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31030 No. 31030
/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
5.875 - >>30675

\o==================8875===================o/
Expand all images
>> No. 31032
===== Time: Morning | Curse: ~<o>~ =====

The girl named Elly shows the world a frozen, comical smile. In this situation, paired with her eyes that are wide with fear, her smile appears more like a cage. The teeth twitch, and jerk, and grind in clear effort to break the enforced, unbefitting monotony, but a smile remains. Schütz wishes the smile was genuine. It could be if he stopped terrorizing her. ‘This is Elly,’ the thought repeatedly bashes him over the head. His half-glare threatens to become quarter even as Meiling, his friend, unintentionally excretes what remains of their intestines with every breath. ‘And this is what Elly did,’ or so reality would claim. His trust and belief in Elly, his wall, says otherwise. The man of Blacks and Whites falls into disarray at the sight of Grey.

Elly is in the wrong, but. The inevitable conclusion comes crawling out of his mind after being chained and beaten. It is not alone. The man’s breath hushes as he notices a parasite attached to the end of his thoughts: ‘But.’ It is a sacred notion; when attached to anything, anything could be excused. He has tried hard to find a ‘but’ that excuses his own failures. By some subconscious notion his eyes dart back to Meiling. Carnage he cannot see is vividly imagined. He knows what Elly did, and he knows why she did it. “Accept. . it?” he parrots Meiling’s words to dead silence.

Elly silently absorbs his words, lost and pawing for some form of respite. This is not how it should work. Elly is his superior. She should not be at his mercy, and seeing her like this; the sight melts something inside him. Elly is in the wrong, but—she is mine. It is a toxic notion. Of course, Elly is Sisters’. Unfortunately and apparently, reality has little effect on Schütz. He realizes these thoughts are wrong in every sense. He realizes these thoughts can never be vocalized or expressed. The notion remains. Truly, the sense inside him has melted, though its existence in the first place is debatable. At the very back of his mind, some part of him recognizes and shrugs hopeless at the fact this might be the worst mistake he has ever made. To him, it feels out of his control. This is the natural conclusion — and anything else would be forced.

Meiling continues to silently bleed out. Elly continues to silently beg for mercy and explanation. Schütz knows his priorities.

First, Schütz purges what remains of his dead-eyed, unfocussed quasi-glare. Second, he addressed his best friend. “Elly.”

The silenced girl shivers.

“You should not hurt friends,” he orders. “So … You are in the wrong, but - but — that is Meiling, and you are Elly. Elly is more important.” He breathes as if he had just taken his hand out of fire. “But -” Another unexpected ‘but’ comes to haunt him. “- but, you are still wrong. Apologize.” This is what his mind calls a compromise. The wall shakes, and buckles, and cracks, but it does not fall. He has found an excuse. It is an excuse he dare not acknowledge, despite how vibrantly it has colored his actions.

Silence reigns.

“Sorry. You - you can speak, Elly.”

“Schütz,” she squeaks out, suddenly bunching up against him as if to embrace, but far past such pleasant things and into desperation. He notes she is warm, knowing well she could have been a cold effigy of rod and cloth. Would it matter to him at this point? His mind might collapse if he thought about it.

“I . . .” No sense comes from his mouth. If Elly wanted sense from him, she should have came a few moments earlier.

“I’m sorry for making Schütz sad,” the blade grinds like a whisper next to his ear. It is a voice that would make anyone else in the world regret being born capable of hearing. To Schütz, it is becoming endearing.

He gulps since the air he breathes through stilted, nasal twitches is not enough. “Elly, no, it is. . Meiling, I said. I meant to apologize to Meiling. But -” Another stray ‘but’ ravages his thought process. “But, I accept it. Your apology. I - yes, thank you, Elly.” As his words permeate through the layers of fear and confusion, Elly eases into a quiet, true smile. He will call it shy, though it looks like the same overeager smile as always. He feels something in his chest. The stupid, doomed man dares to find happiness in this situation.

Meiling coughs.

/ MEILING \
Meiling feels sick in the stomach. It’s a bizarre sensation given she has no stomach to speak of. Try as her body wills to vomit, all that results is a dainty, red cough. To a mindless predator of men, their own flesh and blood tastes rancid. It’s the only thing stopping some from eating themselves. For Meiling, it traps her in a bothersome cycle of coughing blood, and retching from the taste. Some good tea would wash it down. Meiling must settle for willpower.

“Meiling - are you.. fine?” asks the jittery Flower.

Meiling has to pause for that. She was having a relatively good time ignoring the pain aspect of evisceration. Now, acknowledged, she does feel it. It hurts a lot. Still, she answers: “Better than expected.” Speaking slushes the vis in her mouth, making her cough again.

“Will you die?” he presses. He’s asking the wrong person.

Meiling looks down at her tailored uniform turned orifice, and pretends with him that it is the only wound she will receive today. “Sakuya will kill me, but I will live.” Thoughts of home and family are as fulfilling as imagining water in the desert. The mansion is barely a few hundred metres away, but it may as well be across an ocean. They wouldn’t say Meiling accepted this; she has.

The man nods at first, but his face continues through a complexity of emotions as he journeys to comprehend her words. He carries a transparency of heart about him that screams ‘please tease me’ to those interested. Remilia must love it. That and his doomed fate makes him irresistible. He is a bait, and Elly the snare. It’s a perfect trap set by no one but a universe with a cruel sense of humor.

Flower reaches peace eventually, nodding again with actual comprehension this time around. Then, a bolt of impulse hits him something fierce. “. . . Elly has something to say.” He nudge-pushes the manifested antithesis of mercy named ‘Elly’ towards her. It reminds Meiling of a mother introducing a child. It feels like having the sky fall down on top of your toes. The contrast amuses Meiling because they always say Meiling is above fear. Shut up.

“I do!” the reaper answers with far too much enthusiasm. That enthusiasm does not reach her eyes as she stares at Meiling, or, rather, tries to stare at Meiling. The archfiend’s golden glare pierce straight through to the other side, like a harpoon fisherman striking the water’s distortions rather than the fish. Both the reaper and her Flower have trouble in the eyes. Flower is a lost cause who makes a conscious effort of looking everywhere conceivably possible except the eyes. The reaper tries, at least.

Meiling coughs. Beholding Death would be humbling if she weren’t Meiling. For a moment, she wonders what it would be like.

“Meiling?” the reaper has a cold, distant voice befitting her station. Her appearance is like sunset, the flax-gold hair and eyes, and red dress in combination. A scythe wavers in one hand, in the other, she holds her companion’s hand. Is flirting with Death another Gensokyo custom? Without him, would it be slumbering beneath a mountain, terrorizing continents, or torturing souls in the afterlife? To that, Meiling inwardly shrugs. The same could be said about her own situation. Idiots attract danger.

“Yeah,” Meiling replies.

“I’m sorry that you made me make you shut up.”

“. . . Yeah.”

That should be the end of it, but the man interjects: “Elly.”

The closing sunset of all life flinches, and turns heel cartoonishly. “Schütz?”

“That is not how you apologize.”

“-?” She makes a cute, clueless sound.

“You are sorry for hurting my friend Meiling,” he reminds her.

“I am?”

“You are.”

The girl blinks, dumbstruck but determined. “I’m sorry for hurting Meiling?” she parrots at Flower, rather than Meiling. He nods and squeezes her hand, making her visibly deflate with relief. She did just completely guess, despite being told the answer. The man now looks expectedly at Meiling.

They say Meiling has a short temper, that her eyes glaze red when slighted. They would be wrong as always. “... Apologies accepted.”

Flower excitedly tugs the monster’s arm. “You did it, Elly.” Elly, in turn, celebrates in her own way by smiling dead and mystified in his face. Satisfied, Flower looks in the vague direction of Meiling, and orders: “Now apologize to Elly.”

No one is eager to fill the following silence. Meiling, again, takes the hard job. “I would, but…” This isn’t the simple position as gatekeeper the eldest lady Scarlet promised - but, it wasn’t Remilia who decided to make Meiling’s life difficult. That fault lies all in the conceited youkai gatekeeper.

“What - but?” the Flower awkwardly questions.

Yes, what but? Apologising outright would have been easy for anyone except Meiling. Bullheaded might describe her, but bulls are known to tire. It takes all her willpower, the same substance she’s using to suppress the coughs, to hold herself back. She coughs. ‘What kind of idiot would hire this belligerent, borish gatekeeper?’ Meiling idly wonders. Remilia. “But… I needed to cough. I’m done.”

“Oh.” Flower nods honestly, like a taught child.

The gatekeeper angles her head down. Any more movement and she might lose balance and topple. She’s done this once to Elly - apologizing, that is - back when Meiling acted like they said she would. Meiling can only regret one thing: not acting like Meiling. It’s not in Meiling’s nature to apologize for being herself. She swallows her pride. Eating herself is as difficult as it sounds. “... I, Meiling, Hong, sworn to Scarlet, and youkai gatekeeper, apologize to you, Elly.” The gatekeeper recalls from memory an imitation of an honest apology.

Elly occupies herself staring at Schütz. “For?” he prods.

Meiling is turned silent. This is not a question she can answer easily.

Thankfully, the man is eager for a happy ending. “You’re sorry for making Elly hurt you, right?” he presses with equal parts uncertainty and determination.

“... Yes. Very. Absolutely.”

