"Really?" You ask. Sanae nods. "Mmhmm. I'd honestly like to wind down a little too." She says. "It's been a long first day back at school." You don't know if you should laugh or sigh. "Yeah, you can say that again." "Oh?" She cocks her head. "Was it hard ... moving to a new place, a new school?" You nod, about to open your mouth again. This girl, the atmosphere around her, just has a way of getting you to open up. You check yourself before you say anything else. Do you really want to be telling Sanae about all the 'attention' you've been receiving today?
"Well," Sanae says. "There's a table out on the porch, in front of the lake. If you wait then I'll bring some tea out." You smile back at her. "Okay." This is all so welcoming and relaxed. Is she doing this because she's the Shrine Maiden and you made a donation, or because you're a new student, or something else? Sanae briefly bows her head and then slides back one of the panels in the wall, closing it behind her and vanishing into the depths of the Shrine. Left alone, you take one more look around the interior, that feeling of being watched still surrounding everything you do. You run your fingers along one of the wooden beams as you step outside.
The sunlight is still beating down, but it's starting to get dimmer now. When does the sun actually set at this time of year? You walk across the Shrine's open porch and around the corner to the left. In front of you the lake stretches out, the sun hanging in the sky directly above. When it does set it'll light up the water, like setting it on fire. You'd like to watch that sometime. If you're predicting it right, the sun should come down right behind that tiny building on the other side of the lake. You wonder for a moment about what you could see from that building. You had to climb up to get to this Shrine, so could you see the town from over there? Like Sanae said, there's a low table here and some cushions to sit on.
[ ] Sit down and wait for Sanae. [ ] Go down to the edge of the lake for a minute.
You head down the steps at the side of the porch and walk over to the edge of the lake. A sudden cool breeze blows across your face, fingers of wind ruffling your hair. You close your eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. That feels good, this whole place feels good, like you've relaxed more and more since the moment you stepped through that Tori gate.
It's that huge frog again, on the very edge of the lake, staring up at you with huge, bulging eyes. You look back at it in silence. The wind caresses your face again, wrapping the air tight around your sides as you watch the frog slip back into the water. You blink and wipe your mouth as the breeze passes, feeling your cheeks flushing for some odd reason.
"Hello?" Sanae comes around the side of the porch. "Just down here, sorry." You walk back up the steps, greeting her again with a smile as she places the tray of tea on the table and settles herself down on one of the cushions, legs folded neatly underneath her. "Please, sit." She says. You do so, on the other side of the table. She pours the tea and offers you a cup. It's a rich, deep green, the aroma going straight to your head and the heat slipping down your throat in a most satisfying manner. "Ahhh." Sanae sips her own tea. "Is it good?" "Yes, thanks." You nod. "So, you were looking at the lake?" She asks. "Yeah, it's impressive." You say. "Huge frogs too." Sanae hesitates for a moment, then smiles. "Yes, I suppose they do get quite big here."
She takes another sip from her tea, but you can see it's to cover her loss for words. Is she still thinking too formally? Nervous about talking to you?
[ ] Ask about the Shrine and about herself. Why is she a Shine Maiden anyway? [ ] You were talking about the first day at school earlier. Tell her. [ ] Ask her about the town in general, you still don't really know this place.
[ ] Keep it friendly. You only just met. [ ] Throw caution to the wind and flit with the Miko.
File 123706525960.jpg - (82.90KB, 532x681 , more blushing sanae.jpg) [iqdb]
"I'm curious." You say, putting your cup down on the table. "If you don't mind me asking, who exactly are the Gods of this Shrine?" Sanae raises her eyebrows and smiles in pleasant surprise. "Oh, nobody is usually interested in that." She shrugs. "People think the Gods are all the same." "They're not though, are they?" You ask. She shakes her head. "Not at all. The Gods are as particular as people, all different, all with their own little quirks." She looks up and smiles, a little blush in her cheeks. "There are two Gods here," she explains. "One is called Kanako, a Goddess of the weather. The other is called Suwako, a Goddess of the mountains and earth. They're represented by ... " She trails off.
