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[IC] TotMV:G^2: Touhou: Twilight of Paradise Butterfly

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Rory, while not quite trusting this Marisa character entirely still, figured that the one offering to help her knew better than she did about whether or not this was a trap. So, the hunter decided to help them out with acquiring the stone. So she tapped the bird on the shoulder and pointed in the opposite direction. "Oh look, a suspicious footprint!"

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Posted (edited)

"A foot-"  Masako paused in her half-mad rambling, spinning on Rory.  "Really?  Really?  A footprint!  As though that is enough to distract me from the prospect of ultimate (investigative) power?  Well, I never!  As though I, the most insightful detective in Gensokyo, would fall for such a cheap scam!"  The tengu huffed, glaring at the faunus and poking at her face with her pipe.  Given that, and the way she was waving the bag around wildly behind her, it seemed she was rather incensed by his crummy attempt to distract her.  She may have been a curious sort, but that didn't mean she wasn't focused.  "I can tell you without even looking whose footprint it is:  yours!  You were the only one trampling around over there, and anyway, the footprints would have been several feet to to the left of where you were looking, because you just pointed at what was probably formerly a tree.  And you really thought that would work?  That I would be distracted enough to let you steal the evidence bag with the evidence hat and the evidence rock?  Really!  You must be-"

And on and on.  She wasn't even paying attention to the bag itself anymore.

Edited by Lucky Lulu
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Lambda.

 

With a completely blank expression, Lambda continued to float forward, gently taking the bag from Masako, or just swiping it away if it was still held on tightly. She'd turn in the bag later, but for now, Lambda merely moved away from Masako and Rory, pulling out the hat, and the stone itself, placing it in the hand of Walmond once she was finished healing Marisa, and holding Marisa's hat out for the witch to retake. For her, it just felt right to give it back.

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Rory just stood there, smirking as she waited for the crow to realize that she took the bait the hunter had set out.

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She didn't. 

 

She was still ranting at him, either totally unaware or totally indifferent to the bag being gone.  And it didn't look like she was running out of air any time soon.

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After giving Masako a few more moments to rant, and check the watch she doesn't have, Rory finally interrupted. "As cute as you are when you're angry, you might want to quiet down and look at where that evidence has gone."

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"You know, for a wannabe Poirot, you're heavy on the obfuscating hilarity and light on the help," Empi grumbles at Masako, before continuing to examine the stone (and Marisa). "So....by gap hag, you're meaning that blonde Yukari chick? I figured she set this whole thing up. You know how it is with those mysterious types; they're either the bad guy and we're playing into her hands, or they're one of those 'can't interfere because I could fart a hole in the ozone layer if I do' types. I'm guessing she's the latter. D'you find anything else about this thing? Anyone in particular looking outta place where you found it? I know you were talking about them youkai or whatever, but..."

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"Don't interrupt me!"  She snapped, puffing out her cheeks a bit and glaring between the two of them, newly-freed hand resting on her hip as she continued to jab her kiseru into Rory's face.  "I just said I couldn't be distracted, and I meant it.  Now keep quiet; I need to finish listing your many mistakes before I deal with the evidence for whatever it was.  Now, let's see...  Ah, of course!  Your next problem was your inability to stand still when someone's trying to use you to rest her wings while getting a decent view of things, which is yet another example of your staggering lack of good sense, nevermind your lack of proper etiquette-"

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Marisa peered at the container for a moment before Walmond's healing washed over her, prompting a look that might've been grateful if one didn't get the feeling she was annoyed it didn't happen sooner. She opened her mouth to speak, at which Chen began to rattle off an explanation in the exact same manner that she had before. She picked the bakeneko up by the scruff of her neck (or maybe it was just a fistful of dress, and placed her other hand over Chen's mouth. The cat continued to struggle as Marisa began her own explanation as if she didn't currently have a flailing shikigami in her hands. "Yeah, that should work. I just need to draw up some fancy magic circle and mumble some words over it and stuff." She made a face. "This really isn't my kinda magic, ze. You just gotta stand over there and do what I say for a sec - hey, no biting, ya little-! Anyway, this won't actually take that long, then ya can poke and prod at it to yer liking. I wouldn't, but ya could." The witch moved Chen to face her for a moment. "Ya can rattle off your explanation in a sec, but ya need to be quiet or this thing might blow up or somethin'. Just shut it." With that, she unceremoniously dropped the girl, retrieved her hat from Lambda with a nod, and then grabbed the red container Rory had proffered earlier.

