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[X] Talk about what happened last night.
This sucks... I want to take my time and think about how to address the issues here, but Ringo almost signalling Yuzuki kind of forced my hand. I had to stop her before she got anyone's attention, and now I have to think up what to say and actually say it. Easier said than done, especially for someone that typically needs time to think about what she's going to say ahead of time. Namely, me.
Although maybe... Yuzuki probably knows that Ringo is in the area already. Ugh, my timetable for this might be even shorter than I thought. What if she's on her way right now? I won't have time to cover everything that I need to say to Ringo in that case. Need to talk about the most important thing first and hope we don't get interrupted or Yuzuki somehow has the sense to not interrupt us. Not holding out hope for that second one.
"You..." No wait, is that too accusatory? Ugh, stressing out. Bad start. Get it together. "Um, we need to talk."
"Yeah, we're gonna have a meeting and talk to everyone." I'm not sure if she's being intentionally evasive or not. I'll pretend she isn't.
"Ringo," I tug a little harder on her arm just to let her know that I'm being serious here. "We need to talk about last night."
Ringo's already kind of forced smile freezes for a split second, but that doesn't last very long. Instead it falls away to a more dejected look as she sighs. Not moving to make me let go of her, Ringo still sits herself down on the roof with her legs dangling off the edge. Hm, I wonder what a shrine visitor would think about this, if they could see a couple of rabbit youkai sitting on the roof when they came for a visit. I haven't actually seen any visitors in all the time that I've been here, but it's totally possible that one will show up one of these times. At least, I'm assuming that.
"So..." Ringo's looking somewhere other than me, vaguely in the direction of the village, if I'm remembering correctly. I think that's more of a coincidence than anything else. "Guessing you wouldn't believe it if I pretended not to remember?" She asks in a way that even if the answer was yes, her tone would convince me that the real answer was no.
"You were drunk, but you weren't that drunk," This was 'drinking with employers' level drunk, not 'force fed by an oni' drunk. Even I have the good sense to know the difference there, even if I've only experience the one.
"Yeah that's what I figured," Ringo rests her elbows on her knees, leaning forward a bit closer to the edge than I would really like. Sure, we can fly, but I get nervous about stuff like that anyway. "Honestly, I don't know what you want me to say though. I messed up, I went to far, it's over and done with. If you're mad, and you have every right to be, I'll make it up to you. If we're cool, then I'd rather just pretend it didn't happen."
"That's not really..." Mad isn't really the right way to describe it, but I wouldn't just dismiss it and say that everything is cool either. It's more complex than that. False di... What was that word? I forget. Whatever. "I feel like we need to talk about it a little more than just that. I don't blame you for wanting to move on, I do to, but there's more to it than just being mad or not being mad."
Ringo stays quiet for a little bit, still just staring out at Gensokyo. I note that she's not really looking at the Moon at this point, which is weird, because that's where my eyes are naturally drawn. Might just be a difference in mindset though. She's already decided she's not going back, while I'm... I don't know. "... Like what?" She finally asks after a pause long enough for me to almost lose track of the conversation.
"Like..." Like a bunch of things, although the thing that mostly prompted this specific conversation is what I did after Ringo fell asleep, I guess. "I talked to Sumi about it after that," I explain, as if that's all the explanation I really need.
"Hoooo boy," Ringo lets out a long breath, shaking her head lightly. Of course, Sumi being as vocal as she is about things, Ringo would know what me talking to her would be like. "I'm sure she had a lot to say."
"Kind of, but it was more about what she wanted me to say. Or admit, I guess," It was a long conversation with a lot of different parts, but the biggest thing is really fresh in my mind. I don't really want to say it though, especially since I don't really know what would happen after that. If I tell Ringo that I probably like her back, sure it will make her happy, but... Things are complicated in a lot of different ways. I... Maybe I should hold off on that specific bit of information for right now, at least until I get a better plan about how I want that conversation to go. "Ringo, I'm still sorting things out. You know that. You're the one who asked me to do it, and I really am giving it honest thought, it's just that... It takes time. You want um, a specific kind of result, and trying to push it like that is... I don't know, I'm not good at this stuff."
"No, I got it. You don't have to worry about it," Phew, I'm glad that Ringo is so accepting of how bad I am at explaining myself. I kind of ran out of steam there, and I might not have gotten the point across that well, but Ringo seems to get it anyway. "I'm stressing you out, and it isn't fair. I get that. If anything, I'm glad that you don't seem all that mad. So here's what I'm gonna do then," Ringo finally turns to face my direction, holding up a hand and ticking off points on her fingers as she continues talking. "One; no more pushing you. I hadn't really meant to, and I really hate that I did anyway. Part two; no more drinking. Even if I like it, if it pushes me to do dumb stuff, then I'll leave it alone for as long as you think that I should. Three, no more jumping to conclusions. I um... Kind of assumed you were mad at me, so uh-"
"So you avoided me today." I finish for her.