"By what?" Sanae hesitates and grins. "Well, that's the thing ... Suwako is represented by a frog." "Oh, hence the huge frogs living in the lake?" Sanae nods. "Be careful if you walk around the grounds, Kanako is represented by a snake." "A snake and a frog?" You raise an eyebrow. "Sort of sadomasochistic isn't it?" Sanae grins maniacally for a moment and then hastily covers her mouth with the end of her sleeve, turning red. You laugh a little and she takes a deep breath, calming herself down and sipping her tea. "So, why are you a Shrine Maiden?" You ask. "I mean, what with school at the same time and everything?" Sanae looks out over the lake for a moment, silent and thinking. You worry that you've offended her, until she speaks.
"My parents passed away when I was very small. My ... aunt brought me up, here." Sanae turns back to you. "She's a lovely woman, she's often around the Shrine grounds. Anyway, she was a Priestess but getting a little too old, so I started when I was twelve." She hesitates for a moment. "It's just something I feel I have to do, not for myself, for the Gods." You nod. Her commitment might not be something you fully understand, but her obvious conviction stirs more than just respect in you. Sanae catches the look in your eyes and glances down, blushing a little. The sunlight, starting to turn orange now, plays across her face as her hair hides her features.
"That's as good a reason as any, Sanae." You say, feeling compelled to say something, make her feel her words aren't just falling on deaf ears. "Like I said earlier, in this Shrine I think I can feel them too." She looks up and smiles. "Thank you. I'm sure they're listening to you."
[ ] Change the subject. [ ] Ask her more about herself. [ ] Point out that the sun is starting to set. [ ] Ask her if she wants to walk around the Shrine grounds with you.
You can't quite shake the feeling that you're forgetting something, but you shrug it off. An opportunity like this might not come along again any time soon. The way Sanae's face is lit up by the dying sunlight, the serenity and peace of the Shrine, the warmth of the tea sitting in your stomach, it's all too much. "Would you like to go for a walk?" You ask Sanae. "Just around the lake, I'm curious what you can see from the other side." "Oh." She puts her tea cup down and smiles. "I'd love to, yes." But as she stands up and looks over at the slowly setting sun, her face drops somewhat. "What is it?" You ask. "Um," Sanae bites her lip. "How ... how far away is your home?" "What? Er, on the other side of town, past the high street and the school. Why?" Sanae looks down. "You should probably get home before it gets dark."
"Why's that?" You ask. "Well," Sanae says, turning to you. "It's dangerous to walk around after dark." "On a Monday night? In a small town like this?" Sanae blusters for a moment, losing her composure. "Just, um ... wait here a moment! Don't go anywhere!" She scampers off, back inside the Shrine, leaving you wondering what exactly it is you did wrong.
Just as you start to think that was her very unsubtle way of telling you to go away, Sanae returns, breathless, clutching a small piece of paper. "Here." She says, holding it out to you. "I want you to have this." You take the paper from her. It's thick, coarse and yellow, more like parchment than paper. A couple of symbols have been hastily inked on the front, but you can't quite read them, too complex. A tiny pair of figures are inked just below the symbols, a snake and a frog. "Is this a-" "It's for luck!" Sanae says, then bites her lip. "Just take it, please. Don't smudge the ink!" She still seems somewhat panicked. You look up at her, bewildered. "I don't-" She reaches forwards and moves your hand, making you clutch the parchment to your chest. "You should get home before dark." She says, then her eyes widen a little. "But, but I want you to come back again!" She says, turning bright red. "I mean, tomorrow, or anytime!" She gulps and looks down at her feet.
[ ] "This is your way of getting rid of me, I understand." [ ] Tell her you'll be back to see her again. Thank her for the tea. [ ] Suggest you meet up sometime tomorrow, doesn't have to be at the Shrine.
