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Sorry for the massive delay, but there's a very good reason for it; this post is huge. Might be the biggest post I've ever made, so this one I hope you guys most certainly enjoy, as it took a lot of time and effort to write up. (For me at least)
This update is devoted to Keine, and if you're a Keine fan, then this update is for you. Hopefully when this story ends, which I can assure you is somewhat close, I can output something of this size as well, if not larger.
>Ask about her friend
>Ask about Momizi
No matter how much you try to bring yourself away from it, your curiosity gets the better of you. Maybe you have just a little bit of affection for Keine that wants to protect her, because this woman just strikes you as no good, like a delinquent. Totally not the kind of friends Keine would normally hang around.
"Well...first things first, maybe you should introduce us..." Keine gives you a difficult look before sighing, realizing there's no easy way she's getting out of this.
"Alright then. Satoshi, this is a friend of mine, Mokou Fujiwara. Mokou, this is a former student of mine, Satoshi." All the silver haired woman does is give you a rather uncomfortable looking grin.
"'Ey there. Former student huh? Teacher's pet when you were smaller?" You don't like the style of this woman. At all.
"No, I just happened to stay acquainted with Keine after I graduated." Mokou seems genuinely intrigued by this notion.
"Whaaat? Really now? That's weird if I say so myself."
"M-Mokou, it is not that strange...is it?" Keine started out sternly but it ended with a little bit of a meek tone to it. Mokou just looks back at her plainly.
"Most of the time you try to keep from having personal relationships from your students, right? It's not often someone gets past that." Eh? You're not sure what's being talked about here, but it's definitely sounding weird to you now.
"Ah, I suppose you're right, but please do refrain from saying such things in front of one..." Keine looks back at you with a bit of a nervous expression. You don't think you could really continue the conversation as it is, since you know Keine wouldn't want to talk about it. Having her friend here probably would make things worse for her, so you'll have to talk to her about that later.
"...well, Keine. The reason why I came here was because..." You take a quick glance over at Momizi before continuing, showing that she's wearing a rather serious face. "Momizi has something important she wanted to talk to you about." Keine looks over curiously at Momizi, who promptly gives a quick bow.
"Let me start off with a quick apology about our last meeting. I might have acted a little improperly in reaction to some things..."
"Ah, no, please, I should be the one apologizing. Saying such things in front of someone from such a heritage, that's not very good for someone of my standing." Keine says back at Momizi, dismissing the last meeting the two had. "What was it you needed to talk about though? It's very odd..."
"For a tengu guard like me to talk to an outsider like this? Yes, I agree. Truth is, there are many things I agree with you." You can't help but be a little surprised by Momizi's serious tone, as if she's talking to an important business partner. It's so radically different from how you're used to her. Is this the Momizi the tengu often see? "The white wolf tengu recently held the ritual for the traditional mating ceremony. You may already be aware of it." Keine nods a bit, but she appears to be a tad impatient.
"Yes, I am. Can you please get to the point though?" Momizi closes her eyes, continuing her sober tone.
"I am standing before you now because I had recalled that you were a teacher, a history teacher at that...am I correct?" Keine just narrows her eyes at Momizi. The tension seems to be picking up a little. You're a little paranoid about something bad happening, but you decide to keep your wits about you for now and watch. "...you're very well taught on the history of the tengu. Not just in Gensokyo, either. You have a comprehensive history on tengu for as long as they existed-"
"Yes, that is correct. What are you getting at?" Keine interrupts Momizi at the very end of her sentence, sounding a little irritated. She takes a brief look at you and sees your cautious face, and although she looks back at Momizi without changing her expression, you hope that you passed on your message loud and clear not to aggress her.
"Miss Keine...I want you to tell me if there has been any recording of the tengu purposefully altering their own genetic structure. Such as forcefully causing a branch of their race to mutate in an odd way." Keine seems a little confused by the question, looking at her rather inquisitively suddenly.
"Genetic mutation? For what purpose do you need that information?"
"Just tell me, please." Keine looks at Momizi for a moment, as if gauging something, but then sighs soon after, closing her eyes.
"I'm sorry to say that no such records would exist. After all, for the tengu not to know of such a thing, it wouldn't exactly be purposefully." Momizi's expression tightens, with her eyebrows coming together in an angry fashion.
