Spring, the season of new beginnings, a time of happiness and joy with countless festivals and traditions to go along with it. Ironic, because right now you are meeting your end, and you are not happy about it. You never have any interest in Japan, the land of the rising sun, you only went there because your friends basically dragged you there on their holidays. Not going to lie, the trip did have its moment, eating across the land and seeing your friends make a fool of themselves along the way. Sure, you may not know Japanese at much as some of the others do, but being a social person isn’t one of your perk anyway. Unfortunately, looking like a bunch of foreign idiots making every one look helpless and easy target for mugging, which it did After a particular night which involved a lot of drinking, betting and dancing around (The alcohol is one of the few things you genuinely enjoy) with your fellow “adventurer”, you decided to wander the street a bit to clear your head and enjoy some alone time. Midway through your journey of “self-discovery”, trouble find you in the form of a group of four people surrounding you with knife, pipe and…. a gallon jug? At first you thought that they were a prank orchestrated by your friends, that thought is out of the window the moment you got bash across the head with the pipe. Normally you would’ve ran away or at least put up a good fight (This isn’t the first street fight you’ve gotten yourself into). But with the influences of alcohol and the mind council in shamble because of it, your body can’t even work properly to put up a proper block, getting beaten down and stabbed felt pretty bad, whatever was in your system at the time can’t numb the pain enough, your body lie on the cold ground, the only warmth that the body felt is on the pool of blood that is forming around you… dying a stupid death like this just…. When you finally wake up again, you never truly expected where you ended up, it isn’t on a hospital bed with equipment, personnel and friends surrounding you, rather it is on a rocky ground… god, my back hurt… Getting up and looking around, you notice that where you are is a riverbank with souls, both human-like and floating blob of….something, maybe life essence? You always have a feeling that hell is where you would end up if you die, but a river, not the lava type but a normal river with water and the general friendliness of the place is not what you expected. Unfortunately, even in death, language barrier is still a thing, so you are basically going through a slot machine of either people talking in Japanese (sometimes the souls talk in other languages as well, not like it matter anyway) Luckily there are people who spoke English here, even more-so is the fact that they are bi-lingual so they have more success in doing what you attempted to. Apparently, this is where the soul of dead people will gathered when they die, where they can wander the riverbank until the souls can accepted their death, in which a Shinigami will ferry them to the “other side” leaving everything like wealth, status, relationships, etc. Behind and face judgement from some “higher power”. “This leaving behind everything and getting judged for what you did in life doesn’t seem to be what I like to do, can we just like…not do it?” you asked, knowing full well that there is no way out of this “No, every souls that die will have to go through here at some point” replied one of the helpful souls back to you And just let everything go? I still got a life, maybe it isn’t the best, but it is still something, abandoning it is not an option, not to mention about the judgements, going to hell is the only thing that is going to happen next after you face it “M…maybe I will take a walk, clearing my mind and all of that” death is something I won’t accepted that easily, so I will delay it as long as I can “As long as you want lad, but remember, there is no way out of this, you can cry, being in denial, or rage all you want, but the circumstance is still there, you are dead…. Look, I know that this isn’t easy for you, but remember that you aren’t the only person going through this, maybe talk to other people, sharing about your past and vice versa, could help your tortured soul to find closure and move on” “Sound easy, Mr. optimistic, maybe we should form a circle where all of our stories are revealed and some sweet words will help us forget about everything, becoming best friends in the process and have our happy ending of reincarnation, how about it?” You replied bitterly, how could anybody accept it so easily? “Look, that is not what I... you know what, forget it. Just do what you want to do, I won’t interfere with it anyway, just make sure you are left with no regret” After those final words, he wander off to some other grieving souls to comfort them, with better result compared to your interaction Am I really going to leave the mortal coil…? You see Shinigami ferried souls to the other side, where they will be judged and possibly reincarnated into another life or face damnation for their sins. What is going to happened when I faced it? Would I live in an eternal limbo where voices of my past come to haunt me? Or it would just be endless torture where the word “death” is something you would look forward to? Just….dammit, no matter what come next, one thing is for certain. I am screwed..
Sitting around here ain't going to do anything much, is there anything i can do? [x] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery [x] Talk to the helpful soul from earlier, we both got off on the wrong foot, and having some acquaintance could be useful
Death is but the beginning in this scenario but I already wonder what makes the protag think they'll go to hell.
[X] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery.
The helpful soul will most likely be reincarnated soon and you may only feel worse after hearing about how much better the souls here are then you, look around to find more info. Think about why you are screwed and try to see if there's something else aside from this river.
That was a pretty good first post author, it got my attention immediatly and I am excited to see where this will go.
[X] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery.
“This is boring…” stacking pebbles to pass the time seem like a good idea a while ago, now you can barely keep your eyes open. It is hard to have anything interesting down at the border, when there are only 5 things down here that are remotely “interesting”, and calling them that is quite the stretch. There are a few trees on the river bank, most of them are already dead, but still standing. If this is the way that the other side is reminding us that we are dead, then you would rather have a big sign written “YOU ARE DEAD”, at least the message would be clear. The pebbles we already just discussed about, the river… it is creepy, to say the least.
Taking a peek, countless fish can be seen down there, at first glance everything seem normal, until you recognized some of them, they are different in many ways, but 1 thing tie them all together: They are already extinct… maybe I can see bigfoot here if I look hard enough?
The souls are what interest you the most, while most of them still remain a humanoid form and the clothes on their back, when the Shinigami lead them to the other side, every feature of them will disappear, leaving only a giant blob of soul. First of all, no way you are getting naked, even if all your body disappear, having no clothes on while everybody… or lack of bodies, but souls are watching. Secondly, how are the blobs be able to talk to the Shinigami? They have no mouth!
Finally, the Shinigami, you know they are just doing their jobs, they even seem sympathetic to the “about to face judgement” souls, but you still hate them, after all, their present means death… or at least another stage of death.
Looking both directions, the scenery is the same either way, but just sitting here isn’t going to do anything useful, with a grunt, you get up to walk around, for a moment you turn back to the helpful soul and wonder if you should try talking to him again, then dismiss that idea. Right now, I am still a bit emotionally unstable, who know what will happened next if he accidentally provoked me in the wrong way? I got mad at him for trying to help me for crying out loud…
While walking, you think back on your past decisions, your life, relationships, career choice, you can safely say that you are content with most of it except a few, but thinking back about it, you shudder about those “wrong” decisions and instead thinking of something more cheerful and hilarious, like when your nephew praise you for being a hero and a saint every time you help him. Moments like those really help you bond with the family you had… while laughing inside. Being a hero is something you are definitely not, after all who can say that a bank robber is a “hero”? Only a small portion of your acquaintances know about your true profession, luckily they keep it a secret, either because they are also somehow involved in it or just nice people who don’t judge much about it.
And no, your family weren’t poor either, it is not like you were born in the hood, where criminal and gang member roam around, rather you were born in a nice suburb area, your parents were part of a working class, while they don’t struggle financially, you were also taught about the value of money and that you should work hard to earn it, while also don’t be afraid to give it to other people in need. The first part of the lesson you took very seriously, after all 1 wrong move and you end up in the slammer, so every time you had a job, everything from planning an escape route, how many people are in the area at a time, police response time, etc is prepared carefully. Thanks to your hard work, a large sum of money is, or was in your hand where you are able to spend it at will… with some restraint, that is. The second part of the lesson just happened to slip from your mind, sure occasionally you help people around like fixing a neighbor car or donate some food to the homeless, but it is mostly because you felt like it, for the neighbor it is mainly because she bake some good muffin, and you are a sucker for sweets. For the homeless… It just felt bad that they are there, abandon by society, left on their own. Compared to them, my life was good, and here I am, losing everything in a blink of an eye, was that how they felt?
You walk along the riverbank for ages, hoping that some miracle would free you from here, and this is all a nightmare, except no, this is real. At first, everything seem to be the same. Souls gathering on the riverbank, Shinigami escort them away, and that helpful soul is still in the same area, helping others. Does he ever get tired of doing that? Then, the strangeness dawn on you. First of all, although you walk on the same direction, it all seem like you are walking in a circle. You use a tree as a landmark and keep walking to test your hypothesis. Sure enough, you encounter it later down on the road, secondly, souls aren’t allowed to be on the riverbank for long, after a certain amount of time, they are forced to transform and entered the boats anyway. Why am I and the others still here then? And the number of souls that doesn’t get on the boats keep increasing, filling the area. What is go-
That was the last thing you heard before being pulled out of the border, when your sense returned, you are on a dirt road with some other souls. At first you thought this is a private road lead to hell, that thought is out of the window when you see the Shinigami face: Panic. Okay, this obviously wasn’t supposed to happen, so is this the road that lead to freedom? Screw it, I have nothing to lose anyway. You quickly sprint away from the rift, followed by other people. Some Shinigami lead the remaining people, the ones that didn’t ran away, back to the river. Do they have a death wish or something? There are plenty of stalls around here with actual human being, if you weren’t on the run of your life, you would definitely check it out, but for now, let’s just run.
“I….made…it” you whisper between breaths, managed to lose both the Shinigami and the other souls behind. You would’ve preferred to keep going, but right now all the stamina have being drained and night time is approaching soon, it’s time to find a place to rest for the night. From the bottom of a mountain, you made out a few places where such commodity could be provided and are in the walking distance for the next 15 minutes
On the mountain, there is some kind of military base on it, hopefully they are the JSDF and be able to provided help. Further down the road, there is a village, but given the fact that you had no money, your night would be fully dependent on the generosity of the local. On your right, near a lake there is a mansion, if that is where the local government is, then maybe you can plead your case and be able to leave here.
Night time is approaching, i need to choose where to go next [x] The millitary base on the mountain [x] The village down the road [x] The mansion near the lake [x] Camp in the forest
Sorry about my format and overall clunkiness, i am trying to see what will stick
“All chips on the side with the guns, I suppose” Hopefully, being in the safety of armed soldiers would be enough to thwart the attempt to capture you by the Shinigami if they are still chasing. Bit of a shame that the way the food there is likely going to be terrible and the climbing is going to be tiring. Oh well, can’t win them all I suppose
There are 2 paths up, one involved an open grass hill and the other is through a thick forest. Considering the time restraint and the facts that I am technically trespassing an area, I should at least tried to be clearly visible and appear as non-threatening as possible. Hopefully that should be enough for me to not get shot but taken in for questioning instead.
“All right, here we go” you mumble as the climbing start. Even with the situation at hand, it still feel quite calm with the orange light shining on your back, the sound of water flowing at the base of the mountain and the wind gently blowing in your face. After everything, it is nice to have a calming moment on its own, having nobody around. Sure, being with fellow companions have their own benefit, but with the exception of a few people, you have learn to be dependent on yourself, only relied on others if things are dire and if the circumstances are out of your control. Whether I made it out or not, it will be dependent on me, nobody for me to relied on or to blame at. Maybe things will become okay in the end, I just have to deal with all the problems thrown at me one at a time until an acceptable conclusion is reached.
The journey to the base is cut short when you spotted some figure near the waterfall, although you can’t see them clearly, they don’t carry the signature scythe that the Shinigami usually carried, so at least they aren’t an immediate threat, what are they doing here then? Looking more closely, their group appear to be around 6 people, all wearing white clothes while armed with various medieval age weaponry. 2 bowman, 2 swordsman, 1 spearman and 1 squad leader, while the rest of the squad appeared to be playing some kind of chess-like game, the squad leader seem uninterested in the game and instead monitor the surrounding area, both her eyes met yours… uh oh.
“侵入者を発見!” Said the squad leader before the rest of the squad jump into action, grabbing their gear and start rushing toward your positions. Okay, right now things are probably not going as I expected, maybe I can out run or sneak by them and continue my trip to the base
[x] Attempted to sneak by them [x]Make a mad dash for it
Before you can have a plan made up in your mind, however. They have already disappeared, where did they…
“侵入者、ここにあなたの名前とビジネスを述べてください！!” Said a voice behind you. How the hell did they got here so fast, it literally have just been like 10 seconds, and the distance between your hiding spot and the waterfall are around 200 meters, another squad maybe? Okay, standard procedure, hand raised, slowly get up and turn around, all while appearing non-threatening
You were going to say something, but that is when it struck you. Your captors aren’t human, even though they have mostly normal human feature, their previously obscure dog ears and tails are now clearly visible. Okay, since when can dogs walk on two feet, carrying weapons and holding people hostages? There is no logic in any of this!
You tried to slowly walk backward, but an arrow placed between your legs is a good diplomatic strategy for you to stay still. You can’t leave here, but they aren’t doing anything much but shouting something at you, what they are saying is beyond understanding, however. After a while, the dogs patrol member appeared to be tired of all of this and walk toward you with swords raised and killing intentions in their eyes. Dammit, not like this, how the hell am I supposed to fight back against armed opponent who outnumbered me 6 to 1? Then their squad leader walk forward and order her underling to halt, which they are clearly confused. She pointed at my clothes and said something to them, which calm them down a bit before putting away their weapons… and promptly knock you down to the ground, tying your hands behind your backs with ropes and drag you to the military base. Good news, I am still alive, bad news, I am captured as a prisoner, in a place filled with armed dog soldiers and I can’t communicate with them, in other word: I am screwed…again
Before entering the base, you are forced to put on a blindfold and was given an even tighter security squad consist of 8 dogs armed with Canada shield, something tell you that they aren’t here to protect the other citizen if you manage to break loose, but the opposite. On one hand, it means that the local here are likely to be hostile and could try to kill me, on the other hand, whomever in charge here at least tried to put in the effort for the protection of a lost stranger
Even with the blindfold on, you can still hear the bustling streets around you, not the sound of soldiers marching or vehicles moving around, but the sound of a market, with people bargaining for goods, little kids running around and people coming near you, trying to ask questions while the guard tell them off. For me, this is one of the worst situations to be put in, for everybody else here though, it is a Monday.
After walking for who knows how long, you enter in some kind of building, in which you were forced down to your knee and have the blindfold removed, in front of you is a bird lady wearing a dark blue dress with white trim and belts, a golden pauldron on her left shoulder with a large blue gemstone and a cape extending to her knee, the village commander perhaps?
What happened for the next 30 minutes is perhaps the most boring moments you ever had, after the initial introduction, the guards and the commander is discussing about something, only pointing at you occasionally, rendering you completely at the sideline, unable to contribute in anyway beneficial to your imminent fate. Maybe nobody will care if I sleep for a little bit… long day and all…
“Huh?” A word automatically utter out of you, can’t I at least rest in peace!?
No, there is no rest for you yet, for your personal distance is invaded by another bird lady, but this one seem to be more “unprofessional”, holding a notepad with a pencil behind her pointy ears, clearly interested in you, to the dismay of the other people in the room.
“ここで何してるの、綾？?” The commander impatiently asked.
The atmosphere in the room suddenly feel a lot harsher than before, with the commander and the indifferent bird exchanging words, which steadily got louder and appearing outright hostile, even the guards assigned to you glance at each other with worrying looks, apparently I became the center of the conversation as the fingers are pointed at you much more frequent than before. Eventually, the commander just grunt while the other bird just give her a smug look, then walk toward you. She point at you, the notepad and her. Then her two hands give two different gesture, one is a thumb up, the other is a thumb down.
What is the right answer in this situation?
[x] Look at the thumb up hand [x] Look at the thumb down hand [x]Don't do anything
Let’s look at the whole situation from the beginning again, I am captured and brought to the village HQ, the only reason that I am not dead yet is because of my clothes, probably as proof that I am an outsider and now I am given an opportunity to be interrogated by a bird lady. While she did gave an option for me to refuse it and it is obvious that this interaction is not standard protocol for them given the expressions of everybody else in the room. That would’ve shown that I am uncooperative and created more hostility between me and them, at this point me and the soldiers here are already on thin ice, melting it further is basically asking to be beaten up, and I am no masochist thank you very much. Agreeing to be interrogated on the other hand have its own set of problems, while it ensure my immediate survival, the language barrier and the questions will cause misunderstanding down the line, and depending on what kind of questions that they asked and how long I will stay here, my involvement with the Shinigami could be revealed, now I don’t know if these two groups have any alliance with each other in anyway or not, but it is best to just be prepared for the worst outcome. So maybe it is best to play dumb? Technically I am not rejecting them, it is just that I don’t know what to do, which is half true, and they can’t exactly fault me for not understanding Japanese in the first place, for once I am glad that there isn’t any translator here, or else I won’t be able to fake it until I make it.
“Huh” I replied with a dazed look and a slight slur in the words
In response, she just look at me, give the same illustrations from earlier but slower and then give her two hand gestures again. So I just look at her, give a shrug and tilt my head to the left a little bit. This little game of charade go on for a while, every time she gave me some other gestures and even plead with me, I just react with naivety and indifference. It got to the point where the commander is cackling on her chair, while the bird just pout back at her and eventually moved away from me, I release a sigh of relief.
And this is where I fuck up
It turned out that birds have pretty good hearing, and she caught on to what little sound there was that went out of my mouth, her face immediately invade my personal space again with the same expression when we just started, I tried to play dumb, but this time she gave an all-knowing smile and shake her head slightly… sometimes it is the little thing that unveil the whole scheme, I of all people should’ve known, but this is just ridiculous!
So right now I am between a rock and a hard place, either I start acting or I keep my mouth shut, both options are bad in their own way. After some personal debate that felt like an eternity, I decided to agree to the interrogation because that way I can partially control what will happen next, unlike the other option which basically say “Automatic provocation”
Reluctantly, I nod my head and look at her thumb up finger, she then draw something in her notepad and show it to me, it had a stickman outside a circle that is labeled ‘Gensokyo’, she point at me and the stickman, is she asking me if I am an outsider? I gave her a confirmation nod, which she happily mutter something then continue drawing some other figure: A clock symbol and a question mark, probably asking how long I was here. How long was I here anyway? The river doesn’t have any day or night cycle, only constant gray sky filled with mist, let’s just assumed that it was a whole day then.
Although, how am I supposed to tell her that it was a full day? There is no way to gesture that using only my tied up hands and words that make no sense, the only way that I can fulfill her question is if I write it down, might as well try to request for restraint removal, if it worked great, if it doesn’t nothing is lose anyway. I shake my hand behind my back and stare at the restraint then back at her and her pen, she got up and walk over to the commander to say something, which once again devolve into screaming… sometimes I wish politics in real life is like this.
While the screaming contest is going on, another bird flew into the room, albeit it was much slower and with more grace, compared to the other bird lady, this one is younger and wore a… purple school uniform? At this rate the room is going to be a fashion show soon.
Finally, the commander decided to quit the contest and acknowledge the newcomer, while the bird lady keep pestering her about something. Out of patience, the commander yell an order to the guards, they approach me and take off the restraint, man it felt good to move my hand normally again. While you are massaging your hand, a conversation pick up in the middle of the room, while the bird is still her cheerful self, the commander have taken a more calm approach, if only because to talk to the young newcomer, she herself reply with utmost respect to the others, but occasionally I can see her cast a glare to her fellow comrade, all while the guards just stand around with tired expressions on their face.
When the conversation die down, the bird lady come back to me and gave me her pen and notepad, I wrote next to the clock symbol ‘24h’, hopefully she used the 24 hours clock instead of the 12 hours clock. Finally, she drawn a ‘+’ and a question mark right next to the stickman, how many people come with me? While I did came to Japan with my friends, none of them also die and join me in the afterlife, or at least I hope not. I shake my head and cross everything she just drawn and drew a circle around the stickman, further emphasizing the fact that only 1 person came here, and that is me.
When everything is done, she tip her cap and flew away as fast as when she came, leaving behind dust, mystery and feathers. I suppose that the word slow isn’t in her vocabulary, but sometime you need to-
*Achooo* these dust are irritating!
“Bless you” said a voice
“Thanks” I replied back… wait, who said that?
The young school girl walk toward me and offer her hand, I accepted it and was gently helped up, this is quite an unexpected turn of events, but a nice one nonetheless.
“You know, most people in Gensoyko would’ve probably ignored Aya, much less indulged in her antics” She said in a tone that express amusement.
“To be fair, I was held at sword point, and I thought she was their interrogator” I replied while pointing at the guards
“Interrogator, heh, no she isn’t, just a journalist”
“Wait, so that wasn’t standard protocol?” I had my doubt about that before, but let’s confirm it.
“Nope, she just came here because there are stories to be written, and apparently she got one, was hoping that you both can’t understand each other, but somehow she got her scoop”
“First of all, she didn’t get much information out of me, just some basic stuff like how long I have been here and how many came with me, secondly what do you folks usually do with outsiders?” Hopefully I was just been over paranoid.
“Well, although she didn’t get much out of you, it is still information, she can just filled it with her own opinions and blatant lies anyway. “Pure and honest Shameimaru” my ass. Oh, and usually we bring in outsiders to ground them up and turn into sake”.
“Really?” Hopefully that was a joke, people here are different compared to humans, well the ‘normal’ humans anyway.
“Yes” She suddenly turn very serious and stare at me… for a few seconds until she lose it and let out a laugh
“No, no we don’t do that, we just sent them to the Harukei Shrine where they can choose if they wanted to stay or leave”
“Wait, if I was supposed to be sent there, why am I still here?”
“Well, right now it is nighttime and the shrine maiden get very cranky if anybody interrupted her break time so we can’t send you there at the moment, in response the Tengu elder are handling your temporary sleeping accommodations for tonight, although it won’t be comfortable, and there is no guaranteed that your personal effects will remained where they are”
“So do you have any suggestion then?” this is the part where she will offer a better alternative for either a favor or some price.
“Weelll my house does have some spare room that you can use, and you can enjoy a nice warm bath and good food, all for a low price of giving me an exclusive interview about where you came from and your past, don’t worry I won’t invade your personal issues, just enough for an article”.
“Wait, won’t the elders object this?” “Nah, they will just be glad that the problems is off their shoulders anyway”
Hmm, so all i need to do is giver her an interview and i can enjoy a proper night indoor? Sound a bit too good, but right now there aren't many options anyway
[x] No, would be my first response. trust doesn't suddenly come out of nowhere buuuut.
[x] Do accept her offer
It's not like you can go anywhere better at the moment and I doubt any scythe dudes will try to barge into the mountain, sneak their way into the chimney and then assasinate you the moment you close your eyes.
Tldr: Don't trust her 100% but do accept her offer, try to get her name too and keep the cooperative act up.
After dealing with everyone being hostile or at least indifferent toward me, it felt weird that somebody is actually showing hospitality, but it all seem too good to be true, for all I know this is a ploy to kidnapped me or something worse. Let’s see how bad where I was supposed to stay at, then make a decision later.
“Hey, umm… can you take me to the place where the elders provided me?”
“Really? After all I told you about how bad that place was, you still want to go there?”
