You gulp, fingers twitching, reacting to the impulse to reach out and grab the corner of Renko's shirt. What do you want, really? The promise of water, cleanliness, to wash this filth and shame away. But, Renko is here. You don't want to be alone, alone with your own thoughts, alone with whatever horrible thing is twisting inside your mind. There's another impulse there, a selfish one, something you shouldn't be acting on, something you don't want to accept about yourself, but the words start pushing their way out of your mouth and you can't stop. "Can't we go in together?" You say, biting your lip. Renko just blinks in surprise, opening her mouth to say something, but you keep going, turning redder with each word, twisting your robe in your hands. "... I don't wanna be alone anymore... Ah I mean, uh, we can talk in the bath you know! " You try a smile at Renko, she just cocks her head. "Just talk about things, not about what's going on, just... just about each other or... whatever you wanna talk about... it doesn't matter... it's just... please?"
Oh god. You sound so awkward, so needy, so weak and pathetic. She can see right through you, see your horrible core of selfish wants, see how useless you are. Why did you even say all that? Why did you do anything? You don't deserve her kindness.
"I ..." You mumble. Renko says nothing, but hands you a towel. "Here." You take it with trembling hands and turn on your heel, feeling your eyes getting hot and the lump growing in your throat. "I'm ..." You gulp "I'm sorry!" "Wha-" Renko starts, but you're already through the door.
You sit in the bath for a long time before she follows you.
The water is warm, but it can never make you truly clean. You sink in up to your neck, sitting against the side of the bath, hugging your knees to your chest. Your robe and the towel are dumped by the edge of the bath, nakedness feels good for once, hidden beneath the water where nobody can see you. Your hair is wet, but you make no effort to move the strands of it sticking to your face. "Hey." Renko says, somewhere behind you. You don't say anything, just dip your head a bit lower. You don't want to shame yourself in front of her again, you don't want her to look at you. Her footsteps get closer, then you see her naked feet as she walks around the bath. You glance up a little way. Her lower legs are bare, but she's got one of the towels wrapped around the rest of her body. You look back down again, not wanting her to see your face. "So how's the water?" She says, tone surprisingly light. Did she not care about all that stuff you just said? "Mm." You grunt. "S'warm." You're not looking, but you feel the water ripple as she slips into the bath. "Ahh. That's nice." She says.
You finally glance up at her face.
She's smiling back at you. Towel still wrapped around her, covering her right up to her collarbone. You don't have to try very hard not to look, you're not thinking about that kind of thing now. You just want the ground to swallow you up so you can stop embarrassing yourself in front of everyone. "Hey there." She says. "H-hey." You mumble. "Always wanted to try communal bathing, eh?" She winks at you. You bury your face back between your knees again, turning red. "Mmm." You feel the water shifting again and Renko's voice is suddenly much closer. "Though one usually keeps the towel on." She giggles. "Eh?" You feel your pulse quicken. Oh god, how much can she see? Why didn't you think of that? Why are you such an idiot? Why is she still here, being so nice to you all the time? "It's okay, the steam is pretty thick." She says, picking up on your mood. "Relax. You feel her wet hand pat your shoulder lightly. "Mmm." You grunt.
[ ] Say nothing, just sit there. [ ] Say something [?]
[X] "I- it's okay. You don't have to... to keep forcing yourself to bear with me. I kn- know you already have Mary and I, I don't have... anyone. And I don't deserve anyone. I'm disgusting, me- messed up. And I'm selfish for wanting ... I'm filth. I can feel that I'm already beyond hope so please, save at least yourself."
Oh ho, why not drown ourselves in self pity if that ground doesn't open up to swallow us whole? This should also prompt Renko to show how she feels about us.
You sit in silence for a long time, just focusing on yourself breathing in and out. Renko shifts in the water, stretching her limbs and leaning back.
The quiet is actually rather nice, not having to think about anything, not having to face anybody or worry about what words are coming out of your mouth. You even close your eyes, letting the water calm you, gently, slowly. "You know," Renko starts. "If you ... if you ..." She trails off again "Hm?" You'd almost managed to forget that she was sitting there, naked except for a towel, right next to you. "I mean ..." Renko sighs. You can see her turning to you out of the corner of your eye. "Can I ask you something?" She says. Your heart suddenly picks up it's pace. Oh god, what's she going to do? You can't deal with this, not now Renko, not now, please. You can't say anything, mouth gummed shut with the force of your own nerves. You nod. Renko looks down.