"I feel that you are lying to me."
"For what reason would I have to lie to you?" Keine states rather simply, looking back at Momizi. It's at this point Mokou, the formerly silent friend of Keine's standing behind her, decides to joins the conversation.
"Hey, you're a tengu yourself, aren't you? If such a thing really happened, wouldn't you yourself know about it already?" Momizi just looks off to the side, trying to keep her somber face up.
"I am but a white wolf tengu. Being low amongst the ranks, I am well aware there are things the higher tengu would hide from such a person like me."
"That just makes your question even more dubious." Keine responds with an accusing tone. "The tengu are secretive, yes, but it's for that exact reason that lowly humans such as us wouldn't know about such things. Why did you come to me to ask that?" Momizi looks over at Keine, but despite being well ready to say something in return, she suddenly holds back for some reason. This more or less takes you by surprise. Why did she retreat? It has to have something to do with Keine. You feel it's time you made your stand now.
"Keine, come on, can't you help her out?" Keine looks sternly back at you, thoroughly reminding you of all the times she scolded you in school.
"Satoshi, you heard what I just said. I do not know her answer. Do not push the issue."
...no. You can tell. You're not about to take that scolding this time. Because you finally see what Momizi has been seeing throughout this conversation.
"...you're lying." Keine's eyes narrow at you, but they're a look of anguish at knowing she's been found out. That is what you feel.
"Why do you doubt me, Satoshi? I may no longer be your teacher but I am still many times more mature and knowledgable then you are currently." In a rare tossing aside of her kindness, Keine delivers it to you straight up and personal.
"If you're going to press something so stupid like that, I think you and your friend should leave. We have better things to do then humor a couple of antagonists." Mokou's irritated tone is much more fierce and aggressive then Keine's, it seems you've earned her animosity too. Ugh, this isn't what you want. Looking over at Momizi quickly, you realize she's bottling up her own anger as well. This is bad.
"H-Hey, there's no need to get angry now." As you're about to try and turn things around, Keine shoots back a sharp retort.
"You're one to talk, Satoshi, telling me I was lying so bluntly. Or was that a feign swing at my confidence to try and make me lose my balance in the conversation?" W-What's with her? Keine has gotten agitated with you before, but she's being far more aggressive then she ever has before. You're not sure what's wrong with her. Did you catch her in a bad mood? Maybe it's Mokou behind her. Either way, she seems intent on letting the flames burn.
"Keine! How could you say that about me? I'm not going to take back what I said, because I still feel it's true...but at the very least I want to know why you won't tell her the truth! I don't want to upset you or anything..."
"I'm afraid you're quite late for that, Satoshi. I will say you were a different student from the rest, and you proved it by dropping out a few months before graduation and going out to live on your own in the forest. But I think it is because of that I let my guard down and continued associating with you as if you were still my student." Keine's eyes are fixated on you, but it seems to slowly be going from anguish into regret. "I'm not sure when it happened, maybe when you started meeting people I didn't know, from far outside the village. I didn't feel I knew you anymore, Satoshi. You began bringing youkai into village and it made me very uneasy."
"Wha-...Momizi is the only youkai I've brought in here!" Keine's eyes only narrow further at you, much like yours did when you discovered she was lying.
"Don't you dare lie to me like that, Satoshi. The previous girl you brought in here was youkai as well. You can't hide facts like that from me."
"Tch...!" She knew? How? You feel defeated, but angry. Angry over yourself for having let that slip, you guess.
"I should have followed my usual routine of forgetting about you and driving you away after you left, Satoshi. But for some reason, I couldn't do that. I thought that since you were different, I could break that rule. Just for you. But I regret having made that decision." Keine finishes up her brutal confession to you by turning away from you, back aimed in your direction. "Looks like I'll have to make things right again..."
"K-Kei...ne..." You can't believe she just said all this to you. Did it really start with her? Momizi as well? You feel regret mixed in with anger and sadness. You wish she wouldn't feel this way, but if it's all true, then part of you wishes you didn't meet them, if only for Keine's sake...
"..." Momizi seems to sense your mood, and as if breaking her serious tone towards her previous questions just for your sake, she steps forward to continue the fight. "Miss Keine, I believe you're wrong."
"Hey, you heard the lady. Go on, get." Mokou doesn't sound like she wants anymore to do with the two of you, but Momizi stands firm and tall.
