Lone Tsukumogami 2014/01/16 (Thu) 14:51 No. 177381
[X] The bamboo forest to the northeast.
"Hmph." Sekibanki takes her hand off of my shoulder and crosses her arms while shaking her head. "You have some nerve to think about going there."
"The people at the pharmacy can take me in. I'll be their surprise present!" I clench my fist and raise it into the air with a smile on my face.
She giggles, then pats my head. "That's a pretty good attitude. I like you a bit, Kogasa." Sekibanki then grabs my hand and pulls me up. "It's getting cold outside, so come inside and I'll prepare dinner, alright?"
"Thank you." I involuntarily grip her hand firmly for an instant, then hand her my groceries. "Don't forget these."
"Of course! I'm going to make the strongest stew to celebrate this occasion!" She grabs my hand holding the groceries and slides the door open as we both enter her home.
It's a shabby place, but I shouldn't complain, Sekibanki's treated me well since I've met her! As she takes the groceries from my hand and leaves me alone, I explore the house meticulously, sliding the creaky doors open and examining the furniture left from what I assume the previous owners left behind. The drawers shudder loudly and the floor was littered with holes, yet it was all so interesting! I was so engrossed in all these strange peculiarities that I almost didn't hear Sekibanki call out my name.
"Hey Kogasa! Supper's ready!"
I run into the living room and see Sekibanki sitting on a pillow next to a crackling fire with the cast iron pot of simmering beef stew resting on top of it. She hands me a bowl and a spoon. "Dig right in, Kogasa. It's pretty delicious if I say so myself!"
I ladle the stew into my bowl and sit down a pillow across from Sekibanki, slurping it up with my spoon. The warmth and savoriness makes me open my eyes wider as it perks me up.
"How is it?" Sekibanki grabs her own bowl and sips the thick soup from her spoon.
I swallow my spoonful stew with a satisfying gulp. "Mmmm!" I can't hold in my excitement and started to laugh afterwards. The old man wasn't very good at cooking, to be honest.
"Good to know you like it!" She smirks at me. "I don't hold back on my cooking skills, you should know."
"Have you ever served your cooking to any humans?"
Sekibanki scratches her head. "That's not something I've considered, really. You're the first to taste my cooking."
"What got you into cooking so well?"
"I wanted to be satisfied with my own food and so I kept going at it until I liked it. Apparently, I have really high standards for a youkai, hahaha!"
I put my bowl down and pat my stomach. "You should definitely try letting humans taste your dishes then. I really liked it!"
The pot sits quietly while we both ate all of the stew from it. The fire takes its leave as I lie down on the floor to rest for a bit. I never noticed but I was really tired so I quietly nod off. I feel myself getting lifted up and hear the floor's creaking noises with Sekibanki carrying me to bed.
After a while, I get restless and roll around in my blanket. When I turn around, I suddenly see the back of Sekibanki's head. She... didn't have a separate bed.
She didn't try to look at me and just responded, "Sorry."
"It's okay." I blush. "Can I get closer to you?"
"S, Sure." She stutters.
I wrap my arms around her waist and nuzzle the back of her neck for a moment. She's very warm. Warm enough to make me rest easy.
My dream was not very exciting, but it was a soothing memory if I can say so myself. I had a simple life in the past, just an umbrella in the rain spun by a little boy. He had short brown hair, not very tall for his age, and a smile as bright as the sun when it peeks through. He arrived home from school and was greeted by his mother, a slender woman with long black hair and her eyes . For me, it didn't matter if I was in a family of commoners or royalty as long as I was loved and with these two, it was the happiest I ever was.
Yet here I am, looking for a new home. What happened to that world of mine? I'm sure I'm repressing the answer to that question, leaving myself a ignorant fool. I really don't know if I can face that truth. I'm just... scared.
Even before the sun rose from the horizon, I slide discreetly out of the blanket and try to sneak out to no avail with a loud squeak from one of the floorboards.
"Kogasa." Sekibanki interrupts me with her face still turned away from my eyes.
"Promise me one thing."