 

A short time, several questionable varieties of mushroom and other forest growths, and one dangerous sneeze near some Dust later, the ritual circle was complete. A few more moments, and the components used flashed with magic for a moment before promptly vanishing from existence. You could almost hear a chime as if some kind of puzzle had been solved afterward. Marisa said that the rock should be safe to handle as long as it wasn't perturbed too badly, as far as she could tell, and then retrieved her broom. "Why are you all here, anyway? There's gotta be a reason other than ruinin' my afternoon." Chen elected to take that moment to begin the explanation Walmond had requested earlier, causing Marisa to sigh and rub at her head once more. 

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After a brief look of minor surprise, Rory shrugs. Well, the nerds were talking boring magic stuff, so at least getting ranted at was fun. Occasionally the huntress would add additional flaws for the bird to tear into, though their expression clearly said they didn't care about what was being said. Rory was actually so invested in the ranting that they didn't note the witch's completion of the ritual beyond making a motion for her to return the canister, which they would promptly put away.

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Lambda

 

Despite having one hand stretched out to give Marisa her hat back, Lambda managed to lower herself to the ground to grab Chen as the latter was dropped, the hand that was holding the hat barely even budging as she did so. Once the exchanged had been made though, Lambda floated back up into a "standing" position, placing Chen on the ground, still rather gently for a machine with giant claws. With a small pat on the shikigami's head, Lambda quickly went to turn in Isobel's bag, before returning to her Master, who was busy assisting Marisa with the seal.

 

 

Walmond

 

Walmond, on the other hand, was forced to work with the more... Chaotic witch. There wasn't much to say about the sealing process itself, since Marisa knew what she was doing, and so did Walmond, and while the scientist would normally be dissatisfied with how Marisa worked with her magic, it clearly seemed to work well. So, it was simply a different method, not one he'd normally do, but a method nonetheless. Needless to say, they did fine, leaving a now sealed stone in Walmond's hand, which vanished underneath her cloak. At that point, Walmond had opened her mouth to speak, before being interrupted by Chen, who had begun to repeat the theory she had started before. While they had already done the job, Walmond found her attention quickly slipping and refocusing on Chen.

 

... She was probably going to be a while.

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Isobel crossed her arms and frowned at Marisa's complaining -- to tell the truth, she was still feeling rather put out over having the tar beaten out of her by Marisa's spells over and over again. "Don't go feeling too sorry for yourself, the only reason we "ruined your afternoon" is because you jumped us when we were traveling through this place and started shooting massive magic spells all over the place at us. The ass-kicking we gave you was an ass-kicking of self-defense, and you certainly banged us up pretty bad too."

 

LOTUS, meanwhile, was taking on a pensive expression and frowning. "Maybe it's because of the... extenuating circumstances... of the time," she wasn't used to either the whole body or the she thing, "but I actually don't remember exactly why we were in this forest. We've been investigating strange occurrences around Gensokyo, suspecting they're coming from a particular outside threat we're devoted to dealing with. This was just the first destination we were supposed to follow Chen to -- maybe Yukari knew that this would happen? This is going to be a pain if that's the case."

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Chen blinked at Lambda's treatment, but nudged Lambda's hand back with her head before beginning to trot off. Marisa, on the other hand, was feeling less than amicable. "Well then ya shoot magic spells back at me, ze. Besides, it was that magic rock or whatever, I don't beat people up unless they're in my way. Now let me get back to pickin' mushrooms, while the light is still good for 'em." She tugged at her hat, adjusting where it sat upon her head. At LOTUS's speech, Chen volunteered some information. 