The Flower is overjoyed. It can be seen in his eyes. They twinkle with a distinctly human madness. “Elly-!” he pushes the monster forward for the second time. Under the spotlight, she is completely dazed, and immediately looks back to him for support.

“You’re supposed to accept Meiling’s apology.” He continues to direct his make believe interaction; starring Elly, terror manifested, and Meiling, the worst actor in Gensokyo.

Elly looks to Meiling, then to Schütz, then back to Meiling. “Meiling.”

“. . Yeah?”

“I’m supposed to accept your apology?” The reaper hums, then continues: “And I accept your apology.”

The man looks ready to tear up at the sight. Meiling is beginning to suspect Elly didn’t actually hear her apology at all. That comforts her a little bit. Meiling looks up at the sky as the odd couple celebrate gaily. Dark blotches stain newly arrived clouds. Afternoon tea with the maid is looking less likely by the moment. “A storm. On a nice day, too. What are the odds?”

“Schütz.” A reaper’s perverse affections drip from that word.

“Elly?”

“Would it make you happy if I destroyed Gensokyo?”

A gathering storm, an ancient evil, and a plot to end the world. This is more Remilia’s thing, Meiling concludes. So here I go. Meiling has no choice but to repeat what got her eviscerated. Meiling is calm, Meiling tells herself. They wouldn’t agree.

Meiling pulls her head out of the clouds, and interjects: “Adorable, but. . .”

\ Meiling /

“- the Elder Scarlet has a better cure than that,” the powderkeg continues unimpeded.

‘Crik’

I hate Gensokyo. There is no uncertainty in Schütz’ mind. This is the truth, and but only a new revelation. He has not even begun thinking of ‘solutions.’ “Really?” he asks. “For me? Why would..?”

“Truly,” Elly confirms with a smile next to his face and an ear-splitting grind in his ear.

“Oh, I - thank you?” The offer alone is ludicrous. Why would anyone do such a difficult thing for him? “Elly. Are you certain? That sounds hard.”

“It isn’t.”

“Oh.”

“Would it make Schütz happy?” Elly repeats.

Gensokyo: gone. Schütz feels strange. “I - do not know.”

“Schütz. Listen,” Meiling, who has made their stumbling way over, speaks before plopping down onto the soft undergrowth before him. Every time it suppresses a cough, blackpowder distends inside its body, and floods out the wound in its gut. “And Elly. I’m trying to help your.. friend too. You want to make him happy? Adorable. I like it,” the youkai dribbles its half-sentences together into something nearing coherent.

‘CRIK.’ The leviathan locks onto Meiling’s figure, and coils like the colossal serpent it is. No strike comes, but one is promised.

“—Alright,” Schütz eventually answers. He trusts Elly, to do the right thing but nonetheless he tugs her down as he sits. She tumbles with a metallic squeak of shock. Sleep deprivation, constant alertness and distress, and the sheer weight of what has happened over the past day, hours even, heap down on him at this moment. “Tired,” he declares like it is a surprise to himself.

“Same here, friend.” The disemboweled sack of gunpowder bleeds to now-blackened heavens.

“Going to rain,” he notes.

“What are the odds?”

Schütz blankly stares at the trail of gunpowder feeding the clouds. He hates Gensokyo. The undergrowth provides a soft cushion, and a dull ‘thud,’ for his head when he eventually relinquishes sitting. He curls on his side, watching the gatekeeper.

“Schütz?” Elly now decides to drone in.

“Elly?”

“You don’t want Gensokyo destroyed?”

“Maybe later.”

“Are you sad?”

“No. Only tired.”

“#” Elly grinds in thought.

“You need rest? We have seven hours before Remilia does something stupid.” Meiling looks up, melancholic. “But the sky is. . .”

True rest is impossible for Schütz. When he is silent and pensive, he fidgets. When he sleeps, he soon wishes otherwise. He finds the only remaining option is to speak. “I remember it - her — Remilia. She was. .” The vampire is a brief, pleasant memory preceding a waking nightmare. Remembering too hard would only hurt him. “- nice to me,” he finishes vaguely. This time even he realizes how indecipherably fractured his speech is, so he reiterates: “Remilia is nice.”

The youkai is quiet; it lines its thoughts with pulses and zig zags of its gunpowder breath. Whenever it speaks it gives the impression of coming from a long pilgrimage, even for the simplest of phrases. “Remilia. She’s a doctor, you know. Retired, but. . You came at a bad time - reignited a flame. She sees someone like you, a sick creature, and she just has to help it, or. .” Meiling abruptly pauses, puffing a smokey sigh. The topic has been dropped with no illusions. “— She wanted to be a hero. It didn’t work. But she can fix you.” “I swear as Meiling.”

The man hears the most optimistic prediction ever made about his life, again. His reaction is the same. “How.” It is a blank question without optimism or expectation.

Meiling gives a self-assured, weighty nod. “The only way that works. She takes you, tears you apart, removes the rot, then stitches you back together.”

“Oh.” Of course, purging everything wrong about him would work. “That sounds - good, but —” what would be left? The answer disappoints him. “It will not work.” Another ‘but’ creeps in. His cannot be as kind as Elly’s. He has done nothing to deserve a kind excuse.

The youkai shakes its bulbous, smoking head. “It works. It sounds impossible - it is.” Meiling pauses, thinking, smoking, and then coughing with something like a scoff. “Remilia shouldn’t exist. She doesn’t let it bother her.”

“No - I.. There is-” He stops. Explaining the curse has only ever made others’ life hell. The man is left to squirm uncomfortably.

“Schütz?” Elly squawks behind him.

“Elly,” he eeks out.

“What’s wrong?” she asks a simple question.

“It is .. nothing important.”

“Schütz is important.”

Oh. Schütz has learnt to endure many things. Care is not one of them. He goes quiet, defenseless.

“Your boy is doomed,” answers Meiling in his stead.

“#” with a sound like Hell’s gate being torn from its latches, Elly faces Meiling. Her expression is a picture of hatred, foolishly defied by an unbreakable grin. For a brief moment, Elly could be called truly hideous. “Shut up. I’m trying to hear Schütz.”

“He’s going to suffer if we don’t -”

“Quiet.” Elly hears something that is not Schütz, but does not react accordingly. The girl turns to her muse, the paralyzed Schütz. “I shouldn’t hurt Schütz’ friends,” she verbally recalls. “Then I will tell Meiling -” The leviathan swims beneath Meiling, and breaches so that the blade anchors just before the youkai’s head. She emits the fear of death like light for a simple desire: “-Shut up and and go away!”

Meiling, the conceited youkai gatekeeper who would currently function better as a door stopper, coughs.

Today has been hard on Schütz, especially if an extended period without restful sleep could be considered a day.

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

He tells Meiling:
[A: “Shut up.”]
[B: “—And go away.”]

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

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
-x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
-x2 Iron-Headed Arrow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
- x8 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
- x3 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
Sake Gourd (Half-Empty, Sake Filled ‘The Best Stuff’)

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

Curse: ~<o>~

Moon Phase: <o “last quarter”

Time: Morning

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

No writeins.
>> No. 31033
Oh shoot, I had forgotten the bad option had won.
Not sure where to go from here, but I guess our path is pretty much set. I'll just focus in damage control.

[A: “Shut up”]

The other option can be taken as murder, whereas this one can only be taken as mutilation. That's better, right?
>> No. 31034
[A: “Shut up.”]
I honestly have no idea whether that vote could kill someone.
>> No. 31035
[A] Shut up
CEASE THOU MOUTH MOVEM
>> No. 31036
*movements
fuck you auto-correct
>> No. 31037
Systems:
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. So far the only writein that gained significant traction was one destined to nosedive the story.

In the case of votes with more than two options, you are free to note if your vote is a compromise. For example, if you voted A as it was the consensus, you may also note B as your preferred/compromised option. If enough others also note B as a preferred/primary option (enough to reach a tie or majority) then that will become your new primary vote. This is only functional with votes with more than two options.

Notes:
Drawing for this project have ceased. Drawing efforts have been funneled to a more fulfilling, private project. However, I will still sketch new characters as they appear.
>> No. 31038
>‘And this is what Elly did,’ or so reality would claim. His trust and belief in Elly, his wall, says otherwise.

With his apparent power, thoughts like this may lead in dangerous direction.

>the sight melts something inside him.

Hopefully his heart. Then again, taken too literally that may end poorly.

>Elly is in the wrong, but—she is mine.

...You know, in retrospect, the best path would have been a write-in accompanying that but. I feel like we missed an opportunity there. Heck, this is a big part of why I tried to discuss what each vote meant, as this is most certainly not what I expected to come from Schutz's but.

>It is a voice that would make anyone else in the world regret being born capable of hearing. To Schütz, it is becoming endearing.

Funny how that works, huh?

...Wait, wait, wait! I understand Meiling's design now, I think! She's a sack of gunpowder; a sack of explosives. She has an explosive temper! A lazy sack of anger issues! Everyone thinks she's going to explode at any moment!

All these things are my observations while reading the update. Take them or leave them. That said, I will have to cautiously vote against you guys.

[B: “—And go away.”]

Why, you may ask? Meiling is bleeding horribly. If she goes away, she can seek treatment for her injuries. If she can die of blood loss, and I feel that she indeed can, having her stay is the more dangerous option.
>> No. 31039
>>31038
You convinced me.

