[x] “I’ll go the Inn as I can get there faster. You should head over to Ginji’s as I’m sure you won’t run into much trouble there.”
As we start to run, I shout to Kazuma. “I’ll go the Inn as I can get there faster. You should head over to Ginji’s as I’m sure you won’t run into too much trouble there.” He and Hatate, if I remember correctly, run off. Good luck to both Kazuma and Miss Shameimaru even though I doubt she’ll need it. From what I've read, she’s quite high in the Tengu hierarchy, so her title of ‘reporter’ is quite misleading.
Soon after that I hear Miss Shameimaru's “Ooh, scary scary” as I hear her making another gust of wind. I can only guess the extent of her mastery of wind magic as it’s like the wind itself was fighting at her side. As I leave, I hear the leader of the gang mutter some obscenities at her. Hopefully my stamina will hold out.
I run through town, deftly avoiding folks I might have run into. Just when I make it to the Inn, a few hunters pop up. “The boss was right when he told us to watch over the Inn” One of them says. This isn’t good. “Guess your luck ran out, now how to use this moment”
This is... when I hear a shout, “Stand back!” Sounds female. At this point I have nothing to lose by following it. I leap back just in time for a bunch of colored lights to rain down. I look up to see a whirling mass of black with some green in the middle; Wriggle! She did it! I notice while the hunters weren’t knocked out by that attack, they obviously panicked.
“WRIG..” I heard her shout as she starts descending. The hunters are still panicked by the attack of the ‘mass’.
“It’s a reaper!”, “I though things like that only come out at night!”, “It’s A ranked, No S ranked... SS Ranked... AAHHHHHH” ...I never expected hunters to be so terrified of such a scene.
“GLE...” I use the time to get to the door in case something even more unexpected happens.
At this point the hunters are so terrified that they’re standing helplessly as Wriggle stops the cape swirl and comes down to a...
“KKKKKIIIICCCCKKK!!!” she finishes shouting right as she kicks the biggest one in the face, knocking him back a few feet. She notices me looking at her, “Don’t worry, he’s alive though I can’t say he still has his dignity or ability to eat solid foods.” She says to me. She turns to the remaining two and asks “Ready go give up? If not... I wonder how you like Bees”
The two men then pale in response as they imagine what she might do to them at this point. I look at the bigger one and notice he has a puddle forming... So that’s what she meant by lacking dignity. Mr. Yaguu comes out, drawn by the racket. Oh crap, I better explain things to him! “Let me explain! A bunch of hunters went after me and Kazuma and-“
Mr. Yaguu quickly responds, “Come inside and have a drink while you calm down.” I decide to do just that as Wriggle follows. Shortly after stepping past the door, I feel her hand in mine as she gives a smile.
I try calming myself down as Miss Keine questions the three hunters and notice that most of the important folk in the village is talking over what occurred
A few moments later I explain what happened. Mr. Yaguu responds, “This... syndicate and their fortresses are more of a threat than we first thought. But if Aya’s on the scene, she should be here shortly. There’s not a hunter in the village that can hope to best her in combat. I just hope nothing got out of hand as we need some alive for interrogation.” This makes me wonder just how strong Miss Shameimaru is if he’s worried about things getting out of hand.
“Are you alright? When I heard those rumors, I was slightly worried. If I knew this was going to happen, I would have rushed over to your house and escorted you here-“ Wriggle asks as she starts rambling blushingly.
I answer, “I’m fine, thanks to Kazuma. I hope he’s alright... I’m not as good at planning things as Ginji is.” I do wonder if I could have planned things better or not now that things have calmed down.
“Don’t worry about it, you did the best you could in your situation. And Yaggy’s son wouldn’t go dying that easily. Not when he has that plush Prismriver sister waiting to see him” It’s Miss Shameimaru saying that. She goes by Mr. Yaguu as she continues, “He was alright as I dropped by the shop. Some guys followed them there but the shop's defenses and that girl’s Yin-yang tank knocked them out. That armor he was wearing took most of the possibly dangerous blows. But he’s really done it now... I doubt Hatate’s going to lose interest in him anytime soon... and to think she got the idea from my life. Kids these days”
Mr Yaguu laughs, “I take it she’s a good girl and wouldn’t take advantage of him? I do worry about that as he’s trusting to a fault.” Good question, I’m surprised he is taking this as well as he is. Some parents would get upset about their kid getting thrashed for someone they don’t know.
She responds, “She’s a good kid with a good head on her shoulders. Once she gets some experience in both life and combat, she might outdo me. But right now she's a hundread years early! She is shy despite her rather confident personality. I told her many times that using her spirit photography ability is no substitute for going out there and living life.”
Wriggle remarks to me, “She sounds like a big sister as Elly says the same things at times.”
We then paid attention to Miss Shameimaru’s continued discussion, “I got the rest of the guys in front of the inn... except for the leader... he just wouldn’t stay down and when he made threats against the Tengu as a whole, I invoked the clause in the village law.” One that states that Tengu can use lethal force in the village limits to defend themselves. Most people avoid angering the Tengu in general though only historians know why exactly: They’ve lent this village assistance in the past and keep things in order on the mountain, easing everyone’s worries about what needs to be guarded.
As she explains things to Mr. Yaguu, I notice my mother hugging Wriggle. “Mother! Could you please not embrass her!” I shout, hoping to get her attention.
Mother responds, “I’m sorry but she is really cute. You two should run along as I doubt you’ll want to stick around here.” Good point I’d rather just leave and go somewhere else to relax.
Things were interrupted by a messenger shouting, “One of the forts have fallen and the various sources report that a red-haired outsider wearing some combat equipment was seen walking away from it!”
Mr. Yaguu responds, “Did he wear a red jacket with an ‘El’ and an ‘Eee’ on it?” I remember reading about the English language a time back; those sound like two of its... letters.
The man replies, “In white? Yes he did. I hope this is a good thing as something’s brewing.” The only red-haired outsider that comes to mind is Arthur!
Mr. Yaguu replies, “Indeed it is, depending on how things go, Arthur’s going to make a legend of himself. He definitely has the skill and potential for it.” An uproar starts as the adults start discussing heavily, including even Miss Shameimaru. She didn’t just stumble upon her headlines, she was IN them!
Wriggle then asks, “What are we going to do? After what happened today, I can’t just leave you alone.” She’s still worried about me. Staying here is out of the question. I think...
[ ] We’ll bug Kamui, he’s usually good at creating a relaxing atmosphere. I can also get him to apologize directly to Wriggle. I’m also curious how Wriggle and Kurumi get along normally. [ ] We should stop by Ginji’s and see how they’re holding up after what happened. [ ] We'll check if Lady Akyuu is taking any visitors today, I’m not sure if she heard about what happened. [ ]If everything’s settled, we should just relax like it was a normal day... -[ ] Home as it has books to talk about and a meal is the least I could do for how she saved me. -[ ] The forest as it’s very soothing and quiet.
This update and the previous one seemed to be set on turbo speed. We go from fighting, to running, to expository conversation, with barely any breathing room between. Oh well, waiting warmly for the next update.
status update!iB/oZWEbQI2011/06/10 (Fri) 08:20No. 23613▼
The update won't be up likely until the weekend. I apologize for the delay and hopefully next week won't be so disruptive.
>>23569 I know that's faster paced than usual, but life is sometimes like that.
[x] The Inn’s the next stop, giving Wriggle a chance to speak with her ‘sister’ some and to find out what Kamui’s found out. He still needs to apologize to Wriggle.
If a girl ever tells you that she has no problem with a suggestion, it is a trap, and should be immediately discarded. That leaves only the other two options, and of the two, I think this would be better. That bastard still needs to apologize to Wriggle for some perceived slight I can't even remember.
[x] Relaxing in the forest is a good idea and it’d be a nice way to wind down. I can find out the rest tomorrow. Sounds like this would be the most enjoyable. Just the two of them. The rest can wait until later.
Besides, she does not look like she would mind whatever he decides.
[x] The Inn’s the next stop, giving Wriggle a chance to speak with her ‘sister’ some and to find out what Kamui’s found out. He still needs to apologize to Wriggle. ---------------- The Yakuza Youkai Boss of Bamboo Forest, heh.
[x] Relaxing in the forest is a good idea and it’d be a nice way to wind down. I can find out the rest tomorrow.
>Nobility can call upon resources, which leaves the Hieda family particularly wealthy. Swap "wealthy" with "powerful?" >And how is your mother doing now that she’s fallen for him? Yuuka fell for Yuki? That's what this "him" implies; if not, mop up your pronouns. >“Arthur’s like a brother to me, and let’s just leave it at that.” What? When in the past few days did this happen? >I'd be an honor to meet such a renowned Elder Youkai, "It'd be an honor," or "I'd be honored?" All on top of various spelling and punctuation errors. Did your proofer have a hangover?
Tie breaker needed.!iB/oZWEbQI2011/06/13 (Mon) 05:43No. 23666▼
>>23665 I found out after the fact the one I chosen had done a double shift. If I known that, I would not have asked him to proof.
But to help clarify things:
With Nobility, money and power go hand in hand as a big enough bounty will attract particularly powerful people, especially certain shrine maidens.
It was Arthur that Yuuka fell for; I thought the context would have held up but I guessed wrong. And the line was Akyuu talking about Yuki being like a brother to her.
Once I catch one of my usual proofreaders, I'll have them take a look at it so I can post a corrected version. It's as if I have egg all over my face.
[x] We'll check if Lady Akyuu is taking any visitors today; I’m not sure if she heard about what happened.
“Feel like meeting Lady Akyuu? I think I should at least drop by to reassure her that I'm alright. Otherwise, she might do something silly,” I remark. Nobility can call upon considerable resources, and the Hieda family is particularly powerful in that respect. They could post decently sized bounties, even on petty things.
Wriggle responds, “I’m curious about her, but would it be okay for a youkai to enter?” She’s worried about that? Maybe she doesn't know about Lady Akyuu’s stance towards youkai. Then again, I can't blame her for assuming nobility is synonymous with youkai hatred; she did have to deal with Lord Kaiba's bounty, after all.
“I think she’d be glad to meet you, and I'm sure she’d never turn away one of my friends. Lady Akyuu isn’t very fond of Lord Kaiba, either. In fact, I think I heard her call him Lord Porky once.” Wriggle's giggle at the last remark settles things, even though she might not realize just how sharp The Child of Heida's tongue can be when provoked.
We leave the inn together, holding hands. At this point, trying to hide our relationship is pointless, and besides, her skin is too soft and warm to neglect. Along the way I explain a bit about how most families here have occupation traditions, such as my family and the exception that is Kamui.
“...so, in short, Kamui left his parents' shop so he could perform? Interesting," she responds. "He strikes me as a womanizing pig, but people must see something in him.”
“Yeah. He may be my best friend, but even I think he takes too many risks and gets carried away with the harem-making. He’s not a bad guy, honestly," I half-heartedly plead for Kamui's sake. Friend or not, if he breaks Kurumi’s heart by pursuing Mystia, the odds are that Lady Yuuka will break HIM. I should get my mind off of the subject; it's no good to worry about his actions, and I don't want Lady Akyuu to pry.
We reach the Heida estate, and Shinobu gives us a warm welcome at the door before leading us into her mistress's room. Akyuu's face brightens up the moment she sees us enter, apparently relieved in seeing us after hearing about a "scuffle" today.
“You didn’t tell me you’d be bringing her over. I’m so glad you’re alright. I heard it was a fierce fight.” Wriggle begins to blush at Akyuu's remark.
“Kazuma did most of the fighting," I reply matter-of-factly. "I merely supported him with a few spells. I'd say he left quite an impression on one young Tengu that was involved. Still, we both would have been in trouble if it weren't for Miss Shameimaru's intervention.” The fight flashes through my mind unhindered - Tengu really are on a whole different level than humans.
“I’ll make sure he is rewarded for his valorous efforts," Akyuu replies, dismissing the subject. She turns her attention to Wriggle, looking her up and down before smiling. "So, this is Wriggle... she certainly is very cute. I’ll have Shinobu go and get some food; you like your fruit with extra honey, Ms. Wriggle?”
Wriggle nods her head, speechless.
“Oh, you’ll get used to it... mostly. I still catch Yuki off guard half the time, but that's part of what makes him cute, wouldn’t you agree?”
Wriggle mumbles with embarrassment before finding her voice. “I guess so.”
“Good, good. Now then, how is your mother doing now that she’s fallen for Arthur?” Akyuu really knows how to catch people off guard. With her sudden interjections and warm, familiar tone I barely notice Shinobu being sent on her way.
“I haven't seen her in brighter spirits before now. It’s like she’s a young girl all over again. As for me, Arthur is like the brother I never had.” Her tone becomes somewhat defensive. "But how did you find out so much? You certainly sound very concerned about Yuki.”
“Well, of course I’m concerned; he’s like a brother to me, and let’s just leave it at that.” Lady Akyuu replies dismissively, yet it does little to defuse the tension until she continues. “Just treat him well and there won’t be any problems. Think of it like the old motto ‘it’s the duty of the loser to support the victor’. You've heard that before, yes? No? Well, never you mind, it’s just the ramblings of an eight your old girl with too many memories in her head." There must be some hidden point she's making; she never just self-references her age like that unless she has a reason.
Wriggle smiles at this. “You have nothing to worry about. Still, it’s nice to hear someone else is looking out for him." She shifts in her seat for a moment before speaking again. "Hmm. I think you’d remind mother of the... gap youkai.” That's odd; do those two know each other?
“You don’t have to be polite with me, Miss Wriggle. I remember what Yuuka said when I met her in one of my past lives. When youkai rivalries carry on long enough, they become somewhat self-sustaining. Neither your mother nor Yukari seemed to have a bit of fondness for each other, and even though there's nothing remaining of what caused the disagreement, they still barely speak to each other. So, please keep that in mind if your rivalries last a few hundred years; it may become a hatred that threatens to bring ruin.” Her words seem a bit too sharp; did she know about the rivalry between Wriggle and Mystia?
“I'll take your word for it; I’m glad I gave up on that rivalry with Mysty," Wriggle counters. "But I’d like to ask a question that’s been on my mind. Mother once mentioned a youkai whose cunning was unmatched even when she was young. Do you know who she was talking about?”
Lady Akyuu giggles as she replies, “Oh ho, she of many names. 'Big boss of the Bamboo Forest' and 'White Rabbit of Good Fortune' are my personal favorites. Even now much about her true power is shrouded in mystery. The only thing known is that anyone who tries to intrude upon the forest forcefully either flees in terror or doesn't return at all. I remember Yukari talking about her once, warning that some people are not worth making your enemies. Normally I wouldn’t reveal this, but Yuuka already knows all of this, so I don't see the harm in telling you. Besides, Yuki, you and your friends seem to have peaked that youkai's interest. I'm sure she’s especially curious about the progress Kamui’s made.” Getting the white rabbit’s attention? I'd be honored to meet such a renowned Elder Youkai, and if I encounter any more my day keeps up like this I'll need all the luck I can borrow from her.
We digress into small talk about an upcoming festival that will occur in a week. Lady Akyuu then turns to me: “Yuki, I almost forgot; would you go fetch the book 'The Formation of the Hakurei Border' from my study?”
“Of course.” I stand up and leave the room, heading towards the study. The name of the title isn't familiar to me; I hope I can locate it. Thankfully Lady Akyuu keeps the volumes in her study meticulously organized.
Fifteen minutes of searching later, and I'm nearly ready to give up when Shinobu walks into the room. Bowing, she states “Forgive me, Master Yuki, but why are you in Lady Akyuu's study?” Thank goodness, maybe she'll know where the book is.
“Ah, Shinobu. I was asked to retrieve a book that Lady Akyuu wanted to reference. Do you recognize the title 'The Formation of the Hakurei Border?'”
After a brief pause, she answers ”“I'm sorry Master Kojima, but I've never seen Lady Akyuu take that volume outside of the library. Also...aren't you off of work today?”
...Ah. Forcing a smile, I respond, “Indeed I am, Shinobu. I guess Lady Akyuu wanted me out of the room for some reason. Thank you for your help, though.” I leave the study and return to Lady Akyuu's room, and sure enough she smiles mischievously as I enter.
“Sorry about that bit of trickery, Yuki, but we needed some privacy for some girl talk. Plus I really did want that book.”
Wriggle speaks up, trying to help me catch up to the situation. “It was a good chat though. I have to say that Akyuu really is both a younger and older sister at the same time. She even gave me a nice kimono and...ah... never mind.” I guess it’s something she can’t tell me.
Shinobu brings in a tray of fruit for us, with honey on Wriggle's portion. One short meal later, and it seems our visit is finished.
“You two should go enjoy yourselves and not hang around here all day. The forest would be a nice spot with this breeze!” Akyuu insists, nudging us out of her room. If she pushed any harder she’d have thrown us right out of the room.
Once alone and clear of the estate, Wriggle slides her hand into mine again and looks curiously into my eyes. “What should we do now? I wouldn’t have a problem following Akyuu’s suggestion. Or do you want to check up on your friends?” Hmm, it’s probably too late to do a home visit for various reasons.
[-] We should stop by Ginji’s to see how Kazuma’s doing. We could also learn what he heard regarding the forts. [-] The Inn’s the next stop; it will give Wriggle a chance to speak with her ‘sister’ and we can learn what Kamui’s discovered. He also needs to apologize to Wriggle. [x] Relaxing in the forest is a good idea and it’d be a nice way to wind down. I can find out the rest tomorrow.
[x] Relaxing in the forest is a good idea and it’d be a nice way to wind down. I can find out the rest tomorrow.
After all that’s happened today, I think some down time would be nice. If something important comes up, I’ll be sure to hear about it one way or another. “Let’s just go relax in the forest.”
We walk towards it when I someone shouts “IT’S A TRAP!” I jump, and we turn to look only to find that one guy that is infamous for all the stuff from some outsider story called “star wars.” I wish he’d do that in his own home and not scare random people passing by.
With a sigh, Wriggle says, “I hope tomorrow isn’t like this. As nice as it was to show off my new attack, I’d rather not have you keep falling into danger.” A nice normal day working with Lady Akyuu would be relaxing... well, at least as much as working with her can be.
I notice Wriggle taking hold of my hand. Turning to her, a smile lights up her face. How can I not smile back as a response to this? “Yeah. No argument there.”
We get to the clearing, where we start talking after sitting on a fallen log. “Do you have any grand ambitions, Yuki? Mother mentioned that many magic users have big plans for the future.”
“Not really. I only study magic as a hobby and for self-defense. I’m perfectly content with being a scholar and following the family tradition. Sure, I’m curious about how good I could get, but I won’t sacrifice everything else in my life to do so.” Turning, I ask, “How about you? Do you have any aspirations?”
Wriggle pauses briefly before nodding. “The only big goal I have is increasing the amount of respect and/or fear insects get. It's too often that people scoff at them as weak, insignificant pests; unaware of what they can do.” She does have a good point; I’ve seen her do some pretty impressive things.
“I’m sure you can do it. One day, people will include your name in the same sentence as other powerful youkai!” I respond quickly, almost without thinking.
She grins. “Thanks, but a life like yours doesn’t sound too bad at all,” blushing slightly as she speaks. We spend some moments in silence, enjoying each other’s company. Ah, I should thank her for her help today. “What you did at the inn was pretty clever, Wriggle. You managed to make them so terrified they couldn’t fight back.”
She replies, “I’m aware of the laws of the village, plus I’ve always believed in working smarter, not harder. A terrifying encounter without fatalities is better than one with some killing, since it leaves the true depth of your power in the dark. Also, if you start out with a particularly fearsome attack, they’ll be more susceptible to lesser tactics.” She smiles and places her hand on her chin. “Mother even applauded my thinking.”
“Wow. It's even more impressive after hearing how you planned it so well!” I never knew that a youkai could - no, she’s Wriggle, not just some youkai. She is pretty amazing; I don’t think she’ll cease to surprise me.
“Yup! Oh, Mysty and I talked about a business idea, and tomorrow she’s taking me to a promising spot. She's going to set up a business that sells food based off of something the Inn Mistress showed her. I think she might need me to tell her what the cookbooks say. Anyways, while we were talking we spotted this ball of darkness floating about.” I haven’t heard of anything like that before, at least not in a youkai. She giggles and adds, “It came by us when Mystia said the food would be delicious, and the ball asked, ‘Is that so?’ before it flew into a tree.” I laugh in response to the mental image.
We talk some more, but before long, the sun starts to set. Wriggle stands up and says, “You should get home before your parents start to worry.” Smiling slightly, she adds, “Be safe, Yuki,” before leaving the clearing.
I wave at her disappearing figure. “Y-yeah, see you later.” For a moment, it seemed as though she were about to hug me again; I wonder what stopped her? Well, thinking about it too hard won't help anything, so with a sigh I head on my way home. I realize that there might not be anyone waiting for me with all that’s going on.
I get home to find Mother making some dinner. “So, did you have a good day with Wriggle?” Mother asks, looking a bit too interested for my comfort.
“Yes, we went and met Lady Akyuu, who treated her very nicely.” I don’t mention the forest as it’s really nothing worth noting to Mother. Looking around, I ask, “Where’s Father?” He’s usually home by now, reading some book or writing down a new finding.
“He’s still attending a few more meetings, and I came home to see if you’d bring Wriggle by. She did save you from danger today and I wanted to thank her.” I’m not sure if overly nosy questioning would really count as thanks, especially if that's the sole reason she's home right now. She continues, “She was much cuter than I expected.” She seems quite proud of the fact I’m connected with her, perhaps due to how I treat Wriggle as a girl instead of a boy...
We eat dinner without much note, making a bit of small talk. Mother then mentions, “Aya went over to your friend’s shop to do a bit of interviewing. I heard that due to some custom, the young Tengu will be around Kazuma for a time.” Tengu are pretty quick to repay their debts to humans for their pride's sake. I guess I’ll be able to find out more in the upcoming days. Oh! That’s right, I should take down some notes about what's happened before I forget.
I finish eating, then excuse myself from the table as I rush downstairs for my notebook. Opening it, I jot down notes on the day's events. By the time I finish, several pages are filled, all regarding things related to Arthur and the Syndicate. After the exertion from today, I decide to take a bath. Luckily I find some fresh water; Mother must have seen it coming.
After drying off I head to bed in preparation for the next day.
The next morning I find both Mother and Father at the breakfast table. I would hand Father my notes now, but until I ask both Ginji and Kamui they won’t be quite complete. Breakfast is pretty normal despite what happened yesterday. I double check my supplies for the day before leaving.
Right before I step out, I hear Father come up and say, “Don’t be afraid of inviting her by if we’re both here. I’ll try to keep your mother from being too noisy. I’m curious about what she’s like, as she doesn’t sound like a typical Youkai her age.” I know Father is more reasonable in his desire to meet her and possibly curious about her. He always had a strong desire to learn new things. I nod, then leave.
When I arrive at the mansion, Shinobu is standign by the entrance to greet me. “Do not worry, Young Master Kojima, this is actually a work day. Lady Akyuu is expecting you.” I could have sworn she had a bit of a smile. Did she just tease me over what happened yesterday?
I arrive at Lady Akyuu's room, and find some small packed bags lying on the floor. “Is there something going on, Lady Akyuu?” I ask.
She grins and answers, “I’m thinking about taking a small trip; naturally Shinobu and you will be coming with.” Why is she taking a maid along? She notices my concerned look and answers, “Oh, don’t worry, Shinobu can hold her own in a fight. You don't think my family would hire a servant who was unable to protect me, do you? She did insist on keeping her past a secret... but back to business. I was thinking about possibly taking a trip to the Hakurei Shrine, as it's been a while since I last donated. Reimu can really get cranky during long periods without income. I was also thinking about going by the junk shop as I haven’t seen Rinnosuke in a while. Where do you think we should go first?” Did she really have to ask me that? Sheesh, well...
[ ] “I’m curious about the shrine and just how dangerous the path supposedly is.” [ ] “Kourin’s place sounds like a good stop to make on a day like this.”
[x] “I’m curious about the shrine and just how dangerous the path supposedly is.”
As our long-time employer, Akyuu's wishes come first, and she is planning on going to Reimu's with Kourindou being a side-trip after the main event. Therefore, that's what we'll go with. Besides, unless some heavy drama occurs, it seems as if we'll be doing both.
[x] "I'm curious about the shrine and just how dangerous the path supposedly is."
"I'm curious about the shrine and just how dangerous the path supposedly is," I respond. I think I’ve only been there once as kid, though my memories of the time are very faint.
