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File 148322887410.png - (801.34KB, 1500x1500, __usami_renko_touhou_drawn_by_nanahi_toshi__9a77af.png) [iqdb]
30951 No. 30951
==========
Mt. Takao, Hachioji - 29th of March 15:19
==========

“Scrap that, Renko.” I tell her, pocketing my phone. “You’re gonna come with me to a job.”

She raises her head from the ground. “A job?” She asks, perplexed.

“Yes. I do work.” I tell her. “I can’t spend all day everyday working this majestic body.”

She rolls her eyes in response, apparently not finding my sarcasm fun. “I mean, what do you do for work?”

“I fix holes in a giant invisible wall, essentially.” I tell her. “Then I also take care of the monsters that made that hole by forcing them back through it.” Which is oversimplifying it grossly.

She sits up. “And how am I supposed to help?”

“Who said anything about helping?” I ask. “You’ll be there to observe.”

“Oh thank god.” She lets out a relieved sigh. “I was afraid you’d ask me to fight it.”

“The whole point of this training, is to increase your chance for survival.” I tell her. “Sending you out like that would be sending you to die.”

“Yeah.” She scratches her neck. “I wouldn’t be too eager to throw my life away just yet.”

And yet you insist on training with me.


==========
Odake Spring, Hinohara - 16:41
Renko Breach scene. Small puddle under a waterfall.
==========

Odake spring used to be a popular tourist spot back when people still cared about nature, or at the very least, the small waterfall just before the actual spring. The mouth itself is located in a small area half encircled by a decently sized cliff. With the spring in the middle, filling out a puddle before flowing down the stream, this place creates a rather tranquil atmosphere.

“And done.” I stand back up and brush my hand off in my shirt.

Renko looks over my shoulder. “Done? That’s it?” She asks.

“For the preparation, at least.” I tell her. “All that’s left to do is wait.”

She takes a look around at the talismans I’ve placed. Some under the water, others up high on the cliffs and then a few more on the ground surrounding the puddle.

“So what do all these do?” She asks. “Unless, of course, I’m going to blow myself up just by knowing that.”

“Spiritual energy doesn’t blow up.” I correct her. “I mean sure, if I were to release everything I have at once, I might be able to make a small crater in some dirt, but I’m an anomaly in that regard.”

“But didn’t you say I’d blow myself up if I tried using magic?” She asks.

“I was talking about mana, then. Mana and spiritual energy are two completely different sources of magic.” I explain. “Once we start working on your magic, I’ll explain it in more detail.”

“So what do they do?” She asks again, nodding at the talisman in front of us.

“Well, the knives I’ve placed around create the outline for the barrier, while securing it and making it more stable. The spell for the barrier was placed alongside it, so all I have to do is activate it.” I explain to her. “And just so you’re prepared, once the barrier is erected, don’t forget your name. Remember who you are. If you don’t, your memory will be erased and you’ll be dragged backed into their world.”

“That,” She places her hand on her temple before running it through her hair, “that sounds strangely familiar.”

“It should.” I tell her. “I told you the same thing when we first met. Which reminds me, I ought to get Doc to give you back your memories.”

“Wait, you stole my memories?” She exclaims.

“No, we sealed them away to prevent you from finding your way back to the world of magic.” I tell her. “That’s why it hurts to remember. Although now that you’ve found your way back regardless, that seal is useless.”

“Who gave you the right-”

Her complaint is cut short by a loud crack behind us.

I immediately shove Renko away and raise the barrier.

“Remember your name, Renko!” I yell as I quickly spin around and prepare to activate my talismans.

The air itself shatters and out falls a youkai who lands in the middle of the spring.

Wasting no time, I quickly activate the first set of talismans. The water’s surface begins to quickly freeze over, covering the entire spring in ice and trapping the youkai from the waist down.

It’s not likely to stop it, but it’ll hinder it enough to buy some extra time.

Wait. Is that a tengu? To think one would let himself get carried over by the border.

Not happy about being encased in ice, he displays his overwhelming strength by breaking free using only raw power.

Well, considering I’m dealing with a tengu, I can’t say that was entirely unexpected.

Though to my surprise, he doesn’t charge at me like I’d expect. Instead he staggers for a bit, gripping his head like it’d blow off if he didn’t.

“Make it stop!” He screams.

I quickly make eye contact with Renko. With a simple gesture I tell her to run to the opposite end of the barrier from me.

Keeping her out of his view for now would be the best course of action. I have a fairly good idea of his mental state.

Being dragged across the barrier like that exerts a great amount of strain on the mind. In most cases, the mind switches completely to instinct to rest a bit, which is what causes the violent behavior. Other times the mind simply shuts down and they go unconscious. It’s rare, however, that they can remain on the border between sanity and instinct.

I think this is a case of the last one. If so, I could either be lucky enough to not have to fight, or unlucky enough that he fades into instinct. And considering the fact he can resist it so much, I’m not too keen on fighting him.

Preferably I’ll be able to knock him unconscious and wait the time out.

I activate the second set of talismans located up high on the rocks. The air inside the barrier begins to heat up drastically, causing the ice to melt almost as fast as it froze.

A layer of mist forms and grows thicker as the heat meets the cold.

Seizing the opportunity, I dash into the center of the mist, towards the crow.

A sharp fist breaks through the wall of mist, heading straight for my face.

I throw myself out of the way, dodging it as it grazes my cheek.

Shit. He’s a trained combatant? No way he’d be able to throw a punch so accurately otherwise.

I swiftly create some distance between us.

Think. I need to knock him out. Sneak attack? One hit? Painless?

Scooping up a couple of pebbles, I dash back into the wall of mist.

With all my might, I throw both of them at once and immediately grab a fist-sized rock.

As I hear the pebbles hitting him, I leap at him.

With all the force behind me, I crash into his chest, knees first and hammer the rock into his temple on our way down.

And just like that, everything goes silent. Only my own heavy breathing can still be heard, though the beating in my ears overshadows it.

I throw the rock away to examine the now unconscious tengu. I don’t favor attacking, much less with something so crude as a rock, but it was the most effective method I could think of.

It’s going to leave a bruise, and most likely a serious headache, though his skull seems to be intact.

“It’s done, Renko. You can come out.” I yell out to her.

I get off his chest and stand up.

This mist really did get a lot thicker than I anticipated. Maybe it’s because I activated the second set of charms too early? At least I can still salvage the last set of talismans. I’d have used them to freeze over the mist and make the air even colder than before.

“We’re in the middle, Renko.” I yell out again.

Still no response?

Wait. Don’t tell me-

Just as the thought crosses my mind, the breach begins to close.

It starts pulling at me with an unnatural force, forcing me on the ground to stay in place.

The unconscious tengu flies past me and disappears back to the other side of the breach. Only a few seconds later have the breach also claimed all the mist, clearing up the area before closing.

“Renko!” I yell out.

She’s not here.
Expand all images
>> No. 30952
Okay, so maybe "Exorcist" is not one of the jobs where we should implement the "Bring your kid to work" day
>> No. 30979
File 14865804071.png - (2.46MB, 1600x1200, 411cbe726c901ca883cd9991e47ed0f2.png) [iqdb]
30979
==========
Odake Spring, Hinohara - 16:59
==========

“Renko!” I storm through the water.

She’s gone. She’s really gone.

“Fucking idiot!” I scream out as I strike the stone wall.

Think fast. What should I do? She’s been sucked into Gensokyo. Should I attempt to pull her back by force? No, the barrier would resist, and she could get seriously hurt. Should I pursue? But I’d have to get back to the shrine first. Once inside I’d have to track her. She could be anywhere.

“Fuck!” I punch the wall again.

Wait a second. What’s this?

I pick up a white ribbon from the ground.

This is the one Renko wore her ponytail in.

That’s it.

Wasting no time, I dash straight through the spring, towards my bag. Unzipping one of the side pockets, I pull out my grimoire.

It immediately responds to my thoughts and flies open, flicking page through page until it reaches two blanks.

I place the ribbon in the book, and the pages start filling themselves out, forming the spell on its own.

Since she’s been wearing this ribbon, it should be imbued with enough of her spiritual energy to serve as a medium to track her. And if luck is on my side, it’ll also be imbued with enough mana to open a one-way gate to follow her tracks.

The grimoire shuts itself tight, signaling the completion of the spell.

Without any other warning, the ground beneath me disappears along with the surroundings.


==========
???
==========

God dammit, that hurt.

I peel myself off the ground and sit up.

My body aches, clearly telling me it’s hurt, though it doesn’t appear to anything more than some bruises. Now, where am I?

I take a quick look around, and the first thing that springs to my attention is a short trail in the ground, leading up to my crash site. Next would be the fact I ran through a couple of flowerbeds, which is unfortunate.

Looking past my crash, I notice a rather big western looking mansion, colored in a dark shade of crimson.

The Scarlet Devil Mansion?

I take another look around.

No. This is a hill, not an island. That mansion is in the middle of a lake, this one clearly isn’t. Was there another western mansion in Gensokyo? There should be one at the sunflower hill, but I don’t see any sunflowers around here, and I really hope I’m right on this, 'cause Kazami is not someone I want to fight.

But all that aside, I don’t see any trails that could lead to Renko. I could try asking whoever is in the mansion, but considering it’s already twilight, I doubt they’ll answer the door but it’s still worth a try.

And just as I’m considering knocking, the front door swings open. A long haired blonde woman steps out. She quickly spots me, and without closing the door behind her, she approaches.

“Seems like quite the mess you’ve made here.” She says with a snarky tone as soon as she’s within reasonable earshot. There’s some clear annoyance behind her golden eyes, even if her expression manages to hide that fact almost perfectly.

“Sorry about that.” I tell her as I stand up. “Didn’t have much control on my way down.”

She looks up at me, studying my face for a second before changing topic. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“What gave it away?” I ask rhetorically.

“Well for one thing, your eyes.” She answers. “Amber eyes are unique to a select few of Lady Shinki’s creations and a handful of outsiders.” She folds her arms and put on a confident smile. “And since you can’t be the former, as I’ve never seen you before, you have to be the latter.”

Amber eyes? Well I did just use magic, so naturally the enchantment on my eyes would vanish.

“That aside,” I change the topic this time, “I’m looking for a brown haired girl, about this high.” I hold up my hand. “Have you seen her?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. She arrived just a few minutes ago.” The woman takes off the rag covering her hair, and stores it in her apron’s pocket. “Follow me, if you’d be so inclined.”

The inside of the manor looks almost exactly like I expected. Checkered marble floor, a paler red than the outside walls as wallpaper. The only thing missing is, the unnecessarily large chandelier hanging in front of the staircase. How useful are those anyway? How much light does a chandelier even give off? Or are they just there to flaunt your ego in the face of every visitor?

Anyway, she leads me up the stairs to the second floor, which looks the same as the first, except it has a wooden floor covered entirely by a largely orangey or coral colored carpet. The pattern on the carpet is abstract, to put it lightly. It manages to give off the illusion that it doesn’t repeat as well. Either that or someone went all out making it.

“Through this door.” My guide opens a set of double doors. “This will be a bit of a shortcut. I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to get back to gardening soon.”

“That’s fine by me.” I assure her.

She closes the door behind us and leads the way through the room.

The room we’re skipping through appears to be a miniature gallery. There’s a few that catches my attention on our way through.

One of them depicts a small village in what seems like an everyday scenario. The view of the village is from up high looking down, allowing the viewer to see the village in its entirety. The people of the village are, from the distance in the image, nothing more than small unidentifiable shadows, yet the artist managed to make them feel alive and moving.

Another shows a small child skating across an icy lake. There’s nothing remarkable about the child as they have their backs turned to the viewer. The painting feels more like it’s trying to catch the scene as a whole. It’s color scheme is what makes it stand out, as it’s almost entirely white a blue.

The last one is a family portrait, or what looks like one anyway. A woman with long silvery hair and a scarlet dress sits in a chair, with a young blonde girl in her lap, in a blue dress. Next to them on the opposite side of the image, stands a blonde maid clad in red. The painting stands out in the sense that it’s the only one where that maid appears.

After exiting the room, my guide takes me just a short distance down another hall before stopping in front of a large set of doors. She knocks loudly on the wooden door, making it echo in the otherwise tranquil hallway.

“Lady Shinki. It appears another outsider has showed up.” She calls out, without waiting for an answer.

“Another one?” A female voice from the other side responds. “Let them inside.”

Following the instruction, the maid pulls open the door.

Immediately I sense a familiar presence flooding out of the door, stronger than I’ve ever felt before. A sense of divinity that would make kami pale in comparison.

Fighting my innate instinct to escape this overwhelming presence, I step through the door.

The room itself gives off a relaxed office like feeling. There’s a desk in the back with the window, and a small table in the middle of the room with two couches at either end of it.

In one of which sits the source of this staggering power. A woman clad in a red robe and long pearly hair, some of which is tied in a ponytail on her side.

In the other couch sits the brunette I came for, safe and sound, though with an understandable look of confusion plastered all over her face.

There’s a part of me that really wants to slug her one while yelling ‘what did I tell you,’ but if she doesn’t remember how she got here, then that would just be useless violence and not teach her anything.

“I’ve come to get you, Renko.” I tell her instead.

“Do I know you?” She predictably responds.

“Yes, in a way.” I tell her. Saying we’re strangers would be a lie, but saying we know each other is equally false at this point.

“And who do I have the pleasure of meeting?” The other woman in the room asks.

“Pardon me, I just panicked slightly when I found out she was gone.” I explain. “My name is Ryuko. I’m a priest of the Hakurei Shrine.”

“Hakurei?” She mulls. “It’s been ages since I last heard that name.” She stands up and gives me a slight bow. “My name is Shinki. I’m the goddess and creator of this world, Makai.”

A goddess? That would explain this pressure. But ‘Makai’ and ‘Shinki’ both ring a bell. Not quite sure why, though.

“It’s an honor to meet you.” I tell her.

“No need to be formal.” She waves off my gesture. “More importantly, you're here to rescue your girlfriend, right?”

“She’s not my girlfriend.” I correct her.

“You aren’t?” She looks to a small crystal ball seated on the table. “Oh, I get it.”

“Then if you don’t mind, I’ll be taking her.” I ignore her little comment and get back on track. I glance over at Renko as I say it.

The girl is so much, how do I put it, smaller than usual. Not in her actual size, of course, but more like she’s become extremely timid. She’s even only said one thing since I entered. I’ve only seen her a handful of times, but every one of those times, she had a fire burning in her eyes as she carried herself with respect.

“Before you go.” The goddess stops me. “Would you be interested in getting her memories back?”

“I’m listening.” I tell her.

“Hm? Oh, no no, I’m not trying to strike a deal.” She dismisses the idea flustered, after reading my face. “I just wanted to know what I should do with them.”

“Well, ideally I’d like to get them back, but I had already resigned the idea that it would be possible.” I tell her.

“In that case.” The tiny goddess hands me the crystal ball. “I happened to pick them up just before she arrived. Since I didn’t know what to do with them, I stored them in there.”

I take a look at the ball, but all I see is clouds. My, a stunning imagination Renko has.

“Can’t you just give them back to her?” I ask.

“Sadly, that’s beyond my power.” She admits. “Gods aren’t omnipotent like most would like to believe.”

“I’m aware.” I tell her. “What if I knew someone who could implant them again?” I ask her. “How would we extract them from this ball them?”

“You know someone like that?” Her eyes widen a bit.

“I don’t know if he actually can implant them,” I admit, “but he would have the best chance out of everyone I know.”

“In that case I can just go with you and take them out when needed.” She suggests.

“Can you do that?” I ask. “I mean, as in just leave on a whim?”

“Of course I can. It’s not like the world will end just because I take a short break.” She waves off my concern like it’s nothing. “Besides, I can’t just abandon a cute little girl like this if I know I can help. I may be a demon goddess, but I’m not heartless.”

“If you’re sure, then I’ll be indebted to you for helping us.” I bow to her.

“It’s nothing to be so thankful over.” She once again dismisses my gesture. “I’ll just need to know where it is, and I can take us there instantly.”