“Not quite, I just want to see it with my own eyes to know how bad it really is, I still want to have faith in your elders to handle this well” Damn, that sound cheesy.
“Faith, huh? Yeah, we don’t have much faith around here for neither gods, religions nor our elders, only for the man, the myth, the legend: Lord Tenma!” She raise her hand dramatically and talk like a sportscaster introducing a star player when they enter the field. “But yeah, if you want I can take you there, just be ready for the ultimate letdown.”
“Meh, I used to live in horrible places anyway, so my standard is very low.”
*sigh* “Fine, give me a moment” She then walk up to the commander to discuss something, while that is happening you take the time to look outside the windows to see the village. The sun have already went down, but the street is still kept lit with lanterns and as busy as ever. There are the normal dogs patrol, but there are also the ones who are on leave, most of them are either in the arena fighting with wooden weapons or playing some kind of board game in teahouses, very few are seen bartering for goods or spend time with their families, no cross-species romance though, maybe that is a good thing for my eyes… I wonder how my own family is doing…
The place that you caught your attention the most, however is the giant tree in the middle of village, it is like a separate airborne village with their own treehouse designs. Occasionally there are birds, both actual birds and humanoid fly in and out of the treehouses. Unlike their canine counterparts, the birds don’t spend much time on the ground, if they do it is only to buy supplies and then immediately went up again, what is happening in there, I wonder?
“So, nice view huh?” She is back.
“Yeah, you people sure know how to build a beautiful village” The view almost make it worth it for being dragged here.
“You ready to leave and see you new sleeping quarter yet? Or would you prefer to be left here a little bit longer?"
“Can I bring the window with me?”
“Nope, let’s go.”
She gesture me to follow her, so I did. The corridor that I am walking through have a different feeling that is emitting from the concrete itself. Unlike the lively village, the walls are bare and simple, there are only paintings of a giant long nose old man who stare directly back and slogans written in Japanese, it doesn’t help that there are only 2 people walking around here, so I can hear my own foot sound echoing throughout the hallway. With these many rooms, how come there is nobody here!? So we just keep walking and walking, with the only known presence is the school girl and the clacking of our footsteps. Naturally, when there are nothing our mind would just wander off… We are begging you, please don’t…
“So, what do you birds usually do?” Nope, no, definitely not, the silence is way too oppressive now, I need to break it with something fast.
“Wait, birds? What do you think we are?” she replied back with an annoyed tone, uh oh.
“No, it is just that I see you guys have wings and dog ears and stuff like that, so I thought you guys are dogs and birds”
“You really see us like that?”
“Well I mean…yeah, sorry for thinking like that”
“Apologies accepted, and for your information, we are the Tengu, or more specifically my species is the Crow Tengu, while the ‘dogs’ are White Wolf Tengu, you never seen picture of our species in the outside world?” That is an actual question?
“No, we don’t depict Tengu being humanoid in our world, or if we did they usually have long-nose and red skin, kinda like the pictures you hang around here” You point to one of the picture, it is still very creepy.
“Oh, lord Tenma? Yeah I admit he is not the best looking in human eyes, but trust me, that is tradition, thousands of years ago we look just like him, only smaller. Over time natural evolution happened, making us more human-like to adapt with the changes in technologies and society, only a few like him have that appearance, they are some of the oldest and most knowledgeable people around here, granted some of their decisions are… not favorable, to say the least.”
“So there are a lot of people like him? So how come there are only picture of one person?”
“There used to be a lot more tengu village, but with the formation of the Gensokyo around 500 years ago, we are separated and lost contact with all of them, leaving this the last one Tengu village in the border. We haven’t heard anything from them since then, but judging from what you said, the other villages doesn’t seem to fare that well out there.”
“Hey, were you born during the time that the border was erected?”
“No, they are just stories that my parents told me, but trust me, they are very real.”
“So how old are you then?”
She suddenly stop, turn around to me, mouth gaping and slowly facepalm, what did I do wrong?
“Were you raise in a barn or something? It is common sense that you never asked a women age, much less when you don’t even know her name” Wait, since when are you not allowed to ask a women’s age?
“Okay, so how about this, what is your name miss Crow Tengu”
“See, that is much better now, you are finally learning the basic on how to introduce yourself to the local!” She said in a sarcastic tone and a horrible attempt at doing a poker face
“Anyway, name’s Hatate Himekaidou, pleased to be your acquaintance. “She extended her hand to me, I grab it and give a firm shake
“Pleased to be your acquaintance too, Miss Hatate” hopefully this is enough to fix all the mistake I made earlier “Well, I think we have being standing around here long enough, shall we continue our journey?”
You give a nod and continue walking through the hallway, eventually reaching a door. Finally! You were about to open it, but was stopped by Hatate
“Hang on there, buddy. Before we leave there is something we need to prepare, my friend should be here any moment now”
“I have already been here for the last 10 minutes now” A wolf tengu walk out from a nearby room. Hey, she was the squad leader from earlier!
“Ah, Momiji, sorry for letting you wait long, did you get the mask?”
“Of course, here you go” The Wolf Tengu handed her a mask
“Alright, thanks! Good luck in the Shogi tournament!”
“There are only skills involved, not luck, but your blessing is welcome nonetheless” She said that then walk off in the opposite directions, giving Hatate, which was given back
"So what is up with the mask?" I asked her
“As you may know, your presence is not planned, so you are still technically an intruder here, we need a way to mark you as a guest, so here, try it on”
You put on the mask and look around, despite the small eyeholes, it is surprisingly non-restrictive and comfortable, except for the stupidly long nose, of course.
You continue to walk forward with Hatate, there are occasional look or comment from people around, but most just ignore you and walk on, a much better improvement compared to what happened last time. This time when I am up close with the tengu, with the exception of the ears and tail, these people act just like how people from the countryside act. This is even truer for the stall owners, they look just like human with no distinct difference, no ears, tails or wings. Their nose are slightly longer, but it is hardly ‘non-human”. Eventually, both of you reach a watchtower near the corner of the wall, on the bottom floor there is a futon with some basic racks around it
“So, like what you see?” Hatate asked me
On one hand, this set up isn’t exactly bad, you slept through worse
On the other hand, WHAT.THE.FUCK? This place wasn’t even meant to be used for sleeping, they don’t even try to make it look like an attempt was made!
“It is… acceptable, say can I see through your house for me to make a final decision?”
“See, I told you so, finally decided to accept the deal huh?”
“Not quite, I just want to expand my options to see which is more beneficial” She give me a smirk then just walk away, I instinctively followed her.
We walk for a little while longer until Hatate stop right in the track and walk into a house, her I assume.
“Welcome to my little kingdom, we provided bath and food for a low price of information, not to mention there is an actual bedroom here.”
You take off your shoes and look around, it is a simple but nice wooden house, there are 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a kitchen. If you close your eyes and just sit down for a moment, you felt like this is where your home is, where you have being living for the last 2 years, where you are trying to go back. But right now there is no time to reminisce the past, it is time to make a decisions.
“So what kind of information do you want, Hatate? If it is anything personal, I am out"
“Like I said, I just want to know about where you came from, their government, your job and how the youkais are doing out there.”
Most of them would likely be easy questions to answer, it would seem, if that is what she is actually going to asked. *sigh* Maybe I need to place some more trust in her, if I can avoid sleeping in that room and everybody is benefited from this, then so be it.
“Alright, let’s start this interview then” Immediately, she grabbed her pen and notepad from her bedroom and urge me to the table, I sit down with my back against a wall, everything in view and the door within arm’s reach, so if anything goes wrong or look like they are about to, I can leave the area immediately. I take off my tengu mask and look at Hatate, let the interview begin.
“How long have you been here?” “Around a day or so”
“How did you get here?”
“I was sightseeing with my friends in Japan, we got drunk and stumble around, when I woke up again, I just appeared here” Let’s leave the fact that I die and ran away from death, she doesn’t need to know that.
“Where are you from?”
“American, the land of freedom” You said the latter words in a sarcastic tone, land of freedom where we are free to be idiots, that is what.
“What form of government do you guys have?”
“Democracy, we vote our leaders into officer, shame there are usually only 2 options though”
“Can you explained it a bit more clearly on how your government work?”
You spent the next 20 minutes explain to her how things like Parties, voting, taxes and how different laws from different states work. When that is over, I asked her my own question
“So why are you interested in our government so much? Most people just asked a foreigner about their personal life or where they came from, not the whole country and its flaws, ya know”
*chuckle* “Yeah, I have to admit these are some odd questions, it is just that I want to know how your government work, then compared it with our own to see if it is better or not. Say, can I asked you 1 more question?”
“Sure, I guess. But please keep it reasonable please”
“Are you happy with where you live?” That is an obvious question
“Of course I do, it may be a little bit flawed, but it is still home and I still got my family and friends out there.”
“Okay, so what exactly is your role in society?”
“What?” Why is she suddenly interest in my job?
“You seem to be living in America quite well, not rich per se, but still content with your life, so can I ask, what is your contribution to society, how did it repay you back?”
Sure, I am a bank robber who stole money and spent it for my own benefit while giving some other people PTSD about it, that is NOT something I will be talking about, maybe something that closely resemble what I do?
Next time I will have an ambassador MC for them social skills
[x] Manager: +++ Social skills, ++Perception, +Reaction, +Driving skills
I suppose a Manager would have similar skill sets to my own: Planning, emotion understanding, persuasion, intimidation, adept hand-on capability. It could work, though what kind? Upper management is immediately out of the equation, I don’t even know enough about specific management terms nor any business theories. Middle-management I could bullshit my way through, but judging from Hatate’s sentiment from earlier, she doesn’t seem to have much respect or trust for that role, and being associate to it will subconsciously give her a reason for disliking me. Low-management role would possibly be my best choice here, she seem to be on friendly terms with the squad commander from earlier, and it is much easier to sympathize with others if the ranks difference are small.
“Hey, are you still there?” She wave her hand in front of my face
“Huh? Oh yeah, sorry, just thinking of memorable experiences for your topic” I clear my throat and give her a calm smile “I am a Team manager for an insurance firm called ‘ 2nd chance’, our job is to persuade other people that their life need a safety net, and we can provide that safety if they pay us money. So it is a win-win situation, we earn our pay, they have their safety guaranteed. The company itself pay me well enough, plenty of chances for promotion and raises but I refuse because of my teammates, I want to stay with them as they are like family to me. Except for my boss, she is a nitpicky asshole”
“Both of us are the same then, bosses who have too much time to waste… so how are the youkais doing in the outside world? They don’t seem to be well off nowadays.”
“I don’t really know, they haven’t been seen for hundreds of years, any paranormal activities can be solve with science, and if there are any actual mystery, we would just dismiss it and move on except for id- experts who tried to prove that people like you exist, so far none of them succeed.”
“…”This must hit hard for her…
“On the bright side, however. The concept is pretty popular in media, there are plenty of movie and video games about it so you guys aren’t forgotten yet! And Earth is a large space anyway, I am sure there are still some youkai holdouts out there.” You quickly add something to salvage the mood.
“I sure hope so…” …
“So is that enough for your article?”
“Yeah, that is all, thank you for the interview.”
“So are you going to send this over to someone else or are you free for the rest of the evening?”
“Meh, it is late anyway, I can just finish this tomorrow morning. You are hungry already?”
“What? No! I just ask because this is interesting, I always love to see how reporters work behind the scene and if it is possible to contribute to their story or not” But yes, I do felt a bit hungry
“That flattery is cliché and obvious, you know.” Despite saying that, she still seem happy, that must have stroke her ego
“Alright, give me a moment to prepare for dinner, you should take a bath in the meanwhile”
You give her a nod and walk toward the bathroom. After entering, you take off your clothes and try to see and smell how dirty it is, it was weird how after a whole day of wandering around, your clothes apart from having dust stuck on some part of it, they are still clean. Well at least there are no need for clothes change yet. While waiting for the tub to be filled, you rinse your body with warm water, then a thought creep in. If I got out of Gensokyo, what will happen next? I don’t have any money or passport, so even if I leave the magic land border here, I am still stuck in Japan. Hmm… this complicate things, I need to figure out what to do… When the tub is finally full, you step in and enjoy yourself.
Ahhhhhh………. This is heaven…..
You sit in silence for a moment, there are ideas filled in your head, both good and bad, after some filtering, you had a solid plan… probably
>Be me >Die to a jug >Revive in Gensokyo >Leave Gensokyo >Still stuck in Japan >Sad.png >Find shelter to live >Earn money >Contact friends for help >Reach US Embassy >Leave Japan, Reach America >Life is good
When you are finished, you dry yourself and put on your clothes… only that they are gone, instead replaced by a bundle of clothes consist of full body underwear, a robe and a sash. Is this a yukata? After a lot of trial and errors, you finally manage to put it on properly, it only took 20 minutes!
Stepping out of the bathroom feeling refreshed and back into the living room, you are greeted with a table filled with food, 2 serving of soba noodles, each complimented with a bowl of miso soup and some tea. Yum!
“Took you long enough”
“Sorry, was dressing up to impress the homeowner” Half the truth that statement was.
“And yet you still do it wrong anyway” Hey!
“What do you mean? I wear this like every other normal people wear.”
“First of all, Kimono are always wrapped from the left side over to the right, not the opposite, secondly the bow of the obi is supposed go at the back, not front. Finally, your shoulder are all exposed, so no offense but I think you look like a male prostitute.”
“Your comment is noted, but it is a bit too late to change that.” That was embarrassing and uncalled for…
Sitting down once again, both of you dig in and eat in silence. When that is done, you headed to the guest room to finally put an end to the day, or at least tried to. Although your body is exhausted, your mind is still on alert, but from what? Looking out the windows, there aren’t anything interesting out there but the occasional patrol squad, so no Shinigami will be coming for me anytime soon. Closing the curtain, you unfold the futon in the corner then lie down, there isn’t anything much in the room, but it still felt uneasy for some reason, not helping with the fact that you are sleeping in a stranger home. Getting up once again, you put your ear against the wall adjacent to Hatate’s room, the only sound that can be heard is soft snoring. Finally, you check the door’s lock, it is still there and will likely hold against any attempt to break in soon.
When all of that is done, you get back in to the futon once again, feeling more secured.
“At this rate, the paranoia would kill me before any scythe wielding figure would…” You mumble tiredly to yourself, I really wanted to put my trust in other people and feel safe, but being paranoid is just second nature now.
“Alright, I get it!” I angrily yank the curtain open, which scare the bird away. Can’t I enjoy a good dream without getting interrupted? I haven’t even save the 3rd doctor yet.
*sigh* It was tempting to get back into the futon, but the earlier I get ready, the earlier I can leave this place, so into the bathroom I went. You clean yourself up and finally wear the Kimono the ‘right’ way. Now I know that I have to change back to my regular clothes soon, but being called a prostitute was just too bad of an insult to be ignore, and I would rather not being labeled as that.
Back to the living room again I go. And when I said living, they are supposed to be lively and filled with activities, but instead you are met with utter silence. Hatate is still sleeping soundly in her room, the merchant is just setting up their stall and even less tengu patrol than before. I should’ve slept in a bit more…
Out of boredom, you just go back into the bathroom and the closet, grabbing a broom, mop, bucket and some rags to start cleaning around the house, too bad there are no bleach or window cleaner, that would make things easier. After wiping every surface possible around the house, the street have gotten a bit busier with the early morning bartering, no sign of Hatate waking up though. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Walking out alone seem like a bad idea, and waking her up directly is just rude… All because of those damn birds
“到来!” Hatate’s voice come from inside her room, have she been awake the whole time?
She rush to the door to meet the guest, which was the Squad leader from earlier…again, what is she doing here? I could hear some Japanese and saw her gave Hatate a package, then leave.
“Hatate, quick question, how long have you been awake?” You asked
“Oh, since an hour or so, but just a bit too lazy to get up” Fantastic, that was a huge waste of my time
“So what is with that package?”
“Oh” She unwrapped the package to reveal some sushi balls inside of it “Our breakfast, Onigiri, here have some.” She then hand me some of them, I took it and take a bite. Yum!
“By the way, where did you put my original clothes? I haven’t seen it anywhere”
“Ah, I hang it on the roof, after we finished our breakfast I can grabbed it for you” The roof is slanted, how on earth could she… oh right, wings, stupid of me to apply human standard.
“So how is your article doing?” You idly ask her while eating
“Making pretty good progress” I am pretty sure that translate to I haven’t done anything yet
“Whatever happened next, I wish you good luck for this and whatever you will be doing next in your career”
“Thanks, and I hope you will be able tolive out there peacefully” She gave me a nice warm smile, which ease my worries a little bit, still can’t avoid what will come after I leave though.
After both of you finish the meal, Hatate give back your clothes, which you put on immediately.
“So are we flying or walking there?” If she can give me a lift then it would be great.
“Flying, of course. Now let’s Hrrgghh go” She said as I am picked up and carried like a princess… you close your eyes to avoid being stared at by other people, I was hoping to be pulled by the arm, not this!
“Man, you are pretty light, now hang on tight.“ You comply
The takeoff was pretty quick, unlike regular airplane which take time to accelerate, she just instantly get in the air traffic. When it was sure that I left the village, I open my eyes again, it is pretty cold up here, not even my coat can block all the winds. Looking around, you can see Gensokyo in whole, for all it’s weird magic stuff, it look fairly mundane from a bird’s eye view.
“Seeing anything interesting down there” She loudly ask to compensate for the winds
“Not really” I shouted back
“If you want you could hire somebody to be your guide here if you ever change your mind about staying here”
“I will think about it” That mean not gonna happen
When you are near the lake, there are constant fireworks over there, or at least at first glance it look like that, when in reality it was an aerial fight between a flying little blue kids against a witch. Star, icicle, explosions everywhere, and yet Hatate doesn’t even bat an eye, seem like this is a normal incurrence here … Yeah I would like to go back to the normal world soon, please.
Finally landing in a shrine, you jump off her embracing arms immediately to avoid any further humiliation, this run down shrine is my way out?
“Hey, are you sure this is the right one? It look abandoned”
“There is only 1 shrine in Gensokyo anyway, so this is the correct one by default, she is probably just being lazy in there, don’t tell me I said that though”
Both of you enter the building, calling out to a person name ‘Reimu’, to no avail, well this is bloody great. When suddenly there are mumbling and the sound of footstep coming out of the storage room in the back, finally!
Stepping out is a little kid with a giant pair of horn and holding some kind of jar, occasionally drink from it and stumble toward both of you
“Umm miss Reimu?”
You walk forward to try to talk to her, only to be held back by Hatate
“That is an oni, not Reimu, their kind are very dangerous, so whatever you do next, don’t underestimate her.” She look and act just like any normal 9 year olds so that is a bit hard to believe, but then again I did spent time with the Tengu and saw some magical fight bullshit on the way here, so what is reality anymore? At a closer look however you can see that her hand are rough and while subtle, you notice the muscle bulging in every movement of her arms. So even if she isn’t some paranormal creature, this prove that she is a capable fighter, so I need to tread the ground carefully here.
She tried to say something, but between being in Japanese and the drunken stupor, you can understand her even worse compared to previous encounter, as there aren’t even any proper body language. Hatate also tried to talk with her, but the little girl just shrug nonchalantly and told some kind of story… I think
Both of you are tired of this antics and while Hatate sit down in defeat, you gave a face palm. Seeing this, the demon girl go back into the storage room, pull out a dish and pour some sake into it and gave it to you. You look over to Hatate for additional assistance, but she have already fled back to the trees… shit.
Now, it is still too early in the day to be drunk, but this could help her to open up more to me, and plus alcohol is a great way to close the language bridge. However, Hatate is blending into the trees like the Vietcong, and you have never seen her this afraid before, so this could be bad… very very bad…
[x] Drink with her [x] Go to the trees too
Sorry for my late update, life decided to give a rollcall
I hesitantly walk up to her and take the dish filled to the brim with sake that is emitting the faint scent of fruit, flower and alcohol. Taking a sip to see how heavy it is and well… this is quite light to be honest. Just a sweet drink with a bitter aftertaste, at least I won’t be drunk anytime soon. I take a few more sips until the dish is empty, feeling a little bit tipsy but still sober enough to think. So when would Miss Reimu come back?
I sit down on the porch to wait for her, Hatate is still hiding somewhere and the oni is just being drunk and mumbling nonsense, it would be fantastic if she could just shut up, but she wouldn’t understand what I tried to say anyway, besides even if she does, provoking someone who seem to be capable in a fight is just plain stupid. *Sigh* what can I do now? There is nothing around here to do, no job to do, no musical instrument to play, leaving here is unwise as my way out could be back at any moment and my one talking partner is a drunken mess while the other is cowering in fear. And I thought the river was the definition of boring.
As I am spacing out, there is a sound of liquid glugging into the sake dish, the oni is pouring in more sake and gave the dish back to me, I need to stay sober to make sure I don’t do anything stupid and to go back at keeping myself occupied, there are plenty of thing to keep me busy anyway, like revising my plan, counting leaves, remembering the Pi number and… oh fuck it.
I take the dish and drank it all in one go, this time the liquid went down much smoother than before, every time I empty the dish, more is poured in, so I continue to drink it, all the noise became backgrounds, the sky is looking like wavy water, but no worries, still sober I am.
Even with all of the alcohol in your system, your worries still remain, if I do made it back, how would my acquaintances react? From their perspective I am a dead man that came back to life, and there are no excuses that nobody have seen my corpse, if my friends haven’t noticed it yet then the local would, which it will then be identified and sent back to my family, and there are no way I could get back in time before it does.
So what am I supposed to tell them? That I escaped death and came back to life? Yeah that is a one way ticket to the mental hospital so no. I can’t pretend like nothing happened and play it off either, this is just too big of a deal to ignore, fooling them with stories might be possible, but I can only deal with one or two of them at the same time, and good luck creating a web of lies between a dozen people who are all skeptical and smart… really wish I made friend with idiots in this circumstance.
And that is if I did made it out of Japan, how would I manage to survive out there? The plan is only good in theory, but in practice it is pretty hard to go along. If my memories serve me right, to get a new passport would take at least a month and a moderate amount of money, without any Japanese knowledge or connection in Japan, this have gotten unnecessarily harder. Dammit, why can’t it just be…
Suddenly, there is a feeling of pain in the back of your head, then before you knew it, your head hit the ground, in pain and confusion you instinctively place your hand on your hip, only to remember that there isn’t anything there.
“Aaugh..” Am I lying in the middle of a tornado? Everything just keep spinning…
*giggle* “Sorry, long time since I dealt with a normal human before.”
I slowly get up to ask the person in question why they decided to knock me down to the ground, the only one that I see is the demon girl. Heh, the alcohol must have kick in.
“I would prefer if you didn’t decided to beat me up all of a sudden, thank you very much.”
“Beat you? I just gave ya a gentle pat, not my fault that you are weak” Can’t you at least pretend to say something nicer?
