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67721No. 67721
It’s funny to be realizing this now, but this is one of the most important decisions you’ve ever made in your life, if not the most important.

“Well, everything looks in order.” Kamishirasawa says, leafing through your paperwork while wearing a pair of spectacles. “I’ve gotten things sorted out on my end. Reimu’s been informed, as have the relevant village officials.”

“There’s only one more step.” Keine says, taking her glasses off and looking you in the eyes. “It’s also your last chance to reconsider. Are you certain that this commitment is what you want?”

You nod. There’s nothing more to say at this point.

She offers you a grateful smile, as warm as the first time you saw it decades ago. “Very well. We have one last form to fill out, then.”

Your former teacher slides the final sheet across her desk to you, the text on it printed with a precision you know most presses in the village can’t match.

A few lines that have already been filled in by Keine’s neat handwriting catch your eye.

---

NAME OF ADOPTEE: Melancholy, Medicine
DATE OF BIRTH: N/A
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hill of the Nameless
BIRTH PARENTS: N/A

---

Now it’s time for you to enter yours.

---

AGE OF ADOPTING PARENT:
[ ] 20-24
[ ] 25-29
[ ] 30-34
[ ] 35-39

GENDER OF ADOPTING PARENT:
[ ] Male
[ ] Female
[ ] Other/Unspecified

OCCUPATION OF ADOPTING PARENT (Up to 2):
[ ] Apothecary
[ ] Artisan
[ ] Clerk
[ ] Cook
[ ] Farmer
[ ] Guard
[ ] Hunter
[ ] Laborer
[ ] Merchant
[ ] Scholar
[ ] Scribe
[ ] Shaman
[ ] Other

I, THE ADOPTING PARENT, HEREBY AFFIRM THAT I AM OF SOUND JUDGEMENT AND HAVE CHOSEN IN THE ABSENCE OF DURESS TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELFARE OF THE ADOPTEE.
SIGNED: [_____________]
>>No. 67722
[x] 35-39
[x] Other/Unspecified
-[x] Attack Helicopter
[x] Other
-[x] Lute player
-[x] Tap dancer
[x] SIGNED: Antidote Poisonhater

lol Medicine more like who
>>No. 67723
[x] 30-34
[x] Male
[x] Apothecary
[x] Shaman
I'm not good with names. Or picking all this other stuff for that matter. Good luck with nanowrimo.
>>No. 67724
[x] 25-29
[x] Male
[x] Merchant
[x] (I'll go with any name or Nameless)
>>No. 67725
[X] 25-29
[X] Male
[X] Apothecary

Yeah I'm terrible with names.
>>No. 67726
[X] 25-29
[X] Male
[X] Apothecary
>>No. 67727
[X] 25-29
[X] Male
[X] Apothecary
>>No. 67728
[X] 25-29
[X] Male
[X] Apothecary
[X]Donald J. Trump
>>No. 67729
[x] 25-29
[x] Male
[x] Merchant
[x] Apothecary
[x] John Pinkerton
>>No. 67730
SIGNED: Flemming, Antidotus
GENDER: Male
AGE: 25-29
OCCUPATION: Apothecary, Merchant

---

You’re Antidotus Flemming, though most people here have difficulty pronouncing your first name. You work as an apothecary, collecting, producing, and selling medicines, as well as performing certain medical procedures. Your main customers are fellow villagers, though you also offer your services to youkai.

You’re no expert on the occult compared to the holy men and women of the village, to say nothing of the Hakurei miko or the runaway witch in the Forest of Magic, but your profession has given you a working knowledge of what to do. Anyone who ventures as far away from the village as you do in search of materials has to learn about how to deal with the supernatural or risk becoming a cautionary tale for misbehaving children, and you’ve survived for quite some time. The very best hunters in the village are skilled enough to bring down wild youkai, but you’ve settled for being able to get out of risky situations with life, limb, and hopefully your merchandise intact as well.

It’s not all bad, though. Youkai are usually corporeal enough to have use for medicine, and like the villagers, quite a few would prefer your services over those of Eientei’s doctor or the Tsuchigumo in the underground.

Besides, at the end of the day, money is still money no matter whose hands it last passed through.

It must be some combination of your profession and familiarity with youkai that led to Keine reaching out to you with such an odd request.

Being a resident of Gensokyo means that you expect things to get shaken up every couple of years, but even then, you’ve never heard of a human knowingly adopting a youkai as their child. Sure, there’ve been plenty of stories involving changelings or youkai raising humans, but there’s no precedent you know of for what you’re doing.

Keine watches closely as you sign the document and pass it back to her. “Thank you.” She says, smiling with a hint of relief as she tucks it away.

A wry smile creeps across your face. What can you say? You wanted to take care of a kid, and there was a kid who needed someone to take care of her. You even said as much on the ‘future plans’ sheet you turned in almost a decade ago.

“Yes, I remember that. You’re giving her a second chance at life.” Keine says, sighing. “In a more literal sense, as well.”

A heaviness settles across your heart. You were the only one who answered the call Keine sent out. If you hadn’t...

Well, you hope Medicine doesn’t find out. A kid shouldn’t have to dwell on it.

“Why don’t we deliver the good news to Medicine?” Keine suggests. “It’ll lift her spirits, especially to leave that cell behind.”

She narrows her eyes at you. “You did prepare a room for her like I told you to, right?”

You raise your hands in mock offense. Come on now, what kind of person does she think you are? Being a bachelor doesn’t mean you live in a pigsty.

Keine laughs and claps a deceptively strong hand on top of yours. “Right, of course. You’ve really grown so much since we first met. Come on, then. Let’s not keep her waiting.”

---

Half an hour of walking, another half hour of waiting in the guard station, and one threat of headbutting from Keine later, you find yourself standing in front of the door to Medicine’s cell.

Gray iron peeks out wherever the door’s surface isn’t plastered in ofuda and other talismans. You rap your knuckles against it and announce to Medicine that you’d like to speak with her.

Just like all the times before, there’s no response.

Keine’s eyes are full of silent encouragement as she nods. You take a deep breath and unlock the door, stepping in by yourself.

Medicine is sitting on the oversized cot on the opposite side of the room with her legs drawn to her chest. Her dress is mostly clean, but still a bit shabbier than you remember from your last visit. It looks like she’s spent all her effort on keeping her true body, the blonde doll she calls Su-San, clean.

She looks up at you in silence with gray-blue eyes that never leave your own. They’re tired in a way that no child’s eyes should be.

