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File 151063938465.jpg - (344.00KB, 2048x1937, Evening Stroll.jpg) [iqdb]
28316 No. 28316
Previous Thread: >>28002

[X] Go for a walk in the plant

The rest of the rabbits more or less head directly for the stairs up to the dorms once we get down to the main area of the plant. Not sure what they have planned, if anything at all, but I know that Sumi and Ringo at least aren't the types to go to bed this early. I'm not really that worried about them finding anything to occupy themselves so much, but it makes me feel a little better that Yuzuki will be around to make sure they use to pass the time isn't too disruptive or anything. As for myself, I'm feeling like I should take a bit of a walk.

Granted, I've already spent a pretty significant portion of today out of the company of all three of the rabbits around me. It's not like I'm already sick of them, just that I feel like I wouldn't mind another chance to think by myself. My talks with Ringo haven't gone poorly, all things considered, but they haven't really resolved the situation one-hundred percent either.

And yes, I'm well aware that the bulk of the responsibility for making sure that anything does actually get resolved is on me. The possible unfairness of that is definitely not lost on me.

Rather than following along with the rest of the group as they start up the stairs, I stand aside and let Sumi pass me by. Both she and Yuzuki notice the gesture, which makes them react enough that Ringo catches it too. "So, I think I might wander around by myself for a little bit, if that's okay," I tell nobody in particular. Ordinarily I would have to ask Ringo, but with how little she seems to be enforcing the chain of command lately, I just say it in general to the group instead.

"I'll tell you right now, there ain't much to see," Sumi warns me, looking out the door to the stairwell with an unimpressed look on her face. "Even if you poke into the areas they don't want you to poke around in, it's all nerd stuff. Nothing flashy or interesting really."

"You do know that we're restricted from full access for a reason, right?" Yuzuki clearly already knows the answer, but still starts the inevitable scolding with a rhetorical question.

"Yeah yeah, they don't want us getting cancer or blowing something up or whatever else. I've heard it all before," Sumi doesn't even look up at Yuzuki as she moves back out of the hallway. "Not like I jumped into the plant itself or anything, I just had a look at stuff around here."

Yuzuki sighs and shakes her head at that, but surprisingly doesn't push the argument. Weird, I was kind of expecting her to be more persistent about the rules, but it looks like she's letting it drop for whatever reason. What's done is done I guess, and while I know that it won't make much difference to try and argue with Sumi, Yuzuki usually goes for it anyway just based on the principle of the matter.

I guess this is fine too though. No need to drag out an argument for no reason. "That's not really what I'm after anyway," I say. "I really just want to walk for the sake of walking."

"Coulda done that up top," Sumi points out, though the problems with that idea are obvious enough that even she admits to them readily. "But I guess it's warmer and less dark and spooky or whatever down here. Yeah fine. You do you, and anybody else you want to do," Sumi shrugs then starts heading up the stairs. I wasn't really looking for her permission though.

Luckily, Ringo also seems to agree. "Yeah, it's fine," She seems pretty neutral on the idea, though maybe it's a point in her favor that she's not asking to come too. "Err, I'll wait up for you then?" She asks.

Right. That's definitely... Well, there isn't really any getting around the question of sleeping next to Ringo or not, even if I delay it for now. That's fine though. Once I clear my head a bit, it'll probably be easier to talk that bit out. Hopefully. "Sure," I nod to Ringo.

Ringo gives me a quick thumbs up, then her and Yuzuki turn to head up to our dormitories, leaving me alone. I'm not really relieved by that or anything, but I guess it's more or less what I wanted.

I check the signs around me, trying to decide where to go when the destination doesn't actually matter all that much. Don't want to go down toward the reactor, obviously, so that's out. Don't want to go back up to the surface either. That leaves either the path toward the library and research labs, or the way to the cafeteria and eventually the rest of the underground.

Honestly, the idea of talking to Yamame very briefly crosses my mind, but I dismiss it almost immediately. Too long of a trip all the way out to the underground capital, and no way to know if I could even get in contact with her either. She could by busy don't something or sleeping or whatever else. Even if she did say that she wants me to visit her again sometime, I have a feeling that doing it right at this moment would only complicate things. Brainwise, that is.

So yeah, I think I'll just... Not even go that way for now. With that option crossed out, I head in the direction of the library, records, and research labs.

-

Despite saying that I want to walk around by myself to clear my mind, I don't really feel like I'm using the time very well. I'm not really sure what to focus on, and the fact that I'm in an unfamiliar environment kind of keeps me a little occupied, at least enough that I can't completely devote myself to my thoughts.

Okay, no, this place isn't that unfamiliar. I've been idly running my hand along the wall as I slowly make my way through the halls, and it mostly is just more of the same that I've seen anywhere else in the plant. Dull colors, the occasional door, labelled or not, and a complete lack of other people. Really does remind me of some of the more permanent military buildings back on the Moon. The kinds that are a lot bigger than they need to be considering how few people are actually occupying or doing any work them. A lot of resources and materials used for not much reason, as far as I can tell. Not really my place to tell people how to spend their budgets though. Especially when they're the ones paying me.

But um, yeah. See this is the kind of thing that I was thinking about. It doesn't have much substance, but it occupies my mind enough that I can still keep track of where I am as I head deeper into the plant facilities. There are still signs around, so I don't think I'll get lost, but it still doesn't hurt to pay attention. Where the hallway leading out of the plant to the underground is more of a straight shot with a few rooms off to the side, this section of the plant appears to be just a bit more complex. There are more extra hallways leading off to different spare rooms and laboratories. Places with signs saying stuff like pressurization research, turbine testing, coolant pump development... It's pretty much way over my pay grade, but I'm not really here to check this stuff out anyway.

So what exactly am I here to do then? I haven't really gotten that far on that. Keep getting distracted by the sightseeing, even if I'm only reading signs. Need to switch back into actually clearing up some of the leftover problems in my brain. Maybe I can't immediately solve the big issues like the thing with Ringo or what I'm going to do about going back to the Moon, but there should be other things that I can sort through to make myself feel better.

I guess that the big order of the day is my powers. There are some big changes there, and trying to think about the implications is kind of daunting. Just from the practice session with Sanae, the reactions that I saw from Ringo, and the comparisons that I can make mentally with data I already have, it seems like I've suddenly rocketed into being the highest fire power member of the team. That's not to say that I wasn't already. If you ignore danmaku, then yeah, having more control over my powers doesn't matter that much. It was between super strength and gunshots, and while there are pros and cons to each, in most situations my powers would usually come out on top of that debate.

Now, with more finesse in what I'm actually doing? More ability to pick and choose what I'm summoning? More time to actually look at the bulllet dimension thing without getting a headache? Yeah, the others can't really compare to me offensively. Not that I'm trying to sound arrogant or anything. The others obviously have utility from their abilities that I can't get anywhere close to. It's just that objectively, I am the most powerful. There isn't really much argument to be made against that idea.

That worries me a little bit. Partially because it's another excuse for Ringo to be lazy, but also because it's another thing pushing me to pick up her slack. It's not really that hard to notice that I've already been doing that a lot lately. When Ringo doesn't care to make a decision or push things along, I do it for her. When somebody needs to be proactive and get things done, I'm the first one there. I don't really know when or why this started, maybe shortly after we came to Earth in the first place, but either way, it's not normal. That's not to say that it's bad, I suppose. Ringo is obviously intending to stay here, and in that case, she can't exactly lead the unit anymore. If she's trying to step down a bit to let me gradually get used to taking charge...

Err, that only works if I want to lead the team though, doesn't it?

Aaaand just like that I've run into that issue again. The bit where I don't know if I want to stay here or go back to the Moon. I feel like I'm hitting this subject pretty often. It would really be easier if I could just come to a conclusion on it, but-Woah!

I come across another intersection of hallways just in time to almost run into somebody rounding the corner toward me. I manage to avoid a full on collision, but my legs trip over this other girl's, causing me to stumble and almost fall to the ground. From the thump sound behind me as I regain my balance, the other party had it worse. I turn around to check the damage, only to find Rika laid out on her stomach, neck and head angled up enough to read a clipboard she's holding out in front of her. If I didn't already know it wasn't the case, I could almost believe that she was lying there on purpose. As it is, it just looks like she meant to fall over.

"Are you okay?" I'm taller than her, so it's no surprise that Rika was tripped up more by us running into each other. I stand over her nervously, not sure if I should help her up or what.

"Fine," Rika responds, still looking over the paper on her clipboard. It kinda looks like plans or blueprints to something, but I'm not close or technically versed enough to figure out what. "This angle actually helps a little bit. Good perspective. Very artistic, like I keep saying," Right, now that I have time to remember, Rika was the one that was kind of difficult to understand completely, wasn't she? "Good morning, by the way."

"Err," Morning? We're not even close to that. "Evening," I correct her gently.

"Evening still?" Rika rolls over ninety degrees onto her side, turning her neck to look up at me. "Crap. They're not gonna take me seriously like this. Working away like crazy, you'd expect me to lose track of time and at least work all night, but I'm almost done with what I wanted to do. Doesn't look nearly as impressive if it's not an all-nighter," I... What? Rika sits up abruptly, crossing her legs and staring at her clipboard. "Nope, nope. Guess I'll have to rework this again. Not going to have kappa think that I half-assed this."

I'm... Kind of a little bit lost here. She was working on something, assumed that it took her all night, so she decided it was done. Now that I've told her that isn't the case, she thinks that will make her look worse somehow? I'm missing something here. "What um, what are you working on?"

Rika frowns, looking up at me for a moment, then holds up her clipboard. "Here."

... Yeah, this means nothing to me. Just a bunch of lines, symbols, and numbers. There aren't even any notes that could give me context about what I'm actually looking at. "I don't really know anything about this um... This stuff."

"Do any of us, really?" Rika asks what I'm pretty sure is a rhetorical question as she pulls the clipboard back down to her face. "No, I didn't think so. Not like these. Not like this. Trying to reproduce it, but the Moon is weird. They do weird circuit things. Weird machine things. Brilliant. Pretty. But weird. You, you're weird."