“I can tell you where it is, but-”

“There’s no need.” She interrupts me. “If you’ll allow me to look through your memories, then I can take us directly there.”

“I’m okay with that as long as you don’t go digging through random memories.” I tell her.

“What? Got a naughty secret?” She covers her mouth in a childish gesture to hide her smirking laugh. Needless to say, it fails.

“Not a naughty one, no. Just a little private one.” I tell her, playing along.

“Oh my. Then I’ll make sure to stay out of that one.” She stands up and walks over to me. “This is going to sting slightly.” She says as she holds my head in her hands.

As she said, I feel a sting pierce up through my skull. The pain, however, quickly subsides as my mind becomes occupied with searching for memories.

A strange feeling of nostalgia washes over me as images of the shrine surfaces. Countless images of the time I’ve spent in the backyard honing my skills. Countless more images on the time I’ve spent in Doc’s office recovering after breaking my limit too hard. Memories about how we always had to fix the roof during rainy seasons because we forgot to do it earlier. Memories of helping with the construction of new buildings as new youkai moved in with us.

Even though it’s only been a few hours, I find myself missing the shrine more than I have been before.

“Alright I have it.” The goddess confirms. “It’ll just take a second to open a gate there.”

“Thanks.” I rub my jaw. The pain is gone, but it’s left a tingling sensation echoing through my head.

“Are you ready to get back home?” I extend my hand to my apprentice.

“I don’t know.” She answers. “I’m not really sure about anything right now.”

“It’ll be alright. Trust me.”

“Alright you two, the gate is ready.” Shinki informs us.

After a moment of hesitation, Renko finally takes my hand and I pull her up.

The gate Shinki created is a misty cloud with a handful of colors towards the middle. Far from impressive to look at, but going through it feels entirely different than traversing any other portal I’ve tried. Mainly in the fact I don’t feel anything at all; it’s completely seamless.

“This seems like a cozy little place.” The goddess comments.

“It is, though it gets cold in winter.” I respond. “We get snow here almost every winter.”

I knock on the door to Doc’s building as I call out to him.

“Kid?” It barely takes a second before he responds, and only just a few more after that before the door flies open. “Where the hell have you been?”

“I told you I was going out to train that girl, this morning.” I tell him.

“That was weeks ago!” He runs both hands through his hair. “At least answer your phone, would you?”

“But I left this morning.” I insist. “Just a few hours ago.”

“What are you talking about?” He asks back, looking equally as confused as I feel right now.

“Time flows differently in Makai.” The goddess joins our conversation. “A few minutes there could be hours here. Sometimes more, sometimes less.”

Doc looks past me. “Sorry, didn’t see you. Anyway,” he looks back at me, “Go to Tokyo this instant. We found an unusually large breach that’s about to open.”

“Tokyo? It’ll take five hours to reach Tokyo from here.”

“Then get moving. You can’t waste any time.”

Fuck. Today just isn’t my day.

I pull out the crystal sphere and drop it in Doc’s hand. “I’ll have to ask you to implant the memories from inside this into the young girl.” I tell him.

The fox glances at Renko before answering. “That’s one hell of a request you just made.”

“I know.” I tell him. “And I also know you’re the only one who might have a chance to actually do it.”

“I would have tried, even without the flatter.” He gives me his usual confident smirk. “Now get moving, kid. Time is of the essence.”

“Right. Shinki will explain the situation in greater detail.” I tell him before bolting off.


==========
In the heart of Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture - 19th of April 18:30
==========

It’s at times like this where I’m really glad I’m as massive as I am. The crowd, as they scream and flee as fast as their legs will carry them, they naturally avoids me as I run against the flow.

Though I don’t get to enjoy that privilege for long, as the youkai they’re all running from storms around the corner, barely slowing down enough to make the turn before making a beeline straight for me, ignoring the citizens between us completely.

For once, even my unique spiritual energy becomes useful.

As I charge it, I channel a spell down through my leg, and in the split second it’s on the ground I activate it.

An azure pillar rises from the ground, hitting the giant wolf-like beast in jaw with enough force to knock it into its hind legs.

- Weight - Feather -

I enchant my body, allowing myself to leap through the air, closing the distance to the beast in the blink of an eye.

- Weight - Iron -

- Strength -

I quickly cast two new enchantments, overwriting the previous one.

With the added weight, I crash into the beast’s throat knocking it on it’s back.

Not wasting a second, I pull out a talisman and with the added power of the enchantments, I ram my hand through its throat.

“With the power bestowed to me, I purge you.” I pull out my hand, leaving the talisman behind. “Begone.”

The beast starts shining beneath my feet, right before it turns to mist and vanishes.

I'd like to leave it a prayer before I charge ahead, to let it's soul rest, but I don't have time to stop.

As I arrive at the scene, I notice a small group of 7 standing next to the big hole in reality. Seems like they’re the Watchers of the surrounding areas. This is more serious than I imagined, if they’re all here.

As I get close, the redheaded mage from Kanagawa notices me. She interrupts their conversation to inform them of my presence.

“If he’s here, then I’d say we can confirm what this is.” The only middle aged woman of the group speaks up. Oh great, little Miss Sunshine is back.

“Yeah. That thing is from the Barrier.” I confirm. “What’s the status so far?” I ask.

“A couple dozen youkai passed about twenty minutes ago. We’ve disposed of the strongest already, to prevent mass slaughter.” The swordsman from Tochigi informs me.

“We’ve confirmed twelve deaths already.” The monk from Ibaraki follows up.

Shit. So many already? No, twelve deaths with over a dozen youkai is a small number, but it’s still too many.

“This is your field.” The redhead reminds me. “What are we supposed to do?”

What do we do?

What do I do?

I need to seal up this breach. I need to take care of the youkai who made it here. And I need to prevent further civilian casualties.


What’s our top priority?
-[] The safety of the civilians. Casualties are inevitable but we should minimize them.
-[] The youkai. The sooner we get rid of them, the better.
-[] The breach. Who knows what’ll happen if that doesn’t get fixed fast.


In retrospect, opening this thread with a no-vote update might not have been the best idea, but oh well.
Also, slight delay because of scheduling problems with my proofer. Votes still open for a week like usual.
>> No. 30980
[x] The breach. Who knows what’ll happen if that doesn’t get fixed fast.

That is our strong point after all.
>> No. 30981
-[X] The safety of the civilians. Casualties are inevitable but we should minimize them.
>> No. 30982
File 148664399798.png - (803.45KB, 909x1056, suddenly.png) [iqdb]
30982
[x] The breach. Who knows what’ll happen if that doesn’t get fixed fast.

Now that was unexpected. Will we be seeing more of pic related?
>> No. 30983
[X] The breach. Who knows what’ll happen if that doesn’t get fixed fast.
>> No. 30984
-[X] The safety of the civilians. Casualties are inevitable but we should minimize them.

cool dudes save everyone

besides, we need a cool story to seduce reimu when we get back across the border
>> No. 30985
[X] The breach. Who knows what’ll happen if that doesn’t get fixed fast.

Fixing it before it becomes unfixable seems like the best priority.
>> No. 30986
Fixing the breach, it is.

>>30982
Depends on how well you behave. Shinki doesn't like bad boys.
Though she already has a lover, so don't get your hopes up.

>>30984
It's gonna be a little harder to seduce the miko with this story, but that doesn't mean you still can't try.
>> No. 30987
>>30986

That's not why I asked, so good. The less waifu shit the better.
>> No. 30988
>>30986
the real secret is that I don't care about successfully seducing the miko, I just want to see her reaction
>> No. 30999
File 148908558740.png - (601.05KB, 700x600, ba6c835c4c95c41b3b016bd5e1c6c829.png) [iqdb]
30999
I had worked to get the update out this weekend, forgetting that my proofer was going to PAX, so I'm going to have to delay the update.
Thank you for your patience.
>> No. 31004
File 149005236766.jpg - (1.24MB, 1003x1416, Shafting.jpg) [iqdb]
31004
==========
In the heart of Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture - 19th of April 18:43
==========

“Take out the youkai. I don’t care how, but don’t let another civilian die.” I order them. “I’ll stay behind and fix this breach. We’ll rendezvous at the usual meeting spot.”

“So you’re going to shove the dirty work onto us?” Little Miss Sunshine decides to complain.

“If you can create a barrier strong enough to contain an inter-dimensional rift of this size, then by all means, be my guest.” I hold out my arm, showing off the massive breach that’s growing by the second. “No? In that case stop complaining and start moving your ass, granny.”

The Korean woman glares daggers at me, but ultimately doesn’t say anything and instead follow the rest who has already sat out.

I hate that woman, I really do. Paladin my ass. She’s just a virtue-signaling hypocrite. If it wasn’t because of her actual skills, I wouldn’t tolerate her for even a second.

Anyway, better get started on this barrier. I only have one type of barrier that can contain this.

I let my jacket drop from my shoulders and onto the ground before I unwrap the bandages on my arm with my teeth.

God, I really hate doing this.

Refusing to hesitate, I bite into my arm with as much force as I can muster, until the all too familiar taste of iron fill my mouth. I then drag my teeth up along the arm, ripping open the wound even more and letting the blood gush out.

It only takes a moment for it to cover my hand completely, but I wait a couple of seconds more to let it pool up at my feet.

I hold up my hand flat in front of me as I start my chant.

I envision the base form of the barrier surrounding the breach. The eight corners shooting up from the ground, enclosing the breach in a crystal-like shape, forming the skeleton, with hundreds upon hundreds of small threads weaving in between each other as they climb up the pillars, forming a honeycomb pattern, which each gets filled with a glassy surface.

Beneath me, the pool of blood I made, has formed a magic circle, too complex to be described in a single sentence. I pour as much of my spiritual energy into the circle as it’ll take at once.

As I finish my chant, the bloody circle beneath my feet disappears and only moments later do crimson pillars shoot out of the ground surrounding the breach as the barrier takes shape.

In mere seconds the crimson has barrier been erected completely.

If you consider the fact that not even five humans from around the world can even make this type of barrier, you’d think I’d be more proud of creating it, but honestly, this one isn’t one of my better works. The structure is simply but study, and I gave it enough power to last enough time for the breach to get fixed, so it’ll work. But it was brute forced.

It lacks any and all of the delicate traits that make up a proper barrier, such as structural reuse, to increase the energy efficiency, or a bi-weave pattern feeding into itself, increasing the power without additional energy costs.

This time, I’ll swallow my pride and accept it as it is. It’ll work after all, and that’s the most important thing right now.

I take a look at my arm. The bleeding has stopped, and the wound is already healing. It’s at times like this where I have to question my own humanity. After all, a wound like this would have killed any other human if not treated quickly. But I’m just left with a serious, though not lethal case of anemia.

I send out a large pulse of energy to try and get a rough idea of how far away the youkai are. I can’t move quickly with only this much blood, so I wouldn’t be able to catch up if they’re too far away.

And while the image I get of the city is very fuzzy, I can say for certain that they are indeed too far away. I’ll be better off if I move to the rendezvous point.

==========

“Don’t you dare blame this on me.”

I grab the paladin by her collar and pin her to the wall behind her. The other guys immediately grab ahold of me to restrain me.

“Who else could it be?” She glares down at me. “You’re the only one here who has even the smallest amount of control over that thing.”

“I swear to god, I’m getting fed up with your constant shit.” I force myself forward despite the guys trying to hold me back. I switch my grip from her collar to her throat.

“Konoha. No!” Haruhi, the half-kappa, yells out, though with his head buried in my stomachs as he tries to force me back, it comes out mostly muffled.

“Let her go.” Akane commands. Her words are accompanied by the distinct click of her mana pistol. Uncomfortably close to the back of my head, no less. “We can’t afford to lose both of you right now, so don’t force me to pull the trigger.”

“Tsk.” I release my grip on her and she falls to the ground.

Why the hell would she even suggest I opened the breach? For what? More power? Certainly, there’s a lot of things I want, but nothing that even comes close to warrant killing someone, especially not children. She’s fucking insane.

“Forget about it.” The monk from Ibaraki speaks up. “That’s in the past. Instead let’s focus on what’s ahead. For starters, what are we supposed to do now? Thanks to this incident, way too many people became aware of the existence of magic.”

“It’d be for the best if we just prepare for the worst possible outcome.” The redheaded girl suggests. “We can only hope from there.”

“Perhaps I can help with that.” A voice echoes over the roof, a voice I recognize immediately. And sure enough, only moments later do an enormous amount of energy start flooding the area.

All of the guys immediately tense up as the sage makes her appearance.

“Yukari? What are you doing here?” I ask.

“That one should be obvious.” She comments.

And she’s right. Obviously she’s here because of the breach. This one was simply too big for her to ignore.

This blood loss is really getting to me. It’s hard to think straight.

The sage gets out of her gap and walk down an invisible flight of stairs so she’s on the same level as the rest of us.

“It’ll be a problem for Gensokyo if the supernatural became the normal out here. For that reason, I offer to take care of the problem.” She taps the tip of her parasol on the ground. “However, I’m going to need compensation for the youkai that were killed. I’ll settle for a handful of humans.”

None of the other Watchers move. They’re either seemingly stunned by her presence, to which I can’t blame them, or considering her offer.

For people who have never considered youkai to be real, even in a stray throwaway thought, suddenly being thrown into a world of magic would, in theory, generate a large amount of fear and faith at the same time, as their fundamental worldview is shattered. Assuming that to be true, a number of youkai would be born within weeks, easily replacing the ones we were forced to dispose of. It would indeed be the most effective way.

“No way in hell I can accept that!” The swordsman from Tochigi prefecture yells out.

Imbuing his hand with magic, he attempts a quick-draw as he steps in past the other guys.

Almost without thinking, I raise a barrier between him and the sage, causing his sword to stop as it cuts part way through.

“Attacking her means declaring war on the Hakurei Shrine.” I inform him. “We’ll ignore it this time, but if you, or anyone else, feel like trying, then I have some pent up aggression to vent.”

“Are you just going to let her take away innocent people?” He asks.

“Yes, I am.” I confirm. “It’s the most effective way to recover the youkai that were killed. There are of course more effective solutions, but they tend to involve a lot of bloodshed.”

“Indeed. I can even promise them the same safety all the humans in Gensokyo have.” Yukari chips in.

“And why aren’t any of you saying anything? Are you all just going to stand by and let it happen?” He asks the rest the of group.

“I hate to agree with the burly girl,” the paladin points her thumb at me, “but I’m with him on this one. If magic becomes common knowledge, it’ll be turned into a weapon, which will most likely spark a new war. This way saves the most people.”

“I agree. It might not be Japan that starts it, but there are plenty of war mongers in power that would abuse magic for their own benefit.” The monk adds his opinion.

“Seems we’re in agreement, then.” Yukari speaks up again. “Only people who already knew of magic will remember this incident. Everyone else will think of it as nothing more than a ‘what if’ scenario. Furthermore, I’ll erase all the evidence.” She informs us.

The spellsword just clicks his tongue and accepts the outcome.

I’d like to have avoided this whole incident all together, but sadly this is par for the course.

“Now then, ‘Konoha,’” she looks back at me, “if you would like to come with me so we can finish our business.” She opens a gap behind her and invites me inside.


==========
Hakurei Shrine - 19:03
==========

I pull my head back out of the chilled water.

The best course of action right now would be to eat a lot of meat and go to bed. Even with my natural healing, it wouldn’t get me back to hundred percent, but it’d take me far enough to not make my low blood an issue. But I can’t do that since The Great Sage of Gensokyo is here, and I still have to check up on Renko. So, some cold water is the next best thing to keep me going for at least a few more minutes.

I shake my head to get the worst of the water off and run a hand through my hair to get it out of my face. “Sorry you had to see that.” I apologize to the sage.

She shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. Even hemokinesis users would feel lightheaded after creating a barrier like that.” She assuages me. “Though I doubt even a few of them could even succeed in creating one.”

