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Welcome back to Crescent Adventures, a quest based on the 90s Sailor Moon universe.

You are Ruka Houseki, 14 year old student of Juuban Middle School. You have gotten wrapped up in some bizarre events and gained some nifty powers and a blue penguin companion.

>a group of boys at your school has been acting weirdly, made trouble and then skipped school.
>You went to investigate upon learning they all had visited a fortune teller
>The Fortune Teller can see Azul! Definitely a weird lady.
>You climb up and break in through a window on the third floor, destroy a weird glowing orb and sneak past Tuxedo Mask
>You discover that Sailor Moon took care of whatever had happened downstairs.
>Tomio is informed of the day's events and runs to catch up with the other boys, while you investigate the building with Azul.
>Dreamed about the Shadow Players and even got some answers... you think.
>Woke up, got on the bus and talked with Chiba Mamoru. Discovered he can see Azul though he doesn't do anything about it
>Azul gets off the bus early to avoid linking himself to your and your school
>Arrive at school, boys are punished for yesterday's events.... even if it's not really their fault.

Unfortunately, supernatural brainwashing and human puppetting is not yet regarded as an excuse by the school. There's not much you can do you about it.

What you can do is try to figure out where your partner Azul went. He has not arrived at your school, despite only getting off the bus two stop prior. It should not take the entire morning to walk such a short distance, you figure that something has gone wrong...

Pastebin: https://pastebin.com/u/CrescentADV
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Crescent%20Adventures
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CrescentDreamA1
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>Go off campus and search for Azul. You have time.

Usually, you stay on school grounds because you don't have any reason to go off it and an hour is barely any time to really do anything. The kids that usually do leave school grounds are the ones who want to eat lunch at a local restaurant rather than bring their own lunch or eat in the cafeteria. They tend to be the richer sort of students to afford such a luxury.

You've actually never gone off during lunch time. Today is a nice day for a first time. You pack away your lunch in your bag and get ready to leave through the school gates.

But before you get any further, you notice that Aya is walking towards you. You stop and wait for her.

"Ruka! Let's eat lunch together!" She calls out, she waves her lunch box to show off what you assume is her latest attempt at making food. Could it be she wants you to taste test it?

"Sorry Aya, I'm going off campus for lunch this time." You explain gently but you feel bad, it's clear to you that she wants to hang out with you. Her face falls when you explain.

"Oh it was just I was hoping to have lunch with you. We haven't been hanging out due lately except at club meetings..." Aya says sadly.

It's been a crazy, if someone had told you that soon after the start of your second year of middle school that your life would be turned upside down with weird dangerous supernatural events, you would have invited them to join the Supernatural Research Club as a potential member.

"We can hang out after school! I got nothing else on the go, it's just right now is a bad time. I need to go to Crown Games for something." You are not exactly lying to your friend, Azul doesn't know much of Juuban but he's been around the shopping district. You're hoping that he's somewhere near Crown Games.

"Crown Games? But you never leave school grounds during lunch time." Aya sounds surprised, her face then transforms. There's a mirthful smile on her face. You aren't sure what caused it.

"I see... You're meeting someone aren't you? I can feel it, good luck Ruka!" Aya cheers you on.

Crap, she has gotten things absolutely wrong.

"What? No, I'm not meeting with someone." You feel incredibly embarrassed that your lie has given Aya the wrong impression. And it is clear that your protest is being ignored by your sempai.

"Sure, sure Ruka. Don't worry, I'll keep it a secret from Tomio." Aya breezily waves off your protest. She waves you good bye and walks back to the school commons to eat with other students.

You want to feel annoyance, but can only feel weariness instead. You turn away from school and begin walking towards Juuban shopping district. The sidewalk is full of people out to eat lunch, there are groups of office workers going to cheap eateries and students ordering burgers at takeaways. You were hoping it'd be easy to spot a blue penguin in the crowd of people out and about but it might be more difficult than you expected.
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After wandering a bit though, you see a flash of blue up ahead when the crowds of pedestrian part a bit.

'Hey Azul! Wait up!' You mentally message your partner but all you feel back is a sharp feeling of exhaustion and frustration; it seems he is not slowing down to let you catch up with him. You speed up your pace since he wasn't going to wait up for you. Just what was wrong?

It becomes clear when you get close what it was.

Azul appears to be exhausted. You wonder, can penguins sweat or flush red from exercise? Then again, he doesn't have feathers, rather he's a strangely smooth skinned rubbery sort of bird. All time, he's been trying to get away from a cat... a very familiar looking cat, now that you think about it. The cat too, looks exhausted but continues to doggedly follow the penguin with a persistence that seemed rather human-like. As you are watching and wondering, suddenly, Azul makes a dash forward to try and leave the cat following him behind. The cat gives chase after the blue penguin and appears to be grimacing with annoyance and exhaustion. You too begin jogging a bit to not lose sight of them.

... So your partner in crime didn't come to school because he was being followed by a cat? What did he do? Did he accidentally poke the cat and disrupt his own invisibility or was the cat naturally able to see him? Why did it even matter if the cat can see him, it's just a cat... Is he afraid of cats?

You feel sad, you love cats. But if Azul hated them, you are probably going to have to curb your enthusiasm for petting them, snuggling them, making cutesy noises at them, and... and... and...

Wait, that cat. It has a strange crescent shaped bald spot on the forehead. It's Luna! You feel your heart rate increase from your love of cats and completely focus upon the pretty little kitty cat with laser-like intensity. You can barely contain yourself from sneaking up and snuggling her.

Your will power fails.

You feel your body accelerate more to chase after the two animals. You have a bit of tunnel vision on Luna, you want to pick her up and drape her across your shoulders. You were so jealous when Usagi did it last time, you can't wait to have Luna do the same on your shoulders!

This is the third time you've snuck up on Luna, you feel kind of bad about it but you're really too good at being sneaky. You are close enough to grab her, by the time the cat realizes that your shadow is looming over her, it is too late!

"LUNA!!!!" You can't help but let out a girlish squeal as you pick up the cat from behind and lift her up high into the air. The cat is so shocked, it only lets out a small meow and cranes her head to look behind her. The cat slumps in defeat upon realizing it's you again, she has given up on all hopes of escaping you.
You thought Azul would stick around but instead he just accelerates and dashes away once you got Luna in your grasp. It was weird, he didn't have to run away. He's going to be out of range soon, you feel like you should communicate where to meet up again before he gets too far.

What do want to say to Azul?

>'Hey partner, I'm going to hang out with Aya after school. Do whatever you want in the mean time! I'll be home around dinner time, see you then.' (Tell Azul he can wander around if he wants)
>'Azul, maybe you should head home. I'll be back later tonight.' (Ask Azul to go back to your apartment)
>'Stick around Crown Games, Azul. I'll be by later and pick you up.' (Ask Azul to hang around Crown Games until you come by)
>'If you can buddy, try to come by school if you're able.' (Ask Azul to come by the school if he can...)
>write in
>'Stick around Crown Games, Azul. I'll be by later and pick you up.' (Ask Azul to hang around Crown Games until you come by)

Maybe take Luna with us back to school, too. We can totally channel Ruka's natural affinity for cats as an excuse to hug her and pet her and squeeze her and call her George, thus enabling a perfect cover story to allow Azul time to rest up and find a good resting/hiding spot. We also get to pet and pamper an adorable cat. Since Luna is exhausted from attempting to pursue Azul, she might even welcome the chance to rest up.

We may have need of his services again if spooky shit goes down, or if he detects spooky stuff going down like he did when we first passed by the fortune teller shop.
>>'Stick around Crown Games, Azul. I'll be by later and pick you up.' (Ask Azul to hang around Crown Games until you come by)
>'If you can buddy, try to come by school if you're able.' (Ask Azul to come by the school if he can...)
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You shoot off your message to Azul before he's out of range.

'Hey Azul, stick around Crown Games. I'll be by later and pick you up!' You mentally message him but you don't get a response back. He moved quickly out of range, you hope that he got your message. You're going to have to trust that if you can't find him in Crown Games later on, then he went straight home to your apartment.

As for you and Luna, you had better eat lunch or something. The poor cat seems exhausted, how long had she been stalking Azul for? All morning? You take pity on the cat and carry her gently to a small bench where there's a corner store nearby to get a small bowl of water. Luna is thirsty and starts drinking the moment the water is set down on the bench. You decide to buy her some cat treats from the store as well, she looks like she hasn't eaten anything at all. You set down the small treats close to her and watch her eat, she is ravenous and devours the all of the cat treats. When she is done eating, she rests on the bench by your side and allows you to pet her. As you stroke her fur, you realize you have to eat your lunch too. It's almost time for you to get back to school. You scarf down your lunch quickly. The cat is staring at you as you eat, and has a look of what you can only assume is judgement.

Oh yeah, this cat belongs to Usagi. Luna has definitely seen your classmate eat food like you are doing right now. In a race to eat, you aren't sure if you can beat Usagi but you'd be just behind her. When you finish your lunch, you immediately get up and pick up the cat.

"Well Luna, I'll take you to school. I'm sure Usagi would be happy to see you." You cheerfully announce, and don't give her a chance to escape. You don't know if this cat is going to go back to stalking Azul again, you had better take her away to give your buddy a rest.

You drape the cat across your shoulders and let her ride. You are in a state of cat bliss as you walk all the way back to school. It's a shame you can't just carry the cat on your shoulder all day while in school too! But alas, you set the cat down by the school gate. You are barely in time to get back to class. You quickly wave Luna good-bye and rush back inside.

The classroom has your three missing classmates back: Tomio, Yuuji and Gurio. All three are slumping in exhaustion. You take your seat, and turn around to talk with your childhood friend now that he is back.

"Hey man, uh, so how did things go in the Principal's office?" You ask timidly.

There is a sigh of despair. Then he lifts his head off his desk to look at you and starts explaining.
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"Not good, but it's a good thing you warned me yesterday. I managed to tell most of the guys what was up so they weren't all caught off guard but I didn't reach all of them. Like Gurio learned what he had been doing yesterday from Osaka just this morning, so he was devastated when he got called up. Also, we got a good idea of what happened yesterday after we skipped school. Seems we were tearing through town like a gang of delinquents. An actual police officer came in to give us a lecture about our behaviour yesterday during lunchtime. We got off with a warning. Before that, the gym teacher made us run laps until we puked as punishment. I am so tired." Tomio groans. He summons enough strength to reach into his schoolbag and pass you back your class notes from yesterday.

"Ah, and, uh, what about your mom? I tried calling yesterday and she wasn't happy to hear from me." You take back your notes and put it on your desk.

"She's pissed, turns out that before I went full jerk yesterday... I was acting like an asshole to her the day before yesterday. I said some pretty hurtful things to her and she's convinced you had a hand in it. She says, and I'm just quoting her, 'she knows you hate her'."

"What? I don't hate your mom, I barely know her!" You protest. And it's true, you've always tried to avoid Mrs. Harada. When you couldn't avoid her, you made sure to be polite. The lady also knows that your mom went off and joined a cult, so she never wanted you to be friends with Tomio in the first place.

"Hey Ruka, can I ask a question?" Tomio sounds incredibly serious and looks at you directly; he seems full of despair as he does so.

"Sure, go ahead." You aren't quite sure what he wants to ask.

"Did I say something terrible to you as well?" He sounds guilty as he asks.

Aw crap. You don't exactly want to tell him but he went ahead and asked.

"... Yeah, you did. It's not as if you were in full control of yourself. You didn't mean it." You try to reassure your friend but he just slumps on his desk upon your answer.

"I'm sorry. It doesn't matter that I didn't mean to, I still said it."

Seems like you can't really cheer up Tomio. You sigh and look at Gurio who looks utterly depressed. The guy was a nerd and a stickler for the rules. You imagine that getting called to the Principal's office, even with some advance warning from Naru this morning, was a shock. You look down at your class notes, and remember that Gurio had for an entire week lent you his during your recovery.

You get up and approach Umino Gurio's desk.

"Hey Umino, thanks for giving me a copy of your school notes when I was out last week. Here, I took yesterday's class notes. You can copy mine." You set it down on his desk.

Umino looks up with tears in his eyes.
"WAH!! Thank you so much Houseki! I can't stand the idea of missing out on my education or causing such trouble yesterday. I got questioned about yesterday but I can't remember. The Principal was concerned and asked if there was anything wrong at home and said her office is always open to me. But the teachers told me they expected better of me." Umino takes your notes and carefully starts copying your notes on the spot. It seems doing something academic and productive sort of cheered him up. You can only imagine how baffled the teachers were when Gurio started acting up.

"Hey... You don't got another copy do you?" Yuuji asks with an exhausted voice. He is slumped over his desk and turns his face just enough to face you.

"Tomio copied mine, I'll ask him to pass his on to you." You go back and get Tomio's copy to give to Yuuji.

Seems that punishment was... well... light? They weren't suspended or expelled from school. A stern warning and the gym teacher being an asshole by making them run laps.

The rest of the school day is pretty downbeat, and can't end soon enough. But your last class of the day is dragging on.

The last class you're having is...

>Home economics! You are randomly partnered with Naru.
>Gym! You're playing some soccer with the girls and Usagi is on your team.
>Chemistry! You're learning about how to safely use lab equipment with Gurio.
>Civics! You're learning about the justice system and got partnered with Tomio.
>Write in
>Gym! You're playing some soccer with the girls and Usagi is on your team.