"... Sorry?" Not my fault that Moon tech is massively far beyond Earth stuff.

"Apology acknowledged, not accepted," Wow, that seems a little harsh, but there's no real intensity to Rika's accusations of my guilt as she stands back up. She brushes her pants off a little bit, then gives me a serious look. "Do me a favor? Distract me for a bit. I do good work when I'm distracted. Or hungry. Or other conditions apply. Or just when I do work really. It's all good."

"Um?" Before I can even really process the request, Rika has already given me a half hearted beckoning motion to follow her, then started walking away. She doesn't even look back to see if I'm following or anything.

Err... This isn't exactly what I came over this way for, but maybe it's still okay to go along with it. Rika is clearly a very outside perspective. If she wants me to just distract her, maybe I could get her input on things? I mean, I don't really have any idea what she's doing, but it's not really my job to know, as curious as I might be.

On the other hand, I don't really know how long this is going to take, and it's not like I'm being forced to follow her. She still hasn't even looked back at me, so I doubt she cares that much what I actually decide to do.

[ ] Talk to Rika about the Moon
[ ] Talk to Rika about the Dream World
[ ] Talk to Rika about the plant
[ ] Talk to Rika about my problems
[ ] Talk to Rika about something else (write in)
[ ] Don't talk to Rika, just keep walking

Multivoting is on as usual.
132posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 28461
[X] I definitely want a break. I'd like to be able to just relax for a while. Get away from incidents and everything else.

You doing all right NRFB? Its pretty rare for you to be gone this long.
>> No. 28462
[ ] I need to talk it over with my friends still. The most important thing is that we all follow through on the same plan, whatever that plan may be.

I don't trust Reisen that much, to be honest. She's been acting suspiciously. We don't have a choice now though.

Also, the pace has decreased lately ornis just the lack of updates?
>> No. 28463
[X] I need to talk it over with my friends still. The most important thing is that we all follow through on the same plan, whatever that plan may be.

But for our 'vote' while talking it over...
[X] I definitely want a break. I'd like to be able to just relax for a while. Get away from incidents and everything else.
>> No. 28464
Soon. Just gotta remember what the fuck I was doing with this story.
>> No. 28465
>>28464

You're alive! I was legit worried for a while there. You oughta warn somebody before you drop off the face of the internet like that.

Glad to have you back.
>> No. 28466
We are at the endgame writefag, just a bit longer!
>> No. 28467
File 153145194611.jpg - (251.26KB, 850x1133, Back again.jpg) [iqdb]
28467
There's so many ways that things could play out. Even assuming that we succeed, which is a pretty big assumption in itself. How am I supposed to know how everything is going to end up? What if I'm promoted... Okay, too optimistic. What if they see it fit to expand my duties suddenly? What if it's something that I want to do? I'm not really sure what that would be, but...

"Actually, I think what I'll want to do more than anything else is take a break," I admit. Selfish and vague. Not even really a concrete answer, but it's just me being honest. "Getting away from incidents and all the other important stuff that we're suddenly stuck with. It ties in with my power related problems too, kinda. I don't know if not having to worry about that opens up that many more doors for what I can do by myself, but..." My thoughts wander slightly and sleeping next to Ringo comes to mind again. Erm, not that that's the only thing I can do now that I couldn't do before. I don't think so anyway.

"A break doesn't seem like it's asking for too much considering everything we're going to have to do," Reisen picks up where I left off. "Who knows if you'd be allowed to have one though. Or where you'd go."

Yeah, I guess that is a concern. I've never really asked for vacation. Don't think I've known anybody else who has either. That's just kind of how society is back on the Moon. Lunarians run everything, and we do our jobs and help out when we can. Is that fair? I mean, granted, it is the Lunarians that came up with all the technology and stuff that let us live the way we do. I'm not trying to inflate our importance or anything. It's just a little hard to do the math on fairness like this I suppose.

But it's not like I would be trying to change society wholesale or anything crazy like that. I was just talking about wanting a break!

"I'd like to think even just the things we've already done would be enough." I don't know, but it's me being hopeful.

Reisen seems rather interested in her teacup for a little while, thinking rather than responding. "I'm... I think it's going to get worse, rather than better." Okay, I guess I can be optimistic if Reisen is going to cover pessimism so thoroughly. "The Dream World... It wasn't easy for me when I was trying to go through there before."

I wait patiently for Reisen to elaborate. A light pop from the still cooking rice finally breaks the silence enough that I realize she isn't going to. Man... Maybe I'm being too nice. I don't really want to ask Reisen to stop being sworn to secrecy, or whatever else it is she said.

Ugh, that's just a tiny bit frustrating though. We have next to no plan for what's going to happen once we head through the portal. Assuming we can get it pointed in the right direction by getting the occult ball from Reimu, we're still just assuming that things will work out after that point. The Dream World is still just this weird, nebulous place that we've all seen before, but nobody has any understanding of.

You know there's something wrong wen it's me that has the most reason to understand something. I didn't even know it, but apparently I've been linked with the Dream World for decades, and still, aside from talking to a baku last night, I'm not better off than anyone else.

Huh, actually that reminds me about the last thing that baku was saying. That connection, and by extension my powers, didn't happen by accident. If it wasn't me that set them up, then it only makes sense that...

The rice pops again. Erm, right. I'm letting my thoughts wander a little too much. This stuff should be just about done. Honestly, I haven't eaten either. It definitely smells good enough that I wouldn't mind having some for myself. Might be a little bit nicer if they had better vegetables available down here though.

I turn off the heat and start getting things together to serve the rice up. Reisen appears to have accepted the bit of silence that both of us have fallen into. I'm not sure how much I like that, but I don't want to call her out on anything either. It's difficult. We can talk, but it would still be a stretch to call us friends. I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong or treating Reisen unfairly, but... Maybe this is just what happens when you desert the Moon for so long.

... I just hope that it doesn't happen to Ringo, Sumi, or Chiyo.

-

"We're back, and just in time! Hold your applause please!" Sumi has her arms raised dramatically as she's the first one that comes up the stairs into the common room. The rest of the rabbits follow behind her with notably less flair. I'm surprised at how little time that took. I was expecting to have to strain conversation between bites of fried rice for much much longer. Pretty happy to be wrong though.

"Everybody was all grouped up," Ringo explains to me before I even need to ask. "Didn't take all that long to gather them once I got enough signal to call them."

"Kanako was running us ragged. Couldn't have split up if we wanted to," Sumi continues on, grabbing a seat next to me and plopping herself down hard. "You and Ringo are lucky you fucked off before anyone managed to grab you." Her eyes catch sight of the fact that me and Reisen are eating. "Any of that for me?" Oh, right. I guess the others might not have eaten either.

"If Seiran had to divide it among all six of us, there wouldn't be much to go around," Yuzuki thankfully answers for me. I hadn't really planned on taking enough food to feed everyone. That might have been a little much. I'm already basically stealing this stuff. "We can eat later." Yuzuki also grabs a seat, nodding to our guest calmly. "Hello Reisen."

"Unfaaaaair~" Sumi doesn't actually sound annoyed, but of course she has to act like she is anyway. "But what was I saying? Something about being lucky. Ah!" She leans toward Ringo as the latter sits down as well, looking smug. "Guessin' you didn't get lucky, huh? Huh?"

"Alright, alright. There's plenty of time for chatter after the meeting," Ringo doesn't answer whatever Sumi was trying to imply. "You don't mind, Reisen?"

"Erm..." Reisen is still in the middle of eating. I am too. Sadly, we were making more progress on the food than on continuing our conversation. Maybe it might have been better if Ringo had taken more time. "Go ahead."

"Great," Ringo declares, slapping an open palm on the table as if it needed to be quited down. I see Chiyo slink into a seat at about the same time. A seat that is purposely far away from Reisen, I notice... Well, regardless, everyone's here.

"So, normally I'd tell Seiran to go first, but since we were together all day, that would mean me going first too," Ringo begins. What, that's what it takes to not have to go first? Doesn't really seem fair. "I think what we've got to say is going to make up the bulk of the discussion, so we'll start with you guys instead. Sumi, you seem like you won't shut up. Put it to good use."

"Hah," Sumi laughs humorlessly before following the instruction. "Well just like you two were together, me, Chi, and Yuzuki were pretty much stuck together all day too. Not quite as fun as what you two were doing, I'm hoping, but eh. Kanako put us to work on a lot of miscellaneous stuff. Correcting most of the 'cleaning' that Yuzuki did yesterday, moving things between the shrine and the lake, moving documents from the shrine to the plant, blah blah blah. It was boring, and there ain't much of it that I would say was important enough to mention."

"Most of the documents were invoices between her and the kappa. They were quite old. Many of them were for parts and equipment to build this plant in the first place. There were even a few drafts of blueprints and the like," Yuzuki offers helpfully. I'm not sure if Kanako would be happy to know that she had been looking at those documents, but then it's not like Yuzuki could help but do that. Powers and all that. "I'm rather surprised that they hadn't been moved out before, but then I haven't seen where the paperwork is kept down here either."

"I figured Kanako just wanted to keep us busy, and didn't mind using the muscle she has around now," Sumi offers an explanation. I'm not sure how much I buy that. Surely it wouldn't have been hard for her to enlist people to help before this, right? "Still, would've been waaaaay easier if you were here, Ringo. A lot more muscle than the rest of us."

"And a better conversationalist than at least one of you," Ringo agrees.

"Don't talk shit about Chi." There is not a single person here that believes she was talking about Chiyo, Sumi.

"Anyway, Kanako did say she'd want us around to do stuff for tasks," Ringo keeps things moving, as much as Sumi seems prone to random asides. "Just think of this like us earning our keep... And our allowance, come to think of it. Could be worse."

"Just as long as what we're doing actually matters. Seems like it's busy work." And Sumi hates anything that she has decided is busy work. We all know that.

"Cleaning things up around the shrine is hardly busy work," Yuzuki counters primly. "Perhaps Kanako is expecting more activity soon? It could be important to make things presentable."

