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Part 1: >>26223
Part 2: >>26539
Part 3: >>26829

[-0-] Attempt to talk her out of it. She's just like a child, so she can be reasoned with.
-[-0-] There are, of course, times when only force is sufficient to deal with a child. She forces your hand if proves reluctant to listen to reason.


Now, you're willing to give the doll just one chance to listen to reason, to put the knife down and step away. Slowly, you begin to speak in an attempt to make her listen. "Now, Kyoto, just put that down. Mystia isn't dinner, so you can just put that away—"


This time, the knife descends on her neck, and you see it slice all of the way through. Time stands still as you watch Mystia and her shaking eyes as the neck begins to split in two, slowly sliding off until it hits the floor with a wet thud.

You stare at her body for a few seconds, not believing that it just happened. Sure, the doll had cut out her tongue, sliced her neck open once already, but you didn't think that she'd go so far… "This… doll… Kyoto…"

The doll in question turns to you, smiling happily as her blade drips with blood. "What is it, birdie? Are you staying for dinner when Mamaw gets back?" The innocent look on her face almost stays your hand.

With one more look at Mystia's body, though, you let your instincts take over.

Before you can blink, you're standing in front of the doll. It doesn't even open its eyes up in shock when you wrap your claws around it. A furious scowl grows on your face as you look at her wooden expression on a face made of fine china. It is quite fitting, considering the name of the doll.

However, you don't care. Squeezing tightly, you feel the body begin to crack under your hand. You could give her a nice, clean death by just slicing her open. You're pretty sure of that. However, that wouldn't be fair, even if she gave just the same to Mystia. You want her to suffer.

Growling as you hear the china break under your grasp, you take up the doll and slam its face against the wall. It begins to scream inside your head, begging for you to stop. It cries out for its Mamaw, asking for her to come help her from the mean bird. But there's nobody coming for her.

It makes the beast inside you smile.

Eventually, the doll stops crying out, and it falls limp in your arms. It does not stop your destruction. Instead, you smash it against the wall until it turns to dust. With the remains of the doll in your hand, you fling it away at the door.

The other doll floating in the room looks on in silent horror as you stand there, breathing heavily. The wings on your back splayed themselves all the way out, and are slowly flapping as you watch Kyoto's remains. After a second, Amsterdam clears her throat. "F-friend…?"

Immediately you snap your head to her and let out a small growl, but you do manage to lower your voice enough so that you don't scare her any more. "It's… You better get out of here for a moment, Amsterdam. I don't think I'll be fit for company for a good long while."

The redheaded doll just nods quickly, before pointedly backing up so as to keep her eyes on you. She reaches around for the door handle, only finding it after a few seconds of searching. Darting through, Amsterdam quickly shuts the door, leaving you in silence.

Still heaving your shoulders as you try to calm down, you finally turn back to Mystia, falling to your knees as you look at her. Although you know it to be fruitless, you still pick up her head and place it against the neck it had once rested on, in hopes that it would begin to regenerate. Hopefully she would turn into that little sparrow once more.

That doesn't happen. Minutes tick by as you watch her body, but the only things you see are her eyes becoming glassier by the minute. Something burns in your own eyes as you pull her body towards you, hugging her closely.

"…Why did I just stand there?" You shake your head as you deny what just happened. "After all, you were free, or at least as free as you had been for a long time. Just the same as with the others. It was one thing for the others to be taken out in the heat of battle. But when you've already won, and she is snatched away like this? That is something you can't accept.

Unfortunately, denying this is unable to change what has happened. You can't bring her back to life. As you sit there, you think on what she had done. After all, she was the one who didn't have an ulterior motive. She reached out and helped you when you needed it. She was the one who took care of you when you had been injured, and she was the one who carried you when you were out from her Alice's actions. "And yet, I…"

You can't continue. Instead, you merely sits there, for who knows how long. After a long while, you eventually stand up and lift up her body, carrying her outside. Amsterdam watches you the entire way, but she still seems too scared to come out.

Not that you can blame her.

Still, you try to hurry. Not that you know the proper rites or ways you should bury someone, but you do the best as you can for her. Digging it with your own hands, neither knowing where a tool might be nor caring to search for one, you eventually lay her to rest beneath the dirt.

Time is lost after you wander back in. You remember carving a name on some stones with your claws, then entering the room where Tokiko was once more. Sitting there, you stare at the girl as she ever so slowly heals. After a while, when the charred flesh falls away and looks healthy once more, she shifts and turns back into that familiar bird.

Even dung all of this, you barely move. After losing so much, you don't want to risk leaving her alone for one second. At least if anything else comes, it would have to get through you. So, instead, you wait for hours. Maybe even days. You are no longer sure, as you neither eat nor sleep nor do anything else.

Eventually, the ibis's eyes slowly open up, and it raises its head to look at you. She stares at you for a few seconds before slowly morphing back, keeping her red eyes on you the whole time. "…This should not be possible, you know. Once one has ascended beyond this plane, I should not be looking at you once more."

"Hello to you too." Sighing, at least you know that Tokiko's personality hasn't shifted at all. "Are you feeling alright? Nothing too strange?"

"A lot that is strange. But nothing inconsistent with the trauma I've been through." A small smile graces her face as she watches you. "I must say, it is odd getting a good look at my own dead body. Although I never had the chance to go far before she pulled me back in."

"Indeed." Sighing, you don't know what else to say. Instead, you force your mouth to speak. "We'll need to get going soon. We've stayed here long enough."

As you stand up, Tokiko stops you. "Not that I know where we are now, but where is Mystia? I need to properly thank the bird for doing something right and making sure Alice was down after you also went down."

Immediately, you wince. "Mystia… She didn't make it."

"…How? Was there some other Youkai that we didn't know about?" Somewhat oddly, she sounded much more concerned than normal. You get the impression that she finally did something to impress Tokiko. "…It must have been bad, if you're not wanting to say at first."

Pointedly looking away, you bite your lip. How do you explain what happened, without coming out and saying it?

[ ] It's my fault. I let her die.


And you know what being set to zero means? I can't undo this. So, bravo.
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'Let her die,' huh. That's not really how it is. Attempting to reason with something- momentarily forgetting that everything here is monstrous, and that plot contrivance meant being cool headed spelt death right after being hot-headed killed Margatroid- is this 'letting someone die?'

No, I don't think so. This world killed her. All Lucas is guilty of is having just woken up and been willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

[x] A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.
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[x] A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.
Keep your sanity, please, if nothing else...
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[x] A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.

Damn it I have something in my eye because of this update why did mystia have to pay the price this is going to drive lucas to become overprotective of Tokiko
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[X] A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not. I'm-
-[X] Wait, but I thought you were gone too. Tell me there's a chance she can come back!
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Unless she comes back as a zombie, she's dead, Jim.

It'd be awful if she came back as a zombie.
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[x] It's my fault. I let her die.

No, that's exactly how it is. Fessing up to it, instead of entertaining nice, happy little thoughts to keep us in a comfortable illusion free of responsibility, is the least we can do.

Two dumb votes in a row, first a bad end 4 teh lulz, then trying to reason with something that's already stated its intent to kill, and partially carried it out.
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[x] It's my fault. I let her die.

You tried to reason... with a doll that alice probably had for hundreds of years. A doll that clearly had no reasoning to speak of, only loyalty to alice.

Its our fault. We let her die
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It's also somewhat illogical to think that it's Lucas' fault in entirety. The dumb vote for an intentional bad end was an awful move, yeah- and had I been able to drop by to vote against it, I definitely would have.

I mean, really. Just because you can see something doesn't mean you aught to.

But the other fact of the matter is that giving the benefit of the doubt is something that is only right to do. The fact that Mystia died for it is awful, and it is partly Lucas' fault for not at least restraining the doll, but he didn't swing the weapon, nor did he turn Kyoto into what she was.

There's a lot of things 'at fault' here, and it's simplifying matters overmuch to just claim all of that blame.

If you'd like, I'd also add a vote for
[x] Confide in Tokiko, because she's the only one left from that hole, and it's so great that she's alive, but everything is falling apart and strength of will can only go so far.

Incidentally, two things: Is Alice actually dead? And the second--

What was that 'someone both cold and warm?' Does part of Margatroid- a literal part of Margatroid- still linger in Lucas' mind? It's something to think about, even if we're unlikely to get an answer from the writer anymore.
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It's not casting up an illusion, it's moving on.

>[X] Attempt to talk her out of it. She's just like a child, so she can be reasoned with.
>-[X] There are, of course, times when only force is sufficient to deal with a child. She forces your hand if proves reluctant to listen to reason.
Somewhat noticeable case of trying to have your cake and eat it too. More importantly:
> At that, she lifts the hatchet, about to bring it down once more.
You failed to consider the key: "if she swings down, could I stop it".

Anyway, I voted for the bad end, so I'll shut up about that now.

>>27169 here.
[x] It's my fault. I let her die. A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.
I prefer this. Not avoiding the blame, but also not skewing what actually happened.

Fuck.This sucks.
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>>27168 and >>27175 here, switching vote to

[x] It's my fault. I let her die. A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.

Because of the reasons stated by the previous anon.
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Doh. I joined in the dual vote because I sorta misread the scene: I thought Mystia was still conscious, and that Kyoto didn't have the hatchet anywhere near ready to strike. My bad on that.

The "mad end" voters though? That was stupid. This is one time the fast update speed of this story worked against us: I would have voted otherwise had the update been delayed. Congrats on incurring the ultimate bad end punishment that was previously detailed and explained before, guys.

[x] It's my fault. I let her die. A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.
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Good to see that you've all given it some thought. Vote called for the second write-in.

In case you are curious, there should be about three choices left, +/- one or two depending on votes.

On that note, here is one of the pics I was planning to use.
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[-0-] It's my fault. I let her die. A doll cut her head off. I thought I could stop it without ending it. I could not.


Though you re dearly afraid to let it pass your lips, you know that you must. "It's… It's my fault. I just stood there and let her die…" As you speak, you feel your voice begin to shake as your hands curl up once again. "One… One of the dolls cut off her head. I thought I could stop the doll without ending it…"

"But you didn't." Tokiko stares at you with her red eyes. "…So, that is… what happened." The ibis's wings droop as she finally looks away from you. "It's a pity. The girl seemed to have the gumption once she had one she wished to use it for. Didn't have much desire to do much on her own."

Still, you shake your head, sitting down on the chair. "It doesn't matter. If I had done something, she might still be…"

"Maybe. Maybe not." The girl slowly sits up, her wings wrapping around her body as she does. "You should not trouble yourself with it, just as I have given up worrying about my precious bookcase." As you turn to glare at her, she merely stares back. "The analogy is apt enough, should you be bothered by it. She may be gone from here, but there is somewhere else for her to go."

"So you say." Not that you have any experience with the afterlife, but it is hard to imagine. Even after all that you've seen here, and all that you've experienced. Is there anything that could be stronger than these damn Youkai that hold others in captivity? "Still wish that she was still… here."