Gotta get FIT.
>Chemistry! You're learning about how to safely use lab equipment with Gurio.
>>Gym! You're playing some soccer with the girls and Usagi is on your team.
>Gym! You're playing some soccer with the girls and Usagi is on your team.
>>Civics! You're learning about the justice system and got partnered with Tomio.
>>Gym! You're playing some soccer with the girls and Usagi is on your team.
People have chosen swole... and to see Usagi flail about.
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You get high marks in gym class, if only because you're already so physically fit. A number of sports clubs had tried to recruit you when you first started school but you blew them off to join Supernatural Research Club. You admit that when you first joined your club, you were more interested in going home early and the extremely low attendance requirements. Now you attend every meeting possible and help Aya out whenever she asks. It's funny how it's gradually eaten up your free time.

You're glad that the sport today is just some casual soccer. Last time when you attended gym class 2 weeks ago, it was nothing but Sports Day related exercises to determine which student would do what event for that far off day held in October. The most annoying was practicing the Human Pyramid since the gym teacher had to determine who would go on each level, you were on the bottom for the Girls' Human Pyramid because of your physical fitness. You loathe the sound of the whistle constantly blowing during the entire time. And the number of girls climbing on to your back was a serious pain.

Your soccer teammates are a mix of boys and girls, and of varying levels of skills. The worst member on your team is definitely Usagi. The girl is just uncoordinated, and lazy. But most of all, she was just unmotivated to try and win. Then again, this is a casual game and winning really isn't the point.

It's just that you are competitive. You like winning! There's a number of classmates that are like you in that regard and they're mostly on your team.

"Let's do our best Ruka-chan!" Usagi enthusiastically cheers as she makes a dash to the goal to be the goalie. All your teammates sigh, Usagi is a decidedly poor goalie but it was that or having her on the field as a player. It was better this way.

This was a 10 vs 10 game. For 40 students that means 4 teams. The colors assigned are Red, Green, Black, and White. As a proud member of Team Green you will definitely crush Team White!

Yuuji is on the White team, and look utterly exhausted along with Gurio. They had been running laps all morning and now they have to run more for gym. It's a bit unfair, you probably shouldn't go all out to win.

... You can't bring yourself to not play at 100%.

'Sorry guys, I can't help myself.' You mentally apologize and great ready to play.

It's a bit of a slaughter, White Team is unmotivated and has 2 players that are just too exhausted to put in any effort to play. The score is about 4 points to 0 points, it was incredibly dissatisfying to be winning against a team that wasn't bothering to try. Green Team felt like a bunch of bullies.

There was however one member on White Team who was raging with despair at the unfairness of it all. Masato was a member of the boys soccer team, to be stuck on White Team must be eating him up with frustration. He would have been much happier to join the more energetic and enthusiastic Green Team.
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"GAH!!!" Masato screams and charges ahead. He is a one man dervish, running past the Green Team's forward, midfielders and centre-back with incredible skill. It was all fueled by his frustration. You're not a very good soccer player but you're enthusiastic defender.

He pivots to avoid the center back and you move to help defend the goal. But he gives the ball a desperate kick. That was a pretty good kick, there's no way Usagi is going to be able to stop the ball. In fact the ball is flying towards Usagi's face. The speed is such that she can't move out of the way quickly enough.

You feel your legs move faster. It feels strange, were you usually this fast? Your heart is pounding, there is a ringing in your ears, and your skin feels flush with a heat that hurt. You jump forward, hands extended outwards to block the ball.

Usagi lets out a short scream when realizes she won't be able to duck or move to avoid the ball hitting her.

You make it and punch the ball away with your hand. It flies over the goal and Usagi. But you have a crash landing that knocks the wind out of you and you slide on the grass a small distance. It's a good thing your ribs have recovered, that would have been super painful. Your body is aching in strange ways and you stay on the grass for a few seconds to recover.

"HANDBALL!" The gym teacher calls out belatedly. He looks impressed at your athletic feat. In fact, there's an 'oooooh' from the spectators and players who just witnessed your sudden burst of speed.

Burst of Speed: When you gotta go, you gotta go. Speed is doubled for one action but afterwards Ruka can't move or take actions for a few seconds due to exhaustion. This move cannot be used by Ruka repetitively.

"Ruka-chan, are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?" Usagi asks with concern when you don't immediately get up from the grass.

"Yeah... Give a few secs, that was exhausting." You tell Usagi that in a calm voice. But in reality, you are also freaking out a bit. That was not a natural.

The soccer game ends with White team utterly defeated. Masato is staring at you with wide eyes for the rest of gym class. In fact, you feel a great deal of scrutiny from classmates who are members of sports clubs. They are probably thinking up recruitment pitches to try and steal you away from Supernatural Research Club.

You are sitting on the grass and watching Red Team versus Black Team.

"Thanks again Ruka-chan, you saved me back there." Usagi takes a seat right next to you.

"No problem. I'm still exhausted from it." You manage to say. The exhaustion from the weird burst of speed hasn't quite left you, it's not a feat you can constantly spam.

"How did you do it? Is it from secret training?" Usagi asks with curiosity.

You laugh a little. You can't exactly tell her that it was some weird supernatural trick.

"Nah, just exercise." You lie.
With the end of gym class, school is over at last. As you change out of your gym clothing , the thought occurs to you. If you are going to meet up with Aya, maybe you should invite some other people to hang out too?

>Invite Usagi and Naru, all girl party!
>Invite Gurio, Tomio and Yuuji, recent victims!
>Just go with Aya without inviting anyone else
On the one hand, I want to invite the guys over because they could use some sympathy right now. On the other hand, they might be in trouble with their parents, who will surely be stricter with them at least for a short while. Their after school activities aside from official clubs etc might be limited. Perhaps some time at the arcade might be better later once their brief stint of delinquency has faded from recent memory.

>Invite Usagi and Naru, all girl party!
>Invite Usagi and Naru, all girl party!
>>Invite Usagi and Naru, all girl party!
>>Invite Gurio, Tomio and Yuuji, recent victims!
Gotta set up our girl Aya! And fail!
>Invite Usagi and Naru, all girl party!
All girl party!
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You considered inviting Tomio and the other boys along to cheer them up... and also set up an opportunity for Aya to try and comfort your childhood friend but you change your mind. They're too depressed and probably will be busy dealing with the fallout from yesterday for awhile.

Instead, it would better to make this a girls' day out when hanging out with Aya.

"Hey, are you girls' busy after school?" You ask Naru and Usagi, they aren't busy and are happy to accept your invitation to hang out. You bid good bye and good luck to Tomio who is preparing to go straight home. That reminds you, you have to give back those weights to him. You'll do that on Saturday when you have to go to school for half the day.

When you walk to the school gates, you see that Aya is waiting for you while talking with another 3rd year girl by her side. You realize that the girl beside Aya is Sasahara Miyuki, Juuban Middle School's Captain of the Girls' Track and Field team.

"I guess the recruitment drive has started..." You mutter under your breath.

"Huh, did you say something Ruka-chan?" Usagi asks, she overheard you but didn't quite understand.

You point ahead at the school gates. Naru immediately recognizes Miyuki but Usagi looks very clueless.

"I mean, you were very impressive in gym class Ruka-chan. It's surprising you're not in a sports club in the first place." Naru comments.

At your approach, Aya notices and turns away from Miyuki to greet you. There is a definite strain on Aya's face, like a coil that jas been twisted to add extra tension.

"Ruka! Seems like you did something to catch everyone's attention... again." Aya is annoyed. She's dealt with this nonsense last year when you first joined Supernatural Research Club and now has to do it all over again.

"Houseki Ruka. Just the girl I was hoping to meet. I'm here to discuss about you joining the track team!" Miyuki sounds super excited. You aren't sure how news got out about your impressive speed boost during gym class, but it doesn't matter.

"No thank you Sasahara-sempai." You are firm in your refusal and polite. Disappointment blooms on the captain's face.

"But it'd so much more impressive and useful in your academic career if you do something more productive than weirdo supernatural---." Miyuki doesn't get to finish her sentence because Aya stomps on her classmate's foot.

"Excuse me, my club is a serious research group!" The wrath of Aya can be pretty scary despite her lack of height. But Miyuki has known Aya for years, so it wasn't very intimidating to her. In fact, she seems to think it's rather cute instead.

"Right, right! I'm sorry girl, you didn't have to resort to violence." Miyuki attempts to placate her old friend. Miyuki can't join you on your get together, she's too busy with the Track team and leaves.
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Luna is not hanging around the school entrance as was her regular habit. Usagi is trying to look around for her but the black cat is nowhere to be seen. After a brief search, the group decided to move on to the Juuban shopping district. It was a shame, you would have liked to pet the cat more.

You discover that window shopping is surprisingly fun to do with a group of girls. You rarely hang out in a large all girl group after school, usually it was just with Tomio and you or hanging around members of your Club.

Usagi easily points out the most interesting shops that everyone can enjoy, Naru dishes out school gossip and Aya is giving out great fashion and make up tips... You are awkwardly out of place, you are not very knowledgeable about any of things the other girls are talking about. Shopping, recent gossip, the latest fashion magazines, and such are all a mystery to you. You're content to remain silent and just let the talk wash over you.

"Is it true Horiyama-sempai tried to ask you out?" Naru asks Aya. Your ears perk up, you had overhead something about Horiyama-sempai making Aya angry but not the reason.

"Yes he did, and I said no. Then he started insulting me." Aya's face scrunches up with distaste at remembering the incident.

"Whoa... I had no idea," you lamely say. Aya just sighs at your response.

"Oh wow, was Horiyama-sempai one of the boys who went delinquent yesterday?" Naru presses further. You feel terrible for not checking in with Aya by phone yesterday, it would have been fast and simple. You recall that Horiyama was indeed one of the boys at the fortune teller's place.

"I do believe he was. He skipped school like them." Aya looks upset and Naru doesn't press further.

"In any case, we should round off the day with a visit to Crown Games!" Usagi cheerfully announces and steers your group to the familiar game center. It was nice that the group naturally navigated themselves here; you can pick up Azul if he's inside.

When you get in to Crown Games, whatever good mood you had remaining plummets. Surprisingly so does Usagi's good mood too.

It's because he is in there.

Mamoru Chiba.

"Oh hey girls! Look Mamoru, there's Ruka-chan!"

Mamoru had been talking to Motoki about you? Wait, you didn't tell him your name on the bus, he must have come directly to Motoki to ask for it again.

"I can't believe you had to ask for my name again!" You feel incredibly annoyed.

"Well Houseki, you didn't give me your name when I asked this morning." Mamoru responds mildly.

The reaction of the other girls in your group are varied and extremely mortifying to you.

"He's handsome. I support your romance, my minion. You must not let him slip through your fingers." Aya places her hand firmly on your shoulder to make sure you understand how much you are being supported by your club president.
.... What?

Aya gives the distinct impression that the gears in her brain are turning and churning new probabilities about her chances with Tomio. As for the other girls...

"Oh wow Ruka-chan. So you do prefer older boys." Naru sounds impressed and gives you a thumbs up.

.... Shit. You got to correct this wrong impression.

"Noooo! Ruka-chan, you are making a big mistake!" Usagi wails and pulls you away.


"You got this all wrong! We are not interested in each other!" You cry out, and simply bury your face in your hands in embarrassment. Mamoru is also rubbing his forehead in irritation.

"That's right, we are not odango." Mamoru flatly confirms.

"Grrr, that nickname again. Ruka is too good for you, so no funny business!" Usagi actually lets out a cute growl of annoyance. She raises her fist at Mamoru and shakes it.

This was so embarrassing. Aya and Naru are tittering with excitement as they talk about how happy they are for you despite the denials being issued.

Also, when did Usagi meet Mamoru? Was it at Crown Games too?

It doesn't matter you suppose.

What are you going to do?

>Try to communicate with Azul and see where he is.
>Hang around the girls and ignore Mamoru, you aren't going to talk to him.
>Talk with Mamoru, he went through the effort to find out who you are after all.
>What was that? Take a look around Crown Games, roll 3d6
>Try to talk with Aya alone, you haven't been really seeing her outside of club.
>Play a few games with the girls, you have money.
>Try to communicate with Azul and see where he is.
> Talk with Mamoru, he went through the effort to find out who you are after all.
>What was that? Take a look around Crown Games, roll 3d6
> Play a few games with the girls, you have money

We can gauge Mamoru’s worth based on the incredibly vague metric of how well he plays Street Fighter 2. Maybe a few other games with the girls as well.

We can ping for Azul while we do so and then excuse ourselves to the bathroom or whatever if/when we note that something odd is going on or if Azul doesn’t respond.
Rolled 3, 4, 5 = 12 (3d6)

>>What was that? Take a look around Crown Games, roll 3d6
>>Try to communicate with Azul and see where he is.
>>Hang around the girls and ignore Mamoru, you aren't going to talk to him.
Rolled 3, 5, 2 = 10 (3d6)

>What was that? Take a look around Crown Games, roll 3d6
>Hang around the girls and ignore Mamoru, you aren't going to talk to him.
>Try to communicate with Azul and see where he is.
>Play a few games with the girls, you have money.
Rolled 3, 2, 5 = 10 (3d6)

>>Try to communicate with Azul and see where he is.
>What was that? Take a look around Crown Games, roll 3d6
>Play a few games with the girls, you have money.
You had better roll 3d6, you are technically the first voter for the option...
Rolled 3, 2, 1 = 6 (3d6)

Rolled 1, 3, 6 + 2 = 12 (3d6 + 2)

okay, opponent's roll
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"It's okay Usagi. We'll just ignore him and have fun without him ruining our day." You announce. You affectionately pat Usagi on the head and steer yourselves away from Mamoru. Usagi sticks out her tongue at the boy as a parting shot. You can't help but laugh at the pure childish dislike the girl is showing. You never thought there'd be a day when you would want to be friends with Usagi, but here you are.

