[c] Talk with Grandma about… - [c] …what she had wanted to tell you back at her home.
“Grandma.” You squeeze her hands, making her tremble slightly. “Look at me, just for one second.” You chuckle over her reluctance and push her chin up; a bright blush decorates her soft cheeks the moment your eyes make contact. “Come on, you know we both have nothing to hide from each other, right?”
She breaks off the eye contact and looks away, trying to hide her blush. “Treating me like I’m younger than I should,” she murmurs. “You’re embarrassing me, Alyssa, even though I’m older than you…”
You laugh softly. “You know what they always say about me,” you say. “A heart-stealing magician of the blazing star, right?”
She mutters something intelligible before she sighs and looks back at you. “Well, if you say so…” She gulps, and you can’t help noticing her struggles in keeping her fear hidden, but your doubt is swept away when she squeezes your hands in return. “So, Alyssa, is there anything you wish to talk with me?” she asks.
You smile. “Actually, yes,” you answer. “Well, I’m not sure if you still remember, but… how exactly did you find me in the first place?” You falter, and you decide to change the question. “I mean… how exactly did I find my way to Melbourne at all?”
“Oh, about that matter…” She tightens her squeeze on your hands with such force you think she’s going to hurt you. “Well, I guess I shouldn’t keep it a secret anymore from you after all these years…” She releases your hand. “But I just want to ask you this: are you ready to face the truth?”
“You make it sound so significant,” you try to joke.
“Of course I am! It’s about your past, present and future,” Grandma says.
You smile. “Grandma.” You close the distance, until the front tip of your hat hangs over her hair. “If it’s you, I’m ready for anything. Trust me, I can take it.”
“…okay…” She lets you go. You watch in intrigue as she takes the book, flips several pages and takes out an item before handing it over to you. It’s an old photo, and it shows a woman wearing the same dress as you holding a baby in her arms, but for some reason her face is obscured from view.
“Mind telling me who…?”
“She’s your mother,” Grandma answers. Your heart skips the moment you hear the word. You look back and forth between the old photo and Grandma, whose expression has turned sour. “Six months after she gave birth to you, she… she left you at the orphanage and went to a…” She bites her lower lip.
“…oh.” You put the photo back into the pocket. “…that should explain it.” You sit down and place the book on your chest. Strange, you don’t feel troubled by the disheartening news (or the fact that you were abandoned by your own mother). “Well, I’ll be darned if she kicks the door open and declares herself as my mother. Or blasts this whole shop to pieces.”
“Alyssa… don’t you feel upset by what I’ve told you?” Grandma asks.
You chuckle half-heartedly. “I…” You lower your hat until it covers your eyes. “I don’t know, Grandma. …even if I feel happy, knowing that I’m not an orphan… did something happen to her?”
“No, I never heard of anything from her ever since,” she answers. You hear nothing, before you’re pulled up from the chair and into her arms, as Grandma’s tightly hugging you. “I’m so sorry, Alyssa… I thought I could cheer you up, so…” she mutters, even as she buries her face in your shoulder. This is disheartening; it saddens you that you never got to know your mother up close, and you probably never will, but…
“She’s still alive, isn’t she?”
She jerks away from you. “A-Alyssa?”
“Your eyes,” you point out. “You wanted to tell me that she’s still alive.” She must have been shocked by your response, because she’s throwing her sight away from you. “But you’re afraid that you’d hurt me if you did. Am I right?”
“Alyssa…” It’s all you can hear her saying before she buries her face back in your shoulder, and your heart skips again when she starts sobbing. “I’m so sorry, Alyssa… I’ve failed you… I’ve tried all my best, but…”
If this is another soap drama the divine beings are throwing at you, you should flip them off. Right now, though, Grandma is crying, and it’s best that you comfort her. “Give me a break,” you grumble and gently rub her back. “Come on, stop crying on me. What if people see us like this?” you speak.
“I-I’m sorry…” she sobs. “Are you angry at me for keeping the secret from you, Alyssa?”
You gently pull her away and lift her face, allowing you to dry the tears. “How am I supposed to be angry at you?” you ask. “Jeez, why is it I who have to wipe off someone else’s tears? Who am I to everyone? A husband?”
“Because you’re not supposed to make them cry for you, Alyssa.”
You turn to the direction of the voice and-
“I see you’re trying very hard not to cry over her, eh?”
What the hell is she doing here?!
[ ] Demand an explanation. [ ] Leave the shop and take Grandma along.
You point at her. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here?” She chuckles. “Oh, Alyssa, don’t be too silly~! Am I not allowed to pay you a visit?”
“When it involves surprising the crap out of that person and making you look suspicious? Hell no!” you bark. “Can’t you see I have a business to settle here??”
She steps forward, prompting you to pull Grandma away from her. “Now, now, kindly let go off your… precious Grandma before somebody gets the whole idea wrong,” the purple lady says. “I have something to tell her, so would you kindly?” In spite of your reluctance, you step aside, allowing her to approach Grandma. She leans forward and whispers into Grandma’s right ear; you notice with alarm her face changing from shocked to something of remorse.
What the hell is she doing?
“Hey, hey!” You forcibly yank the purple lady’s arm. “If you’re thinking of hurting Grandma’s feeling, then don’t.” The purple lady stares at you, completely not amused, and you tighten your grip on her hand so much you think you’re going to hurt her. “And if you think you can entertain me with your oh-so-funny antics like the last time, then don’t.”
“Who are you to speak to me like that?” the purple lady replies and slaps your wrist with her paper fan. “Why so serious, Alyssa? You should take it easy like your family always does~”
“Goddamn it, that hurts!” you yelp.
“Alyssa, acting like a serious lady will only get you nowhere,” she continues. “Besides, you’re scary when you’re angry. Nobody likes to see you angry, especially…” She points at Grandma. “…if you understand what I’m talking about.”
You point at her face again. “You know what, purple lady? Screw you,” you speak. “You don’t know me, and I obviously don’t know you.” You clench your hand into a fist and shake it in front of her eyes; she must know you’re not easily fooled around.
She presses the fan against your fist as to lower it. “Now, now, Alyssa, didn’t your precious wife teach anything about respecting other people?” she asks.
You frown. You’ve really had enough with this mockery. You don’t care who does it, but you don’t want to have anything about it anymore. “I believe both of us should have never met in the first place.” You lower your hat, and walk past them as you make haste to the door. “Goodbye.”
“Alyssa, do you really want to know?”
You halt. You turn around, and for a while you swear you notice the sour expression on the purple lady’s face. You swear you’ve seen that expression before… oh, when Grandma protested your decision to become a transporter many years ago. Goddamn it; you hate to admit it, but…
“What do you know?” you ask, finally softening up.
The purple lady smiles. “Everything, Alyssa. I know everything about you. Who you really are, where you really belong to, you name it.” She takes Grandma’s hand and clenches it, assuring her with a whisper when she starts to panic; after a minute or so Grandma gives in and nods reluctantly.
She looks back at you. “Well, Alyssa? What do you say?”
[ ] Relent, and agree. [ ] Agree, but with one condition (write the condition, if you will). [ ] Disagree (state a reason).
[c] Agree, but with one condition. - [c] You should be allowed to inform Sylvia and Reverie where you are if this takes you out of town. You don’t want to worry them again.
“Fine,” you speak and walk back towards them. “You manipulative-whatever, always want to swing things to your favour. It’s bad, and you should feel bad for it.”
The purple lady chuckles. “Can’t really help it, Alyssa~ I eat manipulation for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s delicious, you should have some.”
“However!” You suddenly stop, causing Grandma to flinch. You lift your hand and point directly at the purple lady’s face. “You must abide with this condition.”
Her eyes narrow. “Oh?”
“No matter where you’re taking me, or what you’re going to do, you better not keep me from telling Sylvia and Reverie where I’m at.”
The purple lady chuckles. “Ah~ I’m very certain she will grow green if she ever learns of your dedication~” she utters. “Alright, then. Condition accepted.” She whispers to Grandma again, giving her shoulder a few pats. “So, Alyssa! You don’t mind we meet at the harbour tonight, do you?” se asks as she looks back at you.
Why in the world does she want to see you at the harbour?
“Anyway, I can’t afford to waste my time here, since my schedule is pretty tight this week. Sigh… I wish the travel agent was more responsible~” The purple lady walks past you, and you don’t bother looking at her as you approach Grandma. “Oh, Alyssa.”
“What is it?” You turn back, only to have your forehead prodded by the purple lady’s fan.
“Cherish your remaining time in this city, you may not be able to enjoy it after this.”
The purple lady chuckles. “Nothing, Alyssa. See you later tonight.” She leaves you and heads for the door. You are left standing, thoroughly confused by everything that took place before your eyes. You look back at Grandma, who is as dumbfounded as you’d expect.
“Grandma.” You pull her into your arms, embracing her as tightly as you can. “This can’t be a dream, can it?” you ask. She doesn’t answer, but then she buries her face in your clothes, and your heart skips when she starts sobbing. You don’t want to say anything anymore, even as you keep holding her, letting her cry for as much as she wants.
Good grief, when will this drama ever stop?
// harbour, night time //
It’s awfully quiet. Not very often would you go to the harbour, more so since it’s supposed to be off-limit at night. You have a business to take care of, and it doesn’t matter if the guards catch you since you can outrun them anyway. Your only concern is whether Sylvia and Reverie would find out about this, but you’ve done everything you could to make sure they didn’t. It was a good thing Grandma was willing to let them stay with her, because it would be hell if they realize you’re not with them.
You hear footsteps. You correct your hat and turn to the direction of the sound. It’s the purple lady, and apart from the fact that she’s dressed up in all-white suit, she’s not alone. “Mind telling me who they are?” you ask and point to the black-clad individuals standing at both her sides.
“My bodyguards,” she answers. “Figured that I need some extra hands in case things go south.”
“Whatever, as long as they aren’t bothering.” The remark causes the person with short stature to growl at you… like a cat? “Hey, now, I didn’t come all the way here to pick a fight with your figure of authority here, so chill down.” You turn to the purple lady. “Tell me everything you know.”
She grins. “I’ve been expecting to hear that,” she answers. She gestures at her bodyguards to step aside, and beckons at you to approach her. “So, Alyssa! Which one would you like to have first? The blue pill,” and she opens her palms, showing nothing, “or the red pill?”
“Can I take the grey pill instead?” you retort. “Stop being so discreet and get straight to the point, okay?”
“What? I thought you were with leaving your family behind,” the purple lady replies.
“Because I promised Grandma to come home early,” you tell her. “So are you going to tell me the whole truth or not?” You deepen your glare, causing the taller bodyguard to jump forward and aim a knife at your neck. It doesn’t deter you at all; this threat is nothing compared to the dangers of transporting goods you encounter on daily basis.
“Now, now, I’m sure we can settle this matter as partners,” the purple lady and signals at the bodyguard to lower the weapon. “But still, you haven’t answered my question, Alyssa. Give me an answer, and I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”
“Hey, it’s that transporter girl!!”
You snap. You swear you’ve heard that voice before. Can it be?
“That fucking bitch! She thinks she can show up here anyway she pleases? Get her!!”
Shit, when you thought they wouldn’t show up.
“My, my~ mind telling me who they are, Alyssa?” the purple lady asks, genuinely surprised by the turnabout of the event.
“Business rival,” you utter, even as a group of men in black are scrambling at your position, “more like… old man’s sworn enemy. Never like how close we are.”
“Looks like you’re running your business on distrust and paranoia,” the purple lady says.
“You don’t say. Now, please excuse me for a while.” You leap toward the group. Years of confrontation with them (and other underworld factions) have taught you to be quick on your feet and hand, and you know it’s for everyone’s benefit that you disarm them before they can harm you. You somersault, you sweep, you slide, and you throw, using everything you’ve learned from street fighting. You don’t like getting involved in a fight, but is there another choice your can pick?
Your run comes to an abrupt halt, only because one of the men has taken out a handgun and pointed it at your face. “You think your fancy footwork can work this time, Kirisame?” the man snarls.
“Look, I’ve told you before I’m a transporter. Is it wrong to befriend my client?” you ask.
“Not when that old man is planning to gain control over our trade,” the man replies. “He’s been a nuisance in our operations, and he alone should have been a pain in the ass for us. Then you showed up, and brought us too many troubles. Do you think we can let that go unnoticed?” Several of the thugs you’ve knocked out have gotten up, and they too are producing their own handguns. Oh, great, you don’t think you can outrun bullets this time.
“Can’t we at least talk?” you ask.
“Talk time’s over,” the man says and prods the handgun on your forehead. “Sorry, but we don’t take transporters like you very lightly. Scumbags like you don’t deserve a place in the society.”
“Alyssa, mind if you close your eyes for a minute?” What the hell? When did she appear behind you?
“What are you talking of?” you ask.
“Trust me. Just do what I say~”
[ ] Do it. [ ] Don’t do it.
I've lost my touch at describing CQC barehanded combat, so my apologize if the scene doesn't reach the standard.
>>25498 I'd imagine Alyssa would be more prepared for the sudden crazy that's going to be tossed at her soon enough(assuming it doesn't bad end - going insane is always a possibility, I suppose). A little mental trauma never hurt anybody...much.
The votes have been called. We'll close our eyes and brace ourselves for full-life consequences.
Posting from my handphone, so no update for now.
Serial ATA!CG1CgoidvU2012/07/14 (Sat) 00:01No. 25826▼
>>25523 Sorry for the delay, but here's the update~!
[c] Do it.
Your instinct tells you it’s not a wise idea to close your eyes, but with all guns pointed at your face, should you? You look at the guy with the gun, and then at the purple lady who mysteriously is standing behind you. “You sure about this?” you ask, not bothering with the fact that her appearance has caught thugs by surprise.
“Of course~” the purple lady answers. “Don’t worry, it won’t take long.” She pats you on the shoulders. “Ready?”
As soon as your eyelids close shut a sudden chilly wind blows itself past your shoulders. There is a scream but it is quickly drowned by an intense, almost head-splitting wail. You can’t lift your eyelids even for a glimpse, as if something heavy is pinning them down with great force. The wind gets stronger, and you’re almost blown off the ground but you manage to hold on.
As suddenly as it appeared, the wind disappeared, and you find yourself in a complete silence. Sweats profusely dripping off your face, as the realization that you’ve just gone through something supernatural (and surviving it) has come to bite you. The fight or flight instinct kicks in, but you’re too stunned to even respond to everything.
“Aright, dear, you can open your eyes now~”
Slowly you lift your eyelids.
And you’re tongue-shackled.
Bodies. Just bodies everywhere. Lying on the pavement, covered in blood, having their limbs torn off and their gut disembowelled. Immediately you look away, unable to apprehend the situation. Just… what the hell is going on?
“Oops, it seems someone isn’t used to the idea of mass murder.” The purple lady approaches you and pulls you towards her, planting your face in her hefty chest. “Poor girl, being forced to witness people getting killed and not able to do anything about it… are you alright?” she asks.
You pull yourself away from her. “I don’t think I want to answer that,” you answer wile trying to shrug off the embarrassment of being buried in someone else’s chest. “What did you do to them? I only remember having wind blowing past me, and-”
“Now, now, we can pretend this thing never happens,” the purple lady says and gives out a signal; in an instant her two bodyguards clean up the mess, allowing the purple lady to take you for a short stroll. “Let’s go for a walk, after this I’ll take you home. How about I buy you ice cream?”
You can’t disagree with her, not after what you have gone through. “Better than having to stand in the middle of a crime scene, I guess,” you say.
You and the purple lady leave the harbour. Her bodyguards aren’t following, as they’re still busy cleaning the ‘crime scene’. The purple lady takes you to the nearby shop and, as she promised earlier, buys you the most expensive ice cream you can imagine. Both of you, then, head to the city park to spend the rest of the night eating ice cream and having idle chat over every topic you can think of. After spending a few minutes at the park you and the purple lady head to your apartment, and she bids you farewell before she reunites with her bodyguards.
“Oh, before I forget.” She returns to you. “Alyssa, dear?”
You turn around. “What is it?”
“Let me tell you something,” the purple lady speaks. “You don’t belong here. You belong to where your mother comes from. You can keep denying your heritage all the way you like… but sooner or later, you’ll come to embrace your true self.” You stare at her for a long time, again making her bodyguards to shoot hostile glares before she dismisses them.
“What now? You aren’t going to take me there right now, are you?” you ask.
The purple lady laughs. “Oh, Alyssa, don’t be so naïve! I only kidnap young and promising boys! Now way I’d go as far as abducting you, but if you like, I can do it~” The immediate thought of being bound and gagged, and dominated as the purple lady cackles deviously is more than enough to make you shudder. Goddamn it, the horror…
She pats your shoulder. “Anyway, I don’t care if you’re taking your family with you or not, but if you’re ready, just ring the bell. I’ll be there for you~”
“Yeah, whatever you say.” You wave at her and walk into your apartment. As soon as the door closes, your legs weaken, and you drop onto your knees. Your vision blurs, your stomach churns, and your ears ring. It’s taken longer than you’d expect, but the effect of witnessing the ‘mass murder’ has finally gotten to you. You grumble and stand up, barely able to keep a steady foot, and head to how your family’s doing.
Sylvia, Reverie and Grandma are sleeping peacefully. You’re relieved. At least didn’t hear you falling onto the floor. You leave them and lie down on the couch. You only hope that you can sleep through the night and forget everything. You sigh; being a transporter is suffering…
“Why, hello there.”
You groan. That voice, you can’t be dreaming again, can you? Opening your eyes, you find yourself staring into the Cheshire cat’s glowing eyes. “What the hell do you want?” you ask, not bothering the fact that you’re once again dressed up the Mad Hatter.
“Not feeling well, hmm?” the Cheshire cat asks.
“You tell me,” you grumble and sit upright. “Had a very bad day, so don’t ask.” You look around. You’re back on the hill, the same place you’ve been at in your previous dreams. “I wouldn’t mind if I were swimming in a pool of golden coins, though.”
“Very funny,” the Cheshire cat remarks.
“Yeah, I’m pretty bad at telling jokes,” you utter.
“Well, now that you’re here, what do you say if we go for a walk?” the Cheshire cat asks and vanishes into thin air, until only its disembodied grin is visible. “I know a place; want to see before you have to, you know, wake up and smell the ashes?”
This is way too ridiculous, but what the hell.
[ ] Well, sure. Lead the way, cat. [ ] No thanks, cat. I’d rather walk on my own.
“No thanks, cat,” you answer. You don’t feel like you want to appreciate a companion right now, not when the said companion happens to be the one of the supporting characters in Alice in Wonderland. “I’d rather walk on my own. Don’t you dare popping out in front of me, okay?”
The cat snickers. “I see. Well, then. Have a pleasant journey~” It waves its bushy tail as if to say goodbye and disappears into thin air. You throw your arms upward in an “I surrender” gesture, and walk down the hill. You don’t want to think too much about the weird feline and head to the first place you saw when you opened your eyes.
Is this reality? Is it a fantasy?
You don’t know. All you’re aware of is that you’re following your footsteps and headed to wherever your inner self wants to go to. You can’t help asking yourself what kind of place you’re in, or the experience you’re going to get from wandering around. Does it really matter, especially when you find yourself arriving at a place?
It’s a human settlement. You don’t remember finding any reference to such place in the story. You walk into the place, intrigued by how few the inhabitants are; even fewer seem to notice you, though they shrug it off as if you don’t even exist. This is a dream, after all, so you wouldn’t think that someone would take note of your presence.
“Hey, you! Waaaaiiiit!!!”
You turn around. There’s a girl running your direction, fleeing several would-be pursuers (they look like maids, but why do they have insect wings?). They’re coming in too fast you don’t have time to react at all. You cross your eyes, embracing yourself for collision, but instead they run through you, almost as if you’re made of wind. You look at where the girl’s headed to and give her a chase of your own, disregarding whether she may notice your or not.
The pursue ends at a stairway. The pursuers are left gasping as the girl cheers over her victory and heads up to whatever place at the end of the stairs. You follow her, only to find yourself arriving at a religious ground. The girl happily skips along the pavement before she’s reunited with a woman who’s sweeping the floor.
That’s the same red-white woman you saw in your earlier dream.
“Mama, guess what? I beat the fairy maids again!” the girl says aloud.
The woman shakes her head in amusement. “Reika, you’re supposed to stay with Patchy and finish your lessons, aren’t you?” she asks.
“I don’t want to,” the girl answers. “Aunt Patchy’s lessons are boring and dull! Oh, did you know, Mama? She told me to wait at Voile while she went to Aunt Alice’s place. Can you imagine how boring it was to wait for her to show up?”
“Then what did you do?” the woman asks.
“I explored the library, of course!” She, then, climbs atop of the shrine and runs across the rooftop before jumping back onto the ground, all in a single, fluid movement that you swear looks a lot like Parkour. Who taught her those moves? “Like this!”
“And then you got caught by the fairy maids who thought you were damaging the library,” the woman says. “I’m surprised Remi didn’t personally chase after you or telling Sakuya to do the bidding, though.”
The girl giggles sheepishly. “Sorry, force of habit,” she apologizes. “But isn’t that what Papa often did? You know, jumping over ledges and zigzagging across the terrain?”
The woman puts aside the broom. She approaches the girl, and after a long, unassuming sigh, ruffles her hair, turning it into messes. A closer inspection on the girl reveals that both she and the woman shares the same dress design, down to the detachable sleeves and decorative frills; the only difference is in the colours, where the girl’s attire is white and black, with golden trimming. Hell, when not taking the colour difference into account, the girl’s basically a carbon copy of the woman.
“Reika, do you want to be like Papa?” the woman asks.
She nods vigorously. “Yes! I want to be like Papa! Papa is the most awesome person in the whole world!”
“Then why don’t you let me train you? You know, physically and mentally?” the woman asks again, a teasing smile carved upon her calm, maternal face.
“I don’t want that, too!” she protests.
“Reika, Reika.” The woman continually ruffles her daughter’s hair, making her squirm in delight. Then she hauls the girl in her arms and cradles her, letting her child cling onto her. “You really inherit a lot of Papa’s traits, you know that?”
The girl giggles. “That’s because I’m a shooting star maiden! Nobody can stop me from flying across the skies!” she proclaims.
The woman smiles and kisses her child on the forehead. “Good thing you came back early. I was just about to cook dinner, want to help?”
The mother-daughter couple walks into the shrine. You’re left alone at the outside, with a thousand questions that just recently appeared inside your head. What’s the deal with the scene you watched just now? How does it relate to you? At the very least, you did learn of the girl’s name. Reika, isn’t it? Such a nice name.
Right. You better figure out how to wake up before you’re stranded in this dreamland for the rest of your life. You pinch your cheeks, slap your face many times, and even bang your head on the pillar. Usually any of the methods would work whenever you need to get out of a weird dream, but for some reason none of them are yielding any result. What the hell?
That red-white woman is outside again. She looks at the direction you’re at, and you’re caught off-guard when she approaches you, her eyes burning in… malice? Oh, crap. She must have noticed your existence!
[ ] Panic. [ ] Flee. [ ] Stay cool, Alyssa. This is just a dream… right?
[X] Stay cool, Alyssa. This is just a dream… right?
Yup, totally a dream and not a case of someone who can also turn intangible to choke you.
Sorry for the delay~!Serial ATA!n7aMCKsvzM2012/09/04 (Tue) 03:35No. 25973▼
[c] Stay cool, Alyssa. This is just a dream… right?
“Y-yes, ma’am?” You gulp when you notice a stick she’s tightly holding. You can only hope she’s not using it to knock yourself out cold. Stay cool, Alyssa; this is just a dream, so in a few seconds she should disappear, and you should be able to wake up.
“Have we… met before?”
You blink. “…no, I’m afraid we haven’t.”
“Oh.” Her previously hostile gaze has softened, and she’s staring at you in curiosity. For some reason, you feel comfortable just by looking at her motherly face. “I thought I was imagining things. Maybe I’m getting old already.” She clenches the bridge between her eyes. She looks troubled; maybe you should have a conversation with her.
“…you know, I really want to leave and wake up- I mean… get back home as soon as possible,” you speak.
“You’re not from around here?” the woman asks.
You shrug. “Ma’am, even if I’m one of the locals, that doesn’t explain why I’m dressed up as a the Mad Hatter. ” She squints, and you’re about to ask when she suddenly thrusts the stick into your chest. It takes you completely by surprise, but strangely you don’t feel anything. You’re bothered when you can see the stick going through your… translucent body; it’s very disturbing.
“A projection,” the woman utters and pulls the stick out. “You’re not a youkai, and you’re not a ghost, but I can sense humanity inside you. Who are you?”
This is getting a bit awkward. “I’m just someone whose soul travels to the dreamland.” You scratch the back of your head. “Right now… I’m wondering why she’s in this strange place while being dressed up as a mad hatter.”
She rubs her hand against her chest, breathing out in relief. “Thank goodness. If you’re one of the lost souls, I don’t want to listen to her preaches if I send you back to Higan.” Higan? It must be one hell of a place if she makes the kind of reaction you just saw. “If that’s the case, why don’t you go back to your world and wake up? It’s not to have your soul wander in the dreamland for too long.” Is it you, or is she slightly blushing? “Plus, I don’t want people to think strangely of me if they see me talking with a man-”
“Ma’am, I’m a girl,” you correct her.
“A-ah, you are?” Embarrassed by the correction, she laughs. “I’m so sorry, but I swear you look like one!” You palm your face. This is why you don’t want people to think of you as a husband or daddy. Good grief, when will they stop mistaking you as someone from the opposite gender?
“Oh, I’m sorry! Reika’s probably trying to cut the vegetables on her own. Please excuse me.” She bows to you and returns to the shrine. Well, that was unexpected, but you don’t want to think too much of it. You turn back to the stairways and begin your descend, only to halt when the woman returns to you. What is it this time? “I’m sorry, but I forgot to ask your name,” she says.
It’s not your nature to share your name with strangers – or at least, your clients - but her presence demands that you do so. “Alyssa. Alyssa Kirisame.” Her face changes at the mention of your surname. For perhaps the longest minute in your life, she stares at you, as if you’re someone she holds very dearly. “Uhh… ma’am?”
“A-Alyssa, isn’t it? That’s a nice name, really,” she says and laughs again. “Oh, maybe it’s just a coincidence both of you have the same name.” She shrugs off her doubt and corrects her attire. “My name is Reimu Hakurei. Pleased to meet you, Alyssa.”
You nod. “My pleasure, ma’am.”
“I’m looking forward to meet you again… when you’re not a wandering soul?” She laughs for the third time, but it doesn’t bother you much. In fact, seeing her acting so youthfully makes you feel peaceful. You wonder why…
“Anyway, please have a safe journey home, Alyssa,” Reimu says.
“Same to you, ma’am.” You pause, and realizing you have erred, you lower your face to hide your embarrassment from view. “Wait, you’re already at home. Sorry.” She smiles and bows to you again before heading back to the shrine and reunited with her anxious-looking child.
You burn the names at the back of your head as you descend down the stairway. You probably don’t want to meet them under current circumstance, though you’re unsure if you could see them again in the future. - - You’re back at the human settlement. The maids are still there, and they’re discussing over something as they’re catching their breath near a dragon-shaped statue. You keep yourself at a safe distance; you don’t want to get caught in whatever shenanigan the maids are plotting, even though it was Reika who had brought them trouble in the first place – or so you wanted to assume.
You put your hand inside one of the coat’s many pockets, and take the item out. It’s a pocket watch. You look at the time, and then at the sky. You realize you should end your journey through the dreamland and wake up fast.
“Had fun walking around?”
You glance over your left shoulder. The Cheshire cat has returned, and its annoying smile is ever present on its face. “Get off me,” you utter and push the cat off your shoulder. “I’m not going anywhere after this. Send me back home, and we call this even.”
