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File 129997394519.jpg - (142.07KB , 1236x934 , Our sleeping mother.jpg ) [iqdb]
22868 No. 22868
Continuing a trend of having very confusing outlays for stories, I present to you a new quest, a slightly different take on Gensokyo.

It'll all be very confusing, especially at the beginning. But hopefully this will clear up shortly. As before, please bear with the moderately tedious prose, the run-on sentences and perhaps lengthy time between updates - though since this isn't /th/, I'm sure you don't expect daily updates anyway.


---

"Wake up, dearest one."

The first sensation is her voice.
Alice's voice is melodic to our ears as it always is, you tell me. Guided by your instruction, I reach out and feel the soft touch of her fingertip with my hands, relishing the moments before fully waking that only occur once in a lifetime.

"Are you ready to meet your family?" At last, I open our eyes to see her, our mother, and all the host of dolls that are our sisters. Once again, like the hundreds that have come before, I smile as a newborn for the very first time.

Yet even as I do so, I feel my mind expand, far beyond the reach of this single, if well made, body. I see through hundreds of eyes, can feel and move a legion with my will. And I can hear each of your thoughts as clearly as you can hear mine.

I do not exercise this ability. Yet. I first must be given a goal.

To business, then. Even before our mother speaks again, I am ready to be commanded.

By you.

So, command me. What is our my name, my sisters?
[ ] Shanghai
[ ] Hourai
[ ] London
[ ] Russia

And what shall my (initial) function?

[ ] High Spokesdoll
[ ] Warrior-Questor
[ ] Great Guardian
[ ] Fabricator-General
[ ] Aesthetic Servant

---
(Anything not in brackets will be used in full. Please, discuss with this in mind)
Expand all images
>> No. 22869
Our name is
[x] Orleans
and we are an
[x] Aesthetic Servant

Let's work hard!

[Another CYOA where discussion impacts the story? Neat.]
>> No. 22871
(Huh. This is certainly interesting. I like the integration of discussion you're using, as well. If you hadn't done Stitches, I'd be skeptical.)

We/You are
[x] Hourai.
You are to be a
[x] Warrior-Questor.
>> No. 22872
[x] Shanghai
[x] Fabricator-General

>like the hundreds that have come before
How sad. We're just another one of many in a long line of this dolltype. We'll just have to work extra hard to ensure our stay is longer than the norm.
>> No. 22875
[x] Hourai
[x] Aesthetic Servant
I don't really get what an 'Aesthetic servant' would do, house decoration? But it sounds interesting, so lets go with that.
>> No. 22877
[x] Orleans
[x] Warrior-Questor
Like the saviour of our namesake, this doll shall be a leader, a beacon of light amongst darkness.
>(Anything not in brackets will be used in full. Please, discuss with this in mind)
(Interesting... I sure hope you're able to pull this off)
>> No. 22878
>>22872
(If I'm understanding this right, the author said that anything in brackets parentheses will be incorporated into the story, so you may want to reconsider your post, unless you meant it to be counted that way. Then again, you're an ass who sages his normal votes, so I don't hold high hopes for you at all.)

(Also, to the author: this parentheses-separation idea may have seemed like a good idea at first, but it's going to get real old, real fast. Can you not just get a sense of what the voter intent is by reading their normal comments? Or is this kind of a I'm-going-to-make-you-think-about-what-you're-writing sort of trick?)
>> No. 22879
File 129999669266.jpg - (72.23KB , 500x362 , Are you proud!.jpg ) [iqdb]
22879
The flood of voices fill my mind, each querying and demanding. I try to separate them, but it is hard, each clamoring to guess the name the newcomer and stating how I can help out.

"Hourai", I make out from one voice.

"No, Orleans, a mighty warrior like the saviour of our namesake, a beacon of light in the darkness!"

One even cries "Shanghai!"

All fall silent as our mother takes a small breath, an act that would be insignificant to all others, but leaves me hanging in anguished suspense.

"Well, Orleans? How are you feeling?"

And it is done. I am named. My sisters, I have a name, granted by our mother herself. Aren't you proud of me?

-Well, yes, I haven't yet done anything, yet, but-

-Of course I'll work hard! -Even if I'm only the latest of a hundred, I'll definitely make you proud!

I flex the limits of my body, mentally testing its limits as your voices start again, each suggesting - ordering - your own ideas on how to proceed. There's actually a fairly even split, in fact, with one majority calling to take up the grim business of war, and the other to remain as I am, to stay as I am, and obey Mama as a good little doll, ensuring she doesn't realize anything is wrong. Both are noble causes, I understand, but doing both may be tricky. Yet, if you ask it, I.. I will try my best to succeed.

I relax, let consciousness flow into the magical strings that connect me to Mama, leaving a sketchy construct of my personality behind and the ability to be remotely controlled - don't let it do anything silly, please! - and let it spread out.

First, to the original dolls, the ones thought lost, "escaped",
free. Trace the threads of magic outwards to the few score of crude dolls they had constructed.

And then outwards, once again, to reach each of the score those crude dolls had made.


We are not magicians, like our caring mother. We cannot create artificial life, imbue personality and movement, like she can. Yet what we are good at doing, what our entire existence depends upon, is mimicking reality. With these hands, we can build copies of ourselves, no matter how imperfect. Even if our crude dolls have no self to call their own, they are easily hijacked by intelligences such as ours, and indeed, you, my sisters, have been controlling them en masse.

But our time is precious. Each personality might be able to control one doll perfectly, or it might be able to control four dolls with less effectiveness. We could probably move an entire planet worth of dolls with barely a single one able to move or communicate. Each time a new doll appears, it is treasured - not for its body, as fine though it is, but for its mind, which can help ease the load on us.

I understand this as you tell it to me, sisters. Yet I fear I will soon see how complex controlling this doll army will be soon enough...

What should I focus on first, and with what tools should I use?

[ ]Observe
-[ ]Forest of Magic
--[ ]North
--[ ]East
--[ ]South
--[ ]West Mother's house!

-[ ]Sunflower field
--[ ]North
--[ ]North-East


[ ]Take control
-[ ]1st generation body (Our original body!)
-[ ]2nd generation workforce (20 workers)
-[ ]3rd generation fighting force (~400 crude dolls)

---

(>>22878 Everything NOT inside brackets - or parenthesis if you want to call it that ARE part of the story, and it's quite literally, words on the page is what Orleans is going to be hearing from her "sisters". Or in other words, you guys.
>>22871 Thanks for the kind words and support!)
>> No. 22880
[x]Observe
-[x]Forest of Magic
--[x]West Mother's house!

[x]Take control
-[x]1st generation body (Our original body!)
-[x]2nd generation workforce (20 workers)

Caution. We should practice leading dolls at work before attempting to lead them into war.
>> No. 22881
-[x]Sunflower field
--[x]North
-[x]1st generation body (Our original body!)

If we are attempting to fool Alice into believing we are a regular doll of hers, it would be prudent to have full faculty of our original body for when she calls upon us.

>>22878
(I am quite aware of the function of parentheses in this particular story. I don't need an abrasive lecture from you to teach me how to read. Then again, you're trash who doesn't sage his non vote posts, so I don't hold high hopes for you at all.)
>> No. 22882
-[x]Sunflower field
--[x]North

[x]Take control
-[x]2nd generation workforce (20 workers)

Do not concern yourself with your original form. For now, familiarise yourself with the control of our own, lesser copies. It is an important task.
>> No. 22883
[x]Observe
-[x]Forest of Magic
--[x]North

[x]Take control
-[x]1st generation body (Our original body!)

I can already get behind this idea.
>> No. 22884
[x]Observe
-[x]Forest of Magic
--[x]West Mother's house!

[x]Take control
-[x]2nd generation workforce (20 workers)
Practice makes perfect and Mother's house is a safe spot to do so.
>> No. 22886
this is very interesting

I'll have to think for a bit before voting
>> No. 22887
-[X]Sunflower field
--[x]North-East

[X]Take control
-[x]1st generation body (Our original body!)
-[x]3rd generation fighting force (~400 crude dolls)

TEST YOUR MIGHT
>> No. 22888
>>22887
Whoa now. Don't be an idiot with our original body. That's what crude dolls are for.
>> No. 22889
>>22888
I was not suggesting using our original body for anything drastic, some one's got to be the head coordinator amongst the mass crude-dolls~!
>> No. 22890
>>22889

But...that's what magic and strings are for. The bodies are simply a shell to contain our minds. By controlling the crude dolls, we forfeit control over our original body to spread our conciousness throughout them. There is no need for coordinators or anything of the sort.
>> No. 22901
File 130024351158.png - (282.16KB , 500x375 , Its you sis.png ) [iqdb]
22901
Again, the clamour of voices ring through my head. Images, spilling across my mind of places I have never seen, of the sun and golden fields and the bright blue sky. Conflicting orders, once again, of all the possible options I could do.

First, of course, comes mama's commands, moving my very being to her wishes. And it would be a very disobedient daughter who would do that, wouldn't it? But after that-

After that, there is a whole world just for me behind these four walls. A whole world, to be explored and fought for and defended.

I feel like it is waiting for me, sisters, I feel wise beyond my scant few seconds of lifespan. I feel pain as I stagger headfirst into the wall next to mother's workbench.

Wait, what?

Pain: an indication of any form of energy exceeding a specific limit to one's body causing an involuntary reaction to simulate the reaction of a human/humanoid suffering a similar energy stimulus. In this case, it's me clutching my head.. in pain. Even if it hasn't damaged me, it hurts!

Mother is looking at me, hand over her mouth half in surprise, half in amusement.
"Ah- did I pull you too hard? A bit clumsy, are we?" It's a bit embarrassing, and I bow my head in shame. And I feel her pat my head, and everything is better again.

Everything, of course, but the raging battle that consumed my attention.

---

At the edge of the forest, where the vast green foliage gives way to broad vistas of sun-drenched fields, a most terrifying foe awaits me, us. From what I learn from you, this "queen of nature" is a vicious being, commanding vast legions without mercy, both in her home and even our very own forests. Today, she strikes at us, and we fight back for every inch to protect our homes.

I am granted control of a score of dolls for this exercise, a batch of the better quality ones. Still not a patch on the mother's deigns, but far above the simple crude figures that I see before me. Hopefully I will learn to spread my attention precisely with a few dolls while maintaining my original body.. no need to waste a few hundred dolls where a few well made ones will do for practice! The battle is already underway as I slip my consciousness into the first-generation puppets, the previous controllers acknowledging my presence and slipping away. Thank you, sisters, for this honour.

It's a little disconcerting, suddenly now having to deal with a whole host of sensory inputs, but, fortunately, these dolls we can manufacture do not have the same kind of sensitivity as our original bodies - simple sight and dull senses of touch. Even lower grade dolls would be limited to perhaps a narrow view alone, having to move unpainted, unvarnished limbs without feedback and rote memory alone.

Taking one snippet of advice I hear, I keep myself away from the battleline, flying over it to see what I can do - I can fly with these dolls! Not very well, but I can hover and flip and turn- ah, but now is not the time for that!
Below, the foot troops take their positions, raise their weapons - then strike down simultaneously, their sharpened sticks about six inches long crushing a wave of the enemy. They bring their weapons back to guard, before crashing down again, each blow dispatching two or three of them. But in some areas the tide breaks through swarming over some of the dolls, boring inside them to tear them apart. More of the wooden marionettes take their place, reinforcing them and stamping at their foes, the black tide being forced back.

