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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.
Expand all images
>> No. 27516
[X] Go talk to Ringo
- [X] Let her down gently

Sorry Ringo, but A) Sumi is right, this is totally on you for never saying anything, and B) Spiderbutt.
>> No. 27517
[ ] Go talk to Ringo
- [ ] Give her a chance too
>> No. 27518
[x] Go talk to Ringo
- [x] Give her a chance too

Ringo has always been super awesome and adorable and a great friend this whole story. No way we can break her heart.

>Sumi takes a deep breath. "Ringo has been into you for years,
Haha coming to Sumi was the right choice.
>> No. 27519
>>27518
I know right? That's the only way you can get through a brick wall.

[x] Go talk to Ringo
- [x] Give her a chance too

The idea of dating is to see if there's romantic compatibility and to know each other in a more intimate fashion.
I can't believe we're using dating as intended in a CYOA!
>> No. 27520
[X] Talk to someone else
- [X] Ask Yuzuki for advice
>> No. 27521
>>27514
[x] Go talk to Ringo
- [x] Give her a chance too

Just wanna take the opportunity of a 5th thread to say that this story's great and you're great, keep up the good work.

Anyways, I was tempted to put Ringo down here, but honestly I can't blame Ringo for her approach, especially considering we know Seiran is about as pure and maidenly as you can get.

I still don't exactly want us to head toward Ringo romantically, but at minimum she deserves to not feel like absolute shit for messing up.
>> No. 27522
> "Wait, being watched?"

[x] Abandon common sense, and turn off your thoughts. Your mind will alert you to the presence of interlopers.
>> No. 27523
[x] Go talk to Ringo
- [x] Give her a chance too

> Just wanna take the opportunity of a 5th thread to say that this story's great and you're great, keep up the good work.

Seconded, this story has been consistently good since day one. What's the secret to avoiding the dreaded hiatus?

>>27522

I was thinking Parsee, given what Ringo was undoubtedly feeling at the time.
>> No. 27524
>>27523
This was kinda something I was planning on talking about whenever the thread actually ended, assuming I maintained consistent updates all the way through that point. If you're going to throw nice words at me like this though, I might as well say it now.

It's basically spite. Well, kinda.

Honestly, I started this story around January of last year which, for people who dont remember, was shortly after that masquerade contest with semi-anonymous people doing daily updates on new stories for an entire month. I had a lot of fun voting on stuff that month, and got really annoyed when almost every single story was quickly abandoned over the course of the following month. I knew there was nothing that I could do to make the writers keep updating, and I didn't blame them for having stuff going on that kept them from doing so. If I didn't want to accept the site going back to relatively low activity, the only other option was to become the change I wanted to see.

I decided the story I was going to write would follow three rules in order of importance:
1. It would eventually end
2. It would update regularly
3. It would include characters that I like

Point 1 is probably the hardest thing. I may have messed it up by making this story kind of large in scope. Even though I already know what's going to bring it to an end (which helps a lot), it's still likely to take another year or so (very very rough estimate), depending on how involved we get in side stuff and how the plan to get to the Moon actually shakes out. Before I started, my ideas were narrowed down to either a Seiran story, a Yoshika story, or a newer tsukumogami girls story. The other two would probably have finished by now, but I had the most ideas for the Seiran one. I also wanted to do something with the LoLK girls since I rather liked that game, so here we are. A big fat story that is up to five threads and still has a while to go.

As for keeping with point 2 and avoiding hiatuses? I'm not really sure. I could just say that I have very little social life(which is true, and probably helps a lot), but it's not like I haven't still been busy otherwise. Over the course of this story I've worked two different jobs, lived in three different houses, graduated college, wrecked my car and bought a new one, spent a bunch of weekends driving all over my state for family stuff, and played a ton of really good, really absorbing video games. Mostly I just tell myself to not take days off unless I really really have to. The first time I skip an update just because I feel like it is the time when it becomes okay to do that again. Then it becomes normal to do it more than once in a row, gets even worse, and eventually I wind up with another unfinished project. I'm just avoiding that really hard because I know that I'm a lazy person.

Also it helps that every vote I get on my story tickles a special part of my brain in a way I can't seem to get anywhere else.
>> No. 27525
>>27524

Well it's pretty amazing you've been keeping up these updates for this long, good on you. It's been fun reading your story.
>> No. 27526
>>27523
No no no, it's not Parsee. Parsee thinks. We couldn't see her because we were thinking.

DON'T THINK. FEEL.
>> No. 27527
[X] Go talk to Ringo
Can't we talk this out then make a decision from there?
>> No. 27528
File 149023812558.png - (1.01MB , 750x900 , __ibaraki_kasen_konpaku_youmu_ringo_and_saigyouji_.png ) [iqdb]
27528
>>27524
I wish I could be like you. But I can't really write. It doesn't help that english isn't my first language too.

So... thanks. I'll continue to read, vote and live through you ;..;
>> No. 27529
>>27524
That's actually rather inspirational. Thanks for sharing.
>> No. 27530
[x] Go talk to Ringo
- [x] Give her a chance too

Man this story is a rollercoaster. Better not miss this vote.
>> No. 27531
Hm, kind of awkward to have those nice posts telling me I'm doing a good job then respond by talking about keeping my updates regular, only to have trouble with the next update and not get it done on time.

Well, what can you do? I'll have to finish this up tomorrow as is usual with these types of issues. My bad.
>> No. 27532
File 149040787816.jpg - (156.33KB , 768x1024 , Don't think just eat.jpg ) [iqdb]
27532
[X] Go talk to Ringo
- [X] Give her a chance too

"Any other questions?"

"Huh?" Oh right, Sumi's still around. I've been a little lost in my thoughts and haven't said much for the past couple of minutes, so she's probably prompting me so I don't get stuck in a rut. "Err not really," That's not exactly a completely accurate answer, but I think it's probably a better move than trying phrase a question that will get past Sumi's bias. Sumi has made her opinion on the subject pretty clear honestly. She thinks Ringo and I being together would be good, and is annoyed that neither of us, specifically Ringo, have made anything like that happen yet. If I just keep that in mind, then I can probably guess at how she would answer most of my immediate questions on what I should be doing anyway. "No, I think I'm okay," I'll have to take care of this on my own.

Sumi nods at me while relaxing slightly onto her bed. "And I'd apologize for springing this up on you, but it was gonna happen tonight either way sooo yeah," She says, but then thinks better of it. "Unless Ringo wussed out again I guess, that's apparently possible. Pfeh. It's weird. Ringo usually doesn't give a shit about anything most of the time, but with this one thing she's a giant baby. It's not like she has to treat you like you're made of glass just because you know so little. Hell, I don't do that, and we get along fine."

"I guess so," Sometimes I do wish that Sumi would be a little more delicate about things, but I don't need to bring that argument up right now. What I need to do is focus on Ringo, and what I'm going to do about unintentionally distressing her. That's not something that happens normally, and it's not like I have a standard plan for how to deal with it. "Well, I guess I should get up and go talk to Ringo then," That's the best start I can think of. Even though people are telling me that she's upset, I'm not going to know how to react to it without seeing it myself. "I didn't mean to make this happen, and like you said it's a bit more her fault than it is mine," Ugh, no. That sounds bad. Like I'm blaming Ringo when I don't really want to do that. "I can kind of see why she was going with the plan that she was though."

"I can't, but hey, I'm the stupid one," Sumi snickers as I get up from the bed.

Oh not this again. "You're not stupid, Sumi," I patiently remind her. Honestly coming to her has really helped me out. Even if I'm not asking her for advice, having everything put in front of me so clearly makes things much simpler. Personality quirks aside, there are definitely some advantages to having a friend who's so averse to keeping things hidden.

"Maybe, maybe not. Anyway," Sumi sounds unconcerned as she reaches up... HEY! "Get going girl! Ringo's not cheering up by herself."

I get it, sheesh. You don't have to slap my butt. I'm going.

-

Stepping out of Sumi's room and closing the door behind me puts me only a few steps away from the door to Ringo's room. I'm really not very thankful about that. That is way too close. How am I supposed to plan anything out when I only have a few seconds worth of travel time to work with? Even just taking the time to think these complaints is making it so I don't have any idea about what I'm going to say to Ringo! It's true that I could probably use my time better instead of worrying over every little thing, but this thing isn't exactly little. Ugh, I'm reminded once again just how cruel this world is to socially awkward anxiety ridden introverts. Especially ones in difficult situations like mine.

Reaching up and knocking on Ringo's door doesn't get me any answer. Well... Crap. I don't really know what I expected though, obviously she's not going to come greet me with a big smile on her face. The others already said that she's upset and hasn't come out since she got back to the plant. The fact that it's me knocking (which she wouldn't know based on just the sound) wouldn't solve that. Okay, slightly better approach. "Ringo?" I call out nervously as I knock a couple more times.

Oh. That's a different response. Instead of next to nothing, I hear some frantic shuffling from inside the door. "H-hold on a sec," Yeah, that's definitely Ringo. She sounds slightly hoarse. Not a voice I'm used to hearing from her, although I have a feeling this whole situation is going to be full of stuff I'm not used to with Ringo. Pointing it out over and over again probably isn't necessary.

Okay, she's not rushing to the door from what I can tell, so I guess Ringo wants a second before she's going to let me in. Fine. Fair enough. I've done similar things before, and usually appreciate it when I ask for a moment and am actually given it. Well, I wasn't upset for the same reasons in any of my episodes, but whatever. I can give Ringo the courtesy of waiting for a bit.

There's some more shuffling. Sounds like it's coming from the floor, rather than the bed or a desk. What is she doing in there? Is she cleaning up or something? How much of a mess could she already have made in a room she just moved into? Wait, actually, I don't need the answer to that. I already saw Sumi's room, so it could be something like that. Aside from Yuzuki, none of the other rabbits are particularly known for keeping things clean. Well, I try my best at least, but the rest of them...

Ah, I think I hear her walking around a bit more now. It sounds like she was on the far end of the room and is now coming closer to the door. Okay, okay. Keep it calm. I can do this. I just have to help Ringo through some emotional stuff that I've never dealt with before and is kind of my fault it's even an issue. I can probably maybe kind of do this. As I'm worrying, the door suddenly jerks in front of me, but doesn't open. Instead it makes a loud wooden cracking sound that startles me enough to make me jump backward. Wait, what was that? It sounded like it came from...

Err.

Ringo forgot to unlock the door before she opened it. Normally, locking the door would keep it closed so that nobody could move the door. That's the point of locks, right? In this case though, Ringo's pull was hard enough that it apparently caused some damage. I can see a large crack has formed near the door handle, snaking down along some path of least resistance before wrapping toward the frame. Uh oh. Well, at least it doesn't seem so bad that the door isn't going to work right anymore? That's good, right?

"Ughhhh," An uncomfortable half moan half sigh comes from right in front of me. Quickly afterward I hear the sound of the door unlocking properly before it swings open. The room inside is dark. It looks like Ringo has the lights off. Speaking of Ringo... Oh. Eesh. She's pretty obviously not in the best shape of her life. She looks tired, and her eyes are a little red. Her hat is missing and her hair is all mussed up like she's been laying around but hasn't been staying still. Also, there seems to be some kind of mess around her mouth. Has she been eating?

Wait, she just broke the door while attempting to open it. That's not normal. You can't just do that. Even if they're made of wood, these doors aren't exactly flimsy. So the better question to ask is probably how MUCH Ringo's been eating. I know she brought a bunch of food from the bunker along, maybe she had some of that. With the way that she's keeping the door mostly closed and hiding behind it a bit, I can't see into the room very well to check.

Anyway, I need to pay attention to Ringo right now. She's definitely looking at me with an uncomfortable expression, like she's trying to think of what to say. I'm kind of in the same situation, but am probably in a better mental state. Maybe I should try talking first. "So um. Hey Ringo," Nope, never mind. I continue to be the best. THE BEST at talking. That's me.

"H-hey," Ringo greets me back awkwardly before quickly occupying herself with picking up a couple of splintered pieces of wood from the door. They're not big pieces, but I can at least be glad that neither of us will be stepping on them. Ringo holds up one of the wooden fragments in front of her face with a weak smile. "Heh, little accident," She sounds a bit sheepish now. "I'll have to um. I'll have to talk to Kanako about it tomorrow or something."

"Err, r-right," My unsure response quickly turns into awkward silence. Ringo moves away a little bit and ducks behind the door, even further out of sight. I'm guessing that she's putting all the pieces off somewhere safe, but I can't really see her enough to tell.

"S-so," Ringo's voice catches in her throat for a moment as she comes back into vision. She has to clear it out before she can keep talking. "Did you... Need something?"

Ringo seems like she's kind of trying to play it cool, like this situation is normal. Absolutely everything about it is screaming out that that isn't the case though. It's really weak, and it's really obvious, and I have no doubt that it's making both of us uncomfortable. "Can I come in?" I ask first of all. This is not a conversation I want to have in the hallway. "I think it might take a while to talk about everything."

"Err..." Ringo turns her head and glances back into her room, off toward the side that I can't see. "Well..."

"Please?"

She looks deeply conflicted for a moment, but eventually gives up. She opens the door fully and steps aside, letting me in so I can flick on the lights. What the-? Looking into the room, I immediately notice the thing she was trying to keep a secret. The desk in the far corner of the room is smashed. Like something small but very forceful was dropped right in the middle. There's a clear crack down the center width wise, although it's at least still standing. Barely.

"Ringo..." I'm more than a little concerned.

"Yeah, another accident," Ringo admits, sounding both reluctant and a fake kind of nonchalant at the same time. "I wasn't thinking and it just kinda happened. I'll find some way to fix it or pay for a new one or something."

That's not really what I'm worried about. "Are you okay?"

"What?"

"Are you okay?" She nods automatically, surprised at the intensity that I ask the question with. As she attempts to stare at anything other than myself or the broken up desk, I look her over now that we have proper lighting. Yeah, okay. her arms look perfectly fine, which means... I look around the room a bit more closely. The sheets are messy, but I can see Ringo's bag sitting near the far side of the bed. It doesn't look nearly as full as when we came here. So the containers of food aren't inside it. That means they should be around here somewhere...

Ah, there we go. The noises I heard before Ringo broke the door must have been from her shoving all the empty food containers under the bed. From the count, this that's probably all of them. She ate everything that she brought. There should have been enough mochi and dango here to fill up the rest of us more than once, but Ringo just binge ate all of it by herself in one night.

"I uh-got hungry," Ringo offers weakly from beside me as I duck down to confirm that all the containers are empty, including the ones that she managed to hastily shove under the bed. Even if what she's saying is true, eating everything here is going way overboard. Ringo's physical strength must be absolutely through the roof right now, no wonder she's been breaking stuff on accident (if the desk was even an accident). What was she thinki-

Oh. Right.

The phrase 'stress eating' comes to mind. Honestly I don't have that good of an idea of how Ringo reacts to stress, even with all the time that I've known her. I guess it would believable to see her doing something like this. It's not exactly the smartest thing, but even I admit to sometimes wanting to eat more than I should when I'm upset. It's just that for Ringo, 'more than I should' is a pretty ridiculous amount.

Turning back to Ringo, it looks like she's still having some difficulty looking directly at me. I don't like this whole situation. It's wrong and weird and it's making me feel awful. Ringo has to know what I'm here for. She can't possibly think for a second that I believe this is normal behavior, and yet she's still not going to talk about it unless I make her.

Ugh. If only I had Sumi's directness. Actually, that might work anyway, even without it. I can be kinda direct in my own way. Ringo's smart. She should get it. "So, Sumi told me everything," I try to say it as neutrally as possible.

"Err, everything?" That's not a happy look on her face. I think she's biting at the inside of her mouth a little bit.

"She was a bit more critical than I would like though," I add. That's definitely true. There was a lot more swearing than was necessary as well. "I'd rather hear the full story from you. This whole idea about me and you being..." Urk, still kinda weird to say out loud. The look on Ringo's face shows that she knows what I'm talking about anyway. "Well, I don't dislike it. It's a little unexpected, but I'm not going to freak out at you or anything, so could you just talk to me?"

Ringo blinks at me in surprise. "You don't uh... Hm," She considers things, but doesn't keep talking.

"I really really do like you Ringo," Maybe not necessarily in that way that she's thinking, but maybe yes in that way as well. I don't know. I don't want to cause a misunderstanding though, so I should clarify. "We've been best friends for a really long time. I want to try and give you some kind of chance, but I can't do that if we can't talk to each other."

Ringo finally looks at me. Her expression isn't exactly happy, but it's not nearly as painful as it has been. I wouldn't call her cheered up, but she's at least in a somewhat better mood. She takes a few steps into the room, taking a seat in the chair that was sitting under the only unbroken desk in the room. I take that as a cue to sit down as well, and drop onto the bed that isn't all messy. "What do you want to know?" Ringo asks, sounding weirdly serious.

[ ] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[ ] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[ ] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[ ] Is this going to make things weird? You and Sumi were fighting and things between us are awkward now. Can we fix things?
[ ] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[ ] Do you always eat so much when you're upset?
[ ] What should I do to make you feel better? (Err, without going too far, of course. I'm still a little unsure about things.)
[ ] Why is Sumi so invested in getting you and I together?
[ ] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?
[ ] Something else (Write-in)

So this was originally going to be longer, but then I realized that I didn't know how I wanted Seiran to go about prodding for information without creating a big fat infodump. Thought I would get people's input on what they care about hearing while also giving me some more structure.
>> No. 27533
[ ] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
>> No. 27534
Oh yeah, this is multi-choice by the way, since I forgot to say that. Pick as many as you want within reason.
>> No. 27535
[x] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[x] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[x] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?

Clear things up, and make sure you're on the same page going forward.
>> No. 27536
[X] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[X] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[X] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[X] Why is Sumi so invested in getting you and I together?
[X] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?
>> No. 27537
[x] ALL OF THE OPTIONS.

> within reason

...dang.

[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[x] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[x] Why is Sumi so invested in getting you and I together?
[x] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?
>> No. 27538
[x] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?

Let's not overwhelm her or anything.
>> No. 27539
[x] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[x] What should I do to make you feel better? (Err, without going too far, of course. I'm still a little unsure about things.)
>> No. 27540
[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[x] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[x] Why is Sumi so invested in getting you and I together?
[x] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?

There's too many options that I actually want to hear the answers to so I guess I'll go with these ones.
>> No. 27541
[X] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[x] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[X] What should I do to make you feel better? (Err, without going too far, of course. I'm still a little unsure about things.)
>> No. 27542
[x] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[x] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[x] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?

Seconded on the not-overwhelming her thing.
>> No. 27543
[ ] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[ ] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[ ] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[ ] Is this going to make things weird? You and Sumi were fighting and things between us are awkward now. Can we fix things?
[ ] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[ ] Do you always eat so much when you're upset?
[ ] What should I do to make you feel better? (Err, without going too far, of course. I'm still a little unsure about things.)
[ ] Why is Sumi so invested in getting you and I together?
[ ] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?

ALL THE THINGS.
>> No. 27544
File 149067719513.jpg - (111.91KB , 815x1228 , Back in her delinquent years.jpg ) [iqdb]
27544
[X] When did this whole thing start? Sumi said something about basic training but didn't seem to know the specific.
[X] Why me? I mean yeah, I think I'm kind of cute but...
[X] Why didn't you say anything? Well, I might have been a bit confused at first, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?
[X] You're not angry at Yamame, right?
[X] Yuzuki knows something's wrong with how you were acting. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?

There's actually a multitude of questions I feel like I want to ask right now. However some of those aren't necessarily the nicest, or at least I don't have good ways to phrase them. This is a situation that needs to be handled somewhat delicately while taking everyone's feelings into account. So exactly the kind of situation that I'm sure I'm going to be awful at. Ugh. Maybe I should just be cautious and only ask a few things. Ringo's mood makes it seem like questioning her too hard might end up overwhelming her. Best to keep it basic for now.

Okay, I know what I want to start off with at least. "Why me?" That might be the biggest question on my mind. "I mean yeah, I know I'm cute at least, but that's about it. There ought to have been someone better at some point."

"No," Ringo is still somewhat slouched in her chair and looks uncomfortable, but her response is still clear enough for me to tell she's not lying. "There's definitely more to it than you being cute. That helps, but..." She tries to think of what to say next, but has to pause for a while. "Ugh. It might be easier if I just tell you the fully story. Fair warning that it's kinda long, and I haven't talked about this stuff before, so it might not be that coherent either."

I'm still working on suppressing the squirm that comes to me when when people call me cute, but I still nod along with Ringo's suggestion. Really, it's weird to suddenly have people treating me like this and giving me compliments and stuff. Back home, nobody ever did that. Although I can understand that there were reasons for that. speaking of back home though. "R-right. You never said anything about it back home so the story might help... When did this whole um... Liking me thing start?" Oh hey, more embarrassment. I knew I wasn't done for the night. "Sumi said something about it being back in basic, but almost seemed to be guessing. She didn't know the specifics."

"Well no, basic isn't completely correct," Ringo reaches up to scratch the back of her neck slightly. I think I can see just a little bit of blush on her face. Wow, that's a new one. "I was definitely aware of you back then, but it wasn't like an immediate thing. You and I just kind of left each other alone and did our own things."