Tokiko shakes her head while watching you. "Is being dead and free better than still living under our old master?" Well, you can hardly say anything against that.

"It still doesn't mean it's right…"

"Of course not." Tilting her head to the side, she hides behind her headwing as she watches you. "But given the choice between doing this again or just leaving her, what would you have done?"

Again, you glare at her for a few seconds. "I would have done it again, but I would have done it better." You continue to watch her for a few moments more, almost daring her to say something.

The seconds tick by, and both of you eventually relax. "Sorry. Just somewhat frustrated. With all that has happened…"

"I'd be surprised if you weren't." Tokiko shrugs as she continued to watch you. "It's fine. I just wanted to make a point. You are quite difficult at times, as you're nearly as stubborn as a an insufferably large goat that likes to dine on various bits of refuge with excessive minutiae stamped on their sides."

"…Right." Again, her acting the same as always encourages you. "Still, it doesn't matter in the end. Intentions and all that." Sighing, you look back at the door, staring towards where she rests. "I put her in the dirt a while ago. I'm not sure how long. I've been in here ever since."

"You're trying to make sure this doesn't happen again." At your nod, the girl sighs. "I'll make sure to keep an eye out while I'm awake, then. I'd hate to worry you too much." Glancing back and forth, Tokiko finally decides to break the silence. "So, where did we end up at? I'm afraid I don't know."

"Alice's house. Or what used to be hers." Shrugging, you don't even turn from your seat looking at the door. "Mystia dragged us along until we were found by the one doll that I know to be friendly." Before she asks, you shake your head. "She's currently outside the door, probably hiding. She's deathly afraid of me now, I do believe. After what I did to the doll that killed…"

The ibis is silent for a long while as you stare at the wall. Before you can realize it, you feel arms wrapping around your neck as you are pulled into a feathery embrace. "My words seem to not work, so I feel I must use other methods of calming you down."

"Heh…" There's really not much to say. Eventually, you begin to let your emotions flow free, and your head falls against her. For a long while, you remain there, just letting it all out.


Still, as much as you wanted to just stay there, you know that such a thing would be unreasonable. Once she seems ready to move, you lead her through the house. As you walk through the abode, finally taking the time to look about, you notice that there are some rough patches where the papered walls meet plain wood.

Shrugging it off as the parts that Wriggle had eaten, you peek inside other rooms until you find Amsterdam. The small doll seems to be sitting beside a window, staring out of it. After waiting for a few minutes, you clear your throat in order to get her attention. "Amsterdam…?"

The girl spins around, and you see her watch you for a moment, not saying anything. "H-hello, friend. What is it?"

"I need to get her something to wear. After the attack… Her clothes disintegrated." You're currently chalking it up as a side effect of being burnt to a crisp, but you've had more important things to worry about. "Even if it is just something simple."

"Right. I can find something…" The girl flits away for a minute or two, before returning with something for Tokiko. "That should do. Margatroid always did have a spare or two lingering about."

"Thanks, Amsterdam." You watch the jittery girl for a few seconds before sighing. "We're leaving soon. I want to get as far away from all this as I can. I don't know how to get back, but surely if we go far enough, we'll find something."

The doll tilts her head to the side, trying to hide behind the red hair as she watches you. "I don't know. But I've never been too far from here, so I couldn't tell you."

You shake your head. "I don't care what we run into. The further away we are, the better." Everything is quiet once Tokiko wrangles the dress onto her, but you eventually sigh. "I was wondering whether or not you wanted to come with or not. This might be your only chance…"

"It probably would be." The doll looks around for a few seconds before she responds with her customary alto. "I will come. There is nothing that is left here, after all. Nothing for me."

Smiling slightly, you nod to the girl. "Good. I was worried that you'd rather stay behind after what happened."

"Part of me wants to. But that would accomplish nothing. I will go with you, friend." Floating towards you, she eventually slips by. "It is better than waiting an eternity here, wondering whether I made the right decision."

Personally, you're more worried about other Youkai that might come up and bother you, but that is neither here nor there. "Understood. Well, let's get going. No time to wait." At that, the doll slips away through the halls, followed closely by Tokiko and you.

There is nothing that you say as you march through the woods, away from the house. There is nothing you want to say. You're leaving behind quite a lot, and there is nothing that will really take it off of your mind. So, instead, you walk.

Hours pass by as you wind through the forest. The trees never seen to truly thin out, no matter how far you walk. At times it seems as if you'll wind up exiting onto a clearing, but in the end it is just a trick of the light and instead you are stuck in the deep forest. For hours you wander, and it never truly ends.

The oddest thing is that the forest terrain never truly changes. There are no hills, no rivers that run through while carving a valley. As far as the eye can see, the entirety of the forest is on one single plane, a flat plain covered in the thickest of vegetation.

After a while, your stomach begins to growl. It has been quite a while since you have eaten or drunken, but you push the thoughts to the side. You can keep exploring, and will only stop once the others raise their complaints.

However, it does eventually grow to be too much. You may no longer be human, but you can get tired. With your feet weary and you heart heavy, you eventually sit down against a tree, looking at your feet. "…How far does the forest go on? Surely it has an end somewhere…"

"[I]I wouldn't know. I am sorry that I cannot be of any help.
" The doll looks at you, her dead eyes seemingly worried at the sight, before floating up into the branches in order to rest herself.

The ibis sits down next to you, not as tired but not complaining about the delay. "Although unlikely, it could be that the forest extends indefinitely. After all, it is magical." Blinking somewhat rapidly, she looks around. "Or we might need to know how to get out before we are allowed to escape. There might be a certain path, and unless you take it the forest would loop back on yourself like intestines that have been twisted into a poorly maintained jump rope."

Not even bothering to respond, you close your eyes and lean back. "Maybe…" Your mind drifts off, wondering what could have happened if you had gotten out. What was it that Margatroid had wanted to tell that you would never know because Mystia die? "Too bad she'll never see her home again. Couldn't even keep that…"

As you continue to torment yourself with what ifs and other thoughts, you feel a clad hand grab your arm. Looking up, you see Tokiko watching you once again. "Still being bothered, aren't you?"

"…Just a bit." Well, more than a bit, but you aren't quite going to say how much. "I'll get to sleep, eventually."

The ibis is quiet for a few seconds before she grabs your chin dearly. "Come. Lay with me, if for a bit."

Opening your eyes back up, you glare at Tokiko. "Now is hardly the time for that. Can't you wait before we finish the deal?"

"…This isn't about finishing the deal. You are hurting. You won't be able to sleep as long as you do. I am merely offering a way to chase off the demons, if even for a little bit."

Sighing, you look away from her. "If I didn't know who was speaking, that almost sounds sane. But I would rather not forget."

"Not permanently. Just… just for a little while. Might help you, if just for a little bit. …I know of nothing better."

[ ] Accept
[ ] Decline
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Uuugh. On one hand, we'll be in bed anyway.

On the other... I dunno. Could Wriggle have planted one last trick?

I dunno. It's iffy. Such a simple yes or no answer, but paranoia is a thing.

I'll take a bit to decide.
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For once, I think I'll consider that offer for what it is: a earnest desire to help. However, imo, the more pressing issue is getting out of the forest.

>Hours pass by as you wind through the forest. The trees never seen to truly thin out, no matter how far you walk. At times it seems as if you'll wind up exiting onto a clearing, but in the end it is just a trick of the light and instead you are stuck in the deep forest. For hours you wander, and it never truly ends.
Maybe there is something about how to get out from the beginning of the story. At any rate, without a river, we're going to just die from thirst in a few days.
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>>27183 here
Would repost, forgot to input password. Whoops.

Amsterdam can fly, right? Have her fly straight up, far up, and see if she can see anything.
If there is no magic work (wishful thinking) that is going on, then we can find somewhere.
If we are truly going in circles, then it is likely we are not too far away from where we started. Try walking back to Alice's house.

Wait. We can fly, can't we? Better try out our wings some bit first, and have Amsterdam try ascending first. If there is something stopping us, she can survive a fall from up high, we can not.

Besides that, anons, what do you think are our goals now? Do we just try and find some other civilization? It's pretty reasonable to believe that there are a number of worse monsters out there; as it stands, I wouldn't put the story past the possibility of minorly or majorly screwing us over if we go autopilot from here (ie. don't expect a way out to be thrown to you). I haven't really offered anything major for the first half of the story, so here goes. I might be over-thinking this, but this is certainly overcompensation for...

Looking around in Gensokyo, are we going to find a human civilization here? A group of changelings like ourselves?
Going back to the the real world without reverting to our original state? If we did revert, we might die from our injuries (we're literally a quarter wood). If we don't revert...it might be unrealistic to stay.
If we do end up making it to the real world, we will have to deal with our doppelganger, who is living in our position.

Maybe that doorway from 1-2 threads ago where we saw the sky was a portal. Come to think of it, what we saw from that door was mainly clouds, and not at all a mention of trees. Could lead to to the real world. Also, the books that are still in the burrow are there. The barrier that was between us and Amsterdam when we first met, that was much more ancient, and not built by Wriggle. Perhaps the key to the forest or world is in those books. At this point we might as well assume Wriggle is dead for good. If not, our lives are pretty much forfeit. Bring the scythe just in case.

>What was that 'someone both cold and warm?' Does part of Margatroid- a literal part of Margatroid- still linger in Lucas' mind? It's something to think about, even if we're unlikely to get an answer from the writer anymore.
I agree. The person/entity helped him control his voice, and cold/warm ~= elemental? It's been mentioned and hinted at how significant their melding was, and so it makes little sense for it to be anyone else. She may well have the information we need.

[x] Accept

[Later] Get the hang of flying. Amsterdam leading, try and fly straight up to get a vantage point above the forest.
[Later] Try and reach out to the part of Margatroid in your mind.
[Later] Return to the burrow. Check out the mysterious doorway, and the books.

The last part, especially, if the first two delayed actions prove fruitless.
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[x] Accept

[Later] Get the hang of flying. Amsterdam leading, try and fly straight up to get a vantage point above the forest.
[Later] Try and reach out to the part of Margatroid in your mind.
[Later] Return to the burrow. Check out the mysterious doorway, and the books.

You'd think that I would learn not to vote for even partial write-ins after the last write-in I voted for. You'd be wrong. In any case, this sounds just fine to me.

now I feel really bad about voting for the mad end.;_;
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[X] Decline. There are yet things to be done, are there not?
-[X] You and Amsterdam are supposed to be more in touch with nature, are you not? Try to reach out to the forest and divine a path.
-[X] Get the hang of flying. Amsterdam leading, try and fly straight up to get a vantage point above the forest.
-[X] Try and reach out to the part of Margatroid in your mind.
-[X] Return to the burrow. Check out the mysterious doorway, and the books.

I'm sorely tempted by her offer, but I can't help but think something will go wrong.
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[x] Accept.
[Later] Get the hang of flying. Amsterdam leading, try and fly straight up to get a vantage point above the forest.
[Later] Try and reach out to the part of Margatroid in your mind.
[Later] Return to the burrow. Check out the mysterious doorway, and the books.
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Uhhh. Is returning to the barrow really such a great idea? I mean, we did sort of leave... A lot of stuff back there.