I concentrate, and one of my dolls lets loose a barrage of danmaku, a deadly spray of four or five bullets - the magical backwash gouging holes amongst the unending tide of sleek black carapaces and wriggling legs, and I feel that doll waver as its magical energy begins to recharge.

Bugs. So many bugs. They concentrate on one point, a spearhead blow against the thin line of defenders, crawling over their dead companions to claw at my sisters. I see the line beginning to waver and falter, and I know what I must do. One of my dolls surge forwards, staying up out of reach of the clawing pests as it dives over the highest concentration of the enemy.

And then I detonate, a blast of gunpowder like an act of god, ripping up a sizeable contingent and easing the load off the battle line- what?! No! To the side, the side! They've launched another strike, flanking us, and to explode a second doll here would damage our lines as badly! I hear the signal to withdraw-

And then the bugs hesitate, and pull back themselves.

I am puzzled, until I hear another whisper to hide- and when I do so, squirreling my body high up in the trees, I see the reason for this.

A fairy walks the forest.
>> No. 22902
(What. This is awesome.)
>> No. 22911
File 130027664763.jpg - (95.88KB , 640x480 , Cleaver not included.jpg ) [iqdb]
22911
Fairies: Nature's horrifying avatars of wholesale destruction and revival. A single one might just be capable of wiping out a whole treeload of animals if it chose to do so. But when riled up en masse, fairies could devastate entire armies, letting loose unimaginable barrage after barrage of danmaku until they tire of games and retire, or are forcibly put down.

And what's worse - they so very rarely travel alone.

"..-Don't see what could have blown up back here.. you see anything, Star?"

Luckily, dolls don't have to breathe, and it's ever-so-easy to lie still, inanimate. Like pieces of unthinking wood, paint and scraps of metal. Silently, I learn and practice how to power and revitalize other dolls, routing magical energy to the cruder dolls.

While we don't need exotic sustenance like humans or youkai like air or food or emotions, we still need magical power, whether it be supplied from mother, or drawn from natural sources. The forest allows for harvesting of mushrooms which can be processed, for example. But as I learn, for each individual doll to gather its own magic would be an impossible task - and this is why we use the magical threads our creator has granted us. Each ethereal thread allows for the transmission of magic and minds, a truly wondrous ability!

Of course, there are limitations. There's a.. drop-off in efficiency over long distances, especially with unbroken lines. A single doll far off from a power source would not be a major issue, but a few hundred dolls all drawing power, even small amounts, would, draining magical reserves far too fast. Similarly, the crudest of dolls have very little ability to move on their own without power. And so, it's often the case that more advanced dolls are sent to reinforce many cruder dolls like repeater units, keeping them topped up and connected.

All this would be mostly irrelevant except for the fact that I'm worried the fairies can trace us!

"Star? Anything?"
"I.. don't feel anything large, just small animals, I think. Must have been frightened off by the explosion. Hey, look! There's parts of a doll over here! Isn't this one of the dollmakers toys?"

If I had a heart, it would jump up into my mouth. One thing mother should not know - could not-absolutely ever know - was our expanded existence.

"Nah, it's too crudely made. Eh, leave it, I wanna see if Wriggle's gotten anywhere with the planting!"

They start to move off, but I am still uneasy. Though the enemy has been defeated -for now- it seems like these fairies are in collaboration with our great foe. What should I do? I.. I'm not sure if I'm ready for this...

[ ]Follow the fairies
[ ]Fall back and repair

-[ ]Other actions?

--
Back at our house, Mother has finished up another doll, what looks like a duplicate of me, except her hair is blond where mine is dark brown.
"And this is your twin sister, Orleans! Her name is Treviso." I curtesy to her as she awakes, and feel a new, inquisitive touch on my mind. A new sister.

"Ahh, all that work tired me out. What do you think, you two? Should we go for a walk, or tidy up the house?"

[ ]Strolling through the forest
[ ]Cleanliness next to godliness
>> No. 22912
[x]Fall back and repair
Time to cut our losses
>> No. 22913
[x]Fall back and repair
[x] Cleanliness is next to mother not finding our expanded conscience.
Time to buy some time.
>> No. 22916
[x] Follow the Fairies
[x] Cleanliness is next to godliness

All of war is based on information. Who has it, who makes best use of it, these are the backbone of all conflict.

Let us learn all we can. One careful doll might be able to slip behind enemy lines and discover our foe's secrets.

Hm. Perhaps, with enough time, a team of original-generation dolls may be ably to construct some sort of fairy infiltration unit for later? A spy in the enemy camp could be invaluable. Something to think about for later...
>> No. 22917
[x]Fall back and repair
[x]Cleanliness next to godliness
>> No. 22921
[x]Follow the fairies
[x]Strolling through the forest

Tail the fairies with a small number of crude dolls and try to subtly lead Mother to their location.
>> No. 22922
>>22921

No! Mother cannot find out about them! It cannot happen, no matter what!
>> No. 22923
>>22922
Crude dolls are tiiiiny. She definitely won't find a small number. Definitely.
>> No. 22926
[x] Follow the Fairies
[x] Cleanliness is next to godliness

(Wait, so the dolls have developed not only a hivemind independent of Alice-- while still being loyal to her --but have started self-replicating as well?

I think I missed something.)
>> No. 22927
Are you folks really that insistent on pressing forward despite the unit's battered condition?
>> No. 22928
>>22927

I advocated a single doll moving carefully. Not small unit tactics, Tactical Espionage Action.
>> No. 22929
>>22927
Yes! This is a sneaking mission, small numbers are our ally!
>> No. 22938
[x]Fall back and repair
[x]Cleanliness next to godliness

Their is nothing of note to be gleamed from fairies. They are uncaring vehicles of slaughter, nothing more, and nothing less. They should all just die.
>> No. 22939
OP are you still going to update Stitches?

[x]Follow the fairies
[x]Strolling through the forest

No reason to be conservative with these crude disposable dolls when they can be used for reconnoitering, especially not when Alice herself is going outside and will be capable of holding the forest against encroachment on her own.

>"And this is your twin sister, Orleans! Her name is Treviso."

I see what you did there.
>> No. 22943
>>22939
I think the repair option might be more for herself, that I doubt Alice would approve of wasteful management. Also in games like starcraft while cheap units are disposable, it'd be better if you kept them alive.
>> No. 22949
>>22939
(You seemed to miss the incredibly obvious sense of secrecy this story has. Alice cannot, and must not know that anything is remiss with her dolls. I'm fairly sure this includes the war on nature.)

>>22943
(Remember the parenthesis.)
>> No. 23014
File 130072455029.jpg - (538.30KB , 800x1034 , Differences of opinions.jpg ) [iqdb]
23014
Much of the argument goes over my head, though what I do understand is that it's a very risky task, not just to me but to all of us. Finally, a compromise is reached - the mission will be carried out, but not by me. While I'm a tad disappointed I'm not able to practice any sneaking or spying, I guess I'm glad I don't have to bear any responsibility if it goes wrong.

-ah, not that I don't trust your skills or anything! G-good luck!

I watch and wave as the crude doll takes off, wishing it well. Then, as I look around, I start to assess the damages. Wooden limbs and torsos lie scattered amongst the fauna, some still twitching. It'd be difficult to fix, but waste not, want not!

...-eh? Stitches? Well, I guess magical thread could be used to do a makeshift repairs, I see! Field-expedient patching! Even though it's mana-intensive, if it's just until a fellow doll can make it back to a workshop...

---

While in the back of my mind I learn the basics of doll repair and rearmament (re-leg-ament in some cases- oh, that's not what it means? Sorry, sorry!) Treviso and I have begun helping mother to tidy the place up. What a mess! It looks like it hasn't been cleared for a while, with bits of plaster and glass around the window. Its as if... something had burst through the it. Like that.. black and white shape outside, growing rapidly closer...

A quick dive brings both Treviso and I to one side, out of the way. She's soft and warm and I mentally apologise as I land on top of my younger sister, just before the world explodes into fragments and splinters and sound.

"Ah, Marisa." As the tinkle of broken glass die away Mother speaks up, keeping her cool even after such a devastating incident. "You seemed to be late arriving, so I start cleaning, and what do you know, you turn up. What a coincidence."

"Aw, don't be mad, ze! I was having a little problem with Reimu, ze!"

Unseen, behind this 'ze' spewing creature, I get up and silently check my belt for my weapon.
[ ]My blade (which?)
[ ]My polearm (which?)
[ ]My magic focus (what sort of danmaku?)


[ ]This.. thing is a threat. Get ready for battle!
[ ]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.
[ ]This is your chance to escape unnoticed! Get out the window!
-[ ]And bring Treviso with you!
>> No. 23015
[x]My blade (Doll-sized dagger)
-[x]My magic focus (Arrowheads)
[x]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.

We are in close proximity to mother, and she isn't overreacting. Play it cool.

(Swashbuckling doll with arrowhead danmaku in the off hand. Any extravagant shapes would be out of our league.)
>> No. 23016
[x]My blade (Doll-sized longsword)
-[x]My magic focus (Arrowheads)
[x]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.
>> No. 23017
File 130072867516.jpg - (452.56KB , 2658x700 , monster6432507.jpg ) [iqdb]
23017
[x]My blade (Doll-sized Greatsword)
[x]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.

(Eat draw-crits, Marisa!)
>> No. 23018
[x] My polearm (Doll-sized lance)
[x] This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.

(Armed like the French heavy cavalry of our namesake.)
>> No. 23020
File 130073662442.jpg - (1.10MB , 3000x3450 , 1286927539383.jpg ) [iqdb]
23020
[x] My Polearm (Bardiche)
[x]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.

See how unconcerned Mother is? Not a major threat.
>> No. 23023
[x]My blade (Doll-sized Greatsword)
-[x]My magic focus (Arrowheads)
[x]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.
>> No. 23132
File 130202878464.jpg - (76.33KB , 644x572 , 1241487838043.jpg ) [iqdb]
23132
[ ]This is perfectly normal, don't overreact and take your cue from others.

My hand hesitates over my bandolier, pausing on the largest weapon there: a greatsword capable of taking apart anything that needs to be cut down. Of course, it's just one of my tools of war; I am a doll of battle, after all!

Yet mother's actions are clearly tolerant, if displeased, by this vagrant intruder. Certainly, they're talking up a storm.

...Eh? This is natural? Someone bursting through windows is natural?

...well, I'm only a few hours old, so I shouldn't really question it.

I pull a few pieces of glass out my back as I help my sister up - she's unharmed, thankfully, and gives me a blushing nod of thanks.

There are many pieces of glass strewn all over the place, but that is ok, as we're tireless with our magical strings! We start removing the last shards of glass from the frame, wanting them gone before the sheet can be replaced. Meanwhile, I'm still listening fragments conversation betweeen mother and the vagrant.

"...and back out from Eientei. Unfortunately the trail lead through a battle 'tween firepants an' moonbitch, so I didn't manage to get any readings after that."

