- [Settings] [Home
[Show or hide post box]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [First 100 posts] [Bottom]
Posting mode: Reply
Name
Email
Subject   (Reply to 30272)
Message
File
Password  (for post and file deletion)
  • First time posting? See our frontpage for site rules and FAQ
  • Further overview of board culture in this thread.
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, WEBM
  • Maximum file size allowed is 4096 KB.
  • Images greater than 200x200 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • View catalog

File 150184198984.png - (134.38KB, 500x500, 20.png) [iqdb]
30272 No. 30272
/o====================5====================o\

Current Strand: 5.85

Previous Strands:
1 - missing
2 - missing
3 - missing
4 - missing
5 - missing
5.8 - >>29818

\o====================85===================o/
Expand all images
>> No. 30274
File 150184260089.png - (639.04KB, 1000x730, 20_5.png) [iqdb]
30274
You may have had a chance in the beginning to flee, but the further you delve into the depths of this ‘home,’ the more the place’s tendrils sink in. It’s fortunate that this library doesn’t choke you like the halls before. This cage may be relatively pleasant, but it still remains a cage. Sister will have to free you eventually.

You just have to wait.

The devil occupies itself with tasks unknown and, most importantly, away from here. Its feeble master sleeps, though the condescending mark of her awakening lies before your feet.

A Little Book of Good Manners for Children

‘Manners’ are scarcely mentioned within the books you’ve read, yet they always are invoked in spirit. Not a single book confronts them. Like night and day are accepted as the polar laws of earth, manners and vulgarity are accepted the polar laws of man. Already bound by the former, you’ve never found yourself wanting for more constrictions. In the end, you can only ask: Why?

You doubt this book has the answer. It appears more the preacher than the skeptic.

However, there’s no harm in trying. You have time to spare before Sister makes her boisterous entrance.

You take the book and move closer into the orb’s light surrounding Patchouli - making sure not to wake her for both your sakes. Then you read.

...

Let the eyes be stable and honest…’ - ‘...for they are the seat and place of the soul.

That brings a sardonic smile to your face. As far as your eyes go, Sister says, ‘diseased,’ and anything you have to say would raise the brow of even the most depraved demons.

If manners are in the eye, then you must be quite the barbarian.



What follows in the book thereafter is not so biting. Instead, it trails at random through the most minute and petty details of existence you could possibly imagine. Everything from the color of your cheeks to the clothes on your back are put under its insane, trivial scrutiny. What possible purpose would it serve to only eat flesh with three fingers? How is it particularly wolfish, of all beasts, to consume a meal set before you? In your experience, mosquitos are the most ravenous of the world’s creatures - and you admire their tenacity, if anything.

Content with never understanding the human race, you shut the book. Patchouli jolts as if you had just thrown it at her head. She rises, slowly, then looks at you with an expression that would usually be reserved for the sight of a strange insect. To her sensibilities, the sight of a very confused man with a book in his lap must be quite astounding.

“You’ve read it?” she asks.

The question isn’t stupid, but you remain silent nonetheless. You had hoped she would stay asleep - it would have been a bargain between the two of you for mutual peace and quiet.

Patchouli still waits for a reply, and you don’t feel any need to antagonize her. You don’t even know what she is.

So you nod.

“This is unprecedented,” she says, a complicated expression on her face. “No one has ever read the book. Kick it, burn it, or leave it on the floor, perhaps - but never read it.” Despite her apparent incredulity, she still can’t manage to sound as anything but exceedingly disinterested.

“It was a terrible book,” you reply. Whether you want it or not - and you most certainly do not - you’ve been dragged into a conversation.

“Irrelevant. Barbarism can be waived so long as it isn’t ignorant barbarism.” The corners of her mouth tug. “You would be familiar with that cur, Meiling?”

Familiar is an overstatement, Meiling is as twisted as youkai come. Whatever tune it dances to wasn’t made for human ears. Still, you nod your head.

“Good. There’s an important distinction to be made between Meiling, who rebels in spite, and an ape mindlessly flinging its dung.” She pauses abruptly to take a breath then continues lecturing as if nothing happened. “I seek to teach, not change. Continue willfully debasing yourself if it pleases you.”

You wait, but no more talk comes. She’s content with whatever point she buried among the blatherskite.

Ending the conversation here should be easy, but ever since the living puzzle, Meiling, made its entrance, your curiosity hasn’t been quite so dead. That same reanimated curiosity led you inside and ultimately trapped you in this library with Patchouli. You thought curiosity to have died again there, but this house full of mysteries won’t let it rest.

“I don’t follow,” you reply honestly.

Patchouli’s eyes widen slightly in shock.

“But you read the book?” She almost exclaims - a full exclamation would be too vigorous for her.

“I didn’t understand it.”

Her fingers find themselves on the bridge of her nose. “You tried. That is more than your predecessors could muster. The least I can offer is clarification.” She mulls on her next words. “However, I am not known for my explanatory prowess, as Meiling has been all too eager to attest.” Her mellow voice is betrayed by a squirm of discomfort.

You wonder if those ‘predecessors’ now paint the floors red like Meiling warned.

Clarification does sound nice, but in practice the more you let this thing prattle on without intervention, the less chance you will upset her by existing - or as she might say, debasing yourself.

You watch and wait for her to continue. By the way she breathes, you’d think she was exhausted from just talking.

“Hm, shall we first practice the introduction? You should be capable of that much.” She doesn’t sound sure at all. “I will go first.” There’s no deliberate condescension in her words. She’s just naturally patronizing.

In response you can only raise an eyebrow.

She readies herself with a cough. “I am Patchouli Knowledge, a furtive magician, and a scholar without accolade.”

‘Magician’ could mean anything from an old man with a stick to a sentient, magical rock. Enigmatic does the nature of this girl remain, much to your chagrin.

“Now you try,” she prompts. The severity of her gaze is made trivial by the intentions behind it - she just wants to teach you how to say your own name. Not even a diseased flower could wither under those eyes now.

Still, you are stuck in a stupor underneath the sudden spotlight.

You eventually piece together a introduction. “Schütz, hunter.”

To your surprise, she smiles. It’s soft and slight, befitting her frail body. “Very good, Schütz.” She sounds sarcastic with that unenthusiastic voice of hers, but there is a genuine attempt for some form of positive inflection. It is a noble attempt. Of course, it is also a fruitless attempt, but an attempt it is nonetheless.

“Breakfast time, master!” A familiar voice rains down from above. Thoughts melt away in an instant as your hand instinctively grabs for an arrow, but you manage to bar yourself before you do anything stupid.

The devil merrily swoops in from the darkness, blissfully unaware of how close it was to greeting an arrow’s head rather than its master.

“Thank you, famulus.” Patchouli looks to you then back to her servant. “Bring another chair, would you?”

The demon perks up at ‘bring another chair’ but visibly deflates once it realizes who it is for. “Right away, master.” It doesn’t let its show of disappointment reach its professional voice.

You warily watch the demon as it goes about its duties. It is wise enough to grant the distance you would otherwise have to make yourself.

Eventually, the chair is laid to the side of Patchouli’s own. She dismisses her servant with some softly spoken words and a wave of her hand.

“Come, sit. Table manners may be a bit advanced, but I think you can handle it.” She is atrocious at feigning certainty.

The demon’s rallying cry of ‘breakfast!’ is enough prompt for you to realize just what is happening. Why is another matter entirely. You didn’t think Meiling’s idea of an ‘afternoon breakfast with Scarlet’ could possibly become more outlandish. Now it’s afternoon breakfast with the Scarlet - distinctly featuring a complete lack of food and whatever ‘Scarlet’ may be.

You go to sit down, but stop suddenly as your seals begin to quiver with the only message they know: ‘a youkai is near.

If the demon were here, you would soon place blame elsewhere, but it’s only you and Patchouli. It doesn’t surprise you particularly that she - no - it, is a youkai. Meiling has already proven that the definition of youkai can be left to liberal interpretation.

Your body takes the news not so delicately. You skirt backwards as if the earth beneath your feet had turned into cinders. Fortunately, you stop yourself before you draw your knife or arrow. You have that much self-control, at least.

Patchouli watches on, bemused. “Have you never seen a seat before? I could instruct on its use, if necessary.” It’s not a facetious offer. The youkai is legitimately concerned about your sitting-ability.

You take a deep breath. The Patchouli before you is the same austere, absurd, and utterly trivial being as before.

“No, I’m-” You physically force yourself to approach and sit down before continuing. “-fine.”

This changes nothing. As long as Patchouli isn’t a devil like Nue and those countless other forest fiends, you can tolerate the presence of another Meiling-esque aberration. Paranoia weakly contests your judgment. You reassure yourself by never letting your hand leave your bow.

Patchouli gives you a quizzical eye as you squirm on the hardwood chair. Either the devil hand-picked the least comfortable chair it could find, or your years of sitting on nothing but bare earth have caught up to you.

“Shall we begin?” she asks once you settle. Up close, you can see just how tight the cursed feather collar is around Patchouli’s neck. Any tighter and it would bite flesh. It might explain the youkai’s laborious breathing - if not for the fact that the collar doesn’t exist.

You nod, though you have no idea what exactly ‘begin’ means. Humans worshipping manners is understandable given their nature as humans, but youkai? Admittedly, you’re more than a little curious how much further into the world of manners this youkai can back itself into.

Patchouli mutters something under her already muffled breath.

Ghostly white sigils burn in the air. On first glance they appeared like a simple array of hexagrams, but as your eyes begin to seek patterns you soon realize those ‘simple hexagrams’ form a sum infinitely more complex than its parts. Your mind can only comprehend small fragments of the esoteric whole at a time, and that alone is enough to make your head spin. The acrid scent of metal - magic - comes and passes. You don’t have time to react as a ghostly line draws itself just in front of the desk. It shivers in anticipation before expanding all at once into a scene of pure, scarlet red.

“Schütz?” a voice intrudes from beyond the scarlet window.

You’re knocked back into an uncomfortable reality. You know that voice all too well. It’s a cursed voice formed from nightmares and birdsong.

The scarlet-window is made significantly less scarlet as the writhing darkness of Nue’s body dives into the foreground. “Schütz!” Its eye gleams with gluttonous, predatory excitement. It’s missing an arm now too, but it compensates by waving its remaining appendage around like a ragdoll.

You don’t know whether to be completely stunned or fleeing for the fields. Why not both? Your body replies with a feat of half-frozen-in-terror acrobatics straight into the hardwood floor.

Patchouli is blubbering something, but it is drowned out by your accelerating heart-rate.

The portal to hell abruptly closes.

Patchouli is giving that ‘spotted a strange insect’ look straight into where the window used to be. The youkai shifts an eye to you. “My apologies, that was an unfit learning environment. Shall we try something else? Dress code, perhaps?” it asks with the single minded lunacy only a youkai could muster.

You recall Meiling calling it the silent Patchouli. It has been anything but.



You realize far too late that the contract has been silent for a long time now. Why would it whine if the object of its affection was already here in the house with you?

A snake has been dropped in the cage. It can smell your fear, and feeds on it.

/o====================5====================o\

Meiling also said it would take questions that are not stupid - and Patchouli is quite familiar with devils…
[A: “How do I kill a Nue?”]

But relying on the words of a self-proclaimed worthless scholar is unwise. Your own frantic, idiotic thoughts are guidance enough…
- [B1: Prepare a sealed arrow.] {seals are a precious resource, but times are desperate.}
- [B2: It may seem futile, but keep going down.] {you aren’t backed into a corner yet. the library stretches far below just here.}


..

.

[D: Call for Sister.] {No, you vowed to handle this yourself.}

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x13 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
“Parabellum”
Tacky Red Key
Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
- Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ???

\o====================85===================o/
>> No. 30275
First thread done. Voting period would have resulted in autosage.

Now this story has passed somewhat of a 'sink or swim' period.

Comments and discussion are always appreciated. It lets me know you guys are alive, and not some automated voting script set up by a megalomaniac admin.
>> No. 30276
File 150185638738.png - (920.99KB, 2000x2000, 20_75.png) [iqdb]
30276
Extremely quick sketches. Fun to draw.
>> No. 30277
Okay, for once, all options are good.

I'd say he should ask patchouli but she may know nothing or ask for a high price.

Still, I doubt sealed arrows would work

[A: “How do I kill a Nue?”]
>> No. 30278
Well, I don't much fancy fighting her and I don't like the idea of wandering off alone deeper into the building so...

[A: “How do I kill a Nue?”]
>> No. 30279
Take note, the broken arrow in our inventory isn't showing Nue's blood upon it. I doubt it's been wiped away. That could be a side-effect of the curse or just author clean-up. Or both.
>> No. 30280
[A: “How do I kill a Nue?”]

May as well be direct about it.
>> No. 30281
>>30279
It was washed along with most other things when Schütz took a bath in the Misty Lake.
>> No. 30283
[A] “How do I kill a Nue?”

I think I'm starting to get the hang of this bizarre combination of "impressed" and "confused". I know I'm reading something epic but I can't make sense of it.

Which if you think about it is exactly how Schütz must feel.
>> No. 30284
Vote called for A. I've already written most of the update just now. This should be fun.

I was worried about the turnout for a while there.

No art for now. I have drawn some stuff, but it's for other characters. Also I probably won't draw Patchouli again for a while since drawing human faces makes me exceedingly frustrated - and the results aren't worth it.

>>30283
There's a lot going on. It all fits together, though the nature of this story does not allow quick and easy explanations.

I'm glad that's interesting to some people.
>> No. 30285
Wait, how many seals do we have. Also, should we really try to break the contract we made with Nue?
>> No. 30286
>>30285
>Wait, how many seals do we have.
'a lot', everything Schütz wears is festooned in some way with dormant Hakurei seals. Schütz relies on their ambient spiritual power to ward youkai.
>> No. 30287
>>30286
Thanks for the info.

Now for vote, I would like to learn if we can break the contract, but if we can't than [X]B2
>> No. 30288
Sorry for the wait guys, I have two assignments due this week.
Update tomorrow.

Might try to draw later.
>> No. 30289
File 15026140315.png - (38.57KB, 1063x942, whatever.png) [iqdb]
30289
Update stalled because the draft was unfathomably bad. Yes.
>> No. 30290
>>30289
Don't take this the wrong way, but I feel that this masterpiece doesn't quite reach the lofty standards you have is accustomed to.
>> No. 30292
Panic flees your body on your current breath. Dread, however, comes in waves. You know you have to face Nue eventually. The contract would sooner tear your mind in two than let you escape. But to face the abomination here and now? The thought makes your blood run cold, and then reality turns it to ice.

What could you possibly do to stop Nue?

Your arrows, as impeccably accurate as they are, would only strike eager flesh. And your seals? As is, they are barely enough to ward the Rumias of this world. Any youkai with sense knows to avoid the Hakurei brand. You need not explain why you cannot rely on the common sense of a youkai.

“Schütz?” interrupts Patchouli.

You manage a grunt of acknowledgment. The youkai doesn’t interrupt any thoughts worth thinking.

Looking at the magician now, Meiling’s words flash through your mind: ‘she will take any question that isn’t stupid’. You get an idea. It’s a desperate idea by all human standards - but by a youkai’s? It might be desperate enough to work.

“How do I kill a Nue?” you blurt out before you let yourself think. The question itself isn’t stupid, but the fact you’re asking a youkai how to kill a youkai calls your sanity into question.

“...Excuse me? Do you not mean to say ‘a vampire?’” asks Patchouli.

You resist asking what a ‘vampire’ is and instead plainly state, “No.”

Patchouli is stunned for a moment, but in the end, it cracks a faint smile. “You are quite unique among hunters, Schütz. Those of your ilk tend to have boundless curiosity, but only when it concerns my best friend.”

You nod. ‘Vampires’ and ‘best friends’ are the absolute least of your concerns, and you would like it to remain that way.

“Nue, the Nightmare of Heiankyou, Hunter of Hunters, and other unpleasant titles. Birthplace, unknown. Date of birth, unknown.” Patchouli pauses for breath. “Date of death, 1166, by a single arrow to the brain.”

The words hang heavily in the air. However, the youkai doesn't stop, turning back to you as it finishes its monologue with a look of abject confusion on its face. “I’m sorry, but how is this relevant to our lesson, Schütz?”

Patchouli said many things, but all of it is drowned out by a single phrase: ‘Date of death, 1166, by a single arrow to the brain.’ That isn’t possible in two ways: Nue is not dead and the cursed arrow lolling around in its eye-socket does not exist. You fight down the visceral reaction to vomit, and somehow you manage to form words in its place.



The result is a fusion somewhere between ‘Nue is not dead,’ ‘Nue is coming,’ and ‘Nue is a cursed abomination.’

Patchouli nods sagely as if your blather made any sense.

“Oh, I won’t allow that then,” says Patchouli. “Shall we continue?”

You are silent. Even if you knew what words to say, you’re not sure if you would even be able to speak them.

Patchouli patiently waits for a reply. Or maybe it’s just being ‘polite.’

“You won’t allow it?” you ask as soon as you are able.

“That’s what I said. Do you need assurance?”

You’re halfway to answering her question, but she just turns around and motions to the air with a wave of her hand. “Famulus, come.”

The cursed demon swoops from the darkness as if it never left. At this point, you cannot muster a response, and neither can the demon: it ignores you completely.

Patchouli readies itself with a cough before speaking. “If you find a Nue, please let it know that it has been disallowed from the premises by threat of extermination. There will be no second warning nor even a first should the Nue evade you.”

The demon is visibly puzzled but instantly replies with a bright, “Right away, master!”

Extermination is not a word thrown around lightly. Even a youkai would have trouble corrupting such a powerful word with their tongue. And then there’s Patchouli, who just threatened extermination with the candor of a man reading from a shopping list.

Absurd. Absolutely absurd.

Patchouli takes one look at your bewildered face, gives it no heed, and begins incantation. Sigils burn in synchrony to the rhythm of Patchouli’s voice. Where Sister would browbeat the cosmos into submission, Patchouli instead coaxes it. The magician’s star sigils fit together like a thousand tiny gears all spinning to weave the final product.

A shell of pale light expands outwards from Patchouli, through you, and out into the darkness without so much as a sound.

Patchouli nods to itself with confidence that you sorely lack. “I believe we are fit to withstand a nuclear blast. Now, shall we continue?”

You stare speechlessly at Patchouli. ‘How, what, and why?’ are abuzz in your mind, but asking would be stupid. You already know the answers. They are just too absurd for your mind to accept. Your mind far too easily forgets that this is a youkai, the most meaningless and absurd beings in existence.

How? This youkai is more potent than it acts and appears.

What? It is a barrier that can supposedly withstand a nuclear explosion.

Why? Patchouli made one just so it could keep teaching you ‘manners.’

The corners of your mouth tremble, and a crooked smile splits across your face. You appear to be laughing. That never happens when Sister isn’t around. Something in your mind must be broken.

Patchouli seems to have many things to say about that, but has little air left to speak them.

/o====================5====================o\


Patchouli will not, or cannot, complain…
[A: Rest. Your face hurts from smiling.]

But the magician’s conviction has led you this far...
[B: “Shall we continue?”]

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x13 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
“Parabellum”
Tacky Red Key
Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
- Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ???

\o====================85===================o/

No picture at the moment. I have been working on a sprite though. It’s turning out OK.
>> No. 30293
Ah, just now realizing how outclassed you are, Schütz? Sure, she may be a candle next to Yuuka's bonfire; but we aren't even a spark.

[X] Continue
>> No. 30294
[X] Continue
>> No. 30295
[B: “Shall we continue?”]
Strike wile the iron is hot!
>> No. 30296
[X] Continue

I like this Patchy. She seems pretty alright.
>> No. 30297
[B: “Shall we continue?”]

>Rumias

I wonder if he runs into her often.
>> No. 30298
[B: “Shall we continue?”]
protag's due for quite a culture shock - friendly magician in a house of youkai
>> No. 30299
Oh, that was a nice and quick turnout. Neat.

Vote will be called tomorrow.

Uni is piling up, but I always make time somehow.


>>30296
Patchouli 'pretty alright magician' Knowledge
>> No. 30300
Vote overwhelmingly called for B.

No picture right no. Might try later, though drawing humanoids has made me feel especially withered lately.
>> No. 30301
File 150319533483.png - (22.27KB, 256x256, 21.png) [iqdb]
30301
Quick little Patchouli sprite. Might keep working on it. Need to do under desk and in general clean everything up.
>> No. 30302
>>30299
Still a better wizard than Khadgar
>> No. 30303
File 150320830347.png - (21.79KB, 256x178, 21_5.png) [iqdb]
30303
>>30301
Loading.
>> No. 30304
[B] “Shall we continue?”

How the hell did I miss this vote. I was only gone a day...
>> No. 30306
File 150331117318.png - (964.13KB, 1500x1318, 21_75.png) [iqdb]
30306
Update will come out this weekend at some point, most likely.

quick resting Meiling.
>> No. 30316
File 150364037769.gif - (27.79KB, 96x184, 21_875.gif) [iqdb]
30316
Update should be tomorrow.

Very quick, very small Sakuya sprite. Couldnt get it to work properly so its pretty eh.
>> No. 30317
File 150366782246.png - (563.53KB, 1000x750, 21_9375.png) [iqdb]
30317
light is weird. clusterfuck
>> No. 30318
Update stalled due to tired editor.

Also spent about an hour trying and failing to draw Patchouli. That was nice (read: soulcrushing)
>> No. 30319
You can feel the muscles straining in your face. They remain in stalemate, as if pulled by two separate puppeteers. One demands a smile, but the other is quite insistent on anything but. The result is a crooked expression - something that can only be called a smile by the loosest definition of an ‘upward curved lip’ while ignoring all the bends in between.

You wipe your face to purge the unsightly expression.

The youkai before you is undoubtedly its source - of course the source of illogical smile and laughter would be an illogical being.

Patchouli looks back at you with no veneer of concern. Maybe it expects you to suddenly break out in laughter, or maybe it doesn’t care and just wants to teach you ‘manners.’

In the brief period you’ve known this youkai, you already know enough to say it’s the latter.

You see the words ready on Patchouli lips. Now that the youkai has regained its voice, it fully intends to use it for the one thing it seems to care about.

“Shall we continue?”

Patchouli’s eyes narrow for good reason. You just stole the words from its mouth. To what possible end, you cannot say for certain. There’s little certainty to be had in this house. And of all the uncertainties around you, Patchouli is the only one that stands in your favor - if only by virtue of its madness.

Whatever misgivings Patchouli has are soon discarded in favor of mania.

“We shall,” the youkai continues after a pause. “Now, take off your clothes.”

You nearly content yourself with your usual confused silence, but in the effort of progress, you ask, “What?”

“You dress yourself, correct? It’s simply a matter of reversing the process.” Its brow furrows. “I would provide a demonstration, but my robe is significantly less complex than your chimeric garb.” The magician pinches its robe for emphasis.

It completely misinterpreted your question, as you expected. To Patchouli, a human stripping naked in front a youkai must be as natural as breathing.

Patchouli waits silently. It fully expects you to continue.

You take a deep breath, then remove your hat.

“Excellent, just like that,” the magician commentates.

You squirm under the attention.

“Keep going. You can do it.”

Somewhere at the back of your mind, you dredge up a scene from this morning. You asked Sister what humans do on their birthdays. Sister replied that they do nothing.

Instead, here you are, seriously contemplating stripping naked in front of a being that ought to crave your flesh. You do this, of course, while the Nue may very well be in pursuit.

The urge to laugh rises again. You stop yourself this time, but you know if Sister were here, she would be howling.

You meet eyes with Patchouli, and you gulp as the youkai’s stare grows ever the more intense. Without a physical vent, all of Patchouli’s emotions funnel into its eyes. With the magic the magician has at its disposal, you’re surprised that your clothes have not spontaneously combusted already. You know, if it were Sisters’ eyes, that would have been the case.

The youkai’s expectations, as strange as they are, are not unbegotten. You did say you would continue.

Tentatively, you begin to undress yourself. It’s not like your seals could stop Patchouli anyway. A chill runs down your body, and it certainly isn’t from the cold.

...

All that’s left is your hairtie, bow, and bandages.

Your build is lean, and while you are not malnourished, it is clear that your body fights for every ounce of fat it can get. The effort it takes to digest corrupted meat almost outweighs the gains, and the pain it wreaks on your gut guarantees the victory to be pyrrhic.

Patchouli gives a quick and brazen glance over you before making its judgment. “Bowman’s arms and no physical deformities. Any clothes would do - but just any clothes won’t suffice for the lady Scarlet.”

You go rigid at the mention of ‘Scarlet.’ The name seems inescapable in this place but that doesn’t stop you from trying.

“Patchouli,” you say.

“Yes, Schütz?”

“How is this polite?”

You accept that you cannot understand manners, it’s why you didn’t bother asking before stripping in the first place. But now you must ask: is Patchouli making you do this for ‘manners’ or the lady Scarlet? One is harmless absurdity, and the other is anything but.

