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30512 No. 30512
Hello! this is my first story on this website. Hope you enjoy it, but before we start, I should mention a few things. This is a multi-route story that depends on your choices. Some questions will be vague and influential, so if you'd like to know who your going for, check one of the boxes below

[ ] Hints. Any choices that impact your relationship with the characters will have a "+1" and then the name of the character. This will tell you which route your going on.

[] No hints. Basically going in blind. Use with great responsibility.
Expand all images
>> No. 30513
[X] No hints. Basically going in blind. Use with great responsibility.

Hints are for casuals.
>> No. 30514
[X] Hints. Any choices that impact your relationship with the characters will have a "+1" and then the name of the character. This will tell you which route your going on.

Then I shall own my casualness.
>> No. 30515
[X] Hints. Any choices that impact your relationship with the characters will have a "+1" and then the name of the character. This will tell you which route your going on.

People are always so gung-ho for hard mode, right up until things get hard.
>> No. 30516
Day 1

Within an instant I felt a sinking feeling. Nothing was in grasp, only shades of a color too dark to determine and the feeling of staring. Reality was slipping away before I could call it back, and I was still falling.

Before I could regain my senses, My body dived into the ground. Goosebumps riddled my skin, and my whole body shivered. Cold, so very cold. And wet, yet like powder. Snow?
Opening my eyes, I saw white as far as I could see. Even then, I couldn't see very far. A howling wind assaulted my eyes and eardrums. My lungs felt deprived, and every breath inflicted pain. It felt all too real.

Wherever I was, I needed out. Somewhere safe, anywhere. I forced my eyes open, while trying to protect them from the stabbing wind. I could make out a mysterious shadow. It was large, very large, and linear. It was the only thing present in this nightmarish purgatory

[ ] Go to the shadow
[ ] Run away from the shadow
>> No. 30517
[X] Hints active.
>> No. 30518
[°×°] Go to the shadow
>> No. 30519
[X] Run away from the shadow
>> No. 30520
[X] Run away from the shadow
>> No. 30521
[X] Go to the shadow
>> No. 30522
[x] Go to the shadow
>> No. 30523
[X] Go to the shadow

Whatever it was, it had to be better than becoming frozen over in this awful storm. Standing up against the storm, I made my way to the shadow one step at a time. It hurt every fiber of my being, but I trudged on, With every step, I could make out more and more of the shadow. Soon I came to realize that it wasn't just a large shadow, but a building.

Once I got there, I put my hand against the wall. The texture was that of wood. There was also a distinct indent in the framework from what I could tell, and I felt a doorknob of sorts. I twisted my frigid hand against its sleek surface, and threw my strength into opening it. Apparently too much; I tumbled through the door and fell down, but not against heaps of snow.

There was a distinct difference in atmosphere here than outside. It was actually warm, nice and comforting. Aside from the raging wind outside, it was much quieter, and I could make out music. Not only that, but

"Mister, are you okay?" A soprano voice asked.

"I don't think he is," A mezzo soprano voice answered, "He isn't wearing anything but a t-shirt and undergarments. You better take him up to one of the beds upstairs, Merlin."

"Got it, sister," the soprano voice replied, "Okay, mister, here we go."

I felt my one floored body become lifted over a shoulder. I could barely make out the person lifting me up. Slowly, the name registered with my barely functioning mind.

Is that... Merlin Prismriver?

----

When my eyes opened again, I found that the scenery changed. It was a small room, like an apartment's housing. There was a bedside table with a lamp. The lamp looked like it was a more traditional gas lamp. The room extended for several meters until it reached the door, and I could make out a closet and a much larger work table. I was laying in a bed lined parallel to the wall. Sitting up, I took notice of the snow falling outside the window. Now that I wasn't freezing to death, the snow felt calming for once.

Don Don Don

"May I come in?" A soprano voice, different from before, requested.

"Sure,” I replied, coughing out cold in my lungs afterwards.

The door gently opened up to reveal a brown haired girl with eyes colored the same way. She had on a white turtleneck and red double breasted coat and pleated skirt. By itself, I would just think she were a normal person, but she had a distinct red hat that I could recognize, though I couldn't believe it even if I tried.

“Are you okay, sir?” She asked, an expression of concern showing on her face.

I wasn't even properly registering this as reality. I was doubting what was occurring before me. Remain calm, I thought to myself, Freaking out won't do anything. Just act like everything's normal.

“I think I'll be fine, I just needed some time to acclimate,” I reassured.

She let out a sigh of relief.

“Thank goodness, Lunasa thought you might have got hypothermia or something along those lines.”

“Lunasa?” I inquired, feigning ignorance.

“She's my older sister. Don't worry, you'll get a chance to meet her once you're feeling alright.”

“And your name?” I asked.

“Lyrica Prismriver,” she relied cheerfully, “And your name?”

“Umm... Ives. Ives Bellamy,” I stuttered.

“Nice to meet you, Ives,” Lyrica said, “I actually have a bit of work to do, so, before I leave, is there anything I can get for you?”

[ ] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)
[ ] "No thanks; I'm fine."
>> No. 30524
[°×°] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably nutmeg tea if you have it."

All the flags shall be raised.
>> No. 30525
Wait, a Prismriver story?? You have my interest, good sir.

[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)
>> No. 30526
[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)
>> No. 30527
[x] +1 option
>> No. 30529
[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)

I'd rather play without hints since it makes choices seem less... structured? But it's no big deal.
>> No. 30531
>>30529
I'd be lying if I said I didn't share your sentiments. Being an avid VN reader, I prefer at least one time that I go in blind. So I'll make a proposal:

If you guys want to change your minds on the hint option and majority rules that there should be no hints, I'll change it back.

By the way, an update for the story will be ready by tomorrow morning for those wondering.
>> No. 30533
>>30531
Yeah, reverting back to no hints will be better for me.

[X] No hints
>> No. 30534
[°×°] No Hints

Didn't got the chance to vote about hints at the start, so here's my vote.
>> No. 30535
[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)
[x] Keep hints.

I want to see how this works out. It's unique and different!
>> No. 30536
>>30531
[X] No hints
>> No. 30538
[X] No hints
>> No. 30540
[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)
[x] Keep hints.
>> No. 30542
[X] no hints
>> No. 30544
[X] No Hints
[X] "A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it." (+1 Lyrica)

“A warm beverage would be nice, preferably coffee if you have it,” I requested.

“As a matter of fact, we do,” Lyrica answered, “Any particular way you want it?”

“Not particularly,” I clarified, “just something to warm me up.”

“Gotcha, I'll go and get some,” Lyrica said as she left the room.

After the door shut, I started to contemplate what was going on. Apparently, the Prismriver sisters are actually here. Is this some kind of dream come true? Bah, I thought to myself,I wish. This is just a dream and I'm going to wake up. Though the storm did feel real, and my lungs do feel inflamed. If it's not a dream, then where am I? Blast it, I can't come up with anything. It's still too hard to focus.

A rapping on the door broke my concentration – or what concentration I could muster. This time, Lyrica came in without the need to request. She held a plate that suspended a small coffee cup. The aroma it let off already made my taste buds crave it.

“Here's your coffee, customer.” Lyrica joyfully said as she set the cup on the table.

“Thank you so much,” I replied, taking a minute sip, “Did you brew this yourself?”

“Why, yes I did,” she affirmed, “Do you like it?”

“Yeah, it's very delicious,” I praised, “You certainly know how to brew coffee and milk together.”

She turned her head to the side, possibly to hide her blushing cheeks.

“Actually, you'd be surprised to know I only learned how to do it recently,” she said, “I've only known how to do it since I came to this cafe.”

Cafe? That word practically begs questioning. I still have no idea where I am.

“Lyrica,” I ask, “What is this place?”

“This is the Phantom Cafe,” she responded, “A place to relax and enjoy the warmth a midst the howling blizzard.”

“And this room is...?”

“One of the guest rooms provided for everyone staying at the cafe. Our 'upstairs hotel' of sorts.”

That didn't answer much, but know I know why there is coffee here... kind of. I've never heard of a “Phantom Cafe” before, and believe me: I would know.

“Wait, why is it here, and where is here?” I inquired.

“To be honest, I'm not sure of the details myself. All I know is what we got in this letter we received. Lunasa or Merlin would be better to talk about that than I am. If you go down to the first floor, the cafe, you can ask them about that,” Lyrica replied.

“I see...” I pondered, “Once again, thanks for the coffee.”

“No problem,” she replied, “By the way, I work as a barista on the first floor. If you need something, come find me. I hope you enjoy your stay here."

With that, she left the room and closed the door. Once again I was left to my own thoughts. There were many questions that I still had, but I felt much more at ease. Looking down at the coffee cup, her departing words came to mind. I brought the coffee cup to my mouth.

“I'm sure I will,” I said, indulging myself in the cup's mellow refreshment.

----

No choice for this update. Thanks for everyone reading thus far.
>> No. 30545
>>30544
> Thanks for everyone reading thus far.
No, Thank you, writefag. Not enough active stories nowadays.
>> No. 30546
>>30544
My god a Prismriver story. I haven't even seen them mentioned since the Hakugyokurou LA.

>Thanks for everyone reading thus far
I think we should be the ones thanking you for having a running story here with, knock on wood, frequent updates.
>> No. 30547
>>30546

Isn't that the one that ended with YUYUKO NORMAL end instead of Prismriver gangbang? Still salty about that. But yea, good job OP; definitely will be monitering this thread.
>> No. 30549
The Second Day

Ah... it was just a dream.

Those where the first words that came up to my mind when I woke up from my fairly long sleep. However, as I surveyed my surrounding, I noticed a few things: the bed, the closet, and the empty coffee mug. Clearly it was no dream. Are you meaning to tell me that this is real? I asked myself. First thing I did was look out the window. The snow was still falling, but not as hard as it was before. I still couldn't see out that far into the distance. When you think about it, the scene is actually really nice when you are looking away from it. Though there will always be that longing to experience it, no matter what that scene may be.

It was then my thoughts were interrupted by a loud growl and a rumbling sensation in my stomach. That's right; I hadn't eaten yet. What was it Lyrica said last night, the cafe was on the first floor? I hope they serve more than coffee here, because I may be here longer than anticipated. With that in mind, I went over to the door, ready to exit, when I made a critical realization.

