Luminous 2015/12/10 (Thu) 03:44 No. 186657 ▼
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[-f+2-] Wait for Marisa to give the all clear and make a plan to get out of here.
-[-f+2-] Ask about any plans they might have had for recovering after being attacked by the Technocracy.
[-f+2-] "We'll do what's necessary to get us out of here. "Still, a part of me hopes we find my friends first." After that discussion, "So, what's your dream tank?" After she's done, "See? You're still you."
You try to shoot her a reassuring smile, for all that it is worth. "We'll do what's necessary to get us out of here, Rika. "I'm just not sure that there is a home to go back to anymore. You remember that we lost the base."
"I do. I had just hoped? I guess it would be silly to want to go back there. Just? It may not be the same place, but I don't want to be here anymore. I want to go home and away from all this?"
"Don't we all?" You hate to try and be too sharp with her, but you do want to need to point something out. "I hardly want to remain here. I know what may be lurking behind every bush and every tree. Every step might be a false one that leads us deep into a pit that we cannot crawl out of. There's nothing good that comes from staying here."
"So, we're going to be going home soon? As soon as we can?"
"The only reason we haven't is because we haven't figured out just how to accomplish that. We hardly want to have a repeat of what happened to Marisa, now do we?"
"R-right?" The girl shakes her head, her hair whipping about and falling down to hide her face. "We? She was in terrible shape after that?"
"Indeed. There's nothing good that could come from asking her to do that again." Sighing, you look away towards that still sky. "Besides, I have something that I need to do here. You don't need to be around for that. Neither you nor Marisa does, actually. I can just go on the rest of the way once we get you to safety."
"Huh? Wait, who said anything about leaving you behind as well?" Rika snaps her head up and she stares for a second. "Stop doing that. It's a horrible feeling?"
"That feeling that is in your heart! You feel?" She shakes her head. "My life is more important than what?"
"Than nothing. You're getting used to that very quickly, aren't you?" You shake your head and look back down at her. "Tell me, what exactly did the group have planned for any event like this? I know that someone would have had a plan to try and regroup after an attack like that."
"That was our only major base. Of course, there are a few outposts throughout the island. There are a few places where the Technocrats have a hard time reaching, typically?" She blinks and shakes her head. "No? We're not off of that subject yet, Lucas!"
"?Should you really be using my name out in the open like that?"
"You don't like it when I use the other name? "
"Wants are fleeting. I would rather not have my name used again, although I've yet to know whether I can be twice bound." Your wings flit about, the feathers splaying as you shrug. "No matter. Besides, I haven't seen you cheerful recently."
"I haven't had a lot to be cheerful about."
"Then be cheerful. You're alive. You don't have to wallow in perennial misery."
"Aren't you one to talk?" She sniffs a bit, her hair having fallen back down and dancing in front of her eyes. "You do think I'm just a silly girl, don't you."
"It would be best not to assume anything, Rika." You cross your arms as you do. "I do not know exactly what you see etched into my skull, but I think it's safe to say that it is not everything." By now, the ember on the ground has faded into dull, glowing char. Any warmth it might have provided was long gone. "You're focusing on the negatives now."
"But I can sense something. I can feel it. It just doesn't feel good. It feels?"
"Like you're becoming obsessed with the emotions that are being hidden." A snort flares your nostrils. "Everyone has thoughts like these. You have them as well. There are some people whom you're not fond of, and there are people that you actively dislike. Even then, there are frustrated and embarrassing thoughts you have about others that you would even count among your friends. Did you expect something different from me?"
Rika pauses for a second and shakes her head. "No, it's nothing like that."
"?Just remember that we're all human, aren't we?" The word rolls off your tongue oddly, and Rika gives you an odd look. "Or, rather, we're close enough, and we want to be. We're not perfect. So don't stay so obsessed over every little thought that you hear floating about my head, or Marisa's head, or anyone else's."
"I? I see." She purses her lips and looks down. "That still doesn't explain your decision, though."
"Your decision. You were going to leave us behind, weren't you?"
"?Rather, you'd be leaving me behind. You need to go back to Earth before anything happens. The longer you stay in this reality, the more likely that your new implant becomes a permanent fixture of your body." You shake your head. "There's no need for you to remain here with me in all of this mess. I have to go and try and find my companions if they still are alive? or if they are bearing some measure of sanity."
"But you're going to leave us behind while you go off and try to save them."
"This isn't for my sake. This is for yours, Rika. You don't need to be here. You need to get back to Earth and hopefully be able to change back. That's all that there is to it."
