[c] Resist. Fight back. Counterattack. Whatever you do to defend your modesty.
This is getting rather disturbing. Sure, you don’t mind Sylvia expressing her affection towards you however she can but there are times she has to learn the limits in which she can tread. Whatever she’s intending to do to you, you’ve got to fight back and do whatever you can to defend your modesty.
You grab her by the arms. “Sylvia, I appreciate it if you just want to show me how much you like me, but will you do it after we get the kid out of the equation?” Sylvia doesn’t seem to buy it as she puts her hands over yours and caresses them. You’re going to need more than just resistance; right now, an intervention will be greatly appreciated.
“What on earth is going on here?”
Everyone in the living room looks at the source of interruption. There, standing near the front door with groceries in her arms, is O’Brien and she doesn’t like she’s pleased with the situation. “I saw the door opened and I thought someone just broke in,” she says.
“Doc!” You manage to push Sylvia out of the way and rush to hug the doctor, almost knocking the groceries off her. “Thank goodness you’re here! Right now, you’re like a goddess to me!” - - After a lengthy explanation that almost takes the entire evening, O’Brien’s response is as unsupportive as her opinion on your relationship with Sylvia. “Come on, Alyssa, you know she’s just playing with you,” she says.
“I don’t call it just playing when it starts involving dangerously intimate move,” you snort. “Not when I have a kid in this house. She really needs to have her aggression checked.” Sylvia pinches you on the shoulder so hard you almost jump off the couch. “Will you stop being denial? You’re the one who started it.” Sylvia grumbles at you and turns away from you in disgust.
“You mean you don’t want someone to interrupt your tender moment with your wife,” O’Brien corrects. “I understand that. It’s very hard for a married couple to have the time they need to be with other.”
You scratch your head. You don’t like it when people keep referring to you and Sylvia as married couple. “I really need to get the perception fixed,” you grumble. “Seriously, Doc, the only time I think people will no longer call us husband and wife is the day we don’t exist in Melbourne anymore. When will that time come? Don’t ask me.”
“Alyssa dear, it’s not nice to say such things,” O’Brien says. “I’m sure they just want to be friendly with you.”
“Yeah, I hope so,” you utter.
“But still.” The doctor turns to Reverie who is at the time busy playing with your hair. “Dinner with this sweet girl? And you’re paying? That’s so sweet of you.”
“Yeah, and I’m taking her to her favourite restaurant, for your information,” you utter. “Like she’s allowing me to recommend the place Sylvia and I often visit. Huh… I can never understand the mentality of the first-class people.”
“Hey! No badmouthing Grandpa,” Reverie protests. “He may be first-class but he’s very down to earth. You should be ashamed of yourself for talking behind his back.”
“Then do me a favour and stop playing with my hair.” You pick the girl off your lap and put her on Sylvia’s lap. “As for you, Sylvia.” She smiles innocently at you. “Why don’t you go take your bath with Reverie? I’m sure she doesn’t mind having her hair cleaned.” Sylvia’s smile widens, and before you or O’Brien can apprehend it your assistant has headed off to the bathroom, carrying the shocked girl with her. You throw yourself into the comfort of the couch; finally, the moment of peace you’ve been craving for.
“And you, Doc,” you say while keeping your head rested on the cushion. “I didn’t think I’d meet you again here.”
“Why, Alyssa,” O’Brien says. “I’m just living next door. It’s not unusual to see you around this residence.”
“Go figure,” you shrug. “So anything else you want to discuss with me? If not, well, the front door’s not locked right now.”
“Actually, I do have a question concerning Reverie,” O’Brien speaks.
You look at her. “What do you have in mind, Doc?”
She leans forward. “Don’t you think you’re putting yourself in danger by having the girl in your custody?” she asks.
Well, this is an interesting topic, so you get off the comfort of the couch and lean toward O’Brien. “I didn’t think accepting someone’s request to babysit his granddaughter would be that risky,” you speak. “Why would you think of that?”
“Because as far as I know, Mister Drake is fiercely protective when it comes to his family,” O’Brien answers. “Ever since the car accident that took the life of his daughter eight years ago, he’s gone to some extent to ensure his granddaughter doesn’t face the same fate as her mother.” She corrects her eyeglasses. “When I saw him at the hospital earlier today, I was very surprised he showed great degree of tolerance towards you for… your affair with the girl. He had even killed people just for the sake of protecting his only heir, you know.”
“Have you met Gramps before?” you ask.
“Actually that was my first time,” O’Brien answers. “But everyone in the hospital knows Mister Drake’s suffering from heart disease. He’s frequented the hospital for the past two years, and I’ve been notified about his health condition as a precaution. Never thought to actually see him in person; he’s really a well-mannered person despite his reputation.”
You scratch your chin. You have scratched the tip of this iceberg, and you’re eager to unravel the mystery that surrounds Reverie and her grandfather. That may explain why his henchmen at the art gallery were reluctant to cooperate with you when you told them you’d return Reverie to the old man once you’re done with the babysitting.
[ ] Ask the doctor what she knows about Gramps (and what kind of reputation he’s famous for). [ ] Ask the doctor what she knows about Reverie’s parents. [ ] Ask nothing. This matter is best discussed when Reverie is not under the same roof.
An update is an update, nevertheless. And sorry for the delay, I really am.
[X] Ask the doctor what she knows about Gramps (and what kind of reputation he’s famous for).
Gramps promised to tell Alyssa about Reverie's parents, so there's no need to go behind his back. But it looks like he needs someone to take care of Reverie soon, preferably away from the dirty buisiness he deals in.
[x] Ask the doctor what she knows about Reverie’s parents.
She already admitted she has never personally met Gramps. Asking her anything about him personally will not yield reliable information. The only thing we would get out of that conversation is a false impression based on his reputation.
[#] Ask nothing. This matter is best discussed when Reverie is not under the same roof.
I know! Let's choose the option that won't inevitably lead to Reverie in tears at the painful memories or shattering her perception of her loving grandfather!
Also, Reverie! How did I miss it! Another tie-in to Gensokyo! Marisa's spellcard, Stardust Reverie! I'm not sure whether to chalk it up in support of the "In Gensokyo All Along" theory or the much more nebulous 'Something is incredibly suspicious, but I have no idea what yet' category. Also, seems a bit too convenient for the doc to be living just next door. Downright...suspicious, in fact. Not sure what to make of it yet...
[c] Ask nothing. This matter is best discussed when Reverie is not under the same roof.
“Well, you look like you have something inside your head,” O’Brien says.
“Not really,” you shrug. “Well, there is, but I can’t get it out of my head yet.”
She chuckles. “If there isn’t anything else you want to ask, I think I better get back to my apartment now.” The doctor’s right; this matter, whether or not it’s important to you, is best discussed when the subject in question isn’t under the same roof.
“Yeah, I’ll let you know if I need anything from you,” you say. “Right now, though.” You get off the couch and head to the bathroom. “What’s taking them so long?”
“Oh Alyssa, don’t be that silly,” O’Brien giggles. “It’s just been a few minutes. You can afford to wait for them to finish their shower, can’t you?”
“I can, but I’m picky when it comes to appointment,” you answer. The door’s opened, and out come Sylvia and Reverie, both wrapped in towels. “Well, that took you two forever. What kept you inside there?”
“Daddy, I would’ve washed Mommy’s back if you weren’t knocking on the door,” Reverie answers.
“I didn’t,” you reply. “You must be imagining things, so get over it.” Sylvia pouts at you over the answer, and you return the stare with your own. “What will your problem be, Sylvia?”
“I think she wanted to wash your back,” O’Brien suggests. “Right, Sylvia?”
“Damn it, Doc, don’t give Reverie any idea,” you retort.
“Come on, dear, there’s nothing wrong when two girls are sharing the bathroom together,” she says and steps towards you, putting her hands over your shoulders rather suggestively. “Or must I prove it to you right now?”
You find yourself drooping your head in despair. “Good grief.” - - You’ve taken your bath, and you’re now inside your room, facing the dilemma of choosing the right attire for the dinner. You could just wear back the clothes you wore for the appointment at the hospital, but then you’d look as bland as anyone would expect. You could also search the closet for the chequered gown Grandma made for you on your seventeenth birthday, but you don’t like wearing anything that’s too girlish in your taste.
You hear the door opened. You look back at it and see Sylvia stepping in; you can’t help getting amazed by her insistence to wear kimono for the dinner, and you’re even more amazed that she could get the matching set for Reverie.
She makes several hand gestures. “Oh? You’re asking why I haven’t dressed up.” She nods. “I don’t know. My shirts and trousers are inside the washing machine, and I don’t have anything decent to wear.” She giggles and points to her kimono, and then showing you the sign ‘two’ with her fingers. “Oh, right. I forgot that I bought the kimono in pairs- wait a minute.” You furrow your eyebrows. “You want me to dress up like you?” Sylvia nods. “But I don’t look good in Japanese dress, you know that.” The girl giggles and asks that you wait and she leaves before you can call her.
You look back at the mirror. You can notice a slight build-up in your arms and torso, and that your skin has also tanned a bit, a result from your outdoor activity. You turn around and look down at the well-defined shape of your hips and thighs; your chest may lack the size but at least you’re proud to have legs a woman would envy for. You also notice that your hair has flowed past your shoulders; you should get it cut in the future.
Sylvia returns to the room with a set of clothes that you’re certain doesn’t look like kimono. You look back at her, noticing with alarm that she is snickering foxily at you. “Sylvia, I don’t have time for your fun time, so-” She, instead, approaches you and pounces at you before you can escape. “Aw, damn it! Let me go!” The girl giggles and shoves you into the bed, preventing you from moving as she sits atop of you. “Sylvia, we’ll have our time later, so get off me!” She takes one of the clothes and shows it to you; you gulp when she dangles it enticingly over your face.
Now you understand why she asked you to wait.
It lasted over an hour. Sylvia stripped your bare and used you as a human-sized dress-up doll. Various suits, blouses, robes and footwear went on and off in swift fashion; there was even a shrine maiden’s uniform at one point. Then it started getting more bizarre, as things like frills, ribbons and glasses were thrown in the mix. To add insult to the injury Sylvia even brought O’Brien and Reverie in, and despite your persistence to dress up on your own, being controlled by three determined girls meant you couldn’t do anything but to let them do whatever they wanted.
It finally ended though, as you think back on it while sitting down on the couch clad in your new clothes. In the end everyone decided to dress you up in the simplest attire they could agree on; it was a pretty classy black-white suit, with white button-up blouse underneath the black outer piece decorated with golden buttons, complete with frilled black skirt that almost sweeps the floor. After dressing you up in it, Sylvia and O’Brien mentioned that something was missing, and both of them left to find whatever articles of clothing they had in mind, leaving you alone with Reverie.
“Daddy, you don’t look very delighted,” the worried girl asks.
You can only shake your head. “Now you know why you shouldn’t make a good example of Mommy,” you murmur.
Standing up, you ruffle Reverie’s hair to show her that you’re just fine. Sylvia and O’Brien were just having fun, like they would often do whenever they got their hands on new fashion. Shrugging off the thought you take a look at yourself in the mirror. For some reason, seeing yourself in this witch outfit makes you feel like you’re channelling a certain someone…
“Sorry to keep you waiting~”
O’Brien’s musical announcement catches your attention as you turn around. Sylvia is seen holding a headgear of sort in her hand, and a closer inspection reveals it to be a witch’s hat. Walking up to you she smiles as she plops the hat on your head. “That’s the best outfit I’ve ever seen,” O’Brien comments. “You look way better in that than in your ‘smooth criminal’ outfit, Alyssa.”
“It’s too early to celebrate Halloween, Doc,” you utter. “You know that.”
“It’s never early to celebrate Halloween for me!” Reverie answers excitedly.
“Right,” you sneer. “Well, I think the three of us here are dressed up and ready to have dinner. Thanks for showing up, Doc.”
“We’re neighbours, after all,” O’Brien says with a smile. “Have fun, all of you, and please be careful.”
Bidding O’Brien goodbye, the three of you leave the apartment and head to the taxi station. You look at Sylvia, who looks back at you with a smile. “Whatever your intention is, I’m glad I didn’t have to wear kimono this time,” you utter. She pouts at the remark and slaps your shoulder. “Stop doing that! It hurts.”
Reverie turns to you and asks, “Do you want me to call Gramps to send his worker here and drive us to the restaurant?”
You look back at her. “I was thinking of calling a cab, but I suppose you know the direction better than I do,” you answer.
[ ] Call a taxi. [ ] Wait for Gramps to send his men. [ ] Why bother taking a ride when we can just walk?
[c] Why bother taking a ride when we can just walk?
You fix the position of the witch hat so that it doesn’t slip from your head. “I don’t know about you, but I think it’d be better if we walk,” you say.
“But Daddy, do you know the direction?” Reverie asks.
“Right.” You ruffle the girl’s hair. “You know where the restaurant is, so lead the way.”
“Daddy, stop ruining my hair!” the girl protests.
With Reverie on the lead, the three of you start walking down the streets. It doesn’t take you very long before your ‘family’ becomes the centre of attention as people around you are looking at you and your appearance in intrigue. You don’t like this kind of attention you’re getting, and you know the reason too well: you are the strange one, an oddity in the otherwise normal society, and you manage to survive the city only because you’ve kept your true self hidden from view. You know you can’t live forever behind this facade, because sooner or later the truth will reveal itself.
Sylvia seems to notice your plight when she takes your hand and holds it softly. You look at her, who in turn offers you a comforting smile. “Thanks, I... I guess I need that,” you say.
After about half an hour you arrive at your destination. You and Sylvia stare at the hotel in awe, and both of you look at Reverie who is smiling at you. “This is where Grandpa and I often have dinner,” she says.
“Can’t say I’m impressed by the choice, but I like it,” you say.
“Come on! Let’s have dinner right now.” You and Sylvia follow the girl to the restaurant, and are greeted by the waiter who, to your slight annoyance, stares at you in a sort of confused look. “These are my parents,” Reverie tells the person. “They’re having dinner with me.”
“Yes, of course Miss Mondlandern,” the waiter says. “Please, this way.” You follow him to a table near the window. “I can’t say that I’m surprised by the choice of partners she has made for tonight’s ocassion. She must be really bored.”