Right, I'm not wearing any trousers.


As it turns out, there were several pairs of clothing in the closet. It was a really nice gesture and consideration. I put on a simple button-up shirt and trousers and headed out the door. After passing several rooms, I traveled down the stairs and took a good look at the cafe. There were several table and seats set up, all wooden and well carved. There was also a bar-like area and what looks like a stage. The next thing I noted was the woman at the bar, a blond-haired girl with black clothing and hat. I didn't need to think twice to know it was Lunasa Prismriver. The other thing I noticed was the hostess at a station near a door. She had white clothing and hat as well as silvery blue hair and matching color eyes. Merlin Prismriver is her name.

I still need to introduce myself to them. Who should I talk to?

[ ] Talk to Merlin first.
[ ] Talk to Lunasa first.
>> No. 30550
[X] Talk to Merlin first.
>> No. 30551
[X] Talk to Lunasa first.

Black hand of slap!
>> No. 30552
[X] Talk to Lunasa first.

Are writeins accepted?
>> No. 30553
[x] Talk to Lunasa first.
>> No. 30554
[X] burn down the café in a fit of insanity

But seriously:
[X]Merlin
>> No. 30555
>>30552
sure, I can do that, but in this particular case there are no alternatives.
>> No. 30556
[°×°] Lunasa
>> No. 30560
[X] Talk to Lunasa first.

Lunasa seemed like my best bet. She's the oldest sister of the three and she managed the bar. I made my way over to her and began the conversation.

“You must be Lunasa Prismriver, right?” I inquired.
She looked away from the wall to my direction.

“Yes, I am,” Lunasa answered, “And you must be Ives Bellamy. I hope you didn't get hypothermia out there.”

The voice sounded like the mezzo soprano voice from before. She must have been the one to ask Merlin to take me upstairs.

“I didn't, luckily. Thanks for the concern,” I answered.

“May I offer you some refreshment?” she asked.

“I'd love it, but I don't have any money to pay,” I responded.

“Don't worry, it's on the house,” she said as she began pouring some coffee into an empty mug.

“Thanks,” I said, taking a sip of the mug. I took note that she filled it with black coffee.

“So what brings you down here?” Lunasa asked, “Anything on your mind?”

“Yeah a few things. First off, do you have any food here?” I said.

“As a matter of fact, we do,” Lunasa answered, “We don't have a particularly wide selection of foods, but they will satisfy anyone who wants to stay here for a long time.”

“Could you tell me what particular foods you have?” I asked.

“Let's just say that our selection changes enough that it's mostly unpredictable. I can guarantee that we serve fried tofu all the time though,” she answered, “Would you like me to serve you some?”

“Not yet, there's a few more questions I have, related to this cafe.”

She let out a sigh.

“To be honest, none of use know anything about this cafe,” Lunasa began, “One day we found ourselves in this large wooden building with no knowledge of how or when we got here. The only thing we had was a note left for us. It said this;”

To the Prismriver sisters,

You have been given the job to serve people at this here building. Entertain them and socialize. Feel free to do what you wish. This isn't an eternally binding job, but rather a temporary assignment. Instructions and notes are posted around the building to assist you.

Welcome to the Phantom Cafe.


“The note is where we got the name from,” Lunasa finished, “I wish I could tell you more, but you are in the dark about this whole thing as much as we are.”

Well, it could be worse; I could be trying to prevent a giant cherry tree youkai from bringing the apocalypse. Besides, I wasn't doing anything important anyway.

“Don't worry about it; I'll acclimate,” I said, “but I'll need some sustenance before I can do that. Anything you have would be fine.”

“Coming right up,” Lunasa replied before heading into the kitchen behind the bar.

A few minutes passed as I waited at the bar. I noted how empty the cafe seemed. There weren't much people save for a few fairies and one ice fairy... staring at me... at point blank.

“GYA!” I shout, nearly falling out of my chair, “What is it Cirno!?”

She gave me a sideways questioning look, “How do you know my name?”

“Uh...” I say, pondering how to answer this.
What tactic should I use?

[ ] Write in

At this cafe you'll meet a number of touhou characters whom you can interact with to pass the time. Thanks to an anon's suggestion, these interactions can be more amusing.
>> No. 30561
[X]Obviously I've heard of the strongest in Gensokyo
>> No. 30562
>“Let's just say that our selection changes enough that it's mostly unpredictable. I can guarantee that we serve fried tofu all the time though,”
>serve fried tofu all the time
Is Ran a regular here? Or that little kitsune from the village school?

[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?

I apologize for the textwall. At least it isn't the magitechnobabble that my friend the Nedben is (in)famous for.
>> No. 30563
>>30562
Um. Uh. Oops. The name was supposed to be I'd say we're a Touhou fan.

(I'm not very good at this, sorry)
>> No. 30564
>>30562
I can't say much for now, but I can say Ran does have a big role in this story. Glad you caught that; anonymous is as smart as ever.

>>30563
No worries, I'm the same way too. I just got here as well.

And with that, write in responses are now locked. Anons, please choose one of the write-ins your kin have provided.
>> No. 30565
[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?

I like this one.
>> No. 30566
[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?
>> No. 30567
So, with >>30562's suggestion, how does one implement that? Do you just chose one for each level and go down the list until there is no more? This is my first time seeing this king of response.
>> No. 30568
>>30567
Just try to work all the options into the conversation. Generally the sub options should follow the options that they go with, but the important part is that you hit all the points of conversation. If you need examples, look at some of the options in the later threads of: https://www.touhou-project.com/storylist.php?title=Flight+of+the+Lost&author=EZ&board[]=0&status[]=any
>> No. 30569
[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?

Sounds like a deal to me.
>> No. 30570
>>30568
Got it. Thanks for explaining
>> No. 30576
>>30562

I disagree with this for two reasons: it assumes Cirno actually knows about the fandom on the Outside, and it rambles pretty far off-course from what the vote is for.

So, I'd rather we more or less hand-wave it as outsider knowledge and add detail as asked.

[X] Outsider info, I've got a decent idea of who's who around here.
-[X] Can't say much else reliably, though
-[X] Explain more as needed or requested
>> No. 30577
>>30576
I'll second this. Seems more natural.

[X] Outsider info, I've got a decent idea of who's who around here.
-[X] Can't say much else reliably, though
-[X] Explain more as needed or requested
>> No. 30578
[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?
>> No. 30579
>>30576
>>30577
I'm gonna have to go with them on this one. It is more reasonable in the story context.
>> No. 30580
[X] Outsider info, I've got a decent idea of who's who around here.
-[X] Can't say much else reliably, though
-[X] Explain more as needed or requested
>> No. 30581
>>30579
I'll go with that. Changing >>30565 to the other one
>> No. 30582
[x] Would you believe me if I told you that you have a following of non-lolicons in the outside world?
-[x] People love you. There's thousands of fans out there, hundreds of pictures of appreciation, millions of stories (most of which false and/or shoddy) and
-[x] Seriously, who couldn't love a face like that?
--[x] There's this guy called ZUN, he thinks you're an idiot though. You starred in a few of his games, even got one all to yourself where you fought the Three Fairies of Light.
-[x] So, if you can manipulate ice, can you manipulate snow? Snow is really just tiny crystals of ice.
--[x] And ice is just frozen water. Can you manipulate running water once you freeze it?
>> No. 30583
[X] Outsider info, I've got a decent idea of who's who around here.
-[X] Can't say much else reliably, though

“Outsider info,” I answered, “I've got a decent idea of who's who around here.”

I mean, how am I supposed to explain to her that I'm from the outside world? I'd come off as a huge liar if I didn't play my cards right. And I can barely use my spellcards to save a life.

“Well, you certainly look like an outsider. There aren't a lot of men in Gensokyo,” Cirno noted.

Yeah, that's an understatement.

“Where are you from, anyway? The Forest of Magic? Misty Lake?” Cirno inquired.

“Let's just say that I'm way far out,” I responded.

“Hmph. Dummy.” Cirno muttered.

Despite that statement, Cirno decided to sit with me and talk for a while. She talked mostly about her days in the Great Fairy Wars and her tests of strength. It is true that she wasn't the brightest tool in the shed, but she isn't that big of an idiot.

“And that was how Utsuho nearly melted me into nothing!” Cirno said, concluding her “epic tale” of heading to Former Hell.

“Sounds scary.”

“It was, but I managed to make it a tie after she gave in and put me in Satori's fridge,” Cirno stated, “But she still had the guts to call me an idiot. Doesn't matter, I'm still the strongest. I mean, I have to be.”

Something felt off about that last statement.

“What do you mean, Cirno?” I asked.

“Someone has to prove that us fairies aren't weak, and that's why I need to be the one to prove them all wrong. I am the strongest of the fairies, and it's my duty to prove it to 'em idiots that I am not weak. But all I get is 'Stupid stupid' this and 'Stupid stupid' that! Why won't they just shut up!?”

I pried too much, There must be something I can do to console her.

“Cirno, people joke around,” I said, “They don't mean to harm you.”

Okay, I admit I pulled that out of nowhere. Nevertheless, I heard Cirno chuckle a moment after that.

“Heh, they must be afraid of how strong I am that they can only joke about it. They are the real fools,” Cirno concluded.

“Anyways, thanks for the company, comrade,” Cirno said, hitting me on the back, “See ya.”

Shortly after that, Lunasa came out with a plate of fried tofu. I guess you gotta get rid of that stuff somehow. It looked well prepared and fresh. My appetite was rising quickly.

“Here's your fried tofu, Customer,” Lunasa said as she passed the plate.

“Thanks for the food,” I said, and then began devouring it.

“Geez, you sure must have been hungry,” Lunasa said.

“I didn't have much to eat before I got sent here or whatever happened,” I said.

“Still though, please have some manners. You're not Cirno,” Lunasa responded.

“I resent that!” Cirno countered from one of the tables.

“Anyways, this is some really delicious tofu, Lunasa. You're a great cook,” I praised.

A light blush appeared on Lunasa's face.

“Ah, well, I appreciate the complement,” Lunasa replied, “Ah, you haven't met Merlin yet, have you? I think it's important you meet her since you've met both me and Lyrica. Merlin!”

