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[X] Let's visit the textile district! Ask if anyone wants to follow. (3 votes)
I think I outdid myself.
"Alright! Since we still have some extra time to spend before we go to the hot springs, anyone want to do a trip to the textile district?"
"We'll go." Akyuu and Shinobu are quick to reply. Komachi simply raises her hand while Hafizi, Yuki and Wriggle did the same.
"Are we going, Kazuma?" Merlin asks.
"If you want to go, I'll follow." Kazuma responds, of course, Merlin smiles and nods at him for that.
Alex however declines. "I'll pass for now. Came here on a budget on not to buy clothes."
"You sure you don't need a new yukata before the next Bon Odori?" Rei asks.
Alex shakes his head. "My old one is still serviceable, so unless there's the MARPAT-patterned yukata being sold, I'm bowing out of this."
You shrug in response. "Alright then… What about you, Sarge? Are you coming with us as well?"
"Let's see… Komachi? Do you need me for a second opinion?"
She shakes her head. "I have plenty of second opinion on my side~"
"Welcome to the club, Sarge."
"Sure. We'll wait for you people at the hot springs."
As Alex and Rei leave, you notice Yuugi following them both without a word.
"You're not following us, Yuugi?" You ask.
She turns on her heels to respond to you. "Well… I suppose that I'm done guiding you through the delicious part, I don't really have anything else to show you. Since fancy clothes are not much my thing, I think I'll wait for you guys at the hot springs."
Yuugi then walks off with a wave over her shoulder, following Alex and Rei as they head towards the main attraction, while you lead the rest for the side event.
Once you and your group reach the textile district, everyone present immediately disperses into smaller splinter cells, either alone or in a couple. You remind them that they have an hour before regrouping for the hot springs. With that, they all quickly bolt off to do their scouting, with Yuki being dragged off by Akyuu.
So that leaves you, your mother, Okuu and Orin together. All four of you walk along the streets, looking left and right to find anything attention-grabbing. As with during your journey to the Ancient City, the locals here greet you with cheerfulness, well, except for Hagane, who remains as sour as an old man could be. You keep on leading the girls around, until you reach a familiar store.
"Ah, mom, here." You stop as you spot a familiar store.
"What is it?"
"Let's get you a new kimono from this shop." You tell her.
"Wouldn't that be expensive…?"
You shake your head and respond. "No, that's because I'll be paying."
Orin snickers at you, and tugs your sleeve. "What about us?"
"If you two want to, that is."
The kasha nods understandingly but decides to decline your offer to your astonishment. "Maybe some other time, yes."
"Are you sure? I'm paying for today~" you tease the kasha.
"Mine's still good, thanks." She then points to Okuu. "Why don't you get something for her instead?"
"Me?" The hell raven points to herself.
"Yeah, for you. I know you complained that you've been outgrowing your last kimono that Satori bought for you last time, right?"
"My chest hurt the last time I tried putting it on and tightening the sash…" Okuu whines.
Considering her large bust, you guess it's as good a time to get one for her. "Well, there we go." You say. "We'll see if anything fits. If not, I'll order a new one for you, Okuu." You then enter Kagura's shop with your mother and Okuu, while Orin hangs out outside
As soon as you enter, Kagura notices your presence. "Ah, welcome… Oh? Is that you, Seo?"
"Yup, it's me. I'm getting my mother a new kimono for her today, Mrs. Kagura."
"I see, I see. Come and browse, see if you have anything that you like. If you want to do custom tailoring, I can take measurements and finish it by two weeks."
You nod at the nice old lady. "I'll let you know what I think."
As you browse around Kagura's store, you examine the clothes available. It doesn't take long for your mother to find a pattern to her liking, but Okuu has trouble choosing hers.
"Is something did matter, dear?" Kagura asks.
"I like this pattern, but it's a bit small for me…"
"It's alright; I could make a new one for you. Is it fine by you then, Seo?"
"By all means, yes."
