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[x] Wake her up gently
Darker thoughts were purged, and I probably let a once-in-a-lifetime chance slip by. But well, it might be better this way. Who knew what kind of flood of events I might have triggered.
Still, waking her up gently wasn't any easier. Sure she looked defenseless. Sure she looked particularly peaceful and happy. But that was just the thing. I had seen her 'wake up' in the mornings. And it wasn't so much a waking up as resurrection. She slept deeply and when she was up she would behave like one of the decaying monsters back from the dead that grandma used to tell me about. Unpredictable and possibly violent.
Then there was the fact that she looked, well... kind of adorable like that. I found myself thinking that I wouldn't mind lying there with her curled up against me, wasting the afternoon in idleness. The horns would be an issue, but I'd find a way to work around that.
I had something I had to find out though, so that was out of the question. I sighed, the sound carried more than I would have liked it to. I had to do this right, and so I began to look for the best way to wake her up. I stood by her side and shook her gently.
“...” She didn't react much – I thought for a moment that her tranquil breathing had raised in pitch, but it was probably just my ears playing tricks on me. I didn't dare to shake any harder, fearing that it would be too violent.
I tried something of a slightly different approach. I sat by her head and briefly admired her girlish ribbons and random decorations that were utterly at odds with her personality when she was awake. Then I began to stroke her long flaxen hair, in gentle but determined strokes. For someone who spent so much time running, playing, not to mention drinking heavily, her hair was surprisingly soft and shiny. It'd make many a girl in the village jealous, that much I knew from time spent with my aunt's friends as a child.
“Hey, wake up Suika.” I spoke to her, not letting up with my hand motion. To my delight, it had some effect. She purred, an even more complacent expression began to form on her face. Good, I thought. I continued to speak, feeling like I was drawing her back from the border of the land of sleep. I stepped up my game, circling my fingers around her horns, teasing the protrusions slightly.
“Mmnn...” She began to stir now, and I thought I almost had her.
“If you don't wake up, I'll stop.” As if to prove that I wasn't bluffing, I stopped my hand for a moment.
“Hynyaaa~” On cue, her eyes opened, revealing the ultimate expression of laziness. “Don't stop~”
“Good, you're awake.” I smiled at her patiently.
“Good morning lover boy. Last night was wonderful~” She smiled, her eyes lighting up in memory of some... sort... of...
“I have no idea what you're talking about.” Even though I said that, I felt myself blushing slightly. “Stop making things up.”
“My, you're moody after the deed is done. Can't you at least give me a good morning kiss?” She closed her eyes and puckered her lips.
I actually thought about kissing her then.
“Nyahaha~” She suddenly sat up, turning around to face me in one swift motion. “You're the same as Reimu, no imagination for these things.”
“I think that's a good thing.”
“It's bo~ring~ though.” She let out a yawn and rubbed her eyes. It shouldn't have come to me as a surprise, but she took a swig from her gourd as soon as she was able to. “So, come to play with me? You're too good at hide and seek though, so let me train some more before we try again.”
I took it that she meant my hiding away from her.
“Not really. I need your help.”
“Oh, help?” She nodded to herself, as if accepting that this was some sort of sacred mission. “Anything for my Arc. If you tell me to drink twenty bottles of sake, I will. If you tell me to drink thirty bottles of-”
“It's not about alcohol, you know.”
“It doesn't matter,” She continues, unfazed, “if you told me to destroy a mountain with my bare hands, I'd do it gladly-”
“Can you just let me tell you what I want?”
“You didn't like my speech?” Dejected, she took another swig from her gourd.
“It's not that. I'm looking for Reimu, do you know where she is?”
“Oh, of course I do. Sorta.”
“Sorta? What's that supposed to mean?”
“Ehm.” She cleared her throat. “I was taking a nap in front of the shrine after a lively night,” I deduced that meant she passed out and was lying there, “and sometime in the morning Reimu came out and stumbled over me, cursing. Apparently she didn't see me lying there. She left without apologizing too.”
I waited for her to continue.
“Well, I went back to sleep and then woke up and moved in here. That's it.”
“That doesn't explain where she is at all though.” I tried not to sound too disappointed.
“Ah, there's the thing.” She stretches her arms, lazily grasping out in several directions. “I remember her saying something to me, like I should keep watch over the shrine or something today. Something about an 'incident' and her having to 'intervene'. Can't remember much else.”
“...I have no idea what that means.”
“It means that you're all mine today!” She lept in a way not fitting for someone who had just woken up. Her arms clamped around my back tightly, and I was once again reminded of the immense power that was stored in her minute frame.
I felt the wind knocked out of me cleanly. I had to wait until she let up in order to breath again.
“...I really can't.” I told her directly. “You know I like spending time with you, but I really need to go see Reimu. It's important.”
“Hm...” She looked at me with a puzzled look. And left the room abruptly without even saying a work. I sat around, confused as to what had just happened. I had no idea where Reimu was, and was without any leads at all. I felt like a fool for having expected to just come to the shrine and get things sorted.
“Shall we get going then?” I looked at the door in surprise. Suika had come back, dressed differently. She was wearing a strange sort of beige cap with a checkered pattern, sort of flat and with a brim on the front and a smaller on the back. A coat of the same color as the beige of the cap, totally unfit for the weather was donned smartly over her normal clothes. And to top it all off, she had something that looked like some sort of short kiseru in her hand, but it wasn't lit.
“Huh?” That was all I could muster. I had no idea what this was all about.
“To find Reimu, of course. You should have been able to deduce at least that much.”
“I don't understand.”
“And that's why you're still my assistant.” She let out an over-embellished and fake sigh and brought the unlit pipe to her mouth. “There's a mystery here, and it's up to us, my superior intellect, and your boyish good luck combined to solve it. Get with the program.”
I had never been so lost before in my life. The clothes, the manner of speaking, the strange sobriety – it was all too much. But it seemed like she wanted to help me.
“As the resident genius and detective, I've come up with several possible leads. Since this case concerns you, my dear assistant, I thought that maybe your instincts and luck would help us stumble upon our goal easily.”
“In short, I'm letting you choose where to start.”
She explained that she knew of a couple of places where Reimu might be. Or at the very least, where they could tell us where she was. And apparently, being something of a lucky item (I don't understand how she came to that conclusion) I had to choose where to go.
 The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is
 That other shrine sounded too shady to pass up
 Meet with Suika's underground contact
 Investigate the shrine more thoroughly and leave it at that