[B: “—And go away.”]
>> No. 31040
Vote to be called tomorrow night, likely. The fate of ties will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
>> No. 31041
A.

What's a sack of powder and wind worth.

Take what control you can while you have it.
>> No. 31060
“Shut up,” Schütz groans “Shut up, and. .” He considers his next words. “Just shut up. And stop annoying Elly. Please.”

Meiling puffs a dismissive wad of smoke, but says nothing. To that he responds, “Thank you.”

Elly is pleased until she remembers why she wanted the youkai quiet in the first place. ‘Criik.’ The shifts of her emotions are told with the subtle clickings and grindings of a serpentine mouth. “What’s wrong?” She turns and ask him a simple, unanswerable question.

The boy is splayed like the dead, quiet and rigid, on the ground. He watches smoke bleed from Meiling to become clouds. The clouds gleam with an oily, purple sheen that leaks from the unseen sun. Everything under the sun is wrong. Little wars are waged inside him over the details, but that is absolute. “Elly,” he starts, a minute late to him but not to Elly. — “Schütz?” She bends over absurdly to meet his eyes.

He cannot lie down for this. The protest of his body is unending to the point of being monotonous and therefore ignorable, which he does as he rights himself into an impression of a normal person’s sitting position. Elly perfectly aligns herself with his ascent. She watches so intently that he might trip over his own ass from the pressure. That is not his concern, however. The smile he forces to console her does not go as planned, and may pass better as an abstract art piece.

“I asked what’s wrong, and I will know what’s wrong,” she says. The serpent orbits hims, encircling and possessive as a python’s wrap. “And what is with Schütz is not nothing until I unmake it.”

Why would you. .? His immediate question is left unspoken for its stupidity. ‘Stop caring so much,’ he rebuts silently, but his actual response is a mumbled: “. . ah.”

“You cannot,” he continues.

“Why would you say that if it isn’t true?” The blade grinds. “I’m Elly.” That alone is her justification.

“Because is it so.”

“Then--” she begins.

“Elly.”

“-Schütz?”

“You - you want to make me happy. Truly?” he asks a dumb question.

The girl looks at him in quiet disbelief. “I’m Elly,” she repeats.

That must mean a lot to her. It does to him too. “Oh- then, sit down, Elly.”

After a whine of thought, she sits. The position is awkward under the cursed lens. Her post sinks directly into the ground, and the top of her body bobs above like in water. He tentatively pokes where her leg ought to be, as if her body were made of fragile glass. Tap, tap. He feels the soft resistance of her flesh beneath cloth. Nothing breaks - and it takes some effort to resist the urge to feel again. Elly watches on with curiosity stained by concern. He finds that, again, he holds her hand. Who did that? Does it matter?

“Elly. You were right. I am having trouble thinking,” he starts.

She grinds with frustration over the fact.

“I said I was dangerous. Do you remember?”

“Schütz is very dangerous,” Elly affirms.

Because I recognized her goodness? Elly’s reasoning is beyond him. “No - no, not because of that?” “— I” He breathes in, deep. “One day — Elly, one day, I will do something bad.” Meiling knows it. Remilia knows it. Ran knows it. Yuuka knows it. I know it.

“Schütz isn’t bad.” One would think it was a fact with the force in which she claims it.

He made her think that, he realizes. Following a gulp that cannot clear the distracting kernel of guilt in his throat, he continues, “You like me now, Elly. And - and you know I like you too. A lot. You are my best friend.” His other best friend died - this is something his melted brain decides pertinent to remember.

Elly’s permanent smile is pained with crinkles and occasional twitches of distress. Nonetheless, she loves to be acknowledged.

“That will not change. No matter what. So - I have something to ask. To make me happy.” He breathes, he gulps, he pauses; anything to delay. Nothing he does can stop time. The words are forced out like barbed wire from the throat. “Can you - can you —” His plan turns to ashes the second the first words struggle past his tongue. ‘Can you let me die? As a friend?’ It would be simple to ask. He thought in his half-dead state he might even be able to bear her tantrum that follows. He thought he might be able to convince her if he tried. It would have all been for her sake in the end. But, no, he does not plead that stupid, selfish request. He did promise to exist for her. Even in this physical and mental state bordering ghoul he cannot forget that.

“Schütz?”

“Apologies - ha.. Ha ha. I forgot something important.” His laughter is comparable to disturbed dust over a wasteland. “Let me think. Yeah.”

“#?”

A minute of mental sloughing follows as he excretes a new plan. Elly’s occasional, ear-piercing grinding acts as a tune to his thoughts.

“Ah.” The end of his thoughts are announced. “When it happens,” he starts, “When I ruin everything. If you can - only if — remember who you are, Elly. Please.” He stares down into the mud between his crossed, shivering legs. “I know - I know it sounds dumb. But it means a lot to me. So..” He checks; she is unreadable. “Please say yes.”

“Yes,” she replies without hesitation.

A few moments pass as he waits for the ‘but.’ But it is as simple as that.

“You. . You understand what I am asking?”

“I understand Schütz wants it. Then I will give Schütz what he wants.”

“That is - that is —” Good.

He realizes he has been attempting to squeeze all the blood from her hand. He relaxes his grip. “. . Good. Elly. You are too good for me.” Maybe she really will remember? How stupid he is. “That should be enough.” He smiles, slightly. It is a smile earned through sheer force of will. “You did it. I can think clearer now that I know you will remember.”

“Truly?” she prods. The serpent is persistent and intrusive.

“Truly.”

“Schütz.”

“Elly?”

“What’s the bad thing?”

He finds a convenient truth. “Evil.”

“A lie?” she asks.

“Maybe.”

“Then it may not be evil?”

“I do not know.” He cannot say for certain. Ran made sure of that.

“Does Schütz want to know?”

At some point, the once-protestors in his body perform a strike. He realizes this because he topples head-against-mud. His eyes are towards a pitch black sky. Elly overhangs, pulled along by his hand. “Ah,” he notes.

“Schütz? Schütz? Are you dying? I can bring you back,” Elly nannies above him.

He finds he has not let go of her hand, forcing her to hover over him awkwardly.

It takes far too long for him to find his voice. “No - again, Elly. Just tired.”

“Does Schütz want to be tired?”

It has never been optional, so it is not a preference he considers often. “. . No.”

“I will destroy it for you.” She frowns, concerned and determined. “Where is the weariness?”

“Everywhere. Always.” he notes truthuly.

His Elly smiles bright and merciless like the sun. “I can destroy everything, forever. Does Schütz want that?”

“No. Elly.” Terrible thoughts are had, and are better kept as thoughts. He underestimates his own selfishness. “There is - there is a better way.”

As he expected, she leans in closer in curiosity; her empty, soulless eye-sockets are wide with poorly managed excitement. “Y-yeah. There. It is warm, now. That helps.”

“This?” She marvels at herself pressed against him.

“Yeah.”

She lets the rest of her weight down on him carefully. “Is it dead yet?” she asks.

“. . No. It takes a while.”

‘. . . This was a terrible idea. Why do I do these things.’ These thoughts and many more like them offer token resistance. He remains still. Up close, he can admire the crude yet purposeful details of his friend’s cursed face.

“Did I kill it?” she asks.

“Not yet.”

“Schütz,” his scarecrow buzzes again.

“Elly?”

“My dress is foul.”

“Oh. .” “Apolo.. gies..”

“It leaks from dress into the water, and then the water is muddy. And apologies for what, Schütz?”

“The -” He then notes the state of her smile, demented and wide with glee. “Is - is that good for you?”

“Is it? I’m submerged in Schütz, and covered in Schütz, and rotting in Schütz. Is that good, Schütz?” she asks.

The forgotten Meiling coughs.

Quiet!” Elly barks, face twisting vicious for less than a blink. In less than a blink, every flower as far as the eye can see is decapitated. Mud slops to the ground. Meiling is untouched, a survivor in the muddy massacre.

Schütz blinks dully; once, then twice. “Ah.”

“Yuuka commanded me never to clean Schütz off. But if she asked me to, I wouldn’t. Is that good?” she continues.

All of her body weight and more is upon him. She smells like terror made physical - but he is accustomed to that from her voice. It excites him nonetheless, jolting a dagger of energy through his dead system. Only his head is functioning at this point. He hopes it turns off soon.

“Do you like it - this?” he asks the only question that matters.

“I believe I do,” she answers.

“Then it is good.”

Never doubt in Elly’s ability to smile wider. There is no physical limit.

“Schütz.”

“Elly?”

He can feel her moist, over-stimulated breath on his neck, which he twists away to the side in some pitiful attempt of resistance. To his dismay, but not surprise, he regrets nothing. “Can you spit on me, and bleed on me, and -”

“Elly.” He stops the equivalent of a falling meteor with one word.

“-Schütz?”

“Later. I am tired.”

“It’s not dead? I will kill it until it dies.” She presses down on him harder. The loamy earth squelches as the man is imprinted into it like the luckiest bug in existence.

It is dark, it is warm, and it is quiet. He is safe. Schütz falls asleep more peacefully than he has in many years.
>> No. 31061
Elly killing the weariness is adorable.

