[x] ...Yo? [x] Did you catch them? [x] ...What’s with the getup? -[x] You’re here about Mai.
“...Yo?” The redhead simply stares back at your befuddled being, not really moving anymore. Seeing this angle is somewhat disorientating, especially in your relatively tired state. It takes a moment or two longer to realize that, yes, you are seeing exactly what you think you’re seeing. ...This is hardly some sort of dream; that’d be too easy an explanation.
Either way, you do recognize the face from earlier. “...Did you catch them?”
The first hint of life appears on her face as she arcs an eyebrow… well, upward for her. “We caught all of the hostage-takers. In the end, they were sufficiently apprehending and contained. Sara was quite enthusiastic about ensuring that none were in a state to escape.”
“That’s good, at least. Are they going to remain in custody?”
“Likely. The bakebake are an odd case, but they are not gaining their freedom anytime soon.” Her expression falls back to a dull stare as she continues to judge you. You straighten your neck before popping it, feeling a crick from where you had been lying for the previous while.
She seems content to just judge you; at least she’s no longer prodding you. “So, what’s with the getup that you are wearing? Looks a little formal. Are you off duty?”
“I suppose that I am. And it is because I am a princess.”
You open your mouth before immediately closing it. You have been napping on the shoulder of some goddess, again. You might eventually get used to it. “A princess? One that happens to also be a police officer?”
“I’m not one currently; I’m simply a princess now.”
“...A princess of what?”
“Does one have to be a princess of something? It simply is what I am.”
“Then why do you call yourself one?”
“Why, it’s in my name, of course.” It’s really odd how her expression has been flat this entire time. “But yes; we’re currently finished working for day, although we are maintained on call. The amount of incidents for which we are required are thankfully low.”
“That’s… good.” You’re kinda curious how she continues to square that circle, but there are other, more pressing concerns. “You’re here about Mai. That much is obvious.”
“That I am. I’m surprised that you decided to remain.”
“The others can take care of themselves. I didn’t feel good simply leaving.”
You see the barest of smiles before the redheaded police princess stands up. ...She still is standing on the wall as if it was the floor. “She has regained consciousness by now. Her injuries are major, but she will live. She is a demon, in the end.”
A sigh leaves your lips as you sag in relief. “That’s good to hear. I was rather worried about what happened.”
“She did need attention, but we do have access to salves that are far more efficient. Combined with her physiology, she is expected to fully recover.”
“...What are you talking about? Some kind of magic potion?”
“Nothing of the sort; they are perfectly normal and explained.” So says the woman who is flipping off gravity. “If you are coming to see her, now is the time.”
“Alright. Can you lead the way?”
“Just come to Room 108 in the Violet Wing.” With that, the redhead turns around with ease. You don’t see how she manages to do that, considering how her outfit flops around and hangs like a banner. Even so, she walks back up the side of the building before stepping through a window on the third floor.
You’re not sure you can follow…
[ ] Walk after her. That is simply possible. [ ] Just take the stairs; simpler. [ ] Wake Hina and see if she can assist with flying or walking.
Your Last FortunesHeadwing Consulting2016/12/25 (Sun) 06:50No. 193308▼
[X] Walk after her. That is simply possible. If anything, should we looking for easy ways? Besides, what can better encourage humangel to recover faster than spontaneous dynamic entries through the window of their hospital room?
 Just take the stairs; simpler.  Wake Hina and see if she can assist with flying or walking.
…”Just when I thought I had them figured, they pull something like this.” Slouching just briefly while shaking your head, you turn to Hina. “Hey there. We need to head on upstairs. One of the officers just—”
“I heard them.” Hina peeks open one eye before inclining her head. “You weren’t exactly quiet, after all.”
“Right.” You rub the back of your head, slightly embarrassed. “Sorry about that.”
“No bother. It was only a little unfortunate that you were, after all.”
Part of you wonders whether she is able to influence it while unconscious, and part of you just thinks that it’s a habit. No matter, you don’t want to argue it at this time. “Either way, I’m going to head on upstairs. Coming?”
“I think I’ll stay here.” She shakes her head as you start to speak. “I’m not going anywhere. Speak to her and try to exorcise your demons.”
“I guess I…” After taking a moment to compute what she said, you can’t help but to snort. “That probably isn’t the best thing to say when I’m going to speak with one, you know.”
“Well, I don’t think she’ll enjoy it if you dance around the subject. Besides, you’re no shrine priest or maiden. You don’t have the requisites to even perform such a activity.” Figures that she would know that, all things considered. Hina turns her head as you stand on up. “Don’t bother with me; just return soon so that you may escort me back to your home.”
“Right.” Pinching your nose, you head to the door. “Take care, then, while you’re here.”
“That I shall.” She folds her hands over her lap and turns her head up towards the moon. “...Thankfully it isn’t full. Knowing some, it might spell more trouble.”
That’s a thought you’ll tend to later. For now, you simply turn towards the entrance and slip in and stroll through the lobby. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice that the desk attendant has shifted out, and that no one seems to still be here from earlier. In fact, it’s practically cleared out. It’s likely after hours for normal visiting, as it is. You turn to the right and head toward the staircase in the main shaft of the hospital’s tower.
The recovery wing’s staircase shaft is just as empty as you arrive and start walking up, looking for markers on the wall for direction. As you reach the second floor, turning about in the direction from whence you came, you spy a guide post on the wall, listing all of the floors above you per color, with the third floor being Purple and the ninth floor being the Red Floor. “Odd… where is…” Narrowing your eyes, you lean down and inspect the labels a bit. After a moment, you finally spy a further set of directions: For Purple Wing, Turn Right; For Violet Wing, Turn Left.
“...Well, I guess I can try.” Frowning, you head upstairs to the next floor. As you walk up the stairs, the knob turns and a nurse exits through it. She barely gives you a nod of acknowledgement before hurrying down, and you manage to catch the door before it shuts. When you step through, you look around and spy a sign for Purple Wing above you, and you look around. ...Curiously, there is an abrupt right turn right before you, with no visible path to take from there.
[ ] Search for the path left. [ ] Ask for directions. [ ] Walk into wall just in case. [ ] Go back down and consult guide.
 Walk into wall just in case.  Search for the path left.
Of course, there is no easy explanation for where you are going. Based on what you can reckon from the path you pursued throughout your twists and turns, left should be leading you back towards the front of the building, where that strange redhead just walked through a window. Not really doubting your directions, you start to inspect the wall to your left.
It is a plain, off-white wall. Perhaps eggshell or a little darker than that; such distinctions did escape you. The wall itself seems to be featureless; it’s covered over with drywall, although there is a small strip of rubber molding at the bottom. Parts of it seem to have been scuffed quite thoroughly; you imagine that it was done by hospital gurneys at some point.
The only real striking feature is the purple stripe on the wall, approximately forty inches off of the ground at its midpoint, being eight inches wide in total. Your eyes follow it along to the adjoining hall and look down the corridor at the same time. There appears to be a similarly colored stripe running across each of the halls, but you note that it doesn’t actually cross the doors, and is only painted on the walls proper. The signposts for each room, along with the signs from the ceiling and the countertop all seem to share the same color. It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to the stark contrast, but there are enough other colors in clean walkways for your sight to not be too bothered.
Still, you look back to the wall in question. There’s no obvious switch or hidden door just waiting to be taken, no matter how long you peruse the facade before you. After a little while longer, you also notice that, be it on the nearby door jamb or neighboring wall, that there is no other switch or panel that opens up an entrance before you. Seeing no other option, you even try flipping the switches for the lights. It doesn’t achieve anything.
Running out of immediate options, an obtuse question comes to mind. “...I guess, considering who we’re dealing with, I guess it could just be a magical barrier of some sort.” It’s sad when that kind of explanation is a logical one, but that’s simply the kind of life you’re stuck in right now. “If that’s the case, maybe i just need to walk through. ...just in case.”
With that thought in mind, you square up with the wall, making sure to give it as much regard as possible while simultaneously being cognizant of it not being physically present. It is merely a metaphysical anomaly that you will have to ignore in order to proceed past. With those, and other similar thoughts in mind, you stroll straight into the wall, expecting it to change.
You immediately bounce off of it, with nothing to show for your attempt than a sore nose. The attending nurse taking report glances over towards you, raising an eyebrow at your curious methods of pathfinding.
[ ] Ask for directions. [ ] Go back down and consult guide. [ ] Write-in.
There’s no use helping things; you’re simply going to have to ask. You don’t have the time to waste, banging your head on the wall like this, especially when there is a nurse right there to ask.
Rubbing your forehead, where you are sure you’ll be having a massive headache of ghostly origins, you turn to the attending nurse. “Pardon me, but I need directions to find one of the wings. I’m not exactly sure how to get there.”
The woman faintly smirks before she turns to her station, picking up the tablet on hand. In one swift motion, she rises to her feet and walks about the desk, towards you. “Dear, you seemed to know perfectly which way you were going. I haven’t seen such determined behavior since I last left the sanitarium~”
“That really isn’t nece-” You stop yourself in your tracks and shoot her an odd look. “There’s no asylum in this hospital.” Or, to your knowledge, anywhere in the province.
“Of course there isn’t.” That doesn’t seem to cause the grin to fade off of her face. “But I’m just filling in. Pardon, but which patient are you seeking out? I’ll have you know that it is after official visiting hours, though. Most of the patients are asleep and resting. Percussive maintenance is absolutely forbidden at this time.”
Biting your tongue, you quickly get the conversation back on track. “It doesn’t matter. I was told to come up and see her, as she was finally awake.”
“Of course, of course… Head trauma can result in some dissonance…” She mutters to herself and punches a few tabs, gracefully swiping as she pulled up a list. “Name of the patient and her wing?”
“Mai, in the Violet Wing.”
Not reacting in the slightest to your terse tongue, she punches the answer in, her fingers bouncing from one to another as she inputs everything. “Hrm, yes, yes… So I see. Now, does the patient have a family or last name? I’m afraid that is required information to allow you to see the patient.” As she says that, the nurse inclines the tablet towards her, preventing you from peeking on the patient’s chart.
“...Really? I don’t know her last name. I only met her today.” You grumble and cross your arms. “Listen, it’s been a rough day, she just woke up, and I’d like to see and speak to her. ...Make sure she’s doing well.”
“Truly? Hrm… Out of your own sense of righteousness or misplaced guilt.?”
“Oh, nothing. Just a little seasoning while it renders down.” Turning her eyes back to her sheet, her smirk widens a little. “Are you searching for the Patient listed under Angel, Mai?”
Wait, is her name really Mai— “...You have to be freaking kidding me. This isn’t the time for jokes, and Mai would kill you if she ever heard that.”
“Better answer~ I suppose that will do.” The woman clears her throat. “Although, you’ve come to the wrong place. The only way to get to Violet Wing is to turn left at the stairwell.”
“There’s… no other door at the stairwell. This is the right story, isn’t it?”
“Oh, quite.” The woman chuckles a little before inclining her head. A shadow falls over her eyes. “But one can’t get to one wing from another, yes? You have to take the stairwell, of course. Unless you’re already dead and departed, then I have to wonder why you’re even bothering to walk.” She taps her lip with a finger. “I suppose you might be saving energy to run from the Yama. Could be an answer.”
“Really?” You shake your head. Seems like the headache is coming early. “Would you just give me a direct answer?”
“I already did. Turn left at the stairwell.”
You look back towards the door you just walked through, wondering for a moment. “And this is the correct story to be on? And that is the correct shaft?”
“I did say the former.” She bites her nail before rapidly tapping and pulling up a page. “Hard of hearing. Perhaps I should file a recommendation. I could refer you to a few excellent practitioners. It really would be no trouble~.”
