File 146645514764.jpg - (19.64KB, 239x211, image.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Visit Alice. She might be able to make use of the hide for some newly tailored clothes. What I have are either torn, or damaged.
Taking a glance at the rags I am wearing now, I decide it might be best to visit Alice; she's an excellent tailor, after all.
Readjusting my bag, I set off into the crowded streets of the village. Making my way through the crowd proves rather difficult, but it isn't long before I reach the village gates and set back off into the forest, to the house of the seven colored puppeteer.
The woods are now teeming with life, a stark contrast to what I encountered in the morning. Casually slicing through another branch that gets in my way, I continue down the path to Alice. Trying to think of something to ease my mind from the long trail ahead, I am reminded of my first encounter with her.
It's strange come to think of it, my first friend in this new world being a puppet master of all people. I remember the panicking clear as day, and I was no more intelligent than a child, and looked like one as well.
“Make it stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!” My wailing reaches no one.
I can hear everything, taste everything, see everything, and it hurts so much.
“Please stop…” even my own voice hurts.
I can’t even pay attention to my surroundings, and before I know it I am picked up by a strange woman in black and white.
“Yo Alice!” The loud yelling resonates through my ears, and I promptly fall out of her arms, a reflex from the sudden pain.
“Stop please, it hurts… Please make it stop.” The pain becomes too much to take and I feel my consciousness slipping away from me.
It wasn't long before I find myself awake in a strange new place, the area I was resting on much softer and bouncier than the ground. I don’t hear much, either, other than an occasional whirring sound coming from somewhere far away.
Looking around, panicked at how I found myself somewhere completely unknown, I realize i'm not in the forest anymore. The white walls of a house, and the following furniture I seem to be lying on, are about all I can recognize, but the more pressing concern being this tingling sensation coming from my head.
Reaching up to see what said sensation is, I also notice that all the sounds have just…stopped. No insects, youkai, heartbeats, tree rustling, nothing… That is until a woman wearing all white, and accompanied by two dolls of red and blue coloring, walks through the door.
“Hello,” the woman with blonde hair starts, strangely quiet compared to normal, “my name is Alice, what's yours?” She asks sweetly while keeping a respectable distance away from me.
Even though my instincts are telling me to run, I can’t find an out other than the door she’s standing in front of, so I don’t suppose I have a choice. “Mor-Moriko,” I say hesitantly.
“Moriko? A fitting name I suppose,” she says and closes the door behind her.
No, my only exit! Against my better judgement I leap from where I was sitting, only to have what was on my head fall off in the process, and the noises return. I immediately fall to my knees, my hands covering my ears, attempting to block out any sound I can.
I hardly notice that the woman named Alice, bends down to pick up the item that fell off my head. “Oh dear,” she says to herself, almost chuckling. “That won't do at all.” She moves over closer to me, before placing the item that fell off my head back to its original position, and when she does so the sounds stop again. I look around confused, and then I look up at her as she hovers over where i’m currently lying down.
“How?” My newfound respect for this, Alice, booming.
“They're called earmuffs, and these particular ones are magically enhanced to reduce sound. My colleague and I thought it would help,” her smile and comforting voice makes me feel at peace for the first time in my life.
From that point on Alice took care of me, her and Marisa being the only two friends I had for a long time.
As I finally break free from the tyranny of the forest path, I see the familiar blue and white of Alice's home. Sweeping the front porch are her two dolls, Hourai and Shanghai, who promptly throw down their brooms to fly over and greet me.
“Hello Shanghai, Hourai,” I say, as they excitedly rush over towards me before doing curtsies. “Do you happen to know where Alice is?” Asking the question, but already knowing the answer, I perk my ears, and hear the sound of humming as Alice is sewing together another doll.
The dolls look at me with their hands on their hips, as they know I already know. “It was worth asking,” I shrug, “well show me in then.” The dolls then proceed to lead me into Alice's cottage, and promptly offer tea before I hear the sounds of footsteps coming down the stairs.
“Moriko! It's good to see you again,” says Alice, exiting from the stairs. Her white shawl, matching with her blue dress, and her leather boots, all blend together to form a nice morning attire. “Please sit down, I rarely get to see you anymore,” she says as she waves me over.
