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posted this
Time ago

Apparently Nickelodeon's doing Hey Arnold! and Rugrats NFTs, which is already bad, but I swear to God if they make Spongebob NFTs I'll get so mad I'll pop a blood vein, die and then haunt their asses.

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So from the Minecraft Live 2021 stream...

...we know that sculk is able to spread/grow from slaying mobs around a sculk catalyst, and that when a sculk shrieker calls out enough, it will summon the Warden, who pops out from the sculk growth. Then the Warden and sculk are made from the dead. Creepy! (Especially considering how much sculk we see in these ancient cities...)

Something I noticed in the stream was the soul particle effect around the sculk catalyst after it spread––the same we see when we are running on soul sand/soil with the Soul Speed enchant. Perhaps soul sand/soil and sculk are of a similar breed––made from the dead. The main difference is that sculk releases the soul (it only needs the body to grow) while soul soil/sand traps the soul until it is forceably released somehow.

That would also imply that the Warden and Wither are incredibly similar, both made from these material sourced from the dead. In both cases, you technically choose when to summon it (for the Warden, if you decide to be cautious, you should never see it). A main difference, I feel, is that the Wither is made from the dead and undead, while the Warden is made from the dead and living.

Dead and living? Why do I think that for the Warden? Well, I don't think it's entirely coincidental that the Warden and axolotl were announced at the same time and have some similar features...

Time ago

Okay, so in looking up info about Colonel Sanders to confirm something, I'm just now finding out that the Colonel Sanders mascot is based off of the founder of KFC who is literally called Colonel Sanders and has since passed.

Imagine founding a franchise, dying and then having your image used as a mascot by said franchise. What the fuck.


Okay, so it seems like real-life Sanders leaned into the marketing of his image when he was alive so it's not like it came out of left field after his death but. Still weird.

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Okay, so in looking up info about Colonel Sanders to confirm something, I'm just now finding out that the Colonel Sanders mascot is based off of the founder of KFC who is literally called Colonel Sanders and has since passed.

Imagine founding a franchise, dying and then having your image used as a mascot by said franchise. What the fuck.

intrepid-inkweaver(Any Pronouns)
Time ago

A party of adventurers comes upon a town fearfully speaking of the newly-discovered Illithid hive living in a cavern system nearby. The leaders of the town promise to pay the adventurers well to rid them of this threat. The adventurers have heard all of the horror stories of the feared and hated mind-flayers and know what a threat they pose to the innocents of the town. They agree to the terms readily, and prepare for a dangerous encounter.

As they're stealthing through the tunnels, they come upon a group of Illithid and prepare to fight for their lives, but to their surprise, the Illithid run, terrified, and one trips and falls. The other runs back to try to help them, but is unable to get them to their feet before the adventurers are upon them. Rather than trying to fight, they merely cover their partner in a desperate attempt to protect them, their tentacles flashing to bright colors, as though in a desperate attempt to warn predators of poison.

The rogue stops the over-zealous paladin from striking out at the pair. A safe distance away from the dangerously wiggling tentacles, she crouches down and begins to speak to the pair. They are terrified of those from the surface--only death ever comes with them. Even the children are not spared their wrath. Troubled, the rogue looks up at the now-calmer paladin, who explains that people fear the Mind-flayers who hunt them and devour the brains from their skulls--even children are not spared.

The younger Illithid, the one who had tripped, shakes her head angrily. “You give all of us the traits of a few,” she says, her tentacles flashing to an angry hue.

They extract promises that the adventurers will harm no one--will not draw their weapons, even, if they lead them to their colony. The party agrees out of curiosity and upon the promise that they themselves will not be harmed. The underground city is deep below the surface--the reason the town above had not known of it’s presence until recently. The architecture is beautifully carved and uniquely alien to anything they have seen before. There is a statue in the town square that the paladin recognizes as the god of compassion and outcasts--though in this depiction, he is an Illithid.