Lady Akyuu nods and answers, “I’ll inform Shinobu when she comes back.” She turns to pack some things into a carrying bag, then hands it to me. “Here, put this on, and when you’re done stand by the table and turn around, please.” I do as she requests, shuffling over to the table as I arrange the other bag to counterbalance my own and-
“Gaaah!” She just hopped onto my back as if I were some sort of transport!
I hear her giggle as she says, “A Lady shouldn’t have to walk. Plus, it’s just fun.” I think about protesting, but it sounds like she’d really enjoy this, and I can’t bring myself to ruin her fun. “Come on, let’s meet Shinobu by Sunohara’s shop,” she adds while directing the way. I guess I'll just go along with it.
While walking through town, I get a few strange looks for having Lady Akyuu on my back. Hopefully no odd rumors will spread from this. Thankfully, with Lady Akyuu's directions through shortcuts I've never seen before, getting to Sunohara’s shop doesn’t take long. When we get there we see Shinobu talking with the elder Mr. Sunohara, or “Old Man Kojiro” as he insists on being called. I stagger as Akyuu waves to them.
Shinobu notices us as we approach, and walks toward us. “I am prepared for the trip, though it’s unlikely that any ferals would attack.” She has a sheathed katana with her, basic but well-made, from what I can see. I do recall Kazuma saying ferals are smart enough to run from anything they’re absolutely no match for. I guess Akyuu wasn't kidding when she said Shinobu could hold her own in a fight.
We travel to the gate that leads to the shrine, or the road to it be exact. Right outside is the stationed guard, a female warrior with reddish-purple hair who looks used to combat. Shinobu walks up to her and asks, “Are you sure this is where you want to guard? I remember you told me about that one particular event, Meira.”
Meira scowls and responds, “She never goes through the gate, so it’s alright. I can easily take on any feral and most humanoids.” She? What sort of person is it that would cause this woman to feel terror? Shinobu nods before leading us onward, so I quell my thoughts as I focus on carrying Lady Akyuu.
The shrine is far and the trip long, though very uneventful except for the sounds of movement in the bushes and trees. “Whatever you do, do not travel this path without a hunter or other experienced warrior young master Kojima, as ferals here are quite fond of going after easy prey,” Shinobu remarks.
Panting for air, I respond, “Why are they so bold on a shrine path? I would figure they’d be more cautious.”
“Because the road isn’t as well patrolled or maintained as it was in the past. Knowing the shrine maiden refused to walk the path also did much to embolden them. There's also the matter of people refusing to travel here, even with available bodyguards.” Some people take up work as bodyguards, though in reality it’s more of a freelance escort of various travelers. Only the most able hunters and warriors sign up for such work as traveling crowds attract bands of ferals, humanoid youkai, and bandits, though there hasn’t been much of the latter since the ‘Bandit Lord’ vanished all that time ago.
“Those nobles are a worthless bunch for all their money,” Lady Akyuu snidely remarks. “They don't bother to spend money on a guard, then hide indoors after saying the path is too dangerous.” I’m not sure what to make of her insulting other nobles, though it’s clear that she’s much different than most.
I remain silent, saving my breath. Traveling up the rather long staircase is tricky with a small noblewoman on one’s back, but it’s doable with Shinobu both keeping an eye out for me and helping maintain my balance.
Upon reaching the top, we notice a modest yet sizable shrine with a girl laying on the porch. Her clothing is mostly akin to what shrine maidens wear, but the red top and detached sleeves are quite unusual. Lady Akyuu hops down and Shinobu addresses the shrine maiden: “Miss Hakurei, could you get up please? You have visitors and no one donates to an inert lump of a girl.” Wait, she’s the shrine maiden? I assumed the Hakureis were a more dutiful sort.
“Do they have donations? I’m sick of that fatass offering jack-shit to take on Yuuka,” Miss Hakurei responds. Is she really this surly?
Lady Akyuu responds, “I was thinking of donating, but I’m not sure if such an unruly excuse of a shrine maiden deserves anything. It’d be a terrible thing to write down in the archives as well, even if I don’t add anything else onto it. Right, Reimu?” Upon her vicious remark, Reimu sits up. Oh, that’s a skirt? I thought the clothing looked too odd to be pants.
“Oh Akyuu, I’m sorry about that! It’s just that it was awhile since your last visit and the only other visitors besides Lord Kaiba were some of my acquaintances, usually to bug me or freeload for a bit, like Marisa does. I recognize Shinobu, but who’s your horse?” Reimu responds.
“Hey! I’m not a horse!”
Lady Akyuu ignores my comment and gestures to me. “He’s my assistant, and his name is Yukikaki Kojima. I'm sure you've met before; although, knowing you, you've forgotten since they've been too busy to drop by recently. You’ve got to work on remembering villagers in some other way than how much they donate.” Reimu seems to be doing her best to ignore Lady Akyuu, looking off to the side and fidgeting. “Also, I meant to ask you, was there a Kurumi involved in that vampire uprising some time back?”
Reimu turns toward us and responds, “Nope, I heard that she refused to take part. Good thing too, as I would've had to kick her ass again. Actually, it’s odd that you mentioned her, as she came by a few weeks back to make a small donation. She didn’t say why she did it and I wasn’t going to ask why I was getting money.” Reimu certainly is very concerned with money for a religious figure. It's odd that Kurumi would donate, though. I wonder why she did that, and how was she even able to get on the grounds in the first place?
Lady Akyuu gets out her coin purse and asks me, “Are you going to donate as well? Despite how she appears, Reimu has done a pretty good job of keeping the major incidents from getting out of hand.”
“Well, I have been meaning to for various reasons, so I suppose so.” And maybe Reimu’s just like this because no one visits. We go over to the donation box as I check my coin pouch. I have about 10,000 yen in it, with the rest at home. Thinking over all that’s happened, including Wriggle and the village attack, I remember what Kamui once said: “A yen in the donation box is usually worth 10 elsewhere. It may not get the gods to smile upon you, but it’ll help their servant to do so.” I decide to put in 8,000, as I don’t plan on needing all of it anytime soon, and maybe if Reimu is able to afford some nice food her attitude might improve.
The sound of bickering draws our attention away from the box. Shinobu stands while Reimu shouts at her, “Are you still mad that idea failed?! Isn’t my fault those sad sacks are too lazy and stingy to make a trip out here. I tell you, that village guardian’s making their laziness worse!”
Shinobu responds, “I am admittedly irked, but I’m quite happy with my current profession. You should really take more of an active role in things, as I doubt you enjoy having only a few donators visit.”
“I knew I should have taken up Shinki's offer to open a travel agency here; those two strays donate more than most people do! I would go and completely unseal the portal, but some tengu would see it and it’d make me look bad. For all the work I had to do, the village paid a pretty pitiful bounty for a supposedly S-ranked job!”
I ask Lady Akyuu, “How come Shinobu knows so much about bodyguarding? It sounds like she once was one, but most aren’t as polite.” Or as well-kept in their appearance.
Lady Akyuu answers, “She used to be one of the best bodyguards in both ability and manners, but one day she got tired of merely observing village life and wanted to be a part of it. She tried to find a way to use her talents while still living in the village, though as you might have figured, the attempt didn’t end well. About that time my family was looking for a personal maid for me. There were many that could clean, but not too many could hold their own in a fight. Shinobu overheard and asked politely to display her talents: she could clean and cook, and she flipped a hunter flat on his back after asking him to help her demonstrate. My parents were impressed, and even if they had refused to hire her, I would have insisted on it. She was also the most attractive of the bunch.” What does she mean by that? Out of the corner of my eye I notice Shinobu blushing a bit. Just what goes on in Lady Akyuu's head?
“She really is kind, and I’m quite grateful for the job. Thanks to it, I can live my dream of being part of a village,” Shinobu adds. I can’t quite imagine a life spent mostly on the road, but I'd imagine it is more pleasant to live in one location.
I notice Reimu checking the box, and coming back with a beaming smile. “If you guys aren’t doing anything, how about you stick around here for a bit? I could use some nice company.”
Lady Akyuu answers, “I was planning on going down to the junk shop, but if you’ll share some tales of your various adventures, I think I can change my mind.” She turns towards me and asks, “What about you? If it was just me and Shinobu I’d stay, but I don’t want to get in the way of any of your plans.”
[x] “Why not? I had nothing better to do.” (Stick around) [x] “Well, if I can go, I do have a few other things to get around to. (Try to get home, see what’s going on) [x] “Why can’t you come with us to Rinnosuke’s shop?” (Try convincing Reimu to come with.)
>>23944 While after the fact votes irk me slightly, I do not mind a post with warm sentiments. And he did have the manners to sage that post.
Status update!iB/oZWEbQI2011/07/08 (Fri) 04:10No. 23949▼
Still alive, and planning on starting the update tomorrow. ETA adjusted to either the weekend or early next week. Work this week wasn't any easier than the last. I do apologize for yet another delay but I assure you that I still think on the story even during such times.
Sorry about being a bit late, but it's much better than never!
[x] “Why not? I had nothing better to do.” (Stick around)
I thought a bit about it, so I decide to stick around. “Why not? I have nothing better to do today.” I answer.
Reimu responds, “Good! I’ll start on the stories, just as soon as I have a certain somebody get some food.” What did she mean by that?
I try to figure it out when I hear a familiar voice shout, “Hey Reimu! Got any tasty snacks today?” I look at where the voice is coming from to find Marisa coming down.
Reimu responds, “Not yet; I was waiting for you to get here so you can get some stuff like that outsider-ran pork place. Everybody else, place your orders on this paper,” putting down a sizable piece of paper. We start to work on it.
“Aw, why do I have to pick it up? Can’t you fly on Genji and get it yourself?” Marisa asks. I remember some of Miss Shameimaru’s articles mentioning that.
“I’ve actually learned to fly on my own just a few days back. That and you’re going as you always come by to mooch off of my hard-earned food! You have any idea where that over-sexed teacher of yours went? I find it odd how she hasn’t harassed me in the last few weeks.” Reimu answers.
I decide to ask a few things. “Reimu, are you sure it’s okay for us to be eating at your expense? And what’s this about Marisa’s teacher?” I find it odd how generous she is all of a sudden.
Reimu looks as if she’s thinking before she answers, “Well, it was your money originally, and you two were quite generous. That’s more than I can say of a certain chronic ‘borrower’ of things. And we were talking about Mima, a pain in the ass spirit that likes to flirt heavily with anyone that comes by.” That’d be the last thing I’d expect in a shrine.
Marisa adds, “She went off exploring around Gensokyo, as she wanted a break from the shrine. I’m sure Reimu threatening to exorcise her might have influenced her decision.” I can’t even begin to understand the dynamics of those three. “Well this’ll be tricky... mind if I order in bulk? It’ll be easier to carry it all.” Marisa adds.
Reimu responds, “Alright...I’m sure you and whoever’s around can figure it out.” Marisa then takes the sheet and takes off. I sigh in exasperation, something I do often whenever I catch wind of Marisa’s antics.
“I hope she didn’t cause you too much trouble... as before she ran off, she was something of a trouble maker.” I remark, getting a chuckle from Lady Akyuu.
Reimu answers, “Well, she was involved in starting an incident a time back, but she was under Mima and rather lady-like and polite back then. Mima thought it would be a fun idea to mess up my shrine and point a couple of wackos towards me, including a crazy tank girl and some butch swordswoman who thought she could beat me. I think I overdid it when I beat Meira... she ended up in crying in the fetal position. But when it came time to fighting Marisa, she proved to be quite a pest. Even after I dealt with Mima, Marisa butted into another incident. And ever since then she’s been following behind me on various incidents, 'borrowing' wherever she goes.” Wow... it’s something to hear about such incidents from her own mouth. No wonder Meira is scared of Reimu.
Shinobu remarks, “I never thought she’d be so foolish enough to pursue that idea of hers. But if anyone had your natural ability, they’d be able to dominate the trade. I highly doubt anyone would have the same idea, as I remember Meira being a rather capable sword for hire, often hunting A rank bounties for distant villages.
“It’s typical of such folk to ignore history and suffer from it. I should record this to serve as a foolish example for later generations. I’d never be interested in a sword carrier, as most seem entirely too daft for my tastes.” Lady Akyuu remarks. She really doesn’t spare most people from her opinion.
Reimu changes the subject, “So Yukikaki, how do you know the little terror known as Marisa? Only those that know her for a while react like that to her antics.” Kourin’s a fine example of that.
I answer, “She used to visit my house when she was younger and I used to watch over her when she did. Even back then, she was prone to mooching and trying to walk off with a book. It was cute how she talked about doing pretty magic despite her father not liking the notion one bit. My parents were pretty amused though, though I think my mother just wanted someone she could treat like a daughter.” Those are the things Marisa and Lady Akyuu are: Being my annoying but precious childhood friends.
Reimu chuckles as she responds, “I wouldn’t envy you having to deal with those two - one way or another.” It may be weird to some, but I can’t help but to go with it whenever I see them smiling.
I look around and notice something worrying: Akyuu has a particular smirk on her face. Whenever she has such a look, no good comes of it. “I will ignore what you just said, Miss Hakurei. But for a chance of topic... what’s your take on human and youkai relationships?” She asks, glancing my way.
Reimu answers, “If they know the risk, I could care less what people do with their lives. I wouldn’t mind a youkai boyfriend, if they weren’t basically rock-headed sex maniacs. Some Wolf Tengu are cute, but they’re chronic workaholics. Crow Tengu are unreliable." She pauses. "WAIT! You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” Reimu probably realized that she was saying something better left to herself.
Lady Akyuu smugly remarks, “Not really, but it’s a nice bonus. I actually wanted to see about giving Yuki here a blessing in his possible relationship with Wriggle. You know, Lady Kazami’s adopted daughter. And did you hear about what’s been going on recently?” You weren't too sure what she was doing, but you were curious to see how Reimu answers.
“I know about that outsider’s activities, and Yuuka bugs me once a week about stuff in her life... including her kids. Despite both Marisa's and my hijinks in her house, she’s taken a shine to us. She even let Marisa look through her combat notes. I’m honestly not sure if I even want her liking me or not. But from what I remember, she bragged about Wriggle being well behaved. It’s something that I’d support. Just don’t expect me to save you if you piss off Yuuka, as it’s not worth any money you could muster for how dangerous it’d be.” Reimu replies.
Lady Akyuu responds, “I thought you defeated her two or three times.”
Reimu answers, “That was in a danmaku duel, when she was either tired or playful. If she was seriously angry, I’d be in for the fight for my life. And I know her well enough that hurting any of her kids or flowers would get her to that point. She makes that bunch of vampires I had subdued seem like nothing.”
Before the conversation could take a turn, Marisa comes back with the food and what appears to be metal containers. “Just leave it to the fastest in Gensokyo!” She remarks as she lands.
As she separates the various white containers, Reimu responds, “Keep on saying that and someone’ll steal that title from you!” I notice her gaze focusing on the food.
“The guy added in a bunch of stuff after he found out I was one of the people who ordered. He’s very grateful to you for some reason, so don’t think you can pull the whole 'nobody appreciates me' card anytime soon.” Marisa answers. This reminds me of Kamui and Ginji bickering...
Marisa then passes out the food and “cans of lemonade” to us. “Yeah, he explained what they were, and he assured me that they wouldn’t be totally sour.” No one wastes any time eating the pork, though it’s rather impressive how Reimu and Marisa are going through it. The only other person I know that can eat like them is Kazuma. I decide to try out this ‘lemonade.’ It's sweet but with a bit of a tang; he must have been truly thankful if he gave away some outsider containers and cans. I notice in contrast, Lady Akyuu and Shinobu are very neat eaters even with the sauce drenched meat. Likewise, my table manners are rather clean too.
While eating, Reimu told us about her past adventures, such as dealing with Hell and Makai. She also mentioned in detail her encounters with Rika and Kurumi, along with other folks I met. She also mentioned her adventures in some dreamscapes with two women that seem familiar to me. Reimu goes on to explain the ruins incident and how she made off with a robotic maid, only to realize she isn't good at sweeping. “At least she does a rather nice job of making tea and cleaning up the inside. I wish those two nutsos would come back so they could make her work better.” She remarks.
I respond, “You might want to take her down to the Sliver Guild, as that shop specializes in Technology. Miss Asakura also works there, but I remember how she left Gensokyo for a time.” I didn’t mean to advertise for Ginji, but I can’t think of any greater think tank for such things outside of Youkai Mountain.
Reimu responds, “That’s a great idea! I hope they won’t charge too much, because I’d rather save the money for food. I’m sure I can trade something... other than Ruukoto. No point fixing her up if I can’t keep her!" She pauses to think. "Oh, yeah. I was about to tell you about what happened over in Makai. The whole thing was really a mess, as Yuuka and Mima joined in. I was too angry to be reasonable, and the other three were too focused on their own thing. In short, Makai got wrecked rather badly, and I got guilt tripped not only by the goddess of the area, but her kid. For a dark foreboding realm, you wouldn’t expect it to be ruled by something like Shinki. She’s an insufferably nice mother type.” She mutters something about a crime about being youthful yet motherly. I suspect it might be due to this Shinki being soft. Wriggle wouldn’t be amused either. She resumes talking at a audible volume, “Her kid, Alice on the other hand, had a vicious glare on her face at us for what we did. From what I remember, Yuuka was the only one that cared to fight her. Contrary to what some youkai say, I’m not some soulless ogre of a shrine maiden. Though I heard Yuuka didn’t beat her up so badly, but rather tore a couple pages from Alice's book.”
Marisa adds, “At the time, I didn’t feel so good about fighting her. But I ran into her, and she challenged me to a fight. She definitely caught me off guard with some of her attacks, like that reflecting barrier. She muttered something like, 'Three more to go." I wouldn’t be surprised if she was wandering around here, training and waiting for her chance to strike back at Mima, Yuuka and you, Reimu.”
“I heard there was a couple of folks from Makai looking for her, I guess as to inform her mother that she’s alright.” I respond.
“Marisa before you ask, I’m aware of the hole in the seal, and if I were to fix it or take it down, I’d end up in some damn Tengu newspaper like the one that ends up on my doorstep every morning.” Reimu remarks.
Marisa stares ahead at something as she asks, “Reimu you know when you said you wished for those two to return?” Reimu nods. Marisa then says, “Look where I’m looking.” Everyone turns and looks to find a massive vehicle coming down upon a clearing in the nearby forest.
“Good... if they start an incident, I’d just beat them up and make them improve Ruukoto. It’s too soon for someone to be starting up an incident and too warm for that matter!” Reimu responds as we see the craft land. “Sorry to cut the little party short, but we’ve got to check this out... unless you want to come with, Yuki. It’d be interesting to show you a bit of my usual incident routine directly.”
Wow... a chance to see a possible incident first hand? I notice Lady Akyuu thinking about something. I wonder if she wants to go with. But... is it something I really ought to see?
Yuki’s response: [x] “Sure it’s not every day where I get a chance to see that.” (Get a ride and see what happens) [x] “No thanks, it sounds pretty risky” (Play it safe)
What about Lady Akyuu? [x] “Think you could take Lady Akyuu with? She looks like she’s interested as well, but it’d be better to drop her off at a distance.” (Have her come with, but focus on her safety) [x] “I think it’d be better if you went home with Shinobu; what may be safe for me is pretty risky to you, Lady Akyuu” (Try to convince her to go home. Note: It might not work)
[x] “Sure it’s not every day where I get a chance to see that.” (Get a ride and see what happens) [x] “Think you could take Lady Akyuu with? She looks like she’s interested as well, but it’d be better to drop her off at a distance.” (Have her come with, but focus on her safety)
[x] “Sure it’s not every day where I get a chance to see that.” (Get a ride and see what happens) [x] “Think you could take Lady Akyuu with? She looks like she’s interested as well, but it’d be better to drop her off at a distance.” (Have her come with, but focus on her safety)
[x] “Sure it’s not every day where I get a chance to see that.” (Get a ride and see what happens) [x] “Think you could take Lady Akyuu with? She looks like she’s interested as well, but it’d be better to drop her off at a distance.” (Have her come with, but focus on her safety)
I don't think Shinobu would let her go if she couldn't guarantee her safety.
[x] “Sure it’s not every day where I get a chance to see that.” (Get a ride and see what happens) [x] “Think you could take Lady Akyuu with? She looks like she’s interested as well, but it’d be better to drop her off at a distance.” (Have her come with, but focus on her safety)
“Sure, it’s not everyday that I get the chance to see such an event.” It may be a bold move, but it’s not as risky as going alone, and I have faith in Reimu and Marisa’s ability to deal with whatever problems come up. I notice Lady Akyuu looking wistfully towards the tanks' landing site and add, “Think you can take Lady Akyuu with? I can think of some ways to keep her safe and-”
Reimu loudly interrupts me. “Akyuu, stop faking it. We all know you’re not the meek sort at all.” Good point... I was a little confused by her behavior.
Lady Akyuu smirks and answers, “I wanted to see Yuki ask for me. After all, Reimu, sometimes a bit of false weakness is needed to draw a boy's attention. Last time I checked, guys who liked strong women were still in the minority.”
“Hah! So are men who willingly do everything a woman asks. If Yuki here is a sign of things, I'd say the trend’ll favor me.” With a sigh, she motions to Lady Akyuu and says, “Come on, get on my back. I know I can handle your weight while flying, but I don't know about him.” Lady Akyuu complies, and Reimu turns to face me.
“I guess you’re riding the broom then. Hang on tight, and don’t get any funny ideas!” Marisa says. Ideas about what? To stay on the broom I would have to hold on to her waist- oh. I groan. Why did she say that, anyways? I wouldn’t have thought about it otherwise.
I get on and respond, “What kind of a guy gropes someone who’s like a sister to him? I wasn't raised to behave like that, either.” Thoughts of Wriggle and what she would think also come to mind. I notice Shinobu off to the side and I ask, “What about you, Shinobu? How will you get over there?” I know she can’t exactly fly.
She answers, “I’ll go through the forest; this area doesn’t have particularly strong ferals and I’ll also be able to move through it easier alone. As for you all, I wouldn’t expect the skies to be hazardous as there’s nothing akin to an incident going on. I remember during a few of them that the sky appeared to rain danmaku, but it seems fine for now. It should be interesting to see how I compare to some fliers.” She then takes off down the steps faster than I had thought possible.
“Come on, let’s go; she’ll be alright. And Marisa, try to go at a reasonable speed for once. I don’t think the girl on my back would forgive you if anything where to happen to him.” Reimu remarks.
Lady Akyuu adds, “If something were to happen to him, then I’d have to do something about it and say a few things to certain people~” Her manner is seemingly carefree, but it's obvious she's quite threatening. I’ve only seen her act like that a few times, and whoever she was speaking to was usually scared.
Marisa hastily responds, “Hey now, I’m not that reckless and I don’t want her to describe me as a monster for generations to come. Ugh, and here I thought the rumors about Miss Keine were bad enough...” Tch, I’ve heard them; some bitter folks claim she abuses her position, but thankfully no one really listens to them.
Lady Akyuu responds, “She’s much too devoted to her task to do such a thing, though I, on the other hand...” How ominous.
As we fly through the air, I finally shout to Lady Akyuu, “Akyuu, you don’t really need to do such a thing to Marisa. I’d rather you not sully your name with such actions.” I’m flattered by her concern but I can’t imagine what would happen if rumors started to spread about her.
“Oh, people are smart enough to cease whatever they’re doing before I reach that point. And really, who’d believe an eight year old would do such a thing?”
Reimu cuts in, “Focus of the path ahead before we overshoot the place!” I suppose this chat is something of a distraction.
Giggling, Marisa asks, “But don’t we always overshoot places with danmaku?” Everybody groans.
“Yes, but that’s an awful joke to make of my remark. Grrr, they had better fix up Ruukoto or else I’m going to demonstrate where-“
“I don’t think I want to hear the end of that” I remark.
Marisa asks, “Why didn’t you just have Genji carry her?”
Reimu answers, “I decided to give him a break; he’s around the back of the shrine relaxing, eating the occasional apple. I can’t lean on him forever even if it’s to carry someone else. He’s a pretty old turtle, after all.” Although riding on the back of a large turtle would be more comfortable than the broom, this is still a pretty nice ride.
It isn’t long before we land in front of the ship where two girls in summer clothes are standing. The redhead is wearing all red and the blonde is wearing all white... her clothes also seem a bit undersized, or maybe she’s just, well, oversized in certain areas.
As Reimu approaches, the redhead speaks up. “I’ve read about all the little things that've been happening and I want to make it clear I’m not here to start anything.”
The blonde sighs and adds, “It’s really just that we have no where to go after being kicked out of our school. And to think things were going so well with Miss Asakura’s work.”
