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Kale Hearthward Once upon a time, there was some stuff about a megaman. Not *the* Mega Man, just *a* megaman, and there were robots full of 'essentia', and Kale broke one, and via a chain of slightly-less-than-plausible events he's mayor and deed-holder to this island.

Following that, the island has been settled, bit by bit, at a slightly-more-than-slightly-less-than-implausible speed. New houses get built literally overnight, with plumbing and electricity all hooked up. New businesses and buildings spring up that are larger on the inside than the outside. Somehow there's a random traffic light on the west side of the island, and a blackboard on the north side of the island, near the cliffs. New furniture seems to literally grow on trees.

Which isn't to say that it isn't a nice place to live. It's pretty great, actaully. Really puts the island paradise in the phrase 'island paradise'. There's delicious basketball-sized oranges growing on the trees, a thriving social scene, a museum with a coffee shop, and long stretches of pristine beach in every direction. With a few words to the middle-aged raccoon who seems to be running things at the central plaza building, anyone can get a camping permit (with a free deluxe camping kit) and eventually work towards a house of their own.

... Only ever *working* towards a house of their own, however. Cash payments are not accepted, only 'Nook Miles' - a digital currency gained by doing 'island chores' - random tasks that include pulling weeds, going on scavenger hunts for new furniture, or simply talking to other people or writing letters. The amount of effort seems disporportionate to the rewards (houses, expensive furnishings and other goods) and the tanuki proprietor can't possibly be pulling any sort of profit... and yet the system ticks along just fine, and New Horizons slowly grows.
Kale Hearthward Today starts like any other day. There's a slate of meaningless announcements - the secretary dog manning the PA seems to feel the need to fill dead air with comments about whatever TV show she'd watched the evening before - and then people go about their day, fishing or gathering fruit or going treasure hunting or, often, just *being*. Relaxing, socializing. It's extraordinarily calm and peaceful.

Kale Hearthward can be seen walking along the south beach, picking up seashells, in the company of another bird that heretofore hasn't made an appearance. They're having an animated discussion (possibly an argument) about something or other.

Further upstream, there's a pink octopus, trying to assemble a bridge from a boxed kit, and having some trouble with it.

And off the coast of the north side of the island, there's a ship on the horizon, approaching at a steady clip. It looks like a beat up old tugboat.

Welcome back to New Horizons. How do you spend your day?
Shinnosuke Tomari The pink octopus is approached by one Shinnosuke Tomari, dressed in casual island wear instead of his usual detective coat and tie. He's been working on his tent, shaking trees and stuff, when he noticed someone having trouble assembling a bridge.

"Hey! Need any help there?" He looks what's over on the other side of the stream, and then moves over to them to give some aid if they indicate acceptance. A bridge would be nice.

Maybe it'd mean Go would stop wading through the water.
Bowser Bowser moves from one side of the sea-plane to the other, making it tip as he moves towards the dock, making Wilbur squawk furiously as the plane rushes back to the other side once Bowser lands on dock.

Energy is dense as his theme begins to play.

He surveys the island slowly, taking in one side to the other, letting his eyes roam over the houses, the trees, the small island relations building. All the way down across rivers and palm trees to the other side. Three goombas, wearing straw hats, and two koopas, wearing hawaiian shirts and board shorts, step out of the plane as well, struggling to hold the suitcase train. He roams steadily up the dock, boards creaking until he makes it onto the island.

Then, with a great long sigh, he holds his arms out, "Alright! Vacation time!"

Cut to crafting montage to make a bug net, then a hilarious montage of Bowser failing to catch bugs.

Go Shijima      Go is traipsing down the river, perhaps just in sight of Shinnosuke. With his camera around his neck and a net in hand, he's in search of a butterfly. He has indeed been wading, having earlier sought a pond skater, though he's at least wearing swim trunks today. No bees have harangued him today.

     "Hey, Big Bro Shin! Don't move." Thwack. Go whacks Shinnosuke in the back with the net, perhaps harder than was necessary to catch a butterfly. Still, it's caught. "Nice! Thanks."