“My apologies, I should have clarified earlier that it is rude to wear clothes antithetical to your current company’s existence.” Patchouli pauses a moment to think, and is satisfied to share the results. “Would you have me strut my finest human-leather cloak in your embassy?”

You’re given no chance to respond, as a resounding crack echoes across the world.

Time seems to freeze, but only for you. Patchouli does not even flinch.

You know the world just shook because several shelved books are now unceremoniously unshelved.

Eventually, Patchouli acknowledges the dangerous atmosphere with a tilt of its head. “I’ve never driven a car, but I imagine this is how it feels to get a bug on the windscreen.”

The chair behind Patchouli creaks in protest as the youkai stands up. Fully upright, Patchouli resembles an overgrown dandelion. Though you imagine that, without the cursed mass of feathers, it would be more like a lavender sprig.

“Excuse me while I peel off the proverbial bug splatter.” It gives you a nod before slowly wandering off.

Unlike Meiling, Patchouli doesn’t abandon you in a rush. You could easily tail the magician if you pleased.

It’s worth acknowledging that you’re still naked, and the probability of facing Nue rises by the second.

/o====================5====================o\

You’ve little time. A 'bug' to Patchouli may be a dragon to you.

Manners don't repel dragons-
[A: Clothe yourself fully. Remain vigilant.]

-but the youkai magician might...
- [B1: Bear minimum clothing. Follow the magician] {the youkai's judgement is fickle, following it is the only way to know for certain} ((includes arrows and knife))
- [B2: Try to attract the magician’s attention. Continue on.] {its insane musings remains the lesser of evils. keep it that way}

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ???

\o====================85===================o/


Young man hosts private strip shows for lonely old youkai - IN YOUR AREA!! Click here for more!!!


pictures later.
>> No. 30320
I'm quite busy until the 5th. Midsemester on 30th. Scientific report due on 5th.

Update was tardy due to editor being busy.
>> No. 30321
> Young man hosts private strip shows for lonely old youkai

I'm still trying to process the fact that this is actually a decent summary of what just went down.

[B2] Try to attract the magician’s attention. Continue on.
>> No. 30322
[B1: Bear minimum clothing. Follow the magician]
>> No. 30323
[B1: Bear minimum clothing. Follow the magician]
>> No. 30325
[B1] Wouldn't be consider more polite to wear clothing than to walk around a mansion naked?
>> No. 30326
Vote will be called tomorrow.

Busy
>> No. 30327
File 150410054439.png - (241.43KB, 2000x2000, 22.png) [iqdb]
30327
Felt like drawing it, so here's some rushed and irrelevant Elly.
>> No. 30328
[B1: Bear minimum clothing. Follow the magician]

Boy they've gone in a really weird direction with this new season of Naked and Afraid.
>> No. 30329
Set for B1. Curiosity, recklessness, and other synonyms of danger.

>>30321
It was an interesting update to write, I assure you.
>> No. 30355
Extremely busy, like I said.
>> No. 30356
>>30355
fuck I meant to sage that. sorry
>> No. 30358
Fuck there goes my hopes
>> No. 30360
File 150453269622.png - (26.36KB, 500x500, 22_5.png) [iqdb]
30360
>>30358
Apologies.

Kazami Yuuka's Sigil: Rough circle containing variable amounts of cross-hatching. Circle is surrounded by a variable (X≥5) amount of rounded nodes. Nodes can also contain crosshatching and sub-nodes (which can in turn can also contain cross-hatching and sub-sub-nodes, so on and so forth). Nodes can bud to form sub-sigils (so on and so forth).
>> No. 30361
[A]

Don't lower your guard for no reason.
>> No. 30384
Working on it. This update is exceedingly hard to write.
>> No. 30389
If all goes well (lol) I can get this out Friday! Probably no scribble though.
>> No. 30391
Editor is busy. I have not been given an estimated time of when he ceases to be - but it should be by this weekend. If not, I'll just post it.
>> No. 30392
Simple.

Might make more simple stuff later.
>> No. 30393
File 150556142435.png - (53.36KB, 1251x931, 22_75.png) [iqdb]
30393
>>30392
forgot the picture, of course.
>> No. 30394
File 150557110712.png - (1.32MB, 2000x2000, 22_875.png) [iqdb]
30394
Might keep working on this

Phew, almost posted without sage again.
>> No. 30395
>>30393
Sexy eyes
>> No. 30396
File 150561860864.png - (126.64KB, 2000x1788, 22_9375.png) [iqdb]
30396
>>30395
I too, have a fetish for concentric circles.
>> No. 30397
File 150563132222.png - (55.87KB, 1595x973, 22_96875.png) [iqdb]
30397
fun to draw simple.
>> No. 30398
File 150563344416.png - (78.57KB, 1538x969, 22_9921875.png) [iqdb]
30398
>>30397
An irrelevant character, and an irrelevant moment.

Don't worry, this is a temporary style for fun. Though that said, I haven't kept a consistent style since I started this story. All over the place since I don't know what I'm doing.
>> No. 30399
File 150563780889.png - (50.11KB, 1232x923, 22_99609375.png) [iqdb]
30399
Elly is way too fun and easy to draw.

My equivalent of a bored stick figure.
>> No. 30400
File 150565882865.gif - (143.94KB, 1182x1362, 22_997625.gif) [iqdb]
30400
what even is this.

Yeah, I don't know how animation works.

Was a fun experiment anyway.
>> No. 30401
>>30400
Pls no bully elly
>> No. 30402
>>30401
She's just jittery.
>> No. 30403
Update got proofread. Might take a while to fix all the mistakes though. Sorry
>> No. 30404
‘Bug’

It would be pleasant to call it an unknown threat, but if there was ever been a pleasant voice in your mind, it has been long drowned out by paranoia. The bug is undoubtedly Nue. How Patchouli could call a beast with the mercy of a demon and the charity of a European dragon a bug, you can only attribute to the madness of youkai. It is only obvious. After all, insanity powers youkai. Knowing that, Patchouli absolutely cannot be trusted to face Nue alone. Patchouli certainly holds extermination with less importance than manners, and if it can’t define its apparent obsession, then what hope is there that it understands what extermination even means?

If Nue must die now, you must first to make sure that Nue will in fact, die. Sister expects nothing less.

You scramble to arm yourself, but any attempts to wear clothing while hopping after a youkai proves token at best. Your knife and quiver flop barely-held against your loose undergarments.

Soon, you catch up to Patchouli, who still makes their melancholic way to the ‘bug.’

While Patchouli does match you in height, it had to fight for every inch. The magician reminds you of a pale sprout grasping for light, its cursed collar of feathers sticking out like a fungus or more specifically a sprig of treacherous ergot.

Patchouli turns its head slightly in acknowledgment but maintains pace. “Is there a problem, Schütz?” it asks.

There are too many problems with this situation to list, but to pick only one. “Nue,” you say. It’s a struggle to keep with Patchouli’s casual gait when your body is filled with an adrenaline high.

“Why trouble yourself with the dead? If more vampire hunters asked themselves that, then perhaps their useless brains wouldn’t be found dashed upon the carpets,” says Patchouli.

You stop. The rushing adrenaline pounds against your body, begging you to move, but you have bigger concerns.

‘the dead’

Patchouli said those words again - a phrase so fundamentally wrong only a youkai conceive it. Whatever the youkai said after is blurred by the absurdity of the former. You think it might have something to do with vampires.

“Nue is not dead,” you say. Your calm voice belies the rampaging forces inside your mind. If you can’t mend this one false assumption, then Patchouli’s ‘assistance’ ends at helping you strip naked in a warzone.

Patchouli stops. The magician faces you, an eyebrow raised. “Did you perhaps forget my vow, Schütz?”

You shake your head.

“Then if Nue were to intrude on my domain, would that not make it effectively dead? The difference of actual and effective death is all but semantics.” Its words hang heavy enough in the air to allow a pause for breath, something Patchouli dearly needs. “And if you wish to argue semantics, then perhaps the Nue will take that time to escape. You might have a real problem then,” the youkai ends, gesturing forward with an unspoken ‘shall we continue?’
In your silence, Patchouli decides to do just that. The youkai continues forward.

You follow with a deep grimace on your face, digesting its words.

“You say to not worry about Nue because you will slay it?” you say tentatively, a small part of you still hopeful.

Patchouli nearly trips on its own feet in surprise.

To your own surprise, Patchouli grins. It’s a full and proper smile, completely unlike the slivers before. “I wish I had such a gift for simplicity,” the magician replies with a definite air of esteem. “Yes, Schütz, don’t worry about the soon-to-be dead,” it speaks as much to itself as to you, in some bizarre appreciation of the simple phrase.

The youkai continues forward with an eerie and uncharacteristically happy skip in its step.

You follow slightly behind Patchouli, content knowing that the magician’s definition of ‘extermination’ differs not from yours. The anticipation of facing Nue overrides whatever other reservations you have.

You want Nue gone so that you can appease Sister.

Patchouli wants Nue gone so that it can continue stripping you.

The motivations differ, but the means remain the same.

The magician radiates a confidence in its abilities surpassed only by Sister, and, while the comparison between Patchouli and Sister is laughable at best, you must admit that, with the magician as cavalry, the whole situation feels less suicidal.

...

Though one look at Patchouli’s cursed form assures you there’s far more to worry about than just Nue’s sharp teeth.

= = =

Your destination is a platform broader than the rest. It’s similar to a hallway or perhaps more like an artery, considering the branching and organic construction of the library. It doesn’t matter, for it’s impossible to marvel at the queer architecture when lying only a few meters away is a thing. While your mind insists that what you see is a tiger, snake, or boar, you know it to be the cursed form of Nue.

You are prepared for teeth, claws, and bird cries that sound like Hell’s gates unlatching. Instead, you are greeted by a squalid creature, lying in a puddle of its own flesh and blood. Your guard is not lowered. The cursed form Nue takes is irrelevant, all that matters is that it still lives, and the only thing separating you from it is the magician’s translucent barrier.

“Did you not receive the first warning?” asks Patchouli, unperturbed.

The pile of Nue quivers, and a white mass rises from within. You recognize it immediately as Nue’s mask, but not as you know it. Fractured porcelain shards swirl around the remains of its face, and beset the eye sockets like jaws. Filling one socket is the arrow which once lolled freely, but now pushes far into its skull as if someone had cruelly finished the archer’s job. In the other socket is its remaining eye, which you perceive as nothing more than a red pinprick, which stares back at you.

Your breath hitches in your throat. For all that has assailed this monster's body, none could snuff the violent light of its eye. You can’t tell if it looks at you with lust or bestial hunger - perhaps for a Nue there is no difference.

It takes all the restraint in your body not to fire an arrow into that accursed, red glint. That would require acknowledging the curse.

An arrow is drawn anyway.

Patchouli begins muttering beside you. Arcane sigils burn underneath Nue to the magician’s command.

“HE?ll-HELLO?HEY !S_cHüt-Z?” says Nue, but its voice cannot even be called an impression of human.

Nue seems to notice this but not the glowing mass of destruction beneath its feet. It shakes its head, releasing fragments of its mask in the process.

“Hey Schütz!” it sings in saccharine birdsong, while waving with its remaining arm.

Patchouli finishes its incantation.

The spell triggers without noise, and in its transient existence it allows not a whimper of reaction. It’s as if a beam of sunlight were captured, tamed, and released all in one instant. You’ve heard of this before, in vivid tales of a degrading Makai. The thing Sister calls with glee, ‘nuclear.’ Nue bathes in it.

The magician is true to its word: the barrier doesn’t crack.

Then it is just you, Patchouli, and the stain that was once Nue.

...

The magician bends over with hands braced on unseen knees. Silently, it takes in all the oxygen it can.

Your hand is kept upon your drawn arrow. It feels like at any moment, Nue could leap from a drawn shadow or drip down from the abyss above. Now, even darkness brought by the blink of an eye seems like an adequate place for the demon to hide. But all that greets you is Patchouli’s hushed breath.

Is this it? Your contract is as silent as it has been since Nue closed in a few hours ago. Do contracts make a sound as they break? If not, there’s no difference between the silence of a living contract, and the silence of a dead one.

Logic decrees the latter, but applying logic to Nue is surreal as Nue’s death.

‘Nue is dead, therefore the contract died with it, so you fulfilled your promise to Sister.’

You roll the thought back and forth, and each time it feels no less impossible.

It shouldn’t be this easy, since nothing ever is. The stain on the floor before you would say otherwise.

You take a deep breath.

The bowstring slackens as you carefully remove the arrow.

Then you smile. It’s a twitchy, neurotic thing, born from a face that shouldn’t be smiling. Unlike before, you don’t feel inclined to stop it. You’ve earned this smile. Call it a bug’s splatter, an exorcised demon, or a slain dragon - that does not change Nue’s death. You did what Sister said.

You’re lost for both words and purpose. Initially, you came here to see your new home, and you’ve seen quite enough for a lifetime. Nue, who must be killed, is dead. Now all you have is a smile, Patchouli, and a quarter of your clothes on your back.

Patchouli seems to have recovered. You can tell because its silent breath has turned to a mutter. The magician’s incantation ends with the collapse of the barrier.

“~ha,” Patchouli sighs, slumping completely to the ground.

It seems for all its power, the youkai cannot fight exhaustion.

You enjoy this brief moment of respite.

...

..

.


Or you would, if Patchouli didn’t look like it was about to faint. The magician clings to the floor like it does its own breath. Even if it were capable of vocalizing its distress, it would not. It is a youkai, after all.

Then why does this odd feeling grip you? It’s as if another force tugs at your body, urging you to do something.

You grit your teeth. It would be a lie to say the feeling isn’t familiar.

Guilt.

/o====================5====================o\

...
-[A1: (Don’t)]
-[A2: Do something moronic.]

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x13 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
-Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ???

\o====================85===================o/

Patchouli Shoots a Strange Bird ~ Right Now?

No writeins.
>> No. 30405
Patchouli shoots a strange bird. 'till when (will her corpse remain unattended?)

Until now.

[X] Do something stupid.
>> No. 30406
File 150583199683.png - (32.84KB, 500x500, 23.png) [iqdb]
30406
Patchouli Knowledge's sigil:
Primary Design - Static design. Set of 4 concentric circles. Between the first and second circle inwards are 14 dots, mirrored 7 on either side.

Secondary Design - Dynamic design. Variable amount (X>0) of circles which contain a hexagram. The hexagram mutates depending on purpose. Hexagrams interlock and spin to form larger, moving patterns.
>> No. 30407
File 150583201775.png - (29.96KB, 500x500, 23_5.png) [iqdb]
30407
>>30406
>> No. 30408
>>30406
>>30407
I should mention that the primary sigil was first sighted beneath Nue. It was not apparent beforehand.
>> No. 30409
[X] Do something stupid.
>> No. 30410
[X] Do something stupid.
It's not stupid if it's in your gut.
>> No. 30412
>>30407
That's an heptagram... Did something go wrong with her spell.
>> No. 30413
>>30412
Intentional. One angle is purposefully faded, only six angles are ever in effect. Effectively a hexagram for the practical purposes.

Probably shouldn't have written descriptions at 1am. Miss obvious stuff.
>> No. 30414
[A2] Do something moronic.
>> No. 30415
File 150587566167.png - (29.72KB, 500x500, 23_75.png) [iqdb]
30415
>>30413
A less pretty, but more telling example.
>> No. 30416
[X] Do something stupid.

This is a vote between "help the cute touhou" and "stand still lol"

nice choices ya got there einstein
>> No. 30417
Vote will be called tomorrow, probably.

I'm on a week break from uni now, so I can get this out pretty fast so long as my editor is keen.


>>30416
>This is a vote between "help the cute touhou" and "stand still lol"

There is a reason why Schütz is reluctant, and subsequently, why the choice is framed as 'moronic.'
>> No. 30419
File 150600334456.png - (107.43KB, 1443x945, 23_875.png) [iqdb]
30419
Accidentally made a thread-post for this earlier. I'm... unpractised with landscapes, to say the least.
>> No. 30420
File 150600381475.png - (21.80KB, 800x692, 23_9375.png) [iqdb]
30420
>>30419
a beautiful post-update Nue.
>> No. 30421
>>30416
Welcome to the story. Please read carefully before- oh wait the author already chewed you in.

Carry on.

>>30420
Beautiful.
>> No. 30422
File 150600507031.png - (46.83KB, 800x692, 23_96875.png) [iqdb]
30422
>>30420
A beautiful post-update Elly.

Nothing happened to her.

Is every update doomed to an irrelevant Elly, or shall I stockpile and release 20 pictures the next she appears? The former, obviously.
>> No. 30423
File 150600605498.png - (45.56KB, 800x692, 23_997625.png) [iqdb]
30423
>>30422
I can't say it detracts from otherwise relevant stuff. I don't have the willpower to draw humanoids - nor the willpower to get better at drawing humanoids.
>> No. 30424
I foresee no more votes, nor a sudden change of heart. Vote called for A2.

I hope you know what you're voting for.


oh, and check out my finished touhou fanfic here: https://i.imgur.com/OhSxjbf.png
>> No. 30425
>>30424
We don't.
>> No. 30426
File 150609356152.png - (9.81KB, 400x315, 23_99609375.png) [iqdb]
30426
>>30425
A shame.

Theoretically, the story should be self contained and contain all necessary information. Problems arise when clunky prose/writing, and the time between updates diluting the information is involved.
>> No. 30427
File 150610363369.jpg - (6.89KB, 184x184, 148832357058.jpg) [iqdb]
30427
>>30426
I was just being coy, relax.

You've let his usual MO and the risks involved by going against it crystal clear.
>> No. 30428
>>30427
Oh, jolly good then.
>> No. 30430
Update is in progress. This one has proven quite the serpent, very slippery and volatile.

Hopefully my editor is free tomorrow, so I may bug him.
>> No. 30431
Editor is busy. This update is a nightmare to write. It will get done, just not within a nice timeframe.
>> No. 30432
File 150685247383.png - (3.09MB, 2000x1788, 23_996859375.png) [iqdb]
30432
Dicking around. Dunno how rendering/lighting/etc works.
>> No. 30433
>>30432
That's pretty cool.
>> No. 30434
File 150702523725.png - (552.21KB, 1538x969, 23_9972421875.png) [iqdb]
30434
Irrelevant. Unfinished. Might keep going.


>>30433
Glad you like it. It's the result of slapping colors around until I could at least sort of tell what it was supposed to be.
>> No. 30435
File 150703298531.png - (1.64MB, 1538x969, 23_99743359375.png) [iqdb]
30435
>>30434
blah blah. Dunno how backgrounds work either.
>> No. 30436
>>30435
Goddamn I love this design for Elly. You do some good shit man.
>> No. 30437
>>30436
Fun and easy to draw Elly.

Also, the last two things are just rendering:
>>30396
and
>>30398

for fun.
>> No. 30438
>>30437
Could've done better with Elly's face.
>> No. 30439
File 150735056491.png - (363.94KB, 926x588, 23_9975293.png) [iqdb]
30439
words.

So far this is the most images after an update. Speaks a lot of how long this update is taking to make.
>> No. 30440
File 150739916185.jpg - (43.77KB, 854x480, cuphead1.jpg) [iqdb]
30440
>>30439
cuphead boss Elly when?
>> No. 30441
File 15074174078.png - (0.99MB, 595x579, Scarecrow BEAAAARDY.png) [iqdb]
30441
>>30440

That's not a scarecrow. This is a scarecrow.
>> No. 30442
>>30440
In my heart.

Still need to play Cuphead, shame it isn't online multiplayer. Love the art-style.

>>30441
Ultra rare, crude, and jaundiced Elly.
>> No. 30443
>>30442

You can make any local multiplayer game work at a longer range with a bit of work, from what I understand.
>> No. 30444
File 15074637128.png - (1.05MB, 1342x1518, 23_99781641.png) [iqdb]
30444
gsgcbbxtebhc

yeah I dunno how cloth or shading works.

gonna hold off on drawing for a while. hitting very, very hard skill walls.
>> No. 30445
Hey. I got finals coming up and my first draft was terrible.

So even though the update is 'done,' it will be delayed. Sorry.
>> No. 30447
Editor will be available on the 19th.

Update is currently >3000 words. Maybe more later. This is the equivalent of two updates in one. Mean update is <1500.

Thank you for your respective patience... s? Weird phrase.
>> No. 30448
>>30447
That's good to hear. :)
>> No. 30450
Guilt, huh? Freed from Nue, must your immediate instinct be to throw yourself back in the pits? Of course, it has always been that way. Proving your worth to Sister is not a single event, it’s a continuous struggle. If one morning you arrive with the Prince of the Forest’s head as Sister’s tribute, then it is your duty to one day hunt the King. Nothing is ‘enough,’ and that is the point. Sister deserves nothing less than everything. It’s only your feeble, human body that bars you.

Now you find that same fervor and conviction aimed at Patchouli, and the urge to throw yourself down the proverbial pit only grows stronger.

There’s surely something twisted at work, but of all the things the curse had touched, it has never crept as far as your thoughts. This feeling that you are going to do something very, very stupid stems from none other than yourself.

Patchouli helped you, therefore you will help Patchouli. It’s the perfect storm of guilt, duty, and zealotry. Nothing else is relevant in that equation.

You do as you would never do: ignore your paranoia, and approach the youkai. It’s impossible to tell whether the magician has recovered or simply ran out of air to choke on. In your broken eyes, you see a cursed band of feathers sprouting around its neck like a noose. You can only assume the worst.

With a hand quickened by fervor, but slowed by sanity, you clasp Patchouli’s-

/ ~~<O>~~ \

-gloved arm. Your bloodied hand slips into the youkai’s, which you grip to hoist. Patchouli is brought back to its feet and then some by the sudden force - but before you can move to rip off its nonexistent collar, you find your arm to be twisted.

Arms don’t simply contort themselves. Patchouli grips your hand like iron and twists it into a position a twitch before crumpling. Of course, it’s a youkai after all.

“Schütz.” The youkai is as impassive as ever. Its gaze is kept sharp.

You hiss through gritted teeth, but a swift twist of your arm in the opposite direction turns that into a yelp.

“P-Patchouli,” you manage to vocalize.

Patchouli looks at you then to your intertwined hand. The widening of its eyes speaks of a dark revelation far beyond the potential loss of your own limb. All at once, Patchouli lets go, and scampers backwards faster than you’ve ever seen it move.

Your instincts, which only know how to put down beasts, do not react any kinder to Patchouli. You are flooded notions, to stab the youkai, fill it with arrows, or simply stomp on its prone body. It’s stupefying to behold how incredibly useless your instincts are here.

Patchouli sprawls on the floor, ignoring all else as it desperately scrapes away the bloodstained glove. Your blood spreads like roots across its lavender robes, but the magician doesn’t seem to care so long as it can remove the source of the blood.

You want to do something, but you don’t know what or how. The strength, or insanity, that filled your body before, has fled. You’re left with an incredibly sore, and perhaps fractured, arm.

“Why would you - I was…” you splutter out nonsense, and try your best to latch onto anything comprehensible. “You were choking and I…” Something lucid finally comes, but the words die on your tongue. You can’t say you were grabbing for Patchouli’s collar - it doesn’t even exist.

“...Go on,” it replies without a glance of acknowledgement. The toss of its offending glove to the ground punctuates the end of its words.

“You were choking, and I tried to help,” you amend. The ending is vague, malformed, and leaves an ill-taste on your tongue. You didn’t lie, however.

Patchouli looks up to you this time, its sharp gaze speaks nothing of the flash of fear you saw before. “So you decided to wrench my arm, and spill your essence over my body?” Miraculously, it completes its sentence without strain. By no coincidence, the collar of feathers, which does not exist, is relaxed.

...

“Yes,” you reply.

The youkai nods and keeps its head lowered. “It appears I was mistaken,” it says more to itself than you. When it raises its head again, against all logic, it is smiling. “Know, Schütz, that it is always the thought that counts - even if the action is…” The youkai pauses for thought, but not breath. “...utterly reprehensible and beyond all mortal concepts of civility.”

The youkai’s unnatural smile widens. “I wonder. Do you know what a terrible thing you have done? It would be a pleasure to teach you. You will listen to me - won’t you, Schütz?”

Patchouli leans closer, still floor-bound, with a far-too-content grin on its otherwise dour face. The collar hangs still.

You blink. The tension wound tightly in your body relaxes, slightly. The youkai isn’t upset, if anything, the opportunity to pontificate makes it happy. Happy enough to brush aside the fact it was once choking to death, or whatever equivalent of such a youkai has.

Then why does this feeling still bite you, this urge to tear the wretched and nonexistent parasite straight from Patchouli’s neck? Are you truly so moronic? Under no circumstances can the curse be acknowledged.

So, why do you keep trying?

“It is considered impolite to ignore a question, Schütz.”

“Yes - I mean, yes, I’m listening.” Specificity is never a problem with Sister, but it has proven a bane with youkai.