“Oh, reeeeeeally noooow?” The Cheshire cat waves its paw at your face, and suddenly you find yourself standing near the edge of a cliff. What the hell did it just do? “But I thought you wanted to stay here for a bit loooooongeeeer~” it speaks while coiling itself around your neck.
“Look, cat.” You push the cat away from you. You face the cat, folding your arms as if to show the cat how seriously pissed you are. “You seriously make me look like a complete idiot. Are you sending me home or not?” you ask.
“But I am not,” the Cheshire cat protests. “Or is it because you don’t want to go back home and want to see the woman again? What was her name again? Reimu, wasn’t it?” Goddamn it, this cat, how seriously you wish you could just kick it off the cliff while angrily yelling at it to shut up.
“Too bad your time hasn’t come yet.” Is it you, or did you just see the purple lady’s voice in the cat’s speech? “Because it is time for you to wake up and smell the ashes. Knock, knock, Alyssa~”
You stare at the cat. It’s distancing itself away from you- no, you’re the one who’s moving away from it. The second thing you see is the edge of the cliff, and you realize this can only mean one thing.
And now for something completely different: POV switch~
“Anyway, please have a safe journey home, Alyssa.”
“Same to you, ma’am. Wait, you’re already at home. Sorry.”
You bow to the girl again. You head back to the shrine and greet the anxious-looking Reika. “Mama, what’s wrong? You suddenly left the kitchen and went outside,” she asks.
You merely smile and pat the girl’s head. “Nothing, Reika. Nothing.” Reika squirms at your playful ruffling on her head before you let go off her. “Did you try to cut the vegetables again?” you ask.
“Mama! Do I look like a knife juggler to you?” she protests.
“No, you’re not, because you want to be just like Papa.” You pat her again before you walk into the shrine, but not before you throw your sight at where the girl had stood. A strange, almost heartening feeling surges inside you when you recall the name. Maybe you can hear stories about her the next time you meet.
Something warm flows down your cheek. It reaches your lips, and it tastes salty. You place a finger upon your lips, and a realization suddenly hits you hard.
Slowly, very slowly, you open your eyes. You’re back at your apartment, and it takes you a few second to realize that you fell off the couch. Finally, you’re out of the terrible dream. Good grief, the timing couldn’t have been worse.
“Uhh… oh, hey, Sylvia, Reverie… morning,” you greet them lazily.
“Daddy, why are you sleeping on the floor?” the seemingly confused Reverie asks.
You scratch your head. “…must have had a bad dream last night,” you utter. You feel something soft pressing against your chest, and you know why: a teddy bear is placed upon you, and you kind of know who did it.
Sylvia pulls you onto your feet. “Did I miss breakfast?” you ask. She shakes her head and informs that she and Reverie are just getting ready to prepare one. “Let me guess: chicken pie and jasmine tea, right? I was wondering why I couldn’t smell anything just now,” you utter.
“Oh, yes! Daddy, I found this stuck underneath the door,” Reverie says while showing you an envelope.
“A letter?” You take the letter from Reverie and read its content. “Another delivery to be done today,” you mutter in low voice.
“Excuse me?” Reverie asks.
“Nothing at all, nothing,” you shrug. “Anyway, can both of you go ahead without me? I need to take a shower first, so-” You yelp in surprise when Sylvia snatches your hand and drags you towards the bathroom. “Oh, come on! You always drag me each time we’re taking a bath!” you cry out as she pushes you into the shower. She smiles gleefully as she strips you down to the bare skin, and you futilely try covering your modesty.
Reverie peeks from behind the corner, seemingly horrified by the sudden act. You throw your sight at her, hoping that she steps in and pulls Sylvia away. Instead, she clasps her hands together and mutters something under her breath before she leaves. Damn it, where the hell is Morning Rescue when you need it?! - - Half an hour (and many hassles) later, you’re done. You’re not very happy with the situation you’re in, more so since it was Sylvia who dragged you into trouble. She doesn’t notice your plight as she’s busy braiding your hair, humming happily and victoriously all the way. This is why you don’t fancy sharing bathroom with your wife – or anyone else. It’s detrimental to your privacy, and you don’t like poking at someone else’s private affair, either.
It’s too late to complain. Your head drops in defeat, allowing Sylvia to do whatever she wishes upon you. Oh, well…
“Say, Sylvia.” She stops braiding your hair and looks at you. “What would you say if I were to tell you that I didn’t come from this place?” You pause, just because you’re having a flashback of your meeting with the red-white woman. Her warm, maternal smile can be felt right now, despite the fact that you never met or knew her in the first place… how you wish you could prolong your journey in the dreamland…
Taking a deep breath, you continue: “…like, I’m totally out of this world?” She tilts her head, almost as if she’s saying ‘pardon?’ “What am I trying to say is…” Your words get stuck inside your throat; struggle as you may, they won’t come out. You shake your head; this is not going anywhere. “…never mind. Just forget it,” you mumble.
You feel your hand gently squeezed. You turn to Sylvia; she’s caringly staring at you. You chuckle weakly and squeeze her hand in return. “Yeah, I guess this isn’t the right to talk about it.” She leans forward, and her lips meet yours as she gently kisses you. She lets go off you before you can return the kiss, and smiles coyly as she places a finger upon your mouth. “Always the sneaky one, aren’t you?” you say jokingly.
Sylvia’s done braiding your hair. You inspect your hairstyle, nod in approval, and fetch your fedora. You grab Sylvia’s hand, smile at her, and join Reverie at the kitchen. She’s clearly furious over your lateness, but quickly wipes off her pout as she greets both of you. “Breakfast’s getting cold already, you know,” she says as she prepares the dishes.
“Blame your mom for holding me up.” Sylvia promptly pinches you on the waist, causing you to yelp. “What? As if you wouldn’t mind braiding my hair for the entire day,” you scoff. This causes Sylvia to puff her cheeks indignantly at you, and you realize it only enhances her cuteness. “Oh, alright, I’ll stop complaining,” you shrug and turn your attention to breakfast. “Alright, everyone. First, breakfast. Next, world domination.”
“Hooray!” Reverie cheers. - - “Say, Daddy, can I ask you something?” Reverie asks as she finishes the last piece of pie.
“Sure, go ahead,” you reply.
“How did you and Mommy exactly meet in the first place?” You put down the cutleries and stare at the girl. “I tried asking Grandma about your actual relationship with Mommy, but she didn’t tell me a thing. Oh, I almost forgot! Were you dreaming about the wonderland, by any chance?”
“Reverie, did you hear me sleep-talking last night?” you ask.
“More like screaming,” she answers. “Mommy was worried that you might wake the neighbours, so…” You pinch the bridge between your eyes. You seriously don’t want to discuss about this matter over the table. You look back at Reverie, noticing that she’s sulking. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to cheer you up,” she mutters in apology.
“I tell you this. How about the three of us go celebrate my birthday this evening, after work?” you say. “I know it’s already late for a party, but it’s better late than never, I guess.”
The girl smiles. “Okay!” - - You bid farewell to your family and leave the apartment. It’s still early in the morning, and you figure you could do some Parkour before heading to work. And Parkour you do, as you sprint across the streets, vault over obstacles, climb city blocks and outrunning Officer Howard – like you’ve always done for many years. Nothing beats the delight of leaving your slightly overweight (but still somewhat athletic) archenemy behind-
You almost run into a parked car, but you manage to somersault over the vehicle. There’s no time to celebrate, as Officer Howard’s already closing in. “I’ll buy you coffee and donuts after this, just you wait!” you yell and continue your sprint.
“Come back here, you wretched transporter!!” His voice sounds so distant, and it quickly gets drowned by the bustling noise of the streets. You feel somewhat pity for him; had both of you not been standing at the opposite side of the river, you and Officer Howard could be the best of buddies. Perhaps one day, when you have a safer alternative to this lifestyle…
You take a break at the city park. You’re all worked up, and you’re ready to take on anything. First thing first, the letter you brought along. You open it up and read its contents again. Amidst the poor, almost childlike, hand writing (and you have trouble reading it, too!) it only instructs you to go to the cemetery, and doesn’t mention anything else. You have an unpleasant feeling about this, but…
[ ] Follow the instruction. [ ] Don’t follow the instruction.
I really want to wrap up this arc as soon as possible so that we can start our Gensokyo misadventures right away and steal some more precious things, too~[/s] but alas! I’m but a lazy writefag.
You shrug. Well, there’s no use not checking the situation. After all, you’re going to have another potential customer, so what could possibly go wrong? You follow the instruction and make your way to the cemetery. You don’t know what to expect, since every client poses unique challenge, but you’re ready for anything.
After another lengthy Parkour session, you arrive at your destination. You look around for any sign of people – or anything that moves – and spot three figures standing near a tombstone. Approaching them, you expect them to be a family wanting to pay respect to their beloved one,
Your steps grind to a halt.
That purple lady, what is she doing here? Moreover, why is she with her bodyguards?
She turns around. Oh, shit. You better hide right now before- “Oh, my~ fancy meeting you here.” You ignore the woman and head to the entrance gate, but you relent and turn back. “Now, now, Alyssa. Come over here, we have a lot to talk about today,” she says. “Tell me, what are you doing in this place?”
“What am I doing here? Look, which one of you sent the letter to my house?” you demand. The purple lady turns to the bodyguard with spiky ear hat, who in turns looks at the cat-eared bodyguard. You’re infuriated by their reluctance to claim responsibility. “What the hell? You’re trying to waste my time, aren’t you?”
“Nuh-uh~ we didn’t say we were going to, but enough talk!” The purple lady points her paper fan at you. “So, Alyssa! Are you ready to jump into the rabbit hole and enter the wonderland? I can’t wait to show you around and introduce you to the people~”
You frown in disgust. You’ve had enough of this fool’s game. You really need to say ‘no’ to them, and let them know what you really feel after all this time. “What?” you reply and fold your arms. “You’d think I’d just abandon Sylvia and Reverie while I rediscover my root?” you ask. It does the trick, because the purple lady is staring at you in surprise. “Let me get you straight to this point: I’m not going to leave my significant others behind.”
“Jeez, Alyssa, you don’t have to be this rude toward your caretaker,” she says in genuine dejection.
“Because I have a family to take care of, that’s why,” you tell her. “Look, if you don’t nave anything else to tell me, I suggest that we both part way.” You turn around and head back to the front gate, but soon you find yourself confronting a group of individuals wearing black. Your stomach suddenly churns when the memories of the unpleasant encounter at the port reappears at the back of your head.
“Can we talk?” They withdraw their handguns and aim at you. “Oh, I guess we should resort to non-violence method, right mate?”
“My~ what do we have here?” The purple lady pulls your shoulder as she walks forward. “I wonder if we have met in our previous life, boys. What do you seek from this young girl, if I may ask?”
“Anyone affiliated with the transporter is subject to immediate extermination,” one of the men in black said and cocked his handgun. “We apologize for the trouble, but we must get rid of you as well.”
“My, how gentlemanly of you. I like the mannerism, but…” You flinch when you see the air behind her bulging and cracking into a… gap? “Well, what do you know about me, boys?” she asks and brings her hand to the left- wait a minute. The bulge multiplies and grows in size! What the hell did she just do?
“What on are you doing?” The purple lady smirks and brings her forward. Sticking out of the gaps are weapons of various size and type, and she’s aiming them at the men in black.
“I don’t know about your employers’ policy, but didn’t they remind you about not making too much noise over someone’s dead body?” the purple lady says. “Well, I don’t have time to meddle with you lowly lives, boys… so say hello to my little friends~”
All guns are blazing. The men in black are shredded to pieces. You stand frozen, unable to move as the shootout plays itself, straight from a gangster movie of the thirties. Your instinct is telling you to run, but the rest of your body refuses to budge even an inch. It’s almost as if this woman wants you to bear witness to her otherworldly power.
The firing stops and the weapons slowly retreat into the gaps.. “See, Alyssa? I told you before. You don’t belong to this world,” the purple lady says as she turns to you.
You’re finally able to move. The first thing you do is to cover your mouth, resisting the urge to throw up. You want to argue with her over the ordeal, but your head is advising you not to do it. “F-fine, you win.” The purple lady smiles and discards the gaps with a hand wave. “You can take me – and my family – with you, but first!” You throw a gesture to the woman. “Just… let me talk to them first.”
“Oh, are you going to say farewell to everyone? Alright, then.” She snaps her fingers, and her bodyguards approach you. “Very well. You have until midnight to do so. Use the time wisely,” she tells you.
You just watch as the woman walks into a gap, and turn your attention to her bodyguards. “Miss Yukari requested that both of us escort you wherever you go,” the person with the spike-eared headgear speaks.
“Yukari? So that’s her name?” you murmur. You look back at the dead bodies. “Come on. I don’t want the police to sniff this out.” You leave the cemetery with the bodyguards closely following you. After about three blocks, your stomach decides to give up, so you head to an empty corner of the street and throw up, emptying whatever content from your stomach onto the pavement.
“Here,” the bodyguard says and gives you a bottle of water. “Wash your mouth with it. Nobody wants to smell that horrible stench from you.”
“Thanks, I really need this.” You rinse your mouth, spit the water and repeat the process. “I guess we don’t have to introduce to each other, huh?”
“Not really, since Miss Yukari never instructs us to do so, but I’ll do it for the sake of politeness,” the bodyguard says. “My name is Ran, and this is my shi- partner, Chen.”
“Hello!” the petite bodyguard greets.
“You are Alyssa, am I correct?” You nod and clean your mouth again to get rid of the remaining barf. “First and foremost, allow me to apologize on behalf of Miss Yukari. She has planned everything from the start, and my guess that she doesn’t reveal it to you, yes?”
You shrug. “Never. Not even a single letter.”
“I see. She’s… eccentric, if your logic wants to believe, but it’s to be expected from Miss Yukari,” Ran continues. “Well, then. Where would you like to go, Miss Alyssa?”
“To Grandma’s shop, first and foremost.” You take a deep breath; after what you’ve gone through, you’re feeling very relieved. You head to the shop, hoping that Grandma is present so that you can explain everything to her.
Strange; you didn’t remember the building undergoing a renovation as you arrive. You approach one of the people supervising the activity, and are surprised to find Officer Howard among them. “Whoa, whoa, what the hell is going on here?” you ask.
“The city council is converting the building lot into an art museum,” Officer Howard explains.
“But Butterfly Shoppe is right there!” you bark. You try approaching the shop only to be obstructed by several construction workers.
“There is no Butterfly Shoppe in Melbourne,” Officer Howard tells you. “It doesn’t exist.”
“What do you mean the shop does not exist!?” You grab Officer Howard’s collar. “I’ve been her visitor for the past ten years! Am I to be denied even an explanation?”
“Calm down, Kirisame. Calm down!” Officer Howard shouts. You tighten your grab before you reluctantly let go off him. “Seriously, what’s gotten into you? Throughout my service with the police department, I never heard of anyone opening a Butterfly Shoppe in this district.” He puts his hands on your shoulders. “Come on now. You look tired, are you alright? I’ll look into this matter for your favour, okay?” For the first time in your life, he speaks in soft, almost fatherly, tone; it’s almost as if he wants to comfort you.
“I…” You brush off his hands. “No, I am not fine.” You leave the middle-aged police officer without saying anything. You head to Andrew’s bookstore, and your jaw almost drops to the pavement at what you’re seeing. “No way,” you utter and approach the locked door. “No freaking way! This one, too?!” You start panicking; this can’t be happening, there has to be a logical explanation.
That’s right! You take out your mobile phone and dial in O’Brien’s phone number. Anxiously you wait, hoping that she’ll answer the call. Instead, you’re directed to the operator who informs you that the number does not exist. Suddenly the world around you turns grey. It’s like everything you’ve known is made up, everything you’ve believed in just a fantasy.
You turn around to face Ran and Chen. You approach the tall woman, and without a second thought, rest your head upon her chest. “Tell me… am I living in a world full of lies?” you murmur, trying your best not to sob.
“I’m sorry,” Ran apologizes as she soothingly rubs your back. “I wish I could tell you the exact answer.” She pulls her hand off you. You brace yourself for rejection. Then she wraps her arms around you as she starts cuddling you. “Is there anything else you’d like to do?”
“…I don’t think I want to do anything now,” you mutter. You’ve given up everything, there’s no way you can believe anything anymore. “I… I just want to be held like this.” You cling onto the woman. So soft, so warm… how you wished you could relive this experience…
“Miss Ran, can we go for a walk?” Chen asks. “I saw an amusement back then. I want to go there before midnight.”
“Good idea, Chen. As a matter of fact.” Ran gently pushes you away from her chest. “You don’t mind if you become our tourist guide for a day?” She chuckles at the sight of your sulking face. “Come on, now. Miss Yukari often tells us you’re always upbeat and cheerful. Why don’t you show that to us?”
“I…” You sigh. “Yeah, maybe you’re right.” You wipe off your tears and make the best effort to smile. “Let’s go to the restaurant. Is anyone of you hungry?”
“Me! Me!” Chen answers.
“Oh, you don’t have to be this generous,” Ran says.
“Come on, you’re tourists, I’m just showing you the best place to dine in,” you tell her. “And don’t worry. I’m paying.”
[ ] Hey Jude. [ ] Soldier of Fortune. [ ] Still Got the Blues. [ ] Stairway to Heaven.
Ominous choice is ominous, I know. I just ran out of ideas for the votes.
i][c] Hey Jude. Background music of the day. [c] Perspective switch: Sylvia.[/i]
You pump your fist. It’s a success, for you have finished cooking chicken mushroom soup. You spin on the tip of your foot, dancing to celebrate your success. It’s unfortunate that your beloved one isn’t with you, or you could ask her for a second opinion. It doesn’t matter, anyway, as you can imagine Alyssa complimenting you on the food, before suddenly swooping you in her arms and carrying you into the room; your heart pounds crazily against your ribcage as she lays you down on the bed and looms over you, smiling before she bends down and claims your parted lips-
-you shake your head. No, Sylvia, no! This is not the right time for intimate imagination! You slap yourself on the face many times and focus on your housework. You kill off the fire and head to the living room, letting the soup cool down for a while. You notice Reverie running her finger through Alyssa’s old record collection, and she turns to you, seemingly in disappointment. “Why there are only beetles and rolling stones?” she asks.
You just smile and take one of the vinyl discs. Truth to be told, you don’t know the answer. What you do know is Alyssa has taken a liking to bands from old eras, especially The Beatles, for as long as you can remember. You don’t really like them, but Alyssa’s persistence to collect their music albums eventually turned you into a convert, and since then you often play their songs. You wouldn’t expect anyone else to share the same fondness, but it wouldn’t hurt to show them.
You ask Reverie to step aside as you put the vinyl into the record player. You fiddle with the vintage instrument to get it to work. Satisfied it finally starts running you adjust the needle at the beginning of the vinyl and wait for the song to play. As the first line of the lyrics is played, you close your eyes and nod your head with the rhythm. It’s Alyssa’s most favourite song, and she never misses playing it.
Right. The soup might have become cold at this time. You ask Reverie to help you preparing the table while you carry the pot to the dining room. With that done, you take your phone and send text message to Alyssa; you don’t expect her to take a break during her work, but if she does you want her to come home for lunch. You press the ‘send’ button, and cross your fingers in hope that she’d reply the message. After a few minutes, however, you receive nothing. Not even a missed call, you huff in disappointment. You shrug; she’s busy after all, she may not have the time to check her phone.
Oh, she’s coming home! You knew she’d respond to message. You approach the door and open it, ready to give her a welcoming hug and-
You jerk away. You realize you’re hugging a wrong person! Frantically you bow apologetically to the person- wait a minute. Why is there a visitor at your doorstep? You don’t remember inviting anyone to lunch. You stare at the person long enough to cause her to laugh. “Well, dear, why don’t you let me come in?” she asks.
Ah, yes! You bow again and invite her in. This is somehow strange. You don’t know this person at all, and yet you’re leading her to the dining table. You try not showing your reaction, instead you politely ask her to sit as you prepare the meal.
“Oh, hey! You’re the woman Grandpa met during the New Year party!” You and your visitor turn to Reverie, who doesn’t seem to be bothered by her presence.
“Why, hello there, though I don’t remember seeing you back then,” she replies. Reverie grins, as if she’s being praised over her concealed observation skill. You remain wary over her presence or reason for showing up; not even her maternal smile as she engages in a conversation with Reverie can hide the fact that she’s a stranger.
The woman seems to have noticed your doubt because she turns at you and smiles. “Sylvia dear, it’s not polite to bear suspicion toward your visitor.” Huh? Wait, how did she know your name? “Come now, sit down and have a nice, warm chat with me. What do you say?”
You want to refuse. You really want to say ‘no’ to her, but… how can you resist those oh-so-charming eyes? You sigh and sit down, taking your place next to the woman. No words are spoken as you serve the woman as you’d do to your visitors. You’re startled when the woman grabs your hand, and you find yourself unable to move as she stares into your eyes.
“You’d think I’m one of those people who would take advantages over your handicap, dear?” she asks and clenches her grab, causing you to wince in pain. “I can tell that you’re afraid of me. Tell me, and try to be honest. I’m not going to eat you, alright~”
[ ] Admit it, and tell her why. [ ] Deny it. You’re not scared!
Grandma always reminds you to be honest, no matter how bitter the truth may be. Considering this visitor of yours is anticipating an answer, and how tightly she’s clenching your wrist, you don’t want to give her a bad impression if you were to tell a lie.
You yank your hand free. It hurts, and you glare at her while rubbing your aching wrist. “Now, now, dear~ don’t be angry, I didn’t mean it,” she says dismissively.
Correcting your posture and adjusting your dress, you sit down and introduce yourself to her using sign language. You keep making hand gestures before you stop, your face frozen solid. You realize not all people can understand you. Oh dear, you’ve made yourself completely foolish.
You feel your head softly patted. You look up at the woman. “Come on now, there’s no need to be embarrassed,” she talks in soft, almost maternal voice. “I understand you’re trying to tell me something, so go ahead. I’ll pretend I can hear you.” You stare at her in concern; you don’t want your audience to pretend they can hear you. You want to make sure your message is conveyed to everyone.
“Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Did Alyssa bring in a box yesterday? Or days before?” the woman asks. A box? You look around the living room and spot a box near the shoe cabinet. You don’t remember seeing it before, but it must be the box this woman is talking about. You carry the box and put it in front of her, letting her see its content. “Now where it is… I swear it was here… oh, here it is.” Smiling, she takes out an item and shows it to you. “Do you know what it is?”
You pout. Is she making fun of you? Of course you know what the item is. It’s a book!
“Here,” the woman says and gives you the book. “Tell me what you think.” You flip through the pages, and yet your head already aches just from seeing the characters you can’t even read. You return the book, saying that you’ve given it up. “I see. Well, it’s understandable in your case. Not everybody can read Japanese,” she says. “The book belongs to Alyssa’s mother. Your precious one’s supposed to claim her ownership over it on her birthday, but I guess she might have taken it for granted.”
You tilt your head. You’re confused; you’ve never heard about this matter from Alyssa or anybody else.
“Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to tell you today,” the woman continues. “You see, Alyssa’s being invited by me¸to visit her hometown, but I’m pretty sure she won’t go anywhere without taking her family along.”
Come to think about it, this is also your first time you’ve heard of Alyssa’s hometown. She never talks about it, so this kind of demands a further explanation.
“I already agreed that she can take you and the young girl over there,” she continues and points her fan at Reverie. “The problem is… even though she agreed, dear, would you be willing to go with her wherever she’d go?”
“We’re going to visit Daddy’s hometown? Where is it? Where is it? Tell me!” Reverie asks.
You stare at the woman. She chuckles dismissively and takes out a piece of paper from the book that you didn’t notice earlier. She shows it to you; it’s a map, and it has characters and symbols dotting across the paper that you don’t recognize. What’s most intriguing, however, is the land mass drawn in the map. It’s clearly not Australia or any continent, so what is it?
[ ] You will go, and you won’t ask anymore questions. [ ] You will go, but you have more questions to ask. [ ] You will not go. She’s a stranger; you should not go with strangers.
[c] You will go, but you have more questions to ask.
You want to trust this woman, but you don’t know how far you should trust her. Whatever her reason may be, you know her intention is good. There’s only one way to find out.
You ask the woman to bend forward. She obliges, and you tiptoe as you’re trying to reach her face. You place your hands on both sides of her face, trying to keep her from pulling away. You hesitate for a while, and then…
As quickly as possible you back away from her. You don’t know what you’ve done, but you know for sure you’ve made a promise of your own. You’re blushing, she’s blushing, and you know for sure Sylvia is blushing, too. “Oh, my~” The woman places her fingers upon her cheek, right at where you placed your lips. “A kiss? You know how to make an older woman flush, you know that~?”
You shake your head. That’s how you make a promise! Jeez, you don’t like it when people understand it wrong! Even Alyssa can see it.
The woman laughs – perhaps, heartily, because you, too find yourself chuckling. “Alright, then!” The woman sticks out her pinkie. “Let’s do this. This is what people at our place always do whenever they’re making a promise. Plus, I’ll let you ask me any questions, and all questions.”
You tilt your head. Why would they do this?
“Well?” She’s getting impatient, and you don’t want to make her wait, so you stick out your pinkie and hook it with hers. She smiles, and when you think she’s letting you go, she sings a song.
指切りげんまん、 うそ ついたら 針 千本 飲ます 指切った。
You don’t get what she’s saying, but you decide to let her finish her song. “There, all done,” the woman says and releases your finger. “A promise is a promise, and I will do my best to cherish it.”
“I cross my heart and hope to die,” she says and makes a cross gesture on her chest. “And that also applies to you, dear,” she tells Reverie. “Auntie is not going to forget her promise she made today.”
“Aw, are you leaving already?” Reverie asks.
“Unfortunately, I have works to do after this,” the woman replies and pats her on the head. “Oh, Sylvia? Maybe you should spend the remaining time you have here to the fullest. Who knows when you’re unable to relive the past~” Somehow those words are making you feel uneasy, and the fact that she’s smiling at you only serves to unnerve you…
Lunchtime ends without anyone of you saying anything, apart from the occasional jokes Reverie and the woman are exchanging. The woman thanks you for inviting her to lunch and excuses herself as she’s leaving. You never get to learn her name, but perhaps it isn’t your time yet. You spend the rest of the afternoon washing dishes and cleaning the apartment with Reverie, but soon you find the routine becoming dull and uninteresting. Maybe you should do something else to keep yourself occupied…
[ ] Wait for Alyssa to come home. [ ] Check the box and its contents. [ ] Go out for a walk. - [ ] Harbour. - [ ] City park. - [ ] There’s a new amusement park. Maybe we should go there.
[X] Wait for Alyssa to come home. - [x] Take a moment to enjoy all the things ans small oddities in your home you've taken for granted. From the seemingly meaningless stain on the wall to the small nook in which you stored personal things from time to time. The purple lady's words leave you uneasy, and you do not know when you will see home again, if ever. - [x] Spend time with Reverie and assure her that no matter what happens or where this family goes, you will be there for her.
Can we have multiple POV's (Both Alysaa's and Sylvia's)? If we can, my vote's for
Maybe you should just wait for Alyssa to come home. She’ll show up soon, that’s for sure. Deciding not to worry over it too much, you put down the broom you’ve used and switch the vinyl inside the player for a different album. You sit on the couch and are quickly joined by Reverie who sits on your lap. The two of you cuddle each other as you spend the evening listening to the Beatles.
Your mind wanders off. If what your mysterious visitor said about moving to the new place with Alyssa is true, then this will be the last time you can enjoy your life in Melbourne. You find yourself wanting to cry; you don’t want to leave this city and all the memories you’ve shared with her. This is your home, your birthplace, and you absolutely do not want to abandon it.
