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Shifting position in order to keep the contents of the bag hidden from everyone around you, you lean in and gently poke the figure inside with one finger. It mewls pathetically and shrinks away from your touch. As it does so the hard plastic case of your lunch box is pushed up and out as the little girl appears to attempt to use it as a barrier against you.

Lifting it out of the way you attempt to make some kind of contact with the girl. Keeping your voice low you lean in and gently whisper a few gentle words and a promise that you weren't going to hurt her. After a few moments the tiny girl shifts slightly and you catch sight of one scared little eye peeking out from behind the arms she holds in front of her face..

“Yeah,” you murmur, “See? I'm a friend, I don't want to hurt you.” After a moment's thought you retrieve your lunch box and rummage around in it for something suitable to give the girl as an offer of goodwill. A quick glance around reveals that most of the students are already filing out of the room with their bags and that you would have to follow them soon unless you wanted one of the tutors to come in and demand what the delay way. Grimacing you pull what appears to be a chunk of apple from your lunchbox and carefully hand it to the girl, who accepts the - to her - giant morsel with some trepidation. “Here,” you whisper, “You can, uh, snack on this for now and, um, I guess you can hide in there too - but you'll need to keep quiet until I have some time to talk to you again, okay?” You'd have to talk to Tokiko about this and see if she knew anything about tiny girls... But first you had better hurry up and join everyone else. “Okay, I'm going to put this box in here and then close the flap here - then I'm going to carry the bag around for a bit since I can't exactly talk here. So, uh, try to be as quiet as you can okay?”

You heard a little squeak of surprise as you closed the flap and hefted the bag up, careful not to jostle it around too much. If you remembered rightly after this tour of the shrine everyone was supposed to be heading down to one of the decorative parks for an hour or two of free time before the afternoon trip to visit the Kyoto astronomy center. With luck you would be able to find a secluded spot in the park - if you went with Tokiko then people might just assume that you were off for a little romance time with her. You grimaced slightly as you considered that perhaps you would want to avoid going completely out of sight lest someone investigate to ensure you weren't doing 'this and that' with your girlfriend. Frankly you didn't put it past your friends to try and catch you in the act on camera should you gave them the opportunity to try.

* * * * * * * *

“Arright, you know what to do.” The greasy bastard leered at the woman standing a few paces away. Patting the breast of his jacket he gave her a knowing little wink, “An nothing funny - yeah?” he added, “Or else this little thing goes down the drain - understand?”

The tall woman nodded glumly. It was the same threat the man had made every time she had been brought out to do his dirty work.

“Well then,” The bastard murmured as the two of them strode towards the glass-doored building that was their, his, target. “Showtime.”

* * * * * * * *

“A small person?” Tokiko looked at you with a flat gaze. “In your pack?” The two of you were sitting on a patch of grass some distance away from the bulk of your classmates - though given how spread out everyone was over the picnic area you didn't appear particularly out of place this distance away.

“I'm not making this up you know,” you grumble, hefting your pack up into the air between you. “Why else do you think I screamed when I opened it in the shrine?”

“It's probably a fairy... but to wander onto shrine grounds - only a handful of fairies would dare do that and the number that would go into an unknown shrine is...” She paused, “Well, I can only think of one fairy that reckless, but she's not the kind to hide in a bag. Her confidence, misplaced as it may be, makes her too large to try something like that.”

You frown at that last statement of your partner's. “What? What's that supposed to mean?”

“You know how people say that they're only as old as you feel?” She replies, to which you nod. “Well for fairies it's more a case of 'they're only as big as they feel'. When a fairy shrinks back in fear they literally do shrink - I think it's something to do with how they exist because they believe they exist.” Tokiko shrugs, “If they feel small and scared, then they're small - but if they feel all big and strong then they're much bigger. And if they think that they don't exist, well that kind of existential questioning is often fatal, though not in a sense that you or I would understand.”

You blink. “That... doesn't really make sense.” Then you frown and shrug, “But then what about your home does? Youkai, magic, fairies - I'm just going to have to accept that I'll never really understand it all, huh?”

I don't understand everything about Gensokyo, and I live there.” Tokiko replies, “Now lets see this little fairy of yours, for her to be in the game she would have to be well above average power and I know most of the bigger fairies.” Shrugging at your partner you set your pack down in between the both of you and gently open the flap. Tokiko peers inside and, after removing your lunchbox, frowns in a mixture of surprise and confusion. “Sunny?” She murmurs, “Is that you?”

The fairy squeaks in surprise and vanishes - though your pack doesn't collapse as if it were empty, which could only mean... “Invisibility?” You ask, reaching in to poke at the seemingly empty space. The feel of something soft, flesh, seemed to confirm your theory. “How's she doing it without a spellcaster around? I'm pretty sure there was no-one following us here from the shrine...”

“Innate ability possibly,” murmured your partner, “A number of players seems to have had something they could do without spells - that might apply for everyone perhaps.” The silver-haired girl frowns slightly and lifts up her hands to scrutinize them carefully. “But that would mean I should have such an ability left to me and I don't think I do...” She shakes her head sadly, “I guess I could be able to use use my Talent... but it's not like I even know what it is anyway...”

“Your talent?” You ask, looking up from the seemingly empty bag.

“Everyone has a talent,” the girl responds, “A sort of natural magical ability that everyone is born with.” She frowns slightly, “Youkai and fairies have them too, though I don't know if youkai formed from animals gain them before or after they wake up as a youkai...”

“Would I have one?” You question, honestly interested in the idea of having some kind of inbuilt magic.

“I don't see why not,” murmurs your partner, “I haven't read much on the subject, my reading material is kind of... um... mixed - but what I have read said that everyone had a talent but not everyone could use theirs. I don't know if that's because they simply can't, or because they don't know what it is.” She looks at you and shrugs, “For me it's because I don't know it, there are spells which can find out but I've not been able to find the instructions for any. Though you don't know what yours is I guess it's more because you can't use any magic that you can't get at your talent - I've heard that some people just know what theirs is without having to find out but, um, I don't really know how that happens either...”

“Oh...” Your shoulders slump slightly, but then rise as a thought occurs. “We should start your book then.” You flash your partner a wide grin, “So you can teach me how to use magic and then maybe we'll find out somehow.”

“Um, I was thinking of starting after the trip. Some of the stuff we'll be doing would need, um, more than a little privacy.” Your partner shakes her head and smiles slightly before giving you a mock glare. “Now, about things we should be doing right now.” She states, before reaching down to poke at the empty space in your pack. “Sunny, if you don't show yourself this instant I'll... I'll... um... I'll tell Star and Luna about the cookies!”

Almost instantly your bag appears to bulge and burst outwards as it's contents shoot up into the air and, thankfully, become visible. “Y- you wouldn't!” The little girl shrieks, her voice piercing but not so loud as to carry far. “You promised you'd never tell!” The girl stomps her feet like a small child, though given that she's floating the effect is rather pointless. “An-an you don' know where Star 'n Luna are anyway! An'... A-an' an' I don' know where they are either!” The tiny girl seems to devolve into a blubbering wreck as her anger dissipates. Now that's she's not screeching you take a moment to examine the girl, she wears a white and red dress covered in frills and ribbons including some which held her straw-blond hair up in two ponytails.

“So,” You speak up at last, “Exactly why were you hiding in my bag?”

The fairy, Sunny according to Tokiko, spun in the air to face you. “'cause it was open!” She yells, wiping away her earlier tears with the back of one hand. “an' big enough to fit in!” Looking down she brings her hands together and wrings them nervously. “An... an' I thought maybe if I hid somewhere that smelled of someone else then maybe I wouldn' get found.”

“Smelled?” Tokiko murmurs, “But that doesn't make sense unless...” She trails off as her eyes widen. “Who?” she finally asks.

Sunny lowers herself back into the bag, as if she were afraid that answering would alert whoever she was hiding from to her position. “Th' watchdog.” she whimpers, “She's lookin' for me.” One of the girl's hands reached up to clutch at her shoulder. “She... she's mean an' nasty and hurt me!”

“The wolf Tengu,” your partner states, “Mimi? No, Mami? That's not right... Momi maybe?” Your partner shakes her head, “she's called something like that at any rate. This could be a problem.”

“A big problem, or a little problem?” You ask, now finding yourself glancing around in paranoia.

“Not... too big, I think. Wolf Tengu are good hunters though, fast too - but not as fast as Crow Tengu.” Nibbling at her thumb in worry you watch as your partner suddenly stands up and looks around the area. “A good tracker, but she'd still need to actually run across us before she can hunt us - her nose is no good without something to follow. She's strong too, maybe as strong as Meiling was - maybe a touch less. I don't really want to find out.”

“So we just have to avoid being found out, that's easy enough right?” You state, slouching back in relief. “It's not like she has anything to track us... by...” You trail off and look down at the fairy. “Except you. Damn.” You frown and note that the girl seems to tear up, presumably expecting you to order her away or something. “No, no.... We can work with this.” You nod and look up at your partner. “If she's here then we know this wolf person is going to find us eventually - so we can take steps to prepare for it, rather than be caught by surprise if she runs across us at random.”

“What kind of steps?” Your partner asks, “We can't do much surrounded by everyone from school.”

You nod, “That's true, but we can warn Risa and Mystia as well as...” You pause, “You know, I don't think we ever got the name of that pale woman - but we should warn her since she did tell us where to find Risa when we needed to.” That seems to be everything except... You look down at Sunny once more. “Do you have a partner? And are you always going to be that small?”

The straw-haired tiny girl looks up at you in confusion. “What's a partner?” She asks, “Th' guard dog wanted to know If I had one - but I lied an' tol' her I did so she'd maybe look for them instead.” The girl cocked her head to one side, “Does that count?”

“Not... really.” You reply, “So you have no partner - that's not great, but not bad either as it means we don't have to go looking for them ourselves. But it does mean you can't really fight so well until you find one...” You shrug, “Well, whatever, we can't exactly pick our circumstances can we?”

* * * * * * * *

“We simply cannot pick our circumstances, don't you know this?” The bastard gloated as he stood over one of the covering cashiers. “Some of us are destined to slave our lives away for a pitiful wage, and some of us go on to do great and wonderful things!”

It was obvious, to her, which of these two camps the bastard believed that he fell into. Slimy jerk - if it wasn't for her he'd be some petty criminal, probably dead or arrested by now. But no, oh no, some colossal fuckup of fate had dropped her at his feet and he'd taken advantage of her unconscious state to take that which was more precious than her very life. And so now she did what he ordered... oh, but there would come a time, a time when she could wrap her fingers around his throat and rip his head from his neck as easily as she ripped this massive plate door from it's moorings.

Now what the hell did he expect her to do with this thing anyway? Dumping it on the ground was out - not all of these 'banks' had floors and walls reinforced enough to prop them against without collapsing. She couldn't keep holding onto it either as he would expect her to go inside and break open all the secure boxes for him, not to mention she'd need her hands free to carry all the goods outside anyway.

“Ah,” she grumbled, “Fuck it.” shifting her weight she leaned back and, with an almost casual motion, flung the many-ton slab of steel out and through the walls of the room - it was underground and she'd angled it so that it would miss the people on the floor above... she vaguely remembered some parkland or something - not much chance of it hitting anyone there.

And frankly, by this point, having it crush some people would just be a tiny black mark to go along with the dishonor she had already earned from being, albeit unwillingly, a thief and slave.

* * * * * * * *

When the tree exploded, sending wooden shrapnel everywhere, the park-goers had naturally freaked the hell out. Chaos had reigned as those few people who had any kind of authority tried both to keep the peace and work out what the hell had happened.

'What the hell' turned out to be a giant chunk of mangled metal that had seemingly fallen from the sky and turned the tree it had landed on into a cloud of flying splinters. Though it was fortunate that the slab had not landed on anyone, for that would have inevitably been fatal, many people had been peppered with splinters and even now were lying here and there as the few first-aid knowledgeable people did their best as they waited for emergency aid to arrive. Most of your class had been on the outer edges of the cloud and were, under the guidance of the teachers, either huddling up on the far side of the park or running to and fro assisting the first-aid capable staff as they aided others.

“That,” you mutter, “Is not normal.” Sunny had screamed and dove back into your bag, where she now huddled, while Tokiko had risen up and was even now scanning for whatever - or whoever - had launched the slab into the park. You glance around for... ah! There, Mystia and Risa were also looking for an attacker of some kind. You wave to them and after a moment the two move cautiously towards you and your partner. “You okay?” You call as the two draw near, noting that Mystia is favoring one arm and is limping ever so slightly.

“We're fi-” She starts to yell before Risa places a hand on her shoulder and, looking at you, shakes her head.

“Mystia is hurt.” the black-haired girl states, he voice quiet and oddly polite compared to her earlier hate-filled speech. “And my shoulder is still off from... from the arrow.”

[ ] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[ ] Risa + Mystia can come with you to find the culprit - though they could be a liability
[ ] You + Tokiko will stay here with Risa + Mystia - let the culprit come to you.

Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold
new thread, yay. Previous one sages a bit to push it over 250. (also bumped because, uh, i'm an idiot and put sage in the wrong field. HAHAHA. shoot me now.)
[Q] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[Q] Warm
[Q] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[Q] Warm

Later on we need to ask sunny if she can turn us invisible as well, would be one hell of an advantage in combat.
[x] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[x] Warm

They would have made for a nice support, but in their state, it'd be sucide against an Oni.

The best plan for what lies ahead is going after the partner and getting whatever Yuugi values back, then things will resolve themselves.
[X] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[X] Warm
With Sunnymilk's innate ability being manipulation of the reflections of light, there's bound to be more effective use than merely stealth. Maybe if we combined her with Flandre we can burn people without the target knowing where the flame comes from, until it's too late?

Of course, that also meant we would have to watch out for combination attacks if that's workable.
[X] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[X] Cool
[x] Risa + Mystia can stay here to guard everyone - though they'd be an easy target on their own.
[x] Warm
You nod - both girls had been turned into pincushions the day before so it was hardly unexpected that they'd be feeling less than a hundred percent today. From your own experiences of healing up you knew that while Risa, like you, would heal many times faster than any normal human would thanks to her grimoire ownership it would still take a few days to recover from having her shoulder completely messed up from it's impalement. Mystia would recover faster - but she had also been shot more than once, a days worth of healing simply wasn't enough to get over that even for her.

“Right...” Looking at the recovering two you make a sweeping gesture with one arm “Stay here then, I'm betting that whoever sent that slab here is part of this game - and they may not be alone.” You grimace, “There's a fairy with us who claims that someone, Tokiko said it's a wolf tengu, has been hunting down other players in the area.”

“Momiji?” Mystia murmurs, “That doesn't sound like her...”

“Maybe, maybe not. I'm getting the feeling that a lot of you Gensokyo girls are using this game as an opportunity to cut loose.” You state, causing Risa's partner to look away guiltily. “This Momiji could just be letting out a whole lot of pent up anger or something.”

“Maybe... but I wouldn't have thought she'd be strong enough to throw that no matter how angry she was,” Mystia replies, pointing to the metal slab where it lay part-buried in the earth beyond the tree it had shattered. “I guess she could have had a spell to do it... but no tengu, wolf or crow, would have the strength to do that by hand.” She frowns, “Anyone with that sort of power is someone I would be wary of - especially if that's their natural strength, like an Oni.” Looking at you the byzantine-haired girl smirked, “So don't be stupid and stay alive - I want to be the one who beats you down in the end, I don't want that pleasure to go to some muscle-headed drunk instead.”

“Right,” you drawl, “Good to know you care - anyway, stick with everyone here and if something does happen try to draw them away and escape, given the steep angle that slab took coming down I doubt the launcher was too far away.” You glance around and nod, “So hopefully we should be able to hear you if something happens and assuming we're not in our own trouble by then we'll come running.”

“Now then,” you add as you spin on one foot and point yourself in the direction of the nearest park gate. “See if you can't keep the teachers from noticing we've gone investigating, in this confusion it shouldn't be too hard.” Grabbing hold of Tokiko's hand you quickly make a move away while half dragging her along behind you.

* * * * * * * *

It didn't take long to find the scene or carnage that was the likely origin point of the steel slab - the more-or-less slab-shaped hole in the ground had confirmed that and the fact that this hole was right in front of a bank... Well, at least you knew what the slab was now, no doubt it had once been the door to whatever vault lay underneath the bank itself.

“They're robbing the building.” You blink and glance back at Tokiko as she points off to one side. Your gaze swings out along her arm and follows the direction of her fingers to eventually fall upon two figures, one tall blond woman and one rather greasy looking man in front of her. Both were carrying a mix of boxes and sacks - though the woman was carrying far, far more than the few items the man held. As you watched the man threw his boxes into a nearby car before seemingly ordering the woman to do the sa-

“Uh-oh.” You grunted as the man seemed to notice you and Tokiko watching him and his companion. Not that it was hard to notice you as the street was pretty much clear of any other people thanks to them all having been scared away by what must have been the slab coming out of the ground earlier. Why the police hadn't arrived yet was something of a mystery... or at least it was until you noticed the piles of wrecked cars at either end of the street, evidently the police had already arrived and been beaten back.

The man points at you and yells something, you're not sure what but given how the woman drops her cargo you're have a fair idea that it was probably an order to get rid of yourself and Tokiko.

Huh. Fuck that.

“Before we start!” You call out as soon as the woman was near enough to hear you over the various sirens and wailing alarms that were filling the air. “Let me tell you one thing!”

The woman pauses and raises an eyebrow in curiosity.

“We,” Your book appears in your hand as Tokiko steps up beside you and takes a combat stance, possibly one learned from your sister or her fight with Meiling. “We are pretty strong!”

One corner of the blond woman's mouth rises in an amused little smile. This close you can see that she must be hitting a good six feet tall - maybe more - which makes her tower over both you and your partner. Under her gym style uniform, a loose vest and a plain skirt, you can make out muscles upon muscles... It wasn't hard to assume that she was a melee fighter of some kind and given how much loot she had been carrying her strength was far, far more than that of a human - which meant she was a player in the game and thus likely the person who had been behind the flight of the slab earlier.

“You think you're strong?” She states as she brings one of her massive arms up to grab her own chin and giving it a decisive flick to one side, her neck making an intimidating cracking sound. “My strength will make you cry.”

Had you been any slower, any less in tune with your partner, then Tokiko would have been smeared across the pavement now. As it was her shield, called out by you, flashed into existence the barest fraction of a second before the tall woman's fist slammed into it like an angry freight train. Your partner skidded backwards as the force of the blow, unable to penetrate her shield, blasted her away from the point of impact instead. The woman stepped forwards, her other arm swinging from down low in an uppercut which caught Tokiko's shield a second time and launched her into the air - there the woman's first fist, having already been re-purposed into a third strike, was now swinging down at her unshielded back.

The two of you weren't the same duo who got crushed by Meiling however and it showed as you called out another spell. The shotgun of lights fired outwards to pepper nothing but air - far more important was that the recoil from the spell was enough to push Tokiko aside to roll across her own now-fading shield out from under the descending fist. The silver-haired girl kicked her legs out to control her fall and she landed lightly in a stark comparison to the blond woman's fist, which smashed through the asphalt and kept going until her entire forearm was buried in the road surface. With her opponent temporarily immobilized Tokiko's hand flicked out and stopped inches away from the brutish woman's head.

“Bang.” She murmured.

The woman's head vanished in an explosion of sound and light as you incanted Tokiko's first spell once more. You grinned as the body of the woman reeled back, though not far as it was still anchored to the ground by her buried arm.

Your grin vanishes when the arm suddenly rips sideways though the ground before bursting out and up in an arc that ends with the back of the woman's fist crashing into Tokiko's abdomen. The silver-haired girl seemed to bend around the fist for a moment before physics catch up and she's launched, bouncing, across the surface of the road for a considerable distance. You're vaguely aware of a horrified yell bursting out of your throat as you turn, slip, scrabble like mad, run, run faster, and skid to a stop - almost slipping over again - beside your partner. Correct first aid procedure dictated that you should take stock of a victims condition before moving them... but your mind, filled with terror and worry and a hundred other feelings and pains you couldn't name, instead directed you to grab the clearly unconscious girl and roll her onto her back so you could see her properly. Her face wasn't too bad but her arms were covered in bruises from her bouncing and her abdomen was... You tore at her shirt, pulling it open in a frenzy to see what sort of damage lay underneath. As the cloth gave way you were treated to the sight of a massive bruise, already turning black, as well as more than enough split skin and blood to be good in any way.

You looked up.

The woman, approaching you, seemed to flinch back from whatever baleful glare you were managing to produce right now. As you rose from your kneeling position she even seemed to take a step away - though that must have been your imagination as no way in hell would someone capable of such strength and toughness even worry about an almost normal human like yourself. Even so the woman stepped back again when you moved towards her. “You,” you growled with a ferocity that surprised even yourself. Something about your voice must have shaken the woman out of whatever had afflicted her as she gave her head a little shake before charging at you with one fist pulling back for a killing blow.

And then, with an undignified squawk, she tripped. For a moment she seemed to hang in mid-air with a look of surprise on her face - a face, you now noted, that was now lacking the bandages from earlier thanks to Tokiko's shotgun spell. In their place was instead a flat circular red lump covered in scratches and evident toolmarks. You had barely a moment to take this in before the woman's face planted itself in the ground and a lump of debris faded into existence around the spot she had tripped over.

“Hah!” You glanced aside at the exclamation and saw your bag, open, with the fairy Sunny standing up from the opening. “Stupid oni! Stuuuuupid!” The tiny straw-haired made a face at the blond woman before she hopped out of your bag and simply vanished.

“Sneaky.” You murmur, realizing that the fairy had been the one to cause the woman's fall through the simple act of making the debris she had tripped over invisible. As you watched several strands of the woman's blond hair rose into the air and, with a sudden yank, were all but ripped from her scalp by the invisible hand of what must have been Sunny. You smile slightly and turn back to Tokiko, thankful for the distraction the little girl was providing for you. She groans and vaguely tries to wave you away with one arm as you give her a couple of experimental prods. This was a good development as it meant she was at least conscious again and not, say, dead. Not that this was a great help as she really wasn't in any condition to fight and Sunny, even with her stealth advantage, wouldn't be able to take out the blond woman herself - which left you and there was no way you'd be able to take her out either.


Mystia and Risa had tried to kill you, not Tokiko.

The archer from before had endeavored to kill Risa and not Mystia.

Sunny had said that the Momiji person had gone after her faux partner rather than herself.

Looking up from your partner you scan across the surrounding landscape until your gaze locates and locks in on the greasy-seeming man the woman had been with.

The woman you had no hope against. Her partner on the other hand... He didn't seem to care at all about the fight - rather he was more interested in hauling, one by one, the many sacks and boxes the woman had dumped over and into the trunk of a small car. In the simplest of terms he was the weak point, the soft spot, the vulnerable of this dragon - he was going down and, with luck, when he went down you could... could... You weren't entirely sure - you didn't want to just kill him but you could likely just use him as a hostage to blackmail his partner into surrendering.

You didn't really consider yourself much of an athlete but with the boost to your physical abilities that came from owning a grimoire you were able to cover the few hundred yards between yourself and the man in record time. The greasy example of humanity reeled back in horror as you passed him by, one arm out to catch him around the neck in a lariat which, with some deft footwork, you turned into a chokehold by spinning around into position behind him. The man struggled but a quick jerk of your arm was enough to make him back down and begin blubbering, offering you whatever you wanted from his stash - the proceeds of his bank job no doubt.

“Oi!” You yelled out, causing the blond woman to cease swatting at the air around her - though you doubted the invisible Sunny was stupid enough to get anywhere near her wild swipes - and instead glance your way. The woman took a few steps in your direction before freezing as you gave her partner a gentle tug around the neck, enough to make him squirm in your hold. “Stay right where you are!” you call, “Or your partner and you both lose the game!”

The woman stares at you for a short while before cocking her head to one side. “So?” She asks, raising her hands and cracking the knuckles of one with the other. The man in your grasp seems to shake somewhat as the woman draws closer. “Why should I care? I got nothing to lose I haven't already lost.”

Well shit, this wasn't going quite how you had planned. You swore as the man suddenly stamped on your foot and used your flinch of pain to twist out from your grip and make a short dash to a point a fair equal distance between you and the blond woman. “Yuugi!” he yelled, reaching inside his jacket and pulling out a little black box. “Take care of him or I push the button and you know what happens then!” The woman, Yuugi you supposed, flinched back at the sight of the box before setting her jaw and turning in your direction.

This, you thought, could be a problem.

[ ] Strike first, hope you get to the guy before Yuugi gets to you.
[ ] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.
[ ] Back off, hope Tokiko can recover and escape while you distract.
[ ] Call for Help, send Sunny for reinforcements.
I'm back. That's all.
[Q] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.

Combat pragmatist to the end.
[x] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.

Damn, no real obvious command to get that button from the guy.
Quick, we need to make a pact with KintarosYuugi and assume Axe Form!

On a more serious note, think we/Tokiko can blast the box out of the fat guy's hand? I'm thinking either there's a bomb inside Yuugi, or there's a bomb in a container containing what's left of her horn after he apparently went to town on it.

Wait, she's missing her horn?
I'm not sure what she's missing,but that thug somehow has it and is basically threaten her with it. That's why the hostage move didn't work, she wanted him dead.