“Tell me about it,” you say.
The waiter chuckles and presents the menu. “Please take your time; the food isn’t going to run away if you don’t,” he speaks.
“Very funny,” you say.
“What would you like to have, Miss Mondlandern?” he asks the girl.
“The usual,” Reverie answers. “Let my parents make their choice; I’ll call you later.” The waiter nods wordlessly and heads to the kitchen. You’re surprised by the sudden change of attitude this girl is showing, and it’s almost frightening to know that Reverie can exert this kind of commanding attitude.
Sylvia tugs at your sleeve. You look at her and notice the worried look on her face. “I know, Sylvia,” you answer in whispers. “I just hope that old man doesn’t decide to pop out of nowhere and surprise us to death.” You decide not to talk about this matter and focus on having your meal. “So, Reverie! What kind of food you often have here?”
The girl flashes a grin. “Grilled salmon with caviar. What? Too classy for you?” Good grief, this girl, now she’s getting on your nerves. “And what will you have, Daddy? There’s also Oriental food, if you like.”
“Let’s see now...” You begin browsing the menu, and you find yourself having a hard time making your pick. All the selections are mouth-watering, and while you can afford to pay the price, you aren’t sure of which to choose. You could go for the same dish as Reverie’s but that would be mocking her; you could also ask for Italian foods, though you can’t find any Italian names in the list. “Hey, Sylvia,” you say and turn to her. “I’ll just have whatever you’re going to eat. Have you picked your-”
Your eyes catch something. You turn in the direction of the thing you’ve spotted. In an instant your face turns white.
What the hell is that purple lady doing over here?
[ ] Pay her no attention and pick your choice. [ ] Ask if you could switch table so that she doesn’t notice you. [ ] On the other hand, you wonder if you could invite her over...
Well, so long as that woman doesn’t notice your presence in the restaurant everything should be alright for you and your ‘family’. You look back at the menu and, after a few minutes of browsing through the list, you decide to settle with pasta and meatballs. Nothing beats Italian meal for dinner. You spend the dinner having friendly chats with Sylvia and Reverie, and most of the time the little girl never stops amusing you with her supposedly classy antics. After a while, however, you start feeling full and excuse yourself to use the toilet. You need to remind yourself not to eat too much; after all, you aren’t a hungry ghost.
As you look into the mirror, you start thinking whether your life has taken a turn for better or worse, and you wonder if this is the sign of things to come. You snicker when you take another look of yourself; it surely is strange to see yourself dressed up as a witch, more so since it isn’t Halloween in Melbourne yet. With no regard to the visitors, you spin on your feet and touch the frontal tip of the hat; it feels as if you’re channelling a certain king of pop while you’re doing that.
“I see you’re enjoying yourself.”
You yelp. When did the purple lady appear beside you? “What the- goddamn it, whoever you are! Are you trying to kill me?!” you scream at the woman.
The woman chuckles. “If I am, I would just throw you into a gap and send you into the endless abyss,” she answers. “But I am being nice and classy tonight, so don’t worry about that.”
“Well, that doesn’t explain why you left me without answering me the question,” you retort.
The woman chuckles again. “You’re being silly, you know~” She covers her grin behind the fan. “Not all answers in the world can be answered, and not all answers can be had asking questions.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” you ask.
“Oh, nothing~ I’m just being philosophical.” The woman narrows her eyes, and the way she’s squinting at you is almost annoying you. “My, my~ where did you get this idea to dress up as a witch, hmm?” Again she covers her grin behind the fan. “You look like someone I know. Very much. I wonder~”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Hmm~ I wonder if I should tell you right here~” The woman takes a step forward and starts approaching you. You find yourself cornered, and with your legs pressed against the slab your only hope is that she won’t do anything to jeopardize your modesty.
The woman giggles and takes a step away from you. “Well, I shouldn’t do anything that would make her angry,” she utters. “But I just want to ask you this:” She closes the paper fan shut and taps it lightly on your forehead. “Are you satisfied of your current life as a transporter?”
[ ] Answer her (specify how). [ ] Don’t answer her. [ ] Ask her instead; why she cares about your life? - [ ] And ask if she promises not to bother you again after this.
>>22300 Alright, I've seen people mentioning MiG alot around here, so forgive me for being ignorant but what's so important about it anyway?
We don't need to justify our entire life to some creepy stalker.
>MiG It was the second story ever written on these sites, helped solidify the style, and is considered a classic. That's about the gist of it. I would recommend reading it, even if only to pay respects to Kira, one of our founding members.
[c] Answer her. - [c] “It’s certainly not a bad life. I get to move fast and set my own hours. And there are people I care about, who care about me, too.” - [c] “But why are you so interested in me, anyway?”
That’s certainly an easy question. You don’t remember when the last time someone asked about it was, but you know how to answer it. “It’s certainly not a bad life,” you begin. “I get to move fast and set my own hours. I’ve got to admit that there are risks involved, but what’s a life without risk?” You stare at the woman. “And there are people who I care about, who care about me, too.”
The woman’s smile widens, if only a bit. “So you’re trying to say that you didn’t regret the choice you made a long time ago?”
You find yourself laughing. “Come on! Where else I can find a job that will generate as much money as transporting stuffs? But seriously, why are you interested in me, anyway?”
“Hmm~ that’s a good question,” the woman utters. “I’d like to tell you why, but it’d be rude to me. Besides.” She playfully taps your forehead with her fan. “It isn’t time yet. You have to be wait just a little longer.”
You’re not pleased with the playful gesture. “What’s that supposed to mean?” you ask while rubbing your forehead. She laughs and prods your forehead again before you swat her fan aside. “And for once, stop playing with my forehead. It’s not nice.”
“Aw, can’t I play with you, dear?” she asks with a faked dejection. “Right, I better let you o before your precious wife gets worried over your absence.” You shake your head in dismay and fix your hat before leaving the washroom. “Oh, wait for a minute,” she calls out as you’re about to walk out. “Perhaps we should know each other’s name before we depart, just in case our path crosses again next time.”
“You’re strange,” you tell her bluntly.
“Touché,” she replies.
“The name’s Alyssa,” you say and tip the front side of your hat. “What’s yours.”
The woman brings her fan close to her face as to hide her smile. “Let’s settle down and call me, let’s say, Miss Vixen. What do you say?” You almost want to puke in disgust but you refrain from showing her your disdain.
“Whatever you say, Miss Vixen,” you shrug.
You return to your table to resume your dinner. You take a quick glance at Miss Vixen’s table and find that it’s vacant. She must have left the restaurant early, but at least you don’t have to worry about getting stalked again. As you’re having your salad you notice Sylvia and Reverie looking at you in concern. “Got a few problems to take care of back there,” you tell them.
“Daddy, is the food too strong for you?” Reverie asks.
You chuckle half-heartedly. “Yeah, I think so.”
The three of you are done with dinner. With nothing to do afterwards you’re planning to take a trip to the seaside, but Sylvia’s already showing signs of exhaustion. “Tired, Sylvia?” Rubbing her tired eyes, she just nods apologetically. “Alright. We’ll sleep at our apartment tonight. You’ve got anything else to do after this, Reverie?” Reverie shakes her head. “If you say so.”
The trip to home is as lively as ever. Reverie doesn’t stop telling you and Sylvia about her dream to own a house of dolls, pointing to the fact that her grandfather has bought dolls from all over the world to be added into her collection. She even promises to let you see her hobby in the future, but you don’t want to think about it too much. Right now, a proper sleep is what you needs the most.
“Alright, everyone. Tonight’s weather is fair and lovely,” you tell the girls as everyone arrives at home. “So why don’t all of us sleep outside on the rooftop?” Sylvia gets so excited that she hurriedly goes to her room to dress up, dragging the hapless Reverie in the process. Minutes pass, and both of them walk out of the room, properly dressed up for the occasion. “I guess everyone’s ready, isn’t it?” you ask.
“What about you, Daddy? You aren’t going to sleep in that witch costume, are you?” Reverie asks. Sneaky girl; as if you’ll ever sleep in this attire.
“Whatever, Reverie,” you shrug. “Take the sleeping bags with you; I’ll catch up with you later. Reverie, do you bring the book with you?” She points to the storybook tucked underneath her armpit. “Good. We’ll spend the night reading the book together.”
After changing to your nightgown you join up with Sylvia and Reverie on the rooftop. Sylvia pats a vacant space between them, and you notice that it’s an empty sleeping bag placed neatly between them. “Sweet, you even brought mine.” You take your place and tell them to follow the direction of your finger. “That’s why we’re spending our night here,” you say as you point at the night sky.
“Stargazing,” Reverie coos. “You didn’t tell me we’d be stargazing! I could’ve brought my telescope with me.”
“Eh, where’s the fun in that?” you chide. “You need to broaden your view on the universe and not get too focused on one thing only.” Sylvia tugs at your sleeve and points to a constellation. “Oh, I know that! It’s… it’s…” You have a hard time identifying the group of stars, as the background light from the city below is distracting your view. “Maybe we should go somewhere with clear view of the sky.”
“Oh, I know that one!” Reverie exclaims and points to the direction you’re looking at. “That’s Scorpio, and the starts next to it belong to the Antares constellation.”
“Nice observation, Reverie,” you say. “With enough experience you could become an astronomer someday. Let’s play some guessing game, after that we’ll read the storybook.”
The three of you spend the whole night taking turn in guessing stars and constellations, and have fun competing one another on who has the most knowledge in astronomy. Then, as midnight falls, you focus on reading the story of Alice and her adventures in the Wonderland; along the time you find yourself attached to the character Mad Hatter, and your imagination goes wild as you put yourself in the shoe of the eccentric tea-loving partygoer. It would be kind of fun if you could be like him, enjoying tea and having party without having to worry about the world around you.
You let out a long yawn. You look and Sylvia and Reverie; a smile creeps across your face as you realize they’ve fallen asleep. You carefully correct their sleeping posture and lie down between them. You haven’t felt sleepy yet, so you decide to count the stars above you, with the storybook neatly placed on your chest. It doesn’t take long before you, too, feel sleepy, so as quietly as you can you place soft kisses upon the girls’ forehead. You, then, tuck yourself and greet the keeper of the dream world…
[ ] The White Rabbit. [ ] The Caterpillar. [ ] Mad Hatter. [ ] Tweedledum & Tweedledee. [ ] Cheshire Cat.
You look around. You don’t remember leaving the comfort of the sleeping bag and standing in a forest. On top of that, you’re not in your nightgown, but instead you now wear what looks like a maid uniform in light blue/white colour scheme, and it comes complete with a white ribbon on your head. You don’t have any idea who dressed you up, and for a while you want to take the dress off since it immediately starts annoying you.
Wait a minute. This can’t be one of the dream sequences you’re experiencing, can it?
You decide to keep the dress. Whatever the cause behind this dream is, it’s best that you play long with it and hope that it doesn’t take a turn to the worse. You take your time to spin on your foot, admiring your new look in the eccentric outfit; it certainly feels weird from anything you’ve worn before, but you’re kind of liking it.
Right. It’s time to move on.
You start walking down the road, which takes you out of the forest and to a hill. It’s the same hill you’ve seen in your previous dream, and again you have the familiar sensation of having been in the place before. You shake your head; of course you have! You were standing near the hill in that dream, but…
They aren’t there, the red-woman and her companions.
Wherever they may be you decide to walk up the hill. As you approach the hilltop you see an oak tree standing erect on the hill, and there’s a cat sleeping on one of the branches. Carefully you approach the sleeping cat and find that, to your surprise, it’s the Cheshire Cat. Bugger; now this is becoming all too familiar.
The cat stirs in its sleep and opens one of its eyes lazily. “Oh? I have a visitorrrrr.” It lets out a long, uninteresting yawn and outstretches itself on the branch. “A maid who isn’t rrrrreally a maid at all, who finds herself lost in this wonderrrrrland,” the cat utters and takes a glance at you. It irks you to see how the cat’s staring at you, coupled with the crescent-shaped smile that seems to creep all the way across its face. “But then again, this isn’t exactly a wonderland purrrrrr se, so…” The cat beams at you. “What do you have in mind to tell this borrrrring cat in two shades of purrrrrple, Alyssa Kirisame?”
[ ] Answer the cat. [ ] Ignore it. [ ] Ask the cat back.
Now, now, guys, don’t you ever try imagining this Cheshire Cat speaking in Norio’s voice or trying to think of him as a cat who wishes he is a bird.
“Listen, you sly cat,” you speak. “What kind of business you’re really seeking from me?”
“You don’t know already, hmmmmmm?” the cat asks back.
“How am I supposed to know if I don’t know the answer?” you ask again.
“Too bad, then.” The Cheshire cat snickers as it starts disappearing: first it’s its tail, then its hind legs followed by its tummy and front legs; its stub neck and head are next, and finally its head dissolves into thin air, leaving only its crescent-shaped grin. “Not amused, arrrrrre we?” it asks as it reappears on the branch.
“You’re strange, you know.”
The cat smiles. “Well, it would be even better if you acknowledge your own strrrrrangeness to me,” it answers and dangles off the branch like a monkey. “But then again, she will be mad at me, and I don’t like it when she gets mad,” it says.
“What the hell are you talking about?” you ask.
The Cheshire Cat grins wider, as it gestures at you to approach it. “Look over the hill,” it tells you while pointing at a direction. You clearly see a forest, with a road leading to a nearby village. There’s also a road branching away from the village, which leads to a hilltop shrine. “Well?”
“What is that place?” you ask as you turn back at the cat. “I know for sure that the Wonderland doesn’t have a village and a shrine in its map, so…”
“You’ll know this place soon enough,” the Cheshire Cat answers and puts its paw on your cheek. “I rrrrrreally enjoy this conversation; you prove to be… quite a listener,” it speaks. “I also happen to like you in that maid dress. It suits you purrrrrr-fectly.”
“We just knew each other for barely ten minutes,” you tell the cat. “Jeez, and I need to get out of this place, like, right now.”
The Cheshire cat smirks. “We’ll meet again, Alyssa Kirisame, but right now.” It lifts its paw. “Wake up and smell the ashes.”