Like a pile of corpses. And an untended Yuuka. And possibly an Utsuho. /And/ possibly a Recently-Created Youkai Stove Fire that has gained awareness from consuming the quickening of one Wriggle Nightbug.

I mean, just saying.
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Nah. Stuff like that happens in Gensokyo everyday, it'll be alright.
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>"…There is still some things you don't know." The doll wrings her hands before looking back up at you. "Most of all—"
It seems like this was neglected during these tumultuous days.

> "The sparrow asked me to pass on something. Margatroid spoke as if she wished she could tell you herself… But her injuries were hardly as life-ending as you had thought."
Just checking, the last two sentences are what Mystia wanted to pass on to us?
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[-0-] Accept
-[Later] Get the hang of flying. Amsterdam leading, try and fly straight up to get a vantage point above the forest.
-[Later] Try and reach out to the part of Margatroid in your mind.
-[Later] Return to the burrow. Check out the mysterious doorway, and the books.


"…Alright." You don't have anything else that you can say. Not really, at least. Instead, you just let the bird sit beside you. As she leans on your shoulder, you look down. "But there is still plenty that we need to do. We still need to figure out where to go from here, and whether we can get out."

The third wing on the girl's head flicks to the side, smacking you gently in the face. "True. But we are all tired. We should get some rest while we've the chance. I'd hate for you to have to start having vivid delusions of pulsating blobs of cream coming to eat you."

Laughing softly, you glance down at her. "Is that a problem that you have often?"

"At times. Fortunately, I have figured out how to whip it effectively." The girl watches you for a few moments more before softly hitting you with the third wing. "Now, sleep… Please. You do need your rest."

"What if something happens, or someone comes while we're sleeping?" If there is any time that you should be paranoid, now would be it. "I'd rather not have someone, or something come up and try and attack us during the night." Glancing up at the constantly lit sky, you eventually amend your statement. "For a given value of night…"

Tokiko eyes you for a moment. "If they come, they come. We cannot do anything else about it. We might as well relax and rest for as long as we are capable of." As she speaks, a serious look crosses her face. "I'd rather that you not suffer from an excessive lack of sleep. Otherwise, it might be somewhat difficult for you to read when it comes to that point in time that we can do such a thing."

Averting your eyes, you look away. "I don't know if I can do that. …Just too much to worry about."

Headwing flicking back and forth for a moment, Tokiko places a clawed hand on your cheek. "Then I will help you relax. Lay down with me."

You do not bother to resist.


As you wake, you feel something that you hadn't in a long time. Your hands grip rough cloth while you stir, and you force your eyes open.

Around you is a rather familiar room. Threadbare and barren with but a small television in front of you, you recognize the somewhat dilapidated room. "Why… How am I back here?"

Looking around slowly, you take in all that you can see. The chair that you sit on is your own, just as everything else you survey. Even the tired carpet is just the same as you last remember, unkempt and stained with various messes that you had not cared to clean.

Nothing is out of place, and all is quiet save for the constant hum of the muted television. Even that doesn't seem to be very painful as you had expected it to be, especially considering its shrill tone. Nonplussed, you raise a hand to your head, rubbing the back of our head in confusion.

As you do, you feel something on the side of your head that you hadn't felt in a long while. "Ears…? Why do I have…"

Before you can continue, you immediately look down at yourself. Your two hands are there in front of you… and both of them are as ordinary as can be. There are no claws on the right, black and ready to tear into flesh and rock both. The left is not wooden, an imitation of life animated by magic itself.

The only things that are odd are the calluses that you built up from years of writing.

Shaking your head in disbelief, you take a closer look at all parts of your body. Instead of your bare arms, you can feel hair as you run a shaking hand up. There is no down upon your head, as it all is still normal, plain old hair. Completely and utterly unexceptional.

Most odd of all, you have the odd pieces of flesh on the side of your head. You may have been devoid of them for only a short while, but it seems nearly alien to have them back instead of the familiar holes. Suddenly, another thought crosses your mind, and you leap to your feet before looking behind you.

Again, there is nothing there. There are no wings that are prepared to lift you into the sky. The permanent reminder of your curse is gone. No wide wings that are there to serve notice as to how much of a beast you are, and how much you've lost your humanity.

You attempt to work your mouth, but it's hard to even make a sound. There is no grinding of the gears in your throat, and no tinkling sound in the back of your mind as the horrible music plays.

"C-can this be real?" Holding your breath, you slowly begin to walk around. "Can I truly be back to normal? Or… Or did n-none of this even happen?" That sounds too good to be true. How can so much pain, and so many people, be mere figments of your imagination?

Still shaking in disbelief, you tiptoe across the room and towards the kitchen. As you walk over, you glance down the hallway. There is no indication that you ever were injured there. The door is completely intact and there are no holes in the wall. No indication that you ever fought your doppelganger.

At the thought, you immediately tense up. "Is that thing still here…?" You take no chance and immediately slip into the kitchen, checking for anything you can use to protect yourself. During the exhaustive examination, you find yourself pulling out a very familiar knife. "Wait… This is the one I tried to use on…"

Looking it over, still not used to the sensitive fingers instead of the dull claws, you find no blood or other stain. It looks like it was just washed, mostly shiny with a few water spots. Trying to turn over everything that has happened in your mind, you nearly miss the sound of footsteps shuffling across the floor.

Eventually, you do hear them. Hugging the knife to your chest, you watch as someone turns the corner as your heart beats faster and faster. Worryingly, you don't recognize the figure at all, but it does seem to be female. Wrapped only in a towel and with short black hair covering her face, she looks around before spotting you and wiping away her bangs. "There you are, Lucas…" Looking down at the knife, she yawns sleepily. "Thinking of making breakfast, or something? That might be nice, save if it's an omelet. Egg is lovely, but cheese is something that imbeciles eat when they wish to be constipated and not be able to relieve oneself."

The voice and the face are eerily familiar, and the way she speaks is even more recognizable. "Tokiko? What are you doing here?"

"Hrm. Did you have something to drink? I suppose that could explain the lack of recognition."

Sighing, you shake your head. "No, I didn't have anything. Just… what is going on? Don't you remember what just happened?"

"I remember that it took a while to get you going. You were quite reluctant to do as I asked. Pity, but it is understandable." She walks closer to you, eventually coming to look you in the eye. "Just put it down. You shouldn't be so twitchy."

Confused, you grip it as you lower the knife. However, you still don't let go. "How do I know you're telling the truth? Last I knew, we were sleeping under the trees after running away, and Mystia had…"

Words fail you once more as the girl tilts her head to the side. "Mystia? Who's that supposed to be? Old girlfriend, or something." Chuckling, she shakes her head. "Please, don't worry about her. You can trust that I am much better than her in that regard. She never does know when to listen, after all. Not like a good person."

Narrowing your eyes, you back away from her. "Really, now? That doesn't sound like you. The last I checked, you just wanted me to read…"

"Why would I need that? The girl's grin widens, and she takes a step closer. "You shouldn't worry. Not at all. I just need you to listen, and be nice and obedient… It will work so much better for you in the end. Trust me."

Tightening the grip, you take another step back. "How do you mean? Stop this. Why aren't you acting like yourself?"

"Oh, trust me, I am." As she speaks, the girl begins to shift. As she walks closer, she begins to shrink, and her eyes and hair take on a sheen that is much too familiar. As she approaches you, she shoots you a wide grin toothy grin.
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"Who else could I act like, pet?"

[ ]
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AAAAAgoddamnit I knew it.

Unless this is all a dream. I hope it is.

It does in fact feel like one of those things. Uh. Hm. I have an idea of how to resolve it, if it is in fact all in our heads, but I need to dwell on it for a bit.
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It's all on you, man. If dismemberment and incineration does jack all, I'm stumped. And if it really is Wriggle, then Tokiko's dead now, too.
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Right. So.

Here's the dealio.

Possibility 1) All of Lucas' adventures in Gensokyo have been a horrible, horrible nightmare, and Not-Wriggle here is his extremely domineering girlfriend.

Possibility 2) /This/ is a nightmare, brought about by Lucas' horrible, growing psychosis, worries and traumas, and it'll all pass.

3) Wriggle ate the power of something called /The Sleeping Terror/ and she's acquired Yuuka's ability to hop into dreams.

Of the possibilities, 2 and 3 are the most likely, given the fact that we just sort of saw Not Tokiko shapeshift into Wriggle. Also, the fact that we are apparently 100% human again. Shapeshifting does not happen in real life, even if it might just be Lucas seeing things.


This is going to be long and extremely elaborate because I felt like writing something, and I really shouldn't have gone on for so long, but here we go.

[x] Hold onto the knife, touch the blade with your once-doll'd hand. Does it cut? Is there really pain, really blood?
[x] Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
[x] Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality!
[x] Open your eyes, look up to the eyes and seeeeee~o/"
[x] I Am Me and This Ain't Here and This Ain't Now and a Dream is a Dream that we have within a Dream.
[x] If this is a dream- a nightmare- then this is in Lucas' own head. And when something- or someone is in his head, it means bad things for that something or that someone.
[x] And so-- Reach Out For the Truth, even if it means losing the form that used to be ours. Because living a lie is not living at all- One more time, tear through illusion and build the road to tomorrow.
[x] Because, if there's anything- anything that can beat this back, if this is a supernatural illusion, then it's a concert of supernatural order. But control it this time. That force- the somebody that was both cold and warm, whoever they are, call out to them. This time, we might just be able to control it, a concert within our souls.
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>>27198 I don't think this is real. Wriggle is too much of a simpleton to be able to make all the arrangements. Reversing our transformation and scars is possible, but our wooden arm, music box, and the vague mental forces we have in our mind? Unlikely.

If the whole thing was a dream and right now is reality, well, then a whole lot of possible actions don't matter. Either way it's easier and makes no difference to treat our memories as more or less reality.

It feels like the situation was constructed to make us the least wary and the most confused and mentally pliable. Maybe it's a just a remaining fragment of Wriggle. There is some correlation between their power and belief, and as of now, most people who know, and would fear Wriggle, now 'know'/believe she is dead. So she is using us, as a foothold back into existence. Why us? We got raped, that's plenty of potential for a utilizable connection.

Act like the dead maggot you are. Disappear.

is a possible action, but that' feels like us trying to shelve our fear. Plus it's similar to the type of interaction that we've had back in the burrow.

{Control your countenance, ignore her. While inevitably your thoughts will be racing, go about your normal business. }

Ignoring her seems better. When she was our master alive, we never ignored her.

Other possibilities are that the fetch (our copy) summoned Wriggle, or what was left of her. Don't bother with the knife, though, ordinary steel has never done a thing.

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Option 3 sounds fitting, but still very uncertain. If it's case 3, we better buckle up, cause bedtime's going to be stressful.