It shouldn't be possible for a mere human to break off an Oni's horn.
She's probably missing her drinking dish.
[ ] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.
Wouldn't Sunny be good for stealing it right out of his hand? Just one hard yank while invisible could probably do it.
>And then, with an undignified squawk, she tripped. For a moment she seemed to hang in mid-air with a look of surprise on her face - a face, you now noted, that was now lacking the bandages from earlier thanks to Tokiko's shotgun spell. In their place was instead a flat circular red lump covered in scratches and evident toolmarks.

It seems like she's missing her horn.
[x] >>22250

I like this idea.
[X] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.

Horn get?
[x] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.
[ ] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.

Can we get Sunny to invis us, throw a rock somewhere (far) as a distraction, and go grab the remote control thing?
This. Very much this.
[x] Observe carefully, perhaps there's something you could use.
Alright then, no sudden moves, it was pretty obvious now that the woman wasn't exactly on the same side as the man and that he in fact was forcing her with.... something. You had no idea what but given his declaration it wasn't exactly hard to guess that it would either be released or destroyed or whatever by remote.

You frowned. Something didn't quite seem right with the picture in front of you but you just couldn't put your finger on it. This whole situation seemed like something out of a cheap action movie, blackmail, robbery, remote-controls, all that was needed now was someone being suspended on a rope and you could sell the whole shebang to hollywood. You held back a smirk for a moment as you tried to reign in your inappropriately-timed sense of humor. Things would have to be changed obviously, the villain would need to be played by someone more villainous and less slimy for one thing and for another the props would have to be made more obvious or else how would the audience know the man was holding a remote? People expected big buttons and arials and little flipping covers and stuff, not a gray box covered in little buttons like a...



That was what was didn't fit right.

Ignoring the woman approaching you, her knuckles popping as she cracked them again, you did your best to focus your attention on the remote the criminal man was waving around. “Isn't that just a television remote?” You say both suddenly and loudly. Yuugi pauses in her advance and you see her brow crease in a slight frown - did she even know what a television remote was? Regardless of if she did your comment had caught her attention and judging by the way her greasy not-a-partner was sweating you had most definitely caught his.

“A what?” The blond amazonian-built woman raised one eyebrow as she glared down at you.

“A television remote. It controls one of those magic picture boxes which-” A snarl from the tall woman cuts you off mid-sentence.

“I know what a television is!” she growls, causing you to take a sudden step backwards in fear of her lashing out. Fortunately for you she turned away and pinned her greasy not-partner with an angry glare. “You lied to me about explosives.” She states, her voice filled with venom enough to kill on it's own. She barely flinched as the plastic remote, thrown by the man in rage, bounced off of her face. “You blackmailed me with nothing in your hand!” She took a step towards the man who now, quite understandably, was looking terrified as almost seven foot of angry youkai bore down on him.

The man wavered and, as you were observing carefully, you caught his eyes flicking over to his escape vehicle more than once. “Y-Yuugi!” he stammered, his hands up and making warding gestures. “Think of all I've done for you!” he babbled, “I gave you food! Drink! A roof over your head!”

“You drugged me!” The blond woman roared, “You lied to me, tricked me and drugged me!”

“You'll never get your horn back if you kill me!” The man wailed, “Only I know where it's hidden!” Yuugi stopped dead and it was instantly obvious to you that the horn which had been mentioned was the item the greasy man was evidently holding hostage to blackmail her with. You squinted slightly as you looked closer at the man and caught his eyes, once again, drifting off towards his car.

“Interesting,” you murmur as you slowly start edging towards the vehicle as the man attempts to convince Yuugi, once more, that it is in her best interests to do as he says. By the time she had caved in to his demands you were already half-way to your target and the man's shocked yell prompted you to go from merely sidling to running full tilt towards it. You saw the cars lights flash as the doors locked by remote but thankfully the man hadn't actually shut the doors earlier, rendering his response ultimately pointless. “If I was an idiot,” you hissed as you heard Yuugi start to give chase, “Where would I have....” You grinned. “Glove compartment!” Changing course slightly you swung past the read of the car and turned sharply towards the still open passenger-side door - the bags piled up on the seat and in the footwell showed exactly why the door had been open. With a grunt of irritation you shoved a few of the bags out the way and gave the glove compartment door a tug only to find it locked and unyeilding.

God dammit! You didn't have time for this shit! Yuugi was going to turn you into a bloody smear if you didn't get her out from her 'partner's' control and you still had no idea how badly hurt Tokiko really was! Giving a yell of anger you tugged hard at the plastic handle of the compartment door. As it had been built to do the locked door resisted your efforts for a few moments before it suddenly gave way with a snapping of plastic and crunching of metal. You almost fell over as the entire door was ripped from it's mounting by a level of strength that part of you knew wasn't normal, not that you cared since as soon as the door was out you were frantically rummaging through the crap that had spilled out and the stuff that had remained in the compartment.

You felt the entire car bounce. Risking a glance you caught sight of Yuugi vaulting over the vehicle and you knew that the moment she landed she would send one of her fists smashing into your body where, unlike with Tokiko, it would likely kill you instantly. Your fumbling hand brushed against something rough and conical. Praying to whatever diving being may have been listening at the time you grabbed the item and yanked it out from the compartment before swinging it up and holding it in front of your face as if it were some kind of shield even as you screwed your eyes shut in terror.

When death, or at least severe physical trauma, didn't immediately occur you risked opening your eyes a fraction. Yuugi was standing less than a foot or two away from you, one fist pulled back ready to give a lethal blow but her eyes... her eyes were locked onto the object in your hand which now you could see was a slim red cone - the same color as the stump on her forehead - which was decorated with a single gold star that had seemingly been inlaid into it.

“Your... horn?” You suggested, moving your hand so that it was palm up, the red cone clearly on offer.

Yuugi's gaze flicked away from the cone, horn you supposed, and locked onto your own. “You're just going to give it to me?” She asked, her voice strangely calm.

Your fingers closed around the horn. “You hurt my girlfriend,” you stated in a hollow voice, “You almost killed a number of people earlier - you definitely injured a lot. I have no reason to give this to you after the shit you've pulled already.” You sigh then and let your fingers open out again. “But I have no intention to be like the bastard who made you do it all, so here - catch.” You gave the horn a little toss into the air and watched as Yuugi scrambled to grab it. You frowned, “How the hell do you even loose a horn anyway?”

Yuugi, all but hugging the red cone to her chest, glares at you. “Trickery.” She hisses, “I was drugged while drinking - ended up falling asleep. Woke up to fine my horn had been sawed off while I was out.” The tall woman turns away from you, her face splitting into a feral grin. “Now it's time for revenge.” She ducked slightly and slipped one hand underneath the car and simply lifted the entire thing into the air before drawing back as if to throw the mass of plastic and metal like a baseball.

It wasn't hard to guess where, or rather who, she was aiming at.

[ ] Woah! Woah! Woah! You can't just kill him!
[ ] Hey! Hey! Hey! What do you think you're doing?
[ ] Go! Go! Go! Get him good!

Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold
[x] Go! Go! Go! Get him good!
-[x] Cold

The guy is pure scum.
[Q] Woah! Woah! Woah! You can't just kill him!
- [Q] Cool

Severely maim and leave for the police, maybe, but not kill!

Didn't expect that one. Nice.

[ ] Woah! Woah! Woah! You can't just kill him!
[ ] Cold
[B] Go! Go! Go! Get him good!
-[b] Cold
[X] Go! Go! Go! Get him good!
[X] Cold

Why should I stop Yuugi from crushing some slimy cockroach?

It's not like bugs are sentients beings or anything...
I'm torn between doing the barely right thing, and letting the guy experience what happens when you fuck with an oni like he did.
[x] Go! Go! Go! Get him good!
[x] Cold
[x] Exactly the votes, comments, and sentiments of >>22317.

Revenge is still cool, but don't kill him.

Wonder how she'll break her contract with him, though.

What contract? No book no chain, just a horn and some imaginary explosives.
If that's the case, then that guy is very slim pickings against even Tokiko let alone an insanely pissed off Oni about to toss A CAR!
[x] Hey! Hey! Hey! What do you think you're doing?
[x] Cold
Seriously, she could hurt someone other than him if she tossed the car. Safer to just crush him personally.
[Q] Woah! Woah! Woah! You can't just kill him!
- [Q] Cool
{X} Go! Go! Go! Get him good!
{X} Cold
[Q] Woah! Woah! Woah! You can't just kill him!
- [Q] Cool

I'd like to believe that Shiori isn't the type of person to simply let murder happen, no matter how deserving the bastard is. We didn't kill Mystia when she was trying to kill us, why the sudden apathy for life now?
[X]Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You can't just kill him!

If Yuugi just kills the guy outright, will that really amount to any kind of satisfaction for her? Besides, letting scum like that rot away in a cell is a much more appropriate punishment.

That's just my view anyway.
[X]Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! You can't just kill him!
Consider this called, voting may now cease and stuff.
“Woah!” you yell, the woman tensing up at your voice. “Woah!” You grabbed hold of her drawn back arm - not that it would do much good you knew as if she could lift a car with one hand then there was no way your body weight was going to inconvenience her in the slightest. Still, the moment your arms wrapped around her one arm you felt it give slightly in your direction as the muscles under her skin softened and relaxed slightly. 'Woah.” you add, just to make sure you had the woman's attention. “You can't just kill him!”

Looking over her shoulder at you Yuugi frowned for a moment. “Yes I can.” She stated, “He's only human.” She shifted her arm slightly and you felt your feet leave the ground as if to prove that you were little more than a minor inconvenience to what she was planning to do. “He messed with an Oni, the little bastard is lucky I'm just going to kill him and not eat him alive.”

“You can do that?” You asked, morbid curiosity momentarily overpowering everything else.

“Start from the outside and work your way in.” Yuugi replied, “He'd probably taste like crap though - but it would be more satisfying than...” She paused and frowned to herself, her arm lowering slightly so your feet once again met the floor. “I suppose you have a point, a quick death would be too good for something I'd normally wipe off the bottom of my boot.” You jumped in fright as the car she had been holding fell to the ground with a squeal and the crush of it's tortured suspension. Moments later the roof was caved in as Yuugi smacked her hand into it out of irritation. “And you did return my stolen horn.” She growled under her breath, “That means I should at least consider your words - if not owe you a debt entirely.” The massive woman shrugged, “I guess I could be content with him staying at the shogun's leisure, he'll be perfect for sword testing - though I doubt they'd get many cuts out of him.”

“Um,” You spoke up, hesitantly, not really wanting to break the seemingly more peaceful mood the oni woman had moved into. “That doesn't really happen anymore.” She turned and gave you a surprised look - one that quickly morphed into her earlier angry facade. “We don't have shoguns anymore either.” You add , wincing as your brain finally thinks of how smart it would have been to have just shut up.

“Fine.” The blond oni snarled, “What do you have that passes for justice?” Not wanting to be the focus of the woman's ire any longer you gave her a brief - very brief - run down of what you knew about prisons, you may have exaggerated quite a bit regarding the welfare of prisoners but then again most of what you knew about such things came from movies and crime dramas rather than first-hand experience.

Yuugi considered your words for a few moments before nodding slowly. “It will have to do,” she grumbled, “Wasting away, abuse from other prisoners, perhaps not as entertaining as hanging him from a bridge with a rock at his feet but sometimes... “ The woman paused and shrugged, a nasty gleam flitting across her eyes, “Sometimes you just have to compromise.”

The greasy man, during your conversation after Yuugi had dropped his car, had tried to run - he really had and you did have to give the man credit for being smart enough to not hang around. On the other hand he had tried to escape with loot, something which slowed his already unfit form down considerably. Enough for Yuugi to come up and grab him from behind within seconds, even after the head-start he had been lucky enough to get.

“Now,” Yuugi crooned in an almost, almost, pleasant tone of voice. “Where do you think you're going?”

You ignore the mans babbled pleas and head back over to where Tokiko was now sitting up, the smallish girl having recovered somewhat from taking Yuugi's fist in her gut. The silver haired girl winced and held one hand to her abdomen as Sunny, tiny as she was, helped by pulling her upright with her other arm. Then you were there and your arm slid under her upraised one before reaching around her back and gently taking a firm grip at the far side of her waist. It still didn't seem right to you that she was so light - you didn't even have to strain to lift her to her feet - and yet this girl had taken, without dying, a blow from someone capable of lifting cars.

As you did every time such thoughts about Tokiko's... youkai-ness... wormed into your brain you took a deep breath and banished all your worries as far to the back of your mind as you could. Tokiko was Tokiko and Tokiko was your girlfriend, fiancee really given your claims to your classmates a few days ago, who was pretty and rather smart and had tasted oh so nice when she had kissed you and... she was Tokiko - end of story.

So now you were helping your gir-fiancee stand up as you murmured more than a few lines of explanation into her ear to bring her up to speed with the current situation.

And then the screaming started.

You jumped as the shriek of agony sent a horrific chill running down your spine, Tokiko made a little protest but was otherwise quite willing to be almost bodily flung around as you spun to face the source of the cry.

Bile rose in your throat as you saw the greasy man pulled tight against a light post by his arms, if you could call them such anymore, held as they were by a gleefully smiling Yuugi standing on the other side of the post. She was tying the man to the post with his arms.


Bones had been shattered, tendons ripped and undoubtedly muscles had all but liquified under the oni's less than tender ministrations. You wanted to run over, to stop this horrible scene... but... but... you couldn't. You couldn't move, you could barely think, all you could do was watch as the manically grinning woman twisted two human limbs about as if they were sick ropes. Your vision had tunneled and focused on the grisly show set as it was to an opera of screams and shrieks and squeals and oh god the cracking snapping crunching wet tearing matching each of Yuugi's motions that....

You threw up, violently.

Legs giving way you fell to hands and knees as the foul acidic taste filled your mouth on it's way out, the lumpy disgusting bile going on to splash against the ground and spatter itself across your arms and hands.

A hand pressed itself gently against your back in a reassuring motion, most likely it was Tokiko's hand. Coughing up the last of the vomit - and doing your best to try and block out the horrific noises from across the way - you looked around over your shoulder at the girl... and promptly let out an involentary hiss at the sight of her watching the violence without any sign of discomfort or distress marring her face. Hearing it the silver-haired girl tore her gaze away from the scene and swung it down to you before her eyes widened in surprise at your less than pleasant state. Her hand removed itself from your back in order to fumble around in her dress for what eventually turned out to be some disposable handkerchiefs, a few of which she offered so that you could wipe your hands and mouth.

Looking up you caught sight of the man, his arms... it was just... you couldn't... it... you retched, dry heaving as your first go had evidently emptied your stomach. As you did two hands clapped themselves over your ears, muffling the screams, and twisted your head slightly so as to look right at Tokiko's face. The youkai girl shifted around so that she was in front of you, her body blocking any possibility of seeing Yuugi and her victim - then she squatted down, wincing at having to bend her still hurting waist, so that she could lean forwards and touch her forehead to yours.

“Look at me,” she murmured, though it was hard to hear through the muffling her hands provided. “Just look at me.”

You couldn't hear the screams anymore - either they had died down or you were just ignoring them, you weren't entirely sure which was the case. All you could do was breath in, breath out and stare into Tokiko's wonderfully amber eyes. They were warm and... and... they weren't looking back at you. You caught sight of her pupils suddenly shrinking and then you were flung to one side as Tokiko dove and dragged you with her - something zooming past your head close enough to leave a small cloud of your own hair falling separate to the rest of you. You yelled in pain as both your elbow and shoulder twisted badly upon hitting the floor and as you did you hear a faint 'tch!' of annoyance from somewhere above.

You heard a yell of surprise from Yuugi, then a soft thump and a further yell of both pain and rage. Tokiko seems to roll away from you and clamber, albeit slowly, to her feet - you use this time to take a look at the situation, you also try to rise by your arm protests the movement far too much than you think is healthy so you give up on that and settle for watching.

Over by the pole Yuugi's blackmailer had been tied to - and you notice the man was now slumped over in blissful unconsciousness - stood two women glaring each other down. One was of course Yuugi who you noticed seemed to be favoring her left side though as it was hidden from view by the bulk of her body you couldn't see why she was doing it. Opposite her was a younger and smaller seeming woman with short white hair - for a moment you wondered if it was the white woman you had met before, but it was quickly obvious that the body shapes were wrong. The fact that this woman had two great dog-like ears sticking out of her hair did also help prove that the two were not the same person. She also carried a... well... it wasn't exactly a sword, more like what a sword would be if one took the sword away. There was just a glint in the air of a sharpened edge, the slight reflection of the surroundings upon metal - but no actual edge or metal to speak of.

Yuugi eyed the not-blade for a moment and snorted. “Fuckin' Tengu.” she grunted, “Don't have the balls to fight head on, huh?”

“We Tengu are not so crass as to charge in swinging our fists like barbarians.” responded the dog-eared woman, “Especially us of the wolf clan, we are warriors - not drunken brawlers. You Oni may be a terrifying opponent, but here your strength and toughness are weakened enough that even a lowly border guard such as myself can sever your flesh.” She smirked and shifted into a rough-looking stance, one foot in front of the other and leaning forward slightly for a lunge or dash. “It also helps that I have a partner and, thus am not as unarmed as you.” Her not-a-blade you had noticed to be fading away rather quickly however when she finished her statement it suddenly burst back into full not-quite-there-ness as the young woman darted forward, hopped into the air and spun like a ballerina, her not-sword whipping out and turning her into some kind of bladed spinning top of death. Yuugi caught the blade in her right hand with the ease of someone who had evidently spent a lifetime fighting... but then she hissed and swore in pain as the not-blade passed through her hand and you were treated to the gruesome sight of her two outer fingers falling to the ground along with a trail of blood. The white girl didn't spend any time gloating however and instead went straight for a potentially killing slash - only to have the not-blade miss as Yuugi leaned back, allowing it to pass close enough to clip the tip of her nose, before stepping in behind the weapon and unleashing with her injured hand a hellishly powerful palm strike aimed at the girl's head.

It missed.

By the barest fraction of an inch it missed - and that miss was all it took for Yuugi to die.

Arm outstretched and her other arm missing, as you could now see, the blond oni was in no position to avoid the white-haired girl's follow-through as her not-all-there weapon reversed in her grip before swinging back and biting deeply into her side. The moment the weapon was firmly embedded the girl hopped back, watching as Yuugi clutched at her abdomen in agony... But the pain was only momentary as before anything else could be done the girl produced a second not-blade and that was the end of it, Yuugi's head hit the ground with a dull thump and an expression of both pain and surprise.

“Feh.” The girl paused to glare at the new corpse. “Just because you can rely on being almost unharmable back in Gensokyo you thought you could do the same here. How expected of an oni - at least now you're no threat to miss Aya.” She paused then turned to regard you and your partner with a cold glare. “More threats,” she murmured - then she sniffed at the air for a moment and frowned, “and my earlier prey too.” The girl bends her knees slightly then seems to blast away from her position and zoom directly at Tokiko and yourself as if she had been shot from a cannon. Her near-invisible weapon bursts into life once more as, no doubt, her hidden partner refreshes the spell.

Goddamn it!

You're still on the floor thanks to the fact that your arm hurts like hell when you try to get up, a dislocated shoulder you suspect, and Tokiko is crouched ahead of you and, frankly, after seeing Yuugi lose so quickly you don't hold out much hope of Tokiko surviving more than a sec.... no! No! You will not allow yourself to think like that! You grit your teeth and roll onto your back, your grimoire appearing instantly within your good hand as something, Sunny, flashes across your vision and charges the wolf girl only to be swatted out of the air with ease. You hear the diminutive girl yell in pain and start whimpering loudly - either the swat itself or the landing must have hurt her a lot.

With the sword-wielding girl distracted for a moment Tokiko took what must have been a split-second opening to suddenly push forward and crash, shoulder first, into the stomach of her oncoming opponent. The wolf-girl's breath exploded out of her mouth as it was forced from her lungs by Tokiko's shoulder but she soon got it back in time to let out a yell of surprise as your partner lifted her bodily into the air over one shoulder. You winced, Tokiko had plainly learned this off of your sister at some point and what was coming was both entirely predictable... and would be most painful indeed. Sure enough, with her victim slung over her shoulder, your partner simply fell backwards - the white-haired girl's upper body smashing into the ground mere inches away from you with a bone-snapping crunch.

Not wanting to be so close to such an opponent you made a mad, and very painful, scramble out of the way - dragging yourself over and around to where Sunny had fallen. The small girl was whimpering pathetically and given that both arms and one leg were bending in unnatural ways you really didn't blame her for doing so.

You growled.

“Tokiko!” You yelled, your partner getting to her feet as fast as she could. “Crush her!”

Your partner nodded before springing away from her opponent, who swung out her not-blade as she herself rose, though your partner was not quite fast enough as you caught sight of the front of her dress sag around the chest area thanks to the weapon just grazing the flesh of Tokiko's breasts and drawing an unsightly line of blood across them both. Biting your lip you clutched at your grimoire until your knuckles turned almost white from the pressure. Two shots, one shield... none of these seemed like they would be of use in actually taking this sword-freak down. Hell, aside from Lily when had the first two spells actually done anything more impressive than just piss people off?

“You gave us one spell,” you hiss, “Give us another! Give us something we can use! Against her and against Meiling and Kanako and everyone else in this stupid fucking game!” your eyes flicked away from the book and up at where Tokiko was dodging the not-blade as best she could having learned from Yuugi's defeat that there was no way she could take a direct hit from it. “Give me... No! Give her...”

[ ] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!
[ ] Speed to take on even the fastest of opponents!
[ ] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
[ ] Anything, damn it! I don't care what just save her!

Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold.
[x] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!
[x] Hot
[X] Speed to take on even the fastest of opponents!
[Q] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!
[Q] Hot

If we don't get some power, taking down anything will be tough.
[ ] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
[ ] Cold.

Mind's Eye (True).

Power is awesome, but Powerhouse Yuugi already got killed by Momi's swordplay.

Thinking too simply; Tokiko isn't exactly for a lack of things. I'm just saying to think things through and not just go for power as a knee jerk reaction.

I doubt this is a "Only choice is good" choice, but more of a "customize" choice.
Well we already have a powerful defensive spell, so getting a powerful offensive spell would grant a lot of versatility in the long run.
[x] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!
[x] Hot

We have utility in our basic shots, variable spread and ricocheting bullets, and we have strong defense in the shield but we lack a powerful attack.
Hot because it feels most appropriate in the situation.
but it's still thinking too simply. Power means nothing if you can't aim it. Example: Yuugi; sure she had power, but she couldn't aim it right when she needed it, thus she lost.
[X]Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!

You ever see an expert Lance user in Monster Hunter Tri? They sidestep, attack, counter in a flowing dance that brings down even the toughest foe with minimal, if any damage to themselves. This is a contrary vote and unlikely to win, but controlled grace is better than raw power at times.
[x] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
Tokiko seems to be getting spells that require careful thought and planning to execute to their full extent. I am okay with this.
And MC doesn't really seem like the hotblooded type, hes more careful and deliberate.
[X]Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!

Brute power is good, but this game seems to be more a game of wits and skills than just hammering the fuck out of everything.

In addition, keeping a cool head will help us.
[X]Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!

Vote changing games.
[x] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
[x] Cool

Power is good and all, but trying to out power the other participants in this game is going to be like shooting Superman; it's not going to work and you are just going to get hurt trying.
Skill is a safer, and much more versatile, bet.

Yes, I see them take 40 minutes on a job a GS or Hammer Hunter can do in 20.
It's not about style, it's about getting the job done.

[x] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!

It also happens to depend on the weapon used and how good they are. I happen to be a lance-user myself (albeit not the best there is by any stretch) and routinely take down things like Lagiacrus in fifteen minutes or less with the proper weapon. Agnaktor in fifteen minutes on average, so in my experience Lances are by no means as horrifically slow as you make them out to be.

I also happen to use a GS so I also know how strong those are and how quick they can bring a monster down, but there are times where a little added defense and the ability to stay in the opponent's face is preferable to doing a constant string of unsheathe attacks and carefully timed combos.
[x] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
[x] Cool
I would like to state for the record that I absolutely suck at Monster Hunter and so your MH comparisons have gone right over my head. (well, I get the gist of it...)
[x] Power to hold up against the inhumanly strong ones!
"anything dammit" sounds almost like another shield... we could do with some new attacks and a physical would be quite an addition to our arsenal since WE HAVE NONE and apparently neither does Mystia. We can get more Danmaku later.
[x] Skill to take advantage of every opening we can!
[x] Cool
Right... temperature vote: [x]Cold
File 127975337552.jpg - (12.72KB, 360x291, ryubee.jpg) [iqdb]
Called for Cool Skill
[#] skill
<ice cold>
[x]Something happening
Oh... Srry. I didn't realize voting was over. I'm a bit new to this...
So is this still rolling? Square shaped ball rolling at the very least? Want more Mystia~

I was told I'm supposed to annoy the crap out of writers so you feel appreciated. Not doing a very good job yet but... here I am.
Yeah, this isn't dead - unfortunately over the past month a lot of emotionally crippling shit has happened and frankly my motivation has taken a serious hit thanks to it. A post will occur eventually.
Sorry about the whole delay and stuff.
No problem no problem. As long as it's at least square shaped ball rolling... Whatever crippling happened, I hope you get over it soon.
“Give her skill!” You hiss, “To take advantage of every opening we can! Give her skill!” You wince and your throat seems to tighten, “Please!” Your vision blurs as your eyes begin to tear up, “I don't... I don't want...!”