---

Place of residence:
[ ] Village interior
[ ] Village outskirts
[ ] Bamboo Forest outskirts
[ ] Forest of Magic outskirts

What do you say to her?
>>No. 67731
[x] Village outskirts
semi-private
>>No. 67732
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names
>>No. 67733
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names

g o o d s h i t
>>No. 67734
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names

Took me a second to notice.
>>No. 67735
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names
>>No. 67736
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names
>>No. 67737
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names
>>No. 67738
[x] Village outskirts
[x] Comment on our astonishingly appropriate names
trusting the initial name joke to break the ice,
Also first time I've stopped lurking on this site
>>No. 67739
[X] Village Outskirts

---

This isn’t the first time you’ve met her. You ask if she remembers who you are.

“Andy something.” She mumbles after a few more moments of staring. “The apothecary with the weird name.”

Eh, close enough. For what it’s worth, you tell her, your parents didn’t plan for this. They apparently named you after a poet or painter from somewhere outside Gensokyo.

That gets a small smile out of her. It raises your spirits, but that’s not the point. You ask Medicine if she’s thought about your offer.

She shifts on the bed as she thinks about her answer, clutching Su-san all the while. “I don’t have any other choices.” She answers.

Yeah...

You make it clear that you understand that she’s in a bad position; a disproportionate punishment for her mistake. All you can do is offer a way out, but you’re not going to force a choice onto her.

She dips her head down, looking away from you. “What if I said no?”

Then you’d be sad, but it’s her choice to make. You’d like to help her figure out something that she’d be okay with, in that case.

She doesn’t answer. Truthfully, both of you know that there aren’t many alternatives at this point.

You speak as gently as you can. What does she want? Don’t worry about Keine or the villagers. Forget about your own offer for now. What does she want?

Medicine mulls it over, looking around the cell.

“I don’t know.” She says, tired. “There’s things that everyone wants. A soft bed, a warm house, good food... I don’t even know what it’s like to miss those things.”

You could provide all of that for her. You’re only modestly wealthy, but you’re good enough with money and you don’t have any big expenses or vices that would get in the way.

There are needs beyond the material, though. The way Medicine is frowning suggests that she understands that, but she doesn’t seem able or willing to spell it out.

What if you help her figure it out?

She looks up at you again with her head tilted.

If she doesn’t know right now, your home would probably be a better place to find an answer than here, you tell her. You’re willing to support her for as long as it takes.

“Where do you live?”

You offer her some grainy photographs you took a few days ago, letting her shuffle through them at her own pace while you go on.

You have a home by the canal of willows, as well as a small boat that you use to travel to Misty Lake and the village. It’s pretty comfortable - far enough away from the village for peace and quiet, close enough that it’s convenient and secure.

The interior is small, though you prefer to describe it as cozy. Texts, equipment, and medicine fill the space, but to your credit, it’s mostly organized and contained in the warehouse or store. Most of your walls hold diagrams, maps, and charts related to your work. There’s little of note outside besides your wooden boat and a small garden where you grow vegetables and herbs.

You wonder how your amenities, modest as they are, must seem to someone who’s never had any whatsoever.

She comes across the last photo. It shows the room you’ve been hard at work getting ready for her. The room is spotless, with none of the clutter of the rest of the house is present. There’s a set of freshly-built furniture Keine helped you get: A futon, a dresser, a table, and a mirror. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the window lets in a generous amount of sunlight while also giving a serene view of the willows lining the canal.

A potted Lily of the Valley sits on the table.

Medicine doesn’t say anything for a long time. You have to wonder if you’ve misjudged your approach. Were you too forward? Not enough?

“What do you want from me?” Medicine asks, wrapping her arms around herself.

Believe it or not, you just want to see her happy, you tell her. It’d be neat if she’d like to help out eventually, but you’re not going to do something so exploitative.

She’s a tsukumogami; a forgotten tool born from abandonment. She first opened her eyes on top of what was quite possibly a mass grave for children. She has every right to be skeptical of the idea that someone would simply want her to be happy.

You swallow. It comes down to this. You can’t make her choice for her, only open another door.

She looks at you again, and you see something besides tiredness.

Medicine is afraid. Perhaps it’s fear that what you’re promising is too good to be true, or that to accept aid from a human would be some fundamental betrayal of her youkai-hood that nobody bothered to teach her about. You can’t be certain.

What you do know is that if she’s worried about the risks of being adopted, she’s probably at least a little interested in the benefits.

You offer her your ungloved hand. It’s probably the only one belonging to a normal human she’s seen since she got brought in. The youkai exterminators and Keine probably wouldn’t need to worry too much about the possibility of poison, but the guards didn’t want to take chances.

To be fair, neither did you. You’ve got a variety of antidotes in vials stashed on your person right now, to say nothing of the resistance you’ve acquired through your years of work.

Still, if you can’t show Medicine here and now that you’re willing to trust her, does this dream have a future?

There’s a place for you in that home, you tell her. You’d be new to parenting, but you want to make an honest effort. You want to be there for her, if she’ll allow you. Would she like that?

You hardly dare to breathe as you wait for her answer. You’re sitting cross-legged in front of her as she still sits on the cot, bringing both of you to eye level. Your hand is open and upturned, and you can’t ignore how it feels as though you’re making a prayer.

Medicine takes your hand in hers. Her grip is small but forceful, as though unwilling to let go.

“Okay.” She says, almost whispering. “I’d like to go with you.”

---

[ ] Go home and settle in.
[ ] Go shopping to buy things to make her more comfortable.
[ ] Go to a bathhouse to let her clean herself up.
>>No. 67740
[x] Go shopping to buy things to make her more comfortable.
>>No. 67742
[x] Go shopping to buy things to make her more comfortable.
>>No. 67743
[x] Go home and settle in.
>>No. 67745
[X] Go shopping to buy things to make her more comfortable.
>>No. 67748
[x] Go home and settle in.
>>No. 67749
[x] Go home and settle in.
Avoid overwhelming her.
>>No. 67750
[x] Go home and settle in.

Daughter acquired
>>No. 67751
[X] Go to a bathhouse to let her clean herself up.

danged feudal jap houses without plumbing
>>No. 67753
[x] Go home and settle in.

The rest involve dealing with people and doing stuff she may not be comfortable with yet. wait till later when she knows a bit more.
>>No. 67756
[X] Go home and settle in.
>>No. 67757
[x] Go home and settle in.

---

Leaving with Medicine takes much less time than waiting to meet her, probably a combination of Keine browbeating the guards into line and them just wanting her off their hands.

You offer Medicine your cloak, saying that you thought she would be more comfortable walking around with it on.

She considers your offer for a moment before taking the oversized garment and wrapping it around herself. Su-san seems to nestle in one of the interior pockets.