Merlin turned to face us from the hostess station. She skipped on over to the bar.

“Ives, this is my sister, Merlin Prismriver,” Lunasa explained.

[ ] Introduce yourself
[ ] Thank her for taking care of you
>> No. 30584
>>30583
[X] Introduce yourself
[X] Thank her for taking care of you

A Cirno that doesn't have brain damage? I love you Myon
>> No. 30585
[X] Introduce yourself
[X] Thank her for taking care of you

I don't see why we can't pick both, but if it's an issue then just:

[X] Introduce yourself
>> No. 30586
>>30585
If you introduce yourself, you sort of act like a stranger to Merlin. If you thank her, you acknowledge that she got you to normal temperature after nearly freezing.
>> No. 30587
>>30586

Right, >>30585 changing to
[X] Thank her for taking care of you
>> No. 30588
>>30586
Changing >>30584 to
[X] Thank her for taking care of you
>> No. 30592
[X] Thank her for taking care of you

“Thanks for taking care of me while I was unconscious,” I said.

“Ah, I see Lyrica told you about that,” Merlin said, rubbing the back of her head.

“Actually, I knew it when you hauled me over your shoulder,” I explained, “Just before I blacked out.”

“Well, it's no problem. All I did was get you to bed, tucked you in and gave you a kiss to feel better,” Merlin explained.

“W-what?” I stuttered in surprise. I could already feel the heat rising to my head.

“I'm kidding,” Merlin said, grinning as she waved her hand, “I only took you to bed and tucked you in.”

While my head was no longer at boiling point, I still felt a uneasy. No, I can't embarrass myself like this. I took a moment to regain my composure

“In any case I appreciate what you did for me. I'd probably get hypothermia otherwise,” I praised.

“Like I said, it's no problem,” Merlin replied, “So I take it my sisters explained to you where you are?”

“Yes,” Lunasa interjected, “With a bit more to answer his questions.”

“Well, enjoy your stay, Ives! We may all be here for a while,” Merlin stated, “Hey, Sis, mind getting me my usual?”

“Same as usual?” Lunasa asked.

“Yep! Cream and Sugar.” Merlin said.

“Fine, but just so you know, you're going to have to make your own coffee soon. Lyrica already did, and I did as well,” Lunasa stated.

“I'll get on that tonight, don't worry,” Merlin replied.

The rest of the day at the cafe was more lax than last night. I got to interact with the prismriver sisters for a good portion of the day as well as talk to a few of the fairies. It was certainly enjoyable, but worry still crossed my mind. If this wasn't a dream, then that eliminates the illusion factor as well as the possibility of Doremy screwing with my mind. So who could it be?

Of course, it has to be Yukari. She has the power of boundaries, and gapping outsiders is something she frequently dabbles in. The only thing I don't know is her motive for bringing me here. That's something I intend to find out if I can, but for now, I'm going to rest. As I lay on my bed putting those thoughts away, I slipped into sleep.


The Second Night

Ugh... what's that noise?

I had awoken to the sound of plastic being hit. What could be going on at this time at night?

[ ] It's nothing that concerns me.
[ ] I'm curious.
>> No. 30593
File 146491803060.jpg - (91.63KB, 1024x768, Phantom Cafe Map (1st Floor).jpg) [iqdb]
30593
Every once in a while, I'll post a little "extra" related to the story. Here's one: the first floor of the cafe.
>> No. 30594
File 146491900816.jpg - (218.31KB, 1280x720, WATASHI KININARIMASU.jpg) [iqdb]
30594
>>30592
[x] I'm curious.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] I'm curious.
>> No. 30595
[x] I'm curious.
>> No. 30596
[X] I'm curious.
Good thing we aren't a cat
>> No. 30597
[X] I'm curious.

This can only go well.
>> No. 30598
[x] I'm curious.

I'm that kind of person.
>> No. 30599
[X] I'm curious.

Hooray for being easily distracted.
>> No. 30600
[x] It's nothing that concerns me.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] It's nothing that concerns me.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] It's nothing that concerns me.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] It's nothing that concerns me.
[x] I'm curious.
[x] It's a Somebody Else's Problem Field.

Koshi be slinking around yo
>> No. 30601
[X]I'm curious. And kind of annoyed.
>> No. 30603
[X] I'm curious

I can practically feel Eru Chitanda beckoning me to investigate it. With no choice but to do so, I leave the bed and open the door. After following the sound through the hallway, I notice the sound's origin: it's Lyrica.

“Hey Lyrica,” I called out.

“Oh, hi, Ives,” Lyrica responded.

“What are you doing up at this time of night?”

“Ugh, It's this. Come over here.”

I walk over to her, and I see her source of irritation: a vending machine.

“This thing ate my money and it won't give it back.”
What was a vending machine doing here in the middle of nowhere? Thinking about it still confused me, as did this whole place for that matter. But one thing at a time.

“What are you trying to get from it?” I asked Lyrica.

“I wanted that drink up there,” She said, pointing to the Coca-Cola.

Let's see, the machine didn't accept her money, and the plastic seems kind of strong. What should I do?

[ ] Write-in
>> No. 30606
>>30603
Before I vote, does Lyrica actually know how to use the vending machine?
>> No. 30609
Do they have a way to open up the vending machine?
>> No. 30610
>>30606
No, she doesn't.
>> No. 30612
[X]Ask her to explain clearly what she did in her attempt to get the drink
-[X]If there is no obvious solution from this information then try finding something to open up the machine and open it
>> No. 30613
>>30612
This is a much better option than the fucking essay I had typed out.

[♪]Ask her to explain clearly what she did in her attempt to get the drink
-[♪]If there is no obvious solution from this information then try finding something to open up the machine with and open it

WE HAVE TO IMPRESS THE CUTE POLTERGEIST
>> No. 30614
[X]Ask her to explain clearly what she did in her attempt to get the drink.
-[X]If there is no obvious solution from this information then try finding something to open up the machine and open it

“Lyrica, what did you do when you tried to get that drink?” I asked.

“Well, I put in a bill and pointed to the drink,” Lyrica answered.

“...At the window?”

“Yeah. I pointed to the drink through the window.”

Ah, now I get it.

“Well, you see, you haven't finished putting in your request to the machine,” I stated matter-of-factually, “You put in the bill correctly, but you have to use the keypad. Just input the letter and number of the drink you want and...”

The vending machine made a rumbling sound and dropped the Coca-Cola drink. I pulled it out from the slot and held it to Lyrica.

“Voila.”

“Wow, I had no idea,” Lyrica said with surprise, “You're a really smart person!”

Please don't say it like. You're gonna make me blush.

“A-ah, It's no problem,” I replied, “Just make sure you save it for tomorrow morning. That drink can make people hyper.”

“Okay!” She said as she nodded enthusiastically, “I'll see you tomorrow morning!”

“See you then,” I responded.

And with that, we went our separate ways and back to our respective rooms. I'm not even two days into this and I've already become nervous. Still, Lyrica is awfully nice and caring. Anyone would be lucky to be with her. No, it's too early to decide now. I don't even know if my stay here is a permanent arrangement. I have to find out more. About the Prismrivers, about this cafe, and about the behind the scenes forces pulling the strings. Of course, if I think about that all the time, I'm going to ruin my stay here. For now, I intend to enjoy my stay here. Once again, my mind slips into sleep, this time until the sun rises.

No choices this time around.
>> No. 30616
The Third Day

Once again I woke up in the dream like reality present before me. I've started getting used to this wooden room. I looked outside the window to find that the storm wasn't letting out. []Will I ever get to see beyond this blizzard?[/] I thought to myself. I put on my outfit for the day and headed down to the cafe.

The place was a bit more crowded than before, this time with familiar faces I instantly recognized. Suika was at a table entertaining a large group of fairies with spin the bottle. Chen was scurrying around with nothing to do. And then there was Rumia, munching down on an unrecognizable food. I wasn't fully prepared for the day yet, so I put that information aside and went to Merlin.

“Good morning, Merlin,” I greeted.

“Ah, good morning, Ives!” Merlin replied, “What brings you down here?”

“I'd just like a table and a cup of coffee to start the day.”

“Well then, right this way, Mister!”

She took me to one of the tables in the center of the room. I took one of the seats, and Merlin took out a notepad.

“So, what would you like to order?”

At that moment, a thought sprang to mind, and I gave it careful consideration. Putting nervousness aside, I went along with it.

“Actually, I would like to order two cups of coffee,” I stated.

“Oh, I see. And what blends of coffee do you want?”

[ ] Coffee mixed with cream and sugar.
[ ] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.
[ ] Pure black coffee.
>> No. 30617
[]Tea
Real men, tea, etc.

[X] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.
>> No. 30619
[x] Pure black coffee.

And a FISTFUL OF GRAVEL and SOME IRON NAILS.
>> No. 30620
>>30619
Dangit, anon! You nearly made me spit out my drink!
>> No. 30622
[X] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.
>>30619
Can you count/read?
TWO cups of coffee, it said.

We can't think of just us, the second cup is obviously for Lyrica.
>> No. 30623
>>30622
You're very close! Which coffee blend you choose will determine which Prismriver sister you invite. Think back to previous pages; each sister has their preferred blend of coffee.
>> No. 30624
[x]Cream & Sugar
>Dojima: What are you, Nanako?
>Nanako: Daddy, I want it black!
(Quoted from Hiimdaisy)
>> No. 30625
>>30622 Here.

>>30623

...

Well, in my previous post, I berated a fellow anon for apparently not reading, questioning whether or not they were even literate.

It seems that it is my own literacy that should be in question. Or perhaps my will to read as opposed to skimming through this story.

So I'm changing my vote to... Wait on a sec...

*Uses Ctrl-F function*

It looks like the one I wanna go for is actually the one I voted for to begin with, huh...

Saging 'cause non-vote.
>> No. 30626
[X] Coffee mixed with cream and sugar.

Need me some Merlin.
>> No. 30627
So currently "milk" and "cream and sugar" are tied, with both having two votes. If one of these (or black coffee if it makes a comeback) doesn't get more points over the other by tomorrow, I'll put in my vote to break the tie.
>> No. 30628
[x] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.