You felt... something. The burning pain in your arm, like the last time you had begged the book for a spell, only this time it seemed more... You didn't know exactly, but it felt all prickly and tingly to a point where it was painful - as if your were being burned while being stung or shocked or something like that at least. You grimaced and clutched your book tighter. If this pain was something you had to pay for the power to save Tokiko then you would pay it again and again if you had to. “I don't want,” You hissed as the pain increased, “to lose her!”

The pain stopped.

Aside from a slight tingle your arm felt as if it had never been in agony at all. Not that you cared about that as you were already cracking the grimoire open to find if you had indeed been granted a new spell of some kind. Your eyes widen as the page flips past the previous spells and settles on a page which, unlike the page before, has space for only a single card - a space that is now filled. The first two cards had been presented on a dull creamy color background, the third on a pale blue - this card was backed in red and unlike the three before seemed to be edged in silver.

Zai Bassha!” You declared, the wolf-girl's head whipping around to shoot you a look of surprise as you did so. You glared back at her and roared out a simple command. “Kick her ass!”

Tokiko slumped forward before seeming to rise with a life that wasn't hers. She rocked slightly from foot to foot as her back straightened with a pure confidence that simply wasn't the kind of attitude you normally connected with the silver-haired girl. Momizi didn't wait around to see what the spell did and so went straight for an overhead slash in order to cleave your partner in two. You yelled a warning, but it was for nothing as Tokiko simply didn't move...

And then her leg came up.

In a feat of flexibility that made you wince to think of it, Tokiko raised one leg up almost vertically to quite literally catch Momizi's weapon hand on her sole. How the hell had she done that? Such a move was the kind of thing that could only be done by someone who had trained for years to do so and you were damn sure Tokiko had never displayed such physical ability before! As you watched her foot shifted slightly around Momizi's hand in order to force it out and down away from her as her leg lowered itself.

As soon as her arm was close to horizontal the wolf-girl spun on one foot, her weapon whipping around to swing back against Tokiko in a vicious reverse-handed strike that the silver haired girl suddenly ducked under at the last moment, her legs going in opposite directions to form an almost picture-perfect set of splits. You partner's arms snuck out to grab her opponent's near leg, one hand above the front of the knee and the other below the back of it, a sharp tug and Momizi was stumbling backwards as Tokiko pulled the leg out from under her before she came to a complete stop. Almost immediately she slapped her palms to the floor and somehow swung up and around into a handstand before vaulting herself over a wild swing from the falling wolf-girl. She spun in the air, twisting once more in ways which made you wince, before falling leg-first in a perfect axe-drop onto Momizi's abdomen.

Or at least what would have been her abdomen had the white-haired girl not rolled away at the last second. The girl continued to roll a bit further before planting one hand to the ground and pushing herself up into a half-crouch. She launched herself at Tokiko, who was still recovering from her failed axe-kick, with the intent to slice the girl across the neck. The first slice missed thanks to your partner having collapsed to one side as the blade passed by mere inches from her head, she kicked out as she did so to force Momizi into hopping out of the way and this brought her the few seconds needed to flip herself into a position she could quickly rise from.

“This method of fighting is familiar.” Murmured the white-haired girl, her sword lowering slightly. “And not something I expected from a no-name youkai such as yourself.”

“This method,” Tokiko stated, “Is one engraved upon me through pain.” She frowned and shot you a glance, “... I do not believe it is the only one.”

It took a moment to understand what your partner meant but when you did you could feel a feral grin spread across your face. You had thought that the way she had been fighting had been similar to how Meiling had been beating on her back when she attacked... If what Tokiko had evidently deduced was true, then this new spell of hers raised her fighting ability by mimicking styles she had experienced herself. Given her sudden flexibility you wondered if the spell also boosted her abilities to a point at which she could actually use the mimicked style to some level.

You cast the spell once more, obeying the suggestion your partner had conveyed to you through that glance and final line of speech.

Tokiko slumped slightly, then rose again and placed one hand against her chin. “Let me tell you this,” she stated, glaring at a wary Momizi, “My strength will make you cry.” She cracked her neck and grinned nastily as one leg rose, then slammed down only to be followed by the other in order to create a classic sumo-esque stance.

Her opponent dived to one side, her sword flicking out over and over in a variety of light but quick strikes meant to harrass more than injure. After the Meiling-style fighting it was obvious she was less sure about getting close... Not that it seemed to do anything as your partner just stood there, eyes closed, letting the shallow slashes bite into her flesh like a hundred great papercuts. Her confidence rising at Tokiko's lack of action the white haired girl moved in suddenly with a thrust to your partner's side.

She missed.

Tokiko had stepped forwards, into the charging move, the blade clipping her side but causing no major damage. Momizi's eyes widened for the briefest moment before a fist buried itself against her jaw. “Knock-out!” Tokiko roared before bringing her other arm down low in a solid blow to the wolf-girl's gut, lifting her off the ground with it's impact, “In!” Momizi tried, she really did, like Tokiko had against Yuugi the white-haired girl attempted to roll away from the final blow... but unlike Tokiko she had taken the previous two hits rather than blocked them and that meant she was still gasping for air when the third blow descended from above as her opponent took the final step. “Three steps!”

Yuugi's move and executed, as far as you could tell, almost identically to how Yuugi had performed it against Tokiko earlier - only with significantly more success.

Momizi's head bounced off the ground like a soccerball - her body, however, bounced much less. She struggled to push herself up when Tokiko's foot smashed down atop her neck. It was clear even from where you were that it was pretty inevitable that your partner had just killed the girl.

Pulling yourself to your feet, taking care to avoid your earlier vomit, you caught sight of your partner stepping away from the corpse and falling first to her knees, then forwards onto all fours. You part ran and part staggered over to where she was, arriving just in time for Momizi to roll over onto her back - totally healed - as she started fading away.

“Ow.” She stated, wincing slightly, “An oni technique? I wasn't expecting that.”

“You... weren't... the only one...” Tokiko manages to get out in between bouts of heavy panting. “don't think... my body... was... either...” The silver haired girl grimaces and hisses in pain as you set down next to her. “... how... on earth... does China... do those... kicks of hers...? I feel like... every muscle... is on fire...”

Momizi laughed painfully, “Practice.” she replied before frowning, “I shall have to apologize to the oni when I return...” Glancing up at you she closed her eyes, “And please pass my apologies to the fairy... Assure her my irritation was not personal.” The girl looked away as she finally started to get too transparent to see properly. “Aya will just have to look after herse-”

You stared for several long moments at the now empty spot where Momizi had been laying before glancing up and over at where Yuugi had vanished sometime during the fight. For a moment you considered trying to... untie... her victim but you quickly dismissed the idea - not only were you still too horrified by the spectacle to get close you also had no idea at all how the hell you would even set about freeing him. At least the man was unconscious now... and if you were to be honest you didn't particularly want to discover if he were dead instead. Not to mention the fact that you weren't entirely willing to risk making yourself a suspect in his... whatever the hell crime this counted as. It was bad enough that there were probably some witnesses in the nearby buildings who could give out descriptions of you can Tokiko.

Actually, on that note, it would be a good idea to make an escape now before anyone got the bright idea of getting a better look or tried to take pictures. It was a longshot but you knew that at the moment the only thing going for you right now was to take refuge in audacity and hope that the sheer spectacle of what had occurred kept people from taking sensible measures to identify you.

Looking down at Tokiko you winced at the sight of her shredded school uniform and, worse, the large bruises forming almost everywhere you could see skin. They looked especially nasty around her legs and arms... a side effect of her new spell perhaps? She was fighting way above any level of physical ability you'd seen her at before so it made sense that her body might not have been too happy to be pushed so hard so quickly. “Here,” you murmured, squatting down next to your partner. “Get on.”

“Huh?” Tokiko seemed confused by your actions. She began to rise to her feet only to shake and fall back to all fours as her legs decided that they weren't prepared to support her weight.

“Get on,” you repeated, “You're not going to be walking back like that - and I'm not letting you try.” You felt a pair of hands clasp yours and pull your partner up up until she could reach to wrap her arms loosely around your neck. As she rested against your back you moved your hands back to grab the back of her thighs and then, in one somewhat strained motion, pulled her legs off the ground as you rose to a standing position, Tokiko now riding piggy-back upon you.

You feel a weight settle upon your head and your partner lets out a gasp at what you assume must be Sunny returning to view. You weren't entirely sure what you were going to do with the fairy but, for now, you'd settle for getting back to the park without getting in trouble. “Sunny,” you begin, “Can you make us all invisible - for a few moments at least?”

* * * * * * * *

It really didn't come as much of a surprise when the announcement that the school trip was canceled came through. Though a few students protested they were by far in the minority as almost everyone who had been at the park were nursing some kind of bandage or band-aid thanks to either the original impact of the vault door or from being knocked about in the ensuing panic. More than a few students had been rushed to hospital and you had heard that there were a... significant... number of casualties from those who had been outside the bank when the door had come smashing up through the ground. That evening almost everyone had been either clustered around a television in one of the inn's common rooms, or had been frantically calling their parents to assure them that they were alive and unharmed. You had already done that thanks to Risa lending you her cellphone to make the call - your mother had been understandably frantic, the news report having broken fully only minutes before you had contacted her.

Despite all your calming and reassurance the next day when you stepped off the train everyone had taken back home you quickly found yourself all but smothered in your mother's crushing embrace. A smaller, though no less constricting, embrace around your legs showed that Flandre too had been worried about you - or perhaps she was just hugging for the fun of it, you weren't entirely sure how much the young girl understood about things after all. Normally such displays of affection, worry and relief would be highly embarrassing to experience in the company of your schoolmates... had they not been caught up by their own equally worried parents themselves. You staggered slightly as your mother lunged with one arm in order to also embrace Tokiko, pulling the silver-haired girl against you as she somehow managed to sob against both yourself and your partner at the same time. You wriggled in an attempt to escape but your mother had many years of experience in pinning a person, or two, with a hug so in the end all you could do was just relax and accept the show of affection for what it was.

Later you would be thinking on the fight from yesterday, wondering what you could have done differently, how you could have dealt with things quicker... People had died and people had been serious injured, people who had nothing to do with this contest at all as well as one person who you could hold responsible for it all. Could you have done something to prevent this? Could you have done something to help the injured? Could you, if only, what if... all were questions you would be dwelling on for the next few days.

You leaned into your mothers embrace and tried not to think about everything you had seen yesterday. Tonight and tomorrow could, for now, wait.


[ ] An egg in hot water, Beak? Oh not applicable here, 0.000000001% away from perfection.
[ ] Learning a little love song, This neck won't cry now, IV 220km south of III
[ ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
Do any of these have Shotacon Maid Ran in it?
Goddamn that post was fucking sweet.

[x] Learning a little love song, This neck won't cry now, IV 220km south of III
>IV 220km south of III
Reference to the SANAE IV base built at Vesleskarvet, 220 km due South of SANAE III, which kinda gives out who that is.

no idea about the rest of them.
oh well, picking one at random, it doesn't matter who it is, clues are still clues.

[X] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
Here's my attempt at cracking them.
>An egg in hot water, Beak? Oh not applicable here, 0.000000001% away from perfection.
Either these were meant to be easy, or I'm completely wrong: Utsuho (boiled eggs), Nitori (classical kappa have a beak), Sakuya (perfect, except for that time she tried to open a window IN SPACE)

>Learning a little love song, This neck won't cry now
Can't figure these out.

>Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
Koishi (sub conscious), no clue, either Medicine or Kanako (venom is used to make its antidote)

[X] An egg in hot water, Beak? Oh not applicable here, 0.000000001% away from perfection.
[x] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
[x] Ran option

I don't know if or where she's in any of these but goddamn do I want to hear more about her and her exploits.
[ ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.

>Underwater boat that's not out cold
But we already met Koishi... do PC98 characters apply?
>Curing the condition it can make
Sounds like Yamame.

>Like a spider's octopus
...? Well both have 8 legs...
Awesome update by the way.
>>22608 here, I just got a burst of inspiration before hitting the sack.

>Like a spider's octopus
Spider-man has Doctor Octopus. What's Doc Oc's distinctive feature? Extending metal arms from his back. Nitori has extending metal arms from her backpack. Which means...

>Beak? Oh not applicable here
this must be Aya (could be Mystia, but she's usually in close proximity to the MC and thus gets plenty of screen time).
[x] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
Picked at random. I'm sure whatever wins will dazzle me anyways, so I don't care.
One of them is a Ran option, yes.

Also apologies for 'Curing the condition it can make' - that is by far the weakest (least specifically identifying) clue up there, i honestly couldn't think of anything better when i did it.
Nice roundabout way of telling us we're wrong... hmm... Why am I thinking of Keine?
> Curing the condition it can make
Could be suika, since one of the traditional cures for hangovers is more of what caused it.
[ ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
[x] Ran option
[X] Learning a little love song, This neck won't cry now, IV 220km south of III

I wouldn't mind seeing a little more hot-blooded interaction from Sanae and her partner. They could've made awesome and trustworthy allies if this Ryuusei Date have the same sentimentality as his namesake.
[x]The third arrives late. Halfway to hell. What's this? Vulpix is evolving!

Good luck~ I made them a bit easier this time.

You're not supposed to make up your own.
I don't get the third arrives late... is that bad?
Well, it looks like:
[ ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.

has won this voting.
Does it have Ran?


[ ] An egg in hot water, Beak? Oh not applicable here, 0.000000001% away from perfection.

I have to agree with you, unless beak meant a bird yoke
[ ] Learning a little love song, This neck won't cry now, IV 220km south of III

Love song? Mystia revisited? Neck won't cry... Um...
[ ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.

I think this would be komachi ( Styx), yameme or murasa, and eirin ( curing it's condition)

I personally vote
[x ] Underwater boat that's not out cold, Like a spider's octopus, Curing the condition it can make.
I hope so, since Komachi would be slight consolation for no Shotacon Maid Ran.
>...has won this voting.

Alright, cool, was gonna vote for that. But when can we expect the actual update?
When the stars are right.

They're currently left, so please wait warmly.
Updates are like the Spanish inquisition. You can NEVER expect them. Not even when the writer sets the date and time it's supposed to be updated.
... while witnesses have spoken of a number of figures fleeing this scene of carnage as of yet no positive identifications have been made. According to sources this is unlikely to change until mister Makino awakens - assuming that he even does as doctors still claim his condition to be unstable. In addition mister Makino has been identified by bank staff as being one of the two involved in the initial robbery of the building and witnesses have stated that his partner turned on him shortly before seemingly being killed herself. As of yet still no bodies have been found to verify this and police are still combing the area. Thanks to contamination of the scene it is at present considered unlikely that any DNA evidence will be recovered ...

You sighed and rolled over on your bed as the radio report continued with a bunch of 'experts' weighing in on the events down in Kyoto. International terrorists, a foreign cult, plain old home-grown psychopaths probably fed on videogames and manga... It was amazing how quick they were to blame everyone and everything in order to have some kind of rational explanation to what had happened without even a shred of evidence for any of the claims made.

At least every stupid claim meant less chance of people discovering everything was the result of a supernatural battle between youkai. Even with proof, you doubted many people would believe it to be true until they saw it happen, and even then many would dismiss it as trickery. Hm. Wasn't there some kind of big money prize for proving the existence of the supernatural? You thought that could be something worth looking into if you ever found yourself in financial trouble. Assuming that no-one else claimed it first since the supernatural, evidenced by everything you'd seen since meeting Tokiko, did exist in the world. What seemed to be lacking was the presence of people capable of tapping into.... whatever the hell it was that made magic work.

You, now, were one of the few that could.

Okay, perhaps that was something of an exaggeration combined with more than a little wishful thinking. What you had been able to accomplish in the two days since returning from the school trip didn't seem very magical even though Tokiko had repeatedly assured you that it was.

Rolling onto your back you held one hand up, fingers splayed out, and stared at your fingernails. This, according to Tokiko, was the simplest of all simple magic - the ability to make one's fingernails grow. It seemed kind of stupid but you had sat through your partners lecture on the subject and had been tested on it's contents several times already so you knew the reasons why this was both so simple and so important. Tokiko had admitted that this wasn't exactly the traditional way to learn magic, apparently that involved going straight from knowing nothing about magic to trying to light up a room with energy. Your partner had given you a rather impassioned rant about how this was so stupid and that it would be far easier to learn to manipulate magic within oneself first. Rather than the 'traditional' way of trying to do this while at the same time learning to push it outside the body and to also use it to manipulate latent magic in the air.

Three incredibly difficult tasks to be learned at once and performed at once - no wonder there were so few people who ever got anywhere with magic if the first hurdle was several meters high, covered in spikes and suspended over metaphorical lava. What Tokiko was instead having you try to do was more like riding a bike. One which, thanks to the fact that your body already wanted to make your nails and hair grow and you were just encouraging it to happen faster, was already equipped with training wheels of a kind.

Most of yesterday had been spent alternating between listening to lectures, struggling with a kind of meditation Tokiko had assured you was key to finding your magic, and glaring at your hand and the fingernails which stubbornly stayed short and trimmed. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly given the magical book chained to your arm, finding your magic had been rather pathetically easy... getting it to do anything was however proving slightly more troublesome. If you had to explain it you would say that your magic felt, for lack of a better word, like jelly. You could poke it and push it all you wanted but rather than move as Tokiko had said it should do, it instead just seemed to squish and stretch and bounce right back the moment either your concentration or willpower wavered.

Today, so far, had followed a similar pattern only with less lecturing and more discussion in it's place. As far as you could tell you hadn't managed to increase the length of your fingernails in the slightest though you had managed to give yourself what felt like a god awful attack of pins and needles in your hand.

Sitting up on your bed you flexed your fingers a few times to get feeling back into them, then you looked over at your reflection in the black and inert screen of your computer sitting as it was on your desk. You frowned for a moment and reached up to tug at your hair - maybe you should try growing this out instead?

* * * * * * * *

“The 'ko' from Koishi is from ko~n~bu~, the 'I' from Koishi is from i~na~ri~, the 'shi' from Koishi is from... from... um...” The chirpy song cut off as it's singer, the youkai Koishi, rubbed her chin in though. “Hmm... shiitake?” She stated, her voice thoughtful. “Or shikoku maybe, I do prefer dogs to mushrooms after all...”

As she pondered this most important of questions, the aqua-haired girl wandered aimlessly along the street. People passed to her left and her right without so much as noticing her even though she wasn't hiding herself in the realms of the subconscious. Such a thing had surprised her at first, that people took no notice of her, but she had soon learned that this was simply a drawback of outside civilization. Everyone was just so busy, so self-absorbed or so apathetic that unless anything directly impacted their personal lives they honestly didn't care about that which went on around them. In that sense she was glad to have been partnered with the man she had been, Ryotsu was a man who - though goofy and none too smart - seemed to have his eyes out for every little thing that went on around him no matter how inconsequential. He claimed it was just something he'd picked up from being a policeman for so long, the ability to pick up on those suspicious signs which indicated that all was not right in the immediate world.

She knew different, she'd sat and watched his fellow officers while cloaked in the veil of their subconsciousness. None seemed so observant or as empathic as the man she had been chained, in a nice way, to so many weeks ago. What really tipped her off however was the fact that even when hiding herself the heavy-set man was still able to perceive her and that, more than anything, said to her that he had an Ability with a capital A. From there it hadn't been hard to work out that all grimoire owners likely had abilities or latent talents of their own that had been woken up by the books - if they weren't awake already as she suspected her partner's had been.

As to what her partner's ability was Koishi still didn't know. Something to do with seeing things seemed likely given that he could spot her even while she hid herself. Observation perhaps? The ability to manipulate suspicion would fit too, as would countless others. Whatever his talent was it had been evident that it affected the spells the grimoire gave her as some just simply didn't feel like something she would have been able to do on her own... unfortunately they were still to vague for her to pinpoint whatever it was her partner possessed.


She wondered what ability Shiori had, his was much harder to work out as she simply didn't know enough about Tokiko to tell what was and what was not one of the ibis's own abilities. There was also Mystia and her partner, who Koishi hadn't met yet but had been told about thanks to a phone call between Shiori and Ryotsu. Maybe she should head over to the address they had been given and check out the girl and her partner - and the fairy that was apparently staying with them for the moment. Koishi had never really interacted with fairies much, not non-zombie ones anyway, but she had heard that the one living with Mystia was part of a trio of pranksters and that was interesting enough to have a looksie.

Something bloodthirsty brushed against her consciousness.

It was hidden, well hidden, but even with her third eye sealed shut she was still a Satori and thus far, far more familiar with the reading of intent than any other youkai could claim to be.

“Oh dear,” she murmured, feeling the source of the thirst move away having evidently not noticed her. Hardly surprising given her instinctive reaction to the intent had been to drop out of the consciousness around her in order to hide. “That one... could be a problem.”

* * * * * * * *

“This isn't funny you know.” your deadpan voice only caused Flandre and Tokiko to burst out in a fresh wave of giggles while yet another clump of hair dropped to the floor thanks to the scissors your mother was wielding. You yourself were sitting on a chair wearing a sheet wrapped around you to catch the masses of hair that your mother was cutting off - for one of the few times in your life you were thankful that she wasn't entirely in touch with reality. Any normal person would have freaked out on finding out that you had spontaneously grown a good three feet of hair.

“This,” Tokiko had said when she first found out about your achievement, “will prove to be a great object lesson in why one should avoid losing their temper while attempting magic.”

She was right too, you had lost your cool. Having spent all of the past few days trying to make your fingernails grow even a tiny bit you had today tried to work with your hair instead - and when that didn't seem to be getting anywhere you had simply gotten angry and shoved as hard as you could against the jelly-like tower you interpreted your magic as. Evidently that had been a stupid thing to do as while you had finally succeeded in magic you had also screwed up quite spectacularly.

Thank god you weren't trying to make fire or something. At least now you could see the other reason so few people got past the beginning stages of magic - half of them likely killed themselves by blowing up a more volatile spell through doing what you had done. As it was you knew that no-one in your house was going to be letting this lie for a long time... especially since you were sure your sister, despite still disliking you and Tokiko, had not squandered the opportunity to take blackmail photographs. Actually you were pretty sure your mother had taken a photograph or two herself. Tellin gwho was doing what was a little tricky since you couldn't see all that well with a literal waterfall of hair that hid your face no matter how much you tried to hold the stuff out of the way.

As your mother finally moved around to the front of your head and started snipping away the hair curtain from in front of your eyes Tokiko and Flandre both came into view. “How bad is it?” You ask, knowing that with your mother's limited hairdressing skill you were probably going to be stuck with a rough bowl-cut until you got a chance to go see a barber.

You should probably go only after you got this hair-growing thing down though, otherwise you'd be needing a new haircut every time you succeeded... Hopefully not another one as severe as this however.

* * * * * * * *

“Gone?” The blue-haired girl looked at her dinner companion in something akin to horror. “But that's impossible! Momizi far outclasses everyone Hatate picked up in that area!”

Her companion, a certain blond puppeteer, shrugged as she sipped at her tea. “It's not impossible.” She said after a few moments contemplation, “Either she was unlucky or our guest has been holding out.” Frowning slightly the woman allowed one of her many puppets to refill her teacup as she pondered the situation. “I would prefer to imagine the former however,” she said eventually, “Otherwise we would have to consider what else our guest has hidden from us - as well as questioning which of our group has not been keeping a proper eye on her while she works.”

“I don't like all this sneaky stuff.” The first girl muttered as she grabbed and nibbled on one of the many pieces of cucumber that filled her plate. “And I'm not really sure we should be keeping a Tengu all locked up like that...”

“She has everything she could need.” Replied her partner, a young blond woman sitting next to her. “Good food, good drink, a comfy bed and every television channel under the sun.” The woman grinned and scooped up some pasta from her own meal, “Hell, I'd kill for a cushy life like that - so what could be so bad about it?”

“I guess...” The blue-haired girl chewed on her bottom lip for a moment before nodding her head. “You're probably right... I would rather have things to invent with though.”

“Damn it all!” The three girls jumped as the black-white Marisa flung open the doors to the room, stomped in and all but threw herself onto a chair. Following behind at a more sedate pace were her partner and the robe-clad Patchouli.

“Alice, Nitori.” The purple magician nodded at both in turn as she slipped around to a chair of her own. Glancing at Marisa she flinched slightly as the witch flung a stack of photographs onto the table between them. “In case it was not obvious, our information gathering has failed to provide anything particularly useful. However...” She trailed off as she pulled one of the pictures from the pile and held it up for the others to see.

“Is... Is that Momizi?” Nitori asked after a few moments. Patchouli simply nodded and let the blu-haired girl take the photograph from her. “So this is who defeated her?” She frowned. “I don't recognize her at all.”

“I have spoken with her on occasion,” The magician admitted, “but only in the course of recovering certain misplaced books from the curiosity store.” She glanced over at Marisa, who just shrugged innocently. “I am given to understand she has read at least a little of them - but given their level of difficulty and her expected comprehension I doubt anything came of it.”

“From what I've seen I expect she's rather young.” Alice added, sipping once more at her tea. “More than a decade perhaps, but certainly no more than two. That she could defeat Momizi is... curious. Shouldn't we be investigating this further?”

