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The young catgirl gives out a sigh of relief. Giving a soft smile, she raises her head. Thinking out loud, "I don't remember living on Valucre..." Shaking her head she snaps back to attention, "Sorry, I'm still processing a lot of things... I know, you are trying to be kind... You are probably a good person. But like... I don't know where I'm going to be sleeping tonight. How I will be feeding myself. I don't know who I am, beyond my name, and I just have this overwhelming feeling that I lost something important..." The girl sits in the chair, bringing her knees up so she can hug them defensively. "I don't know what to do."

The young girl's stomach growls, but she seems oblivious to it. 

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The kitsune woman is sat beside the girl, nodding as she rubs the girl's back in a calming manner. A borderline amnesiac with nowhere to go and a reason to regain those memories?

She decides that she'd do whatever it takes to help this girl get back her footing.

"Ah, I understand. Where to sleep is easy enough, you may sleep here until you find a place to stay. There is food here for you to eat, I will pay until you are able." A holographic Prognosticator causes a bowl of bread and fish soup to appear on the table in front of them. "I may be unable to help with your memories, but I can ensure you have a comfortable stay. I am here everyday, oneechan, and Prognosticator-san will watch over you in my absence."

She pulls the food closer when the girl's stomach growls. "What is your name, oneechan?"

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The young catgirl thinks over this offer for a bit. She seems to be wrestling with the idea of accepting the offer. The girl takes a moment to close her eyes, placing her hand on her chin. "Well... It would make me a lot less anxious... But, that seems really unfair to make someone I don't know take care of me... I need to get a job fast so I'm not a burden to you.. If you feed me, I'll do chores and things like that for you... I'm not good for much though. I ummm. My name is Lia." Lia bows her head. "I can't think of anything I can do on my own, so I'll be relying on you for the moment..." Lia lifts her head as she smells food. Moving up to the table, she starts to take small bites, seemingly prioritizing the fish. Making tableside conversation, "But ummm, what is your name?"

 

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The tall kitsune woman looks impressed. What a mature-minded young girl! At this rate, she won't be surprised at all if it turns out that this little catgirl is older than she looks. One eventually get used to meeting little waifs that are really thousands of years old. If that isn't the case here, then props to whoever raised this girl up.

Though, if that isn't the case and she's really as young as she looks, she'd be much more surprised.

"That sounds fair, Lia-chan. My name is Dr Svetlana Tanaka..." She gives her name, then thinks for a moment. "... but you may call me Doctor, or Auntie Svetlana." She smiles as she watches the girl start to eat. Luckily, the soup has a lot of fish in it, in case she decides she doesn't want the bread.

"Alright then, if you insist, then you can work for me in exchange for my taking care of you." She'd have said 'it is not necessary', but she can see Lia's desire to keep things 'fair'. "I have a place nearby for the times I choose to stay overnight on this planet, and I have a room here as well. You can stay with me and do chores, Prognosticator-san will arrange a bed for you."

The girl did say she had memory troubles, didn't she? "What is the last thing you remember, Lia-chan?"

Edited by Purple Eagle

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Lia continues to make work at the remainder of the dish. She went a little too quickly with the fish, and now she's noticeably slowed down on the rest if anyone was paying attention. Lia attempts to say the name that she just learned, but struggles with the Sv sound. Her failed attempt makes her grow self-conscious so she switches to the last name. "Tanaka-sensei... Since you are going to be taking care of me, I don't mind telling you... But I don't want everyone to know, so let's keep it a secret..."

Lia sits up straight and tries to generate a serious mood, with limited success, "It's still really fuzzy, but I was in a dark tunnel. The floor was made of stone, and every step I took echoed out terribly. I get the feeling that I was separated from a larger group, and something was chasing after me. Then I see a light, and at the end of the tunnel, there are three other girls. One of them had a terrible energy coming from her. One had butterflies flying around her. One had a number of dice surrounding her. The first two girls were bleeding on the floor, and the third one seemed to be the one who did it to them. I ran out to help the two on the floor, but something hit me from behind, then carried me like a princess into the room. I felt someone kiss me before setting me on the floor." Lia starts to tear up, "I then woke up here. I can't remember anything else. It hurts to try to. I know I definitely had a lot of things with me, that I don't have anymore... And it feels wrong. Like I failed to do something I promised." 

Lia wipes her eyes and sniffles, "But. I think, I'm safe now... So I just need to put that behind me... It... Probably doesn't matter anymore."

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"Of course, Lia-chan. Your secret is safe with me." Svetlana says, meaning it too. Her eating speed is to be expected, what with catpeople loving fish, and how loudly her stomach growled earlier.

