ringo has been into you for years, from before I even knew you guys. It started some time back in basic, I dunno. Anyway, instead of saying anything to you about it, she's been trying to keep things subtle in the hopes that you'd eventually come around on your own. 'Course, you obviously had zero interest in anyone the whole time we were back on the Moon, and your own issues with the powers and stuff kept you from getting close to anyone. Which means that nothing fucking happened between you guys until today."

"W-wait..."

"So obviously, I called her out on her BS ages ago because I could see the signs from a mile away. I've been around a bit more unruly behavior than the average rabbit, so it's not that hard for me, but Ringo wasn't really being that subtle. Hell, Chi knows about it without me having to tell her too, and I wouldn't be surprised if even Yuzuki had caught on at some point, not that I'd talk to her about this kinda stuff. You're just a little too innocent and a little too used to Ringo to put two and two together and actually notice it, but that ain't your fault. Ringo was being an idiot and just figured eventually you would figure it out. I kept telling her she was dumb but she wouldn't listen. Personally if I had been crushing on a girl like you I woulda just grabbed you and kissed you out of nowhere. Fuck subtlety. You're not gonna get it any other way, and you'd probably go along with it once the feelings were out in the open."

"H-hold on."

"But that was Ringo's fuck up to orchestrate. She made that pretty clear to me in various different ways. It pisses me off how wimpy she's been about the whole thing, but I let it go. My rationalization was that as long as things end up the same, which Ringo kept telling me they would, I could accept it. You both deserve to be happy, and I figured you would be once Ringo got it together enough to finally pop your cherry or whatever the metaphor is for making sweet sweet girl love."

"Sumi."

"But of course it should have been obvious that Ringo was caught up making dumb assumptions. 'Oh, sure, as soon as she decides that she wants to romantically pursue anyone, of course it'll be me that she turns to. I'm her best friend, and we've been together for so long that it should be easy to make the adjustment to dating'. Isn't that the shittiest nice guy sorta crap you've ever heard? Hey Ringo, if you just sat the fuck down and actually talked to this girl once in the decades you've known her, you could clear all of this up in like, six minutes! Boom. Over. Done. Fucking idiot."

"S-Sumi!"

"So that goes on for however long and we finally end up down here. I dunno if it's something they put in the water or the air or whatever, but living down here seems to be making me hornier to some degree. I'm okay with it and can take care of it, but I don't know if it's just me or what. You can't just go up and ask the people in this group something like that. They all avoid the subject. Can't talk honestly even when there isn't any more judging to be done between us. We've known each other for DECADES. Fucking. HELL. Anyway, then I'm thinking I might be the only one that's fucked up. Got stir crazy from prison or something. Dunno. I'm actually getting worried about, like I'm thinking maybe the whole impurity thing is actually a real thing. Moonbitch propaganda machine strikes again. But then this morning I see you and Ringo together and I'm like fuck yeah! Something actually pushed you two to go at it. It's not just me that feels like this!"

"That wasn't-"

"And yeah, it turns out you guys weren't actually fucking or anything, but it was still a big deal. Ringo told me she actually got you comfortable enough to sleep next to her without medicine, which is a pretty big deal considering your whole issue thing. So I'm still like, okay fine. Ringo's helping you out with something that I know you need help with, and is gonna make a move soon. Hopefully it'll actually fucking work and we can stop all pretending that we don't know about it and you guys can have fun and be happy together or you can let Ringo down and we can all move the FUCK on. FINALLY."

"..."

"So then we go out tonight and I figure hey, maybe I'll leave the two of you alone for a while. Ringo can make her move then and I can find shit to do on my own in the mean time. You don't show up, Ringo starts getting nervous, I try to shrug it off and salvage the evening and then BAM. EVERYTHING THAT I WARNED HER ABOUT HAPPENS RIGHT THEN. You're out with a pretty lady, having fun without the rest of us. Ringo STILL doesn't say anything. She just turns around and leaves. What the fuck?" Sumi stops pacing back and forth across the room and turns to the nearby wall. "WHAT THE FUCK RINGO?" She smashes one fist against it, then lets out a quick sigh. "Anyway, it's not your fault at all. You didn't do anything wrong. Ringo was being stupid and wouldn't listen to anyone, something that's supposed to be my job. Now she doesn't know what to do when her stupid decisions have caught up to her. Any questions?"

"Uh-Ummm," Now that Sumi's finally stopped ranting for long enough to let me talk, I'm finding that I have no idea what I want to say. Ringo likes me in that way? Okay well... That's not... The most difficult thing to picture I guess. It's not really something that I've thought that much about before though. I just wasn't somebody who wanted to break the rules, and didn't have that much personal interest in dating. Now that I care less about the rules from back home, thinking about being with Ringo makes me feel... I don't know. This is too sudden.

"Hey, you okay?" Sumi does look genuinely concerned at how lost in my own thoughts I am.

"'m fine," I mumble out. "What happened after that though? Between the two of you?"

"Oh, that," Sumi plops down next to me on the bed, apparently not planning to go into another rant. That's probably for the best. With how she was pacing and waving her arms around during that speech, I was worried she was getting legitimately angry. Maybe she was. "We looked around for a while, but I couldn't really stop telling Ringo off. I was pissed. Not the best recipe for a fun night, so obviously Ringo starts getting more and more sour as things go along. Combine that with this weird feeling that we were being watched and I decided to call it there."

"Wait, being watched?" Who would even be watching two random rabbit youkai walking around the city aimlessly?

"Yeah, it was weird. Ringo said she didn't notice anything, but I don't think she was paying much attention at that point. She was in a bad mood that was getting worse. I would have tried tracking the voyeur or whatever down, but I didn't know what to listen for," Sumi shrugs. "So I just suggested we head back, Ringo agreed, and we did. Ringo locked herself in a room and hasn't come out since."

Okay. Alright. So that's Sumi's story, as long and off the cuff at as it was. Let me try to get my thoughts in order a little bit.

Ringo likes me. Okay... Let's put that specific thing aside for now.

The reason she's upset is that she had the entirely wrong approach, and didn't realize that I was actually open to the idea of dating until it was too late. Maybe I should have said something? No wait. Sumi said I didn't do anything wrong. My own guilt aside, she's probably right. How could I have known that Ringo liked me? I'm not good at this innuendo stuff. If she never told me then obviously I wouldn't have known. Heck, I barely knew that Yamame was flirting with me when we first met, and she was apparently being really obvious! This isn't my fault.

But I still feel bad about it.

I obviously don't want Ringo to be upset or unhappy, and in this situation it's kind of up to me to figure out how to handle the fact that she is. Even though I didn't mean to make it happen, and I wouldn't have if I had known ahead of time, and it's kind of unfair that this is all stuck on me, it doesn't matter. Ringo's still sitting in a room, alone. Maybe if I leave her alone she'll work it out for herself. That's entirely possible. She's mature, probably more than I am. She should know how to bounce back from stuff like this.

I just don't know if I can count on that though.

Well, at the very least, talking to Sumi like this has let me know what's going on. Even if I'm not sure what to say about Ringo's feelings at this very moment, I can at least start thinking about it before suddenly having to talk to her. Like I was thinking before, we're all on the same team here. Sumi's brutal honesty was just her way of trying to help me out. I'm sure she would help more if she could too, it's just that I have to decide what I'm doing on my own right now.

[ ] Go talk to Ringo
- [ ] Give her a chance too
- [ ] Let her down gently
- [ ] I'm just not sure yet
[ ] Talk to someone else
- [ ] Ask Sumi for advice
- [ ] Ask Yuzuki for advice
[ ] Go to sleep
- [ ] Take a pill and sleep in this room near Sumi
- [ ] Take a pill and switch rooms with Yuzuki
- [ ] Sleep in the common area and hope it doesn't bother anyone

I liked writing this update. Sumi is fun.
196posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 27935
[x] Take spoke to the base right now

Ow, my heart...
>> No. 27936
[x] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.

It was the right thing to do, but it looked like a rejection more than anything else.

By god, I'm going to prove her wrong.
>> No. 27937
[X] Look for Yuzuki. She's the reliable one. I'm sure she'll be able to help get everyone back to the plant safely.
>> No. 27938
My insulin! Where is my insulin!?

[x] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.

We're going to have to give Yuzuki that explanation soon though. Very soon.
>> No. 27939
[X] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.
>> No. 27940
[x] Look for Chiyo. She was also drunk, so taking her and Ringo back to the plant now may be for the best.
>> No. 27941
[X] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.

Ouch... knew this was coming, but that didn't make it hurt any less.
>> No. 27942
[X] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.

This option feels like the most in-character one right now, to me at least.
>> No. 27943
I think I am developing a sleeping problem and it is not doing nice things to my writing. I will delay by a day again, unfortunately. I have a decent portion written here, but am not thinking of a good point to end it on with my sleepless brain.

I'm going to bed.
>> No. 27944
File 149679049268.jpg - (119.44KB, 1200x746, Keeps on passing.jpg) [iqdb]
27944
[X] Take Ringo back to the plant right now. I don't want to deal with anyone at the moment.

You know what? I'm just gonna go. I mean, I like everyone here well enough, sure, but even I can eventually get to a point where I just don't want to deal with anyone. That point is apparently right now. After an awkward and rather... Difficult situation with Ringo. It's one that I really don't know how to succinctly explain in my brain, so I definitely can't explain it to someone else either. That's kind of the problem right there. Sanae just saw what was going on, and she's a pretty curious person from what I can tell. She's going to want to know what was going on. Yuzuki probably has the same desire too. She's going to be aware of the physics of what happened between me and Ringo, so I'd have to explain stuff to her as well. Chiyo might be safe, if still somewhat drunk, but then I'd have to find her, which could mean running into someone else too, so...

Yeah, no. I'm going back underground to the plant. It's not exactly going to be easy to do by myself, but I'll manage. It's better than the alternatives.

Okay, let me think. Did I bring anything else down here?... No, I don't think so. Just the usual hammer. Hm, I'm going to have to carry that along at the same time as Ringo. There's going to be some maneuvering involved, but that's fine I guess. Being able to carry your fellow soldiers is something that you learn in basic. It may have been a while, but I know I can still do it.