"Yeah... Figured you'd notice that," The hand that Ringo was using to count off her points moves up instead to rub at her neck sheepishly. "It was dumb. If you were mad, I should have let you confront me. That's just good leadership. And now that you turn out to not be that angry, I just look kind of dumb. Wasted a bit of time we could have hung out."
Some of that is on me too though. It's not like I went looking for her, considering all the stuff I was working on. "Well, I kept busy just fine. That'll come up in the meeting though."
"Cool, cool," I can see Ringo visibly relax. This is probably the closest to normal that I've seen her in the past twenty-four hours. "We good then?" She asks. "Don't want things to be weird between us when we meet back up with everyone."
I'm assuming she means weirder than they already are, anyway. Ignoring the kiss itself, there's still the reason that it happened in the first place. "Um... Speaking of that, I kind of told Sumi that she could let the others know what's going on between us..."
Oh, and she was looking so much better just a second ago. "Ugh..." Ringo groans out loud and falls back to a grimace that's only partially hidden by her hand.
"If it helps, I was with Chiyo all day, and she never said anything about it," Sure, part of that might be just because Chiyo isn't that talkative or gossipy, but so what? It doesn't change that she left it alone. I guess it's possible that Yuzuki might say something embarrassing, but at this point, would it really be that bad even if she did? "I think they're letting us work things out by ourselves." Which of course means that everything is just on me. Ringo's already said her bit and left the ball in my court. The longer I don't say anything, the longer this weirdness surrounds all of my interactions with Ringo. But then... Things aren't ever really going to stop being weird, are they? Can't shove all of this back inside a box or anything. Ringo likes me.
... And as Sumi was so intent on getting me to say last night, I like her too.
"I guess that'll have to be good enough then," Ringo doesn't sound completely convinced, but does seem to brighten back up at least a little bit. "So, meeting?"
"Um, yeah," I could probably use a bit of time to get my thoughts in order, but hopefully I'll be able to do that while everyone groups up. "Are we going to have it right here, or...?"
"Don't see why not," Ringo stands back up, reaching her arms up to give the standard signal for Yuzuki to come here. This time I let her go ahead, even if...
Well... I guess we can move if we're causing a problem. Not like I have a better suggestion about where to go. At least, not all that close by. "Fine."
Yuzuki and Chiyo show up together shortly after that. Like Chiyo said when we got back here, looks like she was spending the between time searching for, and then talking to, Yuzuki. Don't know if it was about anything important, but then that's what the meeting itself is for.
We're grouped up in an row, rather than a proper huddle. I kind of blame the weird spot that we chose to hold the meeting actually. The area of roof we're on either means we sit in a line, or the ones of us that don't are noticably higher or lower than the others. I guess that wouldn't be a big deal, but the only person here who actually is higher ranked than us isn't really into power plays like that. The worst we got out of Ringo was giving her the head of the table back at our old camp, and even that didn't really matter much... Maybe I'm reading too much into this though. Doesn't matter that much. The end result is that we're all sitting along the edge of the Moriya shrine's roof, to varying degrees of comfort.
"Anybody have any idea where Sumi is?" Ringo asks before we get started. All responses are negative. I was with Chiyo all day, and I know that neither of us saw her at any point. Actually I had figure the one of us that had the best chance of talking to her at any point was Ringo, but I guess Sumi's been off on her own even more than I expected. Still not sure if that's something to worry about or not. "Hm... Well, I guess we'll give her a bit more time before we start talking about going out to find her."
"Ringo, you really need to talk to her about that," Yuzuki chastises, though Ringo just lets it roll off her back with a shrug. "I'm serious, what if she gets in trouble or blows our cover or something? You know she doesn't take things as seriously as the rest of us. Somebody needs to watch her."
"I didn't need anyone to watch you today," "But I guess you've got a point. I'll talk to her when she comes back, for all the good it'll do."
"Just punch her if she stops listening."
"Who, me? I'd never do something like that." "But anyway, we might as well get started for now. Standard meeting, what was everyone up to with their free day? No judgement here if you weren't one-hundred percent productive by the way. I'd rather have you happy and taking breaks than stressed out and trying to do everything. We'll start with Seiran."
Of course we'll start with Seiran. We always start with me. Of course, I saw it coming by this point. "Well, yesterday evening, I had a talk with Sanae about some things. I decided to follow up on them today, and it actually worked out pretty well..."
I launch into an explanation of my day, grabbing Chiyo, meeting Okuu, heading out to Marisa's house and learning stuff there, going all the way back to the Palace of Earth Spirits, going back to Marisa's again, having my powers fixed-
"FIXED?" Ringo yells out loud enough that I'm worried we're going to annoy Sanae or Kanako. They're probably inside the building we're sitting on by this point.