Though you got to admit. Mamoru's nickname for Usagi is far too apt.

'Odango... eheheh. Sorry Usagi, it's actually accurate and funny.' You apologize mentally to her.

That reminds you, you better communicate with Azul. You can sense he is somewhere in Crown Games, but not where. He might not know that Mamoru is inside and needs a warning.

'Hey Azul, wherever you are, be careful. We got snarky high schooler Mamoru inside this place...' You begin your mental message and then pause.

Out from the corner of your eye, you see a small feline black streak move behind some arcade cabinets and into a new hiding spot. Your powers of observation are such that despite Luna's best effort at being stealthy, you still saw her. It was a very close thing; you almost didn't realize it was her. When did she start stalking you? Was it the moment you entered Crown Games? Or when you left school? You don't know. That cat is being oddly careful about not being seen by you. It's uncanny, why put in so much effort?

Usually you would just sneak up on Luna and grab her for some cuddling but Usagi is you pulling you towards her recent favorite arcade game, the Sailor V videogame. Wow, that was fast work to put a game on Sailor V out so soon.

In any case, you tack on some more info into your message to Azul.

'And Luna is here too. I know you don't like cats, partner. So be careful.' You end your message, and receive a feeling of appreciation back from the penguin.

Aya and Naru look a bit disappointed that you weren't going to provide more drama for their entertainment. Those two were gossipy hens. They are already enthusiastically comparing notes on school gossip and interesting happenings. Aya looks like she is enjoying herself, you're glad. Being President for Supernatural Research Club was a pretty lonely job since most students thought it silly or useless. Tomorrow's meeting is going to be about Sailor Moon and Sailor V, you haven't done any research or scanning of the news but you have real life experiences to share.

Usagi prattles on as she demonstrates how to play the Sailor V game, it's a side-scrolling shooting game. It isn't really your typical choice of a game, but the other girl is so fun to watch as she plays. And Usagi plays badly, and makes all sorts of entertaining noises as she desperately tries to keep up with the increasing speed enemies appear.

GAME OVER flashes soon enough on the screen. You chuckle at the devastated look on Usagi's face when it appears.

"Wah, it's so tough!" Usagi sounds hilariously sad at the end of her play.
"Oh, so this is the Sailor V game. I never imagine someone regarded as an urban myth would get their own game so quickly." Aya notes as she looks over the arcade cabinet. You look too and find the cabinet a bit bizarre.

There is no manufacturing logo and information on it.

"Hey Aya... What company made this cabinet? I don't see that information anywhere." You crane your neck over it to see if you find any information on the back of it. Nothing, just the usual electric plug to power it.

"I don't see it anywhere either..." Aya states as she checks the screen if there was any small logos.

Weird. An arcade cabinet without a manufacturer's logo or imprint? It also doesn't have any warning stickers on it about improper handling or excessive play.

You can feel Luna starring at you, the cat's gaze is heavy. You pretend that you don't notice Luna but it was hard.

"Who wants to play next?!" Usagi asks as she gets out of the seat in front of the game.

"I'm not good with games like these, I'll pass." Naru announces.

"I'll pass too, I don't have any money right now." Aya says.

"Oh, don't worry about money Aya, I got some on me." You reach into your school bag and grab a crisp 1000 yen note. You'll go and get it broken down into 100 and 50 yen coins to share out.

Aya looks incredibly puzzled. You wonder what is up with her and wait for her to speak.

"... I thought you used up all your cash on getting your fortune told." Aya sounds very mystified.

You forgot, you spent all your very limited amount of cash right in front of Aya a few days ago. Yet somehow, you have more money to drop on arcade games now. You have made the classic mistake most amateur criminals make, flashing too much cash. You have a few seconds to come up with a believable simple lie or come clean with Aya.

"You got your fortune told!? EEEEEEEK! Tell us, what did you ask!? What was the answer?!" Naru and Usagi begin crowding you for a response. Though it was annoying, you are secretly glad that you can dodge answering Aya about the extra cash you are carrying.

"Too bad girls, she wouldn't even tell me what she was asking the fortune teller. The answer I heard was pretty mysterious." Aya explains to the disappointment of the other two girls.

"But what was the answer then?" Naru still persists in asking, she was a curious girl. You decide to ignore Naru's question and go get some change so that you can play games. Mamoru is sitting at the counter talking with Motoki about university; you studiously ignore him as you ask Motoki for change. It's probably immature since Mamoru seems to want to talk to you but you don't care.

You take the change and go back to the Sailor V game cabinet. You are curious as to how hard the game is, and sit down to try it out. Aya decides to play Tetris against Naru on a different cabinet, and goes off to play. Usagi having nothing better to do is hovering over your shoulder to watch how well you play Sailor V.
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It is... a hard game. You are surprised how taxing the game is on your reflexes and coordination. You are doing better than you thought though, you easily beat Usagi's high score and continue to rake up points.

Mare Serenitas.


Did the game just flash something on the screen? You don't get time to ponder because you just got a game over. You had made the fatal mistake of not playing and Sailor V died as a result.

You're impressed by your score though. Usagi must be envious, you are in the top 10! You type in 'RUK' to stamp your accomplishment in all its pixilated glory. It's odd, you can't hear Usagi congratulating you or commenting on your high score.

You look up and see that Usagi is wide-eyed and pale with shock.

You are alarmed.

"Usagi, what's wrong?!" You say to catch her attention.

"P-p-p-..." Usagi is stuttering and pointing at something. You get up from your seat and look to see what she is pointing at.

It's Azul, he is trying to sneak out and would have been successful if Usagi had not seen him. The presence of Mamoru and Luna must have made him decide that exiting Crown Games was the best possible option to avoid being detected.

So Usagi can see him. It must be from the fact Azul had poked her and revealed his presence to her at school. It looks like you'll have to avoid doing something like that again with normal people.

'Damn... Looks like you've been caught partner.' You warn the penguin. He immediately ups his waddling speed and dashes out of Crown Games.

"PENGUIN!" Usagi screams. This catches the attention everyone who looks at the blonde girl in confusion. The reaction of Mamoru is instant; he gets up from his seat just in time to see the blue penguin exit through the automatic doors but doesn't do anything else. You notice that Luna is torn between chasing after Azul or staying in Crown Games to spy on you, her feline head swivels back and forth between you and him.

"Usagi what's wrong?" Naru comes running to check on Usagi.

"It's that penguin again! You saw it too, right?" Usagi is facing you with tears in her eyes.

You feel so sorry for Usagi, you should have given more careful consideration of possible consequences when experimenting on Azul's capabilities.

"I saw the automatic doors open..." You answer, and it wasn't a total lie. You just weren't mentioning that you also saw a big blue penguin running out.

Usagi looks very miserable. You decide that now was the best time to grab Luna and present the cat to her. A cat always makes people feel better.

You instantly advance where Luna is hiding and grab her.

"Here Usagi, hold Luna and pet her. It'll make you feel better." You state. The cat is once again completely shocked by your swift ability to find her.

Usagi and Naru decide that now was a good time to go home. You all had fun, and wave each other good bye.

... Where was Aya?
You look around Crown Games and see that Aya is talking with Mamoru. Her eyes are bright and she's smiling charmingly at the older boy. They seem to be having quite the conversation.

Wait... Why was she talking to Mamoru? Why did she look so happy? Did she just laugh at something he said?

What do you do?

>Go over and grab Aya, it is time to go home
>Walk over and join in the conversation
>Get annoyed and leave Crown Games without her
>Not your business, play another game and wait until they're done talking
>write in
>>Not your business, play another game and wait until they're done talking
>Walk over and join in the conversation

Try to assertively steer the convo into leaving the arcade with Aya. There's a nonzero chance that Mamoru might be a spook, there's no way we're going to leave her alone with him. Plus, it seems to be pretty late and we need to be getting home.

Mamoru saw the penguin. Usagi saw the penguin. The cat saw the penguin.The unmarked arcade machine. Clearly, there's some spooky stuff going on here. It might all be related.
To add on to this, perhaps we can remind her of urgent Supernatural Research Club stuff matters that we still have to attend to. I'm sure we can think of something on the fly without seeming like Ruka has a crush on Mamoru. Though on second thought, that might actually be a convenient way to get Aya away from him without revealing our suspicions.
>>Walk over and join in the conversation
someday people will pool their notes about the mysterious invisible penguin and realize ruka was always present.
Mare Serenitas - the Sea of Serenity, a location on the moon. probably Ruka can get some clues by getting better and better scores on this game.
no way, appearing to have a crush while not having one at all is the funniest.
>Walk over and join in the conversation
>no way, appearing to have a crush while not having one at all is the funniest.

Sorry, might have garbled that with my obtuse writing style. I meant to say that we can probably get Aya away from Mamoru fairly quickly by playing into her expectations of Ruka having a crush on him, and acting like a jealous schoolgirl.
Guess we're talking!
What were they talking about? Your curiosity is piqued and won't leave you alone until you go check on Aya and Mamoru. A part of you whispers that it wasn't any of your business and that you should just shut up and play videogames. It was probably the wiser choice but you have never been a particularly wise child.

You walk into the middle of the conversation.

"Oh, so Supernatural Research Club is the one who designs those scary haunted house events at Juuban." Mamoru is smiling, he looks like a completely different person when he smiles. It's a good thing he goes to an all boys school, or else girls would never leave him alone. Assuming of course, that this guy would stop frowning all the time.

"That's right, with luck, we'll design an even scarier one during the next Culture Fest. You and your classmates can visit us at Juuban whenever you want though, it's not that far away." Aya nods excitedly and sounds very pleased at the idea of Mamoru coming by. She's at her charming best and Mamoru seems to be considering it.

You should probably pour some cold water to bring Aya back down to the earth. You do not like the idea of Mamoru of visiting Juuban at all. His ability to see Azul makes his 'spookiness' rating is too high for your comfort.

"Bold of you to assume sempai, the school will let us design a haunted house event again... Remember last year? Ambulance? Angry wife? Crying children? Newspaper articles condemning our unwholesome club activities?" You cut into the conversation.

"Oh hush Ruka, it was our moment of glory! Why some of our club alumni is going on to horror movie set design and other things. I expect we'll be seeing their handiwork in the movie theatres one day in the future." Aya smoothly dismisses your attempt to dampen expectations.

Kagawa Aya, President of Supernatural Research Club, was not about to let something so minor as adult disapproval get in her way. She is always ready with a plan, explanation, or deal to get things moving. You don't know who was going to replace her as President when it comes time for her to leave Juuban... Actually, it was probably going to be you. You're the only regular 2nd year student attending the Club.

"So what's your role in the club, monkey girl?" Mamoru jokingly asks you.

That rubs you the wrong way. He knows you name now, he doesn't have to resort to that nickname.

"... Minion." You sarcastically answer. At this answer Aya laughs with delight and pats your head with affection.

"She is indeed my minion. A jack of all trades in our humble club, does whatever is required or anything I ask her to do." Aya is absolutely delighted to show you off to Mamoru like some sort of pet. You are mostly confused by your friend's behaviour, just what is she trying to do?

"It's mostly reading tabloids for weird articles on the supernatural." You explain.
"No, no Ruka. You have to describe it in a more impressive way. Searching the depths of hidden shadows to illuminate truth... or something." Aya scolds you for your pedestrian explanation.

"Anything? Does that include scaling walls and getting on to roofs?" Mamoru asks curiously.

Oh crap, why did he have to ask a question like that?! You are fuming, you have to get Aya from this guy, he's going to reveal some super awkward information at this rate.

"Well, she is the 'ninja' of our school." Aya looks at you curiously upon Mamoru's strange question.

"It's late Aya, we should get going. Usagi and Naru have already gone home." You grind your teeth in annoyance. There was no time to be subtle about your desire to leave. The scrutiny from the two older teens is intense and you are red in the face with embarrassment. You tug on Aya's sleeve and quickly drag her away. As you are doing this, Aya is waving Mamoru goodbye.

"Hope to see you soon Mamoru-san!" She calls out cheerily. He waves good-bye back out of politeness.

After getting a bit of distance away from Crown Games, you release your hold on Aya's sleeve. You are relieved that Mamoru didn't start revealing your escapade yesterday evening.

"Ruka-chan!" Aya calls out in a singsong voice. It was her max smug voice, you are not going to enjoy this. You turn to face your friend and see that she is just radiating with SMUG. The grin is wide and teasing.

"I've never seen you so jealous! He must be very special to you." Aya laughs.

You blink in confusion... And reflect that a surface reading of your actions really did seem like jealousy.

"I told you already, there's nothing between us." You explain in exasperation to the older girl.

"Really? Then you don't mind if I flirt with him then?" Aya sounds excited at the prospect.

"Wait a second...Weren't you interested in Tomio?" You are baffled at how quickly Aya's feelings flitted away from your childhood friend.

"I am. But here's the thing Ruka...I have two hands." Aya explains as she presents her left and right hand to you palm up, and then squeezes them close as though to holding hands... with two different people.

Suddenly the fortune-teller's baffling advice to Aya makes too much sense.

"You cannot chase two rabbits at once, you'll lose them both." You quote the advice again to your friend.

Your friend pouts at being reminded of it. You laugh, you cannot see how Aya is going to convince two boys to date her at the same time.

You walk her back to the condo building where she lives with her parents. You had a good time and say good night.

