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15715 No. 15715
Because everyone wants to be loved.

Every character should be romanced in at least one story.
>> No. 15716
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15716
We need more of this route. Without the rape and sexual overtones. Just Koakoma being loved by Patchy
>> No. 15717
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15717
>>15716
>Without the rape
Okay.

>and sexual overtones
What! But oversexualized Koakuma is best Koakuma!



Wait, there was ever Koakuma rape? Was this THP? I can't say I remember hearing about that at all.
>> No. 15718
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15718
>>15717
Doujins? Maybe I was talking out of my ass.

I don't know. I haven't read a good Sakuya/Meiling story here in a long time if ever. Plenty of doujins from groups.

Same with Kaguya/Mokou or Yukari/Reimu. They're just ships that aren't popular here.

I don't know which Touhou I want loved. There's to many to choose
>> No. 15722
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15722
>Every character should be romanced in at least one story.

I doubt I'm any good, but I also doubt anyone else is willing to write this character...
We shall see how this goes.

--

"HALT, MORTAL! WHO DARES ENTER UPON THIS GROUND?"

The engraving on the wall came to life. In the center of its remote discs, five bloodshot red eyes opened and stared down the young outsider woman. The voice issued from a central figure of lightning, which held one hand to the hilt of its sword.

She had awoken only a few minutes ago, in this strange land of mist, and already she was drawing ire from things which she had thought should not exist.

[x] Write-in: What does the young woman say in response?
>> No. 15723
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15723
[x] Hello! I’m Rika, and I like tanks. Are you a tank?
>> No. 15724
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15724
[X] "Roll over them."
>> No. 15726
Rika doubted things could get a lot worse from here. Here she was. She didn't know where she was, or how she got here, and she was being stared down by a rather threatening mass of lightning and eyes. The newcomer knew that the next thing she said could very well be a gamble with her life at stake.

"Hello! I'm Rika, and I like tanks," she said. Then, for reasons known not even to her, she asked the being in front of her, "Are you a tank?"

Well, that was quite possibly a way to make things worse, she thought.

But perhaps it was not. One of the giant eyes remained fixed on her; but the rest turned and stared at each other. "I AM NOT A WATER STORAGE APPARATUS," it replied. "I AM THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE YUUGENMAGAN."

"OH! No, no, not that kind of tank!" she said. She pulled a notebook from her backpack, and opened it; thereupon, she flipped through countless pages filled with countless sketches of death machines, before settling on one particular image of a tracked vehicle with a cannon on the front, and pointed at it. "This kind of tank! It's a war machine." One eye came closer in, and stared at the machine in the notebook. "...Have you seriously never heard of tanks? Where is this, anyway?"

"THIS IS MAKAI," the booming voice replied again. "THIS IS THE REALM OF DEMONS, AND OF MAGIC. HUMANS ARE UNHEARD OF HERE. YOU ARE A HUMAN, OF THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARE YOU NOT?"

Rika nodded.

"AND WHAT, EXACTLY, DOES THIS 'TANK' DEVICE DO?"

What could she do? For being trapped in a realm allegedly filled with magic, this was going better than expected: the eyeball monster was curious about her specialty. "It's a type of war machine, you see," Rika responded. "It's made of steel, and people can ride in it. It rolls around on caterpillar treads, and it has a cannon on the front, you see, and besides that, if its enemies get close, it can roll over them."

An eye not looking at the notebook stared at her blankly.

"Have I lost you?"

"'CANNON'? 'CATERPILLAR TREADS'? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. IS IT A BEAST OF WAR, OR SOME SORT OF MAGICAL CONSTRUCT, OR PERHAPS A CATAPULT OF SOME TYPE?"

"Oh, no, no," she chuckled. "I guess it's a bit like a catapult, but there's no magic in it at all. Just metallurgy and thousands of years of experience." But then she frowned. "How long has it been since you in...ah, 'Makai,' was it, have had contact with...my world, I guess, anyway? Tanks have been around since World War I."

"I KNOW NOT OF THIS 'WORLD WAR ONE' EVENT."

"...When did you stop coming to, I think you called it 'the outside world', anyway? I've never even heard of Makai..."

"THE DEMONS OF MAKAI HAVE SELDOM TRAVELED TO THE WORLD OF HUMANS IN A THOUSAND YEARS, AFTER THE PRIEST MYOUREN SEALED OUR LAST MAIN GATE TO THE HUMAN WORLD, AND LITTLE ENOUGH SINCE THEN. YOU HAVE PIQUED MY CURIOSITY. TELL ME OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THEN."

"Okay, then, I guess I should start from the beginning...Do you know of the Roman Empire?" "NO."

And so it happened that the young woman, Rika, spent the next several hours trying to recount the recent history of the world, with a focus on machines, metal, and especially on tanks, to a being made predominantly of lightning and eyeballs.

--

When she had finished, the eyes stared at her once more.

"...What is it now?" she asked.

"...I AM STILL CONFUSED. BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, I MUST APOLOGIZE," YuugenMagan replied. "I HAVE A VISITOR, A RARE MORTAL HUMAN, WHO SEEKS NOT TO HARM ME NOR ANY OTHER IN MAKAI, AND YET I HAVE DONE LITTLE BUT TERRIFY HER AND PROBE HER FOR INFORMATION. SHE HAS ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS TO THE BEST OF HER ABILITY, AND I HAVE DONE NOTHING TO REPAY HER. HUMAN TANK ENGINEER RIKA. WHAT CAN THIS ONE DO IN REPAYMENT FOR YOUR KINDNESS?"

Rika stared into space for a moment, thinking.

"...Well, to be honest, I was looking for a way back to the outside world."

"A PITY...WELL, IT CANNOT BE HELPED! I WILL HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, THEN. HOWEVER, THERE ARE NO GATES TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD IN MAKAI, AND ONE CANNOT EASILY BE OPENED. THERE IS A GATE OUT OF MAKAI, BUT IT LEADS ONLY TO HELL, WHERE I HAVE A LETTER-CORRESPONDENCE FRIEND WHO MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP, AND TO GENSOKYO, WHICH IS A PARTIAL WORLD SEALED OFF FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD FOR THE FANTASTICAL CREATURES THAT FLED YOUR WORLD TO LIVE IN. I DON'T KNOW IF THERE ARE GATES TO THE OUTSIDE IN HELL OR GENSOKYO. OR, WE COULD TRY TO CONTACT THE DEMONS' GODDESS, SHINKI. SHE MIGHT BE ABLE TO RETURN YOU TO YOUR WORLD."

"...Okay...Wait a minute. Wait a minute..." For the first time since entering the portal, Rika was thinking about the world around her instead of about tanks. "You're telling me, that I'm in a world filled with magic, inhabited by demons, where gods are proximal, tangible entities, which you have casually told me is within a short distance of an afterlife. Tell me. What have I gotten into??"

--

While YuugenMagan is explaining things about Gensokyo and Makai to poor Rika, it seems like a good time to make another choice.

[x] Head to Gensokyo
[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal
[x] Try to talk to Shinki

--

Also, there's not really any good art of YuugenMagan...At least, not much close to how I am envisioning him here.
>> No. 15727
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15727
You didn't roll over them. This story is the biggest disappointment since that one time I tried pouring yoghurt into my coffee.

I dislike it intensely.
>> No. 15729
>>15718
doujins cover yuri enough as it is; I thought this was going to be about neglected characters and iffy writing attempts or yuri shipping.
>> No. 15730
>>15729
The point of the thread is to draw attention to the characters who are never romanced or otherwise important in CYOAs here.

>>15722
>>15726
You are a wonderful person and you should feel wonderful.
[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal
>> No. 15732
>>15727
So I'm not the only one who confused yogurt with cream and made strawberries with... whatever.



[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal
Woah this story is getting serious!
>> No. 15733
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15733
>>15717
>What! But oversexualized Koakuma is best Koakuma!
Disagreed so hard. Even if we do go with Koakuma being a succubus, awkward and inexperienced sex demom Koakuma is far better. Anyone can be a sex object, but...

She cute enough to stand without sex appeal anyway.
>> No. 15734
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15734
>>15733
Well, I'll admit that I'm a pornhound and therefore extremely biased. But I prefer my devils sultry, voluptuous, experienced, and willing. Very willing.
>> No. 15735
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15735
>>15734
To each their own, I suppose.
You beast.
>> No. 15736
>>15734
a mix of cute/sexy Koakuma is best.
>> No. 15737
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15737
[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal

Yes! Tanks are aweseome.
>> No. 15745
[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal

Now, as we rejoin Rika and her electrical comrade, about half an hour has passed. As Makai has no sunlight, but only ambient lighting from the magic that permeates its atmosphere and can play strange tricks with the minds and bodies of mortals, they wouldn't know that.

"...So. Let me get this straight. This place is part of an unknown number of places existing outside normal reality, which you call the 'outside world'. Human souls can go to some of them sometimes, especially after death. Magic is a tangible, natural form of energy occurring here, which can be harnessed by even unaided humans, and can be used for countless purposes." To drive the point home, she held her hands in front of her as she spoke. A very faint glow slowly coalesced between them, as she forced a little more of the ambient magic in the air there; then, once she let her concentration fade, it dissipated.

