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Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 25 May 2013 22:18
by Yamame Kurodani
Today, a certain spider wanders around the forest of magic. She has a clear destination and a great sense of direction, but for someone with such a sense of curiosity, sometimes even known paths can be unexpectedly twisty.

In any case, after a lot of turns and stops and a couple goodnatured fights with forest fairies, the spider youkai reaches her destination: a solitary wooden home in the middle of the forest. This simple, humble building happens to be the household of one of the most well known wizards in Gensokyo, Alice Margatroid.

By now, the reader may be asking himself by now just what the hell does a spider youkai like Yamame want with the cold, aloof dollmaker. It's unusual... or it would be so were it not because the two are in fact acquaintances since over a year ago, when Yamame had her little stint as Santa Claus! Since then, Yamame has kept Alice in her list of "people who are nice if kind of annoying at times", and not doubted to poke her when in need of anything doll-related.

Like now, for example. Two days ago, Yamame found a strange clay idol half-buried in a Hell tunnel. And having no clue what the heck this thing might do, Yamame decided to ask an expert in the matter of figurines!

Which explains why she's currently knocking at the door with those resounding strikes of hers that make the door vibrate dangerously in place.

"Good mornin' Alice! You home? Wanted t'ask ya something!"

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 06 Jun 2013 14:48
by Alice Margatroid
Why was it that visitors always showed up when she was preparing to relax after a long week of research? Alice had just relaxed on the couch in her living room with a pot of tea, some cookies and an outside world book when she heard the knocking on the door. Sighing once, she considered just sending a doll to let whoever it was in, but she decided not to as she didn't want to deal with Mima teasing her over it or Shinki being all hurt that her daughter couldn't be bothered to greet her.

As such, Yamame found a magician with surprisingly messy hair opening the door for her as the dolls suddenly sprang into action fluttering around behind her. That was certainly something she hadn't expected to see. "Yes? What did you want to ask?" Moving aside, she showed the spider inside even as dolls were putting another cup on the table.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 08 Jun 2013 13:28
by Yamame Kurodani
Yamame looks up at Alice and smiles, waving in greeting. "Heyo, Dolls!" she says happily, coming in. As she does so, she makes a show of noticing the dollmaker's hair with a raised eyebrow. "Hooo, did I interrupt anythin' int'restin'?" the spider grins and winks. "I can disappear for a bit an' come back later if y'were busy, y'know"

By now Alice has probably noticed the weird doll in Yamame's left hand though. About thirty centimeters tall, apparently made of clay, and ugly as sin, as dogu figurines usually are. Its closed eyes seem to give a creepy feeling of looking around, though.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 08 Jun 2013 20:49
by Alice Margatroid
Alice's expression grew even colder for a moment as she made a doll fly off to fetch a brush. "No, nothing. Don't worry about it." She really needed to remember to check that for future visitors who showed up when she was trying to relax. Marisa or Mima would probably make the same insinuation, just even more crassly and that was something she didn't want to risk. Closing the door behind them she followed the spider into the living room, taking a seat on the armchair as some dolls directed Yamame to sit on the couch.

The room looked much like it had the last time Yamame visited, though this time there was a tray of cookies at the small table between them, as well as a pot of tea, a half-drunk cup that one of the dolls was moving from the couch side to the chair side while another was bringing another cup. Another doll was busily shelving a book in the background and if the spider was good enough at reading, she could tell that the name on the spine was the same as one of Flandre's spellcards And Then There Were None.

Once they were seated, Alice finally turned her attention to the dogu, raising an eyebrow. "So how come you're carrying one of those?" And was it what she wanted to ask her about or some form of payment for whatever favor the actual question was about?

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 14 Jun 2013 19:35
by Yamame Kurodani
Completely impervious to the coldness (Yamame has befriended Parsee, for crying out loud), Yamame just smiles. "Aw'some, then. Wouldna want t'intrude" she says, skipping happily behind Alice and taking the area around. While Yamame is not illiterate, she's not exactly the best reader, so most of the books names go right over her head.