“I’m… quite fine.” You edge a step backwards, a little concerned over her earnestness. “If I continue to have issues, I’ll consult my own. And… You’re just a recovery nurse, aren’t you Ms., erm…”
“Nurse Sweet, and yes. But there’s always someone who knows someone who knows someone~” After tapping a few times, the nurse cuts her eyes toward you. “Is that all, sir?”
“Yeah, I suppose it is. Thanks for all of your, uhm, help.” You half expect her to make a comment, but nothing manages to mar the little smirk that seems to have affixed itself to her face. Without another word, you turn and head back out to the stairwell, pushing the door open with no resistance.
“I’ll see you around. Ta ta~” That… certainly isn’t going to happen, as far as you care. You put the nurse out of mind and shut the door behind you. Looking up and down, it seems likely a perfectly normal door with only a handle knob to open it up on this side. A cursory examination shows that there is nothing else on the current landing where the door is located, and there’s not even the barest mark that would indicate some kind of secret passage. Curious, you put your hand on the wall to the left of the door, but you feel solid concrete under your fingertips; there is nothing illusory about this. Regardless of everything else, this is supposedly the right place.
...Well, you’re half inclined to just give up and submit to any kind of ridiculous answer to this magical malarky, but before you start pirouetting about, a thought comes to mind. “...Can it be that simple?” After a short hesitation, you shrug your shoulders and reach down, turning the doorknob to the left. The latch easily clicks, and you swing the door back open.
The hallway looks nearly the same but, as you can see from the wall now to your right across the threshold, this is most certainly not the same location. Well, that is assuming that this Nurse Sweet doesn’t have magical wall-building powers or some other complete bull just to annoy you. You’re halfway tempted to try swinging the door back and forth in order to test it out, but instead, you simply shake your head in resignation and move inside.
This time, you come to another long hallway that, oddly, isn’t empty. In front of the fourth door down on your left, you spot a familiar blonde standing prim and proper in front of one of the hospital doors.
“...At least I don’t have to search much longer.” Sighing in relief, you head down towards her. “Hello, Smith. Is this her room?”
“It is. ...I expected you sooner after Kotohime returned.”
“Got turned around. Didn’t expect to have to use a magical door that only works on an anticlockwise turn.”
After a moment, she faintly nods. “Well, best to keep the wings separate; the doorknob isn’t the only precaution, anyway.”
“It isn’t?” ...Odd, thought, but you’ll not dig into that now. “Either way, I did finally find my way here, though the nurse in question wasn’t much help in that regard.”
“Considering that none of them know the way in here…” She frowns after a moment. “...What nurse did you speak with, again?”
“Her name was Sweet.” She frowns a little at the information, and you just know that it wasn’t expected. “Something’s an issue.”
“Don’t worry about it for now. I’ll look into it. That concerns PC-98 business.” After clearing her head, she steps to the side. “Don’t let me keep you any longer. I’m sure there’s a lot you want to get off your chest.”
“Right, right…” For all that she has annoyed her, Smith has been unusually helpful today. Maybe when push comes to shove, you can actually depend on her. Even so, you step through the door, taking care to turn it to the left just incase that is a prerequisite for entrance here as well.
With that, you cross the entrance into the recovery room. It certainly is larger than you would expect; about twice the size you would imagine for a normal recovery room for two people. It certainly is quite voluminous, and you can’t help but wonder if there are… larger magical beings that might end up in the outside. They certainly have the space for it.
And, after turning past the short entryway plastered with hospital paraphernalia, you finally spy the inhabitants of the room. For her sake, Mai seems to be wrapped up in an entire swathe of bandages on the parts that you can see. Both wings are spread out and are splinted, with a few wraps that have dressings that need to be changed. For the most part, she is covered with blankets and seems to be resting peacefully with her eyes shut.
At her feet, you spy the short-haired redhead from earlier. The taller girl seems to be slumped over from her chair, her head resting on a folded blanket. ...You notice a trickle of drool has already soaked a spot where she has been laying. Considering how wonky and twisted one would have to be to sit like that, it is a wonder she can get any sleep. To her side is the other redhead. Kotohime, you think her name was. She’s still wrapped up in a full kimono, she seems to be working on a small stack of paperwork. The taller redhead has become her temporary desk in the process. Other than that, all you see is Ms. Smith drinking coffee in the corn—
Wait, there’s a Smith in front of you? But… there was one at the door as well? ...There’s two of them? How can there be two? You twitch a little bit. Which one has been leading you around? When? Two bungling government officials instead of just the one? The very thought is making you shake. Sure, the one outside appeared helpful, but is this another of her irresponsible gambits? Maybe… Maybe it’s just the good twin. ...Or you’re seeing things. Yes. That’s the best explanation. You can pretend it’s true for now.
You can’t help but to froth at the mouth as your mind struggles to render this new reality. Just… Goddammit Smith.
Apparently your temporary madness was enough to draw attention to the one-who-shall-not-be-called-an-angel. Mai peeks open an eye and peers your way. After a moment, you hear a raspy, weak voice that barely manages to carry. “H-hey there, Slick.”
[ ] Try to apologize. -[ ] A lot, over and over. --[ ] Genefluct. [ ] Just ask about her condition. Should she be speaking? [ ] How is she feeling? ...Among all things. [ ] Just talk about something neutral. Yes. The weather should do. [ ] Rant about Smith. Never a bad option. [ ] Doors are a neutral subject. Even magical ones. [ ] Obligatory Write-in Option.
[x] Just ask about her condition. Should she be speaking? [x] How is she feeling? ...Among all things. [x] Try to apologize.
Somehow, you expected an angrier response than this. A turned nose, the silent treatment, maybe even a half-baked attempt to try and futily push you away. Just a short welcome that didn’t even have any heat to it? ...That sounds too good to be true. “...Hello, Mai. It’s good to see you awake after… well, after earlier.” She opens her mouth to respond, and you immediately cut her off. “How… poorly off are you? Should you even be talking when you’re so injured?”
“...Probably not.” She coughs a little before averting her eyes. “All they had to do was plug me up.” The voice is quiet and faint still, and it barely manages to carry to your ears. “Be easier if you came closer.”
Somewhat reluctantly, you head on over. “You shouldn’t be speaking if it’s this painful.” She doesn’t respond, and it takes a moment for you to continue. “How badly were you hurt? If I may ask.”
“I believe they said around 57 total bullet wounds. Total penetration in all but thirteen of the cases.” She looks down a bit. “Major internal injuries, quite a bit of internal bleeding, that what stayed in me…” Mai coughs again and shudders. “...Couple of broken ribs, fractured vertebrae. That’s not accounting for everything in my wings.” After a moment, she shrugs, but the first cringe of pain you’ve seen flashes across her face. “...And probably a lot more minor things. That’s the big ones I know.
Your gut nearly flips as she lists them all. You still feel a bit queasy knowing all of what happened to her; good thing you haven’t eaten anytime recently. “How in the world… ...Are you even going to be able to walk?” A moment later, you shake your head. “How are you not in more pain? You’re just… laying here, acting like it’s the weather!”
“The spider’s poison is a hell of a fucking drug.” Mai nearly grins at your befuddled glance. “...’Sides, don’t worry. I should be up… soon. What with all they’re pumping in me, I should be back in the week, right as twilight.”
“...That must be some strong stuff they’re pumping in you.”
“You wouldn’t survive it in your state.” She lets out a sigh, which is followed by another cringe of pain. “It doesn’t matter; I’ve had worse. This is practically a vacation.”
You look up and down, seeing the bandages and wrappings and all manners of diodes and hoses that are attached to her body. “Worse than this? Who in the world would have done this to you back then? You wouldn’t have had to deal with guns in that place you’re from.”
“Sometimes a stick and bare fists make a more painful weapon than a simple bullet does.” Quietly, Mai hisses, but this time there is no accompanying grimace. “Much more painful. And I didn’t have the luxury of a soft recovery afterwards.”
“...I see.” You try to summon the words, but nothing seems to arise for you to ask. You’re still befuddled as to why she isn’t angry at you. “What… but how do you feel otherwise?”
“Hrm?” Slowly, she cocks her head. ...You think she does, at least. It’s not a very big motion, either way.
“Just… How do you feel in general?” The exact question doesn’t want to leave your mouth.
“Well, I didn’t completely succeed.” She sighs and looks down, her voice somehow softer. “I was not quite alert enough, and couldn’t intercept the threat before it made itself apparent. ...And I did not react quickly enough in order to safeguard the both of us; I had to choose.”
“...Why did you even do that? Weren’t they aiming towards you?”
“They would have likely have hit me regardless. But the risk could not be taken. Especially as you are one of the current hosts....” She sighs. “Still, I could have performed a lot better. Maybe enough to halt or stymie the operation.”
“...Still…” Now it comes to the nagging worries that have been lingering. “I need to apologize for letting you be injured. I shouldn’t have done what I did. I’m the reason you were injured so badly.”
Mai is quiet for a few seconds. “Did you act with malice?”
“Huh?” You tilt your head and furrow your brow. “Of course I did not.”
“Then you are only responsible for being ignorant.” She coughs again, but remains rather motionless in all respects. “At least you tried to do something. I can… appreciate the initiative.”
Such words don’t really try to assuage you; you feel even more guilty instead. “Doesn’t mean that it was a good thing. I didn’t intend to hurt you, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
“Eh, I’ve been to hell. Not sure you’d call that hole in the ground a road.” She actually snorts, visibly wincing. “Don’t get mad at yourself; just do better next time.”
“I don’t particularly plan on being a next time.” Then again, you didn’t plan on a first time, either. “Either way, I just wanted to apologize. I screwed up big time, and as a result of that, you’re like this.”
Mai stares off into the distance for a little while. The other redhead keeps snoozing at Mai’s feet, completely oblivious to you standing right next to her. ...Oddly, Kotohime seems to have left, though for what reason, you’re not quite sure. And Smith just continues to drink her coffee and looking at… something. It’s hard to tell when someone wears sunglasses indoors at night. And, through it all, you just hold your silence, fidgeting a bit while unsure of what to say.
A little while later, Mai looks back up at you. “...Why so skittish, Slick? I’m not going to bite your head off.” She rolls her eyes. “Even if I were inclined to do so, I wouldn’t give that satisfaction.” Her thin lips crack a small, unsettling grin before looking up at you. “...Do you really want to make it up to me?”
[ ] Sure? Accepting unconditionally might be good. [ ] You’ll pass. [ ] Not that you mind, but what does that involve? [ ] That… doesn’t sound promising. Even so… What does it involve? [ ] Give suggestion (Write-in)
[x] Sure? Accepting unconditionally might be good.
On the one hand, it would probably be wise to check the conditions of what you’re going to sign up for. Not knowing enough was what got you into this mess, along with the whole issue of having three transfers dumped on your lap. It’s not quite the ideal situation you had hoped for. However, Mai is not Smith; two Smith’s are already two too many. So… considering all that has happened, there is only one real answer that you can give.
“Sure, I suppose that I can do that.”
“...Good, then. I knew you weren’t the type to say no.” She grins a bit more before closing her eyes. “Good, good.”
Still slightly unsettling. “I see. But what does it involve on my part.”
“Oh, not… anything too much. You definitely have plenty of time now, so you can make it up.”
“...Just go ahead and tell me.” What is she expecting? Some simple tribute of earth and water? “The suspense is unnecessary.”
“Don’t make me talk too much, now…” She coughs a little bit before she lets out a soft, quiet snort. “...Might be more my own fault there.”
“Perhaps.” You’ll not take too long and force her to speak anymore. “Just tell me when you’re healthy enough to.”
“Just… when I’m better…” Mai turns her head back towards you, and for just a fleeting instant, you see the devil in disguise. “We’ll make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Your ass is mine.” At your silent response, she rolls back. “Don’t worry, Slick. You’ll be seeing me soon.”
That certainly isn’t as comforting as a thought as it had been before all this took place.