"I'll see you at tomorrow's meeting... and after the meeting, you can explain to me why you were at the House of Fortune yesterday." Aya says as she closes the door before you can think of saying anything back to her.
How did she know?... Wait, Tomio probably told her. You guess that she went to have lunch with him after you left school grounds.

You sigh.

What are you going to do next?

>Do some grocery shopping
>Go straight home, Azul is waiting for you probably
>Visit Cafe Leblanc and 'pick some flowers'.
>Visit the shop Enso, you want to review the materials needed to make a knife handle.
>write in
>Do some grocery shopping
>Visit the shop Enso, you want to review the materials needed to make a knife handle.

It might be getting a bit late. Perhaps we can visit the Cafe later and practice our security skills then. Besides, we might be observed, no need to let people know we lockpick as a hobby.
>>Do some grocery shopping
>>Visit the shop Enso, you want to review the materials needed to make a knife handle.
Makes sense to me!
>Do some grocery shopping
>Visit the shop Enso, you want to review the materials needed to make a knife handle.
>>Do some grocery shopping
>>Visit the shop Enso, you want to review the materials needed to make a knife handle.
Whoa, might be late posting but I'll try.
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You have money, meaning you can purchase the material needed to make a knife handle. Your 'knife' in it's present state was extremely awkward to grip and fragile. You remember how much of a hard time you had using it to shatter that strange orb yesterday. You need to give it a handle. Enso is the closest shop you know that designs custom knives, so you decide to pay it a visit.

When you arrive, you wonder if you made a mistake. The place is a high-end knife shop; the prices of the hand-crafted knives are absurd. You wonder if you should leave but one of the craftsman notices you hovering over the samples of material used in the shop's knives.

"Welcome to Enso, I'm Mizuta, a registered craftsman of the shop. How can I help you, young lady?" A middle age man with in a leather apron approaches you.

"Oh, I was wondering if there was something you suggest for a knife handle. It's a project of mine, and I want to fit it myself."

"Fit it out yourself? You have a picture of it? Or the dimensions?" He asks curious.

"Even better, I have it on me right now." You take it out of your bag. But you feel very embarrassed, the shop is full of amazing knives. Your poor refurbished scissor shear feels cheap.

Mr. Mizuta takes a look at your 'knife'. The thin metal of the scissor tang makes him thoughtful at the challenges to fitting it out with a handle.

"It's possible, you could drill two small holes in the metal so that you can press in the rods to hold the handle or you ask one of our boys here to shape a handle so you join it without nails or rods." The craftsman brings out two pieces of wood that are perfectly shaped to fit each other, he presses down to lock one into the other perfectly to demonstrate 'kumiki', wood joinery.

"But wouldn't the handle be prone to loosening without rods?" You ask worried, you are taking this knife into battle or using it a lot to hack at stuff.

"You're going to use this knife in a lot of chipping, cutting or hacking then? You might want to get a proper knife made with a larger blade, tang and handle. It's a neat thing that you decided to refurbish an old style shear as a knife but this won't hold up to heavy use."

You don't know why but the suggestion of using a different knife isn't very appealing. Even though you are aware of the downsides of the flimsy small blade. A gift from grandparents isn't something that you could casually get rid of.

"I have a weird question... What about a stone handle, like using lapis lazuli." You pull from your bag the small lapis lazuli stone that had been gifted to you to show. Mr. Mizuta smiles with pleasure at your question.
"Gemstone? Well yeah, it's possible. I've seen some beautiful knives with handles like that but there are downsides. Grip would be very slippery, it'd be heavy and the cost is extremely high. First, you got to buy a large enough stone for the handle. Then you got to find a craftsman with the proper stone cutting tools and skill to shape it for your knife. We don't have any lapidary equipment at Enso to shape and polish the stone, we'd have to ask around to find someone. You shouldn't dare try it on your own, you would end up ruining the gemstone. If all that comes together, then you can fit that gemstone handle to this small knife." He gives you back your 'knife' respectfully.

"I guess I'll have to think about it then." You groan.

"Ahahah, you're an interesting kid. I don't see kids your age put any thought about crafting something for themselves. Here come into the workshop, you can see the process of putting a proper handle on a knife." He gets up and guides you to the back. You don't know what goes into crafting a knife handle, so it was a great education.

Gain +1 on craft rolls

You spend more time than you thought at Enso. Mr. Mizuta gives you a business card with the shop's contact information if you ever need to buy a fine quality knife or materials from them.

You rush to the grocery store right after but are disappointed to learn that the 'egg discount' day is over until next week. You buy up some things to restock the kitchen. It's late, and Azul must be tired waiting for you to come back to the apartment. And you haven't made dinner yet!

Pocket change: Not much money left

As you are impatiently waiting to pay for your groceries, you can't help but notice how downbeat the cashier seems as she rings you up. In fact, all the workers at the grocery store seem very sad or stressed. Had something happened?

The public announcement system crackles to life in the store.

"Attention valued customers, thank you for shopping at Kishio Groceries. Due to unexpected circumstances, Kishio will be closing early in 30 minutes. We kindly ask that all our honored customers come to the cash register to pay for their purchases. We apologize for any inconveniences this will..."

You tune out the announcement, you're about to leave but it bothers you. It's rare for a grocery store to suddenly close for any reason.

"Sorry, but could I ask what happened?" You ask as you grab your bags.

The cashier girl answers back in a very quiet voice.

"One of my coworkers collapsed unconscious this evening. We called an ambulance to get her to the hospital. We couldn't wake her up, and she had just won a prize for her love letter from the Midnight Zero too. The owner decided to close early because of it."

Whoa, that would be shocking.

"I'm sorry to hear that, I hope she gets better. You have a good night too." You don't know if it comforted the girl but it was the best you could offer.
You rush off back to your apartment. There waiting outside the door is a very exhausted Azul who perks up a little when he sees you coming with large grocery bags.

"Sorry I'm late buddy!" You apologize to Azul. He deserves a big meal, it was a stressful day for him. You get into your apartment and start making dinner. It's 7 p.m., you are starving and Azul staggers to the couch to rest.

He pushes the remote control button to turn on the TV. He starts watching some sort comedy show but you aren't paying attention. You want to cook a truly good meal. When it is finished, you set the table for three people. Yourself, Azul and your absent father.

You miss your dad, this was typically how it goes during the weekday because he is a civil servant. You don't get to see him until Sunday really. Heck, he has still works Saturdays. He'll only start getting the weekend off when May hits and the new rules kick in giving civil servants a 2 day weekend for the first time ever.

You envy that new rule. As a student, you still have to attend school for a half a day on Saturday. It's only the 2nd Saturday in the month where you don't have to go to school. It was unfair.

Dinner is done and Azul enjoys a plentiful dinner. You saran wrap your father's portion, he will back home late again.

You have some time left until bedtime.

What do you do?


>Exercise a bit, go outside
>Watch tv and relax, you don't want to get off the couch
>Talk to Azul, got to figure things out
>Update journal
>Do some studying
>Talk to Azul, got to figure things out
>Update journal

Perhaps we can attempt to communicate with him to better understand what he’s “saying” back to us? Might want to talk to him about some things, like about his origins, and how he or the shadow players are connected to all of the stuff that’s going on. Not out of suspicion, but they visisted Ruka not long after her first encounter with a monster. That can’t be a coincidence. We might also need to discuss how there are suddenly 2 new entities who can see him (Luna, Mamoru) who didn’t touch him, just like the Fortune Teller did. They might also be somewhere on the spooky sliding scale.

Updating our journal is also a good habit. As a certain nameless entity demonstrated, keeping good records can serve us well later.
>>Update journal
>>Do some studying
Ruka only barely clawed herself into catching up last time she studied, she has to keep going to keep up
>Talk to Azul, got to figure things out
>Update journal
>>Exercise a bit, go outside
>Update journal
>Talk to Azul, got to figure things out
>Update journal

Are the winners
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The dishes are cleaned up and put away. You go to your bedroom to update your journal about recent events. You make sure to draw a quick 'spookiness' scale and rate individuals who saw Azul despite his invisibility ability.

Mamoru rates high on the 'spookiness' scale of things. That guy was definitely suspicious and you don't want him anywhere near your school... You draw a doodle of the high school boy's frowning face and put him on near the top of the scale. Also, Aya is wrong! You are not jealous that she was flirting with him, you were worried he was going to reveal your escapades yesterday evening... Not that it matter, she knew because Tomio had told her already.

The spookiest was that fortune teller, you put her at the top of the scale. Where the heck did she go? She disappeared after Sailor Moon busted in to the building. And then the big sign on the building disappeared and the decorations inside. You doubt you'll ever see the lady ever again, she was probably a monster that Sailor Moon had to take care of. You shudder as you remember the monster that attacked Naru.

You write yourself a quick note on the opposite page from the scale.

'Spooky monsters can see Azul.'

Wait, does that mean Mamoru might be a monster and not human? Now you feel super suspicious of the guy. You write 'Monster?' beneath Mamoru. It's possible.

You put Luna somewhere before the middle of the scale. After all, animals are known to be sensitive to the supernatural! It's just Azul's bad luck that a cat could see through his invisibility. It might extend to other animals too. You haven't tested that out yet, but you would not be surprised if dogs could see your supernaturally invisible penguin buddy.

You place Usagi on the very bottom of your impromptu spookiness scale. Poor girl, you should not have told Azul to poke your classmate and break his invisibility. Now Usagi is always going to be able to see Azul and freak out while everyone else thinks she's crazy. 'Completely normal', is what you put under Usagi with utmost confidence.

You write another quick note.

'Don't let Azul touch normal people. They'll see him and he'll never be invisible to them again!'

You update the journal in full, going in detail of your recent powers and Shadow Player encounters and so forth.

You have updated your journal...

You could also add some more details actually; you should call over Azul and start asking some questions. You open up a fresh new page and get your pen ready. Azul is sitting in the living room and listening to the radio, he is fascinated by some sort of radio drama.

"Hey buddy, do you mind if I ask you a few question?" You call out to the blue penguin. He nods his head and turns down the volume of the radio.

"So Azul, what are you exactly? You're not what we could call the typical penguin..."
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"Krrrrl." Your partner chirps with agreement that he's not a typical penguin but otherwise cannot qualify his answer with details. The penguin can communicate through gestures, chirps and vague emotional feedback but not words. It was inconvenient.

"Right, I got to keep in mind not to ask questions that require details." You sigh with annoyance. You have to think of questions that are yes and no or otherwise simple enough to answer through his limited means of communication.

Wait a second. Azul can read... If he can read... He can write!!!

You quickly get a sheet of paper and pen for your buddy to write on.

"Hey Azul, answer questions by writing it out!" You hand over the paper and pen to him. Azul stares at you and tries with grip the cheap ballpoint pen with his flippers but has incredible difficulty. It was too thin, finer control is difficult without opposable thumbs.

"GAH!!!! So I guess using a pen is right out. Let's try a marker?"

It was the same result with a marker, he needed something longer and thicker to grip. Abruptly Azul stops trying to write but instead grabs an old newspaper instead. He points to an advertisement for a computer, in particular, a keyboard with wide keys.

"... Dude, I'm not buying you a computer. That's expensive! Heck, not even the loot we got from the Fortune Teller's place is going be enough to buy one. Maybe we can get a typewriter in the future?!"

The penguin nods, it was a good idea.

In any case, it doesn't help with your problem communicating with Azul right now. But some of the answers you can get through 'yes' right flipper, 'no' left flipper and other gestures is super interesting.

Is Azul sort of like the Shadow Players?
Yes and no. Both flippers raised up.

So you're different from the Shadow Players?
Yes and no. Both flippers raised up. You guess there's some sort of nuance that Azul can't describe with yes or no.

Do you come from the same place as them?
No. Left flipper

Do you know why Mamoru can see you?
Yes. Right flipper

Is it because Mamoru is 'spooky'?
Yes. Right flipper

Is he a monster?
Azul shrugged. You assume he doesn't actually know.

What about Luna, is she 'spooky' too?
Azul shrugged. You assume again he doesn't actually know.

Are animals generally able to see you?
Yes. Right flipper

This goes on for hours. You are getting incredibly sleepy and Azul looks very tired too. You had forgotten he spent the day dodging people and cats that could see him and could barely relax. In addition, you came back home pretty late.

"Sorry buddy, I forgot how tired you must be. Let's turn in for the night." You note that the clock is at 11:59 p.m. and your father still hasn't come home. You're worried, he's come home late before but it's extremely rare. The subway system closes at 12 a.m. and if your father misses the last train, it means shelling out money for a cab.
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Azul looks like he can barely stay awake. He chirps sleepily and walks away into your bedroom. The radio is still on; he had forgotten to turn it off. You walk over to shut it down.

Suddenly the radio plays a strange beeping sound at exactly 12 a.m. and the soothing comforting voice of a radio announcer comes on.

"Good evening... it's time for Midnight Zero on FM. 10. Reading love letter submissions from all our listeners throughout Tokyo. Remember that if your letter is chosen, you'll receive a special 'flower brooch' with a magical power to bring you love. It is our thank you for choosing Midnight Zero to air your most passionate feelings for the one you love. Our first letter this evening is from..."

Huh? You remember hearing about this program earlier today at the grocery store. Some poor grocery store worker submitted her love letter and won, only to keel over today and get sent to the hospital. What astounding bad luck.

You turn off the radio and head to your bedroom to sleep. Once again, you realize that Azul is nowhere to be seen. You should have asked him during your questioning where he goes. Supernatural penguin or not, it'd be nice to know where a friend is. You are too tired to search for him and he always comes back in the morning, so you go to sleep. It doesn't feel like you slept for very long though because...

