This is not the Gensokyo you may know in your heart. I, Matsuo Heikichi, am not a hero. I cannot fight the youkai who seek to feast on me and my friends and family. I have no defense. If I run into a youkai outside the village, I am most likely doomed. That is how my mother died, when I was very young.
My hopes and dreams are not all dead, though. I live a happy life in the human village with my father, who is a blacksmith. While I often work with him, I am not being forced to pick up the family trade like most kids here. I'm a bit clumsy compared to him, and while I appreciate his work, I think both of us would rather I do something a bit more...scholarly.
My highest hope, though, is a girl. A personal hero, someone I have admired for a few years now. Marisa Kirisame. Sometimes she flies over the human village, and I am in awe of her speed, and defiance of the laws of nature that bind me. She flies, like a youkai, proving that humans are not inferior. I hear tales of her defeating youkai in combat with her magic, and I can't help but idolize her. Last year I spent all my year's allowance getting one of the neighboring shops to carve a tiny wooden statue of Marisa flying on her broomstick, smiling and waving. It is my greatest treasure, and I don't regret it at all.
And today? Today is special. I'm going to confess to her. I don't care what she says, but I want to get it all off my chest, to thank her for what she has done for the village and for inspiring me. A man today laughingly told me that she'd be at the Hakurei shrine visiting her friend, the caretaker.
And here I am, making the climb up the stairs in the summer heat, wishing I could fly more than ever. I hope my sweat doesn't make me unattractive to her, but I'm not the most impressive guy as far as looks anyway. At last, I reach the top of the stairs, and my efforts are rewarded already with the sight of my hero.
Marisa is talking to the shrine maiden, laughing cheerily at her expense as the two drink tea.
"Oh? Looks like you have a pilgrim, Reimu!"
"A human, too! Are you here to make an offering to the shrine, by any chance? Would you like some tea?" She stands and bows, clearly eager to serve.
"A-Actually, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'm here for Marisa." My voice is shaky, and I try to reign in my feelings, as my thoughts are heading all over the place.
"I wanted to say..I've always admired you!"
Reimu stares at my face, and then traces my line of sight to Marisa's. The witch looks shocked.
"I'm sorry. That was sudden. I see you flying over the village all the time. You've inspired me, you.." I'm babbling, and I have to cover my mouth to stop. My face is beet red.
"That is flattering and all.." Marisa says slowly, "But I think, right now, I'm.." She looks to Reimu.
"I'm sorry. I'm an idiot." I am an idiot. I don't know what I was expecting, confessing my feelings like a girl like this to someone I've never really met. "Thank you for listening." The stairs look inviting all of a sudden, and I make my retreat silently down them.
My journey here was made in broad daylight, with energy and excitement powering my feet. My journey back is slow and agonizing, with nothing on my mind but personal failure. I leave the path at some point without noticing, and my stupor of self-pity ends with the beginning of a personal safety warning. My father warned me about getting lost in the woods, and it is common sense to not get lost even in a safe place, much less a place filled with Youkai. It grows dark as I wander the woods, hoping to see even part of the human village soon, before I'm counted among those eaten by youkai.
That is when I hear a beautiful sound. Singing. It is enticing, and I almost physically can't resist walking towards the sound. Following it to it's source, I discover a girl, sitting on a stump, facing away from me. Her hair is short and pink, and she is wearing a dress of a similar color, though the sun is setting and the shadows block my sight, so I can't get too much information without approaching her further.
 Approach her  Flee
--------------------------------------- To those reading me for the first time, welcome.
To those who follow Eastern High, welcome back. This Mystia is likely going to be a bit different from the one you've seen so far.
This is a side project, for sure. However, with my update speed, that probably means very little. I'll be checking both stories all day, every day for the most part, and updating at least once a day. Also, I'm gonna try to be a lot more wordydetailed with this one, as Mystia and Marisa, the two I want to focus on, deserve it. However, we aren't limited to these two.
>>25177 Yeah, that is why I'm running this as my side project. Its okay for this to run a bit slow.
I kind of wish you guys had fled~.
I approach the girl, squinting to make out more of her in the shadowed forest.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for the-"
She turns with a start, giving me a full view of the pretty face that was belting out such a wonderful tune. Her eyes are large and dark, and I easily lock eyes with her. She is certainly a cute girl. Until I notice her ears peeking out from under her hair. A slight flutter and a breeze later, wings peek out from behind her small frame.
"Lost?" She smiles sweetly. Did I imagine that eager hunger in her voice?
"Y-yeah.." Shit. Shit shit shit. A youkai. Am I going to be eaten here? Is this how I die? Right after embarrassing myself like an idiot in front of my hero? Marisa, save me.. "I was looking for the human village..can you point me in the right direction?"
"Hmm~." She hums. "Perhaps. But I'm feeling awfully hungry.." She licks her lips seductively.
"What?" Her eyes widen.
"I said that is fine. Go ahead, devour me. I have nothing to live for." She backs away as I continue. "I can die with no regrets. I confessed my feelings and was rejected. My dad finds me useless, and.." Tears start to run down my face. "Now a youkai is going to eat me."
"Have you been holding all this in?" She asks quietly.
"Stop talking to me! Just kill me!" I scream hoarsely, full of fear.
"Calm down. I'm not gonna eat you. If anything, I feel bad for you. I'm willing to let you go if you just stop crying. I can't eat such pathetic prey."
What? "What?" I'm dumbfounded, my thoughts and words synching perfectly.
"Just get outta here before I change my mind. I'm giving up a meal for your sake. A tasty looking one at that."
I nod, too afraid to do anything else. "Thank you..thank you miss.."
"Mystia. Just go, already!" She says, laughing like she's lending me a bit of pocket change instead of sparing my life. "You're not the cheeriest person to be around, and I'm not in the best of moods either."
I don't bother to ask about her mood before fleeing. The singing continues after a time. Sprinting madly, sweating and panting like a crazy person, I run into a wall of sheer darkness. Utter, pitch black darkness, an almost physical wall of it.
This youkai doesn't bother teasing or making conversation. I feel teeth in my arm before I see her.
"Gaah!" I let out a pained groan and feel warm, sticky blood drip down my left arm. I shake my body wildly and slam my fist into her head uselessly. I can't see much, but I can feel a head of hair and teeth.
Then the teeth let go. The darkness raises as I hear feet scattering through the woods. I'm left alone in the forest, with a nasty wound, but alive.
"Be more careful." I turn, and Mystia is sitting above me in a tree branch. "It'd be stupid for you to die now."
"You saved me...again."
"Path's the way. Don't get lost this time." She points me in the right direction. I don't have the words to thank her, so I don't. I simply head on my way.
When I reach the village gates, my father runs to greet me. He hugs me tight and I wince at the pain in my arm.
"You're an idiot." He pulls me closer. "Where were you? I thought I lost you." He spies my wound. "And by the looks of it, I almost did."
"I'm sorry. I was stupid."
"Let's get you bandaged up, and you can tell me what happened."
I spend the night at a local doctor's residence. My father sits beside me and waits for me to relate the tale. I begin, and...
 Leave out the part about my youkai savior  Rant about my youkai savior
Sheesh, we've been dumped in the first post, and nearly eaten twice in what seems to be a span of ten minutes in the second. If we ever get around to meeting Hina, I can't imagine how much misfortune she'd be able to get out of us.