"THAT IS CORRECT."

"...You are a being which feeds off of this world's latent magical energy. And many types of sapient supernatural creature thought to be myths in the outside world are living things in these dimensions."

"THAT IS ALSO CORRECT.

"...Hm. I still wonder how any of this is possible. But those are questions for a physicist. So let's move on. You said you had a pen-pal, who might know a way back to the outside?"

"YES. HER NAME IS MIMA HAKUREI. SHE IS A POTENT MAGICIAN, AND SHE LIVED IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD PRIOR TO HER DEATH. AS PUNISHMENT FOR HER SINS IN LIFE AND AFTER DEATH, SHE WAS CONDEMNED TO HELL. WE HAVE COMMUNICATED THROUGH THE USE OF A MINOR SPIRIT WHICH WAS BELOW NOTICE TO HELL'S SECURITY."

"Of course, souls of outsiders would be here too...And they can still manipulate magic. Well. At least you know her. If we were trying to visit Shinki, or try to find something in Gensokyo, it would probably not be any less dangerous. I say we should go to the place where you at least know the person we're trying to get help from. Is it far?"

"IT IS NOT FAR TO THE GATE. IT WOULD TAKE ME LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES FLYING AT TOP SPEED, BUT ON FOOT, IT MIGHT TAKE US AN HOUR OR MORE. MIMA HAS TOLD ME SHE LIVES RIGHT OUTSIDE ITS OTHER SIDE."

"...Is 'lives' the right word?"

And so, they set off. There was no strict path, but only a few red rocks cut through the purple sand.

--

As an engineer, Rika was fascinated by this new source of energy; so, as they walked, Rika continued to experiment with the surrounding magic, forming it into balls with greater and greater luminosity. Soon enough, though, she launched one of them through the air; but it dissipated in the air not long after leaving her hands.

YuugenMagan noticed the flash of light. "HM? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

"You said the air was full of magic, so I was trying to create a magic vortex ring. Ah, sort of like a smoke ring, that is to say. I guess the magic isn't dense enough, hm..."

"IT IS SIMPLER TO SET SOME OF THE MAGIC TO HOLD THE PROJECTILE TOGETHER."

"Hm, you're right, you can do that..."

Once again, she formed a ball of light, and launched it. This time, it stayed intact until it struck a rock well out of their way. Rika grinned, and clenched her fists. "Yes! That works! Now, if..."

--

For most of the rest of their walk, Rika would from time to time fire off more light balls and note their effects, sometimes mixing in dust, or perhaps a few pebbles. Soon enough, they reached a large building whose architecture was not unlike a Shinto shrine's, though the building itself was a straight hallway built straight into a cliff face.

"What is this place?"

"THIS IS THE HOUSING FOR THE GATE WE ARE GOING TOWARD."

They went inside. As they walked, the building itself seemed to decay, showing more and more signs of damage. Behind them, there was nothing there but empty space, with glowing blue lights visible beyond. At the same time, the force of gravity holding them to the ground became less and less.

"W...what is this? Is this normal" asked Rika.

"INDEED IT IS NOT," replied YuugenMagan. "NORMALLY, THE TUNNEL WE ARE IN WOULD CONTINUE ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER SIDE. IT DOES NOT. IT IS LIKELY THIS WAS CAUSED BY THE PASSAGE OF THE SHRINE MAIDEN I TOLD YOU OF EARLIER, DESTROYING THE BARRIERS, RATHER THAN BYPASSING THEM AS WE WOULD HAVE."

By this time, they had reached the end of the tunnel's floor. The last few broken boards jutted out into empty space.

"...Can we still pass through here?"

"YES. WITH MY EYES, I CAN SEE THE END OF THE PASSAGE THAT CONNECTS TO HELL." YuugenMagan floated off of the end of the path into the empty space between them and their goal.

"Wait!" Rika cried out. "I'm a human, I can't fly! What am I supposed to do?"

"IT IS SIMPLE. USE THE AMBIENT MAGIC TO PROPEL YOURSELF. THIS EMPTY SPACE IS A GOOD PLACE TO LEARN TO FLY."

And so she did, awkwardly at first, but by the time they had reached the passage to Hell, her flight was...still awkward, as it had only been a few minutes, but at least functional. YuugenMagan hovered into the passage and landed gently; but as soon as Rika flew in, she fell flat onto the ground.

"There is no ambient magic here," YuugenMagan said, his voice notably muted. Four of his eyes closed; all five hovered close to his body; and the lightning he was composed of simultaneously glowed more dimly and crackled more loudly.

"I can tell," Rika said. "I can feel it."

The ambient temperature was uncomfortably warm, but the atmosphere was nonetheless coldly oppressive, suiting a place of punishment and purging. Yes, even the ground itself was dotted with rocks as sharp as needles; although Rika's boots and YuugenMagan's nigh incorporeality were enough to protect them. The air smelt of smoke, and occasionally a faint cloud of ash would fall. In the background, the wailing of the tormented could be faintly heard.

"Hell is designed to suppress the powers of its prisoners. But it should be less effective indoors."

"Well then, let's hurry. I'm not sure how long I can stay out in this weather."

And so they hurried to a small, shrine-like structure which YuugenMagan quickly pointed out as Mima's home. The building was quite small, with a twisted rope hanging above the doors. The only furnishings inside were a table which was really more of a wooden block, and a set of iron chains attached to the back wall, ending in manacles which were somehow red-hot. To their dismay, the building was anything but airtight, and the oppressive atmosphere still seeped in.

"...Hm. Mima always said she would escape one day. She must have made good on it."

"Well, where could she have gone? ...Wait." In this case, however, human knowledge would help them. Rika had consumed enough media in her world to see the most obvious solution to this. "Help me move the table."

"Why?"

"Because with any luck that's where she's hidden her escape."

And so YuugenMagan pulled the table as Rika pushed it, and so Rika was the one who saw the hole first. "There's a hole under the table, all right. It looks like it goes pretty deep."

"Then you were right. I'd expect it to lead to wherever she has escaped to."

"Well, then, what are we waiting for?" And with that, she was crawling into the hole.

Yuugenmagan slipped over the table and squeezed into the hole behind her. "Wait! We should be cautious!" His words very quickly rang true, as the table slid back into its former position, no doubt as part of some plot by Mima to hinder Hell's inevitable pursuit.

The tunnel was long and dark, but YuugenMagan's glow illuminated it enough to see by. At first it was a mere crawlhole, leading down, but within moments gravity seemed to shift once again and it was leading forward. The tunnel's walls, at the same time, slowly turned from the black, dry dirt of Hell into a smooth glass-like material, and natural magic could once again be felt.

The tunnel ended at a hard, metal wall, with a strange glyph carved on it consisting primarily of four circles. "THIS MUST BE THE ENTRY TO MIMA'S HIDEOUT," YuugenMagan said, his voice having regained that quality which it had lost in Hell.

"Well then, let's see if we can't get inside." Rika knocked on the door.

Nothing happened.

She waited a few minutes, and knocked again. Again nothing happened.

She knocked a third time.

"Do you think they can hear--"

Her response was cut off by a loud banging sound from the other side and a loud shout. "Oni OUT! Clothes IN!" The wall slid down, Rika was pulled inside by an invisible force, and the door snapped shut behind her.

What stood before her was probably less strange than much of what she had already seen. Before her was a girl of not more than twelve, wearing purple robes and a conical witch's hat and pointing a wand with a star on the tip at her, while looking for all the world like a trick-or-treater save for her unnaturally red hair, and for the energies crackling around that wand's tip.

"Well, out with it, then! Who are you, and what are you and that eyeball monster doing in Reimaden?"

For the second time today, Rika was in a possibly life-and-death situation with a being with powers she lacked, and would have to rely on her words to get her out of this mess.

[ ] Write-in: What should Rika say in response?
>> No. 15746
[x] Meet with YuugenMagan's pen-pal

Now, as we rejoin Rika and her electrical comrade, about half an hour has passed. As Makai has no sunlight, but only ambient lighting from the magic that permeates its atmosphere and can play strange tricks with the minds and bodies of mortals, they wouldn't know that.

"...So. Let me get this straight. This place is part of an unknown number of places existing outside normal reality, which you call the 'outside world'. Human souls can go to some of them sometimes, especially after death. Magic is a tangible, natural form of energy occurring here, which can be harnessed by even unaided humans, and can be used for countless purposes." To drive the point home, she held her hands in front of her as she spoke. A very faint glow slowly coalesced between them, as she forced a little more of the ambient magic in the air there; then, once she let her concentration fade, it dissipated.

"THAT IS CORRECT."

"...You are a being which feeds off of this world's latent magical energy. And many types of sapient supernatural creature thought to be myths in the outside world are living things in these dimensions."

"THAT IS ALSO CORRECT."

"...Hm. I still wonder how any of this is possible. But those are questions for a physicist. So let's move on. You said you had a pen-pal, who might know a way back to the outside?"

"YES. HER NAME IS MIMA HAKUREI. SHE IS A POTENT MAGICIAN, AND SHE LIVED IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD PRIOR TO HER DEATH. AS PUNISHMENT FOR HER SINS IN LIFE AND AFTER DEATH, SHE WAS CONDEMNED TO HELL. WE HAVE COMMUNICATED THROUGH THE USE OF A MINOR SPIRIT WHICH WAS BELOW NOTICE TO HELL'S SECURITY."

