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[x] “I'll try to help as much as I can. I think she'll understand if I have to explain.”
I answer, “I'll try to help as a much as I can. I don’t know about a lot of past relationships like that, but I'm sure I can remember some.”
Arthur chuckles, then says, “I just wanted your perspective from dating Wriggle. That'd more useful than what someone did a long time ago.”
My experience and perspective... might as well be perfectly honest. “It's rather exciting but pleasant. Each new thing I learn about is very interesting, but at the same time, she's basically a girl like any other: she likes positive attention, the occasional gift, and someone who likes her for who she is. The more I get to know her, the happier I am that I met her... even if our first meeting was... interesting.” I notice him blushing at the last part.
He starts smiling. “Looks like my experience wasn’t much different than yours. In my opinion, Yuuka is a great woman. The moments where she uses her abilities are pretty impressive, but what actually amazes me is how kind and gentle she is to those she cares about. For all the things said about how she can crush rocks with ease, she handles a delicate flower with a careful touch.” From what he’s said, I really do think that Wriggle takes after Lady Yuuka the most in various ways. “I've also had some... mildly interesting experiences, though nothing’s gone too far. But thanks for your perspective on things; I'll go and get Wriggle now.” He then goes into the kitchen. I can only presume he somehow saw Lady Yuuka in some state of undress though I suspect she might have taken the first step; from what I’ve seen I imagine she'd trust him that much.
“Yuki!” Ah, that's Wriggle coming from the kitchen.
“I hope cleaning up wasn't too hard. Uh... Arthur wanted to ask me something and…” I try answering, feeling guilty about not helping. Now that she isn't wearing an apron, though, I notice her shirt is tucked in such a way that it highlights her subtle curves.
“Don't worry, I got to talk with Mother, and she dislikes making guests work, anyways. And it's the thought that counts. Come on, let me show you my room!” Wriggle answers, gently taking my hand and leading the way.
It’s only after we walk through the maze of a mansion that I realize I left my bag back in the living room. “I'll be right back, I forgot to grab my bag in the living room,” I remark. Before I can leave, though, a huge beetle comes in through an open window, then flies away after a few seconds.
“Don’t worry, he's getting it. He's pretty strong, so he should be able to lift all the books in it.” Wriggle responds. “I'm glad you liked what I cooked, and that you like my outfit,” She adds. Guess she must have caught me looking.
I take a breath to smooth out my unease and reply, “It's well suited for both your looks and personality. But I don't want you forcing yourself to dress up or do anything else for me.” I don't want to come off as forceful.
I’m a little surprised when she hugs me, replying, “Don’t worry, I chose to do this. Thanks to you and Akyuu, I'm finding new ways to dress how I like and still look nice. And I did enjoy seeing you eat two bowlfuls of what I made; it’s nice to know you enjoy my cooking. Besides, I know you'd never force me to be some housewife that does nothing but cook and clean.”
As she pulls down a few books from her bookshelf, I take a look around. It's a pretty normal room, though there's a few posters of a guy in bug armor. I sit down on her bed, a western one. It's a bit firmer than mine, but still pretty comfortable. She comes back with a few comics about the guy in armor and some books, the cover of one has a guy jumping out of a fridge and punching someone.
“It's a book series by the same writer of those Wizard books. Rinnosuke said they weren't very good, but that any fan of the wizard series would like this one. How about we try reading some of it before starting on the masked rider?” Wriggle asks.
I nod, and we start from the beginning... where the hero pilots his plane and spooks a flying girl. Flying girls? This sounds familiar...
“Why aren't they wearing some sort of skirt instead of flashing their panties all over the place?” Wriggle asks.
I answer, “No idea... but his insistence on getting them to wear pants is just as weird.” I try to avoid thinking about the image of Wriggle's panty-clad... too late. And with the girls using weapons, I guess Wriggle would use some kind of homing swarm of missiles or something.
She looks clearly annoyed by the book's contents, remarking, “I hope that the Wizard book isn't like this. Not even the death god with the orange hair and big kitchen knife from that other series was this dense about things.”
“It's like he leaves things to a bunch of drunken buddies and copies it down. The Wizard books are definitely better,” I answer. The author does seem to like making leads that are as dense as that strange kid in orange, though.