She sits with her legs folded as she listens to the young catgirl's story. It sounds rather divine, or like something out of an anime. Or perhaps, that's just how things in her homeworld works.

When Lia starts to cheer up, Svetlana offers her some tissues, her hand returning to the girl's back as she rubs it in a soothing manner. She looks on with compassion, pulling the girl into a one-handed hug. She's not one of those touchy-feely types, but this girl needs to feel loved and cared for right now. "It is okay, oneechan, you are safe now. I know what it feels like to lose something important to you."

For a second, she gains a thousand-yard stare, then turns to look at some invisible person in the distance and smiles at them. "It will return with time, I believe, and I will do whatever it takes to help you get back on your own two feet again." She continues, turning back to face Lia. "For now, let us focus on getting through the night. You can sleep here while I prepare a room for you back at my home, Lia-chan. You can trust Prognosticator-san to watch over your every need. If you wish, you can pay back by assisting them in the running of The Lounge, much like I do."

She resumes coaxing Lia into continuing to eat and fill her stomach to satisfaction, whilst inwardly contemplating whether or not to share her story at this point in time. Unlke Lia, she can remember it like it was yesterday.

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Lia takes hold of the tissues, but she looks at them like one would look at a painting, trying to obtain some sort of greater meaning out of, rather than an actual tool. Reaching off to her right side, the large ruby materializes, and as Lia touches it, you can see her entire body become clean again. The crystal then vanishes into nothingness.

Lia sets the tissue down in her lap, seemingly setting it aside for later. While the good doctor attempts to comfort her with both words and touch, being this close to her only gave further signs that the girl was distraught. With her hand gently stroking her back, she can feel Lia's racing heart, levels that one would expect of someone in the middle of vigorous physical activity. Someone of Svetlana's expertise would recognize that Lia's fight or flight response was likely triggered at some point, and the girl simply had kept the feelings of anxiety and fear to herself.  The girl probably didn't have any kind of appetite, despite her hunger, and simply ate as a means to put the doctor at ease. Even now, there's a jarring disconnect towards the girl's calm expression and her symptoms. When the adrenaline wore off, she would like feel fatigue. 

On the other hand however, Lia did  cling to Svetlana for safety. The girl adopted a vulnerable expression, as if she already knew she'd been found out. Laying her head against the good doctor, Lia admits, "I'll be ok. Just not right now... I think, a walk would be good..."

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Svetlana watches Lia's actions, eyes widening once the ruby materializes and cleanses her body with a touch. Her scientific mind gets to work on pondering what she's seen. If, heaven forbid, the girl were to get heavily damaged, would she be restored by touching the ruby? Perhaps it acts as a 'reset' of sorts? She'll have to ask Lia more about it.

First things first, though, is to deal with Lia. By touch, she can feel her racing heart. Using her enhanced eyes, she scans the catgirl to learn that her heart is indeed racing. Symptoms indicating the adrenaline rush that comes from a fight-or-flight response. Poor girl must be feeling so scared deep down!

Before she can mention this, however, Lia chooses then to reveal her vulnerability and cling to her. She'd suggest sleep, but it's highly unlikely that Lia can fall asleep now. "Some exercise sounds good. There is an exercise area here, let us go to it and use the treadmill. We can have Prognosticator-san play us some peaceful music and sounds." This way, if Lia comes down soon, she wouldn't have to wait long to have a soft bed to sleep on.

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Lia nods softly and states, “That might be nice.” 
 

Following Svetlana dutifully, Lia looks around her surroundings. Her eyes linger on the more modern items a bit longer, to the point of getting separated  from Svetlana briefly as she pause, which caused her to have to pick up the pace to catch up.

As she arrives in the exercise room, the first thing she does is stretch. However, she’s not in very ideal attire for the activity. Her nice cotton clothes are likely to absorb sweat and stain. Lia however doesn’t seem concerned with this, though it’s hard to tell if this is out of childish ignorance or simply being unwilling to ask for help or some other reason.

Edited by Axis

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Svetlana waits after a few steps each time she can no longer sense Lia behind her, smiling in quite a motherly fashion as she watches the young catgirl feast her eyes on all the cool futuristic stuff around her. Deep down, she thinks of the child she almost had but didn't. Would she have grown up to be such a wonderful young lady?

She keeps her thoughts to herself for the time being, focusing instead on being a good mother-figure to this young girl for as long as is necessary. Once she witnesses Lia start to stretch, she points out her current attire. "We must change into clothes more ideal for exercise, Lia-chan. Prognosticator-san?"