I relate how I met Marisa briefly, leaving out the bit about rejection (and the reaction that followed, running away from her like a little girl) and instead merely saying she was busy and had to leave. I can keep my dignity in front of my father, at least. I continue my tale saying that somehow I got off from the path, not paying attention in my excitement, and got lost in the woods.
"Then, I met a beautiful girl."
My father chuckles at this. "More beautiful than your precious hero?"
I can feel my face grow hot, but I know he is teasing. "I-I don't know." I answer honestly, and he goes quiet again, content to listen if I'm willing to compare anyone to the level of love I have for my hero. "She was certainly cute. But her song was more beautiful than anything I've ever heard. I approached her to ask for the way home, and BAM! She spread her wings. She was a youkai."
"Is this the one who bit you?" He seems alarmed.
"No, no. In fact, she let me go. I ran into another youkai in the darkness who gave me this." I point to my wound. "But the one who let me go, Mystia, drove her off somehow and saved me. I owe her my life."
My father stands, a serious look on his face. "Mystia, huh?" He puts a hand on his chin. "I've heard the name before. She's an odd one. She has a food cart on one of the roads outside of town some nights."
"So are you saying she is a human friendly youkai?"
"There are no human friendly youkai, Matsuo. Only ones that will trick you and eat you later. Who knows what goes on in their heads."
"Now, now, isn't that a bit harsh?" Comes the playful voice of a mature woman. Pushing aside the curtain seperating my room from the rest of the clinic, a refined woman enters, her long blue-white hair trailing behind her, her dark brown eyes surveying the room. "Excuse me, I apologize for intruding."
"L-lady Keine! I didn't mean to slander you. You know I have nothing but the highest respect for you."
"And I also know the scars that youkai have left on your lives. Trust me, I forgive you." She turns her gentle gaze in my direction. "I just came to check on you. How are you, Matsuo?"
The warmth in her voice is somehow embarrassing, like a doting mother worrying over her adult son. "I'm fine. Thank you." My words come out stiffly, but I mean them to be respectful.
"I'm sorry that you two seem to have such bad luck with youkai. But, forgive me for eavesdropping, it sounds like you met a kind one." She smiles. "I'm happy for you. I hope that helps you grow."
"Grow how, Lady Keine?" I ask quietly, not understanding.
"Please, just Keine is fine!" She giggles at my embarrassment. "I mean grow as a person. New experiences are the only way to-"
"Forgive me for interrupting, Keine." My father says gruffly. "But please don't give my son any ideas. Youkai are dangerous. Some of them might not be directly violent, but it isn't worth risking his life over testing to find out."
Keine seems a bit taken aback by this, but doesn't respond rudely, she simply nods. "Of course. I apologize for touching on old wounds. I'll take my leave. However, before I go, I wanted to offer to tutor Matsuo. I've heard he's clever, though a bit with his head in the clouds." Keine smirks at me. "And those are the types that I love to teach the most. We can discuss it later, when you are feeling better."
She bows to both of us and makes her way out of the curtain. Soon my father does the same, but he parts with a warning to stay in my bed before wishing me a good night.
As I lie awake in the unfamiliar bed, I think about what Keine said. Experiences help us grow, huh? She's probably right. As I brood on this, I think about how..
 Marisa's rejection made me grow  my experience with Mystia made me grow  Keine's words made me grow
Wow, I started thinking of what to write for the Marisa option, but then you guys all voted for Mystia. Cool, I like it when that happens.
Right. Mystia changed a lot in such a small time. Firstly, there's the obvious. She let me live. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to grow at all. And really, that is important..I couldn't reflect on what happened with Marisa today, or Keine's offer, or anything if she had eaten me.
But there's something else there too. She surprised me. My father has always taught me that youkai are horrible monsters that eat people. But not only did she spare me, she seemed very human. And now I find out she has a food stand on one of the roads outside of town? A monster doesn't sell food to people. I wonder what she does with the money..
I'm entertaining some thoughts about this when I pass out into a deep sleep. When I awake, things aren't much different in the clinic. No one is here, not even the owner. It is still dark out, so it must be quite early in the morning. There's something on top of my blankets, though, that wasn't there when I fell asleep.
Flowers, more specifically yellow roses, and a small card that simply reads "Sorry. ~Marisa"
Sorry for the rejection? Sorry for my luck with the youkai? I'm not sure, but it is a bit embarrassing to think that my hero came in and saw my sleeping face.
The flowers give me an idea, though. I'm sure my father won't approve, but I'd like to give Mystia something as a sign of thanks. I'm not sure what, though, or how to meet her.
As I brood on this, more flowers arrive, from friends. A whole group of village kids, roughly my age, though many a bit younger, intrude on my thoughts. A few of the guys my age cheer me up by saying my scar will impress the ladies. And sure enough, the girl who brought the flowers is a bit blushy after that. I'm certainly flattered, but my eyes have always been elsewhere when it comes to girls. I know my mother was a normal, pretty girl from the village, but for some reason I can't be satisfied with that. I need someone who stands out to me, someone different..
Keine enters my room once again, and all of the village kids clear out. A couple of the guys point and mouth words that I shall not repeat about how attractive Keine is. Of course, I am not blind, but I think she may be a little out of my league in more ways than one. I can't exactly communicate this with them, so I merely wave goodbye.
"How are you feeling? Did resting help?"
I nod, and earn a smile. She takes a seat on the edge of my bed.
"Good. Your father has given me permission to tutor you. I came here to ask you if you want to be tutored. This is an important life choice..I can set you on the path to becoming a scholar. A librarian. A teacher. Of course, you don't have to become any of these things, but now is the time in your life to pick up a trade, and I think you have the curiosity to be a successful scholar."
Her eyes find the flowers from Marisa as she finishes her recruitment speech.
"I see you have a lot to think about besides this."
"No, I..I don't. I mean, not about her anyway." My face feels red. I don't know if I'm blushing or if I'm about to cry. It feels like a bit of both.
"Its okay. I can wait. Come to me after you've decided. My door is open any time."
She leaves me with a lot to think about. Soon, though, I'm released from the clinic. They give me a salve to apply to my arm, and some replacement bandages, but besides a light pain in my arm at times, I am good as new. They did warn me not to be too ambitious with my arm, though, not to lift anything to heavy or move it around a lot, but it should be fine for daily use. That said, my father hasn't come to fetch me, and the day is half over. So I have half a day without work, and a few options about what to do..
 Get something for Mystia as a thank you gift  Buy Mystia flowers  Buy Mystia some kind of food to replace you as her meal  Write-in  Find Marisa and thank her for the flowers  Report to Keine and agree to have her tutor you
Write-ins are always welcome, but I put one under the gifts because I'm particularly interested in what you can come up with there.
>>25206 I should correct the choices. They were meant to be staggered, like so.  Get something for Mystia as a thank you gift |-------- Buy Mystia flowers |-------- Buy Mystia some kind of food to replace you as her meal |--------- Write-in  Find Marisa and thank her for the flowers
 Report to Keine and agree to have her tutor you
So there are really only three choices, one just has sub choices. Sorry about that.
>>25216 Pre-UFO. That is an odd time to choose, I'm sure, but I'm not an expert on TD or UFO. I've played both but don't have enough experience with their characters to do them justice. Plus there seems to be a different feel to the newer games that I'm trying to avoid for this story.