"No. I refuse. Not until Miss Keine believes in Master Satoshi again." You can't help but look at Momizi in surprise from that. It takes you completely off guard that she would so quickly put aside herself and stand up for you in a matter she has no right to be involved in. Keine turns her head over towards Momizi, shocked for the same reason, but the ending feelings are different.
"...this has nothing to do with you. You came here to know more about the tengu, right? I cannot help you, so-"
"No, that is also wrong. You are right in that I wanted to ask about the tengu, but that is not the only reason. Sa-..." Momizi suddenly looks down a bit sadly. "Master Satoshi has taught even a youkai such as me many things, showing me kindness no other human would rightfully spare someone that they do not even know of. You are right, Master Satoshi is very different, so I feel you shouldn't have to regret your decision in treating him as such. Because...because..." Momizi seems to swallow those last few words, seemingly not wanting to say them, or having intense difficulty in doing so. Keine seems rather taken aback by this display, but you know that alone isn't going to sway her, so you make your turn worthwhile.
"Keine, I know what I did, I can't take back. But please believe me when I say that just as there are good and bad humans, there are good and bad youkai too. The difference is in how much they can do. While youkai are capable of far more destruction then humans are, they are also capable of far many more good things as well. If not...not for Momizi...and her...I would be dead by now, for certain. Even though I'm hanging out with beasts now, I don't think I've changed any myself, Keine. So please..." Keine looks back at you hurt and pained, you can clearly see her true colors now that she's been more worried about you then anything else, which both makes you feel very special and very regretful that you had to put her through such things.
"Satoshi, how can you be so certain of that...? These youkai, they could just be fooling you. You're just a human, it's not as if-"
"They couldn't kill me at any moment, right? But they haven't. They may also be trying to get something useful out of me, but I doubt that too. I trust them, trust them like any other human being. I don't discriminate right away...yeah, there are very many youkai that kill and eat humans as if it meant nothing to them, but I don't see that in every single youkai. I trust these two...and I'm certain I'll find more youkai I can trust. Just like how I trust you, Keine. Can't you look past that for now at least...?" Keine just returns to you with a saddened expression, one of loss. It seems she's finally giving up and accepting this change, for now at least.
Mokou, on the other hand, seems more frustrated and annoyed.
"Wow, what a persistant human..." The way she says that, yeah, it sounds like what a youkai would say, but at the same time, it sounds like she's still talking about herself...
Then, suddenly, the conversation is untimely interrupted.
"Oh? How about playing with me instead of dealing with such a tiresome human, then?" An inviting voice dancing out of the bamboo thicket from behind Mokou. She and Keine turn over just in time to watch a long, black haired woman in a long dress walk elegantly out from between the trees.
"Kaguya...!" Mokou speaks to the apparition with intense hatred. Without even seeing her face, you can tell she's gritting her teeth in anger just at seeing this woman. It sounds like it was a very bad time for this woman to come out.
"Mokou, no...not here..." Keine tries to warn her of the impending danger of keeping things like this, but she doesn't seem to comply.
"I'll ask this just once, what the hell are you doing so far away from the mansion?!" The woman puts on a coy expression towards Mokou.
"After finally recovering from the utter defeat you delivered to me so kindly yesterday, I couldn't just let it go so easily that you embarrassed me so in front of Eirin. You really did me in good, so I thought I would return the favor, no matter how much it took~" You can see Mokou's hands balling up into fists, shaking with fury. Keine continues her cautioning of Mokou.
"No, not here Mokou. The school..." But all you can tell from Mokou is her arrogant tone.
"Heh...don't worry Keine, I'll make this extra quick, since she picked one hell of a bad time to fuck with me..." The one she called Kaguya appears to stifle a chuckle upon hearing her curse at her.
"Oh? My, you're in a particularly bad mood, I can see. Just as well, don't disappoint me."
"Hah, just like you did to me yesterday?" Kaguya's face shrivels up unamused at Mokou's return trash talk. That did it.
"...wench. I'll make you eat those words."
Just like that, you are somehow caught in a fight between two forces you definitely don't understand. With a simple flick of the wrist, an invisible coercion grinds along the ground towards Mokou at blinding speeds, coming from the black haired woman, who displays an impressive amount of power, despite her looks. Momizi instinctively gets in front of you to protect you, though her abilities to do so are rather limited by her lack of sword and shield. Keine stays where she is though, trying to quell the brawl.