"Of course, souls of outsiders would be here too...And they can still manipulate magic. Well. At least you know her. If we were trying to visit Shinki, or try to find something in Gensokyo, it would probably not be any less dangerous. I say we should go to the place where you at least know the person we're trying to get help from. Is it far?"

"IT IS NOT FAR TO THE GATE. IT WOULD TAKE ME LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES FLYING AT TOP SPEED, BUT ON FOOT, IT MIGHT TAKE US AN HOUR OR MORE. MIMA HAS TOLD ME SHE LIVES RIGHT OUTSIDE ITS OTHER SIDE."

"...Is 'lives' the right word?"

And so, they set off. There was no strict path, but only a few red rocks cut through the purple sand.

--

As an engineer, Rika was fascinated by this new source of energy; so, as they walked, Rika continued to experiment with the surrounding magic, forming it into balls with greater and greater luminosity. Soon enough, though, she launched one of them through the air; but it dissipated in the air not long after leaving her hands.

YuugenMagan noticed the flash of light. "HM? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

"You said the air was full of magic, so I was trying to create a magic vortex ring. Ah, sort of like a smoke ring, that is to say. I guess the magic isn't dense enough, hm..."

"IT IS SIMPLER TO SET SOME OF THE MAGIC TO HOLD THE PROJECTILE TOGETHER."

"Hm, you're right, you can do that..."

Once again, she formed a ball of light, and launched it. This time, it stayed intact until it struck a rock well out of their way. Rika grinned, and clenched her fists. "Yes! That works! Now, if..."

--

For most of the rest of their walk, Rika would from time to time fire off more light balls and note their effects, sometimes mixing in dust, or perhaps a few pebbles. Soon enough, they reached a large building whose architecture was not unlike a Shinto shrine's, though the building itself was a straight hallway built straight into a cliff face.

"What is this place?"

"THIS IS THE HOUSING FOR THE GATE WE ARE GOING TOWARD."

They went inside. As they walked, the building itself seemed to decay, showing more and more signs of damage. Behind them, there was nothing there but empty space, with glowing blue lights visible beyond. At the same time, the force of gravity holding them to the ground became less and less.

"W...what is this? Is this normal" asked Rika.

"INDEED IT IS NOT," replied YuugenMagan. "NORMALLY, THE TUNNEL WE ARE IN WOULD CONTINUE ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER SIDE. IT DOES NOT. IT IS LIKELY THIS WAS CAUSED BY THE PASSAGE OF THE SHRINE MAIDEN I TOLD YOU OF EARLIER, DESTROYING THE BARRIERS, RATHER THAN BYPASSING THEM AS WE WOULD HAVE."

By this time, they had reached the end of the tunnel's floor. The last few broken boards jutted out into empty space.

"...Can we still pass through here?"

"YES. WITH MY EYES, I CAN SEE THE END OF THE PASSAGE THAT CONNECTS TO HELL." YuugenMagan floated off of the end of the path into the empty space between them and their goal.

"Wait!" Rika cried out. "I'm a human, I can't fly! What am I supposed to do?"

"IT IS SIMPLE. USE THE AMBIENT MAGIC TO PROPEL YOURSELF. THIS EMPTY SPACE IS A GOOD PLACE TO LEARN TO FLY."

And so she did, awkwardly at first, but by the time they had reached the passage to Hell, her flight was...still awkward, as it had only been a few minutes, but at least functional. YuugenMagan hovered into the passage and landed gently; but as soon as Rika flew in, she fell flat onto the ground.

"There is no ambient magic here," YuugenMagan said, his voice notably muted. Four of his eyes closed; all five hovered close to his body; and the lightning he was composed of simultaneously glowed more dimly and crackled more loudly.

"I can tell," Rika said. "I can feel it."

The ambient temperature was uncomfortably warm, but the atmosphere was nonetheless coldly oppressive, suiting a place of punishment and purging. Yes, even the ground itself was dotted with rocks as sharp as needles; although Rika's boots and YuugenMagan's nigh incorporeality were enough to protect them. The air smelt of smoke, and occasionally a faint cloud of ash would fall. In the background, the wailing of the tormented could be faintly heard.

"Hell is designed to suppress the powers of its prisoners. But it should be less effective indoors."

"Well then, let's hurry. I'm not sure how long I can stay out in this weather."

And so they hurried to a small, shrine-like structure which YuugenMagan quickly pointed out as Mima's home. The building was quite small, with a twisted rope hanging above the doors. The only furnishings inside were a table which was really more of a wooden block, and a set of iron chains attached to the back wall, ending in manacles which were somehow red-hot. To their dismay, the building was anything but airtight, and the oppressive atmosphere still seeped in.

"...Hm. Mima always said she would escape one day. She must have made good on it."

"Well, where could she have gone? ...Wait." In this case, however, human knowledge would help them. Rika had consumed enough media in her world to see the most obvious solution to this. "Help me move the table."

"Why?"

"Because with any luck that's where she's hidden her escape."

And so YuugenMagan pulled the table as Rika pushed it, and so Rika was the one who saw the hole first. "There's a hole under the table, all right. It looks like it goes pretty deep."

"Then you were right. I'd expect it to lead to wherever she has escaped to."

"Well, then, what are we waiting for?" And with that, she was crawling into the hole.

Yuugenmagan slipped over the table and squeezed into the hole behind her. "Wait! We should be cautious!" His words very quickly rang true, as the table slid back into its former position, no doubt as part of some plot by Mima to hinder Hell's inevitable pursuit.

The tunnel was long and dark, but YuugenMagan's glow illuminated it enough to see by. At first it was a mere crawlhole, leading down, but within moments gravity seemed to shift once again and it was leading forward. The tunnel's walls, at the same time, slowly turned from the black, dry dirt of Hell into a smooth glass-like material, and natural magic could once again be felt.

The tunnel ended at a hard, metal wall, with a strange glyph carved on it consisting primarily of four circles. "THIS MUST BE THE ENTRY TO MIMA'S HIDEOUT," YuugenMagan said, his voice having regained that quality which it had lost in Hell.

"Well then, let's see if we can't get inside." Rika knocked on the door.

Nothing happened.

She waited a few minutes, and knocked again. Again nothing happened.

She knocked a third time.

"Do you think they can hear--"

Her response was cut off by a loud banging sound from the other side and a loud shout. "Oni OUT! Clothes IN!" The wall slid down, Rika was pulled inside by an invisible force, and the door snapped shut behind her.

What stood before her was probably less strange than much of what she had already seen. Before her was a girl of not more than twelve, wearing purple robes and a conical witch's hat and pointing a wand with a star on the tip at her, while looking for all the world like a trick-or-treater save for her unnaturally red hair, and for the energies crackling around that wand's tip.

"Well, out with it, then! Who are you, and what are you and that eyeball monster doing in Reimaden?"

For the second time today, Rika was in a possibly life-and-death situation with a being with powers she lacked, and would have to rely on her words to get her out of this mess.

[ ] Write-in: What should Rika say in response?
>> No. 15747
>>15745
...I saw an error while I was replying and corrected it, and for some reason it won't let me delete the resulting duplicate.

Sage for me being stupid.
>> No. 15748
File 135592770779.jpg- (255.99KB , 800x800 , RikaII.jpg ) [iqdb]
15748
[x] Hi! I’m Rika, and I like tanks. YuuMa and I are on a fun magical adventure.
>> No. 15755
[x] Hi! I’m Rika, and I like tanks. YuuMa and I are on a fun magical adventure.

--

...And so, with her life on the line once again, she did what somehow managed to save her in the last situation like this: namely, she spat out the first thing that came to the top of her head.

"Hi! I’m Rika, and I like tanks. YuuMa and I are on a fun magical adventure."

...Where did that come from?

...Well, they were on an adventure. And given the preponderance of magic, one could say it was magical. Fun? Well, when they were not literally moving through Hell, she guessed it was fun.
Well, it would be more fun if she could get to the part where she was putting magic weapons and engines on tanks. Yes, all she would need would be a capacitor...

Her reverie was interrupted by one word from the child, "Explain," and a threatening jab of the star-tipped wand.

Rika did not do well"So, I turned in --"

Her monologue was interrupted by a poke to the forehead from the child's finger, which knocked her from a sitting position onto her back. "...Well, then, you're nuts, and I'd guess that other one, 'YuuMa' you said his name was? Isn't much better." She pushed a button, and the door slid open behind her. "Kyahahaha, I guess Mima can eat you two as a snack."

"MIMA WILL DO NO SUCH THING," the booming - but by this point familiar - voice of YuugenMagan interrupted.

The girl whirled around and pointed her wand at the interloper with a glare. "Why? You think you can beat the great Mima? Hahaha! I, Marisa Kirisame, am more than a match for a the both of you!" She spoke with confidence, even in the face of a monster whose eyes might each be nearly as big as her.

"NO, BECAUSE I AM A FRIEND OF MIMA WHO WANTS TO HAVE WORDS WITH HER."

