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File 148264214210.png - (422.47KB, 1400x600, I think it's time we blow this scene.png) [iqdb]
29615 No. 29615
[X] Which means you've got responsibilities, here. Estimate as truthfully as ya can.

Which means you've got responsibilities.

Regardless of any douchenozzle tendencies this dude in front of you's displayin'.

Nuts. “Eight dollars,” ya say, puttin' the disc back down. “I'm gonna say 'bout eight dollars.”

Rika does a squinchin' of the peepers, royal. “You paused,” she says.

“I didn't pause.”

“You paused,” Rika says again. “Before you named your price, you paused.”

“That wasn't a pause,” ya say. “That was more like a happenstantial ellipsis.”

“That would be a pause. That's a pause. An ellipsis denotes a pause.”

“As the dude who either did or didn't pause, I think I can tell if I paused or not, which I didn't,” ya say. “Tell 'er, Mac. Tell 'er I didn't pause.”

Rinnosuke sits there lookin' ya both askance, cheek of his mug restin' easy in his palm.

“Mac,” ya say again.

“She didn't pause,” Rinnosuke says. His syllables come out half-squashed, squeezin' between his lips and the hand he's not even botherin' to move away for understandability.

But that's good enough. “See?” ya say, whirlin' back to the dude ya like least here. “I didn't pause. Eight smackers, over easy. Whaddya iratin' at me for, anyways? That's scant compared to what the others're worth.”

“My problem is that the more you talk, the more I think that you're simply making these prices up as you go.

Well, ya can't say she's wrong.

“You're wrong,” ya say.

Or ya guess ya can. Whoops! And with that, ya flip label-side-up the grand finale of disc procession and—oh, wait, this last one's actually just tax preparation software. Talk about an anticlimax. “Yo Mac, how'dja score these again?” ya ask. “Singularly.”

Now he takes the hand off. “Three hundred yen each,” he says.

“Yeah—ya got this one right, I think. So the total is...”

And then ya don't say what the total is, 'cause ya realize something. Ya realize something kinda significant.

“Hey, Mac?” ya say, out into the open air. “What's three hundred yen in dollars?”

“I still don't know that.”

“Right, gotta ballpark. Lemme see—it's prolly three dollars—”

“An exact one to one hundredth exchange rate?” Rinnosuke interrupts ya. “That seems unlikely.”

“I said I was ballparkin' it, didn't I?” Not that the dude hasn't got a point. “Okay, we'll round it down. Let's say two-fifty. See, we're not cheatin' ya here.” That last bits directed Rikawards—

Not that said dude appreciates it. “I don't know what you're doing,” says Rika. “You don't know what you're doing—”

“Wait,” says Rinnosuke. “What price did you set the others?”

“Ten, fifteen, eleven, eight. So if ya add those together—”

“Forty-six point five. Wait, forty-six point five what?”

“Forty-six point five dollars.”

I don't sell in dollars.

“Yo, dig it, Mac. Did I ever steer ya wrong? Just means we've gotta convert back to yen again. So if three hundred yen is two point five dollars—”

“This is mathematics,” Rinnosuke mutters. “Where did I put my brush?”

“Excuse me.”

“Gotta be straight with ya, Mac, it might not be two point five dollars. We're imaginin' all kindsa spherical cows here.”

Rinnosuke pauses fumblin' 'cross his desk to glance atcha. “I don't know what that means.”

“Sorta like when the teach tells ya to put down g as ten in baby's first physics class.”

“I don't know what that means, either—ah.” Rinnosuke locates his instrument all flourishy, then drags a thing of paper in and starts jottin'. “Three hundred yen is two point five dollars—”

Excuse me.

“Wait a sec, Mac,” ya stop 'im. “Write it as a fraction. Or actually, no, gimme the brush.”

“Oh, do you have another method of working out the amount?”

“Definitely, Mac. I'm not gonna tell ya it's better, 'cause I don't know, but I know I can work it out.”

“Go ahead—I'm interested in seeing this, now.”

“Lemme see if I remember, first. Ya set it up as ratios, and...yo, hold up, six hundred equals five? That's totally not right—”

Excuse me!

The both of ya look up from the scratch paper that's already startin' to look more scratch than paper. Hey, writin' with a tool like this is mad difícil, okay? More importantly, that's not a good look adornin' Rika's mug there, and also her everything else. Looks straight up frumious. Clenched fists and jaws and everything.

“Yes?” Rinnosuke says.

“What's up?” ya say, simultaneous.

“I'm not paying that amount.”

You and Rinnosuke mull that over, just for a tick.

“What?” Rinnosuke says.

“I'm not paying that much,” Rika says. “I was never going to pay that much—I have a budget.”

“Arentcha jumpin' steps here, dude?” ya ask.

“You don't know what the final price will be, yet,” adds Rinnosuke.

“I don't need to know the final price; it's obviously too much—I can tell it's too much, even now.” She picks up the eight-dollar disc, displayin' atcha the specterish soldier gracin' the label of it. “How much is this one? It's the second-cheapest.”

You and Rinnosuke hunch back over your inkin'—oh, wait, there ya go; flubbed your ratios. No wonder the math fell over into itself the moment you took your hand away. Some multiplication, a little long division, and you've got a number that actually looks reasonable. “So that's nine hundred and sixty yen,” you come out with, while Rinnosuke double-checks your figures.

“And added to this one—” and Rika lifts the tax software, “one thousand two hundred sixty yen.”

“Yeah, that's how addition works. Cash, credit, or debit?”


“Ha ha, just kiddin'! I know prolly they don't have ATMs in Gensokyo. Just fork over the moola dude.”


“I believe she's asking you to pay what we're owed,” says Rinnosuke. Which—yeah, duh.

Rika's mug goes real still, 'cept for her eyes. The CD she's liftin' lowers, just a bit, catchin' the light. Not as much as it would if it was shiny-side-out instead of soldier-side-out, but it catches the light.

“I have a budget,” she says. “That price falls only just inside it.”

“Lucky, dude,” ya say.

“If you hadn't changed the prices I would have been able to buy all these items and stay in my budget.”

Ya glance at Rinnosuke, who glances back doin' a sorta shrug that's done without shoulders. “True,” ya say.

“But you changed the prices.”

“Also true,” ya say.

“That's not fair. You—just changed the prices. You took what I thought was fine to pay and you made it more.”

“It's not so much the price increased,” Rinnosuke cuts in. “Rather, what you're paying now is what these items were worth all along.”

“And I still have to pay more,” says Rika, totally not up for digestin' Rinnosuke's logic, no matter how logicky it actually is. The CD shifts again, this time more youwards. “If she hadn't readjusted these prices, I wouldn't have to.”

“If you want to blame anybody, blame me for underpricing these items in the first place.”

“And you're going to keep doing it? You're going to keep having her raise the prices, and raise the prices—if she raises the prices, what am I supposed to sell anything for? There isn't any profit.”

Ya blink. “Wait, that's what you're all steamed about? Not makin' so much on the markup?”

“At least I buy,” Rika says, and it's kinda unnervin', how this dude can pitch so close to shoutin' with her face so tight. “There's nothing wrong with selling what I've bought—you aren't going to sell; I've been here enough to know—if I sell what I buy and buy off what I sell there's nothing wrong with that.”

Ya glance at Rinnosuke, flickerin' your eyes between the significant parties in this deal. That means, “Yo, Mac, is this normal?”

Rinnosuke shifts, lookin' all way very uncomfy, which you're pretty sure means, “No.” “That's fine,” he says to Rika, his supercooled shopkeep persona holdin' together in all the main places. “But I can't let you leave with anything I sell here unless you pay for it, first.”

Rika opens her yap again—but nothing comes out, even though her teeth gnash and her lips work and her neck arches like that's where all the words are jammed. She looks at Rinnosuke—at you. All around her, like maybe there's some backup here she missed that's just about to rise to her defense in a super-dramatic movie moment.

“So, this is going to keep happening,” she croaks. “You're just going to raise the prices—raise the prices—and that's it? Because she says so? So she's an Outsider—who is she to say? Authority—what authority? Whose authority does she have—”

Dicunt ei: Cæsaris.

The three of you—you, Rinnosuke, Rika—turn like a trio of tops to look at the new voice in the matter.

Rumia stands center stage, arms outstretched, somewhere between standin' and floatin' and balancin' on her own two feet.

Tunc ait illis: Reddite ergo quæ sunt Cæsaris, Cæsari: et quæ sunt Dei, Deo,” she says, and ya don't understand any of it, but you're pretty sure this is the opposite of backup.

Well, whatever it is, it settles it. Mug stone-still, throat bobbin', she transfers the moola from her person to the desktop, takin' the appropriate discs in exchange.

“Thank you for your continued patronage,” says Rinnosuke.

“No problem,” Rika definitely doesn't say even slightly, as she tries to set Rinnosuke on fire with her mind. And then, like a windup doll that hasn't gotten the hang of flesh yet, she walks 'cross the shop floor and then out.

There's a moment of perfect pin-droppin' silence. And then the whole shop seems to let loose its breath, expellin' this tenseness ya didn't even know was buildin' up, and you relax, lettin' your shoulders slump. It's maybe your imagination, but ya think ya feel Rinnosuke doin' basically the same next to you.

He handles the CDs Rika didn't buy, peerin' close up at 'em like he's tryin' to discern their secrets by eyeball alone. “These CDs...” he mutters. “Are they really worth so much?”

“Who cares?” ya say. “The important part's that we got leftovers. Where'dja put that CD player?”

“On the shelf above the radiator...” Rinnosuke sorta trails off in the tail end of that sentence. “Wait,” he says.

Oh, yeah, there it is, alright. And perched on top of it is that set of those headphones Rinnosuke was talkin' 'bout, a coupla weeks ago. You collect both. Or maybe more than both, if headphones are already a both, though that's kinda besides the point right now. “Cross your fingers, Mac,” ya chortle. “Barrin' some egregious scratches, we've got tunes incomin'!”

“Is that why you raised the prices? Only because you didn't want her to buy all of the CDs?”

“It's not an 'only' thing, Mac. I mean, like, ya seriously did have all these tunes underpriced—I just gave ya the out for pumpin' those prices up to proper. Now ya get to sell this stuff for more than just spare change, and I get to showcase for you the power of music. That's what we Outsider dudes call 'win-win.'” Ya glance at Rinnosuke there, and—

That look on his mug. It's...complicated.

“Hey,” ya say, rearrangin' priorities pronto. “Something wrong, Mac?”

Rinnosuke shakes his head, his facemood goin' back to normal. Well, Rinnosuke-normal. “That you'd done what you'd done for my benefit—I suppose is what I thought,” he 'splains, and—

There's something 'bout the way he says that, something real, and it makes ya wanna look at something else that isn't 'im, just real quick. Or someone else. Rumia. Ya look at Rumia.