I adamantly didn't like the write-in before (cause it sounds, logically speaking, like bullshit), but after reading it a few more times, behind the prose the actions are sound enough. Assuming we are in a dream, we need to crush her so she doesn't keep showing every time we sleep. Inside our mind, we gain and lose vulnerabilities, as well as avenues of attack.

[x] I Am Me and This Ain't Here and This Ain't Now and a Dream is a Dream that we have within a Dream.
[x] If this is a dream- a nightmare- then this is in Lucas' own head. And when something- or someone is in his head, it means bad things for that something or that someone.
[x] And so-- Reach Out For the Truth, even if it means losing the form that used to be ours. Because living a lie is not living at all- One more time, tear through illusion and build the road to tomorrow.
[x] Because, if there's anything- anything that can beat this back, if this is a supernatural illusion, then it's a concert of supernatural order. But control it this time. That force- the somebody that was both cold and warm, whoever they are, call out to them. This time, we might just be able to control it, a concert within our souls.

I don't see the need to cut ourselves. Wriggle having some power over dreams could easily provide the element of pain. Waking up...is delaying the problem.
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[x] I Am Me and This Ain't Here and This Ain't Now and a Dream is a Dream that we have within a Dream.
[x] If this is a dream- a nightmare- then this is in Lucas' own head. And when something- or someone is in his head, it means bad things for that something or that someone.
[x] And so-- Reach Out For the Truth, even if it means losing the form that used to be ours. Because living a lie is not living at all- One more time, tear through illusion and build the road to tomorrow.
[x] Because, if there's anything- anything that can beat this back, if this is a supernatural illusion, then it's a concert of supernatural order. But control it this time. That force- the somebody that was both cold and warm, whoever they are, call out to them. This time, we might just be able to control it, a concert within our souls.
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Called. Update should be done sometime today.

But just to answer >>27201, the answer is simply.

4) None of the above.
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[-0-] I Am Me and This Ain't Here and This Ain't Now and a Dream is a Dream that we have within a Dream.
[-0-] If this is a dream- a nightmare- then this is in Lucas' own head. And when something- or someone is in his head, it means bad things for that something or that someone.
[-0-] And so-- Reach Out For the Truth, even if it means losing the form that used to be ours. Because living a lie is not living at all- One more time, tear through illusion and build the road to tomorrow.
[-0-] Because, if there's anything- anything that can beat this back, if this is a supernatural illusion, then it's a concert of supernatural order. But control it this time. That force- the somebody that was both cold and warm, whoever they are, call out to them. This time, we might just be able to control it, a concert within our souls.


"…This is a dream. You can't be here now. You're dead. You've been dead for too long." Gritting your teeth, you let the knife fall to the floor. You know it'd be no use to you, even if she were real. "Now, I need to get rid of you. Nothing tries to mess with my head. Nothing does."

The monster of a girl just continues to grin at you, walking closer and closer. "Really? Just a dream, am I? A figment of your imagination, coiling up from the small wispy memories that linger around, tearing at your mind as I try to escape."

Shaking your head, you back away, spinning to the side. "That's all that you are. Just something that I'm dreaming up. It's just like when you stole me away in the first place. Locking me in that cage and making it so I had to eat or starve…" Circling around her, you try to get easy access to the door in case you have to make a break for it. "But you're hardly real. And I know how to eliminate the illusions."

"Do you now?" Wriggle catches your hand as you move about, staring you down as she does. "I don't see anything that can protect you here. You're not strong enough to resist me… And there is no music box that can block me now. As far as we are concerned, you are just a simple human. One that is so very weak and pathetic when compared to me."

Focusing a bit, you glare at her. Even as you try to summon forth the magic that you had used many times, you find that it does you no good. The Youkai is right. The oddly familiar sound of gears is not present, no matter how much you desire them to turn. The roar of the beast that demanded blood so many times does not sound out.

"Having a problem, pet?" The Youkai's face grows even more psychotic as her grin widens. The hand on your wrist clenches down, and you yell out in pain as some of the bones underneath the skin crack. "Seems like I've caught your tongue, and you've no ability to speak. No devil's notes to pass those lips yet again and shoot me down."

Refusing to be left alone, you pull at her clutches in an attempt to get away. Silently you continue to hope that some sort of power manifests itself, but you have the feeling that it will not come. Instead, you search for some answer that might serve to save you from her clutches. "What is it that you want from me? Why have you come back from the dead?"

The girl clucks her tongue, shaking her head. "You assume that I died, pet. But you could not truly destroy me. After all, you saw what I did to that elder Youkai, consuming her and her power completely, and yet she still does not die." Chuckling, she twists the broken bones, causing a white shard to pierce the skin. "I will not die unless it is what I desire."

As true as it may seem, you know that Wriggle likes to talk bigger than she actually is. Still trying to think, you remember something that is hopefully deeper than everything else. Even if you've lost your body and your powers, however weak or worthless they may have been at this point, you know that you still have your memories. If you have them, there are others that you should have. Most of all, the presence that has lingered in the back of your mind all of this time.

As the thought comes to mind, Wriggle steps forward. "Now, I believe I should just cut my losses. You've been such a disobedient pet this entire time. But to go so far as to kill me… I should just go ahead and punish you."

As she wrenches your arm to the side, you keep on trying to dig into your mind, calling out for that presence. You feel something foreign somewhere in the depths, but it seems resistant and dormant. You catch glimpses of cobbled streets and dirty factory smokestacks that are utterly foreign to you. At the same time, they seem very familiar, as if you walked past them everyday.

Wriggle leans towards you as flashes of someone else's memories pass in front of your eyes. "Or that, instead, I should just end you. That way, I shouldn't have to worry about that. After all, you're just bein' all stupid, and not wanton' to play with me and my dolls."

At her odd words, you blink.

Standing there in front of you is the little girl that led you into the forest just a little while ago. However, as you look up from your place on the ground, your dress ripped open from whatever witchcraft the girl possesses.

Drawing your arms across your breasts, you shield yourself from the young girl. "I need to go home, little Alice. It's getting late, and I don't know this area. I don't want to stay here…"

The girl pouts before gripping your hand with one that is smaller but much stronger. Still you don't know what is causing this, but you don't know what to do except to continue cajoling the girl. "If you leave, then I won't have nobody to play with! That'd be no fun… You can stay with me and be happy! You looked so sad earlier…"

Flinching, you let your blonde hair fall around your eyes. "…T-that doesn't matter. I need to go back home. I can come back some other time."

The girl's eyes glow once more, and you find your breath hitching as you are forced back into a wooden wall. While you try to lean forward, you feel your hair and the back of the dress pull as it has been pressed into the planks. "No matter! They say that, but they never do come back. They never did. That's why I learned. I found out how to make them stay. That way, they can play with me forever…"

Shaking your head, you ignore the hairs being ripped out of your scalp. Your soft voice shaking, you lick your dry lips as your nerves overtake you. "A-Alice, I promise. You can come t-tomorrow… There's no reason to make me stay." The thought of being forced by this devil child scares you to pieces. Along with being kept here forever… Does this mean that you'll have to stay here forever? Will you never be allowed to die and meet Luke on the other side?

Still, the little blonde girl, just shy of ten years old, pouts her lips at you as she begins to paw your dress. You can't help but to blush at her actions, even though they are not intended in such a way as she grabs at your chest and your sides. Finally, she finds something on your hips and sticks her pocket before retrieving your old doll. "What is this that we have here? A little friend you did not want to tell me about?"

Eyes widening, you reach one of your hands up to grab at the doll. "That's Dolly! Please… Please give her back. She's the only thing I have left of my parents. The only real connection that I'll ever have…"

Smiling widely, Alice takes the redheaded doll and tosses it behind her, onto one of the nearby shelves. "Maybe if you be good and play with me! But you have to stay with me until I say so!"

As the girl turns around, you try to get up and make a dash for Dolly. Not even caring for propriety, you don't even blink as your skirt rips in your hurry to stand up. Before you can move anywhere, though, the girl grabs you by the neck and releases another damnable spell, causing you to fall limp. "See, you're a bad girl. But you'll make a good doll! Don't worry, we can play… Can't we pet?"

Blinking once more, you find yourself being throttled by Wriggle, held aloft in the middle of the living room. Your left arm shows signs of being broken multiple times, with how much the bones are sticking through the skin. Still, you don't seem to be in too poor of shape as you are lifted up and easily carried towards the living room once more.

"It's sad. You had such potential…" As she speaks, the familiar face of your doppelganger suddenly looms over her shoulder, also grinning at you. "At least I can use him to find others to replace you with. After all, it's so easy to find others nowadays… So many people that no one cares about."

At that, she gives you no time to speak as she thrusts you through the glass window and holds you above the city streets below. Wriggle's eyes dance merrily as you begin to shake and grab at her hands, partially attempting to escape and partially trying to hold on. "Don't do this now, Wriggle. You don't gain anything from this. Just leave me be and let me go back to them."

The girl just grins as you dangle from the side of apartment eight, all the way up on the tenth floor. "Didn't you say this is a dream? Don't worry then, pet. If it is all a dream…" The longer she speaks, the more her voice begins to lower as her fingers slip from your neck one by one. "You won't have to worry about dying in the end, will you?"

At that, the last finger disappears, and you begin to fall. Staring at the quickly approaching ground, you can't help but to wonder whether or not this is a dream, or if the life you had thought you had submitted to was instead the dream.

[ ] Go back to sleep.
[ ] Wake up.
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[x] Wake up
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Ah, wretched fate.
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[ ] Wake up.
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[ ] As if you would let some figment of your imagination drive you out of your well-earned rest! You'll wake up when you feel like it! Fuck you, Alice! Fuck you, Wriggle! This is your head, your domain, and they may not do as they please here!
-[ ] Take control of your dream. Take control of your mind. Take control of yourself. I AM I.

As much as I really want to, we can't keep forgetting the genre and throwing random curve balls at the author.

[X] Wake up.
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[x] Go back to sleep.

In the vague, off-chance that this is a disguised [ ] Return home or [ ] Return to Gensokyo choice, I vote to go back to Tokiko. We have to both escape, after all.
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>>27223 I can see where you are coming from.
By the flawed logic that that would suck, it's a likely possibility.

>>27217 changing vote to
[] Go back to sleep.

>At that, the last finger disappears, and you begin to fall. Staring at the quickly approaching ground, you can't help but to wonder whether or not this is a dream, or if the life you had thought you had submitted to was instead the dream.
My worry is that the above is also a binary choice, and going back to sleep might correspond to acknowledging the dream you are in as reality.

Wake up<--Dreaming-->Go back to sleep

If it was "stay sleeping", I wouldn't vote for it. The "go back" implies returning to somewhere you were; Since we are in a dream (or something like that) currently, we can't "go back" to it.
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>>27215 here. Previous post's logic is sound coupled by the fact that we are apparently in neither dream nor nightmare, as hinted by the writer. To survive, we need to return, even briefly, to Gensokyo, the Land Of Dreams. I admit concern, however. There are no other people around, but I assume that's reasonable. So, changing my vote to

[ ] Go back to sleep.