Hm, although fireman's carry might be kinda uncomfortable. She's asleep, not injured. Piggyback should be fine, if a little bit difficult to keep balanced. Whatever, I'll be flying for most of the way anyway. Ringo might not be the fittest rabbit in the unit, but she's not exactly fat or anything either. I'm plenty strong enough to carry her back. She'd do the same thing for me, although, well, super strength and all that makes it not quite an equivalent deal.

Plus, I kinda doubt that we'd ever be in a situation where I'm drunk and she's not, considering her past behavior. Eh, whatever, it's the thought that counts.

I flip Ringo face up, then drag her up into a sitting position. I snake her arms over my shoulders and around my neck, then pull her legs up with my arms. She's surprisingly pretty out of it, and doesn't wake up during this process. How much did she drink anyway? Obviously more than she should have. That's twice in the past couple of days. I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure there are some health concerns there. Hopefully she knows what she's doing.

Experimentally, I try standing up. Ugh. Right, sleeping people aren't really paying attention to how they're carrying their weight, so they seem a bit heavier than normal. Unpleasant, but not unmanageable. If I hunch over a bit more, then I can just support her with my back mostly. It's not exactly perfect form, and also it makes me... I'll say uncomfortably aware of certain parts of Ringo's body, but I can work past that. This is doable like this.

Okay, okay. I'm good I think. I pull up my hammer and hook it underneath Ringo's behind. That should make it pretty easy to support her more evenly, and carry the hammer too. Just loop my arms over it then under Ringo's legs and... Yeah, this is an okay setup. I can do this. It might be a little hard to get through doors, but I just have to remember to turn a bit. Easy enough.

Alright, I look at the room and feel just a little bit bad about leaving something of a mess behind. Even if I'm not responsible for it, I still don't want to just leave the bottles of alcohol and food scraps behind like this. Ugh, maybe I should have thought of that before picking Ringo up. Whoops. Well, at least Yuzuki will probably clean everything up before she leaves, so we shouldn't end up being the absolute worst guests.

So speaking of Yuzuki, even if I don't want to face her directly, I should at least let someone know where Ringo and I are going so that we don't cause a panic. It should be possible to take care of that without having to talk. I just have to signal properly to get her attention... Err, also another thing that I probably should have done before picking up Ringo. Dang, I did not think this through completely, but I have an excuse of being more than a little bit frazzled right now. You know, the whole kissing thing and all that.

It takes me a little bit before I can safely drop one of Ringo's legs, then wave my hands wildly in the air. Standard Yuzuki signal. Rather than the normal follow up of pointing in front of me, I then jerk my thumb toward the door leading outside the shrine. Hopefully Yuzuki gets the point. That isn't exactly normal procedure. If I'm unlucky, Yuzuki might interpret it as wanting to meet her outside. I kinda doubt it though. I trust Yuzuki to figure out what's up... As long as she's not to occupied by video games still, that is.

Waddling out to the entryway gives me a good chance to adjust my movement, so I feel pretty confident by the time I make it out the main door of the building and out onto the shrine grounds. Yikes, it got quite a bit colder now that the sun has been down for a while. Sure, that's been the case most other nights back when we were at camp too, but back then we were nice and secure in our tents and cots. This is different, and is not going to be pleasant. I'll probably want to fly low and slow to keep from hitting too much wind. That'd be pretty uncomfortable for both me and my passenger. Honestly, I'm not sure if Ringo's going to stay asleep this whole time, but I can manage it either way.

I stumble in the air a little bit when I first take off, but quickly adjust to my new weight distribution.

Ugh, this is going to be a long trip back.

-

At the very least, being (technically) alone on this long flight does give me a lot of quiet time to just think about stuff. It's kind of therapeutic actually. Just flying through the sky on a clear, empty night. Nothing to do as I fly along in the general direction of my destination other than look at the Moon and think.

You know, it isn't really a surprising realization or anything, but the Moon is getting closer and closer to being full. That never really made me nervous back when I was up there, but here I am worrying about it now. I have a pretty good excuse, given the circumstances.

Anyway, it does make me wonder what's going to happen up there. If we can manage to free the capital from the dream world, will we be heroes? Will we be famous? I don't really know if I would want either of those things to happen. It's actually really weird to think about it though. What we're doing right now is actually huge. Succeeding or failing actually changes the very nature of the lunar capital's history. Even if we're just bumbling along, getting drunk, and having generally no idea what we're doing, all of that nonsense is still important, in a way.

So no pressure I guess.

Finding the correct mountainside hole is a bit easier than expected. Even without much light, I thankfully end up recognizing the area. Dropping down the pit is a bit easier than flying, and also has a bit more cover against the wind. Honestly though, even with the confidence boost of quickly finding the place, I am a little anxious. I've only made this trip once before, and we had a guide then. Need to be careful so that I don't miss the actual plant entrance. I know it's lit up specifically so that I won't do that, but I'm still worried.

Floating down the shaft, I kind of have to wonder about this whole Moriya shrine power plant setup. This whole place is elaborate, and kind of intimidating now that I know the extent to which it goes. Honestly, it seems pretty similar to the type of thing I would expect from a lunarian military installation. While I can understand wanting to bring science and technology to Gensokyo, why does Kanako see a need to keep it hidden like this?

It just makes it feel kind of shady. Maybe the public of Gensokyo doesn't actually want the advancement? The Moriya shrine itself clearly had electricity, but the human village clearly does not. Kind of makes me wonder which side wants that disconnect to continue existing. Kanako has been called a schemer plenty of times before from what I've heard, so I'd guess maybe the people in the village don't like that? Seems kind of unfair to me. Everyone at the shrine has been nothing but nice to us, even if I might not completely know all of Kanako's motivations for helping us.

Ah, there's the door.

Travelling down the staircase goes somehow even slower than the rest of the trip. I have to be pretty careful. I take up more space due to the way that my hammer is held out horizontally, so I can't just drop down the center shaft of the spiralling stairs carelessly. I want to make sure I don't get caught on a side and lose control or drop Ringo or anything, so I take it carefully and cautiously.

Although, that's really how I take most things, isn't it? Maybe that's part of the reason that things are like this right now. Now that I have some time to think about it, I was actually kind of scared about kissing Ringo. It just seems like such a mess that I don't know how I want to get into, so of course I would hesitate. It's just... Ugh. Really, I should probably stop dwelling on this. I made a decision, it's over, it's done.

It's just hard not to have my thoughts occupied by the girl currently snoring against my back. The girl who likes me. The girl who I made cry by not accepting her because I was too nervous and...

Ugh, stop. Stop feeling guilty. It doesn't help. Feels like I need to slap my forehead to get my thoughts back in line, but I don't really have the free hands to do that. Oh well, there's plenty of time to figuratively beat myself up if I can't do it literally.

... No, seriously. Stop it.

I come to the bottom of the stairwell, which spits me out right back into the main intersection, just like yesterday. Okay, just turn this way... It's not that much farther to get back to the dorm rooms. Just gotta keep telling myself that. Honestly I'm getting kind of worn down at this point. Am I out of shape? Okay, I don't know why I'm asking the question when I already know the answer is yes. It's not like I spend any time exercising.

...

Ugh, this is a lot tougher considering the stairs to the dorm are too tightly packed to just fly through. Gotta take each step with this girl still sleeping on my back... Almost there...

...

I feel some amount of relief when I finally make it all the way up to the common area. At least there aren't any stairs. Just a little bit more to go. Before I can make the last stretch of the journey though, I'm interrupted by a voice calling out behind me.

"Yo, it's about damn time. I thought you guys might have just ditched me for good or something. " Ah, right. Sumi. She'd gone off on her own hours ago. I don't know whether to be glad that she's back here, or annoyed that she's obviously going to want an explanation for... "Err, what's up with Ringo?" Yup, there it is.

You know, as far as I can recall, Sumi was the one who ditched us to go off and do whatever, not the other way around. No real point in bringing it up though I guess. I doubt that she'd feel sorry about it, and having her with us, now that I know what did happen tonight, probably would have just made things worse. "We had dinner at the Moriya shrine," I answer back, turning around toward where Sumi's voice was coming from. It looks like she's just killing time in the sitting area. She's sprawled out on a couch, apparently not reading or doing much else of importance. "The goddesses invited us to drink afterward."

"Ah shit, and I missed it?" Sumi sits up, suddenly looking interested at the mention of alcohol. Kinda predictable really. "Damn, I would've liked to chill out with Kanako for a bit. Still need to thank her some more over the whole prison thing, you know?"

We already thanked her, and paid back our end of the deal, but I can understand the sense of gratitude somewhat. "You don't look particularly sad about missing it," I point out. She actually seems to be in a better than average moood.

"Well I had a pretty good evening myself too," Sumi answers vaguely, hopping up from her seat and strolling around the stairwell toward me. "Speaking of, how'd your guys' thing go? Good news?"

"Uh, kinda," Now that Sumi is right in front of me, I try to hunch over a bit less so I can look her in the eye properly. It's a little bit tougher to carry Ringo like this though... "Reisen's going to be looking for leads and stuff then giving them back to us. We're supposed to meet with her after work whenever we can and..." I shift the weight around a little more. Okay, this isn't working, and I don't know how long the conversation is going to continue. "Err, can I drop Ringo off first?" I awkardly break the conversation up to make a completely reasonable request, although Sumi just kinda looks at me like I'm being silly. "She's uhh... a little bit heavy," I elaborate.

Sumi smirks. "In more ways than one, right?" She laughs at the joke, but I don't really get it... Oh wait, she's talking about the liking thing again. Right. "Speaking of, you guys had a nice talk yesterday, right? Ringo said it wasn't any of my business, but I gotta know, anything nice happen between you two cuties?"

Oh, well I guess that proves that she wasn't actually listening through the wall. In a way, it's kind of surprising, since she totally would have been able to hear everything that Ringo and I said. Privacy between us rabbits is at a bit of a premium, but I guess it's easier to respect with actual rooms as opposed to tents.

So while I appreciate the thought of her not eavesdropping... Well the effect is kind of ruined when she just straight up asks me about the situation the next day. Or maybe she's only asking because it gives me the option of saying it's none of her business?