That earns you a pleased hum from Patchouli.

“Though, that could not have been your intention. One cannot be impolite without first knowing the meaning,” the youkai continues.

It feels awkward to stand bloodied and tall, while Patchouli sprawls casually on the floor. So you move to sit down, but not before gauging the youkai’s reaction to your movement. It doesn’t care. Adjusting your arm into a position other than a limp takes considerable grit, however. Your blood stains everything, not quite gushing, but still a nuisance.

Sister will need to fix your arm. That much is certain.

“Your blood,” Patchouli begins speaking out of nowhere, and punctuates with a pointed finger. It follows, that the youkai points to your blood-soaked hand. “Is your own. Of the abstract vectors of life, the body, the spirit, and the soul - the offering of one’s blood is tantamount to the body.”

“Now, Schütz, do you understand what a terrible thing you have done, to offer your body to a being of pure spirit?” Patchouli’s enthusiasm shines through the slight rise of its drab voice, and the dangerous sheen of its eyes. No sickness reigns the youkai’s emotions, not through a cough nor even a stilted breath.

The pallor of death that ought haunt its face following a spiel so long, is absent.

You shake the feeling of wrongness that grips your spine like chilled water. You can’t let paranoia take you now. Of all things to worry about, why worry about Patchouli’s improving health. You should at least try to act like you’re capable of holding a conversation without the world melting to bile inside your head. Isn't this what you wanted? To stop it choking?

You force your focus back to Patchouli’s words, and not the sickness that ought accompany them.

Patchouli speaks of a contract, though one written in blood rather than earthen tongue. Does that mean the youkai could have taken your life, had it not rejected your supposed offer? The thought makes you squirm. Any demon would have taken it without compunction.

“I…” You do your best approximation of a bow, while already on the ground and with a lame arm. “Thank you for not being a demon, Patchouli.” You pause, searching for words you never thought you would need to say. “I belong to Sister, so I thank you for not taking me from her.”

Your raise your head to find Patchouli inspecting the glove soaked in your blood. Then, for reasons you cannot comprehend, the youkai licks it. Blood trickles down its chin, which it wipes gently with its other hand. The fear it had of your blood is gone with the associated symbolism.

Don’t panic. That’s what you tell yourself, as you restrain your reflexes. This isn’t an offering of the body, it’s just a youkai drinking your blood.

The magician turns to face you, unmoved. “Is your Sister a nibelung or gnome perchance? This blood is undeniably human but it tastes of loam,” it asks.

Strangely, the magician’s natural, youkai-like ability to frame the most absurd of questions as ordinary, calms your nerves. Even if the question is framed with the taste of your blood, there is some comfort in knowing that this all follows Patchouli’s unknowable, insane, and ultimately harmless logic. You realize that your comfort hinges on the assumption that Patchouli is indeed harmless. That’s fine, you tell yourself, while your paranoia begs to differ.

You have every reason to fear youkai and perhaps even more so the one who slays others, so the solution is simple: ignore reason. Reason didn’t atomize Nue.

You consider Patchouli’s words with respect a youkai doesn’t deserve. Patchouli has earned that much. ‘This blood is undeniably human, but it tastes of loam.’ Pride wells in your chest as does disappointment. Perhaps one day you will bleed Sister’s mud, and not this ugly, red, human shit that attracts youkai like flies. The corners of your mouth twitch with frustration. You should move on.

‘What is Sister?’ You consider this for a second, and then another for respect. But it’s a stupid question. There are many things you could say about Sister, about what she does, what she thinks, and what she says, but never what she is. “Sister is Sister.” After all she has done, that is all she has ever wanted to be. So that is what you will call her - even if her name is much prettier.

It takes a quiet moment, and the slightest of echos, for you to realize you just spoke.

The following silence is made unbearable by Patchouli’s inquisitive gaze.

“The Nue.” You blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, anything works to sate the youkai’s sudden hunger.

Of course, spouting more names only makes Patchouli more curious. The youkai stares you down expectantly with a look usually reserved for the sight of raw, human flesh - which you are, but that’s irrelevant for the comparison.

You continue fumbling where you left off. “The Nue is…” It’s difficult to find the words while Patchouli looks at you so intently. “...the thing Sister ordered to have destroyed, so-”

“So you had my lady dispose of it for you?” a pointed voice interrupts you from the darkness.

Patchouli’s aura of inquisition releases all at once.

The devil is like a needle passing through cloth: sometimes the needle is hidden, but it’s always there, ready to surface. You see the demon this time as it casually breaches out of the abyss. The demon’s metallic feet clatter against the hardwood floor, and the world’s dull-gold light is superseded by the toxic pink of the demon’s flames. Sweet brimstone hits you like a punch to the gut, but you remain steady. It doesn’t exist. None of it exists.

The demon bends on its unguligrade, metal knee before Patchouli. “My lady,” says the infernal creature, its voice low, gracious, and incredibly wrong. That is not the prim and ladylike tone you’ve come to know. It sounds just like - you cut the thought off there. That’s not possible.

Patchouli gives a slight nod of acknowledgement to the demon but no more. Attached like a tumor or blemish, this thing belongs to Patchouli,

“Continue. Do not mind the famulus, who states only the obvious. I’m sure you had the best of intentions - your deception, artless and naked as it is, could not possibly come from a place of malice, Schütz,” says Patchouli without bite.

Deception?

“Nor from a place of intellect,” adds the demon, its voice now silky and still wrong.

“Do not mind the famulus, who states only the obvious and the crude,” Patchouli amends.

The demon floats aimlessly and unconcerned behind Patchouli, apparently finished with its act of fealty.

You keep your head down and your will hardened. Less concerning, but more approachable than a cursed nightmare, is the convenient yet infuriating accusation of deception. You still have dignity. You are not a liar.

“Patchouli,” you say.

“Yes, Schütz?”

Anger threatens to seep into your voice, but of your many failings, repression is not one. “There was no deception,” you state plainly.

“None born of wickedness, I know. Did you not enter our domain with the destruction of Nue in mind and use my want of good company as your weapon? It was never my intent to help you, Schütz, but now I have. That is your witless deception.” Patchouli pauses, a small smile lighting its face. “You manipulated me with the best of intentions and do take that as a compliment, Schütz.” Patchouli waxes on enthusiastically yet drab, and as incoherent as it is contrived.

Confusion matches your indignance as an equal but comes out the victor. You truly don’t wish to be mad at Patchouli, so you cannot help but interpret its youkai dribble lightly. Sometimes Patchouli’s words contain a mote of sense, and that sense has yet to betray you.

“Do not call me a liar. Call me fortunate,” you say boldly, though it is uncertainty that guides your words.

Patchouli mulls for a moment, before answering. “Fortune is not intentional, Schütz. You are convenient, the good company that I required, and the good company I preserved."

“My lady is calling you a useful fool,” adds the demon, with another voice it shouldn’t have.

Patchouli nods in agreement. “A useful fool, indeed,” the magician echoes to itself with a self-indulgent smile.

Fool? You know what Sister needs you know, and how ‘foolish’ that makes you to an outsider is irrelevant. And useful? That you can take as a compliment, though being useful to a youkai was never an accolade you desired. As far as titles go, Useful Fool isn’t the most incorrect, but it faces far greater competition.

There’s no harm in suggesting your actual formality, is there?

“Sister calls me a Diseased Flower. You can call me that,” you say. You soon realize your mistake. “Patchouli, I mean! Not the…”

“-famulus?” the demon completes your botched sentence.

‘Demon’ hangs precariously on your tongue. You say no more.

The devil drifts on with practised and unreadable flippancy. You do not know whether you truly wish to see its quietly smug face. The runed disc you see instead tells only of the curse that plagues your senses.

“A diseased flower - beautiful but flawed, mature but stunted, bombastic yet insecure, dramatic but pointless…” Patchouli mutters interpretations to itself.

“Sexual but inept?” the demon postulates.

You drown the demon out.

“Perhaps.” Patchouli nods sagely, before turning to you. “What say you, Diseased Flower, Schütz?”

You should be offended, but this is exactly the type of nonsense Sister would rattle off on a late evening to get on your nerves. Diseased Flower, like your own name Schütz, is just an idle fancy of hers, and only as meaningful as she feels it should be at the time. Still, you hold the title with pride.

“Sister thinks it sounds good,” you answer honestly.

“I asked for your opinion, Schütz.”

You frown. “I think it means that Sister thought it sounded good.”

Patchouli nods, apparently satisfied.

Silence settles for but a moment, a moment enough for the devil to exploit. “It’s a fine night, trespasser. Breakfast cools, a valued guest lays dead, yet here you sit chatting with my lady. Your determination to beset the elder Scarlet is admirable,” says the devil.

Your breath catches in your throat. The demon, and all its cursed radiance, hangs above you like an evil star. It begs to be acknowledged.

The demon drifts closer, its charred body wreathed in a giddy, cursed flame. “Though I must admit that I find your method of vampire hunting unconventional. To piss one off so thoroughly before you even meet.”

The demon is patient, it watches you silently with no eyes you can see. Its words are carefully chosen nonsense. Surely, there is context you are missing - like the Scarlet vampire that you apparently hunt - and surely, the demon knows this. The demon wants you to squirm as it talks in its fake voice, reeks of its fake scent, and struts in its fake body. If you don’t do something, it will keep going, and if it keeps going it will come closer, and if it comes closer…

You let out a breath held far too long.

Rather than shoot down the devil, like you should, you instead turn to Patchouli: the demon’s supposed master. You want the youkai to help, but it’s a faint, desperate hope.

Paranoia becks an arrow into your hand anyway. Just in case, it says.

“It is true. Take away Lady Scarlet’s pomp, flair and preparation, and she will surely despise you,” comments Patchouli. “Quite the plan indeed, Schütz.” The magician smiles. “Of course, if that were not your plan, and if you would rather stay here in our domain, I could guarantee your life, if nothing else.” Patchouli ends with a cough and sputter more gruesome than any before it.

It revolts you to find relief in seeing the youkai retch, and you must assure yourself it’s not because you wish the youkai ill. Patchouli should be sick - that is who Patchouli is, not some excitable and inexhaustible facsimile. Seeing the youkai revert back to a coughing wretch is proof that you aren’t insane.

Your tiny shred of relief is snuffed as soon as it came. You see why, but you wish you hadn’t: Patchouli’s collar, tightened like a ravenous python, is sucking all the air out from the youkai’s lungs. This is the work of no sickness but a curse.

The devil becomes groundborne, sensing weakness like the vulture it is, and walks up to you without care. Its master squirms on the ground behind it.

“What my lady means to say is that your plan has worked marvelously, and that it only fits to face your quarry now, trespasser.” What’s most disturbing is not the honeyed stench of brimstone, nor the flames that squirm like serpents, but the complete and utter apathy in the demon’s voice. This pandemonium of which no sane man could survive is the devil’s natural habitat.

You’ve known for a while now, deep, deep down, that the curse has been awakened. It sparked the moment you touched Patchouli’s hand - you don’t know why. The curse follows no logic other than a fetish for your misery. You had hoped the curse would melt away in a flash of violet, but it lingers like the living nightmare of childhood.

For all your thoughts of fighting the curse, resisting the curse, and spitting in the face of the curse, it was inevitable that the curse would lift an eyebrow.

You kneel down before a demon of filth and fire, an ungodly figment torn from the curse’s idle imagination. The devil’s toxic flames can melt your flesh. Its arcane gaze can tear air from the lungs. Its wings, melting without distinction between feather and flame, serve as a mantle to its ever-burning body of rags.

Something fundamental in the world has broken. This demon is just a symptom. This is what you get. You moron.

Except this isn’t just what you get. Your stupidity weighs as heavy a guillotine on Patchouli’s neck as your own. You absolute moron.

/o====================5====================o\

There is nothing you can do but run. Anything else will kill you. You know this.

[A: Run.]

…there is a weight in your hand, tipped in iron. You don’t know whether to thank paranoia, or damn it. Not even it could predict such a level of stupidity as this idea.

[B: Shoot. Grab. Run.]

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
-Torn Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~<O>~~

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ??? Night

\o====================85===================o/

Curse status is unlocked.

Editor was unavailable. He went over the initial draft (terrible), but not this (hopefully less terrible).
>> No. 30451
[A: Run.]
>> No. 30452
[A: Run.]
>> No. 30453
[x] Shoot grab run

Koakuma deserves an arrow or two.
>> No. 30454
[A] Run.

If we attack, we're proving her right.
>> No. 30455
So let me get this straight, we anger the Lady Scarlet by using Patchouli to kill Nue, then we found out that Patchouli is cursed by her famulus and now we have to run because the famulus knows that we know.
Did I get it right?
>> No. 30456
File 150865582433.png - (151.00KB, 568x691, 24.png) [iqdb]
30456
Vote turnout is low. Will wait a while before calling.

>>30455
>Did I get it right?
Very partially.
>> No. 30458
[B: Shoot. Grab. Run.]
Now that Nue is dead, there's a nice clear spot on our schedule. Why not kill a demon?
>> No. 30459
>>30456
Let me try: Remilia is somewhat mad because we are preventing Patchouli to go eat breakfast with her, and she hates to bring kept wanting.
Meanwhile, her usual diseases attack her, but our delusional mind think of them as a literal curse when it's just her usual terrible health.
>> No. 30460
[X] Run
>> No. 30461
>>30459
>but our delusional mind think of them as a literal curse when it's just her usual terrible health.

For future reference: I use the word 'curse' as exclusively as possible to refer to Schütz's condition. No one else.

As the author, I prefer to let readers come to their own conclusions. However, I will correct what I see as failures of communication on my part.
>> No. 30462
The dangerous possibility here is that the curse is a part of Schütz's in so far that by ingesting his blood, Patchouli may well come under the curse as well.

In attempting to help her, he may have done a stupid.
>> No. 30463
Vote called for A. Wrote half-ish of it last night. Should not be particularly long.
>> No. 30465
>>30462
She seemed strangely energetic. Guess the blood helped her but the curse hurt her. Wish we could've taken her with us.
>> No. 30470
2000 words into the update. It will either come out tomorrow or the next day.
>> No. 30471
>>30470
Unless something goes horrible wrong, definitely tomorrow.
>> No. 30472
You spare a glance to Patchouli. The youkai lies unattended on the ground, the life sapped from its body. There is nothing you can do, you tell yourself as an arrow weighs in your hand. You shouldn’t lie. You could commit suicide by fighting the demon. In fact, you should commit suicide by fighting the demon. Patchouli is a youkai, a disgusting, loathsome creature - but it doesn’t deserve this. This youkai helped you, and in return you sent it to hell. That is not acceptable. Sister taught you better. Sister expects better.

You slide the arrow between your fingers.

“It has been a long time since I was forced to play the villain, trespasser.” says the cursed demon. It speaks with Patchouli’s voice; perhaps the voice was stolen.

You ignore the monster’s monologue. Your thoughts are wholly consumed by the motions of your hands. Just as your arrow meets bowstring, a desperate paranoia whispers: Patchouli is a monster too, now. Something in your mind snaps and shifts; and then finally breaks.

You will die if you do this, that you can accept. But you will die for a monster, not Patchouli. The real Patchouli is already dead. If you loose this arrow now, you fight a monster to save another monster.

In reality, only a second passes. The arrow slackens in your hand. You’ve made your choice.

You run.

Down stairs, you fly, and down wire-threaded shelves, you grapple. Your motions are mindless and instinctual. This library’s terrain is but a forest in another’s skin, and if the forest were ever an obstacle to you, you would be long dead.

You look up and see the abyss, and you look down and see the abyss. There’s no way to know how far you have gone into the chaotic, arterial ravines of the library. You have the vague sense that you’re further down than when you started, and that’s only by virtue of ‘down’ being faster to travel.

You keep going. Where, you do not know.

===

And then, the shelves end.

You are peering over the edge of a bookshelf, the last shelf, it would seem, for below you are anemones. The underworld of chalky windflowers stares back up at you.

Your thoughts rise slowly from scattered fragments, and even when you are able to fully comprehend the sight before you, you don’t quite believe it. These are, without a doubt, Sister’s flowers - and not just an errant patch, but an entire field.

You take a deep breath as to not let yourself get excited. Hope has no place here. Even in a Flower Field, you are not safe.

You find yourself drawn in nonetheless. Like a worm choking in the rain, surfacing to be eaten by waiting predators. At least you will breath.

Beside you are a set of stairs which stretch down into the heart of the new Flower Field. Childishly, tentatively, you head down, with your eyes kept constantly locked onto the flowers. The flowers stare back with equal vigor, as if determined to tell you that they do, in fact, exist. Sister is the only thing your curse daren't touch. They must be real, if nothing else is.

You make the last step into the flower patch. The windflowers part ways for you, slightly, though you can’t help but trample some. Whatever the ground was made of before the Flower Field has been lost; buried beneath the thick bramble of stems, roots, and accelerated rotting waste.

Darkness stretches in all directions, as vast as it ever was when the library was around you rather than above you. The silhouettes of flowers blend in and out of the occasional rays of light, which shine from the miniature, golden-yellow suns above. You stand in one of those rays now.

The flowers stare at you, patiently. They have their own duty, whatever it may be. Unlike you, they aren’t complete failures.

You’re paralyzed on the spot as the thoughts you bottled up rush out in a torrent.

How could you let this happen? For 4 years you suppressed the curse, and in the span of a day you managed to ruin everything. Sister can’t help you. You promised her, 4 years ago, that you would bear this burden on your own.

Just look at you now: naked, bloodied, and scared. It’s a wonder you can even stand. Oh, you can’t even do that.

You moron.

The strength leaves your legs. You let yourself lie down with your back against a bed of flowers.

You absolute moron.

===

“Excuse me, can you fix my door?” calls a troubled voice from above.

You leap up in a frenzy as if panic sears the ground beneath you. Flower stems crack and snap beneath your feet.

It's in front of you, whatever it is.

Reality sets in, and your panic mixes with dread. The demon is here. Your hand finds home on your knife, and bears it wildly forth as a shield and sword all in one. In both regards your knife is useless against a monster.

The monster’s form wavers and shifts, filtered by your panicked gaze and the fragmented light above. Soon, the silhouette is grounded in shape, and then do you realize that it isn’t the demon you expected, but instead another monster entirely. Still, your knife is held forward - it bobs rhythmically to the frantic pace of your breath.

No matter what the monster is, your defence is equally applied and equally useless. Against a youkai, you may stand a chance, but this is a monster: a pawn of the curse.

“My door, please, can you fix it?” the monster reiterates, sounding concerned for all the wrong reasons.

The monster awkwardly steps forward, and you take several panicked ones back in return.

You can see the monster clearly now as it steps into the light. You notice just how short the monster is: on its tippy toes it can only reach your breast in height. It stares up at you, keen, with a blonde, bestial face muzzled by pinkish-iron. Vivid red frames its lithe body from its ribboned snout to its short dress and dainty red shoes.

This monster, forged by cursed nightmare, looks as if one had simply taken the head of a dog, and placed it on a young girl’s body.

Is this how you should die? By the hands of a dog-headed child?

Can you fix its door?

“What?” You break the silence dumbly as the odd thought strikes you.

“Can you fix my door? If I escape tonight, the world will end,” the monster replies without skipping a beat. It cares not for the knife positioned inches away from its face.

The monster looks up at you full of intent, but not to kill. It has, after all, just asked you a question, and claimed a stake on the end of the world.

“Oh,” you reply dully. You don’t know what to feel. It would make more sense if the monster simply tore into your stomach, rather than delaying the inevitable with prattle.

The monster’s ears perk up. You have its full attention.

You take a deep breath. Your knife is still raised; but, if you cannot even feign aggression, then that is nothing but a joke. You lower your knife. The monster doesn’t care. It wants you to speak.

“The world ended about an hour ago,” you continue.

The abomination tilts its head to the side, confused.

“You don’t exist,” you clarify, pointlessly. Yes, you are well aware that you are talking to the curse’s reflection, and that this is inherently worthless.

The monster’s wolfish ears perk up at that. It looks at itself, filled with new hope and desperation. Thick shackles imitate bracelets on its wrists and ankles, and are waved about just as weightlessly as it checks every inch of its body. You don’t know how you didn’t notice before: the squirming lengths of chain that dig into the monster’s back. They drag silently behind the monster like weighty shadows, but they never impede the monster’s movements. Multi-hued metal stakes intersperse the chain-links, reflecting light like shards of stained glass.

When the abomination finished with its bizarre display, it turns back to you unabashed.

“Are you sure I don’t exist?” it asks with an overabundance of sincerity. Its muzzle adds an alien distortion to its voice, though it still manages to project itself.

You nod firmly. Without a doubt, the thing before you is a cursed monster. If you reached out and touched its face, you would feel the fake, cold metal of its muzzle, not soft human flesh.

The monster flutters its dress with its hand, and appears indecisive for a moment.

“I-I didn’t notice,” the abomination replies, unsure but sincere. It seems genuinely distressed.

You wonder, is it even possible for a monster to know what they are? Does the curse allow that?



“It’s…” The next word catches in your throat. Why, of all things, do you feel sorry for it? “...fine,” you continue. “It’s fine,” you say again, but more firmly. “No one notices.”

Your own words surprise you. They are driven by guilt, a voracious and cruel force.

“I’m sorry.” More words spill from you, honest words.

The monster’s ears twitch.

“Why?” It steps closer. You don’t recoil, though the reflex haunts you.

“I could have stopped the world from ending,” you reply. It’s far too late to hold back now.

The abomination goes pensive, but cannot keep the facade of maturity for long. Soon, it inches closer to you. If it had a tail to match its head, it would be wagging; instead, the monster’s unconventional wings glimmer with strange light.

The monster is so close now that it’s neck is almost vertical to meet your gaze. You feel nauseous just looking at it.

But nothing happens.

The monster keeps looking up at you, wings shimmering. You can’t tell if it wants to speak, or if it finds your chin fascinating.

“You know…” the monster begins speaking without cue. It’s voice is low, as if telling a secret. “The world would have ended when I got out, anyway,” it admits its revelation without pride.

Then, with a brilliant sparkle of its wings, it exclaims: “By ending me, you saved the world!”

You’re taken aback by the sudden burst of conviction, at first by the noise and then by the message within. The monster determinedly follows you for every startled step you take back.

“W-what?” you dribble out while barely keeping yourself from falling on your ass.

The monster is more than happy to reply right back in your face: “You’re a hero!”

You take a deep breath, and try to steady yourself - which is not made easy by the little monster trying its best to conform to your negative space. Thankfully, the monster does not interrupt you, instead it just stares, and stares, and stares. It's a menace of its own breed.

You’ve moved well out of the light now. A silhouette, backlit by the capricious light of its wings, is made out of the little monster. The windflowers around you watch on unseen. It’s a sickening and terrifying scene, but you hold back your bile and fear both. There’s one thing on your mind.

‘You saved the world: you’re a hero.’

- said the monster in reverence.

You replay its words in your head, and each time they sounds more wrong. The world is cursed, and it’s your fault. It’s not fair for this monster to think otherwise. It should hate you. You hate you for what you did.

“I ended world,” you state. Emotion is kept from your voice.

“-so now I can’t!” the monster happily adds. “You’re a hero!” it repeats, as if you could possibly ignore its first reverent warcry.

“You want to die?” you ask.

“But I’m already dead?” it shakes its weighty head. “No, I want to stop existing. Then I can’t end the world.”

You frown, bewildered. “You aren’t real,” you confirm.

“Thanks, hero!”

You look down at the little monster, and it looks back at you with mutual awe.

Why did the curse create this monster? Why does it thank and revere you for what you did? Does it truly understand what you’ve done, or does it understand perfectly? It doesn’t make sense. Nothing. Makes. Sense.

“Hero? Are you okay?” it asks, exceedingly concerned.

You open your eyes, and force yourself to reply: “No.” Thankfully, you can still keep your voice steady.

“Ah…” That doesn’t seem like the reply the monster wanted. It shifts awkwardly in place.

...

“Hey, hero, do you want to go out and stare at the moon with me?” the monster asks, quietly. It steps back, head slightly bowed as it anxiously awaits your answer.

‘Out.’

Your breath hitches in your throat. “You…” You try to force yourself into calm. “...You know a way out?” But you fail; the desperation in your voice is palpable.

The little monster's worries are quickly forgotten as it glows with pride in the literal sense: its wings are luminous. “I can go anywhere if I try!” it boasts. Already, it creeps back up to you.

You still haven't given it an answer. What's keeping you? Shouldn't it be obvious?

Why are you taking so long? The monster is waiting, clearly expecting the answer you wouldn't possibly give.

/o====================5====================o\

By nature, a monster is a lie. Should you really place your trust in one?

[A: Reject its offer.] {Never will you accept a lie. If not your principles, what else do you have. Stay her, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}

[B: Accept its offer.] {No, but you will anyway. If you can prolong this nightmare, just a little longer, maybe it will see an end. Go forth with monster in tow, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}



[C: Call for Sister.] {You promised her - this burden is yours alone. You moron.}

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
-Scraps of Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~<O>~~

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ??? Night

\o====================85===================o/

A cranberry trap.