Hm. You'll have to take note of that. Medicine might appreciate it in future clothes you get for her.

"Are we going to your home now?" She asks, a bit of hope back in her eyes and her voice.

That was your plan, you tell her, unless she'd like to take care of something in the village first.

She shakes her head. "I don't want people to see me. Su-san wants to be somewhere nice."

Sure thing, you tell her. Before you leave, though, you ask her if she'd be comfortable with you holding her sleeve. So you don't get separated, you explain.

She shuffles and draws herself further into her borrowed cloak, but doesn't answer for a few moments.

She reaches out with a delicate hand and gingerly pinches your sleeve instead. "Is this okay?" She asks, not meeting your eyes.

It's just as good, you say.

Keine steps out of the doors behind you, grumbling to herself before spotting Medicine and catching herself.

"How are you feeling, Medicine?" Keine asks, squatting down so that Medicine doesn't need to tilt her head almost straight up to look back.

"I think I'm feeling a bit better." Medicine mumbles. "Andy... Antidotus seems like a nice person."

Keine smiles warmly at both of you. "I'm glad you feel that way. I think he is, too. In fact, it's why I specifically asked him to help."

She rests an almost maternal hand on Medicine's shoulder. "We're both going to help you, okay? You don't have to be alone again."

You spot Medicine's hands balling into fists at her sides. You're not surprised when she starts sniffling right after.

"What's going to happen to me?" She asks, trying to keep her voice from slurring too much. "I'm scared... They're making me leave everything behind. What am I going to do?"

You get on a knee and wrap her in a loose hug, afraid that she'll lash out and push you away. For better or worse, all she does is start crying harder.

It'll be okay from now on, you tell her. You promise.

"It won't be!" She retorts, trying to wipe away tears and her running nose. "Everybody's mad at me, even though I'm sorry and I didn't mean to hurt them!"

Keine exchanges a rueful look with you. She's had much, much more experience with this than you, but your roof is the one Medicine's supposed to be living under.

---

[ ] We're not mad at you.
[ ] Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
[ ] Let her cry it out.
>>No. 67758
[x] We're not mad at you.

Oh shit oh fuck
>>No. 67759
[x] Let her cry it out.
>>No. 67760
[X] Everyone can learn from their mistakes

It was an accident, just gotta be more careful in the future. And make a lot of human friends, as it is they don't know she's sorry, that she didn't mean no harm.
>>No. 67761
[x] We're not mad at you.

Wish there was a hug option
>>No. 67762
[x] We're not mad at you.
>>No. 67763
I mean, we're not mad at her, but everyone else is, and she's clearly picked up on that.
>>No. 67764
[x] We're not mad at you.
>>No. 67765
[x] Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
>>No. 67766
[X] Let her cry it out.
>>No. 67774
[X] We’re not mad at you.

---

You reassure Medicine that you aren’t angry. You’d hug her, but you’re afraid that it would be more contact than she’s willing to have right now.

“Yes you are! Maybe you won’t show it now, but you’re still mad!”

You take a deep breath as you guide Medicine over to a nearby bench, grateful for the relative privacy of the courtyard.

You ask her why she believes you’d be angry.

“Because I made them sick.” She whimpers. “I didn’t know they’d get that sick, but they did, and people don’t care how many times you say you’re sorry if you make them mad.”

You’ll have to teach her about adverse drug reactions and allergies later.

She definitely made a mistake, you tell her, but that’s not enough reason to get mad.

You seat Medicine on the bench, with you and Keine following on either side of her.

Think of it this way, you say. Did anyone ever go out of their way to teach you what to do?

“No.” She sniffs.

So you didn’t really know what to do, or why, or what might happen. It doesn’t make it not a bad thing, because they still got hurt, but you just didn’t know any better.

“I should have, though.”

Hey. That’s what you’re going to be here for.

She doesn’t answer, but her crying gradually gets under control.

Keine gives you a proud smile. Seems like you’ve learned more from her than you thought.

You place your hand over hers, ignoring the faint numbness from where her tears touched.

She’s not a bad person. You tell her this in an emphatic tone. You believe that. You hope that, one day, she’ll believe it too.

The three of you wait on that bench for a while as Medicine composes herself. She leans into you, not enough to call it a real hug, but it’s a sign of trust nonetheless.

---

Keine waves you goodbye as you go your separate ways. You and Medicine walk along the main canal towards your home, with her clutching the hem of your sleeve.

Her eyes keep darting around as she tries to take in the unfamiliar sights. This is probably the first time she’s been somewhere so busy without spellcards involved.

You catch her staring at a food stall. Su-san is peeking her tiny head out from the collar of your cloak, and she’d salivating if she were flesh and blood.

“Do you want something?” You ask her.

“Ah, no... I don’t have any money.” She says.

Oh right, money. You need to give her an allowance.

“I don’t want someone else’s money!” She pouts.

Well, maybe she should consider getting comfortable with the idea, you suggest. You get the feeling like it’ll be hard for her to run a business in the near future, and you’re already covering her other expenses. Besides, what kind of guardian would you be if you didn’t teach her about financial responsibility?

Damn, you’re getting old. If your child self heard you unironically say ‘financial responsibility’ like it was a good thing, you’d probably kick yourself in the shins.

“Was Miss Keine your teacher?” Medicine asks you, bringing you out of your thoughts. “You seem to know each other.”


You’d have to go out of your way to find someone your age in the village who hasn’t been taught by Keine. You were alright as a student, but you got scolded a few times for not wanting to sit still. It’s a good thing you’ve got the job you have now, because you’re pretty sure you’d go crazy sitting indoors all the time like a Hieda.

She smiles a bit at that. It warms your heart to see her opening up.

“Do you like her?”

That one wasn’t so good for your heart.

Of course you like her, you answer. Keine’s the best teacher you could have asked for. And yes, before you get clever about it, you know that there aren’t many others around her. Keine’s just a good person who’s also very good at her job. How could you not like that?

Before you can continue your conversation, your instincts and Medicine’s tightening hand warn you about incoming trouble.

You’re crossing a stone bridge over the canal with Medicine, the two of you at the top of the arch. Two pairs of men approach you from the front and the back. They aren’t armed, but their unfriendly expressions tell you all you need to know.

---

[ ] Ignore them and walk past
[ ] Call them out on their cowardice
[ ] Attempt to intimidate them
[ ] Tell Medicine to find Keine
>>No. 67775
[x] Ignore them and walk past
>>No. 67776
[x] Attempt to intimidate them
>>No. 67777
[x] Call them out on their cowardice
>>No. 67778
[x] Call them out on their cowardice
>>No. 67779
[x] Call them out on their cowardice
>>No. 67780
Allowance isn't someone else's money, it's money earned through chores and helping out at the shop and getting good grades and being cute and stuff. Payment rendered for work done.