Then it slaps you on the face. - - You wake up abruptly. For a second or two you stay still in the sleeping bag, allowing the warmth of the morning sun to embrace you. Then you feel your cheek stinging in pain, and you put your hand on it; there’s a telltale scratch mark on your cheek, and immediately you’re reminded of the dream.
“Fucking cat,” you grumble.
You look at your left and right. Sylvia and Reverie are still sleeping, and they’re clinging onto you like you’re their most precious teddy bear. A teddy bear, eh? Guess you’ll have to buy them an oversized substitute.
[ ] Wake them up. It’s time to rinse and shine~ [ ] Stay quiet and enjoy the comfort of their warmth.
And choose one: [ ] Smoke On the Water [ ] Don’t Stop Me Now [ ] Stairways to Heaven [ ] Hotel California [ ] Help!! [ ] Others.
[X] Stay quiet and enjoy the comfort of their warmth.
No need to ruin the moment.
>Music choice FFFFFFFFFFFFF- okay, this looks like a hard choice at first glance, since they're all popular rock song. All but one have depressing themes, and since Alyssa is an upbeat girl, there's only one choice:
Alright, folks. Due to some issues I am unable to concentrate on the update, so I have to postpone all works on Stardust Halley (as well as Little Soldier Lost and Winemaker LA) until notified. Have some mischievous fairies as a compensation.
Serial ATA!umMKyLfC5.2011/03/11 (Fri) 01:56No. 22859▼
[c] Stay quiet and enjoy the comfort of their warmth. [c] (ON HOLD) Don’t Stop Me Now.
You look at your left and right. Seeing both Sylvia and Reverie sleeping peacefully, their arms clinging caringly onto you, their breaths warm on your face, all of these are making you smile ever so slightly. It surely is warm and comfortable, having two of the most adorable girls you know hold onto you while getting greeted by the glorious morning sky, on top of that.
Right. Time to wake up and get ready to work.
Slowly you free yourself from the girls’ arms, causing them to slightly stir. You, then, shake their body as to wake them up, giggling to see them moaning in protest and tucking themselves in to avoid the bright sunshine. “Come on, girls, wake up already,” you say and forcibly unzip the sleeping bags. “Early birds get early breakfast.”
“I still want to sleep…” Reverie murmurs and crawls towards Sylvia. “…hold me, Mommy…” she utters as she’s clinging onto her. You feel somewhat sorry for the little girl, but someone’s got to work to feed them.
“I see you’re reluctant to leave them out here, Alyssa.” You look up and see O’Brien standing next to you, holding a piece of blanket in her arms. “I can look after them, if you like.”
“You’re not working today, Doc?” you ask.
“It’s my day-off, dear,” she answers and turns to the sleeping girls. “I bet the three of you had lots of fun last night.”
“Doc, stop having any idea about what we did, it’s bad for your health,” you interject. “But yeah, I haven’t had fun like this in a long time; you know, sleeping under the stars together with wife and daughter.”
“If that’s the case, you should consider yourself married,” O’Brien utters and winks at you. “And don’t forget to send in the invitation; I can’t wait to see both of you walking on the podium in all the glory~” You find yourself blushing furiously, so you excuse yourself to head back to your apartment. “Going out to work as usual, yes?” she asks.
“You know the drill already, Doc. Finding someone who's willing to pay me for transporting their precious goods,” you answer. “I might not be home until dinner, though, so you know what to do about them.”
“Leave everything to me, Allyssa dear,” O'Brien tells you. “Have a pleasant day.”
With the matter done, you head back to your apartment. As you reach the door, you spot an envelope sticking out of the mailbox. You don't remember asking anyone to send you letter; on top of that, it isn't addressed to your home or anyone.
Well, this is intriguing.
[ ] Take the envelope and read its content. [ ] Leave the envelope. It can wait.
I'm thinking back to what it said at the start about Alyssa being put in the real world due to some danger, but I wonder what could that danger be? Marisa's very well connected in Gensokyo and that there's very few folks who really hold anything against her.
You at first want to leave the mysterious envelope until you're done with your self-hygeine ritual, but your curiosity's starting to get the better of you. You take the envelope oyt of the mailbox and read its content. It's a letter, and written on it is a short message:
“Meeting venue has been changed. Meet me at the marina, my men will invite you. Gramps.”
You frown. If this is the handiwork of the old man, at least he should have given you a proper phone call or sent one of his men to your home. On a second thought, maybe he shouldn't do the latter. “Alright, then!” you shout aloud and walk into the apartment with the letter in hand. “Let's get ready to work, shooting star!” - - You're done with your ritual of self-cleaning, and are taking time having a simple breakfast of egg sandwich and hot chocolate. Sylvia, Reverie and O'Brien have returned from the rooftop by now, and they too are having you with all the preparations needed for today's work.
“There you go, Daddy,” Reverie says as she fixes the fedora on your head. “Your hat; don't forget about it.”
Sylvia approaches you and gives you your MP3 player. “Thanks, can't leave home without this, you know,” you say and give her forehead a quick kiss. The gesture makes O'Brien giggle, and you glare at the doctor. “Come on, Doc. This is not the time to show the kids bad example.”
“Oh come on Alyssa, you know you're not a stranger among us here,” O'Brien says teasingly.
“Doc, don't,” you warn. O'Brien and Sylvia just smile at you, while Reverie are looking back and forth between you and them, confused by what she's seeing. “Whatever. I'm going now; I see if I can come home before dinner.”
“Take care, Daddy!” Reverie says while waving at you.
You leave the apartment and head to the streets. Fiddling with the MP3 player you browse the artist list until you reach the name 'Queen'. You, then, browse the group's songs, and one of their songs catches your interest. Your snicker; it's one of your favourite, and you always make sure it's played in loop. With the song blaring inside your ear, you can focus on your day.
Where to go first? [ ] Butterfly Shoppe. [ ] Excellence Bookstore. [ ] Saint Kilda General Cemetery. [ ] Saint Kilda Marina.
Your mind’s telling you that you should follow the letter’s instruction and meet the old man at the marina, but the chance to know what’s exactly happening at the cemetery is too good to pass up. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay the dead a visit once in a while, and you’re certain the old man doesn’t mind waiting; you can explain to him why you show up late.
Along the way to the cemetery you can’t help asking yourself about two things: why the old man was so persistent to have you babysit Reverie, and what the Lady Vixen really wanted from you. You don’t understand why, but you realize you’re getting attracted to these two people. You have to get over this matter as soon as you can before it haunts you.
You’ve arrived at your destination. Like the last time the old man gave you his business card, your heart sinks at the sight of the tombstones that are dotting the area. There’s also a funeral ceremony nearby, and this makes you feel very heavy on the inside. Maybe you should just go to the marina, but you’re already at the cemetery, so why not you do what a visitor to this place usually does?
You've walked around for an hour now. By now, the crowd that was attending the funeral ceremony has dispersed, and the cemetery has turned into a quiet field of sort. You have your music player switched off in favour of the serenity of the area, and you let the gentle breeze caress your face as it's blowing across the cemetery. It surely is peaceful, if not a bit morbid, but you don't mind. You don't get to enjoy this on daily basis, and you're thinking to spend the entire afternoon here before moving onward.
Your eyes catch the sight of someone. You turn around as to see who the person might be. It's the old man, and he's standing next to the new grave. You're curious; you don't remember seeing him with the crowd before, or when you first walked into the cemetery. Whatever the case, he doesn't seem to notice you.
[ ] Greet the old man. [ ] Leave him alone. Let him finish his business first.
Whoever this old man really is, we're starting to become a fixture in his life; I'm sure he would enjoy some silent companionship in the face of his grief, as leaving someone to grieve alone is rarely a kindness.
You keep yourself at a safe distance from the old man. You don't see why you should accompany him, since you don't have any kind of business to do with him. From what you can see, however, he's lonely, and you should spend a few minutes with him before going somewhere else. After all, he's already here, so why you should waste your time going to the marina and wait for him?
You walk out of the comfort zone of the oak tree's shadow and approach the old man. He doesn't seem to notice your presence as he's murmuring a prayer for the dead. You take closer look on the tombstone, but you can only read the last two digits of the year of the deceased. You look back at him, who's pretty much occupied in his prayers.
“So you did show up here, Kirisame,” the old man speaks, not looking up at you. “I was planning to have my men fetch you at the marina after this.”
“I'd rather enjoy the quietness of this place, if that's what you mean,” you answer. “Tell me, Gramps, whose grave is this, anyway?”
“Just someone I wanted to pay a last visit,” he answers and places an object on the tombstone; you notice that it's a bottle of vodka with what appears to be a Buddhist prayer beads hung around its neck. “You should do this once in a while, paying the dead a visit. It doesn't have to be anyone related to you.”
“You tell me,” you shrug. “This is your daily routine? I can see why you do this.” The old man nods silently and continues his prayers. “But still, to know that you wanted to see me here, this can't be about Reverie's parents, can it?”
“I'm surprised that you still remember,” the old man says.
“Hey, can't be helped when you have a girl who calls you her parents as she pleases, even when you aren't,” you answer.
“Alright, then. Follow me; I'll show you.” He finishes his prayers and walks away from the grave; you follow his lead until you arrive at another grave, and is told by him to read the tombstone's inscription. “Tell me what you see.”
“Let me see... in loving memories of... may her soul rest in peace and...” You shake your head; the rest of the inscription is too unreadable, but you can tell that this might be the last resting place for Reverie's parents. “Tell me what happened, Gramps. I have a lot of time today to listen,” you say.
“Her parents were involved in a car accident,” the old man speaks. “She was three years old when it took place, and it happened too fast for me to cope with it.” He pauses, as to put another vodka on the tombstone. “The thing is, she was involved, too, and I was there when their car crashed into the truck.”
“Hold on,” you interrupt. “You're saying that Reverie was one of the victims, and she survived?”
The old man nods. “I was shocked, too, because nobody could have survived the crash, and nobody should, but she did.” He sighs. “ You don't know what to speak. To know that Reverie is an orphan strikes you deep, and it hurts you to realize the fact that she has to live her life without the love and care of her parents. Maybe that's why she's very attached to you and Sylvia.
“What's the matter, Kirisame? You look troubled,” the old man asks when he notices the troubled look on your face.
You lower the front tip of your hat. “I... I don't know how I'd react if I was in her place. I would probably be devastated. But still, to know that she's an orphan, it's just...” You fall silent, and you're struggling to restrain yourself from shedding a tear, or letting it be seen by the old man. “Sorry.”
The old man laughs and pats your shoulder. “Don't worry about her, Kirisame. That girl has a will stronger than a mountain, and she always strives to be the best child in the family,” he tells you.
“But doesn't she ever realize the pain of living without her father and mother?” you ask again; this time you have to swallow the choking sensation that's building up inside your throat. “I mean, doesn't she ever have the chance to... visit her parents' grave once in a while?”
“Listen, Kirisame,” the old man utters. “I've been working days and nights only to make sure I can see her smiling every day, and if I have to put my life on the line for the purpose, I will do so. I'm not going to allow anyone to wipe the precious smile off the face, because if that's to happen.” He lets go off your shoulder and lifts his hand, clenching it into a fist. “I swear in the name of my family I will crush them in my hand.”
And then the wind blows across the cemetery. You're caught off-guard by the sudden gust and struggle to keep your hat from getting blown away. You glance at the old man and can't help noticing the same smile that appeared on his face when he introduced Reverie to you.
“Do you want to anywhere else after this, Kirisame?” the old man asks.
About Alyssa's past, maybe Marisa was fucking around with magic and something unexpected happened?
Maybe Young Alyssa wandered into a weak portion of the border and went missing, presumed eaten by youkai? Easily explained away by head trauma upon her entry into the outside world. I don't know man, I'm not good at this sort of shit. Just trying to avoid a LOLYUKARI scenario.
I sort of envisioned it as late-teens/early-twenties single Mom-risa realizes she can't balance raising six-month old Alyssa with her ordinary magician and youkai exterminating lifestyle. She ends up choosing her ambitions over her daughter, but she isn't sure she can take seeing Alyssa being raised by someone she might know. So she makes a deal with Yukari to find a foster family outside Gensokyo. [Insert speculation about Yuyuko and Grandma here.]
The whole reason Yukari is stalking the now adult Alyssa now is because she feels Alyssa deserves to know who her birth mother is. She's mearly doing it in the same whimsical fasion she does everything else.
“Actually, I do have somewhere to go after this,” you answer and rub your grumbling belly. “Walking around this place has made me hungry already. I could use the time to have myself a quick meal.”
“Surely you can'd feed yourself if you're already dead,” the old man jokes.
“Very funny, but I don't think I'll have that kind of chance if I ever arrive at Hades' gate,” you say. “I know a place; want to tag along?”
“You don't have to be this generous, Kirisame,” the old man says. “But I'll think of it.”
“No, you don't think about it,” you reply. “I'm serious, really. It's my treat.” You wait for the old man to answer, wand when he does it prompts you to frown. “Jeez, what's so funny about?” you grumble.
“Nothing,” the old man replies as he stops laughing. “I was just surprised that you'd still be considerate towards this senior citizen.”
“Stop saying such thing like you're going to die tomorrow.” You fall silent as you realize the mistake you've made. “Damn, what the hell is wrong with me? Talking about death in front of people like you...”
“There's no reason you should be worried about it,” the old man says assuringly. “As a matter of fact, this old man has started getting hungry, too.” - - Both you and the old man spend the most of the time on the road talking to each other about what to have for lunch. You find yourself unable to reach a mutual agreement with the old man as he insists that you and him have your meal at the same hotel you, Sylvia and Reverie had visited the night before, while you want to spend the afternoon at Grandma's place before going back home. After a few friendly banters both of you eventually agree to have lunch at the Butterfly Shoppe on the condition that the old man pays for the meal.
After a lengthy trip that you swear has almost taken the whole morning you and the old man arrive at the Butterfly Shoppe. You can see Grandma waving goodbye to her customers and stepping back into the shop; it surely is nice to see her wearing her favourite light blue/white gown with her signature elaborately decorated apron tied around her waist, giving her a much younger appearance than she looks.
“You seem to adore the lovely lady,” the old man says. You turn to the old man, who is as curious as you can imagine. “I never thought your choice to dine in would be... this mundane,” he comments.