Rumia looks at you.

Then Rumia's head does the minisculest of shifts and she's lookin' at Rinnosuke, which means you've gotta look at Rinnosuke after all, which ya don't wanna, but you've gotta.


There's something itchin' at the insides of your epidermis. “Hey, Mac,” ya say.

“Hm?” Rinnosuke peers atcha, just over the rims of his glasses.

Ya realize, all of a sudden, thatcha didn't actually plan something to say. Ya open your mouth anyways.

The tank smashes through the wall.

“What?” says Rinnosuke.

“What,” says you, for related but not-exactly-the-same reasons.

The tank lumbers forwards, in through the giant hole where shop used to be, crushin' beneath its treads a whole lotta shelves and crates and knickknacks and tchotchkes that two and a half seconds ago quit bein' shelves and crates and knickknacks and tchotchkes real quick and started bein' rubble, instead. It's a weird tank, even excludin' the whole it's-a-tank-in-Gensokyo-isn't-that-how-things-aren't-supposta-be-here angle—hatted with something like a squat pyramid of a roof painted a bright healthy red with a yin-yang sign facin' forth, with a coupla thick ropey things hangin' from the frontal eaves and some zigzaggy papercraft hangin' from that to top it off.

But forget form, for a sec, 'cause there's the important part, which, yeah, ya maybe mentioned already, but it sorta bears repeatin', 'specially this moment:

That's a tank.

Like, legit. Made outta tank parts, with a turret and cannon and everything. A turret and cannon that're shiftin' on their own azimuth, angle-adjustin' till the whole deal is pointed properly, i.e. right atcha.

You're not gonna lie. This is not how ya saw this day goin'. “Down!” ya yell, and head there yourself.

The sound of the cannon going off is—actually, it's a lot less explodey than you figured it was gonna be. Like, not that you've had alotta 'sperience with tanks, but if a tiny gun goin' off makes a pretty strong blam, any dude'd 'spect a gun like like to make a blam immense, right?

Only it doesn't. Like, it's still a pretty good blam, as far as blams go. Seven out of ten blammage, which is a passin' grade. It's just...flat, is all. Like the sorta thing you'd get at your local laser tag maybe if the dude in charge sprung for the better SFX. Actually, if ya wanna be totally honest? It's not so much blam as blat, and the fact that's one letter off kinda makes it disappointinger. Like it got so far only to fall flat on its face a foot before the finish line.

Still puts another hole in the opposite wall, though.

Like, it's not a big hole. It looks like a fireman went to town on the wall, instead of a tank.

But that's still a hole.

You're really, seriously, totally glad ya ducked.

Rinnosuke, meanwhile, assesses the calamity with a calm eye. “What are you doing?” he says, leanin' forwards like the desk in front is the only think keepin' 'im from leapin'. “No fighting in the shop!

His specs are askew, the dude half-covered in dust from just standin' too close to the recent coupla instances of destruction alone. What you're sayin' is that he presents himself as less than a figure of authority right now.

So it's kinda surprisin' when the tank actually does lurch to a stop, treads jerkin' bit by bit till they've got themselves a nice place to perch on top of all the wall and not-wall (well, it's all not-wall now, but that's splittin' hairs). Then, after a moment longer, something in the roof of the machine shifts—the peak of the roof swingin' up and open like it's on hinges, pushed open by a dude's hand.

A moment after that, the rest of the dude follows.

It's Rika.

You really oughta be surprised here, but somehow? Not so much.

Rika's red-faced, pantin', and ya don't think it's all from bein' cooped up in that machine of hers. Her eyes run the room—at Rinnosuke, at you, at Rinnosuke, at yousettlin' on you before her mouth cracks open in a lopsided grin. “Extortionists,” she says—calls out, in a way you're nearly 'spectin' her to follow it up with “lend me your ears.”

She doesn't though. Just keeps grinnin', eyes wide and glassy.

“Dude,” ya say, holdin' your palms out in what you're pretty sure's the universal gesture for “calm the holy oak down.”

Unfortunately, this is totally the wrong move, on account of the fact that is kinda gives the dude with the tank something to focus on. Which she does. “You,” she says. “You did it.” Her peepers to Rinnosuke again. “You let it happen.”

Rinnosuke freezes mid-step, less like a dude tryin' to get significant tracks from a desk before another dude both with and in a tank notices what he's up to, and more like a dude tryin' to get significant tracks from a desk before another dude both with and in a tank notices what he's up to and failin'.

“Extortionist,” mutters Rika, her eyes goin' back to table-tennisin'. “Extortionist, extortionists, extortionists—”

The other half of Rika's smile perks, which does wonders for the dude's facial symmetry and also gives you a bad feelin' like you're gonna need to do some serious ruin' soon but ya don't know in what direction. She reaches down—sorta stoops, in her stand, still lookin' out the top as she fiddles onehandedly with whatever knobs and levers she's got workin' in there.

The turret—cannon attached, obvs—rotates outta your direction.

Which is cool.

It rotates in Rinnosuke's direction, which is not.

Extortionists don't get shops,” says Rika.

[ ] Run!
[ ] Hide!
[ ] Fight!
Expand all images
>> No. 29616
File 14826450898.jpg - (125.81KB, 392x409, __fujiwara_no_mokou_and_houraisan_kaguya_touhou_dr.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Fight!



>> No. 29617
[x] Fight!

Where's Reimu when you need her?
>> No. 29618
[X] Fight this nutter!

Maybe there's panzerfaust or bazooka or rpgs on Kourindou's storeroom?
>> No. 29619
[X] Run!
>> No. 29620
File 148267444037.png - (72.11KB, 255x371, Louis.png) [iqdb]
[x] Fight!

Tank incoming!
>> No. 29621
[X] Fight!

>> No. 29622
[☯] Fight!
>> No. 29624
[x] Fight!

I voted to low ball the prices out of kindness but this is simply rude and uncalled for.
>> No. 29626

Does Rumia count?

[x] Fight!

Man this went from First Year Economics to Stalingrad real fast.
>> No. 29627
We can't always count on Rumia for everything. This is just a tank
>> No. 29628

Unless Christie is descendant from a World War II soldier that killed like 50 Panzers with a rock, we might just need some help here.
>> No. 29629
Tanks are designed to destroy very large objects from very far away, which they are very good at doing. However, tanks are not designed to destroy individual people at point blank range, which is why infantry can take out a tank relatively easily. All Christie has to do is climb up the tank, open the hatch, and punch Rika right in the face.
>> No. 29630

I feel like there is a fundamental misunderstanding of tanks here.
>> No. 29631

I agree with you. A simple metal latch would Defeat 99.98% of mortals attempting this. I think we should give tank designers and builders some credit here, and say they probably put a lock on the hatch.
>> No. 29632
This is a custom made tank that may or may not have a shrine on top of it. Functionality isn't a guarantee here
>> No. 29634

A valid point. However; if we examine the ways this custom tank could have come into existence, we're left with only a few possibilities:

1. This tank was build in accordance with preexisting schematics based on European, Asian, or American tank specifications.

2. This tank evolved, from conception to construction, independant from non-Gensokyo tanks, with the similarities between the two a mere coincidence. Meaning it might not be locked.

3. This tank spontaneously congealed from the Aether. Without a lock.

4. Someone in Gensokyo saw a picture of a tank and said "Yes, I need this in my life."

5. This tank isn't any variation of "tank" we're discussing, but Chris is calling it a tank for lack of better word.

Though all these options are guesses, Occam's Razor tells us the best scenario to prepare for is option 1. Which means it's probably locked.

[X] Fight!

Because fuck logic. Rinnosuke risked going out in the cold to get us medicine, and I think he's entitled to one(1) act of selfless heroism in return.
>> No. 29635
Okay, okay, let's run down the options here.

[]Run: Unless we can reliably dodge tank munitions we're shit outta luck.

[]Hide: Yeah, no. Tanks laugh at the concept of hide and seek.

Which leaves [X]Fight. However that manifests. Though I'm reasonably certain we're not gonna get deaded given the general atmosphere of the story so far.
>> No. 29636
I see a fourth opinion available, which is to climb on top and just sit right on the viewport until she's forced to open the hatch to get us off.

At which point we pop 'er roight in da kissah.
>> No. 29637

That fall squarely under fight. Also, I like this plan.
>> No. 29638
I consider it it less "fighting" and more "deliberately inconvenient inaction, followed by a punch in the face".

Remember, it's only a fight if the other guy punches back! Don't get in fights; make sure the first hit does it.
>> No. 29640
File 148411290016.jpg - (686.76KB, 1132x895, tn_kiero_means_disappear.jpg) [iqdb]
See, /tg/ dude? I told you soon.

[X] Fight!

Ya act. The moment this dude's got her eyes trained outta your direction, ya run for it. Not away. 'Cause, like, that'd make sense, right? Run away from the angry dude behind the death cannon, and maybe if ya zigzag she won't time it right to getcha.

But no. Like ya said, that'd make sense. So that's not whatcha do. Instead, in that pinpoint in all of existence where both cannon and dude've forgotten you're even there, maybe, ya run at the both of 'em. Like, straight line. Ya aren't even disguisin' it here or tryin' to act in any way sneaky so it's no surprise that Rika notices the whole thing of you gettin' at 'er when you're only halfway and reacts like like any sane dude would.

Lucky for you, reactin' consists of fumblin' at her tank-insides to start swivelin' the cannon back atcha again, and by the time that starts happenin', you're already there—clamberin' up and over and onto the body of the whole deal, even as Rika's stopped rotatin' and started revvin' it tryin' to catch ya under the whole mess. She gets close—the toe of your sneaker fallin' into the shadow of the tank-front before ya manage to scramble it up after ya—but only close. And “close,” as you've heard one dude or another say, is a deal that only works out in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Speakin' of which: “Yo—Mac—got any hand grenades?”

Rinnosuke's standin' at the end of the room like a football player mid-play who's somehow still not sure which way to run. The only thing savin' his chattanooga at the mo is the fact that Rika looks to be operatin' similar, if the way the turret's jerkin' is anything to judge by. The cannon lurches back towards Rinnosuke—back towards you (totally ineffective as that'd be)—to him—to you—

Do I have what?” Rinnosuke says, and if it's a sorta distracted answer ya can't really blame 'im for it at the mo. Like, at all.

The cannon does another lurch, your way again, and then does a second lurch in the same direction. Ya look at Rika, who's lookin' at you pretty clearly now, eyes narrow, teeth showin' as she mutters something ya can't hear over the racket, and you suspect she's decided on a target here. “Grenades!” ya shout, as ya make yourself neighbor to the side of the cannon, which is a terrible place to be but prolly a lot better than straight in front. “Do ya have any grenades?”

“That's not an item familiar to me!”