"I thought it was presentable already," I point out. Maybe not to whatever Yuzuki's standards are, but Sanae wasn't exactly slacking... Aside from that morning when she was, but that was only because I asked her to. "But anyway, it doesn't seem exactly mission critical."

"And you've got something that is, I'm guessing. Not sure why else Reisen'd be here." That's a little rude, isn't it? It's not like she's bad company or anything. Sumi is correct that that's what Reisen is here for though, so I can't really say anything to prove her wrong.

What I can say, with Ringo leading the discussion and Reisen offering a couple of smaller details here and there, is an explanation of what we've figured out today. The occult orb is out there, and seems to fit the bill for what we need to get a hold of perfectly. The only problem is that Reimu almost certainly has possession of it now. If we want to get it, and with it the best chance of taking the portal directly to the capital, we have to somehow fight and beat Reimu.

I also make it a point to explain the backup plans that we figured out as well, though it seems that Ringo is a bit less enthused about those. If the Reimu thing doesn't work out, which to be honest sounds kind of likely, we can still use Reisen's lunar veil. It won't be optimal due to time constraints, but it should work. Hopefully before Eirin realizes anything is happening too. Hopefully.

"Hmmm, guessing we can't just sneak up on her while she's sleeping and clock her?" Sumi asks. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that she's not going to default to the easy plan. If anything, she might think backing down from this challenge as cowardly.

"Um, Marisa mentioned honest combat, though I don't know exactly what that entails," I recall. Maybe Reisen has a better idea?

"I think she'd at least need to be capable of fighting back," Reisen sounds less sure than I would like, but at least more solid than I am on the rules. "Explains why there was more fighting in the forest this summer at least. And a lot more fires."

"I'm working it out in my head. Takes some guesses, but if it works..." I can hear the sound of Sumi lightly kicking one of the table's legs as she thinks. It comes to a sudden stop as she turns her head to our guest. "Reisen. Shrine girl keeps up to date on youkai events and stuff on the regular, yeah?"

"As much as she can? I don't know, sometimes she's scarily on top of things, sometimes she misses them completely until they get really bad." People make a big deal of Reimu, but it sounds like she might not always be in the right place at the right time.

Sumi smirks, folding her arms over her chest triumphantly. "So an event that's been in planning for a long time, and definitely happened around this time last year, involving a large gathering of youkai..."

"Concert," Ringo breaks in with the obvious conclusion Sumi was leading us to. "We already said you can go to that, you don't have to convince us more or anything."

"Makes sense though, right?" Sumi insists. "We can make an assumption that Reimu'll be there, or at least near enough to make sure a riot doesn't break out."

"Is that likely to happen?" Sumi shrugs at Yuzuki's question, barely acknowledging it.

"The concert is guaranteed to eventually switch into a party," she continues on with barely a pause. Seems like she's on a roll now, although I guess that last point is kind of a given, considering what we know about Gensokyo culture so far. "Say that that happens, and our shrine maiden friend gets involved? Probably ends up having a bit to drink. Might be a little worse off in the event of some youkai picking a fight? See where I'm going with this?"

"I can see it, but there's definitely a few jumps in logic to make that work out," Ringo agrees thoughtfully. "Sounds too easy, and it falls through completely if Reimu doesn't start drinking at the after party."

Once again, I see Sumi look purposefully at Reisen. "Maybe if somebody who happens to know her convinces her to indulge? Could even wait until after the concert. Might be easier if she's celebrating that nothing went wrong. Takes some playing it by ear, but we've got a hell of a lot of ear." That doesn't really make us any better or worse at improvising, Sumi.

Realizing what Sumi is suggesting of her, Reisen looks moderately uncomfortable with the idea. "I... I've talked to Reimu before, but getting her to drink... I mean, I've heard she doesn't need that much of an excuse, but it still looks a little suspicious. We're not really friends." It doesn't seem like Reisen is friends with anybody. That's kind of a really mean thing to think though, and I'm already feeling a little bad about it.

"Could try to Marisa or Sanae instead," Ringo offers. "They're friends with Reimu, and they both know what's going on more or less."

"Sanae doesn't drink," Chiyo points out. I was actually going to say that, but I'm glad that Chiyo is joining the conversation at least a little bit.

I've got another point to bring up though. "I'm also not sure if I want to get Marisa any more involved in this than we already have," I add. While she did a fantastic job of helping me out, it wasn't exactly for free. Even discounting the issues I have with her personality, I don't know if we could haggle even more assistance. "I'm not even sure if she would be willing to take our side in beating Reimu up and stealing from her."

"Stealing is such an ugly word," Sumi smirks.

"But entirely correct," Yuzuki adds. "I'm not going to say that we shouldn't attempt this, if we're really going to try to get the occult ball from Reimu. In the event that we're trying to plan it around this concert though, we will have a fairly limited time to prepare. The concert is tomorrow night. We might have better results if we have more than twenty-four hours to prepare and practice whatever kind of danmaku we're going to use."

"Which would be offset by Reimu being sober," Sumi counters.

Ringo snickers. "Now who's making assumptions?"

"In any case," Yuzuki continues, loudly enough to quiet down her detractors. "This plan needs time for us to coordinate things. We'd need to talk to Marisa or Sanae to get them on board. If we're bringing Reisen along as well, then we'll also need to do something about getting her a ticket. We only have five."

"Sure you couldn't just stay behind?" Sumi asks, a little too hopefully for what I'm hoping is a joke.

"I had thought you would balk at the suggestion," Yuzuki answers back coolly. "I've had quite enough of that for today."

Urgh, right, those two have been working together all day. Adding all the stress of our overall situation to having to do manual labor when the two of them already don't see eye to eye... It might be better to cut in here and wrap this meeting up before they end up arguing again.

So what are the options here? Sumi's plan is to use the upcoming Choujuu Gigaku concert as a distraction and reason to get Reimu drunk, then fight her while she's not at her best. If we bring in somebody else, they might make things go smoother by providing social pressure for Reimu to drink, but either way there's no guarantee. If it works out, it might be our best shot at beating her, but...

Well, doing nothing, or waiting for a better opportunity are also options.

[ ] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [ ] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
- [ ] Talk to Marisa and try to get her on board. She must know that we're going to try something, right?
- [ ] It might be a bit of a stretch, but Reisen might be able to make this happen.
- [ ] Maybe there's someone that we haven't thought of yet? (Write-in)
[ ] The concert is too soon. Let's prep for a better opportunity.
[ ] Let's just drop this altogether... We're never going to beat Reimu.

Hi.
>> No. 28468
Its Alive! Hooray!

>>28435
I came up with this plan and I still stand by it. We know Reimu is hard up on cash, so a bribe of solid silver should be pretty enticing. As for the flashbang/tranquilizer combo, Reisen just confirmed that anything is fine as long as "she is at least capable of fighting back." Reimu should still be able to shoot while blinded, and can fight off the sleepiness for a while, so the combo should be fair game.

Trying to take the orb from her at the concert party has its own set of problems. Even if we did get Reimu drunk, she should still be a difficult opponent to take down, so we would be pretty exhausted by the end of it. The problem with this is that Reimu probably won't be the only drunkard looking for a fight at the party. Gensokyans love fighting, so there will probably be a few people who would want to test their strength against ours once they see us beat Reimu. There might also be people there who would try to take the Lunar orb for themselves by fighting us in our weakened state. Either way, the chances of us losing the Lunar orb increase with every drunkard we have to fight off, especially if fighting off everyone else gives Reimu enough time to recover and come back for round two before we manage to get away.

Although I suppose we could try the bribery plan in the morning, and fight her at the concert in the evening if we don't get the orb the first time.

[x] Commence Operation Silver Bullet
>> No. 28469
[x] Commence Operation Silver Bullet

Bribery? Bribery.
>> No. 28470
[x] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [x] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
--[x] Maybe tell her some rare strong drink is what an outside hero used to drink?

This has canonically worked before, so it should work here. And even if it doesn't, your tranquilizer/flashbang combo can take her down in a danmaku fight even if she's sober.

Taking her down this way is perfectly legal and above reproach. The problem of other people challenging us is easily solved by handing the orb to Ringo after we win. Then, losing will have no downsides.

Hell, we can simply run away if you prefer that. Stealth camouflage anyone?
>> No. 28471
It lives! Hooray!

[x] Let's just drop this altogether... We're never going to beat Reimu.
>> No. 28472
[x] Let's just drop this altogether... We're never going to beat Reimu.

My big concern here is that Reimu is likely in "Incident Resolution Mode" now. If that's the case then it's unlikely we're going to get her to lower her guard enough for the plan to work. Sanae's alcohol revenge plot took place after an incident, when Reimu was trying to unwind. I'm also not entirely convinced that she'll even be present at the concert. It just seems like a really shaky plan all around to me.
>> No. 28473
Fairly inconclusive votes so far. Hopefully that clears up. What I want to do is get back to weekly updates (wednesday or thursday) before maybe hopefully going back to two a week to finish up. The story seems like it's close to its end, but I'm not entirely sure if that's accurate or not. Still a few days left, and even after that point there's what happens with the Moon to consider.

Anyway I do feel like some kind of explanation for the absence is warranted. Long story short is that having no job was actually terrible for my productivity. Having suddenly unlimited time made it really easy to put off things, especially things that required effort. I was juggling two stories for a while, ended up dropping both of them temporarily, but when I started dragging myself back into writing, It was on my other story rather than this one. No real excuse for that part, just what I ended up doing.

But the goal is still to finish this story and I always intended to come back and do that, so here I am.
>> No. 28474
[x] Commence Operation Silver Bullet

I still have some reservations about this plan, but I can't think of anything better myself and it's certainly better than giving up entirely. Might as well give it a shot!
>> No. 28475
Why do we have so many votes about giving up the Mc Muffin with no recourse? Do you guys want this to end like "Animating Gensokyo" where the continuous bad choices forced the writer to a bad end he didn't want?

Bribing her is barely better. Incident-Reimu is relentless. She IS protecting her home, after all.
>> No. 28476
[x] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [x] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
--[x] Maybe tell her some rare strong drink is what an outside hero used to drink?

