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[X] Rocket Launcher
[X] Breakfast with Kogasa
The path ahead of you may be dark and full of danger, but this helps even the score. You suspect there will be no shortage of worthy targets for your rockets.
You don’t want Kogasa to faint from shock, so you stow it and motion towards the door at Junko. She nods and walks over to open it and step through.
“Woah!” She exclaims as the bucket of water comes down. She brings a hand up to knock the falling bucket aside in the midst of pretending to flail in confusion, scattering water all around her but keeping herself dry.
Kogasa, of course, is too elated to notice. “Ha! Got you good!” She says, almost jumping for joy as she comes out from behind a bush that was too small to conceal both her and her umbrella.
“Damn, you sure did.” Junko smiles at her as she fishes for a cigarette.
“You’re Kogasa, right?” You step outside to greet her with a wave. “Feeling up for some breakfast with us, or is your spooking itinerary booked full?”
“Um, well, it’s not, but is that really okay?” She seems abashed now. You get the impression that most of her prank attempts haven’t gone this well. “I mean, I’d love to, but-”
“Great, make yourself at home!” You say, taking her by the elbow and leading her inside.
It’s a good thing Caleb found time to grab produce from the village. It’s not that any of you mind that much, but it’d be kind of rude to serve a guest meal bars, MREs, and unhealthily potent energy drinks.
Kogasa is excited to eat what you guys manage to cook up, though. “I don’t eat that much outsider food, so this is fun.” She explains to Caleb between bites. “Oh, and the food’s good too, of course!”
“You were wrong about her being harmless, Char.” Junko says as she watches Kogasa’s beaming face. “She’s so adorable that it’s painful.”
“Oh, before I forget, Raiko wanted me to help you guys with something!” She says, standing up. “You guys rescued two tsukumogami yesterday, right? I can figure out what materials they need for repair. Raiko says she’ll cover the repair costs, so don’t worry about it.”
“She told us as much.” You reply, swallowing. “They’re in bad shape, though. Are you sure you can handle it?”
Kogasa nods earnestly. “Leave it to me.”
You lead her to the couch where Ruukoto and Mimi are currently laid down on, both in hibernation.
Kogasa’s hands fly to her mouth in shock when she sees their condition. “Who would do such a thing to these kids?”
“It wasn’t us.” Caleb says. “Some kappa decided to push their luck, and the results weren’t pretty.”
“Poor things...” She murmurs as she traces her fingers over their jagged wounds.
You hand her a few sheets of paper. “I wrote up some documentation of their body’s specifications. They’re both badly damaged, but Ruukoto will probably want to keep her current shell. Fixing the damage to her limbs, internals, and cosmetics will be all you’d need to worry about. Mimi, though, wants to just be inserted into an entirely new shell. She gave me a few suggestions beforehand, but none of them are humanoid.”
“Yes, I think I can make something work for them... wait, they’re not tsukumogami?” Kogasa asks, blinking alongside her umbrella.
“No. They’re artificial intelligences, more like Alice’s dolls, but fully aware.” You tell her.
“Wow. The outside must be a fascinating place.” She says.
“Eh, it’s ok. Gensokyo’s plenty interesting as well.” You tell her.
“Speaking of Alice, Marisa seems to have gone to Makai on her own to look for her.”
You blink. “Well, that’d explain why she didn’t show up last night. How’d she do it?”
“She opened a portal up somewhere and went through.” Kogasa explains. “At least, that’s what Raiko said that the sign on her door said.”
You pinch the bridge of your nose. “Yeah, this is what I mean, Kogasa. There’s not many places where people hang “Closed - Gone to Hell” signs on their doors.”
That’s just swell. With how the flow of time fluctuates in the hell dimensions, it’s going to be hard to predict how much havoc Marisa will cause. She already made a mess of things last time. You’d almost say that she couldn’t make it much worse, but experience tells you that people like her take it as a challenge.
“Thanks for letting me know.” You tell her. “And thanks for coming over to help with the AIs.”
She smiles again. “No problem! I’m always glad when I can help someone, and I’ve been meaning to meet you for a while anyway.”
“Char, sorry to interrupt your fanclub, but Junko and I are heading out to the radio tower.” Caleb pings from the next room. “She’s got a plan for fixing the range issues on pinging.”
“Cool. I guess we’ll know soon enough if it works.” You reply as they bid Kogasa farewell and leave.