Just say 'no,' Mac. But okay, then—time for plan B. Or at least it's gonna be time for that, once ya actually think up a plan B to put in motion. You're not gonna lie; ya sorta went off at this half-cocked here, which is the main reason the next thing ya do is grip onto the side of a tank cannon, sleeves protectin' your grippers as much as that counts for, as the turret the deal's attached to turns your way and then keeps turnin' your way—you attached—the dude turnin' it tryin' to dislodge ya off it so she can blast ya proper.

“Get off,” she says, and she's not mutterin' now. “Get off, get off, get off get off get off—”

Yeah, ya kinda wish she'd get back to mutterin'. “Yo, Mac!” ya yell. “Stop this crazy thing!”

And how exactly do you expect me to do that—

The idea gets moot, though—in a good way—'cause another ring-'round-the-rosie between you and the cannon and ya swing just right to find a place to stand, lettin' yourself get deposited back onto the tank front like a dude steppin' off at the train station (the cannon continues, clippin' ya odd over the skull on the pass, but that's just gravy—you can count bumps and bruises later).

From there, it's not too hard a step up one more to the roof of the thing, where Rika's pokin' her head out, still lookin' atcha like ya shivved her dog. You ignore her snarlin' and whatnot (“Waiting game—I'm done waiting—done being extorted—”) and as the cannon halts in its turn and starts unturnin', the best to make friends again, ya go for the main problem in this shop, fingers scrabblin' at the tank-roof's slope before finally findin' purchase and friction and everything ya need to pull yourself upwards

And then your face explodes in what-the-hey pain and ya lose all grip ya had and fall—and stumble backwards—lose your footin' and slip and fall some more and then land, square on your back on the shop floor with a solid thwack through the back of your skull and out the anterior.

She punched ya in the face, ya realize, somewhere between the thunder. She punched ya in the face and then ya fell down. That's totally unfair. She shouldn't be allowed to punch ya in the face. She's already got a tank—

Ya think someone says your name at this part, maybe. You're not sure. Everything's gone kinda tinny, like you're 'speriencin' the world through a Strombus shell. That's sight, too, by the way—you've gotta blink more than a few times before the shadows and lights sort themselves out and your eyes go back to deliverin' like they're supposta.

Though part of ya kinda wishes they hadn't, considerin' that when ya bend up your neck to assess the evolution of the whole sitch as it's gone while you've been dazed, it's the cannon you're face to not-face with direct. The end of it you'd prefer not havin' so close, to be specific.

It'd be a good time for a bout of dramatic silence, with the whole world holdin' its breath for that infinite sec, 'cept the tank's still a tank and doesn't stop rumblin' and clankin', tanklike, so that doesn't happen.

Should've, though.

“It's your fault,” Rika mutter-mumble-says, far up past her end of the cannon, and even though she's not shoutin' you can hear her enough to understand. Maybe that's the drama kickin' in. “I'm running behind—even now I'm running behind—that's your fault. You're all extortionists, but you're the one who started this.”

“Dude,” ya croak back, “you're a cracked egg.”

You're lyin' on the floor and Rika's got a tank pointed at your sweet mug. Obviously, you're in prime position to insult 'er from here. And she's gotta be thinkin' the same, guessin' by how her mouth stretches out into a double-row wall of teeth and she reaches down one more time to activate the pseudoanachronism that's about to reduce ya to Planck smithereens—

And then something small, angular, and multicolored flies through the ether like a fragment of rainbow shrapnel, shatterin' into plastic-gloss chunks against Rika's brow, sendin' 'er rearin' back—and the cannon does that too, the danger end of it suddenly jerkin' itself upwards and away from your mug with the unintended pull or push or you-dunno-how-tanks-work that Rika's accidentally done in there, in the same mo blastin' like it and she intended, but it's too late and maybe the shot's loud, like the sound of someone testin' a nail gun by your head, and maybe ya feel the heat of it, even, but it doesn't hit ya, and that's what's important—just goes flyin' bare feet over your nose like the worst limbo consequence.

There's a sound of more wood becomin' not so much anymore, but you don't've time for assessin' the damage—ya roll, put your hands against the shop floor, push yourself up—

And ya see Rinnosuke there, just for a sec—only for a sec, 'cause that's all you've got to look at him in, but ya see 'im in that sec, feet in a stance, one arm millin' back, the other outstretched in something kinda like a lunge 'cept not exactly, 'cause a lunge and a throw aren't the same thing at all, and if there's anything else ya catch in that sec it's how definitely not tucked-away-in-a-position-that'd-stand-up-to-tankin' he is.

There's something there, something ya oughta get, but ya seriously don't've the time here. Maybe later, when ya do. But for now? There's a dude in a tank, who has a tank, and also the tank, and all that's still a major factor right now.

(And if you've got a head to ruminate with later, maybe you can cover how ya keep gettin' your bacon pulled out at the last possible. 'Cause—that? Not a trend you appreciate.)

Rika gets her head back on in 'bout the same time it takes for you to get to your feet and start scramblin' back towards maybe-safety, which is either a nice enough coincidence or a really unfortunate one. She shakes her head to dislodge the concussionesquity like a character out a slapstick cartoon, then her eyes go back to narrow and focuses in on what she's got marked as the main threat in the room. Which isn't you anymore—good news!

Bad news—it's the dude who just took a crack at Rika's cranium long-distance, i.e. everyone's favorite shopkeep. Rika snarls—like, legit snarls this time, no words, even—and cranks her turret over himwise without anything even like a quantum of hesitation.

Which means it's your turn to make the rescue—like you were ever gonna leave Rinnosuke's save unrepaid. “Yo, eyes on me, gearhead!” ya holler, takin' a threatenin' step in the unwisest of directions once more.

“Stop talking!” Rika says, and the turret goes your way again—only to pull a version of a repeat of that whole unsurety routine it had on earlier, the cannon waverin' back and forth before settlin' with pointin' unsteadily in a spot between you and him. Rika seems a lot more aware of it this time, though—kinda settled down from her whole tank-aided berserker rage that she was all 'bout earlier. Maybe whatever Rinnosuke threw at 'er knocked something the opposite of loose?

Point is, in the time it takes for a dude to throw a knickknack at a second dude who's in a tank and then for the first dude to realize the possible profundity of regret, this whole deal's settled into a weird equilibrium. In this corner, Rika, who is a dude in a tank. Like some sort of Gensokyo tank that shoots magic bullets, but still a tank, with all the entailments bein'-a-tank's got attached. Up against her? The tank-bashin' tag team of the awesome Christie Christoferson and the also-awesome Rinnosuke Morichika. Only, Christie and Rinnosuke can't bash a tank easy at the mo, 'cause tank, still with the entailments. And the dude in the tank can't take the obvious route a dude in a tank would think of takin', 'cause if she makes to 'splode you again Rinnosuke's likely to take the opportunity to strike, maybe, and also swap the names if it's him she goes for instead. You're in a stalemate, in other words. Holdin' each other in check. And maybe she's got her king in ace position, but you dudes're bishops, 'cause you can move diagonally, and this chess metaphor went rank seriously quick but ya don't have time to construct a proper one, not now, not with a tank potentially pointed at your face. It's a matter of priorities, and priorities are kinda obvious, right now.

Point is, whatcha need—or whatcha don't need, maybe, dependin'—is a tiebreaker.

Or Rumia.

Ya see 'er the moment ya think 'er, like the answer to a prayer ya haven't gotten the chance to kneel for even—a dark figure out the shadows with a mug beatific (and how'dja miss a shinin' face like that, ya can't say). She's a shootin' star in a black dress, tracin' down a swoop of night, a dive bomber with an angel's smile—

And then also a lot like most shootin' stars she totally fails to actually hit a dude, smashin' face-first into the side of the turret just shy of anything Rikaform instead with a sound to make Chuck Barris nostalgic and then bouncin' off into a crumpled heap on the shop floor.

Which ya guess would make 'er a meteorite now, followin' the metaphor.

Since now she's landed.


“What,” says Rika, takin' her eye off the two of you just long enough.

Take two.

And this time, you've got a plan to go with it.

Okay, so it's not a complicated plan—“do exactly whatcha did last time, 'cept this time don't fail,” basically. But with you knowin' 'zactly where you're goin', and with all of Rika's attentions on the wrong dude—

She's bendin' over out of her tank head to look; it's like she wants to give ya a bigger target; it's too perfect

It's the sorta scene that wants a slow-mo shot wide. Here's you, runnin' for a tank like your life depends on it, 'cause it does. Here's Rika, still sufferin' momentarily under the effects of what-the-crispies-was-that. Ya spring

Some subconscious inklin' worms its way through Rika's head; ya watch 'er turn—

One foot landin' on the tank-front but ya don't even pause; no time for that; just another jump, your fingers itchin' for the handhold ya didn't grasp proper before—

Rika's body still turnin', eyes goin' wide, her realizin' what's goin' on—

Ya swing yourself up, to where you're gonna do the most good—

Rika almost lashes, almost shields herself, tries to split the difference, doesn't

And ya punch 'er in the schnozz.

It isn't a very hard punch, you've gotta admit. You're at a too-funky angle for it and goin' for gettin' the hit at all instead of gettin' it right. But four fingers and a thumb do what they're supposta do, which is enough, which is get the first bop in so you can string it up in a combo—

Rika's head snaps back—her body goes back, slammin' itself against the lip of the into-the-tank—slips, starts to fall in

Oh, no way you're lettin' 'er back into with the guns. Ya grab the collar of her shirt before she can drop, haul 'er—

(It's either her bein' light or you bein' all hopped up on determination, or maybe it's both, but she lifts easy, and ya aren't 'spectin' that—)

And ya pull too hard, 'cause she goes up, and you go back, and it's fallin' tank tank fallin' tank tank floor head.

Ow. Also, why does that keep happeni—.

Your totally righteous grouse 'bout head injuries becomin' a thing is cut off as your view of the shop roof stops bein' a view of the shop roof and suddenly starts bein' a view of an angry woman draggin' herself up over you. Ya thought she was ragin' before? Well, she was.

It's just that, now, she looks like she's gone so far she's come out the other end.

She's got a mug like she stepped it through a cloud of sindoor. She's got her teeth so tight ya wouldn't be surprised for one to get flyin' out. It's her hands on your collar now, bunchin' up the fabric tight in a coupla clenched fists. Her eyes—

—are wide and wet.

“Years,” she hisses, without movin' her jaws. “Years.”

You try sittin' up. It doesn't work. For obvious reasons.

“I have spent years saving,” says Rika. “Years and years. I'm not going to throw away years saving just because you're starting this now. There are prices for buying and buying for selling, and I'm running in place—almost running in place—and I have so much to do to her.”