We started reading the comics with the masked rider next. As we turn through the pages, I get distracted by the look of glee on Wriggle’s face. A loud noise comes from the window, and I turn in time to see the beetle drop off my bag before flying away, probably to respect our time together. I’m a little surprised at the though; I wonder if my time with Wriggle has awakened my mind to the possibility that insects are smarter than most humans give them credit for? “Wriggle, are insects smarter than most humans think they are?” I ask.
“Some are, while others are more simple minded,” she answers. Upon seeing my bag, she adds, “Oh, he usually tries not to interrupt anything I'm doing.”
We read through a few more volumes before there’s a knock at the door. Wriggle answers it, and it turns out to be Lady Yuuka. “Sorry to interrupt, but it has gotten quite late, and it wouldn’t be safe now for Yuki to be fly out, even with an escort. I’ve sent a message to his parents so they know he's staying over.” I’m mildly surprised and turn to look out the window; sure enough, it looks like night fell some time ago. Lady Yuuka’s right: no human really goes out at night as many of the more vicious ferals come out at this time.
“What are we going to do? I don't think there's a real room for him to sleep in since the spare room's a complete mess!” Wriggle asks.
Lady Yuuka has a mischievous smile as she answers, “I figured that he'd share your bed as it's not the first time you've done such a thing. I noticed your boost in confidence after you came home that morning. Besides, I know that he wouldn't do anything I wouldn't approve of.” While it’s true I wouldn't mind, this comes as a shock for various reasons. Gulp. I hope Mother doesn't overreact.
“Is it really okay, Mother? I mean, you often speak of not doing anything Miss Yakumo does,” Wriggle says. That's why Lady Yuuka’s remark surprised me: I didn't expect her to support such a thing.
Lady Yuuka pats Wriggle’s head, answering, “Sleeping chastely beside someone you care about isn’t something she'd do. Decency and love are foreign concepts to her.” I don’t know what Lady Yakumo's true habits are, but Lady Yuuka seems to see her in a particularly deplorable light. “I'll leave you two to enjoy the rest of the night. Try not to stay up too late, as I'm certain his parents wouldn't like to be kept waiting in the morning,” she adds before leaving.
I decide to pull my stuff out of my bag, starting with the clothes Lady Akyuu insisted that I pack... Although it’s uncanny, I’m sure it was less of a plan and more of a prediction. Beneath them are the two books Lady Akyuu read to me earlier today. I get out the story concerning Rin, as Wriggle might want to read about it.
We ended up reading through both books, and started holding hands sometime along the way. After finishing, the subject matter made us want to discuss a few things. “The original Reimu was quite the woman. I wonder if I’ll be able to say the same about the current one?” Wriggle remarks.
“I think she may have been the original architect for this era of relative peace we're enjoying. The story made me wonder about the biggest mystery in modern Gensokyo, though: just who is the Bandit King, and what happened to him?” I ask.
“It might be that kid from the story of the hunter and Kirin, as I can't imagine a mixed breed would have been tolerated back then. If so, such harsh treatment might have pushed him to do the things he did, but it's just speculation at this point.”
I wonder... “Think it could be Rinnosuke, the junk guy?” I kind of doubt it myself, and Wriggle only laughs at the question. I guess it is kind of silly to consider that.
She stops laughing with a serious look on her face. “It makes you wonder how such a child would fare today. I hope history won't repeat itself.” She does have a point, but I’m a bit surprised by her sudden mood swing.
“I think life would have been kinder to him, as more and more people are becoming open minded. In the next generation or two, we might see today’s taboos completely vanish. I can't say for sure what will happen next, but it will definitely be interesting.” It's far too soon to speculate on the matter of the line between human and youkai becoming blurred.
My mind pauses on the topic until I hear Wriggle say “Yuki, look!” I turn my head, and she takes off her shorts, revealing a plain but cute pair of green panties. “I'm like one of those witches, but without being a completely over-dramatic headcase!” We both chuckle afterwards. “You should change if you have something,” she adds. She’s right; it is getting late.
“Could you turn around please?” I ask as I change into my other clothes. These shorts are definitely comfortable, and so is the shirt. While pulling the shirt over my head, I sense something faint, but dismiss it as I doubt anything could threaten me while I’m a guest in Lady Yuuka’s house.