Town elders agree to a meeting with the outsiders, and it is explained that not all Illithid live the way of their violent cousins. The idea that Illithid must consume the brains of sentient creatures is a myth perpetuated by those who would force all their people into conflict with the other races; and continued by those who hate and fear them. The brains of livestock animals work just fine for a meal for them, and the remainder of the meat is traded with a friendly town of duergar a couple of miles away.

After the meeting, the rogue sits outside looking down at the city square deep in thought, wondering if the people above were even willing to listen past their fears and preconceived notions. The paladin comes out to join her and takes her hand. “It’ll take time and care, but nothing worth happening has ever been done without some kind of difficulty.”

She nods, and the next day, they head to the surface, an Illithid ambassador in tow.

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Time ago

A few miscellaneous Super Mario headcanons except there's a focus on Prof. Kolorado for some reason (some angst in point 4):

1) Peach and Daisy met as young kids while Daisy's Dads and Toadsworth discussed political stuff. It was kind of a "friends at first sight" sort of deal.

2) Pom Pom and Boom Boom are siblings, or at least have a sibling-like relationship.

3) Professor Kolorado and Professor Toad attended the same college (University of Goom?) and received at least some teaching under Professor Frankly. Professor Toad eventually transferred to a different college, though, and began to focus his studies on the Ancient Ones.

3a) They have a bit of a friendly rivalry because of this. You can bet your coins that Professor Toad got Captain T. Ode to come with him to Koopa Village just to be like "Look who I found! :)" to Kolorado.

3b) Kolorado, in response, was just like, "You got yourself a boyfriend?"

4) At the end of TTYD, (Paper?) Mario goes to Koopa Village and delivers the note of Kolorado's dead father that he found in Hooktail's Castle to Kolorado. It's not a very happy moment.

4a) It does give Kolorado a bit of a wake up call with regards to his exploration trips without telling his wife of his whereabouts. What if he were to game-over somewhere and his wife were left to wonder about whether he was still alive somewhere? He couldn't do that to her.

4b) So Kolorado's agreed to spend more time at home and to tell his wife when he's off on an adventure.

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Time ago

Good news: Mario didn't die in the recent reveal trailer!

Bad news: A lot of others got thrown into a volcano, so.

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Headcanons over various Maryo characters

1) Kamek is actually also fine with she/her pronouns.

2) He's a licensed masseuse... it's part of how he became friends with Broque Madame.

3) She used to be the adviser to the past king, who ruled as a dictator over what used to be called the Metal Kingdom. Her opinion on him before he kicked the bucket? Eh, not so favorable, to put it lightly.

4) Shortly after the past king's death, a stork brought Bowser to Kamek. He was brought about by the collective wishes of everyone, including Kamek, for a better king (this headcanon from @tigertoony as seen from this post!).

4a) Bowser sometimes refers to the past Metal Kingdom king as "grandpappy" in a joking manner, despite there being no actual familial relations between the two. Kamek doesn't really like the joke.

5) Bowser has called Kamek both "Mom" and "Dad" before, although he usually just says Kamek.

6) Tatanga tried to kidnap Daisy again after the first time, but because it was no longer a surprise, she'd punt him into the atmosphere using a tennis racket whenever he tried. He's kinda learned by now it's a lost cause.

6a) Tatanga actually had one last ditch effort where he instead kidnapped Luigi because of his friendship with Daisy, which was an incredibly bad idea because he then had both Mario and Daisy racing to kick his butt. (Daisy won that race.)

7) She was actually the one who came up with the "Big Red" nickname for Mario.

8) She has two dads: Emperor Yarrow and Emperor-Consort Gruff. Yarrow is, of course, from the royal line while Gruff is a non-royal from Jewelry Land.

9) Bucken-Berry and Ala-Gold are dating. They got together shortly after NSMBW.

10) Buck isn't really a fan of the Super Cat power-up (mainly because of the costume). It's powerful, though, so he begrudgingly uses it.