“Dude,” ya say, and it's harder than you'd like with the feelin' of fingers way, way too close to your neckway, but ya manage, “I have no idea what you're talkin' 'bout.”

And then Rika takes the whole neckway problem an inch further, or farther, or more than an inch anyways, and takes that collar you've got and pulls. Not far, not all the way to you sittin' up, just enough that you're sorta hoverin' over the floor and it's mad uncomfy. And also your shirt fabric's prolly gettin' stretched. Like whoa.

“I am buying things and selling things and I am making profit,” Rika says, and you've got no idea here if she's tryin' to 'splain things to you or just goin' at it like the light at the end of a fuse. “I'm not making enough and that's okay; it's positive, but then you say 'raise the price' and he raises the price, and the kappa don't work for free.”

“'Kappa'?” ya—ya kinda gurgle, to be honest.

“There's a tank—I haven't built it; I haven't had it built, but it's up here—” And Rika makes a motion with her head, and her fingers pull, “—and they want it in a lump sum—the kappa—and I have spent years. I have spent years and years and I'm almost there and there's a better tank to build. There's a miko.”

“What's a miko?” ya ask.

And it's kinda funny, 'cause it's this question that stops up this verbal lahar. She just sorta freezes, not pullin' ya up, not pushin' ya down, just stares, her features relaxin' with the broadsideage of it all.

“What?” she goes

And then before she can say any more than that a hardback book comes cartwheelin' through the air stage left and gets 'er in the temple straight on, right with one of those pointyish corner bits.

She's barely up enough to stumble, but she does, off to the side again, her fingers goin' loose and finally lettin' your shirt be shirt. But yo, forget the sartorics—this seems like prime opportunity to get away from the dude who's been tryin' to do ya in, so ya do that, scootin' yourself backwards first of all and then gettin' to your feet and coverin' the rest of the distance in leggin' it, over to where Rinnosuke standin' tense.

His eyes go over atcha, just for a tick, and then return to the dude on the floor. His hands're up in front of 'im—not zombie-esque, but more like just hangin' there limp and curled, like he doesn't know what to do with 'em.

“Nice shot,” ya tell 'im, readjustin' your collar. “Ya really threw the book at 'er.”

“I just grabbed what I had,” Rinnosuke says. “I don't think I damaged it, but I can't be sure.”

Oh, right, the idiom isn't gonna exist in Japanese, obvs. Also, ya can't believe ya actually said that. Seriously, that's shame ya feel right now. “What was that thing ya threw the first time?” ya ask. “Y'know, right before I was gonna bite it.”

“A sort of puzzle cube,” says your savior to the power of x. His eyes don't lift from Rika, now. Ya join' 'em in starin'.

Dude's just lyin' on the floor, face-down.

She's alive, right? Rinnosuke can't've hit 'er that hard.

“You can turn the faces of it independently,” continues Rinnosuke in that weirdly distracted way he's got goin' on right now. “I can't tell for certain, but I think the goal was to shift the faces in such a way that each face was only one color.”

“Yeah, sounds 'bout right.”

Thanks, Ernő Rubik.

“So,” ya say, “Mac—what do we do now?”

Rinnosuke doesn't answer you, at least not with words. But he glances at you as you glance back, and then like on some signal unheard the two of you start approachin' the dude, slow and wary. 'Specially slow and wary, as ya get within potential strikin' distance. A snake can getcha even with its body chopped off, and plus ya have seen a horror flick, ever.

And it's a good thing ya did that, too, 'cause that's about when Rika starts stirrin', and ya don't mean soup. One arm reaches out like a spider's leg, bracin' itself against the floor—the head rises—

Rika looks up at the two of you lookin' down at her, and ya think—things've gotta look really awful from where she's lyin', don't they?

Her jaw creaks open.

Qui patiens est multa gubernatur prudentia; qui autem impatiens est exaltat stultitiam suam.

'Cept of course, it isn't Rika who says that. It's Rumia, instead, who's just joined ya at the Rikaside, makin' your duo a trio. She raises her arms in a T-pose, apparently no worse for the wear, and ya think—that's good. That's totally good. You were seriously worried, after that whole slam-into-the-tank deal she fell into—

And suddenly, laser.

It doesn't vaporize Rika, not like it did the poltergeist, which, y'know, lucky her, but also lucky you, 'cause you're kinda not up to watchin' somebody die today, even if this dude woulda been all for it happenin' the other way 'round. What the laser does do is send the dude skiddin' 'cross the shop floor like a spider hit with the full blast of a hair dryer. She goes tumblin' end over end, a sprawlin' silhouette in this whole lightshow of pain Rumia's cheerily dealin' out, up till she slams up against one of the walls she didn't bust, bouncin' off it in a way that makes shelves rattle and you wonder if Rumia isn't actually all up into the idea of ironic comeuppance.

That is ironic, right? The whole concept of irony's been kinda floaty lately. Not that that's new or anything. Like, who uses it to mean “playin' Socrates” nowadays?

Point is, Rika doesn't try gettin' up again. Ya don't know if she's unconscious—detectin' that sorta thing is totally not your forte, dig—but maybe she's gonna be disinclined to give it a second go either way. Even determination's got its limits.


“Rumia?” ya call out, keepin' your peepers careful even as ya look otherwise.


“That was totally sweet,” ya say. “Like, totally. More than made up for the whole dramatic-entrance-only-to-smash-yourself-in-the-head-with-a-tank thing.”

Rumia's smile droops at the edges into something kinda sheepish. “It's bright,” she says. “I can't see well when it's bright.”

“Fair enough.”

“And I get sleepy.”


Ya all stare at the dude on the ground some more. Dude still hasn't stirred. Maybe she is conked out proper this time.


Rinnosuke is a presence. “Yes?”

“I've gotta asterisk here.”

“You need to do what?”

“A word of warnin', Mac, warnin'. It's just that, uh, considerin' real recent developments, I don't think rememberin' this dude's name's gonna net ya a repeat customer. Like, even if ya do remember her name.”

Rinnosuke's head turns on its axis. Very very carefully, like it might fall off, till it's facin' you and not watchin' the dude who might or might not get up again like it oughta be doin'. “Do you really think so,” says the mouth attached to the front of it.

“Yeah, Mac,” ya say. “Just a hunch. There's some attitudes even hoomalimali can't soften up, y'know?”

The eyes that're also things attached to the head regard ya. At least, you're pretty sure they're regardin' ya. You're not lookin' 'em straight, for various reasons.

“I don't know what that means,” says Rinnosuke.

“Oh, uh—”

“My customer tried to kill me, two of the walls of my shop have been badly damaged, a significant amount of merchandise has been destroyed beyond salvaging or selling, and I don't know what the word that you used means.”

Various various reasons. “Um,” ya try, “well, look on the bright side, Mac. You've got us here with ya, right? We can get through this together.”

Somewhere behind ya, there's a grand crack as some construction gives up the ghost. And then the sound of alotta smaller other somethings hittin' the floor all at once in what you can only call a chord of destruction.

Or a mess.

“A mess” works.

Rinnosuke makes a sound somewhere 'round his velum.

“Yep,” ya say, and maybe it ya say it loud enough it'll have miraculous effects, “Gonna get through this together. You and me, and also Rumia. But seriously, Mac, we're just gonna blaze through this, you'll see. You'll be up and back to chargin' people in no time—”

“Stop,” says Rinnosuke. “Please stop.”

You stop.
>> No. 29641

And now they have a defense turret for the shop! And if any youkai get uppity tank can be used to drive over their sorry asses until they actually pay. Would not help with stronger gensokyians but then again, what does?
>> No. 29642
This story never fails to deliver.
>> No. 29643
File 148414556011.png - (200.04KB, 599x414, 1412551621072-2.png) [iqdb]
Half her shop is destroyed because we tried to help:

Lesson learned: never try to help
>> No. 29644
> “I am buying things and selling things and I am making profit,” Rika says, and you've got no idea here if she's tryin' to 'splain things to you or just goin' at it like the light at the end of a fuse. “I'm not making enough and that's okay; it's positive, but then you say 'raise the price' and he raises the price, and the kappa don't work for free.”

I just realised that Rika was bankrolling her new tank by purchasing things from Rinno and then selling it at marked-up rates, and that is why she reacted so strongly to our meddling.
>> No. 29647
But....but...why? Why Rika? Why do you need a tank? Why do you need anything? There no rent or taxes in Gensokyo. Why immediately resort to murder? I'm sure the dude would have accepted a handie in exchange for the tank goods, it's not like anyone else pays money.



It was a fun read though.
>> No. 29648
If recent events have taught us anything, it's that we need work out. You never know when another Tank's gonna want to bash skulls with us, and the next dude to drive it might actually have to IQ necessary to lock the top. 'Specially because of this Chekhov's boss fight.

>“—and they want it in a lump sum—the kappa—and I have spent years. I have spent years and years and I'm almost there and there's a better tank to build. There's a miko.”

Sanae? I can't think of anyone else so close to the kappa.
>> No. 29649
I'm pretty sure she wants to try to blast Reimu.
>> No. 29650
File 148418950496.png - (453.84KB, 414x499, 1469043175175.png) [iqdb]
>See, /tg/ dude? I told you soon.

you beautiful son of a bitch it really was you


>implying Rinnosuke would ever accept something like that

It's like you think the man has no ethics, pfah. Also I'm pretty sure he'd combust spontaneously if anyone ever tried to touch him like that.
>> No. 29651

Stay thine words, oh ye of little faith. I don't think anyone has ever even thought to ask the poor man. I mean like...we could be dealing with a "40 year old virgin" type scenario here. Who knows what dark desires lurk deep within the murky depths of his heart? Also, Chris claims to be a true bro, but she hasn't even asked to help him find a sexy girl to settle down with. Or at the very least find a dumb braud willing to let him get the tip wet, know what I'm sayin?
>> No. 29652
>See, /tg/ dude? I told you soon.
>six days
This is what I meant when I said we had different definitions of Soon™.
>> No. 29653
I've been waiting for my favorite Oh! My Goddess fic to update since December 2013.

