We all know how the stories go. Someone gets lucky, stumbles upon the border to Gensokyo, penetrates it, and proceeds to romance its denizens. Each time the story proceeds under a pretense: You are special, you are unique, and perhaps you are even the first one in.
Stories are fiction.
The records place the number of former outsiders who entered during the last two years at 1125, not counting outsiders who perished before documentation. True, there are only a few living outsiders active in Gensokyo as of your knowledge, but that is not a good sign.
The causality rate is so high that the villagers have given up properly burying the corpses, and began leaving them out for the animals and feral youkai to feast on at their leisure.
Not like they don’t deserve it.
Some of the records of death in Akyu’s house contain annotations, for when the reason is more interesting than just “fell off cliff”, “eaten”, or “poisoned in the Forest of Magic”.
#1124, committed suicide after love confession rejected by Hakurei shrine maiden.
#1106, brutally dismembered after attempted molestation of Netherworld gardener during shrine festival.
#1096, failed miserably when channeling chakra arts against youkai.
#1078, believed self to be cyborg spy from future, accidentally killed by gatekeeper when sneaking in to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
You are number 1126, can you do better? =====================================================
Time: 10:00 AM Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Somewhere near the Hakurei Shrine Threat Level: 1
The blinding light of the summer sun beats on you as you stand up from the shadow of the shrine.
Looks like you made it. You give yourself a small pat on the back for getting this far. Burying yourself in archives of obscure eastern thaumaturgy and records of old religious sites for the past year has allowed you to triangulate the location of the outside world Hakurei Shrine, now just a few crumbled flagstones on what once was a foundation, and perform the necessary breaching rituals to get through the Border. The ritual also caused you to be tossed bodily through the magical breach rather than allowing you to walk through with dignity but hey, nothing is perfect.
You check your cellphone. No signal, just as Akyu’s book described. It doesn’t matter, you are in Gensokyo! The grass is green, the air is clean, and hopefully the people are friendly.
Well the air does sort of smell like smoke. Not just tobacco smoke either, but smoke from a burning building. Come to think of it, the sky to the west does look dark.
Holy crap, something is on fire. Even though the trees around you prevent a direct view, from the distance you deduce that it is probably the shrine. The loud, shrieking yell of a panicked girl confirms that hypothesis.
[ ] Rush to their aid! Get in their good favor by being a hero! [ ] Approach cautiously; you don’t want to run head-on into whatever the hell caused the fire. [ ] Go in the opposite direction. The more you avoid danger, the better.
On a completely unrelated note, you are about 20 years old. You do have a career in mind, right?
[ ] Joined the army, went through boot camp and all that. I’ve just ended my first tour of duty, which was relatively uneventful. [ ] Got accepted into a school with a nice biomedical program. They teach the abstract concepts and what not, but also did hands-on training with more low-level skills such as bandaging. [ ] Went with my love for nature and chose to focus on an ecology major. I spent my last one and a half years doing independent study in South America, tagging animals and such. [ ] Got into engineering, specifically… -[ ] Communications and Computers. It is the career with the most potential in the modern job market after all. -[ ] Mechanical Engineering, I love to tinker with things, and would relish the opportunity to find out the workings of larger objects.
First story, that one mantis thing not counting. Thought I'd try something I thought of while playing STALKER, as in the part where the game doesn't care whether you play it or not, the plot goes on. And the part where realism bites you in the rear.
[x] Approach cautiously; you don’t want to run head-on into whatever the hell caused the fire. [x] Got accepted into a school with a nice biomedical program. They teach the abstract concepts and what not, but also did hands-on training with more low-level skills such as bandaging.
Vote called. Meanwhile, [ ] Your identity would be concealed. You don't want to tie your family or friends into what happens in Gensokyo. [ ] Wear your identity loud and proud! Being anonymous would only reduce your chances of survival.
From Perfect Memento in Strictest Sense: Gensokyo Only Edition:
Due to the proliferation of Gensokyo-related media in the Outside World in recent years, there has been a larger than normal influx of special outsiders crossing the border intentionally.
These are known as "informed outsiders" due to their possession of information about Gensokyo's nature, and thus have a higher chance of survival than an uninformed one (*2).
Some of these outsiders breach the border out of curiosity or a desire for knowledge, and generally behave as a common tourist. They converse with locals, try out rudimentary magic, and trek the accessible parts of the land. These outsiders are generally considered to be a boon, as they are more prone to importing Outside World items and settling down.
Most however, are not so benign.
An informed outsider usually has a goal or develops a goal soon after breaching a border.
While the goals may be as unoffensive as access to books lost in the Outside World or painting the landscape, more often than not the goals are either highly unrealistic or involve some sort of harm to a Gensokyo resident.
Typically, such a goal involves romance with one of the residents depicted in Outside World media, an improbable ploy to obtain magical powers, or something else too unsavory to be discussed at length.
These outsiders tend to end up dead, through various circumstances after a short while(*3). To date, 658 informed outsiders have perished within the Hakurei Border, and the number is expected to increase as long as Gensokyo-related media is circulated Outside.
It is advisable to not interact too closely with these outsiders, as the consequences of their mistakes and conduct may quite well extend to their acquaintances without obvious reason.
Only when an outsider is confirmed to be settling down or pursuing a stable and sane long-term objective should they be considered safe to associate with.
When an outsider leaves through the Hakurei Shrine, they are typically stripped of all memories pertaining to their experience in Gensokyo by the shrine maiden.
Those who receive special allowance to retain their memories are forced to perform an oath of secrecy.
As of now, there have been no outsider that has broken the oath.
However, statements made by the Yakumo household confirm that information on penetrating the border is readily available in the Outside World (*4). Whether or not this would affect Gensokyo has yet to discovered.
[x] Approach cautiously; you don’t want to run head-on into whatever the hell caused the fire. [x] Got accepted into a school with a nice biomedical program. They teach the abstract concepts and what not, but also did hands-on training with more low-level skills such as bandaging.
Time: 10:03 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: In front of the Hakurei Shrine Threat Level: 1
In spite of your complete inexperience in navigating through uncharted woodland, coupled with the challenge of remaining cautious, you manage to find the shrine without much incident or delay.
The fact that it is currently consumed with flame makes locating it even easier.
You emerge about one hundred meters away from the building. From here, you see a girl, clothed in red and white, run back and forth, in and out of the burning shrine, carrying various objects to a large pile. You decide that that is probably Reimu, for obvious reasons.
She seems to have given up on putting out the fire, evidenced by the discarded buckets lying around and is now just trying to salvage as much as possible out of the doomed building. Why bother fighting the fire in the first place? You think, the damn place has been destroyed four or five times before already. Given its composition of paper and wood, it's no small wonder that it hasn't had a fire until now.
Or maybe the powers that be decided those incidents simply were not worthwhile to inform the Outside.
Oh yeah, by the way, you have an inventory. You aren't dumb enough to walk into a potentially hostile land without proper supplies.
Inventory: One large camping backpack, containing - 3 meals worth of rations, consisting of stuffed biscuits and bananas - A full plastic water skin - Copies of Perfect Memento in Strictest Sense and Symposium of Post-Mysticism - Complete first aid kit, in a canvas pack - Chemical analyzing kit - Laboratory-grade gas mask - Small laptop of obscure brand - 3 spare magazines of .45 caliber pistol ammunition. - 100,000 yen worth of Meiji-era currency - A compass On your person: - Cellphone (no signal) - Utility knife - An ordinary cigarette lighter - Notepad with attached pen. - Loaded Colt M1911 pistol, obtained during your brief tenure in the reserves after a night with a very drunk CO. Dress: - Thin woolen coat, T-shirt, jeans, hiking boots, and undergarments. Standard Outside World hiking wear.
As you get closer to the shrine building, you notice that she has stopped carrying things out of the building and is rolling around on the ground while screaming. A more careful glance tells you that the reason is because she is on fire.
SHE IS ON FIRE.
The doctor part of your brain, as undeveloped as it is compared to the more shady parts, still convinces you to run forward and help the burning miko.
Not forgetting the rules of consent, you yell out, "Hey you! Do you need help?" as you remove your jacket to use as a fire blanket.
She stops rolling for a moment to yell back, "YES, I REALLY WOULD."
Acting on your experience dealing with phosphorus spills, you slide your jacket off and proceed to cover the girl up with it, while patting down the parts not covered by the makeshift fire blanket.
When the last ember of flame is put out. You let go of her. The girl appears a bit dazed after the ordeal, but show no signs of medical shock or even second-degree burns.
You also wonder if she's seen an outsider before.
"Oh, you're an outsider." she says before you finished the thought, "Thanks for helping me, I would tell you more after I retrieve the rest of my belongings from..."
A sudden, loud crash happens. The roof of the shrine has crashed in on the burned out supports, releasing a large cloud of ash into the air which causes you to cough.
She sighs a bit, looks at the burning wreckage, and then back to you. "Well, no way to save it now. So yeah. My name is Hakurei Reimu, shrine maiden of paradise. You seem well prepared, so I assume you are at least know where you are, what I do, and who the important people are here."
"Of course," You say while dusting yourself off, "Why else would I attempt to breach a border on purpose?"
"Well, people sometimes get shunt over randomly too." She saunters over to the pile of objects recovered from the fire. You notice how her behavior is devoid of the usual Japanese formalities, and her tone is not the tone people in this country use to talk to strangers. Even you, as a foreigner, noticed it.
"But most of the time these days, they do it on purpose, like you." Reimu pulls out a large stack of pamphlets, and leafs through them before picking two out, one thicker than the other, and handing them over. "Here, these are the things Yukari decided that I should start distributing to all ousiders that breach near my shrine. You're lucky these didn't get damaged in the fire."
You accept them graciously. The thinner pamphlet is labeled "Geography of Gensokyo" while the thicker one is labeled, "Guide to Gensokyo, third edition".
"Yeah, she updated the writing two times to deal with the changing demography of outsiders."
Your curiosity is piqued, "And Ms. Yakumo is in charge of these things because ...?"
"Who else?" she has now resumed digging into the pile, "Only she and I actually know how the Hakurei Border functions anymore. Sure, there are some beings stronger than her in raw strength or magical capabilities, but she's the one who maintains the Border which allows Gensokyo to persist." She pulls out an ofuda, "Well, at least indirectly. Ran actually does most of the hands-on work."
"Huh." you reply, not being able to think of a better response.
"Anyway, since you helped extinguish me, I am going to give you one more thing. Are you carrying a projectile weapon?"
"Does this count?" You remove your pistol from its holster and show it to her.
"Nice, one of those small firearms that some outsiders think makes them gods of war." Reimu smirks as she took it and placed the ofuda on, "After this, at least you can challenge them under the pellcard rules."
She recites a small incantation, and the ofuda glows brightly for about one second, and than disappears, leaving behind its inscriptions on the receiver of your pistol.
"Here", Reimu says as she hands the gun back to you, "I engraved a simple spellcard on there as well as a magic discharger. The spellcard doesn't do anything, it just lets you defend yourself under those rules. The magic discharger converts the weapon into a crude, oh what is that word, blaster. It fires the simplest form of danmaku, a small glob of energy, which should be easy enough for you to handle."
You take the pistol and look at the carved symbols. "So, how do I activate this?"
"Just place your finger over it and say, 'Activate Border of Spellcard', in Japanese of course, and it will turn on the discharger. If anybody challenges you to a spellcard duel, then it will also activate automatically."
You do so. The inscription glows faintly as you say the last word, and you feel a field, similar to the magnetic field from the large electromagnet in the university lab, surround you.
"Go ahead." Reimu says, "Pull the trigger."
A large white orb is released from the barrel of your gun as you squeeze the trigger. It isn't a perfect orb, in fact, it looks like a hurriedly put together snowball. The bullet flies straight at the speed of a highway vehicle before disappearing in a loud crack upon collision with a tree.
You feel something drain from inside of you. A tiny bit, but still sensible.
"Thank you, Ms. Hakurei" you say, with a slight bow, "It is very kind of you to aid me so much."
She returns the bow, and goes back to the building, now just a smoldering ruin. "Goodbye," she calls, "To be honest, I'm just glad you behave like a decent person."
Well, it's time to move on. The village is a 30 minute hike away, and getting to some proper shade before the summer sun kicks in at noon is a pretty appealing goal.
Would you like to do something before you leave?
[ ] Donate. [ ] Check the shrine ruins, there's something fishy about the smell of the smoke. [ ] Ask Reimu if she needs any help rebuilding the shrine in the future. [ ] Ask Reimu where Suika is. [ ] Ask Reimu about other outsiders
And what would you do on the trail?
[ ] Enjoy the scenery. [ ] Read the "Guide to Gensokyo". [ ] Practice danmaku on the trees.
Check Inventory? (Y/N)
Other stuff: [ ]The author is a lazy bastard and should update faster. [ ]The author should (also)find a proofreader.
[x] Ask Reimu if she needs any help rebuilding the shrine in the future. Check Inventory? No [X] Point out something smelled off about the fire's smoke to Reimu but don't rummage through the ruins, it's not exactly safe and she might assume we are trying to loot it. [x] Read the "Guide to Gensokyo". [x] The author is a lazy bastard and should update faster.
and I hope you don't mind write ins. If you don't i'll just go with the above guy's choice instead.
[x] Donate. [x] Ask Reimu if she needs any help rebuilding the shrine in the future. Check Inventory? No [x] Point out something smelled off about the fire's smoke to Reimu but don't rummage through the ruins, it's not exactly safe and she might assume we are trying to loot it. [x] Read the "Guide to Gensokyo". [x] The author is a lazy bastard and should update faster.
[x] Check the shrine ruins, after asking for permission of course. [x] Donate [x] Read the Guide while walking down the trail.
"One last thing," you say to Reimu, "May I have a look at the building? I'm curious as to how the fire started."
"It's fine, though you'll probably not find anything with that little amount remaining. Besides," she says this with a rather resigned tone, "it was probably started by magic anyway."
The smoldering shrine just looks like a number of other burned wreckages you've seen, with the crumbled wooden beams, charred indiscernible objects, and what not. It even smells like those burned locations, a bit too much like those burned locations.
"Looks like I'll have to sleep in the warehouse today. Genji's pond is going to need refilling, oh why is it that everything bad happens to me?"
Something clicks in the back of your head as you sniff the ashes. The scent is very familiar. You close your eyes for a bit. The smell, it also smells like the street in front of your apartment. Come to think of it, it smells like a lot of other streets you've been on, as well as other burned houses that had suspiciously recent insurance policies.
Gasoline, the burned shrine smells like gasoline.
But the scientist in you, which is a bit larger than the doctor part, tells you to confirm the hypothesis before stating to anyone. It would be quite embarrassing if you turned out to be wrong. Besides, where in the world can one obtain gasoline in Gensokyo anyway?
You pick up a chunk of blackened wood and stuff it in your pack. You'll run some tests on it later when you get a room somewhere, just to make sure.
Seeing that Reimu is occupied with sifting through the pile of recovered objects, you quietly remove 10,000 yen from your wallet, and carefully slide the bills under the lid on the slightly charred donation box. You were going to do that anyway, but considering the circumstances, you put in double of what you were planning to.
After making sure you had everything, you set off on the dirt path toward the Human Village.
=========================================== Time: 10:18 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Trail to the Hakurei Shrine Threat Level: 3
You busy yourself reading the "Guide to Gensokyo" while hiking down to the Human Village. Well, hiking may be stretching it a bit. The dirt path, while unpaved, is fairly smooth and devoid of large rocks or potholes. The scenery is fine to look at, but mostly you sweep glances every once in a while to check for dangers. Strangely, no one, not even a single fairy, came out to disturb your walk. Akyu said that not many people frequent the shrine due to the trail being unsafe, but literally nothing came out, not even animals. There is only eerie silence on the path, punctured occasionally by the summer wind blowing through the leaves.
The Guide to Gensokyo reads much like those travel books that one picks up in those tourist offices. It is full of brightly colored photographs, each with a description of its attractions and why one should go there. Oddly, some places which you are sure are inaccessible to outsiders, such as the Garden of the Sun and the Netherworld, are included within. What is different, though is its rather expanded rules section. While other travel books contain information like "Don't drink the faucet water" or "Don't touch the wild animals" in a single page, this one had about 10 pages filled with them, ranging from relatively obviously ones such as "Don't go out at night" to the more obscure "Cover your ears when you hear a song in the forest" to ones completely esoteric even for a fan "Never scream out any synonym for a large body of water in a loud volume." In fact, the pamphlet's thickness is mostly made up by these rules.
You read them carefully, and by the time you finished, the trees around the trail have given away to reveal the top of a hill. You can see that the shrine rests on the gentle slopes of a shallow river valley, which was not obvious when you were in the woods.
Below lies the Human Village.
Well, its not really a village, it's more of a rural city. The place is at least one and a half kilometers long, and that's just counting the closely packed buildings. There are farmhouses and granaries which dot the farmland throughout the valley.
On the east side of the valley, the slope rises to the north until it becomes a chain of small, forest covered mountains, of which looms a single large peak, its summit invisible behind the clouds which currently cover that part of the sky.
It looks quite far away, about half a day's worth of hiking.
You decide to take a break and sit on the grass. Gensokyo sure is nice to look at. The sky is as blue as a swimming pool, and white clouds are drifting in the sky, quite unlike the gray skies you are used to in your city. The land just radiates a feeling of purity, as if by just breathing in its air you can purge yourself of the pollution and contamination of the Outside.
Even the rocks are nice here, the one you are leaning against is warm, smooth, possesses a pleasant silvery tone, and vibrating.
You look behind the rock, only to find what seems like an exhaust pipe on top of riveted steel plates. Looking up, you stare directly into the cannon of a tank.
It seems like an old tank, straight out of World War II. You, however, didn't care to notice anymore features, and quickly scrambled out of the gun's way, only for the turret to turn and again align the gun with your cowering form.
"Don't shoot!" You scream, "What did I do?!"
There is no response, the tank simply sits there, pointing its cannon at you.
Whoever drives the tank must have lost interest in you, for it turns around and coasts down the valley toward what your map says is the outskirts of the Forest of Magic, at a surprisingly fast speed given its size. Strangely, you can observe no exhaust coming out of the port, and the vehicle moves far too quietly for something which is made of 100 tons of steel, especially considering that you were sure the tank wasn't there when you just came out of the forest. In fact, it doesn't seem to be making any sounds at all.
It also doesn't look like any of the tanks you've seen before in war movies. A small black cross you observe on its flank as it turned indicates German origin, but there is no other clue of where it came from or how it got into Gensokyo.
You think about for a little while more, and then decide it is probably some kappa creation after seeing imported movies or playing some FPS game. Kappa are shy, so they wouldn't answer when you screamed at them.
But then, why would they drive so close to you?
Still pondering the question, you get up, dust yourself off, and proceed down the trail.
Time: 10:40 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Village Outskirts Threat Level: 2
The trail gradually gets better maintained as you get closer to the village. Somewhere along, the dirt gives way to stone setts, making it much easier to walk.
You see people now too. Farmers, going about planting their crops and weeding their fields. You try greeting some of them them, but all they do is stare at you for a moment and then go back to their business. Deciding it's impolite to ask any further, you shrug it off and proceed.
This side of the village is fairly quiet, probably because the more popular trails, such as those leading to Youkai Mountain and the Forest of Magic are on the other side. A wooden watchtower overlooks the road here, staffed by a sharp-looking guard. He notices you about 50 meters away from the tower, gestures for you to stop, and climbs down the ladder.
"Outsider?" He asks, appraising your clothes and stance.
"Yep, just got in a few hours ago. Used a breaching ritual"
"So, you know all about where you are, who is who, and whatnot, am I right?"
The guard looks just like any other middle-aged villager, except he was wearing what appears to be an iron chest plate and a leather-reinforced conical hat. You notice how his weapon appears to be a breech-loading rifle, the kind one would except to see in the hand of a Civil War reenactor.
He notices your gaze. "Yes, we do have firearms. What did you expect? Bows? Well, they are sufficient most of the time, but not times like these."
"Times like these?" Your curiosity is piqued, "Did something bad happen? Like a youkai attack? Or ..."
"Well, actually it's people like you," He gives a condemning stare, "Some of you come in thinking that we are some sort of uncivilized savages and attempt to take over the Human Village with force. Luckily, no one has died yet except for the aggressors, who usually perish in a gruesome manner."
You suddenly have a mental image of some pasty teenager shooting up the village with a submachine gun, and then getting impaled on the horns of a very angry school teacher.
"Hence, the current security measures. As in, I need to check you in."
The guard pulls out a notebook and fountain pen from his shirt pocket, looks for an empty line, and begins writing.
He looks up from the notebook, "You trying to be clever here? I can understand Chinese just fine."
You grin sheepishly and reply, "Just put it down."
"Remaining anonymous, huh, good idea. Intent?"
"I don't know, right now I'm intent on getting some shelter in the village and getting some idea as to what's currently going on here."
"See the sights, talk with people, err, beings, get out by the end of summer."
He finishes writing the lines down. "Well, you seem sane, so I'll let you in. Just make sure to behave yourself. Wu Ming"
"I will, thanks." You answer back as you walk past the tower and into what you presume is the village proper.
You have successfully reached the village, Next objectives?
[ ] Find inn. - [ ] Obtain alcohol - [ ] Obtain room [ ] Find a shop, obtain supplies. [ ] Find named characters [ ] Wander around, see if you can find something to do. [ ] Analyse the chunk of wood [ ] Find out more about the tank
These are not mutually exclusive; the ones with more votes simply would be done before those with less.
One large camping backpack, containing - 3 meals worth of rations, consisting of stuffed biscuits and bananas - A full plastic water skin - Copies of Perfect Memento in Strictest Sense and Symposium of Post-Mysticism - Complete first aid kit, in a canvas pack - Chemical analyzing kit - Laboratory-grade gas mask - Small laptop of obscure brand - 3 spare magazines of .45 caliber pistol ammunition. - 100,000 yen worth of Meiji-era currency - A compass - Map of Gensokyo - Pamphlet titled "Guide to Gensokyo" - Chunk of blackened wood On your person: - Cellphone (no signal) - Utility knife - An ordinary cigarette lighter - Notepad with attached pen. - Fully loaded Colt M1911 pistol (Danmaku capable) Dress: - Thin woolen coat, T-shirt, jeans, hiking boots, and undergarments. Standard Outside World hiking wear.
[x] Find inn. - [x] Obtain room [x] Analyse the chunk of wood [x] If gas or some other chemical agent was indeed used to burn down the shrine see if we can't get in contact with Kotohime. If she exists in this Gensokyo she's the closest thing we are know of to police in Gensokyo. Always wanted to be forensic scientist anyways.
>>28258 depends on your definition? The true definition? Not at all. It'd have humans and their traits shining and overcoming their flaws and making the non-humans take notice. The perfect example would be Marisa: Perfectly human, no special bloodline but able to hold her own in Gensokyo though hardwork, guts, and a willingness to eat weird mushrooms/"borrow" anything.
The definition these self-righteous biggots are touting? It amounts to a pathetic excuse to have a youkai slaughter. I can't imagine what sort of deficiency they're trying to make up for with this, but I do hope they find a better way of dealing with it. Byakuren would certainly be put on the list for "supporting monsters". Not sure about Patchouli or Alice, but I'm sure they'd be after the other youkai on their list. Same goes for celestials as they're taking up land that could be better served towards humans (the sort of logic They use)
On the subject of PC-98, I'm surprised as they have far more room for doing what you want than windows characters (as many don't have much of characterization at all). I understand that it's your first story and would rather save page time for modern characters.
>>28258 >Just a question, would HFY include the slaughter of beings such as magicians, hermits, celestials, and monks? It's relevant.
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No, since they don't eat or attack humans.
What I want is that we make an alliance with them. Magicians shouldn't be a problem as long as we don't bother their study. Hermits are often hunted by youkai for their delicacy so I assume they'll want to join us. Celestials are poisonous to youkai so they could be our friend.
And monks? There's only one monk in Touhou now and she's neutral at best and an enemy at worst.
But of course, if you're talking about the usual Buddhist monks who exorcise youkai regularly, then they can be our friend.
>>28260 >The true definition? Not at all. It'd have humans and their traits shining and overcoming their flaws and making the non-humans take notice. The perfect example would be Marisa: Perfectly human, no special bloodline but able to hold her own in Gensokyo though hardwork, guts, and a willingness to eat weird mushrooms/"borrow" anything.
Marisa ain't a shining example of HFY because she cares jack shit about the other humans living in Gensokyo. Says so on SoPM.
I hope you hold firm author as it is boring to see anotherMC trying to go about acting superior and thinks he knows best.
The term "pro-human" and acts that people even vote for them to occur just reminds me too much of a failure of a painter who commited genocide in the idea of racial superiority and survival of the fittest.
"Pro-human" in a world which is suppose to be a shelter for youkais whom cannot survive? It is like calling for a pro-minority race movement in a country.
The minority will do everything they can to overthrow the current rules, including going on a genocide while using the excuse of improving their status.
The people in Gensokyo are pretty much resigned to their fate and it is mostly the outsiders that want to steer up trouble. Why it is that people want to actively promote genocide of one spieces instead of accepting the status quo? It just reminds me a little too much of that guy whom promoted Aryan supremacy.
>>28265 >>28266 Congratulations. Not only I don't want to read this story any more thanks to you, but I'm also going be on the pro-human side just to piss you guys off. That'll teach you to be stupid, you bunch of twerp.
There will always be people whom want to go extream either in killing youkai and humans. I think the best is that you emphasis on the point that people will be fine as long as they follow the common sense rule in Gensoukyo and stick to it for survival.
Oh, I screwed up the inventory last time. You have 90000 yen after the donation, not 100,000.
[x] Find inn. - [x] Obtain room. [x] Analyse the chunk of wood. [x] Wander around village, see if you can find anything helpful. - [x] Ask around about the tank. - Go check out the village shops. - Go see if any named characters are around. ============================
Guide to Gensokyo, Rule 2: Gensokyo is a matriarchy as much as the Outside World is a patriarchy.
Time: 10:45 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Human Village Main Street, West Threat Level: 0
With a plan formed in your mind, you begin walking, looking for the distinctive banner with the "酒" symbol that marked a tavern/inn. The village is bisected lengthwise by a river which runs from the range of mountains. Off to the west, the main street of the village lies parallel to the river, and is currently filled with people carrying produce, crafts, and other goods hurrying to a large open market on the east side. Just like the farmers outside the village, they pretended you did not exist save to mutter a quiet "Excuse me" when one accidentally bumps into you.
You find one, a two story wooden structure rendered with bright colors and twin stone lions, the latter indicates that the proprietor is probably Chinese.
You stop to look at the place more thoroughly. Glass windows, a strangely shaped solar panel, and what seems to be an external plumbing pipe sets this building apart from the ones surrounding it. It seems that the hotel business is doing quite well to afford what you presume to be kappa goods, that or people here consume more alcohol than Russians.
Stepping in through the door, you are greeted by the familiar sight of patrons sitting around tables, either chatting loudly over their drinks or passed out cold. In short, like an ordinary family reunion. The innkeeper is standing behind the bar, busy writing down records with one hand while calculating with an abacus in the other. Only when you tapped on the bar did he notice you and look up.
"Oh hello, a new customer," he says "Are you eating or staying?"
"Staying," you reply, "How much does this cost?"
"Oh, 900 yen a day." He says, "And don't worry if you have modern currency, the village accepts anything that Kourindou has."
"Really? Damn." You remove your wallet, looking at the 90,000 yen worth of old currency which had cost an entire month's paycheck to buy. Anyways, 900 yen seems really cheap "Are there any other charges?"
"No, except that I get to keep all your possessions you leave in your room if you die." He grins and leans closer, you see that he is only about thirty years old, "it's far more lucrative than just renting out the rooms."
You remove 900 yen worth of bills and hand it over. The innkeeper flips through them, nods, and says. "Well, you seem clever enough. You can call me Shang." Ah, you think, so he is Chinese, "I came to Gensokyo about ten years ago, by accident, survived, and built this inn up in the middle of the prolonged winter with nothing but loans from the villagers and two of my friends. Anyways, what's your name?"
"Just put down Wu Ming."
"吴明," He scribbles it down on his record book with a ballpoint pen, "I'm going to write it down like its an actual name. Alright," he hands you a skeleton key, with a number engraved in leather dangling from it. "Second floor, third one on the right. Technically, it's still occupied, but the outsider who was in there hasn't paid since yesterday. I was too lazy to kick him out so if you see him in there, just tell him to get out."
You take the key and walk up the stairs. Counting the doors, you find the one with a symbol matching the one on the key.
You knock, "Anyone in there?"
"If you are in there, come out! It's my room now!"
Still no response.
You unlock the door and open it. Immediately, you are overwhelmed by a rather nauseating smell. The room is fairly spacious, with a desk, a cot for laying down futons on, a large wooden closet, and what looks like a water closet. What attracts your attention though, is the body of a young man hanging by the neck on the rafters, an overturned stool underneath him.
"Shang!" You call out.
"What?" was the reply, "is there anything wrong with the room?"
"I don't know, are dead people supposed to be part of the furnishings?"
"OH FOR THE DRAGON GOD'S SAKE!" Shang screams as he storms up the stairs, "IT'S THE SECOND ONE THIS MONTH! WHY CAN'T THEY DIE SOMEWHERE ELSE?"
Two patrons were drafted into disposing of the body with the promise of a free drink. The stench was hastily covered up by cheap perfume borrowed from the shop next door. You and Shang find no suicide note anywhere in the
Now that you have a room to stay in, you set off on your next course of action: Analysing the piece of wood.
Setting up your chemical analysing kit on the desk, you subject samples of the charred wood to incineration, distillation, and shaking. After reducing the substance to nothing more than several layers of fluids in a test tube, you remove the top layer and stick it in the battery-powered Hydrocarbon Proportioning Unit™. After about two minutes of processing, the machine coughs up the results: Large amounts of heptane and octane, almost no alkenes or alkynes. It's gasoline.
You scratch your head. While the gasoline proves that the fire was probably arson, you can't think of any reason why beings who would have access to gasoline in Gensokyo (kappa, people with enough money to buy kappa stuff, Yukari) would want to burn down the shrine. Sure, it was randomly attacked and destroyed many times before, but never with such overt maliciousness.
While cleaning up the kit with the sink in the water closet, you decide that you'll tell Reimu about it when you see her next time. For now, your priority is to see if you can find out more about the local happenings, especially about the tank.
After stashing your backpack in the closet, you exit the inn and go back onto the main street. Moving along with the crowd, you arrive at the market.
Time: 11:00 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Human Village Market Threat Level: 0
The square is noisy and crowded with people. Booths have been set up in the middle of the place manned by people hawking vegetables, meat, and other types of agricultural products. Ringing around the square are various small shops which offer more diverse merchandise.