11) Mary O.'s real name is Mashiko, while Mary O. is a nickname she earned from her fascination and vast knowledge of level building (and her celebrity crush on Mario).

12) Mary O. does a lot of work designing levels for many kingdoms. Bowser is one of her most frequent employers.

12a) Yamamura used to do that a lot as well, but he's since retired and turned his energies into educating the next generation of level designers, like Nina.

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Some Rosalina headcanons, which inevitably means sad-canons

(Warning for death mention in nearly all bullets and angst.)

1) Some different language versions of Super Mario Galaxy state that Rosalina had a father and a brother. After the death of her mother, Rosalina met a Luma and they both went into space in search for their mothers, which means that her father and brother were left behind.

2) It wasn't intentional on her part. She was a young girl deep in denial and was desperate to find her mother.

3) Rosalina has her regrets concerning her father and brother, now. As she has been in space for centuries, it is a guarantee that they've both died from at least old age.

4) Another thing to point out: Rosalina's time among the stars has empowered her with some of the qualities of them, such as levitation and slow/long aging.

5) Unbeknown to Rosalina and the Lumas, Polari is actually the reincarnation of her father. The Luma that is by Mario's side in SMG is the reincarnation of her brother.

6) A common belief on the Mushroom Planet and beyond is that when people die (and don't become ghosts), they become stars.

7) Rosalina is royalty (specifically a princess), although her kingdom has long since faded away into history.

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@kvistwig commented on this post: [Johnny is a] cursed name. makes me wonder about the other name tag easter eggs. maybe name tags are enchanted in a sense?

Ooh, interesting thought.

Perhaps names do hold some power. Enchanting mobs is a thing as we see in Minecraft Dungeons, but perhaps in the current state of Minecraft, mob enchantment is at a very, very preliminary stage––proto-magic, let's call it.

It's a nice show to kids to make a sheep turn rainbow or a rabbit black-and-white and a funny prank to make people go upside-down (though perhaps a little cruel to do it to those prone to motion sickness). One just has to be persistent in referring to and thinking of the individual as said name. In that sense, then, it's very easy to flub up and make the enchantment go away.

The name "Johnny" would definitely be unpopular among illagers, with the odd few either taking on the name as edgy teenagers or their parents believing the rumors aren't true and Johnny is a nice name. None of these Johnnys have had the same bloodlust as the rumored one, mainly because they aren't the Johnny. Though perhaps the vindicators named Johnny do go a bit more out of their way to clear out mobs most others wouldn't care about...

Otherwise, there isn't much to mob enchantments yet, although some are pursuing research in this area.

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Time ago

An illager headcanon (a little horror):

For those that don't know, there's a Minecraft easter egg where if you name a vindicator Johnny, they'll become hostile toward any non-illager mob, when normally they only aggro on players and villagers (and wandering traders, I believe?).I know this is in reference to The Shining, but here's an idea: perhaps there is a widespread rumor among illagers of a serial killer who went by the name Johnny? Johnny was said to have gone through entire illager covens before eventually either dying themself or "retiring" in a sense and living in some remote place.

Whether or not the rumor actually has even a degree of merit is debated.

Time ago

Waiting for the Smash reveal... I hope Mario gets in!


Mario didn't die in this Smash reveal! Unprecedented.

Time ago

Corpses of the past

rise and walk the overworld.

They crave Player flesh.


Lurking beneath waves,

the drowned wait to pull sailors

to watery graves.


Buzzards peck away

at the hollow husks of men

buried in the sand.

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Time ago

The Village & Pillage update trailer video made by Element Animations in the style of Villager News leads us to believe that Villager News is therefore canonical in the world of Minecraft. However, take note that in said trailer video, Villager #4 is present, but in "VILLAGER NEWS: WAR!", he canonically dies (maybe). So the trailer video had to take place before the events of "WAR!"