[X] Ignore them and walk past
>>No. 67781
[x] Attempt to intimidate them
Be wary of Eirin's Andy's shady drugs.
>>No. 67782
[x] Ignore them and walk past

if worst comes to worst Medicine can beat the shit out of them
>>No. 67783
[x] Ignore them and walk past
>>No. 67794
[X] Attempt to intimidate them
>>No. 67796
[ ] Tell Medicine to find Keine
I wouldn't choose this because it would involve sending Medicine alone into the village
[ ] Call them out on their cowardice
This would either get them to bugger off or turn this into a confrontation and I would prefer to not have any sort of fight in front of Medicine even if it does confirm to her that we are on her side because she would blame herself for it.
[ ] Attempt to intimidate them
I don't know how this is different from the previous option beyond focusing on getting them to bugger off.
[X] Ignore them and walk past
Maybe I just don't like confrontation but if we can have the shouting match/fight not right in front of the kid that would be great.
>>No. 67803
[X] Ignore them

---

You whisper a few words to Medicine.

Look straight ahead. Stay close, and don’t say anything to them.

Medicine nods and grips your hand as the two of you approach the men at the front of the bridge.

“Well look who it is-”

The only acknowledgement you give them is shoulder-checking one of them out of your way before he could block your path.

“Hey! You think you can ignore us, you piece of trash?”

What’s it look like, dumbass? At least they’re smart enough to not get too close to a youkai with power over poison.

They don’t even live near you. What’re they getting their loincloths in a twist for?

“You’d best get that monster away from the village before we do, or-”

Medicine flinches. She looks like she might start crying again.

You lean down and, in an audibly ordinary tone, ask Medicine what kind of food she’d like for dinner tonight. It is, after all, a very special occasion.

“I don’t know.” She manages, trying to keep her eyes on her shoes.

That won’t do. Would she prefer something western or local?

“I don’t know.” She repeats. “There wasn’t anything to eat on the hill.”

Did she seriously eat nothing but vendor food from whatever festivals she made it to?

“What kind of food do you eat?” She asks.

Nothing fancy most nights, you don’t have the money or the time for it. Rest assured, you do know how to cook, though if you’re feeling particularly lazy or indulgent you’ll head to one of your favorite restaurants. Mystia makes some really, really good lamprey.

Anyways, you’ll figure it out when you get home. Does she like cake, though?

Despite the abuse being hurled from behind her, she perks up at that.

Oh, that got her interest. You figured you might appreciate it, so you picked up a small strawberry cake at a bakery in the village before meeting her today.

Su-san appears lost in dreams of moist and delicious cake. Medicine is more composed, although you can tell that she’s impatient.

“You better watch your back, race traitor!”

You peek behind the two of you. Damn, don’t these guys have literally anything better to do?

“Hello, Antidotus. What’s this?”

You stop right before you walk into a familiar face. You greet Meira as well and explain that you were walking home with your newly-adopted daughter. Was she out on patrol?

“That’s right.” Medicine shrinks as the guard captain’s gaze passes over her and narrows, though she doesn’t make any remark. The four villagers behind you, however...

“Congratulations on the adoption. Were these gentlemen giving you trouble?” She asks, as though she could have failed to hear the racket they were making until the second she appeared.

Not at all, you say, glancing back. In fact, they just promised to never bother you or medicine ever again.

She looks at each of their faces like a hawk sizing up rodents, her hand resting on the grip of her blade. “Is that true, gentlemen?”

They stammer out something approximating a yes, looking very much like they wish they were somewhere else.

Meira chuckles to herself. “That’s a relief. I would hate for you lot to make a liar out of him.”

Her smile turns to a grimace the moment they scurry out of sight. “Damn. I don’t think they’ll be quick to bother you again now that I know who they are, but I’m sorry they gave you grief to begin with.”

It’s alright, you tell her. You’re only grateful that she showed up when she did.

“If you’re thinking it’s oddly convenient, well, it was.” She says, walking on the other side of you from Medicine. “My father forgot to refill his joint medicine, so I went over to see if you were home. I heard those troublemakers in the distance while I was waiting, and went to take a look.”

Didn’t you leave the ‘closed’ sign on?

“You did, but c’mon, were you really going to say no to your ‘big sis’?” She teases.

It’s your turn to blush as you cover your face with your free hand. Is she seriously going to embarass you in front of an impressionable kid?

You don’t really mind, of course. Medicine’s relaxing, and that alone is worth quite a bit of discomfort.

“Are you two really brother and sister?” She asks.

“No, we just played together a lot as kids since he lived close by.” Meira explains.

Yeah, back when she swung around tree branches and got scolded for almost poking another kid’s eye out.

She snorts. “You never did understand the warrior’s path.” She declares with mock-seriousness.

---

You reach your home without further incident. Medicine starts looking over everything right after taking her shoes off and returning your cloak.

Does it match her expectations from the photos?

“Yeah.” She says, walking over to your hearth and poking at your cookware. “Hmmm... you’ve been taking okay care of them.” Medicine declares.

It’s not like you’ve got enough money to be wasteful. Anyways, would she like to get acquainted with her new room?

Medicine eagerly nods and follows you with Su-san in hand to her door. She scampers in to examine everything in a similar way as before, as if she can’t believe that she has a room to herself that’s not a prison.

“It’s nice.” She announces, sounding hopeful for the first time you’ve heard. “Ah, do you have any... rules for me?” She adds, curbing her enthusiasm.

You shrug. It’s her room, so it’s more about her standards. Just don’t let it get too messy or do anything illegal in it, you guess. If she can keep it from smelling, rotting, or otherwise breaking down, there probably won’t be an issue.

She nods and goes back to running her fingers over her new blanket, with Su-san busy trying to roll herself up in it like a doll burrito.

You excuse yourself and close the door.

“Cute kid.” Meira says while you rummage around for arthritis medicine. “How come you haven’t mentioned it to anybody?”

Keine recommended discretion when she approached you, you explain.

Meira sighs. “Makes sense. She’s a worrywart, but I understand why you’d want to keep your head down. I gotta say, though, I never knew you could be this responsible.”

Ah! Such words, they wound you so!

“Oh come on. I mean, I always knew in theory, but I never actually saw it in practice.” She says, waving at the inside of your home. “I mean, I can tell that you put some real thought into this. You’re that committed, huh?”

Yeah, you suppose you are.