Also getting some Mirai Nikki vibes here.
>> No. 31062
>>31061
Glad you liked it.
>> No. 31063
Writing, writing.
>> No. 31066
Writing. Elly this, Elly that. Ever had glass shoved in your ear? I haven't, but we can imagine what it feels like together with Schütz.
>> No. 31067
...Is it just me, or is Elly laying on top of Schutz? I wonder what Meiling's opinion of Elly is now? She's kinda acting adorably, and I'm sure even stabbing wouldn't be enough to change that.

Maybe terrifyingly cute?
>> No. 31068
>>31067
>I wonder what Meiling's opinion of Elly is now?
The type of opinions one like Meiling would have after attempting to prevent omnicide-minus-one, but then being eviscerated.

I sage my vague writing updates and minor statements like 'glad you like it' since they are ineffective to most/all people, I imagine. I suggest not saging your thoughts as I'm interested in hearing them.
>> No. 31069
>>31068

I think I can do that in the future. ...Although, I assume that this statement of acceptance of that still counts as sage material, but I'll not just to be sure.
>> No. 31074
3.5k in.
>> No. 31086
moved houses and have to go to an interstate business meeeting thingamajigger.
>> No. 31087
5k.

No point cutting prematurely. Will go as long as needed
>> No. 31089
Pitter patter.

Schutz awakes to the sounds of rain, the smell of terror, and a disturbing lack of tears. He yawns, only to find all of his limbs locked in place. This is not new to him. Sometimes, he feels like stone when he wakes up. The times when the feeling is robbed from his body, and dark phantoms whisper darker things into his ear. Sleeping is tiring. However, today, beneath complete darkness, he feels safe. Warmth cocoons him like midday sun, but it is a living warmth, undulating above, slow, hot, and heavy. Sterile breath creeps up his neck and around his ears. He remembers why - who.

“Schutz?” a dark phantom whispers into his ear with a voice like glass passing through bone.

“Good morning Elly,” he replies.

“Good morning, Schutz!” The lump of warmth above him shifts vividly with every word.

Part of him did not expect a response, and that this was a cruel extension of a nightmare to be cut off. “Eheheha ha ha - ha?” Is that me? It is. He is happy he does not have to see the dumb smile he feels on his face. He is also surprised to find he is happy.

“Did I kill it?” Her killing intent is clear in the way she forces him further into the ground.

Somewhat winded, he coughs. “Yes - yes. I - am. . uh. .” Just before his next words depart, they are recalled. There must be a mistake, a mismatch somewhere in his broken head. No matter - despite his greatest, most thorough interrogation, it is reluctantly spat back out. “Not.. tired?”

Elly huffs like a predator over flesh. He cannot see her smile, but he can sense it like a rabbit might sense a wolf. Though the rows of needle-like spines crammed into her mouth celebrate a less literal death. She has slain his sleepiness. She will feast on his gratitude.

He suppresses the instincts that tell him he is about to die and become food, and with a retained stupid smile he speaks: “Thank you Elly. You did good. Very good.”

“I am good, and I feel good. Do you feel good, Schutz?” The excitement is clear through the pain in his ears.

Condensation builds on his cheek, and runs slowly down his face. Besides the palpable fear, she is utterly scentless. The moisture down his face is not saliva, but pure water. It tastes the same, tasteless, and he knows that because he just tasted it. Somehow, it downs better than normal water. He figures he must be dehydrated.

“Yes.”

This is apparently the correct answer, as the large girl atop him exhales sharply from all her withheld anticipation. “Yuuka said friends think alike, and then Yuuka was right!” She pauses, and again he feels that victorious, predatory, murderous and merciless smile beaming down on him: “Then you want to bathe in my body fluids, Schutz?”

“Uh. . oh. ?” The awakening brain should not be subject to such questions. His smile remains frozen, wanting to exist despite the unexpected turn. “Huh?”

“This vessel is made of interpretations of flesh, and blood, and spit, and sweat, and urine, and all else. I can crack it open, if Schutz wants.”

“Uh.” “Elly?” he emptily questions.

“Schutz?”

“I -”

“#?”

“What?”

She spits on his face. “That. And more than that.”

He blinks. The water-saliva runs quickly to the earth. It serves a purpose in restarting his struggling mind. “Bathing in body fluids,” he repeats to himself airily. “That is what you want - Elly?”

“Yes! How did Schutz know? Is it because we’re friends, like Yuuka said?”

“I . . . knew. Right. Yeah. No - I mean, you said it.”

“##?”

Warm silence passes.

Air is passed rhythmically out his mouth, not quite laughter - but close. “Heha.. ha. Yeah. It does not matter. I will do whatever you want Elly.”

“Schutz will make a boat, and take us to the lake, and then spill body fluids on me?”

“Yes,” he answers without hesitation. “But - I do not need — no, want — you to do the same. Thinking alike - that does not mean we are the same.”

“#!?”

“Elly - Elly. It is not bad. It is good.” He remembers he cannot actually nod, and succeeds in lightly headbutting his scarecrow’s nose. “It makes you special. Yeah. Very special.”

“I’m special?”

“You are Elly. - The one.”

“And that is good, you believe?”

“It is, and I do.”

“Then I will believe it,” she nods firmly against his nose; it’s more like a nuzzle, but that is purely circumstantial on her part. “Schutz is very special,” Elly declares her logical conclusion.

“I - uh.”

More warm silence passes. Rain crashes down around them, or that is what Schutz’ ears tell him. It is as calming as it is nonsensical.

“Elly.”

“Schutz?”

“It is raining.”

“It is?” She twists all of a sudden to check. “It is.”

H er dress, hair and body smothers him, blocking out the light. He can only take her word for it; that and the implied downpour that echoes muffled in his prison. “. . .Oh. Right then, right then.” Elly is warm, the ground is soft, and the scent and sound of rain is nice.

“I have a question,” he starts.

“#?”

“Why can I not feel the rain?”

Elly grinds in thought, then twists around to find out. “Yuuka is stopping the water from hitting us.”

“Oh.”

Sister. Maybe if he lies down here, he can just fall back to sleep.

“A pleasant afternoon my brother! Act as if I am not here!” Sister cheerily calls out from somewhere.

He tries and fails in the span of a second. No, no, he absolutely cannot.

“Schutz,” says Elly, unaffected.

“E - Elly?”

“I wanted to say Schutz.”

“Ah.” “Right.”

Elly imparts some calm in him, like a fairy trying to douse a forest fire by piddling on it. He appreciates her oblivious effort - but ‘Sister’ invokes so much inside him that even beginning to consider considering is painful. Not all of that pain is from thinking. There is a different, sharp tug at the back of his mind. A message.

/ ~<O>~ \

>[WELCOME: AMETHYST]
>[MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: CITRINE | T:6:01]
>>[OPEN: [Y]/N]
>...
>[HELP ME NAME MY NEW CAT.]
>[I CAN ONLY THINK OF GOOD NAMES.]
>[BUT THIS CAT NEEDS TO EARN A GOOD NAME.]
>[SHE IS DISOBEDIENT!]
>[YOU NAME HER FIRST.]
>[-CITRINE]
>...


And then, an unquantifiable moment later in violet time, another.

>[MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: CITRINE | T:6:01]
>>[OPEN: [Y]/N]
>...
>[WHY DO ANIMALS HATE ME?]
>[-CITRINE]
>...
>[GIRLS ARE PREPARING. PLEASE WAIT WARMLY.]

\ ~<o>~ /

Real time crawls along as he tries to find a reaction to what he just read. Cat names? Rain.. water.. . wet.. . dirt..? Thunder roars. Schutz jumps with all the worry he hoped to suppress. Fortunately, all he manages is a particularly lively twitch underneath his blanket.

‘Crikik?’ Elly takes it well. Though, she quickly jabs his thigh back in retribution.

He tries to rationalize. It is as useful to him as trying to breath water without gills, or fly without wings. Nonetheless, a forgery of sensibility is attempted. There is Sister. I should talk to her. Knowing that second guessing would only topple him, he forces words from his mouth: “Elly. Can you get up?”

“I can.”

Elly makes a perhaps-not-oblivious point of not moving.

“Will you?”

“I can’t think of a reason why. Will you, Schutz?”

He very much does not want to leave the safety of Elly’s bosom, but - “Yeah.”

“#?” she prods.

“I need to speak to Sister.”

Warm silence passes.

“That - that was my reason, Elly.”

She makes a slight, pretty noise. Laughter? Is she laughing at me? Giggling, morelike.

“#? That’s not a reason for me to move, Schutz. Can you not hear her pretending to speak from beneath me?”

“I. . can. But-”

She immediately interjects: “Then can you not speak to her from beneath as well?”

“Uh.” He dribbles something out before he is forced to think too hard: “Please. I would like you to get up. Elly.”

‘Crik.’ Left with no choice she does get up, leaving the loam-imprinted man behind.

It is like a coffin has been opened. Freezing cold air wafts in, and quickly seizes his breath. The dazed wannabe-dead’s eyes stare blankly into a pitch black sky. The sky is interrupted by a vibrant red circle, connected by stick to a gloved hand, connected to a sculpted arm, and finally ending in Sister. Thinking about what she looks like wastes time that could be spent wishing he was somewhere else. “. . Thank you.”

Sister outstretches her hand to help him up. Elly mimics. He takes Elly’s hand, or where it ought to be, who helps him up. Once up, he refuses to release the hand, as does she to him. He has to force himself to move, but it is as if the ground before him were caltrops.

