Author Topic: A Strange Hypothesis  (Read 2430 times)

A Strange Hypothesis
« on: May 29, 2017, 01:23:33 AM »
A Strange Hypothesis

As seen on, this is "A Strange Hypothesis", a loveable story about Rikako Asakura's adventures in learning science and making friends. I'm not too terribly sharp at formatting posts, so bear with me! Please feel free to criticize the writing to your heart's content, I love improving it!

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Scientific Method
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 01:29:56 AM by Komeko »

Re: A Strange Hypothesis
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 01:29:08 AM »
Chapter 1: A Strange Hypothesis

The room was dank in a strange way, probably from the fact that it was inside a cave. How did that work anyway? Was the ship embedded into the cave? Was it in a cavern that barely fit? Rikako Asakura pondered these questions while incidentally facing down one Yumemi Okazaki's scientific magic made of light beams and waves. The offhanded thoughts were a great distraction from the near panic attack she was having, giant red crosses that trap one in place tend to cause those, and Rikako was too resourceful to not find something stupid to distract herself with before she began hyperventilating feverishly.

That wasn't going to last long though. Yumemi Okazaki clearly had an advantage here, the red haired legend's movements were nimble, as if she'd already seen all her abilities beforehand. Rikako realized that that was probably because she literally just did while fighting her assistant a couple of minutes prior. "Should've seen that coming," she muttered under her breath. Moving herself with her magical jetpack, more magic than jetpack, she realized how weak she was getting. Yumemi seemed to be pretty tuckered out as well. The fight had gone longer than either side had expected, Rikako was convinced she was going to be absolutely obliterated by the artificial magic currently causing her blood pressure to spike. Perhaps it was the adrenaline of realizing that she was going to taken away from her home if she lost. Whatever it was, she had made a miraculous comeback. However, her red haired opponent with her brilliant strawberry colored dress and cape, would not lose. Her movements became even more focused, her patterns more difficult, until both seemed to be on their last bend. She looked tired, but it was obvious her magical reserves were filled to the brim for one last attack. It would end here, this was it, if Rikako didn't get her spell off, or if it didn't hit quickly enough, she was going to become a guinea pig for the rest of her days.

'Ironic way to go, to be honest,' she thought offhandedly. As much as she'd like to ponder the irony of an aspiring scientist become a test subject, the game had begun for the last time, and as the little targets began to rain down, Rikako stopped her instinctual destruction of them and instead flew around like a drunken witch on her broomstick while charging up her final spell. Yumemi stayed calm and moved as if this was a rehearsed action, the final part of a play, perhaps older people always acted like that. Suddenly both spells thundered off, Yumemi's combo of crosses and ion attacks versus Rikako's elemental spinners and standard particles. Rikako looked at the oncoming curtain of energy and began to push her jetpack into overdrive as the tell-tale laser that marked where Yumemi's red energy crosses would go beamed in her face. Rikako was not, however, prepared to dodge the moving high speed particles, and reflexively slowed the jetpack down to focus on moving around the pattern. She gritted her teeth and began to traverse the array, when suddenly more crosses appeared next to her to trap her in.

'It looks like it's over then,' she thought as the beaming lights came closer. She closed her eyes and was ready to make a mad dash through the ruins, as futile as it would be, the second she was officially declared the loser. But at that moment something changed. She heard a yell, followed by mad amounts of obscenities, and a certain blond haired lady-Yumemi's assistant- grabbing a folding chair off the table nearby, just in case the redhead tried to do something ludicrous. Rikako blinked for a couple of moments, in sheer shock of it all. She had won. Rikako had won. Not only against Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame, and even Madam Mima, but won against Yumemi Okazaki and her high powered tech. She didn't really see what her attacks were even doing to Yumemi, it was more of a mad flourishing of magical power, but apparently her victory seemed to have been a fluke, as seen- or rather heard- by the large amount of yelling and cursing now heard on the other side of the battlefield.

That didn't matter though, she won! And because of the deal they made, she'd get to learn the science that Okazaki used, at least to an extent. Beaming like a child during their birthday, she received her book of science gleefully whilst running out from the ruins, pondering the mysteries it stored. She hardly remembered the conversation, she was sure she was polite about it, something about the world being blown to smithereens, a chair smacking Yumemi, and some weird aside between Yumemi and her assistant, Chiyuri. All that passed by her like a flash, she just remembered receiving the book and having a desire to run out of that vessel and out of that cave all the way home. When Rikako was finally out of the metallic lair, she bolted through the ruins, past the crowds asking her what she won, past the other contestants gawking at her, past Reimu Hakurei and her gohei that looked ready to smash her face, past whatever magical snare Marisa and Mima had cooked up, all the way to her home. Sprinting as fast as she could, she finally reached the Human Village, that is to say, the assortment of hovels and business stalls. She lived on the outskirts of the Village, where the houses were particularly downtrodden, so she didn't have to run too far.

