/===============================( - Inaba - )================================\
| Historically, Inaba was formerly Yasoinaba, a coal mining town. Over time, |
| it grew from the initial settlement of coal miners into what it is today. |
| Nobody here mines for coal any longer. |
| A rural town out in the country, tourists praise the air as being clean and |
| the sky cleaner than any of the big cities surrounding it, and the sunsets |
| as absolutely breathtaking. The town goes at its own pace throughout the |
| day. To the average person, there is not much to see out here, with a lack |
| of interesting historical landmarks or, really, even much of anything. Inaba |
| is about as close to being the middle of nowhere as one can get in this part |
| of Japan. A new department store may be the herald of encroaching |
| urbanization. |
| Recently, the town has fallen on hard times. A major department store's |
| recent opening is seeing smaller businesses fold left and right. A serial |
| murder case grips the attention of the local media. Rumors circulate about |
| how if one watches a turned off TV in one's room at midnight on a raining |
| evening, one will see their soulmate. Bizarre meteorlogical patterns see |
| great amounts of rain followed by thick, choking fog. Some say a local beef |
| skewer stand isn't even using real beef. |
| Some seem a little too welcoming of the excitement and confusion. Is it |
| just from a change of pace, or is there a sinister truth to all these |
| events? |
|===============================( - Players - )================================|
| Aigis [SEES] <Ljosalfr> Thora Kobayashi [KDA] <Br'er Rabbit> |
|===============================( - Objects - )================================|
|================================( - Exits - )=================================|
| Knows Castle <KC>: Inaba - KNOWS Castle |
| School <S>: Inaba - Yasogami HS |
| Junes <J>: Inaba - Junes Dept. Store |
| Commercial District <CD>:Inaba - Central Commercial Dist. |
| River <R>: Inaba - Samegawa Flood Plain |
| East <E>: Inaba - Eastern Residential |
| Inn <I>: Inaba - Amagi Inn |
| Police Department <PD>: Inaba - Police Department |
| Yasoinaba Station <Okina>Okina City |
THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
It is a sunday. No school! It's grown very quiet in the tiny town of Inaba. Not very many people are outside, even in light of whatever post-Christmas super deals Junes might be having right now. This would be because there are at least a few inches of snow on the ground. By now it has stopped snowing but grey clouds continue to loom overhead so it's possible that the flurries may begin again at any minute. The roads and sidewalks are fairly clear.
Most shops are closed, including the beloved Daidara Metalworks. With no job to attend to, Thora doesn't have all that much to do right now-but that's alright. Believe it or not, she is capable of just enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the silent and snow-covered town from the outside. Her blue jacket is wrapped around her, the furred collar drawn in close, but she is anything but cold.
Moving in a slow saunter, she treads past the bus stop, her intended destination the run-down shrine in the shopping district.
Aigis isn't really a big fan of Sayaka and so is not really interested in saving her or helping stop her shadow. That is, of course, beyond what is normal for any other human. But she ALSO figures SEES and the KDA can handle it. AFter all, there's been like 90 posts on the subject. clearly they are giving this matter serious attention and they do not need to take Aigis's lead and surely this kind of kerfluffle will end perfectly without any problems whatsoever.
so Aigis is in, well, it's hard to say 'good' because Minako got the crap kicked out of her, but she's 'alright'. Christmas Cheer being so soon after has calmed down Aigis's raging logic for a little while, at least. Mitsuru has insisted she wear a coat despite having no reason to and in fact Aigis kind of prefers cooler weather to hotter weather, but she is wearing it. It's very fuzzy and Aigis looks a little ridiculous in it as if she doesn't know how to 'wear' a coat.
Aigis is heading down the street, having visited Daidara to see Thora only to find that it was closed. She looks a little down and isn't paying too much attention to where she's going, but hilariously she might end up running right into Thora anyway.
A christmas miracle.
