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Return to: Fiction_by_EZMode
When he next awoke, the room was in much of the same state it had been in when he last opened his eyes. A faint beam of light filtered through a gap in the curtains, giving the room a dim atmosphere. Patrick took some time to look around the room this time, seeing that it was sparsely furnished. A writing desk in the far corner with a simple wooden chair, his bed, and the table next to him, which still bore the tray Rinnosuke brought in. There still existed a slight pain in his body, though the throbbing headache had vanished and he felt well enough to get up. Still carefully moving, Patrick removed the covers from himself. His shirt had been removed, presumably to treat the cuts and scrapes he suffered. Though he hadn't thought of it after he had fallen, he noted the bandage on his chest, several on his arms and some he could feel on his back that indicated he must have taken a fairly extensive beating. He attributed them to his tumble down the face of the cliff and abrupt end on the loose rocks at the bottom. The more miraculous thing though was that he didn't suffer any broken bones from it all.
Patrick dropped his legs over the edge of the bed, he still had his pants on, which gave him some strange comfort. Slowly standing from the bed, he still felt a little woozy from getting up so soon after waking up. Patrick first went to the window, drawing aside the curtains. It was early morning, and from the window, he could see the tree line where the Forest of Magic began. The Forest was quite a sight, each of the trees were tall and thick, looking as if they'd been alive for thousands of years. Patrick felt vibrations through the floorboard with a steady beat, someone was walking around somewhere inside. The window itself seemed to look out from a second floor, and it took several seconds for Patrick to feel that the vibrations were coming from beneath him. Turning towards the door, Patrick caught sight of his shirt folded at the foot of the bed, along with his boots and socks on the floor. Picking up his shirt, he noticed it had been washed. No traces of blood or dirt remained. He started putting his shirt on as he stepped towards the door and turned the handle, pulling it open. He slid his shirt down and stepped through the doorway, but stopped. He looked at the door, seeing a small faceplate that read 'Guest', though in the back of his mind was a lingering feeling that he had seen something else there that caught his attention in the first place.
Dismissing it for now, he shut the door behind him and looked around. There were two other doorways in the hallway he was in, though his room was right in the corner of a turn. He could see the end of a railing up ahead, and started towards it, finding the stairway down. As much as he wanted to go snooping around, he was sure that if he could feel other people walking around inside, so could other people feel him as he walked, and most likely hear the floor creaking overhead. However, Patrick made a mental note to himself to ask to look around or be toured at least later on as he started down the stairs. As he descended, he saw a fairly normal looking hall area, which opened along one wall. A glimpse of cookware hanging from the walls made clear it was the kitchen. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he could see into the forward part of the building through a loose curtain, which he figured lead to the shop portion. He could also hear voices now, a man and woman, coming from the front. He figured the man was Rinnosuke, but had no idea who the woman was. Curiosity naturally took over as he walked up the hallway to the curtain separating the shop from the house to listen in.
"Why not?" the woman asked, sounding rather flustered.
"You already owe me for several books I let you take you promised to pay for. I can't turn a blind eye to your overwhelming tab anymore."
"Aaahh," she cried in an exasperated fashion, "Just one more book? I promise I'll pay you next time!"
"I'm sorry, but no. If you want another book so badly, you should go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion and ask permission to borrow from their library."
There was a brief silence between them, and Patrick moved the curtain aside so that he could get a better look. There was stuff everywhere, it looked like a junkyard compared to the clean, empty look of the rest of the house. Patrick could barely see the back of Rinnosuke's head over all the junk from where he stood, though he could get a better view of the woman. She had oddly coloured hair which appeared to be two different colours, the bangs and long sideburns being blue, while the rest was a pale shade, like grey. Another peculiar feature was her odd looking wings, though they at least looked more like wings than some other residents of Gensokyo could claim theirs do. Patrick felt like he had seen her somewhere before, but a name didn't come to mind.
Patrick pulled the curtain aside more and stepped out into the shop area. This caught the woman's attention and she looked over at him. That's when he also noticed two small protrusions on her head that were coloured similarly to the blue hair, almost looking like small horns.
"Ah, you have a guest?"
Rinnosuke turned around then and noticed Patrick.
"Yes, he's an outsider," he said, turning his attention back to the woman. "I heard second hand that one had popped up at the Hakurei shrine, but that he seemed to be in trouble at the cliffs. He was saved and brought here by some villagers that owed me considerable tabs. Needless to say, I reduced how much they owe me by half for their help."
Patrick felt a slight twinge of annoyance. So that seemed to be the real reason people ran out to find him, debt. Patrick had a mental image of Rinnosuke being some kind of criminal overlord, ordering people that owed him money around in order to exploit their desire to pay off their tabs. Though, if they owed such tabs in the first place, Rinnosuke mustn't be too imposing.
"So what if I helped him out again? Would you cut my debt and give me another book?"
There was a brief silence, as if Rinnosuke was considering it.
"Aaaahh! You're such an idiot! Fine, I'll show you I can pay off my tab through good deeds too!"