Unedited. Future updates will also be unedited.
>> No. 30473
File 15092929553.png - (1.75MB, 3000x3000, 25.png) [iqdb]
30473
Your last chance to change your mind. What do you want Schutz to be, and what path do you want him to take. This choice will inform that. Continue on, if you wish.

This story is far from over (unless I give up on it, for whatever reason).
>> No. 30474
>Stay her
*here

Of course, I wouldn't notice that. It's an important distinction so it's worth the note.
>> No. 30475
[B: Accept its offer.]

Since we have abandoned Patchouli, there's little of worth here, except our clothes. Maybe she can get them? Doubt it.

Anyway, we got into this mess by trusting monsters. As in, by growing up. No reason to stop now.
>> No. 30476
>>30475
>we got into this mess by trusting monsters
'monster' has a specific meaning in this story.
>> No. 30477
What the fuck.

No, seriously, what the actual fuck. You've lost me.

I want to vote on this, because I vote on everything I read on principle, and this is definitely worth reading. But you're asking us to make a choice without the slightest idea what the answers mean.

I mean, come on - we don't even know if what's written in the story is what Flandre is actually saying! Flip a coin and get it over with.

Sage for being a moron.
>> No. 30480
File 150936143533.png - (18.59KB, 400x363, 25_5.png) [iqdb]
30480
>>30477
Interesting and disheartening.

I will have to think of an appropriate response. It appears I have completely failed.

Thank you for reading.
>> No. 30481
>>30480

...uh.

Re-reading my reply now, it seems a bit more aggressive than it really should have been. Sorry about that. Long day and such.

Just to be clear, I like this story. I mean, if I didn't, this wouldn't be bothering me. But it may not have been the greatest idea to base a CYOA around a protagonist that is a) so far in over his head he can barely see daylight and b) tripping donkey balls.

We've been shown repeatedly that we can't trust what Schütz sees and hears, the last two votes did the opposite of what I at least was expecting, and you've just laid down the trippiest scene (and conversation) I have ever read. And don't get me wrong, it's been a hell of a ride.

But now you're asking us to make an apparently significant choice. If you don't know what you're voting for, or even if the votes are going to do what you think they're supposed to... there's not a real lot of point in having a vote. I want the story to continue, but my input doesn't actually mean anything, because with two votes and a 50-50 chance of my understanding of them being correct it may as well be random.

Or I could just be missing something. I'll re-read this thing with my thinking cap on and get back to you.
>> No. 30482
File 150936764868.png - (10.42KB, 446x318, 25_75.png) [iqdb]
30482
>>30481
I will also consider this when I eventually create a reply. Not in a good mindset at the moment. Same as you, it has been a long day.
>> No. 30483
[A: Reject its offer.] {Never will you accept a lie. If not your principles, what else do you have. Stay her, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}

BLOOD AND FIRE
>> No. 30484
As far as I can understand, listening to the curse is a bad thing, so...

[A: Reject its offer.] {Never will you accept a lie. If not your principles, what else do you have. Stay here, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}
>> No. 30485
If we want to beat this Curse (we should give the Curse a name to make it easier btw,), we have to learn it's limit. We know it can bring fake injuries to life (ex. Schütz's arm), but can it create monsters or living beings that can think for themselves?
[B: Accept its offer.]
>> No. 30486
>>30482
Not the guy you were talking to but my enjoyment of this quest comes mostly from trying to figure out what's going on. Granted this does make things a bit annoying when there's a "make your choice now, no take-backsies" decision, but whatever.

If it makes you feel any better I'll keep on reading just to see all that pretty art of yours. Seriously, I love your character designs. They're fucking great.

[B: Accept its offer.] {No, but you will anyway. If you can prolong this nightmare, just a little longer, maybe it will see an end. Go forth with monster in tow, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}
>> No. 30487
Whinernon here. I went over the whole story with a fine-tooth comb, plus some Google-fu for the music jokes. At least, I think they're music jokes. One is definitely a three-way pun, but it could still be a music joke.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. What even is Austrian polka.

Back on topic... I still have no idea what's going on. I have some idea of what was going on, found the hints you dropped before previous votes, like how Meiling explains Patchouli's striptease... but it's like reading a story in reverse. It's a neat trick, and I agree with >>30486, but I still think it might have been better suited to a regular story.

Regardless, it is a good story, and deserves my vote, informed or not, so here:

[A] Reject its offer.

Basing this on the (probably misguided) realization that it's not 'who' or 'what' that's important, but 'where'. Flandre or hallucination, this thing should stay in the basement.

For opposite reasons, mind.
>> No. 30492
File 150963914736.png - (662.08KB, 2000x2000, 25_875.png) [iqdb]
30492
Vote will not be called until the 12th. My finals begin on the 5th and end on the 12th.

I will respond my best to your concerns/comments on the 12th - so if there is anything else, let it be known.
>> No. 30493
Reader chiming in, the mercurial nature of things is something that's interested in me the nature of the story and the way it flows but I do have to say that it sometimes feels like a Bioware Choice selection where what's in the summary does not match my expectation for what will be followed through on/with.

Which is fine, in some senses, because it makes MC's nature more 'real' in that there's some jagged disconnect going on but it also feels more difficult to grasp and more like the agency of choosing what he does is lacking or chaotic. The potential ramifications of each action seem magnified, I guess, in a way that you can't see coming or expect because we have no depth of the rules.

aka in the "Help Patchouli" action I would've expected him to offer a hand up (correct) but he would've used his non-injured hand instead of the injured one (I can't see why, even if it was dominant, he would use an injured arm over the other unless this is his being stubborn and pretending the curse has no hold over him or something like that). Which led us into this next situation.
>> No. 30498
Alright, I just marathoned this a bit!

[B: Accept its offer.]

An important detail I think I get out of this is that Remilia may be lying to Flan to keep her inside.

Or it could be that she goes bonkers when she sees the lunatic moon, and that she is actually perfectly in her right to be staying here at the claim that she will end the world by going outside.

But, you know what? I trust Sister, and I trust Sister's flowers. Sister's flowers are in Flan's room (Assuming we currently are in her room) as made clear (or not) by Flan being here and asking us to fix the door. Surely Flan is a good girl for being among the flowers.

The flowers would never lead us wrong, right?

The only thing that confuses me is how we got here, or if flowers are actually blood or something crazy, not to mention how flowers got in here, which is certainly inside.

Assuming we are inside.
>> No. 30499
[A: Reject its offer.]
Thought on this a while, and I just can't see accompanying a monster turning out well.
>> No. 30500
File 151048142036.png - (10.71KB, 788x219, ann.png) [iqdb]
30500
Thank you for your patience! Finals: done.

In regards to addressing the contentions, I have tried to make this as succinct as possible.

If you believe I have misrepresented your words, do speak up.

CONTENTION:
>what's in the summary does not match my expectation for what will be followed through on/with.
Recklessness carries the danger of unpredictability, especially so in a story like this. I guarantee that if less reckless actions were taken, then it would be easier to find your feet in the fog.

That said, the ‘limited vision’ I intended to portray with such a path has become more of an ‘impenetrable fog.’

>The potential ramifications of each action seem magnified, I guess, in a way that you can't see coming or expect because we have no depth of the rules.
Right on the point! There is one vital ‘rule’ that has been evaded. Unfortunately, explaining the mystery would invalidate the existence of this story.

Now to the meat of it:
>If you don't know what you're voting for, or even if the votes are going to do what you think they're supposed to... there's not a real lot of point in having a vote. [...] with two votes and a 50-50 chance of my understanding of them being correct it may as well be random.
I understand you completely. Just as much as you don’t want to vote mindlessly, I don’t want people to vote mindlessly!

Unfortunately, this lack of understanding is not something I can remedy in a status update. I do not at all blame my readers for this. It is the author’s job to present a product that can be understood, and I have failed in that - as evidenced by the fact you read this story over and still didn’t get the ‘thing’! The problem here is clearly not your lack of interest.

Solving the mystery(s) for you makes this story pointless. That would be like the presenter of a race taking the trophy for himself. I won’t ruin that for you; I’d rather this story not exist than it come to that.

Apart from admit my mistakes, there is nothing I can do except go further into murky waters.

What a horrible situation. I will try my best to fix this. I will.

The vote is tied.
>> No. 30501
So, anyone wanna discuss the votes? We've tied the author up, so someone will have to either vote or change their vote.
>> No. 30502
[A: Reject its offer.] {Never will you accept a lie. If not your principles, what else do you have. Stay here, and reap what you have sown. You moron.}

This is what i'm going to go with
>> No. 30503
>>30501
I have no idea what the mystery is... I was sure he was just seeing interpretations of a character's personality and quirks. But if it is something more real...
>> No. 30504
>>30502
Is this a vote? If so, the vote shall be called tomorrow if there is no further hustle.
>> No. 30505
Yup thats the vote
>> No. 30506
The vote is called for A.
>> No. 30507
Get back on irc, you bramblefuck. You are missed.
>> No. 30508
>>30507
Nah.

For future reference: if you wish to discuss personal or off-topic matters like this, please consider Discord or Steam.
>> No. 30509
Update is well underway!

Can't give a time estimate. 1000 words in, but no indication of an end.
>> No. 30537
The little monster looks up to you, silently and expectantly. It radiates a confidence that is made magnificent by the shine of its wings. Each stake is like a miniature moon in upon itself; staring into them now, they inspire just as much lunacy. After all, what excuse do you have but madness to linger on this monster’s question for so long?

‘Do you want to go out and stare at the moon with me?’ asked the monster, backed by confidence and the madness of 12 petty-moons.

This monster’s distorted desires are your only hope of escape. Isn’t the answer to its question obvious? Reject the monster, Schütz. You mustn’t accept a lie. So why do you hesitate? Isn’t this what you want: to die with your principles? After all, you don’t want to repeat the mistakes of childhood, do you, Schütz? What would Reimu say if she saw you now?

Reimu.

The memory hits like a punch to the gut. You manage to keep your reaction muted, or so you hope.

The monster’s ears twitch as if to pick up the answer you have yet to say. When it finds nothing, its confidence quickly erodes into concern. “...Hero? Are you crying?”

Oh. You wipe your face and it’s wet. ‘Don’t cry over me, you moron,’ Reimu would say. Fortunately, you say it enough to yourself to compensate the dead. You moron.

“I am.” You force your voice steady as you always do.

“Ah…” The monster shuffles in place; its lights are dim and flicker awkwardly. “When I try to break sadness it makes my head hurt,” it admits. Then, all at once, its wings blaze up again. “Wait-!” The little monster skips to meet you, but sticks midair. It seems the wings aren’t just ornamental. Energy vibrates off the monster like a tiny, livid fly. “My sad third eye just grows back after I break it, but when I write about being sad I feel less sad about feeling sad so you should write!” Its voice, already distorted by the muzzle, is helped not by its frantic and excitable pace.

You blink, catching none of what it said. A monster’s impassioned blatherskite.

You wipe your face of tears; they have already stopped, but only because you forced them to. You will be like Sister: unyielding. You are a stronger man now than when you damned Reimu. All you can do from here on is not dishonour her memory. Would Reimu have liked that, you defending her? Probably not. She would rather you not voluntarily doom yourself. Too bad for her that she can’t stop you now.

“I won’t be seeing the moon with you.” You finally answer the monster. Your voice is reigned, but your conviction is stronger than ever.

The monster, caught in the afterglow of its spiel, freezes entirely at your words. “I…” it says. The monster disengages from you, still frozen in shock. Its lights flicker and dim.

“But I can’t go alone. That’s not how my story goes.” Its voice is in muffled shock; though its body is vacant as if all of its vigor fled with the light of its wings.

You frown as an ill taste fills your mouth: more guilt. It’s your fault this monster doesn’t exist, and no amount of distancing will let you forget that. So be it - there is one last thing you can do.

You bend down to sit in the flowers, and ask: “Can you accompany this monster?” They don’t respond because you can’t talk to flowers. You ask only out of respect. “Thank you,” you say as you pick one of the larger windflowers. It bleeds mud from the stem.

You offer the flower to the monster. When you were younger you kept a flower on your breast every day until you felt strong enough to go hunting by yourself.

The monster dumbly receives your gift. Its head tilts with a palpable confusion. “...Hero?”

“She can see the moon with you. I belong down here.”

“She?” The monster cautiously inspects the flower. “But my story says that the Hero…” its words wane as it comes to a realisation. The light of its wings returns, though only at a fraction of their former glory. “Do you want to read it, my story, Hero?” Its voice is a beaten enthusiasm mixed with hope.

You take no pleasure in saying: “No.”

Not that you have any idea what the monster is talking about; besides a plea for help to a problem you created wholly.

The monster goes to speak, but nothing comes out. It stays in a fugue state of wordlessness until the remaining light of its wings fade. “I need to write,” it finally says. Like you, it can force its voice steady. You can admire that strength. “Thank you for ending me, Hero.” It forces a bow.

You give a final nod of acknowledgment. It’s a small comfort that this monster seems to enjoy nonexistence, even if it perhaps doesn’t understand what that means.

The crestfallen monster meanders off with flower still held tightly in hand.

There was nothing else you could do for it, and nothing it could do for you. Nothing of the little monster’s true self remains; it is just that, a monster, a lie with thought and form cursed upon it. You did that to it, didn’t you? Just like you did to Reimu, Patchouli and all the rest. You absolute moron.

The flowers make a pitiful noise as you unconsciously crush them between your fingers. Thick sap coats your flower-filled fist along with your own blood.

“Sorry, Sister.”

Some flowers stare at you, but they quickly return to duty sans the ones you crushed. The crushed flowers squirm feebly instead, eager to get back to work.

You take a deep breath.

You were crying earlier, weren’t you? You didn’t know you still had it in you. Ah, it seems like you’re doing it again. Just what do you do about this?

“Oh, Sister, I can’t take this anymore,” you mumble without thinking, and reign in your words the second your thoughts catch up.

‘I can’t take this anymore.’ You roll the words around in your head, and no matter how much you try to scrutinize them they feel right.

Lying to yourself is not acceptable.

You really can’t take this any more. You ruined Reimu’s life, and now it’s happening again to others. Does it matter that they’re youkai, vampires, or something else? You truly don’t know any more. Guilt does not discriminate, apparently. In your eyes, every monster could have been someone like Reimu, once. Someone like Patchouli, who helped you only to be… Don’t think about it, you absolute moron.

More flowers submit to your grip. Hurriedly, you go to shove your hand in a pocket only to find yourself still naked. That gives you a small, pitiful laugh, but a laugh enough to lighten the oppressive mood.

“Sorry again, Sister.”

The flowers turn to stare at you. If their humor is anything like Sister’s (terrible), they are laughing at you.



If you’re to stop being a living joke, perhaps you should do something about it. Reimu would say something ‘cool’ like that, wouldn’t she? Look where that got her; the reckless moron she is.

You try stand up, but fail. Pins and needles are proof enough that you’ve spent far too long moping. You try standing again, mindful this time of the numbness.

Once again you find yourself laughing. Here you are, following in Reimu’s reckless, moronic footsteps. It seems you’ve inherited Sister’s terrible sense of humor, and Reimu’s terrible sense of duty. What does that make you, then?

You shrug, and wander off in the opposite direction of the little monster.

Somewhere out there, there must be a way to break your curse. You stake your life on it. Reimu said the same thing, didn’t she?

You moron.

===== Time: Late Night | Curse: ~~<O>~~ =====

“Good evening, Schütz,” calls an all-too-familiar voice. It sounds like metal being torn to shrapnel underwater.

Your sweat cools and freezes you still like an icy cage. You can’t see or hear Elly’s blade, but you don’t need to. Like Sister who radiates majesty, Elly radiates fear. That’s why you know Elly’s leviathan lurches in the darkness behind you; her existence is a phobia in upon itself. This always happens when she sneaks up on you.

‘It’s just Elly.’ That thought alone is usually enough to break the terror-induced trance - not this time.

It isn’t ‘just Elly.’ The Elly behind you is a nonexistent monster. You made her that way.

“Oh, pity, have I become invisible to Schütz again? But our conversation never reached conclusion.” she continues to blithely chatter behind you. If you didn’t know better, you would say she was the same Elly that you met this morning. The curse taunts you.

Elly doesn’t deserve being reduced to a mere taunt. So what are you going to do about it then, moron? There’s nothing you can do, yet - but at least you can apologize.

Through sheer willpower you turn around and bow. “I’m sorry, Elly.”

...

“You worry for I?” she eventually responds.

You nod like an idiot, with your head still in bow.

“Oh, oh my! That’s just…!” Her guttural words crumble away into a most odd noise: laughter. Its shockingly pleasant when compared to the twisted sounds she usually produces.

You feel the scythe retreat.

“Look at me.” She isn’t forceful, but the return to her scythe’s ordinary voice is jarring.

You’ve been avoiding looking up until now. When you raise your head you see what you expect: Elly, the scarecrow, serpent, and monster. She stands proud and tall as a splash of red and yellow against the monochrome world. Her grin in fiendishly wide as it always in, but the slight dimples on each cheek tells you that she’s truly amused. In her eyes, or lack thereof, she must see the same man she’s seen off to the hunt a thousand times over. All you see is a monster - that’s what you must tell yourself, anyway.

“Do you know what I am?” she asks.

A monster in the shape of: “Elly. Sister’s vassal.” It’s not a lie, nor is it the complete truth. The malformed words sit like poison in your mouth.

“There was a time when that name meant something.” Elly laughs again. “Maybe it still does to anyone who isn’t Schütz.”

Elly shrugs. The slightest of the scarecrow’s movements are mirrored on a far grander scale by the wyrm-like scythe. “It still stands in my own time that men should worry at Elly, not for Elly.” More laughter. “You’re funny. Is that why Yuuka keeps you alive?”

Why does Sister keep you alive? You pay her tribute. What else can you possibly do? “I bring tribute,” you answer firmly.

“Why would she need you to do that?” she replies almost instantly. In her tone is pure curiosity, and not a hint of spite. You are shaken nonetheless. Elly is right. Sister doesn’t need you, not at all.

“That’s why I ask: is it your humor that keeps you useful?” Elly continues. “For what else does Schütz have?”

“I…” you hold your tongue as words fail you. “I don’t know.”

Elly perks up at that. “Neither do I. We have much in common, don’t we?”

You give a tentative nod. “You said that last time.”

Elly goes rigid. “Disgusting.” Then her eyeholes narrow. “Unless…” The scythe drifts closer to your face like an inquisitive, predatory beak. “Could it be that my good qualities rub off on you, and not your bad qualities on me?”

You suppress the instinct to flinch from the abyssal serpent parked just in front of your face. Elly is everything you are not to Sister: useful. That’s all you have ever wanted to be to anyone, and Elly does it effortlessly. You aren’t resentful, but you won’t lie. You’re jealous.

“It would be preferable…” you admit in a mutter. The snake drifts back and coils around the scarecrow.

“It would also be unlikely, but if given the choice, do choose the former.” Elly’s expression is an unreadable smile. She thinks you’re useless. Once again, she isn’t wrong.

...

“You’re no longer escorting that sky-starved wolf, are you?” Elly asks.

The little monster? You shake your head.

“Then it, too, trespasses on the Flower Fields.” Elly’s scarecrow smile is wider than usual. It appears as though the fabric of her monstrous face might tear, but it doesn’t, and the smile only grows wider.

Trespassing.

You understand now why the Flower Field is expanding beneath this house. ‘The current tenants won’t last long,’ Sister said. Elly does not tolerate trespassers; in fact, she loves them. This is a ‘birthday present’ for her more than anyone.

Elly patiently awaits the future with a smile. You really could learn a lot from her.

You almost forgot that she doesn’t exist anymore. You moron.

/o====================5====================o\

True words pool like poison on your tongue...
-[A1: “Elly, you don’t exist.”] {let it out}
-[A2: “Where’s Sister?”] {swallow it}



Patchouli and Meiling are going to die - but why should you care for monsters? They don’t exist anymore, you moron. You aren’t seriously considering this, are you?

You are.

What’s wrong with you?

[B: Implore Elly to spare…] [Elly will not like this. More additions past the first will surely beset her greatly.]
- [] Patchouli, if it still lives. It exterminated Nue out of convenience, and never meant any harm to you.
- [] Meiling, The first ‘good’ youkai. Its actions were altruistic(?), but its motives remain enigmatic. There’s a greater chance it isn’t already dead.
you do not know any other residents well enough to risk saving them.

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
-Last Scraps of Bandage (Wrapped Around Hand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~<O>~~

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: Late Night

\o====================85===================o/

A strange path has has been averted. Stranger paths have opened.
I apologize for the wait.
>> No. 30538
Disclaimer: writefags should remember to adjust their perceptions when doing mysteries. Their "Subtle hints" are actually nonexistant, "Normal hints" are incredibly subtle, "Obvious hints" are hard to catch and so on and so forth.

Okay so, I'm still beginning to get the idea here.
This guy isn't insane, the curse is actually real. That is a curveball that I'm still having trouble believing. Him being an actual nutjob would fit too well with this story. Is like reading an essay that starts with "I, the author, am the only real person in the world"

Anyway, his curse (incredibly, not a term born out of guilt) caused Reimu's death (again, not an accident on his part, a literal disease-like curse) Canon result of Reimu perishing would be the destruction of Gensokyo. Considering his 'nonexistence' stance on Youkai (not, as expected, a regular disbelief on the supernatural, racism or perceived unimportance when compared to Yuuka) maybe that's what actually happened.

But then why would he be bothered about the hallucinations, when the alternative is them not being there at all? He probably can't help it.

The only one he doesn't doubt the existence of is Yuuka, maybe she is the only one actually alive and is now rebuilding this world (a dream world, maybe?) in her tastes by removing everyone else by force. That'd explain his servile attitude towards her, at least. But who is everyone then? Memories? Phantoms? Leftovers? Actual people that don't know they died yet?

Damn, this is a good story, but it is probably too subtle for me. We should have enough hints to solve the puzzle already but, I can only see barely enough to start guessing.
>> No. 30539
[A1: “Elly, you don’t exist.”] {let it out}

I feel that, out of all the options, this will be the most helpful if nothing else. We could try to save another, but we, as the readers, would still be lost and to varying degrees confused. As such, it may be best to take the straw bull by the, uhh... snake scythe.

If we tell her this, it may lead to us learning something. We may learn how to stop being so lost, or we may learn how Elly feels on the matter. Perhaps we may give Elly an unwitting answer, or perhaps we may delay her from her seeming want to seek and destroy, if only a moment longer.
>> No. 30540
[Elly, you don’t exist.] “A1”
>> No. 30541
[A1: “Elly, you don’t exist.”] {let it out}
>> No. 30542
-[A1: “Elly, you don’t exist.”] {let it out}
>> No. 30543
I wonder what humans are actually left.

If the question is: "Why is Schutz kept around by Yuuka", then it has to be something he provides that the others can't/cannot, unless we're assuming some kind of twisted altruism.

"Tribute" might be correct but not in the sense that Schutz means it.

His "curse" is the power of "belief", making things real that are not there previously, right? It's a rather twisted way of handling the idea that humans need to fear/believe X about a Youkai for them to exist.
>> No. 30544
File 151176243490.png - (523.64KB, 1500x1000, 26.png) [iqdb]
30544
<- Quick thing.

Discussion is very much appreciated. The vote shall be called in, hm, 2 days? The turnout is below average, but that may just be due to agreement with the current consensus.
>> No. 30545
File 151177129512.png - (530.88KB, 1500x1000, 26_5.png) [iqdb]
30545
will draw other stuff now
>> No. 30546
>>30539
That's as good as a reason as any.
I would prefer to protect those two, but I need to know what the story is about at some point.

If it ends up with a worse and a sadder story too bad, but at least I'll know what the story was about.

[A1: “Elly, you don’t exist.”] {let it out}

Being cruel to Flandre was the straw that broke my belief in a 'good' ending anyway.
>> No. 30547
[A2: “Where’s Sister?”] {swallow it}
I have a feeling that taking the mansion will not be easy as they think.

P.S. With how unstable his mind is, I doubt that Reimu is actually dead.
>> No. 30548
File 151186241677.png - (539.49KB, 1298x951, 26_75.png) [iqdb]
30548
Still practicing faces.

Vote will be called tomorrow.
>> No. 30549
>>30548
Okay, has the MC been with Yuuka longer then Elly?
>> No. 30550
>>30549
He has known both for roughly 4 years, but has only begun actually interacting with Elly this morning.
>> No. 30551
>>30550
From what I could tell, Everyone, but Yuuka looks like a monster. That would mean (at least I think it does) that the curse kinda wears off if Schütz bonds with the other person is strong (ie. Seeing Yuuka as a sister). Although this would mean he would have to be with people in his eye look like monsters in order to break parts of the curse.
>> No. 30552
Course set for A1. Strange paths.