"Hah! Prime living space!" she cheered as she pulled opened the decrepit door to enter her small house. Honestly it was more like a shack, with a leaky roof, and very basic stone floors. The walls were made of a rackety pale wood, that looked like it would fall if a wolf huffed and puffed enough. Rikako didn't notice that though, she only saw her book and her table. This was it! Who cares if she was perpetually broke, that she lived like a criminal in the outskirts of town because everyone disliked science, she got her book! And as she opened the book to the first line she promptly fell asleep on her table from exhaustion. The opening remark was simple.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." by some guy named Albert Something-Something. She barely noticed that as she closed her eyes and dreamt of beautiful mysteries.

Rikako woke up to pitch black, and for a minute, she thought she must've been blind. She scrambled around her table, attempting to find oil for her lamp, all while panicking and thinking of some strange reason why she must not be able to see.

"Am I blind? Oh man, oh man, I'm blind, that means I can't read my book! Maybe I'll get someone to read it for me and I'll be Gensokyo's greatest blind scientist!" She promptly smashed her hand on a sharp piece of wood. "Ow! Darn ok, well there's the oil, I think. Where's that lamp." she struggled around to find the small oil based lamp on her table. In reality it was right next to her and it always had been, but her thoughts kept distracting her. In fact those thoughts also prevented her from seeing the oil cannister, which was also right next to her right hand, right next to the lamp. "If I'm blind do I even need a lamp? I guess not, but what I feel I'd be really stupid to not at least try to... urgh..." she found the piece of metal and struggled now to force the oil into the slot. After fiddling around with this for a good two minutes, she finally smashed the simple mechanical lighter and suddenly light appeared. Rikako reeled from the sudden burst of light, making a small hiss as if she were a vampire while covering her glasses with her free hand, the other still making sure the lamp was correctly lodging the oil.

"Huh? Oh. I guess I'm not blind. Heh." she scratched the back of her scalp while recovering from her 'battle wounds' as she called them. "Gotta clear up these wounds, can't let the rot seep into them or I'll die too young to be Gensokyo's greatest scientist." she muttered while grabbing the medicinal herbs the village healer gave her for cuts. She got ready to apply them on the cut but noticed as her hand came closer to the wound her movements slowed down more and more. This was going to hurt. A lot.

"Why does it hurt so much if it's supposed to heal me!" she yelped as she rubbed the plant on her cut. Gritting her teeth she began applying as much of the leaf on her skin as possible, but that didn't mean she wouldn't complain. Every second clocked in featured more curse words and more angered yelling. If anybody else walked by, she was sure she'd be kicked out by the village elder for breaking public decency, though Rikako thought it'd be a rather incorrect crime as she was breaking private decency. Legal discourse aside, the medicine worked well, and after putting a little piece of cloth over her cut, her hand got better steadily.

Finished with the distraction, she looked toward her book. That first line still struck her and filled her with vigor. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious," she repeated. As much as Rikako would have liked to engage the book, reality struck and she realized she had chores to do, and her stomach was grumbling for food, but she kept repeating that statement, that mantra over and over again. It ended up serving as a great distraction to almost everything she did. For instance, the gruel she ate she regarded with mystery, the broom she used to sweep her floor she regarded with mystery, the garbage dump she used as she burned her piles of trash she regarded with mystery. It was quite fun honestly, she would come up with these weird questions and wonder about what the answer would be. If you put the gruel on fire could it burn, even if it was a liquid in a sense? If the broom were cooked could it be eaten or would it be like a rock? If you put the garbage in the water, what would happen to the water? She reeled at those question though, "Who'd want to eat burnt broom or gruel? Or drink garbage water?" she wondered aloud. Still though, the questions made the chores fun, or at least, bearable.