“Mundane? Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not in the same class as your precious Reverie,” you grumble. He just smiles the reply, which irks you to no end. “And no; I'm not adoring Grandma in the way you'd think, but- bah! Whatever. Now that we're here, let's get inside and see her. Wonder if she can make me ice-cream cake for dessert.”
“It's Daddy!” You turn to the direction of the voice, and immediately get greeted by a tackling hug of sort as Reverie hurls herself at you. “It's really you! What are you doing here?” she asks as she tightens her arms around you.
“...Reverie, I should be asking you that question,” you say while trying to pay no attention to the girl clinging onto you.
“I'm here with Mommy and Miss O'Brien, Daddy,” Reverie answers and points to Sylvia and O'Brien. “Miss O'Brien said she wants to take us to the shopping complex today!” Her words are cut off when she spots the old man standing next to you, and she lets you go as she jumps at him. “Grandpa!”
“Didn't expect to see you here, Reverie,” the old man replies and lifts her in his arms.
“Me, too!” Reverie replies.
“Looks like we're in for a family gathering of sort right now,” O'Brien says as she and Sylvia approach you.
“Stop giving Sylvia that kind of idea, Doc,” you reply. “Well, at least Sylvia's all dressed up today. How was your sleep?” Sylvia makes several hand signs, and you can't help feeling guilty over the answer she gives. “Sorry for leaving you on the rooftop, but hey! You've got Doc to look after you, right?” Sylvia pouts and gives you more hand gestures, and you're having a hard time convicing your self-proclaimed wife you didn't leave her on purpose. “Come on, Sylvia! Will you please stop being paranoid for once and accept the reality of my lifestyle? It's not that I'm going to chase another girl, am I?” Sylvia pouts at the answer and points at you face, as if she's strongly against such idea. “What? You're saying that I'm double-crossing you? For God's sake, you really need to have your cranium checked, Sylvia.”
“Oh, you Alyssa,” O'Brien utters and places her hands on Sylvia's shoulders. “It's only natural that she, as a dedicated wife, expresses her concern over her husband's affair. Right, Sylvia?” Sylvia nods and sticks her tongue at you. “Now, now, Sylvia, what did I teach you about being a good wife?”
“Oh my~ what do we have here?” Everyone turns towards the door and sees Grandma walking out of the shop. “I thought there was a fight going on and- oh, Alyssa! Thank God it was you.”
“Yeah, it was me, indeed,” you retort. “Do we look like a bunch of troublemakers to you, Grandma?”
“Grandma!” Reverie jumps off the old man's arms and runs into Grandma's waiting arms. “Good day, Grandma! How are you today?”
“Good day to you, too, dear,” Grandma replies and pokes the girl's nose playfully. She notices the old man and nods to him. “And good day to you, Sir Mondlandern. I see you're in the best shape today.” The old man tips his fedora hat as a gesture of respect. “So! Now that everyone's here, why don't I treat you with my special ice cream-based lunch?”
“Hooray! I love you, Grandma!” Reverie exclaims. - - It's never a quiet affair when it comes to having lunch or dinner at Grandma's Butterfly Shoppe. There is always the time when you find yourself at the position of the unwilling audience as you have to watch the banter between Sylvia and Grandma, and with Reverie, her grandfather and O'Brien present the gathering is as lively as you can imagine. You never want to put yourself in such situation but for the sake of seeing Sylvia's smile you have to.
Well, at least you get to enjoy Grandma's very own ice-cream cake.
“Daddy!” Your attention to the meal is distracted by Reverie's loud voice, and you turn to the little girl. You find that she's holding your witch hat with utmost interest, and that she's captivated by its size that almost dwarves her head. “Where did you get this hat? Can I have one like this?”
You put the spoon you're holding and pinch Reverie's cheeks. “Reverie, didn't your grandfather teach you not to interrupt someone's quality time with their food?” you ask. You ignore Reverie's muffled cries and look at the old man, who just shrugs off with a smile, and you frown at the unassuming response. “Jeez, running away from your responsibility isn't going to help, you know.”
“I'm sorry, Kirisame, but I can't hear you over the sound of this cake,” the old man replies and eats a scoop of the ice cream cake.
You let go off Reverie's face. “Just do whatever you want, Reverie,” you say and resume eating the cake. “Just don't make a mess on the hat, okay?” You try focusing on the dessert, but the way Reverie, the old man and O'Brien are staring at you is putting you in an awkward position, and you really can't stand the attention you're getting. “I... I think I'll go wash the dishes,” you say hesitantly and excuse yourself to head for the kitchen.
“Something wrong, dear?”
You turn to the voice and see Grandma walking in. “Just having a shift in the mood, that's all,” you answer and focus on washing the dishes.
“Don't be like that,” Grandma says and approaches you. “You don't like to be in the crowd. I can see that in your eyes.” You say nothing and keep on washing the dirty plates, although you start slowing the work down. You stare at the reflection of your face in the sink, and the troubled, if not tired, expression is clearly visible on the surface of the water. “The more you keep it inside you, the more it will irritate you. Why don't you let me hear what your heart has to say?”
You just shake your head. “I... I'm fine. I was tired, I guess; sorry,” you say apologetically. You hear the woman giggling softly, and you can't help giggling with her as well. “I guess I 'm taking my life too seriously, right?”
“That's why you have to enjoy all your time in the world while you still have the chance to do so,” Grandma tells you.
“Thanks,Grandma. Say, can I ask... you something?”
“Yes, honey, you can.”
“How exactly did you find me in the first place?” You put down the plates you're holding and turn to her. “I only know that I have this certificate saying that you adopted me from the orphanage, but...” You scratch the back of your not-so-itchy head. “...that's not the whole story, isn't it?”
“Well, dear,” Grandma says and holds your hands, adjusting her position so that she's facing you. Your heart momentarily stops when you feel the warmth of her hands seeping into yours. “I don't know whether this is the right time to tell you everything, but...” She squeezes your hands. “I'm just not sure if you're ready for it.”
[ ] Tell Grandma you're ready. [ ] Tell Grandma it can wait.
I'm having second thoughts. What if this is much more important then we know? I don't want to ruin this happy scene with some serious business. Everything is fine the way it is, right? We don't need to know this very second, right?
You clench Grandma's hands as tightly as you can. It feels so comfortable, the warmth of her soft palm in your grasp, the way she's returning the gaze, how close your face and hers are; it's like you can stare deep into her soul and aren't bothered by the world around you. You don't know what she's trying to convey, but something's telling you that she just wants to be honest with you.
“Grandma,” you say and bring your face closer stil until the tip of your nose lightly brushes hers. “You know I'm always ready to hear you. You don't have to hide anything from me.”
“You sure, Alyssa?” Grandma asks in uncertainty.
“Come on, Grandma, you know me,” you reply. “Besides, I doubt I'll get this chance again after you're gone.” You chuckle half-heartedly. “Maybe I shouldn't mention the last part, but still...” You rest your forehead upon Grandma's, using your witch hat to shelter her head, and for a while you can feel her soft, warm breath caressing your face. “Well?”
Distracted, both you and Grandma turn around and see Reverie standing hear the door, holding the Alice in Wonderland book between her arms. “Now what?”
“Can you continue Alice’s story?” she asks.
“Reverie, not now,” you grumble. “Why can't you ask your grandfather to read the book for you?”
“I did, but Grandpa said you should read the story for us instead!” Us? Who is this us she's talking of? “Please, Daddy, pretty please?”
You stare at Grandma, then at Reverie. You sigh exasperatedly and let go off Grandma's hands. “Damn kids, always want to interrupt someone's business,” you grumble. “Oh, alright. Go back to the living room; tell everyone I'll show up in a moment.”
“Does that mean you'll read the story?” Reverie asks in excitement. You kneel in front of the girl and, in a sign of contempt, pinch her cheeks. Her shocked reaction, followed by her pleas for you to stop, get ignored as you continually play with her face, and you let go off her only when she starts crying. “Daddy, you're a bully!” she protests.
“Does that matter to you?” you ask; sometimes, you have to wonder whether people around you like to pull your legs for the sake of it. “Now go, shoo scram. I'll catch up with you later, so don't wait for me.” The disgruntled girl nods reluctantly and walks out of the kitchen, leaving just you and Grandma. You turn to her, who has started laughing over the scene. “Well... I guess it can wait,” you utter and fix your slipping witch hat. “Let's mete them, I bet they're dying to see a storyteller out of me.”
Together with Grandma you head to the living room, and the first thing that greets you is as heartwarming as it's complictaed: Reverie sitting on O'Brien's lap, flanked by Sylvia and the old man, reading Alice's story as loud as she can. “You shouldn't be so bothered by family gathering, you know,” Grandma tells you. “It's not like you'd lead your solitary life until the end of time.”
“I don't know, Grandma,” you answer. “I just... don't like the idea.” You flinch slightly when Grandma squeezes your hand, and for a while you're hesitant to return the clench. “Jeez, like I'm going to start a family of my own soon,” you grumble.
“Oh, you will,” Grandma replies.
“Whatever, Grandma.” You approach the couch and offer to sit beside the old man, but Sylvia is quick to protest the decision. “What do you want, Sylvia?” The girl surprises not only you, but everyone else as she sits atop of your lap, and she isn't bothered by your plight of having her weight on you. “Oh, for God's sake! How old are you again, Sylvia? Get off me right now!” She ignores you and instead wraps her arms about uour neck, and the fact that she's oblivious to the reacton Grandma, the old man and O'Brien are showing only serves to disgrace you. “This is NOT the time to show your affection, Sylvia. Get off me, or I have to push you aside.” She arches her eyebrow, as if she's challenging you to exactly that. “Oh, don't you dare doing that, Sylvia.”
“Oh you, Alyssa, why don't you just let her sit on you and hear reverie reading the book?” O'Brien says while patting the little girl's head. “And it's not that we'd be bothered by you and Sylvia being a loving couple, right Mister Drake?”
“I can't say if I have to agree with the statement, Doctor, but you do have a point,” the old man answers.
“That's right! Now that everyone is here, why don't all of us stay over for a day?” Grandma suggests. “We can even have dinner together tonight! What do you say, Alyssa?”
“No,” you answer.
“Aw, why not?” Grandma asks.
“Because I don't have time for dinner, that's why,” you tell her.
“Not even when you know I'm going to leave soon?” she asks again.
“I don't know what your intention is,” you say and finally manage to push Sylvia off your lap. “But I don't think having him,” you say and point at the old man, “and them,” and you point at O'Brien and Reverie, “and us,” and you point at your face, “under the same roof with you is a very good idea. Seriously, Grandma, why would everyone want to put me in this situation?”
“Because we are a big family, that's why!” Reverie exclaims. “Daddy is a meanie, because Daddy only wants to be lovey-dovey with Mommy!” Your face burns brightly, and Sylvia is as equally embarrassed as you are. Your effort to hide the mortified look on your face only makes them laugh at you. You realize you're in a state of despair, and you're not sure if you can bear with the teasing for longer.
You excuse yourself and leave the living room. “I... I need to go somewhere,” you say as to answer O'Brien's question. “You guys can go ahead with the dinner without me.”
“But Daddy, what about the story?” Reverie asks.
“I'll read you the book before bedtime.” You laugh apologetically. “Sorry, Reverie, everyone.” - - You're back at the streets. You feel a lot better, now that you no longer have to be at the business end of people's caper, and you're free to be in touch with the outdoor environment. There's no reason to be worried of whatever things that are trying to distract you, and you shouldn't be worried over everything.
You frown. Somehow you feel guilty for leaving Sylvia and everyone else without a concrete reason, and you realize it was probably the most foolish thing you've ever done. Maybe you should buy them something to make up for the mistake.
[X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. [X] None. Let's Parkour~ [X] Never Say Goodbye. --- [Not a real vote]
It's actually a tough choice between Seaside and Parkour: Parkour would definitely help her work out those frustrations, but it might not be the best time for a very confused girl to be running across rooftops.
Sorry for the lack of the update of this story (and LSL), but writefag is very busy this week.
Also, while we're at it, just because I feel like doing an update from someone else's POV this may or may not happen after Alyssa finds her way back to Gensokyo. Speculations about while the texts are tagged are welcomed, by the way.
[c]Seaside. - [c] After that, let’s do Parkour~ [c] Never Say Goodbye.
You take a deep breath. You realize you can’t solve this problem from just standing and doing nothing. The one thing you have in mind is to get some fresh air and let the wind blow away all your problems, and that means going for a stroll at the seaside, and you know just where to go. Donning your headphones once again, you head for the said location. - - You’ve arrived.
You’re relieved that no one is present at your secret place, and it matters to you because you want to fully use the opportunity from the situation. You waste no time and strip yourself down to your briefs and lie down on the sandy beach; nothing can beat getting soothed by the southern wind and lying under the South Hemisphere sun, and at once you feel all problems lifted off you and washed away by the gentle breeze. You close your eyes, allowing your body to relax, and you start feeling at peace; you have lost the count on how many times you’ve visited this place, but you know for sure this is the one place you’d go to get away from trouble.
For now, all you want to do is sun-bathe and get your skin tanned.
“Oh, my, you surely have the nerves to bask underneath the sun barely naked~”
The remark is more than enough to bring you out of your dream. Reluctantly you open your eyes and come face-to-face with the purple lady. “Careful, Alyssa. If you don’t watch your back, someone will pounce at you and do naughty things~” she remarks.
“Oh, jeez, stop showing up and scaring me with that stunt of yours,” you groan and cover your face with your hat. It gets removed, however, and you look back at the purple lady in disdain. “What do you want?” you ask.
“Silly Alyssa, like I’m going to let you live your life as freely as you wish,” she says while twirling the hat in her hand. She chuckles as you snatch your hat back, and doesn’t even flinch when you glower at her. “Easy now~ I’m not going to hurt you,” she utters.
“Yeah, and I’m getting tired from seeing you everywhere. Did you clone yourself for that purpose?” you ask. She honest-to-goodness laughs, and you find yourself furious over the response. “Hey, I’m serious here, so stop laughing for God’s sake.”
“Ah~ you’re one funny girl,” she remarks and opens the paper fan to hide her amused smile. “But still, you shouldn’t leave your family just because you don’t like what they do. Remember, they play a very important role in your life.”