“To be honest, that’s the third time I’ve ever tried it.” I lean against the chozubachi. “I rarely need that much power. Not to mention the side effects; strong urges to vomit, every part of my body feels weak and I get tired. I can barely see straight ahead, and when I somehow manages to, all these dark spots cloud my vision. I absolutely hate it.”

“Understandable.” The sage takes a seat on the edge of the big stone bowl. “Still, that doesn’t undermine the feat itself.”

“I appreciate the praise.” I look her in the eyes. For a second I forget what I was going to say, as I notice the unusual effect in her eyes. The very edges of her iris have a gold lining, while the center of it has a slightly swirly lavender shade. “But as I said, I’m feeling like shit right now, pardon my french, so if we could get to the point.”

“Of course. I don’t want to overstay my welcome.” She agrees. “I’ve come to offer you a place under my wing, once again.”

“I don’t know, actually.” I tell her. “I still have work to do out here. You saw what happened when I went away for just a few weeks.”

“Mm.” The blonde sage hums in agreement. “We already planned for you to be let back out here whenever you felt it was needed, in regards to your physical training. Seems like we’ll just have to go out here a little more often.”

“And how often can I return?” I ask her.

“Depends.” She gives me the short answer before elaborating on it. “Of course you’ll be let out once there’s a job to be done, after which you can determine when you’ll come back again, within reasonable time of course. Beyond that, you just have to ask. I can’t let you out too often, though, as that would strain my power.”

“I see.” I rest my head on my hand as I do some quick estimate regarding Renko’s training. I’m sure Yukari already knows, but I’d like to avoid the topic just to be sure. “Once every other week should be good for me. That’s including the times I need to go do my job.” I tell her.

She folds her arms loosely at her stomach, leaving her parasol somehow standing on it’s own. “That much is easy enough. Anything else you would consider a hindrance or inconvenience?”

“Not that I can think of, at least.” I answer. “Though, I have to wonder why you’re willing to train me.”

“Oh there are lots of reasons.” She perks up slightly. “Mainly because your the closest thing to a Hakurei on this side of the barrier, so as the Gensokyo Sage of course I’d be interested in helping you reach your potential.” The youkai explains. “But that said, I’m also curious as to just how far your potential goes. Your underlying principles have some flaws that hinder you, yet despite that you’ve reached your current level.”

I thought I’d already reached my full potential. I can’t change any of my physical aspects without compensating with another. And the only type of magic I can use is spiritual based techniques, by which no other human can rival me in.

How much further can I go? How much further do I want to go? My end goal is simply to be useful to the shrine any way I can. But the people around my level are few and far between. If I improve, there will only be less who can fight me at my best. Yet, as a warrior, that should be my ideal, to be undefeatable.

Maybe I’m thinking about this too much? I want to be useful to the shrine. That’s the end all be all. I made my mind up on that long ago, and I don’t intend to falter now.

But still, this offer sounds too good. I honestly don’t know a lot of things about not. Not concrete anyway. Mentor always held her in high regard, but she’s also been on the receiving end of some quite disturbing rumors.

[] Accept her offer
[] Reject her offer


And just in case you’re concerned, no, you will not immediately get whisked away if you accept. There’s still the matter of Renko to take care of first.
>> No. 31005
Wait, what? This is his ceiling?

Don't take me wrong: he's strong for a MC. But almost all of his missions went off course and some, like this one, were solved exclusively due to luck. It is obvious he needs to exceed his limits to be, ah, useful to the shrine.

[x] Accept

As for Renko: teaching her a few basic steps and then have her practice them for two weeks sounds good; specially if she invests some of that time on physical training.
>> No. 31006
[X] Reject her offer
>> No. 31007
[X] Reject her offer
- [X] For now. Right now your mind is deluded with blood loss, give it a better once over when you aren't getting ready to vomit or seeing stars.
>> No. 31008
>>31005
>This is his ceiling?

Short answer: No.

I can't explain it without spoiling stuff, or info dumping outside the story. Neither of which I'd want to do.

But essentially, she's talking about his magic. On a physical level, Ryuko hasn't shown his ceiling yet. But on a magic level, Ryuko has limited himself barriers and enchantments. And while it means he's on a very high level with those two schools, means he's ignored a lot of other spells, which he already fulfill the 'stats' for (for lack of a better word) and just need some training to get used to.
>> No. 31009
[X] Accept her offer

While she is not exactly trustworthy, he could certainly improve with her help.
>> No. 31010
[X] Accept her offer

I don't see a good enough reason to say no
>> No. 31011
Calling it for accepting the offer.
Welcome to the Yakumo family.
>> No. 31021
File 149483275839.jpg - (484.00KB, 600x839, Something something metaphor for my stuggles or so.jpg) [iqdb]
31021
I've decided to delay this update until the next month (aiming for first Sunday of every month.)
In short, my proofer has been getting busy since early this year, and this time he won't be available until this weekend.
The update itself has been ready since 5th, so instead of waiting any longer, we figured it was best to delay it until next month where he hopefully should have time, while I can continue to work on the story instead of keeping it in limbo while I wait.

Thank you for your patience.
>> No. 31033
File 149718975595.jpg - (325.96KB, 904x1200, cabf447b515be2a359c4d32cc91c4d28.jpg) [iqdb]
31033
==========
Hakurei Shrine - 19th of April, 19:15
==========

One of the many skills that I have acquired throughout all these years of brutal training, is to let my instincts do the thinking whenever my mind can’t keep up. And right now, when my mind has all but succumb to the enticing grasp of sleep, my guts have started to voice their opinion, and it’s telling me to accept her offer. I can’t tell if it’s my instinct as a warrior telling me to stand at the top, or my simple instinct to be as useful as I can to the shrine.

Not that that’s such a bad idea. I mean, if I stand as unbeatable, the shrine is bound to prosper. Or become a target by those seeking to take my spot at the top, if they can even find this place. It’s rather well hidden, everything considered.

“Then let’s see just how far I can go.” I tell her. “Show me the way to the top.”

The sage closes her eyes and smiles.

Doc, too, has taught me a lot of things throughout the years. Aside from introducing me to magic in the first place, he also passed on the knowledge every fox needs to know. Now, I don’t have the natural charisma a fox does, but I am equally able to read people.

Why is this relevant? Because right now the sage has one of the most genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. So far she’s just been wearing that formal smile you can expect of nobles. But this one is different, even if she still carries herself with that mighty attitude.

“I knew you’d make the right choice.” She says. “First we’ll have to correct the flaws in your current methods. But before that, you have something you still need to do, don’t you?” She asks giving me a knowing smirk. “I’ll come back the day after tomorrow and pick you up. Be ready around midday.”

“Of course.” I respond.

She gives me a final smiling nod before one of her signature gaps swallows her up.

Right then, Renko.

With a quick stride I reach Doc’s office and let the door swing open.

And that’s when I see something I could never even imagine.

Doc lies with his arms and legs tugged underneath him, as he gets a lap pillow from Renko. His eyes are locked on me as I enter, and it only takes a second before his face turns red.

Renko on the other hand is calmly stroking his hair, or was until I came, at which point she lifts her head.

“Ryuko? You’re back?” She asks.

“No, I’m on a plane on my way to Greece.” A stupid question considering I just walked through the door. “But since you know me, I assume your memories are back.”

“Yeah, although the two people you left me with are gone.” She says.

Right. With her memory back, she’s bound by logic again. She won’t be able to see the supernatural anymore without aid. And even if I keep forgetting it, Doc will look like a normal fox to anyone not able to see spiritual power.

I’m actually debating telling her that that’s Doc, though I don’t imagine she’d react well to knowing she’s been stroking an old man’s hair for who knows how long.

“So no one has told you.” I note. “Renko, what date is it today?”

She quickly glance up before looking back down, muttering “Oh, right.” and fishing out her phone from her breast pocket.

All color quickly vanishes from her face as her eyes widen. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” She exclaims, each harder than the previous. “My attendance record is going to crash.”

“That’s what you’re worried about?” I ask her. “What about your family? Or that foreign friend of yours?”

“I’m living alone in Tokyo, so family is no problem. And Mary will understand if I just explain it to her.” She explains to me. “But do you have any idea how expensive an education is today? How can I face my family if I fail because of bad attendance? Fuck, this is going to take a lot of extra classes to fix.”

She’s about to storm past me but I grab her shoulder to stop her.

“Before you leave, let me tell you this. This shrine’s location is a secret. You’re not allowed to tell anyone of it’s location, or even it’s existence. I will hunt you down if you do.” I tighten my grip on her shoulder to make sure the message gets through. “You’re not free to come here as you please. In fact, unless you’re invited, you’ll not be welcome here, so don’t bother returning. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yeah.” She nods firmly. “I understand.”

“Good. Now second off,” I let go of her, “if you go down those stairs you’ll see a small empty village. Follow the main road until you see asphalt. Turn right and follow the road and you’ll reach the closest station.”

She looks out the open door, then back at me. “Thanks.” She says before running out of the door. “Hey, Mary.” I hear her on the phone just before she gets too far away.

“And so she’s gone.” The old fox walks up next to me.

“Did Shinki leave already?” I ask him.

“Didn’t think you were into older women.” He says, letting a smug smile onto his face.

“Didn’t think you were into such young women.” I retort with the same level of smugness.

“Touché.” He lets out a chuckle. “But yeah, she left soon after we completed the memory transfer. We did have a quick chat, though, and that goddess is an interesting character, from what I gathered.”

“Yeah.” I agree. “Actually wanted to continue talking to her. But considering how much time passed here in the short while we were there, I can understand why she wouldn’t want to stay for too long.”

“Mm. Now, get inside the back room.” He commands. “We’re going to treat that wound. It stinks.”


==========
Yakumo Residence - 21st of April, 13:06
==========

I barely manage to dodge her attack, getting away with her claws grazing my cheek.

The fox quickly takes advantage of my stagger and sweeps my knee, forcing me on my back.

Predicting her next move, I slam my hand in the ground, placing my spell before kicking my feet in the air and getting out of the way.

The spell activates and a cylindrical barrier shoots out of the ground, knocking her back and creates some breathing room for me.

“Seems like I was right.” The sage comments from the sideline.

I told her I wanted to get started immediately, to avoid any kind of rust settling, and she threw me straight into a spar with Ran. And to be honest, I’m not sure I can beat her, even without restrictions imposed on me. The sage herself has just been meticulously observing our fight from the sideline.

The fox charges at me and with deadly precision strikes out for my chest.

I spin on my heel, dodging the attack but she quickly follows through with another attack, plunging her claws in just under my ribs, avoiding anything vital.

Given her size, she can easily sneak past my defense, by using my own body to escape my sight.

Not being allowed to lay a finger on her really makes attacking difficult. All I have is barriers, but they’re not suited for offense.

I draw a quick wall between us, forcing her to pull out to avoid getting cut by the barrier. But to my surprise, she instead rides it up, bypassing the wall entirely.

She jumps off it, charging down at me.

That type of attack being easy to handle, I dodge backwards and immediately create a small barrier trapping her.

The fox flicks her wrist and a spell tagged dagger flies out into her hand, with which she proceeds to stab the barrier, breaking it apart before sheathing the dagger back into her sleeve.

Now, I have a few things up my sleeves as well, but I’ve never been able to do that. What’s even holding it in place in there?

“Have you figured it out yet?” The sage asks.

“I have a hunch.” I yell back, spinning around on my heels dodging Ran’s calculated strikes. “But I don’t think it’s what you’re talking about.”

Seizing the moment of distraction, the vixen moves in faster than I can react and deliver a palm-strike to my chin, with the force only a youkai could do, lifting me off the ground.

Immediately following up on that move, she strikes me down with her elbow, forcing me on the ground once more.

And she stops.

“That’s it for today.” The sage stops our spar.

“That’s it?” I sit. “I can easily go on. I’m not that frail.”

“Our goal here isn’t to test your upper level, but to raise your bottom level.” She asserts. “And our first step in doing so is to get you to understand your own shortcomings.”

“Right. Sorry.” I apologize to her. I got carried away. It’s been awhile since I’ve spared with a youkai I can actually hit. Because lord knows Coach is an impenetrable wall of dodge.

“For now, meditate on that hunch of yours and see where it leads you.” She turns around so her back faces us. “I’ll trust you to take care of him, Ran.”

“Of course.” she responds vigorously, completely unfazed by our spar. “Are you alright?” She offers me a hand to get up.

“I’ve had worse.” I take her hand and let her pull me up.

“Let me see.” She asks.

Without waiting for a reply, she lifts up my shirt, exposing the wound. I can feel her trace a finger across it as she examines it.

“We should sanitize this, just to be safe.” She says, pulling my shirt back down. “Come with me inside, if you would.”

“But the scar tissue has already formed. Isn’t it too late to sanitize it?” I ask, following her inside the living room.

“I’d just like to be on the safe side. Now, please take off your shirt and sit down.” She says before leaving the room.

I comply and take my seat, letting my arm rest on the table.

As I wait for Ran to come back, I let my eyes wander across the room.

I easily memorized the rooms and the layout of the building when I first came here, which is actually a surprisingly simply design. The center of the grounds is the garden, which the building is forming a, what would you call it, a square half circle. Like all but one side of the garden is covered by the house.

The house itself is pretty linear from there, with the bedrooms in one end and the living area in the other end, with basic facilities such as the toilet and the bath in between.

The living room where I’m currently situated shares the room with the kitchen, separated only by half a wall. It’s a somewhat strange sight as all the furniture is modern and western looking, while the architecture itself is traditional, down all the way to the floor mats. And while they’re pleasant to walk on, they don’t blend well with the table and chairs, which I can only really describe as standard, as there’s nothing really outstanding about them.

The door into the hallway swings open, breaking my line of thought, and Ran enters with what looks like a first aid kit.

Then without saying anything, she prepares a rag with a liquid that smells strongly like alcohol.

“Are you ready?” She asks.

“Yeah.” It’s obvious what she intends to do.

I brace myself and she applied the rag to my wound. I inhale hard, trying to choke any expression of pain, as the alcohol burns and stings at what I thought was already a scar.

“See? I told you it was a good idea.” She removes the rag again.

I hold my hand over the scar, instinctively trying to subdue the pain. “Strange. It ought to have healed already.”

“Would disinfection extend the time it takes?” The fox asks, putting the remaining articles back into the box, seeing as we wouldn’t need them anymore.

“I imagine it would, thought I can’t say I’ve ever tested it.” I answer.

“In that case, this might be why.” She shows me the hand she stabbed me with.

And it’s only now I notice she’s coated her nails with a polish. It’s of a similar golden color like her eyes, but the tone is more in line with her fair skin, so it doesn’t stand out too much. Despite that, it’s easy to see the polish having been roughed up a bit across her nails. Most likely left some traces inside me.

“Maybe. That might be it.” I’m not certain. Frankly, I’ve never tried to measure the time it takes to heal, I just tend to go by how bad my body claims it to be. Something like this, which was practically painless, wouldn’t stay more than a few minutes, an hour at worst. “By the way, would you mind helping me get my shirt back on?”

She raise an eyebrow and look at me for a second before answering. “I won’t really mind, but if you don’t mind me asking, why?”

Instead of answering, I just lift up my numb limb and let it drop on the table with a flat ‘duck.’

“Oh.” She says, eyes darting around me, looking for anything besides my arm to look at. “I didn’t realize that was why you carried it like that.”

“You weren’t told?” I ask her.

“No, I haven’t heard anything about your,” she trails off for a second, “about your disability.” she says reluctantly.

“It’s temporary. Soon it’ll be back to normal.” I assure her. “But if you weren’t told this, then what were you told?”

“Not much, actually.” She admits. “When I visited your shrine earlier this year, it was the first time I learned anything of you, beyond just your name.” She closes the first aid box. “That, and then lady Yukari ensured me this was how you would best learn. And speaking of that; sorry I let myself get a little carried away back there.”

“Don’t worry about it.” I assure her. “I told you, I’ve had worse.”

“That’s not very assuring you know.” The vixen gives me what can roughly be summarized as a sad smile. “Come, let’s get your shirt on.”