Ugh, no, even if I do that, it's going to keep coming up with the other rabbits and Sanae. Even my own brain keeps coming back to the subject. Maybe I should just get it out in the open. Whether or not I think anyone else's opinion would help, at least it would get rid of some of the pressure of keeping this whole thing a secret.

... It's not an easy conversation to imagine bringing up though.

[ ] This isn't anyone else's business. Take Ringo back to the room and stay there.
[ ] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.
[ ] Wait for Yuzuki and Chiyo to get back, tell everyone the truth at once and get it over with.
>> No. 27945
[X] Wait for Yuzuki and Chiyo to get back, tell everyone the truth at once and get it over with.

Like ripping off a band-aid, just get it done and over with.
>> No. 27946
[x] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.
>> No. 27947
[x] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.

Just kiss already
>> No. 27948
[x] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.
>> No. 27949
[x] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.
>> No. 27950
[x] Wait for Yuzuki and Chiyo to get back, tell everyone the truth at once and get it over with.

Yuzuki's suspicious already, and Chiyo's pretty chill, so why not?
>> No. 27951
[x] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.

In her own way, I feel like Sumi's the wisest in the group. At least when it comes to getting shit done. And she'll probably be pissed off if we don't at least put some trust in her, so there.
>> No. 27958
File 149698421359.jpg - (152.91KB, 799x1051, Feeling a little better.jpg) [iqdb]
27958
[X] Tell Sumi about what happened. Her advice may be a bit too direct, but even that has its merits.

"Something did kinda happen, yeah," I reluctantly admit. Something kinda major happened, and as much as I might like to just move on past it, I know that's not how things work. I'm aware of it, Ringo is probably not drunk enough to not be aware of it later, Sanae is aware of it, and Yuzuki probably is too. Talking is going to happen. There's no just sweeping this under the rug forever. "... I'm gonna drop Ringo off first, then maybe we could talk about it? It'll probably be kind of a long discussion."

Sumi, in her own way, really is helpful for this kind of thing. Even if I don't always appreciate the way that she expresses her opinion, sometimes it really is helpful to have someone who is going to be one-hundred percent direct about things. She explained things about Ringo to me in the most straightforward way possible, and it actually helped a lot more than hearing it from Ringo first, considering the latter probably would have been a lot more evasive about things.

Here's hoping that she'll be able to give a much more direct and simple solution to this, because... Ugh. I adjust Ringo as she starts sagging downward slightly.

"Sure thing," Sumi takes a step toward the dorm rooms, but pauses to look back at me before going any further. "Your room or...?"

Well at least Sumi had enough tact to realize I wouldn't want to have a talk out here, but I feel like the answer is still kind of obvious. "I'm dropping Ringo off in our room, and I don't really want to wake her up," I answer "I'll come by your room."

Sumi holds up one finger for a moment. "Riiight," She points it at me, apparently noticing how obvious that should have been. "Oh, actually, you go ahead. I need to do something," She walks off to the corner of the room. Well, alright, whatever. I carried Ringo all the way here, I don't need help going the tiny bit of remaining distance.

Shuffling back to the (new) door to my room, I do encounter some slight trouble. Even though I still have the room key on me, it's kind of difficult getting it out and using it while still holding up Ringo is just a little bit difficult. I do manage it, it's just that it takes an embarrassingly long time.

It's a pretty big relief when I can finally let Ringo drop onto one of the beds. Due to the weirdness of our sleeping arrangements yesterday, I'm not exactly sure whose bed is whose, so I'll just say the one closer to the door and leave it at that. Once Ringo's no longer on my back, I take a moment to stretch. Urgh, I am out of shape...

Anyway, once I'm feeling a little bit better, I turn back with the intent to make sure Ringo is all settled in too. She's obviously not in much of a condition to be taking care of herself after all. It's not like I want her to be uncomfortable or anything. Far from it really.

Okay, let's see here... Ugh, this is... I shouldn't feel so awkward about looking at Ringo like this, but it's just so unusual and weird. Her face is still somewhat flushed, her breathing slow and even, but you can tell pretty easily that she was crying semi-recently. Neither of us had made it much of a point to properly wipe up her tears, and I can't imagine flying through the sky immediately after she got done sobbing really helped matters. Her face is a bit of a mess. If she were awake, or if I was at a point where I felt like waking her wouldn't be a horribly awkward situation, I would tell her to get up and wash her face at least. Can't really do that though.

Instead, I just try doing a few more things that I think might be useful. I take her hat off, flip her over into what I'm pretty sure is a normal sleeping position for her, and put her under a blanket instead of just sitting on top of them. There, I guess that's something. About all I can do at the moment.

... I still feel guilty though. Like I can't stop thinking this is all my fault.

I catch myself sighing as I exit the room. Damn. And here I was trying so hard not to do that anymore.

Sumi's room is just one door down, so it's only a few steps. Not enough time to really think up how I'm even going to start this conversation. Knocking on the door only gives me a couple more seconds, as Sumi tells me that the door is unlocked immediately afterward. I just get to go right in.

"Yo," Sumi is casually reclined on her bed, leaning up against the wall. To her credit, she at least looks somewhat serious. She must know that this isn't going to be a really fun conversation. At least not for me.

"Hi again. Uh, did you finish your thing?" I ask, still kinda trying to stall for time even though I know it's pretty much worthless to do that.

"Almost," Sumi answer's pointing toward one of the desks on the other side of the room. "Gotta get you to drink it first."

I follow along with what Sumi's indicating and... Oh, right. That medicine stuff. She's set a glass out of the reddish brown liquid, as well as a plain glass of water.

"Figured you've been out and about for a while, so maybe you would need a pick me up," Sumi explains as I take a step over to the desk. "Also didn't want it to go to waste or anything. We bought it, so you might as well use it."

Well, I guess I can appreciate the sentiment, even if I'm not thrilled at the prospect of drinking more of this stuff. It's not exactly that I'm completely healthy yet, but I've been kind of too focused on other things to think about being sick all that much. "Err, aren't there usually some limits to how much medicine you should take in a day?" I ask, not really that concerned about the answer.

"Sure, yeah, usually," Sumi agrees. "But for this stuff... Hell if I know. It's up to you anyway. Drink it or don't. It's up to you."

I really don't want to, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't do it anyway. That's not exactly a unique feeling to have about medicine though. I guess it's best to just get it out of the way right now. If I can wake up tomorrow feeling not sick, at least that'll be something positive. I grab the glass of gross looking liquid, hold my breath, and...

...

Euuugh.

Fixing my face from looking completely disgusted takes a little while. Eventually I manage it and turn back to Sumi.

Sumi nods thoughtfully at me for a moment. "Alright. So. What the hell's the problem?" She starts off. Err, wait. T-that's rather sudden, isn't it? "Because obviously something bad happened."

"Uh, huh?" I respond intelligently.

Sumi scoffs slightly. "It's written all over your face girl. You feel like shit, took that gross stuff and didn't even wash it down afterward?" Well I mean, I was maybe going to, it's just that... "I'm thinking you're feeling pretty guilty about something right now."

Urgh. Of course. I wasn't even trying to hide it, so obviously Sumi would be able to notice how completely... Blegh I feel right now.

Okay well, I knew I would have to talk about this. There would be no point in bothering Sumi like this if I didn't. That doesn't really make it easier, it just makes it so I can't back down now. Take a deep breath and just go. That should work. "Well, Ringo started drinking after we all ate together at the shrine. Her, Chiyo, Kanako, and Suwako. Yuzuki, Sanae, and I were all off doing something else. When I came back in to check on them, everyone else got up and went various places," I'm skimming over a lot of unimportant stuff, purposely trying to keep myself from stalling more. "So Ringo and I were alone together. I didn't really think much about it at the time. We've been alone together a ton of times, but... I don't know. Maybe it was just her being drunk and not thinking, but... She tried to kiss me.

Okay, now Sumi is definitely interested. She sits up in bed, no longer slouching. "What the hell?" She actually sounds somewhat amused? "Just like that?"

I lean back against the desk and lower my eyes to the ground without really thinking about it. "Well, she didn't like, ask or anything, we were just kinda sitting around and she just... went for it," It felt like a lot more than that at the time, but now that I'm explaining it to someone else, I'm having some trouble using the right words for how off I felt at the time.

Sumi does a small half nod before frowning. "And from the way you're talking I'm guessing she didn't pull it off."

"Err, no..." Should I have? I'm still kind of unsure. Like I think I might have made the right decision but at the same time I feel like I need to justify it better. "I wasn't like comfortable with the situation. She was too drunk to do it normally and we were still in public and-"

"Seiran, you don't gotta explain this to me. I get it," Sumi takes a deep breath after cutting me off. She glances over at the wall connecting our rooms. "Ringo... She's a dumbass. Said it yesterday and I'll say it again today. I dunno how she keeps managing to cock this up so bad, but here we are again."

"No it's..." I try to stammer out some kind of explanation "S-she was drunk, so she wasn't thinking clearly. It's not like, really her fault... Not completely anyway."

"Nah, it's her fault," Sumi flatly refuses me. "It's a dumbass move. You don't tell a girl you'll wait for her answer then go in for the surprise attack later. You do one or the other and then let whatever happens afterward happen."

"You knew about that?" I didn't tell Sumi anything about what Ringo and I discussed yesterday. Did Ringo say something?

"Ringo wouldn't tell me when I asked, but it was a pretty easy guess that that's what happened," Sumi shrugs. "I'm not a huge fan of the slow approach, but it's better than the no approach she's been doing. Anyway, I think it would've worked if she had just waited for like, one more day or something. You woulda come around in your own time."

"Um, I would have?" I'm still pretty unsure on that bit.

"Honestly..." The word comes out more like a sigh than a word. Sumi shakes her head slightly, clearly deciding on something before she continues. "Alright, fuck it. Pop quiz time. You answer these questions with a true or false. No bonus points for explaining your answer, so don't bother. I don't care about the reasons or the extra stuff, I just want a yes or a no, alright?"

"Wh-what?" Quiz? "I guess so?" What's happening right now?

"Okay, good," Sumi keeps going despite my obvious cofusion. "Question one. You like being around Ringo, right?"