She smiles. “That’s good. Lotta guys out there who like to daydream about doing the right thing but don’t know a good plan from their own ass when it’s go time. All talk and no action. I’m glad you’re not like that.”

As flattered as you are, it sounds like someone’s been having courtship troubles again.

“Why you little-” She groans and laughs. “I should have expected you to get me back. I guess I really am getting old.”

It’s not her fault that none of the single men her age seem to have any taste, you tell her as you hand her the medicine.

“Ain’t that the truth.” She says, giving you payment. “Ah, here’s something extra.” She says, putting a few more coins on the counter. “I’d have gotten her a gift if you’d thought to tell me you were bringing a kid home. As it stands, get her something nice with this, yeah?”

Any suggestions?

“She might like some nicer bathing stuff. Heck, maybe a nicer bath in general. She’s still a girl, after all.”

---

For dinner, you and Medicine got...

[ ] Western food that you made
[ ] Local food that you made
[ ] Takeout from Mystia’s
>>No. 67804
[x] Takeout from Mystia’s
>>No. 67805
[x] Takeout from Mystia’s
>>No. 67806
[x] Takeout from Mystia’s
>>No. 67807
[x] Western food that you made
>>No. 67808
[x] Takeout from Mystia’s
>>No. 67809
[X] Takeout from Mystia’s

Just for the first night.
>>No. 67810
[x] Takeout from Mystia’s

Cool, Meira.
>>No. 67819
[X] Takeout from Mystia’s

---

As good as you are at cooking, Mystia is on another level entirely. Getting dinner from there would be an appropriate way of welcoming Medicine.

You knock on her door to let her know your plan and ask if she’d like to come along.

“I think... I think I’d like to stay here and wait for you.” She says, hesitating.

Is she scared of another hostile encounter, or just tired?

Alright. It should be safe enough, you tell her. Mystia isn’t far from here today, and there’s locks on all the doors and windows. You’ll get her a little bit of everything and see what she likes.

No booze, though. Keine would headbutt you on principle.

---

You are fortunately not approached by anyone, hostile or not, on your way to the night market at the edge of the bamboo forest.

That might be more than you can hope for in coming days. You’d bet that most of Gensokyo knows Medicine sent that bunch of kids to Eientei, thanks to the efforts of the crow tengu, but Keine told you that the rest would be kept confidential for now.

Yeah, and look how long that lasted. Those four assholes knew about Medicine within the hour of you walking out with her, and they’ll probably tell their asshole friends. There’s going to be a lot of whispers and stares the next time you visit the village, and probably more than a few pieces of garbage thrown at your house in the coming weeks.

Well, whatever. You knew that something like this was in the cards when you made your choice. You’ll find a way to care for her despite it.

You spot two acquaintances drinking at the counter. You greet them as you place your order to Mystia.

“Hey there, Andy!” Kagerou returns your greeting with enthusiasm. Her companion across the table, Sekibanki, just nods.

Kagerou’s smile freezes as she sniffs the air a few times as you draw close. “Been spending time with a girl lately?” She asks, setting her mug down.

Keine asked you to look after a kid, you explain. She’ll be staying with you for a while.

“Ah.” Both of them look simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

“Make sure you keep her out of your work area.” Banki says. “You don’t want to end up in the news for letting a kid get so high they show up in Bhava-Agra, right?”

That gets you to laugh. You don’t think you’ll have to worry about that.

“Speaking of work, though, I wanted to tell you that the depilatory cream is working wonders.” Kagerou says, pulling a sleeve back. “Here, look.”

She takes your hand by the wrist and places it on her smooth forearm.

You’ve been meaning to ask her this, but why does she come to you when she lives in the same neighborhood as Eirin?

“With how twisty the forest gets, Eientei’s still not as convenient as you would think.” She offers. “Besides, the rabbits... I think they don’t like me.”

“Really? That’s what it is?” Banki snorts and takes another gulp. “Some big bad wolf you are, getting scared by the adorable bunnies.”


“You wouldn’t call them adorable if you saw what Tewi’s been digging in the forest.” Kagerou hisses, letting your hand go. “I’m being serious, test the ground with a stick before you put your weight on it. She can get sadistic.”

You’ll keep that in mind, you tell Kagerou. As for Banki, how’s the ointment working? Any allergies this time?

“Nah, it’s been fine.” She says. “I do need to get some more, though. I’m running out faster than I though since I got into that spellcard fight last week.”

Mystia interrupts with your takeout.

“Wow, that’s a lot.” Banki notes as you pay and thank Mystia.

Hey, you can’t let her go hungry. Speaking of which, you should get going.

“Here, let us help.” Kagerou smiles, standing up and paying her tab.

“Slow down, now.” Banki cautions. “Does the kid know that we’re... you know?” She gestures to herself.

Yes, but it wouldn’t be prudent of you to explain.

She’s feeling very shy, you tell them. Any visitors in general would stress her out.

Kagerou looks crestfallen. “Alright. Well, let’s go find Wakasagi then, Banki. G’night, Andy.”

---

Dinner with Medicine is a mostly quiet affair but for the munching she makes. She’s eating too carefully to be messy, but it’s clear that she’s not very familiar with utensils or even dishes.

Once again, you suppose that nobody really got around to teaching her.

Su-san is seated in Medicine’s lap, and she occasionally gives her small pieces of food. It’s not immediately obvious what it accomplishes, since you were under the assumption that Su-san’s body didn’t have a digestive system, but you suppose it makes her happy to feel included.

Perhaps now would be a good time to talk with her more. There’s still so much about each other to understand, and things to consider for the future.

---

[ ] Schooling
[ ] Friends
[ ] Interests
>>No. 67820
[x] Interests
>>No. 67821
[x] Interests
>>No. 67822
[x] Interests

Better to not remind her of what happened.
>>No. 67823
[x] Interests

Schooling is both important and boring, but that can wait.
Friends might be a sensitive topic at the moment, with society's betrayal still stinging.
Interests seems safe small talk.
>>No. 67824
[x] Interests
>>No. 67825
[x] Interests
>>No. 67830
[X] Interests

---

“Sometimes fairies would fly over and we would play together.” Medicine tells you, dabbing at Su-san’s mouth with a napkin. “I liked playing tag, but I never left the hill to play hide and seek.”

“I spent a lot of time walking around the riverside, looking for dolls to save. They haven’t woken up yet, but I’m sure they will.” Her eyes widen as she remembers something. “Do you know what happened to them? Reimu didn’t let me see them when she took me to the village.”

Keine didn’t mention it to you, but there’s no way she would have been so heartless as to toss them away or something. They’ve got to still be around somewhere, you tell her.