“If you tried to get my attention, then you could’ve just said something”
“I did, but you just keep spacing out, so I have to get physical.”
I stumble back onto the porch, feeling dizzy, nauseous and having a massive headache. The girl offer me more sake, but I decline for now, alcohol might be good painkiller, but too much would just mean nothing if I vomit them all out
“So what is bothering ya?” She asked
“To be honest, I don’t really know, everything I guess.”
“Your past haunting ya or worrying about the future?”
“Leaning toward the latter more.”
“I see… Hey, you know why I offered sake?”
“No, I don’t, does it have anything to do with hospitality?”
“Somewhat. See, when ya first came, I noticed that you are angry, impatient, wary, overall a pile of misery, that isn’t how ya live your life, you were supposed to keep going with a smile on your face and just keep living in the moment, handling problems when it arise, I tried telling ya about that but you just wouldn’t listen, so I thought: ‘what is something that will cheer a man up?’ Of course nothing beat good ol’ alcohol, so I gave you that and done, problems solved right? Nope, you still look like shit, and I bet that you are feeling like it too.”
“I can see where you are coming from, but having plans and being cautious is part of my life, it kept me alive for years, and would be until the end of time.”
“And look where that got you, worrying about things that ‘might’ happen, leaving you weak against imminent threat, how would wasting your energy about stuff like that help you?”
“Better than just being reckless and slamming head first into problems. Besides, I am not that incompetent.”
*sigh*”Just not getting through to you huh?”
“Look, how about we just agree to disagree? You have your own life view, I had mine, we stop bothering each other and just leave it there, all right?”
“If that is what you want, then sure. Just don’t tired yourself out thinking of every possibilities of the universe.”
“I will start wearing a helmet then.” You said jokingly.
“I don’t think I have asked, but what bring ya here exactly?”
“I am told that there is a person here name ‘Reimu’ could help me get back to the outside world, so I came here in order to leave, but she isn’t here”
“So you talk with me to pass the time while waiting for her, right?”
“Yeah, having a talking partner felt great, especially ones who are smart and filled with wisdom.” There isn’t many choices at the moment, so I am stuck with what I got.
“Don’t worry, she is solving an incident right now, should be back in a day or two.”
“Incident? Like… Fights and car accidents, stuff like that?”
“Well, she does take care of youkai attack from time to time, but those ‘car’ incident of your, yeah I had no idea what nonsense you are spewing about. This time though, she decided to go because flowers are growing too much, can you believe that? I mean who look at those beautiful flowers and say “This is threatening the existence of Gensokyo”? I know she meant well and all, but even an outsider like ya have to admit that is just a bit ridiculous.”
“I guess… how often do these incidents happen?”
“Usually it happen if someone felt like starting one, but this one is special. See, the flowers only bloom like this once every 60 years, so it is more like a half century thing. Now I know that this is interfering with your business, but look at the bright side, this is a unique event that only happen once, maybe twice in a human life time if they are lucky, so just enjoy it.” So I arrive in Gensokyo the same time an incident occur that prevent me from being able to leave it? Fantastic, just my luck…
“Oh turn the frown around, will ya? Why don’t ya invite your friend on the roof down here so we can drink and talk some more together?” Wait, when did Hatate move up there? Is she listening on us?
“I don’t think she is a sociable person, plus I heard that crow tengu are claustrophobic, so staying down here might be uncomfortable for them.” I made something up to excuse her absent, if she doesn’t want to be here, then she shouldn’t be pressured to.
“A bit sad that they don’t like talking much huh? What a shame, I just want a talking partner to discuss about recent stuff, not that you are a bad talker, but I prefer someone local, who know this place so we can talk about the recent events, like where Reimu is going, how cruel she treat that ice fairy…”
She then lean close to my ear then whisper “…and the increasing number of ghost in the area.” You can see a faint smirk coming from her… I hope this is just the alcohol talking
“Welp, I need to get some stuff done in the shrine anyway, so see ya.” She then get up and wander back inside, leaving you alone with your thoughts.
So Reimu is not here, the demon girl might know where I truly came from and an area wide incident that involve souls and flowers huh… this is going downhill faster than I expected. If the souls are part of the incident, does it mean that she would have to ‘take care’ of us by either killing or sending us back? I hope not, besides the girl from earlier did said that it is ‘increasing’, does it mean that there is a population of ghost here originally? Is there any laws regarding how different species interact with other in Gensokyo? This is just so confusing!
I call out to Hatate to see if she is still nearby. Sure enough, she climb down from the roof and land in front of me. I tried to ask her some question, but she did that first.
“What was that all about?^”
I explain to her that you and the oni only talk about some random stuff that end with her explaining about an incident that is happening, but hold back the ghost exodus information for now.
“Wait wait, can you slow down? I can’t understand what you are talking about.^” Seriously? I explain to her again, but much slower
“I tol u dat we unly talk some random shiet, little talk if u see, then horny gal said there iz an accident involving flowers and Raymoo committing brutality against the fae of ice.”
“How the hell are you speaking Japanese right now?”
“Drink gud translate!”
“I… actually let’s talk about this later, you said that there is an incident and Reimu is handling it right now, so do you know where she went?"
“Ummmm… Ah! She went foggy, wait nu, Misty Lake, ye, she go beat up faeri and stop flowers, u were hearing on us, how in river did u not know? Crow ears ur gud stuff.”
“Just because we can hear well doesn’t mean I can hear everything clearly, so does she said anything else? There was something that she told you, but I can’t hear it.”
“Bad stuff and yukai shenanigans with flowers, land hot zone. All words spoken there.”
She then mumble something that I can’t make out clearly, then lead me back to the porch to sit down
“Look, I need to go for a while, just stay here and rest up okay? I will be back later in the day, and whatever you do, don’t drink any more of that stuff, you are a mess right now.” You tried to stop her for questioning, but it was too late. And what does she meant by me being a mess, I am still clear and sober, but yeah, stop drinking right now is a good idea.
Immediately she took off, the force created by her wings knock me down to the floor, I heard a crashing sounds nearby, so my eyes wander over to see the sake dish broken… dammit.
If Reimu won’t be here for some time, then I don’t have to stay at the shrine, maybe I can go around Gensokyo to see what I will be getting myself into next, maybe finding new sleeping arrangement or extra job to fill my pocket. Actual work of course, not the usual one, as I don’t have any gear for a heist at the moment. God, my head hurt
[x] Rest up at the shrine, Hatate told me to stay put
[x] Explore Gensokyo, the day is still young
[x]Stay until I have less alcohol in my system, then go
[x] Tell the oni about what happened (Optionable) [x] Stay until I have less alcohol in my system, then go [x] Nearby village [x] After having told the Oni what happened, ask her why you can speak japanese now and if it's cause of the drink if you can take some with you.
The village would likely be the best option for me, it seem safer compare to the forest and the distance lake, and there might be something to actually do unlike here and the flower garden.
“Alright, let’s do this*” I tried getting up, but find it difficult to do so, somehow your body have lost most of its strength, leaving it as deadweight
…..Just stay here and rest up okay?... you are a mess right now
Nah, she just overreact, I haven’t even drink that much, only… how much have I drank again? Whatever, I am still sober and it is all that matter, it is because of me getting knocked down twice in the last 10 minutes, that’s it. Just nudge my body a little bit and…
*Thump* your head hit head first into the ground, followed by the remaining body parts, you get up once again, using the porch as support.
“Augh…*” Everything just keep spinning and my inside feel like it is burning but that is okay, it would eventually be, all I need to do is walk to the village, drink some water and done, everything back to normal.
Before I left however, I look back at the broken glass shards on the floor just lying there, I have only stay here for less than an hour and yet something is already broken, granted it isn’t my fault but still. Hiding them would be quite easy, what I am worried about is the aftermath if she notice what happened, I could also just stay silent and walk away, though that would leave quite a negative impression on her when I came back.
“Let’s get this over with*” I will just tell her what happened, apologize and then move on.
I stumble to the sliding door and listen in just in case I walk in on something ‘questionable’, there are soft breathing and constant humming noise in the background but nothing suspicious so far.
“Excuse me, may I enter?”
“If ya here for official business, then nobody is here, if it is for other reason the come on in!”
I open it and enter the dimly lit room, the oni is sitting under the kotatsu, reading newspaper and eating oranges
“So… a hardcore survivor huh?”
“What do you mean?”
“The bunbunmaru article said that an outsider have been lost here for nearly a month without anybody noticing and was recently captured near Youkai Mountain, I take that is you?” Wait, what?
“Can I borrow the paper for a while? I need to confirm something.” It better not be what I am thinking
She handed me the paper and I start reading or at least tried to. Because all the words were written in Japanese, you don’t even know if you are reading this upside down or not, the alcohol can help me talk to the local pretty well, but against written words it is effectively useless.
“Excuse me miss, can you read the article that was written about the outsider for me please? I know this is a weird request and I’m really sorry about this but I am illiterate.” I try to say the last few words naturally without gritting my teeth.
You hand the paper back to her and she start flipping the pages, before she start reading though you notice the look of pity she have given you. Oh god, I just want to bury my head and hide from the shame. I slump down near her while avoiding any possible eye contact.
“It said that on yesterday, the Youkai mountain defense force manage to capture a hostile outsider, through interrogation and witness testimony it was concluded that he have been in Gensokyo for up to 24 days, there are also rumors that he belong to a group of hidden outsiders who are residing somewhere in the area, but it is still unproven. The remaining part is just some random theories about how he could’ve stay hidden for so long and who is to blame for failing to spot him, but just between me and you I don’t believe any of this nonsense. Ya don’t look that harden, both mentally and physically, and ya sure as hell don’t act like somebody who have been here for a long time. And even if that outsiders isn’t you and it is somebody else much more dangerous who just happened to be spotted the same day ya wander here, then he and his group still should’ve been spotted long time ago, Gensokyo might be a large place, but there are enough people here to fill every place available, fairies would have spotted him and spread gossip around, eventually reaching everybody and it would be intervened. Hell if some reasons fairies doesn’t noticed them the villagers would’ve, they‘ve gotta eat at some point, and human village is one of the few place that grow food fit for human consumption. Even the whole witness testimony is crap, it would’ve taken more than a day to find sufficient evidence, that doesn’t even include…” Her word slowly become meaningless, just another mess of rambling that go in one ear and out the other.
Fucking hell, even here I have to deal with fake media? I mean it is lucky that I didn’t die right there and then but if I have known that she is a freelance journalist without any say in my fate I would’ve kept my mouth shut about this. Have Hatate done the same thing using my previous statements? I hope not.
“… That is my personal opinion about this, what about ya?”
“Yeah this whole situation is quite odd but it doesn’t bother me much since I will be leaving soon anyway. Still, thank you so much for this information miss” If I ever met that crow again, I will have a word with her.
“No need to be so formal all the time ya know? Just call me Suika.”
“Alright then mi- ah I meant Suika, sorry.”
“So why did ya came into this room in the first place anyway? For your information I can’t open the border for ya to leave, just saying that early on if that is your reason.”
“No, of course not! I was about to leave but I felt like it is rude to just do that without saying goodbye, so… you know…”
“And… umm…” Fuck it, now or never.
“Earlier I was talking with Hatate, when she left there was a little accident that left the dish broken and…” I take a deep bow “I am really sorry about this problems, if you need a new dish I could try to find a way to get you a new one”
*Chuckle* “That’s it? We had thousands of dishes in the warehouse and those things are broken by the hundred in every party anyway, Reimu won’t notice if a single one have gone missing. Still, I appreciate the honesty.” My body relaxed and I release a sigh of relief.
“I gotta wander though, where are ya planning to go? Gensokyo may seem friendly but human, especially outsiders could have their life in jeopardy if they wander into the wrong place.”
“The village down there, it is close and seem quite normal from afar, no flying youkais and their battle on the air, probably work for me to do unless there is something more sinister to it, then I will change my course.”
“No no, that is one of the safest place that you could possibly reside in, it is a protected neutral ground, so as long as ya don’t piss off some important figure there, ya should be okay. But ya really sure ya wanted to go there right now?”
“Yeah, why? Is there something going on at the moment?”
“2 things, first off people are still working there, so ya won’t be able to ask around a lot, I suggest waiting until mid-day then go, ask the one who are having a little rest in either the bar, the school or the town center, it is more natural that way and you don’t have to run around town like a chicken that lost its head. The other thing is that you are wasted right now, people ain’t going to spend much time talking to a drunk, so why not just rest here a bit, sober up then go?” Aren’t you the drunk one?
“I appreciate the offer, but I really should leave soon, the early birds catch the worm” I said then get up, using the kotatsu as support then leave the room… into the wardrobe and bump my head on the shelves, knocking me down. The hell? This was the door that I came from, what changed?
“Sobered up yet Mr. closeted?” She said with a smirk on her face.
“In all seriousness you are really unfit for traveling, the village won’t be going anywhere, well probably not anyway, never know what kind of shenanigans that might happened” Comforting words there lady…
“Don’t worry miss, I am perfectly sober, all I need to…” Before you can finish your sentence, she cut in
“No, ya aren’t, and unless you plan to die or make a fool out of yourself, ya need to clear all of that substances out of the body and then actually try do something instead of just keep pretending like nothing is wrong and keep acting just because you think you can.” Her tone is slightly harsher than before and you think you can hear echo.
“I don’t know if you believe this or not, but drinking actually help me talk in foreign language with limited success, when we first met I didn’t listen to you not because I didn’t care, but because I can’t understand you, I have to go there right now because without those stuff in my body I won’t be able to understand anybody, and you must know how important good communication is, yes?”
“Now that doesn’t… Ah, that make sense… hey, does the name Qiang ring any bell to ya?” Wait, she actually believe that?
“I don’t think so, is that person someone important?”
“An infamous Chinese general that tried to weaponized alcohol a few thousands year ago, in the project he and a team of distiller increase their lethality, their mind-numbing effects and change its identity so that it can be carried in gas form if necessary. At the same time he sent scout across the land for people who have high immunity to the effect of alcohol, kidnap and force them into their ranks to be experimented on, not only to improve their resistance, but for their body to adapt and improve some characteristic when consuming alcohol to be the perfect chemical assassins. When the project was shut down due to budget shortage, he ordered a purge of all the project’s property, including the kidnapee, most perish but some made it out, tougher than before but scarred for life, I think that you might be one of their descendant.” What the hell is with this military secret stuff?
“Now hold on a second, how the hell do you know about all of this and where are the proof it happened? No offense, but I am having a hard time believing all of this.” I might be stuck in a magical land, but that doesn’t mean I will believe every kind of bullshit that is thrown at me. The only part that I believe is the descendant part, since it is something that is actually plausible in my world.
“I had a drinking contest with one of the survivor’s grandson, at the time I was quite young and weak so I might’ve… fail certain part of the challenge. I won of course but I was quite impressed with his capability nonetheless so I befriend him and we had adventures together. Overtime he told me more and more about his backstory, including the detail of the project, that is how I know about it. ”
“And you just take his word?”
“Why not? I know it is quite far- fetched but personally, I believe him just as I believe your story, granted for different reasons. If you do too then great, if not then no problems, though I doubt you will find a better answer to it.” I still don’t, but there is no point having further argument about it.
During the conversation, you unconsciously tuck yourself into the kotatsu opposite of her, only noticing it as the talk wind down. You wanted to get up and leave, but felt like you are being pulled back by something here and it just won’t relent no matter how much effort you spent trying to leave. Did she curse this thing?[i/] Eventually you yield and decide to stay put, at least for a while.
[i]Long time since I felt this calm, back at that hotel we never got a chance to just sit down and relax properly, always going from one place to the next. Can’t believe I am finding peace in a place like this…
I lay on my back with the jacket being used as a makeshift pillow, occasionally fainting in and out of consciousness. This keep happening a few more time until the bright sunlight go through the door, forcing me to be awake.
“Mrghh…” How long was I out?
“Sobered u̸͇͒͝p̵̣͙̦̃̂̇͑͗͐͝ yet?” She said while taking another swig.
“Yeah, now can I leave?”
“Why are ya asking? N̵̡̩̯̺̠͌̍̀̒ǫ̷̨̢̞͖̠̙͛͋͛̇̒͑̊b̷̳͇̙͖͒̈́ô̷̦͔̪d̷̢̠̯̙̖͙̍̌̍̕ȳ̵͖̬͈̉̍͜ is holding ya back”
“Weren’t you the one who forced me to stay though?”
“All I did was giving ý̶̠̦a̴͚̩̹̳̭̓̓̒͋ ̵̣̘̥͎̑̔̉͛̚͜͝ā̷̖͔̘̥̉̑͌͑͛n̵͇͇͍͓̊͠ advice, I didn’t forced ya to d̸̻̗̤̃̈́ö̴̻́ anything, it was your c̴͓̾͊h̶̢̨̢͍̻̃̌̿͘o̶̡͍̲̬̦͘i̸̧̯̫̦̤̰̰̋̾̀c̵̮͛ě̶͖̚ in the end, though it is more like y̷̢̛͚̹͙̣̬̥̟̱̫̞̖̬̠̬̆̽̀̽̈́̾͐͒̉̚̚o̵̞̺̫͚͙̫͐̕u̶̯̻̤͈̹̎̎̿͋̔̆̆̈́͠r̷̨̡̙̺͓̔̒̕͝ ̵̤͉̬͓͈͕̟̣̲̗͕̉̎̎̿͒́͌̚͠͝b̸̨̻̱͙̮͚̟͈͚̹̜͍͇̐̄̐̄͂͠o̴̻̥̜̤̟̼̜̎͗̂̔́̿̓͘͜ḍ̷̡̭̺͍͔̗̭̩͐͂̀̈͐́͝y̸̖͉͙͚̺͇̼̼̋̌̂̑̂̀̌̌͑́̇̍͝͝͝ is not working p̶͙̪̭̪͙͈̮̗͎̩͆̓̉̒̓r̶̛̥̞͌͐͗̅͐̎ó̸̹̻̱̼͍͔̫̒̎̈́̚̚͜p̸̧̛̤͉͕̪͐́̈́̚̚ȅ̸̛͕̄́̓̓̕̕̕͝r̷͕̦͍̜̖͙̠͖̎̌̈́́͜ͅl̶̯͚̬̍͆͊͋͜͝y̵͇͉͈̤̱̰̦̍͊̈́̉̍̀̽̔͊ͅ.” It is getting harder to understand her, the alcohol effects must have die down.
“Ah, true enough. Say, you still seem to have a lot of sake, can I have some to bring on the road? You know, because of the language problem.”
“Sure, just ĝ̶̮̤̤̜̤̀̓͑ͅi̶̬͖͍̘̜͓͐͂̈́̍͜v̶̤̦͍̦͗̽̎̉e̷̱̘̳͙̎̌ me a minute” She walk into the kitchen while downing a seemingly endless bottle. Bloody hell, how is your liver not protesting yet?
“Do drink i̶̡̡̝̱̝̜͉̒n̷͕̩̲̻̠̏̅̈́̑̌̔͝ ̶͓̫̩̻̎̆̌̑͋̿m̵̺̪̾͆͜͜ȯ̸̫̯̯̝͇̈́̋̄͘ͅḓ̵̬͆̎̈́͛̊̕e̷̛̮̫̠͍͕̽̏̇̀̄͠s̶̡̲̪̞͛̋̉̓̕͝ẗ̸̙͆́͒̉̀ though, you don’t want to be wasted a s̵̛̬͐e̶̘̯̬͕͑̔̄̒̚͜c̵̻̱͚̭̣͒̍̂̐͝ò̶͎̱̒̈̕n̷͔͐̍d̸̞̱̩̲̍̓̀̍̑̑ͅ time, the hangover would be quite u̴̢͍̼̣͚̪͒n̶̩̹͕͙͎͇̼̍͂ṗ̸̩͂͑͜ͅḽ̶͖̤̥̮̆͊̀̒̕͝ě̴̢̌̈́ͅa̴̝̓͂s̷̥̥̯͂̋̒͘͝͝á̸̠̜̤̤̣̎͜͝n̷̢̡͖̙͎͕͔͊ť̶̘͖̅̇͗͜ ̵͉̤͕͓̲̹̾̍̈͠ͅt̶̢̠̦͗̿̐̔ͅȍ̶̢͓̜͖̭͒̆̂͆ ̴͓̭͈̀́̌͗͑̈s̷̛͚̟̫͍̠͊͛͝ā̷̤̹̞͚̀͘ẙ̴̝̮͙̩͒͋̾́̓̈́ ̶̢̛̜̫͈̳̜̲̀͑̅̃̉̕the least.” She handed you a thermos filled with sake.
“Umm… sure. Well, thank you for all the help, Suika, see you again some other time.” If alcohol poisoning doesn’t set in yet of course. “See ÿ̷͎̗́̔̒ǎ̷͍̖͓͕̭͎̳͋́̍̒̏̑̚ later then.” You turn around to leave, but not before she called out again
“Oh by the way, can ya ŗ̴͓̘͊̐̏̈́̉ḙ̵̞͍̎̅m̴̨͔̰̣̰͖͛̆̒̅̂͋o̶͈͕̩̐̄ͅṽ̵̧̺̫͇̥͕̖ȩ̷͓͙͙͖̙̺́͝ ̶̫͙̜͖́̉̽͑̑̈́t̵̼̙͈͛́͌̑̈͂͘ḧ̷̗̼͠͠͠e̶͖̩͙̘͙̼̒̈́͋̂͝ broken shards out there? Just toss it somewhere far from here, and don’t let Reimu k̵͈̬͑̾̋̋̕͠ͅͅń̸̠̥̲̍̏͝ͅo̷̧͚̮̺̳̺̖͒ẘ̷̹͍̾͝ ̷̜͓̺̄͠a̸̼̙͈̞̪̹̦̔̌̀̇͂b̷̨̛̳̘̠̙̠̻̀́ò̶̟̗͎̬u̸̠̭̝͈͖͐̇ͅt̸̮̫̪̽̈́̉̓̄ what happened, okay?”
You gave a thumb up and walk out, behind you Suika said the last few words.
“There we go*” You hid most of the shards in a bush near the forest outskirt, only keeping the sharpest and longest piece available, wrapping it with leaves to make a shiv for self-defense. Not the best one I ever got my hand on, but it will do.
You wander into the village with a sake thermos in your pants pocket and a shiv sheathed in your belt underneath your jacket. Your outfit stick out like a sore thumb compare to the villager’s medieval age clothes, but none bother you as they keep going about their business. The traffic here is a lot denser compared to the Tengu village, with more villagers and actual animal transporting goods, occasionally jamming the street for a while before the flow become natural again. Eventually you end up in the village center where there are benches for you to sit down and rest up for a while. In the middle of the center there is a group of workers dismantling a stage and a crowd dispersing, something have happened here but I wasn’t around to see it, though you do notice that the majority of that crowd appeared to be hunters, wearing leather armor and camo suit while carrying bows, knives and other survivalist tool around. That remove the possibility that the stage was used to hold a concert, what is it for though?
