Killing time with this story. Kinda want to see where this'll lead so ya.
The Sun burns your face. Despite the screen over the view port, the light shining through is still strong enough to wake you up from your slumber. For the past few weeks the Sun has scalded your unprotected face every morning as you slept aboard the Guillotine; the newest military satellite orbiting Earth for 5 years now. As the sole crew member remaining on the space station during a staff transition it’s up to you to maintain the station until the next shuttle is sent up in a week. It’s been long and tiresome being the only person aboard the orbiting cannon but you’ve managed to keep everything in perfect working condition. You’re looking forward to finally getting some actual company instead of the video transmissions the people on Earth keep sending you.
You grab one of the many handles adorning the interior of the station and propel yourself out of your sleeping quarters. First things first, you check the overall status of the satellite and run an internal diagnostics check on life support systems. Going through the procedures isn’t hard at all; it’s just that going through them for weeks has started to wear at your mental state. You’re tired; it’s a comfort knowing that a week after the replacements arrive you yourself finally get to return to Earth for some nice R&R. Drifting into the dining module, you prepare a simple meal of cereal and milk.
It’s awfully quiet in here.
The silence is unsettling. Normally, you would have a partner assisting you with the daily routines and maintenance of the station. However, unforeseen circumstances forced the rest of the crew to return to Earth. Trying to distract yourself from it, you play a bit with the milk in your bowl; it’s been a while since you could relax a bit and you figure unwinding even a little might help you from going insane from the isolation. As you form shapes with it you suddenly remember.
Oh shit! A solar storm is going to happen today!
Rushing to the main dashboard, you check the time. It’s 7:54 A.M. now; the storm is supposed to hit Earth at around 8:16 A.M. leaving you with just about 20 minutes to prepare the station for the intense solar rays that are expected to be emitted from this particular storm. You quickly close the view ports to prevent unfiltered solar radiation from entering the main cabin as well as shut down the weapon systems and the more sensitive control interfaces of the station. Although you’re trying not to get too excited, this storm is anticipated to be one of the most violent solar storms in recorded history; you’re hoping that this satellite can withstand it.
After several tense moments rushing the emergency shutdowns of the main systems you’ve completely locked down the station and are prepared for the incoming solar flare. However, you’ve lost that relaxed state you were in just moments before. Figuring you should take this opportunity to calm down a bit, you decide to do something to wait out the storm.
[ ] Finish breakfast [ ] Have some fun in zero-gravity
~Grumble~ Your stomach decides for you. You’re still hungry and besides, why waste a perfectly good meal anyway? Returning to the dining module you finish up the rest of the cereal. You check a nearby display panel. Right now the time is 8:10; 6 minutes until the arrival of the solar storm. Thinking back, perhaps you rushed the shutdown of the station a bit too much. After all, your mind was racing so fast you’re not sure you shut everything down. With a bit more time before the storm, you head back to the control module for a final check on the satellite’s condition.
You turn on the systems’ overview console. As it runs through the list of shut down processes and functions, you breathe a sigh of relief. The most sensitive systems have all been shut down, including the weapon and maneuvering systems. With that fear dispelled, you return to your sleeping quarters and pull a book out of your bag to read while you wait. A few minutes pass before you look at one of the displays on the wall. Its 8:16 now and the storm should be passing by right about now. Headquarters predicted that the solar waves would take up to another 5 minutes to completely pass the Earth so you’ll have to sit tight for a bit longer. You return your attention to the book and continue reading.
You stop reading and put the book down. Solar storms can move space stations, but they can’t shake them like what you just felt. Surely you’re being paranoid; being alone for weeks in a cramped place can do that to people. Still, that rocking felt very real. Dismissing it, you pick up your book again and flip back to your last page. As you read on, you can’t help but think that something was very wrong.
You drop the book. This time you’re sure the station shook for a moment. Rushing to the control module you check the display for the active systems to find clues to the shaking. Once on the list of active systems you read them off slowly.
“Life support… Power… Basic command interface… Navigation… Orbital maneuvering system…”
Orbital maneuvering system?
The station was in a relatively safe orbit when you last checked. There also were no reports of any foreseen asteroids or fellow satellites that would enter the flight path of this station. Even more confusing, the orbit maneuver system was one of the functions that you shut down earlier. The time now is 8:23 which means that the storm should’ve passed by already. You open the view ports to check for any incoming debris or satellites outside. As you pass a view port in the hallway, you see the Earth; a breathtaking sight as it begins filling up your view.
You stare hard at the view outside. Sure enough, the Earth isn’t just floating below the station; it’s also getting CLOSER. You head back into the control module and check the navigation log. As data fills the screen, you spot a noticeable change in the flight vector at 8:18. This change was probably caused by the force of the solar storm. In response, the navigation system overrode the manual shutdown of the maneuvering system and forced a reboot.
Even the failure of one system, however crucial can be fatal. Instead of pushing the station back into its original orbit as intended, it’s now pushing it towards the Earth. When the maneuvering system rebooted, it was almost immediately fried by the solar storm; particularly because of it being one of the most exposed systems on the station. This is your conclusion as to why the Guillotine is now headed toward Earth. However, knowing the cause won’t change anything; there’s simply not enough time to correct the orbit of the station, especially since the propulsion system itself is malfunctioning. You need to get out of here now!
Before you leave however, protocol demands you first prepare the residential modules for ejection. As a precaution, the weapon module was installed with all the basic functions of a satellite to continue operating should the rest of the station be compromised. So while the maneuvering system of the surrounding station has been damaged, the weapon module’s maneuvering system should still be functioning properly. You restart the weapon systems and activate its emergency standalone functions as you remove the weapon launch console from the control module’s dashboard. As the only firing mechanism for the Guillotine, this small portable control device needs to get back to your superiors as soon as possible.
With everything prepped, you check the time remaining before the modules eject. 60 seconds. That’s enough time to grab one more thing on board this doomed station. Before you enter the Orbital drop pod and escape, what else do you want to take with you?
[ ] Your bag. Might as well just take what belongs to you out of here. [ ] A medical kit. Could be useful since you don’t even know where you’ll be landing. [ ] Some food and rations. Same reasoning as the medical kit.
[ ] Your bag. Might as well just take what belongs to you out of here.
You rush back into the sleeping quarters. This may be an emergency but you’ll be damned if you’re going back to Earth without your stuff. While grabbing some other supplies sounds nice right now, the escape pod is bound to have at least some sort of basic survival kit. Frantically, you reach under your bed and pull out as many of your things as you can hold. As you cram them into your bag, you quickly note a few things you have in it.
Several changes of casual clothing. A hand mirror. A few books. Mostly pleasure reading, but one or two related to meteorology. Some candy bars. A letter opener. A half-used tube of bacitracin.
Having grabbed most of your belongings, you return to the main hallway. The escape pod is at the far end of the station to your left. Drifting along, you glance briefly at the countdown until ejection on the display. You have 20 seconds before the escape pod auto-launches from the satellite; still enough time to reach the capsule. Reaching the pod’s door, you enter the pod and strap yourself into one of the seats.
You feel a shudder as the capsule frees itself from the Guillotine. As you drift away, you watch as the station separates from the weapon system which begins maneuvering itself back into its original orbit. You let out a short sigh, at least the weapon system made it out safely; maybe you won’t be reprimanded so badly when you return to Earth. Even if this incident was unavoidable headquarters will still want to put the blame on someone, most likely you for being on board the station. As you approach the atmosphere, the pod begins shaking violently as the friction begins heating up the air. Despite having re-entered the atmosphere on several occasions, the circumstances of this re-entry make this return much more tense.
The heat is starting to reach the insides of the capsule. You remember that the escape pod for the Guillotine has never been updated nor has it been inspected recently. With its advanced technology, no one ever thought that using the escape pod would even need to be considered. Hopefully the heat panels are still intact; otherwise there won’t be anything left for your superiors to use as a scapegoat. The shuddering is intensifying. It might be from the odd angle of re-entry but it’s a lot worse than your last return to Earth. As you glance out of a nearby viewport, a blur of black whizzes past the window.
Seconds later, a thin sheet of cirrus clouds appears to greet your return. There are several layers of clouds obscuring the Earth below but at least you’ve made it back relatively safe. As you pass through the clouds, you begin to look for familiar landmarks. Below appears to be what looks like a bamboo forest with a town along the far side of it. Seeing the vast bamboo woods immediately makes you think of Asia. Off in the distance, a mountain looms high into the clouds; you’re surprised that you didn’t even see the tip of it when you were above the clouds. The mountain’s appearance is odd though… it reminds you of Mt. Fuji but taller than you’ve ever seen it before.
After a descending a bit closer to the Earth, the parachutes finally deploy. The winds seem to be pushing your pod close to what looks like a lake on the edge of the bamboo forest. Even though you’re sure this is Asia, something about the layout of the geography seems… wrong. As you touch down, you remember that this pod while outdated does have a GPS locater to signal to HQ where in the world you are. Flipping the console on, you input a location search. After a few minutes, the system turns up nothing.
Now you’re sure something is very off; even if the pod was old, the GPS it was equipped with should’ve been still working even in an isolated area like this. Hell, the GPS the pod had was still being used on the Guillotine! You pull out the remote console for the Guillotine. You send a test signal to the weapon platform to check if this region has no reception. A second later, Guillotine replies back; its reception is unhindered here.
“Guess the GPS really is broken. Maybe I should look for someone…”
You take a quick peek outside. How fortunate, someone is heading this way, probably to investigate the commotion. But for some reason, you-
The drop pod is hot after re-entry, it is likely to give off burning smell or even scorch some grass. If we feel something unusual, that should be cold.
[x] try reasoning.
Are we feeling like shit right now? We should be, we just spent a few weeks in zero-g, got violently shaken around, and hit ground at an approximate speed of 20 MPH. Right now, we would probably be beaten by a feeble goat herder.
Long update is long. Super excited while thinking of this part so finished it pretty quick.
[ ] start to feel cold [ ] Try reasoning
A chill passes through you. Did it suddenly just get really cold? From the looks of your surroundings, it should be late spring or summer right now. You should be feeling strange after returning to Earth but you’ve been taking a variety of medications to counteract the effects of zero gravity. It’s possible you’re also a bit shaken by the extreme landing. Still, someone is approaching so if you can get help, you should be fine. As the person draws near, you finally can get a good look at them.
It’s a small girl. She’s in a blue and white dress and oddly, she has short blue hair with a bow on her head. As she gets closer, you also make out what appear to be 6 icicles sticking out from her back. While something tells you that she’s not a normal human, you’re glad you finally have someone to actually talk to. She looks like she’s more interested in the pod so you wave out to her to draw her attention. You assume that this is somewhere in Japan which means this girl most likely speaks Japanese. Having taken the language during your instruction; you’re glad that your training required you to be multilingual.
“Hey, little girl! Over here!”
The girl doesn’t look too happy. Was it something you said? Just when you try to speak up again, the girl floats off the ground and FLIES over to you. Now you’ve seen some crazy things during your service to your country but nothing close to someone casually flying like nobody’s business. You’re too stunned to move as the girl glares at you. The distance between your faces is almost nonexistent and you notice that it’s gotten a lot colder since the girl arrived. As you wonder who this girl could be, she drills an icy finger into your chest, “I’m not a little girl. Don’t you know who I am?”
The girl backs off and puffs her chest out boldly, “You’re talking to the strongest in Gensokyo.” She points a finger straight at you, “My name is Cirno. The genius! Remember that now.”
You don’t know what or where Gensokyo is but right now, you just want to find a way back home. This girl, while obnoxious may be the only person nearby you can rely on right now. It would be wise not to get on her bad side. But first, you need to know where on Earth you are.
“I’m sorry Cirno, but where is Gensokyo?”
“Are you stupid? Gensokyo’s right here duh.”
“I meant where in the world is Gensokyo.” Talking to this girl is becoming a pain. You never were good with children. She doesn’t even seem to know where Gensokyo is… Not that you would but you figured that one of its natives would at least know where Gensokyo was on the Earth. It’s almost as if they’ve never heard of the rest of the world. Cirno still seems to be thinking about that last statement. After a while, she growls in frustration, “Ugh, I dunno? But we’re here aren’t we?”
“You’re kind of stupid huh?”
Oops. You let that out unconsciously. She looks really pissed and now you’ve probably blown any chance of her helping you find your way back. Cirno begins fuming, “EVERYONE KEEPS CALLING ME STUPID AND WEAK!!!” She clenches her fist as she shakes with rage, “Well mister, I’m gonna show you just how powerful the strongest really is.”
“Wait, I didn’t mean that-“
“SHUT UP!!! ICE SIGN: ICICLE FALL!!!”
As if on command, a rain of ice begins pouring out from Cirno. This is almost out of a fantasy; what the hell is this girl? The air is getting colder now from all the ice. There’s no blind spot, nowhere to dodge the torrents of icicles coming at you from all angles. Except… right in front of her?
There’s a huge glaring opening right in front of Cirno. This move looks intimidating, but she’s left herself vulnerable to a close-up exchange. You don’t want to hit her just yet but you do need her to stop. The ice storm she’s making is damaging the escape pod; your supplies are still in there! Getting in close you try talking her down, “Cirno, please stop!”
Cirno seems surprised that you’ve found the blind spot but she’s still too high off the ground for you. Despite looking like an adolescent girl, she’s putting up an impressive defense not to mention displaying abilities you would never consider possible.
“No way! No one takes me seriously anymore. If they won’t respect me, I’ll make them respect me!”
“Enough talking, FREEZE SIGN: PERFECT FREEZE!”
The ice that was flying everywhere dissipates almost instantly and is replaced by a rainbow storm of bullets. This time there really isn’t an obvious blind spot but you’re doing your best to dodge the shots. You’re not sure how much more punishment the capsule can take; this fight is starting to get out of hand. During an emergency or do-or-die situation, you’re allowed to use Guillotine. If you’re unable to return the launch console for whatever reason, headquarters will have your head as well as your families’; Guillotine is just too valuable to be replaced.
Using the Guillotine is an extreme last resort though. This girl may be powerful but you’re not sure if this warrants using an orbiting superweapon on her. The cold air is starting to affect your motor skills though. Hopefully, she wears herself out from using these attacks before she breaks the pod or worse… you. At least you’re starting to see the pattern in the bullets flying past you now. While difficult, you’re just managing to avoid the bullets encroaching upon your position. Meanwhile, Cirno is floating just out of reach; smiling like a child with a secret. There’s something unnerving about that grin but you’re not sure what. Seconds later, you find out why.
“PERFECT FREEZE: PART 2!!!”
The bullets stop in place. Looking close, you realize that Cirno has frozen them on the spot. You’re not sure what she’s planning but this fight needs to stop. Now. You run towards Cirno, taking care to avoid touching the frozen bullets. Cirno is still smiling; something’s wrong, you can tell. As if answering your suspicion, the bullets begin moving again. In new random directions everywhere. Now you’re in trouble, you’ve gotten surrounded in the torrent of ice. This chill is making it hard to think clearly or react. As the ice closes in, you can’t find any openings. No escape. Are you going to die?
Not just yet. Without thinking, you pull out the remote console. You don’t want to die now. You’ve just made it back to Earth dammit! No way are you going to let yourself get killed by some little girl who can throw ice cubes. You direct the guidance laser on the console at Cirno. As the laser finds her forehead, your thumb hovers over the launch button.
A thought hits you suddenly. Why were you two fighting anyway? It’s too late to turn back now; one of you is going to die. You grit your teeth as you realize exactly what you’re doing, “Sorry…”
Cirno disintegrates right in front of you. Unlike those Sci-Fi movies with the bright, vibrant lasers streaming across the battlefields in space, there’s no visible laser here. Guillotine has fired its main electromagnetic cannon straight at her; there’s simply nothing left of the girl. On the ground, there’s a visible scorch mark from the laser; most of the dirt turned to glass from the heat. The size of the mark is about a couple meters in diameter. And this is with thick cloud cover and only 10% strength. The sheer power of Guillotine is frightening.
The ice Cirno was creating has dispersed as well but its effects haven’t left the area yet. You’re still freezing; barely able to move without shaking from the chill. You’re worried about hypothermia setting in but at least you’re still alive. However, you’ve just killed a young girl…
That voice… Cirno? But that’s impossible; you’ve utterly destroyed her body. There’s no way that she’s still alive. Turning back to the impact site, you stare in disbelief. Cirno is regenerating… from nothing. After a few moments, you can fully recognize the little girl’s form again. She looks completely fine now but she’s knocked out. Considering the fact that she survived a direct laser blast, you’re not sure if you want to stay around when she wakes up.
You examine the current state of the escape pod. The shell of the capsule is cracked and dented from the cold and heavy ice that pelted it. Otherwise the pod is relatively intact but several components inside have been shaken loose from the battle. While you could take just the supplies onboard, some of the parts on the capsule might be useful later on. Thinking carefully, you-
[ ] take supplies from the pod and head into the woods. [ ] get back into the pod and salvage some parts before fleeing with supplies.
[x] take supplies from the pod and head into the woods.
The only noteworthy use of spare parts would be to trade with the kappa for something, since we probably don't have the technical knowhow to do anything with our remote. It's probably not worth the fact that we would be around possibly long enough for Cirno to regain consciousness.
[ ] take supplies from the pod and head into the woods.
You gather up your bag and the survival kit. While the exposed parts are tempting, you have no idea when or where you’ll find a use for them. Besides, you’re kind of in a rush to get as far away as possible from the ice girl drooling in the nearby crater. With supplies in tow, you begin walking through the bamboo woods. Looking at the sky, you notice the overcast is already breaking up. It seems that weather in Gensokyo changes rather fast for it to clear up this quickly.
Despite only a few minutes having passed, you’ve gotten quite deep into the woods. Although taking the road might be easier and quicker, you aren’t sure how fellow natives might take your apparent assault on one of their own kind. It’d be better to stay out of plain sight and find an area where you can signal for help. Having walked a good distance into the forest, you feel now would be a good time to take an inventory of what the survival kit contains. The main items in the pack are-
A week’s worth of dried rations Small vacuum-sealed water canteen (filled) Fire-starting kit Knife Plastic tarp Small flashlight Durable 2-way radio Basic medical kit Compass Sunglasses
Aside from these things, you still have the items you brought with you from the station. You squint for a moment as the glare hits your face. The Sun is getting bright in the noon sky despite the foliage above you. Putting on the sunglasses, you pack your supplies up and begin continuing down your planned path. Though you’re sure you’ve only been heading in a straight line, something seems familiar about that rock over there…
Dammit, that really was the same rock you passed several minutes ago. Right now you would kill to have some sort of map or GPS to plot a path to the nearest village. You pull out the weapon console. As you examine the device, your expression sinks a bit. You were hoping to find some sort of GPS on the console but the remote is designed specifically for the weapon systems of Guillotine. It’s unlikely that they gave the handheld more functions aside from using its weaponry. As you flip through the various icons displayed on the screen, one catches your eye. You’re in luck, on the screen the letters GPS are staring you in the face. You select the option cautiously though; it wouldn’t be the first time that programs with the same acronym lettering have fooled you.
A grid shows up on the screen. Staring hard at the random lines and curves you realize that this is indeed a GPS. A really crappy one. Nothing like the three-dimensional layouts that current GPS use. Moreover, you can’t even find names for the locations (Or blots; you’re kind of unsure) you see on the display. You were kind of hoping for a bit much when you tried searching for a simple GPS function on the world’s most advanced military satellite.
Still, words can’t quite describe how utterly frustrated you are right now. You pull out the radio hoping to connect to someone, anyone. Like the capsule’s GPS, the radio is failing to pick up any signals at all. Getting back to base is going to take some time; headquarters most likely traced where you landed but finding the recovery team will probably take a few days without radio reception. You’re hoping you can find them before a week passes; the deadline at which headquarters essentially stops caring. About you anyway; they’ll keep looking for the console and make absolute sure to bring only it back. ONLY it.
Not that you’re able to complain about that. Regardless of being a ranked officer in the military, you’ve never been allowed to voice concerns that you might have over protocols or procedures. Simply trying would be asking for government “spiriting away” or worse; getting your reputation sabotaged along with a public assassination. You’ve lost count of the times you’ve found dubious information regarding the deaths of supposedly “corrupt” individuals. The only reason headquarters allowed you to see it was because you were in the intelligence branch. All they said was to disregard those documents but even so; knowing what a government truly thinks of its people is disturbing in its own right.
You brush the dark thoughts aside. You still have a job to do; sitting here won’t change anything. Returning the console is the best chance you have for getting the government off your ass as well as away from your family. According to the GPS on the remote, there’s what appears to be a building (you think) several miles south of your location. It’s completely isolated; suspicious but that also might mean they aren’t affiliated with Cirno in any way. You could try to get to it, but there’s no telling if they’ll even be hospitable to you. They’re probably in the middle of the woods for a reason after all.
[ ] Head towards the building. [ ] Stop and check the GPS for any other locations nearby. [ ] Check GPS for an area with higher elevation.
An isolated building in the forest is either some kind of factory, shrine, forest resort or research/military installation. It may also be abandoned, which gives us good chances of finding help/shelter there. With such unreliable GPS, it's better to act quickly.
You check the distance between you and the building one more time. Compared to the distance you’ve already traveled through the forest, it’s not so bad. Finding help would be the quickest way back home and even if the building happens to be abandoned, it's likely there are supplies you can scrounge out of there. Shelter would also be useful and a structure in the middle of the woods stands out a lot, making it slightly easier for the rescue team to find you. Using the compass, you find the general direction and begin heading towards the building.
As you walk toward the building’s location, you notice out of the corner of your eye movement all around you. Looking around, you spot dozens of rabbits everywhere. Such a dense population of them is amazing. Up until now you haven’t seen even one rabbit but as you get closer to the building, the number of rabbits you see is steadily increasing. This Gensokyo place is becoming increasingly bizarre with each step you take.
You check the time. It’s about 2 P.M. and the humidity is killing your mood. After that overcast, the Sun is starting to bake the ground even under this thick cover. You’ve already drank at least half of the water in the canteen. You were expecting a couple streams flowing through based on the bright green leaves the bamboo trees had here but so far you have yet to find even a tiny creek. Thankfully, you’re pretty close to the building and based on the GPS, you’re about a good mile and a half away from shelter; you should start to see a clearing soon…
“Halt! Don’t come any closer.”
The sudden voice surprises you. Apparently there are people still living in the building. You were starting to think that a building this isolated was most likely abandoned. Hopefully, the occupants will be willing to assist you in finding a way back. This time you really shouldn’t be pissing off the natives. Raising your arms in submission, you scan the background to try and find the origin of the voice.
“I’m sorry. I happen to be… a traveler of sorts. I lost my way and I was hoping I could find help to get back home.” You’re unsure of how a native would to respond if you told them you came from outer space. Better you just keep the details vague. “If possible, I’d also-”
“Who are you anyway?” The voice cuts you off. You can feel something glaring at you with an almost murderous intent. At this point, you notice something else is strange. The rabbits have disappeared. All of them. This place just got even creepier. The voice booms out again, “Speak now, who are you?”
At this point, you doubt you can get away. The voice seems to be coming from everywhere at once. It seems you have no choice but to respond to the mysterious voice. Mustering up your courage, you reply, “My name is-
>>25159 I like the first name of that first suggestion. As for the people suggesting a name from Star Wars, I'm going to ignore those for now because I want something a little more original from you guys.
>>25164 Not to be disrespectful, but giving the MC an orbital laser platform was asking for a reference or two to the death star. Besides, the names are from the EU so they aren't as well know as to say, Luke, Han, Anakin, etc. Anyway, you are the writer and if you want to disregard them, you're on your full right to do so. I'll keep reading the story regardless of your decision because it's pretty interesting and I want to see where it goes.
>>25166 Well, I'm not going to be unreasonable since I am leaving the option open but I do want people to understand that if we name the character something like Galen Marek that he won't be suddenly given a lightsaber and jedi powers. I'm sure you didn't mean for it to go there but I'm just going to clarify that other than the laser, our character is pretty much a normal person in terms of abilities. If we're naming him that just as another shout out to star wars then I suppose I'm fine with that.
>>25167 I'm kind of worried that you thought that that was what we were trying to do. And in that case, my earlier suggestion of Wedge would have been downright perfect, because he was thoroughly normal in all regards outside of a starfighter cockpit.
>>25168 Well, I have no idea what people will think when they see names like that and since I plan on making this a long story I don't know what people will expect when they see a character named Wedge Antilles or Galen Marek. Since other people may read this later on, I want to make sure they know that this is an entirely different character.
Well, you guys decided on this. Sorry bout the confusion before.
[x] Galen Marek
“My name is Galen Marek“ MajorGalen Marek you want to add but it would defeat the purpose of withholding your origins from the voice if you said that out loud.
“I thought I made it clear, Mr. Marek” The shadows shift for a bit and a girl steps foward right in front of you. You stare a bit at her unusual look. She’s in a business suit; it’s almost as out of place as you are in your uniform and on her head, she has what appear to be two floppy bunny ears. Since when did the countryside have bunny girls? You’re trying hard not to laugh; her appearance is absolutely ridiculous and you have to wonder who exactly runs a place that makes their guards wear such a getup. The girl doesn’t seem to be embarrassed at all. You’re probably the first visitor in ages so she may not realize how stupid she looks. Completely ignoring your face, the girl continues, “We aren’t accepting visitors at this time. Leave now.”
“Why are you wearing those ears?”
“Wearing?” The girl looks at the two rabbit ears perched on top of her head. She’s staring at you with a very curious look now, “These are my real ears. Now please. Leave at once.”
“Those are really your ears?”
“Yes, I just said they are. Now leave.”
Wow, she didn’t even hesitate for a second at that question. This bunny girl is being incredibly stubborn and you’re beginning to wonder if you’ll even meet another normal human out here. Gensokyo is starting to look like a haven for creatures of fantasy. Fairies to literal bunny girls, what next, ghosts and demons? The girl isn’t looking like she’ll be changing her mind anytime soon so you decide to change your request.
“Look, at the very least may I have some water?” Even if they won’t let you stay, it wouldn’t kill them to give you a bit of water. With only half a canteen left, you won’t last out in the woods, “And if even that isn’t possible, could you show me where I can get water?”
“I’m afraid not. We are busy preparing for something very important and I do not have the time to help you right now.”
“But could you-”
“No, we can’t. Please leave now.”
“Listen,” You’re starting to get annoyed. Not only are you being completely disregarded, but this girl won’t even let you finish what you’re trying to say, “I’m just asking for some water. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of you.”
“Well right now isn’t a good time to be asking. Leave before I have to use force.”
“I’m not leaving until you give me some water,” You’ve had it with this cocky bitch. Since your conversation began, she’s been waving off every single thing you’ve said not to mention her stubbornness in her refusal to help you. You’re starting to care less about the water now and more about her attitude towards you. And you will get her to respect you, “And I don’t think that’s how you should be treating a stranger.”
“Sir, if you won’t be leaving you will regret this.”
The girl begins glaring at you intently. You’re not sure what she’s doing but if she thinks a death glare will make you leave, she’s wrong. Several moments pass while you two eye one another, neither one of you giving ground nor flinching as the standoff continues.
~a short while later~
It’s been at least a few minutes since the stare down began. The girl is looking slightly nervous; maybe she thought that she could intimidate the likes of you but you’ve dealt with worse. Hell, you just fought a FREAKIN’ ice fairy and won. If anyone should be scared, it should be her. Flustered, the girl finally breaks eye contact.
“Why? Why aren’t you running?”
“Why would I run from you? You think you can scare me with your appearance?”
