A reboot of the second chapter of SCIENCE. Pretend like the other one never happened - this is a fresh start.
I'll have a summary up of the first SCIENCE tomorrow, so don't worry if you weren't around for that or if you forgot. I forgot, too. It's been a while since I've written this, and written in general, so bear with me if the writing/characters are a little off. It'll take me a few posts to get back in the groove.
As for update schedule, I'll try to keep it daily (excluding Friday) for now and see how that works out. ================================================ “Mmmm...”
It's morning again. Or maybe it's after noon by now, who knows. It's hard to tell in a cave with no windows. And your sleep schedule is... bad, to say the least.
Opening your eyes, you can see that Nitori's not here. That's nothing abnormal, though. She's able to get by with only a couple hours of sleep, while you need about twelve, so it's not often that your sleep schedules sync up. Heh. You used to think that sleep was for the dead – many late nights were spend hammering away at some formula on that whiteboard in the lab you used to work at.
But, it's been about 16 months since that lab got sucked into a black hole, torn to bits, and spit out in this place that the natives call Gensokyo. About 16 months since you gained your leg Gained a new home. Gained a wife, and a daughter.
Not to be selfish, of course, but you think it wasn't exactly a bad trade off. The outside world didn't fare so well, but, you don't live there anymore. Aside from your madness, which in itself isn't too bad, this new life is so much better than the one you left.
Rolling lazily out of bed, a dozen thoughts buzzing away in the back of your still-not-quite-awake mind, you reach for your clothes. And then, you stop. These ones are pretty nasty. You've probably been wearing them for about a week now. Definitely, you should grab another pair.
But... no, the rest of them are almost as bad. You find one the fairy family structure is a very complicated one. I've spend many nights t...
... sigh. Focus.
Sometimes, that happens. Especially when you first wake up. Your particular breed of instanity is thought. It wasn't something you developed, it was something you stole, for a lack of a better word. Gained by mixing your blood with the bone of some long dead youkai who did just that – think.
Unfortunately for you, that youkai probably had hundreds of years to build it's skill in controlling it, while you've only had a little over one. It's difficult to manage sometimes. Groggy mornings are one of those times. You really don't need to be calculating force vectors on the cavern walls in order to get some coffee.
In either case, you find an almost suitable pair of clothes, and put them on. And your watch. Ah, good... it's not past noon yet.
Lately, your project has been a fairly thick book on fairies. Theories on why they exist, what they do while existing, how they work – pretty much anything and everything. You may be able to think it all in a matter of days, but condensing it into words takes a whole lot longer than that.
You step out into the hall, taking your cane with you. It's kind of silly to carry it around all the time, but you've grown used to it. Sometimes, it's just more fitting to poke something with your cane than it is to poke it with your hand.
It's mostly silent. Nitori's probably down in the lab tinkering on something. You can hear some faint laughs from the other room, though. Probably Lumiere and Takiko playing some sort of game. Heh. They really do get along well and that's why they form colonies. It helps them---
bleh. Coffee. You need something to wipe away this morning fog.
Heading into the kitchen, though, you find the pot empty. It's pretty hit or miss, anyway, so it's not entirely unexpected. The coffee machine's a bit overkill for one person, but it gets the job done. You're pretty sure it came from a restaurant somewhere. How it ended up in Gensokyo is anyone's guess, though.
You load up the machine with a bit of home-grown beans (it's surprisingly difficult to find coffee in Gensokyo), and press "brew". Good. That's that. Now you wait.
... or not.
[ ] Go see what Nitori is up to. [ ] Go see what Lumiere is up to. [ ] Go clean yourself up. [ ] Stare into space and wait for the coffee.
The kitchen smells strongly of... well, a mixture of coffee and you. And it's not very pleasent. Maybe last night was another one of those nights, where you just sweat constantly. The sheets didn't feel damp, though...
... no, it's probably because you haven't bathed in a few days. Too busy. Well, you guess you could take care of that now.
You head out of the kitchen, down the hall a little ways, and into the bathroom. You've often wondered if this is the only bathroom like this in Gensokyo – you certainly haven't run across one like it yet. It's very... functional, like the one you used to have on the outside. You've got a shower stall, a sink, a toilet, and that's all. You asked Nitori once, and she said she got the idea from some "how to fix it" book that she found once.
It's not like she uses it, but it's a lot more convienient for you than bathing in the river. Especially when it's winter like this. Although the hot water doesn't last very long, so you need to be fast.
You strip down as quickly as you can, and get in. Maybe you should do something about your clothes, too. It's about time to do some laundry. There's a washing machine down in the lab, but it's a little... dangerous, you guess. Nitori "upgraded" it a bit.
The shower's still a little cold, but that hardly matters. Right. The most efficient way to do this is to waste no time. The coffee won't be very long. You wonder if you can beat it? Everything will need to be perfect. Your arm motions. Your stance. What part of the wash cloth you use.
The water's ready. You begin.
And, not long after, you end. Before the hot water ran out, even, although it was awfully close. You towel off with lightning speed, throw your clothes back on, and head back to the kitchen.
And as you enter, the button on the pot clicks back into the "off" position.
As you're filling up your cup, you hear some footsteps enter the room. Judging by the weight, and the stride... Nitori.
"'Morning," you hear her call out from behind you. "I thought I heard you moving around."
Placing the coffee pot back with one hand, and taking up your cup in the other, you turn around. "Barely," you answer, a bit of a grin on your face. "I might even get to eat breakfast before it's over today. What's that?"
Seems she's holding something in one hand. A piece of paper.
"Oh, it's for you," she says, holding it out to you. But, when you reach for it, she pulls it back with a giggle. "Guess what it is?"
[ ] "A piece of paper?" [ ] "Definitely not a piece of paper." [ ] Write-in. ================================================ You could probably make a correct 'guess' if you wanted, but where's the fun in that?
Anyway, as for the brief summary: William Nye, a particle physicist working at CERN, managed to create a black hole and end up in Gensokyo. The accident cost him his leg.
He met up with Nitori. And, through some SCIENCE, she replaced his leg with a youkai leg. It ended up looking like something a borg would line their ship with, although the bottom is a metal ball that can change shape a bit.
After some stuff, they (they being a team comprised of Takiko, Nitori, Bill, and Suika) went out and saved Gensokyo. And what was left of the world. Beat up a youkai and came back.
Takiko is a fairy who's taken a liking to Nye, and he's taken a sort of liking to her. Lumiere's the youkai that they beat up - she was spawned by people's belief as a personification of the black hole.
Nye lives with Nitori and all the other mentioned characters, up on the mountain.
... so yeah, the brief one. Most of it doesn't have much bearing on this, other than Nye is a human-turned-thinking-youkai, he's been living with Nitori, and there's a few others around.
Any other questions, please let me know. It ended up being really late again by the time I finished and I'm probably overlooking something.
[x] "A written declaration of your passionate desire for me, starting with the platonic and moving on to the carnal?" [x] Waggle eyebrows furiously.