“Well… Alright. I guess I’ll just take my leave, then.” Mai nods just slightly in response, apparently not feeling up to continued conversation. Instead, you look towards Smith, who doesn’t seem to have moved at all. “So, anything else that you need from me?”
“No, I don’t believe so.” She takes yet another sip from her coffee (how is it still steaming hot at this point is beyond you) before clearing her throat. “You can manage to make it all of the way home, yes?”
“I believe that I can make it that far, at the very least.” After another sigh, you turn. “No paperwork required?”
“Oh, plenty. But that will come later.” She smiles a little bit. “Just go get your henhouse in order, loverboy.”
“...” You open your mouth to complain again, but you just shake your head. This isn’t the hill that you need to die upon; not tonight, at least. “Very well. Take care, Mai.” After no response at all, you turn and head towards the door. She doesn’t seem the type to be a light sleeper, but maybe you’re wrong. The short redhead certainly isn’t, as the puddle at Mai’s feet has only managed to grow larger since you last arrived. Kotohime isn’t in sight, but the other Smith is still maintaining her station at the entrance to Mai’s room.
She chuckles at your rather bemused glance. “Safe trip.” As you walk past Smith, she gently pats your back, and you twitch as a static shock surges throughout you. “Oh, sorry about that! Must have been shuffling back and forth too much.”
You turn and give her another look. “...Which one of you is the real one? That actually sounded contrite.”
“Of course I am the real Smith.” She titters just a little bit. “Now be off; you’ve been away from your charge long enough.”
“Right, right… See you later.” you head on down the stairs, carefully treading your way back down towards the entrance to the hospital. You nearly do decide to check the first ward you found, but such a problem isn’t in your purview. Instead, you weave your way through the lazy confines of the lobby and find Hina right where you left her. “...I see the world hasn’t fallen apart in my absence.”
“I suppose it hasn’t.” The goddess grins just a smidgen. “So, she is fine?”
“Just weak. Although, I might be having to do her a favor when she gets healthier.”
“Well, you’ll cross that bridge when you get there.” She stands up, dusting a few motes of dust off of her skirt. “Shall we head on? I do technically require an escort.”
“That sounds like it’d be for the best.” Back to home after way too long an absence. “Let’s hope they haven’t burnt the house down since we were last there.”
The rest of the night didn’t really pass by, although you didn’t really do anything once you got home except march up to your room and go dig up every document that you could on the various laws and regulations that you find yourself suddenly subject to. However, in your rather emotionally exhausted state, you do not manage to remain elevated in your search and fall asleep in your chair, which is where you wake up with a crick in your back and a your neck aching just as much.
“...What a day.” You rub the sleep out of your eyes as the sun peeks through the window. At least it is a normal day. Another day with too many magical girls.
Still, without work to even worry about, you find yourself kinda lacking anything that you can, well, do. Perhaps you should set a plan.
[ ] Review these requirements one last time. [ ] Maybe cleaning up and sorting your affairs would be best. What few that there are now. [ ] Best Guest should be up as well. Maybe you can try this whole to play the part of a host again? [ ] Just go and check to see if your kitchen is in one piece. [ ] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist?
File 14888624213.jpg - (135.32KB, 579x650, INQUIRY MAJOR MALFUNCTION IDENTIFICATION.jpg)
>Your ass is mine.
YES. Someone needs to put some muscle in his scrawny ass!
>Some simple tribute of earth and water
You'll find plenty in the dirt where you belong, you worthless maggot!
[x] General Plan for day -[x] Start the day with a jog and some light exercises. Youmu seems fit, so she might be helpful in this. Some company is nice, too. -[x] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist? --[x] Also, it is time to give her the benefit of doubt again. Forgive and forget. -[x] If you have free time after all of that... Review these requirements one last time.
[x] General Plan for day -[x] Start the day with a jog and some light exercises. Youmu seems fit, so she might be helpful in this. Some company is nice, too. -[x] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist? --[x] Also, it is time to give her the benefit of doubt again. Forgive and forget. -[x] If you have free time after all of that... Review these requirements one last time.
[x] General Plan for day -[x] Start the day with a jog and some light exercises. Youmu seems fit, so she might be helpful in this. Some company is nice, too. -[x] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist? --[x] Also, it is time to give her the benefit of doubt again. Forgive and forget. -[x] If you have free time after all of that... Review these requirements one last time.
[X] Maybe cleaning up and sorting your affairs would be best. What few that there are now. [X] Best Guest should be up as well. Maybe you can try this whole to play the part of a host again? [X] Just go and check to see if your kitchen is in one piece. [X] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist?
[x] Start the day with a jog and some light exercises. Youmu seems fit, so she might be helpful in this. Some company is nice, too. [x] Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist? [X] Maybe cleaning up and sorting your affairs would be best. What few that there are now. [x] If you have free time after all of that... Review these requirements one last time.
File 148895964714.png - (56.81KB, 173x190, she certainly should have a heart on her sleeve.png)
[x] General Plan for day - Start the day with a jog and some light exercises. Youmu seems fit, so she might be helpful in this. Some company is nice, too. - Wasn’t there something you wanted to ask the poltergeist? -- Also, it is time to give her the benefit of doubt again. Forgive and forget. - If you have free time after all of that... Review these requirements one last time.
After a moment of consideration, everything finally comes to mind. “Let me go and check on those other two first. Hina should be ok, if she isn’t already up. ...I can finish the rest of this later.” Standing up, you head on off towards the showers to clean up and wash the rivulets of drool from your visage. You don’t particularly want to hear the reaction of any of those girls.
Half an hour later, you finally exit dressed and ready to proceed. You make sure to bookmark all of the documents that you’ve gone over and stack the paper documents away nice and neatly at a separate location. No need to risk something to happen to the one copy and not have access to another, after all.
You quickly make your way down the stairs, realizing that you never quite allocated them rooms to use. ...It could be a bigger problem; at the least, Myon doesn’t necessarily need a space, considering she is incorporeal. Perhaps that is something that you can take care of later.
Regardless, you find that the living room is rather empty, though the TV is currently on and running. Odd… It takes you a moment to realize that there is a rather pale girl floating over your couch (or is she sitting on it? Hard to tell when you can see through her). “Oh, hello there, you’re already up.”
The girl looks up with rather empty eyes, before blinking. “Ah, You are alright, then?” She looks a little bit annoyed, though she hides it soon as her translucent eyes focus. “Oh! You’re injured. Not too badly, again?”
“It could have been worse. ...Going to be having to do something about it, but…” Wait, if Myon uses a sword like that, she surely must have actually done workouts. Well, her human half might have done the workouts, unless ghosts need to work on their muscles. “Well, everyone involved ended up alright. I’ll be hearing from Mai later. ...Speaking of, I thought of something to ask you…”
“That is wonderful.” She nods a bit before eying the TV. “Can it wait a little while, though? I must continue to learn all of these outside recipes in order to prepare and try them for Lady Saigyoujei. That is if you don’t mind, Sir.”
“Er…” Not quite the reaction you expected. You look up to the screen and find that it is locked on another cooking show. “...I see. I guess I don’t mind? I was hoping to go and do so fairly soon. I imagine that you must perform some daily exercises?”
“I do, yes.” She is already watching the show again; you hear the scritching of pencil jotting down on paper. She seems to be taking notes rather furiously. “Or rather, my other half does. That isn’t required for my benefit so much. Why are you interested?”
“Well, it’s just that…” You trail off, as her attention is focused on the explanation going on in the screen. ...You’re not even sure what they’re making besides a mush, but you’re not asking right now. “Well, how about we just worry about that when we go and do it? Was planning on just doing a jog or something to try and get in shape.” At least you’re not in that bad of a shape. You definitely don’t do these kind of things everyday, though.
Either way, Myon is still locked in on the show. “Mind just going once you’re done with this? I get the feeling that you’re… occupied right now.”
She nods faintly. “That seems just fine. I will find you once I have committed all of this to paper.”
Nodding in response, you stand there awkwardly for a moment before heading on. She is staring at that screen a little too intently. ...Do you ever look like that when you watch something? Regardless, you peek your head into the kitchen to see if Merlin is down here, and find that she isn’t present here, either. With Myon occupied, you decide to just head upstairs and look around for either the occupied poltergeist or Goddess.
By the time you reach the third floor, you haven’t encountered either of those two. Hina’s door is closed, though, and you don’t particularly want to barge in on her. Instead, you look opposite, at the roof racks where you first encountered the pink poltergeist. ...And, there are the far side past all the hanging clothes, you see her idly sitting on the edge of the roof, teetering over the same drop you tripped over.
“...” There’s a moment where you are apprehensive, but instead, you manage to open the door. You’re not going to be made to be scared of your own home. That, and if Mai can forgive you for things done, you can give the poltergeist one more chance. “Hello there, Merlin.”
“Good morning.” She leans back, looking at you upside down. “Surprised you’re out here looking for little ol’ me. Not too popular around these parts.”
“Well, Myon was busy, and I’ve been meaning to ask you something anyway. Saw it when I was out yesterday at that meeting.”
“...She watching the TV again?”
“How do you know?”
“Because that’s all she does, it seems.” Merlin scoffs and rolls her eyes. “Seriously, ya know, she got more fresh air chasing me than she did on her own.” She shakes her head again. “So, who is that Mai character you were yapping about when you called yesterday?”
“This isn’t exactly the time for a joke…”
“Hrm…” She taps her lip. She is still leaning back, upside down. “You know, I didn’t even think about the punultimate options, but no, was just asking. Don’t know the name.”
“...She’s the girl with blue hair and white wings that works for PC-98.”
“Oh, her!” She tilts her head to the side. “...Hrm. More serious than I thought. Takes quite a bit to take down a Makai demon.”
“She said she had worse back then, when some shrine maiden broke in and beat them up.” At least, it was something of that sort. Everything is a bit muddled.
“...That is only half the story, ya know?” Merlin snickers. “Forgot to mention that Makai invaded Gensokyo first. That’s just a small detail, ya know. But those demons… just be careful. They make girls like me look harmless.”
You twitch a bit. “Not exactly improving my mood, you know.”
“Eh, just saying. So, you never said what you were doing out here, you know?”
Oh, right. That. “...I saw a poster at the cafe that I was at. Something about two poltergeist sisters performing sometime soon. Would you know anything about those two?”
Whatever grin that was on her face vanishes, and soon she is sitting up straight and facing away instead of pointing her face and cleavage at you. “Don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Not in the least.”
[ ] “...You know that I can tell you’re lying.” Call her out. [ ] “If you don’t want to tell, that’s fine. I don’t mind listening if you want to get it off your chest.” That might take more than words, though. [ ] “...” She doesn’t want to talk. Don’t press [ ] Sit with her a moment. Don’t say a word. Let her start talking to break the silence.. [ ] Write-in
[X] Sit with her a moment. Don’t say a word. Let her start talking to break the silence.. [X] “If you don’t want to tell, that’s fine. I don’t mind listening if you want to get it off your chest.” That might take more than words, though. [X] “...” She doesn’t want to talk. Don’t press
[x] Sit with her. "How's your trumpet doing?" Change the topic. -[x] Don't press the topic, but if she talks about those totally unrelated poltergeists, let her.
Well, you’re never going to get anywhere by prodding that hornet’s nest. As hot-blooded as the cold geist is, she’ll just clamp her mouth shut and refuse to talk save for every insult she can possibly think of to drive you off. At the same time, you are curious as to what she is hiding. ...It probably has something to do with her rather erratic behavior.
Though you can’t force that out, you can at least make small talk. If she decides to say anything… Well, it’s not as if you would stop her. As such, you slump over towards the railing, being careful, before sitting down on the roof and leaning against the edge. Thankfully, there is plenty of support from this angle. Merlin continues to sit a little ways down from your spot and is staring off into space with a rather twitchy frown. It doesn’t look like it even fits her face. Even so, she is tightly clutching the trumpet, which still has some noticeable discoloration towards the center.