When they sit down, Yamame starts by thanking Alice and then proceeding to take a pretty big sip of the tea, horribly hot as it is. "Nice! Y'guys up here have terrible booze, but th'tea's way better!" she says, grinning her wide, toothy grin. Then Alice asks, though, and Yamame leaves the ugly dogu on top of the table. "Good eye. This is th'reason'm here. see, I found this layin' round when I was diggin'round Hell. Find a whole lotta junk when diggin' y'know" she says, leaving it clear that finding various archaeological artifacts is basically an everyday occurence that doesn't merit particular thought. "But this thing... makes me sorta nervous. It's creepy, y'know? I think there's somethin' weird with it. But'm not really alla good with this kinda thing, while you're pretty good with all this doll stuff... thought y'might want t'give it a look"

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 22 Jun 2013 15:38
by Alice Margatroid
"Better than our alcohol or better than underground tea?" Alice raised an eyebrow in curiosity at Yamame's question, before taking a sip of tea. It didn't really matter, it was just an idle thought she couldn't quite ignore.

Still, the dogu was apparently the focus of things. Leaning over, she studied it, her expression suddenly intense in ways Yamame hadn't seen before. "What kinds of junk? It might be valuable to a collector like Keine or Akyuu or to magicians." After all, if this was an example of something that was just junk, who knew what else she was finding? Maybe Aristotle's work on humor was among them or even the arc of the covenant or the sword of Kusanagi. "This thing isn't too rare. It's a dogu, ancient Japanese clay figurines looking like, well, this. Some outside worlder insists that they're proof that people from other planets visited Earth ages ago and this was an attempt at modeling them, but most experts believe that they're statues of women." She frowned, looking at it. As interesting as it was, it really was an ugly thing and she wasn't quite sure what to think of a culture who thought to depict women like that. Still, she pointed to the hips and then the chest. "They base it mostly on the presence of what they interpret as wide, child-bearing hips and breasts. The assumption is that it was used to symbolize fertility."

Pausing for a bit to sip from her tea, she furrowed her brow in thought. Perhaps there was more to it than appeared and it had been used by ancient magicians. Careful not to disturb anything, she let out a bit of magic to try to scan it to see if it was magical as well.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 04 Jul 2013 21:56
by Yamame Kurodani
"Better than th'tea, 'course. 's good, but it ain't oni booze good, Dolls" Yamame grins, winking at Alice.

"What kinda junk?" Yamame looks pensieve for a bit, biting her finger slightly as she recollects. "I dunno, all sortsa old stuffs. All kinda pretty weapons, pots with pretty terrible pics on'em, jewelry an' stuff. Nothin' really very interestin'. Well, once I found a weird necklace that look'd like two snakes, but that thing smelled cursed as fuck an' gave me the creeps so I tossed it to th'Furnace 'fore anyone actually put it on. An' I did find a pretty good knife onna stick once. Thing cut rock like it was mushrooms. Traded it to Long-Horn for a couple months of prime meat cuts!" Yamame pats her belly, grinning, making it clear she thinks she came out of the deal on top.

She listens to the explanation interestedly, though at some points she can't help but raise an eyebrow. "'m pretty sure that peeps from other planets don't look that ugly. They mostly have, y'know," she puts her hands to her head like ears and flicks them a couple times to signify rabbit ears "sorta long ears."

She looks at the dogu again. "tho, really, if that are s'posed t'be boobs, then clearly these guys weren't exactly aces at sculptin', were they"

When Alice sends out the tiny Detect Magic magic wave, the statue seems to resonate. It does seem to be slightly magical, surprisingly enough.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 13 Jul 2013 15:26
by Alice Margatroid
"I meant whether you were talking about our tea being better than underworld tea or surface world booze." Alice just shrugged, sill not taking her eyes off the mysterious dogu, though at least she did accept a cookie one of the dolls brought her.

