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File 151115812562.png - (277.10KB, 840x1120, alert_alert.png) [iqdb]
30521 No. 30521
You’re sittin’ on the shop floor, goods arrayed in front of you like you’re the one barkin’ wares here instead of Rinnosuke. Discs, specifically, and specifically set out in stacks like you’re mid-solvin’ the easier Tower of Hanoi—though really, it oughta be a “Tower of Lucas”, seein’ as ya seriously doubt that that tale the dude spun ever came anywhere close to outta Vietnam. Or India, for that matter. That legend’s got the same sorta faux-exotic stink over it as “may ya live in interestin’ times.”

But anyways, discs. And stacks.

“Okay, Mac, check it,” ya say. “This is the stack of discs I’m beaucoup sure’re music CDs. Like, ninety, ninety-five percent sure. Genre I don’t always know ‘cause alotta these dudes I’ve never heard of—” this dude on this disc’s got a sax, though; that’s usually a good sign, “—but like I said, music. Most likely music. Eighty-five percent sure, music.”

Rinnosuke, sittin’ across from you, squints suspiciously. “Why is that number decreasing?” he asks.

“This stack, meanwhile, is what I’m pretty comfy labelin’ the games and programs stack,” you continue ‘splainin’. “Comfier than with the other stack, even, ‘cause the labels’re usually more of a giveaway. I’m talkin’ maybe like, seventy-five, eighty percent sure I’ve got it right here.”

“You’ve already lost fifteen percent. Are you sure I should trust your appraisal?”

“Well, if you can pull another dude with better Outsider chops, I’d totally be down for a second opinion. Two heads, right?”

“‘Two heads’?”

“Oh, right. Sorry, Mac—English proverb. ‘Two heads’re better than one,’ is how it goes.”

“There’s a saying we have that’s like that. ‘Three people who come together have Manjushri’s wisdom.’”

“I dunno who Manjushri is, but that’s fifty percent more head.”

“Manjushri is a bodhisattva, associated with wisdom—what’s this third stack?”

“Uh, yeah.” And you were kinda hopin’ that maybe Rinnosuke would just completely overlook stack number three somehow, but honestly that had no chance of happenin’. “These are the ones I’m not so sure ‘bout. Like, at all.”

“Less than seventy-five percent sure?”

“A bunch less.” Ya take the toppest disc off stack three and display it for Rinnosuke in all of its relatively-label-lackin’-, backroom-burnt-, and definitely-never-sold-commercially-ness.

Dude leans, tryin’ to decipher the sloppily markered katakana. “‘Suudoku’?”

“Right? Like, is it the game? Is it a band named after the game? Is it a band, but the name’s coincidental? We dunno, Mac.

“I don’t know what ‘suudoku’ is in the first place.”

“It’s whatcha do if the anagrams’re too easy but the crossword’s too hard and ya don’t know how to play bridge. More importantly, these discs we’re gonna hafta toss into the CD player and see if they cough up the tunes or not. So, whaddya wanna start with?”

Rinnosuke hovers over stack one and then stack three, torn as he is on the precipice of this mad momentous decision (stack two, bein’ definitely a different species altogether, gets ignored, of course). Slowly, though, his hand starts driftin’ towards stack one, dippin’ through the haze, approachin’ ever closer to sax dude and his sax—

And then, ‘cause something’s gotta happen just when the mood’s gettin’ good, there’s a knock at the door.

Rinnosuke’s hand stops. He doesn’t move. You don’t move. Neither of you says anything, like maybe if both of you are very quiet and neither of you hears anything else it’ll be like ya never heard anything in the first place. Like it’ll all’ve been your respective imaginations, and you’ll be clear to get back on the task at hand—literally, in Rinnosuke’s case.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. You’re almost nearly close to considerin’ thinkin’ ‘bout breathin’ again when it comes a second time—a triplet of healthy raps at the front door. ‘Cept not so much “raps” as much as “pounds.”

Rinnosuke sighs. “I’ll see who it is,” he says, his hand fallin’ away as he rises himself up into shopkeep mode.

Yeah. Bummer. “No problemo,” ya say, anyways, ‘cause you’re awesome like that, but even so, ya get a look from Rinnosuke before the dude’s face turns away in full to focus wholly on door-related matters. Dude knows, in other words, which is bummer the second.

Wait. Isn’t bad stuff supposta come atcha in threes?

The door opens. Ya don’t see it, but ya hear it, clear enough, and ya definitely feel the sudden drift of cold air and wet as it detects an openin’ and moseys on in just to remind ya that the winter months’re comin’ and you’re sorta lackin’ the skin for it. And then, while you’re withstandin’ the urge to curl into yourself (‘cause you’re not gonna let a little change in temp beat ya), ya hear something else, something that sounds real familiar in a whole lotta ways:

“Hey, Kourin. Lemme in, won’t ya? It started drizzling all of a sudden, and now my hat’s gotten all wet.”

See, ya know that voice. Only complication is, last ya heard it it was comin’ out a mug that’d just gotten your fist in it.

So there ya go—numero tres. And also that’s your cue to screw your courage to the stickin’ place, ‘cause if there’s a speedin’ wreck headed for your ribs and nil chance to get outta the way, you’re gonna face it till it delivers.

And by “face it,” ya mean “scooch yourself into a corner and then peek around aforementioned corner so you can see her but maybe she can’t see you.”

Hey, you’re brave, not dumb.

“Yeah I don’t know,” Marisa’s sayin’. “It might be the focuser, but—”

Marisa’s holdin’ something out, one-handedly, and it takes a moment for you to recognize it, but there’s no way ya couldn’t—it’s that mystic something, the one that’s both saved and threatened your chattanoogas over your stay in Gensokyo. It doesn’t seem to be bein’ utilized for blasty purposes today, though—rather, Marisa’s presentin’ it, like she wants her gathered audience to take a careful look-see.

And Rinnosuke is takin’ a look-see. He’s peerin’ real close, in fact, close enough that you’re concerned, even if you’re pretty sure Marisa doesn’t have violence on her mind. That mystic something’s not something that could accidentally go off, is it?

Is it?