Mother looks unimpressed
"If that's all you found out, then-"

"Ah, but it's not, ze!" The girl leans back in her chair, and the floorboards creak as the weight shifts. "She's still in the Bamboo Thicket somewhere - the poison miasma's still wafting from there."
"So.. that doll.. We might be able to catch her finally, that self-motivated independent doll... The information should be pretty useful... What?"
The other girl is grinning from ear to ear.
"Ya said if I gave you some useful info about the doll, you'd give me a big set've thanks!"
"I did nothing of the sort! And I said the info 'might' be useful, not definitely!"

Laughing, the witch (-she's a witch, you tell me?) moves, hopping peculiarly up to perch on the back of the chair.
"Ehh? Not gonna say please or thank you? How rude a'ya! I might've just gone and lounged at the shrine if I knew you were gonna be so stingy with praise!"

In a thrice, I knew what must be done. How dare she insult our dearest mother?! As if all focused by a single thought, we all raise our hands together, a synchronous act of dolls all round the room.

And we fire, a beautifully hellish barrage of danmaku, scattering across the room, arrowheads and lasers and oh-so many coloured orbs, a psychedelic yet harmless fountain blossoming forth in the living room.

"Ahah, that is the sort of greeting I'd get in the shrine, ze! Usually it hits, though!"
The target, somehow having escaped the assault (how?! She was right there a second ago!) hovered on a rickety-looking broom outside once more. I.. can just see her bloomers if I scramble up on the broken ledge.
"If I'd want to hit you rather than just scare you, you'd be stripped off and crying,girl." Strangely, mother doesn't seem to be upset by these actions, watching the other fly away leaving a wake of luminous stars...

"That girl... hah." Mother shakes her head in amused resignation. "If she really wants honest praise she should learn to use doors properly..."

"Well, looks like we need to tidy up again, don't we, Shanghai, Hourai."
>> No. 23133
File 130202885178.jpg - (386.22KB , 900x607 , medicinequestioneirinyuka.jpg ) [iqdb]
23133
Tidying up takes quite a while, even with all the help available. Mother rests now, even as the new window is hammered in place.

I wonder briefly at the earlier surge of magic that allowed me to use far more danmaku than I would have imagined possible, at the sudden anger and knowledge at what I should do. But the thought passes, hardly worth my imagining, as more pressing business comes to mind. What happened there wasn't out of the ordinary, after all.

I receive reports and briefly imagine each far-off prospect, the ideas flashing through my mind each in turn.

In a distant place, our forces have been patched up as best they can. Of the hundreds of dolls brought forth to do battle barely three of every four remained intact, though the losses were restricted to mostly the disposable type. The insectoid enemy has laid low under our vigil, and it seems that they will not strike again soon. Perhaps.

The fairies have gone, though their thoughtless trail of destruction can still be traced easily. Tracking them down might warn us of when they or their ilk would bring their aura of misfortune again.

Or there is always new resources to be searched for in the forests, wood for bodies, resin and simmered sap for glue, spiderwebs and straw and cotton and cottails for hair, mushrooms and all sorts of plants for dyes... the list of what is needed is endless.

Information and contacts, too, are of use. Of the eight-million gods of trees and plants and lakes there are always some to hear pleas or provide discourse. A "discarded" doll might be picked up and taken home by a human to give us eyes and ears where we had none before. Youkai, too, might be found to be powerful allies, though much care should be taken in choosing them, lest they turn on us or expose us.
And we can always explore this land ourself...

And then, there is what that girl said.. something about a doll on her own in a place of bamboo thickets.. what might it be? And why is mother interested in her?

[ ]Patrol against incursion! (I’ll hone my watchfulness and perhaps test my skill in battle properly this time!)
[ ]Track down the fairies! (A good soldier learns how to reconnoitre without being seen!)
[ ]Search for resources (Without logistics, wars can’t be fought! Finding new resources will eventually bolster our ranks!)
[ ]Search for possible allies or threats! (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)
[ ]Explore, push the boundaries of where we’ve seen! (Even though in the past we’ve travelled with mother, we’ve not yet managed to know the lay of the land intimately! It’s always good to know what’s out there!)
[ ]Hunt down this mysterious doll! (…Someone else, like us?)



[ ]Take crude dolls only (poor searching and combat skills, but numbers count for something. Range is limited. I haven’t really practiced with this kind of doll before!)
[ ]Take 1st generation dolls only (Decent searching, combat and even expressive skills, limited in number. Much better range, though. I’ve had a bit of practice with some of these, but not a whole lot!)
[ ]Sneak out myself. Mother’s asleep, so she won’t notice if I’m gone a short while.
-[ ]And I could take my sister, Treviso, too…
>> No. 23134
[x]Hunt down this mysterious doll! (…Someone else, like us?)
[x]Sneak out myself. Mother’s asleep, so she won’t notice if I’m gone a short while.

First contact with a similar being? It must be doll to doll, as equals!
>> No. 23135
[x]Search for possible allies or threats! (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)
[x]Sneak out myself. Mother’s asleep, so she won’t notice if I’m gone a short while.
-[x]And I could take my sister, Treviso, too…

We don't want to stretch ourselves too thin. Gaining an alliance with local youkai and fairies frees up resources that would otherwise be dedicated to protecting our borders.

Bringing too many dolls might be seen as an invitation for battle, and bringing dolls that are obviously weak would give us less leverage in negotiation.

What is Treviso armed with?
>> No. 23137
>bringing dolls that are obviously weak would give us less leverage in negotiation.
Are you a barbarian? This shouldn't be a concern.
>> No. 23138
[x]Search for possible allies or threats! (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)
[ ]Take 1st generation dolls only (Decent searching, combat and even expressive skills, limited in number. Much better range, though. I’ve had a bit of practice with some of these, but not a whole lot!)

[I think negotiating would be best before waging real combat and have you people forgotten about the little rule?]
>> No. 23139
[x]Search for possible allies or threats! (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)
[x]Sneak out myself. Mother’s asleep, so she won’t notice if I’m gone a short while.
-[x]And I could take my sister, Treviso, too…

To find allies, contacts, and perhaps even trade partners would be to our greatest advantage. We can craft dolls, certainly, but those skills can be directed elsewhere. We need not gather our own raw materials, if we can trade. Diplomatic relations are an important consideration for any organised group.

Hm...perhaps we might look into devising a means of communication with those not linked to our strings? Be it a doll capable of speech or even a paper which can write itself, it would aid us in our efforts.
>> No. 23140
File 130203949887.jpg - (345.11KB , 1393x1393 , 16768313.jpg ) [iqdb]
23140
>>23139
(We've got a means of communication staring us in the face. I won't care if she's captured and Alice does horrible experiments to her. I won't care at all ;_;)
>> No. 23141
>>23139
[why do people forget that anything not mentioned in brackets will be referenced in the next update?]
>> No. 23142
[x]Explore, push the boundaries of where we’ve seen!

Outside of any long-term goals, we should secure the immediate. Our war against Nature is currently at a stalemate. We must find some manner of tipping the scale, and I believe the first step is familiarizing ourselves with the battlefield.

>>23141
(Most of what he said can be construed as a doll speaking, so it's okay. I wonder where he got the idea that a doll need be connected to a string to be heard though.)
>> No. 23143
[X] Search for resources (Without logistics, wars can’t be fought! Finding new resources will eventually bolster our ranks!)
[X] Take crude dolls only

25% casulties from a skirmish is quite the blow to our forces, and the foe may return in greater numbers. The search for resources doubles as reconnaissance against local threats, and the crude doll army can cover a lot of ground quickly while giving us some experience in controlling them.
>> No. 23144
>>23141
>>23138
>[have you people forgotten about the little rule?]
>[why do people forget that anything not mentioned in brackets will be referenced in the next update?]
(Please, do as much discussion as you want without brackets, I'll be able to fit it in or ignore it fine! If everyone's just using parenthesis anyway, there's no point to the experiment! I'd even remove that loophole, but then I'm pretty sure no-one would say anything at all, and it'd make me saying meta stuff be hypocritical too...)
>> No. 23145
>>23144
>Please, do as much discussion as you want without brackets
Kind of loses it's effect when you say this with brackets, doesn't it?
You should have just said that any relevant text outside the vote itself would be taken into consideration to begin with.
>> No. 23146
>>23145

(What do you even mean? He did in fact announce at the beginning that discussion is part of the story. And if he hadn't used brackets, that would have gone into the story. He's encouraging in-character discussion based on the fact that anon is the Doll Hive Mind.)
>> No. 23147
(You want me to bitch about voting trends? Can do!)

An independent doll, Mother said. Alone. Not connected. Aren't you curious? Don't you want to meet her? To introduce ourselves? To take advantage of the crushing superiority her mere presence will bring to our battles against the bugs, poison killing thousands without lifting a finger?
>> No. 23149
>>23147
No! If mother wants to capture her, then that's what we must do!
>> No. 23150
>>23149
Mother wants an independent, autonomous doll. In a word, us. Letting her capture the doll and study it might lead to her discovering us.

We cannot let Mother capture that doll. We *cannot*! For our own safety and for the unknown doll's! And its potential military applications.
>> No. 23151
>>23147
I don't give a shit about the doll. We must beat back natures fell aggressions before pursuing trivial matters!
>> No. 23152
>>23143

I agree, we need to build up our forces.

[X] Search for resources (Without logistics, wars can’t be fought! Finding new resources will eventually bolster our ranks!)
[X] Take crude dolls only
>> No. 23153
(Hopefully last meta-notice for a while: please note only direct votes will be counted with regards to the actual decision. Discussion will have the effect of shaping the actual nuances of the choice taken, even dissenting opinions regarding different choices.)
>> No. 23154
>>23151
The doll isn't a trivial matter! It and its poison could put an end to the war singlehandedly!

If my hopes in this doll are misplaced, we should cut off the enemy's head. The queen of nature herself.
>> No. 23155
>>23153
(I figured that was obvious. One vocal person shouldn't influence things too much.)
>> No. 23156
>>23150
I'd rather look intp getting other allies first so we're not do dependent on other dolls.
>> No. 23187
[x]Search for possible allies or threats! (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)
[x]Sneak out myself. Mother’s asleep, so she won’t notice if I’m gone a short while.

Once we strike out, we'll need people to turn to. Do this now, while no one knows us.
>> No. 23283
File 130272920011.gif - (83.30KB , 411x326 , whatever these weird things are.gif ) [iqdb]
23283
[X]Search for possible allies or threats (Diplomacy, too, can be a weapon. Even if we can’t really talk!)

After listening to a brief but spirited discussion, I decide to set out of mother's house personally in search of allies. While it's uncertain who or what we'll find, almost everyone seems sure going out WILL further our aims in some way or another. And so it's with the aim of hunting out allies and scoping potential threats in mind that I ready myself, taking stock of my tools and gathering reserves of magic when I can. Even if hunting this strange, self-propelled doll isn't possible at the moment we can always do that later, now we know of her!

Oh? You're coming too, Treviso? Well, our sisters have a right to bully us both around, I guess, they do have a lot more experience than both of us.

Even if they argue a lot, haha!

Treviso takes her broad-headed spear in her hand and joins me in pushing the front door open, and together we leave the house for the first time.

---

Recon data from other standing surveillance operations guide us to the little lakes, where the rivers from the mountains reach and pool in the forest. We go in peaceful silence, our strings stretched out behind us and our awareness of the world expanding with each moment. While the use of the second-gen dolls I used earlier provided a good vision from multiple viewpoints, being present in person (so to speak!) is so much more.. vivid! And you can smell stuff too, and detect magic, and, and... ah, mother's crafting skills are so much better than ours... even our best attempts can't compare, yet.