"No, that's not how it-"
"Stop your excuses!" the woman continued, turning her attention to Patrick. "You! Go fall off a mountain so I can save you for Kourin and reduce my debt."
"Don't call me Kou-"
"You better pull through on this deal, Kourin. I'll save that outsider for you again and you'll have no choice but to cut my debt in half!"
With that, she turned on her heels and marched to the door proudly, throwing it open and storming outside into the early morning light. The door slowly swung shut on it's own behind her. Rinnosuke gave a heavy sigh and turned from the counter.
"So, I see you're well enough to move."
Patrick had a slightly amused grin on his face from the whole spectacle. It wasn't too often he got to see such amazing displays of nineball powerlevels.
"Who was that Kourin?"
Rinnosuke's face sunk.
"Wha- Why are you calling me that now?"
"It's easier to say."
Rinnosuke pushed his glasses up, a hint of annoyance on his brow.
"Fine then, so long as I get to call you 'Patty'."
The annoyance in Rinnosuke's expression grew. Patrick figured Rinnosuke was trying to dissuade him from using 'Kourin' by threatening to use an embarrassing sounding nickname, but ultimately backfired. Before Patrick could savour any more of the moment, a low whistle began behind him and grew in volume rapidly.
"Well then Pat- Patrick, do you want some tea?"
Patrick nodded, and Rinnosuke walked past him, hanging the curtain up on a hook hidden above the door frame.
Rinnosuke had poured the two of them cups of tea. They were the kind of cups Patrick had always seen only on a screen, the kind with no handle but thick enough to apparently not scald your fingers. Also on the table was a small basket with some slices of what looked like hand made bread. Taking the initiative, Patrick treated himself to a few slices, washing it down with the tea. He wasn't exactly a tea connoisseur, but he knew that what he had just tasted was probably the best tea he'd ever have in his life. Patrick set his cup down on the table.
"This stuff is pretty incredible tasting. It's different from tea I'm used to."
Rinnosuke gave a smile that bordered on cocky.
"It's a personal specialty. I've been experimenting with various ways of processing the tea leaves to create a truly remarkable and flavourful cup of tea. This hobby served me well in my life before I opened my own shop and began running this antique and curiosities store."
"Is that how it is?"
Rinnosuke took a drink of his tea and set it down as well. He was obviously ignoring the comment, which was fine for Patrick.
"I have questions for you, about the outside."
Patrick was somewhat surprised that Rinnosuke had waited this long before starting his questioning. He figured that despite how many outsiders there might be in Gensokyo and how many might arrive, he doesn't get the chance to ask many of them questions.
"Alright then, what do you want to know?"
Rinnosuke took a second to think. It seemed that he had a lot on his mind, and that he was trying to pick the best questions.
"How many people know about Gensokyo?"
A tricky one right off the bat. Patrick stalled for time with his tea as he pondered his answer. He was worried how Rinnosuke would take it if he told him their world was nothing but games and books in his world. On the other hand, he wondered if it was the right thing to tell him a skewed version of the truth. He lowered the cup.
"Many people know about it, but not many people believe in it. It's considered a legend, but there are still quite a number of people that genuinely believe in it. Personally, I wasn't one of them until I woke up here."
The answer seemed to satisfy Rinnosuke. A strange thought occurred to Patrick at this point. While it would probably be normal to ask that kind of a question, he felt there was a reason for it. Of all the things that popped up in Gensokyo from across the Border, Patrick wondered if a copy of one of the games or books ever popped up. The thought somewhat worried him, especially since Rinnosuke dealt with material from the outside world, it wouldn't be unusual for him to come into contact with this kind of thing. Worse still, he might have had the misfortune of coming across material of Mannosuke.
"Next question then, How do the things in your bag work?"
Patrick came to a sudden realization, that he hadn't seen his bag in his room. It was too late after the fact now, but it was obvious that Rinnosuke had been poking through it. He made another mental note to be more angry about that later.
"They're things from my world that happened to come through with me. They're electronics used to play games. Handy for when you have a few hours of free time and nothing to do, though you need to make sure they have power. They do have internal batteries that need to be recharged, but you'd need electrical power and the adapter to charge them. The adapters should be in the bag, you'd need to supply the power. You just turn them on and press the buttons in the right orders essentially."
Again, Rinnosuke seemed content with the answer.
"Well, would lightning work to charge them?"
Patrick wasn't sure he should even take this question seriously, though the serious expression on Rinnosuke's face seemed to state he should.
"No, that'd probably destroy them."
"Ah, well that's a problem I'll figure out later. Next question..."
Rinnosuke paused for a second, as if he was trying to think of how to word his next question properly. In the back of Patrick's mind, a slight nagging feeling had been building up ever since he came downstairs, and he couldn't take the feeling any more.
"Actually, I have a question for you. Gensokyo is located in Japan. Despite this, it seems everyone can speak English, and speak it instead of Japanese. What's with that?"
Rinnosuke seemed a bit confused with the question, as if it never crossed his mind. A slight expression of realization came to him however before his answer.