A mysterious woman is exiting the said run-down shrine as Thora approaches. Natasha keeps a leather trenchcoat that doesn't look quite warm enough for this weather bundled around her, though she doesn't look particularly troubled despite that. When she reaches the bottom of the shrine's steps she pauses on the sidewalk, and lifts her head up to look at the grey sky, breathing in the atmosphere of the town.
It really is a nice little town. Who ever would have guessed it hides such interesting secrets?
She happens to turn her gaze in the direction of Thora and Aigis (another Christmas miracle!) and her eyes linger on the pair for a moment. Thora sticks out like a sore thumb, of course. Seeing girls about as tall as herself in this country is unusual. Something about Aigis strikes her as odd as well, it must be the coat. She can't help but wonder if she should recognize them, though. She makes a note to review what information she has access to regarding Strega's known enemies.
Turning slowly, she starts down the commercial district towards them, though not making it look obvious that she's headed towards them. She's just a tourist, a simple foriegner. Luckily she never came to Inaba with the intent to cause trouble right now, so she'll settle for eavesdropping. And maybe having some fun if the opportunity arises.
Thora doesn't really give a crap about Sakaya either. She's never met her and her solution to the problem was also pretty straightforward: VIOLENCE. Why there had to be so much debate about this boggled Thora's mind a little. Just hunt down the damn thing and gangbeat it into shadow vapor, it's not that hard.
The sad part is if Aigis had tried visiting Thora's house in search of the tall delinquent, she wouldn't have found her there either. Of course, Aigis probably knew that by now and there was a fair amount of intel on that KNOWS castle floating around out there. Thora preferred not being in that place if she had the chance.
A content puff of breath leaves her mouth as she stares out over the snow-covered rooftops. Just as she thinks she's reached some peace of mind, something extremely heavy slams into her from behind. Her face immediately scrunches up into a scowl and Thora whips around. Just as she does, the familiar scent of /her/ overwhelms her and gradually she starts to calm. It takes a moment for Thora to even recognize Aigis since she's never seen her with a winter coat. Looked kind of odd on her too. Did robots even need coats?
"Aigis!" Thora exclaims, throwing her arms around her in a big hug. "It's great to see you!"
Aigis just has to accept that there are some people she can't protect, such as the ones who assault Junpei for no reason and have a problem in their brain that makes them crazy. She knows Shinjiro had/has problems with his Persona yet even then he, somehow, manages to get in less trouble than these other folks.
And for certain, he cares more about what happens when it happens.
She has no reason to immediately approach Natasha and, besides, it's soon impossible for her to because Thora is doing two actions that make it impossible. 1) Exist (Thora is much taller than Aigis, who is kind of short.) 2) HUGTIEM!
Aigis startles as she hears Thora and her eyes widen, "Thora-Chan!" And she will return the hug, carefully, though Thora is so tough that Aigis can basically engage in hugs without breaking frail human body like she would if, say, she happened to hug Yukiko. She has not hugged Yukiko yet and is honestly a ilttle scared to. Sure, she must be tougher than she looks but... shiver.
"Thank you very much for the pendant." She seems to be wearing it, too--it was hard to notice this at range because it was mostly hidden by the hugeass coat. "And the note!"
She is emoting a lot lately, Aigis realizes, she realy should cool it but she can't help it lately.
Thank you, girls, for giving Natasha a clue. After all, those names are fairly unique and easy to remember. So the subsequent shouting of 'Aigis!' and 'Thora-chan!' tip her off. So that's them, huh? Each a part of the groups of teenagers and supporters getting in Strega's way. What a fluke. The question is, now, what to do? Neither party is really in the middle of anything significant, so a fight for the sake of fighting would be pointless, though entertaining. Natasha has also kept a low profile up to now, so it would be a shame to blow it.
On the other hand, not being known yet has its own advantages. She slows her pace as she turns her gaze directly at the pair. Now, how should she approach this? How much does she know about this town?
"Excuse me?" She says slowly, hinting that she is not a native speaker of the language. "I am sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you could direct me to the Amagi Inn?" She brushes some of her black hair out of her eyes as she gets a better look at Aigis. My, that coat doesn't look any more fitting up close. "I seem to have lost my way looking around town."