"Hmm." Marisa glanced left, right, and then back at YuugenMagan. She put a finger to her lips, while at the same time lowering her wand.

"Hmm." She rolled her eyes upward, looking into the space above her, as if an answer to her unspoken question might fall from the sky above her.

"...Hmm," she repeated, as behind her, Rika rose to her feet.

She shut her eyes, and chuckled. "Hm hm hm...Fine." She was at attention again immediately, though. "But you're being watched. Try anything, and if you're lucky you won't live to regret it."

--

Marisa led them through the cold halls of the fortress Reimaden. Rika paid attention to the walls and floors, which were bare and mostly made of opaque glass on all sides except, initially, for their right; there, the wall was made of glass surrounding what looked like massive stone and iron plates, with occasional glass windows. Through these, Rika saw what looked like the same blue-starred space that she had flown through earlier. Curiously, there was no passage connecting to the other side of that metal door; or at least, there was none that Rika could see.

Then they turned left, and away from the fortress's outer wall, down a long, dark passageway. There were no light sources, though lanterns could be seen hanging from the ceiling periodically; the only dim, flickering illumination came from YuugenMagan's glowing body at the back of the party, and their footsteps echoed up and down the hall.

In the corner of Rika's eye, something moved. Not one to assume it was a trick of the light, she reached forward and tapped Marisa on the shoulder.

"What?" the witch whispered. The party came to a stop.

"I think I saw something," Rika whispered in return, and pointed to where she thought she had seen it. "Over there."

Marisa turned around, and laughed.

It was not a nice laugh. It was a laugh filled with something like malice. It grew from a faint, almost natural-sounding laugh, into something lower, louder, and altogether frightening, which Rika found almost difficult to believe was coming from someone at least a head shorter than her - even considering that Rika was not very tall in the first place. The laugh echoed throughout the hallway and the many side passages; and it was also echoed in turn by countless, high-pitched, inhuman giggles, from things that Rika wanted neither to see nor to hear, as Marisa's own died down to a chuckle once more.

"There are many things in these halls which outsiders like you should rightly fear."

--

They continued. Now that the cat was out of the bag, whispers were everywhere, and every shadow seemed to be one of the unknown horrors of the fortress.

After some time, they reached a pair of great wooden doors, the first wooden things they had seen in all of Reimaden.

Marisa knocked. "Master Mima! We have guests! One says he is your friend!"

All at once the doors swung open, and countless lamps in the room within turned on.



Beyond the doors was perhaps the most horrifying sight Rika had ever laid eyes upon.

Inside was a great wheel, not unlike those discs housing YuugenMagan's eyes. Four orbs were positioned in it, top, bottom, left, right. This circle was not the horrifying part.

What was horrifying was the one inside the circle.

Her skin was incredibly pale, like that of a corpse. The entire lower half of her body was gone, replaced with a wispy, ghost-like tail. She was wounded - no, worse than that, she should be dead several times over. Rika had some knowledge, of course, of what happened to humans directly attacked by tanks; but this, this one appeared to have been struck many times, with something heavy and spherical. Several patches of blood were visible through her sailor's shirt.

I will leave the more visceral details of what had happened to her to your own imaginations; for I dare not write them, though this may be the most fearsome point I have planned.

Worse than that, though, was that the being moved, almost as if uninhibited by her wounds. She stared first at YuugenMagan.

She spoke, in a raspy, echoing voice that sent chills up Rika's spine. "YuugenMagan! It is you, isn't it...? Well...well...well..."

And then she turned her head and stared at Rika. Her eyes were as unnaturally green as her hair, and their gaze was cold as ice.

"And what is this? Have you brought me a meal as well?"



Rika could take no more. Her face became almost as pale as that of the ghost in front of her, and collapsed into a heap, unconscious.

--

What sort of dreams might one have, if one were to fall asleep while in the world of dreams itself? Perhaps ones that are more significant than the random data of mortals here.

[ ] Dreams of a classroom, and a library, and a fledgling engineer
[ ] Dreams of staring eyes, broken wings, bat and angel
[ ] Vague dreams of magic, of love, and of escape
[ ] Vague dreams of magic, of death, and of power
[ ] Faint dreams of swords, of honor, and of power
[ ] Faint dreams of feathered wings, and of light
[ ] Chaotic, near-mindless, hungry nightmares

--

I'm unsure about the location this story is in, so I will take advice I have heard and ask my readers.
Do you think this should move to its own thread in another board? Somehow, it has become a serious endeavor...
>> No. 15756
[x] Faint dreams of feathered wings, and of light

I don't mind having a /blue/ story.
>> No. 15773
[x] Faint dreams of feathered wings, and of light

--

Lights.

Clouds.

Happiness.

Love.

Rika did not wonder if she was dead. This in itself was odd. For, by all appearances, she was in a heaven of some sort.

There was another flying beside her, and her hand was in theirs. Like her, it was clad in blue, and it bore a pair of white wings on its back. That she did not normally have wings was another thing which she did not think about at the time.

But suddenly all of this vanished. Now, she was bound in a circle, a large circle easily matching her wingspan, crisscrossed with lines which she knew not the meaning of, with the other beside her. She reached forward, and found an invisible boundary; energy rippled out of it where her fingers touched.

Before them was standing someone purple, red on the top, barely half their height. A human, holding a piece of paper in her hands. She read from it to them. Rika could not make out the words save for the occasional, emphasized "Love!", but she recognized the voice: the girl was Marisa.

Marisa, having finished reading, signed the paper, and held it out to them. The one standing beside her signed first; and then she herself signed it, and the circle faded. A contract had been made.

This place was dark, and most unlike the land they had been in earlier. Ghosts, haunts, lost souls, and the like lived throughout it; yet, with their lanterns, they made it a bit lighter. Only a bit. But, it was enough for them, and enough for Marisa. Time passed, and they aided her as she needed them, assembling and moving things: most significantly, they lent their power to her as she used her magic to drill a tunnel, and they helped her carry something down that tunnel which Marisa could not have carried on her own.

Later, one of them, the one that was Rika, aided her carrying something else. Another human, this one all in brown and white. Something seemed familiar about this human, and Rika stared at its face more closely.

The human she was bearing in her arms was herself, and she, of course, was not.

--

Rika woke up in a soft bed, with a damp cloth on her head. She put it on a table next to the bed, sat up, and looked around. Standing at the bedside were Marisa, and a blue-clad angelic figure holding a bright lantern; now unaffected by the befuddlement of a dream, she could see that its hair was purple, and that its apron held the mark of a cross.

"...Wha?" she said, still blinking away sleep.

"Oh, good, you're awake," said Marisa. "Wow, you really are an outsider...Even with Mima's fear aura, I didn't think you'd black out."

Rika blinked again.

"So, yeah, you're YuugenMagan's friend and a guest here, and that was unbecoming of a magician of love, so...sorry about that," Marisa continued, glancing away.

A moment of silence passed. Rika continued to stare; Marisa kept looking away.

Rika reached out and pointed at the angel. "Whosat?" she said.

"I am one of the minor servants of the LORD our god, who has granted us mortal bodies and consigned us to the task of spreading Love and Hope and the Good News throughout the worlds of mortals! We are contracted to aid this Magician of Love as she spreads Love throughout the cosmos..."

"Not now! Please..." Marisa interrupted. "Aheh, this is a contracted familiar from somewhere...Familiar, make yourself useful, and go tell Lady Mima and that YuugenMagan guy that Rika's awake. Maybe then he'll chill out...Rika, are you feeling all right?"

"I'm alright," Rika replied. "...But where am I?"

"Oh, this, this is one of Reimaden's guest bedrooms. You blacked out when you saw Mima, so I had my familiar take you here..."

...The vision of the mangled ghost with the bloody knife returned to Rika's mind and she paled at the thought. "...That was Mima?"

"Yeah, that's Mima when she's normal. She's toned it down now, though. YuugenMagan really blew a gasket on us over that...So, what do you wanna do now? YuugenMagan and Mima are in the main room."

"...Hm." It was fairly late in the day, or at least, that's what it felt like, and she was tired. But on the other hand, she had yet to properly meet their host.

[ ] Go talk with YuugenMagan and Mima.
[ ] Sleep now. Talk with them in the morning.

--

In case it wasn't obvious, each of those possible dreams was tied to somebody or something in Reimaden, with the vividness of the dream being tied to how familiar Rika was with that person.

...Also, I seem to have only one voting reader. That seems like something I should be worried about and/or do something about, but I have no idea how to advertise this story politely.
>> No. 15775
[x] Sleep now. Talk with them in the morning.

If you want more voters, start every update with a high resolution tank picture.
>> No. 15776
[x] Go talk with YuugenMagan and Mima.

Well, now it's two.
>> No. 15777
[x] Go talk with YuugenMagan and Mima.

Wasn't quite sure if voting was fine.
>> No. 15791
[x] Go talk with YuugenMagan and Mima.

Well the story hasn't been taken down, so I guess this is okay.
>> No. 15820
File 135711688462.jpg- (277.56KB , 920x640 , although we haven't built this yet.jpg ) [iqdb]
15820
[x] Go talk with YuugenMagan and Mima.

