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[x] Enjoy the outdoor scenery, and talk to Seo about his talent. It sounds like he doesn't have many friends.
I don't see the harm in sticking around, so I sit down as Wriggle follows. "How long have gotten along with ferals? It's pretty unusual to see them calm around a human," I ask.
"I dunno. I went outside a bit, and I played with what I thought was just a cat. It was only after I came back that I was told it was a feral youkai. Even the wolves seem like puppies around me, though there's been a few fights as some types that are still mean," Seo answers.
Wriggle adds, "I'm reminded of my ability and how insects seem to obey me as if it was nothing. I only started out with fireflies at first, though."
Seo looks at her antennae and smiles. "You're a firefly youkai? No wonder you're cute~." Wriggle blushes, and I wonder what his future with women might hold, particularly youkai.
"You know, you should really show more tact. Even saying things like that can bring trouble, even though Wriggle doesn't mind," I respond.
Wriggle mutters, "I know someone who can take pages out of his book. Youkai girls are going to fall for him hard." I guess she found that charming, though thankfully she didn't mention Kamui out loud.
"You mean like Miss Yams? She's really pretty, soft, and warm," he responds. Miss Yams…? Maybe he’s close friends with Minoriko.
"Oh, do you know Minoriko? I’ve not heard her talk about you very much before," Wriggle says.
"No, not the grape lady; the spider lady from underground! She took care of me when I fell down there," he replies.
“What!? The underground… I heard all sorts of nasty youkai are down there, not to mention the oni." I notice Wriggle's a bit pale in the face.
"S-s-spider?!" She asks nervously.
Seo notices and waves his hand. "No no, she's really friendly. She wouldn't attack you."
I comfort Wriggle and she gradually calms down. We talk for a bit more, and the topic of food comes up. "You two should stop by Nanabi's place sometime. It has very good noodles!"
I haven’t heard of it, but Wriggle seems to recognize the name. "Oh that place! I haven’t been in a while; he's something of a friend to the family. Many of us stop by there when we visit the village. Yuki, we should go today so I can introduce you. He’s already taken me to a few places in the village, like that Bar-Be-Que stand."
"Oh I’ve been there too; it’s good! How about the old man's candy place?"
I nod. "Yep, a couple times. Wriggle likes the honey drops."
Still smiling, he suddenly asks, "Hey, can we be friends?" I’m surprised, but then I realize that he might not really connect with other kids due to this talent.
"Sure, it'd be nice to have a cute little brother, right Yuki?" Wriggle asks, putting me on the spot.
I think for a moment, and decide to go along with it. "Yeah, it shouldn't be a problem if you stop by my house from time to time." My family residence should be easy enough to find.
A shadow moving in the corner of my vision distracts me. Seo seems to notice too, and speaks up. "Oh, my other friend showed up. Hey, Rumia!"
"So she follows you around too, huh? I guess it’s not surprising; from what I’ve heard she's pretty simple minded," Wriggle adds.
The shadow grows into a dark ball that floats towards us, though it shudders after passing too close to the gorund. "Rumia, are you okay?" Seo asks.
"I'm okay, it's not a rock. Oh, lady bug!" a voice says.
Wriggle blinks. "You've heard of me?"
"I know you're related to the flower lady," the ball replies, floating up again. "Hey, is he tasty?"
"He's not for eating, Rumia," Wriggle responds.
She asks, "Is that so~?"
Wriggle looks annoyed as she answers, "Yes, it is so."
Rumia responds, "Okay then~." Wow… Wriggle wasn't kidding.
"How can you tell who we are in that ball?" I ask, curious.
She responds, "I can sort of just… 'see' people, but not trees or rocks. Way better than the light though." She turns to Seo and adds, "Mister Fox was really nice, giving me something to eat for free. I'd pay him back but I don't know how to make money."
"Don't worry about it, I'll find a way to do it," he responds as he fearlessly puts his hand into the ball, apparently patting her head. From the noises she makes I don't think she minds.