"Okay Sanae." You say. "I'll be back to see you, sometime soon." She looks up again, still blushing, but smiling. "This was ... very enjoyable, the Shrine, everything." Your turn to bluster a little now. What do you say in a situation like this? "Thanks for the tea and ... the company." Sanae nods. "You're welcome." She looks over at the Tori gate. "But you should get home now." "Okay, you're probably right." You nod.
Humour her, humour Satori? Don't go out at night? You better get home? Something odd is going on in this town.
"Well." You say. "Yeah." Sanae just looks down, then hesitantly she leans over to you, stretches up on tiptoes and places the gentlest of kisses on your cheek. You can't help but smile at that. She just looks down again, embarrassed. "I'll see you soon Sanae." You say. "Goodnight." "Ah, goodnight! Have ... I mean, get home safe."
She stands on the porch of the Shrine as you make your way down the pathway. Just before the Tori gate you glance back at her and wave. She waves back and vanishes inside the Shrine as you pass under the Tori gate. Everything feels somehow colder, out of the sunlight now. The trees hem you in on all sides as you walk down the stairway. Your footsteps ring loud and hollow, one after the other until you reach the bottom again, the road opening out in front of you. The sun is almost down now, the last slivers of orange light slipping away, already hidden by the buildings of the town. You put the piece of parchment into your pocket. A good luck charm? That was very sweet of her, does she really think you're in danger going home late? You fumble with your bag for a moment and find your knuckle dusters, putting them into your pocket for easy access. Nothing is going to happen, people here are just over-cautious, that's all.
By the time you reach the high street again, you're not so sure.
Everything is shut.
"What the hell?" You mutter. The town is so silent, you strain to hear anything above the wind. You find yourself walking faster and faster, sticking to the sides of the street, savouring each pool of sickly-yellow street lighting. Why is everything shut? Where is everyone?
By the end of the high street you're sure of it. There's someone following you. Footsteps timed with yours, ducking silently into alleyways whenever you turn to look, but you can feel it. Your heart hammers in your chest. This is bad.
[ ] Just keep going. You're only being tailed, not attacked. [ ] Try to lose them. [ ] Try to confuse them, confront them somehow. [ ] Run.
[x] State loudly "What is it with this town and watching over others from the shadows? At least you have the courtesy to make yourself a bit more noticable than the last person to do this." [x] Just keep going. You're only being tailed, not attacked.
Throw out a minor taunt out there, but overall, if we keep walking, we'll be safe. Sanae gave us a charm after all and as long as we don't do something stupid, like try to get crafty in a town we know nothing about, or run which might cause something to happen to the charm, we'll be fine.
Take a deep breath, stay calm. Whoever is following you has plenty of leeway to attack you if they wanted, there's nobody around to stop anything from happening to you. So you're just being tailed, that's it. Worrying enough but not an immediate physical threat, right?
You keep going, making your way home, being careful not to get lost. Once you're back in the residential district you can see lights on in the houses, but again there's not a single person except you in the streets. Well, you and the person hiding behind walls and dustbins whenever you turn around. That knuckle-duster sure is heavy in your pocket, you keep slipping your fingers into the grip, then taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that you don't know anything yet, that violence is not the answer until you know what's going on.
Still ten minutes walk from home, you glance over your shoulder again. This time the figure doesn't hide. A good fifty meters away, directly under a street-light, clearly outlined, just standing there. Jeans, worn-out trainers and a overlarge, dark-green hooded top. The hood is pulled up, obscuring the face. A sword, long and curved, hangs at the waist. "Holy shit." You mutter. Then you realise that the dark opening of the hood isn't turned towards you, but to the houses on the other side. You follow its gaze.
There's another figure. Standing on the roof of a building. A woman, with long blond hair, in a dress that looks like something from Nineteenth-century Russia, purple and white. So much fabric, rustling in the wind.
She looks at you.
The figure with the hood suddenly moves, legs picking up and sprinting the way it came, footsteps thudding against the concrete. You stare on in shock until it vanishes into a side-street. When you look back at the roof, the other woman is gone.
You frown. "What the fuck was that?"
[ ] Go home. Just go. [ ] Follow the running person.