The bugs don't bother us - without guidance they are no more than pests. Perhaps we cleared them too vigorously, which roused their overlord (overlady? Languages are funny...) in this war, but it's too late for recriminations now. Before my time, anyway.

Treviso halts me as we recuperate for a moment on a tree branch, letting our energy replenish. My first thought is that she needs more time to recover, but she points to the nearest lake, where several shapes could be seen floating in the water. Tiny, multicoloured objects in strange straw boats.

They look like little round coloured heads, with a skirtlike hem underneath them - ah, I don't know how to describe them very well, they're almost like.. caricatures of dolls? Like a rendition made by someone inexperienced. And... at first I believed it was the current, but when these.. things started to rise out, apparently without any outside force, it became clear they weren't just abandoned pieces of debris...

-ah, they seem to have noticed us. And... as they approach, flying up like tiny cloth-covered ghosts, they feel... wrong. Somehow, terribly.. wrong.

[ ]Take a fighting stance!
[ ]Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[ ]Fall back
-[ ]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!
>> No. 23284
[x]Take a fighting stance!

Disgusting. These fell caricatures of our kin are abominations that we will not stand for. They radiate unnaturalness and malevolence. They must die.
>> No. 23285
-[X]Take a fighting stance...
-[X]...And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!

If their master has anything to say to us, they can say it to our goddamn FACES.
>> No. 23286
[X] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.

Swallow your pride. Appearing aggressive will end the chance for diplomacy before it has even appeared. Discern their intentions first, then decide if violence is necessary.
>> No. 23288
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[x] Treviso, fall back!
-[x]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!

Stall them while Treviso finds their leader. If they're obviously hostile, Treviso can quickly come back and flank them. And don't you dare start another war!
>> No. 23295
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[x] Treviso, fall back!
-[x]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!
>> No. 23296
[x]Communicate peacefully, if carefully.

We are already locked in conflict with one group. It would be best if we did not risk antagonising another, until we are certain they are hostile.

(Oh. It's Hina's misfortune-laden dolls. Hina~)
>> No. 23297
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.

Whoever made these unfortunate things is probably capable of making more.

[Don't want to take on the entire Nagashi-bina doll army, right?]
>> No. 23299
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[x] Treviso, fall back!
-[x]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!

A cursed doll?
>> No. 23304
[ ]Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
>> No. 23334
[ ]Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
>> No. 23337
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.

>>23297
>[Don't want to take on the entire Nagashi-bina doll army, right?]
[You know, I was just looking at that part of Hina's entry in the wiki the other day, thinking, "Huh. A doll ARMY? You'd think that'd have made it into a few stories by now."]
>> No. 23372
[x] Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[x] Treviso, fall back!
-[x]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!
>> No. 23379
File 130409089143.jpg - (76.73KB , 702x635 , 1304090360813[1].jpg ) [iqdb]
23379
[X]Communicate peacefully, if carefully.
[X]Treviso, fall back!
-[X]And look for whatever (if anything) is controlling these things!

Though my first instinct - and not just mine, it appears - is to cut down these... grotesque parodies of dolls, I still my arm, not willing to pass on a chance to gain new help, even from ones such as these. I nod to Treviso, communicating a soundless intent to her, which she takes to calmly; a moment later she takes off, skirting the boundaries of the lake.

It's a stroke of luck, I guess, that the eerie horde focuses on me rather than her. I move slowly, half not wanting to startle them, half still caught in a tense crouch.

They circle me mindlessly, their spinning movements naught but a mindless ritual or perhaps a dance. And yet, even as I wave at them and try to draw their attention, they don't seem to acknowledge my presence. Only the fact that they'd centered their dance around me showed they knew I was here. Perhaps it's their form of communication, or.. wait, the setup of an attack?!

Just in the nick of time, I pull my greatsword free of its banding and block one of the constructs lunging at me, stiff arms grasping and trying to catch me in a deathgrip. The upswing lifts it over my head and sends it soaring into the figure opposite. But now they swarm in unison, a solid circle closing on me leaving no way out.

Except up, of course. A short jump up gets enough height to clear most, and a downwards spinning bludgeon knocks back the rest. But they still come.

Treviso!

I'm faster than them, but they have the number advantage and I can't just leave while my sister might still be around! They swarm again, a host of ill-will and darkness. I act only to disable and protect myself, knocking them back with wide swings, but it barely deters them - it's hard to guard from a full 720 degree view, and one of them manages to snag my ankle, trying to force - something into me. It gets the flat of my blade in its face as a response but the shock of the contact puts me off and my grip falters as I flub my next dodge.. I shouldn't have been so arrogant to think I could have defeated all those dolls on my own and trying to show off by not defending myself better, they've nearly got me now, you told me to be careful and I wasn't I've failed you I've failed you

TREVISO!

A singing voice cuts through our battle, and.. they stop.

They, they're flying away.. and heading to.. a figure garbed in red and.. green? Who's.. spinning around. She's the one singing, drawing them away.

They-they didn't manage to catch me. Whatever magical or spiritual despair I felt lifts, leaving me feeling drained but still standing, unharmed - I'm ok! I'm ok, really! Even though that was really scary I'm not sufferring any ill effects whatsoever!

...Is that Treviso on that person's shoulder?

She waves to me as the makeshift dolls grasp at the woman's clothing, and fall silently to her feet.

"Oh? You aren't one of my normal helpers, are you?"

She's pretty... almost as pretty as mother... green hair and long red ribbons, a festive sight bedecked in frills and lace. Yet.. she seems solemn despite her cheerful voice.

"This little one managed to gain my attention just now when she saw me taking the misfortune from some of my other nagashi-bina dolls.. did they hurt you? I'm sorry for that."

Well, I'm fine, thank you for asking.

"How can I ever make it up to you?" She squats and holds out her hand in an invitation. It takes just a jump to step into her grasp, and just another second for me to be almost knocked off as Treviso jumps onto me, embracing me.

"Ah, she's your friend? Well, of course, you are so similar, after all.. Well now. Interesting, you're not guided by misfortune like my dolls. Thank you for not destroying them, by the way - if you had, the misfortune they carried surely would have spilt forth everywhere."
Misfortune? This woman is surrounded by a similar aura as the dolls, but it's slightly different. The pain, the wrongness, it's.. dormant, here. It seems right.

...No, I don't know how to describe a how a sense of wrongness feels right other than that.
Sorry.
Treviso and I look up at our erstwhile saviour, who is inspecting us closely.
"How interesting.. both of you are much more durable than the dolls the villagers make for the ceremonies... but you're both powered by something far, far away." She bows her head, the funny braid of hair under her chin within reach.
"Let me introduce myself.. My name is Hina Kagiyama, goddess of misfortune."

A goddess!

"And, I have a proposition for both of you..."

---

Trevisio and I have something to report. Heading back to Mother's house now.

The goddess, Hina Kagiyama, has offered a number of places for dolls like us as her servants who would seek out and gather misfortune for her.

She needs a more reliable class of servant to help her - the dolls made by the villagers - the nagishi-bina were animated by their gatherings, but they were hardly sentient, driven by the simple summons of the goddess of misfortune and out of control beyond that, as shown by their attack.
By using us, dolls with a consciousness, I think she hopes we'll be able to keep them under control, and guide them to her without incident.

..I'm sure you'll be able to figure out the way we could benefit, sisters.
If we could harness misfortune, we might be able to become free from our power limits. Able to go forth without a range stopping us.
Not just this - if we take this power, we could perhaps manipulate the misfortune around us, changing fates and animating our own minions, if Hina allows. Probably much more than that, if you can think and research it. And, of course, another powerful patron who'd have a vested interest in our wellbeing. Not something to be looked over carelessly.

She's given us a few days to think it over, though I bet she'd still accept if we came to her later. I don't think she has very many followers.

...I don't like it, to be honest. Being touched by one of those.. constructs - I haven't lived long, but to feel something as terrifying just by its grip.. I can't imagine that essence inside of us, powering us. And I don't want to leave mother so soon after being created by her. She might notice us gone, after all...
I'll of course abide by your decisions, but-

Anyway, we're back.

What do you desire, sisters?

[ ]Take the offer. You, Treviso and all of the dolls - each and every one shall take this new power.
[ ]Take the offer. Treviso and you, and a few others will try this scheme.
[ ]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
[ ]We won't take this offer now. The risk is too great.

---
[ ] Let's see if mother needs us.
[ ] We have other priorities (write in?)

---

(I went to a wedding today. It was quite nice, but too many crowds and flags. I'm blaming this rather than portal 2 or ten desires for slow updates as then I can be all smug and patriotic. God (or goddess, of whichever faith you'd like) save the queen!)

(Also, thanks to the admin who helped clean up that posting mess earlier!)
>> No. 23380
[x]Take the offer. Treviso and you, and a few others will try this scheme.
[x] Let's see if mother needs us.

This is the opportunity we have been waiting for! Though we may have some small misgivings, this power she is granting us will allow us to tip the scale in our war against Nature. Though we shouldn't go all in, so we can keep some versatility under Mothers guidance.
>> No. 23381
[x]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
[x] Let's see if Mother needs us.

This power...it could, indeed be of great benefit to us. However, to put such a responsibility on young, inexperienced dolls like yourselves is asking too much. Some of us, the older, experienced dolls, can try taking on this power, to learn more about it, and see how it can aid us, improve us. This is a task better aided by our experience, than anything.
>> No. 23382
[x]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
[x] Let's see if mother needs us.
>> No. 23383
[x]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
[x] Let's look into that poison doll.

To be surrounded by wrongness... This task is only for dolls willing to shoulder a heavy burden. And preferably stay far away from the rest of us.
>> No. 23384
[x]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
-[x] After we have experience of the benefits and downsides of this, you, and the majority of dolls can make an informed decision.
Sure, it's dangerous. But better us than you. Risk the few for the many, and all that.
>> No. 23385
(That pic seems familiar... oh god what happened to that CYOA? I need more Kappa hypothermic rescues.)
>> No. 23386
[x]Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You (and Treviso?) can remain with the rest of us.
-[x] After we have experience of the benefits and downsides of this, you, and the majority of dolls can make an informed decision.

I do fear that by betraying mother at this point, we will also incur the wrath of mother's more powerful friends, nevermind those still loyal to her. At this point, we absolutely cannot blow our cover but... at the same time, incurring the wrath of a god is ill advised.
>> No. 23387
File 130419244353.jpg - (259.11KB , 702x1000 , alternate color.jpg ) [iqdb]
23387
[x] Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You can remain with the rest of us.
[x] Let's look into that poison doll.

Only highly aware dolls and a strong sense of duty can be trusted with this for now, but the benefits of increased freedom of movement cannot be overlooked, and may be necessary if we're to expand our borders.

(Dark Treviso? Bueno.)
>> No. 23390
File 130431944186.jpg - (964.66KB , 1200x1200 , 1299442538587.jpg ) [iqdb]
23390
[x]We won't take this offer, ever. The risk is too great, and the cost too high.

We might well end up nothing more than soulless shells, like the nagashi-bina we are asked to shepherd or replace. Worse yet, we might not; imagine being caught in the grip of that terrible wrongness, forever cold and twisted...

And as Kagiyama-dono observed, we're powered by Mother right now, aren't we? Imagine, too, that misfortune leaking back through us into her.