"Right, yeah," Gosh, that's a weird time to think about. It was so long ago that Ringo and I weren't friends, and barely knew each other's names. "Back when I tried to focus on learning and following along with whatever I was told, and you... I don't know, I didn't keep up with you and your friends. I felt like you guys were up to no good most of the time."

"That's actually a bit of an understatement. With me and my social group at the time... Well, if there was a rule in place, chances are good that we were breaking it for some reason or another. Sneaking crap under Command's nose was a business that a lot of people wanted a stake in. Bringing contraband in, swiping confiscated stuff back, even sneaking people out of base after hours. We took care of things like that," Wait, what? Ringo notices me giving her an incredulous look. "And we didn't get caught either. We'd just spread enough rumors over comms or plant enough fake evidence to get people we didn't like in trouble. Naoko was ridiculously good at making sure that the heat never fell back on us. I just followed her around so I'd never get caught."

I remember Naoko somewhat. About as tall as Ringo, but had really long ears. Kind of scrawny, didn't stand out much. Short red hair, I think it was called a pixie cut? It's kind of surprising that Ringo was following her instead of the other way around. From what I remember, Naoko was generally pretty quiet, even if she had a habit of looking inappropriately smug at times. "What does she have to do with it though?"

"I kinda gotta work my way to that," Well, at the very least it seems like Ringo is getting a bit more talkative. She still doesn't look happy though. "So back when we were in basic at the same time, I only paid attention to you in the same way I paid attention to anyone else. When Naoko told me to, I checked into you to see if there was any dirt. Didn't find any, and didn't have any reason to bother too hard. We just ignored you and focused on our own business. That was until the uh," Ringo pauses again. I notice that she's been avoiding looking at me for too long this whole time. In fact even right now she seems to be somewhat preoccupied moving one of the empty food containers around with her foot. "The shooting incident," She finally mumbles out.

Oh. That. Ringo almost never mentions that, although it's always pretty fresh in my mind. I even dreamed about it this morning. Although the dream wasn't exactly one-hundred percent accurate. "Hm," I prompt her to keep going. Even if I don't like remembering that, if it helps with the story, then she should just keep going.

"Of course that got everyone talking about you," Oh boy did it ever... "Given the circumstances, Naoko decided it would be easiest for me to get info and stuff on you again, just in case we needed to use it later. You were the cause of something that was..." Ringo catches herself before continuing. Was what? Dangerous? Deadly? Horrible? I know all of that already, although I guess it would probably hurt to have Ringo say it out loud. "Well, everybody knew about it, and a lot of people were worried about it. The idea was that it'd be easy to pin extreme stuff on you if we needed a distraction. The masses would believe it if we said the right things on comms. That was Naoko's plan anyway," Wait, what? This is all new to me. Does that mean that all the bad rumors that started popping up around me were- "You remember that time I visited you in the hospital?"

Ringo kind of interrupted my train of thought there. "Err... No," At least, I don't think I do. I was in the hospital for a long time, but I don't remember having any visitors at all actually.

Ringo sighs, frowning as she accidentally kicks the container she's been messing around with a little too hard. Right, super strength. It slides all the way under the bed, leaving Ringo without anything to keep her occupied. "That's what I figured. You were pretty messed up at the time. I probably just came too early, when they were still just throwing stuff at you to see if any of it would stick," Urgh. I remember that time, or at least some of it. A lot of it I wasn't exactly that lucid for. Lunarian medicine is kind of terrifying when you have something they don't know exactly how to deal with. "You were... well, it had a big effect on me. Obviously I didn't get any useful info from you, and I didn't want to. The idea of forcing you through more shit after you got out made me sick to my stomach. My stomach," She emphasizes with a wry smirk that doesn't stay on her face for very long. "I couldn't follow the orders from Naoko and the rest of the group, so I quit."

That seems just a little bit sudden. "What, just like that?"

"Nope. You don't get out of that kind of situation as a clean break," Okay, that's more of what I figured. "Luckily, as Naoko so kindly pointed out, I was supposed to be their dumb muscle. Insult or not, it at least meant they couldn't fight me physically," Yeah, given Naoko's size... Well maybe she'd have a chance if Ringo hadn't eaten anything in like a day. "So all they could do was throw all kinds of social threats at me. I knew they were going to make good on them, but whatever. I was done with them. Figured I'd just have to deal with whatever happened afterward."

"And all of that was just because of me?" Ringo cut herself off from her friends and dealt with some kind of unspecified revenge just because they were planning on taking advantage of my problems. That's... Well I appreciate it I guess, but I would have told her not to if I had heard about it. Even back then when I didn't know Ringo personally.

"Not exactly. I had already been getting pretty tired of all the crap that stupid clique was doing. You just happened to be the breaking point for me," Okay, that's a little better. I still feel kind of guilty about it. "Originally it was supposed to be a fun way to rebel against some of Command's dumb rules. We were basically the only source of booze anyone knew of, and good luck sneaking out to see somebody late at night without our connections," I wouldn't have wanted to be involved with that stuff at the time anyway, but I knew plenty of people who did. "Then it gradually started to become something more and more shady. Like some kind of racket where you had to pay in the right favors and know the right people, and even then you might get randomly screwed over if you're not careful..." Ringo gazes off into the distance, not that there's much distance to cover in this small dorm room. She's just remembering things.

"I didn't know about any of this," I admit quietly. It's really weird to think that so much was happening behind the scenes while I was just busy trying to get through the basic training, or trying to get better in the hospital.

"You actually missed a lot of it," Ringo refocuses and stops thinking about whatever memories she was going through. "Most of the fallout was over by the time you got out of the hospital. By that time I was forcefully isolated from pretty much everyone that the clique still had influence over, and most everyone else knew that helping me out would have messy consequences. I was well out of the open conflict phase and into the cold war between me and way too many shady rabbits. It was... It was a pretty rough time," With how Ringo's talking, it really sounds like this is a subject I would normally want to avoid bringing up. Like I wouldn't make her talk about it if she wasn't offering up the information herself.

"But couldn't you have gone to Command?"

"Mutually assured destruction," Ringo answers with a shrug. I'm not really following, and she quickly notices as much. "None of us wanted to get discharged or whatever else Command might have done if everything we were up to got found out. I had just as much dirt on all of them as they had on me. Things evened out enough that bringing Command in would have screwed everyone over, so nobody did."

"I see..." On the one hand, I can't believe that Command wouldn't notice so many infractions in the rules, on the other hand, they might not have cared nearly as much as they pretended to. As long as nobody said anything, would they bother to worry about rabbits bickering? A long time ago I would have said yes, but now I'm not that sure. If they really cared enough to watch over what all of us rabbits were doing all that closely, they surely would have caught Ringo's friends at some point, right?

"Of course, I didn't know if that would hold forever, so I decided I needed to stay in Command's good graces too. It couldn't hurt, and plus," Ringo grimaces slightly. "The lack of any kind social life meant I didn't have much else to do."

That actually does connect some dots in my mind. Before the shooting incident, I know that Ringo wasn't really anything special in terms of performance in lessons or drills or pretty much anything. That obviously had to have changed at some point, and I didn't really know why before now. "You got promoted before I had even gotten out of the hospital," I recall.

"That was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Command isn't well known for handing out chances to advance or even praise very easily," Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. I know the reason though. Lunarians don't really seem to care about effort put in, only success gotten out. "Having the powers I do helped a lot. They're definitely the only way I managed to make things work," Ringo heaves a heavy sigh and holds her face in her hands, rubbing slightly at her temples. "It's shitty, isn't it? I basically cheated through anything physical just to keep myself safe. I crapped all over the hard work that other people were doing just because I happened to get lucky with random magic or whatever."

"That's not really your fault," I argue weakly.

"I didn't have to eat dango, but I still chose to," Ringo answers back quickly. Well, that might be true, but is it really so terrible to use what you're given? I would if my powers weren't dangerous and if I knew how to control them properly. "It already made me feel bad when I finished up and ended up getting promoted, but I felt even worse when you finally got out of the hospital," Ringo finally looks at me, although it's somewhat tentative. She doesn't keep eye contact for very long. "You're fresh off of medical leave. Nobody you know is still in basic with you. None of them are gonna talk to you. Most of the people around you are spreading rumors about random crap that isn't your fault. What do you do? You go back to training and finish everything up. By yourself. Honestly."

"Well," I didn't think it was that big of a deal. What else was I going to do at the time? I mean, I guess I could have quit, but there aren't a lot of career paths for rabbits who don't make it through some amount of military training. "I was just trying to do what I could."

"And I admired you for it," Ringo answers. I'm squirming again, I can feel it. Sheesh... "At some point after I had gotten you assigned to my unit, I guess that changed to some other kinds of feelings. I don't know, it was a very gradual thing. I didn't really even notice it until I got Sumi assigned to us and she ended up calling me out on liking you."

Hold on, now that she mentions it, the coincidence does seem a little strange. "W-wait, I thought that I was assigned to you randomly?"

"No, I burned good will and favors pretty hard to have a say over who I got command of," Ringo explains before grimacing again. "It's probably the only good thing I learned how to do from Naoko. I figured if I was already a fraud of a leader to begin with, I might as well use the position to help out people who were stuck in bad or worse circumstances than I had cheated myself out of. All four of you fit the bill perfectly. You were all isolated from the rest of the rabbits for one reason or another. I wanted all of us to be able to help each other. That part at least worked out."

"Hm," I kinda have to think things over a little bit here. So it turns out that Ringo was watching me for a while before we had even really met, or at least properly talked to each other. That's a bit more than I was expecting. I don't think it's bad or anything it's just... So many things were going on while I wasn't even remotely aware of them. When they're all suddenly thrown in my face at once, I'm having trouble figuring out how to react. Maybe if it had been more gradual instead, I might have been better equipped to deal with it. "But why didn't you say anything about how you felt? I might have been a bit confused at first, sure, but I don't know. Maybe it would have worked out?"

"You just said it right there. Maybe," Ringo points out, sounding a little bit discouraged. "You obviously weren't into the whole dating thing, and I wasn't going to force the issue with all the other baggage we'd have to get through," She holds up her hand, listing off points on her fingers. "You might not like me. There's the threat of giving Naoko another point of blackmail if she hears about it. Relationships are still against Command's rules, so the endgame of all relationships for rabbits becomes 'get caught or keep it a secret forever'. The group dynamic of our unit..." She pauses for a moment, then drops her hands. "Well okay, that one probably isn't a big deal," She admits. "I did intend to eventually say something, but not until I was sure all the issues were cleared up."

"Sumi was pretty sure you were going to say something tonight," It might have been wishful thinking on her part though. She seemed to support the whole idea.

"Maybe," I'm kind of feeling like that's more of a 'no' in disguise though. "Being so disconnected from the Moon does make a lot of problems go away, so... Maybe," Ringo sighs again and looks past me, toward the wall to Sumi's Room. "Doesn't really matter now, does it? Sumi already said something for me."

"I guess so..."

The room falls into silence at my vague answer. It's long enough that I feel a little bit uncomfortable, but I'm not that sure what to say now. Ringo mostly covered the big questions that I had, and I don't want to push too hard after she just had to spill so much about herself and the past to me.

"So, what do you think?" Ringo finally asks after another few moments of awkward silence.

"About what?"

"About..." Ringo waves one hand weakly in a circle between the two of us. "You know, us?"

"Oh," R-right. Right. Rather than just asking questions, I have to respond to Ringo's feelings, right? How do I do that when I don't know what to say or how I feel? "I think that I'm not really sure," Is what finally comes out of my mouth. It's really not satisfying to admit, so I keep going. "This is really sudden for me. I have no idea what I'm doing! Up until recently, like you said, I didn't even know that I wanted to try doing romance stuff."

"But that changed for the spider girl," Ringo mutters. Err, that's not a nice facial expression there. She kind of grimaced for a moment before getting her face back to normal. Is that what it looks like when other people catch my expressions being too obvious.

"Y-yeah," I answer, feeling slightly nervous for another reason now. I don't really want to, because I don't think I'll like the answer, but I feel like I need to ask about that reaction. "Um, you're not angry at Yamame, are you?"

"No," Ringo answers, a little to quickly to feel genuine. She seems to notice me not buying it. "Okay, I feel a little weird about it. She has nothing to do with us, and we don't know anything about her other than being an underground youkai. I'm not saying that she's dangerous, but that doesn't mean that things will work out well even if she isn't."

"I know, but she's... I don't know, she was friendly and fun. I liked spending time with her tonight and..." Oh, Ringo's face is getting sour again. She's even biting slightly at her thumb! Maybe not the best subject to bring up. "N-never mind."

Ringo's face turns back to normal quickly. "Sorry..."

...

Silence.

...

Urgh, this is too hard! "Can I think about things a little more?" I finally decide to ask. "I'm not turning you down or anything, I really do want to give you a chance, but I'm still mixed up. It's been a really long day and so much has happened and-"

Ringo interrupts me with a surprisingly gentle voice considering she was just recently so visibly upset. "It'd be pretty hypocritical of me to force you to immediately make a decision when I had years of prep time, wouldn't it? If you want to take some time, that's fine with me," She answers. Phew. That's a bit of a relief. "Just watch out or Sumi will get on your case," She jokes, actually smiling at me a little.

"Right," I give as normal of a smile back as I can, despite still feeling conflicted about the whole thing. "Speaking of the others though; Yuzuki knows that something is up with you and me because of how we both acted tonight. Should we tell her the truth or keep this between us?"

"Yyeaaaah. I kinda should have thought about that one earlier," Ringo admits. "Well, I can act like usual if you can. We don't have to say anything to anyone else if you don't want to. It'd probably make it easier for you to make up your mind that way."

"Okay," At least Ringo's still being her normal easy going self now. She might be faking it a little, but um... Actually, wait a second. "Sumi might have been listening through the wall though."

"That's fine. If she is, I'm forcing her to carry the portal all the way back tomorrow. If she isn't, well I'll force her to anyway," Ringo smiles smugly at the wall to Sumi's room, waits for a few seconds, then looks back to me. "Hm, no outrage, guess she's not listening."

Yeah, Sumi probably wouldn't have kept quiet at that. A pretty nice test, though it looks like it came back negative. "Are you really making her carry things tomorrow?"

"Maybe," Ringo shrugs casually, standing up from her chair and stretching a little bit. "I'll figure that out tomorrow though. For now, we should get some sleep. What are you thinking about rooming arrangements?"

Right. That is a problem. Chiyo's already asleep in one room, and Yuzuki is probably going to join her. That means we have four more beds and three rabbits to fill them. That would be easy if it weren't for me and my issues.

[ ] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[ ] Sleep in the same room as Ringo, but a different bed. Just for safety.
[ ] Ask Ringo to sleep in a room with Sumi. Better safe than sorry.

[ ] Take a pill
[ ] Don't take a pill
- [ ] Bullets
- [ ] Suppress
- [ ] Void
- [ ] What???

[ ] Say something else to Ringo (Write-in just in case you're not satisfied with Seiran leaving things as they are for tonight)
>> No. 27545
[X] Ask Ringo to sleep in a room with Sumi. Better safe than sorry.
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Bullets

Bullets, bullets everywhere!
>> No. 27547
[x] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Void

All is one and one is all. Perfect emptiness. Bunny cuddles.
>> No. 27548
[x] Sleep in the same room as Ringo, but a different bed. Just for safety.
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Bullets

Hot daaaaaang, that backstory's some impressive attention to detail. I don't care if it's a weird thing to comment on, or if everyone else thinks it's nothing special, that's the sort of thing I aspire to as a writer. Makes my characters look like cardboard cut-outs.
>> No. 27549
[x] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Void

These damn rabbits need more hugs than they're getting, I tell you.
>> No. 27550
[x] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[x] take a pill

No need to endanger anyone we should have enough pills to last the rest of our stay here and no side effects were shown so far
>> No. 27551
[X] Ask Ringo to sleep in a room with Sumi. Better safe than sorry.
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Bullets

I want to see this dream, but from the name having Ringo in the same room could actually be dangerous.
>> No. 27552
[x] Sleep in the same room as Ringo, but a different bed. Just for safety.
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Void

You folks are aware that sleeping in the same bed as Ringo isn't just dangerous for her, right? She is currently hopped up on we don't know how much dango. She broke a table and a door by accident for crying out loud.
>> No. 27553
[x] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[x] Don't take a pill
- [x] Void
>> No. 27554
[X] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Void
>> No. 27555
>>27552 has a point

[X] Sleep in the same room as Ringo, but a different bed. Just for safety.
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] What???
>> No. 27556
[x] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[x] take a pill
>> No. 27557
File 149093313688.png - (456.95KB , 485x908 , Where.png ) [iqdb]
27557
[X] Sleep next to Ringo, just like this morning. It was nice, but a little dangerous.
[X] Don't take a pill
- [X] Void

Sleeping arrangements, sleeping arrangements... It's not a concern that has come up in quite a while actually. We don't really have a default rooming arrangement for this kind of situation. Honestly if it weren't for me we wouldn't even need one. I'm the only one that's dangerous. Similarly, I'm the only one that hasn't picked out a room yet. My stuff must still be sitting in the room Chiyo is in right now, so I need to grab that first, but where to go after that?

Ringo, Yuzuki, and Sumi are all still up and awake. At least I assume so. Even though they don't talk about it (thank you) all of them are aware of my sleeping issues. They would all be understanding if I asked them to move around for my sake, although Sumi and Yuzuki would have to be told about me not taking my pills in order for it to make sense to them. Ugh, that kind of limits my options. I don't really want to have to have that conversation tonight. Maybe some other time. For now I think it's fine to stick with Ringo.

"I guess I'll sleep in here with you, if that's okay," I respond, trying to make it sound as calm as possible despite the worrying implications it might have for Ringo's safety. She's not going to protest, I know that. That doesn't mean I'm endorsing it or anything though.

"Of course I'm okay with it," Ringo leans back in her chair and gives me a look like I'm the one that needs a reality check. "You should be more specific though. Did you mean in your own bed or like we were this morning?"

Oh right. That was also a thing. I mean, of course I haven't forgotten about this morning, but I wasn't planning on bringing it up either. I'm willing to admit (to myself if not out loud) that I liked having someone sleeping right next to me. Well not even just someone. Specifically, I liked being around Ringo. She's my best friend, so I don't think that's weird or anything. It also doesn't really imply anything with respect to what Ringo and I just got done talking about. It was perfectly innocent enjoyment of having someone I like be close to me. In a bed. Which is against the rules, but...

Still though, it definitely was somewhat risky even without taking rules into account. It almost went really badly really quickly. Regardless of me enjoying being in the be with Ringo, I'm a bit conflicted about taking that kind of risk again. "Wouldn't doing it like this morning be kind of dangerous?" I'm kind of hoping that even Ringo will realize she almost got shot and right now she's asking for more. If we were to sleep like that again, with right next to me, there aren't a whole lot of angles that I would be able to shoot in without causing injury. We'd be rolling the dice in more ways than one.

"Hmm. Mayyyybe?" Okay, Ringo's not thinking this is a big deal, obviously. "I guess there could end up being a problem if we don't work around it. Let me think here." Ringo gets up from her chair and walks slowly over to the bed that I'm not currently sitting on. "Oh, this should work," She picks up the complimentary pillow from near the head the headboard.

Err, wait. I reach over and grab the matching piece of bedding on this side. Yeah, this is just a regular pillow. "What is something like this going to do against a bullet?"

Ringo raises an eyebrow. "Bullet? Bullet nothing, this is for me."

"What?"

Hugging the pillow to herself, Ringo compresses the pillow as much as it can possibly be compressed. "Well I'm still pretty powered up right now, so if I end up squeezing you or something during the night, it could hurt you. Not gonna hurt this thing. So there. I hold onto this and that's that. Danger avoided."

Oh, right. I hadn't even been thinking about Ringo's powers at all. I guess she does have a point though. But wait, that just makes this whole thing an even worse idea than it already was! "Okay, that might work for you, but you're purposely ignoring the biggest issue."

"Something bigger than my muscles?! Not likely," Ringo exaggeratedly flexes her arms. Honestly, she doesn't even look that buff, even though I know how strong she is. Her arms might be a little bit better toned than normal, but that's it. I'm kind of glad that her powers don't make her become visibly ripped though. It's a personal preference, but I think that would look kind of gross. How she looks now is just fine. Err, well, aside from the residual bad mood messiness that she hasn't gotten a chance to take care of.

None of that is even related to the point though. "You're still ignoring what I'm actually worried about," She's doing it on purpose to try and reassure me I think, but I'm not just going to leave the issue alone. "This is serious Ringo. I could shoot you."

Ringo sighs and tosses the pillow as lightly as she can (which isn't very lightly at all) over me and onto the bed that I'm sitting on. "Yes, I know that we could potentially hurt each other," She admits. "But I want to do this anyway. It's..." Ringo grasps at some words for a moment, unsure of exactly how to continue. "Look, this is a bad thing for me to say. I'm being manipulative and trying to force you into things, and I know that, so you're allowed to tell me to shut up. It's just that I really think that having you sleep net to me would make me feel a lot better," Urk. "Just knowing that things aren't all weird with us now or anything would be a pretty big weight off my mind and make it easier to."

Urgh, yeah, that is just a little bit unfair. I'm still feeling guilty about ruining Ringo's night and making her feel bad, even if I didn't know I was doing it at the time. Making her feel better is definitely a high priority for me, and she's now just handing me a way to do that. Namely by listening to her and doing what she wants. Yes, that is kind of manipulative.