     The pink octopus is given a friendly wave as, by some strange alchemy he's yet to understand, the bug is stored in his pocket without issue. "Yo! I'm Go. And this is Shinnosuke. Gotta say, it's pretty cool of you to put a bridge there, but I'm still gonna try and jump the river every now and then."
Reiuji and Rin There's some suspicious movements from the trees not far from where Kale and the unidentified bird are speaking. A slow and obvious glance in the direction of those movements has the ''''mysterious figures'''' retracting quickly and halting for a while. It only takes the slightest bit of subtle eye-shifting, though,  to catch Utsuho and Rin red-handed in the act of spying on the pair.

They do this from the top of a tree, lacking any sort of actual camouflage from other nearby trees. They're not subtle about it at all, either, as they're just sticking their heads out of it and chattering away to each other while staring right at Kale and the unknown bird.

Rin: "What're they sayin'? I can't hear a thing from here."
Utsuho: "I dunno. They're too far over there. We could just join them, you know."
Rin: "What? No! Then they might not let out anything juicy or do anything cool!"
Utsuho: "I'm pretty sure they're just grabbing stuff and talking."

They're not even being quiet about it.
Kale Hearthward "Yeah, I can't make heads or tentacles of these instructions, blurp," says the octopus, holding up the paper book of bridge instructions. "It's almost like it takes four hands to really put everything together... I've been working on this for hours and I could use some help, blurp."

The instructions consist of pictures of cartoon raccoons assembling the bridge plank by plank. It does indeed look like it takes more than just two hands... or, possibly, more than just one person.

And then Go hits Shin with a net. "Oh! That's... your brother, right, blurp?" asks the octopus. "Nice to meet you both, my name is Marina..."

"... Yeah - I wanted to make it a little easier to get around for everyone, so I got this bridge kit - you can still jump the river if you want, though! It's pretty cool looking when you do, blurp..."

Bowser's arrival causes a small stir, people watching the antagonist-coded turtle to see what he'll do... and then a small collective sigh of relief when he sets out to enjoy himself and relax.

As he's chasing after another bug, someone starts approaching him.

"Excuse me..." says the raccoon dog. "Mr... Bowser, or do you have a title you'd prefer?"

He extends a hand. "My name is Tom Nook, and I was hoping to have a moment of your time..."

Down on the beach, the two birds are engrossed in some conversation.

"I'm just saying - this is the first time in *four months* that I've gotten to see you in person," says Kale. "I even went back home, hoping to see you, and you were just so busy!"

"Well, can you blame me!" says the other bird, an eagle. "There's been just so much to do - I could barely get today free!"

"Don't tell me you don't have - subordinates, something, something that means you don't have to see to absolutely everything yourself," says Kale... pausing to glance over at the eavesdroppers, peering, trying to spot whoever it is that's making noise.
Reiuji and Rin Utsuho: "They don't sound too happy."
Rin: "What, really? Oh, so it is the juicy stuff!"
Utsuho: "Can't make out any of it, though."
Rin: "Then let's get closer!"
Utsuho: "But didn't you say...?"

It seems the choice is made for the pair as their critical failures at stealth means Kale's able to look straight at them by the time either Utsuho or Rin notice. They stare right back at Kale (and possible the eagle) for several long moments before the raven raises her hand to wave lightly while the cat somehow decides that hiding in the tree is even possible at this point in time.

It takes a little bit longer for them both to get down from there (mostly via Utsuho yanking on Rin's tails), but down they go and they actually approach the birds!

Utsuho: "Hey, Kale."
Rin: "Yo... Uh. You! Are you... /The one/ that Kale's mentioned?"
Utsuho: "You're making it sound like they're rivals or something."
Rin: "I mean, they might be! In certain areas."

As Rin snickers mischievously, Utsuho gives her a blank stare before shrugging and turning to the pair. "I'm Okuu, and that's Orin. Kale's... Maybe mentioned you a couple of times? Good stuff, not-"

She elbows Rin in the ribs once to get her to stop giggling. "-whatever she's thinking about. Are we interrupting a thing or whatever?" She pauses, looking a little more questioningly at the two. "Do you... Care? I remember hearing humans care about stuff like that, but I dunno about not-youkai birds."
Shinnosuke Tomari A bug net slams onto Shinnosuke's back. He's completely still. Marina can see his eyebrow twitching, but he doesn't get mad. No, he pretends it never happened.

