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[X] You're just going to have to trust Reimu in a big way. Tell her everything that's happened so far concerning Mori, that you can remember.
You peel back the greasy wrapper on your Kappa Biscuit™ and take another bite. Reimu's brown eyes drill into your face as they take in everything: your mouth chewing, your nose sucking in air, and your eyes returning the look. It's like a standoff, but she brought the bigger gun — and she has Mori in the sights. You wish you had a better read on her. But, thus far she's been nothing but blunt. If she wants a reason not to turn you both in to the tengu, then it's probably a genuine gesture.
"Mori's from the Outside," you begin. "She ended up in Gensokyo about a week ago when a lake and its shrine were transported through the barrier and ended up on Youkai Mountain."
As soon as you mention the shrine, Mori nearly chokes on her chocolate milk. She turns to gape at you in shock. Is she surprised you're being so direct about this? You kind of have to be, given the situation.
"A whole lake just fell into Gensokyo? And a shrine, too?" Reimu asks skeptically. Then she thinks about it. "That... actually makes sense." Suddenly something seems to click, and she turns to Mori sharply. "Wait a minute. Did you have anything to do with it? If what he's saying is true, your lake punched a giant hole in my barrier and quintupled my work load!"
Mori regains her composure and shakes her head. "Nope, it wasn't me. I didn't have a clue what was going on. I just woke up and I was in Gensokyo, alone. Took me a while to get the hang of things. Shizuha helped with that."
So that explains some of Mori's attachment to the elder sister. Shizuha must have found her in the forest and led her back to the city. "Why didn't you just stay with them?" you ask her.
"Shizuha was alright, but Minoriko and I didn't get along," she explains. "But you already knew that, didn't you?"
Yeah, you did. "So that's it? That's why you decided to stay on the streets?"
Mori swallows a bite of hotcake and shrugs. "I was curious. I wanted to explore."
"Of course you did," you remark. Are all Outsiders like that? If they are, it would explain why so many of them end up dead when they drift into Gensokyo.
Reimu sips some coffee after a big bite, and then clears her throat. "So she's here in Gensokyo for a while," she says to you, bringing things back to the topic at hand. "Then what? How do you factor into all of this?"
"Well, a couple of days ago I got really drunk," you explain. "I don't remember much, but apparently when I stumbled home the landlady told me to go into the forest because someone was in trouble. Turns out it was Mori being attacked by a youkai. I scared it off and brought her back to my apartment."
"You scared off a youkai? While you were blacked out?" Reimu asks, more skeptical of this than anything else that's been said.
"I had a weapon," you tell her, leaving it ambiguous on purpose. "But the next day — that was yesterday — I was really confused. So I tried to retrace my steps, and in the forest a tengu found us. She was looking for Mori. Said it was the chief's orders. I told her no, and my weapon came in handy again." You look at Mori. "With some help." No matter where that bullet came from, you have to give credit where credit's due.
Mori doesn't seem to care about your consideration. It looks like she's more focused on her Kappa Cakes™ than your recap — spacing out at her discs of fried batter. But she quickly notices you looking at her. "Oh, uh— yeah. No problem. Did what I had to."
Reimu's just staring at you blankly, in utter disbelief. "So a tengu, one of the most powerful kinds of youkai in Gensokyo, flies down to you and tells you to give up a girl who you barely have any recollection of. You could have just handed her off and forgot about the whole thing — maybe even weaseled yourself into some kind of reward — and instead you stand in the face of death."
You didn't need to think about it much then, and there's certainly no reason to do so now. The tengu took everything away from you once, and they're not getting a damn thing from you ever again. "That's right," you affirm Reimu.
Reimu massages her forehead with her fist and sighs. "You're an idiot, but at least you're the better kind of idiot."
"I'll take that as a compliment," you say. It's not like you can deny it. If you were smart, you never would have fallen into this line of work to begin with.
"So what you're telling me," Reimu continues, "is that this is some kind of damsel-in-distress kind of situation."
You look at Mori, who's paying more attention now. She smiles with a full-blown chocolate milk moustache, a mouth filled to the brim with hotcakes, and syrup drizzled on her chin. Then you turn back to Reimu. "She's a little young to be a damsel, wouldn't you say?"
Reimu lets out a dry chuckle. "On the outside, maybe. But she's latched on to you like a full-grown woman. You two even live together. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe she's taking advantage of you?"