That doesn't mean it isn't working.

Ringo's feeling's aside, (not that I would ever discount them of course but I'm trying to work toward another point here) I do still kind of like the idea of sleeping in the same bed as her. Honestly, I just really like being close to girls in general. That's kind of a new thing that I'm learning about myself. I'm also learning that I might not be the best at handling that kind of interest by myself. It definitely isn't helping when two different girls are both offering to help me explore it in different ways. Either I can be responsible about it, or I can try to indulge in these opportunities while I have the chance.

I almost sigh again, but stop myself. "I'll go grab my stuff," Ringo pumps her fist and flings herself onto the bed as I stand up.

Giving Ringo a suggestion that she should at least clean up the room a bit before we go to bed, I walk back out into the hallway. Let's see, the room we first stopped in is right... Here. It's closed up because Chiyo is currently using it. Hopefully I won't bother her too much by just stepping in to get my backpack. Not bothering to knock, I turn the doorknob-aaaaaand it's locked. Of course it would be. The only person inside is asleep. Wait, did Chiyo lock everyone else out? That doesn't seem like something she'd do. Maybe Yuzuki has a key.

Once I've made it back to the common area, Yuzuki's already giving me a curious gaze from over top of her book. Right, I guess she doesn't know exactly what's going on. How do I respond to this? Ringo said she would act like usual and I should do the same, but come on! Everyone keeps telling me that I have no poker face!

"Ringo is cleaning up right now, and it seems like she's carrying herself a bit better. I'm assuming that your talk helped her?" Yuzuki asks without waiting for me to greet her. "You were in there for quite a while though. Much longer than I would think necessary to deal with one night's worth of issues."

She's implying something, but I'm not sure what. Actually, it might just be my guilty conscience. Hard to tell. "There was a bit more to it than that," I mutter vaguely. Wait, something just occured to me. "You weren't um, lip reading or anything, were you?"

"I've developed enough sense to avoid doing that with what is clearly a sensitive or private conversation. I have no idea what specifically you and Ringo talked about," I'm not exactly convinced, but Yuzuki continues on anyway. "My senses don't do anything that would allow me to hear things from several rooms away. Lip reading means that I would have to actively try to match speech with lip movements in real time. That's not an automatic or natural process, unlike the passive information gathering that I normally do."

"Okay," I kinda have a feeling that if Yuzuki was lying, she'd be doing a worse job of it. I believe her for now. "Thanks."

"That being said, I would like an explanation for what happened at some point," Yuzuki adds. I'm not going to say she doesn't deserve one, but I will say I don't know what I'd want to tell her. "However it is getting a little late, so I don't intend to press you for it right now. As long as everything has worked out, it can wait until later if you'd like."

"I would," I answer instantly. Ugh, of course. I should have known that keeping a secret with not one, but two people with super senses would be difficult. Let's just move on. "Anyway, you have the key to Chiyo's room, right?" It's a sudden change of topic, but Yuzuki still nods. "Can I have it to go and grab my stuff?"

"Certainly," Yuzuki produces a small key and slides it onto the table she's sitting at. "How is the rooming going to work out by the way? It seems like Sumi and Ringo have both taken up our remaining rooms, and neither one is currently in the process of leaving."

Right, I'm, uh, going to room with Ringo," My answer doesn't do the best job at hiding my awkwardness. It's kind of hard to do so considering that I just realized Yuzuki is definitely going to know that Ringo and I are sleeping in the same bed. She wasn't there to notice this morning, but that's because she wasn't even in the same general area as the rest of us. There's no possible way that she isn't going to know now. That seems like the kind of thing that is going to change her request for an explanation is into a demand very quickly, isn't it?

Yuzuki just nods to me and goes back to her book. Yup, there's that feeling again, but in another flavor. Anticipatory embarrassment. Being embarrassed about the thing that you already know you're going to be embarrassed about later when it comes up again. Another new kind of embarrassment discovered! Well on the bright side, maybe this is the last one I'll figure out for tonight. That'd be nice.

I scoop the key up off the table and hurry back to Chiyo's room, unlocking it and going inside. Chiyo herself is a nondescript bump under a pile of bedding as usual. I'd say she looks comfortable, but there isn't really much evidence that she's actually in there other than me already knowing she is. The lights are off, which doesn't help, but there's enough coming in from the hallway to grab my backpack and leave. Chiyo doesn't even move from the time that I entered to the point where I lock the door behind me. Nice.

With all my belongings slung onto my back, it's just another quick walk to give Yuzuki her key back. Once she has it again, she assures me she'll be heading to bed soon as well. Apparently whatever she's reading has her quite occupied. Enough so that she's actually decided to read it instead of using her powers to pick up all the information at once. I wonder how that works actually. Does she still have to take time to parse through all the words? Well whatever, that's her business. She can read as long as she wants. If she's still planning on going to Hina's shrine tomorrow though, it probably shouldn't be much longer. At least I think so. What time is it anyway? Man I may have gotten too used to the day night cycle that Earth has. I didn't used to need the sun to keep track of time.

Opening up the door to Ringo's (and I guess my) room, I see that she's cleaned up a little bit. Nothing that would pass a Yuzuki inspection, but I'm not going to get on her that badly about it. She's straightened up the broken pieces of desk and returned the chairs to their rightful positions. She's stored the empty food containers away and fixed up the bed she was resting in before. There isn't much we can do about the broken parts of the door, but luckily it still closes and locks properly.

"So I kinda still wanna be the big spoon, but that's not really doable with the powers thing. Any ideas?" Ringo asks, looking up from the bed further away from the door.

Personally, I'm still not sure what the whole 'spoon' thing is. "It'd probably be safest to be back to back," I decide. Usually I would shoot bullets forward if I'm going to shoot them at all. It's not a guarantee but every little bit helps. Have I mentioned that this is dumb and I probably should just call the whole thing off yet? Because that thought keeps popping into my head.

Ringo, for her part, responds with a slightly disappointed look, but doesn't argue. I'm pretty sure she's also aware of how apprehensive I'm feeling about this whole thing, and doesn't want to risk getting into an argument about it. I'm the one with all the power here, even if I don't know how to use it.

There's still a little bit more preparation to do. I have to stop by the bathroom again and do a little bit of pre-sleep freshening. Can I comment on how nice having a dedicated bathroom is after months of living in the wilderness? Because it's really really nice. It doesn't distract me from all the weird feelings I'm having due to all of the everything that happened today, but it's something.

-

I settle into bed as Ringo turns the lights off. Yup, this is definitely a real bed. I was kind of spoiled about how nice it would be when I was sitting on it earlier, but laying on it is pretty great too. Even if it's only objectively average, it's still much better than what I've become used to. It's also worth noting that the dorms, like most of the rest of the plant, are very well heated, if a little dry. We definitely don't need as much in the way of blankets as we did back at our old camp. Maybe I-

Oh.

Hm.

This bed isn't exactly made for two people, is it? Now that Ringo's laid down, I can tell that technically we both fit just fine, but um... I am very much aware of how close Ringo is to me right now.

"G'night," Ringo says happily before turning away from me, facing outward. That puts me facing the wall. At least, I will be when I turn that direction. Right now I'm still trying to get over this suddenly weird mood that I'm having. Yes, I am tired from such a long day, but I'm ending it in such an unsual way that I can't be expected to immediately get comfortable. There's still too much to think about like um...

...

Ringo likes me.

...

Agh, thinking about this is weird. Maybe I'll be able to wrap my head around it better in the morning. Let's just get this over with.

-

It's dark. Not so dark that I can't still see, but definitely dark. Like some kind of haze is crowding my vision, but I can't tell what exactly is causing it. It doesn't matter that much. It's not obscuring much of anything. Even without it, there wouldn't be much to see.

There are colors. A familiar kind of mix of reds and blues and purples, all masked behind the dark filter. They don't form any particular pattern, in fact they seem to shift over time. Only when I'm not looking though. Staring at a spot seems to make it stabilize just a little bit. I want to try and see what happens when I really REALLY focus on one spot, but I can't seem to do it. I've gotten close before, there almost seemed to be solid shapes of some kind. I couldn't keep on it for long enough though.

I don't have any control. It's a strange sensation. My sense of self is far too weak. Nothing's keeping me grounded, but nothing is letting go free either. There's no sense of gravity or weight to my movement, if indeed I'm moving at all. With only the colors around, it's entirely possible that I'm not. Maybe everything else is moving instead. It's hard to tell when I can't feel anything. I can't see myself either, or maybe I could if I could move my head to look at myself. I'm more curious about the other one though.

Someone is humming. It's a light, kind of somber tune. Just soothing enough to not be haunting, although if I were in a worse frame of mind I suppose I could see it either way. Occasionally the humming stops and I hear some other noises, but that's much less predictable. It always starts with a squish, or a crunch, or a splat, then moves into something else. Sometimes it's a giggle, sometimes a sigh, I swear I've heard crying at least once, but usually it's just silence. Then it eventually goes back to the humming again.

This isn't the first time. I've been here many times before. I think it started around basic training. Before that maybe? What happened before that? What started all this? I don't know. Probably don't want to know. Being here so many times let's me stay calm, but that's all it does. The dream doesn't listen to me.

It's a dream. I'm always lucid enough to think of that eventually, but nothing positive comes of the realization. The humming doesn't stop. My body doesn't start existing. The colors don't stay still. The darkness doesn't go away. All I get are me and my thoughts, scattered as they may be.

That's not right. It's not just me and my thoughts. After I've realized that I'm in a dream, some kind of image will start to form. It starts out as a blob. A nondescript pink blob. It shifts and warps into something recognizable, but the specific thing is always different. I know that once it's finished, the humming will get closer, then stop, then this dream will end. That's how it always happens. I don't know what the point of it all is, but it's happened enough for me to be used to it.

The shape is almost finished. I can already tell what it's going to be...

[ ] Bullet
[ ] Square
[ ] Apple
[ ] Gun
[ ] Star
[ ] Hourglass

Moon

>> No. 27558
Hmmmm.... Seiran, Yuzuki, Ringo, Sumi, Chiyo, aaaand... dunno. Mystery option it is.

[x] Hourglass
>> No. 27559
[x] Apple
>> No. 27560
[X] Hourglass

Seiran, did you break time again?
>> No. 27561
[X] Hourglass
>> No. 27562
[x] Apple

Big spoon, big spoon!
>> No. 27563
[x] Apple
>> No. 27564
[X] Hourglass
>> No. 27565
[X] Hourglass
mystery box time!
>> No. 27566
File 14912793344.png - (369.16KB , 834x269 , Could be lots of things.png ) [iqdb]
27566
[X] Hourglass

It shifts and morphs right in front of me. It's hard to describe it as a solid or a liquid, but it's too substantial to be a gas. Somewhere in between? Might as well be. As I watch, it gradually becomes more and more opaque. Less and less transient. When it finally finishes, it comes to a stop. That's an hourglass. Initially I thought it was something else, but I can see it easily now. Large bulb at the base and large bulb at the top, coming together closely in the middle of the neck, just enough that it would let a bit of something fall through.The shape calls to mind an image that doesn't at all fit the body (whose?), but that's not why it's appropriate. This isn't a question of form, but one of function.

It's useless. Looking at it now, how functional could it really be? Despite taking on such a shape, it's still an opaque pink blob. It can't be properly used to tell time if you can't see within it. Even if you flipped it over, you could only assume that it was doing its job at its own pace. There would be no way to tell if it were satisfactory. An even more worthless version of an already irrelevant tool. Throw it out.

It shouldn't even bother. Other tools would be better. More clear. Easier to work with. this one can stay shelved. It may be flipped once in a while out of some vague curiosity, but there isn't any other need for it, is there? Just sitting around and looking cute
(cute?) is good enough, isn't it?

Everything starts to blur. I see indistinct flashes. Images that are too difficult to identify clearly, but still give an idea of things gone by. Years of work and effort, ruined by random chance. Lack of control, lost time. Confusion, isolation, anger, and finally apathy. Just like I thought, it doesn't need to bother. Telling the time with something like this isn't even possible. It's a broken tool, isn't it?

... No?

Something about that is wrong.

I don't want it to be like that.

That's definitely wrong.

I want to reach out and grab it. I want to turn the hourglass over and give it purpose. Maybe if I could just touch it I could clean the pink stuff off enough to see inside. Where are my arms? Where is any part of me? My sense of self is far too weak. Nothing's keeping me grounded, but nothing is letting go free either. I've already thought that. It's not useful. I want to reach out and grab it.

"Curious, curious..." A voice speaks. It has a strange, spacey kind of quality that makes it sound like she's just woken up. That can't be right though, I just heard her humming, right? This is the first time I've heard it speak, but I know it's the same person. Or presence, because I can't see her. I can only hear her. Why? Why now? Why not any of the other times? "Aha!" The owner of the voice doesn't seem to have nearly as much energy as her exclamation implies. "Naughty. We can't have you visiting others like that."

The hourglass is pulled out of my view, leaving me looking at nothing but the void again. I try to whirl my head around, get a clear view of something. Anything really. Of course that's not possible though. I can't move myself when there isn't any self to move. "Can't take my eyes off you for two seconds, can I?" The voice sounds playful, but still like she's halfway to falling over at any second. Her words blend together lazily, but is that her or my own senses? Everything feels so disconnected right now without anything to focus on.

"Hm, a pity. Tainted before it matured," Thoughtful, but not at all regretful. She giggles again. "Oh well. Let's eat~"

A crunch. It sounds like shattering of glass. Everything gets a little darker.

I feel something grab hold of me next. Another giggle. Then I don't feel anything at all.


-

Huh?! Wha-? Oh... Ugh. Uhhhhhnnn...

It's a lot less violent of an awakening compared to yesterday, but I still don't feel good right now. I'm sleeping in a bed, so shouldn't I feel more rested than usual? Yes, I am a little bit hotter than I'd like, but that's to be expected with where we are. Why do I feel so awful? A groan comes out of my mouth involuntarily. It's loud enough that it hurts my throat too. Ugh. Ow. Why did that hurt? I need water or something. I'm thirsty. Ow. Was I not breathing properly overnight or something?

Wait, my nose is all stuffed up. My head is abnormally hot too. More than the rest of me, which also has its own share of problems. My muscles are kind of aching. If it were just my legs that would make sense. I did climb a lot of stairs and walk around a lot yesterday. I hurt all over though. I didn't get drunk again, I know that. The feeling I have now isn't quite the same thing as yesterday's hangover, and I don't have any gaps in my memory either. This is so weird. I don't know-

"k-ahem Khyugh kyugh kyugh. Huu-KHOFF"

Eugh. Now I'm coughing. Why did that happen? I couldn't even make myself stop to try and avoid bothering Ringo. I didn't drink anything, so it's not like I accidentally swallowed something badly. If I ever cough, that's normally the only reason I can think of. That might have happened if I tried though, given how raw my throat feels...

Wait...

Oh! I know this one! I'm sick!

My realization is rewarded with another small coughing fit. Ow. This hurts. Why did this happen? I've never gotten sick before. Sure, our immune systems wouldn't normally be used to dealing with all the dirtiness and impurities that Earth dwellers would be used to, that's true. That was the point of giving us so many immunization shots before we came down here! Lunarian medicine shouldn't be losing to any earthborn illness. how did this-

Ahhh. Uh oh. I feel a sneeze coming on. Wait w-wait! I don't have tissue or anything to sneeze into and Ringo's right next to me and-

"Ach-snzzzk!"

Ugghhh. Ow ow ow. I just grabbed my nose and held it shut while I was sneezing so the snot couldn't go anywhere. It worked, but all that pressure really hurt my head, nose, and ears. Dammit... I feel miserable... Normal Earthlings have to live with this just randomly happening to them? No wonder they're so far behind in development compared to the Moon. Some portion of their population probably feels like this every day. Just wanting to lay back down in bed and sleep until it all goes away. That can't be good for productivity.

Speaking of laying back down in bed, that doesn't sound like a bad idea right now. I try to settle in a little bit, but when I twist slightly to the side, I catch Ringo's eye. Did my sneeze wake her up just now? "Mornin," She mumbles, scratching at one of her ears as she sits up next to me. She definitely looks like she just woke up. All squinty and sluggish. It doesn't take her that long to break out of it though. She quickly gets a good look at me. "Everything okay?" Her tone shows she obviously knows the answer is no. I must look about as bad as I feel.

Well, "I'm sick," I answer plainly. Even with the bright side that I didn't accidentally shoot anyone or anything over the night, I don't really feel like I have the energy to say much else. In fact all I really have the energy to do is flop back down. Aaaah. Pillow. Gimme the rest of those blankets too please. I wanna sleep some more.

"What!?" Ringo is as surprised as I would be if I felt up to being much other than tired and sore right now. While I take her old posture of laying down, she takes my sitting up position to try and get a better look at me. "Woah," She says, leaning over me slightly. "Yeah, you don't look so good. I guess I believe it, but that's weird. How are you sick?"

Ringo had all the same shots as I did, so now that I think about it, it's weird that I'm the only one sick. It's true that I was all over the place yesterday. A bit more so than everyone else even. It's technically possible I ran into something that Lunarian science didn't vaccinate me for while the others all avoided it. I kinda have to believe that's possible anyway. It sounds really unlikely, but when the proof is right here in my throat and head and pretty much everywhere else, it's kind of hard to argue against it. "I don't know," Ow. Talking hurts too. Rubbing my throat doesn't help, but I still find myself doing it anyway. "Could you get me some water?"

"R-right!" Ringo's surprisingly serious. Maybe she's worried because of how unusual the situation is. None of us have ever been mundanely sick before. My only trip to the hospital was for power related stuff. The viruses or whatever else this could be happening with me is... Oh that's a scary thought.

I have no idea what's wrong with me.

Okay. No. No. Don't panic. Just because it's something that Command didn't expect us to get exposed to doesn't mean that this is anything dangerous. Command just probably doesn't know about absolutely every kind of sickness down here. Heck, they never even briefed us about the underground, and who knows what kind of germs and dirty stuff I was exposed to back at the Prismriver's mansion. Combine that with all the different kinds of youkai from last night that I certainly wasn't planned to encounter and... I don't really know where I'm going with this. All I'm doing is further convincing myself that I have no idea what's going on with me or how I got sick.

So I have utterly failed to calm myself down. Ugh.

...

I feel a shiver run down my spine, even though I'm really hot right now. This sucks.

-

"Some kappa were giving me weird looks. I don't think Kanako told everybody that we were going to be living here yet, if she was even going to. Dunno if they thought I was a new employee or what. I definitely don't look it though, so I guess I get why they were confused," Ringo idly chats as she hands me a glass of water and sits down at the unbroken desk, turning her chair around to face me. Hm, this water is kind of lukewarm. Not sure if that'd be better or worse for my throat than cold water. Whatever. "Still, they helped me out when I asked, so it's cool. I didn't know where the glasses and stuff were, and Yuzuki's out so I can't check with her either."

I sip at my water slowly. Ow. Sore. "Yuzuki's out?" I ask once I feel good enough to talk some more. "Oh, right. It's morning. Shrine visit."

"Right, I did tell her it was okay yesterday, so obviously she went through with it. I checked in with the others too, but they're both still asleep as far as I know. Chi's room is still locked, but apparently Sumi forgot to do the same," Ringo shrugs and shakes her head lightly. "And she says I'm the dumbass?"

She said a lot more things than that. That doesn't really mean she meant them. Well, kinda. "Mm," I make a vague noise of agreement before going back to my water. Ugh, so Yuzuki is out doing something of questionable importance, the others are still asleep, I'm sick, and Ringo is stuck watching me right now. We are the best military unit. Not one of us is focusing on the mission. "Sorry about this."

Ringo raises an eyebrow at me. Don't give me that look. "Oh come on, you think I'm gonna get mad at you for getting sick?"

"Ordinarily no," Putting aside that there's no ordinary situation where I would be sick in the first place. "But we're-cough-we're in a tough spot. We only have so ma-cough-many days left to make this all work out."

"Hey, it's no biggie as long as you're alright," I think it kind of is a big deal Ringo. Me being alright doesn't matter if it means getting blown up by Eirin. "Honestly I'm already thinking of ways to work around this. Figure you'll need a little bit of time to get over it, but we might be able to work something out in the meantime."

No no no, that doesn't sound good at all. "I'll be fine," I try to insist. Not very convincing when I follow it up with a couple more coughs. Ugh, this talking thing really isn't working out, but something tells me I shouldn't just let Ringo make all the decisions here. "All we're doing is taking some scientist to go see the portal, right?"

"Or carrying it back here, yeah," Ringo answers, stretching her arms lightly at the thought. I guess it wouldn't be hard for her to carry something like that. She already got the drone yesterday. "Neither of those things require you specifically though. You don't have to do anything that you're not feeling up to. The rest of us can handle it."

That's... Technically true. That doesn't mean I like the idea though. I want to be there in case something happens. Even if I guess I wouldn't be able to do much about any situation in this condition. Actually, wait. I just had an idea! "Well I just thought that if we're going back to camp anyway then I cough cough could grab some medicine there," I have a first aid kit here, but it's more for immediate injuries instead of treating illnesses. We do have various kinds of medicines just in case back at camp. Maybe one of those will be able to cure whatever's wrong with me.

"The medicine from the people who didn't already give you a vaccine for what's wrong with you now? That's kinda optimistic, don'tcha think?" Ringo asks with a smirk. She kind of has a point. I don't have a complete inventory of what all we had at camp. That's more of Yuzuki's thing. Add on the fact that we don't know what sickness I have...