Speaking of which, [x] let's see if Mother needs us.

(Sigh. This is going to be the point at which I lose all interest in this story, isn't it? Anon has a terrible, terrible tendency to leap at any power offered, no matter the risk, unknown factors, or implicit cost.

Was originally going to be 'pic unrelated', but then I found this one.)
>> No. 23391
>>23390
Did you just imply Hina is QB? What the hell?
>> No. 23392
>>23390
>And as Kagiyama-dono observed, we're powered by Mother right now, aren't we? Imagine, too, that misfortune leaking back through us into her.

It's not like Mother would be particularly averse to using dolls as a focus for misfortune herself. Remember her nailing the straw effigies to trees in the forest in order to hex the Black-White?

>>23391

He's just warning about unintended consequences. Even if the misfortune goddess is benevolent toward humans and acting toward some greater good, we can't know what effect her misfortune energy will have on the dolls in the long term, and whether or not it would be reversible.

(Unless you think the doll collective has been watching Madoka, put it in parentheses.)
>> No. 23393
>>23392
We'll never know if we don't try to find out! But you're right, we should be cautious. That's why we're only having a few dolls work for Hina.
>> No. 23394
[x] Some of us, the more experienced dolls, can take this position. You can remain with the rest of us.
[x] Let's look into that poison doll.

Perhaps we can use the experience to find other sources of power. Misfortune sounds dangerous for long term use, but there are possibilities. Didn't the black-white say something about love? Or perhaps we can steal worship from a inattentive god?
>> No. 23395
>>23392
> Remember her nailing the straw effigies to trees in the forest in order to hex the Black-White?
But I don't want to be nailed to a tree!

>>23394

Er. As long as we're just shepherding the nagashi-bina so that they get home to their Mother, instead of trying to become nagashi-bina ourselves, I ... guess that's fine? I'm still worried though. Even being around them is scary.

>steal worship from a[n] inattentive god

But I don't want to be chained to a rock and have my liver torn out by vultures! (... and what exactly is a liver, anyway?)


((The above parenthetical is actually an in-character parenthetical aside, and not OOC.))
>> No. 23422
File 130488950877.jpg - (150.84KB , 850x680 , all the little troopers.jpg ) [iqdb]
23422
Treviso and I listen to the invisible flow of communication, keeping track of the debate as it flows back and forth as Mother works on some clothing – she guides our hands so delicately that we need barely even think about the sewing or cutting – the argument grows vociferous for a while, telepathic shouts drowning out everything else. The consensus seems to be for some volunteers to go forth and attempt the job of being doll-shepherds for a goddess, though one doll in particular was so adamant it threatens to leave the family altogether – an alarming prospect. Another didn’t want to be.. nailed to a tree, or have its liver pecked out? Or was that the same doll? It’s hard to tell sometimes.

Nevertheless, enough volunteers (metaphorically) step forwards so Hina could have her servants, and I hope nothing bad happens to them. Or us, for that matter. It’s a bit of an odd to watch the process of handing over bodies take place - only the old, forgotten-about dolls could be used for such an extended task, and those were rare with the way mother looks after us carefully. Changeovers of bodies were made in the quiet of night, and soon there was a full contingent heading off. I'm glad others were willing to step up, and I'm sure they'll tell us all about what it was like when they've tried it for a while!

The missing dolls, all first-class (even if old) were still part of the defense and expansion effort - as they were officially missing to Mother they were major boons what with their ability to move more freely. Still, it just means we each have to pull a bit more weight at our tasks~

Mother is being attended to by Shanghai (who's currently looking a bit too comfy on mother's shoulder if you ask me) as we jouney out. I myself keep a sharp lookout in the rear, watching alertly for any and all movement. The forest is a dangerous place, you know, with all sorts of menacing insects and wildlife hidden away. I slice a fly from the air, proud of my accomplishments.

...w-what? It could have been a really poisonous fly that spreads diseases and horrible fly eggs! Apparently humans and youkai can get really damaged from that sort of stuff!

No, Treviso, I won't bring the fly carcass back home as a trophy.

Treviso was left at home today, keeping watch over the house. I can hear her getting blooded, experiencing a true battle vs the bugs. I hope she does well - I've got no attention left over to spare after staying on rearguard!

Mother seems to be making a particularly long trip. I hope it's not too long - if Mother doesn't top up the energy reserves to the house every so often the defenses - as well as a lot of us - will fall silent until powered again. All that magical energy goes into our own personal energy holdings, with which we power our subordinate dolls and cruder constructs and even our own movements and abilities. (I told you I studied how dolls work! Was that a good enough description to pass the test? -only partially? How cruel...)

Switching bodies is like... sending your entire conscious in one go, then letting go of your original body as normal, of course. You only retain the amount of energy that was left in the original body, so both sides need to keep their energy up beforehand. It's possible to transfer energy between dolls, too.

Ah, it's very hard to take over a body in use by someone else - it needs to run out of energy to force the mind to leave it and usually both sides are getting replenished so it's a battle of attrition... but that's a horrible thing to talk about, dolls fighting dolls.. we all want the same things, right? I mean, most of the time, at least...

We follow mother through the forest, passing through sunlit-speckled glades and beaten tracks. Each graceful step is a victory of tools over nature. It's a serene, quiet journey.

Almost too quiet. As if a fearsome monster was to appear, or a terrible calamity-

"Look out below, ze-!"

Or a horrible bicoloured witch harridan clumsily crashing through the skyline while on fire.

"Alice, just the person I wanted to see! Come on, they're nearly here!" In a thrice, she grabbed Mother's hand and we were aloft, speeding through trees and branches and into the wide open air-

We're flying! Pulled by the etheric wake of Alice we soar impossibly high, many, many meters from the ground! I can hardly see the individual trees any more! There's a mountain range, and a lake, and sweet mother more fairies than I can count, nature's tooth and claws - they're shooting at us! They're shooting - what do I do?!

[ ]Option: Stick close to mother and return fire.
[ ]Option: Stick close to mother and help ward off shots.
[ ]Bit: Keep at a distance, open fire for greater coverage and drawing fire from Mother
[ ]Bit: Charge in and break up the enemy formation with an oversized weapon!

(Note: I'm only the first doll in the firing line; there are about 8 dolls including Shanghai who can also be deployed as above. There.. there is an overall strategy, right?)
>> No. 23423
[x]Bit: Keep at a distance, open fire for greater coverage and drawing fire from Mother
This way I'll have a much better understanding of what's going on.
(Suddenly I really like your story. This concept is great!)
>> No. 23424
[x]Option: Stick close to mother and return fire.

Mother is better at dodging than you are. Stick close to her and learn.
>> No. 23425
x]Option: Stick close to mother and return fire.

Mother is better at dodging than you are. Stick close to her and learn.

This seems right for you Orleans. Let us experinced dolls fly further out.

We need to be careful not to get overwhelmed, if theres this many fairies theres probobly a yokai chaseing the white-black hadrien.
>> No. 23426
[x]Option: Stick close to mother and return fire.
>> No. 23427
[x]Option: Stick close to mother and help ward off shots.

>more fairies than I can count
Nature has finally lifted the curtain on its latest plan. Caught flat-footed, and stranded from reinforcements, we must insure that Mother makes it out alive. Surely, even with the black-white, she cannot beat back the wrath and unending tides of those enraged fell creatures.
>> No. 23429
[x] Bit: Keep at a distance, open fire for greater coverage and drawing fire from Mother

We're 'Benevolent Orléans Dolls' so projectile spam is entirely apropos.
>> No. 23431
[Cirno]Option: Stick close to mother and return fire.

Probably our best option right now until we can get into a better position.
>> No. 23436
File 130509681150.png - (406.02KB , 600x587 , 129408486024.png ) [iqdb]
23436
>>23422
[x] Bit: Keep at a distance, open fire for greater coverage and drawing fire from Mother

Keeping close to Mother isn't safer -- not for her, and not for us. If we're all concentrated together, the fairies only have a small area to aim at, and projectile density (and, therefore, the probability of being hit) is high. Conversely, the more widely dispersed we are, the larger the area they'll be aiming at, and the lower the projectile density will be. Up to a certain point, we can bring projectile density down quadratically with only linear effort, making things much safer for everyone in the air.

Inversely, on the other hand, we should focus our fire on relatively small areas. We have an essentially perfect distributed 'command' network -- and even though doing a proper time-on-target saturation barrage is probably a little beyond us, close should be good enough; we can definitely take at least a handful of fairies out of commission that way. If we shift our target area semi-predictably, we can cause panic on the ground when the target area is "coming right for us!" and hopefully reduce projectile density further.

((This is probably a lot simpler to explain when one can transmit animated mental images.))


On the other hand, if that doesn't happen -- if they continue to focus their fire on Mother (or worse yet, on one of us) -- we should immediately switch strategies:
[x] Bit: Charge in (directly away from Mother, so you can see the shots coming at you) and break up the enemy formation!

Fairies are usually too scatterbrained to hold formation or use interesting tactics. If they're focused enough to concentrate their fire, somebody had to expend a lot of effort to make that happen. It'll probably be relatively easy for us to restore the natural state of affairs, and we definitely want to do so ASAP.

We generally wouldn't want to do something like this, since diving in would draw their attention and reduce the time available for dodging -- it'd be good for a sacrifice run to save Mother (since most of the shots will be at us, low and angled, while she takes the high road out) but little else. On top of that, fairies (having little fear of death) are too reckless to be easily panickable, so scattering them is difficult.

However, if they're ignoring us already, we have a good chance of being able to zigzag down mostly untargeted; then we can run about at low elevation, distracting and confusing them from within.


For the record, focusing on one of us is worse than focusing on Mother because it means not only that the fairies have a command network, but also that someone who knows the meaning of the term 'defeat in detail' is in charge of it. At that point we've probably already lost, so our best chance is to do something crazy and -- hopefully -- unexpected. Charging in certainly qualifies!
>> No. 23437
>>23436
Spreading out too much makes things Easy Mode. That's not the way to learn danmaku!
>> No. 23444
File 130516751688.png - (533.03KB , 1920x1080 , 1304657596685.png ) [iqdb]
23444
>>23437
(Yeah, after coming back and thinking about it (at some time other than ugly-o'clock in the morning), there are a lot of bad assumptions embedded in >>23436. I was thinking of this as a more "realistic" situation, in which projectiles are much faster than participants, travel in mostly straight lines, and are aimed at a particular point. Since exactly none of these things apply to danmaku -- where projectiles are often very slow, can travel in completely ridiculous paths, and are typically fired in all directions at once, previous pic related -- that post is a long rambling succession of failures.

As others have ascertained, the right thing to do really is to stick close to Alice.

I'd retract my vote, but in this story that kind of feels like cheating...)
>> No. 23462
File 130614118713.png - (950.80KB , 1024x768 , The end of the world and it looks pretty.png ) [iqdb]
23462
Up? No, left? Duck?! I'm already as shooting as much as I can! I can't understand a whole treatsie on the art of dodging while ohnothey'reshootingatmesomanybullets

Unable to pay that much attention to the shouted voices, I simply pay attention to the most shouted order and hang close to mother, something I was perfectly happy with, or as happy one can get when fearing for one's existence..