He faces Sister, amasses all of his willpower, re-numbs all of his higher thoughts, and says: “Hello.”

Sister looks mystified back at him. She then checks her hand. “Hm-Ah - Hello, Schutz.”

Sister stands there a while, still, smiling slightly. Usually this is when he would hug her, but that would be akin to running into fire. So he waves. This is Sister, why am I like this? Good for Schutz that he never expects answers to questions he asks.

“So you made a friend!” she picks up.

“Yes.” The answer is drawn from automated speech. It sounds normal, eerily so. There may as well have been a bug in his throat doing the talking. His mind is undoubtedly not the source. It preoccupies itself with thinking in circles, and making more complex pretzels when the circle is too scary.

“Wonderful! Humans love making friends.”

he automated response system tries to find something fitting he would say. “They. . do?”

“Certainly. It was in a book I read.”

“Ah.”

He stares down intently at his feet. The reason is not clear to him.

“Elly’s a very special girl.”

“Yeah.”

“She’s always had trouble making friends. — Mm, she never tried, but I assume she would.”

The Elly in question does not even register Sisters’ words.

“Ah.”

“But if she could make friends anywhere, it’s here.”

“. . . Here,” he echoes.

“With you, Schutz!”

She keeps talking, but only the vestiges of sentiments permeate the thick, protective barriers underneath his skull.

Poke. A bop to the forehead proves enough to rattle the man. He blinks. “Apologies,” he mumbles as he is forced to focus on Sister rather than his muddy feet. The latter manages to be more pleasant. Again, he cannot discern why. This is Sister. His eyes quickly wander upwards to the rain. Droplets swerve to avoid the strange trio. They learn fear specifically to be afraid of her. Knowing Sister, this is no hyperbole on his part.

Sister gasps, then hastily hangs her parasol overhead, giving the illusion it suits a practical purpose. Only, the rainshadow is far, far larger than the umbrella.

“Ha. Haha.” A real laugh leaks out of somewhere in him. Auto-response temporarily thwarted, he responds with an easily spoken, but still difficult to believe, phrase: “Yeah. Elly is my best friend.” Then, something large and disgusting forces itself from his throat, “Wh- why are you here?” He feels like he just vomited a log.

“I woke up,” she says, and yawns.

He notices her hair now, so long it nearly touches the ground. Normally, it would be cut weekly. With me. “Ah.” How long have I avoided paying tribute? The thought terminates, replaced by a newfound need to talk, “Your hair,” he blurts. “It is long. We should cut it.”

“Oh!” She feels behind her head to find a wavy curtain of hair grown with the lustre and wildness of a meadow. “We shall.” Armed with good reason, she slides up to Schutz, turns round, and asks, “Hold~” Of course, she refers to the act of constraining her hair to an easily sliceable bundle. There is but one issue.

“Elly.”

“Schutz?”

“I apologize.”

He lets go of her hand. He did not account for the fact she would not.

“#?”

“Er.”

“##??”

“Please let go of my hand.”

“Why?”

“I need to cut Sisters’ hair.”

Elly is quiet. It is no act of rebellion, she simply has nothing to add to an argument she won and he lost.

“Sister?”

“Mhmm~?”

“I cannot.”

“Mm?” She guides by hum, an absurd sort of maestro.

“. . . Apologies. I-”

“It’s only hair, Schutz. You dislike my long hair so much?”

“No, but I - I -”

She bops him with a stunning backwards poke maneuver. “At ease.” ~ “I made Elly’s body, so you fondling it so fondly is as good as my hair.”

“Really?” he asks her hair.

“Naturally.”

He sighs with relief; it is a long, well-appreciated sigh on his part. God accepts his unintentional sacrifice.

“Oh~” Sister twirls about to meet him with a lovely hum in her throat and two suns caged in her eyes. The pressure she emits invites all bodies under the sky to bow down. Schutz is used to it, and Elly is too busy not noticing. The rain, however, pauses mid air, too scared to make a noise. ‘Sister is excited,’ the boy astutely recognizes.

‘CR###IK#IKIK?!’ Sister grabs Elly by the other arm, eliciting a sound one might expect from a dying star, and presents the scarecrow’s body like a chunk of meat. “Schutz, Schutz! Have you tried procreating with it?” Several petrified raindrops explode from awe and terror at hearing the great word of god.

Long ago, the man made peace with the fact he would never understand most of what his Sister does and says. That does not mean he has given up trying. “Pro - creating?”

“Filth piles onto filth to make more filth,” Elly answers.

“All true~” The raindrops shiver. “Living creatures love to procreate, but humans are kind enough to do it with anything!” She shakes the piece of meat called Elly. “Even - this!” She pokes Elly’s self-proclaimed ‘immoderate’ breast, and trails down to the hip. “It even looks kinda~somewhat~almost alike a human female!”

‘Crik?’

“I ask, have you tried to procreate with Elly yet?” The energy she emits, both literal and social, is a gravity in upon itself.

“I - uh. .”

“Don’t give up! If you try hard enough it will work. Humans are fantastic at getting the world to play pretend. For some even clay and semen is good enough with significant effort.” She vigorously shakes Elly, who has taken to ignoring the excited, sun-like lady. “You could be the first human to make flesh with this - thing!”

Schutz nods along, understanding nothing. He makes the mistake of trying to speak. “I could . . . what?”

“Keep putting that -” She points to Schutz’ naked crotch. “- In that -” She points to Elly’s significantly less naked crotch. “To make something.”

“Wh-why?”

“Why?” Elly joins in.

“It’s a human thing.”

“Disgusting,” comments Elly.

“Mmm ~ there are many fluids involved,” adds Sister.

The way Elly shivers ever-so-slightly is felt like an earthquake in his body. The sensation of lice underneath skin slowly travels from arm to down his back.
It is at this moment Schutz realizes he is in peril. No words are spoken by his scarecrow, nor do any need to be. His fate is sealed, no consent required or asked for.

“Wonderful~!” Sister hums. Caged suns in her eyes threaten to burst. Raindrops explode, and flowers bloom beneath.

“It . . .” Schutz starts, considers, then ends. “Is.” Sister is smiling, Elly is smiling maybe too much. That ought to be enough for him, so he makes it enough by force of will. The man sighs, another hard battle fought and won.

“Why not start now?” Sister asks.

“Start - what?” he grinds out through tragically broken peace.

“Procreating.”

On instinct he turns to Elly for help, but it is equivalent to shoving one’s head in a shark’s mouth. “The dirt has good ideas, Schutz,” she damns him. “I am not filth, but I can pretend to be for Schutz.”

‘Dirt.’ “Ha - ha. Yeah.” He nods meaninglessly. “Yes. What about - you - uh. . Do it first, and I follow.”

“#?”

Questions - even the most simple ones are too much for him. The rain is like a cage keeping him in place. An awkward mix of befuddlement and forced calm blights his face with something so far from calm he might as well quit. His inability to permanently give up has consistently proven to be his downfall.

“My brother wants a demonstration?”

“I - maybe - yes. Yes.”

“Hmm. If you put a human and a thing in a space long enough they will inevitably breed ~ I have faith in my brother’s ability.” She nods to her own conclusion. “Worry not ~ with love anything is possible.”

“We are currently in a space, Schutz,” Elly decides important to point out.

“I - yes. Yes.”

Elly makes a sound that could be interpreted as pleasure. “Are you procreating yet?”

He turns to Sister for answers. “He tried to earlier, I saw.” But she ends up giving him more questions.

“Yep,” he mirrors to Elly with auto-speak. “But not. Right. Now.”

‘Crik.’

“Later.”

‘Crik - krik krik~’ Someone who did not know Elly might mistake this as the sound the gates of hell would make as new souls arrive. Schutz accurately labels it cute.

Sister sits down. Schutz follows automatically, and Elly by extension. The scarecrow tries out a few positions before accepting the man’s vacant shoulder as appropriate rest. She meets no resistance apart from his awkwardness. The expectations of the sun bear down upon him. What should I do? His right hand wanders up, stops to question its own actions, then follows through in its journey to the scarecrow’s head. Her flax-gold hair is plush, and his hand sinks in like it were water.

‘Crik~’

He strokes her scalp, around her rounded-point ears specifically. This is fine. More than that if I think less about it.

Except, only Elly has been taught the path of vengeance. She assaults his head only seconds later with her own hand. To do this she must twist around, and pin him in place with their already intercrossed other hands. Unlike earlier, the monstrous puppet is in full spotlight. Her clicking is whining and incessant. The snake passively coils around him, never quite touching.

“Wonderful foreplay,” Sister commentates.

He pauses, so Elly pauses, leaving them stuck in a strange shape. Sisters’ anticipation causes more raindrops to explode.

“Elly.”

“Schutz?” the serpent grinds.

“This will make it hard to talk to Sister,” he speaks an excuse that is true enough to work.

“Schutz says many pointless things,” she notes.

“I - I apologize, but -” He is disrupted by the disturbing bend of Elly’s smile.

“Pointless statements, and pointless apologies, and arguments that are not. I like hearing Schutz speak. It feels like filth being poured inside my head.” She looks down into the ground. “I hear it swish around in my head when its quiet, so it’s never quiet anymore.”

“Right,” he tells himself, then her, “Right. As long as you are happy. Yeah.”

“I’m happy.”

“Good.”