"What else can we do?" I ask reluctantly.

"Get outside help," Ringo casually answers, reaching over to grab her hat off of the desk and slip it back on her bed head. Actually, her hat was just kind of crumpled over there. Did she throw it when she was upset last night? "We're not in full stealth anymore. We can ask around the plant to see if anybody knows about your illness and how to treat it."

The people down here are mostly going to be engineers, right? Scientists and doctors aren't the same thing. Well, some of the time. I guess it's possible, but... "And if they don't?"

Ringo considers that for a moment. Her face clearly shows the moment she gets another idea. "Oh, we still have to talk to Reisen about what we've decided to do about the whole Moon thing. She would probably want to hear that we've made actual progress. We can swing by the village and find her, then bring her back here or just ask for medicine."

"That's still cough Lunarian medicine," I point out. She would be selling medicine from Eirin, who is probably behind most of the things we would already have at camp.

"Lunarian medicine from people who have been on Earth way longer than we or anybody else at Command have. I'd give them pretty good odds on fixing the problem," Ringo counters. "Plus, it'd set us up a meeting with Reisen, which probably needs to happen anyway."

Urgh. Ringo has a point. Two points actually. I don't really have much to counter with on either of them. Oh wait, I know. "I don't cough think Kanako would want you bringing Reisen down here."

"Hmm, point," Yes! I finally got one. Not that Ringo wasn't listening to me, it just felt like she was maneuvering around all of my weak arguments really easily. It'd be easy to blame the sickness, but I don't think I'd be doing any better when healthy honestly. "Might be better to ask for forgiveness instead of permission in this case though. Hmm..."

Ringo's considering everything. Maybe I should try pushing her in one direction or another. She'll probably listen.

[ ] We can solve this by ourselves. We only need medicine from camp.
[ ] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[ ] I guess Ringo has a point about going to Reisen about this.
- [ ] But bringing her back to the plant might be overstepping a bit.
- [ ] And having her here lets her examine me while getting the best idea about what's going on.

[ ] Leaving the others alone doesn't sound like a good idea. I need to force myself to get up and go too.
[ ] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

That's interesting. Didn't expect the vote to go this way. I also didn't think it was the mystery box option, but I guess vague voting options will do that. The vote is of questionable significance anyway. It's only a dream after all.
>> No. 27567
[x] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

If this is Yamame's fault, then she should have warned Seiran before the kiss, or at least afterwards. Bad spider.
>> No. 27568
[x] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

Though it could be a false alarm, I'm pretty sure this is what we got for kissing spiderbutt. Charming. Anyways, after our past experiences I feel like getting involved with Eientei is a bad idea till this all blows over.
>> No. 27569
[x] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

Even if this cold(?) is from kissing Yamame I regret nothing.
>> No. 27570
[x] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

I kinda want to talk to Reisen, but giving anyone from Eientei information about us is rather bad when Eirin is out to eliminate us.
>> No. 27571
[X] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[X] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

It was worth it, even if it means being sick.
>> No. 27572
[x] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

I hope Yamame don't go into self-loathing if she finds out we got sick after kissing her. given her backstory she she might chastise herself for this, even if this was unrelated. But on the bright side, manipulation of illness includes making illnesses weaker, so that could help
>> No. 27573
[x] I guess Ringo has a point about going to Reisen about this.
- [x] And having her here lets her examine me while getting the best idea about what's going on.
[x] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

We can trust Reisen. I think. It's her boss we need to worry about.

As long as she doesn't have some kind of tracking spell or truth serum effect on her...

> I also didn't think it was the mystery box option, but I guess vague voting options will do that.

Did I get the others right, though? I'd honestly be surprised if I did; I pulled that list of guesses out of thin air in about five seconds.
>> No. 27574
I've written a bunch of words, but don't feel like I've gotten anywhere useful with them. I need to revise/rework this after I get some sleep. Update tomorrow.
>> No. 27575
File 149161730922.jpg - (82.47KB , 700x900 , I don't have a picture for this update.jpg ) [iqdb]
27575
[X] Asking around the plant might work. Plus it means no travel time.
[X] Pushing myself might make it worse. As much as I don't like wasting time. I'll sleep for a bit longer.

I'm not exactly sure if handling Reisen right at this moment is the best idea. Even if Reisen herself is trustworthy (which I'm leaning toward being the case, given that Eirin didn't storm the camp after we told Reisen where it was), who knows how open she'd be to dropping her actual job and being hauled away to help me out. Even if she was willing to do it, there's no guarantee she'd be able to keep it inconspicuous. If the wrong people saw us and word got back to Eientei somehow... Yeah, even if it's a big what if, I still don't want to deal with it right now. There are just too many unknowns for my sick and tired brain to go through.

"It's ahem probably something from down here," I reason while choking down a cough. "I was fine the entire time we were above ground, and am just now suddenly feeling bad. Asking people down here about common illnesses from the underground makes the most sense." I reason. It's partially just to get Ringo off the Reisen idea, but it does seem like a good idea in its own right.

"And I guess it is the fastest option too," Ringo agrees thoughtfully, mostly talking to herself before returning her focus to me. "Don't think they're gonna have doctors down here though. Onis don't seem like the type to need them. Though there are other youkai, so who knows. I'll have to ask."

"Cough cough," Ow. That one got out on its own. Not sure if it's better to try and hold them in or let them go. Either way seems to hurt. "I guess we'll have to see how it works out," I shuffle over slightly so I can move to get out of bed and... Woah. Ugh. Really don't want to get up. Head hurts. Feel bad. It's not as bad as yesterday, so I could force myself up if I really needed to, but...

"Hold on, hold on. Don't move," Ringo's already up and has a hold on my shoulder before I can will myself to get anywhere. She also takes my glass of water before I spill the rest of it. "I can handle this, you just try and rest a bit more. You look like you need it."

You're one to talk Ringo. Seriously, she still hasn't cleaned herself up after last night... Well, she has a point anyway, and I'm not going to argue against getting some more sleep. As much as I feel like I should be up and trying to help with things, at this point I might just end up making it worse for myself. Wasting time sounds like a terrible idea, but yeeeeah. Ending up more sick than I am right now is not something that I ever want to do. If rest will help, then I'll rest for now. "Hmkay," I mumble as I slide back under the covers.

On the bright side, with Ringo not under here with me I can stretch out a little bit. This bed wasn't really made for two people, so having it to myself is a bit more comfortable. I do have to admit to missing how warm Ringo was though. It was a little too warm just due to the heat from the rest of the plant, but in a weirdly comforting way, you know? Maybe when this whole thing is over we could make this more of a habit. It'd be breaking the rules but...

Err, actually, there are some implications to that idea aren't there? Right, sleeping and getting sick doesn't change what happened yesterday. Even if she's acting normal, Ringo still said that she likes me, and is waiting for me to respond to that. Sleeping next to her might confuse the issue. For me or for her or for both of us.

Another fit of coughing hits me, forcing me to stop thinking too hard about much of anything. This is awful, and I really don't like the concerned looks that Ringo's giving me. Even if I have no idea if I'm going to be fine or not, her worrying about me is only going to make it worse. "You sure you're going to be okay?" She asks me in a surprisingly gentle tone. That's not a voice that I'm used to hearing from her.

Ringo, you're supposed to be acting normal. Not being all nice and sweet and making me have to think about this stuff while I'm sick. "Mhm," I make a soft noise of confirmation while pulling the sheets up far enough that only my eyes and the top of my head is visible.

Ringo stares at me for a little bit longer, still showing that uncomfortable worried face. Eventually she realizes I'm not going to say anything else, and snaps back to normal. "Alright, I'll get on that then, so just take it easy," She assures me. I just nod at that, and she quickly heads out the door.

Ugh. On the surface level, things are okay between us, but it's still a little weird when I really think about it. Well, I hope she can at least wait for a bit longer. I'm not feeling up to all that self examination right now. Really just wanna go back to sleep so I don't hurt so much...

...

-

knock knock

Mmf. I grab the extra pillow that I brought along and try and sandwich my head between it and the one that came with the bed. Go away noises. Let me sleep longer. 'm tired still...

knock knock.

...

knock knock.

Uuuuuurgh, I don't have enough pillow to cover up my entire head plus my ears. Noises won't go away. mmmmmnf...

...

knock

Fiiiiine. "C-cough cough cough," Ow ow ow. Did my throat get worse? "Come in," I struggle out after I can breathe properly again. Ugh. It's too early for this. No, I don't know what time it is, but it's still to early for this.

The door makes a few click noises before it opens up. Okay, I guess Ringo locked it on the way out. If you had the key though, did you really need to knock and wake me up? You were the one who told me to get some rest Ringo! Ugh, no stop. I'm being grumpy because I just got up and still feel crappy. She's just checking on me or something. I'm fine(ish), can I go back to bed now?

"Hey," Oh wait, that's not Ringo. "What'd you do to your door?" Chiyo asks, sounding not at all concerned about the answer. "Or the desk?" She adds after a slight pause.

I lower the pillow off my face so I can breathe properly. Well, mostly properly. My nose is still a tiny bit congested. "Umm," How to explain this... Unlike the rest of the rabbits, Chiyo doesn't know anything about what happened yesterday, and doesn't have powers that would let her figure it out. Keeping her out of it would be pretty easy, if it weren't for the physical evidence. "Well um. R-ringo cough cough COUGH."

"Okay okay, never mind." Chiyo interrupts my failing to answer the question. I'd be thankful to my coughs for getting me out of that line of inquiry if they weren't so unpleasant. "Take it easy," I'm not looking up at her, but I can hear her moving a little closer. She sits down in the chair that Ringo was in earlier. "Wasn't expecting it to be this bad. I guess it'd have to be if I'm the one that's supposed to be looking after you instead of the other way around."

I turn myself over enough that I can look at Chiyo properly. "Looking after me?" Wait no, that's obvious. I just asked before I could think about it. Stupid sluggish waking up. Stupid sickness.

"It was on a note in my room when I got up, along with the key," Didn't Ringo say Chiyo's door was locked earlier? I guess she still could have slipped a note and the key to our room under her door though. Actually, she could have just woke Chiyo up instead, right? "Said you were sick and might need someone to look after you while Ringo and Sumi went out," Chiyo continues. "Never seen anyone get sick like this before."

Yeah, that's probably the case for a lot of rabbits. People just don't get mundanely sick back there. Hey, I'm a weirdo in yet another way! I cough a couple more times. Once that calms down, I can talk again. "It's really awful. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone," I struggle out. My throat is really dry and talking is tough. "Um, water?" I ask hopefully.

"Hm," Chiyo makes a noise of acknowledgement reaches back and hands me the glass of water from before. So Ringo just left that there I guess. Well, this glass is still half empty, it's definitely warmed up from the room by now, and it still kind of hurts to swallow anything, but it's still better than nothing. I drink the rest of it in one (slightly painful) gulp. Maybe I'll be able to talk a little more easily now. Hopefully?

"Did the note say anything about where they were going?" They're out there looking for my benefit, but I have no idea how long I've been asleep or what's happened in the mean time.

"Said they were getting a doctor, but that's it," Chiyo answers with a shrug, spinning around slowly in the desk chair. "Dunno, nobody told me anything."

"To be fair, you were asleep," I think it's still irresponsibly lenient of Ringo to not wake Chiyo up, but I guess that's what happened.

"Nah, I wasn't, but it was my fault for not answering when Ringo knocked, so whatever," Chiyo shrugs again and comes to a stop. Good, I don't want her getting dizzy or anything. "I got woken up annoyingly early this morning when Yuzuki left. I just haven't felt like getting out of bed. Was thinking about stuff. You know how it is."

Sitting in bed just thinking about stuff? Not so much any more. Maybe a long time ago, but we've just been so busy lately. "Not really..." Wait, that seems a little bit off. At least in my opinion, Chiyo isn't lazy. She doesn't really like busy work, and definitely likes sleeping, yeah, but she doesn't use that to shirk responsibilities. If she's told to do something, she'll do it as best she can. That's what I've seen from her in the time that I've known her. Why is this morning different? She knew we'd have to get up and get to work, but she decided not to and instead stayed in bed thinking. That's... I think there's something more to it. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Eh well... Yeah, kinda," Chiyo admits somewhat hesitantly. "It's kinda hard to explain though so..."

I thought so. Chiyo isn't as prone to talking as the other rabbits, so sometimes we have to guess at what she's thinking or what she wants. It's a balancing act though. You also sometimes have to just let her talk at her own pace. Especially when her powers are messing with her. I'm not the best at it, that's probably Ringo, but I think Chiyo and I are pretty comfortable around each other regardless. Either way, I sit up slightly, since I'm not planning on going back to sleep right now, and wait for Chiyo to continue.

"I've been thinking about Ringo's idea. The one to um, stay here," Chiyo eventually continues even without me prompting her, although she doesn't sound too happy about it.

Oh yeah. that's another thing from yesterday that kind of got shoved out of the way by the stuff that came after it. I haven't really put a lot of thought into it. Whether that's because I was busy or because I was actively avoiding thinking about it too much, I'm not really sure. "R-right," That's all I can really think to say. She's thankfully not asking me for my opinion on it, so that should be good enough.

"I still don't know how I feel about it," Chiyo reaches up and uses two fingers to knead at one of her ears. That's something I've seen her do occasionally, but never when she's in a good mood. Maybe it's a nervous habit. I'm not exactly one to judge for other people having tells.

"Same here actually," I admit. The others were all pretty clear in their answers, so maybe Chiyo's just feeling like the odd one out. She definitely isn't though. "We don't need-cough-we don't need to worry right now though. We have time to think about it still."

"Some of us more than others," Chiyo mutters to the side, still working on her ear.

Oh come on. We have five days still. Maybe six depending on if you count the day of the full moon or not. There's no way that Chiyo's personal time would be so messed up that she wouldn't have a chance to think this over. "Even you still have plenty of time Chiyo."

"I know," Chiyo sighs again. "Just in a weird mood and I can't stop thinking about it."

Even with her lack of enthusiasm toward the subject, this is probably something worth pursuing. Chiyo is going out of her way to talk about her problems, which is pretty unusal for her. This must really be bothering her. "I'm listening, go ahead whenever you're ready."

Chiyo nods and lets go of her ear, leaving it to bob back and forth a couple of times before coming to a stop. "If we stay here, we're deserting the Moon and Command and everything. Some people here are okay with that, but I don't know if I'd be satisfied with it," She speaks softly and a little slowly, but doesn't sound unsure about anything she's saying. Chiyo doesn't talk much, but that doesn't mean she's bad at it when she does. Unlike me. "Command isn't nice, but I don't hate them. To me it's mostly understandable why they do the things they do. Other rabbits don't agree with me on that. They don't have the same kind of loyalty to the place they've lived for their entire lives. I think that's weird. Maybe I'm the one that's weird though."

"So you want to go back then?" I surmise.

"I'm not sure," Right, I guess it can't be that simple. If it was, we wouldn't be having this conversation. "Even though I say I'm loyal, I'm not blind either. Command doesn't care about us, individually or as a unit. We're the weird rabbits, none of us are valuable to them. We're disposable if we need to be. Would that change if we save the capital from whatever's happening? Maybe. Would we be better off coming back here afterward? Dunno. Maybe some of us. Probably not me though."

"Why?"

"I'm... Hm," Chiyo starts to say something, but then thinks better of it. She considers her words for a moment before going on. "I had this dream last night. I don't remember a lot of it, but it was just like a bunch of negative stuff and me feeling sorry for myself. Ordinarily I'd just brush it off as normal, but it kinda got me thinking that I'm..." She pauses again, looking a bit hesitant to continue. "Kinda useless in a lot of ways."

What? "Chi!" No, don't say that!

"And it bothers me," Chiyo continues, ignoring me voicing my concern. "I can't be independent with this dumb power stuff always being an issue. Somebody is always going to have to take care of me. No matter how much I try to get a handle on it, I'll eventually lose track of time. Like the one time that I went off on my own before. I messed up, and suddenly found myself alone, lost, and confused, with a hermit drilling me for info."

"But that's..." I don't know what to say. Chiyo and I both know that we can't just get over our powers, even if we've both tried before. We just have to live with them. If Chiyo's really bothered about it, what can I say to that without sounding like a hypocrite?

"So when I decide, I'm not really deciding for myself. I'm deciding which of my friends I want to stay with while forcing them to take care of me, and which ones I'm okay with never seeing again," She shakes her head slightly before leaning forward slightly and resting it in her hands. "I don't like any of that. That's the problem."

When she says it like that, I'm not really okay with it either. It's actually entirely possible that I might never be able to see some of the others again in a few days time. I feel my stomach drop slightly at the realization. That's... But what if... Hm. I can't really think of a solution either.

Chiyo doesn't sound sold either way. Her feelings are mixed and a little bit contradictory on if she's okay with going back to our old life. Even if it wasn't the most fun or pleasant thing, it was stable, and kept all five of us together. That's not the case down here. Aside from Chiyo herself, it seems like all of us have things going on that we don't involve the other rabbits in. Who's to say that wouldn't get worse over time if we moved down here permanently?

Adding to that, even if we did desert and move down here permanently, Chiyo still feels guilty about needing us to take care of her. I've never really thought of it as a burden or anything, but of course Chiyo would think of it that way. From what I heard, she was a bit of a loner before her powers appeared. It's not that surprising to expect that suddenly having to change from being alone to needing other people to support you would give her a bit of trouble mentally. Even if I personally think getting her in the unit and talking to people helped her out a lot.

Sumi and Ringo both seem pretty set on moving down here and enjoying a new life away from the baggage they still have from the Moon. Yuzuki seemed pretty adamant that doing so would be improper, so it'd be hard to get her to go along with it. Meanwhile, Chiyo and I are still unsure. Even if we both picked an answer right now, we'd still have to convince one or more of the others to go along with us in order to avoid losing any of our friends.

With all of this in mind, of course Chiyo is worried. Heck, how was I NOT worried?! I definitely am now, but showing it (Mental note: make sure my face is still calm... Yeah I think I'm okay) doesn't help. Chiyo is talking to me about it because she's genuinely concerned. I need to be reassuring here, or at the very least supportive.

[ ] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[ ] Encourage Chiyo to get involved more with things going on on Earth. Maybe if she made other friends then she wouldn't have to rely on the unit all the time.
[ ] Remind Chiyo that even if she goes back to the Moon, there are plenty of other rabbits she could get to know. Plus, she could always talk to the rabbits on Earth over comms once they're back up. If she wants to go back to the Moon, she should do so.
[ ] Chiyo should figure out what she wants to do for herself. Just hug her... Err, I'm not contagious, am I?
[ ] Suggest Chiyo talks to the others about how she feels as well. It's not good for her to keep quiet all the time when she's so unsure about this.

Yeesh. Chiyo was being difficult to write, and I'm still not sure I'm completely satisfied. Also there was another dream in here originally that I ended up scrapping because it wasn't helping anything.

>>27573
That would be telling.
>> No. 27576
[x] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[x] Suggest Chiyo talks to the others about how she feels as well. It's not good for her to keep quiet all the time when she's so unsure about this.
>> No. 27577
[X] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[X] Chiyo should figure out what she wants to do for herself. Just hug her... Err, I'm not contagious, am I?
>> No. 27578
[X] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[X] Chiyo should figure out what she wants to do for herself. Just hug her... Err, I'm not contagious, am I?
>> No. 27579
[x] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[x] Suggest Chiyo talks to the others about how she feels as well. It's not good for her to keep quiet all the time when she's so unsure about this.

but still hug her. sad friends need hugs
>> No. 27580
[X] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[X] Chiyo should figure out what she wants to do for herself. Just hug her... Err, I'm not contagious, am I?
>> No. 27581
File 149188812736.png - (165.56KB , 506x696 , Could be better.png ) [iqdb]
27581
[X] Assure Chiyo that taking care of her is no problem. Everyone in the unit feels that way. We'll support her no matter what.
[X] Chiyo should figure out what she wants to do for herself. Just hug her... Err, I'm not contagious, am I?

This is pretty tough. Honestly I don't think I would have an answer even if you have me a day to think about it like Chiyo has had. Technically, yeah, I did have a day to think it over, but it was a very busy day to be fair. When you remind me of the problem then only give me a few minutes to try and think of a reassuring answer, what exactly would you expect?

I don't think I can give Chiyo something definite here. She and I both have justifiably mixed feelings about both the Moon and Geneokyo (although the latter is more due to unfamiliarity as far as I've been able to tell). We're in the same boat here, so I both understand and don't understand why Chiyo would talk to me about this first. Although come to think of it, that may just be due to convenience. I just happen to be available to talk right now. Yeah, that makes the most sense.

Also come to think of it, when did this go from Chiyo taking care of me while sick to me helping her through her problem? I don't exactly mind it, but it is a little bit more difficult for my barely awake, still pretty sick brain. In fact I can't think of much to say or do except...

... Well, that might work anyway.

"Hey Chiyo?" My voice is a little bit softer than I meant it to be, but I think I feel another cough coming on. "Could ahem could you come here?" Yup, there it is. A bit less terrible than I expected, so that's nice.

"What?" I'm pretty sure she heard me still, but maybe she doesn't get the point of the idea.

"Come here," I repeat, patting my hand twice on the bed. It doesn't really matter if she actually sits with me or just comes over here. Either way works.