"Why did you kill that man?"
"Wha-" You actually look up this time, mouth open in shock. "I need to ask you, what happened back there?" She says, gulping. You can see her lips wavering as she almost forms another sentence, but then gives up, looking you in the eyes. She looks sad, but determined. You look back down between your knees, oh god, what the hell did happen back there anyway? What do you say to her? "I ..." You sniff. "I-I didn't w-want-" "Wait." Renko grabs your shoulder again. "I should speak first, I'm sorry." You nod weakly. "I ask because ... I don't want you to force yourself out of shape." Renko gulps and you look back up at her. "Killing is ... even in battle, it changes people, it warps something inside." She laughs sadly. "It's something all people are capable of, even if they never know it. I don't want you to have to face that. You're ... you're not a born killer, or someone forced into it by circumstances." "B-but-" "Shhh." Renko shifts her hand, placing a single finger against your lips. Her skin against your face feels so ... warm. "You have me for that." She says, face an impassive mask for a second, before she smiles again, taking her finger away.
"So ..." She gulps again. "Yuka was going to finish it for you, why did you stop her ... why did you do it?"
[ ] You don't know. [ ] Yuka's influence. [ ] Emotional breakdown. [ ] You didn't want to be protected all the time. [ ] You needed to take control. [ ] You just wanted to kill.
We can be awkward and skittish and still want to be stronger for her. It's not like this magically destroys our awkwardness, and it's not like we know that's the only thing Renko likes; she may well find it endearing that we're concerned with trying to protect her even as she protects us, even if we're not good at it.
Frankly, I'd prefer to be relying on her for emotional support rather than risking her life needlessly. We'd probably fall apart without her around.
I think a lot of people are voting for didn't want to be protected simply because it's the closest of the options provided to the sentiment, namely that we didn't want her to have to dirty her hands for us.
The sentiments are different. Just say what you want to say, shit.
You take a deep breath, forcing yourself not to look away from Renko. She's been nothing but kind to you, tried to protect you again and again, you owe her this explanation, don't you? So why did you do it? "I ... Renko, I-" "It's okay." She says. "Don't rush yourself." You nod, gulping and hugging your legs tighter to your chest. "I wanted t-to ... protect m-myself." You sniffle, the memory of what you did coming back to you. "I ... you s-shouldn't have to p-protect me all the time." You say, feeling your face turning red with shame. "I'm ... w-weak. You shouldn't b]bloody your hands for m-me." You can barely get the words out. The feeling of that man's throat in your hands is impossible to forget, you can't get rid of it, you can't wash the stain from yourself. You bite your lips and hold back a dry sob. What did you do? Why?
Because this is your mess? Because Renko shouldn't be involved?
She sighs, slipping her hand onto your back. The feeling is so confusing right now. It's good, but you want to shy away form it, you don't deserve to be touched by her. "No." She says, you look back up at her. "You're wrong." "Wrong?" Renko nods, closing her eyes. "My hands are already bloodied." "Wha-" You start. "Shhhh, just listen. For now, just listen." You nod. "You're ... special." Renko says, shifting in her seat. "You decided once that you wanted me to come with you, and here I am." She smiles weakly at you. "But that's not enough." "What do you mean?" Renko hesitates. "Protecting yourself is all well and good ... if you can." She looks down. "You can't." "Bu-" "You can't" Renko shakes her head. "You're ... so innocent." She gulps. "I don't want you to take on anything you shouldn't have to do, anything that I can do in your stead. You understand what I'm saying?" You nod. "I think so." "I'll protect you." She says, sighing. "I've been doing it up until now, but ... I'd like to put it in words." "O-okay." You can't help but smile. Renko, in front of you like this, fills up your entire world. She'll protect you, she's said it. She's a friend, a real friend, who'll look out for you and shelter you from the horrible things of the world outside.
Even if she can't stop the horror inside.