Whatever this is, you're not a part of it. You turn around and head home, one eye over your shoulder. Neither of the strange people appear again, but there's a sound. This thing at the very edge of your hearing, almost like wind moving down the streets, but quieter. You shudder in realisation that you can't feel any wind.
Your own front door has never felt so welcoming before. It's not even that late in the evening but the house feels like a little bastion of light and warmth in a sea of uncertain darkness outside. What the hell is going on in this town?
The evening is like any other. Dull room, ordinary food, monotonous parents. You lie on your bed, sleep not yet a realistic prospect, thinking about the events of the day. It's a lot to take in, but you need to get a handle on this place, on the people. So many ... well, so many interesting girls. Some safer than others. You rub your eyes and blink, before rolling over and twitching the edge of the curtain.
From indoors the street outside looks perfectly normal. No indication of anything untoward. You frown in thought. This is all too weird.
[ ] Forget about it for now. Try that R4 Kaguya gave you. [ ] Go on the internet, maybe someone else out there has questions about this town too? [ ] You should just get some rest, go to bed early. [ ] Think about someone, there's a lot to process after today.
Now there's an idea. You roll off your bed and sit down in front of your computer. The cold glow of the screen greets you with its unnecessarily cheery start-up sound and you open your web browser moment later. "By the power of Google." You mutter to yourself. Start at the beginning, with the obvious.
'Gensokyo' turns up a few pages. Tourist information links, wikipedia entry, Google maps, the school website, local library, property and estate agent websites. Nothing untoward, nothing suspicious. You tap your foot and think. 'Hakurei Shrine', again, nothing you wouldn't expect. Location on Google maps, in the north-east corner of the town. Little visitors website, nothing much else. 'Moriya Shrine' turns up nothing but a few mentions on tourist sites. 'Gensokyo local news' gives you nothing either. No mention of anything out of place for a small town like this. You click back and enter the school's website. Nothing strange, a few pictures of the place, happy smiling students, advertising to parents you guess.
Your fingers hover over the keyboard for a moment. 'Gensokyo don't go out at night.' Nothing, nothing, more crap, nothing. Ah, what's this? On the third page of results there's a link simply titled 'communication and notes'. You would have passed right over it, but in the selected text below are the exact words, 'don't go out at night.'
You open the link to be greeted by a plain white screen with boxes for user-name and password. No 'register' button, no other links, just user-name and password. But your cursor turns into a text selection icon when you mouse over the space below the boxes. You hit select all and words spring up from the white background.
'We know you're reading this, we know you're here. You can't get in, so don't try. Now fuck off and die.'
There's an email address just below. 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
"Hmm." You frown.
[ ] Try the boxes. [ ] Try the email address. [ ] Forget it, this is a waste of time.
Right-click, view page source. A window pops up, full of html. You scroll down, looking for anything out of the ordinary, any notes or ... ah.
'Well done, you can look at the coding too. Now follow this link. We know you're watching. >'
A nondescript looking youtube URL is next to the note. You copy and paste it into the browser, then hit return. The video starts up.
Whoever was holding the camera didn't have very steady hands. A street can be seen through grainy, sticky-green night-vision. Looks like any street, but the cameraman turns the lens towards a street sign. 'West Briar Road.' You pause for the video and type the name into Google. Yeah, that's in Gensokyo, over on the other side of town.
Watching the video again, the camera swings around and three figures are visible nearby. One is tall, heavyset and cloaked in brown, bending his head. The second is a little smaller, wearing a long skirt, face obscured by a hockey mask, white hair sticking out behind. She's holding what looks like a meat cleaver. The third figure is clearly the person who was following you earlier tonight. Same build, same worn-out trainers and green hooded top, same sword at her waist. She speaks. "I don't see why we have to film-" The large man places his hand on her shoulder. "Quiet." His voice is deep, like stone grinding on stone. "You can hear it already?" The person behind the camera asks. A small, almost squeaky, female voice. "Yes." The large figure nods. The woman in the hockey mask looks to the left. "There, first one. Start the clock." The woman behind the camera fumbles to point it towards the left. The view centres on the mouth of an alleyway. For one moment, barely enough frames to register on your sight, you see something standing there. A hulking shape of black and grey, two wide red eyes staring out at the camera. There is a shout, and the video ends.