God willing, we're right on this.
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[-0-] Go back to sleep.


Approaching the ground, you find yourself closing your eyes. This is no dream. But the world you were in before… That was a dream, wasn't it? That, or it was a land of dreams, which is close enough as far as you're concerned. If you can't live through this, it might be best to just go back to somewhere you'd have a chance.

As the concrete looms below you, consciousness fades and the darkness takes you.

Seconds later, you jerk back to consciousness. Your breathing is loud and deep as you glance around, looking at the land that surrounds you. Instead of your apartment, it is the familiar sight of the forest, still and quiet in the ever-present light of the sun above you.

Glancing around, you can't help but to let out a sigh of relief. Wriggle doesn't seem to have followed you here. "Was she ever real? Or was my mind playing tricks on me again?" To be honest, you don't know, and you are afraid that you never will.

Not that it matters. As long as she stays gone, you don't care one whit. Letting out a sigh, you try to get to your feet.

It is then that you notice the weight that is on your shoulder. Staying your attempt to rise, you look down and see the sleeping ibis using you as a pillow. Smiling a bit, you reach down and rest a clawed hand on her arm.

Instead of waking her, you take a better look around at the forest. The scent seems rather odd after visiting your stale apartment once more, and there is a rather thick odor that you can't quite recognize. It doesn't smell like something that would be hostile, or some sort of predator, so you let it go.

"It's… It's funny how much more color there is." After the dullness of the outside, the forest seems almost vibrant in color, with a thousand shades of green that you are unaccustomed to. You haven't given it note for a long while, but it is remarkable the difference from before and after.

After a short while, you feel a wing flicking you in the chest as the ibis awakens. Opening up her red eyes, she glances up at you, her expression odd. "Guten… morgen…" After a moment, she blinks her eyes before tilting them to the side. "Schwitzt du. Stimmt etwas nicht?"

Slowly, you shake your head in reply. "I've no idea what you're talking about…" Why of all times would she start talking in a different language?

The look on her face also falls as she stares at you. "Warum sprichst du nicht..." Her voice trails off before she shakes her head. "Das machts nichts." Holding up one of her claws, she wipes your brow, removing a large amount of sweat that was coating your head. "Etwas muß falsch sein."

Looking blankly at her, you manage to raise your own hand to feel your head. Sure enough, it is sweaty, and your feathers are soaked. On top of that, your skin is clammy, as if you've seen a ghost. Which just happens to be the case. "Just… just a bad dream."

Shaking off any of her questions, the ibis eventually shrugs before rising to her feet. Adjusting her borrowed dress, she helps you up to your feet before you continue to wander through the forest, looking for a way out.

No matter how hard you search, you never find a path out of the forest. Every time you find a trail that might lead somewhere, it ends up being a dead end. Even when you finally run across a stream, you follow it in hopes of finding its mouth. However, it merely runs back uphill before descending in a spring just the opposite of its headwaters.

After what feels like days of searching, you finally decide to take to the skies. Amsterdam leads you on as you learn how to control your wings, but even that attempt seems fruitless. The hills roll on for miles upon miles and with no end in sight.

Eventually, it comes to a point where the three of you decide to head back to the burrow or the house in an attempt to find away out through there. The abodes of the Youkai seem to have disappeared in the time since you've left them. Even if you had steps you could retrace, you would never have the chance to find them. At this point, the only hope you have for returning would be dumb luck.

Which leaves you where you are now. Lost in a forest of magic with a doll that can speak to your mind and an ibis you no longer understand. The only food you find is what you scrounge off the trees, but it is enough to keep you alive. As time passes under the omnipresent sunlight, you wonder whether you will ever find a way out.

Or, worse, you fear whether or not you will run across another as terrible as your former master.

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you wot mate
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Well... that's a thing.
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Well, that's the point of a normal end. It's supposed to be as underwhelming as possible.
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*slow claps* Good job guys. I'm not even being sarcastic. Well, writer, anon, it's been something, alright. Thanks.


You know what. This ending can go fuck itself. Language difference? Develop a body language system (for the three of you) and then using that as a base, teach each other's language from scratch. Be the voice for what Amsterdam says. Cut off a flat section of bark with your talons. Put in a notch everyday and keep track of the days if you please.

Talk about your pasts, your futures, the world, and lastly, your imaginations. In one's life, one can only take one path, out of an innumerable amount. What difference is a simpler one? Imagination is endless. Perhaps, years from now, you too, will be the teller of a story to your companions, one which is written by them, not you. And maybe, just maybe, the ending of this tale will be one that is easier to rejoice to.

>Where you once had your dreams, you now have tedium. Gray cubicles in a larger gray room are all that you know. Instead of touching stars, you now touch the keys on a board, writing documents that never seem to end. All of it done just so you can make it to the end of another week, and to start all over when you reach the next.

>The contact you have with those like you is sparse, merely enough to survive the long days. Even if these are faces that you have seen for years, they are faces that you know no more than the names of. They could potentially become friends, maybe even something closer. However, you fear the chance that they might be happier than you are. You dread the frightening possibility that they could enjoy their station in life.

Where were you before? No matter. Smile, at the thought of the others. Shake your head reproachfully at your past self. Bow your head to those who are not here. Embrace the ones who remain who you could truly call, friend.

This is my vote ending, writefag.
[∞] Live!
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Indeed. And that is what the true ending would be. (which was actually still available, as you hadn't tripped the flags to block it off) I wrote the ending of a story here. I have not yet bothered to write the epilogue, as I was debating doing such a thing in the first place. One mustn't forget the genre that this is in.

Also, see the time frame that this is taking place. This is but the hours and days after waking up. Despair easily sets in during the start. Learning that you're trapped inside a cage with no walls and no end would be maddening, but that would pass in time. Time that is all too easy to brush over in an ending, if I cared to do that.

But there would be more. However, this is the end to the current story, as it is. Would it get better? It would, in the end. Lucas has shown himself to be resourceful and resilient, especially when put against an enemy with a face. An opponent that has none, though, is something else.

Could I have given you something that was gratuitously uplifting? I suppose that it would have been possible. The ending was going to be esoteric either way, and it would not have been without loss.

...I was going to save this for a day or so, in case anyone else wanted to get their thoughts together, but I'll go ahead and put this out now so as to quell any questions.

Lucas - Changeling Youkai: Alive
Mystia - Changeling: Dead
Tokiko - Changeling: Alive
Okuu - Changeling: Dead
Hatate - Changeling: Dead
Aya - Changeling: Stasis
Margatroid/Margaret - Changeling Youkai: Indeterminate
Amsterdam/Dolly - Youkai: Alive
Wriggle - Youkai: Mostly Dead
Alice - Youkai: Mostly Dead
Yuuka - Youkai: Stasis
Elly - Changeling: Dead
Shanghai - Changeling: Dead
Hourai - Changeling: Dying
London - Changeling: Dead
Berlin - Changeling: Dying
Kyoto - Changeling: Dead
Tokiko's Child - Youkai: Alive

Now, the question remains. D you wish to see the true ending (which would be about the same length, but different), or would you rather I craft an epilogue of sorts? I have the feeling that the opinion might be for me to bugger off and leave well enough alone, so I have to ask.

Although, it is good to see the shouting. You care enough about the characters to be pissed at me.
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Quite the ending, hmm? Heh, still, an end's an end. Underwhelming, but not all stories get to have good ends, especially when we have such random choices at time. Was quite the fun little ride, though. I honestly expected far more darkness in anything below the good end, myself. Ohh, and I liked the add-on with the status of each character.
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I personally want to see a commentary in hindsight of our choices and how they affected the story.

And, of course, with all the hints you've given about there being more happening in the background in the rest of the world, you can't just leave it at that unless you're going to expound on it over with the Akis.

Looks like, in the end, I AM I doesn't seem to have affected that much, does it?
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This, pretty much. Will there be a QnA?
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Sure. I had planned to discuss some things that could have/would have happened, depending on which path you took. For now, though, just toss the questions my way, and I'll address them later today.

Heh. That story has plenty of its own twists to work with without the stuff that happened here. It's a separate world. However, I do have a few things that have been happening. Just go ahead and pick my head for anything that comes to mind.

Again, far be it from me to say, but look at the genre. Granted, without it, you wouldn't have had Tokiko be alive at the end, all things staying the same. What I'm disappointed with myself is that I never took the opportunity to plague Lucas with Margatroid's memories, especially as he was knocked out enough times that it could have been done.
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I'd like to see what the True End would have been.
Just curious.
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Actually, I just want to rewind to the whole "Save Mystia" decision. It honestly felt like a bit of a trick question to me...
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I'd like to see the true end, and an epilogue for this one. And why'd Tokiko suddenly start talking in German? Is it because we mostly killed off the youkai who transformed us in the first place, cutting off the magic that auto-translated between us?

You hear a scream from another room. Rushing in, you see someone you care for clasping their bleeding neck. Someone with a butcher knife stands by and smiles, admitting they're the one who cut her, and are going to kill her next.
[ ] Stop the murderer.
[x] Try and reason with it.

All I see is a staggering lack of foresight. If this happened IRL instead of in a twisted dream world, only someone totally incapable of evaluating a threat would have picked the latter option instead of the former. The only "trick" about it is that the butcher was a cute little dolly, so there's no way it would actually harm anyone, right? Oh, except it already did, and showed no emotion for doing so.
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It was the "You no longer care" aspect that kind of threw me. Sent up a few warning bells. The concern was that immediately acting to kill a possible threat would somehow wind up costing us, while there was still a chance we could reason with the doll. I dunno, the fact that there was a choice at all made it seem like negotiation was an option, and acting could have some consequences.
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The German part was a bit of that magic wearing off. Since you're no longer Wriggle's some of the benefits of being Wriggle, i.e. understanding others, would disappear. Being a beast didn't change you into a linguist, after all.

The difference for having Mystia would be slim, although Tokiko would not have asked you to lay down with her, for obvious reasons. The ending would have been a bit brighter, as it wouldn't be tainted with her death and its effects on Lucas.

To be honest, to get a Good Ending, you couldn't let more than one person that was 'savable' die. That was the whole deal. To get the True ending, there nearly needed to be one from both the burrow and the house (and it was like that from the very beginning).
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I second that. Preferably focused on the hints, tools, and the web of possibilities. Although more exposition on burrow, Yuuka (nvm >>26648), Elly, and Gensokyo (what's the rest of it like) would also be fine.

A number of floating questions:
What were the clues/things that could be of use, mentioned earlier in the story?
What was special about that scythe?
Why did Wriggle want to fix him: what was her intention with the music box?
What did Tokiko do to help the escape, and what happened in the final bout with Alice after we collapsed?
Why was the deal with Margatroid switching out our arm?
Assuming that the other option would have sent us to the real world, would we have met our double? How would have that gone? Did a similiar options present itself to Tokiko? That really was Wriggle in the dream, after all, wasn't it...? That's why it would have been possible for us to leave Gensokyo or stay in it (her power?).