You furrow your eyebrows. “How did you…” You get interrupted again as the woman prods the paper fan on your chest, and she merely smiles as you pout at the gesture. “You aren’t helping, you know,” you retort.
“Well, how am I supposed to help you if you never ask?” she replies.
“Jeez, you’re annoying. Whatever, I want to get some rest, so don’t disturb me,” you say and wear back your headphones. Your concentration on your song of choice is disrupted when the purple lady takes the gadget off your head and wears it. “That’s not nice. You should have asked,” you grumble. She ignores you and instead takes your music player to switch to songs only God knows what. You throw your arms up in surrender and lie back on the sandy beach. “Whatever. Do whatever you like, but don’t lose it,” you tell her.
“I won’t go anywhere, dear~” she remarks and closes her eyes as to enjoy the music. You just watch as the purple is nodding her head to the beat of the music, and you can’t help noticing the knowing, if not nostalgic, smile on her face. After what seems to be half an hour of music appreciation, she returns the music player and its gadget to you, placing them on your palm as if she understands they’re your property. “There you go. Make sure you keep them like they’re your most precious treasure,” she says.
“What’s up with that remark?” you ask.
She smiles and lightly taps the paper fan on your head. “Well, do you feel better now?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you say and grab your clothes next to you. “But yeah, I feel better – a bit, if that’s what you meant.” You dress up and get back on your feet. “I’m thinking of doing some free running. Want to join?”
“I think I’ll pass,” the purple lady replies. “I’m afraid I may not be able to keep up with someone as energetic as you.”
“Very funny. The next thing I know, you’ll pop up at our meeting point,” you chide.
She smiles. “We’ll see, Alyssa.”
Fixing your hat to keep it steady, you bid the purple lady farewell and leave the private beach to return to the bustling city. You head to the city park where a group of free-runners are gathering, and you greet them as you approach them. You express your desire for free-running to them, and are delighted when they invite you to join them. “Okay, guys, whoever gets to that building last,” you say and point to an office block nearby, “will have to treat all of us chocolate. Agree?”
“Really now? All we know is that you're pretty lousy in making bets,” one of them remarks.
“I'm on, bro,” his friend adds.
“Oh! Can you buy me chocolate ice-cream, too?” one of your female friends says.
You scratch the back of your head in amusement. “Jeez, you guys,” you say and immediately take your run. “You better catch me if you want to have chocolate!” you yell and head straight to the office block. You can hear them laughing as they chase after you across the streets, dodging and jumping over traffics, blending in the ocean of humans and scaling walls. - - You arrive at the rooftop. You turn to your partners who show up seconds behind, and grin victoriously as they're struggling to approach you. “That means you've lost the game, eh?” you say amusedly.
“Not really, but a promise is a promise,” your friend says with a tired grin. “We can never outrun the blazing star, that's the fact.”
“Cut that out, guys, I'm in good mood today, so I'll buy you dinner,” you say. “Anyway…” You turn around and look at the opposite building, not aware of your friends who have gathered around you. “What do you think?”
“You're crazy enough to scale up this building while we have to pass by the security,” he speaks. “But jumping from here to there?” He looks at you, and you can't help seeing the motivated grin on his face, as well as the rest of your colleagues. “Let's do it. All of us. We jump from here to there and continue our run.”
“You're crazy,” you comment.
“Well, aren’t all of us are?” he replies. “Come on, you've jumped off the bridge and landed on the moving barge safely. I’m sure you can do this jump easily.”
You stare at him. “There’s a difference between climbing a building and jumping between buildings,” you say and look at the twenty-foot gap that stretches between the two buildings. “Why don’t you try doing that and see for yourself?”
“Actually… that’s why we asked you,” his girlfriend adds. “We’re kind of… not confident of our own ability, so…”
“And here I thought you people are the best free-styled, unrestrained free runners in the city,” you retort. “Seriously, why are all of us up here in the first place? There are times and places for everything, and this? It isn’t one of them.” Seeing none of them say anything, you shake your head in disgrace and turn around to head back to the door. “That’s it, guys. I’m going home; can’t afford to be late for…” Your steps halt, and you can’t believe who’s waiting for you at the door. “…dinner.”
Your Parkour friends approach you, curious and surprised by your companion’s presence. “Is she your friend, Alyssa?” your friend asks. “She looks… old.”
“Oh, ho~ you surely have the balls to call me old, young boy,” the purple lady says almost threateningly; is it you, or did you just see the air behind her bulging and cracking?
The purple lady chuckles and waves her hand dismissively. “Now, now, all of you, I’m not here because I’m the little comet’s friend or something. I just want to see how far she can reach for the stars before she comes crashing into the earth. That would be nice to see, wouldn’t it?”
“I find that remark insulting, thank you very much,” you retort.
“Oh, come on~ surely you don’t find the opportunity to impress your girl friends enticing, do you?” To your chagrin, some of your female colleagues are blushing, and you look back at the purple lady who merely smiles. “What? It’s the truth; after all, you’re quite infamous for stealing their precious things~”
“I am not, and stop giving people more bad ideas about me,” you grumble.
“Why?” she asks.
“Because that’s the worst thing people will do, that’s why,” you answer. “Goddamn it. Why is it wherever I go people will start having bad impression about me? What am I, a thief?” None of them – not even the purple lady – answers you, and it’s pissing you. “That’s it. I’m going home. No one is making fun of me, and I mean no one.”
“Oh? I believe your ordinary magician mother will disagree with you.” You halt just a few inches short from the door. You turn around and glower at the purple lady. You’re as angry over the remark, as you are intrigued; you’re very certain she was speaking Japanese, but how could you understand her?
“I’ll tell you everything you want to know, dear~” she speaks and closes the handheld fan. “But only if you agree to perform the jump of faith.”
“Are you pulling my legs? That’s a twenty-foot gap between her and there,” you point out. “No ordinary people can make the jump and get to the other side alive.”
“Oh, yes, they can,” she says. “If they’re willing to throw their common sense out of the window.” Once again, she speaks Japanese, and once again you can understand every single word. Your head starts aching, and you almost feel like you’re going to puke and black out. You manage to stay composed and stare at the purple lady, long enough to make her chuckle. “Well?”
You turn to your Parkour colleagues, then back at the purple lady, and finally at the twenty-foot gap. The prospect of hearing everything from your ‘mysterious’ friend is too good to pass up, but you’re concerned about whether you can perform the seemingly impossible feat.
[ ] Do it. [ ] Don’t do it.
Casts introduced so far: + Alyssa Kirisame + Sylvia + Grandma + Reverie Mondlandern + Shopkeeper Andrew + Natalie O’Brien + “Old Man” Drake Mondlandern + Missus Vixen/The Mysterious Purple Lady + Officer Howard + Cheshire Cat
[X] Do it. You don't hold back; 20 feet is 6 meters; easily doable under ideal conditions for a healthy girl who does this sort of exercise for a living. In this case the only thing holding you back is your mind (and the slight but ever-present possibility you might misjudge the jump and fall to your death for something silly but that is beside the point)
>>24021 So instead of hidden blades, Alyssa wields hidden Hakkeros? Fund it, please.
>>23939 You mean mute and cute wife. Tagging picture as spoiler because that's how I want Sylvia to look like.
[c] Do it.
You leave the woman behind and examine the jump you're going to take. Twenty foot between this office block and that building. You remember performing this kind of jump some times ago, but it was done on ground level rather than between buildings, and you remember how painful it was to push your body to its absolute limit just to clear the distance. Well, at least you know you've jumped this far many times in the past, and the only hurdle that's separating you from a safe landing and a certain bad end is your mind.
You've always taught yourself not to hold back.
Holding back will not help you achieving your goal.
You turn back to the purple lady and your friends. They're very eager to see you taking the jump and landing on the other side. You take your starting point, take a deep breath, and fix your hat.
Put your attention on the finishing line.
Jump over the gap.
Make a safe landing.
Poise a victorious pose.
This is it.
It's now or never.
And that's when you feel your shoulder tapped from behind.
You turn around, and come face-to-face with the purple lady. “That's enough, Alyssa. You've done so many things today. Take a rest.”
“Huh?” You're confused; what does she mean you've done so many things? “But I'm already prepared to take the jump! Are you saying that I don't have to do it?”
She smiles and removes your hat head before putting her hand on your scalp. “Your determination and willingness to take the chance is admirable, and showing them is enough for me,” she answers.
You're not satisfied. You want to know. You need to know.
“I'm stopping you because I have promised her to take care of you,” she continues. “It would be a disaster if I were to forsake my responsibility and leave you to decide your own fate in this... world full of uncertainty.” You pout at the reason, and she merely chuckles as she starts patting you. “To know that you have grown up to become what you are today, I'm sure your mother will be very happy to be reunited with you, Alyssa.”
She lets go off you and turns to your friends. “So, everyone! I'm sure each of you here must be very frustrated for not able to see Alyssa doing the impossible, right? How do you like it if I take all of you for a treat?” At once they cheer and start requesting for all sort of things you can imagine, and you can see the purple lady smiling over the scene, almost as if she's a mother delighted to grant her children’s wishes.
She looks back at you. “And what about you, dear?”
“You tell me,” you retort.
She chuckles. “Now, now, dear~ don't be such a shy girl and just tell me what you want, okay?” This woman, always full of surprise and shrouded in the shadow of doubt. You stare at her long enough to make her hide her grin behind the handheld fan. “Well?”
You're about to answer her, but the headache from earlier returns, causing more pain and you had first thought. The chatters of your friends are drowned by an intense, deafening ringing noise inside your head; you start losing you foot balance, and you topple off your feet as you fall forward, falling, falling, falling...
And then you get caught in a pair of soft, comfortable, almost motherly, arms.
“Oh, dear me~”
You look up. A soft, sympathetic smile is all you can see before blackness starts shrouding your vision.
“It's alright, Alyssa. You've done everything, so take a rest~”
So warm... but why?
“Well, look who's back.”
You get up. You turn your head to the left and face the Cheshire Cat, who is annoying as it was when the two of you first met. “Let me guess: I'm back in this dreamland,” you say matter-of-factly. “I can imagine you've been waiting for me since whenever.”
“Not reeeeaaaaally,” the cat answers. “You were already here when I arrived. Something happened at the outside world again, I presume?”
“Cut it out, I'm not in the mood to talk about it,” you grumble. You stand up and look around; you're back at the hill that's overseeing the countryside, but something about the attire you're wearing is disturbing. The Cheshire Cat just smile as you're trying to figure out why you're donning the Mad Hatter's get-up instead of Alice's maid dress. “I don't find this very... fitting. Am I as crazy as him?” you sigh.
“No, no, you should ask this instead.” The Cheshire Cat disappears and reappears on your shoulders, curling its somewhat fluffy tail about your neck as if it has found its perfect resting spot. “Am I not crazy enough to be him? After all, you look absolutely purrrrr-fect in top hat and monocle.”
You shove the cat off your shoulder. It doesn't fall to the ground as you'd expect, but instead it floats very close to your face. “You're the most annoying little furball I've ever met, do you know that?”
“Now, now~ you're starting to act exactly like the Mad Hatter, and that's scary,” the cat uter, even as it's lazily lying on its back, doing a backstroke of sort. “So, what's your plan right now?”
“My plan?” you scoff. “What do you expect from me?”
“Well, I was thinking you could use the time to venture around,” the cat answers as it 'swims' around you. “Or you can always choose to get out of this dream and go back to your world, but I doubt you'd ever do that. Right?”
“Jeez, what are you in the first place? Some kind of contract dealer?” The cat grins widely at the mention of 'contract' and seeing the knowing, if not malicious, smile is enough to send chills down your spine. You turn around, not wanting to let the cat see your fear-struck face. “Whatever. I don't I want to have any conversation with you right now,” you utter.
“Suit yourself, then. Until we meet again~” You hear a laugh, and the cat has disappeared from your vision. What a strange fellow, but then again the world you're in right now is as equally strange. You have naught an idea on how to spend your time, and there isn't really anything you can do.
Or is it?
[ ] Close your eyes. It's just a dream, right? [ ] Wait. Let's see if something is up. [ ] Walk down the hill and head to the first human settlement you see. [ ] On the other hand, why are you dressed up as the Mad Hatter?
[c] On the other hand, why are you dressed up as the Mad Hatter?
This is ridiculous.
You're letting yourself be taunted by trivial matters like this? Not in a million years! A dream is just a dream, and you don't have time to meddle with it. You need to get out of this silliness, and that's what you're going to do.
You close your eyes.
You start the count.
One. Two. Three.
You open your eyes.
You're still on the hilltop. You're not daunted by this setback. You can try again; hopefully the second time will work the charm.
You close your eyes.
One. Two. Three.
You open your eyes.
You grumble. You thought getting out of this dream would be as simple as that. You were wrong.
You sigh. What are you going to do now?
You look all over yourself. You suddenly realize that you're dressed up as the Mad Hatter, and you don't like the idea of being “involuntarily” dressed up as someone else. You can get the clothing off your body, either, almost as if it's becoming a second skin of sort. The only item that you can take off is the top hat, and as you examine the item you realize it only serves to put the “silly” on your face. Only a stage magician would wear a hat this ridiculous, and you aren't one.
You put the hat back on. You stay idle, watching over the mysterious land for a while, wondering about what to do next.
“Oh yes, mustard!”
You, strike some 'fabulous' poses, taking off and putting back the hat, spinning on your toes and waving your gloved hands to imaginary people around you. “Do you care for tea? If you don't care for tea, you could at least make polite conversation!” You stop spinning and face the tree, pointing at it as if it's your partner. “Hahahahaha! No wonder you're late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow!” you exclaim while brandishing your imaginary pocket watch. This is fun. You could spend the whole day impersonating the Mad Hatter, what with the monocle, silly-looking top hat and tons of quotable dialogues-
Wait a minute.
Monocle? Top hat? Quotable dialogues?
You cringe; no wonder you're feeling a bit of the lunacy in the atmosphere. You were acting exactly like the Mad Hatter.
A name pops up inside your head. It’s clear, it’s irritating, and it wants you to say it aloud. You’re hesitant for a while, what if it’s just one of this dream’s endless ploys to annoy you? What repercussion you may face if you call out the name?
You shake your head; if you don’t try, how would you know?