After getting my shirt back on, I thank her for our spar and excuse myself to my room. Well, the room I’ve been assigned as I stay here.

The bedroom is entirely of traditional design, the same way it is back at the shrine, so at least it’ll feel somewhat familiar to sleep here. With the partly western design, I almost expected her to have those raised beds used in houses nowadays.

Doing as I was told, I pull out a block of paper and recreate the spar on paper, using my own little set of symbols and lines. Once drawn I fill in the thoughts I had at the time as well as my thoughts on the fight now that I’ve had time to look back on it.

It’s been awhile since I last used this method of self reflection. Coach was usually able to direct me towards the answer without making it obvious. I actually think the last time I used it, was when I was developing Spell Break. Since it’s an original of mine, none of the guys back home could teach me how to do it.

After having filled out about a dozen pages I deem it finished and start reading it back from the start. And then I read it once more. And once more after that, until I can see the fight play back in front of me in vivid details.

Now I can start analyzing the fight properly.


==========
Yakumo Residence - 22nd of April, 08:16
==========

“Young Hakurei. Are you awake?”

A loud knocking breaks me out of sleep. It takes a second for my senses to adjust to the sudden awakening.

Oh, Ran. “Yeah, more or less.” Probably less, actually.

“Breakfast will be ready soon.” I see her silhouette through the door, bending over to pick something up from in front of the door. “You shouldn’t skip meals. It’s bad for your health.”

Before I can even get a chance to process what she said, she’s walked away.

Although now that she mentions it, I did forget to eat dinner yesterday. I became too engrossed in working.

I run my hand through my hair, brushing back the strands of hair that came loose from the ribbon.

The floor is covered in papers, all filled out with notes, theories and ideas. I’d like to give it all another read over just to refresh everything, but I should probably go clean myself up first.

==========
Yakumo Residence - 10:21
==========

“Did you manage to figure out what your flaw is?” The sage asks. “Or was that night of work wasted?”

“I figured out a few things.” I tell her. “That I’m too reliant on a select few type of barriers. And that as a result ,my efficiency with other types are down, lower performance with a higher cost and casting time.”

“Those are the symptoms, not the problem itself.” She closes her eyes and goes silent for about a minute. “Ryuko. What exactly is spiritual energy?”

Where did that question come from? “Well, normally I’d answer that question as, the waste energy produced by the soul.” I answer her. “But since you’re the one asking, I doubt that’s the answer you’re looking for.”

“The waste energy of a soul.” She repeats me. “That’s an interesting way to put it.”

“Well, spiritual energy is produced by the soul. And the energy we can normally access is energy not needed by the soul to function. So it’s a waste production.” I explain my reasoning. “But to actually answer your question.”

“Spiritual energy is a force created by the soul, staying on a different plane of existence.” I continue. “Using catalysts such as spell circles we’re able to control it. Whether it’s making it manifest on the physical plane, or temporarily alter the properties of living matter.”

“Correct. Spiritual power is essentially your will altering the physical world.” She summaries. “And once you’ve come to understand what exactly that means, being able to manipulate it at your leisure will become child’s play.”

To demonstrate her point, she holds out her hand.

It barely takes a second before her spiritual energy gathers in her palm, condensing to the point where it becomes visible to the naked eye, and eventually takes the shape of a parasol, similar to the one she’s leaning against.

From there it folds open on its own, and she starts using it like she would her own. Although it doesn’t provide any shade due to its transparent nature.

Being able to create objects using pure spiritual energy is no easy task. It’s one of the highest level techniques I know of, though not one I can use. Yet she’s able to do it without invoking magic of any sort. No circle, no incantation, nothing. The more I learn about Yukari, the bigger the gap between us appears to be.

“So, do you think you understand?” As she puts her hand back on her parasol, the pole vanishes like hot air.

“Evidently, I don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t be here right now.” I answer her.

“I see.” She lets out a sigh. “The only option left is to spell it out for you, which I know you’d rather avoid me doing. But you’re a smart young man, so I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out, if you just put your mind to it.”

“I probably can.” I answer, a bit reluctantly. I can’t answer with much confidence. “I just don’t have much of a clue on where to start.” I explain. “You told me to analyze my fight, and I did, coming up with what amounted to nothing. If you ask me to go study again, I can already tell you I’ll come out empty handed.”

“I see.” She closes her eyes and falls silent for another minute. “Practice using spiritual techniques without the use of spell circles. No,” she quickly corrects herself, “do it without using any spell casting system at all.”

“But,” I cut myself off. I was about to call it impossible, even though I just saw her do it herself. When she conjured that parasol, she didn’t invoke any form of magic, nothing that I could trace anyway. “Where do I start?”

“Where you’re most comfortable; with barriers.” She answers. “Think about all the ones you have at your disposal. Are there any you can use without invoking a casting system? If not, then find the easiest one to cast and find a way to do it without a system.”

A barrier without invoking a casting system?

“Feel free to use Ran for practicing, if you feel the need.” She adds. “And should you need to get in touch with me, just tell her and she’ll let me know at the earliest opportunity.”

“I got it.” I tell her.

She nods and starts walking back into the house, leaving me to my own business.

Now then. The simplest barrier I can do is activated by drawing a line through the air, at which point the same line will appear on the ground emitting a light straight up, preventing anything from passing through it.

It doesn’t require a catalyst like majority of spells. Or maybe the hand gesture serves as the catalyst? It would for certain if this was mana, but it’s generally uncharacteristic of spiritual power to function like that.

The gesture is simply making a finger gun with both the index and middle finger while holding the thumb on the ring finger. From there you just focus your energy into the tip of your fingers and draw the line.

It’s very simple, but very draining too. Not that that really poses as a negative in my case, because of my practically unlimited spiritual energy. That really was the only good thing I got out of that one incident.

But anyway, teaching myself how to use this barrier again from the beginning might be the best way to start understanding what Yukari said.


==========
Yakumo Residence - 29th of April, 18:20
==========

“I take it you still haven’t figured it out.” The sage has approached me from behind.

“I don’t think so.” I answer her. “I’ve managed to optimize some of the most basic spells, reducing the casting time and cost by approximately ten percent, though.”

“Hmm.” She mulls over my words for a second. “I’m going to have to think of a different way to try and show you, then.” She straightens her posture again. “And while I do that, it’s time for work.”

“A new breach?” I stand up and face her.

“It’s in the Kochi prefecture.” She informs me. “Do you want me to just take you straight there?”

Right, that’s an option now. “I would actually prefer to go there myself.” I tell her. “To take the time to clear my head. So if you could just drop me off at the bottom of the stairs to the shrine, that would be great.”

“Oh? Are you sure?” She asks.

“Yeah.” I nod.


==========
Kochi Prefecture, Higashiyama Forest - 30th of April, 02:03
==========

As reality reassembles itself around me, it marks another job successfully completed.

Thanks to Yukari’s early warning, I was able to arrive with plenty of time to spare, time which I used to fortify the barrier and set up preparations to optimize my defense. I even had time to counteract that annoying identity interference effect, so I didn’t have to divide my attention like usual.

I only got some scratches on my arm, but I’ll blame that on the unusual way he used the wind element. It’s rare you see anyone actually use it to cut, despite how theoretically easy it is to make it sharp. Regardless, they’re magic induced wounds, so they didn’t manage to cut deep thanks to my resistance. They’ll heal in no time.

“Ryuko?” A familiar voice rings out from behind.

“Oh look, it’s the tiny professor.” I remark after seeing the redheaded girl, followed by her assistant.

“Hey, I’m not that tiny.” She overacts a pout.

“Everyone is tiny to me.” I pick up my bag and walk up to meet her. “Anyway, what are you doing all the way out here? And this late, at that.”

“I could ask you the same question.” She tries to change the subject.

Her blonde friend walks past us without saying a word, bringing their equipment with her. They don’t carry that big box this time.

“Just disposing of a body.” I jest. “Gotta get rid of the evidence after all.”

She lets out a choked laugh. “It would be pretty hard to find it out here. No, but seriously.”

“Just an odd-job I picked up because I was in the area.” I tell her. “I'm supposed to patrol the forest for a few hours.” I lie. “So, what are you doing out here? Don't you have a class or something to teach tomorrow?”

“How did you know I'm a teacher?” She asks, sounding genuinely confused.

“Well, your friend keeps calling you professor, and can use rooms at a university.” I tell her. “So what does a professor do at a university, besides teaching?”

“Oh, good point, actually.” She admits. “But no, I don’t have any classes on Saturdays.”

“I see.” Since she keeps dancing around the question, I think it’d be safe to say it’s their research. I mean, it was pretty obvious from the start, considering the time and location, and their equipment.

“Hey, prof. You might want to take a look at this.” The blonde assistant calls out. “I’m getting an increased reading over here.”

“Oooh.” The redhead immediately perks up, betraying the faint bags under her eyes. “I’ll be right-”

A bright flash with a loud crack cuts her sentence short and blinds us.

I instinctively focus all my attention on my spiritual energy to survey the source.

That’s- The youkai I just drove back still managed to force his way through?

[] Fight. No time to lose, I have to keep the girls safe.
-[] Use magic.
-[] Rely on physical attacks only.
[] Take the girls and flee.
-[Optional] Call the local Watcher for help.

5 weeks later than intended, it's finally here. Enjoy.
>> No. 31034
[X] Fight. No time to lose, I have to keep the girls safe.
-[X] Rely on physical attacks only.

Time to lay the smack down.
>> No. 31035
[X] Fight. No time to lose, I have to keep the girls safe.
-[X] Use magic.

Murphy's Law is a bitch, ain't it?
I don't see much point in restricting ourself when there are civilians in immediate danger.
Just have to hope the memory wipe will stick this time, but I doubt it.
>> No. 31036
[x] Fight. No time to lose, I have to keep the girls safe.
-[x] Rely on physical attacks only.
>> No. 31037
File 149729673668.jpg - (133.83KB, 890x1277, Could you really bring yourself to erase her.jpg) [iqdb]
31037
>>31035
Yeah, I should probably have explained how the memory wipe actually works, but it either must have slipped my mind, or it must have been impossible to include without breaking the flow of the scene.

Calling it a memory wipe is actually wrong, as it seals off memories instead of erasing them.
Doing so avoids the typical empty feeling of "Something is missing." that erased memories leave, which in turn allows for a more seamless integration back into society and away from magic.
However, as seen with Renko and Mary, it's not flawless. In fact, the biggest flaw of this method, is that all related memories must either be faded or sealed as well, to avoid them of reminding the subject of the event that's been wiped.
In their case, neither you nor Doc knew of, or remembered every encounter they'd had with you, leaving a memory where you had a strong presence, which is what kept trying to get them the remember the event you sealed off, which lead to the pain they were experiencing.

If you were to use it on Yumemi, you'd effectively have to erase all memories of you and magic to make sure she doesn't remember this one incident. Considering how much of her life she's spent on magic, you'd practically be erasing her entire memory.

TL;DR: You're not going to wipe their memories, so don't rely on it.

And while I'm at it. Is there anything else you'd like me to explain?
>> No. 31040
Keeping our magic a secret for now
>> No. 31074
File 150278550364.jpg - (353.66KB, 660x850, __okazaki_yumemi_touhou_and_touhou_pc_98_drawn_by_.jpg) [iqdb]
31074
Quickly before the story.
>>31033
>“Ryuko?” A familiar voice rings out from behind.
As of yet, Yumemi hasn’t been told your real name, but know you under your alias Konoha. Somehow this mistake managed to slip past both me and my proofer. I apologize for that.


==========
Kochi Prefecture, Higashiyama Forest - 30th of April, 02:07
==========

Moving entirely on instinct, I close the distance between the youkai and myself.

When the blonde girl is within reach, I yank her back, away from the youkai.

In the time it takes me to make that move, the youkai has managed to stagger on his legs, looking up at us.

“You!” He yells out as he locks eyes with me.

Not in the mood for talk, he takes an off-balance swing at me. Easy to read an avoid, but inhumanly fast.

This is exactly why I hate lesser vampires.

I duck in under his straight, striking his chest, sending him staggering back.

They lack refined intellect of higher vampires, so they act almost entirely on instinct. There’s almost never any reasoning with them.

I take a step back, avoiding his claws.

Honestly, the only good thing that’s ever come out of dealing with siphon type youkai in general, is my heightened sensitivity to them. Just being near them kicks my body into overdrive, sharpening my senses to rival theirs.

He tries to strike at me again, but this time I seize my opportunity.

I tackle him, pushing him back as far as I can before he regains his foothold.

He grabs a firm hold of my shoulders. “Why do you insist on getting in my way?”

“Because you’ll die out here. If not from faith depletion, then from being hunted down.” I reply, keeping my voice down to avoid the girls overhearing any of this. “Plus, breaking through the barrier like that damages it, and guess who has to fix it after you.”

I finish off my answer by sinking a knee into his stomach.

He sinks down, gripping to me for support, though only for a moment before he recovers enough to retaliate.

Locking his grip around my waist, he proves his strength by forcing me back, attempting to lift me off the ground as he does.

“Yumi, wait a second.” The tiny blonde calls out.

“No time. Konoha, get away from there!” The professor warns.

She’s pointing her hand at us, with her phone clutched close to her chest.

I wrap my arm around his waist and let my knees give out.

The sudden change of center causes him to push himself above me, to which I aid by throwing him upwards with all the strength I can muster from this awkward position.

While he doesn’t go airborne, still clinging to me he hangs, for just a second, straight above me.

If not for my heightened senses, I wouldn’t have noticed the small line of fire, darting straight from the professor’s finger to the vampire, before he bursts into flames.

With a new focus, he lets go of me, allowing me to get away and get on my feet.

I know I’d have killed him regardless, as I wouldn’t have been able to take him to a place where I could force him back without breaking a hole in the barrier myself. But burning to death is just inhumane.

And judging by how she’s trembling, Yumemi doesn’t like it either, she’s just worse at hiding it than me. At least I hope that’s it, and not that I’ve become impassive to death.

“Yumi!” Her assistant suddenly yells out. “What the hell are you thinking? Pulling that out in front of him.”

“He already knows.” The professor argues back. “I was forced to show him last month.”

“Last month? When did you have time to show him?” She asks, sounding more upset.

“I took him with me to the forest.” She states. “I had him carry the collector since it’d be faster.”

Chiyuri clenches her fists, but quickly calm herself down again. “So what else haven’t you told me? Have you already explained the subject of our research? Maybe you’ve even gone as far as started to date?”

Talk about salt. But they do seem close, so I can see where she’s coming from.

“No!” The redhead quickly denies. “No, we’re not. But,” she immediately tries to change the subject, “we both know that he knows, so why bother hiding it?”

“We don’t know, which is why I’m against making a move.” The small one argues.

Seems like I’ve become invisible. I could probably make my escape right now and they wouldn’t notice.

“Then let’s ask him directly.” The professor turns to me. “Konoha, do you know about magic?”


[] Yes
[] Who doesn’t know what magic is? (play dumb)
[] No


And now for some after update shit. First, I apologize for the long delay. All of last month was because I’d fucked up. This month my proofer has just been too busy to show up or even say that he can’t show up, so I wouldn’t announce a delay only for him to show up 3 minutes later. Which is why I posted this update, even if it’s not “finished” by our usual standard, since I can't make it worth the wait any longer.

Second off, I’ve been accepted into the academy I’ve applied for, so I’m going to get more busy than usual the next few years. For you, that means that if I have to maintain this level of pseudo quality, the time between updates will only get longer.
To fight that, I can always stop trying to put as much effort into the “quality” and instead focus on quantity, making shorter, shallower updates but updating faster (hopefully) but also more sporadically. It’ll also mean getting the updates proofed will be a luxury and not the standard (since I can’t imagine finding a proofer that would do half of the things my current ones does)

I’m fine with either, so I figured it’d be the best option to ask your guys’ opinions.
>> No. 31075
[X] Yes

Congratulations on getting accepted.
>> No. 31076
[x] Yes

Time to stop their experiments for good.