As expected, the Lounge AI was ready for this. "I FORESAW THE NECESSITY OF THIS, AND HAVE PREPARED SOME FOR LIA." Sure enough, looking in the direction they're pointing reveals exercise gear: a top, trackpants and sneakers made to fit the young catgirl.

As for Tanaka-sensei, she doesn't change, for she doesn't need to! "Get dressed so that we may begin. And Lia-chan? Do not be shy to ask me for anything you need, okay?"

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Lia stops her stretching for a moment to examine her new clothes. Curiosity consumes her eyes as she examines the fabrics. After silently examining them for a few moments, Lia admits, “You, are probably right. These clothes seem perfectly made for exercising. The fact that you spent time and resources preparing them for me makes me happy. It’s just... Mirana won’t let me change clothes. She likes me just like this, and I rely on her.” 

Lia once again bows apologetically, “Sorry for letting your efforts go to waste.” Lia moves to the floor, placing on the sneakers with a heartwarming smile. 

Something Svetlana might have noticed about Lia by now, is the slow pace which she lived her life. Every motion she makes, when she isn’t taken by surprise, seems to have thought and grace put behind it. None of the motions appear forced or practiced however, instead coming second nature. Perhaps she had a noble upbringing?

Pulling herself up to her feet, Lia tests her new footwear, moving from the tips of her toes to the ball of her heel. She then jumps, first straight up, and then once with a forward arc, and finally side to side. She then tries pivoting. After her investigation Lia reports, “These are probably the nicest shoes I have ever owned. Thank you for giving them to me.” 

Lia blushes, “To be honest, it’s been some time since I’ve relied on someone for things like this. It feels a little out of place, since I am used to traveling the wilderness with people who expected me to take care of myself. But, it isn’t a bad thing.”

Lia pauses. Seemingly startled by her own words. She gives Svetlana a soft smile and says, “But, if you want me to rely on you, then I will do my best, Tanaka-Sensei.”
 

Lia once again resumes her stretches. After completing them however, Svetlana can see the girl worked out all the adrenaline out of her system. At this point, the only thing keeping Lia on her feet was her own diligence. True to her word, Lia doesn’t try to maintain appearances, instead approaching the doctor with a sleepy expression. The music the prognosticator played was quite effective.

Lia admits, “I feel like I’m about to fall asleep. Can you show me where I should sleep?” Lia stifles a yawn.

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Mirana? "Is this Mirana-san the ruby that appeared earlier?" Svetlana asks, guessing that if Lia were to successfully change clothes, a touch of the ruby would revert her clothing to this. If so, that lends credence to her 'reset' theory. "It is no problem, Lia-chan." The kitsune woman smiles at her and places a hand on the young catgirl's shoulder.

She has noticed Lia's body language, and noble upbringing is the first thing that comes to her mind. Lia might have noticed by now that Svetlana carries herself with the air of a noble, with her head held high, her movements graceful and elegant, her demeanour that of one who thinks highly of themselves, one who enjoys the finer things in life. Even her clothing reflects this: it appears to be made of expensive material, cut in such a way that accentuates her best features.

The Polish-Japanese woman watches Lia test out the shoes, shoes which prove they're more than up to the task of doing their job. The way this girl talks, however... yeah, she's definitely older than she looks. Would she get a straight answer if she asked the girl her age? She keeps quiet and ponders these things further, only saying: "And I will do my best to care for you, nekomimi-chan."

She smiles and nods, then watches the young catgirl stretch, doing some of her own so the girl doesn't feel like she's alone. It's clear to all present when the adrenaline's been worked out of her system. Svetlana stops what she's doing and stands ready to oblige Lia when she admits to being tired.

"Of course, Lia-chan. Right this way." While on the way to the sleeping quarters prepared for Lia, Svetlana asks a few basic questions of the young catgirl. "You carry yourself like a noble, Lia-chan. How old are you, if I may ask?"

Soon enough though, they'll get to the room prepared for Lia, an elegantly-designed space containing a bed with fluffy pillows, some bedside tables, a table and chair and a cool rug. If by this point Lia is too tired to walk, Svetlana would gladly carry the young catgirl the rest of the way. "You have outdone yourself again, Prognosticator-san." She says as she leads Lia to the bed.

While she could just leave, she wants the girl to be at ease and sleep peacefully. She also wants to ensure that the girl has a full rest, and the possibility of Lia waking up in the middle of the night and finding herself alone could ruin her peaceful sleep. Thus, she offers to stay with Lia until the girl's woken up.

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While Lia was doing her stretches, Lia explains, "Mirana-sama is my deity. The ruby you saw is her avatar. I'm the only one who follows her now, so she's protective of me. But, things are hard for Mirana-sama, since she's dying. I'm probably, going to be her last cleric." Svetlana can tell that despite the somber tone, Lia's known about this fact for a long time, and has already accepted the situation for what it is. 