"...I think it would be better if I talked with them now," Rika replied, as she climbed out of the bed. "Lead the way."

Marisa grinned. This time, it was a friendly grin that seemed to suit her better than a menacing one. "Okay, let's go!"

--

They were hardly in the hallway before Marisa took off like a rocket: whether she was running or flying, Rika couldn't tell. Rika followed after her, after one shout of "Wait!"

The halls were still dark, but now, there was less menace to them. Something had changed. In any case, their destination was just down the hall from the guest bedroom, where Marisa was waiting for her, holding her star-tipped wand, which now emitted much more light from the tip.

"...Howzabout I go in first this time, and make sure everything's okay," Marisa said. Rika nodded.

Marisa pulled on the handle of the door, and slipped inside. YuugenMagan's thundering voice could be heard from within. Moments later the door tilted wide open, and Rika followed her in.

Gone was the contorted and gangrenous apparition that had appeared before. The one speaking with YuugenMagan had less of a presence in the room than that one had. Whether she had been larger or only appeared larger before, Rika couldn't tell. Still she wore the ruined sailor outfit, but now it was no longer ruined. Her left arm was now wrapped up in bandages instead of demanding that one consider how it was still functioning. And the bloody knife she had once held was no longer there.

She and YuugenMagan were at a long table, which had not been in the room before, sitting near the end near the door, and across from each other. On the table was a board game, which Rika could recognize as some form of chess, though it was none she recognized.

At the far end of the table sat the angel who had been with Marisa before, and the other, identical to the first. Rika was suddenly reminded of her dream, in which these same two angels had somehow featured prominently.

YuugenMagan looked up immediately. Mima slid a piece to a new position, and only then looked up. "Good morning, outsider girl~"

"THIS IS MY ACQUAINTANCE, THE LADY MIMA HAKUREI. IN HER CURRENT STATE, SHE IS AN EVIL SPIRIT, AND SO IT IS IN HER NATURE TO PREY UPON HUMANS. I AM DEEPLY SORRY THAT YOUR FIRST MEETING WITH HER WAS LESS THAN CONGENIAL."

"Ha. Ha. Ha," Mima continued. "I am the most terrifying thing you'll ever meet. But you came here anyway. You're very lucky to be here."

"...Thank you," said Rika.

Marisa chimed in from behind Rika, who had taken some steps forward without noticing it. "This is Lady Mima's dream-world fortress, Reimaden. We're - ah, me and my angels = are gonna close the tunnel from Hell to here tonight.

"Now," Mima continued, "Thanks to YuugenMagan's luck, I have a bit of a problem." She held up her bandaged arm. "As you can see, my restoration is incomplete. I can't fight like this, and my fortress is far too run-down to protect me. Until those are finished, I cannot be discovered. I can't trust you not to tell where it is, so I can't throw you out. And I can't just kill you, since the crystal mirrors of the Enma would reveal my whereabouts in your soul."

YuugenMagan cut in. "AS SUCH, WE WILL BE RESIDING IN REIMADEN FOR A WHILE."

"Hmm. I was going to say I could eat her soul."

"HAVE YOU NOT SCARED HER ENOUGH TODAY?" YuugenMagan asked, while at the same time sliding another piece on the game board.

"Very well, we'll get on with it," Mima returned. "Outsider, YuugenMagan has told me you do something like making constructs. So tell me your name, and what it is that you do...?"

Whatever that strange stress response was that had shown up twice earlier, it made its third appearance now. "I'm Rika, and I like tanks. I'm a grad student learning to design tanks. I want to make a magic-powered tank," she said.

Marisa giggled behind a hand, but Mima looked at Rika intently. "...Mhm! Tanks, and other such devices, I assume?" Mima replied. "Sit down, sit down," she said, and Rika, who had been subconsciously walking over to the table this whole time, did sit down in the next seat after YuugenMagan's.

"Well, yes," Rika replied, now opening up. "Since a tank's basically a cannon tractor with armor, I have to know about all those things." A cannon tractor with armor, what kind of a description was that? Although it was technically accurate, Rika thought it sounded silly.

"This is perfect. YuugenMagan, I thought you'd brought me a problem, but you've brought me a boon. Rika, how would you like to build up this fortress's defenses? If you agree, I will supply you with whatever materials and knowledge you need to the best of my ability." Mima slid one more piece on the chessboard. "And I think that's check."

"...You'll help me build a magic-powered tank?" Rika's eyes were wide with anticipation. At this point, Marisa could no longer contain herself, and broke out in riotous, but natural, laughter. Mima turned her head and stared at her, and the room's temperature dropped noticeably. "Haha...ha...erm, sorry," Marisa finished, and the temperature normalized.

Mima turned back to look at Rika. "That's correct. If you fortify our defenses, I'll not only let you take room and board here, but I will also let you design the defenses however you want and help you as best I can. Do we have a deal?" Mima proffered her unbandaged right hand towards Rika.

What would Rika do?

[ ] Accept.
-[ ] Enthusiastically!
-[ ] Normally.
-[ ] Reluctantly.
[ ] Too tired. Ask to sleep on it.
[ ] Reject This would be out of character.

--

For voting, I thank you, every one of you.

>>15775
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind.
(Although of course it might not end up being tanks.)
>> No. 15822
[x] Accept.
-[x] Normally.

Fortress management is serious business.
>> No. 15830
[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

Don't be shy, Rika! Now's your big chance!
>> No. 15840
[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

Can it be any other way?
>> No. 15862
[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

Tanks for the Tank God!!!!! Or mima in this case...
>> No. 15873
[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

Sounds good to me.
>> No. 15883
A /blue/ story! Will wonders never cease?

[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

And I'd just *love* to do some bonding with Marisa over love-powered artillery.
>> No. 15885
File 135785821993.png- (1.61MB , 1280x1200 , this is well outside the bounds of what could happ.png ) [iqdb]
15885
[x] Accept.
-[x] Enthusiastically!

For a moment, Rika hesitated. Here she was in a world of strange and unusual creatures, nay, even monsters, being asked by an acknowledged evil spirit who was a refugee from Hell and who had earlier assumed her to be food, to create powerful weapons, for some unknown purpose. What did she intend to do with these weapons?

The fact was, however, that this moment of hesitation lasted for about as much time as the faster bullets that the evil spirit in front of her could launch would last in this room, and her hesitation may not have even reached the conscious part of her mind. The chance to design whatever kind of weapons she wanted with a new kind of energy that natively bent to human will was far too good to pass up. She seized the spirit's hand and squeezed it tightly; though it was cold as the grave, and Mima's grip was strong, Rika's matched it one for one, and surprise showed in Mima's eyes for a moment. YuugenMagan discretely slid a piece on the chess board.

"Of course I accept!" Rika said, grinning broadly. "When can I start??"

"Tomorrow," Mima replied. "Or...what passes for tomorrow in this world without moonlight. For now, you should ensure you are well-fed and well-rested. Marisa, ensure that there is food for our guests."

"At once, Master," Marisa replied, then barked out some orders to the angels in a language Rika didn't understand. In response, the angels flitted off, with nary a sound, down two of the corridors of Reimaden.

"Dinner is on the way," Mima said. "In the meantime, surely you have questions for us?"

"Okay," Rika replied. "First and foremost, what kind of enemy are we up against?"

Mima froze in the middle of sliding another piece. "...Hmm?"

"Fast hard-to-hit fighters can't be dealt with the same way as lumbering juggernauts," Rika explained. "And I need to know what's likely to attack my defenses, so I can build them with that in mind.

Mima thought for a moment, then finished her move and continued. "Hmm...We want to dispose of any scouts from Hell that might happen to see us; they're probably only lightly armored. If they do figure out where we are, they're likely to send out shinigami, or oni. Shinigami are usually human-sized, fast, and harder to kill than humans. Oni are usually big, and extremely tough, but they might be fast too, and some of them have powers like assuming the form of fog. There are a variety of hazards big and small in the Dream World, but we should be able to avoid most of them short of random swarms. And there's a certain young shrine maiden whom YuugenMagan says has defeated both of us in the past, and so whom I intend to invite here in the future..."

"...A shrine maiden?" Rika had, of course, seen miko before. One of her friends in school had worked part-time as a miko; as a matter of fact, Rika remembered that she had been with that particular friend shortly before appearing in Makai. But that was a matter for another time. "...They have magic here, don't they?"

"No." Mima's voice was suddenly cold and firm. "Had she had magic, I would not have been beaten, and I wouldn't still be beaten. I would have defeated her easily, and that legendary orb that is the greatest power of the Hakurei bloodline would be mine."

YuugenMagan explained. "MIKO CAN HAVE SUPERNATURAL POWERS, BUT THEY'RE USUALLY FAITH-BASED AND IMMUNE TO THE SUPPRESSIVE EFFECTS OF HELL. THIS PARTICULAR MIKO HAD A POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH MIMA TELLS ME IS CALLED THE HAKUREI YIN-YANG ORB." Once more he slid a piece on the board; this time he took one of Mima's pieces as well. "ALSO, THIS IS CHECKMATE."

Mima looked at the board. "Yes, I believe--"

Mima was interrupted: The doors flew open, and a tall figure appeared between them and shouted out, "Lady Mima! I have found out who the shrine maiden is who holds the legendary Hakurei Yin-Yang Orbs!"