I'm halfway out the door to the clinic when this strikes me. I turn my head, and ask the doctor if I had any visitors while I was asleep.
"Ah, I believe she left some flowers, um.." He consults a visitor sign in sheet. "Ms. Kirisame." I can't believe he didn't remember someone so famous walking in, but I suppose in his day there were different heroes. I briefly try to imagine what the equivalent of Marisa would look like in his day, but have trouble.
"Did she say where she'd be? I'd like to thank her for the flowers."
"Ah, I don't believe she did. It was rather late though."
"Thanks anyway." I wave and exit the door. Now I have no clues, and nothing to do but wander aimlessly about town. My feet work independently of my mind, for as I'm thinking of Marisa and where to find her, my subconscious must be thinking of Mystia. I wander past street shops, lost in thought, and end up snapping out of my stupor in front of a small stand selling wooden carvings and trinkets. Among them, hanging from the top of the stand, are necklaces with tiny wooden ocarinas. One in particular catches my eye, a basic design but with a feather carved into the side. On a whim, I ask how much it would be to purchase.
"Ah, that one. I'll make you a deal on it..I was paid in advance to carve it, but the customer never returned to pick it up. Is there something about it that caught your eye?" His gaze runs across his stock of much more complex designs.
"It is simple, but nice. It doesn't need complicated and difficult carvings to be beautiful." I answer honestly.
"Hmm, interesting indeed!" The shopkeeper laughs and pushes it into my hands. I hand him some coins in return, but he shoves over half of them back in my hand.
"Just for you. Enjoy it."
I give it a try after walking a ways away from the shops, out of the hustle and bustle of people. It is nearing evening at this point, the world covered in an orange hue. Fitting, as soon the summer will end, and autumn will take its place.
"What a horrible sound!" Someone exclaims happily after I play a note or two. I admit they weren't the most music sounds, but for my first time playing it..wait.
I turn around. No one behind me. No one in front of me either.
"Look up!" I do so, and see a wonderful sight. Marisa, hovering on her broomstick, mere feet above me. She lowers herself until she is almost touching the ground.
"Heya." Her voice seems to smile as freely as she does. "Funny running into you again."
"Y-yeah." Nervousness overtakes me, but she gives no indication of noticing even as her golden eyes stare right through me. "Thanks."
"Thanks for what?"
A bit of a blush colors her face. "Ah, well..Reimu actually gave them to me to give to you. I can't take credit." A sheepish grin crosses her features. "I wanted to say sorry for yesterday anyway. I was going to just ignore it, but Reimu yelled at me and said I wasn't being fair to your feelings. You just surprised me, is all." Her focus shifts idly to the sky instead of my face as she continues. "Then, when I was on my way here, I realized I had no clue who you were. Your name, where you lived, anything. I felt pretty stupid, but I only had to ask one person and they seemed to know who I meant by your description."
Being a pretty plain person, I'm curious as to what kind of description she gave for me. Hopefully not "the guy who likes me" or something..
"When they said you'd been attacked by a youkai, I felt pretty guilty. Its kind of my fault, I guess, for-"
"No, no! You aren't at fault here.."
 I am because I couldn't face the truth and ran away  The youkai are at fault for attacking me  No one is at fault. Feelings are feelings, and the youkai obey their natures just like we do.
[x] No one is at fault. Feelings are feelings, and the youkai obey their natures just like we do.
This sounds just fine. Although I was leaning to the first one, that sounds kinda better. We made the mistake, but because we are human, we can't but help to overreact. Just as we can't help that a youkai will find our forearm yummy.
Also... >Plus there seems to be a different feel to the newer games
I feel ya there. There's just something about them and the characters that's not quite right, compared to the older ones. Can't exactly say why. The only one I really care for is, surprise, Kogasa.
>>25227 Its funny, I normally prefer the priests and religious characters in things, but not in touhou. I'm not even a big Reimu fan (though that comes from being a huge Marisa fan, I think). I do like the way the plot is headed, and that the games connect in a much more direct way now, but character designs have changed a lot lately, and as ZUN gets better at art, he makes more ambitious characters that don't necessarily speak to me as much as the old ones. I'm an even newer newfag than you, I played ESoD for the first time a little over a year ago, so I don't think that has anything to do with it. I suppose I was a fan of Alice and Marisa long before that, though.
One day Marisa will do something important to the plot. That day will be a glorious one.
It will be on that day, that far off day. When Gensokyo itself has its fate on the line, due to a rampaging foe that wants to destroy everything. Marisa and Reimu will move in to settle the dispute as usual, but the foe will reveal itself to be none other than Mima. Reimu is swatted aside, and Marisa will find herself in a fight with her mentor, the woman that taught her everything, with only the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
That is the day we will learn which is stronger. Master Spark, or Twilight Spark.
I'm actually newer than you are to Touhou. The new ones just grate on me, for the most part. True, MoF and SA are different, but still, it's not quite as different from the old ones, in my opinion. It really seemed to change after that. I suppose we'll see what happens with #14
[x] No one is at fault. Feelings are feelings, and the youkai obey their natures just like we do.
>>25217 Despite the undertones in SA,UFO and such, things are ultimately the same as usual with a few twists as shown in Symposium of Post Mysticism (which can be read on the touhouwiki)
Funny enough the most likely instigator, Miko upon hearing humans aren't interested in a leader, decides to go train in hermit stuff.
I can't fault ZUN for using different designs than usual and it's too soon to tell his ultimate direction about things. I doubt the SDM will become completely irrelevant as Patchouli has ways of showing up in more games (endings) than anyone else.
It took me some time to warm up to some of the SA cast (but now I like them pretty well), and I didn't mind the next two cast bunches at all.
What I do fault ZUN for is making UFO and TD have gimicky collect ______ to get extra lives as trying to collect said things tends to get many killed.
Youkai win by just a bit. Funny, I thought that would be the smallest vote, and that the majority would be with the one that didn't get a single vote. Interesting.
"The youkai that bit me is at fault. They make life so hard for us.." I say bitterly. "Every problem in my life has related to the youkai...that's why I admire you. You can fight back. You can show that humans aren't weak things meant to be pushed around."
"So you confessed to me because of my strength?" Marisa cocks her head slightly.
"Well, that isn't entirely true, but it is part of it, I guess."
Her voice sounds a bit distant as she replies. "Well, besides that, what is it that you like?"
I don't really have an answer for that. "I..."
"Its okay." Her feet kick off the ground, increasing her altitude by a few inches. "I don't hold it against you. You picked me over people who are just as strong, if not stronger, like Reimu. So clearly you have a reason. Think about that for a while. Even if it is just my pretty face." She gives her trademark grin at that, and her broom rises even higher. "I'll see you again. Think about the answer to that for next time."
I can't help but weakly return her happy wave as she rockets away. I wish I had said "This is why I like you. Two minutes with you can make me rethink my life", but she's already gone, and I can't seem to think clearly when I'm on the spot like that. Maybe that means I'm unsure of myself. Or maybe I'm weak to blondes with big smiles.
The sun is setting fully now, and I should really head home. This is the second night in my life that Marisa has left me feeling confused on the way home. I feel like this pattern may continue until I sort my feelings out for good.