I'm sorry, but it really feels like gifting/bribing Reimu will make her a LOT more upset at us than getting us into her good graces.
>> No. 28477
[x] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [x] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
- [x] Maybe tell her some rare strong drink is what an outside hero used to drink?

Don't fear the reaper.
>> No. 28478
Still tied between "attempt diplomancy/bribery" and "enlist Sanae and plan on fighting". I don't really want to tip the decision making one way or the other, but I will if I need to tiebreak.
>> No. 28479
x] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [x] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
- [x] Maybe tell her some rare strong drink is what an outside hero used to drink?
tiebreaker.mp4
>> No. 28480
File 153206528713.jpg - (116.89KB, 480x640, Out at night.jpg) [iqdb]
28480
[X] Go along with Sumi's idea.
- [X] Talk to Sanae and try to get her on board. She doesn't have to drink, she just has to get Reimu to do so.
- [X] Maybe tell her some rare strong drink is what an outside hero used to drink?

I don't want to just give up, but not doing so means doing something that I don't think I'm going to like. I would rather be honest about things, but the chance of that working out seems close enough to zero that it isn't worth bringing up. I mean, maybe if we brought in a big enough bribe to open things up? If I were to use my powers, I could probably find some kind of precious metal to exchange. I don't really know Reimu well enough to say whether she would disregard her job for money. If it worked, it would be a way to do this without fighting.

If that idea were to fall through though, that would mean losing the element of surprise, and insulting Reimu's integrity to her face.

So okay, fighting. Not something that I like to do, but it's not like anything about this whole Earth situation is exactly the way I want it. I'm not going to whine or complain. Progress. Making progress with everyone's help. Who would I want to help me out for this plan?

Out of everyone mentioned, I think I trust Sanae the most. Actually a little strange that that's the immediate conclusion I come to. Sanae is a human. A human from Earth, who we already know is Reimu's friend. I mean, I guess there are advantages to that, so it makes sense to choose her over Reisen, but I'm only going through them mentally right now to justify my gut feeling. Sanae has been nothing but helpful, and has shown herself to be as trustworthy as anyone else that we've met down here. By contrast...

I take a glance at Reisen, who has made pretty good progress on her rice while everyone else has been talking. I'm kind of glad she's not looking back at me. Even though she obviously wouldn't know what I'm thinking, I'm not sure what kind of face I'm making right now.

"You are making a lot of assumptions, Sumi," I point out, trying to sound neutral just so that Sumi and Yuzuki have someone throwing them off their stride before they can get into an argument. "I'm not saying that we shouldn't do it, just, you know-"

"We might end up playing things by ear," Sumi repeats with a shrug. "Already said that. And made a joke that nobody laughed at."

"Okay." I don't think she's expecting me to laugh now. That would be way to delayed. "I'm agreeing with you though. We have a chance to improve our odds of success later if we take a risk now. Even if we fail, we'll still be relatively okay. I think."

"You think," Yuzuki echoes me skeptically.

"If Reimu doesn't show up, we lose nothing. If she shows up and doesn't drink, we're not any worse off. If we fight her and lose, we take our lumps and go home, then still get out of here before it's a problem, just with less of an advantage," Sumi lists off. Again, assumptions, but pointing those out probably isn't going to help. "Besides, not gonna be your weak ass doing the fighting. What difference does it make to you?"

"And it won't be yours either," Ringo cuts in before Yuzuki can respond. She looks less indignant that I expected at least. "Seiran, are you volunteering or should it be me?"

Right. I was already kind of assuming that it would be me doing this, but Ringo is better in danmaku than I am, isn't she? Actually, that's a pretty legitimate question now. Having control of my powers changes a lot. If nothing else, it gives me access to a lot more versatility. Neither of us were able to beat Reisen before, and the only one of us that has changed for the better (at least as far as I know) is me.

"I might be a little better equipped," I answer back evenly. "If nothing else, I might be able to catch her off guard. I'll do it."

Ringo accepts my simple explanation easily. I definitely catch a smile on her face, and can think of a couple of different reasons why it might be there. "Right-o. As for actually getting Reimu drunk, are you thinking-"

"Sanae," Ringo was already looking in Reisen's direction, but I disagree with that choice. "She's a better friend of Reimu's and has an interest in seeing us succeed for multiple reasons. Actually doing it might make her a little uncomfortable, but she isn't exactly the only one."

"We can work things out with her I think," Ringo shrugs, still keeping her attention on Reisen, although now for a different reason. "Anyway, looks like we're probably not going to be able to get you in Reisen. Looks like you might be missing out unless we can scrounge up another ticket."

If Reisen is upset by the idea, she doesn't show it. "Might be for the best," she mutters after finishing another bite of rice. Actually, she's almost done already. That seems like something I could take as a compliment. "I don't think Reimu likes Master enough to go to her if I was caught up in something suspicious, but she could. Avoiding the risk is nice."

"Then I think we're golden," Ringo says with a slight air of conclusion. She knocks a hand on the table, and a couple of the other rabbits seem to relax. Easy to recognize when a meeting is more or less over. "We can start coordinating on prep work ASAP. We'll want to talk to Sanae today or tomorrow morning. Also could be useful to get a look at the area the concert is happening. Knowing who is likely to show up and what the schedule of events is going to be could help too. Really, whatever you pick up is fine." It looks like she's talking more to Yuzuki and Sumi, which makes sense given that their powers are well suited to reconnaissance work. "Oh, and we should pick Reisen's brain for strategy too."

"Huh?" I hadn't expected that, but it's Reisen that voices confusion.

"You have fought Reimu before, right?"

"Um, not all that successfully," Reisen reluctantly answers, then thinks better of it. "Okay, a couple of times successfully too," she corrects herself. That actually does give me a bit of hope, so I'm glad to hear it. "We can talk, but not all night. What time is it exactly?"

Ah, she's already running into the same problem that we've been having. Well, probably not nearly as bad. She's only been down here for a meal, a bit of a wait, and a meeting. Our regular trips to the surface help, but it is easy to lose track of time down here.

"Seiran." I'm confused at first when Ringo seems to be prompting me for something, but then I remember earlier today. Right, I'm still carrying around that watch. I hold it up for Reisen, rather than telling the time myself. An Earth day is roughly the same as a Moon cycle, so I'm sure I'll be able to do it, but I'd rather not look stupid if I can help it.

"Hm... Need to leave soon," Reisen decides after a second of thinking about it. Right. Travel time and all that. At least she finished her food. I'm probably happier about that than I need to be.

"Then you two can head up," Ringo points between me and Reisen. "Gives you a chance to talk and helps her deflect awkward questions in case she runs into anybody." Huh, that actually does sound pretty logical. "Plus, we still need to get a chance to eat."

... I mean, that's still logical too.

-

It occurs to me that I really should have brought something to take notes.

Fighting, at least with danmaku, really does appear way more common here than I thought. Honestly I feel like I've already had more fights than I've needed to, but from Reisen's casual mentions of all of her various encounters, or just encounters she's heard about, with Reimu, it sounds like I'm practically a pacifist by comparison. I'm the one in the military. What is up with Earth and its culture?

But all that aside, making our way up and out of the plant, I do manage to pick up some decent information from Reisen before we emerge. Stuff like a general idea of Reimu's more signature attacks. Just the stuff that she's likely to default to when fighting somebody new that she doesn't know. That's valuable, even if I only got a little bit of it. It's not like it's a long trip. At least Reisen doesn't immediately fly off the instant we break out to the surface. Instead, we keep talking a little bit.

"I don't really know if I can handle it or not, but I have to at least try." I probably haven't vocalized that thought enough, so I go ahead and do it again. "I have to assume that things are going to get worse when we're trying to save the capital from whatever is going on, so giving up now really wouldn't fill me with confidence."

That gives Reisen pause. She blinks at me, apparently thinking about her words carefully. "You have no idea," is what she settles on.

"What does that mean?"

Reisen exhales a breath of air. It's cold enough out that I can see it puff out into the night sky. "Think about it," she suggests. Could you be a little more specific? "... You didn't know much of anything about danmaku when you were on the Moon. It's a Gensokyo thing. When we go in the Dream World and fight people who don't have to listen to Reimu's combat rules, do you think they're going to follow them anyway?"

"Wait." I hadn't really thought of that, but it seems obvious now that Reisen points it out. I don't feel like I've been taking a huge amount of solace in the fact that fights down here are decidedly non-lethal, but the idea of suddenly having that pulled away is making me a little bit nervous. "Well um, at least you managed to get through it okay?"

"It... Yeah. Sort of," Reisen answers vaguely, still not looking at me. "It didn't go that well, but I cheated and made it work anyway. When we get in there again, I don't think we're going to be able to cheat." She brings a hand up and rubs at her face, wiping away sweat that isn't even there.

"Cheat how?"

Reisen doesn't answer, though I can see her gaze lower somewhat. It's dark, and I only have a vague mental map of Gensokyo, but I'm pretty sure she's looking in the direction of Eientei.

We stay quiet for a little while. I think it's already pretty clear that Reisen isn't going to answer my question, but I don't know what else to say. Is this more of the sworn to secrecy stuff? When is that going to stop being a thing?

Eventually, Reisen decides enough is enough. She floats upward a little bit, then finally turns and addresses me again. "We probably won't meet up tomorrow. I'm not really planning on going to the concert. The day after will probably be fine though. I think Master is probably going to cut back my hours for that day and the day after so I can prepare, so if you need anything... Actually, I'll probably come find you, since I can't give you a definite time."

"Um, sure. That sounds fine." I guess I'm the one making plans now?

Reisen nods to me, floating up a little higher before turning around as an afterthought. "And thank you for dinner by the way. It was actually pretty good."

-

I spend a bit of time thinking after that, just kind of standing around near the hole in the ground that leads down to the plant. What Reisen said is kinda... Very much not doing much for my anxiety over this whole situation. It suddenly makes some more sense why Reisen seemed so stressed out the first couple of times that I saw her. Having to risk all of that. Ringo and I definitely weren't trying to kill her, but anybody else she ran into...