Okuu is obviously very delighted with it, and Kagura gets her measuring tape out. She then leads the hell raven elsewhere with fewer obstructions to work on her measurements. As soon as they are finished, with the latter putting the notes down, you pay for your mother's kimono. True to your previous visit too, it isn't too expensive and she even adds in a gift for you - an extra yukata.
"Thank you for coming today. Come again next week, Seo."
"Will do, Ma'am."
Almost an hour passes, and everyone regroups for the hot springs. Some of them have bags of clothing by their side, while others return with nothing. Alex, Rei and Yuugi are waiting for you at the lounge as you enter, and their conversation stops abruptly as they spot your team.
"Kept you waiting, huh?" You ask Alex.
"Not even an hour passed though, you're good." He says. "I couldn't blame the girls; they don't always get to visit such stores often. What did you buy?"
"Kimono for my mother and Okuu." You reply to Alex.
"I didn't buy anything, maybe next time I suppose." Hafizi replies.
"I got some underwear for Merlin." Kazuma says with a deadpan.
"Maybe a couple of stuff from the stores." Kaede answers. He seems reluctant to be specific.
"Went on a window shopping instead. I swear when I saw this outfit I had the strangest déjà vu." Wriggle says. "I'm pretty sure Yuki knows what it is."
"It's a red varsity jacket, the shopkeeper where we found it at told us." Yuki responds at his name being said.
"Huh, I have no idea about that one." Alex then points at the dressing room behind him. "I think you people need to get ready, Yuugi's getting excited."
"Yeah, I know."
Of course the rest are already on their way to the dressing room to disrobe themselves as you and Alex talk, so by the time you are about to do the same, they are already walking out with towels neatly wrapped around them, ready to soak in the hot springs. As they arrive at the pool, the usual self-washing before entering the hot springs soon follows and those who are already done slip into the water slowly, wading through before sitting down and immersing themselves knee-deep in the water.
"Doesn't anyone have something to talk about? It'd be interesting to hear someone's story once in a while."
"Oh, I do." Alex is quick to reply, even raising his hand.
"Oh, alright. Go ahead."
Alex takes a deep breath. "Okay, here we go… I used to go out with a psycho before the War on Terror. She was great fun, but she was a fucking lunatic."
"How so?" Yuki asks, clearly curious.
"I basically woke up in the middle of the night to feel something… fucking ice cold on my chest." All attention is turned to Alex by this point, clearly intrigued. "What she decided to do in the middle of the night is that she felt horny, so she got an egg out of the fridge and broke it on my chest, thinking that we were gonna have some sexy times."
Everyone broke into laughter, except Yuki and Kazuma, with the latter raising a brow at the story.
"What the hell…" Yuugi mutters her words between fits of laughter.
"It was fucking ice-cold I tell you, and I was all tucked up, all warm and just snoozing away… I was in bliss. I can confirm, guys. I can confirm, it is not sexy."
"So how did she react to that?"
"She got really pissed at me as of course I went… "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU FUCKING LUNATIC?!” And she didn't like that because she was in horny mode and was expecting me to go "Heeeeeey baby. Sexy egg."."
The laughter of amusement continues to echo the hot springs, with you joining as well.
"That was seriously out of the blue." You tell Alex.
"I know right? The 'best' thing is, not even a week into my Iraq deployment, I got a breakup letter from her. The more I think about it, it's good riddance."
"That reminds me. Alex, who was that redhead from the other day?" You ask him.
"Oh? She's a friend of mine. Close but not too close enough to be a girlfriend."
"I kid you not, I can tell you that."
There is a short moment of silence before Yuki goes ahead as the second storyteller. "Well… the first time I met Wriggle was years ago."
"Is it a special boy-meets-bug girl meeting?" Komachi asks.
"It's special in a way… since the first time I met her, I met her naked, while she was taking a bath. Though, she didn't hit me or anything, and we sort of got hooked on each other after that."
Wriggle nods affirmatively. "I still remember that day."
"Ever since I met her, I stopped being a recluse and started to take a real interest in the world a bit more. I've gotten close to Wriggle, and she helped me go through things with our relationship."