"When you come back, tell me as soon as possible. I want to host a party and I want you to be my guest of honor."
I look down at the floor. I heard the remorse in her voice. "What do you actually want from me?"
Her head jumps out of the bed and her eyes narrow. "Please don't die."
I thought I'd be shocked unconscious by her floating head like the first time, but I just held back my tears and glanced straight at her eyes. "...Okay. I'll make sure of it." I turn around and walk out the room as I gather my things.
I have my closed umbrella wrapped to my back and the rest of my groceries in my right hand as I drive towards the northeast. The road is well travelled so it's not a problem for my scooter to ride across. During my journey, I arrive at a food cart stopped on the side of the road. It's fairly early in the morning, but the cart seems to already have business set up. I park my scooter nearby and sit down on one of the stools in front of the cart.
The lady inside the cart wore a mauve kimono and a blue handkerchief around her light pink hair. It's very hard to ignore her wings and fluffy ears though.
"You don't look like a regular. What's your name?" She asks.
"Kogasa." I nod my head. "What's yours?"
She then grins. "Mystia. Lorelei Mystia. Are you ordering anything?"
"Umm. What do you serve here?"
Mystia points at the back wall of the cart. "Eels with a good helping of rice and along with that filling meal, a tall bottle of sake!"
I pull out the coins from the pouch from before and give them to Mystia. "How much are these worth?"
She sorts the coins out and stares at them for a while, then sighs. "I can't take these as payment."
I groan. "They're worthless?"
I shake my head for a few seconds, then stared at Mystia. "What do you mean, 'priceless'?"
"You could buy out my entire stock with that kind of currency." She hands the coins back to me. "I'm not going to accept them, so I apologize."
"So how can I pay...?"
Mystia chuckles. "You know what, I'll just make you a bowl because I feel like I need a warmup today!"
"Really?" My cheeks redden slightly at her generous offer. "Th, Thanks."
She smirks as the fires flare up and her hands move gracefully, roasting the eels with precise efficiency. I was very impressed with her skill with grilling the skewered eels!
The rice drops off the paddle into the bowl and the eels cover the rice with a modest amount of soy sauce.
Mystia places the bowl in front of me. "Ta-dah! What do you think?" Beads of sweat dot her face, but she smiles proudly nonetheless.
I can't help myself as I clap gleefully. "That was phenomenal! Are you sure I can have this?"
"Sure. It's not exactly anything off my back." Mystia produces a spoon from behind the counter and gives it to me.
I scoop up the rice and eel, but quickly place the spoon of food back in the bowl. "It's still steaming hot, haha."
"I get told that often, it's not that uncommon."
Suddenly, I hear wheels behind me as the horse pulling a small wagon stops and a girl with long purple hair and bunny ears hops out. She sits down next to me and nods her head a bit before relaxing her shoulders.
"Good morning, Mystia."
"Good morning, Reisen. The usual?"
"The usual." The girl turns to look at me. "Who are you?"
"I'm Kogasa! Nice to meet you." I grin. The girl's face was very youthful, but she looked tired.
"I'm Reisen Udongein Inaba." She smiles for a moment, then looks at Mystia.
Mystia plates two skewered eels and plops it in front of Reisen. With a swift motion, Reisen grabs one of the sticks and takes a small bite out of the eel.
Reisen nods. "Good as always, thanks."
Mystia blushes a little, but bows lightly afterwards. She then glances at me when I finally decide to eat a scoop of the rice and eel. "Kogasa, what were you planning on doing today?"
I swallow my food and look away for a second before answering. "I was heading to the Bamboo Forest to look for the people who run the pharmacy in the village."
"Oh!" Mystia perks up. "Well, Reisen here works for that pharmacy. You could ask her to take you there if you want."
I look at Reisen, then back at Mystia. "Is she always like this?"
"Reisen's always like that. She's just not a morning person, don't worry about her." Mystia giggles. "So are you leaving now?"
[ ] Stay for a while and talk with Mystia about things.
[ ] Ask Reisen about the Bamboo Forest.
[ ] Don't bother Reisen and just head to the Bamboo Forest without consulting her.