Medicine looks a little relieved. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to them. I’m the only one who can look after them right now.”

You’ll find out where they are. Privately, you wonder if people would be happy with a request to reunite them. Didn’t you hear something about Medicine trying to raise an army of dolls? It’s probably exaggerated, but there’s the risk of her reverting to old habits.

“What do you like to do?” She turns the question back at you, looking up with an expression that’s difficult to read.

Well, you enjoy your work plenty, but a better answer might be baking. You started around last year because you heard it required a similar mindset to your work. It definitely has more delicious results.

“Wow, really?” She exclaims. “Can you make tastier cakes than the one you got from the village?”

She looks very excited at the thought of living under the same roof as a source of fresh cakes.

Not yet, you let her down gently. It’s why you went to buy it, after all. You didn’t want to risk disappointing her.

“I always wanted to try cakes.” Medicine says. “I was looking through the secondhand shop by the forest for dolls once, and I found a book about cakes. A nice girl there read some of it to me, since I couldn’t. Did you know that people put flowers in cakes, like lavender and roses?”

Yeah, you’d like to try that one day.

“I wonder what a lily-of-the-valley cake would taste like!”

Woah, slow down there, kid. Komachi’s a very pretty lady, but you’re not that eager to meet her. You already take pains to keep your cooking area clean of your work.

Well, maybe the two of you can try practicing baking cakes and other sweets together, you offer. Every week, you’ll try to make something a little better than last time.

Medicine likes that idea, and you continue chatting about miscellaneous things before you notice that it’s around the time a responsible guardian would send their child to bed. You ask her if she’s comfortable with washing herself.

She withdraws at the question but still nods.

You show her to the washroom and point out where everything is, warning that most of the products here won’t be much good on Su-san.

Meira was right, your old bathroom isn’t going to cut it very long for both of you.

“Um, Andy?” Medicine looks very embarrassed. “I can’t control the poison that well, so I’m scared that some might get into the water.”

Huh. Well, it’s not like you’re some kind of freak who would have looked forward to that sort of thing, but like you said, you’re in no rush to meet Eiki. Also, it could complicate going to a public bath.

The best thing to do would probably be installing some sort of filter. You’ll have to worry about that later, though. For you, you just instruct her to warn you if she thinks there’s a risk.

Bathtime for each of you finishes with no further incidents, poison-related or not, and you help Medicine settle in for the night. She tucks Su-san in next to her, and you tuck them both in.

“It’s very comfy.” She says, stifling a yawn. “Andy?”

Yes?

“Thank you.”

...

There’s no need for thanks, you tell her. You signed up for this, so you’re not doing her a favor. Honestly, you put more thought into it than some biological parents you know.

“You didn’t have to.” She points out, drowsily.

No, you didn’t. But you decided you would anyways.

“... Good night.”


You ruffle her hair and wish her goodnight as well before closing her door and heading to your bedroom. You’re looking forward to a good night’s sleep for both of you.

---

Well, so much for that.

The bad news is that someone is knocking on your door early on your day off. The good news is that they don’t seem to be looking to fight.

---

[ ] Keine, checking up on things
[ ] Kogasa, offering babyscaringsitting services
[ ] Reisen, your main competitor
[ ] Byakuren, here to proselytize
[ ] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement
>>No. 67834
[X] Kogasa, offering babyscaringsitting services

the cutest
>>No. 67835
[x] Kogasa

Oh yes.
>>No. 67836
[x] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement
>>No. 67837
[X] Kogasa, offering babyscaringsitting services
>>No. 67838
[x] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement
>>No. 67839
[X] Kogasa, offering babysitting services

Scares and surprises are the alternate payment method.
>>No. 67841
[x] Reisen, your main competitor
>>No. 67842
[X] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement

I like this story thank you for writing it.
>>No. 67843
[x] Reisen, your main competitor
>>No. 67844
[x] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement

You know I almost thought to put this off until we could get a bigger bathroom, but then I remembered Yamane is also a skilled builder. At least I think she is right?
>>No. 67845
[X] Yamame, offering biohazard-proofing home improvement

As cute as Kogasa is we should at least get the proofing done in case anything happens today, and Yamame is a skilled builder
>>No. 67847
[X] Yamame

---

“Good morning, Andy!” Yamame waltzes in as soon as you open the door.

You squint your eyes at the sunlight coming in behind her. A little early, don’t you think?

“I’m doing you a favor.’ She says. “New parents have to get up pretty early, or so I’m told. I’m helping you adjust.”

You offer her a seat as you stumble off to make some extra-strength tea and cook a few pancakes. You hope they’re sufficiently cakelike to satisfy Medicine. So, what brings her to your humble abode at this hour, some kind of medical emergency she’d like help with?

“No, I’m the one offering this time.” She grins. “I’ve been telling you that your house’s been due for renovations since I first saw it, and now that you’ve got a kid with a, shall we say, toxic disposition, you’ve got a good reason to get it done! I’d hate for you to croak because you mixed up your cups or something.”

Yeah, you were thinking about a situation like that last night, but you honestly can’t afford it right now.

“You’re not half-bad looking. You could always-”

Nope.

“Haha, just kidding.” She wipes away a tear. “Really, though. I wanted to give you a big discount.”

That has your interest, but is there a reason for it?

She shrugs. “What’s a bit of mutual back-scratching between friends? I still owe you for helping out with the meltdown.”

The teapot whistles and you take a moment to pour a cup for each of you before setting one aside for Medicine.

Eirin and Reisen did most of the work, you tell her. You just administered some iodide with her in former hell.

“Yeah, we’re lucky that the Oni are a bunch of tough bastards.” You and Yamame share a laugh at the memory of more than a few with faintly glowing horns. “Still, you helped us be a little less swamped.”

The two of you finish your tea as Medicine creaks open her door and looks at Yamame with confusion and suspicion.

“Hi, I’m Yamame!” Your visitor says, leaning forward to Medicine’s height. “You can just call me ‘big sis’, though.”

Medicine turns to you. “Andy, who is she?”

You settle for describing Yamame as a business associate. (“How cold!” She protests.)

“This place should have better standards now that it’s not just a bachelor pad, so I’m here to look around and talk to Andy about what we can do to make it nicer. Let a real pro take a crack at it, you know?”

Yamame’s nothing but friendly, but Medicine is still obviously uncomfortable. You instead give her a tray with her breakfast on it and tell her to put the dishes in the kitchen when she’s done.

She nods and retreats back into her room with her food. Yamame’s smile drops once she’s out of sight.

“Huh. She’s a tough cookie for sure.”

Medicine’s a good kid, you tell her.

