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[x] Screw it - just say “all of the above”
“First things first: food.” You trudge through the doorway and open it up, pausing just briefly to scan the inside of your domicile. With these three girls that currently have taken up residence, a little extra caution does help. ...However, the only one there seems to be Hina, who is smiling wanly up at you from the couch. “It seems you had an excellent conversation with one of Smith’s employees.”
There’s something about that expression… “Well enough, I suppose. Found out that we’re going to have another visitor dumped in with us, so I could be better off.” You let out a sigh, and your shoulders sag as well. “At least, for once, we are getting the slightest bit of a warning. I doubt it’s going to do us much good.”
“True. That would be rather unfortunate.” After a moment, she lets out a faint chuckle. “Either way, do not worry. I will take care of it if there proves to be an… issue.” The moment she finishes speaking, you hear a loud crack, and the couch suddenly plots to the side, sending greenette tumbling to the side. Your tired muscles give little protest as you dash forward and catch her before she falls to the floor.
“Take it easy, now…” You try to ignore the warmth of her radiating blush, along with a few other soft components, as you pick her up and set her on her feet. “How long were you holding that in? The moment your tone got an edge to it, your magic lashed out.”
The goddess’s face reddens even further and she averts her eyes. “I suppose it would be foul of myself to pretend that it were a mere accident.”
“It would be, yes. Considering that you do have some conscious control over that misfortune within you…”
“...I might have been worried that it was Smith with more burdens to heap upon your shoulder. At the very least, it was someone with a far less… disquieting disposition.”
“Quite true. Still…” You quirk an eyebrow towards the greenette. “I never took you to be vengeful and jealous. Though, I suppose I’ve never heard of a god that isn’t, to some degree...”
While you hardly intended it in a different manner, the blush grows even further than it had before. Hina was quickly becoming positively luminescent. You have to wonder if you would require a light if it were dark outside. “That is hardly the case, as I shouldn’t have to point out.” Turning her head, she simply closes her eyes and hoists her nose into the air. “My actions are hardly inspired by such emotions. I just find it rather… irksome, the way that she is constantly heaping more and more responsibilities upon you. ...I know that I have been such a burden in the past, and to know that you must deal with so many others in such a short span of time… Besides, it is simply defending you from a possible threat that Smith may provide.”
“...Considering that’s your reaction to a lazy bureaucrat, I’d hate to see what you’d do to someone that was actually dangerous.”
Her lashes part, and a green eye flits toward you. “Nothing good, I assure you.” There is another crack that splits the apartment, and the couch falls to the floor on the other side. You find yourself not moving this time, as the gaze she’s shooting you has staked you to the ground more thoroughly than a vampire. Your own blood starts rushing to your ears as the room heats up a little further. Is it just your imagination, or—.
“So…. I hate to be interrupting anything…” Now you jump in place; this time, your head immediately turns toward the stairs, where a grinning ghoul is smirking in your general direction. The bluenette receives an aggrieved scowl, though Merlin merely chuckles at the look. “My, I’d say that you looked ready to slay me with that glare. I do wonder if I’m even capable of perishing like this? It’d be so unfortunate if I were so easily slain.”
The other technicolor-haired companion twitches at the poltergeist’s less-than-fortunate word choice. Even so, she reins in a twitching eyebrow and primly rises, fighting off the previous emotions that were marring her visage. “...My apologies.” Hina turns and smooths out her skirt from where it had creased. “’Twere merely discussing a few things regarding our minder.”
“Oh? So this dreadful stink that has invaded the household was that blonde bother?” Merlin quirks an eyebrow. “I’m rather certain that it wasn’t that, but on the other hand, I’m rather new to this whole “smelling” thing.” The Merlin-formerly-known-to-be-a-poltergeist scratched at her chin, spending far too much reverie and flourish to do so. “Whatever it is, it is terribly rank, and it needs to go.”
“Err…” You think you have a good idea, but you’ll just pass it off. “Perhaps it’s merely the trash. Could have thrown away some nasty smelling food.” Hopefully the wizarding impersonator would buy the line, although considering the weakness of the assertion, even you’re rather doubtful that she would fall for it. Still, there is always the hope...
“Hrrrmmmm…” Merlin keeps scratching her chin. You’re not quite sure whether she has the worst-placed rash ever, or if the sensation is merely that distracting. That, or she is merely trying to annoy you. “I kiiiinda don’t think it’s that.” She practically skips forward, and a moment later her nose is much too close to your armpit for your personal comfort. “Aha! I knew the foul stench was emanating from a source far more local.”