"First off, Mori's just staying with me," you argue. "It's different. And I don't care what you think about how she's 'latched on' to me. She's a kid. Kids should be able to rely on adults."
There's a palpable weight of guilt in your stomach after you say that, since you probably violated this girl in a drunken stupor the first night you met her. You ignore it by staying locked in to Reimu's face and disregarding Mori's gaze.
Reimu shrugs. "Well, if that's what you think. I'm not going to try to change your mind." Then she turns to Mori, who has somewhat bettered the condition of her face with a napkin. "You know, I am pretty surprised. So this whole time you were an Outsider, just trying to make the best of it?"
Mori thinks for a moment, then smiles. "More or less, yeah."
Reimu doesn't seem very amused, though. "Well, I still think it's suspicious." She turns back to you. "Has she mentioned anything at all about the Outside World? Who she might be looking for?"
"Well, no," you admit. There's a lot of things you really don't know about Mori. You aren't even sure what happened while you were drunk. There was never an adequate explanation for that blood on your shirt, after all. So maybe you have been a bit lenient with her. Are you sympathizing with her too much because you have your own past you can't elaborate on?
Both you and Reimu end up looking at Mori, who is finishing off her last hotcake. She swallows and then grins at the two of you. "Like she said, I'm just trying to make the best out of it." But when you and Reimu aren't dissuaded, she sighs and darkens a bit. "There's two people I was... close to, and they're probably still at the shrine, which would be on the mountain now. But it's dangerous because of the tengu, right?"
"That's right," Reimu says. "The tengu are very protective of the mountain. But what worries me is that they're going out of their way to search for you. They're not so kind as to bring you back just so you can be reunited with your friends. There's something in it for them. And since it's a shrine, I assume it concerns a god."
"A god?" you ask, now with your own brand of skepticism. "So you're saying there's no gods in Gensokyo, but somehow there was one in the Outside World?"
"There was a shrine, wasn't there? And we have someone here who can elaborate on that," Reimu says, directing her curious eyes at Mori. "Well?"
Mori's squirming in her chair, looking awfully uncomfortable. "Well, um... there was an earth goddess who was enshrined there. But she left. The shrine maiden should still be there, and there was... someone else who watched over her. She's probably still there too."
"So it's a similar situation to Reimu?" you ask. "A shrine with no god in it?" You notice Reimu shoot you a nasty glare, but she doesn't say anything.
"Um... kind of," Mori replies. Then she looks at Reimu. "Well, maybe not."
"Don't make comparisons like that. It just makes things confusing," Reimu snaps at both of you, before turning back to Mori. "So was this shrine maiden your friend? Did you ever talk to the goddess?"
Mori seems even more hesitant now. It's the first time you've seen her so bothered by something. "Friend is— um..." she mumbles, struggling to find the right words. "I don't know if I would call her a friend. And the person that watches over her, she's... unpredictable."
"And the earth goddess?" Reimu presses.
Mori smiles weakly. "I can't say much about her. Sorry."
Reimu sighs. "So you really don't know that much about them at all, is what you're saying?"
Mori frowns and looks somewhat downcast as she answers, "I guess not."
Reimu leans back and takes a big drink of coffee, finishing it off before slamming it down on the table and moving her glare back to you. She's frustrated, but it seems more directed at the situation than the two of you. Gradually the hostility she exuded earlier is vanishing. "Well then," she continues, "keep talking. What happened after your little run-in with the tengu?"
"Eventually we decided to go to the soup kitchen to eat," you tell her. "You remember what happened there, right?"
She takes another bite of her Mega Kappa Biscuit™, which is about half gone. "Yeah, I do. I'm shtill not shure why you're sho intereshted in the Aki shisters. You find out anything worth making me privy to?"
You just got sprayed with wet crumbs of her biscuit, egg, and sausage — quite a feat considering there's a whole table between you. Perhaps there's some pride in being the only one at the table with manners, but really you just wish that Reimu wouldn't talk with her mouth full. "We tracked Minoriko to her farm," you answer, reaching for a napkin to wipe your face. "Mori and I helped out a bit, then she asked us to find Shizuha. Turns out she ran off, and Minoriko hasn't heard from her since."
The shrine keeper swallows her food and cocks an eyebrow at you. "Huh. Do you think it's related to any of this?"
You shrug. "At this point, it's hard to tell." But you know it very well could be. It's obvious there's something between Mori and the sisters, and it's a pretty big coincidence that Q asked you to investigate around the sisters while all of this is happening. But maybe it's unrelated. Mori could have just been caught in some drama while ignoring her own. Sounds like something she'd do.