You wander around a bit, looking at the items for sale and listening to the conversations the villagers have. The produce is fresh, and quite large given the non-mechanized nature of farming practiced. Between those selling raw food, impromptu kitchens are set up, selling anything from the sushi and onigiri to smoked salmon. Just looking at the food makes your stomach growl, but you resist the temptation to eat lunch right here and now, there are still things to do. Besides, its too early.
You walk over to the open-air teahouse at the far corner of the square. Finding a seat near the middle of the place, you order a kettle of green tea for 300 yen. While you nurse your drink, you listen in on the conversations of the villagers. They talk about things mundane or already known, such as "I should get new shoes." or "My son is getting lazier" or "Murasa tried to drown me in my rice field." After listening to this for ten minutes straight, you grow bored, and is just about to leave when the couple sitting to your left says something that makes your ears perk up.
"I saw that tank again today." the male says.
"Tank? What tank?" His wife answers confusedly, "The water tank?"
"No no no, that giant metal thing with the large gun. You know, the one that spooked you when you were planting in the far field last week."
"Oh, that thing! Why is it called a tank?"
"It's what the vehicle is called called in the Outside World, at least according to that antiques store shop-owner. I just found out about it yesterday."
"So what happened?"
"Well, I was just looking for firewood in the woods near our cornfields, when suddenly it just emerges from a bush in front of me. I was shocked so much that I dropped the axe I was carrying. The tank pointed its gun at me until I backed away about two meters, then it crushed the axe under its funny looking wheel-belt foot."
"I guess whoever controlling it got mad at you shooting it with a crossbow."
"It is made of metal! What damage could my crossbow do?"
The woman sighs a bit, "Look, husband, people get mad if you attempt to harm them. That annoying nekomata can't get injured permanently by weapons at all, but it still runs away from a wielded club just the same."
"Yes, but a tank isn't alive. It is supposed to be a machine, a machine that... wait. Ambushing, driving around aimlessly in the countryside, petty revenge, not answering communication ... that means ..."
"Even if it is a tsukumogami, dear, it still means that you shouldn't fire at it every time you see it."
"But I'm a member of the-" the man looks around for a moment as if somebody's eavesdropping, which is true but you are smart enough to not look in their general direction, "-Human Village Defense Society. How can I fulfill it's creed if I can't even attack youkai which wanders onto my property?"
"Look, your silly little secret society is not as important as you staying alive. Let the shrine maiden or the village guard take care of it. I want you home and intact, okay?"
You get up, pay your tab, and walk out of the teahouse. So the tank doesn't have a driver after all. It's a youkai, a tank youkai, which would explain why it moves so silently and at a ridiculous speed. It still doesn't answer the question of how in the world a tank became a youkai in the first place, or got into Gensokyo at all.
Pondering the question, you didn't bother looking where you were walking. Only the sound of shouting from a nearby building made you emerge from your thoughts and realize that you are in.
Time: 11:12 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Lower Human Village, East. Threat Level: 0
The building where the shouting comes from is a large one, with a garden wall and a wooden front gate blocking off view of the main building. As you walk closer, you can make out the sound of two, no three people arguing. Two women and one man.
[ ] Get as close as possible, up against the gate if necessary. Listen closely, it may be useful to know. [ ] Get as close as possible, up against the gate if necessary. Listen closely, because your curiosity knows no rational bounds. [ ] Get closer, but only enough to make out the gist of what they are saying. [ ] Get away; it is none of your business.
Current Inventory (On person)
- 88,800 yen - One lunch, composed of stuffed biscuits and a banana - M1911 pistol - Utility knife ======================================
Sorry guys. It wasn't up in three hours because my ISP was down in my area for almost a day.
[x] Get as close as possible, up against the gate if necessary. Listen closely, it may be useful to know. I find it hard to believe that the threat level in the village is zero, Youkai attacks sure but what about mundane dangers that could be offset by the average villager?
The threat level is dynamic. If the villagers were up in torches and pitchforks, for example, the threat level would be much higher. Right now, there's nothing that would seriously harm you in the village. Hence, threat level zero.
That is a Lowe, leads me to think this author is a WoT player. Pic related, it's my Lowe and my favorite Premium tank.
Well this is certainly weird if it's a Lowe. The Panzerkampfwagen VII Löwe (Lion) was a tank design dropped in about 1942 and never actually made, no prototypes or any initial work was done except maybe some blueprints. How was it made? Is it actually a Youkai and how is it one? I know one explanation of youkai coming into being is the fear of a legend, or least something similar to that. How that works for a tank, I gots no idea.
Time: 11:10 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Somewhere in the Great Youkai Forest, foothills of Youkai Mountain Threat Level: Irrelevant
The bake-tanuki skips along, whistling to a lighthearted tune. The day is still young, and even with the responsibility running the Youkai Bank, she can still find enough time to do her daily jog around Gensokyo.
She avoids the animal trails. The fox takes those trails, and while they may not be outright enemies, it still remains better if they don't see eye to eye.
The breeze is warm, fresh with the scent of the summer bloom. She breathes in huge lungfuls of the air. Hydrageas, peonies, even a few roses.
Suddenly, she stops. Sniffing the air to the south, she follows a scent of burnt ash, a scent which sticks out in the otherwise natural air.
In a small clearing in the forest, she sees a rather peculiar sight. A campfire, with the fire not put out too long ago. A more careful sniffing of the site reveals that those that occupied it have not been absent for too long, perhaps they left just a few minutes before she arrived. Strange, she thinks, humans usually don't camp here in this forest, where youkai are even more numerous than in the Forest of Magic. What's more peculiar is that there is a distinct lack of wildlife in this area, as if they have all been scared away by the occupants of the campsite.
Her right foot catches on something as she walked around the fire ring. Looking down, she could see that it is a cross pendant, the kind which westerners and the occasional believing Japanese wear. She had seen enough of them during her life outside the border that she could remember quite a few of the phrases printed on them. Mark 12:31 "Love thy neighbor as thyself.", Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through christ who strengthens me." John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son..."
This verse, however, she has never seen before. She adjusts her glasses to make sure she didn't read it incorrectly, but the small inscriptions in the golden cross remain the same.
Exodus 22:18 "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live."
A sense of dread overwhelms her as she re-reads the verse. There is something deeply wrong about it, and yet she cannot figure out what exactly is the problem. So what if some crazy fanatic outsider comes in? Just a low-level animal youkai could take care of the problem. And yet, there is something in her mind that tells her that there is something more dangerous going on.
She pockets the cross. Maybe Hijiri would know something about this, or maybe she could ask the stupid shrine maiden.
Time: 11:10 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Somewhere in the Eastern hills, near the border's edge Threat Level: 5
The eastern landscape grows ever rockier as the edge of the Border draws near. There are few trees interspersed in this terrain. The ground is dominated primarily by shrubs and tall grass, dotted by the occasional sun-baked boulder. There is no trail here, which makes it even harder to navigate amidst the peculiar stone formations.
A small mass of people, teenagers mostly, but with a few middle-aged persons interpersed in their ranks are making their way up a rather steep cliff. A general sense of weariness can be seen on their expression, carrying hiking packs seemingly too large for their thin frames. Most of them are armed, with anything from bolt-action rifles to AK-47s. However, many of the weapons are in poor condition, some seemingly reduced to nothing more than a bayonet mount.
"Well, shit, apparently we lost the compass."
"Fuck biscuits, we never had a compass! We were relying on GPS the entire time, since SOMEBODY didn't realize that satellite probably doesn't work under the border!"
"Go cross the Border they said, it'll be fun they said. God I really hate /jp/."
"Damn foreigners. “
"GODDAMN it shut up you bunch of faggots!" The leader, a grim-looking middle-aged man yelled from the front, "We fucked up, got in Gensokyo through the fucking haunted graveyard, almost got mauled by little girls, and are currently lost for about two days. We get it, we're fucked. Now let's climb this damn hill so we can find where our coordinates are."
The louder grumbling stops, though more subdued complaints continue, as well as conversations.
"Never even got to even take a picture of my favorite character. Damn it."
"Don't try; you saw what the flower bitch did to René."
"Well René was being a fucking retard, what with the 'YUKA-CHAN' and the 'KAWAII-DESU'. He's also the reason why we can't just follow the nice Road of Liminality to get to the village since said youkai chased us all the way out here where we are fucking lost!"
"Out here, if we die, nobody is going to miss us, we'll be gone forever, stricken from human memory."
"Pfft, I joined this group because I got kicked out of college in Kyoto for drug possession. Dying here is quite preferable to my parents' wrath."
"Just drug possession? "I'm here because I can't get a job since I got thrown in juvie once for stabbing a classmate who was bullying me."
"Anyone knows who the heck started this whole thing?"
"I don't know bro. We all got different instructions from different sources."
The summer wind blowing through briefly drowns out the voices. Such a warm breeze does nothing to alleviate the heat of the late morning sun.
"How much longer do you think we have to walk?" The person behind the leader of the group asks.
The man pauses for a few seconds, looks up at the top of the cliff, and replies, "If the mountains in Afghanistan are good references, I'd say twenty more minutes, maybe a bit more if you lazy morons keep straggling."
The line of men trudges on, over loose gravel and yellow grass. Those with the longer bolt-actions are fortunate to possess a makeshift walking stick, while those equipped with assault rifles and smaller firearms only possess a larger burden. Their march resembles that of prisoners being transported to another holding facility, and in a way, they are.
On an opposite cliff 100 meters above and 300 meters away, camouflaged in some dense brush, the tank silently observes the procession.
Unlike those it just encountered a while ago, these humans don't seem too dangerous to the tank. It decides that there is no need to use its cannon, to load shells which were never created for a tank which was never produced.
[x] Get as close as possible, up against the gate if necessary. Listen closely, it may be useful to know.
Moving as quietly as a mouse, you edge over to the gate and press your ears against the wood.
"... You have to be reasonable. The village guard needs a substitute captain, someone who can provide magical support while you recover."
"Mr. Saromi, you cannot be serious!" A loud pounding sound was heard, as if someone is slamming on a table, "Allowing anyone outside the village to take on such a role is completely unthinkable. Especially when they are but recent immigrants to this land!"
"Look, Ms. Kamishirasawa, I understand your concerns, but both our candidates here are quite qualified in temporarily taking over your commanding position, given that ..."
"Would thou be so perplexed by reputation and fame, that thou remainth ignorant o' the beast which lies beneath the illusion of a god?"
"Ms. Mononobe, I do not possess an illusion of a god," A fourth voice, previously unheard, chimes in, "I AM a god. Just because I'm also a youkai doesn't dilute this fact. By the way, Bishamonten is a god of war, so I qualify more for position of acting captain of the guard."
"NO ONE is getting the position of Guardian of the Village! Since the Edo period I have been tasked with being the defender of this settlement -"
" ... And the chief of enlightenment o' the young knaves in thy village ..."
"... And the second historian, and the only one capable of manipulatinging said history ..."
" ... And the president of the therianthropes society ...”
" ... Therefore, we can't have you fight while you're missing half a leg."
"TETSUO! I HAVE BEEN THE GUARDIAN OF THIS VILLAGE BEFORE THE BORDER WAS CREATED. WHY SHOULD I TRUST ANYONE ELSE WITH THE PROTECTION OF EVERYTHING I HAVE?"
"Look, Ms. Kamishirasawa, we still need you to hide the history of the village during attacks, and instruct new recruits on the proper use of weaponry. I'm simply requesting that you take a break from the tour of duty for about a month so you could regenerate."
"Well then, if that is the case, then why do you want me to decide who to pick as the substitute? It seems that you are very confident in your decisions. Now if you will excuse me, I have homeworks to grade."
"Wait, Ms. Kamishirasawa, I don't mean that, please don't -"
The sound of footsteps and the tapping of a crutch makes you instantly duck off to the side, right as the door swings open. Unfortunately, you are not fast enough to avoid the door smacking you directly in the head with the force of a bull, giving you a temporary vision of the cosmos in the form of flashing colors before you black out.
Unconsciousness isn't so bad.
It feels cool and immersing, like a swimming pool. You can even feel it overtaking you in a refreshing wave, washing over your face and dripping down your neck.
It feels a bit too realistic, in fact. Forcing your scattered mind to focus, you try sucking in your nose, only to gag as cold water enters your trachea.
Time: 11:14 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Human Village, Saromi Household Threat Level: 0
"Oh look, he's awake!"
"Are you certain? The lad remains still as a log in my eyes. Pitch another bucket to confirm thy idea."
A splash of water hits you on the face again. Gasping for breath, you attempt to wipe the water from your face, only to recoil in pain as your forehead erupts in pain when you touch it.
"How about now?"
"Outsider? How now art thou?"
"I'm awake! I'm awake!" you scream, not caring if you're being impolite, "Don't splash anymore!"
You feel somebody hoisting you up off whatever you were sitting on. "You all right?" You hear her ask.
Opening your eyes, you stare directly into the face of a woman with funny-looking blond-black striped hair. Normally, that would be quite significant enough by itself. However, you are too busy being horrified by her eyes to notice, as they bear a striking resemblance the eyes of the tiger your class dissected during sophomore year.
"Say something." She says, with a bit more authority in her voice this time.
You hear somebody snickering behind you, "I informed thee that the lad would possess that reaction toward your form."
You turn your head around, and look directly into what seems to be a newspaper,
"H-Hello Miss Mononobe. Sorry, I d-didn't notice you. Is anything on f-fire?"
"Ha! That's what I said of how he would react to YOU."
"Frivolous misgivings, resting upon false assumptions. Outsider, let it be known that such vile accusations of arson are ignoring the necessity of my actions. Simply put ..."
"Hey! The burning down of any civilian building is not justified! That goes against all codes of honor applied on the battlefield! According to the...... "
They have lost notice in you. You do not possess the audacity to interrupt, suspecting that either one of the women could rend you from limb to limb with relative ease if provoked. Instead, you act as you do when your parents are arguing, sit back and pretend nothing is happening.
Taking a moment to look around, you realize that your attire, consisting of hiking boots, cargo shorts and a safari shirt, must seem quite out of place in this building. The decor is, as expected, in traditional Japanese style, complete with paper windows and intricate woodwork. It is quite a good deal more decorated than what you see in historical sites, with luxurious objects such as a jade statue of a dragon alongside mundane comforts like a couch, one of the long, wooden backed kinds with silk cushions.
It lacks the feeling of history though. You suspect that this building is built quite recently, perhaps in the last twenty years. Then again, given the rate of incidents occurring in Gensokyo, it is not much of a surprise.
The sliding door on your left side quietly opens. Neither Futo nor Shou seems to notice the disturbance. An short old man, with white hair and cane, steps out. Noticing you, he beckons for you to enter the room.
You enter a room which is rather small, and appears to be a study of some sort, with a large, heavy-looking desk and large piles of stationery, including what appears to be early 20th century pencils. The old man takes a seat behind the desk, puts on a set of reading glasses, and speaks.
"Greetings, I am Tetsuo Saromi, leader of the Human Village. I apologize if Miss Mononobe and Miss Toramaru have been treating you roughly, they have been on edge for the entire morning."
"I am very pleased to meet you, Mr. Saromi." Your previous panic has worn off by now, and you remember to take a bow here, "My name is Wu Ming, and may I ask why they are so?"
"As you probably know, Miss Keine Kamishirasawa is the Guardian of the Human Village, which is both the highest rank in the village guard and the denotation of a magic-capable defender. Now, that is a title bestowed upon her since before I was born, indeed, before the Border was erected. Now," he clears his throat a bit, "About a week ago, an accident happened which -"
"We still don't know what happened. All we know is that she was flying to the Myouren Temple on an errand, and somewhere over the forest, she heard something whistling towards her, and the next thing she could remember was a loud explosion and a bloody stump where her left foot used to be."
"Wait, what?" Something which has been nagging at you in the back of your head since you smelled the gasoline in the shrine ruins has now grown to a full blown suspicion. "I mean, then what happened?"
"The Hakurei and Moriya shrine maidens and Mr. Kirisame's daughter got involved as usual. Even that hermit from the Bamboo Forest came in. They found nothing except for traces of black powder and metal which are presumably part of the explosive. It is quite a surprise. As you know, normally in Gensokyo, explosions which sever limbs are quite uncommon, especially those which leave no sign of who or what caused it. This is an incident, but one which they have never been seen before.
"Miss Hakurei's shrine burned down just this morning, do you think that there is a connection?"
"Oh, so that's why the poor girl was looking so depressed. The shrine burns down quite a bit, actually. Last fire was only two months ago. It is always an upset youkai or bored fairy who is responsible. The shrine is usually back up in about two or three days, depending on whether her friends feel generous enough to help."
You are going to mention the gasoline, but then thought better of it. It is not nearly enough to suggest a conspiracy of some sort.
"Back on the topic. What you probably don't know, is that flying is far harder than walking, and most beings require use of all parts of their body to fly. Miss Kamishirasawa is no exception. With her effectively grounded, and struggling to even walk, we require a substitute to stand in for her until she regenerates, which should be in a few weeks. However, she is not very happy with this." Saromi looks away nervously for a second here, "Not happy at all."
"Seeing your candidates here, I can understand why."
"Yes, but we only possess these options. It is quite difficult to find ones with military expertise, magical capabilities, mental stability, and free time. Miss Mononobe and Miss Toramaru are the only ones we could find who can almost fit these requirements."
The muffled sound of shouting can still be heard from behind the door. You suddenly realize that the screen door is actually composed of glazed glass rather than the traditional paper. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any muffling.
"Now, for the actual subject I wish to suggest with you. May I inquire about what are you here for, young man?"
"I am here because I am on vacation." You state rather matter-of-factly.
"Oh?" the old man raises an eyebrow, "And why did you choose this place? It is not exactly a resort, after all."
"Well ... I kind of just want to fulfill my admittedly childish dream, that Gensokyo really exists. That's finished, and I sort of just went along with whatever happened after that."
"Do you have any plans for what you are going to do?"
"Not really," you admit, "I'm never one to plan ahead for mostly anything."
"In that case, my suggestion is for you to find a job with a reliable source."
"Yes, a job", Saromi removes some papers from under the table, "The village is modernizing, and there always plenty of work needed which would be easier with Outsider knowledge. You could make some spending money, and also see the safer areas of Gensokyo in the process. This is what we offer to all outsiders who make it into the village without incurring too much hostility." He slides them across to you. "Take a look, if you would kindly."
The papers contain a variety of documents, from flyers to design documents to agendas. You shuffle through them, setting aside those which entail occupations you prefer not to do, such as military duty and construction. After about five minutes of analyzing the remaining three choices, you decide on a response.
[ ] "That village-wide plumbing project sounds interesting. Is there any help needed?" [ ] "New armaments for the village defense program? I can probably contribute some of my knowledge to the project." [ ] "Dr. Yagakoro is starting a new clinic? That sounds like something I could do." [ ] "Thank you, but I think I'll postpone making the decision."
[ ] By the way, I think that ________ should substitute as the Guardian -Ms. Toramaru -Ms. Mononobe [ ] Hey, why isn’t Ms. Fujiwara considered as a candidate?
A/N: Okay, this should be the last update without a picture. Later updates should be faster as I've actually plotted them beforehand.
[20:24]*** Connecting to irc.gensokyo.net:9999 (Attempt 1 of 200) [20:24]*** Resolving hostname [20:24]*** Connecting to 43.∞.255.1:9999 [20:24]*** Connected [20:24]*** Using Identity "Default", Nick Yamato [20:25] -SecuriServ- ID recognized, access granted [20:25]*** now talking in #onlychannel [20:25] <BeerKorin> Damn, I can't make a game off of that [20:25] <BeerKorin> I need PROPER incidents [20:25] <%Purple> Why don't you just instigate one then [20:25] <%Purple> Wait [20:25] <%Purple> Reimu's shrine just burned down [20:25] <%Purple> I think that might be an incident [20:25] <BeerKorin> I think people are tired of the shrine getting destroyed now [20:25] <%Purple> Like I said [20:25] <%Purple> You do something then [20:25] <BeerKorin> Can't. [20:25] <BeerKorin> Too busy setting up my bar [20:25] <%Purple> Well then [20:25] <%Purple> Guess there would be no Touhou 15 then [20:26] <BeerKorin> ;_; [20:26]*** BeerKorin has quit (brb wife) [20:26] <Yamato> %Purple [20:26] <%Purple> What [20:26] <Yamato> Have you noticed any influxes of outsiders into the Border lately? [20:26] <%Purple> A large group of idiots, yes. Is that relevant? [20:26] <Yamato> PSIA has been reporting unusually large amounts of GAM members flying into the country [20:26] <%Purple> Probably to protest some new shrine construction or something [20:26] <%Purple> Happens every year [20:26] <Yamato> They've been noted to carry large amounts of paramilitary gear [20:26] <Yamato> Bulletproof vests, helmets, and NV goggles, have been found in their luggage, along their usual crap [20:26] <%Purple> If they incite a rebellion or something, its your duty [20:26] <%Purple> I'm not in charge of Japan [20:26] <Yamato> They havent been doing much besides conduct meetings, and PSIA bugged some of them. [20:26] <Yamato> PSIA deduced that the conversations contain mostly nonsensical content. But I looked over them, and I'm pretty sure they're planning to do something with your domain [20:26] <%Purple> Haven't seen any yet [20:26] <%Purple> I'll let you know if something comes along [20:26] <%Purple> Oh, hows that optical camoflage technology working out for you? [20:26] <Yamato> Very well, but too complicated for mass production [20:26] <Yamato> Thanks though, this will certainly make quite a few operations easier [20:26] <%Purple> Glad you like it [20:27] Disconnected (2014-06-26 20:27:29)
[X] "Dr. Yagakoro is starting a new clinic? That sounds like something I could do." [X] By the way, I think that Ms. Mononobe should substitute as the Guardian --[X] Hey, why isn’t Ms. Fujiwara considered as a candidate?
Futo would be fine, but I'm curious about Mokou not getting a mention as well.
>>28409 Won't know for sure until the update goes up.
Chat log continued ... in lieu of actual update!AK47hf008c2012/08/19 (Sun) 08:46No. 28420▼
[20:37] <%Purple> Reiteisai was so crowded this year [20:37] <%Purple> So many dedicated cosplayers of me [20:37] <%Purple> It's like a house of mirrors [20:37] <KFighter> Isn't the purple dress your nightdress or something? [20:37] <%Purple> Yeah [20:37] <%Purple> *house of DRESSER mirrors [20:37] <KFighter> Most people don't have time to duplciate your ridiculously poofy regular outfit [20:37] <%Purple> By the way [20:37] <%Purple> You guys need to work harder [20:37] <%Purple> You lost another base to the government [20:37] <KFighter> We're trying hard, the junta's getting more and more APCs from heaven knows where [20:37] <KFighter> We need more AT weaponry [20:37] <KFighter> And food, since they've been randomly burning down villages [20:38] <KFighter> I'm currently at an internet cafe in Thailand [20:38] <%Purple> That was the satellite uplink base they bombed? [20:38] <%Purple> I'm going to have to bleed those stockpiles dry [20:38] <%Purple> Maybe I'll get you guys some magically enhanced stuff [20:38] <KFighter> Is that expensive? [20:38] <%Purple> No [20:38] <%Purple> But the most I could do is homing runes taped onto guided missiles [20:38] <%Purple> Since you guerillas can't use the more complicated toys [20:38] <KFighter> That'll be fine [20:38] <%Purple> You owe me more future bases though [20:38] <%Purple> One in the upper part of Chin, and one in Kayah [20:38] <KFighter> Sure [20:38] <KFighter> No more than 10 km squared though [20:38] <%Purple> Just to store stuff [20:38] <%Purple> That size is fine [20:38] <KFighter> It feels so weird to be doing this over the internet [20:39] <%Purple> Encrypted with one-time pads, this is the most secure form of communication we have [20:39] <KFighter> The built in translator is nice too, I guess [20:39] <%Purple> 500 RPG-7 launchers, 2000 warheads, along with some old preserved WWII Soviet tank destroyers, an SU-85 can't take out a tank these days, but would be quite adequate against rusting the BMP-1s you face [20:39] <%Purple> I'm going to have to send new transmitter equipment and decoder disks too [20:39] <%Purple> Please make them last [20:39] <KFighter> I promise, I will [20:39] *** KFighter has quit (off to do commander stuff) [20:40] *** BeerKorin has joined #onlychannel [20:40] <BeerKorin> Just a large cockroach, so any shady dealings with heads of state while I was gone? [20:40] <Purple> Nope, just charity
"Dr. Yagakoro is starting a new clinic? That sounds like something I could get involved in."
"The clinic is to the north of the bazaar, across from the spice shop." Saromi writes down something on a notepad, "I'm afraid I cannot help you from here on. Dr. Yagakoro is not very well-understood, and I probably know no more on how to deal with her more than you do. Good luck, I hope you last longer than the last dozen."
"Thank you sir." You take the flyer, bow, and is about to exit the room before you suddenly realized something.
"Hey, why isn't Miss Fujiwara considered as a potential substitute Guardian?" you ask, "I mean, she is one of Miss Kamishirasawa's closest friends, after all, and a fearsome fighter."
Saromi scratches his head, "Well, for starters, she is not very stable in the head, but that would not be too much of an impediment. The largest problem is that we cannot FIND her. Last time we saw Miss Fujiwara was at the Myouren Temple, where Miss Kamishirasawa was stated right after the incident due to its proximity. She said something about 'finding the scum who are responsible and ramming a bamboo stick through their eye sockets' and left. We haven't seen her since."
"You think she might be in trouble?"
"I doubt it. She is immortal after all. And if she does get into something she cannot get out of, our efforts would be of little assistance."
"All right, good day then."
You make a slight bow and walk out of Saromi's office. Shou and Futo are still arguing in the parlor, and since you have no stake in the situation, you walk by and out the door.
Time: 11:20 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Lower Human Village, East. Threat Level: 0
Well, looks like you'll be working for Eirin then.
Following the wagons, you make your way back to the market and proceed to the north. The spice shop is glamorously decorated with bright colors and large signs, so you spot it quite easily. Across from the shop, however, is a rather unassuming, if large, storefront with no visible indications of what it’s for.
There are a few people loitering here, most checking out the spices and chatting. You notice one standing in front of the undecorated storefront, as if waiting for something. Perhaps another prospecting worker? You think.
You walk up right next to him, "Excuse me," you ask, "do you know if Miss Yagakoro is in?"
Silence, the man does not even move.
Still no response.
"Sir?" You tap him lightly on the shoulder. The man suddenly stiffens for a moment, and then walks down the street back towards the market.
What a strange person, you think; guess living in Gensokyo isn't very helpful to one's psyche.
Turning your attention back to the storefront, you walk up right next to the counter and peer in. Nothing inside save for a few packing crates. However, you can see a door to a backroom.
"Hello? Miss Yagakoro?" you call.
"Oh, a customer?" A female voice responds from behind the wall, "Hold on, I just need to get these boxes out and-" You hear a loud crash and what sounds like tired groaning.
"Miss Yagakoro? It sounds like you could use some help in there."
"Master is currently out tending her peony field. I'm her assistant and dealer, Reisen. Don't worry, I have this covered, just give me a second." Another loud crash, and a scream is heard.
You climb over the counter, walk across the room, and open the door. Inside is a rather peculiar sight. The "backroom" is about three times larger than the front one, and is current filled ceiling high with boxes of all sorts. A girl, sporting a long hooded jacket and cargo pants, is currently sitting next to a large pile of tumbled boxes, clutching her right shoulder.
"Reisen? I mean, Miss Udongein?"
She turns her head and looks at you. You suddenly the feel your brain boiling inside your skull for a brief moment, before subsiding. Yep, that's Reisen, judging by the light-purple hair and the tips of ears poking out.
"An outsider?" she says in a rather cold tone, "What brings you here?"
"I, uh", the narrowed red eyes are really not very helpful to your composure, "Mister Saromi told me that Eientei is starting a new clinic, and I should go find a job here."
"Oh, I see." Her expression softens a little, just a little, "In that case, your first order of business would be to help me clean up this mess."
"Wait, I'm hired, just like that?"
"You'll get your salary, boy. Don't worry about it." Reisen smiles, and you suddenly feel yourself relaxed, as if the inaba in front of you is no more than an ordinary person.
Yielding to her persuasion, you begin picking up the boxes. They are quite heavy, and you struggle quite a bit with a box containing stethoscopes before simply sliding it across the floor.
Most of the boxes, thankfully due to their low weight, are full of various medicines. Ginseng, dried licorice, ephedra, senburi, and dozens of other herbs fill quite a few of them, as well as morphine, adrenaline, and chemicals you cannot identify off the top of your head. The vast majority of these substances are quite reasonable, but...
"Bacillus anthracis?" You exclaim as you read the labels of a case of strange shaped vials, "Tubercle bacillus? What is Dr. Yagakoro doing here?"
"Don't worry," Reisen calls from the other side of the room, where she is bandaging her right shoulder, "They are just vaccines. The live colonies are in an air-sealed lab in the bamboo forest."
You continue, slowly and carefully creating neat stacks of boxes arranged by type. Acids to the northeast corner, bases to the south, antibiotics on top of the antiseptics, and so on. By the time you are done, it is noon, and your stomach grumbles at you for want of food.
And Reisen's gone.
"You finished, Outsider? Took you long enough." She calls from the front part of the clinic, "I was able to get my lunch from Eientei while you were moving the boxes at your own, pathetic pace."
"I apologize, I'm just a wretched, low-life human with low physical power who cannot hope to match a youkai like you." you respond, unconsciously adding a hint of sarcasm.
"Glad to know." She opens the door and walks in, looking around. Her jacket is gone, and you can now clearly see the sharp, crooked rabbit ears jutting up from her head as well as the distinct shirt and tie. "Looks like you did a good job here. So outsider," she clasps her hands together and stares at you, "what else are you good for besides reading labels and moving objects?"
"I can mix some basic Western medicines, perform some first aid duties, and screw around with the internal chemistry in random animals."
Wait, that last part wasn't supposed to come out. Those red eyes are POTENT. You can feel your self-control cracking even as you try to avert her gaze.
"Oh, how interesting. It seems like you might actually be useful here!" She says the normally sarcastic words in a completely honest tone, "So what do you think of me?"
Your mind sweats as you prepare an answer which has no negative impacts on your safety. "Uh, you have rabbit ears, which are pretty cool. Your red eyes are quite frightening. Uh, you seem nice, that smile is kind of creep- no, I meant creative, yeah, creative. You are probably very intelligent and helpful in every situation."
Reisen cocks her head to the side. "Hmm? No 'sex-appeal' crap? No 'suppository'? None of that?" You feel a barrage of long waves beat down on your brain, trying to force you to blurt out the naked truth.
"You are, uh, dressed differently? Than what I expected?" You try closing your eyes to resist the influence, to no avail. The waves just pass right through your eyelids.
"Is that all you are going to say?"