“But I made you see a monster! Why weren’t you terrified?”
“Monster?” Now you’re confused. You didn’t notice anything like that during your standoff. The sunglasses are making it hard to see her face, and the glare of the sun shining right at you isn’t helping either. Straining to see her in the shade, you look for anything resembling a “monster” near her. After scanning around, you find nothing, you’re sure now that that was just a bluff to get you leave. She was acting pretty stuck-up before but she seems to be at a loss at what to do now, “There’s nothing of the sort around here. Now, are you going to give me some proper respect?”
“I don’t know why my illusions didn’t work on you but I still can’t do anything for you right now.”
“So you’re just going to refuse? What makes you think I won’t just find my own way into that building behind you?”
“Illusions aren’t the only thing I can do Mr. Marek. If you continue refusing to leave, I will be forced to use my danmaku on you.”
“Oh, another bluff?” You let a small chuckle out. Her last trick didn’t work so what makes her think this one will? Whatever, maybe it’s wrong to hit a girl but at this point, she’s practically asking for beating. “I don’t know what this ‘danmaku’ is but if it’s another trick, I’m going to discipline you on your manners.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Visionary Wave “Red Eyed Hypnosis (Mind Blower)”!”
A pair of rings made of bullets forms in between the two of you. Great, just great, you’ve met another person with the ability to call outrageous bullet storms. Backing off, you’re glad that no one else could hear the chain of curses you let out seeing those two rings appear. Well, this pattern at least looks easy enough to dodge. Tensing up as they close in you get ready to dodge the passing wave.
You hit the ground just before getting caught by the widening rings. As the rings spread out, more and more bullets seem to appear; you aren’t sure if your eyes are playing tricks on you right now. As you watch the bullets pass overhead, you spot something else odd about the patterns. Occasionally, the bullets seem to phase out a bit and drift about before reverting back to normal. After watching a few waves, you’re getting curious what the bullets can do while in that state. Grabbing a small rock you chuck it at one of the bullets as they pass over you during their phased out mode.
The stone goes straight through the bullet. As it lands, you inspect it for any sort of changes the bullet may have caused when they met. The rock is still a rock; apparently when the bullets vibrate like that you can pass through unharmed. You still have to be careful though. If you time it wrong, you may find yourself with a bullet in your stomach. Not a pleasant idea to think about. The girl seems to have noticed that you’re just sitting there and is starting to adjust the pattern to hit you.
Before you dodge the next wave of bullets, what should your plan of action be?
[ ] Dodge until she wears herself out. [ ] Demonstrate the laser nearby and see if you can convince her to stop. [ ] Get in close and knock her out. Beating Cirno unconscious seemed to stop the bullet storms so maybe it will work on this girl as well.
Knocking her out does pretty much nothing but piss off whoever is inside there, which basically means we're guaranteed not to get any water or anything like that. Unless we kill her and hey, that's going to piss them off even more.
Let's not piss off people if we've got a chance to avoid it. This has all been a misunderstanding, but let's not make it worse than it already is.
Breaking this part in half since I'm still working on the second half of this part. Because I haven't been updating in a while, I'd like to add something for you guys to read. So please enjoy the first half of part 8.
[x] Dodge until she wears herself out.
You decide to let the girl tire herself out. You doubt you could reach her through this anyway and firing the laser at every single threat isn’t very efficient either. With the amount of shit the girl is sending at you though, she’s bound to run out of steam pretty soon. Standing back up, you avoid another passing wave as you distance yourself from the girl in an effort to make dodging easier.
You’ve been dodging for perhaps a short while now and the amount of projectiles flying towards you is steadily increasing. Still, you’re handling the situation quite well, having found a pattern of your own to use against the bullets. Each time the bullets phase out, you head for the largest opening in the bullets before backing off again. So far, this strategy has been working and you note the girl is growing concerned at your ability to dodge her attack. After watching you for another moment she frowns slightly as she begins spawning more bullets everywhere.
The number of bullets approaching you now is starting to become ridiculous. Even with exploiting their occasional phasing periods, you’re having difficulty staying within a clear safe spot. The girl on the other hand doesn’t show any signs of letting up soon. Was trying to wear her out the wrong choice?
As you prepare to dodge another wave, the bullets suddenly evaporate into the air. What just happened? You don’t remember doing anything special to break the pattern. Perplexed, you call out to the girl.
“Hey, you done? Are you giving up now?”
Almost immediately the girl shoots back, “I hate to burst your bubble Galen, but I still have a couple more spell cards to use.”
Spell cards? This confuses you even more. You were fighting a spell card? Spell cards are magic aren’t they? And magic shouldn’t exist in the world so what the hell is going on? The girl continues, “Okay, next spell card. Lunatic Gaze “Lunatic Stare Tuning (Illusion Seeker)”!”
No sooner had she called it out, a cascade of bullets materialized to your left and right. This pattern formed what resembled a curtain of blue and red. After examining this card for some sort of safe spot you find that this pattern has no visible openings. Just as this attack starts to appear unavoidable, again, the bullets phase out and shift, adding another set of bullets in their previous positions. Like the last pattern, the trick seems to be exploiting the periods when the bullets phase out of place momentarily. While you may have found a blind spot, evading this attack may be even more difficult than the last one.
At this point, you’re unsure if you can manage to time out another card. Since the girl did say she had a couple more left, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the energy to continue dodging one more card; especially if the next one is just as challenging. You’re already quite spent after surviving the first spell card. Using the Guillotine is starting to look rather tempting. You’re not even making an effort to fight back! If this keeps up any longer you may have to at least use it nearby; hopefully it’d be enough to convince the girl that you’re not one to be messing with.
A bullet grazes your cheek; this is getting very, very dangerous. You’re running out of room to maneuver and this spell card hasn’t been up for very long. Sooner or later you’re going to get boxed in and… well… let’s not think about that right now. Surviving this card is still possible, but any more would be asking for a bit too much.
You roll quickly into the nearest safe spot. The openings in the pattern are barely large enough for you to fit into now. Knocking her out is completely out of the question at this point; there’s no way you could make it through the wall of bullets right in front of you. You don’t want to use Guillotine on such a petty reason but if this keeps going any longer, you’re going to wind up dead. As the curtain phases out once again, you decide that intimidating this girl may be the quickest way to get her to back off.
Pulling out the remote you aim far off to the side of your opponent. A simple warning shot should be enough to send the message that you mean business and that you can kill her at any time. Aiming the laser sight, you notice something odd. The spot you’re pointing at isn’t being painted by a laser; that spot is a couple feet away. It’s as if the laser is being bent by some invisible force. Whatever the reason, you don’t have enough time to correct the warping of the laser. The bullets aren’t going to wait for you to fix it. You place your thumb over the trigger…
The world tips suddenly.
The sudden change in perspective is jarring. You don’t remember getting hit but there’s a sharp pain throbbing in the back of your head now that you think about it. As the ground continues tilting beneath you, there’s a slight thud as you fall to the ground. Right now, your vision is starting to blur and you can see that the girl has stopped her attack. What on earth did you just get hit by? As your consciousness fades, you can just make out another figure exiting the building. It’s about time someone took note of the colors flying everywhere outside their window.
Despite your impaired vision, you’re able to make out a few features of the figure. Based on their dress they’re most likely a woman. The dress itself is a tad unusual; half red, half blue with several red and blue lines at the hems of it. The woman also appears to be wearing what looks like a nurse’s cap on top of her snow white hair. Definitely unusual but not the strangest thing you’ve encountered so far.
As she draws closer, something incoherent is spoken to which you hear the girl you just fought reply to. In your current state, you can’t quite make out what they said but you assume it must be related to you. You try to say something but all that comes out is utter nonsense; you’re not even sure you understood what you just tried to say. The newcomer and the girl are standing over you now. They sound like they’re speaking to someone behind you but you don’t have the strength to turn around. What happens next? As you black out, you wonder.
Here is the second half of part 8. It's kind of long because I couldn't find a stopping point I liked. Anyway, enjoy.
You open your eyes to pitch black. Beneath you is even more darkness. But you’re lying on something and it feels incredibly cold; perhaps even freezing. Slowly you stand up. You can’t really see anything but you have a feeling you’re not alone here, wherever you are. After a brief moment flailing blindly in the dark, you spot what appears to be a faint light. With nothing else you can do, you slowly make your way towards the light.
“You’ve stirred up quite a bit of trouble haven’t you?”
You jump at the voice. You weren’t expecting something else to really be here, you just shrugged it off as paranoia. Now you’re certain someone else is definitely with you here. Friend or foe, you appear to be trapped here with them. You tense up, ready to greet the other with words, or fists if necessary.
“Now, now. Is that any way to treat your benefactor?”
The light draws closer and as it reaches you, the light tears open and spreads out forming a door of some sort. From it, a woman steps out and smiles at you. She’s wearing a frilled cap with a red ribbon and a deep violet dress. Under her hat, she has long blonde hair and purple eyes. Based on her appearance, you assume she’s quite classy or at least supposed to be. You’ve only seen fashion like this in history books that you’ve read. The woman continues to smile toward you as she pulls out a fan and flourishes it elegantly in her hand. After another moment, the woman finally speaks.
“As I was saying. You’ve caused some trouble since your arrival in Gensokyo. I was held up a bit so I apologize for not explaining the rules under which we operate during your arrival.”
“Rules? What are you talking about?”
“Surely someone has challenged you to danmaku no?”
Danmaku. There’s that word again. The girl you were fighting earlier mentioned it before attacking you with that… bullet hell.
“If that’s what you call those insane bullet storms then yeah, I guess I’ve been attacked twice.”
“Attack seems quite improper. After all, danmaku games are relatively nonlethal.”
“Nonlethal? Have you seen the shit they’ve thrown at me? How can that not be lethal!?”
“Mr. astronaut. This world does not follow the same kind of reality your world does.”
This world? This woman is speaking as though this Gensokyo place exists outside Earth. You clearly remember landing on the planet below Guillotine which happened to be named Earth when you last checked. There’s no way you somehow wandered into another world.
“What exactly do you mean? Could you please explain where Gensokyo is located on Earth?”
“I’m afraid you’re misguided, spaceman. Gensokyo stands apart from the world you call Earth.”
Wait, what? That’s not possible; you experienced reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Not some alien world called Gensokyo. Right now, you’re starting to panic. You don’t want to admit it, but after what you’ve seen, you can’t say that you’re on the Earth you remember. But if you’re here… how did the satellite make it to Gensokyo?
“Alright, so I’m in a world called Gensokyo. But if I am, how did my space station get here?”
“Simple, Mr. astronaut. I brought it here.”
“What? B-but how on earth-”
“In this world spaceman, many of us have what you would consider supernatural powers.” The woman points at herself with a slight grin on her face. You can almost see the pride overflowing as she continues, “My name is Yukari Yakumo and I happen to have the ability to manipulate boundaries.”
“Boundaries? Like borders?”
“My, aren’t you a smart human. I suppose that’s one way of thinking about it. To explain it more specifically to someone like you, I guess you could say I can manipulate the borders that divide two different yet related things. Physical or conceptual, it makes no difference.”
“So you brought me and the station here? To Gensokyo?”
“I didn’t think that you’d doubt that after I just explained my ability to you.”
“I’m sorry but this all very hard to take in. And besides that, I don’t remember entering any boundary into Gensokyo.”
“Are you sure? Think back spaceman. Wasn’t there anything strange during your descent into Gensokyo?”
Something strange. You don’t remember anything unusual during your reentry here. In fact, it seemed like a pretty standard descent apart from the rough return except…
-a blur of black whizzes past the window.
Was that when you entered Gensokyo? Come to think of it, your time spent in the upper atmosphere was incredibly short; it usually took at least 10 minutes to pass just that region of atmosphere. You didn’t think much when you saw clouds immediately after that part of reentry but that whole descent was suspicious as you look back on it.
“You brought me here? What for? The government I work for would have me killed if they thought that I took the space station for myself.”
“I don’t see why you’re still scared of your ‘government’. After all, you’ll never see them again in Gensokyo.”
“Yes, but what about my family!?” You can’t believe she’s even implying that you forget about everything back home. If this woman thinks she can just spirit you away from your friends, family, and loved ones she’s wrong. You’re tempted to strangle her if you can’t find a way back, “You can’t just take me away from them!!”
Yukari stares at you with a very curious look; as if your defiance was amusing to her. Looking into her eyes, there’s something very alien about them. They’re cold, almost as cold as the floor you lay on a few moments prior.
“Mr. Galen Marek, I suggest you forget anyone you ever knew. You should be glad that you no longer have anyone to truly worry about in your life.”
“Why? What reason could you possibly have for me to not want to go back?”
“Spaceman, do you realize the angle you reentered Earth’s atmosphere at?” The smile on Yukari’s face is gone. The sudden change in expression worries you. You can guess that she’s grown tired of your attitude, “At the angle you descended in that… junk heap, you would have burned up if you remained in the upper atmosphere any longer.”
“Yes, you heard correct spaceman. In fact, during the jump into Gensokyo, I had to angle and lower the exit portal a bit extra just so you didn’t continue heating up and disintegrate. By all means, you should be dead in your world.”
“If I had simply sat back and watched, you would have died and well, I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about your government then either, huh? Anyway, the reason why I brought that satellite with you is because I intend for you to pay me back in full. It was by no means an easy task getting you in here.”
You snap out of the shock after hearing this. This is woman is saying you should’ve died if not for her intervention? Did she think you’d be entirely grateful about still being alive at the cost of being separated from your home? The fact that she even expects reparations pisses you off.
“You expect me to repay you for saving me?”
“Oh no, not yet.” Yukari chuckles a bit as the playfulness in her voice returns. The ease in which she changes her mood is disturbing. Right now, it doesn’t seem like she was serious earlier but considering what she’s claimed capable of, you probably wouldn’t want to see her get serious. Yukari assumes a sitting position on top of a forming rift, “For now, I don’t mind you doing what you want.”
“How the hell am I supposed to do that with everyone attacking me with this ‘danmaku’?”
“Why, you fight back of course. In danmaku games you call spell cards to make your attacks. The game is finished if you can hit your opponent with your cards. You can also call spell cards to defend yourself.”
You can call spell cards? Is that an ability everyone in Gensokyo has? But if so could an outsider like you attempt it?
“Wait, how do I call spell cards? I’m not sure I know how.”
“Oh it’s quite simple. Even the nineball has spell cards of her own but I think you already know that. Just call out a name you think appropriate for your attack and the rest will take care of itself.”
“Nineball? I don’t remember fighting anyone like that.”
“Ah, you wouldn’t know our nicknames for people. You fought someone named Cirno? She’s quite weak by our standards and an idiot on top of that.”
Cirno was weak? By now, you’ve realized that someone like you isn’t really that strong here but to consider the fact that there are people much, much stronger than her? It’s madness just trying to understand how powerful the residents of Gensokyo are as a whole.
After a few moments of admiring the shocked expression on your face, Yukari hands what look like several cards to you. They’re unusually large and as you inspect both sides, you find that they’re all blank. Based on your talk earlier, you assume these will be your spell cards.
“I’m sure you already realize what those are. Just come up with a name for your attacks and the spell card will create a bullet pattern based on your idea.”
“Is that really all there is to it?”
“Yes. Oh and one more thing.” Yukari drops the smile again. You’re not sure if she intends to toy with you a bit more but right now you almost feel a heavy tension in the air, “Do not use the actual laser of that Guillotine of yours.”
“Wait, why not?”
“As I told you spaceman, danmaku is a nonlethal game. That laser of yours? That can kill even beings like us. If I find you killing any of the residents here, I won’t be saving you from the consequences that await. You should be glad that your only real victim was a fairy who can’t die permanently.”
“So I’m only allowed to use spell cards to fight? What about if I’m getting attacked for real?”
“That shouldn’t happen. Most of the people here are indeed strong but we refrain from killing humans in this world. Consider yourself lucky to be an honorary citizen.”
“Okay, thanks. I guess I understand a bit now.” You’re still unsure if you can trust those last words but at least now you have a means of truly defending yourself. After standing in the dark several more seconds, Yukari finally speaks up again.
“Hmm, I think I’ve stayed a bit too long. I’ll be leaving now, you should be waking up soon.”
“Huh? I’m sleeping? How am I talking with you then? How do I know this is real?”
“Boundaries, remember? My dear astronaut.” The sly face on Yukari is unreadable. Since your introduction to her, you’re unable to trust what she says and how she acts. Yukari reopens the door of light, “Oh yes, before I go, let me be the first to say this to you.”
“Welcome to Gensokyo.”
As you open your eyes, who do you find in front of you?
[ ] The woman in blue and red [ ] The bunny girl [ ] A girl with long black hair [ ] No one
Haha, “Yukari”, you’re so funny. “Forget about your family and government, you are already dead.” Yep, we are going to believe you, of course we will, we are going to smile and nod, right until your back is turned.
So, we’ve already dreamed up fairies, bunny girls and sexy nurses. What’s next, a princess?
A soft light shines in your face. You squint as you attempt to regain focus of your surroundings. You’re in a strange room, perhaps in the building you were in front of earlier? While you were unconscious, someone provided you with a bed and a blanket. As you sit up, you feel something tied tight around your head. It’s gauze of some sort, wrapped all the way arou- Ow!
Your hand comes across a small lump on the back of your head. Apparently, something caught you hard from behind. You hope it’s not a concussion; trauma to the head that’s serious enough to cause unconsciousness is a very bad sign. While you’re worried about your injury, you stop for a moment as you feel the bandaging on your head. Whoever put these on did a good job in wrapping you up. Tight but not constricting, you’d almost forget it was there if you weren’t touching them now.
As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, you finally notice the woman from before sitting in a chair across the room. She appears to be on a phone, talking to someone. On her lap she has what looks like a file of some sort; you assume that it’s related to the person she’s talking with right now. Finally noticing you awake, the woman tells the person on the other end she’ll continue talking with them later. Hanging up, the woman smiles and begins speaking to you.
“Glad to see that you’re awake. How are you feeling now?”
“Um, alright I guess. My head still hurts a bit.”
“I apologize for my apprentice’s rude behavior earlier. I merely told her to send people away if possible; I never said she couldn’t allow anyone in at all. Also, I’d like to apologize for Tewi knocking you out.”
“Hmm? Oh right, you’re new to Gensokyo. Tewi is an earth rabbit who happens to live with us. She can get into quite a bit of mischief.”
You were knocked out by… a rabbit? You wince as you touch the bump on your head again. No way a rabbit did that to you. Still, after meeting a couple residents of Gensokyo, perhaps Gensokyo earth rabbits are a little different from Earth earth rabbits.
“Uh, I see. Where exactly am I?”
“You’re in Eintei. My name is Eirin Yagokoro and we happen to be the only true clinic in Gensokyo, so if you happen to need medication or treatment feel free to drop by again.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
Eirin opens the file on her lap and flips through the papers inside. You guess she’s going to call the person on the phone back soon, “Let’s see… Galen Marek. Age, 34. Sex, Male. Height, 186.69cm. No allergies-”
Wait. Wait a damn second. How does she have your medical information? As she continues to read off more facts about you, you’re absolutely sure now that that file is indeed your medical record. But where the hell did she get that? After listening to her read aloud for a bit longer you decide to cut her off.
“Whoa, whoa whoa. Where and how did you get my medical record? I don’t recall bringing that with me to Gensokyo.”
“Ah, this.” She points at the file in her hand, “Yukari gave me this. She said it should help with treating you. Though based on your history, you’ve kept yourself pretty healthy. I doubt I’d need to see you too often.”
Yukari. Her again. While the dream you had seemed like… well, a dream, after hearing a complete stranger read off information from your medical record and mention that name again, you’re slowly starting to suspect that you really met Yukari.
“Yukari gave you my record? Why?”
Eirin merely shrugs, “I’m not entirely sure. But she also explained to me that you’re not from here and she brought you here to do something for her. I guess she wants me to keep you well enough to do whatever it is she wants from you.”
“Do you know anything about what she might want from someone like me?”
“Even a genius like me couldn’t figure out what someone like her would want.” She shrugs again while shaking her head. Eirin looks exasperated just thinking about Yukari, “The gap youkai has a unique way of doing things. My best advice would be to simply prepare for anything.”
Prepare for anything. Well, that makes things easier.
Eirin stands up and walks over to your side, “Now, back to matters at hand. That bump on your head. Do you feel nauseous or have any sort of headaches?”
You shake your head. Aside from the slight pain at the back of your head, you’re perfectly normal. Eirin asks you for several more possible symptoms. Again, at each one, you shake your head; all you’re feeling is sore right now. After thinking for a bit, she gives you her diagnosis.
“Well, based on what you’ve told me, I think you may have had a very, very minor concussion. It’s already been an hour or two so most of the obvious symptoms should have died down if you haven’t noticed anything yourself. Just in case though, I’ll need you to stay here and rest for another day. We need to make sure you really are alright after getting hit from behind by a wooden mallet.”
A minor concussion. Considering what she mentioned hit you; you’re pretty damn lucky to only have a minor injury after all that. But right now you’re not concerned about the bump on your head. After being reminded about your talk with Yukari, you’re wondering about the danmaku “game” (Don’t know if you can call cowering from a bullet shower as thick as a monsoon rain a game) you had with the bunny girl.
“Um, Ms. Eirin.?”
“Is danmaku really just a game?”
“What made you ask that question?”
“After fighting your assistant, I’m still having trouble believing that danmaku is ‘safe’.”
Eirin closes her eyes for a moment. She looks like she’s trying to come up with an explanation that would make sense to someone from the outside like you. A moment passes before she speaks up again.
“Well, danmaku isn’t always used as a game. We do use it sometimes to solve conflicts and settle arguments with others. However, while these ‘games’ may appear incredibly destructive, they really are nonlethal and we use them because we can settle our disputes in a far safer way than, say, we were to use our powers unrestrained against our enemies.”
So Yukari really was telling the truth. The next time you find yourself in a danmaku fight, at least you won’t have to worry as much about getting yourself injured.
“I see. Thanks for the explanation.”
“No problem, I’ll be leaving now so you can rest a bit more. If you need something just call for me or my assistant, Reisen. But before I go, is there anything else you want to ask me?”
[ ] Ask why they were trying to turn away people. [ ] Ask about any other residents of Eintei you feel you should know about. [ ] Could I get something to eat? [ ] I’m fine right now, thank you.
Locked options [x] Ask about any other residents of Eintei you feel you should know about.
For future reference, I'd like to see how many people would want two or more options being selected at a time. I'd like at least 3 responses to get a general idea of what to do with future updates. (Sorry, but for this update, I'm sticking with just one option right now.)
Okay, I guess what I'll do for people who want multiple options selected is if I get a majority vote for them I'll do my best to make it work. Until then, enjoy.
[x] Ask about any other residents of Eintei you feel you should know about.
“Who else lives here in Eintei?”
“Well, aside from myself, Reisen, and Tewi; Eintei provides a home for a large colony of earth rabbits.” Eirin brushes a stray hair out of her eyes as she says this. A colony of earth rabbits? Were they the rabbits you saw on your way in here you wonder? Eirin continues, “The rabbits here do the daily chores for my master.”
The bunnies do the chores? While you’re not exactly surprised at this; you are in a fantasy realm, you still wonder how on earth they could clean a room without… well, thumbs. However, what really piqued your interest was hearing Eirin mention a “master” of hers. Regardless of the circumstances for being here, it wouldn’t hurt to improve your relationship with the head of Eintei. After all, Eirin did say that Eintei was the only true clinic in Gensokyo. Considering the insanity of danmaku battles (nonlethal or not, the likelihood of injuring yourself during one still seems pretty high), you have a feeling that you’d probably need to make at least a couple of trips here every week or so.
“Oh, I haven’t introduced you to her now have I?”
“Well, I’m just curious, that’s all. I suppose I should be thanking them for allowing me to stay here after how I acted outside.”
“Ah, I see.” Eirin makes a curious-looking face. You’re not sure if she finds your response funny or is uneasy about talking about her master. She cracks a faint smile, “Well, I think that she’d be pleased to know that you’re enjoying your stay but-”
A girl rushes into the room. She’s wearing a pink shirt adorned with several white bows and a long, flowing skirt. Her long black hair trails behind her as she runs straight towards Eirin. The girl’s entrance was pretty sudden and judging from the look on Eirin’s face, she’s just as surprised as you are right now. Her skin is pale, almost bleached but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of her face. Despite her panicked expression, she’s beautiful, with very fair features; princess-like even. Based on her interactions with Eirin, could she be… her daughter?
“Eirin? Who is this?”
“Oh, forgive us for the unexpected interruption.” Eirin looks worried as she bows slightly. The girl also bows and smiles at you. Her smile is amazing. Eirin motions towards the girl as she introduces her.
“This is my master, Kaguya Houraisan.”
Wait… Master? This girl is Eirin’s master? She doesn’t even look like she’s hit 21 yet. Eirin on the other hand looks… far more mature than that. As you stare blankly trying to process this news, Eirin elaborates upon her statement.
“Kaguya is a former princess in case you were wondering. Think of me as her caretaker here in such an isolated location.”
Ah. That makes a bit more sense. Still, the middle of the woods seems like an awfully strange place for a princess. Was there some sort of falling out with her parents? Kaguya eyes you intently while you think.
“And you are?”
“Oh sorry, I didn’t tell you my name did I?” So far your introduction has been a tad shaky. It’s a good thing Kaguya doesn’t seem to mind. You bow slightly as you introduce yourself. “My name is Galen Marek. I’d like to thank you for letting me stay for the night.”
“Oh, don’t mention it, Mr. Marek. Really, it’s Eirin who you should be thanking for allowing your stay.” Kaguya turns back to Eirin as the frantic expression from before returns. The sudden change in her behavior is completely unexpected from what you’d imagine from a princess. “Eirin, why haven’t the rabbits fixed the hole in the roof yet? I can’t sleep in my room’s current condition. “I might as well be sleeping outside with a hole that big.”
“Princess, it’s going to take some time before we can patch up a hole that large. Why don’t you sleep in one of the guest rooms?”
“But all my things are still in my room! I can’t just leave them there like that.”
Definitely a princess. But then again, how bad is this hole they’re talking about? You’re no carpenter but maybe you could help out.
“Excuse me, what hole are you talking about?”
The two of them stop. They seem surprised that you heard them that but with Kaguya practically shouting at Eirin, it wasn’t that hard to listen to what they were saying. Finally, after a short awkward moment of silence, Eirin answers with a serious tone.
“Well Mr. Marek, a while before you came, Eintei was hit by some kind of meteorite. That meteor happened to land right in Kaguya’s room. Though we extinguished the fire within half an hour, it took us several more hours to clean up the surrounding debris.”
A meteorite? While you doubt someone would be capable of using a falling rock to assassinate a princess, fire and debris would definitely be hazardous to potential patients. On top of that, something that sudden and that destructive would also be a perfect opportunity for a building to be taken advantage of by robbers and vandals. Posted guards seem perfectly natural after an event like that. As you think about the scenario Eintei must be facing even now, Eirin continues her explanation.
“After we cleaned the impact site and doused the object in water, we discovered that what hit Eintei was not any sort of rock at all. It was a metallic piece of machinery. We’re not sure where it came from, but it landed with enough force to bury itself pretty deep into the ground.”
No. No way. Yukari probably did this, but why? Why go through the trouble of bringing a doomed satellite into Gensokyo? And if she could bring it in, why didn’t she do something about stopping it from falling back to earth? Also, if this was merely a piece of Guillotine’s modules, then where did the rest land?
“Yes, when we realized that, we were pretty confused. There’s no such technology that exists here that resembles what we found.”
