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[c] Ask them to stay.
[c] Ask them what’s taken place in your absence.
[c] Ask Sanae if Kaguya’s doing alright.
“Uhh… guys, you don’t mind if you two stay here for a while, do you?” you ask. “I need to ask both of you what’s happened in my absence.” You try sitting up, being helped by Nitori as she assists you in correcting your posture. “That’s much better. Thanks.”
“I don’t see any problem with it,” Nitori says and sits down beside you. “So! What kind of story you want to hear from us?”
“Us? You mean I have to tell him what’s going on, too?” Sanae asks.
“Hey, you’re involved, too,” Nitori replies. “Well, partially, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take responsibility.”
“I… oh, alright,” Sanae sighs in defeat and sits beside the kappa. “But where should we start?”
“Right from when he fainted?” Nitori suggests.
“Oh, alright then.” She lets out a small cough before she continues. “Like Nitori has mentioned earlier, your… squad went into a fit of rage moments after you fell unconscious. It took Miss Reimu and Miss Suwako a great deal of effort just to convince them everything was under control.”
“That bad?” you ask.
“Well, if you take three mad rabbits, an angry umbrella and a pissed immortal into account,” Nitori answers.
“At least Miss Reimu got them restrained,” Sanae adds. “God knows what will happen if they start an armed rebellion, since they got a Soviet officer as their…” The green miko shudders at the thought. “I’m sorry. I should be more careful with my mouth.”
“I don’t think he minds being called a revolutionary leader,” Nitori jokes.
“That’s all?” You’re curious, since you’d expect the commotion would lead to more.
“There’s Yukari,” Nitori points. “Man, you should be lucky to not stand in her way. She was pissed, like, was too pissed that her pissed eyes could pierce through the mountain.” You do hope this kappa is joking about Yukari being pissed.
“She was angry,” you say.
“Pretty much,” Nitori shrugs. “She was like ‘I’m cool, there’s nothing I can do to prevent a soldier and a war god from duking it out’ but I can tell from the way she was watching the duel.” She leans in and whispers to your ear: “I think she was really upset with the outcome of the battle, since she really wanted to see you winning it.”
“Why would she?” you ask.
“I don’t know, and she wouldn’t even let anyone know, too,” the kappa answers. “Well, I think she did speak to that ghost princess, but I couldn’t tell.”
“What happened to Kanako afterward?” you ask Sanae.
“She… she got reprimanded by Lady Suwako for interfering,” Sanae answers. “And by Miss Reimu for almost instigating another incident.” She giggles rather timidly. “I didn’t think I’d ever see Miss Kanako acting so childishly when those two were lecturing her. Oh, speaking of Miss Reimu, she said she wants to see you in person after you get better.”
“Why, if I may ask?” you inquire.
“I have no idea, to be honest,” Sanae answers. “But I believe it has to do with your spellcard abilities.” She puts her finger under her chin and gazes into the ceiling, almost as if she’s entering thinking mode. “Yeah, I think that’s what she told me.”
“I’ll think of it.” You groan when you feel your chest tightening, and Nitori is quick to give your back a few pats. “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
“Man, I really envy you,” Nitori says as she proceeds to massage your stiff shoulders. “You’ve got yourself a dedicated team, and that’s not something you’d see often in Gensokyo.”
Somehow you can feel a tinge of pride budding inside of you. “If it isn’t for them, I’d still be crawling in this strange land blinded,” you speak. “I trust them as much as they trust me. That is the essence of the Soviet Red Army.”
“You’re still talking about it,” Sanae speaks. “Even when you know they cease to exist?” At the mention of ‘cease’ both of you turn to the shrine maiden, who is quick to establish her ground. “But this is year two-thousand-nine. USSR dissolved, like, two decades ago.”
“Still letting common sense getting the better of you, eh?” Nitori remarks. “But Sanae, look at him!” The kappa gives your shoulder a hard slap. “So long as this man lives the spirit of the Soviet Union shall live on! Am I right, captain?” Now where have you heard that remark before?
“Right.” You cough once, not wanting to see the conversation heading to another direction. “How is Kaguya doing, by the way? I assume she’s dead worried over me right now.”
“If you want to see her, I’m afraid…” Sanae trails off. “Let’s just say the princess needs to be left in privacy until she… cools off.” That’s a letdown; you wish you could consult her and apologize to her for the fuss you created.
