- [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 30675)
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, WEBP
  • Maximum file size allowed is 4096 KB.
  • Images greater than 200x200 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • View catalog

File 151642686189.gif - (11.36KB, 500x500, 32.gif) [iqdb]
30675 No. 30675
/o====================5====================o\

Current Strand: 5.875

Previous Strands:
1 - missing
2 - missing
3 - missing
4 - missing
5 - missing
5.8 - >>29818
5.85 - >>30272

\o===================875===================o/
Expand all images
>> No. 30677
===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

After gorging yourself on what’s edible, and drinking from an emergent spring of water, you’re left in the unfortunate company of your own mind. There’s nothing to distract you, so you kneel beside the spring from which you drank, and let what’s been earned come.

• You repeatedly put yourself in a position that allowed the curse to rouse
• You allowed your curse rouse to the point of lucidity; spitting on Reimu’s memory in the process.
• After turning Patchouli into a monster, you left them for dead
• When your curse was put to rest, you immediately took it upon yourself to endanger Elly by telling her about her own monstrous counterpart. You almost killed her real self.

That is all, in brief. In expanse, you could spend days and days agonizing over the details. The conclusion remains the same. You have done a lot of terrible, irredeemable things. It’s not the first time, and that’s the problem.

On your knees, your ugly, violet eyes are reflected back to you in the tiny stream below. They stare at you widely and accusingly, like the ghost of Reimu. ‘How could you let this happen?’ she asks in disbelief.

Reimu taught you nothing.

In the end, despite all efforts to stop you, history repeats. It’s like Elly says: yesterday is tomorrow, and nothing new is reflected on the water’s surface.

Reimu once called you a moron for not doing something about your curse. Reimu did try, and in that proved ‘Doing something about it’ is an attitude that kills people. Maybe if you followed her advice before you met Sister, you would be dead too. That’s how it should have gone, but you were too late, you moron.

You are Sisters’, now. Sister wants you alive. Sister is perfect. There must be a reason she’s keeping you alive. You’re just too stupid to understand why.

… But you aren’t dead yet, and you never will be. It follows that you must spend this life trying to do the right thing, if the ‘right thing’ would ever reveal itself to you without Sisters’ rare, guiding word.

You could tend to yourself, or you could fulfil a promise to Elly.

You are going to make Elly a new, clean dress.

‘How?’ is the most pertinent question. The answer: with sewing skills you lack, and dirty hands you have. Yeah, that sounds fine to you.

You pick your sorry self off the ground, and force yourself to be motivated. You’re going to do something good, even if it’s impossible. Like Sisyphus pushing a rock of good intentions, you are.

Now, to tackle the feasible problem: how to sew. You can worry about the fact anything you make is inherently garbage to Elly later.

Sister keeps her books in Makai. That would surely include a treatise on sewing, considering the motley of bizzare-to-practical browsing she keeps.

However, even if you managed to find a doorway to Makai, the radiation is a problem. ‘Nuclear,’ you understand none of it, other than the fact it would kill you somewhere between instantly and excruciatingly. That is the reason Sister plays there, and not here — though she makes sure to fill you in on all the details: of atoms grinding, splitting, and turning to soup.

That leaves you with one option. You will ask Sister.

… What would she say if she saw you now?

The answer is: nothing. Your problems aren’t her problems — you promised.

Now, you only ask to learn to sew. Sister would love that, wouldn’t she? It’s best to start now before you can convince yourself otherwise.

You breath in, unnecessarily. You aren’t about to speak words, nor a spell, ritual, or invocation. You’re making an earthquake. Truly, you don’t know how else to describe saying Sisters’ name — her true name, that is. After all, Sister isn’t Sisters’ name, it’s:

YUUKA

If flowers were a sound, this name would be it, and, like flowers be, they reproduce.

...YUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAY
UUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKAYUUKA...

You brace yourself with a hand to the ground. Beneath you, the earth ponders a single thought. Anticipation wells within you as a shiver, and plays your heart to an erratic beat. Futile as it is, you do try to contain yourself — to the expected end of absolutely nothing changing.

The vibrations become tremors, and those into earthquakes.

Sister gave you her name, once, and it stuck in your brain like a grain of dirt. All it takes is a vagrant thought to shake it free. It’s not the sort of name that can be whispered, not even is the privacy of your own mind. You would prefer not cause an earthquake whenever you thought of Sister, so ‘Sister’ she is. If not, the earth would soon split in two. You learnt that the hard way that ‘Sister’ befits all but the most necessary of occasions (such as asking her how to sew.)

The earth’s rumbling becomes a whimper. You take a private moment to restore composure (close your eyes, take a deep breath), and say: “Good morning, Sister.” to the frothing loam that the ground has become.

A woman’s hand reaches from the boiling, breathing mud beneath you. You kneel down to take it, and pull.

It’s like lifting the earth itself — which it is; the rest of Sister hasn’t actually formed yet. Still, you squeeze the hand tight. It’s a tradition. Something like the sword in the stone you think.

The rest of Sister follows in short time. Her parasol, a wicked, red thing, is the last to come; it reminds you of Elly in its style. Did Sister make them of the same material?

To meet the daylight, Sister stretches her sculpted arms out wide and yawns. Her hair — overgrown into a puffy, green curtain down her shoulders — is trimmed with a pointed slide of her finger. The scent of freshly mowed grass fills the air.

This is all a ritual for her — so, when she finally opens her eyes to see you, she smiles. The world should kneel before that smile.

Despite it all, you smile dumbly back. It finally hits you: you’re home, sister is here, and all will be well.

Before a word can be exchanged, you tackle Sister with a hug. Naturally, she is like a boulder emerged from bedrock, so your ‘hug’ is more like running face first into a very friendly, very hard tree. Your nose is bleeding. You don’t mind. Sister doesn't mind. This, too, is a tradition of sorts.

“Sister!” you say as a shout, and express as a mumble into her nightgown.

“Oh, a pleasant morning, my brother.” By mechanisms unseen, her puffy sleepwear warps and distends into a more elegant, but still quite puffy, daywear.

Sister takes your other hand — the right, raw one. Familiar, painful and healing warmth flows through it. It feels like putting your hand over open flame, except rather than sunder, the flame knits. This is nothing compared to the time Sister fixed your ‘brain damage,’ so you don’t complain, not that you ever have.

“A pleasant morning to see you in want and need,” she says. Healing you is another instinct of hers; it’s as mindless an act as breathing, after all these years.

Her hand moves up to your bleeding nose. You cover the ensuing sneeze.

“But my brother would never ask for help, so what is it you want, Schütz?” Her radiant eyes burn holes into your own.

“To learn to sew,” you answer.

Sister is the seamstress of herself, Elly, and to a lesser extent you. Sentimentality kept your old clothes close. Still, it was Sisters’ hand that turned your ragged garb into something chimeric and protective. You just glued the pieces together with seals rather than buttons.

“Oh!” She only just now seems to realize you are naked. “Clothing, a human thing: a thing you need, not want.”

You give a lopsided smile. Usually, you don’t need to clarify your speech when it comes to Sister — but you can imagine how she misunderstood you asking how to sew while naked.

“No, not for me. For Elly. To learn to sew for Elly.”

Sister remains silent, speechless.

You brace for the worst.

Then, like the Elly she created, Sister breaks out into soft, self-indulgent laughter.

You didn’t brace hard enough. “I’m serious!”

“Naturally, you are, my brother. But, when the mood is right, a serious Schütz is a wonderful Schütz — a Schütz that finds it in himself to sew for Elly.” The laughter ceases. Sister focusses on you with absolute intensity and a growing smile. “Tell me more.”

You tune your voice flat with a grumble. “I dirtied her dress. It would follow naturally that I make another.”

Her smile only widens. It reminds you of Elly, a bit, or perhaps Elly reminds you of Sister. Creator and creation, after all.

“Wonderful, wonderful!” Sister sits down quite suddenly, and looks up at you expectantly. From the ground, and with her piercing gaze, you would think she were a serpent for your neck — but it’s pure curiosity fuelling that fire behind her eyes. It is indistinguishable from hunger. “You have seduced me. Tell me everything.”

Put on the spot, you freeze. “Of course…” It takes a moment to thaw your legs before sitting down. “Everything.”

The problem is: you can’t say everything. ‘Everything’ includes the cursed prelude. “Everything you need to know,” you amend.

“Mhm. Go on.” You know it’s just curiosity, but Sister looks about ready to pounce on you. It’s sufficient motivation to think fast.

“I have known Elly for four years, and I met her yesterday. So, being human, I learned not long after that humanity is repulsive to Elly. As gross inside as out.” The pressure from Sister relaxes as you find your own rhythm. “She’s trying very hard to drown it out. Always has her head underwater. It’s nice down there, I think? Nice and quiet. That’s all she wants, I think. Quiet.”
You frown. Here comes the bad part. “So then I came along and rubbed myself all over her. Like this.” You put your hand over a nearby flower, and crush it.

...

Something pokes you in the forehead. From your forehead leads to a red parasol; from the red parasol leads to Sister. On the ground she lies with head cradled in one hand, and in the other the parasol she holds to your forehead.

Poke, poke.

It’s nothing but a reminder of her presence. She likes to poke you when you get too lost in the head. She pokes you a lot.

You give your signature, awkward smile, and continue — not that you have much more to say. “Yeah,” a flawless finisher; worthy of no less than four sequels. “I ruined Elly’s dress.”

“To learn to sew for Elly; to save a damsel in distress; to preserve a melting, waxen sunflower.” She punctuates each phrase with an excited parasol tap. “A hero, is my brother. Oh, this is wonderful!”

At first, you’re surprised by her elation, but one thing stops you cold: ‘Hero.’ The word runs like paralytic poison in your mind; last spoken by a misguided, dog-headed monster. Scenes and images replay in your mind all at once, of yesterday, of last night.

Poke.

You blink.

Still on the ground — with no dignity lost — Sister holds her parasol up to your neck. This is a serious poke.

“Schütz,” she says.

“... Sister.” You find your tongue. It’s heavy, but it works.

“Elly’s dress,” she reminds you with a pointed tap of her parasol (to the ground, thankfully.)

Sister isn’t one to pry into your business, but Sister is one to pry — It was in poor taste of you to bring the curse up, even in your mind. Sister knows what’s wrong with you, so with a blunt, guiding hand she shows you back to the right path.

She knows because she can smell fear.

“Elly’s dress,” you parrot.

Sister brushes aside the tension with a smile. The last minute effectively did not occur.

Sister backs off a few steps, and you know well not to approach.

With a single, graceful and brutal motion, she tears a chunk from her umbrella. Flowery sigils multiply and die. Earthen words spill into ground; browbeating the world to surrender to Sisters’ whim. The world kneels. She hums as she goes about her work.

You watch on silent, awed, and curious; a common reaction to anything Sister does.

She crushes the red lump, flattens it, then stretches the resulting pancake between her hands.

“Take the end,” Sister says.

It takes a moment to break yourself out of your spell, and another to waddle over and grab the end of the red sheet that Sister has presented. It’s light and fluffy, like soft earth, Like Elly’s dress.

Sister keeps stretching the sheet out.

“Sister. Are you making a dress for Elly?” you ask plainly.

“Hmm~ no, it’s a pretty red fabric for you to do with as you want, and you want to give it to Elly,” she comments amid a hum.

“I can’t accept this.”

Sister pauses her work to give you a scrutinizing look. “But it is your birthday, Schütz. Humans receive gifts on birthdays.”

“It was my birthday yesterday.”

“Hm, and? I have a gift for you. Humans receive gifts on their birthdays, so it is your birthday.”

You can’t fault her logic — but you can’t let her do this. You ruined Elly’s dress, not Sister. It’s your obligation to make things right.

Oh. “I touched the fabric. Elly wouldn’t like it.”

“Naturally, if it were to be the same material, that would be true. But this material is antipsychosomatic.” She gestures to your hands, “It dusts thoughts and their forms. See?”

Perplexed, you look to your hands. You shift them to a new position. True to Sisters’ word, there are dustprints where your hands were. This dust is… your thoughts, your humanity?

“It washes off,” Sister says.

You marvel at the dustprint, and then blow on it; a cloud of ash — your former thoughts — drifts away.

“Elly will love it,” Sister says.

You can’t help but agree. This is better than anything you could ever make for Elly: garbage.

“I - I didn’t make this," the murmur is diluted, pitiful even. You quickly steady yourself, but the damage is done.

“Hm, but you will make the dress. My brother, I will teach you to sew,” she points out as if it were obvious all along. It really should have been. You’re an idiot.

You sigh, and, at last, capitulate (with a smile,) “... Thank you, Sister.” Your voice is kept steady out of fear of cracking again.

So it goes; you learn to sew a soul-destroying dress with Sisters’ guidance.

===== Time: Late Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

You’re in the middle of your sewing lesson — stopped and resumed many times to mend the perforations in your fingers — when you notice something.

“Turn around,” you tell Sister.

She raises an eyebrow, but questions not. She twists so you can see her back.

You put your hand to her neck, take out your knife, and cleanly trim an offensive, wayward lick of hair. She missed it before.

There. Perfect.

===== Time: Early Afternoon | Curse: ~~~ =====

It’s more like flesh than cloth; the fabric you’re working with. You sew with the same red substance that makes the dress. With each thread (... of a red-made needle), the fabric joins like fluid, and leaves no hint it was ever sewn shut in the first place. Similarly, when you butcher apart your many mistakes (... with red-made scissors), the fabric parts like water; never losing form, and never growing weak.

Dust gets everywhere. It coats your body like a second skin. There’s a lot on your mind, it would seem. Sister says it’s because the dress is ‘made with love.’ Of course, Elly wouldn’t like that, so your supposed ‘love’ is turned to dust. Dust — your love — gets everywhere.

Sister left a while ago.

‘Happy birthday,’ she said.

You were happy just to have her nearby, but now you’re sewing on your own

It’s relaxing, in a way. Perhaps you will make Elly a wardrobe after this.

You have all the time in the world.

===== Time: Late Afternoon | Curse: ~~~ =====

Elly is here. You cannot pinpoint when that became a fact, but you know she’s here now.