Based on how they describe the object, you can assume Yukari merely told Eirin that she brought you here. Not where you came from or what she brought with you. But if the modules landed around here, maybe you can salvage more to use during your stay here. And besides, if the meteorite really is part of your space station, you kind of owe it to Kaguya to fix Eintei (specifically her room).
Before you ask Eirin if you can see the metallic object, what do you want to do next?
[ ] Ask for some food. You don’t recall eating lunch or dinner. [ ] Ask for your remote back. It may help with salvaging materials from the wreckage. [ ] Let’s just go see it already!
[x] Ask for some food. You don’t recall eating lunch or dinner. -[x] Maybe that Reisen girl could bring it? [x] Ask for your remote back. It may help with salvaging materials from the wreckage.
Maybe we can ask Eirin to have Reisen bring the food? Seeing as we now know why Reisen acted like she did (defending the place when they thought something bad might happen is very reasonably, considering the kind of world they live in), we should probably talk to her, and try to get along.
>>25260 I'm head-desking now that I noticed Eientei in the top left corner. Also, I'll be posting when options are multiple choice but I'll also try to make the options allow for multiple choices more often.
Update took longer than expected due to computer issues. After 5 years, I suppose I should be looking for a new laptop. Anyways, here ya go.
[x] Ask for some food. You don’t recall eating lunch or dinner. [x] Ask for your remote back. It may help with salvaging material from the wreckage.
Your stomach growls. Looking out the window, you notice the sun has nearly set. How long were you out for? As you turn towards Eirin and Kaguya to ask them about food, Eirin replies knowingly.
“Reisen is making dinner right now. You’re welcome to join us if you want.”
“Thanks, I’ll take you up on that offer.”
Eirin gestures towards the doorway. “Right this way then, Mr. Marek.”
As you follow Kaguya and Eirin out and through the hallway, one of the rooms you pass by is Kaguya’s. You could tell by the added ornamentation on the panels and sliding door. While you’re tempted to take a peek and see this mystery object for yourself, it would be rude to them to wander off on your own, not to mention to Kaguya for entering uninvited in her room.
As you enter the dining room, you’re greeted with the sight of countless rabbits. The size of the dining room itself is impressive but despite that, the room is packed wall to wall with the little furballs. Eirin and Kaguya make their way through the mass and somehow find a table within the crowd and wave you over. Easing your way through the mob, you manage to reach them without stepping on any of the rabbits scurrying in between your legs. As you sit down, Eirin briefly describes what dinner will be.
“Tonight we’ll be having udon with some fresh vegetables. I hope you don’t mind, we usually make our food vegetarian for the rabbits.”
“No, that’s fine. I’ll be looking forward to the meal.”
“Haha, Reisen would be glad you think so. She’s running the kitchen right now with Tewi. She also feels pretty bad about troubling you after Yukari explained what happened to you.”
Yukari didn’t explain everything to Eirin did she? While you would like to personally explain yourself, you’d probably dig yourself into a hole if you told them you were carrying the controls for an orbiting kill-sat. And they’d probably never believe that you arrived here from outer space. You push the thought aside as you reply.
“Troubling me? I think I should be apologizing for acting so impolitely to her.”
“Now, now. It was a misunderstanding but Reisen overreacted a bit. I’ll have to lecture her on her self-control.” A rabbit hands a kettle to Eirin while another places several tea cups on the table. Eirin continues as she pours into her cup and Kaguya’s. “She should know better than to use danmaku on a defenseless human.”
Right. Defenseless. Of course, here in Gensokyo, you don’t really look all that spectacular except for your outlandish suit. You can understand most people assuming you’re “defenseless” but then again; most people wouldn’t be able to see a futuristic satellite weapon from the ground.
Eirin offers you the pot but you politely decline and ask for some water instead. She motions toward a rabbit near the door. After ducking into the kitchen for a bit, it returns with a pitcher of ice water and upon reaching the table, pours you a cup.
After waiting a few more minutes, a group of rabbits enter the dining room carrying trays with several bowls of udon. As they file into the room and begin passing them out, the girl from before enters followed by another, shorter girl. While you’re pretty sure that the first one is Reisen, the second girl is completely unfamiliar to you.
As the bowls are distributed, Reisen and the other girl join you at the table. Every now and then, you swear that the short girl is staring at you but whenever you look at her, she averts her gaze. Reisen though, looks slightly flustered when you look at her, perhaps because of the way your first encounter went? After everyone in the room has received a bowl, the rabbits begin eating.
No “itadakimasu”? Well, they are rabbits; you have yet to hear one of these normal rabbits speak up so perhaps they simply can’t speak at all. After saying the phrase yourself, you grab a noodle with your chopsticks and take a bite.
Wow, this is pretty good. Despite your preference for meat, the udon tastes incredible. As you continue to slurp down the noodles, Eirin and Kaguya discuss their plans for the object.
“Princess, we may need to ask the kappa for some equipment to remove that metal hunk. We also may have to ask Mokou to bring them here.”
“No way!” Kaguya slams her hand on the table hard enough to shake your bowl. Whoever Mokou is, Kaguya seems to be at the very least, reluctant to bring her to Eientei. “If Mokou sees the condition of my room she’ll laugh. She’d never let me live this down. Besides, couldn’t we get Tewi to lead them here?”
“Tewi will be organizing the earth rabbits in mochi pounding tomorrow. We have to prepare enough mochi for ourselves and the human village by the next full moon.”
Averting your attention elsewhere, you notice Reisen sitting and slouching quietly next to you eating her udon. By the way she’s eating, she looks like she’s trying to shrink into the crowd of rabbits behind her. After hearing the reasoning behind her attacking you, perhaps you could try and befriend her?
“FWAH!! Y-yes?” Reisen nearly drops her bowl. The noodle that was in between her chopsticks is now on an anonymous rabbit’s head after the sudden motion she made with her arm. Excitable girl, huh?
“Uh, this udon is really good.”
“Oh… thank you.”
That went well. Certainly not the worst outcome you were anticipating but definitely still room for improvement. Perhaps befriending her can wait though, there’s an unidentified object to inspect in Kaguya’s room! You should check if the remote has any sort of tracking device for Guillotine’s modules… wait, your remote!
You reach down for… huh? Where’d it go? Oh, of course. Eirin probably held on to it when you were knocked out. Since you’re going to confirm if the metal object is part of Guillotine, it would be good to have your remote with you. You didn’t see it in your room so you’re going to have to ask her where she left it.
“Um, Eirin. Where did you put that remote I had?”
Tewi eyes you curiously while Eirin replies. “I left it in my office with the rest of your belongings. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.” She pauses to take a bite, “What does it do?”
“Um,” Her question is making you a bit uncomfortable and Tewi’s stare isn’t helping. If you told them what that device was really used for, they’d probably get pretty upset since you kind of well… pointed it at Reisen? Instead, you decide to lie, “Uh, it’s a special detector. It can find locations on a map I want to go to.”
“Ah, well that might be useful to have for a traveler. You can pick it up anytime you want at my office. It’s the room with the large sign over the doorway.”
Not the best directions in such a large building. Still, you’re glad that Eirin didn’t press you for information any further.
The rest of the time spent eating afterwards was pretty uneventful. Aside from Eirin talking with Kaguya about the object, everyone else at the table ate in silence. As you finish your meal, you feel the urge to pee. Sheepishly, you ask in a quiet, yet urgent voice.
“Eirin, where are the bathrooms?”
“Oh, down the hall but you might get lost with all the doors. I’ll show you to them.”
“I’ll take him, Eirin.” The short girl chimes in; a big grin on her face as she stands up and walks over to you, grabbing your sleeve and giving it a playful tug. “This way, usa~”
“Oh, okay then Tewi. Mr. Marek, just follow Tewi, she’ll lead you to straight to the bathrooms.” Eirin sits back down and returns to her conversation with Kaguya.
You follow Tewi back through the hallways. Seriously, why does Eientei have so many hallways? The dim lighting and the silence is starting to make the place a tad eerie. Tewi hasn’t said a word since you left the dining hall either. Is something wrong?
Tewi stops. You’re not sure what’s going on but this bunny girl seems to know how to unnerve you really well. Turning around slowly, she looks at you with a surprisingly menacing glare.
“What do you plan on doing with that remote of yours once you get it back?”
“Uh, what do you mean? I’m going to use it to find the nearest village. After all, it’s just a simple locater.”
“There’s no need to lie about that now, Galen Marek. After seeing what you did to Cirno, I’m pretty sure you and I both know what that device is used for.”
She knows? When could she have possibly-
“Since you look so confused, I’ll explain exactly how I know that little secret of yours.” The girl in front of you looks impressed with herself for knowing about the abilities of your remote. She slowly paces around you feverishly with an evil grin on her face. “First of all, I am Tewi Inaba; Inaba is a name the princess gives all us rabbits but that’s beside the point. I, Tewi, happen to be the leader of the earth rabbits.” The vicious tone coming from the previously innocent-looking girl is disturbing. Tewi ignores your shocked expression and continues. “The entirety of these bamboo woods are my domain; nothing in, or around escapes the ears or eyes of my rabbits here. However, it just so happened that only I stumbled upon your little duel with the idiot; fortunate for you since any of the other rabbits might have blabbed to Eirin or Kaguya.”
“You’re the leader of the rabbits? I thought Reisen would be the leader since she’s an adu-”
“Don’t let appearances deceive you Galen.” Tewi frowns for a moment. The serious voice coming from her seems unnatural. “I thought you of all people would know not to judge by looks. Especially someone like you. Oh, and Reisen isn’t an earth rabbit so she’s an exception.”
Not an earth rabbit? Well, where the hell else could rabbits live? But back to the more urgent matter, why is Tewi telling you all this?
“Okay, so you know what that remote can do. What do you plan on doing with that information?”
“Well, nothing really. As long as you don’t cause trouble here, I suppose I have no reason to let it slip. Eirin doesn’t need to know you almost killed her apprentice, yet” Tewi suddenly grabs your collar and pulls you to her eye level. The strength she possesses is surprising, if not scary. “But remember this. If you try anything, it’s going to take a lot more than Yukari’s good favor to save you.”
“A-alright, I got it.”
She releases her grip on your collar and begins heading back to the dining room. What the hell just happened? Out of everyone you’ve met here, Tewi may just be the most dangerous resident of Eientei. Before you lose yourself in thought though, Tewi faces you again; a huge smile on her face. Her sudden change in expression is especially jarring after the serious talk you had just seconds ago.
“Oh, almost forgot. Bathrooms are the next door to your right. Enjoy your stay… usa~”
Tewi turns back around and then turns the corner. Well, that wasn’t disturbing at all was it? You’re glad you also managed to hold it in despite that tense conversation. Wouldn’t do to wet yourself in front of her of all people now would it?
You’re alone now. Trying to shake off Tewi’s words, you head into the bathroom and look over your options. You could simply use the bathroom and head back to the dining hall. However, Eirin gave you permission to grab your stuff from her office, plus you have an idea of what her office looks like, making it easier to find. You could also wander around a bit; wouldn’t hurt to get a little more acquainted with the layout of Eientei. The thing bothering you the most though, would have to be the object that lies in Kaguya’s room. At this point, you’re wracking your brain over whether or not it’s a part of your space station.
Pick up to two of the options provided below and in the order you want them to occur in.
After using the restroom, what do you want to do?
[ ] Find Eirin’s office and get your stuff back. [ ] Look inside Kaguya’s room. [ ] Head back to the dining room. [ ] Explore Eientei a bit more.
>>25336 No, there isn't. I'm having a hard time thinking of what I want to do next (Sad considering this is so early in a story). If I can't make an update for this soon, I might work on the other story that I have...
Most of the youkai in Gensokyo are weapons capable of leveling the area. They just chose not to.
The fact that the author had two characters saying that we shouldn't use the Guillotine Laser all over the place is a rather good hint that we will need a damn good reason to use it in the first place.
Urgh... My head hurts after that hibernation. Update is close to being ready, sit tight.
Part 12Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/07/18 (Wed) 08:22No. 25384▼
I really need a new computer and soon. This laptop is starting to crap out on me. Anyway, here is the update.
[x] Find Eirin’s office and get your stuff back. [x] Head back to the dining room.
Finishing up your business in the restroom, you head in the opposite direction from the dining hall. You’re not sure what Tewi was thinking when she threatened you like that but she probably wouldn’t try anything if you gathered your stuff after Eirin gave you permission. Walking down the hall, you search the passing doors for one fitting the description from Eirin.
Doors. And more doors. Nothing really stands out as you pass by each and every door. At times, you wonder if you’re passing through the same stretch of hallway. Thinking positively, you continue on in the hopes of Eirin’s room being the next door.
There’s no end to this hallway…
You’ve been walking through the hallways for quite some time. There’s still no sign of any sort of office room. In fact, you’re still walking straight down the same corridor. No turns, or even a dead end. The hallway just keeps stretching further and further. Perhaps you made some sort of mistake. Maybe this is some sort of mind-trick defense you’ve heard was used in ancient Japanese fortresses.
You continue further. The hallway finally makes a turn to the left. Taking a swift peek around the bend, you spot what you were looking for. Eirin’s office. Walking up to the door, you reach out towards the handle before stopping yourself.
What are you doing running for this now?
You feel a bit uncomfortable doing this. Despite Eirin giving her permission, it doesn’t seem like the proper time to pick up your stuff. Perhaps that talk with Tewi freaked you out a bit? If she knew what the remote did, why did she threaten you like that? What did that rabbit hope to gain, picking a fight with the owner of a weapon of mass destruction?
Still, since you’re already here, you might as well retrieve your remote anyway. At least you’d feel a little more relaxed knowing that no one else is running around with it. With the variety of characters in Gensokyo, who knows what one of them could use it for?
Entering cautiously, you fumble for a light switch along the wall as the door slowly shuts. The office is dark. Pitch black even. Hardly any light from the hallway is entering through the doorway.
Why is her office so freakin’ dark?
Your hand hits what feels like the switch. As the lights come on, you squint a bit from their surprisingly intense brightness. Your eyes still adjusting, you spot your bag across the room next to what you assume to be Eirin’s desk. Your bag rests off to the side while on top of it sits your remote. Perfect.
As you head over to the desk to pick up the remote, you take the time to look around the office. It looks like what you’d expect a doctor’s office to look like. A few shelves of medical texts, a cabinet of surgical utensils, and a glass case displaying rows of drugs with unfamiliar names. An operating table is placed right in the center of the room which strikes you as odd. With all the rooms in Eientei, wouldn’t Eirin be able to have a separate operating room from her office?
So she’s combined her office with a surgery room? What could she possibly need a surgery table in her office for?
Clipping the remote on to your belt, you take a look through your bag before closing it back up. The only reason you came here was for the remote, not the bag. Returning to the dining room with your bag might be strange and rude to Eirin and Kaguya. You can always grab it later, this room isn’t going anywhere. You leave the bag behind and head back towards the entrance.
Opening the door, you check to make sure everything is undisturbed from your visit. Taking the remote from Eirin’s room without her is rude enough, but if you altered her room without her permission, that would be even worse. As you scan the room, nothing seems different from when you entered. Turning the lights off, you close the door quietly behind you and face the corridor out.
The hallway makes a turn to the left. Funny, you remember vaguely that you made a left turn to get here. Or was that a right? Still, the left is the only path you can take. Cautiously, you head further down the hall.
Turning the corner, you’re greeted with darkness. None of the lanterns on this corridor are lit but the path ahead is unnaturally dark even so. The entire hallway past the corner is dark and you swear there’s a chill blowing in from the other end. You’re pretty sure now that the hallways are messing with you, the only problem is that you’re not sure that you like where they’re leading you.
You could enter the darkness boldly, but you can’t see even a meter ahead of you. You might be walking into a death trap for all you know. Your other option is waiting in Eirin’s room. Maybe it’s spineless and Eirin would probably be mad at you for deciding to go through her room at dinner time, but at least you can bet your chances of surviving are much better (you hope).
You should- wait.
The darkness has already swallowed you. Turning back, you can’t make out Eirin’s office anymore. You’re standing in pitch black. Without any idea of where you might be, you head in the direction you think the office was. There’s something about this darkness that… disturbs you. You need to find a door, any door. As long as you can get out of this darkness any way out is fine. Fumbling for anything resembling a handle, your hand meets a soft barrier.
What is this?
Putting your hand against it, the barrier yields but refuses to break or tear. Maybe you can get out of here through this. Putting your entire weight against it, you push hard.
The barrier sucks you in, a nasty feeling, almost like you’ve stepped through a wall of slime. As it spits you out on the floor, you get the feeling you’re being watched. The room you’ve entered is dark, but at least you can vaguely see inside this one. Standing up, you notice lights flickering on and off across the room. There doesn’t seem to be any real order to the placement or the timing of the flashes. As you peer down at one of the lights, you notice something very strange.
It’s looking back.
The lights are eyes, blinking every now and then. It doesn’t look like you’re in Eientei anymore. This eyed room appears to be the work of Yukari, or at least so you’re guessing. She’s summoned you again rather quickly; what does she intend to tell you now? Gazing around, you spot another figure at the other end of the room. It’s too dark to see their face or any real distinct features on them. As an eye lights the figure up, your stomach ties itself into a knot.
It’s not Yukari.
So who is that?
It’s a blonde girl with short, messy hair. From the brief glimpse, she’s wearing what appears to be a janitor’s uniform. And she does not look happy. As the eye opens again, you take note of her face as it goes from annoyed to outright furious when she sees you.
The floor around her explodes as she begins running straight at you. You can’t see Yukari anywhere nearby as you look frantically around. Turning back to face the stranger, you’re greeted with a nasty surprise. In the moment that you took your eyes off the girl, she’s closed the distance between the two of you with alarming speed.
As the girl reaches you, she retracts a fist. You can actually feel the air being sucked in as she draws back. More problematic, she’s aiming at you! There’s not enough time to say anything so you wisely decide to dive out of the way.
The area in front of the girl lights up as she swings. The spot you were in was simply destroyed from the attack. Whoever she is, she’s more than capable of damaging, perhaps even destroying Yukari’s room. It would not be a good idea to continue fighting this girl. As she turns towards you, you make an attempt to inform her of her mistake.
“Stop, I’m not Yukari! I’m not Yukari!”
The girl stops for a moment, a sneer forming on her lips.
“You can’t trick me. I can plainly see you and you look exactly like that bitch.” She’s completely lost it. Words don’t seem to be reaching her. She really believes that you’re Yukari. She giggles as she continues, “I’m going to enjoy pounding that smug face of yours.”
Well, this is interesting. How did a trip to pick up your remote wind up with you in an eyed room with an insane, murderous girl who’s convinced herself that you happen to be Yukari?
Wait. Your remote. You forgot you brought it with you. Since this girl refuses to relent, you’re going to have to put her down with force. Pulling it out, you think over your options with it. Once again, the laser is pretty much the only one. But Yukari doesn’t want you using it and you strongly suspect this room is in her territory. Would a laser even work in some weird boundary-defying gap?
Before you can decide, you instinctively duck as a burning kick cuts through the space where your head was. Backing off, you run in the opposite direction from the girl as you try and figure out a method of counterattack.
Something’s in my pocket.
You feel a small weight rustle in your pocket as you continue to flee from the girl’s onslaught. Reaching inside, you pull out a set of blank cards. It’s the spellcards Yukari gave you. Perhaps you could try out a spellcard against her? After hearing how important the spellcard battle system is to Gensokyo, this could be exactly why Yukari brought you to this room.
And stuck this psychotic girl here with you.
What shall you do? Pick only one option.
[ ] Screw Yukari. Incinerate this bitch. [ ] This isn’t real, Yukari is messing with you. She’s just testing your resolve to abide by her rules. [ ] Spellcards. Your life will depend on them. Pick a spellcard name. [ ] Failed Eden: Torifune [ ] Star sign: Starshower [ ] Cosmic sign: Gamma Burst [ ] Custom
>>25395 While I'm no astronomy major, I think both can be used equally. Also, if I'm correct , the first person to vote got the spelling straight from trojan green asteroid. Or wikipedia. Either way, I'm not seeing any errors here.
[x] Cosmic sign: Lagrangian point
Part 13 1/2Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/07/22 (Sun) 02:50No. 25398▼
[x] Spellcards. Your life will depend on them. - [x] Cosmic sign: Lagrangian point
You stare hard at the spellcard pack. Now seems like the perfect time to try out a spellcard of your own. Yukari must have brought you here to try out a spell, but did she have to make it a life-and-death situation? Pulling out a spellcard from the pack, you begin thinking of something to name your first spell.
“Well, the Guillotine is in space so maybe something space-related? Star, no space… cosmic, yeah, cosmic sign is fine. And for the attack, uh- crap!”
Another near miss as you side-step a jab from the girl. You need to think of the name fast. Otherwise you might not even be able to call out your spellcard’s name in time. While you want to come up with something quick to defend yourself with, you want to be sure that this spellcard will actually make an effective attack. You have no idea exactly how the naming system works. For all you know, the name might actually affect the spellcard’s power.
“Quit running and fight me Yukari!”
Another blast detonates right next to you. The girl is looking frustrated. So far, you’ve managed to avoid every attack that she’s tried on you. You have no intention of standing your ground yet, you need to come up with an actual attack to do so with. You ignore her and get back to brainstorming a name.
A concept, a theme, anything about space would do. Really, the problem is that you want to make this spellcard count. If this card doesn’t take care of janitor girl, you’re going to have to come up with yet another card. With the amount of time you’re wasting trying to imagine a name, she’s wearing you down and getting closer to actually landing a hit. You’d like to finish this with one card if possible.
“Perhaps something in space affecting the Guillotine? Gravity, no, too simple. Vacuum? No, that sounds kinda dumb. The Lagrangian points? Well, maybe.”
The lagrangian points. Five points relative to two large celestial object’s positions where another object within a lagrange point can remain stationary in relation to the two larger masses. The Guillotine resided in one such location; the thrusters on the satellite were mainly used for aiming the laser cannon. While not exactly the most common knowledge about space it might make this card a bit unpredictable. Perfect for throwing off your opponent and maybe even enough to end this fight.
Without a second thought you hold the card high above your head. The girl actually pauses mid-attack at this; apparently she wants to see what you’re up to. Big mistake, she’s going to regret letting you call off your own attack. While you feel silly doing this, after observing how Cirno and Reisen announced their spellcards, you think you understand how to call yours out. In a loud voice, you proclaim the name of your first spellcard.
“Cosmic sign: Lagrangian point!”
The spellcard disintegrates in your hand followed by a soft glow surrounding you. A few moments pass and nothing happens. The girl stares for a moment. She’s unsure if attacking you now would be a good idea. You don’t feel stronger nor do you see any sort of change around you from calling your spellcard. After a few more seconds, the glow fades.
The spellcard didn’t do anything.
It didn’t do anything at all.
WHY DID IT DO NOTHING?
“HAHAHAHA!!! Some attack you got there.” The girl is laughing at you, mocking you. Right now, you’re crushed. You were hoping to turn the tables and it wound up making you look like an idiot. Ms. janitor is looking awfully smug now, which pisses you off.
“So, now that you’re done playing Yukari, what say we get back to the matter at hand? Me kicking your ass.”
You leap frantically out of the path of another kick. This girl isn’t even playing fair. You’ve yet to see even one of her spellcards and these attacks you’ve been dodging; you swear they’re not danmaku. Is she actually trying to kill you? Whatever happened to solving all disputes with a danmaku battle?
Another explosion goes off to your left. So what now? Are you going to keep dodging forever? The girl is still laughing; she’s enjoying whaling on this person who she thinks is Yukari. You dodge another punch aimed at your face. After that last attack, you’ve had it. This has gone on long enough. You’re sick of being unable to defend yourself.
You reach down for your remote. So the spellcard didn’t work. You know what does work though and you can show her. Right here. Right now. And to hell with Yukari’s rules, you’ll be damned if you have to make a fool out of yourself again, especially in front of this bitch. Remote in hand, you take aim at the girl across from you.
The girl gives you an odd look as you wave the remote in her direction. Obviously, after that last farce, she’s probably cocky enough to let you try something else and fail. Or so she thinks. Thinking about the surprise on her face when she eats a focused ray of particles almost puts a smile back on your face. Almost. You can only guess what consequences you might expect for disobeying Yukari. The thought of being punished by a gap-manipulating woman is not something you want to imagine about right now.
But right now, you don’t care.
The tracer light settles on the girl’s forehead. With your hand on the trigger, the only thing now is to press the button and she’ll be gone. Forever. You only hope that you’ll live through the punishment the boundary youkai has for you after this.
You press the trigger.
For a few seconds you’re left wondering if Yukari’s eyed room has something to do with cancelling your laser.
Then five lights blink to life on the floor. Arranged around the girl, the lights match the placement of the lagrangian points. The girl actually stops to glance around herself at the spectacle at her feet. She’s surprised, but she doesn’t look like she’s backing down anytime soon. She makes an attempt to resume attacking you but the lights erupt into bright pillars, rising up to the ceiling of the eyed room and barring her path to you.
This is a spellcard.
The activation of your spellcard leaves you surprised as well. You were completely sure that the spellcard that you called was a dud of some sort. Maybe its activation relied somehow on your remote? It did only go off after you pressed the trigger on the remote. Whatever the case, you’re glad you can finally see the effects of your spellcard.
“What is this?”
The girl is eyeing the pillars nervously. She’s probably worried about what this spellcard does. Even you don’t know what the lights will do next. But since danmaku and spellcards create attack patterns, your guess is that the lights will-
The girl vanishes within a giant pillar as the columns fuse. Well, you weren’t expecting them to merge but whatever, a hit’s a hit. The giant pillar glows brightly for several moments as it reaches up to the ceiling, brightly illuminating the entire room. Then, it dulls and begins breaking up.
As the large pillar dissipates, it dissolves into a shower of light that rains down around you. The glowing downpour is a rather brilliant display; each droplet of light resembles a star. Fascinated, you reach out to touch a nearby light drop. The drop simply passes straight through your hand. It seems your own danmaku won’t affect you; good to know with the amount of light falling from above.
Finally, the rain subsides. You notice that an impact crater was left from the pillar. It’s not very deep but there’s a lot of smoke coming out of it, making it hard to tell if your attack had any effect on the girl.
You wait for a brief moment, ready for janitor girl to reappear out of the smoke. Your hand grips the remote tighter. Considering how fast she was when the fight began, you need to be on your guard. After a few more seconds, still no movement. That attack seems to have done it. It looks like you wo-
“ENERGY SIGN: ENERGY TRANSFER !!!”
A burst of white knocks you over, leaving you stunned. You’re feeling intense pain all over your body. The pain is so strong that you can barely move, let alone think. What’s going on? You weren’t pushed that far back, just off your feet. So why does your entire body hurt? Grimacing through the pain, you watch as the girl finally steps out of the crater. She’s scratched up pretty bad, but she’s looking even more pissed than before. That attack barely seemed to faze her.
Your spellcard was ineffective. You figured that the whole point of Yukari bringing you here was for you to practice spellcards. So far, she still hasn’t shown up, to even assist you in making one or even in surviving against this psycho.
So what does that mean?
Are you useless to her then?
What happens now?
Meanwhile, the girl blows a stray strand of hair out of her eyes. More annoyed than hurt, she dusts herself off and scans the room before settling her gaze upon you.
“So that’s all you’ve got? Pathetic.”
The girl strolls casually over to your sprawled figure. She’s in no rush; you’re not going anywhere. So this is it. Even after all that, you’re still going to die. As she stands over you, you think about your short time in Gensokyo. You can’t believe this is how it all ends. You haven’t even lived a day in Gensokyo yet! You watch as the girl pulls back a fist, glowing white-hot.