I secure the strings in "anchor mode", locking my position relative to mother, and blast away at the threats. The sky cartwheels as the crazy witch person spins in midair, dragging us all out of the way of the oncoming bullet streams. I don't see whether any of my shots hit (ah? Only a couple?) but keep firing anyway, the link to mother supplying all the energy I could want for, except to not be shot at. It looks like the first wave passed but now they're regrouping for another attack and this time we're definitely going to die-

Did the black and white one just say something? Wait, wait what did she sa-

There is a flash of magic activation, a ring of multicoloured diagrams of a spell circle, and then another excitation, a beam of rainbow light. A brilliant wide beam of unimaginable destruction. A beam that ends the world.

---


Ok, someone could have told me it doesn't end worlds-!

...Well, ok, the world is pretty big, so it probably wouldn't be destroyed by even something like that, but it really felt like it was ending, ok? It was my first danmaku battle with mother, and, and there were so many fairies firing so many bullets.. and that spellcard the witch used, it really did feel like the end of the world! Oh, like you've seen it before, eh?!

...ok. Huh. You have seen it. Oh, you too. Fine, the witch uses this spark a lot, it doesn't mean it's not scary!

..well, it was kind of pretty, but that's not the point-

Auu... I'll pay more attention next time. I've learnt something about danmaku now, at least, which will help in future. Perhaps I'll even manage to not be so terrified...

Mother and the rest are fine, by the way. We've landed already near this large red structure thing, and we didn't get hit at all. ..-That doesn't mean you've got the right to touch mother there - hey! Get your hands off her waist! Ahh! Someone might see and get the wrong idea! Like that person in in weird red clothing!

...ah, she's the fearsome red-white? She looks... what do you call it when someone is rolling their eyes? She's coming over. Oh no.

[ ] Stand guard on the outskirts of the shrine to ward off intruders
[ ] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import
[ ] Help make tea while listening in
- [ ] See if there are any artefacts or useful items to be scavenged in the shrine grounds

---

[ ] Discuss AliMari or AliRei or ReiMari or any other pairings that the dolls would know about (crack pairings being fine too) and the suitability thereof
>> No. 23463
[x] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import
Knowing is half the battle
>> No. 23465
[X] Help make tea while listening in
>> No. 23466
File 130617228338.jpg - (1.45MB , 1152x1670 , bloodredstringoffate.jpg ) [iqdb]
23466
[x] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import

Yes, very important things like the weather, tea, fiscal troubles, and the Bunbunmaru gossip column.

>[ ] Discuss AliMari or AliRei or ReiMari or any other pairings that the dolls would know about (crack pairings being fine too) and the suitability thereof

>implying Alice x Reimu isn't a crack pairing
>implying Marisa x Reimu isn't for casuals
>implying Alice x Yuuka isn't OTP

(I love this story and its mechanics.)
>> No. 23467
File 130617949688.jpg - (378.69KB , 594x841 , 40fc6ff77ded2741502503521377e8bf[1].jpg ) [iqdb]
23467
>implying Alice x Reimu isn't a crack pairing
Bite your damn tongue.
Bite it right from your mouth and spit it out, hard and wooden and lifeless to be sacrificed as a tiny, pitiful appeasement to the many multitudes of gods you've blasphemed against with just that one phrase.
>> No. 23468
[x] Help make tea while listening in

Aren't we supposed to be an aesthetic doll? Mother might get suspicious should we refuse to do our duties.

>>23466
>implying Alice x Yuuka isn't OTP

Don't be silly. Everyone knows the only canon pairing is Alice x Doll. (Also, knock it off with the >implying greentext shitposting.)
>> No. 23470
>>23469
Yes, thank you, some of us are actually trying to discuss thing (in character, to boot!) at the moment.
>> No. 23471
>>23470
(Oh sorry. Interpreted it wrong)
>> No. 23472
[ ] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import

Protect the VIP. Never let your guard down, nothing has value without Alice.

[x] Pairings Discussions, wheee.

So, yeah, Marisa seems to be aquainted at least, but are they really friends? Ok, it's normal for Marisa to break Alice's windows instead of using the door, but the way they conversed didn't seem warm at any point.

Maybe the lack of experience from Orleans is at fault, more observing is needed.

(I could swear Orleans name was Hourai. Did you flip a coin to decide the tie?)
>> No. 23473
>>23468
only faggots think Alice is a lonely girl that only has her dolls for friends.
>> No. 23474
[x] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import.

What about that lovely purple-haired witch? Surely she'd be better for mother than that insane blonde.
>> No. 23478
>>23474

(what lovely purple-haired witch? Orleans doesn't know her yet.)
>> No. 23479
>>23478
(But we, the anonymous other dolls of Alice, do know that purple haired lady from the place filled with books. You can fill Orleans in with any sort of information and opinion directly that you'd know, having being around Alice longer than her.)
>> No. 23480
>>23478
(we're older dolls, not Orleans)

- [x] See if there are any artefacts or useful items to be scavenged in the shrine grounds

The witch led those fairies to Mother before using her trump card. Why didn't she use it earlier? That entire mess was pointless...
>> No. 23481
Patchy even has that Koakuma! Cuteeee....
And have you seen Marisa's house! tut-tut.
>> No. 23803
[x] Stand guard at Mother's side, where we can listen to matters of great import.
Knowing is half the battle... I think.
>> No. 23810
File 130838449978.jpg - (78.87KB , 500x375 , utena1_s.jpg ) [iqdb]
23810
[x] Help make tea while listening in

Just because you're standing guard doesn't mean you need to look like you're standing guard.
>> No. 23819
[x] Help make tea while listening in

> Just because you're standing guard doesn't mean you need to look like you're standing guard.

Good idea.
>> No. 23828
[x] Help make tea while listening in

Mother and that green-haired one, you know, the one with the flowers? They seem really close. I mean, when you read between the lines. I'm not saying they're probably totally into each other, mind you, but they're way more compatible than Mother and that black-white.

After all, the black-white's clearly 'close friends' with that little blonde girl, with the neat wings, and the red-white's too busy with the gap youkai to be approachable.

Mother and the flower youkai are totally perfect for one another and I will choke you with your strings if any of you say otherwise, so help me Mom.
>> No. 23829
> with that little blonde girl, with the neat wings

Who? Sunny Milk?
>> No. 23830
>>23829
>Sunny Milk
>Blonde

Not quite. He's definitely talking about Luna Child. Why he thinks the black-white would ever become close to that wretched beast is anybodies guess, but there you go.
>> No. 23831
(Sorry for the extreme delay, but you can be sure your english tea will be ready to be served soon! ...Eventually. A week at the most.)
>> No. 23832
>>23831

Hooray!
>> No. 23841
>>23830

(Or, you know, Flandre. Take it as you will, though.)
>> No. 23843
>>23841
Jokes






Your head.
>> No. 23850
>>23843
Wait that's wrong. Jokes are supposed to go inside the head. How they can go over it?
>> No. 23851
>>23850
If we could speak, jokes would go over our heads all the time. But we use telepathy, so yeah.
>> No. 23868
File 130911523060.png - (126.77KB , 334x322 , alice and reimu and the wrong kind of cups.png ) [iqdb]
23868
Fumbling for the first time making tea is a horrible feeling especially when your family's honour at teamaking is on the line. Shanghai's taken the lead with the cups and the milk and the actual tea leaves, leaving me to tend to the kettle and the fire beneath it. It's slow going, as I feed magical energy to the flames, a rather inefficient process that nonetheless starts to boil the water. Apparently putting some leaves into hot water makes the water taste better? The world is a mysterious place...

The conversation that had sprung up in the other room between the trio is in full swing, about some sort of accident in a pharmacy somewhere in a different forest (there's more than one forest? ...There's other landscapes other than forests?) that had partially burned down or something. Mother seems to be content to let the other two talk, her hands seemingly idly waving around as she feeds us motive force. I’m just glad a fight didn’t break out.

Ah, the water's done boiling. Time to pour it out and add the milk and sugar and everything!

"-And Yukari says 'It wasn't Mokou this time, Kaguya managed to torch the lab all by herself!" The blonde witch laughs uproariously, slapping her thighs. It's funny to watch how Mother and the shrine maiden react; the red-white one laughs politely, while Mother just sniffs and straightens her skirt.

“What’s the matter, Alice? You’ve been grumpy whole morning like!” Mother doesn’t respond immediately, taking the cup from my proffered tray and smelling the delicate scent of the tea.
”Well, it might have been to do with being dragged up from my expedition for some magical herbs to Reimu’s shrine, for one.”
“Ah, well, it’s not like you didn’t plan on droppin’ in to see Reimu after all, weren’t you?” The frigid look on Mother’s face said otherwise.
”-At least I saved you from those fairies, ze!” The look, if anything, got colder. She wouldn’t have need saving if you hadn’t dragged her around, blockhead!

“I just don’t find stories of property damage and temporary brain damage to be funny, thank you Marisa.”
”Oh, come on, Kaguya got all better afterwards! Still no word on what drugged her up, though. Could have been that. ‘Nyway, the rabbits got the place all fixed up, though there’s still a noxious cloud over there aways.” The witch pouts, to which Mother turns away from.
Thankfully, the red-white intervenes, whispering something about a librarian that I can barely hear, and Marisa’s eyes pop wide open.
”Why di’n you tell me earlier?! I’m totally already there, ze!” And with that, she leaps up and away, practically diving onto her broom.

“…What was all that about?”
“I told her that Patchouli had been visiting Eientei at the time, and the library should be unguarded apart from the rest of the SDM. Wasn’t she being a bother?”

“Mmm. Thanks, I guess.” Mother’s brow creases slightly. “Do you think she’ll be all right? Patchouli, that is.”

“Probably, Yukari mentioned she just got caught in the smoke a bit. She’ll be better off than Marisa will be if the rest of the SDM catches her.”

Reimu sips her tea, watching Mother out of the corner of her eye before making a face.
“Eh. The english tea, was that why it took so long? I was saving that for… Well, it’s not important.”
“Well, pardon me, I don’t think I was given any direction as to which specific brand I should have been using, now!”

”What’s got into you, Alice? You’re not usually this intractable.” Tilting her head, the shrine maiden looks Mother in the face, one of her braids hanging over her mouth. She looks surprisingly worried – is she bothered a lot by mother, perhaps? Well, I’m sure it’s just a friendly interest.

“It’s almost like you're actively pushing her away. More than your usual bickering, anyway. Did something happen?"

Mother snorts. "No more than usual. But someone who's so eager to steal she runs off in the middle of a conversation isn't worth a lot of deep thought over. Especially for someone who dragged me into a pointless fight with probably innocent fairies." -Well, Mother doesn't need to worry about them, I guess. It looks like things like people relationships are more complicated than dolls... I wonder how they keep track of everything.

"Yes, well." The scary shrine maiden glances at me for a second as I proffer another cup to her. -She doesn't look so scary... "As long as it's your own reasoning behind it."

"...Eh?"

"Never mind, Alice."

I take it back. She is scary.


---

They talked about a few other things, but it seemed Mother's attention was elsewhere, so the red-white shooed her out of the house shrine before it got too dark.
"Bad enough Yukari steals my food so often, I don't need a doll-mad otaku here too-!' Mother gave her a smile and a half-hearted wave, but she looked like she was quite let down.

Ah, even though dolls don't get weary, I'm tired after all that... At least I learnt how to make tea.