"But nothing. You can't risk staying here this whole time, so don't even start it. Besides, you want to go home, right?" You look up and towards the woods. "I think I hear her coming back. Don't worry, we'll get you back."
Rika finally clams up and follows your eyes, and soon enough Marisa emerges from the treetops. "?She's not happy about something. I'm sure of that much." You don't respond, and Marisa eventually flies down and flops onto the nearby dirt.
Dusting her dress off, she turns to Rika. "You're looking better, at least. Did you manage to eat enough?"
"?Enough for now."
"Did I miss something?" Marisa looks between Rika and you before shrugging. "Probably something. But there's nothing here for a long way. The nearest other place would be the mountain. We could probably fly fifty miles and not find a single thing, if I'm correct." She shakes her head. "Or, instead, we might fly headlong into some giant invisible building that is otherwise unseen."
"Would a Youkai do that? They seemed to love their demonstrations of power too much?" After trailing off, the thought comes back to mind. "Then again, Wriggle did live in a burrow pretty much the entire time. She did have some vestige of self control left, didn't she?" You just have to shrug your shoulders. "It doesn't matter. Either way, we need to go somewhere that can help us get Rika back out."
Marisa turns to you before glancing at Rika and back again. "That won't work well. I don't? Well, I could try and brute force something, but that just wouldn't work. Sadly, there's only way that I can imagine us getting back across without having to resort to desperate matters."
"And those would be?"
"We might just have to subdue a Youkai and force them to tell us a way across."
"?I? don't think that would be advisable."
"Me either, but the other options aren't that appealing as well. Unless you could try and force your way through it. If that voice hurts the Youkai, can it even harm this world of theirs?"
"I couldn't quite say. I've never seen anyone but Youkai react to it."
"Wait!" Rika looks at you, wide-eyed. "Why are you thinking about Reimu?" Marisa winces and Rika snaps her head back around. "What? I know that you're not telling me something. And I can't help that I'm still hearing the other yous."
Marisa sighs and just looks at you. "Go ahead and tell her. I think? I think I need to hear this again, anyway."
"?Reimu has her own master she serves. She wasn't acting out of her own desires, but for that one instead." Rika starts shaking her head and there is nothing you can do but nod. "She fell underneath my voice. It wasn't the other way around. She definitely has some sort of Youkai magic about her."
"But? But why? Akyuu could notice it. She would notice it!" Rika whips her head towards Marisa. "It can't be true, right? It can't be? She wouldn't do something like that."
"I don't think she had a choice, in the end. But why else would one lone child survive when her entire shrine, and everyone in it, was killed? It isn't coincidental, I wouldn't think." You turn to Marisa. "That god of her shrine? whatever it might be. Is it truly dead?"
"I couldn't tell you. Reimu would never talk about it." Marisa looks down. "Those were things we never would talk about. We tried not to focus on where we came from. None of us do. We just worked together to build a better life and hopefully make a better world for the rest of us. Well, all of us except Akyuu. Everyone knew where everyone stood."
"That may have not been the best way to run the organization."
"?Maybe, but Reimu always made sure?" Marisa blinks and groans. "Well, that wouldn't do much good. I guess it doesn't matter in the end."
"But? But why? Was she going to turn against us? Was she just waiting for the right time to let her? her?" Rika shakes her head. "None of this makes sense. Why would she do this?"
"?She told us to run. She wanted us to go here."
Marisa blinks. "What? Why would she do that? She wanted you to walk into a trap?"
"No. She wanted us to be here, as her master couldn't interfere so easily. I couldn't tell you why exactly she thought as such. It may have to do with the laws of this land, or the lack thereof. Either way, Reimu thought we were safe here."
"?She would. She? She still lied." Marisa looks down and shakes her head. "?I guess it does explain some things. She wanted to destroy the Youkai with such a passion? I guess it wasn't all simply a desire for revenge. Either it was an order? Or she was taking out her frustrations? Or both." Marisa grumbles softly, shaking her head yet again. "No, there is always more. But I know Reimu. She wouldn't do that."
"Then what would she do? I do not know her?" Your mouth hangs open and you pause for a second. "?I just know that, when that robot? android? thing killed Akyuu, she still came. Bent over backwards and snapped in half, the only thing she would tell us would be to run. She didn't want us there if she had to call for her master's help."
Rika nods to herself. "No? I think I see?"