“Too bad for you, eh?” Nitori speaks. “Because I for one surely want to root for you and the princess.” You look back at the kappa, who looks just as less amused as Sanae is. “Come on, captain! That girl likes you very much! You’d think she’d lead your squad into a rage without a reason, wouldn’t you?”
“As much as I hate to admit, Nitori really has the point,” Sanae says. “Even Miss Reimu agreed that Miss Kaguya has taken the liking in you.”
You find yourself at the centre of attention. You really want to avoid discussing about your feeling toward Kaguya, but Sanae and Nitori don’t seem to let you escape with it. “Oh, you’ve woken up already.” The three of you turn to the door and see Suwako standing there with arms folded. Thank goodness she shows up! “I was thinking to let you stay here for a night, but I guess there’s no need for that. Can you walk?”
“Yes, I think so.” You try getting up on your feet with great struggle, but you’re eventually standing upright. “Thanks for the concern.”
“Good. Follow me,” Suwako states. “Sanae, Nitori, you may come with us.” The three of you look among one another in uncertainty, and this causes the frog goddess to fume. “Why the hesitation? Your squad is already awaiting at the outside. They’re eager to see you back, you know.”
“At least you should let me dress up properly,” you utter.
“Right,” Suwako sneers. “Oh, I think I have something nice for you to wear. Wait here.” She leaves and reappears not a moment too soon, carrying a set of clothes in her arms. “Got this as an offering in the 1900s. I reckon it will look just as good on you just as it was to them.”
“Miss Suwako, isn’t that the kimono you showed me months ago?” Sanae asks.
Suwako laughs. “I know, Sanae, I know! My taste for fashion may be way too outdated, but seeing you fight valiantly back there reminds me of someone I had met a long time ago,” she speaks and puts the clothes in your arms. “Now, why don’t we all stay out and wait for him to dress up?”
It lasted over half an hour. You had problems adjusting yourself to the old clothes, more so since Suwako claimed it belonged to a famous swordsman who lived during the Meiji Era. You looked awfully funny in the kimono when you looked in the mirror, too. Having been dressed up as high-ranked army general, Shaolin monk, vampire hunter and assassin, you can’t help wondering if everyone you met so far has the intention of using you as their walking fashion model…
A few minutes later you walk out of the room to be greeted with a delighted smile from Suwako. “Told you it would fit, right?” she utters. “You’re missing the swords, though, but I don’t think that matters right now, right?”
“Can’t say anything about it, to be honest,” you shrug.
Suwako notions at you to follow her, so you and your companions follow the goddess to the outside. There you can see your squad gathering under the gate, talking to Kanako about something you wish you don’t have to know. At least Kaguya looks fine from up here, and she even sports her feisty smile as usual (though that may probably be a facade to cover her inner turmoil).
The snake goddess leaves them and heads back to the shrine when she stumbles across you. A shocked, followed by amused, look is present in her eyes when she sees you in the new outfit. “Don’t tell me Suwako made you wear this old uniform,” she utters.
“If it serves its purpose, why not?” Suwako answers before you can.
“Bah, I’m heading in,” Kanako speaks and walks into the building. “I swear to myself I need to get down and hibernate this winter.”
Suwako, her shrine maiden and the kappa escort you back to your squad. “Yuri! Thank god you’re alright,” Kaguya exclaims as she approaches you.
“Captain! You’re fine, aren’t you?” Kogasa and Tatyana ask. “And… what’s up with that outfit?”
“I see our captain here is pursuing the career of a part-time fashion model,” Tewi says. “Yeah, I’m totally fine with it.”
“You should get back to Eientei,” Suwako reminds you. “The longer we keep you held up, the longer it will affect our alliance with Eientei.”
“I know,” you speak. “And I’m… sorry for not able to settle our score properly.”
Suwako laughs. “You’re still worried about that? Oh, boy; that calls for a proper rematch in the future,” she says as she fixes the hat. “But I see what you mean; I too hate it when some slithering snake decides to interrupt my fun time.”
“I heard that!” Kanako shouts from behind the paper door.
“Oh, before you go back.” Suwako notions at Sanae and you watch in intrigue as the shrine maiden heads into the main building and returns with a fedora. “This will complement the samurai outfit like a pie,” she says. “Take it. Consider it a gift from this native goddess.”