You won't get no sympathy from me.
>> No. 29654
You wanna play thus game, boyo? Because I've been desperately hoping the author of a surprisingly good Warcraft/Warhammer crossover fic isn't actually dead since he vanished in 2011.
>> No. 29655
You think that's bad? I'm still waiting for a *Scorn* update.
>> No. 29656
Oh yeah? Well I don't know what that is! So there.
>> No. 29657

The point is, I think we can all agree that roughly four thousand words even in 17 days isn't the worst kind of progress where fanfiction is involved.
>> No. 29658
File 148434774745.png - (468.31KB, 800x440, 0Xh610n.png) [iqdb]
>> No. 29659
Fallout Gensokyo
>> No. 29660
File 148437996885.jpg - (1.04MB, 5000x5000, 1459796006026.jpg) [iqdb]
I've been waiting for about six quests and OP that was writing one of them is updating a story on this site.
>> No. 29661
Come on guys, is this really the place for this discussion? I mean, I know we all miss Patchy Quest, but let's not let our intense feelings of sadness and loss cloud our judgement. I'm sure OP would appreciate it if we went back to praising his amazing story.
>> No. 29662
This sounds like sarcasm. But just in case it isn't, there is nothing wrong with offtopic posting every now and then. This ain't forums, damn it.
>> No. 29663
File 148514058099.gif - (106.59KB, 320x180, (2÷3)πr.gif) [iqdb]
So there's this pretty famous puzzle. Like, mad famous. You're talkin' practically ubiquitous here, least to the globe's western half. It goes like this:

You're on one side of a river and ya wanna get to the other. There's no bridge. There's a boat, though, left out for any dude to use just as long as they're on the same side of the river as the thing, apparently. And it is on your side, which is cool, 'cept for the further complications ranklin' the whole sitch.

See, not only have ya gotta transport yourself over the river, which would be fine, but also there's a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage you've gotta get over as well. And the boat's only a two-seater, one of which has gotta be you, owin' to the general inability of wolves, goats, and especially cabbages to boatrow.

Oh, and also as long as you're babysittin' it's all hunky-dory in terms of wolf-goat-cabbage relations, but if you leave the wolf and goat on their own while ya take the boat to the other side, that goat is goin' down the gullet. Ditto for if ya leave the goat and cabbage unattended, 'cept it's the cabbage that bites it. Or gets bitten. Whatever.

And no, ya can't squeeze the wolf and cabbage into one seat. There's not enough room, or the boatin' system has a very strict only-two-passengers-slash-cabbages policy, or something.

Now, considerin' all this—the river, the boat, the boatspace, the four of you cispontine minus the pont—how do you end up on the other side, company intact?

“All I'm sayin' is, I feel like the answer would be applicable here,” ya say to Rumia. “Or something.”

Rumia tilts her head, clearly givin' the whole matter the thought it deserves.

You adjust your sittin' and continue.

“I mean, it's not an exact science, prolly. But it fits, right? Thematically. I mean, Rinnosuke's left us alone before trustin' us not to get blasted or chomped one way or another, but...”

Ya wave your hand, acknowledgin' the new ventilation Rinnosuke's pad is all about at the mo. Which makes ya slip a little—but no, you've got it. Still, ya adjust your sittin' again, this time more firmly just in case.

“So like, thoughts?” ya ask. “Corrections? Various ruminations? I'd do the wordplay there, but it doesn't really work in Japanese.”

“I ate a goat, once,” Rumia says. “When you eat a goat, it makes a lot of noise. Most humans do, too.”

Legit fascinatin', but you're not sure it helps. “The goat's a metaphor,” ya say.

Rumia hmms, head still tilted.

“Also I think in this particular sitch there are multiple goats. And the wolves are indefinite. And the cabbage can bite back, potentially. Like I said, thematic.”

Rumia hmms again. Then, carefully, slowly, like a dude outta the high-stakes world of contact jugglin', she restraightens her neck and reaches her arms out the sides. “You should take the goat to the other side,” she says. “Then come back, and take the wolf or the cabbage to the other side. Then come back with the goat, and take the cabbage or wolf to the other side. Then come back, and take the goat to the other side.”

And havin' said that, she puts her arms back down, brushes down her dress, and sits all very dainty on the floor beside ya.

Ya look at Rumia.

Rumia smiles.

Ya look down at your hands.

Ya work out the math yourself. Fingers're involved.

“Huh,” ya say. “I kinda thought that'd be a lot more help than actually it is.”

Bonum est confidere in Domino, quam confidere in homine.

Still don't know Latin.” Ya bend sideways just a tilt, lookin' down over. “How 'bout you?” ya ask. “You got anything?”

Rika looks up from where she's lyin' prone on the shop floor and also pinned square underneath the gravitative force of you. It's not a real friendly look. Or a real I-am-champin'-at-the-bit-to-assist-in-logic-puzzle-application-slash-Latin-translation look, either.

She sorta shifts, tryin' to break free, but that whole sittin'-on-'er deal you've got goin' on at the mo is a real obstruction there. Also the fact that while she was out of it you and Rinnosuke took every vaguely cordlike production in the pad and wrapped 'em all over the dude with enough twists and turns to make a Scout break out in hives. Knots'ren't your forte (though ya can't speak for Rinnosuke), but quantity's its own kinda quality, right?

“So that's a 'no,'” ya say.

The gaze Rika rolls up atcha is fulla bale, straight up. “Fmff,” she says.

“Yeah, didn't think so,” ya say, noddin'. “Dude's gotta hope, though.”



Rika's all set to agree further, prolly, or at least make a lot more with the muffled mumblin' (which is close enough, as far as you're concerned), but then ya never get to know for sure, 'cause Rumia just sorta peps to attention, standin'—not straight, 'zactly, but alert, lookin' somewhere over your shoulder past the back of it on. Ya turn your neck, followin' her eyesight.

It's Rinnosuke, which is cool.

And he's brought company.

Coolness pendin'.

It's a coupla dudes Rinnosuke's got with 'im, specifically. One of 'em's walkin' close to Rinnosuke's side, like she's ready to pull 'im down and take the bullet instead, the other trailin' behind in a meanderin', zigzaggy sorta way. And seriously, they couldn't be more off opposite ends of the spectrum if ya tried. Like, the dude next to Rinnosuke? The 'spression she's wearin' belongs on the mug of a dude that is all outta bothers and isn't shy 'bout lettin' an audience know, while the other dude—the trailin' dude—isn't even here right now. You can tell that from the unfocused gaze she's totin'. Where she actually is ya don't know, but if ya hafta guess—


Orbitin' Jupiter, prolly.

The clothes are a little more samey, in the way gettin' your pinky finger cut off has some thematic similarities with losin' your head. Outta-Bothers is bearin' a mostly red something that ya might kinda accurately call a dress, if it weren't missin' the armpits for some reason. As it is, ya guess it is a dress, still—just a sleeveless one. Or there are sleeves, but those sleeves're just hangin' there, detached. Ya can't guess how the dude keeps 'em up, not without a closer study.

The other dude, meanwhile—Jupitous—is wearin' what you'd guess to be a normal robe set, featurin' a casual spotty pattern of flowers or fireworks or starbursts (which are also flowers) or at least something radial near to the hems of it. That's not weird. What is weird is that the robe? Jupitous is drownin' in it, practically. Like, there's wrapped up for the oncomin' winter—which ya get, totally; Japan's gettin' cold, yo—and then there's this, which is kinda approachin' overboard with vigor.

Though okay, it's not overboard yet. There are levels. But it's gettin' there.

But back to the important part: Rinnosuke's back, which is totally, totally cool. You'd spring up, if ya weren't doin' the way important job of keepin' a tank dude down, which ya are—so, well, ya don't. Ya just wave hello, callin' out a hearty, “Yo, Mac!”

Rinnosuke waves his head back. Or, as some dudes like to call it, “nods.” Which is also a hello.

Unfortunately, the dude's not the only dude in the vicinity zeroin' in on the sound of your dulcet notes. The moment ya break the air, Outta-Bothers—you remember Outta-Bothers, from earlier—does basically the same, lookin' your way as good as Rinnosuke ever did. Only problem is, she's not so keen on the greets, apparently? Which'd be fine on its own, you've gotta admit. After all, you dunno her, and vice versa. What she does do, though, is focus a laser beam of sight right atcha—no, over you, like you're at the grocery store and she's lookin' for the bars that say how much ya cost.

Ya kinda don't like it. Like, nothing's solid, but—it's inducin' with the badfeel, you've gotta say? Yeah.

And that badfeel gets even badder when she shifts that same look over to Rumia, 'cept when she does that the laser beam ups in intensity drastic. And that's the new normal it holds at, even when it moves off 'er and starts takin' in the less important bits of the scene, like Rika, and, y'know.

The tank.

Which is still there, 'cause, y'know, can't move a tank.

Rika could move a tank! Don't wanna let Rika move a tank. For obvious reasons.

Point is, that's a real unsteadyin' look, which means it's a seriously awesome time for Rinnosuke to make himself the center of the universe. “Was there any trouble?” he says.

Tryin' not to get any Outta-Bothers in your peepers, ya give 'im a thumbs-up. This thumbs-up means “everything rocked,” and not “yes.” It's a real important distinction 'cause “yes” would mean the opposite of “everything rocked,” here. “Tank dude still secure!” you report. “Me and Rumia were on it.”

“She didn't run, so I didn't eat her,” Rumia adds.

Tank Dude below yourself stops squirmin' quick. Like, real quick.

Rinnosuke nods some more, which you're gonna interpret as supreme satisfaction that Christie Christoferson and Rumia Wait-Does-She-Have-a-Surname-Even are on the case. Then he sees a thing, and that noddin' stops partway. “Why is she gagged?” he asks.

Ya glance down at Tank Dude. Specifically, at the dustin' cloth you had Rumia shove across her mouth halfway through the waitin' game.

“It's thematic,” ya say.

“I see,” says Rinnosuke, after a pause. Then he turns his head, acknowledgin' the dudes he brought with 'im—both the one to his side and the one laggin' behind.

Outta-Bothers catches the turn and does ditto at the one dude in the back who hasn't. “Well?” she says.

Jupitous raises her head slowly from where she's busy makin' rounds. And then, suddenly—like, you're talkin' blink-and-ya-miss-it suddenly—all that dopiness drops and she pops into focus sharp. Didja really say she was circlin' Jupiter? Turns out the reason she was circlin' Jupiter was 'cause Jupiter's a good place to circle if you're a death laser. What's up, Project Excalibur?

“Aha,” mutters Jupitous, takin' in the tableau. “Well—something's certainly happened here.”

Yeah, ya can't really argue with that. “Who's the dudes, Mac?” ya break in, before all of this can get any more ahead of you.

Rinnosuke does the sorta sweepy arm gesture done by all dudes tryin' to facilitate introductions. He gestures at Jupitous first (which is kinda weird, actually, considerin' Outta-Bothers is a lot closer). “This is Kotohime,” he says. “She's a...”

He pauses.

“...police officer?”

That sounds like some serious unsurety, Mac.

Outta-Bothers pipes in to back 'im up, though. “She's a police officer,” she says, and—well, okay. Ya mean, she doesn't look like how you'd think a cop would look, but then again, it's not like ya ever thought about what a Gensokyo cop would look like at all, right? Maybe this set-up is totally advantageous to the Gensokyo Police Department. Or maybe there's some magic in the robes or something. Right?

Rinnosuke continues, unheedin' of your analysis, prolly 'cause he can't read your mind. He does his second intro, motionin' at Outta-Bothers. “And this,” he says, “is...”