“Good!” she cheerfully responds with voice like teeth plucked from an iron skull. “Schutz.”

“- Elly?”

“Spit more when you speak.”

“U h. I will, I will try?”

The two are still tangled. He sees Sister behind, watching with rapt attention. Every now and then, a new flower sprouts somewhere to watch them from another angle. He imagines them saying: ‘Keep going keep going keep going keep going.’ But that might just be him. Why would I want that? No answer comes, but he makes a good show of being still and silent for a minute.

“Sis-ter,” he says.

“Hm?” “Is it difficult to procreate with Elly? Imagine it isn’t Elly, it will help.”

“No.” “No! I - I just wanted to keep talking. Please.”

“Go on. You can procreate as we talk. The human crotch is not the hole that speaks.”

This configuration is ‘procreation,’ truly? This is easier than I thought.

“Sewing - I made the dress. Elly’s.. Dress,” he picks up.

Sister gestures out. “The one on the ground, in the rain?” The rain freezes where the dress is, caught at the scene of the crime.

“Yeah.” It sinks in. “. . yeah.”

“I like it!” adds Elly.

“She likes it?”

“I like it,” she affirms.

“She. . likes it. Yeah.”

“Mhm~” Sister hums. She moves to pick up the dress, but as hands meet fabric, her arms decide to fall off - or, that is how it appears. Sisters’ arms lie twitching on the ground in an imitation of life. The stumps where they once lived begin to weep mud. “Ouch,” she says neutrally, then hums, clears her throat, and retries with more enthusiasm, “Owee!”

Schutz sits like an idiot. Sister stands in a way that would look like an armless idiot if she were physically capable of not looking immaculate. But Elly appears to be happy.

“Elly,” says Schutz. His voice would suggest anything but panic. Auto-speech serves him sell this day.

“Schutz?” she returns.

“Sisters’ arms fell off?” His observations of reality are rarely true. He hopes this particular one falls within the commonly false.

“They did? I believe I tore them off.”

“Ah.” He lurches forward a bit, trying to stand, but then realizing he is attached to Elly in a compromised sitting position. “#?”

In the meantime, Sister tries out different noises to indicate pain. Some are more believable than others. All are commendable attempts. “Brother - brother, which one sounds best?” she asks him.

“Uh.”

“‘Uh?’ Hm~ That is the sound of a guttural pain. This is traumatic - a fatal wound for a lady such as I.” She studies his aghast face, and relents. “Alright, alright. Perhaps I can make this work…” She cradles her absence-of-an-arm in her absence-of-an-arm. “GUH!?

“Sister!”

“Ease~ It was merely a performance, brother.” Her satisfied smile mingles with concern. “I’m pleased it was believable, but worry not.”

Her words do little to rationalize the sight before him. “Your arms!”

“Mm. Schutz - I don’t have arms,” she corrects him while waving her stumps.

“Yes?! Because Elly - because Elly-?” Several thought processes smash into a wall at once, stunning and scattering them beyond hope for reassembly. Such collisions are inevitable given the nonsensical, melted, thrice-twisted-circle layout of his mind.

“-Wanted to help me practice pain?” Sister helpful continues.

He blinks. “Huh.” ‘Huh’, ‘uh’, and ‘ah’ work over-overtime to fill in where sense of the world ought to be. Alas, they cannot replace every single lost thought, there is not enough dumb sounds in existence.

“Pain - it’s the feeling that tells the body its in danger. But I could never ~quite~ figure it out.” Amid her well-meaning explanation, Sister realizes something important. You can tell by the brilliant way her eyes light up, and how the ground seems to quiver in fear for her next move. The earth capitulates completely, and a newborn, fleshy, distended arm rises from the dust and clay to wield a parasol. Impractical parasol aloft, Sister continues: “Elly saw me studying, and decided to help,” she finishes with a radiant smile.

“Really?” he barks out. For all he wants it to be true, he has to ask.

“Naturally.” Sister answers with all the confidence of her being behind it.

“E - Elly, you meant to help Sister?”

Elly looks at him oddly. “Why would I do that? I’m procreating with Schutz,” she answers.

Sister giggles. “Isn’t she funny?”

Taking Schutz’ dopish silence as enlightenment, the armless sun continues on chipper. “Oh, Elly~ Do my head next. I need the practise. Oh - no, no, humans cannot naturally scream without heads.” She raises one leg up to reveal the other beneath her pajama skirt. Her bare feet are untarnished by the mud they are made from. “Mhm ~ Legs. Do my legs. Humans love having legs,” she orders. In lieu of lost arms, the flowers that now-sprout around her do the pointing.

Unfortunately, if Elly was listening, she was not thinking, and if she were thinking, she certainly did not care for anything Sister said.

“El~l~ly?”

The scarecrow does a good job of acting like a scarecrow.

Sister nods as if hearing something profound. “Oh ~ I see! Unpredictability is key. If I know my legs will be severed, I cannot react naturally. Another time, Elly.” Sister bends to meet Schutz. She regrenerates an arm for what appears to be the sole purpose of giving him a thumbs up. “She’s very thoughtful for an entity so thoughtless,” she tells him.

This is fine. This is fine. Schutz takes to stroking Elly’s supple ears for comfort. She responds in kind. He is inclined to pinch her cheek, so she does the same.

“Try lower,” Sister suggests.

He touches her chin.

“Much lower.”

Neck.

“Low~er.”

A green colossus wanders into the rainshadow with its invisible intestines dragging behind, collapses onto its buttocks, and eventually greets into the dead silence that follows: “I’m Meiling, a youkai gatekeeper and-” It vomits blood into its lap, or it would if it had any left to spare. “- emissary of lady Remilia Scarlet.”

“Here to watch them spawn?” asks Sister.

“No.”

“It’s a wonderful event.”

“It’s… cute.”

Sister nods. “Not as cute as whatever crawls out from its womb afterwards.”

‘What is a womb?’ the man silently asks himself, hand on Elly’s shoulders, head far in the dark clouds above. Elly is enjoying herself enough as is. Her smile is disgustingly wide, and bright enough to beacon at night. Her serpent, a monstrous appendage of darkness, vibrates as a cat’s pur. Though, it sounds more like the rumbling of a volcano about to rupture. The pitter patter of rain is no match for her.

“Names are important. What do you want to call the child?” Meiling asks.

“Antichrist.”

“Christians. . .” The youkai falls to ponder. “The ones with the sticks, silver, and scented oils. Kid will taste bad with a name like that.”

Sister nods. “What’s a good tasting name, youkai?”

“Sakuya..” “Sky..” “Herb..” “Tea..” Meiling thoughtfuly lists on. “Rainbow..”

“Rainbow Antichrist?” Sister suggests.

Sister and Meiling. Schutz thinks. He tries to stop thinking by hugging Elly, but, of course, that does not work. Sister wants Meiling dead? Elly rumble-purs. It hurts his teeth.

“It’s starting~!” Sister shakes Meiling’s shoulders in excitement, likely dislocating the youkai’s arm in the process. Raindrops explode elsewhere.

Meiling falls to the side in a puddle of its own blood. It coughs. Thunder roars. Cursed clouds vomit from its belly unceasing. Its mouth hangs open agape, letting more clouds trickle to the sky. “(. . .)” it mumbles incoherently to an audience of itself and him. No one else here could possibly bother listening.

My friend? I should - what should I do? Sister wants - what?

“Schutz,” a serpent whispers like an embolism passing through a rusted metal vein.

“E - l ly?”

“Schutz forgot where I was again,” she says, attached to him like a burrowing tick.

“I - did?”

“Yes, he thought I was where the other filth is, but I am here, and he remembered I was here when I said Schutz.”

“Ah.” “Ha. Ha.. I said, I said its name is Meiling. Do you not … ?” Remember?

“It looks like anything else, and anything else looks unremarkably disgusting. I’m more good and special to look at, Schutz would think,” she tells him.

“Yes. Yes, but -”
>> No. 31090
/o====================5====================o\

He will make the right person happy.
[A: He looks at Elly, his best friend.] {Elly.}

Some rogue, demonic thought plants an ideal in his mind, where everyone will be fine and happy. He hopes the thought dies before he does something incredibly stupid.
[B: He looks at Elly, his best friend, and bothers Sister.] {Elly. also, tell Sister to fix the youkai} {very reckless}

[C: He looks at someone who is not Elly.] {impossible}

Something infiltrates his private, purple space.

>[URGENT MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: CITRINE | T:6:20]
>...
>[NAME THE CAT!]
>[/\ /\]
>[|-.-|]
>[\_=/]
>[-CITRINE]
>...

...

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

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
-x1 Iron-Headed Arrow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand)
-x2 Iron-Headed Arrow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
- x8 Iron-Headed Arrow (Broken, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
- x3 Iron-Headed Arrow (Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
Iron Knife (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)
Sake Gourd (Half-Empty, Sake Filled ‘The Best Stuff’)

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

Curse: ~<o>~

Moon Phase: <o “last quarter”

Time: Late Afternoon

\o==================8875===================o/

'elly blowjob' is synonymous with suicide in several languages
including English
>> No. 31091
[B: He looks at Elly, his best friend, and bothers Sister.]

The mixture of hilarious and horrifying is fantastic. Elly's route was a mistake and what a show does it make !
>> No. 31092
File 153526018291.jpg - (55.49KB, 711x789, rans final moments.jpg) [iqdb]
31092
[B: He looks at Elly, his best friend, and bothers Sister.]