Blinking momentarily, you try not to send the girl a strange look. Even so, she recoils from your momentary gaze. "Well, either way? She wanted us away from her master. She didn't want us to fall in the same trap."
Marisa nods. "Yeah? I guess that would make sense."
Rika turns and looks at Marisa again, scrutinizing her for a few minutes. "Wait. What was that about the book in your pocket?"
"It just appeared. "Do you think that it was her work?"
"It might be? Lucas here fell out of a ceiling, so I guess it's similar enough."
"One or the other then. "Great." For a moment, Marisa clenches her hand and bites her lip before nodding. "Right. Looks like I'm going to have to save her ass, then." A grin flashes across her face. "It's settled then. We're going to take care of business, get your friends back, get Margaret outta your mind and into her home, blow this joint, kick that Youkai's like the tree she is and get home just in time to watch the Vespers play."
"What? That's what we're going to do, isn't it?" Marisa laughs softly before gripping her hat. "Why the heck not? We've got the entire world here. We just need to track down those wayward little Changelings so I can fulfill my end of the bargain.
"I was planning on?"
"You were planning on what?"
Rika shakes her head. "He was planning on helping us out and going to find the rest alone."
"Well, I guess?" The witch twitches. "You were going to kick me out as well? You know you can't do that. We've still got a deal to fulfill."
"That doesn't matter. We need to get Rika to safety."
"And we can't get here there by chewing fat in the middle of a wide open clearing where any Youkai might decide that they like my hat and want to steal it. I am rather attached to it." Marisa chuckles again. "There's no point in going forward if you don't think that we can go ahead and do everything here. It will just be a quick smash and grab if it ever comes to that, so don't worry your pumpkin' head."
"?Ok. Now you're acting strange."
"No, I'm getting myself hyped up." The grin vanishes and the glare becomes harsh. "Still, planning on leaving me behind? I'm surprised you'd give up good help. And do you think it'd be a good idea for us to separate when we still have a deal that is yet to be completed?" Marisa shrugs and flips her braid away. "The answer is a no if you were wondering. If you weren't I'd have thought that'd be rather poor hindsight. Still, it doesn't matter. I'm coming along."
"But Rika wants to go home first, doesn't she?" You look towards Rika, whom is staring at Marisa with a little bit of a shine in her eye. "Is there something wrong?"
"No, nothing is." Rika shakes her head and looks at you. "?I did promise that I'd come along, even knowing the risks. I want to go home. "I really do? But at the same time, I don't want to leave you here all alone."
"Yeah! Besides, you'd probably need our help if something fat and nasty pops up! Besides, how were you planning on keeping Margaret safe?"
"I was going to have to figure that out as we go."
"Of course you would. You should leave improv to me, though. I believe that I'm better at it." Marisa just grins and looks back and forth, her smile eventually softening but never vanishing. "So, does that mean we are ready and a-ok to be leaving this lovely little campfire."
"I guess. I just don't see how you can be so cheerful."
"Probably the same way that you asked me to be." Rika smiles up at you. "If it makes you feel any better, you could call it a deal."
"That makes it worse." You shiver and shake your head. "You do not want to be caught in one of those?"
"At least your current one has worked out better." Rika nods to herself. "Maybe Rikako can manage to find us?"
"Speaking of them?" You look towards Marisa. "What were the plans if you were compromised?"
"Who knows? Reimu knows all of them, so either she joins the groups and retakes control? Did anyone else see what she did?" You shake your head. "Then she could do that. She knows where all of the fallback points are. Either they go to ground with Reimu still part of the group or Reimu's master chases the survivors away. There's no telling what will happen in the end."
"Then we'll simply have to keep going and assume that they won't come back." Marisa nods in agreement and you look around. "So, there are no distinctive landmarks?"
"None that I could see. That hardly means anything."
"Very well. In that case, let's just keep going."
"Not yet. I need to get a sense for the ones we are tracking." Marisa grins and holds out her hand, hovering it just above your left arm. "Remind me again exactly what we are searching for."
"A doll elemental of some type along with a bestial bird that's as bad off as I."
"?As expected. The rarer signature will do." She snorts before taking a deep breath. "This will feel rather odd. Do not try to claw anyone when it happens."
"When what?" Before you finish your question, you feel something being drawn out of you with barely anything more than a tickle. You can't help but watch as Marisa pulls a few motes of white light out of your wooden arm and lifts it up. The orb coalesces and forms in her hand, pulsating just slightly. After sniffing it a few times, she clenches her fist and holds it up as she starts to look around. "?There's a few things that are nearby, but I'm not sure what exactly they could be. The signature is rather weak."