I'm pretty sure I can already see where she's going with this but... "Y-yeah, but-"

"But nothing," Sumi leans forward on the bed, looking slightly annoyed. "You said yes, that's all that either of us need to acknowledge. Just do the next question. You think Ringo's cute, right?"

Well, I can't really say no to that either, but it's kind of embarrassing to just answer that with a flat yes. "I-I mean-" Sumi exhales loudly through her nose to cut me off. O-okay, that's not a nice look. Okay, sheesh, I get it. "Y-yeah."

"Next, from what you said, it sounds like you weren't against the idea of kissing Ringo, you just didn't want to do it right then, yeah?" Urk. Okay, I wasn't really expecting this one.

I mean, this should be easy to answer. I had the same kind of thoughts a couple of different times. It's not really that I'm completely opposed to the idea. It's just that it's weird. This whole thing is weird. How do you reduce that to a yes or a no? If you're just going by the word for word question that Sumi asked it would be a yes, but I feel like there's a lot of context being skipped out on there so it's kinda hard to just say yes. "I, err I mean there was just so much going on that um-"

"Yes. Or. No," Sumi clearly emphasizes each word.

"... Yes."

Sumi finally leans back against the wall again. "See, I have a feeling we can go back and forth like this all night, but it'd be a waste of time," She folds her arms over her chest. "At this point you might as well just say it and get it over with. You like Ringo."

"H-hold on, t-that's-"

"That is not a big deal," Sumi continues off of what I said without missing a beat. "Just that fact? Who cares? It's not saying you're going to go fuck her right now, it's just one simple little fact. You just say it, then you can cut out a lot of the 'oh no what do I think, what should I do' bullshit. You can skip the quiz, turn it in early, test out of the class, I don't know, I'm not a good metaphor person," She throws her hands up in the air, apparently fed up with trying to be clever with her words. "I don't need them usually, because I think about things all direct-like. Not the point. Point is we're moving on to the last question. The only one that really matters in the end. Should be easy considering all the other ones. Do you like Ringo? Yes or no?"

Hold on, this is just a little bit... It's too much to just say something like that. I'm still confused and a little unsure. How can she just say that it's supposed to be easy? Yes, okay, it's easy to see where Sumi was trying to lead me with those other questions. I answered yes to all of them, but this one is kind of really embarrassing to agree to.

It's embarrassing... To who exactly? If I already know the answer, then I'm not fooling myself. If Sumi's already expecting the answer, then just admitting it doesn't really change anything as far as she's concerned. So who am I embarrassed over right now? Like I definitely am embarrassed, but I don't really know why. That's frustrating...

Maybe Sumi has a point here in just being direct about it.

Another deep breath, and- "Yes," I finally say, though I can't resist adding "To some degree."

"Boom, bitch!" Sumi says clearly, clapping her hands together. "How's that?"

That is something that I didn't really know I would have the guts to say out loud, sure, but that doesn't mean that I've actually made any progress toward... Whatever my goal here is. "Err, theres a little bit more to the problem than just saying that."

"Sure, sure, but you're never gonna make progress on any of the other parts without getting that out of the way," Sumi agrees. "I made you get over something that it would've taken you way longer to admit by yourself. That's the whole point of talking to me, right?"

"I'm not really sure," I admit. The entire goal here wasn't exactly clear, I just felt like I needed to talk to someone. Did this help? "Kind of. I was maybe hoping to get some more advice though so..."

Sumi settles down and looks a bit less triumphant. Instead, she smiles and pats a spot next to her on the bed. "Alright, sit down, relax, and ask away. We got time," She offers.

Well, okay. I do have a few concerns. At least it seems like Sumi is completely open to helping out.

[ ] What should I say to Ringo when she wakes up?
[ ] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward.
[ ] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
[ ] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[ ] Should I say anything to Yuzuki and Chiyo? I don't know what to say in that case but...
[ ] Sanae saw me and Ringo almost kissing. Talking to the other rabbits is one thing. A near stranger is way harder.
[ ] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
[ ] Something else (write-in)

Multivote away~
>> No. 27959
[X] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[X] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
[X] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.

Relationship Expert Sumi to the rescue!
>> No. 27960
[x] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward.
[x] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[x] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
>> No. 27961
[ ] What should I say to Ringo when she wakes up?
[ ] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
[ ] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[ ] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
>> No. 27962
[x] What should I say to Ringo when she wakes up?
[X] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward when she is drunk.
[X] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?

Are you guys still going on about Yamame? She has her own story.
Hell, the only reason stopping won was because Ringo was drunk.
>> No. 27963
[X] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward.
[X] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[X] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
>> No. 27964
>>27962
I don't see what any other story on this site has to do with what happens in this one.
>> No. 27965
>>27964
One character has a route. Another doesn't.
Easy.
>> No. 27969
>>27965
Guess no one should make a story about a character that already has one then. Oh wait, no, that's stupid as shit.
>> No. 27970
[x] What should I say to Ringo when she wakes up?
[x] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward when she is drunk.
[x] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
>> No. 27971
[X] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward.
[X] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[X] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
>> No. 27972
[X] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.
[X] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
[X] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
>> No. 27973
File 149733043243.png - (104.17KB, 366x600, Sumi had a nice evening.png) [iqdb]
27973
[X] Liking her is one thing, but I still feel really weird about actually going forward.
[X] You've gone out with girls and stuff before, right? What am I supposed to do in relationships?
[X] Should I stop sleeping in the same bed as Ringo? I feel like there might be some mixed signals there.
[X] I kind of like Yamame too and I don't really know like... How to handle that along with this.

I try to get my thoughts in order as I make my way across the room. I'm honestly a little bit exasperated with how hard Sumi was just pushing at me, but at the same time I know this is exactly what I signed up for. Someone who would be rough and to the point with me. Even though I don't like it, I'm hoping that it ends up being for the best in the end.

Of course, there's kind of a requirement there that Sumi knows what she's talking about, but I guess that's the risk I'm working with here.

I crawl on my knees onto the bed, then turn around to prop myself up against the wall. Sumi, sitting beside me, gives me a wide smile, though I'm not quite in a good enough mood to return it. I'm still thinking about things. That's probably not going to stop, even when I start talking, so I might as well just go. "Okay, well, you got me to say... That," I admit, still feeling just a little bit embarrassed about it. "But liking her is just one part of it. It doesn't make it easier to like, move forward."

Not that I know exactly what moving forward would be in this case. Sumi seems to have her own ideas, but is that what I really want? Possibly, but probably not. "Doesn't it though?" Sumi counters back, sounding proud of herself. "I'd call just answering that question honestly a step forward already."

Well... "Kind of?" I'm not exactly sure how you quantify progress without a measurable end goal.

"But it's fine if you're still thinking about stuff," Sumi continues on past my confusion, smiling as she throws an arm around my shoulder. "In fact, I think that's a good sign. You're thirsty for more to happen. You don't want to just sit around and let the situation settle. You want to do something, right?" She doesn't wait for me to answer before patting my on the back. "So there you go! Do that! Easy."

How is it easy!? Turning toward Sumi, I try to contain stop myself from making frustrated noises in response. No, use your words Seiran. "I... Don't know what that thing that I apparently want to do actually is," I stress. "And, like, trying to think about it just feels-I don't know, weird."

Sumi nods, puffing her cheeks out slightly. After a moment, she switches from nodding to shaking her head instead. "Honestly Seiran, don't bullshit me," What? "Saying it feels weird is just an excuse you're making. That's what I wanted you to get over by admitting you like Ringo. If it really felt too weird to even consider, you wouldn't have asked me for help. You wouldn't have felt bad about making Ringo stop, and you wouldn't be all worried about dating now after years and years of it not even entering your mind back on the Moon," Sumi quickly rattles off a bunch of stuff that I'm not prepared enough to counter. "You're interested, so stop trying to pretend that you're not."

I mean... It's kind of hard to argue with all of that without saying that I'm not interested, which isn't the case. I'm just trying to not say that I am interested, which... Okay, that's not very productive for anyone. "Okay, fine, yes," I admit, trying not to sound exasperated even though Sumi is just brashly walking over all of my hesitation and nervousness. "I am interested. In general," It should be okay to add that qualifier to it at least. "But I still have no idea what to do."

"Seems simple enough to me," Sumi shrugs. Yeah, saying that really doesn't help me much. If anything it's kind of irritating. "You just go up to her and ask her for a date. She'll take you up on it, and you can go from there."

A date, huh? I was just kinda on one last night, but it was someone else asking me out. If I had to be the one leading someone else around, especially when you consider I don't know much of anything about Earth... I mean, even before that problem, there's another one. "You kind of need to slow it down for me," I mutter out. "I don't really know how dates are supposed to work in the first place."

"How they're supposed to work?" Sumi repeats skeptically. "Girl, there aren't like, fuck police that are gonna come crashing through your door just because you don't take your bitch out to a fancy enough dinner," What is she even saying? "It seriously doesn't matter what you do, as long as both of you enjoy it."

"Yeah, but..." While that may be true (at least the second part, I still don't know what was up with the first bit) being vague really doesn't help me that much right now. "I still don't really-" Asking Ringo to go somewhere or do something wouldn't at all be out of the ordinary. What would make it a date as opposed to just us being friends? "I mean, you've been in relationships, right? What do you do in this kind of situation?"

Sumi gives me a flat expression. "No, I'm being serious. I just do whatever I think will be fun and make the other girl feel good," She answers. "Like with Yatsuhashi, since I'm seeing her right now," A quick realization comes to her face. "Oh yeah, did you know about that?"

"Err, yeah," I did see them cuddling and stuff. There have also been a few other youkai who have mentioned it, but I haven't actually got a chance to talk to Sumi about it yet. Actually, I'm pretty sure there are multiple things like that where I wanted to confront Sumi about an issue, only to get sidetracked away from doing so. Man, she really gets away with a lot of stuff. I kind of envy her in a weird way.

"Yeah, she's a cutie, right?" Sumi laughs, sounding pleased with herself again. "Anyway, couple nights ago when we first met, we just hung out with the rest of the musician youkai and talked about stuff, then broke off on our own when it was clear we were into each other. Nothing much happened, we just explored the mansion and talked about a lot of stuff. It was fun, at least, what I can remember of it."