Focus, what happened there doesn’t matter, I need to plan for the future. I should spend the day scouting out the entire town then actually do something else tomorrow, that way I would be able to plot the best course of action.
The village center itself is a good location, for information gathering, it have large amount of people that come and go, there are bound to be some interesting people that I could tail or some interesting village gossips that I can use, though that does mean that I will need to be intoxicated again, and that carry its own risks. There is also a large village board with plenty of posts and pictures there, but I don’t think I will be able to understand them.
On my right there is the bar where people from all walks of life enter to waste their salary on booze, I can be drunk and talk to other participants there all I want without looking out of place and a drunk man is a man with loose lips after all. But people there are on break, and bothering them, especially the drunken one could be dangerous if one or few of them have a short fuse, if that happens the shiv might be the only thing that will keep me alive, but i prefer to keep it as the last resort. Not to mention the questionable validity of their statements.
Another possible option is the market, those shopkeepers have to deal with hundreds of people every day, they might know something interesting and let their lips loose from time to time, though having no money and just keep loitering there is a good way to attract suspicion, if I could ‘ve… bloody hell, is that a nine tailed fox?
You noticed there are only a few hunters who decided to go to the bar, the rest went into a large stone house with iron bar windows and guards standing outside. Despite the threatening look there are a large number of people, both normal citizens and hunters entering and leaving it to register something at the receptionist and even joking with the guards from time to time. Is this the village variant of a police or military force?
Finally I could just wander around town, I won’t be likely to know anything much besides the village layout, but at least I won’t get lost in the future and there is no additional needs for drinking.
Time to do a little casing
[x] Stay at the village center [x] Go to the bar [x] Go to the market [x] Follow the nine tailed fox [x] Go to the intimidating looking building [x] Wander around aimlessly [x] (Optionable) Drink more sake
[x] Go to the bar, but only drink the bare minimum to both conserve our sake and keep a somewhat clear head for information gathering
You enter the Izakaya, at least you think that is what they are called here with the expectation of gathering information from a few drunk people who are having a break and move on before things get rowdy, but never expected that this place would be this crowded, with around 3 dozen people eating, drinking and chatting with their companions without a care in the world, most of them are tipsy with some completely wasted and other who avoid their drinks completely, not counting the staffs. The mood is quite cheerful, and unless some cruel twist occur, there won’t be any fights anytime soon and hopefully it will stay that was as the cramped space meant dodging and escaping won’t be easy. Couldn’t ask for a better scenario myself
You sit in a seat obscure by a pillar to avoid direct contact with the staff and other people at least for now. You take a single gulp of sake from your thermos, this time it’s effect hit you faster, as your body have being drinking recently so any additional depressant would be more effective than before. It is not the same as fully intoxicated, but shouldn’t affect other body function too much. At least the headache is gone…
You ignore the one that are fully wasted because they can’t even form a single word for you to understand, though still keep watch on them in case random impulses take over. Instead keeping watch on other customers and the floor, looking for dropped loose changes. After a while, the conversation between a duo of young hunters and the bartender caught your attention
“What did y̶̹͋o̵͉̐ų̶́ think about that s̴̨̿p̴͈̍ė̵̘e̸̻͘c̴̨̛h̶̹̍ bart̸͖̣̐̃̿̎̅end̴͉͊͋̔̌̎̈̇̈̆̍̔̍̀̋͘er̷̯̠͛̍͐͒͠?” One of the hunter proudly asked
“A load o̵̧̠̘͍̹̝̞͖̯͕̗̝̪̣̍̋̔͜͝f̶̨̧̡̦̮̜̹̝̤̳̪̖͕̲̾̈́͒̎͗͗̉͘̕͜ ̴̢̳̳̱̙͈̲͕̦̯̭͍̈́͐͛̈́̈́̌̈́bul̵̛̍̄̆̽̂̿̂̐̆̎̿̂ls̴̨̢̢̢͎̘͈̃͜͜ͅḧ̵̨̢̭̭̦̠̺̼̫̳͖̻̞́͝i̵͉̳̾̾̇̾͐̈̒͝ṭ̵̛̝̜̘̘͇̠͇̻̭̟̀̌̄͊͗̉͗̈́͘͠ͅ, your leader just keep making s̷̝͎̭͕͂̎̓̌̍͛͊͂̈́͜͠p̷̤͙̾͗́͑̊̋͆̂͋̀̾̕eech̶̟̓̎͆̓͊̚͠͝ë̵̼̮͋͊͂̄͌̌͌͛͒̚ͅs̷̡̜̪͉͚͉͎̥̲̎̐ about how youkais have stall the village expansion and why there is a need for a h̵̜͠e̴͙͘ä̸͙́v̵̱̽ḯ̴ͅë̴̖́r̵͕̽ hand approach, but you know what have actually change? Nothing, the village ̴͇̱̖̗͇͕͉̹̃͗̈̀̉̈̓i̴̢͉̬͇͂̀s̷̙̆̀̍̂̐̅͆̏̔̌̈́̍̕ ̶̥̳̝̺͉͂͒̋̌̂́͗̚͠still the same, youkais still roam around it, all that speech manage to a̵͙͛c̷̻̄h̴̢̒i̷̻̐e̷͙̾v̴͎̎ë̸̟́ is blocking the town’s space and holding m̶̰̖̥͎̫̄̎̅̓ͅy̴̝͐ customers back.”
“Come on old man, no need to d̴͎̗̤͉̅̂̎̈́͐͌̒̑̾͝͝ͅi̷̘̞̤̭͓̲̜͓̿̐̒̊͒̐͗͠s̷̢̨̨͇̰̼̰̯̟̯̥͓̈͘r̷̡̡̞̞̪͐e̸̢̠̤̅͊͋̉spe̵̫͚̱̲̯͓̞̩̱̗̦͆̄̃͋̌͂̔̚͝͝c̷̡̛̠̙͙̥͙͔͓̋̌̊t ̵̛̛̝̾̐̎̈́̈͌̍ư̷̛̙̰̭̭̝̏̔̊͗͐͋̑̓͋̋̔̕s̶̮͔̲̰̮̼̹̩̫͉̟̜͓͔̊̋͗͊̀͋̀͒̅͜͝ ̷̨̨̩̭́̏͌̉̕̕͜like that, we did our part protecting the village, m̴̮̉a̷̢͝k̷̖̾i̸͔̅n̴̢̚g̴̹̐ ̸̠̆̀͒̕sure to keep the pesky youkai population down and you c̴̠͊a̸̯͌n̷̩͊ ̷̧͐s̶͍̎e̵̚͜e̷͓̔ ̷̡̜͖͈̳̱̻̠͇̬̄̅́̋́̈́͘̕̚the results, there haven’t been any massive b̴̢̗̬͎̾̇͑̒͐̂̈́̀̔͛͝reac̵̨̨̼̻̥̻̘̖̗̝̋̈͑̈͌̓͋ẖ̵̨̢̛̲̥̤͚͙͚̯̃̈́͒̿́̄̀̀̆͛͋͑ͅ for 50 years and our population is growing faster ṯ̵͗h̵̭͒a̵̩͋n̵͔͘ ̴̡̢̨̯͈̗͔͚̦̼̝͓̉͌ever.”
“The reason they never a̵͚͌ť̸͙ṱ̴̈́à̸͈ç̵̋k̴̜̓ ̴̼͌u̵̅͜s̸̨̑ ̵̟̖̦̺̦͔̬͑̆͛͆̋is because of people like K̷̤͂e̶̪̒i̵̤̋n̷̫̍e̷̙̍ and that shrine maiden, not a bunch of twenty year-olds playing heroes"
“Those two are way too o̷̡͆v̷̧͝ê̶̦ŕ̸̩ra̴̪͛t̴̪͗e̵̙̐d̴̺̅ Ḱ̴̪͖̠͚̱͈͈͐eine is just 1 person, no matter how powerful she i̶̙͠s̵͓̔ ̴̬̓į̵̚f̶̡͛ there are enough attackers, ś̵̼h̴͎͛ḙ̷͂ ̴̞̔w̴̢̛ó̸͈ụ̵̊l̷̡͝d̴͎͒ ̵̢͙̺̜̪̠̲̼̰̟̌͜just be overwhelmed and Reimu…” He lean closer to the bartender
“… last I heard, she is in c̶̪̓a̴̡̕hoot̸̨̨̹̬̾͛͐̌̄̓̿͘ŝ̷̛͙̽͒̑͌͑́̄͂́̈́̕͝͝ ̴̢̞͓̬̺̦̺͙̺̪͔̭̂̊̑̑̏́͋̃̕with those youkais, she is supposed to be the m̵͕̗͑͆̔͌̓͋͑͐̾̎̒̌̑̏ǫ̶̝̲͚̲̈́̓͊̽̍̋̓̑́͊͘͝͝͝st p̷̢̹͙̽͗͌̂̈̿̓̽̎̕͠ower̶̯͌̈̅̑͐̐̈͊̏̆f̷͓̔ǘ̶͕l̷͍̄ ̷̧̛̫͖̱̫̼̮̖̞̹͙̻̞̌̒͐̾͐̅͑̋̅̐̂͘͜youkai exterminator capable of wiping out é̶̝͙̩̉͗͌̀̊very̴͇̭̪̪͈̝̹̺̗͐̏͑̅̃̂͂̏̈́̅͗͊͒ ̸̤̰̰̉̐͆́͂̋̈́̄̋̀̃͝͝͠one ̵̪̩͍͓̟̰̱̤̑of them, and yet she doesn’t. Also, don’t you think that it is too convenient that her shri̴̡̥̤̞̪͕͕̲͇̙̼̼̍̽̒͑͗͐̿̈͌̿̒̎́̈́̕n̵͕͊̄̔̄̽̐̐è̵̢̇̿̐̽̉͗́̂͘̚ is far away from the human village, where youkai will ḩ̸͈͖͖̯͍̼̪̹̮̾͜ǎ̸̘͕̗͇̼̟̱͎̙͓v̷̜̭͑̍̕e̴̢̡̠̠̮̤͙̠͎̫̟̫̐͋̓̋̎̽̆̌̕͝ ̵̨̨̗͓̫͈̦̞̘̞̗͚̾̈́́̾̆͑͗͊͜͝a̴̡̰͉͉͎͍̞͍̻͕̞͍̾̓̓̏̉̔n̷̰̈̒͌̒̈́̾́͠͠ ̸͓̝̃̌̓͒̈͋̄́͂easier time visiting it, w̵̻͊h̷̪̿e̶͉͒r̸̫͘e̶̱͗ ̵̘̅t̵͕͐h̶̭͌e̴̢̒ý̴̠ ̴̨̨̛̟͔̝͓̙̦͔̻͓̻̐̓̀̀̒͌͑̓̊̐́̋̀̃could… provide faith to her in exchange for ṕ̷̡r̵͎͝o̶̝͆t̶̲͒ē̷ͅc̷̪͑t̴̩̆î̵͖o̸̬̍n̴̹̊?” I don’t care much about her affiliation, as long as she can get me out that is good enough
“Isn’t she also the ṗ̴̨̥͙̲̙͆ḛ̵̅͗͂͝r̴̢̘͉̦̞͔̠̲͖͎̹̮̜̱̊̋̌̀̽s̵̨̝̘̦̲̔͋͐̑̎͛̓ơ̶̧̝̓̉̂̿̆̈́̊̽͜n that create the spell card system for us ḣ̴̫ȕ̷̟m̶̪̈́á̴̜ņ̴̔ ̴͕́t̷̜́o̷̗̽ ̷̧̡͍͇̈̄̋̆͆̉̿̂́̔̆̄be able to fight back against youkai more ȩ̸̛̞̱̰̼͉̰̝͙͕̳̉͊̐̾̊́̇͗̈́͜͝ffe̷͖͕̗͛́͋̓͛͐̍̀̋͑̄͗̚͝ctiṽ̵̡̧̧̫̟͚͇̰͇̖̳͔̹̎̃̈́́̂̈́̓͐́͊̕e̴̬̹̻͙̯̲͌̽̀́̎͛̀̏̂̎͠l̴̪̻̭̺͚͙̘̦͚̫̺͓̫̔̓̏̋̂̓͂̌̕ͅy̸̪̻̯̰̝̰̙̤̹̹͉͔̲̯̔̋́ͅ without casualty though? Doesn’t seem that m̵̨̨̤̰͇̙̥̬̗͚̀̓alị̵̺͇͍̙͇̟̭̗̦̪͖̠̆͑̽̆̈́̕̚͜ͅc̸̩̰̭͚̳͙̗̖͉̣̼̮̎̌̄̄̀̿͜ͅi̵̛̩̟͍̪̖͕̪͓̙͍̿͐̃̇̈̉̀͘͘̚̕͜o̶͉̞̣͈͕̭̳̱̼͍̰̤̎̍̒̆̆̒̄̐ư̸̱̻̭̠̘̹̍͊̀͌̋͗s̶̨̛̗̺͓̰̖͓͓̗̹͗̿̂̈́̈́̓̊̔̾͘̕͝͝ to me.” His companion speak up
“That system r̸̗̗͎̳̥̹̤͈̺̬̣̾̇̀̑̓͜͜͝o̷̧̱͚̼̫̜̘̍̔̓͒̋̆̇͠ͅb̴̢̖̻̯̩̘̖̘̳̪̄͊̾̓̎̑̈̏̒̂͗̑͒͂ me the chance of dying while protecting what I love, that h̸̜̕ǎ̸̳v̶͓̚e̴̳͂ ̶̝͐b̶̟͋e̸̠̍e̸̪͑n̷̺͋ ̵̛̣͍̳̠͕͎̺̪̬̤̙̫͓̠͕̇͊̾͊̂̈̎͘̚͠a tradition in my family for g̸̢̞̗͕͈͍̮̿́͒͒̀̄̚en̴̨̤͉̙̦̜̠̺̳̜̺̯̄̉͝͠e̷̛̺̞͎̖̣̞̯͓̮͗̋̾̄r̷̢̯̤̹͈̠̠̘̱͖̼̈́̋̑̂̾̾́̒̏͛̃̆atiǭ̶̹̤͉̣̺̻̘̟̘͈̘̾̾͐̑̒̇̈̔̓͝ǹ̷̨̡̨̫̰͕̞̹̞͎̮̮͉̻͈̐̇̉͌́̈́̏͊̃̈̚͝s̴̮̘̯͙̰̎̓͗͗̽̊͊̅͜ ,̵͎̈̃͊̋̎̾̋͗̆͊̄̋̾̚͠ when it is my turn all of that glory is ẗ̷̢͉͎̯̫̯̰̤̗͆͐ake̴͚̬̬͖̻̰͓̓̎͌̒͌̆̂̀͆̎̅͜͠n̷̢̪͇͖̥̱͇͈͙̼̈́̀̐ away from me, how is it f̸̨͓̖̩̖̭̗̳͉͚̘̅̂̊̏̈́̀̆͆̐̈́͜air̸̛͉͉͆̄̑͂̈̎̒͑̆̌̔̋̅̚ ?” He slam his fist down the table which silence the whole area. You make notice of all the escape routes that might be needed.
“Come on take it easy, you don’t have to d̷̠̥̼͇̱̙͛̈́̿͛ī̵̢̧̺̭̗̙̦͑͋̈̃͌̓͌͛͂͘͠e to̸̯͙͓̗̯͇͋͂̑ ̸̢̰̘̟͚̥̣̦̖͍̀̍́͗͆̋̏̚͜ͅfulfill a destiny, just be yourself is enough.”
“I… I know, but it just isn’t f̸̢̛̛̙͓̭͈̗̙͔̰͇͈̦̳̃̿́̆̈̋̈́̊͋͝͠͠air̶̛̦̍͆̊̾̾͗̾̌̀̒̈́͗̕͘ man, it felt like everything I tried to do, it is j̶̛̯̭̳͙̿̋́̏̂̑͒́̌͌̕͜͝͠͠usţ̶̡̢̟̰͕̦̬̲̱̖̩͖̳̉͂̈̾̽̀͂̒̌͘ ̷̲̭̤̞̰̀m̴̝̻̤̭͇̰̥̳̺̺̿̂et̵͚̞̭̺͍̹̻̹͇͇̟͇̜̾̔̽̅̐́̂̕͜ͅ ̵̱͎͎̜̞͖͍̲̰͌͑́̀with mockery from god himself.” He take his glass and down it in one go. “I can’t fight, train, teach o̵̮̘̬̗̮̠̩̟̲͙̼̎̽̓̆̍ŗ̴͎̮͚͚̯̘͈̦̱̳͇̞̄̑̎̍͊̆̅̇̄̎͝ ̷̨̨̡̝̻̙͕̻̯͉̫̟̺̈̄̐̒̂̆̇͘ę̸̤̣̣̟̼͇̼͔͉̇̒͂͗̌͂̐̀̏͝ṿ̵̧̛̛̤̗̩͔̬̲̣͓͖̬͎͚̍̅̓̈́̒́̈̃̉̋̄̚ͅe̷̢̖̬̞͚͙̖͙̻̯̖̱̼̳̥̓͌͆́̂͑̀̓̉̅̓̌͠ǹ̵͉̼̘̺͖̠̯̙̘̻̞͒͜ ̴͉̘̥͉̯̈̋̃̈́͘die right without somebody having c̶̨͚̝͖̫̩͉̱̫̱̰̜̈́͜o̷̧̻̫̲͆̆̓̓̎̈́̾͆̕͜m̴̡͚̳̔̄̂plaï̸̺ͅn̴͈͙͈̯̭͉̠̱̳̮̎͜ts.”
“You aren’t worse than ă̷̢̩͖̼̯͔̟͂͐̉̈̆͗̇̏̄̌̅́ͅͅn̴̛̞̐̏͌̈͊̈́̃͗́͐̒͘͘͝ͅy̸̻̱̠̖̰̳̙̾̊̉͝ ̵̨̙͔̗̮̺͉̞͈̫̻̱̖̙̉͒̆́̄̄̕ǒ̶̬̱̖̜͔̘̋̌̈́f̵̺͈̀́̽ ̸͉̥͇̜͆͗̿́́͘̕us, they only held you in higher standard because of your fam̷͍̟̲̻̘̜̋͒í̸͇͍̗͎̟͎̤̞̞̫̣̝̓̒̇͒͗̿̇̈́͊ly’̴̘͙̮̜͍̰̼͍͒͜s̷̝̯͍̫̲͍̻̖͈̽̇̒̈̀̏̒͆̕ ̷̩̹̥̳̯͑͐̃̀̉̽̉̾͂̓̌̿͊̽͘legacy. Look, it doesn’t matter what the leȧ̷̢̛̛̘͙̩̙͆̀͗̒̾̋͊̑̿͘͜͠ͅd̶͇̗̝̻̮̤͙̮̥͕̎̈́́͑̓̊̾̑̅̒͝͝ͅę̷̠̤̦̭͇̜̮̳̃̂͒̍̂̚r̷̗̓̽̅̎̽͛̏͑̔͝͠s̷̗̱̭̹͍̝̗͙̗̮̋̓̓͋͋̍͐̔̀̂̔͋͛͘̕ think about you, your squad respect you, I respect you, both ą̷̨̛͙̥̥͖̪͕̫̱̽̈́̿́̈́s̶̨̲̪̩̮̰̿͗͐͝ a fellow exterminator and a friend, so don’t b̷̡̛̰̓̈́̔̀͛̈̈́͌́̈̀̃̕e̷͚̔͗͑̒̀̈́͊̓͝at yourself up, if the time come I will make ş̸͙͔́͛̾̄͑̓u̶̡̟͈̮̙̣͚̙̺̫̗̝̙̫̣͊r̸̹̳̻̃̿̉̎̌é̷̡͔͎̦͙͚̪ ̸̗͉̙̙̱͑̋̾͊͆̉̀̊̈́̉̈́̆͘͠ỷ̴̨͔̲̗̭͉̼̹̝͊̒̈́̄̃̑̚ͅǫ̸̜͕̼̪̈́̂̔̌̿͗̈́̈́̊͝ų̸̛̫̩̗̪̝̟͓̼̞̙̮͛͌̉̆́̾̎͒́̋̅͛͜ ̷͉̩͖̺̱̈̊̔̊̑̏͑̈́̚will be regard as the á̶̱̣̈̈́̿͠ş̵̛͉͕̻̘̟̠̙̩̱̺̜͓̐̒s̸̨͇̫̟̫̓͊̌̉̔͋͊̚̕oci̷̧̟̖̮̺͖͗̋͌͒̽̍͂̄͝a̴̪̼̟̮̳͆̔̑́̈͋̕̚͝ͅtio̶̧̢̨̨̘͚͇̤͖̤̖̩͇͍̒́̋̎̆̀̅͘̕͜͝n̵̡̢̖̺͎̰͍̐̍͌̍̍̐̈́͌̒́͆̕̚͝͝ best hunter and a hero. I am here for you.”
The young man tear up “Bah, you just want me t̷̢̺̬̟̬͓̖̬̤̼̙̹̑̋̃͝ǫ̷̮̩̺̖̱̮̙̺̜́͌̐̕͝ ̶̖̩͇̼̝̩̳̅͆̄̆̃́̾̇̀̊̆͘͠p̵̦̀̅́̌̉̋̂̃̏͌͛̀̍͝͝a̵̢̯͕͈̫̦̮̻͔̺̚y̵̨̱͍͎̩͉͇̹̼̣̣̐ ̴̺̬̣̰̘̖̮͓̲͎̩͈͒̌̚̚for your drinks again, that tactics won’t work on m̵͕̙̹͙̊͛̓͝ͅͅe̴͙̹͂̾̂͛͑̂͘ ̷̨̢̫͉͖͚͕̻͚̖̹̞̫̞͛̽͆͂̌̾̀̂͘̕twic̶͕̺̲͆̈́̽̓͆́͗͗̉̄͑́͆̕ȩ̸̹̻͍̳̟̠̖͙͔͙̮̃̌͛̈́̇̐̿̽̒̔̑͒͠͝, but… thank you for those words Akira…” He wipe his eyes dry “I am still n̶̯͍͉͈̰̟̔̈́͆̿o̷̙̟̞̯̭͍̬̼͐̅̈́̾̓̓̀̐̓̐́̍̉͝t̵̢̡̙̯͇͇̅̆ ̵͍̪̥͈͎͇̥̭̺̆͋͗͆̄̆͘͝ͅp̶̣̤͝ͅå̶̙̳̣͙̯̳̼̬̬̣̇̆̊̈́̌͐͠͠ͅý̴̨͉͖̠͓͍͔̳͈̙̀̈̊͛̈́̏͒̂̑̆̓̚͠i̸̞̭̦̞̥͖̗͖̝̙̽͂͑̍͌̐̾̾͐̏̀̾͌̕͜n̸̢̠͚͎̱̯͉̠̯̪̬̞͉͇̾̇́͌̓̕ͅg̷̤̗̞̀͆̇̇́̓̔̅̚ ̸̧̝͚̗̩͉̜͎͔͚͎͖̹͍̓̍̎̎̀͑͒͐̚͝for your bill, though.” At least I know what tick him off in case i see him again
“Sure, sure.” Akira turn to the bartender “2 bottle of Sak̷̢̡̛̛̖͖͕̞̩̥̞͓̥̻͎͌̍̄́̀̌̾͒̈̂͠u̸̧̮̖̩̲̓̉͐́͋̑ŗ̸̯͙̽͒͆͐͌̉͊̔̏̉̕͝͝ạ̷̩̞͍͒̑͋̏̾̉̏̔̿̕͘͜͝͝ ̸̧̡̡̢̛̥̱̺̗̗̣̝͕͔͍͗͛͛̈́̾̅̓͘̚sake to go, please.”
