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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.