Rikako finally finished dumping out the day's waste when she thought she saw someone at her window. Whatever it was, it scampered off into the trees after looking, so she didn't bother confronting it. Little squirrels always did that, and she never minded them. Rikako shrugged and walked back inside. The chores took all night and morning to do, so it was midday. She felt pretty sleepy at this point, but didn't want to permanently destroy her sleep schedule, so she willed herself awake for her first lesson in science. "All right then Mister Science Book, open sesame!" she giggled at her reference. She finally looked down past the first line and noticed there was a large title indicating this was the introduction to the tome in front of her. She read the big title aloud: "What is inquiry? Hmm... what is inquiry?" she added. As she kept reading the page, the words kept confusing her, such as "parachute" or "stimulus", but the general idea made sense. When she would have a question, if she didn't have a book to read, she'd find a way to solve for that question. That was an investigation. She'd have to try to think of an answer, or a hypothesis, and her experiment sees if that hypothesis is true or not, but it'd be hard, because that experiment would have to only test for her hypothesis, so she'd have to control the variables, or stuff that changes. Finally she'd write down whatever she'd discovered and then finally, she could teach people! She beamed at that, this book would teach her how to let the world know about science, her dream! That'd make her a real scientist, and eventually a famous one.

"Agh! It's too confusing though, how do I control every variable, am I allowed to have some difference? I can't perfectly control it all, and where do I begin?" she pondered. She was about to say something like, "it's too hard" or "I should give up" but then she remembered the fact that she had literally faced being an object for the rest of her life in pursuit of this. This was her treasure, she couldn't just give up. She looked outside, the afternoon sun made her primitive house unbearably hot. She took off her lab coat she had made. It was a funny thing, no book in the village had talked about a coat like it, but some blonde lady that all the elders respected brought some picture books, and she had talked about a scientist and saw the little coat. She begged her parents at the time to make her one, and so they went together and bought a lot of cloth and wool and made it together. That coat was one of her prized possessions, and it reminded her of her parents before she moved out. They were good people, and led a simple life. They didn't mind her always going to the blonde haired lady's stories, though she had later noticed that they always decided to sit with her and join in on the reading. It was a bit of a miracle that they didn't clamp down on her scientific interests earlier, and although they expressed genuine concern over how she was going to make money on science in a world of faith, they told her that as long as they were alive, they were welcome to have their help. They were good people, all in all, and she sort of owed it to them after so many meals and lodgings at their house to at least make some significant contribution to their community. She smiled and laid the coat carefully on the back of her little chair before she sat back down.

"Maybe if I keep reading, something else will help me learn this better." she decided and turned the page.

"The Scientific Method" the book read. 'There was a method for science? That must've been useful.' Rikako wondered. The process was simple enough, she supposed. Ask a question, write the perceived answer or hypothesis, make an experiment, record the data, and write the results. Then the results can be communicated and more questions can be asked. If nobody believed her they could try the experiment too, and see how she was right, or wrong. Rikako loved that idea, that ideas can be proven and worked through in an intelligent manner. In fact, the book had some simple experiments for her to try. She looked at the materials: "thick paper, stopwatch, ruler or tape measure, tape. What's tape or a stopwatch?" she wondered. She knew what a watch was, a watch kept time, but she never had one as they cost way too much for her, the stopwatches must've tracked smaller increments of time, she definitely couldn't afford those. She frowned at that. Why did her science have to be limited by something as simple as a 'stopwatch'? She read on and realized that she didn't really have to use it, if she only measured distance. Apparently she had to make something called a 'paper airplane', the issue being she didn't know what an 'airplane' was. She guessed it was a flying bird made of paper, like a more bulky crane. She designed something quickly and folded the first paper. She grabbed a tool to measure with, as she didn't have a standard ruler, but then again, only the super rich folk had those. As she scrambled around for a tool, she noticed that she had a perfectly good writing utensil, a quill and readied it up to measure the wings. The first bird was one and a half quills wide, give or take. Then she made one more bird, with the wingspan being three quarters of a quill. She gingerly stepped outside with her contraptions and marked an area to start her experiment. She rushed back inside to grab another piece of parchment to begin writing, just like the book recommended, along with her trusty coat. "You can't do science without a proper scienc-y coat after all." she proclaimed before writing her first sentence in the parchment.

'Hypothesis: The larger paper bird will travel further because it has bigger wings, and the shorter one will travel less far because it has smaller wings. So when making flying things, bigger wings lets it glide further.'