>??? You are awakened by the sound of banging on your apartment door.
>You are awakened by the sound of music.
>You are awakened by someone poking you.
>You are awakened by someone moving around in the apartment.
>??? You are awakened by the sound of banging on your apartment door.
>>You are awakened by someone moving around in the apartment.
>??? You are awakened by the sound of banging on your apartment door.
>>You are awakened by the sound of music.
guess it's banging
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You awaken slowly because of your tiredness and lay on your bed for a few seconds confused. Your mind cannot comprehend at first that you have actually awakened. It doesn't register until you realize that you hear loud bangs on the apartment door. It was insistent and continuous.

You aren't sure what time it is when you wake up but it's still pitch black outside your window, so it must still be night. The banging on the apartment door is loud enough to disturb your neighbours. Who could be knocking so loudly at such a late hour?

You stumble out of bed without turning on the lights and wander into the hallway of the apartment. Your eyes smarts from the contrast of the darkness in the hall and the light seeping in through the edges of the frame of the front door.

"My baby girl, open the door!" You hear your dad's voice calling out loudly in a drunken voice. He bangs on the door with astounding force, causing it to shudder and shake.

Oh, it's just your dad. He got home super late tonight, and is drunk again. His boss probably bullied him into drinking, it was the dreaded power harassment that was all too common amongst Japanese workplaces. You hope that the boss dies of a heart attack or something.

"Coming dad," you mumble quietly and stagger to the door in the darkness, there's no point in turning on the light. You stop dead in your tracks just in front the door,

The door is unlocked and the chain is off. Your dad could have just opened it and come in without making all this noise. You double check the lock and door chain to make sure your eyes aren't deceiving you. There is nothing to prevent him from coming in at all.

"Oh darling, open the door for me." You dad calls out, he is no longer furiously banging on the door upon hearing you rustle the chain during your double checking.

"The door is unlocked, dad..." You answer back to him.

"Don't be like that my sweet daughter, open the door for me." He calls out.

Why was your father calling you by pet names all the time? There is a knot in your stomach when you realize that your father has not once called you by your name. You approach the door's peephole and look out. What you see is the apartment's open air corridor and your father standing just outside the door. Houseki Daisuke is smiling and standing just outside the door, waiting for you to open it. His black eyes are focused on the doorknob and it doesn't seem like he is drunk.

"The door is unlocked." You state once more. As you watch through the peephole, you see that your dad is making no attempt to touch the doorknob and open it himself.

"You have to open it for me!" He calls out mischievously; it was a game to him.

But it's not a game for you. You swiftly chain up the door and lock it. The sounds of the chain and lock is loud and clear in the silence.

"Oh my sweet girl, what are you doing? You have to open the door."

Quite frankly, you don't care how many times he says you have to open the door.
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Your dad has blue eyes, not black.

The furious banging starts up again with a fury. There are enraged snarls accompanying it.


The light spilling through the space around the door frame turns red. The door shakes and creaks under numerous furious blows, it is amazing that it is holding and not splintering in to pieces from the force. You back off and rush straight back to your bedroom in a cold sweat. Were you awake or asleep? You cannot tell.

You slam the door of your bedroom shut and feel the wall to find the light switch, it is too dark inside the room. You feel only the cool smoothness of the wall where the light switch should be. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, you realize there are a thousand little details that reveal that you are not in your actual bedroom. Your books do not line your desk, your school bag is missing, and the usual hiding place for your tools is completely bare and so on.

Panic and fear begin to eat into you as you stand in this bedroom that was not your bedroom.

Roll 3d6, dc 12 against fear
Rolled 5, 2, 5 = 12 (3d6)

Rolled 5, 5, 3 = 13 (3d6)

Rolled 3, 5, 1 = 9 (3d6)

We passed it!
You push away the fear and panic gripping you with difficulty. You remind yourself that right at this moment, you are not in imminent danger and that you can still do something, even if you haven't figured out what it is yet.

You can review the lead up to this situation at least.

It was late, so it was time to sleep. You went to bed and slowly noticed the sound of banging on the apartment door. When you 'woke' up, you were disoriented and didn't realize you weren't in your apartment. You walked to the door and thought the 'thing' on the other side of the door was dad. It wasn't, it sounded drunk but looked sober. It's eyes are black, when dad's eyes should be blue. It doesn't know your name.

This was a Nightmare.

Ruka passed her fear check, she has access to her bonus dice and sneak bonus.

Somehow knowing that this is a Nightmare is enough to keep calm. For now at least, until something new develops.

You take a deep breath and look at this 'bedroom' of yours. You aren't surprised that it fooled you at first, it looks like your bedroom but minus all the little things that individualized it.

What will you do now?

>Search your 'bedroom'.
>Get out and explore the 'kitchen'
>Get out and explore the 'living room'
>get out and explore your dad's 'bedroom'
>Get out and explore the 'balcony'
>>get out and explore your dad's 'bedroom'
The apartment seems to be working to keep Ruka safe for now, on a classic 'invitation only' basis, and this seems like the most direct way to find if that's a long for now or not.
>get out and explore your dad's 'bedroom
>>Search your 'bedroom'.
Guess we're going to dad's 'bedroom'
>Get out and explore the 'balcony'
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There must be something in this 'apartment' that will help you out. You just need to go and find it. But the thought of leaving your 'bedroom' is extremely hard. Even if this 'bedroom' wasn't really your bedroom, it feels familiar and safe. While everything outside of it is unknown and potentially dangerous.

"Come on girl! It's not in the apartment! You're wasting time by doing nothing!" You loudly hype yourself up with encouragement. The loud banging on the apartment door has ceased, there is instead a tense atmosphere of dread and impatience stalking the door. Whatever ever it was, it was waiting in dead silence just outside the apartment's entrance.

You open your 'bedroom' door and let it silently swing open. There is no reaction and the deep gloom of the 'apartment' remains unchanged. You figure that the first place to look is your dad's 'bedroom'. To get there, you'll have to cross the hallway.

Silently and slowly, you creep out towards your destination. Despite being so silent, the thing outside the apartment door must have sensed you. It starts howling and banging on the entrance door with violence and rage again.


'Fuck you.' You mutter as your swiftly exit the hall and into your dad's bedroom to explore. Your dad's 'bedroom' is not how you remember it. Firstly, the dimensions of the room feels much bigger, there is actual space to walk around and everything is neatly arranged. You scramble to find the light switch by feeling the wall. Fingers brush against something hard and plastic, and you flip the switch.

The bedroom is illuminated with a harsh white light, revealing to you a large bedroom that was nothing like your dad's bedroom at the apartment. Wait, you recognize this place. It dawns upon you that it looked exactly like your parents' shared bedroom... back when everything was normal and you were still a family at the old house you lived in as a little girl. Seeing this bedroom makes your heart ache from remembering how it all used to be. Your mother sold the house on behalf of her cult and gave them the money from its sale. You can see the cute cat alarm that your mother once owned, the make-up kit on the dressing table, and all the small additions that you know once belonged to your mother.
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Tears form in your eyes before you wipe them away angrily. You don't have time to be overwhelmed by memories, you have to find something that will help you get out of this Nightmare. You open the drawers of the bedside table and dresser, only to find they were completely empty. The bookshelf is full of books with blank pages. Even the family pictures resting on the shelves are odd, you pluck up some courage to look at a few. In each and every single picture you get your hands on, the faces of your mother and father is violently scratched out except yours. Yours is an exception because it has been carefully cut out from each picture instead of being violently scratched out.

You are really starting to hate this Nightmare.

The last place to to look is the old tansu chest that your mother used to place under the bed. It was a wedding gift from your grandparents and your mother used to put her most valuable and sentimental items in it. You get kneel down on the floor and look under the bed.

It is there. Just like you remember.

You grab the old tansu chest. Under the harsh light, you are struck by how tiny it is. As a child, it seemed so much bigger. But what hasn't changed was the richness of the designs and materials that went into it. The gold-lacquer panels, inlaid and decorated with birds and flowers, the silver filgree border and drawers are all beautiful. It was the secret treasure chest of your mother, and it was full of mysterious things that you never got to see.

But you don't have the opportunity to open it because there is something moving in the hallway and it is approaching the door to this bedroom. You tense and grab the chest to throw at whatever was coming.

"Kuuu?" The chirp of Azul is a balm on your ears. You feel all tension leave your body as Azul shows himself fully at the bedroom door.

"Oh wow, am I glad to see you!" You start giggling in relief and then start trembling uncontrollably.

The blue penguin lifts his flipper and points towards your 'bedroom'. It seems that it was time to go and your partner is here to guide you back to safety.

You get up to follow him.

But what about the tansu chest in your hand.

>Take it with you?
>Leave it here?
>Write in
>>Take it with you?
Just feels more interesting to do the thing, even if it engenders consequences later on.
>Take it with you?
Loot get!

It could be potentially anything. Perhaps it is a chest of things forgotten things. with insights that everyone should know about but somehow forgot. It could even be another, smaller chest!
>>Take it with you?
>Take it with you?
Loot! Next post on 8 pm hopefully.
Then another at 12 a.m.

all atlantic time.

Afterwards, monday on it'll be one post per day
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The kodansu chest is a wonderful work of art, it was sold by your mother sometime during her increasing involvement with the Sun of Heavenly Truth cult. The discovery that the chest was sold in secret had been one of the first warning signs of the impending disaster ahead for your family.

This chest cannot possibly be the real one, your grandfather tracked down the buyer and couldn't get it back. It's in England somewhere, part of some rich guy's personal collection of antiques. And given that you found it in the depths of a Nightmare fabricated copy of the childhood memory of your parents' bedroom, it's probably smarter to ditch it rather than take it with you.

The gold flecks on the lacquer shines as brightly as it did in your memory of happier times. You pick it up and carry it.

What could possibly go wrong?

You try to be flippant and sarcastic about it, but the unease and dread of taking the chest with you remains.

Azul guides you back to your 'bedroom'. The strange creature outside the 'apartment' is no longer bellowing or raging. It remains silent as you pass the hallway.

In your 'bedroom', you note that the closet door is thrown wide open and within the dark depths of it is a gigantic hole ripped through what should be the back wall of the closet. The ragged edges are dripping with black ichor and you cannot see ahead. Azul is pointing straight into it, you feel that your partner is trying to reassure you it is safe but the thing looks incredibly ominous.

"You want me to walk through that?!" You ask your penguin buddy just to make sure.

Azul nods vigorously. He is staring at the ornate chest tucked under your arm. He looks curious but otherwise doesn't seem to feel strongly against or for taking it.

In any case, it was time to go. The quicker, the better. Azul steps into hole first and turns on the light which is strapped to his head.

"Well, let's get going then." You take a large step through the hole despite your misgivings. It is a chilly experience, and you realize that the hole was dripping with water. It lands in your hair and on your shoulders as you steadily walk through the narrow tunnel to... well... somewhere.

Azul's light is limited and flickers at odd times. Whenever the flickering becomes very rapid, he forces you to stop walking and wait until it goes away. You sense unease every time this happens from Azul. The chest shivers and trembles during these moments too. You almost dropped it the first time it happened, it was like a beating heart and it was strongest whenever the light Azul carried flickered. Just what was in this chest?

You clear the tunnel and enter a wider space. The darkness is even more oppressive and Azul's flashlight barely illuminates the place. Where are you? Azul looks also confused and looks about.
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Then suddenly, the place goes from utter darkness to bright blinding light unexpectedly. You close your eyes in pain. The chest is trembling like something from within is trying to claw its way out.

You hear an unearthly screaming straight ahead, the earth trembles beneath your feet.

>Toss the chest at it? Roll 3d6, dc 10
>Jump back into the hole. Roll 3d6, dc 10
>Jump to the side to dodge. Roll 3d6, dc 11
>Try to open your eyes, and see what it is first, then dodge with 'burst of speed'. Roll 3d6, dc 14
>Attack with your Distant Hands, roll 3d6, dc 12
>Attack with your Distant Hands, roll 3d6, dc 12
I don't believe we want to see it for the sake of our sanity.

Heads up, you might want to roll a 3d6 with your post.

I'm still deciding on what to do, but you may want to roll in the meantime.

It's kind of interesting how Ruka's first instinct is to throw the box at stuff... I am loathe to leave the place empty-handed, but the nightmare might be trying to prevent us from leaving with it. Throwing the box at whatever is attacking us might allow us to leave faster.

I seriously kind of wish we'd known about the sense of foreboding before the scene instead of being baited into picking it up due to natural inclination to loot stuff and warm memories...
Rolled 4, 6, 2 = 12 (3d6)

I wonder, could this be that nightmare mimic from earlier? It seems to want to desperately establish contact with Ruka, perhaps in exchange for some sort of bargain for power. Could it be trying to stop Ruka from leaving the dream with a "freebie", as dangerous as it might be? Whatever's inside the box doesn't seem to like the idea of being taken out into the waking world.

If we're still in the nightmare, the entity might still be trying to intimidate us into dropping the box or staying in the dream for as long as possible, thus delaying us from leaving with it. This tunnel we're in could be some kind of intermediary space between the nightmare and reality, so it might be able to do more than just use harsh language at Ruka. But so far, its only offensive action it has shown so far is to try to scare Ruka into compliance .

I'm not quite convinced about Distant Hands being a good offensive option yet, but could the mere act of defiance could be enough to drive it back at least for a little while.
Rolled 4, 3, 2 = 9 (3d6)

>Jump to the side to dodge. Roll 3d6, dc 11
Rolled 4, 6, 4 = 14 (3d6)

>>Attack with your Distant Hands, roll 3d6, dc 12
stretch your wings, ruka! you'll never learn what you're capable of if you don't try!
that being said, ruka's still bad at controlling the Hands independently of her actual hands, so hopefully she doesn't drop the chest while trying this
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Usually, your first reaction to a dangerous situation was run and hide. In fact, you really really want to do that but your eyes are still dazzled by the sudden brightness of the light. You can feel the emotional distress of Azul who squawks and trills in panic, being blinded as well.