There we go.
>> No. 30629
[x]Cream & Sugar
>Dojima: What are you, Nanako?
>Nanako: Daddy, I want it black!
(Quoted from Hiimdaisy)
>> No. 30630
[x] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.
>> No. 30631
[X] Coffee with an equal amount of milk.

“Both with an equal amount of milk,” I said, deliberately.

“Okay, Coming right up, is there anything else you would like?” Merlin asked.

“Could you ask Lyrica if she could spare some time with me?”

“Oh, I get it,” Merlin said, a smile forming on her face, “I'll go see if she has some free time.”

A moment later, Lyrica came out of the kitchen and came over to the table.

“Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?” Lyrica inquired.

“Nothing particularly, I just wanted to hang out with you,” I answered.

“Well, that's awfully sweet of you,” Lyrica said as she sat down at the table.

She picked up the coffee and tasted it

“And it's my favorite blend! How'd you know?”

“Well, I'm good at picking up hints,” I said, “So how was the Coca-Cola?”

“Actually, I didn't get around to drinking it yet. It's still in the fridge,” Lyrica explained.

“Ah, I see,” I said, taking a sip of coffee, “Say, Merlin is the hostess, Lunasa is the cook and brewer, so what do you do?”

“I work as a brewer as well, but I also move the ingredients from the storehouse upstairs to the one connected to the kitchen.”

“Isn't that a little roundabout? Why not just have all that in the storehouse at the kitchen?”

“It's kind of complicated, but our food and ingredients come from that storehouse. We don't know who gives it to us, but I'm really thankful for that.”

How curious. I wonder if they're trying to hide their identity from the Prismrivers. In that case, it would make sense for the deliverers. It isn't convenient for Lyrica, though.

“Is it ever tiring? I can't imagine lifting to be a fun thing to do.”

“It's not like I carry whole crates of stuff. Most of the time it's just a few boxes. It can get a little tiresome though.”

“Was it your sisters who told you to do that?”

“No, no! It was all me. Lunasa has previous experience in cooking, and Merlin is a good speaker, so I suggested myself be the carrier. Of course, they didn't feel that it was a good idea for me to overdo it, so they asked me to brew coffee once in a while so that Lunasa could take over during that time.”

They really are a tight-knit family, aren't they? Even in a bad situation, the Prismrivers help each other out. I wish the same could be said for mine.

“Well, if you ever need help with the lifting, you can come to me if you need it.” I suggested.

“I'll think about it. Thanks for the offer,” Lyrica replied.

We let a silence settle in as we drank our beverages. Whether it may be fun for me and the people of Gensokyo, the change of pace from musicians to attending a cafe must have been difficult for them. Even so, Lyrica has an uplift demeanor and offered her all to help her sisters. It warms my heart. I am truly lucky to have this chance with her, even if it's for a short time. Maybe then, I could find it within myself to affirm my feelings.

Within that short silence, we finished up our coffee. Lyrica then stood up from the table.

“Well, it was nice talking to you; thanks for inviting me,” Lyrica thanked.

“Anytime, Lyrica,” I replied.

And with that, she left to the kitchen. Now that I've had my necessary intake of coffee and had a pleasant conversation with Lyrica, I wonder what I should do next.

[ ] Join Suika
[ ] Talk to Chen
[ ] Approach Rumia

And how should I start the conversation?

[ ] Write-in
>> No. 30632
[x] Talk to Chen
-[x] "You seem a bit bored, wanna talk for a bit?"
>> No. 30633
[X] Join Suika
Spin the bottle with a bunch of fae and the oni partymaster of the surface can only be a good time.
>> No. 30634
>>30633
shit I forgot to add the write in
[X] "Mind if I join in?"
>> No. 30635
[x] Join Suika

Hell yeah party time
>> No. 30636
>“It's kind of complicated, but our food and ingredients come from that storehouse. We don't know who gives it to us, but I'm really thankful for that.”

Oh hello Yukari, how much supplies are you stealing today?

[x] Join Suika
-[x] Rope everyone else in
>> No. 30637
>>30636
When you say "Rope everyone else in", do you mean everyone including the Prismrivers, or just the people at the table?
>> No. 30638
>>30637
EVERYONE IN THE CAFE.
>> No. 30639
[z] Join Suika
-[e] Rope everyone else in
>> No. 30640
[x] Join Suika
-[x] Rope everyone else in

I thought that it would be a good idea to go with Suika. She can provide infinite amusement, but only if it's a true party, and this one seems kind of small. And I had just the idea to make it a true party. I walked over to the table and put forward my plan.

“Excuse me, Suika, I can't help but notice this wonderful party you're throwing,” I stated.

“Ha, this isn't a party!,” Suika laughed, “This is just a simple gathering.”

“True, but do you know what wouldmake this a party?” I hooked, “More people. Shouldn't they enjoy the fun as well?”

“Ya know what? You have a point!” Suika acknowledged, “Oi! Everyone, join us for a nice game of spin the bottle!”

Through Suika's power to draw in everyone else, the entire cafe joined in a game of spin the bottle. It was a little difficult to convince the Prismrivers to do this, but they gave in as well. We all sat in a circle and moved the chairs away. Suika then spoke up.

“Ahright, listen up! We been playin' spin the bottle that had everyone do a dare but now is different. Now we got a man 'ere, so I'm going traditional. The person selected by the bottle will kiss the man!”

Already there was a stir among the girls, and I was a bit worried how this would turn out. Still, not all of us are drunk like Suika and the fairies at the table, so common sense should prevent insanity from consuming us

“Ready, and here we go!”

Suika spun her sake bottle around and around. Everyone was anxious about who it would land on. It spun slower and slower, ever so torturous until it barely moved. Then it finally stopped, and the person it pointed to was...

Lyrica.

Immediately her face became florid and I couldn't think straight. This was happening too fast! No, wait, it's okay, it's just a game. No one should take it so seriously. This is just a small kiss that people want me to do.

But I'm going to do it because I want to, and I have the freedom to express it now under that guise.

We walked up to each other, incredibly shy and very uncertain.

“Well, what are ya waiting for? Kiss!” Suika chanted, “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”

Soon everyone was chanting to kiss. Even Merlin was enthusiastically chanting, and Lunasa was softly repeating.

I took a look at lyrica, her chocolate-colored eyes nervously darting across the room and cheeks blushing. She was truly adorable. At that moment, I knew what to do.

[ ] Write-in
>> No. 30641
>>30640
Let's do what any self-respecting harem protagonist would do.

[x] PANIC, blush and run away.
>> No. 30642
>>30640
[X]Kiss her on the cheek
>> No. 30644
[X]Kiss her on the cheek
>> No. 30647
[X]Kiss her on the cheek
[x]Hug her too.
>> No. 30648
[x] Kiss her on the cheek
>> No. 30655
[X]Kiss her on the cheek
[X]Hug her too.

Bonding time.
>> No. 30656
>>30640
[x] Kiss her on the cheek while blushing furiously

This can only be a good time
>> No. 30658
Gently, I leaned in with my eyes closed. Lyrica tried to contain her nervousness, but closing here eye's didn't do much to help it. This isn't good, I'm blushing too much. Nevertheless, I steeled myself of my worries. I made a lean to the right...

...and kissed her on her cheek.

Standing back up straight, she looked a little perplexed. She put her hand to her cheek, and pondered over what happened.

“Aw man! I wanted a REAL kiss,” Suika pouted, “Not this!”

The crowd had similar feelings, but I cared not. I kissed Lyrica, that was all that mattered.

“Alright, next round!” Suika proclaimed.

“Hold on, what?!” I said.

“Brace yourself, you're gonna be kissing several lucky ladies today!”


The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes. I ended up kissing most of the girls on the cheek, except one.

“That caught me by surprise, I didn't think Suika would do that,” Lyrica mentioned.

“I could,” I stated, “She can do just about anything if she's drunk.”

“Well, she was the only one to give you a french kiss,” Lyrica stated.

“But it's a shame, I wanted to give my first kiss to the one I cared about most,” I stated.

“And who is that?” Lyrica said, tilting her head to the left.

I gave Lyrica a long stare into her eyes. Soon they began to show an epiphany.

“Do you mean... that kiss you gave me was genuine?”

I went up to Lyrica and brought her into my embrace.

“Absolutely, Lyrica,” I said, “At first, I didn't know where my feelings would go, but the more time I spent with you, the more I realized that it was you I felt most deeply for.”

“Ives...”

“I don't know how long I will be with you, but I want to make every moment count, because I love you.”

“This... Is so sudden.”

“You don't have to decide now, I just needed to express my feelings. You're a lovely girl, Lyrica, and you deserve the truth up front.”

I pulled away from my hug to see Lyrica blushing, but a little more composed and happy.

“You're a very sweet person, Ives. While I have thought about it, I'm not quite sure. But I can say this, I for sure want to spend time with you,” Lyrica expressed.

“I look forward to our time together, Lyrica,” I said.

“As do I, Ives,” Lyrica said.

Congratulations, you are now on the Lyrica Route! I'm not a particular fan of bad ends, so choices are limited to what damage they can do.
>> No. 30660
>>30658
Well that fuckin' escalated quickly. Sage for novote. Are we supposed to vote?
>> No. 30661
>>30658
No offense but glancing over it, it didn't seem like the other sisters got a real chance. Just a statement as it'll be nice to see Lyrica get some time in the sun
>> No. 30662
Yeah that was so sudden I thought it was a dream or something.
>> No. 30663
>>30660
>>30662
Ives is designed to be an upfront MC, unlike other harem MC's this is intentional
>> No. 30664
>>30661
Lyrica was winning 4-1-1. There would have been more chances for the other sisters, but anonymous seemed dead set on Lyrica
>> No. 30665
I'd also like to mention that there are two arcs that need to be solved: the Prismriver family and The Phantom Café. Also, unfamiliar with "voting", could someone explain?
>> No. 30666
>>30665
Basically, it's giving us the choices and us picking them. You haven't given any choices right now so I guess we'll have to wait?
>> No. 30667
>>30666
Ah I see, thank you for clarifying
>>30660
So no, there isn't anything to vote on yet.
>> No. 30668
>>30666
Yes, I've taken a short hiatus. Right now I'm visualizing the story as it will continue so that my machine-gun-level updates will be back. Thank you all for you patience
>> No. 30669
>>30668
I should also mention the hiatus is drawing to a close in the next few days
>> No. 30682
>>30669
Updates?
>> No. 30683
>>30682
Yep, today in fact
>> No. 30684
The Fourth Day

The choice that I made put a heavy toll on me. I practically blurted it out with no reasoning behind it. However, Lyrica left that day to attend to her duties, so I spent most of my time alone or talking with others. Late at night, I went to bed. Lying in bed made me doubt my decision immensely. I probably scared her off, too. I'll need to be more careful next time. That is, if there is a next time.