"So ..." Renko backs off a little, letting go of your shoulder. "What do you say? Don't do anything like that again, okay? I'll look after you, I promise." She bites her lip, waiting for your answer. "R-renko, I ..."
[ ] Renko will protect you. [ ] No. You don't deserve her.
"Renko will protect you" just seems to negate everything we've been working for and send us back to the drawing board. At least show her you're willing to try to stand on your own two legs and return the favor if you can(and have to) instead of being a passive, co-dependent little baby.
Anyone else notice something odd about Renko? She has an honest desire to protect Ebolanon, but she seems needy? Would that be the right word? Her desire to protect is different, it's almost like some kind of complex. Renko wants to be a protector so bad she abandoned her best friend and gave up her personal life. This is the second time she has asked if the anon wanted her help despite the fact that it is quite obvious she needs help and Ebolanon has done nothing but come to her for help this entire time.
I think Renko may be in denial. She thinks she can protect Ebolanon forever, but that is not the case. She may be able to protect her for a while, but there will come a time where Renko won't be able to help and ultimately the anon will be forced to suffer because she won't be independent enough to take care of herself. If I'm right, Renko's good intentions will do nothing but harm in the end. It's nice that she wants to help, but she needs to know that the best way to help is to cooperate. Help Ebolanon through tough situation but don't allow her to become completely dependent on her. I'll state again, that I think Renko subconsciously wants Ebolanon to depend on her.
I hope this makes sense, feel free to shoot this down or add your own ideas into this.
Although it's possible I could be looking a little too hard into this.
>>64927 I've been thinking kind of the same thing. Renko's pretty much doing what Anon would vote to do in her situation: protect and comfort the innocent, troubled girl in front of her. How devoted is she, really? And why?
>>64927 I think that Renko is going to eventually get shot, shanked, burned, evaporated, eviscerated, or otherwise killed, and it'll probably happen while attempting to protect us from something way out of her league. It wouldn't necessarily be a completely bad thing, as it might drive the main character away from her over-dependent and skittish tendencies, assuming she doesn't slink into depression that is.
I'm hoping we can make it clear to Renko that we need her protection but she also is going to need ours. Renko might be tough, but she can't delude herself into thinking she can beat everyone. Think of it as using a buddy system, Renko and Ebolanon can watch each others backs.
Your answer makes Renko's face light up as she breaks into a smile. "Oh you." She says, suddenly pitching forwards and wrapping her arms around your shoulders. Water sloshes about, splashing into your face, but you don't care. Renko is pressed against you for a long moment, head over your shoulder. You nervously put your hands on her sides, feeling yourself turning red. At least she can't see anything but your back.
She feels all soft.
"Ahhh." Renko sighs. "You're tense." Of course you're tense. You're being held by a half-naked girl, who you're so confused about you could just pull your brains out and show them to her, it would make more sense than trying to use words. "Y-yeah ..." You manage to say. Renko giggles, pulling back from the hug and covering her mouth with her hand. "So, are you feeling clean yet?" "Uh ... yeah." You say, you've been in here a long time already. Renko winks at you. "Then you go ahead and get dry, I won't be much longer." You nod, pausing as you put your hands on the floor of the bath, feeling your face heating up again. "Um ... R-renko, c-could y-you, uh ..." You gulp. "Hm?" She cocks her head. "Oh!" She puts her hand to her mouth again. "Of course." She bows her head a little and then closes her eyes, grinning and giving you a hearty thumbs-up.
You can't help but smile. "T-thanks Renko." You say, clambering out of the bath and grabbing your towel.
The ante-room is nice and warm, a perfect place to dry yourself and slip the thin robe back on. There's no other clothes to wear right now and you don't feel comfortable walking around in just a towel. Your hair is damp, your feet are cold, you're hungry, but you feel better for having bathed. Emotionally you're still on the brink of breaking down, too much to think about, but physically you feel rejuvenated, clean and as relaxed as you're going to get.
Just as you sit down on one of the benches to wait for Renko, you spot that the door to the corridor is open just a crack. As soon as you look at it though, the door shuts with a surprised squeak. "H-hello?" You gulp. "R-ran?" The door opens by a crack again, too small to see anything through.
