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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.
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