I got out of bed and go to my usual table spot. I decide to forgo coffee this time and just think. Even though I'm brash, I still get nervous about my actions afterwards. The consequences are something I never think about, because I think things can't get worse than how they already are. But this was different, I may have permanently affect my chances to have a relationship with Lyrica. I kept wallowing in those thoughts until a figure made their way toward the table out of the corner of my eye. It was Lyrica holding two cups of coffee.

“You seem kinda down,” Lyrica said, “I thought you wanted some coffee.”

“Ah, thanks,” I said.

I took the coffee cup and made a taste. Yep, coffee with milk. I could get used to that taste. She took a seat apart from me.

“Look, I wanted to talk to you about what happened yesterday,” Lyrica said.

“I see,” I said as I hung my head low.

“H-hold on, I'm not saying no!” She said frantically, “I-It's just I barely know you. I wanted more time to know you. That's all.”

Once again, my fears were relieved. She is right, things need to be taken at a natural pace.

“But there's also another reason that I can't date you yet,” Lyrica said as she looked to the side gloomily.

What could it be that is making her sad?

“Actually, it's nothing!” She said as she waved her free hand side to side.

I guess I better keep my bounds from whatever that is.

“But, I still want to talk to you, Ives,” Lyrica said, “We have really nice conversations.”

“Well, actually there is one thing that has been on my mind,” I replied, “One that's been nagging at me for a while now”

[ ] “Where does the food and supplies come from?”
[ ] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”
[ ] “Who built the Phantom Cafe?”

>> No. 30685
[x] “Where does the food and supplies come from?”
>> No. 30686
[X ] “Who built the Phantom Cafe?”
>> No. 30687
[x] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”

That sounds like the most immediately relevant question in our current situation.
>> No. 30688
[X] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”
>> No. 30689
[x] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe or its creator?”

There we go, two at once.
>> No. 30690
[x] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”

Kind of strange the trio doesn't know much about the cafe itself.
>> No. 30696
[ze] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”

Information time.
>> No. 30700
[X] “Do the people here know anything about this cafe?”

“Do people know anything about the cafe when they came here?” I asked, “Someone must know something.”

“I'm not sure, most of the time I don't ask,” Lyrica stated, “We just sorta understand and deal with the situation I guess.”

I wondered if some of the people here could answer these questions. This is clearly something important that needs clarification. Obviously, yes; Yukari was behind our transport, but we don't know about this cafe. Heck, we don't even know where this cafe is.

“Maybe you and I should ask around. See if there is something to be learned about this place,” I suggested.

“Hmm,” Lyrica pondered, “I don't have a lot of duties other than moving stuff every once in a while. So I think I could do that.”

In the meantime, I needed to figure out what to do at this point it would stand to reason that someone related to Yukari should be interviewed. The only person I know who is that close is Chen, who I saw scurry around earlier.

“Maybe we could ask Chen?” I suggested, “She's affiliated with Yukari, which no doubt is the one who brought you here.”

“I don't think we should jump to conclusions, Ives,” Lyrica responded, “Yukari may have brought us here, but there's no reason we should outright say she is responsible.”

“That's why we need to ask Chen. If there is anyone who can say that Yukari is behind this, its either her or Ran. But frankly I don't see Ran anywhere,” I explained.

“So do we know where she is?” Lyrica asked.

I took a look around and spotted her walking up the stairs. Lyrica spotted her as well, so we followed behind. As we made it upstairs, we took a look around to see where she was, and found her looking upward. Upon closer inspection, this was the vending machine from before. She looked perplexed to it. I wanted to approach her before talking, but Lyrica spoke first.

“Hey, Chen!” Lyrica said, “Mind if we talk to you a bit?”

“Not now,” Chen said, “I need to find a way to get something to drink! I don't know how.”

An idea popped into my head that we could use this to sit down and talk afterwards.

“Perhaps we could talk to her first, then give her a drink as our thanks,” I whispered.

“To be honest, I'd like it not to be attached to our intentions. We should do it as an act of goodwill,” Lyrica said.

[ ] Go with my plan
[ ] Go with Lyrica's plan

----

I'd like to clarify something before we continue on. Earlier, I would upload longer chapters with fewer choices in between, but they became shorter later on. Would you prefer posts like the first few or the latest?
>> No. 30701
[x] Go with Lyrica's plan
>> No. 30703
[X] Go with Lyrica's plan.

Also, I'd prefer the latest, but the difference is not all that large, so it doesn't really matter to me all that much.
>> No. 30705
[ze] Go with Lyrica's plan.

I agree with the post above, I prefer the latter ones.
>> No. 30706
[X] Go with Lyrica's plan.

I'm inclined to say go with what matches the update.
>> No. 30708
[X] Go with Lyrica's plan.

As for preferences, I kind of like the longer updates.
>> No. 30709
[X] Go with Lyrica's plan

“You do have a point there. Do you want to do it or should I?” I asked.

“I think I can take it from here,” Lyrica said, facing Chen again.

“Well, we can get a drink if you'd like. Just tell us which one and we'll show you how.”

She went on to explain how to do it and asked what she wanted. Looking from here, she seemed very motherly to Chen. As Lyrica taught her how to use the machine, I wondered just what she was doing here alone. I don't think she would leave without one of her superiors by her side. Shortly after that, I heard a familiar rumble, and Chen pulled out a Dr. Pepper.

“Ah, I've wondered what these were like,” Chen said as she examined the can, “Thanks, Lyrica.”
“Well, actually, I learned that from Ives here,” Lyrica said as she pointed to me.

“Well, is there anything I can do for you?” Chen asked.

“Actually, yes,” I answered, “We just have a few questions to ask you about the cafe.”

Chen then looked away and pondered for a bit.

“To be honest, I don't know much, but I'll share what I can.”

“So, how did you get here?” Lyrica inquired.

“Let's see...” Chen pondered, “I was tending to my cats in Mayohiga when I got tired and went to sleep. When I woke up, I was inside one of the cafe's rooms. It caught me off guard, but then I found out that there were others here as well, like you, Lyrica.”

“So, you don't know anything about the cafe itself?” I asked.

“Well... not anything important that isn't already known, no,” Chen stated.

Well, not only does she not know anything, but it seems that Ran or Yukari can't be tied to this right now. Chen, I would assume, would be with them, but I forget Chen's independence.

“I'm still trying to see if Lady Ran or Lady Yukari are here, but so far no success,” Chen said, “I'll tell you if I see them.”

“That would be nice, but don't stress yourself here,” Lyrica said, “We'll make it out of here.”

“You act like this is a prison or jail of some sort,” Chen said as she popped the cap off her soda and held it in her hand, “I think the people behind this are not nearly as evil as you make them out to be. This cafe seems like a vacation more than anything.”

She went to gulp the drink down and nearly spat it out.

“What is this?!” Chen said, “Some kind of bubble drink?”

“Something like that,” I said, “It's called 'soda'.”

Chen took a moment to regain composure, then took a sip of it. After licking her lips and thinking she looked back at us.

“I could get used to this,” Chen said, “Coffee isn't my thing, anyway.”

“Thanks for answering our questions, Chen,” I said.

“No problem, now I'll be down at the cafe if you need me,” Chen informed, “See ya later.”
And with that, she left for the stairs and headed down.

“So,” Lyrica said, “Any idea on what you want to do?”

[ ] Ask around for more information
[ ] Simply hang out
[ ] Inquire about what was bothering her
>> No. 30710
[z] Simply hang out
[e] Inquire about what was bothering her

First relax, then question time.
>> No. 30711
[ ] Simply hang out
[ ] Inquire about what was bothering her
>> No. 30722
[X] Simply hang out
[X] Inquire about what was bothering her

Hm if this is like a normal cafe, then it should have non-coffee drinks on its menu as well. Maybe Chen can try those.
>> No. 30739
[X] Simply hang out
[X] Inquire about what was bothering her
>> No. 30747
[X] Simply hang out
[X] Inquire about what was bothering her

“Well, I was thinking we could hang out,” I said.

“I wouldn't mind that,” Lyrica said, “Want to go back downstairs and talk?”

“Sure,” I said as I turned back to the direction of the stairs.

We went down to the cafe and sat at one of the tables farthest from the door. Merlin approached us and asked if we needed anything, and we ordered milk instead of coffee. Lyrcia was the one who said she wanted milk instead of coffee. Perhaps coffee isn't necessarily her thing in the first place, I guessed. We didn't spend much time talking, but we enjoyed the company we had. While we hung out, a feeling of uneasiness came to mind. When I tried to figure out what it was that disturbed me, my mind went back to what Lyrica said earlier.

“Actually, it's nothing!”

When she said there was another reason she couldn't date me, Lyrica took it back and pretended it didn't hurt her. I know it's not my business to get involved, but I felt a need to know why. If something is bothering her, I want to help in any way I can.

“Lyrica, earlier you had said that there was another reason you couldn't date me,” I said, “What was that reason?”

“Oh, that?” Lyrica said, “It was nothing, really.”

“Lyrica, you don't have to hide your feelings on the subject,” I said, “You can tell me anything.”

She looked off to the side once again, gloom once again setting across her face. She sat there for about 15 seconds before talking again.

“Well,” she said in a soft, melancholic voice, “It's better than telling my sisters how I feel.”

I wonder what she meant by that, but she turned back to face me.

“Listen...,” Lyrica implored, “In about four days, on January 14th, there is a particularly important day approaching.”

“What is important about that day?” I requested.

“It's... the anniversary of Layla's death,” Lyrica said hesitantly.