For a moment, Rika was not sure whether the figure was a man or a woman; but she quickly concluded that it was a woman. She wore red and white; her clothing distinctly reminded Rika of the clothes a samurai might wear, and this impression was certainly not harmed by the sword sheathed and hanging at her side.

She walked into the room and stopped at the next place after Rika's. To Rika her hair seemed to be purple; but it might have been a trick of the light.

"The name of the shrine maiden who has the power of the yin-yang orbs, and who currently sustains the Hakurei Border, is Reimu Hakurei."

--

This is not exactly a normal choice point, but there is a choice to be made nevertheless. What kinds of questions would you like Rika to ask over dinner?
Vote for any questions you want. If you are interested in the answers to several of these, vote for all of them.

[x] Ask who it is that just walked into the room.

[ ] Ask more about a character...
-[ ] Mima
-[ ] Marisa
-[ ] Angels
-[ ] Interloper (Meira)
-[ ] Reimu?

[ ] Ask more about a place...
-[ ] Reimaden
-[ ] Dream World
-[ ] Makai
-[ ] Hell
-[ ] Gensokyo
-[ ] Outside (perceptions)

[ ] Ask about something else:
-[ ] <write-in>
>> No. 15888
[x] Ask more about a character...
- [x] Marisa
- [x] Angels

[x] Ask more about a place...
- [x] Reimaden
>> No. 15889
[X] Ask more about a character...
-[X] Mima
-[X] Marisa

[X] Ask more about a place...
-[X] Gensoukyou
[X] Ask about something else:
-[X] How did Mima and YuugenMagan meet?
-[X] Reimu. Why is she important, again?
>> No. 15922
[X] Ask more about a character...
-[X] Mima
-[X] Marisa

[x] Ask more about a place...
- [x] Reimaden
-[X] Gensoukyou

I don't see why not.
>> No. 15955
File 135891703512.jpg- (1.81MB , 1058x2200 , soewcast.jpg ) [iqdb]
15955
I thought some important stuff was missing from the original version of this update, so I've revised it.

[x] Ask about:
-[x] Mima, Marisa, and Marisa's angels
-[x] Gensokyo and Reimaden
-[x] Reimu
-[x] How did Mima and YuugenMagan meet?

--

The newcomer, clad in pleated clothing, stared at Mima.

Mima stared at the newcomer.

YuugenMagan also stared at the newcomer.

Only a moment passed, but it seemed like a very long moment.

Mima broke the silence. "Meira...did you say that she is maintaining the Hakurei Border?"

"Yes," the newcomer, whose name Rika now knew was Meira, replied. "Furthermore, she is the last person in Gensokyo who is able to maintain that barrier. She is planning a training trip into the mountains right now."

"Excellent," Mima said. "Then our time is soon. Now, sit down, dinner will be along momentarily."

Meira sat down, and at the same time glanced at Rika and YuugenMagan. Especially at YuugenMagan. "And who are these? An outsider and..." Meira put a hand to her head, as if trying to think of what YuugenMagan could possibly be.

Mima interrupted her thoughts. "He's YuugenMagan, a demon of Makai, and my friend of several years. The outsider is Rika, our new defense engineer."

"What is a defense engineer?" Meira asked, a look of befuddlement on her face.

"In her own words, she likes tanks," Mima replied. "She builds machines that will defend Reimaden."

"Hm." She looked at Rika. "Pardon my ignorance, but what is a tank?"

Considering that Rika's enthusiasm for tanks should be well-known among the audience, the scene that followed does not need to be narrated.

--

There was a flutter of wings. Into the room rushed a pair of blue blurs. The table was set with a long, black cloth, and three table places were set, before Rika, Marisa, and Meira: bowls, plates, spoons. The bowls were full of soup; there was a roll of some sort of bread on each plate. Mima and YuugenMagan's chessboard was reset to a starting configuration. Their duty served, they returned to hovering behind Marisa's shoulders.

Meira, who by this time knew far more about tanks and their operational history than she would have liked, took this opportunity to very quickly move to the other side of Mima.

Having had her attention diverted by the angels, Rika proceeded to question their presence. "Hey, Marisa," she asked. "Those two angels. What are they?"

"Oh, haha," Marisa replied. "They're familiars. Summons." At Rika's continued look of befuddlement, she continued. "They have a magically binding contract to serve me. You know, draw a magic circle, call something into it, make a contract..."

"...But what are they?" Rika asked.

The angel on the right answered. "We are messengers of the LORD most high! We have come to this world to spread the Good News of forgiveness--"

Marisa turned to face the angels. "Why don't you two go rustle up a map of this place. Or if there isn't one, make one." Both nodded in sync, and fled the room once more.

The angels sped off once again. Marisa turned back to Rika. "Yeah...they're angels. They're from some outsider religion, I think, or more likely from a break-off sect of it. They're way safer and more reliable than devils or most anything else, and they're more affiliated with love, to boot. Trouble is that they tend to proselytize at the slightest opportunity and they're immune to silence-type spells."

"Hey, that reminds me," Rika said. "You said to get a map of this place? What is this place?"

Marisa chuckled again. "Ha, this is Reimaden," she replied. "It's a ghost fortress, the echo of some fortress in another world long since forgotten. I dunno if it was even built, or if it was just an empty dream...I found it, and Mima named it. We've only got part of it habitable so far, but I know my way around most of it. It's kind of threadbare so far, except for what Meira and I brought with us and what I've roped in from around the Dream World. There's a big pile of stuff up on the roof that I've fished for. Dunno what a lot of it is, though."

"CHECKMATE," YuugenMagan said. "THAT SEQUENCE IS CALLED 'FOOL'S MATE'. IT IS FROM SOME FORMS OF CHESS FOUND IN THE OUTSIDE WORLD, THOUGH IT WORKS AS WELL IN MAKAIAN CHESS."

"Hey, eyeballs," Marisa said. "How is it that you know my master?"

"[b]FOR MOST OF MY EXISTENCE, I SERVED AS A GATE GUARD IN MAKAI,
" YuugenMagan replied. "I HAVE STOOD IN A SINGLE SPOT FOR MOST OF MY EXISTENCE, GUARDING THE BORDER BETWEEN MAKAI AND THE DREAM WORLD."

"I found him standing there, and told him, essentially, to get a life," Mima said.

"THAT IS TO SAY, PRIOR TO THAT INCIDENT I HAD LITTLE CONSIDERATION FOR WHAT MIGHT BE BEYOND MY POST. MIMA CONVINCED ME TO LOOK AT OTHER THINGS. ONLY THEREAFTER DID THE CONCEPT OF 'BOREDOM' EXIST FOR ME."

"And so to alleviate that boredom, I took to sending him letters by courier sprite, netting myself an eye in Makai for any major events that might occur there. For instance, Sariel's death."

"ALTHOUGH OF COURSE SARIEL'S DEATH IS SOMETHING I HAVE ONLY TOLD YOU OF SINCE MY ARRIVAL."

"Of course. Who did him in, anyway?"

The expression in every single one of YuugenMagan's eyes became darker. "I BELIEVE IT WAS THE ONE AND SAME SHRINE MAIDEN WHO ATTACKED ME NOT LONG BEFOREHAND, REIMU HAKUREI."

Rika interrupted the pause. "Um...If I can ask..."

"What?" Mima responded.

"Who is...Reimu Hakurei? Why is she important?"

All eyes were on her.

"Reimu..." Mima started, "Reimu...is a shrine maiden. A very powerful, and very dangerous shrine maiden." She held up her bandaged arm. "She beat me to within an inch of my unlife, down in the depths of Hell; even now, I have not fully recovered."

"I ALSO HAVE BEEN BEATEN NEARLY TO DEATH BY THAT SHRINE MAIDEN, BUT MY HEALING CAPABILITY IS GREATER THAN MIMA'S, AND WAS UNINHIBITED BY THE SUPPRESSIVE EFFECTS OF HELL," YuugenMagan said.

"She's still not much older than Marisa, but she has power beyond her own, drawing from the legendary artifact of the Hakurei, the Hakurei Yin-Yang Orb," Meira said.

"Furthermore, as the Hakurei shrine maiden, she ritually weakens those mythical creatures who live in Gensokyo, and bars them from attacking the outside world," Mima continued. "Including myself."

"She is my second cousin, once removed," Meira said. "By blood; but I was unjustly cast out from the Hakurei family. Had I not been, her prestigious position, and her prodigious power, would be mine."

"She is one of my blood relations; though I know not which one. She is both a target of, and a terrible inhibition to, my sought revenge," Mima said. "Revenge upon all humans, as is my wont."

"THEN, WHEN YOU SAID 'OUR TIME', YOU MEANT WHEN YOU PLANNED TO ATTACK THE SHRINE?"

"Yes, of course," Mima replied. "To render Gensokyo no longer a seal, but instead a base, for youkai to strike from rather than to be trapped in."

"Uhm, what is 'Gensokyo'?" Rika asked. "I keep hearing it, and I don't know what it is."

"Gensokyo, that's fairyland, the land of fantasies, things humans don't believe in on the outside," Marisa said. "It's my and Meira's homeland, too. It used to be part of the outside."