You have no idea what your surroundings are or what was charging straight at you.

"ARRRRRRRRRHHHHHHH!" The roaring was getting louder every second you hesitate. The flash of light must not have blinded the thing, had it been waiting to ambush you? Well, you have a little surprise for it.

The moment you think of it, you feel the watery hands form immediately before you without moving your real hands. With a single thought, you send it crashing forward towards whatever the heck was trying to charge at you. Your eyes are starting to adjust, but you don't see what you exactly have hit with your Distant Hands. Your attack more like two solid streams of water forming an impromptu wall that is pushing back the creature a little and stopping it's charge. You are sweating from the strain and effort but you realize something in that instance. Your attack blocks the enemy's line of sight from you.

This allows you an opportunity to run or hide.

It's difficult but you manage to grab Azul with your remaining free arm and hold tight the chest in your left. All this while maintaining your concentration on the wall for another few seconds to keep blinding whatever the heck was attacking you. A wall of water works both ways, you can't see it and it can't see you.

[Red]Ruka has learned Water Wall. As long as concentration lasts, the Water Wall can block a physical attack and an opponent's line of sight.[/red]

You don't care, a quick scan of the surroundings shows that you are standing in what looks like a very strange forest, and to your right is a passage lined by brick walls overgrown with creeping vines. The moment you see that path, you feel Azul's emotional feedback assuring you that was where you needed to run to.

You don't hesitate. You turn towards the passage and starting running for it without daring to look back. This naturally ends your attack on the creature. Whatever it was, it was now trying to chase after you.

Burst of speed used

You leave it to eat your dust by doubling your running speed to flee down the passage. Ahead is a clearing and the moment you enter it, the Nightmare ends.

You know this, because this is the moment you fall out of your bed and on to the floor. You lay on the ground looking the ceiling stunned and more than a little suspicious you are still in the Nightmare. You look around your bedroom noticed three things. Firstly, Azul is also laying on the ground to your right, panting with exhaustion. Secondly, an ornate chest is laying to your left. Thirdly, the early morning light is peeking through your bedroom window and is revealing the full details of your bedroom that were lacking in the Nightmare copy.
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You feel remarkably well rested despite all that had just happened.

Ruka is fully rested despite the Nightmare

"Azul, thanks for the rescue... Also if you don't mind, I'm going to start crying about how scary that was." You whisper to your exhausted penguin buddy.

"Kuuu..." Is his tired response to your thanks and announcement that you were going to cry like a scared little girl.

You let tears run down the side of your face as you just lay on the floor, relieved at the end of the Nightmare and dreading future incidents that were likely to come. Were you going to suffer these for the rest of your life?

Wait, is your dad home? You want to go and see him, get a hug, talk to him...

You get up and exit your bedroom to go find dad but you find that his bed is empty. It hadn't been slept in last night. There's a good chance that your dad decided to stay at a cheap capsule hotel to sleep since he couldn't make it home last night. It wasn't the first time this had happened and it won't be the last, but you wish he was home right now.

You check the apartment's phone and discover there's a message recorded on it. You turn it on to listen.

"Ruka, I'm sorry I didn't make it home last night. A co-worker collapsed just before work finished, I've been at the hospital and calling her family to tell them situation and such. It's gotten so late, I ended up having to sleep at a hotel. I probably won't be home until late but I will definitely be home tonight. Love you sweetie, take care."

Ah, you guessed right. You wipe away your tears and try to calm down, it's not your fault that you dad isn't here right now. The blue penguin stumbles out of your bedroom in an exhausted daze.

"Whoa partner, you should go to sleep. Don't bother coming with me to school today, I'll manage on my own." You go and guide your buddy to the bedroom, you had planned to let him sleep in your bed and was getting it ready for him but it seems he has other plans.

He opens your closet door, pushes aside some your clothing that is hanging in the way and disappears into it.

"Huh? Hey, have you been sleeping in my closet?" You call out to the tired penguin but you don't hear a response back. There's no emotional feedback response either, it is as though Azul is completely out of range.

You fully open the doors to your closet and look in.

There's a little hole on the back wall of your closet, it is the perfect size for Azul to walk through and you could go through it by crawling after him if you felt like it.

So this was where he would go when you can't find him?

This is a lot to take in, and you have very little time until school starts. It's 7 a.m.

Also, what the hell are you going to do with the chest?! You can't let your dad see it, he'll freak the fuck out since he knows it used to belong to mom.

You need to do something, but what will you do first?
Choose 2

>Do mundane things like eat breakfast, wash face, etc.
>Open the chest and see what is inside.
>Call your dad's work phone and leave a message that you're okay and you got his message.
>Crawl after Azul and see where he goes.
>Read the newspaper and try to relax
>write in
>Open the chest and see what is inside.
>Call your dad's work phone and leave a message that you're okay and you got his message.
>>Open the chest and see what is inside.
>>Call your dad's work phone and leave a message that you're okay and you got his message.
>Open the chest and see what is inside.
>Call your dad's work phone and leave a message that you're okay and you got his message.
>>Do mundane things like eat breakfast, wash face, etc.
>Read the newspaper and try to relax
Ruka's on a schedule here! Her dad won't come home until later, and she's freaked from the Nightmare
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You consider just doing fuck all and ignoring anything remotely spooky. And why not? You had a stressful night and you don't want to deal with more supernatural shenanigans.

The problem is that you have potentially brought supernatural shenanigans into your home by grabbing a 'treasure chest' and taking it out of the Nightmare. The ornate chest shines in the morning light with a suspicious benignness that you don't believe for one damn second. It shivered and trembled as though it had something inside it when you were making your escape.

You approach as though it is a living thing by silently sneaking up to it.

It makes no move.

You poke it.

No reaction.

You pick it up.

Still nothing.

You place it gingerly on your desk and take a good look at it. No matter how long you do so, it looks like an exact copy of the kodansu chest your mother once owned. If you remember correctly, this thing was worth at least 5000 pound sterling to that English collector when he purchased it. You have no idea how much that is in Japanese yen.

There are three drawers of varying sizes. The top being the shortest while the bottom being the tallest. You don't know what one you should open first, so you sing the children's song 'zuizui zukkorobashi' to help you choose.

"Who broke the rice bowl near the well?" When you sing the last line of the song, you land on the middle drawer to be opened first.

You don't make a move to open it though. You are kind of afraid of what you're going to find in it. Time is ticking away the longer it is put off though. With unnecessary force, you grab handle of the drawer and pull it open.

In the middle drawer, is a small booklet of some sort. You instantly recognize the symbol on the front, it's the Sun of Heavenly Truth. Why did the chest have cult related reading material in it? You take the booklet out and open it to the first page, it is a signed copy with the signature of Higa Noboru on it and a personal message written to your mother.

"The Light has touched your heart to accept the Truth! Remember that this is an impure and doomed World, and that the Path is open to your daughter who also bears the spark of..."

You don't bother reading the rest of the message. You shove the booklet back into the drawer and close it in a fit of anger. It takes a few second to get over it, and then you open the top drawer.

Lying in the drawer is a picture of you wearing your elementary school uniform. Your 8-year-old self is smiling happily and obliviously at the camera. Your mother had looted all the family photos when she left, leaving barely any pictures behind. You know she took this picture with her. You take it out of the drawer and look at it in wonder. You flip the picture to the back, and see that it has a note written on it.

"Ruka, age 8. School festival, Juuban Elementary."
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You place the photo back in the drawer and close it. You were worried about nothing, the chest was just a chest.

You open the bottom drawer at last and look in. It is a bottomless pit of darkness, you can tell by looking that the drawer contains more space than the dimensions imply. You see something white is approaching from the inky depths, as though it is traveling a great distance far away. You are frozen with fear and don't move to slam the drawer shut immediately. The white thing that is approaching is a set of teeth. Just teeth, perfectly human teeth lined up as though they were set in a mouth but there is no fleshy parts at all.

Just teeth.

It stops when they are the size of an adult human and makes no move to get closer or exit the drawer. The pearly white teeth are opening and closing as it forms words as though they were in a mouth moving to speak

"Good morning Ruka." A feminine voice greets you happily and cheerfully.

The voice it is speaking with... is the voice of your mother.

You slam the drawer shut as quickly as possible and scramble away from your desk, even using burst of speed get out despite the short distance to the door. You are panting in exhaustion from using the ability. You take a fearful peek around the doorframe to look at the chest. It is on your desk, unmoving and unspeaking.

You take deep breaths to calm down.

You should call your dad. You want to call your dad, you want to tell him you're okay. Because you are okay, nothing bad has happened and... and... and...

You go to the phone and dial up your dad's work number. You are vainly hoping he'll actually be at his desk despite how early it is. You get his voice mail instead, and hearing the impersonal and professional message stings in a way you did not expect.

"Hey dad, I got your message. I hope your coworker is doing okay. I'll be waiting for you to come home..." You can barely keep yourself together to even leave that brief message. You shouldn't stay silent and let the message keep recording, you should hang up or say something else.

"... Hope to see you soon." You lamely add to the end your call and hang up.

You need to get changed and go to school... that means going back into your bedroom where the chest is. It is a struggle to convince yourself to go back in there and when you do, you realize you need to hide the chest too.

You swiftly shove the chest into your closet to deal with later and prepare for school.

How do you get to school?

>Short cut, roll 3d6, dc 12

Let’s just take it slow for now. Unless we’d be late, then maybe we can power walk or something.

That box is right freaky. But I think Azul would have slapped it out of our hands if it was inherently harmful. Perhaps there is a way to safely utilize it, or perhaps we can try communicating with the entity within later on?
note to self: burn that fucking cult notebook and leave the ashes in front of their door with a message that say "fuckheads" n front or just burn it

Ok, I now find the cult a suspect of magical bullshit.

Remember, the box was made from a nightmare thingy. It's naturally supposed to be a reminder of bad times and illogical/nonsensical stuff that irrationally enrages/haunts/frightens the dreamer. Just that we somehow took it out of the dreamland into reality.

I wouldn't be surprised if the cult turns out to be a plot thread later, but for now we don't know enough about it to really say if they're magical or not.
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A walk to school should help clear your head. Even if you take your time, you'll still arrive at school early. You leave your apartment in a hurry and scramble down the stairs to the street. Your mood lifts the moment you get to the street and walk amongst the morning hustle and bustle of Juuban.

You recognize a good number of fellow students also walking towards Juuban Middle School, you receive and give good mornings to any who greets you. A lot of your fellow school mates are carrying unopened umbrellas with them. Was it supposed to rain today? The sky is cloudy but nothing indicates rain falling any time soon.

"Good morning Ruka." Tomio calls out in a tired voice behind you, he sounds like he had a terrible night too by the sounds of it. You wait for him to catch up and see that the voice is as tired as his face. He has some dark circles under his eyes and looks pretty grey in the face.

"Hey Tomio." You raise your hand up and Tomio gives a high five to the proffered raised hand as a greeting. The two of you walk side by side to school. The conversation is pretty mindless, but you learn that Tomio has been suspended from Band Club for a few practices and he's been grounded by his family for the week. He had a hard time sleeping last night because the more he thought about the gap in his memory, the more freaked out he got.

"I know this isn't much comfort but... it could have been worse." You opine upon hearing his punishment.

"I hate to imagine how much worse it could get. We had the police lecture us yesterday remember. Also...Ruka... You look like hell."

Ah the powers of observation and lack of tact of your childhood friend strikes once more. You take a good look at the haggard face of Tomio.

"Pot, kettle, black." Is the only response you can give while pointedly staring at his face.

Tomio groans. "Okay, okay, so we both look like we've been through hell."

Midway on your walk to school, the grey cloudy skies turn black and the distinctive scent of approaching rain fills the air. Tomio looks up at the sky, he didn't bring an umbrella either.

"Hey... what was the forecast supposed to be today?" He asks and points skywards to the dark clouds above.

You are about to answer, but you observe that Aya is walking quickly and quietly to catch up with the two of you. You slow down your pace to give your Club President an opportunity to arrive and it seems she heard Tomio ask his question.

"It's supposed to rain this morning and will continue until Sunday. You chose a bad time to be without an umbrella." Aya answers Tomio in a rush. The short girl is slightly out of breath from moving faster to reach the two of you.

"Oh, ah, Kagawa-sempai, er, good morning." Tomio stumbles over his morning greeting at the unexpected arrival of your friend. Aya is carrying a large umbrella under her arm. It was one of those giant golf umbrellas; it looked ridiculous to watch such a short girl carry one even if it was furled up.
"Good morning Aya." As you say this, you feel a drip of rain on your shoulder. Then another, and another. It has begun to rain.

"Good morning Tomio-kun, Ruka-chan, and it seems I arrived just in time!" Aya proudly opens up her giant umbrella and reveals it coverage. It's a big umbrella, and a roomy one but Aya is 4'10", which meant that the umbrella's 3ft plus handle and nearly 4ft diameter of coverage looked hilarious. Both you and Tomio feel your mouths twitch in your attempts to try and not to laugh at the sight.

"Stop standing around, you two! Get under here!" Aya says as she lifts the umbrella higher to try and give more head room for the both of you.

You realize that the umbrella really only has room for one more person, despite Aya's insistence that you both get under it with her.