"And I can relate to Yuki, getting to know him thankfully helped me to boost confidence in myself, as well as learn how to love my life a bit more with every day with him."
"Well, that's pretty short, but quite sweet." Komachi remarks, with Akyuu nodding in agreement. "Love at first sight at its finest."
"Love at first sight, huh? That reminds me of the time Kazuma and I got together." Merlin says.
"Oh god." Kazuma mutters. From his response, you think that this is gonna be fun to hear.
"Well… it was my turn to spend my time with Kazuma that night. Usually I would be busy with concerts and all that, and all we can do is send letters to each other." She explains. "While we were kissing, I noticed that he was staring at my cleavage, so I showed him all of it, saying that 'all you need to do is ask'~"
"It fits her style, though." Kazuma exclaims, trying to get rid of the blush on his face.
Komachi can be seen patting Rei's back, and you think their meeting was pretty much similar. Of course, with her breasts now out of the water, it's pretty hard to not stare.
"If it makes him happy, it makes me happy." Merlin says. "And it comes in various ways as well~"
"You mean in various lewd ways." You tell her.
"Exactly~ that also means a special massage for him every time he wakes up in the morning as well~" From here, you can see Okuu and Orin looking interested. They might have taken mental notes already.
"You're giving the other girls ideas." Kazuma points out.
Of course, the poltergeist only giggles in response. "If anyone wants, I could teach you girls what it is!" She ends her sentence with a wink at the end.
"Oho, I know what it is, so I'll pass." Komachi says.
"Well, you are more than suitable, so of course you would know it so well, Miss Komachi."
"The world is sure small, eh, Kazuma?" Kaede says.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you ARE in a relationship with a crow tengu, which is above us two in hierarchy." Hiiragi explains for Kaede.
"While we are on the topic, don't you have anyone close, like a girlfriend, Kaede? A special someone, perhaps?" Merlin asks.
Your half-brother scratches his cheek as hesitates to answer Merlin's question. "Well, in fact, I DO have a special someone… it's Nitori."
"…oh? I didn't know you and Nitori get along so well."
He shrugs his shoulders. "Honestly, I hate my patrol rounds, so instead of napping my hours away, there are times that I decide to pay her a visit and help her in whatever she needs."
"Does her being needy in bed count?" Hiiragi asks.
"Obviously. I didn't even ask her for something like that, it's just her way of saying thanks." He says. "Like Merlin's method, if it makes her happy, then I am happy as well."
Hearing that, Merlin chuckles and claps her hands merrily. "That' good of you. Keep it up~"
"Alright, my turn. How many of you here have read my book, Wintry Steam?" Being honest, you, Yuki and Wriggle raise your hands for the Child of Miare to see. "I have a confession to make."
"What is it?" Yuki asks, but you know where this is going.
"I… modeled the main character off myself. And… well… the main character's love interest is based off Yuki."
And to your surprise, it seems that Yuki was completely caught off-guard by the revelation. "Wait… really now?"
"I knew that it was based off you at a glance, how come you didn't see it?" You ask Yuki.
"I don't even know."
"It doesn't matter; the element of surprise is still there." Alex snickers.
"Well, other than that… Shinobu, do you have anything else to tell?" Akyuu asks her companion. "I know you have a lot of interesting stories."
"It doesn't have to be a love story though."
"Says the one who started it." You mutter.
"It was not a love story, I tell you. It's a story how my ex tried so hard to be sexy and failed." Alex retorts.
"Well, if that's the case…" Shinobu starts rubbing the scars on her body, perhaps she has an idea what to tell. "Before I worked as Akyuu's maid, I was a bodyguard and a warrior. I'm mostly efficient with a sword, and back in the days, I would get into lots of confrontations. I was also always on the move, traveling and such. I got these scars from those confrontations and the usual challengers who thought they could beat me since I am woman. They were always proven wrong."
Alex whistles. "Ah, so you're quite a tough cookie."
"So what made you quit the warrior thing then?" Yuugi asks.
She takes a deep breath before resuming. "Instead of always being a traveler, I wanted to be a part of the village life. I had a failed business idea once and then I asked the Hieda family if they are looking for a maid or a bodyguard. They said yes to both, and… well… the rest is history."