Let's see how long she can keep up this charade.
Natasha? Natasha who? Thora hasn't even noticed the tall foreigner yet. That probably won't last for very long though once the inital 'yay best friend!!!' moment is over.
Thora hugs at full strength, basically taking advantage of the fact that Aigis is a robot and wouldn't be hurt by a mere hug. "You're welcome." Thora looks a little sheepish. "I wanted to make you something more...uh, useful but...well I don't think the stuff I could make would be very compatable." Thora has entertained the idea of making an 'atomic scissors' weapon for Aigis but the attachment part is the problem. "I got your gift, I like it a lot. When I go out on my motorcyle, I'm gonna wear it." Finally she is released.
Aigis also receives a ponderous look. Seems Thora has noticed the increased emotional output too but wonders if she's just imagining things.
Natasha speaks up and Thora turns to eye her, frowning slightly. Well now that's definitely a foreigner. "Uh...yeah, just keep following this road and hang a right. Look for the big clouds of white steam comin' up from the ground in the distance, that should be it."
Aigis: *shoots gun* Fetch!
Thora: *persona summon*
Garm: *eats bullet, drops it at Aigis's feet*
Aigis is known to Strega because she tends to shoot them, but she is not aware of who Natasha is, not from a glance. There sure are a lot of foreigners here, even amongst those who visit Inaba, but she doesn't mind. Foreign people are interesting to observe. Perhaps she should observe this one. But maybe not. It's not like she knows her. That might be better? Hmm.
It is useful." Aigis disagrees though, of course, useful is a very vague word. She pats the spot on her jacket that is hiding the gift though it seems to be incidental because Aigis unzips the jacket a bit so it's more visible.
IT IS: Some manner of circular 'thing' that shows a six point star. It seems to be handcarved. Aigis is partially obscuring it with her hand to 'protect' it. she probably won't wear this thing on missions. it might break! :(
"I am not very good at craftmanship. I can do some sewing, but that is about it. I am able to handle painting, however. I am glad--I cannot wait to see it on you."
She looks towards Natasha and adds, "You are looking to stay there?"
"I see. Thank you." Natasha says, with smile. Turning to Aigis, she shakes her head. "No, I am catching the train later. However, I have heard that this Inn is the pride of the town, yes? I wanted to see it while I was passing through."
Which isn't an absolute lie, at least. It's one of the main attractions Inaba has to offer, so she heard all about it on the train ride here. It's good to mask ill intentions with truth, makes it that much harder to spot.
"Are you both living in this town?" She queries, unfolding her arms and adjusting the buttons on her coat. "I am new to this country, but I have heard things in the news about this place. It draws much attention for such a small town."
She tilts her head at Aigis, her smile still present, though strangely saying nothing further. It's her first time seeing a robot in person, it's hard not to stare.
Outsiders always make Thora suspicious, if only because she is an outsider herself and perpetuating the cycle of being suspicious of outsiders.
A warm smile spreads across Thora's scarred face as Aigis reveals to be wearing her gift right now. "I'll tell ya what I made it out of one day." Not in front of this seemingly normal person right here though. "Heheh, next time I ride into Port Island, I'll be wearing it." Maybe she could give her old helmet to Shirou. The poor guy gets to play backseat driver on the Ninja often enough. "Personally, I think the paint job looks awesome."
For some the Amagi Inn is the /only/ attraction Inaba has to offer. Unless you're full of yourself and somehow think that Junes is an attraction, /Yosuke/. "...I live here." There's a hint of wariness in her voice. "You're not one of those murder tourists are you?"
"Murder tourists?" Aigis asks, startled. She assumes something totally different from what Thora means. She takes a step back, mentally preparing combat operandi. So Natasha is a tourist that goes around murdering people, is she? Bet she collects stamps from each town she kills in. What a creep! Of course, it's all supposition for now, but Aigis is ready. Ready to save this town from a crazed world traveler.