So much for your terrible denials. You’d make a horrible river. “To be fair, I did just go and exercise. Maintaining the scent of a fair spring breeze was not quite up there on the list of my priorities.”
“Maybe not yours, but I believe it is now quite high on mine!” She withdraws from that position much too far within your personal space and retreats from your vicinity very, very quickly. “This foul stank is violating my virgin nostrils, freshly made from thine own hands! You must be a cruel, cruel man to commit such depravities upon me, a poor, innocent creature of flesh and substance!”
“...Hina? Why is she posing dramatically?”
“I think it’s an attempt to convince you of her sincerity.”
“Oh, hardly.” Merlin huffs.” It’s merely to assert the significance of the situation! The veritable torment that has been visited upon my very soul’s nostrils!”
After a few tense moments, you cough into your hand. “Someone seems to be in a good mood.”
“Terrible, actually.” She immediately puts her hands back down before shrugging in a… slightly less exaggerated manner. “You can’t smell this.”
“Is it really that bad?” After the silence that greets you, you sigh and turn back to Hina. “Come on, just be straight with me.”
Hina awkwardly averts her eyes and looks to the side, even as Merlin stuffs the titter that threatened to escape herself. “I wasn’t going to say anything, but it is a fairly odious odor.” It must be terrible. She’s using alliteration.
“Great.” You sigh and shake your head. “Still, it can’t be helped. I have to go make food-”
“No you aren’t!” Merlin huffs and crosses her arms. “You are gonna march right upstairs and hop into the bath and scrub ‘til there’s not even a ghost of a smell!”
“....Come to think of it, are there ghostly smells?”
“Of course not! But that is irrelevant! I have been penetrated by your distinctly overwrought funk and demand reparation! In the terms of its removal, not a replacement!” And here you were about to suggest multiple horrible scented candles, but you don’t want your nose to be just as offended as hers. “So please, do remove that pugnaciously pungent perfume from your form before we all succumb to its vigorosity!”
“...Fine, fine…” You shake your head and head up. “But that means that you are going to have to work on food. I’m practically starving at the moment.”
Merlin takes that as invitation to cock her head coyly. “That must be an odd sensation. Is it similar to the one that you describe as famished?”
“Hrm. Then perhaps I can wait a while. That sounds like an interesting sensation to experience. Never quite had the ability to do so before…” At the resulting hard look that you shoot at her, she rolls her eyes, and the grin loses its edge. “Fine, fine. I suppose that I can do that much. But are you sure you’d trust your nourishment to a geist that doesn’t eat?”
...Point. “Hina, help her, would you? It’s not like being ten feet closer would make it any more or less likely that something will go wrong, will it?”
“Perhaps; but then again, perhaps not.” She smooths out her skirt and glides over to the kitchen. You have to double check to make sure you’re not being literal with that statement. “Do note that you are adequately warned, in any case.”
“I’m sure that I’ll live.” You roll your eyes and head up. “Myon can correct anything that needs too much fixing when she comes down.” With that, you usher yourself up the stairs, heading up towards the throne room. Considering the two greenhorn gastronomists that are suiting up and diving into your kitchen, you will have ensure that you complete your cleaning with all due haste.
And, also, ignore how the kitchen should be right below your feet, thereabouts…
The floor of the bathroom and the shower are not ruptured for this immediate point in time, however, and you soon hose yourself down without an accident more major than dropping the soap (thrice — you are hurrying a little too much). However, after ensuring that you are well and any obnoxious odors have been vanquished, you step out, dry off, and dress once more. At least, since you don’t have work that you can go into, you can choose function over form and bum out. ...professionally, at least. You don’t want the girls thinking you’re a slob, after all.
With that done, and before you risk venturing downstairs, you unpack the documents that you had been itching to get your hands on this whole time - there are plenty of laws that you need to review
Fifteen minutes later, you’ve briefly glanced over everything that confirms many of the concerns that have already arisen. There is indeed a law that codifies that humans from the Outside [sic] are not allow to mistreat any magical creature/being from the Reserve, while the reverse holds true. The limits of protection are mainly focused around the physical violence and the unwilling exploitation of the powers of the latter, while the protections of baseline humans are based more around blackmail and extortion, along with physical violence. There are also mentions that anything that harms the well-being of the other, even ranging to financial, spiritual, or emotional is also prohibited. “How in the world do they expect to enforce such a law? Doesn’t seem to exactly give much room to provide proof…”
You then note that the burden of inspection and determination of such infractions fall within the realm of the various Program Coordinators, while the enforcement will, when local forces are not sufficient, fall to the realm of Personnel Control Units. So, basically, Smith is in charge of that. I am filled with confidence now. The only exceptions to this law are a designation of Outsiders-Who-Fell-In, colloquially known as “Gappies”. You’re not quite sure why that of all names was chosen, but it essentially translates to each of those being certified on a case to case basis, and oftentimes must remain under continued surveillance in the meantime.