"Last one on the line… Rei… you're up." Komachi calls out for the last person who hasn't participated in the storytelling.
Of course, he grumbles at his name being mentioned. "Do I have to?"
"Or do you want me to tell them about how we met?"
"Fine, I'll go with that." Before he starts, Komachi sits behind Rei and rests his head on her chest so that he can think clearly. "So… there was this one time before I started the SDMGD, I was in a bar with Meiling and Komachi was there. She caught me staring at her chest like most of you people do and Meiling pushed me into her chest out of mischievousness. So when I got off from her Komachi was all giggles and stuff, and Meiling left the two of us alone to spend some time together." Rei explains, with the ferrywoman smiling behind him.
"Oh yes, it was quite fun."
"Yes it is. Though, we rarely get to see each other since she has to work away from me, so Komachi played the matchmaker and hooked me up with a couple of girls, One of them is Kagerou, you know, that loup-garou? I was going to invite her here, but she's not free." Rei explains.
"What's she doing?" Akyuu asks.
"Tending her kids, obviously." Komachi drops the bombshell.
"…wait, you two have kids already?" Kazuma suddenly seem surprised.
"That explains why Mokou got really annoyed when I first met him at Mokou's yakitori stall." Yuki says.
"I know she confronted me about it, but there's nothing I can do about it."
"Then again, beasts in the heat of passion aren't really known for their silence." There is a slight pause before a snicker can be heard from Alex before he starts calling out. "Ooooooooooooh~"
"Ooooooooooooh~" Yuugi soon follows suit. "Naughty wolf~"
"Mmmn! Self five." Alex claps his hands together, feeling self-satisfied for his snark.
"Shut up, kids." Rei snap at them. "I'll send out Chompy and Bitey over you, Alex."
"…I was just joking!"
"You call your kids that? Those are some peculiar names." Merlin asks.
Rei laughs a little and shakes his head. "No, it's Alex's nickname for them. It’s mostly because their first meeting meant really chompy time on him. One bit him in the thigh, the other bit his arse."
Now it's the group's turn to laugh at Alex.
"Shut up, it's not funny. They think I'm tasty but they didn't target Seo first."
"That's because Seo was out of range before they got to him. The schadenfreude was high that day." Rei grins smugly at Alex.
"He was standing right beside me! Out of range my arse!"
"You should know that Seo isn't exactly a threat to them."
While everyone else is laughing and chatting you realize that something is off. Mainly, two people are missing from the group. "By the way, has anyone seen Erin?"
"He's hanging out with Hafizi."
After the socializing session, everyone else disperses with their groups to have some time to relax. You and Yuki stick together in a different pool, so that you can discuss with Yuki more.
"So what's that again, Akyuu wants to reward me for the other day's incident?"
"Yeah, as a token of gratitude, she would like to give two kinds of rewards to you. A favor done for you and some sum amount of money she's not telling." Yuki explains.
You nod at him, as soon as he mentions a favor, and something quickly pops up in your mind. "Ah, I suppose I could accept it."
"You have something on your mind, Seo?"
You nod to Yuki as an affirmative. "For the favor part… I suppose I could ask her for my parent's house to be rebuilt where it was before. I hope that's not too much."
"Ah, yeah… about your house… I'm pretty sure she can handle that. It's not really a big favor for her, and considering what happened with your house back then…"
"Yeah, I won't be really asking Akyuu to fund a building exactly like it was before, but I'd rather have my parents and siblings to have a comfortable house for them once more than having them sleep in the shop."
"I agree. I'll tell Akyuu about it when I see her in a bit."
"Tell her that I said my thanks."
While you lean back and relax, you hear somebody approach your spot. A few seconds pass, and you see Yamame appearing from behind the rocks, with a small towel covering her chest, belly and between her legs.
"Hello, boys." Yamame greets you and Yuki as soon as she sees the two of you together.
"I didn't expect you to show up here with a lot of people with you. What's the occasion?" She asks as she sinks down to her chest and leans back.