"I am from Port Island." She says, looking up to Thora for a moment, and then nods to both statements. "Thank you." But there is a secret meaning that probably fails to get across. She's ready for /go time/.
It's a good thing there are rational humans like Thora to explain such things to Aigis.
Junes? An attraction? That's rich. Who would come out to the sticks to a store they could find, possibly with better selections, in the city? Idiots and poor children who just don't know any better.
When the murder tourist accusation flies, Natasha simply laughs softly. "That must be a problem for every visitor to this town now, yes? If they come here for legitimate reasons, yet simply wish to look into what has been causing such a stir while they are here. Then they be made to feel like parasites. But I suppose it cannot be helped if so many of them are." Her expression, which grew more neutral during her little speech, returns to a smile. "But, no, I did not come here to be a 'murder tourist'. I just thought I would indulge in my curiousity while I was here."
Calm down, Aigis. She's not murdering anyone. Today.
"Ah. Port Island. I just came from there. I am on something of a sightseeing tour." Which is Strega for snooping. "I think I will be going to Lunarvale next, speaking of places that have made the news..."
"Yeah, a murder tourist." Thora continues. "It's what we call all the people that come to this town because they've heard about the murders that happened here." She rolls her eyes a little at the thought, growing slightly agitated now. "It's all 'cause of that damn News of the Weird show. Stupid ghost-chasing idiots."
Easy Aigis, Thora's not accusing Natasha of being a murder! Yet. "We've got all kinds of weird urban legends here but most of 'em don't make it out of town." She's not going to go through the trouble of refuting indirectly calling Natasha a parasite though.
Natasha describes her itinerary and Thora frowns. "You're just goin' everywhere, aren't you?"
"Ahh." Aigis relaxes visibly. She frowns faintly as Natasha mentions going to Lunarville but doesn't comment--it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy but she's certain this person won't be randomly abducted or anything. The chances, despite the seeming prevalence, is actually quite low.
"My misunderstanding." She adds. "What a terrible name. Murder tourist." She rubs hershoulders faintly, as IF she was cold but obviosuly she is not because, well, you know.
Natasha shrugs. "These towns had plenty to offer before they became infamous. What is wrong with visiting them?" These kids certainly didn't try to hide their feelings when it came to the supernatural creeping in on the mundane, and the stupid civilians that chase it. Of course, she probably wouldn't feel much different if fools tried to snoop into Strega's affairs.
"Misunderstanding?" Natasha blinks at Aigis, pretending not to have noticed her startled reaction. This robot is interesting, she was expecting something that was obviously robotic, instead of just being kind of stiff and awkward. It'll be a shame if she has to try and destroy her someday.
"Yes, I suppose it is a terrible name." She shoots another smile at Thora, letting a bit of insincerity slip out. "But I cannot blame the people of these communities for being suspicious. The masses love gossip, so there will always be people wanting to satisfy their curiousity."
She takes a glance up and down the commercial district street, and waves her right hand down the road. "Well then, tell me, as a resident of this place. What would you tell people to come here to see, if there were no murders?"
Plenty to offer? She isn't so sure. Well, of course, there's stuff to offer but not the sort of stuff that people usually care about. It has what Aigis desires, though. It certainly has that~. It has her friends. Many of them, in fact. There are some from Port Island but usually if it's not Port Island, it's here. And many are, in fact, here.
"Daidara-san says they are pieces of art." Aigis says, glancing up to her.
She looks back to Natasha and adds, "I would say that the people are very nice, and the atmosphere is very peaceful. Though... I do not live here, I merely visit."
Touring the places where the bodies were found? No, that probably would not go well. The police must /love/ that. She keeps that bit of info in mind, who knows when it might prove advantageous to fiddle with a murder site or blame something on witless tourists.