"That's right, you probably don't know about that, do you? Most of the original inhabitants do indeed speak Japanese, but very little English, or many other languages at that," he said, adjusting his glasses. "However, every once in a while we get foreign Outsiders in Gensokyo, and sometimes they pick up the language, sometimes they don't. It had gotten to a point where parts of the villages were segregated based on languages spoken. A certain resident here remedied this problem though by tampering with the borders of language through a series of loopholes only she can create. To this extent, even though I'm speaking Japanese right now, you're hearing it in whatever language you speak natively, like English, just as I hear you in Japanese."
Patrick could feel his mouth hanging open slightly. Of all the answers in the world, that was something he would have never suspected. He was even prepared to accept the explanation of an English patch. He felt a dual wave of awe and dread, amazed by the power Yukari has to affect the entire way people speak and understand each other. The dread was the realization of this power though, and perhaps a long delayed relapse of the serious trouble he was in being in this world. Patrick didn't feel like having to answer any more questions, and thankfully he wouldn't have to, as a voice rang out from the front of the building.
"Kourin~, your favourite customer is here!"
Another womans voice, more familiar. Rinnosuke sighed again and stood from the table.
"We'll continue this later." Rinnosuke said, gulping down the last of his tea. Patrick followed suit and left his cup on the table as Rinnosuke strode from the kitchen and turned out of view towards the front of the building.
"Hey, did that guy survive?" the woman's voice asked.
"Yes, though he slept for nearly a day after I gave him that medicine you brought in. Where'd you buy it from?"
"Hmm, some rabbit in a suit. I saw her leaving the nearby village when I stopped in to pick up a few things after I left here. She was selling some weird medicines, so I bought a few of them and dropped them off here for you in case that guy was alive."
"Why is it you'll give money to strangers for strange pills, but you won't even pay your tab here?"
"Because I don't pay for junk."
Silence followed. Patrick chuckled slightly to himself as he could only imagine Rinnosuke's expression right now. He felt someone walking across the front of the store and towards the kitchen. Marisa stepped through the doorway into the kitchen.
"You Outsiders are tougher than you look. I thought for sure you were dead when I knocked you off the cliff-"
Marisa abruptly stopped herself, as if she had just realized she had said something she didn't mean to. Patrick sat stunned for a few seconds. Memories of his fall came back, cloudy at first. He did remember being hit from behind, he had tried to turn around to see what hit him, and that's when he fell. He didn't have any clear memories, but there was one detail that did return to him that was lost in a cloud of pain for the last few times he tried to remember. He was hit by someone wearing black and white. Patrick's expression turned to one of angry annoyance.
"You hit me?"
"Sorry about that, I move pretty fast on my broom and I don't really watch where I'm going sometimes so-"
"Why didn't you help me? You didn't even try to stop me from falling."
"I wouldn't say that, I was too shocked at first, since I had unexpectedly run into someone. The least I could do was cast a weak levitation spell I learned for times when I want something but I'm too lazy to go get it, which is pretty much all the time," she said, with a sheepish smile and a slight chuckle. "I didn't think it worked in time, but it seems it at least worked enough to keep you from dying or breaking anything."
Patrick did calm down a little bit hearing that. It was true that he didn't break a bone during the ordeal, and it would make some more sense for it to have been the work of a spell that prevented that damage. Patrick slid his chair back and stood up, grabbing another slice of bread.
"Well, thanks at least for that little help you did offer. I'd imagine you would have had a hard time carrying someone while riding your broom, so I'll let that go."
"Actually, it wouldn't have been a problem. I thought you were dead though, so I wasn't going to waste my time hauling a corpse around, especially a dead man. People would start to get the wrong idea about a sweet innocent girl like me."
Patrick choked on the bread slightly. He decided he would disregard what was just said, as he felt that arguing with Marisa would only lead to more headaches. He did suppose that it wasn't entirely fair to blame her entirely for that thought though, since he did consider that if he had seen something similar happen to someone else, he might also assume that they were dead and wouldn't go check out of fear over finding they are in fact dead. He decided not to press this issue though, since he didn't want Marisa to ruin his mental image of her any more than she had. Patrick was slowly coming to terms with realizing that the Gensokyo he knew is much different from the Gensokyo he knows now.
"In any case, you owe me for nearly killing me."
"Huh? How so?"
"Don't you feel a little guilty about almost killing a fellow human being? Let alone one who is fairly defenseless in this world? You should make it up to me."
Marisa looked a bit confused, and Patrick wasn't sure if it was because she was trying to understand the concept of guilt, or if she was trying to think of what she could do in exchange for forgiveness.
"Okay, well what do you want me to do for you then?"
Patrick felt slightly relieved. Not only that she apparently agreed she should make it up, but that she didn't come to any weird conclusions. He then steeled himself, deciding what he was going to ask. He almost didn't want to, though it was more due to nerves than any other reasoning he could come up with. He took a deep breath to calm himself down, then asked the most important question he would need answered.
"Can you teach me to fly?"
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