[ ] "H-hey! S-stop scaring m-me!" [ ] Hide somewhere, you don't like this. [ ] Mayohiga is safe, a safe place. Go open the door. [ ] Go back into the bathroom, get Renko.
A friend of mine once called it a "knight in shining armour complex". She wants to protect and help Ebolanon, partly out of an honest desire to help and partly out of her own wants and needs. Still, win-win, if you ask me. Except Yuka could do a better job of protecting us.
>Except Yuka could do a better job of protecting us.
True, but I'd question Yuka's motivations. I wonder how Yuka would react in a situation that is most likely going to lead to her death. She hasn't given us any real reason for being a protector besides "Ran told me to". I really doubt she would put someone else's life over hers. Renko, on the other hand, is probably aware that she risking death by just being near Ebolanon.
You bite your lip for a moment, before standing up and peering at the door. "Ran?" Mayohiga is safe, you know that, you can almost feel it inside you. These surroundings are so gentle and warm, almost familiar. The only thing out of place here is Yuka, and she's not one to skulk around outside the door, she'd probably just tear it off the hinges.
Still, something else, or someone else, could have got inside, right? You hesitate, glancing back at the door to the bathroom, wishing Renko was here.
No, that doesn't make any sense. If someone had come here with the intent of hurting you, they wouldn't wait around out there while you're in here, alone and vulnerable. "H-hello?" Still no reply. Maybe it's one of the foxes, you haven't seen them since you passed out yesterday. As you step closer to the door you bunch your robe up in one hand, repeating to yourself, over and over 'it's nothing, it's nothing.' Your fingers touch the door-handle and for a moment you can't move. Then you shake your head, grimacing. No, there's nothing to be afraid of here, Mayohiga is safe. You pull the door open, forcing yourself not to flinch.
"Kyaa!" You squeal as something jumps at your foot. You stumble backwards, flailing for a moment as you land on your ass, shaking your leg frantically. A black blob detaches itself from you and lands on the floor, hissing. "Wha-" It's a little black cat. It hops backwards, legs tensed and ready to pounce again, eyes snapping between your foot and the hem of your robe. "H-hey!" You grab your foot, wincing at the little pair of scratch marks, already bleeding. "Shoo!" You wave your hands at the cat and it straightens up, glaring at you. "What's wrong?" You turn to look as Renko pokes her head through the other door. "A ... a cat." You say, almost laughing. "What?" Renko raises her eyebrows as you point at the animal. "Really, a cat." You say. Renko giggles, covering her mouth with her hand. You notice her arm is bare. Did she just hop out of the bath naked to come see what your shriek of surprise was about? "Well ... uh, just don't .... um," Renko giggles again. "Don't let the cat eat you, I'll be out in a minute." You frown at her as she slips back into the bathroom, door closing behind her. It's just a cat, you're not that helpless, sheesh. You turn back to the animal, which is now slowly creeping towards your legs. Inside, you feel relieved. Here's one thing you can deal with, one normal, everyday thing.
No ... wait. It's not a normal cat. As your initial surprise drains away, you can see that it has two tails, both flicking about behind it. You peer over it to get a better look, but it just tucks it's hindquarters in so you can't see. "Hey now." You frown at the cat. "Two tails?"
[ ] Ignore it, wait for Renko. [ ] Shoo it away, you're not in the mood. [ ] Try petting it. [ ] Play with it, give it something to pounce on other than your feet. [ ] Cats are silly, try grabbing one of the tails.
You're not so good with cats and this one still seems interested on pouncing on your feet rather than anything else. "H-hey." You say to it, holding your hand out, palm-up, tucking your feet in underneath you. The cat looks up at your hand, then at your eyes for a second. "Hello kitty." You say. It sniffs at the edge of your hand, tails twitching. "Are you a nice cat?" You ask idly. Talking to animals is sort of fun, since they don't understand what you're saying. You start to relax, not having to worry about how you look or sound or what you say. The cat mews softly and then starts bumping its head against your hand. "Aww." You slowly turn your hand over, making sure not to startle it, and pat the top of its head. "You're a nice cat, why did you pounce at my foot?" You mock-pout at the cat, playing with it. "Look." You say, slipping your foot out from underneath yourself. "You made me bleed." You keep stroking the cat, running your hand over the silky fur on its back. The cat looks at your foot and then back up at you, blinking.