You rewind the video, pausing at the moment the mouth of the alley is visible. That thing looks like some nightmare blend of gorilla and insect.
You sit back and frown. A hoax? A joke? What was that?
[ ] Forget about it, go to sleep. [ ] The email address. Tell them you watched their video. [ ] The email address. Send something but don't tell them you watched the video.
[X] The email address. Send something but don't tell them you watched the video. [X] Start thinking about taking up a fighting style. Something with easily concealed knives or such. [X] Remember to try that R4 out when you're done.
You stare at the thing on your screen for a long moment. It looks horrible, like something that crawled up out of hell, skin a mass of black wrinkles, red eyes segmented like those of a bug. The limbs all bend the wrong way and it looks like it has two set of elbows. This is a hoax, right? A man in a suit, or a very good photoshop job on a fat gorilla.
You close the youtube window and thumb back to the page with the user-name and password boxes. Hesitation stays your hand for only a moment, but you click the email address. Your fingers fly over the keys, curiosity growing like a tumour in the pit of your stomach.
'I found your website. I want to know what's going on, please.'
You stare at the message for a moment, unsure now. If it's a hoax then you can just drop it, but what if that was real? You click send, then close the laptop and get up, stretching. Now you just have to wait for a reply, check later.
Flopping back onto your bed, you roll over and rummage through your school bag, pulling out your DS and the R4 cartridge Kaguya gave you today. You take a deep breath, just relax, take your mind off things.
The R4 is, as Kaguya promised, full of games. Some of them are titled in Japanese, which is less than helpful, but there are plenty in English. RPGs and SRPGs mostly, though some other assorted things you've never seen or played before.
[ ] Just flick through the games, sample everything. [ ] Pick something and get used to it. Maybe you could challenge Kaguya again? [ ] Open the web browser. [ ] Open the text reader.
A web browser? Hm. Interesting. You open it up and almost without hesitating you bring up the browsing history. What kind of things does Kaguya look at? There's the obvious, video gaming websites, gaming forums, her email. Oh hell, she even has a gamefaqs account, that's a bad sign, right? 4chan. Yeah, you should have expected that. /v/ is even bookmarked. She must get really bored at school to use the DS web browser this much. More importantly, the school must have a really insecure wireless network.
Your face starts to turn red as you scroll down. Shit, should you really be looking at this? Porn, porn, more porn. Did she forget she had this on here or did she want you to find all this? You open one of the sites in the list, to be greeted by the sight of a woman rubbing a man's groin with her feet.
Okay, right. Close that, forget you saw it. Stop thinking that.
Your rather uncomfortable ardour turns to confusion and worry as you scroll further down. First aid instructions? Field guides on setting broken bones, the stages of burn healing, how to deal with collapsed lungs, gut wounds, lost eyes. The list goes on and on.
And right near the bottom, bookmarked and saved, is that page. 'Communication and notes.' The very same one. You open it up, but there's no password or user-name saved. Has she been digging around just like you, or is there something else going on here? For a long moment you stare up at the ceiling, your mind swimming. This defies explanation.
[ ] Get Kaguya's email address from the browser, send her something. - [ ] Mention the web page. - [ ] Mention the porn. - [ ] Mention the games. [ ] Forget about this for now, ask her tomorrow. Check your email. [ ] Forget about this for now, ask her tomorrow. Go to sleep.
This is a little too much to think about now. Kaguya didn't act strange or suspicious. Well, she was a little strange, but certainly not in the sort of way that makes you worried about anything except perhaps your dignity and whether or not you're going to wake up very sore one day soon. She was honest, petulant and a little childish, but too full of raw emotion to be hiding anything like this. For the moment it's best to assume she's been digging around like you, nothing more.