For some reason the name gets stuck inside your throat. You try saying the name again, but it stubbornly refuses to get past your lips. You start getting frustrated; if you don’t do it now, you won’t be able to get out of this dream.
You’re undaunted. Surely this is just a test, isn’t it? If you could push yourself, you could say the name and-
“Ufufufufu~ clever girl, trying to call my name when the time hasn’t come yet~”
You’re startled. That voice, it can’t be!
“Now, now, dear~ I know you’re desperate to return to your living world~ relax, don’t be afraid. I’ll help you~ and don’t worry; there will be no cat.”
How are you supposed not to be afraid when listening to the voice alone is enough to make you tremble in fear?
You look around, desperate to find where this person may be, whether she’s invisible to your naked eye or is hiding in plain sight. You know she’s watching you, and you know she’s out there, somewhere. Yet try as you might, you’re unable to even get a glimpse of her.
Once again your head starts spinning. It doesn’t take long before you lose conscious, and once again you descend into the ground up ahead. It feels so slow, the fall, almost as if it’s taking forever for you to kiss the dirt.
And once again, you get caught by those arms. The very same arms that you had fallen into when you fainted on top of the building.
“Oh dear me~”
The voice chuckles. This time, it’s a different voice, and you know for sure it doesn’t belong to her. You try lifting your head, hampered by an uncomforting weight being pressed against the back of your neck, and when you finally manage to look up…
A witch hat?
It’s a smile. A youthful, caring and maternal smile.
And that’s all you can see before your vision goes black.
And yet, somehow you feel you’ve seen the smile before.
Who… who is it? - - You open your eyes. The pain is unbearable, almost as if your eyelids are stabbed with a thousand pre-heated sealing needles. You try moving around, cringing when your limbs cramp without warning. You look around, realizing you’re lying inside what you can only assume as an emergency ward.
Thank God you’re back at the hospital. Yeah, at least you know you’re still in one piece-
Wait a minute. The hospital?
You feel so messed up. Everything you’ve gone through up till now, you don’t want to think about. It hurts your head – and heart – just recalling the ordeals. Fuck, when you thought you could have some aspirin to get rid off the headache.
And now you’re alone, with basically no one to look after you. What the hell’s wrong with everyone? Shouldn’t there be at least someone staying behind with you?
Shucks. Now what? You can’t stay here and spend the rest of this horrible day with the nightmare still visible in your head, can you?
[ ] Keep yourself mum and just lie down on the bed. [ ] Get off the bed and get out of the room.
>>24155 Unless they can prove Alyssa is damaging property or entering buildings unlawfully, her parkour antics are, at worst, a public nuisance. Sure, Howard can arrest her but the court will probably just fine her.
[x] Get off the bed and get out of the room. No problem was every solved by staying in bed.
Serial ATA!umMKyLfC5.2011/09/26 (Mon) 14:21No. 24235▼
Sorry for the delay, but here is the update~
[c] Get off the bed and get out of the room.
This is annoying.
You don’t like the idea of getting locked up for medical purpose, and you hate it when you’re confined on the bed, unable to do anything, while people around you are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. You detach the IV tubes off your arms and get off the bed, ignoring the fact that you’re clad in only patient wear. You don’t care, so long as you can get out of the stagnant room.
You walk past several of the hospital staffs, greeting them and poking at their shocked reaction to your resilience. You’re used to their response, having known them for years and they’re pretty much familiar with your antics (not that some of the new faces wouldn’t complain over your refusal to stay at your room, but it’s very fun poking at their apparent lack of understanding – you even call one of them “useless nurse” for being too nosy).
Come to think of it, how long have you passed out? You don’t think you’ve lost too much time in the hospital, have you? You try asking every person you come across, but none of their answers do anything to satisfy your curiosity. Four days? You feel like you’ve just slept for a couple of hours; you know from past experience that your body would ache all over from oversleep, so waking up and not feeling unwell strikes you as weird.
Your stomach grumbles. Right, you better find something to eat – a chocolate bar would be sufficient to restore some lost strength. You head to the vending machine, only to realize that you’re penniless. Cursing yourself for the lack of awareness, you head back to your room to get enough money. Even if you don’t have the coins, you still have some cash to spend at the cafeteria.
And that’s when you walk past them.
Your lovely, dedicated wife and your energetic self-proclaimed daughter, huddling and sleeping together on the couch not far from the reception counter. You stare at them, then at the receptionist who motions at you to keep quiet. They don’t seem to be aware of your presence, nor do they notice you standing in front of them.
Jeez. Seeing them in this state…
[ ] Wake them up. [ ] Don’t wake them up. [ ] Ask the receptionist how long they’ve been at the hospital.
[c] Ask the receptionist how long they’ve been at the hospital.
You look back at the receptionist. She merely smiles as you approach the counter and look up at her. “Seriously, how long they’ve been sleeping out here?” you ask.
“For the same amount of days you were unconscious, dear,” the receptionist answers. “I had told them they needed not to worry about you, but they insisted that they stay until you wake up.”
“How long I passed out?” you ask.
“Four days, to be exact,” she answers.
You scratch your not-so-itchy head. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” you utter. “There’s no way Sylvia and… Reverie would stay here for that long just to wait for me to wake up.”
“I’m not kidding you. Everybody in this hospital knows about this,” she says. “We’re kind of envious, too, seeing your beloved wife willing to spend her time here when she should stay at home instead.” She smiles again. “That is dedication, you know.”
You frown. This is ridiculous, to have people who care for you to go such extent. “Does that mean they spend the whole time sleep on the couch?” you ask, even though you know that isn’t a possibility.
“Oh, you Alyssa, who’s going to sleep on the couch for four days straight?” O’Brien asks as she approaches the counter. “How are you doing? I see you’ve regained your strength. Feeling ready to scale office buildings again?”
“Doc, if you’re going to start an argument with me, I don’t have the mood for that,” you utter. “Also, you didn’t bother telling them to stay at home, didn’t you?” Her face twitches slightly in discomfort, and she quickly switches focus to the receptionist. You knew it. “Jeez, I don’t want to know what you guys were doing for the past four days.”
You leave O’Brien at the reception counter and approach the sleeping ladies. Staring at their peaceful face, their unawareness of the surrounding as they’re enjoying their slumber, you can’t help feeling miserable for forcing them to go through this matter – all because of your recklessness – and you wonder if you can compensate for that.
You chuckle. At least you get to see Sylvia’s cute sleeping face in close proximity.
“Hey, Doc,” you call O’Brien. “I’m kind of hungry. Do you want to go eat something?”
“Oh? Leaving your significant others out here while you go treat your own tummy? That’s unfair, you know,” O’Brien says.
“Shush, you,” you retort. “And I’m treating. Seriously.” You swear you want to run away the moment you see that giddy smile on her face… - - “So tell me, what really happened for the past four days?” you ask as you’re busy engorging yourself with tuna sandwich.
“Apart from Sylvia and Reverie visiting you every often? Nope, not that I can remember,” O’Brien answers and puts down the teacup. “Well, Mister Drake did show up yesterday and asked me when you would leave the hospital.”
“He did?” you ask in muffled voice. “Did he ask for anything outrageous?”
O’Brien chuckles and wipes some bread crumbs off your cheeks. “Now, now, Alyssa, you shouldn’t overeat yourself. What will Grandma think when she sees you like this?”
“That reminds me, has she left?”
“No, she cancelled her flight as soon as she heard the news,” she answers. You put down the half-eaten sandwich and look at her. “See? You shouldn’t make everyone worried about you too much. What are you going to do when something happens to them?”
“You tell me,” you mutter.
“Alyssa, dear, how long are you going to continue living that lifestyle?” she continues. “Look around you. Girls at your age are already gone to college or get married; you’re the only one in the whole city I know who choose to be a transporter. Why, if I must ask?”
“Doc, didn’t I make it clear years ago?” you say and continue eating the sandwich. “I chose this path out of necessity, not of desire. I can’t survive this place if I keep depending on other people, even if that means putting my life on the line.”
“Why, you already made your point,” O’Brien says. “Oh, will you please stop hogging that poor sandwich?”
“Come on, Doc! I haven’t had anything for ever!” you grumble and continue munching upon your hapless prey.
“I can see that, but you’ll choke yourself if you don’t-” Almost on cue you choke on a chunk of sandwich, and hastily you gobble a glassful of water to relieve yourself. “See? Told you not to do that.”
“Doc, I bet you would do the same if you were starving,” you utter.
“As if I would,” O’Brien chides.
You finish the rest of the sandwich and lean on the chair, patting your now full but satisfied tummy. Mumbling incoherently about the pleasure of food, you outstretch yourself and turn to O’Brien, who’s still yet to finish her tea. “Hey, Doc.”
“What is it, Alyssa?” she asks.
“I… I have something to tell you,” you say. You’re reluctant at first, as you want to share the dream you’ve had with her, but for some reason you’re compelled to do so. “I have this… weird dream. I had it while I was unconscious, and…”
“And?” O’Brien asks as she leans forward, seemingly interested.
“And… how should I say this… it’s so weird I can’t even describe it…” You falter. You really don’t want to do this, but the very last image you saw before your vision blacked out is very tantalizing.
“Go on, tell me about it,” O’Brien tells you.
[ ] Tell her about the dream. - [ ] In details. - [ ] Briefly. [ ] Don’t tell her about the dream.
You begin by telling O’Brien how you came in touch with your journey to the mysterious Wonderland, and how you were dressed up like the titular character. You also describe how you had an encounter with the Cheshire Cat and trying not to have a conversation wit it, which has O’Brian laughing at you. Fuming at her for not being helpful, you press on with the second dream sequence, where you once again returned to the Wonderland but under a different circumstance.
“So… you were dressed up as the Mad Hatter in that dream,” O’Brien inquires.
“That I am, Doc,” you answer.
“And you even acted like the Mad Hatter,” she says while taking notes of it. “It was your worse moment, wasn’t it?”
“Well, it wouldn’t be that worse if I didn’t tell you about it, didn’t I?” you scoff. “Besides, I’m not that crazy to be a Mad Hatter.” You shake your head. “If I ever see that goddamn cat again… God, how I hate its mocking grin.”
She nods and puts down the pocketbook. “Is there anything else I should know about your dream?”
“I heard a voice,” you speak. “I swear I’ve heard it somewhere before, but I couldn’t figure out who it belonged to. And then…” You pause, only because you immediately recall the warmth you felt when you passed out. “I saw this… figure. Well, not exactly a figure, but its hat… its hat is somehow similar to the witch hat I have.”
O’Brian scratches her chin. “I’m not a psychologist, and I know very little of dream interpretation,” she speaks. “But all I can say is this: don’t let yourself get carried away by it. If anything, it’s just how your brain reorganizes itself after going through difficult days.”
“Nice, but I don’t think that’s going to be helpful,” you retort.
“I didn’t take psychology in college, thank you very much,” O’Brien answers.
The conversation continues. This time you speak of your numerous encounters with the “purple lady”, remarking that you’re becoming used to her unorthodox presence, and get reminded by the doctor that you shouldn’t get too attached to somebody who you barely know much, more so since the said person is the same person who you had initially wanted to avoid. Then you ask the doctor about what had happened in your four-day absence, and she points to your birthday party being rescheduled and everyone being anxious to have you returning from your comatose.
“So you’re saying that everybody was expecting me to wake up in time for my birthday party?” you ask.
“Of course everyone is,” O’Brien answers. “You wouldn’t think Sylvia and Reverie would spend their days here for you, would you?” She snickers. “You know, like a wife and a child?”
“I-that doesn’t mean they should waste their time waiting for me to wake up!” you answer, your face and ears blushing over the ‘wife and child’ remark. “Jeez, you could’ve told them to just wait for me at home – or Grandma’s place. Was that too hard to do?”
“It isn’t the problem of asking them to go home or not, Alyssa,” O’Brien says. “It’s the fact that they wanted to stay here in the first place. Well, I did take them for a walk, but that was it.” You narrow your gaze; it’s enough to make the doctor shrink in embarrassment. “Why? Is my answer not satisfactory enough?” she asks nervously.
“Yes, it is,” you answer matter-of-factly. “Either that, or you’re conspiring with somebody to hide the truth from me. Do you think I wouldn’t-”
“Oh, my, what do we have here~?”
You turn around.
You find yourself staring at that all-too-familiar face.
And she smiles.
“For God’s sake!!!” You jump off the chair and point straight at that face. “What the hell are you doing here of all place?!” you bark.
‘Miss Vixen’ merely hides her amused chuckle behind the paper fan. “Oh, Alyssa you being silly, is it wrong for me to get to know about your welfare?”
“I… I don’t even… what?”
She turns to O’Brien. “I’m very sorry if my… friend’s antics have caused you so many troubles,” she utters and bows – a Japanese bow, on top of that. “But really, she’s just a blazing star, not bound by earthly limitations. It’s hard to keep up with her.”
To your chagrin, O’Brien decides to play along with her. “Of course she isn’t, otherwise everybody at the hospital won’t get the chance to make friend to her,” she says. “Right, Alyssa~?”
“Really, now,” the purple lady says and laughs. “To know that she’s hospitalized and missing her birthday party…” You swear to yourself that either they’re conspiring something against you, or you’re still stuck in the dream (you even punch yourself in the face, much to everyone’s surprise, to make sure that you aren’t hallucinating).
“And speaking of birthday party,” the purple lady says and smack your head with the paper fan. “Do you have any idea of how terribly frustrated everyone that we had to postpone the party until you recovered? Shame on you, Alyssa, you should be more considerate toward everybody.”
“What? I’m sorry if I ever annoyed the hell out of everyone,” you reply.
Her eyes narrow. “Am I expecting myself to accept kind of apology, hmm?” she asks and continues smacking your head. “Terrible, terrible, if you don’t want us to celebrate your birthday, at least please think of Sylvia; she’s willing to wait for you to wake up so that she can buy you cake.”
“That is not funny at all,” you retort while rubbing the sore spot on your forehead. “Give me a break, will you?”
