You turn a bit so Yamame can get a good look at your wounded limb. You're wearing a sleeveless shirt so the dark blue bruise is plainly visible on your upper arm. An area of the skin is torn, the edges flecked with blood and dirt.
"Hold on a sec." she says as she runs over to a cabinet and rummages around in it before coming back with two pieces of cloth. Yamame uses one piece to clean the wound as best she can, then presses the other against your arm firmly, but not so hard as to hurt you too much. You bear the pain as she tends to your injury; as she works intently, you find your eyes drawn to her hair. It's the first time you've seen this golden color up close. There are very few in the village with similar color; Master Kirisame was one such person you recall.
All of a sudden, Yamame tenses up for a moment with a grunt. You're about to ask what's wrong, but your words freeze on your tongue as you see her reach down under the hem of her dress and start pulling out... string? It's thick and white, and Yamame starts wrapping it around your arm to tie down the cloth. You can feel it stick to your skin, much like that other sticky goop that was on your shoulder. A cold shiver runs up your spine.
"What... what is that?"
Yamame looks up at you with a face that asks if you're dumb. "It's thread, can't you see? I gotta tie this cloth down."
Your throat grows a bit dry and the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. There's only a few creatures you know that can produce string from their bodies, such as silkworms.
Or sp... sp... spide...
You cut off the train of thought before you start to react to the abhorrent idea. No no, let's just assume she's a silkworm youkai... who for some reason lives in an underground cave. Yeah, yeah that's fine, there's plenty of weird beings that live around here, certainly! Besides, she looks just like a human, it's not like she has eight legs or anything. Calm yourself, there you go.
"I figure it's pretty crazy for a regular human like you to see a youkai doing her thing up close, huh?" Yamame asks with a teasing grin as she stands up straight. The dressing is securely wrapped around your arm in Yamame's thread.
"That's only temporary though. I should take you to see the doctor to get your arm properly set so it can heal. I dunno how fast you humans can heal, but Genka says it's nowhere as quick as us youkai."
Yamame walks back around the table to sit at her chair, grabbing her root beer for another swig. "I gotta say, Genka taught us a lot about you humans that we'd take centuries to figure out on own. Like this root beer! I had no idea such a tasty drink existed."
By now your nerves have settled, so you're able to respond clearly after you finish taking a drink. "Actually, there's quite a few drinks like this back in the village. It's an interesting story how we came to have these since they were invented in the outside world."
Yamame hummed to herself in thought before replying. "The outside world... Genka spoke of there being a larger world outside of this one. I've been out above ground quite a few times, but to think there's even more to see out there..."
After downing the rest of your root beer, you ask, "Who is this doctor you speak of? Is Genka the same person? Sounds like you respect him, or her?"
"Yeah, Genka came from above ground a long time ago. I don't remember how long she's been here, but it was before I was born. She lives not too far from here and both teaches and cares for youkai and the rare outsider that wanders in like yourself."
Finishing off her soda, Yamame hops down from her seat and waves for you to follow. You remember your torch this time as you get up, and light the now-dry stick as you leave the den behind you.
The two of you return to the tunnel, and this time take a turn down a separate path that you obviously couldn't see earlier due to the lack of lighting. The walls and ground here are dry, unlike the tunnel leading to the river. Small and large rocks and outcroppings alike litter the walls, reminding you that you're still deep down in a underground cave.
How you're going to get back is a question you haven't really been able to address yet. Hopefully you can figure something out...
Yamame is talkative during the walk, detailing her last encounter with a human that came down here.
"So, after the red-white one blew away some of the cave fairies, the black-white human shot a bunch of colorful stars at me that I could barely dodge! Well they didn't look like real stars, but these were still pretty. The lights also reminded me of the glowworm youkai who live down here. Those two eventually got the best of me after a long tough fight, but I let 'em win since I realized by then they weren't bad people. I later saw 'em down in the Ancient City fighting Yuugi! Now that was intense stuff!"
By this point, Yamame was waving her arms around and making motions in the air with her hands as she described the danmaku battle. You're familiar with the spellcard system that was regulated by the Hakurei Shrine, it after all was one of the main things keeping humans safe from predatory youkai.
"Sometime later I'm totally gonna take you down to visit the Ancient City. I've been planning to go down soon myself, so it works out!"