Reimu answers, “So you want to live here, Yumemi and Chiyuri? Fine by me, just don’t cause technology to spread too far. There is a fine balance that the kappa and certain humans maintain.” A fine balance... I remember Miss Keine's lesson about the events leading up to the border’s formation. Among the factors was the progress of technology, which eventually led to a shift in power as youkai started losing their strength and humans gained a major advantage. Other factors were the organization of human efforts, contrasting with the lone youkai wandering the world. Still there are people who want to escape such a world...
I tune back in to the conversation when the redhead starts shouting. “Chiyuri, can’t you wear something that's properly sized? It’s giving people the wrong idea; it’s already bad enough that people think you’re the older one!” So Chiyuri is the blond, and apparently younger, one.
Chiyuri responds, “But I’d have to buy clothes 3 times a year!” Wow. Wriggle would not be amused to hear that.
Reimu scowls and interrupts, “Arggh! Enough of that! Why have you returned again? I thought Rikako helped you out nicely.”
Yumemi speaks up, “It's due to a mix of things: campus politics, male pigs, and a key experiment of ours somehow failed.” Sounds rough for them.
Chiyuri cuts in, “Yeah. She hates older men now, and my relationship with a teaching assistant was exposed. And all these creepy-”
Marisa interrupts, “That sounds pretty scandalous. Bet it'd make a nice book for certain housewives with a bit of embellishing. Make the guys pretty boys with muscles, make the heroine particularly lusty, and wham! You’ll have something they'll just eat up... except Yuki’s mom. She doesn’t like those sorts of books.”
I notice Yumemi looking incredulously at Marisa. “Marisa, what has come over you? I remember your garb and manner being more proper and ladylike. Besides, Chiyuri attracts creepy old men like free food attracts witches and shrine maidens; it's too much of a stretch to write what you're suggesting.”
With a laugh and a grin, Marisa throws her arm around Yumemi's shoulder. “Well, after the last incident I graduated from Mima, so I’m being myself. All that ladylike stuff was stifling. It’s hard to be ladylike when you lack certain things, right Yumemi? It’s certainly not easy for girls like us.”
Yumemi sighs and answers, “Indeed, particularly when you have an oversized assistant who insists on wearing undersized clothes. As for you, being around that spirit was just unfair.” Oh. That's what they're talking about. I can feel my face turning red from what they're discussing; I'm tempted to cough to remind them of my presence.
Both turn as Lady Akyuu starts to speak. “My, you two girls have my condolences. I may have to talk to Miss Chiyuri later, as if my past incarnations were any indicator, I’ll be an early bloomer.” Of course, she'd just have to say something like that. Now both Reimu and Yumemi are glaring at her.
Before anything more is said, Shinobu bursts out of the nearby forest, looking somewhat the worse for wear. Gasping for air, she says, “Some... vehicle started firing on me. I cannot believe I would be mistaken for a youkai. Hahh... Thankfully I’m alright, though the outfit may need replacing.”
I look down and see most of her skirt’s been damaged, revealing some slightly scarred but nice le- No. It wouldn’t do to start dwelling on another girl, especially the guardian of Lady Akyuu. As Lady Akyuu moves to comfort Shinobu, I hope whoever attacked her would be forced to apologize. Lady Akyuu looks pretty upset.
Suddenly, some sort of tank crashes through the tree line of the forest, with none other than Ginji and the Rikas at the controls. Wait, did they...
“Oh shit! Rika, you almost blew up Akyuu’s maid!” Ginji yells before regressing into a series of obscenities. He quickly works his way down from the tank and throws himself on the ground in a genuflect pose. “I apologize very much for all that’s happened. If I paid better attention to the road, I could have stopped her.” He’s really nervous for once.
Though Lady Akyuu is glaring daggers at him, Shinobu replies, “Apology accepted on the condition that you pay for the replacement of my outfit.”
“Deal, I’ll get it replaced at a bargain. I might have been disowned by my family, but I still have some connections.”
Rika quickly follows suit, “I’m really, really, really sorry for almost blowing up your maid!”
“You have one week to fix the outfit before I start taking steps. It doesn’t really matter if you’re one of Yuki’s friends as I do not take offenses to my household lightly.” Lady Akyuu answers in a surprisingly cold and commanding tone of voice.
Ginji quickly remarks, “Don't worry, I'll get it done even if it requires some pay cuts. And - wait, are those two Yumemi and Chiyuri?” He points at the two girls, and Lady Akyuu nods in response. “Huh. I remember Takami's smartass little brother, Tomoya, was asking Rikako about these two. I'll have to remember to tell him you're here.” I remember Tomoya was always trying to find new ways to improve the family craft, even learning about technology from the outside world.
I walk over to the ship, where Reimu's speaking. “...Yeah, I wanted you to fix up that robot maid I, uh.... borrowed. She dusts and makes tea just fine, but she’s terrible at sweeping!”
Chiyuri crosses her arms and nods to herself. “Hmmm. I might be able to help, but I’d have to reprogram her since she was originally made using a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom. It’s a machine that sucks up dust and debris into a bag, which is then emptied. It's generally much easier to use than a broom.” I have trouble imagining what such a strange device looks like.
Miss Asakura walks up and bows. “Pardon me, but I’m here to cover the negotiations with Professor Okazaki and Miss Kitashirakawa.” Wow, that's as much of a mouthful as Miss Keine’s last name is. She starts talking with the two newcomers and Reimu, and I notice everyone else gathering by Rika's tank. Marisa and Shinobu listen in while Lady Akyuu lectures Ginji and Rika harshly. What should I do...
[x] I’m curious about what the newcomers are discussing. [x] I should see what Lady Akyuu’s going on about.
Hanging with Yumemi and Chiyuri wins. You'll still gets a gist of what happens with Akyuu sooner or later, just not all the fine details. I'll begin writing tomorrow and it should be up in a few days barring anything out of the blue happening to me.
I apologize about the delay and hope to return to my former pace. The reason was basically tons of stuff happening and it took a bit of time for me to get back into the pattern.
[x] “I’m curious about what the newcomers are discussing.”
I have a pretty good idea what Lady Akyuu’s lecturing them about, mainly Rika’s lack of discretion. So, I tune in to the conversation between Reimu and Miss Asakura to see what they’re talking about. Both are talking with Yumemi and Chi- ah, I shouldn't be so informal now that I know their names: Miss Okazaki and Miss Kitashirakawa.
“You’re not mad at me for swiping the maid?” Reimu asks.
“Nope, it was her fault that things were so unsecure.” Miss Kitashirakawa answers.
Miss Okazaki responds, “I didn’t expect anyone to have the gall to steal from my ship! Back where we came from, you could leave a ship unlocked without having anything stolen!”
“Well, I was looking around the ship for you two, the masterminds of that incident, but I only found Ruukoto before both of us were teleported out,” Reimu remarks.
With a nervous chuckle, Miss Okazaki asks, “Speaking of, that incident’s old news now, right? I really wouldn’t want to get kicked out of here.”
Reimu closes her eyes and nods. “If you’re going to fix up Ruukoto, then it’s as good as forgotten!” She certainly takes things easy.
“Excellent. Now, Professor Okazaki, about that alliance-” Miss Asakura begins to ask, but Miss Okazaki interrupts her.
Turning to Miss Kitashirakawa, she asks, “Hey Chiyuri, get me that new detector; I think I’ve found a subject for it.”
I ask, “What is this detector? I hope it’s not dangerous.” I remember visiting Ginji’s shop a few times where he'd toss something out the back window... shortly before it exploded.
“Nope, it’s a scanner that I made to help me find single guys. I’ve theorized that people in a relationship of some kind would have a mixed pheromone signature compared to their usual reading.” I’m unsure whether I should be impressed or confounded by the fact such technology exists, and that she'd bother to invent it in the first place. Miss Chiyuri hands the scanner over to Miss Okazaki, who mutters something as she scans over everyone. “Interesting findings... Hey kid, have you lately been around insects much?”
I answer, “I guess so, but would an insect youkai give the same results you're getting?” I guess it detected Wriggle's pheromones... whatever they are.
Miss Okazaki answers, “If it was an insect youkai of some short, then it’d explain the findings on you. Rikako already explained to us about things in Gensokyo, such as how youkai are prone to laying strong claims upon promising mates.” Smirking a bit, she adds, “Whoever she is laid on about as strong a claim as possible.”
Turning to Miss Asakura, she remarks, “Well, regarding your 'alliance,' we were planning on working on our own, but not against your group. If anything, it’d be much better to combine our talents than to compete. I think that guy you’re with is the only guy who’d sell our things reliably, unlike that annoying owner of the junk shop. We also need to talk in private about your findings; they seemed particularly interesting.” I think the shop owner is Rinnosuke, but what findings are they talking about?
Ginji comes running up; I guess Akyuu finished her lecture. “Yeah, I should also warn you about that little shrimp, Tomoya; I get the feeling that once he hears about you two moving here he’ll never leave you alone. He’s the younger brother of Takami, and while he isn't as stupid, he’s certainly more reckless. I'm telling you this because I know he has quite the interest in outsider tech, and he’s been trying to outdo me for a while.”
Miss Okazaki nods to herself and says, “I guess we could use a native assistant around here, but due to these pheromonal readings, I don’t think I can ask Rikako or you, right?” Both Miss Asakura and Ginji blush slightly at that comment. “Just be sure to tell that hyper girlfriend of yours to be careful about blowing up any maid-like objects - the young lady Akyuu seems to care deeply for her maid. I’m really not surprised at her reaction.”
Ginji remarks, “Yeah, yeah; I've already caught enough hell from Yuki’s sis about it.”
I cut in, saying, “Ah, well, she's not really my si-.”
“You know what I mean. Anyways, I asked her where she learned to lecture like that and all she said was 'I took a few pointers from Miss Eiki.' Hey, do you know who she’s talking about?” Eiki? Oh! She must mean the judge of the dead, well, at least as far as Gensokyo is concerned - Miss Eiki Shiki. A few of her appearances are recorded in history; most of which were to warn a noble of their rapidly mounting sins. Father once mentioned a theory that the children of Hieda had some sort of connection to this Highest Judge.
Finishing my thoughts, I answer, “She's the judge of the dead, Ginji.” I think his face went pale when I mentioned that.
After some small chat, everyone headed off to their homes.
As Marisa readies her broom for flight, she remarks, “Well, I’m outta here; it’s getting rather late and I’d rather get back to my place before it gets dark. Good luck with that bug girl, Yuki!” She takes off soon after.
“I’m going back home too; I’ve been away from the shrine long enough. You better get Akyuu back home before anything else happens.” Reimu remarks before taking off herself.
Ginji speaks up next, “I guess everyone can get in the tank while I drive. That way we can all get back to the village quickly.” Turninf to me, he adds, “The last thing everyone needs is your mom freaking out and doing something crazy.” I shrink a bit at his words; I didn’t think my mother’s quirkiness was that evident.
After some parting remarks we started driving back towards town. The ride is mostly quiet, due in part to Lady Akyuu falling asleep on Shinobu’s lap. More surprising was Rika doing the same thing in Miss Asakura’s lap, though she didn’t seem to mind, oddly enough.
I'm dropped off at the crossroads, then Ginji rumbles off in the tank to take Lady Akyuu and Shinobu home. I turn to head home when I feel something poking me. I turn around to find a red dress doll floating in the air. It’s very well made, too; not something you’d see in Gensokyo very often. It seems to be pointing and gesturing towards an area, probably trying to get me to go there.
[x] I should follow the doll and find out where it's leading me. [x] It’s been a long day and I’d rather just go home.
[x] I should follow the doll and find out where it's leading me.
I decide to humor the red-dressed doll and whoever’s moving it. “Okay, which way do you want me to go?” The doll points to the merchant area before grabbing my sleeve and trying to drag me with it. It sure has an impatient personality to be hurrying me along like this. Maybe I should test the doll’s abilities? “What’s your name?”
She pulls out a small sign that says “Hourai” and below it reads, “I cannot talk.” I walk with Hourai tugging on my sleeve until we reach a spot where a young girl wearing a blue bow in her hair and a man are talking. Wait, the man's outfit matches the description... red hair, and a red jacket with “L E” on it - just what is Arthur doing here?
The girl notices me and doll coming towards her, and she remarks, “Hourai, I was speaking hypothetically; I didn’t actually expect you to drag someone here. This nice man is helping me.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it, Alice. It shows it’s looking out for you.” Arthur responds. He seems very calm about being in Gensokyo, taking everything in stride. “If you need food in the future, I’m sure people around here would be more helpful. Or you could have doll shows since this one seems very well made, and rather lively. I’m sure people around here would love to see a show with them.” Hourai starts bowing rapidly in response.
Alice glances at the doll before looking back at Arthur. “Please don’t flatter her too much; she’ll get the wrong idea and end up even more unreliable.” Alice seems very mature for her young age. What sort of person is she to have already made a doll like Hourai?
And is the doll truly independent? “Miss Alice, is that doll truly alive? I mean, in all my studies, I’ve never seen anything like it. Oh, please don't take that the wrong way; I just mean that I've never heard of it before.”
“Oh, that’s something I’d like to make happen in the long term. Right now she just follows my orders and somehow developed a difficult personality over the course of time. I hope that she hasn’t been too much a nuisance.”
“Not really; I was far more amused by her actions than annoyed. She may not be perfectly obedient, but she does seem to care about you.” I notice Hourai nodding her head in response.
Arthur takes a look at me and asks, “Hey, you’re related to Mrs. Kojima, right? Did she get upset when I left the village to visit Yuuka? I didn't mean to cause her worry.”
I nod. “Yes, she’s my mother and she’s certainly been watching the paper for more things about you, sir. You’ve been a popular topic in the village ever since you razed that fort.”
He waves his hands as he answers, “You don’t have to be so formal with me; just call me Art or Arthur. I was just doing the right thing to save everyone some trouble.” He turns towards Alice, adding, “I’ve got to get going now before the shops close, but if you want to drop by and talk with Yuuka, head for the house in the flower field. I’m sure she wouldn’t object to you dropping by, and I’ll try to convince her to give those pages back to you. Be care ful to stay out of trouble now, as these are troubled times when traveling outside the village,” as he turns and leaves. I’ve got to tell the guys about this; it’s not everyday that you meet a possible hero.
“I didn’t think she would ever go that soft,” Alice sighs in exasperation. “Well, all that’s left is to go after Hakurei, Marisa, and that ghost that’s with them.” Alice turns towards me, asking, “Do you know where any of those people are?”
I nervously answer, “For what reason?” I suddenly remember where I'd heard her name before. “Oh! I did run into some people who were looking for you, Miss Alice.” Even though she looks so young, I can’t help but feel somewhat intimidated by her.
“Oh, Miss Luize? I had her tell mother that I’m fine and will get revenge for her, just as soon as I find out where those three live. I’m surprised that Elis would want to stay in this world...but, I guess as Arthur shows, not everyone here is a diabolic destroyer.”
Remembering that Reimu had some regrets over that incident, I answer, “Reimu’s shrine is at the opposite end of the village from the Inn, but I’ve talked with her and she really does regret the whole thing. I think if it weren't for all the expectations she has to follow, she’d completely unseal the gate herself. I don't have any clue about Marisa's or Mima's whereabouts, though.”
Alice holds her chin, staring into the distance deep in thought before answering. “Thank you, I’ll settle for talking with Reimu before going on to take by revenge. I’ll be going to the home I’ve made and I have Hourai with me; she’s effective if occasionally troublesome.” It looks as if Hourai’s mouthing something. “Hourai P. Doll! Stop mouthing ridiculous things!” she shouts before leaving with Hourai. I wonder what that was all about? Well, since it's getting dark out I decide to go home and see if dinner’s ready yet.
I come in to find dinner ready and my parents talking with a paper lying on the table nearby. “You must have had an interesting day, getting to see that ship land,” Father remarks, gesturing to the front page of the paper. There's a picture, seemingly taken from the air, showing everyone at the landing site.
“Yeah. We visited the shrine, made a donation and we talked fore a while before we saw the ship land. Afterwards, we went back to the village where I ran into Arthur helping a girl named Alice. For all that he's done, he’s incredibly humble, though he insisting on being called by his first name. He also apologizes about troubling you, Mother.”
She smiles, saying, “My, I'm glad that he took the time to remember me, but please, tell me more about this 'Alice' girl.”
“For the most part she seemed like a normal girl, but she had this floating doll with her that was rather amusing in it's actions. Its able to act on it's own to some degree, so I guess there's more to Alice than what meets the eye.” That’ll be something I’ll have to look into in time.
We eat, and other than the landing of the ship I find out life’s gone back to normal around in the village for the time being. I'm not sure how long it’ll last though, as news mainly comes into the village through Miss Shameimaru’s paper and folks that have traveled to other areas.
After dinner I settle in my room to get to work on my notes regarding the events of the day. I feel that they may one day be notable. Someone comes down the stairs, and I turn to see Father. “You know Yuki, I think your records will be more notable than most of mine from the looks of things. Just be careful what you write; while it’s easier for the young to ride the waves of history, they’re also more susceptible to drowning in them.” That’s one odd metaphor, perhaps from the outside, but his voice is very serious. Is he speaking from past experience?
He leaves as I decide to read the next wizard book. A nice walk and... what the... how can a gazebo attack like that!? And how do a Doghouse and Outhouse mate to make one? I can’t tell if the writer is brilliant or eating some kind of strange herb. I put the book down and clear my mind before falling asleep since I don’t have some strange, twisted dream. Kamui once told me he had one about little blue men waging apocalyptic wars after trying an experimental mushroom stew. I'm still not sure if he was serious or making a bad joke.
The night goes without incident... mostly as I had a dream about Wriggle and Shinobu... never mind! I should eat breakfast and visit one of my friends.
When I get upstarts, I find father reading a book and having some tea. He looks up as I approach. “I’ve decided to take a day off for once as Akyuu insisted on having the mansion mostly to herself. I also felt if I didn’t take today off, it might be a while before I could: your mother went off to interview some of the outsiders to try and find out any leads that tie to that splinter group.”
I eat my breakfast and then prepare for the day. Nothing too fancy, just my usual things - oh, I should put some money in my wallet in case something comes up. I did empty it at the shrine yesterday, after all.
Well... which would be my first stop?
[ ] Go over to Ginji’s shop as odds are both Ginji and Kazuma will be there. [ ] See how Kamui’s doing at the Inn.
I guess I'll see how Kamui’s doing since I never did catch up with him. He should be up by this time anyways. Heh, I’m sure he’s alright considering how he has a vampire and a makai native with him. I can always ask Wriggle later how her trip with Mystia went yesterday; it's nice to see them getting along.
I approach the inn only to see a crowd of people gathered outside the door. Inside, everyone seems to be fighting to get near the counter. “Please calm down everyone; I only have a limited amount today,” a sing-song voice pierces through the roar of the crowd. Pushing my way through and muttering apologies, I make it to the counter only to find Mystia in a brown outfit that I think stand runners wear.
Sidling out of the way of the crowd, I remark, “I didn’t know you worked here, Mystia. Do you know if I should expect Kamui to be down down in a few moments?” Since she’s around, Mystia probably knows what he's up to.
“I’m sorry, we- Oh, Yuki! He should be down any moment, provided that Elis and Kurumi don’t distract him. Those two are such trouble makers.” A blush creeps over her cheeks at the last part. I decide to avoid the subject of what might have happened.
“That's good; I was hoping to talk with him. And, uh, not to pry, but why are you wearing one of those outfits?” I gesture to her clothes.
“I’m just taking lessons from the matron; this outfit was a present from her!”
“Ah, I see. I take it your trip with Wriggle yesterday went well, then.”
“Yup. Speaking of, Wriggle got an invitation from the Hidea household yesterday. I hope no problems come up because of it.” Lady Akyuu must be meddling in things again. I just hope she doesn’t embarrass Wriggle too much. “Well, I’ve got to get back to cooking so just take a seat and he’ll be down,” Mystia speaks before going into the kitchen.
I somehow find an empty table in the corner, and it isn’t long before Kamui comes down. “Pretty hectic, huh?” Gesturing to the ceiling, he says, “Those two are excited because of the upcoming festival and Mysty’s going to try selling her cooking as well. I mean, hopefully she'll set up away from Mokou’s place; no one wants to see a fight break out. It'd spoil the whole event. I can barely wait; Kurumi had to get a specially made yukata... I remember her saying her mother recommended one place in particular. Ah!” He chuckles to himself and a impure grin spreads over his face. “I can see why; Yuuka’s certainly in full bloom.” He can be only be talking about one thing; some things never change. Still, while a bit too... colorful, if what I’ve read is true, Lady Kazami is as stunningly beautiful as she is monstrously powerful.
I answer, “While true, casually saying such a remark could land you in serious trouble. Lady Akyuu invited Wriggle to her mansion today, and I can guess at what she's doing to her. When Lady Akyuu gets an idea, she really gets going.” Considering the family structure of Yuuka’s, Kamui and I will be something like brothers as we’re both interested in Yuuka’s daughters.
“Hey, you should be looking forward to it! I’m not sure what your relationship with Akyuu is, but I know the little lady likes you enough to throw her weight around. I heard from Kazuma the day before yesterday that you and he were a couple of small time heroes, defending some Tengu. By the time I found out about it, it was all over.”
“Well, I didn't really do much...” I tell him about how Wriggle saved me and terrified those hunters.
“Hah! For a well behaved girl, she sure knows how to scare people. Now, it's a good thing you're here, since I planned for us guys to meet today. I’m not sure what’s keeping Ginji and Kazama, though. You have any ideas?”
“I might know why Ginji isn't here: yesterday Lady Akyuu, Shinobu and I went to the shrine, then joined Reimu and Marisa to investigate the landing that might get mentioned in the paper soon. Reimu talked with the folks there and along the way it turns out Rika mistook Shinobu for a wild youkai and shot at her with her tank.” Upon hearing the last bit, he spits out the tea he was drinking.
“That's not good. I hope everyone is okay as I heard that the little Lady can get very vicious when angry, not even thinking twice before putting an oversized bounty on someone’s head. I’m curious about what her punishment is... heh, maybe it's something nice like forcing Rika into a maid outfit. Though, knowing what she feels for Ginji, I think she wouldn't mind too much,” Kamui answers. I remember something was mentioned about a dress being replaced, but that couldn't be it, could it? “But yeah, Mystia’s started to hang around here and talk to me. I guess I’m making nice progress with all of them; there was this one time where Kurumi wound up showing me and Elis her,” he coughs, “'charm points.' Quite a sight I’ll say; now I know how you must have felt when you got that heaping eyeful in the forest.”
“Geez, Kamui. Why'd you have to mention that?” Not that it wasn’t a fantasic sight. Wait - if Wriggle told Kurumi about that... ugh. As expected, vampires are sly after all, no matter how cute they are.
Thankfully, before we dwell any further on the matter of exposed youkai bosoms, Ginji and Kazuma enter and come toward us, with that Tengu from the day of the fight following Kazuma. I think her name was Hatate, and for some reason she's in a Maid outfit. Kamui speaks up first, “Oh ho! Was it maid day at your store or something? I guess it’s a nice change and a good way to get business, especially if Rikako got into-” Ginji interrupts him.
“Shut up. Rika went crazy buying maid outfits and put them on Rikako and little miss Tengu. She’s over at the Hideas right now to deliver the outfit and do whatever else the little shrew has in mind.”
Kazama remarks, “Well, I know this was a guy’s meeting, but she insisted on coming because of her debt of honor, and I don’t see the harm. I warned her about the sort of talk that might happen.”
“If the ‘great’ Aya can handle it, so can I!” Hatate remarks, crossing her arms pridefully.
Kamui responds, “Kazama, your innocence is really something; I know some guys who would have taken advantage of your situation, but you didn't. Though, if you were “most people” I doubt Lunasa and Lyrica would have let you get that close to their sister in the first place. But now that we’re all here, who wants to go first?”
[x] “I would, I’ve got a few other events to tell” (Tell them more about what I told Kamui and the meeting with Alice and Arthur) [x] “I’d like to hear how Kazama’s been doing since that incident” [x] “Sounds like Ginji’s been through a lot, I’d like to hear how he’s doing.” [x] Let Kamui take the stage; he must have some reason for organizing this meeting.
Topics go in the order of most votes to least.
Sorry about the wait, the next update will be bigger though I can't make any promises about it coming any time before next saturday or later.
I think it involved the unfortunate combination of Mystia's ears and his use of a chicken joke, followed by a similarly unfortunate combination of Mystia's notably sharp talons and his manberries. Speaking of...