She sighs a bit and closes her eyes. You feel yourself regaining control of your thoughts. A painful throbbing still remains, however, like that time when your deskmate sounded a gong right next to your ear.
"Congratulations, Outsider, you have passed the secondary job interview."
"Job interview? What?" You say while wiping sweat off your face, "That was an interrogation!"
"Interrogation, interview, whatever. It's all the same when dealing with your ilk." She punctuates the last word by poking at my forehead. "Either way, I figure I should pay you or something."
Reisen rummages through the contents of a particularly large crate, before pulling out a seemingly normal bolt-action rifle.
"Here," she hands it over to you, "This is a 1956 pattern air rifle, straight from Lunar Defense Corp reserve stocks. It was usually used by recruits too untrusted to handle an actual rifle, but also found popularity with military police due to its capability to fire darts."
"A tranquilizer gun, huh." You take the weapon and look it over. A crank to the right side of the receiver reveals its true nature, though you cannot figure out how a crank pump can be fitted into the rifle body. Low-level Lunarian innovation, probably.
"You're going to need it. That pistol, spellcard-engraved or not, is not going to help you against truly feral youkai." She is sifting through the box again, this time pulling out a small pouch. "Here, this contains about 20 darts, coated with master's surgical anesthetic, which produces effects 5 seconds after injection. You're still going to need at least three shots to stop a more powerful youkai though."
You gladly take the pouch. "So I'll assume that's my paycheck?"
"Yes, you can now consider yourself officially an employee of Eientei." She looks around, "The boxes seem stacked and organized, so there's no more work for you right now. You can leave for lunch, and come back after two, and then I'll see if there's any work."
"Alright, thank you very much, Miss Udongein. It's a pleasure to work here." You bow, and walk out, not questioning why there is a box of weaponry in the clinic, or why she is wearing pants.
Now that you think of it, every girl you saw were wearing pants. Reimu had some sort of white slacks on, Futo was wearing those funny ruffled tights, barely visible under her robe, and Shou already had pants. You did not think too much of it, or even noticed in the first place, but now that you think about it, it makes perfect sense when considering the fact of incoming Outsiders.
Time: 12:00 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Western Gensokyo, Outskirts of Great Youkai Forest Threat Level: N/A
The tank coasts lazily along in and around the trees, stopping occasionally to watch for birds.
Birds are nice, they rid its hull of annoying insects. The tank always stops whenever a bird is nearby.
The tank also stops for sunflowers too. Once it ran over some sunflowers, and a green-red youkai smote it with a large energy attack. The tank barely managed to avoid getting more than a destroyed coaxial machine gun during that encounter, and it would prefer to not repeat the experience.
Destroyed coaxial machine guns take a long time to recover from.
Sadly, there are no birds, and just in time for various swarms of flies to come and bother it. It does not like flies, they sometimes obscure the viewport and make it hard to see. When the machine gun was operational, the tank used it to scatter the flies, but now it is forced to endure the annoyance since using the main gun is a serious waste of energy.
The swarms seem thicker under a leafless tree. The tank looks over, and notices something lying at the bottom. A human corpse, putrifying in the summer heat, dressed in the remains of what looks to be non-native clothing.
The tank drives closer for better look. It notices something peculiar about the area immediately around the corpse.
There is nothing growing. No grass, no shrubs, nothing.
And then, without a warning. Something happens to the corpse itself.
The tank immediately depresses its main gun and fires, obliterating the corpse and the tree in a large explosion. Even as a mechanical being, it knows all too well what a moving corpse indicates, especially when it senses no traces of magic which are present on properly reanimated ones.
When the dust clears, the tank sees something still moving in the crater.
A small red tendril, barely visible, wiggling into the ground.
Writing proper update...
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We have a protagonist who has common sense, meanwhile we also have a sentient non-existant youkai tank that probably attacked keine, a group of channers up to something idiotic, and a realistic Gensokyo that doesn't cares about whatever the protag is doing. Sir, your story is great and you should know it.
Time: 12:10 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Village Market Square Threat Level: 0
Most of the vendors that were present in the morning are now gone, driven into the teahouses and other facilities to avoid the noon heat. You forgot to put on a hat, and is now regretting the oversight as drops of sweat begin to accumulate on your brow. You wander over to the dragon statue in the center of the square, and notice how its eyes are completely white. PMiSS is accurate after all, it seems.
The shop owner of a nearby drinks stand is advertising iced tea. Strolling over, you gladly pay the 500 yen for the glass bottle of cold tea. Sipping the tea, you find an old, gnarled oak tree growing off to the side, which has become an impromptu picnic area with its shade. Joining the people reclining there, you make yourself comfortable and remove the lunch from your daypack. The bacon inside the biscuits have leaked grease all over the surrounding paper, and the bananas are turning brown. Regardless, you still consume them eagerly, as you are quite hungry after all that walking and labor.
You look over at the bunch of people gathered around the tree. Most are farmers, clad in tunics and large hats. Some guards are also relaxing here, with their antique rifles lying against the tree. What catches your eye, however, is a man sitting on the opposite side, dressed in ragged clothes and gnawing on a hunk of taro root. His left forearm is oddly bent, like a piece of metal wire.
Scrunching closer, you can see that he is wearing a baseball cap, of which the words "WU-LA" can be seen. Huh, someone from your university, here?
"Hey," you tap him on the shoulder, "You from the school of the Flying Zebras?"
He turns his head towards you, and after a moment of shock, his face breaks into the largest smile you've seen and grabs you on the back.
"Oh! A World University student!" He brushes his rather long brown hair back, and your jaw drops as you recognize your school's former mechanical engineering department head and occasional physics teacher.
"Professor Conner? What the, what happened to you? We knew you were somewhere in Japan but, why? I know you care about Touhou but not this much!"
"Oh, my dear boy." He laughs, "You didn't notice the books on my desk before I left? Yes, nobody pays attention in class but you could have at least been aware that I have all the books you have on hold!"
"You did?" You give him a dirty look, "That explains quite a few issues I had."
"Taro?" He offers you a chunk, "It's fresh out of the oven!"
"Nah, its fine professor, I have my own food. By the way, how are those titanium bones and artificial fluid insulators working out for you?"
"Quite well actually. As I have always said, the weakness of the human body is its inability to use better materials. Probably saved my life when I fell off the waterfall, though it did damage my arm," He sighs and raises the crooked forearm, which you clearly can see the bandages strapped on the, "which I don't feel like hammering back into shape without proper tools."
You pause for a while to wolf down a biscuit, "The waterfall, you don't mean the one on Youkai Mountain right?"
"What else? I heard the kappa possess many fascinating examples of engineering in their garages hidden behind the lower parts of the Waterfall of Nine Heavens, such as steam powered robots and flying bicycles. Ah, flying bicycles." His eyes took on the dreamy look which you are quite familiar with after sitting through his lectures. "What wouldn't I give for one of those."
"Lemme guess, they shoved you off the mountain with extreme prejudice."
"You could have asked nicely, I mean they do display them in village fairs every so often, if the ending of 12.3 is anything to go by."
"Second fighting game."
"I did not finish any of the games, they took too much time and skill, which I usually lack."
You roll your eyes, "Well then. May I ask you what you are doing right now?"
He twirls his beard, which is rather long compared to the soul patch he had when he went AWOL, "I set up a primitive machine shop next to the blacksmith, identifying and repairing any Outside widgets which diffuse across the Border. Do you have any idea how many broken rice cookers show up around the shrine and the Edge? Dozens a month, so much that ... "
"Wait, the Edge?"
"It refers to the areas immediately before the Border itself. The locals sometimes go around there to see if anything interesting drops in. Once someone found a funny looking totem, another time someone found an electrical bicycle, still another time they found a really large paper crane the size of three men."
You are just about to say something about the crane, but right then you hear the sound of something streaking through the air. Looking up, you see a large humanoid figure flying through the air, it looks like, oh right, the giant robot, Hisoutensoku. It even has the large golden spikes on its head. You stare up in astonishment, in wonder of how such an non-aerodynamic thing could fly.
Conner has the dreamy look on his face again as he stares at the robot. "Oh, what would I give to fiddle with that contraption? It flies by the village every week, just tempting me."
"Professor, it’s really just an outdated steampunk piece," you say as you regain your usual sense of cynicism "I mean, yes, it probably has some cool electric controls, but -" You stop as something strange happens to the robot, it suddenly stops dead in midair, twitches a bit, then begins to pummel straight down into the earth.
"- Is that part of its routine?"
"As far as I know, it's an exception." He scratches his head, "I don't know, maybe the kappa driving it is doing some sort of stunt?"
The robot falls until it vanishes below the tops of the houses, you begin to climb up the tree for a closer look, but fall when a loud BOOM suddenly impacts your eardrums.
Time: 12:00 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: The Edge Threat Level: ???
"Hello? Hello? Guys! I lost my grip!"
"Hey Sergeant! Takeshi's fallen out of the line!"
"Goddamn it you worthless maggots. Everyone, halt! Takeshi, find your way back in the damn line, and hold on this time!"
The thick fog makes it so that one cannot see his or her own hands on the shoulders of the one in front. The line of Outsiders are forced to hold on to use shouts to locate one another.
"Alright, whose bright idea was it to push towards the Border?" someone asks from the back of the line.
"Supposedly we can hit Mayohiga by doing this. Some sort of space warping Yukari does apparently makes it so that you teleport to the cat village by going near the edge."
"But with all this frikken fog, we can't see WHERE THE FUCK we're going! I mean-"
"Huh? Cory? Cory? Sarge! Cory's disappeared!"
Loud panicked screaming burst out from the group, only to be silenced by the shrill sound of the former marine's whistle.
"Idiots! He found the way out! Everyone, unless you like staying in this fog, go towards his last known position!"
The distinct figures in the fog mutters to each other, and then begin carefully walking towards the point where the voice cut off. As thick as the fog is, they can see some sort of distortion in the location, as if the air has been twisted onto itself into a vortex of sorts. In fact, it is not just limited the location, further distortions can be seen, forming some sort of wall.
"Should we go in?"
The leader jumped into the distortion, and vanished from view. One by one, the other Outsiders jumped in, to instantly emerge out at
Time: 12:04 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Village of the Cats Threat Level: 5
The bright sunlight briefly blinds the eyes of the former marine. They have emerged at what appears to be a plateau on the incline of a tall mountain. The area is lush with vegetation, a welcome relief from the sun-baked arid rocks they have been traversing the whole morning. A tall tree shadows the location where the group emerged, and in front of the tree appears to be an abandoned village of some sort, with buildings very obviously modified for the use of small animals. Specifically, cats, which are EVERYWHERE, in the trees, clambering among the rooftops, some even jumping onto the Outsiders who attempt to shrug them off to no avail.
One takes out a notebook and checks off an entry. "Soooo, we've been to Hakurei Shrine, Road of Liminality, Garden of the Sun, The Edge, and now Mayohiga. Still like 20 locations left."
"Man, you seriously want to visit those other places?" One of his companions punches him on the shoulder, "We've already lost three people. The best course of action right now is to get to Hakurei Shrine and GTFO."
"Fuck off, those deaths involved Darwin Award levels of stupidity. And besides, I doubt Reimu would let us leave after what happened."
"'REIMU-CHAN, CAN I BE YOUR HUSBANDO?' Ha. Yeah, you got a point there. She did chase us out of the area with the turtle after all."
"Genji's bite really hurts."
The leader, who was surveying the area with his military binoculars, set it down and calls, "Alright, the path to the right will lead us down to the west side of the river. If we follow it, we should be able to reach the Human Village by dusk. Any questions?"
"No sir." was the unanimous reply.
"Good, and let's make it quick, that nekomata may show up quite soon, and I don't want to deal with a youkai like her. Got it?"
"The hammer of justice falls."
"Alrigh- wait what?" He grabs his M16A2 out of reflex. "Who said that?"
"The hammer of justice falls."
All eyes turned to the location of the unfamiliar voice. On the other end of the cat village, 300 meters away, amidst some trees, they can see figures moving about. The cats seem to sense something, and are beginning to exit from the area.
"Who are you?" The leader calls out, "Please identify yourselves."
A brief moment of silence, before a response, noticeably louder than the others rings out, "You are not a friend."
"We do not have quarrel with you group-" The leader begins to answer, but then stops when he notices one of the figures crouching down with something large in his hands.
"EVERYBODY HIT THE DECK!" he screams, before diving for the cover of a nearby wall, right as a string of machine gun bullets whizzes pass his ear.
Most of the group reacted immediately, dropping flat and hiding behind trees. Some were not so lucky however, and the air is soon filled with screams of pain as stray bullets hit an extremity.
"SHOOT BACK GODDAMMIT." The leader shouts, blind-firing his assault rifle at the machine gunner’s general location. Some brave or foolhardy members of the group did the same with their bolt-action rifles and AK-47s, and although their poor aim hindered effectiveness, they did manage to suppress the unknown enemy to an extent that the remaining exposed ones are able to clamber or be dragged to cover.
The firefight goes on with neither side moving from its original position or taking further casualties. While the group seems to greatly outmatch the opponent in numbers, they are woefully outgunned. Eventually, after two minutes, the machinegun fire seems to die down, until the shooting stops. When they look back out at the grove. The figures are gone.
Miraculously, nobody had taken fatal injuries during the gunfight. Some had taken shots in the thigh or shoulder, but nothing too critical. They are quickly patched up with the bandages the group carried and given painkillers as per the leader's orders. He also orders the non-injured members of the group to sweep the former enemy location, but they came up with nothing, not even shell casings to identify the caliber of the weapon. Nobody has any idea who the attackers may be, or what motivations they may have.
The only clue then, the leader thinks to himself as the group slowly hikes down the mountain, is that brief glimpse of the weapon he got right before the firing started, as well as the shot registers. Based on the sound alone, it appears to be of 5.56x45mm NATO chamber, but the firing rate and accuracy do not appear to match any sort of SAW or LMG he has experience with. Now that he thinks about it, he recalls something overheard during an off-duty day at base, specifically between two majors, blabbing away over two glasses of whiskey, something about a prototype SAW to replace the M249 and M27 in service, with the firepower of the former and accuracy and weight of the latter.
But something like that would be a US military secret. Where in the world can anybody with time to bother entering Gensokyo obtain such a device anyway? He brushes off the idea. It is probably some obscure European model he hasn't seen yet during his years in Afghanistan. It's not that important right now anyway. Right now, the priority is to haul ass to the Human Village and make sure the dumb ones who got shot don't bleed out on the way there.
Guide to Gensokyo, Rule 3: Gensokyo is sparsely populated. Be prepared to fend for yourself while away from the village. On the bright side, your manner of dress isn't nearly as important in the Outside World.
Time: 12:17 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Village Outskirts (East) Threat Level: 1
"Excuse me, excuse me." you say as you push my your through the crowd which has gathered around the crash site, with the professor doing much the same thing behind me. "Sorry lady, excuse me...please let me through, excus-"
A puff of black smoke suddenly hits you in the face, blinding and choking you for a brief moment. You have reached the front of the crowd, and in front of you lays the crashed robot, half embedded in the soft loam of a harvested corn field.
Hisoutensoku resembles pretty much what it does in the official material, with the gold and red coloring as well as the close resemblance to a certain classic super robot. It is still largely intact, although many of its joints and crucial areas are noisily spewing out black smoke and high-temperature steam, making entering the vicinity of the crash zone a highly unpleasant prospect in addition to consider. The villagers in the crowd are whispering things to each other, things like "I don't feel safe about kappa technology anymore." "You going in to help?" "Why don't you go in? The pilot probably got out already, like in that movie they showed last week at the Hakurei Shrine." "Oh mommy, why is there so much steam?"
You feel a small nudge on your shoulder, "Hey," Professor Conner mutters to you, "you should go check for casualties in there."
"Are you crazy? The area's a frikken death trap, I'll probably get roasted alive looking for survivors which may or may not exist!" you whisper back.
"Yeah, but it is also a rare opportunity to improve you reputation if you do. Besides, do you remember what Professor Sandrosky taught you about the medical philosophy right?" he persuades.
"You just want to use me to get access to the kappa's toys, aren't you?"
"Maybe." He grins in that peculiar way which usually indicates that something less than wholesome is crossing his mind.
Shooting him an evil glare, you reply "Fine, but you're coming in with me."
You remove the handkerchief wrapped around your knife handle and tie it around the lower half of your head to make a crude mask. Cautiously walking to make sure you don't step on something unstable or sharp, you enter the crash zone proper, checking behind to make sure the professor is following you. The crowd's distinct mutterings have changed to pointing and commenting, "An Outsider's going in!" "You think he's going to come out alive?" " I doubt it." The last one sounds suspiciously like Shang, but you are too busy trying to find a safe path through the jets of hot steam to notice. Finding the right places to jump or crawl under is quite difficult due to all the mixed-in smoke clouding your vision. The professor imitates your every move, so by the time you seem to reach the head of the crashed robot, he has many less burns on his body than you do.
"Well, here we fucking are!" You shout, seeing nothing alive in the vicinity. "They probably already bailed out! Thanks a lot professor."
"You don't get to examine such a giant mechanical contraption every day, you know, not even in Gensokyo." Conner has already busied himself scurrying around the golden spikes of Hisoutensoku's head, much to your chagrin. "My, what fascinating rivets! And their welding procedure uses some kind of unknown alloy to fuse plates together! And listen! Apparently something is still functioning inside!"
"Oh professor, I hear nothing, there-" you stop when you abruptly notice that there is indeed a faint pounding noise on the inside of the head. Along with what sounds like muffled screaming.
"Dear god! Professor, the pilot's still stuck inside!"
"Whoa, calm down, I got this." He opens up his backpack and looks for a tool while you begin screaming back at the cockpit to see if the occupant can hear you. The screaming becomes louder, so you presume that the occupant probably did hear you. You continue shouting, trying to convince the pilot to calm down, but seem to only increase the volume of panic he/she is experiencing. Thankfully, just as you begin to panic yourself on the condition, Conner removes the object he's been looking for from his pack: a portable water torch, a tool which you've seen in his laboratory many times before. This one in particular is custom-made, with an unusually small power supply and a gold finish over the torch part.
"Stand back, " He orders, and lights the torch, illuminating the area with an eerie blue light. Conner chooses a thin side of the head devoid of ornamentation, and sets the torch to work, easily cutting through the rather fragile bronze sheet metal the robot's head is made of. After about a minute, he turns off the torch and pulls out a small pry bar. Putting his foot on the head, he carefully inserts the bar into the newly formed crevices and pushes, sending a oval chuck of metal flying out and crashing at his feet.
As the cockpit is breached, the muffled screams become a coherent cry for help of clearly female tone, before abruptly stopping as the hatch opens up, though like nothing you've heard before. You peek in the hole, and can see what clearly is a small figure, clad in tattered and burned blue clothes, in the pilot seat shielding its eyes from the sudden glaring sunlight.
 Optimism first  Caution first
==================================== This update would have been better and faster if my proofreader didn't go to COLLEGE.
Basic medical training. Don't move too much someone who just had an accident unless there's inmediate danger. If the thing will explode, then we need to get her out of this place quickly and witout risking her. Youkai or not, a broken neck isn't funny.
Self-preservation is the priority in Gensokyo, if longevity is to be desired. Help others to the best of our capacities, if the risk to personal damage is deemed tolerable. Some vodka would be nice to buff up the guts though.
Guide to Gensokyo, Rule 23: In Gensokyo, luck is real.
[x] Caution first
Remembering your medical training, you decide to go with the standard procedure.
"Hello? Are you conscious?" You ask, keeping your face a safe distance away from the opening
The girl appears to see through the sunlight and, recognizing your form, lets out a small yelp and scrunches up against her seat.
"Please be cooperative," you conversantly recite the usual lines, even though it’s not in your native tongue, "We are here to help you."
Silence, the girl remains in her defensive pose inside the cockpit, staring at you with a frightened gaze. Her lips seem to quiver, as if trying to say something, only to be held back by fear.
"Don't you remember from the books? Kappa are shy things." Conner peeks into the hole with you. The girl seems to recognize him, and her eye briefly hardens with hostility, before reverting. Conner's eyes react the same way moments later, and he blurts out, "Hey, aren't you the Head Engineer in the village? Kawash-something?"
Almost reluctantly, she slowly nods her head.
Resisting the urge to ask random questions, you instead resume your duty as medic in spite of the revelation. "Miss Kawashiro, do you consent to me extracting you out of there?"
She shakes her head vigorously from side to side. You notice small droplets of blood being wrung out from her twin-tails as it happens. Head injury, probably on the back where you can't see it currently.
"If you would, my dear pupil, please hurry up" Conner says, holding a strange crackling device out against the surroundings, "My Geiger counter suggests that the nuclear reactor on this robot has a containment breach, and I would not be so idealistic as to assume that Eientei has an available solution for cancer."
"In that case," you unsling the air rifle and crank the pump up to half strength. Turning in towards the cockpit, you smile sadly and say "Sorry Miss Kawashiro, but you'll have to come whether you like it or not."
Before she can react, you aim the rifle in and pull the trigger. A soft, piercing sound and a surprised gasp from Nitori confirms the hit, and you lower the rifle just in time to see her attempting to raise her good arm in retaliation, only for it to slacken and droop as the anasthetic spreads through her body. Her eyes close, and you manage to crawl in and extract her with no problems more than a few scratches from the rough metal.
"Had you decided on this course of action earlier, it could have saved valuable time." he observes as you try to figure out the best way to carry Nitori on you. Deciding that the fireman's carry would be the best method, you sling her limp form over your shoulder, making a muttered prayer when you find out she barely weighs as much as the short freshman everyone fought for as a partner during Sandrosky's "search and recovery" labs.
"Well professor, I like to recover patients when they cooperate by choice most of the time," you respond, "Now let's get out of here, back through the steam and smoke, oh boy."
"You can go through the steam if you wish, though I suggest you don't with a casualty on your back."
You glance at him, "Fine professor, can you use your fancy tools to teleport us out or something?"
"Oh no," he grins and points straight up, "Better."
You barely saw the rapidly descending ship hull before haphazardly scrambling away to avoid the impact.
Time: 12:17 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Shore of the river-which-leads-down-from-the-Youkai-Mountain, Somewhere in the middle of Gensokyo Threat Level: 5
The column struggles to move under the heat of the noon sun. Even with most of their protective gear off, most of the humans are sweating like mad. The casualties, most of whom can walk with assistance, fare slightly worse. From afar, it looks like a dying snake.
Luckily, the river is only a few meters off to their right. Every now and then a few will break off to drink, to refill their canteens and to re-soak the wet towels on the heads of the wounded. Despite so, some still manage to collapse from the heatstroke, and had to be carried along on the ancient wagon they found when leaving Mayohiga. The more optimistic members of the group called it a blessing of the border that they found the wagon, while the more cynical ones likened it to putting meat in platters.
The leader finds his head hurting more and more as the number of heatstroke victims in the group grew higher and higher. He silently wishes that some of them would just die to avoid slowing down the rest of the column. For a man so used to dealing with more competent cohorts, the gaggle of isolated teenagers and social rejects behind him might as well be a colossal ball-and-chain. Sure, they can walk and shoot, but so can a ten-year old African child after one or two hours of instruction. Dealing with them after being in the United States Marine Corps is like...
Babysitting, that's the word, babysitting, he thinks, Babysitting a bunch of idiots too stupid to not get killed by themselves.
"It's like summer camp all over again." Somebody in the line grumbles.
"What, the sun and the landscape?" Another replies.
"No, the way how we have to walk long distances to get to anything."
"What did you expect, that Gensokyo has roads and buses? We all know that it doesn't have the latter."
"At least a train line..."
"The only time you see a train would probably be when-" The speaker nervously shifts his eyes from side to side, "-she shows up to murder you."
"Why so serious? It's not like Sukima's going to show up and rape you right here and now for saying her name."
"Fine then, you say it."
The only reaction produced is the abrupt flight of some white birds from a nearby tree.
"Shit, I thought she could give us a lift or something if you did that."
"Man, that is some grade-A wishful thinking right there, next you'd want to have her done up in a schoolgirl outfit and propose to her and have a happy marriage with kids and shit and..."
"GODDAMMIT YOU RETARDS!" The leader shouts back, "STOP WASTING AIR AND WALK FASTER!"
Silence prevails, for a moment at least.
"Umm, sir?" A voice calls out
The skinny teenager bringing up the rear gestures towards the back with his rifle. Far behind them, something is rapidly moving up the river on the shore, leaving splashes in its wake. It looks too small and slow to be somebody else's problem, but too large and fast to not be a problem. In short, the approaching object is just the right size for fear.
"I TOLD YOU MAN, I TOLD YOU ABOUT THE YUKARI!"
"That's not Yukari, it's probably a..a-who cares! Run!"
"YOU IDIOTS YOU HAVE GUNS!"
The leader groans in exasperation as the column runs off to hide in the surrounding trees, leaving just him and the wagon full of the incapacitated, some of them screaming to face the threat.
He is a little frightened himself, enough so that he slowly steps back even with his M16 raised. The object moves closer and closer. He can see that it is pointed, black and wheeled.
"♫ Corpses in a lake! Corpses in a tree! Corpses black and blue! Bring out you dead! Bring out your stiff! The fires of hell welcome you! ♫" A cheery song rings out.
"Dear gods...," He whispers to himself, "We avoided one cat but can't avoid the other. I wonder if Hell's Traffic Accident really means what it says."
The shape suddenly seems to trip on a rock, swivel, and plow straight into the wagon, sending it skidding for a few meters and almost tipping over.
The figure pushing the wheelbarrow is visible. The first thing the leader sees is the stark contrast between her green dress and red hair that gives the impression of an inverted radish. The second thing, of course, is the cat ears and unsettling presence lack of tails.
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the members of the group peeking out cautiously, some discreetly taking pictures and scribbling in their notebooks. Orin doesn't seem to notice or mind, instead choosing to focus entirely on the wagon.
"Hmm? I haven't seen bodies transported in a wagon like this since 1978!" she mutters to herself, "It would be bad if they were dumped into a pit like they were back then too. I really don't want to dig today." Her tone changes to address the leader, ignoring his weapon, "Are you dumping them in a pit?"
"They are not d-dead, Ms. Kaenbyou," The leader says with great effort, "Merely wounded."
"Oh crap is that Orin?" A conscious person lying inside the wagon says as the rest of the capable occupants stir and attempt to look over the high edges.
A looks of disappointment comes over the kasha's face, "You mean you didn't drag them into the forest and kill them with shovels for sabotaging vague efforts?" She asks the leader in an almost accusing tone.
"Uh, no, it would be easier if I did, but no."
Slowly, one by one the humans emerge from the trees to get a better look.
"That's not funny." Someone in the wagon calls out, "My brother died that way."
"Really?" Orin grabs on to the edge and peeks in, eliciting yelps of surprise, "Hmm, none of you look nearly that old for a human. Are you sure none of you are dead?"
"N-n-no." Was the collective response.
"Not even the ones not talking?"
"They seem to be breathing."
"Well then, if there are no corpses," she gives a small wave, "Farewell then."
With that, she goes back to her cart, and resumes speeding it down the river, until her form's no more than a dot in the distance.
"Guess Akyu wasn't bullshitting about the friendship level." A person wathcing from behind the leader says to another, "Fifty yen, pay up Mizuki."
"Sir, do you want us to get the wagon?" Another, trying to be productive, asks.
He slowly turns around, "Just making sure, any of you saw what was in her wheelbarrow?"
They all shake their heads.
"Because I swear I saw bundled up dead babies in there."
"Well, a corpse is a corpse." Intones a short, glasses-wearing in the front, "They all burn the same. No reason to spare the little ones"
"I guess." The leader agrees, before switching back to his usual tone, "And we will burn under this sun if we don't get a move on already!"
The column reforms, and slowly the snake begins to wiggle again down the river. ---------------------------------------------------- I hate college apps.
"AHOY ME HEARTIES! YOU MAROONED LANDLUBBERS SEEM TO REQUIRE A BIT OF AID RIGHT HERE! FEAR NOT, FOR CAPTAIN MURASA IS ALWAYS AROUND TO HELP A MATEY IN NEED!"
You expected to see Murasa quite soon, likely as a moderate hazard when you're crossing a river or as a nuisance when visiting the Myouren Temple. You certainly did not expect to see her posing on top of a large flying sailboat with a slightly lopsided Jolly Roger up top, the effect of which is completely negated by the words on the side of the hull which read "Myouren Public Ambulance Service".
Which is nothing compared to Murasa herself, who resembles something straight out of a Halloween party. Clad in a long white coat over what appears to be her sailor suit augmented with belts, puffy sleeves, a larger neckerchief and an eye patch, she would actually appear intimidating if it weren’t for the fact that the tricorne hat she's wearing has slid onto her non-covered eye, making her face a completely different direction than where you and the professor are standing. You naturally, are at a complete loss to react, and just stands there staring, dumbstruck.
"My dear captain!" Conner calls out, unaffected by her eccentric costume and manner of speech, "We are located over here."
"I KNEW THAT," she shouts as she hastily pushes the hat back, "I WAS, ER, TESTING YE ATTENTION! THE HIGH SEAS IS FRAUGHT WITH PERIL! AND ONE MUST BE ALERT EVEN WHEN YE ARE THREE SAILS TO THE WIND, LEST THE KRAKEN..."
"Playtime's over Minamitsu." A hand appears from behind her to drag her back from the edge. "Get down to the cargo hold and see if your dramatic landing has caused any breaches in the hull. Remember what Hijiri said: This is an ambulance first, pirate ship second."
"You're no fun Ichirin." she grumbles as she descends down an unseen hatch. Another figure emerges, one wearing a black hood and white robe and carrying a shoulder bag with an esoteric symbol sewn on the side. She leaps off the side of the ship and approaches you, who gulps, bows deeply and says in a weak tone "Greetings, Miss Kumoi." Conner merely acknowledges her with a cordial nod.
Ichirin makes a small bow, before gesturing towards the unconscious kappa hanging over your shoulder, "Is that the pilot, outsider?" she asks.
"I think so, yes, I guess. I mean, she was found in a cockpit in the head part of the robot." You swallow your anxiety, "I believe she is Miss Kawashiro, right?"
"Get her on the ship first please, and yes, you are correct. Kappa tend to get into rough situations when fooling around with their contraptions, and even the Head Engineer is not exempt from such accidents." she surveys the surroundings, "What a shame, Unzan had liked this robot."
You were going to ask where Unzan is when you see a thick grayish-pink cloud diffusing out of the bottom of the ship. It seems to be probing around, extending tendrils of itself around the wreckage and crawling over, like ants over an apple. You think you can see a face within the mass, but given Unzan's reputation for violence, you decide not to look too much in his direction as you ascend the ramp, with Conner following close behind.
"You friends with them or something, professor?" You whisper to Conner.
"They started a hospital service; I supplied them with rolling stretchers and other low-tech devices which are cheaper than what Eientei. In payment, they fix me up and don't ask questions whenever I do something stupid, like fall down a waterfall."