The ball spins around and floats off toward the sky. "Bye bye, hope you guys have fun~!"
"She stops by at times, just for a bit," Seo adds. Suddenly his stomach growls, signaling it might be time to head back for food.
"We'll try out Nanabi’s noodle place when we get back, and we can pay for your food if you want, Seo," I remark as we walk.
Entering the village, Seo leads to a store with a sign in front of a fox curled up in a pot. We come in to find someone I’ve never seen before: a strange, blue-haired fox girl. "Oh Wriggle! I’ll let my brother know you’re here; have a look at the menu!" She pushes a few menus towards us before running to the back. Wow, there's a huge selection available here, and some even have a special size available. They’re probably the local's favorites.
"I know what I want," Seo points to the kitsune udon, special sized.
"Hmm, I haven’t tried that yet. Is it good?" Wriggle asks.
"Yeah it's great." I decide to order the same thing; we can try the others later.
An adult seven-tailed fox youkai appears from the kitchen and raises an eyebrow. "Oh. That's why you haven't been coming by. Perfectly understandable. So, what will you order?"
I relay that we’d like three orders of the kitsune udon, and he ducks back into the kitchen as the fox girl returns. She leans near Wriggle on the counter, remarking, "Good job, Wriggle. That one is pretty cute!" Huh? Was she talking about me?!
"How do you know about us?" Wriggle asks.
She shrugs and answers, "It's hard to NOT hear about you two. You’re not very subtle!" She does have a point. "My brother's been a bit busy with the festival coming up as he's going to be having a stand open, figuring warm noodles will be popular in the chilly weather. I even heard that the Prismrivers will perform again." I wonder if their various relationships played a role in that?
"Noodles’ll go great with the fire lady's chicken!" we hear from the kitchen. I wonder if he knows Miss Fujiwara? When he comes back with our orders, I ask, "You know Miss Fujiwara?"
"Well we ran into each other a few times either during my wandering, and when I first started running a stand. She'd be quite pretty if she ever cleaned herself up," he responds.
Wriggle asks, "Wandering?"
"Yeah, when I first arrived in Gensokyo I felt like wandering around. After seeing all the people I got the idea to run a noodle place. I bumped into some interesting characters back then, like the rangers and the hermit. One really took an interest in my stories; if I remember right his name was, ah… Rei, probably," he responds. "The guy's an interesting fellow."
"According to Mother he came by the house one time," Wriggle adds.
"How did you get the idea to start this shop, exactly? Did you try out some good noodles at some point?" I ask, curious.
He answers, "Yeah, it was when I was staying at a small village and the leader had me over for dinner. The dish didn’t seem special, but they were the best I’d ever tasted. Too bad it was just dinner; she was a rather attractive redhead. After that I tried my hand at doing a traveling stand before settling down and opening this place."
We start eating and it turns out to pretty good! He definitely has years of experience in this.
Despite the size of his serving, Seo surprisingly finishes his bowl with more speed than either Wriggle or I can muster. After we finish, Hikari hands me the bill and I pay, leaving a bit of a tip as we get up.
"Thank you, and please come again~" Nanabi says as we leave his restaurant.
Time to take Seo home.
It doesn't take long to get to his house. Seo runs inside as we get closer, likely to wash up. "Thank you two so much for finding him, and for getting along so well! It's the first time in so long he's smiled when coming home," Miss Fujisaki remarks.
"It isn't a problem, ma'am. I told him he’s welcome to stop by our house whenever he wants, if that’s alright with you," I reply.
Wriggle adds, "He'll be in good hands."
"Oh, he’ll be so happy to have friends now! Have a nice day you two," She responds, bowing before going inside.
Now that we’ve dropped Seo off, I think back to what he said about visiting the underground. There’s a few people I could visit to learn more about it, and there’s plenty of time before I have to head home for dinner.
[ ] Lady Akyuu must have records about it.
[ ] My parents might know a few things, and maybe they even saw the entrance firsthand.