Ya wait for the bit that comes after this pause, only to realize after, like, a good hefty ten seconds that it's not gonna happen. Rinnosuke just looks at you, then at Outta Bothers, and it's a look ya can't 'zactly read, 'cept for the extreme uncomfiness.

In the end, Outta-Bothers finally, finally takes over herself. “Hakurei Reimu,” she says.

Real life doesn't have a soundtrack attached, but if it did, ya feel like ya woulda gotta a real forebodin' chord there. Or at least a subtle change in room tone.

[ ] Maybe get some exposition from Rinnosuke here?
[ ] Might be advantageous to buddy-buddy with a cop.
[ ] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.
[ ]
>> No. 29664
[X] Might be advantageous to buddy-buddy with a cop.

Cops! Something familiar! Let's go all, perp, MO, al and the like.
>> No. 29666
[X] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

Oh hey, after all this time Chris has finally met the person who can get her out of Gensokyo... If she can even remember that.
>> No. 29667
[x] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

Probably best to be honest because I'm not sure how receptive Reimu will be to whatever Christie means with "buddy-buddy."
>> No. 29668
[x] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

We don't have the greatest track record for first impressions, but this Reimu dude already seems to be filing us under "pain in the hiney." Let's see if we can't head that off at the pass and maybe establish amicable relations. It could work, right?

>> No. 29669
[X] Might be advantageous to buddy-buddy with a cop.

>> No. 29670
[X] Might be advantageous to buddy-buddy with a cop.

I don't wanna go home
>> No. 29671
[x] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.
>> No. 29672
[x] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.
>> No. 29673
[x] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

For some reason I feel like this is the least dangerous option.
>> No. 29675
[X] Might be advantageous to buddy-buddy with a cop.

On the one hand, finally getting to talk to Reimu and potentially making a good first impression. On the other hand, Best Girl. Sorry Reimu, you're gonna have to wait a bit.
>> No. 29676
[X] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

Time to talk to the shrine maiden.
>> No. 29677
[X] Maybe get some exposition from Rinnosuke here?
>> No. 29679
[X] Maybe get some exposition from Rinnosuke here.

For some reason I feel like I should be slightly ashamed for not recognizing princess-policewoman Kotohime. But then again I don't really see many references to the older games.
>> No. 29683
[X] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

If it makes you feel any better, I still don't know who she is.
>> No. 29686
File 148547064920.jpg - (835.37KB, 2480x3507, the_miko_is_back_again.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Better to beat uncomfiness head-on—talk to Reimu.

There's something real uncanny 'bout this dude. Some kinda aposematism you're pickin' up on a level ya can't entirely pick up on.

Which means the really smart thing to do is to charge 'er head-on, in a matter of speakin'. Ya look 'er in the eyes direct and stretch your mug into a CFL smile. “What's up, dude?”

Rinnosuke's whole face flinches. Like, just all at once. It's a neat trick.

As for the receiver of your upwhattin', she doesn't react in any way that makes ya any comfier. She glances at you, at Rumia (why Rumia keeps bein' a thing ya don't know), turns her head so she can glance properly at Rinnosuke—

“'What's up,'” Rinnosuke cuts in, before this dude—Reimu—can staredown the whole globe. “It's a greeting—it means something like 'what is happening?'”

“Then she should say that,” says Reimu, and, wow. Prescriptivist much?

Still, gotta grin and bear it. “So, who're you dudes?” ya ask, pointin', as to leave the “you dudes” unambiguous. “Rinnosuke said he knew a dude who could take care of a whole tank-dude-attacks-the-shop aftermath, but he was sorta skimp on the deets. Or, like, in what capacity this caretakin' would come in—y'know?”

“I don't understand most of what you said,” says Reimu.

“Dude, seriously?”

Reimu sorta regards ya for a sec more before switchin' over abrupt to Rinnosuke. “Already dropping honorifics?” she says.

“We've been living in the same house for two months,” Rinnosuke says.

“You've been living in the same house because you haven't sent her away.”

“If it's using honorifics,” Rumia says, her voice slippin' into the forefront like the sound of a dinner bell, “she never did it at all.”

Reimu looks at Rumia with a gaze that could prolly drill a hole in something that isn't a kid-sized youkai in a black dress. Then she looks at Rinnosuke with a gaze that's almost the same as that, but isn't.

Rinnosuke doesn't return that. Actually, he looks like returnin' it is the last thing he wants to consider. Maybe better help 'im out? “Uh, yo.”

You punctuate your yo-ing with another arm-wavin', which turns out totally unnecessary. Everyone's lookin' atcha even without. But they're not lookin' at Rinnosuke anymore, so...mission accomplished?

“Are we talkin' 'bout me?” ya ask. “'Cause, like, if we're talkin' 'bout me, I kinda wanna be involved in that, dudes.” You consider. “And also Mac.”

Reimu digests what's a totally reasonable request, and, havin' digested it, sorta just kinda tosses it away, turnin' back at Rinnosuke—whoops. “'Mac'?” she prompts.

“It's something she calls me, for some reason,” Rinnosuke says, avodin' eyes.

“You have nicknames?”

She has a nickname for me. Why is this important? This isn't what I needed your help with—”

“Ah, I understand now.”

That's not Rinnosuke or Reimu. It's not Rumia, either, and it's definitely not you.

All the eyes in the world check Kotohime out.

'Cept instead of givin' 'er stage fright, all that that eyeballin' does is sorta gracefully pump 'er up, that Mona Lisa smile gettin' ever Mona-Lisaer. She closes her eyes, not to block anything out, but like she's gotta close 'em on account of the fairy dust that got all sprinkled on her lashes.

When she speaks, it's—level. Enunciated, 'cept only to a spot and not any more than that.

“Then, others, who are you? The one called Master Rinnosuke spoke to me, that he knew of one who understood the method by which the aftermath of an attack upon a shop by a war-vehicle could be resolved. However, only of this he spoke to me. Of the one's method, he spoke not. May this yet be understood?”

She opens her eyes again.

There's no diff in the quiet the shop's all about, there. But it feels like there is, anyways. Like ya had a brush, just then, with some kinda nebulous magic.

What,” says Reimu.

“—is what she said,” says Kotohime, and the magic's gone.

Rumia nods. “She says things weird,” she says, in—oh, come on, is that supposta be commiseration or something?

“This I-can't-understand-the-dude shtick is totally unwarranted,” ya grouse. “I'm intelligible. Like whoa, I'm intelligible.”

“No, you're not,” says Reimu.

“You're not,” says Rumia.

“Not particularly,” says Rinnosuke.

“I understood her!”

“See?” ya say, and also, Kotohimewards, “Thanks.”

“Though it took me a minute to place it in normal words.”

“Okay, maybe stop helpin' me out here.”

“I'm not helping.”

“Yeah, that's, like, all beaucoup clear, at the mo—”

“My guest's habits of speech aside,” Rinnosuke interrupts, “I'd like it if someone would take custody of the person who demolished my shop.”

Reimu holds an unblinkin' stare Rinnosuke's way.

Kotohime swings her eyesight all at various places. And dudes.

“The person Christie's sitting on,” Rinnosuke specifies.

Ya offer up a visual aid. By wavin'.


“Ah,” says Kotohime, and ya can't tell if she's only really really noticin' Rika now, but, like, ya wouldn't be surprised? “That's fine, then. It's been a long time since I got to put somebody in jail.”

And, that hinky sentence all out there, she crouches down, grabbin' hold of Rika by the back of the collar. Which is prolly close enough to police custody in a place like this, so ya roll yourself off the dude, feelin' your joints pop with the shiftin' of 'em. Sittin' on a dude that long'll drive ya stiff.

Rika, of course, starts gagmouthin' with new energy the sec this hand-off starts, but one, not your problem, and two, she totally deserves it, whatever the “it” that's settin' off this new kinda protest is. Discomfort at gettin' manhandled, maybe. Or just the realization she's been snatched by the five-oh for realsies now.

Dude tried to getcha with a tank. Your sympathy's at an all-time low, here.

Anyways, ya finally get to stand (on wobbly legs, you've gotta admit), and the sight of Kotohime luggin' Rika like a dude haulin' a particularly ugly sports bag is real neato, no kiddin'. “Thank you for your cooperation,” the cop says, salutin' with the hand unloaded.

And then she about-faces, and, with a back straight and a bearin' almost militaryish, marches out the shop front door, criminal load squirmin' and mumblin' and protestin' the best anyone can protest without words to protest with all the way through till the sound of it fades into forestry.



That was admittedly kinda cool. “Exeunt, stage right,” ya mutter.

“You said you didn't know Latin,” says Rumia.

“It's not Latin, it's theater. Total diff—”

And then ya turn and hey, that Reimu dude—when'd she get so close?

Okay, so she isn't close-close. Like, there's plenty of air between the tips of your noses respective. But she definitely got closer while you were literally seein' Kotohime and baggage off, enough to make ya pause mid-sentence, even if it was right before the endin' punctuation. Uncool. And kinda not insignificantly creepola.

“Yo,” ya offer, tentatively.

Reimu doesn't yo back. She's back to scannin' mode, and if ya thought it was unnervin' before, this close it's a straight up neurectomy. It doesn't help the way she's got her head set—juttin' her chin atcha like an actual neurectomy—involuntary on your part, natch—isn't totally outta the question here. Even her lowerin' it a centimeter makes ya feel a little better.

“So,” she says, “you're still here.”

“Uh, yeah?” ya say. “Not like I put a tank through Rinnosuke's wall, right?”

Reimu continues on like ya didn't just make a good point there. “I thought you would've left by now,” she said. “Left, or died. One of those.”

“Yeah, between the ghost in the machine and the dude in the tank, it's kinda a wonder I haven't totally bit it,” you admit.

“And the failed homunculus, too.”

“Yeah, and the homunculus, too—” Ya stop short, so you can double-check that proper, what it was ya just said. “Hey, dude—how'dja know 'bout the homunculus?”

Reimu doesn't tell ya how she knew 'bout the homunculus. Reimu stares ya in the eye, like she's lookin' deep for something. Like she's studyin' your process on some sorta test and she's actively givin' ya every chance to pass, openin' all the doors ahead of you so you can see the finish line, and even with that goin' for ya you're still found wantin'.

Those eyes, man.

“Anyway, you're not what I expected.” And then that eyeline finally breaks and if that isn't a breath of fresh air, ya dunno what is.

Though the comment makes ya raise your eyebrows. “You were 'spectin' something?”

“No, not as much. Mostly, I wanted to see the person Marisa let use her Mini-Hakkero.”