"A written declaration of your passionate desire for me," You try to maintain a straight face, but it's difficult. Your left lip keeps trying to curl up into a smile... screw it. "starting with the platonic... and moving on to the carnal?"
As long as you're being ridiculous, you might as well do that eyebrow thing that she likes/hates so much. Hah, there we go. That's the 'what are you doing' grin you were looking for. "Huh? Am I right?"
She laughs."I wonder what you'd do if that's actually what it was."
She un-pulls back the paper, so you reach for it. "Well, I'd have to return it in... huh."
You weren't sure what you were expecting. But, this wasn't it.
"Kappa Council for Expansive Projects?"
Nitori gives you an excited nod. "Remember? I've told you about them before."
Oh, that's right. It's something like a committee that oversees huge projects that a single kappa couldn't do on their own. Community projects, basically. "Right, right," You say, nodding. "Did they decide to build a subway tunnle through the lab or something?"
She laughs. "Keep reading."
"'We are writing today to inform you that you've been choosen as a primary'--- wait, what?"
A primary candidate as 'head of the turbo fusion energy project'. That's what it says. That's pretty much all it says too, aside from a meeting date set for later today and a secondary one in a few more days in case you can't make it.
"'Turbu fusion energy project'...?"
A few hundred possibilities resound through your head, most of them ridiculous. But, then again, this is the kappa that you're talking about.
"It's pretty secret yet I guess," Nitori says, shrugging. "The guy who dropped it off didn't know what it was about. And I haven't heard anyone else talking about it, either."
Strange. You take another sip from your coffee. Usually, someone, somewhere would be bragging about it. And why you? You haven't done too much for the kappa in general. Maybe tossed a few ideas their way, but...
"So... you're going to accept, right?"
[ ] Definitely. With a name like that, how could it be anything but awesome? [ ] Maybe. You'll need to pursued them to make this a joint venture. [ ] You'll need some time to think on it. You've already got a lot on your plate.
So 'joint venture' as in 'with Nitori', I assume? I can't think of anyone else that Bill would know to collaborate with at this point. Unless we met Dr. Asakura during the timeskip. ohpleaseohpleaseletitbethat
[X] Maybe. You'll need to persuade them to make this a joint venture.
[x] Maybe. You'll need to persuade them to make this a joint venture.
"Depends," You say, shrugging. That seems to shock her a bit. "I'll need to persuade them to make this a joint venture."
"Joint... venture?" She asks, "What do you mean?"
"Well, I'd hate to run it alone," You say, "I'd want you to help me."
"I'd be doing that anyway," Nitori says, trying to deflect some of her embarrassment. "I don't want you to turn it down if you can't."
"Sure, but I'd want you to do it in name," You say. Then, laughing, you add. "Two heads are better than one, right? I don't see why we wouldn't be able to convince them." That's not entirely true. There's a hundred reasons why you wouldn't be able to, but most of them are kind of obscure. "Unless you don't want to work on something called the 'turbo fusion energy project', that is."
Nitori laughs. "Are you kidding? I don't think there's a kappa alive that would turn it down."
"It's definitely catchy."
You take another sip of your coffee, your stomach grumbling in response. Come to think of it... you didn't eat anything yesterday, did you? Oh well. You'll definitely need to get something to eat soon then.
"Say, do you think there'll be lunch there?" Theres about an hour and a half until the time on the paper. Enough time to eat, but... well, stuffing your face with someone else's food is always good, too.
Nitori nods. "These are pretty big events. They're sort of like..." she thinks for a moment. "I guess it's kind of like a party to celebrate the project finally starting. I bet there'll be music and stuff, too."
"Huh. I wonder if I should get dressed up..."
Nitori shrugs. "I don't think anyone would care either way."
You take a look down at what you threw on this morning. Some kind of button up shirt with khakis – one of the things you brought back with you on your only trip outside. It works, you guess, but it's not going to leave much of an impression.
[ ] Standard outing gear – lab coat, plus what you're currently wearing. [ ] Something a bit more fancy – you've got some good shirts around, maybe a tie... [ ] Write-in
[X] Something a bit more fancy – you've got some good shirts around, maybe a tie... [X] Wear lab coat over it
Once met the actual Bill Nye, and he did exactly this. He came out in a nice suit with a bow tie, and there was a standing ovation as he put the lab coat over it. Then he proceeded to play with liquid nitrogen for no reason. It was awesome.
[x] Standard outing gear – lab coat, plus what you're currently wearing. No need to dress fancy, when we're just going to hang out with other science nuts. I doubt they will care about their attire either.
Well, in that case... you nod. She's right, of course. You should wear what you think you should wear, and that's about all. This is Gensokyo, after all. You know what you'll wear.
"Yeah, that's true," You say, taking another sip of your coffee. "I think I'm going to grab something to eat first, though. You want anything?"
She shakes her head. "Definitely going to save my appetite. Your cooking's good, but it's nothing like a kappa would make~"
You laugh, thinking back to one thing you read about their eating habits. "Is that a challenge? I've just been making what came to mind." You definitely can't say that... that... was the first thing that came to mind when you were thinking of a dish. Ever.
"Maybe. I wouldn't want to push you."
You nod. "You're sure you don't want some lowly human food?"
She laughs. "Yeah. I should be getting back down to the lab anyway, before it burns the whole place down... ahaha." Noticing your face, she hurries to reassure you. "I'm just kidding! I don't think it would really burn through rock."
It almost works. She's not exactly big on proper safety procedure. "Well," You say, turning back around to face the cupboards, "Ok. We'll probably want to leave a little early, so... does 45 minutes sound fine?"
"Uh huh. I'll come remind you in case you forget."
She says that last part a bit more seriously than you'd like. You actually might, if you get sidetracked. It's easy to lose tiny things like that in your head sometimes, like some sort of nightmarish sofa eating all your change. "Hah. I'll even set my watch alarm," You say, setting your coffee down for a moment while you fiddle with it. "See? No way I'll forget now."
There's something like a creak, or maybe a groan that seems to reverberate through the cave... and you see Nitori's face grow a little bit more excited. "H-haha," She laughs, before making a rather abrupt turn for the door. "I really should get back. I'll see you in a bit!"
After an about face turn, she makes her way out of the kitchen. And not exactly in a relaxed way. You wonder what she's been working on... last you heard, she finished some kind of huge cieling crane to haul junk around the lab, but that was a few days ago. Well, you'll have to find out later.
Breakfast is a quick affair to get started. You find some lefovers (some sort of chicken-rice dish? Hina must have brought it), and throw them in the microwave. Hah. You wonder how many homes in gensokyo even have a microwave?
There's enough for two (and a third) people in the dish, though, so you decide to see if Lumiere's hungry. The door to her room is closed, like usual. You knock, and wait. There's no answer, though. But, that's not uncommon. Lumiere's the type to tell you when it's not OK to enter, not when it is. You open the door and take a peek inside.
And duck, as some sort of black mass flies right for your face. Danmaku.
[ ] Write-in.
=============================================== Requesting permission to enter write-in only mode, at least for a while.