Beside you, said Elly stares down at the future humanity-disintegrating-dress with wide eyes. At first, you didn’t want to bother her. You just kept sewing.



She’s been here for an hour now, staring.

At some point, you went from sewing to staring at she who stares at the dress. Idly, you imagine what she looks like in reality. ‘I’m of moderate height, with an immoderate bust. My hair is curly and blonde, and matches my pretty gold eyes. I’m mostly red, though my skin is pale,’ she told you.

It’s a reassuring image - though, admittedly, with your limited vocabulary of human features, you have trouble imagining her as anything but a blonde Sister with a larger bust.

This is starting to feel weird for you. In search of anything but that particular train of thought, you say something: “... Good afternoon, Elly.”

Elly’s entire body shivers in a startle. Swiftly, she faces you.

“Good afternoon, Schütz.”

Slowly, ever so slowly, her attention is siphoned from you back to the new dress; her head tilts towards it, and then her body. She doesn’t seem to realize that you’re the one making it.

Elly’s comprehension of the physical world, the landways, differs from yours fundamentally; you’ve come to understand.

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

[A: Tell her?] {now.}

[B: Let it be a… surprise?] {later. keep working.}

|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)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Scissors
‘Red’ Dress (Unfinished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <-O-> “lunatic”

Time: Late Afternoon

\o===================875===================o/

Welcome to SchützCo! Sorry, but all of our operators are busy right now. For general inquiries, press forehead. For emergencies, press neck. For suicide assistance, press Elly. Thank you.

Put some thought into it — oh wait, don’t.
>> No. 30678
A new thread!

Writeins are allowed unless specified otherwise, but only if they are in character. I will personally veto writeins that do not meet this criteria. If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, I recommend sticking to the given votes.

I love seeing discussion. Saged discussion is harder to notice!

You drove the story to an odd place, not a stagnant place. It’s far from over. I like writing odd things.

Have a nice day.
>> No. 30679
>There’s a lot on your mind, it would seem. Sister says it’s because the dress is ‘made with love.’ Of course, Elly wouldn’t like that, so your supposed ‘love’ is turned to dust. Dust — your love — gets everywhere.

This made me pretty sad. I guess his is a selfless love.
In fact, I'm sure he would kill himself, as to not taint her any further, if he could.

Besides, as either the harbinger of the curse- or the one who couldn't stop it- and Reimu's killer, he agrees that it'd be for the best.

Still, I wish he'd have simply asked Yuuka why she keeps him alive. I have made little progress in 'getting' the twist and I'm all ready to throw in the towel.
>> No. 30681
>>30679
I've come to the conclusion that thinking too hard about this story is counter-productive, it's not the kind of thing you can predict. At least I can't. I'm just gonna enjoy the oddness and atmosphere and take things as they come.



[B: Let it be a… surprise?]
>> No. 30682
File 151643821544.jpg - (40.53KB, 280x410, 2018-01-20_44:43.jpg) [iqdb]
30682
what does it mean, my dudes
>> No. 30683
[B] Let it be a… surprise?

> Sisyphus

...did you put that in before or after my comment?

> I like writing odd things.

No shit.
>> No. 30684
>>30679
>>30681
If not actively seeking the truth, keep your minds keen. This story is not arbitrary; events don't happen for no reason.

Another thing to note: dominoes don't stop falling because you stop looking at them

You two seem to realise that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uamf99fsFjA
Some nice, unrelated music I was reminded of.

>>30683
>...did you put that in before or after my comment?
I liked the comparison enough to include it! Very astute! I’ll be sure to put you in the credits, Mr. ... Anonymous?

***

Vote will be called either tomorrow or the next day; it will be as early as possible.
>> No. 30685
[B: Let it be a… surprise?]
Maybe one of these days Schütz will get something to wear.
>> No. 30686
[C: Ask her if there is a way to improve the dress.]
>> No. 30687
File 151653880713.png - (1.14KB, 750x417, 32_5.png) [iqdb]
30687
Calling tomorrow morning.

This will be interesting.
>> No. 30688
The vote is set for B: to make it a 'surprise.'

I will get writing tonight. No estimates besides 'as fast as I can at maximum output' So not all that fast.
>> No. 30689
A trip to exercise the new system.
>> No. 30690
sitting at 750+

It was my birthday today. Busy.

I'll get right into it tomorrow.
>> No. 30691
File 151671976728.jpg - (55.94KB, 577x700, Probably late by 2 minutes.jpg) [iqdb]
30691
>>30690

Happy birthday~!
>> No. 30692
Working on it. Didn't get much writing done, but I did some other important, story related thing.

>>30691
It was OK. 20. Not breaking down inside much yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR5Xnod-7RI
>> No. 30701
Unless there's a mighty fuckup, update tomorrow! I'm trying my best for a weekly-ish schedule. I can do no better than that.

2000+
>> No. 30706
===== Time: Late Afternoon | Curse: ~~~ =====

Elly laughed when you told her about your plans to make her a clean dress; Sister, too, laughed.

Of course, it’s a ludicrous prospect. You knew that, and in a sense, that was the point. You gave yourself an impossible task, a harmless task, a distraction—that you would try your best to defy.

You did not predict having another birthday. Now, without hitch, you are making a clean dress. Thank you, Sister, and happy birthday to me.

You should be finished with the dress by tomorrow—and, just now, you have decided that day will officially become Elly’s birthday. Birthdays are celebrations marked by gifts. It’s a perfect opportunity to deliver the dress! The only problem is the celebration part. On your birthday, today and yesterday, Sister talked to you; that’s a celebration. But how would Elly wish to celebrate? Certainly not with your company. For what does Elly desire besides quiet?

Oh, then to celebrate you will leave Elly alone straight after! You do have good ideas, sometimes.

‘Happy birthday!’ you theoretically say to a future elly after giving her the future dress. Then you would flee.

Yeah, that sounds good.

… You have just spent the last few minutes fantasizing about Elly’s birthday while Elly herself stands before you. Should you tell her about the dress? The dress she has been admiring for over an hour. The dress that has turned the surrounding area into a pond of dust. The dress she has watched you work on for over an hour without her figuring that out.

Truthfully, you admire her ability to completely ignore the world around her. You wish you could do the same.

She looks like she’s enjoying staring, or at least you assume she’s enjoying it. It’s impossible to decipher what she’s feeling without cue of her monstrous face, and that face is set to a permanent, nebulous smile.

You give it some thought, and, in the end, you decide to leave her be.

It could be a surprise, perhaps: ‘A surprise birthday for Elly.’ You laugh softly like Sister would, and, luckily, Elly doesn’t take note. With this dress you will make her happy. It’s not atonement enough, nothing is, but it’s something you can do. That’s better than the nothing that you plan for the rest of your life.

You go back to sewing, content (in translation: more dust.)

But, as it turns out, having Elly close makes you comfortable, which in turn makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have the right to be near her after what you did. The only reason you were before was out of necessity, and, to your shame: some measure of pleasure. You enjoy Elly’s company, and that’s a problem.

You get up and leave. It's best you continue tomorrow.

“Goodnight, Schütz,” calls the corrupted, ear-mulching voice of Elly from behind.

You flinch. It’s not an unusual thing for Elly to say, but you’ve never acknowledged it—you only started acknowledging Elly’s existence yesterday. You were so careful before then, so very careful.

You take a deep breath to swallow your doubts. Not now. Soon.

With a pained but genuine smile, you turn and bow deeply. “Goodnight, Elly.”

If she’s not gone by tomorrow, then you can only ask her to leave. The thought leaves an ill taste in your mouth.

You find a low bed of daisies, and lie down. “Goodnight, Sister.”

===== Time: Late Night | Curse: ~~~ =====

Without fatigue to force you, sleep does not come, not that sleep would help you. Day or night, you will be haunted. As it should be: ghosts don’t sleep, so neither should you.

You lay awake until morning.

===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

The sun rises to show a fake, purple sky.

Sleepless nights aren’t unusual. The ensuing brain-fog is a blessing, even. It’s the luxury of being awake without the downside of knowing it.

You get up.

You feed yourself.

The miraculous brain-fog fades after that. You might afford to skip breakfast, next time. Oh! No, you can’t remain fogged today! You have an important dress to sew, and an important birthday to attend thereafter!

Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.

You force yourself to move, and the tar between your joints melts away with each taken step. Today, you will be useful; you will make someone happy! It’s an unfathomable feeling to you, perhaps due to how rare it is. ‘Elly will love it,’ Sister said. If Sister says something, it is truth. Even you, the unambiguous villain, can’t mess this up—so you will savor this rare opportunity to do good.

You come to where you left your dress. Dust rouses under your feet to form little clouds.

Elly is here, where she was yesterday afternoon.

She blends in beautifully into the dawn’s palette: from her golden hair to her dirty red dress, and, of course, her pretty gold eyes that your curse does not allow you to see. In truth, you’re marvelling at what you imagine she would look like.

The monster you can actually see is an abomination: a scarecrow awkwardly puppeteered by a snake. How dare your curse do that.

Your uncharacteristic optimism threatens to break, but, with intense resistance, you hold it intact. The curse won’t ruin Elly’s birthday. You won’t let it.

Today will be a good day.

“... Good morning, Elly,” you squeeze out after assuring that you can keep your voice stable.

Elly’s focus breaks from the unfinished dress with a snap, and in the next moment her eyeless gaze is on you. To join her, the fake serpent rises from the earth.

“Good morning, Schütz.”

Already, her attention drifts back to the dress.

“Elly.”

“Schütz?”

“Could you look at…” You’re speaking faster than you can think. “The thing. The thing you’re looking at.” To illustrate, you gesture to the future dress. You don’t want to ruin the surprise by actually calling it a dress. “Elsewhere. Landways.”

Deep breath, Schütz.

“Elly, could you look at the thing somewhere else, landways?” What a journey that was.

To your relief, Elly endured your verbal pilgrimage to the end. She stares at you blankly—and that is at you, not through you.

“The thing,” she says.

You blink. “Yes. The… thing.” You can not be faulted in your ability to stick to stupid ideas.

Elly swivels to face the dress. “I’ve been looking at it, and thinking about it, and trying to find out something it.” Then she’s back to you. “And Schütz believes this is a ‘thing?’”

“Yes, it is a thing.” It’s not a lie: dresses are things. Still, you dislike obfuscation, so an unbarred, awkward tone creeks your words.

“Oh my! What an interesting truth you have.” A wild smile stretches from her neutral grin. “Then I believe you. I do like ‘things.’”

Oh?! “You do?!” Sister said she would ‘love it,’ but hearing that from Elly’s own mouth (... or its cursed equivalent) is baffling. You have not the fortitude to filter the sheer, momentary excitement from your voice.

Elly nods. “I do. ‘Things’ are like Elly, so ‘things’ are good, and I like good.”

The dress is good? Something you made is good? It’s not even finished yet! What would Elly say if she knew this was her dress in the making? This praise alone is already worth everything to you.

You hold in your want to confess the true meaning of ‘thing,’ and the pent up words melt into laughter. The absurdity of it all—you: doing something good, making something good?

Oh. You almost forgot.

You stop laughing, and rub the back of your neck as some sort of apology for setting the wrong mood.

“Elly. Could you leave, landways? Please.”

“I could—but why, Schütz? Aren’t we continuing the conversation from yesterday.”

The conversation from yesterday? No, you can’t let yourself be distracted.

“It’s - it’s very important to me that you leave. Now.” You almost fumbled it, and as reward you take a little break in between your next ill-formed words. “We can continue the conversation later,” you blurt out.

No you can’t, you moron.

Your stupid expression freezes on your face. You just lied; that means you have to make it a truth. You will have to talk to Elly when the birthday celebration comes.

Elly meets your panic with an oblivious cheery smile. “Tomorrow,” she says.

You break from your stupor. “Today, Elly. Later today, I will call you.”

Elly looks to the sky. It isn’t purple to her, but instead a bright blue— Sister told you that, and so did Reimu. Reimu also said she would show you. She didn’t.

“Today…” She holds onto the word as if to pry it of secrets. “Today,” she repeats.

“Yes, today,” you affirm.

“Today,” Elly echoes.

Is time different for her, too?



A strong wind blows like a signal from the heavens to break this silence; a signal that Elly does not heed. She stands and stares into nothing as her dirty dress billows in the wind. The ponds of dust whip up, but are covered enough by the undergrowth to not go all windborn.

You, however, do take note of the wind’s push and say: “Goodbye, Elly.”

Her eyeless gaze refocusses on you: “I’m leaving?”

“You are.”

Her eyes widen, briefly, in revelation.

“Then goodbye, Schütz.”

With that, she leaves. She sinks right into the ground—where her watery shadow once lied.

Elly is good. She only needs a little push, sometimes. It must be hard for her living in two places at once: above and below water.

Finally alone, you pick up your red tools, and get back to work on the red dress; the good dress. Dust piles beneath your fingers. All the more work to brush your happiness away, as well.

===== Time: Midday | Curse: ~~~ =====

Your movements become more fluid and purposeful over time. Less mistakes are made, so less time is spent tearing apart the fleshy, red fabric (can you even call it fabric? You’ve no other word for it.) Some sections of the dress have been remade countless times over—not that you can tell from looking.

It follows, through long trial and error, that you would improve, and the dress with it. Another hour to repair one of the more belligerent section, and you will be done.

Satisfied, and covered in a small desert’s worth of dust, you keep working.

/ ~~~<>~<o><O><>~~~<><O><O><o>~<>~~~<o><>~~ \

>[WELCOME: USERNAMENOTFOUND]
>[MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: USERNAMENOTFOUND | T:12:01]
>>[OPEN: [Y]/N]
>...
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
-
>...
>[GIRLS ARE PREPARING. PLEASE WAIT WARMLY.]

\ ~~~ /

The world spasms violet.

The red needle falls between your shaking fingers.

You have a sudden, inexplicable feeling that you have to run. If you don’t, something terrible will happen. That’s what a little voice inside you promises.

Now, what will you tell yourself?

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

'Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.'

[A: Finish the dress.] {It only needs a few finishing touches…} (Note: Elly choice)

Your body doesn’t agree with that notion. It twitches, shivers and shakes in rebellion. Your fingers are especially receptive to fear. How are you supposed to sew like this? Oh, you’re not. You’re supposed to be running.