[x] “I’d like to hear how Kazuma’s been doing since that incident.”
>>24133 There's a character thread over in /words/, but here's a quick summary: Kamui - charismatic lecher Ginji - brainiac Kazuma - fighter Takami - son of a blacksmith
Kazuma helped us the day before yesterday when some village hunters ganged up on Hatate (final thread 1 update). Ginji was with us yesterday when we met Chiyuri and Yumemi, and we haven't seen Kamui for a while (except for today).
[x] “I would, I’ve got a few other events to tell” (Tell them more about what I told Kamui and the meeting with Alice and Arthur) [x] “I’d like to hear how Kazama’s been doing since that incident” [x] “Sounds like Ginji’s been through a lot, I’d like to hear how he’s doing.” [x] Let Kamui take the stage; he must have some reason for organizing this meeting.
I remark, “I’d like to go first; the last few days have been pretty lively. First was the fight where I backed up Kazuma. Honestly I was so focused on doing my part that my memory is fuzzy, at least until Miss Shameimaru showed up.”
Kazuma replies, “Well, it wasn’t anything that important, just me slugging it out heroically.”
I continue, “After that, I ran towards the inn to inform Mr. Yaguu when some other guys popped out. Before I could really panic, Wriggle came to the rescue, scaring all of them and knocking out the biggest one. I was impressed by her cleverness: the other two were too scared to fight back after she took out their leader. Afterwards we relaxed in the inn some while my mother fawned over Wriggle. She was pretty embarrassing, as usual.” I notice Kamui and Ginji handing some money to Kazuma. I'd ask, but I don’t think I’d like the answer. I resume speaking, “I took her to the Hieda residence and introduced Wriggle to Lady Akyuu. They got along really well, enough so that she invited Wriggle over again today. Nothing of note happened after the meeting.” I try to leave out my memories of the time we spent together afterwards. I notice Kamui shaking his head at me as if to say, “Sure, whatever you say.”
“The next day I helped escort Lady Akyuu to the Hakurei shrine... though to be honest-” My explaination is interrupted by Kamui.
“So the rumors of her using you as a horse were true. I wonder how she tricked you into doing that?” I won’t reveal how simple her trickery was.
I clear my throat and resume, “Once there, we talked with Reimu and later Marisa until the ship came down. It turns out a couple of folks were returning, Miss Yumemi Okazaki and Miss Chiyuri Kitashirakawa. I found out much more about a couple of previous incidents, beyond what the papers reported. I’ll leave Ginji’s side of the story to him, but other than that, things went pretty well. When I got back to the village I wound up following a well-made doll to her owner, who was talking with Arthur of all people. I was surprised by how humble he was; he didn’t insist on any formalities or brag about what he's done. As for the doll’s owner, I won’t reveal her business but she was mature for her age, and I mean mentally!” I direct that last part towards Kamui, knowing he might think I'm insinuating something else.
He speaks up, “I met the girl you're talking about and she wasn’t very amused with me. She tricked me into kneeling down before slapping me in the face. I will say that in a few years she’ll get plenty of attention, but I don’t think most of them will succeed in pursuing her. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has a girlish crush on Arthur because hey, he has to be doing something very right to get the attention of the infinitely lovely Yuuka.” He might be right but I don’t think Alice would ever admit to that, but maybe Hourai would disagree if we could understand whatever she was trying to mouth out.
“Well, I’m done here, though I'm curious about how you're doing, Kazuma. I was meaning to visit you but I couldn’t quite find the time.”
He responds, “Don’t worry about it; between Merlin and Hatate, I had a nice recovery from the fight. They were certainly shocked by all the bruises I got under my armor. After Aya left, I mainly rested since Hatate insisted doing things around the house, including cooking though the only thing she knew how to make was her own take on ramen noodles. It was a very tasty take at that.” She blushes at the praise, and I notice she's taken a seat close to Kazuma.
"He has been very nice and he's been teaching me about human life. Um... I'm still getting used to being around places like this" She meekly responds as she inches closer to Kazuma.
He continues, “She's usually more herself at the shop or smaller places. But as I was saying, Merlin came by later and was very worried when she heard the news. She left and brought back some pink outfits, saying that nurses wear them before changing into one, and forcing Hatate into one, too. I dunno what she meant about care taking, but they did look very nice in them. After Merlin left, I've mostly been taking it easy and working the shop counter while Ginji did various things. I should be ready to get back to hunting by tomorrow or so. Oh, and Merlin’s sister, the one Ginji likes, also stopped by to see how Merlin was doing; something about not suffocating me.” Kamui laughs at the remark while Ginji looks away with an indignant expression on his face.
Ginji begins to speak, “It certainly was true that she stopped by the shop; while she was there, I filled her in on the situation that had occurred. You might have heard that a few of those unruly hunters tried to attack our shop, but the prototype automated defenses backed up by Rika in one of her tanks drove them off. I must say Rika and Rikako have been a huge help in developing effective yet nonlethal automated weapons. My time was very much uneventful until we decided to investigate the ship that landed, and en route Rika mistook Akyuu’s maid for a youkai and tried firing upon her. When I realized this, I panicked, knowing Akyuu doesn’t take offenses against those she cares about lightly. I distinctly remember one case where someone shoved Yuki out of the way, and next day showed up bruised and frightened, apologizing to Yuki's parents. No bounties were involved at all; whoever she had do this operated outside of normal channels.” I remember that, but I never knew who had beat him up so badly. I just figured it was an accident. “But yeah, as a result of the incident I had to replace the maid's outfit, pretty easily and cheaply done for me. Although, Rika insisted on helping out for a day as she proceeded to put Rikako and Hatate in maid outfits before going towards the Hidea household. And to answer Kamui’s unvoiced question, yes they were rather attractive, particularly Rikako’s blushing. While uncharacteristic of her, it was appealing, though I reassured her that if necessary, she could use whatever force is needed in self-defense.” I guess some people might
I ask, “What about things with your parents? I heard some discussion was going on.”
“Your mother did try talking them into trying to be diplomatic about things, but they’re as stubborn as always, saying I’ll come running back to them. Well, I might not have as many resources as I used to, but I’m still making money and I'm sure they wouldn’t try anything due to their shaky footing as a result of the split. If there were some incidentally damning yet false articles in the papers, it wouldn’t end well for them. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put it past my parents to pull such stunts; Dad himself taught me 'If you can’t beat someone in business, take their legs out from under them with some rumors.' Recently, I heard if someone tries to screw over the inn Matron she’d do similar... except the rumors would be true. I almost wish my parents were like her, as while her business skill is legendary, she is also quite caring; just look at how she spoils Kamui!” Hearing stuff like this makes me glad my parents are kind, wise people. Well, whenever mother isn't fawning over a girl I've met.
I ask, “Are all merchants this ruthless? I just find it hard to believe.”
“They are indeed, at least in this village, though there are some who are content with their niches. It’s those kind of people are the kindest. I think part of Mr. Kirisame’s modest success is the fact that he’s an everyman and not a merchant type at all. Honestly, the typical villager trusts him more than anyone in the merchant quarter. Rinnosuke, on the other hand, has an entirely alien business mind; it’s almost like he’s not even concerned with making money.”
Kamui asks, “Did you tell Lunasa about being disowned and the main reason behind? Better you tell her than letting her find out some other way in a twisted form.”
“I did explain the whole thing to her. Then she called me stupid for doing something so impulsive, though I don’t think she was completely mad at me. I’m not sure if she's ever had someone make such a bold statement. I know that some of the other merchant kids would be scared stiff of defying their parents, though it doesn’t help that most can’t seriously run a small business like I can. I think I blamed you for a similar stunt, Kamui, as we all know how you basically ran off with only some clothes and a cheap guitar to your name. So, what happened on your end, now that you’ve heard all of our stories?”
Kamui leans back in his chair as he begins to speak. “Well, Lyrica stopped by for a bit, just to see how everyone at the inn was doing and to talk a bit with Mystia. I’ll tell ya, with Lyrica, I’m playing to her tune, no exceptions. Mysty’s been starting to hang around here more, taking lessons from the Matron while dealing with the two winged trouble makers I’m with. Even so, she’s taking things in stride; I hope she's finally gotten over that grudge, though I doubt it’ll ever completely heal. Something like that never does completely vanish and all one can hope for is that nothing reopens the emotional wound.”
As he finishes speaking, Mystia comes up with five plates of food, each laden with some kind of eelish creature. Mischieviously, she remarks, “I said there was a limited supply; nothing about how limited” in a sing-song voice. “I hope you all like it. Oh, and Yuki, yours is the one Wriggle caught,” she adds before going back. Kazuma is the first to start eating, followed by Kamui, Hatate, and Ginji after Kazuma shows no signs of being ill. I also start despite having a fierce blush on my face.
Kamui begins speaking again as he finishes a mouthful, “Oh yeah; the second reason I brought you here was to meet a certain someone.” He points to the table next to us where a girl about our age sits, dressed up in a warlord robe. I notice that the family symbol is a carrot before my attention is drawn to her floppy ears.
Big Boss of the Bamboo Forest Tewi Inaba
“I’m Tewi Inaba; nice to meet ya. Those were quite some tales ya had; sure they weren’t particularly grand, but it’s the first time in a while that I’ve heard of human males going on that sort of route. I haven’t seen such things since that Myouren kid’s time. Between you four and that knight, I have something to break up the boredom. Tormenting a moon bimbo gets boring after the first 50 times.” Motioning to Kamui, she continues, “Lover boy here got my attention first 'cause someone who goes about living with an otherworlder and a vampire stands out from most other people. And then that knight started his crusade, giving me something else to follow.”
“May I ask how you’re able to do that, Lady Inaba?” I ask.
“Oh ho! Naturally a member of the Kojimas would pay me respect; the same can’t be said for most people. It's a good thing appearance means nothing with elder youkai such as me. But to answer your question, I use the information network I have, pretty good considering they’re Tengu ninjas.” What?
“Oh come on, that’s a joke so bad that not even Takami would use it.” Ginji groans.
“That’s why they’re known as the best in covert operations: their very existence sounds like a bad joke. That Akyuu worked something out with me in the past, which allows her access to them as well. How she uses them is something she alone knows. So, anyone have any possibly interesting questions?”
“I have one!” Hatate cuts in, surprising us. “What was Aya like when she was younger? I’m curious as I want to see if she was ever a cute, harmless girl at one time.”
Tewi laughs as she answers, “Nope, but she grew up during more intense times back when it wasn't uncommon for the Tengu nation to be in full war mode. I remember after the Oni left and peace arrived, she wasn’t used to days where she wasn’t on some sort of sneaking mission. I wonder if she has her old outfit from those days or not? Well, this just goes to show that with the advent of peaceful times, many warriors and spies end up teaching and doing other productive jobs. Those that can’t adjust usually end up going down a dirtier, bloodier road. I think it would take about 20 modern ninjas to equal Aya back in the day. Better yet, ask her if she could get you such an outfit in your size; it’s certainly easy on the eyes.” Hatate blushes at the last part.
I decide to ask one more question. I'm not sure how much she'd know, but whatever she would know would be of interest.
[x] “You mentioned something about a moon... bimbo? Does that mean there’re actually people on the moon?” [x] “I’m curious about Lady Kazami, though I’m sure you can only say a limited amount.” [x] “I’d like some extra insight on Myouren’s adventures, mainly to see if something Father found was true.”
Couldn't find a fitting picture of Tewi, so have a cute one instead.
[x] “I’d like some extra insight on Myouren’s adventures, mainly to see if something Father found was true.”
Remember back in post >>23207? Yuki's dad was researching Myouren and stumbled upon a half-destroyed scroll. >"It’s those Myouren documents I was researching; the latest scroll was half destroyed and what was revealed can’t be published due to the implications." >"You’ve heard of the princess of the netherworld right? The matter involves her and it’s something she may find quite damning." >"It also mentions someone by the same name as the spirit that hangs around the shrine."
This is our chance to help unravel the mystery; maybe learn a thing or two about magic in the process.
[x] “You mentioned something about a moon... bimbo? Does that mean there’re actually people on the moon?”
She answers, “Yep. I’m surprised your teacher with the rack didn’t tell you, though I guess it's something that might be considered classified by most. I don’t think anyone’d care to find out about the moonies and how Yakumo got her pretty ass handed to her when she tried invading. It didn’t help that, well... no youkai of note cared to get involved. I certainly wasn’t risking the rabbits’ lives for some invasion plan. Neither did Yuuka, the Tengu, or Oni. Some, like the Queen of Darkness, wanted the whole earth instead. I suggested for her to look in unlikely places. But in the end Yakumo was stuck with mainly cocky, power mongering weaklings. This was about a thousand years back or so.” Queen of Darkness? I think I remembered Lady Akyuu saying how a similar being was defeated a while back. Tewi must be old to talk of her and the Lady of Borders so casually.
“Some moonies ended up my in forest and they struck a deal; a pretty nice one at that. I let them stay and lend them my rabbits from time to time, and in return we all get nice rooms and nice food. The silver haired one was always considerate when making requests of me. Anyways, it was pretty nice until 30-ish years or so ago when this moon rabbit came down. I didn’t object to them taking her in at first, but she started bossing me around and acting like she’s the older one, mostly acting like a pampered bunny. I decided to start teaching her lessons in a gentle manner; a youkai showing disrespect to an older one usually results in the former’s death, after all. She’s lucky that her teacher asked me not to go selling her undergarments or any compromising pictures, though she's honestly not much to talk about. Now her teacher and the princess, they’d be able to compete with Gensokyo’s other beauties.”
Kamui cuts in, “Well, now I’m curious. After all, if you say they’re able to rival the other notable women, then they must be something. Just look here.” He takes out a picture of a blonde haired woman in a snug purple dress. Wait... this is famed Lady of Borders! She is attractive for sure, yet she still seems to pale when compared with Wriggle.
“Heh, she’s always been a vain one, ever since she got those growth spurts. Boy, I wonder how she’s reacting to the news of the moonies hiding here as I’m sure she's found out by now. She may be lazy, but when she goes about doing something, she gets it done. As for why she invaded the moon, Yakumo was quite different when she was younger, and that applies to Yuuka, too. Compared to how she was, Yakumo's gained confidence over time, while Yuuka... let’s just say her grudge against humans has a justifiable root. You’ll have to ask the woman herself to find out more. Oh, and you better put that picture away, Kamui, before that cute bird girl comes back.”
Ginji remarks, “Seems irresponsible of her to just ignore the moon people. I can’t help but doubt-”
Tewi interrupts him, “Oh she’s much smarter than she looks; other than that incident, no one on this planet has gotten the best of her. She usually finds a way to get involved with some event and turn it to her advantage, though her luck wasn’t so good a couple of times.” Tewi rests her head on her hand and gazes off into the distance. “One of them involved that Myouren kid. From what she told me, she had high hopes for him and regrets not stopping the chain of events that wound up subduing him. Sure, he still did some great things, but by the sound of Yukari’s story, he could have been history changing.” She seems to focus on us again and turns to face us. “Oh! Sorry about that; I do tend to ramble at my age. I've got time for one last question before I need to go back to putting that moon rabbit in her place.”
Kazuma speaks up, “Have you spoken to any heroes such as Yoshitsune Minamoto?”
“Yeah. I knew the guy myself; he was pretty cool, though after a certain point he started to get rather full of himself. He eventually told me to get lost and I warned him that his arrogance would get him into trouble if I wasn't there to help out. And that’s what exactly happened: sure he was a skilled warrior, but that does nothing against a well planned attack. The greatest swordsman dies just the same as frail farmer when he gets a knife in the back or in his sleep. Well, I have to get going, but I’ll be around at that festival, even if I have to tie up that so-called “elite soldier of the moon” and lock her in a closet. I’ll tell you this about my rabbits: they may be playful slackers, but under me, their skills at unconventional combat are rivaled only by the Tengu. That’s only after Tenma nicely asked me to give them some pointers... and to release the 200 tengu that we’d captured.” She gets up from her seat and waves as she walks towards the door. “Keep up the amusing antics, guys.”
“No wonder some of the other tengu fear the bamboo forest... I never got a straight answer when I asked.” Hatate remarks. I’d imagine they wouldn’t want to admit to being humiliated by a rabbit youkai. “Um... I’m going to head back, if that’s okay,” she adds nervously.
“Sure, go ahead; I didn’t mean to drag you here in the first place,” Kazuma answers. “Also, don’t worry about doing any work. I'll ask dad if he can contact Aya to pick you up and end your stay, as you shouldn’t be kept against your will.”
“I’m not really upset about this or anything...” she mumbles, departing with a blush on her face.
Kamui starts clapping his hands slowly as he remarks, “So Kazuma, how does it feel to have a Tengu wife? I wonder if she eve- ah! Never mind!” Kazuma's glaring intensely at Kamui, and I shift away from them a little. While Kazuma’s slow to anger, he’s nowhere near as slow when expressing it, mainly by slamming his fist into their face.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not like that at all. We both just like each other. I don’t see why such matters have to be complicated.” Kazuma answers. Still, from the look on his face, I can tell he's deep in thought.
Kamui heaves a sigh of relief. “Well, I’m sorry about that remark; I forgot how it’s a 'sacred topic' for some. I'm glad it's you and not your dad and Aya in question, though; he would have killed me after that remark for sure. Just ask old man Kojiro for some stories.”
I remark, “Kamui, think about it this way: would you like it if someone tried to put all of your relationships in crude terms? In your case, such a thing would be quite easy for the uninformed. I’d rather not see karma take such a direction for you.” I hope he gets the idea better with this comparison.
Thankfully, he smiles and starts laughing. “It’s just like you to read me like a book and come up with such a good point. I guess that comes with knowing each other for a while. Well, I’m going to wrap up the meeting as I’m sure everyone has people waiting for them. If I leave those two vampires alone for too long, I’m sure some absurd situation will pop up, and I’d rather not put Mysty through another one if I can help it.” He gets up and heads towards the stairs.
“Well, that was food for thought. But what happened to your one woman philosophy, Kazuma?” Ginji asks.
“The same thing that happened to you with those three.” Kazuma answers.
“Never mind then. I should get going to see how Rikako fared while I was gone. Hey Yuki, you should see if Akyuu and Wriggle are done. I’m sure she could use the company,” Ginji remarks as he pushes me out the door. Wait... he mentioned Rikako instead of his shop? That’s a bit of a shock. I guess he’s being more honest with himself.
I go over to the Hieda residence to see if they’re done when something rams into me, knocking me down. Ouch.... I look up to see who it is.
It's Wriggle, but... wow. Her sleeves are shorter, and her shirt seems more snug, emphasizing her curves. The shorts she’s wearing are also adjusted, bringing out her modest but lovely posterior and legs. Lady Akyuu must have done this; who knew that such minor alterations could bring about such a change?
“I’m- Oh, I’m really sorry!” Wriggle looks at me with an expression of worry.
“Don’t worry; I’m sure you had a good reason to run off. You look very cute like that; did Lady Akyuu alter your normal outfit?” She’s blushing the whole time, which combined with her current outfit is almost too cute to describe.
“She insisted on getting me some... um, flattering clothes, and went about getting me some outfits.” Lady Akyuu usually isn’t frivolous with her spending, but when she is, she tends to make up for lost time.
“I see. I hope she wasn’t too rough; she can be rather... energetic when she wants to be. If you want I can-”
She interrupts, “When you said cute, did you mean in an overly girlish way?” I guess she’s worried about the image issue.
“It’s still your style, just a bit more feminine. It’s not excessive at all, and you look very nice.”
She smiles and says, “Thank goodness. Any ideas of what to do? I wouldn’t mind doing something different today, as anything would be nice with you.”
[x] Relaxing in the forest would be a good way for both of us to calm down. [x] Try to give her a tour of the village, I’m sure she doesn’t know the layout as well as I do.
[x] Try to give her a tour of the village, I’m sure she doesn’t know the layout as well as I do.
“I was thinking I’d take you on the tour of the village. I hope you don’t mind.”
She shakes her head and answers, “I don’t mind; I’m sure you know some interesting facts about the area.” She starts holding my hand as we walk towards the crossing.
I take her to a crossroads near the center of the town. “I'm fond of spending some time at this spot, just standing and watching the people going by. It's proven beneficial for Ginji and Kamui, as I sometimes direct visitors to their respective shops. It’s pretty funny how fate can work.”
“I can see why you enjoy watching; life in motion is a wonder in itself. I sometimes watch ants go about their business.” A blush creeps onto her face as she continues, “Yeah, I guess fate is kind of funny. Remember how we first met right in the wake of Arthur's arrival? The memory of our first two meetings was embarrassing, but it wasn't completely unpleasant, either. A-anyways, I see four main paths, could you tell me about each of them?”
I point to the path straight ahead, where a bit of the Hieda residence is visible. “That leads to the area where the Hunters live;” turning, I point to the one on the left, “and that leads to the Merchant's area where most the shops are. The path to the right leads to the Inn and clearing where concerts are held, and the one behind us is the Nobles' living section. My house is around the entrance area. I remember my father told me we got that area due to the long held friendship between my family and the Hiedas. My ancestors have served as historians and assistants to the Child of Hidea for generations, but I think this is the first time in a while that the age gap is so short. Between Lady Akyuu and I, I mean.”
Wriggle giggles and says, “When I was over there, I had some fun badmouthing that one fat noble with Akyuu and Shinobu. But are we going to get to look at each of these areas? I want to see and learn more about them.”
“Sure, although I wonder if Miss Keine is at school or not. Her name is really is something of a mouthful.”
“Mother helped me think of a way to say it easily: 'Kami-Shira-Sawa; practice that until it becomes easier to remember.' She does wonder jokingly whether that last name was invented while using some strange herb. Does anyone in the school actually use her name, or do they just go with Miss Keine?”
“They go with Miss Keine, which is why I use her last name outside of school. Some other guys think I’m the teacher’s favorite.”
“Well, if they make fun of you, I’ll go bug them.” I smirk to suppress a laugh, but we both end up laughing at her pun. We start to continue on when Lady Orange approaches us.
“Ah, I didn’t think you two knew each other! I was just checking on the status of some trades, thinking of maybe dropping by to see how those two winged troublemakers are doing.” She must be talking about Elis and Kurumi.
Wriggle replies, “They’re doing fine, though they keep most of their mischief confined to the guy they’ve fallen for, and his friends,” she points to me while saying the last bit. “We actually met each other just after Arthur arrived.”
“So is that why you mixed up your clothing choices? I’ve been telling you that you have a charm of your own and it just needed to be highlighted.” Wriggle starts to fidget under Orange's comments. “But about Arthur, he actually helped me out a day or two back. Not that I was in real trouble, but it was nice. If he keeps that up, I’m sure just about- now, don’t say this to your mother. I’d rather not make her mad.”
“I know what you mean; at times I’ve heard her muttering about the lady of borders.”
“I think just about everyone in the outlying area knows about the infamous rivalry between those two, even before she tried making Haikus insulting her. I’ve never seen so many attempts at insinuating...” She trails off, but I don’t think I want to find out where her train of thought went. She then turns towards me. “Yukikaki, was it? You certainly look cheerier than the last time I saw you. I think I know why...” A wry grin spreads over her face. “Well, I’ll just leave you two to your business,” she remarks while leaving.
I remember I'd talked with her before the Prismriver concert a month ago about not being attracted to anyone. That's probably why she was grinning. I sigh, and Wriggle speaks up. “Sorry if she embarrassed you; she’s been something like an aunt ever since mother adopted me. Could we check out the shops next?” I nod while I try recovering my voice.
As we walk into the district, I point out Mr. Kirisame’s shop. “The secret to his modest success is that he’s not like most merchants, and is instead just a fellow villager. His shop is mainly visited by farmers and carpenters.” I see the Yamada shop nearby... if I remember right, that's Kamui’s family. “This is a similar shop, but it's still well sustained. They sell various general supplies and dried goods.”
Wriggle looks at me and studies my face, hearing something off in my voice. “It's pretty obvious you’re hiding something, Yuki. Don't worry, I won’t tell anyone.” Of course she'd see right through me.
“Don’t tell Kurumi this but... this is Kamui's family that he ran away from. I don't think he'll reveal that fact unless things get serious, though. His flight from home with not much was the first of many reckless feats.” While answering, I notice someone coming out of the store. It’s Mr. Yamada, and he approaches quickly after seeing us.
“Hey, you’re Jirou’s friend, right? I have a favor to ask of you: please tell my son that his family wishes him the best and that Takeshi is happy going into the family business. The recent issue with the Miyamotos and their son made me and the wife rethink some things, and we decided to put the past behind us.”