Also apologies if this update is bad, I guess it's just going to be one of those weeks.
Thinking about this, I started it about two weeks too early. I should have know that my last two weeks on this job were going to be stress filled.
So, I am going to drop back to once-every-two-days, since that seems to be a good balance. At least, until I'm done here. Then I'll go back to once-per-day since I won't be rushing around all the time.
tl;dr nothing today, update tomorrow for a while
Serial ATA!umMKyLfC5.2010/08/04 (Wed) 23:48No. 17032▼
[x] She's probably not playing danmaku solo. Stay out of the line of fire and keep an eye out for Takiko.
And a quick sidestep, for good measure. Of the many possibilities there are, one of the more likely ones is that there's more than one bullet.
... seems you were right. A few more seep through the crack, and splash against the opposite wall of the cavern.
"... where'd it go?" You hear Lumiere ask, from inside the room. A pause, and then "Oh. You got me, then..."
Got me? Almost sounds like a danmaku match. You wait, but no more waves pass by. And after only a few moments, the door swings in. Lumiere's head pokes out into the hall, looking the wrong way at first; but, then, she turns to face you.
"Good morning. Sorry, I thought you were a ghost."
There's a faint grin across her face.
She's very good at the black hole part sometimes. Times like this, for instance. Conversation goes in, and disappears beyond her ears. Stretching into infinitely long strings of time before it finally fades from existence.
There's always a way to skirt around the edge to get to where you were shooting for in the first place, though, if you think fast.
"Why a ghost? Have I really been that much like a phantom, lately?"
She shakes her head. "Kind of, but that's not why. Takiko was telling ghost stories."
You laugh. You can't imagine a ghost story being scary through sign language, but, well, it's been a long time since ghost stories were scary. Before you can respond, you notice an even smaller head poking out from behind the doorframe.
"'Morning, Takiko. What kind of ghost?"
She gives you a smile and a grin, moves out into view, and begins waving her hands. She's clearly proud of this one.
"Ah... a girl drown in a mountain river?" You ask, after she nears the end. That might actually be based on experience, now that you think about it... well, maybe it's better not to ask. "What's it doing in a cave?"
Hiding. You'll hear a creak and a moan before it attacks, trying to fill your lungs with water.
But still, you can't not ask. "Heh. How much of that is true?"
She shakes her head. A secret.
Oh well. "... anyway," You continue, switching gears, "I made some breakfast if you guys want some. And did Nitori tell you about that gathering in a bit?"
Both of them shake their heads. "I guess it's kind of like a kappa party. They're starting up a huge new project that they want me to work on."
"I'll eat a bit. And what kind of project?" She asks. That's the best way to get some conversation out of her – you just need to make her ask questions.
You laugh. "I'm not exactly sure yet. Some kind of 'turbo fusion energy project'."
"Huh. I'll eat."
Takiko gives you a nod at that.
"Hah, good. I could eat it by myself, but there'd be no room left for the celebration."
Brunch is... quiet, but that's what you expect. You're deep in thought about how you're going to balance this book and this new project, Lumiere's (probably) deep in thought about something unrelated, and Takiko's busy muncing down on the little bit of food she has. Did you know? Fairies can eat as much food as they like. However, they get bored with it before they can consume a ludicrous amount, so it almost functions like appetite – you wonder if you worded that passage right? It definitely might mesh better if...
"So, when is it?" Lumiere asks, acting like she asked this before. She might have. "I want to go."
Takiko gives a nod in agreement.
"That's probably fine," You say, "It sounded like you'd all be welcome. No pranks though, Takiko." Then, noticing her face, you add, "Well, nothing that'll get you in a lot of trouble."
She seems fine with that.
And after a bit more munching, the kitchen's empty once again. You'll worry about cleaning up when you get back, probably. It'll take a while to find what you wanted to wear, so you set to work. Everything is very organized – however that organization doesn't always make sense when you come back to it later. Sometimes a small change in the variables can lead to a very different thought pattern.
But, in the end, you find everything. Your black pants, white shirt, tie... and, of course, a lab coat for good measure. One of the thicker ones, since it's cold outside. And cold inside, too – the kappa don't really get as cold as humans do.
Right. Coat, clothes, cane, watch. Which you take a look at, and find that you timed everything just about right. 7 minutes to spare. There's a whole lot you can do in seven minutes.
[ ] Create something (write-in) [ ] Take it easy, float around like a ghost. [ ] Getting everyone and going a little earlier than early never hurt.
================================================ Well, I'll take up write-in only mode when I'm further along. I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking when I was asking that.
You could even do a whole lot of nothing. Maybe that's best. It'd be kind of hard to pull away if you got started on something really awesome. So, maybe you'll take a quick stroll around the cave and see what's changed.
Or even a quick float. That's always nice.
... like you expected, not much on the upper floor has. But it's still worth a look. Your float takes you past Lumiere's room, and down into the lab.
Heh. It really was a crane. You can see that there's now some kind of rails mounted high up on the cieling, right at the base of the arc that's the very top. And, floating above the majority of the junk that's piled up, you can see that it runs along the length of the cave. Straight,so you imagine there's a few spots that it can't reach where the cave is a bit wider than normal, but it's pretty neat.
Ah, and looking behind you, you can see the crane itself. You wonder what it's powered by? You didn't think to ask when you were both talking about it.
Beep beep beep
Oh. And it's time to go. As you're floating towards the entrance, you notice Nitori doing the same and head over to her.
She smiles. "That looks good on you."
You look down. Oh, right. "You think?"
The two of you land and begin to head upstairs. "Yep. It really fits~"
"It's a few days too late, but that crane looks really awesome," You say, motioning back down the stairs. "How's it powered? I mean, we have trouble running a whole lot of computers at once..."
She giggles. "Batteries. But they don't last long, so it's kind of worthless right now. You'd have to move it, and then wait a few days for it to charge..."
You laugh. "Really? I'm sure we could come up with a better solution."
She nods. "I wanted to see how it looked first."
After reaching the top of the stairs, you knock on Lumiere's door. And, after a pause, it swings open. She looks ready – Takiko, too. They've both got those bags you've made for them.
"Well... I think that's everything."
Nitori nods. "I think so."
"... we're going, then?" Lumiere asks, shifting a bit.
[ ] "It's party time. I hope it's not too crazy." [ ] One more thing...
[X] "One more thing." [X] Jot down a quick note that as soon as we get back we should begin a usability study to determine the minimum effort required in order to be chillin' like a villain. [X] "Okay, I'm ready."
"It's party time," You say, thinking back to a few of the other parties that you've been to in your time in Gensokyo. "I hope it's not too crazy..."
"When's the last time you saw a crazy kappa? The worst that might happen is..." she pauses, "...nevermind. "
You nod, and begin to make your way to the door. "Neverminding. It's hard to think about when I haven't even seen the place."
"That's right," Nitori says, "You haven't, have you?"
Even though you've been here for a little over a year, you haven't once been to the kappa village. There's simply been no reason to go. From what Nitori's told you, it's relatively empty most of the time – probably less than a hundred kappa actually call the place home, with the rest living off on their own.