Well, no time to strike like the present. “...How’s your trumpet doing?”
“...Eh?” She blinks a few times and looks down at you. After a moment, that false smile you’ve seen before flashes on. “You know that isn’t how the pickup line goes, Honey. Isn’t it something like ‘you’re looking kinda horn-y there, toots’. Really bamboozled that one, I think.”
It takes a moment for you to do anything but roll your eyes once more. “Sometimes, people do mean what they say. I honestly was curious. That was all.”
“Heh. Ain’t that what they all say?” Merlin snickers a little bit before turning around and looking down at her instrument. You remain quiet as her snickers die down, and eventually you feel a questioning gaze. “...Hrm. ...Well… It’s doing alright. Got as much as I could out, but the piston valves are jammed well and tight in it. I’d hate try and clean out the springs of the valves with all of the junk in them; it might be easier to simply replace them.” She suddenly snorts out loud. “...Replace. Too easy anymore.”
“Hrm? What was that?”
“...Nothing at all.” She huffs and turns her head, her face a continuous flashing of emotions.
With that in mind, you continue from where you left off. “Does that mean it won’t work?”
Merlin chokes down another snort. “Sound’s messed up something awful, I suppose, even if I could play.” She shakes her head. “Too much has been jammed down in it. You didn’t even have a pipe cleaner anywhere in this house I could use. Had to stick my finger down the hole to try and pick out the dust. Pretty difficult when your hand won’t even go through the horn like it should.”
“...Well, I imagine that human trumpet players manage to get by on their own. Not like I could stick your hand through your horn.”
“You’d like it to stick it in there, wouldn’t you?” She snickers again, and this time you can’t help but to feel a blush rise.
“I’ll pass.” Though an alteration in this dialogue would be nice. You didn’t want to be put on your back foot through incredibly bad jokes. Although, if she has to maintain the trumpet when she could just make invisible… “Why do you even bother maintaining your horn at all? If you can just make it become intangible...”
She rolls her eyes. “Well, I can play more than this trumpet? Just because that’s the object I spawned from…” She taps her lips and waves her hand about, kicking her feet at the same time. She manages to keep herself perfectly balanced, even so. “I mean, I’ve a fair hand at any instrument with wind in it. Mostly brass ones. They do fit me kinda well. Though, I do love a manic piccolo every so often… But this instrument is different. It’s me, just like...” She breathes deeply before sighing wistfully “But… that was back home, when we played for fun and because we enjoyed it.
“They… They’re just a bunch of sellouts.” She huffs out loud, her earlier intransience seemingly having passed. Merlin’s face continues to flash from a grin to a scowl and back again extremely quickly; if you didn’t know any better, you’d think she’d shorted a wire. Even so, her grumbling falls quieter while also becoming less intelligible and descending into incomprehensible mutterings.
[ ] ...So… Which instruments? Continue the plan of letting her spill. [ ] Offer to listen if she wants to rant. [ ] Prod her a little bit more in general [ ] Ask something more specific. -[ ] But what? [ ] Write-in
[X] Offer to try to help fix it. -[X] Ask how you might go about it.
Honestly, I was more going for Merlin points to work towards info rather than trying to squeeze it out. Still, good to know as much as we do. If we keep it up, we can have out very own deafeningly loud not-spirit to be deafened by!
>>194645 People let's keep the discussion about rampant abandonment issues. I do not think she'd appreciate talking about Hina right now, considering we've given her the cold shoulder since she got here (not without merit, mind you)
[x] ...So… Which instruments? Continue the plan of letting her spill. -[x] Offer to help fix her trumpet-or to find someone who can.
“So, which instruments?”
Merlin doesn’t seem to notice before letting out a quiet grunt. “Huh? Whaddya mean?”
“What instruments do you play? Anything at all?”
“Just the ones to which I’m assigned.” She huffs a bit. “I mean, there isn’t much that I don’t like doing. Trumpet is the best, but I realize that the sound isn’t wanted all the time. Just something loud, fast, and in your face is what’s most fun.”
“Basically, just like you.”
“Exactly like that!” She suddenly grins again. You’re having a hard time keeping up with all of the mood swings. “I mean, something in your face. A trumpet is never one to hide, after all. Though, never got to…” She trails off before huffing again and hiking her nose. “Nothing. Just nothing.”
“So, you said that and… Piccolo, was it?” You never have been quite the musician, so you’re kinda feeling in the dark here. At least you have the general idea of what the instrument is. ...You might have to find a dictionary if she starts citing anything obscure.
“Yeah, it’s a good play. Nice and tight, although my tongue really gets a workout.” Merlin snickers to herself. “Would be a problem if I was a human, I suppose. ...Might be a problem now, actually. Still not sure what that goddess of yours did to me.”
“She was just ensuring that you were not going to be anymore of an issue. That’s all.”
Merlin flicks a baleful glance towards you before snorting. “Ain’t like I haven’t heard that one before.”
You just roll your eyes. “You don’t say.”
“”Oh, I do declare.” She can’t help but to snicker a little bit more. “Still, it’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure that these… other poltergeists aren’t really doing much. Probably dancing in the street wearing a circus outfit while begging for money.”
Yeah. She isn’t bothered by the thought. At all. “Well, I did see it on a poster. Only saw the briefest of glances, but it did look like some sizable shindig.”
That ever-present smile flickers again, and the ghost averts her eyes. “...I’m sure it looked like it. ...But it really is nothing. Bunch of sellouts, I’m sure.” She crosses her arms, squishing the horn between a certain location; you have to avert your own gaze. “So it doesn’t even matter. They can go and hang for all I care.”
“...Can poltergeists be hanged?”
“...Well, it wouldn’t do anything but look macabre. Good for a Halloween show.” Merlin looks down and sighs, hugging the horn to her. “...Assuming that they were any good, of course.”
Well, as much as you could keep pushing… She seems to be clamming up, and pushing harder might just be too much. You’re patient, at least. ...Thank the maker that you are. So, instead, you take another tack. “Is there anything I could do to help you clean that trumpet?”
The pink poltergeist scoffs a bit. “It’s not a question of being strong. I just can’t do it with my hands, and I’m not going to clamp it down and damage it… Or try to take it apart.” Merlin shivers at the very thought. “I’ll eventually get it clean, either before or after I turn back.”
“Well…” you scratch your chin, thanking. “I’m sure there is someone around here that can do a repair on it.”
“No there is not!” Merlin snaps at you, and you feel as if she’s shooting those lasers out again. “He made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t needed; why would there be anyone here who could fix me?”
It takes you a moment to blink, and another to wipe a bit of spittle off of your face. “Well, I know that they’re still used, although… Maybe not in mainstream.” You’re not following the current idol scene, after all. You can think of much better things to do with your time. Coding comes to mind. “But… Common enough. Want me to look around and see if I find anything? I’m sure I could do something.”
“Hrmpf. I don’t think that is necessary. I don’t want to trouble you more than necessary.”
Stubborn girl. “Well, if you don’t want to… I guess I don’t have to go out of my way.” You clamber to your feet, and she continues to look down, hugging it to herself. “Well, you take care. Try not to fall off of it.”
“...Well… If you find someplace… I wouldn’t be averse to it.” She keeps looking down, kicking her feet over the edge. “Don’t have to go out of your way or anything.”
[ ] Don’t say anything, just head on. [ ] Say something nice; cheer her up. [ ] Just let her know it’s no problem. [ ] Make a deal with her instead. [ ] Just give her a hug. [ ] Write-in
[x] Just let her know it’s no problem. -[x] Seriously, we could just go down to the nearest walmart and pick up a pack of 100 pipe cleaners for like 5 bucks.
We apparently do not have any pipe cleaners in the house to unclog her trumpet with. Fortunately, this is not some backwater hicktown like Gensokyo. You can find thousands of pipe cleaners at pretty much any corner store in the outside world.
[x] Say something nice; cheer her up. I want to vote the hug but option. it may not be the right time... and he might not be the right one. But there's something about them that I want him to say. Is there something between them, anyway?
[x] Say something nice; cheer her up. [x] Just give her a hug.
“Eh. If helping some girl that’s down and out means going out of the way, it would hardly be the first time I’ve had to do that.” You shrug your shoulders as you look down at her. “Either way, I Imagine that they’re really missing your sound, you know? It likely isn’t the same.”
The girl continues to kick her feet back and forth as she stares off into space. “...You really think so, huh…?” She tilts her chin up a bit, not caring a bit about her precarious position. “...You’re probably just blowing hot air, ain’t ya? Not exactly a regimented opinion or understanding of music that you’ve extolled.”
“Not particularly, no. I don’t do anything more than listen to music from time to time. Though losing a core member of a group is a universal concern, not just one that is found in your world alone.” The poltergeist just nods a little bit as you continue. “...Though, in the end, if there is anyone who is an expert in blowing hot air, that’d be you.”
“Oh, someone’s getting big for his britches.” Merlin looks back over her shoulder, shooting you a grin that has some emotion behind it. ...You think. At the very least, her eyes echo it this time. “But, then again, I suppose I am that quintessential expert, at least in this residence. So don’t worry, Honey, you can get away with it this time.”
“I am heartened by that sentiment.” You offer a smile and a slight exaggerated bow to her, and the bluenette continues to snicker at the sight. “Alright. ...See you later.” The blue-haired girl nods and turns away, and you can tell that her mood is already drifting blue once more. In a fit of pique, you march over and wrap an arm around the girl’s shoulders, giving her a loose hug.
She, of course, jumps up in surprise, not having expected that in the least. “...Eh? What’s that for?”
“You’re getting down on yourself. Don’t do that. We don’t need so much drama and tension lurking over the house. ...That, and you looked like you could have used a hug.”
The girl huffs a bit, though you see the tips of red ears peeking out from her locks. “Yeah, right. You just wanted to get your grubby mitts on me.”
“Hardly. Just take this as getting even for when you cornered me the other day.” You roll your eyes and let go. “Later.”
With that short remark, you leave the girl to her thoughts and head down to your room. You quickly swap out for an outfit that is far more suited for the task at hand; you’re not going to go out running in a button-down shirt. You’d probably end up with enough sweat to wring your shirt dry and boil and make tea from the remnants.
You take a moment to gag at that thought. It was particularly disgusting. Perhaps hanging around all of these girls isn’t good for your mental health on top of your physical.
Once done, you dash on down the stairs and search for Myon. She has absconded with her notepad, and isn’t anywhere in sight with the TV. “...Kinda odd. Wasn’t she just watching this?”
“I had to go put my notes up after recording them twice. I don’t want them to be accidentally torn or ruined in my absence. I did say I would find you.” You spin around, and see Myon floating down through the ceiling. ...Curiously enough, the ghost seems to have changed an outfit. ...Why a ghost needs to wear a sports bra and shorts to go run when it doesn’t perspire is beyond you. ...Also beyond you is where she hid all that. “...Are you sure you’re prepared for a workout? You don’t have the weights for such a thing.”
“Err…” You tilt your head just a bit. “I am not sure what you mean. I was going to go and try to run. I’m not… typically accustomed to such stress.”
“Are you? You certainly seem to be in overall good health.” She hums and strokes her chin. “You do not perform the daily rituals to maintain your form?”
“Not at all.” Well, you’re pretty sure about that. It’s doubtful that she means such things as sleeping and eating and walking to work. “It’s never entered as a primary focus.”
“Interesting…” Myon trails off, eyes going a bit distant. “Hrm… Perhaps another benefit of the outsider diet? I will have to look into this at some point to confirm…”
The ghost seems to be busy muttering under her nonexistent breath. After a few seconds, it’s obvious that she has completely forgotten your presence. “Erm, earth to Myon? What are you doing?”
“Ah, nothing. Just thinking.” She shakes her head free and looks up. “But why bother asking me to come along?”