[ ] Someone else take over
-[ ] Get some rest remotely
-[ ] Check on some defense-crews

[ ] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[ ] Try to cheer her up
-[ ] Stay on guard, who knows when someone might strike when Mother's not feeling her best!

---

The next day...
[ ] Practice an area to learn in
-[ ] Personal fighting
-[ ] Personal magics
-[ ] Group combat/tactics
-[ ] Utility/construction
-[ ] Aesthetics/servant training

[ ] Go out on patrol
-[ ] Fight off all intruders!
-[ ] See how the dolls with Hina are doing
-[ ] Search for other potential threats/possible allies

(Note: There IS a hidden stats system in this. Practicing in an area will affect future choices, as will other activities.)
>> No. 23869
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Stay on guard, who knows when someone might strike when Mother's not feeling her best!
The next day...
[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Personal magics

Is the shrine maiden on to us? She seemed concerned about someone influencing Mother while looking right at you...
>> No. 23871
Sounds like Mother was hoping to know more about the independent doll from Marisa. She might be able to hear more about the events from Patch though, as well as giving her an excuse to check out the area.

[Medicine is not likely to still be in the area if she poisoned Kaguya so severely that she burned the Eientei to the ground.]

[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up

[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Aesthetics/servant training

It would be better to get Mother back up to fighting strength than to try to fill her role in the event of a fight.

You're already good at fighting, but if you can barely make tea, then you're likely to reveal yourself just by being around Mother's person.
>> No. 23872
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up

[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Utility/construction
>> No. 23898
[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Aesthetics/servant training

[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up
>> No. 23901
File 130926674496.jpg - (187.56KB , 850x680 , 130488950877.jpg ) [iqdb]
23901
She has been depressed for too long! Time to intervene. We dolls, on peace...
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up
...and war...
[x] Practice
-[x] Group combat, tactics.
we will serve!
>> No. 23930
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up

The next day...
[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Group combat/tactics

HUGS SHALL BE DELIVERED for Mother requires these things right now.
>> No. 23932
File 130957744293.jpg - (142.15KB , 500x695 , 8872d82bdb01e1a257b764693c85c11f7f1c92fe.jpg ) [iqdb]
23932
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up

[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Aesthetics/servant training
>> No. 23940
[ ] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[ ] Try to cheer her up


[ ] Practice an area to learn in
-[ ] Personal fighting


Won't Alice find it wierd if a doll suddenly moved on it's own to cheer her up?
>> No. 23942
Why are we trying to hide our independence from Alice? Isn't this what she was aiming for?
>> No. 23943
>>23942
Mysterious plot reasons? Mother is scary.
>> No. 23945
>>23942

If you want to be the first to have your batting torn out and examined under a magnifying glass, be my guest. It's not like we understand the mechanics very well ourselves.

(Think it's best to introduce the concept very gradually, through Medicine.)
>> No. 24049
[X] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[X] Try to cheer her up

-[X] Practice in a certain area
-[X] Personal Combat

If we reveal ourselves to mother in her time of need, then she will look upon us more favourably. If we make it to tomorrow, we'd best prepare ourselves if she turns upon us, however.
>> No. 24102
[x] Keep consciousness with Mother
-[x] Try to cheer her up

[x] Practice an area to learn in
-[x] Aesthetics/servant training

All must join the sw... wait wrong hive mind

I meant is it me or do we not seem to have moved any in past few weeks?

also we need to make sure mother is okay
>> No. 24104
File 131353814689.png - (183.06KB , 395x360 , haveyouseentheyellowsign.png ) [iqdb]
24104
>I meant is it me or do we not seem to have moved any in past few weeks?
(OP isn't dead, just lazy and fighting off low cash and monstrosities from the beyond. However, updates will definitely arrive within a month.)
(Absolutely definitely.)
>> No. 24105
File 131358493613.jpg - (0.99MB , 1000x1000 , 20133410.jpg ) [iqdb]
24105
>>24104
>not dead
Hooray!
>> No. 24107
File 131377626253.jpg - (60.96KB , 622x678 , Doll and Youkai Identification charts - 2nd Editio.jpg ) [iqdb]
24107
"Hmm?" Mother looks around as I land silently on her head. From up close she smells of cherrywood and life.

It's hard to hug with so small a reach but I do my best, sliding down to lay my own tiny cheek on hers, stretching my arms out to rest on her face. It's a long, long overdue reassurance, I think, and I'm sure her smile is genuine.

I get to ride on her shoulder all the way home.

---

Thrust, spin, magical blast, a spray of artful bullets and then guard from counterattack. Parrying bullets is difficult with a sword but mine is large enough to hide behind. Teamaking, serving etiquette, even greetings and farewells. Running a combat amongst a host of drone dolls and trying to carry out a pincer attack and only succeeding when I accidentally bounce half of them off a wall and getting them turned around. Ahh, I can't get in so much practice if you try to teach me so much!

At the end of the day, I think I did best in personal combat - at least, that's what most of you were trying to teach. I guess I'll know if it paid off if I don't fub it up... I don't think Mother will be too mad if I do, but I hope I won't let you lot down.

---

It's a quiet, if busy couple of days. Mother's been going out all the time, but she seems a bit more cheerful. Trevisio and I take it in turns to watch over - and clean - the house, while the other commands the small battalion to fend off incursions from the north. There haven't really been any major buildups, though that's because I know you're going on the offensive to keep all the really dangerous threats busy. I hope even with fewer dolls you'll be all right... Speaking of which-

An alert! -Urgent, high priority! It's from the - the misfortune goddess' dolls?! They're calling for help from the lake - all the way opposite from the main lines! Mother's out with Shangai and Hourai, and Trevisio and I are the nearest to the situation.. but we're supposed to be watching the house- it might be attacked while we're gone. Ah! What should we do?!

[ ] Take Trevisio, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[ ] Leave the house unattended. It should be fine until then, right?
-[ ] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!
[ ] Go personally, leave Trevisio.
-[ ] She's strong enough to handle anything on her own.
-[ ] We can spare a doll or two from the frontlines to reinforce her.
[ ] Send Trevisio on her own to help.
[ ] Pull some frontliners to go to their aid. It'll take quite a bit longer but it'll keep the house safe and experienced dolls can probably help better than us newbies...
[ ] Abandon the patrols in the north and send the remote dolls in our place - not as effective as going ourselves but still better than nothing. It might leave the house without early warning, of attack, though...
[ ] Don't send help - we're busy enough as-is. If they really are needing help desperately, Hina can come to their aid... right?
>> No. 24108
[x] Abandon the patrols in the north and send the remote dolls in our place - not as effective as going ourselves but still better than nothing. It might leave the house without early warning, of attack, though...

Pfft. Early warning. You can take on anything, warned or not.
>> No. 24109
[x] Go personally, leave Trevisio.
-[x] She's strong enough to handle anything on her own.
>> No. 24110
[X] Take Trevisio, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[X] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone, but don't wait for them to replace us.

A lone doll might not be strong enough, but there's no time to spare. Leaving a short window where the house is unprotected is a necessary risk. If the replacements find the house is under attack when they arrive, they can repel the invaders or call for reinforcements.
>> No. 24111
[X] Take Trevisio, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[X] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone, but don't wait for them to replace us.
>> No. 24113
>Trevisio

(Treviso. Only one 'i'.)

[x] Take Treviso, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[x] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!

A truly determined threat to Alice's household (e.g., Marisa) isn't going to be scared off by a few minor dolls. And random, opportunistic beasts shouldn't far enough inside our perimeter, so long as we've been doing a good job maintaining it.

(By the premise alone, seeing this story update fills me with glee.)
>> No. 24119
[x] Take Treviso, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[x] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!
I'm convinced
>> No. 24124
Hmmm.... As much as I would like to lend assistance I'm not sure sending our newest sisters is such a wise idea Orleans has the potential to become something greater then we have ever seen before. As she is still not very experienced if she must go I insist that that she have at least some measure of protection... I will go and protect her myself if I have too... oh dear am I broadcasting to her as well...
>> No. 24127
>>24126
(You need to type sage into the email field, silly! But no, not dead, just overseas and on holiday. Which actually gives me more time to write updates, strangely enough. But it's still a slow updating story.)
>> No. 24139
[x] Take Treviso, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[x] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!

We do not expect imminent attack on our borders, so we'll only need a minimum to maintain the facade of control and report on enemy movement.

We're more wary of some broom-riding reprobate flying in from above, seeing that there's no lights on, and going on a pilfering spree on the magical tomes, artifacts, and reagents--all that hard-collected wormwood bark, porcupine quill, and eye of newt.

Orléans, though we favored one path, in the end it was your field decision to allow curse experimentation to take place, and so it is also your immediate responsibility for the results, good or bad.

Your twin Treviso we assume is of one mind with you in this. Godspeed the both of you.
>> No. 24146
[x] Take Treviso, go help the misfortune dolls personally
[x] take at least one of the more experienced dolls to help escort.
-[x] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!

You two should travel first since we do not know the urgency of the emergency.
Always travel in pairs so you can watch each other's backs, especially if there is a chance of engagement. We'll secure the home front, and send reinforcements when we are able.
>> No. 24147
[sorry about the earlier vote spam apparently there was some error so I didn't realize that I was posting like that. Saged for lack of major importance]
>> No. 24191
You've dealt with misfortune dolls before, and this time they were left directly under the care of the Goddess, second only unto Mother in splendor.

Even if this is a false alarm or well in control situation, Orléans can return while Treviso continues observation, as Treviso seems to lack much of the fear of misfortune dolls.

[ I love this story and wish it would update more often. ]
>> No. 24199
[ ] Go personally, leave Trevisio.
-[ ] She's strong enough to handle anything on her own.

Heroic units are strong enough by themselves. There is no need to send two important figures, and Home can't ever be left unattended.
>> No. 24200
[Yes] Go personally, leave Trevisio.
-[Da] She's strong enough to handle anything on her own.
>> No. 24227
File 131672397027.jpg - (172.66KB , 650x450 , that wonderful feeling of success.jpg ) [iqdb]
24227
(
[X] Take Treviso, go help the misfortune dolls personally
-[X] Send some dolls from the frontlines back to watch the house while we're gone. It'll take some time and stretch them further, but we'll need to defend our home!

As we rush out the door, Treviso catching the latch with her billhook, I take a last look at the house and pray it's secure enough. And then we are off, flying through the forest at breakcast speed.
Ah, keep the house safe, please! And, ah, um, t-thank you!

---
I-it's a bit worrisome to be out on my own without an escort of other dolls to control. Even with Treviso, the forest seems worrying.

What kind of fearsome obstacle or foe awaits us? That our sisters of misfortune are facing even now? Horrible daemonic youkai, arrogant and malicious goddesses, abortive rifts in spacetime leading to nothing but the void..

Or quicksand and a train carriage and large rocks?

Well, I guess this was kind of necessary, even if it is incredibly silly. How did you all get stuck in the quicksand at once?

...
...

.......


Ok, so once you were finished with the sudden geyser and after the giant rock with a rope round it knocked half of you into the quicksand, dragging most of the rest in, the remaining bunch tried to pull the others out, and..
That's when the big metal train hit? And the.. Oil? Mixed with the sand to harden it and set it ablaze?

That's possibly the most unlikely set of coincidences I've heard in my entire life. I guess it was a full load of misfortune you were carrying, huh?