I mean, I am in the military. This kind of dangerous thing was expected. Not acting will put us in an even worse position too. Doesn't mean I can't be nervous about it.

... It's cold out tonight. I should get moving.

[ ] Go meet up with the other rabbits.
[ ] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventually.
[ ] I could kind of use another walk like last night.
>> No. 28481
[x] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventually.

More Sanae is always a good thing, and we're topside anyway.
>> No. 28482
[x] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventually

Carpe diem and all that
>> No. 28483
[x] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventual
>> No. 28484
[X] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventually.
>> No. 28485
File 153266762327.jpg - (626.75KB, 850x1000, Has her own priorities.jpg) [iqdb]
28485
[X] Go over to the shrine and talk to Sanae. Need to get her on board with the plan eventually.

Reisen is obviously well out of sight already, and I'm not accomplishing very much sitting here and trying to think about what she said on my own. I can try to put it aside. Doesn' tmean I'll be able to stop worrying about it, but I can do other things at the same time.

Is that the same thing as conquering anxiety? Not necessarily getting rid of it, but being able to remain functional in spite of it. It's probably silly of me, but the thought does make me feel a little bit better. It's more progress. As long as I can keep saying I've made progress, that's good, right?

Okay, moving on then. I just need to force myself to come up with something else useful that I could accomplish. If I go back underground right now, I guess I would probably want to meet up with the other rabbits again. They're most likely eating in the cafeteria. That's not exactly ideal for me though, is it? The food is fine, whatever. The problem is that I've already eaten. Talking to the others just to calm down does have some merit, but if I'm really looking to make more progress...

Well, it's not exactly a long trip. Ringo probably doesn't expect me to come back immediately or anything. I can get this Sanae thing started, just so she knows that we're going to need her help. Something tells me that she isn't going to outright refuse. There might be a need to hash out some specific details, but she wants to help us, right? If we need to get into a danmaku duel with Reimu, I think it's fair to assume that she won't balk at the idea. It's still non-lethal and everything, after all.

... And now I'm thinking about what Reisen was saying again. Looped back around. Not a good sign. I really should get moving.

I take a small step, then lift off, floating toward the Moriya shrine.



We've been on Earth for a while. When we first showed up, even the nights were muggy and hot out. It was actually kind of terrible, even when it wasn't raining like crazy. It really speaks to how little control Earthlings have of their environment that they just suffer through stuff like that, or how cold it is tonight. Hopefully this is just a one off thing. It's hard to fly when the wind feels like it's going directly through your clothes and freezing everything underneath.

I guess wearing more clothes, or flying lower to the ground than the top of a mountain might help a bit in that regard though. Just wish it wasn't necessary.

Once I actually reach the shrine, I quickly run into a problem. I wasn't exactly invited to come here by anyone. I can't really be sure where any of the residents are, or what they're doing. They could be busy. I doubt it, but it at least gives me enough pause that I fail to come up with an exact plan for where to go.

Just plopping myself down in the middle of the shrine grounds and walking to the building that they actually live in feels too direct. Maybe I'm being too awkward, but I'd rather have my presence be a little bit more expected. Give them some warning. I'd hate to bust in on them while they're eating or... Okay, guess it's probably still too early for them to be asleep. The point stands though.

... Eep. Okay, that last gust of wind settles it, I'm at least going to land before I make a decision. Just... In front of the main building, rather than anywhere behind it. That's reasonable, right?

Actually, now that I think about it. That might work out fine, right? The first time Ringo and I came here, at least, the first time that we came here without any kind of stealth, we rang the bell right at the front. I don't know if that will make Suwako come running again like it did last time, but it should at least make my being here a bit less of a surprise. Just trying to stay away from awkward exchanges, even if I'm the only one that cares all that much.

Regardless, I do care, so I think I'll do this. The shrine feels a bit more menacing, or I guess spooky, at night. I put a hand on one of the railings and take slower than necessary steps up the stairs to the landing of the main shrine building. Okay, there's the box that Suwako said you're supposed to put money in. I can't exactly do that this time either, but hopefully they'll understand I just want to ring the cord thing to get their attention.

"- freaking eat him?"

I freeze in place, and not just because it's chilly. I'm pretty sure that was Suwako's voice, and she didn't sound happy. She's talking to somebody, or I guess maybe herself, inside the main shrine building. Ordinarily I would be happy about that, because that would make this a lot easier, but something about her tone throws me off. Incredulous is probably the right word for it. What's going on?

"You're making assumptions." Kanako sounds much calmer, and more measured. If it weren't for the thinness of the walls and how open the main building is in general, I probably wouldn't hear her. As it is, I move a bit closer, straining to make sure I don't miss anything. I'm not actually sure what I'm trying to pick up here, and I feel a bit bad about eavesdropping, but-

"That's all I can do when you keep playing everything so close to the vest," Suwako says, exasperated. She sounds a bit less relaxed than any time I've heard her. Is this normal for the two of them in private? Is it only the two of them, or is Sanae in there too? There should be a door around here, maybe I can peek in a little bit.

"Conversation with you about this topic in the past has not been productive. While I appreciate the reminder that my demand could very well be refused," she definitely doesn't sound appreciative. "I would rather have plans for what happens if it is accepted. You do not appear hopeful of such-"

"After all the other failed plans, you need somebody trying to talk you down," Suwako cuts in critically. Kanako pauses for a moment, and I can almost imagine them glaring at each other before the conversation continues.

"Very well then," Kanako sounds more like she's trying to move the conversation than actually giving anything up. "Let's begin with the assumption that the lunarians agree."

Suwako interrupts with a scoff. "Which they won't, but okay."

"They certainly won't want to, but it remains to be seen if they will give in regardless," Kanako continues, unbothered. "In the event that they agree, and the seal is broken in exchange for the freedom of their capital, a number of different things could occur."

"I'm still betting he pops out outside."

"The worst case scenario, but consider it a good deed and a chance to put that business behind us," Kanako says smoothly. "Though it would be unfortunate, it will at least relieve us of some baggage. We can move on to looking toward the future and growing the shrine without such a holdover."

"It's so cute when you're pretending to have a charitable bone in your body."

Another pause. I finally reach one of the entrances to the main building, but it's closed tight enough that I can't even see any light coming out. Should I try opening the door a tiny bit, or try to find another place to look? I can't really follow the subject of the conversation, but it definitely sounds serious. "Personally, I believe that what little remains inside the seal will reappear here. Either inside this building, or at the very least, on the shrine grounds. If you will recall, the shimenawa, as well as anything else distinctly supernatural, were my highest priorities during our move. I'm confident that what we left behind is decidedly mundane."

"And those priorities certainly weren't about you hoping to get a chance to eat him," Suwako concludes mockingly. Sarcasm, but I really don't get the context. Eating?

"As I said, there is likely very little left to eat, if you must call it that," Kanako still sounds like she's reprimanding Suwako, even as she explains with obviously fake patience. "Over a millennium without faith. I've already taken on a part of whatever would remain as well, even if it wasn't by choice. If it weren't for that femtofabric of the Lunarian's, he would have faded away long ago."

Femto-? I don't even know what that is, but it sounds like this is something to do with lunarians? Are they discussing that 'old business' that Suwako hinted about before?

"But you're still dumping everything on getting him out," Suwako points out. "You put everything else on hold, and you're throwing money around more than usual."

"Because it is the only way to move on," Kanako stresses. "You have never made an effort to attempt to change your innate nature, and so you can't appreciate or understand the amount of work that has to go into it. I am working toward progressing myself and going forward, but find myself shackled by this relic of centuries and centuries past. He is still here, physically and spiritually. This opportunity to remove him fell into our lap, and I have to seize it. The timescale for getting any kind of leverage on the Lunarians was simply too large otherwise. If we can take care of this before Sanae comes into her own, it would benefit her as well."

While that last point sounded like more of an afterthought, all of the stuff before it... Huh, I mean, it's no secret that Kanako is helping us because she stands to gain something from it, but it sounds like this... I don't even know what it is exactly, but it sounds like her old business with the Moon was the main thing that convinced her to help. She definitely wants something from them, much more than anything from us. Something about a seal? Femtofabric? What the heck is-

"Bullshit." My thoughts are cut off when Suwako responds, clearly and loudly. It's enough force that a heavy silence follows immediately after. I have to stop moving, just because I'm worried that continuing to look for somewhere to peek in would be enough to be heard.

The pause stretches on for an uncomfortably long length of time before Kanako finally responds calmly. "Is that all you have to say?" Another silence with no response. "I am not requiring that you do anything, so if you're only going to unproductively criticize me once again-"

There's a clatter, followed by heavy footfalls coming in my direction. Without much time to think I jump off the raised landing of the shrine, ducking underneath the platform holding the building up. A moment later, I hear a door, probably the one I was standing closest to, slide open. The footsteps continue for a bit, then I hear the soft squish of Suwako jumping and hitting the ground. I think I can tell the direction she went in, but...

I stay put, not really sure where I should go or what I should do. I'm pretty sure that was not a conversation that I was supposed to hear, but I'm just too curious what exactly it was about. It was definitely more serious than I can remember Suwako being than about pretty much anything else, even if Kanako sounded normal.

Ugh... Why am I so prone to eavesdropping? Things would probably be a lot less complicated if I kept to my own business.

[ ] Stay on target. I know where two thirds of the people here are, just need to go find Sanae.
- [ ] And I should probably pretend I didn't hear anything.
- [ ] And maybe I could try asking her if she knows anything.
[ ] I could try following after Suwako. She's more open about things, and might be mad enough to want to vent.
[ ] Go with the original plan. Ring the bell and let everyone know that I'm here. I should have done that in the first place...
>> No. 28486
[x] Stay on target. I know where two thirds of the people here are, just need to go find Sanae.
- [x] And I should probably pretend I didn't hear anything.

Tactful bun.
>> No. 28487
Awesome, the first update posted after I caught up.

[X] I could try following after Suwako. She's more open about things, and might be mad enough to want to vent.
>> No. 28488
[x] Stay on target. I know where two thirds of the people here are, just need to go find Sanae.
- [x] And maybe I could try asking her if she knows anything.