“Mom?” You tighten your arms around Reverie. There’s nothing you want to say except to tighten the embrace. She’s confused, you can tell, and there’s no way you’re going to let her know the dilemma you’re facing. You feel your arms weaken as Reverie returns the hug, and you bury your face in her scalp, trying very hard to suppress your tears.
“I should tell Grandpa that I’m coming with you,” Reverie tells you. “Can I make a phone call to my house?” You quickly wipe off your tears and let go off her. It’s for her benefit, as far as you concerned. “I’ll be back, Mom,” she tells you and goes to make a phone call.
You yawn. It’s been a tiring evening, and you don’t want to think of anything else for the rest of the day. As you slowly fall asleep on the couch, you just hope Alyssa would say no to your mysterious visitor…
“That was fun!” Chen exclaims. “Can we go here again? I want to ride the roller coaster again!”
“Unfortunately, we won’t be venturing to the outside world for a while, Chen,” Ran tells her. “Even if we were to revisit this place, it’s well past its closing hour.”
“Aw!” she whines. “Where else should I go have fun?”
You pay no attention to them. It’s getting late, and you should go home. You don’t want to spend any remaining time you have in Melbourne; you’re tired, and you want to call it a day. “Come on, everyone, I want to go home,” you tell them.
“Already? The night’s still young, you know,” Ran says. “Someone around your age ought to party for the entire night, especially in this part of the world.”
“You’re kidding me, right? I think Sylvia and Reverie are worried to death right now,” you reply.
“I understand,” she replies. “You have a family. Of course they’re more important than your leisure.”
After having to convince Chen to leave the amusement park (you even have to buy the girl a bucketful of ice cream as to appease her) you walk to the apartment alongside your unlikely companions. You’re about to bid them farewell when you spot a black limousine approaching you, and quickly ask them to enter the building first. Your stomach churns as the limousine parks near you, thinking that they might be sending more people to get rid of you. Turns out you have erred, as it’s the old man who walks out of the vehicle.
He doesn’t seem to be pleased, though.
“Reverie called me this evening,” he tells you. “It’s true that you’re moving out, aren’t you?” Wait. What? How did he know? Hold on, nobody said anything about moving out.
“I need a bit of clarification on that part, Gramps,” you answer.
“I don’t care where you’re going, and personally, I don’t care if you’re going to live under a new name,” the old man says. “You have a death warrant hanging over your head, so it’s your right to protect yourself and your family.”
“Gramps, I’ve faced death so many times I’ve forgotten how much the price of my head is,” you tell him.
“I know. You’re the untouchable shooting star of Melbourne. If you really have to leave,” he continues and pats your shoulder. “Please take a good care of my granddaughter. Just… think of it as doing this old man a favour.”
He came all the way to your place just to ask you to look after Reverie? He should have come up with a better excuse than this. “Come on, now.” You give his hand a soft pat, squeeze it tightly, and smile at him. “Do you even know who I am? I’m a transporter, and a transporter never breaks her promise. I’ll even make sure she calls you once in a while.”
“I’m guessing we won’t be seeing each other for a long time after, yes?” the old man asks. “I’m going to miss your antics after this, that’s for sure.”
“Stop being so melancholic, Gramps. You’re making me feel so miserable.”
He chuckles. “Here. I want you to have this.” He takes your hand and places an item upon it. You examine it, realizing that it’s a family pendant. “Just in case Reverie misses her dear grandfather too much,” he says jokingly. You know he isn’t, judging from the tone in his voice.
You clench the pendant. “I will, Gramps.” You put it inside your pocket and approach the old man. You’re hesitant for a moment, before you hug him. “I owe you a lot for what you’ve done to me and Sylvia along these years,” you murmur as you tighten your arms around him. “Thanks, Gramps.”
“No need to thank me, Alyssa,” he says as he returns the hug. “I’ve long thought of you as a part of my family.”
You wave the old man goodbye, and silently watch as the limousine leaves. Your heart skips at the thought of actually saying farewell to someone who’s very close to you, perhaps closer than you’ve thought. You shake off all melancholic thoughts and make haste to your apartment. “Who might that be?” Ran asks as you reunite with them.
“Nothing to worry about. Just bidding farewell to an old friend,” you tell her. “Say, Miss Ran?”
“Yes, Alyssa dear?”
“I know it’s too much of a request.” You pause as you’re about to open the door to your apartment. “But can both of you stay for tonight?” you ask. “That purple lady said I only have time until midnight before departure… can’t she just let me pack up all my stuffs first?”
“Knowing her, there probably won’t be any delay,” Ran answers. “But I do believe she doesn’t want to burden you with the tight schedule.”
You smile faintly. “Thanks. I owe you one.”
You invite them in. Once again, your heart skips at the sight of Sylvia and Reverie sleeping on the couch, seemingly unaware that their beloved one has come home. If they’re aware of your dilemma, you don’t want to ask about it as you carry Sylvia to your room and ask Ran to take Reverie along.
“Your family, I assume,” she says as you throw the blanket over them.
“Probably the most cherished,” you answer. You head back to the living room and start packing. “Miss Ran, if you don’t mind me asking,” you speak as you put all the vinyl discs into a box. “Do you know a thing or two about the place I’m going to return to?”
Ran chuckles. “I do, as a matter of fact, but why do you ask? Oh, I get it. Cultural shock.”
You grumble at the nonchalant response. “Do I look like someone who can handle cultural shock?”
“Not really,” she says as she and Chen help you with the packing. “But as the saying goes, the best birthday present is the one you don’t see it coming.” You pout. Now she reminds you of your much-delayed birthday party.
“Birthday present? Does it call for a birthday party, Miss Ran?” Chen asks.
“Knowing everyone, a welcoming party will be very inevitable,” Ran answers. “I sure hope Alyssa’s used to parties by the time she arrives.” Suddenly you dread the day you’re forced to have a nightly party for your entire life…
“It’s already half past eleven, and I’m sure Miss Yukari will show up anytime soon,” Ran says and puts the last box on the floor.
“That’s the last of them,” you utter. “All that’s left is the furniture, though I don’t think I need them.”
“Take your deserved sleep, Alyssa. I’ll talk with her about postponing your trip to tomorrow.”
Looking back at the empty living room, you can’t help feeling sad to leave your apartment after living for more than a decade under its roof. It may be better if you do, seeing how you don’t have anything left in Melbourne anymore. “You sure you can convince her?” you ask.
“If she refuses to budge, I’ll just throw her out of the window,” she says jokingly.
You sigh. “Fine. Goodnight, Miss Ran. Goodnight, Chen.”
“Goodnight, Alyssa,” Chen says cheerfully. “Oh, after you’ve moved, can you come over to my place and play with me?” She turns to Ran. “Can you let her come to Mayohiga, Miss Ran? Please say she can. Pretty please?”
“Of course she can,” Ran answers.
You don’t think you want to see both of them getting affectionate in a sudden, so you quickly walk into your room. You approach the bed, and quietly lie down next to Sylvia. She stirs in her sleep when you wrap your arms about her waist but otherwise doesn’t notice your presence.
If only you could say no… - - [c] POV change: Ran.
“I heard that!”
You sigh. Turning around to face the owner of the voice, you cross your arms and wait for her to show up. “Throwing me out of the window? You have a very poor sense of humour, Ran~!” Yukari says as she walks out of the gap.
“Seriously, Miss Yukari, please be more considerate toward her. Aren’t you aware of how dejected she has been?” you ask.
“Aw, did I make little Alyssa feel miserable? Boo-hoo, I am sad~” she utters playfully.
“If I am ever allowed to speak the truth, then yes, you made Alyssa feel very miserable,” you answer. “I am aware that you’re all too eager to introduce her to Gensokyo-”
“Tut, tut!” Yukari wags her finger at you. “She’s going with her family.”
“You say what?” you almost shout the question aloud. “You do realize the consequences of breaking her tie with the outside world,” you grumble. “And now you’re involving her family, too?
“I do, and I have calculated the risks I may take,” Yukari utters as she takes out a vinyl from the box. “It’s not the problem of whether Gensokyo can accept her or not. It’s whether she can accept Gensokyo for what she is.”
“Even though she has to accept the fact that her dearest grandma is all but an illusion?” you ask.
“Touché,” she replies cynically.
“I’ve made a new friend, Miss Yukari!” Chen exclaims.
“That’s awesome, Chen,” your master replies.
“Come on now, she’s sleeping with her family. It’s for their benefit that we don’t make too much noise,” you tell her.
“You are correct. We shouldn’t disturb their sleep.” Yukari puts the vinyl back into the box, and summons a gap. “Fancy going out for a walk, Ran?”
“I think I’ll pass,” you say. “What about you, Chen? Do you want to go with Miss Yukari?”
“I think I want to sleep, too,” she replies.
Yukari puffs her cheeks indignantly. “You guys are missing a lot, you know?” she tells you. “Alright, then! For your refusal to accompany this eternally youthful lady, I’m assigning you to be Alyssa’s caretaker. I will not accept ‘no’ from you, Ran~”
You swear you want to palm your face right now.
[c] To be continued below.
Serial ATA!B3VLbNSnYA2012/12/25 (Tue) 03:53No. 26936▼
You wake up to someone shaking you, and the sound of raindrops from outside. Groggily you look over to see who it is. “Morning, Sylvia,” you greet her and struggle to get up from bed. “It’s raining this morning. Guess I forgot to read yesterday’s weather forecast.” You jump off the bed and give her a hug – an assuring hug, in which she reluctantly responds to. “It’s been a miserable week, isn’t it?” you mutter. She nods and tightens her arms about you. “I know, Sylvia, I know. I don’t want to think about it, too, so…”
Sylvia pulls away from you. She leans forward and kisses you softly on the lips. You let it linger before you slowly return the kiss. “Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t worry too much,” you utter over her warm mouth. She nods and kisses you again before she pushes you into the bathroom. She pushes you further in and closes the door before you get to say anything. “To think that you’re the immodest one in your relationship,” you tell her (who’s probably giggling behind the door). “Fine. Wait for me at the kitchen, alright?”
You’ve taken your shower. Now dressed up in your transporter outfit, you leave your room and head to the kitchen. “Is breakfast ready, Sylvia-” Your question is cut short as you notice that the boxes are missing. Trailing your eyes over the empty space, you see Reverie and Chen playing ‘rock-paper-scissors’, and she doesn’t seem to be bothered by the presence of the purple lady’s bodyguards in your apartment.
“Good morning, Alyssa,” Ran greets you and hands you a cup of hot cocoa. “Had a good sleep last night?”
“Did they already move everything? They must have been so efficient to not wake me up,” you utter.
“At least you don’t have to worry about carrying your belongings on your back,” Ran says. “I assume you’re ready for moving out today, yes?”
“Have you been introduced yet?” you ask as you notice Sylvia waving at you from behind the counter.
“Well, we were going to wake you up for a formal introduction, but your beautiful wife insisted that we leave you undisturbed,” she answers and glances at Sylvia. “Married already, hmm? I see you have made an excellent choice.”
You feel your ears burning. “Cut that out, Miss Ran,” you utter. “We haven’t made it official yet. Plus, do you see us wearing any ring?”
Breakfast goes normally, while the seemingly unfazed Reverie starts bragging about making new friends (and Chen proclaiming that she’s your daughter’s best friend, too). You try not to pay attention to Ran’s comments about Sylvia, but all efforts are quickly thrown into the rain when Sylvia tells her about how lucky she is to be married to “the most wonderful person in the world”.
“But Miss Ran, isn’t marriage supposed to be only between a man and a woman?” Chen asks.
“I don’t think the rule of this world would apply to them, dear,” Ran answers.
“Huh? So does that mean Alyssa is a man?” Chen asks.
“But Chen, calling her a man means that she’s a miserable pile of secrets,” Ran says. “She’s not, so there’s nothing to be worried about.”
“It doesn’t matter, because Daddy always goes lovey-dovey with Mommy and she never wants to admit it,” Reverie says aloud.
You plant your face into your palms. “Colour me ashamed,” you utter in despair.
Things settle down after that, and once you’re done eating, you clean the table while Ran goes to help Sylvia with the dishes. Reverie and Chen continue playing games, before Ran calls both of them to get ready to leave. You’re the last person to walk out, so as you arrange the furniture for the last time you take a moment cherishing everything you and this place have shared.
“Alyssa, we’re waiting for you,” Ran shouts from the outside.
“Give me a minute!” you shout back. You fiddle inside your backpack and take an item out. It’s a group photo of you, Sylvia and your fellow free runners. You kiss it and pin it on the wall. Then you quietly walk out of your apartment, ceremoniously lock its door, and leave the key inside the mailbox. You head to ground floor and meet up with your family who’s been waiting, alongside the purple lady and her bodyguards.
“Everyone’s ready?” she asks. “Good, because I was wondering if you’d take forever.”
“I’m already done, so let’s get out of here,” you tell her.
“Not so fast.” She dangles a ticket in front of your face. “Recognize this?”
You cross your arms. “What is this trickery? Of course I know what that is,” you scoff.
The purple lady snickers. “And you’d think we’d just go to Gensokyo straight away without getting you prepared, eh Alyssa?” She places it inside your breast pocket and hands over similar item to Sylvia and Reverie. “You’re going to need it really[i] soon.”
“Excuse me, can I ask a question?” Reverie asks. “Where is exactly this Gensokyo? Is it in Japan? And how are we supposed to get there?”
Almost as if on cue the ground rumbles beneath you. You don’t think Melbourne is getting hit by an earthquake, but then you hear the faint blare of a klaxon echoing from a distance. A sizable gap appears not far from you, and before you or your family can react, something comes out of it and comes to a screeching halt behind the purple lady.
Your lower jaw drops.
[i]It’s a train.
It’s a freaking train.
“Wow! A train out of nowhere!” Reverie points out matter-of-factly. Sylvia just stands on her stop, her eyes not blinking. The purple lady all but ignores your reaction and boards the train, gesturing at her bodyguards to bring the passengers in.
“What is this thing?” you finally ask.
“The train of boundary, GensouLiner. Will its next stop be reality? Fantasy?” she answers.
You’re not sure how to respond to this revelation. Even if you do, you’d probably be throwing your common sense out of the window at this point. “Well, come on in,” she tells you. You shrug and climb aboard the train, showing the purple lady the ticket before you take a seat close to the window. You realize the cabin’s awfully empty, with only you, Sylvia, Reverie and the bodyguards present.
“GensouLiner will be departing shortly,” the purple lady announces. “So sit tight and enjoy the scenery~”
The train jolts and slowly picks up speed. You throw your sight out of the window; you’re taken by surprise as the train gets off the ground and travels almost vertically up to the sky, but strangely gravity doesn’t seem to affect you at all.
You bring your eyes to the back of the train. Slowly, but surely, Melbourne is disappearing from your view until it vanishes behind the clouds. You smile; even if you’ve left Melbourne, you will never forget the city (and you know for certain that she will never forget you, either). You’ve breathed her air, you’ve walked on her, and you’ve lived in her veins.
Farewell, Melbourne. You will be missed.
The mysterious train enters a tunnel, and you’re suddenly presented with flashback of your memories. Your head aches due to information overload, and you want to bang it against the window hard. The flashback ends as suddenly as it started, and you take a few minutes to apprehend everything.
You realize it’s no use resisting your destiny. You better enjoy the ride while you still can.
[ ] Have a conversation with… - [ ] Sylvia. - [ ] Reverie. - [ ] Ran. - [ ] Chen. - [ ] Yukari. [ ] But you already feel sleepy. Maybe a few minutes of nap will help.
Yes, I am terribly sorry for the whole Den-O reference. Sue me orz. Anyway, this marks the end of our Melbourne Arc, so say hi to Alyssa’s misadventures in Gensokyo.
This is just for fun, by the way. Don’t take it seriously.
Alyssa Kirisame The Blazing Star of The Land Down Under (temporary; you decide on this, Anon.)
Species: human Abilities: (undecided? You decide, Anon) Age: 18 Occupation: Transporter, Parkour athlete, free runner Location: (previously) Melbourne, Australia Current Relationship: Sylvia (wife); Reverie (adoptive daughter); will expand as plot demands.
Sylvia Kirisame (title unknown; you decide on this, Anon.)
Species: human Abilities: (undecided? You decide, Anon) Age: 18 Occupation: Full-time housewife Location: (previously) Melbourne, Australia Current Relationship: Reverie (husband); Reverie (adoptive daughter).
Reverie Mondlandern (title unknown; you decide on this, Anon.)
Species: human Abilities: (undecided? You decide, Anon) Age: 11 Occupation: none Location: (previously) Melbourne, Australia Current Relationship: Mr and Mrs Kirisame (foster parents); Drake Mondlandern (biological grandfather).
>>26940 >Oh? Surely you do not intend to give us free reign over such a thing?
Well, as long as the end result is good, I am all fine with it~ No, really, Alyssa needs to have an ability that isn't inherited from her mamas. Anyway, I'll wait for more votes to pour in, so have a Santa Marisa.
>Well, as long as the end result is good, I am all fine with it~ You poor fool. You know not what you have wrought with this. But seriously, I'll try to hold myself back from suggesting anything too outrageous when the actual vote comes (or is this it?). Like, say, Logic or Causality Manipulation. I can only hope the other anons do the same.
[c] Have a conversation. - [c] Sylvia. - [c] Reverie.
You approach the bench Sylvia and Reverie are seated on. Delighted at your presence, they move apart, giving you a space to snug in between them. You stay still, allowing them to rest their head upon your shoulders, and you hear them sighing in relief as they move closer to you. “Guess we won’t be seeing Melbourne in a while,” you utter.
“Yeah, and I’m going to miss Grandpa a lot,” Reverie adds. “How about you, Daddy? Do you miss anyone?”
You sigh. “Doctor O’Brien, Grandma, Andrew…” You pause. You’re actually unsure if they really exist in the first place, or are just a part of elaborate imagination crafted by a wizard. You do miss them, though, and if they are indeed real you just hope they won’t be missing you by a degree.
Sylvia squeezes your hand. You look down at her, and you can’t help feeling pity over her poor state. You throw an arm over her shoulders and pull her close. “Must be a tough decision to make, right?” Sylvia nods solemnly and wraps her arm about you. This is unsettling; all the time you’ve been trying to keep her happy, making sure that she can smile everyday for you, if not for her own sake. Seeing her having to go through all kinds of misery just because of you rediscovering your origin makes you realize how all your efforts are going down the drain.
Maybe you aren’t suited to be a ‘family man’, after all.
“Where is exactly Gensokyo, Daddy?” Reverie asks.
“Beats me,” you answer. You, then, try to recall the dreams you’ve had. There’s the human settlement, and then there’s the shrine where you met the red-white woman, but that’s the only thing you can recall. “Maybe it’s like the Wonderland?” you utter.
“But Daddy, Alice jumped into a rabbit’s hole before she could get there,” Reverie points out.
“Well, what do you think it looks like? The Neverland?” That’s right; in the book Peter Pan and the protagonists flew through the sky in order to reach the Neverland. If the train travelling through the air is an indication, maybe Gensokyo is its Oriental counterpart. Except that it was not Peter Pan who had accompanied you in your dream, but Cheshire cat. Your head starts aching. Whether or not Gensokyo is the Wonderland or the Neverland, or the combination of two, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
“Maybe you should ask the purple lady instead,” you mutter.
“Okay,” Reverie replies. “Wonder how it’s going to look like…”
You and Reverie have a few more conversations while Sylvia is slowly falling asleep. By the time Reverie’s head rested upon your lap, the train has left the tunnel and is going through bridges that seem to span across eternity. You wonder how long the trip will last, or how it will end.
“They’re very important to you, aren’t they?” You didn’t notice it until now, but you’re sitting directly in front of the purple lady’s bodyguards. Ran is smiling at you, her fingers softly running through Chen’s tresses as she sleeps upon her lap.
“As you can already see,” you answer. “Tell me, though, this isn’t going to be detrimental to our relationship, is it?”
“You have to ask Miss Yukari for that,” Ran replies. “Rest assured, Alyssa. Whatever’s going to happen, we won’t let any harm befall you and your family. It’s a promise we made to your mother a long time ago.” She giggles. “And looking at you right now, it’s like seeing your mother raising a family.”
You frown. You don’t exactly find such words comforting, but you don’t want Ran to notice your worry. “You better make sure you help me knowing my mother,” you tell her.
Ran smiles. “I shall help you however I can, Alyssa.”
You throw your sight out of the window. The train’s still moving on the bridge, and you’re already feeling sleepy. You ask Ran to wake you up upon arrival, and then allow your eyelids to slowly close shut.
Somewhere, in the dreamland, you can hear a woman singing lullaby into your ears. You wonder who she is…
“Wake up, Alyssa. The train has arrived.”
You force yourself to open your eyes. The train has stopped, but its destination isn’t what you’d expect. “A forest?” you ask groggily. “Oh, wait. We’ve already arrived?”
“Everybody’s waiting for you outside the train,” Ran informs. “Good morning – or should I say, good evening. How was your sleep?”
Hesitantly you get off the bench, stretching your body and allowing your back to crackle. “The bench’s killing me. The train manager should’ve provided beddings for long-distance travel,” you utter. You look left and right, realizing that Sylvia and Reverie are no longer with you. “They’re already outside, I presume?”
“Miss Yukari’s showing them around your new home,” she explains.
You follow Ran off the train and are directed to your new home: a modest cottage covered in vegetation but not too thick to actually envelop the entire structure. It’s abandoned, as far as you’re concerned, but from the look of it someone must have looked after it in the absence of its tenant. “It’s where your mother used to live,” Ran explains. “Your friends have taken a great care of it for many years.”
“Do they know someone’s going to stay in?” you ask.
“Miss Yukari said it would spoil the surprise,” Ran answers. “Seriously, though, she could’ve just informed everyone about your arrival, but no! She insists that it be kept secret.” Ran must be having a hard time dealing with her antics, judging from her exasperation. “Anyway, we’ve put all your belongings in there, so you don’t have to worry about rearranging them. Do you need to go anywhere after this?”
It’s going to be dark soon, and even after taking enough sleep you’re still tired from the long trip. “I don’t think I want to stress myself anymore, so thanks for that,” you reply.
“There you are! I thought you’re going to sleep for a bit longer,” the purple lady says as she approaches you.
“On that train without proper bedding? No, thanks, I’ve had enough,” you answer.
She pouts, but then she quickly smiles and throws her fan to the cottage. “Anyway, welcome to Gensokyo, and this is where you’ll live starting today. It has everything you need – solar-powered electricity, clean water source, maintenance-free plumbing, proper kitchen, you name it. Except for mobile communication, because signal coverage is miserable.”
“No Internet,” you utter.
“No Internet,” she repeats the words. “In case you haven’t noticed already, my assistant will look after you along your stay. Just let her know if your need arises.” Ran nods knowingly at you, though both of you have known better.
“Miss Yukari, it is time,” Ran informs.
“Of course. Let’s have the preparations ready,” she says and boards the train. You bid them farewell and go into the cottage when the purple lady calls you back. “There’s a surprise for you in the room,” she informs walks into the train as it leaves the area, disappearing in thin air afterwards. You walk into the cottage and quickly head to the kitchen, where Sylvia and Reverie are gathering near the table. Curious, you approach them, asking what they’ve found.
“Someone sent this to you, Daddy,” Reverie says and shows you a box. There’s no address or name of the sender, just a simple hand writing that says “just open it~”. You open the box, and what’s inside it is the most surprising thing of all.
It’s a birthday cake, with eighteen candles marking your age and your name written on it.
“Oh! A birthday cake!” Reverie gasps. You’re flabbergasted; who else could have known your birthday other than your family and the purple lady? Trying to find an explanation behind this unexpected present, you find a card slipped underneath the box. You read what’s written on it.
“I know this is very out of place, and maybe a couple of days too late, but happy birthday, Alyssa. You deserve it. Signed, Miss Vixen.”
You want to cry so hard, but for some reasons you end up laughing. Someday, you’re going to make the purple lady pay for all the antics she’s thrown at you.
“Daddy, come on! We want you to blow the candles!” Reverie shouts. You stare down at the already-lit candles, and then you look at Sylvia and Reverie. It has been too long, but it’s better late than never. Taking a deep breath, you blow off the candles, and immediately get applauded by your family.
“This is how a birthday is supposed to be celebrated, isn’t it?” you say. Sylvia nods before she throws herself at you, giving you the obligatory birthday kiss. She lets go off you before you can return the kiss, and giggles before she smears your face with the cake’s topping. “Hey! No playing with the food!” You start chasing her around the house, trying to return the ‘favour’ and laughing all the way.
The best birthday present in your whole life? Who knows, maybe it already is.
[c] End of Melbourne arc.
Author’s note: well, it has been a long ride, but Stardust Halley’s Melbourne chapter has finally come to an end. Starting with the next update, which will be ready in seven minutes, we will begin the new chapter as citizen of Gensokyo, so yeah, expect some shenanigans as Alyssa gets to know its residents.
Overview: Alyssa Kirisame, a full-time transporter in Melbourne is due to celebrate her eighteenth birthday when a chance encounter with the purple lady marks the beginning of a new chapter in her life, as she’s slowly exposed to the truth behind her lineage as the daughter of the ordinary magician of Gensokyo.
[c] Start of a new day.
You spent the first two days in Gensokyo reorganizing your new home. The presence of Ran and her assistant were very appreciated, as they’d helped you in making the cottage a comfortable place to live in. Now that you’ve taken care of your home, you’re confident that you can go outdoors and enjoy the countryside for the first time. You don’t know what to expect, since it also means you’ll be venturing into an unfamiliar territory. You should wait for Ran to show up and be your guide.
But first, something has to be done about these piling books you had gathered during the cleaning. Apparently, your mother had forgotten to return them to their rightful owner(s), and as Ran explained, she had no intention of returning them either. “At least until she dies, that’s what she claims,” she said. You know she’s still alive, but it’s very inappropriate to not return the books after borrowing them for a long time. At least you should do them a favour and put them back in their rightful place.
You look at your clock. It’s twenty minutes to eight, and it’s still early in the morning. You’ve already had your breakfast, and you don’t want to stay at home and do nothing for the rest of the day.
[ ] Check on the books. Maybe you can identify the library they come from, and then return them however late the dateline may be. Misadventures at the Voile~ [ ] The books can wait. There’s someone you really want to visit. Reimu bonding time. [ ] Go outside and do some workout. Figure out how to adapt your Parkour skill to the new environment.
If option one or two is chosen, bring your family? [ ] Yes. [ ] No.
[c] The books can wait. There’s someone you really want to visit. [c] Bring your family with you.
On the second thought, you’ve wanted to pay her an official visit. Granted, it isn’t going to be your first, but as you remember how awful your first meeting with her was, it’s for the benefit of both parties that a formal introduction is held. With that settled, you bring your attention back to the pile. Your family is digging through the books, as if they’re trying to find something. “Sylvia, Reverie, want to go somewhere?” They stop their search and peek from behind the books; it’s kind of cute seeing them do this.
“Where to, daddy?” Reverie asks
“I know someplace. So what are you guys exactly searching? You know those books are overdue, they need to be returned soon.” Reverie shows you what appears to be an old storybook while Sylvia flashes a cooking book she’s discovered.
“Can I take this with me?” Reverie asks. Sylvia is staring at you with the kind of expression that delivers the same message as Reverie’s question.
“Alright, you can take them.” Sylvia and Reverie cheer and high-five each other. You return to your room to find a map Ran had given to you yesterday. It’s essential that you know your way in Gensokyo, so you don’t want to leave it behind.
“So, Daddy! Where are we going to?” Reverie asks.