And then ya spoke too soon 'cause the eyes're back, the eyes're back, not cool


“Uh.” Ya take a glance at Rinnosuke, but if that worried-lookin' look en pointe all up on his face's any clue, you're thinkin' he's not gonna swoop in to save ya again. “If you're hopin' for a repeat performance, I'm gonna hafta disappoint,” ya said. “Marisa and me aren't 'zactly on speakin' terms, at the mo.”

“I heard that, too,” Reimu says. “But you seem to get along well with Rumia.”

Ya look at the dude in question. Rumia is still there, and still Rumia, which ya think is pretty good thing for Rumia to be, if anyone's askin' you for opinions. She smiles atcha as she leans your way, the corners of her crescent mouth stretchin' ever so slightly more than they're curlin' already, and that makes ya feel better, actually.

“Yeah,” ya say. “Rumia's a real cool dude. She's hauled my chattanooga outta some serious damage, y'know? When a dude does that, you've gotta appreciate.”

“Even though you know what she is?”

You're not likin' the direction this whole convo's takin'. “Ya mean, like, a youkai?” ya ask. “'Cause I know she's a youkai. Rinnosuke told me and everything.”

Reimu looks at Rinnosuke. There's a pause, while Rinnosuke realizes that he's the dude 'spected to talk, now, and then he fumbles in accordance. “It was the first thing I told her about,” Rinnosuke says. “It didn't change anything.”

Reimu makes a low, considerin' sound.

Then she looks to you. Ya kinda wish she'd stop lookin' here. Ya kinda wish she'd stop bein' here. There's some serious subtext goin' on here and you can feel it passin' ya by like the sinister of a horror-flick shark grazin' a swimmer's toes.

'Cept in this case the swimmer's never heard of a shark or a horror flick and has no basis for properly proportionatin' the threat.

But, like.

Something's down there.

“Most Outsiders come in two kinds,” Reimu says. “Either they're too afraid, or they're not afraid enough.”

She was talkin' 'bout you, and you're an Outsider, so ya guess technically she didn't just shift from fourth to first without a segue there. Still, no idea where she's goin' with this. “Yeah?” ya say, fishin'.

Reimu doesn't bite. Just keeps starin' atcha. Then she looks at Rumia, the same kinda deliberate look she's been gracin' mostly youwards here.

Though if it affects Rumia in any way, dude doesn't show it. Just smiles her Rumia smile, and float-skips over to poise herself by the hangin' of your arm. She's got her arms in instead of out, but she tilts her head and you can feel her ribbon, brushin' against ya.

Reimu shifts her eyes up. Youwards again.

“As long as you know, you can't complain,” she says. “Don't think it's anyone's responsibility but your own.”

Yeah, you've got no idea what the haysel. “Sure,” ya say. “No problemo, dude.”

And whaddya get in reply? A snort. Ya didn't even know soul-weary snorts were a thing. But if that's the sound a Reimu makes when the high beams in her peepers get turned down—which is what happens—then you're all very down with that. Or maybe she's still got those things on full-blast, and ya just can't tell 'cause they aren't pointed directly atcha. Like traffic lights.

Either way, it's Rinnosuke she's all involved in, now, which makes it fine for you, either way. Maybe not so fine for Rinnosuke, dependin'. “Set out some tea the next time I come over, will you?” she says to the dude. “All this talking made me thirsty.”

“If you're asking me to prepare tea in advance, that's impossible,” says Rinnosuke. “You never tell me when you're coming over, anyway.”

“I come over often enough you should be able to figure it out by now.”

“If there isn't any pattern, I can't predict—”

Whatever objection Rinnosuke got for objectin' with is lost on Reimu, though, 'cause she's barely got her own words out her gab before she turns on her heel like a whip and strides out the door like she owns it. The stride, and also the door. And maybe everything else.

Then she sort of pushes—'cept, it's not so much pushin' as pushin' and pullin' and doin' nothing at all, all at the same time—

And she goes floatin' up and off. And then she clears the doorway, so ya can't even see 'er anymore.

And she's gone.



“So, that was meaningful,” ya say.

You can feel Rinnosuke's eyes. Ya don't mind as much, though. Ya like these eyes better. “'Meaningful,'” the dude parrots, dead flat.

“Well, like, I mean, I'm not sure what the meanin' was, but I'm pretty sure it was meaningful,” ya say. “Kinda like a Zen koan, y'know?”

“She's not a Buddhist; she's a Shintoist.”

“I dunno what that is, Mac.” Rumia shifts off in any old direction, her ribbon glancin' off your arm again as she passes off—ya sorta absentmindedly reach after it as it goes, but you're too slow to unravel it or whatever. Oh well. “Hey, Mac,” ya say, as something occurs to you. “That Reimu dude—maybe I've got my ears back up, but did she say her last name was 'Hakurei'?”

The question just sorta hangs there. Ya look at Rinnosuke to make sure he doesn't need a rebootin', but no—dude's lucid. Eye contact and everything.

“Yes,” he says slowly, like he's real apprehensive 'bout the monster at the end of the sentence, “she did say that.”

“Yeah, I thought so,” ya say, noddin'. “Wasn't sure, though. I thought it coulda been one of those things—y'know, like when you're hearin' stuff real unclear and ya don't get all the audibles, so your brain's like, 'Well, something's gotta go in that empty space,' and tries to fill in the gaps itself, 'cept it sorta sucks at it. Ya know what I'm talkin' 'bout, Mac?”

“I can't say for sure that I have or that I haven't,” says Rinnosuke. “It's definitely the first time I've considered the idea.”

“Seriously, Mac? Well, now ya know what you're listenin' for, right? If that happens to you, and ya know it's happenin' to you, you've totally gotta let me know.”

“That might be difficult. If I hear something incorrectly, I may not know I heard it incorrectly in the first place.”

“Ooh. Good point, Mac. Yeah, you've gotta be vigilant like whoa.”

Ya look at Rinnosuke and Rinnosuke looks at you. Rumia wanders back into the room, her hands together, cuppin' round something black and colored and plasticky. Rubik again, or ya guess his pieces. Rumia squats down and lets one of the larger remains tilt outta there. It lands on the floor, skitters for a sec, and then more or less balances diagonal 'cross a coupla faces of it.

Rumia stands up and clear again, peerin' down at her openin' move. Then she looks at the rest of the rubble she's got ahold of in that handbowl of hers. Assessin'.

“Hey, Mac,” ya say.

“Yes?” says Rinnosuke.

“Isn't 'Hakurei' also the name of that one shrine I'm supposta be headed off to?” ya ask.

“It is,” says Rinnosuke.

“And I'm guessin' that's not a coincidence, right, Mac?” ya ask.

“No, it's not,” says Rinnosuke.

“Yeah,” ya say.

Ya sit down (you're used to sittin' on the floor by now), tentin' your knees up in front of you so you can study 'em—your knees, ya mean. Course, ya can't see 'em, 'cause your jeans're in the way, but you're A-OK with studyin' those, instead, so whatever.

Are ya gettin' a hole? Not that that'd be a surprise, considerin' all the death-defyin' highjinkery you're puttin' this one singular pair into. Jeez.

“To be honest, I expected more than that,” says Rinnosuke.

“Huh? More than what, Mac?” ya say.

“Your response,” says Rinnosuke. “I expected you'd react in something closer to the usual fashion.”

“Yeah,” ya say. “I'm kinda emotionally drained at the sec. Way too much happened, and I'm pretty sure it's not even, like, afternoon proper, yet. That's, like, mega-ridic.” Ya look over at the clock Rinnosuke never got to set, like you're actually gonna get something useful outta that, but ya don't even get the clock—no, wait, there it is; it just got knocked over sometime durin' the whole tank thing. When'd that happen? “I.O.U. one soul-cleansin' 'nuts,' Mac.”

“I don't know what that means.”

“Rain check, Mac, rain check. Trust me, I am totally gonna go off and scream at the heavens. I just hafta work up to it, is all.”

Rinnosuke looks at you. Rinnosuke looks at the hole in his wall. Rinnosuke looks at the other hole in his other wall.

“We can't sleep here tonight,” he says.

“'Cause there's holes in the shop?”

“Because there are holes in the shop, yes.”

Man, it's been a day and a half.

[ ] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.
[ ] Maybe ya oughta make up with Marisa. Or make truce, at least.
[ ]
>> No. 29687
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Hang with Alice, she's cool
>> No. 29688
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Damn Reimu, you scary.
>> No. 29689
[X] Maybe ya oughta make up with Marisa. Or make truce, at least.

Even if Alice has a much nicer house, she has to face Marisa eventually.
>> No. 29690
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Alice 4 life
>> No. 29691
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

We must make her know that the doll is fucking alive. She has already achieved her lifelong dream!
>> No. 29692
[x] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

>> No. 29693
[x] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Though hell or heaven bars the path, always vote Shanghai.
>> No. 29694
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Although I wouldn't mind meeting with Marisa (and potentially seeing how far she's gotten with the homunculus stuff at this point) I feel as though Alice may be the safer option...although I use the term "safer" somewhat loosely.
>> No. 29695
[X]See where Rumia chills when she's not with us
Frankly, I trust Rumia more than I'll ever trust Alice. Besides, camping in a tree is more fun than sleeping in the same house as her creepy ass dolls.
>> No. 29696
[X] I´m hundred-percent sure that Keine will let us bunk in her pad.
>> No. 29697
Besides, Alice will demand payment from Rinno and we don´t want him to owe anything to her.
>> No. 29698
[X]See where Rumia chills when she's not with us
This is a fun option. Where does she stay, anyway?
>> No. 29699
[X]See where Rumia chills when she's not with us
>> No. 29700
I was this guy right here. Changing my vote:

[X]See where Rumia chills when she's not with us

This can only end so well.
>> No. 29701
[X]See where Rumia chills when she's not with us
>> No. 29702
File 14857630413.jpg - (302.36KB, 960x727, tumblr_o92qg6wgDQ1rjmvbeo1_1280.jpg) [iqdb]
It's awfully close, so I'ma actually lay down for you guys the winner—it's Alice, by a hair.
>> No. 29703

Probably for the best considering Rumia is more or less a youkai hobo.
>> No. 29704
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

Meaningless vote just raise reader headcount.
>> No. 29705
[X] Chill with Rumia
>> No. 29706
Shouldn't Rika pay for the damages she caused? Yknow, with that money she saved by ripping off Rinnosuke, o she could buy a tank to kill Reimu?
>> No. 29707
Something tells me she doesn't have a lot in the way of liquid assets. PROBABLY just buys her food then drops the rest on the down payment for tank MK2.
>> No. 29708
I wish this were a darker story so I could vote-lobby for killing her and being done with it. What an absolute horrible cunt.
>> No. 29709
Look here, son.

I was the one responsible for setting this off, and I asked for only a SMALL increase in the price. Y'all bandwagoners are really funkin' up my groove here, and I don't take lightly to that. It was you dolts who got her so pissed off at you, not me.
>> No. 29710
But you lost. We got no increase and she still got pissed.