"We're not related. It's a nickname he chose to call me." Emphasis on 'he chose'.

As the instructions are unfurled, Shinnosuke moves to take a look. "It's nice to meet you, Marina. Let's see if we can all do this together? If we use teamwork, we should be able to get it done."

If Go and Marina agree, Shinnosuke moves to see what they have to do, and gets to work constructing a bridge, plank by plank. "...wait, shouldn't the bridge just pop out like the tents? This is weird."
Bowser Bowser is wasting no time. He already has on his vacation shirt, he is peering at a coconut. Tom interrupts him just as there is a loud CRRRAAAAACK. The King turns around, crunching slowly.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Hard swallow.

"Love that island taste. KING Bowser." He throws in the other half of the coconut, chewing it down in less time.

Bowser's minions already have taken to fishing, staring quietly, as this is the only time they aren't regularly savagely beaten by a plumber.
Go Shijima      "Yeah," says Go to Marina, casting a grin Shinnosuke's way, "I'll have to tell you why, sometime, Marina. It's pretty funny!" Nevertheless, he affably finger guns at her, and seems quite willing to help with the bridge. He collects two of the stakes from the construction kit and makes a nimble long-jump across the river. As he lands, he tucks them both under his arm and gives Shinnosuke and Marina a thumbs-up with his free hand.

     "If it's the kind with rope, go ahead and toss it here."
Kale Hearthward > The beach

"The one Kale's mentioned? Oh, yes, then!" the new bird says, perking up. "I'm the-"

Kale elbows him. "He's my boyfriend," he says, cutting off whatever the other bird was about to say.

"- His boyfriend! Right! And nothing but that," new bird says, clearly a bad liar.

Kale sighs. "Reiuji, Rin, this is my boyfriend Zephyr - and you're not interrupting any conversations about anything *new*."

Zephyr looks sheepish. "I'm... very busy these days," he admits.

"So busy that it's been nearly *four months to the day* since I've seen you in person," Kale says.

> The other part of the beach, the one with coconuts

"KING Bowser, yes, thank you," says Nook. "I hope you are enjoying your stay here? Finding the coconuts agreeable? (I'm not certain that you're suppposed to eat them whole, but...)"

"I hope that if there's anything we can do to make your stay the best it can be, that you let me know... but also... if you're interested, I do have an opportunity for you here..."

> Bridge Construction Site

"Yeah! Jumping the river, blurb!" Marina cheers as Go jumps the river.

The coil of rope is tossed over. "Yeah, that's what I thought, but instead I just got this kit, and told that I'd have to put it together myself, blurb?" says Marina, as the three get to constructing. "I'm not sure I get the point..."

"Hey, cousins!" calls someone new, approaching from the north (the side Go's on now). "That's because there is no point!"

It's a fox, wearing an apron. "Wouldn't it be a lot easier if you could just... snap your fingers, get it all done, instead of all this pointless busywork with a 'bridge kit'? I'm right, aren't I, cousins? Name's Redd, Crazy Redd for short, hah hah hah hah!"

He's got a machine-gun laugh, one that causes his whole body to shake.
Bowser "It's finally time to unwind! I was thinking of making taking a few walks, having a few fish fries, building a small castle and plotting to marry Princess Peach, going for a swim." Bowser hmmms, "There isn't a cabana here, good thing I brought my own SODA!"

Opportunity?! Instantly, Bowser looks at Tom with the look of someone who CONSIDERS themselves to be very shrewd. Bowser straightens up, "That's true, not often I come over to your tiny island!"
Kale Hearthward "Fortuitious you mention building a castle - I'm not *certain* we have room for a full castle, but..."

There's a glint in Tom Nook's eye. "How would you feel about something a little less grandiose... like building a house here?"
Reiuji and Rin For some reason Utsuho doesn't quite seem to get, being told that Zephyr is Kale's boyfriend has Rin giggling even more (even after getting rib-elbowed a few more times).