However, in the "WAR!" video, there is a joke where a villager comes mid-disaster to say that new updates have come out (that is, the Village & Pillage and the Buzzy Bees updates). We notice that none of the other villagers, including Villager #4, are wearing the new clothes in the "WAR!" video, so all of this leads us to the conclusion that the villagers have not yet updated. Yet, in the trailer video, they have. We have ourselves a paradox. Thus, the trailer video is not canonical.

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Time ago

So not only is Nickelodeon planning for one spin-off from Spongebob Squarepants, Kamp Koral, but they're apparently planning a second one called the Patrick Star Show.

Awful. Not because spin-offs are inherently bad, but because they do this after Stephen Hillenburg's death, when the reason why we never had any spin-offs during his time is that he didn't want them. Fuck Nickelodeon.

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That Pact Dynamic When ur patron is a LG bureaucrat and ur a moody teen


[id: a three-panel comic in which Luka, a ghaya made of starlight with cyan fire atop his head; and Mal, a human teenager with brown skin, vitiligo, dark choppy hair partly dyed magenta, and round glasses; sit on a couch together. They appear to be relaxed. Luka wears a pink sweater, darker pants, and a sparkly space-bi scarf. Mal wears cuffed jeans, plain socks, a purple shirt, and a sparkly crop jacket matching Luka's scarf. Mal sits leaning against Luka with their head on his shoulder. Both of Mal's legs are up on the couch, one folded up towards their chest, knee supporting their sketchbook as they draw in it. Luka is reading a book he holds in one hand. Both sit in contented silence.


"Mmyeah?" Luka says distractedly, eyes still on his book.

Mal wraps one arm around their sketchbook, leans their head further back onto his shoulder and looks up. "If I kill someone, do you have to do paperwork?"

Luka's fire turns a darker color as he smiles nervously and cartoon sweat forms on his face. "UM-"

The 'bonus' image shows, later, Luka sitting at a desk wearing his full glittery coat. His brother Zak, a shadowy creature with four red eyes and three arms, sits next to him, wearing a fancy outfit with loose off-the-shoulder sleeves and a gold necklace and bracers. Zak's head rests on one hand and he is smiling.

"You must regret not letting me keep them, huh?" Zak says teasingly, flicking the collar of Luka's jacket.

Unamused, Luka does not look up from the stack of papers he is currently working on. "No."

end id.]

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Time ago

Apparently the PogChamp emote has been removed from Twitch on account of the face of the emote, Ryan "Gootecks" Gutierrez, encouraging the takeover of Capitol Hill through Twitter, going so far as to call the woman who died a MAGA martyr.

The emote won't be gone forever; Twitch is apparently planning to have a pool of new faces for the emote which would change each day.


Time ago

Ranguvar Foeseeker (shaded)

(technically, the continuation of this)

Tonight we strike, there is thunder in the sky
Together we'll fight, and some of us will die
But we'll always remember that we made a stand
And many will die by my hand!

(i do icon commissions in this style!)

Time ago

The Other.


Word count: 502 words

Tags: Angels and demons, siblings

The days before Tamiel fell, you were away.

You and others had been given the task of capturing a group of demons that had taken a liking to possessing human bodies and freezing them to death. Technically, it wasn't your fault.
But even if your soul trembles at that kind of thought, you cannot help but feel that you were away from your sibling fo far too long.

The moment that Tamiel fell, you felt it in your core. Your halo burned against your head and your wings itched with a distant panic that did not belong within you.
Your inmediate thought was that your twin was dying (and you were right, in a sense).

Tamiel had fallen to the abyss, their wings scorched and their halo breaking its holy form.

You made yourself seem untroubled. You weren't worried about your twin, you were dissappointed on a fellow watcher for falling to the sins of the flesh. You closed your soul and continued with your duties without showing your attachment. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts

(and you berated yourself for letting your other one out of your sight. you wondered if their wings ended up useless. you wondered if they were in pain)

You wanted to see them.

And when you got out of your superior watchers many eyes in an unsaid and mostly unfelt concern that you would fell along your other, that's what you did.