Reimu lets it go with a quiet "ugh" and keeps going. "So after I left the free food kitchen, Mima said she was going to follow you because it seemed interesting. That's what you three ended up doing?"
It's distressing that Reimu refers to Minoriko's charity work like that. Watching her so sloppily eat the food you paid for, it occurs to you that Reimu may not be as destitute as she looks, and is really just a mooch. "Yeah," you answer. "Mima uh, helped in her own way."
Reimu rolls her eyes. "I know that feeling." She pauses and looks at you. "So is that it?"
You think about it. No point in mentioning anything that happened afterwards, and there's nothing you really want to ask Reimu about at this point. There's already a lot going on, and the last thing you want to do is involve yourself with the details of the barrier itself, which even Reimu herself doesn't seem apt at elaborating on given her awkward description of its purpose yesterday. If you need to learn about it at some point, you're certain this won't be the last you'll see of the shrine keeper. "I guess so," you conclude.
With that, Reimu stands up, holding the rest of her Mega Kappa Biscuit™. She gives you and Mori both wary glares. "Well, I won't turn you in — but only because the tengu are even more suspicious. Just so we're clear, I'll be watching you. If I find out had a hand in it, I'll punish you along with the tengu." Then she stuffs the rest of her biscuit in her mouth and mutters "Thanksh for the food" before heading straight for the door, leaving her trash on the table. What a class act.
"Dammit," you grumble. "I should have made her give me 10000 yen for that talk." You turn to Mori. "Well, are you fini—"
Then you nearly jump out of your seat, because Mori's face is right in yours. She's kneeling on her chair to be eye-level with you, and there isn't one bit of jovial facade on her face. She regards you with nothing but a piercing, stony gaze as she asks, "How did you know about the shrine on the mountain?"
That's an odd question to act so strangely about. "What are you talking about? I knew because— uh..."
You freeze. Didn't Hatate tell you? Or was it Mori herself? You think over your conversations with Hatate. She mentioned the lake that appeared on the mountain, but nothing about a shrine. And Mori only said she lived near a lake. In fact, there was no mention of a shrine on the mountain, ever.
So how did you know about the shrine on the lake?
"...the clothes," you finally say. "Your old clothes looked kind of like robes. And you seemed to know about shrines when we talked to Reimu yesterday, so I figured you worked in a shrine that was on the lake. Don't most lakes have shrines?"
Mori looks at you, and it reminds you of when you first brought up the lake with her while you were chatting with Hatate. It's a deep, unsettling concern that goes far beyond her apparent age.
Then suddenly it's gone and she's all smiles. "Oh, I get it! That's a pretty bold assumption, but you're right — I did work at that shrine. That must be why you're an investigator, huh?"
"It's called a hunch," you correct her. But that's a lie. You'd never stretch so far for an assumption. Not to mention, the idea of Mori working in a shrine never even occurred to you before you tried to justify it. It's like something was planted in your head while you were talking to Reimu, and it took root quickly and silently. If Mori hadn't pointed it out, you probably wouldn't have given it a second thought.
"Either way it's pretty good," Mori says. "But yeah, I'm done. Let's get going!"
As Mori tosses all of her trash on the tray for you to throw away, you swear you hear a hissing noise close behind you — almost on your neck. But when you turn around, you don't see anything.
Once more you're staring at a green wall of trees at war with the shattered concrete of the city slums. This is the Forest of Magic, and the little shop of oddities called Kourindou lies at the end of a large dirt path snakes through the dark woods.
"So we're going into the forest again?" Mori whines. "I like a good adventure, but this is getting a little extreme. Are you sure you're not some kind of masochist?"
"You weren't paying attention while we walked," you scold her. "It's not the same forest we were in yesterday. That was the forest around the base of the mountain, which is known as the Great Youkai Forest. This is the forest that goes away from the mountain, called The Forest of Magic. Completely different."
"Is it though? What makes it so different?"
"It's more magical," you answer.
Mori frowns and her tone goes completely flat. "No shit."
"How about this:" you continue, "there's so much residual magic in the air that it chokes humans like you and me. Hence the name."
"Like you and me..." Mori ponders. "But we're not actually going inside, right?"
"Not into the forest proper," you explain. "Morichika's shop is right on the edge of the dangerous stuff. We'll be safe."
