Kahi 2013/08/31 (Sat) 21:22 No. 54978 ▼
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==> Pass forward the harbinger, warning of dooms ahead.
Yeah, you guess that's fair. Makes sense.
Your finger goes through the banana skin and into the fruit at one point, so it's not going to be good for much longer. One last call, though.
You quickly, and in a hushed tone, pass along the dire portents of what is to come after someone picks up.
From the other end of the connection, there arises a confused and alarmed chittering, like a hundred million spiders rousing to anger at a sudden disturbance all at once. Then the line goes dead.
That done, you peel the banana and eat it. Kind of over-ripe. Pretty mushy. Could be worse.
As far as 'scent trails' go, though... no, no your nose really isn't that good. If you were a Momiji or something, maybe. Like dogs, you're pretty sure they hunt by smell, and pick off lone stragglers here and there, and target only individuals smaller than themselves, unless they're hunting in packs.
Much like Remilia, your kind tend more towards a sort of 'Shock and Awe' approach to hunting, though the details are different. Remilia generally make a big, huge deal about where they are at all times, and it drives prey on the ground nuts knowing that they're there and they won't leave until they've found something to eat and it was probably going to be them. Sooner or later, someone breaks from hiding and makes a big fat target of themselves, if you go at it like that. Not everyone's got nerves of rubber.
For your part, the traditional Flandre hunting methods is more along the lines of finding a big gathering place where a bunch of targets might be sleeping or napping or milling around and then just crashing into that like a fucking meteor. Tactical hunting in the same sense that you can launche a 'tactical' nuke.
But, no, your sense of smell isn't as great as all that. You can pick up sweet smells pretty well if it's from something nearby, so if there was a spill of some sort, bleeding, or soiling themselves maybe, you can pick that up when you get nearby a bit better than a human would. In all other respects it's pretty much the same. Mostly, what you were looking at was the big mass of differently-sized footprints and clumsily broken bush branches.
In any case, either way, going on one side of the road or the other, both sets of trails lead into the wilderness. So most likely....
... You look at your hands thoughtfully. Lines, where they bend, but otherwise smooth. Yeah. There's no way that there would be fingerprints left, because there's almost definitely no way that any humans were involved in this at any point. They're driven by money, and when it comes down to it... a human stopping here to unload dried vegetables and farm surplus to cart out in the woods is incredibly stupid, more so when you figure that in total all the stolen goods couldn't possibly have added up to.... even at very most, a quarter of the value of even an old and beaten-down truck like this one. For humans, that wouldn't live out in the middle of nowhere and want a road going right to their doors at all times, it doesn't make any sense.
But what the hell are yukkuri from the forest going to do with a truck, huh? Only so much gas in the tank, and there's no way they can refill it. It'll only go on roads, won't make it far off of one and through the wilderness before it breaks down, so once they've used it as an escape plan and a means to transport the swag to somewhere out of reach, where they could have a bunch of conspirators waiting to carry the rest through the woods and home....
The food has value. They can eat that. The truck, on the other hand, has served its purpose and nobody would think twice about just discarding it, leaving it behind, where if the point of it all was for human values, money, then the truck wouldn't be anywhere to be found, at very best you might see someone else driving it someday with a new coat of paint and finish, with the license plate torn off and replaced with something else.
So yeah. No question that there's not really going to be any fingerprints left. Still.
"... Hey, be careful of traps, right?" You call.
Hakui stops short with a grumble, peering thoughtfully through the window. It's not even that likely that they had the proper combination of time, inclination, and ability to set something like that up, but still.
"Maybe you would like to pry this open, then?"
Eh, maybe later.
For the moment, you wave it off and follow the tracks... well, as far as 'tracks' qualify, here, another footprint on the other side of the road, then nothing for another thirty feet into the forest before a deep footprint and broken branch where someone... you would guess, stepped wrong, sank into the mud, and tried to snatch at something to steady themselves. Makes sense.
Of course, after that there's totally nothing, right up until a creek. You'd guess it's a dozen feet wide, no way of telling how deep it is just now, but probably deep enough that you don't want to get too close to the edge, in case something comes up from under the opaquely muddy water and drags you in. Yeah, it rained the other day, so probably deep.
Not a good jumping distance, when slipping could easily mean death. Unless they could fly, then...
...So this was probably the way that Nitori went, and anyone else that came along were the water-tolerant sort.
And that means that they didn't bother to cover their tracks this way because the creek was sure to be handling it for them. They could come back out.... really, just about anywhere on the length of this thing, up or downstream, and it could take you days to figure out exactly where. Probably weeks if they picked a good spot, or you missed something on the first pass, which was pretty likely.