Going to be drawing random characters (besides Elly, who has gotten more than enough overtime in the depiction department)
>> No. 30559
Truth pools like mercury in your mouth, toxic and heavy. Swallowing the words would be easy, for a moment, but you know you wouldn’t be able to live with these poisonous words left unsaid. Elly deserves better.

You brace yourself and say with all austerity: “Elly, you don’t exist.”

Elly, who had gone into a vacant, smiling silence, turns her attention back to you with a twitch of her scythe. It swims up to you probingly. “Don’t believe in evil, do you, Schütz?”

Her boisterous, sweet laughter cuts off any chance of reply - it seems she’s made one up for you in her head.

“It was once my purpose to convince your kind otherwise. Now I owe you nothing,” Elly continues. Her fiendish, scarecrow grin somehow widens further. She is perfectly content with whatever point she made.

You take a moment to let the words sink in. The tenseness of your body makes every breath feel like the motion of a great, iron bellow. Thinking before acting is a chore in unto itself. All you want to do is make this end, somehow.

Evil. Is that how Elly defines herself? The most noble being in existence besides Sister calls herself ’evil?’

The only thing stopping you from jumping in right now to defend her honor (against herself) is the fact that the monster before you isn’t real - and that is the only true evil you see here: this monstrous, cursed afterimage of Elly.

This cannot continue.

With only a grunt of warning, you abandon all restraint and approach Elly. Adrenaline floods, drowning all sense and reason.

“This!” You grab one of her stripey, stick-like arms. It’s deathly cold to the touch with a texture like buffered wood. The real Elly is made of flesh and blood. You are touching a monster. “Does. Not. Exist. You aren’t real,” you continue, frazzled and staring straight into the soulless pits where her eyes ought be. Elly smiles, still and unfazed.

With her lack of eyes still locked onto yours, Elly moves her arm up and down. Your arm is tugged along in sync.

“Schütz?” the serpent voices from behind, startling you.

You did not plan this far. In fact, you did not plan at all. Your adrenaline recedes, like a child denying blame. “...What?” you eek out.

“This is a handshake,” she states with a sort of pride.

You look down to your hand, clasped like iron around her rigid arm. Regret begins to seep in.

“I… suppose. Yes,” you murmur, dazed.

“Then I exist.” Elly confidently shakes your hand again for good measure. “And if I didn’t exist, that would warrant a holiday. I see no festivities.”

‘Then I exist,’ the monster said.

No, no. NO. There comes your strength again. You grip Elly’s arm so tight that your hand slips.

Elly flicks your blood off its arm without looking at it. She stares at you eyelessly with that same huge grin on her nonexistent, scarecrow face.

You take a deep breath, and then another because the first wasn’t nearly enough. Be strong, Schütz. You can’t let anyone else do it for you.

“Elly.” You say her name to test whether you can speak without unnecessary emotion. You can, barely.

“Schütz,” she echoes back blithely.

You search carefully for your next words. Elly waits patiently. Even in her monstrous form, she carries a certain serene confidence about her; as if nothing you could ever say could make her falter. You’re going to have to try.

You need proof of this monster’s nonexistence, and you might just have it.

“This morning, I asked what you looked like.” you say. If this won’t work, nothing will.

Elly looks at you blankly. Have you lost her attention? Is she waiting for more?

You reign your thoughts, and continue undeterred: “What did you reply?”

Elly’s pitted eyes squint, slowly. Then, without warning she recites: “That I’m of moderate height, with an immoderate bust. My hair is curly and blonde, and matches my…” Elly falters, much to her shock.

Her eyeless gaze drifts from you to the ground. “My pretty gold eyes,” she finishes, squirming at the words.

You’re just as stunned as her.

She said it. She actually said it! ‘Pretty gold eyes.’ You can hardly believe it: a monster remembered not being a monster. “That’s…!” you say so fast you outpace thought.

Elly’s focus draws back to you in an instant. “That’s what, Schütz?” she asks. Her head twists absurdly to the side in confusion, leaving the stick of her neck visible.

“That’s true,” you say weary and relieved; so you echo confidently, to convince yourself more than anyone: “That’s true.” You allow a small, premature smile to stain your face. It’s not worth the effort of restraining. “The real Elly has pretty golden eyes, she said.”

Elly’s smile twitches. It’s a series of tiny, brief expression not quite a frown, but perhaps the closest Elly can contrive with her permanently grinning maw. “No, Elly does not have eyes,” she eventually replies. “I can never have eyes.” The twitches of her smile go fierce, before curving into a wicked snarl. “Never.

Elly’s anger can be felt like the scent of brewing storm - but you’re too busy cowering at her words to care for her temper now.

‘I can never have eyes.’ No. that’s not true. That can’t be true. The real Elly has eyes, she does - she must. The alternative is-

The scythe makes a low, guttural noise, like the gnashing of two blades mixed with a beast’s growl. It demands all attention. Every flower in the field, seen or not, turns to face her.

“Disgusting…” Elly shivers in said disgust. “Someone gave me eyes and flesh and blood without consent. They will be found in haste, stripped of eyes and flesh and blood without consent, and executed in malice,” she announces to the world; her vicious teeth take up near her entire face.

“Elly, I…” you mumble. What are you even trying to say: ‘sorry’?

Her empty eyes refocus on you with a squint, and then surprisingly, with a softened, bright smile. The malice, thick in the air, does not evaporate, but not a drop of it is directed at you. “I will allow you the honor of sweeping the garbage piling in the Flower Field.”

You find your voice and say: nothing. All that comes from your mouth is empty wind. Your tired blood doesn’t boil, and you lift not a heavy finger. You just stare on, stunned, scared, and wordless. You moron.

Elly tilts her head, waiting for a response, but she soon accepts nothing as answer enough. “Good hunting to you, Schütz.” With a wave of goodbye, Elly is gone - she sunk straight into the ground, smile and all.

You let your thoughts trickle back from shock.

Elly acknowledges her true self, and rejects it. Now, as she hunts down a ‘someone’ that does not exist, you are tasked with killing everybody in this house; the garbage, the trespassers. If Elly should execute anyone, it’s you for letting this happen. You’ve failed.

“Oh, Sister, I can’t take this anymore.” Your thoughts echo pathetically as speech; a phrase not unheard before.

‘Then do something about it, you moron,’ Reimu would reply. You’re trying; you really are. But she isn’t listening to your excuses. You’re only trying to convince yourself, and you’re doing a terrible job. ‘Then do something about it, you moron.’

So you will.

/o====================5====================o\

Make this right.
[A: Keep going. Pursue Elly.]

Your legs near buckle, and your mind sags low enough to be trodden underneath. You’ve suffered worse (have you? some memories aren’t worth revisiting).

Make this right - later.
[B: For now, rest.]

...Oh, you’re actually considering it. You must be worse off than you thought. ‘You can keep going,’ you tell yourself.

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~<O>~~

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: Late Night

\o====================85===================o/

Mad apple.
>> No. 30560
[A: Keep going. Pursue Elly.]
>> No. 30561
[B] For now, rest.

Hunter needs sleep badly.
>> No. 30562
[A: Keep going. Pursue Elly.]

No rest for the weary, as a sense of direction doesn't grow on trees.
>> No. 30565
File
Removed
Drawing while I wait for votes/discussion. faces are hard

As usual, the vote is called whenever I think it will reach apogee.
>> No. 30566
File 151228981682.png - (604.22KB, 1298x951, 27.png) [iqdb]
30566
wrong image
>> No. 30572
>Curse: ~~<O>~~

Something about that is unsettling for multiple reasons. One, he speaks of Reimu. Who has to do with Reimu? Yukari. Two, it could mean that up until now that the curse has been sleeping, and now is awake. It's possible that the curse is sentient, and that Schutz is less mad than he comes off as.

Now, with that out of the way, I think I noticed some stuff that could be important.

Elly's wood/hands appear to be deathly cold to the touch. I have to wonder why, exactly. Is that the curse, or is she actually cold in such a way.

Next, we drew out blood when we clutched her hand. Was that us reopening the wounds from Meiling, or is that fresh curse wounds? It's also possible we were grabbing the scythe head, but I have to wonder if that would suit her words. If they did, she could see using her scythe as something akin to a handshake or greeting to intruders. However, I feel I'm reaching a great deal on this one.

>“And if I didn’t exist, that would warrant a holiday. I see no festivities.”

I'm not sure just what she means by this. Anyone have a better idea?

>Her eyeless gaze drifts from you to the ground. “My pretty gold eyes,” she finishes, squirming at the words.

I have to wonder if this is proof for or against Schutz's thinking that everyone are now monsters. It seems as if it could go either way, and that this may in fact hint at either.

>You can hardly believe it: a monster remembered not being a monster.

I feel that this could be important. It's possible that we could use this to our advantage one way or another, and see if others remember. I'm not sure how we could, as it would take exact quotes, but it might be good food for thought.

>x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')

This has been bugging me a little while now. I'm not sure when we got an arrow bloody or how. Ohh, wait. Looking back, it seems it first appeared when we touched the an arrow. I expected the head, not the shaft.
>> No. 30573
File 151247618991.png - (7.82KB, 280x303, 27_5.png) [iqdb]
30573
Current vote consensus is minimal and not representative of my usual audience - this is not workable for me, and as such I will wait. I was hoping to be writing by now.

Quantity of drawings will be slowed due to general lack of audience interest.
>> No. 30574
>>30573
Either you write in the next couple of days regardless of a number of voters or I unleash Unlimited Proxy Works.
>> No. 30575
>>30572

>“And if I didn’t exist, that would warrant a holiday. I see no festivities.”
>I'm not sure just what she means by this. Anyone have a better idea?

Maybe she fancies herself as some big disaster or embodiment of death and feels like her dissapearance should be a local celebration.

Well, she does use the reapers' weapons...

As for her reaction, it'd be good to remind her that her true form is the one she's hiding from... and that running from the truth is such a human-like attitude...
>> No. 30576
File 151247924644.png - (16.82KB, 480x421, 27_75.png) [iqdb]
30576
>>30574
My apologies; I've been rather on edge since the issues arose a few updates ago.

I will call it tomorrow morning regardless. Your vested interest is worth far more than quantity.
>> No. 30578
[B: For now, rest.]

On a second thought, he hadn't had a chance to collect himself since he entered the mansion.

Calm down, collect your thoughts, and THEN make it right.
>> No. 30579
>>30576
It's not vested nor interest; this story has little potential to it, but your writing can get miles better if you just shut up and write - not having enough voters is just an excuse not to do so.
>> No. 30580
File 151248430375.png - (12.82KB, 480x421, 27_875.png) [iqdb]
30580
>>30579
Oh. Nah, remaining complacent isn't my style. I'd just start another project elsewhere if this didn't work out.

I'll see about making a proper response tomorrow.

Are you a random passerby? I don't understand your intentions here.
>> No. 30581
[B: For now, rest.]

seems like schutz can use the rest.
>> No. 30583
>>30537
Sorry Tulip, but you I'm in this post. Does Elly see the same thing as Schutz? Because I can't think of another reason why she would think that she has no eyes.
>> No. 30584
Called for B.

>>30579
Gave it some thought. I don't think we can reach an understanding.

>>30583
Can't say. Sorry.
>> No. 30585
>>30583
She's on denial.
>> No. 30586
Draft done. Going to go over it a bit before posting tomorrow. About 2000 words.
>> No. 30587
===== Time: Late Night | Curse: ~~<O>~~ =====

Your legs demand rest, your mind demands peace, and your stomach demands food - yet you can only grant rest. So why stop now, with such a slapdash respite? It doesn’t seem like your body cares. Your legs remain rooted in silent protest.

‘Elly, I will make this right,’ you repeat in your head as if to convince your legs to move. Instead, they buckle.

‘Elly, Reimu, everyone, I will will make this right… later,’ you amend to the tune of your crumbling willpower.

You crumple to the ground. You can keep going, but you won’t. How selfish of your human body to stop you. How selfish of yourself to let your human body stop you.

Your stomach makes a horrible noise, like the murderous wail of Elly’s scythe. You ignore it as you have been for the last few hours. After all, what surrounds you are flowers whose veins run with mud and clay. In the past, you tried eating them, many times in fact. Sister caught you, once. She laughed, and you haven’t tried since.

It was silly and desperate to think that devouring Sister’s own would make you more like her. “Don’t you think?” you ask a nearby flower. It stares at you for a while before returning to duty.

You groan as does your stomach. You’re feeling silly and desperate - moronic, in other words.

You unenthusiastically pluck the mute flower, and take a bite. It tastes like mud, and you feel no less human for it. However, you do feel considerably and particularly stupid for trying and, more importantly, failing.

“Next time, then,” you mutter dimly to the crowd of disinterested flowers - because naturally, if you survive, you’re going to try again.

The world is made dark. You panic, at first, before you realize that your eyes are lidded and your limbs are tied to the ground with fatigue. Your back is against now-crushed flowers. This is it, then.

The darkness soon spreads to your mind; giving it the peace that it desires and the sleep you need (but don’t deserve).



..

.

\ ~~~ /

You wake up to a flash of violet.

===== Time: ??? | Curse: ~~~ =====

With heavy body and mind, you right yourself. Sight comes slowly as the dim light above only makes a rough estimate of your surroundings at best. From what your frogged eyes allow, you are still surrounded by windflowers. They stare at you.

What were you doing again?

You stand, stunned and witless for the longest while as a landslide of thoughts compete for your freshly-awake attention; a grunt is your only reaction. Then followed by some vague, half-asleep stretches. Everything is fatigued, even after rest.

‘You woke up to a flash of violet,’ calls a victorious thought. Soon after, the rest of reality catches up to you. Patchouli, Nue, the curse and its awakening, Reimu, Elly; everything at once.

There is no appropriate reaction, but no one is around to chastise you for just sitting back down and simply staring into nothing. You moron. Oh, you can always rely on calling yourself stupid. That’s productive.

Not willing to stay still, lest you fall catatonic or faint from hunger, you steady yourself enough to stand again. You say goodbye to the brief post-awakening stupor, and welcome whatever exciting hells that the now has to offer. Above all else, this is your fault, even if you don’t quite understand what’s happening at this moment.

‘You woke up to a flash of violet,’ your thoughts remind you.

You know that color, and you know what it means: the curse is asleep.

Your head spins; which is dangerous considering you’re barely keeping yourself standing already. You don’t smile, even though you should. No, that’s too good to be true. Too convenient. Why would the curse sleep when it had everything it wanted? Did it flash violet out of capriciousness, or to taunt you with the prospect? Never has it been so forward, but you wouldn’t be surprised if it invented new ways to torment.

Elly asked before if you believed in evil, and yes, you most certainly do. It lives inside your soul: the curse, and it’s the color purple. One day you will end it; no matter what.

The thought calms you, even though it’s all empty words until you do something about it. Like Reimu.

You shiver, and harden your heart. You can’t lose yourself now. The curse could be asleep, and if so, then now’s not the time to degrade yourself - you can save that for later; after you’re fed, rested, and with the corpse of the curse at your feet.

You need not remind yourself that the curse’s corpse may just be yours. You know that very well. What’s important now is making things right. That starts with Elly.

“Elly!” you call out. Unsurprisingly, your voice is hoarse and feeble. You clear your throat of dirt, and call out again: “Elly!” That’s an improvement: now your voice is just feeble

“Schütz; Schütz?” is the immediate response; behind you. Of course, this is Elly after all.

But is it Elly?

You take a deep breath, and turn around to behold an expected and familiar sight: the monstrous Elly. The curse may sleep, but that has never kept its foul vision from your eyes. Whether the Elly before you be monstrous of body and mind, and not just in your broken eyes, remains unknown.

There’s no use wasting time thinking; you already know there’s only one way to know for sure if its Elly or a monstrous parody. You swallow you fear and reluctance, and charge to take Elly’s arm once again.

You don’t know what you expected, and shock numbs whatever reaction you could have. Your hand meets just that, another hand. Not a stick, cold as Winter, but a hand, warm and soft to the touch. Elly is stunned, or perhaps she doesn’t care. She blankly stares down at you with no eyes you can see.

The difference now is that you know the eyes are there. Like her hand, you just can’t see them.

‘The curse is asleep. Elly is real, again,’ your mind relays dully, before you can truly react. When you finally do come to terms, a trepidant, unsure smile creeps to your face. You’re not used to good things happening.

The curse is asleep! Elly is real, again!

You can’t stop yourself from grappling Elly into a bear hug; to both affirm reality, and, you admit, for the sheer joy of the moment. “Elly, you’re-!” your celebrations are muffled by Elly’s self-professed immodest bosom, but that doesn’t stop you from mumbling into that as well. Her body is comfortably warm, and not a deathly cold, cursed, monstrous thing. She’s alive!

Elly is rigid at your embrace. “I need a new dress, but this is my only dress,” she says. It’s the snake behind you that does the talking, but you know it doesn’t exist. Yesterday, the thought of that monstrous, phantasmal serpent alone drove you to not even consider talking to Elly. Now, you’re just thankful she, and everyone else, exists.

Some time passes in silence. It’s in that silence when Elly’s words finally permeate your thick skull. It also hits you that the comfort of your (unrequited) embrace is swiftly being overturned by the awkwardness - not only was the hug unnecessary, but you also ruined Elly’s dress for it.

Elly isn’t resisting you to any capacity, but the message is clear. Awkwardly, and with some shameful reluctance, you unfasten yourself.

‘Sorry,’ hangs on your tongue, but in truth you regret nothing, so you won’t lie. How selfish. You’re still smiling, even. Unfortunately, that happiness is not at all infectious. Elly continues to stare down at you, completely blank. Her permanent grin speaks of no heartfelt emotion. You did just ruin her dress, after all. You are like garbage to her, after all.

“I can get you a new one,” is your delayed reply, though you speak on impulse. You mean what you say, regardless.

“Really? How?” She leans in, curious. The swivels to get behind her, so it can face you.

“I’ll make one.” So long as Sister can provide the fabric, the needle, the string; sewing lessons as well.

“Then it will just get dirty again, unless…” Elly stares into you, and then through you as she ponders. “If I purged your humanity first, it may be fine,” she continues casually.

You’ve no attachment to your soul; that you know - and to have it ‘purged?’ It sounds far too good to be true. Though, with the curse asleep, you’re willing to believe anything at this point.

“Can I make a dress without my humanity?” You ask the most important question.

“Maybe…” She leans in even closer, and squints her empty eyes. “Is there anything else inside you that could do the work?”

The curse. “Nothing useful.” You wipe the oncoming frown from your face.

“There’s nothing useful nonetheless, Schütz,” Elly replies as if obvious, but she doesn’t seem to mind saying it anyway. “But that’s beside the point. To purge your humanity, that was not an offer. Yuuka wants a Schütz, not a husk… she specified among many, many other things.”

“... Oh.” It seems that if you want to stop being human, you need something worthwhile to replace it - something strong, like Sister, or something valiant, like Elly. Anything more useful than ‘Schütz, the cursed human’ works. Once more, a frown creeps on your face. You fight it back. You can feel sorry for yourself later. The curse is asleep, why can’t you be happy for once?

You purge the dissenting thoughts, and move onto the next.

“Then I can’t make you a new dress.” You smile brightly. “But I’m going to try anyway.” If there’s anything you’re good at, it’s futility, and selectively ignoring it.

Elly laughs. It seems you’re good at making her do that too.

Then, without warning, Elly makes a sound like the shearing of stone by lightning bolt. Her eyes widen, and her maw twists into something other.

You jump back by the reflexive will of a survival instinct. You look like a stunned, heart-struck deer. Soon, concern begs your voice to return: “... Are you alright?” you manage to ask without sounding as mortally terrified as you are.

She sounds like before, when she was beset and monstrous. You grimace. No, the Elly before you is real. You proved it. Nothing will convince you otherwise; you won’t let yourself be convinced otherwise.

Despite your best efforts, your hope drains. So long, happyness; it was fun while it lasted.

“I just remembered...” her voice is the same metallic choir as always. “That I’m extremely angry.” Her calm statement belies the confused way she looks at herself - as if to spot precisely the anger she claims. “But why am I angry?” she asks herself. Her face flickers between a horrific snarl and a plain smile, but never quite settles on one.

You can feel it now, the malice in the air. It’s weaker than before, misguided even.

In some dumb, remaining hope, you ask: “Is it the dress?”

“Maybe...” she looks back to herself. “Am I so petty?”

No, she isn’t.



You know the real answer of why she’s enraged, but you won’t admit it. But it’s the truth.

/o====================5====================o\


‘Make this right,’ you told yourself. The curse has been subdued. Is that right enough? Elly is Elly again, and so should all the others be. Is the best you can do now: nothing?

[A: Keep silent.]

...

You vowed to never lie, not to take every opportunity to speak the truth. Yet, to even consider silence when you know you can do better leaves a pit in your stomach.
-[B1 - “You said that someone gave you eyes.”] {attempt minor confession. test the reaction.}
-[B2 - “A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes.”] {attempt major confession. explain as much as possible.}

Oh, don’t lie to yourself! At the back of your mind you just want someone else to know, don’t you? How selfish.

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <-(O)-> “lunatic”

Time: ???

\o====================85===================o/

Mostly naked, near-starving bowman molests a (confusedly) mad apple without resistance. She then proceeds to have an existential crisis.
>> No. 30588
-[B1 - “You said that someone gave you eyes.”] {attempt minor confession. test the reaction.}
-[B2 - “A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes.”] {attempt major confession. explain as much as possible.}
Going all in on mad apple because if she finds out schutz may just die Or suffer horribly with this same option ehh let do it
>> No. 30589
[B2] “A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes.”

Answers or bust.
>> No. 30591
[A: Keep silent.]
Saying unnecessary things seems dangerous.
>> No. 30592
>>30588
These votes are mutually exclusive. Unless redone, your vote will not be counted.

>Going all in on mad apple because if she finds out schutz may just die Or suffer horribly with this same option ehh let do it
I don't understand.
>> No. 30593
[B2 - “A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes.”]

I can't see anything good coming from either option, so we might as well be bold. That's what he's good at, apparently.
>> No. 30594
>>30592
I think he meant "If she finds out that he didn't tell him, she might kill him. Then again, she might get mad and kill her outright. Eh, fuck it"
>> No. 30595
[B1 - “You said that someone gave you eyes.”]

You can't just keep brute forcing everything. Work smarter, not harder.
>> No. 30596
File 151304226337.png - (367.39KB, 1500x1000, 28.png) [iqdb]
30596
The vote will be called tomorrow.

Here's a head I made a while ago and forgot about???

>>30594
Thanks!
>> No. 30597
>In the past, you tried eating them, many times in fact. Sister caught you, once. She laughed, and you haven’t tried since.

That seems as good an answer as any to something I've been wondering. If she laughed when she caught us, that means that she doesn't see with the flowers, presumably.

>With heavy body and mind, you right yourself. Sight comes slowly as the dim light above only makes a rough estimate of your surroundings at best. From what your frogged eyes allow, you are still surrounded by windflowers. They stare at you.

>What were you doing again?

Schutz really isn't a morning person, is he? Odd, considering all he goes through.

>‘You woke up to a flash of violet,’ your thoughts remind you.

>You know that color, and you know what it means: the curse is asleep.

The more I see about the curse, the more it makes me think of Yukari.

>You don’t know what you expected, and shock numbs whatever reaction you could have. Your hand meets just that, another hand. Not a stick, cold as Winter, but a hand, warm and soft to the touch. Elly is stunned, or perhaps she doesn’t care. She blankly stares down at you with no eyes you can see.

Seems that the curse really does do such horrible things as make monsters of people. Although, this is only confirmation on the physical. I have to wonder about the mental, as Elly reacted oddly overall.

>“But that’s beside the point. To purge your humanity, that was not an offer. Yuuka wants a Schütz, not a husk… she specified among many, many other things.”

I have to wonder what those many, many other things are.

>“I just remembered...” her voice is the same metallic choir as always. “That I’m extremely angry.” Her calm statement belies the confused way she looks at herself - as if to spot precisely the anger she claims. “But why am I angry?” she asks herself. Her face flickers between a horrific snarl and a plain smile, but never quite settles on one.

Seems she may remember to some degree. Remember that anger she felt over the person that gave her eyes.

[B1 - “You said that someone gave you eyes.”] {attempt minor confession. test the reaction.}
>> No. 30598
Votes are currently tied. I will not leave this to chance, and as such I will require a tiebreaker.
>> No. 30599
[B2 - “A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes.”]

If you wanna go, you gotta go hard. Feel me?
>> No. 30600
File 151315655389.jpg - (48.22KB, 616x306, anenome.jpg) [iqdb]
30600
The vote is called for B2.

This will take a while to write.
>> No. 30601
>>30600
Last time I read that, it was a BAD END.
Did we fuck up? I think we fucked up.