Just describe the true event end instead of writing it out. Unless you want to. I'm wary about epilogues because they specify so much for very little justification.

Also, that all the dolls were changelings (and thus started out as people) is damn solemning. The one who killed Mystia (Kyoto) was not an extension of Alice, but someone who started human. That's a real sickening thought.
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The burrow is what everyone supposed it to be: the remains of Yuuka's home having sunk down over time. The tree actually wasn't Yuuka's job though; that was someone else. Wriggle tore down anything that might remain above the surface, making sure there was no remnant of her left. Elly was killed by Wriggle when she ate Yuuka. I'll address the part about Gensokyo in a bit.

Well, the one that comes first to mind is the antechamber to Wriggle's room. there was something there, but I expected you to be random, or something besides systematic. The object in question was something that contained a name for Wriggle that you could have used correctly, had you taken the time to read.

If you had spent more time with Tokiko, there would have been an opportunity to learn your powers a bit better, although the effect of that would have been random. Other than that, there were a few things. You could have gone back down to the flower and spoken to Aya. Probably a bad idea, as you would have been possessed by Aya if you did that. If you did not get on Hatate's bad side early enough, it would have been possible to manipulate her to do your bidding. (thereby taking the heat off of yourself and your allies.)

Besides that it was Elly's scythe and cold iron? Nothing in particular, except that it was a trophy. No magical powers or anything.

Wriggle is a simple girl. She took her fetch saying that he had no music box as that he couldn't sing (which he couldn't) As she disliked looking at him so much, it was easy for her to assume that he could not do that. And what good is a bird that can't sing?

>Tokiko and Alice
Well, the former managed to guide Mystia down to the bedroom so she could chop her head off (that choice of who did it was guided by affection, and if she took Mystia down) If not, Tokiko would have swung wide, and either grazed Wriggle and didn't quite leave her headless, or would have taken too much and left you lying on the floor bleeding out.

She was actually there to help fight, as she was infinitely more useful against the dolls than against Wriggle. Granted, it would have gone sour one way or the other, but you took the choices I least expected at that part.

As for Alice, to put it bluntly, Mystia took the chance once you were down to stab her. Repeatedly. Lopped off a few limbs, desecrated the corpse, etc. She carried Lucas off only at first, but heard Tokiko moaning almost once she had left. Came back, heard Margatroid's few last words, and left.

Object lesson, both in and out of character. That, and she truly believed she was helping him, even in the desired function. She was still thinking like a Youkai before she began to thaw.

You already were in the real world. You would have to have accepted that both worlds are real, and neither one is a dream. That's what would have let you catch yourself before you hit the concrete. In the end, you don't know what happened to Tokiko or Amsterdam, but you would have abandoned your old life to find them.

Indeed, but it wasn't she that let herself enter in. She was thrust into it just as much as you were.

What's funny about the dolls is that I had originally planned for you to be friendly with Hourai. Funny how those things work out.
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this basically confirms everything i thought while reading the story - that lucas should have explored further in the burrow - though it doesnt seem like it would have made a difference

im a little disapointed there was no option to get more out into gensokyo proper , by which i mean ive never felt the characters in this story are "proper" gensokyoians, or that there wernt enough characters or something... idk, personal preference i guess pic related

speaking of story, i wish you had used words like "former" and "latter" more correctly and maybe done a bit of grammar correction (no grammar nazi or anything, but stuff like "you rest a clawed hand on her arm" should really be "you rest your clawed hand"). That is to say, if you wanted to sound archaic, there are other turns of phrase you could have used. Not to say I didnt enjoy it, but after the 3rd thread the semi-correct archaisms started to get tired. Are you perhaps, a non-native english speaker?

I only just started to read this from last week, but I had a feeling that you were hinting to us that we could take out the doll before it got to mystia, but as with all your other hints, it seemed to make people overly cautious and go for the "dicey 3rd choice" as Mr despair would put it... idk, it felt like that one GM who makes you roll the D20 for a fire save with teary eyes after you joke about drinking lava. The language didnt help either, but at least I wasnt as confused as to who said what from where and when as I have been with some other writefags...

if I were to vote to go back, it would be:
[x] back to the mystia choice
[x]they fucked with my arm, they fucked with my head, they fucked with my voicebox, but ill be DAMNED it they fuck with my FAMILY
-[x]tear the doll a new one

honestly I would have been fine wandering that forest with mystia instead of Tokiko, up to the point where I would vote for murder suicide to not have to spend forever with a german speaking riddler

Also, wtf is I AM I ? At first I just thought some posters were being autistic, but then I started thinking - is that actually a 'thing'?

and most of all, I cant understand how you could stand to write a story that was going to end badly either way, nonwithstanding some of the stranger choices that forced you to improvise. if it was me I would have chosen more 'set points' in the story that were unavoidable so that a few austistic posters couldnt make the whole story get so fucked up and off track
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Uh, first of all, wow. Second of all, it's a bit rude to call people that based on a lack of understanding on your part. As the guy who developed some of the crazier vote-ins in this story, allow me to enlighten you!

The idea of 'I AM' has its roots in the idea of an entity, so surrounded in ephemeral chaos, must declare its identity or be swept up in the insanity of the world around him. Voters in the thread went along with the idea that, with all these things being forced upon the protagonist, it would be a natural response for Lucas to instead reject everything and try to find a new path, which he did! Considering his end-game racetype, which I find pretty darn interesting, if you ask me.

Interestingly, we probably would have done a lot better if our votes had hewed closer to that original declaration- that there is no real or fantasy, and that everything is as real as the one experiencing it feels. Dream and reality were reconciled the moment that Lucas declared his identity above the forces that were trying to pull him into their respective folds. In a world where belief, faith and superstition engenders power, there are few forces more inviolate than a will capable of declaring its own identity despite all that chaos. It means recognizing that the fabric of 'reality' is simply an illusion and grasping at the underlying nature of all things with both hands.

The concept of 'I AM' in the context of this story has a number of similarities to the Hindu idea of Atman in the sense that an individual has a true self beneath all the things that he believes to make up his 'self.' The Atman is the Brahman within the vessel that is the body. It is transcendent and tied into the infinite sea that connects all things. The world is itself an extension of that infinite sea- in fact, Hinduism teaches that the very idea of a world independent from one's body is false. Everything is distinguished only by form, and form is transient. This is especially important to remember in a place like Gensokyo, where form and reality are not only transient things, but are capable of being directly influenced by a strong will capable of recognizing how fragile the illusion truly is.

I think our writer was ultimately trying to get across that the world Lucas is from- our world- is not so different from Gensokyo, except with different kinds of monsters than just Youkai. Things are composed of illusions out here, too. Everything is just a construct of society, the zeitgeist of the generation and location in question, and the circumstances of the times. A soul with strong enough will can and does change things that have been set in stone for hundreds of years.

For instance: It was once thought that man could never fly. Two bicycle makers then went and took flight. It was thought, not long before then, that a race of men was inherently inferior to another race of men, and it took a war to prove otherwise.

Things change, the world is composed of walls that are not truly there, but are mere concepts. The idea of 'I AM' is the declaration that there is, from Lucas' point of view, at least one constant in the world- himself.
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That is much more eloquent than I ever could have put it, so thank you for that. Part of me wishes that I had known all of that beforehand. I know very little about Hinduism, but that concept is very accurate on its own. Quite interesting, and I wish you would have brought that up during the run. Would have been an intriguing bit to study, at the very least.

Well, I shall try to address the issues that you have brought forth.

The story was never meant, at this stage, to venture far beyond the forest. This was done to ensure that the story stayed compact. After all, the driving impulse behind all of Lucas's actions is the desire to escape with as few casualties as possible. Anything outside of the forest would not factor in until the story was done, at which point I would be dragging it on instead of allowing it to finish properly.

That is on top of having the residents of the forest changed, what with Okuu coming from the underground and two erstwhile tengu from the mountain. Consider, if the tengu are just crows in this world, if there would even be a mountain that we would recognize? Gensokyo itself would be very different if I bothered to shape it all in script.

As for my native tongue, you'll have to oblige me as I do speak the language naturally. My dialect is one of the older ones, but pardon me if something seems a tad bit out of place. I am not formerly schooled in this art beyond that which one learns in grade school, so my apologies. I updated a bit too quickly, and randomly, to have an editor on standby to check everything. Although, there are a few points where I look back and wonder how I missed a malapropism or clerical error.

Although, while you critique me on my grammar, could you bother to at least capitalize your sentences? It was a tad bit awkward to read.

Interesting analogy with me as a Dungeon Master. However, I am unaware of any such case, as the closest thing to that would be the Mad End. There is a reason that I started waiting at least a day between updates, so that I could at the least ensure that most everyone had a chance to vote. However, when one puts down something as a vote, I will treat it seriously. And I did warn the voters way back what I would do if they went seeking bad ends for the sheer fun of it.

The reason that Mystia died wasn't because the third option was dicey. It was, as one poster referred to it, an attempt to have their cake and eat it too. The choice was to either take her out or try to wait and talk it out. In the end, they chose the latter. What would you have had me do?

Most of all, the story would not have had its impact if everything would have been rainbows and butterflies in the end. This isn't Kohaku's True End from Tsukihime, even if that story was messed up in its own way. The girls don't magically get better, either emotionally or physically.

And considering the way it ended up, it could have been worse. Without I AM I, Margaret would never have regained what little humanity she had. It is that humanity, and not any sense of duty, that had her save Mystia and give her life to Tokiko. Think how that might have changed the encounter when the only thing that you could count on, everything else being constant, is yourself.

Would you have been able to choose?

One last thing to end this. Remember that Mystia is Japanese in this interpretation. At least English shares similar roots with German. Also, how could you be bothered by her riddles if you didn't understand her anyways?


That all said, there are four things that are left that I plan to do. The epilogue for this ending, the true ending, its epilogue, and a short little snapshot of this incarnation of the SDM. (which I actually have already finished)

Go ahead and yell questions/remonstrations at me if you so desire. We've a long way until we make this thread hit autosage, after all.
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like i said, really not bad excellent grammar for such a superbly quick update schedule

its not that im bothered by the riddles,, so much as her personality in general, the main fault of which is the riddles, whereas myschi, i liked her for her equally endearing and opposite characteristics in this story... i guess you could say toki wasnt moe whereas myschi was (im thinking rika vs yozora from haganai) was what gives me the strong feelings..

also i was considering that comment about what happens next with learning to speak each others language in the forest

as for your update, im still going through the 5 stages of grief over mystia so i'd still vote to go back to save her if it were up to me need more time to get it together

as for learning to communicate with myschi if we were in a similar situation with her, love conquers all
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I have a question: what would have happened had we burned the sunflower, and everyone contained within it?
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Depends on how you tried to do it. A normal fire wouldn't have taken hold, so you couldn't have tossed one of the braziers on it and hoped for the best. The only fire that could burn the flower would be the one that is in the kitchen.