Thora's initial quick answer prompts a sharp laugh from Natasha, though she nods when she elaborates more. "The 'Metalworks'? I never would have expected to find a shop like that here." That's interesting. A store in this small town, that a group of meddling teenagers are based, that just so happens to sell weapons. Wow, wouldn't it be just terrible of something happened to that Mr. Daidara? "Perhaps I will visit it sometime."
She looks back at Aigis, thinking something over. It doesn't seem like she'll be able to drag out the conversation for much longer, so why not make one last push? "You visit, yes. From Port Island?" She rubs her chin with her gloved hand. "It is funny, while I was there I heard other strange rumors. Something about a Church of ...Neeks? There are many interesting things that people come up with."
"Yes." Thora smirks at Aigis. "Yes he does." She's been lectured by the older man several times before and at this point, it wasn't something she even tried bringing up around him anymore. "What Aigis says is true which is why a lotta people here don't like it when people come in and try to tour for murders or whatever."
Natasha gets a nod, then Thora turns in the direction of the store. It can't really be seen from this vantage point but it's not hard to miss if one were to walk by it. "That's it though. There's always the inn, yeah, but there's not really much else."
As Natasha keeps talking (gosh what a chatty tourist! At least her Japanese is decent), Thora tries not to react to the bit about Port Island. She fails, though, and laughs immaturely at the mispronounciation of Nyx.
Aigis frowns. "Do not get involved with the followers of Nyx. They are dangerous. As a foreigner you may have heard odd things but the singular truth is that they are killers and thieves. It would be dangerous."
If only she knew how close murder tourist could be!
She looks back to Thora. "I do not understand why one would come to Inaba just to hear about unsolved murders. They are not uncommon elsewhere."
Placing her hands on her hips, Natasha shrugs. "I imagine, it must be a disturbance. But it is only human nature to be curious. I wonder how many of these residents would not mind visiting a larger city to sightsee at what might have been a disaster zone. People do this all the time." Natasha stops herself from continuing on that tirade, realizing she was slipping out of her act and starting to speak a bit more truthfully.
She doesn't react to Thora's amusement, Aigis provides a much more interesting response. "Are they?" She asks, innocently. "The world is full of strange groups, I did not consider them to be one taken that seriously." Just /more/ seriously.
"Because they are uncommon here, I would guess." Natasha offers helpfully. "But, I suppose I have held you two up long enough. I shall have to hurry if I am to meet my train later." She looks them over once more, quickly, and smiles. "Perhaps I will see you again one day. Do svidanya. Goodbye."
With a small nod she resumes her walk down the Commercial District, and reflects on the talk. It is good to get to speak to these children openly for now, she probably will not have that option before too long.
It does make Thora wonder for a moment how many people in Inaba have gone off to visit, say, Hiroshima. She'll never know, really, since she didn't want to put the effort into asking everybody. Instead, she continues snickering over Neeks. Let Aigis handle the proper serious business response. Even without knowing anything about Strega, NEEKS is a pretty funny word.
The woman excuses herself and as she walks away, Thora cans her laughter, giving the foreigner a casual wave. "Seeya 'round." Maybe a little too casual, it seems like Thora doesn't have any proper manners or sense of decorum!
"Well that was interesting. I think she was Russian?" Thora remarks to Aigis as the woman walks away.
Aigis wrinkles her nose. She clearly does not care for the Stregas. She seems to be biting back something. Obviously a nonStregite would have no idea what that might be. Maybe Neeks ate her parets, maybe Neeks stole her lunch money. Regardless of what terrible horror it is, Aigis just doesn't care for them. She wouldn't care for them even if they were only philisophers as opposed to actual agents of destruction. It's their desire to bring 'peace' through 'death'. Aigis, comparatively, loves war.
But more accurately, she loves life. She loves life so much she hates the portion of it called death.
"ah. ... Goodbye." She says, relaxing as Natasha starts to depart. She isn't sure what to say about all that noise. She had good points, certainly, they were just...anathema to her.
"Ah, Russian." Aigis realizes as Thora explains.
Russians are supposed to be a little bit nihilistic. It's part of their racial identity. It all makes sense now.