Utsuho: "Kale mentioned that, yeah..."
Rin: "What's got you stuck, bro? Maybe me and Okuu can give ya a hand!"

Never mind interrupting. Rin's already eager to stick her and Utsuho's noses in, and  Utsuho just takes it in stride with a light shrug. "Yeah, if it's something we can blow up. Or if you need some corpses taken away somewhere. We always need more of those back home."

There's not a hint of joking in Utsuho's tone. She's relaxed, but she's completely serious about both those things. "Is it some kind of work thing? Because you picked a pretty good place to take a break from all that." Utsuho continues, breathing in deeply and enjoying that fresh beach air while her wings flap once behind herself/underneath her weird cape.

"I mean, it's not the same as home, but different is good sometimes."
Bowser Bowser leans forward, "A house?! A HOUSE?! I'M FRIGGIN BOWSER! I DON'T JUST HAVE A HOUSE!" He then straightens up again, a spark traveling from somewhere to his brain, rubbing at his chin, "Like a vacation house?" He begins to mutter quietly. Or that is, at a normal volume that he expects people won't listen to, because his head is slightly turned away as if he were speaking on the mission radio, "That would prove how good I am at interior design girly stuff, really sensitive and responsible."

"How muuuch?"
Go Shijima      Go looks between Marina and Shinnosuke when Redd appears. 'Crazy?' he mouths, brow knitted with slight concern.

     Looking back towards Redd, however, there is an interest mixed in. "Eh? Just like that?" Turning his camera off, he stands up straight after having driven one of the stakes, wiping his hands off. "I'm listening," he says. Of course Go is interested in the fast way. But he's also keenly aware, from his time in America, that if it sounds to good be true...

     "What's the catch?"
Shinnosuke Tomari As they're trying to build the bridge, Crazy Redd appears. Shinnosuke furrows his brow, but Go decides to hear him out, so he agrees. "If there's a way to do this faster, it'd be a boon. I bet Mr. Nook would appreciate it, too."
Kale Hearthward > Multiple Birds

Zephyr perks when Utsuho mentions helping. "Actually - if you'd like, we could always use more soldiers for-"

Kale elbows him *hard*. "Ixnay on the ecruiting-ray," he mutters. "What Zephyr means to say is that he'd rather not talk about work while he's out here with me, right?"

"Y-yeah, that's what I meant to say!" says Zephyr, unconvincingly.

> Nintendo Villain Conference

"How much? Oh, oh dear, King Bowser, you've seen *right* through my sales pitch, haven't you," says Tom Nook, looking wounded. "Clearly, I'm unable to get one over on you."

"I don't think there's a point to selling you a house now - the price you'd negotiate would bankrupt this poor raccoon. Tell you what, King Bowser," he says, voice dropping to a conspiratorial low. "How about you just go find a spot, I'll build your house gratis, and we'll keep that you got one over on me a little secret between us?"

> Bridge Building, Continued

"Catch? No catch, no catch! Do I look like a fox that has a catch, hah hah hah hah!"

(The answer is yes, he looks like a fox that has a catch.)

"Here! First one's free," says Redd, reaching into an apron pocket and pulling out a bridge token, which he tosses to Go. "Just toss that down, poof, bridge! No need to spend hours wrestling with that kit. Who has that sort of time for pointless labor with their hands, right?"
Bowser Bowser smirks as he straightens up, making his way towards the rest of the island, COMPLETELY UNAWARE of the hidden charges being racked up against him by the second. He takes his kit with a relish, slapping the tanuki hard on the back, "I like you, Tom! You know what's up around here!" He starts to trundle away.


Reiuji and Rin Rin finally settles down, but not before snickering again when Kale does to Zephyr what Utsuho's been doing to her. "Fair 'nough, bros. We'll worry about that stuff later when we're not here of all places. But for now... Let's do somethin' fun! Like... What were you two talkin' about before? Anything jui-"

And then Utsuho elbows Rin again, not even batting an eye while ducking down briefly to scoop the complaining cat over her shoulder like a potato sack. "What do /you/ do for fun, anyway? Me and Orin have been gathering lots of stuff and junk for our place, but... Uh. I mean, Kale's been around here for a while, but Zephyr's new, right?"