Oh, wait—talkin’ happenin’, here. Maybe ya oughta tune back in before ya miss something important. “Yeah, I don’t know. Something’s out of whack, or misaligned, or something,” Marisa’s sayin’ now. She shrugs, bobbin’ the mystic something nearly into Rinnosuke’s gazin’ mug. “And you’re the one who tuned it up last, so I had to bring it over, right?”

“You’re not suggesting I had something to do with it breaking?”

“Hey, it’s not broken, just kind of off. And anyways, I’m not saying it’s your fault or anything—I’m just saying you’re the best guy to fix it at all. Ya oughta be flattered!”

“It’d be more flattering if it didn’t mean more work for me. When’s the last time you paid for anything you got from this shop?” But even while Rinnosuke’s sayin’ that, he’s palmin’ the mystic something just the same.

It makes ya wonder how much of his gripin’ is legit, and how much of it is just some implicit, quasi-formalized gripin’ ritual.

“Just put it on my tab—but hurry it up, alright?” Marisa tilts in her boots, grinnin’. “It’s dangerous for a woman to have to walk around the Forest of Magic without anything to protect herself.”

“I’m pretty sure you’re just as dangerous even without your Mini-Hakkero.”

“Ya calling me a brute? No wonder you’re all on your lonesome all the time. Ya don’t know anything about how to treat a maiden.”

Rinnosuke makes a shift of her head like he’d consider rollin’ his eyes, maybe, if this biz actually deserved the energy of it, but then turns deskwards away anyway, mystic something firmly gotten. To make with the tuneage, ostensibly. And Marisa, still all very smiley-smile, follows.

Which means she’s gettin’ closer.

Which means the amount of time you’ve got till ya find yourself crumpled around a Marisa-shaped fender just cut itself short by just about all.

If there’s any time for figurin’ out how you’re gonna stand, that’s now.

[ ] You can scrape and bow, even if ya don’t mean it. Gotta keep it harmonious.
[ ] It’s all in the past, now. Clean slate the deal—make with the greets.
[ ] It’s all cleared up, but ya oughta keep an eye on her, just in case.
[ ] Forget just keepin’ suspicious—she’s a nogoodnik, through and through.
[ ]
96posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 31059
>>31057
Hey, don't call people "retard" in my thread, okay? 'S not cool.
>> No. 31064
[X] Ask Rumia if she's on the level.
-[X] Let her in anyway.
- - [X] As a precaution, tell her that she is to switch the places of her two swords. That way if she gets rough and draws 'em she'll get mixed up because the left one's on her right hand and the right one's on the left. Genius, huh?
>> No. 31065
[X] Ask rumia if she's on the level.
-[X] let her in anyway.
>> No. 31070
File 153431703199.jpg - (142.50KB, 750x362, it's_canon_even.jpg) [iqdb]
31070
[X] Ask Rumia if she's on the level.
-[X] Let ‘er in anyways.

Maybe better leave it to someone more in-the-know when it comes to Gensokyo-type threats. “Rumia,” ya say. “Whaddya think? Friend or foe?”

Rumia tilts her head, considerin’. Then she untilts it. “She can cut things,” she answers. “She can cut most things.”

The wannabe customer’s head rises, too, only this head’s got a thing of astonishment to it. Like it’s seriously concerned that Rumia’s word is what its entry into Rinnosuke’s is hingin’ on.

“I figured she wasn’t luggin’ practice swords,” ya say. “I mean, can ya blame ‘er? It’s a jungle out there.”

“It’s a forest,” says Rumia.

“It’s a forest out there,” you correct yourself, even if it doesn’t sound as snazzy. “The question is, is she gonna use those swords on stuff they shouldn’t be used on?”

Rumia considers this, too, though a touch longer than her earlier consideration. “If she tries to cut too many things,” she says, “I can run her away.”

Which she says like it’s a Rumia Promise, ‘cept, y’know, kid youkai (albeit one with high-level biteyness) versus dude with two swords? You’re not really feelin’ it. Maybe over to Swords Dude for the rebuttal?

Swords Dude bristles, but not as much as ya woulda thought she would. It’s a slight bristlin’, like, yeah, she finds Rumia’s whole surety kinda insultin’, but only just. “If it comes down to fighting, I’m sure that I can hold my own,” she says, before rememberin’, oh, right, she’s arguin’ against violence: “That is—not that I would fight anyone here, of course. At least, not unless they attempted harming me, first.”

Muy interestin’. Rumia, your response?

“I can run her away,” Rumia says again, then ‘spounds: “I ran her away, before.”

This time, the bristlin’ is a tick more pronounced, extendin’ to the blob she’s got tailin’ ‘er. Maybe they’re connected? Still, dude seems to take care not to make like Buddy Rich just yet, stickin’ diplomatic: “I don’t think you did. I mean—I don’t remember. I think I would remember, if we had ever faced each other—”

“Test of courage.”

Sword Dude progresses straight to irate-cat level of bristles. “That was—that wasn’t a fight—I was off guard, and there was everybody else—”

“So what you’re sayin’,” ya say to Rumia, “is that she’s no problem.”

Rumia nods. “Mm-hmm.”

Ya take another look at Swords Dude. With the understandin’ that nobody’s real set on listenin’ to her side of the whole noodly event, she’s shut up, spoutin’ a solidly un-at-ease look in the meanwhile. Visible poutin’ aside, that’s another point in her favor, maybe—that she knows when to fold ‘em. Ya scooch out her way, accordingly. “I guess if Rumia says so, it’s all gravy,” ya say. “Custom away.”

“I’m...not sure I should be pleased at being let in so easily or not.”

“I can bar ya after all, if ya want.”

“No! No—” Swords Dude reacts with severe franticity at that, makin’ up the steps and into the door before you can reblock her way. Meanwhile, she’s still stutterin’ and mutterin’: “I actually—I actually need to see the shopkeeper—I mean, the proprietor—so if you would let me in—”

And then she lets herself in, ‘cause Rinnosuke’s front door is pretty easy to operate, generally, as long as it’s not locked (though she misses the handle on the first try)—and, just like shuttin’ it shut shut Rinnosuke outta overhearin’ what you and Rumia were talkin’ ‘bout, it shuttin’ behind Swords Dude shuts out you.

She could totally still be mutterin’ on in there and ya wouldn’t know.