It was going to be some kind of megaproject, a haven for all the kappa. Nitori says that they started it because they thought the human village was a cool idea, but it didn't work out. They realized that they didn't all really want to live that close to one another all the time. You guess these kind of things aren't that rare for kappa, though.
"I wonder how those old guys are doing," She says, thinking back. "It's been a few dozen years since we've got together like this."
Pfft. "A few dozen years, huh? That's not really that long."
She shrugs. "Not really. Last time was..." You've made it outside now, so she turns around to fiddle with the door. There's a special locking mechinism on it, that requires a bit of dexterity to set and unset. "... yeah, that's right. We built that huge smelter that no one ever uses, haha. Well, I guess we use it sometimes."
You've actually been to that one. They built it because they thought that they'd need one, but, as it turns out, most kappa who needed one already had a small one, and those that didn't didn't really care. "Hey, that was useful that one time..."
She nods. "I know, right? It was supposed to be useful every day, though, not every month."
You take flight, heading towards the base of the mountain, with the rest following. Lumiere and Takiko take up position behind you two, as per the usual.
The village isn't exactly at the base, but it's pretty close. You'd still be in for a serious climb if you walked from the human village, though. Thankfully, you don't have to.
"Sounds like you guys have a blast with projects like this, though," You say, laughing. "Even if it's almost worthless, it was fun to build."
Nitori laughs. "Spoken like a true kappa. You'll make a great project leader."
The cold nips at your ears as you wind your way down the mountain. Looks like it snowed last night... there's even a few flurries in the air, and the sky is grey as ever. A typical winter day. You're definitely dressed a bit light. Hopefully, this'll be inside that huge gathering hall Nitori told you about... but, even if it's not, you can probably manage. You're not quite unhuman, after all.
Most of the way down, you notice that Lumiere's crept up close to you, off to the other side. You turn to look.
"Takiko has an idea," She says, giving a slight nod to the fairy riding on her shoulder. "I don't think it's a good one. What do you think?"
"What is is?" You ask, a little confused.
Takiko begins signing to you. Seems she wants you all to make a huge entrance, while she sneaks in and tosses some snow down someone's neck. The most grumpy looking one's neck.
[ ] "That... wouldn't even work, would it? These guys don't feel cold at all." [ ] "Hmm... how about (write-in)?" [ ] "I wasn't kidding when I said no pranks, you know."
Updates sometime on sunday/monday. I really need to stop procrastinating and get prepared for my move, so I have to procrastinate on this to do it. Sorry. When I get back, things will be back to full speed.
[x] "That... wouldn't even work, would it? These guys don't feel cold at all."
"That... wouldn't even work, would it? These guys don't feel cold at all."
Nitori laughs. "Well, maybe not cold, but it'd still feel weird."
"Ah, that's true." You admit. Pouring sand down someone's shirt would still do something that a fairy would like. "Still, though, I think you shouldn't."
Nitori gives a firm nod. "The grumpy ones are usually the old ones, you know? It's probably a bad idea to make them mad."
Takiko looks a little put off by the answer. You can't say you blame her; it's not the most amusing one. But, you'd rather not see her blasted by a grumpy old kappa. She's quite clever, but sometimes a little too... eager, you guess. You can't see this prank ending any way but poorly.
“Try to think of something that'll make everyone laugh,” You say, trying to get her back in a thinking mood, “Not just you. I'm sure everyone would love it if you did something like that.”
Takiko nods at this, and seems to go back to thinking. You could probably come up with something if you wanted, but that too seems kind of wrong. Takiko will like it more if she comes up with something.
Lumiere maintains her position beside you two. Well, you'll let them deal with it.
“Hey,” You ask, spotting a vague group of... probably buildings in the direction that you're heading. They're in a dimple in the side of the mountain slope as well, which was the other thing you were looking for. “Is that it?”
“Yep,” Nitori answers, “You can even see the hall in the middle there.”
Indeed, in the middle of the building cluster, there's definitely one that looks larger than the others. The whole village itself reminds you of rocks sticking out of a frozen river, piled high with snow. You wonder if that wasn't intentional. It looks very serene, in either case, although you do see the occasional speck move about. Probably other kappa.
Takiko still seems deep in thought by the time you all land, just outside the entrance to the massive stone building. It's quite a bit larger than anything you've seen in Gensokyo thus far, not counting caves. By volume, you could definitely fit it in the lab, but it's still quite impressive. There's a wave motif that covers most of the side that you couldn't see from above. It almost looks like a very fat mushroom from the ground, or maybe a turtle shell resting on a post.
You take a look at your watch. Still a few minutes early of being a few minutes early. You wonder if you should go in yet.
[ ] Take a quick stroll around, and look at the other buildings. [ ] Enter the huge building, with style (write-in). [ ] Enter the huge building.
[x] Enter the huge building, with style. [x] Powerwalk. While upside down.
Why not? You know there's people here already, so you might as well chat it up inside instead of hanging out here in the cold.
“After you,” You say, motioning to Nitori after swinging open the stone door for her. She gives you a nod, heading in just a little bit before turning around. You let Lumiere and Takiko pass, too, before heading in of your own accord.
The inside is a decent bit warmer than the outside, for which you're thankful. Nitori takes the lead, as you're currently in a hall that branches a lot and you're not sure which way to go. Takiko still seems to be thinking for something that'll turn some heads. You, however, have a thought of your own. Heh.
Entering the main hall, you can't help but feel some admiration for it. High, arched ceilings are always cool, and this one is no exception. The lighting is rather bizarre, as well. You're not quite sure where it's coming from. There's a diffuse aqua covering the whole lower portion of the chamber.
The chamber itself is pretty much what you expected. Long rows of tables, eight or so in all, run from end to end of the chamber. Near the front is a raised bit, something like a stage. And stuffed off on the sides of the room are even more tables covered in food and drink.
People, presumably kappa, turn to look when you four enter, and then turn away. And then turn to look again. You grin. Nitori, noticing all the eyes, turns around to take a look at you. First surprise as she comes face-to-face (is that even correct) with your legs, and then kind of an annoyed amusement as she looks down to catch your face.
“Wha... pfft. Seriously?”
“What?” You ask, “It's good for your circulation.”
Without missing another beat, Nitori responds. “Maybe, but wouldn't it be hard to eat like that?”
You think about that for a moment. Well, holding the plate upside down would be awkward. Doing a mid-air pivot, you end up with your feet planted on the building floor once more. Takiko gives you a round of applause, and you give her a wink. Hopefully she'll understand it as 'something like that.'
“I told you. That human's crazy.”
Oh? You hear someone off to your side. Without being too conspicuous about it, you take a quick look and notice two figures. One younger man, and one older. They both look like kappa – or, at least, dress like them.
“There's no way he's going to be better than me for this job,” The young man continues, “And I will voice this.”
“If you must,” The older one sighs, “It's your right.”
“Who are those guys?” You ask Nitori, getting up close to whisper to her. “The older one and the younger one talking across the table.”