Huh. "That just kinda," I pause, not wanting to sound rude. I'm already in the middle of the sentence though, so I kinda have to finish it. "It kinda doesn't really sound like a date?" Or at least not what I would think of as a date.

Sumi shrugs again. "Who cares? We both enjoyed ourselves, date or no date, it made no difference. We had fun and decided to meet back up again later," Urgh, I don't know what the exact distinction is either. It's just weird. "And then tonight we did. Still dunno if you'd call it a date, but I'd at least call us a couple of something or other."

"Wait, tonight?" So that's what Sumi has been up to?

"Yeah. Yatsu had her harp recital thing over at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She was nervous about it and wanted some support," Sumi explains, smiling as she remembers whatever happened. "Sucks that they didn't let me come in to hear it, so all I got to do was shoot the shit with the gatekeeper for a while until the time was up. Apparently it went well, but I still didn't let Yatsu go until she played for me too," Her grin gets a little bit more sly as she wiggles her eyebrows. "Then I played her a bit, if you know what I'm saying!"

"Err... No?" And stop nudging me like that.

"Yeah I'm just kidding anyway," Sumi laughs to herself as she quits poking at my ribs with her elbow. "We were hanging out with her sister and Raiko for most of the evening. They did pretend to leave me and Yatsu alone for a bit, but Benben was obviously still spying. I gave her a bit of a show, just to mess with her, but nothing serious."

I don't know exactly what she means by serious stuff as compared to not serious stuff, but I'm not sure that I want to know either. "So I guess things went well then?"

"Eh, pretty well. I'd still like to get together with her alone for a while, but whatever. We got time," Hm, Sumi says that, but we only have so many more days until we have to go back to the Moon. Although on the other hand, it's been obvious from the start where she stands on the stay here or stay on the Moon question, so I guess she's just expressing that.

"Right, so uh, anyway," I don't know if that really helped or not. "I guess calling it a date doesn't matter all that much?" I try to summarize the point Sumi was making. Was she making a point or did I just side track her into bragging instead?

"Pretty much. All you have to do is go somewhere and do something together while planning to get closer from it. That's it really. Don't get hung up on calling it a date," Sumi confirms for me. Okay, I guess that makes sense, even if it's easier said than done. "You can even swing it so it's just you and Ringo if you want. Just be upfront and I think everyone will understand. We'll give you as much space as you need."

Urgh, right, Yuzuki and Chiyo are still a bit of a concern too.

"And hey, if you want, I could probably hook you up with some tickets to a concert a couple of nights from now," Sumi continues on. Oh, Mystia mentioned that earlier. It sounds like her guesses about it were right on then.

"Um, I don't know yet," I respond. There's also that hot spring thing. Or I could even just take Ringo out to either the village or the underground city. I'm sure she would enjoy either one but...

Actually, how did this discussion get turned around from me refusing Ringo's advances to planning out my own? What the heck am I doing? Even though it feels like talking to Sumi is helping, I still feel so confused. Is it even helping in a way that I want help toward? Ugh.

"That's fine I guess. Just try to think something up soon if you're going to make a move, and if you aren't gonna make a move, let her down soon," Sumi suggests. It's still weird how casual she is about the idea of me either dating or rejecting Ringo. "Worst thing you can do is keep her guessing. That's how stuff like tonight happens. Or at least it does when you're a dumbass like Ringo," She chuckles a bit more, although I'm still not thinking that it was very funny. "Think about it this way. Ringo had some leeway in making anything happen because you were oblivious about her feelings. She was only stressing herself out before. Now? You don't get the same elbow room before somebody gets upset."

Okay, yeah, I really don't like the sound of that. It's still not exactly fair that I suddenly have to be the one making the decisions, but I can understand what Sumi is saying. She wants me to be clear and straightforward. Of course she does. This is Sumi we're talking about. "So then I guess I should stop like, sleeping in the same bed as Ringo then?" I guess out loud, although the answer is kind of obvious. That... might be giving her some mixed signals.

"Oh yeah, that one," Sumi nods sagely. I know she caught us in bed together at the Prismriver's and apparently thought it was more significant than it was. "Honestly, until you give her an answer, yes," She decides. "After that it's obviously fine, you can sleep together or do whatever else in bed as much as you want. But before that, nah."

Yeah, I guess I kinda knew that already. Sleeping next to someone may have been nice, if a little bit warmer than needed down here, but it really must have been complicating the situation too. That's not mentioning the danger involved either... Yeah, okay. I'll sleep separately from Ringo later I think. That's the more responsible choice, even if it's not the nicest one.

"Of course if you're so disappointed about it, you could just go tell her what you want right now," Sumi gives me a playful shove forward. Wait, what do you mean disappointed? Was it my face again? I wasn't paying much attention to what expression I was showing. Maybe I looked kind of upset for some reason? "Though I guess not until she wakes up, so you'll have to be alone for one more night. Poor you," Okay, the teasing voice is a little bit much.

"I will be okay," I assure her bluntly. I slept by myself for years and years, I can go without for another day. Or maybe even more than another day! Sumi's definitely operating as if this me and Ringo thing is already a done deal, but it's not like that's completely one-hundred percent decided at this point. In fact, I kind of have a reason to say that that isn't going to happen in the first place.

"Umm, you know, I'm already kinda dating someone else..." I feel a little bit awkward bringing this up so deep into the conversation. Actually, it kind of makes me feel sorry for Yamame. "You had me say that I liked Ringo, but I also kinda like Yamame, and I don't really know like... How to deal with that," I finish kind of vaguely, but I think she gets the message.

"Ah, right. Her. Yeah, that does make it a little bit tougher," Sumi rubs at her chin for a bit, before jumping up with her hips. She lands on her feet next to the bed and starts pacing slowly. "Okay, honestly I don't know shit about that girl other than what she looks like. Honestly?" She looks back to wink at me. "Daaaaayum," Err, what does that mean? "But that's all I got for her. I'm biased as fuck. I want you and Ringo to bump uglies until you can't move anymore and all the rest of it. Can't say the same for that other girl. You sure you want to ask me about this?"

Well... At least she had enough self awareness to tell me she was biased, even if I could kinda tell already. That has to count for something. "I've been asking you about everything else," I answer back. What's this one more thing?

"Ooookay," Sumi actually paces a bit more rather than answer immediately. Is she actually considering her words before she says them? That doesn't happen often. "Honestly, I can't think of anything that that girl could have said to you that would outweigh the decades of shit you and Ringo have waded through together," She begins. "Now I wasn't there for the beginning of the unit, so I don't know if it was always like this, but to me you two are really like... I dunno, like the real core of the unit. Or like, even more than that, if that makes sense," It doesn't really, but I wait for Sumi to continue. "Like even without the rest of us, you two were like, always going to be together..."

... Wow. Sumi's blushing at that. I mean, I am too, but that kinda goes without saying.

"A-anyway, I ain't trying to get all sappy or whatever, I'm just saying that I think you guys'd be better off together than with whoever else," Sumi continues, quickly getting over her momentary embarrassment. She turns back to fully face me. "It's all up to you though. You can go with Yamame or Ringo or fucking Kanako if you can swing it. You just gotta pick whoever makes you happy and go with it, alright?"

That's... Still really simple. It's a bit easier said than done, but I can't deny it's the most straightforward way of thinking about it.

But then I guess that's just what I should expect from Sumi.

I really am glad to have her around.

"Alright," I slip off the bed as well, standing up in front of Sumi. "I'll try."

"Bullshit," Sumi answers back. "You'll fucking nail it. You won't just try," Then she grabs me by the shoulders, pulls me closer, and hugs me.

...

I love my friends.

...

Once Sumi and I separate, I'm feeling a bit drained from a long day of... Well, a lot of things. It's probably late enough to go to bed by this point. I suppress a short yawn, which Sumi obviously catches pretty quickly.

"Alright, you get out of here and go to bed then," She suggests. "I'll take care of Yuzuki and Chiyo."

"Err..." While I agree that the going to bed is a good idea, I'm not completely sold on having Sumi explain everything for me. Sure, it'll get me out of having to talk to the others about the Ringo situation, but it'll also mean that Sumi is in control of any spin she puts on the story. While it might be nice to have this done right here and now... Hm, I'm not sure.

[ ] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[ ] Tell Sumi not to talk to the other rabbits about Ringo

[ ] Take a pill
[ ] Don't take a pill
- [ ] Bullets
- [ ] Suppress
- [ ] Gravity
- [ ] Hero
>> No. 27974
[x] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[x] Don't take a pill
>> No. 27975
[X] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Bullets
>> No. 27978
[x] Tell Sumi not to talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Hero
>> No. 27979
[X] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Bullets
>> No. 27980
[x] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Hero
>> No. 27981
[x] Tell Sumi not to talk to the other rabbits about Ringo
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Hero

Sumi ships ship SeiRingo even more than I thought.
>> No. 27982
Dammit, I wanted to have this done tonight because I know I'm busy until later tomorrow night. It's not coming together though. It'll be a bit slow but I'll have it up tomorrowish.
>> No. 27983
File 149767813492.jpg - (250.08KB, 850x601, Very heroic.jpg) [iqdb]
27983
[X] Let Sumi talk to the other rabbits about Ringo

[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Hero

It's not that I don't think Sumi is trustworthy or anything. She really is! It's just that she's already shown that she's definitely intending to push me toward a certain course of action. I can kind of give her a bit of a pass on that as well though, since she seems quite aware of it, and has even told me out loud that she actually is biased. There is some genuine effort on her part to be fair and honest, but she can't help but slip her own opinion in too. Hard to ask for more than that really. I don't think anyone I talk to is going to be completely one hundred percent impartial all the time. Even if they were, then I think that would more speak to them not caring than anything else. Sumi definitely cares, you couldn't possibly convince me otherwise.

What about the others though? What are they going to think? I'm pretty sure that they'll care one way or the other too, but I'm not completely sure how they'll react otherwise. Will they be upset or angry or anything? Yeah, I doubt that. There'd be no reason for it. It's hard not to be nervous anyway though. There's this annoying feeling that I won't say the right words or I'll cause misunderstandings and embarrassment to myself or... Bleugh, no thank you. I'm okay with letting Sumi handle this, since she volunteered.