The raven flaps her wings again, then finally gets a mischievous smirk of her own. "You wanna fly around and look for people to freak out?" Rin seems to be in favor of that plan, if her excited and only slightly painted wriggling is any indication.
Go Shijima      He kinda does, yeah. Go extends his hand and catches it, turning the token over. He looks up, and begins dextrously rolling it across his fingers. "Thanks," he says with a knowing smile. "And the next one? How much is that?"

     After he has his answer, he tosses the token down, just like Redd said to do. He at least makes sure not to toss it right on top of where Marina had set up her little kit. It does appear right before Bowser's eyes.

     "Yo!" says Go, after the -poof- which surely heralds the appearance of a new bridge. "Yeah, we're neighbors. I live right over there," he says with a hint of satisfaction, pointing at a house just near the pond at the western portion of the river. "I'm Go. What's your name?"
Shinnosuke Tomari As there's 'no catch', Shinnosuke watches the bridge go down. He's waiting for a problem. Maybe it's a faulty bridge that will need to be repaired for a 'low low cost' or something.

When Bowser shows up, he squints, then waves. "Hey there, neighbor. Shinnosuke. Nice to meet you. You just get your tent from Nook?"
Kale Hearthward > BEACH

"Oh! Yeah, I have hobbies - I study engineering," says Zephyr, brightly. "It used to be my full-time thing, back when I was..." he says, and then trails off and looks to Kale for the correct cover story.

"Minor aristocracy," prompts Kale.

"Yeah, minor aristocracy," says Zephyr. "Not much to do but pick some skill or cause and get really good at it. But I gotta tell you - the multiverse being a thing now? Getting the knowledge share from thousands of other worlds? Really opens some doors! Did you know there's this new thing called 'Assembly Lines' - where instead of having, say, a blacksmith who does all the steps to turn unshaped unrefined iron ore into a sword, there's dozens of workers who each do *one step* in the process? So they don't have to be trained beyond anything more than that one step, you could literally just take people off the street and stick them in the factory and with like a day's training - if that - they just start working and sure it takes dozens of workers but once you get them set up those dozens of workers are being as productive as a dozen blacksmiths who have had to go through apprenticeships to get to where they are-"

Kale doesn't interrupt. This is safer territory than Zephyr's actual identity, apparently.

"- And, oh, don't get me started about standardized parts, and quality assurance - people whose *entire job* is to check the production line for proper tolerances and allowances and..."

It appears this bird has a lot to say about industry. "Actually- flying sounds good," Kale does interrupt after enough of this. "Want to go flying, Zephyr?"

"Oh, sure!" says the eagle, putting an arm around the hawk's shoulders and getting ready to hang on.


"Oh, you know, a couple thousand, pretty cheap for a whole bridge if you think about it," says Redd. "No construction required, as you can see! And no tricks!"

Indeed, the new bridge looks solid, fully formed, and without any faults in it.

"... Huh, I'd been working hours, trying to build the other one..." says Marina, looking over at the partially formed bridge kit. "And I was kinda looking forward to putting it together with the two brothers, blurb..."

"Ah - but this is much better! Putting together that bridge was just pointless busywork, wasn't it? And now you can use that time for other things?" prompts Redd.

"... I suppose, blurb?"

"And greetings, oh Koopa King!" calls Redd. "Let me guess - Nook's suckering you into putting a house down? Hah hah hah hah!"

Bowser looks at Shinnosuke and Go.

He puts on a mighty grin, "Yep! Going to move right in! Make myself a new fancy home with a well tended responsible garden!" As Go points out the spot, his face falls slightly. That was going to be HIS place. Over looking on the cliffside! Beautiful and serene! He squints one eye at Go, "I'm going to be moving in right next doo-."

His head snaps around to Redd. "What? Suckered?!" It is very clear to see the lever in Bowser's head begin to shift from 'go fishing' to 'whallop someone into the sun'
Reiuji and Rin Fortunately for Zephyr, neither Utsuho nor Rin are keen enough to really pick up on that prompting for a cover story. Unfortunately for Zephyr, neither Utsuho nor Rin are keen enough to really understand that he might be going on a bit too hard, and they're all too ready to join in with what little they're picking up.