As to the effects of successfully burning? You would have released all that are within... Hundreds of vengeful spirits. There would have been a chance that Aya or another would have taken your body so that you could enact revenge against the one that killed her and broke her sister. (Wriggle and Mystia, to be precise)

Although, how complete the possession would be is indeterminate, as you never went down that route.
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I wonder if anything interesting is going on in /forest/ lately? Oh hey, Mystia, I like Myst-


I wonder if anything interesting is going on in /shrine/ lately?
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The familiar crunch of leaves and twigs under your bare feet is the only noise that you hear as you slowly make your way through the forest. Even as vibrant as the world around you is, it is full of a deathly silence that is only interrupted by your passing.

It has been a long time for you. No longer are you sure the number of days, but you have the feeling that it has stretched out into months. Even after all of this time, and all of your wandering, you've yet to find an exit to this accursed forest. It is completely of anything else but the trees. Not even a single other Youkai, Changeling, or even animal has come across your path. The forest may be alive, but for the lack of those that live within, it might as well be dead.

Glancing to the side, you spot the doll floating along, her outfit relatively intact in comparison to yours and Tokiko's. You had to abandon your shoes a long time ago, as they had grown worn and ragged at the constant travel. The rest of your garments are still mostly intact, as Amsterdam is somewhat apt at patching up the various rips with what little excess string you have.

Amsterdam slowly meets your eyes before shrugging. The doll seems to have become quieter and quieter this entire time, so little does she speak. That low alto voice rarely rings in your head, as there is not much for her to say. She has told all of the stories she has that are worth telling, and you are reluctant to press her on it. "…I think it's time. Amsterdam, can you check?"

The doll turns to you and begins to float up, scanning for anything that might lead you out. Of course it is a long shot, but you need to do something. And Amsterdam still has an easier time flying than you or Tokiko.

Said ibis glances at you as Amsterdam leaves. It had taken plenty of time, but you had managed to learn enough to converse with her. Nods and shakes of the head were enough to get the point across as you stumbled across each other's languages, slowly but surely coming to an understanding.

"Du ka?" The calm had been good in one respect, as it managed to ease the manic mind of the girl enough so that she was merely energetic instead of mostly insane. That, and the language barrier had served to remove many of her strange analogies and ramblings, save for the moments she didn't care whether or not you understood her words.

"Ya. I am." The travels may have left you tired and hungry for something more substantial than the greens that you could dig up or peel from the trees, but you are fine physically. Sometimes, though, you wish you could just go home… Or just go to sleep and hope it would be a dream. However, you hadn't had one dream ever since that one day ages ago, and instead you remain trapped in a matrix of leaves and dirt.

At least you did your best to take care of the ibis, as she was the last thing left from the burrow. Ever since Mystia… Well, you care not to think of that day. But you've done your best to ensure that Tokiko has nothing to worry about during this journey you all have been thrust into.

The biggest impetus, though, is the swell beneath the tattered dress that she is wearing. One moment of comfort that allowed your deal to be fulfilled, even if you had never intended to. It is more that drives you along, and keeps you from falling to the allure that the knife brought you a long time ago.

Sometimes you are glad that the scythe was lost, and that you needn't deal with it also.

After a few more moments, you hear the brush above you writhe. "Friend. There is… There's something up ahead. Not forest."

The sudden intrusion of the alto's voice shocks you out of your introspection, your head jerking up to stare at Amsterdam. "You say you saw something? A civilization? Something else odd? A way out?"

The doll's dead eyes meet yours, and she slowly shakes her head. "No, friend. But… But it is something else. A mountain. Maybe we finally have reached the edge."

"I didn't think that was possible." Thinking for only a second, you grab Tokiko's hand. "Come'on you on, now. There might be en way aus."

She understood enough to get the picture. "Hearin ich zee." Still, your enthusiasm does much of the job as the doll stays overhead, leading you through the brush as you dash through the forest.

The run is long, lasting what feels like a quarter of an hour. However, your sense of time has become so skewed that it no longer matters to you. The thought of an exit removes any exhaustion that you may feel, propelling you towards the destination.

The dedication pays off as you find yourself leaving the edge of the forest, facing a tall mountain that towers thousands of feet over your head. Staring in shock at the sudden change, you do nothing more for a few minutes, bewildered that this might be the sign of change.

"Dat is… Groß." Idly, you nod along with Tokiko as she walks forward. You follow her as she kneels down, beside a large river that seems to be running at the base of the mountain.

Staring at the large river that runs down the mountain, you trace it back to its source. At least a dozen waterfalls flow from various caves in the mountain, the mist from where they land spreading even over the banks, causing you to feel wet without even being on the bank proper.

Glancing down, you see shapes moving under the water. "Fish, maybe? Can there be meat?" That is one thing the both of you had craved for a long time, your diet altered to crave it more than anything else. The lack thereof became noticeable in the days and weeks after, not that you could do anything about it.

Maybe, just maybe you've found your way out. As you sit down on the shore of the river with the two girls, you let a smile grow on your face as you lay down and stare at the sky. It may not be much, but anything is better than the forest. And this might lead to a way out.

All the same, you miss the bubbles that erupt from below the surface of the deep river, just as bat wings rustle and a multitude of eyes peer out from the mountain high.
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Oho! Youkai Mountain, huh? A multitude of eyes- the Tengu are still around in some fashion, then? And the bubbles in the river are presumably the Kappa. I wonder if Youkai Mountain is still the Mountain of the Gods, here, too. Hm.

Though Lucas will probably have a hell of a time managing to adapt to his place. Still, it might be better than the forest in the long run. A multitude of youkai in one place either means that there's one big chief (Lord Tengu? Kanako?) or they're all keeping themselves in check.

In either case, three newcomers (+1!) from the forest are likely going to be seen as either possible threats, or opportunities to upset the balance and make a grab for power.

Or Lucas could somehow find Kasen and have a better time of it. If she lives around Youkai Mountain.

Thanks for writing that!
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Hmm, I have to wonder if Bhava-Agra is still reachable from Youkai Mountain in this universe. And what state it's in now.

Initially, I was honestly expecting them to reach the SDM instead. So the questions raised by the hints dropped about goings on there still remain unanswered.
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Heh. You know, there is no reason that this is the Youkai Mountain, at least. After all, the wings are not birdlike, so it can't be crow tengu. You've also not seen anything more than the base. There could be something at the summit that isn't waht you expect. Or, rather, something inside the crater at the top.

All conjecture, but I thought I'd throw it out. Gonna get the rest posted today/tomorrow, if all goes well.
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Approaching the ground, you find yourself closing your eyes. This is no dream. But the world you were in before… That was no dream, was it? It was just as real, even if it was a land of dreams. You were put through too much pain, too much torment, for it to be a dream.

Yet, at the same time, you know that this world is the real one. The concrete that is fast approaching is just as real as the earthen burrows and the thick forests that you had spent days in. That you consciously know. However, deep in your heart, there is still doubt.

How can you trust yourself, after all? This could be a vision made by a man who has gone insane. Maybe your entire trip was a farce, and you are actually locked up in a padded room, screaming off your head as a doctor slides a needle into your arm. There is nothing that you can be sure of, for everything is real, just as it is false.

At that point, you finally realize something. This is the same trick that has been pulled on you the entire time. Someone or something has been trying to keep you off balance all of this time. Whether it be Wriggle or Alice or even Margatroid or Tokiko, you could hardly get a straight answer. From others, it was a mere quirk, but from the few who meant you harm, it was a trap.

There is nothing that you can be sure about. Nothing except yourself. You know who you are, despite all of the tricks played on your mind. There is no way in the world that can be changed. It will only happen so long as you let others do as they wish. With that thought in mind, you smile and open up your eyes as the concrete looms large.

Not even a moment later, you flap your wings.

Even as you let your instincts guide you, you are unable to completely stop your fall. Slamming into the ground hard enough that you bones burn in protest, you stay there for a moment, staring at the cracked concrete. Lazily, your wings flap behind you as you catch your breath and slowly push your self to your knees.

Looking at your hands, you can't help but to softly laugh at the sight of the familiar wood hand and organic claw. As the pain slowly fades, you reach up with your claw and feel your head, almost relieved at the lack of ears on the side of your head.

About that time, you hear the shocked gasps of those that surround you on the streets. You pay them no heed, at least for a moment. There are more important things that you must focus on. Namely, there is the one who tossed you from your very home. You know not if she is coming for you, but there is but one thing for you to do as you stand up.

The muscles in your body scream in protest once you are on your feet, but you pay them no mind. They are not what is important, and they will heal given enough time. Once you look upon the building, you see something rather intriguing. There is no more hole in the side. No evidence that someone was just thrown out of the side.

No Wriggle coming after you.

"Heh… Not like her to give up that easy…" Eyes darting about, you look for the girl and where she might be coming. However, the gathering throng of people finally makes itself apparent, and you begin to panic at their stunned silence.

Shaking your head, you spread your wings out and flap them. You've not much of an idea how to fly, but you are not staying here. If you try to walk out, you might end up hurting one of the bystanders in the process. They've no stake in this business.

They continue to gawk as you flap away, finally making it to the top of a nearby roof. Once there, you look back at the building for a few minutes, wondering if anything is going to come for you. Still, Wriggle does not come after you.

"Perhaps she has given up? Or is she simply satisfied with me out here like this?" Shaking your head to rid yourself of the thoughts, you slowly make your way back over to the edge. "Or maybe she plans to sneak up behind me…"

Glancing down, you notice that whatever crowd has disappeared. The people have already continued on with their merry little lives, scurrying this way and that. Curiously enough, they ignore the cracks on the ground from where you landed, even though it takes up half of the sidewalk.

As you watch, you finally notice something out of place. The crowd clears for a second and the copycat emerges from within. Watching intently, you notice that he is walking along, looking for all intents and purposes as you might when you are on the way to work.

Until he looks up and meets your eyes.

The two of you stare at each other for a few moments, the rest of world silent as your eyes meet his. Seconds tick by, his face flat and uncaring, wearing a look you've spotted on your own many times.

Eventually, though, the lips turn upwards and a wide smile grows across the copycat's face. It continues to watch you for a few more seconds before turning away and disappearing into the crowd below. You continue to the crowd for a while, curious to see if it reappears.

Naturally, it doesn't. Nor does Wriggle make herself apparent. The only thing making any sound now is the wind blowing by your head and an air conditioner that is whining somewhere behind you. "So… This is how it's going to be. You're going to leave me out here, all by myself."

After all, you're all alone out here, now. Tokiko and Amsterdam might have fallen out of that land, or they might still be in there. Wherever they may be, you have no idea.

The old life you had is gone. Taken by the thing that still wears your face. There's little chance that you could get it back, even if you tried. After all… You’re no longer human. Not completely. You're something else. The way you are, you could never go back to that.

All the thought raises a question: do you even want to go back to that?