"So, you're finding legendary weapons, ancient Greek pottery and all sorts of other magical and archaeological artifacts." The magician looked up, actual surprise visible on her face if only faintly. "And you just throw it out? You shouldn't, collectors on the surface might be highly interested in it and it's not impossible that Yukari would want to take some to the outside world." She ate the cookie that the doll had brought her, swallowing before continuing. "If you find any dolls or books, bring them to me. You could probably sell a lot of the other stuff too, just be careful not to bring it near Marisa, she'll just steal it rather than pay."

The comment about people from other planets just having long ears, got her a small smile though slightly warmer than usual for the puppeteer. She was way too busy thinking about the prospects of underworld archeology and what was up with the clay figure. "That's just the moon rabbits and they're just from the Moon, which isn't another planet, it's just...The Moon. The people of the outside world say it orbits the Earth and anything. Actual other planets are distant and kinda odd and outside worlders think they're full of weird creatures." And just maybe, primarily learning astronomy from old pulp magazines that made their way to Gensokyo wasn't the best education. "And some people think that this looks like a person wearing a specialized suit for moving through the space between planets." The next comment got a nod. "They weren't. The figure is unbalanced and top heavy and several parts are deformed from what appears to have been intended. But it's also clear that if it really was supposed to be a woman, they weren't trying to make an exact representation of how women look. And, of course, it might be a deity of some kind."

"Hmmm." She frowned a bit, trying to analyze the magic a bit more. "It's faint, but it is magical. I have no idea why, though."

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 20 Jul 2013 13:53
by Yamame Kurodani
Yamame shrugs. "What else would I do with all that stuff, Dolls? I ain't want it for nothin' an' it'd be a huge pain to carry ev'rythin' I find up here. I don't got any need t'sell it, either. So I jus' leave it lyin' there most of th'time. If that witchy gal wants to take th'stuff she's free to, t'be honest. At least it won't be litterin' 'round th'caves." Yamame's utter disregard for her findings is almost astounding. She has no idea of their significance - for her they're just nuisances.

"I ain't never found a book down there 'fore tho - well" she corrects herself conscientiously "none 'cept those crappy mangas Sari was readin', but I suspect you ain't gonna want those. If I find any lil'book that looks interestin' I'll make sure t'save'em for ya, tho, promise"

The astronomical information clearly is a bit above Yamame's pay grade, as she cock her head in confusion. "Th'Moon ain't 'nother planet? Then what is it? An' real planets are even more away? Maaaaaan. Bunny said it's already kind of a total pain t'get t'th'Moon... wait, how exactly are these humans checkin' all these creatures out there, then, if they're so far away? Did they send anyone t''check?"

The next part is simpler, though, and makes Yamame chuckle. "Gee, ya don't say" she says to the whole 'probably wasn't meant to be an exact representation' thing. "An' I'm pretty sure Mino wold blow a gasket if ya even suggested this thing could be a goddess near her" the spider laughs.

And in the meantime Alice can feel how the dogu's magical aura seems to weaken, as if it was running out, or trying to hide its properties.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 27 Jul 2013 20:06
by Alice Margatroid
Alice had to force her expression to remain calm as she took another sip from her tea before replying. "They're priceless treasures that a lot of people would do a lot to get their hands on. At least many of them are. I imagine they'd provide an excellent opportunity for Yakumo to confuse outside worlders with should she feel like it." She picked up another cookie, creating a pause to mull over the spider's indifference to scholarship before continuing. "But I suppose that if you don't have anything you want for them, it's unreasonable to ask. However, it might be something others would be interested in, so you might want to mention it around the village." And it'd bring more remarkable finds to the market that might be relevant to her.

"Sari?" The magician raised an eyebrow, trying to figure out who that might be. "Is that a nickname for Satori or someone else? And, no, I wouldn't be particularly interested in manga...If that's what they were, rather than books in hieroglyphics or other pictograms. Also, why would manga of all things show up down there? It seems like it is mostly rare and unusual items."

Alice just shrugged when asked about the Moon. "It's the Moon. What it is depends on what you look at. In magic and religion it has a whole host of connotations and powers that can be drawn on in ways distinct from the planets. It is also the home of the Lunarian civilization and their rabbit servants. To outsider worlders, however, it's just a big rock circling the Earth, while the other planets circle the Sun just like the Earth does. And I believe the outsider worlders learned about other planets by shooting shikigami into space to have a look at them and transmit the information back."