You refer to the map. Your current location is marked with a bright red circle, complete with footnotes that describe the current residents. There are also notes describing the whereabouts you should and should not go. “Let’s go here,” you answer and point to a location in the map. “It’s not far from this place. We just have to follow the road up ahead and not getting lost.”
The three of you leave the cottage and arrive at the junction. You look left and right, and spot a familiar figure walking from the opposite direction of the road. “Good day, Alyssa,” Ran greets you as she and Chen approach you. “Going anywhere, I see.”
“Yeah, but I was wondering if you could show me the direction,” you reply.
“Where would you like to go?” You show her where you’re headed to on the map, and she nods her head knowingly. “Well, I’m surprised you’re not planning to visit the human village first, but alright, I’ll take you there.”
“I appreciate that,” you tell her.
“Thank you, Miss Ran!” Reverie says.
Everyone get to talk among one another during the trip. According to Ran, Yukari Yakumo (so that’s her full name; you better keep that in mind the next time you meet her) has planned a reception party held in the cottage but for some reasons she forgets about it today. That’s good for you, because you’re still not finished with cleaning the house, and the last thing you want to have during a party is your guests getting injured by stuffs littered on the floor.
You’ve arrived at the destination. “Here it is. Hakurei Shrine, the gateway between Gensokyo and the outside world,” Ran utters. You’re surprised the trip’s taken not more than ten minutes, but at least you have arrived. “Well, Chen and I are going to the human village after this. We’ll see you later this evening.”
“See you again, Miss Ran!” Reverie replies. “And you too, Chen!”
“Alyssa, before I forget, you have to donate to the shrine,” Ran informs as you’re about to climb up the stairs. “Just to make sure you honour the tradition.”
“Whatever you say.”
You’ve arrived. Looking at the shrine reminds you of the dream you had, only this time you’re convinced that this time it’s anything but a dream. You nod at yourself and walk toward the solitary building when a sudden burst of wind sweeps across the pavement. Sylvia and Reverie cling onto you, while you try to hold your ground and not getting blown away into the sky. The wind dies out, and you watch from the cover of your hand a girl walking out of the dust and approaching you.
“Oh! It’s quite rare to see someone visiting Hakurei Shrine these days,” the girl says. She looks like she’s from a news organization or something, and she seems to have struck jackpot, judging from how eager she’s holding her pen and notebook. Who is this girl, and what business does she have with you? “Let me introduce myself first. Aya Shameimaru, representative of Bunbunmaru Publications. Would you like to tell me your name, where you come from and your purpose of visiting this place?”
“Alyssa. Alyssa Kirisame.” The girl stops scribbling on her notebook, almost dropping her pen to the pavement. “Et tu…”
“Kirisame?!” she asks, almost in panic. The three of you tilt your head, puzzled at her reaction. “Oh, wow!! This can’t be true, can it? I mean- totally!! You’ve come back!!”
“Quit bugging my visitors, Aya. You’ll end up scaring them away.” You turn to the direction of the voice. It’s Reimu, in all her majesty as an elegant woman, but where’s her daughter Reika? “Hello, Alyssa. I see that you’ve decided to come visit me in person,” she greets you.
“Yeah, you’re the first person I want to meet today.” Well, there goes your plan to surprise her, but doesn’t she suspect anything, especially since you and your family had come from the outside world?
“Wait, wait! Reimu, I don’t understand,” Aya asks. “You know who she is?”
She glances at the reporter girl. “My intuition never failed me in the past, it never fails me in the present, and it will never fail me in the future. You know about that already, don’t you?” She turns back at you. “So tell me, Alyssa, how did you manage to find your way to Gensokyo?”
“Well, it’s a long story, but…” You pause as to look back at Sylvia and Reverie. “Look, I know it’s difficult for anyone of us to understand, but I can explain in details what happened.”
She nods. “Come with me, Alyssa. I know both of us have a lot to talk, so why don’t we sit down and-”
She suddenly throws her sight to her right. The air not far from where you’re standing bulges and cracks, before a gap materializes out of nowhere. A pinkish parasol is seen sticking out of the gap, followed by a woman walking out of it. Sylvia tugs at your sleeves; it seems she’s spooked by what’s happening in front of everyone, and you tell her to stand behind you.
“Speak of the devil,” Reimu mutters.
“Look who’s back~” Reimu doesn’t seem to be bothered by the purple lady as she merely folds her arms. “Oh, jeez. Don’t be such a grumpy woman, Reimu. At least I’d brought her back to the place she truly belongs.” The woman glances at you. “Isn’t that right, Alyssa?”
“Yukari, I appreciate your intention and I am grateful that she’s come back home,” Reimu utters. “But please tell me why was I NOT ALLOWED TO VISIT HER?!” The sudden change in her voice scares the hell out of everyone, and both Sylvia and Reverie find refuge behind you, terrified by her unexpected mood swing.
“Stop being so prudish, Reimu. Alyssa is now here, in Gensokyo, does anything else really matter?” the purple lady asks. “And if you’re thinking to settle this problem “mano a mano”, we better not do it in front of them.” Reimu groans and pinches the bridge between her eyes, though it seems to you she’s trying very hard to not burst into tears. “Shouldn’t you be happy to see her again after ten years of being separated, Reimu dear? I know you should.”
This is becoming almost like a soap drama. You need to break the ice.
[ ] Step forward and defend Reimu. [ ] Stay at the sideline. You don’t want to get caught in an undeclared crossfire. [ ] Let’s not pay attention to the drama and put your offering into the donation box.
[c] Let’s not pay attention to the drama and put your offering into the donation box.
You’re about to step in when Sylvia tugs your sleeves. You look back at her, telling her that you want to interrupt the argument. She shakes her head and clenches your sleeves, pulling you away from the heated argument. You look at Reimu and the purple lady, who are seemingly about to pounce at each other, and then back at Sylvia.
“You don’t want me to do it?” you ask. She shakes her head again. Oh well, you probably won’t benefit from interfering with them. You leave them and approach the donation box. Remembering Ran’s advice to donate to the shrine, you take some crumpling currencies out of your pocket, give them a proper fixing, and put them into the container. A donation is a donation, and it would be bad to not pay respect to other people’s culture. “Alright, let’s get back to whatever we’re going to do today,” you tell Sylvia and Reverie.
And that’s when you feel a sudden chill creeping down your spine.
Slowly, very slowly, you turn around. Two pair of eyes is staring right into your soul, causing you to step back and bump into the donation box. “Et tu…”
“Alyssa, how could you ignore Reimu!?” the purple lady interjects. “Show your mommy some respect!”
“Why should I pay respect to my WHAT?!?!” You shout so loud you swear you’re almost knocking Sylvia and Reverie off their feet with your voice alone.
“Yeah, Reimu is your mother, so what?” the purple lady replies.
“But I don’t even!” Your protest is cut off as you notice Reimu’s face turning beet red. “I… no way. There has to be an explanation to this. There has to be.”
“Oh, yes, there is,” the purple lady says and nudges Reimu forward. “If only you’d give her some chance to make herself be heard~” You, too, start blushing as you find yourself less than inch away from Reimu’s flushed face.
[ ] React properly, Alyssa. React properly. [ ] Genuflect. [ ] Flip out. [ ] Drop to all four, and despair.
[X] React properly, Alyssa. React properly. Meaning: -[X] Flip out. -[X] Drop to all fours, and despair. -[X] Genuflect to the person you are now kneeling in front of. -[X] Question aloud your sanity. -[X] Conclude that everything you know is a lie. -[X] Flip out. Again. -[X] "And what about you, Yukari? What are you, my aunt or something?" In roughly that order.
[c] React properly, Alyssa. React properly. If that fails… - [c] Flip out. - [c] Genuflect. - [c] Question your sanity. - [c] Drop to all fours, and despair.
“You’re… you’re my mother?” She nods, in the slowest and most agonizing speed ever. You are deeply, and thoroughly, confused. How can this woman be your mother? What about the woman in the old photograph, which your heart believes to be your mother?
It hurts. Your head hurts. Your heart hurts. Everything hurts. You want to deny the pain, you want to make it go away, but it hurts so much the world around you starts crumbling under its own weight. Calm down, Alyssa. Calm down. There has to be a logical explanation behind this, use your head. Think, Alyssa! Think!
Wait. This is not Melbourne, this is Gensokyo! Common sense doesn’t work in this place!
You flip out. The pain becomes too unbearable. It’s almost as if your head is going to split from within. It’s almost as if you’re slowly losing your sanity. Please stop. Stop it. Stop it. Stopitstopitstopitstopitstopitstopit-
You drop on all fours. You’re in despair. Everything you want to know and believe is just a lie. You’re not sure of what to do in anymore, but in the end you cackle. Let your sanity slip away and be replaced by madness. Let you become a mad hatter and ride the madness of this wonderland~
You look up. The same maternal, caring eyes are staring at you in sympathy. You’re immediately brought back to the time when those same eyes were looking at you moments before you lost consciousness. You frown. This cannot be true, can it? All you wanted to do was to just meet Reimu and know her better…
Warm. So warm. The feeling of her arms wrapped about you, the feeling of your head resting comfortably upon her bosom. This isn’t the kind of hug you’d get from your wife; this is more like…
“Welcome home, Alyssa.”
And it happens.
You’re not sure why hot tears are flowing down your face, or why you’re unconsciously clinging onto her, or why you’re burying your face in this woman’s chest. All you know is that you’re now at home, at the only place you belong to.
“It’s all a lie, isn’t it?” you mutter.
“No, Alyssa, it is the truth,” she answers.
“I’m sorry for flipping out,” you apologize.
“No, you have the rights to do so,” she says.
She pulls you away, gently caressing your face and drying the tears. “You’ve all grown up, Alyssa, and yet you look nothing like her,” she speaks, her soft voice a soothing bell to your conflicting heart. She pulls you back onto your feet, dusting you off all dirt and debris. “I know you’re very confused right now, so… tea?”
You can’t help smiling. “Thanks. A cup of tea wouldn’t hurt.”
“Good, I’ve prepared them for both of us. Oh…” She throws her sight over your shoulders. “Can I invite them, too?”
“You mean Sylvia and Reverie?” You look back at them, equally confused, equally eager for an explanation. “Yeah, I guess so. They look like they have a lot of questions to ask.”
She walks back into the shrine, and returns with tea and snacks. You immediately recognize the aroma of the tea: it’s the brand of tea Grandma often serves every time you visit her shop. Impossible, how can Reimu have the same brand? “Come sit with me, Alyssa. I do believe we have a lot to discuss about, yes?”
You don’t want to upset her, not after what both of you have gone through. Plus, it’s tea, how can anyone resist the beverage of the divine? You take a seat next to her, feeling very comfortable to have her presence. “I was going to visit this place soon after we moved out, but we had to do some house cleaning,” you say as you accept the ceramic glass from her.
“You’re cleaning Marisa’s house?” she asks.
“Yeah, and…” You pause. “Marisa?”
“Yes, that’s the name of your mother,” Reimu answers. “Marisa Kirisame. Alyssa Kirisame. Come to think about, she chose that name because she wanted it to have a similar ring to her name. Clever, isn’t it?” Maybe this is why she was reacting to your family name during your first meeting. “But still… why?”
“Well, that purple lady didn’t specify where we should be staying, and it was kind of dark, too.” You pause again, only because you’re taking a sip of the tea. It’s soothing, it’s refreshing, and it brings back the memories of Grandma. “I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s because I wanted to?”
Reimu giggles. “Oh, dear… I hope Marisa isn’t going to flip out when she finds out what you’ve done to her home,” she utters. “So, Alyssa, do you have anything to ask?”
Let’s see… [ ] “I don’t want to be rude, but first of all, who are you?” [ ] “if you really are my mother, and this Marisa is my mother, then which one of you is my real mother?” [ ] “What can you tell about Gensokyo?” [ ] Others? (Write-in option.)
“I don’t understand,” Reverie asks. “Miss Reimu said that she’s Daddy’s mother, but she also said that Daddy has another mother. Isn’t she supposed to be a father?”
“No, Reverie, you’ve got it all wrong,” Yukari answers. “In Gensokyo, everybody is always the mother. Even the men.”
[X] "First off - to prevent any more similar surprises: do I happen to have any other mothers that I should know about?" -[X] "No? That's a relief. I was worried for a second that Yukari might suddenly start claiming to be my mother too. But then... this place. It's so... different from what I'm used to. Where... no, "what" - what exactly is Gensokyo?"
"Who are you?" is something that we should discover slowly rather than receive a quick primer for as if we're on Facebook. "Which of you is my real mother?" seems like more of a joke than a serious question. Lightening the mood might be good, but it doesn't give us any answers. Nor should we just jump straight to the heavy topics like "Why did I get dumped Outside all the way until now?", which should be asked only when everyone concerned is present.
[c] “I don’t want to be rude, but first of all, who are you?”
“I don’t want to be rude, but first of all, who are you?” You’re immediately met with a scoffed look on Reimu’s face, and you realize you’ve asked an offending question.
“What? You don’t know who I am?” she asks in faked dejection.
“That’s not what I mean,” you grumble. “I mean- yes, you and I both already learned of each other’s name, but that time didn’t count. I hereby request for a formal, proper introduction.”
“You’re so funny,” she giggles. “Very well, since it was you who asked.” She corrects her sitting posture before throwing her sight out to the blue yonder. “I’m the thirty-second generation** of this family, Reimu Hakurei.”
That would make Reika the thirty-third Hakurei, it makes sense.
“Let me get this fact straight: you’re a woman, and by all accounts I should call you ‘mom’.” She nods. “But then again, everyone’s been telling me that this Marisa is my biological mother, so…” You find yourself at loss of words, and try as you may in continuing on it’s just not working. Frustrated, you throw you arms skyward and flip at whoever is watching. “Thanks so much for screwing my life to Sunday, you guys up there!”
You press on: “so… Gensokyo. That’s the name of this place?”
She nods again. “The Hakurei line has been its caretaker and overseer of balance ever since the closure of the border in the 19th century.”
“Clarify me on the ‘overseer of balance’ part, please.”
“In your world’s term, my family is Gensokyo’s peacekeeper. It’s the role of a Hakurei to ensure the peace between humans and nature is in check, and by nature, I’m talking about fairies, ghosts, mythical beasts, celestials, and everything a normal person would call a monster.” She pauses as to take a bite of the homemade snack. “Although the brunt of my workload has lessened in recent years, it’s usually the Hakurei who first responds to an incident…” She trails off, as she starts talking about her family’s other roles, but even as she’s very avid in sharing you her experience, you can’t help noticing the glint of loneliness in her eyes every time she mentions ‘incident solving’.
“It must be tough doing the peacekeeping job on your own, isn’t it?” you ask.
“Oh, no, not at all! Reika is training very hard to be the next Hakurei, and I already have my friends who are willing to help. All is well, so don’t worry about me.” You take your time in digesting the response. You will learn more about her in the future, but it’s her turn to ask. “So! What about you, Alyssa? What do you do for a living?”
“Who, me? Nothing very special. I’m just a transporter who has a family to feed.” You’re going to call them over, but decide against it after seeing their fascination on the reporter girl’s magnificent wings. “That’s Sylvia, and the little girl over there is Reverie…” You trail off, just because you’re having a second thought on revealing the nature of your relationship with them to Reimu.
“Go on. Tell me,” she says.
“They’re my family,” you say after hesitating for a minute. “To be more specific… Sylvia’s my wife, and Reverie’s my daughter. Well, more like foster daughter, but you get the idea.” To your frustration, Reimu bursts into a fit of laughter. “Mom, stop laughing! That’s not funny, you know.”
It’s only when you realize you’ve addressed her as ‘mom’ that your face starts burning very brightly. “…I slipped out, didn’t I?” you stutter. “To suddenly call you ‘mom’ even though I…”
“Come here a bit closer.” You oblige without a question, and as you’re an inch from brushing your arm with her, Reimu pulls you into her yet another maternal embrace. This time you don’t even resist, and let yourself sink into her gentle warmth. “You made me feel very happy when you called me ‘mom’, Alyssa,” she speaks.
“You are?” you ask.
“Of course I am! You’re our precious child, there are lots of reasons for me to be happy,” she answers.
“You’re quite happy with Reika, so I don’t think there’s a problem with that,” you point out.
“But raising you and raising Reika are two different matters!” she protests. “I-I mean… Reika is my own child, my own heir! You’re… you’re a different case. I wanted to take care of you because… you’re special.” It still doesn’t explain how on Earth can you have two mothers at the same time, but that can wait. Right now, you want to enjoy this feeling of being cuddled between Reimu’s arms.
“Yukari told me that you’ve turned eighteen, right?” You can feel her soft, moist lips brushing against your scalp. “Happy birthday. Sorry, but I can’t give you any present.”
“It’s okay,” you reply and hug her in return. “Being here with you is already a birthday present. Thanks, though.” Both of you continue cuddling each other, while being completely oblivious to the fact that your family, the reporter girl and Yukari are staring in awe. “Did Reika know anything about me?”
“Alyssa, we’ve been talking a lot about you,” she answers. “She’s dreamt of becoming the best Par… what is it again? Parkour? That’s what Yukari told me.”
You let go off her, just to allow her to readjust her dress. “She has talent, I’m not going to deny it, but she still needs to practice more. I need to know who taught her all those moves.”
“Oh, speaking of which, there she is.” You follow the direction of Reimu’s finger, and see Reika descending from the sky. Is she flying? Wow, you surely could learn the skill and apply it to Parkour.
“I’m home, Mama.” The girl hurls to Reimu, tightly hugging her around the waist.
Reimu returns the hug. “Welcome back, Reika. How was your study?”
“Boring, as always.” How frank. She must be having an uninteresting live ahead of her.
“As expected from the next Hakurei,” Reimu chuckles. “Good timing, too. There’s someone you’ve wanted to meet, and she’s right here with me.”
Letting go off her, Reika turns her attention to you. “Mama, this is the one Aunt Yukari’s been telling me before?”
“Yes, Reika, she is the one.”
Reika’s eyes narrow, almost as if she’s giving you a thorough examination. You can’t help feeling uneasy just being watched in such manner. Then, unexpectedly, she strikes a dramatic pose and points straight at your face. “So you’re the legendary Parkour youkai! I’ve heard about your reputation,” she says. “In place of danmaku and spellcards, I propose you a formal Parkour challenge!”
“Legendary Parkour… youkai?” You turn to Reimu. “I need an explanation.”
“It couldn’t be helped, sorry,” she apologizes.
[ ] Accept the challenge. - [ ] And take it seriously. Who does she think she is, challenging a seasoned free runner? - [ ] Light-heartedly, of course. Play the role of a mentor, too. [ ] Refuse the challenge. Politely.
>>27254 >>27226 I thought I've already called the votes, but oh well. Posting now.
[c] Accept the challenge. - [c] Light-heartedly, of course. Play the role of a mentor to Reika, too. - [c] Politely ask to avoid flying for now. - [c] Don’t underestimate her.
A challenge? That’s something you rarely come across in your entire life as a traceuse. Come to think about it, this is the second time you’ve been issued a challenge, and a little workout wouldn’t be very bad for an extreme athlete like you. “First thing first: who told you that I’m a Legendary Youkai-whatever-that-is?” Nonchalantly Reika points at Yukari. “Just as I’d suspected.”
“So you are not?” Reika asks.
You shrug. “I don’t know what a youkai means, but that statement is entirely incorrect.” Reika sulks. Seeing her in that face, you suddenly feel sorry for shattering her expectation (or is it a child’s dream?). “Oh, alright. You can call me whatever you like. And speaking of which, you aren’t going to run around in that outfit, are you?”
“Don’t make fun of my dress! It’s the symbol of the Hakurei family, and I have the responsibility to uphold the tradition,” she protests. “And yes, I’ve done aerial battles in this dress, to, so don’t ever question my choice.”
“I figured as much.” You ask for a few minutes while you change to your free-running gear; you return afterward in the appropriate outfit, and you can’t help snickering when both Reimu and Reika stare at you strangely. “Well, nobody at my place wants to jump between buildings while wearing frilly skirts.”
“What are trying to be? Ninja wizard?” You immediately shoot Yukari a murderous glare. “Alyssa, come on! Are you still mad at me for what I have done?”
“For making Reika call me a youkai? Why, thank you for making a bad example of me to her,” you chide.
“I was just trying to be a good aunt,” she retorts.
“Yeah, well, whatever.” You take a quick look around, and only now you realize how lacking the shrine is in term of ‘facilities’. “Unless we’re combining free running with cross-country race, I don’t think we can start our run right away. How about we do warm-up exercise first?”
“Chicken,” Yukari chides.
“Shut up,” you hiss.
Adjusting your pants, you leap toward the ledge of the roof, finding no difficulty in climbing to the top of the shrine. You instruct Reika to climb to the rooftop, and she leaps to the spot next to you, almost slipping off the roof (and causing panic to the spectators). “You should adjust your foothold. There’s a difference between scaling up a building and just jumping onto it,” you say.
“Did I do it wrong?” Reika asks.
“No, but I’m just giving you a piece of advice.” You, then, ask her to step aside as you’re attempting to clear the ground and reach the arc in one leap. You run down the tiled roof, do a back flip, and make a landing roll on the pavement. “All in one fluid movement. Now you try that, Reika.”
She suddenly looks fidgety as she looks at your landing spot. “How am I supposed to do that midair spin in this outfit?”
“See? That’s the whole point of not wearing anything too flamboyant.” You climb back to the rooftop and sit beside the girl. “How long have you practiced Parkour?”
“Two months, maybe three.” She sulks when you give her head a pat. “Why are you suddenly petting me?”
“Two months isn’t enough to master all the skills.” You continue petting her. “And you seem to treat it like a plaything. Well, I advice not to.”
“Why? I thought jumping from one building to another is fun,” Reika says. “At least whenever I use flight, because it’s the easiest way to move around.”
“You still have a lot to learn before you can become a traceuse, Reika.” You can barely believe it, but you’re actually playing the role of a mentor. “And I think you kind of cheated with flight. You don’t need to fly to enjoy Parkour.”
“Aw,” Reika growls. “But is it possible to jump a long distance without having to fly?”
“You won’t believe what free runners like me are capable of under extreme circumstances,” you tell her.
“I’m confused,” she utters in all the honesty.
“I know. I, too, didn’t get it at first,” you add.
“Alyssa!” You look at Reimu. “Won’t you join us for lunch? Your family’s agreed to stay for a while.” It’s still kind of early to have lunch, but you’re already hungry from the workout. Together with Reika, you jump off the roof and meet up with her. “Already getting close with Reika, I see.”
“Eh, someone has to teach her the tool of the trade,” you shrug.
“Someone said lunch?” The three of you turn to Aya, if that’s what Reimu calls her. “Oh, goodie! I can ask her for an interview, too. The name’s Aya, by the way. Pleased to meet you, Alyssa!”
“Not during lunch, Aya,” Reimu reminds her.
“Aw, but I’m very keen to know her,” Aya grumbles.
“You will get your chance, Aya. You will,” Reimu replies.
Lunch’s already served by the time you arrive at dining room, and as you would have guessed, Sylvia and Reverie are waiting for you to join them. “I sure hope we’re having a grand feast today,” you say jokingly as you sit next to Sylvia. “Shame that I still need to be accustomed to this land’s tradition.”
“Oh, don’t you worry, you’ll get used to it.” You glare at Yukari. “What’s wrong with you, Alyssa? I’ve brought you to Gensokyo, and I even reunited you with your mother. I even provided you with a secure place to stay! You should be grateful I gave you this opportunity back at Melbourne.”
“Yukari, will you please stop upsetting Alyssa?” Reimu asks.
“But Reimu, Yukarin just wants to have fun with her~!” All in a sudden she turns girlish, and seeing her trying to get all the attention from Reimu, who merely dismisses her, makes you wonder if Yukari really lives up to her reputation as the lady of boundary. You’re curious about the food, though, and looking at the amount of dishes you can’t help wondering if Reimu’s prepared all of them on her own. - - Yukari has left soon after she’s had her own portions, Reika and Sylvia are dishwashing at the kitchen, and Reverie is playing with the reporter girl at the outside. And that leaves you with a stuffed belly. Despite the simplicity of the meal, it was the best you’ve ever had, even better than your home cooking.
“What a lively family you have, no?” Reimu asks as she joins you at the veranda. “We had fun talking with them. They seem to enjoy their stay very much.”
“Sylvia and Reverie? They sometimes give me some serious headaches, but you would know the joy of raising a family already,” you reply. “Oh, mom… Sylvia can’t really talk. She has problems with her vocal cord.”
Reimu giggles. “That should explain why both of you were using hand signs. It’s funny seeing you do it.”
You nod. “She’s had it ever since her childhood. It’s a medical condition, but she never allows it to let her down.”
“Medical condition? I believe I know who you should refer to,” Reimu adds. Well, it would be nice if there’s a doctor who can treat Sylvia’s condition; hell, if that doctor can restore Sylvia’s voice you’ll endlessly worship him or her. “Anyway, I know you’ll be going back to your home after this, but won’t you consider letting me take you for a walk?”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” you utter.
“So, where do you want to go?” Reimu asks.
“What’s your suggestion, mom? You know this place better than I do,” you reply.
“Well, I want to hear it from you first,” she adds.
[ ] Let’s listen to Reimu. Mother knows best~ [ ] You decide. Tell Reimu where you want to go.
“I don’t know, mom. I’ve been in this place for only a couple of days, and honestly… I’d rather ask from somebody who knows best.”
Reimu chuckles. “Oh? I thought you would have ‘adjusted’ yourself to your new home, no?”
You find yourself blushing furiously. “Mom, I’m serious here.”
“I kid, I kid. I know! Why don’t we go to the human’s village? I can even show you around, if you like.” That sounds lovely. Besides, you can use the time to strengthen the bond between you and Reimu.
“Alright. I’ll let them know if you’re ready to go.” She nods and excuses herself as she’s heading to the back of the shrine. You stay outdoors for a few more minutes, watching Reverie and the reporter girl playing hopscotch with utmost interest to the point that you don’t notice Sylvia sitting next to you. She informs you that she’s finished her work and wishes to spend the afternoon with you. You start pondering whether you should seek this doctor Reimu mentioned earlier…
A few minutes later, Reimu and Reika reappear. “Cool, everyone’s ready. Reverie, we’re going! Won’t you come with us?” With Reverie returning to you, and bidding farewell to Aya who leaves afterward, you ask Reimu to be your guide and leave the shrine shortly afterward. The trip that follows brings you across the dense forest, split into half by a tiny path. The silence that’s surrounding you is unnerving, and you can tell Sylvia and Reverie are disturbed from the way they’re clinging onto you. In spite of your initial worry, the two Hakurei safely escort you out of the forest, and are bringing you to a settlement at the outskirt of the forest.
“Just so you know, Reika, you’re not going to do free running today,” Reimu says.
“But mama, why can’t I?” Reika moans.
“Because you’ll only end up bringing trouble to the villagers,” she replies. Reika growls in protest and jumps onto the rooftop, leaving everyone behind as she starts running across the buildings. “At this rate, she’ll end up breaking some bones or vases,” she sighs.
“Hey, Reimu!” You turn to the direction of the voice and see a petite woman coming toward you. “Finally decided to drop by, eh?”
“Hello, Akyuu, long time no see,” Reimu greets.
“But, Reimu, it’s been just two weeks!” the woman grumbles. “How could you forget me, your long-time friend who has devoted her life to her passion of chronicling?”
“Say, Mom… who is she?” you ask.
“This is Akyuu, the ninth member of the Hieda family.” Reimu pushes you forward, making you face the woman. “Akyuu, you might remember Alyssa, yes?”
“Of course! The daughter of Hakurei Reimu and Kirisame Marisa!” she exclaims. “My, you’ve all grown up! The last time I saw you, you were just two years old. Time surely can change a human’s appearance, can’t it?”