"Why have you got two tails, eh?" You muse as the cat climbs into your lap. "Oh!" It pads across your thighs and settles itself down, head resting on your bare calf. "You mustn't do that." You say, wagging your finger. "I've got to stand up in a minute." It starts purring, a big warm fuzzy lump on your lap. You hear a chuckle behind you. "Having fun?" You half-turn, trying not to disturb the cat in your lap. Renko grins at you, now fully dressed. "I ... er ... it's a n-nice cat." You mumble, self awareness washing over you again. You were talking to a cat, gah. Renko must think you're stupid. "Come on." She says, offering you a hand. "We need to find Ran and get you some new clothes." "Oh ... y-yeah!" You say, smiling. You'd like to see if Ran's washed your old clothes, or if you can maybe borrow something. You haven't worn anything but the same faded few pairs of t-shirts and jeans for the last few years, there's not really been any point in bothering. But being here, being around Renko, maybe ...
You gulp and look down, hoping Renko can't read your expression. You can't hope for anything, you shouldn't even be thinking about such things. You have so much more to worry about.
You take Renko's hand but hesitate as you get up. The cat hops off your lap and looks up at you. "I wonder if it belong to Ran." Renko says, looking over your shoulder. "It has two tails." You say, still staring back at the cat. "Oh?" Renko frowns. "It must be a nekomata." "A w-what?" You ask. "Another spirit animal, like the foxes. Makes sense if Ran is such an old kitsune." "Mmm." You say, thinking the idea over. Where have those foxes got to anyway?
"Well, shall we?" Renko says, stepping past you.
The cat mews.
[ ] Pick the cat up, take it with you. [ ] The cat can follow by itself. Take Renko's arm. [ ] The cat can follow by itself. Go with Renko.
"W-wait a second R-renko." You say, crouching down and holding your arms out to the cat. "Want to come with us?" You ask as you reach forwards. The cat walks right up to your hands and nudges against them. You slip one under it's rib-cage, picking it up and supporting its weight on your other arm as you straighten. The cat starts to purr again, nuzzling against your chest. "Ahhh." You sigh. This cat is really friendly, it's actually comforting in an animalistic, basic sort of way. "Looks like you've made a friend there." Renko says, smiling at you. "Mmm." You say, looking down, feeling a little embarrassed. Since when have you ever been good with animals? "Come on." Renko holds the door for you.
"Ran?" Renko pokes her head into the sitting room you were in yesterday. "She's not in here either." You can't bring yourself to tell Renko you might know exactly where Ran's room is, don't want to have to explain what you overheard last night. Instead you let her wander around Mayohiga with you in tow, carrying the cat. This is bad, you should say something, it's not fair to just let Renko search. Then again, that room could have been anything, Ran might not be there now. As you begin to work up the courage to say something, or to suggest that you and Renko just go back to the kitchen and make some food, the cat in your arms mews loudly all of a sudden. "Ah!" A muffled sound comes from the doorway you just passed. "C-chen!?" The door flies open a second later as you and Renko watch in surprise. "Chen?" Ran stands in the doorway, clothes rumpled and messy. She's obviously just jammed her dress on over her head. The hair poking out from under her hat is a mess. Her tails are frizzy. The cat meows again.
"Chen!" Ran steps forward, then looks up at you and Renko. "Wh-where did you find her?" She asks, eyes wide. "I-I ... er-" "She was poking around outside the bath." Renko says. "Thank you, oh thank you." Ran breathes, smiling at you with such earnest joy. "Oh, Chen ..." Ran reaches forwards to take the cat from your arms.
It hisses at her and leaps from your grasp, skittering off down the corridor before anyone can catch it. Ran's face holds her former expression for a moment, before she slumps, tails drooping to the floor, gulping hard and looking away from you and Renko. "Wh-what j-just happened?" You ask, confused. Ran sniffs and looks back at you, she seems on the verge of tears. "N-nothing, s-she's," Ran gulps again. "I-its-" "It's okay Ran." Renko says, suddenly stepping forwards and taking you by the shoulder. "We'll go fix some breakfast, okay?" "Huh?" Ran's expression suddenly changes, eyes lighting up with recognition and worry. "Oh, no, of course not! You're guests, I'll cook." "If you insist." Renko says, squeezing your shoulder. "Just ... ah!" Ran looks down at herself, eyes widening. "I shall be along shortly. And, Good morning." She says, trying to smile. It doesn't completely cover her sorrow. "Take your time, Ran." Renko says simply.