Elly route is great in the 'be careful what you wish for' sense. The feeling of constant danger is almost palpable. Also, every one who was ever kind to the MC is suffering-or about to.

>"What's a tasty sounding name?"
>"Sakuya"

Oh you!
>> No. 31093
[X]Name the cat chen
>> No. 31094
Your descriptions of things never cease to amuse me. Just trying to picture them is equal parts as difficult as they are intriguing.

Huh. Why do I get this odd feeling Chen will be showing up soon?

>He faces Sister, amasses all of his willpower, re-numbs all of his higher thoughts, and says: “Hello.”

...That is more than a little worrying. I can't tell if that's meant to be in response to the cool air, or if he is forcing is mind to blank for some unknown reason or something.

It's also worrying that he must imitate himself, as if he isn't Schutz any longer. Or maybe Sister isn't so much the apple of his eye as she once was. Clearly Elly has become his world, as indicated by him ignoring Sister's hand in favor of Elly's.

>She keeps talking, but only the vestiges of sentiments permeate the thick, protective barriers underneath his skull.

Okay, seriously, what is going on? That feels new and concerning. I don't remember mention of him protecting the contents of his head so fiercely.

So Sister did make Elly... I had been thinking that, but hearing it from the horse's mouth helps quite a bit. Her design screams it, what with what Elly has hidden under her soiled dress.

...Sister asked the big question. I never expected her to ask if they'd 'procreated'. And I doubly never expected her to be so, uhh... ...enthusiastic about semen.

And now Sister reminds me of a crazy cat lady with a cat that really, really doesn't want to be held. Who is named Elly.

Also, my concerns are becoming increasingly correct: I think Elly is going to kill Sister, or whatever passes for death for mud.

[B: He looks at Elly, his best friend, and bothers Sister.]

Soon he shall be so reckless as to procreate with Elly and/or Elly's serpentine scythe.

Then again, he seems totally up for procreation, if only he knew what it meant. That said, I hope he gets no splinters, should it work.

Actually, her mention of clay makes me wonder... is Elly a golem?
>> No. 31095
What an odd situation. Elly sees Schütz as filth and Schütz sees Elly as an awful sounding scarecrow, yet they've become so close they're nearly procreating.

[X] [B: He looks at Elly, his best friend, and bothers Sister.] {Elly. also, tell Sister to fix the youkai} {very reckless}
Taking the "safe" options of relying on Elly and focusing only on Elly has gotten us into this somewhat terrifying situation. Might as well take risks while we still have some control to speak of. I worry Elly might take what control we have left from us with the way things are going.

>>31093
Chen is a good name. A naughty cat needs a name like Rascal.
>> No. 31096
>>31094
>Also, my concerns are becoming increasingly correct: I think Elly is going to kill Sister, or whatever passes for death for mud.
I don't think that's her real body, if she even has one.
>> No. 31097
>>31096
The power difference between creator and creation seems insane. As much as Elly has become a danger to his safety I fear for her if Yukari realizes she is no longer obedient.
>> No. 31098
Vote to be called 'soon.' The majority of the interested readerbase (4/4~5) has casted judgement.

>>31091
>a mistake
Consider what options you had, and ask if they could have led you anywhere better than here. At least one girl would say 'no.'

>>31092
>Ran's final moments
Death by boredom as she waits for bad-cat names from her favorite-by-default man with an unbefitting German name.

>almost palpable
It's quite palp'd for the one whose innards have eloped with the air.

>>31094
>Your descriptions of things never cease to amuse me. Just trying to picture them is equal parts as difficult as they are intriguing.
Like a guy who likes doing things it's what I like to do. Glad ya like it.

>>31095
>What an odd situation. Elly sees Schütz as filth and Schütz sees Elly as an awful sounding scarecrow, yet they've become so close they're nearly procreating.
It's not odd if you believe Yuuka. Lucky he didn't spend too long with the sake bottle, or Nue's stain. On the matter of control and its loss, you are wise to consider it.
>> No. 31099
File 153538125862.png - (6.67KB, 650x263, meiling mind.png) [iqdb]
31099
because
>> No. 31101
http://www.strawpoll.me/16353131
>> No. 31102
I'm bad at waiting. Judgement set : B.

Here we go.
>> No. 31103
File 153558506518.png - (73.34KB, 720x1280, Screenshot_2018-08-30-09-22-01-25.png) [iqdb]
31103
Just a reminder to make sure you click "Excalibur", the best girl(?), when you vote. 4 people accidentally missed, and it's tragic. Thank you.
>> No. 31104
>>31103
With purple as a waifu, sky's literally the limit.
You can't compete with her, she's everywhere.
>> No. 31105
File 153572954894.png - (46.28KB, 993x799, results.png) [iqdb]
31105
Results. Adjusted for accidental misclicks. Congratulations, Excalibur!

>>31104
Thank you for your incorrect opinion.
>> No. 31106
File 153580681193.png - (52.07KB, 202x249, shoepaca.png) [iqdb]
31106
>>31105
YOU RAILROADING FUCK. I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO BE JUDGEMENTAL AS SHIT AND AS SUCH YOU GET THIS UNNERVING AND SCARY JUDGEMENTAL BEAST.

As a matter of fact, it's a seven-way tie, and you lost.
>> No. 31107
>>31106
I did not railroad, I read the intentions of the audience. The question is 'best character,' so I can fairly assume that voters are intending to vote for the best character. In this case, this is clearly Excalibur. Hence why I corrected for misclicks. You may be upset by the 0.1 vote for 'the color purple', and this is because the person who freely admitted their subhuman intelligence could only possibly count as 10% of a person (a generous overestimate. I personally think they may represent a divergent species of new-world monkey.) I included them out of pity, but don't be alarmed: in a statistical analysis this would be omitted.
>> No. 31108
>>31107
You better stop disrespecting The Lake. Or one day, it might just start disrespecting YOU.
>> No. 31109
>>31108
Friendly reminder that when expressing your opinions to use your brainus not your anus. Thank you.
>> No. 31110
On a serious note: I am the physical manifestation of 'busy' for the next month and a half. I have ~5 scientific reports due in that timeframe alongside 3 exams. I will also be going for a week to the Heron Island research station to stare at corals. I will be 'free' from the 9th of October.

That said, I want to get an update out within 2 weeks.
>> No. 31111
File 153594355338.png - (170.83KB, 1279x875, they hated jesus because he told the truth.png) [iqdb]
31111
>> No. 31112
File 153595049473.png - (28.44KB, 785x536, bestpuppet.png) [iqdb]
31112
>>31111
>Elly

That's the worst misspelling of 'Yuuka' I've ever seen.
>> No. 31113
~2.5~3k in depending on how much I scrap and reuse.

>>31112
Behold, dear readers, Homo stercoregustum. This primate is renowned for consuming its own defecate and using the belches to inspire its opinions.
>> No. 31115
4.5k
>> No. 31117
Done. Unless I make radical reforms, editing and posting tomorrow.
>> No. 31118
Schutz, a self proclaimed and now self-actualizing idiot, had hoped wrong to be otherwise. Would not a point in life where everyone he likes be fine and happy be good? The answer is yes, and the question of feasibility has been asked, answered, and dismissed. All of my friends - all two of my friends, should be fine. Is that too much to ask? Yes. He marvels at how little that answer fazes him, then continues on planning something dumb. Am I really going to-? Yes. Truly? Certainly.

He looks at his best friend, Elly, and in a fit of what could only be described as madness, calls out past his blonde companion, “Sister. Heal Meiling — my friend. Please. Thank you.”

The world proceeds not to explode, much to his surprise.

‘That was not so hard,’ he tells himself. Maybe he exaggerated. All he did was ask Sister to help his friend. Meiling should be healed, and that would be the end of it, right? Of course not. The man battle with himself, armed to the teeth with larval doubt ready to, at any moment, become regret.

“#?” The stale breeze of hell beckons.

“Ah - Elly,” he acknowledges her.

While his mind silently battles, another impetus possess his hands. The calloused digits stroke across Elly's shoulders because they can, and because they can he cannot seem to stop himself. Her shoulders are trim and soft, with little muscle he can feel beneath the fabric. The not-so-helpless Elly counters in tandem. It is a sight absurd and nauseating to watch those twin poles of its arms creek and bend to touch him. Yet her hands, invisible, are soft and comforting as the rest of her.

A lightshow beyond his and Elly’s bubble casts a sunny warmth. Meiling fails to hold back a howl of agony. Schutz remembers the time his broken bones were healed. In comparison, when or why they broke feels irrelevant. He imagines Meiling will feel the same way when Sister is done with them.

“#” his dependant whines.

“Elly.”

She looks at him expectantly.

‘What am I supposed to do?’ he asks himself. His body has the answer to that question. Lower his hands wander, behind her back and into an awkward but not unwanted embrace. Now what? Of course, like Sister would have said, the hands go lower until they reach a pair of mounds. His fingers dig into the delicate mountains. Why am I grabbing her ass? His body can only seem to answer in actions, not logic. In this case, his hands stay there. He realizes his body, too, is confused. Schutz jolts as Elly’s hands grope his ass as well, as justice would decree. Her smile shimmers and distorts like a heat mirage. Her eyes are nothing, yet still manage to look happy. I made her happy, again. Making people happy: it is not something he ever considered within his capabilities. Thanks.. body? We - you - did a good job? His confused hands remain locked on her buttocks, but probably appreciate the encouragement.