Otherwise, if two people do try to get under there with her, then the those standing on the sides are going to get their right or left side wet.

It might be better to just run to school and see if you can get there before the rain gets worse. Also, if you leave, it'll mean that Aya and Tomio will share the umbrella together.


What will you do?

>Get under the umbrella with Tomio and Aya. You left arm is going to be slightly wet
>Refuse and run to school, leave the your two friends to share. You might make it to school before the rain really gets heavy
>Duck under the umbrella first and tell Tomio to run ahead since there's no room under
>Get under the umbrella with Tomio and Aya. You left arm is going to be slightly wet

Ruka may not be in the mood nor position to reject charity. This might also be a setup by Aya to ask Ruka about why she was at the fortune telling place, or about other things that she might want to know.
>Refuse and run to school, leave the your two friends to share. You might make it to school before the rain really gets heavy

>Refuse and run to school, leave the your two friends to share. You might make it to school before the rain really gets heavy

Ruka Houseki; Ultimate Wingwoman
>>Refuse and run to school, leave the your two friends to share. You might make it to school before the rain really gets heavy
we're gonna need a pair of rollerblades to get around
Surprisingly, I was reading up on laws in japan regarding rollerblading or skateboarding to school. It turns out it's illegal,and Sakura from Card Captor would have her rollerblades confiscated if a police officer caught her.

Same with riding a bike with a friend or buddy on the back, only one person on the bicycle or else you'll eat a fine and/or confiscation of the bike if you get caught.

So that Full Metal Panic Fumoffu episode where they are running away from the police is more accurate because they're two on a bike and this is based on the fact it's illegal and they don't want to get fined by the police and lose their bike.
You take a step back away from Tomio so that he can't see you giving Aya a wide grin and a thumbs up. Surely she can understand what you are about to do.

"Nah, you two share the umbrella. I'm going to see if I can make it to school before it really starts raining."

Before they can say anything, you dash as fast as possible away from them. You even abuse your burst of speed a little to move faster despite knowing the cost, and get away far enough that you don't hear what the other two say about your abrupt exit.

"Ahahah, I'm the best friend any guy or gal can have." You cackle as you slow down from your full tilt run and take a few seconds to recover your breath. The rain is still light, you might actually get to school without getting soaked. You begin jogging at a slow pace to school all on your own and arrive without incident.

As soon as you get in, the rain begins coming down very hard. Didn't Aya say that the rain is going to last until Sunday? You don't have an umbrella with you... It wasn't something to worry about right now, you'll figure it out later. You are changing out of your outdoor shoes for your assigned indoor shoes at the lockers when you notice a few things. There are a few students who are hovering around the shoe lockers; they are clearly waiting for you. You note that some are 3rd year Captains of various sports clubs while others are members of sports clubs.

... The best decision in this situation is to ignore them. You begin heading to your classroom on the second floor.

"Good morning, Houseki! Wait, I need to talk to you."
"Hi there, I'm a member of the girl's soccer team..."
"Ruka-chan, I've been wanting to talk to you..."
"Please consider joining the track and field team."

There is a babble of recruitment pitches and they all blend in with each other.

"Sorry everyone, I really need to get to class!" You shout over them and try to get up the stairs. Too bad you didn't come in with Aya, she would have done some sort of elegant social jujitsu to shut them all down and get rid of them. Ah, well that was the price of giving her some alone time with Tomio.

"Hey Ruka! Whoa, I'm soaked." Tomio says as he dashes into the school, he is pretty wet from the rain and goes to his shoe locker to grab his assigned indoor shoes.

... Why was Tomio here? If he was walking with Aya, it should take longer to get to school. You are stunned and pause on the stairs to stare at him. Tomio jogs up to you and is dripping wet from the rain.

"Where is Aya?" You ask him bluntly.
"Kagawa? She's probably still walking; I told her I was going to run ahead to school too." He replies as though it was the most natural thing in the world.

You feel a throbbing vein bulge in your neck from the spike of frustration you feel from this turn of events. It doesn't go unnoticed by the other students trying to recruit you and their voices die away in your ears.

"I... I see... Let's get to class." You choke with frustration, teeth grinding with annoyance.

The boy smiles obliviously and squeezes through the crowd to join you on the stairs. The walk to your classroom is unmolested and you are able to take your seat without any problems.

You fume at this turn of events.

Maybe you should try to be more blunt with Tomio. It was clear that he was not getting the message about Aya's intention. Or maybe you should just let it be, Aya needs to get her intentions across clearly if she hopes to make Tomio her boyfriend and have a relationship with him or it's doomed.

>Don't say a thing about it, and just get ready for class.
>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
>Ask Tomio if he noticed anything about Aya
>Tell Tomio upfront about Aya's interest in him
So this is the last post for the next few days. I hope to pick up again on Monday.

I hope you enjoyed the adventure so far. I do worry that I put too much nightmare stuff in but watching Sailor Moon assures me that horrifying stuff is pretty common.

>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
>Tell Tomio upfront about Aya's interest in him

I can imagine Ruka just gradually escalating the questions until she gets exasperated and just tells Tomio outright. Aya is just too coy for her own good. We need to make Tomio aware of her feelings before she decides to focus her attention on Mamoru.
>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
>Tell Tomio upfront about Aya's interest in him.
>>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
My goal is actually not to get Tomio and Aya together, nor to prevent that. My goal is to allow a funny misunderstanding to occur, in that if Ruka asks Tomio about another girl, it looks like she's interested in Tomio. Teehee.
Oh, and also thank you for running Crescent. The quest is fun and one of the better side-character romps in a well-explored universe.
>>Ask Tomio what he thinks of Aya.
>>Tell Tomio upfront about Aya's interest in him
This fucking guy
Some investigating is in order. Harada Tomio is a rather oblivious and easy going teen boy, but he's not completely blind. He has his moments of insight, so you aren't sure if this obliviousness is genuine or not.

He did eat those lunches that Aya made...

"So... Aya's been hanging around you a lot more. What do you think of that?" You prod Tomio for answers. Tomio has a tendency of zoning out and this was no exception. He acts as though he awaken from a daydream.

"Oh? Kagawa-sempai? Well, she's a friend of yours so I guess... she's okay?" Your childhood friend answers in a neutral manner. He clearly doesn't think much of anything given his answer about Aya.

"She hangs out with you a lot though." By pressing a bit harder, you're hoping that Tomio will get a hint.

"Well, lately you've been going off to have lunch by yourself or other people. I guess she was hoping to see if you were hanging around me?" Tomio rubs the back of his neck as he answers.

Was this guy for real? Maybe you should point out the most obvious clue that something wasn't quite normal.

"You ate her homemade lunches. She's been working hard to share it with you, I can only imagine the struggles she has making it." Surely a boy would realize the implications of a girl making serious efforts to cook him lunch.

"Well, if she's been learning from you, she'll improve soon. I've taken a few bites of her work and it doesn't look like it's improving all that much."

"... She's been cooking those lunches without my help."

"Huh? Really? I guess I should have known. Her lunches weren't exactly near your level of quality cooking. I could taste that Kagawa has a bad tendency of upping the heat when cooking, probably thinks that it'll cook faster. You would have taught her to not do that."

"What are you? An expert on homemade lunches?" This level of obliviousness had to be on purpose, you are watching Tomio like a hawk to see if he betrays any hint of deliberate faking. It's hard to tell.

"I ate enough of your cooking to know something about quality. I kind of wish you still made some to share like in elementary school." There is a hungry look of nostalgia on his face, he looks at you with shining eyes of expectation.

"Hey, you think you can make me those deep-fried chicken fritters with sweet sauce one day?" Tomio eagerly asks like a kid begging for his favorite dish to be made.

You notice that your classroom is super quiet, you glare around and see that your classmates are all listening in. They aren't even disguising their eavesdropping, but your glare sends them all tittering and pretending to be doing other things.
"Okay, serious question time, my old friend... What do you really feel about Aya?" This isn't funny anymore, you are almost 90% sure that Tomio is being deliberately obtuse about Aya's behaviour. There is usually a nervous tic in the corner of his eyes that gives him away whenever he's trying to avoid a subject or try to evade talking about something. You're observant, and you caught his 'tell'.

"Well, she's a friend of yours. You never complain if I want to also invite some of the guys to hang out with us, so I won't either with girls? I mean, Yuuji spent an entire week with us catching those cicadas last year. So she's a friend of a friend?"

... What was with this weird answer? 'Never complain'? 'A friend of a friend'?

"Tomio, do you realize that Aya is trying to get you to ask her out? She likes you?" You decide that there was no point in dancing around this anymore.

The reaction of your friend is telling. There's a weary slouching in his posture, as though he is exhausted by the very thought of Aya's affection and can now just reveal how much of a hassle it is to you.

"She's like the girls in my Band Club in other words. If I ignore her long enough, I'm sure she'll just become background noise."

You rub your forehead with irritation.

"Or you could tell her that you're sorry but you're not interested. Same with the girls in your Band Club. You just tell them you aren't interested! Girls aren't some mysterious unknowable beings you can't communicate with." You have been trying so hard to help Aya with her crush; it never occurred to you that you would need to ask if Tomio was even interested. You had always assumed that Tomio just wasn't paying attention to the girls because the right one hadn't come along. Aya was a great girl, she was capable, beautiful and an all around great friend. Was it possible that the idea of two of your best friends liking each other and dating was so attractive that you were blind to the possibility that it was never going to happen?

"Ugh, I did that once and there was crying and drama and shouting... Girls are too obsessed with the idea of romance. I mean, come on. We're a bunch of 14 year olds, why would I want to get caught up with something like that. Ignoring them and letting them get bored of chasing me is just easier. Some girls just don't want to hear the word 'no' from a guy." Here the boy folds him arms stubbornly and looks very discontented by your suggestion.

Perhaps the strange anti-girl ramblings of his before wasn't something induced by weird mind control magic. Ugh, how are you going to break the news with Aya? Or how are you going to convince Tomio that Aya isn't like other girls.

Ms. Sakurada enters the classroom and starts roll call. This was the end of your conversation and now the school begins.

The hours crawl on until lunch. You are so very hungry, you hadn't eaten breakfast at all this morning.
You don't have a lunch. And the money you do have is mere pocket change.

It seems you'll have to beg lunch off of someone. In fact, you'll need to beg food off of 2 people...

Choose two people to beg food off of...

>Find Aya and ask her to share her lunch
>Ask Tomio to share his lunch.
>Ask Usagi to share her lunch
>Ask Naru to share her lunch
>Ask Gurio to share his lunch
>Ask Ms. Sakurada for a school token to get a free 'school' lunch.
>Write in
>Find Aya and ask her to share her lunch
We're gonna have to talk to her anyway about Tomio
>Ask Usagi to share her lunch
I’ll second this:

Aya might be discouraged to hear about Tomio’s lack of interest in romance, but she might also just redouble her efforts. We could also get Tomio to reconsider it from another angle, in that learning how to socialize and get along well with girls will be a useful later on if he does decide to get into a serious relationship. Though a part of me wonders if he might look to date Ruka first, given that they’ve known each other for a long time.
Hm? Maybe I should have made a new thread... I'll keep on posting until thursday. Then I'll take a break from posting
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You are so hungry. You swiftly case the classroom to see who was likely to have the most delicious lunch you can beg off of.

Tomio's lunch is boring as usual, boiled vegetables with no seasoning and vinegared rice. His mother wasn't a great cook, it's no wonder he would eat anything offered to him at lunch.

You spy Gurio's sandwiches but they are pretty basic and boring, especially in comparison to Naru's simmered sweet potato and beef stew. You are almost tempted to ask Naru for half of her lunch but alas, stew is not a shareable item.

That leaves just one classmate you feel comfortable begging food off of. Tsukino Usagi, the food eating whirlwind. Best of all, Usagi owes you some food, after all you did give her some of your lunch before. You quickly sneak up to Usagi's desk and peek at what her lunch is.

It is a thing of beauty, a full two container lunch filled with goodies. Rice with snow peas, thinly sliced carrots and mushrooms packed to the brim in one container and the other containing small items like simmered beef, onions sauce flavored sweet potato, and spinach with black sesame miso on it.

Your stomach growls with hunger and Usagi jumps with surprised upon hearing your starving stomach. She turns around to look behind her and sees your face. It must look particularly ravenous because Usagi has this dawning look of realization.

Your crybaby classmate has some truly remarkable instincts when it comes to food. You haven't said a word yet but the look on Usagi's face is one of alarm. She recognized the danger you posed and instantly knew what she had to do.

The blonde girl had to start eating right away and leave nothing behind to share. Usagi grabs her chopsticks to begin shoveling her lunch into her mouth but you are just barely faster and swiftly grab the lunch off the desk.

"You owe me Tsukino Usagi. Don't deny it, you know it's true!" You announce as you scamper away with the precious sustenance to your desk. You have a pair of disposable chopsticks that you can use.

"NO! Ruka-chan, don't be mean!" Usagi immediately follows after you with her chopsticks posed in her hand.

It's far too late. You are almost as fast at eating as Usagi is, the food has no chance of being rescued.

"WAAAAH! My lunch!" Usagi weeps with despair as you shovel half the lunch box into your waiting mouth. It is remarkably entertaining to bully the smaller girl like this. Usagi's lunch is delicious, her mother is a really good cook. You take a moment to savor the deliciousness of the rice, the sweetness of the spinach and rich tasting beef. It is remarkably hard not to eat all of it, but you grace the clumsy girl with mercy. You give Usagi back her remaining lunch.