Either way, that is also noted with the punishments that are handed down for violations. Notes are left to point out that violations carried out between the two defined groups are handled diplomatically and independently on a case by case basis - punishment can involve anything from revocation of mobility privileges, to removal from homestay, to imprisonment in an undisclosed secure zone/prison as the case may be, or potential banishment under military/magical joint care. “Well, maybe Smith’s laziness would work to my advantage if I got in trouble.” Though, if there is anything you don’t want to depend on, it’s Smith doing what you hope.
Most of the other minutiae that you inspect are based around the terms of the homestays. In effect, they are to provide a medium-term solution until they can return to their previous home in the Reserve. To that effect, they are farmed out to a series of willing — ha — homes, where applicants whom are interested in fostering a homestay may submit a profile. Which is pretty much irrelevant to you at this point. Thankfully, there does seem to be a degree of compensation that will be included in the homestay program: you are allowed to file reimbursement for any expenses that may be incurred during the cost of your homestay that are in excess of your normal expenses. There’s a long list of different categories that this fits in, but it covers the basics of what you need to worry about: food, clothing, and structural repairs/liability insurance.
“Still, that means that I have less to worry about…” For that matter, you probably could finagle even getting Merlin’s trumpet cleaned up as being under those terms. After all, it was Hina’s fault that something happened to her, and it would be an expense you wouldn’t otherwise incur. “Not to mention everything else that has happened… ...We better not get too many more people, though, as I’m already running out of room.” You’re certainly going to have to consider where to put people, especially since now two of them are solid and you’re getting a third one soon. “At the very least, Hina can stay in her room near the top, Merlin has the second floor… I might have to clean up that other room there as well.”
“...For that matter, where does Myon haunt?”
From the description, you’re none too sure. “Hope I don’t have to move out, but that would be unnecessary. Smith wouldn’t shove more people in this house than could fit, right?” ...Though, now that you think of it, maybe you could try and work out some manner of rent from Smith. Certainly, you are being denied usage of rooms that were yours to use prior to the new occupants making themselves at home. “I mean, what do I have to—”
Just as you’re about to tempt fate, you hear a thump from below, followed by the clattering of utensils and the various thumps of bodies falling, along with a few other bumps in the day that you can’t quite identify. “...Great.” Putting your ruminations on laws and such to the side, you quickly dash down the stairs all the way to the ground floor, heading to the source of the commotion.
As you skid into the kitchen, you see the three girls staring at each other. The goddess is near the counter; a half-chopped onion is next to a few other vegetables that you can’t make out on top of a cutting board. Hina’s hands are on her mouth as she stares down at Merlin, who has fallen into the counter and onto the floor, knocking a few of the cabinet doors open. Quivering between her legs is the large chef’s knife you have, while your other knives have all managed to embed themselves in the ground and within a quarter of an inch of her body. They knives did manage to get close enough to cut her clothing, as what is left of her outfit is in tatters. Off to the side, you see the knife block, which practically seems to have thrown itself off the counter. Merlin, herself, is staring down Myon, who is holding a now-empty bowl whose contents have now become well-acquainted with the floor and surrounding walls.
The half ghost is the first to reply. “I was merely taking the mixing bowl to expedite the process. Merlin here was taking far too long for such a simple process—”
“I have to taste it to make sure it is fine, right? You emphasize the importance of serving her to exacting demands, yes?”
“You do not have to taste it after every stir.”
The bluenette huffs, though she averts her eyes from the wavering blades between her legs. “Well, considering I do not even know what taste is good, how am I supposed to find that out without trying? C'mon, give a girl a chance.”
“This was not the time for experimentation. All you needed to do was to whisk a few times and it was done. Not to spend minutes on end pulverizing it.”
Hina finally speaks up. “You did spend about ten minutes figuring out that we did not have enough for the feast you were planning.”
Myon grumbles and sets the bowl down. “I would have already been finished if you had let me proceed on our own.”
This is just going to turn into another bickering fest and, while Myon has set down the bowl and has rounded onto Hina, Merlin is remaining still, seemingly unwilling to move from her spot. ...You can hazard to guess why. Even so, you’re hungry, and there’s no point to this argument. “That’s enough.”
[ ] Hina, stay. Everyone else, out.
[ ] Merlin, stay. Everyone else, out.
[ ] Myon, stay. Everyone else, out.