Wriggle yawns behind me, and I turn around once my shirt is on. She looks pretty drowsy, but she’s blushing. “Did you wake up early for today?” I ask, curious. I notice she’s wearing a tank top that isn't too snug or loose, and shorts.
She gets on the bed, answering, “Yeah. I wanted to have everything go well, including the fresh vegetables for the stew. I think you were over at Akyuu's while I was shopping.” She must be tired, then. I stifle a yawn as well; I guess it's gotten later than I thought. I get on the bed beside her, and she pulls up the light covers. “Good night, Yuki.” I’m pulled into a hug.
“Good night, Wriggle.” I return her embrace, and she immediately falls asleep. Before I can worry about things too much, her warmth and gentle breathing lull me into a relaxed state and into sleep.
I feel some shaking and a slight chill as I open my eyes. Oh, it's Wriggle. “Good morning, Wriggle.” I wouldn't mind waking up like this more often.
“Yuki get up, it's the tenth hour already!” That late!? I leap out of the bed, and Wriggle jerks back in surprise. Seems like she’s already dressed; I quickly throw on my own clothes, then turn around and grab my bag as I run out the door.
Wriggle catches up and calmly leads me to the kitchen table, where Lady Yuuka is setting out some eggs and bacon, looking quite happy. Alice and Arthur are already seated, but I don't see Elly or Kurumi. I can only assume they have their own things to do. I can't help but ask, “Where's Hourai? It's odd to see you without her, Alice.”
“Sleeping. Apparently she snuck off and played with that machine of Arthur's last night. No wonder I was having strange dreams,” Alice answers.
Breakfast is pretty normal, even considering who lives in this household. I guess everyone's planning out their day; for me I mainly need to head home and check if Lady Akyuu needs me. “I'm sure I'd never be able to wake up right without your cooking, Yuuka.” Arthur breaks the silence with his remark. While he's on another level compared to me, at the same time we’re still similar. Maybe it's an effect of his humility despite his considerable ability. “I'll try to get some stuff over to Yuki later, as he seems to be my historian. I'm actually flattered that I'm getting so much attention, just for doing the right thing,” he adds. That’s a bit of an understatement: fighting people who are on par with most hunters isn’t something anyone could do. But he seems to have Alice helping now; she must be pretty powerful herself. Talented too, judging from Hourai.
I finish eating, then make my plate easy to put away. Before I can do anything else, Elly comes running it. “The reporter's here to pick up Wriggle's boyfriend. Should I let her in?” she asks. “Hey, you started breakfast without me!”
Lady Yuuka calmly answers, “Allow her in, but warn her not to overstep her boundaries. And if you haven’t eaten yet, then who was it that made the mess in the kitchen this morning? Kurumi never gets up that early; she prefers bacon and sausage over these... ‘Pancakes.’”
Arthur chuckles, adding, “It took me some time to find an old fashioned cookbook, but I managed. For some unusual reason, Yuuka had many Western things even before I arrived. She won't tell me the reason though, and if she won't tell me, she won't tell anyone.” Elly stands up to go get Miss Shameimaru.
It isn't long before she returns, Miss Shameimaru following closely behind. “Hey, Akyuu wanted a good escort to take you back home, so she pulled some strings and got me to do it.”
“I was going to escort him back myself, a few moments after breakfast,” Wriggle responds.
Miss Shameimaru shrugs. “I tried to tell her that, but she said that's all the more reason for me to do it. It's like she's being overprotective of you in addition to Yuki.”
Wriggle frowns, but answers, “Alright, but Yuki, don't forget your bag now. I'm going to water that plant you gave me before I leave.” She gets up from the table and does just that.
I follow her advice, picking up my bag and following Miss Shameimaru to the front door. After a couple of minutes, Wriggle comes along as well, and the three of us all leave the mansion.
We get to the village quickly with Miss Shameimaru’s help, and she leaves to finish her own business as soon as we arrive. I should think about who to check in with first: my parents or Lady Akyuu... and whether I should ask Wriggle to go to the other.
[ ] If Akyuu dragged Aya into this, I should check in before she does something reckless.
-[ ] And ask Wriggle to check in with my parents... though I don't think they're that worried, and I'm not sure how Mother would react to Wriggle. (Optional)
[ ] Check in with Mother and Father quickly.
-[ ] It'd be easier if Wriggle goes ahead and assures Lady Akyuu that I'm alright. (Optional)