“Just order one for yourself, I h̴͉͈̓̂a̸̟͇̰̣̩̪͈͎̬̥̍̽̈́d̸̺̹̙̋̏̀̄̏̚̕ ̴̘͇̦̺͚̗̀͆͆͗͘m̶̢̡̲̤̹̳̖͚̘̬̩͚̮̌̈͜͜͝o̵͈͎͚̱͇͋͐rȩ̶̡̢͍͓̬̗̼̦͇͚̤̥̦̰͛̓͊̈́̒̿͛͠ job today so I need to stay sober, es̷̡̨̝͕̯̼̯̻̯̎̎̿̐ṕ̵̢̧͙̱̗͐̌̉̃̉̎̔̃͒͝͠ḙ̶̡̡̡͚̤͓͎̳̫̺̻͓̗͋̾̍̆͠c̵̩̝̣͚͒i̸̢̡͕̫͓̥͇̱͈̽̒̃͆̊͑̇̊̀͘͜͜a̷͚̤̿̎͑̓̄͗̇̊̌̈́̓̿̕lly as I need to create a good first im̴̛̥̗̟͎͋͐̊̀͆̏͂͜͝p̴̥̗͊̍̀́̊͛̔̀̆́̚̚rê̴̻̻͚̱̖͍̼͉͙̊͆͑͆̓̇͂̕̚̚͝s̵̞̣̬̻̍͋͠s̴̨̢̛̛͙̥͓̰̝̜͚͔̪͉̒̉́̎̄̆̏̑̑͠i̶͈̟͈͓̭͕͔̬̐̀̋͐̈́̏͝o̷̲͗̋̉̚n̶̞͓̠̰̻̪̖̪̽̋͂̔ to the new recruit” If we ever meet formally, my first impression about you is ruined.
“1000 yen for the b̵̡̡̝̺͎̪̣̬̟͙̪͙̺̲̑͗͛̓̃͒̄̇͝͠o̵̧̧̟̤͙̔̏́̂͐̀̒͊̃͆̿̽ţ̵̪̝̰̿̈́̓͛̔̓̋̉͒͌̐͆̕͝͠tle,̷̙̿͌̅̎̾̓͆́̇ ̷̢͓̪͇̲͉̥̏́͒͜p̷̛͍̘̻̟̹̩̗̜̖̝̤̀̀̿̓̈́̓̔̂̊͑̏̚͠l̶̘̠̟͈̥̀̈́̿̐͠u̶̹͍͇̭̝͐̈́̆̐̀̀̃̑̃ş̸̡̬̤̝̱̳͉͓͔͚̾͌̈́͌̓̏̄̀̚͝ ̶̡̼͔̙̈́͋̈̈̋̀̐͌͒̕͠another 3000 for the meal” The bartender said
The two man pay for their bills and go their separate ways, the bartender just give an annoyed grunt and continue working, most customers just go back to their business though some does leave the bar probably for their own jobs if their expressions is anything to go by. The commotions sober up some of the wasted at least a little bit, but there is still a dude who is sleeping soundly. Bloody hell, how much did he drank?
“Ah, s̵̲̻͗̓͐̽̽ͅǫ̴̟̗̰̥̠͙̮̻̝̪͇̉͂̊͒̀̑̈́̓͂͝r̵̰̪̟͍̮̎̋̓́͒͆̐̐͆̐͘r̷̛͙̒̍͐͘͝y̸̻̲̯̜̌̍̃̈́̔̀̆͘͝͝ ̷̰̥̅͒̒̉͑̇̂͋͗̕͘f̶̨̬̻͙͈̯͖͇͇͍̝̋̍̆̄̅̈̔͊̅͛̕͜͠ò̷̧̜̲͋͑̀r̵̨̙̤̝̥̖͇̱͕͍̲͔̲̉ ̵̝̩̱̬͖͇͍̮̪̱̻̿̒͑̂͋͒̐́̅͝͝not noticing you earlier, sir. What would you like to ơ̴̫͕̳͛̈́͋̆̽͂r̵̨͈͓͕͑̃̾͋̀̆͝d̵̟̻̼̰͙̾̆͌̂̿́̏̇̿̂͆̊e̶̢̧͖̖̬̻͚͇̦̱̱̗̥͂̄͗̏̄̓͝ͅṙ̵̻̲̜̩͎̖͔̲̮͚̣͚͍͉͍̍̿͋̑̈̓͋̚̕” One of the staff approach you ah shit
“Um, I am waiting for my date, we will be ordering later.”
“Would you like to have some a̸̡̮̺̗̩̻̭̖̗͓̲͓̅ppę̵͛̽̉̅̂̔̿̆͒͛͐tizȩ̴̧͓̩͚̜̙͖̳̅̏͌̓͌̀̚ȓ̶̡̟̳͍̻̮̃͒͗̽̌̾͐́̔͛͛ ̵̢̧̩͓̠̱̠̼̖̀̉t̷̯̃́̑͑̈́̾́̄̉̕h̴̫̭̙̔͂́̽̒̈́̿͆̀̾̅͊̚͝ḛ̵̙̜̠̦̞̗̳͖͙̪͔̠͇̜͊̒͊͛͐̄̀̃̇͐̀̀̃͘͝n̷̘͈̦̯̤͓͇̣͕̼̖̘̅̔̌̒̓͛͑͋͒̒̀͌̀͜͠͝? I recommend you try our spring rolls, if you are a vegan then I suggest ţ̵̧̻̲̟͈̫̼̝̘̟̘̄͑̉̒͌͜hé̸͓̫͈̮͉̯̫̯̺̖̞̻͓̀͜͜ ̵̛̛̤͇͋̔͛́̅͆̔͒̈̍̏gṙ̷̢̖̜̘̖͉͇͙̩̘̬͚͖̹͌̓͠͝illę̴̡̰̭̝͉͐͊̂̈́̉͌͆́̌̚͜ḓ̷̡̡̫̗͍̥̭̘̭̒̉͆͗́̽͘͜͝ ̶͉̘̤̫̖̩̟̻̳͚̳̈́̉̃̍͒̕ͅͅrice balls instead.”
“I would love to, but unfortunately my girlfriend’s religion stated that abandoning food is a sin, I am afraid that eating right now would just fill my stomach up, and I really don’t want to displease her.”
“Then why don’t you just o̶͔̭͘̚rde̸̡̩͖͎̯͓͉͗̂̽͒́̔̂͘r̷̨̨̮̲͈̬̠̺̯̮̃̀͂͐͒̚͜ less later on?” Usually at this point most waitress would just accept that excuse and move on, you know?
“We are trying to be more in sync with the other. To do so we usually do a lot of things together and our food choices is one of them, and she have a big appetite so I hope you understand.”
“Oooh, sound quite ŗ̸̟̟͍̺̳̯̰̮̹̱̆̽͐̌̈́͜ͅo̴̫̻͓̮̺͗͌̒m̵̢͍̮̹̖͖̘̣̲͙̝̖̫̪̓̐̓̽͑͌ant̷͙̠̯̮̲͈̭̦͓̃̌͗͗̒̈́̾͌̽͊͘̕ĩ̵̧̨̤c̴̺͚̤͕̤̞̲̣̲̣̜͕͈̘͋͌̽̍̀͆̊ͅ. Sorry for interrupting you, if you need anything just ç̷̛͍̭̯̮̘͔̼̮̖̻͈̞̦̈͗̚͝ḁ̷̧̤̮͚̥̭̩͓̝̬̓̄̃̊͂̓̃̆͋͛͛̏́̚͠ll us and good luck on your d̵̼͓̼̠̖̤̱̪͍̊́͛͊̒̄̆̑́̆̿̉̾̕ͅatę̸̙̯͚̲́͑̒̆́͒̌̑̑͊̚̚͜͜ sir.” She gave you a wink and walk away. Finally
You turn your attention back to other people here, while there are still plenty of people, most of them are only here to catch up with their friends or to complain about their personal issues to the bartender, ranging from how they miss each other, how good or terrible their jobs are to some absurd stuff like their child injuring themselves from learning how to fly and some voodoo bullshit lead to them basically getting drugged instead of their expected results. And I thought this place couldn’t get any weirder. During all of this, you stealthily pick up dropped money scattered on the floor, they aren’t much but it added up.
The activities here is slowly dying with the only half the amount of customers here when you just entered and most of them only eat in silence, you decided that it is enough and leave, before that though a young kid barge in, drawing your attention almost immediately.
“Ah, good afternoon K̵̙͖̣̺̯̥̽̽͋̿̿̃͐̈́̾͝ó̵̟̥͉̉͛̊̉̈̿͑̍́̑̋̂̃̅ͅs̶̛̮̼͇̠͕̥̭̉̑̑͌̈́̑̇͝u̵̱͉͉͉͂̐̑̔zu, coming a bit late I see.”
“Sorry Mr. Barkeep, I lost tra̸̢̛͙͉̰͍̝̦̯̺̩̯̤̋̀͂̇̉͆̽̀̓̽͘͝͝c̴̯̟̭̻̟͕̏ͅķ̶͔̟̼͖̗͍̣͎͋͗͊̓̎̏̽̍͜͠ of time deciphering an eņ̴̡̘̱̲̖̲̲̹́chaņ̶̙̦̮̜͍͇̟͍̺̥̗̀͗͆̋̇̀̈͗̋̆͊̃t̵̟̣̺̝͉̭̂͠͠ͅͅȩ̵̡͓̬̝̼̫̞̘̌̂̏̅͊̊̽́͛͝ͅͅd̵̢̢͕͕̟͈̪͊̓̾̋͋̈͗͝ ̴̧̧̯̗͚̥̙̟̗̟̗̮͈̿̈́̚͜book.” Spells book, I presume?
“So the ş̸̡̯̩͇͓̩͕̦̫̲̘̓̒́́͂͋͗ͅą̶̦̬͕̳͜͝m̴͈̘̻͕̹͚̯̘̗̰̬͂͂͒͑̾̓̆͂̈́͆̓̚͘e̴̡̤̩̱̤̱̩͕̝̪͇̮̠͐̃̾̈̃̕̚͜ ̷̨͚̦̥̞͚͈͍̣̙͕̙͉͚̗͛͗͂̅̐̋̈̀̔̇̍̂̂̊o̶̞͇͕̺̠̼̲͛̓͊̎͜ͅr̷͈̣̪̻̱͎̦͓̺̜͓̬̈́́͌̊̎̆̊̔̀̓̈́͊͜͠ͅdę̴̛̛͖̺̰̖̘͓̬͕̬̈́̈́̈́͌̇͋̒̉́̿̎͋͝r̸̢̨̧̡̛͇̱̰̥̞͇̣͚̭̱͋́̈́̈́̂͗̑̿̑̆͝͠ ̶͍̪́̌̽̉as always?”
She sit down right next to you, though both of them fail to notice or acknowledge your presence.
“Your mother really sh̴̨͉̓͛́͋̂̈́̋͌̈́̓̓ō̷͇̖̳̯̝͎͕̋̎̈́̃̇͑͒͊͑͋̃̈́̈̕ͅû̷̢̢̯̩̜͔̦̳̜͙̘̹̉̒̓̈́̿͋̏̀̒̀̑̎̂̈l̵̢̳̠͉̙͛̓͘d̵̝̟̠̰͚͕̜̻̺̈́̐̐̓́͝ hire more people to assist the shop, the work s̵̺̖͍̞̪̥͖͗́̑̈́͘͘ṭ̸͔͉͇̌̓̕r̶̨̡̢̧͙̬͔̺̜͉̮̀̔̾̀̀̍̿̃̈́͠a̷̞͔͆̀͋̄̃̎̓̎ĭ̴̢̟̼͙͚̻͋̒̽̔̕͜ͅń̷̬͕̘͚̗̝͔̈̽̓̾͂̿̔̀͘̚͜͝ ̵̙̻̝̦̅̉̇̅͋̈̉̌i̸̧̱̪̫̬͕̳̩̹̳͇̦̳̱̜̔̈̄̍̔s̴̩͇͔̼͓̆͝ ̶̨̢̪͙̜̰̎̔̈̽̇̈́̒̐̌͊̂̾̔clearly getting to you.”
“I prefer the c̵̛̛̘͍̮̝͎͋̾̅̏̏̄̓͆̈͂h̴̡̡̧̛̺̬͎̩̦̐̾͛̎̀̏̃̌̍͜͠allě̵̡̧͇̗̠̼̼͈̩͖̩̒̅͌̉͊̃̚͠n̴̢̧̡̧͈͕̪͖̰̘̻͔͉̽̿̈́̒͑͛̀͗́̈́͒̌̔̆͘ģ̵͖̲̗̟̮̘͖̥͖̝͍̏̌̂͗̽͒͊̃͛͝e̶̥͈̟̳͍͈͚͈̳̊̌̈́͊̅͋͗̅̈̓̊̆̕, it is not common to be able to get one’s ḩ̴͇̰̥͎͉͉̹̮̙͙͓͔̏͐̈́̀̽̆̀̃͆͐̈́͠a̵͈̭̹̹̳̠̖͔̾̈́̆͆̓͗̊́ņ̵̡̰͖̟͋̊́ͅd̷̥̩̾̏̀̉́́́͐̃͜ ̶̨̟̙̘͉͍͚̰͎͙̇̈́̇̾̕o̷̲̣̦̩̘̪̰̝̝̦͍͑͜ņ̸̺̻̜͓̘̪͉͙͍͖͔̓̎̊͗͗͊̍͋́̓̂̏͝͝ those books so I wanted to s̸̙̟̥̳͛́́̋̚̕p̸̼̲̩̀͋͛̈̈͆́̈́̒̋͌̚͝ę̵̛͔̞͖̅͌̀̎̋͂̚̕n̵̢̲͇̫̙̰̲͕̝̱͌̉͊̐̋͑́͑̍̑̆̽͜ͅd̸̬͚̙̩̫̻̟̳̬͎͖̩̐̈́̇͑̒̂͋̾͌̕ more time on them, besides it is f̶̭̦̾́̃ư̷̥̩̯͇̏̑̽̈́̔̓̔̈͂͌̕n̷̪͖̞̫͕̋̆̑͌͊́. What about your workers? ṫ̶͙h̵̫̾ĕ̸͈ ̴̲̃h̵̘̆ạ̷̄r̸̦͋v̶͓̕è̶͎š̸̗t̷̮̀í̶̗n̷̼͆g̵̮͘ ̴̧͍͓̥̟̙̓̈́́͂͝ season is starting soon and they can’t be in two p̴̭̪̹͇͖̟͎̆́͆̿̉̒͜͠l̴͎̼̲͔̦̙͒̒͂̌͑͆̈́̑͝ą̴̢̛̛̥̪̘̒͑̑̍͐̚c̷̳͖̻̼̬͇̠̓̔e̶̙͙͕̓̅͊̀͜͝s̸̼̙̤͍̄́͐͗̑͆̌͠ at the same time, well the ones that don’t have ḿ̶̦̤̣̠̘̣̠̥̎́̓̌͆͗̉͆̆͗̋́͜ͅͅä̶̡̡̱̠͖̺͇̯̥̮̜̭̜̣͋͒̅̉̂͛̌̿͊̕͘͝͝͝gicą̶͖̲̥͎̫̯͙̩͙͙̗̅l̵̠͍̞͖̣̥̙̱̜̜̜̦͓̐̐̑̌̀̾́̍̀̚͘͜ͅ ̶̡̻̯̺̪̮̖͉̺̫͚̦͛͋̌ç̷̭̒̈́̃̉̀̽̅͌̕̕͝a̷͉͚͍͐p̶̨̧̼̙̺͉͔͓͉͎̲̘̥̒̀̂̂̇̾͗̉̇͒͌̉̂͘͜͜͠ȧ̶̛̩̤̬̠̦̥̺̪͓̱̞͇̯̙̆̒̅ͅbil̷͉̈̀͛͠͠i̸͈̰͇͊̈͑̀͌͋͆͗t̶̨̛̠͖̪̻͎̖̠̽̽̽̏͗̈́̕͘͝ỷ̵̢̔͗͐̓̌́̆́͝͠͠͝ ̞̜̝͔̯͖͎̺̞̼͙͔̻ ̷̨̫͍͆͑͂̾̅͂̐̈͛̒̀͂͛ͅ of course.”
“Then I just do it myself a̵̚͜n̷̲̈d̶̞̉ ̵̥̌l̸̪̃e̴̛̲ȁ̵̟v̶̲̈́ę̵͝ ̶̨̢̧̦̰̟̣̱͔͉̣̾͗͂͆͗͝the remaining job position vacant, if ă̴̝n̸̠̓y̵̜̚b̸̟̔o̴̟̚d̶̟̓y̵͙̕ i̵̧̺̹̜̥̪̱̗̣̠͇͇̓͌̀̍͂͆͛͌̽̓͘̕s̶̮̝͆́̂̔̅͐̽́̽̂̓͘ willing to work here then great, ţ̴̧͈̖̘͙̭̪̄̓̀̓̐͐͛̈́̓̐͝͠͝ͅh̵̨̢̟̗̠͍̳̪̝̭̄̐̾̒́̏̆́̋͝͝͝ơ̷͇͆̐̄̽̈́̈́͐͑̂̊̾̄͗̕ư̶͈̞̱̩̹̩̥͚̦̬͇͓̙̗̿̀̏̐̕ͅg̴̡̢̝̜̫̳̉̅̊̄̏̈́̔͌͑́̃̓͒͠h̶̻̙͗̀̅̀ I doubt it.”
“You are gę̵͔̗͎̹̞̒̈́̉̑̇͂̇̂͘̕͝t̵̨̥͒̈́̔̽̓̉̐̐͝͝ͅţ̷̨̗͖̠̠̭̰̱̂͂̉͌̉͒̓͌̐͗̇̓͐̚i̶̠͇̓̆̽̋̀̓̄̚n̵̡̖̰͚͓͓̼̥̗̰̘̦̗̎̋̈̋̀̃́͊͝͝͠g̷̨̛͖̱̲͖̜̻̘̘̾̊̈́̒ͅ ̸̡͉̦̜̬̠̫̜̙̻̬̻̙͚̬̌̎̔̈̔͂̑͑̀̐̊too old to do this alone, s̶̡̢̥̼̫̦̠͈̠̮̮͙̯̦̣̽̔̅̀̅́͌̉̕͝hou̷̞͑̈ľ̶̞̄̑̀̍̚̚d̴̖̞̥̝͍̰͔̱̩̥͑̿̈̍̌͂̏͆̆̃͒̚͠n̴̲͐̅̊͘̕͘’̶̡̛̹̙̻̫͖̙͙̲̥̐̄͝t you be retiring and leaving all the works to thę̸̼͔̰̩͇̝̝̩̘̣͛̉̋̅̌̋̀͋͋̈́́̄͘͜͠ young people?
“And you are w̸̩̙͈̺̪͕͔̞̪̥̄̎a̴̢͎͕̙̪͍̫͖͉̝̔̍͗ͅy to̶̜̬̺͍̼̕o̵̡͙̳̖̯̟̍̀̈́̈́͛͐̌͜͝ ̴̡̢̧̛̻͎͓̗͎̬͕̘̖̯͓͎̓̀͛̒̔͝young to be handling the t̵̢̡̡͖̫̼͍͎̠̠̺̥̝͎́͑̎̈́̌̈̈́̀̈́̅ͅô̷͕͇̻̣̩̍͗͜͠͝w̵̮͈͉̌ņ̸̝̋̒͋̃̋͠’̴̡̨͇͕̜̥͖̖͖̹̩̭̫̳̮̋̐̒̑̃̈́ş̷̺̠̩͕͛̏̓͛̇̒̀́̌̎̕̕͜͠͝ ̶̨̨͖͍̭̖̬͍͈̱͙͕͐̇͐̎̃̄b̸͚̳͖͔̩̼̘̖̱̜̦̫͑͝ǫ̶̖̗̫̖̩͖̰͔̳̦͔̠̿ò̸͉͇͔͇͓̇̏̅͆̓k̷͕̏́̍̆̊ ̵̘̫̥͖̞̼͕͚͖̟̱͔̂͑̿͌̕͜͜store, your age literally turn two digits a m̴̡̛̘̻̗̗͕̤̜͔̀́̄͊́̀̔͌͗ỏ̷̞͑͛͂̀̔̇̀̓̉͛̽̚͝ņ̷̨̪͍̹͕̞̜̯̯͆̄̆̒̿͂͂͘͝͝ṭ̴̡̨̬̥̝̼͙̗̗̒͋͑͆̏̽͌̀̓̒ḩ̸̛̞͚͓͖̰͕̉̎̀̐͌̌̏̈ ago.” If this is the normal world, child labor like this wouldn’t be tolerate.
“It just mean that in ẗ̶̨̼̤̀͐͂̆͘͜͜͠h̴̯̮̬̿̈́̓͐͋̍͋́̋e̸̢͇̖̣̟͓̩̎͂͊̎̍̾͝͠ ̴̱̈́̀f̵̛̳͔͐͛̐̈͒̀͋͛̿͋͝͝utur̷͈̯͈̜̖̗͕̻̯̼͉͉̤̿̅̑́͆̄̅̃̅̃̐͊͐͘͝ͅḙ̷͕̩̱̰̪̩͇͇̱̣̙̓̂̈͋̈́́̕ ̵̢̢̧͓̗̩̮̫̲̭̄͜I will become the most skilled and knowledgeable b̶̼̜̘̻͚̘͐̄͑͐̍͌̂̓͐͒͗͘͝ookk̷̨̘̖̣̥͉̮͉̼͕̻̩̊̀̎̃͋̈͜͝ḝ̷̧̧̧̣̮͖͌̇̊̑̑͋̄ẻ̶͖͖̣̦̙̬͈̝̜̺̮̥̝͈̓̕ͅp̴̫̯̀̅̓̈́̊̈́̉̀͜͠er̸͉͐̈ that the village will ev̴̢̢̧̟̳̪̩͚̞͉̖̜̫̀̇̀͆̑̐̈͌̑̚ͅë̸̹́̈r̶̪͓̖̄͒̒͌̈́͛͝ have.”