You suspect that this is another way to gain human favor for the rumored Buddhist-Taoist cold war, just like Shou and Futo's position jostling back in the village. Then again, it's not a bad thing for an outsider like you, who are rather likely to end up bleeding out somewhere in the wilderness.
"How do they find where you are and when you need help?"
Conner grins and reveals a small wooden charm worn around his neck, "Magic. Or rather, rub the charm they hand out the villagers and youkai who go to their temple and intone 'Health is the greatest gift.'"
Ichirin, meanwhile, opens the straps on shoulder bag, revealing it to be full of bandages, alcohol, and what appears to be strangely shaped hypodermic needles lined up against the sides.
"I suggest you treat her after getting her on the ship, this area is radioactive."
"Oh, is that so?" She digs within the bag, pulling out what appears to be two yellow adhesive patches shaped like a crescent moon from it. "Take this and stick it onto your skin. Stops most radiation from penetrating into your body for 12 hours."
You set the kappa down and receive the patch gladly. Removing the cover, you notice that the item sparkles slightly on the side which sticks onto your skin. The patch feels no different from an ordinary medicinal patch, except for the strange chill you feel over your skin as it made contact. Ichirin tosses the other one to Conner, and then proceeded with removing bottles of fluid from the bag.
"Nice, where did you get this?"
"Eientei. Where else? Was designed for lunarians, naturally, but applicable to anyone. Youkai and other magically-attuned beings like us do not need it though." Ichirin has begun occupying herself with diagnosing Nitori's wounds, "Hmm, that doesn't look good, you want to help me check which..."
"Upper left femur fracture, multiple right true rib fractures, severe concussion on the rear parietal part of the head, second-degree electric burns over the arm and the body, suspected internal bleeding on left hip, and the laceration across the torso which you are treating right now." Your schooling kicks in, knocking away your previous anxiety, "Are there splints and cyanoacrylate in the bag?"
"Skin glue, you know, spray it on, wounds seal?"
"Never heard of it."
You are actually quite surprised, "Really? There are magical radiation-removing patches but no skin glue? At least you have catgut and needles right?"
Ichirin sighs, "We have them, but we're not going to use them. Youkai regenerate flesh wounds very quickly, so we just have to make sure that they stay clean and covered. Bones are different though. Now are you going to help me splint her up or what? You seem to at least know a little bit of what you are doing."
"Just a little bit." You nab a roll of cloth strips and a long splint made out of what seems like fiberglass from the bag, and begin to secure Nitori's left leg while Ichirin works on the open wounds near her shoulder. Her short stature makes it relatively easy to secure the splint compared to the time when you had to do the same for that hulking American football player who tumbled down the dormitory staircase. Come to think of it, you haven't done anything you haven't done in the Outside World during the past three hours in the land of fantasy. Well, except for firing danmaku, that was pretty interesting.
But this, this is something you've done hundreds of times before in class, and you have a sneaking suspicion that you will do this many more times here.
"Hey, outsider, you paying attention?"
"Huh?" Your mind was drifting off again while your hands repeated the familiar task automatically. "Miss Kumoi?"
"Something fell out of the patient's coat pocket, it would be nice if you picked it up."
Your eyes dart across the floor of the ship, and notice a slightly crumpled up piece of paper, covered with the stylized, careful handwriting of old people. Smoothing out the paper, you read:
"Dear, please pick up some cantaloupe from the village market when you go out today. Also, see if you can find some silk thread, my supply of them is quite low after I made that new robe for father's friend, Senzo."
The last few words hit you like a lightning bolt. "What."
"What?" Ichirin and Conner look at you with a confused expression, "What's wrong? Are there secret stashes of equipment listed on that paper?" Conner added, eliciting a (surprising for you) roll of eyes from Ichirin.
"Parents. She has parents."
"You too have a father and mother, do you not?"
"Bu-but" You feel as if your perspective of Gensokyo is breaking down. "She's a youkai!"
"Civilized societies generally have working familial units," Conner says, somehow managing to imitate the droning speech of the history department head in Japanese, "and magically enhanced creatures such as the kappa are of no exception."
"That's right," Ichirin added as she finished bandaging Nitori's shoulder. "One of the many things left out from mythology is that some youkai have loving families. It's a common misconception that most youkai are born from myths and legends when in fact they've existed for even longer than humans have in this world."
As the reality of this statement sets in, you realize that it isn't as surprising as it originally seemed. With a feeling of foolishness, you nod sheepishly; after all those years of playing those danmaku games and immersing yourself in the Touhou culture and lore, you've always unconsciously accepted a reasoning that youkai existed simply because they can or by the effects of man. Other than a few human characters who had familial background coverage, everyone else simply existed because they just did. It was a woefully naive and simplistic preconception, now that you thought about it. It was the inherent human bias that those who are not like humans have nothing in common with them.
Gensokyo is infinitely more complex than one could ever imagine; the descriptions of it by outside world works simply could not do it justice. You made a mental note to find some spare time and read the "Guide to Gensokyo" as soon as possible, lest you make yourself seem like an ignorant simpleton. Before you knew it, you were done with the medical procedures, and Nitori was sleeping peacefully on a rolling stretcher, being loaded into the patient bay of the ship by Ichirin and Murasa. That left you and Connor standing on the deck of the ship, with half of the village watching in interest.
That reminds you of something that you had wanted to ask before, but didn't bother because of the urgency of helping Nitori. Now, seeing the captain of the Palanquin Ship again, you remembered what you wanted to ask.
"Why is Miss Murasa dressed as a pirate?" You whisper, hoping that the...eccentric Captain would not overhear and make you walk the plank or something for questioning her motives.
"You know that the Palanquin Ship is no longer a ship?"
"Yes, it is now the Myouren Temple."
"Minamitsu is a ship phantom, and since Hijiri has forbidden her from trying to drown more people, she's been spending her time maintaining this ship. And because of a moving-picture they were playing at the Hakurei Shrine that she watched, she named it the '黑珍珠'. It was good fortune that Hijiri forced her to turn it into an ambulance ship for the temple's new hospital service before she went off plundering some poor villager's 'booty'. She still tries to pretend it is a pirate ship though--"
"What's this I hear?" A poorly-mimicked pirate voice growls from behind you. Murasa really can move without making a sound, you think. "Mumblings o' mutiny from an unfaithful crew? This be a pirate ship, now and always! Shall I feed ye' to the Kraken?"
You open your mouth to protest, wanting to question where in Gensokyo would a body of water large enough to accommodate the Kraken even exist. The Misty Lake came into mind, but it was hardly likely that Cirno would appreciate a flying ship intruding on her domain.
Before you could properly formulate a remark, a hand-chop lands squarely over Murasa's head, and Ichirin appeared from behind her.
"Minamitsu, what did I say about harassing people on this ship?"
"A pirate's got to do something in her spare time, right?" she complains, her eyes tearing up a bit from the pain. "Miss Hijiri was okay with that much."
Ichirin sighs and shakes her head. She then turns to you and rummaged in her pocket for a brief moment, before procuring a wooden pendant covered with strange carvings in what appears to be Sanskrit.
"Here, take this," Ichirin said, handing to you the charm. "Thank you for your help. If you ever find yourself in need of immediate care, just rub this charm and chant 'Health is the greatest gift.' and we will show up as soon as possible."
"Thank you very much, Miss Kumoi," you reply gratefully as you receive it. The charm was almost weightless in your hands, and there is an aura of warmth around it as you put it around your neck. You smile on the inside with amusement, thinking that you were now essentially covered by Gensokyo's form of health insurance.
Amusement, not comfort, as you're pretty sure the response time isn't nearly fast enough to save your face from being clawed off by a youkai,
"Well, I think we should be leaving now," Ichirin says with a slight bow. "Take care of yourselves. No matter how familiar you are with Gensokyo, you can never be too careful. Good bye."
You and Connor respectfully bow back before descending the ramp. The pink clouds gather underneath the ship. Ichirin leans over the ramp and whispers something to the pink clouds surrounding it. They immediately condense, and you can see the distinct visage of an old man's face within the cloud as arms form underneath the ship to hoist it up into the air, sending it cruising through the sky as easily as it would in the sea, and even as it disappeared, you felt a lasting impression that this fantastic land still had a lot more in store than a giant nyuudou powering a flying ship.
"Nice," Connor declares with an air of finality. "That is quite an interesting little mess we got here to clean up."
Oh yeah. You look at the ground where the robot had crash-landed. The crater was still steaming, albeit much less than before and with a large gap in the debris created by the ship's impact, and most of the twisted metal was still too hot to touch, not to mention being potentially radioactive. It would take some time for the villagers to clean up this mess, unless...
"Hey, professor, do you think Miss Kamishirasawa could alter the history of the robot crashing?"
"Hmm," Connor ponders, walking cautiously to the large chunk of wreckage which probably was the torso on. You follow him, hoping that the anti-rad crescent patch was still working well. "Miss Kamishirasawa would need to be in her hakutaku form first, and the full moon won't be here for a while, not to mention that she's still recovering. Furthermore, in order to erase this incident from history, she would have to know why and how the robot fell from the sky, something that we don't even have a clue about."
"Hmm," this time you were the one making the humming sound. Your suspicious, paranoid side began to take over, and even in Gensokyo, the land of fantasy and illusions, the scientific method and systematic experimentation could still yield answers. You remembered the burning of the shrine, and the suspicious gasoline traces found in the charred wood. But for a giant, nuclear-steam engine-powered robot to simply fall from the sky? Someone needed to investigate--
"It's about time she's showed up." Connor suddenly pipes up, disrupting your chain of thought.
Confused, you tear your eyes off of Hisoutensoku, and looked up. At first, you didn't understand what was going on. But as Connor pointed to something in the sky, you quickly realize what he meant.
A distant dot was approaching steadily, growing in size. Moments later, the red white-speck has solidified into a concrete form, and you can now clearly recognize the (somewhat familiar by now) Shrine Maiden of Paradise, the de facto law enforcement in Gensokyo. News of the robot crash must've alerted her; after all, she is the canonically and really the primary incident resolver, a duty which persists even if her shrine has burned down, and this surely could be categorized as one. Her flying form was immensely intriguing to your eyes. All she was doing was leaning forward, her head bracing against the headwinds as she flew through the sky. Her skirt and ribbon were fluttering in the currents of the air, and her dark-brown hair flitted wildly as she soared through the sky. There was a small tinge of envy as you wished you could fly like that. You jokingly imagined that maybe you could convince Genji to give you a ride if you gave enough donations.
Reimu lands gracefully next to the crater, looks at it briefly, and then turns to the gathering of villagers.
"Did anyone see what happened here?"
"It fell from the sky." A cobbler says.
Reimu crosses her arms. "Any other 'useful' information?"
"You should ask those two," a woman with a basket of vegetables on her back suggests, pointing at you and Connor. "They extracted the kappa from the robot and helped the Myouren ambulance crew treat her wounds."
Reimu turns to your direction, and you give a sheepish smile. Connor snorted and started to walk away.
"Where are you going, professor?" You hiss as the older man starts to slink away silently.
"You can deal with her yourself," he replies. "The Hakurei shrine maiden and I aren't exactly on great terms. She tends to view me as a...troublesome...person, since I have a record for frequently getting myself into sticky situations. Besides, your knowledge is sufficient."
Before you could say another word, Connor had left, walking away briskly. There's nothing you can do about this, apparently. Well, at least you haven't done anything to make yourself an unpleasant person yet.
"Hey, outsider," Reimu's voice drifts closer, and you turn to face her. She was looking at your curiously now. "Wait, aren't you the one who helped me when my shrine was burning?"
"Uh, yes, that's me."
"Hmm," Reimu looks at you suspiciously. "What about the 10,000 yen donation?"
"Ha-ha, what donation?"
You decide to not make yourself seem too much of a nice person. Apparently Reimu's experiences with outsiders have left her with a lingering trace of vigilant cynicism and skepticism. You fear that she might see you as someone who's just trying to win over her good side with money, something that she was becoming more cautious about. Yet, her behavior is not surprising, as you considered the various types of people in the outside world.
The shrine maiden still remains skeptical. However, she quickly drops that subject, and went back to her normal duty as incident investigator. She inquires about Hisoutensoku, and the events that had occurred before and after. You try to give her as much detail as possible, covering everything from when you and Connor noticed the odd behavior to the very moment she had arrived. After you finished your report, Reimu took on a thoughtful look, eyeing the robot as well as occasionally at you.
"Alright, I'll ask Nitori about what had happened after she recovers," Reimu finally decided. "Maybe it's just a malfunction. I doubt it's anything too much out of the ordinary."
The inkling of suspicion grows stronger inside your conscience. Your sixth sense is telling you that there was more than meets the eye, but at the same time, you couldn't imagine any probable scenario that would make sense. Perhaps you should do some solo investigative work? Back in the day, you did help the chemistry department in investigating a lab explosion, and helped trace the probable cause and chain of events (the teaching assistant's pet corgi knocking over a highly flammable wooden stool). This experience could possibly be applied here, if you were given the sufficient privileges to be allowed to do so.
"By the way, outsider," Reimu suddenly says, her tone becoming less detached and proper. "You seem to be a decently well-behaved and quite helpful outsider. What is your name?"
This sudden turn of events reminded you that your incursion into Gensokyo was all off the record and should stay that way. Anonymity needed to be kept.
"Wu Ming, I know you know what it means, but I'm sticking with it. If you wish, you can also call me Toku Mei or Anon Yimus."
"Well then, Mr....uh...Ming, you're welcome to come visit my shrine after it gets rebuilt. If you find any news relating to this incident, please come by. In the meantime, I'll see if I can get Yukari to gap this pile of scrap away from the village."
The urgent feeling is a bit stronger. Personally, you wanted to keep the trashed robot here for a bit longer, so you could examine it (knowing Connor would greatly desire such an opportunity as well). You also consider the option of helping Reimu with her investigations; after all, she is the incident resolver of Gensokyo, and has been ever since. Nobody is more qualified than her when it comes to such tasks. You might also gain some useful connections by working with her. On the other hand, it might be better to work on your own, as you would be far less detectable and can integrate better with the village's denizens. After much deliberation, you decided to:
[ ] Help Reimu with investigating the incident of Hisoutensoku's crash landing. [ ] Drag Conner back here to help you figure out what's wrong. [ ] Head back to the village, the wreckage isn't going anywhere Reimu can't access, and your experience with machinery is limited at best. [ ] Ask Reimu to head over to the Myouren Temple with you, you should question Nitori as soon as she wakes up. Hopefully before 2:00.
Let's say that, hypothetically, you see a theoretical glint in the trees across the crash site, what would you do? [ ] Point it out subtly. [ ] Point it out loudly. [ ] Duck. [ ] Tackle.
You guys did read ZUN's new print work, right? Right?
====================================== Guide to Gensokyo:
Hieda's Appendix 1 - Friendship level doesn't mean how friendly they are towards you, it means how unlikely they are to harm you, intentionally or otherwise. For example, the night sparrow youkai regularly sells lamprey in the village and socializes well, but she will try to trap lone humans if she thinks the village won't mind.
Hieda's Appendix 2 - If you are wondering why Ms. Motoori charges you more than villagers for borrowing books from Suzunaan, it's because they do not have a reliable method of securing fines from people who die or disappear. ====================================== [X] Help Reimu with investigating the incident of Hisoutensoku's crash landing. Flipped a coin. [x] Duck
You and Reimu comb through the chunks of wreckage for any sign of tampering or intentional damage. But with all the parts of Hisoutensoku either burnt or blackened by the smoke from the burning wires, it is rather hard for someone who only had nominal military and mechanical experience, like you, or someone who is only nominally familiar with post-1800s technology, like Reimu, to discover any trace of foul play or even an unusual malfunction.
After crawling over and under the robot pieces again, your clothes have graduated from merely dirty to completely covered in soot. Reimu, who simply floats over the piles of debris, is only contaminated from the knee down, a fact which she remarks upon as you finish inspecting the last piece, a former metallic foot.
"You look like you've been standing in front of Kourin's stove with the grate off."
"Really?" You try to dust the blackness off, only to dismally notice how the soot has seeped in between the fabric, "I've had worse. So did you find anything for this one?"
She shakes her head, "Nothing I can tell. I thought an outsider like you would have more luck."
"Ha, you're talking like giant robots actually existed on our side of the border besides a few very unstable models." You reply, "And none of them can fly, or crash, or run on steam heated by a nuclear reactor."
"I mean, as in you have dealt more with mechanical constructs of a..." she struggles to find the words, "esoteric nature."
"Ask the outsider mechanic who was with me. Or rather, don't."
"I would not, since he would likely be all over these pieces as soon as I leave anyway. He might as well, since I don't think either one of us can find anything here."
Knowing the professor, you grin and nod. Leaning against the foot, you think about what to do next. Head back to the village probably, its 1:14 PM, and Reisen wants you there at 2 to work at the clinic.
You push yourself onto the robot's foot and survey the area. It took you and Reimu only thirty minutes to inspect the pieces, and Conner would probably cover it in half the duration, discounting the time for him to haul off anything he could carry. You blink your eyes at the sun's glare, which is unusually bright considering that it’s shining at the top, not the front of your head.
You blink again. The glare is coming from the corner of your eye. You turn your head, expecting to see a reflecting piece of metal. When you did see where it came from though, your mind froze for a second.
Something is reflecting light from the trees across the cornfield, about 150 meters away.
Instinctively, in no small part from watching action movies, you attempt to duck right on top of the foot, causing you to lose balance and tumble down onto the ground, bloodying your nose against the metal in the process. Reimu, seeing you commit this stupid action, laughs at your misfortune before strolling over to see if anything's wrong.
"Did you suddenly got hit by an invisible fist, outsider?"
You pull yourself off from the ground, careful to keep the wreckage between you and the source of glare, "I saw something weird in the trees over there. Thought it was an attacker."
The sound of a tree falling down not too far away only confirms your worries. Reimu, peeking over the wreckage, loudly swears and takes off in flight. You, with curiosity overtaking caution, again, run out after her, stopping dead when you see the cannon poking out between the tree branches.
The tank pays neither of you any heed, driving straight towards the wreckage with no regard to the flying shrine maiden shouting at it and affixing various paper amulets to its turret.
Reimu stops talking once it became clear that the tank is not listening, and speeds up attaching amulets until the entire turret of the tank appears to be a frilly white mass. She mutters an incantation, and the amulets suddenly explode in blue light.
Strings of blue begin streaming out of the amulets, wrapping themselves around the tank before plunging into the ground. The tank's hull soon became covered by the sealing web, as interwoven as any fisherman's net and as thick as jungle vines. You cheer as the tank abruptly stops, as if surprised at the power of Reimu's spell...
...only to move forward again, sweeping aside the magical ropes as if they were no more than spider silk.
It moves around your stunned form and goes straight at was once was Hisoutensoku's torso. Using its cannon as a spade, it digs into the metal, tearing apart the bronze plates with brute machine strength.
"Uh, aren't you going to try something else to stop it?" You ask the dejected looking shrine maiden who floats down next to you.
"I am completely out of sealing amulets."
"What about those needles? You know, like in the games?"
She sighs, and removes a handful of small purple needles from her...huh, she keeps a pouch inside her sleeve, that's something you did not know. Aiming carefully, she tosses them at the tank. Each needle impacts the tank hull with a burst of purple light, but without any sort of reaction from the steel beast.
"I have tried those, all seals, boundaries, even the exploding amulets designed to kill instead of incapacitate. The tank is not vulnerable to spiritual attacks, and virtually impervious to physical ones. The only damage I have done is to that smaller gun next to the main one, which always seems to be destroyed anyway"
You are rather incredulous, "Don't you have friends capable of crushing mountains, shooting massive beams of energy, or creating gaps in everything?"
"Suika and Yukari went off together about two weeks ago, and nobody I know has seen them since. Marisa did try using the mini-Hakkero on that thing, and only damaged the parts sticking out. Everybody I know actually had to deal with it at least once, it’s a rather troublesome...thing."
Both of you watch as the tank stops tearing into the wreckage and back up. Its roof hatch opens, and out sprouts a grotesque mechanical arm, seemingly composed of World War II era firearms (At least according to video games and Wikipedia) crudely welded together. The arm reaches into the wreckage, and removes some chunks of silvery and black metal which it then deposits into the hatch.
"Ms. Hakurei, I may not be familiar with kappa engineering, but I think that was the lead casing for the nuclear reactor." You say as you nervously edge away from the tank.
"It does that sometimes, I think that since it’s made of metal, it needs metal to maintain itself."
"Lead is an odd choice though. You think it may have been responsible for the crash?"
Reimu stares at the tank, and shakes her head. "I do not believe so. I have actually never seen it open fire at anything animate, and everybody in the village would have heard it if it did. Most of the time, it trespasses to scavenge some piece of metal it wants, and retreats when threatened. Well, except for that guy who tried shooting it with a crossbow, which made it angry."
So the tank probably is not responsible. You think. Then who could have done it? Or rather, who would have shot down the robot?
And the tank. You are having doubts it is a tsukumogami. It behaves completely differently from traditional youkai behavior, and more importantly, it doesn't talk.
"I guess it’s not too bad. We checked over that wreckage already."
The situation here is Reimu's, and later on, probably during the night, Conner's job. You have obligations to meet, and you doubt the case will be resolved any further before Nitori wakes up.
[ ] Head back to the inn first. You don't want to be caught in an emergency without proper medical supplies again. [ ] Head over to the clinic first, it's almost 2 PM. And you fear that Reisen will mind-rape you again if you are late. [ ] Oh look. Is that Kourindou over there?
Reimu waves goodbye to the outsider as he leaves. A rather nice person, she reflects, compared to the stalker that came in before him. He'll probably last more than a week, if he doesn't have some secret problem which would lower his survival chances drastically.
The tank appears to finish gathering metal. It closes the hatch, and turns around, throwing up loam with its steel tracks. As it moves back into the woods, however, it stops by Reimu and rotates its turret, first pointing towards her, then towards the trees.
Reimu tilts her head. The tank repeats the action, and then turns, rolling off towards the Forest of Magic.
"Does it want me to go over there?" she mutters to herself. Marisa did say the tank can crudely communicate with its limited array of actions, like when it tried to obtain an old cauldron from her yard.
When she walked over, the lightly wooded area was more or less empty, except for two very curious things.
A large scorch mark on the bark of a tree, and a torn sheet of paper hanging on a branch.
The writing on the paper is printed, and rather dense. More importantly though, it’s in some language which she's never seen before.
She gently lifts it off the tree branch and sticks it in a sleeve pouch. Maybe that book renter can figure out what it means.
<Mir> Why haven’t the younger satori caused the events in that PV yet? <%Purple> Because she can't kill people with eye-tentacles <%Purple> Why haven’t you told me about that helicopter loaded with FSB operatives breaching the border? <Mir> Operatives? <Mir> OH SHIT I FORGOT
[x] Head over to the clinic first, it's almost 2 PM. And you fear that Reisen will mind-rape you again if you are late.
Time: 4:15 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Eientei Village clinic Threat Level: 0
"How much longer is this going to take, Miss Udongein?"
"Just hold still boy, I'm still trying to get the last one in."
Setting up the clinic has been proving to be an unusually arduous task. Considering the sheer amount of equipment and supplies Eirin apparently decided that this place should be provided with, which after reassembling some polymer parts from a box, included what Reisen assured you is a small X-ray scanner of Lunarian origin but really looks more like a massive ribcage and a luxurious reclining chair that has an integrated music box. For therapeutic purposes.
"This should fit in here..."
Putting the supplies on the recently delivered shelves, however, is the worst. The carpenter fouled up the order and made the shelving area about half a square meter less than needed, rendering the stocking process an hour-long frustrating game of Tetris with you holding boxes at one end of a shelf to prevent them from falling out while Reisen attempts to squeeze in the maximum amount possible.
You let out a deep breath and sit down on the floor in exhaustion. Your arms ache, your legs feel like jelly, and more importantly, the caffeine high you've been riding on since yesterday night is beginning to wear off.
On the bright side, Reisen has been nicer to you after the incident with the crashed Hisoutensoku, likely due to it being concrete evidence that you are a decent medic, if nothing else.
"Was that the last box?"
"That was the last box." Reisen says as she stretches her arms and legs, "Tea break? I would say that now is a good time."
"Sure, whatever you say. You want me to fetch the water?"
"No need, this building is attached to the plumbing system. That funny looking bronze dragonhead over there is the faucet. For your health as a human though, I suggest using a filter from the green box over there. The treatment system here isn't exactly complete."
You dutifully strap the filter on the faucet, and as an additional measure, you put in two water purification tablets you had in your pockets into the filled kettle.
"Tea leaves are on the desk next to the carton of dried dates. No, not the green tea, get the oolong tea instead please. Just use the small furnace over there, what? You don't know how to start it? Oh right you have no experience with lunar technology."
After letting Reisen fiddle around with the stove, which you assume is to prepare herbal remedies with, the tea is finally simmering, and after taking time looking for rugs, a table, mugs, and snacks, the kettle had whistled, and two cups of hot tea are soon steaming in front of you and your moon-rabbit boss/co-worker/guide, you are still not quite sure what your position in the workplace hierarchy is yet.
The lack of caffeine is seriously starting to affect your thinking right now. You hope the tea has enough caffeine to tide you over until at least 9'o clock. You doubt anyone grows coffee in Gensokyo, and you used up your supply of pills already. You would have brought pseudoepinephrine instead, but airport customs could've gotten you in trouble for that. So right now, your mouth is moving mostly before consulting your brain.
"Say, Miss Udongein, is it true that your personality can be changed at will?" You ask while she's taking a sip, "And are your ears really buttoned on?"
She glares at you from behind her teacup, though without activating any mind-melting powers, "Yes, though I don't see how that's different from anyone, and no, they are quite real, do you want to pull on them to test it or something?"
Your hand has already reached out halfway before your chemically-depressed brain catches the sarcasm in her words. "No, thank you, that would be fine. So what are the buttons for, anyway? And are there any other moon rabbits at Eientei?"
"Antiquated Lunar fashion, and as far as I know, I am the only moon rabbit on Earth right now."
There is silence for a moment. You try to keep up a presence of normality, but you’re shaking hands and stiff arm movements hinder your efforts.
Your eyes flick over to the boxes, "So, uh, what are those amphetamines for?"
"Drastic stimulants ordered by the village guard in case of emergencies. Why?"
"No reason, just asking," You hold up the cup and avoid her gaze, which was to no avail as the now-familiar feel of low-frequency waves penetrate your skull, annihilating your already weakened capacity for lying.
"Alright! I have not slept in two days, and I would like to finish today's work without blacking out. It is not the first time I've used it anyway."
"Oh? So you are an addict?" Her tone turns dark, "You certainly did not seem like one."
"Addict? Me? No, Ms. Udongein, I am sorry for the confusion." You roll up your left arm sleeve, revealing a small, barely visible rubber valve implanted in your skin. "I volunteered for this program where they paid good money to test experimental drugs on people, which included various amphetamines. The valve here is something they cooked up that is basically an air valve for human skin, so they can avoid making people's arms look pockmarked."
"And as a human, you are not dead because?"
"They kicked me off once they discovered that my brain chemistry adapts crazy fast for some reason to everything they shoved in me, even pure cocaine would only give me the equivalent of an unimpressive sugar rush. I later found out that most of the others who volunteered died after one month, and ended up not getting paid anyway. Such is life in the Outside World. I swear upon my life, legitimately, as in you can kill me if I react to the drug dosage with typical effects."
For the first time you see her eyes betray a hint of surprise. "If you insist." She sighs. "Though it will be coming out of your pay."
"That's fine. I do not even know how much I am getting paid yet, or how." You say as you fish around the box of stimulants, eventually finding a container of syringes marked with green runes. "What's this?"
"Slow release variants. It uses lipid-carbon nanocapsules to reduce the strength and increase the duration of the drug. Judging by your size, should last you for about seven or so hours. And I cannot confirm your pay until Master Yagakoro meets with you."
"Ah, internships." You remark despite the fact that you never got picked for one. In a well-practiced routine, you remove the cap from the syringe and inject the special drug mixture into the valve, ignoring the minor discomfort from your veins expanding. "Much like slavery, in a way."
"I would not be saying that if I were you, Outsider." Reisen says with a derisive tone, glaring at you with her ears drooping over half her eyes, casting an oddly menacing shadow. "Seeing as you have the means to enter Gensokyo, it is very much unlike slavery."
"Oh right, I apologize then. I guess you have more of an experience like that then, seeing as you have a master and everything." The amphetamine is beginning to stimulate you now, very slowly and gently, much like when you took four espresso shots.
"Actually, I was not referring to that." She strolls over to a backpack behind the counter, still holding the teacup, and removes what seems to be a small brush from it. "Have you ever served in the military of your country?"
"Half a year, reserves." You respond, "Why?"
"Well, let me just tell you that it does not nearly compare to the Lunar Defense Force in terms of stifling one's soul." Reisen tosses you the brush, "Scrub every inch of this room, now! If I see one dark spot, you will be shot. Oh calm down," she adds when she sees your horrified face, "I am not nearly that cruel. Though this was part of our duties as LDR."
"I thought it was just a sort of militia, with moon rabbits."
"Yeah, moon rabbits. You know what? The only information distributed in the Outside World is about service under the Watatsuki sisters. The truth is, they are both the kindest and the most lenient commanders a moon rabbit could have and the ones most tolerant of Earth-dwellers."
"They certainly do not seem to give off that impression." You say, careful to remove any insulting tones from your words.
"Of course they dislike earth-dwellers, naturally. The rest of the 'pure' Lunarians, including Tsukiyomi, Lord Tsukiyomi, however, loath them. Have you noticed that they almost never get mentioned? That's because they hole up in their city on the dark side of the moon, maintaining the barrier to keep out the 'taint'. I have only worked under Lady Watatsuki no Toyohime during what would be considered my adolescence, after which I was transferred to the Lunar Capital as a promotion."
"Let's just say it did involve scrubbing down rooms with small brushes, among other unpleasantsies."
This time, her glare releases a small but acute burst of short-waves that causes you to reflexively recoil. You get the idea that perhaps she does not quite feel like talking about it right now.
"Anyways, Mr. Wu, it's about time for your next assignment."
"Assignment?" You toss the used syringe in the waste bin and stare at the map and open book being thrust in front of you, "Silphium? Isn't that extin-oh right, Gensokyo, land of dreams and fantasy."
"Silphium is one of the higher demand herbs in the village, mostly as contraception or as condiments, and it is not particularly hard to find or locate, discounting the distance of its growing areas from the village. I need a basket full of them for refining, and by basket I mean the ones used to carry wheat."
You stare at the map, "12 kilometers? That's...pretty far."
"The path is over relatively flat terrain in a semi-safe area. You could probably outrun and outgun most of the youkai and fairies you encounter."