"Heh. Not if I have a choice." Stepping away from edge of the roof, you look at your apartment one last time. There's nothing left for you in that life. But there is something waiting for you in the new one. Two somethings, rather. Even if it is just for a few that you could otherwise barely count as friends, the purpose and clarity is more than you've had in a long time.

Once more, you spread your wings. Wriggle and her kin may have thrown you for every loop that they could have, but you've not yet managed to fall. She's given you the means to fight back against her, and two that you wish to protect, if only to not let the others who died to have done so in vain. Turning away from the place you once called home, you dash towards the side of the building.

This time, you will write your own story.
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Yay! I always wanted to be the hunted target of a manic girl with too much power.
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Oh man.

Oh man I- I kind of want to see where this goes. I sincerely hope you write more about this strange new version of the Playable Command/Humans of Gensokyo. I'm especially interested in the presence of Rika and the Hakkero- does that mean Rinnosuke is floating around somewhere, too?

God, I hope you write more on this.
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Train wheels clack to a stop as the line slowly pulls into the station. The crowd of people milling about slowly pushes their way to platform, eager to get hurry up and wait for the next destination.

The semi-orderly crowd slowly clears the room, leaving a few people that are waiting for the next one to come. They all avoid the eyes of their companions, none wishing to bother themselves with such niceties such as conversation and companionship.

Such a thing suited one girl that was sitting on the far end of the platform. Ears covered with a set of headphones, deafening her to the ousted world, she idly bobbed her head to a beat unheard of otherwise. The bright colors of her clothing, all of which clashed wildly with each other, proved to only highlight the eccentricity of her manner of dress.

She opened one of her eyes, staring at the crowd as they subconsciously moved away from her. Her lips quirked up at their response before she once more closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall.

There she remained for a few minutes, her foot swinging back and forth while she hugs a bulging backpack to her side. However, the girl's eyes shoot open as her hand falls to the pocket in her pants. "Better not be who I think it is…"

Sighing, the girl pulls the buzzing object out, revealing a rather odd, bright cell phone. Flipping it open, she sighed as she saw who it was that was calling. "Dammit…" After staring at it for a few moments, the girl yanks off the headphones from her head and brushes her blonde hair to the side before raising the phone to her ear. "Oi. Reimu. How's life treating you?"

"Just as it always is. But don't try and distract me now." The voice on the other end brooks no argument as she continues. "I'm afraid that there's something I need you to take care of, Marisa. Seems to be near your current location."

Cursing silently, the girl tilts her head to the side. "But I just took care of your other problem earlier today! Even if it was just a damn Fetch, it was still annoying enough when it tried to break the masquerade."

The other voice on the line responds with little humor in its voice. "Sorry, Marisa, but the boundary has been in some flux in a city a few hundred miles from you."

"…Flux, you say." Grumbling, Marisa finally sits up before hunching over her backpack. "Something big, you mean? Usually those Youkai are smart enough to tear a big enough whole in reality to get your attention."

"Indeed. Which is why I'm sending you after it. I'm still dealing with the oni problem we're having over here, and no one else is closer."

"I'm pretty sure that half of the people you could get a hold of would be able to get there before me." Gritting her teeth, Marisa eventually nods. "So, what are we talking about here? Another Changeling that went mad and the Youkai let loose for their own amusement?"

The voice pauses for a moment. "No idea. But it's probably something else. Either there was a fight that spilled over to our world, or they wanted our attention. Either way, it's something we need to check out."

"And by we, you mean me." The girl waits a second before jerking her head to the side, letting out a loud crack that echoes over the empty platform. "Ahh… That feels better. I suppose I can check it out. Might even call Rika and see if she's interested in helping out."

Marisa laughs at the pained sigh coming from the other end of the line. "The situation is hardly bad enough for her to get involved. Or do you have an excuse prepared as to why tanks would be running through the streets?"

"Hardly." The girl grins widely, still laughing softly. "But it'd be nice to get her out of that garage of hers. And if this is as serious as you're making it out to be, a teammate wouldn't hurt."

The girl at the other end snorts. "Since when has that stopped an Orphan like you from doing whatever you want? Just try not to twist reality too hard, alright?"

"Yeah, yeah… Whatever you say." Shaking her head, Marisa reaches down to the backpack and pulls the drawstring holding it shut. "I suppose a perfectly ordinary magician might be needed to pull this job off, hrm?"

"Well, you are in the west currently. You always are stronger over there, so it shouldn't be too much of trouble."

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. A simple extermination job, hopefully. I'll take care of it nice and easy for ya, and then I can get back on my vacation." Marisa's smile just grows wider as she reaches in with her free hand, pulling out a small block of wood. "At least this one should be interesting, Reimu. I'll get you on the horn when I'm done."

"Alright. Talk to you soon." The line immediately drops dead, and Marisa shoves the phone back into her pocket. Afterwards, she picks up the eight-sided block of wood and stares at the inscription on it. "This should be fun, at least. Quite fun."


Just a little change of scenery to let your imagination wander. Had to reupload because of a rather glaring error that was annoying me.
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He is somewhere. I just haven't thought of a proper role for him yet. Even if he is, Rika would be getting a bigger role. Mostly because tanks, but also because she needs more screen time.

And that's two of the five of playable command. Next post will have one more.
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Footsteps softly echo in the empty room, filled with nothing but the memories of time immemorial enshrined in dusty pages. The quiet steps are uncrushed, unhurried. The one who creates them doesn't bother with hurrying along, as if she has all of the time in the world.

A shadowy figure passes in a gap among the shelves, her face showing itself for one second as an oil lantern flickers over it. Her steely eyes shoot one short look at the lamp before it vanishes, having run out of oil, and having run out of time.

Continuing to stride along the dark halls, the woman slowly makes her way towards the center of the library, where one more light shines. Instead of the inconsistent flame created oil or wick, it instead is a constant thrum created by an unnatural light. However perturbed the woman may have been from the earlier light, she does not let any annoyance show as she comes closer, the click of her heels becoming clearer as she continues.

Once close enough to the table, the white-haired woman lets her lips curl up into a grin as she gazes at a pile of blankets before her. Seated in a chair at the far side of a round table, the rags sit immobile as a pen darts out in front of it, scratching on a piece of parchment. The woman chuckles before walking up to the table, nudging a chair out before taking a seat, crossing her legs in the process. "So, mage, are you enjoying yourself?"

The pile of cloth does not move immediately, but the pen does eventually fall to the table. Eventually the rags shift and float away, revealing a small, pale woman encased in robes and a hood, staring back at the intruder with eyes that glow purple. "Hardly. Recent tests have proven inconclusive. I'm afraid that I will have to perform something more invasive on the darkling soon enough." Lowering the hood, the mage brushes aside her unkempt purple hair before narrowing her eyes. "What is it to you, fairest? Are you so easy to bore that you come visit me?"

"Hardly. Although, I do have much more to do than you do, everything considered." The woman leans forward, two braids dangling as they frame her face. "But I do find myself lacking entertainment for the moment. My two littles pets are busy sleeping, and the ones that you keep down here seem to be hiding."

The mage's mouth thins over. "Partly because, while they fear me, they are deathly afraid of you." Her mouth moves slightly, the frown disappearing from her face. "Although, why can you not be like the rest of your kind and simply look at yourself in the mirror, or listen to the sound of your own voice? That seems to entertain them well enough."

A soft chuckle escapes the white-haired woman's lips. "Again, you know the reason. I am not some simple muse. I embody something far different…" Chuckling softly, she shakes her head. "If your subjects prove inadequate, I could go fetch another." Smiling, she shrugs her shoulders. "I could go acquire a doll from the weak one deep in that lost forest. She surely won't notice if one of them goes missing."

Watching her for a moment, the mage shakes her head. "Unnecessary. I am proceeding well enough with my current research. It just has become somewhat repetitive at the moment."

"Then how about I break that up." Smiling, the woman leans back, knitting her hands together in her lap. "A game, I shall propose. The pieces are my pets against those that belong to you. The stage is my mansion."

Pursing her lips, the woman with purple hair cannot help to raise her eyebrow in interest. "But if it is a game, there must be some other player, unless you wish to have a battle royale. And you spoke not of a prize, or the actual objective."

"The prize is easy enough to guess, Patchouli, especially for one with your brainpower." The woman's smirk widens as she sees recognition flicker in her companion's eyes. "However, you misunderstand me. There will be only one player. One, single player, and we shall set the stage for her."

Eyes shining brightly, Patchouli rises to her feet, gaining but a few inches of height in the process. "I am quite comfortable not knowing you're name, Sakuya, just as I am relieved that you do not know mine. Why should I risk giving mine away on this lark?"

"Because you garner the same prize should you win?" Laughing softly, Sakuya also rises to her feet, towering over her companion. "That's the reason you are here, are you not? You search for knowledge… And where better to gain it than in my home?"

"You only let me stay because you found me interesting, especially as I managed to pierce the veil about your home in the first place." Still, Patchouli can't help to hum in thought. "If I didn't know better, that Malkavian of yours might have seen some insane path that you can take in order to insure victory."

Shaking her head, Sakuya began to walk around the table. "She is too weak after I worked my magic on her. She only retains some small measure of her power to destroy, and nothing more. The madness left her when the age also did." Chuckling, she tilts her head to the side. "Although, I wouldn't put it past the Toreador to try and manipulate fate so that she might win. Think you can beat that?"

"As long as I factor it into my plans? Even your blind pet maid won't be able to stop me." Face turning up towards Sakuya, Patchouli nods before extending her hand. "A deal, then. We will have to outline the rules more thoroughly in the meantime, naturally."

"Naturally. But the essence of the deal is made." Taking the hand of the shorter mage, Sakuya squeezes it gently. "I shall prepare the fetch then, so we can acquire our newest player.
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This has all been great fun to read. I really hope to see more stuff about this world you've adapted, because it is genuinely interesting- and definitely one of the most unique settings on these forums. It may be a bit dark, but there's always a light at the end of the tunnel if we work for it, and those are the best kinds of CYOAs.

I look forward to the next thing you do! Especially if it involves a certain witch and her scientist friend (and HER legion of walking supertanks.)

Though, with all these PC-98 throwbacks (lord do I love them), I am left wondering, because they happen to be two of my favorite PC-98 characters...

Where are this setting's Mima- and Shinki? Hm.
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Strange. All the servants we've seen have wings of some sort.

Following that logic, the entire tengu society is actually in servitude of Nitori!...or not.
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I'm not planning to do anything else in this universe for a long while, actually. I've got to get over to /other/ for that story, and there are other projects I need to finish on a different site.

Granted, the thought of writing Marisa is rather tempting. I had the thought of doing something from the point of view of Marisa hunting Lucas. If we did that, though, we'd miss out on how he copes with being in his own world once again, yet not belonging at the same time.

The only module, so to speak, that I've planned out is the SDM one. And even that is a bare minimum of having the characters outlined and the plot somewhat fleshed out. I'd rather not leap headfirst into something that I barely understand. Although, if anyone else wants to pick up the ideas...

So, as to Mima and Shinki? Fraid I have no idea at this point, to be perfectly honest.
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