“Kid, the wǫ̵͙̤̜̠̫̣͓̥̻͇̻͚̞͎͝r̴͖͉̫̂̌̌d̷̹̹̺̭̰̱̫̝̥́͂̔͛̌̈́̏͗̕̚͠͠ͅ bookkeeper mean somebody who m̶̞̥̳̺̬̤̳̱̲̰̤̹͑́͗̌́̾́̀͆̉̾̉͘͜͠å̷͖͕̫͙̯͚͍̲̖̃̐̃̒̇̌̌̆́͌ņ̴̨͉̱͈̓͐͒a̷̭̓̽̊̉͘ġ̴̡̡̫̮̳̠̼͖͙͓̤́̑͊̄̐̇̕͘e̶̛̟̪̲̘͎̙̼̬̔̽̈ͅ ̶̢̭̞̙̮̀f̸̼̾̓̏̒͐͋̆͑̕͝i̵̛͇̰̪̩̭̊̇̈́͛̈͊̈́͛̃̓̀̿̀̆ǹ̸̻͕̮͈̫̱̥̻̐̉͂́͝ͅȧ̴̟̭̫͕͉̌̒̊̉̔̎̃̾̈ṇ̷̡̨̪̟̤̻͚̩̭̙̻̲͂͆͂̎̄͂͝͝ͅc̷̺̳̘̠̱̲̪̭̈̒̈̔̏̕̕e, not a literal term” The bartender correct her
“Wait, but it l̶̳͠i̴̤͗t̷͓̚ě̸̪r̷̖̕â̸̝l̶͎̇l̷̠̋ẙ̶̧ said ‘book-keeper’, how is that wrong?”
“It is wrong in both t̴̘͋e̷̋͜c̷̦̈́h̷̛͜n̵̦̕i̸͔͋c̵̫̕à̵̘l̸͒͜ and literal meaning. Your store not only st̵̡̛̮̊̄̂̏̍̊̐͆͠ͅö̵̹́̔̏̏̿͘͝͠ř̴̹͓̤̞͇͕̗͎̥̗́̿́̉̔̋͠͝͝é̷̡̙̬̯̯̖̉̃̎ book, but also copy, sell and rent t̶̠̠̉̇̆͊̌̑̂̓͐̔̇͛̔h̷̟̣̩̣́̏̓̓̅̾̃̇̈͘͘̕͘e̸̢̳̫͍̼̤̦̟̮̘̎̈́m̴̛͔̲͍͚͙͑͌̀́̔͌̏̌ ̷̰͎̼̓́̋̐͑͋̂͗͗̔͝ò̴̧̯͖̞̪͚̫̟̤ų̷̫̙̬͉̭̙̻̲̰̖͇̺͌̓͒̇͊͛̅̔̑ẗ̵̟͖̥́́ ̷͚͛͊̐̃̈́̽̇͗̃̚so technically that make you ä̶̧̢̨̙̜̭̥̯͍̦̹́̑̊͋͠ lib̷̨͚͗̏͌̆̓̀̾͆̊̇͜ͅȓ̴̡̖͉̜̘͖͎̦̩͖̔̈́ą̶̧͉͇̥̺͓͚̣̱͕͉̇r̴͈͂͛ĭ̵͔͓͙̓̂̔ͅá̴̡̨̛͇̭̮̰̬̏̋̌́̎̚̚͘n̶̨̟͖̯̟̖̽̉̈̆ ̴̨͎̞̫̙̤̭͍̣̭̓̊̄̎͗̍̚or a translator. While a bookkeeper d̷̡̛͔͔͔̬͚̳̫̃̂̀͋̾́̽̈́́̄̆̈́̃̏͜ơ̷̮̬̗͖̝̋̏̅̓̉̈́̀́̀̃͘es record, they are mainly involved with f̴͈̓ì̵̻ň̷͎n̶̥̍a̸͎̅ǹ̷͇c̸͚͑ĭ̸̥a̵̰͗ḷ̸͐ transactions.”
“Ah, I got it, thanks mister. Dear that was some hard work on my mind, if only I had s̴͍̎o̷̖͊m̶̙̍ë̶̺́t̸̖͘ȟ̸̟i̵̝̓n̸͕͗ģ̵̌ to…”
“No” The bartender cut in
“Please sir, I just want to know what it f̷̞͒ȇ̷̦ẹ̸͐l̴̪͐ ̸̣̈l̵̰̚i̴̫̓k̵̡͗e̷̯͝ ̸̨͉̘̼͚͓͙͚̗̹̝̪̭͚͒̔̀̾̚͠ͅto drink like adults, everybody is happier when ḓ̴̈r̶̞͊i̸͍̅n̶̜͌k̸̫̆ì̶ͅn̷̘̋g̴̞̾ ̷̧̛̮̋̔̄̒͋̉͑́̒̌̒͛̀͠sake so why can't i drink as well?
“If you have the m̸̨͙̥̼͉̤̥̘̯̻̀ͅon̴̰͝e̸̠͊y̵̨͛ then ̵̡̫̙̭̻̝͇̮͍̹͇͍̥͖͇͑͑̋́̑̃̊͠͝I will let you have a taste”
“Really, that is…”
“400 000 yen” Ah, the old classic
The young girl check her wallet and sigh dejectedly
“I don’t have that much money, mom told me that I shouldn’t be in charge of my ȩ̴̋ẋ̵̭̟p̵̩̈́e̷̞͔̐n̷̫̈̓s̴̫̐e̷̛͕͝ this early in life, can I do anything else?”
“You can, it is call natural p̸̢̢̛̯̱̰̪̖̭̙̓͐̈́͑̀̅͒́͑̅̎͑̕ͅrog̶̢̡̬̥̪̥̠̬̝̮̬̝̐̈́̽̐̈́͠ŗ̴̧̳̟͈̹̤̦̘̣͐̀͋̌̏̌͒͛̿̀̎͝ession
*Sigh*” “So do you have any non-alcoholic drink?” 10 years ain’t that long kid, just wait, you will had plenty to occupied your mind
“I can make you some l̷̛̼̭͙̪͓̓̎̄͋̃ͅe̸̢̧̳͔̟̫͍̻̖͐͜͠monad̶̨͇͔̰͖̯͚̉͛́̀͑͋̊̓̄̄͠ê̸̢̛̼͉͔̤̤̤̜̤̹̪̳͇̌̃̊͒ or orange juice if you prefer, free of ch̴̢̤͔̩̬̯̗̼͐a̴̛̤̦̘͔͉͕͎͍̎͒̀͋̓͒̒̂̍̕rge of course.”
“Thanks, I guess” She slump down at the table and fiddle with her hair ornament.
While it have been quite entertaining, I have stay here long enough, anymore and the staffs would notice me again and coerce me to buy something. While I did manage to scourge up around 750 yen between conversations, it would better serve me in something else, besides I can always come back here if I want a drink later on or for more information.
Right before you leave, you take notice of your surrounding once again, the bartender is teaching the little kids on how juices are similar to alcohol, while the latter is having a hard time believing it, there are only a handful of customers left, also finishing up and leaving or just entered for a quick snack, likely to be leaving soon. And that drunken dude is STILL sleeping. You look at the bottle that was on his table, it look like a whiskey bottle, but the labeling could say otherwise, the money bag in his pocket indicate that he is at least financially stable, if not outright rich, though his clothes really make it hard to believe.
He is still dead drunk, other people are just attending to their own business and the staffs have been ignoring him the entire time, if I can adjust my body accordingly to block the others line of sight I could “reposition” all that wealth to my own benefit.
What would you do next involving your pocket? [x] Take that money, I need it, besides I probably won’t meet him again. [x] No, it probably won’t be worth it [x] (Optionable) Leave all the loose changes behind, technically they still aren’t mine to begin with
Where would you go next? [x] Stay at the village center [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶ Done [x] Go to the market [̶x̶]̶ ̶F̶o̶l̶l̶o̶w̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶o̶x̶ Tracking her down would just be a waste of time [x] Go to the intimidating looking building [x] Wander around aimlessly [x] (Optionable) Drink even more sake
Money is always important and the opportunity to obtain it might not be this easy in the future. Even though nobody is actively looking over here, I need to make sure that they won’t even see what happened… thank goodness honor and self-esteem isn’t an important stat in the future…
You pretend to check up on him, using your body to block other people’s line of sight
“Hey buddy, are you okay?” You being wasted make my job a lot easier.
“Just leave him ḃ̷̠͎e̴̖͂̽, he will wake up l̵̞͌̀ȁ̵̜̞t̸̼̦͌͘ḛ̴̈̌r̴͇̿ ̴̳́͜à̸̠̰̐n̶̰͋͗d̵̨̧́ ̶͙̃continue drinking h̷̠̀͆e̵̖͓̎r̵̄͜ȅ̷͇̙̽ ̸̠̥͑ą̶̦̄̕l̸̠̂̌l̵̻̝̑ day.” One of the staff said
“Is this daily occurrence?” You draw out the conversation as your hand carefully take out the money bag, making sure you don’t accidentally startle the drunk dude or dropping the bag
“Weekly, that i̸̪͙̋̌s̸͎̾ ̶̙͂t̷̫͠h̸̥͘e̴̛̥͚̓ ̴̡̠̈̌life of the village main ţ̶̻͋r̵͕̔à̸͇̚d̶̜̈́͆ḛ̴̾̍ŕ̵͙͊ for ya.”
“What kind of stuff does he deal with?” His money bag is in my pocket now, let’s get a bit more information and get out of here
“Everything, he t̷̖̖̕r̸͚̪͗a̸͗͜d̸̬̠͌e̸̦͓͝ ̷͖̕͠w̷̨̗͌i̶͈̼̽͠t̷͍̂̄h̴̻́͝ the people here, the ý̴̻̊o̸͖̦͐́ū̴̝̒k̵̛͍͌a̸̳̅i̵̧̛̎s̵̡̓͋ on the mountain and even the õ̷̧̧n̷̳͐i̵̦̣͋ from old hell.”
“Quite an opportunist… oh well maybe you are right, this isn’t my business. Have a great shift ahead and see you around.” You leave the bar before he had the chance to response.
You walk along with the crowd, blending in with them until you reach the village outskirts. There you split up from the traffic and move into some obscure alleyway, looking around in case there is a window you missed or some kids that decided to play hide and seek here. When the coast is clear you inspect the bag’s content.
16000 yen, this is probably just enough to cover for the living expenses for a few days here if I have to move out of the tengu village, but shouldn’t he had more if he is a powerful trader though?
You keep the money and drop the bag but not before wiping it with your coat to remove any possible fingerprint you could’ve possibly left on it then leave the area. Should’ve wear my gloves on that night
With the financial problems partially covered, you go back to dealing with your original objective. Well I am already out here, might as well start exploring this place.
You start by exploring the village perimeter, most of them are just houses and farming fields but there is also a butcher shop, a sawmill, a modern warehouse, a horse stable and a school. The horse stable is the furthest from the village, in fact it might even be closer to the lake. The other two buildings are considerably close to the forest edge while the school is on the opposite side, facing the mountain instead. The warehouse look just like any generic storage area that you would see in the industrial area. it wouldn’t have been out of place if this is the normal world, but why on earth is something this modern here?
Officially, there are 4 roads that lead people in and out of the village. The biggest and most populated road is the one that lead toward Misty Lake which then split out to other areas like the mansion and the forest. A second one lead to a bamboo forest, a decent amount of villagers, mostly farmers and lumberjack use it, the lumberjack is there for obvious reason but you couldn’t wrap your head on why the other decided to go there though you do notice that a few of them appear to be sick. Medicine grow in there, I guess?
The third one lead to the mountain, only people travelling with large amount of crates and animals go up there, all of their ware are covered in paper with some sort of shapes or inscription written on it. Before entering the mountain there is a split that lead to the cave on the side of the mountain though nobody actually go there, youkais nor humans. Finally is the road that lead to the Harukei shrine, the same one that you used to come to the village. It is mostly empty with only a few hunters or exterminators using it, and even then it is just them running or limping back to the village looking battered up. I didn’t had any troubles reaching here, what on earth did they had to deal with?
The unofficial way of entering the village is through the gaps between buildings that lead into a complex alleyway system, though nobody used it unless they live in said buildings.
With the outskirt taken care of, you start moving in to the village following a zig-zag pattern to map out the area more easily. At first that include the alleyway system, but after half an hour of getting lost and somehow ending up at the same place you started, you decided to just go through the main road for now as it would take a long time to map out the entire area. Again, most of the buildings here are houses no surprise there, between the houses are a few flower shops, teahouses, and a large open building with beautiful gardens and what appeared to be scholars assisting a young kid with purple hair making poetry and recording something. Child royals, I presume?
Further in a little bit more is the market area, the whole places are just stalls lining up against each other, while half of them are empty and the other half is just people packing up before leaving, you walk by and sneak a peek at what this place could’ve offer. Some of them are just normal everyday items like foods, paintings and clothes while other are just weird mythical stuff from the old age like medieval armor and weaponry, charms and amulets, miscellaneous items like some mineral or just plain weird things like an eye that keep staring at the closet person. Also there is a windmill behind one of the stall.
The center have nothing else interesting so you move on to the opposite end of the village. While the other side of the village is starting to close down as activities end, this side have just began opening up their business. This place is more like a commercial area of the village which mainly consists of bars, night shops, diners and large buildings that resemble the traditional noble house that you visited a few days ago. Farther down the road there are also a few inns, I don’t know what the sign is advertising about, but if I deduct this right it could probably meant that the daily rent cost around 3000 to 8000 yen. What does the cost cover for?
A little bit obscure between the houses is either a library or a bookstore, but consider what the kid said earlier it is likely the latter. Finally is an area that is under construction, from the lights and the ridiculous amount of stalls and empty space there it is likely preparations for a festival, but just to be sure you ask one of the worker there.
“We are preparing for the S̴̺̘̈̂n̴̲͎͝o̷͕͑w̷̡̽̾ ̶̮͕͆͂f̷͉̊e̷̲͎͘s̵̰̠̏͘ț̶̈̚î̵͚͝v̶̝͂͜a̶̤̘̎͂l̴̛̖̲ two weeks from now, it is like a g̶̰̉ȯ̵̟̥ô̴̰͓d̵͎͊̾b̶͇̯͌̆y̶̗͖͌̎ê̶̲͔̇ to Winter and a w̶̤͖̓̉e̸̜͊̾l̴̗͕͂̀c̸̠͊̒ȯ̷͖m̸͖̅̓ë̸͓̩ to Spring with all o̷̪̚f̵̛̙̯͗ ̵̨̑̃i̴͕͒́t̸̼̔'̴̧̟͑s̷̠̑̈́ benefits like a good h̵̨̔ạ̶͉̽r̸̢̋v̵̼̉͌ě̶͎̆s̷͊͜t̵͇̖͋́”
“But we are already in mid-January, why do you guys celebrate it so late?”
“Winter did ended but the weather a̴̛̯͚r̵̩̝͛͝e̴͚͛ ̸̤̦̋̍s̸̲̅͠ṱ̸̡̎i̷̦̇̓l̷͕̃l̵̤̹̈́ too cold to start for a new s̷̝̠̈̇ḙ̴̔ȩ̵̏͘d̷̨͓́͑i̴͈̞̇̆n̵͉̑̍g̸̬̃̀ period so this is more l̷̞̗̇i̵͍͠k̴̩̄e̵̅͜ a celebration t̵̛̹̳o̶̜͊͑ please ń̵̻͎̀ḁ̵͙̊̔t̸͍͈̄͊u̵̝̍r̷̰͉͗e̷̗̺̔͆ and for good c̴̪̣̈́ǒ̵̠n̸̳̆͌ď̴̖ȋ̸̤̂t̷̤̿ï̵̢̺o̵͖͌́n̸͎͆ś̴̭͠for the crop to g̴̖̔͒r̸̯͊o̵̢̐͑w̵̫͛̿”
“So there is no additional need for help on the farms then? I heard from some people that they have to deal with them soon but I guess it is another week or two?” There goes 1 of the chance to earn more money.
“We do need the extra h̵̠͑a̷͍̓͜n̷̘̓d̷͎͉͂s̵͛̾͜, in fact starting f̴̹̕r̸̢̼͝o̴̰̒m̵̗̜̉̌ tomorrow there will be a l̸̻͔̊a̷̢̹̾r̴̫̿͊g̴̦͈̋e̶̪̒͘͜ wave of villagers who will leave their jobs te̸̩̅̎m̸̢̟̋p̸͙̂ō̵͎r̵͔͆ͅa̷̫̓͠r̸̘̳̍i̷̡̳̓͆l̷̦̟̓̓y̴̘͂͋ to help h̴̝͂a̶̬͝͝r̸͎̉̇͜v̶̳̀͜͝e̵͍͇͐̊s̸͎̽͐t̴͍̚ the product from l̵̙̦̑̐ā̴̠̓ş̶̺̒̽t̵̡̥́ ̷̱̔͝ŷ̵̻̟̾e̸̮̍͜ā̵̧̳ř̸̲̎ and prepare the land for the new c̸̮̬̆r̴̮̦̉̆o̵͇̓͜p̵̨̊ season. Now excuse me i̶̋ͅ ̶̰̀̂h̷̡̲͑à̴̰̌d̷̨̈́̿͜ ̵̠̹̆͐ẗ̶͎̳́õ̶̖̚set up the s̸̲̊͒h̶͖̟̀͠ơ̷͎͕o̵͇͙̾͝t̸͉̟̓̓i̴̙̙̾ṇ̵̩̈́̇g̴͇͆͐ ̸̘̪̃̏r̸͔̔à̶͙̟͝n̸̺̓g̴͓̠̎e̷̤͖͐͑” While I might not be able to stay here long enough to enjoy the festival here, I could still work in this place for a day or two.
You said goodbye to him and leave the place, you were about to end this whole casing job but noticed a 5th road that you didn’t see from afar when going around the village. The road lead to nowhere and there is a sign that wrote “Area under construction, please wait until TH 21.” The hell?
Well I guess that is the end of the general exploration, how long did it take? 2 or 3 hours? I miss technologies. Well what’s next? I could still explore one of the place of interest or just spend more time to explore the alleyways just in case I have to use it to evade someone or something, though I do at least need some paper and pens to map it, otherwise it would be pointless. The sun is not as high as before but there should still be a few more hours until daylight run out, even then I could just still explore in nighttime, nothing is wrong with that. Welp, time to… wait, earlier in the day Hatate told me to stay put as she would come back to get me later in the day, but when is ‘later’? It is just a bit too vague.
Welp, this ain’t the time to be idle, let's keep going.
[x] Go back and stay at the village center [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶ I prefer to stay away from my own crime scene [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶r̶k̶e̶t̶ It is starting to close down already [̶x̶]̶ ̶F̶o̶l̶l̶o̶w̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶o̶x̶ Tracking her down would just be a waste of time [x] Go to the intimidating looking building [̶x̶]̶ ̶W̶a̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶i̶m̶l̶e̶s̶s̶l̶y̶ Done [x] (Optionable) Drink even more sake [x] Explore the abandoned warehouse, hopefully there are good stuff in there [x] Explore the alleyway systems - [x] Get pen and paper from the bookstore - [x] See if the school have any [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶m̶a̶r̶k̶e̶t̶ They are still setting up [x] ̶Go to the book store. Though I don’t even know Japanese so what on earth am i looking for? [x] Go back to the shrine and wait for Hatate [x] Check the inn to see if it is worth moving in or not [x] Go back to Tengu village before daylight ran out, hopefully the patrol will recognize me this time.
(this is my first time messaging, pls tell me if I do something wrong) [x] Go to the bookstore [x] Ask info about the afterlife, ghosts and stuff concerning that since you are dead right? seconded, but more to find out whether the Shinigami are after you or not (and if they are, how to avoid them)
[x] Go to the bookstore [x] Ask info about the afterlife, ghosts and stuff concerning that since you are dead right? Maybe there's a way to uh not become dead somehow.
You enter the bookstore, however as soon as you step foot in a sudden feeling of dizziness hit you, like somebody have injected anesthesia into your body while happy thoughts filled your head, despite your suspicion you just can’t seem to leave, in fact you can’t feel anger, anxiety or any negative thoughts in general, just calmness as you keep walking in.
- - - Ranged combat and CQC temporarily, - Reaction temporarily, + Social skill temporarily.
The place is devoid of any human activities, all the chairs and tables are empty, multiple rows of books lie on their shelves untouched, both old and modern book. Even the counter doesn’t have anybody manning it, just a bell. You approach the bell and ring it, waiting to see if anybody would come or not. I should at least wait for somebody to show up, it is rude to just poke around without any permission.
Eventually, a women in her late 30s show up to the counter
“W̴̮͘e̷̱̠̓l̴̥̪̀̈́c̶̨̻̔o̶̗͝m̶̡̯̒ẻ̸̮̼ t̶̠̃̀͜ọ̴̱͌ Suzunaan, h̴̞͊o̶̬̓w could Ï̶̯͎̇ help h̷̪̠̆e̵̗͇̐ḽ̴̭̅̿p̴̗̏ ̴͓̊y̷͎͓̑̀ö̷̧́u̷̩̩̚͝?̴̩̆̓?”
“I would l̵̪̔i̷̼͘k̵̯̓ḛ̸̈́ ̵̙́ť̷̼o̷͔͂ order books with information about ghosts, Shinigami and a̸̽͜f̸̦̈́t̴̪̂e̶͕̐ṟ̴̅l̵͚̄ĭ̸̗f̴̦̚ẹ̵̋ please.”
“Okay t̵̝̉͠ḣ̷̟̝̈́ẹ̸͘n̵͔͝,̷͓̱̀͘ ̵̜̪͘w̵̫̆͐ȏ̶̧u̸̩̔̓͜ḽ̷̎d̵̤̓̂ ̶͚̭̾̾you prefer ŕ̸̗͂e̶̮͐͝n̸̰̹̉ẗ̷̼́̐ĭ̷̮͘n̷͓̓g̸̛̗̤ or buying ț̷̢̏͘h̸͖͒͘ḙ̵̄m̷̡͋̍?”
“Depends, w̷̫̓h̵͉̒ã̶̮t̴̹̽ is their price?”