"That sounds professional enough, I guess now I have to write an 'experiment'," Rikako supposed before thinking of a suitable experiment. She'd need to make sure the plane was the same color, and had the same heaviness. "That's not too hard, I'm pretty sure the difference in wings will affect the plane, but come on, it's so small," she sheepishly assumed. In reality that question bit at the back of her head a lot, perhaps there was a mathematical way to deal with that issue, but she didn't know much mathematics at all and neither did anybody save for maybe the teacher or village elder. It was too hard for her to actually make a realistic effort, so she decided it was going to be pretty negligible for all intents and purposes. She marked a starting point with a large stick near her house. "Hey, that'll be really good kindle for tonight's fire," she realized while securing some other units of measure. "Since I'm using quills I might as well keep using them, but it'll be pretty tough to measure with these quills" she decided while grabbing her trusty quill. With both planes ready to go, she wrote down her experiment notes on her parchment.

'Experiment: Color and starting distance have been made the same, and while the heaviness isn't the same, the difference is pretty small. I'm going to throw the plane and measure how far it goes in amounts of my quills.'

Rikako realized her book had much nicer words to use, but she couldn't actually understand them, so she wrote in the way she could. She readied the first plane and smiled. This was science, solving questions, even if they're simple. Obviously people already knew that larger birds flew further because they had bigger wings, but this was so cool to do she didn't mind that very few people would find her results surprising or groundbreaking, she just wanted to sort of codify it. She cocked her arm back and looked towards the grass in front of her house, beyond that grass was the dirt road. Today the dirt road was muddy and completely untraversable. She hoped her plane wouldn't land there, measuring out that distance in quills would be terrible. Those roads would eventually give way to less messy and muddy dirt roads, mainly because the businesses made sure lots of rocks stopped the water from making the dirt underneath it all muddy. People would still buy their wares, and they would make sure of that, come rain or shine. It was a bit strange that it rained recently though, because the sun seemed to be shining. It must've been a sunny shower or a drizzle, which means in a day or two the dirt would dry up again. If she weren't so worried over her sleep schedule, she'd gladly go to sleep and wake up to make her measurements later. The issue with that though, was that she'd wake up in the middle of the night, and with that, no measurements could really be taken. She finally cocked her arm back and let the plane fly off.

By flying, it actually more careened a bit and then fell like a rock into the ground after contemplating the pros and cons of gliding. Rikako frowned a bit, she had expected a sort of graceful fall, or at least just a plummet, as opposed to this halfway point. Sighing, she grabbed out her quills and got on her knees. "This is going to be a long day" she muttered while beginning to measure the distance of her paper birds.

For hours people around her house could hear "Fifty eight quills, fifty nine quills" repeated over and over again, with the minor variation of number each time. As it were, Rikako kept getting upset with the variation in how her birds flew, so she ended up throwing them around twenty times each before deciding which flight best represented the bird when it actually took off. The racket that she made easily tore through the walls and open windows of other houses in the neighbourhood eliciting minor grumbles from most. However, one neighbor was particularly curmudgeonly, and the noise infuriated him so much that he activated his trump card: he called a certain bird youkai over with some great news about their neighbour Rikako Asakura. It wasn't her fault though, she needed to be very precise with her measurements, as parchment wasn't cheap at all, and neither were her inkwells. In truth she was perpetually low on both of these, and because she stopped doing whatever odd jobs she'd normally do in preparation for the tournament, she was down to three measly pieces of paper, two used for planes, and one for the experiment.

"OK! The last measure with this one, oh man, it's perfect. Is it sixty two, or three? Sixty two an-" she was cut off by screeching wind flying overhead, getting louder, and subsequently higher pitched, as the object came closer. Rikako did what a normal person would when dealing with what seemed like the magical missile to end all missiles, that is to say, assume Mima sent it.

"I didn't do it! It wasn't me! Have mercy! Have mercy! I'm just a poor girl who happened to win a contest, I'm sorry I beat you! Well I guess if you want to think about it I didn't beat you as much as I got lucky, please don't hurt me!" she yelled while she got into the quickest fetal position she thought was humanly possible. The response however, wasn't death or mutilation, but a chuckle and a lot of snapping. Rikako looked up, first with absolute horror, perhaps this was a cruel joke by the vengeful spirit, to take a tengu's camera and take photos of her huddled in a fetal position. No way she was going to let that happen. Rikako jumped up with her fists raised, as if she was going to try to have a boxing match with Mima, and subsequently shifted her expression from that of horror laced with anger to that of annoyance.