While she's a little bit slow to comply, Chiyo eventually comes to a stop standing next to my bed. Hmm, yeah, I figured her height would set us up like this. With me sitting and her standing, it actually puts us at a pretty similar height. Convenient, and entirely what I was planning on. Okay, deep breath. Kinda want to try and keep my cough even and under control. I want to talk seriously here, interrupting that with random hacking and the inability to breathe will just ruin it. I'm already not the best at talking, you know?

Actually, it's a little late to think about given I'm already committed to the plan, but am I contagious? I know that's a thing that can happen with illnesses, but I don't know which ones would or wouldn't be.

...

Oh whatever. Chiyo's worried and maybe kind of sad. I know what I would want if I were in her situation (which I often am), although I may be too embarrassed or hesitant to ask for it. I turn my body sideways and slide my arms over Chiyo's shoulders. She squirms in surprise at being pulled into a hug suddenly, but of course doesn't try to get out. Instead she just kind of stands there rigidly, apparently not sure what exactly she's supposed to do with her arms. That's fine. I may like it if she reciprocated, but this is more for her than for me.

"Um h-hey," Chiyo stammers out.

Err, wait, she sounds uncomfortable. Did I read the situation wrong? Should I let go? "W-what?"

After another short pause, Chiyo presses her face into my shoulder a bit more, then she stays still. That's a good thing, right? She's not trying to get away from me or anything, so I think we're okay. "... mm," She finally makes a small noise. It's kind of like a little whine. Like someone catching their breath right before they start crying.

We both stay quiet for a little bit. She's not actually crying, I'd be able to feel it if she was, but I think it's pretty clear that she needed someone to hug her like this. Okay, it's on me to stay something, isn't it? Hope it all comes out right... "Chi, please don't think that helping you helping you out is a problem for us. That's never even crossed my mind, and I know the others are all the same way. All four of us want to do it. We want to be around you and everything, okay? You're a part of the unit, but more importantly you're our friend."

Chiyo doesn't respond. At least not with words. She does reach up and limply put her arms around my waist. The way I'm twisted is actually a little bit awkward for hugging, but I didn't really think about this ahead of time. Urk, I also feel some more coughs coming on. No thank you. I can struggle through them for a little bit I think. Maybe just suppress it into another throat clear.

"C-aHEM!! This staying or going back thing is the biggest decision that I've ever had to make, and I bet the others are having the same kind of problems with it. It's difficult, and I'm not sure what my answer to it is, but I think that's okay for right now. We still have some time to think about it, decide if we want to talk it over with anyone, then come to a conclusion for ourselves. Even if we don't all end up in the same place by the end of things, it's not like we won't still be friends." "Comms will let us keep in touch, and you know we'll end up using it a lot. You don't honestly think Yuzuki or I would be able to leave you alone forever, do you?" Chiyo moves her head back and forth a little bit. If she weren't so pressed up against me, I could describe it as shaking, but there just isn't enough motion for that.

"So don't cough cough," Dang it. I was doing so well too. "Don't worry about it," I continue on as if I was never interrupted. "Or at least only worry about deciding what you really want to do for yourself. Don't worry about the stuff after that. Just pick whatever you decide you want to do, and the rest will all work out okay."

"... Making a speech, huh? You're pretty out of character," Chiyo's voice is a little bit softer than normal. I think she's forcing herself to sound like she usually does.

"Cough Look who's talking," I joke lightly, although she isn't wrong. Hm, actually, talking like I'm confident about things working out has at the very least made me feel a little better. Yes, it still feels like a lot of bad stuff is looming ahead, but if I just follow the advice I just gave Chiyo, maybe it'll work out.

"Point," Chiyo releases me and shuffles back over to the chair. When she sits back down, she looks a little sheepish, but I'd like to think a little less apprehensive than before as well. That might just be wishful thinking on my part though. All I know is that I tried my best to reassure her, we'll help her with whatever she decides to do next.

-

Chiyo and I move on to less intense topics of conversation. It gives us both a chance to fall back into usual behavior, although I'm still not one hundred percent normal (still sick!). Chiyo is also a little thrown off just due to suddenly showing weakness in an unusual way. We're both just working through things at the moment. I don't mind that, but truthfully, I also wouldn't mind a chance to go back to sleep either. The longer I stay awake, the more I become aware of just how bad being sick is. My throat and head both hurt. I'm tired. I can't stop coughing. The inside of my head feels way hotter than the rest of me. Blugh.

Anyway, it's definitely not fun. It puts a bit of a damper on the conversation too, when I have to periodically pause to cough or catch my breath while talking. The whole thing is strange. I always knew being sick was a thing for the people from earth, but actually experiencing this really gives me some appreciation for how bad they have it down here. Maybe this is why Reisen distributes and sells medicine as a job. I wouldn't want anyone to stay sick if I could help them, maybe she's the same.

As we're talking, Chiyo requests some information about what happened last night, so I give her some brief descriptions of some of the stuff I saw around the city. Of course, I'm not really sure how to bring up who I saw them with, or the resulting reaction from Ringo, but hey, she didn't ask about that. At least not specifically. I don't know what I would say if she did, but whatever. I'm embarrassed. Still. Or again. Moving on now.

Yuzuki comes back to the room before Ringo and Sumi do. I thought the point of searching around the plant was so they wouldn't be gone for long, so it's a little bit surprising that they're not back yet. Not quite as surprising as the way Yuzuki bursts into the room though. "Seiran what's wrong?!" Ordinarily Yuzuki would make sure to close the door after her whenever she entered a room, but this time it doesn't even seem to pass through her mind. Instead she races over next to my bed, leaning over to get a good look at me.

"Uh, um," I'm still a little shocked at how sudden it was. Yuzuki didn't even knock before she charged in here. Good thing I wasn't drinking at that exact moment. I was about to though, and I think... Yup, I spilled a little water on myself. Ugh.

"Sick," Chiyo answers for me as she gets up to close the door. "Couldn't you already tell?"

"Wait, that's what this is? I haven't ever-hmm," Yuzuki considers me closely, looking me over some more. "I had kind of thought I noticed something off this morning... I was a bit distracted by the rest of your situation though."

The rest of my... Oh, right. Ahem, maybe I should dry off that bit of water now. Yup, I have no idea what you're talking about Yuzuki. No rule breaking occurred last night, none at all! I'm so innocent I don't even need to look at you right now.

"Ringo and Sumi are out looking for medicine stuff," I'm glad that Chiyo is willing to explain things for me. I'm currently a little busy trying to be inconspicuous, although it probably isn't working. "We're just waiting for them to get back now."

Yuzuki scowls. Even though she's looking at me I know it isn't directed at me. "Oh dear, this is my fault. If I had known what was happening I could have stopped by camp and gotten medicine on the way back," Oh good, now she's preoccupied with her own thoughts and is moving on from the embarrassing thing. And would you look at that, just in time for me to be done cleaning up that bit of water.

"Probably wouldn't have worked," Chiyo says bluntly.

She and I work together to get Yuzuki up to speed on the whole plan. It doesn't take that long, especially after Yuzuki notices the note Ringo left for Chiyo, which again leaves us with little else to do other than wait. In the mean time, I try to eat something of a breakfast by forcing down a few of my dehydrated peaches. They aren't as tasty while sick. Most food is probably like that though. Man, eating something good like this almost seems like a waste right now, but I don't have much else in the way of options. Even if it doesn't taste good and I really don't feel hungry, I know that I have to eat something.

-

"Ah, they're back," Yuzuki tells Chiyo and I out of nowhere a short while later. Honestly, I'm feeling a little worse as time goes on, so I'm glad we don't have to wait that much longer.

"You mean they'll be back here in what, ten minutes?" Chiyo corrects her.

Yuzuki rolls her eyes. "I'm not that well adapted to the area yet. They'll be here in less than a minute, given the rate they're going," Right, Yuzuki still has to spend some time before her powers expand to see everything in the plant itself. Her range is probably pretty limited when she's had less than a day to get used to things.

-

Ringo actually opens up the door to our room about four minutes later, but Yuzuki explains the inaccuracy by saying that apparently her and Sumi took a detour into the kitchen area for some reason or another. "Yo," Ringo says evenly, stepping into the room and taking up the chair by the desk she broke. I note that Sumi doesn't come in with her, which might be for the best. Five people in this room might make it feel a little bit cramped. "Back."

"What'd you get?" Chiyo asks immediately. Glad she's worried about my well being to the point of being blunt. Actually, she's normally blunt. I'd like to think there's a decent amount of concern there still though.

Ringo lets out a deep breath. "Hate to say it," She begins, holding up her arms loosely. "But it wasn't exactly the smoothest operation. I mean, we have something of a solution now, but it's not complete, and it took more time than we would have liked."

"Was there some kind of problem?" Yuzuki prompts, before turning her head slightly toward one of the walls. "And also, what's Sumi doing with that root thing?" Wait, what?

"I'll get to that," Ringo doesn't really answer before launching into an explanation. "So problem number one was that we didn't know where to go. That one was easy when we asked around. Turns out oni don't get sick too much, so our options were pretty limited. There was a clinic for youkai who get sick, though it doesn't seem to get a lot of use. Still open though, so we had to get directions and head aaaaaaaall the way out to the city again. Found the place we were looking for without getting lost, but it still took a chunk of time."

I had kind of figured that might be an issue. The plant as a whole would probably have a similar situation as us rabbits do. First aid supplies are around, but that's about it. There's no real capability for long term care of anything unless you look elsewhere.

"Then we looked kinda dumb because you weren't with us," Ringo laughs wryly. Ergh, yeah, I guess me being there probably would have helped in finding out what's wrong with me. "Turns out it's way easier to diagnose people when they're actually there. I figured dragging you out to the city was a bad idea, so we just kinda described your symptoms and hoped for the best. Ended up pretty sure you don't actually have black lung or histoplasmosis or leptospirosis or any of the mold related diseases the guy was talking about by the way, so that's good at least."

"Err and those are?" I ask, not liking the sound of those illnesses at all.

"Pretty nasty sounding stuff," Ringo confirms. Part of me wants her to go into detail and part of me really doesn't. "Glad we could count those out of the equation. Anyway, the doc decided you probably just had some kind of flu. Whatever that is. Sounds like it's a common disease, so I would have thought we were immunized for it. Apparently there's some special kind that occasionally shows up down here."

"How would Seiran have caught that though?" Yuzuki asks the question before I can.

"It's commonly carried by certain kinds of youkai," I think I catch some reluctance to answer the question on Ringo's face, but she masks it quickly. Wait, what certain kinds of youkai? "Least that's what we were told. Maybe Seiran bumped into somebody who had it."

"Only Seiran?" Chiyo doesn't sound like she's buying it.

"We weren't right next to each other one-hundred percent of the time," I'm actually rather surprised at how easily Ringo's lying to everyone. Well, I guess it's technically true, but there's so much omission there that it still feels like lying. "Could've happened. Right Seiran?"

Youkai that I ran into that Ringo and Sumi didn't? Well there should be a ton of those. All the people in the tea shop, the streets, the festival... Wait, what's that look Ringo's giving me with her eyes. It's like a look she's giving someone who's not getting the hint and... Oh. R-right. Um. Hm.

"Anyway," Ringo quickly continues while unpleasant thoughts are still whirling around in my head. "Turns out that medicine costs money. You don't just get whatever you need for free for being in the military. Bit of a problem there. Had to come aaaaaaaall the way back here and beg for money from people around here," Ringo lets out a light groan, leaning back in her chair. "Basically I owe Rikako help with some errand or something later on, but whatever. We got some stuff that'll probably work."

"And that's the root thing that Sumi just boiled?" Yuzuki asks about something that we can't actually see again.

"Yup," Ringo confirms casually. "Don't remember the name he gave us, but it's some local remedy for stuff like this. Boil it up, drink the water, should help with the symptoms for a little while. Keep drinking it periodically for a while and you'll get better eventually."

"And we should have enough here that you can do just that," Sumi breaks into the room suddenly, carrying a large mug that says 'Wish You Were (Cucumber Flavored) Beer' on it that she probably just randomly grabbed from the kitchen. "Specialty order paid for by the lady across the room. Some shit they found growing around here and decided to stick in a pot with some water for a while," She declares theatrically, handing me the mug. "Enjoy."

It smells... Like wet dirt mixed with some kind of spice. Not an at all appetizing one either. It's a dull reddish brown colored water. Still hot enough that I think it'd hurt on the way down my throat, although most things are probably like that regardless of temperature. "Err, I just have to drink this and I'll be cured?"

"Nah, there's actually a ton more. I used a pretty big pot," Sumi answers with a shrug. "Basically you should choke that stuff down whenever you start feeling shitty again. Keep doing it until you're better. Easy. The rest of it's already bottled up in the kitchen for later too."

Looking down into the dirty looking water, I steel myself. Yeah, it smells bad, and looks gross, but if it makes me better... Ugh, why couldn't this have been a pill? I bring the mug up and sip lightly-BLEUGH. Ew. Gross. Nasty. It's like some kind of mixture of bitterness and spiciness blended together in murky water. Disgusting.

...

Ew ew ew ew ew...

...

Once I've finished drinking the entire mug (which I'm now convinced is entirely too large), I hold it away from myself like it's going to keep making me taste horrible stuff. "Done," I groan out.

"Woah, hardcore," Sumi takes the mug from my hand. "You sure can chug."

"Did it work?" Ringo asks next.

"Um, how would I...?" Wait, my throat already feels a little less sore. My head does a little too. Woah. This actually works! Well, kinda. I can still feel shades of the symptoms I had before, but I'm definitely at least a bit better. "Y-yeah," I confirm, seeing Ringo fist pump in celebration and let out a quite 'nice'.

"So yeah, the rest of it is bottled up already for you. You gonna need some more rest or should we break out the beer helmet so you can take it along with you while we get down to business?" Sumi asks.

Err, let me think about that. I feel a little better now. Probably well enough that I could get up and get back to work. We still have to take care of that portal thing that Kanako told us to do today. I wouldn't exactly be at my best for it though, who knows if that would be a problem. A part of me really does still want to go back to sleep. It'd be good for me to get some more rest, and the other rabbits can probably handle today's job on their own, right? Actually, there are a couple of other options if I stayed underground, aren't there?

[ ] We're on a deadline that's not going to wait for me to feel better. Let's get back to work.
- [ ] We'll go grab the portal and bring it back here
- [ ] We'll take the scientist person to the bunker so they can look at the portal
[ ] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.
[ ] I'll stay around here
- [ ] Maybe Yamame would know how I got sick...
- [ ] Ringo said she owed Rikako a favor, right? I could probably take care of that.

I hate it when I think I'm going to get an update done in a reasonable amount of time and then it is suddenly 1AM on a work night. Such is life I suppose.
>> No. 27582
[x] We're on a deadline that's not going to wait for me to feel better. Let's get back to work.
- [x] We'll go grab the portal and bring it back here

Still worried about Aya poking around.
>> No. 27583
[x] Grab portal

Yeah...
>> No. 27584
[X] I'll stay around here
- [X] Maybe Yamame would know how I got sick...
>> No. 27585
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.

As much as I'd love to see more of spiderbutt, I don't really like the "meta-ness" of "I'm sick, let's go out way past the city to talk to the disease spider about how that might have happened".
And yeah, I know she doesn't know that Yamame controls diseases, but WE do. That's what makes it feel so meta to me.
>> No. 27586
[x] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.

Never do any work when you are sick if you can help it. Working will just make you sicker for longer.
>> No. 27587
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.

We shouldn't overwork ourselves while sick, and I'm sure the rest of Eagle Ravi can handle some of the business we need to attend to while Seiran's resting.
>> No. 27588
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.
>> No. 27589
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.

Would've pegged it for a cold over a flu given how Seiran isn't emptying her guts out but either way bedrest is what's called for hwen you're sick.
>> No. 27590
>>27589

Biology trivia time: rabbits can't puke. Eating - or more importantly for Gensoukyou, drinking - something you shouldn't have is a whole lot deadlier when you can't get rid of it in a hurry.
>> No. 27591
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.
>> No. 27592
>>27590
Chiyo's puked in this story before. Seiran just doesn't have that as a symptom. Don't worry too much about bunny alcohol poisoning.

Also writing is being difficult again tonight. I'll sleep on it. Luckily I have tomorrow off so I should be able to get back to writing pretty quickly after I wake up.
>> No. 27593
>>27592

And Tewi's puked in canon. I was just being the random facts guy.
>> No. 27594
File 149220092823.jpg - (363.45KB , 700x700 , House Keeping.jpg ) [iqdb]
27594
[X] A bit more rest would probably help me get better faster. Maybe it'll mean having to drink less medicine stuff too.

You know, this seems a little strange. I might be feeling a bit better now, and while it's nice, that isn't really motivating me to get up and get going. If anything, remembering what it's like to not feel really crappy is encouraging me to try and make that stay permanent. What's the best way that I can think of to do that? It's definitely not flying around Gensokyo. Even if we wouldn't be going that far, it'd be better for me to get some more rest.

"I'll stay here," I'm immediately rewarded for my decision when I slump back into my bed. Aaaaah. Poofy. Anyway, it should be fine if I stay behind on this one little errand. There are four other rabbits in this unit, and they are definitely all competent. To some degree anyway. No, I don't need that quantifying thought. It's rude to them. All of my friends are competent, and I know that. Especially when they get serious about a mission. They can take care of this without me. Full stop. There, much better.

Ringo looks concerned for a moment, but quickly shrugs it off. "Alright, it's your call. Do you need anyone to stay around for you though?" She asks.

Hm, I wasn't really thinking it, but that's a fair question. Earlier she (kind of) had Chiyo stick around to talk to me and keep me company, but I don't know if it was really necessary. If I hadn't been woken up, by the knocking I probably would have slept through the whole morning and woken up when Ringo came back. If it's something like that again, I'd rather have Chiyo (or whoever) free to be productive instead of stuck with me. "No, the medicine should help me enough that I can get up if I need water or something."

"You sure? because somebody-"

"Hey, you heard the lady, let her sleep, we've got shit to do!" Sumi interrupts Ringo by grabbing her around the waist and practically throwing toward the door. Sheesh! Do you have to... Right, it's those two. At least Ringo lands semi-gracefully and doesn't look too annoyed. Personally, I'm okay with her not worrying about me too much. I'm sick yeah, but I'm already feeling better thanks to her and Sumi. I'll be fine.

"Oh come on, no more rough housing," Yuzuki cautions them as she moves to leave the room as well. "We don't need to break Ringo's door even more. We should get going, but we don't need to rush. In fact, it might be a good idea to take some time and make a list of extra things we need to grab from camp before we leave."

"And Ringo could clean herself up so she doesn't look like a slob," Chiyo adds. Hey, I wasn't planning on saying anything but she does have a point. Ringo's been so preoccupied since I woke her that she hasn't taken any time to clean herself up.

"Or at least any more than normal, am I right?! Heyyo!" Sumi laughs as her and Chiyo give each other a high five.

"Alright, alright, get going," Ringo swings the door to the room open and practically pushes the rest of the rabbits out the door. She doesn't follow along with the rest of them, instead taking a moment to drop something on the unbroken desk. "I'll leave one of the keys here and lock up when we go, alright?" She looks back at me, and I nod along. Sounds reasonable enough. I probably won't need to leave unless I need some more medicine though. "We'll try and hurry it up, alright? We can grab what we need and come right back."

It's not like I had many plans aside from just resting anyway, but I still give Ringo another nod of agreement. Some kind of half baked idea had come to mind where I could have gone to ask Yamame about my illness, but would that really be worth it? Yamame knows a lot of stuff about the underground, and probably could identify my illness and where the source would be, but none of that really helps me get better. It might help in keeping the others from getting sick too, but that won't matter if they're going topside. It's a bit of knowledge that can wait until later. Maybe after a nap. Maybe even later after that. Whatever.

Ringo closes the door as she leaves, and I can hear it lock as well. Alright, now I have some time off to myself. There's an unusual thought... Hm, that's a little annoying. Ringo neglected to turn the lights off. Do I even feel like getting up to correct that? Bleh, I'm just gonna pull a blanket up over my face. That should be good enough. I'm tired and sick. I'll make it all work.

-

It's cold, and dark, and lonely. All of those are familiar feelings, but they aren't right for where I just was, are they? Where was I before this? I know where I am now. This is the Moon. The capital. Home? Kind of. The thought doesn't feel right in my head, but it's correct. Factually, that is.

It's always a little bit cold up here at night. What else would you expect? Even though the temperature is kept more or less constant no matter what time of day it is, the lack of sun still plays tricks on your mind. Maybe that's just me though. Some rabbits seem to prefer the dawn or dusk cycles more than the midday or nighttime ones. Personal preference. I'm not afraid of the dark, but I still prefer the natural light of the sun to the artificial lighting we have available at night. No, I don't care that the cities lights are more pure.

Let me see here... With how dark it is right now, I would peg this as a few cycles past sundown. There's still quite a bit of time left in the day. If I flew up high enough, I could probably see the sun setting far on the horizon, but you typically don't want to do that. Gravity gets weaker very quickly when you're too high up, and the radiation isn't quite a shielded. I've caught one or two horror stories of rabbits who got chewed out over exposed too much, I'm not sure if that or the treatment was scarier, but I don't want to be involved with either. Best to not fly for now.