You take the hat. “…thanks. It’s rather strange that I’d get… clothes and hat rather than ‘exotic’ treasure, but I appreciate it nonetheless.” You put the hat on,
“We better leave,” Tewi utters as she holsters the PPSh-41 on her shoulder. “I’m getting sick of this place’s atmosphere already.”
“Can we go now, captain?” Kogasa asks. “And I think I need to go back to Myouren Temple before dinner, too.”
You nod. “Yeah, I guess we should.” You turn to Kaguya. “Do you need to do anything else before we go?”
She shakes her head. “N-no, I’m fine. Please, lead the way.”
You turn back to Suwako and Sanae. With a quick salute you bid them farewell and walk down the stairways.
Having sent Kogasa to the Myouren Temple (and earned endless gratitude from the occupants) you and your squad arrive at Eientei. There was nothing to be spoken about during the return trip, and the atmosphere that enveloped everyone in the team was especially dull. Even Tatyana’s effort to lighten up the mood didn’t seem to work well, and Heaven knows if this was because of the vicious battle you and Kanako had fought.
“Well, if it isn’t the band of soldiers,” Eirin speaks as she greets you at the courtyard. “Welcome home, everyone. Had fun walking around the countryside?”
“We were, Miss Eirin,” Reisen utters.
“Would’ve been a lot more fun if you decided to join us,” Tewi adds.
“I know, Tewi, and I’m sorry for not spending more time with you guys.” Eirin furrows her eyebrows, as if she notices something amiss. It doesn’t take long before she chortles. “My, my~ what had you done to Kaguya?” she asks. “Didn’t I tell you not to turn a woman into succubus, Yuri? It’s dangerous for your own health~” she says. What the hell is she talking of, and what’s up with that playful grin?
“Cut that out, Eirin,” Kaguya interjects. “It was not by my own choice that I was given these clothes to wear.”
“But Big Sis, Kaguya looks cool in the succubus cosplay!” Somehow Tewi decides to play along with Eirin. “Too bad Big Bro only got one succubus dress to give, because I wanted to join rank with her.”
“Now, now, Tewi, I’m sure you’ll get yours in the future,” Eirin assures the earth rabbit.
“What’s for dinner? I’m hungry already!” Tatyana moans. “We haven’t eaten anything since we dropped by at the shrine!”
“We haven’t prepared the meals yet,” Eirin informs. “Of course, Mariel is at the kitchen as we speak, so my argument is invalid. Maybe she has cooked something in advance.”
“Yeah, a quick course won’t be detrimental to our health,” Tewi answers.
“I’m going back to my room. Inaba, please help me.” Kaguya heads back into the mansion with Reisen quickly following her footsteps. Tewi gives you a deadpan face before she grins and heads to the kitchen; Tatyana decides to follow her earth rabbit compatriot, leaving you at the courtyard with Eirin.
“Anyway… succubus? I assume you and the princess visited the scarlet devil’s mansion, yes?” Eirin asks.
“Well, yeah,” you answer. “it was the little devil’s idea to have Kaguya dress up as her, though. No idea why.”
“At least the princess had worn something other than her royal dress,” Eirin points. “And you seem to have your own fun trying new clothes. Never expected to see this coming from a Russian, to be honest.”
You grin sheepishly. “Not by my choice, actually,” you answer as you scratch the back of your head. “I get this feeling that everyone’s looking up at me as their mannequin.”
“That’s unfortunate for you,” Eirin speaks. “Because I’m certain you could learn some social skills from everyone here.”
“I can only hope so,” you sigh and sit near the pond.
“What’s wrong, Mister Ivanov?” Eirin asks. “This was your day out with the princess. At least that ought to make you happy.”
“I tried,” you answer and take off the fedora. “Things didn’t go as I had originally thought. Well, since it involved Kaguya more than anyone else.”
The pharmacist sits beside you. “What do you have in your mind?” she asks. “If you’re willing to let me know, I’ll be grateful to help you. If you don’t, well, it’s your loss.”
[ ] Write-in. Feel free to reflect what you have gone through along the day.
+ Kaguya (still dressed up in Koakuma’s outfit)
+ Meiji-era kimono (given by Suwako)
+ Fedora (given by Suwako)
+ Lucky charm
+ Date: November 3rd
+ Time: 1815 hours
+ Location: Eientei
I know the write-in for this one will take a few days to come out, so I'll leave the voting open for now until I decide which write-win wins my interest.