[x] Even longer waits for the same quality

It's not like I exactly expect these updates. They just happen.

Also congrats!
>> No. 31079
[x] Yes

Serious time.

[x] Quality over quantity.

Honestly the attention to detail is the main highlight of this story for me, and I don't mind waiting for it. But dear god, find a less busy proofer. Or just a second proofer. I'd offer to help myself if I wasn't even more unreliable.
>> No. 31080
[Yes] X

Because why not.
>> No. 31094
Time to confront them, it seems.

>>31079
>But dear god, find a less busy proofer. Or just a second proofer.
I've thought about it, but ultimately I think my current proofer has spoiled me too much, in terms of what he does for me and the story, and I doubt I can find another proofer willing do do even half of it.
>> No. 31101
File 150579724587.jpg - (277.20KB, 1213x936, I don't have a relevent picture so have this .jpg) [iqdb]
31101
==========
Kochi Prefecture, Higashiyama Forest - 30th of April, 02:20
==========

“Yeah, I know.” I answer honestly.

“See, what did I tell-” Chiyuri stops herself once she registers what I said.

“I knew it!” Yumemi exclaims as she throws her arms in the air. “I just knew you would be aware of magic. Just think how much faster we can proceed with one more person.” She reaches out for my free hand, but I retract it.

“I’m afraid not.” I tell her. “The world of magic isn’t a place where people like you two belong. In all honesty, it’d be optimal if you withdrew from this world immediately.” I let out an exaggerated sigh. “But we all know that’s not going to happen.”

“‘We?’ So, there’s more than just you?” The professor asks with newfound interest. “Then why don’t any of you just come out and prove magic exists?”

“Because history has shown time and time again what happens when humans find something with even the slightest ability to hurt other humans.” I tell her. “Or do I need to remind you of nuclear power? Gun powder? Metal?”

“That was then. This is now.” The professor argues. “Today we’re closer to world peace than ever before in recorded human history.”

“So, we should give every single human the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, because of world peace?” I ask. “Sure, with the threat of that being used on you, you’d be less likely to use it on anyone else. But how long do you think the tension that’d create would last? How long until terrorists start using it?”

“But that’s only because we don’t know anything about it.” She continues to argue. “Surely if we knew anything about magic, we’d learn how to counter it.”

“Yumemi. I’m incapable of casting magic like you’d think. But that’s given me the freedom to study it entirely from the point of theory. I’m what you could call an anti-mage. I have a wide knowledge on magics in general, a clear understand of how they work, and the tools to dispel almost any spell.” I tell her truthfully. “Trust me, when I say it’s no easy task to get to where I am, and that when you do, you realize how unfit humanity really is to handle this arcane science.”

“But-” She stomps her foot down.

“No ‘but’s.” I cut her off. “Look at how far you’ve made it with magic so far. Now look at how far I’ve made it. Now try to imagine what a worldwide society of mages could accomplish over the span of several millennia. Do you really think you know something that none of us ever considered?”

“But I-” She’s clenched her hands.

“Let me ask you,” I cut her off again, “won’t you trust me when I ask you to abandon magic entirely? From someone who grew up with it, it’s nothing like the fairy tale we’d all want it to be.”

“I can’t!” The professor exclaims fast, forcing her voice in before I can cut her off again. “We can’t.” I can almost see her trembling. If not for my sixth sense, I wouldn’t have noticed.

She glances over at Chiyuri, who’s been watching me with quite a stern look.

“Then let me put it this way.” I shift my weight. “If you continue to research magic, then I’ll become your enemy.”

She flinches. “But why?” She cries out.

“Because, you don’t belong in the world of magic.” I answer her. “If you continue to force your way in here with the intent to publish your findings, someone will take notice. And unlike me, I doubt they’d try to talk you out of it, and I doubt they’d care enough to at the very least make your permanent expulsion painless.” I walk past her and pick up my bag. “Now I’ve tried to talk to you, and if it didn’t work this time, I’ll have to use force. So, treat this as my one and only warning.”

She looks at me, almost pleadingly but before long she resigns herself and just looks down, not saying another word.

Seeing as she’s done arguing with me, I take my leave.


==========
Hakurei Shrine, Gensokyo - 10th of May, 10:22
==========

A cold shiver runs down my spine as Yukari’s gap closes behind me. It’s still a strangely unnatural feeling to pass through them. Strangely similar to what it felt like to get a sense of the fourth dimension imposed on me with magic, or fifth maybe, if you count the fourth dimension as time.

“I don’t have time, Yukari, so just go home right now.” Reimu yells out from inside the shrine.

“Well then, guess I’ll just head home then.” I respond mimicking Yukari’s passively playful tone.

I hear her starting to move around inside, as the footsteps approach the main entrance. She pops out from behind the open door and stares for half a second before she manages to remember me.

“Ryuko?” the shrine maiden starts floating to approach me, not being bothered to put on shoes and not willing to dirty her socks. “What are you doing here? Got another love letter for your girlfriend?”

I stifle a laugh. “I wish. But I’m not here on vacation.” I tell her. “Yukari told me I’d be useful here soon and gave me this old twenty yen coin.”

“Twenty yen!” She poor shrine maiden exclaims, though her excitement quickly dies down once she sees the coin. “I don’t think that’s worth twenty yen, to be honest.”

“Maybe not in Gensokyo’s economy, but on the outside that’s exactly what it’s worth.” I pocket the coin again.

“How broken is the economy in the outside world?” She asks.

“Not really broken. Since things cost a lot of money, people earn a lot of money too.” I explain. “Over time that amount just kept growing until the government finally managed to get it under control.”

“Strange.” she comments.

“To boil it down, it’s about how rare money is. The more coins there are, the less valuable they are. Since we have a lot in the outside world, twenty yen is pocket change.” I explain, though truth to be told, I’m not that big on economics myself. Never needed to be.

“Yet here it’s a small fortune most beginning merchants aim for. Twenty yen, that is.” She adds. “Anyway, I was planning on going out soon. It’s a hassle, but I can’t leave all the investigation to Kasen.”

“Investigation? About that strange aura?” I ask.

“Yeah.” She lifts off the ground again. “Got nothing to go on but my guts, though.”

“Nothing new there?”

“You get used to it.” She chuckles. “Feel free to make yourself at home, just leave the food alone.”

“Not gonna take me with you?” I ask, half-jokingly.

“To be honest, you’d just slow me down.” She states. “I can’t lift you and flying is so much faster.”

“Then don’t let me hold you back.” I raise my hand in a still wave, to which she just nods and flies off.

Now then.


[] Go see my ‘girlfriend’
[] Try to find Kasen
[] Get comfortable at the shrine.


Somewhat good news. Thanks to shitty bus schedules, I get extra time after school where I can do nothing but wait. Plan to use that for writing whenever I don't have any fun homework. And my proofer's schedule cleared up again. So I should be able to get back to a monthly schedule. Maybe more, but don't count on it.
>> No. 31102
> update
> more imminent (maybe)

Hooray!

But, uh, I could use a little refresher here... who was the 'girlfriend'? Akyuu? And what's this about a 'strange aura'? ULiL? I don't remember it being mentioned and CTRL-F isn't helping...
>> No. 31103
>>31102
Yeah Akyuu. His "love letters" are probably him sending her notes about his shrine and the people in it, like he promised.

[X] Go see my ‘girlfriend’

Also, hooray for terrible bus schedules
>> No. 31104
>>31102
Yes it's Akyuu. That's Reimu poking at you for spending the last festival in Gensokyo with Akyuu, which was essentially a date, let's be honest.
And the wiki translates it as "occult aura" instead of strange aura. Though it's meant to be the earliest point of the incident, so her knowledge about things is limited. [spoiler]Also, Kudos for figuring out it was ULiL. What was the tell?[/spoiler]
>> No. 31105
> Also, Kudos for figuring out it was ULiL. What was the tell?

It's the only game Kasen is in.

Little more context next time please; we shouldn't have to guess or use meta-knowledge to figure out what our own character is talking about.

[x] Go see my ‘girlfriend’.

Much as I'd like to see more undercover oni, it sounds like she's going to be busy.
>> No. 31106
>>31105
Actually, you weren't supposed to have figured it out yet. Well, "supposed," might not be right since I did lay out a hint, namely the time and date.
ULiL was released May 10th 2015.
This story started Jan 1st 2015, and this update takes place on May 10th.
Though I figured no one was paying attention to the dates since they haven't been of much relevance yet.
>> No. 31107
[X] Go see my ‘girlfriend’
>> No. 31109
Calling the votes (one day late) for Akyuu.

>>31105
Now that I'm less busy and have had more time to formulate a response, I'd like to reply to you again.

If there's something I want you to know, that without I'd feel you didn't have enough information to make an informed decision, obviously excluding votes where that's the whole point, then I tend to go that extra mile to make sure you have that information, whether it's delaying that exact vote or finding a way to shoehorn in that information while trying to make it feel natural.

Then there's the information that you don't need to make an informed decision. Small things that might be nice to know. Things like the fact this is the start of ULiL. You don't need to know yet as it'll become apparent soon. That's why the biggest hint I gave was the date, though I'd long since figured people stopped paying attention to it. Another hint I gave, though a fair bit more abstract, is the coin. Saying any more than that is spoilers.

Perhaps the best example I can use from this story is Yukari. She has a single sentence in the stuff that's already posted, in which she reveals her biggest plot point. Do you need to know that plot point yet? No. But it's there, and when it's time to reveal it, I'll make sure to throw plenty of hints.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go write some of my shitty Slice of Life scenes that are as flat as my characters.
>> No. 31110
>>31109

Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with you not saying it's ULiL. I got caught off-guard that you had the protagonist talk about a recent event that hadn't been mentioned in the text before.

If you'd made Reimu bring up the subject instead, for example, it wouldn't have been so jarring, because I would have (correctly) assumed it was just something we didn't know about yet, instead of something that - because you update slightly faster than the average glacier and I have a memory slightly shorter than the average goldfish - I'd simply forgotten about, and wouldn't have wasted the next twenty minutes CTRL-Fing for something that didn't exist.

Sage for autism.

> shitty Slice of Life scenes that are as flat as my characters

You are so far away from "shitty" and "flat" that I can't see you from here.

>> No. 31119
File 150756129731.jpg - (660.11KB, 1000x1000, Fancy Akyuu.jpg) [iqdb]
31119
==========
Hakurei Shrine, Gensokyo - 10th of May, 10:29
==========

Well, seeing as Reimu doesn’t want me involved at the moment, it’d be rude to get in the way of her investigation. Maybe I should pay Akyuu another visit. It’s been a while since we had the chance to talk.

I quickly wonder if I should just leave the shrine like this. Knowing my shitty luck, it’ll probably get destroyed and I’ll be blamed for it. Though I ultimately dismiss the thought and start making my way towards the village. Even though you can see it in its entirety from up here, it’s still quite a walk down there. It's much worse getting back up here.


==========
Human Village, Market district, 12:02
==========

I only briefly got to wander the village last time I was here, but if my internal map is right, this should be a more direct way to Akyuu’s mansion.

Judging by the stalls here, it’s safe to assume this is the farmers market. It's stocked with fresh milk, eggs and harvested goods, though most of those are leftovers from last fall since they’re still growing this year’s crop. At least that’s what it looks like to me, but agriculture has never been of much interest to me.

What is of interest to me, however, is a familiar little face. A young, blue haired girl in plain white clothes. She keeps glancing around, looking for something, it seems.

With her back turned to me, I make my way up next to her and crouch to get on her level.

“Looking for something?” I ask.

She immediately tenses up and I can almost swear her hair stands up on end as well.

“I- uh- that’s-” She struggles to find words but is forced to stop trying as she bites her tongue. “Ow.” is all she mutters for a while before she remembers that I asked her a question. “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”

“You don’t remember me?” I ask. I could have easily forgotten her face, but I’m certain it’s her spiritual energy. Unlike normal kids, hers seems to be in stasis, if only moving ever so slightly.

She keeps staring at my face for what feels like an eternity where neither of us is says anything, before her face lights up.

“You’re Akyuu’s big friend!” She exclaims. She immediately corrects her posture and gives me an overenthusiastic bow. “Sorry. I forgot.”

“Don’t worry about it.” I tell her. “So, what are you doing out here?”

“That’s- um- Shopping.” she holds up her small basket which only has a small bottle of honey in it. “Akyuu, I mean Lady Akyuu has sent me shopping.”

“Really? And how is that going?” I ask.

“Not so good.” She makes a cute little frown. “I can’t find the rest of the list.”

“May I see the list?” I ask her, holding out my hand.

She nods and hands it to me.

Rice and jam.

That’s it. Looks like Akyuu’s handwriting as well, which I’ve learned by heart given how many times I’ve read the Gensokyo Chronicles. Rice has been written using kanji, so that might be what trips her up.

“You know what it says, right?” I ask her.

She points to the kanji. “I know that means food, but I don’t know what kind of food.”

“It means rice.” I hand her the note back. “You can buy it pretty much anywhere here. Just walk up to one of merchants and ask nicely.”

“Mm.” She nods enthusiastically and runs off.

She’s a lot more expressive than I thought.

And she’s returned, with a small bag of rice in hand.

“I got it.” She declares, showing it off to me before putting it in her small basket.

“Great, anything else you need?” I ask, standing back up.

She shakes her head. “No.”

“Then let’s get you home, shall we?” I ask.

“Mm.” She nods firmly before running ahead.

With her bursting with energy, it takes no time to make the walk back to the mansion.

“Auri.” I call for her attention. “Can I get you to tell Akyuu that I’m here?” I ask her. “She’s not expecting me today, but I’d like to talk to her if she has the time.”

“Um, if she’s not expecting you, I can’t let you in.” She informs me. “But I’ll ask. Will you please wait here?”

As I agree to wait, she runs through the gate.

A good couple of minutes pass before the little blue head peeks out from inside the gate again.

“Lady Akyuu says she has time for your visit.” She informs me.

Going through her practiced routine, she leads me to the same room where I first met Akyuu, where she leaves me alone.

As another few minutes pass the young chronicler makes her entry.

“I wasn’t expecting you.” She says, taking a seat at the low table.

“Because we never announced I would be coming.” Following her example, I take a seat opposite her. “And I doubt you, of all people, would forget an appointment.”

A small smile breaks her serious expression, though it disappears as she starts talking again. “As much as I appreciate your visit, I’m afraid your timing is quite bad.” She rests her head on her hand.

“Is it because of all the strange new youkai appearing?” I ask.

I catch her off guard, judging by how she perks up. “How did you know? Have you met them?” she immediately asks.

“A voice from the bottom of the aether told me. I think.” I make a gesture, underlying my own lack of knowledge. “Either that or I’m finally starting to develop that famous Hakurei intuition, though that’s not very likely.”

“Are you serious?” The chronicler sits completely upright now. “Do you know anything about any of them? We’ve gathered that they’re all new arrivals from the outside world, but that’s all we have for now.”

“Urban legends.” I state. “Of the youkai that remain of the outside world, urban legends are the only ones not recorded already in Gensokyo Chronicles. And if a new type of youkai made a sudden move to migrate to Gensokyo, we would have taken notice.”

“Urban legends.” She repeats. “What’s this Urban place like?” She asks, leaning in over the table.

“It isn't a place, not in the way you’re thinking about it, anyway.” I inform her. “Urban is a single word that describes ‘in a city.’ Cities being settlements of equal or greater size than the human village.”

“So urban legends are legends passed on inside cities?” The young lady asks intrigued.

“That’s how they got their name, anyway. However, recently the term urban legend came to refer to modern myths.” I explain. “The legends of yukionna, for example, would be old myths, while something like ‘the school’s seven mysteries’ would be an urban legend. A school's seven mysteries, by the way, is exactly as it sounds. Seven mysterious occurrences, typically linked to each other. What those mysteries are exactly, typically varies from school to school.”

“Modern youkai?” She asks.

“More or less.” I lean back, supporting myself on my arm.

The chronicler settles down in her seat again. She folds her hands and lets her head rest on them by her forehead.