>>25398 >The activation of your spellcard leaves you surprised as well. You were completely sure that the spellcard that you called was a dud of some sort. Maybe its activation relied somehow on your remote? It did only go off after you pressed the trigger on the remote.
Then how do we fire the Guillotine insteaad of danmaku?
Urgh, I hit writer's block for a moment; perhaps maybe a half-page before the conclusion of this update. To try and inspire myself, I did a rough sketch.
I apologize for crappy quality and using notebook paper.
A moment passes before you realize you’re still alive.
Cautiously, you open your eyes.
And find the girl right in your face.
The anger on her face a few moments prior has vanished. In its place, is a look of confusion and annoyance. What made her decide to stop? The girl holds her stare with you for a few more seconds.
“You. You’re not Yukari.”
Well, at least she figured that out finally. What on earth could have Possibly tipped her off that you weren’t Yukari? The girl takes a step back as you breathe a sigh of relief. That was close. You thought you were a goner right there.
Picking yourself up, you decide to take a better look at your opponent. She’s a girl, probably not much older than twenty wearing a worn janitor’s uniform. Despite her slim build, you pick up a powerful vibe emanating from her. Deserving, considering the hard-fought battle she gave you. Her blond hair reaches down in an untamed fashion to about the middle of her neck. What stands out the most though is her eyes. A piercing emerald-green color, the girl seems to keep them in a permanent glare.
As if sensing your gaze, she turns quickly to face you. You avert your eyes; it would be very bad to piss this one off any further.
Several minutes have passed by and still no Yukari. You’re starting to wonder if she forgot about you two. If so, how the hell are you both getting out of this room? You scan the room for any possible exits. No doors, windows, or holes you can slip out of. Just eyes. Lots and lots of eyes. Nothing else really stands out; does that mean you have to wait in here then? Perhaps the girl has found a way out?
“Hey, do you see any-”
The girl has disappeared. Frantically, you search the dim room for any signs of her. Nothing. You were sure she was standing right next to you just a moment before. Now you’re alone in a room covered in eyes. And they’re staring at you.
Not disturbing in the slightest.
“What a troublesome girl. It seems I can’t even enter the same room as her without her breaking everything.”
That voice. It’s definitely Yukari’s. But where is it coming from?
“Spaceman. Up here.”
You look up towards the ceiling. Nothing different than- wait. You can make out a figure on the ceiling. It’s Yukari, standing upside-down above you. When did she get there?
“I apologize for not showing up earlier again. That girl and I, we don’t get along so well, see?”
“Where did she go? Why did she think I was you?” The list of questions you have for her about the girl goes on and on.
“Slow down, take it easy.” Yukari descends slowly in front of you. As she lands, a woman with many fox tails walks out from behind her along with a young girl with two cat tails. As they stand across from you, an intense pressure bears down on your body. It feels as if they’re very presence together is crushing you.
Who, no, WHAT are they?
“I sent that girl back to the underworld.” Yukari makes an exasperated face. “Really, why does everyone from the underworld turn out to be so troublesome?”
“Okay, but I’m still waiting for an explanation for why she thought I was you though.”
“Watch your tone when addressing Miss Yukari!” The fox-tailed woman cuts you down with her gaze. That glare of hers is unspeakably intimidating; you’re feeling more fear right now than you did fighting janitor girl. Yukari places a hand on the fox woman’s shoulder.
“Calm down, Ran. It’s perfectly reasonable for him to be a little upset after that girl tried to kill him.”
So she was trying to kill you. Well, trying to kill who she thought was Yukari, but still. She tried to kill you. Yukari continues her explanation.
“The reason I made you look like myself to that girl was because I needed to test a few things. One of those things happened to be how fast you could adapt to the spellcard system.”
“Why now? I haven’t even been here for a day and already you’re dragging me around on a whim.”
“I’m sorry, but when you went to grab your remote, I needed to make sure you weren’t actually intending on using it.” Yukari puts on an innocent face. It’s not working on you. “I felt that since you had your remote, this was the best time to give you some spellcard practice with… uh, um… just remember her as janitor girl, okay?”
“Okay, but still, why did you have to make her think I was you? She wasn’t fighting with danmaku. She was out for blood.”
“Ah, yes, well, I also wanted to see just how bad she disliked me.” Yukari lets out a small sigh. If she was observing, it’s pretty clear already just what that girl thinks of her. “Apparently, I may have played the villain a little too well.”
“Played the villain? What are you talking about?”
“I’m afraid that’s a secret.” Yukari makes a cutesy face. Or attempts to anyway. You’re finding nothing cute about her right now. “I can’t be telling you all my plans, now can I?”
“So am I supposed to be your guinea pig or something?”
“Oh no, no, no.” She wags her finger at you as if you’ve done something naughty. Really, you enjoyed your short chat with the janitor girl more than this. “But I do expect you to follow my instructions.”
She expects you to follow her command after setting up a deathmatch between you and Ms. janitor? Who does she think she is?
“And I should, Why?”
The fox woman (Ran was it?) lets out a menacing growl. The cat girl standing next to her looks worried; like she knows something bad happens after that sound. Yukari makes a motion toward Ran who gives you one last snarl before bowing low to Yukari and stepping back.
“Galen, if you think I see you as a tool, perhaps I do. But after that battle, you’ve far exceeded my expectations.”
“What are you talking about? I still lost.”
“Maybe so. But you survived quite well, despite not using your laser and only calling one spellcard. You did exceptional in my opinion, against her.”
Being ‘complimented’ by Yukari is improving your mood. Slightly. But if she considers just surviving against that girl good, who exactly did you fight?
“I don’t get it. I hit her with my spellcard first. Shouldn’t I have won?”
“Yes, well, a danmaku battle is over when one side runs out of cards or is incapacitated. Even though you hit her, that girl still had her own cards. As well as incredible willpower; that card you made was one of the most powerful ones I’ve ever seen. It must have taken unbelievable strength of will for her just to stand up after that one.”
So your card was pretty strong. If that is indeed true, that makes that last fight that much more terrifying. What kind of monster did Yukari put you up against?
“So, just who is she then?”
“That’s also a secret I can’t tell you. But after seeing how hard she fought, I can definitively say that that girl would fight to and even through death to kill me. Be glad that you managed to hold your own looking like me.”
“Thanks… I guess.”
“I suppose I can tell you one more thing about that girl. If you do see her in person outside of here, I give you permission to use your laser on her.”
Wait, after all that fuss just to see if you’d follow her instructions about NOT shooting the laser at people, she’s allowing you to shoot… janitor girl?
“What’s this about, Yukari?”
“Ah, I guess you’d be wary after I made myself clear not to use that laser on any resident of Gensokyo.” She grins mischievously. Just what is going on in her head? “Well, that girl doesn’t happen to be from here. She’s actually another outsider I brought from your world.”
So she’s also originally from Earth. Hold on, then where the hell did she get those powers from? And why is Yukari letting you use Guillotine on her of all people if she’s the one who brought her here in the first place?
“And you want me to shoot her is that it?”
“Oh my, that’s not what I meant at all. I’m just saying that if you have to, you may, and are allowed to use Guillotine on that one. But I don’t think you can expect the same results as your use on Cirno. With janitor girl’s ability, the laser MIGHT slow her down.”
Slow her down? Okay, seriously, where did Yukari find Ms. janitor and how come you haven’t read about girls that can punch fire and make exploding kicks in your newspaper or even in your history books?
This is all so overwhelming. You’d just like to-
Note: Pick up to two choices. (If the same two choices are picked, they will be counted together regardless of order.)
[ ] ask if your spellcards really are related to your remote and HOW. It would be easier to follow her rule of not using Guillotine if you knew how your spellcards worked. [ ] ask Yukari about the two strangers in the room. Why ARE they here anyway? [ ] ask Yukari why she’d bring someone out to kill her into Gensokyo. What’s she gaining with someone like janitor girl here as well? [ ] ask Yukari if she brought your entire satellite into Gensokyo. At least then you can expect what you might find in Kaguya’s room. [ ] find out where the bloody exit is in this room. How long have you been in here? Do you think Eirin is getting concerned?
Note 2: If the explanation Yukari gave for why you lost still wasn’t good enough, here’s the simplest response I can come up with to satisfy you. Deathbomb.
-[X] Ask if your spellcards really are related to your remote and HOW. It would be easier to follow her rule of not using Guillotine if you knew how your spellcards worked. -[X] Ask Yukari about the two strangers in the room. Why ARE they here anyway?
Sooo... I guess I'll get back to writing this. Now that the busy period of work is kinda over, I don't really have an excuse not to be updating.
>>25403 No problem. But now I'm interested. What IS a false vacuum exactly?
Called for -[X] Ask if your spellcards really are related to your remote and HOW. It would be easier to follow her rule of not using Guillotine if you knew how your spellcards worked. -[X] Ask Yukari about the two strangers in the room. Why ARE they here anyway?
It's a "metastable sector of space" that looks like a vacuum but isn't at the lowest possible quantum energy state. Should a high-energy particle or particle collision happen in this sector of space, the false vacuum will transition into a true vacuum, with the side effect of destroying everything in it at literally the speed of light(A "vacuum metastability event"). Also, we may be living in one right now - hell, the entire universe may be in one.
Sounds like it'd be quite a fun spell card. I keep thinking of Flandre's Maze of Love for whatever reason.
>>25425 Like I said, I keep thinking Maze of Love. Given how the real thing would theoretically progress (a giant bubble expanding at the speed of light) Maze of Love would be the closest approximation I can think, just with gaps between each bullet instead of one large opening. If you took it literally, it'd just be the wall with no gaps, but that'd make it unbeatable.
It seems like any major cosmic structure or phenomenon would be so overpowered as to shatter the spell card rules into a million pieces. I could see a way to do some things, but if Utsuho taught us anything, it's that cosmic power is too powerful.
So sleepy~. Proofreading my own work sucks. Anyway, update here.
- [x] ask if your spellcards really are related to your remote and HOW. It would be easier to follow her rule of not using Guillotine if you knew how your spellcards worked. - [x] ask Yukari about the two strangers in the room. Why ARE they here anyway?
Speaking of lasers, you’ve been wondering about how your spell card is supposed to work. It only went off when you pressed the trigger on your remote and even then, there was a sort of delay before anything even happened. Just what is the relation between your remote and your spell cards?
The fox and cat stare at you while you think.
Right, and another thing. Who are those two and what are they here for? Their gaze is starting to make you paranoid… perhaps that should come first.
“Um, Yukari. Why ARE those two here?” Pointing straight at the pair, Ran simply returns a look of disgust while the girl fidgets nervously under your finger.
“Ah, I do believe I forgot the introductions.” Gesturing towards the two, Yukari began. “This is my shikigami, Ran and her shikigami, Chen.”
The two bowing curtly (though Ran appeared to do so reluctantly), Yukari now pointed directly at you.
“Ran, Chen, this is Galen Marek. Mr. Marek is currently my representative within Eientei.”
Representative? Since when have you been a representative for THIS woman? There’s sooo many reasons you could give already on why you’d never work with her. Despite that, you bow low to show your “respect”. It’d be better if you said nothing. With someone as loyal as Ran with her, arguing with the border youkai right now would be unwise. Yukari in the meantime, doesn’t appear to suspect a thing… you hope.
“Good. Now that everybody knows who’s who, I’ll answer that question of yours, Galen.”
Walking over to Ran, Yukari whispered something into the fox’s ear before standing back. Ran, now slightly confused, tapped Chen on the shoulder. Upon getting the cat girl’s attention, she now passed on the information silently, like a game of telephone. Without another word, the three spread out to form a triangle around you.
Seriously, did everything with Yukari have to be a secret?
From way across the room, the border youkai calls out to you. “Okay Galen, use your spell card.”
“How is this answering my question?”
Yukari grins large enough for you to see despite standing so far off. “Just follow my instructions. I’ll get to explaining myself after you do this for me.”
What’s she playing at? You just wanted to know why Ran and Chen were here, that’s all. You didn’t even ask her yet about your spell card. And besides, you’ve already demonstrated your card against janitor girl, couldn’t she just TELL you how to use it? Then again, it wouldn’t be in her nature so… whatever. Once more, in a loud voice you declare the name of your spell card.
“Cosmic sign: Lagrangian point!”
Again a faint light glows around you shortly before fading. And again, nothing significant seems to happen. You’re getting annoyed; what’s she waiting for? You could just press the button, but you want to actually understand why your spell card require the remote. And you’re curious if this test even pertains to that.
“Alright, that’s good. Now I want you to LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY.” She directs a finger towards the center of her chest.
“I want you… to shoot me.”
“WHAT?” You, Ran and Chen can only gawk at what you all thought you just heard.
“SHOOT,” Yukari now adds a great deal of emphasis as she points fervently at herself again. “ME.”
Despite repeating herself, you still find this request of hers outrageous. Ran seems considerably more shocked than you though. This seems a BIT crazy even for someone with all-powerful border hacks. And since she’s a shikigami to the boundary youkai, she’s probably seen some really crazy things. Not to mention how dumbfounded she probably is right now seeing her master make a request that would be plain suicidal in any other case. But this is a danmaku attack; Yukari’s obviously realized that so she’s not particularly worried. Actually, why are you even questioning this in the first place? You get to SHOOT Yukari… today’s not such a bad day after all.
Aiming the remote, you place the tracer directly over the spot she indicated. Still a bit hesitant, perhaps from the excitement of what you’re doing or from the sheer insanity of this, you press the trigger. Just like the battle with janitor girl, there’s a delay of some sort before the card activates. As you wait for the lights to appear, Yukari shouts across the room at you.
“That’s good. Now quickly, shoot Ran and Chen as well.”
“Oka- WAIT. WHAT?”
“Hurry up! This won’t work if you don’t fire before your attack hits me!”
Ran and Chen are sweating now. Understandable; they’ve apparently been brought along JUST to be shot at by you. Well, since it’s Yukari giving the order, they should be fine… right? You don’t really want to hurt them but since it’s under the border youkai’s instructions, there’s not much else you can do. Thinking optimistically, you mark both Ran and Chen with the remote. The atmosphere of the room grows tense as everyone braces for the attack.
After another few seconds, you’re starting to wonder if what you just did broke your spellcard or something.
Finally, after a bit more waiting, you notice the familiar glow appear on the floor. Watching the lights form, you notice something different about your attack this time. There’s only one light under Yukari. And under Ran. AND under Chen. Otherwise, the attack is pretty much the same, with the lights quickly growing into the towering pillars seen in your first use of Lagrangian point.
Followed by them promptly exploding.
The three towers each burst into a spray of light as they engulf Yukari and her shikigamis in a flash of light momentarily. The intensity of the multiple flashes is blinding, making it hard to tell just how much of an effect that attack had.
As the columns begin disintegrating, their glow fades and dulls like before. Your eyes still adjusting, vaguely make out the figure of Ran in one of the impact sites. Though still standing, the kitsune is visibly scratched up, surprising you. You expected Ran to be completely unaffected by the attack. Especially since she’s a shikigami to Yukari and whatnot.
Chen meanwhile, is noticeably injured from that laser. Hunched over and panting, she looks exhausted after taking a direct hit from that card. You’re starting to feel kind of bad. You figured Yukari would have done something to keep both of them safe. It’s not like you intended to hurt them with this either. And speaking of Yukari…
Where is she?
Facing the third spot, there’s no sign of the woman. Turning towards Ran, the nine-tailed fox simply shrugs when she sees the confused look on your face. Her casual response surprises you. After seeing how vicious she got when you argued with Yukari, you expected her to be worried that her master was missing. Maybe she was just upset with your attitude back then though. With Yukari being a manipulator of boundaries, it’s likely that Ran is used to her master disappearing every now and then.
Just as you begin getting restless, Yukari reappears; rising out of the dark ground of the eyed room. As she returns, you notice that the laser doesn’t seem to have hurt her. Her clothes don’t give the slightest hint that she was hit by that attack either. She looks completely fine. Aside from the minor look of annoyance she’s carrying.
“Oh my, that spellcard was rather unpredictable. It almost caught me off guard when it fired like that.”
The border youkai strolled casually over to Ran. Standing in front of the kitsune, Yukari inspected her shikigami’s injuries closely. A look of disappointment creeped onto her face as she finished examining Ran’s damaged clothing.
“Ran… you’re getting slow. Don’t tell me you couldn’t dodge this?”
“You never told us to dodge, master,” Ran retorted, unamused at this remark. From the looks of it, even she must tire of Yukari’s antics eventually. “You only instructed Mr. Marek to shoot at us. We simply assumed you wanted him to actually hit something.”
“Ohohoho, but isn’t dodging incoming danger common sense?”
“NOT when your master puts you in the danger to begin with, Yukari.” Ran was distinctly getting irritated by the boundary youkai. This didn’t surprise you at all. With a master like Yukari, it’s a wonder how the kitsune managed to keep her sanity in check.
“Anyway, back to your spell card.” Yukari walks over to you, waving off Ran who still looked very annoyed behind her. Holding out her hand, a group of lights materializes over the border youkai; arranging themselves into the same formation as the lagrangian points.
“This is what your spell card takes its name from yes?” She then waves her hand as the lights scatter about her. Now, the five lights rearrange themselves in a different formation; completely unorganized and without any definite method to the placement. You watch silently. You’re curious to know where she’s going with this display.
“Your spell card is indeed interesting. After observing your spell card, I think I understand how it functions. Not only can you use it once, you can place up to five of these lights anywhere you so desire.” She glances briefly at the lights as they dance in her hands. “This is truly a versatile card. It seems that if you happen to use it less than five time, the strength of the lights used increases.”
So you can use it up to five times? And by using less, the lasers that are placed get stronger as well. Sounds like you made a pretty useful card.
She pauses, a worried frown growing on her face. “However, the only thing I see wrong is the delay. If it takes that long for your spell card to fire, you need to think before placing those points.”
You nod slowly. Comparing your card to the ones of Cirno, Reisen, and even janitor girl, yours takes incredible time to warm up. Perhaps that’s the drawback to its power. Yukari did say the card was very strong.
“So, now that I know how my card works, do you think you could explain why it requires my remote?”
“Yes, that.” Yukari puts a hand to her chin as she thinks. “In Gensokyo, spell cards are created by what defining characteristics of their user. Their abilities, a significant item they possess, or simply physical prowess. Spell cards are usually categorized into those three; ability-based, artifact-based, and physical-based. There are exceptions but those three groups are the majority of spell cards here.”
She points at the remote in your hand. “Your cards happen to be defined by that device. The reason you’re confused about it is probably because you haven’t seen any other artifact spell cards. And really, there aren’t a whole lot of people who rely solely on artifact spells. Most residents of Gensokyo are ability users, like janitor girl. There are some physical-based spell card users, but most usually have a sort of ability to fall back on. As for artifact spell cards, those are based upon the properties of the item used and objects with favorable qualities are quite rare.”
She stops, her face lighting up as she recalls, “However, there’s someone in Eientei you could ask about those. Kaguya, the princess, uses artifacts in her spell cards. She’d probably be able to teach you more on how artifact spells work.”
So you can ask the princess herself about artifacts? That makes getting help with your spell cards pretty easy. It seems residing in Eientei has many advantages.
With nothing more to say, Yukari disperses the lights as Ran and Chen quickly join her. Bowing one last time to you, Ran and Chen step behind the border youkai and disappear. It looks as though your session with Yukari is over finally.
“Good night, spaceman.”
Yukari vanishes, an intense blast of white burns your eyes as she leaves. You squint as your eyes attempt to readjust from the blinding light. After a few seconds, you can make out shapes around you. It looks like… doors. Traditional Japanese sliding doors.
You’re back in Eientei.
What next? Pick one for now.
[ ] Head to the dining hall. Everyone must be worried sick. [ ] Put the remote back in Eirin’s office. We don’t need another visit from Yukari tonight.
Yukari’s spell card log
Cosmic sign: Lagrangian point
Spell card type: Artifact
Description: An attack that allows the spaceman to place up to five points for his attack. Each marked spot fires a laser from below after a delay. However, using all of the attacks at once is not required. If only one point is used however, the card creates a sigil in the image of the lagrange points and their placement. The shower of light is merely an aesthetic aftereffect. I think.
Power: Strong. Power is distributed evenly between the points used. Even if only three were used, no energy goes to waste. Very efficient, kind of like Ran.
Versatility: High. Allows multiple attacks with one card. With the ability to pick your targets, I think I need a card like this.
Activation speed: Very slow. Attack takes a large amount of time to charge. Once it activates though, the lasers deploy rather quickly. However, the delay combined with the fast acting lasers can be surprising. Even someone with perfect reflexes such as myself was nearly caught off guard. Of course, that’s only if you happen to be waiting to get hit in the first place.
[x] Head to the dining hall. Everyone must be worried sick.
Was there really any other option? After such a long period in Yukari’s… eyed room, they must have sent someone to go searching for you. You need to reassure them that you’re alright. Fortunately, it seems the border youkai was in a nice enough mood to drop you off down the hallway from the dining room.
The door in sight, you walk over and slide it open cautiously, so as not to make a scene. You really hope everyone isn’t mad at you for the inconvenience.
Eirin, still sitting at the table in the center, somehow is the first to notice you. “Oh, there you are. I hope you didn’t lose yourself on the way back.”
“No, it was no problem for me.” You maintain your composure as you lie. Masking emotions comes easy for a trained soldier. It takes a bit of conscious effort on your part, though. A lot actually.
Because you aren’t really a trained soldier, remember? You’re an astronaut.
Rejoining her at the table, you noticed more food being served. Presumably seconds or thirds… maybe even fourths; you’ve lost track of the time spent with Yukari. Eirin along with the rest of Eientei doesn’t seem noticeably upset with your late return though.
“Tewi guided you there well, I presume then?”
“Yes, she was a good, little guide.” The little rabbit smiles at you from her seat at the table. Despite your little detour, you haven’t forgotten her ‘talk’ with you. That brat. You’re starting to think that those rabbit ears should be devil horns.
“Well, that’s good. We were concerned when Tewi decided to come back by herself, though.” Eirin took a sip from her cup and eyed Tewi disapprovingly. The little rabbit merely grinned innocently, before bowing a couple of times as she apologized. Which you doubt was sincere, you’re not sure how honest she really is anymore. But besides that, it seems that the rest of Eientei was getting uneasy when you didn’t return.
You should, no, you need to apologize as well for worrying them.
“Uh, well, sorry that I took a while coming back.”
Eirin responds, shaking her head, “Oh no, you didn’t take that long. You were gone perhaps… a few minutes.”
A few minutes. That CAN’T be right. At least an hour must have passed by when you were in that weird room… This must be Yukari’s doing; nothing else could explain why no one here seems to believe you really were gone that long.
As you open your mouth to explain, it occurred to you that telling them about your meeting with Yukari would be pointless. You wouldn’t gain anything from it and the border youkai probably wouldn’t be all that happy if it happened to interfere with… whatever she’s planning.
You choose to let the subject go, deciding instead to mull over the past events. There’s really no point trying to convince them that you were gone for that long. You aren’t even sure if it really was that long or that it just felt like it. Besides, you’re already back. And right now, your dealings with Yukari are something best kept to yourself for now.
Dinner seemed to drag on for at least another hour or so. For you, it felt like another day had already passed. Food, more food, beer and sake, then back to food. You’re surprised, almost scared, that these small, furry animals can eat and drink so much.
Finally though, the rabbits began filing back out of the dining hall. As the room emptied, you could at last see the actual scale of the dining room. Though it looked impressive before, despite being filled to bursting earlier, the room now seemed to stretch impossibly far; a single, seamless panel above forming the ceiling of the massive hall.
With all of the rabbits now gone, Kaguya, Reisen, and Tewi stayed behind to help Eirin clean up the dining room and kitchen.
You, however, now sat alone at the table, trying to examine your situation. Yukari had brought both you, and a total stranger, into this fantasy land, for some, still vague purpose. This, you understood completely. What you didn’t get, was why the border youkai would keep someone as rebellious as janitor girl around. There must have been people more compliant, not to mention just as strong (If she found janitor girl, there must have been more LIKE her, right?) she could have taken from Earth, so why didn’t she?
Another question came to mind. This time about yourself. Yukari had brought both you and your satellite to Gensokyo. But she didn’t want you using the actual thing, out of fear that you might kill someone, and still, here you were, carrying the key to an orbiting, instant-death machine. So WHY were the two of you even in Gensokyo in the first place? Thinking about it made your head hurt, asking yourself these questions was getting you nowhere.
“Galen? Are you alright?”
You blink, eyes wide at the interruption in your thought process. Looking toward the voice, you stared blankly at its owner. Kaguya stood across the table, broom in hand, and looking slightly concerned at your lingering presence here.
“Mr. Marek, are you alright?” She repeated, a strand of long black hair wandering in front of her face as she leaned forward.
“Ah, yes… I’m fine,” You reply, hoping that the princess asked out of courtesy, not out of actual concern. You don’t want to cause them distress, but you NEED to figure out what to do next. Not that you actually HAVE to, but it’s just that… it’s always been in your nature. Everyone used say you would over think things. You just like seeing a clear course of action in front of you.
Now though, you’re afraid you’re under thinking, not because, you’re not trying, but rather, your human mind simply can’t wrap itself around all of this. Logic can’t explain anything you’ve experienced here. You doubt anyone could explain Yukari’s actions even if they tried though.
Meanwhile, back in reality, Kaguya looked more than a little suspicious at your denial. “You don’t look fine.”
“Eh? No, I really am.” The girl is persistent isn’t she? But perhaps your words aren’t matching your tone. Or your posture for that matter. You can tell that your body language isn’t convincing anyone; not while you’re hunched over and wearing such a lost gaze anyway.
“I’m just… tired (Yeah, tired works.). It’s just been such a long day.” You fake a yawn as you try to convince her that you really are, in fact, alright.
This seemed to ease Kaguya’s worrying, for the moment. Offering a hand, the girl asked, “Well, do you need help going back to your room?”
Before you agreed though, you paused for a second. There was something you really wanted to ask the princess first.
[ ] “Kaguya, do you think I could ask about your spell cards?” [ ] “What is a princess like you doing all the way out here, anyway?” [ ] “Why do Reisen and Tewi look so different compared to the other rabbits?” [ ] “I’m still unfamiliar here. Do you think you could describe a bit more about Gensokyo?”
[X] “Kaguya, do you think I could ask about your spell cards?”
Part 16Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/08/12 (Sun) 03:51No. 25437▼
Don't know why I was so eager to update this. Eientei is kind of dead now.
[x] “Kaguya, do you think I could ask about your spell cards?”
“Wait, Kaguya.” You ignored the outstretched hand, instead standing up and facing her.
The princess rose slowly, confused at what you might want to ask of her. You needed to know this. You just HAD to know if she could help you with your spell cards in any way. So you asked, “I’m just wondering… do you have any spell cards?”
Kaguya gave you a funny look as she placed the broom down. She probably wasn’t expecting you to ask something like that so late at night. And you yourself had to admit, the question seemed to come from nowhere.
But eventually, she smiled, not at all bothered by the sudden inquiry.
“Spell cards?” With a wave of her hand, several objects materialized at her side. Each one was beautiful; so beautiful in fact that words could never describe them, and you simply stared in awe as she continued, “I have many. But why are you asking this question at such an hour?”
