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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?”

“What?”

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

What?

“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.

So.

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]
29616
[x] Fight!

WHAT THE FUCK

IS SHE INSANE?

IS THAT GENSOKYO'S FREE MARKET? SELL AT MY PRICES OR DIE?
>> 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]
29620
[x] Fight!

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

RUMIA! HELP!
>> 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
>>29618

Does Rumia count?

[x] Fight!

Man this went from First Year Economics to Stalingrad real fast.
>> No. 29627
>>29626
We can't always count on Rumia for everything. This is just a tank
>> No. 29628
>>29627

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
>>29628
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
>>29629

I feel like there is a fundamental misunderstanding of tanks here.
>> No. 29631
>>29630

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
>>29631
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
>>29632

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
>>29635
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
>>29636

That fall squarely under fight. Also, I like this plan.
>> No. 29638
>>29637
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]
29640
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.

Yeah.

“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.

Prolly.

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

“Mm-hmm?”

“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.”

“Yeah.”

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

“Also—Mac?”

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
Beautiful...

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]
29643
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.

Just....why?

......why?

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
>>29648
I'm pretty sure she wants to try to blast Reimu.
>> No. 29650
File 148418950496.png - (453.84KB , 414x499 , 1469043175175.png ) [iqdb]
29650
>See, /tg/ dude? I told you soon.

you beautiful son of a bitch it really was you

>>29647

>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
>>29650

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
>>29640
>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
>>29652
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
>>29653
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
>>29654
You think that's bad? I'm still waiting for a *Scorn* update.
>> No. 29656
>>29655
Oh yeah? Well I don't know what that is! So there.
>> No. 29657
>>29653
>>29654
>>29655

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]
29658
>>29655
>> No. 29659
Fallout Gensokyo
>> No. 29660
File 148437996885.jpg - (1.04MB , 5000x5000 , 1459796006026.jpg ) [iqdb]
29660
>>29653
>>29654
>>29655
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
>>29661
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.
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