“Interesting.” She mumbles. “Very interesting, but also very concerning.”

“Indeed.” I agree. “However, almost all urban legends have a weakness: some way to escape them. Typically because including that, it seems like someone managed to live through the experience and tell the tale, rather than just some made-up tale.”

“And you believe these are the kinds of youkai that are appearing?” She looks up from her hands and into my eyes.

“If I had to make a guess, then yes, that’s what I’d say.” I answer her. “However, I’m lacking enough information to be certain. Could be anything from foxes and tanuki taking on shapes from the outside, to foreign monsters. It’s a low chance, but still too big to be rolled out.”

I notice her hand tense up just briefly. “And now that you know this, what do you plan to do?” She asks.

“I’ll have to get to work.” I answer. “Gensokyo may be Reimu’s territory, but managing the passage across the barrier is mine. Even though I’d rather not make a move here in Gensokyo without Reimu’s permission first.”

“Makes sense, but what are you going to do?” She asks again.

“Track down these urban legends, identify them and assess them, then possibly force them back out with force.” I explain to her. “Why do you ask?”

“I can’t really justify it, since I’m supposed to just record the history,” she fidgets slightly, “but I would like to come along. This might be the only chance I get to see what the youkai from the outside world really look like.”

“In all honesty, I’m against it.” I tell her. “But if you know what you’re getting yourself into, I won’t try to stop you.”

“I know. And I still want to go.” She says firmly.

Without another word, I slide across the floor to my bag, fishing out a small red sack, a thin wooden slab and my basic writing equipment.

Continuing without saying a word, I start jotting down words on the wood, marking out the foundation for a higher level enchantment.

The chronicler has been peeking over the table, trying to get a good look at what I’m writing, though the nature of this kind of enchantment makes it hard to decipher if you don’t know how they’re written.

Single sentences are written in reverse order, however no two characters are allowed to be directly adjacent, meaning you have to jump to seemingly random spots to write. There’s no greater purpose for this. It’s just the method I use when I need to write enchanted charms in front of people, since it maintains a mystique aura, which is needed for the charm to work. Normally, only the people writing these gets to see what’s actually written, so it has that aura from the start. Of course, that means if you open it up afterwards to look, the enchantment is broken and lost.

As I’ve finished writing on both sides of this slab of wood, I put it into the bag, and tie it closed the best I can with these big fingers.

Lastly, to activate the enchanted charm, I let my spiritual energy flow into it. Once I feel it emit a small wave I stop.

“Carry this close to your heart.” I tell Akyuu, handing over the charm to her. “In case I can’t keep you safe, this will be able to save your life. Though it’ll only work a few times before breaking, so if the need be, use it to run away.”

She holds it in her hand, examining it carefully. “I didn’t think you could make these, to be completely honest.” She says. “I took you for more of a, how can I put it, specialist?”

“Because I am.” I answer. “I specialize in combat through and through. But I’m still a priest first and foremost.”

She tightens her grip around the charm as a warm smile makes itself known. “Mm.” Is all she says as she nods.


Now then. Better get to work. My only real lead so far is that both Reimu and Kasen are investigating something. Though if it’s even related to these urban legends, I don’t know. Which effectively gives me zero leads.

Where should I start looking?
[] Write in
[] Look for Kasen on Youkai Mountain
- [] Elsewhere
[] Look for Reimu
- [] Where

Because it was recommended to me, I'd like to discourage metagaming this. Not that I can nor will stop you if you do. Just imagine yourself in his position. What would be the first thing you'd do?

>>31110
Makes sense. I'll try to keep that in mind for later. Also, I realize my last post might have come off as a tad arrogant. That wasn't my intention, I just wanted to get my thoughts through as clear and coherent as possible
>> No. 31120
[X] Look for Kasen on Youkai Mountain

If we're not meta gaming I think finding Kasen would be his best option.
>> No. 31121
[] Warn Eientei about the incoming Lunarian invasion.

I'm of the firm belief that a writer should roll with the punches in what regards to write ins. Even illogical ones.

But that only applied to the old times: when updates were fast, short and the 'plot' was loose at best.
I'm just an old lion, looking for a place to die.

[x] Look for information about recent incidents.
-[x] Closest authority figure should be Kamishirasawa
>> No. 31122
Well if I were looking for urban legends, I'd start at the source:

[x] Find out what relevant rumours are going around the Human Village.
>> No. 31129
File 150991268123.png - (865.05KB, 900x1200, teacher.png) [iqdb]
31129
==========
Human Village, Hieda residence - 13:02
==========

I need information. No two ways about it. I barely know enough to comfortably pick a fight with them. That’s if I can even find them in the first place. Unlike Reimu, I don’t have divine intuition to guide me.

“Where are we going first?” My companion breaks the silence, seeing as I’ve been quiet for a while.

“To Kamishirasawa.” I reply. “With as little information I have, I’m basically powerless. She’s not just an authority, she’s in a position where she would be able to pick up on rumors.”

I pack my writing equipment back in my bag and get up.

“I believe she’s working at this time of the day.” She replies. “I’m not sure if she’ll be able to see us.”

She follows suit, taking the lead as we walk towards the front of her mansion.

“And I doubt she’d turn down an official request from the local chronicler.” I reply.

“I don’t like throwing around my own authority without purpose.” She states.

“She’s our best option at getting anything like a lead to begin with.” I explain. “If she can’t help us, we’ll have to walk around and ask as many random people as possible and hope we get something useful. Besides, you don’t have to use your authority. It’s not like I can force you to.”

“And I just hope I won’t have to.” She adds, with slightly more weight to her words than before. “Especially not against Keine.”

She holds the door open for me as I duck through the entrance.

“The school is right this way.” She says, running slightly ahead, though it doesn’t take more than a few steps to catch up. “It’ll be faster if we make it to the center first, so we can use the main roads.”

“Why is the village structured like this, by the way?” I ask.

“The main roads?” She asks back. “That’s because they allow for more travel across the village.”

“Not the streets.” I clarify. “I mean the districts. It makes sense to have the ‘important’ people in close to the heart of the village. But having a main road run right through it doesn’t seem like the best idea.”

“That’s actually because they’d rather be as far away from the plebeians as possible.” She explains “No offense, of course.”

I stifle another laugh. “I’m more offended that you’d think I’d be offended by that.”

She smiles in response before continuing. “I’m sure you’ve noticed that the farmers tend to stay at the edge of the village, close to the fields they tend. Most other cheap labor stays out there with them, providing them with the tools and resources they need, matching price with quality.”

“That much makes sense. I doubt many of them would have the time to travel to the center just to place an order for a new scythe. It’d be far better if they could get one near their homes, especially if cheaper.” I comment. “But still, to have the busiest road run straight through the living quarters of the rich people. It’d make for great locations for expensive shops, but living there would just get tiring from all the noise.”

“Open shops in the center?” She asks.

“Yeah. Right at the crossroad where the most people would walk through.” I explain. “With more people seeing your store, there’d be more sales. Not guaranteed, of course.”

“Is that how they do it in the outside world?” She asks.

“That, and advertising.” I confirm. “But then again, with over one hundred million people across the entire country, they’d need as much exposure as possible to reach even a fraction of those.”

“What’s a million?” She asks.

“What’s the highest number you know?” I ask back.

“That would be a thousand, I’d say.” The chronicler answers. “Excluding all the repeating numbers in the thousands.”

“Right, then try to imagine one thousand, one thousand times. That’s a million.” I explain.

She continues walking for a second before coming to a sudden halt. “Wait. How many did you say?”

“Over one hundred million people. About one hundred and twenty-five last I checked, if you want a slightly more accurate number.”

She doesn’t move, but just stands there, eyes wide with disbelief and what looks like fear. Her face betraying any kind of secrecy she might have had.

“That’s amazing.” She utters. “And scary.”

“Bonus fact. The human population of the entire earth passed seven billion years ago.” I tell her as I walk past her. “A billion is one thousand millions, by the way.”

“Wait. Stop.” She runs up in front of me. “How can you feed so many people out there when we have trouble supporting less than a thousand?”

“The short answer is science.” I prompt her to start walking again. “But it’s also thanks to science that youkai have trouble living on the outside anymore. Urban legends are fleeting, and the traditional youkai can only live in hot-spots created and maintained by humans like me. Or if they’re to find an uninhabited natural hot-spot, such as the Hakurei Shrine. Although it’s only able to support as many youkai as it can because it’s the strongest connection to Gensokyo.”

“So we can’t use outside world science to help us?” She asks.

“You can, if you’re willing to slowly kill off every youkai in Gensokyo, ridding this world of its purpose and once again unite it with the outside world.” Though that’s just the hypothesis of what’s going to happen. “You’d be far better off if you went about using magic as a means to help you expand.”

“And we’ve hit the human limit in that regard.” She admits a bit defeated. “The only way to expand our magical potential is to become youkai. But that would violate the basic law of Gensokyo.”

Indeed. Mages rarely remain human for long without purpose.

Humans have a limit to the magic they can use. Typically, it’s because of our low capacity relatively to youkai, though it can also be because of limitations in our mind, preventing us from grasping basic ideas that advanced magic relies upon.

To overcome this limit, humans who have achieved the title of mage attempt to alter their bodies to become more magically adept. About one fifth survive the attempt and formally become mages as we know them.

Although technically, all magicians are different species. Each mage alters their own body using their own methods and with their own result in mind. As a result, it’s impossible for two magicians to procreate, statistically speaking. Even lower chances when it comes to humans. As such, mages are effectively considered sterile, and this is also the main reason most humans wait on making that leap. Which is ironic because the younger they are, the more likely it is they’ll survive the transformation.

The surprising sight of the open plaza quickly drags me back into reality.

We’ve reached the center. A big open plaza with people and wagons moving about at their own pace in seemingly chaotic patterns, yet somehow no one is getting hurt.

“Impressive for our little corner of the world?” My companion asks.

“A lot bigger than I expected.” I admit.

While they don’t have any stores open here, along the walls of every noble’s house is a thick line of merchants sitting on their own blankets selling a myriad of things, though a closer look, it’s mostly consumables it seems.

A large promiment stone sculpture stands at the center of the busy streets.

Its shape resembles that of a dragon, posed into a twisted form of the number eight. Both the head and the tail are at the bottom of the loop, just above eye-height of an adult male. It doesn’t show any signs of erosion if the details of the scales are anything to go by. Subtle lineworks that would disappear in just a few years of rain.

Honestly, if I didn’t know it was just an oversized barometer made by the kappa, I could almost be convinced that it was a real dragon turned stone. That’s how alive it looks, even from all the way over here.

“Are you done looking, or do you need a minute more?” She breaks my thoughts once more.

“I’m good.” I start following her again, as she took a few steps in the direction we need to go before asking me.

“It is an impressive statue, right?” She almost brags about it. “You already know the feature was made by the kappa, right? But did you know it was actually sculpted by a human?”

“I imagine that would have taken a lot of time and care.” I admit. “One mistake and the illusion of life would be gone.”

“Mm. It’s one of our proudest achievements since Gensokyo was established.” She states. “Though most people don’t know the kappa helped with it, so they pray to the dragon for good weather. And for the most part, I’d say it works.”

“That’s because gods are created by the human heart.” I explain. “If you start worshiping something as a god, you will in fact create a new god. Dragons are different though, in that they’re above even the gods we know of, far beyond our reach. In essence, you could say they’re true gods, while our kami are just glorified spirits.”

“Interesting perspective, coming from a priest.” She gives me a smug smile.

“I’d share more, but the more you know the less amazing gods are.” I tell her. “For example, once you know how they work, you can completely prevent them from interacting with you in any way.”

“Then stop talking. You’re only making me more curious.”

I let out a snicker in response.

It really doesn’t take long for the school to be in view. Located around the border between the noble’s district and the commoner’s. Not that there’s an actual border, but rather a gradual distinction in the housing and shops.

“How many half youkai work at this school?” I ask.

“Only Keine.” She answers without much thought. “Why?”

“Then it seems like class is in session.”

Like I’ve said, I can use my spiritual energy as another sense, allowing me to observe a limited space with it. And given how few things naturally block spiritual energy, it allows me to ‘see’ through things like walls.

I’m still too far away to be able to see anything in there clearly, but what I can tell already is that there’s a lot of individual spiritual energies gathered there. And although it’s faint, one end emits an inhuman energy, which is likely our teacher.

“How long do you think it’ll take?” She asks. “For you to get a lead out of her, I mean.”

“Ten minutes tops.” I reply. “Assuming she even knows anything worthwhile. If she doesn’t then it’ll just be a second.”

We’ve reached the front door. It’s a small school, really. Two, maybe three rooms total and only one of them seem in use at the moment.

“Wait here then.” She says before knocking on the door.

“Yes? Come in.” The teacher commands from inside.

My companion opens the door and peeks inside. “I’m sorry to bother you when you’re busy, but I have someone who’d like to meet you.” She explains. “It’s not exactly urgent, but the sooner the better.”

Through the wall, I sense the teacher putting down her book and turn towards the wall, presumably a blackboard. Depicting texture on a flat surface is beyond what I can see using spiritual energy, but she’s writing, that much I can see.

“While I’m gone, try to solve as many of these as you can.” She says, pointing to the blackboard. With that said, she makes her way out of the room to us and close the door behind her. “So, what can I do for you today, Akyuu?”

“My friend here has some questions he’d like to have answered.” She says gesturing at me.

She first looks at me with a glance, but the rest of her quickly follows suit as she turns to face me.

“You’re the one who wrecked the village a couple months ago?” She asks more than states that, though it clearly isn’t a question. “I believe this is our first formal introduction.”

“I’m Hakurei Ryuko. And yes, that was me.” I introduce myself. “And no, this is our second time meeting since then. At the festival just a few days after, we met again.”

“We did? You’ll have to excuse me then. I had a few too many drinks so the whole night is a bit blurry. Regardless, I’m Kamishirasawa Keine.” She introduces herself. “But please, call me Keine. It’s a little easier on the tongue.”

“Of course.” I nod. “And I know you’re busy, so I’ll just get straight to the point. New youkai have been appearing, and I’m looking for information. Anything will do, even just small rumors.”

“Is this an incident?” She asks, staring me straight in the eyes.

“I believe so. Reimu is already doing some investigation, from what I’ve seen.” I answer. “However, I’m, not trying to solve the incident, but rather deal with these new youkai which may be a side effect of the incident.”

“Strange new youkai, you say?” She ponders a bit. “I can’t say I’ve heard of anything, I’m afraid.”

So even she hasn’t heard anything. Seems like I’ll have to rely on chance and just ask around.

“Though,” she continues, “can you read?”

“Of course.” I answer.

“Then would you mind waiting for a moment?” She asks. And without waiting for an answer, she goes back inside the classroom. “I’d like all of you to stop what you’re doing and get out a piece of blank paper. On that, you’ll write as many rumors as you can think of, but only recent ones. When you’re done, pass them up front.”

Well that’s a method I wouldn’t have thought of.

“Just so you know, she can’t use her ability to help us.” Akyuu says. “Her power revolves around history. And by the time this incident becomes history, it’ll be long done.”

“I figured as much.” I reply. “Although you’re really vague when you described her power in the Chronicles.”

“That was at her request.” She explains. “The less people know about how her power works, the fewer there are who would want to confront her.”

“Alright. Thanks. Now please go back to these problems.” Keine speaks loudly from inside her class. And in just a few seconds she’s joined us outside the school again. “This is the best I can do right now. I hope it helps.” She says, handing me the papers.

“So do I. Thanks for your time.” I thank her and signal to Akyuu I have what we came for.

Back outside, we find a place nearby to take a seat and examine our new lead.

Or we try to anyway. This handwriting is nothing more the scribbles. With a little guessing and what little context we have, we do manage to decipher a few.

“You know, I’m curious.” I start. “Isn’t it normal for people in Gensokyo to be able to read and write?”

This one talks about that bullhead legend. The story that’s so scary, hearing it will kill you. Even though the fact that people know about the story proves it can’t be real. If it was so scary that anyone who heard it would die, then no one would even know of it.

