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Rinnosuke sighed as he looked around his empty store, frowning as he saw layer after layer of dust on what he considered some of the most precious artifacts from the outside world. It was depressing. Even after he had gotten some brand new objects from the outside world, he still hadn’t gotten any more sales. He even had what they called “next-gen” systems, like the PlayStation 3 and the oddly named Wii. At this rate, he would have to give some of his items away, just so that he could make some more space in his storage room. Besides, he reasoned, if they found out how great his stuff was, maybe they would actually buy things from him.
Heartened with this thought, Rinnosuke tried to think of a way to give his gifts away. While some people, like Marisa, wouldn’t mind something new, others would probably kill him on the spot. He wasn’t really happy with the prospect of dying, so the silver-haired shopkeeper tried to think of a way to give gifts without receiving a seal, laser, fireball, knife, suppository, or whatever in the face. He briefly thought of just mailing the gifts, but he dismissed it on a couple of factors, like the fact that there was no mail service in Gensokyo and chances were that some of the girls would destroy the gifts.
It was then that he remembered a strange custom he had heard of from the other world. Yukari had explained it to him, but he had never really given it much thought. In the other world, during some time of the month in December, relatives and friends would exchange gifts to further strengthen their bonds. Or something like that. And there was a legend about this old, fat man who gave presents to all of the children. Rinnosuke smiled. He might not be old or fat, but he was a man and that was good enough to replicate this legend in Gensokyo. He would, during the night, give gifts to all of the girls of Gensokyo, thus getting rid of his storage problem and, hopefully, getting more business for himself. It was like killing two birds with one stone, to borrow a phrase from the ice fairy, Cirno.
Now that that problem was settled, Rinnosuke began to wonder what kind of gifts he should give each of the girls. He doubted any of them would appreciate the “next-gen” systems, since nobody knew how they worked, although Yukari gave a vague reference to electricity and TV when talking about them. He decided to get them practical things, since he knew that however common an item was, if it was useful, then it would always be appreciated. Adjusting his black-rimmed glasses, Rinnosuke went to business.
‘This is going to be harder than I thought.’ Rinnosuke thought to himself as he stared at the large sack full of gifts he had. While he, probably, could carry them to every single house in Gensokyo, the fact remained that it would take too long and the sun would be up before he finished. ‘If only I could fight and get myself some of those time orbs…Well, maybe some of stuff in my store could help me.’
He walked into the back room of his store, where a looming tower of random knickknacks and doodads sat at a corner. He needed a weapon…one that wouldn’t kill him if he did something stupid. Since he had no fighting experience, he wanted to pick something that he couldn't stab himself with. Spying an ornate lance lying against the wall, Rinnosuke picked it up, shrugging as he did so. It was over eight-feet long in length, so there was little chance he could stab himself with it. And if he didn’t need to use it, he could tie the bag to one of the ends and carry it using the lance.
Now armed with some sort of protection and a sack full of gifts, Rinnosuke decided to begin his journey. His first stop would be the Alice’s house, since she was close to his shop and also because she wasn’t as trigger happy as Marisa. He quickly walked towards her house, making his sure his shop was locked up tight.
Before he could reach her house, however, he was suddenly attacked by a ravenous plant, a long, twisting tendril winding its way up his leg. Dropping his sack, Rinnosuke quickly brought out the spear and stabbed viciously at the plant. To his surprise, the plant immediately shirked away from his attack and disappeared. Looking at the spear, he noticed a faint magical aura surrounding it. ‘That was lucky…Well, hopefully nothing else will disturb me. Sigh…Now I remember why I never leave Kourindou.’
The rest of the way to Alice’s house was uneventful and Rinnosuke managed to slip her gift in through one of the windows, which Alice had mistakenly left open. He also put in an advertisement for Kourindou as well, just in case Alice couldn’t tell who gave her the gift. He continued in this fashion towards Marisa’s house, fending off any monsters that would try to attack him and, happily, getting some time orbs for his trouble. Luckily for him, Marisa’s door was wiiiide open, something that really didn’t surprise him, considering how reckless the human witch was.
Rinnosuke continued with his mission, delivering his gifts and advertisements, fending off any monsters or fairies that tried to kill him, and wishing that he could fly like almost everyone else here. Still, somehow he managed to make it within the time limit, thanks to a little bit of luck and some of the magical items he had brought with him. As he made his way back into Kourindou, the sun was just rising and Rinnosuke smiled before going into the back and collapsing on the bed he kept there.
A couple of hours later, a loud knock on the front of his shop woke the silver-haired man from his slumber and he stumbled towards the door, rubbing his hair. Remembering that a shopkeeper should always greet customers with a smile, Rinnosuke made sure he looked slightly presentable as he opened the door, revealing Reimu, along with all of the other girls of Gensokyo. Rinnosuke blinked, wondering what was going on.
“We wanted to thank you for your gifts, so we all came in person to show you our gratitude.” Reimu said. “Even that hardhead from Mt. Shuuyoujo came for a visit.”
“I am not a hardhead! Want to make something of it?!” A loud voice erupted from the back of the group. Reimu just sighed and waved the protest down.
“Anyway, we just brought some gifts of our own to give to you.” Reimu explained, handing Rinnosuke a small, thin package. “Here’s some warding seals, just in case somebody tries to steal from your shop. Don’t forget to donate to the shrine.”
“Uh, thanks…” Rinnosuke said uncertainly, accepting the gift. With that, Reimu stepped away, no doubt going back to her shrine to enjoy a mug of hot tea. All the rest of the girls crowded around, some of them tossing their gifts Rinnosuke’s way while others just handed him the gift with a word of thanks. After a couple of minutes, it was over and he found himself standing in a virtual mountain of presents.
‘That was nice.’ Rinnosuke thought as he brought the gifts in, wondering what was in each of them. There was a set of silver knives from Sakuya, a card on how to use Master Spark by Marisa, an antidote to some common poisons from Medicine, a frozen frog from Cirno, a doll sewed in his likeness from Alice, some Chinese dumplings from Hong Meirin, a flower bracelet from that youkai living in the mountains, and numerous others. He looked at the pile of gifts, wondering where he could put everything. He had intended to make more storage space by giving away the gifts, but with all this, all the space he had opened up would be used up again.
Rinnosuke sighed. Well, while the whole thing wasn’t a huge success, it still felt pretty good to have given all those gifts and it felt even better knowing that they all were willing to make him a gift in return. ‘Maybe I’ll do this next year.’
The next day, nobody came to his store.
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