“W-well,” You began, your mouth unresponsive from the majestic display before you. You’d NEVER seen anything quite like the items Kaguya had produced in front of you. Back home, the only thing you ever saw was the dull gray of the city streets and skyscrapers. There were no trees, no animals, hell, not even anything remotely pretty about home. Just buildings for the military, the government, and for… actually, that’s about it.
Forcing the words out, you finish your response, “… I’d like some help making a spell card.”
The princess thought for a moment, then answered, “I’m afraid I can’t teach you anything.”
“Eh? Why not?”
“Well, my cards happen to rely on these artifacts.” She frowned, slightly disappointed that she could not apparently help with your request. “I’m afraid you’d need to bring me some sort of item if you wanted my assistance.”
“That’s just it,” You reply, unhooking the metal brick from your waist and passing it to her. Kaguya studied the alien device, inspecting its entire surface as you continued, “I use that remote for my spell cards.”
As she examined your remote, the princess’s eyes lit up.
“What a curious-looking machine!” She exclaimed, looking absolutely fascinated by the strange lights that blinked sporadically on the miniature display panel.
“You… know that it’s a piece of machinery?” You’re a little surprised. You never would have guessed that the princess would be familiar with technology. Gensokyo didn’t seem like it possessed machines, set in an era akin to feudal Japan. Then again, if your visit to Eirin’s office told you anything, they DO have electricity here at least.
“Yes, electronic devices have been increasing in Gensokyo lately.” She makes a curious expression as she stares at the remote, handing it back to you. “That’s strange however, I’ve never seen anyone make a spell card based on one of THESE before. What does it do?”
Uh… Didn’t you go over it with them? It fir-you mean, it locates. It locates… things, places. Kind of like… GPS, yeah, that’s it. It’s GPS.
You point at the display and show her the map function as you explain, “This device is called GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System. GPS is used to track where you are in the world. I can also use it to plot my routes when I travel.”
“Is that it?”
The girl nodded, as she took this in. She didn’t appear entirely surprised, perhaps she’d heard about devices with similar functions.
She does seem a bit disappointed, though.
“So, what kind of spell card were you hoping to make off of… this?” There’s a disconcerted look from Kaguya as she speaks. She must have been anticipating the device to have an ability more… impressive. Although, really, you know it DOES do something pretty amazing. If you consider, well, vaporizing a small house in a second, amazing. Obviously, you’re still debating how the princess would react if you told her what the remote was actually for.
“Uh, I just wanted to know how to make a spell card with an artifact.” You don’t want to go any further into detail about your remote with Kaguya. It still doesn’t feel like the right time to explain everything about yourself. And besides, all you really need is to understand how naming artifact spell cards work. You trust you can figure it out from there.
“Oh, okay, well, an artifact spell’s strength depends upon the object’s potential.” There was a pause as the princess gathered her thoughts. “Versatility of the item is also important as it defines the nature of the spell cards it produces.”
“I see.” Considering the actual use of Guillotine’s remote and your first spell card; it does make a lot of sense. With the power to annihilate anything on the face of Gensokyo, that is a LOT of potential. The remote also lent a certain amount of flexibility to your attacks, allowing you to ‘paint’ targets on the move. The only drawback was the delay.
Ten seconds was waaay too long of a delay for a spell card to activate in your opinion.
Another question immediately came to mind. “So, is there a limit on how many spell cards I can make with one item?”
“Well, that too depends on how powerful the item is. An exceptionally strong artifact could allow for multiple spell cards.” The princess grasped one of the objects floating nearby. The artifact looked vaguely like a tree branch, adorned with multi-colored jewels in place of leaves. She gazed at the branch, rolling her hand as she inspected the vibrant hues of the gems as they caught the light.
“But a clever person could also make even more spell cards based on an idea they associate with the object. In the end, a spell card is really only bound by the user’s imagination.”
From the kitchen, Eirin called out, interrupting your conversation, “Princess? Are you finished cleaning that room?”
“Not yet!” Looking towards you, the girl lifted a finger to her lips as she gave a light smile. “Don’t tell Eirin I stopped working, okay? We can talk later.”
With a flourish, the artifacts surrounding the princess as well as the jeweled branch she held disappeared in a flash of white. Kaguya, now finished, gave a slight bow before picking up the broom and resuming her sweeping.
Remote in hand, you stared briefly at the device before clipping it back onto your belt. A card, based on an idea?
The possibilities sounded limitless.
Perhaps we should call it a night. [ ] Head back to your room. Just trust your instincts. [ ] Find a rabbit outside the dining room to lead you back. They should know the layout of the building. [ ] Check with Eirin for directions before we go. Don’t want to get lost.
[x] Find a rabbit outside the dining room to lead you back. They should know the layout of the building.
A resident would know the ins and outs of this building, right? If that’s the case, asking any old rabbit would do just fine. Hopefully, they can lead you back to your room and be a much better companion than Tewi was as well.
With a respectful bow, you bid the princess a good night before heading quietly out into the hallway.
Entering the corridor, the halls of Eientei greet you with silence. There’s nobody in sight, despite the massive horde of rabbits that left the dining room earlier. It’s a bit strange, perhaps disturbing even, how empty such a large building feels to you right now. No matter, there must be SOMEONE in these countless rooms; you just have to find them now.
You turn the corner, hoping to meet somebody in these halls. No one. None of the rooms in this section appear lit either. You ignore them and keep going. You’re not willing to check every single room this late at night. It would be rude to wake them up after they’ve already gone to bed and causing a disturbance is the last thing on your mind.
Reluctantly, you head further down the dim hallway. Still no sign of anything at all. No sound either. The lack of people and noise is making the place rather eerie. Reaching another bend, you cautiously peered around the corner, prepared for any sort of surprise that awaited.
No one. Again, absolutely NO ONE.
There’s one lit room on this part of the hallway. Lit. And you can make out a few vague shadows behind the semi-transparent screening. Finally. Someone who’s still up. Approaching the door, you give a slight rap on the frame of the wooden barrier. No answer. You stand there a moment or two. Someone must be inside, unless they decided to leave the lights on when they went to use the bathroom. Growing impatient, you decide to check and see if anyone is inside.
Sliding the door open, you give a soft call as you enter the room, “Excuse me, is anyone here?”
You don’t receive a response, but upon a downward glance, notice one of the small white furballs gazing wide-eyed back at you. An awkward silence settles between the two of you. You wait, though you’re kind of unsure why; rabbits don’t talk, and you don’t recall ever hearing them do so in Gensokyo either. Except for maybe Reisen and Tewi, but they don’t exactly look like your everyday jackrabbit now do they?
Uncomfortable, you finally speak up, “Uhhh, sorry, but would it be alright if you could guide me back to my room? I’m afraid that I’ll get lost on my own.”
The rabbit nodded; having apparently understood every word you said. Or at least you think it did. Walking past you, the rabbit steps into the hallway and began hopping down the dark path, seemingly indifferent to the fact that you weren’t following it yeeett-WAIT!
You stumble frantically after the white rabbit, finally catching up to the blasted little thing around the next corner. As you follow behind, the rabbit continues on, completely oblivious to you. At least this one’s not trying to ruffle you up, though.
As you walk, you take a count of how many turns you’ve made following your furry little leader. You’ve lost count, but you vaguely remember you were up to twelve or so. However many it was, Eientei is a labyrinth. With its twisting, winding floor plan; it’s a wonder you even found your way to Eirin’s office by yourself the first time.
Passing a window, you note how alien it feels not seeing the city lights. Looking out into the forest, you find yourself unable to distinguish anything past the outer walls of the compound. The woods are pitch black. It’s a surprisingly dark and terrifying reminder of home, of all things. You remember quite clearly what awaited in the shadow-obscured alleys along the streets back on Earth.
Home was never a safe place in your eyes, no matter what everyone said, or in truth, what they were told to say.
This however? This is different. On Earth, you knew what places to avoid, who to trust, and anything else useful for staying alive in the city. Out here though, you know absolutely nothing about the land, about the people, save for these few residents here, and about what ELSE calls Gensokyo home.
Especially what else calls Gensokyo home. In particular, the things that happen to look like you. But… aren’t.
Something tugs at your pant leg, derailing your train of thought.
You look down toward the source of the tugging to find yourself staring at your rabbit guide’s large, bright eyes. So it wasn’t ignoring you after all. Having grabbed your attention, the rabbit points further down the path, at the room in the middle of the corridor.
Your room, it seems.
Pushing the wooden screen aside, you check the layout of the room. Nothing really stands out. It’s an ordinary bedroom with a futon lying in the center of the room, a blanket strewn messily over it. Just like you left it.
You look back out into the corridor to thank the bunny. Your guide has already left though, having turned the corner and headed back to its room. It didn’t even stay to say goodbye, not that you were expecting it to.
Still better than Tewi though.
A hand to your head, your fingers skim across the medical tape, reminding you of your first meeting with the little rascal. You lightly touch the bump and wince as the bruise gives a slight sting in reply. After everything you’ve been through, sleep would be a welcome relief. You need to forget about your entire day with Yukari, Tewi, and janitor girl.
Flopping onto the bed, you don’t even bother with covering yourself with the blanket. You’re too exhausted to even care about that. Eyes growing heavy, you barely manage to hold them open for a few more seconds before finally giving in to unconsciousness.
Within minutes, you’re already fast asleep.
A bright light shines in your face. Hot, blinding, but not quite as bad as what you’ve felt before. In fact, this time… this time, it feels pretty good. After a month of taking the Sun’s rays unprotected by the atmosphere, this is nothing. Sitting up, you shield your eyes from the glare as you look out into the open hallway. Seems like you didn’t go through the trouble of closing your door when you went to bed last night either.
With a yawn, you rise slowly, stretching your arms and legs as you try to get the blood flowing. The sunlight may be warm, but there’s still a chill in the morning air. Walking out to the doorway, you look outside your room into the hall. It seems no else is awake yet.
Alone, you make your way to the window. The sky is beginning to brighten, with the Sun just rising above the tree line. It’s been a long time since you’ve had the chance to watch the sunrise.
Eientei in the meantime, remains silent, though now that silence… is calming, perhaps even soothing. You can’t remember the last time you felt this relaxed. Even off work, there was a tense feeling that always seemed to hang about you. But right now, you don’t feel worried, troubled, or even concerned about yesterday’s problems. You don’t even think a visit from Yukari at this very moment could ruin your mood.
This… is nice.
[ ] Bathe. Nothing would be more refreshing than a nice hot bath in the morning. [ ] A walk outside. Let’s continue to enjoy this wonderful sunrise while we can. [ ] Check if anyone else is up.
[x] Bathe. Nothing would be more refreshing than a nice hot bath in the morning.
You cradle your head in your hands as you gaze out into the woods. Watching the stillness of the forest, you briefly note the coarse feel of caked dirt and oily grime under your fingertips. After a day spent trekking through an expansive bamboo wood, dodging bullet hell from not one, but two girls (make that three with janitor girl, but you weren’t exactly dodging bullets), and getting laid out by a rabbit with a hammer, a bath is probably long overdue by now. You’re surprised that the princess and the others were not at all bothered by your unkempt appearance; though you expected them to at least mention it once or twice. You’re absolutely filthy.
Of course, before you bathe, you do need something to change into. You remember packing a spare change of clothing in your backpack. The only problem though, is that your stuff is still sitting in Eirin’s room. You have a vague recollection of the route there, from your trip to the bathroom last night. At least this time, you hope you won’t be forced to take a detour to some weird dimensional rift. Closing the screen quietly, you head down the hall towards the office.
An hour or so later, you return to the hallway, backpack in tow. Finding the office was still quite the challenge; the path you remembered was from the bathroom to the office, not from your room. You wasted perhaps a good half hour just searching for the familiar long hallway before you gave up and found another rabbit to guide you. Most of the other residents have already woken up, which makes getting back to the bathroom slightly easier. Now all you have to do is just follow the crowd.
Easier said than done.
Despite only an hour after watching the sunrise alone, the halls are already in chaos as a legion of rabbits swarm in every direction. There’s no apparent order to their movements as they rush all around you. You’re expecting any moment now for a few of them to get tossed over the side railing from all the commotion, especially considering how fast all of them are rushing about. There’s just not enough room for anyone to move that quickly.
You mindfully raise a foot over the carpet of white. “Uh, ‘scuse me.”
The rabbits don’t even so much as move to make space. Not because they don’t care or anything. More like, they just don’t have the space to actually make way for you.
Carefully, you ease your way through the mob as you try and avoid stepping on one of the small critters. Progress is agonizingly slow as you apprehensively take each step, making sure a rabbit doesn’t happen to dart under your foot as you put your weight down. It seems like forever, but after several minutes of inching your way through the crowd, you finally stand before the bathroom door.
Once inside the bathroom, you take the chance to get a good look at the actual facilities Eientei’s restroom possesses. The last time you were here, you were rushing to finish up your business; slightly freaked out after Tewi’s unexpectedly dark threats. This time around, you’re able to appreciate the full scale of their bathroom. Many of the stalls have an eastern-style squat toilet, presumably for the convenience the rabbits. And there are a LOT of stalls.
As you walk deeper into the huge room, you spot the doors to a changing room, though why a complex full of mainly rabbits would even need one is beyond you. Looking beyond, lies what appears to be a full onsen, complete with an enclosed outdoor hot spring. You’re going to enjoy what will be your first proper bath in a while.
Entering the changing room, you dump your gear onto the floor and open your bag, pulling out a set of fresh clothes. You’re a more than a little self-conscious about changing here, however. If you weren’t surrounded by rabbits that were fully aware you were stripping in front of them, you’d already be in the hot spring. All those eyes everywhere; it’s starting to creep you out.
After debating with yourself over the matter for another minute or so, you let out a sigh, shrug, then begin pulling off the uniform. They ARE still rabbits, why should they care what your junk looks like?
It feels like we’re forgetting something though…
A towel. That’s what you’re missing. Grabbing your backpack, you rummage through the contents in search of one. However, after practically turning your bag inside out, you fail to find anything you useful to dry yourself off with.
Disappointed, you toss the bag aside and gaze across the room, rather annoyed at the unfortunate circumstances. While you stare, you notice a rabbit grabbing a towel from a nearby closet. A closet filled with towels.
Snatching a towel from the closet, you decide to play it safe and follow the rabbit to the bathing room. You’ve learned your lesson already. You’re not risking getting lost again trying to search for it on your own.
You remember an old lesson from your Japanese culture studies, reminding you that you’re supposed to take an actual bath before stepping foot in the hot spring. It is a social taboo to enter the onsen without a thorough cleaning; for humans as far you recall. With the amount of filth on your body though, even the rabbits would appreciate you bathing first.
Following the rabbit, you eventually wind up in the washroom. And it is HUGE. The entire room is covered in numerous white tiles with rows upon rows of washing stations. Where the residents got enough tiles to cover the floor and the walls leaves you standing there, dumbfounded.
You find yourself a seat at an empty showerhead, before taking one more glance at the expansive room around you. Eientei’s size is a stark contrast to home, where space wasn’t such a luxury. The size of this room is about the same as one entire city block. You decide that you shouldn’t be comparing Earth to Gensokyo though, turning on the water to begin your bath.
You let the water run down your face and body for a moment, enjoying the cooling spray on your skin before grabbing the soap and lathering up with the washcloth. As you bathe, you note the amount of grime rubbing off while you scrub. The water going down the drain isn’t exactly brown, but you can see the dirt coming off your body. And there’s quite a bit getting washed away. Slowly, the nasty sticky feeling you endured all yesterday fades away.
That’s much better.
Bathing, you don’t just start to feel clean physically. The bath seems to rinse away all the troublesome events of yesterday. For once, you allow yourself to unwind, and simply not think about what may come. You can’t remember the last time you were able to relax; the hustle and bustle of the city and the very rigid nature of your job never seemed to allow for a little, ‘R & R’.
You really need to stop thinking every once and a while.
After rinsing off, you headed towards the edge of the spring. The bath itself was refreshing but you’re more excited about fully experiencing an onsen. And last is of course, the best part; the hot spring.
Stepping outside, the hot spring is surrounded by a small outdoor garden giving it a very calming atmosphere. Already, you feel a sense of comfort as you walk towards the rock pool.
You inhale deeply, taking in the cool morning air, as you stand over the edge of the onsen. Gazing fixedly at the water, you exercise a bit of caution, giving a small test of the water temperature with your foot. The spring water is really hot, almost scalding and you pull your leg back almost reflexively.
The casual faces on the rabbits jumping in fearlessly though, goad you into proving you’re not a wuss.
Steeling yourself, you submerge your entire body under the burning water in one quick motion. It takes a moment or two before the sting from the heat is replaced by a feeling of relaxation. The tranquil environment around you adds to that feeling, putting your mind at complete ease.
You recline back against a rock lining the spring, and watch the rabbits enjoy the soothing waters along with you. All of them look really happy.
After seeing everything Eientei has to offer, you can kind of understand why they seem to like living here.
Part 18 2/2Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/08/28 (Tue) 00:06No. 25456▼
Several minutes later, you reluctantly step out of the hot spring. You would have preferred to stay a tad longer, but the amount of pruning on your hands and feet was starting to concern you. Already, most of the rabbits have finished up, leaving you with the few stragglers.
Reentering the changing room, you make your way back to your bag. After a quick drying off and changing into your spare clothes, you gather up your belongings and head back into the hallways. Like before, a crowd of rabbits greet you, but this time, all of them are headed in the same direction.
You squeeze into the horde, and find yourself caught in a white tide; the rabbits dragging you along with them. You’re not quite sure what’s going on, or where all these bunnies are headed.
You’ll find out soon enough though.
Passing through the hallways, the route through Eientei the rabbits are taking seems vaguely familiar. It feels as though you’ve walked this path once, yet at the same time, there’s this unfamiliarity to your surroundings as you glance briefly out into a small orchard within the grounds.
Around the corner, you spot the rabbits’ destination. Why did it never occur to you?
Inside the dining room, Kaguya and Eirin are already seated at the table. Laid out on its surface, is a newspaper, the title reading, “Bunbunmaru Newspaper”. While the newspaper itself is unsurprising, you’re wondering how it arrived so promptly. Eientei is in the middle of nowhere, how on earth did they deliver it here so quickly?
As you move to join them, you could hear them discussing the article on the front page
“ -Eirin, it says here that one of the Big Four lost yesterday afternoon. Do you really think an oni like Yuugi could have lost to a human?”
Eirin looked over the article with an uninterested expression on her face. “Kaguya, this story was written by Aya. She probably exaggerated the story from losing a simple game of shogi into a full-on death match.”
The princess held the Bunbunmaru up, pointing out the article’s picture. “Well, the picture doesn’t look like they were playing shogi.”
“I find a human even bruising an oni highly unlikely. There must have been an accident and they just happened to be nearby when it occurred.” Eirin gave an exasperated sigh. “Really, that tengu can turn the most benign things into the most outlandish stories.”
Kaguya finally noticed you hovering above the two of them. Placing the paper at her side, she gave a cheerful greeting as she motioned toward an empty space at the table, “Good morning, Galen. Take a seat, breakfast is being prepared as we speak.”
“Ah, thank you, Kaguya.”
As you settle down, Kaguya resumed her conversation with Eirin.
“Aya’s stories are pretty interesting though. Even if they’re not always true, the Bunbunmaru is enjoyable to read.”
The doctor shook her head. “Princess, that’s not what a newspaper is for. A newspaper is supposed to provide relevant information about present-day events so readers can keep up to date.”
As she said this, a rabbit entered from the hall, carrying with it… another newspaper?
Thanking the rabbit, Eirin took the second newspaper and began thumbing through the pages. Looking closely at the title, the name of the paper read, “Kakashi Spirit News”.
After briefly skimming over the front page, she brandished the paper, holding it up to Kaguya. “Now this is what a newspaper should look like. Stories that actually pertain to daily life in Gensokyo. Not filled with gossip and half-truths like the Bunbunmaru.”
“I thought you said the Kakashi Spirit News was behind in current events though?” There was a skeptical look on Kaguya’s face as she eyed the paper in her friend’s hand.
“That was before. Lately, the topics in the Kakashi have been very informative ever since its reporter started going out and investigating on her own.” Eirin read off the title of the main article, “Yesterday’s Meteorites Actually Alien Technology? That sounds a lot like what landed in your room, Kaguya.”
You nearly jumped up at the sound of that. Meteorites?
“Let me see!” Snatching the paper from her, Kaguya began reading the article, completely engrossed by the story’s topic.
You wait anxiously as Kaguya reads. You’re wondering how the arrival of your satellite affected the residents of Gensokyo.
[ ] Wait for Kaguya to finish reading. [ ] Read the other newspaper while you wait. [ ] Ask the princess if you could have a look.
[x] Read the other newspaper while you wait. - [x] Afterwards, ask if you can look at the 'meteor' in Kaguya’s room.
kind of interested in the supposed strong human (could be janitor girl or even may be another human that Yukari dragged to Gensokyo), but we still need to look into the Kakashi paper in order to see if they show the landing sights of the supposed "meteorites"
Finally got to use a working computer. After five years of dutiful service, my vista laptop at last gave out on me. Thankfully, I'm going computer shoppig tonight so hopefully I can post an update or two by Saturday.
Well, looks like everything's squared away with the new laptop. Working on the update in the meantime.
>>25463 Oh boy, the funny thing is, the laptop still WORKS, even with a dead space on the screen and 1 gig of free hard drive left. It's the charge cable that failed on me, so my former computer is in a sense, merely sleeping.
Part 19 1/3Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/09/01 (Sat) 19:45No. 25465▼
[x] Read the other newspaper while you wait. - [x] Afterwards, ask if you can look at the 'meteor' in Kaguya’s room.
Though your curiosity eats away at you, it doesn’t feel right to interrupt Kaguya as she reads. The princess is in an almost trance-like state as she studies the article intently. You can’t bring yourself to disturb her now. You can just wait for her to finish, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
As you sit, you notice the other paper, the Bunbunmaru lying beside Kaguya. While you’re more interested in the story about the meteorites, the other newspaper must have some relevant stories about Gensokyo. You need to learn as much as you can about what lies beyond the bamboo woods.
You gesture towards the paper. “Princess, may I?”
“Mmm.” Kaguya nods slightly, still completely focused on the article of the Kakashi Spirit News.
Picking it up, you examine the Bunbunmaru. It looks like an ordinary paper; it even has that rough feeling and inky residue that you’re used to from a newspaper from home. And yet it’s here, in a land with no skyscrapers, or large cities, or even roads.
Unfolding the newspaper, you take a look at the picture Kaguya was showing Eirin. The cover image depicts a shapely woman with long blonde hair. A sharp cone with a star on it is fixed upon her head, in a horn-like manner. Looking at the woman, you note the muscles on her arm. She is incredibly buff, giving her a rugged, yet still quite beautiful appearance. The only thing bothering you about the picture is the splotchy and obstructing inkblot smeared in front of the woman.
You stare hard at the picture before you recognize the shape of the blob.
That’s her OTHER ARM.
After gazing in disbelief at the picture for another minute, you start reading, curious about what could have caused such a nasty deformation.
YUUGI OF THE BIG FOUR BEATEN BY OUTSIDER Oni defeated by a mysterious human
Yesterday, on the 16th hour, Yuugi Hoshiguma was attacked by a stranger in the vicinity of the Underground City and after a fierce battle, lost.
What made this so surprising though, was the fact that her attacker was apparently a human.
The fight originated near the entrance to the city, traveling through the market district and ending somewhere near the central square.
Having heard the commotion whilst shopping for some underground specialties, I began my report, by trying to interview the main culprits of the disturbance.
Yuugi’s opponent unfortunately, was unable for questioning afterwards, immediately leaving for the Palace of the Earth Spirits after the fight.
Yuugi Hoshiguma herself though, was able to speak with me on some of the details of their fight.
“That girl? Well, I know she works for Satori over at the Earth Palace, but I don’t get to talk to her all that much. She hasn’t even told me her name.”
The Big Four member then proceeded to show me her injuries. Looking at the extensive internal bleeding and bruising on her arm, I found myself horrified of what her opponent was capable of.
“I actually could have continued fighting, but that girl… she was determined. I seriously considered that she might have been willing to fight to the death. So I surrendered.”
Given the severity of the damage to her arm, I can’t blame her for surrendering to such a suicidal and insane human.
Oni are a proud race, strong and honorable.
They are not however, killers.
They value fair play and displays of strength, enjoying nothing more than drinking sake and friendly competitions.
A death match is not considered a ‘friendly’ competition.
Many of the bystanders also had comments on the fight.
-“At first, it looked like Yuugi was winning; she was even going easy on the poor girl. But the human never seemed to realize how outclassed she was and just kept on fighting. And then that human did some…thing and messed up Yuugi’s arm. The oni throwing the fight right after that was a shocking turn of events for all of us.”-
-“I thought for sure Yuugi was gonna win. In the beginning, that human was getting tossed around so easily, that the oni wasn’t even taking it seriously. What surprised me most though, wasn’t when that girl matched Yuugi’s punch afterwards; it was actually before that when she got back up after taking Ms. Hoshiguma’s ‘Knock Out in Three Steps’. Lady Satori needs to keep a leash on that one. She’s dangerous.”-
Having witnessed the battle firsthand, I myself could agree that a loose cannon like her needs to be controlled a bit more.
Despite these frightening accomplishments, what made this feat even more startling was that the entire battle was without spell cards.
It was a general consensus from Yuugi and spectators that her opponent had absolutely no intention of respecting the danmaku rules, simple forgoing the spell card system and engaging the Big Four member without restraint or regard for their safety.
To put it in perspective, oni don’t use very danmaku-like danmaku and even they use a spell card limiter for their attacks.
Already, there are rumors circulating that the girl used some kind of trick to ensure victory.
Defeating an oni in hand-to-hand combat even by surrender is impossible for a human.
As for the girl’s appearance, the human in question has short blonde hair, bright green eyes and is wearing a dark uniform.
If you happen to come across her, it is advised that you do your best not to anger her.
If possible, it would be better to avoid her completely.
After reading the description of the perpetrator, you’re convinced this was the work of janitor girl. What’s worrying you though isn’t that she beat an oni- you have an idea of what oni are capable of, even if these oni aren’t quite the same as the ones you’ve read about in Japanese myth. What really, really scares you is how the newspaper and the eye witnesses described her.
It makes you almost wonder how you survived as long as you did, especially looking like the one thing that from your experience, seems to REALLY piss her off. It’s terrify-No.
You need to stop that.
You need to calm down.
And you need to focus.
You force yourself to ignore the article, suppressing the memory of your own encounter with Miss janitor. And if that isn’t enough, you make sure to keep in mind two things.
There is nothing for you to worry about. After all, Eirin said this was most likely embellished, and you trust the doctor’s word.
You should be more concerned about the fate of Guillotine right now, anyway.
Part 19 2/3Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/09/02 (Sun) 23:36No. 25466▼
You flip through the rest of the Bunbunmaru, searching for anything that might be related to your satellite. After several pages of slightly opinionated stories of minor daily events, you finally come across a small entry on a meteor shower.
Reading it though, the excitement is swiftly replaced by dissatisfaction. While it is about a series of meteorites landing all across Gensokyo, the writer of the article seemingly lost their mind and spent much of the passage mentioning how useful it would have been if a ‘younger scarlet’ had made them go ‘kyuu’(?). You can’t even make heads or tails of what the author was talking about. It seems that you’ll need a look at the Kakashi as well.
Looking up, you notice that Kaguya has also finished reading her paper; the Kakashi Spirit News folded upon her lap as she discusses the story with Eirin.
“So the kappa are investigating the crash sites? Are they coming here too?”
Eirin reached for the paper, taking another look at the main article. “I’m not sure princess; they didn’t list Eientei as one of the impact sites.”