Marisa snorted. “Nothin' to investigate.” she grumbled, “I don't know her name and unless any of you know it then Hatate can't search her out. We tried 'the person Momizi lost to' and a bunch of other ideas but the spell wouldn't take 'em as subjects - stupid thing is pickier with subjects than Remila is with tea. Far as we can tell the picture has to have someone we name actually in it. We got this by asking it for a shot of 'Momizi being defeated' and then a bunch of others pictures like it from similar questions.”

“So we can't track her at all?” Nitori sighed and pushed her plate to one side before resting her arms on the table and dropping her head down onto them. “That's even worse than everyone we can see but can't locate.” She perked up slightly, “How are we doing finding, uh, whats-her-name - the girl you said was Remilia's sister.”

“Flandre?” Patchouli shook her head. “We're getting nowhere. We know she's in a household of some kind and we have a few images of a small town... but nothing identifiable enough to work out which town it may be.” The magician frowned and shrugged her shoulders ever so slightly. “Nothing seems to confirm a partner... but given that she's living with what seems to be a mother and daughter I imagine she's contracted with one of them. Either way we won't know more for a while as it seems Hatate's spirit photography doesn't like picturing the same subject too often. As magic goes it's terribly unreliable.”

“Have we at least found someone?” Nitori whined after making a despaired face. “The whole plan was to wait here and take everyone out as we found them! Unless we actually find them then what's the point?”

Marisa smirked. “Well, we got one...” she stated, pulling out a picture of a pale-haired girl clutching a giant umbrella. Next to her stood a tall man in a basketball outfit divided half-and-half into blue and red. It had taken a bit of asking around the various servants but eventually one had been able to identify the team the man evidently played for. “Kogasa,” Marisa murmured, “she's in some place called Fukuoka.”

Looking up at her companions the black-white witch smiled widely. “So,” she began, “Who's up for some sightseeing?”

* * * * * * * *

“I'm surprised they still haven't worked out the trick behind your spell... much to our benefit as it is. They still believe it to have limitations you have been imposing on it yourself.” The imprisoned Tengu, Hatate, nodded at the smug whispering of her partner as he fiddled with the controls of what he called his 'electric wheelchair'. The specifics were a little beyond her - as far as she was concerned things just worked, she didn't care how. From what her partner had explained he had hidden inside it the electronic components of one of the cellphones their captors, Marisa and her gang, provided for use in spirit photography.

That had been something of a pain - it was only doable when the cell they made her work in was guarded by Patchouli as she would usually spend the time reading. Marisa paid too much attention, Alice used her dolls to clear out the broken phones from failed photographs and so would have noticed if any were unexpectedly light... and Nitori simply knew too much about such things to not notice if one had been cracked open and emptied out.

It had taken time, planning and more than a little luck but eventually the two prisoners had smuggled out the working parts from a cellphone despite being searched on the way back to their 'lodgings'. More luck had resulted in a suitable screwdriver being ever so carefully pick-pocketed from Nitori. Lastly a little subterfuge and the application of one foot to a phone in order to give the appearance of a failed photograph had resulted in a number. A very specific number belonging to... well... someone.

After seeing Momizi beaten to the ground in one of her other picture, Hatate had requested that the spirits give her a way to contact the duo responsible... and so a picture of a number, scrawled onto a sheet of paper being held by both a male and a female's hand had emerged. The Tengu girl had memorized the number, then broken the phone herself so her captors wouldn't know what she was up to. A second phone had gone the same way having provided something she could use to prove her words to their as-yet unknowing savior.

“We're ready.” her partner murmured at last, “Now what message do we send?”

* * * * * * * *


Ravens, normally, were terribly direct creatures. What they wanted to do they did, what they wanted to take they took and who they wanted to have they simply had.

Part of Utsuho knew that this was the correct way to behave, that she should be rushing out from her hiding place and basically getting to work on making glorious children with the boy she was watching. The rest of Utsuho, however, was embarrassed as all hell at even considering such a direct course of action. She vaguely recalled Orin telling her about birds and bees but that wasn't much help given the hellcat had never explained what either of those had to do with love and sex and things. So much for whatever advice it was she hoped to get from her memories then.

She was pretty certain that hiding behind a door frame was not exactly part of the process... but it was really about all she had rustled up the courage to do. She had met the young man over a week ago in the grounds of a hospital she had been hiding out near to and, having never really had any contact with men she had quickly fallen for his kindness, looks and gentlemanly charm. The fact that she had ended up practically carrying him back to his room after he collapsed had done little to change her mind - in fact it may have made her like him more. Orin had said that girls that like guys blush a lot when near the guy they like and she had certainly been blushing quite a bit as he leaned on her shoulder all the way back to his room. Surely this then meant that she liked the man - right? Which explained why she spent a lot of time simply stalking him seemingly unable to work up the courage to actually go forth and speak to him again. All this despite the fact that had it been any other situation she wouldn't have had any trouble in rushing in headfirst.

“Still watching him huh?”

Utsuho jumped at the rough voice and quickly ducked away from the door before spinning to confront the new arrival. Said arrival was a girl in a white nurses outfit, like the one she wore herself, only that this girl had long straight black hair to her own messy bed-head style hair.

“You won't have all the time in the world you know, only a few people do.” The newcomer stated, shrugging her shoulders. “So you should make a move while you have the time now. Take the word of me, an expert, on it.”

“Unyuuu... um... Miss Kaguya...” Utsuho poked her fingers together nervously as she did her best to not look at her partner-in-crime. “I can take things at my own pace!” she exclaimed, then flinched back as Kaguya simply raised an eyebrow.

“Well whatever,” she muttered, “As long as you finished your work I don't care how you spend your free time.”

The two girls, one hell raven and one lunar princess, had met actually in the hospital where Kaguya had been posing as a nurse in order to stay close to her partner - one of the high-ranking staff, though Utsuho didn't know who. Somewhere along the line the two had fought and given that she had a partner and Utsuho did not, Kaguya had all but wiped the floor with the hell raven. Then, much to the girl's surprise, the princess had offered a hand of friendship - albeit one with a number of strings attached. All that was required of Utsuho was that she be Kaguya's 'friend' and do 'friend' stuff with her... regardless of if she wanted to or not. That and she had to join Kaguya in posing as a nurse, though this became less disliked when she realized that it meant she had a good reason to hang around and watch the person she sort of maybe thought she liked. Frankly she wished Orin was around, Orin would have made everything easy to understand - but Orin wasn't here and so Utsuho had to do her best to be smart and stuff on her own!

“I think,” Kaguya began, “That we should go for some ice cream.”

Utsuho grinned, her thoughts derailing at the offer of sweet food. “Ice cream!” She exclaimed happily. Sure being forced into playing friend for Kaguya gnawed at her but it wasn't all bad since she did pay for all the sweets and movies and everything else she expected Utsuho to do with her.

* * * * * * * *

You sighed once more as your control slipped yet again. At least you were improving a little as this time your hair had only grown by six inches instead of the full three feet of growth your first 'success' had produced. You'd also had some success with the fingernails - but given that dealing with overly long hair was so, so much easier than dealing with freakishly long nails you had abandoned that subject for now.

Over time you had noted that your magic, which you had previously imagined as a tower of jelly, appeared to be growing less and less resistant to being pushed about. Now to make things actually happen you needed to shove at it with less and less force... but it still took a shove and Tokiko was adamant that until you could manipulate your magic without resorting to brute force then there was nothing more she would teach.

The two of you had discussed perhaps teaching this to Risa, Mystia's partner, once you got it down well enough. Tokiko had wanted a second trial subject to work with while you had been less than impressed with the idea of giving magic to a girl who had tried to arrange your death in the past. Sure the dark-haired girl wasn't as antagonistic towards you anymore but you weren't entirely convinced that it would be a good idea yet.

Still, just yesterday you and Tokiko had met up with her, Mystia and Sunny in order to introduce them all to Koishi and her partner. You'd explained to Koishi what Tokiko was trying to teach you and she had, with a definitive air of amusement, agreed entirely with your partner's plan and her idea of teaching Risa too. You were beginning to feel a little outvoted but you had at least managed to get Tokiko to agree not to offer her teaching to anyone else until she had shown her teaching methods worked on you first.

Taking a deep breath you closed your eyes and tried to concentrate on the feeling of your magic. Then you mentally reached out and pushed it gently, then a little harder, then a bit more and...

Cracking open one eye you observed your result. Your hair was longer than earlier and at a guess you figured it had grown maybe three or four inches? Improvement over your previous attempt at least. You were just settling for a third try when the sudden buzzing of your cellphone made your control slip... this time your eyes opened to a good foot of hair growth. Swearing under your breath you reached out and fumbled blindly for your phone with one hand while trying to get all the hair out of your face with the other. Eventually you got to a point where you could check your phone and read the text you had apparently received.

Upon reading it you swore somewhat louder than before.

* * * * * * * *

Looking down at your phone you checked the address one last time. It matched the apartment block you had journeyed quite a distance to stand outside. Beside you Tokiko looks around nervously and with good reason given the rest of the message you had received heavily implied a trap of some kind.


Text speak of the worst kind... from someone who knew you had a grimoire and had somehow obtained your cellphone number despite you only having given it out to Risa and Officer Kankichi. It had taken a little puzzling to understand it all but from what you could tell this address was of someone who needed help - another partner pair perhaps? Whoever had sent you these details had sent them as proof of their honor, possibly their intent was to show that their reasons for contacting you were legitimate and that they really did need help.

But this errand itself could be a trap and there, really, lay the dilemma you found yourself in. If this was a trap then you should avoid falling in it but if it actually was real then there was someone who needed your help in there. Not to mention the fact that if this was true then the person who had contacted you needed help themselves... At the very least this was your only lead on any other players you had so in that sense it needed following up on. After all, if they could find your contact information then who else could do the same? Who else could they possibly tell who would then come after you?

Goddamn but this was both confusing and troublesome.

In the end though you really couldn't afford to not do anything

[ ] WRITE IN - Propose a plan of action!

Your target is an apartment on the third floor of a standard residential block. Anything not blatantly stupid will be a viable plan, winner is whichever plan is agreed to be the best (or, if no agreement is made, whichever I find more entertaining to work with.)

[ ] Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot
No-one expects the spanish inqusition!

And now, clue answers.

An egg in hot water - A boild egg, hard boiled like a detective. Detective Renko.

Beak? Oh not applicable here - You have to sound this one out and you'll get "Beak oh not applicable." Beak oh sounds like Beako of 'you damn lolicon' fame. But if she's not applicable then it's not a lolicon... This was Ran, who's a shotacon instead.

0.000000001% away from perfection - 0.000000001% is next to nothing... just like the things a certain youmu can't cut. If she could cut everything then wouldn't that be perfection?

Learning a little love song - AMV clue. Chiisana Koi no Uta, the touhou AMV features Mokou and Keine, only one of which has anything to do with learning stuff - Keine.

This neck won't cry now - british folklore this time. The 'crying of the neck' is a tradition from victorian times performed with wheat on the last day of harvest. Minoriko then would have been here since she's the harvest goddess.

IV 220km south of III - Rightly identified as being the South African National Antarctic Expedition research base (aka: SANAE).

Underwater boat that's not out cold - underwater boat is a sub, not out cold means you're conscious... SUB CONSCIOUS. Koishi.

Like a spider's octopus - Yes it was a spiderman / doc ock reference. And it was nitori thanks to her robo-arms being similar to the good doctor's own.

Curing the condition it can make - This i feel was my weakest clue... It's Radiation. It both causes and is used to cure cancer and suchlike. And where there is radiation there is Utsuho.

Quite a bit about this recent post i'm not exactly happy with simply because what came out on paper just didn't seem to match what happened in my head. Oh well, no worries.
[x] Preform a helicopter drop-in through the windows
[x]Scout out the inhabitants and infiltrate with the help of Koishi.
[X] Grow your hair out a bit and disguise yourself as a girl.
[X] Grab a few pebbles and throw them at the target window, getting the imprisoned pair's attention.
[X] If the window isn't enchanted to alert the other occupants when opened, grow your hair out even longer, and let Tokiko carry the makeshift rope up to the pair.
[X] Slide down, cut the hair, run.
-[X] Cool

First of all, we need to take precautions in case the first attempt failed. Making ourself look like a girl would help deceive Marisa's harem from our true identity, giving us more time to plan for a second go if things ever came down to it.

A good thing we learned how to grow hair, sure came in handy. The wheelchair guy could just be carried by Hatate, since she weren't much of a fighter anyway from what's been shown.
I doubt even a good fighter would last against 4 on one odds.
Just before everyone gets the wrong idea - this isn't Marisa's place you're at. This, as stated, is in an apartment block while Marisa as mentioned quite a bit earlier is staying in a mansion.

Jus' clearing that up.
[x] Walk up to the front door and knock.
[x] Hot
Who needs a plan when we have hot-blooded courage on our side!
Oh, must've mixed it up then. Please disregard >>22821, I'll need more time to ponder the options.
>>22834 here.
You know what? I'll just modify it.
[X] Grow your hair out a bit and disguise yourself as a girl.
[X] Check surroundings for traps.
[X] Grow more hair, get Tokiko to anchor it and tied it up a rail or support beam on the third floor.
[X] Scale the walls!
--[X] Warm

And, if things goes to shit,
[X] Abseil down, cut hair, run.
[X] Grow your hair out a bit and disguise yourself as a girl.
[X] Check surroundings for traps.
[X] Grow more hair, get Tokiko to anchor it and tied it up a rail or support beam on the third floor.
[X] Scale the walls!
--[X] Warm

And, if things goes to shit,
[X] Abseil down, cut hair, run.

I'll go with anything if it nets us another update this week. Or the next.
[X] Grow your hair out a bit and disguise yourself as a girl.
[X] Check surroundings for traps.
--[X] Warm

The rest will obviously fail (Fun Fact: just adding this sentence automatically guarantee a perfect success)
Someone shoud tell EX Nine to update his story; his fans are getting antsy.

Seriously we don't need to be fueling whatever complexes the guy's mom inflicted on him.
[x] Try to have someone fly about and scout, preferably sunny
[x] Get the info and try to devise a plan of action.
[x] Try to have someone fly about and scout, preferably sunny
[x] Get the info and try to devise a plan of action.
Changing. Yeah it may happen a few more times.
>Mystia and her partner...and the fairy that was apparently staying with them for the moment.
Sunny ain't with us right now, guys.
>Beak? Oh not applicable here - You have to sound this one out and you'll get "Beak oh not applicable." Beak oh sounds like Beako of 'you damn lolicon' fame. But if she's not applicable then it's not a lolicon... This was Ran, who's a shotacon instead.


Also, not only is that reaching way too far in terms of a practical clue, the pronunciation you were assuming is incorrect.

In other words, literally nobody would ever have gotten this one. I know you don't care, and I'm pretty sure you won't do anything about it except laugh and perhaps give us the finger (well, two fingers; you're British), but I'm feeling indignant and cheated.
Ehh making guesses hard, but not too hard is hard.

Give him a break. At least if he updates.

people really want their Shotacon Maid Ran.
I guess? I don't really care. Just saying one answer too hard, is not that bad of a screw up.
You rolled over on the bed, pulling the covers tight around yourself as you did so. Waking up in the morning was such a bear... Especially when it was cold out in your room but nice and warm under your covers. As you moved more fully into an awakened state a vague memory of something important formed in the back of your mind. Whatever it was it quickly became unimportant as something warm traced a path down your spine to leave a tingling sensation in it's wake.

“Hey.” You shivered slightly as the word was all but breathed into your ear from behind. Twisting around you looked upon the black-haired girl you had spent the night with. Your face flushed red as you took in the sight of her, propped up on one elbow, her breasts both bare and being displayed rather provocatively by her pose.

The sight of her naked and this close brought back the memories of exactly what the two of you had been doing prior to falling asleep last night. You'd flush if you weren't already red and it was obvious the girl could tell this as she giggled lightly at your embarrassed discomfort for a moment before darting in and placing a quick peck of a kiss on your nose. Immediately your mind froze, then backed up at high speed to replay the bizarre series of events which had led to you getting laid with quite possibly the most beautiful girl you had ever seen.

You had first met her a few days ago, where she had tricked her way into your house with a lie that she was a secret lover - a lie which you realized was now rather truthful after the previous night. You remembered your mother pouncing on you over the hiding of your 'secret lover', which you had been about to deny before the woman in question had come to see what the commotion was and with but a peck on your cheek had silenced your protests. Later you had found out that the woman, Aya, was not human... and that just hadn't seemed very important at the time, mostly due to having someone try to kill you but also partially thanks to the fact that she was, quite simply, sexy as all hell.

She'd also been rather provocatively dressed in some borrowed clothes. Thanks to your earlier fight against some psycho called Lily not only had the clothes Aya wore were covered in mud but so to were the new outfits you had been made to buy for her by your mother.

So there Aya had been, having to wear one of your sisters martial arts shirts... the kind which closed at the front with a belt and, on Aya, were somewhat too loose and thus showed off way more than they were intended to show. When you had a eye full of cleavage it was, really, quite hard to find any reason to hate a girl - even if they admitted to being a monster of some kind. That she had then kissed you - on the mouth no less - after you had told her that you didn't care if she wasn't human... Well, that had really been the start of a sequence of events which had ended with the thrill of last nights activities.

Something about all that didn't seem quite right to you.

It all seemed so... rushed. You never really expected to fall for someone so quickly or indeed move such a relationship along at what seemed like lightspeed.

Whatever misgivings you may have been having all vanished as Aya darted forward and landed a quick kiss on your lips. The naked woman laughed at your reaction to the move before she pounced upon you, her hands holding down your shoulders and her legs straddling your waist. She laughed lightly, then blushed as her eyes widened ever so slightly as she felt your reaction.

“Cut that out,” she mumbled, giving you a playful punch in the shoulder with one hand. Then she simply rolled off of you in the direction opposite to which she had rolled off. “We have things to do this morning,” she stated as she slipped off the bed and stood, naked, next to you. “And I could use a shower...” As she grabbed a robe from the hook on your door she paused and looked back, flashing you a little inviting smile. “You're more than welcome to join me.” She said, then laughed lightly and made her exit through the door.

Now who in their right mind could turn down an invitation like that?

Sitting up you twisted around until you were sitting on the edge of your bed before pushing yourself up and into a stand. You took a brief moment to yawn and stretch and then -

“Oh my, that is a surprise.”

- you froze dead like a deer between two headlights at the voice. The female voice.

Your gaze tracked across the room until it settled on a young-seeming girl sitting, apparently, at your window. Her hair was a pale aqua in color and her outfit was a vibrant mix of yellow and green that looked more than a little nausea-inducing. She was also smirking as she stared... at...

You let out an undignified squeal of horror as you grabbed your bed covers and all but ripped them off of your bed in order to cover yourself. At this the girl just laughed lightly and stood up before walking over to you... which was bad enough in and of itself, but the act was made so much worse because she did it without touching the ground.

“Hello, Shiori.” She said, looking you in the eye from only a foot away. “We need to talk.”

[ ] Call out for Aya.
[ ] Demand an explanation.
[ ] Make a run for the door.

[ ] Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold.

So what happened to the previous vote? Well, you'll see - it's not missing, just delayed a little.
I'm a little lost here...

Another character, who's sleeping with Aya...
And what the hell? A crazy mother, a martial arts fan sister... It reminds me something...
File 128545410236.jpg - (230.94KB, 651x800, and not a single old chinese fuck was given that d.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Demand an explanation.
[x] Cool.

Complete perspective switch and possible alternate timeline? I'm cool with that.
[X] Demand an explanation.
[x] Warm.
I certainly want an explanation.
[x] >>23452

Something doesn't smell right...~
[X] Demand an explanation.
[X] Cool

No, we still seem to be the same guy with a girl's name we were before. Just that our feathered partner suddenly became black. And more "loose".
[X] Demand an explanation.
[X] Warm.

I'm a bit lost here.
[x] Call out for Aya.
[x] Cool
Who could cause such a change in perspective? Only Koishi comes to mind, but shes always been on our side. Maybe we are hallucinating via Udonge?
I highly doubt Koishi's doing the mindfucking... for once. If anything, she might have an idea of what's going on.
Some possibilities:
- Keine's messing with history
- Koishi's having fun with Shiori's dreams
- Getting to know Touhous while sleeping courtesy of Koishi-sensei
- my personal favorite: Koishi has just discovered Shiori's Ability. He's randomly having a dream about someone he's never met.
[x] Demand an explanation.
[x] Hot
What the fuck
>>23478 again.
I think it's that last possibility. Back in the first thread, after defeating Lily and choosing "Back to that girl's [Tokiko's] embrace," Shiori had a dream about an amnesiac girl named Aki. This dream was apparently confirmed by one of the cryptic-vote cutscenes with Aki [Minoriko] living in the junkyard with Keine, tending to her garden.
>It all seemed so... rushed. You never really expected to fall for someone so quickly or indeed move such a relationship along at what seemed like lightspeed.

[>] Demand an explanation.
[>] Warm.
[X] Demand an explanation.
[x] Warm.

what is this I don't even...

We are cleary still the same person, but for some reason aya is in our bed... not bad, but I still wan't to know what happend.
[x] Demand an explanation.
[x] Cool.

The lack of concern for Tokiko's wellbeing and whereabouts makes me frown.
I thought [x]Demand an explanation includes being concerned about Tokiko?
Makes sense at least. I already voted that's not a vote.
You stared at the floating girl who is requesting to speak with you. You wonder who she is? Where did she come from? Is she a youkai? What on earth she could want to talk about? How the hell was she flying?

In the end though it was none of those questions that came from your mouth.

“How long were you watching?” You demanded, a slightly stunned bent to your voice.

“Long enough,” the girl responded while shooting you a rather perverted little grin. “If this is true to life then Tokiko is going to be a rather happy girl.” She paused and frowned slightly, “Ah, but it probably isn't all true... Still I can't see you exaggerating too much.” It took you a moment to realize what she was talking about but the moment you did you were pulling the bed covers even further around yourself. “Spoilsport.” The girl muttered when she saw this, “It's nothing I haven't seen bef- oh, I suppose I shouldn't mention that, huh?” She looked up at you with an expression of such absolute innocence that you were sure she was faking it.

You sputtered wildly in a mix of anger and embarrassment for a few moments before the ability to speak returned. “You've been spying on me!?” You hiss out eventually, “For how long!? And who the hell is Tokiko?”

“Oh don't worry,” the girl answered brightly. “You're not supposed to remember her! That is the whole point of this re-written story so it only makes sense.” She trailed off slightly and mumbled mainly to herself. “And here I thought you were the one with... oh well, it's not like it changes much. Her story is too airtight in the places where things matter for that to have helped you any.” Looking up at you she shrugged lightly, “as to how long, I guess a while now? Longer than you expect, but less than you think.”

“What the hell is any of that supposed to mean?” You demand causing the girl to simply laugh lightly.

“It all makes sense from over here,” she assured you, “but with your eyes, ears and heart all clouded by lies I can see why you wouldn't under-” She paused suddenly, her head whipping around to look somewhere just to the left of your door. “She's coming back.” the girl hissed, “We'll talk later, even if you kill me, we'll talk later - so don't say anything.”

You glanced over at where she was looking. Wasn't that more-or-less the direction the bathroom was in? Was she talking about Aya?

When you turned to ask the aqua-haired girl if this was the case you found your self staring at empty air. He she just... vanished? You didn't hear her leave, your window was still shut and locked from the inside so she couldn't have left through that. Did she teleport maybe? Hell, had she even been here at all? You knew little enough about the abilities of youkai to discount something along the lines of a hologram or a projection of some kind. You hear your door rattle and quickly turn back as Aya steps through wearing naught but a long towel to hide her modesty and a second towel wrapped up around her hair.

“You didn't join me.” She accused, throwing you an upset pout. Then her eyes seem to narrow in on how you're covering yourself and she smirks slightly. “ohhhh,” she breaths, “is that how it is? Too embarrassed to sneak down the hallway in case someone catches you with your pants down?”

Glaring at the raven-haired girl you make to stand, realize that her current appearance actually has given you something to be embarrassed about, and quickly drop back to a seated position. This causes Aya to bring one hand up to hide her grin - though you could hear the barely-repressed snickering from where you sat across the room from her. Soon bringing herself under control your girlfriend - lover now you supposed - all but skipped over in order to plant herself down next to you. “Aw,” she cooed as she rested her head against your shoulder and wrapped her arms around you, “I didn't mean to laugh.”

“Yes you did.” you respond, a mock-sulking tone to your voice. Despite this you reach around Aya with your arm and gently pull her closer against you. Not for the first time in the past few days you were left wondering if all girls were so slim and so warm and you wondered if they'd all fit in your arms so well or if it was just Aya who did. “Say, Aya...” you began, about to tell her about the strange girl who had appeared in your room.

“Hmmm?” Aya cranes her neck slightly to look up at you, while you twisted your own to look back at her. Somewhere along the line the towel on her head had come loose and now her damp hair was tickling your neck and shoulder where her head was resting. Without really thinking about it you leaned in and pressed your lips against hers - she gave a slightly muffled protest at first but was soon drawn into the kiss. When you finally drew away she cheekily shot forward to land a quick extra peck of her own on you.

The strange girl, you decide, could wait. It wasn't like she had really done anything after all, and if she was a youkai player living in the area then you would be hunting her down pretty soon as you and Aya had agreed on a rather pro-active approach to this game. Hell, she might even be the partner of that cop you had met after fighting Lily - the person you expected to be going after now in fact. Speaking of which... “Don't we have some business today?”