You could find out, though.

Ya look at Rumia. Rumia looks at you.

And then ya both open the door up again and squeeze yourselves in before either of you can miss anything.

If there’s any fireworks here for goin’ off, though, the pyrotechnics haven’t near started up yet. This is more like barely pre-show, when the crowd’s still millin’ and settin’ down cloths for sittin’ on. The calm before the blaze as Swords Dude and Rinnosuke—as ya see—size each other up, tryin’ to fig ahead of time how this’ll all play out.

Then Rinnosuke says, “It’s too early for clearing snow, but you can rake up the leaves outside.”

Swords Dude...well, it’s a given what Swords Dude does, by now. “I’m not here to clear snow from the roof.”

“Technically, you weren’t here to clear snow from the roof the first time, either.”

“Yes, but—no, but I mean—” The irritated (metaphorical) floof starts to recede, and then, after a moment, the irritation, too. “Must you do this every time?” she says, weakly.

And actually, now that she’s less all up with the indignance or the uppuffery, she just looks just...kinda tired, really. Like, enough that it makes ya feel a little bad for puttin’ ‘er through the rigmarole out on the outdoors. Not super-ultra-regretful, but regretful enough.

Maybe ya better play arbitrator here. “Yo, Mac, ya know this dude?” ya cut in.

“Ah,” says Rinnosuke, realizin’ you already aren’t gonna just sit on the sidelines on this one. He motions at Swords Dude halfheartedly. “This is Konpaku Youmu,” he says. “She’s an occasional customer, and even usually pays with money.”

Youmu groans, head droppin’. Her blob bobs distressedly, as much as a blob can distressedly bob.

Speakin’ of which: “And the, uh...” Oh, wait, is this rude? Ya sidle up to Rinnosuke real quick, leanin’ up and in to say it out the corner of your mouth. “And the blobby deal,” ya say, “what’s up with that? Can I ask that—‘What’s with that?’”

“I can hear you,” says Youmu. She reaches to touch at her forehead slight, irritation comin’ on back on what you can see of her mug with the way it’s drooped. “I’m...I’m right here. I can hear you.”

Rinnosuke hums in understandin’. Like he’s sayin’, “I get why ya don’t get it.” “It seems that she’s a half-phantom,” he says. “That’s what what told to me, at least.”

Oh. So bein’ half-phantom means ya get a little blobby thing on your tail. Yeah, ya still don’t get it. “So when ya say ‘half-phantom,’ do ya mean like that she was turned halfway phantom in some sorta dangerous phantom experiment incident, or is it a hereditary thing?”

“I don’t know that myself. If you want to know, you would be better off asking her directly.”

Yo, Mac, ya can’t just ask someone why they’re half-phantom.” Though when ya think about it, maybe standin’ here and whisperin’ all ‘bout how she’s half-phantom could be just as bad—

“Excuse me!” Youmu says, breakin’ into your introspectin’. “I was looking for some cookbooks, and...” and then she seems to suddenly realize she’s shoutin’, totally unneededly, and her voice coasts down back into embarrassment and distress, “and I was wondering if you held any that I could buy. From you. That I could buy from you.”

And then she clams up all over, dippin’ her face again, and ya can’t see it, but if it was red? Wouldn’t surprise ya.

Are you the douche here? Ya kinda feel like the douche here. It doesn’t feel good to feel like the douche here, ‘specially considerin’ how you’re plannin’ on confrontin’ Rinnosuke re: his own doucheish behavior. So, with one last coupla glances (Rinnosuke’s, meanin’ “Leave it to me, Mac”; Rumia’s, meanin’ “Cover me, dude”), ya step forwards, transformin’ yourself into the shop rep. “Ya lookin’ for any sorta cookbook in particular?”

It’s the first time in forever ya haven’t had to ask something like that with the whole service smile attached. Or the voice. Feels cool, yo.

Youmu straightens herself up, tryin’ to recoup her dignity. She actually pulls it off, which is actually kinda impressive. She must be used to this sorta thing. “Yes—Lady Yuyuko has become interested in foreign cuisine, lately. So—that is—I wondered if you had any books that could help me in preparing a meal?”

Oh, sweet—finally, your weeks of bookwormin’ through Rinnosuke’s library collection is payin’ dividends. “So, like, Chinese food?” ya ask, wanderin’ shelfwards. “We’ve got a bevy of books on Chinese food.”

When ya glance back, though, Youmu’s shakin’ her head no. “I was hoping you would have something more...foreign?” she says.

“Like French?” ya say.

“Yes,” says Youmu, then shakes her head again. “No,” she corrects herself. “I...don’t know? I don’t know what ‘French’ actually is.”

“It’s real high-culture food—you can tell, ‘cause it keeps its own language. Like, there’s a dish that’s snails called ‘escargot,’ but even where people aren’t French it’s still called ‘escargot.’ Also, they call the waiters ‘garçon.’”

“Wait—what did you say?”

“Like, ‘Garçon, the bill, please,’ with a cedilla and everything. It also means ‘boy,’ though—I dunno how insultin’ that is.”

“No, no, before that—you said something about snails?” Youmu says. “You...eat snails?”

“I don’t eat snails generally. Rinnosuke, help?”

Rinnosuke gives you a look over his specs like if he could sigh without bein’ seen to sigh, he’d do it. Instead, he joins ya over at the bookshelf. “I do have a few books on German cuisine you might be able to buy.”

“German...” Youmu mutters to herself. And then: “That doesn’t have any snails, does it?”

“If I knew snails were gonna be such a dealbreaker, I wouldn’ta mentioned ‘em,” ya grouse.

Rinnosuke ignores ya. “Not that I’m aware of,” he says to Youmu. His finger scans over the shelves before dippin’ in to pluck the middle-sized book it was lookin’ for. “This might be something close to what you’re looking for. It has a number of recipes—for example...” He opens the book, literally singlehandedly, adjustin’ his specs with his other hand as he searches for something appealin’.

And then he squints and peers even closer. Ya look over his shoulder. Or well, around.

“Hey, Mac—”

“For example,” says Rinnosuke again, squintin’ closer at what he’s got in his hands, “‘Stollen.’”