“What is not fun? Hitting your forehead or telling you the truth?” she replies. “And no, I won’t give you a break. At least, not until you learn the truth about you and your origin. Also.” She prods the paper fan against your forehead for – you hope – the last time (and it better be). “Send me an invitation card to your wedding day. Both you and Sylvia really are made for each other~”
Furiously you shove the purple lady away, stand up and point at her, shouting “Will you please, for once, STOP FOLLOWING ME LIKE A STALKER?” You’re certain you’re attracting a lot of attention, but you don’t care. You’ve had enough. You’ve had enough of every single joke and tease people are saying about you and her.
She just smiles.
And this infuriates you even more.
God, how you wish you could rub that smug off her face!
“Now, now, Alyssa, I’m very sorry if I have somehow offended you,” the purple lady apologizes. “Besides, you should chill out and take it easy. Being stressed all the time isn’t going to be helpful to your health. Oh, yes. Doctor? Is she ready to be released from the hospital?”
“Well, she still needs to have medical examination after this, but seeing her in this state…” O’Brien honest-to-goodness giggles. “I guess it isn’t necessary.”
“Of course! We all are mere obstacles in the face of a comet~” ‘Miss Vixen’ replies and sits down, taking your place in the process. “And while we’re at it, I’m kind of hungry. What did Alyssa have for lunch break, I wonder~”
She looks up at you.
“You just had sandwich? What kind of diet you’re having?” Oh, no, she starts whining. What the hell? “A good girl like you should take nutritious food, not eating junks! Didn’t you take your lesson from your wife?”
“Look! Why the hell should I care about my diet?” you bark. “And why are you suddenly involving Sylvia in this?!”
“Because it’s for your health, that’s why,” she replies. “Starting today, you are not allowed to eat junk food. You must take a balanced diet, you must exercise regularly, you must watch the traffic before crossing the road…”
Face, you can meet your friend palm now.
[ ] Stay for a while. - [ ] Join them but don’t participate in their conversation. - [ ] Join them and take part in their conversation. [ ] Find Sylvia and Reverie, leave the hospital and… - [ ] …visit Grandma. - [ ] …go see Andrew. - [ ] …just go home.
Send Reverie to the old man’s home? [ ] Yes. [ ] No.
Change of POV: Sylvia time? [ ] Yes, please. [ ] No, not yet.
>>24506 I'm still alive, but update is hampered by the difficulties of writing down dialogues with one of the participants speaking in sign language. So yeah, it may take a while before I can get over it.
Serial ATA!n7aMCKsvzM2012/01/01 (Sun) 08:18No. 24556▼
[c] Find Sylvia and Reverie, leave the hospital and… - [c] …visit Grandma.
Send Reverie to the old man’s home? [c] No.
“Huh, I guess I don’t have a place in this conversation,” you utter. “So, ladies, please excuse me while I kick the bucket and get out of here.”
“Oh, don’t be such a silly and leave in a hurry,” the purple lady says. “We still have a lot of things to discuss, you know. Or~” She hides her oh-so-obviously-foxy smile behind the paper fan. “Do you rather be at home with your beloved ones right now?”
You’ve had enough of this mockery. Either you stay and be ridiculed by her antics, or you go home and forget everything you’ve gone through. “Even a pro wrestler takes a vacation, so why can’t I?” you reply and leave the table. You really wish you could tell the purple lady how annoyed you are at her, but…
You’re dressed up. No longer are you in the patient’s gown as you’re back in your favourite black-white witch attire, and it feels somewhat good to be back to your usual self. Not wanting to waste anymore time, you leave the dressing room and head to the receptionist counter. You can only hope that Sylvia and Reverie haven’t left the hospital already, because you already have a plan that involves them.
“Daddy!” The all-too-familiar voice greets you, which is later followed by a tackling hug as Reverie jumps at you. “What took you so long? We’re already getting ready to go home!”
You snicker. “Well, yeah, blame the hospital for locking me in for four days,” you utter while returning the hug.
“Yeah, and you missed your birthday party, too! Me and Mommy were waiting for you to come back, so-” Reverie falls silent, and it doesn’t take too long for you to realize why. “Stop scaring me and Mommy…” she murmurs and buries her face beneath the skirt. “Who’s going to look after us when you’re gone?”
“Sorry,” you apologize and ruffle her hair, making the little girl giggle. You, then, turn your attention to Sylvia; she’s smiling, but you can tell there’s sadness she’s trying to hide. “Oh, don’t you just stand there, come over here,” you say and motion at her to come close. As you’ve thought, she throws herself at you and embraces you very tightly, while burying her face beneath your shoulder as if to hide any tears she’s shedding. “Oh, bother,” you sigh and gather everyone for a big hug. “I’m alright, and I’m in one piece, so stop crying over me, okay?”
After a few minutes of hugging, cuddling and snuggling, you slip yourself from the girls’ almost possessive embrace. “Come on, girls, let’s go home. Can’t stand the wretched stench of this place,” you utter. “Reverie, go tell your Grandpa you’re staying with us.”
“Ah… umm, really?” Her eyes brighten in glee; you swear to God you can actually see heart-shaped projectiles getting fired from that gaze. “You really, really mean it? I can stay with Daddy and Mommy for as long as I like?”
“I didn’t say you could, silly,” you chide. “Now, why don’t you go make a phone call and tell him everything’s alright?” She makes haste to the counter, leaving only you and Sylvia. You stare at the lovely woman, and in turn she smiles at you. Goodness, she looks adorable with that warm smile…
“Guess I owe you a lot of explanation,” you utter and take her hand. “Just tell me where we should be headed to.” She just smiles and clenches your hand as tightly as you can imagine. “Well, I guess we should just go to the place we’re familiar with.”
[PART ONE OF TWO]
Serial ATA!n7aMCKsvzM2012/01/01 (Sun) 08:26No. 24557▼
Note: this takes place sometimes during Alyssa’s conversation with O’Brien…
Change of POV: Sylvia time? [c] Yes, please.
You open your eyes.
The first thing that greets you is the welcoming smile of the receptionist. Confused, you rub your sleepy eyes and stare at the elderly woman, long enough to make her chuckle. “Good morning, dear,” she greets while removing the blanket off your body. “How was your sleep? I hope you had a sweet dream last night.”
Oh, no, don’t worry about me, I’m doing fine.
The receptionist chuckles. “Well, then, I bet you feel very sore all over, so why don’t you get up,” and so saying she pulls you from the comfortable cushion. “And get yourself prepped? A lovely lady like you ought to get enough strength to greet her beloved husband~” You protest, insisting that you stay and wait for Alyssa first. “Oh, come on~ what good a wife’s dedication to her significant other is when she doesn’t look after herself first?”
But my duty as a wife comes first! Surely my own welfare comes later?
The elderly woman doesn’t seem to buy the excuse (even after you make the cutest pouting face you usually reserve for Alyssa) and put her hands over your shoulders. “Now, listen closely to me, dear, I’ve met many women like you in my whole life, who insisted that they stayed and greet their husbands while neglecting their own needs,” she speaks while staring straight into you eyes, making you shiver, “and many times I’ve seen them failing to live up to their roles. So… do you understand what I’m telling you?”
You nervously nod. You know it’s useless to win any argument with her.
She smiles. “Now that’s better. You brought your essentials with you, right?” You nod again. “Good! Now we better get you and your child dressed up properly before the father shows up. Come on!” Hesitantly you follow her to the changing room, knowing very well that you can’t, under all circumstances, argue with your mother figure and win…
“There, isn’t that better?”
You smile sheepishly, if only just. The receptionist’s taste for today’s clothing is questionable, if not downright ridiculous, but you can’t complain about it. A simple sundress with elaborate flowery patterns, complimented with a sun hat that comes complete with miniature sunflower decoration. You don’t complain her choice; it’s just that you’d better be dressed up properly to welcome Alyssa.
And you notice with slight alarm that your chest has become too tight for the sundress.
Have I become fat?
“Oh, come on, you can’t let that distress you,” the receptionist utters when she notices the dejected look on your face. You show her the reason behind the dejected look, and she stares at your chest for a few good seconds before she laughs. “Oh, dear~ I should get you looser dress next time.”
You pout. Even for someone who loves to make fun of her husband’s chest size, you still want to be modest. You insist that you get a more proper dress, pointing out that it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere. “Well, we could always go with anything else not named sundress,” she suggests. “What do you have in mind, dear?”
Let’s see now…
[ ] Sweater dress + snow cap. [ ] Any proper ‘Australian winter’ get-up. [ ] Ask Reverie for opinion? [ ] It doesn’t matter, so long as I can greet my husband with all my heart~
[PART TWO OF TWO]
Author’s note: well, this is rather distressful, but I guess it’s better to update late than not to update at all. Also, retconning the timeline of this LA to take place sometimes between June and August.
Before I forget, Happy Year 2012 to all you people in TH-P.com~
You shuffle through the pile of clothes on the floor. Reverie mistakenly views it as ‘playtime’ and jumps into the clothes; any pleads you’re making are ignored as the girl starts throwing them all over the room, even tossing a heap of towels at your face. You have to bear with her antics and continue searching; you swear you saw it when the receptionist took out the sundress…
After a few minutes, you’ve found it and show it to the elderly woman. “Oh, dearie me~ a sweater?” she asks. You nod and put it on your chest as to see how it would fit you. “My~ you surely like it, don’t you?” You nod again, even as you start spinning on your feet. You can already imagine your beloved husband’s reaction when she sees you wearing sweater dress: from shocked to being amused to happy to envious, the last due to how such attire would highlight your figure. You giggle, knowing that you’d entertain yourself by attacking her weakest point…
“Well, why don’t we get you dressed up right away?” the receptionist asks.
As you’re undressing yourself, you notice with slight alarm as you pull the sundress over your head various scars that are ‘decorating’ your delicate body, including one that stretches across your upper body. They seem to have faded away, but the vivid trauma that comes with them is still unbearable, as if you’ve gotten them only yesterday. You can’t help wondering how far your beloved would go to pretend the scars never existed…
You shake your head. N-no! I’m fine, really!
“You’re not,” the receptionist answers and runs her finger down your bare back. A shocked gasp escapes your mouth when she reaches an elongated mark that runs down your back. “What a bloody ass he is,” she comments. “He deserves to be jailed for hurting his family. How could a monster like him be forgiven?”
You frown. You don’t like people talking about your father, regardless of the domestic violence people often relate to him. Abusive or not, he is still your father. You still have the rights to respect him.
“Well,” the receptionist continues and throws her arms over your shoulders. “If it wasn’t for these scars, you wouldn’t have met Alyssa – or rather, she wouldn’t have found you. You should be lucky to have someone who’s willing to stand by you.”
You can only smile, even as you’re slowly sinking into the warmth of the woman’s maternal embrace. Ah, the bittersweet memories of the then ten-year-old Alyssa Kirisame singlehandedly protecting you from the teenage bullies and offering you a shelter when you refused to return to home (she even defiantly held her ground when your father threatened to call the police after she called him ‘heartless jerk-ass sexist’; granted, he was drunk at the time, but it was her establishing moment at the best). It was the first time you owed her your life, and you still owe her in many ways today.
“By the way, Sylvia.”
“Don’t you think you’re stretching it a bit too far when you use your chest size to upset Alyssa?”
What? Is it wrong to tease your beloved husband?
“You see, dear,” the receptionist speaks as she fixes the snow cap on your head. “Making fun of a girl’s chest size is a very no-no, even when another girl’s doing it.” She turns you around, and lightly prods your chest. “See? What would you do if I were to tease you?”
You pout. Of course you’d be mad if people are making fun of your chest!
“Alright, then, we should go see Alyssa after this,” the receptionist says as she makes a final adjustment on your dress. “She owes you her birthday party, so don’t forget about that.”
With that settled, you, together with Reverie and the receptionist leave the dressing room. You hope your beloved husband still remembers her birthday after not waking up for days…
Author’s note: sorry for the delay, but a late update is better than not having any update at all. The fact that this writefag is sick isn’t helping, either, so please bear with him. Sorry about this.
>>24663 I hope Alyssa doesn't forget her climbing gear.
[c] Continuation (Sylvia POV)
You’ve reached the reception counter, and you spot a familiar person approaching you not a moment too soon. Reverie doesn’t waste any time as she rushes at the person and gives her a tackling hug. “Daddy! What took you so long?” she asks. “We’re already getting ready to go home!”
“Well, yeah, blame the hospital for locking me in for four days,” Alyssa replies as she returns the little girl’s hug.
You approach the two of them, even as Reverie has fallen silent and cling onto Alyssa, murmuring something you can barely hear. She notices your presence and motions at you to come closer. You throw yourself at her, overwhelmed by the feeling of relief, sadness and happiness, and you bury your face beneath her shoulder, trying in vain to hide your tears. “Oh, bother,” you hear Alyssa grumbling before she gathers everyone for a big embrace. “I’m alright, and I’m in one piece, so stop crying over me, okay?”
You better be, stupid…! You tighten your grasp on her hand. You think I’d just do nothing while you got hospitalized?
You and Reverie keep on hugging and cuddling and snuggling Alyssa for a few minutes, before she slips free from the almost possessive embrace. “Come on, girls, let’s go home. Can’t stand the wretched stench of this place,” she tells you. “Reverie, go tell your Grandpa you’re staying with us.” You almost laugh when Alyssa winces at Reverie’s gleeful reaction and has to shoo the girl away. She, then, turns to you. You smile, knowing that your beloved one still never forgets about you despite her passion for free-running. She takes your hand and clenches it tightly, so tight you can feel her heartbeat seeping into your skin. “Guess I owe you a lot of explanation. Sorry.”
Oh, yes, you do, because you’re my husband.
“Well, I guess we should just go to the place we’re familiar with. Where do you want to go?” You tell her you want to buy her something, but not telling her in details as you want to keep it secret. “Oh, come on, why should you keep it secret from me? We have nothing to hide, you know.” You insist on keeping it secret, even promising it will be the best secret she ever knows yet. “So that means I have to be blindfolded, bound and gagged up, if I were to learn the secret?”
You shake your head. She’s gotten it wrong, but you kind of want to see Alyssa tied up. Hmm…
“By the way, Sylvia.”
Alyssa points at you. “You,” she says, “you’ve gained a little weight.”
What? No! After all the preparations you did just for this moment, she now calls you fat? You stomp her feet flat, grinding the heel of your shoe so hard she starts begging you to stop. The punishment doesn’t end there as you continue by pinching her cheeks, ignoring the commotion around you. She should never – [i[NEVER[/i] – call you fat! You turn away from her afterwards. You want her to apologize for calling you fat, and you want it now.