Layla Prismriver, the youngest of the original sisters who created Lyrica, Merlin, and Lunasa. While they lived on, it was said Layla did not. That is, as far as I know. It appears she still affects her sisters to this day.

“T-the thing is, though, no one has talked about it. Lunasa seems to be taking it the hardest, she seems gloomy whenever she is not working. Merlin, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be the least bit fazed by it. It's not a good time to date with all of this going around, especially someone I barely met,” Lyrica explained.

“I see...” I replied.

“I don't want you to get involved in this sort of thing,” Lyrica insisted, “This isn't the kind of thing others can interfere with. So please, will you promise to stay out of it?”

[ ] Promise
[ ] Promise, but express concern
[ ] Don't promise
>> No. 30748
[ze] Promise, but express concern.

We should show that we are worried about it.
>> No. 30750
[x] Promise, but express concern
>> No. 30754
[x] Promise, but express concern
>> No. 30755
[x] Promise, but express concern

As I thought over what she said, I froze up. The anniversary of her death is affecting the sisters in several ways. I... didn't feel comfortable with Lyrica bearing this burden by herself. Nevertheless, if I didn't honor her words, I would bring a greater disservice. Even back then, I wouldn't have wanted anyone to interfere, even if it was because they cared.

"I promise. I'll try to stay out of this," I resolved.

"Thank you," Lyrica replied as she began to leave her chair.

"But, Lyrica," I forced myself say, "I'm still worrying about this situation. If you need anything, even just a shoulder to lean on, let me know. But if you don't want me to... I won't force it."

I realized I gushed out an awful lot. I've been doing that practically the entire time I was here. Heck, I declared my love after one day, not even sparing a thought to what she felt. I realized I have been overbearing to Lyrica. That's why I need to let her deal with this on her own, and only offer my help as she wants it.

"I appreciate the offer," Lyrica said, smiling, "I'll keep it in mind."

With that, she left the table and headed upstairs. Argh, I wish that it didn't have to feel this vexing for her to leave like this. But right now I am left with little options. For a while, I sat there, but someone's figure appeared before me.

"...You seem tense."

The person's figure and soft voice belonged to Lunasa. She drew up a chair sat down.

"I have to say, Ives, I didn't expect you to declare your love to my sister. Especially since you barely met her," Lunasa stated.

"I take it you don't approve?" I asked.

"I'd never approve of someone who is bordering that of a stranger to date anyone," Lunasa firmly said.

"I don't blame you," I said, "I got too caught up in the moment."

Lunasa gave a pitying smile.

"As long as you acknowledge it, I am fine," Lunasa explained, "Love takes time."

"Understood, I'll be more thoughtful," I responded.

Lunasa then gave a inquisitive look.

"Now that I mention it, you are very much like a stranger to us. We don't even know where you came from."

Ah, that's right, I've been pretty silent about my past or self during the time I was here, yet I know a lot about Lyrica and the sisters. It feels kinda unfair when I think about it, but at the same time I'm not comfortable doing so. It's not the kind of thing I would tell to just anyone.

"I see, but it isn't that simple," I said.

Her expression grimaced.

"You better make it that simple, at least for Lyrica. You can't just pretend to be a nobody that came out of nowhere and expect to marry my sister. You're going to have to come forward and show you are a real person."

...

[ ] Promise to tell Lyrica
[ ] Tell Lunasa a portion of yourself.
>> No. 30756
[x] Promise to tell Lyrica

Like she says, we should at least make it simple for Lyrica. Although I don't really get this, aren't we eventually gonna talk this out with all 3 of the Prismrivers? Just seems weird how we have to choose.
>> No. 30757
[ze] Promise to tell Lyrica
>> No. 30759
>>30756
If you are referring talking about yourself, then telling Lunasa will have Ives open up about himself, and he will tell Lyrica when he gets the chance. Promising to tell Lyrica will have Ives only tell Lyrica about himself, and maintaining privacy from Lunasa.
>> No. 30760
[x] Tell Lunasa a portion of yourself.

If we're gonna date Lyrica, we also have to get the other sisters to trust us, at least. I'm sure they don't want some stranger dating their sister.
>> No. 30761
>>30759
Ah, thank you, in that case I'd like to change my previous vote to
[x] Tell Lunasa a portion of yourself.
>> No. 30764
[X] Tell Lunasa a portion of yourself.

"...My parents are no longer with each other."

The sudden response I created surprised Lunasa, but she remained respectful and listened. Solemnly, I continued.

"After something deadly happened to our family, the two were never the same. I was 18 when they said they would divorce each other. My mom and dad insisted on taking me, but I ran away from home because I didn't want to deal with it," I explained.

I took a moment to regain my calm, then continued again.

"I'm 21 now, and I live on my own, making money in a part time job. I've been that way ever since."

I don't know why I decided to blurt something that painful of my history to Lunasa. I guess I just felt a need to tell someone, and have them listen.

"That must have been taken a lot to tell me that, Bellamy," Lunasa said.

She pondered for a bit with her eyes closed.

"I'm still not sure about you, but what I can tell is that you seem to be a person with good intentions," Lunasa said, "Now, I shall take my leave."

"Farewell, Lunasa," I said.

"Farewell," she said, leaving the table.

What was I even doing right now? Why was I taking my chances with Lyrica when I didn't have anything. All we've done is drink coffee and chat together. I moped there for what felt like hours when I felt a loud pat on my back.

"Yo, Comrade!" A voice rang in my ear.

I turned around to see Cirno with the brazen courageous face she always wore.

"Look, Daiyousei, and I are forming a strike force to see what we can find outside this café. We've already got Suika, and we wanted to see if you would join us!" Cirno exclaimed.

So, like an expedition? The snow hasn't been settling at all, so perhaps this would be a good time to figure out where we are. While I thought of this, Lyrica came to mind. I didn't want to leave her behind like that.

"I can't. I want to stay behind with Lyrica," I responded.

Cirno chuckled a bit.

"Ah, yes, your lover," Cirno teased, "She's already volunteered to be a part of the strike force."

"What?" I asked, perplexed.

"Indeed! She is just as curious as well. So once again, are you with us or are you not?" Cirno asked, demanding in tone.

I'd be lying if I said this was a bad idea. We needed to figure out exactly where we were before we could move anywhere else. However, a great concern for me was Lyrica. I wasn't sure if I felt safe with her being put in harms way. Wait, what am I, a prince? Pssh, that's just stupid. Lyrica is more than capable of fending off whatever there may be. There might not even be a foe to face. Nevertheless, I distinctly remember the time I first came here, and that is not an experience I wanted to relive. Still... What should I do?

[ ] Stay behind and let Lyrica tell you
[ ] Go with Cirno and be with Lyrica
>> No. 30767
[x] Go with Cirno and be with Lyrica
>> No. 30797
[X] Go with Cirno and be with Lyrica

Brief consideration aside, the only good course of action would be to go with Cirno. The storm that has been letting on here has been going on for far too long. There is a good possibility of interference from someone else if the storm has raged on this long.

"Fine, I'll join this little expedition," I said.

"I knew you'd say that," Cirno said pridefully, "Meet us at 15:00, and do not be late."

She left the table and went to talk with a group of fairies. Time dwindled by until the appointed meeting came. We had a brief discussion outside of the doorway from the Cafe.

"This blizzard feels a bit unnatural. Do you think there is someone behind it?" One fairy expressed with concern.

"I would like to know exactly where we are," another said, "I find that a more pressing issue."

"Hey, that is what this expedition is for," Daiyousei said, "We're all in it to figure this stuff out, so be patient."

Daiyousei was the second in command of the "strike force", though she acknowledged the whole thing as an expedition.

"But aren't you curious, Dai? I think we should just hurry up and rush in that blizzard. With Cirno's shield, we will be fine," a fairy said.

Instinctively, I looked up from out position. A large "field" of snow and energy was swirling around us in a sphere. We could see everything inside of this field, but the blizzard would not allow us to see outside. I glanced over to the edge and I saw two figures speaking to each other. It appeared to be Cirno and Lyrica. By the looks of things, there discussions were rather tame, which felt odd for the bodacious bragger. Afterwards, Cirno came over to our position, while Lyrica joined with the group

"Attention!" Daiyousei said in a demanding tone.

"Alright, listen up!" Cirno began, "We only have two pressing concerns for this strike force to solve: the blizzard's maker and where we are. I expect only the best of my strongest team, am I clear?"

"Yes, ma'am!" The fairies responded.

To be blunt, this military-like organization felt rather humorous, but I did my best to stifle a laugh. Looking next to me, I noticed Lyrica had cupped her mouth with her hands.

"This will not be any mere invasion. We will be spending at least a day and a night out here. So before we leave, pack up anything you need, but not too much. There are 15 people in this team and I don't want to light this place up like the lunar capital."

I didn't have anything I brought with me, but I gave a quick thought of what I would need for the trip. But aside from clothes and such, I didn't really have anything. But maybe I could get a few items from around the cafe. So what will I take with me

(You can only bring up to 3 items with you. Choose wisely.)

[ ] Write-in
>> No. 30812
You might want to put down some ideas as most people aren't good with these sort of prompts.
>> No. 30813
>>30812
Ah, yeah, you're right. I should probably change up to just a normal choice selection for this case. This time I'll give a list of items that you can select 3 from.

[ ] Soda can from the vending machine
[ ] Spare coffee with milk
[ ] 52 card deck, 4 suits
[ ] Spare blankets
[ ] Sake

I appreciate the help, Anon.
>> No. 30820
Does the coffee come with a thermos? Is the strike force capable of heating or otherwise keeping warm the coffee in the field? If so, trade soda for coffee.

[x] Soda can from the vending machine
[x] 52 card deck, 4 suits
[x] Spare blankets
>> No. 30833
[x] Spare coffee with milk
[x] 52 card deck, 4 suits
[x] Spare blankets

Being around Cirno makes me want to bring extra warm things.
>> No. 30858
[x] Spare coffee with milk (it can be heated)
[x] 52 card deck, 4 suits
[x] Spare blankets

I spent about 10 minutes collecting these - from my room, asking around, and requests - and managed to collect the deck if cards and spare blankets. I packed all my things in my room with a traveling bag. Only one last item, and I would be ready. I went to Lunasa and asked her about the coffee.

