[x]There's a Nitori who apparently does a lot of work with robotics and other tech. But then why does everything here seem so primitive...?
Yeah, out of all the options here, this one sounds like the best fit for me. "I could go talk to this Nitori person."
Keine nods and puts the rest of the papers away. "I believe that is a wise choice, myself. It is a bit of a walk to her place of... business, but you barely have to go through any forest, so I doubt youkai will be a problem."
"...so, where is she, exactly?"
"Her workshop is near the base of Youkai Mountain. Although, as I understand it, she has it well hidden, so I'll have to give her some advance warning."
She's digging through her desk again...
Is that a fucking cell phone? How the hell does she have that if this place looks so old, tech-wise?
Apparently she didn't have to wait long for an answer. "Hello, Nitori? It's Keine... Oh, yes, still works fine, as you can tell... Yes, yes. Anyway, I was calling to tell you that there is someone here with a certain skillset that could prove useful to you."
'Certain skillset'... way to make a science job sound fishy as hell.
"He says he's a theoretical physicist. A Mister... Freeman, right?"
"DOCTOR Freeman." I didn't correct her earlier to be nice, but if she's talking to someone who's gonna be my new boss, I want to have a good first impression, dammit.
"Dr. Freeman. He's a recently arrived Outsider... Yukari."
Again, how many people here know Yukari?
"Very well, he should be there in about..." She looks at a clock. "...45 minutes to an hour, assuming no problems arise."
Shit, now that she said that, exactly that is going to happen. Thank you, Keine.
"Very well, I'll be sure to tell him... Orange-" She gives me a look. "-armor, beard, glasses... You're welcome... Thank you, goodbye."
She flips the phone closed. I don't wait for her to talk first. "I didn't think people here had cell phones."
"Only a few select people. I don't know how it works, myself, but Nitori was the one responsible for getting them working, and she says that whatever system she made for it, it can only support a handful of phones at a time. This one in particular was probably lost from the Outside."
Huh, reverse engineering a cell tower just from scavenged cell phones? This Nitori chick must have a hell of a brain on her.
"So, what exactly am I looking for when I get there?"
"There's a waterfall at the base of the mountain. Simply stand near that waterfall, and Nitori will eventually spot you and let you into her workshop."
"Ah, the hidden lab trick? I think I like her already."
"One important thing before you leave, though." Why does she look so serious now? "Between this village and the mountain, there is a rather large sunflower field. Please, for your own sake, do not go through that field."
"The resident of that field doesn't take too kindly to humans most of the time, especially if they intrude on her garden. Even with that armor, you'd likely die in a matter of seconds."
Ooookay, sunflowers bad, got it. "Alright then. Any other warnings I should know about?"
"Other than that, nothing more than the usual advice about being careful to not be attacked by youkai. Will you be able to handle yourself?"
"I mean, I'd feel more comfortable if I had my guns on me, but I should be fine."
Fuck, I wasn't thinking. "Nevermind. Anyway, time for me to go!"
Better get out of here before she starts asking more questions. Into the streets, past the people, ignore the looks, and back at the gate. The guards let me out with an odd look, but I don't stick around for them to ask questions, either. I have a destination now, and I'll be damned if anything will sway me from it.
Oh, damn, there's the sunflower field Keine mentioned. No way I could miss it, really. I don't see anyone in it, but it's big enough that they could be hiding underneath the flowers, possibly.
Well, I already know I'm not going there. Thankfully, as big as it is, there's still enough normal field around it to walk through. Pretty flowers, though.
...wait, are they all facing towards me?
...Okay, yeah, they're definitely facing me as I walk by. That is really fucking creepy and I should probably be walking a little faster now.
Fucking magic and cursed flowers and monsters... I'm starting to wonder whether or not being in Gensokyo is better or worse than being in Black Mesa. At least there I knew for sure when I was in immediate danger of dying: all the time! Here, everything looks nice, so death could sneak up on you easy! Hell, if it wasn't for Keine's warning, I'd probably just waltz right through those sunflowers, and then they'd eat me alive or some shit.
How long until that CIA guy picks me up again? Because I don't know how long I can take it here.
There, finally, the field is behind me and I can ignore it. Are they still looking at...? No, not looking back, that's when they'll steal my soul or whatever.
There's a small forest at the base of the mountain, but it's not near as thick as the other one I went through. It doesn't take long to find a river, and then I just have to follow the sounds to reach the waterfall.
More nice nature, here. Birds chirping, water's clear enough to see some fish... See, this is why this place gives me doubts. As good as it looks, I'm sure those fish are poisonous, or something. Or the water is actually acidic, and it'll melt my insides if I try to drink it. With Gensokyo, who knows! So many things can kill you, but everything looks nice! Visit today!
...I need to find a gun. I'll feel a lot safer then.
"AAAAAGH WHAT THE FUCK?!"
Crowbar didn't hit anything, but I know I heard that right behind me!
"Woah, calm down!"
Why is the air talking to me?! Is this more bullshit?
Oh, the air is changing, and now it's another blue-hair girl in a blue dress with a green hat. At least not everything everyone wears is blue, I guess.
Also, her dress has a lot of pockets, and she's wearing a key as a necklace... thing. What?
Oh, now she's offering a hand. "Nitori Kawashiro, at your service!"
Alright, calm down, deep breath, put away crowbar, and accept the handshake. "Gordon Freeman. Apparently I'll be helping you now?"
"Yep! We don't see many scientists show up here in Gensokyo, let alone physicists. But you and me working together, I feel like we'll make great things!"
Yeah, the PR guy for Black Mesa said about the same thing, and look how that turned out. "Just as long as we don't open up portals to alien worlds."
"Oh, don't worry, I don't do anything related to portals."
Thank God, that's one possibility out.
"Yukari has a lock on that field, anyway."
Again with the Yukari mention. At least I can sort of understand this one.
Why is she pointing a remote at that rock?
Oh right, secret hidden lab or whatever. That's why it's opening to reveal a staircase. On the bright side, at least I now get to mark 'become a Bond villain' off my bucket list.
The stairs don't go too far down before they open into a pretty decent size workshop. The place is an absolute mess, with all kinds of machinery and mechanical pieces scattered around. There's still clear paths between the entrance, a bed near one of the back corners, and a number of doors against each wall. One door is clearly marked as a bathroom, while the others are unmarked entirely; extra storage, probably.
"Welcome to where the magic happens!" Nitori sweeps a hand over the piles of junk. "Well, not actual magic, but you get the point."
"It's kind of... cluttered."
"Don't worry, it's a mess, but it's my mess. I know where everything is."
After a moment, she chuckles. "Well, I don't have anything I'm really working on right now, so I guess it's up to you where we start."
[ ]Those doors look interesting. Let's get a full tour of this place.
[ ]Try digging through the nearest pile of stuff to find something I recognize. Hopefully it won't kill me.
[ ]This is Nitori's place, it should be her job to decide where to start. It's kinda bullshit to put that choice on a guest who knows nothing about the place.
[ ]Over the past 30 hours or so, I've been shot at, chased, attacked, and otherwise in mortal peril. I am fucking exhausted, and that bed is calling to me.