Aya blinks then pulls on her arms, squeezing herself against you. “It's nothing that can't wait a few minutes.”

* * * * * * * *

Vishanti!” Calling out Aya's fourth spell you watched grimly as the raven-haired Tengu shot forwards in a blur, everything around her being shredded from the magically-enhanced power of the sonic boom her movement made. The ground was ripped open, a tree trunk left with a great gash in one side... and one of Koishi's arms exploded in a fountain of gore as she just failed to dodge fast enough.

Earlier, just before the fight had really started up, you had tried to question the girl as to what she knew - and had made the rather odd discovery that she didn't know who you were. Eventually you had simply given up on the idea of trying to find out what the hell was going on thanks to being more concerned about not dying. Fighting an opponent who could pretty much disappear and reappear at will was something you would prefer not to repeat if you could help it.

The fight from that point on lasted minutes. With her arm destroyed Koishi was unable to put up an effective defense and her bleeding wounds made tracking her, even when she was hidden, possible. Actually locating her was near impossible but knowing her general location meant that you could simply cast Aya's third spell and blast everything in the area with pummeling winds. Eventually Koishi's luck simply ran out and Aya was able to grab the smaller girl when she re-appeared after being hit in such a manner. From there your partner had simply shot straight into the air, Koishi held tight from behind, then came straight back down - releasing the aqua-haired girl at the very last moment before pulling up. Naturally at the speed Aya had been going even if Koishi had unlocked her ability to fly, and you didn't understand why she couldn't as she had been doing exactly that this morning, there was really nothing she could have done to stop her deadly crash landing.

And so your second battle in this game was won.

* * * * * * * *

You lay back upon your bed, Aya was off doing... something... You weren't sure what but your mother and sister were both involved so you weren't entirely certain you were going to like it. Every attempt to find out what was going on had been met with either secretive giggling or the angry face of your sister as she forced you out of the room.

“Hello again!” The sound of the voice, familiar and chirpy, coming from right next to you sent you shooting halfway across the room in surprise. At least it would have done had you been able to fly... instead you were made the bitch of mother gravity the moment your body left the soft surface of your bed. Swearing under your breath you pulled yourself up over the edge of your bed and frowned at the aqua-haired girl laying on the far side of it.

“I thought we killed you.” You state, not entirely sure how else to respond to someone who was supposedly dead. Even as you said this in your calmest tone you carefully dropped one hand down under the bed and patted around for something heavy to use as a club. With all the crap you stored there you knew you'd find something suitable to defend yourself with until Aya came to your rescue... not that you planned on calling her just yet, you wanted to know what the hell was going on and you weren't going to find that out if your partner chased this Koishi off.

Koishi, for her part, just smiled warmly. “Oh yes. I watched the fight - It was terribly interesting, if a little poor on my part.” She shrugged and pulled herself up to sit cross-legged on your bed. “But it's not like Aya knows me all that well so she simply couldn't write me properly - she made some rather great mistakes thanks to her assumptions of how my abilities work.”

“You mean you faked your death?” You suggest, your searching hand finally coming across something that would work as a weapon.

“Oh no, no no no. You beat me for certain, it just wasn't the same me.” Koishi pauses after saying this, then frowns slightly. “That really doesn't explain it at all does it?” She asked herself before nodding thoughtfully. “Perhaps I should start from the beginning?”

She looks at you.

“This world is a lie.” She states, her voice tinged with a note of finality. “Everything you've experienced in the past few days is fake - little more than a dream created to trap the you that exists in reality.”

[ ] Hold back for now - Hear her out!
[ ] You have a weapon - Strike her now!
[ ] What an obvious lie - Call for Aya!

Okay yeah, this one has a pretty obvious meta answer. It's be nice if people voted more how they think shiori should react though - i really have no issues with the direction things go from here.
[ ] Hold back for now - Hear her out!
[X] Hold back for now - Hear her out!

If you disregard meta, then what she's saying would be absurd and there should be no issues to listening to more of this story she's telling.
[X] Hold back for now - Hear her out!
[ ] Hold back for now - Hear her out!

aw, I really like Aya... But I still want tokiko back.

>It's be nice if people voted more how they think shiori should react though

Doesn't that completely rule out the 'call for Aya' option? We knew something was wrong when we woke up right?
[x] Hear her out.

Disregarding meta, Shiori would not attack without provocation, as in, getting attacked first, and wouldn't call for Aya when Koishi there has made no hostile moves, nor has she shown any ire towards him at all. Not to mention, she's already said Aya has something to do with this.
My concern really was more that when i did these choices i worried that they seemed very... rail-road-y. Maybe if would have been better if i'd held off a bit and given a believe/disbelieve koishi choice a bit later. Oh well, i'll roll with whatever is done anyway so it doesn't matter much.
[x] You have a weapon - Strike her now!
Disregarding meta and examining the situation at hand. We have Shiori being confronted by a dangerous youkai who he has previously killed.
I don't know, I just feel he would be way more cautious of this circumstance. Like he would be looking out for any opportunities to strike/run. Not that it matters, as the other option already won.
[-] Hold back for now - Hear her out!

Even if she's full of it, this should prove interesting. Also, since when did Aya have that sort of power?
What power? If your referring to the wind, it was probably her fan.
> “You're not supposed to remember her! That is the whole point of this re-written story so it only makes sense.”
>Her story is too airtight in the places where things matter for that to have helped you any.
>“But it's not like Aya knows me all that well so she simply couldn't write me properly - she made some rather great mistakes thanks to her assumptions of how my abilities work.”

This sounds more like Keine's history revision than anything having to do with Aya's wind or loljournalism. Of course, Koishi thinks that Shiori is also shaping the revised story; she can't see him exaggerating his sexual abilities that much. If Aya were in total control it would simply be however she wanted. Maybe she teamed up with Mugetsu or Gengetsu; who else has power over dreams? (Aside from Koishi herself.)
Who to say those book spells don't have different properties than their regular combat powers?
[Q] Hold back for now - Hear her out!

Really, frankly, I see no reason to vote otherwise, even in-character.

Also, Aya's up to her fourth spell, after only two fights. Clearly wish fulfillment.
>Really, frankly, I see no reason to vote otherwise, even in-character.
Exactly. Shiori has used violence rather sparingly in the real story: wasted Lily in self-defense, defeated but did not execute Mystia, took the defensive part while rescuing Risa, adopted Flandre and Sunny without much concern, kept Yuugi from executing that asshole, and Tokiko finished off Momizi on her own. Opponents and situations show up and get dealt with. He's not a hunter. (Getting into the fight with Kanako was a notable exception.)

>Also, Aya's up to her fourth spell, after only two fights. Clearly wish fulfillment.
It's even worse than that. She was using that during her second fight, and had also unlocked her flight ability. She's extremely hot and a good lay on top of that. She's written herself as a total Mary Sue. Come to think of it, let's hope she doesn't walk in on Koishi's explanation; even without spells she's probably too much for Shiori to handle if she decides to write him out of her story.
>She's extremely hot and a good lay on top of that.

But that is more or less true, the whole spell matter on the other hand is not.
>It's even worse than that. She was using that during her second fight, and had also unlocked her flight ability. She's extremely hot and a good lay on top of that. She's written herself as a total Mary Sue.
Now now, just because Aya is fast at picking up new abilities and moves rather quickly on relationships, doesn't mean she's a Mary Sue.

At least she doesn't have heterochromia.
[] hear her out

[] if that doesn't work, resort to random weapons.
Aya is definitely a fast woman.
That, most certainly, was the most unbelievably absurd statement you had heard ins... well, ever really. Despite that your hand moved slightly away from the weapon you had been reaching for as you couldn't see why, if the girl way lying, she would use such an unbelievable line.

“Okay,” you mutter, “Go on.” You figured you might as well find out where this Koishi, if her explanation for not being dead was true, was actually going with her explanation. If things got too out of hand you at least were ready to defend yourself now and Aya was really only a yell away if you needed her.

Koishi just smiled widely, as if she had known what you were planning all along. “Excellent!” She crows, “Tokiko would be rather unhappy if you died because of this.” The girl paused for a minute, then shrugged. “She'd be unhappy about you having fun with Aya too, but I think we can keep that little issue under wraps. It's not like you really went and did it after all.”

“If I'm going to listen to you,” you mutter, “At least try making some sense - who the hell is Tokiko?”

“She's your partner.” Koishi replies, leaning forwards to look you in the eye. “You real partner, in reality. Not this Aya who's only your partner in this fake world.” she rears back suddenly, her arms spreading wide. “This world is a lie!” she exclaims, “It's your story, but edited so heavily by Aya that it barely resembles the original anymore!”

“How?” You ask after a moment, causing the girl to look down at you again.

“Many reasons. Mostly it comes down to you doing something stupid and falling into a trap made by Aya's real partner...” The aqua-haired girl settles back down and scratches her chin in thought for a few moments. “I don't think Aya had much of a choice in the matter though, probably why she was... well, never mind, you'll see when we get you out of here.” She looks around your room and frowns, “This isn't even really Aya's ability you know, she's a tengu and they're usually pretty similar - the ability to see and hear long distances, speed and sometimes the power to control wind a bit. Something like this dream creation ability isn't hers, but I have a theory on why she has it.”

The girl rolls back and leans against the far wall, her face screwed up in a frown. “Anyway, it was all kind of hasty for a trap. I don't think they were actually expecting you - more like it was your bad luck to run into something they set up for someone else.” She shook her head. “Regardless, we need to get you out of here and awa-”

Koishi froze and glanced quickly to your door. “Dammit,” she muttered, “I have to go - she can't sense me but if she sees me she'll know she's rumbled and I really don't know her well enough to tell what she'll do.” Gritting her teeth the serious girl seemed to fade away. “Her influence is getting stronger as this dream penetrates your subconscious, if we wait too long I won't be able to hide and you won't be able to escape - the best way to break out would be to find something which proves this world a lie on a level she can't cover up. Until then don't give her a reason to suspect anyth-”

Aya flung your door open just as Koishi vanished. Your partner was wearing a light sundress you vaguely recalled buying and her hair had... and her makeup was... and you could feel your brain juddering to a halt as you took in how pretty Aya looked with her hair done up and a light dashing of lipstick. A tiny part of you, thinking about Koishi's warnings, was telling you that such an extreme reaction to a pretty girl wasn't normal for you.

“What's all this for?” you ask, rising to your feet and striding over to the raven-haired girl. You were prepared to simply sweep her off of her feet when that dubious voice at the back of your head clamped down on the action - something like that was most definitely not the kind of thing you'd normally do.

Aya seemed to frown ever so slightly before she suddenly assumed an expression of mock-annoyance and lightly thumped you in the shoulder with one hand. “Stupid!” She exclaimed, “How could you forget about our date so easily?”

Wait. What? Date? You didn't recall any offers of a date - but now you thought about it the notion was filtering in that you had actually offered to take her out. “Damn,” you hissed, causing Aya to raise one eyebrow at you. “Give me, uh, five minutes?” you offer, an embarrassed expression across your face. Your partner merely sighed and shook her head sadly.

“Five minutes,” she said, spinning on one foot to face away from you - her arms crossing over her chest and her nose stuck imperiously up into the air. “Any longer and I'll have to assume you don't love me.”

“That's a bit harsh isn't it?” You ask, stepping forward and wrapping your arms around her shoulders. “At least wait until after our date to decide something like that.”

“I guess,” Aya shrugs in your arms. “I guess I can be generous enough to give you a chance to redeem yourself for forgetting about it.”

“Yes, yes, I am in awe of your merciful and forgiving nature.” You feel Aya shake slightly in your arms as she stifles a bout of laughter. You learn around and kiss her lightly on one cheek before releasing her and lightly pushing her towards the door. “Five minutes, okay?”

As the door shut behind your partner-girlfriend-lover your previous somewhat suave countenance fell apart. “Shit!” You hissed as you shot towards your wardrobe, “shit, shit shit!” Rummaging through it you found a decent shirt and set of trousers to go with it - you considered a tie, then dismissed it as being too formal. Aya had been dressed more for a casual date so you should really do the same. Not that you could get dressed yet, you'd need a shower - a really, really quick one at that.

“Dammit,” you muttered, grabbing and checking the contents of your wallet. “Why didn't I remember this earlier?” You grunted in satisfaction at finding more money than you thought you had.

“Because as of about ten minutes ago, this 'date' didn't exist.” You look up in surprise at Koishi, sitting on the edge of your bed as she was. “It seems like Aya literally only just put in that you promised her a date - something about that seems... off.”

“Off?” You chuckle lightly, “More off than supposedly trapping me in a dream?”

Koishi glares at you. “Of course. Her actions have all been wrong. She has no reason to be so... nice... to you like this. Happy sex? A date? If she wanted to play with you in that way she could have just strapped you down and done whatever she felt like - with her controlling this dream you wouldn't have been capable of resisting.” The aqua haired girl flopped backwards to lie on your bed while her legs dangled off the side. “She's got some kind of purpose with everything she's doing aside from keeping you trapped, but I can't see what it is.”

“You know, I still don't trust you entirely.” You sigh, “But now you've pointed it out...”

“You're starting to see where things don't hang together right?” The girl rolled over onto her front and, after some serious squirming, maneuvered herself around to face you. “There's not a lot you can do about it at the moment though, so you may as well go enjoy your date and keep her from thinking anything is wrong for now.”

The next few minutes passed in something of a blur - a quick shower, an even quicker drying off, a horribly rushed go at getting dressed... Somehow you made it out into the hallway looking presentable and it was only as you headed down the stairs to where Aya was waiting that you realized one crucial thing.

You had absolutely no plans at all for this date.

You'd panic but you knew that wouldn't look too good to your partner. Besides, how hard could a short-notice date be? Aya and you were both dressed well but casual so that gave you a certain amount of freedom in that she evidently wasn't expecting anything too fancy. Aw hell, you'd just make it up as you went, as long as things weren't a disaster you couldn't see much of a problem with that.

“You have fun,” Koshi's voice whispers in your ear as Aya leads the way out of the house. “But you'd better decide what you want to do about getting out of here tomorrow... I have an idea of my own though, but it'd be rather drastic... well, whatever, enjoy yourself for now.”

The voice fades away as you follow Aya outside and pull the door shut behind you.

Your date:
[ ] Dinner / Movie
[ ] Dinner / Romantic Walk
[ ] Romantic Walk / Movie

Dealing with the situation tomorrow:
[ ] Confront Aya Yourself
[ ] Find a Mistake
[ ] Let Koishi Handle It.

[ ] Hot, Warm, Cool, Cold.
[X] Dinner / Movie
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Warm

We still have Koishi as a backup in any case, so passively waiting for her while not acting ourselves has no benefit to me.
Acting warm to keep a nice date, but not get too into it for it to hinder some covert-ops to find some kind of mistake.
[X] Dinner / Romantic Walk
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Cool

I want Tokiko back...
[Q] Dinner / Movie
[Q] Find a Mistake
[Q] Cool

Save our warmth for reality.
[ ] Dinner / Romantic Walk

[ ] Find a Mistake

Aya doesn't know this town as well as we do. If we're going to catch her out, our best bet is to spot something wrong with the lay of the land.
[X] Dinner / Movie
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Cool

>Something like this dream creation ability isn't hers, but I have a theory on why she has it.
Wait, are there PC-98 characters in the game?
[x] Dinner / Movie
The less we talk...
[x] Let Koishi Handle It.
Let's not get too hasty. Trying to do something about it ourselves doesn't always turn out good. Koishi has a plan to bail us out so why waste it?
[x] Hot
This anon has a point. However I believe just warm is not enough. We just had sex with her and we were quite aggressive all this time talking to her. Anything below hot is not gonna cut it, especially "hey I figured it out this world is a lie" choices such as "Find a Mistake, Cool ". I mean. How much more obvious can you be?
File 128672681852.jpg - (43.99KB, 400x990, vengencelook.jpg) [iqdb]
>you were made the bitch of mother gravit
Best sentence I ever read in this website.

[X] Dinner / Movie
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Cool
Those outsiders don't really know movie. There's a good probability of Ayaya making a mistake.
And if Ayaya make a mistake... Pic related.
If I can ask for a movie, I ask "The Birds", from Alfred Hitchcock.
[-] Dinner / Romantic Walk
[-] Find a Mistake
[-] Warm
We need to keep our eyes out, but still show her a good time so everything doesn't go to piss.
[x] Romantic Walk / Movie
[x] Find a mistake
[x] Warm
[X] Dinner / Movie
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Warm

Wholeheartedly support this. Dinner and a movie, Anon!
[X] Dinner / Movie
[X] Find a Mistake
[X] Warm
[a ] Dinner / Movie we need to find flaws. Try food aya never would, like chicken.
[a ] Find a flaw. Obvious to not die.
[a] ice. Revenge is a dish best served in the frozen half of hell. Which is also where autocorrect belongs. Damn iPod keeps changing it to he'll.
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Your dinner was... well, it wasn't all too fancy what with the two of you being somewhat under-dressed for anything too high class. Aya ate light, as she always seemed to do, settling for a dish of salad and grilled salmon while you had gone for a more substantial meal of steak. Given you had way more money than you expected in your wallet - this was probably Aya's doing - you had been able to splash out a bit more than usual. Money aside there were many... lucky... coincidences you had noticed starting from the moment you had left your house. At every road crossing the traffic lights had changed just as you approached so you didn't have to stop and wait for instance. The cafe you were eating at just 'happened' to have been running a promotion for new couples, which you and Aya were, so that you got a free cake to share after your meal.

You strongly suspected that regardless of how little or great an amount of time you spent here you were going to arrive at the cinema just in time for the movie to begin.

“Hm?” Your partner looked up at you in confusion when you saw how eagerly she had dug into her share of the free chocolate cake the two of you had 'won'. “Is something wrong?”

“No...” You murmur, feeling that something definitely was wrong - that this seemed so like something your just couldn't quite remember. “I guess I...” A flicker of memory passes through your mind. “I guess I didn't expect you to know about some of these things, chocolate and such I mean. You did say Gensokyo was all sealed up since almost forever ago right?”

Aya gives you a weird look, then shrugs. “Just because we're cut off it doesn't mean we're entirely cut off. Yukari, I think I mentioned her before, is able to just bring stuff in from the outside if you can trade for it.” Waving her fork, and the chunk of cake speared on the end of it, Aya continues. “Like chocolate - I don't know how it works but there's a man in the human village who makes it along with all the other candies and sweets. I guess Yukari supplies him with ingredients for everything in exchange for him supplying her with the finished sweets.” She nods and shrugs lightly before going back to her cake. “It's also how I get the things I need to work my camera, the stuff the Kappa, though it's really more an agreement between the Tengu as a whole with her - we're all kind of big on photography and journalism and suchlike.” Pausing the raven-haired girl looks up into the air, a thoughtful look on her face. “There's probably a story in her chokehold on industry in Gensokyo there now I think about it...” she murmurs.

“Oh.” you breath, then you think for a moment. “You can buy things from the human village?” You ask, “i thought you said they don't like Youkai much?”

Your partner shrugs her shoulders. “That's true - but there are exceptions, especially if they're willing to pay a lot in return or are well known as youkai who are relatively nice to humans, like us Tengu, or are the kind you just really don't want to make angry, like Yuuka. Everyone else has to go through one of the wandering traders, or pay someone to pick things up for them.”

“That seems kind of... unfair.” Aya shrugs at your comment and returns to her cake. A moment later you find a chunk of cake held in front of your face as if on offer to... oh. Was she trying to distract you again? You didn't think you had been talking about anything that cut close to the truth of this world... but then again the subject hadn't exactly been particularly date-worthy so maybe she was just trying to put a stop to that? Hell, maybe she was just being romantic and you were simply over-analyzing her actions.

“What?” her question snaps you out of your line of thought. “Don't you like cake?” She asks, glaring at you and pouting in a fashion you could easily call cute.

“Ah, no no no!” You wave one hand and shake your head at Aya's questioning. “Just got something on my mind is all!”

“Oh really?” Aya drawls as the fork, and offered cake, retracts. “Care to share?”

“It's nothing much,” you mutter, “Just sort of... well... why me?” You gesture around the cafe with one arm. “I mean, it just sort of hit me that we're on a date and that we're actually... actually lovers, and I guess i'm only just catching up with how fast everything seemed to happen.”

Your partner just laughs lightly. “You weren't that fast!” she exclaims, causing you to blush red as you caught on to what she was referring to. “If it makes you feel more at ease though, the moment you agreed to be my book-holder we became bound until I win or I lose this game.” The raven haired girl shrugged for a moment, then looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “In a way I guess you could say were practically married, until death do us part and all that - right?”

“M-married!?” You shot up from your seat at that, your exclamation drawing the attention of everyone else in the cafe. Realizing that everyone was now staring at you, you slowly sunk back into your seat - your face all but glowing a bright cherry red color.

Aya just laughed.

* * * * * * * *

In retrospect you really should have expected the film of Aya's choice to be of the horror genre - the fact that your partner was even now doing her best to crush your arm between her breasts in a spectacularly over-the-top parody of being 'afraid' was proof enough of this. Then again she wasn't the only female in the cinema to be pulling such an act, though she was by far the most shameless about it - barely a scene went by without her having some reason to squeak loudly in mock-fear and latch onto whatever body part of yours was close enough.

Other body parts too, once or twice.

Only when the cinema was darker thankfully.

For the most part you had been able to just watch the film while enjoying Aya's attentions - not that you left those entirely unreturned, more than a few times you had wrapped an arm around her shoulders as she buried her face against your chest. There had, however, been something of an... event... a little way after the start of the film.

You knew this film and while it wasn't a favorite you at least knew how it went.

How it was supposed to have gone at least.

The moment the film had gone in a direction that didn't mesh with your memories you had experienced an almost crushing sensation in your chest and head as if you were suffering from a migraine while being sat upon by and elephant. Aya had noticed immediately - within moments your face was buried in her chest and the crushing feeling ebbed away as your baser desires overpowered the more conscious self.

This, you were certain, was a 'mistake' of the kind Koishi had mentioned. Something that clashed dramatically with your memory to a point where it threatened the stability of this dream-world she claimed you were trapped in... only this 'mistake' was simply too small to have done any more than make things really, really painful for you. Since then Aya had been performing her act in order to have an excuse to, well, keep you more interested in her than in actually paying complete attention to the film itself. Without Koishi to explain you could only guess but... you were pretty sure now that Aya was using your instinctive reactions - lust especially - to gloss over those places where her dream creation didn't hold up to scrutiny.

How many times had she used her body to distract you before? You knew she was overly familiar and more than a little eager to flirt, grab or otherwise seduce you... now you were having a hard time not seeing those actions as a way to stop you from seeing how this dream didn't add up properly.

You had let the incident go without real comment, joking with your partner that perhaps you'd eaten something that didn't agree with you instead. Throughout the film you had felt twinges and pressures as your brain, now alert on both a conscious and subconscious level to the flaws in the world, was picking up on bits and pieces not of the film that didn't fit. The way the girl several seats to the left was one you vaguely recalled as having appeared in the papers on account of being murdered. The way that there was no real noise from the audience - no rustling, coughing, not even a sound from those girls who were acting with their companions in a similar way to which Aya was acting with you. This cinema was... fake. An image of what someone thought a cinema was like rather than the reality of what a cinema actually was.

You squeezed Aya gently with the arm you wrapped around her shoulders.

For tonight you'd let things pass. You'd play the doting boyfriend, the amorous lover, the partner Aya seemingly wanted you to be.


Tomorrow, you would put an end to this dream.

* * * * * * * *

You rolled over on the bed, pulling the covers tight around yourself as you did so. Waking up in the morning was such a bear... Especially when it was cold out in your room but nice and warm under your covers. As you moved more fully into an awakened state a vague memory of something important formed in the back of your mind.

Whatever it was it quickly became unimportant as something warm traced a path down your spine to leave a tingling sensation in it's wake.

Wait, no! Not again!

“Hey.” You shivered slightly as the word was all but breathed into your ear from behind. Twisting around you looked upon the black-haired girl you had spent the night with. Your face flushed red as you took in the sight of her, propped up on one elbow, her breasts both bare and being displayed rather provocatively by her pose.

Stop! Stop and think! This is a trick! She's trying to distract you!

The sight of her naked and this close brought back the memories of exactly what the two of you had been doing prior to falling asleep last night. You'd flush if you weren't already red and it was obvious the girl could tell this as she giggled lightly at your embarrassed discomfort for a moment before darting in and placing a quick peck of a kiss on your nose. Immediately your mind froze, then backed up at high speed to replay the bizarre series of events which had led to you getting laid with quite possibly the most beautiful girl you had ever seen.

This is a lie! It's all a lie! Remember! Remember damn it!

You winced, a shooting pain forming in your head. The beautiful girl, Aya - your partner, leaned towards you in worry.

“Are you alright?” She asked, reaching out to place her hand against your forehead.

[ ] Remember.
[ ] Don't Remember.
[x] Remember.

What else? Why voting for something else?
[x] Remember.
And I'll kick anyone who votes for the other option in the shin.
[ ] Don't Remember.

Okay I am curious.
[X] Remember.
[x]Don't Remember

Aya is like an upgrade from Tokiko.
[x] Remember.
[x] Don't Remember.
Laying in bed with your aggressor isn't quite the right time to start shit. Maybe we should wait till Koishi decides to pop in, for back up.