Finally, you reach your destination... a house in a wide open cavern. No matter how you looked at it, it was an ordinary-seeming house like one you'd find in the village. A little different in architecture, but still!
"She lives here?"
"Yup. What, you thought she lived in a cave?"
"Well, yes. I mean, you do."
"Den! Caves are for bats and toads. I live in a den, it's different!"
The door opens while Yamame is staunchly defending her living situation. From within out steps an older - well, appearance-wise anyway - girl dressed in a silk robe top and a short, frilled skirt. Her hair is black like yours, tied back in several braids and adorned with a kanzashi hairpiece on top of her head.
"Yamame? Here to listen to my stories again? Oh, you brought a visitor."
The girl walks out of the doorway and bows her head in your direction. "Welcome, young sir. I am Genka, a simple sage who knows a few things about medicine and the world, nothing more."
You bow respectfully in return and introduce yourself. She looks younger than you, but she exudes a palpable aura of wisdom of which you find yourself in awe.
"Genka, his arm is broken, can you help, please?" requests Yamame, in a tone much more subdued and polite than when she was talking to you.
"Of course. Please, come inside."
The three of you enter the house one after the other. As you look around, your eyes widen in surprise as you see all the item-filled shelves and cabinets lining the walls. Bottles, jars, boxes, plants, roots, and various other objects you can only assume have to do with medicine occupy these shelves and tables. Genka leads you to a bench away from most of these items and has you sit down there. Yamame takes a seat across from the two of you as the sage doctor unwraps the dressing from your arm and smiles wryly at what she sees.
"Yamame, you need to work on how you clean wounds. There's still some dirt here."
"S.. sorry, Genka. I was kinda rushing so I could get him here instead."
"Well, with your power, we won't have to worry about any illnesses that could come from infection."
Yamame's power? You wonder over this as Genka carefully and skillfully treats your wound. After a few moments, she gets up and goes to one of the shelves, and comes back with a small mug filled with a syrupy concoction.
"This is a special medicine of my own creation, "mafutsusan." It will greatly reduce any pain you may experience while I tend to your arm. It's best to drink it in one go so the effect kicks in immediately."
The mug is hot to the touch, as if it were tea that was just boiled. Taking a cautious sip first to test the temperature, you then chug down the entire mug, the hot fluid rushing down your throat with a recognizable tang. It's mixed with wine, you realize, only moments before you suddenly black out.
When you come to, you find yourself lying down on the padded bench, your arm wrapped firmly to a wooden splint and resting in a sling. Genka stands over you with an impish smile across her face.
"How do you feel?"
"I don't know, am I supposed to feel anything right now?"
Seeing the worried look on your face, she hides a giggle with her hand before saying, "Don't worry, the effects will wear off within the hour. Depending on the patient, mafutsusan will either just make you numb to any and all sensations or go as far as knocking you out. You've been unconscious for about three hours."
You notice now that the two of you are alone: Yamame is nowhere to be seen. "Where's Yamame?"
"She was bored waiting for you to wake up, so she went off. She should be back soon."
As if on cue, you hear the door open and Yamame's voice call out Genka's name. The short youkai approaches the two of you with her hands clasped behind her head. "Oh goody, you're awake, Human," she exclaims as she sits down at the foot of the bench with her legs crossed beneath her. Genka glances at her quizzically.
"Yamame, why aren't you addressing him by his name?"
"'Cuz it's boring! It's like being a bug youkai and having 'bug' in your name."
You can only give a weak grin at Yamame's critique of your name. Sure, it's a very ordinary and common name in the village, but still...
"Anyway, can he stay here Genka? He got himself lost coming down here and is gonna need a place to stay for a while."
"I have extra rooms, so that's fine. Food may be an issue, however."
"Oh right, you barely need to eat. Well, I was gonna go down to the Ancient City eventually soon, so he can just come with me!"
Yamame looks at you and gives a thumbs-up and a toothy grin. A rather sharp toothy grin, but a grin it is. "That good with you, Human?"
[ ] Agree to go
[ ] Refuse
[ ] Ask about the Ancient City
Ten Desires is kicking my ass. Can't beat Seiga's team-up with Yoshika... yet. Wish I had done this update before the game came out, since my original design and concept for Genka was very similar to Seiga. I took some time to change what I had for her and rewrite parts of this post.