"R-Renko, why did you do that?" You ask on the way back to the sitting room. Renko glances over at you and smiles, winking. "Some people have purpose, it distracts them from pain." "Huh?" She pats your shoulder. "Don't worry about it." What the hell happened back there anyway? That cat was very nice, but why didn't it like Ran? Where's it got to now? "Want to go sit down?" Renko asks when you get to the door of the sitting room.
[ ] Go sit with Renko and wait. [ ] Head into the kitchen anyway, what's it like? [ ] Go looking for the cat again, Ran will probably be a while.
[x] Go looking for the cat again, Ran will probably be a while. In practice, it probably WON'T take a while, but it couldn't hurt to do look around the main house while we wait. This had better not be Orin.
"A-actually Renko." You say, glancing up and down the corridor. "I'd like t-to look for that cat again." Renko sighs a little and smiles at you, then reaches over and ruffles your hair. You giggle and try to swat her hand away. "H-hey!" You can't help but grin at her. "You really like animals, don't you?" She asks, cocking her head. "Um ..." You frown. "N-not really, not u-until recently, with the foxes and that cat." "Hmm." Renko relaxes a little. "Okay, you go find that cat if that's what you want." You nod, trying to suppress a grin. "But I'm going to sit down, so don't wander off too far." Renko raises her eyebrows as if waiting for a response. "O-okay." You nod, you don't really want to go too far from Renko right now anyway. Mayohiga might feel safe at the moment, but you haven't forgotten about all the damage and the bullet holes you saw on your way in. "S-see you in a bit!" You say, feeling breathless and excited already. "Don't be late for breakfast." Renko slips through the door.
You wander through the halls of Mayohiga, cooing softly for the cat, sliding back doors and looking in empty rooms. There are so many empty rooms here. "Kitty, kitty kitty." You sigh. This isn't working, you haven't had any luck at all. "Do you have a name, kitty?" Nothing replies and you sigh again, puffing out your cheeks and turning back the way you came. The strength of the sunlight pouring through the windows is slowly increasing, you stop and take a look out.
The green tops of trees cover the space between ground and sky in the distance, the other buildings of Mayohiga look quiet and peaceful in the morning light, the flowers and plants all in bloom. Wait ... back in Japan it was the start of winter, right? It seems more like early summer here. You should ask Ran about that sometime, but right now you don't care, standing by yourself, looking outside on a world so full of life.
"She's not awake yet, she won't listen to you." Too much life perhaps, as you duck to the edge of the window to avoid being seen by Yuka. That was her voice just now, coming from somewhere outside. "Then we shall wait somewhere until she does awake." Another voice, soft and far more refined than Yuka's. "No, you'll fuck off back into the hole you came from." Yuka says. She comes around the corner of a building with two other figures and you blink in surprise. One of them is so short she barely comes up to Yuka's chest, a little blob of pastel colours floating across the ground of Mayohiga. You can't get a closer look from this distance, but she's got some kind of series of red tubes wrapped around her upper body. The other person is ... outlandish like nothing you've seen before. Long black hair swishes as she rounds on Yuka, something else fanning out behind her, a ... black and white cape? The shape looks all wrong. One of her feet looks like a lump of concrete and she's got a huge orange metal rod in place of her left arm, which she twitches at Yuka. "Don't you talk to Miss Satori like that!" She says, frowning and pouting. It's completely at odds with her appearance, whatever she is.
There's a meow behind you and you spin around to see the cat sitting there, looking at you. Yuka is saying something outside, you can't quite make out the words, followed by a shout from the weird looking girl.
[ ] Forget about what's going on outside, pick up the cat and go back to Renko. [ ] Forget the cat, find Ran and tell her what's going on. [ ] Head outside, you can't hear from here. Plus, if they're looking for you, then they'll be looking in the building, right?