[X] Remember.
I knew this was going to happen
[x] Remember.
[X] Remember.

I hate it when an answer looks so obviously right that it just has to be wrong.
[x] Remember.
Twas fun, but enough now.
[X] Remember.
We're stuck in Aya's dreamworld right now. Whether her dream-self is physically next to us or not probably doesn't matter very much.

[x] Remember.
[Q] Remember.
[x] I remember every last little thing as if it happened only yesterday.
[x] ...I was barely seventeen, and I once killed a man with a Fender guitar.
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[] don't remember

Now I'm curious too... Something good can come of this, but what...
Have at thee mongrel! *kick*
You wave her hand away.

“I'm fine,” you murmur, “just a little headache - must have opened my eyes too quickly or something Stupid sunlight.”

Aya laughed lightly at that and you immediately began to thank your quick mind for coming up with a working excuse. When her hand had reached out you had panicked, not wanting her to touch you - already you were having a horrible sensation of deja vu over this morning and remembering that this was all a dram Aya controlled... had she reset things? Your memory of 'yesterday' - if it even was yesterday - wasn't exactly clear but you did recall that the dream had been fraying heavily at the edges by the end of the day. If Aya had been afraid that it was going to break down... maybe she had reset everything to keep you from finding out? Only she hadn't wiped your memories to go with it, or if she had then something had blocked the effect from taking hold.

You remembered talking to Koishi and you recalled planning to confront Aya tomorrow... well, today now it seemed.

“Aya...” you say after a short silence, “Lets go see the flowers today.”

“Huh?” Your part- no, your fake partner, propped herself up to look at you curiously as if she hadn't expected you to say anything. Good, acting against her expectations should keep her off balance as long as you didn't act too against them.

“The flowers, the ones around where we fought Lily.” You sigh, “No, nevermind, I guess i'm just feeling a bit... I don't know, guilty maybe?” You were too, just not for the reasons you hoped she would think you were guilty about.

“I guess...” She murmured, sounding a little unsure. “That was on the way to the shopping center, right?” You nod and she smiles widely. “We can make a date of it then! To make up for the trip Lily wrecked yesterday!”

“Yeah...” you mutter, trying to make your voice sound more enthusiastic than it really was.

* * * * * * * *

You sighed.

Looking around you took in the sights of all the flowers... to you they were simply another mistake Aya had made since so many of them were completely out of season.

One mistake too many really as now you were sure that your hazy memories were real and that this was all a dream cooked up by your 'partner'.

You sigh again. Time to sort things out you supposed.

“Aya.” You state, your voice flat. “Last night... was the most amazing thing ever.”

Your false-partner smirks, “well of course it w-” she begins, before you cut her off quickly.

“You're smart, you're strong, and you're really beautiful - every part of you is wonderful.” Turning to face her you raise your hands, palms up, and shrug. “And I guess I'll treasure the memories you've given me but... It's over now Aya. I know.”

The raven haired girl laughed dismissively, “Know?” She asked, her voice curious, “Know what? What are you talking about?”

“That this world is a lie - a dream made up by you.” You respond, your hands dropping to your sides. “I remember yesterday, fighting Koishi and going on a date... a yesterday you tried to wipe from my mind and do over because the dream started falling apart.”

Aya laughed again, though this time it seemed more nervous in tone. “But that's silly!” She exclaimed finally, “You're just imagining things! Maybe you didn't get enough sleep?” Your faux-partner leans forward, giving you a perfect view down the front of her shirt. “We did spent most of the night active after all...”

You snort, it was obvious that she was trying to distract you - well it wasn't going to work on you anymore.

“Fine then,” the girl growls, “So you're not going to go quietly back into this paradise - why? You have a powerful partner, a sexy girl willing to do anything for you, you don't have to ever worry about being killed or hurt in battle again! So why won't you just leave things be!?” By the end of her exclamation Aya is yelling, screaming almost, at you. “I could do anything you want! Make this world any way you want! Riches? A harem? What do you say?”

You shake you head and Aya yells in frustration. “Why would you want to go back!? What's wrong with staying here with me!?”

“I don't even know why you want me to stay here.” You respond, “If you're an enemy player then you should just be wanting me gone, but instead you've trapped me here and... done nothing but seduce me.” You frown. “Why?”

Aya stares at you for several long seconds before looking away. “Because I was bored.” She states, then wavers slightly. “No... bored is the wrong word... Because I was trapped? Ever since I head we were going to leave Gensokyo I was dreaming of seeing what the outside world had to offer... but what happened when I got here? Turned out the guy I chose for a partner was some kind of freaky cult follower who had me locked up because his cult-boss told him so! Everything I dream of seeing - gone!”

“So you took over my dream?” It was a little hard keeping yourself feeling annoyed when your sense of sympathy kept threatening to take over.

“I didn't plan to...” Aya murmured, “I don't know how you found me, or how you got inside, all I know is that my partner let you in - then cast the spell to trap you and your partner.”

Your eyes widen. “My partner?” You ask, a dim feeling welling up within you. “What did you do to... to...” You struggle to remember. For a moment you wondered if the Koishi you had spoken to was your partner but some tiny voice was telling you that she wasn't, that your real partner was someone else - someone important. Someone.... someone you.... lo-...

“It's true then?” the raven haired girl asks sadly as she seemed to slump forward slightly. “I've looked into the dream she's having, hers is automatic so I don't have to be there, and all she seems to be dreaming about is you.” Aya pauses for a moment then finally speaks up again in a small voice, “Did you really call her your fiancee?”

“Yeah...” You murmur, the memory coming into focus in your mind. “Yeah, I did.” As you say this you begin to remember more things, who your partner was, the way she moved, the way she talked, the way she held your hand and the way her lips had felt when you kissed her back in Kyoto. “I'm going back.” You state, “Back to Tokiko - because that's where I belong.”

“And when you go I'll be alone again! Aya the 'pure' and 'honest'! Aya the rag-writer! Aya the liar and peeping tom! Aya the slut, the whore, the call-girl! Aya the person everyone loves to hate!” The Tengu's voice rises to an almost hysterical level as she goes on and on with her rant, “The only way I'd ever find anyone to love me is if they don't know me! If they don't hear the lies from everyone else! You were-!” Suddenly she seems to deflate, “yuh-you were...” She devolves into sniffling for a few moments and it takes all your willpower to not stride over and grab her in a hug - but after a while Aya seems to calm down somewhat. “This isn't really like me,” she admits, “I'm not usually so... so emotional.”

“You were in love.” You state, “of a kind anyway - and I suppose i'm flattered... no, more than that, I don't remember everything but the bits and pieces I do recall...” You sigh lightly. “You're someone I could easily love, someone I guess I could imagine as a girlfriend, maybe even as more than that.”

“Then why can't I be!?” Aya demands, “Why can't you just stay here with me and be happy!?”

You stare at the raven-haired Tengu. “Because,” you say at last, your voice firm, “I have someone important waiting for me.”

* * * * * * * *

You gasp, your body spasming on the carpeted floor for many a moment as your brain re-acquainted itself with once again having actual physical nerves and muscles connected to it. Had it not been for the arm cradling your head and neck you would have likely knocked yourself silly in the process. As it was you went through a moment of absolute terror as your chest and throat seemed to constrict painfully, cutting your air off for what seemed like several incredibly long seconds before suddenly relaxing and leaving you gasping for breath. Nearby you heard someone else also gasping for air and it took but a moment for you to connect those ragged gasps to your partner - you real partner - as she too came out of her own dreamworld.

As you began to sit up you were assaulted by what was likely the most extreme pins-and-needles sensation you had ever experienced... mainly because it seemed to be over almost your entire body. Forcing your way through the pain you did your best to scan the room. Immediately your eyes locked onto a thin, almost gaunt, but terribly familiar looking girl bound with a string of paper tags and what looked like the same kind of rope you'd seen encircling rocks and trees in the past.

“Aya?” you croak out, noting how dry your throat felt. The girl's figure jerks slightly and you note the tag seemingly stuck to her forehead.

“Holy seals.” A voice behind you states. “Shoddy, but effective - I can't remove them and neither can Tokiko. They bind Aya better than any chain could ever hope to do.”

You, with some agony, twist to look behind you at where Koishi is gently cradling Tokiko. Your partner herself is sniffling and looking up at you with teary eyes.

“Hey,” You greet, flashing her what you hoped was a comforting smile. “Good morning, did you have a nice dream?” After a few moments your partner nods. Looking up at Koishi you smile at her too. “Thanks.” you say, “If it wasn't for you...”

“You'd still be trapped in there, I know, I know.” The aqua-haired girl grins widely, “I'm just too good to you two sometimes.” Her expression turns serious as she looks past you, over at Aya. “What do we do about her?”

“I don't know.” you mutter as you do your best to draw yourself onto rather shaky feet. “I don't think this was her fault - though she could be lying.” Staggering over to the bound girl you peer intently at the seals and tags covering her body. “You said something about seals?”

“Holy seals, yes. I checked them as best I could after her partner left, it's a good thing i'm well-practiced at working with the subconscious or else I wouldn't have been able to resist the spell they used.” The girl seems rather boastful about this. “I played along, fainting like you two did. Anyway, I had a look at her seals and they're... strong. Too strong I think, even if they are haphazard. Not the kind of thing any old human could make - especially outside Gensokyo.”

“Aya mentioned he joined a cult, or was maybe in one before he met her. Could he have gotten them from that?” you ask as you gently tugged on one of the scraps of paper. Frankly it didn't feel like anything special, just a bit of paper someone had scrawled stuff across in ink.

“I guess he could... but something about it feels... off.” Koishi's voice seemed to trail away into a long silence. “I don't know how else to put it, but those tags seem far too powerful for something any human could work on their own even if they had the full belief of a cult backing them up. I don't like it.”

“Can we remove them?”

“You can, sure.” Came the almost flippant reply. “If myself or Tokiko tried... well, strong as they are we'd probably end up with a dead arm for a while even without direct contact - they shouldn't affect a human in the slightest though.” She paused, then shot to her feet, “Wait - you're not thinking of-”

You ignore her outburst as the first tag rips free of Aya's clothing. Immediately you grab another, then another, and another. Shredded paper rains down behind you as you systematically remove every tag from the starved girl. The rope takes a bit of work but you're able to shimmy the whole thing up Aya's form and over her head before tossing it into one corner of the room. Finally you reach up and, much more gently, you pull away the tag that was stuck to her forehead.

As she slumps forward you catch your... well, you're not sure what she is to you now, but you catch her in one arm anyway before carefully laying her down on the floor. She stirs lightly and reaches up with one hand, her fingers brushing lovingly against your cheek. Behind you a sharp intake of breath indicates that Tokiko is watching.

“Will Aya be alright?” you ask, not really directing your question at either of the two girls behind you.

“She was bound for a long while I'm guessing?” Koishi asks, then continues when you nod an affirmative. “Then she won't be up to top form in less than a few days, but she should be up and about in maybe an hour?”

“Do we have an hour?”

“I think so, her partner didn't seem interested in checking on us...”

“Then we wait until she can move, and then we escape.”

* * * * * * * *

The hour passed slowly, especially with Tokiko mostly being quiet and unresponsive when you tried to talk to her - though occasionally you would catch her staring almost vacantly at you with a sad look fluttering across her face. Then she would notice you looking and she would turn away. So far you hadn't been able to work out why she seemed so upset... and Koishi had admitted that she knew but that it wasn't her place to say anything about it.

Eventually however Aya was able to sit, stand and with minimal effort walk around the room. She too seemed to be doing her best to avoid responding to you - though at least with her you had some idea as to why. You weren't sure that you liked rejecting her as you had done in the dream, but you knew it had been necessary both to escape and because of Tokiko.

You stand up.

“Everyone ready?” You ask, causing the three girls to jump slightly as you break the silence of the room. After a few moments Koishi and Tokiko nod, while Aya just winces.

“Tokiko.” You say, gesturing to the door. “Would you kindly express our... dissatisfaction over the living conditions here, would you?” Your partner wipes her eyes with the back of one sleeve, then nods and moves over to the door - placing one palm against the lock upon it.

You take a deep breath and flex your hand, your book appearing and lending a comforting weight.


[ ] Ran Option, Christmas Preparation Before Ten, CSI: Here.
[ ] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.
[ ] Ran Option, Politer Ass - Hooked Seed - To Fire, Trash Tree Trash Tree Trash Tree.

Obviously the next post continues the epic (or not so epic) escape, while you're voting for scenes coming after it. I just thought i'd wasted too much time on this without a post, ahahaha. So i'll give you this and write the rest of the aya bit while you vote.
>CSI: Here

Renko for sure. I'll try to think of others.

On the matter of the cult, I suspect Reimu or Yukari is involved; what else would explain the strong as hell seals?

>Ran option
I'm laughing my ass off.
>Ran Option on all three votes
Caved in, huh? Should have made the Ranfags work for the scene. And yes, I'm one of them.

>Christmas Preparation Before Ten, CSI: Here.
Light nine (Iku), Detective Horatio CaineMac TaylorRenko Usami.

>Amazingly Not Amazing
Is that anything like a suprise attempt that isn't suprising? (Kogasa)

Can't guess the others.

[X] Ran Option, Christmas Preparation Before Ten, CSI: Here.
[X] Ran Option, Politer Ass - Hooked Seed - To Fire, Trash Tree Trash Tree Trash Tree

Well I hope we find a way to cause grievous bodily harm to Aya's partner. I forget is there any way to sever the bond between partners, like with Servants in FSN?
[X] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.
> On the matter of the cult, I suspect Reimu or Yukari is involved; what else would explain the strong as hell seals?
Bayakuren or however her name is spelled?
[ ] Ran Option, Christmas Preparation Before Ten, CSI: Here.
Now, of course, I'm curious: What would've happened if we'd chosen not to see it? Or would telling us that spoil something you haven't revealed yet?
She'd never condone doing such a thing to Aya.
Byakuren + Evil cult = ... No.
If I hear 'holy seals' I hear Reimu.

[X] Ran Option, Christmas Preparation Before Ten, CSI: Here.
[Q] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.

And of course, nobody thinks about any of the other gods capable of making holy seals in the game.
Seals are more a domain of shrine maidens, not gods themselves; they just smite whatever offends them.

And Kanako's with a med student, Suwako's ??? but I doubt she'd be raising a cult. Byakuren would be running some sort of charity.
[x] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.
My god, Aya. I feel so bad for her.
> My god, Aya. I feel so bad for her.

Yeah, this 'game' is really fucked up.
Yeah... some folks luck out while others don't...

The question is: Are we going to stop that cult guy or the whole thing from being killed?
>Yeah, this 'game' is really fucked up.
Most games where you gamble your life are.
[x] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.
[x] Ran Option, Amazingly Not Amazing, Protested but not a Chicken.
Hooray! More AD!
Thank you, AD. That is way more clarity than I expected, but I'm tickled pink to see it, all the same.

[x] Ran Option, Politer Ass - Hooked Seed - To Fire, Trash Tree Trash Tree Trash Tree.

"Wasted Youth," by Meatloaf.
[a] ran option + csi

Renko time it is.
For a moment the lock resisted the close-range shotgun of magic... but it was only for a moment for in the next the lock vanished in a cloud of wooden splinters and tangled metal as Tokiko's spell overwhelmed it's resistance. Immediately Tokiko pushed forward, through the remains of the door, and into the hallway beyond. Silently you followed, your eyes quickly taking in the layout of what you could see - door, door, open bathroom, door, blind corner... with the exception of the bathroom, which you could see clearly into, Aya's 'partner' could be anywhere. You knew that if he was actually in the house then there was no way he could have failed to hear your breakout.

Motioning to the others to quieten down you strained your ears for a moment - the task wasn't made any easier thanks to this being an apartment in which you suspected a number of neighbors had heard the shot-like sound of Tokiko's spell too. You heard yells of surprise, bangs and thumps as people no doubt panicked over what they probably thought was a shooting... but some of those noises were closer, right on top of you almo-

You slipped backwards just in time as the door nearest you swung outwards with a considerable amount of force, enough to send Tokiko falling on her rear when it smacked into her. Had it hit you then chances are you'd be the one on the floor and you probably would have taken your partner down with you when you fell. There was a moment of confusion, and pain, as something shoved you to one side where your shoulder impacted none too gently against one wall. There was a cry of rage mixed with a yell of surprise and when you turned to the source you saw that it was Aya who had shoved past you in order to tackled her so-called 'partner'.

She yelled something incoherent that was punctuated by the sound of her fists raining down on the bastard who had sealed her up. As the man, who looked terribly plain aside from a growing collection of bruises, fell both you and Koishi rushed forward to grab ahold of Aya from behind. Koishi went low to grab the tengu around the waist, while you went high and wrapped your arms around her shoulders to pin her own arms to her sides. Freed from Aya's onslaught her 'partner' slumped to the floor, having lost consciousness shortly after the raven-haired girl had reduced his nose to a bloody mess.

“Woah! Woah!” You yell, having to forcefully pull the girl away even as she starts trying to stomp on her downed 'partner' - though 'victim' seemed a more apt description of him now. Aya seemed to retreat for a moment and you made the poor mistake of relaxing... only for her to lunge forwards, breaking out of your grip with ease. Once again you were slightly surprised at the strength of a youkai that, to your eyes, looked weaker than you did. Hell, had she not been terribly weakened already you probably wouldn't have been able to drag her away in the first place.

Thankfully she didn't resume her attack on the downed man, instead she grabbed one of his arms in one hand, lifted it up, then seemed to sort of... fumble around with her free hand.

“I know it's here,” she muttered, “I can feel it...”

You note Tokiko and Koishi creeping off while you watch Aya. The aqua-haired girl, noticing that you had spotted them, makes a few hand gestures which you think meant she was going to have a private chat with your partner. Maybe she was going to ask why Tokiko had been acting so distant since you both woke up? You suspected that something in her dream world had affected her more than she was willing to say in front of you. Hoping that was the case and that it wasn't something more serious, you turned back to watch as Aya seemingly managed to find the invisible something she was grasping for.

As if it were water the air around Aya's hand seemed to ripple heavily as she pulled at... what eventually turned out to be her partner's grimoire, the thick Gray book slowly emerging from seemingly nowhere as she tugged at it. You briefly wonder if the different colored covers of the grimoire's actually meant anything or if they were just decoration - it seemed every one you'd seen so far had been a different color. After a short while the grimoire was fully visible and you could also see the chain which linked it to the arm of Aya's partner. Wondering exactly what Aya was doing it didn't take you long to realize that the tengu had braced one foot against her partner's arm and was now tugging harder - the chain drawing taut as she did so.

Ever so slowly the book moved, the chain emerging from the man's arm little by little until, eventually, it ripped itself free of the arm and caused Aya' to tumble backwards thanks to the sudden lack of resistance.

* * * * * * * *

The boy was coming along nicely, whenever she was in the room his gaze rarely left her rear or her bust - she knew that as long as his parents weren't around she commanded his attention almost one hundred percent. Admittedly he still had a ways to go, he hadn't tried anything too overt yet - a few sets of her panties had gone missing for a while however, so she knew he was at least moving further in the direction she wanted. Given that she had 'accidentally' come across a receipt for some kind of small camera she was sure that within a few days she would also be finding such a camera hidden in her room somehow. Behind the bookshelf? Atop the closet? There was a convenient hole in one of the heavy ornamental vases on her windowsill that would be perfect for such a thing - she should know, she'd made it herself.

Actually, she had been out most of the morning, and her charge had been alone for an hour or two... she'd made sure to 'accidentally' leave her room unlocked for a few days now, hoping he'd work up the courage to peek in person. She would have to keep an eye out for the camera later tonight perhaps, once she found it she could then ensure to not give too much of an eyeful when she changed for bed. If she gave away too much there was the possibility that he might back off when she really needed him to keep going in the hope of seeing more of her body, that was how she planned to ensure he thought of nothing but her and his desire for more.

Eventually he'd see all of her, and more, but the time wasn't right for that. Besides, there were... complications. Specifically the boy's parents - his mother was workable, perhaps even desirable for her longer term plans. In fact, the more she thought about it the more delicious the idea became - the woman was attractive indeed, a young adult of perhaps only thirty years at most but with a body more befitting someone almost ten years younger. Long and vibrant red hair, a sort-of tomboyish look, a reasonable bust and an ass which was quite frankly to die for. Yes, the boy's mother would be a wonderful addition to her work.

The father on the other hand... he was, for want of a better term, too pure to use. Every chance she got she had used to make subtle suggestions with words, looks or body language as to the fact that she would quite like to be a naughty maid for the master. He noticed, she knew he had, but he had not responded nor had he given her so much as a second look or viewed her as anything more than some kind of furniture or something. Devoted fucker that he was the idea of a little bit of fun on the side seemed completely out of his mind.

He would have to go.

An accident would be best, something quick and clean so the mourning would be quick and usable. If it appeared like murder then neither the wife nor the son would be prepared to let go until they had answers, an accident would mean they could move straight into mourning... and straight into her hands. A comforting word here, a shoulder - or a lap - to cry on there... Hell, if she worked it right she could have the mother pissing on her husbands grave before the mourning period was completely over.

She smirked. How delightfully debauched such an idea was.

She'd have to do it.

The father... Wasn't he meant to be helping out with a school trip soon? Giving lifts or some such to some of the students of the boy's school - if she could manipulate it so that he wasn't carrying his own son... She was considering removing a few obstacles from the boy's class anyway, those could be murdered without worry but if she could tie them up with his father... Yes, a tragic road accident killing a local pillar of the community along with a number of schoolchildren, such a tragedy - and one which could be investigated and finished with quickly, leaving her free to work.

Speaking of the school, she'd need to add a few names to the list - she had given the place a once-over a few days ago and it seemed that a couple of girls looked promising, one or two of the teachers too. Some of the other boys were... workable... but for the most part they seemed to be little more than annoying bodies, something she could abuse but not use. Oh well, her future den would have a place for that sort of thing too, so it wasn't a great issue. Perhaps she'd introduce some of the teachers to that pleasure? She'd spotted one already who seemed to have such dark tastes buried deep down - might be an in for her to work with there.

Smiling lightly she bent down to pick a selection of shirts from the wash basket at her feet, mindful of the young boy staring at her rear as she did so. She sighed, thanking Yukari under her breath for this chance to be the old her, the person she had been before becoming a shikigami. The person who chafed at being prim, hated being proper, the person who so dearly wanted to pass this feeling of delight onto her own shikigami when the time was right.

She licked her lips at that thought, wondering what kind of expression Chen would make when she sampled this feeling, when she first tasted this wonderful drug that only a youkai of age and experience could truly appreciate.

A drug of seduction, of sex and vice.
A drug of intrigue, of plots and cunning.
A drug of slaughter, of blood and despair.

The perfect drug - the one called 'corruption'.

* * * * * * * *

“Away match?” The blond woman frowned at her partner's manservant. “What do you mean 'away match' ?”

“That's what it says here Miss Kirisame.” The man replied, causing the girl's teeth to grate. She hated being called 'Miss Kirisame' dammit! “The team, and I assume any 'hangers on' will be in another city at this time. I'm afraid that unless you wish to wait for their return - and I doubt they will return to this stadium rather than go home directly - this excursion was, as they say, a bust.”

Marisa swore, loudly and repeatedly. The manservant coughed while her partner just rolled her eyes, much less annoyed by the situation than she was. “If today is ruined,” her partner stated, “Then we may as well make the most of our time here.”

“Shopping?” Marisa asked, one eyebrow raising slightly. “Seems a bit of a waste to do something we could do back at your pla-...” The witch trailed off as she sensed something in the distance. It was faint but familiar. “... How do you feel about hunting new game?” She suggested, twisting her head from one side to the other in an attempt to pin down the direction of what she was sensing. “I think we have ourselves a consolation prize, if we can catch it.”

* * * * * * * *

Aya had left, that much was certain. The fact that one of her partner's followers, the one who she knew had been contracted with the tengu, was now abasing himself in front of her partner was proof enough. If it hadn't been then the two burn marks on his arm, where the chain to her grimoire had been, were enough to back up his claims.

She didn't know exactly how long that gave Aya, but she knew that once a grimoire was removed from it's host the chain would start to dissolve - giving a visual clue as to how long the owner had to find a new partner before they were automatically disqualified. The mechanics were fairly simple in that when first called the Grimoire created a sort of pipeline between the owner and their partner through which magic would flow from the partner to the girl. Once removed from the human partner, however, the Grimoire's pipeline would instead be akin to a leaking hose which would constantly drained the owner until they 'died' and dropped out of the game. The rate of loss... that she wasn't too sure on, though she doubted it would give the owner more than a day or two to find a new partner to hook up with.

So this man had not only lost the prisoners he had claimed but also his own partner...

How disappointing.

“I am sorry great one!” The main wailed as he groveled at the feet of her partner, a strange man who wore a face covering marked with a great eye symbol. He had been doing rather well at leading his own little cult when she had found him and, since then, his cult had grown by leaps and bounds into what she privately thought of as her own personal army of spies. A few of these followers had turned out to either have their own or know people who possessed partners. The former had been supplied with mystical gear, blessed by herself, to control their partners while the latter had been strongly encouraged to convince their acquaintances to convert to their cause.