Utsuho: "I wonder if that could work for other stuff."
Rin: "Like burnin' things?"
Utsuho: "Nah, it wouldn't get hot enough. And if it could..."
Rin: "You'd be outta the job."
Utsuho: "So would you! But... No, I was thinking more for making food."
Rin: "Oh, yeah! That'd be real useful, but kind of a waste back home."
Utsuho: "But you'd only need one good cook doing the quality thing, so that could be good."

On the plus side, it is a totally new thing for them to try learning, and they're certainly trying their hardest to keep up. When Kale brings up the topic of flying again, the youkai pair is already starting to float upwards before pausing to watch the eagle and hawk. They seem rather curious about something, almost as if they're waiting to see how they fly before starting to take off themselves.

Utsuho: "Looks like everyone else is over there with... Some giant turtle?"
Rin: "And a fox! How do you wanna scare 'em all? Divebomb?"
Utsuho: "Dropping stuff?"
Rin: "Coming down with dramatic poses?"
Kale Hearthward >BRIDGE

"Yeah, suckered - I figured out his game here, cousin," says Redd, smoothly sidling up to the large turtle and putting his arm around - well, not his shoulders, he can't reach, but part of his shell.

"He gets ya to put down roots here - and then you're stuck, running around, doing all of these 'island chores' like you're some sorta rube. I can spot a rube a mile away, and let me tell ya, I knew what you were the moment I saw ya - you're not a rube, cousin. You're smart."

"So - hey, you look like a 'bigger than a house guy'. What's your thing. Forts? Castles? Doom Temples? And all those minions runnin' around look like they're yours too - Tell ya what you should do, cousin, use your minions and build something really big and strong - big and strong like you are - and start throwin' your weight around here. Who needs a little dinky house, am I right? What would you even do in it, rearrange the furniture?"


Kale kicks his heels together, and his jet boots activate, smoothly lifting him and Zephyr up into the air.

"I mean, dive bombing them feels kind of mean, doesn't it?" says Kale. "But what I do have..."

He reaches into his vest, and pulls an armload of things out, handing them around....
Go Shijima      Hmm...

     Go frowns, looking between Redd, Marina and Shinnosuke.

Ah. Geez. I shoulda asked before I did that...

"Sorry," he says quietly to Marina, rubbing the back of his head, eyes down.

     When Bowser announces that he's going to move in, he's able to smile, and gives a thumbs up, though he does blink when Bowser gives him the stink eye. "Next door? Cool..." 'Cool' is uttered with a high degree of uncertainty. He's fairly sure he knows what that look meant, after all...

     "Hey, Mr. Nook might have finessed Kale into buying this place, but he's been surprisingly fair. Nobody where I live would give somebody a house just for being friendly and sending letters!" He blinks incredulously at Redd, then looks back at Bowser.

     "No way this is a Doom Castle guy! He's so nice!" Except for the stinkeye, but that's perhaps understandable. There is the fact that he's big and horned and loud and all, but that's no reason to assume someone is a Doom Castle guy.
Bowser Normally, this is where Bowser would be INSTANTLY SWAYED BY REDD. But Go does bring up a point, and he IS on vacation.

Still, Redd easily has his hooks into Bowser by appealing to his incredibly large ego, "I COULD build a pretty good castle down here, plenty of trees to rip down, lots of rocks. I'm pretty smart, I could build a whole fortress out of just whatever is lying around this island!"
Kale Hearthward "You COULD! You could just take this whole place over, couldn't you? Just don't take any bull from the raccoon, got it?"

Redd seems realize he's getting some resistance, and switches targets over to Go. "Writing letters, though? What does he gain from you writing letters, cousin? It really just feels like he's making you jump through hoops for-"

"TSUNEKICHI REDD!" calls Tom Nook, from the other side of the river. He'd come looking to see how Bowser and the others were doing, and now he's standing there glaring at the fox.

The fox in question remains frozen for a moment. "Ah. It appears I have been spotted by the striped one, cousins," he says, one arm still over Go's shoulders. "Thomas Nookington!" he calls back. "See, I can yell full names too!"