"Wha- oh not you tengus! I'm not doing any interviews, get out!" she yelled at the intrusive reporter. 'To be perfectly honest, I should've seen that coming. Tengus were a strange kind of youkai, while they usually were based on flying birds like the crow, such as the one standing before her, others were based on yamabushi, or red skinned monks with long noses. The one before her, as previously mentioned, was a crow tengu, that is to say, she had wings of a crow. She also had red eyes, and wore a very frilly dress, mainly black, with white on the trim and ruffles. Most noticeable in her eyes though, was the silly vermillion pillbox hat she wore. Rikako never understood that to be quite honest, everyone wearing these ridiculous hats, maybe she'd test if there was a correlation between annoyance to others and over-the-topness of their hat. She was stopped in this train of thought by more snapping and more rapid fire questions. Rikako thought that the blood was starting to rush to her head as each syllable kept smashing into her forehead.

"Did you expect to win the big tournament? What did you wish for? I heard Reimu Hakurei was particularly mad, what did you tell her as you beat her? Does Mima really have a revenge plot for you? Did Yumemi Okazaki threaten to kill you if you didn't take the fall? How many bribes did you take? Were they perhaps love favors?" the crow named Aya Shameimaru verbally assaulted her as more snaps and flashes of light clouded her vision, most of them dissapearing with more questions. However, that last question struck a bit of a nerve in her, she certainly beat those guys, even if it was a huge fluke, no bribes needed for this girl, most certainly not those bribes. She finally gained enough clarity to put her index and thumb together and flick the camera off of Aya's hands.

"You dolt! That camera's worth more than your house! If you break it, I'll make you foreclose your house, winner or not!" she yelled while diving for her camera. Small victories had to be taken when one could, and as Aya picked up her camera, she looked up to see Rikako's almost broken glasses and long purple hair in her face, featuring a big fat smirk on it. Rikako didn't notice, however, that she also dropped her parchment into the mud in the debacle. From a smirk on her face came a scowl and then Aya found herself being shaken back and forth, with a lot of mud getting all over her dress.

"My parchment! You know how expensive that is? That was my last page, and I'm running super low on ink! You stupid tengu, now I have to go and do some ridiculous job to get cash for more of these." she began a long winded speech before Aya raised her hand with a discombobulated look on her face.

"Isn't parchment only around fifty copper coins per page? I mean it's not the cheapest thing but it's not that bad, and ink's around a silver piece per inkwell. I don't see why you're so angry, I'm sure you're well off if you can beat that many magicians." Aya noticed. In truth, she was correct, parchment and ink, while not the most affordable, wasn't completely expensive for more wealthy residents. If the Hakurei shrine maiden could buy enough to etch in all her ofuda, she should've been able too as well. The reality though, was that science wasn't a profitable business. Correction, science wasn't a business. The money she got was from cleaning shoes and occasionally sewing for someone. In reality, she was poor, and her interest in science only served to make her distrusted in the village. She resumed her previous scowl and looked at the tengu, though the tengu thankfully noted she wasn't being shaken anymore.

"If you're a normal person who believes in faith, probably, but as a scientist I'm dirt poor. Nobody will give me a chance to help the community, so I have to make by with some menial jobs. Now, if you want your interview, you better give me at least ten pieces of parchment and an inkwell!" she declared while holding up her hands, outstretched to show ten digits, in front of Aya. Aya didn't really know whether to laugh at the scientist or take this as an insult. She's had to do some crazy things for interviews, but never from a poor scientist living in a hovel who wanted paper of all things. She supposed it was the smartest idea to just buy the measly paper for her and be done with it, but wanted to ask her more questions about how she was so poor, it really just didn't make sense.

"Didn't you ever think of selling your magic to the highest bidder? You're pretty skilled obviously, and I don't see why you should be living in that… in that thing" she pointed to Rikako's house, a small hovel, as previously noted, with a leaky roof and paper thin walls. It was an honest mess from the outside, with a door that was hanging on one hinge, and a pile of trash near the back that would be disposed of by burning eventually. Aya realized at this point that Rikako was little more than a glorified lunatic pauper.

"Well, I have standards, y'know? Plus my goal is science, not magic, so I can't just subscribe to science. Anyway, please bring me that parchment, I was writing an experiment and you kinda screwed up my data." Rikako didn't appreciate these questions. She was honestly pretty embarrassed whenever someone mentioned how poor she was, it's not like it was her fault after all, just a product of society. Aya finally nodded after looking at her for a couple more moments with a puzzled look on her face, and kicked off the ground. The issue with this was that the dirt was still muddy, and her sudden takeoff got her coat and hair full of mud. At this point Rikako just sighed and wiped as much as she could off, she was already plenty messy anyhow from all the crawling around, so she supposed this wasn't too much worse. Before she could contemplate the question anymore, Aya screeched back over, this time with a small stack of parchment and ink in tow. She landed and began breathing very heavily. This was a quick purchase then. 'I gotta ask her how she flies so fast when I have some free time.' Rikako made a mental note to herself.