They're obviously here to talk to Yukari and, frankly, if they're here to talk they're not likely to cause trouble. Plus we *really* need to find out more about gensokyo outside Mayohiga... Ideally from people saner than Yuuka and less likely to be as biased as Ran.
[x] Forget the cat, find Ran and tell her what's going on.
I'm not completely convinced we should be siding with Ran, but if Yuuka and Okuu start fighting we better be as far fucking away as possible. Also, I don't think we'd get much information out of Satori, if anything it would be the other way around.
This is important, whatever it is. You doubt those two women are welcome visitors, if Yuka is treating them like that. Then again, Yuka always seems to be like that. The cat meows again, forcing you to focus on the moment. You should let Ran know what's going on. Yuka is unlikely to act sensibly, she seems to get off on goading people into fighting.
This could be bad.
"Sorry kitty." You say, crouching for a second to rub the cat behind the ears. It purrs at you. "I have to go and do important people things now. Don't run away again, okay?" The cat gives no response other than shutting its eyes, but that's as much as you're ever going to get, so you stand up and head off down the corridor, feeling tense and worried. You don't want anything to happen in Mayohiga, not on account of you. This is Ran's home and a safe, warm place. You don't want it to be senselessly violated, you don't want to have to deal with that. In fact, the best idea right now would be going back to that cat and curling up in a forgotten corner together. But you force yourself onwards, you can't just let other people deal with these things all the time. You've seen something, Ran needs to know, it's as simple as that.
You stammer and stutter your way through an explanation, after bumping into Ran in the corridor on her way to the kitchen. At first her eyes widen in surprise, then she relaxes and frowns, as if thinking deeply. Her face takes on an aspect you haven't seen before, one of careful consideration and calculation. She looks intimidating, but somehow reassuring as well. Probably because you know she's on your side, even if you don't really know what 'your side' is yet. "What did they look like?" She asks. "O-one of them was r-really short, pink hair, l-like-" Ran cuts you off with a nod and a sly smile. "I know who you're talking about, the other one?" "She l-looked weird. Um ..." You think back to the odd looking girl. She was really like nothing you've ever seen before. Was she some kind of cyborg or something? "It's okay." Ran says. "Either one of them, it's not important." She glances at you, holding her chin in her hand. "You go back to the sitting room, stay with Renko, don't come outside." You stomach suddenly drops. "A-are they d-dangerous?" Ran smiles at you, trying to be reassuring. "I'm not sure yet. I haven't spoken to them in a long time and I have only the vaguest theories about what they might want." "Mmm, o-okay." You say, looking down. "Don't worry." Ran says. "Nothing will happen." You nod, gulping.
"Okay, you stay in here." Ran says when you pass the door to the sitting room. Renko emerges as you answer. "What's going on?" She asks, frowning. "I heard shouting." Ran shakes her head. "Somebody outside, Yuka is dealing with it but I need to go ta-"
A huge, earth-shattering crash of splintering wood drowns out the rest of Ran's words. You nearly jump out of your skin, clinging to Renko's arm. Renko grabs your hand and pulls you close. Ran just closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose. "Stay inside." Is all she says, hurrying off down the corridor as you hear a second impact, followed by somebody laughing.
Renko glances at you, raising one eyebrow. "We need to see what's going on ..." She trails off, hesitating as she looks at you.
[ ] Ran told you to stay inside. Stay calm, stay here with Renko. [ ] Oh god oh god oh god. Don't let go of Renko, close your eyes, block everything out. [ ] Renko can do with she wants but you're staying here. [ ] Renko is right, but stay behind her just in case.
>>65193 We need to embrace the hyphenation. “people-things”; “people things” psyches you out. >>I have to go and do important people “Alright, I'm gonna go have sex with Ran!” >>things “Shit! I need to read faster!”