“...Partly because I’d like the company. And I know you’ve been stuck in the house. I figured you wouldn’t mind getting some fresh air for a little bit.” At the odd look she sends you, you realize your error. “You know what I mean: just to go and get out of here. ...That, and I figured you could offer some advice.”
“...Do you not know how to run?” She sends you an odder look.
You hold back the snort and shake your head. “No, no, not that. Just that I would like someone there to be available to instruct and train me, so to say.”
“I suppose that makes sense.” Myon nods to herself while looking you up and down, eyes inspecting bit by bit. “Hrm. I suppose that’s no issue. I suppose I can instruct you with a light training regimen, if you so desire.”
[ ] “Sure, go ahead. I think I can handle that.” [ ] “Let’s just take it easy. I don’t have supernatural endurance.” [ ] “Where did you hide those?” & [ ] Any particular destination while you are out? [ ] Any topic to broach with her (when you’re not sucking wind)?
[x] “Sure, go ahead. I think I can handle that.” [x] Particular topics: -[x] Her place of residence in Gensoyko -[x] Her current form, can ghosts only take the appearance they had when alive, or can they take shape?
[X] “Let’s just take it easy. I don’t have supernatural endurance.” [X] Particular topics: -[X] Her place of residence in Gensoyko -[X] Her current form, can ghosts only take the appearance they had when alive, or can they take shape?
If you don't exercise regularly your body will take some time to adjust.
[x] “Let’s just take it easy. I don’t have supernatural endurance.” [x] Particular topics: -[x] Her place of residence in Gensoyko -[x] Her current form, can ghosts only take the appearance they had when alive, or can they take shape?
I choose this because I imagine Myon's idea of "light exercise" might kill him.
Z VoteHeadwing Consulting2017/05/22 (Mon) 05:13No. 196450▼
Z Vote Time: How 2 Woo Goddess, Ghosties, Angels
Alright. Slacked a bit on this, but let’s do a brief overview of advice for the girls.
Hina-san Likes: Someone who can deal with things going wrong. Ribbons. Those who think of the little things. Overly ornate dresses. Optimism. Dislikes: Anything flammable and explosive. Busybodies and nitwits. Dishonesty (due to her unfortunate proclivity for honesty). Too much optimism.
Hina is easily the one you’re doing best with right now, as she was probably the furthest in the dumps early on. She isn’t the jealous type, though still has to deal with the proclivities of a goddess who has found even the slightest source of faith. Just be sure to think through your actions. She has been burned previously by those who think they could fix her.
Myon-sama Likes: Yuyuko, workouts, Yuyuko, cooking for Yuyuko, Yuyuko, gardening, Yuyuko, swordwork, Yuyuko, training, Grandpa Youki. Oh, and Yuyuko. Dislikes: Anything that distracts her from Yuyuko or her work. Pesky poltergeists. Ghosts inhabiting weeds.
I wonder what she obsesses about. In serious, Myon is difficult because her entire worldview is built around one person in particular. It will take some effort to pry her loose from that world view. And, well, it’ll be a long, long time before you ever supplant #1, if ever. Still, a good way to initiate it might be to let her experience things from the opposite side of the table, or to flip the script, as it were. You’ll just need to frame the argument quite well. ...Or be Yuyuko.
Merlin Likes: Tooting, blowing, and fingering her horn. Making music, making merriment. Having too much fun subverting expectations. Those patient/stubborn enough to put up with her. Dislikes: Synth, pop, new age, techno, disco, also sisters who play that stuff. Who needs them. Horns > all that noise. Also: lying, good for nothing humans who lie.
Merlin will be a pain, certainly, as her personality can jump all over the place (it is as manic as her music). There are also the issues brought up by her being; Myon isn’t lying when she says there’s a difference. She shares some traits with the tsukumogami, and has plenty of her own issues (that may sometimes seem minor to others). She has the capability of being capricious, but typically has a method behind her madness. In the end, she can’t help it; she’s just drawn that way.
Mai-chan Likes: Competency, loyalty, proactiveness, any clothes colored white, good nicknames Dislikes: Foolhardiness, laziness, sleaziness, bad nicknames Hates: Reimu thrice-d*mned Hakurei
Oh Mai angel, the puns and come ons await thee. Mai has plenty of issues that she has been able to get over. The change has been a relief to her, as she can get away from it all and make a fresh start. Sometimes the reminders are a bit painful, and knowing that the one she detests is still free as a bird does not help her sleep at night. Be upfront, be honest, and show initiative. Just don’t White Knight unless you know exactly what you are doing. Having a plan to kill everyone you meet won’t hurt.
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[x] “Let’s just take it easy. I don’t have supernatural endurance.” [x] Particular topics: -[x] Her place of residence in Gensoyko -[x] Her current form, can ghosts only take the appearance they had when alive, or can they take shape?
“...Let’s just take it easy.” Her eyes dart up to meet yours, appearing rather quizzical, but you cut her off before she can continue. “Look, I don’t have supernatural endurance. I’m not… half anything. Just purely a human. And, as I implied, I’ve never been one for much physical exertion in the first place, so I doubt I could keep up with what you would consider light. So… Just start off with the very basic that I might have a prayer of keeping up with.”
“Hrm…” Myon judges a moment longer and nods. “I suppose I can treat you as I would the Lady Yuyuko, and then we can go from there. That would be for the best, I think. Let us start out with a jog, then.”
With no small amount of relief, you nod. “Alright. Let’s do that. Just remember that if we’re jogging through the city, we’ll have to take stops every time we cross the street. I don’t need an errant lorry veering and making me fully ghost.”
“That’s assuming that the shinigami doesn’t get to you first, of course.” Myon simply shrugs and floats over to the door. ...While walking. It is so weird, as you can’t tell if she’s doing this to make you feel at ease or if she actually has to walk to locomote. ...Ghost physics certainly aren’t your forte.
“But…” Myon turns her head back, the idle thought making her pause. “Even so, anyone that even halfway volunteers to take us all in has to be half crazy. Certainly as much as the other humans that voluntarily involve themselves with us.” ...Did she just make a joke? You’re not quite sure, but she leaves you standing there and wondering all the same.
Everything else is shrugged off as, instead, you simply join her outside, where she is waiting for you. You turn to your right and start jogging down the city streets, passing by a few people who give your pale companion an odd look, but thankfully no one interrupts the two of you. For her part, she seems fairly bored as she jogs alongside, her stride bounding a little too far to be a completely natural length. Your pace isn’t so strenuous, but you already feel a few calves starting to burn. You make a note to yourself: at the next intersection, you’ll stop and stretch.
At least the traffic is crossing as you get there and start hurriedly trying to stretch your legs out before you start cramping up. Myon floats and lands beside you, looking down. “...I suppose Lady Yuyuko’s regimen was a good target. Finished?”
“No, no, not at all. Just, erm…” You wince as feel the twinge from the rushed stretch. “Didn’t do any stretching before I left. Figured I probably should.”
“Oh. I had expected you to have done as such before we began.” Myon nods a little bit to herself before eying your leg. “Do not rush. You’re more liable to injure yourself if you do so.”
“Didn’t figure you’d want to wait. You were rather busy earlier.”
The ghost shrugs a little bit. “It is important, but maintaining my form is of the utmost importance. And, even if it is not my physical body, maintaining my habits are the best way to ensure that I do not ever slack.”
“...You know, I was wondering… Does your ghost form change?”
“Hrm?” Myon tilts her head to the side. “From where does that thought come?”
“I just, err.. Noticed something earlier is all.” You pointedly avert your eyes. Hopefully she won’t notice the blush tinging your cheeks. “Let’s just say that you appear different normally than you do now. Does your ghost form have a set form, basically.”
She shakes her head in response. “If it did, would I even be able to assume a form that is not a wisp?”
“Well, I suppose not.”
She nods a bit before looking up as someone walks on by. As they peer curiously at the two of you on the sidewalk, she matches them stare for stare. The passerby gawks for a moment at the semi-transparent woman before beating a hasty retreat. “...Outsiders do not have much in the sense of propriety. I digress; that is a far more drastic change than any other one. Though, for most ghosts, they seem to have defaulted to a few forms, one of which is a human one that resembles your appearance, and another one is the wisp. ...Familiarity and all that. Only strong ones, such as Lady Yuyuko, maintain a tangible, human form with any degree of regularity.”
“You don’t include yourself in that?” You stop stretching your legs, finally (that burn is starting to get to you!) and stretch the arms. You have to be prepared. “After all, you’re manifesting right now.
“This is more due to my human form. I can easily draw upon it for strength. That, and it does take a modicum of effort even to do this… pale imitation of a human form. A wisp is far more efficient.”
That’s… curious. “Then why bother when it takes so much effort?”
“...Humans have an easier time interacting with a face, not an amorphous blob. It is not too strenuous a burden, though. Do not fear for me.”
“Well, if you insist.” You certainly haven’t noticed anything; perhaps it’s not as bad as she makes it out. “And Merlin seems to be able to manifest easily. Is she restricted the same, or is she just that strong?”
Myon turns her nose up with a slight huff. “She is a poltergeist. They are not… ghosts, the same way even I am. Their rules are dissimilar to the ones that I labor under, so… Do not presume otherwise.” She finally looks back down after a moment as her eyes alight with a question of her own. “So, what caused this line of inquiry?”
“Well, you were… ...may I answer freely?”
She cocks her head to the side, appearing curious. “I suppose you may?”
“You’re not as flat as you were earlier. I was just wondering why.”
The ghost’s cheeks darken just a bit, and you see her avert her eyes while puffing out a cheek. “...Pervert.”
“You did ask.”
“...I suppose I did. ...But I do not know why it is so curious.”
“But why the change? You did not have it on earlier.”
“But I was not wearing this manner of outsider apparel I wouldn’t have it otherwise.”
“But… why even bother, in that case?”
“There is no point in equipping a garment which serves no purpose, though? If one is to wear a restraining undergarment, it is obviously because they have something to restrain.”
...Maybe you should have stretched your brain as well. “Wait a tic. Why even bother doing so?”
“This is what I have witnessed on some Outsider media, so I figured I should attempt to use Outsider garments in order to blend in and report if they are sufficient.”
“...If this part of you is even half ghost, why bother? It isn’t like you feel it.”
Myon simply rolls her eyes. “Just goes to show.” At your curious look, she just rolls her eyes and snorts. “Ready to go?”
“I suppose I am?” After a half dozen previous pauses in traffic, you finally make your way along, just a little bit more sore than you were before. The conversation from earlier grinds to a halt as you make your way through the streets. You turn your focus to regulating your breath, as you know that you will fail to breathe properly if you do so much as to be distracted for a minute. That, and your legs are already starting to hurt after you go a few more blocks. You’re glad when you finally reach another intersection with traffic blocking your path, as you take the moment to bend over at your knees and suck wind. “Just… give me a min. ...Have to… catch breath.”
“...I see what you mean by needing training. We’ve gone about three quarters of a mile since earlier.”
“...Would that fit… in your def… definition of… light?” Each of your pauses is accentuated by a your heavy breathing.
“Hrm. Perhaps if you were carrying two buckets of water without spilling a drop. That’d be sufficient. Though we certainly haven’t covered nearly enough ground for a true warm-up, I suppose.”
You can’t help the incredulous look that flashes across your face. “Just… What is your home like that such training is.. Necessary? Surely you don’t need such extreme training.”
“...It is the way I was taught, just as my grandfather was taught, and all that came before he. Our… I mean, my duties are to protect Lady Saigyouji. In turn… I serve in all regards. I am her servant, her cook, and her gardener, in addition to my primary duty. Though, in the end, I serve at her pleasure, and am to be trusted to perform anything else as is required.” The girl looks vaguely affronted that there could even be another answer.