“Well, of course we have a lot of people who can read and write.” Akyuu states. “But we also have a lot of people who can’t afford the schooling, or even need to learn it. Why?”

“Back outside, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a job that doesn’t require you to know how to read and write to some extent.” I explain. “So we teach everyone how to read and write at an early age.”

“How can kids learn to read?” She stops her examination of the papers I’ve passed over and looks up at me. “It takes all I have to even teach Airi.”

Celestials came looking for a dragon in the village? Now that’s one I have to see to believe. They should look at Kasen’s place if they’re looking for them. Though why are they even in the first place?

“It’s a bit of science, so take it with a grain of salt, but kids learn much faster than adults if you portray the information as important.” I explain. “But humans aren’t fully developed when they are born, obviously. But that also means we lack a lot of basic instincts. Because of that, we instead learn by watching the people around us and gauge what skills are important. Skills like speech and walking. Just show her how useful writing can be while putting her in situations where she’ll need it, and she’ll pick up on it more easily.”

“Huh.” She goes silent for a minute, staring into nothing. “I’d really love to be able to see the outside world sometime.” She mutters almost absentmindedly.

“If I ever get the time, I might take you with me back out.” I reply. “Wait, found one.”

Woman. Wearing a strange mask. Asks about her appearance. Attacks the person regardless of the answer.

Kuchisake-onna. The slit-mouthed woman. Technically a traditional youkai, though she disappeared before Gensokyo was established so she’s not here. Now that her rumor has resurfaced, she’s become an urban legend.

Her known traits are her mask, a surgical one in modern times and a simple cloth on traditionally, a pair of scissors and a slit mouth.

Masks aren’t that common in Gensokyo. Her modern legend mentions a surgical mask, likely because they’re a common way to prevent spreading diseases today. In her traditional legend, though, she’s depicted as wearing either a piece of cloth as a mask, a scarf or hiding her face with a fan. All of which are common enough in Gensokyo.

In the modern legend, her weapon of choice is a scissor. Again, not something common to Gensokyo. Though her original legend doesn’t mention what kind of weapon, only that she slashes her victims, which suggests a bladed weapon. Again, not exactly hard to come by in Gensokyo.

The slit mouth, though. That’s the one thing about her appearance that’s stayed consistent. Should be easy to spot with my spiritual sight, even if she’s hiding it.

Weaknesses would be answering with a vague or confusing answer, excusing yourself because you’re busy, and throwing candy at her as a distraction to run away without her following you.

Neither legends say anything about the time of her attacks. In the original she follows her victim home and kills them the same night. And if students are rich kids, then I doubt they’d leave the village if they don’t have to.

So covering her face, wielding a bladed weapon, slit mouth, inside the village and active all hours of the day. Still not narrow enough to actively hunt her down, but it’s a start.

That said, the village is reasonably big, so where should I even start looking for her?


[ ] Write in
[ ] Look on the less populated streets
[ ] Look in the outskirts of the village

[Optional] Buy candy, just to be safe


=====
Another mistake seems to have passed me and my proofer. I got Airi’s name wrong last update. I wrote it as Auri. Think it was a simple typo that I didn’t double check.

>>31121
So I'm a bit late to replying to this, I know. Got caught up in my fun homework, and by the time I returned it'd already been too long, so it'd be better to wait until the update to reply.

Basically, a friend recommended that I put that in to prevent you from meta-gaming so you'd be at location X, Y or Z just to let your waufi get some screen time. It honestly didn't cross my mind until then, so I threw that in haphazardly, which in retrospect was even worse than leaving it out. It was meant to keep you on track and focus on the incident.

Meta-gaming like warning Eientei I don't care about; is what I'd like to say, but that actually sounds like an awesome idea. Granted, I'll have to pull a bullshit excuse out of my ass as to why you'd even know that in the first place. But if enough people vote on that, then enough people won't mind a bullshit excuse.

Hope that cleared it up a little more.
>> No. 31130
[x] Look in the outskirts of the village

Less populated means less possible witnesses for us and less possible victims for the youkai. Outskirts means poor folk that are less likely to be missed, sad as it is to say.

Or, well, that's how I read it anyway.
>> No. 31132
>>31129
That's a good attitude. I doubt you'll have to wrroy about that though, not many people are willing to vote seemingly illogical choices since many writers forbid them outright.

[x] Look on the less populated streets
-[x] Buy candy, just to be safe
>> No. 31133
[x] Look on the less populated streets
-[x] Buy candy, just to be safe
>> No. 31134
[x] Look on the less populated streets
-[x] Buy candy, just to be safe

I get the feeling that she's one of those kind of youkai who only appears to people who are going somewhere alone, so the less populated streets make more sense to me.
I mean, stories like that usually starts with "[someone] walking home, alone, late at night when..."
>> No. 31135
Going to the desolate areas with some candy it is.

I've also been thinking about the Eientei idea. With everything I've sat up so far, I can provide a decent reason to go to Eientei with the knowledge that they at least have something to do with it.

It's really just going to depend on two things.
1. You're willingness to abandon your promise to Akyuu
2. You figuring out what the old 20 yen coin is for

The first I'm going to treat as a vote. which will be open until the next time I call the votes (so about a century give or take)
[] Go to Eientei
[] Don't go to Eientei

The second, as long as one of you figures it out I'll accept it. I'll try to make it a little more clear what it's for in the next update, since everything about it might be too vague to make a guess on.
>> No. 31144
[X] Don't go to Eientei

Keep going as we were.

As for the 20 yen coin... No idea. To make a wish? That coin died along with the Meiji era.
>> No. 31148
Been waiting as long as possible to say this, but the next update will be slightly delayed.

Short version, since no one cares about the long version.
Have a school project. My current team is very enthusiastic. Been working on the project every waking moment for the last week.

The only promise I can make is that it'll be out before Christmas, though I'd like to get two more out before new year
>> No. 31149
File 151297170034.jpg - (2.26MB, 1821x2580, __hata_no_kokoro_touhou_drawn_by_himajin_no_izu__a.jpg) [iqdb]
31149
==========
Human Village, Hieda residence - 14:23
==========

“Don’t keep me waiting.” My little chronicler speaks up. “What did you find?”

“Kuchisake-onna.” I reply, folding up the papers and storing them in my bag. “A woman who cheated on her husband, and as a result got her face mutilated. She’s now become a youkai that aims to do the same to other people’s faces.”

“Cheat?” She asks.

“Sorry, modern expression for it. To be an unfaithful lover and see other people behind their back.”

She puts on a tiny frown. “Geeze. She deserved it then.” Seeing as I’ve started walking, she runs up next to me again.

“I disagree with that.” I tell her. “Unless you yourself enact or threaten with violence, directly and indirectly, you don’t deserve to experience any yourself.” I explain. “Granted, she did kind of have it coming.”

“You just say that because you haven’t been ‘cheated’ on yet.” She argues, raising her index finger like she’s making an actual point. “It’s happened to me at least three times, and I can promise you it’s not a nice feeling.”

“Three times?” I almost have to stop to make sure, but continue walking.

“Yeah. Though in my previous lives, of course.” She hurriedly adds one. “This body is still virgin.”

“That was a little more information than I needed, Akyuu.” I admit.

“What? Don’t guys usually like maidens?” She asks.

“I don’t actually care.” I admit. “Between training, working and fighting to the death, I don’t really have much extra time to think about girls.”

Much less because the main condition I have to a relationship, would be that they’d have to accept the fact I can die at any moment without warning. That’s the world I live in, after all. Even if they won’t live in the same world as me, they’d have to accept the consequences I’ll face.

“Really?” She asks, though doesn’t sound too surprised. “Then I guess that means you-”

“Yeah, I’m gonna have to cut you off there.” I stop her. “While I’m glad you trust me enough already to talk about this, I’d personally rather not.” I try to change the topic. “Besides, no matter what, revenge just isn’t worth it.”

She falls silent for a second before asking. “Is that from experience?”

“Yeah.” I answer. “And while I still believe she deserved it, there was no satisfaction afterwards. Just a big hole left by all the anger that had piled up.”

“You don’t strike me as the type to get revenge?” She comments.

“Because I’m not.” I reply. “That was a one thing thing. Never tried to get revenge since. It’s just not worth it.”

“Mind if I ask what happened?” She cautiously asks.

“I do, yeah.” I turn down her request. “It’s not something I like to think about, so you’ll have to excuse me.”

With that said, I start walking again, and after a second the chronicler catches up. She doesn’t pursue that topic any further though.

“We’re heading to the outskirts.” I start another topic instead. “Urban legends like this tend to start with people walking around outside alone. The fewer people around, the better.”

“But you’re not alone.” She points out. “How will you find her?”

“I’ll let her come to me.” I shrug off her question. “Since your spiritual power is at the average for humans, you might not be able to feel it, but I have enough spiritual power to compare to even a youkai sage. Not quite enough to rival one, though.”

“Wouldn’t she just hide, in that case?” She asks. “If she can feel how much power you have, wouldn’t she just avoid you?”

“Probably.” I answer. “But once she’s on the move, she’ll be easy to track down. And if she stays put, it’ll just be a question about time. There’s also the chance that she’s prideful and comes out to challenge me, which a handful of youkai would. “

==========

“Say, am I pretty?” She points to her cheeks, covered by a modern surgical mask.

“See. I told you we would find her.” I gesture towards the small menreiki.

“But she’s a normal youkai.” Akyuu argues. “She was involved in a recent incident.”

“Hey. Am I pretty?” The little youkai leans in, making sure she’s being seen.

“Sure, that girl is a traditional youkai.” I agree. “But she’s most definitely cloaked in an urban legend.”

The difference in their signature is just too great to mistake. And even though the menreiki’s own energy is still clear as day, kuchisake’s is like a dense see-through curtain wrapped around. Clearly visible, but hiding nothing.

The little youkai stomps on the ground. “If you’re going to ignore me, then I’m just going to attack.” She declares, striking an overly angry pose.

“You might want to take a few steps back, Akyuu.” I warn her.

This girl, Kokoro, was only recently added to the notable figures in Gensokyo, so I’m still missing a lot of data about her. Honestly, a little too much for me to feel comfortable facing off against her.

Said youkai swings out her hand in front of her and a glowing blue spear materializes in it.

With weapon in hand, she charges at me, feet not touching the ground.

Readying the weapon with one hand, she prepares a strike with the full force of her charge behind her.

Pivoting on my front, I easily avoid the attack and watch her fly by.

She slams on the brakes and blindly swing her weapon back at me.

With three quick steps, I’ve moved out of her range.

Judging by her moves, she’s obviously not a fighter. Anyone with experience can easily predict her next moves.

She pulls back her spear, sliding her grip up the shaft so she can wield it two handed again.

Just as she grips it with both hands, she starts thrusting, aiming the blade towards my stomach. Each stab is executed quickly, with multiple thrusts per second.

Yet they still remain too easy to predict and avoid. The slight bit of wavering it takes to dodge as she continues to push ahead is remarkably dull.

As she prepares for a big strike, I interrupt her by placing my foot on her chest and shoving her back.

I’m not fond of kicking kids. And even though I know she’s not one, and would in fact be able to endure one of my kicks, it’d still feel wrong.

“Why aren’t you attacking?” She stands firm and points the spear at me, holding it in an outstretched arm.

I make a show out of shrugging and shaking my head. “I’m just not motivated to fight weaklings.” I taunt her. “I’m more interested in fighting your partner, so why don’t you bring her out? I’ll even take on both of you.”

“My partner?” She cocks her head.

So she doesn’t realize it herself? “Then I guess I really have to drag her out by force.”

Not giving her a chance to respond, I charge ahead.

She tries to counter my charge by aiming her spear at my head, though a quick sidestep easily dodges that.

I quickly focus my spiritual energy before delivering a backhanded liver blow.

The strike itself isn’t all that powerful, I mean it’s a backhanded hit after all. But rather, forcing my own spiritual power into her like this will hurt, both her and her partner.

She winces and recoils from the hit, giving me plenty room to withdraw to a safe distance beyond her range.

For but a moment, a shadowy figure forms behind her.

So it does work. I was doubting if I’d actually be able to attack Kuchisake directly like this.

She doesn’t take the hit kindly and comes at me, now swinging her spear in a wide arc.

Seems like that really hurt her. Youkai are primarily spiritual in nature, so of course that’d hurt her more than a normal punch. Though I didn’t think it’d be that bad. I was holding back after all.

Seeing an opportunity, I dive in between her swings and get up really close and personal.

“Martial Sign [One Inch Punch].” I declare, giving her a fair warning before delivering another spiritual strike, this time to her chest.

She manages to not fall back over, but instead goes down on her knees, clutching her chest with one hand.

Once again, I retreat back to a safe distance.

This is actually a rather disappointing fight. She has no experience in actual combat despite wielding her spear quite nicely. She’s even more frail than me, compared to the youkai I usually fight.

She stands back up, taking a single deep breath.

With the speed only a youkai could achieve, she flies straight at me.

“[Dance of the Empty-Hearted Masks: Noh of Darkness]!”

She takes one of the masks floating around her, and before I can react, forces it on my face.

The world goes dark. Completely. None of my senses work.

Then a sharp image flashes through my mind, a motionless state of my surroundings.

I’ve been cut, deeply. Though everything remains motionless, the trail of blood following the blade of the spear speaks volumes.

Another sharp image flash my mind, depicting a similar state.

Yet I can’t feel anything. Can’t do anything. Nothing but helplessly watch as she strikes.

Until finally my senses return. The pain of every cut makes itself known instantly, forcing me on my knees.


A faint yet clear ‘clink’ sound from behind drags me out of my thoughts. Like a small piece of metal falling on stone.

The hell just happened?


[ ] Dodge!
[ ] Charge
>> No. 31150
[x] Dodge!

I haven't played HM or ULiL, but not charging at something we can't see seems prudent.
>> No. 31151
[x] Charge

We're focused on endurance, so let's use that to make an attack she can't possibly predict.
>> No. 31162
It's a tie. Dodge reached the tie first, meaning it wins.
>> No. 31170
File 151476481580.jpg - (233.25KB, 931x1076, Cute little fighter.jpg) [iqdb]
31170
==========
Human Village, The Outskirts - 10th of Planting Month 15:11
==========

Before I realize what just happened, I’ve already dashed past my opponent, confusing her for long enough to create a lot of distance between us.

As I feel relatively safe, my first instinct is to grab my guts to feel out the wound.

There’s nothing.

I start tapping every other area of my chest where she cut me.

Nothing.

The hell just happened?

“You may run, but none can hide from Kuchisake.” She points her glaive at me, holding it out with one hand.

My body doesn’t report any damage. Nothing physical, nor anything magical. Seriously, what the hell just happened.

“I didn’t plan on running.” I put on my usual bravado. “Though I guess it’s about time I stop playing around.”

The mask she held in her other hand vanishes in a blue flash, and she instead grabs her polearm with both hands again.

No, but seriously, it’s time I stop playing around. I think I’ve gauged her abilities enough, and if she comes at me with attacks like that again, then I don’t know how long I’d last.

I assume a wider stance, shifting my defense away from my front.

She doesn’t take the bait, and instead takes up a stance of her own.

She’s been goaded into staying in place. This is why newbie fighters are boring. They’re too easy once you get serious.

Taking this opportunity, I start casting spells through my feet, setting up frameworks for barriers across the battlefield.

Once done, I assume a forward focused stance again.

“Thanks for waiting for me, Menreiki.” I yell. “Now, let us draw this to a close.”

Without giving her a chance to retort, I ignite the first spell.

A line of light shoots out from underneath my foot and shoots across the ground towards my opponent.

As it approaches her, it splits up into six, forking out over a wide area.

“You won’t get me that easily.” She jumps back, letting the lights pass beneath her.

The menreiki comes to a sudden halt, though, as her back hits a new wall, blocking her off from the rest of the road.

Likewise, I’ve raised the same kind of barrier behind me, trapping us in here.

“I wasn’t aiming at you.” I taunt.

Without further delay, I charge at her.