Nitori takes a quick glance. “Ah... not sure about the young guy, but the old one is part of the committee.”
"Yes?" You ask, turning towards the kappa directly. "I don't believe we've met. I'm Bill."
The kappa, putting on something of a malicious grin, responds. "No, I don't think so, either. Tarin." The last part seems to be his name. "How about a game, Bill?"
That's... a bit suspicious. "What kind of game?" You ask, laughing a bit. "If it's something athletic, you'll have to count me out."
“How about a few rounds of Crankem?”
You've... not heard this term before. “Crankem?”
The kappa laughs. “You haven't even heard of Crankem?”
You look around for a bit of help. The old man seems to be watching with a hint of amusement on his face, but none of the malice that the younger one has. Lumiere... doesn't really give you a response, as per normal.
When you reach Nitori, you can see that she's a little uncomfortable in this situation. Well, you don't blame her. In either case, she doesn't seem apt to help.
“Nope,” You finally respond, turning back to face Tarin, “I've never heard of it. What is it?”
After laughing at you (definitely not with you), he responds. “It's a children's game, where we give each other puzzles to solve. One person comes up with a situation that must be solved, and the other must figure out a way to solve that situation. It goes back and forth until one of the player's can't figure out the puzzle.”
… ah. You smile a bit. This sounds like your kind of game. Tarin continues.
“They have to be things that can be solved, of course, and you need to already know the answer. If the other person can't solve it, yet you don't know the answer or the answer is wrong, you lose instead.”
You think you get it. Definitely a game the kappa would play.
“For instance, I might ask you to come up with a way to block the flow of a river, or go underwater without getting wet. These are all simple examples, of course. Usually there are material constraints or special conditions.”
“Of course,” You say, nodding.
“Are you up for it?” Tarin finally asks.
[ ] Definitely. Crush him as quickly as you can. [ ] Definitely. Go easy on him. [ ] Not really. There's all kinds of food to eat.
[x] Not really. There's all kinds of food to eat. We already have this guys job. Instead of indulging in childish games to prove our superiority, we should let our actions on the work-site speak for themselves.
“I accept,” You finally say, after mulling it over for a bit. “It sounds like fun.”
The kappa seems proud of himself for whatever reason. “Well then,” he says, reaching into his pocket, “I'll get a coin...”
You shake your head, taking a seat across the table from Tarin. “I'll go second. I'm still not exactly sure of the kind of puzzles I'm supposed to be coming up with.”
Nitori takes a seat next to you, lying one hand on yours. “Mind if I watch?”
You smile. “Of course not.”
Turning around to check up on Lumiere and Takiko, you see that they both also seem to be watching intently. “You don't have to stand there,” You say, “Go on, take a seat.”
Lumiere gives you a nod and does so, on the other side. Well. If they're all going to be watching, you'll have to make this interesting. It's a little arrogant, but you think that you'd be able to win this kind of game without much effort if you really put your head into it. Close matches are more fun to watch, though.
Your foe clears his throat. “That's fine, I suppose. It's a duel, though, so don't think that those two can help you.”
You nod. “I hadn't thought that. Whenever you're ready.”
“We'll start off with an easy one, then.” He says, “Say that you're on one side of a wide river...”
He goes on to describe a situation where you need to move a large boulder from one side of a river to another without getting it wet, given only a rather small number of materials: a wide-headed ax, a few dozen vines, two large logs, a large sack, twenty five small sticks, and thirteen flat stones, each as large as a small plate. The boulder is very heavy – you can roll it with great effort, but that's about it.
Your first instinct is to build some kind of catapult, but there's no way that you would have the mechanical power to do that with the materials you had.
“How long are the logs?”
“Seven meters long.”
“How wide is the river?”
“Ten meters wide,” He says, smirking a little.
No bridge, then. The sticks were specifically flimsy, the rocks and vines not of much use. The axe... perhaps you could split the logs and fasten them end to end? But then there would be no support in the middle. Unless you split them each in three ways.
“How deep is the river in the middle?”
“One point five meters,” He says, “It's rather shallow.”
The bridge answer is valid, then. However, you have another one that might be more amusing.
“What is the ax made of?”
The kappa shrugs. “A very strong steel, that won't lose it's edge anytime soon.”
“Is there a time limit?”
You nod. “I have a solution.”
Tarin nods. “It's a simple problem, after all.”
“Re-route the river. Dig a channel around the boulder using the ax as a makeshift shovel. Then, after cutting the logs into pieces, build a dam using all the other materials along with the dirt from the new channel. After the old river bed is dry, roll it across.”
Tarin's eyes go wide for a second, and the old kappa next to him laughs. “That's valid, isn't it?” The old man asks, “It would be a bit of a feat in itself to get the engineering right, but it could be done.”
Tarin snaps out of his shocked state, laughing a bit grudgingly. “I suppose,” He says, “It's your turn to come up with one, then.”
Your problem has to do with being trapped on a cliff, with materials to make a parachute and something like a launcher to get away from the rock face. Tarin gets it without much trouble. His retort is <><><><><><>. You also get that without much difficulty.
Back and forth you two go for quite a while, the problems becoming more and more abstract. Less practical, and more logical.
“Heh. Yes, that's correct. Four sticks is the minimum that you would need. Your go.”
Tarin, who almost seems to be enjoying himself now, passes the turn to you. It's been... whoa. Almost an hour since you two began. The seats around you all have filled in nicely with various youkai, and the ambient noise has gotten a lot louder. Well, maybe it's time to end this, then. You'll have to come up with something a bit more difficult than what you've been throwing at him so far.
[ ] Write-in. ================================================ Give me your best puzzle. The next update will be determined by whether I can solve it on my own or not.
Present a triangle totaling a three-quarter circle.
It can't be many triangles overlapping, it can't have more than three angles in the figure, and it can't have a curved surface. It must also be a standard triangle that you can hold in your hand. It can be taken to a different location.
Answer: Move the triangle to the vicinity of a black hole in space, where intense gravity distorts space itself. Normal geographic figures become distorted, despite no change in themselves, as though mounted on a curved surface. Down near the center of that black hole, space could even be deformed into the likeness of a sphere, just before singularity, and a triangle could have 270 degrees, or even more.
>His retort is <><><><><><>. Somehow, I get the feeling that we weren't meant to see this.
[X] 100 pirates are dividing up a treasure consisting of 50 indivisible gold coins of equal worth. The division process works like this: the highest ranking pirate who is still alive proposes how he would like to divide the treasure. Then all living pirates (including him) vote on the proposal. If at least half of the pirates alive vote for the proposal, then it is accepted; otherwise, the pirate who made the proposal is killed and the process is repeated with the next highest ranking pirate.
The pirates are perfectly intelligent, logical and rational. Each pirate's priorities are, in this order: survival, wealth (getting the highest number of coins possible), bloodthirstiness (seeing as many pirates killed as possible, other than himself). In other words, a pirate will always choose an outcome in which he lives over one in which he dies. Given two outcomes in which he lives, he will choose the one where he gets more coins. And given two outcomes in which he lives and gets the same number of coins he will choose the one in which the highest number of other pirates die.