"So, I couldn't get ten pieces so I just got fifty and I bought two inkwells. It's honestly paltry so don't worry about it, just remember our little deal, interview with me. Now." she interrupted Rikako's gawking glances with that last statement, followed by a sly wink. Rikako finally got out of her stupor, most likely from Aya regarding fifty sheets of paper as "paltry". Once Aya deemed her subject back in reality, she began again.

"So are you ready for the interview?" Aya asked, Rikako nodded her acceptance, noting the rapidity at which Aya did these things. The strange dance that is an interview began. Aya grabbed out her notepad and began rapid fire asking questions, most of which were ridiculous or strange conspiracies, so Rikako answered them by smashing Aya up top the head at each one.

"Watch it, Rikako! That's my hat! If you mess it up I'll skin you alive!" she yelled while contorting in the strangest ways to protect her hat. She must've held onto that hat like she did to her book, so she understood. It didn't change the fact that it was ridiculous. It also didn't change the fact that Aya's questions were super stupid and that she deserved a smack on her head for each one.

"OK, so who was the actual host?" Aya finally began asking actual questions of pertinence. This pattern would continue for a bit, but honestly, Rikako couldn't remember some of the specifics, such as "Did this Yumemi Okazaki's artificial magic cause a heating effect?" She guessed it did, and she remembered being very hot, but it could've been her sweat or heartbeat. Aya did ask a couple of questions she had fun answering, like when she described the entrance to the Probability Space Hypervessel, a dark entrance to a metallic looking area, where with the push of a button the lights all came on and she was suddenly facing a lethal weapon, or when she noted that Yumemi Okazaki used, surprisingly enough, red crosses of energy as opposed to lasers or particles.

"So, now that you won the book what will you do?" Aya's latest question was easily Rikako's favorite, as she began to thunder off her response.

"What am I going to do? I'm gonna become the best scientist this place has seen! I'm gonna learn all about science and plants and animals and help the Human Village, even if nobody cares or if everyone makes fun of me! They'll see!" she made a fancy pose where she pointed to the sky, followed by another where she sat on a stump and put her elbow on her knee, with her closed fist holding up her chin, making her look like she was deep in thought. A couple of minutes were spent with more posturing and more statements, each of which Aya diligently recorded. At the end of the day, Rikako was an interesting character, she supposed.

'I highly doubt she'll become rich though, that's just the thing with science.' she thought before waving her goodbyes to Rikako. The sun was finally setting, and RIkako would probably go in soon to eat and sleep her exhaustion away, though she seemed energetic enough to power every mill in town for the next month. The interview would probably generate enough sales to pay for something as measly as paper and ink, plus she got a nice discount from the shop for buying in bulk.

"Well then, thanks for the interview Rikako, I'll be leaving now. One more thing, the correct measurement was sixty two and three quarters in quills." she said before finally taking off. Rikako beamed at that piece of information. Maybe tengus weren't too bad after all. She looked up at the sky and saw the sun setting into the Forest of Magic, the brilliant reds fading into the golden yellow tint of the sun that would die off in the purple and dark blue sky. Like paint, the colors couldn't really be drawn without bastardizing the beauty of the sunset, every transition of colors could never match the seamless changes, so perfect yet so flawed, such as when the clouds mess up what could've been a perfect change in color. The thing was, those changes in color, whenever the clouds made a mistake, would only end up making the entire thing more perfect. It was a beautiful sight, and she eventually would have to figure out why the sunset and sunrise always looked so precious. Rikako shook her head a bit and went back inside, she had to cook her dinner and clean up the trash, but it was important to note the two numbers before going off. She didn't want to forget her data! Fifty four quills for the shorter wings and sixty two and three quarters for the longer winged bird. She'd have to write a conclusion later, but this should suffice. Plus, her stomach knew no science, and its grumbles were indication that she needed food, lipssofacto.