She takes a quick look behind her before assuming her stance again; low, with a firm grip on the rear of her glaive, with the front hand only holding it in place.

She flips her polearm around, and with a firm step in, swings it from the right.

She slides her front foot a little further ahead, securing her stance a little better.

I prepare another spell.

As I get close, she flips around her glaive so the blade is behind her.

I activate my spell, creating a column right next to her spear, preventing her from swinging it.

“What the-” She looks back at her weapon.

With nothing to stop me, I let the full force of my weight collide with her tiny frame, knocking her back into the wall.

She kicks off the wall, aiming straight for me. With her arms crossed, she swings them open, cutting away with her fans.

As she falls to the ground, her spear vanishes.

I take a few quick steps back.

The menreiki quickly picks herself up from the ground again. She flicks both her wrists, causing two fans, to appear.

“Didn't your mother ever teach you how to treat a lady?” She asks.

“Ladies? Of course. But sadly, there aren’t any ladies here, only a little child.”

The mask next to her head swaps out with one of those that fly around her. The red oni mask, to be precise.

I hold back a smirk as I wave her over, inviting her to attack me.

She takes me up on the offer by first jumping back to the wall, where she kicks off, flying straight at me.

“I don’t think so.” I raise another wall between us.

With no time to stop, she manages to flip herself around to avoid a headfirst collision.

Seizing the chance, I dissolve the barrier between us.

Using swift footwork, I shove my leg in underneath her center, wrap my arm around her chest, and in a single push, throw her over my leg down onto the ground.

Following up, I charge my fist with spiritual energy again and strike down at her stomach.

She lets out a most unladylike sound, which I can best describe as “ge-hurg” before she lies flat on the ground.

Targeting the guts means targeting her stamina directly. With that gone, regardless how much she wants to stand, she’ll be unable to.

And it seems like it worked. She’s not moving, aside from her chest showing she’s still breathing.

I crouch down and grab her chin, allowing me to move around her head and examine her a little closer.

Her eyes, blank though not empty, stay focused on me regardless of the angle I turn her face.

“That was playing dirty.” she comments.

With a finger on each cheek, I push in, giving her a fishmouth. Just because, really.

“That was a standard take down technique.” I tell her. “I’m simply a better fighter. That’s all.”

I let go of her and stand back up.

As I’m about to dispel the barriers when the menreiki starts glowing with a cold purple light.

The light concentrates itself directly above her, where it starts taking the form of a sphere.

Then, without warning it flies at me, burrowing into my chest.

“The hell?” I ask aloud.

It doesn’t hurt. On the contrary, it’s as if an exhilarating feeling of newfound power starts welling up inside me.

What a dangerously addicting feeling.

Kuchisake’s aura has vanished from the menreiki. Seems like I failed.

I snap my finger and the walls I’ve erected all shatter and disappear.

“Akyuu.” I call out to my little partner.

“Yie- Yeah.” Her voice cracks. “I’m still here.”

“I’m afraid I failed on this one.” I walk over to her. “It’s the first time I’m even trying something like this, so that’s to be expected. We’ll just have to find another one and try again.”

“What do you mean?” Her brow frowns. “I saw it. The urban legend that is. A crazy looking woman with long wild hair. She was fighting a fox too.”

A fox? That she’d be able to see Kuchisake in my barrier’s reflection is one thing, but where did this fox come from?

I reach for the old coin in my pocket, but to my surprise, it’s not there.

Looking back over our battleground, I can’t immediately see where it’d be.

And once again, I hear a faint ’clink’ behind me. Which, upon looking, turns out to be the old coin.

Exactly what is this coin, Yukari?

“I don’t know if you saw what happened after the fight,” I stuff the coin back in my pocket, “but it’s something I’ll need to talk with Reimu about.” Or Kasen, for that matter, since she’s also investigating this incident. “So that’s gonna change our plans slightly.”

“I don’t particularly mind.” She shakes her head. “But is she going be alright? That youkai.”

“The menreiki?” I ask. “Yeah, she’ll just need a minute to recover.”

“So she can get away before the guards show up.” She lets out a sigh. “Unlike most humans here, I have nothing against youkai as long as they behave. And even in cases like hers, she doesn’t deserve a punishment.”

“Agreed. Once they start killing humans, though, that’s where I draw the line.” I tell her.

But with that behind us, I should probably go find either Reimu or Kasen. Problem is, I have no idea where they might be.

Alternatively, I could loosen all restraints on my spiritual power, letting all the excess flow out. It’d make me a beacon to everything capable of sensing energy, which includes both girls. But it also includes who knows what else, which could also decide to show up and pick a fight.


[ ] Search for Reimu
[ ] Search for Kasen
[ ] Become a beacon
[Write in]


Since last update was shit, and did nothing to actually hint at what the coin was used to, I'm including this next week until I call the votes, in the meta vote on whether to go confront the lunarians or follow the ULiL story. It should of course be noted that this isn't gonna be a sharp turn if you go for the lunarians. I'll simply change the flow of upcoming events to lead you in that direction, if you so choose.

And a happy new year, while we're at it.
>> No. 31171
[x] Search for Kasen

Never enough pink hermit.
>> No. 31172
[x] Kasen

With how good these fight scenes are, cutting them short feels like a crime. No shortcuts.

Also, you update on the weirdest days, you know that?
Per example, the first update of this thread was exactly a year ago.
>> No. 31173
>>31172
That's intentional. For the last four years, I've always posted on new years, as close to 00:00 as possible site time.

>>29716
>>30202 only time I've been off, and only by an hour
>>OP
>>Last Update

Started because the story itself starts on new years, I decided to post the first update there as well. Been keeping it up just because.

That said, 37 updates in 4 years is a little sad.
>> No. 31174
[x] Search for Reimu

Better idea of what's going on.
>> No. 31176
Gonna look for Kasen, and we'll ignore the moonies.
>> No. 31177
File 15177740522.jpg - (432.77KB, 600x800, 55562190_p0.jpg) [iqdb]
31177
==========
Human Village, The Outskirts - 10th of Planting Month 15:17
==========

“Kasen.” I say after a brief moment of consideration.

“Kasen?” Akyuu asks. “The One-Armed Hermit? What does she have to do with this?”

“When I arrived in Gensokyo, I talked with Reimu who was still at the shrine.” I explain, looking in the direction of the shrine. “According to her, Kasen had been working on this incident for a while already, while Reimu was just getting started.”

“So we’re going to ask the hermit for help?” She continues to ask.

“No. She’s working on the incident. I’m not.” I tell her. “We’ll trade information and hope it helps both of us.”

“I see.” She starts stroking her chin. “How are we gonna find her? She lives on Youkai Mountain, but we can’t reach her house without her guidance.”

“I doubt she’s home right now.” I tell her. “She’s likely somewhere in the city, following a lead we know nothing about.” I turn my gaze north, towards Youkai Mountain. “Our best option for finding her would without a doubt be to just wait for her, but who knows how long that’ll take.”

“I’d not be entirely opposed to that.” She remarks. “If you hadn’t already figured that out.”

“I’m not dense, Akyuu. I just prioritize work.” I explain. “But alternatively, instead of going outside the village to wait for her, we could look around for her.”

“We would be unlikely to find her like that.” Akyuu comments. “We’d have more luck getting Grey out looking.”

“Grey?” I ask.

She looks confused for a second. “Oh right, I never told you his name. Grey is the name of that old man that chased us a while back. He’s sort of a bodyguard for me, even though my life is already being protected by all five Youkai Sages.”

Grey. Obviously an alias, but not like I can judge him on that front.

“He’s going to refuse, though.” She continues. “He’s very reluctant about leaving me alone whenever I leave home.”

“I’ll scrap that as an option, then.” I take another brief moment to consider our options. “Waiting really is the best option.”

“So where should we wait? Out north?” She asks.

“That’ll be where we’re most likely to catch her.” I reply. “And we may not even see her, if she doesn’t go back today.”

She ignores my later remark and starts leading us up to the northern exit.

Since she doesn’t start any conversation, I figure now might be a good time to read up on urban legends. Kuchisake was a special case since she was an old youkai that’d been revived recently. Since I rarely deal with urban legends, I generally don’t bother memorizing them.

I pull out my grimoire from inside my shirt. A motion which seems to catch the chronicler’s attention.

“What do you have there?” She asks, trying to take a peek inside.

“An encyclopedia of sorts.” I flip the book around to let her see. “It’s been imbued with magic though. Which, among other things, prevents anyone but me from reading it.”

“So it’s a grimoire?” She asks.

“Yeah, although a weak one.” I answer. “Any experienced magician would be able to break it easily.”

“Really, then what’s the point?”

“To prevent people like you from reading it.” I tell her bluntly. “This book automatically records everything I learn. Which includes information that’s better kept under wraps.”

“Such as?” She inquires. “If I’m even allowed to know that much.”

“An example would be information regarding the Special Containment procedures. SCP for short.” I tell her. “Gensokyo is a land where youkai, the fears of the heart, live. Even if SCP is fiction, should anyone from Gensokyo learn about it, they’ll undoubtedly become real.”

“Oh. Do I even dare ask what that is, then?” She asks anyway.

“It’s like the scroll of the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons.” I tell her. “But instead of youkai, it’s western monsters. And instead of a hundred, it four thousand. Last I checked, anyway. And that’s all the detail I can go into without getting risky.”

“That, what are we gonna do if they show up here?” She clenches her hands slightly.

“They aren’t. The SCPs are fictitious through and through.” I declare. “But here in Gensokyo, if people learned about them and started to fear them, then they would appear, and at that point even I would be powerless.”

“So if they aren’t real, why are they so dangerous?” She comes to a halt, only continuing when she sees I’m not stopping for her.

“Do you know what the essence of a youkai?” I ask her. She just shakes her head in response. “That’s surprising, actually. I’d thought that you of all people would know that.”

“It’s a little more complex than this, but a youkai’s essence can be summed up as belief, fear and desire.” I state. “Let’s say you have a bad knee. Not because you hurt yourself, but it just started hurting one day. If I can then convince you that it’s the act of a youkai living inside your knee, then that’ll become truth. If I then extract the youkai, the pain will go away too. Now here’s the thing; that youkai only existed because you believed in it, because you were afraid of the pain it’d cause you, and because you’d desire to shove the blame on something easy and get rid of it.”

She goes silent, opting to look ahead as she processes the information I just gave her. It takes a while before she speaks up again.

“Isn’t that how kami works?” She asks.

“This might sound ludicrous coming from a priest, but kami are youkai too.” I explain. “The term youkai refers to much more than just monsters. Like for example, the Scarlet Mist incident. The mist itself would be categorized as a youkai, since it’s an unexplained phenomenon. Or it was, until we learned it was caused by a youkai, though that doesn’t change its status as a supernatural event, meaning it’s still considered a youkai, despite not being ‘alive’ if you will.”

“That makes kami, a supernatural being, a youkai too.” I continue. “Granted, that’s the top level of the definition, which generalize things so much it’s basically useless. Yet despite that, the difference between them is virtually nonexistent.

“You may believe youkai are born from the fear of the human heart, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s the same for kami. Why would you pray to the god of harvest if you weren’t afraid of starving? Why pray to the god of riches if you weren’t afraid of becoming poor? The difference is simply what kind of fear you have. Youkai feed on your immediate fear for survival; the fear that you might be killed on your way home. While kami feed on the long term fear that ‘something bad might happen’.

“Of course I need to mention that this is my interpretation of the facts as I know them.” I add. “Gods aren’t likely to admit they live off your fear, because they also need your loyalty, while youkai aren’t likely to admit they need your desire because that would lessen your fear.”

“That’s crazy.” Is all she says in response.

Granted, I had a few years to figure that out on my own, slowly, and it still came as an eye opening realization. I can’t imagine what it’d be like after, what, three hundred years or how many she’s actually been alive for.

I don’t say anything after that. Instead I just allow her to process it as we walk in silence. It’s not until we reach the north gate that I decide to break the silence.

“You’re still holding up?” I ask her.

“Yeah. I got over the shock a while ago.” She responds. “Now I’m not going through all my data to reevaluate it.”

“Just remember to consider what information you can release to the public. Youkai feed on fear, and the unknown is the biggest source of fear.” I explain. “If too much about youkai are known and understood, people will stop being afraid, which would starve the youkai here.”

“That much I know.” She reassures me, picking up her posture again. “You’ve read the full version of The Gensokyo Chronicles, so you know just how much information I keep under wraps. That’s the reason no one but me can access the Hieda archive, by the way.” She adds on proudly.

“What an interesting story.” A woman clad in all pink descends from the sky in front of us. “I’d like to hear more about that.”

“Ah. Kasen.” Akyuu greets her. “We were just looking for you.”

God, that stench. The only thing I know that stinks this much would be those thieving tanuki. Despite being so vastly inferior to foxes, they’re still known for their transformations. And yet they try to fool us with this sloppy mess of a transformation.

“I heard you two were looking for me, so I rushed out here.” The fake hermit informs us.

“Really?” I play along. “If you knew, then we could have avoided this long trek, since I’m sure you had to go out of your way.”

“It’s nothing to worry about.” She dismisses my fake concern with a wave of her hand. “I had just finished up on my end too.”

Oh? What’s this? She’s sending a decent killing intent my way. I can almost feel a shiver on my spine.

I just shrug it off. “While I have, Kasen. I’ve been thinking about your offer.” I change the topic. “Circumstances have changed slightly, and I might be able to take you up on it.”

“Sadly, that offer has expired.” She dismisses my comment again.

“But didn’t you say that you’d love to do your part?” I return the favor by releasing my own killing intent, without breaking face.

Might have overdone it slightly, though, as Akyuu seems to have noticed it too.

The fake hermit lets out a deep sigh. “I knew you’d be trouble, fox boy.”

“I’d have been a little friendlier if you didn’t try to trick us, raccoon.” I reply.

“What?” Akyuu injects.

“Ah, right.” The tanuki remembers that Akyuu is here. She dispels her transformation, blowing up a cloud of dust, like all tanuki do. A sure tell sign of bad transformations.

Her new form is that of an older woman, with hazel hair hidden underneath an oversized leaf. The small round glasses gives her an air closer to that of a middle aged woman. Her clothes are of a similar color theme to her hair, though brighter. Futatsuiwa. She match the description. Interestingly enough, her spiritual power resembles a four dimensional sphere, though not perfectly spherical. It’s rare to see people who’ve developed a high dimensional spirit like that.

“Now. You’ve already done a number on my patience.” I inform her. “So be straight.”

The tanuki snickers in response. “Gotcha. Truth to be told, I’d like to be quick too.” She leans back, resting against her tail. “Those orbs of yours. Give me. Like that pink friend of yours, I’m looking into this incident myself.”

“You’re talking about that ball that came out of the Menreiki?” I ask.

“Yeah, that one. And you’re own.” She rocks slightly on her tail.

Mine? I know I have Kokoro’s, because it came to me against my will. Do I have one of my own?

Should I even trust her? Kasen I trust, I’d be happy to help her, but a tanuki, that’s a different story.

[ ] Let the old lady have my balls
[ ] Keep my balls for myself
>> No. 31178
[X] Keep my balls for myself

...Ha.
>> No. 31179
[x] Keep my balls for myself
They're fine where they are.
>> No. 31180
[x] Keep my balls for myself

She's under the effect of the occult balls already?
>> No. 31181
Man, he sure hates Tanuki. It's almost as if he was raised by foxes or something.
>> No. 31182
[x] Keep my balls for myself

Sorry, we're rather attached to them.

...that was awful and I feel awful for posting it.
>> No. 31190
Tanukis loving balls. Talk about a cliche.
>> No. 31191
[X] Keep my balls for myself

Yeah, she's not getting our balls that easily.
>> No. 31193
File 151841850981.jpg - (239.25KB, 626x1652, Mokou's balls.jpg) [iqdb]
31193
Saving our balls for Akyuu's sake, got it.

>>31190
That actually didn't occur to me, to be honest. It really was just for a cheap laugh, because I found this image again
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