Perhaps you may have poked too far into the hornet’s nest, but if you’re already this far, and she’s willing to share…
[ ] Ask her more about her home and residence. What kind of place is it? (cont. from last vote) [ ] Why this profession? Seems odd to specify... -[ ] Cook -[ ] Gardener [ ] Does she ever do anything on her own? Not involving her mistress? [ ] Clothing option - change the subject back to embarrassing ones! Thanks, DETERMINATION [ ] Write-in Option
Z Vote Answer in above post in case you missed it. >>196450
So we're good on Hina, but shouldn't be completely optimistic all the time, we fucked up with Merlin but we struggle doing good now, we fucked up with Mei but somewhat covered that with our acceptance of her task and Myon is indifferent to us. The workout was s good start but we should show her how does it feel to be on the receiving end of servitude. Did I get that right?
>>196455 This is more dealing with future efforts. As for now, you're best off with Hina and you really haven't done any wrong there. Merlin is cold and hot (manic) and you will have to be patient with her. You're pretty much back to neutral, for the most part and she is quite aware when she crosses a line, but doesn't like to admit it. Myon is Yuyuko's ghost gardener. Mai likes the initiative and appreciates someone whose first instinct is to run or hide. ...However, the execution left quite a bit to be desired.
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[x] Ask her more about her home and residence. What kind of place is it? [x] That's an odd list of jobs. Any reason why? [x] Does she ever do anything on her own? Not involving her mistress?
“...I’m sorry about that. I didn’t mean to offend. Just… Well, I’m… surprised.” You slowly gather your breath and manage to stand up straighter. This isn’t quite your definition of a morning well spent, but hopefully you’ll begin to accrue interest on your time invested soon enough. “It’s just… well…” You take one more breath; you might catch it at this rate. “That is just… well, foreign to me. Your world is a fairy tale compared to the world out here.” Idly, your eyes turn over the concrete streets and sidewalks. “...I don’t mean to impugn the necessity, but there really isn’t a need for that out here.”
“...If there is no need…”
“I don’t wish to be a burden. There is that need now, where it didn’t exist.”
Harrumphing, Myon turns about. “Very well.”
“...Could you tell me about your world?” The half ghost turns about and eyes you levelly. “Your home? Residence? Abode? ...It’d be nice to actually learn a bit about that place. About all that I do know is that it exists.”
Myon continues to eye you for a few more seconds before turning her head. “Come. ...let’s continue.” With that, she begins to jog along, this time going a little bit slower. It’s still a major effort for you to get your legs moving again, and the two of you continue to move on for a little while. “It… is a beautiful place. Though, I know that normal humans consider it quite… haunting.” You turn and look at her, and she immediately looks back. Her ears seem to have darkened a bit. “...Well, we have had visitors with… less tact than yourself. They do not mince words.”
Myon looks away, far in the distance. “the land is… rather vast and untouched. The Netherworld is the home to spirits until they have passed on. There are no real structures such as this. A soft, rolling, barren land framed by stone-lined paths and the occasional ancient copse or stalwart lone tree. There is an eternal mist that lingers over the land. It really isn’t apparent until twilight approaches, or at dawn itself.”
“...yeah. It does sound rather gloomy, especially based on that description.”
“There are worse ones for truly frightening. And… well, everything that lives there is no longer alive.”
“You seem plenty lively to me. Just, erm… pale.” The ghost turns and stares down at you. “What? You’re certainly more lively. You’re even out here exercising and learning as much as you can. That doesn’t seem like one of the realm of the deceased.”
“Most of the spirits left behind are either waiting for their turn to reincarnate or are attempting to seek nirvana. Either way, they do not engage in earthly pursuits unless it is more of a… force of habit.”
“Doesn’t that just emphasize my point?”
“Perhaps. ...Still, I myself reside in the manor shrine of Hakugyokurou at the top of a series of near endless stairs. It is an ancient compound which dates back to when Lady Saigyouji was yet living.”
“...and you’re in charge of that?” After her nod, you shake your head as you try not to pant for air. “Just… How does it stay in such a good shape?”
“Nothing ever changes in the Netherworld. It is one of the...purer realms, similar to theirs.” She shrugs slightly, unpeturbed by your continued struggles. She doesn’t seem to bother to clarify who they are, either. “Really, the changing of the seasons is dramatic enough, and seem to come fairly quickly as it is.”
“But that’s not exactly fast, you know.”
“Not by outsider standards.” She looks around at all of the construction around her. “...This world is so odd. ...You have your unusual kappa like technologies, sans the self-destruct function, but at the same time everything else seems to be swallowed up by it.”
“It is what it is. ...You know that humans do require a fair bit more than spirits would.”
“I am aware, yes.” Myon just nods to herself. “Still, before Lady Saigyouji breached the barrier, our realm was relatively undisturbed. Over the years, we’ve had a few incursions from the outside, with the most frequent visitors being from those Prismrivers.”
A snicker manages to barely escape your mouth,and you immediately launch into a coughing fit to try and regain your breath. “Err… yes, I suppose that would be a big change. ...But aren’t they a type of ghost?”
Myon huffs once more. “They were never alive. ...Just facsimiles. They’re no more alive than those Shanghai dolls following around the dollmaker. Pictures of that which long died, akin to the record on the gramophone. ...They are not spirits of the Netherworld, and they certainly don’t belong in the land of the living.”
...Touchy subject still. ..Probably best to drop it for now. “So… Why do you mention those professions in particular? Seems an odd choice to take pride in.”
You see a bit of a spark in her eye, and she adopts a haughty gaze as her nose casts skyward. “Hakugyokurou is home to one of the most impressive series of cherry blossom trees in all of Gensokyo and the nearby realms. The staircase towards the summit is lined with them, and the gardens and paths in the vicinity of the manor shrine itself are lined with them. All of these are personally tended to by myself, just as I tend to every other plant and shrubbery.”
“I believe I see. ...And just how large are these gardens?”
“They are quite extensive. At your pace, we would not even be halfway through yet.”
“...But we must have gone through ten blocks at this point…” At her nod, you shake your head in amazement. “Right. ...but why do you rank cook as being as important?”
“...It is necessary to tend to the Lady, of course. That, and she consumes a prodigious amount. As such, I must ensure that every bit is of the highest quality. Preparing a feast at least thrice a day on top of my other duties is a delicate balancing act, after all. Your outsde methods are intriguing, although I ponder the quality of the recipes. Many seem to be based around unnecessary time saving operations that serve only to diminish the delicate flavors involved.”
“Such as that deplorable item that you refer to as the microwave tv dinner.” ...If she rolls those eyes any harder, they’ll pop out of her head. “I do not believe I’ve ever witnessed food so inedible that wasn’t part of a magician’s experiment.”
With the ardor in her voice, you have to wonder what exactly she is referring to. “...To be fair, I don’t think that those dinners are meant to be gourmet. Granted, some claim to be, but all they accomplish is to make indigestible mush into expensive indigestible mush. Though, really, for cheap food, there are better options anymore.”
“That is what I have centered my studies around out here. If I am to provide my best service…” Her head shakes once more as you both slow down at yet another intersection.
“Well, I suppose if you were trapped in that Netherworld for so long…”
“We were not trapped. And, well, I did make a point of interrogating the spirits and the phantasms that do reside in the Netherworld pending the next stage in the cycle, that doesn’t really compare to the breadth of knowledge that I can gain from here.”
“I… see.” You put your hands on your knees as you come to a stop one more time, staring at the traffic. You probably should turn back around, as your legs are aching by this point. You can’t remember when you last ran this far. ...If you’re frank with yourself, it’s only recent events that are motivating your legs. Your curiosity, however, still bubbles forth. “So… question. Do you do anything just for yourself?”
Myon turns her head and gives you an odd look. “...Why would I need to? I have yet to perfect my swordsmanship, there is still so much to learn and prepare of Lady Yuyuko, and there is the matter of the Ayakashi as well. I cannot afford to divert myself with nattering pleasantries.”
“...The what?” She hums to herself and looks to you. “An Ayakashi? ...Some Youkai in particular.”
“Nothing.” Myon clears her throat “But I’ve no reason to indulge in other pursuits when I’ve yet to perfect what little is expected.”
“Isn’t perfect the enemy of the good, though?”
She cuts her eyes down towards you, and you can’t help to gulp. “What are you implying by that?”
[ ] Nothing at all. Keep walking. [ ] Just point out that a new perspective doesn’t hurt. Be nice. [ ] You would accomplish more by diversifying what you do. Diminishing returns and all. [ ] Yuyuko would be better served by a guardian with a wide variety of very good talents. [ ] Reroute the conversation to something else. [ ] Write-in
[X] You would accomplish more by diversifying what you do. Diminishing returns and all.
This seems like it would have the largest effect. It's one thing to say that it would be good to diversify, but another to state the merits of doing so by way of pointing out that the closer one comes to perfection, the more difficult it can be for any improvement to be seen, where as a new skill can be rapidly improved by comparison.
[x] Yuyuko would be better served by a guardian with a wide variety of very good talents.
I don't want to use her name in vain, nor to set Myon even more in her 'slave' mindset; but the author made it perfectly clear: we are not getting Yuyuko out of her número uno position anytime soon. On the other side, that makes this the most likely option to work.
>>196903 It is, yes. And that's one thing I'm pointing out. Myon is quite dedicated, just like her other half.
And the options are decidedly middling options because, well, you're not going to convert someone so easily, as their whole life is built around this. Although, invoking Yuyuko might end up being a little too successful.
[X] Answer her question at face value, but don't push her in any direction. Let her decide what to do. Sometimes, the way to improve yourself isn't by grasping at the impossible, but by knowing your limits and knowing that a new skill would improve you more than refining something already refined.
 You would accomplish more by diversifying what you do. Diminishing returns and all.  Yuyuko would be better served by a guardian with a wide variety of very good talents.  Just point out that a new perspective doesn’t hurt. Be nice.  Write-in
“Now… Let me say one thing first. I have just met you, and I do barely know you. I’m just giving my opinion, first and foremost.”
“I have plenty that attempt to know better than I.”
You shake your head, wanting to ward off an argument. “The one who knows your needs best is yourself. I’m just going to give my opinion. You can take it or leave it as it is.”
Myon looks down at you a moment before nodding. “Very well. What is it, then?”
“Just… in all my work and experience, seeking true perfection is an impediment to achieving the objective. When investing so much more effort into the project, only to get something that is marginally better but gives the same results… The man hours could be much better utilized on a new project or a different one. That’s all.”
She tilts her head to the side. “What exactly is the work that you do, again?”
“Well, I’m a programmer.” She tilts her head, and you just edge on over to the nearby building and lean on it. “To be precise… I don’t do the glamorous work. A lot of development time spent working on the architecture of the programs we create. Constant refining trying to achieve more with fewer lines of code. ..That’s when I’m not pressed into basic IT service. I know our mainframe system well enough, and can troubleshoot the majority of my own issues, but many of the less savvy employees do come and beg us to solve more mundane issues.” Your companion looks at you like you’re a madman. “Didn’t understand that?”
“Not in the least.”
“Well… ...Let me put it another way. Have you seen devices like a TV, but have an input device to it? A keyboard or some other variety?”
She nods at that. “I have witnessed some peculiarly small typewriters, yes. Sans the paper.”
“And you’ve seen the small devices and phones that can do more than just act as a phone?”
“That device that Merlin used yesterday?”
“Not quite, but sure.” Thank goodness for a home phone… And being too lazy to cancel.
You nod and try to start constructing your argument. “It’s just… think of it like this. Every single program…” You pause and shake your head. “Let’s not even go there. Every single image you would see on the screen is actually composed of dozens, if not hundreds of line of code. Thousands of letters, some of which form word, but many of which only stand for a certain command for the device to follow, written in code. Even a television screen must take in the signal as data, then convert that data into a code which the internal brain then runs in order to project the image.”
“Hrm…” She pauses and looks to the side. “...They are basically the instructions that allow the illusion to be projected.”