You tilt your head. “Excuse me, but I don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’s only natural that you’re confused by the sudden revelation,” she dismisses. “She’s just arrived, Reimu?”
“No, she came here a couple of days ago,” Reimu answers. “Was supposed to introduce her to you right away, but circumstances wouldn’t allow it.”
“I see what you mean, but whatever it is, we are going to celebrate her return! Come, Reimu, let us not wait,” Akyuu says.
“Uhh… mom, you said you’re going to show me around,” you say. Reimu and Akyuu stare at you, almost as if they’re saying ‘did we?’ “Are we going to her place instead?”
“Why? Don’t you like it when we celebrate your homecoming?” Reimu asks.
“No, but I was thinking if we shouldn’t have a party at this time.” At once Reimu makes the ‘puppy-eyes’, which is quickly imitated by Sylvia and Reverie. You fight very hard to resist their pledge, but in the end you’re forced to give in. “Good grief. What am I, a husband or something?”
“You’re fun to tease, Alyssa, just like your mother,” Reimu giggles.
The woman named Akyuu leads you to her residence at the outskirt of the settlement. It’s a moderate-sized building no different from the shrine, although it lacks the Oriental ornaments usually associated with a shrine. Your arrival is greeted by several servants, whom Akyuu instructs to lead you to the guestroom. She returns a few minutes later, carrying teacups and some snacks. “I’m terribly sorry for the lack of appetizers. We ran out of watermelon before we even knew it,” she says and passes the teacup.
“If it’s Akyuu, anything is an appetizer,” Reimu says. “But I didn’t see her around, though. Is she going out again?”
“Yes, as usual,” Akyuu answers, followed by a sigh. “I’ve told her many times she’s supposed to focus on her study, but no! She wants to live her dream as an explorer instead.” She puffs her cheeks, and you can’t help thinking of how cute Akyuu is when she pouts. “And she even declares that every day is an adventure day! Right in my face, too! Who does she want to be? David Livingstone?”
“Children, Akyuu, you know they’re very hard to restrain,” Reimu answers.
“To hear that coming from your mouth… oh, the irony! It burns,” Akyuu wails.
You feel left out in the conversation. It doesn’t help that both Sylvia and Reverie have joined in, and seeing them actively conversing with Akyuu only makes you look like a nerd in social gathering. Well, whatever. You’re not very sociable, so you let them do whatever they want while you enjoy this cup of tea.
“So, Alyssa!” Your attention to your beverage is distracted when Akyuu calls you. “I haven’t heard of anything from you, so tell me! I’m dying to hear what you’ve been doing at the outside world.”
You shrug. “Nothing special. Just being a competent traceuse who transports goods for a living and has a family to feed,” you tell her.
“A transporter, then. So that means you get to kick a lot of ass while driving some cool car and not looking back at explosions, yes?” Akyuu continues.
“Am I that kind of transporter?” you reply wryly. “But if you mean I lived a dangerous live, then yes, I did. You never know when you would live through to see another day, or when people would backstab you and turn you in.”
“But Daddy’s the best! Even Grandpa admits there’s no one better than Daddy,” Reverie says.
“By the way, Akyuu, your daughter’s training to be the next chronicler, isn’t she?” Reimu says. “Why don’t you ask her to chronicle Alyssa’s life? I’m sure that can be a good training for her.”
“I’m not so sure. Well, if Alyssa doesn’t mind looking after her while she’s… “adventuring”.” She even makes the air-quotes, and you’re worried over the kind of “adventure” her child is indulging in. “Anyway, I can tell that you have lots of questions to ask, so fire away!”
How cheerful, she doesn’t even know what you have in mind.
[ ] Ask Akyuu what you need to know about Gensokyo. [ ] Ask Akyuu about her daughter. [ ] Ask Akyuu about herself. [ ] Ask Akyuu (and to some extent, Reimu) about your early years. [ ] Ask Akyuu about how two women can be ‘intimately’ bonded and have a child.
No, Anon, no flirting option. Alyssa is a family’s woman, and flirting Akyuu in front of our cute wife will not end well.
Some clarification: by "earlier years" I meant "my life before I got sent to the outside world and having no memories about those lost years." Keep on voting, guys, I'll call the votes after couple of days.
>>27291 >>27314 >>27317 That was a slight modification in my part. I originally wanted to apply the "Hieda chronicler died and reincarnated every generation" canon, but the idea of giving Akyuu a living heir is too good to past, so there it is. I'll have it fixed in future updates, though, so please bear with the inconsistency.
[c] Ask Akyuu (and to some extent, Reimu) about your early years.
As a matter of fact, there’s one pressing matter you want to ask both of them. “If anyone of you doesn’t mind, I want to know everything about my early years,” you speak. “You know, before I… got send down under and asking if my past life was a lie.”
“I can’t tell you everything, Alyssa. That would defeat the purpose of your homecoming,” Akyuu speaks.
“Uhh… tell me a valid reason why you can’t,” you say.
“It’s a promise both Reimu and I had made with Marisa,” she answers. “But I can say this: it was your mother who requested that Yukari bring you to the outside world on your seventh birthday. She didn’t want to expose you to the dangerous world she’s been living through, and expressed her hope that you would never have to follow her footsteps.”
You grumble. “So you’re telling me that I have to dig in my own past with my own hands.”
“I’m sorry, Alyssa, I just… can’t break the promise…” Everything goes silent. Neither Reimu nor Akyuu is speaking, and even the usually talkative Reverie doesn’t open her mouth. This is not the kind of conversation you want to have; you realize you need to break some more ices.
“You know, Reimu, to hear something along the line of ‘why am I having two mothers at the same time’ when she already is a family man…” You glare at Akyuu, who proceeds to fake a gasp. Wait a minute; you didn’t even plan on asking that question! What the hell? “Oh, please~ you don’t have to be so modest in front of us, Alyssa. I mean, look at you! Already have a wife and a child and aren’t afraid of exhibiting them!” she points.
“Why are you suddenly bringing that topic?” You yelp when Sylvia pinches you on the waist. “What was that for?!” She pouts and looks away. “Damn it, Sylvia. You think I’m flirting with her? At time like this?”
This time, Akyuu lets out a genuine gasp. “You say what? Are you hitting on me, this unattractive woman who is married and bears a child?”
“You’ve got it wrong! I didn’t say you’re unattractive, it was just a-” Akyuu blushes in a sudden, and once again you get pinched on the waist. “Oh, for crying out loud, Sylvia, stop that!”
“No! Daddy belongs to us!” Reverie wraps her arms around you, which is mimicked by Sylvia as she does the same to you. “Daddy can flirt with anyone Daddy likes, but Daddy belongs to us and nobody else!” Both Reimu and Akyuu laugh, and your face cringes in discomfort at the response. Oh, for grief’s sake, what now?!
“She’s Marisa’s daughter, alright,” Akyuu says.
“Definitely her most precious child,” Reimu adds.
“Do you think she’ll approve of this development, Reimu?” Akyuu asks again.
“Depends on how well she can follow the footsteps of her mother, I believe,” Reimu answers.
Anyone please help this poor soul…
Lunch ends without anymore hitch. Eventually, Reimu and Akyuu apologize for putting you in a tough situation, and you apologize to them for dragging them into your family affair. All in all, everyone’s enjoying their day, and you feel content to be with them. Right now you’re sitting on the mansion’s rooftop to ease your filled belly. Akyuu is at her study room; Reimu is seen at the courtyard, sitting on a bench near the fish pond; Sylvia and Reverie are at the kitchen, probably preparing evening tea; Reika is last seen on the rooftop before heading off somewhere. Akyuu’s child has not returned from her “adventure” yet, and you begin to wonder if you should bring her back home.
It’s still early, and you feel like you want to do something productive. [ ] Find Reimu. [ ] Find Akyuu. [ ] Find Reika. [ ] Find Sylvia. [ ] Volunteer to find Akyuu’s daughter.
You head for the kitchen. Sylvia and Reverie have completed their chore, and are clearing the table. You ask Reverie to leave you and Sylvia for a while. She giddily leaves the kitchen, giving you the chance to approach your wife. She doesn’t seem to notice, although she does react to your pat on her shoulder. “You’re alright, aren’t you?” She furiously shakes her head and focuses on wiping the table. You recognize that response. You know it all too well. She always does something else whenever she isn’t answering, and you know it means she’s hiding her trouble.
You grab her hand. “Seriously, Sylvia, you should let me know what’s troubling you,” you tell her. As you’ve expected, she clenches your hand although she’s still not looking at you. She’s still not answering, and try as hard you may she’s not even responding to your plea. “Jeez, don’t make me do this.”
You grab her shoulders, turn her around and slowly you step forward as you gently kiss her. Her body stiffens, and she tries pushing away from you before she relaxes and coaxes her head. A quiet, happy sigh escapes her mouth as the kiss deepens, and she clings onto you as you wrap your arms about her lithe figure. Time seems to stand still as the two of you hold onto one another, kissing and tonguing and answering to each other’s emotion…
The kisses break off. You and Sylvia are panting for air, and both of you are smiling contently at each other. “See, this wouldn’t have to happen if you were just willing to let me know,” you utter. Sylvia pouts and pinches your cheeks, which earns her a playful tickle on the waist. She yelps and tries escaping from you, but years of lightning-speed reflex under your belt allow you to effortlessly pounce at her. She tries fleeing your firm embrace before she gives in, and she giggles as she lets herself slack off in your arms. “You think you can outrun me, eh sneaky girl?” you utter and plant playful kisses upon her cheek.
“Things have become a bit too steamy in my house, don’t you think Reimu?”
“H-how bold! I wouldn’t even consider doing that with Marisa!”
“See? Told you Daddy and Mommy would go lovey-dovey.”
Both of you turn to the door and see three pair of eyes peeking from behind the wall. In an instant blood is flowing out of your face. “How long have you been watching?!” you demand.
“Oh, Alyssa, why must you be so full of denial?” Akyuu teases. “It’s okay to be affectionate to each other. You don’t have to be shy in front of us.”
“But eavesdropping on other people when they’re having their quality time is NOT okay! Now get out, GET OUT!!” You chase them out of the kitchen and into the courtyard, frustrated to know that they’re already outrunning you. “Even in this place, people have no respect to privacy. Give me a break!!”
You bid farewell to Akyuu and reunite with your awaiting family. Reika has returned from her free run, but Akyuu’s daughter is still nowhere to be found. That doesn’t concern you for now, though; you know she can take care of herself, even if her mother doesn’t want to admit. “We’ve done with Akyuu, so what’s next?” you ask.
“I could show you around the market, in case you need to buy some stuffs,” Reimu begins. “Or I could introduce you to some more of my friends, if you like.”
[ ] Go to the market. [ ] Let’s follow Reimu and meet her friends. [ ] On the other hand, why is Aya taking pictures of you from behind Reimu?
Time: 04:10 pm. Place: human village.
Welp, short update is unbearably short. Imagine the outcome of introducing Sylvia to the real Alice~
>>27434 I don't know, maybe because I like dem waifus~?
“Before that.” You point at the person behind Reimu. “What the hell does she think she’s doing?”
“What? Can’t you let this honest and humble reporter do her job?” Aya replies. “It’s not my fault that your outrage is going to be published tomorrow. Right?”
“Come again?” you ask in disbelief.
“Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t publish that just yet,” Aya adds. “Because I have no idea what in the world was going on! So, Alyssa, care to share me some insight behind the sudden outburst? Can you? Can you? I know you can~”
Reimu sighs and turns her attention to the girl. “Aya, stop it. You’re only making things worse,” she says and lowers the camera. “She’s only been here for a few days. Please, show her some respect.”
“But Reimu, this is the biggest scoop I’ve ever had in a decade!!” Aya protests. “You know this is the most important thing in Gensokyo’s history, isn’t it? If I don’t have anything to publish, what else should I do for a living?”
“Aya.” Reimu is now staring directly into Aya’s eyes. “Please.” It does its trick, because Aya suddenly backs away from her, frightened by the gentle, yet stern, gesture.
“F…fine, whatever you say, Reimu,” she mutters dejectedly. “Oh, well. Another opportunity gone to waste.” Suddenly you feel sorry for this… energetic woman.
Then an idea strikes your head. “Sylvia, remember the short stories you’ve wanted to publish in the newspapers?” She stares at you, and you shrug your shoulders before nodding at Aya. “Hey, Aya, can you do me a favour?”
Aya points at her face. “Did you just call me?”
“Of course I did! What are you? Deaf or something?” you bark. “Anyway, if you’re willing to publish Sylvia’s short stories in your newspapers-” You yelp when your adorable wife pinches your waist hard. “I’m doing you a favour, so stop acting like those stories are not for public reading.” Sylvia shakes her head fervently and begs you not to let her stories be printed. “See? This is one major problem you’re having. Why don’t you stop having doubt on yourself and let everyone know about your talent?”
“Oh, cool, an opportunity!! I mean…” Aya coughs and corrects her posture. “I’ll be more than happy to help you, Alyssa. Here, take my business card and let me know when and where you want us to meet.” She finishes with a wink, and your wife responds by growling at you in an irate manner. You respond by glowering back at her, and she stares at you even deeper and more infuriated.
“By the way, Alyssa, what kind of stories she writes?” Aya later asks.
You shrug. “Just your typical high school romance story. Was thinking of printing all of them in a book, but she wouldn’t let me do that. Something about…” You glance back at Sylvia. By now, your wife has turned into a blushing wreck and is trying very hard to hide her beet red face from view. “…her lack of self-confidence.” You chuckle and softly ruffle her hair. “You’ll be delighted to have fans of your writing, I’m sure of it.”
“Oh, yeah. I saw Aijuu on my way back. She just went to the SDM, wonder what she’s up to,” Reika says.
“Probably one of those ‘expeditions’, I wager,” you say, referring to Akyuu’s remark about her daughter’s obsession to archaeology. “Should we go to this SDM?”
“Alright, then! We’re going there after this,” Reimu says. “Not you, Aya.”
“Aw! Can’t I come along, Reimu? Can’t I? Can’t I?” Aya asks. - - In spite of the hassle caused by Aya’s insistence to join, you and your family manage to arrive at a lakeside mansion. It was a surprisingly short trip considering the distance between the mansion and the village, but the breathtaking sight of the landscape is enough to make you forget the travelling anomaly. Reimu points out that since the land route is basically a long detour from your current path, everyone has to take the airborne route.
“In other words, we’re going to airlift you,” Aya says. “There’s the three of us, so I guess each of us chooses our own cargo.”
“We’re going to fly? Cool, we’re going to be like Superman!” Reverie says.
“Good! I’ll see you on the other side of the lake!” Aya grabs Sylvia and jumps off the ground – the sudden movement causes her to yelp, and she starts flailing helplessly in Aya’s arms as she flies across the lake. Freaking journalist, kidnapping your wife in broad daylight!
“That would make me the second airlifter. Let’s go, Reverie!” Reika grabs Reverie’s hand and chases after Aya, leaving you with Reimu as the last pair to take flight. You glance at Reimu, and then at those who have crossed the lake and are now waving at you. Should you follow Aya’s advice, or should you take the long route?
“Oh, if it isn’t Miss Reimu!” A voice greets you from behind. Both you and Reimu turn around and see a Chinese girl approaching the lake from the forest, carrying a wrapped box between her arms. She’s tall, probably a foot or so taller than you are, and her presence somehow demands respect and admiration from you.
Not to mention her chest is bigger than yours. Damn.
“Hello, Meiling,” Reimu corrects. “You were from Kourin’s shop, yes?”
“Yeah, had to find replacements for Miss Flandre’s broken hourglass,” the Chinese girl says. “She’s been begging at me to replace it since she “accidentally” dropped it last week. But don’t worry about who’s looking after the gate! I’ve assigned several fairies to the post, so there shouldn’t be any problem.”
“It’s alright if it’s Meiling,” Reimu replies. “Oh, yes. Alyssa and I are visiting the SDM today. I’ve wanted to introduce her to Remi and everyone else.”
“Cool! I’ll take you there-” The Chinese girl turns to you, and you suddenly feel uneasy when her eyes widen. “Miss Reimu! Who is this? I could’ve sworn she looks familiar, but…”
“Come on, Meiling. You know who she is already, don’t you?” Reimu asks. “She’s the one I’ve been talking about a lot with you, you know.”
“No! I mean… is this really her?” She leans down and brings her face close to you. So close that you can actually see the reflection of your face in her eyes. “Wow. She really does look similar to Marisa. Almost like a twin sister.”
“It’s in her blood, after all.” Reimu giggles and lightly taps your shoulder. “Go on, Alyssa. Introduce yourself to her. Don’t worry; she won’t bite.”
How you introduce yourself to Meiling?
[ ] Politely. With courtesy. [ ] In your own way. [ ] Compliment her height.
Sorry for the delay and the length of this update.
[c] Compliment her height. [c] No, seriously, let’s greet her in your own way. Politely, of course.
“Well, sis,” you say while ‘sizing up’ the situation. “You certainly got the… height. I can give you credit for that.” There’s a joke circulating in your circle that a girl taller than the tallest traceuse in your group be called ‘Sis’, and that privilege be reserved especially to a girl with the ‘finest’ asset. You may probably get scolded at or maimed for the terrible joke, but you couldn’t simply miss the opportunity.
Meiling blinks in confusion. “Sis?”
You shrug. “Anyway, the name’s Alyssa. A traceuse – that’s free runner for you – and a transporter. With an agreeable amount of fee, I can deliver anything and everything to anywhere and everywhere.” You even take out a business card and hand it over to Meiling. “Just give me a call, and I’ll jump right in-” You’re suddenly pulled away from Meiling. “Mom, I’m not finished yet.”
“Alyssa, what are you doing?” she asks.
“What? I just did what I often do at Melbourne,” you answer.
“But this is Gensokyo, not Australia! Go apologize to her right now!” she reprimands.
“I did the right thing, and I didn’t think I’d offend her.” You fold your arms. “Mom, is it necessary to apologize when you know I’ve done nothing wrong?”
“Of course it’s necessary!” Reimu replies.
Then, out of the blue, Meiling laughs. “Oh, jeez! Seeing you two arguing like this reminds me of the old days!” she boasts and gives both of you a slap on the back. “Chill out. It’s not that I’m going to uppercut you to kingdom come.” You cough and wheeze as a result of the ‘friendly gesture’; damn, she must have one hell of a physique. “So! Alyssa Kirisame, I reckon.”
“That will be me, alright.”
She grins widely. “I think I’m starting to like you after this. Miss Reimu, mind if I adopt her?”
The question is enough to make both you and Reimu stare at this Chinese girl. “Come again?” you ask.
“But Meiling, she’s been here for only a couple of days! Why you suddenly want to adopt her?” Reimu protests.
This Chinese ‘sis’ – Meiling, if you can recall her name – turns to Reimu. “Miss Reimu, never before in my life would I see you this panicked. What’s wrong with you? You need to calm down.” Reminds yourself not to get caught in the middle of a dispute, so as Reimu and Meiling starts arguing you look around the environment for anything climbable. After days of not doing a free run, you’re itchy to get some action, and you’re desperate for one.
You think you spot something hidden beneath those branches. You climb up a tree nearby and discover a cable that stretches across the lake, its far end anchored to one of the towers. There’s also a device at the start of the cable that can be held onto as if it’s a grappling hook. Hold on. Cable stretched across a vast open area? A grappling hook? “You’ve got to be kidding me. This is a freaking zip-line!” you say out loud.
“A zip-line?” A curious voice, followed by subtle drop of sunlight greets you. Turning around to the source of the disturbance, you find yourself staring into the eyes of a young woman. Red left eye and blue right eye? Oh, dichromatic, not many people you come across have dual-coloured eyes. “What are you doing up here?” she asks, her hands twirling the handle of the purple umbrella almost excitedly.
“Good day? Fancy meeting you up here,” you greet.
She closes the distance between you, staring at you so close you can see your own reflection in her eyes. “Waiiiiiiit a minute, you look very familiar,” she utters.
“Have we met before?” you ask.
“Ah! I know!” The girl points at your face. “You’re her!!”
You suddenly feel a shift of weight underneath you. Are you descending? Nope, you’re falling!
Quickly, reach for the nearest thing and hold on!
Hold on, why are you flying across the lake?
Forget why you’re zip-lining! You’re headed straight for the tower!
Oh, look! Stained glasses! Maybe you can break through and make a safe land! Perhaps a dynamic entrance into someone’s room?
But what if you misjudge your distance and fall into a bottomless pit?
There’s no time for such debate! You’re only seconds away from crashing!
Shit, there’s no way you avoid collision. You just have to steel up and face the consequences. Brace yourself, Alyssa, because you’re going to-
-too late. You’re already inside this building, and you’re still sliding down the zip-line. How long will this trip last? Jeez, you’re not going to end up anywhere at this rate. Come on, there’s got to be something to leap onto! And why is Flight of The Bumblebee blaring loudly inside the room? Ah, forget about that, you see a monkey bar coming at your right side. Perfect, just within a leaping reach! You swing the grappling hook sideways, and with a loud cry, you hurl yourself off the zip-line. Success! The force of the momentum almost snaps your arms in half, but you manage to grab onto it.
Oh, look. Monkey bars, poles, ropes, nets and yet more zip-lines. And they’re arranged in a way that they practically scream “use us or else!!” It’s like someone built this mansion with indoor obstacle course in mind. What have you come across? No matter, your arms are getting tired, and you don’t want to waste your time hanging around for dear life.
A loud klaxon blares out of nowhere. From a distance you spot a group of maids rushing toward your position. What’s this? Did you just alert the security guards? You have no time for this!! You immediately swing from this monkey bar to the rope dangling ahead of you, and before long you’re leaping from one apparatus to another, trying to outrun the guards.
“Halt, intruder! Stay wherever you are!” “We’re arresting you for trespassing!” “Don’t think you can leave this mansion alive!”
You finally make a landfall. There’s no time to rest, so you gather what’s left of your strength and outrun the pursuing maids. You dodge, you vault, you somersault, you slide across the floor; every trick in the book is used just to get out of this madness.
You spot a ventilation hole up ahead. Good! Just when you need to hide. Immediately you climb in, and you watch from within the safety of the vent hole as the maids continue running, unaware that the intruder is now nowhere to be seen. They’ll be back for sure, and you need to find a way to leave the building undetected.
Let’s try using this vent hole. It looks like it can take you out of this place. You squeeze through the claustrophobic space, carefully navigating your way as to not expose your discreet location to the maids. You manage to reach the end of the hole, kick the barrier out of the way and jumped out…
…into another room. It appears you have erred in finding the exit route, but there’s no need to panic. All you have to do is to find a window and get out of this place. And that’s when your eyes catch the sight of the following:
Smooth, luscious skin. Shapely figure. Silky purple tresses. Bare shoulders. Nice butt. Cute mini-top hat.
It appears you just walked into someone undressing.
And that someone is staring at you wide-eyed.
And that someone’s face is burning hot.
This. Is. Awkward.
You wave at her, trying to be as polite as you can. “Good day. Sorry for walking in. I’ll just leave through the window and pretend we never met. Fair enough?”
You’re sent many feet off the floor. Whoa, what just happened? All you remember is that a fireball was shot at your direction. That was it? Well, all you know is that you’re being hurled at a maid who just happens to walk in-
“Ah, watch out!!”
-and the last things you see are stars and planets.
“Should’ve dismantled the obstacle course, you know.”
“While Flan’s all geared up for some epic platforming action? I don’t think she’ll appreciate what her loyal servant is going to do.”
“But you saw it didn’t you, milady? Someone almost got killed because of the dangerous contraption.”
“You’re unreasonably paranoid. Flan can take care of herself, she’s now grown up.”
“I was just voicing my opinion over this matter, milady.”
“Will anyone of you please lower your goddamn voice?!”
“My apology, Miss Patchouli.” “Sorry, Patchy.”
“Miss Patchouli here’s the first aid kit!!”
“Tell the others to get the medicine ready! And both of you, why are you still standing there? Come here and give me a hand!”
“Oh, my. Miss Patchouli is unreasonably angry today.”
“After someone walked into her while she was trying her new clothes? She has every reason to be angry.”
You wake up. Groggily you look around. It doesn’t take too long before you realize you’re bedridden – or at least, you should be, as you’re lying on a couch in the middle of a room. Books? Must be a library. Wait, so that means you’re already inside?
“She’s woken up.” Your head careens to the left. You see this girl in a Victorian-styled getup approaching you. “Good, because I wanted to compliment her for destroying the expensive stained glass panel I bought last month,” she speaks.
“Come again?” you ask.
“You surely have the guts to break in to this mansion and walk into poor, naked Patchy. Nobody I know has the audacity to do such thing, and nobody I know would even go as far as molesting her.” Molesting? Whoa, what the hell is this girl smoking? “Yes, yes. Do that trick again. Breaking into someone’s house like an action hero and save the damsel in distress. What do you think you want to be? Indiana Jones?”
“Milady, she may not be Indy, but she’s the only person capable of pulling off this stunt,” her companion speaks and stares at you. “Isn’t that right, Alyssa Kirisame?”
“Kirisame?” This ‘Remi’ stares back at you. “Oh, it’s her.” A few minutes later her eyes bulge wide open. “No way, Sakuya! She can’t be her! I mean- ahem. Well, of course it’s her! Who can ever forget the descendent of Gensokyo’s beloved ordinary magician? Ah, hahahaha!”
You’re about to open your mouth when the door is forcibly kicked. It’s your mother, and she walks straight at you, completely disregarding this ‘Remi’ who’s standing in her path. “Alyssa! Oh, god! Are you hurt somewhere? Please tell me you’re alright.” Chaos unfolds when Reimu suddenly flips out and yells at this ‘Remi’, and the calm and composure girl turns pale as she tries explaining the situation.
“Miss Reimu, please calm down! There’s no reason to panic,” Meiling speaks as she steps in between Reimu and this ‘Remi’. “I’m sure Miss Remilia can explain the situation to you.”
“You can say that to me, but what about them?” Reimu barks and points at your family.
Well, what now?
[ ] Interfere. [ ] Ignore them for now and talk to: - [ ] This elegant-looking maid. She seems to know something about your family name… - [ ] This ‘Patchy’. Look for this ‘Patchy’ and properly apologize. - [ ] Sylvia and Reverie. - [ ] Who’s that red-haired girl with wings on her head? - [ ] On the other hands, why are those maids peeking at you from behind the bookshelf? [ ] Flip out and head for home. “I should go.
>“Good, because I wanted to compliment her for destroying the expensive stained glass panel I bought last month,” Blame whoever decided the zip-line should go through it instead of stopping outside the tower.
Thought this site is down indefinitely after I couldn't access it last Sunday. Anyway, here's the update.
“Guys? Guys!” Ignoring your bandaged body, you step in between Reimu and this ‘Remi’. “Do you have to settle everything with argument? Stop that; you’re scaring the kitties away.”
“And who wants to take responsibility over this mess? Not me, that’s for sure,” this ‘Remi’ says and pushes you away from her. “It’s obvious to me that the person who broke into this mansion should be responsible.”
“You do not speak of responsibility very lightly, Remilia Scarlet,” Reimu snarls.
Remilia Scarlet? So that’s her name. “Why, yes I can, Reimu. It’s my home, and I can speak whatever I want about it,” she replies.
“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Reimu speaks in a threatening tone. This isn’t going anywhere; either you stay and watch the argument all the way to the next morning, or you defuse this situation. You grumble; looks like you have to resort to that method again.
You approach Sylvia. You pull her away from Meiling and hold her in an embrace, causing her to yelp. “Sylvia, let’s go home,” you murmur and plant a quick kiss on her lips. “I hope you realize that I’m quite starving right now.” At that instant the argument stops, and both of them turn their attention toward you, eyes wide open. It works, just like how it always worked in a charm to end argument among your traceuse friends.