 

"It was for her, duh." Chen pointed at LOTUS as she explained, her tone of voice clearly indicating what she thought of the fairy's intelligence. "Lady Yukari told us to investigate the youkai exterminators, and she lives the closest to Muenzuka." This drew an offended squawk from Marisa. 

 

"So you DID come here just to beat the tar outta me!"

 

"No, Lady Yukari said to investigate."

 

"That's what I just said, ze!" Marisa flapped her arms irritably at the group. "Don't know why you're here. . . Can ya just get outta here? Go beat up that maid or somethin', she's always really strange.  And leave me alone." She turned, and pushed through a thicket of some unidentifiable plant life and began to walk off. "Give me a break. . ." Grumbling continued to echo through the forest as she walked off, as her distinctive hat slowly faded into the haze that still clung to the ground. 

 

"Oh, that's actually a good idea. Lady Ran said that we should check on Sakuya, since she helps with the incidents sometimes too." She started off in a different direction from Marisa; it looked like it was a bit lighter than where the witch had gone, possibly leading out of the forest. "Come on! Lady Yukari told Lady Ran to tell me to tell you that we have to do this as fast as possible!"

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Walmond

 

"Well..." the scientist mage muttered, bringing a hand up to readjust her cloak, "That was an overall strange turn of events. Regardless, we have the stone now. Chen-" she continued, barely reacting when Lambda suddenly picked her up and settled Walmond into her arms once more, having detected that they were probably going to be moving very shortly, "What is this 'Sakuya' like? I think it would be best to have an idea of who we're dealing with before we go sprinting into a potential fight."

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Now that things were moving along again Rory stretched and turned to the cat child, to see what she'd say about the next target. They figured Masako would stop ranting eventually.

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"Sakuya's is Remilia's servant. Kind of like me, except not as cool." The party broke out onto an actual path through the forest after a moment, while Chen continued to speak. "She says she's human, but Lady Ran says she talks about humans like she isn't one, and Lady Yukari just smiles." It wasn't long before the path split; a worn signpost in Japanese indicated that going back along the road they were currently on would take them right back to Muenzuka. Going right would take them to a place just labeled "Village" in an archaic form of Japanese, while the other sign appeared to have been scratched out at some point, with a vague indicator that the area was dangerous in place of the proper name of the place. Chen, of course, lead the party along the left path, either not knowing or not caring about the warnings. "She does this thing where she's all like, 'WRYYYYYYY-" Chen leapt forward ahead of the party, doing an odd pose with her torso bent backward, her knees bent, and her hands clawed upward, before nearly falling over backwards and righting herself. "-and then a bunch of knives and stuff appear all over the place." 

 

The air was beginning to get a bit cooler as they progressed further along the road, and the nature of the haze seemed to change; it got a bit lighter, and was a decidedly less unsettling mix of colors. The reason for this was made apparent as the trees seemed to suddenly open up, revealing what Chen informed them was the aptly-named "Misty Lake." Fairies flitted about the lake, concentrated around the edge but spread across the entire thing. The path continued around the lake, but appeared fairly overgrown except for where it wrapped around the structure occupying the opposite side: a large, old, and foreboding-looking mansion that rose up out of vine-laden brick walls surrounding it. An equally aged, but still sturdy-looking wrought iron gate allowed passage into the property. "Huh, I wonder where the gate guard is?"

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Empi looks....extremely suspicious. Between the earlier path (yes, she DID read Japanese, after all most of her NEET clients were from there) and the fact that they were in place called Misty Lake, Empi was on the look-out for monsters emerging from the haze to try and kill them all.

 

Which, considering people thought shooting each other with magic bullets was a fun pastime here, wasn't entirely unexpected at this rate.

"I'm assuming you're not a betting man, because I'm pretty damn sure that between that witch chick and your boss apparently nabbing us to clean this shit up, the same crap that got that Marisa chick is probably here already. At least, I'd bet fifty dollars that it is. Unless she's normally supposed to be away from the post, which would make her a terrible guard."

