So, I'm really behind schedule on Ch7 (or am I not? This is turning into another REALLY FREKKIN' LONG ONE). xD Blame the release of Gravity Rush 2 and Tales of Berseria on it. I'm still -slowly- working on it. Have a preview or two or... lots!
"Master, there's someone at the front door."
I blinked. My friend wasn't coming by to discuss the RFID idea until after work, so it couldn't be him. I wasn't expecting anyone else. I stood up.
Curious. Could this be about the Yuphinage? I didn't exactly have any real visitors turn up yet -- mostly e-mails and messages on the social media page, asking almost predominantly about badges. I made my way to the front of the house and peeked through the window. Roughly my height. Cheap-looking suit. Glasses. Looked anxious. My five-second analysis. I moved to the door and opened it. Forensics mode.
"Hey," I said, and stepped through.
He offered me a handshake. I shut the door behind me, then took his handshake.
"Hey! Are you Kei? The guy who owns the Yuphinage?"
Word goes 'round fast...
"Yeah. That's me," I said, and gave a shake, "And you are?"
"Ah, Jake. From the IRS."
Ah? What, ya forgot your name?
"Huh. Really?" I said.
Immediately, my mind went to work. Demeanor. No ID. No paperwork on-hand. The fact that he's doing a house-call? And where's his government-issue car? That POS in my driveway? License plate was on the rear, but not on the front. IRS doesn't make house calls, at least without not many, -many- letters first, including information about an audit. And, 99% of the time, the audit involves -me- going to -them-.
"Yeah. We got the documentation about your charity. I'm just here to check the place out and see if it's legitimate."
I crossed my hands over my lap.
"Really?" I said, and rolled up on my toes. I dropped back onto my heels. "So, you got paperwork for me to check out?"
"It's... in my car," he said, and pointed behind him.
"Uh-huh. Say, mind if I see your ID? You know, just to verify you are who you say you are."
His face twitched. He knew I was on to him. He daftly patted himself.
"Ah, shoot. Hey, are you gonna be around later?"
"Yeah. I live here."
"Alright. I'll come by later," he said, and turned to his car.
"Yeah, next time come with the paperwork and we'll talk."
It only took fifteen minutes to check their work. Marisa did well with handwriting and spelling. Nitori's handwriting was passable -- I'd have to get Marisa to emphasize practicing. It was probably trickier for Nitori, though, due to her size and the nature of holding the pen. She did, however, do well on her spelling. Math, Nitori outclassed Marisa. I made notes on the errors Marisa made, circling and showing the mistakes. It felt weird having to correct simple math like this. Next came grammar. A few circles and underlines for both of them. Nitori seemed to have more problems with sentence structure than Marisa. Didn't surprise me, there, considering how she spoke. They were, however, able to pick out nouns and verbs. After that, came history. This would be an easier subject for them, and the work they did on their paper showed so. Then there was the family picture. I drew a smiley face on it. I made sure to stick it to the fridge. I split the papers by the authors, then neatly stacked them next to one-another. Maybe Rin wanted in on this? Or Ran? Hm. They didn't have badges in the first place, but I don't profusely believe in the rigidity of this system, anyway... seems to be about just making them into pets at the cost of their individuality. Then the whole vague description of platinum badge seemed to be about... teaching them their individuality over being a pet? Seemed rather... counter-intuitive? Ran, by description, seemed to be at least gold badge. Rin seemed silver, unless she's got some brains in there that haven't activated.
The introduction was just of her talking about where she was, then a little about the Yuphinage, as a 'sponsor.' After that, it was off to the beach. I decided it'd be worth it to invest in a camera stick, so I can hold it around, especially on low angles, without me needing to always bend over. It also helped keep the picture straight, especially in this instance, where I walked alongside (W) Reimu as she strolled along the beach. She talked (or, rather, read what I wrote down) about the beach, safety, animals one might encounter, the importance of not littering... it was practically an infomercial and tourism advertisement. We cut, and did a panning shot of her walking along the boardwalk. She was better at reading off the card without staring directly at them -and- better at not sounding as if she was reading. Even (LS) Marisa was good at acting now.
"Big sis! Look!"
We stopped. A girl holding a Reimu stopped. The Reimu was pointing at (W) Reimu.
"It's Miss Hakurei! Oh my gosh! Big sis, is this for real?!"
(W) Reimu and (LS) Marisa looked to me, a frozen panic-stricken look on their face. A fan. Hah! How awesome.
"Miss Hakurei and Miss Kirisame! An easy fan! Please give her an easy greeting!"
They jolted, quickly turned around, and shouted.
"Take it easy!"
The Reimu beamed as the girl smiled.
"Take it easy, Miss Hakurei and Miss Kirisame!" She turned to the girl carrying her and lifted her braids, "Big sis! Big sis! Can Reimu take it easy with her super favorite idols?!"
I was still recording. I thought I'd see how this played out. The girl nodded and let the Reimu down. Reimu quickly sped over to the two.
"Big sis! Make a picture of Reimu, Miss Hakurei, and Miss Kirisame that will last forever and for everyone to see! Now is fine!"
I smiled and looked to her.
"What a wordy way to ask for a picture."
She looked at me.
"Is it okay?"
"Yeah. It's fine. Just do me a favor: share it on social media, and feel free to tag them. The advertising is enough for me."
She walked around behind the three and knelt down.
"Oh, let me know if you're okay with me recording all of this. If you don't want your face in the video, I can just blur it out."
"It's fine," she said, without looking back at me. I walked around the front as she lifted her phone.
"Sweet-sweets!" all four said at the same time, just as the girl snapped the photo.
"Patchouli found mister treasure~"
She reached up under her bonnet and took out what looked similar to a gold doubloon. How in the hell did she find that? She gave me a wink.
"Patchouli found it while building mister castle~" she said, and stuffed it under her bonnet.
Hadn't seen something like that in years. Was worth a bit of cash, if I decided to take it and sell it. I'd let her keep it, though. It wasn't as if I wouldn't outlive her... plus, it actually could make a good 'legacy' token -- something I could invent a lore about and tell the children one day.
"Well, keep it safe." I glanced at the new family, then back to Patchouli, "Hey, keep an eye on them. Make sure they're on the up-and-up. If you have any problems with them, let me know immediately."
"Mukyu! Of course, chief Kei! But they seem..."
"... pretty easy, yeah. I know. Their kids are adorable, the wife is quiet and reserved, and Marisa is determined, and has hopes of becoming a dos."
"Oh, my! Marisa wants to be dos?!"
"Mukyu! That's great! But dos..."
"Is really hard to achieve, right?"
"Any wisdom to share about it?"
She shook her head.
"No, no yukkuri knows how to become dos. Yukkuri become dos. That's all we know, mukyu~"
I nodded. Well, I could maybe still set her up to be taught how to cook by Ran and myself. I took her off my lap and placed her down.
"Well, I've got some work to do. I'll catch you later. Let Ran know if you guys want anything else to eat later."
We still had some leftovers from the picnic on the beach. I kind of wanted to get rid of them. I stood up and gave her my goodbye. I entered the house through the bathroom door, then went out front. I went into the back of the van and took out the cooler, then carried it into the house. Was a pain in the butt getting it through the door, but it was lighter now. I placed it down in the kitchen. My instinct almost immediately kicked in. Ran was trying to sneak out. Maybe it was the, 'slowly,' she was whispering that gave it away, but she did something. And I think I know what. I popped both locks on the cooler and opened the lid.
Please wait easy until I finish!