“You can’t be doing that… can you?” Remilia asks.
“What? That’s what we often do at the end of the day, so what’s the problem with that?” You narrow your gaze. “We’ve just arrived in Gensokyo a few days ago, so cut the slack, okay?” You wince when Sylvia pokes at your ribcage. “Not too rough, Sylvia. It still hurts. Huh, who did this to me? Well…”
Your mind flies back to the meeting with the almost-naked girl. She was embarrassed, angry and furious at you for seeing her in all the barest glory. Wait, was she the one who shot that fireball at your face? Oh, it seems you’re not the only person who should take responsibility over this chaos.
You’re brought back to reality when Sylvia pinches you in the face. “You don’t have to do it every damn time. What is it?” Sylvia points at Reimu and Remilia. Oh, that’s right; you should end this simple demonstration before you get carried away. Come to think about it, you should tease them a bit more, so you sit back on the couch, letting Sylvia rest upon your lap, all while Remilia continues to stare at you. Oh boy, she looks like she’s going to burst any moment now…
Time to hit the final nail. “By the way, we’re married.”
“That’s… that’s not true, is it?!” she wails. “I don’t see any wedding ring with you!”
Sylvia gets off your lap and sits beside you, allowing you to fold your arms. “What? Ask my mother if you don’t believe me. Oh, and Miss Scarlet? My mother is standing next to you.” You have to stifle your chocked laugher at Remilia’s shock over the revelation.
“And here I thought milady’s very excited at the prospect of having a potential suitor,” this elegant-looking maid speaks as she sits beside Sylvia. You and Sylvia almost jump off the couch at her unannounced presence. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I surprise you?”
“Well, of course you are! What are you, stage magician or something?” you ask.
“Oh, no. I’m more than just a stage magician,” she giggles. She flicks her hand in the air and- out comes a complete tea set, neatly perched upon her palm. Whoa, how on Earth did she do that? “A stage magician wouldn’t be able to conjure tea set in the blink of an eye. Right, Alyssa?” she replies as she’s serving you with tea.
You look back at Remilia. By now she has reduced into a stuttering wreck, and is being comforted by Reimu. “Should we leave her like that?” you ask.
“Milady’s just overreacting over your return, that’s all,” this maid answers. “Well, we were indeed caught off-guard when Reimu started yelling at milady, but that’s to be expected from a concerned mother. Isn’t that right?” By all accounts, shouldn’t you just change your surname to Hakurei?
“Speaking of which, where’s the girl whom I accidentally walked into?” you ask.
“You’re talking about Miss Patchouli? She’s over there,” this maid informs. You and your wife careen your head and see the said person hiding her face from view. “She was trying a new look while awaiting your mother’s return. Never expected to have her daughter walking into her room while she was, you know, half-naked.”
“That bad?” you ask.
“She’s the only one in this mansion who’s still attached to Marisa, and vehemently refuses to this day to accept her absence,” she explains. “Oh, please forgive me for not introducing myself. My name is Izayoi Sakuya, pleased to meet you.”
You nod. “Likewise. So, to make story short, how long you’ve known both Reimu and my mother?”
“It’s a long story, to be honest, but since you’ve come home, I guess there are a lot of things to be shared between us,” Sakuya says. “I know it’s kind of late, but will you stay for evening tea after this, Alyssa? I’ll ask Reimu if she’s willing to join us.”
“Sakuya, Sakuya!” Remilia rushes to the couch and is now clinging onto Sakuya. “Find me a husband quickly, or I’ll die of eternal loneliness! If you can’t find one, a wife is fine too!”
“I flatly refuse, milady. Please do it yourself. Besides, don’t you already have me~?” Wow, that’s one dangerous smile she produces at the end of that statement.
“Uuu, Sakuya, you’re so mean!” Remilia growls. “Not even Flan would say such a miserable thing.”
An explosion rocks the entire mansion, almost knocking Sylvia and Reverie off the couch. “I heard that!” Charging out of what is now a man-sized hole is a girl no younger than you, and she’s pointing at Remilia. “You’re just jealous because everyone’s already married or is getting married and you’re not.”
“I’m not jealous!” Remilia replies.
“Does it matter, sister?” This girl crackles her knuckles and let out an ecstatic laughter. “Well, then. Let this awesomely burning fist settle your problem right here, right now!”
Sakuya fiddles with her wristwatch – A Rolex? She has a good taste in keeping time in hand. “Alyssa, let’s move out of the way.” You don’t get what she’s telling you until this newcomer shouts loudly and pounces at Remilia. You grab Sylvia and immediately jump off the couch-
“EXPLODING CRANBERRY FINGER!!”
-seconds before this girl’s burning knuckle hits its target. What unfolds next is total chaos. So chaotic you do not know how to describe it. Maybe you should do something else.
[ ] Talk to Patchouli (and apologize). [ ] Ask Sakuya if Akyuu’s daughter came over. [ ] Ask Meiling about her wanting to adopt you. [ ] Curious maids are curious. Go entertain them. [ ] Those platforms bookshelves. They’re made for you. [ ] Go cuddle Reimu. In a daughterly way, of course. [ ] Others (please specify).
You let go off Sylvia and ask her to go with Meiling; coincidentally she’s taking Reverie to a safe corner in the library as to avoid the fistfight between Remilia and the newcomer girl. Confident that Meiling can look after your family, you walk toward Patchouli. She doesn’t seem to notice you as she’s hiding her face from behind the book. “Hey, umm,” you start the conversation. “I know I should be blamed for walking into your room while you were…” Peeking from the book, she glares at you. Is she still angry over the minor incident? “If you don’t want to forgive me, fine. I deserve that. At least, please let me apologize.”
Sakuya appears behind you, once again surprising you with her “stage magic” trick. “Don’t be that harsh to your niece, Miss Patchouli. She just arrived in Gensokyo, it’s only natural that she’s not used to its custom,” she tells her in faked disappointment.
“I’m her who now?” you ask.
“Didn’t you know? You have an extended family,” Sakuya answers. You’re not whether to be shocked by this revelation or to thank her for the new information. “Besides, it was she who shot that Royal Flare at your face. We were surprised that you managed to get away with minor injuries.”
“She… she walked in and saw me naked!” the girl remarks.
“Oh, don’t be so modest, Miss Patchouli.” Sakuya approaches her and pulls the book off her grasp. “Must you be so shy toward Marisa’s own daughter? Go on, say hi to her. It wouldn’t hurt you if you do. Besides, she was just ogling at you.”
“Give the book back to me!” The girl with purple tresses tries in vain to reach for the book. “Give! It! Back!”
“I will not comply with your order until you apologize to Alyssa,” Sakuya says.
“But she did it first!” the girl complains.
“Oh, really now? Hey, Alyssa.” She tosses the book at you. “Catch.” You catch the book, and the girl immediately jumps at you. It’s so sudden you have no time to react, and with a loud thud both of you crash onto the floor.
She’s on top of you.
Once again, you’re in awkward position.
You dare not push her for the fear to accidentally cop a feel of her and invoking her wrath again, so you have to make do with pointing behind your head. “Don’t you think we’re in a seriously bad situation right now?”
Her face reddens. “Ah, I, umm… I’m sorry!” She quickly takes the book off your grasp and disappears into the dark corner of the library.
“Calm down, Miss Sylvia! That was an accident! She didn’t mean it!”
“Aw, man, that was not fun at all! Just when I thought I could do some news coverage.”
“Poor Patchy deprived of all the love and attention.”
“Then she should get laid and make children. Lots and lots of children!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Remilia asks.
“Well, I went to Patchy’s room yesterday and found this book about wedding ceremonies around the world. I even found a sketch of her in wedding gown. I mean, Reimu’s already married. Akyuu’s already married. Meiling’s already got a boyfriend. Koa’s already got a boyfriend. Even you and Sakuya have potential suitors.”
“And you still don’t.”
“Because I’m still waiting for my prince charming to come sweep me off my feet and bring me to the room and make sweet, sweet love to me. Isn’t my life wonderful, sister?”
“Dream on, Flandre Scarlet. Dream on.”
You ignore the commotion around you, only because the maids are eavesdropping from behind the nearest shelf. You approach them, intending to strike a conversation with them, but instead you’re greeted with sharp glares that could kill if they could. What did you do to upset them this time?
“Is she the one?” one of the maids asks.
“Yes, definitely the one,” another maid answers.
“May I help you, everyone?” you ask.
“Go apologize to our friend Stella,” the maid says.
“What? I don’t remember doing anything,” you reply. “Tell me what it is so that we can settle it right away.”
“Didn’t you remember? You crashed into her, and you kissed her on the lips!” yet another maid answers.
“She told us she couldn’t have a boyfriend anymore because of that, and now she locks herself inside her room,” her partner adds.
A kiss? What on earth are they talking about? You try to recap; after you walked into Patchouli’s room, you saw her naked and got hit by a fireball, and then you were sent flying towards a maid who happened to walk into the room. Ah! So not only did you crash into this… ‘Stella’ but you also stole her kiss? Oh, that’s why these maids are so edgy.
Wait a minute.
Stole her first kiss?!
“Go apologize to her, you fairy molester.” The situation becomes chaotic as the rest of the maids demand you to apologize to their ‘mentally scarred’ friend.
[ ] Refuse. Tell them why. [ ] Oblige, Alyssa. Just oblige. Can you refuse their pleading look? [ ] Call anyone for help. [ ] Fairy molester? Oh, no, these maids have gotten it all wrong.
As usual, my apology for the delay, so here's the update without any ado.
[c] Oblige, Alyssa. Just oblige. Can you refuse their pleading look?
You rub your temple. Arguing with these girls will only lead you nowhere. Even if you were to win anyway, would you be able to resist their pleading look? “Alright, alright. Show me where she is,” you grumble.
“Right! This way, please.” Following the maids’ lead, you leave the relative safety of the library and venture deep into the mansion. The trip is agonizingly unfriendly, the atmosphere is unbearably dense, and it doesn’t help that the maids keep their hostile gaze fixed upon you. Any attempt to start a conversation is only met with angry stares; you have to admit they’re quite adorable in those angry look, but you refrain yourself from making any statement regarding that.
You arrive at what you can only assume as the maids’ living quarters. The maids who are presumably off-duty immediately gather around you, and they look as equally angry as the group that accused you as ‘fairy molester’. You don’t want this crisis to last any longer, so you ask the maids to show you the unfortunate individual. They simultaneously point at a spot, and following the direction of their fingers you see a girl sitting quietly on a bed, gazing outside the window.
“There she is. Now go apologize to Stella,” one of the maids tells you. “If you refuse, then you must take responsibility for what you’ve done to her.”
“What? You’re telling me I should be her boyfriend?”
“Yes!!” is their unified response.
“Forget it. I’m already married. You’d already see my wife back there, didn’t you?” you reply.
“But what about Stella?! Are you just going to dump her and leave her deprived off all the love and attention?! You monster!” Whoa, what the hell are these girls smoking?
“Oh, my. What’s going on here?”
“Miss Sakuya!” The maids quickly flock Sakuya. “She stole Stella’s kiss and now she doesn’t want to take responsibility for what she did! Go punish her for us!”
Sakuya merely offers you an apologetic, if not amused, gaze. “Really? I bet she did it accidentally, right?”
“No! She did it on purpose!” the maids reply.
You ignore the commotion and approach Stella. She doesn’t notice you as you take a seat beside her. Trying to be as friendly as you can, you begin by apologizing for dragging her into the trouble you caused. She’s not listening, nor does she turn her head to look at you. This slightly worries you; is she really that scarred for life?”
You turn yourself around. “Sylvia? Didn’t notice you were here. Did you follow me?” Sylvia doesn’t answer as her eyes are fixated upon Stella. She stares at the girl for a few good minutes before she asks you what happened. “Those maids… they want me to apologize to her for…” You stop right there; the last thing you want to see is your wife going berserk over the ‘accidental kiss’. You’ve got to come up with an excuse, and fast.
“A-anyway, because I did terrible things to her, her friends got mad at me and demanded that I apologize to her- Sylvia, what are you doing?”
Sylvia sits next to Stella, and does the unthinkable – by hugging the girl. Stella stiffens in a sudden, and squirms uncontrollably as Sylvia starts cuddling her. With the girl securely held in her arms, Sylvia turns to you and stares at you in the way that you’re all too familiar with.
“Sylvia. Don’t.” She pouts in protest and tightens her arms around Stella’s waist. “You think you can go and take every cute thing home as you wish?” She nods vigorously and rubs her face against Stella’s cheek. This isn’t going anywhere; your original aim is to apologize to Stella and get this problem dealt with, and now Sylvia wants to take her home? This is madness!
Your inner monologue is disrupted when you hear a meek sound calling for you. It’s coming from Stella, and she’s now standing in front of you with Sylvia behind her. She’s struggling to come up with a word, and it’s clear that she too has something to say about the incident.
“H-hello. My name is Stella, p-pleased to meet you.” She bows to you.
You nod in return. “Good day. Look, I know I’m the one to blame over that, and with that I apologize.”
“N-No! It’s alright, really! It was my fault for not knocking the door before coming in,” she giggles nervously.
“So that makes us even. Fair enough?” Stella nods before she gets smothered in Sylvia’s chest. You’re done with the apology, and now you want to get the hell out of this place.
“Now, please wait for a moment, Miss Alyssa~” Sakuya stops you dead when you’re about to leave the quarters. “I see that your wife has gotten attached to Stella already. And I’ve been thinking…” She glances at you with a dangerously foxy look, and your heart skips the moment your eyes make contact with hers. “…if you’re willing to let her stay with you for time being?”
“Oh, come on! I’ve already apologized to her, and now I have to look after her, too?!” you object.
“Because you’re a family man, that’s why~” Sakuya giggles. “Oh, don’t you ever worry, Alyssa. Despite her meekness, Stella’s very competent as I can attest. I’m sure she’s more than willing to serve you as much as your wife is. Besides…” Her smile turns foxy again. “You did steal her first kiss, after all. As expected from Marisa’s precious child~”
You’re in despair. You wish you hadn’t come to this mansion at all.
Congratulations, Alyssa! You now have a new member in your family. Now what? [ ] Stay for tea. [ ] Find Aijuu. [ ] Go back home. [ ] Head to Reimu’s place.
Confession: my life now sucks hard so much I feel like I'm crapping bricks and stones. Disregard this and accept this post of apology for my prolonged absence.
[c] Stay for tea.
“I need tea.”
“Certainly. This way, please.” You leave the chaos far, far behind and follow Sakuya to a tearoom somewhere in the secluded corner of the mansion. “Miss Remilia suggested the construction of this room to accommodate the main guestroom. That was a few years ago, but nobody ever bothered to spend their time here. Until now.”
“And now we’re here,” you add.
“I’m going to prepare ourselves tea. Which one would you like to have? Earl Gray, masala chai or Rize? Or do you prefer green tea, instead?” Without having a second thought, you pick your choice. “Very well. Please wait for a minute.”
She walks out, and returns a few minutes later with a complete tea set. She must have used her ‘stage magic’ trick again. “Are you sure you will be alright? You certainly need more than just a brew,” she inquires and passes you a filled cup. “Perhaps some muffins will do the trick just as fine.”
You shake your head. “It’s fine. I just need to calm down.” You take a minute to sip the tea. You cringe; this is way too sweet for your delicate tongue. “Seriously, though. This whole affair is starting to confuse the hell out of me. I mean… should I be grateful to finally come back to where I truly belong when all I get is nothing but madness?”
“If you ask for my humble opinion, yes, you should. This is your home, after all,” Sakuya answers.
“If Patchouli is my… aunt, then who are you?” you ask again.
“I’m a close friend to your mother,” she adds. “So, how was the outside world?”
Both of you sit down on the couch. “Governments change, people change, the environment changes, but it’s still the same world. Why do you ask?” You take another sip; by now your taste bud has gotten used to this tea’s sweetness.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she giggles. “It’s been a long time since I left. Well, now. Drink the tea before it gets cold.”
You quietly comply and finish the tea, letting Sakuya refill it. You use the time to reflect your interaction with her up to this point; unlike the rest of the people you’ve come across, she looks like a decent person. Perhaps this is your chance to chill out and know her more.
Conversation time? [ ] Yes. [ ] No.
If yes, specify a topic. [ ] Ask why she brought you to this tearoom in particular. [ ] Ask how long she’s been a friend to your mother and Reimu. [ ] Praise her for the tea. - [ ] Politely, of course. Mind your manners, Alyssa. - [ ] Do it your own way. [ ] How should you address her (and the rest of the tenants)? [ ] Ask her for her opinion: who you should call ‘father’? [ ] Others/write-in.
Optional: who does anon want to see in future updates? [ ] Kosuzu. [ ] Kokoro. [ ] Alice. [ ] Mima. [ ] Yuuka and her precious little flower.Hint: it’s not Reina.In before Yuuka being Alyssa’s true father. [ ] GrandmaYuyuko [ ] Genji. [ ] Ruukoto. [ ] Mimi-chan. [ ] Marisa’s tsuchinoko. [ ] Not yet. They can wait.
[X] Yes. -[X] Ask how long she’s been a friend to your mother and Reimu. --[X] Ask how she knows them and how they met. -[X] Ask her about Gensokyo in general. It would be good to get a former Outsider's point of view.
[ ] Five Magic Stones That's not an option, is it? Then I'll have to go with [X] Yuyuko.
[X] Yes. --[X] Ask how long she’s been a friend to your mother and Reimu.
[X] Yuuka and her precious little flower.
Serial ATA!n7aMCKsvzM2013/11/04 (Mon) 04:30No. 27987▼
[c] Ask how long she’s been a friend to your mother and Reimu. - [c] Ask how she knows them and how they met. -- [c] Ask her about Gensokyo in general.
“Can I ask you something, Miss Sakuya?”
“Go ahead. We have a lot of time to spend.”
“You mentioned earlier that you’re a friend to Reimu and my mom. My question is, how long?” You absentmindedly run your fingers along the rim of the cup. “And if I may add, how did you meet them?”
“Hmm, that’s a good question, indeed.” She crosses her legs as to adjust her sitting, and you can’t help gazing at the glimpse of her thighs just underneath her skirt. You’re so busy pretending to ignore her nicely sculpted legs that you didn’t notice Sakuya looking at you, or her amused smile on her face.
“It began in two-thousand-and-two, when milady released the scarlet mist and spread it across the land,” she begins. “Many people had come to this mansion and demanded that milady remove the mist because it was affecting their crop production. As the chief maid, I was not only responsible for looking after our ‘guests’, but also making sure they didn’t cause us any trouble.”
“And that’s when they stepped in,” you point.
“Reimu issued a warning that Miss Remilia was creating an incident by releasing the mist,” she answers. “Your mother… well, she just tagged along with Reimu so that she could loot our mansion.”
“And you fought them,” you add.
“Of course I did, because that’s what my duty is,” she chuckles. “I wasn’t the only one, Alyssa. There were Meiling, Miss Patchouli, the fairy maids, and of course there was Miss Remilia.” Both of you pause as to take more sips of the tea. “In the end, all of us lost. Even with our strengths combined, we were unable to defeat them - in the words of the outside world, we got our ass whooped. Only Miss Flandre came close to beating them, but it was only because she was bored.”
“She was bored,” you muse.
“She was, and she still is, though she may not in the future. Provided that she has found the love of her life,” she replies. “Anyway, after that, Miss Remilia begrudgingly agreed to remove the mist and solve the incident. And that, Alyssa, is how I met Reimu and your mother.”
“Never thought that they were that strong,” you mutter.
She laughs again. “You didn’t notice? They’re the only persons who have gone toe to toe with everyone from a vampire, a soul-sucking tree, immortals, the supreme judge of Xanadu to native gods. Hell, they might as well be Gensokyo’s only protectors.”
“And you’re not.”
“Oh, please, I’m but a maid who chooses to serve her mistress.”
How awfully humble. She must have grown mellow after all those years. You don’t want to bother her about it so you press on. “I reckon that you were an outsider. I don’t want to sound rude, but… what do you think about Gensokyo?”
“My opinion? Well, apart from occasional incidents, it is pretty much a nice place to live. It’s not that different from any isolated village in the outside world, once you get used to it.” She smiles. “Besides, you can do anything and everything freely without having to worry about law enforcers chasing after you.”
“Like installing obstacle course inside this mansion.”
“If you do that in the outside world, you’d get arrested for violating building safety code,” Sakuya says. “Even better, you can go everywhere you like and practice Parkour to your heart’s content. You won’t believe how much this land can offer to a traceuse.”
“Anyway, what do you think of Gensokyo?” she continues.
You find yourself laughing miserably. “After only a day of being its citizen, what do I get? Being called a youkai by Reimu’s daughter, cruelly denied of my quality time with Sylvia, accused of flirting with Miss Akyuu, chased around the mansion by those maids, demanded to take Stella in for ruining her for marriage… oh, did I forget to mention that Miss Meiling was very keen to adopt me?”
“She’s just happy, don’t worry about her,” Sakuya assures.
“I don’t know. I haven’t lived here long enough to know everyone, so…” Your mind trails off; memories of your precious life in Melbourne, your close friends, your clients, the thrill of outrunning local police while scaling up buildings.
“Remembering your old place, aren’t you?”
“Eh, can’t be helped. Her soul runs through my veins, and there’s no way I can forget her easily.” You take a deep breath and throw your sight outside the window. You, then, mumble something about not having to dress up as Mad Hatter or accompanied by the Cheshire cat and its disembodied smile anymore. Somehow you feel glad to be able to leave the madness behind.
Sakuya’s voice brings you back from your stupor. You look back at her, noticing that she’s smiling rather amusedly at you. “I’m sorry? Did you hear me saying something?”
“You were daydreaming,” she points out.
“Oh. Oh.” You apologize meekly. “Sorry. It’s my old habit.”
“Apology accepted,” she says. “Anyway, I understand that you didn’t plan to visit us, so what actually brought you here?” You explain to her the gist of the situation, and she nods to every point you’re relaying. “You’re looking for Hieda no Aijuu, correct?”
“That I am,” you reply.
“If my memory serves me, she should still be at Voile at this time,” she adds. “And speaking of which, she told me she has planned to move in here tomorrow. You know, because of the books.”
“I don’t think Miss Akyuu will be very pleased when she comes back,” you joke. - - You and Sakuya leave the comfort of the tearoom and return to the library. You’ve gotten ready to call it a day, and so too are your family. Aijuu has also joined them, so there’s no reason to prolong your stay. “Thanks for the hospitality, Miss Sakuya,” you tell her. “And it’s been enjoying to talk with you, too.”
“The pleasure is all mine, Alyssa,” she replies.
You bid farewell to the households and send Aijuu back to Hieda Residence. After a brief introduction with the rest of her family, you head back to the cottage. It doesn’t have the same feeling as the apartment back in Melbourne, but at least it is now your home. Reimu seems to be troubled at the sight of the cottage, so you ask her if anything isn’t right.
“Won’t you… consider staying with me for a night?” she asks. “I mean… I’ve been waiting for this moment, and it’s been a long time, so…”
You’re already tired from today’s activity and want to call it quit, but seeing your mother all fidgety makes you think twice about declining her. Both Sylvia and Reverie are already awaiting your reply, not to mention Reika who is also expecting your answer.
[ ] Okay. Let’s sleep at Reimu’s place. [ ] Ask if she doesn’t mind staying with you instead.
Here it is, guys. Just one more post, and we'll wrap up our first day in Gensokyo. Update will be ready once I get enough votes.
>[ ] Five Magic Stones Is there an obscure joke about them that I don't get?
[X] Okay. Let’s sleep at Reimu’s place. -[X] Let the others know you're staying there tonight.
Do our "family" know that we're not coming home tonight? If not, and we can't send them a message, maybe it's better to ask her to stay at our place? This is after all our first day in a completely alien environment, and if she suddenly disappears without explanation, they'll probably start suspecting the worst. Not cool to subject them to that.
“Okay. It won’t hurt if all of us stay over at the shrine for tonight.” Sylvia and Reimu cheer together and take the confused Reika for a dance. “Plus, it would be rude to say no to a Hakurei shrine maiden, wouldn’t it?”
“Thank you so much, Alyssa,” Reimu says.
“But first, let me get this fact straight: you’re my mother, and I’m your child. If you start having some strange thoughts about me, I’ll have to ‘decline’ the invitation. Seriously, mom, you aren’t going to treat me like a lover, are you?”
“B-bweh?! Alyssa, how could you?!” She blushes and pouts, furious that you would come up with that conclusion. “I mean… why I would look at you in such way! There’s no way I want to…” She stammers and meekly stares at you. “I-I mean… we’re a family, right?”
Good God. You swear to yourself that you and Marisa are going to have a long, long discussion.
(…later that night…)
Dinner is humble yet lively. Reverie is asking for another refill, Reika is at loss of words while trying to understand Sylvia’s many hand gestures, and Reimu is drinking her tea. You, on the other hand, are looking outside the shrine while quietly munching on the fish piece by piece. You can’t quite tell,
“How’s the meal, Alyssa?”
You turn your attention to Reimu. “Not as intricate as those I’d usually have, but thanks.” You put the empty plate aside. “Too bad there’s no ice-cream, because that’s what we’d usually have for dessert.”
She chuckles. “Well, I’m sorry for the lack of dessert. Well, go on. Finish your meal, Alyssa. We’re going to have a lot of things to talk about after this.”
Dinner ends after ten minutes. Reimu is inside her room, Sylvia and Reverie are helping Reika with the dishes at the kitchen and you’re sitting on a bench outside the shrine. You close your eyes, allowing the melodic chirps of nightbug to sooth your eardrums. It’s so calm, so serene, so peaceful, and you feel like it’s slowly consuming you and pulling you into a surreal realm. It’s far cry from the bustling night in Melbourne, where you could hear traffics from your apartment that never seemed to stop.
Then you can see it clearly in your mind: your life as a transporter, delivering goods for your clients, jumping across ledges and between buildings while outrunning law enforcers and rival transporters. Life was good, and it was good while it lasted.
“Sorry for making you wait.”
You merely smile and give her a space to sit. “You look pretty,” you comment on her dress.
“Why, thank you, Alyssa! I’m so flattered,” she giggles. “It’s one of my older dresses. Never got the chance to wear it since I gave birth to Reika.” She sighs in delight. “I wish I could dress more properly, since you’re here and all…”
“Mom, don’t get me started again,” you point. “What did I tell you about our relationship again?”
“Alyssa, how could you!” she protests. “You’re so like Marisa, always teasing me even when she shouldn’t!”
You laugh. Being compared to your biological mother, whom you only know by name, Reimu must have high regards in you. “Well? Which parts of me that reminds you of her?” you ask.
“Everything,” Reimu answers. “Your eyes, your hair, your face, your ears, everything. Well, she’s a magician and you’re a free runner, but that’s the only difference you have.”
“Mom, you’re doing it again,” you remind her.
She grumbles, then pouts and turns away from you. “You’re so mean. When I thought I could be close to you again.” She starts mumbling incoherently, and seeing her misery you suddenly feel guilty for what you did. Intent on making her comfortable, you throw your arm over her shoulders and pull her toward you. She gasps when you rest her head upon your shoulder, but she giggles embarrassedly and closes her eyes.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t make myself a fool in front of you,” she apologizes.
“Don’t bother. I still need to get used to it,” you reply. “It must have been very lonely since then.”
She nods solemnly. “People come, people go. Some live forever, while others meet the end of their road.” She takes hold of your hand and clenches it. “And here I am, still the eternal shrine maiden of paradise, forever watching over Gensokyo, wondering if I can ever take a break, wondering if she will come back…”
“Even if I didn’t come here, would you still wait for her?” you ask.