“Oh, come on! You want me to apologize because I called you fat?” That’s it. She did it again. She did it again. Once again, you respond by pinching her cheeks. “Owh! Owh! Owh! Okay, okay, I’m sorry! I won’t call you fat!” You pinch her cheeks even harder. “Alright, alright already! I won’t use that word anymore!”
You let go off her. You better not break that promise again.
“You shouldn’t be very sensitive over the matter,” Alyssa grumbles. “But seriously, Sylvia, what’s wrong with you today?” You almost want to burst out in anger again, but a tight hug from behind is more than enough to silence your thoughts. You tremble, even as your beloved tightens her arms about your waist, and you strive miserably to keep yourself from crying; it fails, and you start weeping, unable to do anything but to let yourself fall into her warm embrace.
“Alright, enough with silly soap drama,” Alyssa says and lets go off you. “Look at you, crying like you always are. Jeez, you’re still a cry-baby.” She wipes off your tears, and you can’t help taking the hand that’s caressing your face. “Alright, alright, I’m sorry for upsetting you,” she says and leans forward to brush her lips upon your forehead. “Stop crying, or I’m going to run out of tissues.”
You smile. You silly… - - The hospital is all but a memory. Alyssa never talks about what she has gone through, or asks what you have been doing for the past four days. You don’t want to further burden her; even before the three of you left the hospital you already noticed the distant look in her eyes as she glances at the lobby; it’s almost as if she wants to get away from the place.
The only important matter to you is to celebrate her birthday together.
Alyssa stops. You look at her, who just laughs. “Oh, great, back at the place I don’t want to be,” she says.
What is she talking about- oh. Andrew’s bookstore. You chuckle; you know all too well about her uneasy relationship with the storekeeper. It’s usually Andrew who always wins every time they argue, and it’s usually Alyssa who often shows up at home with a bitter look on her face.
“Hey, Reverie, you want to buy something?” she asks.
“Daddy, are you kidding me? It’s your birthday! We are going to buy you something,” Reverie interjects. “Right, Mommy?” Of course! You’re going to buy her a present, but you have to keep it a secret from your dearest.
You and Reverie stare at Alyssa. “Oh, come on, I know that kind of look.” Without giving her any chance to speak her mind, you shove her into the bookstore and shut the door. You take Reverie’s hand and immediately run before she can catch up; you can hear her crying foul over your underhanded tactic, but you don’t care. It’s your husband’s birthday, and she must not know what you have planned~
What do you want to buy for Alyssa?
[ ] Cake. [ ] New hat. [ ] Old vinyl records; your husband just loves their retro feel. [ ] Anything else, as long as it’s a secret~
Note: the next update will bring us back to Alyssa’s POV, and since we’re already at Andrew’s bookstore, here are some options on what to do while waiting for Sylvia and Reverie to show up.
[ ] Go find Andrew. [ ] Browse the book shelves. [ ] Find an empty couch and sleep on it.
And while we’re at it:
[ ] The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson) [ ] You’re My Best Friend (Queen) [ ] I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
Sylvia/Reverie: [c] Anything else, as long as it’s a secret~
Alyssa’s POV: [c] Browse the book shelves. [c] I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
“Daddy, are you kidding me? It’s your birthday! We are going to buy you something,” Reverie interjects. “Right, Mommy?”
Both of them look at you. You realize their intention from the way they’re smirking. “Oh, come on, I know that kind of look,” you grumble. “You’re going to-” Before you can speak, however, Sylvia pushes you into the bookstore, shutting the door as she and Reverie make haste to the shopping mall.
“Sneaky girls,” you grumble. You decide not to think too much about it and approach the receptionist counter. Andrew doesn’t seem to be present, explaining the eerie silence of the shop when you stepped in. Whatever; you guess you could kill some times by browsing the book shelves, maybe you can find anything worthy of reading.
Approaching the book section, you almost forget something. “Can’t do things without these,” you murmur and plug in the earphones. Your fingers fiddle with the media player’s buttons, browsing the playlist until you’ve found the song of choice. The ‘play’ button is pressed, and you start tapping the floor as your favourite song starts playing.
“Alright, then!” You crackle your fingers. “Let’s see what this bookstore has to offer!”
Forty-five minutes have passed. Sylvia and Reverie haven’t returned from their shopping spree, and you’ve basically covered the whole section. You still haven’t found anything to read, and Andrew is still absent. You’re getting bored; maybe you should climb to the top of the bookshelf and get a bird’s view of the shop. Yeah, perhaps you should.
[ ] Do it. [ ] Don’t do it.
Location: Andrew’s bookstore Time: 14:30 hours
This will be our preparation for our upcoming misadventure at Voile Library.
You shrug. There’s nothing wrong in scaling a bookshelf. You’ve done this many times before, and many times you’ve gotten away with it. Surely you can repeat the feat again, no? Besides, you’re bored, and it doesn’t look like the girls will show up anytime soon.
You examine the bookshelf for any structural defect that might hinder your effort. Satisfied that you don’t find any, you take a few steps backward and kick the floor underneath you. “Alley Oop!” In a single bound, you reach the topmost part of the bookshelf and push yourself up (with great effort, nonetheless, since you’ve just woken up from your comatose). You manage to sit on top of the bookshelf, anyway, but you’re so exhausted from the effort that you quickly fall onto your back.
“What the hell are you doing, Alyssa?”
Who might that be- oh. “Hey, Andrew, what’s up?” you greet him.
“Don’t what’s up me,” he says as he’s looking up at you from the floor. You hear nothing from him afterwards, but then you feel the bookshelf shaking slightly. You open your eyes, noticing that Andrew has taken his seat near your head. He must have climbed up the bookshelf, what a surprise. “Off all things you could climb, why it has to be this?” he asks.
“I don’t know, you tell me,” you shrug.
“Whatever you want to answer,” he replies. “But still, didn’t Natalie tell you to get enough rest? Climbing up this bookshelf and doing acrobatic stunts when you just left the hospital-”
You wag a finger at his face. “Come on, Andrew! You’re the one who taught me never to be bound by earthly obstacles and always reach for the sky, aren’t you?” you ask. “To think that a former free runner would reprimand me for using his bookstore as props…”
“That is indeed true, Alyssa,” he chuckles dismissively. “But that doesn’t mean you’re free to push yourself over the edge.” He takes the witch hat off your head and waves it over your face, before placing it back on your chest. “You alright?”
You laugh heartily. “I guess so,” you answer. “Hell, I could go for another round of free run as soon as I left the hospital! Too bad Sylvia wouldn’t let me do that.”
“I know, right?” the man you can consider as your ‘elder brother’ says. You don’t answer him, as the serene quietness of the bookstore is quickly making you sleepy. You adjust your position so that you don’t roll over the bookshelf in case you do fall asleep. “So tell me.”
“What is it?”
Andrew looks down at you. With the straightest face you can imagine, he pokes you between your eyes. “I didn’t know you’re having an affair with another woman,” he speaks. “Yesterday, this strange lady in purple attire came by and asked me if she could buy something as birthday present.”
Rats. He must be talking about THAT purple lady. “What else did she inquire? Did she ask anything about me?”
“As a matter of fact, she did,” he tells you. “Do you know her?”
“Yes.” You pull your witch hat over your face. “Damn that woman, always seeking trouble with me. Wish she could just… go away.”
“I don’t know, she seemed to be nice,” Andrew utters. You don’t want to talk about that person, so you plug the earphones in and let the lyrics of the song blare inside your ears. At least, that’s what you’re intending to do, because Andrew turns the music player off. “Hey, I forgot to tell you another thing about her.”
“What is it again, Andrew?” you grumble.
“Come with me, I’ll show you.” He jumps off the bookshelf, and you follow him a minute later as he heads to the counter. You watch in curiosity as he places a box on the desk and takes out several items from it. “She told me to give you these as soon as you leave the hospital. I had no idea what you would do with these, but I thought I could let you know.”
You approach the desk. There’s a pair of gloves that are attached to a marionette via invisible strings, and there’s also a set of blank cards, along with other of items you can’t identify. The most curious-looking item of all, however, is a book wrapped in ribbons with the surname of your family printed on its hard cover.
“Well, what do you think?” Andrew asks.
“What do I think?” You examine the gloves, the blank cards and the book. “These look like props for a Halloween party, if you ask. Or magic show. Did she say anything else about these before she left?”
“No, she just told me to give them to you,” he answers. “I thought they might be your family’s belongings, so…”
You frown. Family’s belonging? The only family you have is Sylvia and Grandma. What purpose the purple lady gave you these items?
[ ] Excuse yourself while you take the items to the bookstore’s quiet corner and examine them. [ ] Give them back to Andrew. The purple lady must be pulling a joke, and won’t don’t take something you don’t know its origin.
[c] Excuse yourself while you take the items to the bookstore’s quiet corner and examine them.
“Andrew, could you give me a bit of privacy?” you ask as you put the items back into the box. “If Sylvia or anyone’s looking for me here, they know where to go.” He looks at you, confused at first by your request, but he later nods as he directs you to a nearby quiet corner. Thanking him, you carry the box to the private section and sit down, taking out the book and examining its cover.
“I thought they might be your family’s belongings, so…”
You close your eyes. There’s no way you would have living relatives – if you ever have any in the first place. Even if you do have one, would you still be able to remember? No matter; if books are, as people often say, windows to the world, you will open the windows – in a way or another. You wish you could remember anything about your past, but…
Fiddling with the ribbons that are wrapping the book, you notice that – apart from the obviously ‘modern’ typesetting used for your family’s surname, everything else about the book gives off an ominously old, almost gothic feeling. The ribbons are also quite worn out, possibly due to age, and there are also other signs that indicate extensive usage of the book. Whoever owned the book in the past, the person intended to pass its ownership to you, whether you want or not.
You slowly undo the ribbons, fully expecting something spectacular to take place. Nothing happens. And it disappoints you. Shrugging the disappointment aside, you flip open the book and come across the first words of the book.
Japanese. How you wish you had learned the language in the past.
Flipping to the next page while enjoying music being played in the background, you come across the index, which lists names and terminology you never knew they existed, and all of them are in Japanese. This time, though, you don’t have a headache that would allow you to understand the language in its written form. Pity, because you were sure the same effect would happen to you again this time.
You hear someone walking into the bookstore. Looking at the counter, you find that Andrew’s nowhere to be seen. You really want to read the book, but…
[ ] Pay no attention to the interruption and focus on the book. [ ] The book can wait. Greet whoever person is coming in.
If focusing on the book… [ ] Read the book page by page. [ ] Choose a random title.
[c] The book can wait. Greet whoever person is coming in.
You grumble. You really want to check the book’s contents, but then you remember one of Grandma’s lessons about putting other people’s interests over yours. Realizing it would be rude to not greet whoever person is coming in (plus, it could be your potential client) you put the book on somewhere you can see (and make sure it doesn’t disappear in a puff of smoke) and approach the front door.
And the very first thing you see is a butterfly motif on a scarf.
And you realize it’s someone you know very, very much.
The woman turns around. “Oh, Gods, Alyssa!” Without ever giving you a second thought, she runs towards you and pulls your body into her arm as she starts smothering you. “I thought you wouldn’t leave the hospital! Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“Mmm! Mhmm!!” you scream in muffled voice as she presses your face against the warmth of her bust.
“Oh, I’m so sorry for that!” She releases you off her possessive hug, but still not letting go off you. “I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to see you after the doctors didn’t let me visit you. Are you doing fine, honey?”
“If you’re not smothering me to death, then yeah, I am fine,” you grumble.
“Thank God…” She heaves out a relieved sigh. “I thought my prayers wouldn’t be answered…”
“Grandma, look at me now. Did you see any bandages around my face? Did you see any casting? No, so that means I’m doing fine. See?” The woman doesn’t let you say anymore as she smothers you again, pressing your face against her chest as hard as you can possibly think. You think you’re going to die from the smothering, but thankfully it doesn’t last long as she calm down and cradles you. “Jeez, stop getting all too worked up just because I just left the hospital.”
“But I must~!” she answers. “Did you know that I had to cancel my flight to Sicily as soon as I got the news?”
“Yeah, I did,” you answer and wrap your arms about her waist. This is relaxing, being held in the arms of the woman you care the most, and you feel like you could fall asleep just by hugging Grandma. “Sorry for making you worried.”
You hear a giggle, and your hat is removed as a pair of soft lips brushes upon your scalp. “Apology accepted, dear,” she mutters as she runs her soft fingers through your tresses. “But next time, please refrain yourself from attempting anymore stunts like that, okay?”
You chuckle. “I’m not sure if I can promise you that, but I’ll try,” you tell her.
After spending a few minutes cuddling and holding onto each other you let go off Grandma and holds her hands. “So, I heard you were going to give me a birthday party. When would it take place?”
“Aw~ Alyssa, that was supposed to be a secret from you!” she protests. “How did you know I was going to do that?”
“From my trusted source, of course,” you answer jokingly. “Come on, Grandma, you don’t have to keep everything secret from me, remember? Well, even if it’s just a birthday party, I find it unsettling if people have to be secretive about certain things.”
“Uhh…” She looks away from you, as if she’s trying to hide her guilt from being seen. You just laugh over the uncertainty she’s showing and kiss the back of her hand. “Alyssa, even if you don’t mind, what will others say?” She looks back at you, her bright pink eyes staring deep into your soul. It’s almost as if her gaze is going to spirit you away to another world…
“Well, what do you want to do now?” you ask.
“I know it’s already late, Alyssa, but I wish to celebrate your birthday together,” Grandma says.
“Well, let’s wait here until Sylvia and Reverie show up, shall we?” You look around the shop. With Andrew surprisingly absent, you realize it’s just you and Grandma alone. You could talk with her about everything, or you could take her and treat her with something.
What do you want to do? [ ] Talk with Grandma about… - [ ] …what she had wanted to tell you back at her home. - [ ] …the purple lady. Ask her if she knows anything about her. [ ] Show Grandma the book you got from the delivery. [ ] Go take her for a treat. - [ ] Cheesecake. - [ ] Chocolate. - [ ] Ice cream. - [ ] Milkshake.