This is great! “I’ll do it, sir. I was thinking about dropping by there again today, so I'll let him know when I see him.”
“Thank you. Also, Lady Nightbug, please tell your mother that the shop recently acquired a few packets of seeds an outsider sold to us.”
She nods and replies, “I will.” We bid farewell to Mr. Yamada, and continue on our way. Wriggle turns to me and says, “I forgot to tell you that mother sometimes shops for various things, and I guess this is one of them. I didn’t think people knew of me as her daughter, but I guess if mother visits I’m sure she talks about me and her other children.”
I reply, “My mother isn’t much different, but the extent to which she'll go is something I’m too scared to ponder.” She starts laughing at the remark and I can’t help but to join in. “Parents really can be embarrassing, huh?”
As we continue, I show her some of the stands in the area. “Oh, Miss Fujiwara’s stand is open today.” I point out the stand. Wriggle tightens her grip on my hand.
“I’d rather not. Some of my bugs had a nasty run in with her, and I’ve heard she isn’t too fond of youkai.” I decide to move onwards as I’d rather not make her more uncomfortable.
We soon reach both the Platinum Market and the Silver Guild. “The Platinum Market is perhaps the largest shop in the village, if not all of Gensokyo. It mainly caters to the well off with a selection of classic books, luxury items, and other things for clever prices. It’s run by the Miyamotos, who recently-”
She interrupts. “Kicked out their own son. It’s a running article in that Tengu’s paper, so just about everyone in Gensokyo has heard of it by now. Mother certainly wasn’t amused by such actions. She takes family matters very seriously.” If that’s the case, the Miyamotos will have to do something before the publicity ruins them.
I resume, “I hope they resolve their differences, too. Speaking of Ginji, that shop next to the Market is his. It specializes in technology and services, using Ginji’s brains and Kazuma’s brawn.” As I finish speaking I hear the sound of something exploding behind Ginji’s shop. “Well, that’s just another backfiring product; usually Ginji gets it out of the shop before it explodes.”
“Could we go in? I’m curious about what such a shop looks like.” I couldn’t refuse such a pleading look in her eyes, even if I had planned on refusing in the first place.
We enter the shop to find Rika behind the counter. “Sorry, Gin-gin isn’t here right now; he and Big Rika went to the house to get her changed back into normal clothes. He’s definitely much nicer than people would think.” While Wriggle wanders to each of the shelves, staring at their contents, I continue to listen to Rika. “So Yuki, isn’t that outfit cute? I’d like to take all the credit, but that little noble really has an eye for fashion. I’m definitely envious of Wriggle; I couldn’t wear those shorts as well as she does.”
Now what does she mean by- OH... Wriggle does have a rather nice rear end... modest, but still appealing. I glance at Wriggle and notice she's blushing from what Rika said. “Oh, it seems even he knows what I mean. But on to business; do you see anything you’d like? For example, an Asakura brand alarm clock! It never fails to wake you up and you only need to wind it a few times to keep them going!”
I speak up, “They really are convenient; I remember Miss Asakura sold one to my parents a while back.”
Wriggle smiles and responds, “No thanks, usually it’s a bad idea to wake mother up early, and she already has a big clock she’s fond of. I think Kurumi once said that ‘not even the Hakurei would try taking it for all the money in Gensokyo.’”
Asakura sighs. “Well, don’t let me keep you here for too long; I’m sure you two have better places to go than here. I wonder if that’s what Gin-gin had in mind... then again, I think a Big Rika Maid is lovely too~” Rika muses. I turn to Wriggle, and the look on her face is desperately asking to leave. I nod and we quickly exit; I don’t think Rika will take it too badly.
We go over to the few shops near the hunter’s area, which mainly specialize in various gear youkai hunters use. “This over here is the where most of the weapon and armor makers are. Their main business is ensuring, for a modest fee, that hunters don't lack proper gear. From what I've read, most swordsmiths are able to bless their own weapons to a slight degree, though it’s inferior to what a true priest could do. Two families specialize in swordsmithing: the Sunoharas and the Tetsuyas. The first specializes in reliable but affordable weapons and the other specializes in powerful but expensive weapons. Usually when a noble posts an impossible bounty, they have some powerful weapons made as well, thinking that’s all it’d take to eliminate someone like your mother.”
“How many of the swords from the last bounty on my mother remain, other than Arthur’s?” Wriggle asks.
“Can’t say; usually, when a sword leaves the store for such a goal, it ends up lost or broken in the resulting slaughter.” I answer as we continue to look around.
As we pass by the Sunohara shop, Old man Kojiro notices us. “Good afternoon you two! I see that the little Hieda isn’t riding you today, no offense intended. If you’re looking for that grandson of mine, he’s with Lady Kotohime. I tell ya, she’s a miracle worker. Not only has he straightened himself out, but he’s returning to a cheerful state. Say, if you have some time, I’ve got a story I think you’d be interested in. It's about a young man I knew who also fell in love with a Youkai, and what happened when an arrogant person made the mistake of insulting them. That is, if you’re interested; I’m sure you have better things to do than listen to some old man ramble.”
I answer, “I’m curious, because weren’t you an esteemed hunter in the past? I have to see what Wriggle says, though, as I’m taking her on a tour.”
“Oh-ho. Better not drag her into something she doesn’t want, then.”
Wriggle speaks up, “I’ll leave it up to you, Yuki. I wouldn’t really mind hearing about someone like that.”
I should also decide where the next stop is going to be. I wonder who exactly he’s talking about, but at the same time I don’t want to risk boring her.
About the tale... [ ] “We would be honored to hear it.” [ ] “I’ll come by another time to hear it, if you don't mind, sir.”
Next stop will be... [ ] The Hunter’s quarters. I’m curious how Hatate is doing at Kazuma's place, and Wriggle might get along with her, too. [ ] The Inn. I need to tell Kamui the news and see if Kurumi is going to stop by Yuuka’s place.
About the tale... [x] “We would be honored to hear it.” Next stop will be... [x] The Hunter’s quarters. I’m curious how Hatate is doing at Kazuma's place, and Wriggle might get along with her, too.
I'm sure she finds seeing the human-youkai conflict from the human side as a pretty novel experience. Sure she could snoop around here on her own if she's so inclined, but how would she know she's getting a candid answer?
Sorry about the delay, I can only hope the next update doesn't run into as many problems.
[x] “We would be honored to hear it.” [x] The Inn. I need to tell Kamui the news and see if Kurumi is going to stop by Yuuka’s place.
“We would be honored to hear it, sir.” I answer. Wriggle nods in agreement.
Old Man Kojiro smiles and answers, “Well, come on in then.” As we head into the house, he adds, “Please have a seat while I get some refreshments.”
After we're seated and tea has been brought out, he begins his tale. “Once upon a time, there were two hunters, one a senior hunter and traditionalist, while the other was a brash, but polite, younger hunter. He wouldn’t have any of the youkai loving manner. The older hunter tolerated the younger's occasional breach of tradition to a point, until he found out thi young hunter had been overheard talking fondly with a youkai. It was then that he decided to put the youngster in his place by challenging him to a duel. Back in those days hunters used to fight out their disagreements in the forest.” I remember something about such a thing being stopped due to safety reasons, my eyes wandering to his stump of a left arm.
He sips his tea and continues. “The youngster agreed to it in hopes of making a point, and the older hunter was so sure of his victory that he decided to use a worn out sword. With his extra experience and skill, the older hunter easily had control of the duel... at least, until his arrogance got the best of him and he let loose an insulting remark about the youkai. At that moment, the younger hunter fell into a furious rage that turned the tide of the fight. All the skill and experience the older one had was barely enough to defend against the furious young man who attacked without pause. The older man’s choice in weapon came back to haunt him as a blow from his opponent cleft the sword and shattered most of his arm in one blow. If not for the intervention of the hunters observing the duel, it would have ended in his death.” This story sounds similar to Mr. Yaguu's...wait, is Mr. Kojiro talking about himself!?
“The older hunter learned a lession about underestimating his oppenent and the need for a reliable sword. After he calmed down, the younger hunter acted unexpectedly: he apologized for what his rage had done and swore to make up for the loss in manpower the duel had caused.” Mr. Kojiro pauses his story to sip at his tea again. “I’m sure you two have figured out who the older man was, but as for the younger man, he’s Hayato Yaguu. Unlike myself, age hasn’t done much to weaken him; he’s not as fast as he was in his youth, but he makes up for it in strength.”
Wriggle speaks up, “I’d never imagine such a thing would happen in the village. I’ve heard of Mr. Yaguu before from mother, who remarked on his strength and good sense not to pick a fight with her.”
I add, “Is that why forest duels were banned? And here I'd thought Kazuma's fight with those hunters was impressive. It's shocking to hear what Mr. Yaguu did... but, how were you able to blacksmith with one arm?” Wriggle shoots me a glare. “Oops, sorry about that sir!” I quickly bow; that was something of a rude question.
“Well, around that time I was training my son in the family craft since he'd voiced a lack of interest in hunting, so I had him assist me until I could make something to make up for the lack of an arm. These days, I mostly assist and supervise my family instead of doing the bulk of the work. As for that incident, Kazuma's rage was nothing compared to his father’s. He’s the reason why, to this day, most folks in the village say that Miss Shameimaru is a lady. He definitely cares about his son's future, though, so I’m sure Kazuma's been lectured about the terrible things blind rage can do. I must say it's a little funny how Kazuma’s fallen for a Tengu himself, but I’m not stupid enough to ever bad mouth another one again.”
A shadow crosses over Mr. Kojiro's face. “These days, when I hear some traditionalist calling humanoid youkai monsters or beasts, I ask, 'Can you say that to Hayato’s face?' They become real quiet after that. I can’t hold a grudge against him for the incident; I was the who challenged him, after all. Well, I won’t keep you two here any longer, I think I've rambled on longer I planned.” We rise and thank Mr. Kojiro for his hospitality as we leave. It must have been tough for him to have lost to Mr. Yaguu.
As we continue on our way, Wriggle asks, “Are we going to make it to the hunter’s section today?”
“Maybe some other day; I think some of the other hunters would be offended by your presence. There's not too much to see, just a bunch of fort-like houses. Hatate’s probably still recovering from being in the inn, too. She appears to be pretty shy in such lively places. Speaking of the Inn, I was thinking of going there to give the news to Kamui.”
“Sure. I can also see if Kurumi will go by Mother’s sooner than I am. I'd heard that Mystia was going to try her hand at cooking; how was she doing today?”
“Her food was very popular and quite tasty, though I think it owes some of its popularity to the chef.”
Wriggle grins. “That sounds like her; she can be very charming when she feels like it.”
Before I can think about what I'm saying, I blurt out, “If my word is worth anything, you’re rather charming yourself.”
She blushes, looking at the ground. “You don’t have to say that, but thank you. I’d rather be honest than charming, if I had to choose.” But that’s exactly what makes her charming.
It isn’t long before we reach the Inn, and we see a bunch of people leaving. We head inside to find the Matron cleaning up the counters. As we head to the stairs, the matron remarks, “My, she certainly has some talent to cause such a clamor.”
We head upstairs, and Wriggle knocks on Kurumi's door before shouting, “Kurumi, you better not be causing any trouble!” She must know her sister very well, though I'd prefer not to imagine what caused this reaction to be normal.
It isn’t long before Kurumi comes to the door. “Geez! I wasn’t plotting anything at the moment and I already apologized to Mysty for pulling her top down!” Is that what Kamui meant by “charm points?”
“You'd better hope Mother doesn’t consider that friend of yours, Elis, or the womanizer a bad influence. Still, I came here to ask if you were going to stop by mother’s. A shop got some new Outsider seeds in.”
“Oh, you mean the Yamada’s? I remember her mentioning that. But what brings you here, Yuki other than showing how cute Wriggle looks in flattering clothes?” Wow. She's either smart, or regularly assumes too much about a situation.
I blush, gulp, and answer, “I actually came by to tell Kamui that his father wants to see him again, and that his parents have accepted his place in life.” I hear Kamui come to the door.
He responds, “Really now? Does this mean he set up Akito as the successor? I guess this is related to what’s going on with Ginji and his parents, right?” I nod. “Well, I’ll drop by sometime to say hi. I hope he's braced himself; he probably won't think too highly of me for getting involved with youkai.”
Elis comes down the hall, joining the conversation. “Your father? Come to think of it, you never did mention your family much.”
Kamui responds, “I kind of distanced myself from them when I ran away. That’s part of the reason for taking a new name: my given name, Jirou Yamada, is terribly dull.” Flourishing, he continues, “Furthermore, the name of my soul is Kamui, and such a name cannot be held back. Yuki knew about it, but I’m sure he either respected my wishes or forgot about it.” It was a bit of both...
“Wow, this will surprising for both Mother and your father!” Kurumi exclames. “I wonder how they'll react? Well, I was planning on going to pick up my festival outfit and a few other things. Elis and I had the idea to work as waitresses here to help repay the matron for her kindness.”
With a sigh, Wriggle responds, “Please don’t do anything that would embarrass mother.”
“Oh don’t worry, I know better than to make a Yukari out of myself~.” I get the feeling this is just another sign of that absurd rivalry with Lady Yakumo. “I’ll head out as soon as I find those robes for going out in the sun...”
I feel a tug on my sleeve, and turn to Wriggle. “We should probably leave as I think Kamui's past is a sensitive subject. Being here is like intruding on a moment, and as much as he annoys me, I wouldn’t do that to him.” I nod, and we both excuse ourselves and head downstairs.
On our way out of the inn we pass Mystia, who waves at us before going upstairs. Shortly after leaving I hear a shriek from the top floor. Wriggle remarks, “Sounds like Mystia just got revenge for whatever stunt Kurumi pulled on her.” I remember Kamui mentioned something like that this morning.
I respond, “I can think of a few things she might have done; hopefully no one will mind in the end.” Glancing at the sky, I ask, “I think we have time to visit one more area; do you have anything in mind?”
Wriggle scratches here chin, looking away for a moment before facing me again, a tint of blush coloring her face. “Could we go see your house, if that's okay with you? I've only been to the entrance, and haven't really gone inside.”
“S-sure, I don't think it would be too much trouble.” Hand in hand, we proceed down the road to my house. This is easy enough, but eventually going to her house will take some help. After all, it’s Lady Kazami’s place.
We reach the house, and enter after removing our shoes. I lead Wriggle into the living room, Mother and Father are sitting at the table. Mother is the first to look up, and immediately exclaims, “So, you’ve decided to bring her over! My, what a cute outfit she has!” Wriggle's enveloped in a hug before she can react.
“Honey, will you please not squeeze the guest to death?” Father asks, being the calm voice of reason. He turns to me and adds, “Give her a nice tour of the place, Yuki. I think your mother will have some snacks ready by the time you come down.” Mother has a grin that would worry me if I hadn’t seen it before.
I lead her from room to room, starting with the more mundane places and leaving the rooms of note for last. Such as the family library. “Wow... so many books in such a large room... and I thought Mother’s library was big.” Wriggle remarks in awe.
I respond, “This library has been built up over many generations and the books and scrolls here are treated with the utmost care. Most of the older papers are about various historical tales, and aren’t touched much outside of work.” Walking to the opposite side of the room, I motion to a large closet. “In here, we store copies of the oldest manuscripts for when our care isn’t enough to sustain their integrity. Father and I each have our own small library in our rooms, as well.”
Her eyes light up. “Could I see that next? I've wondered what it looks like.”
“Sure. I think mother would insist on it, anyways.” Leaving the library, I ask, “What’s your room like?”
She shrugs. “Just a simple room, with a few posters I was able to find and a bookcase for any comics I find. I think I need another bookshelf for that massive collection I acquired, though. I also have a dresser, though unlike Kurumi, I’m not a fashion-minded sort of girl... though it’ll be nice to have something different.” I'm a bit curious about what else Akyuu might have gotten her.
“Did Akyuu get you anything else?” I ask on reflex.
She blushes a bit. “Yeah, and she said she’d have the rest delivered to the house with her resources.” My mind starts to wander from her comment. The festival is only the day after tomorrow, after all.
We reach my room, and I open the door. “I know it may be more traditional than your room, but I think it’s very nice,” gesturing to the clothing chest standing against one of the walls.
She enters and looks around. “This is a lot like I'd imagined your room to be like.” Moveing to the bookcases, she remarks, “So many fantasy books, though why’s it so important to be tougher than an ingot of iron?” I chuckle, having never gotten the point of the statement myself, as steel is the main metal used in tool making. She picks up a notebook off my desk. “This reminds me, I keep notes of what I see and do in similar books. Being a bug youkai, I tend to forget whatever information I’m not actively using.” Realizing what she said, she hastily sets the notebook down and waves her hands. “But I’d never forget about you - that’s the last thing I’d want to happen!” I blush at Wriggle’s remark.
“I keep my own little historical record out of habit, and as practice for when I become a true scholar.” Mother's voice rings out from above, stopping any further conversation.
We head upstairs to find Mother looking in the pantry. “Well Yuki, I got to thinking, and I figured why not have her stay for dinner? This way she won’t have to worry about missing dinner at home.” She smiles at both of us.
I ask Wriggle, “Is this okay with you? I don’t want to get you into trouble.”
“It’s okay, I think Mother would rather spend some time alone with Arthur anyways. May I ask what’s for dinner, Mrs. Kojima?”
“Oh, don't be so formal dear; just call me Nana. I’d rather have you call me mom, but I don't think your mother would be amused by that.” I clear my throat, and mother takes the hint. “Anyways, I was thinking of either preparing what we normally have, or using that chicken I got from one of the farmers. Have you ever had chicken before?”
Wriggle shakes her head. “Not really, mother seems to prefer pork and beef in her food rather than anything avian based. I can't remember the last time we had chicken, or what it was like. Yuki, why don’t you choose the course?”
[x] “Let’s have chicken (I remember mother’s recipe for ir is quite good).” [x] “Let’s just stay with something more normal.”
I’ll just say this isn’t as a pointless of a choice as it seems.
Chicken would be nice if she hasn't had it in a while, but I'm sure Yuuka avoids having chicken for a reason. Mystia's her friend, too; that'd be like us eating monkey or something. I don't know, I just have a bad feeling.
“Let’s just stay with something more normal.” I answer.
Mother responds, “Alright, I know just the thing,” then goes cheerfully into the kitchen.
Father asks, “May I ask why your mother doesn’t like avian-based meats so much?”
Wriggle answers, “She likes meat rare, and she finds chicken and similar fare to taste pretty terrible. She helps herself to fried chicken at times, but she’d much rather have a bloody steak. She also enjoys salad, as she has a garden that she strives to give lots of love and appreciation. Just don’t let her hear about wasting any vegetables.”
“Thank you, I was curious about her dietary habits. I take it she doesn’t eat humans?”
“She’d never do that, she generally hates them too much. She did find that some of her plants like them, but she’s pretty reactive, so she’d never go snatching up people out of the blue.”
“I apologize if I implied that; I was just curious as she seems to be quite an oddity, even compared to most youkai.”
I wonder if this has anything to do with Mystia. “Does your preference have anything to do with becoming friends with Mystia?”
“Nah, I just prefer fruits and other sweet things more, though I did hear that chicken is good with honey on it. That reminds me, mother once offered to ‘take care’ of Mystia, but I declined as I wanted to win against her without resorting to that.”
“I guess I was worried about nothing, then.”
Father remarks, “Better to be cautious than reckless, though some make the latter pay off,” chuckling. I hope he’s not referring to how I saw... a lot of Wriggle.
Before things can get any more embarrassing, mother comes in with a bowl full of... oh, it’s her fish salad. A mix of cooked fish, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light touch of homemade dressing.
We sit down and start eating, enjoying the good food. Wriggle asks, “May I have another helping please, Mrs. Kojima?”
“Of course! I made sure to prepare enough for second helpings, and please call me nana!” Mother answers while serving some more to Wriggle.
Father and I also ask for seconds as Wriggle remarks, “I can see Yuki is the way he is. You’re all really nice, understanding people, if a bit unusual.”
Father and Mother laugh, then Father answers, “We certainly can’t take that as an insult as, well, it’s true.”
We finish our dinner, then Mother and Father go into the kitchen to clean up. “I hope I didn’t impose too much, but that salad really was just that good.” Wriggle remarks.
“I wouldn’t worry about it; knowing mother, she was happy to hear your compliments. I thought she was going to slip in a 'growing girl' remark, but she definitely approves of you. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, sinc, well...”
“Sounds like my mother then. Even from what I’ve told her, she's already expressed an interest in meeting you. Don't worry, though; I doubt she’d be easily upset if you didn't hurry, as she’s very patient when flowers aren’t involved. You might run into each other at the festival. I’m really looking forward to going; it's the first time I’ve really gone to one.”
An image springs to mind of Wriggle in a yukata. I blurt out, “I’m looking forward to it as well!” We both blush afterwards, sensing the undercurrent but not acting on it for our own reasons.
Wriggle turns to me again. “Mind if I go home now? I don’t really want to impose, and I can imagine Kurumi or Mysty will drag me around tomorrow.”
“I don’t mind, but you should tell my parents you're leaving before they assume something silly.”
Wriggle goes into the kitchen and returns, saying “I really did have fun today. Bye!” while holding my hand.
I can only reply “Bye! See you at the festival!” as she leaves, waving. There's a throbbing in my ears; my heart’s beating faster than usual.
Father walks up beside me, remarking, “You should lay down and relax, as you’ve got a bit of a busy day tomorrow. I’ll explain more in the morning.” I nod as it’s a good idea.
I look though my bookshelves, trying to find something different, eventually picking out the Volsung Chronicles. I remember Father found it at Kourin’s shop. It appears to be a mix of story and historical documents. Most serious readers in Gensokyo know of Siegfried’s tales and perhaps those of his father, but not many know of the head of the clan. Let’s see: his birth was heralded by a giantess, Hijod. I read a few of the young Volsung’s adventures before I start getting drowsy. I put the book down before passing out in bed.
I can’t remember what I dreamt of... I feel a mix of joy and frustration. I bathe and go upstairs to see what Father was talking about last night.
I find him reading the paper with breakfast already prepared. I take a seat and ask, “Father, may I ask why today is going to be so busy?”
He answers, “We’re picking up some clothes for you. I was originally planning on giving you this when you graduated and became a full scholar, but I pushed up the time table, figuring you’d like to look nice for Wriggle.” I blush at the remark and he reads my expression. “Don’t worry, I’m not your mother, Kasumi... oh boy, would she overdo things. If you want, I’ll share some tales of the festivals in the past so you have an idea of what there is to do.”
I finish eating breakfast, then we put away the dishes and prepare to leave. I wonder what I should talk about?
Choose the order, only approved write ins will be counted.
[ ] Ask about some old tales. -[ ] (Write in any extra specific questions) [ ] Ask about good locations to take Wriggle. [ ] “Did you take mother to such a festival?”
Serial ATA!umMKyLfC5.2011/10/18 (Tue) 07:31No. 24296▼
[x] Ask about good locations to take Wriggle. - [x] Be sure to get Mother's opinion as well
I feel that Yuki should get his mother's opinion too. He's close to his dad, and that's great and all, but Wriggle's a female, and his mother would be better off guiding him in that regard. It doesn't mean Shin can't give advice, but...
[x] “Did you take mother to such a festival?” [x] Ask about good locations to take Wriggle. - [x] Be sure to get Mother's opinion as well [x] Ask about some old tales. - [x] Something loosely based on >>24299's write in.
I couldn't come up with anything good for the write itself but I think I can think of something inspired by it.
Update should be up within a week or so. I would love to say sooner but life has a way of making me a liar when I do that.
[x] “Did you take mother to such a festival?” [x] Ask about good locations to take Wriggle. - [x] Be sure to get Mother's opinion as well. [x] Ask about some old tales. - [x] “That reminds me of the tales of the locked shed in the forest...”
As we start walking towards the Merchant area, I ask, “Did you take Mother to such a festival?”
Father answers, “Actually, she ended up dragging me to one. I agreed to go a week before, but forgot since I was too busy reading. She was certainly upset... but that didn’t stop her from dragging me around the place. I asked her why she bothered and she said that there was no one else that she’d rather go with. It was after that festival that I started devoting some time away from books. When the next festival came, I was the one at her door.” He chuckles as he finishes speaking, scratching his head sheepishly. That certainly sounds like something mother would do.
We walk through the beginning as I wonder which shop father was taking me as I ask, “I wish I could have talked to mother as I wanted to get both of your opinions on good spots to take Wriggle.”