Calm, breathe, everything will be fine. You can trust Ran and nothing is getting past Yuka. Renko is right here, right here with you. You look up at her and she blinks, then speaks very slowly. "Actually ... safer to stay here, yeah?" Renko says. You nod enthusiastically and Renko leads you back into the sitting room as you try to ignore the very loud shouting starting to filter in from outside. Shutting the door doesn't dampen the sound much. "Who's outside?" Renko asks once you're sat down. You keep ahold of her, arm wrapped around hers, fingers playing with the hem of her shirt. She looks as confused as you were when you describe the pair of women you saw, but she doesn't comment, just frowns down at the table. "A-any ideas?" You ask. Renko sighs and shakes her head. "I don't think I've ever heard Mary mention people like that. I should ..." She trails off, the corners of her mouth turning down a little.
Mary! Of course. Renko must be missing her, no matter how much friction there was between them. You wonder for a moment, was there more than just friendship there? You ... you feel terrible for a second, because a tiny little part of you doesn't want Renko to go back, wants her all to yourself. You look away from her, as if she might be able to see your selfish thoughts just by looking into your eyes.
"I-" Renko is cut off by another crash, but this time it is much softer, just something bashing the door open. A cat skitters through, the jaws of one of the foxes nipping at it's heels as it runs. "What?" Renko asks, sounding almost amused at the sight. "Hey, stop!" You yell at the fox. You don't want it to hurt the nice cat! As the fox skids to a halt and the cat jumps onto the table, hissing at it, a second cat saunters through the doorway. You glance between the cats. Wait- The one on the table has dark reddish fur, the one on the floor is the black one from earlier. They both have two tails though. You frown in confusion. Renko laughs. "This place is just full of animals, isn't it?" The fox barks once at the red cat, while the black cat just sits down on it's haunches. You can't hear any shouting from outside now. "Ah." You feel Renko tense up a little. "They're both nekomata." She speaks very softly, not taking her eyes from the cat on the table. "S-so?" "I think this is part of what's happening outside." Renko says, pulling you slowly to your feet. The fox starts to slink across the room, trying to place itself between you and the red cat. "B-but-" You look at the red cat, padding towards you across the table. It meows loudly at you, while the black cat hisses. "Come on." Renko says, urging you towards the doorway.
"Come on, I don't like the look of that cat." Renko says, pulling you further towards the doorway. You glance between the three animals, the fox starting to bear its teeth now. The foxes are good, right? They helped you and they're kitsune like Ran, serving under her or something. So that cat must be bad, the foxes knew that Mokou was after you, didn't they? That cat came straight to where you were, and when you look at its eyes it just looks straight back at you, displaying a little bit too much intelligence for your liking. "D-don't let it f-follow m-me!" You say at the fox, unsure if it can even understand you. "Okay?" You glance at the cat, which just blinks. Renko guides you to the door. "W-wait!" You say on the verge of crossing the threshold, glancing back into the room. The red cat is pacing back and fourth in front of the fox while the black cat just stands there, guarding the door, tensed with anticipation. "Play nice!" You say, not entirely sure where that came from. They might be spirit animals or whatever, but you don't care. You still don't like the idea of them hurting one another for your sake. Renko rolls her eyes and sighs. "Just leave them to it, okay?" She drags you around the door and into the corridor. "We should find somewhere else to wa-"
Behind you can hear hissing and spitting, the yowling of an injured animal. Both you and Renko turn around as the fox comes flying out of the doorway and bounces off the wall. "Stupid dog!" A very human-sounding voice comes from the sitting room. You and Renko glance at each other as the black cat comes out and nudges the fox, trying to stand back up again. It shakes itself, looking injured. "Ah!" A pale hand appears on the door-frame, quickly followed by a head of red hair and a woman in a black dress, lined and patterned with green. "You!" You says, point at Renko. "Or ... you!" She points at you, then frowns and bobs her head, making her long braids swing. "Um ... which one was it again?" She asks. You just stare at her in confusion. The question of where she just came from is easily answered by the pair of black cat's ears poking from the top of her head and the tails swishing about behind her legs, but you just can't accept it yet. She's that cat? She's that cat.
"Ehhh." She puffs her cheeks up and shrugs. "Both of you then!" She starts forwards, grinning, blinking her orange, feline eyes.
Renko tenses up next to you, hand slipping inside her jacket.
[ ] Let Renko do whatever she's about to do. [ ] "No, Renko!" Run instead. [ ] Try reasoning with the woman. Or at least say something, anything!