I wish I could shout away this restless feeling. I know it will pass eventually, but my stomach feels like it is trying to run away from me. I won't be able to calm down until I figure out what to say to Marisa, or until I get a suitable distraction. Even as I arrive home and lie in my bedroom, I can't shake the thoughts.
Sitting up, I toy with the tiny wooden figure of my hero. Why her? Why not someone else? I always thought it was her strength to defeat youkai. But is that really a reason to feel this strongly about someone?
My thoughts are finally interrupted by a clicking sound. Then another. Then another, this one a bit louder. I spy an object flying against my window, and realize someone is throwing pebbles.
"Hey!" Whisper-shouts one of the village kids who visited me earlier. "Thought you'd be interested to know that a youkai was caught snooping near here. A bunch of the men saw her pacing around the walls of the village. Keine is headed to deal with her now! Come on! Lets go check it out!"
On one hand, It'd make a nice distraction from my brooding to go see something exciting. I certainly hope the one they are dealing with isn't Mystia, but I doubt it. She's been near the village before with her cart, close enough for my father, who rarely leaves the walls of the village, to know about it, and there has never been a fuss. On the other hand, it isn't really my business, and my father would be upset if he caught me out. I probably wouldn't be making a good impression on Keine either. I can always hear about it tomorrow through the grapevine. News travels fast in such a boring place.
 Go see what the fuss is about  I'll stay away from youkai for a while, thanks
>>25250 I love me some Yamame. I can no longer kill spiders thanks to her, just like I can't eat chicken anymore thanks to Mystia.
My curiosity gets the better of me, and I quickly change into the clothes I wore earlier today, tearing off my night shirt and throwing on a pair of pants. My rush to see what is going on outside doesn't keep me from tip-toeing quietly through the house, though. Every sound seems to echo loudly until I get to the front door, that thin wooden barrier seemingly making all the difference, though I know most of it was mental.
I follow a few other people, some men, women in nightgowns, and the occasional kid sneaking out the same way I have. There is a decent crowd of a little less than twenty people gathered right outside the town gate, and the remaining stragglers, myself included, fight to get a peek at what is going on.
But there is nothing to see. Literally. I can't see anything but darkness in front of the crowd. Keine is standing in front of everyone, urging them back.
"There's nothing to see, everyone. We are safe. Please return to your homes before someone gets hurt by mistake."
The crowd murmurs and mumbles, but only gives a few feet. No one wants to be the first to go in case something exciting does happen.
"Please." Keine pleads to the darkness itself. "I don't want to hurt you. Leave the village alone. We are all thinking, breathing beings, like you. So please, let us live in peace."
The wall of darkness seems to quiver and shift backwards, but then stops after giving about as ground as the crowd of onlookers did. Is the youkai observing us, like we observe it? Both parties seem to be in awe of an intelligence alien to them. One side is merely food, the other a demon.
The darkness seems to emit a whimper, and backs away further. Keine ushers everyone back inside, and I duck into the center of the crowd, hoping to stay out of her sight. Everyone turns to walk inside, disappointed in the lack of violence tonight. Something is a bit frightening about that disappointment, but I can't say I wouldn't be interested in seeing something like that myself.
Then I pick up a sound. A girl, sobbing. It is quiet, and I can hardly hear it over the crowd. In fact, the crowd seems to ignore it, as does Keine, who stops to talk to one of the town watch, who keep an eye on the only entrance to town that stays open all night. Curious, I manage to slip past her and the guard she is distracting.
The darkness still lurks ahead, and though it is hard to tell from the natural darkness, I think it is quivering, waving a bit like air does when it is heated. No one else seems to notice, but a girl is clearly sobbing up ahead, somewhere. Is the youkai in the darkness hurting her?
 Go to the sound of crying.  Return home. This is too dangerous.
>>25266 While it is possible to be eaten by youkai in this story, I'm not so cruel as to say "Well, we're done" in the first thread.
At worst a bad end would make us go back a choice or two. I often lament in my story on /th/ that I want to write for some of the routes they miss, so I wouldn't mind at all. In fact, this whole story owes itself to the fact that they chose not to go for the Mystia route, and ignored Marisa to the point where she doesn't appear in the story anymore. So if you guys die somehow, it just means I have a chance to write for other options.
Yup, we remember. But then again, Mega said that a bad end wouldn't be so horrible, only taking us back a little bit. So if we get eaten here, we just go back and avoid Rumia. I'm just wondering how likely it is that we won't become dinner.
Well, I took your vote into account anyway and just flipped a coin. Going to the sound of crying won the coin toss anyway. Sorry, anon, I tried to be fair.
Sorry it took so long to write this. I was trying to write and a man stopped in at work and told me about his life travelling the world. It was pretty interesting, but it took him over an hour to tell me about it.
>>25282 >>25283 I wanted to add something, sorry. I was hoping I deleted it before anyone noticed. The update just felt sort of half-assed, and I wanted to finish it up. The choice at the end is different now, but you'll have a chance to see Mystia later on today if you like. ----------------------------------------
I can't resist. If there is a girl in there being attacked, I have to at least try to help her. I know I'd be hoping for someone to save me in the same situation.
Oh. That's already happened to me.
Running past the guards, I fearlessly charge into the mass of darkness. Well, not fearlessly, but my adrenaline helps in that area. Being unable to see, I just concentrate on the sound of sobbing. It is definately getting louder the deeper I head in, the most lost I get. I ram my head into a tree once, and get hit with branches more often than that, but a few bruises later, I'm within feet of the sound.
"Please." I say quietly. "I'm not going to hurt you. I want to help."
The sobbing gets quieter, and turns into light whimpering. A young girl's voice timidly cuts through the darkness and my heart. "Y-you're going to help me?"
"Yeah. Just keep talking so I can find yo-" Suddenly I seem able to see in the darkess. My eyes must have adjusted somehow. A small girl sits a few feet in front of me, her face constantly twisted in pain, tears running down her cute, childish face. Her black dress seems darker and heavier near her right foot, which she is clutching in pain.
On closer inspection, I see why. Her ankle is caught in a bear trap. Its incredible that someone left one so close to the village..you'd be much more likely to catch a human, like this one instead of wild game.
"Don't move." I take off my shirt, and she gets an eyeful of the bandages running across my shoulder and arm, her eyes grow wide. "I had a big wound too, and I'm just fine. So you're gonna be okay. I want to pry that thing off of you, and then wrap this around your ankle. Okay?"
She nods quietly. "This is gonna hurt a bit, so hold tight." She obeys, clinging tightly to my arm, her tears stopping. She holds tighter than I thought possible for someone her size. She buries her face in my shoulder as I pull the bear trap open with all of my might.
After some painful trial and error, I finally figure out the mechanism for opening it, and free her. I wrap my shirt around her ankle tightly, to stop the blood from flowing too freely. I at least know that much, but she needs a doctor.
"Okay, I'll help you back to the village. Let's just hope that the youkai doesn't.."
"Go." She says quietly. Looking up at my confused face, she repeats it louder. "Go!"
"Why? You need medical-"
"You smell too tasty."
I'm an idiot. This was the youkai. How did I not realize? "Alright. I'll go."
"I'm sorry." She starts to cry again. "I'm the one who bit you."
I have a lot I want to ask, to say, but the words don't come. She seems to float away, arms outstetched. A quiet "thank you" reaches my ears.
Well, I'm outside of town, shirtless and alone. I've had a lot of excitement today. Time to slip back in town and go to bed...