"Yeah, we have some excess coffee. How much do you need?" Lunasa asked.

"About 4 liters," I said.

"2 liters," she said brusquely.

Wait, is she trying to hackle me?

"Fine," I said, "3 liters."

"2 Liters. You don't need that much for a luxury item, even for a group of people," Lunasa affirmed.

Guess I've been defeated this time.

"Alright, two liters of coffee," I said, "and please make sure to add milk to it."

"Already am," Lunasa said as she began brewing the coffee, "I'll be ready later, you just talk with Lyrica until then."

Come to think of it, I wasn't sure where Lyrica was, nor where she would be other than stocking up supplies. The only thing that came to mind was that she would be outside, so I decided to see if she was there.

The only person I saw was Cirno out there, just gazing up at the top of the sphere as she sat on the piles of snow. Thinking over it, I did not have any idea where Lyrica could be right now, and chances are I would not be able to find her. Furthermore, I made a huge blunder in judgement that, while she has forgiven me for, I could not forgive myself just yet. After forcing my feelings out way too soon, to try and search her out would not be wise to do. With only one apparent option in mind, I walked towards Cirno.

Even as I approached her, she didn't notice me; she only stared at the blizzard beyond her force field. Maybe I should just leave her be I thought to myself, and turned around. It was then that Cirno decided to speak.

"It kinda makes me feel weird," Cirno spoke.

"Hmm?"

"I mean the blizzard. It's all around us and not stopping. When I put up my barrier, I can still feel it's there. It makes me feel... small."

In a way, I could understand her sentiments. This entire time, the feeling of something bigger was encompassing the cafe, and it didn't feel too pleasant.

"However, I won't let that get me down. I intend to find this person and smack 'em in the face!"

"Isn't that overkill?" I said.

"Not when you have to show you are stronger than them, it's not," Cirno affirmed, "How else do you show strength?"

I tried to find an answer to stop her, but I could only draw blanks. Metaphorical strength doesn't matter to her, whether it be intellectual or emotional.

"There is no other answer," Cirno said, slamming her fist into her free hand, "This is how I fight, and how I become a better fairy."

Before I could even try to find the right response to such a statement, I heard shifting snow in a manor resembling footsteps from behind me. I looked back to see Lyrica trudging through the snow, carrying a bag over her right shoulder. She approached us and spoke.

"Okay, I've got everything I need," Lyrica said, "Ives, do you have everything you need?"

Right then I remembered that I forgot the coffee that Lunasa made as well as my bag. "Crap..." I muttered as I made my way back to the cafe.

As I passed Lyrica, though, I could have sworn I heard her giggle.

--------

This update has was long overdue, and I would like to apologize for the long time it took for me to sit back down and write. Thank you for your patience.
>> No. 30883
"Come on, mush!"

Cirno's voice could barely be heard over the roaring blizzard outside of the shield. The group's feet kept on trudging through the thick snow, but the pace shown signs of slowing. For me, the difficulty of carrying luggage had taken a big tole, as I carried both my own weight and a good portion of supplies. Mentally, I had grown weary of seeing the same scene over and over again, as the snow outside made it difficult to realize we traveled anywhere. I was spent, to say the least.

As was apparent, fairies were irritated as well. Devoted as they were, they could not stand another hour of marching, and we have been doing so for at least that long.

"I'm getting real tired of walking. We need a break, for crying out loud!" A fuming fairy stated.

"Look, it's gonna take a while before we reach our destination," a calm fairy stated.

"Cirno said we would have to endure three hours of this before we stopped, and I can't bear another minute of it."

"Then what do you propose we do?"

She gave a good moment to ponder, when the irritated fairy looked at me from behind.

"Hey, you. You're on good terms with Cirno, right?" She asked.

"I guess you could say that," I replied.

"Mind asking Cirno to take a 10 minute break? We're tired and need a moment to rest."

[ ] Ask Cirno yourself
[ ] Tell her to ask Cirno herself
>> No. 30885
[x] Ask Cirno yourself
>> No. 30886
[x] Ask Cirno yourself
>> No. 30889
[X] Ask Cirno yourself

"*sigh* Fine, I'll go talk to her," I responded.

I accelerates my pace, feet aching as they trudged through the snow. Walking past several of the fairies, I could finally see Cirno at the front. The sphere was only a meter away from her, arms stretched.

"I need to talk to you, Cirno," I said.

"Make it quick," she brusquely replied, not even looking back.

"Some of the fairies have been wondering if we could take a ten minute break."

"No dice! I'm not in the mood to play games here."

"They are saying they are exhausted from the long walk."

"Look, they signed up for this trip, they should be able to take it."

Cirno is ridiculously adamant about this issue. I mean, how hard is it to ask for a break.

"More importantly, why are they sending you to talk to me?" Cirno noted, "Are they cowards or something?"

"They thought that if I talked to you, you would listen."

"Tch, so they are cowards. They are strong, they can take the walk."

"...Okay, that wasn't the only reason," I admitted.

"Hmm?" Cirno said, turning her head around.

"This is also taking a toll on me. I do not think having a break every hour until we set up camp would be to difficult."

She turned her head back around, and continued marching. I considered heading back when I heard Cirno speak up again.

"30 minutes. Then we will take a break."

I headed back to the fairies I talked to and told them her deal. They felt a bit irritated, but at the same time grateful. We continued on our march without a word being said.

----

The time Cirno gave ran its course, and we all sat down on a large mat. We broke into our snack supply and started eating. Daiyousei chastised Cirno for eating so much that she ended up being forbidden to eat any more until our destination. Seeing the tough, diligent side and lazy, moody side clashes in my mind, and I let out a chuckle.

"What's so funny!?" Cirno said, irritated in tone.

"I'm sorry, but... ha ha... I can't see you being the same Cirno from 30 minutes ago," I spoke.

Some of the fairies giggled, and so did Lyrica when I gave her a glance.

"Eh? Whatcha mean by that, human!" Cirno barked.

"I think I've said too much," I said, trying to end the conversation.

"Grrr! I'll show you who's strongest!" Cirno exclaimed as she moved towards me.

Then I had an epiphany come to mind.

"Hold on, I have a better idea," I said.

She stopped for a moment, and I pulled something from my personal bag: a stack of cards.

"Let's play some cards."

"You kiddin' me? I'm one of the best card players there is!" Cirno exclaimed.

Daiyousei gave her a sideways look.

"You've only played blackjack and go fish," she said, "and your record is far from perfect."

"Yeah, well I still beat Suika!"

"Uh-huh, while she was wasted."

"It doesn't matter! In any case, we are getting off topic!" Cirno said, pointing her finger at me.

"Choose your destiny, human! Which game shall we play?"

[ ] Go-Fish
[ ] Blackjack
>> No. 30890
[x] Blackjack
>> No. 30891
[x] Go-Fish
>> No. 30913
[X] Blackjack

"Blackjack," I brusquely responded.

"Very well then! Who else wants to pit themselves against the strongest?" Cirno addressed.

Two fairies raised their hands as well as Lyrica.

"Prepare to lose, Bellamy!" Cirno declared.

----

We went with blackjack with the ruled we were most familiar with. Number cards face value; ace 1 or 11; jack, queen, and king worth 10; first card is hidden; one closest to 21 wins. To keep simplicity, we used double exposure rules. Daiyousei volunteered to be the dealer, and we began.

"Hmm... 18 from the dealer..." Cirno mumbled as she looked at her cards; a 5 and a jack.

"Hit me," Cirno said as she made an "over here" gesture.

Cirno was dealt a 7, to her great dismay.

"Argh! Come on..." she said in frustration.

The other two fairies ended up getting 17 and 16, but decided to not press their luck. Lyrica, though, had other plans.

"Hit me," she said, sweeping the ground towards her. She had a 7 and a 3, and was moving to make her win.

She was dealt a queen, counting up to 20.

"I'll stay," she concluded with. Now it was my turn to decide whether or not to continue. I had a 6 and 8 in my possession.

[ ] Hit
[ ] Don't hit

The rule for this and card games in the future is that the first reply is the one that decides the turn.
>> No. 30918
[x] Hit

57.142857% chance we stay in this round.
14.29% chance we win or tie.
At least two sevens have been dealt. This is the required card to beat Lyrica's hand.
>> No. 30920
[x] hit

"Hit me."

She dealt a card to me, which was an ace of hearts. I can't bust, so I make it a one instead. That still leaves me with a total of 15.

[ ] Hit
[ ] Stay
>> No. 30921
[X] Hit.
>> No. 30925
[x] Hit me

I drew my next card, and hoped it was the one I wanted. To my disappointment, I received an 8, busting my hand.

"Seems I've won," Lyrica beamed.

"Tch! Well at least I didnt lose to Ives," Cirno pouted for a moment, but regained her leadership responsibility.

"As much as I want to challenge you again, our time is up. Everyone, pack your bags."

We packed up what we got out and made our way onto our path. Daiyousei carried a compass, so she knew which path was the direction we had been heading. We continued on for an uncertain amount of time when vibrations in the field broke the monotony of our walk. While we stopped, the fairies chattered about what happened, while I listened in on Cirno and Daiyousei.

"Ngh!" Cirno grunted, "That was a tough blow."

"What's going on?" Daiyousei asked.

"The shield was it by some danmaku. It was ice-based."

"Wait, you don't think..."

"I do. I have to say it's Letty Whiterock. With the number of times I fought her, you would be able to tell who it was."

"What are we going to do then?"

"What we planned from the start: make our base and fight her."

----

Once we set up base, the tents were organized into roles. The smaller tents served as sleeping areas, and one devoted to eating, and the other for conferences. All in all, there were 5 tents total (It was no wonder why the fairies complained on the trip: the sheer amount of what we carried made us tired.) Daiyousei had told everyone to get some rest and head off to sleep. Most if the fairies slept soundly, but I couldn't. I couldn't stop thinking about what could be going on. With Whiterock put into the mix, I questioned what was going on, why this happened, where I was, all the burning questions I had.

I don't think I will be able to sleep for quite some time, and I wondered what I should do.