-[B1: Run, Schütz, run.] {flight}



-[B2: Prepare a sealed arrow.] {fight} (potential unlocked due to ‘reckless’ path)

|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)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Scissors
‘Red’ Dress (Nearly Finished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <O “waning gibbous”

Time: Midday

\o===================875===================o/

The circadian rhythm is going through an avant-garde phase.

For the love of good.
>> No. 30707
Forgot to mark as an update. New systems are hard.
>> No. 30708
-[B2: Prepare a sealed arrow.] {fight}
>> No. 30709
[B2] Prepare a sealed arrow.

Now what the fuck is going on?
>> No. 30710
>I'll just give her the gift and run away.

>"Am I leaving?"
>"Yes, Elly, you are"

If I didn't know him, I'd say he hates her. Thankfully, Elly is a Being beyond humans, and thus doesn't need to understand our simple ways (I.E: another doofus)

>Antipsychosomatic

So it's all in her Head?

[X] Finish the dress

Do it.
>> No. 30712
[X][B2: Prepare a sealed arrow.]
What could possibly go wrong?
>> No. 30713
Vote will be called in 2~3 days - whenever I think the dust has settled. There's been a disturbing air, lately.

>>30710
>antipsychosomatic
The medical definition is lacking for this context.

>>30709
>Now what the fuck is going on?
A falling domino that I mentioned earlier. This is not an independent, arbitrary occurrence.

>>30712
>What could possibly go wrong?
A lot can go wrong in this story. A lot has gone wrong in this story. A lot is still going wrong in this story. Just ask Schütz, Nue (may be difficult), Patchouli (may also be difficult), Meiling, or Elly. Schütz, especially.

So, to answer your question again: a lot

I hope that is enough to sate your rather morbid curiosity, if not, witness firsthand. Again.
>> No. 30714
File 151698935189.jpg - (127.71KB, 580x800, I understand completely.jpg) [iqdb]
30714
>if not, witness firsthand. Again.

pls no

Guys the curse is still fucking us for indulging it. Or maybe for trying to free Elly from it? Either way purple is not only Emperor's Color signature entrance, it is also the color of the curse (and the background of this gensoyko, if OP is to be believed) so we have to... wait, what do we have to do again?

>Patchouli (May be difficult)

She's still alive and don't you dare suggest otherwise!
>> No. 30715
[A: Finish the dress.]
>> No. 30716
[X] Finish the dress
>> No. 30717
File 151702435863.gif - (11.43KB, 500x500, 33.gif) [iqdb]
30717
>>30682
I only just now realized that the 7 is flipped.

Thank you for pointing this out - an easy fix.
>> No. 30718
File 151702450192.png - (603.73KB, 2000x989, 33_5.png) [iqdb]
30718
scribbling
>> No. 30719
>>30718

Huh. It's like Elly somehow got on the sun. Pretty, though.
>> No. 30720
File 151705989928.png - (1.74MB, 2000x2000, 33_75.png) [iqdb]
30720
There is a tie, and while that tie will need to be broken eventually, I don't advise it be done flippantly.

Take whatever time you need.

Elly is stupidly easy to draw.
>> No. 30722
[A: Finish the dress.]

If we can't stay dead, what is there to lose with trying for the elusive (and totally real) Elly route?
>> No. 30723
>>30720
This curse, like all of gensoyko, is about belief. He said that it gets worse when he 'believes' in it. But what does that exactly mean? He interacted with Youkai, seeing them for what they were and everything went alright, until he touched Patchouli's hand with his bloody one (something that was forced-we expected him to use his other hand) and then he believed the curse after seeing her reaction and then everything went to shit. But what it due to him 'believing the curse' or something with the blood?
Either way, the forced nature of it made me think it was a red herring. Interaction with Youkai is not in itself a bad thing.

But that's the important part, the important part is that he started to rant about 'belief' Why? I think that the event was forced to, also, give us a clear hint: the curse, like everything else, gets stronger the more he believes on it.

So let's not. Let's not follow the instincts that told him that all Youkai are dangerous that not greeting Elly is a good idea and that him being alone is going to solve anything.

And, to be completely honest, if those things are right, then this isn't really a story I want to read.

[A: Finish the dress.]
>> No. 30724
The course is set Elly’s way: A.

It took 2 consecutive votes and many prior votes to make this happen. Elly is Elly.

 o
75
/

Celebratory ascii Elly?!

***

>>30722
5.8 ~ Scarecrow Fucking Simulator (SFS for short)

Figured I'd do the title reveal now.

>>30723
I prefer not to interfere with these things, but you have raised some points caused by my own folly. With the limitations I have, I will try my best to answer you.

>if those things are right, then this isn't really a story I want to read.
I would not write a story with the intention for it to stagnate. That would not be fun for anyone. Have faith in just that, if you can. Cannot comment further.

>blood and curse
Unfortunate correlation that looks like a causation. My mistake. Cannot comment further.

>forced blood
Patchouli actually liked explaining why it was a terrible thing to do more far, far more than she disliked being covered in gross blood. Cannot comment further.

Thanks! Thought is a rare commodity, and I'm glad to have so much of it in my audience.
>> No. 30725
>Patchouli actually liked explaining why it was a terrible thing to do more far, far more than she disliked being covered in gross blood.

She did seemed weirdly energetic and happy, if her constant smiling was to be believed. I just thought it was one of those 'barely contained anger' smiles. Happy to see that was not (so much) the case!
>> No. 30726
This will take a while.
>> No. 30727
Taking a short while to plan out some details. In the meantime, I might draw or something.
>> No. 30728
Shit: sorted

Continuing writing.
>> No. 30729
3k down~ More to go.

Update in two days, hopefuly. Finish tomorrow, and proofread the next. This is a very important update.
>> No. 30730
===== Time: Midday | Curse: ~~~ =====

‘Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.’ That is what you tell yourself. Your body will have to listen eventually; the rebellious, useless thing it is. Your hand is on your knife, you notice. Nervously, you pick at the seals bandaging its handle, waterproof but still layered in your dried blood.

‘Prepare a sealed arrow, to slay it.’ It’s a reckless, stupid idea - fitting that’s all else your mind could come up with.

No, you’re not going to run, and you’re not going to fight. You’re going to finish Elly’s dress. Damn the little, violet voice inside you, and your instincts which defy your every thought. Damn it all.

Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.

With shivering hands, and a mind drunk on duty, you sew. The dress only needs a few finishing touches. Another half an hour should be enough, if you can quell these hands of yours. It’s like your fingers are trying to run away as you sew. They elope with needle and string both.

What respite you have is in the silence of the voice inside you. The cry of mortal danger fell to whimper, then nothing, in a matter of minutes. If you were fortunate, you would consider this a victory. More likely, and befitting your luck, the voice is silent out of fear. Whatever ‘it’ is - is coming closer. Whatever ‘it’ is - will find no audience in you. Danger can wait, you are busy. These hands just won’t stay still; that’s the real issue. It will take hours to finish Elly’s dress with these hands. The dress must be done by today: Elly’s birthday.

You would rather die than ruin her birthday. You might just end up doing both.

‘It’ is on the horizon. You can feel ‘it’ beneath your skin, an instinctive revulsion, like that invoked by the scent of a putrescent, bloated corpse. More importantly: your hands won’t stop shaking.

You bash the bottom of your clenched fist to the ground. It helps; the shock makes your hand go still, so you do it for the other, not enough to draw blood, but enough to make them submit.

With stiff but steady hands, you sew.

‘It’, the youkai, draws near. You can call ‘it’ a youkai now by judgement of your remaining seals. The youkai flickers in your peripheral vision, and you do your best to keep it only peripheral. Dusty yellow and a hint of indigo is all you can discern from it. It’s a wrestle to keep focussed on the work in front of you when a youkai, enshrouded in palpable, visceral danger, lurks a stone’s throw away. If you were to look up, the youkai would be plain to see - but you’re busy.

All you would see is a monster in its place, anyway.

Try as you might, you can’t concentrate. ‘Tch,’ a petty, frustrated growl tears itself from your throat.

“Afternoon’” calls the intruder in response - as if your growl were a greeting and not a lame outrage.



You stare down at the unfinished dress; unable to continue sewing, and unwilling to confront the loathsome beast that’s made its home at the edges of your peripheral vision. Truly, the youkai is in more danger than you: if you were to acknowledge its monstrous form, its real self might die. Of course, this is a youkai - the dumb, deadly forest kind, not the amicable, dangerous house kind - so why would it care, anyway.

“Is that a potato sack you’re making?” asks the soft and clear voice of the intruder.

A potato sack? Clothes are sacks that contain people, that is true. Does this dumb youkai think Elly looks like a potato? Another grumble escapes you. You may have very little idea what Elly looks like, but she is not a potato.

“Hm?” it pushes.

“A dress,” you mumble to settle this quickly.

“For potatoes?”

“A. Dress. For. Elly.” You keep your eyes locked on the dress, but you glare down at it as surrogate for the youkai.

“You name your potatoes Elly?”

The beast’s words are like little firebugs eager to light you ablaze. More importantly, you come to realize the youkai is playing with you, like did the forest youkai when you were a child. Nowadays you’ve taken to disposing of them before they speak.

Not only have you played into this youkai’s hands, but you’ve also directly interacted with it. You growl tiredly, not yet defeated.

“No. I don’t. And you know that,” you answer flatly.

With a prepared, blank face, you force yourself to behold your tormentor: a woman, by all appearances, and a youkai, in truth. The youkai says nothing, but you can see the ghost of words forming at the amused curve of its lips: proof enough of its true motives. With that, It drops its act, though, knowing youkai, it might continue in feint just to spite you. An Indigo strip forms a contour along the youkai’s modest figure, framed in a white gown. The beast’s arms interlock by the sleeve at its navel. Radiating behind it, a dusty and pastel yellow mass playfully squirms - which, under close inspection, reveal themselves to be tails, nine of them, each tipped with a red ribbon. The ribbons’ color are a sharp contrast to the beast’s sedate palette, and draw the eye. Those are a fox’s tails, those are a fox’s eyes, and under its puffy hat you imagine there to be a fox’s ears. It occurs to you: this is a kitsune.

Of course, you must remind yourself that it is fake. This monstrous reflection of reality is useless for anything besides reading emotion. You can only be thankful that this one is humanoid. For a monster like Meiling you had to rely on reading whiskers.

You feel the red needle and thread slip through your quaking hands. In the inertia of the moment, you forgot how incredibly scared you are. There’s nothing overtly fearsome about this monster: no serpents of darkness, storms of gunpowder or toxic flame. Yet, still, your hands shake, and, still, your heart beats like it’s trying to escape. There’s something subtly off about this beast, an invisible miasma that only you can feel - your body reacted before you even saw it. But, instead of listening to flight or fight, you decided to stay and sew. Now, as impending doom looms in the form of a youkai, you have to wonder: why aren’t you running?

Oh, that’s right. It’s Elly’s birthday. You’re making her a dress. That’s more important than anything.

Swallowing your rediscovered fear, you speak: “I’m busy. Leave, now. I…” You can’t say the absolute truth; second-best will have to suffice. “These fields have a guardian. Elly.” …former guardian. That job is yours, now. Then, did you just tell a lie? No, no - you still consider Elly to be the true guardian.

In spite of you, the youkai casually plops down to sit. Its tails puff out like living cushions. For a being that radiates dignity, it acts incredibly undignified. The burden of this beast’s dignity lies solely on its graceful appearance.

“Kitsune aren’t scared of potatoes.” The self-proclaimed kitsune inclines its head and keeps an austere expression, as if delivering sage advice.

You stare back blankly, speechless for the moment. This youkai, a kitsune, inspires equal amounts terror and disenchantment; leaving you incredibly confused.

“Elly will destroy you, if you don’t leave,” you reiterate. “I don’t lie.”

“That will make questioning you easy, no?”

…’Questioning’? Does this damned thing only hear what it wants?

“Yakumo, Ran. Proud Shikigami of the Yakumo family, and kitsune.” After a long pause, the kitsune introduces itself proper with a slight bow.

For what little it is worth, you appreciate that the youkai is upfront, even if it may just be lying. “Schütz. Hunter,” you tersly reply. “Ran. If you don’t leave, now, you will be exterminated. I promise you.”

Ran doesn’t bat an eye. You think its ears might be broken - or its mind. Youkai lack many things, but self-preservation is not one of them.

“Afternoon’, Schütz. On behalf of the interests of the Yakumo family, I’ll be interviewing you today,” the Kitsune says with rehearsed precision. “And, outside of the interests of the Yakumo family, I technically don’t have an opinion on the matter.” The kitsune brushes some invisible dust off its lap. “That trite aside, I can say that once I get my interview, I can be gone to leave you with your… dress.”



The kitsune gives you the time you need to think because it does have the upper hand, or it thinks it does. In the beast’s mind, you’re the prey. However, this youkai doesn’t know that simply talking to you is a danger in upon itself. What if, for a second, you believe in the monstrous figure before you? Disaster. You can’t let that happen, again.

Elly isn’t here yet. You took her duty, not on purpose, but you did. Why would she swoop in to save you without order? It’s your job to be rid of this intruder, not hers.

You’re also scared, incredibly scared, for the possibility of everything going wrong, and the fact this youkai’s existence seems to be enough to make you want to recede into a shell like a snail. Fleeing is no longer an option, your instincts tell you - and fighting? The thought would make you laugh if you could.

“Hmm?” the kitsune prods. Its tone is crisp, honed and capable of piercing through thought.

You grumble in response.

‘Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.’ you told yourself. You will make sure that becomes a reality.

You’re going to be rid of this youkai, and you’re going to finish this dress. Fine - there’s no other option.

“Ask,” you blurt out. The word is forced like a razor up your throat. “Ask. Interview. I will answer, if you promise to leave… Please.” You let out a sigh, and bow your head in an obvious sign of capitulation. “Please believe me. It’s best you leave, now.” It’s useless to appeal to a youkai like this one, you know that.

Once again, the kitsune is utterly unfazed.