No reason to ignore information that just fell into our lap. Besides, she probably empathizes with the feeling of being kept in the dark all the time.
>> No. 28489
[X] Go with the original plan. Ring the bell and let everyone know that I'm here. I should have done that in the first place...

Easiest way to make it seem like you weren't evesdroping is to ring the doorbell. Everyone presumes you just arrived.
>> No. 28490
[X] I could try following after Suwako. She's more open about things, and might be mad enough to want to vent.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! And this sounds like something we really need to know about.
>> No. 28491
Slight backslide, nothing to worry about. Will have this up sometime within the next day.
>> No. 28492
File 153336159887.jpg - (139.89KB, 868x1228, I'm powerful.jpg) [iqdb]
28492
[X] I could try following after Suwako. She's more open about things, and might be mad enough to want to vent.

This really seems like the kind of thing that I would want to know about. I'm not just saying that because there's obvious effort into keeping it hidden either. Shady nighttime meetings when the goddesses think they're alone, but easy to overhear if somebody passes by... I suppose they would know more about the usual time that visitors come by than I would, but it's still a surprising lack of caution. That's curious and everything, but not nearly as bad as the actual subject of whatever they were talking about.

Even if a lot of it went over my head, it's still clearly something major. Major enough to make the two of them argue. Major enough for Suwako to storm out when Kanako wasn't listening to her. Sure, I've only known Suwako for a little while, but if you asked before this, I wouldn't have been able to name a time when I saw her genuinely angry. It's weird. Weird and worrying.

It definitely feels like I should do something. Pretending that I never heard anything, while the obvious safe option, really just means that I'm worrying about what might be happening, rather than worrying about what is. The choice between knowing and not knowing, because the option of there being nothing to know in the first place isn't up to me. Something like that.

So okay, doing something. I can already guess that Kanako would blow me off if I tried going up there and talking to her. She basically blew off Suwako, and I don't have nearly as much reason to make anyone listen to me. No, between the two of them, I would rather talk to Suwako. Sure, she's probably angry right now, but if anything that might just make her more willing to vent.

... And hopefully venting for her is only in the form of talking.

Ugh, I'm trying to make excuses to not follow her, but all it's doing is wasting time. I saw the direction she left in, but there's no guarantee that she keeps going that way. If I'm going to do anything, I should move now, not after I've half talked myself out of it.

I give myself a few more moments of hesitation, just to double check that I can't hear Kanako moving anywhere close to the door that Suwako came out of, then slip into the surrounding trees.

-

This is creepy.

It's not really the darkness. The Moon gets plenty dark during the night too. You can't sit through cycle after cycle of no sun on the mare bases without getting used to darkness. This is different though. Claustrophobic. All these dumb trees are once again not helping anything. Too many dark corners, too many unusual and unidentified noises, too much of a possibility of some scary youkai or something else jumping out of nowhere.

O-okay, calm down. Calm down. This is still the general area of the Moriya shrine. Kanako wouldn't let anything dangerous hang around so close by, right? Sure, they didn't notice us when we first showed up, but that's different. We were significantly further away. Different. So I don't need to be nervous or anything like that. I'm not scared. Not. Scared.

I suppress a shiver and try to take my mind off what I'm doing. I try to review what I'm doing. Think about this like a rational military mind. Be productive. Lots of stuff like that. It's good. I'm good. Good.

Absent of an actual visual on where Suwako is, I can only assume she's continued in the same general direction that I saw her run off in the first place. If I'm correct in my memories of how everything around here is laid out, I can guess at her actual destination too. Even if I don't follow her exact path, once I get to the la-

EEP!

... Erm, r-right. No big deal. Just one of those little animals that are all over the place. I um, ah, what was it called again? Squirrel? That's right, isn't it? That sounds right. Yeah, no big deal. Calm down.

I should um, maybe I should pick up the pace. Don't want to lose Suwako or anything.

... Yeah.

-

I skid to a stop when the trees finally clear up and I make it to the lake. Okay, m-maybe I picked up the pace a little more than I needed to. It's fine though. I just have to take a moment to calm down now. You know, from all the running and everything. Erm, the increased pace that is. To catch up with Suwako.

... Yeah, I don't think I could actually convince anyone of that. Moving on.

While I catch my breath, I lean against one of the nearby trees, idly looking up toward the Moon. Almost full now. Of course, it's been like that for days, that's how that works. It's not like I'm surprised, but I still feel vaguely compelled to look at it. It's really bright and attention grabbing. It'd probably be like that even if this mission didn't give me such a good reason to fixate on it. I wonder what Reisen thinks when she looks up at-

A wet splorping sound interrupts my thoughts, followed by the sound of running water. The source is obvious once I look, though it still takes some time to register.

Just like the last time I saw her here, Suwako is standing out in the lake, evidently not caring at all about how wet she's getting or how cold the water must be. Her expression is one of quiet concentration, maybe slight annoyance, as she works on the hobby she showed me earlier. Manipulation of earth, right? Whatever she's doing, she isn't making it break the surface of the water, but it's definitely having an effect on the water anyway. Ripples and waves form from all over the place. I can almost sorta see a pattern to it. Maybe it's meditative or something.

I just stay and watch for a little while, not really sure when I'm going to work up the courage to interrupt. Luckily (or maybe not), Suwako does that for me. "Surprised to see you here," she comments, almost too calmly. I didn't even know she was aware of me. I definitely didn't see her turn to look at me.

"Erm, h-hi," I stammer out, suddenly feeling awkward. What if she doesn't want to talk at all? What if she gets mad that I was eavesdropping? "I um, wasn't exactly planning on coming here. I was actually looking for Sanae, but when I came to the shrine..."

"Ah." Suwako lowers her arms and finally turns in my direction. She slowly trudges her way through the knee deep part of the water, heading close to the shore. "Heard all of it then?"

Urgh, I guess there's no easy way to downplay this. She saw right through me immediately. "Um, maybe not all of it. At least starting with the part where you were talking about eating somebody. And um, I'm sorry if you didn't mean for anyone to hear..."

"So most of it then," Suwako concludes, not even really acknowledging my apology. Is that a good or bad sign. She doesn't sound all that upset, but something about the mood is definitely different from what I'm used to when talking to her. "Probably best for you to just forget it," she adds after a pause.

Just forget it? Maybe, but... No.

"No." I'm past the point where I should stay apologetic here. I've already admitted to being guilty. If Suwako is going to get mad, she's going to get mad. "No, sorry, that's not right. Anything that has you and Kanako arguing, if it's caused by us being here, is a big deal. I think we should know about it."

Suwako looks at me, as if trying to assess how serious I am. I make it a point to meet her gaze without looking away. When she finally sighs and breaks our staredown, I can't help but feel a bit of a sense of accomplishment. That is, until she actually continues.

"Ah," I involuntarily gasp in surprise when I see a pair of glowing red eyes poke out from behind Suwako. One pair turns to two and then three, and in the low amount of light available, it takes me a second to get a snes of what the things are. Large snake-like creatures made out of a light gray, whispy smoke. One opens its mouth slightly, showing the same glowing red color as its eyes.

"I'm pretty powerful, you know? I've been alive for a long, long time. Definitely longer than you, and probably longer than any of the lunarians you know too. There's not a lot of things that I don't know how to do, and even the things I don't know, I can figure out quickly," Suwako begins speaking nonchalantly, not even caring as a much larger snake thing appears underneath her. It lifts her up on top of its head raising her up just enough to step onto the raised bank of the lake. "If I said I could move a mountain for somebody, it isn't just a cheesy pick up line, it's real. So when it turns out I can't do anything to change Kanako, you can see why that's something I admire about her." Suwako pauses as more than one of the remaining snake creatures remain wrapped around her body. She looks one of them in the eyes before gently repeating herself. "Yeah, I admire her. I admire that idiot."

I don't know what to say to that, but Suwako doesn't appear to be finished with just that. After a quick pat to the head of the snake creature, she continues. "We're comfortable here. At least, I'd like to think so. The faith and the money both come in just enough to keep us sustained, and all we have to worry about is occasionally showing off to the locals and making sure Sanae grows up okay. Kanako still schemes. That's her thing. I get it. She comes up with these ideas, me and Sanae follow along to some degree or another. Some of our plans work out, some of them get the other big players in Gensokyo after us. We live and we learn and everything continues slowly.

"Thing is, I'm not worried about all of that. If Kanako tries to pull a big scheme and gets herself in trouble with the Hakurei or Yukari or whoever else, that's fine. What I'm more worried about is what happens if she tries something really big, and she succeeds."

That... I can't really connect what she's saying with the argument she was having just a few minutes ago. "Um, I don't follow. If Kanako is doing something, it's for the sake of your shrine, right? What else would she even want to-"

"Take-Minakata," Suwako interrupts me with a mouthful of syllables that I don't even recognize the importance of. "God of wind, water, and agriculture. Patron of hunting and warfare. Defeated by Take-Mikazuchi, another god who was serving Amaterasu and by extension Tsukuyomi." Wait, that last name... I know that one. "His lands were taken as part of a long conflict from various factions trying to unite Japan, and he was forced to run to Lake Suwa. Before he and his new wife, Yasakatome, could mount an offensive to take their land back, he was sealed away.

"Doubt it's a story you've heard, but there might be a few elements in there that might be a little bit familiar. Wind and water? Warfare? Yasakatome? Bits and pieces that have all gotten muddied up and mixed around over the course of history. Things that people started worshipping Kanako for instead of him, whether she meant for that to happen or not. Gods and Goddesses are like that though. Part of our existence is based on faith, and what people believe we can do."

There was a bit of emphasis in that last sentence that I definitely caught. "Only part of it?"

"Part of it," Suwako repeats with a nod. She shakes her arm out lightly, and the snake things, despite having settled into generally comfortable positions wrapped around her, begin disengaging themselves from her body. "Most of us however, also have to have some amount of base abilities and identity from the start. Not all of us are a collection of borrowed traits. Some of us have so much base power that even your lunarian bosses would want to seal them away, rather than have to deal with the possibility of a counterattack straining their resources and messing up their plans."