[ ] Go to sleep. It's best to get some rest.
[ ] Go to the dining tent. I'd rather try to clear my thoughts.
>> No. 30934
[x] Go to the dining tent. I'd rather try to clear my thoughts.

Trying to sleep in such a state is counterproductive.
>> No. 30937
[X] Go to the dining tent. I'd rather try to clear my thoughts.

There's no way I'm going to be able to sleep like this otherwise. After getting out of my sleeping bag and getting lightly dressed, I made my way outside. The bubble was still in place, and it provided decent insulation from the cold. I went inside the dining tent. The place was designed pretty simply. Tables couldn't be brought with us, so we had to suffice with a cloth for a table. There was also a lamp in the center of that cloth. It was an oil lamp, which people questioned if that would be alright, but Cirno insisted it would be fine.

What was out of the ordinary was that Lyrica was sitting alone in the tent before I arrived. She turned to me.

"Ives?" She said with a hint of puzzlement.

"Lyrica, what are you doing here?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing."

A short period of silence settled in.

"...May I sit next to you?" I inquired.

Lyrica nodded, and I did so.

"I was having a hard time sleeping. Too many things were on my mind," I admitted.

"Same here. I'm really worried about what could be happening right now," Lyrica said.

"...Is it about Lunasa and Merlin?"

"Yes. I don't know if they are getting along, if at all. For all I know, they could be fighting each other."

I wanted to comfort her, but I couldn't even quell my own worries about the subject. But if there is one thing I can do, it's to tell her not to let what happened to me happen to her.

"They very well could be, but you will have to solve things between them. If you don't, then they will split apart."

"What do you know about family infighting?" Lyrica replied in vexation.

I kept silent. Her expression changed from mad to confused.

"...Wait, what do you know about family infighting?" She inquired.

"When I was 16, my parents decided to have another child. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, one that my mother was eager about. My father, about a few months into pregnancy, became worried about what it would so to the family, and they quarreled. Eventually, they stopped when the day came close, and hoped that everything would be fine... but it didn't. The child died in miscarriage."

Lyrica showed visible shock at that statement.

"It only got worse from there. My mom despised my father who tried to move on from it too soon. My father hated my mother for wallowing in misery. It got worse and worse until they eventually divorced. They debated who I should go with, and my mother insisted she take me, but I didn't want either of them. I ran away when I was 18, just old enough to live on my own."

"...I had no idea..."

"Lyrica, looking back, I may have had the chance to help, but I didn't take it out of fear. Don't make the same mistake I did."

She looked down at the floor on the verge of tears.

[ ] Hug her
[ ] Try to comfort her with words
>> No. 30938
[x] Try to comfort her with words

Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
>> No. 30939
[x] Try to comfort her with words
-[x] Suggest that perhaps a hug will calm her sisters down.
>> No. 30940
[X] Try to comfort her with words
-[X] Suggest that perhaps a hug will calm her sisters down.

Nice choice here.
>> No. 30942
[x] Try to comfort her with words
-[x] Suggest that perhaps a hug will calm her sisters down.

"Hey, it'll be okay. You can still change this and talk to them."

Lyrica looked at me, eyes still glassy, but hopeful.

"Do you think so?" Lyrica asked.

"Yes, I do. You are their sister, and you can help them," I replied

"But what can I do? It's going to be hard to get them to calm down."

"...a hug."

She tilted her head at my reply.

"Huh?" Lyrica said.

"If they have been building up all these feelings of distraught, then maybe a hug would show them you care and are worried about them," I suggest.

"...Maybe," Lyrica said in consideration.

Stillness settled in. The white noise of the blizzard could be heard through the shield. There didn't seem to be anything to say, until Lyrica spoke up.

"Bellamy... I must be honest with you," She uttered.

"What is it?" I inquired.

"...I... back then... I... I don't know what I was thinking," She said with a pained expression.

Too vague. What is she referring to?

"I don't understand," I said.

Lyrica closed her eyes, as if to avert something.

"When you... admitted you loved me... back then..."

Already worry crept up to my mind, and the worst situation appeared.

"I... said I liked you, but I don't think I can date you."

I should have guessed. No, I think I knew, but I hoped it wouldn't have come to this. It hurt, but I pressed on.

"Is it because of the situation between you and your sisters?" I asked.

"That's one... but there's another," Lyrica added, "It's just not... possible... for an outsider and a resident of Gensokyo to get together."

The sheer bluntness of that statement hit me pretty hard, and not because of how it wasn't possible, but that she knew I was an outsider.

"How... do you know that?"

"You knew about us, and other people without even us introducing ourselves. I can't just chalk it up to 'outsider information'. No, we have heard about the outside world, and I had a hint that you were one."

"But the biggest give away was the one you just did. You admitted to being an outsider when I pressed you on it, even though I still had my doubts."

Lyrica saw through me completely, and I fell right into that trap.

"I... see..." I said.

"I'm sorry Ives, but I just can't let you deal with the pain of seeing me off when you head back."

[ ] It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
[ ] I should avoid the pain of seeing her go away.
>> No. 30953
[X] It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Where are all the votes?
>> No. 30954
>>30942

[ ] It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
>> No. 30956
>>30953
Tricky vote

[X] It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
>> No. 30958
[X] It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

"Even if it were for a day, I would still love to date you. At least then I will be able to remember the experience. The love, the pain, all of it is better for me than not knowing."

"Ives..." Lyrica said in surprise.

Before she could reply, though, a loud rumbling sound travelled through the camp. We went out to see what happened along with everyone else woken up by the rumbling. The shield was vibrating at the impacts of large spheres of blue energy. It cracked and nearly shattered before Cirno gained control and repaired it for the time being.

"She's here," Cirno stated, "Letty Whiterock."

The situation we were in was a tricky one. We couldn't fight back, as the shield was two-way, so the only way to fight back was to drop the shield, but then the blizzard would obscure our vision.

Cirno made the decision as if it were nothing.

"Alright, I am going in!" Cirno shouted as she dropped the shield and unleashed danmaku in the direction of the bullet siege.

Within seconds the blizzard came in, and the scenery blurred. My skin instantly prickled, and the frigid weather assaulted me. I thanked myself for deciding to get my winter clothes on before I went into the dining tent, because otherwise I might have been in that same position as I was when I first came in. Meanwhile, the sounds of a raging battle occurred, and I could barely see silhouettes of people. The only one that stood out was the one running towards me: Lyrica.

"Ives!" She shouted over the blizzard.

"Lyrica, this is insane! Cirno can't fight Whiterock like this!" I replied.

We couldn't even figure out where Cirno and Whiterock were. The chaos made understanding the situation incomprehensible. The cold was making it hard to think, and without the shield there was not enough to cover me. I could slowly feel myself passing out, as my feet began to give out, Lyrica caught me.

"Ives, hang in there!" Lyrica pleaded.

I needed to tell her something to pass on. Cirno can't beat Whiterock by herself.

[ ] "Stop Cirno and Whiterock."
[ ] "Help Cirno fight Whiterock."
>> No. 30959
[x] "Stop Cirno and Whiterock."
>> No. 30960
[X] "Stop Cirno and Whiterock."
>> No. 30971
[x] "Stop Cirno and Whiterock."

"You need to stop them from fighting..." I muttered.

"Huh?" Lyrica said.

"Cirno doesn't have the power to defeat... Whiterock. You need to calm them both... before we all... all..."

The world began to fade, and my consciousness felt like it was as well. I soon was losing my hold in reality, but the one thing I held onto was the gaze of her lovely face...

----

And he shut his eyes. Ives isn't going to make it in the weather like this, and with everything a blur, it was hard to find the camp - a grey silhouette in the roaring snowstorm. I needed to get him back in the tent, and quickly. I went into one of the sleeping tents and tucked Ives under tons of covers. There, he should be fine for now. Now as long as that tent doesn't buckle under the pressure, I can move onto the issue that threatened our safety.

I went back out to confront Cirno, who was in the heat of battle - the only heat there was - fighting in the whitened sky. I flew over to her, and tried shouting over the wind.

"Cirno! You need to stop!" I exclaimed.

"Lyrica, this is between me and her! Stay out of this!" She yelled.

Huge icicles approached, and I evaded in quick response. Cirno tried as well, but one of the them impacted her and sent her flying. I went back to her.

"Cirno, you can't do this! Talk to Whiterock and try to end this!"

"I told you to stay out of this!"

"Enough is enough! You aren't strong enough to beat h-"

By the time I realized what I said, it was too late. Cirno's face contorted into one of fierce rage. She made a swift motion I couldn't pick up until it hit me.

I could feel pain on my cheek, amplified by the cold. Cirno had backhanded me.

"Shut up!!" Cirno shouted at me, and went to go back and fight with and fought with no focus or cohesion in attacks.

They wouldn't stop. They continued to duel at the expense of the camp and fairies. I couldn't do anything; they were too absorbed in the fighting. Cirno... she let her blatant neglect for the reality of the situation consume her. Those two... those two who wouldn't compromise... wouldn't listen... why can't you just get along?

Lunasa... Merlin...

Please stop fighting...

Stop fighting...

Stop fighting!

"Stop fighting!!!"

I brought out the keyboard and smashed my fingers into the ivory keys. Anger was converted into a song that pierced the blizzard's deafening roar. The dancing danmaku assaulted the two figures in a way neither of them could keep up. The intensity increased with the crescendo, and with one final slam into the instrument, danmaku stormed towards the both of them

Silence followed. Only the blizzard could be heard, and the figures stood perfectly still. The tension felt thicker than the air itself, almost difficult to breathe. Eventually, the wind changed direction away from me and within seconds the world regained focus. Whiterock stood with arms out wide, Cirno was injured, holding her arm. The fairies were floored with surprise. They all stared at me with an expression of either fear or awe. I... I got too infuriated. Now I recklessly endangered everyone, too. Cirno was the one to break the silence.

"I... will stop," she resolved, looking away from both Whiterock and I. Whiterock pondered deeply.

"In light of this... I shall as well."

"You better tell us why you are doing all of this, Whiterock, from this blizzard to the attack on us," Cirno demanded, glaring back at her.

"I shall give you all an explanation."

----

The next section will be on a new thread instead of this one. It will come out within the week.
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