“That’s one way to put it, yes.”
She nods, looking a little more impressed. “Then you are essentially an outsider magician, or perhaps spell writer would be the better term.”
Close enough. I’ll take a horseshoe in my situation. “Let’s just say that. Although, again, I don’t do the parts that you actually see or witness, just the parts in the background of programs that do real work and calculations.” At her nod, you continue. “But I say all that to say this: in our work, we try to be as efficient as possible. Removing excess redundancy and using as few words as possible. The more we do that, the faster our response time of the program.”
“Then it is obvious. You keep on repeating until it is as quick as possible.”
“Not always.” You shrug a bit and turn and look down the street. Traffic still hasn’t picked up, and the pedestrian traffic is still thinning out. It’s a little bit before lunch. “But, well… It’s one thing to make a response time go from one second to a tenth of a second. And then from a tenth to a hundredth of a second, ad nauseum. Now, though, at what point do you stop, especially when it takes as much work over each interval? You’re gaining less and less normal gains while, proportionally, you’re achieving the same results.” She just looks at you, and you sigh. “That’s time I can devote to other projects. And, if in the time to make something run faster than the blink of an eye, I can instead get two other programs running at a little bit faster than that… I’ve accomplished a lot more.
The ghost nods to herself. “These are not quick incantations that you are devising?”
“Not in the least. They can get… complex.” You shake your head. “Regardless, just keep it in mind? You might find something that catches your interest.”
“I suppose so.” She regards you contemplatively, eyes judging and meeting yours. “That explains your condition some more, though. You are akin to the Scarlet Devil’s librarian. ...Or perhaps her assistant; I am not certain as to their functions.”
“I am not aware of the reference, at least in particular.”
“Then, perhaps, we can go over the entirety of Gensokyo for your benefit. At least… before the latest incident. Then you might understand what it is that we refer to.”
That… doesn’t sound like a bad idea. “Thanks. That would be appreciated.” Still, you wanted to finish your point. “So… Don’t be afraid to indulge in something. ...Your lady that you serve, is she well educated with a wide range of experience?”
Myon automatically nods. “Of course. Not as much as some of the others who get out more, but she does have a few rather… bothersome acquaintances who do bring in tales from the Outside. ...Who did.”
“Then, perhaps she hopes that you would perhaps experience a few new things in order to expand your own horizons. ...And, that way, you might better anticipate some desires which are… obtuse.”
Pale eyes stare at you for a moment before Myon simply snorts. “Milady does delight in bringing me to consternation. Whatever I might hope to experience here would be a but a small dent in her efforts.” She taps her finger to her mouth and looks askew, relieving you of that gaze. “A matter for later. ...Still, my apologies. I was tempted to call your name into question. I hope you accept my apologies.”
“N—” You immediately catch your tongue. You’re not sure how she would take you simply waving off the apology, so you bow your head shortly. “Thank you. I do understand the root of your concern.”
She nods slightly stepping away. “You have been standing and talking for a while. Are you going to call it for now? Your body is quite unused to this, after all.”
[ ] Agree and call it. You can meander back; no need to stress. [ ] Disagree and get ready to head back. You’ve gone far enough for today. [ ] Disagree and get ready to keep going. You can eek out a bit more. [ ] Write-in
[x] Disagree and get ready to head back. You’ve gone far enough for today.
“Let’s just go back now, then. I think that pushing even farther now may not be the best of ideas.” Myon simply nods and waits for you to to stretch a little bit more. You already feel rather sore from all of your previous exertion, but it’s nothing that you can’t take. So, after loosening up, you continue around the block before squaring it and heading back towards your home.
For her part, Myon seems to be pacing better, this time staying beside you. You notice her checking your direction every so often, though for what you’re not quite sure. Nonetheless, you continue on with her. It is finally getting late enough that the streets are beginning to get a bit more crowded. Hungry office workers, already lamenting that the workday is barely half over, edge around the two of you as they hurry off to the nearest diner or restaurant before it’s packed to the gills.
Amusingly, one walks through Myon when he can’t manage to get out of the way. The man stumbles and nearly falls, but he soon recovers himself and look backward towards where he came at your retreating forms. Your curiosity gets the better of you this time. “Does that hurt?”
Myon turns her eyes back to you. “Not particularly. ...It’s just more irksome, as I have to consciously maintain either a solid or permeable form, and, either way, I have to pull my body back together.” Looking down briefly before turning to focus on the pedestrian traffic, you don’t see anything amiss.. “...You had already missed it.” You glance back, and there is the slightest of blush on her cheeks. ...Either that, or you’re seeing the pavement through her cheek. It looks darker either way.
What did I do this time?
Continuing to jog through the streets, you find your pace slowing as your legs have already begun to burn once more, and you’re constantly sucking wind in an attempt to stay the course. The shops become a mish mashed blur or windows and faces as you concentrate on simply going forward. You’ve gone at least twenty blocks, though you stopped counting a little while ago; your motivation is the only thing that has kept you on your feet. You really aren’t in good shape, after all…
As you come to a stop again, you lean down, hands on your knees, and you continue to pant as you attempt to catch your breath. “Alright… Not too much longer until we get back…” As you pant, you turn your head over towards Myon… Only to find that she has vanished. “Err… Myon?”
Turning about, you spy her in the distance, her pale form looking out of place against the technicolor backdrop. “...That really does look unusual, now that I think of it.” Grudgingly, you turn about and start making your way back, grumbling about how now, of all times, she decides to take a detour. “Still… What has caught her eye?”
After finally retracing your steps all the way back towards Myon, you spy her contemplatively staring in the window of a small building, wedged right against a large minimart and next to an alleyway. Myon tilts her head to the side as she continues to watch. You finally settle in next to her and look inside the building. You can barely make out a few younger kids in one of the side rooms, dressed in white and slowly moving from one pose to another. “Something bothering you?”
“...Just observing. ...Some forms are strange, though others are simply wrong.” She purses her lips and sighs. “Not very much discipline, either way.” She watches as one nearly falls to the floor, having to use his wooden sword to prop himself up. “...Not much discipline at all.”
“Well, they are young.” you shrug your shoulders as you finally stand up straight. You take a moment to tug at your shirt and air it out; you can feel it sticking to your back and your armpits now that you’ve bothered to notice.. “Not really old enough to know much better.”
“I had to…” Myon catches herself and shakes her head. “Things are different out here; I doubt they’re being groomed from birth to defend a woman like milady.”
You can’t help but to laugh. ...Though, in turn, you catch yourself before it becomes more than a chortle. “Probably not. It’s more than likely that the parents have decided for them to do this. They are a bit young for primary school, at the least.”
“That would certainly explain the lack of enthusiasm.” Myon gives a Gallic shrug before turning to you. “Still, we should be departing. Shall we head on?”
[ ] We’re not in that big of a hurry. If you want to go critique them, be my guest. Kids will love the magic ghost swordswoman. -[ ] Wait here at the entrance for her. You really shouldn’t let her out of your sight. -[ ] Go and explore around nearby. Maybe you can find something in the mart to interest them. [ ] We need to head on; you are expecting someone sometime to bring the papers. [ ] Myon probably shouldn’t just barge right in. Perhaps you can make arrangements?
[ ] We’re not in that big of a hurry. If you want to go critique them, be my guest. Kids will love the magic ghost swordswoman. -[ ] Wait here at the entrance for her. You really shouldn’t let her out of your sight.
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[x] Myon probably shouldn’t just barge right in. Perhaps you can make arrangements?
“...Yeah, we shouldn’t just barge right in.” you chuckle a bit at the thought of your pale companion bursting right in and giving her lecture. “After all, what kind of discourteous buffoon would do such a thing, after all?”
“Not one trained and in the service of my lady.” Sensing your understanding, Myon nods to you and starts to head on. “Such a thing would be beneath my station…” After a brief pause while you catch up, she continues, muttering under her breath. “Though I’d rather not another lecture about doing so…”
You’re tempted to press her on that, particularly remembering her actions in the park, but you let it slide. No need to needle her about… other issues. “Though, I suppose we could actually inquire about you coming to lecture. ...I’m not exactly busy right now, and though I would likely have to accompany you… You probably could get to teach somewhere.”
Her cheeks darken a shade, and Myon averts her eyes. “I am r-rather sure that there would be few that would desire one of my skill level.”
“I’m sure they would be honored to have someone skilled.” You shrug a bit as you continue along, having slowed down to a walk. “Though, perhaps they’d like it better as you could relate more to the kids in there. You still look young yourself, after all. ...And children can be stubborn when listening to adults.”
She just offers another shrug. “They don’t have discipline, so that isn’t surprising.”
“And that’s not something you can build overnight, or in a few hours a day, I imagine.”
“Not in the least.”
“...Still, it would give you something to do. And it’d keep your swordsmanship sharp.”
She nods to herself before turning her head back. You see her eyes glancing. “Perhaps that would be something doable, then.”
“Yup. So don’t worry. ...And if not there, there would be other locations that I’m sure that would let you in.”
“If not, I will simply prove that I am worthy.”
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary—”
Myon nods emphatically, clenching her fist as she proceeds along. “A demonstration might be best. And, after all, it would be best if I personally matched myself against them. The best way to know true potential is by meeting them in combat.”
“Only if they allow it.” Myon sharply looks to you, and you shake your head. “Fights such as yours are not as common, not nearly, as they seem to be in your home. ...I do not see any harm in offering a demonstration, but make sure anyone you speak to is clear on your desire for an exhibition match. ...And don’t assume that they know what you refer to if you don’t spell it out.”
“Is it not insulting to treat them as if they are but children?”
“Nah. Not really. Better to be wrong in that manner than to think that you’re on the same wavelength.”
“...What does the breadth of the ocean’s wave have anything to do with this?”
For a moment, you consider explaining, but think better of it. That will come with time. “Let’s just head home now, either way.” Myon nods and, not long thereafter, the two of you are making your way to the front door of your home. You are far more visibly trudging along than the ghost. How odd would it be if she was the one that was slinking along, tired? That would be quite an… odd sight, no matter what.
As Myon phases through the front door, though, a hand taps you on your shoulder. A jolt of electricity passes through your body, bringing you right back to alertness as you spin around and stare at the interloper. “...Hello, Smith.”
“Hello again. You look busy.” For her part, she doesn’t make any other comment before smiling easily and handing over a briefcase. “As mentioned yesterday, here is everything that you missed. I’ve already taken the liberty to go through and fill out every one of your forms based on information available to the both of us. ...If there’s any disagreement, the original blank copies are also available there. I trust you can make duplicates for your own records once you have filled them out?”
“...That’s awfully… proactive of you.”
“It really isn’t that major of an issue. We can’t help current events.” She smiles a bit, nervously brushing her hair behind her ear. “And sorry for the shock. These socks are, shockingly, static-prone.”
A quick glance confirms a niggling suspicion. “...Wait a tick. You’re not Smith.”
“What gave it away?” The woman chuckles a bit before her skin crackles with electricity. You take a few steps back as lightning arcs across her entire form, splintering and reforming as her body is covered with bolts of purple, blue, and yellow. As soon as it the electricity becomes a white sheet, it stops before fading away. In Smith’s place, another blonde girl in pale robes is staring up at you, her hair standing at end and seemingly struggling to escape her messy ponytail. Large, baleful eyes stare right back at you.
There’s something about the sight that makes your hair stand on end. It isn’t the electricity.
“Still, good to meet you, face to face, as it were.” The new blonde grins ever so slightly at your rather shocked expression. “We did speak yesterday, after all.”
“Right. Still, a warning might have been appreciated.”
“Sorry about that.” She shrugs a little bit. “Didn’t mean to frighten you too badly. Still, if you could pull that trick, wouldn’t you try to?”
“...Probably.” You shake your head and let out a sigh. “Either way, do you have a name?”