“If you don’t mind heights, the roof of the school house is a good fireworks viewing spot. There’s usually a ladder nearby you can use to get up there. As for other places, usually the Kirisame and Yamada shops run little booths, though I think Yoshiharu is doing it to catch sight of Marisa. He must be the most stubborn man in the village, wanting to see his daughter yet not acknowledging her career choice. It’s almost like the Miyamotos... but Kirisame’s shop somehow avoids competition, and the whole thing played off in a way that no one took note of it. Mokou’s stand has always been around even in my youth, and I remember seeing some rabbit girls running some gaming booths; the same goes for the Sunoharas who like to run games of strength. Hopefully Marisa’s attempts at fireworks this year won’t leave people running for cover.”
I remember that, it was a small thing Marisa did to test things out. I knew I should have been worried when she said “Fireworks are all about power;” she used too much powder and the area was bombarded with falling danmaku. It was fortunate that Marisa decided to test this in an area with nothing of importance in it as I think I saw a few craters. She didn’t charge for the test; surprising as I remember her services at her ‘shop.'
Father continues, “About your mother’s advice, I’d have to talk to her about that as, well, she wouldn’t omit certain 'details' that you’d rather not hear. I’m sure I can get some notes prepared by tomorrow...”
We enter one of the clothing shops, a rather high end one at that. “I hope you didn’t spend too much money on this outfit, Father.”
“You should tell that to Lady Akyuu since she got the idea to buy the outfit after I talked to her about giving it to you,” Father answers. He turns the clerk and asks, “Is the outfit ready?”
The clerk nods. “Indeed it is, all I need to do is double check the measurements and it should be ready by tomorrow. I do have that little girl with the doll to thank as it was her skills that allowed me to finish today. I made sure to pay her well for the assistance.” Alice?
I'm then ushered into the back room to have various measurements taken, surprisingly it was mainly of my current clothes and such. And then it was over. Surprisingly quickly...
We leave the store, and I hurry to keep up with Father as he goes to Miss Fujiwara’s stand, ordering two plates of yakitori. After taking a bite, I ask, “Father, do you know any interesting tales concerning the festival, or about that locked shed in the forest?”
After he finishes one piece, he explains, “That shed is said to be the Bandit Lord’s stash, and that the lock is so complicated that attempts to force or pick it would render it unusable. The shed itself is built so strongly that it’d take a truly excessive amount of force to break though it, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever know what’s inside since he disappeared. It’s also rather deep in the forest from what I hear, in a place unaccessible for all but the most prepared and experienced hunters; although, if someone was to map out the forest completely, they’d have a sizable advantage for finding it. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the Bandit Lord was actually hiding out in it.” Interesting, another case of that man coming up.
Father continues, “I remember a few things regarding old festival tales, such as seeing a rabbit girl selling various striped panties, claiming they were from a moon dweller. I certainly stayed clear of that even when your mother wasn’t with me. I'd also heard a bit about a kedama festival nearby; it was quite a sight to see a smaller festival with nothing but those little guys. I think I saw some eyeballs with wings too... Anyways, the year after that, it wasn’t there, only a sign saying ‘Moved to avoid the Red-White Destroyer’s wrath.’ There’s also Lady Yukari's supposed habit of visiting the festival: there’s been times where a rather attractive woman with blonde hair and purple clothing appears with many guys staring and drooling. When I did see her, I was already dating your mother and somehow I wasn’t affected. I suppose that’s love for you.” Purple clothing? Like in that picture Kamui has?
I ask, “Is she fond of wearing a white hat with a red ribbon? I think Kamui has picture of her... though I still think Wriggle’s better looking.”
Father chuckles, “You should be sure to tell her that sometime, as I’m sure it’s something she’ll be glad to hear.” I can already imagine her pouting in response to Lady Yakumo's appearance, as if that picture is any sign, she's tauntingly confident about her womanliness. I think I heard Akyuu talking about her once or twice, something about a past life.
Before we can say more on the topic, a man comes up. “Shin! I was looking for you, I was hoping to get your input on something.”
Father responds, “Hideo, if it’s about Ginji’s life, my suggestion is to swallow your pride and accept his choices.” They start discussing things concerning Ginji, so this must be Ginji’s father. I hadn't visited Ginji’s parents' shop much, so I didn’t recognize him.
“Hideo, don’t you trust your son’s judgment? In my time with him, he seems to have made some of the most infallible decisions I’ve seen for someone his age.” Father remarks.
Hideo answers, “It’s that spook that I’m having issues with; I’ve already come to accept the two humans. Nothing good can come of pursuing some... floozy!”
I could easily answer back since I’ve met all three of the Prismrivers... but would it be out of place?
[ ] Answer back as it’ll resolve things faster. [ ] As much as I want to, it's rude to cut into their conversation.
[x] As much as I want to, it's rude to cut into their conversation.
If there's bias against youkai, there's also a sort of hierarchy in order. Since Yuki isn't an adult yet, well, I don't think the father'd take kindly to Yuki's "interference". Might even spread some bad words in his name.
>>24307 I disagree. Yuki should do what snakes want to do when they want to strike a target. They retreat, assess, recoil, and then attack. Attacking the issue now without at least assessing the situation is problematic. Hence why I disagree with that vote.
I decide to stay quiet as it’d be rude to butt in now. “You’re acting quite irrational right now, Hideo. Have you forgotten your youth, or what it’s like to fall in love despite everything else?” Father asks.
Mr. Miyamoto replies, “I was lucky that my family’s standards allowed it. Not everyone is as laid back as your family.”
“Please calm down before you do something you regret, you’re in a rather precarious situation as it is. I thought you’d welcome a way to reach out to the youkai consumer base or even get a recommendation from the sisters. If they favor a store, I’m certain business would flow into it, at least from the wealthy youths.”
“The common nobility wouldn’t stand for that, and you of all people should know that between youkai and humans, humans have the most money. I’d rather not end up running a junk shack like Rinnosuke.” I can’t help but wonder what Miss Kamishirawa or Lady Akyuu would say about his commentary on youkai.
The conversation continues in this manner, until one line in particular stands out when Mr. Miyamoto says, “This is why being so laid back about things is terrible! Your son associates with vermin, and you couldn't care less!”
Did he just say... Did he... “I object to that slanderous remark! Wriggle is a nice girl who thinks of ways of increasing insects’ standing without needlessly terrorizing or hindering humans! How could such an intelligent young woman be vermin!? It’s loathsome to say this, but I’m certain that she’s far more a lady than the typical child of the wealthy, noble or not. What kind of a businessman assumes things about people he’s never met? While I’m at it, Lunasa is in no way a floozy or any sort of hindrance to Ginji.” I remember the bit about Lunasa managing the band’s finances. It’s taking all I have to keep this tirade somewhat polite and free of obscenity. “She’s easily the most responsible sister, skillfully managing the finances of the band. That similarity with Ginji is what attracts them to each other; such a thing would be easy to observe or infer if you weren't so utterly obsessed with appearances.” Mr. Miyamoto inches back slowly as I continue. “I used to believe that despite your infamously cold reputation, you were a nice person deep down, and that you'd managed to find love. It appears I may have been sadly mistaken about both. It now seems to me that you married not for love, or even parental obligation, but rather for your own greed. This may not be my concern, but if you truly desire being dumped in the Sanzu in the end, so be it.” Did I just say that? How did I even muster up the guts to do that...
A few moments pass, each of us standing in shock, then I hear someone speaking. “Son, are you alright? I’ve never heard such a reaction from you.” It’s father, offering me a glass of water from Miss Fujiwara’s stand. I look around and notice a bunch of peope are standing outside their shops, looking at me. Mr Miyamoto backs away, then turns and leaves.
“Yeah... though, I don’t know how I said all that, Father.”
“Well, when they see the biggest merchant being severely browbeaten by one of the most reserved kids in the village, people usually take notice. I was going to respond to that remark as it was over the line, and would be rather hazardous if Lady Kazami ever found out.” That makes sense; she would not take well to her children being insulted.
“I’m amazed I kept it as civil as I did... I was just... so outraged that it burst forth.”
I hear a familiar voice, “I was walking over to see about some errands, only to find you making a scene. He must have insulted Wriggle, right? I wonder if I should let him off with just this or make a few notes...” It was Lady Akyuu, by herself for once.
Father replies, “I’m sure that’s not necessary, Lady Akyuu. I believe Hideo has a great deal on his mind as a result of this, and there's a good chance he'll rethink things before you need to resort to such measures.”
She nods, then comes cover to me. “Are you sure you’re alright? You’re still shaking. That outburst must have been quite a shock for you, since you’re usually so reserved and cordial. You may have gotten that from Kasumi; your father told me a tale of someone calling you a 'runt' as a baby. Kasumi had a similar outburst... though the language she used was anything but civil.”
Father adds, “That’s only after I restrained her, too. She’s always had something of a temper, one that usually goes off when someone she cares about is insulted. That reminds me of something that happened once at a festival we both went to. I was picked on by a bigger guy after I couldn’t quite win that bell ringing game. She responded by taking the hammer and hitting the bell and telling him that if he didn’t apologize, that she would, in her words, 'ring his bell so hard that even thinking about children would hurt.'” I think I remember that game, mainly there being separate versions for the hunters and non-hunters. “He apologized pretty quickly and ran away. It’s times like those that I’m reminded that she used to be a courier for the Hideas and other scholars.”
“I’m surprised she didn’t pull a knife on him,” Lady Akyuu remarks.
“She gets that all the time, but she really does prefer to threaten people rather than inflict any real physical harm.”
“Well, I’ll be going back home now, I don’t want to worry my family or Shinobu too much. I can’t say this trip was a compete failure. But please relax, Yuki; no one would like it if you worked yourself up into a wreck.” Lady Akyuu remarks before leaving. Father then leads me back home.
After returning, I decide to go downstairs and read in an attempt to relax. I can only hope some good comes of my outburst. I guess it could have been worse... if he did that in front of Kazuma and said something about Hatate or Merlin, his fist would be clearly ahead of his brain.
I read about a Russian soldier who ends up in a far away land, dealing with a fair princess and a cryptic but unpleasant sage. Interesting take on firearms, similar to what Ginji works on. That zeal towards another nation on the other hand is rather unheard of, though zeal towards an idea is something history has brought up... and may be what drives Arthur on his quest. I continue reading until I hear a voice calling for dinner.
I reach the table as mother places some chicken on the table. She remarks, “I heard you gave that idiot hell today after he insulted Wriggle like that. If I wasn’t working I’d have...”
Father interrupts, “I don’t think the village needs to hear your creativity about what could be shoved where or other things that are just... wrong.” I’m too afraid to ask what Mother even said. “Anyways, the outfit should be ready by tomorrow afternoon.”
I eat as Father gives some details on what exactly happened. I’m not sure why I should be proud of that as I basically lost my temper. We finish eating, and I get up to clear my place. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be going to bed early. Good night, Mother and father.”
As I head down stairs, Mother responds, “Go ahead and sleep well; tomorrow’s going to be a pretty big day and I doubt Wriggle would want you looking gloomy!”
I get into bed and fall asleep quickly. That outburst must have been more draining than I thought.
Next morning I wake up and bathe, feeling better from yesterday. I get dressed and head upstairs to find Mother with some breakfast. “Such a nice day today, and the Kappa Dragon Statue shows it’ll be clear for the rest of the night.”
“Ah, that's good to hear. I’m feeling better from yesterday, I hope Mr. Miyamoto does come to his senses about this,” I reply.
“Just worry about things with Wriggle for now, this is a matter for me and your father to handle. Also, your father spoke to me about good spots and the spot by the river is a nice place for fireworks, though it’s mainly used by hunters and their dates. Between your studies and Wriggle, I wouldn’t worry too much, and I’ve also heard most ferals stay clear of anything associated with Lady Yuuka.” She must think it’s a good spot if it avoids bringing out her over-protectiveness. I finish eating before deciding to get out of the house to kill some time. “I’ll pick up the outfit for you, just return before it’s too late,” she adds as she notices me leaving.
I feel restless, getting slightly nervous about tonight. For the moment, I think going over to Ginji’s is out due to my outburst... I’d have a hard time showing my face there. I wonder how Miss Kamishiawa’s been doing since I last saw her. I guess I’ll...
[x] ...drop by the inn and see what’s going on with both the preparations and Kamui. [x] ...go see Kazuma. To be honest, I’m curious about what Hatate’s normal personality is like. [x] ...check on how Miss Kamishiwawa’s doing (that name still takes some getting used to). She’s usually at the school house at this time.
>>24318 Spoiler Warning:Bravo, you've figured it out even despite missing a chance at a big hint.
No picture as none matched my standards.!iB/oZWEbQI2011/11/08 (Tue) 09:36No. 24382▼
[x] ...go see Kazuma. To be honest, I’m curious about what Hatate’s normal personality is like.
Well, I’ll see how Kazuma and Hatate are doing as I’m sure Miss Kamishirasawa and Kamui are pretty busy, and I’m somewhat curious. I’m sure I'll hear what Kamui was doing in a day or two, anyways. Hopefully there won’t be much trouble today.
I knock on Kazuma's door and hear a cute, energetic voice say “Coming!” I wait, and the door opens to reveal Hatate in some sort of formal outfit... one that has leg slits. She notices where I'm looking, and remarks, “Aya said I had to wear this for the first part of the festival, then I could change into something more normal. But Kazi seems to like it. Oh! I meant to thank you for your help the other day, but I’m totally terrible in places like that.” She leads me into the house.
Inside I see Kazuma eating what appears to be some kind of stew. He looks up as I enter the room. “Hey Yuki, looking forward to the festival? You should try some of this stew Hatate made, it’s really good!” He promptly scoops some more into his mouth.
Hatate waves her arms, saying, “It’s nothing, it’s just some of his cooked meat combined with my ramen recipe. I hope you don’t mind, but you'll have to help yourself if you want some; I’d rather not get this outfit dirty if I can help it.” I decide to do that since it really has a pleasant aroma.
I serve some into a bowl and start eating it... it's good! Looking up, I notice Hatate has an older looking camera around her neck. “This is a good recipe, Hatate. Might I ask about that camera, though?”
“Oh this? It’s something Aya gave me once I got out of school. It takes pictures and can even nullify danmaku, but it recharges really slowly. Such a thing isn’t really my style, so I’m hoping the Kappa finish their research on those ‘cell phones’ they found. The speed on those cameras suits my style more. And try not to get too attached to my cooking; I don’t want the Flower lady to turn me into roast bird over some misunderstanding!” Come to think of it, I haven’t asked Wriggle about her cooking much, though I imagine her specialty would be salads, if anything.
“That isn’t a worry, and besides, this is the second time I've gotten food when visiting Kazuma. Right now I’m trying to kill some time until the outfit that my parents and Lady Akyuu got is finished.”
“Oh, to charm Wriggle even more? I wonder if Kazuma has anything nice to wear...” she responds, looking as if she’s thinking about something. “I’m definitely going to train up on the basics of reporting; how else am I supposed to rival Aya of all people? I do admire her and Miss Momiji, but I also see Aya as someone to surpass!” she adds.
“I never thought much about beating dad, just becoming as good as him. Not sure what I’ll do once I get there...” Kazuma responds as he scratches his head.
I add, “I’ve never really considered competition much at all. Though I suppose I wanted to cover the key events of my generation.” I briefly remember the slight tension I had with Kamui, and how I’m glad to be rid of it.
Shortly after, I finish the stew. As I get up, Hatate asks, “Could I take a picture of you casting a spell? I want to test my basic photo timing.”
I think about it and answer, “Yeah, if you’re sure I won’t accidentally hurt you or wreck something.”
“I’m not worried; it’s not like I’m facing down Aya.”
I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not, but I ready a basic windball spell and aim it in her direction, then fire. I see Hatate blur for a bit as a flash goes off nearby. By the time I recover, Hatate's standing with her camera, smiling. “I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to blind you. But here’s something to remember this by,” she remarks as she hands a photo. It's of me, firing off the projectile, though somehow Hatate's in the picture as well. “Yeah, Aya’s fond of doing that with her pictures, though what she faces off against is usually harder.”
I wonder what happened to the projectile. “Where did that windball go? I hope it didn’t hit anything.”
She shakes her head. “Nope, this camera absorbed the energy after taking the picture. As much as the Tengu love to claim it was their idea, it was actually the Kappa’s hard work that resulted in this. Kazuma tells me that one of his buddies messes around with such stuff.” Her personality really is different when she's among a few friends; it’s hard to tell this is the same girl who’s shy in places like the inn.
“Next time, could you two please do that outside? I don’t want people to think I go about wrecking my own place. That was pretty cool, though.” Kazuma remarks.
A knocking at the door interrupts further conversation. Hatate goes to answer it, and we hear her shout, “Miss Momiji! I wasn’t expecting you to drop by!”
She re-enters the room, followed by a white wolf tengu in an outfit similar to Hatate’s. She'd look rather stern and imposing, if she wasn’t rather cute. “Today is one of my days off from watch duty. I wanted to see how you were holding up in your duties,” Miss Momiji says as she turns towards Kazuma. Glaring, she adds, “...and making sure some human doesn’t take undue advantage of his situation.”
“I’d never do such a thing! I haven’t even forced her to do much of anything,” Kazuma responds in a panic.
“Miss Momiji, Kazuma’s been the nicest guy to me. Seeing someone like him, I can definitely believe that Aya might fall for one.” Hatate responds.
Miss Momiji sighs. “Very well. You're lucky to be able to consider such a thing without any limitations, provided that you have no interest in nobility. I merely wanted to extend a warning to him, though it’ll likely prove unnecessary. Mr. Yaguu and his son are a common topic from Aya’s mouth, even now.” I try to remember if there was any news about such a thing being announced. Traditionally, Tengu have a very rigid caste system that's only begun to relax in these past few years; I've certainly heard of no changes this major.
“Yeah, I wonder why she can’t just dump that creepo Oracle and just get on with it. Even ‘Tori notices he's weird, and she spends the better part of her day tinkering with things! If not for his title...” Ah... I wonder just how many people are aware of their love triangle?
“Hatate, you mustn’t say such things, as it can be taken the wrong way, needlessly complicating things. I do wish for Aya to be honest with herself as she’d likely be less insufferable.” Sounds like Momiji doesn’t exactly enjoy working under Aya.
Kazuma speaks up, “I hope if the Oracle breaks up with her, he does it in a gentle manner, as just about everyone in the village knows that insulting or otherwise making Aya cry is a good way to set off dad’s berserk button. If it's painful, the safest thing for the Oracle to do next would be to go back to the outside world and pray that Dad doesn’t follow him.”
Momiji frowns. “Ah yes, his legendary temper... I've lost count of how many rookies I had to pull away before they got themselves killed by running their mouths. I’m not sure if Hayato could kill a rookie tengu in his rage, but I'd prefer to leave that a mystery. Still, you'd have Aya to thank for any limitation being cleared, Hatate; she only recently decided to start being herself around the various tengu nobles.” Momiji had a rather annoyed expression on her face. I can’t help but be reminded of Lady Akyuu's face when she insists on getting her way.
I chuckle, responding, “I can imagine what that must be like, as Lady Akyuu acts similarly, though I don’t think Miss Shameimaru could go through with a threat of putting down unflattering notes in her chronicles. Luckily, no one is stupid enough to press their luck after Lady Akyuu's threats.”
“Mm. I should get going, I have to warn the rookies with the day off not to pick a fight with Lady Kazami. Despite her leisurely pace of doing things, she can and will pick off a speeding tengu with ease. I wish for everyone to have a nice festival.” Miss Momiji bows, and leaves right afterwards.
I think I’ll take my cue to leave as well. “Please pardon me as well; I’m going to see if the outfit is ready or not. Thank you for the stew and the tengu photography experience.”
Hatate leads me to the door, remarking, “Good luck with Wriggle. I’m sure she’s going to put on something nice.” I try to shake my blush off as she goes back inside the house.
I walk back over to the clothing shop to see if the outfit’s ready. Hopefully everyone in the merchant’s area has already moved on from yesterday’s incident. I see Alice outside of the shop... with her doll already dressed for the occasion. “I guess you’re waiting on your outfit for the festival, too?”
“Mainly on some corrections the shopkeeper's making. I’ve been taking some lessons on how to improve my skills with the needle; it’s always harder to make an outfit for yourself than it is for someone else. Even if she’s as small as Hourai.” I see Hourai wave and pull out a sign reading, “Yeah, but I wish she made me with bigger b-” Alice yanks it away before I read the last word. “Hourai! How many times do I have to tell you not to say things like that!” I leave them to their rather cute bickering as I head inside.
The clerk sees me enter and places a box on the counter. “Ah Mr. Kojima, your outfit is ready. Oh, and if you see that little blonde girl with the doll, tell her that hers is ready as well.” He smiles as I take the box from the counter.
I leave the store and tell Alice the news. She wastes no time heading inside. I take a look at the sky and notice it’s a bit past noon. I better get home and get the outfit ready before I do anything else.
As I arrive at the house, I find my parents had gone to work while I was out. They left a note saying they’re not likely to be home until much later. I quickly put the outfit on my bed for tonight and eat a couple of apples for lunch. Trying to think of what else could be done to kill some time, I remember that Miss Kamishirasawa should be in the process of wrapping up her schoolwork. Decision made, I leave home and head over to the school.
I knock on the door and soon hear a “Come in.” Entering, I find Miss Kamishirasawa grading a paper. “Ah, Yuki. I thought you’d be busy getting ready for the festival like everyone else.”
“I was just stopping by to see how you were doing as things have been busy as of late. I also don’t think the festival will really start for another couple of hours.”
“Thank you, but you don’t worry about me; this isn’t anything terribly new compared to the latest incident. I was actually about to finish up and start my own preparations.” I hear her mutter something about a shut-in.
“I don’t want to keep you then, Miss Kamishirasawa. I think I’ll use the remaining time to relax before getting ready.”
“Heh. So you finally got my last name right.” She’s smiling as she says this.
“Yeah; Wriggle helped me out with that.”
“I hope you don’t keep her waiting or try staying in your house, reading, the entire time.” I shake my head, knowing she's referring to Father when he was younger. I say goodbye and head back home.
I decide to read a bit more of that story and it turns out to be a far bigger saga, with a few more soldiers involved. I stop before getting too into it; I have more important things to do tonight.
I put on the outfit and find it to be comfortable and well fitting. I check my wallet to make sure there’s a nice amount of money in it, since festivals can get rather cost-intensive. I think everything’s in order.
The sun is setting by the time I get outside. I head over to the main crossroads to wait; if anyone’s going to show up, they'll have to go through there.
My thinking is interrupted by Kamui, Elis, and Kurumi arriving in their festival garbs. Kamui’s in one of his nicer stage outfits, while Kurumi’s in a light purple yukata decorated with a flower motif. Elis is in a red number decorated with stars, and has another one painted on her face. It seems like Kurumi's wearing hers in a way that obviously emphasizes her figure.
“Something the matter, Kurumi?” Elis asks. Now that I think about it, Kurumi looks a bit dejected.
“If only Mother wasn’t coming, then I could wear this off my shoulder. Ohh, it’s all Yukari’s fault!” She cheers up quickly as Kamui pats her on the back, though. “Well, there’ll be other days~”
Elis comes up to me and asks, “You’re waiting for Wriggle aren’t you? That’s a rather sweet gesture, and from a rather cute guy, too.” She giggles and heads back to join the other two.
“Good luck, Yuki!” Kamui remarks before they head off in the direction of the various booths. I wonder if Mystia’s trying her luck running one of them...
I keep watching the crowd, and see a blonde woman in a purple Yukata worn off shoulder walk by. I could say with near certainty that it was Lady Yakumo, though why she’d wear hers in such a way is a mystery. She certainly is quite attractive and.... ample, but even now I’m just looking forward to Wriggle too much. I try to clear my head of any lingering thoughts with a walk as I head towards the village entrance. I soon run smack into something. “I’m sorry about that!” I hurried say.
I look up to find a woman in a reddish orange yukata decorated with minature scythes, and for some reason she's carrying a large one in her arms. Her hair is surprisingly curly; certainly uncommon in Gensokyo. “Let me help you up, it woudn’t do for Wriggle’s friend to get his clothes messed up before meeting her,” she says, gently pulling me up and helping me dust off. She sees the confusion on my face, and adds, “I’m Elly, Lady Yuuka’s main servant, so I’ve heard of you. I hope the old gap hag isn’t doing anything improper; I've heard all the tales about her stealing men. Then again, according to Lady Yuuka, she’d jump anything and everything...”
I decide to change the topic. “Miss Elly, why do you have that scythe with you?” There’s no place for something like that in a peaceful village.