I don't mind, I haven't read a BAD END in years.
>> No. 30602
1200 words down. Much more to go. Might finish tomorrow. If so, it will be out in two days as I like to look over it after a day's rest.
>> No. 30605
===== Time: ??? | Curse: ~~~ =====

Elly stands in front of you, audibly wrestling with her own memories. It sounds like the growl of a beast mixed with the sifting of gravel.

You know the truth, but you should say nothing. Strangled peace is the best you can hope for. For four years you’ve kept your mouth shut and your self restrained, and you ruined it all in one day. You should be grateful for this opportunity to make things right again. But you aren’t. You’re hesitating; you’re doubtful, and you don’t know why. This should be the best you can hope for! What else could you want but to make things right again?



Oh, please don’t lie to yourself. You’re so tired of lies. Justifications and excuses boil to the top of your mind, but you ignore them all. No matter how much you twist the truth, you’re no hero trying to make things right. If you were a good person, you would keep quiet; permanently, preferably. But you’re just Schütz. At the back of your mind you just want someone else to know about your curse, don’t you? How selfish.

You exhale sharply through your teeth, and on your next breath you speak. “Elly, I know why you’re angry.” You feel dizzy as you squander this chance of peace. A thick and vile sickness wells inside you. You want to throw up, but, fortunately, there’s nothing in your stomach.

Elly’s attention focuses at remarkable speed. “Is it the dress?” she asks. The scythe find home near your face as if to drill you of the answer. Her face is a blank smile paired with squinted eye-sockets.

“No. I-” your voice is level, but you can hardly force the words out of your mouth. The world blurs and distorts to the rhythm of your frantic heartbeat. “I need to sit down.”

The scythe follows you down. On the ground, you feel no better. This is not a physical sickness.

“Then, if I’m not petty, I’m enraged for an important reason.” Elly gives you a dimpled smile. “I’ve no idea what, whence, or why; so I place my entire trust in you, Schütz. If you must lie, make it an interesting target. I’ve enough rage to topple myself and no less,” she drawls on casually with scythe still parked at your nose. Her grin takes up near her entire face, and she radiates a curious malice like that of a shark testing prey - not once does she consider you a target.

“I won’t lie.” The words come easy to you, and you say them with resolve ill-befitting your wretched state.

The serpent recoils, and then coils upon itself in abstract confusion. “Are you sure? Not even Yuuka could resist the opportunity to direct my ire.” Elly’s true smile has dissolved in the befuddlement.

“Sister wouldn’t lie.”

“I agree. Why would Yuuka need to lie when she can simply beat reality into submission.”

You nod, assured. That’s part of why you admire Sister.

The cursed snake continues to coil around until the knots break and reform into continuous, shadowy stem. It drifts back to you inquisitively. “But that’s beside the point. If you lost the gift of conscious lying, then what do you believe to be the truth of my anger, Schütz?” She smiles proper. “I do hope your unconscious is creative.”

She calls you a liar, an ignorant liar - one incapable of knowing they’re lying. You take in a breath, and bear the pain. You’ve done nothing to deserve Elly’s trust, so why should she believe you - why should anyone believe you?

You stop your thoughts there. Losing yourself now is not an option, you moron. You can wallow in self-pity when you’re dead.

The blade in front of your nose creaks. That’s as much a signal as any to continue, so you ignore the churning sickness of your gut and do just that. “I have a curse…” You test for reaction, but for now it seems Elly is content to listen.

You go to speak, but the words turn stale in your mouth. You blink, incapable of much else, as the sickness in your gut turns to butterflies. You’re… excited. How can you be excited? What you’re doing is a crime! Not that the butterflies in your stomach care; all they want is for you to continue. Elly intently waits at the tip of your nose.

“I have a curse.”

You take in a breath with an unsolicited shiver of fear and excitement. Then, you let it out. “It tells me lies. Always and never-ending lies. Sounds that never happened, places that don’t exist, and monsters that shouldn’t exist.” Your heartfelt thoughts, bottled up for years, spill out into a great, verbal mess. You continue; impassioned by the dancing butterflies in your stomach and the sweet numbness of a starved mind. “Nothing good. Everywhere I look and hear is nothing good. Only Sister is good.”

Your breath is inconsistent. Your vision: blurred by rushing blood. Elly might have said something. You continue anyway.

“Every day the sun rises to show a purple sky that I’m not allowed to believe in. Everything the sun shows under the purple sky I’m not allowed to believe in. Then, I go to sleep, and I wake up, and nothing has changed. The sky isn’t blue, and nothing under the unblue sky is real. Nothing has changed.

You run out of breath, so you take it back as quickly as possible. You briefly wonder why you’re smiling and crying at the same time. Continue, continue, continue…

“This curse; I tried digging it out of my eyes, but Sister remade them. It’s not in my eyes, my skin, or ears anyway. Sister remade them too. Can’t tear it off. Can’t fix it. Can only ignore it, for years, and years, and years I keep ignoring it. If I died, it might die with me. But Sister won’t let me die. She loves me.”

Breathe just enough to keep talking. Any more is too much.

“I stopped ignoring it yesterday. Everything has changed. I punched a monster; that was stupid. And then I kept going and going until the curse woke up.”

Breathe.

“Then I…” You’re slowing down. Unacceptable. “I met you again, Elly; you were a monster. I tried to convince you to be real again. It almost worked, but you said…” Continue, moron. “You said that someone gave you your pretty gold eyes. The real you has pretty gold eyes, Elly.” I will never see them.

B r e a t h e.

“A monstrous you said that someone gave you eyes. That’s why you’re angry, Elly.” The excited, frenzied butterflies in your stomach escape with the last of your words; leaving you empty inside. Your selfish monologue is complete.

You stare outwards like a small worm inside a human-shaped shell. Elly stares back, completely blank of expression. The scythe is withdrawn behind her.

You wouldn’t be surprised if she killed you for what you’ve done. That is, of course, if she even believes you.

“Do you know what Yuuka said to me as she made this vessel, Schütz?”

… Sister?

“With the humorless thing she calls humor, she said: ‘if Justice has no eyes, then why not make her twin sister the same?’”

Sister said that? No, that’s not…

“Reality buckled for that unfunny joke, and I, Elly, the Lady of Injustice, was made. So I can’t have eyes. That would ruin the joke. That would ruin I.” Her voice doesn’t waver, but the spasmodic twitching of her grin says it all.

No, no; this isn’t right. The curse isn’t awake. Elly shouldn’t be corrupted like this.

“These pretty gold eyes defy my very nature…” Elly settles into a dimpled smile as she looks at you. “That’s why I’m angry, Schütz.”

Your blank stare matches her own. “No.” You find your words again. “No, no, no, no.” Only one word, though.

“If you have an interesting lie to tell, the time has passed for me to believe it, Schütz. This truth is more interesting for me.”

You respond in mumble. Even you don’t know what you’re saying anymore.

“But that’s beside the point. We may have our own preferred truths, but we have a common enemy, Schütz. The one who gives me eyes or the one who makes monsters; they are the same.” She leans in close, not just her scythe this time.

“The curse,” you mutter.

“I’ve enough rage to topple no less.”

When Elly was a monster, she swore to execute whoever gave her eyes. Now, Elly is real, and history repeats. This isn’t how it was supposed to go. Everything is wrong. Elly is wrong.

Your confession failed; no, not failed, that’s too soft. It made things worse. Why did you expect anything different. This curse is your burden and yours alone. That’s how you were born, and how you will (never) die. Moron. Moron. Moron.

Then do something about it.

Acting on pure instinct, you stand up, and reach out to take Elly’s hand (which, like her pretty gold eyes, is assuredly real).

“Schütz?”

Don’t worry, Elly. You will fix this. You won’t let another Reimu happen.

/ ~~<o><>~~~<O><o><O>~<><O><>~~~~<o>~~~<>~~ \

>[WELCOME: USERNAMENOTFOUND]
>[LOCAL INTEGRITY: ~99% PURE | ~1% IMPURE]
>[IMPURITIES(1) IDENTIFIED]
>>[REPORT SENT | T:04:59]
>>>[REPORT RECEIVED | T:04:59]
>[PURGING IMPURITIES(1)]
>...
>[LOCAL INTEGRITY: ~99% PURE | ~0% IMPURE]
>[IMPURITIES(0) IDENTIFIED]
>...
>[GIRLS ARE PREPARING. PLEASE WAIT WARMLY.]

\ ~~~ /

The world spasms violet. Despite this, for once, you feel that everything will be fine.

===== Time: 04:59/Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

“Schütz…” drags on a metallic voice in front of you.

Your eyes refocus to see Elly; the same, cursed Elly. You can feel the warmth of her real hand still on yours. You fixed her. You don’t know how, but you know you did.

“What was I…?” She tugs at your hand, and then looks down to see them intertwined.

She’s confused. You should help her.

You reluctantly let go of her hand. “Your dress,” you blurt out, stupidly, the first thing that comes to mind.

“My dress…?” The serpent curves about to inspect that very dress. “I was angry about my soiled dress, wasn’t I? How petty of me,” she drones on.

The corner of your mouth twitches. Some inconvenient but harmless memories have bled from the monster. So long as she doesn’t remember their eyeless maker, you can accept that: barely. It’s not a lie if you just keep quiet. It’s not.

“I’m going to make you a new one.” It’s the least you can do after all this.

She laughs prettily, but says no more. There’s a wide, dimpled grin on her face. It must be stunning in reality.

You smile back. You look terrible.

Everything is normal again. Ely is real and with no impure thoughts. There are no monsters except the ones in your eyes and ears. It’s too good to be true, but you believe it anyway.

The relief you feel is indescribable.

“How fares the hunt, Schütz?”

“The hunt?”

“Did I not pass you the honour of sweeping the garbage piling in this Flower Field?” The serpent arcs about in the air as it recites. “I’ve no idea why I would pass such an opportunity, but I did.” She doesn’t seem concerned about that fact in the least. “... For now, let’s say it’s because you made me laugh.”

It’s easy to keep calm when you’ve already exhausted yourself. Elly remembers more tainted memories. You can accept that. You must accept that.

“I fell asleep,” you reply. “During the hunt, I fell asleep.”

Elly nods approvingly. “If you wait long enough, the garbage will breed and make more.”

You don’t know how youkai reproduce, but you nod anyway. There’s a lot you don’t know about youkai; you’ve come to learn.

Your stomach makes a horrendous noise. You wince, and force a grin through it to show you’re fine.

Your last ‘meal’ was the charred husk of a deer.

“Starve to death, and I will bring you back. Wait as long as you want,” Elly says. She’s not trying to be reassuring; she’s stating a simple fact.



“Can you not bring me back?”

“No.”

“Oh.” That’s what you expected. Sister won’t let you die. “Do you have any food or water, then?”

“No.” Elly looks around vaguely. “But, I can escort you to some.”

/o====================5====================o\

It would be appreciated...
-[A1: here.] {direct closer. In this ‘house.’}
-[A2: there.] {direct farther. back home.}

But distancing yourself might be for the best...
[B: go alone.]

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <-O-> “lunatic”

Time: Early Morning

\o====================85===================o/

Memento mori need not apply.
>> No. 30611
[A2]

Carpe Diem still works though.
>> No. 30613
File 151403189946.png - (10.63KB, 819x460, 29.png) [iqdb]
30613
The vote will be called in three days. Or before then if I feel like it. Probably before then, then.

I was going to quit, but now I'm not. That's pretty neat!

>>30611
I'd advise being wary of the future as much as the present. Trusting non-humans to have a human perception of time would be odd.
>> No. 30614
File 151410060317.png - (19.51KB, 819x460, take it like a champ.png) [iqdb]
30614
Well, looks like I lost 80% of my readerbase in one update. Even got a gold trophy for it!

Not gonna bother waiting for no one. Called for A2.

I'll start writing after or during boxing day.
>> No. 30615
>>30614
It's a seasonal thing, don't be disappointed. Was I disappointed to find out that half the fucking tubes went down for the second half of my vacation? Or that the 26th, a perfect day for shopping on foot, will be cold as shit and raining?
Yes!

So, y'know, don't be me.
>> No. 30616
>>30614

I just have been exhausted, personally. Figured I'd get to it tonight, but now I guess I'll wait till next time. Maybe next time I'll make it in time.

And, as >>30615 said, it's to be expected around this time of the year, and it only gets worse on Christmas eve, let alone on the day itself. Procrastination for gift-getting and the like, I'd imagine. It's like a festive disaster, the way people rush stores.

Well, assuming toilet paper could be called gifts in this example.
>> No. 30617
>>30614

I'm tired as fuck, busy as fuck and what little time I do spend on THP gets sucked up by my own story.

Which are all pathetic and overused excuses for being a lazy faggot and massive hypocrite, but yeah. Sorry dude.
>> No. 30618
File 151413130063.png - (12.68KB, 819x460, christmas spirit.png) [iqdb]
30618
I expected a poor response to this update (many reasons that I won't go into), and took the following silence as the expected disinterest. My mistake.

Someone needs to exterminate the christmas spirit.

>>30617
>hypocrisy
I don't see any. What are you doing that belies your words?
>> No. 30620
>>30618
Being too lazy to vote, after bragging about visiting every board every day and voting on everything I read, in response to people complaining about lack of votes.

Shame on me.
>> No. 30621
>>30620
Understandable, given the valid excuses.

I'll try my best to make people want to interact with my interactive story. Writing something that can overcome the holiday/general malaise is evidently setting the bar too high.
>> No. 30622
Update is underway. This one shouldn't take too long to write, but it should be quite large.
>> No. 30624
2000 down. Another 1000+ to go.

Should be out... soon. Hard to tell with my atrocious and inconsistent writing speed.
>> No. 30625
>>30624

That's actually a pretty good speed, isn't it?
>> No. 30626
>>30625
100words/hour at worst [common]. 500 words/hour at best [very rare]. This update has been easier than most with an average of probably 250/h

I'm a very slow writer.
>> No. 30627
>>30626

Just makes you a hard worker. I'm sure all of us appreciate that.
>> No. 30628
Update will be out tomorrow night or the following morning. Most fun I've had writing an update in a while.

>>30627
There's a lot I could say on the matter. Not much of it is pleasant. But, er, thank you.
>> No. 30630
Well, definitely not tonight, and I'm likely to be busy tomorrow.

Currently at 3.8k words. 4k is likely. Not sure what my largest update is, but this is certainly a contender.

I did not anticipate this. Fortunately, as I said, this update has proven easier to write than most.
>> No. 30632
===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

An escort; Elly, no less? It would be appreciated, and that’s understating it significantly. But, just as you’re about to give your affirmation, you’re struck by a familiar doubt.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if you went alone? Everyone not including yourself, of course.

Then, you realize Elly could escort you home. Home.



With that thought, your indecision evaporates. You’ve already gone over this. You’re selfish. Regretfully so, but not repentfully so; you are selfish nonetheless. Selfish enough to value the opportunity of going home over another suicidal journey into this small hell that the Flower Field has expanded into. Maybe, when you get home, you can just stay there forever.

That sounds good.

Doubt thoroughly vanquished, you look to Elly and nod. She tilts her scythe in return, and nods back in a slow, deliberate imitation - as if it were a foreign gesture.

Oh, your nod must have looked cryptic (and stupid) on its own. “Elly, let’s go home,” you hastily clarify.

Elly squints her empty eyes at you, but says nothing. It’s a silent, judgemental sort of confusion. You wilt under it.

“Home, the Flower Field - the old one, I mean.” The words jumble as you try to make sense. In the end, keeping your mouth shut is for the better. Embarrassment poorly translates to finesse; you’ve repeatedly proven.

After a moments thought, and no interruption, you simply state: “Let’s go back.”

Elly stare seems to go straight through you. “There is only one Flower Field, but...” The serpent is motionless in the air, and makes an eerie, slow grinding noise: thinking. “The landways location is inconsistent for Schütz, isn’t it?” She asks herself with answer already in mind.

Focus returns to Elly’s eyeless gaze. “Then, you want to return to the other, landways location of this Flower Field for food and drink, Schütz?”

Landways as in across land? You nod, unsure how else it could be seen, but trusting Elly enough to know what’s best.

“And you want for me to escort you, Schütz?”

You nod more confidently.

“Then, Elly is your escort from the Flower Field to…” She briefly churns in thought. “The Flower Field. Again.”

You let out a small sigh of relief. Elly didn’t go off on another alien tangent, and by extension give you another opportunity to embarrass yourself. She’s of the few you don’t want to be made a fool in front of. The other being Sister, and another being dead. “Thank you, Elly,” you say with all sincerity.

Elly isn’t paying attention. With great, vague motions she looks about with cursed serpent and head both.



Eventually, concern outweighs your patience.

“... Elly?” She ignores you completely in favour of a particularly interesting direction in the darkness. You step closer. “Elly?”

Elly turns to you; filled with the same curiosity she before aimed at the darkness around her. “Schütz; Schütz?” she replies. She doesn’t seem particularly concerned, though even when she was ‘angry’ she appeared calm - apart from the occasional twitch of the mouth, and the hellish growls. For all you know, she could be feeling anything, or nothing. You wonder if her real self is as untelling as the cursed caricature before you. Part of you hopes that’s the case; it would mean your complete obliviousness to her feelings are at least somewhat understandable.

You’ve been entertaining paranoia for a while now. Elly quietly watches you all the while.

Oh, you really can’t stop embarrassing yourself. “Are you looking for something?” you ask as if you didn’t just spend nearly a minute over analyzing her face. Fortunately, you can keep the idiocy from your voice. You’re good at that when you need to be - sometimes.

“The other, landways location of the Flower Field, what else?” she instantly replies - and, like usual, your mind is not so quick.

Wait - “You don’t already know the way?” you think and speak at once.

“The landways Flower Field is inconsistent for me, too, Schütz. I know the waterways, not the landways.”

“… The waterways?”

“Yes, those are what I know.”

… That’s about what you expected.

You get the feeling any explanation of ‘waterways’ she could give would fall on moronic ears anyway, so you get straight to the point and ask: “Could we go by the waterways instead?”

“No, not we, so no one because I’m your escort.” The ground ripples beneath Elly. Her cursed, serpentine shadow warps and distorts with each undulation.

“I can float. You can’t. If I were to invite you in, your body would sink, and there is no bottom.” Elly looks down to the ground. “Or none that I can see from the surface.” She shrugs. It’s an odd motion to make when all you see are poles for her arms. “It’s more interesting to say it’s bottomless, and no one, not Yuuka, not I, can tell me to the otherwise.”

You try your best to understand. Elly has some kind of ‘waterway’ beneath her; different from the landway which you assume to be everything around you. That waterway will also drown you because you don’t float. It is true that you can’t swim, and you’re not sure how Elly knows that.

“But that’s beside the point. I don’t want to get my water dirty, too, so landways we go, Schütz.”

“Landways we go,” you echo with at least some idea of what you mean. “I’m going to make you a new one. A new dress.” You feel the need to say it again after she brought up dirtiness: the ‘humanity’ you smudged her dress with.

She laughs prettily. You would like to think it’s her real voice breaching through the mire. Though, you know not to trust a single thing you hear. You want to hear more of it, nonetheless. It’s a small sign you’re something other than a bother.

Elly leans in ever so slightly, her face blank. “So dirty is my dress that I may just wear yours regardless,” she says.

Hm. You won’t settle for making a dirty dress. Though, you don’t say it. She’d laugh, and you’ve much exceeded your quota of embarrassment. You will save that for later; preferably with a clean dress (not) in hand.

“... Did you find anything. While you were looking, did you find anything.” You tactlessly change the subject.

“That it’s quite dark,” Elly says.

“Oh.” You forgot that you’re both completely lost, ‘landways.’

Not willing to let panic set in, you pick a completely random direction (anywhere except upwards), and with faux-authority say: “Let’s go.” So you go, and Elly follows. She soon assumes the front, though you’re certain she’s following your lead.

Above you is the library. It still lights the way, somewhat, with the smattering of light the falls down from the miniature suns on the shelves. Even if it might be faster, you won’t go that way.

So what if you’re both completely lost. Elly’s here!

…Elly’s here.

It’s not like you threatened her very existence, or anything like that. Oh, except that’s exactly what you did, you selfish moron.

Once you get home, you must make sure to never leave. You promise this to yourself.

===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

After much aimless wandering, you ask: “Could you bring food and water?” You have to pick your next words carefully. “From the other, landwise Flower Field?”

It’s a stupid question, you’re sure. You at least want to know why it’s stupid.

“They would sink,” Elly instantly replies. She keeps on forward. Evidently, she thinks that explanation is enough. She forgot to factor in your nigh-complete ignorance.

“The water would sink?”

Elly pivots to face you.

“Yes, why would it float?”

“It’s water?” At this point, you’re not even sure that your definition of water is the same.

“But not my water, Schütz.” She almost sounds proud, but it’s hard to discern anything but cacophony from that cursed, metallic voice of hers.

“Y-yeah,” you blurt out like an idiot. For a moment, you hasten your pace as to not see her reaction. Though, knowing Elly, she probably doesn’t care.
>> No. 30633
===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

The transition from flowery abyss to hardwood floor brings a brief joy; soon beaten down by the claustrophobia. You’re back to the halls which, what seems like so long ago, Meiling briefly escorted you through.

With Elly by your side, it’s easier to ignore the many ways this house is sick - like that there are no windows. You remember seeing windows outside. Or the way that the rooms are too large for the spacing of the doors. Or how your stride is too long for the distance you cover. Or that- You cut yourself off there.

Unfortunately and evidently, ‘easier to ignore’ means little relative to ‘impossible to ignore.’ It’s as if this house is made to make you uncomfortable.

“Elly,” you say, to keep your mind off.

“Schütz,” she replies.

“What do you think of this house?” You manage to make your distraction about the house anyway.

“Besides it being red,” you quickly add; mindful of Elly’s blunt-to-the-point-of-bludgeoning temperament.

“It’s re-eh?” Elly goes stiff, and looks back at you with wide eyes. “It’s…” The sound of her thinking is ear-grating. “A house and it’s red, and…” More horrific noise. “I’m red, too, but you can’t live in me.”

“Still, I’d rather that than this house,” you reply with the first thing that comes to mind; anything to keep the conversation going.

“I already live inside me. There’s no more room, and I like to keep the place clean.”

You nod. You know what it’s like to live in a body with too many people.

“Ask Yuuka to make another,” Elly continues.

“Another?”

“Another vessel, but an empty one you can live inside; you must be rid of your old vessel, first.”

You look to yourself, still largely naked. Your human body holds some sentimental value - far outweighed by its complete and utter uselessness. “That would be good, but I don’t want to burden Sister.” You considered asking her long ago.

You spend a moment waiting for Elly’s response, but then realize she’s staring through you, not at you. You take that as a signal to continue your treck. You’ve already bothered her enough.

Halls come and go, you think. It’s impossible to tell for they never change. Each junction leads to a replica of the last.

===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

You come to another junction. To one side, a hall, to the other, not-a-hall. You enter the not-a-hall before you even determine what of the infinity-minus-one not-a-halls it could be. There’s no clearer sign of desperation than when your body makes decisions before the brain. Fortunately, in this instance, you didn’t walk straight into a pit or suchlike.

Before you is something like a hall, but far, far more spacious (to your immediate relief). Doorways perforate the walls of the new room like worm-ridden wood. No doubt, those doorways lead to more halls, and from those halls even more. The thought makes you shiver. There’s so many ways into this room, it appears, and the fact you didn’t find a single way in earlier is proof enough that the number of halls is beyond reason. This is not a house, it’s a labyrinth.

You’re fortunate to have not been gored by the minotaur, whoever and wherever it may be.

What of that wall that is not bored by doorways is plastered in paintings - of people, places and events. There’s no certain theme, and not a consistent style to be had. All of them are in immaculate conditions, and while their placement seems arbitrary, they are positioned in such a way that no matter what angle you take, you are always greeted by an awesome sight. Crowning it all is the centrepiece positioned at the very end of the room. It takes up near the entire end wall, and rightfully so! Given the subject matter, if another painting were to intrude, it would be torn to shreds in seconds. The piece is of a four-winged crow perched vigilantly upon the back of a sleeping wolf. Though, it’s certainly not the wolf you should worry for. Like the roots of a tree, the wings of the crow seep out, and claim everything they touch; that includes this room, and everyone in it. It’s the image of control.

Below that image is a long table, and at the very end of that table on a chair that is more like a throne. Meiling, of course, does not sit in that opulent chair. The youkai sits in a modest chair close to you by the side of the table, and waves to you with its cursed, ragged arm.

Wait, Meiling?

You stand there a few moments, and you blink just to be sure. Against the motley of art, and ominous shine of the miniature red suns above, is a monstrous homunculus of rags and gunpowder. Yep, that’s Meiling. Meiling is at the same time incredibly out of place and fitting right in. You can smell it now: the faint, fake scent of gunpowder.

