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[X] Maybe we should see if Nitori and Hina can help us get to the mountain shrine.
You turn back toward the kappa and curse goddess; perhaps they'd be able to help you get past the tengu. The pair look as though they were about ready to continue their conversation from before you and Marisa arrived, and they don't seem to notice you looking their way as you walk toward them.
"Excuse me, girls." The girls look up at you as you call to them.
"Y-Yes?" Nitori asks as she pulls a cucumber from her backpack and begins to nibble on it cutely.
"Do you think that you could help Marisa and me get up to the mountain shrine?" You ask, causing Marisa to glare at you.
"What?! What do we need their help for?" Marisa whines. "I can get the two of us up there just fine, tengus or no tengus."
Hina raises her eyebrow at Marisa's interjection. "What was it that you needed help with again?" She asks with a sly smile, likely seeing this as an opportunity to annoy Marisa. "I'd be more than happy to help."
"Well, I appreciate it, Hina. We just need some help getting past the tengu in order to get to the mountain shrine." You explain, the two girls respond with puzzled looks on their faces. "We... are sort of on their bad side right now." You continue your explanation, brandishing Aya's camera.
Nitori's expression changes to one of wonder as she examines the device.
"U-Uhm... W-Where'd you get that from?" The kappa asks as she continues nibbling on a cucumber.
"Where do you think?" You reply with something of a grimace.
Nitori stares at the camera for a moment before gasping audibly and covering her mouth. "Y-You... You didnt' steal this from..." She takes a moment to swallow. "A-Aya, d-did you?"
"Borrowed. Booooorrrroooooooowed." Marisa annunciates. "Ain't nothin' wrong with that, right?"
"Well, not if you're going to return it, there isn't." You reply.
"Hey, you're the one that kept it." Marisa retorts, stepping toward you and poking you squarely in the chest.
"W-Well... I-I... We had to get rid of those photos, right?" You reply defensively. "I-I mean, we had to stop her harassment somehow."
"Calm down." Marisa huffs as she pats you on the back. "I was just kiddin'. Besides, it's nice to see ya takin' after me; it's kinda flattering actually." She winks at you with a wide grin.
The curse goddess clears her throat loudly, grabbing both Marisa's and your attention. "I don't mean to interrupt your little lover's spat, but we may be able to assist you." Hina cuts in. "You said you needed help getting around the tengu, correct?" You nod in response. "Well, Nitori and I should be able to lead you up there, we do know the mountain much better than you do."
You smile as you accept the curse doll's kind offer. "Well, we'd be more than happy to have your assis-"
"Hold on just a sec!" Marisa butts in. "Whatcha gettin' all buddy-buddy with my boyfriend for? We can handle it just fine on our own, right? Right?"
You shake your head in reply when Hina speaks up again. "I would just like to help you in my own way. If I can't remove your misfortunes with my power, then perhaps I may be able to give you fortune by assisting you."
"Come on, ya can't want to accept help from these two, right?" Marisa pleads.
"Well, we're not even sure if Sanae will be able to do anything for us, but we've got to try, don't you think." You do your best to reason with the witch.
"I-I guess." The witch deflates and puffs her cheeks. "I s'ppose we need all the help we can get."
"So what do you propose we do?" You ask to the curse goddess.
"Nitori, do you remember that path around the other side of the mountain that you showed me earlier?" Hina asks.
The kappa thinks for a moment while still nibbling on her half-eaten cucumber. "Uhm... I-I think I do." She thinks aloud. "Oh that's right! Y-Yeah, I think I do remember." Nitori continues after a moment of thought. "Yeah, I uhm... I set up some holograms around there to hide the path that leads to the back entrance of my lab."
"Hey, maybe we can use those holograms to cover our ascent up the mountain." You suggest.
"U-Uhm... Yeah! Th-That might work." Nitori agrees as she covers her face with the brim of her cap shyly.
"Well then, lead the way." You reply.
"W-Well... We'll have to travel by foot, otherwise we won't be covered by the hologram 'cause of how close they're set to the mountainside, a-alright?" Nitori explains.
With a collective sigh, the four of you make your way around toward the opposite side of Youkai Mountain. After awhile, your group eventually comes upon a seemingly impassable mountain face covered in vines, but just as you begin to sigh, thinking that you've been led down the wrong path, Nitori steps through the mountain causing it to ripple with a an unnatural flickering of what looks like static and wireframes. A moment later, Hina follows right after the kappa.
Both you and Marisa look at each other for a moment before stepping through the holographic image.
Inside you find what looks largely like the mountainside you were just on. You're covered overhead by a canopy of foliage and mountainside, at least the image of one, however from this angle you can clearly see the framework of digital wireframes creating the illusion.
"So this is what the inside of one of your holograms look like." You think aloud as your group continues the slow ascent up the mountain. "It's like nothing I've ever seen before."
"W-Well it should be." The kappa muses, her cheeks rosy pink from your compliment. "It's all made from my own custom technology. Y-You see, I've planted all these little projectors around this path and it's all controlled with this little remote here." Nitori proudly explains as she holds up a small remote.
"Ah, so that's how you control i-" You begin to say before tripping over a stray rock in your path. Doing so causes you to lose your balance and fall into Nitori who drops the remote; what awful luck.
As you recover from the fall, you notice a bright red kappa blushing beneath you. "S-sorry, I don't know what happened there, I must've tripped over a rock or something." You explain.
"I-It's okay..." Nitori meekly replies. "B-But c-could you please get off of me..."
"S-Sorry!" You apologize as you stand back upright, but as you look around, you notice that something looks different. It's a lot brighter than it was before. That's when it hits you.
The hologram has disappeared.
As the realization comes to you, you notice two tengu crow guards accompanied by familiar white wolf tengu.
"Hey! You there!" Momiji shouts.
[ ] Let's just run for it.
[ ] Let's fight!
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