“Well that’s good then. At least Mokou won’t find out about this anytime soon.” There was an anxious look on Kaguya’s face as she spoke.
“Kaguya, if the kappa don’t know about this meteorite, we’ll need to notify them about it right away if you want your room fixed as soon as possible.”
The princess winced as if she had been stabbed by the statement before responding frantically. “Let’s send someone then! We can have Reisen go to Youkai Mountain after she’s sold your medicine at the village!”
Eirin frowned. Pulling out her cellphone, she handed it to the girl. “Since we’re one of the few places with phones, you might as well take advantage of it Kaguya. It would be far easier than having to send someone in person to the kappa headquarters.”
“A-ah, right.” Kaguya’s face turned a vibrant red as she gazed sheepishly at the phone in her hand.
Embarrassed, the girl fiddled with the device before stepping away from the table and making the call. As Eirin watched her exit the dining hall, she at last noticed your fixation on the paper in her hands.
“Galen? Did you want to read this one as well?” Eirin asked as she held the Kakashi Spirit News up.
“Yeah, I still don’t know that much about Gensokyo. I’m hoping reading the news might help with that,” You give a forced chuckle as you speak.
“Not a problem. Just be sure that you don’t completely rely on the newspaper for your knowledge of the outside world.” There was a not-so-subtle side glance the doctor gave towards Kaguya standing in the doorway.
You accept the Kakashi as Eirin passes it across the table. “Hahaa, no, I wouldn’t think of staying here forever.”
Paper in hand, you take a second to examine the Kakashi and compare it to the Bunbunmaru. Overall, the two are pretty similar, aside from the name on the header. However, the front page is what’s really interesting you. Glancing down at the cover picture, you note just how eerily familiar the image is.
That looks awfully like your escape pod.
The shape of the hull, the open door on the front, and the scenery behind it confirm your suspicions, though the people standing around the thing are of course, new. This is definitely a picture of your escape pod regardless, which is slightly disappointing for you. You were hoping they would have shown a picture of another piece of the satellite, so you could perhaps get an idea of the condition the fragments were in after their reentry.
Scanning down, you begin reading the article.
Yesterday’s Meteorites Actually Alien Technology? Meteor shower leaves much of Gensokyo wondering
Sometime after dawn, yesterday morning, a rain of fire could be seen high above the clouds from various parts of Gensokyo.
While the fire was at first dismissed as a prank by a youkai, this attitude was quickly replaced by panic when several fireballs crashed to the ground, especially close to the Human Village and the base of Youkai Mountain.
Several youkai were injured and a few humans were killed by the falling meteors.
Property damage was also reported from parts of the Human Village, the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and the Hakurei Shrine.
Fires sprung up nearby as well, due to the heat radiating off the objects and the kappa in a joint effort with the tengu, did their best to contain the multiple blazes.
After the surrounding flames were extinguished, people in the Human Village were shocked to find that what had looked like a meteorite, was in fact a large metallic pod.
This held true for all of the meteorites that landed in the other parts of Gensokyo.
Because of the technological nature of the devices, the kappa were also asked to examine the debris.
The origin of these structures currently remains unknown, though the kappa are working on determining where they might have come from.
Nitori Kawashiro, one of the kappa investigating the objects had this to say.
“The capsules’ possess technology of a kind we have never seen before. We’ve also scanned them, and found that most of the meteorites are actually hollow on the inside. While we would like to open them up and examine what lies beneath the outer layer, we’re unable to do so without completely destroying the equipment attached to the surface of these pods. Fortunately, we also found one of these capsules resting at the edge of the bamboo woods that was already opened. We’re using it as a basis in our understanding of how these machines operate.”
The pre-opened vessel in question was a lucky find for the kappa.
Tucked away on the far outskirts of the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, the object would have probably gone unnoticed if not for the assistance of a certain ice fairy.
While her story surprisingly helped the kappa locate the pod, she also went on about a rather unlikely tale of a man emerging from the metal structure.
“-I thought how I found the ball would be a fun story to tell Dai-chan, but then the metal ball opened up and a man walked out. His clothing was strange and he had a funny accent. I was surprised, but since I’m really strong, I was pretty sure I had nothing to worry about. Then, the man insulted me, and knocked me out with some sort of weird, blinking magic wand. When I came to, the coward was already gone.”
A fantastic story, which has, as far as the kappa have observed, been just that. A fantastic story.
The kappa have also provided a list of areas that they have confirmed to have been hit by these meteorites.
Bamboo Forest Forest of Magic Garden of the Sun Hakurei Shrine Human Village Myouren Temple Cemetery Scarlet Devil Mansion Untrodden Valley
These regions will be experiencing high levels of kappa activity as they work to clear the impact sites and transport the pods back to Youkai Mountain for further analysis.
If by chance you know of another region that has been affected by the meteor shower but was not listed here, it is advised that you contact the kappa right away.
Breakfast was served while you read the article. An assortment of fruit graced a buffet table which otherwise displayed food from a traditional Japanese breakfast menu. Broiled fish, steamed rice, and massive pot of miso soup. Not that you were paying attention. You forget if you even said hello to Reisen and Tewi when they joined you at the table. In fact, you kept reading the story several times over, just to memorize the list of crash sites.
Even Kaguya, who was still talking on the phone, was already back at the table eating.
Noticing the lack of a plate in front of you, Eirin waved a hand to grab your attention.
“Mr. Marek, you can go and eat now.”
Lowering the paper so you could see the doctor’s face, you reply, “Sorry, it’s just that I’m really interested in this story of the meteorites.” You hold the picture up for her, though you’re pretty sure she’s seen it plenty already.
Eirin forcibly takes the paper from you, a concerned look on her face. “Please, Galen, go eat something. I’ll give this back to you when you get some food.”
Without any other choice, you concede to the doctor’s order. “Fine, fine. I’ll grab a bite.”
Standing up, you ease your way through the rabbits around you before Eirin stops you, grabbing you by the shoulder.
“I almost forgot. You wanted to see the object in Kaguya’s room didn’t you?”
You were starting to wonder if they were going to show you or not. “Yeah, I’m a little curious of what those pods from the news look like and I was actually hoping I could examine one up close.”
Eirin paused as she took a bite of fish from her plate before answering, “We can definitely show you after breakfast, though I want to see you eat something before that, alright?”
“I got it, I’ll eat, okay? Don’t worry.”
Making your way to the buffet table, you grab a plate and haphazardly take from the spread before you. It takes the clammy feeling of fish on your hand to make you realize you’ve already filled your plate. You take a pair of chopsticks and return slowly to your seat at the table.
As soon as you sat down, you began eating, in an almost mechanical fashion.
The only thing on mind now is your satellite.
Breakfast finished faster than you expected. Probably because you had already wasted half of the time reading the newspaper instead of actually eating. And even now, you still weren’t really paying that much attention to what you ate. Some kind of melon with strawberries, broiled fish, and some rice to compliment the fish. The meal was good, but you’re a little anxious to see your satellite again.
Reisen and Tewi began directing the rabbits in the cleanup, leaving you with Kaguya and Eirin at the table. The princess was still on the phone and you could now hear her over the commotion of the rabbits tidying up. There was an aggravated look on her face as she screamed into the handheld.
“What do you mean there’s a charge fee for us!? And that much!? We’re not that much farther away than that one pod you guys found at the edge of the woods! …Augh, fine.” She paused as she listened to the person on the other side.
Right before she resumed shouting.
“Yes, I still want it removed! It’s in the middle of my room! Why would I just leave it sitting in my house?”
“Alright, THANK YOU!!!” Hanging up, the princess did not look at all that happy.
Eirin was the first person brave enough to ask, “Kaguya, what did they say?”
“They’re sending someone to come by tomorrow.” She returned the phone to Eirin before crossing her arms and pouting. “But they’re charging us because we happen to be so far out of their way.”
“Princess, how much are they charging for the recovery of the object?”
Kaguya brought her head to Eirin’s ear and whispered the number to her. As she listened, the doctor’s eyes grew wide. “That much? That’s a very large amount they’re asking for.”
“I know, right? Will the profits from your medication cover it, though?”
“Maybe, but we may have to sell quite a bit more this period.” Eirin gave you a quick side glance before returning her attention to Kaguya. “By the way, would it be fine if we showed Galen the object in your room? He’d like to have a look at it before they take it away.”
The princess gave a reluctant reply, “Well… I suppose it’d be alright.”
Standing up, Eirin made her way to the door, with Kaguya right behind her. “Galen, just follow us, right this way.”
Joining them, you followed them out of the dining room and into the hallways. By now, you’ve given up trying to memorize the routes through the building. Remembering the innumerable twists and turns in Eientei seems impossible for a human; you’re wondering how Kaguya and Eirin even did it in the first place. It’s just far easier to have one of the residents guide you.
After passing several corners, the doctor and princess stop. Turning to the right, they slide the screen door open and step inside. With the princess’s room looking the same on the outside as every other room, it’s amazing that no one ever finds themselves in the wrong room.
Entering, you immediately find yourself facing the familiar shape of a huge satellite module. Surveying it, you examine the trail of destruction behind it leading out of Eientei as well as through the perimeter walls, and heading deep into the forest beyond. Compared to the room, the satellite fragment takes up much of the interior. And the room itself is absolutely destroyed. It’s a blessing that the princess wasn’t in her room when this thing slammed down. You can’t imagine anything surviving such an impact.
Moving closer, you note the condition of the module, which appears to be relatively sound. There aren’t any visible hull breaches that you can observe as you run a hand over the blackened name plate; the lettering mostly burned away from the harsh reentry. Enough of the plate is intact, however, for you to know what satellite this module is from though.
Eirin calls over to you from the other side of the room, “Mr. Marek, how does it look?”
You shout back, satisfied with the status of the module, “Very good! It looks like its in great shape!”
“You sound as if you’ve seen these kinds of things before,” There was a queer look from the princess as she spoke.
“U-uh, well, it looks really good for something that fell from the sky on fire, is what I mean.”
Kaguya furrowed her brow, inspecting the structure closely. “I guess so. Still, where would technology like this come from?”
Eirin joins her, as they stare at the scorched hull. “Hmmm, I’m not sure. It’s not like anything we have back home.”
Meanwhile, you step into the impact scar that the satellite left and gaze up at the airlock doors, most likely sealed tight from the emergency protocol you gave before evacuating. With the outside of the module in one piece, there’s a chance that whatever is inside is still in working order.
Stepping closer, you search the paneling around the door. If your memory still serves you after all the insanity just getting here, there should be some sort of external access panel.
Eventually, you find what seems to fit the description in your head; a black box jutting out of the wall. As you touch the box, it reacts and the cover slides up, revealing a hand scanner and number lock security system. You often wondered why the satellite would need a lock; probably government paranoia of the darn thing being hijacked… somehow. Pulling yourself up to the device, you place your right hand firmly on the pad and enter in the combination with your left as you stand precariously on the lip of the doorway.
For a moment, nothing happens, though you hear a familiar -ding- as the scanner confirms your hand print. Now you just need to wait and see if the connection between the access panel and unlocking mechanism still work. Although you’re confident it does work, it’s unclear if the crash landing damaged the delicate systems inside. You might be opening up a pile of scrap for all you know.
The airlock slides open, visibly ajar as it fails to slide completely out of the entry way. Thankfully, upon a quick glance inside, that appears to be the only serious problem.
The princess and doctor now watch you intently. Your familiarity around the module is becoming too strong for it to be a coincidence any longer. Coming up with an excuse for your knowledge of Guillotine might be a challenge.
Sliding down the angled floor, you take a second look around before you finally recognize the insides of the module. A console displaying many switches, buttons, and several levers greets you.
You’ve found the command module of Guillotine.
[ ] Reactivate the command module. -[ ] Check what’s functioning on board. -[ ] Place the firing mechanism back into its slot. Let’s just see how far away we COULD shoot Guillotine, if we wanted to. [ ] Invite Kaguya and Eirin inside. [ ] Leave it be and exit the module.
Also… do we tell them? [ ] Yes. Tell them the truth. [ ] No. You’re still not ready yet. [ ] No. Make up a story.
[X] Reactivate the command module. -[X] Check what’s functioning on board. -[X] Place the firing mechanism back into its slot. Let’s just see how far away we COULD shoot Guillotine, if we wanted to. [X] Yes. Tell them the truth.
Weapon systems are easily reconized for kappa. No point hiding it for a day since the kappa will discover the purpose of Guillotine and tell it to Eientei crew.
[X] Reactivate the command module. -[X] Check what’s functioning on board. -[X] Place the firing mechanism back into its slot. --[X] Do NOT invite Kaguya and Eirin inside.
--[X] Tell them the truth. If write ins are allowed, omit some of the truth. Specifically, say that you crewed this thing, it malfunctioned, and Yukari saved you. No need to inform them it's part of a gigantic laser cannon.
>>25472 IIRC, all that was dropped to Earth was the habitation and control sections, as well as any/all escape pods or miscellaneous junk like solar panels; Guillotine proper is in limbo near the top of the Hakurei Border. If the command center crashed into Eientei, then anything else is habitation or junk, and the only identifying mark on them is the name Guillotine (which itself may have been scorched beyond recognition). I doubt that the kappas, or anyone else for that matter, could link life-support to a kill-sat without being informed by Yukari or Galen. Also, given that the thing fragmented on the way in, it may not be identifiable whatsoever.
On a related note, where exactly is Guillotine? It has to be within the Border, because if it wasn't it would be non-operable like the escape pod's GPS. Unless Yukari is pulling something, and the thing actually happens to be chillin' in high geosynchronous orbit. The only other thing I could see is it hovering at 5000 feet, defying gravity.
>>25474 Guillotine is located at the very top of the border, held in place by Yukari's border manipulations. I won't go into specifics yet, but the satellite is completely safe.
Since I can already see we want to come clean with Eientei, I'm going to go ahead and ask. Do we want to tell them everything, including insta-death laser? Or do we just, conveniently, fail to mention this little 'laser' detail?
[ ] Everything. [ ] Leave out the laser. That's unimportant. For now.
Might as well come fully clean, although I wanted something like "It's part of a crashed space station and communications sattelite, it also has equipped a high power array of microwaves emmiters which is somehow orbiting the earth in an odd orbit" and hope the techno-babble does its work But, being dishonest might bite us in the ass in the mid-run and Tei already knows about the laser. Also, using a kill-sat (his only weapon) agains an enemy shooting an insane amount of bullets is kind of reasonable (Galen didn't knew they were non-lethal).
Might as well admit what everything is, especially since we may need their help to acquire most of the fallen debris back. Also we really need to apologize to Reisen, and it might be better to say this to everyone at the same time.
I think I've sat on my ass long enough. So, again, sorry for delaying updates and here you go.
Option coming soon.
[x] Reactivate the command module. - [x] Check what’s functioning on board. - [x] Place the firing mechanism back into its slot.
[x] Yes. Tell them everything.
You put a hand on the surface of the main console. It’s weird, but you feel comforted by the sensation of the satellite’s cold steel under your hand again. Perhaps it’s because you’ve taken to calling Guillotine a home after living on the lonely metal ship for months before arriving in Gensokyo. One of the few things you didn’t have any bad memories of, sadly. After reminiscing (if you could call it that) for another moment, you reached for the emergency power switch.
As soon as you flicked the switch, the module hummed back to life as lights scattered across the dashboard flickered while the system rebooted itself from the brief respite. Lines of code ran over the screens as the computer systematically began a diagnostics check for errors after the unforeseen shut down. Watching, you could occasionally read some of the brief messages that popped up during the check.
. . . .Error. Communications relay missing. . .Warning. Connection to military database has been lost. . . . .Initiating standalone functions.
Upon reading that final message, the screen went black as the wall of commands on display vanished.
Another minute of watching a blank screen, the control menu finally reappeared on the wall-to-wall monitor in front of you. You found yourself grinning as you stared at the features of Guillotine. After a free fall from God-knows-how-high, the command module still functions perfectly, though it’s lacking some supporting systems from the other modules. In the state that this piece of the satellite is in, you have a good feeling the rest of it is just fine. The only section you actually expect to see destroyed would be the residential modules, however. While nothing really broke or wore down in the satellite in the past five years until now, you’re pretty sure the government invested far less time and effort making your living quarters. Wellbeing was not one of the things guaranteed when you signed up- they never did care about you.
And now they never will. Maybe about Guillotine’s disappearance, but definitely not you. You keep asking yourself why you always think about these things, but you feel compelled to compare everything to your damn awful country. It’s also a little scary to think that a fantasy world revolving around a bullet hell game is getting along far better than home.
An alert pops up, warning you that the firing mechanism of the weapon systems has been removed. Which reminds you- you never actually saw the full capabilities of Guillotine; projected or observed. Oh, you knew what it could do, but that’s only because they told you. Headquarters had made it clear to NEVER touch the trigger unless explicitly ordered to… something that was actually pretty reasonable coming from a bunch of assholes, and considering how strong the laser was even at low power. With the command module in your possession and no supervision from your superiors, however, a small peek at Guillotine’s potential wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Fitting the remote into its former place among the controls, you let the device resync with the base console before selecting, “Launch Coordination”. A second after loading and a message notifying you of a missing satellite array needed for global mapping, the screen switches to a rough display of the surrounding area. Because the dish providing the systems with precise ground mapping was likely destroyed during the impact to Gensokyo, the command module is now relying on the outdated GPS link between the firing system and the weapon module. You suspect there are also several other operations that require the other modules to function properly. Even so, with the controls, you’re still able to do far more than with the remote by itself.
Dragging the map, you locate the mountain you saw during your descent. With the full console, you’re able to signal an attack from here and target the mountain, several miles away. Not only is your range farther, but the actual radius of the beam is also wider- allowing for city-scale attacks, which deeply worries you. After seeing how quickly it vaporized a girl, you’re pretty sure this thing could wipe major cities off the map. Permanently.
You rip the remote off the panel. You’re not going to let yourself explore the laser’s power any further, lest you decide to actually hail a strike out of curiosity. You don’t even want to give yourself any ideas. No doubt you’d be unstoppable on Earth with such a weapon in your hands. But this isn’t Earth, this is Gensokyo. There are people here who could walk through a hell like that and SURVIVE. Cirno did- or at least lived through the small one anyway. And Yukari would probably do unspeakable things to you if you disobeyed her one restriction.
Which is a lot easier than it sounds so long as you follow the spell card rules. There’s enough power in your spell card to make up for that limitation, even with delay and all. You just have to use it strategically.
Another spell card or two wouldn’t hurt for the variety, though.
“Galen? Are you alright in there?” Eirin’s voice brings you back to reality. You completely forgot that they were outside.
You give a reply to reassure the doctor, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Come outside. We need to talk.”
“Okay, in a sec.” You want to finish up with your inspection of the command module.
“I think we need to talk, Now.” The tone of that last word is firm. She’s not telling you anymore.
Worried, you climb back out of the exposed end of the module. Kaguya and Eirin stand in front of the door of the capsule; the doctor’s arms crossed impatiently. Another bad sign. As you step down, the pair approaches you with a suspicious look on their faces. You can’t hide the truth any longer.
Eirin is the first to speak, “I think you have some explaining to do.”
Meanwhile, Kaguya gives a very disapproving glance.
Dammit, why does she have to make you feel so guilty for keeping secrets?
Nervously, you respond, “A-alright, I’ll tell you. But I think I should also be telling Reisen and Tewi- this concerns them too.”
“Fine. We’ll discuss it here though.”
Without another word, Ms. Yagokoro walked out, leaving you and the princess alone in the room. An awkward silence filled the air and neither of you knew what to say to the other. Kaguya was probably wondering why you wouldn’t tell her about your connection to the satellite; especially since it had landed in her room, destroying pretty much everything. And you weren’t sure how to put an apology into words and explain the reasons for keeping your knowledge from them.
It was uncomfortable for the both of you.
Part 20 2/2Resonance!EchoK8mNvk2012/09/13 (Thu) 03:22No. 25486▼
The wait seemed to take forever, but eventually, Eirin returned with Reisen and Tewi in tow. Reisen had a very confused look on her face and seemed quite unsure of what was happening. As for Tewi, however, she had a thinly concealed smirk on her face- she knew what was up.
Assembled in front of you, Eientei’s members awaited your explanation. With all their eyes on you, it was a little intimidating as you fumbled for some kind of justification for your secrecy.
After grasping for words, you eventually began, “L-look. I just want to apologize for not telling everyone about my relationship to this satellite.” None of them react as they wait for you to continue.
You point towards the metal shell behind you. “First of all, this is a piece of a satellite from Earth called Guillotine. The other ‘meteorites’ were just other parts of the satellite that fell to Gensokyo when Yukari brought me here.” You pause briefly, collecting your thoughts. “I used to work aboard the satellite, maintaining the systems while it orbited the Earth. That all changed yesterday morning, when Guillotine was hit by a solar flare and caused an error in its system that would send it into the atmosphere. And the metallic object in the news photo- that was the escape pod I used to ditch the satellite in when it became too unsafe to remain onboard.”
Kaguya interrupts you briefly, “…And then Ms. Yakumo brought you here. Along with the rest of the satellite… but why grab the entire thing?”
“That’s something I’m wondering myself. I’m not entirely sure why she needed to crash my entire satellite but I know she definitely needs me and Guillotine.”
Eirin was next, asking doubtfully, “Well, Yukari takes a lot of people from Earth that ‘interest’ her. What else makes you think you’re that important to her?”
You took a deep breath before continuing. This was it. “Because she needs me to use the satellite.”
You unclip the remote and hold it up for them to see. “This controls Guillotine’s primary function. Th-”
“Wait, wait.” The princess cuts you off again. She looks understandably perplexed by this. “So she needs the working satellite? But she just crashed the whole thing into Gensokyo- how will she get it working for you?”
“She didn’t crash the entire satellite,” You reply. Everyone, including Tewi looks puzzled by that statement. “There’s still one more module that hasn’t touched down yet. The most important part of Guillotine which is-”
You take another deep breath. You can’t just stop there. They deserve to know exactly what they’re dealing with.
“-the weapon module. Guillotine has a large laser cannon that I can direct with my remote.”
The residents of Eientei displayed a look of surprise (except for Tewi- now she understood how you vaporized Cirno). Reisen, in particular, looked horrified as she realized just what you were implying.
“Wait, so does that mean that you were going to shoot me back there!?”
“I’m sorry; I didn’t know what danmaku was at the time. Yukari only explained that to me after Tewi knocked me out.”
The little bunny girl finally spoke up, adding in cynically, “Yeah, and after Mr. Marek fried Cirno to a crisp with it before coming here.”
Shut up, rabbit.
“I said I was sorry! And like I said, I’ve never seen danmaku before. I seriously thought I was going to die both times!” Her snide comment really pisses you off. Have they even considered how you feel in a world that actively defies your common sense?
Kaguya turned to the doctor, who was thinking hard on the matter. “Eirin, what do you think?”
“Well… I suppose it was a misunderstanding. Yukari’s not known for being very helpful to the people she brings in, so Mr. Marek’s unfamiliarity to danmaku is excusable.” She looked at the satellite before frowning. “But I don’t think we can just let it slide completely.”
You give a slow nod. You do feel bad about almost blasting Reisen and for your satellite crashing into Kaguya’s room. It’s only right that you try and make amends. “I’m fine compensating you in any way for all the trouble I’ve caused.”
“Great. First, we need you to pay us back for the damages that your satellite caused Eientei.”
“Okay, is that it?” Something feels off. Eirin doesn’t seem upset that you nearly incinerated her apprentice. Actually, none of them appear that shocked by your story. Except for the laser cannon part. That’s to be expected- not many other people could boast about having one hovering in the atmosphere at their beck and call.
Meanwhile, Reisen gave the doctor an uncomfortable glance. “Master, you’re not thinking…”
Eirin nodded. “I am. I want Galen to help you with selling that extra medicine.”
“Alri- wait. What?” You’re a little caught off guard by this assignment. While you understand that Eientei could use the money, you’re unsure if the doctor is thinking straight. You almost KILLED Reisen- what convinced Eirin to pair you up with her?
You would like to make it up to the poor girl, though.
Reisen gives a nervous response, “Master… are you sure about this?”
“Of course. We’re going to need to pay the kappa for their services and the more medicine we can sell before they arrive tomorrow, the better.”
“Look Reisen, we really need that money. And Galen wants to help us- so I’M going to make him help you.”
The girl made one last attempt to argue before she was shot down by an intense glare from the doctor.
Conceding, Reisen’s long white ears drooped as she replied glumly, “O-okay…” She was still likely unsettled from learning how close you were to shooting her with Guillotine.
Speaking of Guillotine, Eientei doesn’t seem bothered by the story you gave them; how many other astronauts do they know? Probably just you, but it’s concerning how little they appear to care aside from the damages caused by the satellite.
Apprehensively, you ask, “So… what comes after I help pay for the repairs?”
“Well, afterwards… you’re done.”
“Tha-that’s all?” You’re sure there must be some sort of catch. There MUST be a catch.
“I don’t see any other problems you’ve caused.” Eirin gives you a shrug. The doctor along with the others seem content (surprisingly, that included Tewi- Reisen, conversely, seemed quite distressed) with this plan. “Fixing the princess’s room should suffice.”
“So you’re not mad about me having kept this a secret anymore?”
Eirin points at the module with an amused look. “Mad? Why no- annoyed, maybe. And the satellite in Kaguya’s room isn’t the worst damage this old building has seen,” She scoffs at your anxious expression. “Your story’s not even the most outlandish one we’ve heard either, Galen. We just figured you’d be more willing to tell us if we looked like we were angry.”
Shit. You got played.
“Excuse me, EIRIN, I, on the other hand, actually happen to be pretty angry about not having a room to SLEEP in at the moment,” Kaguya retorted, crossing her arms and indignantly tapping a foot on the debris-covered floor.
The white-haired doctor rolled her eyes, giving a look that screamed, good grief, before grabbing you and Reisen and dragging you to the door. “Right, perhaps you both should go now. You have medicine to sell.”
“Whoa! Master, hold on!”
Ignoring the two of you, Eirin pulled you along with her all the way to the front door. Passing rabbits took a moment to stare as you staggered behind the doctor. Reisen, had instead given up, making a rather cute pouting face as she let her master drag her across the wooden planks. You note that the girl has a pair of brilliant red eyes- they almost look like they’re glowing.
Noticing you staring at her, the girl turned towards you- at which you averted your gaze and let your eyes wander the hallways. You wanted to avoid another awkward moment.
And you need to stop ogling the girls.
Arriving at the main entrance, the doctor dropped the both of you unceremoniously to the floor. Rising to your feet, you took a second to examine your cargo. Two large satchels were placed in the middle of the walkway between the gate and door. One was quite large, maybe the size of you. The other one, was considerably smaller, though it was still bigger than the combined mass of the two bags you brought with you.
Without a word, Eirin about-faced and walked back inside. It appears you’re committed now.
Reisen glanced at you. A resigned sigh escaped her lips before she spoke, “Well, Galen. Which one do you want to carry?”
[ ] The big one. It doesn’t seem right at all to let a girl carry the larger sack. And we have to start making it up to her somehow. [ ] The small one. That big one looks WAAAAAY too heavy. Besides, chivalry is dead.
[x] Wait and see which one she grabs, she can't possibly expect us to carry that big bag unless it's mostly cotton wool or similar, but at the same time just grabbing the small one feels wrong. Hopefully the weird will save us. -[x] For future reference, attach remote to belt or similar to avoid loss or theft. We cannot afford to lose it, not when we need it to fight and it powers the city wide death ray.