And you do. If he gets this, well, he deserves to win.
“Can we make this the final puzzle?” You ask, motioning around to the people that have filled the hall. “The place seems to be filling up. If you get it, you win. If you don't, I win.”
The old man raises his eyebrow at this, but says nothing else. Tarin thinks for a moment before responding. “I suppose that's fine.”
You almost begin spitting out the problem, but then pause. This one is... well, difficult. You wonder if you shouldn't explain it to an independent party beforehand, or perhaps write the answer down somewhere.
You turn to the old kappa. “I think I should tell you the solution beforehand,” You say, “That way you can verify my answer.”
Tarin nods. “One of those problems?”
“Yeah, one of those,” You say, grinning back. “I'll be right over.”
You head over the top of the table, and take a seat next to the older kappa. The ambient noise is enough that you don't have to worry too much about Tarin overhearing if you whisper.
The problem is explained easily enough, but the solution takes a few minutes to go over. You end up using someone's nearby napkin to explain it. Although the elder kappa doesn't exactly seem to get it, he can agree that that's probably a right solution.
“Right,” You say, flying back over the table to take your former seat, “Here goes.”
“Present a triangle totaling a three-quarter circle. It can't be made of overlapping triangles. It can't be composed of more than three angles. It can't have curved edges. It must also be a standard triangle that you can hold in your hand. It can be taken to a different location."
Tarin... seems a bit put back by this, but nods. Closing his eyes, he sets to thinking.
Nitori gives you a slight tug on your hand. “Is that even possible?” She asks, “It doesn't make any sense.”
You nod. “I'll even demonstrate it in a minute,” You say. Not that you normally could, but Gensokyo is good for the almost impossible. “Just wait.”
Tarin's brows grow more furrowed with each minute that passes, and eventually he opens his eyes. “It's impossible. You cannot have a single triangle like that.”
He seems satisfied with his answer, but still waits for you to confirm. “I can show you how it's done,” You say, “It's not quite impossible.”
Tarin laughs, somewhat unsure of what to do. “Surely, this is a joke? I've won.”
You shake your head. Fishing around in your pocket, you come up with a packet of toothpicks that you found at kourindou the other day. You pull out three, and place them on the stone table. “I don't suppose you have any tape?” You ask, taking a look around. “Maybe some glue?”
“I've got some,” Nitori pipes up, pulling out a small vial from her pocket. “Don't get any on you, though.”
Ah... this stuff. You laugh. This glue is probably stronger than anything that can possibly exist back in the outside world. “Right.”
You glue the three toothpicks together, forming a pretty standard triangle. “I can pick it up,” You say, holding it in your hand, “Move it, and do everything else with it.”
“And yet it's not covering three-fourths of a circle,” Tarin says, frowning.
“Not yet. I have to move it first before I can present it. Lumiere?”
Lumiere turns to you, giving you that blank stare that she usually does. You continue. “Can you eat this? I want to show him what it looks like.”
As if suddenly realizing something, she nods. “Oh. That's the answer, then.”
You smirk. “Yep. Here, I'll toss it and you can catch it.”
You do so. The triangle is tossed, and caught... by a very tiny black hole.
“Normally, it's impossible,” You say, watching from your awkward angle as the shape distorts and slowly fades to red. “But if you move space itself... it can be done.”
Tarin just stares. “The answer is a magic trick, then?”
You shake your head. “These things occur naturally in space. It's a natural phenomenon, just not one we get on earth.” Well, not very often, you add silently.
“... hah.” Tarin finally lets out as a gruff laugh. He looks defeated, shaking his head slowly. “I don't get it at all. Is it a trick of light?”
Your stomach grumbles in response. Now would be a good time to get some food, you think, at the very least.
[ ] Offer an in-depth explanation, some other day. [ ] Offer an in-depth explanation while eating. [ ] Give a brief one. It'll give him something to figure out on his own. ================================================ >>17197 Haha, nope. I guess I forgot to go back and fill that in.
Also, what is the answer to this one? My only solution was to write a program to figure it out for me, but I'm not that ambitious.
>Also, what is the answer to this one? The trick is to use induction. Consider the two-pirate case, where Pirate 2 votes to give himself all 50 coins and give Pirate 1 nothing. Now consider the three-pirate case: we know that Pirate 2 will not vote for any proposal Pirate 3 makes, because if Pirate 3 is killed, the situation becomes the same as in the two-pirate case. On the other hand, Pirate 1 will vote for any proposal in which he gets at least 1 coin, since the alternative is getting no coins in the two-pirate case. Consequently, Pirate 3 will propose giving 49 coins to himself, none to Pirate 2, and 1 coin to Pirate 1. Go to the four-pirate case and the pattern repeats: Pirate 4 will propose to give 49 coins to himself, 1 coin to Pirate 2, and no coins to Pirates 3 and 1; Pirate 2 will vote for this proposal because the alternative is the three-pirate case, where he gets no coins. Continue the induction out to the hundred-pirate case, and you get the rather unexpected result that Pirate 100 will propose to give 1 coin to each of the even-numbered pirates (himself, Pirate 98, Pirate 96, and so on) and the proposal will be accepted by a 50-50 vote.
“How about we get some food, and then I explain it?” You say, taking a quick glance around to gauge reactions. “I'm starving.”
Tarin, after giving you a nod, stands up on the other side of the table. “Yeah. That was rather intense.”
“Do you have any further objections?” The old man asks, as your party gets ready to head over towards the mounds of food. “If not...”
Tarin shakes his head. “Only a few. But I think he's proved that he knows what he's doing, at least in this case.”
The old man, too, stands up now. “Good, good. Well then, I've got things to take care of.”
You've got a few questions to ask Nitori, mainly about what just happened, but you can do that later. For now, you're intent on just walking beside her.
“That was kind of dirty,” She giggles during your walk. “You know kappa don't know that kind of stuff.”
“Hmm?” You ask, “But, didn't you get it when I showed you the answer?”
“Well... yeah,” She says, “But you've explained it before.”
“... it was a good question,” Lumiere pipes up from behind you two, “I liked it.”
Taking a glance back, you see that Takiko is not on Lumiere's shoulder, like you expected. And a quick look around doesn't show her flitting around anyone nearby. “Huh. Where'd Takiko go?”
“A prank,” Lumiere states. You open your mouth to ask about it, but Lumiere cuts you off. “I don't know what it is.”
“Ah,” You say, feeling a little uneasy about that. Hopefully she took your earlier words to heart about a prank that would make everyone laugh, not just everyone minus one.
The food spread is pretty full of... well, a lot more than you thought it might be. You can't say that you've had any kappa cuisine since you've been here, seeing as Nitori doesn't cook well at all. There's all kinds of things that have been done with cucumbers and fish, plants that you've never seen, and rice.
After heaping your plate up high with some sort of casserole and a bit of salad off to the side, you wait for the others to grad some food as well and head back to the table. Between bites, you try to explain to Tarin the concept of gravity as you know it.