Cooking dinner would've been fine if she had any food left. The only things in her depleted stores at this point were a bit of gruel, some rice, though it seemed a bit moldy, a couple of green onions, and for some reason, food for cats. She didn't own a cat, so she had no clue how that got there, but she chocked it up to thinking it was cheaper meat, and as she opened up the can she was proven correct. She ended up creating steamed rice with vegetables and 'beef,' though the term 'beef' was a bit questionable. In reality, though it tasted a bit bitter, the meat wasn't too different, and she shrugged. She'd eaten worse, and it was her fault for not shopping earlier in the month. It was a fine price to pay for her book though. After finishing her meal, she headed outside and walked towards a nearby stream to clean her bowl. It seemed other families were out here too, all cleaning their bowls or skewers with water when they got particularly dirty. Some were trying to soak clothes or perhaps soak their children, and the scene was calming in its chaos. She decided to take off her coat and let it soak for a while as well, the wool was sturdy and wouldn't break to the calm water of the stream. She set it up so that the current would be blocked by several rocks, and her coat would soak for a while in peace without worrying over the possibility of it floating off. With that done, she sat down and stared at the scene. The local boys who lived across from her house were all a bit thin, though that described most kids from her neighbourhood. They waved at her in between their highly competitive games of tag, and she returned the notion with a smile. Their parents were a bit less welcoming, but they were polite. It turned out that stuff like alienation's for the rich, and in truth those parents had so many piles of clothes to clean, no doubt from their children, that they focused much more on that crisis than any of her presence.

There were other people playing, of course, like some girls playing pretend princess or the more tomboyish ones who played shrine maiden or magician. However, Rikako didn't play with them as much, she hardly liked playing princess, and playing magician was a bit annoying in the sense that she hardly wanted to be that. She always found herself playing with the local boys, who'd play superhero, or scientist, or sometimes just run around in the green fields and muddy roads. The boys always called her "Miss Asakura" and she always beamed at that designation, it seemed so polite, and she wasn't used to it. Rikako was a bit embarrassed to remember that she never asked them what their names were, but that was ok. They would ask her to help them get their belongings off of trees, or to explore caves with them, and when she had time she obliged them, making an extravagant show of everything of course. This included such feats as using her magical jetpack, or two tubes she strapped onto her back and shoved magical energy through, to do a couple of acrobatics before retrieving a kite or ball. The kids loved it and would call her a superhero, but she just told them she was a scientist. The reaction when they repeated this to their parents was less than happy, but the kids always came back to go on adventures with her. Rikako was happy with those boys hanging around, and so she always returned to the little stream where they all cleaned their clothes and other tools to play with them. Today though, she was just relaxing as the sun set, much too tired to play. Rikako vaguely planned out that after cleaning her things she'd go and burn her trash, and maybe if she wasn't dog tired she'd rewrite her conclusion for her little experiment.

After about an hour of waiting, Rikako got impatient and took up her utensils and coat and returned to her home. It was a combination of excitement of writing her results and the incessant bugs that always appeared come dusk that really broke the deal for her, as her coat wasn't exactly clean yet. She went up to her roof and let the coat hang from some flaps before going inside, she'd clean the coat eventually...probably. Grabbing her lamp, she lit the contraption up and walked outside. The sun was now almost gone, and her sight was starting to be clouded in hazy darkness. Her sight wouldn't really be necessary though, as she could smell the stench that was her trash. The inevitable burning would smell terrible but hey, those were the limitations of the time. Everyone had to either burn their trash or they had to make a giant heap for it, and they'd much rather do the former than the latter. Pinching her nose she approached today's pile, Rikako quickly burnt the heap with her lamp's fire before running back into her house to avoid the stench. Perhaps if someone created a way to reuse some of the trash or at least some of the leftover food and the peels into a really healthy mulch the place would smell better, but as it were there weren't enough peels to really make that a viable use of trash. 'Being poor sucks,' Rikako concluded before retrieving her new parchment and quill.

Sitting back down at her desk, she began to rewrite the hypothesis and experiment section, then, she created a little table for her data. The first column was labeled "Wing Size" and the second "How Far the Bird Flew". Rikako submitted the data for both the "Cute Bird" and "Big Bird" before writing her conclusion. She looked at her book once more. She had to affirm whether her hypothesis was correct and then write what that meant. Then she remembered that she had to think of more questions. She put her quill near her lips while thinking of new questions, because the real question was "Is there a point to asking more questions? I'm sure this is just a little practice experiment to see if I know the scientific method." she thought aloud. With that she wrote the following.

'Conclusion: Just as I predicted, the bigger paper bird flew further. This means that stuff you want to glide with big wings will go further. I guess another question that'd be interesting is if the smaller paper birds fly faster than the bigger ones. Someone should check that out.'