Luckily, no one seems to notice my return, which is either a testament to my stealth or to the lethargy of the guards and my father. I won't complain either way.
The morning comes harshly after a deep night of sleep. My father comes crashing into my room as he usually does. "Time to get up."
We eat a quiet breakfast together, without much chatter. This is the way it has been since my mother passed, silent breakfasts that aren't unpleasant. I guess my father and I don't relate much, though I know he cares for me and I for him.
"So, have you decided about Keine's offer yet?" He asks as we clean up the remains of breakfast. He has a habit of waiting until after we eat to ask things, which is a bit odd. I haven't figured out why, but he likes to eat in silence.
I respond to his question by saying..
 I haven't decided yet.  I want to have her teach me  I don't want to have her teach me
"Good. I was hoping you'd say that." He sips on a warm drink. "I'll talk to her today. She said she'd stop by the shop." He sounds proud. Keine teaches a lot of the younger kids around here more basic things, as she likes children (though they seem to find her quite boring). She even taught me as a child. She looks no different now than then. I suppose that has something to do with her nature...she is likely longer-lived than humans.
As I have nothing else to do today, I choose to help father by manning the sales counter as he works in the forge. I'd like to see Mystia soon, but she seems to be a nocturnal creature, and I still haven't figured out what to tell Marisa, so I'm happy for work to keep my mind off of such things. The day passes quickly, and a little before I am about to take a lunch break, Keine enters the store.
"Hello, La-" I stop and correct myself. "Hello, Keine."
My efforts earn me a beautiful smile. "Hello, Matsuo. I think you know why I am here."
"Yes. I decided to take you up on your offer. My future is in your hands." I give her a slight bow, and she gets flustered.
"Don't give me so much credit. You are in charge of your destiny. I might be able to teach you things, but that is only because I am an old lady, with lots of experience."
"You aren't an old lady." My father and I say in stereo as he emerges from the back room. We give a small chuckle in stereo as well.
"You are still beautiful, Keine. In your prime." My father continues, and while I don't have the courage to say such things, I agree with him.
"And you are still a charmer. I'll have to be on my guard around your son if he inherited any of that dangerous ability." Keine gives me a sly look. "Now, may I take your son off of your hands today? Or must I wait?"
"If you want him, he's yours." A dismissive wave of his hand later, I'm following Keine out of the store. We're walking through the market when my stomach gurgles loudly. Clearly I have upset the hunger gods.
"Have you eaten yet?" Keine says with a giggle.
"No, I was just about to eat when you arrived. Sorry.."
"Oh, don't be. I made some lunch we can eat once we get to my place."
Homemade lunch with a beautiful woman in her house while she all but secures my future in a cushy job as a scholar? Today couldn't be going any better.
Keine brings out the meal she cooked, and while it isn't top quality, it certainly rivals a few of the family-owned restaurants we have in town. We eat and she makes conversation, which takes some getting used to considering my daily meals are typically held in silence.
"Perhaps this isn't the best light topic for lunch, but I'm curious. With all that has happened lately, I'm wondering how you are feeling."
"Feeling about what? My wound? It is fine, it hardly hurts at all anymore."
"No, no. I should have been more clear. I meant about your hero."
Even she knows. Great. Is my adoration of Marisa that public? She seems to be able to read my thoughts on my face, because she begins to ease my worries.
"Oh, I didn't mean to pry. I heard about it from your father when I first inquired about tutoring you. Other people in the village told me of your curious nature, and I was asking your father about your hobbies to see if you were interested in picking up any trades. He told me you admired a girl, and I thought he meant a village girl at first, and asked further out of a...woman's curiosity."
Well, I'm glad the villagers don't seem to know or care about how I feel, but my father is too quick to blab my business to important people that I mean to impress.
"Honestly I don't know how I feel. What does this have to do with what you are teaching me?" I ask, a little sore.
"Nothing at all. I apologize for getting into your business. It would help if you had a clear head for my lessons, though, so if you ever need any advice about anything, let me know." She offers a motherly smile, something I've missed for a long time. I long to ask for advice, but I am trying to make a good impression on my teacher..
 Stay quiet. My feelings are my own.  Ask for advice on love and the reasons for falling in love.  Change the subject and ask for advice on how to feel about youkai. After all, I've saved one and been saved by another.
>>25298 She did say to have us clear our head, hence the possible love choice as left unchecked, it might end up interfering. It's certainly is possible considering the guy's tendency to dwell on things.
"Well," I say, changing the subject, "If you don't mind giving advice, something has been on my mind lately."
"Of course. I'll help any way I can. I told you I'd tutor you, and that means I'm going to guide you on your path to adulthood. There are things to learn besides history. Tell me, what's on your mind?"
A lot has been on my mind. My adoration for Marisa has come into question. My future studying under Keine. At the front of my mind, though, is this. "My father hates youkai. I used to think he was right. Or, well..I didn't think. I never gave it any thought. I never had to. Youkai slaughtered my mother, and upset my father. What else did I need to know?" I watch Keine's face for reactions. Her eyes are attentive and intelligent as always, and her face is utterly unchanged from before I started speaking, tranquil, with just a hint of a smile. I press on. "But over the past few days, I've thought about this a lot. Mystia chose not to eat me, and then saved me.."
Keine interrupts. "My personal feelings aside, without youkai, the danger of being eaten wouldn't exist. So she wouldn't have been able to save you if the danger didn't exist at all."
"Right." I nod. "But she chose to save me. She went out of her way to do so."
Keine gives an approving smile. "That's good. I'm glad you are thinking like that."
"Well, there's more. Last night, when that youkai appeared at the edge of town.." My tutor instantly frowns at my knowledge of this. "I heard crying. I went outside the gates. I know I'm not supposed to, but I thought someone was in trouble."
"You are right. You aren't supposed to. That was very stupid." She admonishes me. "What if the youkai was crying to attract someone kind like you? What if that is their strategy for finding food?"
"I...I never thought of that. But it wasn't. The youkai was a girl. I couldn't even tell it was a youkai at first. She was trapped in a bear trap..it was hurting her, and I think she was too panicked and hurt to simply tear it off. I helped her, and she didn't eat me. In fact, she thanked me before she left."
Keine closes her eyes and presses two fingers to the bridge of her nose, clearly thinking of what to tell me. Or maybe what to do about me. I did break a rule by running out into the dark like that.
"You are certainly a handful." She finally says, standing up and putting a hand on my forehead. "But you are my favorite kind of handful. Kind and curious. But you are rash." She kneels down to look me right in the eyes, her face mere inches from mine. My heart starts to thump a little quicker, but her face is stoic. "Don't ever go outside after dark again. If you have to, tell me first. I will give you permission, or an escort, if need be. But please..please, do not get yourself killed over your curiosity. Are we clear?"
She stands again. "Maybe your first lesson should be about youkai. After all, you seem interested in them, and they in you. Though I'm tempted to send you back through that safety school they send the village children through." I think she is joking..I think. "We'll begin our lesson after you finish eating."
Sorry that I'm leaving you with half an update. I wanted to show that I wasn't giving up, but I still feel queasy..hopefully I'll be able to write the rest soon.
>>25313 4chan related stuff, where without school to occupy them, kids find their way to places like 4chan and here and go about trying to make a mess out of things. It only lasts for 2-3 months, but the potential damage done could last longer than that.