She nods again. “Even after all these years, she’s the only person my heart really belongs to. Hold me tight, Alyssa.” You comply with her request and pull her closer, wrapping both arms around her so that you’re embracing her.
“This is so awkward, Mom,” you tell her. “Very, very awkward.”
She giggles. “I know, but it can’t be helped.” She snuggles up in your arms and hums happily. “Thank you, Alyssa…”
“By the way, Mom.”
“I didn’t know Miss Akyuu is a fan of The Transporter.”
She looks up at you, tilting her head to the left. “The what?”
“Remember when she said that I was the kind of people who kick ass while driving a cool car and not looking back at explosions? She was talking about that movie.”
She chuckles. “I’m sorry, Alyssa. Your mother’s too outdated to be trendy.”
Stardust Halley Gensokyo, Day 1 Status: complete
Congratulations, guys. We have reached the end of day one in Gensokyo. Please wait warmly while writefag is preparing~
And while we’re at it, POV change in the next update? [ ] Yes. - [ ] Sylvia. - [ ] Reverie. - [ ] Reimu. [ ] No.
VOTE REPOST: who does anon want to see in future updates? [ ] Alice. - [ ] The entire Makai. [ ] Mima. [ ] Yuuka. - [ ] Her precious little flower. [ ] Akyuu. - [ ] Kosuzu. - [ ] Aijuu. [ ] Aya. And discuss about publishing Sylvia’s stories in her publication. [ ] Kokoro. - [ ] Her mothers in law custodians. [ ] Genji. [ ] Ruukoto. [ ] Mimi-chan. [ ] Marisa’s tsuchinoko. [ ] GrandmaYuyuko [ ] Five Magic Stones.Really, guys, you asked for it. [ ] Here’s a better option: Let’s hit on everyone and build a harem that can rival our mom’s~
Just for fun: should we indulge in Akyuu’s inner movie geek and make her dream come true? [ ] Hell yeah. Let’s kick some ass and cause random explosions to set off everywhere we go. [ ] Well, yeah. Sure. Let’s do it. It’s just a movie, right? [ ] Nope. Not gonna happen. Sorry, Akyuu.
[X] No. [X] Here’s a better option: Let’s hit on everyone and build a harem that can rival our mom’s~ -[X]Also incest is hot. Be a motherfucker. [X] Hell yeah. Let’s kick some ass and cause random explosions to set off everywhere we go.
“Nonsense. You can employ your skills to a good use. Like delivering letters and parcels.”
“Oh, you mean like a deliveryman? Doesn’t this city already have enough deliverymen?”
“Well, yeah, we already have enough of them to do the job. But I think you’ll be a better deliveryman than the rest of them. I mean, look! You know all the shortcuts, and nobody I know has the balls to jump between buildings while carrying groceries in her arms.”
“I… I think I’ll have to discuss with Grandma first.”
“Okay, but do let me know if you change your mind. Kirisame?”
“Watch out for the police. They don’t like seeing people like you running on the rooftops. Keep an eye on them.”
[c] Start of Day Two.
Your eyelids are wide open. Your arms and legs are splayed across the mattress. You’re staring at the featureless ceiling above your head. Looking around you, you see nothing but a sliding door that’s already open, giving you a clear view of the outside. You didn’t remember seeing any sliding door at the cottage, so where in the world are you-
Ah, of course.
You’re at Hakurei Shrine.
Silly Alyssa, you should’ve known by now.
But still, the dream intrigued you in some way.
You get back underneath the blanket. Whatever the dream was, it feels good to be sleeping on the floor, with the mattress the only barrier between your delicate body and the structure underneath. You’re thinking of taking a nap for a few more minutes when-
“Ready? One, two, three.”
-the mattress underneath you is unceremoniously, forcefully, yanked-
-and you’re tossed halfway across the room – screw that, make it across the shrine. You don’t know how many times you crash through multiple paper walls and roll on the floor, but by the time it ends you’re feet over head, your body curling up in a somewhat improbable posture. You’re still in this position when the girls approach you. You take a glance at them – or rather, underneath their dress. It actually is kind of neat to be upside down, as you can almost peek underneath Sylvia’s gown. Wonder what colour she chooses today~
Your brief fantasy is shattered when a pillow is tossed into your face. Damn, she’s caught you. You remove the pillow off your face and offer Sylvia an apologetic smile. She responds by pulling you off the wall and bashing your face with the pillow. She escapes before you can catch her, and she sticks out her tongue at you from behind the door before she leaves.
“Wake up, daddy, you’re late,” Reverie says.
“Late for what? Work?” you ask.
“No, but you have to,” she replies.
“Damn, just forget it,” you grumble. “Where’s Mom? Reika?”
“Mama went to the Youkai Mountains for a meeting with the Moriya Family,” Reika answers. “She also told me that she’d be coming home before dinner.” She pulls you off the floor and sits down beside you. “That means I can skip my lessons and ask you to train me.”
“Mom’s not gonna be happy if she hears that,” you tell her.
“But theories are boring. I’d rather do practical, instead,” she says.
“Since when a shrine maiden in training needs to learn theories?” you quip. “And we better get those fixed soon.” Both Reika and Reverie stare into the gaping hole before they turn back to you. “What? You’re okay with that? Well, I don’t.”
“Don’t worry. Mama can ask some people to repair it,” Reika says nonchalantly.
“Reimu, are you there?”
Someone is calling out for Reimu. Judging from the voice, it’s not one of the people you met yesterday. You should do something about the person.
[ ] Ask Reika to check it out. [ ] Go outside and see who is visiting.
To-do checklist: + Find Marisa’s tsuchinoko. Note: Alyssa doesn’t know about it, but let’s assume she’s heard about a tsuchinoko before. + Meet Yuuka and her precious little flower~ + Visit Stella. Time to get yourself a fairy waifu maid. + Indulge in Akyuu’s inner movie geek. Be The Transporter, kick some ass and cause random explosions everywhere we go. Also, get yourself a cool car and all the high-tech “toys”.
People we have met: + Yukari + Ran + Chen + Reimu + Reika + Aya + Akyuu + Meiling + Kogasa + Patchouli + Remilia + Sakuya + Flandre + Fairy maids (especially Stella) + Aijuu
>>28050 What? It’s only natural that Alyssa follows the footsteps of her mother. ~
[c] Go outside and see who is visiting. - [c] But first, get dressed up.
You wonder who that might be. You head back to your room, dress up, and check who is visiting. There’s a woman in all-blue attire with green tresses that seem to flow all the way to her knees, and the sight of her merely standing in all her grandeur is awe-inspiring, not to mention very intimidating.
So why is she looking for Reimu?
“Ma’am?” This woman turns herself to face you. “You’re looking for Reimu? She went to, uh, Youkai Mountain this morning.”
“Aw, already? Shucks, and here I thought I could smother her,” the woman moans.
You’re getting more curious. “Do you have a message for her? I can let her know that you’re here if you like.”
“Miss Mima!” Reika runs past you and gives this woman a tackling hug. “You didn’t tell me you’d be visiting! How are you?”
“Hey, Reika! Good to see you.” This woman gives Reika a big hug, and you swear to yourself she’s smothering your half-sister in her bosom. “I’m doing fine and merry, dear.” She lets go off Reika and pats her affectionately. “I heard Reimu’s got a new visitor from the outside world, so I decided to check it out.”
“Yes, yes! She’s right here with us.” Reika points at you. “Miss Mima, I’d like you to meet Alyssa. Alyssa, this is Miss Mima, Mama’s close friend. She’s also a friend to Miss Marisa.”
You greet this woman the usual way. “Good day. Alyssa Kirisame at your service.” You even offer her a handshake, which she returns with so much vigour that she’s almost shaking you off the pavement. “But I don’t think I can recall anything about meeting you in the past.”
This woman stares deeply into your eyes, making you flinch. Then, after what seems to be forever, she bursts into loud laughter. “You were a little kid back then, of course you wouldn’t remember.” She pulls you toward her and presses your face against her hefty breasts. “But it doesn’t matter! You’re back, and that alone makes me so happy!”
She pushes you away, although she still doesn’t let you go yet. “I remember you and Reika being cute little buttons back then. You were so adorable together, I should’ve asked for a photo of you two~” She playfully prods your nose with her index finger. “Look how big you’ve become! Jeez, wonder what will Marisa say when she comes back.”
You can only manage to say “Uhh… thanks?”
“You know what? This calls for a welcoming party, Mima style!” This woman seizes you by the neck and drags you across the pavement. “Come, let’s surf the sea of madness and drink under the table until we all drop dead!” - - Amidst a series of misunderstanding caused by Sylvia misinterpreting Mima’s brazenness as her attempt to seduce you, the reunion is lively and merry. The self-proclaimed “Great Auntie Mima”, as she wants you to call her, captivates everyone by her tales of great adventures, laying out details that almost cross the “more information than you can acquire” line. You could care less about her great tales, however; along the time you find yourself quietly scrutinizing the softness and firmness of her chest, and wondering why she’s shamelessly flapping her eyelids at you.
“And that brings me here,” Mima says as to conclude her narration. “Hakurei Shrine, the one place I always call home. Ah, I wish Reimu was here, because I want to smooch and snuggle and rub her all the way to the night~!” She even wraps her arms around her and makes a kissy-face, all while making all sort of sounds that are too lewd for her own good. Goddamn it, your ears are already burning!
“So, Alyssa!” Mima stops her act and beams at you. “You have something to share with the Great Auntie Mima? Or do you have anything to ask me instead?” She props herself on the table, using her arms as a support. “Go ahead, shoot! I won’t bite, I promise.”
You’ve never considered the options, but… [ ] …okay, let’s share story with our great aunt. - [ ] Optional write-in. [ ] …you’ve wanted to ask Mima about your biological mother. - [ ] Optional write-in.
Let’s just hope that Mima doesn’t turn into one of those bad aunts/uncles who want to rub off their bad influence onto us. As usual, my apology for the delay and the length of this update. Wish I could afford myself a wall of texts, but alas!
A quick recap on our family checklist: + Sylvia (wife) + Reverie (daughter; technically, she’s adopted, but she’s still our daughter) + Marisa (mother, missing) + Reimu (mother) + Reika (half-sister) + Mima (our self-proclaimed “Great Aunt”) + Yukari (unknown, possibly our benefactor?)
Unless I’m missing someone, this is as complete as it can get, as far as Day Two goes.
On unrelated note: I didn’t know Australia has its own Parkour association. Until now. Welp.
[c] …you’ve wanted to ask Mima about your biological mother.
You’ve been thinking. Until now, people have talked about your mother, and you can’t help thinking it’s just the tip of a massive iceberg. You ask Mima if she can shed some light on her, and she’s more than happy to offer her service. “What do you want to know about her?” she asks before she begins.
You shrug. “I don’t know. Maybe everything, I guess.”
“Okay, brace yourself, dear. This is gonna be a long, long story,” Mima says. “But first, a quick lesson about your mother’s name, and you best remember it for your entire life. Marisa Kirisame, Gensokyo’s Ordinary Magician. The eternal second best. The one who stole precious things.” She ends the sentence with a wink. You resist the urge to throw a punch into her face and instead point out a glaring error:
“A thief. You said she was a thief.”
“Yes, and I’m proud of it. After all, she was my apprentice! Ah, the pain and joy of training a Kirisame, I miss the old times~” She’s doing that lewd gesture again. It’s almost as if she’s intent on embarrassing and/or flirting with you.
“But Miss Mima, what about people’s opinions?”
Mima wags her finger at Reika. “No, Reika. Whatever they talk about her, she’s anything but. Besides, their opinion sucks.”
Sylvia nudges you. From what she’s telling you, Mima’s description about Marisa reminds her of a movie she had watched. “Let me guess: Robin Hood?” She shakes her head. “Lupin?” Another headshake. “Gambit?” Another headshake. Great. “Indiana Jones?” She growls at you. Damn, so close and yet so far. “Han Solo?” Her eyes brighten. Seriously? She thinks your mother is that dashing rogue? Now you’re having a mental image of your mother having a battle of wits with whoever is lucky to be Leia while outrunning Imperial storm-troopers.
Not satisfied, you ask Reverie for a second opinion. “I know! It’s Smooth Criminal, right?” Great; now you have another mental image of Marisa doing that impossibly cool gravity lean while touching that incredibly sexy white fedora. You’re not sure if you can live with either.
“And what do you think of me all this time, then?” you ask this little girl back.
“A transporter!” This gets Mima’s attention, and you realize it’s her turn to ask.
“Put it simply, I transported goods for a living. You know, mails, toys, paintings, stuffs like that. Was thinking if I could offer my service here, too.” There’s one more thing you almost forgot to mention. “I’m a qualified traceuse – free runner, in your language.” You’d expect applause, or at least coos. Instead, she looks… disappointed?
“You could’ve gunned for presidency, you know.” Nope, never in a million years. Not gonna get tied to the bureaucracy and all its nonsense. “Nah, I’m just messing with you.” Another wink, and you know she’s probably meant it in more than one way. “Alright then, moving on to the next topic.”
It takes a bit longer than you’d expect, but a couple cups of tea later Mima’s done with the exposition. You have a hard time ingesting Mima’s story, which doesn’t seem to make much sense at first – like when Mima told you that Marisa could beat dragons with love-enchanted firepower if she wanted to. Then again, she might be exaggerating just to satisfy your curiosity. You’re so busy digesting every piece of information about Marisa that you don’t notice Mima pointing at you.
“Now, Alyssa. Let’s talk about your life.”
It’s your turn to stare at your Great Aunt. “Why me?”
“Why not you? My job is done, so it’s obviously your turn.” Honestly, why would people be so interested in your life? You’re a traceuse, a free runner, a transporter, a maverick, and above all, a family man. There’s nothing very special about this ordinary girl.
“Oh? Mima’s here?”
Everyone turns around and sees Reimu standing at the door. She’s back; you thought she’d be home before dinner. The first to react to her arrival is, surprisingly, Mima, and you swear to yourself she’s glowing in excitement. “Reimu!” Mima pounces at her, but gets knocked away from her by an invisible barrier. She tries again, and the barrier reappears to block her. “Why so mean? Aren’t you happy to see me, Reimu? I know you do~” she whines.
“When you’re trying to kiss and smooch and snuggle me?” Reimu dryly replies. “Stop that. Please think of the children.”
“Don’t care!” Mima manages to bypass the barrier and hurls herself at Reimu, only to be denied when Reimu’s palm lands on her forehead. It’s somehow comical to see Mima flailing her arms while making kissy-face at her. “Why, Reimu! Why? Why you have to be so shy in front of me? Is it because I’m too straightforward for your own good?” she scowls at Reimu’s (apparent) lack of interest towards her and turns herself to you. Oh, boy, is she going to do what you think she’s going to do?
“Alyssa! Look at her!” Mima pounces at you and plants your face in her hefty chest. “After years of devoting my heart and soul to her, what does she give me in return? Rejection, that’s what! It hurts, Alyssa! It hurts me sooooooo much!”
“It’s not rejection, Mima,” Reimu corrects.
“I can’t hear you over the sound of my chest, Reimu~!” Mima replies and tightens her arms around you. She, then, murmurs into your ears, and you swear to yourself she’s whispering in a sultry voice. “You will accept my heart and soul, won’t you Alyssa? I know you will~” Why in the world you’re suddenly having Modern Talking singing ‘you’re my heart, you’re my soul’ inside your ears right now? That’s so cheesy, stop it!
And then Reimu decides she’s had enough with her antics. “Mima.” The moment she turns around, she’s grabbed by the collar and is yanked off you. “I’m not going to let you rub off your bad manners on Alyssa.”
Mima grins. She’s totally proud of the ‘bad manners’ part, no doubt about it. “Oh, please, isn’t it what an aunt supposed to do? At least, I can stay here and babysit the kids if you allow it.”
“Like hell I would,” Reimu snorts.
“Aw, Reimu! Don’t be so mean! I just want to return the deed,” Mima grumbles.
Whatever relationship Mima has with you, Marisa and Reimu is, you can’t deny the fact that she has left an impression on you. A very good impression. Even Sylvia is awestruck by ‘Mima’s honesty’, and that’s saying something about someone who would not hesitate to flip out at any act of seduction being done on you.
“You know, Mama’s kind of happy to see Mima right now.” You offer Reika a questioning look, and she giggles as she points at Reimu. True enough, despite the lack of visible emotion, she’s clearly enjoying Mima’s company. “I think we should leave them for time being.”
“Do you have a plan, Reika?” you ask.
She looks back and forth between you and Reimu. “I don’t. What about you?”
You haven’t thought of it yet, but let’s see now… [ ] Head back to Marisa’s cottage. Time to clean up the mess. [ ] Go to the village. Look for any job offer. Bother the chronicler.Or maybe jumping across rooftops – in fact, you’re aching for it. [ ] Find Aya and discuss about publishing Sylvia’s stories in her newspapers. [ ] The adventure. It’s calling for you. Answer it. Also let’s kick ass and cause stuffs to randomly blow up in our presence. And don’t look back at explosions, because we’re too cool to look back at explosions.
Whatever you do, please pick one: [ ] …make sure Sylvia and Reverie know about your plan. [ ] …take Reika with you. Let’s bond with our half-sister~ [ ] …ask Mima if she wants to come along. Hell no. Do you want her to embarrass you in the public?
I would have done a full exposition about Marisa in this update, but that would be too time-consuming and put more setbacks in this already-delayed story. Anyway, this will do for now. If nothing else comes by, the next update should be ready in time for my upcoming birthday, so please bear with me.
[x] Head back to Marisa’s cottage. Time to clean up the mess. [x] …make sure Sylvia and Reverie know about your plan.
We're the responsible "family man", unlike our mother. Let's make the home at least presentable. Not really too worried about the second choice, because "letting them know" in this case basically just means "I'm gonna go clean the cottage".
[c] Head back to Marisa’s cottage. Time to clean up the mess.
“Hey, guys. Wanna go back to the cottage?” You get a dirty look from Mima, and resisting the urge to throw a punch into her face, you fold your arms and glare indignantly at her. “Is there anything wrong with that?”
“No, I was just surprised,” she shrugs.
“Right. And I have myself an overly energetic aunt who wants to do this and that to me.”
“But that’s what an aunt is supposed to do~!” she protests. “Alyssa, why must you be so mean at me? This is Mima, Gensokyo’s greatest aunt! The vengeful spirit that never rests!”
“That’s enough, Mima.” She yelps when Reimu jabs her on the waist. “Good grief, you never want to change. Ever.”
“Even you, Reimu!” Mima turns around and points at Reimu’s face. “Even you don’t want to admit that you have the most energetic friend in Gensokyo!”
“So, umm, are you coming or what?” you ask.
“Of course we’re coming!” Mima answers. “And you should come, too, Reimu. You haven’t visited that place for many years, you know.”
“Alright, alright. Let me leave a note behind first,” Reimu sighs.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Mima grabs Reimu by the arm and leaps off the ground. You, Sylvia, Reverie and Reika chase after them and arrive at the Forest of Magic, yet neither Mima nor Reimu is within sight or earshot. They must have ventured deep into the forest, but since you know where they’re headed to, you decide to return to Marisa’s cottage.
“Tell me, Reika, how exactly isolated is Gensokyo from the outside world? Miss Sakuya told me that it’s not very different from isolated villages at the outside world.”
“Okay, let’s see… back in the 1800s, the Great Hakurei Border was established to form a protected area for humans and youkai to co-exist together, although it was primarily to serve as an assurance for youkai’s continued existence.” Reika’s steps come to a halt, and the three of you follow her lead. “You see, Alyssa, youkai exist because humankind fears them, and without fear youkai would slowly cease to exist, but there was more than that. When Commodore Perry landed on the shore of Japan in 1868, people were introduced to science and knowledge, thus-”
“I’m surprised you delved into history that much.” Everyone in the group resumes walking. “But really, a safe haven for youkai? This place is more like a detention centre, if you ask me. Or prison.”
“Detention centre? Prison? Oh, no, Alyssa, you had it wrong!” Reika protests. “Youkai are content with this isolation, because it means they can live freely without having to worry over being forgotten.”
You’re getting confused. Best to consult an expert after this, but first… “What about technological progress? Is Gensokyo as developed as the outside world?”
“The Great Hakurei Border also serves as a barrier that separates Gensokyo from the outside world. It’s not as technologically developed as you’d think; as a matter of fact, most of stuffs we get from the outside are either discarded or forgotten by humans. Even so, not all of us know how to use them, so it’s kind of moot.” She beams, almost as if she’s a sucker for this topic. “I’ll introduce you to Mister Morichika after this. He knows his stuffs.”
Another person to meet. Maybe he’d turn up to be a potential customer, who knows? “Oh, look. We’re here.” Sure enough, you’ve arrived, and it doesn’t take long before you see Reimu and Mima bickering while attending a garden (you didn’t even know it exists). “We should probably leave them, they look occupied.”
Sylvia tugs you at the sleeve. You turn to her, who in turns notifies you that… oh, dear God. Damn it, Reverie, don’t just disappear in a whim like that! Panic consumes you at first, but the last thing you want to see is Reimu flipping out over this. So you silently tell Sylvia to head back into the house while you keep your eye on Reimu.
And that’s when Reverie appears from behind the building. Oh, there she is. She looks a bit unkempt, but at least she’s alright-
“Daddy, daddy! Look what I found!”
-what the hell is that creature? It looks like a snake, but a bit too bloated at its belly. Upon a closer inspection, you realize that it IS in a fact a snake, but what kind of snake is that?
“Where did you find that?”
“I found it back there. It was sleeping when I picked it up. Isn’t it cute?”
What. Picking up a snake and calling it cute?
“Put that down, Reverie.”
“But daddy, it’s so cute!”
“Put it down. We don’t know if it’s dangerous or not. Hell, we don’t even know if it’s the same as those wombats.”
“At least wombats are adorable.”
“That’s not the point, but- bah! Just put it down. You don’t want to get bitten when it wakes up, do you?”
Reverie harrumphs at your warming, but obliges and puts the… snake-thing back on the ground. It stirs for a bit, but otherwise is unperturbed as it resumes its sleep. Good golly, what on Earth is that?
“Ooh~ that’s a tsuchinoko. And I think it belongs to Aunt Marisa.”
You turn yourself to Reika. “What’s a tsuchinoko?”
“You don’t know?” Reika asks.
“How the hell should I know? Back at where we lived, tsuchinoko doesn’t exist. We only have bats, spiders, snakes, kangaroos, koalas, dingo and wombats.”
“Wombats?” your half-sister asks again.
You nod. Yup, wombats. Those hard-ass marsupials always demand respect whenever they go. “Don’t let their harmless look fools you; bastards won’t die even after getting hit by a truck. I like them because of that hardcore toughness. Too bad I couldn’t keep one as a pet.”
“Do people at your place keep exotic pets?” Reika inquires.
“Gotta need a license for that, but who needs exotic pets when we have crocodiles swimming in our port?” You’re brimming with awesome. Yeah, you can totally live with that.
A commotion distracts you from Reika. You turn around and see Sylvia poking the unmoving creature. Reverie is watching intensely at the poking, worried that Sylvia might wake the creature up. Is she interested in that… bloated snake? You know that she once vied to have a pet koala but couldn’t due to health issues, but…
“You want to cuddle it?” She nods fervently. “But you know that thing is not-” She cuts you off with a glare. “Oh, fine. Just be careful, okay?” She cheers and picks the tsuchinoko off the ground, cradling it so that it won’t slip off her arms. The tsuchinoko wiggles about in her arms before it dozes off again. Such a heavy sleeper, that creature.
“Alright, time to get this house cleaned! Lend me a hand, Reika.”
You and Reika are sorting out the boxes in the living room, Sylvia and Reimu are cleaning the bedroom while Mima and Reverie are cleaning the garbage. This house is more or less organized, and only a few cleanings need to be done before you can call it a day. The books are also organized, and you only have to identify their owner before you can return them.
The soothing, if not melancholic, melody of ‘Hey Jude’ is played from the record player and you find yourself singing along.
“Alyssa, can I ask you something?” Reika asks.
“Sure, go ahead,” you reply, not breaking your sight on the box.
“Aunt Yukari told me that transporters always cause things to explode in their presence, and that they’re too cool to look back at explosions. Is it true?” You look at Reika. “Is it true that you always caused explosions whenever you went, Alyssa?”
You can’t help chuckling. Looks like Reika and Akyuu share the same assumption about you. “You’re overestimating us, Reika. We don’t exactly cause things to explode on random, though it’d be kind of awesome if it did. Speaking of which, hang on.” You open one of the cardboard boxes and unload its contents. “Where could I have put it… not here, not here, not even here… ah, here it is.”
You take out a roll of paper. It’s a promotional poster for ‘The Transporter’, and it’s still in mint condition, with hardly any blemish on its surface. It’s been many years since you followed the franchise, and you didn’t regret a single thing for dropping it when they announced that Statham would not return. For you, Statham defined ‘The Transporter’ and the franchise wasn’t the same without him.
“What are you doing?” Reika asks.
“Rule number one of a transporter:” you say as you roll back the poster. “Never question the content of the package. Second: make sure the package arrives at its destination in one piece. Third: make sure to have a backup plan.”
“What if there’s no backup plan?” she asks again.
You grin. “Then you’ll just have to make o- hold on.” You bring a hand up, and Reika immediately shushes herself. There’s someone singing, and faint as it may be you can make out its direction.
“What is it, Alyssa?” Reika whispers. You strain yourself to hear the voice, and… holy cow, isn’t that the opening song for Maria Mercedes?
I wonder who’s singing out there. It might be a surprise~
These votes are meant to be a joke, so don’t take it too seriously. [ ] Write about tsuchinoko’s misadventures in Gensokyo. [ ] Write about the Transporter’s explosive misadventures in Gensokyo. inb4 encounter with nuke raven. Inb4 explosive ending. [ ] Write about a wombat’s misadventures in Gensokyo. What? You think Australian wildlife isn’t hardcore enough for Gensokyo?
[X] Investigate. [X] Write about tsuchinoko’s misadventures in Gensokyo.
>What? You think Australian wildlife isn’t hardcore enough for Gensokyo? No, but if I was going to pick an Australian animal to place in Gensokyo, it'd be the platypus. Everyone would assume it must be a youkai based on its bizarre appearance.
Urgh, I should really push myself harder than before to write. Damn it.
[c] Investigate. [c] Note to self: write about tsuchinoko and wombat’s misadventures, if time permits.
This warrants an investigation. Not that it’s necessary, but to hear someone singing in Latino is as suspicious as being seen wearing all-white robe in public area. Well, it is necessary, because you really want to know why that voice is suddenly and alarmingly close to this house. You signal at Reika to follow your lead and head to the front door. Slowly you walk outside and see the silhouette of a girl standing next to the window, probably eavesdropping. You swear you’ve met her before, but when was it?
“Ah! It’s you!” Oh, it’s the girl you met on the tree yesterday. “Good afternoon!”
Reika is the next to greet her. “Hi, Kogasa.” So her name is Kogasa. You imprint that name deep inside your head.
“Hello to you too, Reika!” She turns her attention to you. “Uh, I didn’t get your name when we met that day. And what are you doing inside there, anyway?”
“The name’s Alyssa, a transporter. As for your second question, everyone and I are cleaning it, because someone’s going to stay here for a long time. Is there something wrong with that?”
“Weeeeeell, I’m pretty sure this place’s abandoned for many years.” The dichromatic-eyed girl looks around. “And I don’t think she’s going to like it when people move in to her home.”
“She’ll understand, no worries,” you assure her. “Now that you’re here, do you have anything else to do?”
“Ah, I almost forgot!” Kogasa gasps. “I don’t know if you’re interested, but can you help me finding this animal?”