“It’s actually a ‘sh’ sound, Mac, even if it doesn’t look it. ‘Stollen.’”

“‘Stollen.’”

“‘Stollen.’ Like ‘ough,’ not ‘o.’ ‘Stollen.’”

“You’re the last who should lecture anyone on pronunciation,” Rinnosuke mutters, but tries one more time. “‘Stollen.’”

“Yeah, now you’ve got it!”

Rumia applauds politely.

“‘Stollen,’” says Rinnosuke. “Yes, ‘Stollen,’ and...” He leafs a chunk of the book back, lookin’ for something else—finds something else, squints, looks at you, looks back at the page again, and tries: “‘Schnecken.’”

“Hey, first try!” This time you join in with Rumia on the applause, promptin’ Rinnosuke to look between the two of you, eyebrows raised. For a sec ya think it’s surprise—well, it prolly is surprise, too, maybe—but then his cheeks rise and his mouth curls in the slightest smile—

And you’re like—yo.

It’s a nice smile, is what you’re sayin’. “Do another, Mac!” ya cheer.

Rinnosuke turns his smilin’ mug back to the book. His finger works its way in, slidin’ into the textblock, liftin’ it over—ya crane your neck to see, pushin’ your chin cozy against the bone of Rinnosuke’s shoulder. You’re holdin’ your breath, even if ya aren’t doin’ it literally, and ya think Rinnosuke is, too—like you’re on the edge of something sweet, the both of you, and the page turnin’ over is leadin’ ya there, gettin’ itself together just right to show ya—

Pfeffernüsse.

Pfeffernüsse?

Yeah, huh, that’s—Pfeffernüsse. That’s what it says, on that page—“Pfeffernüsse.”

Rinnosuke stares at the word himself. It’s a long, quiet stare, one ya can’t read, and wow, y’know, ya never noticed it before, but “Pfeffernüsse” has alotta consonants, doesn’t it?

It totally does.

Rinnosuke closes the book and doesn’t mention the consonants at all. “In any case, there are a large number of recipes here,” he says, going back to salesdude mode. “Many of them appear to be sweets, too, if that’s something you might be interested in. How does that sound?”

“Sweets,” Youmu murmurs. “Yes, I think Lady Yuyuko might enjoy them. How much would you sell that book for?”

And with that, Rinnosuke and Youmu get to the part of Gensokyo commerce ya can’t grok in the least—hagglin’. ‘Cause let’s face it: If there’s one aspect you’re absolutely American in, it’s understandin’ the concept of sales prices bein’ final. You’re not used to the otherwise whole ritual, y’know—first it’s overpriced, then the buyer offers something underpriced, then the first dude offers a price that’s still overpriced, but less overpriced than the first overpriced price—

Yeah.

Like, ya understand it’s a thing that happens, in places that’ren’t American, and even some places that are. It’s just not something you’d be good at yourself, not without alotta practice. Which hasn’t happened, considerin’ no one’s had the opportunity to try and unload goods on you.

And speakin’ of the unloadin’ of goods—

Rinnosuke and Youmu are gesturin’ and noddin’, still at it with pinnin’ down an agreeable price, but from how much less animated they were from a moment ago, you’d guess they’re quick closin’ in on a deal—which is something you’re feelin’ real mixed about. Like, not that you’re against Rinnosuke makin’ dosh! You’re totally not against that. In fact, you’re against bein’ against that, if anything.

It’s just that there’s something you know that ya think maybe Youmu doesn’t. Something ya noticed when you were peekin’ ‘round Rinnosuke’s shoulder to catch a little look-see.

Namely, that book Youmu’s hagglin’ for—it’s in German.

Yeah.

There may be some minor ethical hinkiness goin’ on here.

[ ] Maybe let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.
[ ] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final.
[ ]
>> No. 31071
[X] Maybe let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.


A way to make up for our earlier rudeness.
>> No. 31072
> Her blob bobs distressedly, as much as a blob can distressedly bob.

Try sayin' THAT ten times fast!

[x] Maybe let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

Undo the douchebaggotry with some undouchebaggotry.

Or something.
>> No. 31073
[x] Maybe let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

"Uh, Youmu? You may wanna find someone who can translate that."
>> No. 31075
[X] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final.

Check it, Rinnosuke also knows the book is in German, right? So this is the perfect opportunity to see if he intentionally attempts to screw her over. Or at least offers a refund if he accidentally screws her over.
>> No. 31076
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

I want to see that attempt at subtlety and I'd like to see it fail horribly.
>> No. 31077
[X] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final

What, she didn't realize that? You were literally using the book for German pronunciation practice in front of her! Also, in whose side are you on?
>> No. 31078
> “Scienti bonum facere, et non facienti, peccatum est illi,” she says.

Yeah, you kinda got a point.

[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.
- [X] Try to upsell her on a German-to-Volkssprache dictionary. There's gotta be one of those around here.
>> No. 31079
[x] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final.

I don't remember hearing of any Consumer Protection Acts of 1885. Cavere-ing's square on the emptor's shoulders here.
>> No. 31080
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

It's only fair.
>> No. 31082
Also:

> “German...” Youmu mutters to herself. And then: “That doesn’t have any snails, does it?”
>
> [...]
>
> [Rinnosuke] leafs a chunk of the book back, lookin’ for something else—finds something else, squints, looks at you, looks back at the page again, and tries: “‘Schnecken.’

Hey. Heeeey. What exactly are you trying to pull here?
>> No. 31083
[x] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final.
youmu bully is the correct way
>> No. 31084
>>31083

I agree. especially since this Youmu is hands-down in the top 3 cutest Youmus on the site.
>> No. 31085
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.
- [X] Try to upsell her on a German-to-Volkssprache dictionary. There's gotta be one of those around here.

Let's not scare away our only actual paying customer.
>> No. 31100
File 153540736492.jpg - (120.00KB, 504x960, 17200937_10155003529029020_4185140487381958329_n.jpg) [iqdb]
31100
Youmu is too soft~!
>> No. 31114
[x] Maybe let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

Yeah, there's such a thing as too much teasing
>> No. 31116
[X] Bad luck, but dude shoulda checked the merch herself beforehand. All sales final.