Either way, trail's dead Jim. Beam us up Scotty, nothing more to see here. One more demonstration of, frankly, unnerving competence from a bunch that lives in holes in trees and caves in the freaking woods. The usual level of forethought is much closer to 'maybe if I run really fast, nobody will notice me jump the fence, grab a couple of vegetables, and run away.', though to be fair, the only ones that are usually both hungry and desperate enough to try are less than a month old.
And you've been killing trespassers for decades, so yeah, teensy bit shooting-cake-in-a-barrel levels of unfair that we're talking, here. Unfair, totally. But fun. And-
Your train of thought grinds to a halt as you leave the trees, and find yourself at what might be just the most perfect viewing angle, with Hakui squatting, leaning over, and making soft noises of effort in the attempt to move something back and forth.
No. Stop it, boner. What are you doing? This isn't the time or place. Settle down, and behave. You'll think about this later.
For now, you want to go take a closer glance at the other.... well, for lack of a better word, trail. It still stops just there, someone made a point of following behind more slowly and carefully to deal with traces, but maybe there's something...
A little hope rises at rustlings in the tall grass, only to be dashed when a young deer pokes its head out and, seeing you, spooks and darts away.
Damn it, Yuka is just too smart for her own good sometimes. Yeah, she knew by yesterday morning that today would be too late.
.... Well, if you have reason to go flying over the forest, you'll have to keep an eye out for a pile of crates. Well, assuming this whole competence thing doesn't mean that the evidence will be disposed of in some way that they can't be found. You're not sure you want to think too deeply about what whoever plotted this could get up to if their attention was turned to more than just pilfering a couple of boxes of dried carrots and stuff. Though you guess that if a split-up wasn't part of the plan, then it's not like they're a perfect tactical genius.
When you get back to the truck, Hakui is sitting back and sucking on a finger in annoyance, glowering at the rear window.
"Trouble, sunshine?" you have to ask.
"I'm not used to this sort of window, but it looks like if we can get it open then it goes right inside. We just have to-"
You reach down and stick your nails in the seam, then wrench the sliding window open with a loud 'snap'.
".... Just have to jimmy the catch, on the inside." the human finishes, weakly.
Yeah, right. You guess that would have been why it was taking so long. Well, you think there's some glue or something back at the farm to fix that. Well, anyway, now you just have to get through....
You squint a little at the tiny hole.
.... You're pretty sure your wings aren't getting through there. Even folded up tight, that's pretty small. Teeny. Of course, for sure you could just rip 'em off, but it seems like kind of a pain to go through just to get through a window hole.
Instead, you step back and wave at it. Go on then. After you. And the human seems distressed, and mutters, but in the end goes ahead and starts wedging itself through the gap, headfirst. One shoulder, then the other in a wriggling motion, shifting through. Chest, torso, and waist.
And there it stops, squirming this way and that in all sorts of interesting shifting motions, stuck until you step in to give a helpful shove.
You relay this... not quite a discovery but instead observation, when the door opens. Grinning and wiggling your fingers the whole time. Obligingly, Hakui's face slowly turns very red.
It's not long after this that it's chalk, bone white, as you press down hard on the Going-Fast pedal and move the wheel enough to stay on the road.
"Slo-Tree, slow down, you, treetreetreeROCK, you're going to kill us b-deer!"
You fail to miss that last one, and there's a spray of red across the road and windshield alike followed by a crunch from behind you as the deer lands in... in the bed of the truck? Nice Shot~"
"Slow down, pull over, stop." Hakui insists, desperately. "Hit the brakes for the love of-"
There's a screeching and mud kicks up from the road as the truck bumps over a stone and goes into a spin before coming to a complete halt. Hakui breathes deeply, fingers white on the dashboard.
"Trade seats. Just.. switch, here. I'll drive."
And Hakui does. At a much slower and less harrowing pace than you would have gone, but still at enough speed that you're back long before you would have been by walking.
Plans for dinner change immediately in the face of the accidental roadkill unexpected hunting bounty, and the truck is locked up with the keys to be kept, from this point, in a less convenient but more secure desk drawer in the house, and you get to pass the buck on most of the cleaning and oiling of the thing. Meanwhile, Yuka gets all covered in blood from processing the meat, and after cleaning up starts wood-grilling the deer ribs outside over a rack and bed of glowing lumps of charcoal. Some fresh vegetables are set down among the coals to cook and occasionally get a splash of meat grease on them.
Shapes up to be delicious, though that Patchouli doesn't seem to have the stomach for turning a large beast into manageable and cookable chunks.
In the end, it's tasty, even though it's more annoying than it could be to chew the meat off of the bones.
.... Still, though, something strikes you as odd. You weren't aware that the human knew how to drive. In fact, you're pretty sure that when asked before...
And when brought up in passing, there's a confused and uncertain look on its face, like it didn't know it did either.
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