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Rory shrugged. "Could be that it's time for the guard to change. Normally you'd do it around the evenings and such, but it makes a lot of sense to do it when there's plenty of light out, so that intruders have the best chance of getting caught... So let's hope that they're gone because of some weird magic rock and not because they were clever and are looking to catch us out." Rory finishes with a smile that doesn't look all that happy.

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"No, no," Masako said, floating on down next to Empi to examine the gate, having long since lost interest in lecturing the lump of stone that was the lizard faunus.  "There's only really one gate guard, and she's normally supposed to be bad at her job here.  I usually see her sleeping out in front of the gate when I fly by on a case.  Curious, not to have her around."

Masako flew closer, until she could peer through the iron bars at the mansion.  It almost seemed more foreboding than usual.  "Well, if she DID end up with something like that rock, maybe the maid finally decided to kill her for sleeping on the job?  It seems likely."  Masako folded her arms and tapped the base of her chin, still staring inside.  She wasn't looking forward to this bit.  Not just because it would involve trying to beat up a potential serial killer with time powers and FAR TOO MANY KNIVES, but because Sakuya just kinda weirded her out.

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"The fuck kind of place lets you kill your own employees for incompetence? Not that I haven't considered throttling the odd idiot intern who decides to overshare with a client, but if that were me, I'd nope out of there even if they offered dental, stock options AND a company card."

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Rory rolls her eyes at that. "Yeah, what kind of place would people willingly work under those conditions... Oh wait, they wouldn't. There's some reason that the guard has to work here, use your head... Only reason they would willing do so is if dying isn't much of a problem for them... Which actually might be an option as well, shit."

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Walmond

 

As soon as Chen jumped forward and let out her screech, Walmond merely blinked impassively, ignoring Lambda reflexively pressing her master closer for their protection, "Interesting. Sounds like a form of magic, if an... Odd one" she admitted, nodding in understanding as their guide continued to lead them to their destination. Once they arrived though, Walmond pushed herself off of Lambda, opting to walk herself instead of letting Lambda merely take her everywhere, causing the robot to look fairly crestfallen as they followed. As for the issue of the gate guard not being around, Walmond didn't exactly pay much attention to that. Her thoughts were mostly directed towards scanning the mansion itself, along with wondering why Lambda seemed more human than normal.

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Chen hopped up into the air, beginning to drift over the lake and towards the gates. The air was damp, the mist cool but not quite cold. The air remained thick with fairies, but unlike earlier they seemed to be more concerned with going about their business, whatever business fairies had, rather than slowing the party down. Aside from one moment where a fairy thought it might be amusing to try and nick a canister of Dust from Rory - which fairly quickly ended as both fairy and a small portion of the substance within went up in a puff of flame as the magically-charged being made contact with the stuff - the trip over was uneventful. Chen landed on the far shore, guiding the party back to the ground and then towards the gate. "I still don't see her. Lady Ran said that she should-"

 

 

"JAAAAOOOOOOOOO!"

 

 

"Oh." The gate guard was not immediately apparent, but a loud crash followed the warcry, and following the crash was a streak of gray exiting one of the walls at high speed. Said streak of gray sailed into the lake with a rather anticlimactic "ploop," before something of a darker color landed on the ground before the party at a slightly more leisurely pace, accompanied by a knife or three that all landed point-down nearby. The nature of the object was quickly made apparent; it looked quite similar to the artifact they'd confiscated from Marisa, but with an extra portion that made it look like it might sit on someone's head. "Lady Yukari said that the seal from earlier should be easy to duplicate once the first one was cast." She launched into another overly-technical explanation of thankfully much shorter duration in Walmond's direction. 

 

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Walmond

 

"That seems to have something to do with the guard" Walmond commented after, once again, being carried over the lake by Lambda. Now though, she merely stepped forward to pick the artifact up, all while listening to Chen's explanation as she immediately got to work on the seal. They had the artifact right there, and it was better to get the problem taken care off immediately, rather than simply wait for it to be a problem.

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