Woah. I know summer is a bad time for the internet, but does it really hit that hard here? It can't be as bad as when it strikes 4chan...can it?
Soon Keine adopts her teacher persona. A lot of people would probably say this is how she always is, but I've begun to notice a few things in the few hours I've spent alone with her today. Firstly, though she says she enjoys it, she seems to smile a lot less during teaching. Her face isn't necessarily grim or anything, but it isn't a happy one, more stern than stoic. Another thing I've noticed is that she seems to only really get angry when she is worried. No matter how many questions I ask or how many times I don't seem to get something, she never seems upset with me like she was when I mentioned leaving town. So really, she's a lot like a mother. Or...what I imagine a mother to be, having somewhat limited experience with that subject myself.
My biggest conclusion after studying Keine? I should probably focus more on all the material that she is teaching instead of analyzing her personality. And body. I don't consider myself to be a horny guy, and I won't be crude about it, but I will say that Keine is a very lovely woman and I am lucky to be stuck with her for a long time to come.
"Matsuo? Are you paying attention?"
"Y-yes!" I say, snapping out of it. I was paying attention up until a few seconds ago...I guess being the only student makes it harder to space out for anything length of time.
To my surprise, Keine giggles melodiously instead of growing annoyed with me. "Its okay. We've been at it a while. We'll call it here for the day, seeing as it is getting late and you are getting exhausted."
I stand and pack up the notes I have taken. I have a lot to study if I plan on living up to her image of me as an intelligent person.. "Thank you for putting up with me." I give her a slight bow as I exit.
"Not at all. Thank you for listening. I shall see you again tomorrow." She looks outside, checking on the time we lost track of. "Have a good evening, Matsuo."
Phew. It is going to be exhausting indeed to keep this up. Still, it is far more interesting to me than working the forge with my father.
Now that evening has come, I need to decide what to do with myself..the town gate doesn't close for a while. Maybe I should try to find Mystia's stand? Or even search the woods for that youkai I saved. Or I could be a good boy and go home like Keine would like me to, which would give me a good chance to think about what to tell Marisa..
 Go home and relax.  Find Mystia.  Look for the youkai I saved last night.
>>25321 Thank you. You are very kind. Its probably stupid to say this but your message made me smile. Between this thread and my other story, a few people have been concerned about my health. Even if it is just because people want me to hurry up and write, it is still very kind. I've never had so many people wish me to get well.
I'm gonna start writing soon, but it is really close. I'll give it a bit before I call it, but I just wanted to say I plan on updating once or twice today, so keep an eye out for me, please!
Maybe it is the sickness talking, but I love you guys and thanks for reading.
>>25343 Not if she's a villain, otherwise we'd see more attempts at Yukari with all the stories with her in a villainous rule in it. And when a rare story with a nice non-aloof Yukari came along (AoS), everyone agreed on Yukari.
>>25343 Hey, if someone is going to eat me, might as well be someone cute like Rumia! Feel free to keep posting pictures with your votes. I'm collecting them as I plan her potential route!
Huh, I thought you guys were headed for Keine or one of the youkai girls for sure...and then suddenly, BAM, this vote hit and everyone came out of the woodwork. This story is taking a much different turn than the original plan. I like it! I get to write about some of my favorite characters no matter who you guys pick. ---------------------------------------------
I could go find Mystia, but what is the point? I'm not entirely sure she'd be there, and I don't want to get eaten for my curiosity. Still, I bought that ocarina while thinking of her..or did I? I suppose even then, Marisa was on my mind..
Its better to clear my head and think of one thing at a time. Marisa asked me a question, and it is one I need an answer to..in a time limit that I am unsure of. Is there anything I can do to be struck with an answer besides brooding about it at home? I'm unsure, and without any other option coming to mind, I head home.
What is it I like about her? Well, I first fell for her because she could fly...I'd love to be that free. Is it because of her freedom? Or maybe because she represents freedom in my mind? But it isn't like I'm stuck anywhere besides the village, and I've never felt trapped here..that makes no sense.
I wish Keine were here. She could help me make sense of this. But that would be cheating, somehow. This is my problem, I need to sort it out myself.
Losing myself in useless thoughts, I eventually just stop thinking, and space out instead, losing myself in the charming smile of the tiny carved figure of the black-white witch.
That's it. Its so simple, so stupid, so cheesy, but..there it is. A smile. That is the reason. I don't know the reason behind that reason, but now I'm being technical. I fell for her smile. It is so honest and pure. It doesn't stop with her mouth, either, it extends to her eyes and her whole body. Marisa smiles with every fiber of her being. I want to be like that. I want to have my worries washed away with that smile.
And maybe someday I can protect it, and cause it.
That's what I'll tell her. "That's the plan!" I say aloud, my voice filled with courage.
There's a knock on my door, and I leap, almost to the ceiling.
"Matsuo! You have a visitor!"
I'm not ready, I'm not ready, I'm not ready.
But the visitor isn't Marisa. I do recognize her, however. The shrine maiden from before stands in my father's shop, her eyes wandering idly with curiosity.
"Ah, er..Miss Shrine Mai-"
"Just call me Reimu." She says bluntly, but happily.
"Alright. Reimu. You wanted to see me?"
"Yep. I'm here to solve an incident."
I know she's supposed to be the one who fixes things, like when that mist arose, but I've always attributed those victories to Marisa, in a way. But this is another of the heroes of Gensokyo, standing right in front of me..
"What incident? ..and what do I have to do with it?"
"You pretty much are the incident."
"Marisa has been agonizing over what to tell you, and what you are going to tell her next. It is painful to watch her so worried."
"I never meant to worry or upset, her, I just wanted to.."
"Please. Stop. I won't force you, but please give this up."
 I'll give up on her.  (lie) I'll give up on her.  I won't give up. I need closure even if she is rejecting me.  I won't give up. I'll make her mine yet.  Write-in
[x] I won't give up. I need closure even if she is rejecting me.
Too tired to think up of a write-in, but I think this one sums it up nicely. Our protag needs to grow emotionally. And I think a friendship, while strained at first, would probably be better than after a rejection. It's better than pretending this all never happened.
Not like I can't see the writing on the wall. Looks like a Marisa route, full stop. But I'm still interested in the Mystia route, or even a Rumia one. This is the best compromise that I've seen, that keeps Marisa as a good friend while going after the youkai.
[x] I won't give up. I need closure even if she is rejecting me.
He can't just give up! I don't really care which girl we go for, besides the obvious bias. Everyone else seems good.
>potential Rumia route Unless you can come up with better excuses to see her than "wander into the forest alone at night," that won't be happening. Try a few more crying girl votes; those almost always work.
And if you try posting the images I'm posting on the same sub-board, you'll get a duplicate image error.
>>25352 Oh, I'm not going to post the ones you've already posted anyway. I just mean that I started with just a few pictures and then while browsing for inspiration I picked up over fifty, and I'd like more.
I'm not gonna try to force or even hint at any routes. I figure if people want to see more of a girl, they'll vote that way. Though Rumia isn't just going to vanish quite yet.
[x] I won't give up. I need closure even if she is rejecting me.
To be honest, the only lead Marisa has over the other girls with relation to the MC is the fact that he's had a crush on her and that she's human (if that matters). Everything else - knowledge of the girl, number of converstations - is pretty much the same.