“It’s in the interest of the Yakumo family…” the kitsune trails off mid sentence, and its austere expression melt into something more ‘real.’ “...So on and so forth. I do what I need for my job, and I’m free to go.”

The ‘Yakumo family’ has this thing under an oath of some kind to question you.

“Ask.” You sit cross-legged with hands in your lap. Your face is kept like slate, and your voice is just as flat. In your lap is your bow which you unconsciously hold close for comfort.

The kitsune, however, is relaxed, casual even. Dignity hangs onto it like a drowning man for air, and, despite the odds, this beast manages to look graceful even while doing nothing in particular.

“Yesterday morning, four fifty nine AM, I received a queer report. The Border spontaneously purified itself as it began to fray at the edges,” says the kitsune. “The Border has been busy fraying itself these past few days, and I’ve been equally busy mending it. Now, imagine my elation when another has stepped up to the task.”

You stare blankly in return. The kitsune failed to take into account the fact you have no idea what a ‘border’ is besides the obvious definition. “I cannot.” You answer the question that might not even be a question, to be safe.

The kitsune perks up, slightly. “Neither could I, until it happened. It’s in the interest of the Yakumo fa-...” Its ears flick irritatedly beneath its poofy hat. “Nevermind, nevermind - it’s in my interest that I investigate.”

“... Right.” When will this beast start asking questions? You fiddle with the bow in your hands. The beast notices.

“Hakurei seals, potent. Youkai hunter, are you?”

Hakurei. The name leaves an ill taste in your mouth, but it’s no surprise a youkai would know the family of its villain. Regardless, you’ve finally been asked your first question.

“No. Animals.” You shake your head to right your thoughts. “I hunt animals in the Forest of Magic.”

An eyebrow is raised. “That’s no prey for humans.”

“... True,” you admit. The flesh of the animals you hunt are filled with wild, magical energy. Over the years, you’ve built some resistance, but it’s still a gut wrenching experience.

“You would encounter youkai often in the forest,” it leads on.

“Yes. Many. Too many.”

“Highest raw concentration of youkai in Gensokyo - when disincluding the Kappa, Tengu, and Oni clans.” Then, a grin splits itself across the kitsune’s face, revealing sharp canines. “So, you would have experience with the spellcard dueling system, yes?”

“... Much.” Where is this beast going? More and more, you fiddle with the bow in your hands.

“The spellcard rules, I invented them. Clashes of brawn are tasteless, no?” It doesn’t wait for your answer. The beast is consumed in its own fantasy; its tails trail back and forth like charmed serpents. “Tweak a few borders to bend, break and create a few rules; and a sharp wit is made a blade in its own right. Spellcard duels, beautiful displays of guile and grace where only one’s pride is at stake. Perfect for a land brim with strife but low in bodies. Only…” Its ear flicks. “No one is using them - except you, apparently. Humans these days are so mellow,” it ends on an irritated note, telling by the periodic tic of its ear.

To put it simply, you don’t believe the youkai. Reimu invented the spellcard rules, she told you as such. She taught you how to duel before the system was even implemented!

“Necessity.” You don’t let your disbelief reach your voice, and instead focus on the subject. “Spellcard rules are necessary.”

“... Only necessary?” Flick, flick. “They were supposed to be, and still are, fun. A strategy that surpasses shogi, a sport that surpasses kicking balls, and an art to surpass painting. There’s something for everybody. Even simpletons love flashy colors.”

While this youkai most certainly didn’t create the Spellcard Rules, you can believe that they like them - a lot.

“I…” What are you supposed to say? “Only duel forest youkai, but, Elly, she has beautiful spells.”

“Potato girl?” Ran notes the sour look on your face. “Nevermind, nevermind - shall I show you how spellcard duels ought be fought?”

The propositions stuns you. You should have expected it, considering the youkai’s delusional enthusiasm on the matter, but you didn’t expect a kitsune to be this scatterbrained.

“No. You said you would ask questions, then leave, Ran,” you remind it.

The kitsune doesn’t falter. “Yep, yep - it’s in the interest in the Yakumo family that I investigate the recent disturbances in The Border.” It gestures to you with a tail rather than a hand; which still remain peaceful interlocked. “Tell me, where in that does it say I’m not allowed to have fun?”

Is that a serious question…? The kitsune’s gaze quietly bores itself into your own, so you assume so.

“... Nowhere.” You take a deep breath. You may feel like a mouse under this creature, but you’re an exceptionally moronic mouse. “But. I want you gone. So, ask what you need for your family, and leave. I’m busy.”

Ran blinks. “I’m sorry to interrupt your busy day of making dresses for potatoes.”

You growl, in mouse terms: a squeak.

“Yesterday morning, four fifty nine AM, I received a queer report. The Border spontaneously purified itself as it began to fray at the edges,” restates the kitsune. “That report came from you.”

From… you? Yesterday morning, you were… the memories flow like an unblocked dam, and you immediately replace the plug. The memories are horrible and vile, and have nothing to do with ‘borders.’

“No, I… No, it didn’t,” you mumble out, at first, and soon regain composure. This beast must be toying with you.

“Yet, I traced the sender straight here. Masking your trail with Hakurei seals was smart - up until the point you sent a report and punched a hole through The Great Hakurei Barrier. In the future, keep holes small. It’s much harder to physically localize small infractions than it is colossal rifts. And, I advise you not send me error reports when you attempt direct repairs of the border - but… the process is automated, so I don’t blame you for slipping up there. You’re only human. You are human, yes?”

Again, Hakurei, why does this beast speak her name, and as a ‘barrier’? It accuses you, and accuses you more - of what?

“I… no, no - explain yourself, youkai,” you spit out in fragments.

The kitsune doesn’t let up, in fact, your confusion only seems to embolden it. One of the beast’s stray tails rears, and points at you; a little red ribbon bobs at the end. “In conversation I might’ve had the chance, but you insisted we hurry this along. Rather: Who are you, really, Schütz?” Ran doesn’t smile, but its golden eyes are keen and full of a self-indulgent joy, like a predator cracking the hard shell of its prey.

Then, before you can raise a baffled word of protest, the kitsune relaxes, stretches, and lets out a long yawn. It sounds between a woman and a beast, likely a fox, telling by the row of predator teeth intermingling with molars. “Ahh~ Excuse me, excuse me. Successive all-nighters take their untimely toll.”

Despite everything, the yawn proves infectious. You haven’t slept either, and you suppose even youkai need sleep.

The tense atmosphere has cumbled, and Ran peacefully awaits your response. Absentmindedly, the kitsune stretches its tails one by one.

You take a deep breath, and list off dryly: “My name is Schütz. I don’t tell lies. I hunt beasts for my sister. I have never heard of a border. I have never broken a border. That is all.”

“~Ahh, yep~ yep.” The beast’s voice is broken by yawn - which it tries to contain this time. “It’s hard to believe you’re not lying,” Ran continues unhindered.

“I don’t.”

Ran nods, and continues: “It’s hard to believe you exist at all: an honest, hard-working, living threat to The Border.” Ran smiles its sharp, predatory smile. “It may be against the interests of the Yakumo family, but I respect that.”

The beast’s smile drops. “Be that as it may, it falls to me, in the interest of the Yakumo family, that I end threats to The Border.” Its sleeves roll back to reveal lightly-clawed nails. “I’m supposed to kill you - not educate you, not chastise you, not recruit you, a miracle of probability, but kill you.”

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

Arguments are worthless. The lurking fear this beast emanates has become manifest as a promise of death. You can’t die, not permanently, and that fact does nothing to numb the reality that you are going to be torn apart and eaten by a youkai that claims to respect you.

‘Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.’

Your goal is to finish this dress.

[A: Spellcard Duel]



[B: “Elly.”]

|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)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Scissors
‘Red’ Dress (Nearly Finished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <O “waning gibbous”

Time: Midday

\o===================875===================o/

Picture tomorrow. Work in progress.
>> No. 30731
Forgot to mark as update.

Unrelated music.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C8gYPepv_E
>> No. 30732
[B] "elly."

Instinct tell me to engage in a spellcard duel may lead to serious injury that could kill us is the downside or call elly in vain hopes that elly arrives and fights her abd ruin the surprise
>> No. 30733
File 151827386890.png - (1.38MB, 1600x1371, 34.png) [iqdb]
30733
>> No. 30734
[A: Spellcard Duel]
If we win, we could learn more what Ran is talking about.
>> No. 30735
[A: Spellcard Duel]
Hakurei taught us before she made them, despite what this impostor says. He should have let her know.

Anyway, no Elly because we told her to stay away... and he said he is the guardian now so...
>> No. 30736
Another tough vote. We don't know much about Schütz's prowess in spellcard duels, but Elly is probably much stronger. Also, looking back at previous threads, I noticed Schütz is missing the focus he needs to use his offensive spell. Considering this, I can't see a fair 1v1 going too well, so I'll vote: [B: “Elly.”]
>> No. 30737
[A: Spellcard Duel]
>> No. 30738
Vote will be called tomorrow, if it appears consideration has reached an end.
>> No. 30739
[A] Spellcard Duel

First youkai we've met that isn't allergic to straight answers, and she's saying Schütz is up to something.

Schütz isn't insane, he's the fucking asylum.
>> No. 30740
As for hints, remember that the curse is violet. Like Yukari.

Also, Ran appears with no perversion from the curse and she doesn't remember/know about Reimu...

Goddamnit, Yukari.
>> No. 30741
Set: A, a spellcard duel with the self-titled inventor

Stage 2 boss? The balance of this game may need tweaking.

Writing begins tonight.

>>30740
>First youkai we've met that isn't allergic to straight answers
Introduce Seija, you say?
>> No. 30742
You waste no time. Adrenaline substitutes blood in your veins, and as you leap back to your feet, the words come out of your mouth as an incantation:

Paranoid Forest Hunter ~ Schütz

“I’d love to, but-” Ran pauses mid-sentence. “Nevermind - a name, that much is allowed.”

Shikigami of the Yakumo Family ~ Yakumo Ran

The spellcard duel is set. You cannot die, even if you lose - not that your instincts care. Beholding Ran in this state is like staring down off a high ledge. It’s a guttural form of dread, independent from logical thought.

Your treasured Parabellum is missing, but that’s a worry for another time. What it means for you, now, is you cannot cast many of your offensively orientated spells. Stalling may be your only option. So be it; the point of this duel is to live not to win. What demands this beast makes after are the true danger.

[Paranoia Sign ~ Forest Eyes, Forest Teeth]

The purely defensive nature of this spell is a scouting mechanism. Using your bow as a focus, you weave a defensive mesh not unlike the patchy shadows of a glade. After all these years, your bow has remained your closest and most trusted ally, and, if fate is kind, you will break before it.

You hold your bow close as you wait for the spellcard system to bore your memories for fuel.



By every lost second, the cold sweat of your body runs down to remind you nothing is happening. The names were declared, and your spell was cast, but nothing is happening. Spellcard duels do not wait on their players; even if Ran were to not cast a single spell, yours should still manifest.

So, why is nothing happening.

The adrenaline running through your blood magnifies and clogs like sludge in your veins. Aghast, you look up to Ran, who calmly faces you with no cheeky, youkai-like smile and no claws bared. The kitsune seems… disappointed?

More importantly: NOTHING IS HAPPENING.

The more you grasp for explanations, the more impossible it sounds. Over the past four years, not once has this happened. Spellcard Rules are fundamental to this world; they don’t just stop working.

“Y-you. You did… this?” Saying it aloud only makes it sound more absurd, but it’s all you can imagine. “You did this.”

Ran nods.

“Now that I’ve confirmed you’re the culprit, It’s in the interest of the Yakumo family that I kill you.” Ran’s voice is smooth, clear, and entirely manufactured.

“No.” You rebut your own ludicrous theory, even when Ran supports it. This is too cruel. Youkai can’t deactivate Spellcard Duels. That defeats their purpose. “No. That’s not how it works,” you force out with a blank voice. What you say should be the truth.

Its ear flicks in irritation. “I gave you the opportunity to duel me before. For you, for now, the Spellcard System must been deactivated. That is how it ‘works’ for the interests of the Yakumo family.”

The ‘Yakumo Family,’ a group you’ve never heard of, want you dead, and they just deactivated the Spellcard System to do it. Bad things happen to bad people, you believe. Bending the rules of the world to punish you, however, is something you never expected. Indeed, this is too cruel.

“I wished to play too, however…” Ran does a ‘get it over with gesture’ with its hand. “Yep, you get it: interests of Yakumo Family.”

You keep taking steps back. It’s an instinctual, mindless reaction. Running is pointless, so is fighting, so is a spellcard duel. What do you do now, call for Elly? No, you’re the guardian of this field. If Elly is made the guardian again, she will inevitably slaughter the residents of that glaring red house. What other reason would Elly have to help you but to regain her rightful title?

“Cruel,” you point out. “Too cruel.” You draw your sealed knife. Running and fighting, both useless, but you can say you tried.

Ran nods understandingly. “A clash of brawn is tasteless, moreso against a weakling. Yep, yep - the Yakumo Family is tasteless, bland, and pragmatic, at heart.”

You take a deep breath, and say as flatly as you can: “Please, cruel youkai. Be quick.” It’s an appeal of mercy to a youkai - lunacy. You’re feeling anything but lucid. This shouldn’t be happening.

“Yep.” Ran flashes its canines with a smile. Needless to say, you don’t believe a word from a predator’s mouth.

“... Yep,” you echo. You assume an imitation of a martial position, with knife ready to strike. It is unlikely you will be able to use it.

“In fact, you better watch out. I’m preparing my killing blow. Right here. Try not to dodge in any cardinal direction at the last second while I’m incapable of switching targets.”

What?

The kitsune continues: “This is going to take all my energy, so you dodging at the last second would be inconvenient. Don’t do that.” Ran’s tone and expression is deathly serious, and, despite its flippant words, betrays not a hint of falsity.

The beast must be playing with you. Mercy is unknown to ordinary youkai. The knife in your hand signals no desire of yours to make the first move. Taking it to your neck would hasten the inevitable - if it is indeed inevitable. A moronic part of you thinks there may be hope. In your wildest fantasies a hero, Sister, Elly or Reimu, rushes your aid. But, no, you won’t bother Sister with your uselessness, you’ve only caused Elly trouble, and you killed Reimu.