You went down to the Earth, folded your wings, camouflagged your halo and started searching for them amongst the other fallen.

You found them in a forest clearing. Even when given up their holy form, you could still feel them near you. You had spent too much time by their side.

Seated on a burned trunk they were, and you inspected them. Their wings were black as charcoal, the left one in the worse state of the two, and you wanted to caress them. Their hair was, although still long, shorter than yours now, the tips burned and uneven, partialy covering their face.
They now had horns instead of a halo, the tips almost touching on a circle but not quite and your soul aches and regrets to have forgone your disguise when you felt them near.

That, coupled with a cuestionable human wear, made them look ragged and wild, a dangerous creature that still blended between the dark forest, almost unrecognizable from what they were before.

You do not want to search for their face. They don't move when you arrive, your presence lowering the temperature of the clearing even more, but you know that they know that you are here.

You spent several minutes in silence and with each passing one you feel more out of place, your clear and big aparience a striking contrast on your other's. You were starting to suspect that they were ignoring you on purpose so that you would leave until you heard a small, hoarse voice.

'Are you here to lecture me, holy one?"

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(Discussion of zombies/zombie virus in the context of Minecraft. Death mention warning.)

Is there a zombie virus in Minecraft? Well, there's a strong point in the theory's regard: when a villager is slain by a zombie, they have a 50% chance on normal difficulty to be converted to a zombie villager. Okay, cool, makes sense. A zom-zom nom-noms on a villager and boom, new zombie! ...Well, that's usually what happens.Consider the case where you have a Drowned with a trident, specifically in Java Edition where they are only able to throw a trident as an attack. They'll still go after villagers as they're a zombie subtype, meaning a Drowned can kill a villager through ranged attacks alone, without ever having touched the villager. In this case, the villagerstill has the chance to become a zombie villager. That doesn't seem like the work of a virus.

It's also important to note that villagers are not the only mobs who are subject to zombification. Piglins will also zombify––but not because of an attack from zombified piglins. Zombie piglins don't even show interest in piglins. (In fact, I think the only possible scenario that a zombified piglin would attack a non-zombie piglin would be if a piglin shot their crossbow and accidentally shot a zombie piglin.) Instead, if a piglin leaves the Nether, even for a short moment, they'll zombify. The same occurs to hoglins.

Also worth noting is that another case of zombification is when lightning strikes a pig––it'll become a zombified piglin!

Alright, so what's the connection? Well, think back to the lightning. What happens when lightning strikes entities other than a pig? A villager becomes a witch, a creeper becomes charged, and a turtle... becomes bowls. Lightning has the peculiar ability to imbue powers/change the forms of entities it hits. One could call this ability magical or supernatural.

Zombification isn't a virus––it's a curse. Villagers become their worst nightmare. Piglins can never leave the Nether. Pigs take on a rotten, warped form. But who put this curse on the worlds of Minecraft?

Well, there is one entity who destroys all in its path, excluding the undead; one who also has its strange quirk of transforming the dead into something else, specifically black roses that inflict slow death; one whose image is engraved on red sandstone and paintings... the Wither.

Something to note: in Java when there were achievements and not advancements, the achievement for either summoning or defeating the Wither was called "The Beginning?" in contrast to the "The End?" achievement. Almost as if the Wither was responsible for creating the zombie problem in "the beginning"...

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In Hell I'll Be In Good Company

A bit of an outdated headcanon used in this fic, but hey.

Fandom: Minecraft

Summary: While in a Nether Fortress, Steve contemplates a Wither skeleton.

Rating: Rated T for Teens

Warnings: Some violence; Discussion of death; Death of a mob

Genre: Angst

Word Count: 623

The cobblestone blocks placed across the four hallways that crossed each other did exactly what Steve had intended. A withered skeleton, its bones blackened and twisted and barely held together, caught sight of Steve where he sat cross-legged in the middle of the four hallways, and rushed toward him. Its bones made a dull clatter against the stone as it ran straight into it, its eye sockets peering above the one-and-a-half-block high wall. Steve canted his head up, and the two stared at each other.