"It is at once a refuge for beings weakened to nonexistence by the lack of faith in the outside, and a prison for those of them who would seek to attack humans," Mima said. "It was established in Meiji 17, by a joint coalition of humans and fearful youkai."

"The people of Gensokyo are the descendents of the exorcists that sealed it off," Marisa said. "Kirisame, Hieda, Kamishirasawa..."

"And most especially, Hakurei," Mima said. "The Hakurei family maintains the border by their own existence. As long as one of them serves the Hakurei shrine, one cannot easily pass between Gensokyo and the outside without their permit. But once we take it over, it will be our permit they would need. Oh, yes, we shall turn their human barrier back on them. We will reverse it and from inside, we shall begin launching our wide-level attacks on their world. We will reestablish their belief in the fantastic by our undeniable attacks and the destruction we leave behind. And then...Ha...haha...AHAHAHA!" Mima's voice became a laugh, a dark and chilling laugh that reverberated into the depths of the ghostly fortress.

Rika was taken aback. She had not entirely signed up for a head-first descent into reawakening fantastic beings that attacked humans. "Mima...what are you?" she asked, her voice little above a whisper, not sure she would like the response.

"Haha...I? I am an evil spirit, a revengeful ghost, driven from the peace of death by a mixture of a natural aptitude for magic and an unquenched desire for vengeance, wrought by some terrible wrong set upon me in the prime of life!" That dreadful bloody knife flashed into her hand, and a cold, cruel chill ran over Rika's body. "This. Alas, I do not know the details. My body is lost in some long-forgotten place, and this, this weapon of murder, remains with it." She held up the knife again; once more it vanished.

"She's a youkai," Marisa said. "So she feeds on human belief, especially fear."

"Although, truly," Mima added, "Any type of faith is fine with me."

Rika thought. This Mima, whom she had signed up to help, seemed to be an enemy of humanity as a whole.

"Mima," she asked. "What are your long-term plans? For Gensokyo, and for humanity?"

"Hm. I plan to make Gensokyo more of a refuge for youkai and other monsters than it is so far." She put a finger to her lips. "As for all humanity? Well, I couldn't exist without them; but I really have no plans other than putting the fear of the dark back into them that they have all but lost."

The fear of the dark? Hm. Mima's plans could bring world peace; or, at the same time, they could hurl the outside into a dark age.

Well, that was a question for a different time, Rika thought.

Rika brought her spoon to her lips, and found it devoid of soup. She had finished it without really thinking about it.

There was one figure in the room who was altogether incongruous with the rest. "...What about Marisa?" Rika asked. "Why is she here?"

"I WOULDN'T HAVE THOUGHT YOU THE TYPE TO TAKE ON AN APPRENTICE," YuugenMagan added.

"Marisa?" Mima responded. "Oh, yes, Marisa is a very brave child. Marisa?"

"My parents had resolved to marry me off," Marisa said. "I met the guy. He wasn't a bad guy, but I didn't--couldn't--love him. I'm a Love Magician, see? So love is pretty important to me. So I ran away. I knew some magic already, and I figured I could hold my own in the forest."

"She was wrong, dreadfully so. Who do you think she ran into but me in all my terrible, soul-stealing glory?"

"But I didn't run away."

"She didn't run away, or faint, or cower, no, of course not,"

"I tried shooting her."

"But her power could not harm me."

"But I didn't back down. If I went down I wanted to go down fighting."

"I was impressed, and I needed an apprentice anyway."

"So she took me under her wing."

"And taught her the art of astrological magic."

"And I guess it paid off in the end, huh?"

"I owe my current freedom and fortress to her."

"No, she's far more than made up for it in her teachings."

"Well, that's Marisa."

"That's me."

"That's why she's here."

"That's why I'm here."

"HM," YuugenMagan said. "SO, COURAGE, IN THE FACE OF FEAR, IS WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE HER AS AN APPRENTICE?"

"Well, that," Mima replied, "And that she was able to resist my natural fear aura."

"See, I'm a love magician," Marisa said. "Love, that's a lot of things: it's bonds between people, but it's more than that. It's also hope, and life itself. It's about overcoming limitations, about pushing against the inevitable and growing to surpass the impossible, you see? So, something like fear, that isn't something I can let get to me."

Rika nodded.

"Her powers are very different from mine," Mima said. "As such, she makes a good complement to me. With fortune, things my powers of death cannot vanquish will be overwhelmed by her power of love."

Rika nodded again. Yes, there was hope here, as well as despair.

And tiredness. Or, perhaps, that was just Rika's body complaining after a very long day.

Mima dug a timepiece which looked like, and probably was, an old-fashioned pocketwatch, out of a pocket in her skirt. "Anyway," she said. "I must retire now, if I am to heal. Marisa, will you show the guests to their rooms?"

"Yes, Master," Marisa replied. Mima nodded, and drifted off through a door; not literally, as one might expect a ghost to, but in a more normal way involving actually opening the door.

Rika looked around and saw that Meira had also long since left.

"Well," said Marisa, "Where to?"

Rika decided...

[ ] That it had been a long day, and she needed sleep now.
[ ] That a hot bath would be nice after such a day, before bed.

--

Apologies for the delay. Hopefully this post is long and info-filled enough to make up for it.
>> No. 15956
[x] That it had been a long day, and she needed sleep now.
>> No. 15957
[x] That it had been a long day, and she needed sleep now.

Not especially eager for a YuuMa bath scene.
>> No. 15958
>>15957
Bathing with YuugenMagan isn't a thing which is likely to happen in the near future.

He's a semitangible spiritual entity whose body is mostly made of lightning, you see.
>> No. 16020
File 135968633779.jpg- (84.55KB , 1024x768 , chainlitn.jpg ) [iqdb]
16020
[x] That it had been a long day, and she needed sleep now.

--

"Bed," Rika said. "Definitely bed. Do you have a bed for me?"

"Of course!" Marisa said. "Guest bedrooms are right this way."

'This way' was down a familiar hallway that, like all the others in this place, looked like it was made of raw, uncut glass. Rika idly wondered how it had been made. Magic, clearly. But principles of design should apply despite the additional technique. Perhaps it had been carved out of a sandy desert, by something manipulating intense heat...

They stopped in front of a door on the left side. Yes, this was a room she had been in very recently. "Bedroom's here, bathroom's across the hall," Marisa said, gesturing to both doors. "I sleep in the next room before yours. Don't go wandering around alone, Meira sleepwalks, and I'm still not sure we've gotten the hairballs under control," Marisa said.

"...Hairballs?" Rika asked.

"Fuzzy little balls of living magic. Magicians sometimes keep them as cannon fodder. Come to think of it, I guess you'll be working with them."

"...Okay..."

"But for now, since I'm not sure we've gotten them all, so be careful."

"Right." Rika entered the room and shut the door behind her. The door was a western-style swinging door, and it was made of the same sort of glass that the rest of the fortress was, down to the hinges, which seemed to have been converted to glass in the spot and were seamless with the wall and door. But the knob had been recently replaced; she turned the lever on it, and locked the door tightly.

Hairballs? Were they the ones down the halls, out of sight, laughing in registers outside of normal human ability?

She took off her backpack and boots. Should she have been wearing her shoes in the fortress, she wondered? It was, after all, inside a house. Sort of. She decided not to worry about it; it hadn't sounded like Meira or Marisa were wearing anything other than hard shoes.

The room had a bed, covered by multiple blankets, a bedside table next to it, and a chest of drawers; but the drawers were empty, as Rika discovered upon opening them. The chest was made of wood, and neither furnishing looked like it had been built here.
There was a light on the table. It looked like an electric lamp, complete with shade and hanging cord-switch, but it had a floating, softly glowing blue orb inside its bulb instead of a white-hot filament, and had no visible power cord. A magic artifact, of course. She would have to ask Marisa about that in the morning.

At this point, Rika overheard part of a conversation outside her door. Specifically, the part spoken in a voice like a roll of thunder.

--

Rika had gone into her room; but Marisa and YuugenMagan had been left outside in the hallway.

"Hey, you, do you need another room?" Marisa asked YuugenMagan.

"I DO NOT," he replied.

"I dunno, do you even need to sleep?"

"I DO NOT," he replied again.

"Well, then, what are you going to do tonight? Mima doesn't heal naturally, so she's healing herself. I'm asleep, Rika's asleep, Meira's...probably asleep," she said, with a glance to the side at the last part. "And I guess the angels are still making that map. It'll probably be a really good map, knowing them."

"I HAD NOT THOUGHT ABOUT THIS." He stopped for a moment, looking around. "I DON'T KNOW. I WILL WAIT HERE AND GUARD THE DOOR. I AM GOOD AT GUARDING THINGS."

"Guarding, huh?" Marisa said. "Well, if you say so." And with that, she departed through the door in front of him.

Not long after, a sound of running water on metal could be heard. YuugenMagan remembered that beings with physical bodies needed to clean themselves from time to time, as with any other physical object.

Meanwhile the room behind him was silent, and YuugenMagan saw that no more light issued from beneath the door. Rika was asleep, or on her way there.

He thought about things.