"Satori proposed the idea of dining and hot springs. I just asked people to come over."
"Ah, I see. So I take it that Yuugi showed you around places again?"
"Yeah, she did. We ended up with a roasted whole lamb in the end."
"Cool." Yamame then focuses on Yuki next. "So, where's your girlfriend?"
"Wriggle's with Akyuu right now, maybe some girl-on-girl talk is in order, like what we are doing right now. We're just chilling off at the moment." Yuki explains.
"That's good. I gotta relax as well, so many people at my shop just now."
"Ah, I see…"
After another moment of silence, Hafizi walks past your group. He however stops and turns around before sinking down next to Yuki.
"Oh, there you are, Hafizi."
"Yeah, I was hanging out with the new guy. Your group is a little noisy just now. Mind if I join you guys?"
"You wouldn't like the general theme of that discussion anyway. Anyways, take a dip."
"About everyone's love life?"
"Not everyone. Alex has the sexy egg story, Shinobu has her past." You tell him.
"Oh, I see. I don't think I have much to add to that though." There is a pause before Hafizi suddenly becomes intrigued with the former story. "Wait, sexy egg story? Can you retell that for me?"
Yamame chuckles when Hafizi mentioned that. "Now I wanna hear it too."
"Okay then… let me remember it again."
---(( Hitomi Fujisaki ))---
While Seo and his friends continue to converse with each other, you and Satori - who prefers to stick around in privacy - take a more secluded place to relax.
"How is your stay so far, Miss Hitomi?" Satori begins her conversation with a question.
"Mmmn… it's quite superb I say. Thanks for letting me stay at your palace, Satori."
"You're welcome. After what happened, I feel obliged to let you have a place to stay for the moment. I would have invited the rest of your family but it was a quick decision."
You chuckles and shakes your head. "My family would understand, but I heard from Eirin that my husband told me to stick with Seo, just in case anything happens again. Besides, he's doing a good job from what I see."
"Despite what he did in front of you when you got kidnapped?"
You shake your head. "I know that person crossed the line first, so it's only fair that Seo returned the favor, even though it looks like he took it personally." You say, wincing as you remember the stab to your side. "It feels weird but it's a good thing the wound's already healed up. Eirin really does her job well."
"Indeed she does."
Both of you stay quiet for a bit more, before you decide to break it.
"So… your girls really like Seo, don't they?"
"Yes, they do."
"From the way I see it, they are quite close, they might even be lovers, right?"
"How'd you know?"
"Mmmm… motherly instincts I suppose? Your girls are so close to him and acting as if they were lovers, it's quite obvious too."
"Are you not happy about it?" She asks with concern.
You shake your head at Satori's question before following with a more verbal reply. "Not really. I am glad he found good companions. All I wanted to see when he was still little was someone he could talk to, instead of animal friends." You chuckle to yourself, remembering the past. "I remember that Yukikaki was the first actual person he befriended ever since I asked him to find Seo for me."
"Ahh, I see."
"And speaking of Seo… I think I've seen weird things about him ever since that kidnapping incident where I got involved." You tell Satori. "Right after I got stabbed in the side, I saw Seo suddenly grow wings. It stayed as I tried to stay awake but when I woke up, the wings were gone but I swear I saw them. What could it mean?"
Satori takes a long, deep breath before she exhales and explains. "Seo is slowly turning into a youkai, not from a bad influence, but because his ancestor's blood in him is being awakened. I am not sure when it started, but I suppose when he started taking flight lesson with Yukikaki and Wriggle that it started to show."
"It appears that either you or your husband's ancestors have married a tengu in the past, and I'm pretty sure him mixing around with his youkai friends has its effect as well."
You nod slowly. "My husband did marry a tengu in the past, and the only result of their marriage was Hiiragi."
"So it was passed to him, before he married you and Seo inherited it as a result, then."
"Aside from that, I see that you don't mind staying close to a mind reader?" Satori asks.
"…I didn't realize you were one… but its fine for me."
"Well, I guess I can see where Seo's trait is coming from."