The blonde girl is near tears as she reviews the damage you did to the lunch. She sniffles and eats her remaining food.
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"Oh man, that lunch looks so much better than mine... I wonder if I should bother Kagawa to see if she's made lunch for me again." Tomio comments as you he witnessed your merciless devouring.

"Wait, wait, wait. You find girls annoying and don't want their attention but you'll still accept food from them?" You never pegged Tomio to be the sort that takes advantage of people.

Upon your statement, the other boy simply presents his lunch to you as his answer. There in a small black bento box, the full contents of his unappetizing lunch is displayed to you. The broccoli is oddly greyish, it has been boiled for too long. The carrots were mushy and the basedbeans were not green but rather faintly greenish grey. There seemed to be konjac but the pieces are not sliced, instead it is one huge slab and was clearly unflavored. You need to simmer konjac in broth to give it flavor otherwise it was a tasteless chewy piece of nothing. There is no scent of seasoning on the vegetables. Not even salt. The vinegared rice is even worse since the mixing of it was done very badly and too much vinegar had been used. It looked gluey because over mixing too.

Hmph, it was a sorry lunch. You are happy you didn't beg some off of Tomio.

"Okay, you might have a reason but it's still terrible to string a girl along because you want food."

Tomio sighs.

"If only I could convince my mother to let me prep my own lunch. Me making a bunch of terrible sandwiches would be better than... this..." Tomio mutters and tries to scarf down the remaining food in his bento box.

You are still so hungry though; who else could you go to for food?

The solution flashes in your mind swiftly. You could go and see if Aya had extra food. It was obvious that Tomio wasn't going to blindly accept lunch from her any more. That means, for today, you could be the recipient of the lunch she created.

"Got to go Tomio, I'm going to eat the food Aya made for you." With that, you dash out of the classroom.

"What?! Hey!" The boy calls out but you ignore him.

The journey is swift, there's barely any students in the hallway to bother you. You arrive at Aya's classroom up on the third floor and announce yourself to catch your club president's attention.

It seems the short 3rd year girl is busy eating her lunch at her desk when you arrive. There is a scowl on her face, which melts away when she sees you.

"Ruka! Come on in! Don't be shy because the classroom is full of your seniors." Aya calls out to you.

It's a bit weird for a 2nd year to come into a 3rd year classroom but Aya invited you in. You go and quickly sit down by her. It looks like she did make an extra large lunch, perhaps the original plan was to hand feed Tomio or something. Clearly getting ditched this morning by Tomio soured her on the idea of feeding him.

"So, uh, how are you feeling? I didn't think Tomio would run to school rather than share an umbrella with you." You ask Aya and brace yourself for the answer.
"I'm angry..." There are black waves of negative energy washing over Aya as she answers your question. On the surface, her face is pleasant and smiling but her voice is glacial.

"Yeah, I figured that." Your stomach inopportunely growls with hunger and the short girl clearly heard. Aya looks at you curiously and sighs, she passes you a pair of disposable chopsticks.

"Here Ruka, you mind as well help me eat this. You can even tell me if there's something I need to improve on too."

The lunch box she made is clearly too much for one girl to eat. Some of the items look well made, others had some flaws or strange oddities while the rest seemed rather plain.

What do you start eating first?

>Eat the well made looking items
>Eat the weird oddities
>Eat the ones with obvious flaws
>Eat the plain normal looking ones.
>Eat the weird oddities
>Eat the ones with obvious flaws

Aya is clearly looking for feedback to improve her culinary weakpoints. Therefore, we must sample the foods that need work on their presentation or preparation and give honest yet gentle criticism.
supporting >>4997059
good idea, poor girl we have to help her, it is our duty
I like your thinking, supporting >>4997117
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Well, if she wants your advice for improvement then it was better to take a bit of the really weird or outright bad looking items in the lunch box. You offer a quick prayer that your stomach can take any abuse that might come its way and grab the first thing that catches your eyes.

It's an oddly shaped rice ball. Oddly shaped because the ingredients are on the outside when it should be inside the thing. It was odd to see filleted mackerel fish draped over a round rice ball.


You turned the rice ball around see that there is two small eyes and a mouth made of dried seaweed on the rice balls. You can't help but find the thing cute as heck, you almost don't want to eat it.

"Whoa Aya, this is so cute! What a great idea!" You are incredibly impressed.

"Heh heh, I figured why not make it them cute. Though putting the ingredients on the outside of it rather than inside makes storage very hard and they sometimes fall apart." Aya explains as she takes one to show an example of what she's talking about. The rice ball has a face but is lacking 'hair', but Aya picks up a fallen piece of fried shrimp and places it back on to show how it was supposed to look.

"Ahahah, a yankee rice ball!" The rice ball looked like it had a pompadour with the fried shrimp on it.

You take a bite of the rice ball you have in hand. The rice ball is fairly plain taste wise. It seems Aya didn't wet her hand with water and salt.

"So when you form these rice balls, you should wet your hand with cold water and sprinkle a small bit of salt over the palms of your hand. That way the rice won't stick to your hands and it'll salt them a bit. The salt's a preservative, so I recommend you use some if you're going to store these things for longer than 12 hours." Talking to Aya about food preparation is so much easier than trying to figure out what to tell her about Tomio and his disinterest.

You are not ready or able to figure a way to talk to her about it. Procrastination feels so much better. Now for the next item.

In a corner of the lunch box, positioned far away from other items and further isolated with tinfoil, are some peppers with skin thoroughly blackened from roasting though there was an odd patch of dark green skin left intact. You've seen blistered vegetables cooked over fire before but this seemed as though it had been overly blackened. Also, you've never seen this pepper before, you take one and pop it into your mouth. It looked great from the outside despite looking rather flawed, the blistered blackened skin was attractive and the plump pepper was enticing. The taste was another matter entirety, it was a hot pepper of some sort, your mouth is on fire. You try to keep your face from contorting from the unexpected heat.

"Ruka-chan? Are you okay? Those peppers are something my father grew in his garden." The older girl is looking at you with concern.

"... What... pepper?" You manage to choke out.
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"Um, a Mexican one. Sara? Sera? Serrano. I thought it'd be a great item to make, it's such a wonderful pepper." At this, Kagawa Aya, grabs a roasted pepper with her chopsticks and eats one. She is overcome with absolute rapture at the heat the pepper is giving her.

You are sweating and trembling from how hot the roasted serrano pepper is. Japanese cooking makes no use of hot peppers like this and so your mouth is completely unused to the burning sensation spreading through your tongue and lips. Tears form at the corner of your eyes and you drop your chopsticks to grab a napkin. Just touching your lips with the paper is painful but you need to spit out the pepper immediately.

"Ruka, are you okay!?" Aya sounds very distressed by your reaction but you can't really say anything as you try to ride out the heat and pain.

"Oi, Kagawa, your kouhai looks like she's dying!" One of the 3rd year boy's wanders over to where you're sitting. You don't know who he is and you realize that you need to something to cool your mouth.

"W-water..." You manage to croak.

"No, not water, milk or some sort of citrus." Aya is searching through her lunch box for fruit.

The 3rd year students in the classroom start searching their lunches for something that will kill the burning heat of the hot pepper. Someone passed you an orange slice, another a bottle of lemon tea and other items.

The best one was a small unopened bottle of coffee milk.

After drinking it, you feel that you can finally talk. You thank your seniors for their help politely, you were afraid that the 3rd year students would be stand offish or mean but they were all really nice. In any case, you have to talk to Aya about... the pepper.

"Aya, I'm begging you. If you're going to have super hot peppers in your lunch box, you need to warn people who are going to eat with you." You are about to cry, your tongue is numb.

"I'm so sorry Ruka, I thought it was a neat lunch idea and would suit more adventurous tastes." Aya explained.

"There's adventurous, and then there's pain. Oh god, the pain." You can't help but whine a little. It seems that Aya is a bit of heat fiend. You don't certainly feel hungry any more after taking a bite of that pepper.

You spend the rest of the lunch hour going over other aspects of the lunch box that could be improved upon with Aya before going back down to your classroom on the second floor.

Tomio is talking with Yuuji when you return. Upon returning to your seat, the two boys see that your face is sweaty and red from the after effects of the pepper.

"Did you have a good lunch or a good run?" Tomio asks curious.

"A physically painful lunch. If you ever see a pepper in Aya's lunch box, ask her what type of pepper it is before thinking of biting into it." You groan a little from the memory of the serrano pepper. You are never going to eat a pepper cooked by Aya.

Class resumes.

What class is next?

>Japanese Literature
>Home Economics
>Self-Study Period
>Japanese Literature

Perhaps we’ll hear about a reference to folklore or legend that echoes our current situation and find something to look into?
>Japanese Literature
okay! Last post for tonight and for the next few days. Thread 6 will be announced some time in the future.
The last class of the day was Japanese Literature and it was a slog. There was never any serious study or discussion on Japanese Literature, most students just read aloud a few select snippets of famous old Japanese novels and learn some facts related to it that will be on the exam. In fact, Japanese students don't even have to read a single book for all their Junior High and High School years. The true emphasis was the hellish push to memorize grammar and kanji characters.

In any case, being forced to read archaic Japanese aloud is an incredible challenge. You are reading a section of the Tale of the Heike aloud and you're pretty sure that you're butchering it. It's the recollection of the last moments of the child Emperor Antoku before his suicide by drowning as told by the former Empress Dowager Kenreimon-in.

---Looking very frightened, he asked, ‘Grandmother, where are you taking me?’

To her little sovereign, she said, near tears, ‘Why, does Your Majesty not understand? Tenfold good karma from past lives gave you birth as lord over the realm, but evil influence intervened to bring your good fortune to an end. First, Your Majesty, if you please, face east and say good-bye to the Grand Shrine of Ise; then, trusting that Amida will welcome you into his Western Paradise, face west and call his Name. Our land, a scattering of remote millet grains, is not a fine home. I am taking you now to a much happier one, the Pure Land of Bliss.’

In these words she addressed him, weeping.---

It's a super sad chapter... but you don't know what lead up to this chapter at all. You know the outline of the Tale of Heike through cultural osmosis but damned if you knew specific details about the story.

The teacher Mr. Yamada is satisfied by your reading and allows you to sit back down. It seems odd but your Japanese Literature teacher is supposedly the supervising teacher for the Supernatural Research Club. He was more like some sort of mythical ghost at your Club, since even though he was the sponsoring teacher, he has never attended a single meeting to 'supervise' the Club. It was pretty irresponsible and came to bite him in the ass last year when the Club helped design that overly scary haunted house at Culture Fest. But even after that incident, all he did was call the previous Club President to the teacher's lounge and lackadaisically reprimanded them, nothing more.

It seems Mr. Yamada sponsored the Club in the first place to dodge having to supervise another more active school club and have less work on his plate. The teacher's equivalent of the student's 'go home club'.

At the end of class, you get ready to leave for your Club activities but your teacher calls out to you.

"Houseki, I need to talk to you about the Club." He says this as he lazily waves good-bye to your fellow classmates leaving.
How odd, Mr. Yamada never bothers to talk to you about the Club. Usually Aya was the one he spoke to, if he bothered about Supernatural Research Club at all.

"Have more members joined? I got a request to move to a bigger room. How big was your last meeting?" The literature teacher asks, his voice is rather scornful at the idea the Club needed more space.

"More than the usual 4 members. We needed a room that could seat at least 10 people."

"So the Club is expanding, eh? Well, as long as the Club runs a tight ship and puts in the usual paperwork, I don't foresee any problems using a larger meeting room. Here it is." At this Mr. Yamada passes you a key.

"Thank you Mr. Yamada... would you like to attend today's Club meeting?" You only ask out of politeness.

There's a dismissive wave from the Literature teacher.

"No, go and have fun with your weird conspiracy supernatural thingies."

Key in hand, you go to the Supernatural Research Club's old room and see that today was going to be one heck of a meeting. You see that this meeting is quite well attended, in fact, you see there are more members than last time. 9 people, plus yourself equals 10. Will the new meeting room fit everyone?

"Aya, I got the key to a new room for us." You show the key so that everyone can see.

Club President Kagawa Aya looks pleased

"Excellent, let's get going." Aya announces and leads everyone to the new meeting room. The key opens a room that is rumored to be haunted by your fellow classmates, the room sighed and groaned at odd times they claim. So the rumor went that it was a haunted by the ghost of a school girl who died in it. Many years ago, alumni of the Supernatural Research Club discovered the real reason for the sounds was because ventilation was faulty, and recommended repairs be done. Since the repairs, the noise ceased.

But the rumor lived on as a hallowed school myth.

This was apparently your new meeting room. It was roomier than the old room. This place could fit 15 people. Everyone takes a seat.

"Let's begin our meeting." Aya announces.

You could contribute this time. But what will you tell the Club? Should you even mention your recent experience with Sailor Moon at all?

>Listen to everyone but don't contribute.
>Share your most recent Sailor Moon encounter in full. (including weird shiny supernatural orbs, giant moving vines, etc etc)
>Share some of your recent Sailor Moon encounter, but present as info you found out recently.
>write in
This will be our last post for the week. I am hoping to start up a new thread next week.

If you have any comments or issues about the thread, please tell me.
>Share some of your recent Sailor Moon encounter, but present as info you found out recently.
>Share some of your recent Sailor Moon encounter, but present as info you found out recently.
>>Listen to everyone but don't contribute.
thanks for running! I'm sorry but I missed the last few posts due to a roadtrip, otherwise I would have voted
Hm, I might not be able to make a thread this week due a project. And the week after that isn't looking too good either...

A new thread is likely on October at this rate
See you then, QM. Hope your schedule works out for you!