Doesn't look like Youmu is planning to pay with money, anyways.
>> No. 31124
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.
>> No. 31131
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

Seeing how she is one of the few proper customers who actually tend to pay in money sometimes, it would be a shame to rip her off for a short term gain of one sale and lose a valued customer.
>> No. 31160
File 153953560986.png - (851.74KB, 1654x2339, walk_on_by.png) [iqdb]
31160
[X] Maybe let Rinnosuke know he should let Youmu know? Like, she should see what she’s gettin’ before she gets it.

“Hey, Mac,” ya say, “can I talk to you for a sec?”

Rinnosuke pauses outta squeezin’ Youmu for the next red cent. “Just once business is concluded,” he lobs your way, before turnin’ back and returnin’ to the bargain like he barely paused.

So this time, ya tug his arm, real firm. “Hey, Mac,” ya say, “can I talk to you now?”

Rinnosuke frowns, but with a “Please excuse me”—to which Youmu nods, apparently as eager to get this negotiation to a close as he is—allows himself to be walked til you’re whatcha consider a good distance away. By which ya mean, obvs, a distance away enough that if ya hiss real careful, Youmu won’t be able to overhear how Rinnosuke’s basically cheatin’ ‘er outta dosh.

Which is the point ya take, first off: “You’ve gotta tell ‘er the book’s in German.”

Rinnosuke takes his time chewin’ your suggestion over before replyin’. “Is there any reason I should tell her the book is in German?”

“I dunno, Mac, ‘cause it’s decent?” ya shoot back instant. “I mean, German isn’t exactly the vernacular ‘round here—is it?”

“There are some speakers of German—I’ve found a number of spellbooks in European languages, for whatever reason.”

Ya don’t even bring up that that’s not whatcha asked. Ya just stare at Rinnosuke, till he loses the game of don’t-blink and tilts his eyes away from the playin’ field.

“It isn’t,” Rinnosuke says, like each mora’s a tooth bein’ pulled. “The vernacular.”

“Right,” says you. “So—ya gotta tell ‘er.”

Those metaphorically pulled teeth clench for a tick (they can do that ‘cause they weren’t pulled for realsies). “You don’t know that she doesn’t understand German,” says Rinnosuke.

“Yeah?” Ya look over ‘round Rinnosuke. “Yo, uh—Youmu!”

Youmu blinks all quizzical, but sorta leans and tilts her head—meanin’, “I’m listenin’.”

“This is totally unrelated to anything ever,” ya call, “but do ya know German?”

Pause. “German?” Youmu says.

“Like, speakin’ it, hypothetically. Or readin’ it. Or anything like that.”

“German,” Youmu says again. “No, I—no. No, I don’t know German. Why?”

“Just settlin’ a bet,” ya say, and get back into huddle. “Hey, Mac—”

I heard.” Rinnosuke squeezes his eyes shut and also his mouth into a thin line. If ya didn’t know better, you’d think he was tryin’ to use his psychic powers to pack something in in the background. He lets it off after a sec, though, and if anything actually did get successfully mentally squooshed, ya didn’t notice. “If I tell her the cookbook is in German,” he says, “she won’t buy it.”

Yeah, just like you suspected—Rinnosuke’s doin’ his best to swindle Youmu at the mo. It’s remarkably uncool activity, ‘specially comin’ from a dude as cool as the cool dude you’ve thought Rinnosuke was, though that impression has been takin’ a beatin’ but good, as of late. “Dude,” ya say. And you’ve got this whole idea of a spiel lined up, something ‘bout havin’ pride as a dude who provides goods to other dudes or something like that, ‘cept it never even gets started, ‘cause Rinnosuke—

Rinnosuke’s visible irkedness jumps points, all of a sudden, and he rounds all up on ya, as much as he can when he’s lookin’ at you already. “This is one of the few customers I can get actual money from,” he hisses. “Haven’t you been here long enough? You’ve seen how I fare with the rest of my customers.”

And left unspoken, but hangin’ in the air as good as if he’d said it anyways, is the logical follow-up: That maybe money wouldn’t be such a big deal if he wasn’t spendin’ more than a single dudesworth of it on rice, et cetera.

So—can a dude blame ya if ya flinch?

You startin’ seems to start Rinnosuke, too, though. Ya see the irritation run out, or else get back in under the mask again—like all of a sudden he’s remembered that it’s him who’s supposta be here, and not this other Rinnosuke who’s a lot madder and also a lot obviouser ‘bout bein’ madder. “That’s not what I meant,” he says.

To which ya think: What’s not what he meant?

Dude goes on: “I only meant that—that this is a critical sale. No, not critical—” He straight up literally shakes the sentence off and tries again (again). “I don’t necessarily need to sell her that book—but I need to sell something to her. I need to sell something to somebody.”

“Alright,” ya say.

Rinnosuke blinks, and ya get the feelin’ he didn’t actually ‘spect that agreement. “‘Alright’?” says he.

“Alright,” ya say. “I mean—we don’t hafta sell ‘er that book, right? As long as we’ve got any foreign cookbook.”

“And it shouldn’t be French, or Chinese,” Rinnosuke reminds you.

“Right—but even so. I mean, you’ve got mad stacks of books here. There’s gotta be something that fits the bill decent here—right?”

***

“How do you not have any cookbooks,” ya ask, which is a totally reasonable question.

“I have a number of cookbooks,” says Rinnosuke. “It’s only that there’s a particular focus on Japanese food among them.”

“Yeah, but that’s like, diametrically opposite to what we’re lookin’ for. Also, I think I keep findin’ and rulin’ out the same cookbook again and again, and that’s drivin’ me nuts.”

“Why don’t you take the book off of the shelf once you’ve determined it’s not what you’re looking for? It’ll save you the trouble of seeing it.”

“Oh, nice, Mac. You’re a lifesaver.”

“I’ve been doing that this entire time with this shelf. Haven’t you noticed?”

“I’ve kinda got tunnel vision. Bookshelf vision? Rumia, what’s the haps?”

“I have a book,” says Rumia.

Yo!” ya ‘sclaim. Ya lift your head so quick, ya nearly whack it on the underside of one of your shelves. Just nearly, though, so it’s fine. “What’s it about?”

“It’s about mochi.”