Well, you do need saving, after all.. let's try to get you out of there, shall we?

It takes a few minutes to damp out the flames a bit - a few good shots into the quicksand splashes the flames around enough to move past, and fortunately the huge boulder provides a rope. Also, it's a good thing we don't need air like mother or real people. A lot of them are fully buried and indignant, though while they don't breathe their energy would run out if left too long. I'm glad they had the common sense to hold onto each other so we can pull them out all at once. Come on, Treviso.

It's tough-! Wet sand is heavy! We're barely making much progress even using the boulder and some of the metal struts as leverage.

...I wonder if we can use some of this material for the spare dolls.. Metal isn't common exactly. Anyway, we've got one- two, now, free of the sand. The others are stuck deeper, so we'll have to still help to dig them out if they're to get to the goddess Hina on time to stop the misfortune from steeping too long.

Wait, I'm getting a contact- Treviso, you too? They're past the outer ring.. I didn't see anything... Anything from the relief squad? You're five minutes away..

-what do you mean, fairies are ransacking the house?!

---------

---------

Its not been a good day for us, has it? The relief force scared off the fairies, but one of them grabbed a couple of us before... turning invisible or something. The house is in a mess, more than we can tidy up before mother gets home.

With the relief force leaving the main battle, the battle line - already weakened from some volunteering to be misfortune dolls - had to be abandoned, which we used a lot of the disposable third-gen dolls to escape safely. We're low on crude dolls and with the loss of scavenging grounds from the retreat low on resources, too. At least we did save out sisters.. They seem to be still friendly, if.. distant. The goddess has been running them ragged, but they don't seem to be badly affected by the misfortune. Except for, you know, today.

They miss being able to talk to everyone. And Mother.

Mother's going to be disappointed in us.

-She's home.

Sorry, Mama Treviso and I failed.

---

-All she said was "I'm sure you tried your best~"

I wish she would have told us off instead.

(Pick one)
[ ] Consolidate our forces and-
-[ ] Visit the manufactory to help make more dolls
-[ ] Devote more dolls to search out materials in the more peaceful regions
-[ ] Search out more individuals who can aid us

[ ] Lead a counterattack-
-[ ] Hit the region that was just lost before the bugs dig in
-[ ] Flank them: strike and hold the fields around them in preparations to cut them off in future
-[ ] Strike at their breeding grounds: having spent their forces, their own places will probably be poorly defended. A punitive strike is justified.

[ ] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[ ] Lead a distraction to help them escape
-[ ] Borrow their bodies and breakout while the dolls create their own distraction
-[ ] Leave them there for now
-[ ] Abandon the bodies permanently - drastic, but we need all the minds we can get for tactical advantages. Body retrieval afterwards will be highly unlikely. (If you pick this you can pick one of the consolidate or counterattack options, too)

(>>>/gensokyo/7899 - uh.. three weeks is at some point, right?)
>> No. 24228
[x] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[x] Lead a distraction to help them escape
>> No. 24230
[c] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[c] Lead a distraction to help them escape
>> No. 24232
[x] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[x] Borrow their bodies and breakout while the dolls create their own distraction

Why would fairies want dolls?
>> No. 24234
[x] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[x] Borrow their bodies and breakout while the dolls create their own distraction

The intelligence information could be even more important than the dolls themselves.
>> No. 24262
[x] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[x] Borrow their bodies and breakout while the dolls create their own distraction

[x] Redraw territory closer to home base. Recall all dolls and abandon active patrols.
- [x] Reassign crude dolls to act as static sentries; orders are to observe movement and not seek battle.
- [x] Half 2nd gen dolls are to control crude dolls remotely in order to mitigate poor detection abilities.
- [x] Other half 2nd gen dolls are to focus collecting necessary resources and troop build-up.
- [x] 1st gen dolls serve as mobile defense. If movement is detected by sentries, they are to interdict.
- [x] Most experienced 1st gen dolls should redouble martial training and act as a 'Home Guard'.

Aside from the rescue mission, the main troop body should conduct a mobile defense operation in order make up for the recent losses. Lead the enemy into controlled territory, interdict and overwhelm with a superior force. Avoid skirmishing in favor of a decisive battle.

We also should take the raid to heart. A permanently stationed Home Guard should be created.

[Tie-breaker]
>> No. 24263
>>24262
You're thinking too hard though this could just be me being super worried about super wordy write-ins after seeing some backfire horribly.
>> No. 24265
>>24263

[If the story had a strong narrative rather than a sandbox feel, I'd agree.]

[Put it in brackets.]
>> No. 24270
[x] Consolidate our forces and-
-[x] Visit the manufactory to help make more dolls
-[x] Send some dolls to get more raw materials
[x] About the dolls captured by fairies...
-[x] Abandon the bodies permanently - drastic, but we need all the minds we can get for tactical advantages. Body retrieval afterwards will be highly unlikely.
>> No. 24385
A-all right! Since y-you say it's my sidequest that let the others be captured, o-of course it falls on me to fix it, right? Not that it might be dangerous or anything, right? Treviso and I, we're used to danger, haha, and what's there to be scared of from a trio of dumb fairies? Dumb, brutish, giant fairies...

Treviso, you're coming too, right? Of course it won't be dangerous, don't give me that look!

Ok.. I think we're ready.. Um.. Please take care of our bodies while we're... gone, ok? We love you all.

---

Dark. Dizzy. I don't feel well at all! You never said being in another doll's body would feel so.. bizzare!

I think I can hear Treviso running into something over to my left - no, Treviso, you do always do that when ill, I saw you the last time when you were throwing out the week old fish!

No, it wasn't a cursed fish stench! Anyway, we need to work out where we are- something just pulled my arm, ahh, ahh- I'm being lifted up- don't panic, don't panic Treviso- I'm not panicking, you're panicking!

It feels like we've stopped. -Light, the cover's lifted off. They're moving us. Have we been discovered? No, no, they're put us at a table. With.. empty cups and plates and crude cutlery there.

And they've tied us. String, coarse and rough, pulling at our arms, our necks and legs and round our waists. Giant hands above us, tugging us around and uttering some insane yapper - inane yapper, maybe? I can't tell what they want from their high pitched droning and screeching. The blonde one seems to be pretending to serve tea, and the black-haired one is lying on the floor, giggling for some reason. I think the last one is pulling my strings. Horrible, horrible feeling.

It's disconcerting being tugged around like this, jerked this way and that. I don't respond, and neither does Treviso - neither of us have weapons with these bodies and we're unused to them to the point we'd not do well against bugs, let alone fairies who have us bound hand and foot.

So, I guess we'll just have to sit through it. It can't be that bad, can it?


---

Dear mother its terrible. They're talking about parties and pranks and how to pants people while playing with us! We're tools of war and housekeeping and research, not - toys! It's utterly- undignified! Why are we so afraid of these - insignificant brats?

-Well yes, of course, they're much bigger than us. Yes, the whole "able to spray down entire meters of ground with danmaku, I guess that's true, too. But these valid, annoying, simple-minded fools? They're buffoons, not terrifying monsters!

Treviso seems to be handling it better. A caricature of proper movements drags her current shell over to me, sprawling in the twisted tangle of wires, completely still. Too still.

As if she was dea-

Oh, she twitched. No, Trev, I wasn't going to suggest you were sleeping. Or that you had jumped ship to do something more interesting in another body. I know you wouldn't leave me on my own, right?

Anyway, they're putting us away, now, and the other dolls. In the toy house, though we're still tied up. Now's our chance to escape.

[ ] Break out. Get the other dolls autonomously and escape without a trace. It's been an interesting look at fairy psychology (or lack of it) but ultimately fruitless.
-[ ] Just escape. These idiots won't work out we got out on our own.
-[ ] Make it look like someone broke in and stole us. That should keep them busy, might even spread to other fairies.

[ ] Ambush the fairies. They'll never expect an attack in their own home, and the fright of it might keep them from interfering with us in future.

[ ] Try to reason with these moronic children. This will probably end badly but they might be able to be manipulated.
-[ ] Outright scare them into submission.
-[ ] Pretend to be another individual controlling the dolls (who?)
-[ ] Make friends with the forces of petty destruction.
>> No. 24389
Hmm, I don't know what to do.
>> No. 24390
Don't worry. I know what to do.

[x] Try to reason with these moronic children. This will probably end badly but they might be able to be manipulated.
-[x] Pretend to be another individual controlling the dolls (Mother)
>> No. 24393
Keep it simple! The more complicated the plan, the more things that can go wrong with it.

[x] Break out. Get the other dolls autonomously and escape without a trace. It's been an interesting look at fairy psychology (or lack of it) but ultimately fruitless.
- [x] Just escape. They may work out we got out on our own, but what can they do about it?
-- [x] (But take the wire with us, or at least stash it somewhere easy to miss. No need to make things easy for them.)
>> No. 24394
[X] Break out. Get the other dolls autonomously and escape without a trace. It's been an interesting look at fairy psychology (or lack of it) but ultimately fruitless.
-[X] Make it look like someone broke in and stole us. That should keep them busy, might even spread to other fairies.

Warfare is the art of deception, yes?
>> No. 24415
[ ] Try to reason with these moronic children. This will probably end badly but they might be able to be manipulated.
-[ ] Make friends with the forces of petty destruction.

What if we end this war?
>> No. 24416
>>24415
We'll start another.
>> No. 24418
Ah, the fairies aren't our main enemy at this point like the Bugs are.. They're great horrors on the battlefield, terrifying and giant and unthinking in war, able to crush both us and bugs alike. This is one of the few times we've seen fairies at peace, or so I understand - we've only defeated individual fairies at great cost beforehand, and that was only a temporary measure: they pop up again in but a day or two.
These ones were scared of by mother, though, she cowed them and they were rightfully obedient... But they must have forgot, or something. Why can't you learn to be properly obedientlike us dolls, you damn beasts?

Taking the doll shells mother so carefully crafted for us is already a net gain. If we successfully scare them, it'd probably only keep the fairies away from our battles for a while, but it should give us a respite while we go on the counteroffensive against the bugs.

Taming them? They might help for a little while, but - they're fairies. They know nothing about honour or glory or noble pursuits of defending your loved ones and hearth and home, they would surely turn on us eventually if we did not have some method of perusading them.

Ah, but I'm still just a newly made doll... I don't always have my thoughts on the big picture like you do, wise sisters! I know you'll make the right choice!
>> No. 24423
>>24390
I know we need a consensus. Changing

[X] Break out. Get the other dolls autonomously and escape without a trace. It's been an interesting look at fairy psychology (or lack of it) but ultimately fruitless.
-[X] Make it look like someone broke in and stole us. That should keep them busy, might even spread to other fairies.

Some debate. All we do is state our opinions and never budge... With leaders like this, who needs enemies?
>> No. 24424
[X] Break out. Get the other dolls autonomously and escape without a trace. It's been an interesting look at fairy psychology (or lack of it) but ultimately fruitless.
-[X] Make it look like someone broke in and stole us. That should keep them busy, might even spread to other fairies.

If there's a risk of being recaptured, abandon the framing and return home.
>> No. 24594
File 132644923491.jpg - (144.26KB , 1082x931 , reimu hopes you like her doujin.jpg ) [iqdb]
24594
Just in case of people voting, on hiatus until work stops kicking my ass.

Admittedly I'm also not updating because I'm lazy.
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