“It’s because I’d feel naked without it, more so than even being naked.” Okay, emergency mind distraction plan is a go! A while back I decided on a plan in case something needs absolute distraction... so I memorized those sayings from the Buront story. I'm halfway through them when I feel someone tap on my shoulder. I turn to see who it is, and come face to face with none other than Lady Kazami, accompanied by a young, blonde woman with wings in a white yukata. I’m stunned for a moment: a complete opposite to the unabashed seductive charm of Lady Yakumo, Lady Kazami wears her red plaid yukata in a way that it highlights the elegance and charisma of the truly powerful.
“I apologize if you've had to endure Elly’s ramblings. I have a favorable first impression of you, so I do hope you won’t make my little Wriggle cry.” She says, the veiled threat being perfectly clear.
I do my best to recover from the stun. “I-it’s an honor to meet you, Lady Kazami. I assure you I would never do anything of the sort. May I ask who the young lady you’re with is? I’m-” I respond before she interrupted.
“Yukikaki Kojima, right? I did some looking into on you when I first found out about you. As for your other question, this is my middle daughter, Lily white.”
Miss White peeks behind Lady Kazami and responds meekly, “Hello, nice to meet you.”
Lady Kazami adds, “When it’s not spring, her personality is rather subdued, but still charming. I’m hoping that one day she’ll find a nice man who can appreciate both sides of her. Ah, there goes Elly trying her luck... though I have yet to see a man who isn’t scared by her forwardness or her weapon.” Sure enough, Elly has approached a group of men who seem shocked at her presence. “If you’re looking for Wriggle, she mentioned waiting at the stump by the shop. I believe she should be there now, and that you shouldn’t keep her waiting. We’ll talk more in due time; shoo, shoo.” She pushes me very gently towards the direction of the forest. I’m honestly speechless: from her threats, I can see why she's so feared, yet she carries herself with a certain elegance and grace.
As I walk away, I hear her wonder about Arthur's whereabouts. I should hurry, though, as I don’t really want to keep Wriggle waiting.
I run to the usual spot and when I get there, I lose what breath I had left. Wriggle's seated there, wearing a very lovely teal yukata with a green firefly decoration. Her hair is up in a small ponytail and she gives off the air of a demure noble woman. She notices my reaction and giggles as she gets up and walks over to me. “Akyuu really knows her outfits, Yuki; you’re pretty handsome yourself.” She starts holding my hand and we walk towards the main festival area.
Wriggle leads me to the strength game, and I notice the rules include “no magic allowed.” I turn to the operator, asking why, and receive an answer about Marisa badly damaging the equipment after using magic. I can easily imagine her doing something like that; for similar reasons Mother and Father keep her away from anything fragile.
I decide to try my luck after paying the man running it. “Rrhhgg!” Damn, this hammer is heavy. I hit the plank... and only reach half way up. My arms still ache just from doing that much. I hear some jeers from the side directed towards Wriggle and me. “Look at the little shrimps!” Wriggle frowns, then nods her head in resolution. She tries her hand at the youkai strength one and brings the hammer down with incredible speed. “DINNGGGG!!” It actually hits hard enough to dent the bell.
Wriggle takes a breath, then bows remorsefully to the stall owner. “I apologize for this, but I really had to show them that size isn’t everything.” She pulls out a wallet and puts down some more money.
The man chuckles and rubs the back of his head. “Don’t worry about it, I was honestly expecting something like this to happen tonight. I’d read in the Tengu’s paper how you kicked one hunter’s ass and reduce two others into gibbering wrecks. I’m just glad you didn’t break the whole thing.” We thank him for his understanding, then head towards the other stands before too much of a scene develops.
As we continue to wander through the festival, we pass a stand were Tewi is selling “authentic lunarian undergarments,” with a sign saying “all profits go to a charitable cause.” I can’t help but suspect she added that just to get more sales... as if the promise of panties wasn’t enough for certain men.
We arrive at Mystia’s stand where she's quickly grilling more eels for the crowd. “Oh wow, Wriggle, you look great! Never thought I’d see the day where I’d be the plain one. But do sit down and try some food!”
Wriggle smiles, blushing slightly. “Thanks, Mystia. Lady Akyuu helped me pick it out.”
“It really complements her figure. Ah, two plates please,” I add. We sit down and I hand Mystia the some money for both plates.
“I could have paid for that Yuki, but thanks anyways,” Wriggle responds.
Mystia laughs. “Most girls would love having a guy pay for them. Say, have you seen Kamui around? I'm hoping he comes by soon.”
I respond, “I’m sure he will, sooner if he gets hungry. I think Kurumi and Elis just want a bit of time before you take center stage, so to speak.”
“That's really flattering; I’d never have thought that someone would choose me over a vampire and a demon. Everyone's always overlooking me for someone else, and- ah, sorry about that Wriggle!” I turn to see Wriggle glaring at Mystia some. I guess she's still a little jealous that Mystia's more popular. “You can’t be too mad about it since you have a very nice guy!” Mystia adds.
“I’m rather surprised myself: if Mother found out Kamui prefered you to her daughter, she might be a bit offended. Not enough to be violent, but still rather put off. I guess your situation is rather unique, though.” Wriggle responds.
“Yeah, but that’s not something you really have to worry about. From what I’ve heard from Kamui, Yuki would be pretty tormented by such thoughts coming up.”
I decide to speak up. “You know, I saw the famed Lady of Borders here, but I must say that seeing Wriggle had more of an effect on me than she did.” Wriggle blushes as Mystia makes a sound that can be only described as “SQUEEEEE.”
After that, we finish eating in silence, then bid Mystia farewell and leave. The night is still young, and there's other things to see.
We pass by Ginji’s shop and see Lunasa waiting. “Out of all the days to finally talk things out with his parents... if this keeps up any longer I’m going to go in there and drag them out!” If she’s here, then I guess Kamui’s dealing with Lyrica and Merlin’s probably with Kazuma.
“Did something happen between Ginji and his father?” I ask, remembering my outburst.
She nods. “According to Rika, his father came in the afternoon to try to discuss the terms of putting this incident behind them. At the moment, Ginji’s using this situation to his advantage and venting a little, as well. Word has it that someone really gave his father hell yesterday.” Lunasa gives me a sidelong glance and continues, “It was you, wasn’t it? I wonder what he said that upset you enough to go off like that.”
“I was able to keep politely quiet until he called Wriggle vermin... I’m not even sure how that was related, or what I said afterwards. All I can clearly remember is that it took all of my focus to stay polite.”
Wriggle blushes as Lunasa adds, “I hope you two don’t plan on beating around the bush forever.” Wha?! I quickly glance at Wriggle, who’s turning a deeper shade of red. Before the matter can continue we feel a gust of wind.
“Oh, this looks like interesting news... A true reporter is never truly off-duty!” We turn and find it’s none other than Miss Shameimaru. Her version of the yukata is similar to Miss Momiji’s and Hatate’s, mainly in its red design, but is cut for a crow tengu and adjusted to highlight her figure more. I hope this doesn’t start any fights between Mr. Yaguu and the Oracle. “I think I’ll pay Yaggy a visit, as I’m sure he’s sulking in his house... good thing Junny’s back outside or I’d have to worry about having them on separate sides of the village.” She must be talking about the Oracle.
Remembering my visit to Kazuma's earlier today, I remark, “Miss Shameimaru, Hatate expressed some discontent at having to wear the formal outfit.” Wait, she already knew that. Well, hopefully it will help shift the mood.
Aya sighs. “Ahh, I told her she could change clothes later in the festival... I just had Momi and Hatate dress up in order to help Momiji find an interesting guy, and I figured Kazi would like that. I guess she wants to put on that yukata she picked out herself. I thought purple, checkered pattern would be unusual, but then I saw Yuuka’s red plaid number.” Why does she keep refering to people with strange nicknames?
I notice Wriggle squeezing my hand gently, nodding her head away from the area. I figure things are getting a bit too loud for her, so we leave after saying our goodbyes. I think Ginji has things well in hand by now, at least enough for me not to worry about him.
As we reach the crossroads, we hear Lady Akyuu say, “Yep, those outfits really fit you two well!” She's wearing a fancier version of her normal clothing, even though it was already fancy to begin with. Before we can respond, she remarks, “You better claim your fireworks spot before anyone else does.” She makes motions for us to go on our way, and I think I see her wink at me out of the corner of her eye.
Wriggle leads me by hand into the forest, through darkened paths that feel vaguely familiar. We reach a break in the trees, and I recognize the spot by the creek... this is the place were we first met. A blush creeps over my face as I recall the memory of that day. “Yuki.” Wriggle's voice captures my attention again. She's standing in the middle of the spot, facing slightly away from me. “I actually wanted to show this to you before the fireworks went off.”
She raises her arms, and points of light appear in the forest before flying towards her. A multitude of fireflies surround her and fill the clearing as she begins a slow and elegant dance, her movements matching the rhythmic lightshow around her. At this moment, she basically is the world - it's as though the stars in the night sky descended solely to dance with her. Only the sound of my heartbeat remotely disrupts the display before me. I seriously consider calling Wriggle the Lady of the Fireflies as everything about her right now is stunning.
I barely notice when she stops, and it takes a few more moments for me to snap out of my daze. Wriggle is staring right at me. “Yuki, mother told me something recently... she told me not to waste any time.” She blushes but continues on, adding, “What I’m trying to say, is that I’m ready for us to be a couple, since we both know how we feel.”
“Really? I really, truly am glad.” A smile spreads over her face and she walks towards me. “I always enjoy my time with you, and today in particular was amazing, and-” I'm cut off as she approaches me, giving me a good look at her blue-green eyes before wrapping her arms around my neck in a hug. I return the gesture, pulling her body closer to mine. She pulls back before I settle into it though, and I ask, “W-”
She kisses me. The world seems to go silent around me. All I can focus on is the warmth of her body, the weight of her arms around my neck, and the taste of her lips against mine.
A pop sounds in the distance, followed by a warbling screech as the first fireworks are launched. The silence of the kiss is only disrupted by the colorful explosions above us. We pull away from each other, a blush on both our faces, before turning to watch the display. The star shaped bursts make it clear Marisa was behind their design, and for once, flaming balls aren’t raining down upon us. My mind briefly flits to everyone else; I hope they're enjoying a memorable moment as well.
We sit down and watch the show, holding each other close from the beginning through the finale. As the last glowing burst fades, Wriggle stirs beside me and says, “I should probably head home... I’m really not sure if I should try staying over or not, and I’d rather just go home before mother locks the door.” Staying over? Ah... well, maybe it’s better that she doesn’t tonight. Mother would get too excited by such an event.
“Heh, don’t worry. I think my mother will be over-excited enough as it is. I think I’ll just relax tonight.” We stand, and Wriggle leads me on the path out of the forest. As we prepare to part ways, I pull Wriggle into another hug. “This may sound strange, but I will definantly call this night magical.” She giggles, and squeezes me before we part ways.
As I walk back home, things seem much quieter as the festival winds down. One pair of girls in particular stands out from the crowd, one wearing a rather undersized white yukata decorated with what appears to be folding chairs, and one wearing a pinkish-red one with strawberries. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was those two from the ship.
I arrive home and look in the box the outfit came in for some cleaning instructions. Luckily, they're clearly written, and Mother added on where she kept the cleaning supplies. After I finish taking care of it, I decide to read more of the Dresden books. Despite all his skill and ability, he's really unable to pick up a romantic hint.
Soon, all the excitement of the day catches up to me, and I put the book away before falling asleep. I end up dreaming about actually meeting the wizard, and pleasantly enough I was married to Wriggle. Various other bits appear, such as the oversized gazebo I read about and the one shopkeeper who resembled Mr. Miyamoto. Heh, Miss Kamishirasawa looks frustrated by his inability to take a hint... but her expressions seem kind of familiar. I wonder if those hints are directed to someone in reality?
The scenes fade and shift, and I dream of an absurd team up of Dresden, Arthur, and those two Russian soldiers getting into various hijinks and, naturally, blowing stuff up. I feel sorry for Arthur in this dream, as he seems the closest one to being rational in it.
I can’t help but wonder what will come my way next...
Chapter 2 End.
I’ll post an Omake post within a week and the start of chapter 3 within a week of that or so. Feel free to leave any comments.
>>24387 It was actually the books based on "A Wizard with you" with Aleron Dresden being the wizard's name. But the name was inspired by the series and the fact the wizard in Demetrious' story reminds me of Harry Dresden.
Yeah, I decided to take a break from the omake as it was proving to be pretty long and hard, more so than I expected. I’ll try working on it in-between updates.
I wake up... wow, I slept in today. Last night was something else... I don’t think I’ll soon forget any part of it. I briefly wonder if there’s anything going on today, but it's doubtful right after a festival. I should get the bath stuff ready first, then eat breakfast.
The morning is the same as usual: Father's reading the latest newspaper. He glances over the top. “You should take a look at the front page.” Accepting it, I look and see a picture of Wriggle and me while we were walking around last night. The caption reads “Truly a princess,” probably referencing either her ability over insects, or her relation to Lady Kazami.
I chuckle, feeling the blush return to my face. I’m not sure how I’ll explain what happened; it’s rather awkward...
Father scrutinizes me for a moment. “Congratulations son, though it’s a good thing you didn’t bring her over last night. Your mother had indulged herself a bit too much and I doubt it would have ended well if Wriggle suddenly spent the night.” I can’t help but shiver at the thought of my mother reacting to Wriggle while intoxicated. Father continues, “You shouldn’t stick around too long after you finish; I’m going to try calming her down.” I nod and finish eating, then go to my room and get my things ready. I think I’ll drop by Kamui’s to see how he’s doing.
On my way to the inn, I wonder if the Prismrivers are still around or not. If Kamui isn't up by now, I can talk to them instead.
As I approach the entrance, I see Lunasa and Lyrica talking. Lyrica sees me and calls out, “Hey Yuki, if you're here for Kamui he’s almost finished getting ready upstairs. He was saying something about inviting you guys over.”
“Oh, I'll tell Ginji, then he can inform Kazuma.” Lunasa adds. Her enthusiasm drops as she sighs. “I hope nothing bad has happened to Merlin, though.”
“Oh don’t worry; she can handle herself just fine and if something did happen, it’s obvious that they'd both have wanted it. I’ll tell her the news if she comes back.” Lunasa nods in agreement, then excuses herself and heads inside.
I ask “Not to pry, but what news are you talking about?”
Lyrica answers, “Oh, we were planning to have a concert here in the fall, before the harvest festival. But you know, I’m definitely surprised by how your girlfriend looked last night. I'll have to take a few notes from her on how to be slim yet elegant. I doubt even Merlin’s dense boyfriend would've mistaken her for a guy last night.” I chuckle, remembering the time he did just that.
“She already knows my opinion on how she looked, but to hear a Prismriver saying that? That’ll mean a lot to her. Um, so Kamui, last night, uh...” I want to know what her views are on his antics during the festival, but it's impolite to ask.
She catches the hint, and responds, “Don’t worry; it was mainly hanging out, though he was getting real cozy with those two winged girls and he spent a lot of time at Mystia’s stand. I really should talk to her about how things are going. After all, we’re basically following her lead.” I remember Mystia mentioning that last night, and how it annoyed Wriggle.
Before I can think more on the situation, Merlin approaches, looking even happier than usual but somewhat disheveled. Lyrica wrinkles her nose, and a brief sniff reveals there’s an odd scent about her. “Wow... I guess you had a good night then, sis? Well, I hope nothing troublesome comes up as I don’t want to see Big sis get upset about it. Come on, let me take you to the baths,” Lyrica remarks as she takes her sister away.
...As I head inside, I decide not to dwell on it.
I come into the Inn to see Kamui sitting at a table, drinking some tea and reading today’s paper in a dark red robe. Curious, I ask, “Hey Kamui, may I ask what the story is with that robe?”
“Oh. I found out a certain outsider made such a bathrobe to be fashionable even in public.” Well, he does have a point as it seems to fit him quite well now that I think about it. “But enough about that; I wasn’t expecting you to be on the front page... or Wriggle, to be exact. According to this, she's never dressed up this nice for a festival before. I recall Yukari and Yuuka were usually on the front page of the after-festival paper, and maybe the prismrivers once or twice, but they're an exception to the rule. So, the 6,400,000 yen question is... are you two a couple or not?”
“Yeah...though I get the feeling people were thinking ‘stop beating around the bush’”. Thinking back, it was rather obvious, even more so with Lunasa’s response.
“Yeah, Mysty told me about you two dropping by... and some of things you said. I’m glad you’ve taken some lessons from me on being smooth.” He chuckles afterwards.
A little miffed, I respond, “I was simply telling my honest opinion of things! Acting like that is why Wriggle isn’t too fond of you, if you hadn’t already noticed.” He isn’t as popular with everyone has he seems to think he is, like that incident with Alice proved.
“True, true. Some girls would rather prefer an earnest, humble guy such as yourself. And it’s not like I’m going to seriously try womanizing, as these days I have my hands full in more ways than one. But let’s just sit down and relax as we wait for the other two to get here.” He passes me the newspaper so I can read it to kill time.
The paper had mostly typical stuff, mentioning Elly frightening a few guys, Marisa’s successful firworks display, and a giant evil eye guarding Ginji’s shop. Before I can read some of the less obtrusive articles, Ginji and a rather worn out but grinning Kazuma come to the table and sit down.
“Whoa... I thought last night you had the day off from hunting, Kazuma. Well, I called you guys in just to see how everyone’s time went last night. I’ll be the first to start: while it was very typical and nothing went too far, Mystia felt comfortable enough to snuggle as she slept. Had to sleep in a chair since she wouldn’t let go, and Elis and Kurumi certainly found the scene cute.” Yeah, it’s far too early in most of our relationships for that to happen, even for someone like Kamui.
Ginji answers “Ha, making a big deal about that. Well, while my night wouldn’t be noteworthy to the resident womanizer, I’m glad to say I patched things up with my father... and worked out a nice set up for my shop. He’ll also cover any wedding costs in the future.” That sounds a bit harsh...
“Ginji... doesn’t that seem a bit cold for reconciling with your father?” I ask.
“Nope, not in my family at least. Actually, he was impressed with how I handled things during the time I was cut off. I told him no son of his would ever be totally reliant on his parents. He even had a written apology for Lunasa. Oh wait... and one for Wriggle. Apparently he called her 'vermin' and a certain someone verbally tore him a new hole in the process. Would you know anything about that, Yuki?” His tone makes it clear he already knows the answer, so I remain silent. He hands me an envelope to give to her.
“Ah... well, I was doing a good job of keeping quiet until your father said that and I only have a faint memory of what happened next. Just, I was trying my best to still be polite.” I wish people wouldn’t keep making a big deal out of that outburst.
“Now that’s scary. From what he said, you made some vicious implications... enough so that it scared him into checking his feelings for mom. That doesn't seem your style,though; I thought you would've somehow called down a vicious natural disaster.” Oh yeah, that classic stereotype of a magician. I've heard that getting one angry typically provokes a massive counter attack, but I doubt any good magician would do that over a verbal slight. I wonder if he’s now afraid of me on some level...
“It was something minor; nothing like a life or death situation. Still, why do you look so tired, Kazuma? The Festival ended before midnight.”
Kazuma scratches his head, and an uncharacteristic blush spreads over his face. “Well, after we got home, Hatate wanted to go back home and check on things. After she did that me and Merlin...”
Kamui remarks, “You can tell us, I doubt it’s that shocking. It’s pretty cute how you’re reacting to a kiss, though.” I react to that last part as that’s what happened to me.
“Well... we did it... for most of the night... in different ways.” OH. It dawns on me about the same time as everyone else, judging from the looks of shock, especially Kamui’s face. Kazuma adds, “I didn’t think you could that with them...” Oh my god... My head is being flooded... with Wriggle... No! Don’t think that! Not even of her small sof- No Yukikaki. I try to recall those sayings to ward off this lewd train of thought. It’s not working - I think it’s time for that failsafe to trigger...
“Hey, are you alright, Yuki? You scared us with that sudden fainting spell.” I open my eyes to find it’s Kamui who's speaking. “What happened to shock you so- oh ho. I know what happened. You’ve never been good about such images. I remember this happened last time, when I showed you that Tengu-made erotic comic I got several months back.” I remember that... while I knew about the general idea of the birds and the bees... such... practical application was pretty new to me.
I look around and see Ginji and Kazuma are gone. “Where did Ginji and Kazuma go?” I get up, and take the glass of water set out for me.
“Ginji took him to the shop to avoid making things worse. Boy... I shouldn’t have been so surprised. It's no wonder Lyrica and Lunasa are so over protective; Merlin's just that loving and trusting by nature. Good thing we met early, as we do not need that hitting the papers; the rumor mill is going to be tricky enough. But are you sure you’re alright?” Was I out for that long?
I finish drinking the water, then answer, “I’m fine... though I think I've had two weeks’ worth of excitement. I think I’ll head home and try to study some magic some more; with the way things have been, I haven’t exactly gotten much time. I hope you don’t mind, Kamui.”
“Not at all, I should use this time to myself wisely and get some music practice done. Maybe compose some new pieces; last night gave me some nice inspiration. I’m sure Miss Keine won't expect us in school for the next few days, anyways.”
I bid him farewell, then head to the stump to do some practice.
I decide to focus on wind elemental subjects, as they seem to be an area in which I have the greatest ease. I could check and see if there’s a flight spell or not, though I’d have to ask Akyuu or Miss Kamishirasawa. I’m sure either of them would know where such a book is. It probably wouldn’t help to ask Wriggle, her being a firefly youkai and all.
I should decide what area to focus on more for the time being...
[x] Flight first, then some magic training as flying would be useful. [x] Mostly magic training then a bit of flight; being able to defend myself is more important.
I'm going to try to get back into the habit of more regular updates. I'm also trying to think of a name to take and I figured I should ask my readers for one.
[x] Flight first, then some magic training as flying would be useful.
Flight has a myriad of uses, and depending on how we fly, it may still benefit our magic (for example, if we fly by controlling the wind to support us, we'd also be getting increased control over wind gusts).
[x] Flight first, then some magic training as flying would be useful.
I better take a break and see about getting a book that deals with the topic from Miss Kamishirasawa or Lady Akyuu before it gets too late.
I head over to Miss Keine’s first, figuring that as the village’s guardian she would have had to learn from such a book. I knock on the door, and she soon answers it.
“Hello, Yuki. If it’s about school, know that there won’t be classes for a few days. From the sounds of things, if I tried to have classes tomorrow, I doubt I would have much of a turn out.” Guess Kamui was right about that. She certainly seems to be in a normal mood.
“Thank you. I was wondering if you had a book on flight magic as I think I could try learning to fly.” I hope she doesn’t overreact to this.
She nods, but frowns. “Actually, I do have such a book, but promise me that you won’t do anything reckless with it. You could hurt yourself in the process, not to mention that whenever an incident happens the sky fills with fairies that fire upon any and everything in the sky. Getting yourself maimed like that would only make Wriggle cry.” She gets out today’s newspaper as emphasize the point. She does make a good argument.
“I’m still not Kazuma or Kamui, though! And, does everyone know about me and Wriggle being a couple now?” If so, I think I may have to skip going to Lady Akyuu’s until I better prepare myself for how she’ll respond.
“True, but I would also feel terrible if you got yourself hurt in such a way. As for you and Wriggle, to be honest I had that impression for some time. It’s definitely nice that you picked up on things rather quickly.” Something in her voice makes me wonder if Keine has feelings for someone who hasn't noticed. While I am curious, I know far better than to pry into that, so I just hope things work out for her.
“I will definitely be careful; I’m thinking of ways to minimize risks as we speak.” I could try flying very low or in the house by my bed for starters, but I’m going to read the book first and leave the practicing for tomorrow. These things are better done when fully rested instead of moderately drained. “Thank you for the book; I’ll return it when I’m done,” I add, and prepare to leave.
“Don't worry; I’m in no hurry to get it back and I know you wouldn’t lose it... just keep it out of Marisa’s hands.” We both laugh at that. I think I’ll try to copy this down sometime in order to have extra copies.
I bid farewell as I leave. “I hope you have a nice day!”
Outside, a pillar of smoke rises in the distance, and I hear some folks talking. “I never thought he’d take advantage of the lull to strike out at them...”
The other responds, “I’m glad he attacked now; they might have attacked innocent people if it wasn’t for his strike.”
“I guess we'll rely on whatever the scouts find to clarify the details.” That’s a rather unnerving motion: forgetting so easily the battles that go on outside the village. I head home to see what’s going on.