>>25354 >I'm not gonna try to force or even hint at any routes.
Infamous last words.
>>25351 It's only looking like a likely Marisa route due to people voting for choices that support it. And I suspect the choices besides "I give up" generally insist on some romantic angle/differing response from reimu while the giving up choice likely sets things on a purely platonic tone, not forgetting the whole entire thing.
"I won't give up. I can't yet. I don't mean to cause her any trouble, but I have been admiring her for years. I need closure, at least."
Reimu puts a hand to her temple, as though I'm giving her a huge headache. I probably am, indirectly. If she really does hear about this from Marisa a lot, then it could be an annoyance to her. Unfortunately, I don't consider it to be her problem.
"Look. Marisa isn't..the type of person you probably think she is."
"And what type of person does he think I am?" Comes a familiar voice from the doorway. "Reimu. I came to you for some advice because I thought you'd be...discreet about it. I didn't tell you to go terrorize someone like they are a rampaging youkai."
"I wasn't terrorizing him, I was-"
"You were telling him to back off? That's really classy."
I think I'm witnessing something here that I'm not supposed to. I'm not sure if I should step in or not, and if I do, I'm not sure who to stop. On one hand Reimu is in the wrong. But on the other, ganging up on her doesn't seem right somehow.
"Reimu, I appreciate your intent, but please just butt out. I'm more than a little mad, but if you just stay out of this issue, we won't have to fight about it." Marisa sighs and offers a compromise. One that Reimu accepts, albeit a bit sadly.
"I understand. Sorry for trying to help. I just thought.." She shakes her head and leaves the shop.
"You okay?" I ask Marisa after she is gone.
"I should be asking you that. She didn't say anything too rough before I got here, did she?"
"No, she wasn't here long. She didn't upset me or anything..but are you two going to be okay? You aren't going to fight because of me?"
Marisa laughs. "No, no. She's probably mad at me but she'll get over it. We've known each other too long for that. I guess I should have known not to go to her for advice, but it seemed like she'd be the best to go to for relationship help..it'd be a bit..problematic to ask any of my other friends about it."
I want to ask her why it'd be problematic, but I don't think that is the issue right now. "How'd you know she was coming?"
"I didn't. I was actually headed to ask you if you had thought of a response. I'm curious to hear it if you have, but if not, I can go."
"I have thought of a reply, but...are you sure you want to hear it now? After all that?"
"Sure. Why not?" She shrugs, the atmosphere completely lost on her.
I clear my throat, and suddenly the air seems silent and dead. My mouth goes dry. Its a bit hard to breathe.
"Y-your smile." I stutter out awkwardly. "I admire your smile."
A light blush colors her face. "That's it? You like how I smile?"
"Not just how, but how often, how well, why.."
"Huh.." She looks up at the ceiling, tapping her chin. "That's pretty nice. Its romantic, too." That trademark grin crosses her face, wider than ever. My heart leaps. "Its gonna take more than that to impress me, though."
And just like that, it is brought back down to earth.
"Not that I don't like you. That isn't really it. But I don't know you." She puts a hand behind her head sheepishly. "When you ran to the shrine to confess, I admit I was really surprised. I didn't know what to say. I thought maybe you were just a stalker. A cute one, but still a stalker. I asked Reimu for advice, and she said to try to talk to you and figure out why you liked me and stuff."
"That's why she came here?"
"No, no! I think she meant to be more subtle about it than I was, but I didn't really get what she was saying. Now I think I do. No matter what, your best answer would have made me smile for a bit and I still wouldn't know jack about you. And at worst you would say something creepy and I'd know I don't like ya."
Well..at least I made her smile. This is going a bit better than last time.
"But I'll be honest, its a bit weird that you are so into me when you haven't met me. I think you just like the idea of me. And maybe I was a bit afraid of the idea of you. But you seem nice, and I'd like to get to know ya, I guess." She blushes lightly again, fiddling with her hat. "I didn't mean to sound all preachy. Normally I like to keep it short and sweet. I don't know what came over me. But anyway, maybe tomorrow you can come see me at my place. We can have some tea, an- Oh. Right, you don't know where I live, and you can't fly. Well, maybe tomorrow I'll come get you and we'll talk or something."
"I'd like that a lot, but.."
 Nevermind, there is no but. Let's hang out ASAP. I can skip a day.  But I have lessons with Keine tomorrow until evening.
Odd, this is an identical choice to the current one in my other story, which has an entirely different setting and premise.
[x] But I have lessons with Keine tomorrow until evening.
>>25361 Quit your bitching, faggot. What's wrong with voting in a CYOA, even if the voters don't agree with you? I'm all for a Mystia or Rumia route over Marisa, but labeling opposing voters as faggots instea-
>>25361 >You must be new then as I've seem countless stories going after Marisa or Alice, such a Miko Spark's story or Gensokyo Land Saga.
That depends on if you consider a bit over a year 'new'. And I don't see what Gensokyo Land Saga's Alice focus has to do with this. As for Miko Spark's story - you mean ORBS, right? That's been dead for about a year now.
[x] But I have lessons with Keine tomorrow until evening.
He wanted her to teach him. It would be irresponsible to just up and skip out on it after one day and with little to no warning for Keine.
"I would love to hang out tomorrow, but I have lessons with Keine tomorrow. She's agreed to tutor me, in hopes of setting me on the path to become a scholar."
Marisa seems somewhat impressed. "Hmm~. That gives me an idea, but you'll have to wait and be lucky to figure out what it is." I hate that kind of hook. I'll be worrying about that all night. "Well, okay. We'll meet up and talk tomorrow evening, then."
We set a time to meet up, and she sees herself out. I silently cheer for myself. I see my father peering in at me from around the corner, but I ignore him. I wonder what how he feels about the whole thing, but he ignores me and I ignore him, which is pretty typical of our family in situations like these. I'll only hear his thoughts later, when he wants to tease me about it.
I shut the door to my room behind me slowly, and then jump face first onto the bed, letting out my happiness by shouting into my pillow. I just know I won't be able to sleep...
Hours later, I still can't sleep. I've been lying in bed just thinking of her face, of what we'll do tomorrow, of what I should say and wear and where we're going..everything. But if I don't sleep soon, I'll be wearing bags under my eyes tomorrow. I try to calm down when I hear a strange sound. I look out the window and see fireworks in the distance.
Fireworks? That can't be right. It isn't a festival, and it is far from the human village. They are so pretty though, coming in so many different colors..they seem to twist and turn in place instead of firing from the ground and...
There is a horrible shaking for a split second, and then it stops suddenly. So too do the lights.
...What did I just witness?
Tomorrow, Keine offers me an explanation.
"The lights you saw? Likely danmaku."
Of course I'm familiar with such things, but I'm surprised. I've never witnessed it in person. Well, not that being that far away counts as in person, but why was someone fighting over the forest of magic?
"Matsuo. I know this may be useless, but I have to ask you not to check it out. Okay? It isn't our place. Let someone like Reimu, or Maris-" She quickly shuts up. "Matsuo," she says with a sigh, "I cannot protect you if you aren't in the village. And if I have to go looking for you, I can't protect the village. Please, don't make me choose between the two." Her eyes plead me as much as her voice. I'm humbled by this, but still curious.
"Why would there be dankmaku though?"
"Your curiosity is admirable, but.."