"What does that mean?"
"Either it's your magic that is everywhere or someone whom is similar to you. Knowing your tale, it is going to be Margatroid. And the strongest existing signature?" Marisa slowly rotates as she peers at the air. "It's quite strange, really. The signature is very different than the one from your feathers that I examined so long ago. Still, I can tell the taint when I look at it. There is something mixing in there? It's definitely a Youkai magic though. There's no masking it as anything else." She frowns as she looks around. "The signature is weak, although I am looking for one of a Youkai. Is the doll elemental still a Changeling?"
"I honestly can't tell you. I didn't have the chance to sit down and discuss much with her before I ended up separated. All I know are the basics and whatever thoughts from Margatroid that linger in my head."
"I suppose that is right." Marisa starts walking around you, looking around and searching for any source of that magic. "The thing is that there is so much glamour right now? It would be hard to distinguish any Youkai's magic while in this soup of pure anima?"
"Maybe that was the reason why we are here."
"?Is there anyway to amplify it?" Rika tilts her head as Marisa and you look down at her. "?Did you? Did you manage to retrieve any of my equipment from the tank?"
"No. All we did was get you out of it."
"?Yes. There were a lot of other things that you had to worry about in the meantime, weren't there?" Rika smiles a little tremulously before turning away. "I could try and make some sort of amplifier? There's just nothing here that I could use. I don't have any technology here I can manipulate, nor any samples?"
"We'll manage for now." Marisa looks around a bit longer. I guess that there are only? yes. Give me one more moment. Or ten. I want to make sure that we're going in the correct direction."
As she does, you look back at Rika for a moment. "?Already planning on building something?"
"It's all that I'm good for." The girl looks down. "For what it's worth, I probably could rig up something. Got plenty of practice on the wide beam transmissions and what exactly could ride along those signals. A magical signature isn't too dissimilar to any normal type of radiation that may be exuded."
"?Are you trying to make me confused with gobbledygook?"
"No, I wasn't." The girl tinges red and looks away. "I didn't mean t? Why are you laughing?"
You shrug. "It was a joke, in the end. I have to do something in order to cheer you up."
"Weren't you complaining about Marisa trying to brighten the mood as well?"
"I?" After a moment, you chortle. "I suppose I am a bit of a hypocrite. "Maybe I'm just the one used to being negative all the time."
"Ah. I see. I hear the employment market is tough these days."
"Huh?" You look down, and you think you see a small grin. "?That was uncalled for."
"I think it was plenty called for. Besides, I can hear your laughter, no matter how awkward it is."
"Well, at least you'll have a great future in poker." She doesn't laugh, and you shake your head and turn your eyes outward. Marisa is already circling on her broomstick, still not quite getting above tree level as she tries to triangulate the signals. After a few moments of witch watching, you look back down at Rika, whom is still staring out at the woods. "?What are you thinking about?"
"?This place is very weird." She looks up towards the sky, and her hand reaches up to cover her eyes. "Nothing? It's nothing. It's like looking in a hologram of some sort and everything is frozen. Nothing seems alive. It just? It just is."
"It matches its residents quite well." You flap your wings again, ready to take off and help her.
"?That, or its residents match it." Rika looks away. "?We need to hurry, Lucas. We might lose ourselves if we stay here for too long."
"I understand." A thought crosses your mind, and as Rika doesn't react to it, you stay your wings and talk. "So, do you still plan on doing that again? Rebuilding that tank of yours?"
"There's nothing to rebuild of it. If it's been lost? Who knows what a piece of iron that size is doing in this realm."
"Would you want to go and get it? Even after?"
"Of course!" Rika looks up at you "I? I screwed up badly? But it's hardly her fault that I failed her. I should have known better? If I could have stripped some of the material, I might have actually been useful. "The guns might still be functional if I could still work with them?"
You can't help but to grin a bit. "What could you do?"
"?to make it better? I could do lots of things. "That design was never really meant to fight Youkai? That was more for fighting the Technocrats. And I never considered creatures so? so?" Rika takes a deep breath and slowly exhales. After a few more seconds, she sighs. "Ok. But? I didn't account for lots of little creatures. Usually there are only a few, and they're person sized? At least, that's what I've heard from Marisa's stories. If that was all there was, and Marisa was able to distract them, along with you, then I might have been fine. But? hrm?"
