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For a time, you mull over whether or not you want to give your mother a heart attack. While skipping puzzles might be nice, falling two or three stories might be a little bit less nice.
But only a little.
And, with that in mind, you head through the great doors, which were obviously made for people who are even taller than mom. Ignoring how concerning that might be, you look around, finding the highly tasteful decor of black and white checkered floors with marble walls. Fancy!
The combination is kind of odd, but then, you imagine that she wasn’t the original owner, if your huge jumps to conclusions have enough bearing in reality and/or truth. If that’s the case, then maybe she didn’t want to destroy this…
You look closely at the marble walls.
...Well, that’s pretty freaking old. Like, really old. Yeah, keep the ancient marble. Not worth sacrificing a relic for something like fashionable decor.
Sparing the ground a glace, you find it to be more recent. Couldn’t be a day over 200 years old!
Shaking your head, you look left, right and forward. Three halls, each rather identical. Looking down, you thankfully find no place to keep your shoes. Mind you, you do note that Satori doesn’t actually wear shoes. Still, the floors are tile, so keeping your shoes on is hardly as bad as if they were, say, tatami. You note that you smell something wafting from the left. Pie, maybe? Well, Satori did say she was baking one, right?
Seems like a good direction to start, at the least. It’d be rude to head any other way. Just ignoring where she likely is, and sealing her fate. Day in, day out, nothing but baking, awaiting your return. Days, weeks, months, years pa-
Ring ring ring
You answer. “Hello-”
Your mother’s voice answers you. “Renko, please stop being so melodramatic. If you wanted me to call, you know my number.” She sighs. “...Still, I see that you don’t quite understand the test I was giving you.”
“No, not really…” You rub the back of your head as you follow your nose. It’s not as good as your eyes, but your eyes are kinda getting silly, so that’s not even remotely a fair comparison.
She chuckles. “Yes, you’ve inherited your Grandmother’s power it seems. Your mother was skipped, and yours may seem less useful than-”
“Wait, Grandma has special eyes?”
“No, no, telekinesis.” ...Well, Grandma just got way cooler than you. “I assure you, your admiration is misplaced. Your power is…” She pauses a moment. “...flexible, if somewhat odd. Hers was mostly useful offensively, but yours is more passive.” Aww. “Now, now, with practice it’s anyone’s guess what your power may lead to.” Hopefully you don’t start bisecting people. “It’s entirely possible.”
Note to self: don’t give anyone the stink eye.
She chuckles, sounding amused. “Wise enough.” She starts reminding you of a teacher, and by that you mean all joy gets sucked out of her voice. “Now, back on topic… Tell me, in your own words, what I’ve been teaching with these puzzles.” Words, or… “Thoughts will do, but words will let you think more as opposed to being a spitfire of less certainty.”
You begin walking in silence as you think. After you’ve collected your thoughts, you reply, “Well… I guess you did say that patterns are bad.”
“Not necessarily. It’s assuming that they are always right is bad. For instance, not all monsters will be as kind as I, though they may look prettier. Conversely, some may be more grotesque, though they may be kinder.” Kinder that you? Impossible! “W-well, thank you, I suppose…?” She sighs, before continuing, “The most monstrously monstrous monsters, and the fairest in form and action also exist. The lesson I was trying to teach was that, if you have three sources of advice, you must decide which to trust when they all aren’t in agreement. The blood was meant to continue the pattern, while also invoke a feeling of unease in its appearance.”
She sounds like she’s smiling. “In the end, you made the right choice, trusting what seemed the most reasonable, and I commend you for that, but you did not truly choose it with that lesson properly learned.” She sighs. “There exist many creatures in Gensoukyou that will try to mislead you, and many more that will try to help you. Many will aim for your life, and many will aim for something far more precious.” My hat?! “Well, maybe, but I meant your-” Those bastards! “Now, now. Settle down.”
Chuckling, she continues, “Honestly… you are something not often found in humanity. Neither of your ancestors saw me for what I am, their minds rejecting the monster before them, and instead seeing a pretty young thing in my place.” She sighs, before continuing, “They were frightened at the jarring shift when I took to the form you see, so as to combat them. To defend myself when they truly wished me harm…” She sighs. “And they succeeded. They mortally wounded me, killing me.”
You peek into the kitchen. “...You got better though, right…? Like Cirno…?” More of the same tile, semi-modern appliances, and your snuggly giant of a mother.
She peers over her shoulder at you, a complex emotion on her face. “I did not. None of us did; not even Cirno. We all died, one by one, at the hands of them both. In the case of your grandmother, many times over.”
You frown. “Then how are you alive…?”
She sighs. “They were Determined to undo their mistake. So Determined that they turned back time. Your Grandmother… she saved us from this place once. Freed us, taking us to the Outside.” Her face twists into a look you’ve yet to see to this degree, at least not on her face; anger, hot an barely contained. “But her willful mistake had far reaching repercussions that led to her massacring us all, so close to our long wanted freedom...” Her eyes look to your chest. “But, sometimes, Determination can create a monster. She was Determined to fix things. To undo her mistake. But, every time she fixed something, something else broke. Someone else died. Some other mistake was made.”
She closes her eyes, looking sorrowful. “She never did manage to get that perfect happy ending again. Not for lack of success, but for lack of lasting success, as a certain tormentor wasn’t willing to allow a happy ending.”
She lets out a long, drawn out sigh. “So she-”
“Uhh, Mom, the pie…”
She starts a slight bit, before quickly opening up the oven, her hands glowing slightly as she winces at its slight burnt smell, doing so with her bear hands. She rolls her eyes at that pun as her cheeks tug up just a bit, placing it on the counter to cool. “Thank you, little bunny.” She sighs. “I suppose I do tend to get a bit carried away when the subject shifts to her.” Looking to the slightly darkened pie, she sighs. “It seems it wasn’t meant to be.”
Hah! The fool... She just can't help that flapping jaw, can she?
Why do you hate Grandma so much? You seemed less angry before. Good ol’ Gramgram! Good for so, so many things…
Go on… We can’t have her spoil the fun, can we?
You’re feeling a bit sleepy… Sleep in.
Write-in. Can you really manage a meaningful suggestion?
Flirt with pie?
A sweet smile for a sweet. I would smile, but that might make others unhappy! We can’t have that, right?=)
Smile ominously. Good hustle, but pies aren't about to feel fear. ...Well, okay, I haven't tried, so go ahead.
Glad to hear~ I enjoy your enjoyment!