I think that if your vote won, then she'd have strangled us at the spot.

And put 'sage' on your email field. That's what it is for.
>> No. 29712
File 148652870643.jpg - (297.22KB, 595x600, where_have_all_the_bothers_gone.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] That Alice dude has a pad, right? You've been there. It had walls.

“So, what's it for us, Mac?” ya ask—not thatcha don't immediately kick your head into gear and start wonderin' it forwards yourself. “Ya got a friend you can mooch a bed off from?”

Rinnosuke's mug goes a little painful. “Not exactly,” he admits.

That doesn't sound right. There's gotta be someone in Rinnosuke's monkeysphere willin' to lend a coupla sheets, at least. “What about that Keine dude?” ya ask. “Arentcha you and her all significantly buddy-buddy?”

The pause is deep. You're talkin' fathomless. Profound. “Keine and I are...spending some time away from each other,” Rinnosuke finally says, and—well, ya know how really unspecified meaningfulness has been, like, all the rage, lately?

More of that, there.

You're starin' at Rinnosuke's face, tryin' to suss that mystery out, when something occurs. “Hey, Mac—does this have anything to do with why ya came home back from the festival with a mood like a rotten egg?”

That mug you've been studyin' does a transfiguration hard. You're catchin' regret, with a dash of irritation and a sweet spoonscoop of inwards loathin'.

That means “yes.”

Though he's not the only one feelin' regret here. Kickin' Rinnosuke into the dumps? Not your intention. “Okay, so Keine's out,” ya blast ahead, before the dude can explicate. “Who else've we got?”

The whole pad drops into silence as you and Rinnosuke both give a big show of thinkin'. Or maybe he's actually thinkin' for realsies—you just don't wanna admit you're comin' up empty, here. Or effectively empty, anyways. Like, your brain's got ideas bubblin' all up in it, if you're gonna be honest. They're just kinda subpar ideas, so ya give 'em the ax before they can get voiced.

It's only when Rumia wanders back into this whole silent scene like some kinda restless ghost thatcha decide—enh, nobody else's up to it, apparently.


You'll say the not-so-good thing.

“Yo, Mac,” ya say.

Rinnosuke looks up, makin' a clipped hummin' interesty noise.

“Okay, so, I've got an idea here. Only? Serious drawbacks attached. Hear me out, though—”


Alice opens the door.

“'Sup!” ya say.

Alice closes the door.

You and Rinnosuke and Rumia-makes-three sorta just stand there for a sec, checkin' out the wooden barricade that's just gone shut in your respective faces.

“Wow,” ya say. “Rude.

“But not entirely unexpected,” Rinnosuke mutters, and this time he knocks, though his pattern's a bit lighter and tighter than yours.

And maybe that's the trick, 'cause Alice opens the door again, even though she knows who's on the other side. Not happily—totally not happily—but she opens it. “Yes?” she squeezes out through her teeth.

“There was an incident at Kourindou,” Rinnosuke says, in a tone you'd nearly call apologetic if it wasn't so tight, too. “We need a place to stay for the night.”

Alice closes the door again.

“So is it Rumia's turn now?” ya ask.

Rinnosuke doesn't not look at the door. “No,” he says.

“'Cause I dunno if you remember, but Rumia's seriously good at the whole gettin'-into-places thing.”

“Your windows are open,” adds Rumia.

“They don't shut properly,” Rinnosuke admits. “They never have.” He reaches over and does the door again, harder this time. Not as hard as you did it, but harder than last time.

The door opens immediate. Was Alice waitin' on the other side? “You understand I'll be compensated for this,” she says.

“I didn't expect otherwise,” says Rinnosuke.

Alice and Rinnosuke stare at each other a moment longer. It reminds ya of those comics—the ones where you've got two superpowered dudes dukin' it out with energy beams, only they're both about evenly matched in that category so all it's gonna come down to is either who's got the most in reserves or who can pull off a sudden oomph to get all the way over. It's like that, only in this case the energy beams're invisible, and also produced out the eyes, and they don't break eye contact the both of 'em even while Alice pulls the door open just enough of the way that Rinnosuke can get through, if he wants, though only awkwardly.

Which he does. So he does. Which means he breaks the staredown first, and then has to pretendin'-he's-not-doin'-it-on-purpose avoid Alice's crazy maintained gaze.

Yeah, Mac, you're not foolin' anyone. Sorry.

You duck in after 'im—easier for you, since you're smaller, even though it's really mostly the duds—and bam! There ya are, walls to the left of ya, walls to the right of ya, and none of 'em with any holes they're not supposta have. It's a pretty cool sight, 'specially comparin' it to the alternative. Okay, yeah, sure, so prolly the host isn't so keen on you (and you're harborin' something like that vice versa, most def), but like your mom always says, “When life give ya lemons, squeeze 'em in someone's peepers.”

What you're sayin' is, you're gonna keep this place lemony fresh


There's a sec where ya think Alice has learned how to pluck up the thoughts as ya pass 'em through the ether, but then ya look behind, and it's not you she's noin'. Who she is noin' is Rumia, who also she's blockadin' the door against with her own self.

Ya tip-toe to catch the ish, though not by much, 'cause Alice's short enough already.

“Guests may be negotiated,” Alice says, voice pitchin' somewhere between snotty and snooty, “but this is where I set my limits.”

You blink a bit, checkin' for if Rumia's committed some houseguesty faux pas, but no, she's just standin' there, smilin' up at Alice, head tilted just slight.

Like usual.

Though now that you're lookin' at it, that angle seems a little stiff. And so does that smile. Like the placement of both of 'em, and that's all. “Dude,” ya say to Alice, before it can get any more ya-don't-like-it-er.

Alice whirls, glarin' your way instead. “You may be content to endanger your own life, but don't assume your recklessness universal,” she snaps. “I'm generous already, allowing the two of you a night.”

Oh, this whole deal again. “Come on, dude, Rumia's cool,” you protest. “She's not gonna eat us here.”

Alice looks at you like she's watchin' a centipede uncurl on her kitchen floor.

Okay, fine. “Rumia,” ya say, over Alice's shoulder, “you're not gonna eat us here, right?”

Rumia's eyes, on the other hand, look like your brother's ex-girlfriend's. Which, y'know, still kinda offputtin', but better than the myriapodology.

“Rumia,” ya say, “kinda maybe please don't eat us here.”

The tilt of Rumia goes more natural, though she seems to wholebodily relax. Like a poiseful version of a slump. “Okay,” she says.

“See?” ya tell Alice. “It's all gravy.”

Alice looks at you, then at Rumia, then at you again, like she's just makin' completely sure this is all happenin' in front of 'er and also behind 'er and more importantly not not-happenin'. “No,” she says again, once she's all done, youwards this time.

Dude,” ya dude. “It's winter, basically. You're not seriously gonna make a dude sleep in the snow, are ya? 'Cause that's cold. Both figuratively and literally.”

“First of all, it won't snow in Gensokyo until at least the next month,” says Alice. “Secondly, even if it were to snow tonight, your unwisely chosen friend is a youkai. It's exceedingly unlikely she'll suffer from exposure, let alone perish by it.”

“Huh.” Ya look over at Rumia again. “Seriously?”

Rumia nods.

[ ] Well, it's no big, then, right? See ya tomorrow, Rumia.
[ ] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.
[ ]
>> No. 29713
[X] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.

Is letting Alice give Rumia the boot the smart decision? Yep. But at the same time, Rumia's good people, even if she's got a deserved rep for eating other, presumably also good people. Like, Alice may be being a chode, here, definitely, but she's got good reason to be a chode, considering who's fixing to get in.


You gotta stick up for the people who've been good to you, and Rumia's been nothing but good - even setting aside how she'd have totally tried to eat us when we first met if we'd tried to skedaddle, the girl's packed lasers and blasted ghosts and just generally been a grand dude.
>> No. 29714
File 148653211126.jpg - (20.04KB, 480x480, 1412313435225.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.
-[x] Or, to put it in Rumia's words: "If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?"
>> No. 29715
[X]Okay, you camp out with Rumia.
-[X] On the roof, that is. It IS outside.

My rough, crazy plan is that we sit on the roof. Of course, our combined weight causes us to fall through into the interior, and then we use this as some excuse to stay inside.
>> No. 29716
[X] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.
-[X] "Come on Alice, you are youkai too, right? So if Rumia decides to have a humanitarian midnight snack she´ll munch on me or go on a nice midnight flight. I know you don´t really like me so you gotta see the underneath the underneath or look for the silver lining or something like that. You savvy?
--[X] Besides, she´s really a nice girl if you leave out the `eating humans` bit and i don´t think it can be held against her since that´s what being a youkai means to her."
>> No. 29717
[X] Well, it's no big, then, right? See ya tomorrow, Rumia.
>> No. 29718
[x] Rumia option

Wait, Rumia is all the options.

[x] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.

This going to end badly. And it will be awesome. Somehow.
>> No. 29719
>Well, it's no big, then, right? See ya tomorrow, Rumia. *WINK*
>Leave the window open
>> No. 29720
[X] Well, it's no big, then, right? See ya tomorrow, Rumia.

Gonna loose, but at least I get I told you so rights.
>> No. 29721
[X] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.

You know, I know on some level that this is probably a bad idea, but this Rumia is so well-written that I can't bring myself to care.
>> No. 29722
[X] Well, it's no big, then, right? See ya tomorrow, Rumia.
>> No. 29723
[X] But we totally had you set up as part of our girls only slumber party. Don't you want to braid each other's hair and talk about boys?

Com on Alice you socially awkward fuck, let her in!
>> No. 29724
[X] But we totally had you set up as part of our girls only slumber party. Don't you want to braid each other's hair and talk about boys?
- [X] Or girls, if that's how you drift. Like that Gallant Pig Marriage they came up with in Rome, you know?
>> No. 29725
In case my past vote was a little confusing (I was trying to channel her style), I was referring to the story of Pygmalion and Galatea; mostly I want to see Alice's reaction to our implication on her "relationship" with her dolls (plus, it might distract her enough to concede on the Rumia issue).
>> No. 29726
[x] No way you're leavin' Rumia hangin', youkai-skin or no.

Wow, the youkai magician is lecturing us on trusting youkai.

This is why I wanted to go to Rumia's place to begin with.
>> No. 29727
File 148675909947.png - (459.73KB, 750x1000, harmless.png) [iqdb]
Yeah but magician blah blah city-sect blah blah mindless beasts blah blah
>> No. 29728

Knowing Christie's luck, Rumia's a Youkai Hobo and has no actual place.
>> No. 29729

So like, I hate to say this but; my boy Rinno totally seems like the kind of Infinicuck who gets invite to girl's sleep-overs. Just sayin. Dude has zero game.
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