"Mokou! Stop this! You're going to harm the schoolhouse!"
Mokou just clearly blows through the unseeable force and charges at Kaguya in a firey blitz. Her hands are set aflame and she attempts to crush Kaguya with a single, burning punch. Kaguya literally flies up into the air, and Mokou's fist meets the ground, creating a small crater where her hand lands. Kaguya floats up in the air, now taunting her opponent's lack of speed and agility.
"Ohoho, you're not going to get me like that this time. It's to be expected of someone so moronic that they can't possibly come up with any new strategies after one has already worked previously." Mokou's growling is evident, but she just looks up at Kaguya with an evil grin.
"Hah...if you really think that, then you have another thing coming to you...!"
"Mokou! Stop!!" Keine's words don't reach her in time though, as Mokou soon flings a massive flaming orb of hot death up at Kaguya. The size nearly catches her off guard apparently and she hastily swings an arm, putting up a reflective barrier that quickly diverts it's direction.
You can only stare at it as it blindly screams at you, with incredible speeds. Nothing in your body shouts alarms at you. You don't react, you don't move, you don't yell, you do nothing. Your body is at a standstill, not feeling anything but one thing.
The cold acceptance that you're about to die.
It all happened so fast. The moment you heard that voice, you threw up your arms, as if expecting that would do you any good. The searing hot flames scorch the land around around like you a brutal flamethrower. However, you yourself, are untouched. You discover why when you look in front of you.
There stands Keine, holding a hand up. What surprises you most are the three magatama shaped items making a circle around in front of her, forming a protective shield that preventing the flames from reaching you or her.
...what is this? Why...is Keine...
"K-...Keine..." With wide eyes, that's all you can muster in response to the shocking sight in front of you. Keine just sighs with difficulty.
"Ah, Satoshi, I didn't want you to see that..."
"...Mas-...ter...Sa-...Satoshi..." Your mind instantly throws away any thoughts of this surprising revelation the moment you hear Momizi's voice. Seems she tried protecting you too, but she happened to be in front of Keine, and of course, she was absolutely no match for the fire. Her clothes are completely charred black to the core, her skin is practically burned away into charcoal, and she soon collapses unconscious. No doubt, if that had hit you, you would be dead.
But that's not important to you right now.
"Momizi!!!" You instantly rush over to her side, but as you do, you take a look over at the pair that caused this.
"Tch..." Mokou seems to be biting her lip with regret, wishing that didn't happen. Kaguya, on the other hand, seems thoroughly pleased.
"Oh? Did that girl mean something to you? How delightful, I get to bring you pain both physically and mentally!"
The two seem intent on continuing their battle, it's just as you feared. Momizi wouldn't be safe here, and neither would you. However, Keine puts a hand on your shoulder with a serious, hasty look on her face.
"Come on, pick her up quickly, I'll take you to my place before this gets out of hand."
"That's not important right now, what's important is you, Satoshi!"
You mind instantly clicks the moment you hear that. You waste not even half a second in picking Momizi's singed body up and turning tail behind Keine, following her out of this awful situation, away from danger.
Along the way, as you and Keine run, you can't help but look at Momizi with worry. Even though her body is still boiling hot, burning your arms as you continue holding her, you can't focus on that at all, just on how much you're afraid this will hurt her further. For some reason, seeing her in pain like this causes you more pain the what you're currently experiencing, even though you're holding onto hot charcoal. If you had time to think about it, you'd probably wonder what was wrong with you.
A while later, you're idling about in Keine's living room. Upon arriving at Keine's house on the outskirts of the village, she told you to bring Momizi into her bedroom. You didn't pay much attention to the room itself, just kept watching Momizi hoping she would get out of it okay. Upon placing her on the bed, Keine pushed you out of the room and told you to wait for her to treat Momizi. So the most you can do is stand around the living room until Keine is done treating her. Your amounts of worry flutter about in your mind and in your stomach, but there's nothing you can do but wait. To pass the time, you decide to look around the living room at the very least, trying not to be too nosy. It's the first time you've been here, after all.