Rinnosuke doesn’t even look out whichever tome he’s studyin’ for eats. “That would be more Japanese food,” he says, voice muffled slight by the cage of pages.

“Dude,” you agree. Ya fitt your head back under the shelf again. “Also, I recant my ‘yo.’”

“Um...”

The unsteady interjection floats over to the foot of the shelves where you three’re sittin’. It’s Youmu—remember Youmu? You remember Youmu. She’s the dude you were tryin’ to find that book for and everything.

“Should I come back some other time?” asks Youmu. “If you’re busy...” She says that “busy” with a wobblin’ pitch at the end—the same question-that’s-not-a-question, like last time.

“Don’t go anywhere,” ya say, beginnin’ what’s prolly the first of a whole lotta tomey towers. “We got this.”

“Are you sure?” says Youmu.

“We got this,” ya say.

“You can sit down, if you’d like,” Rinnosuke adds. “Please, make yourself comfortable.”

Youmu looks the opposite of comfy, actually, but does what Rinnosuke’s told ‘er to do, wanderin’ awkwardly at the nearest sit-down and placin’ herself into position like she’s got an egg to mind. When she’s lookin’ sufficiently occupied with that (and ya don’t feel so much the eyes at the back of your neck), ya pause layin’ your literal literary foundation for a sec and huddle in closer Rinnosukewards. “‘Please, make yourself comfortable’?” says you.

“Is there something wrong with that?” Rinnosuke whisper-rasp-hisses back. “I am the host.”

“No, it’s just—that’s gotta be the nicest you’ve been. Even with Keine—” Your brain catches onto where your tongue is goin’ a titch too late, and by the time ya try cuttin’ it off, it’s already escaped. Your words, not your tongue. That’d be a whole different kinda problem, though this one isn’t so teeny, either. “I mean,” ya shove in, hopefully before Rinnosuke notices where you were goin’ there, “that was kinda nice, is all. I didn’t know you do that.”

“I have an interest in retaining what regular customers I have left,” Rinnosuke says. “It isn’t that I believe that Youmu is as inclined to break another of my walls down with a tank of her own, but...”

“Yeah, yeah, I dig. Ya find anything yet?”

Rinnosuke sighs. “It seems I’ve stocked my shelves mainly with books on East Asian cuisine—when there are books on cuisine at all. And you?”

“Something on French stuff. Ya might be able to sell it, if ya play down the snail bit.” Which is your fault—is a deal you’ve gotta cop to here. If ya’dn’t run a flapjaw so much—just a little less more than ya did, even—Youmu mighta taken that volume and gone Julia-Childin’ it up ages ago. “Rumia?” ya call for an update.

“If you put ice cream in mochi, you can have mochi ice cream,” says Rumia. She frowns, then looks her eyes over the page at the two of you. “What’s ice cream?”

“A frozen dessert made from hen’s egg, powdered milk, and butterfat, among other ingredients,” says Rinnosuke.

“It’s good,” ya add, before your brain catches up, re: “Wait, a sec, hold up—powdered milk? That’s not right.”

“Isn’t it?” Rinnosuke says. “I’ve come across descriptions now and then, and powdered milk seems to be a primary ingredient.”

“No way, Mac. You’ve gotta have milk. Like, regular milk, like ya get out a cow. I mean pasteurized and everything, but...” Ya gesture, mimickin’ whatcha hope is something halfway resemblin’ the pasteurization process. “There’s a hard limit on egg, too—what kinda ice cream’ve you been eatin’?”

“I haven’t been eating aisukurin at all. I’ve only read about it, and even that hasn’t happened very often. It isn’t a dish of common mention in the books I’ve collected.”

“Sorry—‘Aisu-kurin’?”

“Yes?” Rinnosuke’s brow squinches. “That is what we’re talking about, isn’t it?”

“No way. We’re talkin’ ‘bout ice cream.”

Rinnosuke nods. “Right,” he says. “Ice kurin.”

“Ice cream.”

“That’s what I said. Is that not what I said?”

“That’s not what you said,” says Rumia.

“What?” Rinnosuke’s head jerks Rumiawards. “Then what did I say?”

“You said, ‘aisukurin,’” says Rumia.

Rinnosuke looks at Rumia like a dude who’s gone to bed havin’ set a mousetrap, only to wake up the next mornin’ and find that sometime in the night the mice set up a humantrap in response. Settin’ his useless book aside, he sorta clumsily arcs his way over to where Rumia’s sat so that he can look over her shoulder.

Which she lets ‘im, smilin’ her smiley smile as she looks into his ear. ‘Cause that’s where his head is, and she’s turned to face ‘im, but there’s no space in between. It’s perfectly reasonable, prolly.

“‘Aisukuriimu,’” says Rinnosuke, goin’ over each of the katakana. Least, you assume it’s in katakana. It could totally not be. “‘Riimu’? I know I’ve read it ‘rin’—are they the same thing?”

“I dunno what aisukurin is in the first place, Mac, so that’s a question I really can’t answer.”

“Excuse me,” Youmu cuts in. She sort of totters where she’s sittin’, like she doesn’t know whether she oughta get up or not. “I really don’t mind coming back at a later date, if that would be easier? Tomorrow? I could come tomorrow.”

You and Rinnosuke trade glances for a sec, and then, real quick, like off some sorta unheard signal, ya spring to your feet both and beat ‘em down the room Youmuwards. Well, as much as you can “beat” while tryin’ also to look super-casual ‘bout it. “We’ve found a couple of books that might be of interest to you,” says Rinnosuke, and he doesn’t sound desperate at all, seriously. “The first is this one—recipes of German origin.”

Youmu squints. “This is...the book that I was buying to begin with, isn’t it?”

What? Oh, yeah, it is. What the hey, Rinnosuke? That’s in German. Ya went over this.

That’s the ish ya try to convey with your eyes, anyways. This time, though, Rinnosuke catches it and returns with a jut of the chin and a tensin’ ‘round his own eyes.

It’s like he’s sayin’, “Well, what else am I gonna do?” Which is why you’re in the picture. “It is,” you admit to Youmu, “‘cept we weren’t gonna just letcha pick the first tome ya saw. What if it was totally subpar and we coulda done better? Which is why my rec is this.” And ya display your own pick with full ta-da energy.