"I thought I told you-!" Nook has started stomping his way over, but then pauses and visibly composes himself, adjusting his clothing and taking a deep breath. "Tsunekichi. I thought I had made my feelings regarding never seeing you again quite clear on our last parting."

"Ah - but new day, cousin!" says Redd. "New day, new opportunities, New Horizon! Hah hah hah hah. It's been years - decades, even, why not let bygones be bygones!"
Reiuji and Rin Rin: "Oh, those boots are so cool!"
Utsuho: "Huh. You don't fly with your wings?"
Rin: "I don't even have wings and I fly."
Utsuho: "Yeah, but they're birds."

As the topic of typecasting birds lingers in the back of Utsuho's mind, the pair are given the mysterious THINGS that have both of the youkai snickering fairly soon afterwards. "Maybe a little." Utsuho replies with a light shrug, circling around with Rin to find a good dropping angle.

Specifically dropping, too, since the idea of throwing the balloons apparently doesn't occur to either of them. Why would it? It's not like they've ever seen these things before. They're pretty good at aiming their drops, though, as water balloons begin falling in strangely neat patterns around the group of prospective bridge/castle/home buyers and seller! Some might even land directly on someone, but their focus seems to be getting everything around everyone wet rather than specifically hitting anybody in particular.

Utsuho: "What do you think they're talking about down there, anyway?"
Rin: "Who knows? You wanna get closer?"
Utsuho: "After we finish with these. Or whenever they're bored. These things explode pretty good."
Bowser There is a moment where Bowser looks incredibly awkward. Listen, punching people when they are talking normally is one thing. But interrupting a lover's spat is an entirely different thing. There is a moment where Bowser sort of shuffles around in his brain his various mental action cards.

Get Mad at Someone.
Beat Someone Up.
Claim Victory.
Demand Praise.

Bowser points a huge finger at Tom Book, "Yea, HE said I'm going to have to WRITE LETTERS. And I don't WRITE LETTERS! I'm the BOSS! If I want to go catch butterflies, that's what I'm going to do!"
Bowser This anger is short lived. As Bowser is hit with a waterballoon. He turns around with a scowl, his face bunching up, "WHO DID THAT!?" He starts looking up and around, "You can't get away with that!" He immediately turns away from the conversation and begins to hustle towards his minions, "Where is my water cannon, get out the water cannon!"
Kale Hearthward Water balloons start falling all around in a danmaku pattern. Everyone gets wet. It *sort of* works as dramatic rain for the confrontation between Redd and Nook.

"If you want to catch butterflies instead of writing letters, go ahead," says Nook, who's too offput to do much finesse on Bowser right now. "Redd - I need you to leave. Now."

"Ah, what's the rush, cousin? It's been years! Hey, big guy," he slaps Bowser on the back, and then immediately regrets doing so. "Don't you want to know what's up? Why he's so eager to make you write letters?"

"I'm not making him write letters, I'm not making him or anyone do anything that they don't want to," says Nook.

"Yeah, sure, and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you," says Redd, as he wraps bandages around the palm of his hand.

"You just - you literally just sold a - nevermind," says Nook.

UP ABOVE: Zephyr takes aim and launches a water balloon that pops on one of Bowser's back spikes. "Hah - this is fun. Reminds you of the Quicknest Blitz, right?" he asks Kale. "Flying in, dropping down on the unsuspecting?"

"... Maybe," says the hawk, taking aim with another balloon.
Reiuji and Rin When Bowser shouts with righteous indignation, Utsuho cracks a shit-eating grin while raising her hand in a casual wave. Meanwhile, Rin's just laughing outright, and both of them are looking considerably more excited when he calls for the water cannon.

Seeing another chance from delicious DRAMA with what's going on between Nook and Redd, however, Utsuho keeps that dramatic sort-of-rain going with a steady ring of water balloons (until she runs out) while descending slowly, both to try and hear where this all goes while also keeping an eye out for that water cannon (because of course she wants to see a cannon)

Rin, meanwhile, keys in on the conversation between Kale and Zephyr. "Is that more work stuff, guy? Or some mysterious past business that you were tryin' to keep on the down low?" She asks abruptly, thankfully keeping her voice somewhat low so as to not draw (too much) attention.
Bowser Bowser is fishing through his suitcase, ignorant to Redd's pain. He shuffles around within a set of suitcases, finally pulling out a standard single pump water gun that you might use in a pool or a beach. He starts looking around quickly, head whipping back and forth for a source of water. THE RIVER. Bowser sticks the tip of the gun into the river and pulls the end back.