The room itself is somewhat luxurious, somewhat odd for a teacher you feel. There's a large sofa on one side of the spacious room, and a grand fireplace adorning the other. A dresser lines the side to the left of the sofa, and on the opposite side of the dresser is a window decorated in quaint curtains and the door leading outside beside it. The living room is quite broad, enough free space in the middle to faciliate a dance floor, almost. Various small tables and stands make their place between the door and sofa, and between the sofa and dresser. The fireplace is almost grand enough to take up the entire wall on which it's situated on, only unable to due to the two doors on both sides of it, looking like bookends. One door leads out into a hall containing Keine's bedroom, a guest room and a bathroom, while the other door leads to Keine's as of right now unseen kitchen, you believe. Various modest decorations, such a flowers and many, many pictures, grace the room on the various tables, stands and walls. All in all, it's a fairly womanly home.
The amount of pictures is what gets your attention the most. Ranging from recent photos to ancient paintings, Keine has it all. The subjects are also diverse, going from epic landscapes, to simple portraits of people unknown. You never thought of Keine as an art buff, so you're curious as to why she has so many pictures taking up wall space. They're all beautiful and easy to look at though, so maybe she just wished to have walls soft on the eyes. It certainly does it's job well. You start to wonder where she got such a wide assortment of pictures though, it almost seems like it would take her more then just years to gather such a large amount. Of such diversity too, you feel that the wide array of pictures aligned across the wall could very well be the work of many, many decades in the making, and it's still going.
Amongst the most notable pictures are the many photos strewn about on top of the fireplace. Upon closer inspection, it looks like photos of Keine's many classes. She is standing beside her students in many photos. Something seems off however, in every photo, Keine's appearance doesn't really change. Yet, despite this, she has had possibly decades worth of classes, and yet it seems as if she never ages. Has no one questioned this? Has no one seriously noticed? You can't say you did, but now that you know, you find it hard to believe that this is all true. It would look as if Aya was correct in some regard; Keine is certainly not human. Not if she could go so many years without her appearance and body changing like that. She suddenly looks like a massive hypocrite, going on about how she didn't know you anymore, when in reality, it was you who didn't know who she was.
Thinking about that, you sigh as you pick up the most recent photo containing you and Keine. Even though she scolded you a lot, she was very much like your surrogate mother in a way. Maybe that's why you gre unnaturally attached to her. Your actual parents had died to a mass youkai feast sometime when you were still eight, and you lived with your grandparents up until you were somewhere around fourteen, at which point your grandmother died, roughly two years after your grandfather. You began living on your own then, and although Keine had been your teacher since you were much younger, it was only then that she started paying more attention to you.
She didn't exactly spoil you, no, more as if she started scolding you even more. But they had an air of worry and affection to them, you could tell that Keine was really caring for you. You guess if you thought about it a little, maybe she was a little uneasy about you living on your own at such a young age. It was close to when you were eighteen, a few months before you would have graduated from school, that you wandered out back behind it one day and spied a mysterious girl with cat ears standing beside a tree. She fled the moment she noticed you, in the guise of a feline drenched in fire. It was the first time you really laid eyes on a youkai in a beautiful light like that, the sunset matching the girl's red hot hair, the black dress blending in with the darkened colors of the tree's trunk, and the smooth, womanly figure she bore curved well with the soft hill she was standing on. You wanted to meet her again. Of course, it wasn't until well after strange things happened that you concluded who it really was, but at the time, that was what started it all, and ultimately made you decide that you wanted to see Gensokyo for what it was outside the village, prompting you to move into the forest.
Keine was very reluctant at letting you go, very against you going out to live in middle of a forest infested with dangerous youkai. You told her you were strong though and that you could take it, and that no matter what there wasn't anything she could do to stop you. Eventually Keine gave in and let you go, wishing you the best of luck. For some reason, sometime shortly before you moved out, she was acting as if were you never going to return, despite the fact that you said you would keep visiting every so often. You had thought that was because she felt you were going out to get yourself killed. You had thought that she was against it because you hadn't finished school. You had thought a lot of silly things about Keine that made it look more innocent then it really was.