You close the web browser and flick through the list of games. It's getting late and you'd better have something to show for this tomorrow. A little rogue voice inside you, probably situated somewhere firmly below the belt, keeps urging you to play something, have something to impress Kaguya with tomorrow.
Half an hour later, sitting up in bed, you open up the games one by one, playing for a while and trying to form some kind of opinion. Advance Wars, Disgaea, Castlevania, a pair of Japanese SRPGs you can't make head nor tail of, N+, Elite Beat Agents (already completed on Hard), and what looks like a SNES emulator.
You fall asleep to the glow of your DS screen, dreaming vague dreams about Kaguya shouting and stepping on you.
The following morning you go through your routine again, already starting to get used to this new place. Breakfast, teeth, get dressed. You hesitate a moment before slinging the DS in your bag. Better take it with you again, maybe you could even challenge Kaguya to something this time. The good luck charm from Sanae goes into your pocket and you spin your knuckle dusters around on the end of your finger for a moment. You left them at home yesterday, didn't you?
You pull your curtains back before heading outside. You feel well rested, but the sight of the street outside brings a bolt of cold to your stomach. It looks so normal now, people heading to school or off to work. Nothing to suggest the deathly quiet of last night.
Or that thing you saw in the video.
[ ] Get out the door, don't want to be late. [ ] Check your email before you go.
[ ] Take the knuckle dusters. [ ] Leave them here.
You've got a few moments to spare, if you're quick. You squeeze the knuckle dusters into your bag and sit down at the computer.
Your browser happily announces that you have one new email. You hover the mouse pointer over the link for a moment. Then you screw your eyes up and open it up.
'You're not late yet and neither am I, though do you really think Alice would have gone down that rabbit hole if she knew what was waiting for her? It's more than a friendly tea-party on my side of the fence and when the Hatter tells us to change places nobody remembers where they were sitting before. I'm lucky enough for all of us, but that's because I'm small enough to go unnoticed, barely a mouse, but you're still speaking in French and I'm about to panic when you tell me you're a cat.
So what are you?'
You frown. Well that wasn't exactly helpful, or explanatory, or anything much really. You hit the reply button before pausing over the keys. What the hell do you say to that? Is someone trying to riddle with you?
[ ] Don't reply. It's nonsense. [ ] Alice? Alice in Wonderland? Reply in kind, maybe that'll get some respect. [ ] Answer truthfully and plainly. You're a student, you're were out at night. [ ] What are you? Make something up.
[X] You know, if this person's pulling this bullshit metaphor crap to stay under-the-radar, it's really not too effective. A fellow with the brains of a turnip could tell there's something hidden there. [X] On the other hand, if he's just doing it for no real reason other than personal preference, then he's a dick. [X] Case one conclusion: he's stupid, and I oughtn't to spend any time with him. [X] Case two conclusion: he's a dick, and I oughtn't to spend any time with him. [X] Close the e-mail. [X] Go to school.
This is bullshit. Either this is some kind of personal code or you're being mocked. Fuck it, you haven't got time to deal with this, you need to get to school, but you want to fire off something to let this person know what you think of their unsubtle attempt at riddling with you.
You open wikipedia and find the lyrics to White Rabbit, then paste them into the reply box. Then you change the subject line to 'Stupid bullshit riddles' before hitting send. Staring at the computer for a moment, you almost regret that. What if you just get another mocking reply back? What if they actually knew something? You shrug inwardly, it's not like you were going to get any sense out of that nonsense. You turn the computer off, grab your bag and head for the front door.
Walking through the streets again feels somewhat unsettling. The crowds of people don't help, your mind just conjures up last night again, the emptiness and quiet and that dammed person following you. You glance left and right as you head down towards the school, looking for Mima without really putting any effort in. You're not sure if you're up to talking to her right now. What do you say? I went out last night and got followed home? Hey, your town is fucking weird? Who's the crazy person with the sword stalking the streets? You sigh and spot a few people in the crowd after a minute or two. No Mima though, you must have missed her this morning. Rinnosuke is a little way in front of you, but he hasn't seen you. That angry-looking girl from yesterday morning is walking this way too, just over to the right, taking a drag from a cigarette.