“It's good to see you too Alice,” I say as I accept the offer, and sit down on a chair across from her. “I guess you can figure out the reason for my visit?” Shanghai flies over with a tea cup and I graciously accept it.
“You have more work for me?” she asks. Spot on once again Ms. Margatroid
“Nope, on the contrary, I just couldn't stand not seeing little miss perfect and her army of dolls.” I smile at Alice, all the while reaching for in magical bag.
Alice raises an eyebrow. “Being perfect would imply not having friends like you or Marisa.” Her retort stings deeply.
“Well you got me there,” I say as I finally finish rummaging around in the bag and pull out the hide that's the prize of my hunt. “I managed to snag this beauty early this morning, just finished my hunt with that youkai that was tearing up the farms.”
“So it was you that was causing that ruckus this morning.” Her accusing glare shows me no remorse. “I'll have you know sometimes even youkai appreciate their sleep at six in the morning.”
“Sorry Alice, but you know my job, gotta take the chances I can get. Besides, I didn't die right? That's what you were most worried about after all.” I smile once more as Alice’s cheeks flush.
“I was not worried about you,” she denies near perfectly, if it wasn't for Shanghai and Hourai giggling to themselves. “I'm more worried about the fact that you'll cause youkai to be more violent around here for the next few weeks.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I say as I shrug off her accusation. “So what will it be for an outfit made from this? I already did the specs while skinning, and I should have enough for that outfit I've been gunning for recently.”
The outfit in question is a mixture of a leather based cloak and jerkin, but with metal shoulder plates and wrist guards, along with tough leather boots. Not only would this design provide additional support against youkai attacks, I got an agreement from Alice to weave some magic into the design. The end result should have it tough enough to withstand even a youkai's attacks, but still leave me agile enough as if I weren't wearing anything at all.
Alice waves to her dolls to retrieve the hide and bring it to her. Her first reaction is astonishment as she realizes the quality of hide I brought in, “Moriko, this is-”
“Yeah, the hide of a really old feral. Too bad the creature wasn't smart enough to think past pain, and instead focused on inertia. Poor sucker got shot at close range and survived, but from then on it wasn't really that bad of a chase. I led it on to the point it almost had me, then I leapt behind it, firing two quick shots at its legs, then finished it from there,” I say, as Alice continues examining the hide.
Nodding to herself, it seems Alice has finally thought of something. “It’ll take me at least the rest of today, stop by again tomorrow and I'll have it ready for you.
Woah, woah, what?!
“But Alice don't you have other things to be doing? I mean this design should normally take a week to make, let alone adding the enchantments!” I say, confused at Alice’s decision to make it so soon.
“Don't worry about it,” she says as she waves off my concern, “I didn't plan on anything today, so it leaves me free to work on the outfit to my heart's content.” The cheerful manner in how she says that leaves me anxious about the enchants.
“Well if you say so Alice,” I say, much as I might protest for the good of her health. Looking outside one of the window’s conveniently placed around the room, I see the sun rising close to a little after noon.
“Well as much as I would like to stay and chat more, I have to be off,” I say, Alice nods and Shanghai and Hourai visibly deflate. “I have one or two more things to take care of before the sun goes down,” I finish the rest of my tea and stand up, “thank you for your hospitality, any specific time I should come back tomorrow?” I ask.
“Most likely around the same time today, although any time after that would be acceptable as well.”
“Very well, thank you once again Alice, I'll stop by again tomorrow,” I walk over to the door of the house, “goodbye,” I say as I wave back to them, Alice, Shanghai, and Hourai waving goodbye back at me.
With that I find myself back in the sunlight, and the beauty of the forest. As I set off towards the village, my hearing picks up the sound of something rustling the leaves of a bush nearby, and I immediately grab and aim my bow. Whatever was there darts off deeper into the forest, it's movements to precise to be just a wild animal.
 Chase after this thing. Usually I'd be able to tell from sound alone what it could be, but for some reason I can't, which warrants my interest.
 Continue on to the village. While it certainly is interesting, I simply don't have the time to care about it.
If returning to village pick one of the following
- To the tavern! As its hit noon time, most of the people who visit the village should be eating a meal there about now, leaving me ample opportunity for a job, or a drink.
- Find William. It would be good to see my old trainer again, it's been awhile since we’ve last talked.