Youmu squints additionally. “‘Furansu’—is this ‘French,’ too? That one—the one with the snails.”

“Yo, it’s not just snails. Dig it, will ya? There’s a reason they call the French output the pinnacle of western cuisine.”

“Oh,” Youmu says. And then: “What is the reason?”

“Well, I mean—it’s, like, seriously good, dude. Like, foie gras! Bouillabaisse! Madeleines!”

“I...don’t know what any of those things are?”

“You force-feed a duck—no, wait, that’s also ethically hinky. Uh...you get a scorpionfish—no, hold up, those dudes only hanginaround in the Mediterranean, so that’s a no-go. Um, Proust...”

Ya trail off before Youmu’s blank stare of total blankness.

“Remember Proust?” ya try.

“I don’t know who that is,” says Youmu.

“I thought we ruled out French cuisine,” Rinnosuke mutters youwards, in a voice that’s prolly just loud enough for Youmu to overhear. Ya nudge ‘im in recompense.

Only softly, though. Ya swear.

But yeah, looks like your effort to find something to fit Youmu’s hankerin’ for foreign recipes—sorry, readable foreign recipes—has produced a ginormous zilch. Which means the only book left for Youmu to possibly take is the one she can’t read, which isn’t fair—either for Youmu, ‘cause she can’t read it, or for Rinnosuke, ‘cause he’s gotta make a livin’, right?

There’s gotta be a third option, here—is what you’ve been assumin’ throughout your brisk library look-see. Only—course there hasn’t “gotta.” This isn’t some prepackaged lateral thinkin’ puzzle with a trick solution in Martin Gardner handwritin’. This is real life, and sometimes in real life there’s no easy answer to a half-youkai in a magically cut-off portion of Japan needin’ to mislead a half-phantom into purchasin’ a book on foreign cuisine in a language she doesn’t understand.

So if you’re gonna make the wrong choice, no matter what, the least you can do, maybe, is go with the way that seems least wrong. Which is why ya open your jaw and say, quick, before your lips can clamp down and trap it like maybe they oughta:

“The book’s in German.”

Which—

That sorta hangs there, like all kindsa neck-breakin’ sentences’ve hung before. There’s a chance, prolly, ya think, for Rinnosuke to hear the sentence, comprehend it, and fast-talk Youmu past it so that Youmu doesn’t comprehend it and your ethics’re satisfied. Only he doesn’t do that. And that’s not his fault—he shouldn’t be ‘spected to do that (this isn’t his fault, mostly). He doesn’t do that ‘cause he’s too busy with his head twisted at you, his face caught somewhere between shock and betrayal and simmerin’ anger—

He doesn’t fast-talk, or even talk fast, is the point. All he does is he looks at you, and ya look at him, or actually past ‘im, and that’s way enough time for Youmu to lean forwards and take a closer look at the book that Rinnosuke’s been carefully guidin’ ‘er off from takin’ a close look at.

“That’s...in German,” Youmu says, havin’ confirmed it with her own two eyes. She gazes up at Rinnosuke with her brows furrowed. “Do you have any cookbooks that are in Japanese, instead?” she asks, like this was all some sorta innocent mistake. “I...don’t think I’ll be able to read this.”

Rinnosuke doesn’t look at Youmu. Rinnosuke keeps lookin’ at you. “We have French,” he says, from somewhere steady and firm but also far away.

“I’m not sure I want French,” says Youmu. “If it’s French...”

“If you don’t like snails, you can always choose a different recipe.” Rinnosuke finally takes his eyes off you, and suddenly you can breathe easy again. Ya didn’t even know you were havin’ trouble in the first place. “They’re—” He looks at you again. “They aren’t all snails.”

Ya nod, jerkily. “They aren’t all snails,” ya say for the sake of confirmation—even if it comes out more parrot than anything else. “Actually, most of ‘em’ren’t snails. Maybe forget I ever mentioned snails.”

Youmu grimaces, a bit, like someone who’s just found out that the mystery flavor at the center of the jumbo gobstopper isn’t so much “cherry” or even “birthday cake” as it is “earwax,” but who’s sportingly tryin’ to preserve the mystery for onlookers anyways. Then she sighs. “It can’t be helped,” she says. “If this is a book of foreign recipes, it should have the sort of meals Lady Yuyuko wanted...I hope.”

And after all that sound, and also fury (and maybe you’re meanin’ the term in multiple senses, there), the transaction that follows is basically the definition of “anticlimax.” There’s some hagglin’ again—though a lot more clipped and overall despirited than it was last go—and then Youmu takes the French cookin’ book, and, with a bow and a half-muttered thanks, she and that bobbin’ blob head out the shop door.

So, yeah. That happened. Or this happened. Or maybe right now, it’s that it’s happenin’, ‘cause it hasn’t really ended yet—is whatcha think, as ya watch Rinnosuke standin’ there. He hasn’t moved from his hagglin’ spot since he and Youmu wrapped that up—he’s still starin’ into the air that coulda been fulla dudeness minutes ago as he runs his thumb absentmindedly over some thingum he’s got in his hand which you assume equals Gensokyo currency. Ya watch ‘im, and ya watch his back (when’dha get behind ‘im ya don’t know) as it slowly relaxes, muscle by mousin’ muscle, the strain runnin’ down the his edges like something viscous down a shower drain.

Ya wait till it’s all tipped out of ‘im before ya open your mouth. “Hey,” ya say.

Rinnosuke’s head jerks, a little. Just to the side. That’s acknowledgment, right?

“So,” ya say, “that worked. I mean, that worked out.” Ya pause. “Didja get a profit?”

Rinnosuke turns—no, it’s more like he whirls, and—

And for a sec: His face.

It’s still Rinnosuke, and there’ren’t any new features to it. Same mouth, eyes, nose, et cetera. But the look he’s got—

And then he closes his eyes—closes ‘em tight, presses his lips just as tight as that, holdin’ all of the above in that tensed-up way—for a sec, then two, then three—before releasin’ all of in a sigh, his face—ya can’t say “relaxes,” ‘zactly, ‘cause it doesn’t do that. Not even the way his back did, when it could (and did) go back to wound-up in an instant.