Still, the knife doesn’t reach your neck. Stupid knife, stupid mind that controls it.

With a tap of a foot against the ground, Ran ascends. The kitsune hangs mid-air, tails and dress ignoring gravity as they blow softly against the wind. It looks down on you, the human with a knife, with utmost focus - the same focus you extend to Ran.

“Three,” the beast proclaims as it extends an arm towards you.

You jump, startled like a frightened leafhopper. After Ran disabled the spellcard system, a natural law, you’re afraid it can do anything.

“Two.”

Ran’s tails poise towards you like serpents possessed. Dancing at the tip of each tail, a flickering wisp of flame. In each of those wisps, a crackling glint of malice.

Realization strikes you: the youkai expects you to dodge by its count; Ran expects you to rely on it. You’ve nothing else. Your muscles, already tensed, are well prepared to leap. The question is: is this youkai still playing with you?

“...One - close-your-eyes.”

You throw yourself to the side, and, yes, your eyes are squinted shut by its command.

FWOOMF! - a sound akin to the sigh of a dragon.

Closed eyes cannot conceal the brilliance of the flame, as transient as it is.

Dazed, on the ground, and breathing in the smell of cooked earth, you open your eyes to see Ran. The kitsune is earthbound again.

A perfect circle of flame brands the earth into char where you once stood. It’s as if a great, fiery stamp fell down from the heavens.

You take a deep breath to which the scent of burnt flesh does not mingle. Certainly, that concentrated breath of flame missed you. “... Ah,” is all you manage to say.

You pick yourself off the ground. Your knife is held loosely in your hand, a memento of when gutting this youkai made sense. What does make sense, now? This beast set up its ‘killing blow’ to miss. Is it toying with you? That is the only sound explanation, but it doesn’t feel completely right.

Ran is on the brink of collapse; that you can see. Its tails are deflated, and its ears sag just a little bit. That practiced, serene expression on its face cannot hide the tiredness in its eyes. You could gut Ran right now. The ground is more even between the two of you, but that is only because this youkai has thrown itself off the Mountain’s peak to your feet. Attacking Ran now would be wrong, despite all it has said about killing you, which it very easily could have.

In the end, you stand and stare as you wait for a good reason to do otherwise.

The dead look you’re give Ran must be hilarious, because the kitsune is laughing openly. Once settled, Ran stretches and yawns. “I missed.”

Ran exhausted itself so it didn’t have to kill you. That is the only truth you can gleam. If this youkai is tricking you, then it has chosen the most convoluted and self-destructive way to do so.

“If you are not deceiving me, thank you, Ran,” the words fall awkwardly from your mouth. You’re still holding your knife.

Ran raises an eyebrow. “‘Not deceiving’? I’m a proud kitsune. Don’t take this lightly, deception is my legend - I am deceiving you.”

… Stupid youkai. Now that you’ve expressed gratitude, you can firmly say that you do not like this youkai.

“Leave.” You gesture to the Field’s rim, from where Ran came.

“Yep~ yep - I’ll be back to kill you when I recover my energy. It’s in the interests of the Yakumo Family that I’m fit to perform my duties above all else.” The kitsune bows, turns, and slowly wanders off.

While you should be eager to see the back of its head, that momentary relief is consumed by a dread becoming chronic.

Ran is coming back to kill you again, it says. This youkai is but an agent of the so-called ‘Yakumo Family’ that wants you dead. Yakumo Family, Yakumo Family, Yakumo Family. All this youkai talks about is the damned Yakumo Family and the ‘borders’ they hold dear; the ‘borders’ you supposedly endangered.

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

If you ask why, all you will get is Yakumo Family. However, ‘Why’ is the only question on your mind as you stare at the back of Ran’s head. You find your grip tightening around your knife and bow both, and a shiver runs down from your spine to your feet. You’re so tired of not knowing anything. Living in a perpetual state of fear wears at every joint, every bone, and whatever wisp of sanity you have left; and this damned fox has to gall to dangle more threats and mysteries over your head.

“Ran,” you force out into a stable voice.

“Hm?” the fox turns to meet you. Each of its actions are graceful, even turning around to face you looks like something out of a fanciful picturebook. That serene, clueless face cannot fool you - Ran planned this, no doubt. It is deceiving you, it said as such.

You know this and yet you...

[A: Ask.] {Play into its hands. Are you so desperate?} [specify question, or, if not, rely on Schütz’ judgement.]

[B: Don’t] {No.}

|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)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Scissors
‘Red’ Dress (Nearly Finished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <O “waning gibbous”

Time: Midday

\o===================875===================o/
>> No. 30743
[A: Ask.] {Play into its hands. Are you so desperate?}
[A1: "Why am I a threat?"]
>> No. 30744
[x] Are you aware of my curse?

Why does Schultz care about condemning a random Youkai that is a threat? If the cure "infects" and "kills" Ran then so what?
>> No. 30745
[B] No.
>> No. 30746
[x][B: Don’t] {No.}
>> No. 30747
[x][B: Don’t] {No.}
>> No. 30748
Set: B, don't chase the lumbering fox's tail.

A surprisingly cautious vote from an audience I've come to expect anything but! Without spoken reason, I'm left to speculate.

University begins again. It shouldn't impede me overmuch.
>> No. 30751
An announcement to clear my intentions for this story and its future:

It is my belief that as the author it is my onus to make a product that is worth interacting with, and, as an interactive story, the worth of it is greatly determined by how intimately it is interacted with. It is also my desire to make an interactive story of worth in my own weird little niche within a niche (so on). This has been a great cause of distress for me, as I’m given little to no indication of what is and what is not appreciated, and any interaction with the story so far has been sporadic, disjointed, occasionally active, and, lately, melancholic. ‘The 'downside' of having a good audience is being able to blame all failure on yourself.’ This mindset has worn me down a lot over time.

If you, the players, aren't invested, then neither am I in prolonging this. If you are invested then I will try my best to prolong this as long as I can. The only way I register investment is by whether or not you are interested in actively interacting with my story. Note that this extends beyond just voting - discussion of the story itself in non-superficial terms (theorising and such).

>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.

A quote from a person a while ago. This accentuates what I’m not interested in doing. If you aren’t interested in this story, please do not try to prolong it. That would make me incredibly sad.

Going forward, I want all of this to be out in the open. Otherwise, this story may die when it shouldn't have, or it may live when it shouldn't have.

Thank you.
>> No. 30752
>>30751
This has been my favorite active story here for a while now, and not due to a general lack of activity. Keep up the good work, and I'll try to interact more in the future. I'd really hate to see this story die before reaching a satisfying conclusion, even if that conclusion is a "bad end," which seems to be where we're headed at this point.
>> No. 30753
>>30748
I dissented. Why not take a risk from the one who can provide answers? Do people not care about solving this?

Bandwagons have to stop.
>> No. 30754
Things I like about this story:
- shit's good yo
- art's good too
- much mystery
- very unique

Things I dislike about this story:
- what is even going on
- protag's own knowledge re: curse hidden from audience

Why I voted >>30745:
- don't like smug bitches vixens pulling my strings
- Elly > Ran

Am I invested?
- brutal honesty: no
- gentle honesty: I'd like to be but I don't know what's what
- broken record: great read, not so great CYOA

Speaking as a reader, I want to support you here, but lack of understanding frustrates me. Normally I'd rail on an author for confusing writing, but here it's the main selling point, and it's done so well I can't bring myself to bash you for it. I'm stuck waiting for enough pieces to fall into place for me to grasp the big picture but not really feeling it - yet.

Speaking as a fellow author... if you're burned out on this and don't want to continue, it's probably best to make a clean break. It's hard for readers to believe in a story when the author doesn't believe in it himself, and posts asking for more reader support tell me you don't believe in this story anymore. Which is sad, and I'll be sad if this dies young, but life sucks like that sometimes.

Sage for unhelpful ambivalence.
>> No. 30756
>>30751
There is not much to talk about, no mystery you're required to solve to progress, nothing that requires discussion from people that don't usually bother to initiate it nor reply to it. People still benefit from it, however, as always.

>If you, the players, aren't invested, then neither am I in prolonging this. If you are invested then I will try my best to prolong this as long as I can. The only way I register investment is by whether or not you are interested in actively interacting with my story.
Some scenes were nice to see.

>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.
I wrote this. I'd say you got better. If you think this story limits your improvement, make a new one. Make sure you are invested in writing it, though. Otherwise, there is no point.
>> No. 30757
>>30754

Anon pretty much sums up most of my view.

I've been reading because I'm curious as to when the bread crumb leads to the AHA moment but the lack of agency in knowing what's going to lead to what more concretely distances me from really growing attached to the story.

Writing style is great because it's so fragmented and different, something I thought was going to a bother but I've taken a shine to.

Regarding choices and the most recent choice: If Ran was going to joke fight with us that's fine but that risk should've given the reward straight out with a comment or clue beyond having to interact again to give a reason to continue interacting with her. If the reward from the encounter period is just having our life then have Ran just exit stage left and move directly back to the dress, that also would've been fine.

But it feels like the choices we're being given don't have defined hooks, or barring that when we have no clue of their efficacy, that makes it really hard to feel like you've got the agency that engenders reader attachment.

Just as a note about the oddness of this story, we're not attached to the MC even though we've been with him the entire time but instead we're attached to the side characters (Elly) because in the end we know more about them than we do him, even with the amount of effort spent into writing him.
>> No. 30762
Serious:

>>30754

>what is going on
‘Show don’t tell’ is how this story tends to roll.

>Speaking as a fellow author... if you're burned out on this and don't want to continue, it's probably best to make a clean break.
I’m not burnt out. I enjoy writing this.

>It's hard for readers to believe in a story when the author doesn't believe in it himself
So far, the only significant impeding I’ve had, mentally, with this this story has been in regards to player input. I enjoy writing this.

’I enjoy writing this’
However it is also my opinion that: ‘ as an interactive story, the worth of it is greatly determined by how intimately it is interacted with. It is also my desire to make an interactive story of worth in my own weird little niche within a niche (so on).’

Simply put, if you want to play this story effectively, effort must be made. If you aren’t interested in putting in effort, then that is a failure on my part to provide an interesting/engaging enough story.

> I'm curious as to when the bread crumb leads to the AHA moment
While an escalation of events is inevitable if the ‘slash and burn’ philosophy of action is taken, there is no trail of crumbs; it’s more like a blurry picture of which different sections are blurred and unblurred at different points in time. If you wait until the picture unblurs all by itself at once, it may be at a time where it’s too late for it to matter - consider the damage that can be (and has been) done through ignorance.

The ‘AHA’ will be more like ‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’
That is a serious joke.

Now, onto a confounding factor: votes. Thank you for bringing this up.

>>30757

>But it feels like the choices we're being given don't have defined hooks, or barring that when we have no clue of their efficacy, that makes it really hard to feel like you've got the agency that engenders reader attachment.
You have an immense sway over the story - but, the ramifications of choices are meant to be a ‘puzzle’. With a character like Schütz, making an informed choice is a struggle by extension of his circumstances. After all, if you don’t know about what’s happening, how are you supposed to know the consequences of your own actions? Figuring it out is the only way.

I have made some errors in the past, but overall I think the choices provided are meaningful. Conveying that meaning is another matter entirely.

I will try and find new ways to present and convey choices in the future.

~

In summary: I very much like writing this story - but it is a story that requires reader effort to chug along, otherwise you and I both will be unsatisfied with what happens. If you don’t want to put in the effort, then I have failed, and this interactive story is null.

=====

Less Serious:

>>30752

>This has been my favorite active story here for a while now, and not due to a general lack of activity.
>I'd really hate to see this story die before reaching a satisfying conclusion
I am familiar with the feeling. I did not expect to ever have it be mirrored back at me.

>I'll try to interact more in the future
This is the best possible outcome I could want for. Thank you for playing.

>"bad end"
You have much power as a player of this story, moreso as a considerate one!

>>30754
>>30757

>Writing style is great because it's so fragmented and different, something I thought was going to a bother but I've taken a shine to.
>very unique
From Schütz’ life to your computer screen.

>instead we're attached to the side characters (Elly)
>Elly > Ran
At last I can say: Finally, Elly’s Amazing Route. We shall call it FEAR for short.

>don't like smug ???????????????????????????? pulling my strings
Touhou may be the wrong series for you.
>> No. 30763
File 151927702188.png - (321.44KB, 600x450, ib-cirno.png) [iqdb]
30763
Hi there. New reader. Found your story a few days ago and I've been working through it in my free time.

Down to business.

>“Yesterday morning, four fifty nine AM, I received a queer report. The Border spontaneously purified itself as it began to fray at the edges,” restates the kitsune. “That report came from you.”

>“Yet, I traced the sender straight here. Masking your trail with Hakurei seals was smart - up until the point you sent a report and punched a hole through The Great Hakurei Barrier. In the future, keep holes small. It’s much harder to physically localize small infractions than it is colossal rifts. And, I advise you not send me error reports when you attempt direct repairs of the border - but… the process is automated, so I don’t blame you for slipping up there. You’re only human. You are human, yes?”

Maybe this is obvious and that's why no one has mentioned it yet, but I direct you to this previous entry:
>>30605
Namely,
>[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.]

We did send this "report." When we fixed Elly. I don't know what it means yet, but it seems saving Elly from our curse "repaired the barrier", as Ran put it. This leads me to believe that our curse is very closely linked to the barrier in some way. "Believing" in the curse may be what causes the damage to the barrier that Ran has been mentioning. Or, maybe it's just our passive existence that causes that damage. Either way, the curse and the barrier are linked. Let's keep that in mind going forward, shall we?

Now, for the other ominous computer message preceding Ran's visit:

>[WELCOME: USERNAMENOTFOUND]
>[MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: USERNAMENOTFOUND | T:12:01]
>>[OPEN: [Y]/N]
>...
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
>[DANGER]
-
>...
>[GIRLS ARE PREPARING. PLEASE WAIT WARMLY.]

Cryptic. We at least now know that if this happens in the future, Ran or someone from the "Yakumo family" is on our case. Probably.