Maybe fixed is a little dramatic of me though. I can't help but be a little excited, sure, but there were some warnings to the situation that I haven't explained yet. "Um, well... Maybe. I'm supposed to go for a checkup tomorrow. It still remains to be seen if they'll stay like this but-"
"But that's all it took?" Ringo asks, incredulous. "One day of work with an Earth magician and now you're better?"
"She just said she doesn't know if she's better or not," Yuzuki points out, although she seems rather interested as well.
"Yeah whatever, that's not the point I'm getting at," Ringo waves vaguely in Yuzuki's direction, not even really looking at her. Her eyes are locked on me, obviously showing a lot of excitement. "How in the hell did the doctors and the scientists and all the rest of the lunarians fail to help you for decades when it only took some random Earth witch ONE DAY?"
"I've been wondering that too," Chiyo adds.
"I... I don't know what to tell you," Even though I completely agree with them. Honestly, I think we're all asking the same question, but that doesn't mean any of us have the answer. "I think that maybe um... Maybe they didn't tie the powers to the dream world like Marisa did?" I hazard a guess, but it feels flimsy. How could a society that built multiple portals specifically for moving through the dream world not think that magical effects might crop up related to that very thing? "Or maybe... I don't know. I'm not really an expert."
"Apparently neither are any of your doctors," Chiyo quips. Ringo exhales in amusement.
"Doesn't that seem a little bit strange though?" Yuzuki asks nobody in particular. "It seems weird to assume incompetence, but..."
"You think there's more to it," Ringo summarizes Yuzuki's point before she's even finished making it. She looks a bit skeptical about the idea. "Some reason why they never bothered to cure Seiran properly?"
"Maybe?" It doesn't sound like Yuzuki believes it very much either. "I agree that it doesn't really make sense, but..."
"Something to ask them about, at the very least. Maybe rub it in their noses too, depending on the answer," Ringo decides. I see Chiyo nodding, though Yuzuki spends a bit more time thinking it over before dismissing things off hand.
Honestly, rubbing people's faces in it seems a little bit mean-spirited, but I decide to leave the point alone. I'm happy enough to have my powers probably fixed and my nightmares probably gone. It's a bit difficult to drag me down into negative thoughts in that department, which says a lot considering the kind of person I am. I elect to just keep going on explaining my day, though that bit really is the highlight of it all.
Let's see, next up is... Right, once everything had been fixed, we went to go talk to Elly. Of course, I had neglected to set up the reasons as to why in my earlier explanation, so I have to double back on the time line of events a bit. I never claimed to be the best at explaining things, okay? Anyway, I move on, glossing over the village trip, which Ringo seems a little bit jealous of, then go on to meeting up with Reisen.
"She doesn't really have much to report. She's still working on checking with her sources," I say again, just like I told Suwako. "I decided it would be okay to give her another day before we started worrying about figuring out what other options we can scrap together."
"About that one, I guess I'll take my turn, since it deals with that. That is, as long as you don't have anything else to bring up Seiran?" After that... It was just me coming back here and a short talk with Suwako, but I don't think anything was said there that really needs bringing up at this meeting. I shake my head and gesture for Ringo to go on, and she does so. "I was working with Rikako today, since I owed her a favor. Most of it flew over my head, but I was basically answering a bajillion questions about the Moon and what kind of tech we have. I probably wasn't enough to completely satisfy her curiosity, but I did what I could. We eventually started talking about what would actually work to help attune the portal and get us through the dream world more easily," Ringo folds her arms over her chest, looking a bit proud of herself. "I floated the idea of using us."
"Us?" How would that even work?
"Yeah, or it worked out more specifically to being just one of us," Ringo explains to my tiny interjection. "All of us are magical by nature, and attuned, whatever that means, to our homeland and the capital itself. Maybe not as strongly as a rabbit that has always lived there, but still as a last resort, one of us could be used to point the portal toward where we're going." She explains. Huh... That actually sounds like a solution. Odd she didn't bring it up immediately. Maybe there's some caveat to it?
"Why only one of us?" Sounds like Chiyo also came to that same conclusion that I did.
"And why would it be a last resort?" Okay, Yuzuki too. We're all on the same page then.
"Because whoever was used to point the thing would have to stay behind until we solved the problem on the other end," Ringo continues. "Way I had it explained to me, having a magic artifact or whatever would be a lot better because they could keep the portal attuned while all of us used it. If we used one of us for the job, whoever it was wouldn't be able to use the portal while they're doing it. We'd be down a rabbit before we even got started."
Ah, okay, so one person would have to stay at the portal while the rest of us went in to solve the problem. "Still better than nothing, but..."