I've never even heard of anything like that, but then why would I have? Dealings between Earth deities and the Moon... It's not really a stretch to believe, especially when it's coming directly from one of those Earth deities in the first place.

"So what happens then, when Kanako demands that a god like that gets unsealed in exchange for your capital?" Suwako asks, not looking at me anymore. I follow her gaze as she watches the snake creatures she brought up return back to the lake and disappear inside the water. "If she makes it happen, and he's weakened by centuries of no faith? Does she absorb whatever power remains of Take-Minakata's powers and identity? Does she go on to take over and rule Gensokyo? Does she finally launch that counterattack after however many centuries of waiting? She barely listens to me as it is now, does she need to listen to anyone anymore at that point? Does she stay the same person that Sanae and I love?"

I... Don't have a response to that. To any of that. Silence reigns until the last snake creature disappears.

"Of course, this is all assuming that the moonies bend and actually do what she wants," Suwako says, sounding almost like she's forcing herself to sound less serious than she just was. "If she manages to hold your entire capital hostage and make it happen."

Something clicks for me. "So that question you asked a couple days ago-?" The one about what I would do if negotiations stalled out.

"You said you didn't know enough about the situation to say what would you would do if neither side budges. You didn't have enough information. Still feel that way now?"

Do I? Kind of yes and kind of no. I can't claim to understand all the rules that goddesses have to follow. I also can't pretend that I know anything about whatever ancient history and conflicts Suwako is talking about. She kind of skimmed over a lot of details there, but how important those actually are is debatable.

What I do know? Kanako is using us. That's not really as bad as it sounds. On some level, I think we already knew that. Everyone we've talked to outside of the Moriya shrine has alluded to Kanako being at least a little shady. We got into this deal knowing that, we just didn't know what exactly we were going to be used for. Now with Suwako's explanation, I guess that we have an answer. Kanako wants to force the lunarians to free some kind of sealed away god from centuries ago, then take his power for herself. That's what Suwako believes anyway.

That's... Okay, that sounds kind of bad, but even if it is, it's not like we can call off the deal now. Not when we're so far into it. Not when doing so would effectively deprive us of any kind of safety or connections. We have to ride this out, it's just a matter of what happens when Kanako has her audience with Command.

And how I feel about it.

[ ] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
[ ] I mean, if it saves the capital, then we'll have to make it happen. Whatever happens after that, we'll just have to deal with it. For better or worse.
[ ] This... We can't let this happen. I can try to make it so negotiations don't happen and save the capital... Do something at least.

This update was weird because it involved some skirting around and interpreting information that is very VERY vaguely alluded to even in canon, but hey that's what fanfiction is for I guess. Write-ins are cool and stuff. Have fun.
>> No. 28493
[x] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
- [x] ...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that.

> This update was weird because it involved some skirting around and interpreting information that is very VERY vaguely alluded to even in canon, but hey that's what fanfiction is for I guess.

Dunno about you, but I like it when authors try to weave actual history and/or mythology into their stories. Or even make up 'history' whole-cloth. It's part of the charm of Touhou fanfic, everyone has their own interpretation.
>> No. 28494
[x] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
- [x] ...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that.

Quite literally in Kanako's place. Remember, Subterranean Animism was the fault of a Moriya Shrine Conspiracy.
>> No. 28495
x] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
- [x] ...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that.
>> No. 28496
[X] This... We can't let this happen. I can try to make it so negotiations don't happen and save the capital... Do something at least.
-[X] Do you have a plan/any ideas? I'm open to suggestions.

Kanako has helped us before, yes, but not out of the goodness of her heart. If this is what she's been building up to this entire time, with all the other shit she's pulled as a stepping stone, then it has to stop. I think Suwako is right to be afraid here; Kanako has already demonstrated very little regard for possible consequences or collateral damage as long as she gets what she wants, and she doesn't possess the sense of responsibility that needs to come with that kind of power. Walking up to her and demanding a duel is right out, but we have to stop her if we can. Now that we know, I think we have both a practical and a moral responsibility to do so. And hey, the good news is, now we know that before we got her the orb! Which means the new questions are what should we do next and how can Suwako help us out?
>> No. 28497
[x] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
- [x] ...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that.
- [x] Wait a minute. Better idea. What if you tried to convince Kanako to let Sanae eat him instead?

If Suwako can't convince Kanako to stop her plan entirely, maybe she could try redirecting Kanako's plan. Supposedly, Kanako does all the things she does for the good of the shrine and to help Sanae grow into a successful Goddess. This is the perfect opportunity to force Kanako to put her money where her mouth is. Letting Sanae eat him gives Sanae more power and faith as a Goddess, and it proves that Kanako isn't doing this just to boost her own selfish power.

If Kanako still decides to eat him herself, then it is time to really start worrying.
>> No. 28498
[x] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.

Suwako needs to believe in her. If she can't change who Kanako is, does she think some long dead god can?
>> No. 28500
File 153387964015.jpg - (418.42KB, 823x1024, Relaxing after a day of work.jpg) [iqdb]
28500
[X] Kanako hasn't been bad to us. I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. I don't think she has bad intentions with this.
- [x] ...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that.

A lot to take in. Even knowing that we were being used, and that Kanako was obviously building up to something other than just getting a few bits of our technology. Ignorance is bliss, I guess? Having the shady plan thrown into my face is just a little bit worse than accepting it probably exists but not knowing about it. Knowing means that I have to do something about it.

Or... Do I? "Kind of," I answer Suwako's question about having enough information or not, a little embarrassed at my voice sounding shaky. Not very decisive. "I'm still not sure what I would do if you put the choice in front of me right at this moment. Kanako... She hasn't really been bad with us." She's been very businesslike and professional, and while that isn't friendly, it isn't terrible either.

"Comparatively," Suwako points out. How much does she know about Command again?

"Objectively," I counter back simply. Suwako raises an eyebrow, and okay, I guess that kind of was still more subjective opinion than not. "Errm, well at the very least I think she deserves some benefit of the doubt. From what I know of her, I don't think she has bad intentions with what she's doing. If she was like, outright evil or something, you wouldn't stick around with her for as long as you have, right?"

Suwako smiles wryly and shakes her head. "You'd be surprised, but I guess you have a point. Might've been different before, but I also think she's settled into a comfortable status of 'not intentionally malicious'."

Not exactly the a glowing commendation, but whatever. "So yeah, I don't think she's trying to do something terrible, but that doesn't mean I think what she's doing is a good idea either," I continue. There's a saying about the road to hell that comes to mind, but then I remember where the plant is located and decide against actually saying it. Suwako might appreciate the joke, but it feels silly to me. She's not in the most joking mood anyway.

"Guess we more or less agree then. Honestly, I didn't think Kanako's plan would be that big a deal until she started getting serious about it. Originally I thought I'd be able to tease her about her plotting a bit and convince her to back down, but nope." Suwako limply holds her arms up in half a shrug. "She's as serious about this as she was any of the incidents she caused. Operating on the assumption that she's going to pull this off, so I have to as well, and I don't like that assumption."

Yeah, that would be the cause of the argument. Actually, it brings something to mind. Back when we first struck the deal with Kanako and Suwako happened to be in the room. "I remember you mentioning before that you knew what she was going to ask Command for... You didn't seem all that bothered then."

"Thought she'd be willing to take no for an answer," Suwako explains. Had she thought I was trying to refute her? If anything I was corroborating. "Now she's throwing money around, trying to discreetly gather ritual equipment and information on what she's gonna need to do once we've got a weakened faithless god on our hands. She's not going to pour resources like this into something she expects to fail. If she'll accept failure at all. She's in too deep to back out now."

"We're in too deep too though." We threw our lot in with the Moriya's several days ago. It'd be way too much of a waste to do something that jeopardizes the mission now. "Kanako's setting Command and us up in an offer we can't refuse. We have to free the capital. Even if we wanted to get more leverage... It would mean doing something bad to Sanae, which I don't even want to consider."

"You just did," Suwako points out. Ah, I see a smirk there. Don't know why she's acting like she caught me in something. It was her question however many days ago that even brought the idea to my mind. Hold Sanae hostage to make negotiations work out better for Command. Yuck. "But I get what you're saying. Actually, it makes me feel good to hear that. Didn't think it'd take youkai literally from outer space just for Sanae to make some friends, but hey." She shrugs. "I won't complain."

... Are we Sanae's friends? The fact that it's weird to even ask that question probably indicates the answer easily enough. It's only been a handful of Earth days, but Sanae is still the Earthling I would trust the most. "She's just really nice, and helpful, and-"

"I get it, I get it. You're embarrassing me without even talking about me," Suwako cuts you off, although you don't think you were gushing or anything. Sanae has good qualities and all, but you'd say the same things about her as you would any of your friends... Some of your friends. "But okay. Kanako's probably got good intentions. Agreed. We still think it'd be for the best to change her plan."

"Well you know her better than I do," Like by however many centuries. "If you have any suggestions for what we should do..."

"Still working on it," Suwako answers before I finish my obvious question. "Tonight was my last try at talking her down directly. After this point it'll have to be taking action, but I dunno what I'm doing yet. I don't have a problem with her freeing the guy, but it's the end result that I'm not happy about. If I can change that..." Suwako falls into thought, not continuing. After a moment, she looks back up at me. "Anyway, you're not even gonna be here when it all goes down, and you aren't gonna be around for the consequences either."

I mean that is a point, sure. "I still care though."

Suwako gives me a weird look for just a moment, but it's enough to make me think about what I said. I don't really have to care, do I? I mean, assuming I go back to the Moon and everything, what happens here doesn't really matter, right? I mean, not to me personally, but if Sumi and Ringo are so set on staying here, then... Urgh. There's that anxiety again.

"Well I appreciate that I guess," Suwako moves on, possibly catching my reaction when I feel the pit of dread in my stomach again. "But you've got a lot more on your plate than just this, right?"