Another thing to note is our username being, "USERNAMENOTFOUND." This fits with us not being allowed to access the barrier. We're not supposed to have this sort of power. Yet, we do. Our curse, probably.

That's all I have for now. I know it's not much, but it's a start. I'll keep my thinking cap on.

Story discussion aside, thank you for this story. It's an interesting read and has captivated my attention. Elly is good. I want to hug her. I would like to note that I think a lot of the original problems Anon named, such as things being confusing and unclear, have gotten better for the past few months of updates. Glad to see this story hasn't been abandoned yet? I'd vote now but I think you called the vote already, so just take my rambles and a freaky 2hu instead.

>>30754
>what is even going on
Sure, there's a lot of mystery yet to solve, but I think we have plenty of breadcrumbs so far. Maybe some rereading is in order? We should put in at least some effort here so we don't end up with another writer who has Theatre of Youth Syndrome. It's just too easy to blame the writer in cases like these.
>> No. 30764
I think schutz the unwitting carrier of a curse that is the barriers antibody and virus from all the non-belief
>> No. 30765
File 151927799340.jpg - (148.75KB, 640x1018, image.jpg) [iqdb]
30765
>>30763
Oh yeah. Forgot to say. This was the best.

I love your Meiling.
>> No. 30766
>>30765

>New reader.
Unexpected. I figured this story long went through the discovery period, and thereafter left behind the persistent player-base (from which point it can only practically decrease).

Welcome?!

>I want to hug her.
That's how you sully a maiden's dress. Restrain yourself.

>things being confusing and unclear, have gotten better for the past few months of updates
So you're saying I need to introduce Seija to spice things up? That's two of you pleading for it, now. I'll consider it.

In seriousness, I'm glad you feel that way. I've put a lot of effort into presenting this as best I can.

>Meiling
A real firecracker, she is.

>{Yet}
Considering that my words appeared to have had a positive effect, I don't see this story collapsing soon.

=====

Writing will continue tomorrow night.

Here's some very nice music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWy4LRYLdsQ
>> No. 30768
>>30766
>I figured this story long went through the discovery period
Yeah, I uh, was on a very long THP hiatus. Upon my return, I decided to read some of the active stories, and found yours.

>That's how you sully a maiden's dress. Restrain yourself.
If that happens, I'll make her a new one. Promise.
>> No. 30770
Update tomorrow morning. It would be tonight, but I wanted someone to go over it first. Delay was due to waiting for the feedback I required to continue (received!)
>> No. 30771
Ran is a liar, a youkai, and there is nothing you despise more than that. However, it isn’t just revulsion that holds your tongue after coming so far. There’s something else you feel when you see Ran: a black and boiling tar-like feeling reminding you that something isn’t right. You don’t know the ‘whats’, ‘whys’, or ‘hows’ - you never do - but, it’s not a feeling that can be ignored. Body and mind both tell you a simple truth: Ran is dangerous, Ran cannot be trusted.

“Keep me waiting and I’ll sleep right here,” says Ran. The kitsune is close to collapsing on the spot, to all appearances.

You have no doubt the beast would do as it says, even if its every weary yawn were fabricated, even if just to spite you. It is a youkai. The lengths youkai go to persecute humans must be experienced to be believed, and you have been a hunter in the Forest of Magic since… a long time.

The threat spurs you enough: “Leave. Please.”

“It was you that…” the kitsune drags on into a dismissive gesture, and then into a yawn.

With a halfhearted wave, Ran stumbles off again - gracefully, somehow. it must be your curses’ tampering, so you dismiss what you see entirely. Youkai shouldn’t be so pleasant to the eye. Still, you keep your eyes on Ran’s back (rather, the tails that squirm like a ball of snakes) until they disappear off the horizon and furthermore. When, finally, the little alarm bells inside you quiet, you know Ran is far enough; a weight is lifted from your chest, and you breath your first free breath since the loathsome kitsune’s presence crept into your senses.

There is no lasting relief to be found. Ran will be back, Ran said. Even if that were a lie, it remains that Ran is alive and breathing the same air as you.

You take a moment to look at your situation. You regret doing that. However, amid the plague of fears, doubts and paranoias swelling, a novel thought shines through.

‘This was not my fault.’ It’s a blatant untruth in any other situation. But, now, can you really say you caused Ran to happen any more than you did Nue? They are cruel and deceptive youkai both, and cruel and deceptive they would remain had you never gotten involved. It’s certainly a heartless luck that these horrible beasts turn their eyes on you… certainly.

Needless to say, that plague of fears, doubts, and paranoias have much to say about the word certainly.

Ran came for a definite reason, outside of petty cruelty, Ran said. Whether you believe that now is irrelevant; it’s a possibility that you caused this to happen. With a mind like yours, bent and starved of certainty, how could you could resist entertaining the worst of possibilities: you can’t - it’s not a choice for you to make.

Ran said they received a report at 4:59 yesterday morning.



You drag yourself out of your own memories; you found what you need: the events of 4:59 yesterday morning. How you know the exact time, you do not know. Yesterday morning, 4:59, you fixed Elly. It is the one good thing you have done lately; not even worth mentioning as all you did was fix your own mistake. How you did that, you do not know.

Ran said you fixed the barrier, the so-called barrier you broke.

That means nothing to you, which only stokes the gnawing ants of paranoia inside you. Ran, the liar, the kitsune, the self-proclaimed and self-evident legendary deceiver, knows something about your curse that you don’t.

You stare blankly off into the horizon.

‘This was not my fault.’

You laugh at your own joke. It’s a familiar reaction, not surprising anymore. It means nothing, precisely nothing; the sound of a hollow shell blown into.

Ran is gone. There is nothing you can do about that.

If you don’t find yourself something to do, you will stand here in the company of your own witless mind until you starve.

The dress.

You smile. Hollow as you feel, that slight elation echoes enough to feel like a blessing from on high. Yes, you will continue on Elly’s dress. You will be useful for once in your life.

You go to the dress, and sit down prepared to work until either you or the dress is finished.

You make a mistake easy enough to fix, so you grab for something that isn’t there. Mindlessly, you feel around you for the only thing that can mould this immortal fabric.

No scissors.

You blink. No, that can’t be true. You left them right here as soon as you were forced to acknowledge Ran. The scissors were made yesterday, which cannot be mistaken as a century, so the scissors cannot have run off yet.

Your gaze is drawn to the horizon.

Oh.

Ran stole your scissors.

Did the fox do this to anger you? It succeeded, momentarily; you did feel a spark of something inside you, but there wasn't anything to light. You’re left with a detached sort of acknowledgment of the situation. Bad people do bad things, and deserve bad things, you believe.

Certainly, if you see Ran again, you won’t be able to hold yourself back.

Ran called this dress: ‘potato sack.’ Giving it another look over, you… disagree. This dress only needs a few finishing touches, and you can’t do that without red scissors. You need red scissors, or you will be useless.

‘Today is a good day. Today is Elly’s birthday.’

Neither of those things are true. There is, however, one last thing you promised: to speak to Elly today. You will not fail in that regard. Certainly, if nothing else, you can speak. For the greater good, you hush the mumbling crowd of dissidents in your head, and call out with intent: “Elly.”

From nowhere, her water, Elly appears. She’s beside you, and stares intently with cursed, vacant eyes.

“We’re continuing the conversation of yesterday. Then it’s today?” she asks, and gives no opportunity for you to respond: “Yesterday was… and tomorrow is… Today. Good afternoon, today, Schütz.” After a brief stumble, Elly is satisfied, proud even.

You nod. While you have no clue to Elly’s logic, her conclusion is agreeable. It is, indeed, today. “Good afternoon, Elly.”

It is now that you would have given Elly her new dress for her birthday.

You shouldn’t even be talking to Elly; your curse doesn’t permit it. What is your curse, besides being a lying, monstrous, cruel force? If not for the fact you are human, you would call it a youkai. You know nothing. You are ruled by a force you know nothing about.

Elly stares, and stares, and stares.

If you broke Elly again, could you fix her? Is that selfish of you? No, Elly is here to speak - but, would she be if she knew the risk? You can’t ask directly; that could break her like your selfish ‘confession’ did, you moron.

“Elly. I’m dangerous. To you, specifically - when we talk, such as now, right now,” you fumble the words in your own, internal panic.

“I know.” Elly smiles wide. “You believe I’m good, and then you made me believe I’m good. You are the most dangerous.”

‘The most dangerous’ because you tell the truth?

“A different kind of dangerous. Far, far more dangerous to you, Elly.” You pause to drive the point. “I could kill you.”

The black serpent edges closer to you, which you pointedly ignore. “Truly? Is that what Schütz believes?” Her true smile recedes into an enigmatic grin.

“Truly.”

Elly takes a moment to look at herself; no doubt, she sees something beautiful. “I can die?”

“Yes. I could kill you.”

“I can die…” Her neutral grin wavers. “I am good, and I can die; and Schütz believes this.” Her smile breaks out into something exuberant and wicked. “I’ll believe that too.” The intense way she looks at you, with empty eyes that dig into your own by golden pupils unseen, cools the blood in your veins. Through the cursed mirage before you, there is a golden-eyed girl accepting her own mortality. What you see instead, a monstrous, impure scarecrow bound to a serpent, is terrifying.

… But you brush that all aside. For four years you fled from Elly for the way your curse corrupts her. It’s an insult to her, and she doesn’t even know it.

“... Elly, do you want to die?”

She freezes, and gives you a skeptical look. “Want? I can now die, you and I believe. Where is the want?”

“You could die if you keep talking to me. Does that not bother you?” you press on.

“You made me angry, yesterday, by dirtying my dress. I didn’t know I could be so petty, and then you told me I was. Then you told me I was good, and you told me I could die.” “Want…?” The word drags out into audible, ear-grinding thought. “Want. I didn’t know I could want anything other than extensions of my needs.” The serpent points to you accusingly. “You made me realize a new want, Schütz - keep talking to me. I want that.”

Elly wants to talk to you. After all you did, Elly doesn’t mind or care to mind. She instead wants to talk to you. Elly is too good. She shouldn’t be with bad people like you, and, by cruel fate, she is.

“A-are you sure?” you blurt out, stupidly.

Elly stares at you for a while, smiling brightly and saying nothing. In the end, you realize she has nothing to say. The fact she is here and not anywhere else is the final answer.

Maybe, you can permit talking to Elly. She wants to talk to you. She acknowledges, or rather embraces, the risk. Does she truly comprehend the danger she’s in - are you exploiting her innocence?

You could spend forever asking yourself to no avail.

“I want to talk to Elly as well,” you force out an admission. It’s no unknown desire of yours that you admire Elly. She is pure, good, and honest. In a world that Elly would call sewage, she is of the few worthwhile, good people, with Sister and Reimu being the two others.

“You aren’t me, but you think like me, and you think other things I want to hear.” Elly keeps her focus solely on you as the serpent, her scythe in reality, drifts to meet a lone flower below. “Yuuka says friends think alike. Yuuka doesn’t think, she acts as if, but she looks like a lump of mud to me.”

Elly beheads the flower. It bleeds mud.

The serpent turns back to you. “Mud before and after,” Elly comments. “Schütz, do you believe, by her own saying, that Yuuka can make friends?”

Elly doesn’t mean to insult Sister. She is Sister’s vassal. If anything, it’s an honor to not be called garbage by Elly.

“Sister is…” What is she? “Sister is above us. She thinks, but not like us ... And I don’t know much about friends. I called Meiling a friend, but they called me a friend first. I don’t know why. She said I was good company?” Not a confident word leaves your mouth.

You note the slight twist of the serpent that signals Elly’s confusion. She does not remember Meiling.

“Meiling is a youkai. Garbage.”

“I won’t remember,” Elly blithely comments.

You nod understandingly and continue: “I have one friend, somehow - and we don’t think alike at all.” Considering Meiling now, they are completely alien to you. However, Meiling still as stands as a rare example of a dutiful, agreeable youkai, and a friend? You won’t argue with that. “You don’t need to think completely alike to be friends,” you conclude with a strange amount of conviction.

Elly turns her attention to the muddy, headless flower. “Then you believe mud can be friends with dirt?”

“... I suppose.”

“I’ll believe it, too.” Elly inches closer, body and snake both. “Then, does that mean we are friends?”

It’s a struggle to not back off from the mouthpiece-blade parked in front of your face. You distract yourself in thought: are you Elly’s friend? “Friends?” you mumble thought. ‘Mud and dirt,’ Elly says. Is that how she sees the two of you? You wish you were like Elly. You want to talk to Elly. “I think I -” you stop yourself. “No, I know I want to be friends. But I don’t know how.” It comes out half-mumbled half-proclaimed, and as a surprise even to yourself.

“Schütz wants to,” Elly says. She’s close, very close.

You nod, slightly, scaredly, and embarrassedly. Too much movement and you’d slice your nose in two.

“I want to hear Schütz speak, and Schütz wants me to be a friend.” Elly pauses in rapt, ear-grinding thought. “Elly is your friend,” she finishes.

You blink. “You are?”

“I am, I believe.”

“... Why?” is your only follow up. It’s difficult to comprehend, and all thoughts lead to a simple ‘why?’

Elly gives you a skeptical look. “Schütz is the one who knows about friends, and wants to be friends.”

Oh. The glimmer of hope inside you returns to its usual, dark, deep hole. Elly is being your friend only because you want her to be. You shouldn’t exploit her like that.

“I -” Deep breath. “I don’t want to be your friend if you don’t want to be my friend. That is how friends work.” ...You think.

Elly is still much too close. You can see every twitch and quirk of her fake, scarecrow face move as you say those words. She is mystified, as if she heard the voice of a cryptic god. “Don’t want? Do want?” she asks herself in thought, and the answer makes her eyes widen. “Schütz. I want to be friends, I realize,” she tells you right to your face.

“Oh,” you mutter out, wordless. You find your tongue, heavy with strange emotions rarely felt. They usually hide for fear of being crushed by reality. “That’s… good.” There’s no need to say anything more complex, good encompasses the essence of the moment perfectly - convenient, as you doubt you’re capable of forming complexes sentences right now.

Good,” Elly echoes, her smile somehow growing wider.

Oh, you might start tearing up again at this rate. Elly wants to be your friend. Aren’t you supposed to be garbage to her? Good things shouldn’t happen to bad people.