"Well, if you're willing to wait up for the others, then sure," I finally answer. Even despite sleeping a lot of the day, I am feeling somewhat drained in various ways. I don't know if I'll fall asleep immediately or anything, but I won't mind the chance to lay down and take it easy. Although falling asleep earlier also means waking up earlier. I do kind of have something of an appointment with Sanae to go meet Marisa... Although come to think of it, that also means talking with Sanae which is um...

"Hey, you don't have to look worried, I got this," Sumi suddenly reassures me about the wrong thing.

"Oh, err," I probably wasn't paying attention to my expression again. It really doesn't do me any good to keep realizing that after the fact if I don't do anything about it. "I wasn't worried about you, it was um... I'm also going to have to talk to Sanae tomorrow."

Sumi strides back over to her bed and sits back down, looking at me with a small amount of confusion. "Sanae? Why? You forget something up there?"

"No it's not that," I double checked enough to make sure that didn't happen in fact. "I just have a um, thing planned," Should I mention what the appointment is for? Err... Maybe later.

"Hm," Sumi apparently accepts the very little explanation that I actually gave her. She just nods and appears to go back to her normal relaxed attitude. "Well, if you need me to, I can talk to her about it too. Not like I have much going on tomorrow morning either."

While I appreciate the thought, that might be a bit overkill. It's not like I owe Sanae an explanation in the same way that I would the rest of the unit. I could just tell her that it's none of her business... Or at least I could if I didn't hate being rude. "I'll think about it," I answer vaguely.

There is a certain point where relying on your friends for help goes too far. I have no idea if that would be passing that point or not. I'm not sure about a lot of things regarding my friends right now though. I think it can be excused.

-

I stop by the restroom after leaving Sumi's room. The urge to shower is definitely there, but I kind of want to minimize my time wandering around. It feels a little evasive, but not running into the other rabbits is probably for the best right now. I don't know when they're going to come back, so I settle for simply washing my face off a bit and preparing myself for bed. It's a nice bit of comfort, even if I end up feeling a little bit jumpy the whole time.

Anyway, my discretion pays off, thankfully. On the way back to my room, I don't run into anyone. Well, it isn't exactly a long walk anyway, so the chances aren't actually that high. It also probably helps that I kind of hustle a little bit.

Okay, fine, I'm being shady. Whatever.

When I get back to the room, everything is about as quiet and still as you would expect. Ringo is... Still asleep and umm, sprawled out on her bed...

...

Guh, Come on! It hasn't even been an hour since I last saw her! Why should I feel so awkward now? Yes, okay I did kind of admit, out loud, with my own voice, just a few minutes ago that I um... That I liked her...

...

Aaaargh! Come on you stupid dumb idiot! There isn't even anybody else around! Why are you blushing!? She's not even doing anything aside from sleeping! Why are you all embarrassed!? Yes she might look a little bit more cute than you really remembered her being but um... GAH! Why are you being so gay!?

I throw myself down on top of the unoccupied bed and bury my face in the pillow.

... Urgh now my face is way too hot. I can't breathe either.

Flipping over to stare at the ceiling instead, I easily notice the bullet holes from this morning.

... Sometimes you just can't win no matter what you do, huh?

I at least manage to keep myself from sighing as I get up to turn off the lights. Just go to sleep. Things will hopefully be a little better in the morning.

-

Aaaaaah, this is much better. Err, better than what exactly? Hm, I don't know. Most everything that happened before this point, I suppose. Of course, the current situation is a bit of a high bar to reach. Can't

It's a very beautiful day out this cycle. Hm, I would put the time of day as just about noon based on the position of the sun. Nice, that means there should be plenty more cycles of this to go. I could go out.

Feel a hand slap my back playfully, have to turn to see it. it's Ringo. Oh wow, I didn't know Ringo owned a full suit. She looks really good in that! I don't know if the hat really matches, but whatever. "Hey, you spacing out?"

Ha ha ha. Like I haven't heard that one before, considering where we actually are. Still, can't help but glance back at the window. Obviously I can't see the Earth right now. It's midday! I just felt like I wanted to see it again for a second, you know? "Yeah, sorry, did you say something?"

"Nah, I just thought you'd be more excited." "It's an award ceremony!"

Oh, right. That. Honestly things have been such a blur for me ever since we got everything back to normal. Well, okay, things aren't really normal normal. They're more like kinda sorta normalish. Or maybe less than that? I guess the only real

Yeah, there we go...

Looking out toward the stars, this definitely is much better. Kinda relaxing, if a little bright. Well, what else would you expect considering the position of the sun? Of course it's going to be bright out this many cycles into the day. The sun is only halfway across the sky, we've still got plenty of cycles worth of sunlight to go.

I feel a hand pat my back suddenly. Soon after that is a friendly voice. "What's up, you spacing out or something?" Oh har har har, like I've never heard that pun before. The most standard joke you'll ever hear, and yet Ringo has made it so many times. Guess it's accurate this time though. I wasn't really thinking about much in particular, and was just kinda staring at nothing. Turning around so that I can properly respond to Ringo's voice, I see-Oh wow! It's been a while since I've seen Ringo in the uniform. She looks really good like that, even if the hat doesn't really match. She can pull it off much better than I can. Personally, I'm feeling a little bit uncomfortable in this suit jacket thing.

"Err, yeah, something like that," I admit. My thoughts were really far away just now, and I don't remember what I was so focused on. Maybe trying to remember what was going on today? That's the right line of inquiry I think. Why are we in uniform? Why are we so high up in this building? Where are the others? I have a lot of questions, but don't ask any of them. "Sorry, were you saying something?"

"Nah, just trying to get your attention," Ringo takes her hand off of my back and steps away, gesturing toward a door on the inside of the building. "We're supposed to head in soon I think. You ready to go?"

Ready? Ready for what? I glance around the hallway that we're currently standing in. It's just bordering the exterior wall of the building, near the top floor of one of the several skyscrapers in the city. The windows give a great view to the rest of the capital. Pretty sure I've never been in this one before now, in fact I don't really recognize it, or the part of the capital it's in either. If I was just looking at it from the outside though, I would guess that they just do some kind of generic business work in here. Not something that I'd normally be involved in. What are we even here for? "I'm ready, I was just... thinking about stuff," My mouth says without my brain even telling it to.

"About everything that happened?" Ringo sounds amused at the idea. "Man if I let you do that we'll be here until tomorrow!" Grabs me and starts walking. "Just stop worrying about it. We did our job and did it well, so now we're getting rewarded. Simple. Out of character for them, but simple. That's what happens when you become heroes."

We did what now?

While Ringo pulls me into the building, I cast one last look back out at the sky, just out of curiosity. I don't know the reason for it, obviously given the time of day I wouldn't see anything but the sun, or maybe some other stars further away, but... For some reason I just felt like I wanted to look at the Earth.

Ringo flings open the large double doors, leading me along into some kind of banquet hall...

Pure. Pure white. The whole place is rather regal, elegant, and almost offensively white. If it weren't for the accents of the various plates and trays along the center, as well as the faces of the people sat there, I would almost call this place blinding. It's too bright. Everything is too spotlessly white. There's no texture. Who thought this was a good idea?

A clear voice calls something out, although I somehow miss all of the words. Commander Yorohime! Even if it's been a while since I've last seen her (has it?), my body still snaps to attention at the sound. From the movement beside me, Ringo has the same reaction. Hah, of course we would be like this still, even if I'm not catching the specifics of what's being said, just the voice is enough.

"... Heroes..."

What?

Well, anyway, of course the commander would be here. We're obviously doing something important right now, although I don't know why Ringo and I would be invited if that were the case though. The commander of Lunar Defense Corps is obviously important. Her sister who starts speaking next, Lady Toyohime, is obviously important. Lady Sagume, Lady Chang'e(?), Lord Tsukuyomi(???), so many others... Yeah, they're all very important. Why are we here then? A few people start to clap, and I can't help but feel it's directed at me.

"... Hero..."

Something feels wrong.

More people speak, but I can't focus on the words. It just seems so dissonant. Like I shouldn't be here. No, I definitely shouldn't be here. Why am I here? Why are people so thankful for whatever we did? Why do they keep using that word? It can't be right. I don't want it to be right. I'm just really uncomfortable right now.

...

The feeling doesn't go away once people stop making speeches. Ringo and I sit down at the table, and dinner begins. Is it dinner or lunch actually? I don't know what time of the cycle we're in. My schedule has been kind of a blur ever since we came back. In fact, most things have been a blur. I can't remember when we came back, or what we did that people are so happy about us doing.

The dinner... It doesn't taste like anything. I can't taste anything other than blandness. The vegetables taste like water, the rice tastes like plastic. It's all too sterilized. Why are they feeding us this? I would rather have field rations than this. Did the food here always taste so bad? Even the Kogasa surprise was better. Tasting horrible is at least tasting like something. This is just... Way too plain.

Ringo's shovelling this stuff down though. Is it just me? Something is definitely wrong. This meal... It's for us, right? What are we celebrating? What did Ringo and I do? I try to remember it while I continue to mechanically eat whatever ends up in front of me. It's not fulfilling. I want another fruit salad from Merlin. I want some more eggplants from Minoriko. I don't want this stuff. It doesn't taste like anything.

"So, are you ready?"

"Huh?" Who said that? I look up and... Reisen? Err, not Reisen the one on Earth, the other one. I've never met her before, but I at least know who she is. She's holding a small microphone out in front of me, and has some kind of medal in the other hand. I can kinda read what it says from here-Medal of Heroism? Is that a real thing? Wait, what is that for?

"You're supposed to make a speech," Reisen prompts me, waving the microphone intently. "That's part of the award ceremony."

Err, a speech? In front of all of these people. These ridiculously important people that are in charge of basically everything on the Moon? I'm supposed to get up and talk about whatever happened? Right now?

... No. "Err, yeah, just a second," The lie comes out easily enough. Reisen backs away as I get up from my chair.

There's some confused muttering as I practically run out of the room, back into the exterior hallway. I hear a few utterances 'hero' from people, and can't help but speed up even more whenever I hear the word. Get me out of here. I didn't do anything. I didn't want to do anything, and I don't want to do anything now. I need to get out of here!