"You have a bike or something?" You are not exactly a shining example of human physical achievement.
"The innkeeper rents horses, and I'm sure your acquaintance the mechanic will have something. Even if you walk, you should be able to make it back by 6'o clock."
You stare, still fearful of the wilderness.
Reisen sighs, "Also, you can see the Netherworld entrance-"
=================================== - Back basket added to inventory - Latin book full of pictures of herbs (for identification) added to inventory
After gulping down your tea and cramming your mouth full of the biscuits, you rush out, eager to see the giant door in the sky...
[ ] Get a horse [ ] Ask Conner [ ] Walk
...before noticing an odd assortment of individuals approaching you from down the street. Outsiders, two Japanese and two foreigners, dressed in dirty T-shirts and smelling like stale fast food. Worryingly, they seem to have the characteristic smile that certain imageboards term the "rape grin". You see no weapons, though their saggy jeans and sweatpants could easily be concealing a gun or pocketknife.
They are rather skinny, and their gait slovenly. You do not know what they want, but you have a rather nasty feeling about what it could be.
You realize that while running away will only encourage them, being hostile will only increase your chance of getting horribly, horribly injured. With slightly trembling legs, you walk down the street towards them, as casually as you can manage.
"Hey there!" The one closest to the front of the posse, a foreigner with long brown hair, calls out,"Can you come over here for a second?"
Still maintaining a neutral demeanor, you stroll over, one hand on the grip of your pistol under your jacket.
"Is there anything I can help you with?"
He leers over you, making the situation particularly uncomfortable due to the fact that he is at least a full fourteen centimeters taller than your relatively scrawny frame. "So I heard you got a job with that bunny girl, right?"
"Do you mind giving this to her?" He receives a box of chocolates, crumpled and crudely wrapped with pink ribbon, from the man behind him. You briefly wonder whether the grease from that man's hair soaked through the box, before noticing the card also attached to the "gift".
“‘Please meet with me, at the gazebo by the river, sundown.' From my experience with her, I doubt she'll pay attention to your lovely offering before tossing it in the trash. Come to think of it, why don't you folks just deliver it to her yourselves?"
"So she is here right now!" He lowers his voice.
"No, that is not what I mean..."
"Come on, man, we'll even get you a tape when we're done."
You start to involuntarily tremble. These outsiders are what that village guard earlier was talking about, the ones who require firearms to deal with. The ones who make every outsider into a suspect by default. You begin looking around, as by now, you are quite fearful for your own safety.
"No, that would be quite impossible, she is still a youkai, and...oh"
You wince a bit as the brown-haired removes a .44 Magnum Colt Anaconda which makes your M1911 silently stare in envy with its little rear sight.
"I-I still do not seek any participation in your ef-f-forts." You stutter out.
"Really now? Why so glum? She wouldn't be remembering any of it when we are done." His grin grows larger, stretching from side to side like the Cheshire Cat.
You slowly back away from the creeps, who begin to converge on your position, much like a pack of hyenas with an injured gazelle. The bulges in the pants pockets of the other ones are definitely also handguns, and a cold sweat breaks out once you realize how little the chances are of you surviving if the situation escalates.
You watch as their hands begin reaching for those bulges. "So what? Are you in?"
"HEY! GET AWAY FROM THAT BOY!" A scream behind you cracks the tense atmosphere. You watch the four outsiders freeze in shock, then stumble over themselves in a frenzy as they sprint back down the street, turning left into an alley. You wonder what made them panic so right as a burst of gunfire roars through the air, the bullets only centimeters from your head, impacting the wooden walls of the building while strangely not going through. One bullet impacts the slowest one on his backside, sending him crumpling to the ground screaming in pain before the others drag him to cover.
You turn around, only to see Reisen leaning out the shop window, ears perked up, face red with anger, wielding in one hand a Gatling gun, at least half as long as she is tall, and with an ominous trail of smoke coming out of its barrels, which are engraved with the same glowing runes on your pistol. It vaguely resembles the M134s mounted on Humvees during your time in the reserves, but the design is infinitely more...elegant, in a sense.
She holds it there for ten seconds, making sure that they are not coming back, before casually tossing the weapon back under the counter as if it is no more than a wooden stick.
"Thugs." She sighs, and then looks directly at your eyes. "You! Don't get into trouble like that again!"
"I th-think they were trying to rape you."
"Like what, the couple dozen or so before them? This gun is not present here without a reason you know, even if it is not loaded and only fires danmaku. Well, painful danmaku. Now ignoring that, you still have a job to do, do you not?"
Reisen goes back into the shop, and you turn around to proceed on what you planned to do before noticing that the posse had dropped their "gift" in their frantic escape. Curious, you pick it up and tear off the ribbons. The chocolates inside resemble ordinary store-bought stock. You toss one into your mouth, noticing nothing wrong with the taste, before noticing a very strange sensation making its way to your brain.
A mild drowsy sensation, one of slight disorientation and forgetfulness. What does this remind you of again? Oh right.
"Rohypnol, seriously?" You mutter to yourself as you tuck the box into your backpack, "Ah well, I'm out of sleeping pills anyway."
One hour ago, somewhere else...Rifle!AK47hf008c2013/01/22 (Tue) 07:36No. 28687▼
Time: 3:15 PM Date: June 26, 2014 Location: 200 meters above the ground, over Japanese wilderness Threat Level: 2
Lieutenant Petrov Konoroz was not having a good day.
Or rather, he did not have a good dinner. The combat rations were still as bad as ever, but it was simply a stroke of bad luck that he had consumed a particularly corrupted portion of borscht that left his stomach like an inexperienced recruit doing back-flipping hatchet maneuvers.
But he was Spetsnaz, so a little stomach ache couldn't bring him down; after all, he had endured far worse during the brutal training regime. Spetsnaz operators like Konoroz were expected to give everything in their service to the Motherland, committing themselves to tasks of high political and strategic importance, willing to sacrifice even their lives for the state and the people.
At least, that was what he had thought the job would be like. The political screening was easy to pass, and his five years of experience in the OMON doing counter-terrorism and hostage cases contributed much to his selection as a GRU Spetsnaz. In the first few years he dirtied his hands doing the reconnaissance and sabotage work he so firmly believed was defending his nation from danger.
But after the GRU Spetsnaz was dissolved in 2010, he was transferred to the FSB's control, and found his way into Vympel, mostly working on the drudgery of guarding nuclear facilities and occasionally dealing once more with fanatical Chechens and hostage crises that rarely ended on a happy note.
He longed for a mission that would remind him of the glory days of razvedka and direct action operations, of penetrating deep into foreign land and doing everything in the name of the state.
"Lieutenant," one of the men sitting beside him whispered. "Everyone is so silent, please say something!"
So why now, Konoroz wondered, why was his detachment so abruptly pulled out of their nuclear babysitting, only to be hastily scrambled into a civilian-marked helicopter making its way to what seemed to be a forlorn area in northern Japan?
“Private,” Konoroz hissed back at the younger operative, wincing in agony as he felt his poisoned stomach protest. “I don’t know any more than you do. Just look at our captain; he’s the only one who got briefed, and look at what he is now.” He nodded subtly at their commanding officer.
The man appeared to be in an even worse condition than the lieutenant; his face looked just as sick as Konoroz’s, but it was clear that he was plagued by problems of a psychological nature. His visage was a mixture of terror and anxiety, something that they almost never saw before in any hostage or terrorist case, no matter how grim. Konoroz reasoned that seeing their CO stricken like this was probably why the men were stunned into silence.
But the private was right; Konoroz knew that this meaningless silence shouldn’t go on. He cleared his throat, took a breath, and prepared to instigate some form of dialogue for the sake of everyone’s mentality and spirits.
“Captain Lazarov,” Konoroz began, causing the captain to look up, “I just want to say that we’ve been with you through every type of hell imaginable: biochem attacks, time bombs, and thousand-hostage crises. We’re comrades in arms, maybe not brothers, but at the very least we’re not indifferent to each other’s sufferings. We’ve crawled through mud and snow in boot camp, and even beat the shit out of each other if we wanted to, isn’t that right, Grusha?”
The remaining eight men in the helicopter chuckled, particularly the one named Punchball, who gave a half-assed grin on his distinctively ball-shaped head to the recollection of bittersweet memories.
“Captain, we need you to brief us on what’s going on. The men can’t perform like this; if we don’t even know our objectives, how can we give it our all?”
Some murmured in agreement, turning to the captain, who now looked torn in his decisions. The ambivalence was conspicuous, but none of the squad wanted to push the subject too hard against the captain’s will – after all, he was their commanding officer. However, Lazarov swept a long look around the cabin, and seeing the still-hopeful gazes of his squad mates, he took a deep breath before beginning to speak.
“Comrades,” he began, his usually scruff voice lacking its usual steadfastness. “I’m going to be as forthcoming as I can. Our mission this time is foreign espionage.”
There were looks of confusion. Konoroz needed a brief moment to collect his thoughts. Foreign espionage? This wasn’t exactly an unusual mission for Spetsnaz. So why was the captain so bothered?
“I know, it’s not an odd mission for Vympel,” Lazarov continued, “but what is making me uneasy is the nature of our mission that our superiors refused to inform me about. Just read this, and note that this is just the preliminary briefing.”
Lazarov reached into his vest pocket and extracted a small slip of paper.
“Eyes only,” the captain warned, holding the slip in the air. “I kept this without informing my superiors. But you’re right, Konoroz, I believe that you men ought to know what you’re dealing with.”
The captain passed it over to his junior officer, who read it briefly, turned pale, then passed it to Konoroz. Despite feeling another wave of anxious sickness pass over him, Konoroz unfolded the slip, and scanned over the text briefly – and the more he read, the more confused he became.
NATO research facility? Not unusual, but why didn’t they do any mock setups before hand? Where was the ground intel? Not even potential hostile forces?
Even the objectives given were vague; Konoroz had never seen the term “low-profile observatory presence” be used before for general mission descriptions. Missions either fell under the category of military recon (razvedka) or direct action, but this makes it sounds like command wants them to establish a long-term outpost in foreign territory!
And the equipment – Konoroz swore that if he ever saw such a load-out in a normal recon operation, he’d refer the operational equipment analyst to a mental ward: AN-94 and the new AK-12 assault rifles, PKP Pecheneg light machine guns, Igla-S AA missile launchers, MON directed explosion mines, and enough plastic explosive to bring down a good fourth of the White House. And Konoroz was expected to believe that this load-out was for establishing a “low-profile observatory presence?”
The small amount of rations and water provided - enough for only one day - also raised concerns, especially coupled with the lack of a precisely defined operational period. They did not know when the operation would be over, and the instructions didn’t tell them to do anything directly to the NATO facility except observe.
And to top it off, a good deal of Japanese currency was also provided with no viable explanation, the only fact relating being their destination.
Konoroz then noticed the mission was apparently classified enough that they weren't supposed to talk about it to anyone at all, not even amongst themselves until the operation begins. Their captain had probably judged it to be better for the men to get some time to soak up and digest the confusing and self-contradictory orders.
The lieutenant passed the paper over to the other men, whose faces contorted as their emotions cycled through various degrees of incredulity and bewilderment.
“Permission to speak—“
“Just say it.”
“Who the hell authorized this mission?”
“Classified,” Lazarov replied, “FSB is involved, but I know that our operation is independent; nobody is going to follow up on our activities.”
“So they’re sending ten of their operatives to an unknown fate? What the fuck is command thinking?”
“Heh,” the captain laughed drily. “Funny you mentioned that; I heard that much of the brass was invited to the Prime Minister’s birthday party. We all know what happens when vodka gets to the brain.”
“The civilian agents ought to be doing this type of crap,” Konoroz fumed, throwing aside all the principles of respect for duty and unwavering devotion. It wasn’t that he was unwilling to die for a cause; it was that this mission had no clear cause to die for.
“We’re the closest group that is fluent in Japanese and English,” the captain replied, “It’s only reasonable to pick us. I have no idea why they decided on using a military unit though. Likely alcohol.”
Konoroz felt his stomach churning once again, and with a great deal of effort, resisted the urge to spew profanities, fearing that he might just hurl his guts out if he left his mouth open. The other men now carried looks of similar concern like the captain, and they all looked around the helicopter, as if suddenly realizing that there was no backing out; they were already on their way to this insane operation’s insertion point.
"Nomad Nine to Base Camp, we are approaching the drop zone, ETA 3 minutes, over."
The sickened lieutenant turned his head, hearing the radio traffic broadcast from the pilot’s cabin.
"Copy that, Nomad Nine. Proceed with flight into drop zone until in view of area without fog. Code Strannik is to be executed as soon as possible."
"Nomad Nine to Base Camp, no sign of any fog, request confirmation of coordinates."
"Base Camp to Nomad Nine, your coordinates are correct, proceed along mission path."
The only thing playing within the helicopter interior is the scratchy output of the comms radio as the pilot of the civilian-marked Mi-17 chatters with mission command. According to the description, no communication or quick extraction within the mission area is possible, and the nervous tone of the copilot reflects that. Konoroz wondered if the pilot and copilot had any more idea regarding the operation as they did.
He took a look at the cockpit, and notes that the pilot was kitted out in the same gear as they were. The amount of plastic explosive provided suddenly makes sense, as does the pilot's increasingly frantic tone. Konoroz felt a pang of annoyance; what are they supposed to do with the pilot and copilot on such a long term mission?
"Nomad Nine to Base Camp. What is the extraction method?"
"Base Camp to Nomad Nine. Extraction plans will be provided after landing. Instructions are within sealed package. Do not unpack until landing. I say again, do not unpack until landing."
"Nomad Nine to Base Camp. Interrogative: wasn’t radio supposed to be dysfunctional within mission area?"
Base Camp remained silent. The copilot attempted to contact Base Camp once again, to no avail.
“What is going on?” Captain Lazarov asked, standing up and leaning his head into the pilot cabin. The distressed copilot could only blabber nonsense about comms failure and the local area being unusually high in electromagnetic flux, as well as the helicopter’s navigation being being affected by some sort of externally applied magnetic field.
“Ok, we’re switching to sat-comm; trying to raise Base Camp one more time.” The copilot declared, and proceeded to fiddle with the dashboard.
"Nomad Nine, Base Camp, do you read? I repeat, this is…what the hell, is that — HOLY SHIT!!"
The copilot's words were cut off as the peculiar glyphs at the nose of the helicopter, previously thought to be a joke by the repainters, suddenly glows and engulfs the aircraft in a sheath of immensely bright, white light.
The helicopter was suddenly engulfed in what seemed like a category-five hurricane, and the vehicle was battered around helplessly as the pilot tried to fight the controls. The intensity of the light was so powerful that the windshields attempted to reduce the glare, and ended up nearly blacking out completely. They were flying blind, and all the while they were being buffeted by winds of massive magnitudes.
"Oh my God! We're all going to die, we're all going to die..."
"Shut up and fly the helicopter, Kulikova!" The voice of the squad's commanding officer intoned over comms, ordering the panicked pilot.
“What the FUCK is that outside?”
The men looked out of the helicopter’s windows, which were somehow still holding against the force of the wind. Spontaneously, a torrent of rain splattered past them, followed by what appeared to be a cloud of flaming dust. A shroud of soot and glowing flames swept over, consuming the helicopter within the storm’s sulfurous fury. Some of the men were now shouting and swearing profusely now, many of them with eyes as wide as golf balls.
Konoroz remained pale, gripping his seats in tight-lipped silence. He wondered if they had somehow slighted God to have received such a fate. The helicopter was producing ominously loud sounds, creaking wailing and as it was wrenched through wind, water, fire, and earthen dust.
“O-our alt-ti-timeter-r is b-back in action!” the copilot reports through rattling teeth; somehow he retained a bit of sanity as he tried to make some sense out of the instruments. “We’re still f-flying! 250 m-meters!”
The light was starting to become less intense. The windshield’s glare removers began to fade, and the wind even began to die down. The fire, dust, and rain had subsided, but now a thick fog like the one they were in previously now surrounded them.
The men were breathing heavily. Not only had they survived that insane ordeal, the copilot was yelling out that their navigation systems were working again. The earth’s magnetic field was once again righted, and EMR levels fluctuations were back in the norm. But there was a distinct lack of available radio frequencies, nearly all of them being silent.
“Captain! Lieutenant!” One of the men suddenly cried out, “Come, look outside!”
Konoroz shakily stood up, shuffled over to the window, and looked outside.
The fog almost completely clears after several seconds, and Konoroz’s eyes were filled by a panoramic view of a majestic mountain valley, the peaks’ tints of blue blending amidst the orange backdrop of the rising sun.
Time: 4:00 PM Date: June 26, 2014 Location: The Edge, Northwestern Threat Level: 5
The men had already exited the helicopter, and unloaded all of the packages. There was no sign of the freak storm that had assailed them, and when they got out, they saw that while the helicopter was burnt, wet, scratched, and dented, but still held its own against the elements; it was regrettable that they were to destroy it. What primarily preoccupied the interests of the Spetsnaz squad (and the helicopter crew auxiliary) was not their helicopter, but rather the completely foreign landscape that they were now residing within.
Konoroz looked around, taking in the scenery with awe. They had landed in a clearing, a golden, grassy prairie with waves of tall thickets rolling gently in the wind. To their west was a magnificent forest, each tree stretching over a hundred feet into the heavens, their branches casting a gloomy darkness that hid their depths from the peering beams of sunlight. The mountain ranges that he had first saw when they exited the fog were as gigantic as ever, and every mountain sported a thick layer of vegetative growth, thinning steadily upwards until they gave way to the snowy summits.
Even the air was sweet, Konoroz noted as he took several deep breaths. Just by breathing this fresh air he felt better already, returning himself to a calmness he hadn’t felt for hours. Though he was still feeling slightly sick from the borscht and the rough ride, he felt far better now that his feet were on solid ground.
“Captain,” Konoroz said as he walked back to the helicopter. It appears that the men were hesitant to destroy the helicopter, their only method of transportation, despite the orders given in the set of documents that had been recently retrieved from the packages. The captain was reading these documents as the men began to unpack their weapons.
“My God…they’ve done it. I don’t believe it…”
“Captain Lazarov, what is it?”
Lazarov turns around with an undecipherable look. Konoroz felt his words fail to come out of his mouth as the captain’s face contorted, and tears began to flow from the officer’s eyes. Inexplicably, Captain Lazarov began to cry and laugh uncontrollably, and between sobs would grin like a maniac. After a while, the captain burst into a full-blown cry of elation, and thrust into Konoroz’s hands the document he had been reading. The lieutenant brought the document to his face, but failed to recognize why his captain was in such a frenzied state of being.
“Captain, I don’t understand,” Konoroz complained, waving the document, “What is this ‘Gensokyo’—”
“Perhaps I can explain~”
A detached female voice quipped in fluent Russian.
In a blur of semi-panicked action, the Spetsnaz squad hurriedly raised their weapons, seeking the source of the voice. In unison, the entire squad trained their guns on a single target; Konoroz felt a wave of cold sweat pass over him, having never faced what looked like a firing squad composed of men that he knew so well. Then, a new horror, one of realization, dawned upon the lieutenant, who swiveled in place and found himself staring into the face of a beautiful, young woman… seemingly floating in space.
He backed up, stumbled, and crashed on his back, struggling to move away from the floating head. The woman chuckled in amusement, and then seemed to worm out of what appears to be a tear in space itself. As he stood up, Konoroz felt his eyes freeze on their guest, as well as the curiously ribboned gap that she was crawling out of. He vaguely noticed that the inside of the gap looked like a deep sea of black and blue swirls, and occasionally something round would surface like bubbles – oh God, those are eyes! The gap is full of eyes!
Konoroz did not know what manner of supernatural phenomenon this was, except for the fact that when the men let out a fusillade of bullets, the woman lazily flicked her wrist, and every round vanished into thin air. Before the astonished men could fire once again, their captain intervened.
“STOP!” he roared, waving his hands frantically at the Spetsnaz operators. “Cease fire!”
“No worries, captain,” the woman replied casually, her fingers curling around with her long blonde hair. She wore a puffy purple and white dress, covered with ancient Eastern esoteric symbols, and a mob cap, an unusual choice of headwear. Her body was halfway out of the gap, but her arms were resting on thin air with complete disregard for physical laws.
“Although, I’d recommend that they save their ammunition for something that they actually need it for.”
She raised a finger, drew a line in the air, and produced another small ribboned gap that showered little pieces of glittering metal over the squad’s heads– namely, every bullet that they had fired.
The Spetsnaz operatives were stunned into submission; with this display of supernatural strength, the men lowered their weapons, realizing the futility of their attack as well recognizing the sheer difference in fighting capabilities that this being had compared to them.
“My deepest apologies, Miss Yukari Yakumo,” Captain Lazarov suddenly said in Japanese, turning to the floating woman and bowing deeply. Konoroz felt a tad bewildered at this display of respect, as Spetsnaz saw few people to be worthy of their deference.
“Captain Lazarov, I’ve been expecting you and your men,” the woman named Yakumo replied in Japanese as well. Then, turning to the remaining men, she grinned mischievously before taking out a folding fan from her gap, and flicking it at them.
Without warning, Konoroz felt a sensation of vertigo, and found his vision alter in a terrifying way. He was staring at his feet, but his body’s vestibular sense told him that he was standing. Frantically looking around him, he found himself looking at his equally-terrified men, whose bodies seemed to have been chopped in half.
Upon closer inspection, Konoroz noticed that there was a gap that was cutting into the waists of the men, and another perpendicular gap that allowed the upper half of the body to protrude; that Yakumo woman was making them bow, in her own demented way.
Upon hearing the sound of her amused giggling, however, Konoroz then felt his vision returning back to normal, the transition being seamless in nature. His semicircular canals, however, had just went through the queerest experience they had ever endured, and that was the last straw. Konoroz knelt hard down on the ground, feeling the contents of his stomach apply immense pressure against his esophagus, which forcefully expulsed its contents from his throat.
“So there you have it; a quick description of Gensokyo that any uninformed outsider can understand.”
Konoroz felt his eye twitch at the woman who was now floating before them, sitting on nothing and carrying a parasol which she had pulled out of one of her gaps. He wondered just how much storage space existed in those freaky space anomalies.
“I brought along with me a few copies of the Guide to Gensokyo,” Yukari said, using another one of her gaps to drop a few paperback books into the hands of the squad members, many of which looked still-terrified by the uncanny nature of his abilities. Apparently they still haven’t gotten over seeing a gap in between their guts.
“Miss…Yakumo,” Konoroz began, attempting to display the respect that his commanding officer wanted him to show, “This is a lot to interpret, but I do believe that everything here is genuine. However, I am more concerned about why my squad is packing so much firepower.”
“As I said before, you may meet a feral youkai or two, perhaps even a flying one” Yukari repeated, looking slightly bored as she floated in midair, “Oh, that reminds me, give me your guns.”
The men looked at each other, and then at Lazarov for instruction. It was ingrained in their nature to not deprive themselves of their weapons by free will. Their captain, however, gave them a stern look, indicating that they should comply with her requests.
With a bit of reluctance, the men stacked their weapons before her, and Yukari slowly swept her hands across them, her lips moving silently. Then men watched as the barrels of their guns were suddenly engraved by glowing runic markings, which soon vanished as the glow subsided.
“Alright, I just gave your weapons rudimentary danmaku capability. Should you face anything relatively immune to your metal slugs, then simply say ‘Activate Border of Spellcard’ in Japanese, and your gun will fire projectile energy, the most commonly used offensive medium of magical duels, which I recommend you utilize against any humanoid opponents. You can read more about it in the Guide.”
The operatives looked at their guns with hesitation. None of them seemed to want to touch the magically-enhanced weapons anymore, having just witnessed what seemed like a radioactive glow appear from the pile. But under the pressure of their glaring captain, they picked it up gingerly, their eyes scrutinizing for any distinctive changes.
“So is that it?” Konoroz asked, “You’re saying that whoever sent us had forgotten about us in the first place?”
“I wouldn’t say that,” Yukari answered with a sly smile, “He negotiated with me when I reminded him of his position. Because of my generosity, I decided to let you guys in as his observers. This is quite an unusual arrangement too, considering that other countries usually deploy only one agent.”
“Observers? What can we do as observers?”
“Are you saying that there’s nothing here to observe?”
Konoroz fell silent. The sounds of Gensokyo reigned in the silence, reminding Konoroz that there was everything to observe. This mission, despite being outlandishly crazy for him to believe, was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him. A world of magic and fantasies was a very nice break from the day-to-day worries of their hectic, scientific world.
“Besides, once I’m done laying everything out with your command, I might even let you speak with him.”
“Really? You have methods of doing that?”
Yukari began to laugh at the confused officer, and then wiped a tear from her eye.
“You outsiders are so entertaining,” she simply said, “But I think if you read the Guide and listen to your knowledgeable commander, you’ll do fine.”
She stifled a yawn, looking suddenly very sleepy.
“However, I think I’m going to take a nap. So welcome to Gensokyo, and enjoy your stay while you can. Do svidanya!”
And with that, she flew upwards straight into a gap, her entire body disappearing in an instant. The gap itself vanished just as quickly, as if to emphasize the abrupt and whimsical nature of the infamous gap youkai.
Everyone remained frozen on the spot, as if questioning whether the past few minutes had ever occurred. There was almost a questioning look on every operative’s face, as if trying to ask each other “did a woman just appear out of nowhere to lecture us about where we are, cast spells on our guns, and then vanish into the sky?” Everyone felt that way – everyone except for the captain.
“Alright, men, this may be a lot to take in, and believe me, I’m just as speechless as you are.” Lazarov stated, though, it was quite clear that he and his men had completely different reasons for their speechlessness. “The woman we just met is the one of the most powerful and intelligent youkai in this land. You won’t see her often because she’s sleeping, but the fact that she came down to welcome us means that we’re here for a justified reason. In the best interests of our survival, I require all of you to read the guidebooks given to us and attempt to familiarize ourselves with this land’s…peculiar society. We’ll worry about establishing contact later. Right now, let’s do what she recommended and move down the river towards the Village.”
“So much for speechlessness,” Konoroz muttered beneath his breath.
Lazarov’s expression suddenly changed for a brief moment.
“I just got word that some of us are showing disapproval to my ideas.”
The captain looked Konoroz in the eye. The lieutenant wondered how his CO managed to hear that, and then he looked down just in time to see a tiny gap vanish into thin air.
Vote-able update coming soon, sorry for the walls.
It was not very hard to find the place where he dwells. The village metalworking complex is a very popular place out of necessity, and the two-story tall pile of metallic debris next to the establishment is quite discernable among the low-rising architecture of the other houses.
Conner himself, however, is not present at the machine shop. A sign hanging on the door reads "Out for business reasons, automatic bicycle rental is available on the side of the shop."
You are not a bit surprised when you see the rental system. Conner had appropriated a vending machine, probably something from Kourindou, and stuck a makeshift hand crank dynamo into the power supply. Apparently, while a decent portion of the village has plumbing, electrification is still non-existent, with only the richer businesses capable of affording kappa solar panels. Conner had also rigged the machine to dispense keys, which, like their associated locks, are hand-made, something which the professor takes great pride in. The bicycles lined up on the wooden bike rack are similarly crafted, with no two alike. You consider getting a horse instead for a moment, but then decide that your inexperience with horse-riding trumps any concern with Conner's engineering practices.
It takes you at least twenty turns on the crank for the machine to consume your 19000 yen in payment and deposit and dispense the keys to bicycle number 23, something which looks like the illegitimate offspring of a motorcycle and a roadster, but possesses a nice cargo rack to carry the soon-to-be-heavy basket. You ride a few figure-eights around the street to get a feel on the balance and acceleration, which is surprisingly good considering how it's constructed out of mismatched parts and how its wheels are using airless tires.
- 19000 yen lost - All-terrain utility bike gained
Time: 4:35 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Village Inn Threat Level: 0
Before you head out though, you return to the inn to pick up some supplies. Most important of those would be your waterskin, as biking in the middle of summer, in Japan, presents a very real danger of dehydration and heatstroke.
You also grab your medical pack from the closet. The military-grade canvas pack with the Red Cross is your best bet at surviving whatever Gensokyo decides to throw at you. Hopefully nothing, if Reisen is telling the truth, but just in case, you would have enough disinfectant, combat gauze and trauma kits to deal with the problem, which is likely a large hole somewhere on your body, or someone else's body, just in case another giant robot randomly falls from the sky.
Of course, it also contains options to prevent the hole from existing in the first place. You open the inner pocket of the pack, and remove several metallic canisters and plastic bottles.
These are your pride and joy, the materials originate from combination of both legal purchases and shady dealings with the lab supplier for your school and the officers in your reserve regiment, and the end products from careful hand loading and cooking in the campus laboratory when your overly-trusting biochem professor allows you to "finish an experiment". They were then mailed to your hotel room in Japan, as taking them through airport security would be far too risky.
The six black canisters are tear gas grenades, off-the-shelf civilian-legal contraptions made better by the combination of other civilian-legal contraptions: large firecrackers taped onto the side of the canister for a primitive alternative to the slower but larger aerosol release.
The three pale ones with purple markings are crude thermobaric charges, composed of a complex mixture of potassium chlorate and sugar at the core and packed aluminum powder as filler charge. A small firecracker is used as the fuse. These are your options when you have to break out of something physical.
Four repurposed water bottles contain hydrochloric acid, enough to inflict serious pain and potential blindness to things up to the size of an elephant. Considering the properties of the compound, feral youkai shouldn't be much different. Although similarly rigged with explosives to increase splash radius, they are unfortunately hardly effective against mobile human-sized targets, which generally get off with only a few serious burns. For those...
You smile as your remove the five white canisters. They are nearly identical to the modified tear gas rounds in configuration, but their payload, instead of the relatively harmless 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, contain the much simpler and deadlier white phosphorus. If your tests on pig carcasses are of any reference, anybody caught in a two-meter radius would have at least half their body reduced to a black necrotic mass with their brains leaking out through their eyeholes.
All in all, a good preparation for a casual stroll through Gensokyo.
You strap some of the improvised chemical grenades to your belt, and replace the rest in the pack. You are ready.
- Waterskin now on person - Medical pack now on person - Chemical load-out now on person
The fields of rice and wheat soon gives way to long expanses of tall, swaying grass, with the occasional shrubbery breaking up the monotony. The road is not paved, but there are milestones and wooden signs posted here and there to reassure the traveler that they are still on the right path. Every once in a while, a tree punctuates the expanse, sticking out like giant mushrooms in an oversized lawn. You have not mountain biked much before, so you are quite thankful for the relative lack of bumps on the road. The rainy season hasn't arrived yet, so the surface is pleasantly firm and non-mud-splashy.
The plains of Gensokyo are literally fly-over regions. Youkai dwell mostly in the forests and mountains, and humans prefer to stay in the village. You think you saw a few fairies fly over you, but it's rather hard to tell from the distance.