“So, uh, did I live up to your expectations?” You ask her.
Kogasa nods, smiling brightly. “Yep! I heard that you were really strong for a human and weren’t afraid of youkai, but also nice. And they were right! You guys are nice!” Her face turns red as she looks to the side. “Well, I guess I’d have liked it if you were a little afraid, heh...”
“Anyways, Raiko and the Tsukumogami with her are pretty fond of you guys.” She goes on. “When I’m working in the village, I hear some humans say that they want you guys to do more for them, but I guess you’re pretty busy. I think they all pretty much like having you around, though.”
“And Mamizou?” You ask.
“Ah, her?” Kogasa isn’t bothered by the question. “I actually didn’t get the chance to ask. I mean, she seemed interested to me, but word on the street is that she left to see an old friend sometime yesterday.”
You’re assuming that Nue isn’t the person in question. Mamizou knows Ran, possibly better than nearly anyone else if she’s right about Ran’s new identity, but you really weren’t getting ‘friend’ vibes from that relationship.
Could she have known the Hakurei?
“Well, thanks for coming over, Kogasa.” You tell her. “You’re welcome to come back whenever you want, even if it’s not for work.”
You say goodbye to Kogasa and set up a nest of sentry guns and sensors to watch over Mimi and Ruukoto. If someone tries to steal them from under your nose after all they’ve gone through, you might actually kill them, spellcard rules or not.
It looks like Caleb was trying to do something with the butterfly scale-like dust you found on your eyes after one of those weird dreams. There’s a vial holding a liquid suspension of it, and looking through the solution makes the world seem off somehow. Not in the usual way that could be explained by the distortion of the liquid or curved glass... Well, you trust Caleb to not do anything stupid.
You do make sure to lock it away from Ruukoto and Mimi, though.
After making your preparations, you depart and fly over to Wakasagihime’s cove.
You hear her before you see her. She’s sitting on a boulder close to the shore, singing a clear, wordless melody that pierces the mist like sunlight through water.
It’s beautiful. Unfortunately, you have business with her.
She gives you a wave and a smile as you land next to her. “Oh hello, Charlotte.” She says, scooting over to give you more room. “Did you like it?”
“Second in beauty only to yourself.” You say. “But I’m afraid I have something important to ask of you.”
“Oh, I see.” She says, trying to cover her blush with her sleeves. Her tail shows less composure, swishing around in the water. “I’d be glad to help in any way I can.”
You take a deep breath. “Can you show me the final resting place of Hakurei Futaba?”
Wakasagihime goes still. “Why do you want to know?” She asks. The only movement comes from the lingering ripples.
“The Hakurei aren’t dead.” You explain, keeping your voice calm. “They were asleep. They’re waking up now, and my friends and I need to make sure they don’t hurt anyone in the process.”
“Futaba...” Wakasagihime shakes her head. “The stories of my people say that she came to no good end, as did all of her line before Reimu’s mother. She died fighting for my people’s safety, among other things.”
She looks into your eyes for a few moments before speaking. “I think there are things you can’t or won’t tell me... but I trust you, Charlotte.”
Wakasagihime turns her gaze to the center of the lake. “Futaba’s grave is at the bottom of Misty Lake, where the water is cold, crushing, and lightless.”
You already don’t like where this is going.
“What’s more is that the path is said to only be revealed to other Hakurei. Not even we know its exact location.” She goes on. “Death lurks close by at those depths. We merfolk dare not linger. For a human to attempt it...”
Wakasagihime turns back to you and clasps her hands around yours. “I’ll help you, but promise me that you’ll come back. Don’t chase it to the point of running out of breath.”
“I’m serious. I’ll drag you back to the surface myself if I have to, no matter how close you say you are.”
“I know.” You answer. “I trust you too.”
A faint smile appears on her face. “Thank you. Do you have a means to breathe underwater?”
“We were going to see what equipment we could get from the Kappa.” You say, trying to phrase it as inconspicuously as you can.
“Oh. Well, there is another way...” She says, her tail starting to swish again. “It’s an old spell that hasn’t been used much in a long time. I don’t know if you’d prefer it, though...unless?”
“That depends. What is it?”
“A ki... kiss.” She says, face turning bright red.
[ ] You’re flattered, but no thanks.
[ ] Very well.
[ ] Squish the fish.