When I enter the hallway again, it's no longer bright outside.

Wait, how could that be? It was midday last time I looked! There's no way I was in there for more than a few hours, right? Why is it dark outside?

I race over to the window and look outside. The sun isn't out anymore. When I look through the sky again, I don't see it.

Instead, I see the Moon.

... Then where am I?

...

... Wait... The mission... So then that means that I'm... I need to confirm this. There's no way. I couldn't have made that happen. That's wrong. I didn't want that to happen! They didn't tell us that that was the plan! That's wrong!

I need to get out now! Looking up and down the hallway, of course there's no exit to the building this high up. I'd need to go down or up... Or just out. That should work. I can go out through the windows, I just have to get them out of the way first. Where's my hammer? Ugh, of course I wouldn't have brought it to this, would I? No, I didn't.

Well, I do have an alternative.

Two bullets, the first ones I can grab. That's all it takes to shatter one of the large panes of glass. The shards fall away neatly, out and down toward the city. I don't pay them much attention. If I'm correct (and I'm really hoping that I'm not), it shouldn't matter. No, no time to worry about that, I need to confirm something.

Launching myself out of the window, I fly as fast as I can in a random direction. My actual destination isn't specific. I don't care where I end up, as long as I can see what I need to see. The edge of the city. What happens when I get to the end of the lunar capital? Ordinarily, it should just let out to the bleak fields of nothingness that are the rest of the Moon.

But this time it doesn't.

There's a twisting, awful feeling in my gut. I see... What used to be trees. Discolored, lifeless husks of nothing that used to be trees. They've been purified. The further and further I fly, the more remains I see. Things that used to be alive, purified so that we could move in. This isn't the Moon. This is the Earth.

Or at least it used to be, before some hero came by and finished her mission.

... I want to scream, panic, cry, freak out, something. They tricked me. I didn't mean to do all of this. If I had known that this was the end goal, I wouldn't have!

But of course, I did do this. It was an order, and I followed it. It was a mission, and I accomplished it. We save the Moon from invaders. We made it so Lunarian society could continue. We're heroes.

I feel sick just thinking the word, but my body keeps flying forward...

-

Waking up... Is not very pleasant. I'm not sick, but I don't feel good. Mentally that is. It's like I feel guilty, even if I know I shouldn't. It was just a dream. Just a nightmare, really. I don't have to think about it. Just push it away and out of my mind like all the other ones. I don't have to feel guilty about our original mission.

Yes, okay, deep down, I know that something like that could have happened. Or at least some of it maybe. None of it did though. We failed.

And in a lot of ways, I'm actually glad for that. It doesn't mean that I don't still want to help the capital, but... Well, they have quite a bit of explaining to do afterward. I know I'm not really in a position to make demands of them right now, but...

Well, maybe if I really did become their hero or something.

... That's still really weird to think about. A bit better when I'm doing it on my own terms though.

-

When I slide out of bed and turn on the lights, I quickly see that Ringo has already gone somewhere. She at least left another post it note on the desk though, which makes it somewhat better.

I owe Rikako a favor after yesterday, so I'll be out taking care of that for a while. Left some money out for you if you wanna go somewhere. See you later. -Ringo

Hm. I kinda get the feeling that she might be intentionally avoiding me to some degree. Although honestly I'm not sure what I would do even if I woke up and she was right here to talk to either, so that kind of suits me just fine. We don't have to be together every hour of every day, especially if things are just going to be awkward.

I move the note to the side, and see a handful of coins were stacked up underneath it. Hm, alright, hopefully this should be enough to get breakfast, or maybe I could just save it and eat a ration instead. It wouldn't exactly be a glamorous start to the morning, but having some money on hand just in case seems like a good idea to me.

Pocketing the coins and turning to grab my hammer, something else happens to catch my eye. Is that-yeah, okay. I'm really not all that surprised anymore. Like I still hate it, and I'm still kind of embarrassed about it, but I'm not surprised. Maybe I'm getting a bit too jaded about things.

There are a couple new bullet holes in the wall.

Ugh. Probably going to have to take care of that too then. I guess it could wait though, I also have an appointment with Sanae. Several things to do, though I think I have a pretty good amount of time to actually get them done. The only other obligation that immediately comes to mind is meeting up with Reisen again, and that's not until afternoon.

[ ] Go get breakfast
- [ ] In the cafeteria
- [ ] Stay in the common area and eat some rations
[ ] Look for Ruukoto. There are some more bullets that need removed
[ ] Look for
[ ] Head to the shrine to meet up with Sanae
- [ ] Bring along Sumi
- [ ] Bring along Chiyo
[ ] Something else (write-in)

I have had a very long day, let me tell you...

Next update miiiight be in a new thread? Depends on what the vote count is once voting is over. Don't know yet.
>> No. 27984
[x] Go get breakfast
- [x] Stay in the common area and eat some rations
[x] Head to the shrine to meet up with Sanae
>> No. 27985
[X] Go get breakfast
- [X] In the cafeteria
[X] Head to the shrine to meet up with Sanae
- [X] Bring along Chiyo

Poor Chiyo's felt a bit neglected of late in my opinion. Also social interaction yay.
>> No. 27986
[X] Go get breakfast
- [X] In the cafeteria
[X] Head to the shrine to meet up with Sanae
- [X] Bring along Chiyo

I feel like it's been a while since she last spent some time with Chiyo.
>> No. 27987
File 149793691960.jpg - (147.97KB, 800x800, Most important fuel up of the day.jpg) [iqdb]
27987
[X] Go get breakfast
- [X] In the cafeteria

[X] Head to the shrine to meet up with Sanae
- [X] Bring along Chiyo

Really though, while I don't exactly like the fact that there are bullet holes in the wall to my room no, they're not really doing any harm, are they? I can probably just leave it alone. Ruukoto will clean the room eventually, and at that point she should be able to fix that small problem. In the meantime, it will only serve as yet another reminder that I am a dangerous individual that really really needs to control herself before someone gets hurt.

... Urgh, that kind of devolved into some more self-loathing, which probably isn't productive. Need to snap out of that, even if it is kind of justified. The core idea is sound though I think. The bullet holes aren't doing anything bad other than making the place look a little bit trashier. I can live with that, and I think Ringo will be understanding too. I'll just move on.

So I don't really know what time it is. That could be an issue possibly. I don't think I slept in exactly, but I also don't know the exact time that meeting up with Sanae is supposed to happen. The best way to solve this is getting ready and heading out, then hopefully I can figure things out from there.

It doesn't take very long to get myself ready enough to go. Just need to gather up my things (including the money Ringo left behind), make a quick stop in the restroom to make sure I'm presentable, then decide on a destination. Okay, first and foremost, I'm hungry. Rations aren't sounding like the best idea right now, I think I'll at least check the cafeteria.

... Although I would kind of like to have someone else with me when I do that. It's not that I don't think it's safe it's just that I would like to not look like some kind of weird loner. What are my options there? Ringo is out somewhere, Yuzuki is likely still out on a shrine visit as well. My only choices right at this moment are Sumi and Chiyo. At least, I think they're both choices. I'll have to check.

Feeling just a little bit hesitant, I take a deep breath, then knock on the door to Chiyo and Yuzuki's room. Okay, no big deal, just have to act natural. Just because Sumi told the others about various issues that I'm dealing with, that doesn't mean I have to get all weird.

...

Hm, did Chiyo go somewhere too or-"It's open," Oh, she just took a little while to answer. Okay.

... Er, wait, for Chiyo, 'taking a little while' has a bit of a more significant meaning. This might be a bit of a bad sign.

I open the door and head inside to find Chiyo herself wrapped up in a couple blankets on the nearest bed. She's sitting up, but only barely. Just enough to look at me. Ugh, how can she manage to use blankets like that in this heat? She does know about all the fire that this place is right next to, right?

"Hey," Chiyo greets me after I've already closed the door and walked over to her. Yup, definitely some delay to her. Powers acting up again. She's been doing pretty well lately, but I guess it has to catch up with her sometime.

"Hey Chi," I answer back. "You feeling okay? Didn't drink too much last night I hope?" Of course, we both know that she's not at full capacity already, but I try to keep it casual for her sake.

Chiyo slowly works her way out of the blankets to face me, only answering once she's completely separated herself from all the coverings. "Ringo and Suwako were the ones drinking most of it anyway," She mutters, reaching up to unruffle some of her bedhead. "'m fine."

Hm, well that's good to hear at least. Actually, I'm kind of relieved. She didn't bring up the me and Ringo thing immediately. I was actually really worried that she would. I mean, I know that that isn't really her personality, but... I'm projecting again. Ugh, stop it, just move on. "Alright, well I was going to go downstairs and get something to eat. Ringo left me some allowance. Do you want to come along?"

Chiyo takes a few seconds to process what I said, then I hear her sigh. "I wasn't really gonna go anywhere for a while..." Oh, right. I'm kind of putting her in a tough position if she actually doesn't want to come along. She can't really prepare rations properly in her current state.

"Err, we don't have to if you don't want to!" I assure her quickly. "I was just-"

"But I guess it's fine if-oh, sorry," Chiyo was just putting a pause between thoughts, but I interrupted her before she could continue. Then she didn't realize that I was taking my turn in the conversation until she was already interrupting me in return. This kind of thing happens pretty often with Chiyo in this state.

Neither one of us talk for a moment, I think it's a long enough pause that Chiyo is waiting for me to continue. Yeah, this can get kind of awkward, but I'm also more or less used to it. Chi has to know that I don't hold anything against her. "I was just hoping to get something a little bit nicer than a ration. We can stay up here if you want."

Chiyo pauses to make sure that I'm not going to continue on, then finally replies. "Right, and I was saying that I guess it's fine if that's what you want to do," She swings her legs off the side of the bed and gingerly steps down, making sure that her footing is solid for a bit longer than natural for other people. "I'm either stuck in bed or stuck following one of you guys around, and I do gotta eat something eventually."

"Well, Ringo and Yuzuki are both out right now, but you could wait for Sumi if you'd rather do that," I know that those two do tend to get along, so I don't think anything is wrong with offering. I'm not trying to force her into going along with me.