Man, were you stupid. You never thought all these things, but the truth was that she didn't want you to have to enter the same kind of world she might've been living in; being with youkai, being exposed to the magic and spiritual powers of the people living here, many things that would most certainly make it difficult for humans to stay the same. Outside the village, such things really, truly do exist, and after being exposed to so much of it, it really changes a person. You suppose she didn't want you to be in danger, or maybe she was clinging onto hope that you could stay the same as you always were if you didn't move. You're not sure why though, apparently she cuts ties off with many of her students after they leave school, and she likely never sees them again. What makes you different? You might never know, at least, not now.
"Ah, Satoshi..." Just soon after you put the photo down, Keine's voice calls out to you meekly from the side of you. There she stands, holding a chair in middle of the doorway into the hall leading to her bedroom. Of course, the first thing you have to ask...
"Keine, will she be alright?" Almost immediately she looks a little hurt, and you instantly regret your inability to prioritize, but soon she puts on a forced, weak smile.
"Yeah. She'll be okay, I've treated her. Please, take a seat on the couch, if you would." Your heart sinks, you know what's coming next. You take a big sigh and walk over solemnly to the sofa, sitting down in middle of it with a huff. Keine sets the chair down somewhere in front of the sofa, so that she can sit down face to face with you. You know exactly what's going to happen.
"Keine, I-" Keine shakes her head, and for some reason, it interrupts you. You just lack the ability to continue that sentence the moment you realize she's doing that. Her weak, somber smile looks at you, filling you with regret.
"It's okay Satoshi. I was a fool to think I could hide it from you any further. I knew the only way I could do that was to erase your memories, but..."
"W-Wait, erase...my memories...?" You feel a little scared, and a little pained. She could do that? No, more then that...she would do that?
"Yes...it's what I do to all my students, after they leave, so that...I could preserve my relationship with all of them. I don't...like things to change. There other reasons for doing so too, biggest of which is so that they never doubt me, like you have...Satoshi."
"That's nonsense, Keine. I'm confused, maybe clueless, but not once have I doubted you." Keine looks at you a little surprised for a moment before giving you a kind smile. A kind, warm hearted smile you've long since missed, a smile she would rarely give you, but when she did, it felt like a true mother's kindness reaching you.
"Thank you, Satoshi. I guess I should apologize for doubting you, then..." You shake your head at her, closing your eyes a bit.
"No, that's not true. Not at all, I believe. Because if you really did doubt me, even the slightest bit...you wouldn't erased my memories of the times I had with you, and not had to worry about it anymore." You feel a bit that what you just said was fairly cold, but despite that, Keine just smiles at you, and bluntly confirms it.
"You're right. I would have. Even if I had the slightest amount of doubt, that is likely what I would have done. With that said though, I have lied to you many times and hidden many things from you, and that is disgraceful for not having any doubt in you, Satoshi." Keine closes her eyes, you feel rather saddened, and hurt, but she then brings her eyes back open and gives you a serious look. "So, I'm done doing that. I won't hide anything more from you, Satoshi, so long as you have nothing more to hide from me." You can't help but blink a little, looking at her.
"...y-you'll really tell me everything...?"
"Well, I'll tell you everything you want to know, but promise me Satoshi that one day you'll tell me everything I want to know someday." Keine smiles softly at you. "After all, I'm eager to know about your new girlfriend." You can't help but feel flustered when she mentions that, making your face all flushed.
"A-A...Ahaha, I...I see."
You take a deep breath and think about a few things first. Keine said she'll no longer hide things from you, so this is a good chance to ask her some important things, many of which still lingers on in your mind. But part of you doesn't want to know, what if you can't look at Keine the same way after knowing all this stuff? Though it could be said that it's too late to think that, you're not sure what else Keine has been hiding for some time, including what kind of youkai she may be. You're certain that if Keine really thought enough about you, she would prefer it if you could always view her in the same light as you always have, something that might prove difficult to do now. On the other hand, if she wasn't prepared for that, or if she didn't trust you enough, she wouldn't be offering that proposal now. This is an important turning point in your relationship with Keine...you'll have to handle it with utmost care. You look over at Keine, ready to give your first questioning a try...
>Ask who Mokou really is
>Ask about Keine's powers
>Ask about Keine's past
>Ask about becoming a youkai
>Ask about the tengu
Hot Tip: Choose the order of the questions wisely. You may choose as many as you like, but the order of which gets asked determines the flow of the conversation, and may end with Keine revealing more to you then if you asked them in a wrong order. You may also choose to withhold questions for various reasons, of which you should come up with yourself...