“Yeah, but good kids aren’t always easy to raise.” She says, looking wistful. “I remember some of my idiot sisters trying to leave the egg sac early despite mom’s warnings. Well, let’s take a look at the other rooms, shall we?”

Yamame, unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about your house. Most of it goes somewhat over your head, but the general idea is that there is a lot of room for improvement with your plumbing, insulation, and storage.

She spends a bit of time furiously drafting plans on your kitchen table before handing you an estimate. The blueprints include adding a proper storefront for your apothecary business that would minimize traces of drugs contaminating your living space, an improved bathroom, and more effective insulation in anticipation of bitter winters and baking summers.

Tsuchigumo jobs can generally be relied on to not compromise speed or quality. True to Yamame’s word, it’s heavily discounted, but still pricey enough to give you pause.

You could afford to keep yourself reasonably comfortable on your own, but Medicine has expenses that you can’t really compromise on. You had been hoping to find someone trustworthy to watch over her while you were away on work. There’s also the matter of her schooling, and tutors aren’t cheap.

---

[ ] Get everything that Yamame’s offering, leaving you without surplus money
[ ] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
[ ] Decline for now.
>>No. 67848
[x] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
>>No. 67849
[x] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
>>No. 67850
[X] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.

>Jap houses
>insulation
lmao
>>No. 67851
[X] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
>>No. 67852
[x] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.

None of them seems essential at the moment, except maybe the storefront.
>>No. 67853
[X] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
>>No. 67854
[X] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.
>>No. 67856
[x] Get one of the improvements, leaving you with money for another expense.

Giving potassium iodine for radiation prophylaxis eh? I'm kinda surprised you would know such a useless tidbit of information OP.
>>No. 67866
[X] One improvement

---

Dealing with temperature extremes will be a bigger problem than taking extra time to refill the bath. You know a lot of families that huddle together during the winter, but that wouldn’t be a great idea with Medicine.

“Yeah, one bad dream and the last I’d see of you would be in the kasha’s wheelbarrow.” Yamame says as she gathers her drafts. “I can always come again if you feel like having any more work done.”

So, how exactly did she hear that you took Medicine in? You know that secrets are tough to keep in Gensokyo, but you were hoping for at least the better half of a week, not less than a day.

“I’ll tell you, just not-” She jerks her head towards Medicine’s door.

You knock on Medicine’s door to pick up her dishes. You explain to her that you’ll be seeing Yamame out and that you’ll be back in a bit.



“Well, everyone’s known about Medicine getting dragged off for a while now.” She says, tapping her fingers on the counter. “Accident or not, those kids almost got killed. Youkai get exterminated with a capital E for less than that, especially before spellcard. Remember the fortune teller guy?”

You wince. You can’t blame Reimu, but still, what a way to go...

Yamame shares your discomfort. “Yeah. It reminded us all that Reimu was still ready to kill people who crossed the lines. The only thing that surprised us was that Medicine didn’t get whacked on the spot. I remember hearing loads of people at the bar guessing that they wanted to make an example out of her.”

She knows that Reimu approved of this, right?

“I mean, she’d be in pieces now if that wasn’t the case, right?” She shakes her head. “Point is, lots of people were expecting Medicine to be dead by now. The more curious would have checked it out.”

So it was just part of the rumor mill?

“Yep, along with a bunch of other theories, like Eirin locking her up somewhere as slave labor or becoming a shikigami as punishment.”

You should have known that it was pointless to try and keep things discrete when the Danuki have their hands as deep as they do.

“It isn’t all bad.” She shrugs. “Most youkai, at least, don’t know. I only had a hunch until you invited me inside.”

That’s true. Kagerou and Banki didn’t know, though it’s impossible to say how many people the four guys harassing you yesterday might have blabbed to.

Well, you’re counting on Keine and Meira to dissuade any angry mobs thinking about burning your house down. Being a good parent is your first priority for now.

“Damn straight it is. This is a big responsibility you took on.”

You’re well aware. Does she have any advice?

“Well, you’re competent enough that you know about the basics, but her being Youkai and also adopted...” She frowns and leans back. “She’ll come around when she does. All you can do in the meanwhile is support her.”

That sounds right. You’ve heard of humans being raised by youkai, but you can’t remember any examples of the inverse. You didn’t have the luxury of time to plan much, either.

Well, you’re not expecting a few headpats to undo years of sitting alone on that hill. You’re in it for the long haul.

Yamame reaches over and ruffles your hair. “Atta boy.” She beams. “Now go spend a nice day together.”

---
You decided to spend time with Medicine by...

[ ] Drawing pictures with pencils and crayons
[ ] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden
[ ] Reading books and examining her knowledge
>>No. 67867
[x] Drawing pictures with pencils and crayons.
>>No. 67869
[x] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden
>>No. 67870
[x] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden
>>No. 67871
[x] Drawing pictures with pencils and crayons.
>>No. 67873
[x] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden
>>No. 67874
[x] Drawing pictures with pencils and crayons.

Pretty sure she's never done this before.
>>No. 67875
[x] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden
>>No. 67876
[x] Giving her a tour of your yard and garden

Flowers!
>>No. 67885
[X] Tour your yard

---

Having seen the inside of your home, it’s time for her to see the outside of it as well.

Medicine is initially confused as to why you have a boat. “Can’t you just fly over the lake?” She asks.

Most humans don’t have flight magic, you explain.

“They don’t?” She doesn’t seem to believe you.

It’s true. In fact, most humans don’t know any real magic at all.

“...Why?”

Huh. Good question. Keine would probably be the best person to ask about it. The only ‘magic’ you know involves a certain variety of mushroom.

Anyways, you bought it with your earnings to make it easier to haul things along the canal, as well as harvest aquatic animals and plants. Maintenance is a chore, but it’s not too difficult for you to take care of one small boat.

It could fit both of you, although you’d have to cut down on cargo to compensate. You could always take her for a ride sometime. Has she ever seen misty lake?

“No. The only water near me was the Sanzu river.”

Not the most appealing waterfront. Misty lake is much nicer if you like things that are alive, you reassure her.

“Isn’t it close to the vampire mansion, though? Do they ever bother you?”

Not really. You’ve never gone close enough to warrant a response from them. The real bother used to come from fairies. They had somehow gotten it into their tiny, vacant heads that you made candy instead of medicine, and pestered you at every opportunity for some.

“How’d you take care of that problem?” Medicine asks, wary.

You shrug. The problem took care of itself. You didn’t have to raise a finger against the fairies.

She’s relieved by the answer, yet also curious about what it means.