So far there had been no word on the location of Kanako, much to her annoyance, but at least there had been word of Sanae. Supposedly she was with the son of one of the group's newer converts, one who was as yet still too wary to be asked to do anything regarding the matter. Give it a few days, a week perhaps, and the convert would be ready to meet her partner and herself - from there it would be but a simple task to ensure the woman became more loyal to their cause than to her own flesh and blood. From there she would task the woman to observe Sanae and her partner since at the moment she couldn't trust Sanae not to side with Kanako should the other goddess show up. While the girl was her own descendant she was also Kanako's priestess - Sanae's loyalty was pretty clearly divided between herself and her rival and she wasn't going to risk approaching the girl until after she was sure Kanako had been knocked out of the game.

Unfortunately despite discovering Kanako had been partially responsible for the so-called 'terrorist' attack some time ago, there had been absolutely no word on the woman since. The war goddess had gone to ground rather effectively - it was amazing how many forgot that deception and stealth were part of war, it was only natural that Kanako had at least some skill in both.

She glanced over at her partner, still listening to the heartfelt apologies of his follower. She frowned - the man's whining was starting to get on her nerves. Her partner seemed to sense her mood as he murmured something to the man, causing him to look up in an expression that could only be described as rapture. That, presumably, was her cue to make herself properly known - complete with holy light and all the other effects one would expect from the being told to be their god.

She reached out with one hand and smiled gently as he grasped it and lay kiss after kiss upon her palm while muttering her praises all the while.

He was still muttering them when he died, his neck cleanly sliced open by her other hand. Blood sprayed everywhere and she greedily basked in the energy of it all - there was a reason human sacrifices had been so popular once after all.

It was also so terribly useful for getting rid of failures.

* * * * * * * *

Aya had left.

You weren't entirely sure how you felt about that. You still had the memories of loving her, of holding her, of wanting nothing more than to be with her... and it was hard to file those memories away as not being real since in a way they had been.

It had hurt when Aya, after recovering her grimoire, had told your group that she was leaving - apparently it was possible for her to find a new partner if she was quick enough and that was what she intended to do. That was when she had declared that once she had a new partner she was going to come back and, in her words 'steal you away'. That had annoyed your partner enough, but then she said something quietly to Tokiko, which had caused your partner to all but explode as Aya jumped, laughing, out of a window. Fearing for her safety you'd rushed to the window yourself only to see the raven-haired girl land without a scratch and take off running at a speed most cars would be hard pressed to match.

After that the three of you who remained - yourself, Tokiko and Koishi - had made your own escape . All in all only a few hours had passed since you had first reached the apartment which meant you had more than enough time to make it back home, despite the fairly long trip, before your mother started worrying over where you may be. Naturally Koishi had split off some way back as she needed to return to her own partner who lived in the more built-up town area rather than the secluded village further along in which you lived.

The remaining leg of your trip home was... tense. The silence between you and Tokiko seemed to render the air almost solid around you both and it was a silence that persisted all the way home and beyond as Tokiko still refused to talk to you even once the two of you had returned. Not that you were making much effort to talk to her as your feelings were still conflicted and you knew it was going to take time to sort them out.

You loved Tokiko, you knew this, but such a large part of you was trying to say that Aya was the love of your life - and nothing you did seemed to quieten that side of you down.

You just... didn't know what to do.

[ ] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
[ ] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones
[ ] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
Okay, explaining previous cluuuuues.

Ran option - Look, if you need me to explain this one then there is no hope for you.

Christmas Preparation Before Ten - The christmas preperation period is 'Advent' and from that the number before ten should be pretty obvious - 9. This was cirno.

CSI: Here - Correctly guessed by many as DETECTIVE RENKO.

Amazingly Not Amazing - because she's an ORDINARY witch, not an amazing one, get it?

Protested but not a Chicken. - Yeah, it's a sci/anon protest reference. Chicken-Cult-Chicken-Cult was one of the chants at one of the protests.

Politer Ass - Hooked Seed - To Fire - this was the hardest one by far. A politer (kinda) term for ass is 'bum', a hooked seed is a 'burr' and to fire is to shoot. Bum-Burr-Shoot, which is the pronounciation of bumbershoot - a type of umbrella. hooray kogasa.

Trash Tree Trash Tree Trash Tree. - Actually a reference to the series 'law of ueki' where the hero had this power, the core theme of said power being RECYCLING. Which is what our unknown 'Aki' is doing at the junkyard she's at.

Woo. Clues.
[Q] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
File 128976532647.jpg - (282.71KB, 600x685, 5266eb1a9503dd75fc153e27eb669028.jpg) [iqdb]
Haha, oh wow.

[x] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.

Safe from...going to hell? Or is Ichirin codename for Ichirin?
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.

>saging vote
Please don't be a faggot.


>Politer Ass - Hooked Seed - To Fire - this was the hardest one by far. A politer (kinda) term for ass is 'bum', a hooked seed is a 'burr' and to fire is to shoot. Bum-Burr-Shoot, which is the pronounciation of bumbershoot - a type of umbrella. hooray kogasa
Part of the problem with figuring out a number of these clues-- not just this one, but in general --is that they seem to lean towards needing to know British phrasing to get. It's certainly not all of them, but it's happened more than once before.

I'm not really complaining about this, just pointing out a limitation that you may not even be aware you're imposing. I have no idea whether that bothers you or not, but I'm just letting you know.

If this was meant to make me shocked that Ran was not just "lol shotacon Ran" and instead was actually this twisted, evil woman, you have failed magnificently.
On subject of her, though, I'm assuming you're going for the ancient fox spirit sort of legends (Cannot remember if that was Chinese or Japanese) with her? The immoral temptress sort of woman? Because as I recall, it's because of those legends that that's what it means to call some woman a "fox" in whichever language.

I think I wrote that horribly.
[ ] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.

Nuns and mystia redux? Or perhaps we see mokou... Ichirins freind is... Unzan, or... Hmm... Could be anyone


Safe from hell+ bird = Evil okuu and ally... Ichirin or other char...
[ ] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones

Green, could be sanae, especially because of Reimu's main color. Horn makes me think yuugi, but she's out... I'm thinking keine. I'm not sure about the third clue, but there is. A sevanties song that's pro 'cheating on spouse' by a similar name. Me and mrs jones.

[x ] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
There's only a handful or O colors. Likely shou, or more koishi. Could be orange. Speaking of which, were yet to see a yakumo in the main stream. As for part two, all I can say is that quartets and poles make me think of a barber shop, which has that spinny pole thing...colors.... Red, white, blue... Cutting... Sakuya had red eyes in eosd, and has worn the other two colors.

Yeah, the being british thing has bit me in the ass a few times now. Sadly it's more a case of 'going with what i know' rather than any specific attempt to be a dick with them and, frankly, some of these are a bitch to come up with at the best of times. I'll do my best to avoid being any more local when i can though.

Hell, the whole clue thing began because i didn't want to do random words / numbers / etc that a lot of other people did in a lot of other stories at the time. I at least wanted there to be a chance of telling what they'd be for, rather than blind guessing.

This current set of clues doesn't have anything british-y in it though, okay? It may, however, have terrible puns.

As to the Ran = Corruption, it wasn't particularly intended to shock anyone. A good chunk of her was always going to be based on porn manga (the whole 'X blackmails woman into sex' kind of thing) with the subversion that she was in control the whole time. She just ended up... more evil than originally planned and i'm gonna be running with that.
Yes this is me, i keep forgetting my laptop doesn't automatically fill in the name field when i come here.
Here's my guess.
[ ] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
Ichirin is kind of a nun, and I'm reminded of how you could blend in among hooded monks in Assassin's Creed. Aya-ltair, maybe? I agree that the other is Mystia, the night sparrow.

[ ] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones
The traditional complementary color for red is green; Sanae is of course "the green girl." Little Big Horn was the site of a well-known battle in American history. The Devil In Miss Jones is a porn movie from the 70s. The little sexy devil is, naturally, Koakuma.

[ ] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
The traditional complementary color for blue is orange. Orange herself is a possibility, but I'm going to go with Chen, whose name means orange in Chinese. Barber's poles are red, white, and blue in America, but in England at least some are just red and white. Reimu is also red-white.

I'm going to go with
[X] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
[X] Woman Opposite Blue, A Quartet's Pole
[x] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
[X] Woman Opposite Red, - Big Horn - In Miss Jones
Vote called:
[x] Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe, A Bird That's Not Early.
wins it by one vote at time of counting.
>- Big Horn - In Miss Jones
...Oh! Ohhhh.

I just got this one. I guessed the second half on a hunch, despite never having heard the actual, original title. The first part of it eluded me until just recently.

And here I was saying that you lean too heavily on the Brit side of things (and you do, but I did say it wasn't always).

[Little] Big Horn, The [Devil] in Miss Jones = Little Devil = Koa option
In hindsight your mother was really the last person you should have gone to for advice on how to deal with the tension between yourself and Tokiko. Normally you would have seen something like this coming but you'd been so caught up in trying to figure out what the hell to do that you hadn't realized what your mother was up to until after she had shoved and then barricaded you within the bathroom.

Along with a naked Tokiko.

Your partner had been bathing when your mother decided to enact a plan seemingly stolen from a cheesy romance manga. Actually, didn't such events in manga usually end with the girl beating several shades of hell out of the guy? Not for the first time you were forced to re-evaluate your mother's tenuous grip on sanity given she may have done this with the intent that Tokiko would physically abuse you as a response to your presence.

Tokiko, for her part, had shrieked in a way not dissimilar to the first time you had met her before ducking down under the water in the bath until only her head was visible above it. Your eyes had lingered for only a few moments before the situation had registered in your mind, then you had simply swung away to look at the nearest wall.

“Sorry,” you mumbled as Tokiko fell silent, “mom's being crazy again.” You hear splashing behind you as Tokiko shifts in the bath, probably wishing she could just vanish or something... that or she was lining up to take a swing at you. Before your visit to Aya's you were sure it would have been the former but ever since then your partner had seemed more hostile towards you for reasons you simply didn't understand. Now you considered her taking a swing at you an actual possibility rather than an impossible event. You took a deep breath as you heard the unmistakable sound of someone getting out of a bath. Mental images came unbidden into your mind of Aya in a memory of when you and she had made love in the shower, you remembered the sight of water running along the curve of her hips, across the swell of her breast and down-

You choked that thought down. That hadn't been real, just a false memory from Aya's dreamworld. But... but now the thought was in your head you couldn't help but think of such things only now the subject wasn't the Aya of your dreams but the very real girl behind you. Most of the details were made up, an imagination based on those few times you had seen her in more shapely clothing. The sound helped, so did the smell of the room - both served to make the image in your head all the more real-seeming.

It was kind of odd how you were so easily thinking of Tokiko, your partner, wet and naked. Before you didn't really think of her body but rather the way she blushed when complimented, the way her hair smelled faintly of mint, the way her hands felt so soft and warm in your own... But now all you could seem to do was wonder about how her body looked, how it would feel in your hands, how it would feel under your own body... You wondered what sort of sound she would make when you entered her, a cute squeak? A throaty groan? The Aya of your memories had done both, would Tokiko do so too - or would she make her own unique noise? How would she look? How would she feel?

You groaned and leaned forward, you head smacking painfully against the wall. It hurt but it also cut through the perverse direction your thoughts had gone in.

“Shiori.” Your head snapped up as Tokiko quietly voiced your name. From the sound of it she was just behind you and given that the dripping of water had all but ceased you guessed she had retrieved a towel from the cupboard in here.

“Tokiko?” You respond, trying to keep your tone from belaying the thoughts in your head.

There was an almost oppressive silence for several long, long moments - broken only by the sound of Tokiko moving about as she struggled with what she was about to ask.

“Shiori.... am I... am I pretty?”

You blinked. That wasn't the kind of question you were expecting at all, rather you had anticipated something along the lines of 'how did you get in' - at least that you could blame on your mother and her disturbingly prodigious lock-picking skills. Before you could comment, however, Tokiko spoke up again.

“I... I know i'm not like Aya...” she murmured, “I'm not tall like she is... a-and I know i'm not as... as developed as she is...” She faltered, but managed to continue before you could reply. “A-and i'm not as fast or as strong or as good at flying as she is... and... and I don't...”

You stood and turned in one fluid motion, reaching out to grab Tokiko by the shoulders as you did so. Thankfully your partner had indeed found a towel to wrap around herself so that she was reasonably - if somewhat scantily - covered. “You don't... what?” you ask, trying to look into her eyes even as she tries to avoid looking into yours.

“I... I don't...” She shakes in your hands. “I don't mind if you make her your girlfriend instead of me!” she yells at last, causing you to rock back in surprise at her outburst.

* * * * * * * *

“You have not the resolve to win. A third time you have proven this.”

The girl grimaced at her opponent's statement, much like the ones he'd made the first two times she had been in this position - on the floor with a mouth filled with dirt, dust and the taste of defeat.

“Ararara~ Youmu~ I really thought you did better this time!”

Having her mistress say such a thing just made the loss feel so much worse. It was obvious to anyone with eyeballs that her mistresses partner had won without even the need to put forth any real effort!

Just like he had done the first two times she had challenged him.

“Yes lady Yuyuko,” she muttered in between attempts to wipe the taste of dirt off her tongue with one sleeve. “If you say so.” Picking herself up into a seiza-style position she turned and all but groveled to the elderly-seeming man who had defeated her. “Thank you for your mercy.” she intoned, terribly aware that the only reason she wasn't in two - or more - pieces was because he had held back with his final strikes. A good amount of nearby woodland hadn't been so lucky - a neat trick given the man had done this entirely with a plain walking cane rather than an actual blade.

She sighed as the two, Yuyuko and her partner, turned to walk away.

The man paused.

“One month.” he stated loudly enough for her to hear. “I grow tired of watching you fail to learn the lesson I had hoped to teach you, in one month shall we duel again - and it will be our final duel. No further mercy will be given.” Yuyuko tittered lightly at the threat her partner made and it was all Youmu could do to keep her head down and graciously accept the man's offer.

She kept her head down until the sound of both ghost and human had faded from earshot, only then did she rise and recover the weapon she had wielded against her opponent. She also went to locate her own partner, whom she had instructed to wait some distance away so as not to interfere in her duel. She had met the young man, only a touch older than she was, while observing an open event kendo tournament which had been held as part of some kind of local school festival. He was nice, if a little too far on the gentle side to be an effective combatant, and he had happily become her partner.

She found him a reasonable distance away performing various drills with his kendo practice weapon. Without a word she strode up and joined him in the repeating motions.

“You lost again?” he asked, and she nodded once in response. “Are you...” he paused, then forged ahead in his words, “are you sure this is the right way to go about it?”

“What other way is there?” She replied. “I cannot dishonor my mistress, not can I dishonor my training.” The white-haired girl frowned for a moment. “If I cannot overcome a single human with all my training and skill, then how can I possibly overcome those that are not human?”

“Aren't you human too, miss Youmu?” the boy asked, stopping his routine for the moment.

“That does not matter.” The girl replied. “All that matters if that Lady Yuyuko has ordered me to defeat her partner if I wish to defeat her.”

The boy frowned, “Maybe...” he hazarded, “no, you know best I guess - it's your fight.”

* * * * * * * *

Leaving the bathroom was somewhat more difficult than one may normally expect, what with the fact that your mother had all but barricaded the door shut with a pile of chairs. A good kick or two had moved the door enough to squeeze out and into the hallway where you took a moment to pray thanks to whoever was responsible for your sister taking Flandre to the park earlier as she still - thank god - wasn't back yet. Tokiko, and yourself really, was too fragile at the moment to deal with your sister taking photographs for blackmail purposes against you both.

You half led, half pulled your partner to your room - kicking open the door with one foot and then slamming it shut in a similar manner when you were both inside.

Then your turned on Tokiko and....


And... maybe you should have thought this through a bit more. Words seemed to fail as you struggled to find something to say to Tokiko's earlier bombshell of a line. Eventually you could only find one word - “Why?”

“Because you were happy with her.” Your partner murmurs, her face red with a mix of anger - at herself, at you and at Aya - and embarrassment over making such a scene about it.

“I...” Words fails you once again. “You... How do you...?”

“K-Koishi showed me... when she took me out of my li- my dream.”

* * * * * * * *

The attic was cold, dusty and in places a little damp. Thankfully there had been enough crap stored up here for her and Risa to make the place relatively livable. A couple of wooden pallets filched from where a store had thrown them out had been dragged up here in the dead of night to create a makeshift floor over the beams and loose insulation that covered the attic space. That had been something of a challenge since none of the pallets were able to go in through the house itself - in the end she and Risa had, with only a little care, ripped a hole in the roof insulation and tilework to make a sort of skylight door Mystia could use. It was hardly a great work of construction - little more than a hole with a covering, but it was reasonably waterproof and more importantly was all but invisible when someone looked at the roof from outside at ground level. It was also over all the crap they had moved out of the way to make Mystia's little living space - so it wasn't like anything important would get wet if it did leak.

Besides, they'd put up a small tent atop the pallet floor for Mystia to sleep in. A few old blankets and a mass of old clothes - shirts mainly, Mystia had thrown out anything which was uncomfortable - swiped from donations to a thrift store had made a nest that was almost better than the one she had left in Gensokyo.

Early on Mystia had questioned why she needed to live up here... but the first time Risa had clambered up through the attic hatch while sporting matching black eyes... Mystia had seen the reasons behind the arrangement immediately. Since then she had stolen a first aid kit from Risa's school and stashed it up here for use whenever her partner's parents got... annoyed.

Risa had abusive parents. Or possibly they were just mean drunks - Mystia wasn't sure as she had trouble recalling a time when the two hadn't been drunk. Risa was convinced, with good reason, that if her parents found out that she was giving Mystia a place to stay... they would not be happy. Hence the secret exit built while they were too drunk to notice, hence the reason that Sunny was the most valuable addition to Mystia's hideaway since it had begun.

Okay, so convincing the fairy not to prank the people in the house had been difficult - but not impossible as neither Mystia nor Risa cared much if Sunny pranked anyone else in the neighborhood. As it turned out the fairy was pretty content to snooze away most of the time in a corner of Mystia's nest that she had claimed as her own, only emerging now and then to cause havoc on the neighbors or to follow Risa to school while invisible. A bit of testing had revealed that Sunny could naturally turn things invisible as long as they stayed close - almost right on top of her in fact - and didn't move about too quickly. Thanks to this Mystia suspected that everyone had some limited use of their ability without the need for a book-holder... she herself could dim the light with her voice if she tried, but anything more and Risa would have to cast a spell. Koishi, she knew, slipped into the subconscious to hide - she'd admitted that much when Shiori and Tokiko had introduced the girl to herself and Risa.

Given all this... It seemed strange that Tokiko couldn't do anything. The more Mystia thought about this the more puzzled she got - she'd known Tokiko for a long while, almost since the girl had first become a youkai, but now she thought about it she couldn't remember a single time in which Tokiko had shown any kind of ability off. Wriggle had her insect control, Cirno her ice and Rumia her darkness, Tokiko seemingly had... nothing. Then again it wasn't like she'd seen Daiyousei do anything much either - maybe the two of them just had abilities which weren't very flashy? The shopkeeper's power was pretty dull, wasn't it?

Mystia winced at the sound of raised voices from below.

Maybe Tokiko's power was one that could turn people kind? Something like that, right now, Mystia would have given anything to have - even if it wasn't a very impressive-looking power.

* * * * * * * *

“Tell me,” you begin saying to Tokiko, before pausing to lick your lips - which seem terribly dry for some reason. “Tell me about your dream.”

And so she did.

She told you of dates she had with the you in her dream.

She spoke of the marriage, of the ceremony, of the dress she wore and the robes you had worn. She mumbled though a brief description of the wedding night, of the time the two of you had spent together afterwards.

Her words from then on came thick and fast and it seemed as if each new thing she revealed was another knife aimed at your heartstrings. You, with Aya, had really just repeated the same few days over and over... Tokiko had seemingly lived an entire life in her dream, a life with husband - you - with children, with friends and family and about all that was missing was the pet dog and house with a white picket fence.

She told you of her pregnancy, of the first time she held her children, of their first words and first steps... It hurt, seeing the look on your partner's face when she explained how Koishi had shown up and told her the truth - that her happy family life had been just one big lie. The reason she had required help to escape, had not even thought to question the validity of the illusion on her own... was because she was living what she considered her ideal life and apparently that ideal life included you.

“I'm sorry.” You say at last, a little while after Tokiko had finished the story of her fake life.”I didn't know... I mean... “ you trail off, not really knowing what to say to your partner. “I do like you,” you say at last, “a lot. It's just that... well, Aya...” You sighed, “I don't know how I feel about her. She had me repeating the same couple of days over and over until I was head over heels for her - but.... but I don't know how much of that is real.” You shift uncomfortably as Tokiko looks up at you. “I mean, yeah, I do like Aya - I don't think i'm going to be able to just stop liking her, but I don't think I'll ever be able to trust her enough to be able to love her.”

“What about me?” your partner asks, her voice small, “Could you love me?”

“I could.” Your response was almost instant - which surprised you a little given how messed up you knew your feelings were at the moment. “I did, it's just that now everything is all confused. Every time I look at you I...” you trail off and flush red as your mind immediately flashes to a mental image of Tokiko naked and in your bed. “...I think things I shouldn't - and I don't know how much of that is because I want to and how much is because of what Aya was doing to me in my dream.”

“You mean sex.” You wince and nod at Tokiko's accusation. “Was it good?” You feel your jaw drop slightly at Tokiko's second question - a terribly bold one to be coming from your partner like that.

“It was...” You struggle for a moment. If you were truthful then sex with Aya had been the most mind-blowingly amazing thing you'd ever done. On the other hand it was the only sex you'd ever had and you were fairly sure that Aya had probably improved on the reality of the act quite significantly . “It was... everything I dreamed it would be.” you say at last, “And I don't think that's a good thing.”

Tokiko nodded slightly. “It was too good.” She admitted after a few moments of full-on blushing. “Everything was too perfect.”

“I suppose that's why it was a dream.” you state, a tiny smirk tugging at your mouth. Opposite you Tokiko blinked, then giggled lightly. “Look,” you say once you both had calmed down again, “I... I don't want...” You frown and pause, trying to think of how to say what you want to get across. “I do like you, I would say that I love you but I don't think I know what love is anymore and I don't want to make things worse between us just because i'm all messed up in the heart right now. So...” You bite your lip, then continue. “So... can we try again?” you ask, “Being friends I mean, friends and partners and maybe...”

“Maybe more in the future?”

You nod. “I'd like that.”

* * * * * * * *

“Red Oni!” the brown-haired girl screamed as she watched the great bulk of her minion bounce along the ground having been blasted away by her opponent's almost ungodly strength. Fortunately Red Oni was built pretty sturdily and was soon back on it's feet albeit somewhat unsteadily. Chewing on her lip the girl considered the strength of her enemy and the strength of her minion... and decided that the latter did not match the former. Reinforcements were needed - and for that her partner was required.

Unfortunately... he had been involved in something of an unfortunate accident earlier. Actually 'accident' was something of an understatement as she could quite honestly see no possible way for the string of events leading up to it to have happened at all. Yet somehow they had and so her partner was currently mostly naked and stuck in a tree nearby. It was his yells for help which had attracted their current opponent as she had originally come to provide assistance... up until she realized that she was about to aid a grimoire-holder and partner. And so, after a quick assurance that whoever won would get the poor young man out of the tree, both sides had begun to fight.

Ordering her Red Oni to distract her opponent, the girl backed away and then ran towards where her partner was stuck. “Mister Ryotaro!” she called once she was near enough to be heard over the sound of her minion once more tasting dirt, “The fourth spell!”

Her partner, a scrawny young man with messy black hair, nodded frantically and started fumbling through the dark pink grimoire he held. Soon he was yelling out the spell and she turned and threw her hands out at a spot just off to the left of her opponent. “Blue Oni!” she yelled, “Get out here!”

At the spot she aimed her second minion, Blue Oni, simply popped into being with a small burst of blue smoke. Like Red Oni it was a squat shaped figure a good seven feet tall, it possessed two stumpy arms and two stumpier legs which all hooked onto a bulbous body which seemed to double as a head if the great mask and face it wore was any indication. Unlike Red Oni, however, Blue Oni was smooth and both it's body and mask covered in hexagonal panels which gave it a turtle-shell look instead of Red Oni's more fearsome traditional-style snarling oni mask and leathery body. Another difference was that Red Oni carried a great broadsword which it swung with wild abandon while Blue Oni was armed with a long staff which it used to thrust at it's opponent instead... not that it did much good as their combined opponent was capable of dodging some blows and simply batting aside others.

The girl gnawed at one nail as she watched her minions slowly start to be driven back. Evidently all the rumors about the strength of the sealed magician Byakuren had been rather accurate as she was easily keeping up with her two opponents.

“The cat that runs away,” the girl murmured to herself, “gets to play another day.” nodding she decided on her course of action and ran for the tree her partner was stuck in. With a bit of luck she'd be able to get him out and find wherever his bicycle had ended up - with two wheels under them and two Oni keeping Byakuren busy there should be no trouble with their escape... provided Ryotaro's bad luck would hold off for a while.

Approaching the tree at speed the girl leapt, her fingers and toes tensing in mid air so that the claws they hid would pop out and be ready to dig into the bark. Climbing came second nature to her, a perk of being a cat, and it took moments to scramble up to where Ryotaro was wedged between two branches and clad only in a pair of star-covered boxer shorts. After considering the problem for a moment the girl climbed up above her partner and positioned herself so that she could brace one foot against the trunk and the other against the thick branch that held Ryotaro in place.