When I come in I see father talking with Mr. Yaguu. Father notices me and says, “We’re just talking about the latest fortress being razed.... though it turns out there’s been one or two other razings in addition to the two the village has seen.”
Mr. Yaguu adds “Arthur has asked me and any Tengu scouts that come in for information. I am unaware about how exactly he moves or what he does, but he does appear serious about taking the fight to them. I offered the assistance of a few warriors in the village, but he refused, stating he didn’t want to drag people into his fight. He also made a cryptic remark about gathering allies elsewhere.” I suppose those allies may be stronger than the village’s warriors, as there’s not much known about Gensokyo’s far flung corners or who might have come here.
“I wouldn’t worry about this too much, Yuki. Just be careful about leaving the safety of the village,” Father remarks. I nod, and decide to go downstairs, not wanting to intrude upon their discussion.
Once in my room, I look through the book and see it's more of a notebook with footnotes by Keine. It has a list of each book the notes were copied from and extra notes that look like they were made for someone unfamiliar with magic. I continue reading the book, as well as the extra notes, which seem to indicate the author as someone experienced with flying. I figure Miss Keine could fly easily, but I’m not sure if these notes are by her or not.
I finish reading the flight section, and find notes on different useful low level spells, such as a method to convert mana to stamina. That would be useful for all sorts of reasons; even in a dangerous scenario, I wouldn’t use all my mana on one spell, leaving some to help me run faster.
There’s even a beginner’s enhancement magic section, though there aren’t as many notes. I do notice it was taken from a book that one "Ren Byaku" wrote a long time back. Honestly, I’m not sure if I could make too much use of it at this point, but it’s something to consider in the future after I gain a good understanding of flight and elemental magic.
At the end is a note saying all the books are in Akyuu’s library... just what is in that library of hers? I've only gotten a few glimpses when I saw it for myself. I wonder if I should ask her how or why she has these books?
After finishing reading, I decide to stretch my legs out and see what’s going on upstairs.
I arrive upstairs to smell dinner cooking. Today’s paper is laid where father usually sits; he must be busy with something else. I take a small walk in the house before sitting down at the table and picking up the paper. I read about the various fashions during the festival, and an opinion piece railing against obsessive Prismriver fanboys. I suspect that last one was caused by Kazuma’s situation. Ouch... she didn’t have to insult their worth as men. “You’re reading the article about those deluded fans, Yuki?” I look up to see Mother setting dinner on the table. She adds, “Your Father is attending a meeting and won’t be back until a bit later.”
We eat in silence until Mother says something, “...Am I being that overbearing? I’m sorry, but whenever I think of what cute kids you two would have I just get excited. I hope you two had a good time last night.” I feel kind of bad now, thinking that she'd overreact... I guess Father’s talk sank in to her.
“We had a very good time... and we are dating now... so please try not to scare her when she comes over. I’m worried enough about meeting her mother again. It was surprising yet a bit scary to see her at the festival.” I answer, remembering my meeting with Lady Kazami.
Mother nods. “Mothers care about their children very much so it’s only natural she’d react that way. And from what I’ve heard, Wriggle’s the youngest, so Lady Kazami would be extra worried about her. I know perfectly well how she feels. Some things are the same, no matter if you’re human or youkai.” That certainly helps add some perspective... and from her tone, I think I’m not on her bad side. “I’ll start converting that empty room to a guest room... though I’m not sure if anyone would really want that~” She has a mischievous look on her face as she says the last sentence. I won’t worry about that matter until it comes up again.
After eating dinner and helping Mother wash the dishes, I head down to my room to plan tomorrow, which will most likely be devoted to flight practice... that is, provided nothing comes up, like Wriggle. I’d feel terrible if I wound up blowing her off for studies and if Mother finds out... I’m tempted to say I’d rather take my chances with Lady Kazami.
I read a bit more of the book before I put it away in my bag and make some early preparations for tomorrow, then go to sleep.
Wow, that was a strange dream... something about Arthur saving Christmas. It’s still not as strange as the one time Kamui ate some green cheese and wound up dreaming about bodiless heads talking about taking it easy.
I get ready to head out and think about where I should do my practice...
[ ] Perhaps I should see if Lady Akyuu has a spare room to try. [ ] The clearing doesn’t seem to be too bad, and perhaps Kourin would have some sort of padding he would lend me. [ ] On second thought, I should relax a bit and see what comes up before committing to anything.
Sorry about the short update, but I'll be busy with work and the christmas short. This was also a nice cut off point.
[x] The clearing doesn’t seem to be too bad, and perhaps Kourin would have some sort of padding he would lend me.
I head over to his shop, which I think should be open by now. The open sign displayed when I arrive, so I go in.
Kourin's reading something inside. I clear my throat before asking, “Would you have a sort of large cushion I could borrow or rent?” It'll help in case I mess up. I hope he has one big enough, though.
He puts his book down and gets up, replying, “Indeed. I’ll bring it over to that clearing you’re so fond of. I also won’t charge you, as I’m sure Marisa or Lady Hieda would overreact to it. Just don’t do anything reckless; you’re only human after all.” Only human... yeah. Unlike youkai trying to fly, I wouldn’t fare too well if I hit the ground. “Just wait on the stump until I bring it out. I’ll try to tell Marisa what you're doing so she can help out. I can’t fly at all, even though I’ve tried more than once since Marisa insisted on it.”
“Alright.” As I leave, I think a nonflying half-youkai is rather unusual, as any humanoid youkai can fly one way or another. Well, waiting for the mattress will give me time to read.
I sit down on the stump to review the book, then look around, sizing up the area. I don’t think there should be a problem as long as I don’t go too high.
After a while, Kourin arrives with the cushion and sets it down on the ground. He says, “Please tell me when you’re done with it, even if you need to send Marisa to do it. I may not use that much, but I would rather prefer it if it didn’t get soaked on a rainy day.” I nod, remembering this; it’s the least I can do. He soon departs, leaving the clearing to myself.
Alright, let me remember the steps... focus energy toward my feet, envision myself floating... and whoa! I’m doing it! I start to wobble, so I better stay focused; got to get used to this so I can do it passively. Up, down left, right. The drain isn’t too bad, but it’s still enough that it’ll be awhile before I can match Marisa’s flying.
Let me try to fly upwards some. I feel a stronger drain, but it’s not too bad and I can see above the forest now... oh wait, there’s Marisa. I wave hello, then concentrate and start to descend again; the last thing I want is to have something go wrong while doing so.
I make a near perfect landing, only losing focus a couple of feet above the cushion. Marisa appears soon after. “I’m not sure if flying would impress that girlfriend of yours, but you definitely did better than my first attempt. Good thing Kourin isn’t here, or he’d reveal more about that than I’d like. How about coming with me to my house so I can give you some pointers and other help? I think it’d really help someone like you and in this land a boost is never a bad thing. So, how about it?”
[ ] “Sure, I will.” Marisa’s easily stronger at magic than me and some help would be nice; I can also tell my parents how she’s doing. [ ] “No thanks.” I might end up in an annoying situation and there’s some other things I might want to do.
[x] “Sure, I will.” Marisa’s easily stronger at magic than me and some help would be nice; I can also tell my parents how she’s doing.
I answer, “Sure, I will,” and she motions for me to get on her broom.
“Great! Don’t worry, the distance is too short for me to have fun, and it’s better than risking going through the unsafe zones of the forest.” I get on and we fly towards her house. Upon arriving, I see it looks a bit rustic but well made. We soon land and head inside.
“Take a seat while I make you something helpful to eat. I hope you don’t mind mushrooms,” Marisa remarks as she heads into her kitchen. It's cleaner than I expected, as the rest of her house has small piles of things all over the place; one has a creepy looking book on it. I hope she’s not seriously going to use that; it doesn't look like anything good would come of it.
A few moments later, Marisa comes back with a bowl of soup that’s yellowish green, but despite the odd coloring it smells rather appetizing, if a bit odd. I say to her, “Marisa, just what is this? Also, please don’t try reading that creepy book; I have a feeling nothing good would come of it.”
“The soup’s made of some mushrooms I found in the forest, not poisonous but packed with a considerable amount of magical energy. Mima showed them to me, saying they’d help make up for my deficiencies. I figured I'd help you out; you can’t hide behind your girlfriend forever and with the talent you have you’ll only have to train and prepare half as much as me. And don’t worry about that book; I’m not some creepy lady with a thing for corpses. I’m about to consider that book a lost cause as I have better prospects.” Nodding, I start eating the soup. It's surprisingly well made with a nice texture, and it tastes pretty good despite a slight aftertaste that reminds me of liquorice. “It’s pretty good, I dubbed those mushrooms phantasmal mushroom. Mima pointed out some of the grass types that I used to season it.” Marisa adds proudly as I finish it.
I remark, “That was good... though what was it supposed to do? I doubt one could increase their magical power that easily.” I don’t believe such a thing would have such considerable results.
“Of course not, one needs about 5 or more bowls before they start seeing results, though I think the effect might be greater on you. I’ve been thinking of ways of refining them to get more of boost for the amount consumed. But I’ll tell you, if you eat a lot of the soup, stay away from open flames as the gas passed is very flammable. I made the mistake of doing that one night and blew out one of the walls at Mima’s old place. She certainly wasn’t happy about that though she had a good laugh when I told her what happened.” Huh... WHAT? Couldn’t she have told me this before I ate it?! “Oh don’t worry; one bowl won’t affect you that badly. I remember I had at least 6 bowls on that day. A general sign to stop eating is when you start making the room reek of liquorice. Anyways, what book are you studying magic from?”
“'Basic Elemental Magic,' by P.K. Chalmers. I’ve been making some nice progress through it, and even discovered my elemental affinity.” I answered.
“Sounds pretty good. You should ask if your family had magicians in them, as magic in a scholar’s blood wouldn’t be surprising at all. I have a copy of that, though I’m no good with any sort of magic other than Star-based magic, and some aether or non-elemental stuff. I’d call it force magic, since it hits with force.”
Wait... she can use those elements? I remember reading somewhere that Star magic is very hard to do, even compared to the advanced elements like the Moon or Sun. And aether type magics is basically very hard to do. “Just how hard did you train to use those difficult elements?”
“Very hard, and I’ve only gotten into force magic thanks to Yuuka giving me the notes to her master spark. It was pretty tricky modifying it for my use, but it packs a pretty nice wallop, even then it pales compared to hers.” Marisa answers. She then hands me a note on “The Absorbtion of Mana from the Air.” I scan over it, and am reminded of what can be read but not be seen.
“Why did you show me this note? It’s very interesting, but I’m not sure what the point is.” I ask, curious.
“This forest has a ton of mana in the air, and if you’re trouble in it, you could boost your power. From what I read in Basic Elemental Magic, wood and wind are very closely related so I figured you might have an easier time drawing it out. How about I demonstrate my masterspark as an example?” She asks.
“Alright, just don’t aim it towards something populated.” From the sounds of it, it must be powerful. We head outside and she holds up a card in her hand, words on it reading “Love Sign: Master Spark.” “What is that card for?” I ask.
“Oh. Reimu’s about to put up a system for standardizing non-lethal combat, and she gave me some materials to practice with.” Marisa answers.
Outside I sit down and watch Marisa figure out a firing angle, then prepare something in her hands. I can feel mana getting drawn into it, then... “MASTER SPARK!!!” She shouts before a massive rainbow colored beam blasts out for a few seconds. Wait... that pales to Lady Kazami’s? Just how did she survive dealing with her!?
“Just how strong is Lady Kazami’s version?” I ask, starting to feel a bit dizzy.
Marisa answers, in a serious tone, “At full power? It's at least enough to wipe out a large nation, if not more. I remember when I asked Yuuka to do so after first fighting her... When I noticed just how much power she was gathering, I told Reimu to run and blasted my way out of her old place. We saw it basically flatten a mountain as if it was nothing. Even though she said it wasn’t lethal, I wasn’t going to risk getting hit by that.” Her tone lightens, adding, “How about you try absorbing some mana?”
I stand up and take a few deep breaths, feeling the mana around me before trying to take it in. I start to cast my windball spell but focus more on the air. I feel the wind start to blow so I guess I'm doing it right. As I continue focusing and preparing, I feel an overwhelming amount of energy enter me. I quickly aim towards the sky and visual a whirlwind pillar before firing. I open my eyes to see the spell tear off, creating some massive gusts around the area.
Ugh... I fall to my knees. I guess controlling such energy was exhausting. I hear Marisa run up to me. “Yuki, I told you to control it, not take it into you. That was a very reckless thing to do; that’s my job! You’ve got to build up your capacity before you can think about channeling so much without exhausting yourself badly!” She helps me off the ground and takes me inside.
She lays me on her couch, then hurries to the kitchen to make something, muttering all the while. It sounds something like, “Akyuu... Miss Keine... going to kill me!” I yawn. I think I’ll take a nap, now...
I wake up next to a worried Marisa, and a smile of relief spreads across her face. “Whew... I thought you were in real trouble for a second there.”
“I think I’m alright; probably just wore myself out, nothing more than that. That’s the last time I’ll try that any time soon though, I hope,” I answer, getting up. I feel a bit achy, but it's nothing too bad.
“Please sit down, I don’t want you getting hurt.” She says. “I know! Want to know more about that Makai incident?” I nod my head as I sit back down.
“Well, people are sure to think I stole stuff from there, but by the time we got to the city everyone had basically cleared out with their stuff. She may be a young-faced mother figure, but Shinki knows how to run Makai well and I heard the buildings she set on fire weren’t damaged that much.” I wonder what kind of place Makai truly is. Wait, I should ask her about the card she used and Reimu's new system.
“Marisa, may I ask the method behind the cards, and why you named a massive beam ‘love sign?’” I might have to ask about the object she was holding some other time.
“Well, according to what Reimu said, I put some mana into a card for later use... and the number of cards can be an equalizer against say a weaker foe. Apparently, there’ll also be this effect that'll render even non-card attacks non-lethal. It’s pretty scary what she can do once she actually takes a task seriously. As far as the sign? Power of Love, Love hurts, that sort of thing.” I remember danmaku combat only became noticeable in the last two generations or so, started up by a Hakurei shrine maiden for unknown reasons. Before the conversation goes further, we hear a knocking on the door.
Marisa opens it, revealing a worried Wriggle who quickly walks inside. “Are you okay, Yuki? I hope whatever fired those shots didn’t hurt you much,” she says as she pulls me into a hug. I explain what happened to her, making it clear that it wasn’t Marisa’s fault. After calming down, she says, “Enough of that magic studying today, let’s just have some fun. Oh, and don’t worry about that cushion; I already moved it since I stopped by there.”
“Go ahead, Yuki.” Marisa says. “I’ll drop some stuff off at your house when I can. Go have some fun, and be careful if you fly. I’m not sure how well you’re doing in terms of energy.”
I try flying for a bit... though I play things pretty safely. Wriggle notices, keeping an eye on me until we get back to the safe zone of the forest. “Were you looking for me today?” I ask as I land, catching my breath for a bit.
“I was just flying around, thinking about visiting today, when I saw those spells shoot off. I was worried there was some sort battle.” She answers. “Still, now that we’re in the same area, I was thinking about going on a date, though if you don’t feel up to it, we can just visit your house.” That does sounds nice, though.
[ ] “I’m not that sore; it shouldn’t stop me from going on a normal date.” [ ] “Staying around home is a good idea; I could use a bit of relaxation and quiet.”
Bonus Poll: I’d heard there’s some interest in a continuation of the Christmas short in my /shorts/ thread, and I wanted to get some additional opinion about it. I will warn you though that other things would be ahead of it.
Update may take a bit longer than planned, mainly because I went and did the continuation of my /at/ short in a fit of productivity as well as the 2nd part of the omake. It should be up by this weekend or shortly afterwards
[x] “I’m not that sore; it won’t stop me from going on a date.” (Reworded)
“I’m not that sore; it won’t stop me from going on a date,” I answer. It’s not like it’ll be hard, and even if it was, I couldn’t bring myself to turn her down.
“Great! Let’s get something to eat first, as I’m hungry and I want to show you a place with good salads.” She takes my hand in hers, and we end up walking towards a café by the crossroads. I haven’t gone there much, but I heard the food was pretty good.
We sit down at a nearby table which looks out the window as Wriggle gets up to order. For some reason, watching her walk away brings my mind back to when she was wearing those snug shorts. I can’t help but wonder if it’s wrong to dwell on the thought of your girlfriend’s posterior or not. Still, I shake the thought out of my head before Wriggle catches me with whatever perverted look I had on my face.
She returns shortly with two bowls of salad. It contains an odd mix of radishes, cucumbers, honeydew, and what I think are bits of lemon and lime. Wriggle's alreadily eating it happily, so I figure I might as well try it. ...Wow is it good, surprisingly sweet; I don’t think anyone would have thought of this combination easily. Glancing up, Wriggle looks very happy eating it; I think this is her favorite dish.
We ate in a comfortable silence, enjoying each other’s company until we finished. I dig out my coinbag instinctively before Wriggle interrupts. “Don’t worry about it; though if you really want, I want to see if the candy shop near by has those honey drops.” I guess this means Wriggle paid as she ordered. I think I remember something about that shop, though; mainly that it’s favored by Lady Akyuu who usually sends Shinobu to buy something. It’s a very old fashioned place that prides itself on naturally made candy, even in the face of outsider-made stuff becoming popular.
“Sure, I think I know what you’re talking about. I don’t think it’s a problem at all.” I don’t recall the place being expensive enough to really dent my daily allotment of money.
The shop was actually by the merchant’s section, though its weathered appearance suggests the paint was pretty bright at one time, making it more visible. Wriggle rushes up to a window to look at some of the displayed things, maybe to check if something new was on display. I can’t help but chuckle at the sheer glee she has. I suspect it’s only natural, as insects are fond of sweets. We go in after a bit.
Inside, we look around, seeing all the varities of candy. I see some kind of device made of a cone and thin wheel in the corner, softly playing music.
“This is why I like this place,” Wriggle remarks. “Everything’s made from scratch, unlike some of that outside candy. I tried some once and wound up nauseous for a bit.” She walks over to a stand and looks at some ‘honeydrops’.
The elderly man behind the counter comes up, “Oh, so you are interested in those. If you’ll pardon me, I’d guessed you might have; as the name says, I use honey in those. It's a little difficult dealing with the bees, but it’s always worth the while.”
“Sir, how much for a...” I look at the different sized bags. “...500 gram bag of honey drops?” I ask, curious. I don’t see any prices around.
“Around this time of year, it’d be 300 yen for a kilo, while non-seasonal candies are about 200.”
I nod, and interrupt Wriggle’s gazing, asking, “How much do you want, Wriggle? The price is certainly fair.”
“Umm, could I have a one kilogram bag of everything else mixed, and a half kilo of the honey drops?” She asks as if it’s an unreasonable request. Far from it, 350 yen isn’t much to pay.
I decide to make the order. “We’d like a one half kg bag of honey drops, a one kg mixed bag with everything else, and a one kg mixed bag with everything.” I ordered the second mixed bag for myself, since I wonder what everything tastes like. It’ll also help me figure out what I might want in the future.
Nodding, the clerk pulls out three bags and fills them one at a time before weighing them on a weird scale. “A good choice; that will come to 550 yen.” He must have done this for a while, from the way he fills each bag quickly before taking it off. “Seems Miss Hieda was right, as usual. She told me earlier that her assistant and his cute girlfriend would come by in a few days.”
I pull some money out, adding 100 yen to his price to cover the honey drops in my order. “Sir, I added a bit extra to make up for the honeydrops in mine. I can’t exactly deprive a small business of its fair share.” I set the money on the counter as he ties the bags shut.
He laughs as he hands them to me. “I’m not doing that badly, despite how the shop looks, but thank you for the act of kindness. Many people, humans and youkai alike, shop here from time to time.” The music from his machine stops, and he walks over to it and turns a crank. “I must say, setting up this store 30 years ago was a good idea. It does me good to see kids like you enjoying yourselves. Oh! If you run in to Miss Hieda, could you let her know that I’m doing well, and though I enjoy the company, she’s going to be a bit disappointed. She should know what I mean.” I nod, and we thank him before taking the bags and leaving.
Outside, I put my candy bag in my book bag while Wriggle has her bags in her hand. “Anywhere else you’d want to go Wriggle?” I ask as I’m thinking about getting her some flowers as to celebrate our first real date.
“Not really as anywhere is fine with you. I’ve already dragged you around a couple places already.” She answers.
“I didn’t mind as I found out about some places to go to in the future, and your smiles more than make up for the trouble” I honestly reply. There’s only one flower shop in the village and due to who shops there, it has a surprising variety of flowers. Hopefully I can find one that suits Wriggle as I don’t think buying some normal flower would suffice.
I lead the way through the village, and when we get near the shop, Wriggle's face lights up. “Yuki, you don’t have to get me flowers, though if you’re still going to you should make sure they’re potted. I don’t think Mother would like anything cut-stem.” Good point; I know Lady Kazami wouldn’t take that well at all.
“Of course; I’m doing this because I want to get you something special. Though, if I listened to Kamui, he’d say something about roses or some other typical flower.” My remark gets a chuckle from Wriggle.
We head inside to find the shop is of considerable size. The clerk, a young woman in a red dress, greets us, “Good afternoon! Welcome to the Verdant Garden, the store favored by the Lady of Flowers. I’m Shizuha, how can I help you?” Shizuha... wait, she’s one of the autumn goddesses.
“Hello. I’m curious where you keep the night-blooming flowers... and, I never thought I’d find a goddess working at a flower shop,” I answer.
She shrugs, replying, “Well, we’re seasonal goddesses, so we’re really only praised in our season, and the rest of the time we need to buy food and such. This place is decent for living and faith gathering for me. My sister is apparently very popular at the big grocery store here, then again her...” She coughs. “melons always got more attention, and to think she’s the younger one. But as for your question, they’re in the back. Lady Kazami got the last of the glowing ones.” I guess being a minor goddess isn’t easy.
I head to the back, hearing Wriggle respond with, “I know your pain well, it was only recently that...” The conversation fades as I go out of speaking range, and I see various flowers and cacti. I look around, trying to figure out which would be best suited for her, when I notice a fragrant smell. I follow it to a tall flowered plant with a double name tag. One says WanXiangYu and the other says Tuberose. The first name is without a doubt Chinese, and I think I heard a similar name in the book about three kingdoms. “A flower that’s precious like Jade and is fragrant at night” is what it basically means. The low light in the room must be triggering the scent, then. I think this is the ideal choice for Wriggle, as I’ll never forget that light show she put on, let alone the entire night. I pick up the small plant in its pot and bring it up front.
Shizuha turns towards me as I approach. “Heh, it figures a guy like you would be taken. Don’t let him go, Wriggle; guys like him are rare.” Wriggle nods, and naturally ends up smelling the flower.
“Lady Aki, could you please not say anything embarrassing? Also, how much would this be?” I can only infer that she’s in the same boat Wriggle was.
“I’m sorry, I was just giving her some girl-to-girl advice. And it’s not everyday where I see a man put some thought behind the flowers he gives; I see too many guys just order roses or some other very common flower. For the cost, it’ll be 1,500; pretty cheap for a flower that makes perfume which goes for a nice price, even in Gensokyo. The boss has quite the time haggling whenever perfume makers come by. Let me just write down some instructions, though I doubt Lady Kazami’s daughter would really need them.”
“It turns out that Mother likes to talk her children here, to. I think I’ve made a new friend today!” Wriggle remarks happily. I can’t help but wish Miss Aki luck, as I have an idea of what it’s like for her. I get out the money for the flower and hand it to Lady Aki.
“Have a nice day, you two!” She says as we leave.
“I take it you like the flower a lot, Wriggle?” I ask, since she’s still sniffing it even as we walk.
She looks towards me with a blush. “Yeah, I’m definitely going to move it over to a bigger pot and put it in my room.” She looks thoughtful for a moment and adds, “If you want to, one of these days I can take you over to my home and show you around. Mother wouldn’t mind at all. For today, though, if it’s alright with you, I wouldn’t mind having whatever your mother feels like making for dinner.”
I’ve been pondering the first question for a while, though I’d need her help no matter what as that’s a distance not easily traversed for someone like me. I don’t know what Mother’s preparing for dinner tonigh; I wonder if I should invite Wriggle over?
On the matter of visiting: [ ] “I’d be honored to visit soon.” [ ] “I would rather wait a bit.”
The matter of dinner: [ ] “Mother would be happy to hear that.” [ ] “I think it’d be better if I plan it, just to ensure things go well.”
Special thanks to my cooking consultant for the salad.