A Different Place - 7 Hungry Youkai !GGKI3UTr5s 2008/10/22 (Wed) 08:10 No. 63589 ▼
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"Y-yes." You say, forcing yourself to hold Ran's gaze. This is important. You did something bad, something invasive and uncomfortable for this poor woman. On top of that, Ran just seems so familiar, so warm and fuzzy in a comfortable, relaxing sort of way. If you weren't being held up by Renko right now then you'd probably have to fight the urge to just hug Ran around the middle instead of apologising.
"I mean ... I'm s-sorry Ran." You say, looking down at your feet for a moment before catching yourself and forcing your gaze back up. "I s-shouldn't have done that." You say, taking a deep breath. "I'm v-very sorry, I wasn't t-thinking. I didn't m-mean to invade your personal space." You can feel your cheeks flushed with colour, but you make sure not to look away.
Ran just tips her head slightly. "Thank you." She says, tails swishing around behind her again. She clears her throat and smiles at you, not having lost any of her former warmth.
"I was just ..." Now you allow yourself to look down. "I was curious, I've ... n-never seen a person with tails before. I wasn't sure if they were real. I'm s-sorry."
Ran opens her mouth to say something, then stops, frowning, looking concerned. "Of course." She mutters. "Of course, this must all be very new to you. I must ..." She trails off, running a hand over her pointed hat, a strange smile playing across her lips, like a bashful kind of amusement rising up in her.
"I must look like some kind of ... beast?" She says, cocking her head to the side and smiling, obviously amused at herself.
"Uh ... beast?" You say, not sure how to respond.
"You're a kitsune, aren't you?" Renko pipes up, voice full of wonder for a moment.
Ran nods, still smiling. "Yes, you're correct. Though I am much older than the little ones there." She points at the three foxes waiting at your feet. You gaze at her tails again, wafting back and fourth. She's a kitsune? Does her pointy hat conceal a pair of animal ears? You want to ask her, but you've probably pried more than enough right now. If she's happy to have those huge, bushy tails on show then she must have a reason for covering her head like that.
"Oh!" Ran suddenly exclaims. "I'm so sorry, I'm being a terrible host, chatting with you in the corridor. Please, come and sit down, let me get you something to drink."
You and Renko exchange a glance. Renko tuts at you, probably for touching Ran's tails. You have enough shame left to look sheepish.
Ran bustles off down the corridor.
The sitting room is large, but mostly just open space. There are a few futons and cushions piled on one corner and a large, low table in the centre of the room, surrounded by little cushions for sitting on. Ran has already vanished into the adjoining room, muttering something about tea.
The foxes wander across the room, gathering by the window, in a sunny spot. They all lie down and relax, rolling over or closing their eyes.
Renko lets go of you as you lower yourself to the floor, sitting on one of the cushions, slumping forwards on the table, unable to contain your exhaustion. Right now you'd like to sleep, to rest for days, even if that means waking up in bed-sheets soaked with your own blood. Renko sits by you, perched a little more delicately on her cushion than you. She starts rubbing your back. It feels nice, but makes you sleepier.
"Hey, how do you feel?" She says.
"Bad." You mumble.
"Don't worry. I think we're going to be safe here. Ran can help you. And ..." Renko trails off, but you know what she was going to say. You've been ignoring the prospect for a while now, not wanting to think about it.
Yukari. She's here, somewhere. You shudder inside, shutting your eyes. Maybe you should pretend to faint? Or just refuse to see her? You certainly don't want to meet her like this, weak and useless.
Ran walks back into the room, carrying a tray. She sets it down on the table and starts to pour liquid into three short mugs from a large, orange teapot.
"Here you go, drink this." She says, sliding the mugs towards you and Renko.
"Thank you, Miss Ran." Renko says, picking up her mug.
"Thanks." You say, looking into Ran's eyes. She smiles.
"It'll make you feel better." She says. "Please, drink."
You follow her advice. It smells like ordinary green tea, but it tastes a little different. She must have added ... what is that? Honey? You drink some more, practically gulping the stuff down. This is delicious, whatever it is. You put your cup back down with a hollow thump and sit up a little straighter.
Ran is smiling wide at you, unable to contain her glee. She coughs and looks away when you see her, but then turns back again, composed once more.
"So." Renko says. "What ... um ..." She seems lost for words.
Ran considers her for a moment. "I said I would answer your questions." Ran frowns. "However ... some of what I have to explain is rather delicate." She looks between you and Renko, then clears her throat.
"You need to know everything." She reaches across and places her hand on yours. "But you," she looks at Renko, an apologetic expression on her face. "I know neither your trustworthiness nor how much the young Mistress is comfortable you hearing."
Renko frowns, but nods. "Very well." She says through clenched teeth, glancing at you.
'Young Mistress'? Did Ran mean you?
[ ] Renko stays, no arguments.
[ ] You don't mind Renko hearing about you, but it's up to Ran if there's other sensitive matters she doesn't want to discuss in front of Renko.
[ ] You'll talk to Ran alone and fill Renko in afterwards.
In any case, you won't forget to ask:
[ ] ?
(Use this option for specific questions, not a general 'What is happening?'.)