“I - I’m going to sit down. Here. Now. Thank you.”

Elly watches you as you do just that.

You sit and stare out into nothing, trying to contain the maelstrom of something inside you.

“Are we friends?” Elly asks.

“Yes,” you reply, deliberately not looking at her.

“Good.”



Time passes in silence.

No matter what, you will get those red scissors. Not only as a duty to Elly, but also as a friend. Proving your worth has only just begun. It’s a long way to the top from where you are, deep underground, likely hell. You will try.

This is what you decree to yourself.

So, you have bound yourself to another.

First Reimu, then Sister, and now, simultaneously, Elly.

For these people, it is your duty to not make their lives worse by your presence. For Reimu, you have failed; all you can do for her is not tarnish her memory, and you have failed. For Sister, this means not to rely on her, and never to bother her with your problems. For Elly, you will talk to her, be a good friend, and make her a new (preferably superior) dress.

You will do all this while cursed - somehow.

Relatively calm, you look to see Elly vacant, underwater. She ‘wants’ you to talk. The feeling is mutual. You don’t know why, but you won’t question it. The more you repeat that, the more true it becomes - hopefully.

Best you act now before you get lost in doubt.

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


“Elly,” you say.

“Schütz.” She smiles, and looks down to you.

Good, you’ve forced your own hand.

… But you need something to say now.

[You need a topic]
- [1: About Elly]
- [2: About the dress, and the stolen scissors.] No. This is your problem, and you will fix it alone.
- [3: About the new ‘house’]
-- [3a: ...a specific resident?]
- [4: About the weather] Unfortunately, you cannot see the sky.

{You may specify the details of any topic, or rely on Schütz’ judgement.}

|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)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Dress (Nearly Finished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <O “waning gibbous”

Time: Early Afternoon

\o===================875===================o/

be a good friend.
>> No. 30772
[x] Talk
-[x] Elly
-[x] About the new ‘house’

Really petty of her to stole our scissors, if she did at all. But I guess it is our just desserts for not asking questions.
>> No. 30773
File 151972557642.png - (963.10KB, 2000x1552, 36.png) [iqdb]
30773
gtyhujk
>> No. 30774
File 151973510330.png - (752.69KB, 2000x1737, 36_5.png) [iqdb]
30774
a voice something like a rusty, creaking faucet, or that sound made when two metal kitchen utensils are rubbed together (magnified several times)

Not easy listening.
>> No. 30775
File 151973598955.png - (472.91KB, 2000x1536, 36_75.png) [iqdb]
30775
34tgreh
>> No. 30776
[x] Talk about Elly

Elly is good, and Elly is "cute," even.

Damn that Ran for ruining her birthday.
>> No. 30777
Votes will be called tomorrow afternoon when I get back from Uni.

In a scribbling mood.
>> No. 30778
Woke up early. Doesn't look like there's gonna any activity, so calling for:
[1: About Elly]

Should be writing this afternoon.
>> No. 30779
sick.

blahblah.
>> No. 30780
>>30779
Get well soon!
>> No. 30781
===== Time: Early Afternoon | Curse: ~~~ =====

“What does Elly like to do?” you ask. If you’re to become worthy of being Elly’s friend, you should endeavor to learn all you can about her!

“Like, and not want?” Elly earnestly asks in return. Having drifted further since you last talked, she compensates that by edging uncomfortably close. Consistently surprising behaviour from one who reviles human contact.

While you can tolerate Elly’s presence, it’s hard to shake the feeling of staring into the sharp end of a blade. Coincidentally, you are; the fake serpent, in reality a scythe, oft finds itself near your nose to speak what rightfully belongs from Elly’s own mouth.

“Like: something you enjoy doing.” In your eagerness, you opt to go first as example. “I… I like -” This is hard. “- Elly? No, not that, not a person - an action. I like hunting. Yes, hunting.”

“Is hunting good?” she asks, mindless of your blunders.

“That is a good question, but... Let me think.”

As planned, Elly beams at your use of ‘good.’

“Depends,” you announce. “Depends on why you hunt. Hunting is not good, it is not bad, it is hunting - hunting is hunting. I hunt for good. Most youkai hunt for evil -” Elly’s gaze goes vacant at your words. “... Elly?”

“Schütz,” she replies, life returning to her cursed, empty eyes.

“Is something wrong?”

“That’s besides the point.” She brushes you aside completely.

“... The point?”

“Is evil good?” she asks with a smile. “And what’s evil?”

You blink, and a reply, haphazardly formed, falls out of your mouth: “I need to think. I will answer, but I need to think.”

Silently and expectantly, Elly stares.

It turns out you don’t need to think at all. The words come naturally. “Liars are evil. A liar is the most vile, the most disgusting, and the most dangerous,” these words spin effortlessly; you speak from experience, and with absolute conviction. “There is other evil out there,” you continue, and pause to see Elly’s revolting, lying, pits of void gazing back. “But liars are the most pure evil; as they will take the most pure good and break it. Evil is not good. Evil is the opposite of good.”

“Then I cannot be evil,” says Elly, a statement not a question.

“Never,’ you answer, anyway.

“Schütz believes that.” Another statement.

“I do.”

“Then I will, too,” she continues to logical end. The smile on Elly’s face is plain and meaningless. “Elly is good, not evil.” “- Schütz!” she suddenly exclaims, eyes wide.

“Elly?”

“I like being good, I realize,” she answers the hanging question.

“Good.” You smile, and she back.

Good.

Yourself, you realize that making Elly smile, truly, is one of the few good things you can do.

Time passes in pleasant silence. You sit idly, watching the mud-laced flowers bend to the wind as you ride on the afterglow of the conversation. Elly is underwater; her face, a lifeless facismile, and her scythe entombed out of sight below the water’s surface. She deserves rest. It must be hard for Elly to talk to you. Every second on land is a cacophony to her senses. You can relate, though Elly has found a better way to cope with the ugliness of the world. Honestly, you’re jealous - not in a vitriolic way! Your feelings tread the border of admiration and envy, but never contempt.

You want to be good like Elly.

===== Time: Mid Afternoon | Curse: ~~~ =====

“I want to hunt,” says Elly.

After a brief startle, you nod, and ask: “What of? - You need a prey.”

Your reply seems to shock Elly, as she is visibly thrown back by your words. “I want to hunt…” she starts. “Schütz. I realize I need a prey to hunt,” she ends with a candid admission.

“Oh. Yes. You do.”

Elly looks to you for answers; you, of all people in this world. Admittedly, you are a good hunter, if a bad everything else.

“There are different types of hunters. Animal hunters - human hunters - youkai hunters - and, I have recently learned of vampire hunters. I’ve never seen a vampire.” You give a lacklustre estimate of their size before continuing, “They are small, and eat cake and wine, I have been told. I don’t know why people hunt them, but they do.”

Elly’s focus on you is intimidating. She absorbs your every word.

“Y-yeah. Vampires. Don’t think about those. Only morons hunt them, from what I’ve heard,” you ramble on. If you stop, you will be left in the prominence of Elly’s ravenous gaze, so you claw to find another point. “I hunt animals! In the Forest of Magic I hunt animals. Human hunters, those are also in the Forest of Magic. Human hunters are evil.” Your thoughts fall back to Meiling. “Most human hunters, most youkai, are evil. Some defy this - they are the exception. Youkai hunters, they-” Reimu. “... They are rare. I have not seen any for a long time.”

You put on a smile for Elly’s sake. “Animals, humans, youkai - do any of those sound like a prey you want?”

“Evil,” Elly says.

“Evil?” you echo.

“Can I hunt evil?”

“... Like a youkai hunter.” Like Reimu.

“Not all youkai are evil, and not all evil are youkai, Schütz says. I only want to hunt evil. Can I hunt evil?” The more she speaks, the more excited she gets. Still sitting, you can only watch on as Elly leans over you, feverishly smiling down, as bright as any sun.

You take a deep breath, and try to think about this logically. To hunt evil, isn’t that a… “Hero. A hunter of evil is a hero.” Reimu was not just a youkai hunter.

“Hero. Hero.” Elly slides back from being your personal, gruesome sun. Her serpent meanders through the flowers, beheading them as it flows.

“Do you want to be a hero?”

The serpent freezes on its path. Elly turns to face you, her parody of a face afflicted by thought. “... I want to do good, and I would like to do good.” The scythe point to you. “Let’s say it’s because I like you that I…” Her grin twitches with discomfort. “Want you to be happy? I want to hunt evil, liars, to make you happy; I want to be a hero.” Just. Like. Reimu.

Elly is seriously considering this. You planted the idea in her head; you are responsible for it. The only true hero you have ever known has died, by your own hands and in your name.

But this is not Reimu. This is Elly, and her time is yet past. Elly won’t die for you. You will make sure of that.

You stand up and force a smile. “I’m already happy,” you say. “Here. Right here. Talking to you and being here makes me happy.” It’s not a lie. You are content in fermenting here until the end of time. Nothing has to change.

“Is that what Schütz believes, truly?”

“Truly.”



Elly’s unreadable, empty eyes stare into your own, and her meaningless smile betrays the lack of emotion on her face. Eventually, she goes vacant without a word.

You are left wondering what was going on in that head of hers.

“I’m happy,” you tell yourself.

And with that, Elly is gone.
>> No. 30783
===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

“Elly, we’re moving,” you say.

Elly, now beside you, is clueless.

“Landways,” you specify. “We’re moving, landways.”

She takes a look around. What she sees is a barren, sun-bitten field of dirt. Few flowers remain.

“Would you like to be my escort, again? To the other, landways Flower Field,” you ask.

She needn’t answer, her growing smile says it all, however, she answers anyway: “I would, and I will.”

While she leads the way, you’re the one who sets her on the right path. She is utterly lost.

===== Time: Early Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

The house emerges beside the lake like as a visceral-red blister. Sister gave this house to you, you know that too well now. Each flower sprouting here at lakeside is a flower lost where you once lived. Sister has been busy moving them this whole time. You stayed as long as you could in the former Flower Field; until the day you woke up to find nothing but an arid plain.

It has been a week.

Sister never got her weekly tribute, so she never woke up, so you never got a chance to ask in the moment. Asking would be pointless, regardless. Sister already told you this is your new home; it took you far too long to let that sink in, but now that it has, you carry the mantle with grim acceptance.

Sister knows what is best; you just don’t understand her, and you shouldn’t need to.

In a jolt, Elly seems to realise something. She slides in front of you and eagerly gestures to the house that only grows larger on the horizon. “The other, landways, Flower Field!”

She found it!

“Thanks to you, my escort. We have arrived.”

After taking a moment to be pleased with herself, Elly takes to a complicated expression.

Oh.

“... You can continue escorting me if you want. Aimlessly, yes, but still escorting,” you offer.

She puts her dazzling, terrifying smile back on. “Then I am your escort.”


Elly’s recent attachment to you is troubling.

She never completely left your side since you told her you were happy. Between your scant conversations she dwells in your peripheral vision, far off in the distance where your eyes barely scratch. When she isn’t underwater, she’s watching you. You can feel it. The miniscule red dot out there is stalking you.

To put your feelings simply: you don’t deserve Elly.

But it’s not your decision how she spends her time. All you can do is be yourself and hope Elly comes to her senses. She’s your friend; you worry about her.

You cough up some of the dust that coats you. On your back, the new dress is in a bundle along with the thread, fabric, needle, and a distinct lack of scissors.

Ran has yet to show, and every day that fact remains true grates on your sanity. You need those scissors.

Next time, you will greet the fox with an arrow, several of them, preferably.

For now, you survey the area around you.

Not only sunflowers bloom here, like they did last week. The assortment is spectacular and exotic, overwhelming the senses in a solid wall of scent, sight, and sound. It really is as if the Flower Field simply grew legs and walked away - which it may as well did. The only difference is the lakeside, and the vainglorious eyesore in the middle of it all. Somewhere beyond the walls of the house is Meiling, and further still, Patchouli and all the rest.

This is the Flower Field now, you must accept. Sister wished it so, and she is always right.

“Elly.”

“Schütz.”

“Where do you think looks best for me to stay?”

“Landways?”

“Landways.”

Elly looks around, and quickly comes to an unofficiated decision. Her eyeless gaze is drawn firmly to the lake, and soon, she points to its centre. “There, that looks best.”

From here you can see that the lake, too, has flowers blooming beneath. The shallow waters are awash by motley of colors that swirl like spilled oil, and deeper still hints of life peak from the depths to the surface in the form of petals. These aren’t aquatic plants, naturally. Sunflowers, almonds, windflowers and chrysanthemums bloom beneath the water’s surface by Sisters’ will. By virtue of them thriving underwater, they could be called aquatic plants, regardless.

The lake has been almost completely overtaken. Three quarters, at least, are dominated by the wilful flowers.

The fish don’t mind. They gratefully consume the various underwater fruits, which are well and truly edible. The more adventurous nip at the flowers and stems, only to find mud in their little mouths.

“It is beautiful, but…” You give an awkward, apologetic smile. “I cannot live there.”

“You can! Drown, and I will bring you back,” she pushes.

“... Yeah. I wouldn’t like that - perpetually drowning. My apologies, Elly.”

Elly gives you a skeptical look, but, without another word, eventually relents. She looks disappointed. It hurts you on the inside to do this.

“I - I could build a boat!” you sputter out an appeal soon as the first dumb idea enters your head.

She perks up instantly. Good.

“We could visit the lake by boat,” you continue, and let some form of logical thought take over from here. “And spend the night, one day, perhaps?” It feels absurd to make dayplans when you don’t even have a designated living area yet.

Elly looks to the lake, then back to you with a smile. “I would like that.”

Elly likes water, you have gathered quite astutely.

You nod, hereon binding you to your word. A boat should be easier to craft than a red dress; for one, a boat is made from readily attainable materials, and not immutable, red soul-consuming cloth.

Now, you need somewhere to dump your few belongings.

You take to the (overgrown) shoreline: a compromise between your need to not drown, and Elly’s inclinations.



This is your home. The flowers part for you to make a small clearing. Beyond here, a minute’s walk away, the house gate. You can see the windows from here. The very top window is lit from the inside, for some reason.