"... Nah, I'm up. Let's go," Chiyo decides after a moment.

Of course, she's not exactly in the most presentable state either. I have to push her along to clean herself up in the bathroom before we can get downstairs. It takes up a little bit of extra time, but I think it'll be worth it. I'd hate to be eating breakfast alone in an unfamiliar place.

Down the stairs, past the intersection, over to the cafeteria. It's pretty convenient actually. A much shorter distance than what we would often have to do to get food back in any of the mare bases. Of course, the food was free back then where it isn't now, so there's some pluses and minuses to the situation, as usual.

The cafeteria itself is surprisingly empty, or at least more than I expected it to be. Maybe this is normal though? I guess there are actually a lot of possible explanations. Either this place doesn't serve a lot of customers, or we're here too early or late for the breakfast rush. Yeesh, this is really confusing. My sense of time is all off compared to when we were on the surface, or even on the Moon. I imagine it's even worse for Chiyo though.

In any case, as I look around, I see a couple kappa grouped together at a table, as well as a few isolated youkai scattered here and there that I can't immediately identify. One really tall dark haired girl with black wings waves happily as I glance past her. Um, hum. Do I know her? No, I'm actually positive that I don't. I think she's just being friendly. I offer half a sheepish wave back, just because she doesn't appear to be losing any steam in trying to give me a greeting. She smiles happily at my response, then goes back to what is frankly an excessive amount of food.

Well... Anyway, I decide to put that aside while Chiyo and I go and secure some food. Since this place isn't exactly bustling with activity, it seems like they're going with a process that's more like restaurant than a cafeteria really. The food isn't all laid out for us to pick up and grab what we want. It's instead made as you order. That makes me a little bit anxious. Ordering food at restaurants is always a little pressuring, especially when I have to look over the menu and decide on everything while people are waiting on me and... Ugh.

Although... Here the oni behind the counter barely seem to be paying attention to me and Chiyo. There's only a couple, one standing near the counter to take orders, and probably two of them further back in the kitchen to cook. At least it sounds like two of them. I can definitely hear more than one jovial singing voice from back there.

... Well, I guess I can't fault them for having a good time.

Even Chiyo manages to pick something out and order it faster than I do, but I eventually manage to pick something out. I was hoping for something like a salad or fruits or something, but it seems like most of what the serve down here is kind of more... Hearty, I guess would be the proper word. Even the mushroom soup that I settle on seems like it will be a bit heavy for a breakfast, but I guess there's no helping it. Like Sanae said, they're somewhat limited in their selection down here. If you took out all the stuff with meat in it, I ended up with even less to choose from.

Chiyo and I give our orders to the oni behind the counter, who quickly starts yelling at his fellow workers to get their-ahem, their butts in gear and get back to work. The two of them agree, though they quickly end up going back to singing anyway.

Okay, next is paying, right? I've not really used Earth money all that much, but I just have to match up numbers, right? Should be simple. Let me see here, Chiyo's and mine together should-"Hey! Are you two new here!?"

I nearly jump in surprise. A few seconds later, I actually hear Chiyo do the same. Sheesh! Don't sneak up on me like that! I turn to the voice and see that winged youkai that had been waving at me earlier. She's... Actually pretty tall now that she's standing right next to me. "Err, um, y-yeah?" I try and completely fail to not stammer too much. Did I do something wrong? I really hope I didn't do anything wrong. I just want breakfast, I swear!

"Oooh, okay. That's what I thought!" She sounds cheerful rather than angry. Good sign? "I was pretty sure that I hadn't just met you and then forgotten. I've done that in the past, but I've been getting a lot better about it!" She's also kind of rambling. Okay, at first I was kind of intimidated, but it's quickly seeming like that worry was completely unwarranted. "My name's Okuu! Who're you?"

I'm still kind of a little put off by the suddenness of this whole encounter, but okay, introductions then. "This is Chiyo, and I'm Seiran," I purposely introduce Chiyo first so that she doesn't think that I'm expecting her to talk after me.

"Seiran, and Chiyo," Okuu nods to me and Chi in turn, speaking slowly to herself as if she's going to forget otherwise. "Okay! Do you guys want to join me for breakfast? I'm always interested in making new friends down here!"

"I guess so?" Even if a little overbearing, this girl does seem to be pleasant enough. I'm also not really the best about saying no to strangers so... I kind of make the decision automatically.

"Great!" Okuu actually hops up in joy before turning to the oni behind the counter. "Ah, Yorozu! You can put their food on my bill too, okay?" Wait, she doesn't need to do that! I mean, I'm not going to complain about the hospitality, but I still feel kind of bad about it.

The oni laughs heartily in response. "Miss Satori's gonna get on your case again!" He warns, not sounding at all worried about it.

"It's okay!" Okuu smiles back. "Fuel doesn't come cheap, right?"

-

The food that we ordered gets delivered to us shortly after that. Okuu quickly leads Chi and I back to the table I saw her at earlier. Sitting back in her seat, utterly surrounded by miscellaneous (mostly meat) dishes, she regards the two of us happily. Sheesh, all of this is breakfast for her?

"So, are you guys down here to help work in the plant?" She starts talking quickly. Chiyo seems content to start eating immediately, so I guess it's up to me to carry the conversation. Great.

Okay, here to work on the plant? No. "We're just staying down here for a few more days actually," I'm still not sure how in depth I'm supposed to go on the whole Kanako agreement. "We're uh, recently displaced rabbit youkai."

"Ooh, okay," Even though that felt a little flimsy to me, Okuu seems to accept it at face value easily enough. "That's a shame though. I was hoping that you would be helping with the reactor or something, then we would be working together all the time!"

Wow, we've only just met and it really seems like she wants to be friends. I don't really think I've done anything all that impressive, so maybe Okuu is just kinda like that. I don't really want to call her simple, but... Wait, hold on a second. "You work in the reactor?"

Okuu smiles wide. "Yeah, I work on... Well, it's kinda hard to explain. I'm kinda like a regulator? Or something like that? Let's just say I do fusion stuff," She nods to herself sagely, as if that was much of an explanation.

... Wait, didn't Sanae say something about this? Don't bother Orin or Okuu if you run into them? Well, she's not working now, so it should be fine. I guess this girl is actually pretty important though, slight misgivings about her behavior aside.

No, even that's mean to think about! She's been perfectly nice so far, and clearly just wants to be friendly. There's no reason to think anything bad about her!

"Yeah well, I don't think any of us are smart enough to do that kind of stuff. So nope, no working here for us," I say honestly. "We uhm, might not even be around all that much once we get back on our feet," Although that remains to be seen. I'm not really planning that far ahead.

"Back on your feet?" Okuu glances down at her own legs. Wait, is one of those encased in concrete? "Huh, well if you need help, you should come by the palace!" She offers. "Miss Satori is always willing to help and give advice to animals like us!"

A-animals? Who is she calling... Okay, well, I guess I did say that I'm a rabbit youkai. Being from the Moon means that I'm not quite the same thing, at least I'm pretty sure, but whatever. Pointless distinction. At least, objectively pointless. Subjectively I guess I still have a bit of Moon pride for whatever reason.

Err, anyway. "The palace?" I ask. I'm pretty sure I know what she's talking about.

"Yeah, the palace of the Palace of Earth Spirits!" Right, Yamame pointed that place out before. I'm still not sure if I have any reason to go there, but at least I know what Okuu is talking about. "That's my home when I'm not working here! If you come by when I'm off, we could have all kinds of fun!"

That's a bit different from helping us out in some nonspecific way, but it's hard to fault Okuu for her enthusiasm. "Right, and what does this miss Satori do?"

"She's really great! She's can read minds, so she's really good at helping people through problems and giving advice!" "Although sometimes I think she's a little hard to understand and-" Okuu is suddenly cut off by a loud beeping coming from around her waist. She jumps slightly before quickly producing some kind of... Electronic gauge thing? "Oh! Sorry, I need to get back down to the reactor," She stands up from the table and immediately starts moving away. "It was nice meeting you! Bye!"

... She left all of her food behind.

-

With no more conversation to make, Chiyo and I finish up eating quietly. Even with her head start, Chiyo still takes a little bit longer than I do for whatever reason. It's kind of hard to tell if she's lost in thought or just moving slowly because of her powers. Still, it doesn't take an extremely long time, and we eventually get up and get ready to go.

Once we step out of the cafeteria doors and back into the hallway, Chiyo finally speaks up. "Hey," She mutters to me. "Are you sure you want me hanging around you today?"

Oh not this again. We've been over this. "... Chi..."

"I mean, I'm not trying to sound sorry for myself," Chiyo manages to cut me off, but I don't think she meant to. She wouldn't have had the reaction speed to do that with how little I said. "I'm just still kinda unsure about this whole Moon thing," It's been a day since we had that conversation. Has she been thinking about it this whole time? "I feel like... Talking to somebody without having to put it into words might actually be a good thing for me."

Ah, that's what Chiyo's been thinking about. It's a completely valid problem. I was the one who told her that she should try to figure things out instead of pushing her in one direction or the other. It's a bit hard to easily tell how Chiyo is feeling through her generally rather muted emotions, but she definitely seems troubled over things. I've still got my own appointment to worry about though...

[ ] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can talk about the Moon thing some more later
[ ] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later
[ ] Take Chiyo to the palace now
[ ] Let Chiyo stay behind and wait for Okuu to be off of work for long enough to take her to the palace
[ ] Something else (Write in)
>> No. 27988
[X] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later.

Just feels like the best option to me. We need to make our lunar friends feel loved, but I can kind of see the appeal of meeting Satori.
>> No. 27989
[x] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later.

Bunnies gotta stick together.
>> No. 27990
[X] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later
>> No. 27991
[x] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later
>> No. 27992
[X] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later

Looks like shrink Satori is going to see some action later.
>> No. 28000
[X] Tell Chiyo that it would be nice to have her around today, and we can go to the palace later

also, was that a Geiger counter Utsuho had? does that mean she randomly becomes radioactive?
>> No. 28001
I really need to stop splitting my focus and doing other things on writing days. Update will be done sometime tomorrow, probably earlier rather than later at least. Also it will be in a new thread.
>> No. 28003
Next thread: >>28002
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