Rinnosuke—

He doesn’t say anything, and doesn’t look at you, and he walks right towards you. And then it walks right past you, not even reactin’ to the way ya flinch.

Yeah.

So.

***

“And that’s why I’m here.”

Your audience sits, totally enraptured. Prolly.
>> No. 31162
It's always nice to get an update for this. Thank you!

...Is mochi ice cream any good? I think I've seen it in the store, but I've never bothered getting one for whatever reason.
>> No. 31163
>>31162
Sorry for the two-month wait. It's been a time. I got into a new job this September, so between training and studying I haven't had much chance to write except on weekends, and that's got to contend with everything else I'm writing.

So yeah. Thanks for waiting warmly.
>> No. 31164
There should be a thing where Christie tries to find a job now. Also what are the other stories you write. If they're anything like this I'm most certainly interested
>> No. 31165
>>31162
I've heard it's decent. Give it a shot.

Also, good to see this alive!
>> No. 31167
>>31164
Unfortunately (fortunately?), Forest Mix is kind of an outlier among what I've worked on. Still:

https://archiveofourown.org/users/KChasm/pseuds/KChasm
>> No. 31168
>>31167

>unbearable protagonist

Say that to my face, see what happens.
>> No. 31169
>>31167
I've only read two of your previous works.
I knew you had written that 2hu/yellow submarine crossover, but I somehow only just now realized you were the one that wrote that Tskuhime/Haruhi crossover.
>> No. 31182
>>31167
So you're KChasm? I've read your Tsuruya/Kyon fanfic an eternity ago (it is a rare pairing and Google helped with that) The 'hidding the last puzzle piece' move stuck with me.

And the Tsukihime crossover was great. I was really hyped up to see the differences another character make. I was devastated when I reached the end and realized it was a one shot.
>> No. 31184
>>31182
There's another Tsukihime/Haruhi Crossover that's decent, though I felt like the author showed who his waifu was a little too much, Seven Nights of Melancholy. It's been years since I read it, and longer since it updated, so I can't recall too much about it, other than said waifuing, it being of >20k word count, and Shiki's magical eugenics making him uncomfortable around non-normies.

man I love crossover fanfiction.
>> No. 31231
File 154359124752.jpg - (376.70KB, 1024x362, __hakurei_reimu_touhou_drawn_by_yuuko_san__cd563ad.jpg) [iqdb]
31231
Ya think you’re prolly making some good choices here.

Ya look to your right. Rumia’s sittin’ there, bein’ as Rumiaesque as usual. She catches the turn of your neck, lookin’ up at you and smilin’ her Rumia kinda smile. It’s a real slice of comfort somehow, knowin’ that even with everything changin’, Rumia’s still gonna Rumia.

Ya look to your left. Nobody’s sittin’ there, which makes sense, since nobody was sittin’ there to begin with. Actually, now thatcha think about it, ya don’t know why ya even looked that way in the first place. That’s weird, right? Like, okay, the chance that someone coulda warped into said space in the time ya weren’t lookin’ straight at it is higher than zero, prolly, ‘specially in the sorta place Gensokyo is...but if ya follow that logic, ya oughta be lookin’ every location ya aren’t lookin’ at at any given moment, and ya don’t have near ‘nuff eyes for that.

That way lies madness, is what you’re sayin’. At some point, ya just sorta gotta give it up, and look at whatcha can without the concept of “lookin’” takin’ over your whole life. Look to live; don’t live to look—if ya wanna get succinct.

Course, just ‘cause there’s nobody that isn’t you or Rumia that’s sittin’ to your left, doesn’t mean that there’s nobody that isn’t you or Rumia that’s sittin’ here with ya at all. Case in point—the dude across from you, eyein’ ya like an appraiser eyes a newly discovered Han van Meegeren.

And when ya say “the dude,” of course, ya mean—

[ ]

(Write-in for the dude. I reserve the right to veto.)

(Getting back into things after a break. Wrote some fanfic, studied up for work. Trying something out. Might crash and burn, might not.)
>> No. 31232
[x] Yukari Yakumo

Let's see if the wisest youkai around can parse our lingo.
>> No. 31233
[x] Junko

let me dream
>> No. 31234
[x] Kasen
>> No. 31236
File 154359902271.png - (465.93KB, 1000x1000, KUfSJdz.png) [iqdb]
31236
[x] Mysterious glasses girl resting her head on her clasped hands.
>> No. 31237
My fault. I really should've been more specific in my restrictions.

Name me a dude to whom it's easily conceivable Rumia could've led Christie.

I had to include that "easily" because I know some of you are wiseacres, which is also why I mentioned my veto power.
>> No. 31238
k then I'll change my vote from Junko to [x]Chen
>> No. 31239
In that case I'll change my vote >>31232 from Yukari to Mystia.

Girl would probably be thrilled to learn more about punk rock from an actual outsider.
>> No. 31240
In that case, I'll keep my vote as it is.

CONTEMPORARY WAIFU TIME.
>> No. 31241
I should also also mention that it is still 2014 in-story and that there are many things that haven't happened yet.

And this fic will probably possibly not have a lot of time travel in it.
>> No. 31242
[X] Looks like some blue haired umbrella-carrying dudette.

Let's do some staring. Wouldn't wanna get spooked now do we?
>> No. 31244
[X] Looks like some blue haired umbrella-carrying dudette.

And now I'm curious how you'd handle the umbrella.
>> No. 31245
[ ]Jeff Lebowski
[X] Looks like some blue haired umbrella-carrying dudette.
>> No. 31246
File 154370227443.jpg - (295.84KB, 765x1098, 64d9baeeaf229ecb55a3fb95df4fe370.jpg) [iqdb]
31246
[] Mouse ears, gray hair, mouse ears, bluish, uh, capelet? Like, a cape, but missing most the cape. And, like, distractingly fluffy-looking mouse ears.
>> No. 31247
[X]Donald Trump
[X]Flandre
>> No. 31259
[X] Looks like some blue haired umbrella-carrying dudette

If you veto that though, I think Mystia would be good
>> No. 31260
File 154432605375.jpg - (369.75KB, 688x1123, image.jpg) [iqdb]
31260
[x] Tokiko

it is time to birb up
>> No. 31269
you still here?
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