A herd of wild bovines grazes near the trail, some looking up and flicking their ears as you pass. One of them is colored bright red, and as you look closer, possesses claws on its feet instead of hooves. You keep away from the proto-youkai, knowing it might be carnivorous, but it doesn't even take notice of your presence as it chews its cuds without a care in the world.
Time: 5:30 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Northwestern Meadow, near the Netherworld Entrance Threat Level: 5
It took quite a while before you reach the area marked on the map. You dismount near a tree and lock the bike onto the branches. Looking up, you gasp at the magnificent sight. Reisen had not lied, as the small floating island, with a gigantic wooden gate mounted on top is clearly visible against the clear blue sky, although it is located too high for you to observe any more details. You sorely wish that you could fly in order to get a closer look.
Looking down, you behold a vast meadow, with flowers of all colors and species-some not recorded in any botanical journal that you have read. Roses with petals as black as midnight, chrysanthemums with all the colors of the rainbow, tulips that whistle tunes as the wind blows through them, and many more otherworldly flora populate the area. The fauna here are no less fascinating, with butterflies that change color as they fly, and bees which patrol from flower to flower in tight formations.
And, here and there among them, are specimens of the mystical plant you're looking for. The thick-stalked, yellow flower plant of dubious existence: Silphium.
You leisurely begin working, cutting off plants from the base of the stalk with your large utility knife and chucking them in the basket on your back. It is simple, non-exerting work, owing to the softness of the plant's composition and its generous length. No wonder this plant went extinct, you think, it is even easier to harvest than wheat.
Unconsciously, you have moved quite far away from the oak tree that marked the location of the trail. By the time to take a respite to have a drink from the waterskin, the tree is no more than a hazy outline in the distance. Doesn't matter, it's a clear day, and it wouldn't get dark until at least 8 PM.
As you scan the horizon, you suddenly spot an eccentricity in the field of flowers about 100 meters away. A large structure, constructed from wooden beams nailed together with oilskin covering the top. Curious, you trek over and peer inside. It looks to be a storage covering, with stacks of lumber and rolls of cloth filling the inside, as well as carpentry tools and a hand-powered sewing machine.
"Who would dump their supplies all the way out here?" You mutter, before noticing a peculiar assembly right next to your feet. It resembles an oversized wooden bucket, with metal loops attached to the brims. You move closer for a better look.
You suddenly feel cold metal touching your chin. Glancing down, you see a sword blade, whiter than snow, being held right next to your throat. Cold sharpness emanates from the weapon, and you fear that even the slightest twitch will result in blood pouring out of your windpipe.
 Freeze and don't do anything  Try to talk your way out of this  Lean back and run
I can only hope we're speak calmly and slowly instead of dropping the spaghetti out of our pants panicking and whatnot
context seems to be hakugyokurou? maybe Youmu if its a named character at all? big tree being Saigyou Ayakashi. I really hope this isn't one of those things choices where action towards the unknown individual changes that named individual based on reaction/choice.
<Spice> Gensokyo: You come for the girls and magic. You stay, because you are DEAD! HEHEHEHE! <Mir> fuck off Spice <Spice> your fault you inserted a whole team. <%Purple> Shut up Spice <%Purple> Mir, your team's alive and fine, if a bit shaken up. <Mir> glad to know that Purple. I owe you one. <%Purple> more like two, no, five. Five badgers. <Mir> ...fine <Spice> You have to pay! You have to pay! <%Purple> Please, Spice, act more like the intelligence minister I know you are. By the way, the countrywide firewall is still up. You promised... <Spice> You know I tried. But the old farts in the Central Committee argues that it "Preserves country stability" Stability, ha, these guys really need to see whats going on in the country <Spice> Sometimes I just want to go in and kill them all. With river crabs. Exploding river crabs. <%Purple> Go take a nap. <Spice> 28 REPORTS TO GO. THANK HEAVENS FOR DISTILLED TEA.
=============================================== [x] Freeze and don't do anything
As you are not quite fond of having your throat slit over what could be a simple misunderstanding, you hold position, not moving even a single muscle.
"What are you doing here?" A voice, clearly of youthful origin but with the iciness usually attributed to spinster librarians and the thrice-divorced, emanates behind you. "Outsider?"
"I..." you begin a sentence, hesitating to move your jaw due to the very sharp thing right under it.
"You have ten seconds before I remove your worthless head from your body"
"G-g-gathering plants, for Eientei." You quickly spew out, "It's my job."
The identity of your assailant is pretty obvious by now with the type of sword, the fact that it is pointing up rather than across, and the trying-too-hard attitude. You would think that a pseudo-samurai gardener who is at least 40 years old (not physically, anyway)would learn to chill out a bit. Then you remember that you are a filthy outsider, and thus, not to be trusted.
"Then why are you poking around my construction area?"
"Because I was curious as to why there is one in the middle of nowhere."
"That is not a adequate reason!"
It's like arguing with your parents, except the opponent seems to be half your size and roughly of identical mental stature. Oh, and she can possibly kill you instead of merely beating the living daylights out of you.
"But that is the only reason why I am here!"
"Then I will treat you like the thief and trespasser you are. As dirt to be cleansed." Whoa, that is rather harsh, you almost considered it hyperbole before you see that the sword next to your neck is indeed getting closer, and your brain desperately tries cooking up something to keep from not dying.
"Let me put it this way," You slowly begin, in a completely blank tone, "If you kill me here, I will become a GHOST that will haunt you for the rest of your life, prevent you from ever getting married, and cause GHOSTLY maggots to grow out of your nostrils."
"SHUT UP!" The icy tone abruptly dissolves into rage and panic. The blade twitches onto your neck, incising a very thin red line, but no more before quivering back to its original position. You almost lose your composure, but you suppress your terror and continue.
"And I will show up in your bedroom at night, going 'WOOOO~' before shaving your head GHOSTLY bald. I might crawl out of your mirror and pour acid all over your face, so that your pretty visage will be reduced to a GHOSTLY melting horror show." You enjoy this a bit too much, "And then I will use my GHOSTLY powers to cut you up into thin ribbons and serve them to your closest l-"
"SHUT UP! SHUT UP! The sword disappears from your throat for a brief moment before its blunt end hits you in the back, knocking you flat on the ground and giving you a mouth full of dirt. You almost immediately regret letting your mouth go all out. But hey, at least you're alive, and not bleeding out on the grass. Threatening to do stuff AFTER one is dead tends to keep folks from murdering one.
You are not a very good talker.
A foot strikes you in the stomach, a surprisingly strong blow that knocks the wind out of you and sends you tumbling five meters away from the site. Ouch. Once you stopped groaning, you look up, and finally behold what she looks like.
She sports the well-known green and white dress, though notably more subdued than the gaudy eye killing colors usually donned by cosplayers, covered by the khaki pocketed apron of a craftsperson. You smile to yourself as you see the two swords in her hands, as one of is almost as long as she is tall. For some reason, her legendary phantom half is nowhere to be seen, which slightly disappoints you. Her features though, look familiar...
"Didn't I see you somewhere before?" You ask casually as you raise both hands up as a sign of non-hostility, "Miss Konpaku?"
"N-none of your business!" she shouts at you, her face the expression of a bullied child: resentful and apprehensive. "If you truly are merely gathering plants, I am...willing to overlook your transgression as long as you stay away from my area."
You were going to retort by saying that she started the affair, but decide better due to the very sharp object pointed in your direction, "Alright then, Miss Konpaku. I'll stay away and not intervene." Saying that, you return to your work gathering the plants, suppressing your curiosity. You really don't feel like getting the crap beaten out of you by a small girl, especially since you swear you've seen her before somewhere outside Gensokyo before. In school? On the street? You look back at Youmu, who in turn has gone back to working on the whatever it is. Somewhere, somewhere...
Time: 6:10 Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Northwestern Meadow, near the Netherworld Entrance Threat Level: 5
While you labored in the meadow, you occasionally sneak a glance over at Youmu's work every so often. It is rather marvelous how coordinated her phantom half behaves, striking nails in perfect sync with her hands and rolling thread as she stitches. Other than that, you still cannot figure out what the large patch of cloth and huge ornate pot is for, though as Yuyuko's whimsies are known to more than match her appetite, it could be literally anything in the world. Well, in Gensokyo.
The sun shines down at a lazy angle as the day begins to end. You struggle up against the weight of the basket as you toss the last stem of silphium over into it. It was repetitive, boring work, and even in this magical land, the extinct herb does not exactly grow like weeds. You are quite sure you picked off all of the silphium in a few square kilometers, in fact, given the ground you covered.
Deciding against saying goodbye to the sword-happy half-ghost, you seal the lid on the basket and strap it to the cargo rack on the bicycle. Taking a moment to compensate for the additional weight, you put up the kickstand and ride back down the road you came up on, slightly slower than before.
The low hanging sun paints the mountaintops in the distance a brilliant golden hue, and you note how the light seems to shimmer in the atmosphere of this place, as though the air is filled with microscopic prisms. Looking down, you see nothing new on the road ahead, just the grassy plain of a wide river valley. You wish Reisen would assign you to something more interesting next time, perhaps the Forest of Magic, or maybe the foothills of the Youkai Mountain.
Hmm? You slow down and pay attention to the new stimulus. Thump. The sound originates from a point a good deal behind you on the road, it appears to be a big sound, judging from its pitch. This worries you. Normally, big noises are everyone's business, and thus, not yours. However, you are the only human you can see on the road, which means that whatever this sound is, its as immediately threatening as a small noise.
You listen a bit more closely, and realize that the noise is actually...
[ ] Rattling, with some interspersed human groaning. [ ] Rumbling, with a very light engine sound. [ ] Rumbling, with a very heavy engine sound, and...screaming? [ ] Light padded footsteps, but with a tone that indicates a very large animal
[x] Rumbling, with a very heavy engine sound, and...screaming?
You instinctively bank off to the side as you pass over a gentle ridge, to allow whatever is behind you to pass without too much problem. The sound gets closer, and you, on the bike, can hear the distinctive sound of tank treads rolling across the ground. You think it is the Lowe, but then you recall that its engine is far quieter than whatever is approaching.
You slow down for a a moment and turn your head around.
"OH HEAVENS MING GET OUT OF THE WAY!" Conner screams at you as he rides down the road in one of his bicycles, "IT'S COMING FOR US!"
"What?" You watch him ride past you and down the road, just in time to see the vehicle making the sound crest the ridge. It is not the tank from earlier, but a smaller contraption resembling a tank destroyer more than a regular tank, though its turret is clearly mobile as it is pointed backwards at whatever seems to be chasing it. The most intriguing part, however, is that the turret is designed to resemble the roof of a shrine, and outfitted in tassels, shrine ropes, vines, and other paraphrenlia. The fact that the top part of the tank has a giant yin-yang orb plastered on to finish the "Hey look I'm a target" paintjob makes you wonder if it really is unusual for it to be hit repeatedly, as the new tank seems to have been due to the billowing black smoke from the engine and a terrifying gash in the side armor.
It fires a shot over the ridge as it descends, its report loud enough to cause a buzzing in your ears. In turn, its opponent fires a round that explodes with deafening force near it, the shockwave almost sending you tipping over the bike despite being almost 60 meters away. The red tank drives past you without acknowledgement, likely too busy trying to avoid whatever is firing at it.
You continue to stare after it, before a considerably quieter rumbling is heard. The tsukumogami tank from earlier clears the ridge, driving at a leisurely pace, as a sporting hunter would when it encounters easy prey. There is a small difference from earlier though, an odd device mounted near the hatch cover, with six of what appear to be sealed tubes on a constantly rotating mount. Unlike the rest of the tank, it seems to be made of bronze. Like the other tank, it drives past you without much notice.
It takes you a while to realize the implications of what have seen. Why a tank from the PC-98 series is engaging the tsukumogami, you don't have an inkling of an idea. It could easily just be a replica made by Conner though, but he would be driving it himself if that is true. Meh, it's none of your business, you think. Conner can take care of himself and his buddy.
You resume riding down the road, and you reach the village with no further incidents.
Time: 7:00 PM Date: June 26, 2014 Location: West Side of Village, Residential Threat Level: 0
The streets are almost completely deserted as the majority of the villagers are still out in the fields, trying to finish before the sun sets. Your bicycle is the only sound you can hear aside from the occasional shop chatter.
The village seems much like any other large rural Japanese establishment when devoid of the antiquated outfits of the villagers. The houses are the typical wooden constructions with tall slanted roofs, and the streets are paved, though with flagstones rather than the asphalt or cement of the Outside World. Of course, due to the centralized nature of the place, there are many buildings that are normally associated with larger cities, such as warehouses, laundries and even undertakers. To be fair though, the undertaker probably sees a good deal of action these days due to people like you.
Otherwise though, there is very little oddity. The place is almost as quiet as the suburbs where your parents' house is at noon, and the rogue cats wandering the streets don't even nudge when you ride next to them, having no experience of their compatriots being turned into tire pancakes.
As a result, you notice the badly muffled screaming and sobbing through the wall of the house you pass quite easily.
Threat Level: 0 --> 6
Quietly, so as to conceal your presence, you dismount from the bicycle and walk up to the side of the house. It is a new construction, as evidenced by the small piles of put lumber still stacked around and the "For sale" sign nailed to the wall. Likely this is to cater to more permanent-minded Outsiders. However, this means that the sounds you hear are most definitely not domestic disturbances.
The house has its door facing a small alleyway next to a granary, as opposed to the street. You carefully peek past the corner. No sentries there. Whoever's doing bad things in the house must be really sloppy
Cautiously, you draw your pistol and sneak up to the door, which, unlike the windows with wooden shutters closed to ward off prying eyes, possesses completely exposed paper panes. Which, conveniently, are easily rendered see-through by the application of saliva.
"...Okay, now should you drop the demands letter, or should Anderson there do it?" A voice rings out from inside the building.
Panic erupts within you. The voice is of the brown-haired, gun-toting foreigner from earlier. You peek through, and see four figures standing together, indistinct in the dim light of the interior, as well as three other ones, smaller than the first four, seated against the wall with their hands behind their backs. The guard did tell you that outsiders would sometimes commit violent acts in the village, but you never thought that kidnapping was something they would resort to. Come to think of it, you cannot see a reason why they would not do it.
"Have Kazuto do it. Just drop it off while she's out for dinner, and that'll keep the damn cow off of us. She'll never endanger her precious students."
One of the sitting figures seems to struggle against the restraint, to no avail. The closest standing figure notices and shoves the hostage with his foot, sending him or her tumbling over with a muffled scream of pain. The figures
"As if she can really CAVE with a missing leg. Like I said before, we can just shoot her down. Serves her right for persecuting us just because we try hitting on a few chicks here." Three emotions jump into your brain. The first is annoyance, at the audacity of the outsiders to quote such a detestable meme. The second is gratitude towards whatever higher power there is, as all four of them have not noticed you yet. The third is joy, at the fact that by committing such a felony they have qualified themselves to be targets of justice. And by justice you mean neutralizing them and taking their nice things, like that shiny Dirty Harry revolver the leader of the cohort wields.
You also think of calling for backup from Reisen or Reimu, but the posse could have moved them somewhere else by then. Besides, they might have the pesky principle called respect for the law and thus turn them over to the Village Guard, along with their stuff. A slim possibility, but still worrisome enough that you write off the option.
The paper panels are just large enough to fit a canister through. You grin at the realization as it opens up tactical options that you have not thought of before.
I'm presuming that we're proficient enough with our pistol to take them out rapidly enough so that there's minimum risk to ourselves. Of course, there's the possibility that we'll get shot and die as the criminals fire back, but it's all for a good cause.
The hostage with them, since I don't know of any other logical end to "badly muffled screaming." So, I don't think throwing white phosphorus, if that is what [ ] Minimum Enemy Survival Rate implies, is a good idea.
>>28761 I died eleven times in the white phospurus stage, you know? Half of them were trying to snipe them all with my weapons and the other half was trying to figure out a way to destroy the last APC without killing the people next to it.
Since I previously assumed that the 'minimum enemy survival rate' vote would give us the greatest chance of survival against 4 potential gunmen, I decided that since it appears that everything should go over smoothly regardless of our actual choice, minimum trouble should be our best bet.
This is a hostage situation. Thus, a quick and easy resolution would be the most desired result. White phosphorus is detrimental to such a result, you think as you put on your gas mask, since you would have to clean up the smoldering remains of the hostiles and perhaps even the hostages. Of course, this does not mean that none of them will die; it just means that you won't overkill in neutralizing the problem.
You pull the pin from one of the tear-gas canisters and shove it through a gap in the framing before quickly dashing back around the corner, eliciting yells of surprise followed by coughing and screaming as the gas dispersed throughout the closed room. Footsteps sounded through the thin walls as some of the hostiles make a run for the door, prompting you to prime the strapped firecracker on another tear gas grenade. "Three...two..." The door slams open, and two of the outsiders emerge, only to be greeted by the clinking of the canister bouncing off the wall.
The grenade explodes, immediately saturating the area in a dense spray of gas distinct from the more even dispersal of the conventional detonator. You hear a painful scream from one of them as shrapnel hit him somewhere on the body. Drawing your pistol, you turn and fire into the fog at the barely distinct figures, your lack of firing experience forcing you to empty the entire 7-round magazine into their bodies before they drop.
Ducking under the windows, you dash over to the door, kicking the two fallen hostiles to make sure they aren't moving. The tear gas would only last for about fifteen seconds before dispersing enough to render it ineffectual, and seeing how the other two are either rendered ineffectual by the gas or smart enough to not come out, you are forced to clear the room immediately.
Dropping the pistol, knowing that shooting would only cause very bad things to happen with innocents in the way, you pull out your knife and enter the door.
Loud weeping and wheezing sounds fill the room. The ones near the far wall you ignore, being the children; instead you focus on the ones to the left. Staring closely into the gas, you can just barely make out two figures, one bending over and one prone on the ground, both still incapacitated, though the one still standing appears to be recovering. Not letting your advantage slip, you stride over and lunge, jamming the knife straight through the man's jugular vein and into the windpipe. A fountain of blood spurts out as you tear the knife out, leaving some rather large splotches on the window. He gurgles something, before blacking out into oblivion from the loss of blood.
You wonder for a moment if the owner of this property would get mad at you for leaving blood like that.
The tear gas cloud has mostly cleared up by now. You shove a foot on the last perp's neck and jab a dart halfway into his legs, carefully noting the dosage so as to only paralyze the lower body instead of inducing unconsciousness, before stripping the still-holstered pistol off and kicking it away. You glance over at the two bodies at the door to make sure that they are not moving, and then walk over to the children, looking to be fourth or fifth-graders in the outside world, still tied up and with tears and snot running down their frightened faces.
"P-Please don't hurt us," the one on the left side begs, still sobbing despite the lack of tear gas, "W-We w-won't"
"Oh shut up." You raise the knife, provoking a frightened scream in the first two, and slash away the strips of cloth that served as their restraints, "You little brats really don't realize that if the bad guy dies, the one killing them is probably the good guy right?" Seeing the children run away like hunted rabbits immediately after being freed, you decide that perhaps they still don't.
"Now you," You turn towards the incapacitated perp, one of the foreigners, on the floor, who is trying to crawl away with just his hands, "You're not going anywhere."
A forceful boot in the gut convinces him to stop moving.
"You see?" You drag him up by the collars and swing him around, "Your buddies are currently suffering from an unfortunate disease called being dead, and I'm the doctor that can prevent that from happening to you. Look buddy, all you have to do is to tell me if you have any more of those roofies stashed anywhere."
"F-fuck you y-y-you m-mon-"
"Oh, look who's talking." You lightly carve your knife across his cheek, drawing an agonized shriek in response. "You wouldn't be at risk if you behaved rationally. But alas, you don't have a choice now. You can either answer my question, and you can be friends with the nice, friendly Mister Dart here. If you do not, well, I heard that the curb tastes pretty good this time of year."
"-monst-monster!" The same defiant tone, but laced with fear.
"Still refusing treatment eh? Tsk tsk." You drag the man out onto the doorstep, and shove his head right onto the ledge. "Looks like I'm going to have to use the more intense method of therapy now. It does cause a mild headache though." You smirk as you force his jaw open, "But on the bright side you will see your buddies quite soon!"
His screams are now of pure terror, wailing as you shove his head down on the ledge with your foot. "Now, maybe you still can qualify for the easier treatment, what do you say?"
"Irts ein er ertl, er fir crck!"
"What's that? I can't hear you!"
"IRTS EIN ER ERTL, ER FIR CRCK!"
"Please communicate properly sir." You release your foot from his head, "What do you want to say?"
"IT'S IN THE HOTEL, ROOM FIVE CLOSET!"
"There, that wasn't so bad now, was it?" Stabbing the dart into his neck, you let the perp fall limp, "Too bad the authorities are going to insist on alternative medicine."
Now, time to get the good stuff. You collect your own pistol from the ground, along with the .44 magnum of the corpse of the posse leader, which is an impractical weapon but probably worth quite a bit at Kourindou or some other pawn shop.
As you confirm your kills by cutting the throats on the bodies, a large hard lump under his coat catches your attention. You reach in, and grin as you feel a weapon grip. Pulling it out, you find yourself in possession of a French MAT-49 submachine gun, slightly worn but still quite serviceable. Searching the other bodies reveal only cheap Saturday Night Special handguns with calibers so small that you figure their bullets would probably bounce off a youkai's skull. Their knives are quite nice though, and you stuff all of those, sheathes and all, into your daypack along other goodies you loot off of the dead.
- MAT-49 9mm submachine gun gained (3 spare magazines) - Four hunting knives and one .44 magnum gained (Barter stock) - 10 cans of food gained - Small box of flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) tablets gained
Tap, tap, tap
The sound of a crutch beats at an inhumanly fast pace towards you, followed by some running footsteps. Oooh boy, your antic here has attracted the attention of the were-hakutaku village Guardian as well as the guards. The kids probably told them what happened. You remain confident that you are in the right, of course, but the method you employed raise some questions, not to mention the mess you made that Keine will make you clean up. Come to think of it, you haven't really seen her yet, as a heavy wooden door was interfering last time you got close.
 Bail, authorities are never good to interact with.  Stay, but you will answer only when asked.  Stay, but you will try to explain the situation as clearly as possible, lying only about your motivations.  Stay, and tell the complete truth, lying won't get you anywhere.
[X] Stay, but you will try to explain the situation as clearly as possible, lying only about your motivations.
As tempting as it may be to bail, it doesn't seem possible that the MC can outrun youkai or an organized village militia (since he has no SERE training). Thus, when considering consequences, there exists four degrees of punishment: 1. running and being caught = severe, hard to explain, and suspicious as f*ck 2. telling complete truth = severe, you basically get the punishment for murder according to law. 3. answer only when asked/lying motivations = lighter. Kids don't know what is going on, so you can say that their lives were threatened and there was no time to call the militia. You might be rebuked for murder, but it more justified and the punishment should be lighter. #walloftext_end
[X] Stay, but you will try to explain the situation as clearly as possible, lying only about your motivations.
Pretty much the exact reasons as >>28775 . Although if they start admonishing us for killing the guys, we need to go off on them with righteous indignation and chew their ass out. Being emotional over the fact that THEY wanted YOU to take the chance of risking the bad guys coming back up and kill you or the kids may buy us some points and making it easier for us.
<Yamato> Say, what did you do with those old guns in that warehouse i sold you anyway? They can't possibly be of battlefield condition <%Purple> we may have just kept them for ourselves <%Purple> or sold them to the US civilian market <%Purple> or sold them to a terrorist group <%Purple> the world may never know... <%Purple> :3 <~Blue> We sold them to the human village to deal with violent outsiders <%Purple> >:( <%Purple> you're no fun you stupid shikigami <Yamato> Your fandom is like a terrorist group though <Yamato> Full of crazies, loosely associated into cells, and all working under the same banner while tearing at each other's throats
Guide to Gensokyo, Rule 51: Everyone you know has a body count; even the fairies have killed people in the past. Remember that.
[X] Stay, but you will try to explain the situation as clearly as possible, lying only about your motivations.
You dust yourself off a bit, and begin dragging the bodies out of the house. They likely would not prosecute you too hard for vigilante activity, especially considering that it was an emergency situation. As long as you can come up with a reasonable story of why you intervened, you should be fine.
Besides, you have at least Reimu to back up your character, and maybe Reisen would do it too
"Halt! Put your hands up!"
"I comply. Th-" You pause in confusion, seeing nobody around you.
Sometimes, what you hear is quite a good deal less important than what you do not hear.
"I've got the suspect!" A familiar voice shouts somewhere up and to the left.
"No, I shall seize the scoundrel!" Another, just as familiar voice argues, before you hear the distinct sound of feet scraping against roofing from above.
You look up just in time to see the gold-red blur and the black-white blur simultaneously impact you from opposite angles of attack. You feel like being put through a clothes wringer as they tackle you, and each other, to the ground with the force of two angry moose butting heads.
"By the gods! The transgressor doth possess the countenance of a warthog! What sort of youkai is this?"
You struggle to lift your face off from the ground due to the pressure and agony. Good thing you reacted fast enough to put your hands before your head, otherwise you could have contracted that particularly unpleasant condition known as a concussion. "It's called a gas mask Ms. Mononobe, I'm a human. Specifically, that human who Miss Kamishirasawa slammed a door into earlier this morning."
"You?" One of them rips off the mask, causing you to yelp in pain as the rubber straps snap against your ears. "You certainly do not seem like the type to kidnap innocent children!"
"That's because I did not Miss Toramaru." You groan as you try to arch your back. No use, their physical strength is a mountain against your pebble, "I killed all of those responsible. Except for that one on the door ledge, he's just unconscious. Didn't the children mention a scary monster killing their captors and freeing them?"
"Are thou certain that thou are not of youkai or magician breed? Ordinary humans-"
"Have this funny thing called tear gas to balance out the odds. Oh yeah, the kids are probably breathing funny and have red eyes from all that irritation, but I did what I have to, you know?"
"A group of chemical substances that causes burnings sensations on contact with moist body parts, especially the eyes and nose." Shou tells her before you have the chance to reply. "Easily obtainable by civilians. Especially the unsavory types."
"And you know this how?" You ask, genuinely surprised.
"Being the avatar of Bishamon-"
The conversation is abruptly stopped when the "tap, tap, tap" of the crutch, along with the footsteps reach the front of the alleyway, and the two stage-five bosses pull you off the ground, as two police officers would a criminal. Just the thought of that analogy makes you nervous. Who knows how Keine would interpret the situation? Will you be suspected as merely turning on your former accomplices? Will she see through your seemingly-normal exterior and expose you for the psychopath you are? "Toramaru, Mononobe, I thought I made it very clear that you two are to keep pace with the guards, not flying over the houses like children playing heroes."
You recognize the weary, clear voice as one of those people arguing in Saromi's yard earlier. However, you do not visually recognize Keine at first due to the blue being a completely different shade from what you were used to in her depictions, strikingly so when you consider how close Shou and Futo actually resemble their in-game counterparts. (Come to think of it, they were both in the later games, when ZUN's art had improved) The fact that she's leaning on crutches due to missing half of her left leg only serves to further the confusion. The long silver hair with blue streaks and the large scroll in her hands are what eventually cued you in. Her brown eyes glares daggers at all three of you standing in the alleyway, a gaze that frightens you a good deal more than either Shou's animalistic eyes or Futo's exotic gray ones. Those two tighten their grips on your shoulder to a painful degree, and for once, you realize with great relief, you are not the one being lectured at. You hate lectures, they hurt.
"We thought that by delaying, we would--" Shou begins just as Futo blurts "Great haste was necessary lest we arrive too late as--". Both stop halfway when Keine continues to glare at them, and fall silent. "If either of you wishes to stand-in, I would recommend that this does not happen again. You are among normal humans here, and such recklessness is unacceptable behavior for officers in training of an organized militia, which I expected both of you to know already. Do you two understand?"
Looking at the hard men in a line behind her, clad in light armor and brandishing breech-loading rifles and antique revolvers, you realize that you are looking at the force which deals with the "smaller" threats to the village that either Reimu can't be bothered to deal with, or are non-magical in nature. The guard at the entrance to the village wasn't kidding about their gear being updated to deal with outsiders. Magical runes are etched along the barrels of their guns, runes much more numerous and complex than the ones on your pistol. The swords, more sabre than katana, that they carry on their sides are treated in a similar manner, and you have a definite feeling that most of the enchantments are to increase the lethality of their equipment, rather than decrease it.
"Yes Miss Kamishirasawa." "Ay Miss Kamishirasawa."
"Good, now, you forgot another procedure: strip the suspect of his weapons."
"Geez, I'll do it myself if you are so suspicious of me Miss Kamishirasawa," You drop your pistol, knife, and the darts in your pocket onto the ground, "There's more in my daypack, but since your officers-in-training here appear to insist on holding my shoulder like this, I can't do anything."
Keine gives a nod, signaling Shou and Futo to release their holds, allowing you to take off your pack and massage your shoulder, which was squeezed sore by the two non-humans by your side.
"And now, may I please be informed of what I am in trouble for?"
"The killing of four outsiders." Keine says, now focusing her gaze specifically on you, "Which, although under-GET DOWN!"
A blur of black and white in the corner of your eyelids is all you see before Keine abruptly shoves you onto the ground, sending you plopping face-down into the ground, right as you hear two clicking sounds dangerously close behind your ear. Almost as if by instinct, everybody around you opens fire, spraying the skies with a hail of colorful, if misshapen bullets as you turn your head around to see what is going on. You feel a faint buzzing sensation-the same which accompanied your first danmaku trial-only this time multiplied by several orders of magnitude due to three named characters unleashing their magic at the same time, along with the lesser, but more numerous effect of the human guards using the danmaku mode on their own rune-covered rifles. You cannot see what they are firing at, ironically, due to the bright bullets themselves obscuring your vision, only discerning the fact the target is probably somewhere up in the skies to the north. In fact, you cannot even see how they are firing as a result.
"Cease fire!" You hear Keine call out, "The tengu is beyond spellcard range!"
Obediently on her command, the hail of ordinance stops.
"Outsider, that was your first contact with Gensokyo's infamous news service, the activities of whom, I believe, are quite familiar with."
Of course you know, you just were not prepared for exactly how FAST Aya was in responding to something newsworthy and getting out intact. If Shoot the Bullet was accurate, each spellcard would have taken 2 seconds.
"Is Miss Shameimaru usually this hasty?" You ask as you dust yourself off. Everyone around you nods, and you feel yet another assurance of your self-defense capabilities disappear. Not only would the media show up to harass you, they are also traveling just below the speed of sound, considering the lack of sonic boom, which still offers you absolutely zero reaction time.
"Miss Shameimaru AND Himekaidou," Keine grimaced at the skies, "When one sniffs out a scent of news, the other will be immediately behind to feed upon the other's discovery."