Speaking of other rabbits though, I don't see any. That's odd. Normally you wouldn't be able to walk anywhere in the capital without seeing at least a couple of them out and about. Well, maybe they might be missing from the back alleys or the older districts or something, but those aren't places that I would ever go. The only place that I would normally be so alone like this would be on the mare bases. The capital? No way.

And yet, that's the situation. Standing in the lunar capital for an unknown reason, clutching at my mallet nervously. Where am I? I recognize some of these buildings, but oddly enough not all of them. It's like someone took districts that I'm used to and smashed them together with ones that I'm not. Sometimes a building even seems to be abruptly cut off or conjoined with another one. I've never seen anything like this before. Haven't heard about it on comms either. How did I get here?

Of course, there's nobody here to answer my question. Well, maybe I should have a look around. My mental map isn't placing me anywhere in particular, so maybe I should just walk in a random direction until I get back somewhere normal.

-

Something is wrong.

Even as I go deeper and deeper into the capital, I can't recognize anything. Looking at street signs doesn't work. They seem to be written in some language I don't understand. One that hurts my eyes, or maybe my brain. The buildings get more and more chaotic too. They barely even seem to be structurally sound by this point. Who would have built anything like this? It's a mess. I hate it, but I don't know which way to go to get back to somewhere familiar.

No, this isn't working. Need to try something different. Maybe go somewhere higher up, get a better vantage point. Let me see... That should work. There's a high-rise building nearby, or at least most of one. It appears to have a stall of some kind jutting out of the middle floors, and I think there's restaurant even further up. I know that can't be right, but whatever. It's one of those nice ones with lots of windows, so if I can get inside and go up, then it should work for a lookout.

I head across the street toward my target location. No traffic, no reason to worry about looking both ways. That makes it easy I guess. Now let's see, where is the...

Wait, that's wrong too. This building doesn't have an entrance. How the-? There's just more windows on the ground floor. Is calling them mirrors even correct though? Now that I'm closer, I can't see through them. They're more like mirrors. The reflections show myself and the rest of the capital behind me, but it's too opaque for me to see inside. Why is it like this? How am I supposed to go in?

Maybe the entrance is around one of the sides. I start walking again, but my mind is distracted. There's something strange about these mirrors. Looking at them and comparing them to what they should be reflecting, I can see discrepancies. The view in the mirrors is even more chaotic and messed up than what I actually see by looking around. More buildings are crashed together even more violently. More destruction, more mess. This is wrong. Wrong.

I increase my pace, but that just makes it worse. I see parts of the capital reduced to rubble. Entire buildings collapsed into heaps. Shouldn't I have made it around the building by now? I can't break away from looking at the mirrors.

A few more panes go by, and now I start to see flames. The normal red colors of course, but mixed with an unusual violet, or maybe pink. The sight of it hurts my eyes just as much as it unsettles my thoughts. Who did this? Why is everything burning? Stop it. This is wrong. STOP IT.

My arms feel the resistance before my brain registers what I'm doing. There's a loud crashing sound as I break one of the mirrors with my mallet. Even though the shards of glass stay in place, the reflection changes. Everything goes back to normal. Ah, so that's what it was. Of course. I laugh slightly to myself, feeling pleased that I've figured out the fix.

Just smash it.

Crack! Smash! Shatter! Each mirror breaks easily with one swing. Yeah, it hurts my arms a little bit, but that doesn't matter. Everything can be fixed now that I know what to do! It's so simple!

But wait, there's more to this than the ground floor.

There were windows all the way up, weren't there?

Hm, my hammer can't reach that far...

Wait, I know just the thing!

My pulse increases as the familiar, unsuppressed feeling flows through me. My vision shifts and everything changes. I see things that weren't there before. Perfect. I tap at the barrier with my hammer and experimentally pull out a few bullets. Hm, I'm going to need a lot more than this, aren't I? Well, whatever. I have time, and this all needs to be fixed. Might as well get started.

I let go of the shots I'm holding in place.

BAM BAM BAM

-

Knock. Knock.

"House keeping~!"

Mmmmnf.

Knock. Knock.

"House keeping~!"

Not this again. Why won't anyone just let me sleep? I mumble something incoherent in the general direction that I remember the door being. Go away. Sick.

Undeterred by my vague response, the annoyingly chipper sounding voice talks again. "Good afternoon. It is currently twelve twenty-five PM on Tuesday, September twenty-second. This is the time I have designated for a weekly cleaning of room four, floor one of the dormitories. If this time is not acceptable for you and your schedule, please let me know. If you are ready for your room to be cleaned, please confirm by opening the door."

Uuuugh. Okay, fine, you have my attention. I recognize Ruukoto's voice, but it takes me a moment to think of why I would be hearing it. Right, right. She's the maid/janitor here, so it makes sense that she would clean things. It sounds like she's supposed to be cleaning this room today. Don't know if she got the memo that we moved in here or not, but either way it doesn't seem like that's something she's going to let stop her.

Knock. Knock.

"Good afternoon. It is currently twelve twenty-five PM on Tuesday, September twenty-second. This is the time I have designated for a weekly cleaning of room four, floor one of the dormitories. If this time is not acceptable for you and your schedule, please let me know. If you are ready for your room to be cleaned, please confirm by opening the door," She repeats her speech not only word for word, but tone for tone. Unlike last time though, she continues on. "If no response is given and the door remains locked, a default delay of one hour will be applied before I will return to confirm your preferred cleaning time. Thank you for your cooperation!"

Unfortunately, it looks like I have to get up and deal with her. Either that or I risk getting woken up again in an hour. Actually, what time did she say it was? Afternoon already? Sheesh, I slept through the entire morning. Granted, I have no idea when I went to sleep last night, or even when I woke up in the first place.

Ugh, it's too bright in here. Why did I sleep with the lights on? I sit up in my bed. Hm, I don't exactly feel great, but I'm good enough to move. I cough a few times just to try and clear my throat a bit. It still hurts. Maybe I should take some more medicine.

[ ] Tell Ruukoto she doesn't need to clean the room. Send her away.
[ ] Let Ruukoto clean the room.

[ ] Get up and get some more medicine.
[ ] Stay in bed.
>> No. 27595
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.

No harm in letting her do her job. Well, hopefully not anyway.

[X] Get up and get some more medicine.
>> No. 27596
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
- But check the room to make sure you don't leave anything important behind to get thrown out!
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.
>> No. 27597
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.

With all the rest she's not getting, she'll be up and going by the end of next year
>> No. 27598
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.

Time to either have all our stuff thrown away, or to have the most well polished garbage in Gensokyo.
>> No. 27600
[x] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[x] Get up and get some more medicine.

I just know this is going to end badly, but come on, it's Ruukoto! I can only think of one other story on this site with Ruukoto in it, and that one's a Touhoumon.
>> No. 27601
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.
>> No. 27602
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.

Hmm, I wonder if she would have accidentally let out any bullets if that dream went on any longer.
>> No. 27603
File 149248298875.png - (798.93KB , 1014x1500 , Do you have concerns.png ) [iqdb]
27603
[X] Let Ruukoto clean the room.
[X] Get up and get some more medicine.

Regardless of what I really want to do, saying nothing isn't really an option. Well, it is technically, but it'd be dumb to actually do it. If I don't say anything, I'm just going to get woken up again an hour from now when Ruukoto comes back. It's better to deal with the problem now. Just need to make a quick mental note to not act annoyed at being woken up. Ruukoto's just doing her job.

"I'm-cough," Ugh. "I'm coming, just a second," I talk toward the door and completely fail to not sound groggy.

Slipping out of bed produces a slight head rush and a much less slight headache. Yeah, okay, I think that finalizes the decision on getting medicine or not. It works out pretty well then I guess. Ruukoto can clean the room while I head out to the common room and find wherever Sumi put that boiled root juice stuff. Hopefully cleaning doesn't take too long. I'm also pretty hopeful that Ruukoto won't mess with my or Ringo's things too much. She can change the sheets or vacuum the room or whatever, but she's definitely not allowed to throw anything out from my bag.

"Good afternoon," Ruukoto starts talking before the door is even completely opened. "It is currently twelve twenty-six PM on Tuesday, September twenty-second. This is the time I have designated for a weekly cleaning of room four, floor one of the dormitories. If this time is not acceptable for you and your schedule-"

"Yeah, it's fine. I just had to get up," I feel a little bad for interrupting her, but I've already heard this speech twice. "You can clean now. I'll be out in the common area."

"Understood," Ruukoto smiles pleasantly to me and nods. "The cleaning process has been designated to take a half hour, barring any unexpected circumstances. During that time, I will be vacuuming the floor, dusting all surfaces, changing bed sheets, and organizing any clutter."

"Sure, fine," I didn't really need to be told all that. At least it sounds like fairly normal stuff anyway. Actually, I wonder if she's going to do a good enough job to live up to a Yuzuki inspection. It's a little amusing to think that I don't know who would do a better job of cleaning between the maid/janitor literally built for cleaning, or Yuzuki. Might be a little rude to mention it though. "Cough cough, just come get me when you're done."

"Understood!" Ruukoto cheerfully moves into the room, and I step out of the way to let her. She's dragging some overly large vacuum-like contraption behind her. Looks kind of low tech to me, but it's probably advanced for this planet. Actually, wait, if that's supposed to be a vacuum then why does she also have a broom? Those both do the same kind of thing.

"cough cough COUGH!" Ugh, whatever. Not my business and I don't care. I walk out and away from the room, not bothering to close the door. If Ruukoto is going to make enough noise to bother other people, she can close the door herself. I'm probably the only person around here that was still asleep anyway. Everybody else should be up and doing their jobs.

That does bring up a point actually. Ruukoto telling me the time confirms that we're already in the afternoon by now, but other than that I have no idea what the time line has been for like, the last eighteen hours or something. While the exact specifics don't matter that much, it would be nice to have some idea about when the other rabbits left and when they're coming back. I'm just not used to being out of the action when the others aren't as well. This whole thing feels weird. I'm really not liking being sick, and not just for the obvious reasons.

The kitchen area takes up a large portion of the corner of the common area. It seems about as big as one of the dorm rooms actually, but instead of desks and beds and storage, there's cupboards, appliances, and space to prepare food. Man, aside from yesterday's visit to the Prismriver's mansion, it's been a long time since I've been in a proper kitchen. It kind of makes me miss cooking things that aren't rations or mochi. Maybe I could make some time to try doing that again some time.

Alright, well, I can see Sumi actually did bother to wash the pot she used. Actually that seems a little uncharacteristic of her, so either she's being more self conscious about being a guest here or Yuzuki took care of it before they left. Either way, it's currently drying in a strainer in the sink. I don't see much other evidence of where the medicine would be though. I guess that makes sense, Yuzuki wouldn't let something like that happen.

So then the most obvious place to look for the stuff Sumi made would be the fridge. The refrigerator here is pretty oversized, but I guess it would have to be in order to let multiple rooms worth of people live out of it. Nothing's really keeping me from just looking through it though. I wonder if they ever have a problem with food theft. That happened occasionally back on base... Actually, knowing what I know now, I wonder if Ringo and her friends were responsible for that. Whatever, that was a long time ago. No reason to dwell on a few missing peaches.

Hm, looking inside here, it seems like somebody really really likes cucumbers (or hopefully many somebodies given the volume). That's just my first impression though, and it's none of my business. I'm looking for... There we go. It only takes a cursory glance to find the medicine. Sumi left a large plastic jug full of the brownish-red liquid sitting right at the front of one of the middle racks. If that wasn't obvious enough, she also scribbled my name on a post-it note and stuck it to the bottle. So this is definitely what I was trying to find. I grab it and pull it out, then start looking through the cupboards for a glass.

Come to think of it, does this stuff even need to be refrigerated? That's not normally needed for medicine, is it? Even if it was, it couldn't have been more than an hour or two since this stuff was first made, right? It wouldn't have gone bad in that time. Bleh, whatever, I'm just unnecessarily picking at the logic here. Sumi made decisions on what to do for one reason or another. Argue with her about the specifics of those decisions all you want, but you can't deny that she's good at deciding on things to do without worrying too much about getting everything one-hundred percent correct. I'm a little bit envious of that.

I make sure to turn my head and not cough on any of the utensils or dishes that I find while looking for where the glasses are kept. That'd be pretty rude, and I'm still not completely sure whether I'm contagious or not. Probably should have asked Ringo about that one... Oh hey, here we go. Found the glasses. Now I just need to pour some of this stuff and drink it.

... Ew ew ew.

Okay, making it colder definitely didn't help with the taste at all. Still this weird gross mix of tastes that I don't think are supposed to be able to happen at the same time. Still really difficult to force down. Even being prepared for it doesn't really help me that much. I still don't manage to drink it all in one go.

... Maybe I could get away with just half a glass?

Ugh, no. I need to stop dreading this so much. Yes it tastes bad, but it'll make me feel better. I shouldn't be a wimp about this. I filled the whole glass and I need to drink all of it now. Do what I just did one more time. That's all it is.

Take a deep breath. In... Out. Okay. Here goes nothing...

"Wow, the look on your face. I've heard the phrase 'good medicine tastes bitter' before, but I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a metaphor most of the time," Wha-EW GROSS GROSS GROSS. Ow... I was so surprised by somebody else talking so suddenly that I choked on the liquid I was drinking. I think some of that stuff went up to my nose! I have a tiny coughing fit while I try to bring my self back under control. "Woah, didn't think you'd freak out. Sorry."

Ow ow ow... Actually, difficulty catching my breath aside, I feel a little less congested now. What is with this medicine stuff? You're definitely not supposed to shove it up your nose, but it just kind of works when you do?! After just a couple more coughs and an involuntarily groan, I clear my throat and calm down. Okay, I was surprised by somebody talking to me suddenly. I hadn't heard or seen anyone else moving around here, so it was unexpected. When I look at the source of the voice though, she's obviously not hiding or anything. Maybe she's just naturally stealthy.

"Yo," Short, blonde, silly hat with googly eyes, overtly casual, the girl waves at me once I turn around and look at her. Her name was Suwako, right? We met briefly yesterday while Ringo and I were negotiating with Kanako. I surmised that she was affiliated with the Moriya shrine in some way, and I guess seeing her here is consistent with that. I didn't ever figure out the extent of the details of her situation though. There were some slightly more important things going on.

"Um, hello," I awkwardly respond while looking down in front of me. Okay, on the bright side, I managed to spit out most of the medicine stuff back into the glass, so it doesn't look like I made a mess. I can't really drink the rest of this though... Oh noooo~ what a tragedy. Whatever, I got most of it, and I do feel a pretty decent amount of relief on my symptoms. "Did you need something?"

Suwako smirks at me. Of course, once again I'm the only one uncomfortable in a situation. "I was actually looking to talk to one of you rabbits about a couple of somethings. You've got time now, right?" She asks, sounding like she already knows the answer.

"Sure?" It's kind of hard to guess exactly what this girl could want from one of us, but I guess it's fine... Actually, I should probably take care of my glass first. I don't know how long this talk is going to take, and I don't want to forget to clean up after myself and look like a slob. "Um, in one second."

"Alright, I'm gonna go grab a chair," Suwako shrugs and gestures to the far side of the room. "Come over when you're good to go," She adds, walking away without waiting for a response.

That's fine I guess. It doesn't take long for me to rinse out my glass, but maybe rather than washing it and putting it away I should get something to drink as well. It feels like I definitely need something to lessen the taste still in my mouth and throat and (this is the worst part) in my nose. There's probably plenty of drinks in the fridge, but there's no way for me to know what, if any, of that stuff would be available for me to take. Whatever, I'll just get some water out of the sink and drink that. Not exactly cool or refreshing given the ambient temperature in here, but it works.

The area over on the other side of the stairwell is mostly a collection of mismatched armchairs and couches sitting around some small tables. Seems like it would be a nice place to relax and talk with people, maybe play some games or collaborate on a project or something. There are quite a few well stocked bookshelves lined up along the walls, although I don't really have time to try and figure out what genre the books themselves are from. It's a surprisingly comfortable looking setup over here. Enough so that I'm confused why Yuzuki was electing to read at the dinner table instead of over here last night.

"So, um. What can I help you with?" I ask to start things off as I take a seat. Suwako has grabbed a nice armchair that faces away from the stairwell, so sitting across from her lets me see most of the rest of the common room. Hm, this isn't as nice as a bed, but I could still manage to sleep on this couch if I needed to.

"You got that one backward actually. I came here to see if you needed help with anything. At least, that's part of it," Suwako corrects me. She's sitting cross legged in her chair, which is probably the right choice. I think her legs wouldn't even touch the ground if she draped them down the front. "So, you got any concerns or stuff you want to bring up about this whole deal?"

Concerns? We kinda just got here, didn't we? I can't really think of much. Well, aside from being sick, but that's not really-Wait what? I'm distracted from my thoughts when I notice Ruukoto walking out of the hallway to the dormitories while carrying the door from Ringo's and my room. I can tell it's ours from the crack. She just took the whole thing off the hinges? Is she going to fix it or... Wait, I was talking to Suwako. "Er, what?" I quickly try to mask my distraction.

Suwako either buys it or doesn't care enough about my lapse in attention to mention anything. "Here's the thing. Kanako can sometimes get a bit caught up in the big picture of things. Likes to think she's a grand thinker making grander plans, and hey, sometimes she's right. When she's actually pulling off those plans, she can end up stepping over the little guys that are actually doing the hard work for her. She gets this idea of what you could possibly do, then plans assuming that you will do that for her," She explains.

Sounds normal to me. Pretty much what Command would be like, although I guess that isn't much of a point in Kanako's favor. "Isn't that just how leadership is supposed to do things?" They assign you work based on your position and competence. If you can't measure up to their expectations, that's kind of more on you than on them, right?

"I guess. What I'm saying is that it doesn't always work out perfectly. I'm just remembering Sanae being in over he head for a solid year or so when we first moved here. Kanako had years worth of knowing Sanae beforehand to make an accurate assessment of her skills and didn't do the best job of it," I think Sanae may have mentioned a tiny bit about that yesterday, but from what Suwako's saying it sounds like she downplayed it. "With you guys, we know where you came from, but only really met you yesterday. You should be able to see the possible problems there. Basically, there's only so much I can do about what you have to actually do on the Moon or whatever, I know that. But there should be plenty of stuff beforehand that Kanako might gloss over and assume isn't a big deal. You can talk to me about that stuff, and I can bring it up to Kanako for you. Won't even ask for much in return either."

Huh... I don't know exactly how much pull Suwako has to make things happen, but she clearly knows Kanako better than we do. Having her talk about problems instead of us should make us look less needy. That actually sounds pretty good, aside from one little thing. "You say you won't ask for much. I'm assuming that means you are going to ask for something though."

"Yeah, it shouldn't be much, just a question about a hypothetical situation you might not have been thinking about," Suwako admits.

Huh, that doesn't sound too bad either. I'm not necessarily the best at answering hypotheticals off the cuff, but hopefully I can manage it. "Okay, what is it?"

Suwako uncrosses her legs and leans forward in her chair, folding her hands under her chin and looking much more serious than before. "Kanako wants you to set up a meeting with your leaders. She wants to make a deal where she gets something in exchange for helping solve this whole situation. That all makes sense. Now obviously, I know what she's going to ask for, but I'm guessing she kept it quiet from you," I nod at that. Ringo and I weren't exactly in a position to press for information. "That's what I figured. Suffice it to say that it's an old bit of business she's wanted resolved for a long time, but the lunarians have refused to play ball on it. So my question is, have you given any thought to what you'll do if they still refuse to make a deal?"

Wait, what? What does that have to do with me? "Is that really our business though? I though we were just setting up the meeting," It's not an answer, but I don't really get why there's a question. Once we get the meeting set up, that's the end of our obligation, isn't it?

Suwako shakes her head a tiny bit, still looking surprisingly serious. "Think about it. The only way Kanako has any bargaining power is if she makes a deal before your capital is free from its attackers and out of the Dream World. So obviously Kanako plans for negotiations to take place before then. If your leaders say no at that point, what leverage does Kanako have to push back on them?"

Err, I don't know. I would assume she'd have something else that she could use... But no, Suwako asked the question to lead me to an answer, and only one thing comes to mind. "Not freeing the capital?"

Suwako gives one slow, deep nod. "So hypothetically, what are you going to do if Kanako holds your people hostage in front of you until your leaders bend for her?"

That's... A bit more severe of a question than I expected. There are a lot of details about the situation that are missing. In fact it makes it a little hard to imagine all that well. I'm kind of at a loss for words. I cough awkwardly a couple of times, partly because I'm still sick (even though my symptoms are really manageable right now), and partly to buy time. Oh hey, there goes Ruukoto with a new door. I guess she really is just going to replace the one we broke.

"Well, it's not likely to happen anyway. I'm sure the people in charge of your capital aren't so unreasonable that they'd pick being under attack and imprisoned over just doing one thing for Kanako. That's why it's just a hypothetical," Suwako's seriousness dissipates quickly and she leans back in her armchair once again. "Personally, I'm just curious about what one of our new employees is thinking. Consider it a late interview question, then we can go back to you and your concerns, alright?"

Ugh, Suwako is trying to downplay it somewhat, but I still feel like it's a difficult question to answer. As for my concerns, I think I can think of a couple, but maybe I shouldn't be too needy about it...