Then, taking aim up into the sky, Bowser presses the gun back together. Poorly aimed, yes, but the rocket shoots out like a bullet under the superior demon turtle strength, rocketing up into the sky! He goes for another pass at the river, only to pause.

"Yea, WHY do I have to write letters? Is this some kind of summer camp?"
Go Shijima      "...he gives you stuff for catching the butterflies, too," Go helpfully adds, glancing towards Bowser. "Pretty much all the stuff I was already gonna do to relax, really. Y'know... come to think of it, paying money for something I could do for free just doesn't compare, even if it is faster. Thanks for the free bridge, though!" He claps Redd right back on the shoulder.

     He's more or less calm, until a water baloon flies near him, nearly splattering on his camera. Go 'has' to do a crazy backflip to avoid it--and it ends up splattering him squarely in the back. "Hey! Careful with those," he shouts, hurrying off towards his house to save the camera from a watery grave.
Kale Hearthward "Heh, 'work stuff' - yeah, that was his job!" says Zephyr, aiming another water balloon. "East Wind Regalia! One of the Gale Empire's elites! Rode in on the vanguard, swords drawn, dropping straight down on the Empire's foes with nothing but a single airship mooring tether for safety... He made quite a sight! You should have seen it."

"And yet - all that's behind me now, isn't it," Kale says, pausing his own water balloon assault to give Zephyr a pointed glance.

"... Ah, we... did both agree we weren't having that conversation," Zephyr points out.

"... Yes, we did," Kale admits.

This seems to be a sore point.

Down on the ground, Redd seizes on the opportunity. "Yeah! Why *does* he have to write letters, cousins? Tell them, Nook! Tell them!"

"Redd - leave. Now," says the raccoon, crossing his arms.

"Freedom of speech, cousin! Can't forbid these people from talking to me!"

"... That may be, but I *can* kick you off and forbid you from the island. You're trespassing now." Nook crosses his arms.

"Ah, well, he does have a point. You got it, cousin, I won't so much as *set foot* onto the island anymore... You fine people have a good day, and don't let the mean raccoon take too much of your money, hah hah hah hah hah..." Redd machine gun laughs as he heads up north, leaving.

"... And I'll be in my office," says Nook. "Trying to dry off. King Bowser, please let me know where you'd like your house. Mr. Shijima, apologies for the interruption, and I'll reimburse you for whatever he charged you for that bridge," says Nook, turning and leaving as well...
Reiuji and Rin With everyone starting to go their separate ways, Utsuho and Rin are left to listen to the various things going on: Of Kale's past and his disinterest in speaking about it, of some kind of bad blood between Redd and Nook, and of sick backflips and watery bullets that are better seen/felt and not just heard.

Utsuho: "That's a job alright. But... Hm. I think I kinda get not being too into it. It's wrok and not a... Uh. What's that word?"
Rin: "Hobby?"
Utsuho: "Yeah, that. It's probably better that you stopped if it sucked."

Rin: "Freedom of whatnow?"
Utsuho: "Is that a thing?"
Rin: "Probably not. You kept hittin' me when I was talking about those birds getting it o-"

Despite buckling over at getting elbowed by Utsuho (again), she still manages to cheer along with the raven at the sick backflip.

They might also be plotting to sneak into more pictures some time.

Utsuho: "... Ohoh. Now that's more like it! Come on, big guy!"
Utsuho retaliates with a hurled water balloon of her own, finally aiming it specifically at someone and hurling it with all thestrength she can muster! Sadly, her aim is pretty bad, too, especially since throwing something so weirdly shaped and light is hard enough without gravity and the like making it harder. Also, it's her last balloon. Their watery battle is probably not going to be very long lived at that rate. If nothing else, though?

This was a fun day, too.