Lia seems at ease when Svetlana joins with her. Syncing up her movements, there's a clear sense of unity and bonding between the two. Anyone looking on at the two might think they were mother and daughter.

When Svetlana mentions her age Lia replies, "Right now, 13. But I don't think it was always that way." (Lia looks about as tall as the average 11 year old) As Lia tries to focus on her answer, she finds it too painful to recall. Wincing Lia comments, "But, I remember that I'm a talented jeweler. Even now, it feels strange not having even a single gemstone on my person. So... I'm not actually nobility, but I probably was someone important. I definitely had a lot of money. But I don't think that's true anymore." Lia came to this world without anything other than her garments provided by Mirana. It can be imagined she would have arrived naked without the aid of her deity. 

Lia, wanting to rely on Svetlana, allows her to be carried around as she rests her eyes, laying against her shoulder while her room is prepared. Lia talks quietly, "You know. I think, maybe, I shouldn't behave like this. I can take care of myself... But... I feel like I've wanted this for a long time. Is it wrong to rely on people, when you don't have to?"

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A deity, with a ruby for an avatar? That puts the 'reset' theory to rest, then. Add to that the mention of her being a cleric, and it's clear what she thought was a reset was actually a healing effect.

She looks sympathetic when Lia reveals that her deity is dying, but the way the young catgirl says it makes it clear that she's accepted it. That means she has known for quite a while, then.

Svetlana notes Lia's age, and responds by giving hers. "I see... I am 30 years old, myself. A jeweler, eh? You will have to show me some of your work, in the future." Maybe that's how she can 'pay back', should the girl insist on giving back somehow. This little catgirl is proving to be an interesting one, indeed! "I am a creative as well, a doctor of cybernetics. Indeed, my entire body save for my brain has been replaced with cybernetics... that means I am basically a robot." She adds the last part in case Lia doesn't know what 'cybernetics' is.

She is silent for a moment as she ponders how best to answer the question, while enjoying the feeling of being relied on. "While it is good to be independent, Lia-chan, there are times when it is necessary to rely on others. You are new to this world, with missing memories and nothing but the clothes on your back. I will say that it is okay to rely on Prognosticator-san and I."

She gently lays Lia on the bed, and sits up on the bed beside the catgirl, her ears and tail disappearing. "I will also say that you should not feel the need to help out in some way. Prognosticator-san handles the running of this place, I am simply helping here. If you do still wish to help, you can do it by getting better."

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Warm and secure within Svetlana's arms, Lia remains mostly quiet as the doctor talks to her. She definitely seems to be listening, as she can see the girl's triangular ears twitch slightly. But Lia seems to be falling asleep even within Svetlana's arms. After listening to all that Svetlana has to say, immediately proceeding being placed in bed,  Lia speaks half-asleep, "Tanaka-sensei, I don't really understand how your body is different from mine. There's actually, all sorts of questions I have. Enough to keep me awake... But, since I'm leaving it to you..." Lia trails off as she falls asleep. The poor girl must have been completely drained from the experience. Reflexively, Lia turns to her right side, and curls up. This wasn't an uncommon habit for catfolk that sleep outside. One of Lia's hands reaches out, stopping just short of Svetlana as Lia's fingertips graze her.

However, only an hour into Lia sleeping. An ominous presence enters the room. Similar to Lia, she materializes seemingly out of nowhere; a young girl with silver hair and amber eyes. Unlike Lia who had the protection of Mirana, this girl comes without a shred of clothing on her. Inexplicably however, Svetlana feels a tremendous sense of danger coming from this girl. Unless immune to spiritual effects, her mind involuntarily starts to process the idea of the young girl suddenly and without warning strangling Lia. And yet Svetlana would be able to detect that in reality that was not happening. This mysterious girl was the origin of some foul aura that generated these hallucinations. If she looks closely at Lia, she can see the girl's breathing is distorted. The cause was likely a nightmare. 

Meanwhile, this girl, even younger and smaller than Lia, stares at the doctor with a blank expression that slowly changes to a knowing but apathetic one. Svetlana can tell this girl was likely previously neglected, presenting a threat both to herself and those around her. After doing so for about five seconds, she looks down towards Lia. She gazes at the girl longingly, like one would stare at fine piece of jewelry. The girl doesn't seem even a little bit concerned with her lack of decency. She finally speaks, "It looks like, we got seperated. Thank goodness, I found you, Lia."

This girl begins to cast a spell. Svetlana may recognize the words as magical in nature, but she has no way of understanding what this girl was attempting to cast.

Edited by Axis

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