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Feb 03, 2023 9:23 AM
Sometimes the best way out of a bad situation is to entirely replace your personality and memories with those of a complete stranger
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Maaaaaaybe the "I need help" option becomes slightly more appealing when she does that? Maybe she's starting to think of ways to use that? Or maybe this is some sort of mental placebo effect, who knows.

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Well, she'd have a better idea if she had paper, but while there may be a time and place to lament coming into existence with a notetaking habit and no writing implements, it's not right this second.

She pokes SED again.

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When she gets the third point to SED her character sheet closes on its own and a new window appears.

Quest available: Just One Boy

Oliver Houston is a lonely boy with a troubled past and a terrible secret. He's also an engineering genius whose secret research could be revolutionary.

That's probably a pretty good first attempt at seduction, right?

Success: Oliver Houston becomes a potential harem member, Oliver Houston becomes a potential harem member, Oliver Houston becomes a potential harem member, +1 SED, +1 LST, +1 ENG, +100xp, ???.
Failure:
Oliver Houston remains lonely and you'll need to keep looking for other opportunities for housing.
Accept: Y/N

* Note: This is the first quest of Oliver Houstons' seduction questline. Seduction questlines are available for potential long-term partners and often either indirectly help with the main plot or straightforwardly advance it. You may drop these questlines at any point but this might have consequences.

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....ENG?

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The Erogame offers no explanation.

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Well, that's kind of rude of it, but what could that reasonably stand for - in context, engineering; if it's trying to misdirect her, uh, engagement? English? Eng...raving? ...probably he just talks about engineering and she'll pick stuff up.

Anyway at least he sounds interesting, and not having a terrible secret would probably be a bit much to ask of this game which really doesn't want her to settle down doing normal person things somewhere.

She pokes SED up till she's out of points, one at a time.

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Each point individually feels like nothing, but there's definitely a change in the aggregate, there. For one thing, the question of what tack she should go with to seduce Oliver she'd been considering just now has a pretty clear answer: she should look helpless, based on the description given by the Erogame it is likely this boy will cherish an opportunity to help someone else, and she should definitely show an interest in his hobby. This also comes with the understanding that this "answer" is just a skeleton of a beginning, and she should tailor her responses to him, and of course she can choose to not try to be maximally seductive, which is also likely to in its own way be seductive since nerds are often kind of interested in modes of interactions that are skew to what most people consider "seductive".

As soon as she spends the last point her character menu closes on its own again, replaced by the following window floating above the still-open quest window:

ERO Achievement: Minmaxer. You've spent all of your available stat points on a single stat in order to most effectively achieve your current goal. +100xp.
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...thaaaaanks? Yes, she will take the quest.

This mostly does feel like inoffensive skill-upping, though she should still keep an eye on it and in particular get PAPER or, dare she hope, a laptop or something, she thinks she knows how to type along with all the other stuff she knows how to do.

Like talk! Which she has never done ever in her life!

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Okay. Helpless. In need of help. Not sure what she's going to tell him if he asks her why but she will think of something.

She comes out from behind the rosebush and walks up to the door and rings the bell.

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As soon as she accepts the quest the window disappears.

After she rings the bell, there are a few seconds of silence followed by a few seconds of the kinds of muffled noise one might associate with someone generally existing and moving inside their house followed by the much less muffled noises of the door being unlocked and opened.

Oliver Houston is probably of a similar age her own body is, around early to mid twenties, a bit on the tall side, with an open, unguarded, curious face. He's also plausibly reasonably fit, at least based on what little she can make out of his shape: he's in sweatpants and a comfortable-looking long sleeved shirt, probably his pyjamas or something.

His greeting dies in his throat as he takes her in, his eyes widened and giving him a sort of deer in headlights look. "Um."

You've shocked a boy into silence with your bountiful beauty. +1 BOD.
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Oh he's pretty cute, that's convenient.

"- I need help," she says softly.

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"- right, of course," he says, kicked out of his shock, pulling his door open and stepping out of the way. "Come in, do you want a coat, it's cold -" He does not wait for her to respond before he's making himself busy by going somewhere else, presumably to get said coat.

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"Thank you." She steps into the house and pulls the door shut behind her. She had not actually particularly noticed it being cold? Huh. If there is a throw blanket on a sofa she might pull that over her shoulders while she waits for him to return.

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A skill has been created by a special action! Failing to consider the fact that you should probably have been feeling cold while naked outside in the middle of the night has created the skill Ero Environmental Resistance.

The place is pretty nice: a living room with a sofa, a flatscreen, and numerous video game consoles including ones from the 80s; a dining room attached to it, small, expecting to see a handful more people at most; and a kitchenette, also not expecting very extensive use.

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Oliver emerges from the door he walked into with a coat. He's respectfully avoiding looking places and things, and offers her the coat with his eyes locked up. "Here, it might be a bit big but um probably good enough?"

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It's not like she knew what season or climate it was but, okay, gift horse, sure?

"Thank you," she says, putting it on. "It's complicated but I have literally - so, so literally - nothing and nobody in the whole world, and - I was just sort of wandering around trying to figure out what to do next and - you had a cute mailbox."

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That leaves his chin hanging open dumbly for a couple of seconds before he quite literally shakes himself out of it. "I'm glad it helped? Um, are you hungry, do you need anything - of course you need things, um, make yourself at home?" Can he do anything other than asking questions? "I could get you something to eat or drink or you could use my bathroom if you wanted or anything like that." He can!

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Does she need the bathroom? Not especially; presumably if nothing else Imogene would have made a pit stop before unwisely infiltrating a brainjacking operation. "Thank you so much, I'd love some water and, like, a snack? - I'm Bella."

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"- I'm Oliver. It's nice to meet you." (Wait, shit, is that sexual harassment, no one explained the rules of dealing with naked pretty strangers in your house aah.) "Savory or sweet? I have Haribos and peanuts and Pringles - do you have a peanut allergy?" He locks the door outside again and goes to the kitchen to get her some water.

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"Not historically, though with the day I'm having..." Eh, anaphylaxis is not sexy, probably safe. "It's nice to meet you too."

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He grabs two small plates and serves the Pringles and peanuts to separate plates, then balances both plates plus the water glass plus the bag of Haribos to his living room center table so she can grab them, then he takes a seat on the sofa but like all the way away from her so no misunderstandings happen.

"Can I ask what happened? - it's fine if you'd rather not answer."

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She eats a peanut to see if it gives her anaphylaxis! It doesn't. "It's a really complicated story? I'm not sure where to start and also frankly I'm not sure you'd believe me."

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"Unless that was a soft refusal, try me? If it was a soft refusal ignore me and pretend I tried to be reassuring and was probably too awkward to succeed."

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"...sure, okay, I will try you." How to put this. "I didn't exist an hour ago. I appear to have been imprinted by magic on someone's brain because she wanted to avoid having a different personality imprinted on her brain by science-fiction instead and didn't have a better idea for how to avoid that."

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He grimaces. "Yeah, that's... hard to believe. But I believe you anyway, it sounds like it sucks a lot, I'm sorry."

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