It doesn't take you long at all to finish up your meal. It's as if you've suddenly realized that you are hungry, and now, you can't stop eating.
“I'm going to grab some seconds,” You say, standing up with a laugh. “I wasn't exactly joking when I said I was starving.”
You make another round about trip, heading towards the front of the hall again to get around the massive stone tables. And, by chance, you look up. And, by chance, you notice Takiko, flitting about near the top of the chamber. You can't quite make out what she's doing from here.
[ ] You'll find out in a bit, you guess. Pretend you didn't see her. [ ] Something that won't end well, you imagine. Fly up and see.
[x] You'll find out in a bit, you guess. Pretend you didn't see her.
You just smile, and shake your head. You'll find out in a bit, you guess, and look away. Grabbing your additional food, you return back to your conversation.
After the classic bedsheet with a rock in the middle example, and a little ways into the next example you can come up with, the hall suddenly grows quiet. In the span of a few seconds it goes from the standard murmur of a few hundred people talking, to only a few hushed whispers.
You look towards the front of the chamber and notice that the raised portion is now occupied by three figures, one of which you recognize as the old kappa from before.
Whatever's going on here, it's pretty clear that it's starting as the old man speaks.
“Kappa,” He says, his voice carrying much further than you would initially think. Seems that the acoustics of this place are designed to do that, though. “How long have we dreamed of a near unlimited source of energy? One that does not wane as the river freezes, or as the air stops moving, or as the sun doesn't shine.” He laughs. “A very long time. But, thanks to a gift from the new gods on the peak of the mountain, it may soon be a reality.”
Near unlimited source of energy? Turbo fu--- wait a second.
“They have given us the power of a sun, to do with as we see fit.”
“Now, will those that we've chosen to lead the project come forward?”
Two other kappa stand in other parts of the room. Oddly enough, you feel Nitori's hand slink away from your own. The plan was for her to go up with you, but maybe she wants to back out?
[ ] Still, you want her to be a part of this. [ ] … well, no need to force her.
> “They have given us the power of a sun, to do with as we see fit.”
...why am I getting the feeling that they kidnapped Utsuho and what they plan on doing to her is without her consent? And why am I imagining Utsuho getting raped by Bill to keep her 'calm' and 'quiet' ...
Still, you want her to be a part of this. Reaching down, you find her hand and take hold.
Looking at her face, you can't help but smile. She's embarrassed.
“You're coming, right?” You whisper to her.
It takes a few moments, but she finally gives you a sheepish nod. “Ok.”
Then, the two of you stand up, hand in hand, and begin your walk towards the front. It's a short hop to get up on the raised platform. Although there seems to be a bit of confusion as to the number of chairs, it's all resolved before you reach the stage.
You two take a seat on one of the ends of the row. There's the three old men on the far side, and then the two kappa, you, and then Nitori.
“Let me introduce the project leaders.” The elder kappa continues, after everyone is seated. “We have Tsuda Tonora, who will be responsible for power distribution on the surface. Jumi Shizetsu, who will be responsible for transporting the power up from it's location far underground to the surface. And William Nye, who will be responsible for harnessing the power.”
Your mind is already buzzing with the prospect of harnessing the power of a small sun, as that seems to be what the old man is implying. How such a thing could even exist is somewhat beyond you at the moment, but you have the feeling that it'll make sense later.
“Oh,” The man continues, as if remembering something, “Pardon me. William Nye and Nitori Kawashiro will be responsible for harnessing the power.” He laughs. “It seems I'm forgetting things in my old age.”
There's a slight bit of laughter from the rest of the people seated in the hall. Heh. Well, that was less difficult than you thought it might be. It's official, then.
“Now that the introductions are complete, are there any objections?”
“Good, good!” The old kappa laughs. “Then it's official. Today, the turbo fusion energy project begins.”
A loud bang echoes throughout the hall, startling a good number of people. Looking up, you see... confetti? Not a whole lot, but enough to cover the people up on the stage.
There's a rise of laughter from the spectators as they notice, too. And from the stage as it slowly covers everyone there. It even seems to lighten Nitori's otherwise tense mood. Looking up, you don't see anything other than the raining confetti, but... well you wonder if this wasn't what Takiko was up to.
After a bit of laughter, the hall suddenly comes alive with music. Very loud, noisy music, coming from behind you. There's a trio of performers there, making their way out from behind some pillar, instruments... well, not in hand, as they seem to be floating. But near them.
“Music, too?” You ask Nitori, a bit offhandedly.
It's a catchy tune, in either case. You notice that the other kappa up on the stage are standing up, so you do the same. Time to head back to your seats, you guess.
As you do, the music seems to get more voluminous, filling the hall. The acoustics here really are wonderful.
“See?” You say to Nitori, “That wasn't terrible, was it?”
“There's a lot of people here,” She says, giving an ambiguous answer, “I think there's even more than last time.”
“There are a lot, aren't there? I didn't know that there were this many kappa, to be honest.”
She gives you a grin. “I know, right?”
Returning to your seat next to Lumiere, you notice that Takiko has returned. She seems happy about something. That thing, you find out with a quick question.
“So, it's just music from now on?” You ask, as the band up front changes to a new song. Or gets into the second part of the first one, you're not exactly sure.
“That's all the official stuff,” Nitori says, nodding. “So it's probably going to be music for a while. Then a lot of us hang around for a while and just visit.”
You suppose that makes sense.
“They aren't bad, are they?” Tarin asks, “The music that is.”
You shake your head. “Not at all.”
Finishing up the example you had started before the hall went silent, you decide to...
[ ] … sit back, and just enjoy the music. [ ] … find that old kappa. You still need a bunch of information. [ ] … continue with your lesson. No use leaving it half finished.
… sit back, and just enjoy the music. It's been a while since you've been able to do that; your last live show was five or so years ago. That was a classical performance that you were taken to by someone else, though, and not one you particularly enjoyed.
This... well, you like it, but you're not exactly sure what genre it would fall into. It seems to shift around a lot, taking up elements of other things. And, right before you can pin it down, it'll shift again. If you were a critic, you might just call it noise – but, thankfully, you're not. It's very interesting. You didn't know that violins, or trumpets for that matter, could even sound like that.
After flowing into what seems like four different pieces, the music cuts out. A round of applause rises up from the audience, and you join in. Very nice.
“So, everyone, what did you think? We call that one 'Eternal Phasm'.”
The performer in red is the one to speak up, her voice carrying across the hall with ease. Another round of applause sounds out, which you again join in. Even Lumiere seems to be joining in.
“Haha, good! We've got a whole bunch more songs, so let's try to keep up that energy! This next one's called 'Chalybeous Menagerie'. ”
… you're not sure about the names, though.
This next one is decidedly more mechanical feeling – still in the same shifting style, but to a lesser extent. Very bizarre.
The concert goes on with more strangely-named songs that seem to defy genre boundaries for quite a while. You end up going back for thirds sometime in the middle.