> Space themed cards. > Huge-ass lasers. > Shiny rare(borrowable) object that powers it all.
The inevitable meeting with Marisa will be fun indeed...
[x] The big one. It doesn’t seem right at all to let a girl carry the larger sack. And we have to start making it up to her somehow.
You gave an almost immediate reply, “I’ll take the big one.”
It seemed obvious, but you were going to take the larger one. Aside from it being incredibly rude to Reisen if you took the small one, you’re doing this to help pay for the damage YOUR satellite has caused. And that’s not even getting into how your battle with the girl turned out. Heading over to the large bag, you gazed numbly at the intimidatingly massive sack of medical supplies.
Reisen looked a little concerned, eying the other pack suspiciously, but otherwise acknowledged, “Alright, just be careful with that.”
Something about the bags caught your attention. “Wait, Reisen.”
“Was Eirin expecting me to help you?” You were wondering why two bags had been prepared.
Reisen shared your curiosity, pondering for a brief moment. “Noo, it was just going to be me. I made the large one myself since we needed to sell a bit extra.” She stared hard at the smaller bag. “That one wasn’t there before.”
“Really? Did she even at all mention anything to you before I gave my explanation of Guillotine?”
The scarlet-eyed girl shook her head. “No. That was the first I heard of her plan to have you sell medicine with me.”
How odd. You don’t remember Eirin informing the rest of Eientei of your assistance. When did she set up this second bag? And if not her, who then?
Reisen opened it up, inspecting its cargo. She wanted to make sure that there was nothing dangerous about this mystery bag. Bending forward, you examined the contents along with her. Inside, were assorted packets of medication, pills, tablets, syrups- nothing bizarre or out of place, though the names of the products were certainly interesting. Aside from that, it seemed like it was safe. You watched her give a shrug before zipping it back up.
Returning your attention to the larger bag, you inhaled deeply, preparing yourself as you grabbed the straps and lifted. Or attempted to anyway. At first, the backpack didn’t seem to move as you wrestled pathetically with it. A serious underestimation of how much a bag filled with nothing more than paper, plastic, and a variety of drugs could weigh on your part. Only after putting considerably more effort in, did you finally get the hefty load off the ground.
Mustering your strength, you somehow managed to get the damn thing to your back. God, this will be unwieldy. While you’re pretty fit (fit for a guy fresh out of outer space at least), carrying the bag through the woods will be difficult. You assume the both of you are heading to the Human Village… which you have no idea of how far away that might be. Still, you can’t begin to imagine how Reisen could handle this bulkier pack.
Reisen picked up the other bag with ease -almost tossing it into air- before slinging it over her shoulder and heading for the outlying woods. She doesn’t even seem to realize how encumbered you are wearing the heavier of the two bags in comparison. Nevertheless, you marched behind her sluggishly, the contents of your backpack shifting uncomfortably about with each step.
Following the girl, you take the time to let your eyes explore the forest surrounding you. You remember quite well the admiration you had during your first trip through. The endless swath of green was very much a contrast to Earth. Trees were a rare thing back home since most forests had been cut down to make space for the ever-expanding human population. Plants in general were the sort of thing that you only recalled seeing in special botanical sanctuaries designed to preserve as much of the dwindling plant species as possible. And people actually paid out of the wazoo to see them. It was a testament to just how scarce nature was becoming in your time.
Reisen hollers over to grab your attention, “Galen! Keep up!”
“Ah- sorry!” You were daydreaming again. Unavoidable as it was, your confrontation with Eientei about the satellite only reminded you of the awful country you came from.
But that was inevitable- you still clung to fragments from your life on Earth. The satellite, Guillotine, hangs above watching you. Protecting you. Ironic that this device that can destroy nations is also the one thing you hold dear from home.
However, that destructive aspect of Guillotine was not why you liked the satellite. Strangely, it was the isolation. Lonely, it may have been; confined within a steel prison in space. But you were detached from the world- a cruel and unforgiving one at that. Alone you sat, above it all, watching the Earth from orbit. And somehow, from that height, even the metallic grey of the skyscrapers and cities covering the land was a beautiful sight.
Up there, beauty was everywhere.
“HEL-LOO?” A hand waves inches from your face, startling you.
“WHa-oh, hi...” Great. You did it again.
The girl gave you a quizzical look. “You alright? Is something bothering you?”
“Uh, I’m fine- honest.”
There was a skeptical glance from Reisen before she turned her back to you. A hint of irritation could be heard as she spoke, “Please stay close. I don’t want to have to explain to Eirin how I lost you in the woods.”
“Sorry, I’ll try and stay closer from now on.” You bowed apologetically, forgetting the bag’s added weight which nearly causes you to flip over.
The rabbit didn’t notice or even slow her pace as she walked away. “Okay then, let’s keep moving. We still have a bit of a ways to go before we reach the village.”
It could’ve been your imagination, but she seemed in a hurry to get to the Human Village.
Continuing onward, you found yourself exhausted from the bulk strapped to your back. The two of you had at least traveled several miles already, and spent perhaps an hour or so walking among the bamboo. While Reisen was still thankfully in sight, you were hoping she would be willing to take a short break from her merciless pace sometime soon.
Further out, the forest ground transitioned from the vibrant green of grass to dull brown dirt. Here, the trees were grouped together much thicker than any other part of the forest. It got to the point that you had to squeeze and force yourself into tiny gaps in the barrier of wood. Reisen, however, had no trouble with the confined space, having the smaller bag and a much better grasp of her surroundings than you. Now, you began losing sight of her, as she easily passed through the natural barricade while you struggled clumsily after her.
Until, it seems, she made it out of the heavy thicket.
“Wh-AAAAAAAA!!!” Reisen let out an astonished yelp as the ground beneath her inexplicably gave way, almost swallowing her up completely if not for some quick thinking on her part. At the very edge of the densely packed bamboo, you could make out the upper body of the bunny girl, who had stuck out her elbows to keep from falling all the way to the bottom of what appeared to be some kind of sinkhole.
Quickly, you made your way to your companion, dumping the bag as carefully as possible while maintaining that sense of urgency. You grabbed one of Reisen’s arms and hauled her up far enough so that she was able to clamber out under her own power. Both of you lay in dirt for a moment; worn out from the unwelcome surprise.
Gasping for air, you asked, “Wha… What the hell was that?”
“Pitfall… Probably one of Tewi’s,” The girl swore. She found that little rabbit insufferable as well? It appears you two had more in common than you thought. “That… rabbit… she places these all over the forest, under what she calls, precautionary measures.” She paused to catch her breath. “Many of our patients wind up in one of those holes if they try to reach Eientei without one of our rabbits guiding them. The ones that get caught by these pits often need treatment for the scrapes and bruises they get. And then what makes it worse is that she never tells anyone else where she hides them. Not me, not Eirin, not even Kaguya.”
Inhaling deeply, Reisen let out a weary sigh, “I guess since we’ve stopped though, we can take a break.”
“Alright.” You let your head back, relieved at her words. Specifically, the word, ‘break’. “By the way, do we have any water? I’m getting thirsty.”
“Asking for water again? Remember how that turned out LAST time?” The bunny girl replied with an amused look.
Jeez, she’s not going to let that go, is she?
Eventually however, Reisen finds a water canteen fastened to the side of her pack and tosses it over to you. You take a few refreshing swigs, savoring that wonderful moist sensation of the liquid trickling down your throat. You then hand it back to her before she takes a drink for herself.
As she caps the container and stows it away, a question pops into your head- one you’ve been meaning to ask.
[ ] “Are you still mad at me?” [ ] “Why are you and Tewi so different-looking from the other rabbits?” [ ] “What the hell did you put in this bag? It weighs a crapton.”
[x] “Are you okay? I know having me here probably makes you uncomfortable."
This will probably get us both her prespective on the situation and her current feelings toward us. Although asking if she's mad will probably give us the same thing in the end so it probably doesn't matter.
That's probably my fault for not taking the time to word those better. (My impatience with proofreading bites me in the ass again.) Yeah, I guess they are quite silly though I was intending for each to have some effect on the story. I must have been so intent on that that I only thought about the results and not the context of their use.
Anyway, since the options were pretty... disappointing, write-ins are perfectly acceptable.
[x] “Are you okay? I know having me here probably makes you uncomfortable." [x] "So, is Tewi like this to everyone?" [x] "Gravity is harder than I remembered it"
“Are you okay? If you feel uncomfortable with m-” The girl silences you. “No. No, I’m fine.”
Her response was quick. Too quick… which worries you. “Y-you sure? I mean, you really aren’t mad?”
Reisen gave a mildly annoyed glance before responding, “Now why would I be mad? If it’s about the pitfall, I’m telling you, I’m alright.”
That’s not quite what your question was.
“I’m not asking about the hole- I’m asking about our discussion in Kaguya’s room. You seemed pretty angry after I explained what Guillotine did.” There was a twinge; maybe of surprise from the girl as you spoke the satellite’s name. “You, you wouldn’t happen to still be upset about that, now would you?”
The reply came back, shaken, but unchanged, “I said I’m fine, didn’t I, Galen? Please… stop asking, I’m not mad at you.”
“You don’t look ‘fine’ to me.” You add a bit of weight to your tone. Reisen may say she’s alright, but you really need to clear this whole incident up. And the sooner the better, as both of you need to cooperate and focus on selling the medicine in the bags. You’d like to ditch the heavy pack as quickly as possible. So you decide to press the issue; hopefully to get something more than a simple, ‘I’m fine’. “Something’s bothering you- and I want to hear what that something is.”
“Well…” Reisen’s answer trails off briefly. “… I am a little upset after hearing what your remote does.”
So the satellite WAS the cause. You promptly answer, “If you’re still mad at me, I’ll say it again. I swear, I did not know that danmaku was safe.”
“I never said I was mad at you- you were brought to a completely unfamiliar world without any sort of knowledge of what to expect.” The girl’s response is one of complete understanding, which shocks you. You had been anticipating another argument. “And you were put in a situation which would have likely meant death in your homeland. I can’t blame you for feeling like you needed to defend yourself somehow.”
So why is she mad?
“So why are you mad?”
“I… I don’t know.” Reisen cradled her head in her hands as she sat, gazing out into the woods beyond. There was a moment where the two of you simply listened to the stillness of the forest.
“I’m just… mad. That’s all.”
You slowly nodded. You would have understood if she had yelled, screamed, or shouted even, about how you nearly killed her. It would have been a perfectly reasonable reaction. Yet, she was trying to see the incident from your perspective; despite how much she wanted to simply hate you for it. And it showed by how conflicted her feelings came across to you.
For a time, the only sound that could be heard was that of the wind whistling through the trees.
Several minutes passed before the girl finally stood up. After that talk, she seemed to be in a slightly better mood or at least less on edge than before. Stretching a bit, she reached for her bag. “I think we’ve rested long enough. We should get going; the village is quite a distance away still.”
You flexed your arms, trying to get the blood flowing again before groaning, “Alright, hang on a bit then.”
Picking yourself up, you took a couple of seconds to lift your backpack. Unfortunately, it weighed just as much from before the break. With a resigned sigh, you once again follow after Reisen, heading further out of the bamboo woods.
As the two of you travelled, there were a few more close calls with traps set by the mischievous little rabbit. A hole here, a pitfall there. There was even one encounter with a snare net. The delays were… trifling at best. Neither of you ever fell down the full length of the holes which was good- for you especially. It would’ve been a bitch to try and lift your pack back out if you ever fell completely into a pit.
Regardless, the delays were still delays. And by now, it was approaching noon. Thankfully, the number of trap holes you were springing was beginning to decline.
As the journey progressed, you started to notice the ever-increasing amount of visible pits in the ground around you. Judging by the uniform shape and placement, it’s likely that they also happened to be the result of Tewi’s handiwork.
Stepping between several closely packed holes, you took a moment to tentatively glance over the lip of the one on your right. Looking down, the walls of the pit are quickly engulfed by the darkness below. You can’t even see a bottom to the hole- how deep did Tewi have to dig these?
You muttered aloud, “So why does Tewi make these pits again?”
Reisen let out a forced laugh, “Hah, like I said, she CLAIMS that these are for defense, against thieves, feral youkai, and the like. And while she doesn’t really inform us of where she puts these things, I guess I should be glad she doesn’t design them like she used to before Eirin met her.”
“What’s she doing differently nowadays?” These pits were worse? How bad could a simple hole in the ground be?
“Well, for starters, she’s not sticking bamboo stakes into the middles of them anymore.”
Ah… punji. Damn. That would not be fun to step on.
The girl continued, adding information you’d rather not have known, “… I also hear she smeared feces and rotten meat on a coupl-”
“OKAY, Okay.” You interrupt her before you hear any more of the unpleasant details. You can imagine quite well what would have happened after a person stepped on one of those, already. “But anyway, Tewi… Is she like that to everyone?”
“You know… a…”
“… A jerk?” Reisen practically takes the words straight from your mouth. “Well, it depends.”
“Depends?” The fact that the girl even has to use that word surprises you. “What does that mean?”
“Well, if you asked me, I would say she is quite the asshole. But ask any other rabbit and they’d go on and on about how great Tewi is.”
“Probably because they’d get in trouble if they spoke ill of her, I assume?”
Reisen had to pause at that. PAUSE. “Actually, no. She treats them all pretty well and she doesn’t actively make trouble for the princess or Eirin.”
“So she likes screwing with just us then? Boy, do I feel specia-OW!” The contents of the bag shift suddenly and forcefully, sending a sharp pain up your back.
The girl shrugged, ignoring your sudden yelp and simply responded, “It’s not too bad. Her pranks never become outright malicious- they’re usually fairly childish and light-hearted.”
By the look on Reisen’s face, it doesn’t seem like she’s seen Tewi get pissed. It implies that the little rabbit wasn’t one to easily flip her lid either. Based on how Reisen described her, you may have been the first person in years to achieve that. Maybe she’s not as awful as you thought? You cringe at the very idea. It’s hard to imagine Tewi as anything but evil after your experience with her. But that may be a tad biased. She was lecturing (dipping into straight-up threatening occasionally) you about nearly killing Reisen.
The bunny girl waved her arm to grab your attention. “C’mon, we need to get going.”
Wearily, you adjusted your load before rejoining Reisen beyond the holey field.
Far past the pits, the both of you met a slight hill. Travelling up the incline, you could see the trees part; making way for the blue of the sky. Before you could reach it however, Reisen grabbed you by the shoulder with an alert expression on her face.
“Careful, you’ll be able to see the village from the top, but the hill falls off into a cliff just past the trees.”
“A-ah, thanks.” Acknowledging her warning, you cautiously approached the peak. At the top, you had to brace yourself on your knees, exhausted and drenched in sweat from the long trek. While your head drooped down, you took the time to look right in front of you. Like she said, there was an immediate vertical drop right at the edge of the forest. And had she not warned you- you might have plummeted off the hillside.
Standing on the outlook, you catch your first glimpse of the Human Village. Village… may be an improper word to describe the settlement though. Considering the size, it’s more of a city really. Also, when imagining a village, a picture of a large, yet quite rural town (farms, wood houses, that sort of thing) fitting the ancient oriental environment of Gensokyo comes to mind. At least in your mind, anyway.
INSTEAD, what lies before you is an awkward mish-mash of buildings ranging from straw huts of antiquity, to futuristic skyscrapers not unfamiliar to someone like you. Smoke from the chimneys of an industrial factory billowed upward; marring the otherwise pristine sky. The buildings comprising the village are of a blend so strange you’re not even sure what to make of it. More peculiar was that the modern structures lay on the outskirts; encircling entire farmlands and cottages.
Whoever designed the Human Village did not use common sense when planning the city’s layout.
After observing the inside-out city from your vantage point a moment longer, you headed back down- taking a breather before returning to Reisen. More like a few. It occurs to you how recently you arrived not just to Gensokyo, but also from space. You were so preoccupied with the insanity of yesterday, that you completely forgot how a return to Earth’s gravity might affect you. Only now are starting to feel the side-effects from months in orbit. You felt good this morning- that wasn’t a lie. But, you weren’t wearing a heavy bag full of medicine on your shoulders back then. A bag heavy enough that it would have still made for a challenging journey even at peak condition. If it weren’t for the various supplements (especially the calcium ones, thank god) you had been taking all this time, you probably would have injured yourself pretty badly just trying to lift the sack.
The girl rushes to your side, concerned at your sudden weakness. “Hey? Is something wrong?”
“Y-yeah, just a little worn out,” you reply, overexertion setting in. Feeling your legs begin to give out from underneath you; you quickly seat yourself on the soft grass covering the ground. Trying to dispel the distressed look on Reisen’s face, you play it off by adding casually, “It’s just… just that gravity seems heavier than I remember all of a sudden.”
She raised an eyebrow, though she kept the worried demeanor. “If you were getting tired, Galen; you could have just asked to switch bags. I’ve carried the heavy one before- I made that one myself, remember? There’s no need to act so chivalrous.”
You give a wheeze before removing the bag from your shoulders. The weight finally coming off is a much welcomed relief.
“Sorry, I just found it hard picturing a girl like you being able to carry this one.”
With some difficulty and a grunt, you passed the backpack to Reisen who handed you her much smaller and lighter bag. Handling your new cargo, you were relieved to find that at least this one was bearable.
As for Reisen…
The girl was eying your old bag curiously- lifting it up and down, testing the weight. Carrying it didn’t look to be the problem from the ease she held the pack with. She seemed to have found something else wrong with it, though what that was was still unclear.
The bunny girl spoke, answering your question, “The bag’s heavier…”
“Pardon?” You stop. Did you just hear her correctly? “Heavier? What are you talking about?”
“I’m saying, there’s something in here other than just the medicine.” She tosses the sack in front of you.
You stare at it briefly, slightly confused. “Wait, you didn’t even open it up yet. How can you tell?”
She crosses her arms. “I’ve done this so many times- I know the exact weight of the medicine that I put in there. I’m sure of it.”
That so, huh?
The two of you watch the bag, thinking about what to do with it next.
Until it twitches.
[ ] Carefully open it up yourself. [ ] Kick it. [ ] Dump the medicine and anything else in the bag out. [ ] Let Reisen deal with it.
We're not going to risk the medicine by dumping it or kicking it, and although I highly doubt that there is anything dangerous in it, having Reisen be capable back up is far better than you being the back up.
Eeeh, my computer wonked on me for a moment. So very sorry everybody for that brief bout of strange.
[x] Carefully open it up yourself.
You reach for the zipper on the top of the bag. Whatever’s moving around in there can’t be all THAT dangerous. Otherwise, it would have already broken out by now. At least that’s what you’re hoping anyway. Despite telling yourself this over and over, it doesn’t do much to reassure you.
Your hand reaches the tab and you pass Reisen an uneasy glance. You’re kind of wondering why she isn’t the one doing this. She packed the bag. The girl simply replies with a shrug of indifference, as if to say, You’ve already started, Galen- you might as well do the honors.
Thanks for the support, Reisen.
Before returning your attention to the backpack, you notice the girl’s hand. Strangely, she’s made it into the shape of a gun and has it pointed at the bag. Whatever she’s doing, you certainly hope she’ll back you up if your mystery hitchhiker turns out to be unfriendly. With a sigh, you stare reluctantly at the bag one last time.
Let’s get this over with.
Gingerly, you unzip the cover flap and lift it up to find-
A PAIR OF VICIOUS-LOOKING WHITE THINGS WHICH LEAP FEROCIOUSLY OUT OF THE… ohhh wait, those are rabbits.
What the hell?
Crawling out, the furballs have a disheveled look to their coats as they stagger deliriously about for a moment. You don’t recall anything getting near the bags during the journey so they must have stowed away before you left Eientei. How long were they in there, anyway? Three, maybe, four hours? It’s a miracle they didn’t suffocate inside the pack. Steadying themselves against the side of the bag, they gasped for air as Reisen glared sternly at the two.
“You both, what were you doing in the medicine bag?”
One of the rabbits responded to the girl by flailing wildly- an utterly dead look never leaving its eyes for even a second as it did so. Its fur was completely white and it carried what you could honestly say was the most stoic facial expression on a rabbit you had seen. Reisen nodded intently, asking the odd question every now and then while the rabbit answered in turn with more flapping of its arms and legs.
It seemed (it might have just been your imagination, though), that she could understand what the bunny was trying to convey from its gestures.
The other rabbit was speckled brown and looked a little wide-eyed and excited. It almost appeared like this one was on caffeine or something. It faced you and copied its partner, waving its arms frantically at you.
A futile action- you had absolutely no clue what its ‘dancing’ meant.
“Uh… I… I don’t really understand what you’re trying to do.”
The hyper little thing was unamused, drooping its arms before smacking itself in the forehead. It turned its attention to the large bag and began sorting through the medicines inside. After a minute or so, it produced a large notepad and flipped through the pages before stopping on one with a pre-written response that it held up vertically to you.
Geesus, I forgot you don’t understand our form of communication. There was a pause as the rabbit searched through the book for its next phrase. You glanced over to Reisen who still looked fully engaged by the other one, meaning she was unable to translate for you.
Are you really going to have to talk to them- with this?
Finally, the speckled rabbit found the page it was looking for. I’m Himitsu and the unemotional rabbit is my partner, Shizuka.
“Okay, Himitsu, so what were you two doing in the bag?” You didn’t know why Reisen hadn’t just explained the white one’s response to you, but since you were talking to its companion- you might as well ask again.
Oh, that should be obvious for you… Tewi sent us to help guide you through the woods.
“Tewi… sent you? She was with us the entire time in Kaguya’s bedroom. How’d she inform you of our trip to the Human Village?” Hearing that Tewi had decided to help you both was a nice surprise. However, you were wondering more about when she had managed to arrange for the two rabbits to accompany you.
The earth rabbits have eyes and ears all over Eientei… If something were to happen in the forest for example, in a moment or so, the entire complex would already be talking about it… Information travels very fast within our networks you see? All Tewi has to do is tell one of us and soon- we’ll all know. You had to stare at the responses that Himitsu was using. It seems like Tewi had thought of every kind of situation when writing the notebook.
“So you heard what Eirin’s plan for me was?”
Yup, we even whipped up that extra bag of medicine for you to carry… Tewi also chose us specifically to lead you safely past the traps… Right before Eirin dragged you and Reisen out of the princess’s room.
At least you now know how the second bag came to be. Still, no explanation as to why they didn’t come out of the bag and help when you started running into pitfalls, though.
Slightly annoyed, you scratched your head. “That was nice of her and all, but if you haven’t noticed, we’re almost out of the bamboo forest. Why didn’t you two show yourselves earlier?”
Himitsu fidgeted nervously, a tad embarrassed. We wanted to surprise you both… So that’s why we decided to hide in the bag.
“-And got trapped in there?” you add. It may not have been part of the written response, but you’re guessing that’s what happened to them.
She dropped her head shamefully. …Yeah, kinda…
Well that’s just disappointing. Their assistance a bit earlier would’ve saved you and Reisen from some added grief.
Meanwhile, the argument between the girl and Shizuka was starting to get intense. Reisen was nearly shouting at the rabbit by now, who still barely reacted to her fuming tirade.
“If there’s nothing else the two of you can help us with, just go back to Eientei already!” the girl snapped, pointing a hand in the general direction of the great building.
Shizuka made a furious series of gestures in reply; none of which you could understand. Thankfully, Himitsu was able to interpret the movements for you using the notepad.
Fine, be like that… I don’t even know why Tewi even sent us in the first place.
The white rabbit faced your translator and made several more motions before hopping off.
C’mon, Himitsu… We’re done here.
Himitsu glanced frantically between you and her companion until she reluctantly turned and followed slowly behind Shizuka.
[ ] Do nothing. [ ] Call them back. There must be something useful they can do. [ ] Suggest to Reisen that they help sell the medicine. Having extra hands, err, paws, wouldn’t be a bad thing. [ ] Keep them around… ‘cause… Pitfalls! Yeah, you still have to return to Eientei sometime. [ ] Bring them along. Give the kiddies something cute to look at while their parents shop with you two.
[X] Call them back. Tell them to thank Tewi for being thoughtful enough for send help (although you never received it) and thank them too since it's the thought that counts. Should let them leave after that though.
We just got through trying to settle Reisen down, not sure if it's a good idea to have those rabbits come along if her current reaction is anything to go by.
The writing contest sucked the life out of me and the week's been rough. To anyone that actually reads this, I'm sorry.
[X] Call them back. There must be something useful they can do. - [X] Keep them around… ‘cause… Pitfalls! Yeah, you still have to return to Eientei sometime.
“Reisen, wait. Let’s not be hasty about this.” You grab her by the shoulder and gently face her towards you.
“What do you mean?” she asks, with a lingering irked tone. “We already got here; there’s no point in keeping them around.”
Her response leaves you dumbfounded. She’s not being serious is she? Perhaps she’s forgotten all the trouble the two of you went through just getting here on your own?
“Uh, you’re forgetting,” you begin. With the rabbits quickly vanishing into the woods, you hasten your explanation, “We still need to get back to Eientei. Won’t we be dealing with the pitfalls again?”
She blinks once; then twice, before it finally dawns upon her.
Did that really never occur to the girl?
“A-ah, right.” Reisen brings a hand to her chin, slightly annoyed at her oversight. Judging from the troubled look, this may be the first time she’s actually had a rabbit guide. And the first time she might actually have to listen to one instead.
“Shall I bring them back?”
“Yes… please… just go get them.” She nods ashamedly and waves you off in the direction the rabbits left.
“Fine, give me a second.” Wasting little time, you give chase, tearing through the woods after them. Free of the heavy bag, you’re able to set a respectable pace as you run. Despite this, you suspect that it’ll probably take a while to catch the two, seeing how quickly they bailed on you.
After such an exhausting journey, you honestly hope not.
A while passes as you stumble aimlessly through the forest. You’re lost. All the trees are beginning to look the same- not like they didn’t before though. You take a moment to look around at your surroundings, peering into the shadows that quickly envelop the woods close by. You can’t make anything out, just utter darkness. And it should almost be noon now.
This is bad.
You remember that the remote has a GPS feature- but wait, even that’s useless right now. For one thing, you’re looking for a pair of mute animals roaming the woods, not some large compound easily visible from space. Finding two tiny white things in the forest would require something far more precise than this low-tech system. You doubt you’d be able to catch them even if you did know where they were in the thicket.
Secondly, you don’t know what that damn hill you left Reisen at even looks like on the shoddy display. Fun.
You could head back- No, that’s stupid, you quickly tell yourself. You can easily find your way back to Eientei, after all, the GPS was the entire reason you found it in the first place. And the two rabbits would probably be there as well by the time you got back. But what about Reisen, then? You’d be abandoning her, right when you managed to apologize and fix the entire situation over Guillotine. Helping the girl sell medicine was a task given to you by Eirin, who had been more than tolerant of your actions there. You’d be dead for sure if you headed back now.
Standing in the forest, alone and absolutely lost, you take a deep breath to calm yourself. There’s got to be something you can do.
[ ] Call out. Perhaps they’ll hear you. [ ] Well, you tried. Having wasted enough time already, let’s just find that hill again. [ ] How do those freaks on wilderness survival shows do this again? Oh right, they use their senses. Let’s try that. - [ ] Sight. Wait, how does this help when you can’t see anything? - [ ] Smell. Hmm, what does a rabbit smell like now… grilled chicken? - [ ] Hearing. Hold on, the rabbits haven’t made a soun-is that singing? - [ ] Touch. Funny, something’s tickling my- OH FUCK IT’S A GIANT ROACH!!!