"I don't particularly care about what the harvest goddess thinks. Also, it doesn't change the intentions of the creations that she thinks it insults her dignity, especially given how odd human ideas about gods tend to be. It doesn't turn into swans or golden rain to rape women, for one thing, and it doesn't have a pig it keeps cutting meat off while it lives either, so I'd say she still comes out decently."

Feeling the magical aura, Alice frowned slightly, trying to analyze the magic more carefully in hopes of learning something more about the thing. It seemed likely that it was just a bit of residual magic that dissipated into the magic she had used to detect it, but there might be more to it. And either way, it was an interesting little thing to wonder about.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 10 Aug 2013 15:06
by Yamame Kurodani
Yamame shrugs. "Eh, if peeps are really so int'rested in'em I guess I can leave a few o'these junks on th'town square when I happen to come up or somethin'. Comin' back up an' down ev'ry time I find somethin' would be a pain, but might as well make some peeps happy if I'm comin' up anyway"

On the next part, though, Yamame lifts an eyebrow. "Uh. I'da expected ya t'know Sari. What with ya bein' Shinks's gal an' she said she'd been workin' near Makai for a while. Tall gal, fluffy wings, blue hair, pretty face, booty like whoa? Can't miss'er, it's not like there's tons of angels flyin' around!" Okay, Shinki, Shikieiki, now Sariel - this spider seems remarkably well connected with higher powers for someone so low on Gensokyo's power totem pole! "An' it showed there mostly 'cause some onis were checkin'em out. They like the pictures an' th'plots are fast an' fun, like we like'em - but most onis ain't very good at pickin' up after themselves!" she laughs.

The explanation on the moon mostly has Yamame blinking in completely unconcealed confusion. You pretty much lost her when you started talking of things like "connotations" and drawing power and such, Alice. Smaller words!

She recovers when the conversation moves on to Minoriko and outside world gods. Though the explanations about said gods do make her blink again, but this time more in "what the fuck" than confusion. "...wait. What? Jus' what kinda messed up gods do humans follow?"

As for the little dogu idol, further analysis reveal a strange behaviour. Alice will pick up some kind of magic field, and then suddenly it will vanish quickly, until another type of analysis is used, which gets the same result, several times. It's as if it's trying to scurry away from her eyes.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 12 Aug 2013 20:15
by Alice Margatroid
"That would be good, it sounds like artifacts that shouldn't be left to gather dust." Yes, apparently even the reclusive magician had some sense of scholarly obligation to everybody else. Or maybe she just wanted easier access herself and was trying to come up with justifications.

"I'm afraid I haven't met her. But Makai is a big place and I haven't lived there for more than ten years and I'm not that old, so if she was living there in the Showa period or similar, it was before I was even born." Alice shrugged, simply nibbling on a cookie and taking a cup of tea before continuing. "And I see. So some oni found some manga and took them underground with them and then you saw them? I guess that isn't terribly surprising."

Yamame's glazed over look just got the spider a small sigh. "The moon is magically different and it circles the Earth, while the planets circle the sun. Also, some planets are apparently made of gas and not rock." Not that Yamame's knowledge of comparative theology sounded much better. "Ones that explain things and behave just as crazy as the humans thought people with great powers would. There are also gods with animal heads and a big, feathered snake constantly trying to eat the sun if you ask outside world humans." And she better not mention Priapos around the dirty-minded spider.

The continued evasiveness of the dogu's magic was intriguing. Regardless of what a certain evil spirit said, this kind of elusive magic was interesting all of its own. Though of course, it might be a weak possessing spirit rather than an enchantment created to be subtle and avoid detection. Pausing for a biscuit while she continued her options, Alice moved on to chant a quick spell of binding to see if it was a spirit rather than a spell.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 24 Aug 2013 18:08
by Yamame Kurodani
"I guess bein' an angel she's probly pretty old, uh" Yamame agrees, thoughtful. "She didn't seem very knowledgeable 'bout th'world when we spoke, tho, for bein' so old. I guess she might be like that dumbass 'eki, all work an' no play somethin' somethin'" the spider grins.