“What kind of animal?” Reika asks.
“It’s round-shaped, it’s brown, it’s heavy, it has sharp claws, it likes to dig, and it shrugs off all kinds of bumping. Oh, Rumia tried to eat it once but got she chased off instead.” Kogasa stops talking as to draw the animal’s shape in the air. That shape looks oddly familiar…
“Where the last time you saw this animal?” you ask.
“At the lake, and that was a week before you showed up,” Kogasa continues. “Please? Will you help me catch it? I want to keep it as a pet, it’s so cute~!”
Reimu’s voice prompts the three of you to turn to her. You look over her shoulders and see that the interior has been mostly clean and arranged. “We have a visitor? That’s a surprise,” she says as she notices Kogasa.
“Hello, Reimu!” Kogasa jumps at your mother and hugs her tightly around the waist. “Good afternoon! How are you doing?”
“Good afternoon, Kogasa. I’m fine, thank you very much.” Reimu’s maternal smile appears on her face as she pats the dichromatic-eyed girl. “Making friends with my daughter? That’s so sweet of you.”
“Yes, I am- wait a minute. Your daughter? But I thought Reika already is your daughter!” Reimu laughs and points at you, in which Kogasa follows the direction of her finger. “B-but! I didn’t know you have another daughter! It’s… it’s a surprise!”
“To hear that from your mouth, it is indeed a surprise,” Reimu says and laughs along with the sheepish Kogasa. “Anyway. Alyssa, we’re done with most of the cleaning. There are some boxes that aren’t cleared yet, but I figure that you know their content better.”
“Thanks, mom.” Your stomach grumbles, and you quickly gain everyone’s attention. Bugger, perhaps you should take a break right now. “Is anyone hungry? I’ll cook something nice for you guys. Treat’s on me.”
At the mention of ‘cook’ your self-proclaimed aunt jumps into the scene and waves herself excitedly at you. “Oh, let me use the kitchen! I’ll cook for everyone! Please, Alyssa, pretty please?” You glance at Mima in disbelief, and that causes her to fold her arms in disgust. “Alyssa, I’ll have you know that I’m also a very good cook!” she says in a very offended manner.
“Like the last time you almost blew up Alice’s house because you added the potion you brought from Makai into the broth?” Reimu asks.
“That was only because you kept telling me to add more salt!” Mima argues. “Actually, I don’t think it was salt that you asked.”
“Admit it, Mima, you make a lousy housewife,” Reimu shrugs.
A look of horror is painted across Mima’s face, her jaw dropping as low as it can get. “Reimu, how could you!” She throws herself at you, hugging you as possessively as you can imagine as she shoots annoyed glare at Reimu. “Look at your mom, Alyssa! Look at her! She doesn’t let me use the kitchen because she’s jealous of my better cooking skills!”
“Mima, I’m tired of arguing with you, so stop rubbing yourself on Alyssa,” Reimu grumbles.
“You’re just jealous because I get to smother and smooch and snuggle and cuddle Alyssa while you don’t,” Mima purrs. “Come, Alyssa! Pay no attention to Reimu and let Auntie Mima teach you about the joy of love~”
“I saw it!” Kogasa’s shout startles everyone, who starts looking around. Still clinging on Reimu like a koala, she points at the woods. “There it is! Can you see it?” You spot an animal near one of the trees, before it stops and perks its head upright. What the hell? That’s… that’s a goddamn wombat! What is it doing here?
Kogasa lets go off Reimu and steps forward. Then she points at the wombat. “I’ve finally found you!” she declares. “You’ve escaped me and bested me so many times I lost counts! Today, I shall capture you and emerge victorious! Prepare yourself!” The wombat starts making low grunts, which prompts Kogasa to opens defensive stance. This is not good; you know for sure that it can either run into the bushes or charge at whoever it’s observing, and you definitely don’t want to stand on its way.
“Mom, take Kogasa inside,” you tell Reimu. “But do it very slowly.”
“Alyssa, how tough exactly is a wombat?” Reika asks.
“Remember what I said about them getting run over by a truck and not dying? Yup, that’s how tough they are. You can throw everything at them, and they’ll shrug it off like it was Tuesday. I even saw one walking out of bushfire and not caring about it whatsoever,” you answer. “They’re usually shy, but if you provoke them, just say hello to their claws.”
“Heh, I bet they can’t survive danmaku,” Mima suggests. “They’re just animals, so-”
You thrust your hand into her face to stop her. “Whatever you’re going to do, Auntie, don’t do it.” The wombat is grunting loudly now, and instead of Kogasa it has its sight on you. “Bugger, bastard’s got me in its line of sight.”
Crikey! We’ve got a wild wombat on the loose! What to do? [ ] Give it a wide berth and back off. Do it slowly, very slowly. [ ] Tell Mima and Reika to split and flank its exit, while you meet it head-on. [ ] Channel the spirit of Steve Irwin. “But Alyssa, you’re not a crocodile hunter!” [ ] Find the tsuchinoko and toss it at the wombat. [ ] About that ‘danmaku’ option, Auntie Mima… [ ] We have other options? Crikey! Write-ins for the uninitiated.
>>28405 Wombat’s ass is one of the hardest substances found in nature. It’s a proven fact that keeps the animal safe from its predators and the environment. And I bet you want to tap a wombat youkai girl’s fine ass, too~
Alright, writing now.
Serial ATA!/n5UjuNA5c2014/08/17 (Sun) 03:36No. 28466▼
[c] Give it a wide berth and back off. Do it slowly, very slowly.
“Guys, do me a favour and back off slowly.” You step back, while keeping your front side at the wombat. The wombat stirs but otherwise stays firm on its feet. Reika heeds your words and follows your footsteps, but Mima remains steadfast. In fact, she’s folding her arms and is glowering at the wombat. What the hell is she doing?
“Miss Mima, what are you doing? Come back here with us!” Reika calls out.
“I like that attitude, little one, but you think you can stand up before me that easily?” Mima throws a pointer at the wombat. “Too bad! It’s me, the great and magnificent Mima!” The wombat grunts, scratches the ground and rears itself. Mima clenches a fist and opens a fighting stance. “Ha-ha! I like that spirit! Come on then! I shall be your opponent!”
“Damn it! Somebody fetch me a towel!”
“What are you going to do with it?”
“I’ll throw the towel at its face, it will calm down. Or so I read.”
It’s too late. Mima already pounces at the wombat with the intention to wrestle the creature. The wombat rolls out of Mima’s attack and head-butts your aunt in the belly. Infuriated by the creature Mima jumps at her unlikely opponent and tries to catch it. The wombat dodges, and again head-butts Mima, causing her to fall on her butt.
“That’s it! You’ve angered me too much, little one!” Mima brings her hand forward and out comes a staff. She mutters something under her breath and swings its crescent-shaped tip at the wombat. A loud bang can be heard as the tip smashes onto the wombat’s head, and for a fleeting second you think the poor creature’s done for.
“Hah! Got you now! Now you understand the cost of mocking and taunting the great Mima! Bow down before me and- wait, what?”
To everyone’s surprise, the attack didn’t leave a mark on the wombat’s head. Hell, this hard-ass creature shrugs it off as if it were falling branches.
“This cannot be! My super-invincible skull smasher special is beaten?”
The wombat gently pushes the staff off its head and walks past Mima, you and Reika. It surveys the area near the cottage and starts digging, and everyone watches at the creature in astonishment as it burrows itself underground and makes itself at home.
“What was that for?” Reika asks. You almost forgot to take into account that wombats live underground. At the very least, none of you are hurt in this encounter.
“Jeez, that’s so anticlimactic,” Mima snorts. “Whatever. I’m hungry. Come, Reika, let’s go have lunch.”
You stare at the wombat for a moment. This hard-ass marsupial looks back at you, and for some reason it nods at you, as if thanking you for letting it stays in the residence. Whatever, as long as it doesn’t cause any trouble, you’ll be fine.
“Now that this wildlife problem’s taken care of, do you have anything else in mind?”
You’ve finished munching the cupcake and ask Sylvia for another. Apparently everyone in the family decides to celebrate your newfound neighbour by having lunch outdoors. “I haven’t thought of it yet.” You take a quick glance at the wombat, which seems to be interested in the tsuchinoko. “I ought to find a sustainable job soon. I have a family to look after, you see.” Your attention is distracted again when the tsuchinoko peeps at the wombat, which responds with its own grunt.
“Worried of feral youkai? Have no fear, for Hakurei Shrine will perform public service to you and your family,” Reika chirps. “With sufficient amount of money, of course.”
“I thought public service is free,” you point out.
“Well, excuse me! It’s not easy to sustain your life on generosity alone,” Reika huffs. “And no, there won’t be any discounts, not even to family members.”
“Hey, I heard that!”
“Can I keep both of them, Daddy?”
“No. You saw what the wombat did to Auntie Mima, didn’t you?”
“At least it can make a good bodyguard. Nobody would expect a wombat guarding the home, right?”
“What are you talking about- oh, now that’s a fine idea. You’re a smart one, Reverie! Cookies for you.”
“Does that mean I can come here and play with the, uh, what do you call it? Wombat?”
“Oh, oh! Can I play with you, Kogasa? Can I? Can I? Let’s become friends!”
“Come on, guys. We shouldn’t argue in front of the food, should we?”
“Well, you heard her right. Let’s dig in before it gets cold.”
“Thank you for the meal!”
What else to do after this? [ ] Ask anyone about anything. [ ] Reimu. [ ] Reika. [ ] Mima. [ ] Sylvia. [ ] Reverie. [ ] Kogasa. [ ] Go somewhere after lunchtime and have an adventure. [ ] Bring someone else along. Pick one from the list: [ ] Reika. [ ] Mima. [ ] Kogasa. [ ] Don’t bring anyone. [ ] Feed tsuchinoko and wombat. [ ] Don’t feed tsuchinoko and wombat. [ ] Have an afternoon nap. On the rooftop. Half naked. [ ] Others (please see the checklist).
To-do checklist: + Find Marisa’s tsuchinoko. [DONE.] + Find Yuuka and her little flower. + Visit Stella and give the poor fairy some hug. + Indulge in Akyuu’s inner movie geek. Be the Transporter, kick a lot of ass and cause stuffs around us to randomly explode. And show Reika we’re too cool to look back at explosions. + Go find a blaster. Sylvia said we’re Han Solo, right? Time to be a lovable rogue. + Smooth Criminal? Well, then. Let’s find that incredibly sexy white fedora.
Once again, my apology for the delay and subpar quality of this update. And I find it very weird to address single elder women in this story as ‘aunt’ when fanon dictates that they shouldn’t be called as such. Especially Mima, but it’s okay, because she’s our awesome auntie.
>>28517 I didn't know this thread's reaching its autosage quota. A couple more updates, and I'll open a new thread. In the meantime, here's the long overdue update.
“Mom, can I ask you something?”
Not missing a beat from wiping Reverie’s face clean of salad dressing, Reimu turns around to see you. “Yes, dear. You can.”
“I know it’s kind of inappropriate, but who else knows Marisa beside you?”
Reimu gasps at the question, staring in disbelief at you before she laughs heartily. “Why, Alyssa, practically everyone knows your mother!”
“Mom, please be specific. I can’t learn all the names in one day, can I?”
“Ah, okay. Let’s see, uh, we’ve met Remilia and the household days ago, you’ve met Mima this morning and…” Mima flaps her eyelashes at you again. This causes Reimu to glare at your Great Aunt, who in turn sticks her tongue at her before she darts back into the cottage. “That Mima, never wants to learn to grow up. Anyway, I could tell you all the names, but I suggest you to go and meet Alice.”
“Yeah, Alice! She’s the best puppeteer around,” Kogasa answers instead of Reimu. “I always go to her place and play with the dolls. She’s really nice, though she can be cold sometimes. Oh, I almost forgot that she usually lives on her own.” Kogasa pauses in a sudden, and you can see hints of mischief in her eyes as she continues. “Usually.”
Cold, living in solitude but really a nice person? Sounds like the kind of person you’d like to visit. “Any idea where I can find her?” you ask.
“She lives deep in the forest. I’d advise you to bring a companion with you; the area is infested with wildlife and feral youkai,” Reimu explains. “Even if you do meet her, you have to do more than just simple greeting if you want to be invited into her home.”
“I’ve meet people similar to her, I can handle that, no worries,” you assure.
“That reminds me. Reika, aren’t you supposed to attend her lesson today?” Reimu asks your half-sister.
“But Mama, I don’t want to! You know I don’t like to study, right?” Reika goes mum when Reimu stares at her, causing the shrine maiden in training to throw her arms upward. “Oh, okay! Fine, I’ll go, but I’m taking Alyssa with me!”
All your objections are silenced by Sylvia’s death glare. You throw a dirty look at her, and she responds by punching you on the shoulder. You keep glowering, only to cause your wife to pout cutely. Sighing in defeat, you get on your feet and fetch your jacket. “Should I consider this as my first job in Gensokyo?” you ask.
“Hey! I’m not an object, and I don’t need an escort,” Reika complains.
“Yeah, sure, whatever,” you say dismissively. “Go on, I’ll walk with you. Besides, I’m in the mood to share you some tricks.” You abruptly stop when Reimu calls you. “Uh, what is it Mom?”
Reimu beckons you to approach her. You do, and she gives you a kiss on the forehead. “Take care of yourself, okay? You’re still new in Gensokyo, so don’t push yourself too much,” she says with a smile.
Still reeling from the kiss, you can only mutter a muffled “…yes, mom” and make a quick exit.
“It’s adventure time! Let’s go, everyone~”
Both you and Reika stare at Kogasa, and the umbrella girl lets out a rather timid giggle. “Can I tag along with you? I’m bored, and Miss Mima wouldn’t play with me. I wanted to play with the wombat too, but it was sleeping dead.”
“Can’t you do what a tsukumogami always does?” Reika asks. A tsukumo-what?
“I’ve had my quota today~” Kogasa answers. Her expression somewhat becomes dreamy, almost as if she has had ecstatic moments. “Three courses of meal a day~ three courses of surprise a day~ what a twist, what a twist~”
“What does this girl exactly do for a living?” you ask Reika in whispers.
“She surprises people, and that’s the whole purpose of her life. To be the best in the field,” Reika answers in whispers.
“Does that mean she’s a joker?” You can’t imagine Kogasa fooling people while wearing silly costume. Of course, you’re not talking about The Joker, because such comparison would be too morbid.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Alyssa,” Reika says.
“I’ve seen strange people before, but not like this,” you tell her.
“I am the bone of my umbrella, thrill is my body and wonder is my blood~” Kogasa continues her one-person singing, and what a nonsense song it is.
The three of you continue walking down the path less travelled, talking and discussing about various topics. The conversation stops only when you arrive at a house deep in the forest. It’s of Western construction, similar to your current home, and from the looks of it it’s stood the test of time. “This is the place?” you ask as you observe the surrounding environment.
“Yeah, the one and only!” Kogasa approaches the door and knocks on it- forget that, she’s practically banging on it. You and Reika stare at the umbrella girl as she continues banging and kicking the door, until you hear it being opened from the inside. A woman walks out of the door and looks at front, and then focuses her attention on Kogasa.
“Surprise, Miss Alice! It’s a lovely afternoon, isn’t it?”
“Uh, Kogasa, I’m having a bit of-” She coughs and clears her throat; the tired look on her face suggests that she’s just woken up or something. “Come by another day, okay?”
“Aw, but I’m already here! Plus you’ve got visitors!” Kogasa waves at you to approach her. You shrug at her enthusiasm and follow her waving hand, until you’re at arm’s length from the woman.
“Good day, ma’am. I suppose we showed up at the wrong time. Are you alright?” you strike a conversation with the woman. Alice, if you can recall the name Kogasa said.
“I’m fine. It’s just the seasonal flu that got me.” She coughs once again, and this prompts you to take her back into the house. “Please! Don’t worry about me. I’m glad I have visitors, you see.”
“Just because you’re happy to see us, whatever the reason is, doesn’t mean you should get too excited. Don’t want the illness to get worse, do we?” you tell her.
“Like I said, I’m fine. I’m not like humans who need medication. The flu will go away after some times.” You stare at her deeply, causing her to fidget and then blush. “Y…you’re right. I shouldn’t get carried away. I’m sorry.”
“May I ask what happened, Miss Alice?” Reika asks as she helps you carrying Alice back to the couch.
Her head plops on the headrest, her throat letting out a somewhat pained groan as she pinches the bridge between her eyes. “I’ve been fixing Goliath for seven days straight without a rest-”
“Seven days!?” the three of you blurt out.
“Please let me finish first.” You, Reika and Kogasa sit around Alice, giving her a wide birth so that she doesn’t feel cornered. “I was going to finish the final tuning when I suddenly fell sick. I had to take a break from all the works, and I was getting ready to sleep when the three of you came in.”
“Did we interrupt your work? We’re sorry,” Kogasa apologizes and sulks afterward.
“Now, now, Kogasa.” Alice softly pats the umbrella girl’s head, making her giggle. “I was going to call it a day anyway. Good thing you came in, too, otherwise I’d have forgotten about the rest of the world.”
“Does that mean I can play with Shanghai and Hourai?” Before Alice can answer, Kogasa already leaps off the couch and ventures deep into the house; you can hear her singing Maria Mercedes, too.
“That girl, always coming here to play whenever she isn’t in her missions to surprise,” Alice muses. “Oh, I’m sorry! I forgot that I have guests! Oh, dear me, where have my manners gone to? Please, allow me to make you some tea.”
Reika quickly offers herself to prepare the meal. You look at her just as she’s standing up, and she winks at you before she heads to the kitchen. Now that you’re with Alice, you’re not sure of how to break the ice, and you wait for Alice to start the conversation instead.
…that’s when she hurls herself at you, without a warning. All words get stuck inside your throat as she hugs you very tightly, practically squeezing the air out of you. “You’ve come back! You have come back! My prayers have been answered, thank god!” she cries in delight.
“Uh, ma’am, you’re killing me.” Realizing she has erred, Alice releases you and apologizes furiously. “And I believe you’ve mistaken me for somebody else. The name is Alyssa. Transporter is what I do for a living.”
Instead of sulking, Alice’s face brightens. “Alyssa? Yes, of course! Now I remember! You’re Alyssa, her precious child! Oh, I’m terribly sorry for being forgetful. I…” She falls silent afterwards, and taking it as a cue you place your hands on her shoulders. She stiffens, and then slumps onto you, her head resting on your chest.
“…thank you for coming back.”
“Glad to hear that.” Seriously, you’re not, but to hell with that.
After a couple of minutes of cuddling, Alice pulls herself from you and sighs in relief, her fingers wiping tears off her eyes. “I was told by Yukari that you’d be coming home, and I have eagerly waited for the day to come.” You stay silent, letting her to continue with her story. “I can’t remember how many years had passed since you left to the outside world. Five? Ten? And to think that she wouldn’t let me look after you on her behalf, too…”
You feel a lump in your throat. You feel like you want to question Alice about your biological mother, but seeing her muttering Marisa’s name under her breath almost spitefully forces you to reconsider.
“Anyway! Good god, you’ve all grown up!” There’s that cheerful expression again. She must be really good in masking her misery. “The last time I saw you, you were a baby! Now look at you, you’ve even had some of her looks! Although…” Her eyes start wandering up and down your person, meticulously examining each inch of it.
“You should change your clothes. This doesn’t suit you.”
And she just has to criticize your fashion taste.
“For your information, ma’am, my outfit isn’t just for show,” you explain. “My profession as a transporter requires me to wear something that would allow easy manoeuvrability while crossing busy streets.”
“Yes, I transport things for a living. You name it: painting, takeaway meal, backpacks children accidentally left at school.” You take a look around the interior. Rows and rows of dolls are arranged neatly on shelves, all identical to each other, all looking at you. You don’t feel like being watched by lifeless objects….
“She’s also a free runner,” Reika fills in the answer as she returns from the kitchen. She sits down beside you and passes the teacup to you and Alice. “And free runners don’t wear skirt while climbing and jumping off buildings. Right, Alyssa?”
“Ah, that explains the attire- wait. What.” She does a double-take and stares at you. “You’re trying to tell me that your job includes jumping off buildings? That’s too dangerous!”
“All a part of my daily life,” you answer casually. “And yes, we’re discouraged from wearing skirt or fancy dresses. They tend to get into our way. Though that didn’t stop some from trying anyway.”
“But you could’ve killed yourself! Hadn’t you thought of finding a safer job?” She sounds concerned. Very concerned, like a mother would to her child. Heh, just like when Grandma objected your decision to become a traceuse.
“I had, and I tried, but they just didn’t click with me.” It’s your turn to do a double-take and pout. “I mean, look! Why are we suddenly discussing about my job? Aren’t we supposed to, you know, sit down and talk?”
“But that’s what we’re doing right now!” Alice complains cheerfully. She calms down afterwards, although her smile doesn’t wear down a bit. In fact, it doesn’t even falter at all.
This is getting a bit too uncomfortable.
“Oh, shouldn’t both of you introduce to each other?” Reika asks. Thank god your half-sister is with you.
“Of course.” Alice coughs a couple of time and begins her introduction. “My name is Alice Margatroid, the seven-coloured puppeteer. I’m Reimu’s close friend, and as you might have guessed, I’m also your mother’s close friend. In fact, the three of us have been close to each other for a very long time. Pleased to meet you, Alyssa.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, Miss Alice.”
“Oh, please. Drop the suffix. There’s no need to be formal with me,” Alice says dismissively.
“Well, excuse me. I’ve been here for less than a week. Can’t expect me to learn of everybody’s name in a day, can I?” you ask.
“Oh my, such a sharp tongue you possess. I wonder, from whom you have learned to sharpen your wit, hmm?” Alice smiles.
Your ears start burning red. “Stop that. You’re embarrassing me.” Even more so, considering that you and Alice greeted each other barely a minute ago.
“Ah, you’re similar to your mother. Very fun to tease, very easy to get embarrassed,” Alice sings. “Oh, I did remember telling Reika stories about how Marisa would act every time she and I were together. Maybe I should tell Alyssa everything about it today~”
A fish out of the water. That’s how you feel right now.
Quick! Change the channel Pick another topic! [ ] Ask Alice about her occupation. [ ] Ask Alice about the creepy dolls. No, they’re not! It’s just you who are overly paranoid, Alyssa. [ ] Ask Alice about your biological mother and their relationship. [ ] Share stories about your Parkour shenanigans. [ ] Share stories about your “quality” time with your mute waifu family. [ ] Stay quiet and let Alice finish her story. You’re a good child, right? [ ] Stealthily walk away and wander around the house. [ ] Find Kogasa and play with her. [ ] Write-in options? Write-in options. [ ] SATA is a useless writefag. He should stop moping around and update more often.
Well, then. Sorry for the delay as usual, again. Please bear with this writefag while he’s preparing.
[c] Stay quiet and let Alice finish her story. You’re a good child, right?
Alice flickers her fingers, and you watch in surprise as the dolls you saw earlier descend from the shelf and land on the table. Absentmindedly you pick up one of the dolls, ignoring its distressed struggle as you examine it. Such craftsmanship, this is nothing like the dolls you came across at any dollhouse. You find yourself amazed by its lifelike quality, as you can’t find anything that would suggest it being handmade.
“I see you’re interested in the doll.” You let go off the doll, and it pouts angrily at you before it returns to Alice. “This is London, one of my special purpose dolls.” The doll in question curtsies. “She is, however, not my best creation. That will have to go to Shanghai and Hourai.”
“Shanghai? Hourai?” At the mention of the names, two dolls appear out of nowhere and land in front of you. The dolls stare at you, and you stare back them. Then the doll in red dress whispers to her partner, which giggles before whispering back to the red doll. Both of them later giggle and start to encircle around you, closely examining you in details.
“Shanghai. Hourai. Stop scaring her, Alyssa’s my guest.” The dolls harrumphs but don’t ignore Alice’s order and returns to her. The dolls look back at you and wink teasingly before they perch upon her shoulders. This doesn’t make sense; dolls aren’t supposed to be alive, are they? Where are the strings that are attached to them?
“So! Are we ready for storytelling?” Alice asks and clasps her hands, a gesture that is imitated by Shanghai and Hourai.
“Did someone say storytelling?!” Just like that, Kogasa appears out of nowhere and jumps onto your lap, taking you by surprise. “You can’t tell a story and leave me behind! Let me join~!”
“Hey! No dog-piling on Alyssa without me!” Reika jumps at you, pinning you on the couch with her weight.
“Stop piling on me, damn it!” you groan.
“I can’t hear you~” Kogasa and Reika say in perfect unison. Alice laughs over this, making you blush in embarrassment. What you have gotten into this time?
You have no idea how long it’s taken, but by the time Alice finishes her story the sun is approaching the west horizon. Most of Alice’s dolls have returned to the shelf, save for Shanghai and Hourai who are buzzing about in the living room. You remain still on the couch, sandwiched from both sides by Kogasa and Reika, both sleeping and using you as their makeshift pillow.
“Not very comfortable with them?” Alice asks as she passes you a blanket.
“Not when I’m being squeezed like this,” you answer, trying in vain to slip free from their bearlike hugs. “At least I won’t be killed if they do this.”
“Oh? May I know why?”
“Eh, not a big deal. Just my significant other being jealous and such…” Your words get stuck inside your throat when you notice Alice staring contently at you. “Uh, what I’m saying here is that I have an overprotective wife--”
“You have a wife?”
“Well, technically she’s not my wife, but she brands herself as one, so…” You gulp the moment Alice’s gaze narrows. “Is there something wrong?”
“No, though I was expecting someone like you to have a husband. Or a boyfriend, at least.”
You laugh half-heartedly. “I wish, but what can I do when I had girls fawning over me instead?” You sigh inwardly and throw your head against the headrest. “Then again, my life would’ve gone down the drain if I didn’t meet her, so…”
“Come here, Alyssa.” You’re reluctant at first to leave Reika and Kogasa on their own, but you don’t want to disappoint Alice either. Sensing that you’re in trouble Alice quickly orders the dolls to reposition Kogasa and Reika so that they don’t notice you leaving. Now that you’re free to move you approach Alice and sit down beside her. You suddenly flinch when she brings her hand forward. You brace yourself for any sudden movement…
…only to be patted on the head. You pout at her for the unnecessary gesture, yet all further protests are swept away the longer she’s patting you.
“This is awkward,” you mutter, even as Alice starts combing your hair between her fingers. “To have two mothers… three, if I want to include you. Very, very awkward.”
“Oh, Alyssa, I’m not ready to be a mother yet,” she giggles.
“Why not? You’re attractive, kind-hearted, and…” You find yourself moaning in dismay when Alice ruffles your hair until it’s a jumbled mess. She laughs at the mess she has created and pulls you into her arms. “Stop treating me like a teddy bear.”
“I can’t help it. They seemed comfortable doing it, so why can’t I?” You relent and let Alice hug you to her heart’s content. “Alyssa.”
“I was wondering if you could spend a night with me. Do you have anything to do after this?” She keeps cuddling you, holding you ever closer and letting you listen to her soft heartbeat.
“I don’t know. I ought to go back home after this. Can’t leave my family in the dark, you see.” You hug Alice in return, and she lets out what perhaps the happiest sigh ever as she tightens her arms. This… this is actually kind of nice. A shame if Alice’s claim about not prepared for motherhood is true, because she already is.
[ ] Stay with Alice. Bonding time with seven-coloured puppeteer~ [ ] Take Alice to your home. Introduce her to the rest of your family. [ ] On the other hand, why are Shanghai and Hourai staring jealously at you?
Short update is short. And I’m out of resource to do exposition about Marisa’s past. Maybe later. Anyway, update will be posted in a new thread, so please wait warmly. Also, before I forget, happy early new year.