The girl nods a bit, and the amused grin slips away. “That I do. Still, the exact nuance makes it hard to pronounce. Odd inflections, tongues which no man can speak, etc. Just call me Yuma, if it helps.”
You look up and down the woman, from her old robes to her vividly bright hair and eyes. “You know what? I’ve got enough on my plate. Let’s save the story for another day.”
“Sure thing, boss.” Yuma brushes her hands off before holding her hand out to shake. “Anything else you need from me?”
[ ] Not at all. Just head back in and keep on schedule. [ ] ...How’s Mai doing? Recovering well? [ ] Any other advice you can tell me? ...Or other magical criminals afoot? [ ] There was something particular that was niggling me… -[ ] Write-in
File 150456045779.jpg - (1.06MB, 1200x1684, i will spare you my poor drawing attempts.jpg)
[x] ...How’s Mai doing? Recovering well? [x] Any other advice you can tell me? ...Or other magical criminals afoot?
First things first… “How’s Mai doing? No complications?”
“Sure, nothing wrong there.” Yuma shrugs while brushing her hair back behind her ear as it tries to escape. ...You swear she looks like she’s touching a tesla coil. “She is healing up as well as can be expected. ...Far faster than you would, naturally. Different species, different timespan.”
“I remember. ...Does seem odd, though. If it wasn’t for the wings…”
“You’d be surprised at how much an inhuman monstrosity could appear as a sweet and innocent girl.” Yuma shrugs again, although her grin has returned, ever so slightly. “Things are not always what they seem.”
For your part, you just roll your eyes. “Starting to sound a bit pretentious. I’m just doing my best with what little I can comprehend. Everyone seems to get too caught up in being goddesses and servants and demons. They’re shoehorning themselves into their roles way too easily…”
“Heh.” Taking a break from chasing stray hairs, she gazes back up and meet your eyes. “Careful there, boss. With an attitude like that, your household is not going to be getting any smaller anytime soon.”
You don’t deign that worth a response. However… “Why do you keep calling me boss?”
“Well, I would call you Slick, but Mai can be a bit possessive when she wants to.” Yuma blows at a stray hair that has landed and fallen onto her nose. “In all seriousness, it works well enough. It is our job to safeguard the district and keep any aggressive magical creatures under control. That, and as you have the largest menagerie of any host in the region…”
“They’re not a bunch of animals.” They might not be, but you can already feel your feathers ruffled.
“I wonder what you’d say if you met the ones that once were? They might take offense.” At your rather befuddled blink, she shrugs. “Don’t worry too much about it. They don’t typically hold grudges over small slights. ...Well, except for the various cat-derived youkai. But have you ever known a cat that didn’t hold a grudge?”
As you think on it… “Well, I haven’t known many cats, so…”
“Well, don’t worry, boss. None of them are supposed to be in this region, anywho.” Yuma shrugs again as she chases another stray set of hairs and smooths them behind her ear. “Besides, you did have this thrust on you. There wasn’t even an orientation, which I do apologize for.”
“...Thanks. At least all of you that work for Smith seem competent.”
“I believe it falls under the outside term ‘conservation of ninjitsu’.”
Yuma grins that coy grin again. “Well, some of us do have access to this internet that you possess. Wonderful device even if 90% of it is… wasted.”
...You’re not going there. “So, you said that there won’t be any… cats that are going to be coming here. Does that imply that there will be some others coming through?”
“Indeed. We do have a relatively steady of trickle that are searching for a host. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a suitable match, especially considering the majority of cases are female.”
“I noticed that too. Any particular reason?”
“Most of the men aren’t so troublesome. ...Generally.”
“So I see. ...So, nothing that will impact me, just steady, normal, boring transfers?”
“Of course. With one exceptionally boring one as well. We are going to ensure that she remains on the opposite side of the city from you and your household.”
“...Naturally.” You let out a sigh as a lump forms in your stomach. “So boring. Is she a bit of a troublemaker? Or a hard one to assign a host.”
Yuma clearly nods, almost in an exaggerated manner. “I’m afraid that I am not allowed to say. Privacy issues, I hope you understand.”
“Right. And there’s no way whatsoever that she’s going to end up at our home.”
“I could deign that with an answer, but I don’t particularly care to lie.”
“...Could I please note that my household is full, as it is, and we cannot accept anyone else. ...And that, either way, we are certainly not willing.”
“I’ll certainly note that in your file, boss. ...Sadly, our supervisor takes a dim view upon proper filework.”
You slump a little bit at the remark. ...Though, at least this time, it won’t be a surprise. “...Thanks, if I can call it thanks. Though, you could have come right out and just let me know from the start.”
The blonde finally stops playing with her hair and folds her hands in front of her. “I’m afraid that I’m not allowed to divulge such information on my own. Orders from above, I hope you understand.”
“Does she think this is some kind of game?”
“I’m not sure that she thinks.” Yuma chuckles a little as you let out a snort. “Still, I’m not sure when our next reassignment will be, only that it will be some day this week. My apologies if I cannot be any more precise.”
“That’s certainly enough for now. Don’t worry about it.” You stretch a little bit, trying to think of the bright side. You’re having a hard time seeing any. “...So, aside from that little visitor problem… Are there any other major criminals that we have to worry about?”
“Nothing so much. The bakebake are… unique, in a sense. Most of our policing activity involves fairies playing pranks.”
“Huh.” That sounds quite a bit more mundane than you would have expected. “That’s all? Doesn’t seem quite major.”
“Fairies are effectively immortal, mind.” She pauses just a moment for you to take that in before continuing. “The most recent incident involved a small group of fairies who made a game of riding through a wood chipper and were trying to coax a few neighborhood children into their game.”
But, that would mean… “They wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s tantamount to murder. And they know there are laws against that.”
Yuma nods once more. “Of course. But to a group of creatures with morality warped by their perspective, the concept of murder doesn’t really compute.” She then holds her hands up high, shrugging. “Then again, most of them tend to be dumber than a sack of bricks, and are complete lemmings. The good ones, and smarter ones, are highly sought after, with families practically taking them as foster children. But there are not an insubstantial amount of delinquents as well.”
“..What happened in the above case? The one you were just talking about.”
“They managed to be doing this in a neighborhood with a Nippon Professional Baseball star. As it turns out, we weren’t exactly needed for more than cleanup, as faires can go all. The. Waaaaaay.” She continues staring with those big wide eyes and you’re not sure if you should laugh or just nod along. You do neither. “We did have to slap a couple of citations on him, of course; interspecies violence is prohibited, regardless of which side it originates from. He’ll have his court date in a month, and it’ll probably be negotiated down to a yen or ten.”
“So it was a happy ending.”
“It was, indeed. Sara even got a signature.” Yuma snickers a bit. “She’s a good girl.”
You don’t know her that well, and now isn’t quite the time to start digging. ...You’ll have plenty of interaction in the future, anyway. “So, the other two things… Any luck finding that stranger that I met in the cafe? Blonde girl, bat wings, magic wand, and prancing around like some ditz?”
“Hrm. Well, for a second there you were talking about Smith, but she doesn’t have wings.” Yuma shakes her head. “Nothing of the sort. We had evacuated the entire area, mind, and the area was simply abandoned. There was nothing on the security footage that we’ve reviewed. I have a suspicion that she won’t show up on it, either.”
“So, she just showed up as a coincidence and just… vanished without a trace.”
“That, or you were seeing things. But that isn’t an answer. That’s an excuse.” Yuma taps her lips. “Did she give any indication of why she was there?”
Now that you think on it… “...She just said that she was there to save me, and everyone else. In that particular order.” you glance back towards the house and then back at Yuma. “Got any idea of who it’d be? Think it’d be a friend of one of the girl’s?”
“...No. i can think of someone, but…” She immediately stops in her tracks. “I don’t want to say anything more. It’s just a feeling and, well… it doesn’t do well to speak of the dead. Invoking names such as that is never a good idea..”
“Ah.” You think you see. No, wait, you don’t. “But isn’t Myon’s Lady dead as well? And, heck, she’s half ghost as well.”
“..Just trust me on this one.” She tilts her head. “Seen anything strange lurking around? Anyone following you?”
Once or twice, there has been something lurking around. “A shadow a few times. Justa dark form that was constantly staring.”
Yuma’s lips thin a little bit. “Sounds fine. Leave this to us, alright? That’s one of our areas of responsibility after all. Don’t try and be a hero. And… don’t go out alone.”
“The last time I did was when I met Mai. ...but alright, I won’t.”
“Good!” She now brightens a bit. ...You’re not quite sure if ‘literally’ should be added to that thought. “Now, was there anything else?”
“The only other issue I can think of… That nurse that sent me to the Violet Wing. You said that it wasn’t right.”
“Correct. ...You did say she claimed to be a Nurse Sweet, right?”
“Not quite like Merlin’s, but yeah.”
Yuma groans and pinches her nose. “Looks like we might have another problem, then. No matter. I’ll tend to it when we reach that point in time. Just don’t read too much into your dreams, ok? She’ll lurk in them and feed off them.”
“...Aren’t there plenty of other humans that she could be paying attention to? I’m just one man.”
“If only it were so simple.” Yuma shakes her head. “I’ll see if I can get some… specialists from one of the other PC units. ...I hope the younger sister is available, else Mai will have a fit...” She sighs and looks off. “Still, if that’s all, I really should be on my way. Can’t spend all day chatting with you.”
“Yeah, that was everything. Got some paperwork to do?”
“No. I just don’t want Smith putting my name in the current betting pool.” She rolls her eyes, and you just give her an odd look. “It’s nothing. Just let us know if anything comes to pass, alright?”
“Will do. ...Thanks, Yuma. Nice to meet you, officially.”
“You as well, boss. Seeya.” Yuma waves and walks over to one of the power poles. With an explosion of white light, during which you have to shield your eyes, she manages to vanish, leaving nothing but a painful afterimage in your eyes.
You stand there for a minute and continue to rub them. “What is with these girls and having to make a flashy entrance and exit?” Kinda makes you wonder what they have to prove. ...You’re sure that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for it. “Either way, I suppose I need to go and make lunch.” In synchronization, your stomach lets out a growl so you know that it is perfectly ready for any food to be consumed, preferably in large quantities. “Right, right, but what to do? There’s still plenty of time left in the day.”
[ ] Make food. [ ] See if one of the girls wants to make food. -[ ] Hina -[ ] Myon -[ ] Merlin & [ ] Go over all of the documents and rules and regulations, like initially planned. -[ ] Which ones are you particularly covering? (Write-in Option) [ ] You would rather catch up to speed on this Gensokyo, from the Gensokyans. -[ ] With Hina -[ ] With Myon -[ ] With Merlin [ ] Start reviewing available space. You apparently need to make room. Again. -[ ] God dammit, Smith. --[ ] Seriously, Smith. Go pick on someone else. ---[ ] Like Tony from Accounting. He deserves it. ----[ ] Damn Tony. And damn Smith.
Since I’ve made you wait so long, here’s a quick update for you all.
[X] Start reviewing available space. You apparently need to make room. Again. -[X] God dammit, Smith. --[X] Seriously, Smith. Go pick on someone else. ---[X] Like Tony from Accounting. He deserves it. ----[X] Damn Tony. And damn Smith.
All looks relatively well and good, except we have the farthest thing from a consensus here. A few more votes might be nice, as the option currently being taken is basically "all of the above" at this point.
I'm alive, but things had just been too terribly busy, and I've not had much of a chance to write anything over the past long while. Way too many sleepless night on work left me exhausted and not ready to write anything.
I've got part of an update written, and am working on making sure I cover all of the bases for next time, if anyone is still interested.
“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.”
We can't exactly send her out like that. Find a coat or something.
Besides, she seemed into cooking. Youmu does it all the time so we can make an exception and Hina, being the defacto leader, will hopefully understand our intent. God(des) knows we have a ton of work to do if we want to get on Merlin's good side.