You have to do something before Meiling takes it you’re imitating a pylon, so you belatedly wave back to the youkai. Last you saw them, they ran off on urgent business, but before then the youkai seemed oddly gregarious. While your (justified) prejudices still run red, you’re willing to make tentative exceptions; Meiling being of the two. If nothing else, you can respect a youkai that doesn’t take upon itself to make misery for fun. At that point, they’re already better than most humans.

“Schütz. Naked and tardy hunter,” Meiling speaks with a voice like sand eroding stone. The youkai’s voice carries well in the room; perhaps by the room’s design. “And a psychopomp here for my ladies’ dusty old soul. You’re not -”

“Don’t be disgusting,” Elly interjects. She’s been silently standing by your side this whole time, though your attention was too taken by the room and its inhabitant to notice.

Meiling blows a disenchanted puff of smoke Elly’s way. “You’re not the first,” it continues. “Nor will you be the last.” The youkai gatekeeper languidly turns to you. “Is this the sister you spoke of, Schütz?”

“But I’m Elly?” says a thoroughly befuddled Elly.

“And - I’m Meiling, Hong. Youkai gatekeeper,” Meiling (surprisingly)quickly and formally adds before turning back to you for an answer.

“Elly is my…” Long seconds tick by. “Escort. She’s my escort.”

Meiling looks between you and Elly. “I have met many with a deathwish, but to openly and personally court it, or her, …” The youkai trails off, and is unable to find the words to continue.

“I’m not Death; I’m Elly.”

Smoke escapes Meiling’s mouth, but no more. The youkai sucks it in before speaking. “Schütz.” Meiling beckons with a wave of the arm. “Come, sit.”

You look to one of the many chairs, and then back to Elly. You end up shuffling awkwardly in place.

“You may sit as well, Not-Death.”

“I’m not Not-Death. I’m Elly.” She smiles as she takes a seat.

“It’s an easy mistake... One with a psychopomp’s instrument; a psychopomp’s presence; a psychopomp’s prey…” The youkai pauses in thought. “Is assuredly not Not-Death.”

Elly keeps smiling as she turns to you. “Good hunting to you, Schütz.”

You linger on the words for a while, sure that they mean something. Oh, that’s right. You’re charged with ending Meiling in Elly’s place. It never really sunk in until now.

Your breath catches in your throat.

You’re not really going to do that, are you? Meiling is a youkai, yes, but one more like Patchouli; one that doesn’t deserve death. There has to be a mistake. You need to talk to Sister about this.

Awkwardly, you take the chair next to Elly and sit down. No need to acknowledge that brief crisis of mind. You’re going to fix it. No one else needs to get involved.

Though, right now you can do something about the way Meiling is treating Elly. Calling her ‘Death,’ of all things? Elly is Sister’s vassal, and deserving of no less respect.

You take a breath to steady yourself, and with a flat voice say: “Stop bothering Elly. Elly is good.”

“Schütz, you-!” Elly can’t complete her sentence.

“E-Elly!?” What did you do!?

… Oh.

She’s laughing so hard that she’s been made a giggling mess on the table. Of course, it’s the snake doing the laughing in your broken senses - the snake itself appears to be having difficulties staying aloft.

You’re looking down on her like she’s some sort of object fallen from space.

“Are you sure you know this girl, Schütz?” Meiling asks.

You rigidly turn to Meiling. Somehow, you’re remaining calm, though to move your head feels like the twist of an old spring.

“I’ve known her for four years, and I met her yesterday morning,” you answer the truth plainly.

Meiling is silent, and watches you with head in its hands for the longest time. Elly laughs a sweet aria all the while. “... Adorable,” the youkai comments.

You nod after you realize what the youkai means. “Elly does have an adorable laugh.”

“That, too.”

What?



Elly eventually goes quiet, and back to her usual, blank, smiling expression. She turns to you. “Is Elly good?” She asks. Is that a suppressed giggle you hear?

“Yes?” You have no idea what else she could be(?).

Elly bursts out laughing again.

You don’t get it, so once again you watch on in stunned, confused silence. At least you don’t cry out like an idiot this time.

Meiling is content to watch this time.

It doesn’t look like Elly is going to stop.

“So, Meiling,” you say as you very deliberately drown out the laughter.

Meiling puffs some smoke: a signal for you to continue, maybe.

You didn’t think past this part, and it shows. It’s hard to think at all right now.

“Should we discuss your nudity, your lateness, or...?” Meiling eventually sees fit to pick up the slack. It shrugs. “We have all day to talk, but far from all night.”

“My nudity?” You look down. Oh, you keep forgetting about that. “Patchouli’s training. They’re teaching me strange things.” You pause as you try to find the word. “Manners.”

Elly settles down. Now she’s just staring at you and smiling. It’s a true smile; the one with dimples. You give a lopsided impression of a smile back. What has gotten into her?

“... Patchouli’s training,” Meiling echoes hollowly. There’s a long, pensive pause, so long that you almost think the youkai is done with just that. However, after a few puffs of smoke, Meiling speaks again: “I’m glad Patchouli likes you so much. Like many of us, her desperation for good company has eroded standards.” The youkai lazes in that thought before finding another fancy. “Speaking of, did you know that the adorable maid once tried to woo me with parlour tricks?”

Adorable maid, ‘Izayoi’? With the way ‘the adorable maid’ looked at you back then - you can imagine her pulling organs out of a body, but not rabbits from a hat.

“... No. No, I didn’t know that.” You’re also having significant trouble believing it.

“Ask her to show you some time. She will kill you, slightly, but she would love to show you afterwards.” You will make sure to never, ever ask her that. “It’s worth it.” To this addled youkai, maybe.

Surprisingly, Meiling immediately begins speaking again. The youkai must have prepared. “You know, our host waited all night for you. She rated you as the worst vampire hunter she’s ever had.” Meiling shrugs. “Our most eminent host may even find that amusing enough to numb her trodden pride.”

“I’m not a vampire hunter.” Then comes the question that’s been fermenting ever since you got here. “And what’s a vampire?”

Meiling goes completely still. Its bizarre, cursed ‘whiskers’ twitch in a rare display of shock. The youkai quickly recovers. “This is a vampire’s mansion, inhabited by vampires, and full of vampires’ friends… And vampire hunters come here to murder vampires.”

Vampire hunters are exceptionally moronic, is the implication you’re getting. You have all the qualifications - besides hunting vampires; it’s no wonder you were mistaken.

“And as to what a vampire is…” Meiling pauses in thought. “I only know two. About this tall…” The youkai holds their arm out to provide a rather underwhelming estimate. “I heard they drink blood. One likes to boast about drinking blood while sipping a glass of red wine. The other eats cake.”

“Oh. Vampires sound…” You’re not good at this. “Small,” is your intelligent response honed in seconds of non-thought. You intently stare down at the table.

You can feel Meiling’s gaze on you. It stays there for a long time. “... You will not get far here acting like me. When we’re done, stick to Patchouli, the adorable maid… the younger Scarlet is perhaps even a better rolemodel.”

You look to Elly, who still looks to you smiling and silent.

“Oh, Elly is already my idol.”

Elly perks up. “I am?”

“You are.” You hear a puff of smoke being ejected, but all your attention is on Elly.

“You want to be…” Elly pauses. “Good like Elly?”



You’re not going to answer that, but Elly has leaned in so close with body and snake alike.

Fine! “Yes, yes. I want to be good like Elly!” you force out even though it shouldn’t be anything controversial. Who wouldn’t admire Elly?

You brace for the laughter, but none comes.

“I’ll believe it,” says Elly.

“... Huh?” You have never prided yourself in your fluency, but you can do better than animalistic grunts, you’d hope. “What do you mean?” Good, you haven’t become a beast just yet.

“That which you keep saying, Schütz. Elly is good.”

Was it ever the otherwise? You have no idea what you did, but you feel it was something good for once, so you rub the back of your head and smile dumbly(is there any other way for you?). Regardless of all else, you affirm: “Yes, Elly is good.”

You’re not sure what you expected in return - thankfully, not laughter. Elly just keeps smiling at you, silently.

You hear another puff of smoke being ejected. Oh, Meiling. You turn to the youkai. You really should be going now - have you forgotten already what you’ve done? You shouldn’t even be talking to the innocents your curse warps. Including Elly.

You can’t let your selfish nature get the better of you.

“Come with me. We can sit down, peacefully. Have some herbal tea. Have some clothes…” says Meiling. “Perhaps I can even calm down our hostess enough to not to grant your deathwish.”

“Or I can escort you to the gate, and not a step farther.” Meiling shrugs its weighty body.

Your body feels oddly numb. It’s probably because you realize what danger you are putting everyone in.

“Oh, I’m going. Out. With Elly,” you spray out. “Back home.”

“That’s…” Meiling samples the word before continuing. “Disappointing. This is the hundred and seventeenth time and it’s still so very disappointing.”

There was never a reality where this youkai could get what it wants - whatever that is. It’s your fault. “I’m sorry,” you say, and you wouldn’t say it if you didn’t mean it. You get up. Elly follows blithely.


“Come, then, I will make this quick.” Meiling rises with a great plume of cursed gunpowder, and dutifully marches past you.

You follow quietly. The youkai hasn’t lied, yet.

The doorway comes quickly. It was hardly a few turns of the hall away, and your steps somehow seemed longer than usual. You don’t put much thought into it. You feel terrible. Your body runs on fumes, and your mind is already turning to toxic swamp.

Ahead of you is a disgusting garden, and beyond that the gate you came in. You walk towards the gate.



Meiling stands by its side. The youkai doesn’t bar you, but you stop nonetheless. Despite it all, you do appreciate whatever good that this youkai thinks it’s doing. “Step past this point, and I will use all my power as Meiling to destroy you,” the youkai says.

That is its duty. You understand, so you nod, and then reality catches up and punches you in the gut.

Elly will destroy Meiling.

What else did you think would happen?

Well, to put it in simple enough terms for your stupid brain to understand, you didn’t even consider Meiling’s safety until now. Granted, before yesterday, the image of youkai in your mind was firmly in the realm of the Nues and Rumias of the forest. Now, with a nuanced opinion comes nuanced problems.

Your feet are rooted in place, and you stare into the ground as if Sister would spring up to fix everything. Someone has to die here, and it is physically and spiritually impossible for it to be you.

“Scared?” asks Meiling.

You’re in a perpetual state of mild to extreme terror, but, yes, you are leaning on the extreme side for the moment. You shouldn’t need to answer. Still, you nod with stiff neck.

“... Good. That is your body telling you how senseless this all is. Turn back.”

That is not an option. You need to get home. You are a danger to everyone around you, except Sister.

“No.”

“...” Meiling goes to say something, but stops. It hesitates. Though, with a large plume of gunpowder as its herald, the reluctant youkai continues: “I am permitted to expel genuine threats to my lady. If I were to forcefully expel Elly, it would be easy for an ungrateful human to scamper away in the chaos.”

No, no, that’s just the same. Elly will destroy Meiling. Why is this youkai making it so hard? It would be easier if Meiling were an esurient Rumia or devilish Nue, instead this youkai is unrepentantly gracious - and you’re sure to call it that now for you’ve tried your best to prove otherwise.

Oh.

This is why spellcard rules exist, you moron. The thought leaps out at you for blood; it is incredibly upset to have not been thought of earlier! Wild, untamed confidence fills your body. ‘Everything will be fine,’ it promises. With that, the rigor of terror is thawed.

You look to where Meiling’s real, azure eyes ought to be, and say: “A spellcard duel. We’re going to have a spellcard duel for you to let Elly and I pass. Standard rules.” You’re smiling, you realize. You did just save a life, for once, though it was your fault the life was endangered in the first place.

Elly bumbles about in the background, innocent as an angel. You give her a small wave to say you’re fine. She waves back far more enthusiastically. She’s paying attention in her own, completely vacant way.

After a long spell of pondering, the youkai speaks. “Spellcard Duels... This is a Gensokyo custom. No, a Gensokyo law.” Meiling sits down right there. “Patchouli warned me of this.”

“Sit,” says the youkai.

You sit. No matter what happens from now, no one is dying - unless the curse awakes. The challenge has been issued, and the stakes, set; all that’s left is to state name and title. You also have to win.

“My spellcards,” says Meiling.

Said cards appear as the standard, ethereal pieces of paper. Instead, rather than painstaking designs inking their pages, they appear more like something you would scribble into bark with a knife.

[Early, Mid, Late Afternoon ~ Herbal Tea]
[Maid Sign ~ Seductive Parlour Tricks]
[Scarlet Sign ~ Cake and Wine]
[Colorful Sign ~ I Saw a Nice Rainbow Today]


Just by glancing at them you can tell they’re terrible. You’ve seen fairies with more eloquent designs.

“Do they work?” Meiling must have read your wincing face before you got a chance to speak.

“Yes. They function.” You take a particular look at the best of the duds: [Colorful Sign ~ I Saw a Nice Rainbow Today]. It appears that it would shoot a few inconsistent, scattered volleys of pellets, before stopping. “Somehow,” you add.

“Will I lose?”

“Certainly.”

“A shame.” Meiling stands up. The youkai calls it name, and you stand up to call yours in turn.

Conceited Youkai Gatekeeper ~ Hong Meiling

Paranoid Forest Hunter ~ Schütz and An Escort ~ Elly

“Elly?” You turn, which turns into a spin. She ends up being beside you; where you looked not even a second ago.

Meiling is patiently waiting while assuming what looks to be a combat stance, though the confusion is clear in the twitch of its whiskers. You’re thankful that its cursed form has some legible emotion.

“Schütz,” Elly replies. She doesn’t seem particularly concerned, or much of anything, really.

“You joined.” You state the obvious, and hope it leads from there.

“I joined.”

“Why?”

“I’m an escort, and I’m escorting Schütz, Schütz.”

“Oh.” That’s nice of her; it’s welcome, if not necessary. You turn to Meiling. “Elly is my partner.” You point to Elly for some reason.

Meiling puffs some smoke, but says nothing. The youkai manifests all of its spellcards at once, and touches one seemingly at random.

Is this a technique you have not heard of? You watch on, curious.

“Schütz,” says Elly. She has manifested her full - and voluminous - library of cards for you to view. “Choose one. They’re mine so they’re…” Elly smiles. “Good.

You’re confused by her words, but then you realize that what at first seems like Elly boasting is more likely her savoring the word ‘good’. While the humor is lost on you, her simple joy is yours as well. You want her to be happy, and you’re willing to make a fool of yourself (by stating the truth???) for it.

Meiling is still performing an esoteric technique with her spellcards. It’s worrisome.

Maybe you should start it off, then?

/o====================5====================o\

You go to touch one of Elly’s cards, but manage to withdraw before it is too late. While Elly wouldn’t stop you, you know she wouldn’t appreciate you dirtying her spells, too. That would be terrible of you, and you’re going to have a hard enough time already with making her a clean dress; making her new spellcards adds another dimension of impossibility.

Logically, you inspect them from a distance.



These spells are all exceedingly complex, or brutally simple. On closer inspection, they somehow seem to be both at the same time.

You will start with these ones. They seem simple enough for you to understand. Maybe...
[A: ] {choose one}
- [Revised Legend ‘73’ ~ “Executioner Elly”] (???Sounds Offensive???)
- [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise] (???Sounds Defensive???)
- [HAHAHA ~ “Elly is Good”] (???)
… she made this one just now.

You take a little peak at a more complex spell.
[“Perdition Crisis”] (???)
Your brain hurts just looking at this card. It’s just like Sisters’. You would have to be much better to use anything like this.

Though, you may not even be good enough to use the ‘simpler’ of Elly’s spells...
[B: One of yours instead.] {spell automatically selected from yours}

{Using a spellcard will let you privy to their origin, so long as you are on the same team!}

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <-O-> “lunatic”

Time: Morning

\o====================85===================o/


Scarlet Retour ~ Deep, Deep Ocean View

S.O.S. (slice of schütz)

5.8 Stage 2 boss, or stage 1 because Nue was unbeatable in a fair fight. The preamble is particularly long in this game.

5k+ update. That’s a lot for me. A lot for the reply box, as well. Most updates are 1.5k~. Dialogue kept coming. Scenes kept bleeding into others. There’s no point giving votes when they would be out of character.

Drawing the centrepiece is beyond me.
I’m not all that good at describing locations and the like. If you have any advice on the matter, I welcome it.

Thanks for all your time and input!
>> No. 30634
File 151490817494.jpg - (42.61KB, 640x1138, x7OwdGr_d.jpg) [iqdb]
30634
Holy shit this is best thing I've ever read.

The dialogue with Meiling was hilarious, specially the "Qualifications" part. Elly was perfect with her newfound fascination about his "Good" comment (Which was written like a confession. Coincidence?)
The tension returned when he noticed that Meiling was going to die, but it all ended up well.

Seriously, the whole thing was great.
This story has been a tense conversation between a paronoid schizophrenic and an alien world through an old radio that barely works half the time. It still is, but it has "clicked" for me now, if that makes any sense.

Vote later, after I reread everything once or twice again. 2018 is looking good.
>> No. 30635
[A] Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise

I WILL VOTE ON THIS STORY, SANITY BE DAMNED.
>> No. 30636
[HAHAHA ~ “Elly is Good”]

I will freely bite of your bait.
>> No. 30637
[A] Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise
>> No. 30638
>>30634
>Holy shit this is best thing I've ever read.
>Seriously, the whole thing was great.
Stuff like this makes me speechless, so fortunately I can reply several hours later in text. Compliments in general flabbergast me.

>Meiling/Elly dialogue
Dialogue and characterisation is a pervasive foe. It’s nice to come out victorious, for now. I count making someone smile/interested/invested/etc as a victory.

I have a lot of fun writing Elly and Meiling. There is much more to them that I’d like the explore. Same goes for most characters, but them especially. Patchouli and the famulus are the hardest to write, if anyone was curious about that. ‘Harder' doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t like the characters themselves; it means that I’m likely to look at a paragraph for an hour with nothing but a sentence or two mutating (and summarily being weeded out by natural selection an hour later for being useless, genetic aberrations)

>This story has been a tense conversation between a paranoid schizophrenic and an alien world through an old radio that barely works half the time. It still is, but it has "clicked" for me now, if that makes any sense.
You appear to fit right into the tiny, tiny niche I’ve carved (this is my hole! It was made for me!). Not sure how that happened. This is my first proper story besides some dribble-on-the-carpet I made when I was 13 (about a sentient puddle of acid that is actually a living bomb created by a sentient planet to [insert rest of convoluted plot here]) - so, much of what I’m doing is playing by ear. To an onlooker it must seem like I’m actively trying to repel as many potential players as possible.

In conclusion: thanks for reading, and enjoying reading.

= = =

>>30635
>I WILL VOTE ON THIS STORY, SANITY BE DAMNED.
For the full voting experience: fill a bathtub, and put your head underwater.

>>30636
>I will freely bite of your bait.
The bait sinks, and the fish with it.

This is just silly wordplay. Pay no mind.

= = =

The vote will be called in… 3 days? Keep the ball rolling until it hits another 50~0~-50 words/hour wall.
>> No. 30639
File 151498575487.png - (19.74KB, 819x549, 30.png) [iqdb]
30639
Probably less than 3 days. I'm in a rush to hit that wall at max possible speed.
>> No. 30640
[A] "Executioner Elly" or "Elly is good"

A defensive card is worthless if the enemy's attack is shitty.
>> No. 30641
[B: One of yours instead.]
Schütz seemed confident enough before Elly joined in. No need to try using one of Elly's spells.
>> No. 30642
>>30640
Those options are mutually exclusive. A choice must be made or the vote is null.
>> No. 30643
>Drawing the centrepiece is beyond me.
I’m not all that good at describing locations and the like. If you have any advice on the matter, I welcome it.

Perhaps draw the location instead? Just a thought. Also, I miss seeing your art. It gave the characters a more grounded form, where the imagination would give a different experience to each reader. Although, I suppose it will only become an issue if you don't draw any newly added ones, of which we've yet to see.

Anywho, that said, I suppose it's time we huddle and strategerize. While I would love to see that third Elly card, and while I imagine that it would be easier to use, I worry about Elly in general. She is missing but 1% of herself, and yet she's sounding ditzier and ditzier by the statement. It may be wise to give her a good look-over with our weird not-console to make sure her very existence isn't eroding. She's seeming increasingly unElly, and this is worrying to me.

However, as this isn't a good time to give Elly eyes, I think it's probably wise to remind her of who she is. Not the dangerous-sounding card, however, but the defensive one. Also, Elly is starting to remind me of a dog for some reason. I kinda want to give her a pat on the head and call her a good girl, no matter how bad of an idea it seems like it could be.

[A:]
- [1] [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise] (???Sounds Defensive???)
- [2] [HAHAHA ~ “Elly is Good”] (???)

If choosing two is outside of allowable votes, as it stated to choose one, then consider it a vote for the one I added a [1] to, so as to signify it as the first to be used.

Ohh, and sorry it's taken this long to vote. Feel horribly sick, terribly depressed and just overall bleh.

>>30634

Maybe you could share further clicking insights post-reread. It would be nice to discuss things with someone.
>> No. 30644
>>30643
>drawings
I had a big thing written up, but it's easier to dot point:
-I dont like what I draw
-Audience tends not to pay any mind to what I draw apart from interest in the concept/design (the same effect could be achieved with a single design sketch and none else)
-I will (and have been) attempt(ing) to better my drawing skill before trying to draw for this story regularly
-I will draw new characters in this story, regardless

The mspaint scribbles are just for my own enjoyment.
Drawing seriously, and even casually, has ceased being enjoyable.

>Perhaps draw the location instead?
I cannot draw locations. I’m not particularly concerned about that, however - as I’m far more interested in characters at the moment.

>vote
Well, I'll be taking [1] as this is indeed a mutually exclusive vote.
>> No. 30645
>>30644
I am that I am
>> No. 30646
>>30645
Comparing yourself to god, shrimp? You'd better have a hell of an update to justify that.
>> No. 30647
>>30646
Speaking of hell, It's a tad more treacherous to claim better judgement than God.
>> No. 30648
The vote will be called tomorrow at earliest opportunity!
>> No. 30649
>>30642
[X] Elly is good

>>30643

Sure.

Have you considered the possibility that the curse does exactly what he thinks it does? Turning people into unreal monsters without them noticing the difference?

Because, considering that the nature of the curse is the biggest mystery, I've never, ever, took what our MC said at face value.

First, I thought it showed the true nature of people. Elly is a monster with a fearsome scythe because she's a reaper, Meiling is a gunpowder dragon because she's a dragon youkai from China, Sakuya is a human blurred because she is, indeed a human, but with a different time than the rest of the world, etc.

However, while Elly acknowledges her monster form (sometimes) Meiling does not. Not sure if that is because she isn't actually fully cursed or not.

Because he believes he is passing the curse by, what? Interacting with people? Does it turn people into monsters or just kills them and makes them Imaginary?Are his visions just illusions unless he acknowledges them as real? Seems likely.

Elly is the key, I think. She acknowledged both her real form and her cursed form. The curse status, however, seems useless. It only seems to affect his visions: Elly talked about her eyes when it was on full swing and when it wasn't.

Also, what happened to Reimu? She died from the curse? How? How does it kill? Schultz died several times, but we still don't know how.
>> No. 30650
Great. I'll call it now, and get working tonight. However, I can give no estimate as to when this will be out due to the whole pendular writing speed thing.

Vote:
{0} [A: [Revised Legend ‘73’ ~ “Executioner Elly”]]
{3} [A: [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise]]
{2} [A: [HAHAHA ~ “Elly is Good”]]
{1} [B: One of yours instead.]

{0} [A: ["Perdition Crisis"]]
I jest.

Here's some music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDV4Dfe5-Y4
>> No. 30651
The wall is tougher than expected! Give me a while, or not. I'll be devoting significant time to this, so maybe I'll breakthrough soon.

I have to be very careful with my wording. That's nothing new.
>> No. 30653
>>30651
1000 words and much time later: one wall broken, many to go. This is going to take a long time.

While responding to discussion would defeat the point, I do welcome the proof that my players are thinking on levels outside the immediate vote. There is merit in that way of thinking, I assure you.
>> No. 30654
2500+

Should be able to finish tomorrow. Which in practicality means it will be out the day after due to self-editing and such.

Writing fast is a myth. Behind every so-called fast writer is a troupe of adderal-infused lesser apes chained to keyboards.
>> No. 30655
>>30654

Inside each and every one of us is there not at least a single adderal-infused lesser ape chained to a keyboard?
>> No. 30656
3500+

Update tomorrow.

Will end at 4000, most likely.

>>30655
I'm making do with my lobotomised aye-aye. It pokes a key, every now and then.
>> No. 30657
===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

Under spellcard rules, your impeccable accuracy degrades to just ‘good’ - ‘not good enough’ in the case of a spellcard duel against youkai. Skewering Rumia and the like before a duel always proved to even the odds. Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an excellent idea to take out one of Meiling’s eyes, or a leg. But… you didn’t consider it, and considering it now, you don’t want to. You will leave it at that.