Of course, you chuckle at her statement. It's not like you have anything to hide from her in the first place.
---(( Seo Fujisaki, Palace of the Earth Spirits )) ---
After all that soaking in the hot springs, everyone is invited for a drink indoors. Needless to say, a number of people ended up being drunk, while the rest barely even finished a bottle. Notable exceptions include your mother and Hafizi, who don't drink at all. Merlin however went overboard with the drinking, and surprisingly for a poltergeist, she got drunk. She even attempted to strip but Kazuma quickly stopped her. Yuugi decided to be a sport and escort you and your group back to the palace with Alex over her shoulder, and Erin on the other side. Once she's there, she even takes the chance to plop both Alex and Erin in their rooms.
The one-horned oni then leaves the palace, finally giving everyone a good time to rest.
When next morning comes, those two notably wake up with a hangover, requiring you to escort them downstairs to the dining room for breakfast. Those who are their own couples however seem to look a lot fresher than anyone else present at the table, for some odd reasons.
"You people seem to look quite energized, something happened last night, didn't it?" Satori asks as she walks past the table occupants.
"Something riled up all three of them." Yuki says as Wriggle and Shinobu look embarrassed. Akyuu in contrast, looks pretty satisfied.
"I know what you mean. How was the cushion, Sarge?"
"Fuck off, Alex." Rei replies. Apparently someone needs some coffee.
Komachi pats Rei's back and smiles at Alex. "Don't worry; he's always grumpy in mornings like this."
"Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight." Alex replies with a trail.
Breakfast, however, was completely uneventful aside from the early conversation.
After breakfast, you asked the men to gather up at the table, while Satori and her pets wash the dishes.
"So, what do you need us for, Seo?"
"Okay, my question first, sir. What happened to the castle you and Alex were sniping from?"
"I assumed that it was unpopulated for now after we evacuated the charmed villagers. Why?"
"Someone warned me about there being a possibility that the castle might be reused for nefarious purposes again."
Rei is obviously intrigued as he raised a brow. "But how? I thought Reimu had already sealed the offender."
"Allow me to explain then."
Everyone's attention quickly turns towards a familiar voice, clearly in surprise. Satori lack similar sentiments however "Seo…? Your mom…" Yuki speaks out.
"I know." You reply.
In short, your mother, currently being possessed by the spirit you encountered before explains everything to everyone present at the table. Again, she tells the same thing she told you earlier before, and Satori stares on until she's finished explaining. The mindreader's nod of acknowledgement at the end means that it was all true however, and you rest your case afterwards.
"Is everything clear so far?" She asks.
"Yeah, looks like we should do a demo job. We'll be packed with enough explosives to send Lady Liberty into orbit."
"What's Lady Liberty?" You ask.
"Outside World thing."
"With that said, aside from the SDMGD, anyone willing to join us?"
"I'm afraid I have to decline on participating, I don't really care for combat out of saving, defending, and such." Yuki declines.
"I would join, might even bring a few friends who have experiences in what some call 'mobile armor'." Kazuma says.
"Mobile armor? As in tanks?" Alex asks.
"Yes." Kazuma replies simply.
Hearing that, Alex claps his hands together and raises them above his head. "Please, let it be the Abrams. And let me drive it."
"What are you doing?"
Alex only opens an eye to Rei's direction. "If there's a tank, there should be one."
"Hafizi, I'm thinking of inviting you as well. Are you coming along for the ride?"
There is some small deliberation while Hafizi racks up his mind for an answer. Eventually, he settles with a much simpler "…yes."
"Good answer. Seo, it's time to designate what we have for roles. We'll roll out when your leave expires the day after tomorrow."
"In the meantime, Sarge, I think we should think of some close air support." Alex states
"Oh, right. That, I would leave it to Seo, if he wants a different person in mind. We're talking about air superiority here, by the way." Rei says.
Huh. This reminds you of a familiar dream...
Pick your Close Air Support.
[ ] Ask Remilia if she or Flandre is available. Better if both does. (Night Raid)
[ ] Ask Okuu for this role. (Day Raid)