"Ah, I was hoping you'd know!" A voice says, surprising both Keine and myself. We turn to see a black-haired beauty leaning in the window. Her hair is short and neat, topped with a small red cap. Her ears seem to be slightly pointed, but I don't need to see those to know she's a youkai..large, black feathered wings sticking out of her back were my first clue. They perfectly contrast the white shirt they stick out of. "You really don't know what that was all about, even though it was so close?"
"No, Aya." Keine says, annoyance seeping through her voice. The tengu girl is unperturbed, though. "It isn't my business. Protecting the village is my business."
"And this guy, right? I didn't know you were aiming so young, you cougar, you."
I blush, but Keine's expression doesn't change. "I'm tutoring him."
Aya gives me a wink. "Well, I guess I'm headed to my next lead, then. Anyone seen Marisa? Reimu didn't seem to know."
"You haven't seen her?" I can't help myself. I have to know if she is okay..
"She wasn't home."
Maybe she's just out of the house. But maybe she was beaten in combat by someone who didn't have her best interests in mind..I should...
Keine could be right though. She can't offer me and the village protection. She'd have to stay here, and I know she'd disprove if I left..
 Stay here. Keine is right. I'm not a fighter.  Go check it out. My curiosity and my worry for Marisa demand I go.
Going to investigate a home that you don't know the location of in a forest that's filled with dangerous things while having no way to defend yourself sounds like a bad idea. Maybe if you could get someone to escort you, but now is not the time.
"If you find Marisa, can you tell her to let me know she is safe?" I ask Aya, putting my curiosity to the side. My safety is important too, as without it I couldn't even worry about Marisa, much less help her somehow.
"I'm sure she's safe." Keine reassures me. "She's bested me before, though she had help. She might be a troublesome girl, but she is tough enough to deal with that trouble." And I am not. I think that is how she wanted to finish the sentence.
"Human Boy in Love with Black-White. Huh. It'd be a more interesting headline if you were a youkai, but I guess she already has youkai suitors." Aya chuckles. "Alright, I'll give her your message if I find her." and with that, she is gone, faster than my eye can follow. A burst of wind is left behind in her wake, blowing some of the papers in Keine's house around.
"Who was that, exactly?"
"A meddling youkai reporter. She is harmless to your health, but not harmless to your social standing. If you want to keep a secret, she is not the one to go to."
Keine seems oddly bitter about this. I wonder if she had a secret that she had exposed by this reporter girl.
"I think I'm going to cancel our lessons for today."
"Too much has happened. Are you going to be able to focus?"
"Of course I can. In fact, having a distraction would probably help right now."
Keine smiles brightly and puts a hand on my head. She is taller than me, not by much but still enough to make me seem utterly childish in comparison. Or maybe that is more the fault of her face, mature and beautiful.
I take a seat on the floor, kneeling in front of a table covered in documents. To my surprise, she doesn't sit across from me this time, but right next to me, stiflingly close. Her face seems calm and natural, but I can't help but squirm being right next to someone like this.
I am forced to calm down soon, though, as Keine begins to walk me through one of the documents she had lying out in preparation. She asks me to analyze it and make my own conclusions. It is a tale from history about a human man who fought youkai with pride, besting many of them in combat. Lesser youkai feared his blade. Sure, he was no match for the most powerful of the lot, but he inspired courage in people. Then one day he utterly faded from history. The document ends with his last known location, running off into the forest of magic to slay a lesser youkai. The man's name? Matsuo. I'll have to ask my father if he knows this tale..
"I want to ask you your personal view on this." Keine says with a smile. "History is a perspective. We write things down the way we see them, like it or not. This man is heralded as a hero by many. I want to know your interpretation."
 He is a hero. He protected many innocent people by killing threats to their lives.  He is a murderer. He killed youkai who could not match his sword skills, making him no better than youkai who prey upon lost humans.  I don't know. We can only see one side of this story.
[X] He is a murderer. He killed youkai who could not match his sword skills, making him no better than youkai who prey upon lost humans.
This is a rather interesting question. If the hero had gone and killed for the sake of protecting the village despite the possibility of meeting his end with a very powerful Youkai; that'd easily paint him a local hero.
Taking pride in gankingkilling lowbiesweaker Youkai just because he can and never taking a shot at those either equal or greater in power to him. Yeah that' no hero in my book.
>>25411 Isn't it a good historian's job to minimize bias, not increase it?
Also it didn't mention he only picked on weaker youkai, just that weaker ones feared him while he was no match for the strongest. What i'm observing was that there were some mid strength ones that he took on. Not sure why he went after a lesser one, but we shouldn't assume things.
And I think the only reason he only heard of it now was because he likely didn't start reading much until this job.
[x] I dont know, We only see one side of the story.
We literally don't know. There was a man. He fought youkai and was apparently able to best at least some of them. He was regarded as a hero by the humans. That's all we know. Considering the bias of those humans, we should not be too quick to assume his acts as heroic... but neither should they be denounced as villainous. For all we know, he might have been a cold-blooded killer who took out his bloodlust on beings he considered less than human. Or he might have been the sort of guy who hung out with Oni and fought them in good sport. At any rate, as far as history is concerned rather than asking what happened it's often more interesting to consider why it happened. Why did the man fight youkai? Why did he run off? Unfortunately, the story does not offer answers.
[x] I don't know. We can only see one side of this story. -[x] Before meeting the youkai, I'd have said he was a hero, but now...
He could have been either. Notice the stress that she keeps placing on lesser youkai, the weaker ones. This may mean savage youkai that meant nothing but harm, and were little more than animals, or it was the youkai that were like Wriggle, Mystia et. al. Relatively weak, but capable of being reasoned with.
And considering that he was spared by a youkai (albeit out of pity and disgust, but still spared) and the youkai that did try to eat him told him she was sorry (for what not so sure, but still), I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
[x] I don't know. We can only see one side of this story.
Going to try and nip this trend in the bud. The truth of the matter is that we only see one side of the story, and we can't judge a person being a hero or a villain unless we see every plausible point of view, or at the very least, more than one side.
I've cleaned up most of the obvious votespam and will be going through the rest of the votes in due time. Unfortunately the main culprit is using a mobile device to post and so it's relatively easy for him to renew his IP. That said, I'll keep an eye out for ban evasion.
Um, I'm not even sure why you'd vote spam on a story like this with such a small following. I'm going to start writing now, I'll post a new thread when it is finished, so I'm calling the vote here.
Hopefully that is the end of the votespam. I still don't get why, on such a minor choice. If I were going to votespam, it'd be on something like kissing someone or something, not on something like this. I guess someone really hates youkai.
Well, keep waiting. It's been 5 days since his last update, and wouldn't you know it, that's almost the amount ot time it took for him to drop his other story. And even if he comes through now, he'll drop this sooner or later as well.
I actually like this story better than the high school one.
MegaSen, I can't say you didn't fuck up by giving up on the other story like that and losing the trust of your readers. But the only thing you can do now is gain it back by finishing this. Keep writing.
But no, in all seriousness, I have not abandoned this. I would tell you if I had. I at least owe you guys that much. I have a new job and can no longer write from work, and my personal life has been plagued with trouble. If you guys are still interested in the story, I plan on continuing and have about half of the next update already finished, I just need to finish it up and post it. My update speed will be slower though, as I used to update from work for the most part.