They broke into your storehouse one day while you were away and *indulged* themselves. Coming back home to a bunch of children sprawled across your backyard while foaming at the mouth was an unwelcome surprise. You treated them until they recovered, and you haven’t been bothered since.

Speaking of which, you show her the storehouse next. It’s packed full, mostly by preserved herbs and roots, and a strong smell of dried plants wafts out from the opened door.

Medicine takes a deep breath. “It smells nice!” She says, perking up and stepping inside by herself.

You wonder if she instinctively associates poison with home.

She examines your boxes of samples collected and traded for from across most of Gensokyo, though she’s prudent enough to not try handling them herself. The written materials are only given a passing glance, but that’s probably because she can’t read.

“I’ve never seen so much in one place before.” She says, pressing her face against a glass case. She blinks and then takes a step backwards. “Is this bothering you?”

It doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence, but you don’t want to beat her down over it. How does she feel about her poison affinity?

You take her out of the storehouse and lock it behind you while she thinks about it.

“I don’t know.” Is her answer.

You can’t fault a child for not knowing, you suppose. You lead her to your garden, which might be a generous description for a patch of tilled earth with a bunch of useful plants placed mostly at random. You pull over the wicker chairs you bought from Kourindou for you and Medicine to sit on.

How does it work, if she’s comfortable with sharing?

“It’s like... I can store it in me, and I can let it out.” She says, stroking Su’s head. “I have some feeling about what each one can do to people, but I don’t know for sure and I don’t know what happens when I mix more than one.”

You think that’s a cool ability, you tell her. Does she like it?

“It’s all I’ve known.” She says, looking away. “Poison.”

A gust of wind bends the plants in your garden, but not the two of you.

“Can I tell you something?” She says, still facing away. “It’s to do with the people I hurt before I met you.”

You nod and tell her that it’s fine.

“The human children came to laugh at me. They brought dolls...”

A tear falls from her face. The grass withers where it lands.

“Wood, cloth, paper... they broke them all. I couldn’t stop myself. Why would they do that?”

---

[ ] Cruelty
[ ] Ignorance
[ ] Foolishness
>>No. 67886
[x] Foolishness
>>No. 67887
[x] Foolishness
>>No. 67888
[x] Foolishness
>>No. 67889
[X] Ignorance
>>No. 67890
[X] Ignorance

People like to say that children are cruel, but that's a symptom, not the actual state of being.
Children simply don't know right from wrong yet. They can do very cruel things casually because they're, on some level, trying to find out how far is too far.
>>No. 67891
[X] Ignorance

Kids, man. They don't know jack.
>>No. 67892
[x] Ignorance
>>No. 67893
[X] Ignorance


Not all filters are bad and purity is not always good. Children are the perfect example.
>>No. 67895
Sorry about the delay. I got hit by depression and work problems. Getting back into the update groove is difficult but I think it was good to have a more active pace. I'll do what I can.

I have to work on two stories right now, though. I want to bring the adoption story to a conclusion in the relatively near future.

Basically, I'm going to try alternating updates for both, and aiming for an update within 1-3 days.
>>No. 67901
[X] Ignorance

---

Children... don’t tend to know what they’re doing, you tell her.

“They knew!” She protests.

They don’t know why they should or shouldn’t do things. Kids are smart enough to know how to hurt someone, but it takes more experience to understand that it’s not worth it.

There’s also adults who should know better, but that’s outside the present matter.

Medicine stands there with her fists balled and her face looking to the ground. “I couldn’t save any of them. All I did was get thrown in jail. If you hadn’t come, I would have- they would have-”

She brings her hands to cover her eyes. “I can’t do anything right.”

You kneel down and gently put your arms around her from behind, resting your hands on her stomach. She stiffens at the physical contact, but doesn’t react with hostility.

She’s a brave and kind child, you murmur. Even if nobody told her before now, she still was.

Medicine slumps into you and starts sobbing without reservation. The two of you stay like that for some time while Medicine cries it out.

There, there.

Most of her tears soak into her sleeves, and you take care to avoid having too much touch your skin. Even so, there’s a sharp smell that causes your eyes to tingle.

“What do I do?” She says, hiccuping and sniffling. “I can’t forgive them for what they did.”

Then she doesn’t have to, you tell her. The past can’t be undone. Maybe, some day in the future, she’ll decide that forgiving them is right and lay the anger to rest. Maybe she’ll decide that it’s something she’ll hold against them forever. For now, though...

You want her to be happy. You can’t erase all the years she spent on the hill, but you can make things better from now on.

“You’ll leave too.” She says, accusing. “Even if you don’t want to. You’ll get hurt by being around me and get scared, or mean humans will attack you, or you’ll just get old or sick and die, because that’s what humans do.”

Those are all problems for tomorrow, you say, showing her some vials in your pocket. Besides, you’d be a pretty sorry excuse for an apothecary if you weren’t prepared for the poison. You knew what you were doing when you signed your part of the document, you remind her. You’re on her side, come what may.

The pain can’t be erased, but things can get better. Can she promise that she’ll remember that?

Medicine wiggles around in your embrace and turns around to bury her face in your shoulder. “Okay.” She mumbles.

You pat her back in what you hope is a suitably parental way.

“I’d like to wash my face.” Medicine says, after a minute. However, she tugs at your sleeve when you stand up.

“Can you... carry me?” She asks, clearly embarrassed. She’s not meeting your gaze, though Su is giving you a very hopeful look for someone with glass beads for eyes and a mouth that’s painted on.

You take a deep breath and heft her up, making sure to keep her supported. Medicine weighs less than you expected, so it’s not difficult. She snuggles against you, and Su perches on top of her head.

Medicine washes up, and you follow after her. You apply an ointment for the areas her tears touched and spot clean your clothes.

Man, and the day is barely half-over. Being a single parent really isn’t easy, is it?

---

[ ] Play with Medicine
[ ] Look for a babysitter
[ ] Test Medicine’s educational level
>>No. 67902
[X] Look for a babysitter
umbrella time
>>No. 67903
[x] Test Medicine’s educational level
>>No. 67904
[x] Look for a babysitter

Kogasa wants to be used
>>No. 67905
[X] Test Medicine’s educational level
Let's figure out what she knows before finding someone to babysit.(even if we're going to choose kogasa anyway)
>>No. 67906
[x] Test Medicine’s educational level
>>No. 67907
[x] Play with Medicine

All suffering and no play makes Medicine a sad youkai
>>No. 67908
[x] Play with Medicine
>>No. 67909
[x] Play with Medicine
>>No. 67910
[X] Test Medicine’s educational level
>>No. 67915
[x] Play with Medicine
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