Steve grunted as he stood up, still gazing at the creature. He found it odd how passive the mobs would become once they realized they couldn't get to him––he would even say they looked peaceful, curious, examining him like he did with them. But he also knew the moment the wall was down, the mob wouldn't hesitate to kill him.

"You gonna stay there?" he asked.

Of course, just like every other mob, even with the intelligent testificates and piglins, the Wither skeleton didn't understand him. It simply watched him.

He raised his diamond sword, making it gleam in the light of the lava source in the middle of the room. "You know I've killed thousands of you, right?"

It mindlessly opened and closed its jaw, showing off its few remaining hole-ridden teeth.

He lowered the weapon, his faraway gaze dropping to the floor. "And you've killed thousands of me."

It clattered, and Steve took it as acknowledgment of his words.

"You don't know that, though," he continued. "As far as you know, this is the first time you've ever seen me."

He paused a beat, eyeing the creature. It was a miracle it could even stand, let alone walk and run. Its bones looked brittle enough that Steve could just reach over and snap any with ease. It would be a bad idea, however; instantly, whatever had overtaken the skeleton would seep into Steve's skin and make his muscles feel like they were being chewed into. He knew how painful it was to die that way.

A pang of guilt and pity hit Steve. "I know words don't really mean much to you anymore, but I'm sorry this is what you've become. I... I really am."

It said nothing in return.

"Maybe... Maybe I can make it up to you. One day." He let out a long sigh. "Another world. Not this one. The world, not just this one, it's still so... damaged. It's recovered so much, but it still needs to heal." Steve glanced to the right hallway, which opened up to reveal hundreds of blocks of Nether wastes. A distant grumble emanated from the red fields.

He then closed his eyes, took a breath and opened them again, raising his sword once more. "Well, I have a temporary solution for now, at least."

One sideways swing was all it took for its skull to fly off, its body crumbling and breaking off into soot and ash. Surprisingly, the skull didn't turn to ash, and instead clanked against the brick flooring and rolled, stopping next to the hallway wall. Steve raised a brow as he took down the wall and made his way to the skull, bending down to look at it. As the Wither skeleton was dead, its withering effect had died with it, letting Steve pick its skull up without any pain.

Steve stared into its sockets. "It has been a while since I've defeated the Wither," he mused. "I guess you could consider that another temporary solution."

Knowing that it truly wasn't a solution at all to the world's hurt, he tucked the skull underneath his arm and began his walk out of the fortress, thinking of the past the whole while.

Time ago

Turbamentum, Chapter One, "Death and Gyoza"

(Warning: Turbamentum and all associated stories in the Mailbox Continuum are YA stories and include themes often seen in those stories. Major things will be tagged the first time they pop up, and specific tags will be added if needed. If you have anything you'd like me to tag, don't be afraid to ask.)

“This is obviously foul play,” I say, clicking my pen to take notes on the clipboard I’m balancing on my arm.

“That’s the obvious assumption. Ties to Illium, violent cause of death- it seems simple enough to figure out it was a murder, and why he was killed,” says Willoe, examining the body with me.

Let’s take this back a step, shall we?

My name is Staeza Namer, and I work for the Citadel, a company that tries to keep the world’s peace when it comes to supernatural affairs. In this company, I’m a Lily, and I’m no ordinary Lily.

I’ve been solving the mysteries and murder cases of the Citadel for about two years now, ever since I stumbled on a cold case and brought the culprit to justice. And I’m d/mn good at my job if I say so.

The lady helping me look over the corpse is Willoe, and she’s been my assistant for about a month now. She’s still getting the hang of looking at pictures of dead bodies for work, but she’s coming along nicely.

Today starts the twenty-fourth case I’ve been assigned, and it’s a doozy.