Ringo nods at my assessment. "Granted. I'm not ruling it out, but considering how we know that the dream world is dangerous, not to mention somebody in there is holding the capital hostage, I'd rather avoid cutting our fire power back," I recall the baku that I ran into while sleeping through Marisa's ritual... Yeah, that place could be dangerous if it's filled with youkai like that, not to mention people who can easily deal with youkai like that too.
"Hm... What about the drone?" Yuzuki asks suddenly. Oh right, I hadn't even been thinking about that. Even if it's broken, it still comes from the Moon.
"Not magically connected. Electronics and radio waves, but not magicBelieve me, I was with Rikako all day, that came up already when she was grilling me about the thing," Ringo shakes her head sadly for a moment, then moves on. "But yeah, that's all I got, who's up next? Chi?"
"I was with Seiran all day. Nothing new to report that she hasn't said already." Err, she's kind of selling herself short there, I think. Maybe there's a good reason for it, but she didn't even mention her decision to stay here... Well, I guess I won't out her like that, though she does have to bring it up eventually. Honestly, Chiyo needs to talk to the others more in general... Or just communicate at all. She's been pretty quiet ever since the whole Reisen thing.
"Fair enough I guess," Since I don't call Chiyo out on anything, Ringo buys the short explanation easily enough and moves on. "Yuzuki?"
"Err..." Surprisingly, Yuzuki doesn't answer right away. She seems a little nervous about doing so actually. "Well... I was at miss Hina's shrine all day, actually..." She answers vaguely.
"Ah, young love," Chiyo chuckles to herself. Yuzuki pointedly ignores her.
"Miss Hina happened to come by again today. I... Lost track of time," She explains, sounding embarrassed for herself, though maybe only because of Chiyo's jab.
"All day long?" That doesn't seem like normal Yuzuki behavior at all. Yuzuki looks a little uncomfortable, but eventually nods sheepishly.
"Did she have any leads?" Ringo asks, surprisingly not joining in on Chiyo's ribbing of Yuzuki's time usage.
Yuzuki shakes her head back and forth once, almost mechanically, though that's fairly normal with her. "Well... I did ask about that in vague terms, but... No. miss Hina doesn't know of anything magically connected to the lunar capital."
"Eh, it's fine. Hope you had a good time at least," Ringo shrugs it off, quickly changing subjects. Hm, seems like she's defending Yuzuki from Chiyo a little bit. That's nice of her. "So okay, sounds like we all got things done when left up to our own devices. That's good, because tomorrow is probably going to be similar. We don't have too many more days before we have to find a solution though, so here's hoping that Reisen pulls through. If not, we've at least got a backup plan for last resort, so don't panic too hard, alright?"
Even if I hadn't already known that that last bit was aimed at me, Ringo putting her hand on my shoulder would have confirmed it. "I'm okay," I assure her. Honestly, I'm in a better mood than usual right now. Even if things are a tiny bit weird with Ringo at the moment, my powers are kinda sorta fixed, and we have at least one possible solution to getting to the right place in the dream world. As long as we keep at it, things can only get better from here.
"Good," Ringo nods, spinning her body and jumping up to her feet in a manuever that I definitely wouldn't have attempted while standing on the roof like this. "So meeting's over now, let's get going somewhere less windy. It's getting kinda cold up here."
It was her idea to meet up here in the first place, but whatever. "Sanae invited us to eat at the shrine again," I point out. Though there's probably going to be a bit of a wait before the food is actually ready. "We could just go... Downstairs, more or less. If you wanted to anyway."
"Because that went so well yesterday," Chiyo... Err, is she referencing the Ringo thing right now? She hasn't said anything all day, and I don't know what specifically Sumi did or didn't say about what's going on with me and Ringo. I might just be getting self conscious over nothing.
"It did though," Ringo says, stretching her arms out for no real reason. I think she might be trying not to look me or Chiyo in the eye. "Well, the meal itself at least."
"I wouldn't mind trying tetris again," Yuzuki adds, also standing up.
"Tet-ris?" Ringo repeats. Oh right, she was too busy drinking to find out about Yuzuki's new found love of video games.
"What are you gonna do Seiran?" Chiyo asks me. "I want to head back to the plant."
Hm, that's a good question. Obviously stopping at the shrine would be the easiest thing, but I'm a little concerned about Sumi still. She might show up here or the plant and have no idea what everyone else is up to, if she even cares. I wouldn't mind having a chance to talk to her, or any of the other rabbits. Hm...
[ ] Go to the Moriya Shrine for dinner. Yuzuki will probably monopolize the video games again, but there's plenty of other stuff to do.
[ ] Head back to the plant and eat. It'll be quieter, but I don't really mind that.
[ ] Stick around outside for a little longer, just in case Sumi shows up.
No I'm not trying to go to weekly updates. I promise.