She shrugs. "If you say so. I hope it's worth it, since it's such a long walk."
"Yeah, it will be," you grumble. What else would she be doing? There's only been one thing on her schedule since you met: following you around. And what you buy here at Kourindou will probably save both of your lives, if recent events are any indication.
Mori goes quiet as you both start walking down the trail, and you see fit to address something. "So what have you been thinking about?" you ask her.
She puts both of her hands behind her head. "Hmm? What have I been thinking about?" She casts her eyes down the trail with a generic smile. "Nothing, really."
"Don't play stupid with me," you say. "This is the first time we've talked since we left Kappa Burger. That whole time we were walking through town you were staring at either the sky, your feet, or at me when you thought I wasn't paying attention."
She puts her hands back down and sighs in defeat. "You're better than I thought. But you know, I'm tired of talking about my problems." She looks at you. "What about your problems, PI? What's on your mind?"
"My problem is that you're trying to turn this back on me," you tell her. "Just answer the question."
She crosses her arms defiantly. "I don't want to. Not until you tell me about yourself."
"What, you want to hear stories about the cases I've worked on? They aren't very interesting, but I can—"
"That's telling me about other people," she cuts in. "I want to hear about your life. Stories about you."
You're not sure what the hell she's trying to get out of you. "What do you want me to say? I like taking walks. I screw around on the net. I drink a lot. You've been with me for two days straight, so you've pretty much seen the entirety of what I do."
"But that can't be it," she keeps on. "What about your family? What did you do before you were PI?"
Oh, so that's what she was driving towards. But those are the kinds of questions you can't answer. "I've always been PI," you affirm her, yourself, and Gensokyo itself. "There's nothing else."
Her curious look turns into a fierce glare. "That's what's annoying me! Don't expect me to share everything when you won't tell me anything about yourself."
Is that what she's thinking about? Does she expect some kind of equivalent exchange? Well, it's not going to happen. "Look, I have very good reasons for not sharing my past with some brat I met two days ago," you tell her firmly. "And that's just... how it is."
Mori looks away from you, back to the trail. "Fine. Then I also have very good reasons for not sharing my past with some old pervert I met two days ago," she replies. "And that's just... how it is."
"Okay then," you conclude. "Back to silence."
"Sounds good to me," she says, taking a few steps away from you.
And so, quiet settles in. It lasts only a few moments, until a black-and-white blur erupts from the brush ahead and stumbles out onto the path.
You tense up for only a second, before you recognize who it is. It's that blonde girl who wears a ridiculous witch's outfit, complete with a black pointed hat. You've seen her in Kourindou a few times before; Marisa is her name, if you remember correctly. You don't know the story, but her and Kourindou's owner, Morichika, are close.
Marisa doesn't look very good, though. She's swinging and swaying her body around, and you can see all kinds of leaves, thorns, and cuts on her body. She must have been running through the woods, but why?
Mori makes her presence at your side known. "PI, what the hell is that?" she whispers.
You observe Marisa some more. She's delirious, mumbling to herself, and barely seems to be in control of her body — almost like she's sleep walking. Looking closely, you can make out an assortment of colors sparkling in her eyes. Yeah, you've seen her like this before. "Looks she's tripping on forest mushrooms," you answer.
Mori stares blankly at you. "Tripping on... what?"
"Don't worry about it." You have no desire to teach Mori the intricacies of drug use in Gensokyo. "The point is that she's out of it, but mostly harmless."
Then you hear something else. "Marisa!" a shrill feminine voice calls from a distance. "Stop hiding and come out! If you keep this up, I'll really hurt you!"
That doesn't sound good. It sounds like it's coming from above, so you keep your eyes on the sky until you see her: a woman floating above the trees. She's blonde, and wearing some kind of blue-and-white dress. Even though she's flying, she looks so much like a human that you're wary to call her a youkai.
Regardless of what she is, she's definitely looking for Marisa. You have the impression that Marisa is often sought out for some misdeed she's committed, and maybe you should just ignore her and move on. But, there might be something in it for you if you helped her out. Morichika would probably consider it a favor if you brought her to Kourindou with you. Then again, helping this woman out might also have a reward.
Right now the woman's back is turned to you, but if she's looking around, she'll spot the three of you on the trail eventually.
 You're not in the mood for this shit. Leave Marisa to her fate and continue walking to Kourindou.
 Grab Marisa and hide until the flying woman is gone, then carry her to Kourindou.
 Alert the flying woman to Marisa's location.