[ ] Our deal with Kanako was to set up a meeting, not ensure a deal comes out of that meeting. Our obligation would be over, so I'd try to free the capital without Kanako's help at that point.
[ ] I don't have a lot of sway with Command, but I would try to get them to go along with Kanako. We should try to cooperate for the best results, right?
[ ] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.
[ ] (Write-in)

As for concerns:

[ ] Um, actually, who are you?
[ ] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[ ] Kanako was sure that the Aya situation would resolve itself, but I'm still a little worried about her snooping.
[ ] I'm not sure how secretive we need to be about living at the plant.
[ ] We've been told that we're free to come and go, but how will we know when Kanako has work for us?
[ ] Could we maybe get some alarm clocks for our rooms? I have no idea what time it is most of the time.
[ ] Sanae says that the cafeteria food is pretty limited. Maybe we could work on some better variety? Former Hell seems to have plenty of stuff.
[ ] Have the other people living here been told about us? I don't want to confuse people about us being here.
[ ] (Write-in)
>> No. 27604
[x] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.

[x] Um, actually, who are you?
[x] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[x] We've been told that we're free to come and go, but how will we know when Kanako has work for us?

Multivotes always make me feel like I've missed something.
>> No. 27605
[X] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.

[X] Um, actually, who are you?
[X] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[X] Kanako was sure that the Aya situation would resolve itself, but I'm still a little worried about her snooping.
[X] I'm not sure how secretive we need to be about living at the plant.
[X] Have the other people living here been told about us? I don't want to confuse people about us being here.
>> No. 27606
[X] I don't have a lot of sway with Command, but I would try to get them to go along with Kanako. We should try to cooperate for the best results, right?

[X] Um, actually, who are you?
[X] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[X] We've been told that we're free to come and go, but how will we know when Kanako has work for us?
>> No. 27607
[x] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.
[x] Um, actually, who are you?
[x] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[x] We've been told that we're free to come and go, but how will we know when Kanako has work for us?
>> No. 27608
[x] If Kanako holds the capital hostage we can't do shit because we can't get there to help them in the first place.
-[x] Therefore, I'd try to make them cooperate with the God of War.
[x] Aya situation
[x] Money situation
[x] "Do you have a watch or a clock or anything?"

Either she recovered pretty well or Suwako is blind, because having a serious discussion with a rabbit that's about to pass out is kind of weird.
Still, she is kind to show concern when she strictly doesn't need to. Go Curse God go!
>> No. 27609
File 149253600878.gif - (22.53KB , 432x324 , NetGunSchematic.gif ) [iqdb]
27609
As I understand the plan, Sanae is going to come with us to help liberate the Moon. So hypothetically, If Kanako decides to betray us and hold the Moon hostage, we could hypothetically just betray her right back by holding Sanae hostage. All Seiran would have to do is open a portal to the net gun dimension and proceed as pic related times several hundred. Any stun gun or tranquilizer dart dimension would also work in a pinch. Probably shouldn't mention this option to Suwako, but we should keep it in mind.

[x] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.
-[x] mostly because I really shouldn't mention the option to turn the tables by holding Sanae hostage.

[x] Um, actually, who are you?
[x] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[x] I'm not sure how secretive we need to be about living at the plant.
>> No. 27610
File 14927456101.png - (47.08KB , 400x269 , Job's done.png ) [iqdb]
27610
[X] I... Really don't know enough about the situation. I'm not sure how to answer the question.

[X] Command never gave us money because they didn't think we'd need it. We're kind of completely broke.
[X] Um, actually, who are you?
[X] We've been told that we're free to come and go, but how will we know when Kanako has work for us?

It takes me a moment to formulate an answer. Of course, that's nothing new for me, but I'm glad that Suwako is patient enough and doesn't feel a need to rush me into an answer. Maybe she's sympathetic. Come to think of it, I'm not completely sure to what extent she's aware of me being sick. That medicine stuff seems crazy effective to me, but I still don't look as healthy as say, yesterday afternoon when Ringo and I were negotiating with Kanako. Either she's caught on that I'm not feeling well, or she's just normally laid back. She did still drag me over here for a talk though, so signs are pointing more toward the latter than the former.

Anyway, I think about the question for a bit longer before hesitantly giving something like an answer. Maybe just calling it a response would be better. "It's a little tough for me to guess how I would act," I admit. "I don't really know enough about the situation."

"Hmm, answering I don't know to an interview question, huh?" Crap, Suwako looks unimpressed. "Usually not the best move."

"But it seems more reasonable to me," I stammer out trying to explain myself quickly. Yes, I might be a bit wishy-washy at times, but there's a reason for that! At least this specific time! "You don't seem to want to explain what Kanako," err, should I be adding the lady honorific in front of that? Does Suwako care? Better safe than sorry I guess. "What Lady Kanako would be asking command for in that situation. The only reason why negotiations would break down would be if one side was trying to take advantage of the other. I can't really tell which side would be which from what you're saying. Obviously, if I had all the information I would want to side with the one that was being more fair."

Suwako bobs her head back and forth a couple of times, but eventually shrugs. "Well like you said, that's the reasonable approach. It's just way easier to say than do. People are quick to claim that they'll be fair and impartial when asked about a hypothetical. In practice, they're a lot less rational in the heat of the moment."

As someone who is kind of prone to panic, I can understand and agree with that argument. I've been getting somewhat better about it the past few days, but there have been lots of times where I've made snap decisions that I ended up regretting. It's easy to give the neutral answer now, but if the situation actually came up for real, saying 'I don't know' wouldn't work at all. That's probably part of why Suwako brought up the question. I have to wonder if she really thinks that hypothetical is going to come to pass though.

"Anyway, I asked for your answer and I got it, so that's good enough. Not like I was going to unhire you no matter what you answered," Suwako continues, turning to the side and draping her legs over the arm of her chair. Ah, there goes Ruukoto. It looks like she's brought a new door up. I'm kind of curious about where she would have gotten that from. Do they just have a pile of replacements somewhere? "You can talk about whatever you're worried about now. I'll see about bringing it up with Kanako later."

Right, there is one thing that immediately springs to mind, but I feel a little bit awkward about bringing it up. "Since you brought up getting hired, Command never set us up with any earth currency for our mission. We weren't supposed to get found out or interact with Earth natives, so they thought we wouldn't need any of it. Now that we actually are talking to people and doing things... It's kind of come up that we're completely broke."

Suwako nods along at that, but looks unconcerned in general. "But you should have supplies right? Lunarians wouldn't want you doing something as messy and impure as hunting and gathering food."

"R-cough-right," I'm a little curious how Suwako knows about lunarians. Not that the lunar capital existing is that huge of a secret (at least I don't think so?), but the specifics of their behavior shouldn't exactly be common knowledge, right? "Well, we have enough rations and bare essential supplies to last for a while longer, although most of it is still back at camp," Even if the others bring back enough to last us until the full moon, I still wouldn't be crazy about eating rations for that long though. Earth has a lot more variety, and honestly, more quality. "It mostly came up last night when we were out in the city. There wasn't very much that I could afford to do or eat so..."

"So while you don't need it, money's good for letting you try out Earth's fun stuff," Suwako concludes for me. Yeah, it sounds a bit superfluous, but Suwako is free to deny the idea if she wants. I just don't like how I made Yamame pay for everything yesterday. It just seems rude. Plus, I can't use my hot spring coupon without at least some money. "Can't argue with that, but Kanako probably would. We've gotta keep the payroll balanced and all that," She continues before leaning back some more. It looks like her hat is going to fall off the side of the chair, but she somehow keeps it balanced. "Hmm, she'd probably shoot you down, but I might be able to grab you up a little bit of allowance. Just don't expect to be rolling in it, 'kay?"

"Oh, yeah that's okay, we'd appreciate any help you could give," It can't get worse than being flat broke. Well, I guess it could if we ended up in debt. Honestly, we're already getting to stay here in the plant without paying anything. Suwako would be completely justified in telling me that I'm asking for too much, but instead she's willing to try and set us up with more. I won't complain about generosity like that.

Although how she can even pull anything like that off brings up another question. I probably should have asked about this earlier, but now my curiosity is outweighing my restraint. "Sorry if this is a weird question, but um... who exactly are you?" Suwako glances over at me with momentary surprise that quickly transitions into a smug smile. "Y-you only introduced yourself as Suwako, so I assumed you were someone who just lived at the shrine," I scramble to explain, possibly just making it worse. "The more we talk the more it sounds like there's a lot more to it than that so-"

"Yeah, just a teeny tiny little bit more than that," Suwako giggles again. "You're close. I don't just live at the shrine though, I own it. Or at least some part of it," She doesn't sit up, but waves her arm over her body in a small flourish. "Suwako Moriya, goddess of mountains and one of the deities of the Moriya shrine."

"O-oh!" Crap, should I have been more respectful to her this whole time? That doesn't seem fair, she doesn't even look like any goddess I've ever seen before. She's so small. Also, with her legs draped over one side of the chair and her head dangling off the other side, she's definitely a lot less dramatic about this than Kanako was. Not really sure what else to say, I fake clearing my throat to try and buy some more time.

Suwako only cranes her neck to look directly at me again. "You don't have to get all reverent or anything," She assures me, although it only helps me calm down a bit. "I'm not big on all that standing on ceremony crap like Kanako. I'm over all that busy work. I'm just here to take it easy and cover up Kanako's weak points. Let her and Sanae take care of all the advertising and busy work. Way easier that way."

"Uh huh," Laziness? I kind of have a feeling that Ringo and her would get along. Although that's probably a bit disrespectful to both of them to think about.

"Surprised you don't already know this stuff," Suwako continues. Wait, Ruukoto's also replacing the desk? I'm kind of surprised she can lift the whole thing like that and still know where she's going. She's really going to go down the stairs like that? "Weren't you guys spying on us before?"

"W-w-cough cough!" Urgh, don't surprise me like that please! Although I guess it's kind of my fault for getting distracted by the robot maid doing stuff in the background. It shouldn't bet that surprising. I already knew she was going to be cleaning our room, and the door and desk were very much broken. "Well, yeah. Kind of. Only a tiny bit though. We didn't do much information gathering other than knowing where the shrine was and what it was called."

"Hm, good call. If we knew you were out there, we probably woulda sicced Sanae on you," Suwako smirks at the idea. Not sure if that's a good smirk or a bad one. "Dunno if that would have been better or worse than Reisen was, but it wouldn't have been pretty either way."

"We were stealthed though..."

"Against youkai, which none of us at the shrine are one of," Okay, that's true. I don't actually know how our stealth would work against goddesses. Hey, another one of those things command didn't prepare us for properly. How surprising. "Plus, Kanako and I, and Sanae to a lesser degree, are all divinely connected to the shrine. If you had been snooping around our domain too often, we would have caught on that something was up."

Hm, score one point to slow rolling the information gathering efforts I suppose. Looking around the Moriya shrine was on our priority list, but we weren't going fast enough to actually get around to it before we were discovered. Man, we really were woefully unequipped to actually accomplish our mission, weren't we? Both the fake mission and the real one we weren't told about. Ugh. I'm feeling increasingly disgusted the more I think about it, although some of that might be the sickness. Probably better to just move on either way.

"So you're all connected... Right, I remember Sanae talking remotely with Kanako before," I continue. I know it's not something that's going to happen, but I'd still like to not be on the train of thought that includes Sanae attacking us. Granted I have no idea how strong she actually is, but if she's a shrine maiden that solves incidents like Reimu, she definitely can't be weak. "Is there any way that we could set something like that up too?"

"Hah?" Suwako makes a confused grunting noise as she shuffles herself around a bit and sinks deeper into the armchair.

"Well it's just that Kanako said we were free to come and go from the plant when we wanted, but we also need to be around to do any jobs she has for us," This is another concern I was having. I don't want to look like I'm trying to avoid work. We made a deal with Kanako, and I intend to honor it. "It would help a lot if we had some way of knowing when to come back."

"Oh, I gotcha. Well that's another divine connection thing. We can't just bring whoever we want in on that. There's logistics and stuff to consider," Suwako shrugs, but does appear to go into thought over the problem. "Hm, you rabbits could technically pray to us and we'd hear it, but that's a one way avenue. Answering back to prayer is a rare exception that needs special circumstances. Not to mention you're not even our followers, which makes it even worse."

"I didn't know goddesses had so many rules to follow like that," Who even enforces stuff like that?

"We work in mysterious ways," Suwako waves one of her sleeves vaguely in the air. "So how do you rabbits talk to each other or the Moon then?"

Ah right, this. This is another one of those things that isn't exactly a huge secret, but the specifics probably aren't well known to Earth dwellers. "All of us rabbits are telepathically linked through something that we call comms," It's the informal name, but I've honestly forgotten the official one. The word communications must be in it somewhere, right? I don't recall. There's no reason to refer to it by anything else. If you say 'comms' all the other rabbits are going to know what you're talking about. Suwako isn't going to though, so I'll explain a little more. "It's kind of like an open forum that any of us can talk and contact one another through. It's a little hard to explain when it's mostly instinctual. It's broken right now though, so we've been using two way radios from our equipment whenever we weren't right next to each other."

"Radios hm..." Suwako thinks about it. Oh good, it seems like she at least knows what radios are. I guess that's a given considering the tech level of the place I'm currently sitting in, but Gensokyo is weird about stuff like that. "I'll talk to Kanako and some of the science geeks around here then. Maybe we'll be able to slap something together that'll put you in constant contact with Kanako," She giggles once. "If that's what you really want anyway."

I can kinda get what she's implying. "Kanako is... Intimidating, but following her orders is part of the deal. I'm not going to go back on that," I say patiently. I'm not just trying to make myself look better to one of our hosts either. This is me being totally honest. "I doubt she'd all that worse than Command ordering us around anyway," Doh. I probably shouldn't have said that out loud.

Suwako actually laughs out loud anyway, finally tipping her head back enough that hat falls off. "Whup," She rolls herself over the arm of the chair, doing a somersault and managing to land in a comfortable (for her at least) crouch. I watch the googly eyes on top of her hat settle as she puts it back on her head and feel a little bit silly about asking this person for help. Okay, yes, she's told me she's a goddess, and I do believe her. I just think that she feels much less serious than any goddess I've seen or heard about. Either on Earth or the Moon. But then, Gensokyo messing with my expectations of things isn't exactly new.

-

A short few minutes after Ruukoto comes back up the stairs with a replacement desk (A bit slowly, I might add. Must be tough to be the only maid here. Is she the only one? Dunno.), Ringo's hat (and then the rest of her) comes walking up as well. She doesn't immediately notice Suwako or I, instead walking quickly toward the dorms, so I cough to get her attention.

"Oh hey, you're up," Once she sees me, Ringo's attention stays focused on me even when Suwako pokes her head out from around the chair to see the source of the voice. "You feeling any better?"

I clear my throat a tiny bit, trying to make sure that I'm not going to cough while talking. "Yeah, I'm doing okay. The medicine has been helping," Although having an entire conversation with Suwako probably hasn't done me any favors. I probably would have been better off sleeping this whole time, but that apparently isn't up to me. "Ruukoto wanted to clean our room, so I came out here and started talking to Suwako," The aforementioned goddess waves lightly over the top of her chair.

"Right, right. Hi again," Ringo greets Suwako casually. Right, she doesn't know about Suwako being a goddess either. I'll have to mention it to her later or something. "Sorry, in a bit of a rush. I just came to grab Seiran. The others are delivering the portal to Rika so she can take a quick look at it. We have other stuff we brought from camp, but Kanako's getting a bit pissy about being behind schedule, so I'm trying to speed things along."

Erk, Ringo, you really shouldn't talk like that about Kanako in front of her fellow goddess. "Hah, yeah she can get like that," Okay, well, Suwako seems more amused than anything, but it's still the principle of the thing.

Moving right along then. "What do I need to do?"

"Nothing really, but Kanako wants to make a decision on how we're planning on getting to the Moon, and I figured you should be around for that," Ringo explains, but then hesitates slightly. "You can skip it if you need to rest some more though," She adds, showing some concern.

While I appreciate the sentiment, I also think it's in our best interest to not upset Kanako. If anything it's my fault that we couldn't make this decision before noon. If I hadn't gotten sick we could have gone and got the portal much more quickly. "No, this sounds important. I can come down right away," I'm not just acting either. I know I'm feeling good enough for a meeting. It'll probably be even easier on me than my time with Suwako too. Kanako and Rikako will probably be the ones doing most of the talking at the meeting.

"Well Kanako'll be happy to hear that. Not that it helps making the call either way. Rika's still going to need some time to look at the portal," Ringo ends with a sigh and shakes her head lightly. "Mostly I'm just trying to act like I'm being productive to look good for the boss lady. You know how it is."

Ringo, one of the boss ladies is right here! "Cough, cough. Err, not really," I struggle not to sound awkward, even though I definitely feel it. "Maybe we shou-"

"Excuse me miss Seiran, I have come to get you," Ruukoto interrupts me as she quickly walks out of the dormitory hallway.

"Er, um, what?" What would Ruukoto need from me? She's just cleaning.

"Before I began cleaning your room, you requested 'just come get me when you're done' and I am here to fulfill that request," Wow, did I really sound that tired earlier? I guess so. It still weirds me out how Ruukoto repeats direct quotes with the exact same tone that the source had.

Now that she mentions it though, I do remember saying that. "Right. Thanks I guess?" That was when I was planning to go back to bed, so it doesn't do me much good now. I can't fault Ruukoto for following my instructions at least.

"All normal room cleaning procedures have been completed. Unfortunately, I lack the proper materials to completely remove some of the anomalies present in your room," Ruukoto continues. Err, anomalies? "There were three bullets embedded in the ceiling which have been successfully removed. As repairing the holes that are still present does not fall under standard clutter removal procedures and maintenance, doing so will need to be done at another time, once I have properly requisitioned ceiling tiles for such repairs."

I feel a drop in the pit of my stomach. Bullets... Right, that dream that I had... But I didn't think that I... Well, it's not like I checked when I woke up. "Th-thanks," I mumble out automatically, trying to ignore the confused look from Suwako and concerned look from Ringo. Okay, Ringo knowing that I definitely did shoot stuff in my sleep is one thing, but what am I supposed to say to Suwako?

I should...

[ ] Pretend to have no idea what bullets she's talking about
[ ] Say it was danmaku
[ ] Claim I brought some of my gun collection with me and forgot to unload all the ammo
[ ] Tell the truth
[ ] Something else (write in)

I kind of have a feeling I know where the votes are going to go for this, but the only other option is trying to write the whole meeting and give a choice at the end of that, but that will take more time than I have available while making this update hella long. Ideally I could avoid this by having better pacing, but I'm still not the best at that.
>> No. 27611
[X] Tell the truth

Suwako is both cool and might actually have some decent advice for Seiran on this matter.
>> No. 27612
[X] Tell the truth
>> No. 27613
[ ] Tell the truth

More Ruukoto is always a good thing.
>> No. 27614
[x] Tell the truth
>> No. 27615
[x] Tell the truth

Ruukoto best maid.

Not perfect or elegant, just best.
>> No. 27616
[X] Tell the truth

Lying would likely turn out pretty bad, considering they can easily find out whether our story checks out or not. Telling the truth is probably our best option right now.
>> No. 27617
[X] Tell the truth

You can't hide what's inside.
>> No. 27646
File 149309485578.png - (1.07MB , 700x1050 , It's an ART.png ) [iqdb]
27646
[X] Tell the truth

This really isn't fair. If it had just been Ruukoto telling me about the bullets, that would have been okay. She's pretty clearly not asking about where they came from. In fact, I doubt that she cares about them at all. She's only really concerned with cleaning. Once she's got them out of the ceiling, I wouldn't be surprised if she never thought about them again. As long as she can pull that off (which it sounds like she can with more time and some replacement tiles) I doubt I even have to give her an explanation.

Likewise with Ringo. She's clearly concerned about me, and has walked around the stairwell and sat next to me on the couch for support, which I definitely appreciate. She has to be able to guess at what happened. It's obvious. At the very least, we can count ourselves lucky that it happened when she wasn't in the room. I'm pretty sure it did anyway. It's strange, usually shooting bullets in my sleep would wake me up, but this time it didn't. It's possible that it happened some time overnight instead of just recently, but I kind of doubt it.

No, okay, that's not the thing I need to worry about here. The real concern is that Ruukoto brought this up right in front of our host. The goddess that I just spent however long chatting with is now giving me an inquisitive look from her seat in the armchair across from me. Ugh, of course she would be. There isn't a good reason for bullets to be lodged in the ceiling of our dorm room as far as she knows. We never told her or anybody else about my special powers situation. I would kind of liked to have kept it that way as well.

A few possible lies come to mind immediately, but I choose not to actually say any of them out loud. For one thing, I still dislike lying, but also most of what I can think of would be easy to disprove with a little investigation. Would Suwako actually go to the trouble of doing that? Well that's up for debate. Either way, as much as I don't want to talk about this, I also really don't need the stress of maintaining a cover story with a place that is supposed to be safe for us. I'm going to have to say the real truth here... That's something that I haven't had to explain to anyone in years.

"It was an accident, sorry. I have some um, strange powers that I'm not always completely in control of," I offer weakly. Ringo puts a hand on my shoulder, which helps a little. Of course, everyone giving me their full attention just makes me feel like running away and hiding more than anything. I have to keep going unfortunately. "I can pull a whole bunch of different kinds of bullets out of some other dimension."