"Yeah, I guess so." It's true that I originally came here to talk to Sanae. This is extra. Definitely something to be concerned about, but still extra. We're not coming to any conclusion on it at the moment anyway, so maybe it would be better to get moving again. "Um, I'll try and see if I come up with anything. We'll talk about this again, I promise."

Suwako nods. "Gotcha, now let me get back to brooding and thinking. I want to enjoy my rare bad mood for all it's worth."

I don't really know if that's the healthiest idea, but then I'm the one constantly getting stuck in a spiral of anxiety. Not really much room to judge.

-

I decide to fly back, rather than walk. It's not that I'm scared or anything, it's just that it makes a lot more sense really. Instead of following after Suwako toward a possibly unknown destination, I'm heading to somehwere that I'll easily be able to see from the air. It means taking less risks. It's just smarter and faster. So I'm not just making excuses or anything.

When I catch sight of it, I can see that there are at least a couple of lights still on around the shrine grounds. That includes the lights in the main building. I guess Kanako is still around? I am a little bit curious about what she'd be doing in there all alone. An image of her sitting around in a half dark room, her hands steepled as she plots silently comes to mind, but um... Probably not. Either way, I don't want to run into her. I just skip over that building and head further back in the shrine grounds, landing outside the building that I know the Moriyas actually live in.

Although it's just a little awkward to not know how or where I'm supposed to make an entrance.

... Ugh. If I keep hesitating like this I'm not going to get anything done. It's cold out here, and I've been up here for long enough already, the other rabbits are probably wondering what I'm doing. I just need to go.

I find the front door, or at least the door that we used the first couple of times I've been inside this building, and knock a couple of times. There's no immediate answer, so I knock again, a little louder the second couple of times. I'm not just some random animal in the wilderness making noise. I'm here with purpose. Hopefully Sanae can actually hear me.

...

Still cold. Probably not going to get any warmer. Hopefully- Ah.

The door opens just a tiny bit at first, but quickly slides open the rest of the way once Sanae gets a look at who it is. Of course, once I can see inside, that also gives me a chance to get a look at her. Seems like she was ready for bed, or maybe even in it already. She's in a very light blue set of pajamas. Long sleeves and pants. Looks nice and soft too. Kinda wish I had more comfy clothes available. Not like I had the nicest stuff back on the Moon, but it was still more than what I have here on Earth.

"Oh hi Seiran!" Sanae quickly switches from cautious to the same friendly demeanor that I'm used to. On second glance, I'm pretty sure I didn't get her out of bed or anything. She still has her hair accessories in, as well as a large pair of headphones hanging around her neck. "Didn't expect you to come so late. Come on in!"

"Um, thanks." Sanae steps aside and I'm more than glad to be in the marginally warmer air of the Moriya's house. After shutting the door behind me, Sanae starts walking, leading the two of us into the same living room that we all had dinner in before. The table is set out, but obviously there's no food or dishes there.

"I'll get started on some tea, if that's okay," Sanae offers after ushering me into the room to sit down.

"Erm, you don't have to." I do actually appreciate the hospitality, but she doesn't have to go to any trouble. I'm technically here for mission related reasons, and I'd like to get down to that sooner rather than-

"But I want to!" Sanae says cheerfully as she hops out the door. "I can promise it'll be better than what we had at Marisa's at least!"

"Ah-" Well... I guess she's already gone then.

... Whatever.

Yeah sure, I could go follow her, but she did seem genuinely pleased to have a guest. Guess it's kind of like how I was with Reisen earlier. Being a good host is something to strive for. Sanae definitely seems like she would get even more out of it than I would, so I guess it's fine.

With nothing else of importance to do, I busy myself with a look around the room. The last times I was here, there were so many other people to take up attention that I didn't really take much stock in my surroundings. As it turns out, there is some good reason for that. The room isn't all that filled. A short and wide book case on one side. The table in the middle of the room. One wall that could be slid open to the outside. A couple of shelves with some nicer dishes that probably don't get used by anyone. Some appliance I don't immediately know the name or purpose of.

... Hm?

It's my second look at the bookcase when I notice a couple of framed pictures sitting on top of it. The first one is a slightly younger looking Sanae, along with an entirely unchanged Suwako and Kanako standing out in front of the shrine. The second one... Well, I'm pretty sure that's a much much younger Sanae, along with an older lady that looks pretty similar to her in some ways. Sanae's smiling way wider than she needs to, but that just seems to gel with what I know about her. Too much enthusiasm. It's cute, honestly.

Let's see, as for this next picture, it's not really a photo, and not even the same size. It's a full sheet of paper, still framed much the same way as the other pictures. As for what's on it... It's kind of a mess actually. Putting aside the parts that were obviously wrinkled or water damaged before it was framed, there are maybe two dozen different writing styles, all at different angles, colors, and sizes. At first I'm surprised that Yuzuki didn't comment on it annoying her when we were here before, but once I realize what's written, I can see why she might have kept quiet.

Personalized farewell messages. Well wishes from names I don't at all recognize. Do your best. We'll miss you. I really liked that game you lent me, wish we could play it again. Hope you'll be successful wherever you're going and whatever you're doing.

... I'd feel guilty about seeing this if Sanae hadn't obviously left it out in the open.

I mean, I can guess at what I'm looking at. Sanae hasn't lived here her entire life, so there must have been some point where she decided to leave her friends and the people she knew to come to Gensokyo. She had to have done that knowing that she would never see any of those people again.

Suddenly the wrinkles and small bits of water damage on the paper take on an entirely different meaning.

Man, I can't even imagine... Okay, yeah I can. It's the same kind of problem that I'm encountering right now. The thing that makes my stomach hurt and stress levels rise every time it pops into my head. Sanae went through something similar, and she actually did make a decision, rather than trying to avoid it at every turn.

I step away from the pictures and sit down at the table, hoping that the tea Sanae's brewing will help me calm down.

Just... I came here for the mission. I know I'm going to get around to that, but... I don't know. Maybe I should talk about other things too. It would all be extra, but if I know anything, I know I can expect Sanae to do her best to help.

[ ] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[ ] I should bring up what Reisen was talking about. The Dream World sounds pretty dangerous after all.
[ ] I should probably talk about Kanako and what she's planning. Sanae might not know.
[ ] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.
[ ] I'll just stick to the mission for now. Go right into what we decided about the concert.

Multivote is fine and stuff, you know the drill.
>> No. 28501
> Suwako might appreciate the joke, but it feels silly to me.

Noooooooooo that's the entire reason I made that write-in! /jk

> Suwako cuts you off, although you don't think you were gushing or anything. Sanae has good qualities and all, but you'd say the same things about her as you would any of your friends... Some of your friends.

I think Seiran needs some sleep if she's suddenly thinking about herself in the second person.

[x] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[x] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.

I'm assuming the concert goes without saying, but if not, throw that in there too.
>> No. 28502
>>28501
>second person
whoops, that's just me going back and forth between stories too often. Usually it's more of a problem the other way around where my other protag shifts into first person, but I guess it happened here. Again. Bleh.
>> No. 28503
[x] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[x] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.
>> No. 28504
[x] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.

Earth has treated Seiran far better than the Moon ever did.
>> No. 28505
>>28500
[X] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[X] I should bring up what Reisen was talking about. The Dream World sounds pretty dangerous after all.
[X] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.
>> No. 28506
[X] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[X] I should bring up what Reisen was talking about. The Dream World sounds pretty dangerous after all.
[X] I've been trying to avoid it, but... Moving away from home. Tips? Her experience? I don't know.

Sounds alright.
>> No. 28507
[X] Maybe some small talk first? I didn't mean to interrupt Sanae's relaxing time or whatever she was up to.
[X] I'll just stick to the mission for now. Go right into what we decided about the concert.
[X] I should probably talk about Kanako and what she's planning. Sanae might not know.

I just read this entire story over a couple days. Is good stuff, Seiran a cute, so on and so forth. I might not be able to express myself with useful, meaningful compliments or discussion, but I do sincerely enjoy the story.
>> No. 28508
Is this still alive?
>> No. 28509
>>28508
Man, I don't fuckin know. I do still want to finish it, but the last time I picked it up I almost immediately found myself hating sitting down to write it.

I know it feels like we're close to the end, but even IF
I get over my horrendous pacing issue (every single conversation taking multiple updates regardless of importance to story),
AND I cut out doing side stuff with characters that I've been doing just for the sake of character building (I'm not even that in love with my OCs it just makes sense to have them doing stuff since they exist now),
AND cut down on the amount of things that are coming to a head whenever I actually get to the end game (foreshadowy dream world stuff),
there's still a lot of content that has already been committed to which will translate to months and months of time. I definitely overshot my limits in terms of scope when deciding on this story.

I know that not writing isn't really fixing anything though. Basically there's just a lot of stuff that still feels like I'm going to have to slog through. Not really a problem of knowing where I'm going as disliking the process of getting there, which makes it really tempting to keep putting it off when I have other projects.

Speaking of, I've already kind of committed November to going hard on something other than this, so to answer your question... Yes kinda, but the intention of continuing is still around? I'm not very satisfied with things at the moment at least, and I personally am still alive and writing things.
>> No. 28510
>>28509
>I get over my horrendous pacing issue (every single conversation taking multiple updates regardless of importance to story)

There's always the time skip option. If this current conversation with Sanae is giving you trouble you could always just do something like this:

Seiran: I talked with Sanae for hours and she gave me a lot of really good advice, like (insert advice about moving here). Eventually, Sanae agreed to help us with our plan to beat Reimu, and before I knew it a whole day had passed and it was time to fight Reimu for the Lunar orb.

And then if you want to skip past all the day to day stuff that you don't want to slog through in order to get to the fun parts of the story you are really excited to write, you could just say that the rabbits had to lay low for a while to avoid Reimu's wrath after they took the orb. And then before they knew it, it was time to enter the portal and save the Moon.

And then maybe after they get back from the Moon, you can tie up any loose ends that were time skipped over as the rabbits try building a new life for themselves in Gensokyo.

I'm not a writer, so I have no idea if this is good advice or not. But your story is great, so just do what you think you've gotta do.
>> No. 28512
>>28511
Out, foul spambot, out!
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