"?I guess? For lots of them, I'll need to guard the joints. Even if they are made of iron, they still are vulnerable from attack." She frowns as she begins ticking off her fingers. "I don't remember what happened, but the window and the seals are the most obvious points for failure? I could try and use a different seal and hold for it? Possibly a conjunction of a suction seal with a mechanical one? That might be useful. I could always try to integrate some dispersion system into the entire chassis? That would have been useful for clearing the deck. There's not any other system that I could have integrated?" Here she pauses again.
"Nothing. Just? I'm just thinking. That was a bare bones construct, after all. I had to rush to even get the thing running."
"Why wasn't it ready?"
"It was put on the backburner. Most of the other vehicles are designed for large outdoor combat. Not small, cramped, indoor battles. I couldn't use anything else but that one. If I didn't pull it out, I would have been running, hiding, and taking potshots with one of Rikako's pistols."
"That wouldn't have been too bad."
"And if they had gotten to me then?" Rika shivers. "Still, I could have done better?"
"Now, see, isn't that normal?" She glances up towards you. "All of this is normal, isn't it? This is what you used to do all the time."
The tips of Rika's ears tinge red. "I didn't work on them all of the time?"
"But it's something you worked on a lot. And that's normal. All of this that happened hasn't changed who you are. Nothing at all is different. The only thing that is bothering you is all of this in your head. You keep on worrying constantly. Don't' worry about that part for now, at the least. That part of you hasn't changed. Don't let it change you as well."
"I? I see." She smiles a bit and looks down. "?It is nice to just think on those things?"
"Then do it. Everyone is happy then."
"?I will." She smiles up at you." ?Thanks, Lukie." Immediately afterwards, she breaks out into a few soft giggles as you roll your eyes. "I suppose I should be using that name again, shouldn't I?"
"That is terrible, and you know it." You just shake your head. "Feel better about yourself?"
"Somewhat? I just don't want to get used to this?"
"Hopefully, it won't come to that point." Shrugging your shoulders, you turn back up towards Marisa. "I wonder what's taking her so long? Is she having that much trouble finding any sort of signature?"
"That might be the case? She did point out that there is a lot here that can cover it up. The glamour?" Rika pauses and looks down at her hands. She takes a few moments to contemplate them. "?the glamour?"
"What's wrong?" You raise an eyebrow just as she snaps her head up. "Something is bothering you, isn't it?"
"Nothing. I'm just thinking? Don't worry about it." Rika looks back up and towards Marisa. "Well? Here she comes. Hopefully she has? No, she doesn't."
You don't say a word, merely watching as Marisa alights on the ground next to the two of you and grumbles. "There's nothing clear. There are three hotspots and? well, there's no telling which way we should go. At best we'd just find the remains of something that are radiating too strongly to be healthy."
"That doesn't sound ideal." You shake your head and cross your arms. "So, at best, we may run into something that can? What am I saying?" You look down and shake your head. "Listen. We need to hurry, either way. It's only a matter of time before we manage to startle up some sort of insect to chase us down. We don't want to be around when that's the case. So which one do you think is the best for now?"
"Any of them are about the same. If they weren't, I would have already made one." She shakes her head. "We're back to square one, but at least we have a target. "And now with you still awake we can actually fly. That way, if it does look like there will be trouble, then we can make a decision from there."
"?That does sound like the best bet." You turn and look to Rika. "Is that good enough for you?"
"Well, if we just stand around, we're not going to get anywhere. And there are quite a few things that we need to do." Rika looks up at Marisa. "So, which ways are they?"
Marisa shrugs and points towards her right for a ways. "There's a signature over there. However?" She turns behind her and points behind her, not quite eighty degrees from the previous. "There is one over here and another one just off to the left. The only reason I'd not even consider them one and the same is because the one on the left is a little bit fuzzier. It's distinct enough, at least." Marisa shrugs again. "I'd head towards the one in the center, but that's just me. At least that way the other one is closer, and if we get them both wrong, we know where the remainder is."
Rika frowns and looks between the two spots. "Wouldn't it be better to get the one by itself out of the way? If that is all there is, then there shouldn't be nearly as much of a chance as running into something else along the way. At least there would only be one Youkai that might be near it, not?"
"That is a dangerous assumption. But there's nothing telling what would be in either direction, at least from here." Marisa looks towards Lucas. "So, what do you think? Has anything looked familiar enough, or do you have a feeling about what might be around here?"
[ ] Left (Faint)
[ ] Center (Strong)
[ ] Right (Lone)
[ ] Suggestion otherwise? (Write-in)