After an impressive set of around 20 songs (or perhaps not so impressive? You don't quite understand what kind of youkai these three are), the performance ends to a tune called Concerto Grosso. A very fitting name, and everyone listening seems to be pleased.
“Whew! You guys are great! Thanks you!”
A final round of applause rises up from the audience, and the three take one final bow before vanishing behind the same pillar they appeared from. And then, not much later, they end up walking among the crowd of kappa that's now mostly standing and talking. With the concert over, everyone seems to have switched into talking mode once more, the mumur of a few hundred voices filling the hall.
Lumiere stands up, and begins walking away.
“Running away?” You ask her, causing her to pause.
“I want to talk to them,” She responds, pointing in the general direction of the food table. You can see that the three performers have taken up plates, and are grabbing some food. Takiko seems to be going too, as she's still riding on her shoulder.
[ ] You, too. [ ] Tell her to enjoy. You'll take this chance to talk to the old kappa. [ ] Tell her to enjoy. You'll take this chance to (write-in).
[x] Tell her to enjoy. You'll take this chance to talk to the old kappa.
“Have fun,” You say, giving her a nod.
She gives you a vague nod and a very small smile before leaving. You consider going for a moment, but decide that it's probably better to discuss business. Specifically, what that old kappa meant by a sun. It's no use thinking about it until you have all the details.
Nitori stands up before you do, though. You give her a quizzical look.
“I just saw someone I haven't seen in a while,” She says, giving a nod aimed across a few tables. “I'm gonna head over and say hi.”
“You have fun, too,” You say, laughing. “I was just about to head over and have that old kappa fill me in on this whole thing.”
“Don't work too hard,” She says, sounding just the slightest bit concerned. “You don't have to do everything today.”
“Yeah,” You agree. Falling into one of your moods would be irritating.
She gives you a quick peck on the cheek, and heads off into the ever growing chaos of the crowd. You get up and head off as well. The old kappa was near the front, right? Somewhere around... ah, there he is.
The old man doesn't seem to be that popular, or perhaps people just haven't gotten around to finding him yet. He's rather short for a kappa, a head too short to stick out from the crowd. Maybe you're just the first one to find him.
“Ah, William,” He says, greeting you with a crooked smile. “Enjoying the festivities?”
You give a nod. “Definitely. But please, call me Bill. It's what everyone else calls me.”
“Bill, then,” He says, nodding. Then, as if remembering something, he adds. “You can call me Ryuugo.”
You quickly commit the name to memory. “I was looking for a general overview of this project,” You continue, “You mentioned something about a sun, but that shouldn't even be possible.”
The kappa laughs. “Probably not. Like I said, it was a gift from the mountain goddess.”
“Where is it, then?” You ask, “How large is it? Have you seen it?”
“I have not,” He admits. “It's located deep underground. I'm unsure of how large it is, but I've been told that it's large enough that the kappa will never have to worry about power again.”
“Has anyone seen it?”
Again, he laughs. “I'd assume the goddess has seen it. Perhaps some of the local youkai that live nearby. But no kappa have gone down to investigate. We choose you for that.”
You frown. “So, we don't even know where it is...?”
“No,” He says, “We have a way to get down there. There's a tunnel that... hum. Let me just show you the map.”
He fishes around in his pocket and comes up with a folded piece of paper, one that seems a bit worn. Unfolding it, he motions for you to look at it. “If you go some distance from the waterfall,” He says, “There's a cave that you can enter. It's just past the tree that grows like a square. It'll lead down to the cavern that houses the sun.”
It kind of reminds you of a treasure map, really. “Do you have another copy?”
“You can have this one,” Ryuugo says, “I can get another one from the shrine.”
“So, I'm just responsible for the device to harness the power of this 'sun', right?” You ask, “It sounds like I won't have to worry about the infrastructure at all.”
He nods. “That's correct.”
[ ] Any further questions? (write-in) [ ] Do (write-in) next. =============================================== The first one is optional, so at least vote for the second if you don't have any.
[X] Any further questions? - Have the Kappa attempted prior fusion/fission projects before? - What is our budget/material constraints? If yes to the first question, [X] Do try to find and talk to those in charge of prior attempts next. Else, [X] Do go talk to Nitori and her aquaintance next.
I'm semi-concerned about protection from radiation for when we eventually head to the "sun."
The proton-proton fusion chain creates beta beta particles, gamma rays and free neutrons. Stars such as the sun give off alpha and beta particles in the form of solar wind, and hit the whole range of electromagnetic radiation, including UV, gamma and X-rays. Stars are freaking health hazards and I'm amazed Reimu and Marisa didn't die after fighting Utsuho. I'd rant more, but I'm tired and I've already killed a family of catgirls.
[x] Any further questions? -[x] Have the Kappa attempted prior fusion/fission projects before? -[x] What is our budget/material constraints?
“What sorts of material constraints am I working under?” You inquire.
The old kappa looks confused for a second, but then catches on. “Ah, right. I've heard that there are many people fighting for resources where you come from. Well, take what you need.”
'What you need'. Best boss ever.
“That's... liberating,” You continue. “How about workers and the like?”
“You think it'll be a huge effort?” He asks, “I was under the impression that it'd be relatively easy.”
You shrug. “I've got no idea, at least until I see it.”
“Well, it'll be up to you to recruit workers if you need them,” he says, “I'm sure you can find some kappa to help you out.”
You grin a bit. You can already imagine that conversation 'Hey, want to work on a fusion reactor?' 'Hell yeah!'
“One more question.”
“Have you guys ever attempted fusion or fission before? The kappa, I mean.”
“We don't have the power of any gods at our disposal,” He says, “So no.”
You almost correct him, but it's fairly accurate to say that you'd need divine intervention for either to be more than a huge waste of time here. Fusion is (well, was) still not really viable in the outside world as an energy source, and Gensokyo isn't exactly well stocked with fissile materials.
“Huh. Well, I think that's all,” you admit, “You said to talk to the folks at the shrine if I had any questions?”
He nods. “That's right.” As if realizing something, he pauses. “Before I forget, there will be a progress meeting in a few months. You three may be heads of the individual projects, but I've been assigned as the... hm,” He pauses once more, “I suppose something like a grand overseer? It's a new position. This is a larger undertaking than we've had before.”
“Well, you know where to find me,” You laugh.
“Indeed. Take care, Bill.”
You give him a nod, and part ways. Hmm. Well, that's that. You think you've got enough to get started on your part, at least.
[ ] Take a stroll over towards where Lumiere was heading. [ ] See what Nitori's up to. [ ] Try to find those other two kappa.
No update today. My professors aren't kidding around this semester, so I'm also going to drop back to every other day for a while and see if that gives me enough time to get everything done. I hate to say it, but writing is pretty low priority.
Update... not sure when. I'll try for one tomorrow.
Consider this my "updates are going to be terribly sporadic from now on" notice. I can probably get some writing in on the weekends, but that's the best I can do until the middle of December (when this semester ends). I underestimated how hard this semester was going to be by a pretty huge amount, so my apologies for starting this and then cutting back so quickly.