"These bullets in particular are .45 caliber rounds," Ruukoto helpfully quips. Err, why exactly does the robot maid know that? Probably best not to think about it too much.

"Right, that's one of the most common ones yeah," Usually if I was grabbing something at random it would be that or 9mm, but it really is up to chance. It's not like I'm paying attention to what I'm getting while I'm asleep. If I was, I wouldn't shoot anything in the first place! "When I sleep, I tend to have nightmares easily. Sometimes they get kind of intense and stuff happens without me meaning for it to."

While my explanation got a little vague at the end there, Suwako obviously understands what I mean. Her face is a bit more serious now as she nods slightly. "Does that happen a lot?" She asks.

That's a fair question. Ugh, is she gonna kick me out for being a safety hazard? I bet you really can't afford to have someone firing live ammunition at random in somewhere like a power plant. Maybe I should... No, I said I was going to be honest. "Well um, most of the time, yeah," I reluctantly admit. "Command gave me some pills to keep it from happening, but I um, haven't been taking them."

Suwako frowns just a little bit. Yup, here it comes. Just like back home. I'm not safe. The best thing to do is "... Seems a little dangerous, doesn't it?" She questions me a bit more evenly than I expected.

"A-a little bit, yeah," No, don't downplay it. That's still kind of dishonest. "Okay, a little bit more than a little bit."

"All her pills do is knock her out for six or seven hours," Ringo interrupts, sounding a bit worried about how this conversation is going. "They don't fix anything, it just makes it so she can't dream at all."

What's her point? That's the best way to handle the problem, isn't it? "I don't really mind-"

"Come on Seiran, you know you mind, or else you would still be taking them," Ringo cuts me off. Well, okay, fine, I was curious before. Dreams are weird experiences that I haven't really had for decades. If it isn't safe though, maybe I really should just go back to taking my pills. Skipping so many days really was irresponsible of me.

I just mumble half a response, glancing back nervously toward Suwako. The look on her face is surprisingly thoughtful. "And here I had heard that the Lunarians were all about that super science and medicine stuff. You're telling me they can't just fix whatever's up with you?"

Err, I've kind of had thoughts like that in the past, but never really got an explanation about why I had to take a pill forever instead of just getting my brain fixed. "I guess? I don't really know anything about magic so um..." It's not like I'm in a position to force the doctors to sit down and tell me everything.

"My guess is they just took the first solution they found and called it good enough," Ringo explains for me. She sounds a bit more bitter than I feel. Come on, it's not all their fault! Some blame has to go to me too. "If it's just one rabbit, why spend the time and energy on actually helping her get better for real?"

Suwako considers that for a moment, then slides out of her chair. "You've got me curious now," She says, walking from her chair to where I'm sitting on the couch. "Hand," She demands once she's standing in front of me.

"cough cough What?"

Suwako holds her own hand out palm up. "Shake," She offers as explanation. Oh, er, I guess she wants me to give her my hand. I slowly put the palm of my right hand down on hers. "Good girl," She snickers just a tiny bit. Hey, I'm not a pet! "Let me see here..."

Suwako places her other hand on top of mine, enclosing it and holding it in place. Rather than explaining what's going on, she then simply closes her eyes and concentrates. Err, I'm just waiting then I guess? Nothing I can do to help whatever this is along?

...

You know, even with Suwako standing next to me, she's still shorter than I am while sitting on the couch. It's really weird to think of the contrast between her and Kanako, or really any of the goddesses I've seen so far. Suwako is just so much smaller and not intimidating or otherworldly (not that that word means much coming from me) feeling at all. It'd be easy to mistake her as something much less important than she apparently is.

"Other hand," Suwako suddenly says, causing me to jump slightly. Err, right. I hold up my other hand, and Suwako takes hold of both of them. Then she goes back to concentrating, her brow furrowing a little bit more.

...

Um, I'm kind of feeling a little silly here.

...

"Bah," Suwako finally lets go of my hands, swinging her arms up in a 'I give up' gesture. "It's too far out of my normal scene. My magic is more natural and centered around curses. This stuff is coming at it from an entirely different direction. I can't really get a handle on it."

"What exactly were you doing?" Ringo asks the question that we were both thinking, although I probably would have tried to phrase it a bit more nicely.

Suwako spins around and flops herself down into the couch on my side, opposite Ringo. "Checking out the magic around her. Honestly, it's a big mess, and I don't entirely know what I'm looking at with it. Might not even be one hundred percent magic based, or at least not magic that I'm used to."

"Well, it took them a while to figure it out on the Moon too," I offer as explanation. Yeah, it isn't often that something confuses the doctors enough that someone will have to spend time actually living at the hospital. To stay in there as long as I did... Yeesh.

"Did they really figure it out though? Pretty sure they just swept it under the rug," If I didn't know better, I would say that Ringo was more upset over this than I was.

"That's pretty much right, at least from what I can tell," Suwako agrees before I can respond. Come on, they did what they had to do, and it worked for a really long time! It would still work if I didn't do stupid things like not take my pill. "I don't think forcibly suppressing it for so long was the best move," Err, wait, what? "That whole mess is really deeply ingrained in your spirit by now, while your mind is barely touching it. If you had had the chance to work on it on your own, you'd be better about controlling it by now."

I'm not quite sure I follow that explanation, but I notice Ringo nodding beside me. "So skipping her pills is better for her in the long run?"

"At least in my uneducated opinion," Suwako shrugs. "From what you've said, it sounds like it would've been a risk short term, but in the long term, the only way you're going to get a handle on something like that is to try to control it by your own will."

Wait, hold on. That's not fair. Command told me to take a pill every day, so of course I did. I was just following orders. Plus, before that point, I really had been trying to suppress the bullets, it just got to a point where I couldn't anymore. What was I supposed to do? It's easy to just say that I needed to control it better, but I didn't know how to do that!

I think all of that stuff, but I don't say it. These two wouldn't really get what was actually happening, would they? Of course they wouldn't. "... That might not be doable with all the other stuff I have to focus on though," I say neutrally. Technically true as well.

"Then you can just keep taking the pills," Suwako shrugs again. "If you don't have time to deal with it right now, then don't. This magic whatever has been stuck to you for decades, what's a few more days?"

"It'd still be pushing off the problem until later though... Hmm," Ringo doesn't sound happy about the idea. "Well, I'll leave it up to do what you want to do, Seiran."

"You might also wanna look into finding somebody more book smart than me to have a look at you too," Suwako adds. "Like I already said, this isn't my normal thing. I'm not classically trained on anything. Never needed to be. Though the list of people who would be both powerful enough to manipulate whatever you've got going on and smart enough to do it safely is gonna be pretty small. Dunno who I'd recommend personally."

Huh. That hadn't really crossed my mind. I think that's kind of fair though. Obviously when I try to think of somebody who would know more than the people back on the Moon, I come up blank. Suwako seems to think that there might be hope though, and maybe it really would help to have a second opinion from somebody who knows what they're talking about. That's especially true if I'm going to keep going without my meds. I don't know if things will get more or less dangerous, but I know I'm not exactly comfortable with where they are right now.

Speaking of that though. "Um, are you going to tell other people about this?" I ask Suwako awkwardly. I'd be kind of uncomfortable with more rumors and stuff floating around. I got enough of that back on the Moon. "It's um, I kind of don't like bringing it up..."

"Eh, as long as you don't wreck up the room too much or shoot anybody, I guess it'll be fine," Suwako dismisses my concern as she hops off of the couch. "Ruukoto doesn't mind doing some extra work anyway right?" She asks, walking over to the maid and giving her a friendly pat on the back, just below the radiation symbol.

"Yes miss Moriya!" Ruukoto cheerfully answers. Wow, I had basically forgotten about her. Maybe it's a maid thing, but Ruukoto really seems good at keeping herself from being distracting during a conversation. "If you would please specify a time during which it would be acceptable for me to repair the ceiling."

Oh right. "Um, just not in the morning please..."

-

A short while later, Suwako, Ringo, and I head downstairs to get to the meeting. Ruukoto stays behind in order to clean some more rooms. I feel a little bad about that actually, since we kinda distracted her and threw her off schedule. Though according to Suwako that's not a big deal at all. They put Ruukoto to work because she enjoys it much more than they do so because they actually need her constantly cleaning.

Anyway, Ringo tells us that the meeting is in the same room as last night, so it's not exactly a long or difficult trip. We don't really have much time or need to discuss anything in particular.

When we get inside the records room, it seems like most everyone that should be here is already here and waiting for us, or more specifically me. Sanae gives me a small wave while Kanako and Rikako wrap up whatever discussion they had been having. Yuzuki, Sumi, and Chiyo are also all here, sitting around the largest table available and looking various degrees of bored. I also notice they all seem to have very full looking backpacks sitting near them. Must be rations and other equipment from camp. I wonder what exactly they deemed important enough to grab.

I head over and sit down next to Chiyo, who seems to be slowly picking at an ear of corn. Err, is that the same stuff that Minoriko gave us? Is that stuff getting old by this point? We probably need to eat it sooner rather than later. It's been more than a few days. I would offer to help, but I'm still not feeling hungry. Hm, is losing my appetite one of the symptoms of my illness? I haven't felt hungry at all today, and it's been quite a while since I ate.

Once Ringo has also taken a seat at the table and Suwako seems to have settled in off to the side of the room, the room quiets down. I'm not sure who exactly is going to start things (other than not me), so I just wait until somebody speaks first.

"Alright. I suppose we can get things started. The purpose of this meeting is to determine our course of action going forward with respect to reaching the Moon," Rikako stands up and moves in front of the white board, but doesn't write anything on it. "Rika is still looking over the portal, and will hopefully join us as soon as she has an idea of what would be required to make use of it. That should give me plenty of time to explain the potential issues with traveling to the Moon by rocket instead."

Rikako turns around and writes on the board a bit, so I take the opportunity to cough a couple of times without interrupting her. Hopefully doing it now will mean I don't have to later, but it probably doesn't work like that.

When Rikako finishes, there's a large heading at the top left of the board that says 'Rocket Plan Issues:' in very neat handwriting. Not quite up to Yuzuki levels, but still better than my own writing. Underneath the heading, there are a couple of subheadings. 'Knowledge', 'Funding', and 'Time' to be specific.

"I already touched on this briefly in our short meeting last night, but simply launching a rocket into space is not the difficult part," Rikako begins. "It's getting the rocket back that's the hard part. We're already going to be on a major time crunch just building the thing. I won't have the time to run all the proper experiments and simulations I would need to in order to devise a way to make the return trip safely. We can either accept that as a limitation, or find some way to cover the first point, a lack of knowledge."

"Is this why you were asking me about old textbooks from school?" Sanae asks cautiously, sounding a little bit embarrassed about it, or maybe she's just worried about speaking out of turn again.

"It's my understanding that the outside world has tried and succeeded such flights before. While I already have some idea on how to do it, however any other examples would be welcome," Rikako confirms, glancing down at a large book sitting on the table. I think that's the same one that she was flipping through last night. It doesn't have a title on it though, so I don't know what's in it. "Unfortunately your history textbook was a bit too anemic on details, and my own source of knowledge skips over too many crucial steps."

"There are multiple different collections of books and literature in Gensokyo," Kanako offers calmly. "The Scarlet Devil Mansion comes to mind immediately, but there some other book sellers among the humans which may have stumbled upon such things as well. Perhaps even Kourindou..."

"True, however we would still need to seek them out. That would quickly run us into the next point, cost," Rikako gestures back toward the board again, unintentionally flipping her long purple hair a bit. "Lady Kanako, you haven't given me a budget for this project, but I can guarantee you that it will not be cheap. Materials cost money, there's just no getting around that."

"I haven't given you a budget because I trust you to be reasonable in your spending," Kanako answers patiently. "Within reason, I'm not opposed to accruing some debt when necessary. We will be able to balance our budget in due time."

"Kind of a change of heart, isn't it?" Suwako notes from the side of the room. "You're usually a bit more stingy about big projects."

"If indeed this is the plan that we're going with, I'm already planning on involving Sanae and myself in something of an advertising campaign," Kanako explains tersely. I note Sanae jerk just a tiny tiny bit at the mention of Kanako's idea, but she doesn't visibly react otherwise. "If done correctly, it should increase our funds and popularity substantially once we've successfully launched something into space."

"Wouldn't doing something like that also cost money?" Ringo asks. "You'd be banking a lot on people donating in response to the rocket launch going well."

"It's simply a matter of good marketing. Make enough of an event of something, involve a bit of alcohol, and you can always carve some amount of success for yourself in Gensokyo," I'm a little bit skeptical, but I guess that Kanako would know about this stuff better than I would. "It will leave Sanae and myself quite busy though," She continues.

"Err, is that what causes the time problem that's up on the board?" Sanae asks. I feel like she's trying to change the subject a little bit. Maybe she doesn't like the idea of doing whatever advertising work Kanako is thinking of?

"To some degree, although it's more on my end than anything else," Rikako answers. "Like I said before, construction and setting everything up for a launch will put me and much of the rest of the facility on a major time crunch. Any kind of delay could very well throw us off of our deadline. The plan has lots of points of failure and relies on everything going well."

"But it has quite a good payoff in terms of faith and advertising," Kanako counters, sounding rather pleased with herself. Well, I guess it's pretty clear that she likes the idea. "And I have full confidence in your ability to make it work."

"Why don't you hear the other side before you start drooling over all those worshippers, eh?" Suwako jokes. I suppress a smile, though Kanako looks much less amused.

"Hmph, very well," Kanako shoots Suwako an annoyed look before moving back to Rikako. "Do we plan to wait for Rika?"

"I'll grab her," Rikako sets her white board marker in the tray and steps toward the door to the hallway. "She should be done with the preliminary check by now, and if nobody drags her away from her work she'll probably forget that a meeting is even happening."

-

It takes a couple minutes of nothing before anything happens. Chiyo finishes her ear of corn while Suwako continues ribbing at Kanako a little more, but other than that it's mostly us waiting quietly. Eventually I hear Rikako approaching from the hallway. Well, it's less that I hear her and more that I hear an extremely long and drawn out groaning sound coming along with her.

"Come on Rika, you can get back to it later," Rikako insists, sounding somewhat annoyed as she drags the source of the noise into the records room.

"Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," The girl being pulled in looks surprisingly young for someone who's supposed to be the head engineer or whatever her title was. Her brown hair is tied in braided pigtails, and she's wearing plain brown pants and a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

"Nice of you to join us Rika," Kanako says, raising her voice just loud enough to get past Rika's groaning. Either this is normal behavior, or Kanako is just used enough to it that she's not going to comment. "Have you completed your evaluation of the portal?"

Rika finally runs out of air for "Boss lady," She nods toward Kanako. "Boss lady two," She adds to Suwako, before shaking her arm free of Rikako's grip. Even once free, she continues wagging her arm around in the air for a moment, vaguely pointing it at everyone in the room before she finally stops. "You people have no appreciation for art. I'm. Still. Busy!"

"It's science, not art, Rika," Rikako says plainly as she moves back to the front of the room.

"Same difference," Rika follows along.

Rikako rolls her eyes before picking the marker she had been using earlier. She offers it to Rika. "No, they are absolutely different things."

"Pffffffffffffffffffft," Rika blows a loud raspberry in annoyance, grabbing the marker and popping the cap off, letting it fall on the ground without a second thought. "You don't get it. None of you get it," She let's out a sigh before turning to address the rest of us still sitting at the table. "So, what do you need?"

"We need to know if you have completed your evaluation of the portal that these rabbits brought to you earlier," Kanako is surprisingly patient, although she might be forcing it a little bit. "What would be required in order to use it to get back to the Moon through the Dream World?"

"Right," Rika turns on her heel and presses the marker against the white board, but doesn't write anything down. "Right."

...

"Today?" Rikako prompts.

Rika spins back around, only leaving a small dot on the board. "Well before I was interrupted, I was pretty close to getting the thing to turn back on. It'll still work just fine. Definitely'll have that done before the end of the day," She explains. "That's not the issue though. Thing's worthless on its own. Just turning it on is like just turning on that TV box thing in Sanae's room. Worthless static," She turns toward Sanae specifically. "Speaking of which, when are you gonna let me take that thing apart?"

Sanae looks a little surprised. "Err, I still use that to play video games," She answers weakly.

"Riiiiiight. Ah! Idea!" Rika turns and writes 'video games' down on the lower right side of the board, then faces the table again. "Doesn't answer the question though."

"You're one to talk," Rikako grabs another marker and writes 'Portal Plan Issues:' down in the upper right corner. So apparently video games are the problem with that idea? "Can we use the portal to get to the Moon or not?"

"It's possible," Er, there's no point in emphasizing something so vague, is there? "If it's like the TV, then we just have to have video games to show it what to display. Then we can go inside."

"You don't do that with video games," Sanae points out quickly, then looks a little bit embarrassed again.

"Stretching the metaphor. Whatever," Rika spins her marker in a circle. "Point is, if we have something to tune the portal to the right place in the Dream World, it'll work. Might not stick you on the most optimal path, or maybe it will. All depends on how you tune it," She turns around and puts an underline under the 'video games' point on the board. "Yup, sounds right to me."

"And what exactly would we need in order to do this tuning?" Kanako questions, as if Rika was explaining things clearly. She really isn't though. I mean, I can kinda follow it, but there has to be a better way to vocalize the issues with her plan.

"Magic probably," Rika answers dismissively. I catch Rikako rolling her eyes for a moment before Rika continues. "The Dream World's got connections everywhere. If we're trying to get to the Moon, you'd need to have something that's magically connected there, the stronger the connection the better off you are."

"And you're assuming all of this without having even turned the portal on yet?" Rikako clarifies.

Rika tosses her marker up in the air, managing to make it land directly in the white board's tray. "How often am I wrong?" She asks, shooting Rikako a proud look and not even waiting for answer. "And I know a thing or three about the Dream World too. It'll work."

"Fine," Rikako looks a little bit exasperated as she turns and writes 'magical connection needed' on the board for Rika. "Do any of you have anything like that?" She asks, turning toward where us rabbits are sitting.

Err, something strongly magically connected to the Moon? Us rabbits aren't normally permitted to even touch that kind of stuff. I mean, maybe if we had been properly equipped for this mission then we could have had something magical around, but that definitely didn't happen. "No, all of our stuff is pretty mundane," Ringo answers for us.

"Failure to launch then," Rika gives an unconcerned shrug. If anything she looks a little bit happy to hear it. "Guess I get to take the whole portal apart after all~" She practically sings the last couple of words.

"Err, hold on," An idea suddenly hits me. It's a bit of a stretch, but we shouldn't just dismiss ideas if there's a way to make them work, right? "cough, cough, cough-We might be able to ask Reisen about something like that, right?"

"Eientei?" Kanako asks, sounding more than a little surprised. She recovers quickly however. "Hm, if something like that exists, it is likely they would have or at least know about it," She reasons out loud. "Whether Reisen would help you get at it is another issue entirely,"

"But if she does, fixing the portal would be way less work than putting together an entire space program, right?" Suwako asks.

Rika laughs confidently in response. "Heh, I could have the portal up and running by tomorrow if you had a connection today. It'd be a fun project. No problemo."

"So there's only one unknown in the plan then," Suwako decides. "We clear that up and go from there."

"Any time spent waiting on more answers is a threat to our deadline," Rikako says, motioning to the left half of the board. "I would rather bet on something we know we can accomplish than chase after something that might not exist. We need to get started now if we want a chance at getting things done."

"I have to agree," Kanako nods. "The rocket plan benefits us more in terms of visibility as well."

"High visibility is not always a good thing," Suwako interrupts. "Especially with what I already know you're planning on getting out of this. You think Hakurei's just gonna sit around while you do a media blitz and think nothing else is going on?"

"Hmph, and surely sending these rabbits back toward the very people hunting them is a better idea?"

I glance over at Sanae. It seems like everyone else here aside from her and the rabbits have expressed their opinions. She actually just looks uncomfortable now that the argument is starting to get a bit heated. I don't think she's going to speak up. That just leaves us then.

[ ] Argue for the rocket plan
[ ] Argue for the portal plan

This is kind of important. Both sides have some merits and some drawbacks, but picking a path and following it is the most important thing, right?
>> No. 27648
[X] Argue for the portal plan
>> No. 27651
[X] Argue for the portal plan

I like this option better.
>> No. 27653
[x] Argue for rocket

I'm a rocket man~
>> No. 27654
[X] Argue for the portal plan

I'd rather not rely on a ramshackle rocket to get to the moon, especially since we don't have the same setup as in SSiB. That and I think getting closer to Reisen through getting her help is better in the long run.
>> No. 27655
[X] Argue for the portal plan
>> No. 27656
[X] Argue for the portal plan

Technically, we already have something magic that is strongly connected to the Moon. All 5 of us moon rabbits have magical powers and are connected to the Moon since we live there. As a last ditch emergency option, we could just plug one of us rabbits into the portal and tune it that way. We would probably have to leave whoever we plugged in behind though, so we should only do it as a last resort.
>> No. 27658
[X] Argue for the portal plan

I can actually think of something off the top of my head that can probably be used to tune the portal. And even better, it's actually been mentioned in the story!

But I don't want to metagame too hard here.
>> No. 27664
[X] Argue for the rocket plan

Are you guys insane? We already rejected Eirin's offer, so what's to stop her from just killing all of us the next time she has eyes on us?
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