Then she pushed, yowled in surprise as the branch somehow snapped, and finally screamed as both she and her partner fell a good number of feet to the ground. Looking up she hissed at the sight of partially rotten wood where the branch had been - strong enough to trap her partner but not strong enough to resist being bent out of the way without snapping. Her partner groaned, injured but alive, and she immediately thanked whatever deities seemed intent on keeping him alive despite his terrible luck. Dragging him to his feet she glanced over at the fight and winced slightly at the sight of Red Oni flat on it's back while Blue Oni was being slapped around with impunity by Byakuren.

Praying that Blue Oni would hold Byakuren's attention for somewhat longer, she slung the arm of her partner over her shoulders and started dragging the boy away as fast as she could. Slowly, after what seemed like an eternity to her, the sounds of fighting faded away and the noise of city life drew closer. Byakuren wouldn't try anything in a crowded street, and Ryotaro was growing more conscious as they moved - it was a pity about his bike, but she was too short to ride it and he not exactly in any condition to hang on even if she could.

Even though they had run she was congratulating herself a little on the inside - her two oni summoning spells had held Byakuren back after all, and the magician was easily in the upper tier of physical fighters. Maybe if she could get herself a new spell then she'd have a shot at taking the woman down on her own!

Wouldn't that make miss Ran so proud of her?

* * * * * * * *

Being 'just friends' again with Tokiko was, in some ways, really painful. You wanted to grab her and hug her and kiss her and... in many ways the decision was the best one you'd made as you knew that a good number of those desires were not necessarily your own. Over the past few days since your mother's utterly stupid 'trap you both in the bathroom' plan - something which you had berated her for quite thoroughly - you had been able to get your mind and feelings to a point where you could tell which were or were not your own.

The fact that they were all technically yours had made that tricky, but at least now you knew which ones were a result of Aya's intervention. Speaking of the raven-haired girl, your feelings about her were still messed up and you suspected they always would be as part of you wanted to hate her for what she had done and part of you just couldn't hate her as it remembered her as the love of your life.

Well, whatever. At least you were getting a handle on the whole thing rather than remaining the mess you had been earlier. Tokiko too was doing better if her warming up to you again was any indication. School had been... iffy... more than a few had picked up on the tensions between you and Tokiko even if they didn't understand them - there had been a number of behind-the-back comments from other students but as yet no-one had actually come right out and said anything to your face. Fortunate for them really as you were more than prepared to attack anyone who dared to say to your face even a fraction of what you had heard behind your back. Risa, her dislike of you no doubt a factor, had delighted in informing you of some of the more disparaging rumors.

Before long the next weekend, and it's time away from the requirements of school, was almost upon you.

This would have been a good thing were it not for the posters.

The posters had arrived midweek and promised the amazing, unbelievable, unmissable spectacle of a live action show that was really little more than a thinly veiled advertisement for some future costumed hero show.

Needless to say your sister had declared that she couldn't possibly miss it. Unfortunately for you Flandre had agreed and you could tell that while not as corrupted as Flandre was by your sister, Tokiko also had some interest in going. The final nail in this coffin of inevitable embarrassment was when your mother admitted that since it was taking place at a shopping center she could happily drop everyone off to watch while she went shopping herself.

And that, in the end, explained why you had ended up the de facto chaperone for three girls - of which only one you considered mature enough to leave alone amongst a crowd of children, nerds and a number of long-suffering parents who were doing their own escort work. True to her word your mother had left you, your sister, Flandre and Tokiko to watch the show while she went to examine the stores on her own. She had also swore to crucify you above the roof of the house should anything happen to Flandre while under your care - so you were currently holding one of the short girl's hands in what was only slightly less than a death grip so she wouldn't wander off.

Looking over the gathered crowd you sighed.


[ ] Stand near the front for the best view of the stage area.
[ ] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.
[ ] Stand near the back, bad view but at least the kids are further away.
And now for your happy fun clue answers! Also an apology. And a terrible, terrible pun.

Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe - A terrible pun. This is Youmu because of one fact, you see you'll be safe because the things she cannot cut... ARE NEXT TO NUN.

A Bird That's Not Early - yeah this was obviously Mystia the Night Sparrow.

Woman Opposite Red - When taken with the other 'opposite' clue, one could as 'Red vs Blue?'. In this case the most commonly known red vs blue pairing is Yuuka (red) and Letty (blue). So this one is Letty since she's opposite the red Yuuka.

- Big Horn - In Miss Jones - Yeah, Little Big Horn and The Devil In Miss Jones combine to form a Little Devil Koakuma.

Woman Opposite Blue - See above, this one was Yuuka.

A Quartet's Pole - Hina. You see the common link between a Pole and a Quartet... is a Barbershop. Barbershop Quartet, Barber's pole. yeah.

And then there was Chen, who was added as my apology for not realizing that Red vs Blue could be other people until someone came up with really good reasons why they could be Chen or Sanae. So i decided to do one as an apology, flipped, and got Chen.

My bad okay?
[x] Stand near the front for the best view of the stage area.

We are not going to be the lame loser who cant entertain our charges.

>“I don't mind if you make her your girlfriend instead of me!”

Low self-esteem moe!
[x] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.

Seems the most reasonable.
Wait, I've seen this one.

Fighting breaks out and everyone thinks it's all part of the show, right?
God seeing that was painful... seeing Tokiko like that.
>Stand Beside Ichirin And Be Safe - A terrible pun. This is Youmu because of one fact, you see you'll be safe because the things she cannot cut... ARE NEXT TO NUN.
You're right. It's absolutely awful and I love it.

[x] Stand near the front for the best view of the stage area.
[X] Stand near the front for the best view of the stage area.
[X] Stand near the front for the best view of the stage area.
[x] Stand near the back, bad view but at least the kids are further away.
Keep distance. Something could come flying our way and I'm pretty sure it will if we stand next to the stage. If nothing else, at least vote for [ ] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans so it'll be easier for us to escape in case of bad shit happening.
Yeah. Damn you AD, for making Tokiko so lovable!! I was like "no, no, no" while reading that part.
[x] Stand near the back, bad view but at least the kids are further away.
[X] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.
[X] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.

Close enough to get a good look at what's going on, not far away enough that the more rabid fans in your group split off to get closer, and you'll have space to make a getaway if needed.
[X] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.

Oh wow, read all of this today... Really hoping you won't meet Ran here, Chen. And poor Aya. Poor Yuugi too. Really, some characters just got the worst luck in this game.

I wonder if I should make a list of who's out and who's left...
Okay, late calling thanks to one of my cats going missing and me basically being too worried to be productive (but he came back! in one somewhat unhappy but healthy piece! hooray!)

Anyway, technically a tie between front and side, but since someone went 'at least go to the side' after a back vote i figure i'll some down on that so
[X] Stand off to one side so as not to be surrounded by fans.
wins this.
Also, list of people currently confirmed out of the game and their defeaters - note this is all as far as you, the reader, knows rather than what Shiori knows.

Rumia - Reisen
Reisen - ???
Yuugi - Momizi
Momizi - Tokiko
Lily White - Tokiko
Eirin - ??? (Yuuka?)
Shou - Yuuka
Kisume - Parsee
Lunasa - ???

Pretty sure that's all, but bear in mind the touhou cast is... huge, so some will likely die offscreen to cut down numbers a bit.
File 129150210990.gif - (2.44KB, 50x50, DDDDD.gif) [iqdb]
>Shou - Yuuka
That was known since the first thread, you know? Back when we first checked the list of the defeated.
I know. I'm just repeating my sentiments.
The interesting thing is the hint that Yuuka could have attacked us but didn't for some reason.
Though Flandre kept trying to tug you towards a spot right in front of the stage you refused to let the girl dictate where you were going to watch the show from. Over to one side had almost as good a view and it didn't have either the horde of children or the crowd of elder, nerdier, fans to surround you. The only concession you did make to the short girl was allowing her to climb up onto your shoulders to get a better view of the stage - she was heavier than you expected but not so much that you couldn't keep her up for a while. According to one of the programs you had snagged from an attendant the show was slated to last just over an hour with an interval part-way through - probably to run a contest or deliver a sales pitch for some toys. Glancing around you sighed as you spotted your sister nearer the front of the crowd, bouncing up and down in excitement that seemed more appropriate for the children around her. Tokiko at least had stayed close, though she was eying the crowd warily as she still wasn't too confident around large groups of people. Exposure to the daily school crowds had improved her somewhat but there she tended to stick to her small group of library club friends where they wouldn't be bothered by the student body at large.

Giving your partner what you hoped was a reassuring smile you reached out to take her hand in yours, your other hand busy holding Flandre steady, and gave it a gentle squeeze. She glanced back at you and you caught her cheeks flushing red as she quickly turned away to rather over-zealously watch the stage.

She kept hold of your hand though.

For the next few minutes you idly watched the stage, a temporary thing made of a wood plank floor and a steel scaffolding which arched up and over the stage to support a few lights and a large red curtain. To either side the scaffolding continued, albeit in a less study way, where it held up some large black curtains behind which you assumed was the 'backstage' area. Every now and then the black curtains moved as people behind brushed against them and more than once you caught sight of some being pulled apart slightly so someone could take a peek at the crowd. Probably checking on their audience or something - waiting for it to be big enough maybe? Hell if you knew.

Eventually there was a squeal from those children near the very front of the crowd as, with a low hiss, pale white smoke seemed to billow out from the red curtains where it then rolled out across the stage and off the edge into the much delighted crowd. A few moments later speakers, though you couldn't see them, began to pump out a less than gentle theme tune containing all the usual costumed hero cliché lyrics. Strong, invincible, burning heart of justice, blah blah blah - you didn't really care as you were more worried about the fact Flandre was tugging on two handfuls of your hair as if they were horses reins.

It hurt dammit.

Thankfully she stopped when the curtains rose to reveal a man in a red and gold uniform, his face and head hidden by a solid mask covered in white decoration and a single green-tinted visor.

“Fire!” he yelled, dropping down into an asymmetrical stance as his arms whipped around in a great arc before snapping out into what you assumed was the 'hero's' signature pose. The crowd of children and older fans cheered in response. Flandre was no different and you were suddenly forced to pull your hand away from Tokiko's in order to grab the young girl's legs as she threw her arms up in a cheer and risked falling off of your shoulders. You sighed then smiled as you caught sight of Tokiko looking back at the pair of you with amusement. Flan was happy, Tokiko was happy, your sister was probably happy... yeah, whatever the discomfort involved you were pretty happy too - why not just sit back and enjoy the show?

* * * * * * * *

“You'll never win Insect King!” yelled Fire Rider from where his position, restrained as he was by two grasshopper-type Mushihito monsters. Opposite him, upon a vast throne, sat the bloated almost maggot-like body of the Insect King, the undisputed ruler of the Mushihito dimension.

It was rather impressive what a couple of good prop-makers could do with some giant balloons, paper mache, and a lot of thin rope. The smoke machine set inside the 'Insect King' was a nice touch too you thought. So far the production had been.... entertaining... if nothing else. There had been some talking, then a fight, then the 'defeat' of the hero and now he was shouting his defiance at what you were pretty sure was the 'big bad villain' of the tv show. Much of the stage show had just flowed past you since you weren't exactly up on who was who and what was what but it seemed that at some point your sister must have inflicted the whole series upon Flandre as she was explaining things to Tokiko now and then.

“Foolish warrior!” Boomed the 'Insect King' via the less than mystical means of hidden speakers. “You shall suffer for your constant meddling! Daughter! My Daughter! Come to my side!”

The crowd gasped almost as one being - the Insect King had a daughter? This, it seemed, was news to them all.

A spot near the back of the stage exploded into a cloud of green and black smoke - the color of the pyrotechnics that seemed to signify 'bad guy' in this show - and then there was another gasp from the crowd as a short girl stepped out of the dissipating cloud. She seemed to be of similar height and build to Tokiko... but given how hellishly skimpy her costume was you were certain that mentally she was nothing like your partner. Frankly it seemed to be a combination of torn pink swimsuit and some kind of gothic lolita dress, all topped off with a short opalescent cape. Her hair was long and faded from green at the top to a light blue near the tips - furthermore you could see what looked like two antennae poking out at the top of her head. Presumably the outfit was meant to remind someone of a butterfly or a firefly or some other 'pretty' insect rather than the less-than-pleasant ones the majority of the monsters were based on.

Evidently Tokiko was impressed, or disgusted, by the skimpy outfit as you heard her gasp loudly as the 'Insect Princess', as she was soon introduced as, appeared on stage.

“Wriggle?” She murmured, causing your head to snap around to look at your partner - and Flandre to squeal in surprise when it did so.

“You... what?” you ask as Tokiko leans forward and squints at the 'princess'.

“That's Wriggle!” She exclaims quietly, turning towards you slightly but keeping her eyes firmly locked on the girl. “Her hair is off, and I never thought she'd ever wear anything so... but that's Wriggle! I know it is!” Pulling her eyes away from the stage your partner looks at you properly. “She's a friend of mine - of Mystia's too - from Gensokyo!” Tokiko winces slightly. “More Mystia's than mine though. Wriggle, Mystia, Rumia, Cirno and Daiyousei are their own little group of friends - sometimes I would tag along with them if they didn't mind.”

“Is she likely to attack us?” You whisper back, watching as the 'Insect Princess' - Wriggle - acted like a loving daughter who loved her... well... what passed for her 'father' at any rate. A number of the children, those fooled by the low-tech props, commented loudly on how gross it was for her to hug the 'king'. From there the girl leaped off her 'father' and stalked over to where the hero was being held. You frowned. If the girl really was who Tokiko thought she was then you couldn't see how the hell she could have landed a job in a stage show unless... unless she had a partner and they were either one of the cast or one of the crew.

“I don't think so, she seems kind of busy.” You blink, then stare uncomprehendingly at Tokiko. The silver haired girl just giggles and it's only a few moments later that you get the joke and join in with a light smirk. Shaking her head your partner calms herself. “I still don't think she would, Wriggle has always been the most cautious of the group - but she's also the most powerful by far if she isn't constrained by the normal danmaku rules... I don't know how limited she would be by the grimoire system though.”

“What's the worst she could do?” You ask, “Lets start from there and just be ready for it.”

Tokiko winces. “She can kill you. Not exactly instantly, but close enough - she has absolute control over insects, most arachnids too, so she could just order a swarm of something incredibly venomous to bite you.” Pausing in thought your partner considers this for a few moments. “Might not be a problem here, your modern buildings seem very insect-free - but if she caught us outside then we would be in trouble, more so in a field or wood.”

“We'll approach her after the show then,” you decide, “It'll be safer that way - of course we'll send Flandre here off with my sister first.” Turning your attention back to the show you watch as the 'princess' orders the death of the hero only for him to suddenly burst out of his captors hands in order to beat the two monsters up through the careful application of a great many pyrotechnical effects. The crowd of kids, and your sister, cheered as the two monsters finally went down in a shower of sparks and colored smoke.

“Y-you!” The 'princess' exclaimed, taking a step back from the hero in apparent fear. “H-how dare you raise your hands against royalty!” She turned, “Father! Show this wo-”

The 'king' exploded.

“-huh?” There was a moment of silence as the actors on stage all seemed to stare at the rapidly deflating balloons that the 'king' had been made from. You on the other hand, with the budding instinct for battle that you had developed since meeting Tokiko, were already looking elsewhere. You had caught the silvery flash of the projectile that had blew apart the 'king' and were even now searching for it's source - one that should be obvious given that they had chosen to not simply snipe Wriggle with the first shot, such a decision was one that seriously implied some kind of arrogance.

And arrogant people always seemed to want to be recognized...

Which explained why the attacker was flying above the rear of the crowd where she could be seen by everyone.

God damn it. A crowd of witnesses like this, more than a good few already taking snapshots with cellphone cameras, would mean that there was going to be no way in hell this would be explained away as a terrorist action or gas explosion or something natural.

The woman, young woman at least, looked like she had just walked out of one of those maid cafe places that you had heard one or two of your classmates describe in the past. Unlike their descriptions the woman looked remarkably unlikely to be serving tea and cakes or calling you 'master' or flashing a sweet smile or anything else the staff at such places supposedly did. In fact the woman appeared more likely to serve you as a meal - after first violently murdering and butchering you. From the way Tokiko was shaking you suspected that thought wasn't too far off the mark.

“The head maid!” She squeaked, her voice pitched high in terror. “W-what's she doing here!?”

“Eh? Sakuya?” you blinked as Flandre spoke up, seemingly unworried by the airborne maid. The blond girl then proceeded to attempt your murder via heart attack as she suddenly waved both arms in the air. “Sakuya!” She yelled, trying to catch the maid's attention, “Sakuyaaaa!”

The maid looked down at the girl's shouts - thus completely removing whatever element of surprise you may have possessed. You shuddered slightly at the almost horrific coldness her gaze seemed to carry with it, not that Flandre noticed as she was gleefully calling out still.

Up until the maid shot her anyway.

Almost shot her at least - the moment you had seen the maid, Sakuya, move in what you sensed was a hostile manner you had dropped like a rock and Flandre had dropped with you. As it was the projectile the maid had fired barely grazed the few strands of Flandre's hair that hadn't descended as fast as the rest of her had done. As you hit the ground you glanced back at where the projectile did hit and caught sight of what looked like an overly-polished knife embedded a good inch or two in the floor of the mall - a floor made of ornamental granite slabs. Landing atop you Flandre gave out a squawk that was a mixture of indignation at being dropped and confusion at being shot at by someone she seemingly thought of as an ally. Unfortunately the noise she made seemed to act like a catalyst which set damn near everyone else in the crowd off screaming and panicking over the fact that the flying woman was both flying and throwing knives at people.

One benefit of the sudden panic and rush of people was that you, Tokiko and Flandre were almost instantly concealed by the rushing crowds. The downsides of this were twofold though, firstly the fact that she couldn't see you didn't seem to stop the woman from firing at the stage where Tokiko's friend was, and secondly the massed crowd was threatening to simply crush you and Flandre underfoot. Thankfully Tokiko had moved to stand, or at least crouch, over you and frail as she appeared her youkai strength was more than enough to shove away anyone who threatened to trample over either you or Flandre. With Tokiko's protection you were able to scramble to your feet and haul the blond girl up alongside you. A quick glance up showed that the maid, Sakuya, was still focused on the stage - where she was experiencing some return fire as evidently Wriggle had her own partner nearby.

Good. The longer she was paying attention to someone else the better... the fact that a number of stray shots from both sides were landing in the crowd of people was, however, something more of a worrying issue. Especially since somewhere in the crowd was your sister - and right now you couldn't see her over the mass of people rushing in to grab children or rushing away from the fight.

[ ] Shoot her down with the element of surprise!
[ ] Fight through the crowd to find your sister!
[ ] Evacuate with the crowd and regroup elsewhere!
[ ] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!

Hotblooded, Warmblooded, Coolblooded, Coldblooded.

Okay, this'll be the last post in this thread - after voting the next one'll be in a new thread.
[x] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!
[x] Warmblooded
[x] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!
[x] Warmblooded

Well, look like Sakuya may be another who use the game to do something she normally wouldn't it seems.

Anyway, if we could get Wriggle as an ally, that would be awesome, especially for the coming operation. Koishi's good, but I'm pretty sure there must be some magical traps inside or at least something for detection. But what about insect recon?
[x] Shoot her down with the element of surprise!
[x] Coldblooded

This fight is out of our league. Revealing our location will be instant death, since she can simply timestop and get her bearings. The only chance of victory is teaming up with Wriggle, or getting the drop on her. I would vote for the Wriggle option, but that would simply reveal our location, and make us easy targets.

Coldblooded because she instantly tried to murder defenseless Flandre; she must die for this transgression.
I would have used that too... But we haven't been good at taking down foes with bullets with the exception of Lily so far. After the attack, Sakuya will start attacking us too. How do you think the misfire will result in since we're in the crowd?

And Wriggle may start attacking us too if she's not sure of us. Or she may use this chance to retreat and it will be just us against Sakuya.
That's the beauty of a sneak attack. You are supposed to take them down quickly, and quietly. If all goes according to plan, she won't retaliate cause she'll be dead.

Wriggle is outclassed, and she cannot run because Sakuya can stop time and just chase her down. She's in an unfair advantage, being in a crowded human building with no bugs around, and she is up against a strong opponent. If she sees someone she knows attacking that enemy, she will join us for sure. Anything else would be stupidity.

As for casualties, I don't know. Sakuya is wantonly attacking people in the open, and flying. I think any chance of playing out the game covertly is gone when this hits the papers tomorrow.
[x] Shoot her down with the element of surprise!
[x] Coldblooded
[ ] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!

The power of myth.
[x] Fight through the crowd to find your sister!
[x] Shoot her down with the element of surprise!


Find sister, send Flan out with her, then look for an opportunity to either blindside Sakuya or get into melee range for Zai Bassha and either squash her in melee or distract her enough for Wriggle to get a good shot in. Tokiko being a relative unknown should also help get you into position, as she'll likely be thinking Flandre's the one to keep an eye on(Which means you need to get the two of them out without getting noticed, lest Sakuya mistake Akira for Flan's partner and make another snipe attempt).

As for the actual fighting, Sakuya's far enough along to unlock flight, but you're indoors so that should take the edge off of it. As for Timestop... I get this odd feeling that she might *not* have access to it. She doesn't seem to be particularly worried about Flan popping up and one-shotting her with her own innate, which leads me to think that either her own is currently off limits and she's assuming the same of Flan, or that there's something else going on that we're not aware of*. Strong innates like Timestop may very well be sealed until enough cards have been unlocked.

*Mental Note: Flip through the back of the book again once you have some time and see if you can scrape up any more info from it, also ask Tokiko about the significance of the third line in each entry (Something Special/Precious/ect.)
[x] Shoot her down with the element of surprise!
Always keep a cool head. Cool not cold.
I wonder how this is going to play out

Great job AD! You sure do know how to keep your readers on the edge of their seats.
Or Wriggle assume this becomes a three-way fight and we're simply attacking the most dangerous target first.

And while Sakuya may not care, I'm pretty sure our guy care.
Our enemy's enemy is our ally. We can work things out with Wriggle later. Assuming we didn't attack her during the show while Sakuya did, she could also come to the conclusion, that we don't really have a desire to fight her right now.
Hmmm... Well, I suppose that could be right. As for teh papers, wanna bet they will say the maid was a fake and it was a distraction for terrorists to act?

Something else bothers me: why the heck are we always the only one not hiding when there's a fight going on? Momiji's partner never went in the open. Sakuya'S partner is sure as hell not going out, Wriggle's partner is also hidden. Kanako's and Iku's partners stayed the hell away from the fight... Meiling's partner showed up, but still... Are we a masochist or something?

Anyway, the problem I have with the surprise attack is that it may not take her down.

Hmmm... Can't we send Tokiko to fight as we look for our sister? There's a good chance Sakuya will knife us if she spot us again. She sure as hell had no problem attacking with so many people around.
Sending in a weak youkai girl. With no spells and/or abilities. Against a time stopping knife throwing cold hearted bitch. While we try to spot our sister in a stampede.
Yeeaaa maybe not. I know what you mean by "surprise attack not take her down" and it's probably not going to go exactly as planned, but we should stick to just one option anyway. Trying to do many things at once usually results in failing all or at least most of them. We should dedicate ourselves to one option and stick with it.
I never said to never watch out for her. As for time stop... wouldn't we be already dead if Sakuya had free use of that power?

As for weak, it's been said time and time again that all girls were more or less equalized in terms of power. Hell, it's not like Wriggle is in immediate trouble right now.
Yes yes but my point is, that we should not send her in on her own just like that. She can't cast spells on her own and doesn't have any abilities. That's not very equal even in terms of this game.
Well, we don't know whether she can use it. She probably can as a spell for a short duration... I guess
[x] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!
[x] Warmblooded

Frankly, I cannot see a sneak attack working out in our favor. With that said I choose the safety in numbers option and leave the rest to optimism.
[x] Get to the stage and try to team up with Wriggle!
[x] Warmblooded

Lets do this! UNITE!
[r] team up with wriggle.

We need as many 1 ups as possible. That, and sakuya already noted the dessert- er... Flan... On your shoulders.
Wriggle is the target, and sakuya needs to learn a lesson, now.
You know, I wondered why whoever Sakuya's partner is would let her fight in a place with so many people.

Then I got the odd idea that it may be an angry otaku who decided that Wriggle was ruining the show and after being informed by Sakuya that she was in the game, asked her to take out Wriggle at once.

Considering that Sakuya is still in her uniform instead of normal clothes in public after so long, I'm wondering if I'm a bit close to the truth.

And maybe Sakuya attacked Flandre because she wanted her to take her out after deciding the game wasn't worth enduring the partner she got.
Or maybe Sakuya is just a cold, arrogant bitch who could care less about the consequences of her actions, and simply wishes to win the game? I think this is far more likely than some random otaku theory, or some sort of death wish on her part.

We know nothing about her besides her name and position, so speculating on possible motives is worth than useless. She's clearly an unrepentant enemy, and she's trying to kill us and ours. Let's just kill her and be done with it.
Well, I just threw this as a joke. Of course I know it's more serious than what I suggested.
All called for going to try teaming up with Wriggle.
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