That wasn't too bad, she even got a couple of questions in there! She illustrated the last point with a smiling face on her little report and put the page back down on her table, right next to the book. She did it! She understood the scientific method, and with that, her first lesson in science. She also noticed that something was behind her window again, and from that angle could conveniently see into her paper, so she grabbed her broom and started making big stomping noises, as if she were going to hit the thing outside. It predictably scampered off to wherever it lived and finally left her in piece. By now the sky was pitch black with the exception of the moon, which seemed to be particularly bright. This curiosity didn't stop her from shambling to her sleeping space, a small cloth covering the floor with a straw pillow, next to it was a folded woolen blanket she used to cover herself with at night when it got cold. She couldn't complain about the hard floor however, as the second she shimmied herself down to her pillow and blanket she promptly fell asleep. It couldn't be helped, as the day was far too busy. That night, Rikako dreamt soundly, an appreciated departure from previous days, and just couldn't shake off her excitement, and kept dreaming of all her science.

A mesmerizing set of lights danced before Rikako, fading in and out of her vision. She thought she heard some shouting, for sure a lot of clanking and metal behemoths riveting. Before her was an overwhelming amount of light, and behind her, she thought she saw nothing but black, save for a speck in the sky. It was strange, because Rikako swore she could hear her own voice, muffled as it was, amongst the mechanical sounds around her. As she was loosely thinking that they sounded very similar to what the Probability Space Hypervessel must have sounded like when it was about to take off, things finally started to clear up, and the first thing she noticed was her yelling. "Look guys! I made a rocket that'll send you to the moon! Everyone can ride it, because that's how science works!" Rikako heard herself proclaiming to a crowd. Everyone seemed curious and a couple of brave people even volunteered to ride with her, but nobody would actually talk with her. They stood back in awe of the spectacle, and even the volunteers kept to themselves. Who cares? They were obviously in awe of the greatest scientist's magnum opus, of course they couldn't speak! She looked closely at some of the volunteers and squinted her eyes a bit. Those faces looked too familiar to be forgotten. Rikako blinked a bit and thought they reminded her of someone younger, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She didn't think about that for long though, she had to focus on the rocket! They were launching to the Moon, and she had to make sure no aliens would invade their ship, to do this she had invented anti-Lunarian repellant, along with Lunarian catching nets and other anti-Lunarian goods. The trip was going to be a huge success, she knew it, even if her crew members were shy and never spoke, they must've thought they were in over their heads. Soon the Earth flew away into a blanket of stars and light, dancing and shimmering across her dashboard. She saw a celestial lion fight off a hunter, a monkey gorging on food, a shrine maiden trying to catch a wolf, all etched into the endless quilt. Rikako found herself staring at the show before her, watching the ephemeral mass swirling into new shapes and new stories. Fascinated by the sights before her she didn't notice that she overshot the path to the Moon! Rikako panicked and started smashing buttons all over her dashboard, and looked around to see if her crew were trying to help. To her surprise, nobody was there, it was a bunch of empty seats with little paper masks on the tops of each seat. She promptly panicked as the ship careened into a colorful miasma of reds, greens, blues, and all the colors under the rainbow, flashing and deepening like a hypnotic spell. Right as Rikako imagined that she was going to meet her demise, the scene changed to black, and she fell back to dreaming for the rest of the night.

'Stupid dreams, I must be too tired from yesterday.' she weakly thought before drifting off into further sleep and dreams. She imagined that she smiled as she went back into her dreamland, the next couple of months were going to be interesting, that's for sure.

AN: Hey guys, so I'm pretty new to being active in the Touhou community, but I'm a pretty big fan. I guess I began writing something like this because as I went through the list for good fanfiction, very few were loveable or at least not a Grimderp sorta scenario where everyone dies. That's not to say a fic can't be dark, like TakerFoxx's masterpiece Imperfect Metamorphosis, but most squander the opportunity a dark or realistic setting gives by not using it to think creatively. I've taken some liberties with realism here, and decided that as a poor human, Rikako gives us a chance to explore what living in Gensokyo's 500 years behind modern times actually feels like. So I guess you could say this is a realistic but fun story, sort of like the realism in the late 1800s that led to Slice of Life becoming a genre. Writing this wasn't too bad, I think in total it took me around three days to write and revise, luckily I had a friend who checked this over before I went on my editing spree. If there are any issues feel free to comment on them in a review! Thanks for reading everybody.

See ya next time!

By the way here's a link to Imperfect Metamorphosis by TakerFoxx. It's unadulterated genius, so check it out.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 01:38:18 AM by Komeko »