The science explanation makes her raise her eyebrows, though. "How d'ya make a planet outta gas? I mean, how do ya even walk in a place like that? Wouldn'ya just kinda... fall all th'way through an' end up in space again?"

The explanation on gods makes her grin again and munch a cookie whole. "Uh. That 'ctually sounds kinda awesome. Does th'sun punch it in th'face?" Yamame is clearly from the "if it's cool" school of mythology, to no one's surprise.

And as for the dogu... indeed, it seems like there might be something to Alice's theory, because it feels like the binding spell has hit something in there. But soon she can feel a sort of scritching sensation at the edges of her spell, like having ants in one's hand, nibbling at the binding spell.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 07 Sep 2013 14:39
by Alice Margatroid
"Or maybe she's just lived alone. Makai didn't have much contact with any other worlds until my mother started the tourism. There are also large empty areas of it, where she might have lived alone." Alice shrugged as she finished the cookie she had been eating. "Or maybe she's just kinda stupid."

The question about gas planets was met by a period of silence, with Alice's usual stony expression completely hiding uncertainty. How did gas planets work? It did seem rather odd to have big, balls of gas form cohesive planets out there. After a sip of tea she finally continued. "Outsider worlders don't seem to think that you need to be able to walk on something to make it a planet or that if you can walk on it then it has to be one. They say that the Moon isn't a planet after all and they have walked on it. Also, they believe that gravity pulls towards the center of planets and down just means towards the center of whatever planet you're on, rather than being a definite direction. So gas planets are big clouds of gas pulling towards the heart of the cloud." Which once again showed that outside world beliefs were far weirder than anything in Gensokyo, but what could she say?

"Right, big balls of burning gas are so good at punching...The sun doesn't, so the outside worlders who believed in it kept sacrificing human hearts to the serpent to keep it distracted. Then they all got killed by people from a place called Spain who were looking for gold and the sun didn't get eaten, making the whole exercise remarkably silly."

The dogu's continued evasiveness was quite irritating. Just what was this thing? Some evil spirit that had possessed it and didn't want to be dragged out into the sunlight? Thinking about it for a bit, she strengthened the binding spell, adding some extra hooks to make it more reactive to spiritual presences. At least it was something that her research had prepared her quite a bit for. If it was a spirit that could be bound and not a powerful magician, dragon or similarly strong youkai, she could bind it. It just required putting in the effort to figure out how.

Re: Consulting an Expert [Ask First]

PostPosted: 20 Sep 2013 10:29
by Yamame Kurodani
"Coulda been she lived alone, yah. But I don't think she's stupid. Or at least not any more than a buncha other peeps I could mention" Yamame smirks a bit with those shark teeth of hers before taking another sip.

"Bah. What good is a planet you can't even go on?" the spider hmphs. "Tho, th'other thing actually makes sense. Down gotta be toward th'center or you'd just start needin t'walk th'walls after a bit. I jus' didna think you could do that with gas" Of all the things spoken today, and it's this that Yamame finds most obvious? Seriously? On the other hand, she is an earth spirit and far more used to tridimensional movement than most surfacers...

On the next bit, though, she laughs. "Yah, 'cause th'same peeps who think th'sun is chased by a big flyin' snake, 'spite snakes, y'know, not flyin' are gonna give a shit'bout whether some other peeps think it's a ball o'gas." Yamame chuckles. "If there's a bigass snake in th'story you bet there's someone fightin' with it at some point in th'plot, gal." The spider may not be very educated, but she does have a certain sense for how people work.

As for the dogu... strengthening the bind catches whatever it is. And it turns out, it doesn't seem to be one spirit - more like several dozen very tiny spirit-things, like the whisper of ghosts. That was the scribbling sensation around the bind, the others scurrying around the binds when she caught one. Like little spirit bugs in a small swarm. But they do seem rather similar, like they were related.