You are rather not surprised at this fact. However, you do wonder whether or not they embark on this system out of competition or mutualism. Knowing Gensokyo, it's probably the former. You guess you could ask them yourself, but hiking up Youkai Mountain is likely easier said than done, judging by just far up into the clouds it reaches.
"Four of you, including Toramaru and Mononobe, dispose of the bodies-"
"One of them is still alive, Ma'am. The suspect says he only tranquilized the one lying on the door ledge."
"-Alright then, three dispose of the bodies and one carry the unconscious one to the jails. The rest of you, dismissed." She turns towards you, arousing in you an instinctive wince. "Now, as for you."
You close your eyes, sucking in your breath in anticipation of the sentence. Expecting, at the very least, a harsh talking-to followed by distrust.
"Do you know how many problems you have caused?! You cannot assume ignorance of the rules I know for a fact that vigilante activity is not a lawful activity in the Outside World. Young man, you should look at yourself and behold the rashness of your actions. Did you even stop for a moment to think that those four, no matter what crimes they have committed, are still living people and therefore still under the jurisdiction of village law? We have moved beyond the days of lynch mobs and bloody vengeance and..."
Like most other things you expect, it's worse than what you predicted.
"...such puerile processes of thought are damaging to anyone beyond childhood, one cannot just..."
You attempt to treat this like any other morally/behaviorally motivated lecture, by ignoring it completely through zoning out and instead focusing on her funny looking hat, which in spite of its lunch box shape still manages to stay on her head as snug as a beanie, and the bluish streaks in her otherwise silvery-white hair that makes you wonder whether she had those from birth or after being bitten by the hakutaku. Unfortunately, she insists on emphasizing certain words by jabbing a finger at your forehead, forcing you to listen.
"...this brings us to the fact that you did not even bother to call the guard! It is unlikely that ..."
You judge that Keine's lecturing skills rivals that of your parents after the arrival of unsavory report cards and that one school administrator during the aftermath what your dorm termed "Operation Flaming Vodka", you think, surpassing both of them in the quantity of rhetorical questions and only slightly losing out in terms of self-repetition and guilt-tripping, the latter of which really does not matter, since you feel about as much guilt over the incident as killing a few cockroaches. You do agree with her over your decision being a bit rash, though, as you completely failed to take into account the limited amount of ammunition you have on hand and the contamination of the building by the CS gas.
"...therefore, should be considered taboo. Is that clear outsider?"
"Yes ma'am." You feign repentance by bowing your head. "I'm sorry, I won't do it again." You think for a half-second before adding "I was just trying to do what was right."
"As long as you understand your wrongdoing." her expression softens from the frown of authority into a more cordial configuration, "Still, despite the nature of your actions, you did succeed in saving the lives of my students. If you were not there, they could have succeeded in their demands, or worse..." her hands tighten, "...I will have failed again in my duty."
Are the kids really worth that much? You ponder. Yes, yes they are, for such an isolated population, every native life is priceless, unlike in the Outside World, where lives are priced between about 117000 USD for developed countries to three chickens for the less fortunate areas. The outsiders, well, don't really have a base value.
"As such, I am willing to overlook the unlawful nature of your act." Her mouth curves up into a smile, relieving what anxiety you had about getting into trouble, "Now, personally, I feel that you deserve a reward for the effort. Good-hearted outsiders are hard to come by in these days, after all."
Your brain chokes as it realizes that you are seriously getting more good things out of the deal. As sociopathic as you are willing to be, only positive consequences stemming from what to you were essentially three acts of premeditated murder and one act of assault makes you feel a teeny-bit manipulative> On the other hand, if you admit your motives, then it's off to the jails for you, or worse, exiled from Gensokyo.
"Is there anything you would like? Out-I apologize for my impoliteness, I forgot to ask for your name, Mister-"
"Ming, Wu Ming. As for what I could want...uh..."
 Dinner would be quite nice.  You got any interesting books, like, of magic or something?  *gulp* Write-in (Will likely include secondary voting round)
As you begin to tell your choice to her, a guard, running at a full sprint down the street, calls for Keine's attention.
"Captain! There's a situation at the north gate, and we need you to come deal with it!"
"No, the usual."
That phrase and look on his face apparently tells the entire story to Keine, who shakes her head in resignation.
"Mr. Ming,” she turns to you, “we will talk later. Look for me around the village square by 8:00. I need to attend to an urgent matter right now. “With that, she hobbles back down the street, with the man running after her.
 Return the bike first, checking out exactly what Conner's been doing with the tanks.  Drop off your harvest first, as that is your job.  Find out what that guard is talking about first, it may be of concern.
This reminds me about another thing I should probably tell everyone.
- No "routes". None. I plan for the story to end within 12 in-game days, and the protagonist isn't nearly Emiya enough to develop a working relationship within this period. Though I'm sure most of you figured this out already.
[X] Ask for a Village Protection Guarantee [X] Drop off your harvest first, as that is your job.
As to the reward, it might be beneficial to be seen as a genuinely good-hearted person who doesn't need an award to do good things. After all, the MC got enough from the loot and there is no need to feel more guilty by accepting a reward. As for the Guarantee, it means that the MC shall receive unconditional protection/support of the village if he ever needs their help, since having a faction supporting him should increase his chances of survival when interacting with most known characters that acknowledge the village's authority (minus wild youkai/outsiders)
[X] Dinner would be quite nice. [X] Drop off your harvest first, as that is your job.
free food, chance for discussion and information.
... Did we ever get to informing Reimu or anyone that her shrine burning down was foul play by Outsider means?
Also I don't think what we did would be enough to warrant the village's backing, I mean its worth a shot in discussion I guess.. but doesn't that put us of as a little scummy if we outright ask for it 1st thing after a homicide like this?
Time: 4:30 P.M. Date: June 26, 2014 Location: River near Great Youkai Forest, Somewhere near the foot of the Youkai Mountain Threat Level: 4
“This is just too unreal.”
“Keep moving, Petrov,” Lazarov ordered, “Gensokyo is a beautiful place, but full of dangers to the unwary and uninformed. Anything can kill you at any time, and you wouldn’t even know how it happened.”
“But still, this magical world is amazing,” Konoroz said, distracted by the glow of butterflies of every color on the spectrum. They were like fireflies, but the glow was very bright, nearly engulfing the insects in orbs of light amidst the backdrop of the dark forest.
The Spetsnaz squad of twelve was trekking along the edge of a river, following the map that instructed them the directions to the Human Village. This river apparently bisects the village, and thus is a sure way to bring them to the civilization dwelling in this world. While it should take trained soldiers like the Spetsnaz five hours instead of the usual eight to get from the Edge to their destination, the operatives’ effective speed was greatly reduced by the constant distractions of the eccentric environment.
“Forester, which direction does the compass say?” Even though the officers retain their real names out of honor reasons, the lower-ranking operatives are free to choose whatever ridiculous call-sign/nickname they please.
“I don’t know, Boss,” the operative replied, “Ever since we breached the Border and suffered that massive energy storm, my compass had been faulty. It might as well be a table mat to us now.”
“Never mind,” Lazarov decided. “Let’s move closer to the river. We cannot afford getting lost in this forest.”
Thus, the men, lugging their weapons, rations, and equipment, traversed slowly from the forest where the tell-tale rush of water grew louder, until they finally exited the edge of the forest.
The river was a pristine blue, and the bank was composed of smooth, eroded pebbles and gravel. Small shrubs and plants sprouted from the moist earth near the bank of the river, and several large stones entrenched deeply in the river bed occasionally blocked the river’s flow, forming small patches of solid ground. On the other end of the river, which looked to be more than fifty meters across, the earth was starting to elevate, and in the distance the mountain ranges could be seen towering above all else.
“How long have we been travelling?” Lazarov asked, looking at his map.
“About three hours, sir.”
“Hmm,” the captain looked around at their tranquil surroundings, as if judging the risks of his choices. “Alright men, I have a proposition. Since we’re not in a rush, we could establish a temporary camp and rest for an hour or two. At this rate, we should still be able to reach the village before sunset—“
“Hell yeah!” The entire squad cheered in unison, already knowing what their commander was going to say. Before Lazarov could continue, the men had already dropped their equipment on the bank and were shedding off their suits and body armor to rush into the river. Their naked, pale bodies shine bright in the sunlight, a sight which would cause any remotely competent drill instructor to keel over.
“You idiots!” Konoroz yelled as everyone around him seemed to have gone into the river. “Have you forgotten about the dangers of this place? There could be piranhas or something—“
One of the soldiers leapt into the river, surfacing moments later to reveal a squirming frog in his hands while his squad mates hollered in laughter.
“I’d never think I’d live to see the day that my men would act like this on a mission…”
Lazarov knelt down and sat beside Konoroz, who was still shaking his head in disbelief at how undisciplined his squad mates had suddenly become. Perhaps this revelation, or rather, the renewal of faith and belief in the formerly childish fantasies of magic, have ushered the men into finding a new reason to appreciate and enjoy these experiences in life. Perhaps these men, whose harsh military experience and adult responsibilities have become their life, suddenly found a link to the carefree innocence of their younger years.
Either that or whatever’s in the air in this strange land is messing with their brains. Konoroz admitted that there was nothing too wrong with that, considering their nuclear background, but they really should take their current situation with a bit more caution.
“Is that a girl?” One suddenly shouted, bringing attention to a small figure spying on them from a patch of cattails a bit downstream.
“Holy shit, Punchball, you’re right! Hey man, go put on some clothes!”
“Why don’t you?”
“Hey, you there, want to come join us?”
Konoroz frowned as the squad once again laughed rambunctiously, enjoying their light-hearted harassment of their unfortunate visitor.
“Why would there be a girl all the way out here?”
“Hmm, if I am correct, she appears to be a type of youkai known as a kappa.” Lazarov observed, watching the short girl hiding shyly far away. “This means we are indeed getting close to the Youkai Mountain, since that’s where they live.”
“Hey-hey, cover up that monster, will ya? Neither the girl nor I want to see it. Do you want some fish monster to bite it off?”
“Don’t worry about mine; they’ll take yours off as a small appetizer first.”
“How about I lop yours off and help make it bite-sized for their convenience—“
“Aw look, now you’ve scared her off.”
The banter and commotion caused by the group of big, naked men in the river was enough to make the kappa dive back into the water and disappear. Konoroz was flipping through the pages, still trying to grasp the material he had read in the guide, and was wondering why youkai wanted to manifest themselves as ordinary human girls, other than the obvious reason of making them more approachable and less threatening. Were they going to meet a lot more of them? He made a mental note to keep the men in check once they get to the village.
All the while Konoroz was brooding over the realities of Gensokyo, Lazarov seemed to fully immerse himself in the moment, as if a lifelong goal had been achieved; he was laying back and looking at the scenery with an content, absentminded grin on his face.
The lieutenant couldn’t help but feel that he was the only one bound by logic; the captain had completely changed ever since they had arrived, and could only seem to talk about Gensokyo and its complex intricacies, making Konoroz the de factor commander retaining any common sense.
With a soft growl, Konoroz’s stomach reminded him of its emptiness, demanding sustenance. It had been some time since he had vomited due to Yukari’s tricks, and now after hiking for some time, he realized the extent of his hunger.
“Have something to say, Petrov?” Lazarov joked, replying to Konoroz’s bodily noises.
“No, captain, everything is fine—“
“Nonsense. I believe we should find something to eat,” Lazarov said. “Those rations won’t last forever. We have to get used to eating the available foods in this world, and save our rations for when we truly need them.”
“Hammer, Count, and Caesar!” Konoroz hollered at the splashing men in the river. “Get back out; we’re going to scavenge for some food.”
“But lieutenant,” The Count complained, “We have our rations. Why do we need—“
“Captain’s orders!” Konoroz replied. “Now get your wet ass back on land this instant! The rest of you establish temporary camp in the thicker underbrush nearby. Make sure there is plenty of cover and trap any backdoor paths. Code word is longbow.”
The men compliantly rushed back onto the land, wiping themselves off and quickly suiting up once again to do their tasks. Lazarov gestured for the pilot, Kulikova, and the co-pilot, Lebediv, to join the Spetsnaz detachment in their scavenging party. Undressing their heavy equipment and armor, the scavenger party of seven planned to travel light, carrying only assault rifles with a few magazines and a single PKP light machine gun, in case they encounter any dangerous beasts.
“Alright, let’s go find some grub.”
If this was a warzone, they would have noticed the sunlight glancing off a pair of lenses pointed straight at them about one kilometer away. They did not. ====================================================
Time: 4:50 P.M. Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Edge of Great Youkai Forest, Somewhere near the foot of the Youkai Mountain Threat Level: 6
“So captain, just what are we searching for?”
“Anything that we can eat.” Lazarov replied, his face still buried in the guidebook. “Apparently there is quite a diverse amount of edible things in this forest. But half of them have side effects that I don’t really want to test out.”
“Well, the most common warning labels are ‘hallucinogen’, ‘dopamine reuptake inhibitor,’ and ‘stimulant.’ However, there are still some other effects like ‘sensual nullification’ and ‘mental enhancement” that I have no clue about.”
“Is there a fruit that works like Viagra?”
“What,” Hammer piped up, “is our esteemed Count, Your Excellency, having wood problems?”
“How about you stuff that mouth and go suck on your Hammer.”
“Shh!” Konoroz reprimanded, smacking both of them across their heads. “Keep the talking down. Youkai senses are far superior to ours and we don’t want to attract any unnecessary attention.”
The two operatives looked at each other before shrugging. Their lieutenant has always been a strict and uptight man, but it seemed his personality would not waver even if he is presented with a situation beyond their wildest imagination. Their captain, however, seemed to have softened a lot. In a way, that actually made the men feel a little less confident in their commanding officer, wondering if, when the time comes, their CO could still lead them as he usually did.
“There,” Lazarov pointed. “A plum tree. It’s one of the fruits that remained more or less consistent between this world and ours…uh…to some extent, I guess…”
In contrast to the captain’s words, the normal-sized plum tree had abnormal-sized fruits. Instead of a small, baseball-sized fruit, the plums in the Great Youkai Forest were the size of small coconuts, their skins a deep shade of purple and black with little patches of red speckled on.
“Whew,” Caesar whistled in amazement, “I’d only expect to see fruits of such size in a nuclear power plant’s rear garden. Captain, are you sure those things are safe to eat?”
“Well, we can give it a shot,” Lazarov replied, shrugging off his weapon and packs. “Petrov, give me a lift.”
With a little bit of support, the athletic Spetsnaz captain easily vaulted off of the lieutenant’s shoulders and heaved himself onto the thick branches of the super-sized plum tree. His arm muscles tensed up as he relied on his upper-body strength to crawl up higher into the tree. Reaching out a hand, he grasped a large fruit, tore it off the branch, and brought it to his mouth for a bite as his squad watched in anticipation.
“Hmm,” he paused as he tentatively tasted the mouthful of plum. “Tastes like--”
================================================================ Time: 5:00 P.M. Date: June 26, 2014 Location: Edge of Great Youkai Forest, Somewhere near the foot of the Youkai Mountain Threat Level: 6
The distinctive report of a high caliber round instinctively raised Konoroz’s attention as the tree branch his commanding officer was monkeying on abruptly snapped.
Lazarov had fallen off of the broken tree branch onto his back, but that was the lucky part. Konoroz saw and heard something whizz by, only to embed itself into the trunk of a tree behind him with a loud crack. There was only one thing he could say at that time.
The squad leapt into action, and hurriedly sought cover; their experience with such warfare took precedence despite being in a new environment. Judging by the direction and delay of the sound versus the arrival of the bullet, they could immediately guess the relative position of the enemy attacker.
“It came from that hill,” Lazarov informed as he crawled behind a large fallen tree where Konoroz was hiding. “What the hell! A sniper? In Gensokyo?”
“That report sounds familiar,” Konoroz mused, closing his eyes. “Sounds almost like one of our weapons, but distorted, almost. Shit, why didn’t command pack us with any long-range weaponry?”
“Our priority right now is to evade and disengage.” Lazarov replied, “We don’t know what we’re facing.”
“I can assume that this sniper was taught conventional sniping tactics.” Konoroz countered, “He’s not using any enhanced weaponry. He went for the most exposed target first, he’s not shooting us through layers of wood, and he had chosen a superior vantage point. We should be able to safely say that he has his limitations.”
“What do you propose?” the captain asked, unconsciously shifting his commanding role to his second-in-command.
“We treat him like a usual sniper, and deal with him like how we deal with most snipers.” Konoroz remarked, squinting at the direction the shot report came from, “Oh, and look, he’s right there on the hill, barely hiding behind a bush. That idiot doesn’t even know that he’s in the range of our weapons. All call-signs, fire on target on hillside. No mercy.”
Machine gun and rifle together spits bursts of accurate fire at the distant figure which Konoroz spotted, who appears to be panicking at the unexpectedly fast reaction. Through the dust kicked up by the shot impacts, the operator Hammer spies the target moving.
“He’s shifting upwards,” Hammer said, looking through his binoculars. “Approximately four hundred and thirty meters away…and now he’s over the top.”
“Sir!” Konoroz shouted, “Permission to deploy an OYG-1!”
“Negative Sergean-Ah what the hell, do it.”
The prototype OYG-1 (English: Prototype Guided Munition-1) system is one of the few new gadgets the Spetsnaz received in these years of economic downturn, in part due to its low cost and sheer simplicity. The system is essentially just a small collapsible RC aircraft, composed of aluminum sheeting with a main body filled with 150 grams of Semtex. The device is launched by hand, and then steered by joystick onto the target, where it explodes with enough force to fill any dumb schmuck within a 20 meter radius with shrapnel.
The production unit cost is projected to be around 2000 rubles, around half the cost of a RPG-7 warhead. It is designed to engage personnel suppressed behind cover or otherwise rendered incapable of shooting down the slow moving projectile. Given the ample amount of gear available to Lazarov’s team, it is inevitable that some new toys are part of the package, especially if said toy is cheap and lightweight.
Konoroz, controller in hand, flipped the switch on the aircraft and tossed it over. The sluggish aircraft slowly covered the distance between the group and the hill as the Spetsnaz struggled with the inelegant joysticks. Right when the bomb was roughly over the top of the fleeing figure, he triggered the detonator signal.
The explosion sounds reverberates through the valley. The airburst was strong enough to have visibly shaken the leaves off the trees near the top of the hill and even shear bark straight off the trunks. A large amount of dust was swept up, obscuring the top of the hill from observation.
“Camp team!” Lazarov shouts into his helmet radio, “Do you copy!”
“Roger, we heard gunshots, what happened?”
“We engaged a hostile human, he didn’t seem too trained, and I’m pretty sure that we got him. But just in case we were wrong, cut off his escape route on your side. It’s the large hill.”
“Copy that, we sighted the explosion. Moving in to surround area.”
“Roger. Alright, Forage Team!” He signals the operatives around him “Secure this side of the hill! Keep an eye out for any additional hostiles!”
Cautiously, the seven soldiers moved out of cover and fanned out, weapons raised, onto the large tract of meadow that separated them and the hill.
“See anything, Count?”
“Negative, Hammer. Vlad?”
“Nothing in my sight either.” They reached the bottom of the hill. “Camp team?”
“We have encountered no hostiles so far.” The radio crackled “Area appears to be clear.”
Lazarov spoke, “Stand by, we have no idea what we’re dealing with yet.”
“No idea?” Konoroz chortled, “Those bullets were very much solid and his reaction very much human. Unless we have a sniper rifle youkai to deal with, I doubt it is something we didn’t see before or something which would survive an explosion like that”
“Caution is key, Konoroz. The last thing we need is for someone to get hurt due to recklessness. Especially in a foreign land like this.”
“The lieutenant is right, though,” Caesar said, lowering his AK-12. “That sniper was a conventional one, which means that he or whoever he works for must be from our world.”
The Spetsnaz team nodded in agreement. Whoever they were facing, he was definitely not one of the denizens of this magical land of fantasy. He had the mindset of a human, had some degree of training, and was hostile to them without any provocation. The implications of these facts were clear.
“As far as I know,” Konoroz said, “this world keeps on giving me surprise after surprise. I didn’t expect that our first dedicated enemy would turn out to be one of our own kind.”
“You four go check up on the mountain for any traces of the sniper,” Lazarov ordered, gesturing at a few of the Spetsnaz operatives. “The rest of you stay here and prep our equipment. We’re power-trekking to the Human Village and we will get there before sunset. Camp team?”
“Roger, we’re gathering up the mines as you speak.”
Sniper attacks. Just one of another set of dangers they are going to face on their mission.
“Miss Yakumo is going to have a lot of explaining to do.” Konoroz grumbled.
Lazarov sighed “She can’t really keep track of everything that goes through the border. It’s entirely possible that other parties have sent their own operatives into this land, without abiding by any of her rules.”
“Captain! We found nothing!” The inspecting Spetsnaz on the top of the hill shouted back. “The area is completely clear!”
“What?” Konoroz hurried after them. Indeed, the blasted area was entirely vacant, no body, no weapon. Not even a piece of clothing to deduce the identity of the sniper was recovered. “Is he a superhero or something? We hit him with enough firepower to obliterate an entire squad!”
“Still think it’s a normal human? Lieutenant?” Lazarov snickered at his panicking comrade.
“He could have been wearing a bomb disposal suit.” suggested Hammer.
“Well he wasn’t, if the speed he runs at is of any indication. And where did he go? We would have seen him scurrying off if he survived!” Konoroz shook his fist in frustration at the empty hilltop.
Many questions linger, but the silence of the men around him indicates that no one has an inkling of an idea of who, or what, they just engaged.
“Let’s go,” Lazarov finally said, “We’ll ask the locals about this when we reach civilization.”
A/N: Ignore the call-signs, they don’t matter. [X]Drop off your harvest first, as that is your job wins without question, The reward choices are still up for votes.
>>28798, sociopathic was probably bad diction. “Situationally immoral” probably would have been better.
- Added optional choices: Copy these tags into votes or just any posts. If enough posts (3-4) have the tag, information will be displayed at top of next post. Multiple tags are allowed - [INV] - Check inventory/equipment - [STAT] - Check current health status - [PERK] - Check any natural or supernatural benefits you currently possess - Year removed from date field, may be re-implemented later
============================================================ Inventory: On your person: - Cellphone (no signal) - Utility knife - 10 cans of food - Small box of roofied chocolate - An ordinary cigarette lighter - Notepad with attached pen. - Myouren Emergency Beacon (around neck) - 88800 yen worth of Meiji-era currency - Latin book on herbs - A compass - Map of Gensokyo - Pamphlet titled "Guide to Gensokyo" - An empty plastic water skin Armaments: - MAT-49 (Primary) Loaded. 3 full spare magazines (32 rounds each). - Lunar-pattern air rifle (On back). Loaded tranquilizer (17 spare darts) - M1911 Colt (Sidearm). Empty. 3 spare magazines (7 rounds each, Danmaku-capable) - Collection of chemical grenades (Belt) Dress: - Thin woolen coat, T-shirt, jeans, hiking boots, and undergarments. Standard Outside World hiking wear.
Status: Mildly tired
Injuries: - Slight bruise on lower back - Various superficial burns on limbs
Perks: - Advanced drug resistance - Flexible morality ============================================================
<~Blue> Master, three more breaches today <%Purple> ??? <%Purple> I'm trying to see how my current guests are doing right now <~Blue> So? <%Purple> Go ahead <~Blue> One made it to the village at around 4:00 PM <~Blue> One is currently seeking shelter in the Village of Cats. I made Orange play somewhere else. <~Blue> One...drowned...in the misty lake. <%Purple> That lake is really damn popular for knuckleheads to drown in <%Purple> Next edition of GtG: DO NOT TOUCH THE ICE FAIRY
[X] Drop off your harvest first, as that is your job.
Time: 7:15 PM Date: June 26 Location: Eientei Village Clinic Threat Level: 0
"You did what?"
Reisen nearly chokes on her tea when you get to the part of your story where you deployed tear gas.
You, on the other hand, focus your eye-contact to the white-haired person sitting across the table from her, who merely gives an acknowledging smile.
"...so I rammed the can through, ran for it, and when two of the targets came out, I threw an exploding one and burned through my entire pistol mag killing them." You mechanically summarize, "I then entered the house, slit the third one's jugular, and tortured the fourth one to give up where the rest of their gear is stashed. The village guards got to me, and Keine let me go since I was just doing bad things to bad people, and therefore performing a public service. Then I decided to finish my original job and biked back here."
Clap, clap, clap. "Well done!" The woman cheers, "Udonge has made quite a good catch. An outsider with a medical background and can fend for himself, now that is a rare occurrence! I will make sure that you receive a reward when you get back to Eientei." She says to the moon rabbit.
"Thank you Master Yagokoro." Reisen bows her head, not taking her eyes off of you. You think you see a hint of suspicion in there. Was she thinking that your combat prowess might have a dark past that you dare not reveal? Or that you may have been the subject of a Manchurian experiment? As far as you know, your success is primarily due to the simple fact that you have a gas mask, chemical weapons and were lucky enough to also have the element of surprise.
Or maybe you're missing the point here. Maybe she's suspicious because of some other reason. Eirin doesn't seem to mind as much as her apprentice though, or she could be hiding her discomfort behind the controlled visage refined over millions of years. You gently bow in appreciation of her compliment.
"However, Mr. Wu, I would recommend you do not actively seek out such troublesome situations. You are an employee of Eientei now, and your actions will reflect on the group as a whole."
"I understand, Ms. Yagokoro."
"Very well." Her voice is not unlike the drawing of a violin, carefully modulated to instill a sense of comfortable obedience in the listener. "Now, about your pay...is 25000 yen a day reasonable? If you work from 8 in the morning to 7 in the evening?
25000 yen, that's approximately 2300 yen an hour, almost three times as much as what you earn in your fast food job at the university. Of course, the job here is inherently riskier, but you would still prefer getting mauled by a youkai to dealing with the frat boys throwing up on the counter during party nights, also known as every night ever. Besides, YOU ARE GETTING A PAYING JOB IN GENSOKYO, you scream in your head. Most of those interested would give their life just to witness the dreamland, and indeed, many do. You just killed three of them.
"Not counting the fringe benefits, something you outsiders seem to care much for. Necessary working equipment is free, of course, as well as a certain amount of supplies. Eientei also operates gardens and greenhouses in a wide variety of locations, so I can provide you with passes to Old Hell or Youkai Mountain if I need you to collect something. And naturally, you will have access to Eientei itself...and its associated laboratories." She punctuates the last sentence by brushing a lock of hair away from her eyes, "When I determine it is appropriate, of course."
"I accept, Master Yagakoro." You bow again, this time on one knee in order to emphasize your gratitude in a deep, albeit slightly overdramatic manner.
"Oh, there is no need to call me master," Eirin covers her mouth with one hand in the classic gesture of concealed mirth, "You are merely an employee right now, not an apprentice of mine, though I do appreciate the gesture. You may rise now, Mr. Wu, this isn't a royal court." You hastily stand up in compliance, "And that is about all you need to know right now. We'll hand you another assignment tomorrow." She gets up from her chair and yawns, "For now, close up the shop. Udonge!"
"Pay our employee, please." She says as she strolls out of the clinic, "I still have some elixirs of truth brewing on the stove which require attention. So long!" She departs, taking off from the street in one graceful, fluid maneuver.
You close the shutter on the shop window and remove the banner from the pole above the door. "Miss Udongein, are you going to lock up or..." You stop when you notice the silence, and feel the long waves beat down on your brain again, albeit milder this time.
"Mr. Wu," Reisen's voice, without the usual condescending edge, rings out behind you, "Are you a soldier?"
"Soldier? Nah, I enlisted in a reserve program last year, but I never went anywhere other than the training camp."
"So I assume that this incident is your first time killing fellow human beings."
You turn around, and stare straight into her oscillating red pupils. "No, it is not the first time, and they are not human beings."
"You see, when those outsiders decided to kidnap the children, to me they lose their rights as a human or sapient being or something. They are not even animals. They are targets, targets with equipment ripe for the taking which just happen to scream and bleed."
"You don't really believe that, do you?" Her expression does not change even as the tone turns more condemning.
"Rei-I mean, Miss Udongein, you are screwing with my brain right now. Do I look capable of lying?"
"Only the most sociopathic or self-righteous of individuals would say that without regret, are you one?"
"You tell me!" You cheerfully wave your arms in resignation, "I have no cognitive dissonance! Besides, it's not like you didn't kill any outsiders before!"
"Look, Mr. Wu, the point is not that you killed people, it's that your lack of reaction, along with the fact that you did not have a profession where you would have a good reason to kill, demonstrates a..."
"Miss Udongein, when did you become a psychologist?" You rudely interrupt, Reisen's waves blocking off any sense of reserve from your speech. "Does the topic have anything to do with my job?"
"Yes, you may be a liability. Not even Gensokyo tolerates antisocial murderers."
"Like Miss Kazami?"
"There is a reason why she stays in her flower field most of the time, after all. And she's only antisocial, the murderer reputation is mostly due to the incredibly tasteless jokes she tells."
Well, THAT's a part of Yuuka you genuinely did not previously know, or notice in the official materials.
"And what should I do to not become a 'liability' by your definition?"
Reisen pauses for a moment, her eyes breaking contact as she holds her head in her hand as she stews on the question. "That...just don't pull a stunt like that again, okay? At least call the guards first."
Shaking your head to counter the lingering effects of her waves, you reply "Yeah sure, I promise I'll try not to."
"Well then, I'll lock up. Here's your day's pay, minus the cost of the air gun." She hands you a stack of Meiji-era bills, still crisp and fresh looking despite the nature of the bills and the state of the cashbox indicating at least over one hundred years of age. "Go on, shoo, you're done for the day. Farewell."
Time: 7:30 PM Date: June 26 Location: Main North-South Street Threat Level: 0
Everybody outside seems to be moving towards the north entrance for reasons unknown. Perhaps it is because the tank showed up again?
You follow the general movement of people, pleasantly noticing how some of the villagers now seem to actively allow you space either out of respect or fear. You catch some snippets of their chatter as you walk the bike. Apparently there is a large group of armed men that had arrived from the north, and nobody has any idea what is going on aside from that.
"Maybe we shouldn't have gone hunting for that Lowe. So we can back them up." A girl's voice calls out somewhere to the front of you, drawing your attention.
"Maybe we should have built a better tank. So we wouldn't have lost it in the first place" This voice is Conner's, near the same position. He has a partner? That explains who was driving that ridiculous looking faux-Jagdpanther earlier. You move closer, edging your way through the throngs of people to the source.
Was that tank the Flower Tank? Then that means... no, that can't be right, you think to yourself. PC-98 was supposed to have happened in Makai, or even made up whole cloth by ZUN's beer-soaked grey matter. You really do not know how or why, out of everyone in the earlier games...
"You said that a 90 millimeter would be enough to deal with a 'World War II piece of junk', Felix." You realize it's been a while since you heard anyone call the professor by his first name, “Which just so happened to have an active defense shield."