“Most o̷̻͆f̵̘̫̃ ̷̯̅̓o̷͕̪̊ṷ̸̫̌̄r̷̘̋̚ ̵̻̕b̸̡̗̽̔ó̸̢̚o̷̡̟̔̒k̸̡̨̒̒s̸̠̊ ̸̦̃͘are sold a̸̗̾r̷̪͉̈́o̶̡͎͐̒ṷ̵́n̴͍̂d̴̞̱̚ 3000 yen e̷̠̫̒͝a̶̛̬͂c̷͕̙̓h̶̗̪͊,̷͍̿ ̶͈̟̔͗w̸̢͛̆h̸̘̹̽̽i̴͚͗l̸̛̖e̸̯̦̔͘ ̴͇͉̐̑renting only c̴̯̫͗o̵̤̅̐ş̸͓͝ṭ̵̝̈́ ̵̛͙̆20̵̝̲̽0̸̹̤̀ ̴̢̞͠per day.”
“Those price s̶͔͐ȩ̶͝e̴̪͛m̵͈̈́ reasonable, could I see the book first hand before making a f̶͎͠i̸̹̋n̴̠̊á̷̖l̵̜͛ decision though?”
She grab a book from underneath the counter and inspect its content, while she does that you take the opportunity to ask a few question. I am getting sober again, either I start drinking more or there will be no more conversations for the rest of the evening.
“On the topic of g̴̪͝h̶̹͆o̶͑͜s̶̞͒t̶̤́, are they dangerous?”
“They a̴̳͠r̷̙͛é̶͇ ̴͖̀j̸̰͊ȗ̸̡s̷̺̍t̶̬̍ ̷̨̌as dangerous as o̸̰̿t̴̞̃h̷̢̾e̵̛͍r̸̨̍ youkais if you p̵̫̈́r̵̝̕o̷̩͊v̶̘̇ó̴̮k̴̘̀e̸̞̒ them, so they are u̸͊͜s̵͉͒u̷̜̇a̶̹͘ḷ̴̔ḷ̸́y̴̱̑ harmless unless you s̷̖̾t̵̩̃ȁ̸̦y̵̫̚ ̴̣̚w̴̫͗i̵̺͋t̶̫̅h̸͙̃ ̷͓̇them for a long t̶͕͝í̵̥m̷̡̀ẹ̴͒ of course.”
“What make them dangerous t̵̥̔h̶̯̋o̶̥̐u̵̲̓g̶̛̫h̵̡̏? Didn’t you said that they are usually harmless?”
“On t̸̹͝h̸͕̚ê̴̺i̵̬͒r̴̼̄ ̷̖͆ǫ̴̓ẅ̶̠ń̶̘ they usually aren’t, b̸̝̿u̸̹͒t̴͙͐ ̸̥̔r̴͕͋u̷̧͝m̸̹͘o̸̪͊ŗ̶̍s̷̜̀ ̶͕͋has it if you mingle w̵̢͂ȋ̴̞t̴̟̽h̴̫́ them long é̵͜n̵͎̈́o̴͝ͅu̴̦͠g̷̺̒h̵͖͑ ̸̠̔d̵͔̀e̷̪͝a̷̳͠t̶͙̏h̶̖̍ ̸̭̇itself will come ạ̶͝n̶͎͝d̷͙́ ̸̩̈t̵̠͗a̷̮͊k̷̝̃e̸̱̓ ̷̬̂your soul instead. S̷͉͠o̸͉̾m̴̟͊e̶͉̅t̸̥́i̷̛͉m̴͙͋e̸͇̍ ̷̧̍they have a g̸͌͜r̸̪̾u̵̱̕d̴̺̐g̵̢̈ê̶̝ against a certain pē̸̝r̴͚̿s̸̢̛o̴͕͛n̸̈́ͅ ̷̫̀ȩ̵̓i̶͎͝t̸̠̋h̶͐ͅê̸r ̶̘͆before or after de̵͕̒a̸͖̚t̵̑͜h̵̫̓ so they will spend ẗ̵͓́h̷͕̽ë̶͍ ̷̼̈r̶̙̒e̵̖͋s̶̞͝ť̴̜ ̵͈̏of eternity cursing t̸̳̍h̶͓̊a̵̤̚t̵̘͐ ̴̚ͅṕ̴̢ẻ̵̻r̵̲͛s̶̜͘ô̶͇n̵͍͝ ̸̱̓and any of their a̷̖͋ć̵̝q̷̫̅u̴͉̅a̶̹̐i̸͎͋n̵͈̈ẗ̵̜́à̷̠n̶̹̒c̴̪͌e̶̮̕s to insanity, if that h̵̗̅a̸͇͝p̵̥̓p̴̰̿ė̴͎n̶̹̓ë̵̝́ḍ̶̐ death would p̴̝̏r̷̮̀o̴̡͋b̵̤͌ả̵̙b̷̙͗l̵̥̎y̵̡̓ be preferable. The w̸̼͐o̷͈͠r̴̙͘s̷̪̚t̸̜̀ ̸̧͛ȁ̵̻s̶̩̒p̷̜̚ē̷̺c̵͈̈t̸̪͊ ̵̪͠is that they a̴̭̿r̶̼̄ė̵̟ mostly indistinguishable f̶̹̀r̸̟̒ô̸̝m̸͇̀ ̶̱̔ǹ̴̹ỏ̸͎r̸̬͂m̶̖̄ä̷̲́l̷̩̓ ̴̙̒human so w̶͌ͅḙ̴̚ ̶̛͓w̷̦̄o̸͕͘ñ̵͚’̶͎̓t̵͓͂ ̵̗̚k̸̨͒ņ̸͊o̸̩͋w̴̨̄ if the person ỷ̸̯ô̶͉u̴̜͒ are talking ẉ̷̉ï̸̙ẗ̴̨́ḫ̷̅ ̷͈̿o̷̱̓n̶̥̊ē̶̡ ̴̠̓o̷̱͆f̵̆͜ ̵̞͝them or n̸̻̔o̶̜͌t̴̰͊, one of t̸͖̀h̴̺͒ȩ̸̅ ̷̫͛f̵̻͗ẻ̷̘w̶̘̾ ̴̊͜t̶̞̏r̵̡̎á̴̹i̷̟͘t̶̗̅ that most of them h̸̤̓à̵̝v̴̗̍e̶̢͊ ̴̡͂ḁ̶͐r̵̼̅e̶̮̿ their emotional ả̶̳ṇ̸͠d̷̛̗ ̴̝̑m̴͖̈́è̶͎ñ̶̼t̴̲͒a̶͈̍l instability, though tḫ̶͒ả̷̻t̵̹̚ ̴̮́ǐ̸̳s̴̹͆ ̶̮̕p̸͙̅robably the mind s̶͔̐e̷̖̅t̷͉͊ ̴͇͝ó̵ͅf̷̢̀ everyone from time t̶̞̍ó̶̦ ̸̣͆t̵̻̾i̶̜̍ḿ̴̗ě̶͚.̷̹̕” Sorry for not telling you, but even I don’t know what I am supposed to be.
“What about Shinigami?”
“W̷̡̒ḧ̵̟́ā̶̯t̴̟͗ about t̷͇̄h̵̲̆ḙ̸͝m̵͎̐? They just ferry ţ̷́h̷͌ͅe̷̖̊ ̵͇̇s̵̝͛ö̸͈ū̸̡l̶̘͒ś̶͈ ̴̩̇to the afterlife and o̵̳̓c̶̦̆c̶͕͒à̶̪s̶̞͠i̵̼̽ò̵̤n̸̫̿å̸̟l̴̙̓l̵̖̀ȳ̶̝ ̸̱̔f̸̜͆i̵̮͗g̷̹̀h̷͚͒t̴̘̑ ̸̣̅the celestials a̵̩̒n̸͍̈ḏ̴̋ ̸͎̅h̴͗͜e̷̪̓r̷̹̃m̴͎̅į̵̅t̷̜͂ that is all.”
“So they ferry souls n̶͓͗e̶͍͠a̶͎͝r̴̪͂ the river to the other side, what about the ones that à̶̞r̵͈̽e̶̟̚ṇ̶͌’̵̛̹t̴̜͑ there?” She then stop searching through the catalog to look at you.
“Excuse me f̸̣͌o̷̘͝r̷̮̀ ̷̭̀q̵̊͜ũ̴̡e̶̙͆ś̷̜ṯ̴̌ǐ̴̹o̷̡͑n̴̞̈i̸͖͘n̶̦̐g̶͉͠, but why ä̶̠́r̵̰͝e̶̖̋ you so interested ḯ̵̖ṋ̸͑ ̵̧́ț̴̉h̷̥̎ẹ̷̒s̵͍̾e̸̟͆ ̵̛͎topics?”
“Well ahh… I had a friend who w̷͉͆á̸̮s̷̡̒ killed by a youkai a few days ago, at t̵͖̕h̴͕̀e̸̞̐ time we didn’t have a chance ț̶̂ò̶̤ ̶̯̿r̶̢̀e̵̪̍c̷̻̈o̵̠̓v̵̬͝è̸̜r̵͍̓ ̶͖̅his body so we had to leave it there. Recently h̴̋͜e̴̝͊ came back, said that he became a ghost instead of tr̷͓͘a̴̤̋v̶͕̂e̴̯̅ľ̵̰i̸͉͝ń̴̪g̶̪̑ to the afterlife. From that point I am interested about a̶̡͊n̷̠̊ỳ̷̢t̵̙̓h̷͋ͅi̴̼̕n̵̯̄g̸̹̚ involved with death and afterlife and so here I am.”
“Okay then… w̵͔͒e̶̺͊l̴̛̲l̷̲͂ what group are you w̵̞͘i̷̝͑ẗ̸̩h̸̰͗?” She eye your clothes.
“You just ş̵͘a̶̝͊i̴͓̅d̸̩͂ ̵̘͛t̴̜́h̴̞̃ȁ̸ͅt̷̄͜ ̸̰̔‘We’ weren’t able ț̸̋ò̴͔ ̸̧̆p̶̞̾r̶̺̅o̷͉̎p̷̗̈́ĕ̸̺ṙ̴͚l̴̳̕y̴̘̅ ̷̣͑help your buddy, so who are y̶͚̽o̸̪̓ū̷̫ referencing to?”
“A group of outsider. Yes, I w̷̼̚a̷̼͐s̵͓̅ with a group of outsider, we have being s̸̪͆t̷̰̍u̸͇͗c̵̡̄k̴̢̊ here for some time and are s̶̡͒t̷̺̽a̷̗͌y̶̛͈i̵͖͛ǹ̶̡g̴̯̕ in the forest, I am one of their scout dealing with i̷͙̎ń̷̘f̶̱̆ó̸̮ṙ̷̘m̵̦̃a̴͚̓t̸̗́į̵͝ỏ̴̲ñ̶͉ and supply run.” Those article from earlier really was a miracle in hindsight.
“Never seen y̵͓͘o̵̧̓u̷̫͑ before then.”
“It is my first time doing this.”
Both of you stare at each other for half a minute, then she turn her attention back to the book.
“I am ş̴̂o̸̭̊r̶̗̀r̵̮̈ÿ̷̦́ ̶͇͆ṯ̷̊ö̸̦́ ̴̱͠say this but you s̷̟̎h̴̰̐ỏ̸̝ư̷̧l̶̘̔d̸̩͠n̵̟̓’̶͈͘t get too attach to h̶̯͘í̵̦m̵̖̓ ̷̱͝a̵̲͝g̸̦̿á̸͎i̴͖̐n̵̊͜, a ghost n̴̛͎a̵̻͑t̵͍̕u̸̡͋r̵̜̋ẹ̴͋ is death so ä̷͔́n̵̂͜y̸̱̿b̸̨̽o̷̰̒d̸͈̏y̷̪̌ who interact w̷̞̄i̵͙͑t̴̜̋h̴̻̅ him af̸͉̆t̴̙͌e̷̝̿r̶̫̕ a long tì̴̧m̵̧̑e̸̤͐ would probably d̷̝͆i̷̲͠ė̶̩ too or turn i̸̖͊n̵̹̔ţ̷̐o̴̻͝ a phantom i̶̡̿f̷̱͝ u̸̻̇ň̵̖i̷̧͌q̷͇̕u̶̡̾e ̴̖̔circumstances happened. For y̷͔͛ỏ̴̪ủ̸͓r̸̒͜ ̶͕̅o̸̤̿w̶͍̃n̴̖͝ ̷̻͊sake and other you s̵̻̎h̶͉͂o̷̬͗ṷ̴̿l̸̟̊d̷̲͂ ̴̫̄g̷͖̔ő̴̺ ̸̪͋to the Harukei Shrine e̵̩̎a̵̔ͅś̷̨t̵̲̊ of here, t̵̥̄h̸͔̓e̸͎̅r̸̨̀e̶͔͂ you find ă̸̮ ̷̖͛p̴͖̂ė̵̤r̸̪̓s̸͎͗ó̴̬n̷͔͐ name Reimu, she c̷͉͐ḁ̶͘n̸̡͘ ̴̢͛b̵͍̾o̷̫͂t̸̼͊h̸̬̓ ̶̹̒hold a m̵͎͊ẻ̸̢m̸͔̿o̴̻͝r̷̻̐i̵̱͂ȁ̶̹l ceremony t̶͙͊o̴͉͆ ̶͎̈́l̸̯̃ȇ̷̺ad your friend back ḭ̵͗n̷̯͂t̸̳̅o̶̩̽ ̶̈́ͅt̷̘̅h̴̥̍ȩ̷̔ ̸̹͂afterlife and also ḧ̷̩́e̴͇̿l̷̯̈́p̵̖̑ your people leave t̸͔̃h̷͎̅i̶̹̓s̶̮̄ ̵͔̆p̶̟̈́l̷͎̄a̸̮͝c̷͇͝e̵̝̿. Th̸͎̀o̸͉͊u̵͈̓g̸̞̈h̷̖̅ don’t tell your friend w̸̧͂h̸͎̕a̵̻̒ṱ̴͘ is going t̶̩͑o̴̩͠ ̴̹̋h̶̭͘å̵͓p̴̯͝p̸̬͛e̴̪̚n̷̮̋e̷̕͜d̸̥͐, what happen after that w̸̩͊o̷̺͆n̴͋͜’̶̜̂t̸̳̃ ̷̠͒be pretty.”
“Thanks for the suggestion, still w̸̦̃h̷̨͘a̶̤͆ť̷̻ ̴̭͒ạ̴̽b̴͓̒ŏ̸̜u̷̦͗t̸̘̋ the Shinigami involvement in all of this?” Yeah… I still want to live this current life, please.
"Well t̴̠̏h̵̨͋ẻ̸̟r̴̭̂e̴̠͝ ̵͚͂ả̸̼ṟ̴̄e̸̠̍ rumors that t̶͛ͅh̴̥͂e̵͈̋y̴͈͂ ̵̪͗d̸͎̎o̵̭̿e̸̲̿s̵̜̃ ̵̞͊h̶͇̾u̶̯͂ń̶͙t̸̘̔ down the s̵̻͌ȍ̴̬u̵͚̒l̸͚͋s̵̙̒ ̶̰̂ẗ̴̜́h̴̰̓a̸̱͋t̶̡͠ manage to escape t̴͎͗h̶̳͠ë̸͚́ ̸͕͗r̸̨̄e̴͙̓i̶̛̩n̶̲̾c̵̝͗a̶̼̓r̶̥̅n̶͔͆a̵̘̿t̴͙͗i̷̧̊o̶̟͛n cycle, but they are just that, r̷͓̂u̴̡͂m̴͚̂ö̷̯́ṙ̶̹s̵͚̍."
As the conversation wind down, she check her book a little bit longer, then walk to the shelves and start digging out books, eventually pulling out 3.
“Consider what I ŝ̶̬a̷͕͝i̸̝̐d̷̼̍ ̴͈̆ȇ̷̯a̶̼̓r̸̥͊l̶̩̊ḯ̴͎e̸̫̓ŕ̷͔ ̷̱̌the preview of w̴͚͒h̴̞͛a̷̳͌t̵̢͑ will be in th̸̹̀e̴̩̾s̷̢͘ë̴̪́ books, hope ÿ̴̰o̵̞͆u̸̧̐ ̵͈̓w̶̞͑ị̴͑l̷̨͊l̸̙͑ ̵͇̀buy them a̷͈͝n̷̥͒d̵̳͂ enjoy i̶͇̔t̵͔̓.”
Despite not knowing the title said, the books luckily provide cover for you to see. The 1st book have a ghostly shape on the cover, the 2nd instead have a scythe and weird waves on the background. The final books just have shapes that look like an area or country.
“Thank you, so what’s the cost?”
“All three ̸̰̂b̴͂ͅo̷͍̎ŏ̸͈ǩ̵̞š̸̙ ̸̭̆c̴̰͌o̸͖͊s̸̼̀t̶͍̃ 3700 yen each, if ỳ̵̲ó̸̭u̸͕̎ ̵̮̏ï̶̗n̴̩͒s̸͇̊t̵̹̑ẹ̴̊å̶̡d̴͖̔ want t̴̀͜ỏ̵̻ ̶̩̾r̷̜͝ẻ̶̢n̵̛͈t̴̖̐ it then it h̸̏ͅa̴͐ͅv̶̹́e̶͎͝ ̷͕͋a̶̯͒ ̵͗͜f̷͎̒e̷̼͋ě̶̼ of 300 yen per day.
You were about to make a decision but then remember that the kid from the bar said that she was deciphering some kind of magic book, so you ask her about it.
“Does your store also ś̴̲e̷̋ͅl̵͚̈́l̶̗͂ ̷̠̃å̷̩n̸͚̍y̵̟͊ ̷̝̿kind of magical or enchanted book?”
“Not at t̶̫̀h̶͖̔ẻ̸̥ moment, I a̵̩͗m̶̡̍ afraid.”
“Why not? I remember o̸̥̅ń̸̠e̴͚̕ ̴̯̐ò̶̳f̵̌͜ ̵̧͒the employee here said that she is deciphering something h̴̞̓e̴̦̒r̴̯͊e̵̻͋ ̴̻̎i̵̥̋f̴͖͝ memories serve me right.”
“If you m̵̫̀é̵̱a̷̺͐n̷̪̊t̸͕̎ ̴͈̃t̷̲̉h̵͙̓ḛ̶̚ ̷̳̓‘Legacies across the ṭ̸̓i̵̡͘m̴̗͌e̷͓͐’̷͉̃ ̶̦͊ť̶̜h̴̜̔ë̷͙́n̴̲͌ ̶͖̓I am afraid w̴̤͝e̴̡͘ can’t sell it, as it is ö̶ͅn̶̹̈́e̷͚̍ ̴̰͐o̴͖͗f̶̙̌ ̸̪͘a kind. However w̸̤̾e̴̫͊ ̸̼̎ȧ̸̘r̵̤̃e̴̗̓ ̸̫͂making copies s̷̤̄o̴̠͑ ̸̡̋ḯ̵͇f̸̱̓ ̴̘̔y̵̹͝o̵̦̐ù̴͔ ̸̨̏are interested then p̵̬̅l̸̹͛e̷͇͘ā̴̺s̵̮̽ê̴͕ ̸͓̄c̶̰͛ơ̸̡m̸͚͊e̴̲͑ ̷̙͘back in a f̶̹͠e̷̹͑w̸̥̽ ̷̯̎d̶̘͊a̴̫̽y̸̹͘ŝ̸̹, at that tị̸̛m̵͔̃ê̴̥ the first copy would be ã̴͎v̷̰̂a̸̭͗i̸̠̽l̸̔͜a̸͖͌b̴̈͜l̸̝̾e̵͉͂.” There goes my chance of knowing magic…
What book would you like to buy or rent? (Can choose more than one) [x] Book with ghostly shape [x] Book with a scythe and weird wave [x] Book with area’s marking.
What to do next? [x] Go back and stay at the village center [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶ I prefer to not go back to my own crime scene [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶r̶k̶e̶t̶ It is starting to close down already [̶x̶]̶ ̶F̶o̶l̶l̶o̶w̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶n̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶o̶x̶ Tracking her down would just be a waste of time [x] Go to the intimidating looking building [̶x̶]̶ ̶W̶a̶n̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶i̶m̶l̶e̶s̶s̶l̶y̶ Done [x] (Optionable) Drink even more sake [x] Explore the abandoned warehouse, hopefully there are good stuff in there [x] Explore the alleyway systems -[x] Get pen and paper from the bookstore -[x] See if the school have any [̶x̶]̶ ̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶m̶a̶r̶k̶e̶t̶ They are still setting up [̶x̶]̶ ̶ ̶̶̶G̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶s̶t̶o̶r̶e̶.̶ ̶A̶s̶k̶ ̶i̶n̶f̶o̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶l̶i̶f̶e̶,̶ ̶g̶h̶o̶s̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶t̶u̶f̶f̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶c̶e̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶s̶i̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶?̶ ̶M̶a̶y̶b̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶'̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶w̶a̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶u̶h̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶b̶e̶c̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶d̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶h̶o̶w̶.̶ Mostly done. [x] Go back to the shrine and wait for Hatate [x] Check the inn to see if it is worth moving in or not [x] Go back to Tengu village before daylight ran out, hopefully the patrol will recognize me this time.
In the upcoming weeks i will be a lot busier IRL so the update would likely come at an even slower rate, i apologize in advance.
You purchase all three books and walk out of the bookstore with your hands literally full as the lady said some local slang that is just a roundabout way to say goodbye. The moment you step out of the shop the weird serenity feeling that was in your mind earlier is gone instantly, letting your c̶r̶i̶p̶p̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶e̶p̶r̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ normal feelings come back. Why did I ring that bell…? I should’ve look around first and then make a decision later. I literally handicapped myself because of something in there!
*All skills return to normal.*
*sigh* “No point crying over spilled milk, I guess.*” You decided this is enough exploration for the day and start walking back to the shrine to rendezvous with Hatate. The small trickle of exterminators that was once on the road is no more, leaving you alone on the road, though that doesn’t mean you are truly alone.
As the sun is slowly descending behind you, the surrounding forest is also raising its fang for you to see. Creatures, both beast and humanoid alike become more active under the tree shades, too dark for you to see clearly or know what they are but one thing for certain is that they aren’t human or any other normal animals that you know of. Most of them are just flying and running around, occasionally dancing in the air or firing at each other with colorful magical bullet, lighting up the area as it travel until it hit their target or disappear after it reach a certain range. While fierce, they are just minding their own business so you aren’t worried about them much except for the possibility of a stray bullet hitting you. It is the one that aren’t, the ones that have decided that for some reason you are interesting enough to follow you at the forest edge. Although the distance between the forest and the road is relatively long, you have seen those creatures zipping around the forest at pretty high speed, fast enough to have the capability of reaching you within 10 seconds. They have to be following me, there are no reasons for them to walk slowly in the same direction I am also going when they can just fly.
Just for precaution, you grab your shiv in case of a fight, though having heavy books in your arm encumber you somewhat. Luckily the weather isn’t that cold so you take off your jacket to make a simple handheld bag then put most of the items that you have gathered into it to be held in one hand, leaving the other hand to hold the weapon freely without being restricted too much. You are now prepared for an attack, at least mentally.