You can just about spot another student through the crowd, somebody short and slow a little way behind you, but you can't quite see who it is.
[ ] Don't talk to anyone, just get to school. [ ] Catch up with Rinnosuke. [ ] Go talk to the angry girl. [ ] Find out who's behind you.
You catch up with Rinnosuke. "Hey there." You call out to him. He glances over his shoulder. "Oh. Er," he frowns to himself. "Good morning." "Morning." You say, then draw a blank, falling into step beside him. Don't want this to be too uncomfortable. Then again, you could just bait and annoy him. The thought of him getting in the way of you and Satori talking sends a little cocktail of repressed anger into the front of your mind.
"Sorry if I was being a dick yesterday." He says, looking a little sheepish. "Not fair of me really." Oh, well. Now you feel bad. "That's okay." You shrug. May as well be honest. "Was it about Satori? Is she ... er ... you know?" Rinnosuke raises an eyebrow at you. "What?" "You and her, involved?" You ask. Rinnosuke stares at you for a second and then laughs, rubbing his eyes. "No, nothing like that. She's not my type." He smiles and spreads his hands. You smile back at him. That's good to hear. "So what was that all about?" You ask. "Ahhh." He sighs. "Satori's just vulnerable." He glances at you and taps his head. "You noticed?" You nod. "Yeah, she's-" "Just a little strange in the head, that's all." He frowns at you. "But don't take advantage of her, seriously."
He's lying. You can see it in his eyes. You can practically see the lie there.
"Sure, I'm not that kind of guy anyway." You say, looking away. Are you going funny? Paranoid? What was that? You could see him lying, you could feel it. "I just feel sort of protective towards her, that's all." Rinnosuke says, sighing again.
Wait. That line was the truth. Was it? You look back at him. Are you going mad?
[ ] Ask him why he feels protective of Satori. [ ] Satori's not his type? What is his type? [ ] Tell him he needn't worry, you've got your sights set on someone else anyway. [ ] Call him out on the lie. Something is wrong.
[X] Satori's not his type? What is his type? [X] If he names anyone: "Right. Target acquired." Then leave him in the dust, but don't actually go out of your way to talk with whoever he's interested in.
Hey, if he wants to lie, fine. We'll give him a distressing deception to worry about.
Drop it, change the subject. Anything, just drop it, don't talk about Satori. The way you could practically see him lying, like the words were dripping with bile and spat from him mouth like rotting meat from the mouth of some dying leper. You blink. Ignore it, you're being paranoid, still shaken by last night, that's all.
"That's fair enough, I understand." You say. "So, any tips for someone new to the school?" Rinnosuke glances at you, then rubs his chin in thought. "Hmm. I guess ... well, have you met the Headmistress?" You nod. "Yeah." "She's real tough on rules. The letter and the spirit of them. You can slip up and make mistakes, but don't do anything on purpose." He warns. "Is she really that bad?" You ask. Rinnosuke chuckles. "If you do something bad enough, make sure you show some remorse." "Okay, I'll remember that."
He glances at you again, hesitating, then looks over his shoulder. "What is it?" You ask. "Okay." He says in a conspiratorial voice. "You didn't hear it from me, but I heard you spoke to Reimu the other day." "Yeah." You say. "She was pretty rude to me." "Shh!" Rinnosuke puts his finger to his lips. "She's pretty popular about town." "Oh, why?" "She's the local Shrine Maiden. The big one, Hakurei." "Ah." The penny drops, perhaps that explains her arrogance and why Sanae seemed to dislike the other Shrine. "Look." Rinnosuke says. "Don't piss her off. In fact, best not to even talk to her. It's not worth the bother." "Huh, yeah." You nod, but reserve your judgement for now. Reimu was rude, but you still don't know why exactly. Rinnosuke sighs. "Run into any other interesting characters yet?" He asks.