[Y] How do those freaks on wilderness survival shows do this again? Oh right, they use their senses. Let’s try that. - [X] Smell. Hmm, what does a rabbit smell like now… grilled chicken? Moko-tan knows her way around the forest, right?
Well, you definitely can’t hear or see them, but maybe they can hear you from here. Taking a deep breath, you shout out at the top of your lungs.
You wait, glancing around the nearby brush for any sort of movement. Seconds pass and nothing so much as stirs. You’re getting worried, something must have heard your yell. Those rabbits should have been able to hear that, even if they were far away. But nothing disturbs the thicket, there’s no other sounds, nothing.
Minutes later and still nothing.
They’re on their way, you tell yourself silently, trying to ignore the slowly creeping panic. You decide to stay put and wait for the pair. Wandering off in search for them now would be foolish. You don’t even know the direction to look in and you’d probably wind up even more lost.
Growing concerned, you try again, “SHIZUKA!! …HIMITSU!!”
This time, you get a response. The trees rustle off in the distance- it’s them. It has to be. Very little light trickles through the thick vegetation nearby, making it impossible to see what’s coming… but you’re sure it’s them. As the rustling intensifies, you wait for the familiar sight of your two little companions.
They don’t show. But the stir continues, regardless.
You laugh uncomfortably. “Okay guys, very funny. I know you’re out there; I can hear you.”
There’s no sign of the hares.
The bamboo woods grow quiet abruptly, and you’re left standing there… alone. You’re no longer sure if that was them. You realize that this is a very large forest; why did it never occur to you that there might be something else out there other than rabbits? And you’ve just let the entire forest know where you are now. The darkness grows menacing and you feel as though you’re being watched.
It’s becoming apparent that you probably should have let Reisen find the rabbits. At least she’d find them -probably- never mind if she got into another argument with Shizuka. And unlike you, she wouldn’t get lost.
You recall how peaceful and calm the forest had been when you first arrived, not so long ago. The initial journey to Eientei had been relatively straightforward thanks in part to having the remote’s GPS and a compass. But to simply assume that the forest would be like that throughout its entirety was a grave folly on your behalf. You’re in a different neck of the woods now- without a compass and unable to rely on GPS. Completely and utterly lost.
The name, ‘Bamboo Forest of the Lost’ is starting to sound uncomfortably fitting.
PleasepleasePLEEASE, just be a prank orchestrated by Tewi, you beg desperately. You refuse to believe that those rabbits aren’t watching from some sort of hiding place- probably sniggering at your frantic expression, this very moment.
That’s what you’re praying for right now anyway.
Hesitantly, you speak into the dark, “Shizuka… Himitsu? This isn’t funny anymore… please come out now.”
Still nothing. There’s absolutely no response from the outlying woods.
The dead silence is unnerving.
But the forest is most definitely alive. Brief glimpses of movement in the trees indicate that you’re not quite as alone as you may think. Your eyes dart from shadow to shadow nervously, searching for some sort of clue where your observer(s) might strike from. There is something out there. You’re being stalked; you’re sure of it. The question now is… by what?
A moment passes. You are poised, on edge as you wait for something to happen. An attack could come from any direction now, and you grow tense from the anticipation. From the side? From the front? From the back? Paranoia runs rampant as the gloom plays tricks on your mind.
Something needs to be done, now.
[X] Call out. Perhaps they’ll hear you. [ ] Get the remote ready. Just in case. [ ] Trying to find those rabbits isn’t worth this. You better head back while you still can. [ ] Think. Our eyes will help us very little in this dim environment. What can our other senses tell us? - [ ] Smell Smoke. Something’s burning nearby. - [ ] Hearing There’s a sound… is that singing? - [ ] Tou-DAMMIT! What’s with all these pesky bugs showing up so suddenly?
[x] Get the remote ready. Just in case. [x] Think. Our eyes will help us very little in this dim environment. What can our other senses tell us? - [x] Smell Smoke. Something’s burning nearby.
You know incredibly little about the wildlife here, or even what said wildlife likes to eat. Taking extra caution if they turn out to be carnivorous might be a very good idea. With that in mind, you unclip the remote from your waist and grip it tightly in hand. An orbital laser may be a tad overkill, but you’d rather be safe than sorry.
It never hurt to be a little ‘extra’ prepared.
Weapon at the ready, you search the darkness for the faintest sign of motion. Your eyes fail to pick up anything in the gloom, finding nothing more than imaginary figures in the shadows. Vision alone is completely useless here. This time however, you’re using more than just your sight.
You’re also using your nose.
You recall a visit to a city zoo back on Earth, filled with exotic plants and animals. Most were unsuited to life in a heavily industrialized world and were instead confined within a replica of their original habitats. It was a living archive, containing the last known members of hundreds of endangered species. But that was not what you remembered most about the zoo.
It was the smell: a heavy pungent odor that hung over the exhibits. Many people, while fascinated to see such rare creatures, were more than a little put off by their stench. And these were animals that were washed daily; you can only imagine what a wild animal might smell like.
It’s a flawed logic, sure, but you really don’t have any other ideas of how to look for whatever’s out there. You were always able to rely on heat sensors, motion detectors… radar even, to find enemies. But you don’t have any of those things with you. All you have is you. Just you and a remote for a hovering killsat. Concentrating, you take in a deep whiff of the air.
Huh, smoke. Smells like something’s burning…
A burning scent this deep in the woods can only mean one thing- fire. And with the bamboo so tightly packed together, even a small flame here could easily start an inferno. Frantically, you search the trees for the source, looking overhead for a telltale grayish cloud of smoke. There’s a dense haze floating above: not exactly as thick as you had assumed from the strong smell… but it’s there.
Watching it carefully, you attempt to trace it back to its origins and notice the smoke drifting out of one particular part of the bamboo grove. You approach the thicket warily- on guard for any forest predators that may be lying in wait. There’s no visible glow of flames in the direction the smoke is coming from… although the fumes are getting stronger. You’re tempted to flee, but it seems unlikely that anyone else might be out here to do anything about the fire. And if gets out of control, it might endanger Eientei. You should at least see what you can do about it first.
The wind picks up suddenly, blowing even more smoke into the clearing. Fine soot gets in your eyes and mouth, causing you to gag and rub furiously at the irritation. This must be why they outlawed those charcoal and wood-burning devices, you swear, staggering about blindly as your eyes water from the unpleasant sting. The feeling is an unfamiliar sensation for you, one you’d prefer never to experience again. Ever.
The pain really makes you appreciate the electric appliances from your time. Having to burn something to produce energy just seems so obsolete now. Too many inconveniences. Like hot cinders in the face, for example. Kind of like what you’re dealing with now.
As your vision finally clears, you notice that the haze has lifted from the area. It’s a mixed blessing of sorts. The good news is that at least you won’t get ash in your eyes again. But without the smoke, you have no idea where the fire is or if it’s even been put out already. Unless you smell for it of course. You promptly sniff the air again as you attempt to hone in on the scent once more.
… Mmm, something smells good.
An enticing fragrance of spices and herbs almost immediately distracts you as it wafts in from deep within the forest. It seems that someone’s grilling something way out here, which probably explains where the smoke came from earlier. The new aroma smells like chicken- some really good chicken, causing your stomach to growl excitedly. It’s close to lunchtime right now and you’ve had nothing to eat since you left Eientei. All that walking and running from before has left you absolutely famished.
After deliberating for a moment, you decide to follow your gut instinct –literally- and head toward the wonderful smell. If someone’s cooking food in the middle of the woods, you reason that they would probably know their way around these bamboo thickets. Oh, and you suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask if they spotted a pair of rabbits also. Can’t forget why you came out here in the first place, now can you?
Cautiously, you step out of the lit area of the thicket and into the dark. Guided only by the scent of food, you trip and fumble over the uneven ground in your search for the source of that tantalizing smell. You keep a tight grip on Guillotine’s remote, in the off chance that you get caught unawares by a feral animal. Thankfully though, the ground is the only thing you happen to stumble across in the shadows.
It’s not long before your nose leads you to another clearing. There’s a girl sitting next to a large fire in the center, handling a spit skewering several browning pieces of chicken. Her hair is long, flowing and an unusual white. She’s also wearing a pair of red overalls over a darkened long-sleeve shirt. But aside from the hair though, what makes her stand out in the forest are those pants. Several red and white slips of paper appear to be pasted on to the fabric. There are also a couple of the same slips tied in what seem to be ribbons in her hair.
Noticing your presence, the girl stiffly buries an end of the skewer into the ground and stands up as she speaks over to you.
“You lost, pal?”
Her greeting -if you could call it such- comes out rough and informal. It doesn’t seem like she was expecting company. Or wanting any either.
You give a nod and reply sheepishly, “Ah, well… yeah, kinda.”
The girl lets out a long, drawn-out sigh. Whether or not it was of confirmation or annoyance is unclear to you as she puts her hands to her hips.
“Haah, okay. Look… I can lead you back to the village, but I wanna eat my lunch first, alright?” She turns back toward the fire before dropping down right beside it.
Picking up the skewer, she grumbles quietly to herself, “After all, this is the first damn meal I’ve had in a week.”
“Hmm? Sorry, what was that?”
“Nothing, nothing.” The girl gives a nonchalant wave of her hand and resumes cooking the chicken. She’s definitely not the friendliest character you’ve met, but at least you’re not alone anymore.
A good minute passes as you stand idly by while she focuses intently on roasting the spit. Perhaps even more intently, now that she knows you’re there. She’s actually trying to ignore you. God, why is she making this so hard?
Gathering yourself, you ask slowly, “Uh… so, what do I call you? Miss…?”
“Mokou. Of the Fujiwara. And please don’t call me miss, kay?” There’s a snarl in her voice as she says that last part.
“Ah, sorry Mi-Mokou! Mokou.” You’re already failing at a good first impression with the girl. Although, she really isn’t making it all that easy for you in the first place. “My name’s Galen Marek by the way. It’s nice to meet you.”
Right. Perhaps you should just state your business then, huh? Reisen’s still waiting for you, after all.
[ ] Ask. - [ ] “You wouldn’t happen to have seen a pair of rabbits hop on by, now would you?” - [ ] “Do you know where I could find a hill overlooking the Human Village?” - [ ] “I don’t suppose you have any more chicken now- do you?” - [ ] “So what’s someone like you doing out in the woods all by yourself?”
[x] Let her eat her lunch in peace. - [x] After that, ask her to lead you to the hill overlooking the Human Village. Tell her we left a companion of ours there.
We told Reisen we'd come back after finding the rabbits. Although we didn't find them, we still need to meet back up with her and going to the village without Reisen or the rabbits would be a pretty asshole-ish thing to do.
[x] Let her eat her lunch in peace. - [x] “You wouldn’t happen to have seen a pair of rabbits hop on by, now would you?” - [x] After that, ask her if she could lead you to a hill or something overlooking the Human Village so that you can find Reisen.
We kind of need to find out about the rabbits and find out where we left Reisen. We were supposedly already about to leave the Bamboo Forest, so logically Reisen should be on its outskirts if she hasn't gone to the village already.
[x] Let her eat her lunch in peace. - [x] “You wouldn’t happen to have seen a pair of rabbits hop on by, now would you?” - [x] After that, ask her if she could lead you to a hill or something overlooking the Human Village so that you can find Reisen.
Late, sorry. Couldn't find a good point for an option so that's for the next update.
[x] Let her eat her lunch in peace. - [x] “You wouldn’t happen to have seen a pair of rabbits hop on by, now would you?” - [x] After that, ask her if she could lead you to a hill or something overlooking the Human Village so that you can find Reisen.
You open your mouth to ask, Mokou? I was wondering, did you happen to come across a pair of rabbits in the forest?
But your thoughts refuse to translate into words, and after catching a fly or two, you wisely decide to shut your mouth. And keep it shut.
Of course you would never actually say that now; the girl has made it perfectly clear that interrupting her mealtime would earn you nothing short of an asskicking. Or at least implied as much. You’re not going to take any chances though; she probably very well could, even if she wasn’t being serious. Which, you’re sure she was in fact, very much so.
Instead, you simply watch on as she roasts her chicken kebab, occasionally checking the insides with a knife to see how well-done the meat is turning out as the smell rising off of the fire causes your mouth to water unconsciously. Your stomach complains, loudly, reminding you it wants food badly. The temptation at one point gets bad enough that you almost do speak up and ask the girl for a bite, a morsel even. But bothering Mokou for anything -worst of all things, food- right now is like playing with an open flame. Very, very, dangerous. It takes considerable willpower to tell your gut to shut up and bear with it, but it’s worth it. Not incurring the white-haired girl’s wrath is definitely worth going hungry for a bit.
After waiting for a time, the girl inspects the skewer and – waitwaitWAIT.
Great, you knew this was coming next but it still catches you by surprise to see her do this. Of all things to torment you with, this is probably the worst of all and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.
She’s eating it.
And not with any sort of regard for table manners or any kind of etiquette, either. She tears into the tender chicken hungrily, greedily ripping large chunks off the spit before chewing and swallowing with an intense haste, then repeating the entire process all over again. The way she treats the meal, it’s almost like she hasn’t seen any kind of food in days. It’s certainly not the most ladylike display you’ve seen (ladylike? There’s nothing ladylike about her eating habits), but that’s not what concerns you.
What concerns you is how fucking good she’s making that thing look.
There’s a wet smacking of lips as Mokou devours her grilled poultry, savoring each and every bite. As she chews, a mixture of sauce and juices trickle down from the corner of her mouth unnoticed while she continues to work away at her food. She makes a loud, messy slurp, inhaling yet another golden-brown piece of meat while you gulp uncomfortably at the sight.
You have to wonder, why is she doing this to you? She really, really doesn’t seem to care what she looks like as she eats. Granted, she doesn’t know how very starved you are, but still, it’s painful to see her enjoying that chicken so goddamn much in your current state.
Several torturous minutes go by, before Mokou finishes her grilled chicken at last – only to begin licking her fingers clean as a final, unintentional taunting gesture. She looks a little less… grouchy, or at least appears to be far less irritated than when you first met her. A full stomach does wonders to calming people down, doesn’t it?
“Right then,” she begins, wiping her hands off on the front of her pants. Her tone remains coarse, though now she doesn’t sound quite as annoyed as she did before having lunch. The change in the girl’s attitude is a welcome relief to you. Although you weren’t able to get something to eat for yourself, she’s at least approachable now, unlike before lunch when she was, *ahem*, kind of a bitch. “Human village, was it? Unless of course, you have someplace else in mind.”
“Actually, I was about to ask if you saw a pair of rabbits pass through here. I was looking for them and lost my way back during the search.”
Mokou rises, putting a hand to her chin. “Rabbits, huh? Nah, I haven’t seen anything else ‘till you showed up. Were they taking you to Eientei?”
“Uh no, we were going to the village; they sorta just came on their own to help us avoid the pitfalls scattered throughout the woods. You really haven’t seen them?”
She shakes her head. “Sorry buddy, ain’t seen nothing else today. Or yesterday either; it’s been awfully quiet ever since those flames appeared in the sky.
A defeated groan escapes your lips. You should have known how unlikely it would have been for you or the girl to encounter another living being in these vast woods. It’s been a wild goose chase getting here; now you’re going to have to explain yourself somehow to Reisen once you get back. Still, you did try at least.
Wait. Back up a moment.
“Flames? In the sky?” That’s not surprising to you at this point, considering just how visible your arrival was yesterday morning, but you’re curious to know more about the impact of Guillotine on Gensokyo’s residents.
“Yeah, there were these huge-ass flames that rained down,” Mokou directs your attention toward a spot above a standing group of clouds. “Haven’t you heard? Everyone’s been talking about the one that crash-landed in the village. There were a few other places those things landed at, ‘cept they didn’t mention the one that landed in the forest nearby; they musta lost track of it in all the chaos. Judging from its heading though, I reckon that one probably landed near Eientei if you haven’t already seen it.”
She scoffs a little before muttering, “Tch, I seriously hope it landed on that moonbitch.”
“Ah, I see.” You’re not sure who she’s referring to as “moonbitch”, but there’s definitely a satellite fragment in Kaguya’s room that should probably be kept a secret for now. The princess didn’t take too well to the thought of bringing people in to inspect her room before they began hauling the large module away.
“Soo… back to your lost bunnies, you gonna keep looking for them, then?” The girl makes a very good point. You’ve burned a lot of daylight already and you still have two full packs of medicine to sell - is finding the rabbits worth perhaps another hour or two of searching?
“Well, it depends. I also need to get back to my partner.” You look at Mokou. Appearance-wise, she just seems like she’d know these woods inside and out. Perhaps she could help you look for them? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask.
So you pose the question, “Out of curiosity, do you think you could find the rabbits, by any chance?”
Mokou’s eyes widen in disbelief. “You mean, track them? You must be joking - catching one of those rabbits is… damn well impossible. This is their forest and no one knows the thicket better than they do. They have ways of instantly disappearing into the brush; I’ve seen it, trust me. And I even hear they have their own, “secret road” between the village and Eientei.”
“They’re that good?” Her glowing remarks take you by surprise. When you first went after Himitsu and Shizuka, you thought you were chasing after rabbits. Not ninjas. But after hearing Mokou’s unabashed praise of their talent, they’re starting to fit the descriptions of the mythical assassins from your history texts.
“Indeed,” she replies, nodding slowly, “the best.”
Her response simply confirms how futile it is to continue the search. On to the other matter: finding Reisen then.
“Well, I guess catching up to the rabbits is out of the question now. Moving on then, I need to find a hill overlooking the Human Village. Would you be able to show me the way? My partner, Reisen, is waiting for me there.”
The bunny girl’s name causes Mokou to perk right up. “You came with Reisen? I’m guessing you’re helping her sell medicine then, huh?”
“Yeah, we’re selling a bit more than usual so they can pay for, uh… some things.”
She nods her head in acknowledgement. “Mmm, okay. Let’s see… a hill… ah! I know the place you’re talking about. It’s a short walk from here; you just need a good sense of direction to find it.”
“Oh, that’s good.” You’re distracted by an overpowering and pervasive smell. Smoke… something’s burning again. You point behind Mokou, towards the only possible source you can see nearby. “Uh, hey, I think we need to put that out first.”
The white-haired girl looks back and nearly jumps out of her pants when she realizes she’s completely forgotten about the fire. “Crap! I shoulda put that out as soon as I finished cooking my chicken!”
The fire, having been ignored the entire conversation, had decided to busy itself in the meantime by consuming nearby dead foliage on the forest floor, growing in size and out of hand. Mokou rushes over to the blaze, frantically kicking up the dirt in an attempt to smother the flames. The sprinkle of dust however, does little to stop the fire as it wildly flails about in the breeze.
Standing a safe distance back, you yell over the crackle of flames, “That’s not working; isn’t there anything else you can do?”
In response, the girl begins trying to stamp it out with her foot, putting all her energy into suffocating the stubborn thing. She still has enough energy left, though, to retort back, “Hey! I don’t see you doing anything to help… Aww, fuck it.”
Inexplicably, Mokou suddenly faces her back to the fire, crossing her arms and standing rigid, feet together. You’re not sure what she’s trying to do, posturing like that during a time like this. It looks as though she’s about to do one of those trust fall exercises, except she’s doing it – waitSTOP!
Leaning backwards, the force of gravity soon takes over as she falls straight into the scarlet plumes and disappears. The flames are too tall and erratic to make out the girl’s form; her entire body is engulfed by the fire. As you look on, stunned at the girl’s apparent suicide, you notice that the blaze is weakening. Somehow, the fire is dying.
Peering into the fire, you notice something’s moving about. It’s very fast as it rolls amongst the flames. As the fire continues to dwindle, you finally recognize what that thing is. Dumbfounded, you stare numbly as the girl puts out the fire with her own body. There have been weirder things you’ve experienced during your brief stay in Gensokyo, but not one, was as stupid-looking as this.
With the fire now only a few glowing cinders, Mokou picks herself up out of the ash, dusts herself off, and walks over to you. She looks fine… good even. There’s not even a single scorch mark on her clothes.
“Well, the fire’s out,” she announces blankly.
“No kidding. Are you out of your mind!? Where the hell’s your common sense!?” There are a million things you want to ask the girl right now. The first one being, [b]WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE THINKING?[b]
“Huh, well, see it’s like this,” she begins. Ash tumbles from her hair as she scratches her head; probably asking herself the same burning questions you’re thinking right about now. “Well, I was thinking of a good way to extinguish a fire when I remembered that if something’s on fire, you should stop, drop, and roll to put it out.”
The girl’s logic process almost makes you want to cry. “Nooo, that’s for if you’re on fire to begin with.”
“Oh… I don’t have that problem though,” she replies.
“What do you mean, ‘you don’t have that problem’?”
“I mean,” the white-haired girl continues, “that I don’t catch on fire.”
“Say that again? You don’t catch on fire?” Did you hear her correctly? It’s starting to become confusing, holding a conversation with her.
“Let me explain,” Mokou elaborates. She holds a hand outstretched in between the two of you… and wills forth a flame, startling you. She briefly admires the conflagration in her palm as it wavers delicately. “I’m able to control fire, see? So I’m naturally resistant to this sort of thing.”
“Alright then,” you reply. You’re beginning to understand how she survived, except for one thing. One glaring oversight. “If you can control fire, why didn’t you just command the fire to die out, instead of having to use yourself as a fire blanket?”
“Yeah, about that,” she severs her link to the flame, letting it evaporate into the air as she takes a look at the soot and ash left behind by the blaze. “I’m able to start fires, not stop them.”
“Oh, well that could be a real problem sometimes, couldn’t it?” You can imagine plenty of instances where that could end in disaster.
The girl forces a chuckle. “You have no idea how much it can be.”
>>25578 Thank you, that means a lot to me. Unfortunately, I can't write at the moment or at least not with the migraine I've had for the past few days. Update is coming, I assure you, just not quite yet.
At least another minute passes as Mokou takes the time to stir the remains of the fire a bit and make sure nothing else is left burning. Considering how quickly the blaze grew, she probably wants to be sure there aren’t any lingering embers tucked away in the piles of ash. After noticing how long she’s taking, you finally join her thorough search for any surviving flames with a sigh. You’re in a hurry to return to Reisen, but not so much as to leave behind a possible fire-starter.
The girl kicks up a small puff of soot while sweeping it around with an outstretched foot. “Ugh, sorry about the mess. Thanks for helping.”
“Yeah, no problem. The sooner we can be sure there’s nothing still burning the sooner I can get back to Reisen and-” you’re forced to pause as you wheeze from the rising dust filling the air, “-finally start selling some medicine.”
“Start sellin’ some medicine? It’s almost the middle of the day - when’d you guys leave Eientei?”
“I’m pretty sure we left sometime around mid-morning,” there’s a shocked look from Mokou to which you quickly add, “but, we also ran into several delays!”
The girl scratches at her chin. “That’s still surprising since usually, Reisen gets to the village well before noon even on a slow day.”
“That’s probably because she brought me along too. I’m not used to traveling through here, so that might have been what slowed her down.”
“Ah, right,” she shakes the dust off her legs and steps back from the ash, satisfied that there’s nothing left of the fire. As you finish your inspections and join her, she passes you a side glance. “Hmm, I think we’re done, guess we can go find your lost rabbit, huh?”
“If you mean Reisen, then sure, I’m looking forward to getting back to her.”
Mokou sends you a quizzical look. “Of course I mean her; who do you think I was referring to?”
“Well, uh…” You stop, and realize that she’s actually being serious – going after Himitsu and Shizuka now would pretty much be a lost cause. Finding Reisen is the only sensible choice at this point and after a moment of gaping blearily, you finish, “… No one else actually.”
She laughs, having apparently read your thoughts and makes her way toward the tree line. “Okay then. Like I said before, that hill you mentioned isn’t too far away… shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes to get there.”
You quickly follow after the girl, keeping pace as you reenter the bamboo thickets. “After all that talk about how much better the rabbits of Eientei were, you sound pretty confident in your own ability to navigate these woods.”
“Well, I should hope that I’d at least be able to find my way around; I happen to live in this forest.”
You weren’t expecting to hear that kind of response from her. Granted, she’s rather rough and tumble and not exactly a people person, but you didn’t figure she’d choose to live out here, all by herself. Surprised, you ask, “Really? I kind of figured that everyone lived at the Human Village.”
“You did? What gave you that impression?”
“Eh, I guess it was because the village looks like the only civilization for miles? With the more… ‘exotic’ aspects of Gensokyo, I assumed people would avoid venturing too far out on their own.”
Mokou shakes her head. “Doesn’t stop me from wanting some privacy. I happen to enjoy not being surrounded day after day by so much hustle and bustle.”
“I can understand that, but aren’t there some dangerous animals lurking around in the woods?”
The girl parts an obstructing bush, revealing a hidden path in the gloom before responding matter-of-factly, “There are, but it’s nothing I can’t handle on my own. If I have to, I can always burn them to a crisp.”
“Oh, right.” That must be another advantage to being a walking lighter. You take a second to gaze around at your surroundings. Whatever shortcuts she’s using, they’re leading the two of you straight through some pretty dark, foreboding regions of the bamboo grove. It’s a little discomforting, but you can relax knowing that you have someone to lead you this time around. “By the way, how much longer until we reach the hill?”
Mokou stares off into the darkness, searching for a familiar landmark nearby. So far, she hasn’t resorted to using her flames to illuminate the way, but that might be because she doesn’t want to accidentally ignite the dense greenery with a careless gesture. From the way she handles it, her power seems restricted to the ability to create fire, which she said just as much herself. It’s entirely possible that the problems begin to surface when she has to really apply finesse and control it… she did say that it was out of her power to extinguish them. You find that strange, considering how her ability works. After all, starting a fire in her hand without all three requirements (fuel, heat, and oxygen) was already physics-breaking in itself; it should actually be child’s play for her to simply work it in reverse.
But that’s just postulating, speculations on something completely irrelevant to the current situation. It’s something you appear to be doing an awful lot here, in an unexplained fantasy realm. Finding an explanation for things just happens to be in your blood it seems, for good, or for bad…
… Getting you into trouble…
… Just like what happened back home…
You’re brought back to reality as the girl bluntly calls out to you, “We’re actually pretty close now… Galen, was it? There should be another clearing around here somewhe– ah! Here.”
Mokou offhandedly waves you over, to a hole in the verdant maze that looks into a clearing. It’s a rather well-lit one at that, causing you to shield your eyes instinctively from the bright –perhaps blinding even- sunlight pouring in. Your vision takes its time adjusting, before you begin recognizing your surroundings.
You’re back at the hill, the one you left Reisen at. Mokou wasn’t kidding when she said it was close by; it really wasn’t as far away as you thought it was.
With your eyes still recovering, you squint through the blind spots burned into your retinas, searching for the large packs the two of you had brought along. Most things are blurs, hazy splotches smeared by the intense light, but there is something in your impaired sight that you distinctly remember from before, even if it is only a vague shape. You’d be concerned about your memory if you didn’t, since you have been seeing them a lot more lately.
More specifically, rabbit ears.
A pair of rabbit ears, is perched upon the head of what looks like a girl and as your vision finally clears up, you’re able to confirm that you are in fact gazing straight at Reisen’s head. Well, the back of it anyway. She hasn’t noticed either of you as she leans against the two large bags of medicine, a tired sag in her shoulders as she slouches.
How long exactly was she waiting for you? You hope she’s not too mad at your late return, or that you don’t even have the rabbits with you.
[ ] Give a friendly hail. Let her know that you’re alright before relaying the bad news.
[ ] Greetings can wait, we need to explain ourselves to the girl. At least make her understand why we happen to be so late.