Gensokyo. That was the known pocket world between Makai and the Dream World and the legendary world of humans. Or so Mima had said. YuugenMagan was a gate guardian demon; he was hardly an expert on such things. While it was true that he had a substantial command of magic, it was, for the most part, an innate talent; much more so than it was with Marisa and Mima, and even more than many Makaian magicians, whatever they might be.

YuugenMagan was utterly unconflicted. Or so he would say to himself. This place was far outside the region he was familiar with, but he didn't mind. He also didn't mind the prospect of seeing revenge dealt to his enemy, and he savored the possibility of catching a glimpse of the legendary and bizarre Outside World.

If Rika's stories were true, it was a bizarre world indeed. Who, in all Makai, would believe that Outsider constructs rolled on round wheels and had no feet, carried humans inside their bodies, and drank a liquid that came from rocks and burned to power them; who would believe that constructs that lifted themselves into the air without even a drop of magic carried hundreds of outsiders and their possessions across oceans; who would believe that outsiders had weapons which could fire with pinpoint accuracy over distances great enough that the enemy could not be seen?

Yet supposedly they were all true. Out there, somewhere.

Time passed.
The night was long.

Though he had plenty of experience guarding places for long periods of time from enemies that never showed up, it still seemed like a long night. Perhaps it was because he had now done other things, especially recently; boredom is, at least in part, a matter of contrast.

YuugenMagan considered the possibility of warding Rika's door, and going somewhere else. He knew the capabilities of hairballs well enough, having fought them from time to time while on guard duty in Makai, and this room should be more than safe if warded. (Or even if unwarded, really - the door was locked, and very strong, despite being made of a glass-like material.)

YuugenMagan would...

[ ] Stay here and guard the door some more.
[ ] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[ ] Check on Mima's regeneration: how is she doing that?
-[ ] Go up to the roof and look at the Dream World.
-[ ] Look for a library and try to find something to read.
-[ ] Just wander, without a goal in mind.
-[ ] Head for the deeper levels.
-[ ] Do something else: <write-in>

--

Apologies for the low update speed. Classes have started, and I haven't had as much time as I would like to work on this.

Also, there are not very pictures of Rika and YuugenMagan at all. For that matter, there aren't very many of red-haired Marisa, Meira, or...you know, pretty much anything and anybody from HRtP or SoEW whose name isn't Mima or Reimu.
>> No. 16022
[x] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[x] Head for the deeper levels.
>> No. 16024
[x] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[x] Head for the deeper levels.

Though, YuugenMagan reading five books at once is a pretty funny mental image.
>> No. 16136
[x] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[x] Head for the deeper levels.

Exploration time.
>> No. 16225
[x] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[x] Head for the deeper levels.

Gotta get the layout down.
>> No. 16246
File 136220423296.jpg- (0.98MB , 900x900 , yuugenmagan_pentagram.jpg ) [iqdb]
16246
[x] Ward the door and go somewhere else:
-[x] Head for the deeper levels.

--

Yes, YuugenMagan decided, this door was strong enough.

Or rather, it would be strong enough in but a moment. This was a variation on one of his more potent spells, set to delay its activation; it should make an effective trap for any fool who dared enter.

YuugenMagan did not cast as other magicians did, with incantations and implements. His incantation was the constant humming and crackling made by his electrical body; his implements were his powerful eyes.

His five eyes spun once around the point where they were attached to his body, the point where the lightning tracers pointed to, and formed together in a close circle in front of him. Then they shot outward, forming a larger circle around him. In a blink, each eye was connected to two others by lines of white light, forming a pentagram. The pentagram descended forth from his eyes, shrinking as it did, and embedded itself in the door, visible through the glass, yet impossible to touch.

If the door was disturbed from this side by any other than Rika, it would hold the door and make itself known; if the door was forced, it would activate, spinning, and filling the hall with destructive light balls and holding the door, then flying at the one who had set it off.

The ward projected a faint aura of warning, noticeable enough to most spellcasters, in addition to being visible. To YuugenMagan, the power of the ward was as plain as the light of day; yet, to a less natural magician who lacked his arcane sight, it would surely be less so. YuugenMagan had drawn the energies to make this ward out of the surrounding magic of the Dream World. For just a moment, in the close vicinity, that magic dimmed; within a few minutes, at most, it returned to its full potency as the ethereal energy of dreams flowed in from the nearby halls.

The ward set, YuugenMagan set off.

--

Out the hall's door he walked, and into the main great hall where earlier he had played chess with Mima. It had a ceiling of transparent glass, up much higher than the side passage he had been in; through it, the starlight of the Dream World filtered down. He pushed open one of the great double doors at the end of the hall.

It led to a room with the spiral staircase. They had passed this staircase on the way in. It led up, and it led down.

Down. Certainly, more interesting things would be below this point than above it.
The lower levels were dangerous? Ha. Things that laughed in the dark were no match for YuugenMagan's luminous magical powers.

...There was one in this room, right now. On the far side of the spiral staircase.

Its aura was faint; its body was faint; yet, to YuugenMagan's acute senses, it was plain as day. It was a mere ball of fluff the size of a human's head, floating in the air, and it had four sharp blades protruding from its sides. Its body spun as it moved.

It passed in a straight line through the room, followed by another just like it; and another, and another, and another; until eight had passed in all. Yes, around this group, there was a clear-cut magical aura aside from their own. These were footsoldier guardians, and they were meant to be here.

Funny. This passage was less fearsome the second time through. YuugenMagan chalked it up to Mima's fear aura now having exceptions for himself, and for Rika. For now they were denizens of this place, and in that regard, potential bringers of fear rather than victims of it. Not that YuugenMagan wanted to incite fear on anyone, and although he could not speak for Rika, he didn't think she would want to, either.

He held his eyes close to his body, so that they would fit within the stairwell, and down the stairs he went.

--

How deep did these stairs go, he wondered? One flight, then another, and after that the steps became dusty. As he walked, the dust kicked up by his footfalls ignited thanks to the electricity that composed his body, creating a puff of flame with each step, and leaving scorched-black footprints behind him. Well, it would be convenient if he needed to discern his footprints from the others.

For there were others. Two others had passed this stairway, and quite recently, at that. Two other sets of footprints also went down the stairs, and at each level, went outward; then returned to the spiral stairwell. If there were more than four passages leading out from a landing, and sometimes if there weren't (YuugenMagan assumed this was because one or more of those passages was a dead end), the footprints would return to the landing from one passage and go out down another before ultimately returning to the stairwell.

He pressed onward. How deep did this place go, anyway?

Eight landings down, he had his answer. Here, the staircase ended, and here, the two other pairs of footprints diverged once more, but did not reconvene. There was an odd trapdoor on the floor.

He set out following one of these trails, through what had probably once been a durable iron door, but which was now nothing more than a pile of dust.

--

The glass walls here were a much darker shade of blue than those higher up, and they were rougher; and the halls were narrower, vertically and horizontally, so that he had to keep his eyes close to his body. The hall he was walking down was, as many others, walled with doors. The doors were closed, and like the hallway, they were glass.

He checked inside one of the doors, and found a mid-size pantry-like room. In the room were great blue glass amphorae, some stacked, and others tall enough for a human to squeeze into. He opened one, and found that it was empty. Perhaps, in the distant past, it had held foodstuffs, or water. But now, nothing remained to indicate what had once been there.

He replaced its lid, and continued down the hall. It was straight, and he saw something like the Dream World's starlight out the end.

--

There was a very subtle twist to this hall; midway through, the doors became trapdoors on the floor and ceiling. YuugenMagan did not enter any more doors; but they had all been disturbed recently. Not long afterward, they became normal doors again, though what had once been left was now right and what had once been up was down.

Magical gravity? Well, that explained, at least, why they were not floating.

At this point the hall ended in an antechamber. The antechamber's ceiling and one wall were made of glass, but this glass, while dark, was transparent, though occasionally reinforced by bars of what had once been iron but was now rust. It bore a faded magical aura, with defensive attributes, for what purpose YuugenMagan did not know. The ceiling was quite high, and curved inward; a straight staircase was in the right side of the room, and thence went the tracks he was following.

So up, or perhaps down, the staircase he followed them.

--

Now, this staircase led to something interesting: A great pair of heavily-enchanted stone doors were at the top of the staircase. The footprints he was following passed through them, seemingly with substantial effort.

He pushed on the door.

It didn't budge.

He pushed harder.

It still didn't budge.

He pushed with all the effort his semisolid body could muster, and the door still refused to budge. Whoever had gone before him was significantly stronger than him physically. Not that that was difficult, by demon standards, for his strength was not in brawn.

He...

[ ] Tried using magic to help open the door.
[ ] Went back the other way.
[ ] <write-in>

--

This picture is probably the most like my idea of YuugenMagan of any I've found, by the way.
>> No. 16247
[x] Tried using magic to help open the door.

Can't turn back after going this far.
>> No. 16265
[x] Tried using magic to help open the door.

I’d suggest pulling the door too, but I’m going to assume that YuugenMagan is able to discern which way the door opens.
>> No. 16268
[x] Pull the door
Then...
[x] Tried using magic to help open the door.

Yeah, that reminded me of that gif of a stickman using more and more powerful means to open a door, in the end he had to pull.


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