You shouldn’t need to shred Meiling’s Achilles to beat them, anyway. The question, raised by Elly’s whim, is how you will beat them: with a club, or with a fancy mace?

Of the limited selection of Elly’s cards you can mentally grasp, you’re given the vague choice of brutality, passivity, and - you don’t know to describe the last spellcard. For a moment, you consider just using one of your own spells. But, no, Elly knows better than you. She offered her cards, and you will take them. It’s the right thing to do, not the easy or sane thing, the right thing.

Not only must you win, you must win by Elly’s whim. You may disappoint yourself, but you won’t disappoint her. Doubt slithers under the heel of your bullheaded desire to not fail. Unconfident but determined, you declare the most reliable-sounding spell:

[Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise]

‘Most-reliable’, you must admit, is the most superficial of titles you can give to a spell you’ve never seen made by a person you met yesterday.

You look to Elly for some signs of life; preferably, any proof you haven’t chosen the spellcard kin of a white flag.

Elly smiles at you in the self-assuredly vacant way she does. That’s enough for you; you trust Elly absolutely. You try to smile back, but find that you can’t control your face, nor the rest of your body - and, with that, assurement is not had. Your muscles strain to keep from mollifying as your body is used as a container for thoughts that are not your own: Elly’s thoughts.

To duel with spellcards is to accept a certain degree of mental violation. Thoughts, experiences, and memories are the fuel. In this case, the fuel isn’t yours. You are taking Elly’s ammo, and putting it in an unfamiliar gun: yourself. It so happens, to no one’s surprise, that you’re attempting to fire a missile with a pistol.

Failure isn’t an option, so, with a smile forced just to prove that you can, you continue chanelling the spell:

/ [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise] \
You breach. It’s like a whisper up here. Not the quiet type of whisper, the loud kind: a stage whisper. The sound of garbage: that’s what you call it for you’re the only one that can hear it, and it sounds like filth.

‘...!’ ‘........!!!!’ ‘.........!!’ ‘..!!!!’ ‘.!’ ‘........!!!’ Is the sound of hissed, unintelligible filth - of flies buzzing, and meat rotting, and maggots squirming, and flies buzzing, and so on, forever.
You are Elly, and you don’t like filth, and sometimes you make up reasons why, and sometimes you don’t.

Why are you up here, listening to this filth? The reason come and go. Lately and tomorrow it’s Schütz, and yesterday it wasn’t. You don’t miss yesterday, and you don’t yearn for tomorrow. Yesterday is tomorrow. There will always be a reason you must listen to filth: ‘Why?’ That you have asked yourself since forever. ‘Why not?’ Because -

- You are Elly, and you don’t like filth, and sometimes you make up reasons why, and sometimes you don’t.

Why are you up here-

Recognizing the eternal loop, you dive underwater to drown out the noise.

It’s quiet… until there’s a reason to breach, and there always will be. There is nothing new reflected on the water’s surface. That’s how it has been since forever.

Today and tomorrow and tomorrow Schütz is about to go on a hunt. He’s trying to impress Yuuka. He always fails. ‘Good hunting to you,’ you will say. He will fail. He should listen to your advice, but you’re invisible to him, so he will fail.

You breach. It’s like a whisper up here.
\ [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise] /

… You? Who are you, again?

‘You are Schütz, again,’ you answer, and don’t quite believe it. Elly’s memory lasted not even a second, but you feel that if you were to look down, a vast, silent, abyssal ocean would sprawl beneath. No such thing, yet you keep looking, not believing your eyes. It felt so real: a quiet and sterile place all to yourself.

‘Dive.’

Pastel blue light erupts around you; knocking your Elly-stained mind back into its rightful place. Elly’s spellcard - fueled by the accumulated Elly experience of uncounted Elly years - was not made for a human mind, yet this bombast of light and sound before you is proof that you made it happen. Sister will have to fix the ensuing brain damage, again. From now until you feel Sister’s merciless healing hand inside your skull, you will allow yourself some pride. You often forget you’re capable of feeling that.

The intended endstate of a spellcard duel is to turn a tiger to paper, and what’s lurking inside this spell is one of the most fearsome paper tigers you’ve ever seen. No, a paper Elly is more appropriate - a tiger couldn’t be so brutal. You notice Elly isn’t beside you. That’s because she’s submerged.

Indeed, this is an amphibious spell; cast above and below water. What you’re seeing now, an expanding tide of blue, is only half of it. You don’t know what the other half is, but it’s there.
It comes as an embarrassing reminder that spellcard duels are, yes, duels. You and Elly against Meiling, not just you alone and feeling good about giving yourself brain damage to cast a spell (and it’s not even the first time!). That said, your head doesn’t hurt overmuch, and one side of your body isn’t playing truant like last time. You shake your head, and turn your overstimulated attention to the relatively dull Meiling.

Meiling is looking back at you, or the overwhelming surge of blue bullets erupting from you. More likely the latter. Meiling, struck by an epiphany, breaks off from their mysterious spellcard-poking technique, and declares a spell of their own:

[Maid Sign ~ Seductive Parlour Tricks]

Vaguely shaped bullets surround Meiling, and prance about the youkai as an ineffectual protective(?) ring. Meiling’s whiskers twitch, and, with a staunch puff of smoke, the youkai resumes combat stance.

The youkai opts to start off with its worst(?) spell. Is it testing your defences? You think you can manage to not walk into a broken ring of bullets, though to be sure you press your feet against the earth hard enough to leave a placeholder. Part of you expects the ground to give way into water, so you must remind that part of you: ‘you are Schütz!’

The blue tide approaches, and still Meiling holds stance. More and more, its whiskers twitch. They flow like ribbons in the wind. The day is calm.

Awkwardly and, most notably, without aid of flight, Meiling dodges the first swell of the tide. The youkai clings to one of the grossly-trimmed trees that litter the garden. That won’t do it any good. Elly’s spell is not the sort that can be dodged as Gensokyo’s fattest bird on Gensokyo’s ugliest tree.

‘Breach.’

The hairs on the back of your neck alert you of dangers yet perceived. Elly’s spell - noise, bullets, and all - comes to an abrupt halt. … No, just half of the spell. This is not your danger, but, by proxy, you feel the anticipation that Meiling ought feel as fear. You made one, fatal assumption when you cast this spell. That it was defensive.

Meiling patrols systematically from their perch; soon rewarded by the worst of possible sights (for them): a faceful of Elly’s scythe.

With dexterity not befitting the cumbersome, monstrous form painted in your eyes, Meiling propels itself from one tree to the next. The youkai’s aura of bizzare danmaku follow like the ring around a target. Without any offensive maneuver, that is what Meiling effectively is: a target.

Meiling’s now-former position has become a geyser of blue. Elly impassively watches on from the epicentre. In an ordinary duel, the opponent may take this opportunity to strike. Meiling instead clings to a tree.

There’s little you can do now the spell is cast. You are a conduit. Your only job is to not get hit. Elly is doing all the real work.
“Good job, Elly!” you call out above the deafening silence.

Elly looks back at you, and smiles wide. You wave, and, as Elly is inclined to do, she waves back with overflowing enthusiasm. Is that what Elly wants, encouragement: acknowledgment of her true greatness? This is unheard of; you can actually do that! The truth is your speciality, and it is exceeding rare that ‘the truth’ does not manage to make your life a living nightmare.

The mood is soured somewhat by Meiling, who stares on hawkishly from a tree. “...” Meiling mumbles to itself. Little streams of smoke pour from the youkai’s mouth, and its whiskers flare and squirm like whips.

‘Dive.’

Elly disappears; she dives. In turn, the ocean of bullets rises.

It’s getting difficult to see through the blue haze, so you follow Meiling’s lead and climb one of the grotesque trees nearby as vantage. Unlike Meiling, you don’t have to worry about touching the sea. You settle yourself on a branch just at the waterline, while in the near distance you see Meiling perched atop their tree like a gargoyle.

Everything is silent. The sea continues to rise. You watch Meiling, and they back. You notice how the youkai’s whiskers dance like fire, and how its mouth, slightly agape, bellows liquid smoke into the sky above. You’ve come accustomed to telling expression from the monstrous parodies that stand in the truth’s face, and from that wisdom you can tell that Meiling is certainly not enjoying this duel as much as you.

Meiling’s own spell wore off a while ago. Is this another unorthodox technique, or did they forget to cast another? Should you remind them? There’s little point encouraging futility. You would know that best!

“Forfeit,” you suggest.

Meiling shakes as if you had just struck them in the gut. Could they not hear you above the nothing?

The ocean rises. Meiling won’t last long.

“Forfeit! Forfeit the match, I said!” you call out, louder.

“...” You hear a low rumble come from Meiling. The youkai’s chest shakes, and it struggles to keep balance. “Gahahaha…” The rumble in Meiling’s chest spreads to its whole body. You strain your ears.

“GAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!” Meiling explodes into laughter. Its arms spread out as if to hold up the sky. “HAHAHAHAHahahaha… ha…” The youkai has to physically restrain itself, and the echoes haunt its breath.

You take a step back, and soon realize you are still in a tree. Reflexes save you.

“You have spirit, flower! I respect that, so I will crush it! Meiling, Hong, youkai gatekeeper, accepts your challenge!”

“NO, I SAID GIVE UP!” You frantically wave your arms. Meiling meets that with an impassioned fist to the air.

“GAHAHAHAHA! Same to you, friend!” The youkai’s laughter rocks the tree.

What?! “WHAT?!” You pause to gain some semblance of eloquence. “No, no! We are already in a duel, you- you youkai!” You gesticulate, you accentuate to a stutter, but nothing breaks through. There’s no response other than endless laughter. Youkai logic is, by no coincidence, the most illogical substance known to man.

Meiling, with another bout of haughty laughter, leaps into the sea. This is complete lunacy. In fact, the outline of the full moon does etch in the morning sky.

Anything you could say turns to dust in your mouth. You watch on with wide, unbelieving eyes in awe of youkai logic.

Meiling confidently strolls through the sea of bullets. It reminds you of the odd biblical stories Sister made you read, except in this case Meiling, the Moses of this story, decides to take a swim rather than part the sea. One, two, five, seven... more-than-ten. Counting the bullets that connect is like counting droplets rain against your skin during a monsoon. Unless Meiling can land an ocean’s worth of blows with their sub-fairy-ring of pellets, they have lost at what might be a record low score in Gensokyo.

‘Breach’

And everything stops, except Meiling, who irreverently faces the world with what might be the most ill-begotten challenge possible: “GAHAHAHAHAHA! Come, Death! I will grind you to dust, and use you as an aphrodisiac!” Meiling announces amid an ocean of blue defeat.

“Elly is not an aphrodisiac!” you call out. However, you will admit that Elly is attractive, you think - you’ve never actually seen her. You just assume she’s attractive because… You terminate the thought. “Nor is she Death!” you continue.

“I’m not!” is Elly’s warcry as she breaches from her silent ocean to its spell-simulacrum. She looks terribly confused. She looks at you for guidance, but she has the wrong man.

Without better impetus, Elly continues with the spell. Her scythe extends, and more blue erupts in Meiling’s direction. One, two, three geysers this time; all of them direct hits. Not that Meiling is trying to dodge.

You were wrong; Meiling is certainly enjoying this duel more than you. The youkai laughs while being pelted at all angles by jets of blue, and, at the same time, the entire ocean of bullets.

‘Dive’

The spell decrees Elly should dive, but she doesn’t.

“Elly.”

“Schütz.” One instant to the next and she’s right next to you.

“Meiling declares no more spells. We can close the duel.”

“Meiling?”

“The youkai we are dueling.”

Elly looks back to Meiling, who is still laughing. “Sounds like a fly, and looks like a fly. Garbage.” Elly turns back to you. “Is its name Meiling?”

You nod.

Garbage: ‘The sound of filth,’ Elly calls it within. You know how it feels when everything around you is wrong, and Elly is handling it better than you ever could. Your respect for her only continues to grow. Like Yuuka, she is a god in your eyes, but less fallible.

“Then, I won’t remember. Three names I can remember: Elly, and Schütz, and Yuuka; and none of those are Meiling.”

Odd pride wells inside you for being on that exclusive will-be-remembered-by-Elly list, but you can’t dwell on that now. “Meiling declares no more spells. We should close the duel,” you say.

“Come on, come on, insipid suitor of Death! Have at me! IS NOT THE FOE BEFORE YOU STILL STANDING!” Meiling roars from below. “COME! MEILING IS UNSTOPPABLE! FEAR MEILING! GAHAHAHAHA!”

You and Elly both ignore the raging youkai.

By an unspoken word, [Deep, Deep Ocean ~ Drown Out the Noise] is cancelled. It hadn’t even reached climax. The ocean would have ended up swallowing the house, had it continued as it did.

The spellcard duel is finalised. You and Elly, the victors of a score of countless to zero. Meiling is obliged to let you past, and not die in the process.

Meiling stops laughing. The youkai stays still; its body tense like a coiled spring. You can hear its deep breathing from here.

“... Meiling?” you call out from what you admit to be concern. You felt concern for Patchouli, once. That was a mistake. You take a measured breath. Guilt will have its way later rather than sooner, you promise it.

Meiling doesn’t respond. It doesn’t do much of anything except stand and breath.

‘Why are you going to do this to yourself,’ you ask preemptively - because you know you’re going to do something stupid. Here it comes. “Elly, please intervene if I start dying.”

Elly squints, and makes a sound like an iron nail scratching against stone. Clearly, she’s confused. Why? Because ‘intervening your death’ - that’s already her job, you moron.

“The body, dying. Not the soul. Humanity. Garbage…” You bury your face in your hand, and try to wipe away the embarrassment and stupidity. “Intervene if the body part of me starts dying, Elly. Please.” You would be forced to ask this, were you to pass Meiling's gate without protection of a spellcard duel. Now, you are asking because you're about to willingly approaching an unstable youkai. What has happened to you over these past two days?

Elly stares at you, not through you. “Would that be good?” she asks.

You nod.

Elly smiles bright and wide. “Then, asking is meaningless. Elly is good, and she does good things, I and Schütz believe.”

“Thank you, Elly.” You give an awkward bow. Bowing properly while balancing on a branch is difficult, even for you, the self-proclaimed paranoid forest hunter.

Continued fleshy existence assured, you deftly slide down the tree to do something stupid.

Meiling’s rags are torn and shredded. Spellcard duels harm no more than clothes, and you imagine the real Meiling is as boldly dressed as you right now.

“Meiling? Meiling, are you fine? For a youkai, I mean. Are you fine for a youkai?” you blurt out in a stream of conscious. It’s a crutch of sorts. You take it up whenever the right words fail you, and you take it wherever you go.

“... Uguh.” The youkai puffs out with a wad of smoke. Slowly, the youkai’s head creaks to meet you. “... I lost. A shame, a shame.” Not waiting for a reply the youkai absent-mindedly waddles to a nearby tree. It slumps against that tree in a way that suggests it plans to stay there forever.

With head turned to you, Meiling continues: “Let us all imagine it’s afternoon, and Meiling will be… youkai fine.

You prop yourself against an adjacent tree. Meiling is ‘youkai fine.’ That lifts a weight of your chest - a weight you’re surprised even exists. “That’s fine.” That’s settled, yet you aren’t budging. You do, after all, have another motive.

Meiling can sense it in the air. The youkai’s whiskers twitch with obvious discomfort - as the youkai should be, after how it acted.

With an acquiescent, smokey sigh, Meiling continues: “The moons lately have…” It peters off. “No, it’s the tension that rouses the uglier instincts. The bothersome afternoon stretches into a bothersome morning. Makes a weak-of-inhibition someone like Meiling… excitable.” The churning of gunpowder within hints to words pointedly left unsaid.

Meiling silently ponders. Within the youkai an internal debate rages on, and all you see of it is the occasional smatter of smoke.

“The adorable maid is incapacitated, you know. No quarter for her. No herbal tea for I,” Meiling drifts on. “... Off duty, as I never am, I would give thanks for convincing Patchouli to annihilate that most honoured guest.”

Oh, Nue? You nod. “Nue was an evil youkai. Most are.”

That earns you a puff of gunpowder. The fake smell is pungent in the air.

Meiling finds another vagrant thought to turn to speech. It’s difficult to call anything the youkai says anything close to calculated. “Meiling. She’s a prideful one, you know. Worse than the Elder Scarlet, I have heard. Meiling has no self-awareness, they say.” Meiling pauses. “Personally, I don’t believe them.”

You are certain Meiling knows what you want, and you’re not leaving until you get it, or until Meiling proves they are incapable. So far, the youkai endeavors to remain as meandering as possible.

“You want the prideful Meiling to apologize.” It’s a statement seemingly at random, and wrapped in a nonchalant, offhanded demeanor. However, you realize that Meiling has been building up to this since the beginning.

Silence passes between the two of you, thick like sap. Truly, you didn’t prepare to get this far with the youkai, but, after many moments thought, you say: “To Elly. To Elly, you will apologize.” The words come with surprising conviction.

“You want the prideful Meiling to apologize to Elly,” the youkai amends. “I will, (I will)…” It drags on, and continues the train of thought within. From the conceited youkai gatekeeper, you imagine this is not easy to say. Though, the youkai makes a good show of not minding.

Said Elly is beside you, now. Her eyeless gaze travels to you, so she smiles, and then goes back to looking at nothing/her water.

With the grace and absurdity of a tree un-falling, Meiling stands. The reluctance and weariness that the youkai oozed before disappears like it never existed. Meiling looks just as unflappable as before, despite the state of its clothes (you imagine). Meiling regards you with a slight tilt of its head, and turns to Elly to deliver a deep and gracious bow. “... I, Meiling, Hong, sworn to Scarlet, and youkai gatekeeper, apologize to you, Elly.”

You’re taken aback by the display, but beneath the superficial and passing shock you let out a relieved smile. Some youkai are good. That is the truth.

You look to see Elly’s reaction. She perks up for a moment, but doesn’t appear interested enough to maintain focus. Apart from rebuffing insults to her good character, you’ve never seen Elly interact with anyone besides you and Sister. A selfish part of you enjoys that.

Duty fulfilled, the youkai falls over. It’s an uncontrolled fall, but also a planned fall back into a tree trunk. The tree shakes and creaks against the force. Leaves fall, and twigs snap to shower Meiling in debris - confetti for a party of one very tired youkai.

In response, Meiling, as expected, puffs some smoke.

You find yourself displeased, unfulfilled, not for yourself, but for Meiling. It would be terrible for such a genuine apology to go unregarded.

“I accept your apology to Elly, Meiling.” You rub the back of your head. Even you know that’s an odd thing to say. You stick by it, of course, but you know it’s dumb.

“Adorable,” is all the youkai says after that.

Meiling, then, not-so-subtly gestures toward the open gate.

Oh! You almost forgot the reason this is all happening in the first place.

“Elly, my escort.”

“Schütz, my Schütz.”

“Let’s go.”

Elly looks around; she is disorientated above water.

You point her in the right direction. “That way. Landways.” It feels good to help her, even though it’s just helping her help you.

Elly goes on ahead. You take a moment to look back.

Meiling languidly waves you off.

“Thank you for not dying,” the youkai calls.

“The same to you, friend,” you reply after a moment’s thought. Your smile is pained.

This ‘house’, a violent red scab beside the lake, has been the worst experience you’ve had in the last four years. Vile, congealed memories struggle for dominance, but more important is the source of it all: yourself. The inhabitants, even the absolute worst of them, the ‘famulus’, are not to blame for your own shortcomings. Everything is your fault.

One day, when the curse is put to permanent rest, you might come to visit Meiling again - outside the gates, of course.

You laugh at your own joke. No such thing will ever happen. Moron, moron, moron.

You hurry to catch up to Elly.

“Elly,” you say.

“Schütz.”

“Let’s go home.”

Elly stares at you, then through you, and then keeps going. You follow behind while leading because Elly still has no idea where she is.

===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

The Flower Field peaks on the horizon, and, somehow, Elly is still lost. Only when you’re at the very edge of the field does Elly seem to realize.

“This is the other, landways, Flower Field. They look the same underwater, and they look different above,” says Elly. She looks upon the Flower Field as if it’s the first time she’s ever seen it; perhaps, with her aquatic lifestyle, it is in some regards.

At the edge of the flower field, you bow to Elly. “Thank you for escorting me, Elly.” You hesitate a moment. Another worry worms its way into your mind. “Elly. I don’t understand how you could ever think the otherwise, but please understand: you are good. It’s not the sort of goodness that can go unappreciated. Not by you.”

You’re amazed you managed to speak for more than a sentence without fumbling.

Elly is smiling wider by the second. “I am good, you and I believe.”

You manage to laugh. “You are.”

“I am.” And she seems all the more enthusiastic for saying it again. You could do this all day, but you shouldn’t.

“I’ll be going, Elly.” It’s impossible to ignore that lovely dress of hers. The dress you dirtied. “I will make you a new dress. A clean dress. I promise.”

Elly’s laughter is sublime.

If nothing else, you’re happy to amuse her. But you aren’t planning on failing.

“Then good hunting to you, Schütz,” echoes out as you make your way into the flower fields.

The flowers part for you. You give your little greetings to them along the way. You smile because you should, not because you’re happy.

You are home. There’s no particular ‘home’ part of this flower field. It’s a general sense of security and comfort granted by the fact you can’t harm anyone here. You are alone, so everyone is safe.

You’re starved, parched, and besides that you feel terrible - and you are home. It’s fine to feel bad. Bad people should feel bad; good people should feel good. However, starving to death while surrounded by nature’s bounty would be inconvenient for Elly and Sister both.

If all goes well, you should be here forever.

/o====================5====================o\

{You will be sating yourself regardless of what you choose to do after.}

[A: Start working on Elly’s new dress without touching it(!). Somehow, learn to sew without hands?]

[B: Maintain your own equipment, first. You’re still mostly naked.]

|o=========================================o|

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
- x12 Iron-Headed Arrow
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken)
- x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated 'Human')
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Human’)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated 'Human')
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

|o=========================================o|

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <-O-> “lunatic”

Time: Morning

\o====================85===================o/

Congratulations.

Elly is ____
>> No. 30658
FINISH THAT SENTENCE GODDAMNIT.

[x] Learn to sew without hands


lol wtf
>> No. 30659
[x] [A: Start working on Elly’s new dress without touching it(!). Somehow, learn to sew without hands?]
>> No. 30660
[X] B
The alternative seems like an exercise in futility.
>> No. 30661
[A: Start working on Elly’s new dress without touching it(!). Somehow, learn to sew without hands?]

Use gloves?
>> No. 30662
[A] Somehow, learn to sew without hands?

Sisyphus has nothing on Schütz.
>> No. 30663
That was an extraordinarily fast turnout.

I'll call it tomorrow, given the breakneck voting pace. Well, it is by my standards.

>>30658
>lol wtf
Was this update confusing?
>> No. 30664
[A: Start working on Elly’s new dress without touching it(!). Somehow, learn to sew without hands?]

Maybe if we made many pairs of gloves, each made using the previous, we'd eventually have clean gloves to sew with.
>> No. 30665
>>30663
I think the tone of the vote was funny. I haven't seen such self awareness in allegedly ridiculous votes before. (Unless he discovers what a glove is or something)
>> No. 30666
Vote set for A.

Further involving yourself with Elly. You do realize that, I hope.

>>30665
Cool, cool.
>> No. 30667
The answer was Elly is Elly, by the way.
>> No. 30668
Writing. Writing. Writing. This will take a while.

Next update in a next thread! A next thread! I really expected the story to die (by my hands) in this thread, if any time. Wow. It didn't.

Thanks for playing so long! The 'downside' of having a good audience is being able to blame all failure on yourself, and I don't think I could ask for better. There's nothing I can give as thanks besides my continued efforts to keep this alive in spite of myself.

Maybe I'll try sending postcards, if this keeps going as is? That would be fun.
>> No. 30669
>>30667
I should've known.


Also, just keep your story alive and well. That's the best gift a writefag can give.
>> No. 30670
Hello, bump limit. Nice to meet you. Let's meet again, someday.

>>30669
I'm trying my best! Is my best enough to finish a story? Who knows. My best made two threads, so far.
>> No. 30671
>>30670

I for one still think you have it in you, and look forward to the day my fellow readers and I unravel the mystery that is this story.
>> No. 30672
1000+

I can give no estimates until I've written more. This update could drag on, or cut off without forewarning. God only knows.

I have already prepared the titlecard of the next thread!
>> No. 30673
2000+

This is a slow-to-write update. Time-debt for the prior two which were faster than most.
>> No. 30674
3000+ words. Unless there be reason to continue writing, I'll edit and post.

Update tomorrow? New thread tomorrow?
>> No. 30676
/o====================5====================o\

END: 5.85

BEGIN: 5.875
>>30675

\o====================85===================o/
[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [First 100 posts] [Top]


[Delete or report post]
Delete post []
Password  
Report post
Reason  


[Switch to Mobile Page]
Thread Watcher x