After all these years running and hiding, you’re now a few steps away from a youkai fortress, Ran has promised visit, and you are friends with Elly.

It’s difficult to comprehend, but you’ve had plenty of time to think over sleepless nights.

If you cannot control your curse, everyone will die. That is a fact you cannot ignore any longer.

You don’t even know what your curse is. You moron.

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


You should make the most of the free time you have...

I:

You promised to…
[A: Build a boat.] (note: Elly choice)
Of course, you’ve never built a boat, but you’re certain it can’t be harder than making a box that floats.

Ran’s coming is an inevitability; if not on its word, then just to plague you as youkai will. There’s little you can do in preparation, but you can at least make a show of trying.
[B: Prepare for Ran.]

You peer over the dense bramble of flowers to the crimson walls beyond.

‘One day, when the curse is put to permanent rest, you might come to visit Meiling again - outside the gates, of course.’

...

That day has not yet come, but...
[C: A visit in good faith.] (note: Meiling choice) (potential unlocked due to ‘reckless’ path)
This is fine, right? Meiling is your friend - she said so herself.


II:

Elly is at your side. By word, she’s escorting you indefinitely. This pleasures her… somehow.
[1: Continue.]
[2: Release.]

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

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x14 Iron-Headed Arrow
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
Sparse Tough Clothing (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
-Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <o “last quarter”

Time: Early Morning

\o===================875===================o/
>> No. 30784
>>30780
Your words have little power. I'm still sick. If you mean to heal others through mystical internet surgery, try harder next time.
>> No. 30785
[B: Prepare for Ran.]

First time I don't vote for Elly choice. Even though it is still indirect. We kind of need those scissors or her birthday will never come!

Discussion: What would happen if we explained the tale of Reimu the wise to Elly? Including what we know of the curse. Maybe we can tell Ran so Elly can overhear.
Speaking of which,

Elly shouldn't help or she might get slightly hurt. I think our Hunter will kill himself like 20 times if that happened.

Finally, did he brought his stuff to sew to this, new home, of his?
>> No. 30786
The "curse" may be sentient.
The "curse" messes with the border.
MC got a seal hair-tie.

Whaterver got sealed into him is the "curse" and called Ran.
The monsters are what youkai would look like in the outside world, if the border didn't turn them all into qts.
The sealed youkai is Satsuki Rin
>> No. 30787
[B: Prepare for Ran.]
We don't know how to build a boat, but we do know how to fight a youkai.

[2: Release.]
Don't want Elly in danger because of us. Plus Ran did told us how to dodge her attack, so let's at least be fair.
>> No. 30788
[B: Prepare for Ran.]
Ran's actions are pretty hard to get a read on: Coming to kill Schütz, then sparing him and leaving with the scissors. My suspicion is she doesn't have enough information to conclude Schütz needs to be killed. She's waiting to see if he slips up somehow and just made that visit to gauge his reaction. If I'm right about that, Ran is a looming threat, who might attack seriously if she finds out more about the curse, but regardless, it can't hurt to be prepared.

Also, it seems Schütz's curse affects reality when he believes in it, or acknowledges it. I wonder if that can extend to things other than monsters and monstrous forms. Perhaps Elly is good because Schütz believes that. Or maybe I'm completely off there, and Elly is just an odd duck who's happy to go along with what Schütz says.
>> No. 30789
[C: A visit in good faith.]
[Continue]

And this, Elly, is an evil thing that doesn't do evil things. Does that mean that bad things can be good, depending on how they act? Yes!
>> No. 30790
Calling tomorrow, provided the dust has settled.

Drawing tonight.

>>30785
>Including what we know of the curse.
This was attempted.
>> No. 30791
File 15204003076.png - (100.32KB, 2000x2000, 37.png) [iqdb]
30791
Set for the following
I - B: Prepare for Ran
II - 2: Release Elly from escort service


scribble
>> No. 30792
File 152055557877.jpg - (198.29KB, 1920x1080, maxresdefault.jpg) [iqdb]
30792
>>30791
>II - 2: Release Elly from escort service

Excuse you?? The vote is tied!
Doesn't matter, she's not here because she is forced to.
ELLY TRAIN HAS NO BRAKES, CHOO CHOO
>> No. 30793
>>30792
>Excuse you?? The vote is tied!
Technically true, but the general sentiment appears in favour of this end. The vote is a gauge of opinion, and it is the opinion that is important.

>ELLY TRAIN HAS NO BRAKES, CHOO CHOO
Travelling with or within Elly is not advised unless drowning is your fancy. The Elly Kelpie.
>> No. 30794
1800

I'll see to having this done the next or the following day.

Remember G.O.O.D.
gElly oElly oElly dElly
>> No. 30795
===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

“Elly.”

“Schütz.”

“I am releasing you from escort service.”

Elly looks at you, mystified. “Truly?”

“Truly.”

“Can you make it not true?” she asks, perplexed but hopeful in your judgement.

“No. Not now, not today.” She twists your arm without knowing it. “Later, if I can,” you add to not crush hope.

“Tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow, then.” That is your tomorrow, not her tomorrow. Tomorrow for her is the next second, the next hour, day, and year all in one. “The day after today.”

Tomorrow,” she echoes like its a foreign word.

Satisfied at your handling of the situation, you let out your breath, and deflate to the ground so that you appear like an overripe mushroom. You feel worn out in body and mind, even after a weeks ‘rest.’ Sleep is rare, and peace, true peace, rarer. You’re confident it exists wrapped a profound state of exhaustion, a mental grindstone that nullifies the thoughts that keep you awake and the nightmares that makes you wish you still were.

As Elly would say, that’s besides the point.

Right now, your objective is to deal with Ran. Its return is inevitable. The fact the fox hasn’t already is a blessing, or perhaps it seeks to taunt you with the lurking possibility. Backed into a corner, or at least perceived to be, did it expect you to bare claws? A youkai so venerable as a kitsune has perfected the art of pettiness, earning ire is all it’s good at, so of course it knows man’s last, oldest, and most trusted resort: a fist.

You mentally shrug, and, physically, you weave an arrow through your fingers. Regardless of how effective it is, this arrow will find Ran’s heart (should it exist) to be a sheath. That will be good.

Spite, you recognise, runs as thick through your veins as any youkai’s as you think of Ran. Ran should not have involved Elly, even if indirectly. It’s a crime against what goodness there is in the world.

Elly is beside you. She never left. She has no reason to move right now, so she doesn’t. With her mind underwater, she is more like an environmental fixture. Occasionally, a flicker of life emboldens her to check on you, but otherwise, she is gone.

If she got directly involved, if she got hurt, you would - what? What could you do? No hell can take you.

To save yourself the trouble of imagining a worldly punishment equivalent to a hell, you decide to not justify that occurring in the first place.

You will kill Ran, reclaim the scissors, and finish Elly’s dress. Nothing short of that is enough.

Fervent, you peel a seal from those that still remain on your attire, and then another, and another. They make a rasping sound as they do so, going so far as to shave off pieces of fabric on the underneath. As the years have gone by, the more implacable seals are indistinguishable from the clothes they root. Their patterns, cryptic yet pragmatic, bleed into the surface layers of your clothes like burn scars.

The seals coating your bow - their mark must run deep into the wood. You hardly remember what the bow looks like underneath the seal coating. It was the first thing you ever -

You’re not going to think about the past.

Nostalgia is a cruel poison, the aftershocks of events immutable. The future, Ran, at least you can try to stop it.

You apply a seal to an arrow. It sticks like honey, and then sets like stone around the neck. Hakurei seals are potent. You can’t even activate them, yet they ward true. From the inside, a youkai they will carve up. Rumia knows it so, intimately - but it uses up seals like cheap candles.

For a single arrow to even approach effectiveness at least three seals are needed. That is to wound a simple forest Rumia. This is a kitsune. You go for six on a single arrow to be certain, and another one atop that because you don’t trust your own certainty. With such consumption per arrow, you prepare a mere three arrows before exhausting all the seals on your clothes.

You notice that the seals that touched the dress are damaged. They crumple limply in your hands as the ordinary paper they once were. Fortunately, few are felled this way. If you’re to handle the ‘antipsychosomatic,’ you know well to do it fully naked from now on.

===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~~~ =====

On a hill, raised above it all, you perch with bow on your lap and Ran in your mind. Beside you are the ‘red’ objects, not yet stolen.

Elly is in the distance, a red blob. You know when she’s watching. To prove this, you wave and she enthusiastically waves back. She’s keeping you sane, you think - If it could be said your current state is sanity.

===== Time: Midday | Curse: ~~~ =====

You feel her before you see her: Izayoi. She reminds you of Ran in her wrongness. There’s something about the way Izayoi is that makes her difficult to stomach. Assuredly, she is human, a broken human, a smudged painting, as if one had taken a hammer and chisel to chip at her being. That is the wretched, cursed image of Izayoi you see and dismiss.

Past the gate Izayoi strides, and through the flowers that do not part so easy, and up the hill to meet you who waits with bow ready and willing.

You’re busy waiting for a fox.

You meet Izayoi eyes, filled with broken color and a supreme effort to appear as unapproachable as possible. You, you’re greeting her with a bow and arrow ready. Neither of you want to speak to each other. Neither of you want to know each other. Both of your lives would be improved if they simply never met.

Like the matching ends of magnets flirting, Izayoi keeps fair distance, and appears likely to be repelled at any moment.

Whatever force that is keeping her here is strong; stronger than your combined distaste of each other, and a want to do anything else.

“You are going to wear this,” she says.

You blink.

In Izayoi’s outstretched, ghostly-pale hand is a neatly folded bundle of fabric.



You’re left with no choice. “Why.” Held within, a silent apology to yourself and her for prolonging this exchange.

Fortunately, rather than the murder in her eyes, she answers with words: “Two reasons. My lady has been witness to your bare ass from her window since the dozing hours of morning. And my lady will, again, be witness to your bare ass for tonight’s breakfast - should I not persuade you into these clothes.”

Once again, you’re reminded of your nudity. You have had more important things to tend to than yourself, lately. Behind you is your behind, that is true. What about it that inspires murder in the eyes is unknown to you. Persuade carries a very different meaning to Izayoi, you have inferred by the way she looks at you. You imagine she might very well tackle you to the ground to make you wear whatever it is she holds in her hand. All this to cover your ‘bare ass.’

You wonder how she maintains herself with such a phobia. Bathing must be troublesome.

This is the same girl that will attempt to murder you if you ask her to perform a magic trick, Meiling said. For a human, Izayoi’s sensibilities are as strange as a youkai’s.

‘Tonight’s breakfast.’

… You remember, in vague pictures buried among wailing nightmares, a ‘breakfast’ mentioned by Meiling and Patchouli both, a breakfast you were never able - nor wanted - to attend.

“Breakfast, tonight,” you start. “You are implying I am going to be there, or around there, for the lady to see.” The lady you assume to be a Scarlet.

Izayoi takes a long, hard look at you. “‘There’ is here, wherever you, the guest of honor, may run. My lady is coming to see you for breakfast. She will not be greeting a bare ass, but a clothed ass, should I manage to persuade him into clothes.”

A lady Scarlet is coming to see you. Small ‘vampires’ that drink wine and eat cake don’t worry you on principle, but you’re busy. Ran is coming to visit, too, and she has more wild and devilish plans than ‘breakfast at night.’

“I’m busy,” you answer, simply.

“Busy mooning my lady?”

Mooning? Youkai talk. Izayoi does live with youkai; perhaps it was inevitable that she began to think like one.

“Busy hunting a fox.”

Izayoi somehow manages to look more unimpressed. “Your coming breakfast with my lady is more important.”

“That is not true.” And you need not say more than that.

… Izayoi takes to massaging her face with her palm. Unable to relent, she remains rooted to the ground like a tree weathering a storm.

When her hand eventually slides down, the same, sundering, wilful gaze meets you. It has little effect on you, who has stared at far scarier things than an irate, partially-melting face.

“I can manually reconstruct your priorities. I’ve done as such before.” She presents the bundle of clothes. “Or you can perform the monumental task of wearing a pair of pants, and chatting over breakfast with my lady - who’s sole, merciful interest is to have a pleasant chat with the man with enough gall to leave her waiting.”

This sort of ultimatum, it reminds you of Meiling.

You admire pure and honest duty, even in your enemies. That is how you came to respect Meiling, a youkai that made clear its higher intent and purpose to pulverise you.

Deep down, and from a much larger distance than this, you might also feel sorry for the acclaimed and non-manifesting ‘adorable maid.’ However, here and now, this girl is only a hinderance, a distraction.

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

You take a slight breath, and answer: “I’m busy.”

And no more needs to be said.
[A: . . .]

But -
[B: If it sedates her, you can cover your behind.]

However -
[C: The fox is dangerous, and if she knew that then perhaps. . .]

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

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x3 Iron-Headed Arrow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
- x11 Iron-Headed Arrow
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
Sparse Tough Clothing -Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
‘Red’ Needle
- ‘Red’ Thread (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Fabric (‘antipsychosomatic’)
‘Red’ Dress (Nearly Finished, ‘antipsychosomatic’)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <o “last quarter”

Time: Midday

\o===================875===================o/

melting mind versus melting maid
>> No. 30796
The weekly schedule is working well so far!

I have assignments and tests and other arrests, but I will try my best for another timely update (by my standards).
>> No. 30797
[B: If it sedates her, you can cover your behind.]
Free pants. And I don't trust Schütz' ability to make the stubborn maid understand there may be a potential situation incoming. Not before equipping pants.
>> No. 30798
[C: The fox is dangerous, and if she knew that then perhaps. . .]

Can I make a write in to have him explain that she should get to cover? This is not a trick to have her help us and I'm sure he's still pissed at what Patchouli implied in regards to Nue.
>> No. 30799
Vote will be called tomorrow when I get home from uni.

>>30798
You may try.
>> No. 30800
>>30799
Then change 30798 to:

[C: The fox is dangerous, and if she knew that then perhaps. . .]
-[She'd understand that this problem would probably solve itself soon and leave before she comes]

I'm implying he's about to get destroyed, if that wasn't clear enough.
158posts omitted. First 100 shown.
[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