It never came, the stalkers on your tail only follow for a short while then just wander off, the other still maintain distance but doesn’t charge you. You quicken your pace, eventually reaching the shrine without any incidents. Phew
The place is lit up with light from electric sources, which is surprising consider that everywhere else that you have went feel like a mixture between the middle age and the 1800s. You look around to look for familiar faces but none are around so you settle down at the porch to wait once more, emptying all the items you have gathered there then put on the jacket, again protected from the wind. Although I wasn’t attacked on the way here, if it did happen I would’ve been woefully unprepared… You look at your shiv …I need something much better than this, would a gun and some knives be enough? Unfortunately no options are available yet so you just have to make do.
Your thought is interrupted when from the corner of your eye a bright light beam suddenly appear, followed by a small but noticeable tremble, shaking the whole place. The hell!?
You grab your shiv and immediately start looking around for any possible threats, but can’t find any. Ironically unlike before the reason you are worried this time is the lack of people and activities because you don’t know what or where to focus your attention at except for the general direction of where it all started. All I know is that the light was originally came from the right side, so it could be from the storage house or in the forest behind it.
[x] Explore the storage house [x] Explore the forest [x] Yeah… I am not going anywhere
You sneak toward the building, looking for any vantage point to listen in or peek inside before entering, unfortunately the only window is on the roof, and there is no way of reaching there. Well I can’t do a wall climb and there aren’t any trees nearby for me to climb then drop off onto the roof, maybe there is a ladder? Those things are usually in the stor… oh.
Luckily what remains of the sun and the light bulbs illuminate the place enough for you to notice a small broken gap between the building’s foundation and the wall that is leaking out some kind of glowing dust which stick to everything around it with some floating in the air. You attempt to wave the mist away but it only stick to your hand and remain there, refusing to get off. At least I disperse it enough to make sure I won’t get a face full of it… unless another puff came out.
You lie down and look through the dust covered gap, on the other side is a giant mess of broken dishes, yard tools scattered, lightbulb string dangling on the shelves and crates haphazardly, pile of ofuda and weird scrolls in various condition glowing. The most concerning of all however, are multiple soft coughing and gagging noises, though too quiet to discern who it is.
You keep looking in for a bit longer to see if there are any more information on what happened, nothing much occur, then your view is blocked as something try to crawl through the gap to go out. I really, REALLY hope that it is just a normal bug.
It isn’t, though you recognize her easily.
It is a miniature Suika, covered in the glowing dust and trying to squeeze through the gap but get stuck because of her horn, she tried to say something but it just come off as random gibberish to you. Wha- What!? Hold on, she was normal size earlier, and now she is tiny? – ah… how!?… Okay, there’ve got to be some kind of ‘logical’ explanations here, voodoo or spells or whatever.
You help to pry her out, it feel weird to pull and spin a living person like an action figurine but you try your best to be as gentle as possible while still actually exert enough force to achieve something. Eventually it reach the point where her arms are free and she just push herself out of there. Immediately she fly off wobbly to the other side to open the door, letting multiple tiny Suikas out of the storage room, most of them are covered by the glowing dust, some more than the others. You wait until they all leave then check the place, your eyes immediately set on the possible culprit of all of this: A golden scroll, the same color as the magical dust that is covering everything in here, it constantly emit a small humming noise and the scroll’s pattern keep changing every few seconds, the only thing that remain the same is a slightly broken seal that prevent it from being opened which roughly resemble a demon. You pick it up to inspect it.
Well it does look nice, is it m-
“KUH” It suddenly paralyze you, leaving your body immobile for a minute until you slowly regain your senses.
“Auggghh… I can’t feel my arms and legs…*” You brace against a crate as support to slowly get up, seeing the scroll radiating bright light beams with the engravings on it turning red, though that is the full extent of what happened as it become docile once again, returning to the state when you first seen it. Bloody hell, I am not getting near that thing ever again!
*Fzzzhhhhhh* You turn back to where the sound came from, all the Suikas that were sprawling outside are dispersing one by one into a large mist, then condense back into a normal Suika in the same state as when you met her earlier in the day unharmed, only looking a bit tired …
Stuff like this make me wander if I am hallucinating or not, I hope moments like these in the future will be few and far between, I can deal with hardships not weird mystic bullshits.
The first thing normal-sized Suika do is to grab a plate from one of the crate then stagger back to the shrine’s living room looking dejected, colliding with the wall in the process. She doesn’t seem to acknowledge you nor her surrounding as she waltz by, leaving this mess behind.
You think about what to do next, the most obvious thing to do is to check what else is in the storage house and see if there is anything that is usable. Right now there isn’t anybody around to keep an eye on me and while the explosion could potentially attract some other creatures, if I do it fast maybe nobody would notice. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t have give a damn about some old ancient stuff in a place that look like a hurricane just went by, but this is a magical world, I have seen and felt it’s effect, maybe there is something in there that could serve me well in the future, both here and when I get back to the normal world like information, spells, equipment or anything in between.
You turn your sight to the room that Suika have just entered. I don’t know what happened that make her so gloomy, well apart from getting caught in some sort of dye-trap of course. But what I do know is that right now she isn’t in the best emotional state and is probably drinking to her heart’s content, and those kind of people are more easily ‘influenced’ and trusting of others. A smirk grow on your face. Based on how nonchalantly she act around here, she must have some sort of positive relationship with Reimu to be able to do so, earning Suika trust and friendship could be useful by proxy when I have to deal with the miko some point in the near future, maybe herself could be of great help to me or I can have a better insight on what happened here.
..Or at the very least it’s an excuse to be indoor, it is creepy out here alone…
You check your surrounding before making a decision, the whole shrine ground is eerily empty, all rooms but one have neither light or movement in it. Nothing much in the wood either, just a few ‘thing’ flying around, though consider what just happened there will likely be more soon.
Welp, seem clear enough, time to act.
[̶x̶]̶ ̶C̶h̶e̶c̶k̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶.̶.̶.̶ Wait a second…
At first you didn’t pay much attention to the forest background, only its wildlife, on closer look however you notice a figure looking from the tree line, she crouch on one of the tree’s large branch with her wings blend in with the leaves in the darkness, her silhouette look similar of that of a tengu, though it could be just some other bird creature. She doesn’t seem to be carrying anything or with other of her kind unless they are hiding somewhere else. That is all you manage to notice in time, as she stand up and fly with lightning speed into your direction, you leap to the side in anticipation of a collision, but it was unnecessary as she slow down and hover right in front of you.
*Chuckle* “What are you doing?*” A familiar nonchalant voice speak out
“Hatate? Bloody hell, don’t scare me like that.*” You get up and pat your clothes free of dirt. “Any sane person would be frightened at the sight of someone charging toward them at Mach 7*” You explain
She roll her eyes “Oh relax, that is how we fly and land on a regular basis, you should get use to it if you are to stay here for the next few days.*”
“Bloody speed demon…*" You mutter "... wait, did you said I am to stay here for longer?*” She turn away sheepishly for a moment, thinking about something, then she response
“Umm… unfortunately yes, circumstances are just really not working in your favor right now.*” Not working in my favor, are you kidding me!?
“How does this happened?*” You try your best to contain your voice
“Do you remember how earlier in the day there are talks about incidents?*”
“I do, what about them?*” Don’t tell me Reimu got herself killed handling those…
“Long story short, she got lost.*”
“… Excuse me?*”
“She was investigating about why there is an increase in the amount of flowers blooming and fairies activities, but the problem is that there isn’t any obvious culprit so she just fly around, beating anybody who look suspicious in a danmaku fight until there is an answer.*”
“That sound stupidly reckless.*”
Hatate just shrug at that statement. “That is just how she operate, usually it would take just a few hours to solve one, though sometime it would take a full day or two if there are just not enough leads.*”
“And let me guess, it is the latter in this situation.*”
She give a simple nod
“Fantastic, just fantastic…*” You raise your hand in exasperation “So what now? Does your leaders have any plan to deal with me or am I going to be let loose?*” Let’s hope I didn’t use up all my luck escaping death
“They’d… maybe… no, that’s…*” She stutter for a bit then mutter some Japanese words, finally she respond clearly “To be honest I don’t know for sure. Normally they just send people like you to the shrine and be done with it, the elders never have to deal with them returning due to unforeseen circumstances.” You use every ounce of willpower to resist snarking. Right now I need to avoid looking like an asshole, being snarky with strangers would only bring troubles.
“Don’t worry though…*” Hatate quickly add “… you can still stay at my home for a bit longer until proper arrangements are made for your departure.*”
“And if your elders doesn’t want me there?*”
“In the worst case scenario they would just stop caring, so as long as you promise to be put under a tight leash and not cause anybody problems then it would be okay.*”
“What would those restrictions be?*” If they are too tight then I might take my chance somewhere else.
“Just don’t-*“Hatate suddenly cover her mouth.
“I just remember that we aren’t allowed to speak about those kind of stuff freely outside the village*” she laugh nervously. “When we come back I will tell you more about the details, but just know that it isn’t very strict nor unreasonable.*”
“Alright then.*” I hope I didn’t willingly walk into a prison
She then land down next to you then look at the warehouse remains.
“Sheesh, this place look even worse up close, what happened here?*”
“No ideas, and beside I thought you have been observing this place for a while?*”
“Nah, I just came here when I see the energy eruption.*” She point at your golden-dust covered hand “You on the other hand were definitely in the thick of it.*”
“Nah, I literally just got here when the explosion happened and only got involved in the immediate aftermath.*” You then tell her a shortened version of what happened. “That is all I know*.”
Hatate frown at what you said, she walk around the ruined building then walk up to you, placing her hands on your shoulder.
“The stuff you told me isn’t interesting enough, are there anything more? Any other people involved? Something that happened before the explosion? The time it happened, causes, anything that are eye-catching!?*” She blurt those words out in a quick succession, only stopping to take a breath at the end.
“Look, that is all I known, nothing more or less, if you want more details then ask the oni, she is drinking in there.*” You point at the only room with light in it.
“There must’ve been some other witness, please try to remember clearer!*” She clutch your shoulder tighter, hurting you.
“There is nobody else, if there were then I don’t know, now please let me go!*” Get off of me, you are crushing my arms right now!
She look at the only room that you pointed at, her expression turn from one of focused to worried, she slowly let go of you and you take the chance to discreetly back off. Fucking hell, I think my arms are broken… I didn’t thought she would be THIS strong.
Hatate stroll around the yard for a while, whispering something to herself. Then she take a deep breath and march forward the room’s door with confidence, it last until she is about to open it, her legs give out at that exact moment as her whole body tremble in fear, she try to force herself to open that door, but it only budge a little until she just collapse down on her knee. You think you can see her gritting her teeth and cursing underneath her breath.
“Do you have anything else you have to take care of?*” She said quietly, almost like she is talking to herself. Before you get a chance to response, she continued.
“If you have then do it quick, we’re going back to my village.*” she get up and back away from the door, muttering something that involve Aya
[x] Check the storage house’s content [x] Make small talk with Suika, try to earn her trust - [x] Inquire her on what happened [x] Leave with Hatate now.
“Actually I do have something to take care off, I will be ready to go in a moment.*” You walk toward your pile of stuff.
“Uh huh, you do you I guess.*” She just wave you off.
You fetch your thermos of sake, it slosh around as you open the container still filled to the brim. Man, I barely touch this thing for the whole day. You down the whole drink as you need to be drunk in order to be able to communicate with Suika. The sweet fruit drink with bitter aftertaste go down easily, and soon there is only an empty thermos left. You wait a little bit for the alcohol’s effect to settle in before entering the shrine, but not before testing your capability with a certain Tengu
“So Hatate, you doing okay?” You try to start a conversation in Japanese
She contemplate that question for a bit, then respond.
“Okay, just normal.*” Her tone is even, leaving you unclear as what her exact emotion is.
You are thinking of something else to continue the conversation when she realized something and ask you first.
“Hang on, were you drinking? Please tell me you weren’t.*” She point at the empty thermos.
“Yes I did, is there something wrong?”
She look at you in disbelief. “O̵̺̿ḧ̴̨ ̸̧̉m̵͎̖̍͋ÿ̵͈́ god, is he seriously ġ̸͚̘e̵͑ͅẗ̷͈͓́̂t̶̠̻͋̋i̶̞̦͂́ǹ̸̼g̸̬͐͜ drunk right n̸͉̊ơ̸̗w̷̯̖͋̚!?” You heard what she muttered and understand it.
“So when you said you have something to do, it is drinking!?*” Her weary eyes look at you.
“Nah, this is just the first part.” She can understand mine words and I can understand her, I think this should be enough.
“Wha- W̵̪̓h̴̭̒a̷̱͒ṭ̷̔ do you mean?” Her look of tiredness turn into curiosity with a pinch of worries.
You calmly take off your shoes then walk toward the front of the living room’s door, knocking on the wooden frame to make your presence known.
“Excuse me, may I enter?” Hearing this, Hatate immediately jump up.
“Woah t̴͓͝ḧ̴̦e̷͔̒r̵͔̈́e̴͍͑, don’t….” She cut off herself then fly to you and whisper. “Don’t do anything involve with that damn oni, they are prideful creature who love starting troubles, if you say anything and I mean anything aggravating to her she can take that as an excuse that you are disrespecting her and they don’t take that well*.”
“Thanks for the warning, I will keep that in mind.” Both Suika’s body language and tone doesn’t seem prideful, if anything they are quite casual. It could be that it was all just a ruse to get me to lower alertness, or maybe Hatate have some bad blood with her and she is just trying to make the oni look bad? I don’t have enough information to make a conclusion so let’s just hope for the best.
“You don’t understand…*” She pull you closer. “You didn’t have to live under their rule like I did … well I was a hatchling at the time but still. They treat us like toys, tormenting us when they feel like it and only stop when they were bored…*” She shudder for a bit then continue. “… They used to treat human even worse, the only reasons they stop doing it is because of them getting bored of it which lead to their mass exodus to hell. Even for the one that still remain here there are rigid rules made by Gensokyo’s sages themselves that stop those behaviors, rules that AREN’T applied to outsiders like you, so if she still have any malicious intent in her…*” She ponder for a moment trying to think of something more to tell but can’t so she just left it there, letting the facts settle in.
You sigh and pull her hands off of you. “Look, I get it, people like her have done bad things and you are right that I should be worried that it might be done to me and that I shouldn’t go in there…*” You respond back in English just in case the oni heard it. “…but I still have some business to do with her. And besides, I have plenty of experience in dealing with all kind of people as a manager so I should be fine.*” In my line of work I have to cooperate with all kinds of unsavory people, apart from some differences this shouldn’t be too different from them.
Before Hatate have a chance to make a rebuttal, a voice from inside ring out.
“Door’s open, feel free to come in!” I should get in right now, if I let her wait it wouldn’t make me look good, even more so if what Hatate have said were true.
You slide open the door that lead into the living room, the first thing you see once again is the oni drinking while sitting in the kotatsu, she smile and gesture for you to sit down opposite of her. Instead you sit down on her left, the position closest to the door in case you need to bail out if necessary. The oni doesn’t have any reaction to your decision, though you do noticed that her smile seem a bit superficial.
“What’s up, have ya been enjoying your time here?”
“It was okay.”
“I take it the local didn’t bothered you much?” She take one long gulp out of her gourd
“By local do you meant the people living in the village or the creatures in Gensokyo in general?” Consider what kind of habitants this place have, local could have meant either of them.
“Both.” She put the gourd back down next to her but accidentally use too much force so instead it is more like she’s slamming it down. It was enough for Hatate who was hiding behind the door to scramble away. Was she listening in to our conversation?
“The villagers are… well… normal I guess. A little bit odd in some part but I suppose it’s because of the different cultures of this place and mine, same with the tengu though they are a little less friendly. The other forest habitant not so much, they were too snoopy for my taste.”
Suika lean forward and inspect you.
“Judging by appearance, ya haven’t gotten attacked, right?”
“Luckily no” Though I don’t know how close I was to one.
“Good, good.” She nodded. “Reimu already got enough on her plate, she doesn’t need more problems.” She said softly
You look in the direction of the storage house. “What ha-“
“So where do you plan to stay?” She cut you off.
“Probably in the Tengu village. Anyway, why did-“
“Ya want some more drink? Sake always go well with conversations.” She hold up her gourd
She keep trying to prevent me from asking about what happened, gotta think of something else to weasel my way in.
“Sure, why not.” You go along with her for now.
She grab a plate from out of nowhere, pour sake into it then push the filled dish to you. Both of you drink in relatively silence until it was broken when you see through the paper door a vague figure of another Tengu flying in, she look around for a while only to be interrupted by Hatate, both of them are bickering about something though it isn’t loud enough for you to hear.
“Can’t believe that crow would waste her talents for something so mundane.” Suika casually remark.
Maybe this will work?
“Will I be in any dangers if I decided to live with the Tengu for the next few days?”
She think for a moment then response. “I don’t think I can give ya a good enough answer for that.” Fantastic…
“But it is still safer than trying my luck in the forest or the human village right?”
“The village down there is definitely the safest option for outsiders like ya, but the forest?” She shake her head. “Unless ya got lucky, ya won’t even make it for a single night.”
“What make the youkais in the forest so dangerous? I am really curious about that.”
“Their appearances, they look like normal humans to outsiders like ya and before any of those wanderers know it, they are already meeting the Yama. Even without the easy preys, they are competent attacker on their own.”
“So is this place really safe from them? There doesn’t seem to be any protective measures around here.” I wander if the villagers here are youkais themselves, but asking that would make it harder to turn the conversation to what I wanted to know originally.
“There are protective barriers surrounding this place, anybody with killing intents won’t be able to enter this place so ya safe. Barring the mischievous fairies of course.”
“Doesn’t seem that safe considering the storage house exploded only meters away from me.”
“It wasn’t an explosion, it…“ She realize what just happened and try to change the subject, you don’t let her.
“Okay, if it isn’t an explosion, then what happened?”
Suika take her gourd and down more alcohol, she seem to be stalling for time either to think of an answer or waiting for something to happen. Outside, the tengus are screaming profanities at each other but the majority of them came from Hatate, finally both of them loudly state something then fly up onto the air, letting the silence once again settle in. You keep waiting for an answer from Suika a bit longer, finally she relent.
“People said curiosity kill the cat, are ya really gonna go through with this?” Instead of expressing anger or annoyance like you thought, her tone sound like she is actually amused by all of this. You just shrug at that remark.
The oni take one more gulp then look up at the ceilings. How much sake is in that gourd anyway?
“Right, where to start, where to start…” She lean back and tap lightly on the floor.
“I guess it can be boiled down to a friend reunion gone wrong.” She said. “Time really change one’s personality.”
“Wait, if that’s the case then wouldn’t there be another person in that storage house? When I came there I only see you and didn’t see anybody else leave.”
“Simple, because no 'body' was there, but just the soul of my old friend."
Another soul? Like a different kind of ghost? I am one and I didn’t see them in there.
“Soooo… were you doing a ritual to meet them but something went wrong?” Failing some magical ritual which then leading to disaster seem like a cliché in fantasy movies… god, is this place so weird that I’m now comparing it to a work of fiction?
“I ain’t no magician, boy. And I sure as hell don’t dabble in those kind of things.” She shake her head. “My friend was in the golden sealed scroll and no I didn’t break the seal, I sneak in through other mean. Now, that was a special ‘re-education scroll’” She said the last 3 words with some contempt. “It create a special environment where the whomever was in there will live in a basic simulation of Gensokyo, if it deem the re-education was a success it would unsealed itself..." She suddenly went quiet
'Huh, ah yea. Anyway, it track the emotion of it's user. The more negative feelings the person inside it feel, the more reactive the outside of the scroll will be, if it was too much then an alert will be sent by releasing a noticeable mana signal. You can probably guess how well my meeting with the person inside went by looking at the damage that it cause to its surrounding.” She is still smiling, but this time it doesn’t seem to hold any weight to it, just an empty smile .
During all of this, there are colorful lights flashing from outside, out of curiosity, being stumped on what to say next and partial annoyance from the light hurting your eyes you peek out. On the air Hatate and another Tengu, too fast for you to identify is doing aerial combat, shooting at each other with colorful bullets, since you can’t do anything about it you turn your attention back to the conversation at hand.
“So what will you do now about all of this?” You try to sound as sincere as possible.
She drink some more sake then answer.
“To be honest I don’t know, though to be straight with ya, I don’t feel comfortable talking about personal stuff like this, so can we move on to other stuff?” She doesn’t sound or act hostile, just tired.
“Alright then.” You gulp down some more sake.
Outside, the fighting have finally die down, there is no more flashing lights nor screaming.
“By the way…” Suika break the silence “… were you tagged by any mana residue?”
“You mean the glowing gold dust?”
“If it stick onto me, is it a problem?” Please say it isn’t.
“Normally no, but when ya have to meet with Reimu to leave? Yes, that’s a problem.” Damnit.
You clutch your hand tightly. How could something like glorified glitter bring troubles to me? Would showing it to Suika really help or should I just keep a secret.
You felt something tugging your fingers so you lift the kotatsu cover and look down to see a Mini Suika sitting on your dust covered hand
“May I see your hand please?” The normal Suika calmly asked. Reluctantly, you complied.
“So is there anything you can do with this?” She already know, might as well go all the way.
She inspect your hand for a bit, checking to see how much of it have been ‘tagged’, when she is done she tightened her grip around your wrist.
“If you can’t deal with it then can you at least let my hand go?” It isn’t that painful, though rather uncomfortable
“Nah, I have a way.”
“And that is?”
She grinned “Chop your hand off then dispose it.”
“WHAT!?” You yank your hand back “N- no thanks, I prefer to keep my limbs intact.”
“Oh relax…” She leaned forward to grab your hand again. “You’re a ghost, so there is no worries about bleeding out or dying. And your hand should regenerate by the end of the day… or tomorrow, it depended. Just cooperate, this is easier for both of us.”
Oh god... how the hell did i get into this situation!? Though panicked, you force yourself to remain calm. Alright... alright... there have gotta be some catch about this, something is wrong, it must be, a joke or this is some kind of local slang. All i need to do is read her tone and body language to know what she meant.
"So you... this is all dangerous stuff, like is this necessary?" You try to force those words out.
"I told ya, a ghost can't die so nothing is dangerous for ya." She said it like they were facts, her tone doesn't seem to indicate that she is lying
"Wait wait wait, there've gotta be other ways to handle this."
She sigh. "There are, but they are much more risky than this, just brace the pain for a bit then it will be over." Though she still smile, her eyes seem to look at me with sadness like she doesn't want to do this but have no choice.
[x] Agree to have your hand chop off
[x] Ask Suika if there is any spare knife for you to try removing the mark yourself.
[x] Ask Suika about the other ways to get rid of this.