"Active Protection System. And it was not present the last time I saw the damn thing. Look,I-" His speech stops dead, as he sees you right behind him with the rental bike. You do not notice his stare though, being completely engrossed by his companion. His companion who wears a white-lab coat and sports dyed purple hair.
"Oh dear. Miss Asakura, this is Ming, my former student and recent vigilante. Ming, this is Miss Asakura, my colleague of convenience, whom you may know from the third game in the series, or was it the fourth? She shares the mechanic's shop with me."
"And how the hell does..."
"...a PC-98 character exist? You must be the fiftieth outsider to ask that question." Rikako smiles, and extends her right hand in a gesture of amiability. "As a rule of thumb--no--as a researched fact, those of us who were featured in more than just one level are real."
Now that you think about it, it does make sense. Reimu, Marisa, Yuuka, Alice, everyone who reappeared in the Windows games were featured in more than one stage, or were a player character for a non-versus shooter. But wasn't Rikako only featured in said versus shooter?
You shake her hand, "You were in more than one level?"
"Um, hello? Flower tank?" She rolled her eyes, "Have you even played the older games?"
"Then that means...what the heck happened when you didn't have the '-ko' in your name? And how do you know about the games so well?"
"I was young; I thought it was a great idea to use magic and technology to create a small army of robots to harass the shrine. Reimu beat the crap out of me with her stick. We were like what, 13 or so then? I was laid up in bed for a week as a result. Now I try not to use magic as much as possible to prevent such a happening. Or participate in incidents, for that matter. Did I mention that Genji packs a nasty bite? And the third game, as far as I know, never happened for real. And as for your second question, I obtained a computer from Kourindou back before he got enough gullible outsiders to tell him how to use one, and guess what it contained in the hard drive?"
"Uh-huh, oh wow." You reply as you continue along the road with them, Conner seemingly resigned to just listening to you two speak. "Does your theory indicate that Mima also exists?"
"She does. She's been sleeping in the shrine storehouse for a year straight. Only times when she would wake up are when the shrine gets trashed, as she appears to be motivated to help rebuild the place as soon as possible in order to go back to sleep. I wouldn't talk to her though, her attitude is caustic. Didn't you see her earlier?"
And that solves the mystery of why she's not in the games. An oddly straightforward reason, yet so appropriate somehow.
"So...what happened back on the road there?"
The two engineers look at each other nervously, before Conner speaks up "You see, since a living tank is a rather huge scientific curiosity, me and Rikako decided to use technology where magic has failed..." he stops, wiping sweat off his brow. Rikako picks up "...so we dug out my old Flower Tank, rigged up a larger cannon on, and went tank hunting. We found it and tried to knock out its tracks to preserve the most of it for study, but we did not take into account the fact that it had an active interception device."
"Active Protection System, which was capable enough to intercept frickin tank rounds, mounted on a World War II tank. It then proceeded to give our poor metal box the road kill treatment, chasing us down that road you were on earlier and systematically destroying every part of our tank but the crew compartment. I would say that Rikako got out just in time, but given the tank's behavior, I'd hypothesize that it intentionally avoided killing anything sapient."
"Are you implying that a tank has more compassion than I, professor?"
"No, I'm implying that killing anyone that's not an outsider will bring the entire Gensokyo justice system down on you like a nuclear bomb. The tank is smart enough to avoid doing so."
"You're also implying that my Flower Tank isn't worth a life, Felix," Rikako grumbles, "It hurts me to imagine that big German meanie consuming what's left of my poor baby."
"Look on the bright side sis!" Conner jests, "Now you have the garage space to build a new one! Just like how a couple can get a new baby if the old one dies."
"That tank was my childhood! Do you know how much fulfillment I felt when I first put him together out of the metal scrap next to my father's forge? He was my fir-"
"Uh, guys? Guys? We're at the place where stuff is happening!"
Time: 7:35 PM Date: June 26 Location: Northern Village Gate Threat Level: N/A
It looks like the whole village has showed up to view the commotion. The crowd in front of you right now is a thick as the one at Hisoutensoku's crash site, only now even moreso due to it being restricted to the space inside the village streets. You, however, manage to squeeze through once again, this time with villagers actively allowing you room due to your notoriety.
"Excuse me, Excuse me." You move through the crowd with Conner and Rikako following close behind, "Coming through. What's going on here?" Your question is answered by the line of guardsmen standing in a double line file across the street directly in front of the gate, with their rifles aimed directly at a large mob of people, arms in the air and weapons on the ground, positioned just outside of the village perimeter. Shou and Futo are seen off to the sides of the group, with their respective spear and sword discouraging any attempt to flee.
Keine is standing underneath the gate, engaged in a heated argument with a man dressed in combat fatigues. Initially, you cannot tell what he could be other than the apparent leader of the group and wonder about his origins. Until Conner pointed out the arm patch on the man, then you are wondering why in the world is there an US military officer leading a pack of outsiders.
Former USMC captain and de-facto leader of a large group of outsiders Matthew Ferguson is having a really bad day.
"And you expect the village to house a group of hundred outsiders without preparation? Mr. Ferguson?"
The marine veteran sighs, looks at the dismal and rather rambunctious state of his posse, and replies "No, that would be preposterous, but we would like to request a place to camp near the village, as well as medical attention for the wounded."
"Medical attention can be proved by the Myouren Temple, whose ambulance is en route." Her voice is cold, but not, Ferguson noted, entirely devoid of empathy, "But do you have a reason for me to let your...group live near the village?"
"I..." Ferguson has no bargaining chip in this discussion, "We will disarm, and...I guess we will work or something" he buries his head in his hands. He thought Keine was supposed to be nicer to outsiders.
"Sir? Are you getting anything?" The squad sharpshooter known as Vlad asks Konoroz, who is looking on the scene through his binoculars. "Do we have to do this? We have civilian clothes and everything. Why can't we treat this as an easy deployment like the regulars?"
"The captain insisted that only he, Monkey and Punchball enter the crowd and have everyone else on overwatch in case something goes wrong." Konoroz says as he carefully adjusts his position on the roof of the granary. "Keep your scope clear, we are ordered to take out any hostiles in the mob outside the gate, as well as anything that may threaten the close observation team. As for your other question: because I said so."
"And the ones right under the gate, the three women, the elderly man and the American? By the way, I think the one with the white robes and grey hair is kind of cute, sir." Vlad grins, even as Konoroz jabs him in the side.
"According to the books included with the mission, that's Mononobe no Futo, she's approximately 1400 years old. Don't worry about that group; they are trusted to not pose a threat." Funny, Konoroz considered, seeing how they are most definitely the most powerful of the people on the ground."
"Also, are those what I think they are in the sky? They look like flying...angel-things, but with black wings."
"Those are tengu reporters. Avoid attracting their attention; they are bad news according to Lazarov." Konoroz scans through the area again, "And that girl there, with the purple hair. She's not in the books."
"She looks like a normal human though sir."
"Be ready to fire on that area just in case--Wait, is that the captain? What is he doing?"
The village leader, Tetsuo Saromi, had hurriedly arrived at about 7:37 and took over discussion. Though the appearance of the old man may have made Ferguson complacent at first, after they started drafting the written agreement he immediately realized his error. The village leader is as sharp as any lawyer, and is determined to
"...and your group is also obligated to clear and plow aforementioned tract of land. Maintaining order with such a large influx is not easy on my men or the village as a whole, do you understand Mr. Ferguson?" As if reinforcing Saromi's position, Keine, standing beside the leader stares at Ferguson every time after the leader speaks, as if daring the former marine to say no.
"Yes, yes." The treaty that is being drafted is getting longer and longer. There's been twenty-five terms and conditions tacked on that are clearly just ways of extorting free labor out of their group. Still, preferable to camping out, in the wilderness, with no reliable source of exfiltration or supplies.
"Now, your group is also required to act in the defense of the village in the event massed youkai attacks and other threats, in turn..."
You are getting increasingly disinterested by the minute. The negotiating parties have produced a table and two chairs from a nearby establishment to accommodate for the old man, and are now apparently writing down a contract of some sort, though it looks as though Saromi, with Keine's aid, is really just bullying the officer into doing their bidding. Shou and Futo have not moved, even holding their respective spear and sword in the same position.
The villagers are gradually filing out of the observing crowd back towards the village proper, and the look on Conner's face implies that he intends to do so too. Only Rikako seems interested in staying, hoping to see what new widgets those outsiders might have brought with them.
"Ming, Rikako, this is going to take a long time," Conner sighs, "I request we take the initiative."
"I don't care," Rikako shrugs, "As long as I get to interact with them eventually."
You consider your thoughts:
 Move towards the group of outsiders directly  Take a detour around the village guards to the group  Stay here
[x] Take a detour around the village guards to the group
Time: 8:03 PM Date: June 26 Location: Northern Village Boundary Threat Level: N/A
The village is surrounded on all sides (except for the segment where the river cuts through) by a stout earth rampart the height of your shoulders, reinforced by a one-and-half meter tall spine of half-length logs sharpened and staked in, indicating that this fortification was once merely a rural fence. The sightly drystone walls and picket fences of the nearby residential houses throws into sharp relief the relative crudeness of its construction, that said, replacing the rampart would entail an enormous labor cost as well as endangering the village during the time, thus it has remained exactly like this ever since its builder inserted the final stake seventy years ago, aging well even with the village guard's recent adoption of firearms.
You, along with your former professor and his surprisingly-existent colleague, walk briskly along the barrier. Have you majored in art or philosophy, you would read its existence as a microcosm of the larger Barrier sheltering this walled garden from the Outside. As you have not, you are more concerned with a way to get over the damn thing, as walking to the western gate is far too large of an annoyance. The main issue is that the logs are only spaced out enough to permit the aiming of a bow or gun over its precipice, and Rikako has neglected to bring along a jetpack, which you would rather not use anyway despite her protests that the contraption would be perfectly reliable. More annoyingly, there is nothing convenient in the vicinity, such as a barrel, that could be used as a footstool.
Of course, you do eventually discover a bypass, by tripping over a covered tunnel dug beneath the rampart, spraining your ankle in the progress.
"Uh, Ming, you all right?" Conner asks, his words barely streaming over your torrent of curses. You nod, gritting your teeth as you remove an anesthetic pad, milder than Eirin's concoction, from your medikit. Rolling up your pants, you cover the injury with it, sighing as your right ankle goes numb.
"You coming?" calls Rikako's voice. You look up, and see that both of them had already crawled through the tunnel onto the other side. Groaning, you follow, dragging your unresponsive foot through the shallow mine, which, despite its initial unassuming appearance, actually drops down 45 degrees into the earth to circumvent the stakes before rising up on the other side behind a bush alongside a boulder.
"That was convenient," you say, dusting the dirt off your clothes as you clamber out next to your waiting companions, "I wonder who dug that."
"Konoroz to Hammer, did you remember to disguise our method of entry into this settlement?"
"Hammer to Konoroz, tunnel entry is covered with straw and dirt."
"Konoroz to Hammer, did you block it off with something solid?"
"Hammer to Konoroz. Negative sir."
The lieutenant sighs, sets down the comms, and goes back to surveying his captain's team, who has failed in his ploy to sneak through the gate unnoticed (The team did succeed in getting past the normal human guards, though their lack of experience with the sensitivity of a were-hakutaku doomed the plan), and Lazarov is now trying to talk their way out of the situation, his efforts hampered by such details as their stiff pose, musculature and grooming betraying their military origins.
[8:03] <Spice> Mir... [8:03] <Spice> What are your agents doing? [8:03] <Mir> Uh [8:03] <%Purple> Getting in trouble with the village, that's what your highly trained group of special forces soldiers are doing. [8:03] <Mir> They are highly trained, they are not, however, necessarily socially aware [8:04] <Yamato> More importantly, why did you insert troops in my country? Do you know how many international laws you are violating [8:04] <Mir> I told them to assign one operative in through civilian channels. They decided to insert a whole team in through military channels. [8:04] <Mir> Besides, it’s THROUGH your country, they never landed on Japanese soil [8:04] <Yamato> Because Purple's domain is not Japanese soil apparently [8:04] <%Purple> It isn't, you really do not have jurisdiction across the border [8:04] <Yamato> I would strongly disagree, care to test it out? [8:04] <%Purple> I know where you live, dear Yamato. How's doing anyway after she fell off her bicycle this morning? [8:04] <Yamato> ...right, that. Okay, maybe we should discuss another subject.
Your group has succeeded in getting around the guards. Now, how will you approach the group?
You scan the immediate area from a bush, with Conner's binoculars. While Keine and Co. are apparently distracted, there are still the two aspiring lieutenants flanking the group from left to right. Between Shou's martial instinct and Futo's environmental sensibilities, you rate your trio's chances of sneaking by them to be between zero and negative ten. The negative ten is because they actually might notice you right now.
The mass of outsiders is generally what you expect of normal people in such a situation, scared and near-panicking. You venture to estimate a ratio of seven males to every three females from your observations, a low percentage given your experience of the fandom. In the middle of the group is a large wagon, the contents of which you cannot see from this angle.
"Rikako? Conner? You two have any ideas?" You ask the two scientists hiding further behind.
"Didn't you perfectly resolve a hostage situation just hours ago?" Rikako replies in a low voice, "Just go forward and talk with them. You are a hero, after all."
You take another look, Futo's still standing on the far side of the group, and on the closer side there is a tiger the size of a van.
"That sounds like a good idea, I probably will-JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS THAT."
"Oh that's just Miss Toramaru," Conner half-yawns, "She usually does the transformation-thing at festivals for kids to ride on. I mean, you did expect that right?"
"I DON'T WANT TO BE FOOD, CONNER."
"Calm down, Ming," Rikako says, looking over through her own spyglass, "Just because she's in a different appearance does not mean she's changed her personality."
As if deliberating corroborating her statement, Shou remains as still as before, only with her fangs exposed in lieu of the drawn spear. Interestingly, her outfit, including the spear, has disappeared, presumably merged into her new form. This has the purpose of frightening away the few bold outsiders who shuffled closer to her. Futo, on the other hand, is simply not caring about them doing so. You suspect lack of experience being the reason.
You shift your view towards the horizon. On the skies to the north in the fading sunlight you spot a sailboat, the Myouren ambulance, approaching. You wonder why they took so long to respond. Still, this presents you with another option to get close.
[ ] Go in now, you first [ ] Go in now, with Conner and Rikako first [ ] Go in when the ship ambulance arrives. Since you did help Ichirin already.
So I've been reading Chronograph yesterday, and its content made me feel like I'm plagiarizing from NPC to no end. Finding employment, the focus on the village, the use of English honorifics, and even the supersonic dive-bombing Aya are just a few of those things. I may tweak the setting more just so it becomes more distinct. Suggestions?
I just realized that if anything goes wrong, we'll be right next to two or three well-armed groups who could very well fire on us. Granted, nothing major should happen when we go in, but there's probably a lot of itchy trigger fingers down there.
Regarding your question: do not modify your setting due to a few coincidences. If you wanna add anything, just go for the safe thing and add a love interest. But it isn't really necessary (although I'd like it) The similarities with Chronograph are coincidences, nothing more.
>>28842 I agree and I heard that MC is on the more typical side (finds an ability/etc), though one major thing the writer can do to separate himself from there is setting up a tie to /border/ matters as right now this seems more a /shrine/ or /th/ story and that story's rather noted for "maybe it should have been in /sdm/ instead"
It is fairly definitive that the author will not add a love interest, considering that his stance on that is very clearly stated in previous posts.
I do sincerely hope that the author will not settle for generic plots such as "MC becomes the chosen one and somehow attains powers to fight evil" and or give up the realism in favor of "plot twists/creativity". The MC is fine the way he is--a sociopath but nonetheless 100% human with 100% human limitations. If the author sticks true to his words in the prologue ("game doesn't care whether you play it or not, the plot goes on. And the part where realism bites you in the rear") then the distinctness of his writing should derive not from the likeness of simple fantasy stories and instead should carry the unique and flavorful depiction of a normal person challenging the odds with minimal magical support, fully entailing the struggles that come along with it. It is the quality of a handicap that produces a different perspective on the survival aspect of a genuinely dangerous Gensokyo, one that requires more care, logic, and rationality to succeed in. I do not wish to see it degenerate into a bland, shounen plot where the MC decides to make illogical choices because the plot requires him to do things against his rationality.
Left, right, left, right, you order your feet to move one after the other in the direction of the big, scary tiger. A thought crossed your head to keep a hand gripped on your newly-acquired submachine gun, but you decide against that, given how the situation is already likely to end up with you looking like swiss cheese.
"Halt! What are you interloper, who advances?" The monochrome-themed hermit shouts, drawing along with it the eyes of the outsiders.
"It's me, Mr. Wu, from earlier. You know, the rescuer." You call back. Murmurs start within the group.
"Why it is so! Very well then," Futo abruptly leaps and glides over the group to your side, standing a mere fifteen meters away, surprising Shou who rolls out of the way and transforms back into her humanoid body. "I challenge thee to a duel for the privilege of passing."
"No Mononobe! Not that kind of challenge-" Shou screams, but it is too late, Futo has already drawn a piece of runed paper from her sleeve, tossed it in the air, and caught it with the tip of her seven-branched sword (which, you notice, appears identical to the historical artifact), where it catches in flame. You suddenly feel as if a large soap bubble has landed over the immediate area, encasing you and Futo. Shou rushes forward with her spear drawn, only to be repulsed by the barrier.
You noticed that all of your weapons now possess the faint glow that your pistol had when it switched to danmaku mode.
"Shut it down, now! Challenging means to ask who they are and why they are approaching, not to duel them for no reason!"
"I fear that tis impossible." Futo replies, shrugging, "I possess no reversal charms on my person ("You should've just used cards like everyone else!" Shou screams). Tis only when one yield doth this 'fight' end."
It looks like you have entered your first magical fight in Gensokyo. Didn't the Guide say something about that?
=================================================== Guide to Gensokyo - Section 4: A Primer to Magical Battles - Formal Systems
While most danmaku fired is done on an incidental basis, being little more than bolts of low-powered magic, there are three formal templates for those who wish to enact proper duels and combat.
Common to all of them is the enacting of the temporary Duelling Barrier. Within this barrier, sustained by Gensokyo's ambient magic, all weapons, and ammunition are rendered into "danmaku-ized" versions of themselves. A sword will be blunted and rendered unshatterable, a thrown grenade will reappear on its bandolier after its mild detonation, a machine gun will never run out of its nonlethal and slowed ammunition, and a belt of throwing knives will recharge itself as they impact skin without cutting. Magic is similarly affected, as a fireball would sting but not burn. Another effect is that anybody not part of the duel would be unable to interfere with the combatants, as the barrier prevents outside interferences as well as preventing the activity inside from going out. This is what allows the barrier to manifest, as though the hail of flashy bullets and magical attacks seem impressive on the outside, the magical energy they consume overall is very low as their effects are miniscule on Gensokyo as a whole, mostly amounting to some scratches and bruising on the combatants. THe barrier is highly mobile, and its position is entirely relative to the position of the belligerrents. A Duelling Barrier is automatically activated on the declaration of any spellcard, including those with no actual spells. A Duelling Barrier can be dispelled prematurely with a reversal spell (generally inscribed on the back of a spellcard) and properly ended when one side either formally admits defeat based off a previously-agreed condition, or loses conciousness.
The first and most used template is the Classical Spellcard System. Developed by the Hakurei shrine maiden, the spellcard system is used in long-ranged combat in large, open spaces, where both combatants are able to fly and possess a set of drafted spells for use. One side is the defending side, who utilizes spellcards or memorized patterns to attempt to overwhelm the attacking side with the weight and complexity of their bullet patterns. The attacking side, in turn, will attack with rapid barrages of aimed bullets to disrupt the defending side enough to shatter the spell. If the attacking side declares a spellcard, they become the defending side for the duration of the spell. This system is most useful for situations with a clear aggressor and defender, with the owner of the territory where the battle takes place generally taking up the role of the defender. Another benefit is that one defender could challenge multiple attackers. Victory is usually determined either by hits inflicted or spellcards depleted, although sometimes the fight will last until one side give up from exhaustion and pain.
The second template is the Simplified Spellcard System. It is a variant of Classical where both sides are on attacking stance, and the combat resembles an airplane dogfight from the Outside. Spellcards declared merely add to the barrage aimed at the opponent instead of changing any game factors, as such, the fights are usually much shorter. Unlike Classical, the fight is usually to the end, unless it is a friendly match of some sort. Simplified is best suited to cases of mutual aggression or "drive-by" incidents where it is too serious to just use danmaku without templates.
The third and most recent template is the "Close-In" System. It is different from the previous two in that it uses a far smaller Duelling Barrier, and can be done on foot as well as in flight. These fights have a very limited amount of spellcards available, with highly elaborate bullet patterns eschewed in favor of melee combat, ranged weapons, and direct-action spells which draw upon the combatant's own reserves rather than the energy provided by the Duelling Barrier. To use an Outside analogy, it is a street fight with magic and very hard styrofoam so no one gets seriously injured. Nevertheless, there has been accidents, which led to newer drafts that also had the barrier set a maximum limit on blunt force being applied as well as reducing the effect of falls and impacts. This system is used in default when fighting non-magical humans and younger youkai who lack flight, and have recently began spreading in popularity as a method to present the beauty of magical battles while still allowing the audience to stay in one place and still see the combatants.
"Do you yield, Mr. Wu?" asks the hermit, with the living god of war nodding furiously at you to do so. Behind you, you can hear Conner and Rikako yelling at you to do the same.
"No." You answer, eliciting suprised expressions on both of them in the front, and an audible facepalm from your back. "I would like to have some experience doing this if I'm going to stay in Gensokyo anyway. And besides, this is a friendly match, right?"
"Mr. Wu, are you sure you would want to practice here?" Shou asks, gesturing at the gawking outsiders and the other audience, which happens to include Keine, Saromi, that American officer, and a group of three sharp looking Slavic foreigners who you did not see before.
"Why not? I don't care if others see me fail. I just want to try it."
"You have heart, outsider. But be forewarned, my strikes will not soften for thee." Futo says with a solemn expression, pointed at you with the seven-branched sword. "Thou art permitted to initiate the first attack."
Prepare your strategy:
[ ] Circle-strafe with the MAT-49, your accuracy is poor anyway so running while firing wouldn't hurt too badly. Probably. [ ] Dash in with the pistol and knife, your blade against her's. [ ] Retreat far away to exploit the range of the air rifle. [ ] Grenades, just grenades.
"Your former student is a pinhead." Rikako mutters, "Just like you, Felix."
"He is, but I am sure he could put up at least a decent fight against Miss Mononobe." Conner says as he sits down on the ground next to her, "Ming is not necessarily a talented fighter, but...from my experience, he can be a very nasty opponent in general combat."
"You fought with your students?" Rikako looks at him incredulously.
"No, it was part of what we now call the Flaming Vodka incident at World University-Los Angeles. We do not talk about Flaming Vodka anymore. Bad things happened." Conner shudders, "Very bad things. I wasn't involved directly, but he was, and it...changed him."
Time: 8:03 PM Date: June 26, 20XX Location: Northern Village Boundary Threat Level: 9
[X] Grenades, just grenades.
"This shalt be a battle of honor. As thou art ignoble of magical flight, I shall reciprocate."
"Thank you. What will be the victory condition?"
Futo grins, "When thou hath enough."
You stretch your arms and legs as you watch Futo pace left and right in front of you. She knows that you have had blood on your hands before, but she probably does not expect that you can fight outside of a one-sided ambush. A likely assumption, and in some ways, it is true. You are a doctor/chemist-in-training, not a soldier. However, you still have a few tricks up your sleeve that allows you to at least make her bleed for victory.
The main problem is that you have no idea how Futo fights outside of aerial battles. Her behavior on the ground is unpredictable, especially when fighting against a significantly weaker opponent such as you.
You make a motion with your left hand into your coat, as if drawing a weapon. Noticing that her eyes are following that hand, you abruptly remove a tear gas grenade from your belt, flick off the pin with your thumb in a smooth practiced maneuver (one of the few you did practice), and lob it directly at her. Under the effects of the magical barrier, the glowing canister does not slowly release any of the usual irritant upon its impact, but instead rapidly dissolves into a large screen of translucent mist that visibly slows Futo down as she raises her arm to cast her attack - a hail of conjured arrows springing forth from a magical circle.
Instinctively, you duck and dash to the left, then to the right as her projectiles over swing and impact the ground, disappearing upon contact with the dirt. You feel your belt, and with relief note that the CS grenade has regenerated, dispelling your fear that this fight will drain your supplies. Futo, seeing you succeed in avoiding the initial barrage, switches up her attack, visibly cued by the changing spell circle, into a curving pattern of fiery orbs. You are just about to dodge again when you notice that the bullets are aiming for the region behind you, and before you realize what is going on, something hard impacts you in the shoulder and sends you tumbling off, directly into the a stream of orbs, each of whom strikes you like a red-hot punch, searing your sides while knocking you to the ground.
From your prone position, you see her standing at your original position, casually waving the ancient sword with a bemused smile on her face. Anger, naturally, bursts into your head, and you allow it to override your pain, giving you the boost necessary to move.
A roll gets you back off the ground. With your right hand, you whip out the MAT-49 from your coat and fire it single-handily, spraying small, roughly defined danmaku at her at a breakneck pace but with zero accuracy whatsoever. You do not expect this attack to hurt her however, especially considering how well she is able to bob and weave around your bullets to smack you again with her artifact sword. Priming a white phosphorus grenade, you throw it in her general direction. Then, with a practiced maneuver, you prime the other one with the same hand and chuck it on at the position opposite the first one, relative to Futo. The ploy works, and the second WP canister detonates right on top of her as she dashes back to avoid the first burst. Instead of the usual plume of incendiary aerosol which would have turned the girl into a cinder-colored walking horror-show, at least before she regenerates (you're not quite sure how durable shikaisen are compared to youkai), it explodes in a shower of miniature flame danmaku, white in color and spewing dense clouds of similarly colored smoke that covers Futo's position, alluding to its secondary use as an obscurant. So far, the Dueling variants of your arsenal are reasonably analogous to their proper functions. So far.
Retreating a good twenty meters back, you throw a few more phosphorus and CS rounds in her direction. Your MAT-49 has begun refusing to fire, and the lack of glow on the magazine gives you the idea that it has likely run out of whatever the equivalent of ammunition is in such a barrier. Just as you draw your pistol, however, your ears pick up the sound of rushing water. Puzzled, you look around, seeing nothing but the results of your grenades, before noticing that a shadow has formed around you.
Looking up, you are once again greeted by the sight of a boat hull descending upon you. Unlike last time, however, it is actively trying to ram you, and to your detriment, it succeeds.
A groan erupts from the audience as the boat smashes you into the ground with the force of a raging bull, with only the protection of the Boundary preventing anything other than a large shallow bruise on your shoulders and back. Again, on the ground, through bleary eyes you see the large wooden boat speeding by itself towards the phosphorus smoke, spewing blue water danmaku in its wake. The boat's movement blows apart the smoke, revealing Futo standing, disheveled and moderately roughed up but relatively unhurt by the chemicals, compared to you. She leaps on the boat, and replaces the sword on her belt.
"Though my mastery reaches not o' the phoenix of the Bamboo Forest, the art of pyrokinesis is still within mine grasp."
As if to emphasize her statement, she sweeps her hands, shooting massive gouts of flame which you only barely manage to avoid. As a result of your frantic scrambling, you are unable to dodge or counter when she rides the boat into you. This time, she rams you forward, slamming you against the barrier. Once again, only the magical limits imposed by the boundary prevent you from dying due to your organs being liquefied and your skeletal structure shattered from the sheer force of the impact. You certainly do FEEL the full force, however.
You peel off from the wall and collapse onto the grass. White-hot agony courses through your body, the parts not in pain being completely numb. Panting like a dog, sobbing like a babe, and with your muscles completely devoid of glucose, you would be at the end of your line if not for your last contingency. With a final effort, you force your right hand to reach into the medikit on your belt and remove your true secret weapon: an ordinary looking, if large, syringe.
A recent research project by the WU-LA biological department, the drug cocktail known as Last Chance among the faculty and students is not all that useful on paper, given its 30 second effective duration and painful side-effects. However, within these 30 seconds, the user will feel no pain or exhaustion, as well as having muscle strength and reaction time enhanced by up to 75%. This is enough for the user to destroy an equal-strength enemy, run the final meters towards safety, or exit from a damaging situation with dignity. More importantly, while the ingredients are classified to those not in the know, they are relatively easy to procure. Since you have a decent amount of this substance stashed in your hotel room, you feel no need to conserve too much.
Brushing your hair aside, you uncover the skin valve implanted in your neck. Without hesitation, you jam the needle into it, crying out in elation as the drug lifts your body out of hell and into a euphoric bliss. Shaking, but without feeling any sort of exertion, you stand up again, you clothes soaked in sweat and tears, to the bewilderment of audience and your white-robed adversary alike.
You have lost already, Futo's sheer power and strength is a tsunami compared to your ripples. Still, within this half-minute, you are effectively immune to any of her attacks, and can, on the ground at least, catch up to her.
Choices are still quite limited, however.
[ ] Dignified surrender - It's over, might as well get out when you can with some face left. [ ] Conventional counterattack - Repeat your earlier tactic, but now with enhancements. [ ] Bayonet run - Let's see how chemical boosts work against hermit training! [ ] Suicide bomb - The best way to get all the grenades to hit her is to carry them yourself.
Remember, nothing you do will harm you (physically) for real. Just pain.
[x] Bayonet run - Let's see how chemical boosts work against hermit training! because this: >I'd like to go with surrender but I'm honestly unsure how we would go from just injecting ourselves with a powerful stimulant to surrendering.
[x] Dignified surrender - It's over, might as well get out when you can with some face left. We've learned most of the lessons that can be gained. Might as well still be not completely out of it for future events and not come off as a nutter as a bonus.
[X] Dignified surrender - It's over, might as well get out when you can with some face left.
Although it's contradictory to surrender after unleashing our ace-in-the-hole, there's little point to continuing the battle. We'v already salvaged any pride we might have lost by keeping up with Futo in a head-on danmaku battle, which is impressive considering that we're just a no-name outsider, while if we simply expend all of our energy here in this suicide run, we'll just waste our efforts when Futo shuts us down. Nobody knows what our syringe is capable of, and although we've already used it, it's probably best to keep its effects unknown to the general population.
Southampton Water is above the Pleistocene valley with the combined Ensure Itchen and resembles in Solent in general geomorphology, with the exception that the top of the parts will not be susceptible to significant coast erosion. However, from your Hamble Estuary southward coast erosion is now increasing. The Beaulieu River Estuary, the Hamble Estuary as well as the Itchen Estuary have incised meanders.. http://www.elcaminorealrally.com/u//