Victim’s Name: Vopare Lumina Vex

Victim’s Age: 40

Victim’s Race: Sylph

Victim’s Job: Violet

CAUSE OF DEATH: Violent blow to the back of the head and neck

Suspected foul play due to relation to Illim Vex, the current Venus and head of the Citadel

Seems simple, right? Find out who has issues with Illium or Vopare, interview, and bring in the culprit!

Well, no, this is a murder case involving a direct relative to the head of a company that is spread around the world. Nobody with the guts to pull a murder this bold would be dumb.

And that’s where I come in. It’s my job to find out who did this and why, and bring the story to a close.

I stand up from the crouch I was in and walk over to the restaurant across the street, flashing the tattoo on my wrists to the guards outside the door for entry. Inside stands Illium Vex, current Venus and leader of the lovely Citadel, their arms crossed in anger and grief.

“Find out anything useful yet?” they ask me, frowning.

“Not yet, except that we both agree this was intentional. We’ll need to do an autopsy and further examination before I can say anything concrete. Except…”


“The alley the body is in- it’s in such plain view of the street. I would say this was just a murder to be a murder, but Sylphs like you could usually take such traumas to the head and survive. It makes me think that the killer was rushed for a chance to strike.”

Illium sighed sadly but nodded. “Good deduction. I expect a detailed report from you soon, as always.”

“Of course, Venus!” Willow and I respond, taking our leave.

As we step out onto the streets of Tokyo, Japan, I see the streets that haven’t been closed off flooded with people enjoying the night. “Want to go to a gyoza place I know around here?” I ask Willoe, knowing she isn’t busy.

She thinks about it a second before nodding, allowing me to lead her towards the crowded streets. “It’s good, I promise.”

“I trust you Stae, don’t worry. Your memory is so good I’m sure we won’t get lost, and it’s too crowded for us to get jumped. Well, and I don’t think anyone would try and attack you when you’re so tall.” she said, standing on her tiptoes so try and reach my height. I laugh and bend my knees a bit while I walk to look shorter.

The streets of Shinjuku are lively and bright with hundreds and thousands of faces, and it’s a sight I’ve seen almost every night since I started living in Tokyo five years ago. The city always fascinated me, and it still does. But I wasn’t lying about that gyoza place- it’s a hidden gem.

As we finish the short walk, I take Willoe’s hand and pull her into the alley, and then into the small restaurant. The lady who runs the front of the store quickly recognizes and greets me. Willow tries her best to return the lady’s greetings, but her broken Japanese was barely enough to get the point across. I laugh, and she blushes and gently hits my arm.

“You’re right-” she says fifteen minutes later. “Hidden gem. So good.”

“I know, good food is something Japan is not lacking.”

“You’d think after living here for a month I’d be less clueless about this stuff, but even know I can barely hold chopsticks without getting a sad and concerned glance from you or a local.”

I throw my head back and laugh, my chest shaking. “That’s to be expected when you only come out to go grocery shopping! Well, that’s not true, I drag you out sometimes.”

She frowns and points her chopsticks at me. “You know, I’m older than you.”

“By what, two years? Three?” I tease, taking another bite.

Willoe and I aren’t officially together, but we’ve spent many nights like this since we’ve started living together for our job. I would have made it official, but I think we’re both worried about going too far.

She laughs with me for a bit before sighing and saying, “Yeah, yeah, and you’re the genius when it comes to actually solving the cases anyways.”

“Shh, no self-deprecation! I wouldn’t be able to focus as much on the cases if I didn’t have you here to help me, and I probably could have solved more if I had chosen to take a partner on sooner.”

“It’s not often you admit stuff like that,” she says, eyeing me as she sips the tea she’s been drinking.

I stick my tongue out at her and continue eating.

It isn’t long before we’re both full from the gyoza and tired from the long workday. After paying for the meal, we both stand at the edge of the alley against the busy sidewalks.

“We could go home…” I start to say. “Or we could explore.”

Willow looks at me with an exasperated expression. “Not today Staeza, I’m ready to crash.”

“Alright, fine, home it is.”