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The next part is not written yet, but I decide to put these up first to break the hiatus.
Around half an hour later, you see the reoccurring Outsider walking straight at your place, and the fairies quickly hide themselves and seem to be gone. Although, you have a feeling that they are still around.
At your heightened state, you can sense that the man is filled with gloom. Something must have happened, and you concentrate a bit to deflect the pain caused by the resonance.
The man drops onto one of the stools, lets out a long sigh, and slumps his shoulder.
“Do you serve booze?” the man asks in a hoarse voice.
“Sorry, I don’t,” you say. “You seem to be unhappy. How about trying my Spiritual Healing?”
“No need. I can kind of do that to myself.” The man grabs one of the teacups on the counter and drains it, then apologizes and starts to stand up. “Sorry for bothering.”
“I remember sending you through the border,” you ask, “so why did you come back?”
The man sits down heavily, pinching his hand against his short beards. “This is on the surface, so I have no place to return.”
“What do you mean by ‘surface’?” you ask, glancing up to study the man’s feature. He seems to be in his mid-twenties, but he also seems to suffer some injuries in the past, already gaining a few old scars.
“Ah, I am not supposed to say that!” The man shoots up his head and slams his face into his fist.
You are a bit taken back by his frustration, but you prepare a new cup for him anyways. “Young man, something unpleasant seems to be occupying your mind,” you say as you gauge your own status, “if you don’t mind, I might be able to help you.”
The man briefly looks into your eyes with a weary expression, stays silent for a while, before starting.
“Look, this e… place is beautiful, no doubt. But I am an Outsider, I can’t go anywhere, and that is not the problem.”
“It normally wouldn’t bother me, because…” The man interrupts himself with a gulp of tea. “But when I really get to know the magnitude of the incident those Yokai can cause, I just want to stop caring to prevent…” He makes light cough, taking another sip. “I mean, what the hell are you supposed to do when someone can make spring never comes?”
“I can’t pinpoint it yet, but I think you made a mistake somewhere…” You scratch your chin, thinking. “Let’s see, you are thinking that some Yokai have enough power to start an incident single-handedly, while the humans rarely have anything to match, except for the miko?”
“Not quite my point, but go on.”
“Well then, I admit that less than a handful humans can solve an incident, like Reimu, but you do know that most Yokai require the presence of human to exist, right?” you said, raising an eyebrow while thinking a few steps ahead.
“Doesn’t change the fact that we can’t do anything, huh?” The man gives a tired glance.
“So you think that the humans can’t do anything… Give me a moment.”
You look around, trying to find an interesting object. You look at the bag of dried sweet potatoes around the corner, and shake your head.
“Firstly, messing with food production is plain stupid, pass this one.”
After a few moments, you pull out the roll of newspaper Aya gave you some time ago. You consider for a moment, before mildly grinning.
“OK, I think I found a way to cause an incident, in an ‘Outside’ way which is probably within the power of the humans. Probably,” you say. “A white magician must practice thinking about logistics.”
“Well, that doesn’t really address my worry, but you interest me, so please explain.” The young man sits up a bit, somewhat less gloomy than before.
You nod, then place the newspaper on the counter and ask, “looking at this roll of newspaper, what clues do you get?”
The man thinks for a moment and say, “I know the tengu here are found of gossips and news, and there are many individual reporters. I do not think their rivalries are enough to cause an incident, however.”
“What does rivalry have to do with this?” you ask, but continue without an answer. “Anyways, this newspaper is made of newsprint and ink, which implies printing presses, paper mills, and ink production.”
You pull out a piece of paper, and start to draw a tree diagram.
“Ink is consisted of pigment, let’s assume Carbon Black for simplicity, and probably a solvent. Carbon Black is probably produced in some sort of kiln.” You add in branches from the ‘ink’ section. “Paper mills need sources of wood and other chemicals, especially solvents, to remove impurities, adjust chemical properties, etc.”
“Fair enough.” The man nods.
“Printing presses and paper mills also have machineries, which means production of metal.” You add ‘metal’ into the graph. “I assume that Gensokyo doesn’t have all the metal ores in the world, and it has magic, so this part is actually dubious. I don’t believe they have plastic, though.”
“All of these require power to run. Here, they have a few options,” you say, while quickly brainstorming. “Wind, solar, water, wood, and probably geothermal energy. Wind and solar are unlikely unless they use electricity, while the others can use mechanical energy or steam.”
You draw a large rectangle enclosing the entire graph. “Up to here, they need wood and metal for machinery, pigment, and probably fuel, certain crops for production of solvents since they probably don’t have petroleum. Let’s stop here for the production part.” You take out another piece of paper, and start to make a second draft.
“Now, you don’t see smoke and toxic substance pouring out of the tengu’s mountain, so they must have some post-processing. Biomass reducing for printing press and other crop-based productions. Then there’s the need for filters and other stuff for chemical treatment.” You append the graph. “I don’t know a lot in these fields, so let’s just stop here.”
You circle Carbon Black. “Dust explosion.” You circle solvents. “Vapor explosion and pressurized chambers for production.” You circle electricity. “High voltage.” You circle steam. “High pressure pipelines.” You circle all chemicals. “Spills.” You circle biomass treatment. “Methane and hydrogen.”
Finally, you point at all the uncircled parts. “Of course, there are a thousand ways for these places to go wrong. Think about all the transportation, conveyer belts, and anywhere that accumulates static electricity or causes friction, anywhere that contains pressure, any exothermal reactions, hydraulic shock, fatigue, etc. Let’s pray that the tengu have OHSA compliance, otherwise when all their plants are stuff inside the same mountain…” You raise your eyebrows suggestively. “You get the point.”
After a long silence, the young man lifts his gaze from the graphs.
“Well, that’s… well analyzed,” the man says, “but did I come here for this…? Anyways, I feel much better for some reason, thanks. I am now nervous for a different reason, but I can handle that.”
Said that, he stands up, then turns back and stuffs a paper bill into your donation box. “By the way, I am Miska Hahn, in case you forgot.”
You nod as he turns back, then you look at the two pieces of paper you produced.
Even though you sidetracked a bit, you still think it is a good reminder that you should think logistically instead of focusing too much on raw power.
Now it’s time to relax your mind. You feel like you missed something, but you assume that it is not very important.
Thanks for the random name generator!