Does she exist? Does it matter? Unanswerable questions clink around in his mind like stones down a deep well.

/ Meiling \

Meiling always disliked storms, though it’s more accurate to say she dislikes disasters. She looks to the sky to see it’s storming, and beside her is the embodiment of blind, unbridled power. Hunters, demons, beasts, heroes and villains. Now the maddened earth butts head against my Lady. It will not make it that far. I will stop it. “(I will. I will.)” To the tune of a tired and worn mantra, Meiling, the youkai gatekeeper, does her job, and asks the abomination: “What’s your name?”

“Kazami, Yuuka, flower master of the four seasons,” it answers without looking.

“Kazami. .” The name feels like a forgery on Meiling’s tongue when compared to the oppressive prominence of that monster. “A powerful name. I came here to talk to you…” The most dangerous. The most inhuman. The least negotiable. A storm on the horizon, and a natural disaster unerringly set to turn my lady’s life to dust. “. . to reach an understanding.”

“Still not to watch them procreate?”

Meiling turns to see the couple. They have almost managed to figure out where the parts are meant to go. Another hour. . or two, and they might get it. “Once they start — I will need an appointment to meet them when they are not. . .” The mental image comes to Meiling before the words. It is something like starving dogs taking to meat, or a man finding water in the desert - the image of a young man and a willing outlet. “Breeding.”

“Naturally~” The entity turns to Meiling with a hum and a little imitation of a smile on its face. Its casual gaze is blistering. Its aura is power and nothing else. Meiling feels inclined to kneel, and beg for forgiveness. She does not. “What does my brother’s friend have to say?”

“There’s a mansion over there. .” full of helpless idiots and their queen. “A little vampire lives in it-”

“Lived,” Yuuka corrects. Such a tiny statement, yet it feels like a stamp falling from heaven with a brand of damnation. Judgement is passed. Continuing now is pointless.

“I live there,” continues Meiling. “A girl lives there. . a littler vampire liv-” Meiling pauses as the natural disaster who happens to look like a person giggles. “-lives there. A librarian and her pet lives there.”

“Elly was so busy frolicing with Schutz that she must have forgotten to evict them,” the monster notes to itself with a tone of amusement.

“Yet. . she’s going to be busy. .” Spawning a monster darkest and foul, cursed with a hateful name and fate - yet still second to Yuuka. “Breeding. Perhaps consider waiting until she’s free.”

“Oh no,” the force as unstoppable as changing seasons and merciless as the upset earth almost frowns. “I’ll take a tour myself.” The weakness is identified and eliminated.

Meiling finds breathing difficult. She can’t excuse it to shredded lungs this time. They say Meiling’s treasured belongings are untouchable. She pushes the intrusive conscious aside, and continues speaking. They say Meiling’s wrath speaks more th- “The girl in the mansion makes the best tea. I’d get her to make us some but… ” I can prolong her life by an hour, at least. Meiling can do more than tha- “She’s busy.”

“Tea - that is a human food!” the monster exclaims.

Tastes like the real thing. “Want some?”

“Yes~”

“Well . . . you know the girl is busy, but I know if she knew it’d please you -” The idiot will die for nothing. She would thank me for the opportunity. “- I could make her make you tea,” Meiling continues regardless.

“That might be hard after I remove her.”

Slowly and systematically Meiling dismantles her fists, and her stance that creeps in when she does not watch. ‘Shut up,’ she preemptively tells herself. They say Meiling is deaf to the pleas of the weak.

“Ayep.” — “Have,” Meiling starts.

Destruction is keen to listen, but not to change. Meiling is talking to a wall of dirt. Meiling is much better at destroying walls than convincing them to crumble. She sighs, relaxes her rapidly clenching jaw, and continues: “.. you considered not doing that?”

“Not once,” the wall cheerfully answers.

They say Meiling could make the earth yield to glass with a single blow. Meiling wishes they would stop telling lies. Not minding her tensing muscles, she keeps talking: “Because it would be smart if you did,” because Meiling always knows best. “No. I. . .” Called an idiot and idiot. Meiling looks to see the destroyer unfazed. Its smile is slight and eerily constant. Its eyes burn like the suns that they are. These are eyes that would burn the world to a desert twice over if they escaped their sockets. Right now, they act solely on Meiling. They say Meiling could snuff the sun with a single breath. Breath black as storm’s brink hisses through her teeth. Shut. Up.

“Go on,” Yuuka encourages.

The youkai gatekeeper breathes in. “I suggest you consider sparing the people of the mansion.” Meiling pauses to wonder why - why should the world care? The suns blaze. Remilia’s eyes do the same. They are little sparks. Is it the nature of the nature of the most powerful, idiotic, and unreasonable to kindle a fire in their heart? It shines through the eyes to attract moths. In the reflections of puddles I see - Tangents are cut. “Because of your brother. The mansion is a house of the recovering sick.” Meiling pauses, knowing well that if she says wrong in the eyes on unknowable chaos that she will face judgement. “Schutz is sick.”

“He’s my diseased flower~” proudly hums a merciless earth. It reminds Meiling of a child showing off a favorite toy. It’s broken, and beaten, and covered in muck, but it’s theirs.

The relief Meiling feels at still existing is transient. “My lady is a doctor. Retired, but . .” She’s a romantic idiot. “She likes him. She has a cure.” Meiling pauses for any reaction, but the monster only waits for more.

“If you gave her a chance, she could cure him,” Meiling presses, head and heart heavy.

The monster waits for more. Realizing there is none, it interjects: “I tried considering, but you’re not giving me anything, youkai. But keep trying — you have me curious.”

Meiling has no reason to be frustrated. Meiling is good at breaking things. She can eat people, and beat them to pulp. That is her one, simple given job, and can she manage that? No, she decides to greet a mountain, and tell it to move. Even when considering that, the prideful Meiling has the gall to be frustrated at her impossible, un-asked-for, and self-imposed job of ‘protect Remilia.’ “Gruuuuu- - -” A growl escapes the unreasonable idiot. Lightning forms a spiderweb of strings on the horizon; they strum to a roar of thunder. They say civilisations cower from Meiling’s raised voice. . . shut up.

Meiling knows she can’t convince stormwinds to quell. She knew that long before Kazami Yuuka. That was then, this is ‘Gensokyo.’ So there is something the upstart bruiser can try. “On behalf of the Scarlet Devil Mansion I challenge you to a spellcard duel, Kazami.”

\ Meiling /

‘crik ~ crik ~ crik’

Elly’s ticking and purring is a constant. There is no rhythm; that would make it objectively pleasant. It is more like the spontaneous bursting of gas bubbles from beneath a quagmire of asphalt and death. Minor as it is, it drowns out the rest of the noise. There is only him, Elly, and the monstrous superimposed image before his eyes.He has tried touching places besides her ass, but his hands always end up in the same cushioned spot. ‘It is soft. It must be made for hands to grab,’ he concludes. For some reason this makes him upset. ‘No - just my hands,’ he adds.

“Elly.”

“Schutz,” she instantly replies. Her attention on him is constant and absolute as it always has been since they became friends.

“Am I soft too?” he asks, looking down at himself.

Her face tightens with sudden purpose. Gentle hands feel all over his body. He jolts when she grazes over some places, and can’t suppress a reflexive giggle when she prods others.

Then, she stops. “No,” she answers.

“O - oh.” Composure is regained slowly. “Okay.”

“Does Schutz want to be soft?”

“I -” “Yes. I want to be soft. Like Elly.”

Her thoughts line the next moments with pain. “If I break his body enough it will be a soft pile of filth for me to b-be inside.” She shakes beneath him with unspeakable, imagined pleasure.

/ Meiling \

The initial bindings of spellcard rules extend.

“No. I’m busy,” the natural disaster decrees. Rules turn to wet dust in the rain to figuratively and literally blow back in Meiling’s face. This does not surprise Meiling. All it does is crush her hope. A true monster makes and breaks rules, it does not follow them. Meiling, a youkai who can’t even ‘youkai’ right can’t hope to compete with that; fortunately for no one, it is not for hope she stands here in dumb defiance. “Later?” Yuuka feigns compromise. It may even believe itself.

Talking does not work. Rules and semantics are dust. All Meiling has left are balled fists and rage. Once she realizes this, she suppresses them both. Now she has nothing, and less than nothing when the unstoppable force meets her fragile-yet-bullheaded lady.

Silence passes. The couple continues foreplay, and the Sun watches over them with a big, terrifying smile on its face.

Meiling would sooner break her own treasure before letting it be stolen. She sighs as she remembers something that a human might do in this situation. Meiling takes her pride, shoves it down into her newly-formed stomach, and kneels. For the first time since she became Meiling, she prays. “Please spare them.” Tremors in her body advise her to leap up and uppercut the abomination, or to do something, anything, but beg. Her hands are kept shackled to the ground nonetheless.

“Mm ~ no. My brother needs a home, and that home should be a house. It’s one of those strange and wonderful human things.”

Prayer is as useful as it was for the priests who found themselves being eaten limb by limb by a certain overprotective gatekeeper. Meiling is not Remilia. Meiling can’t fix problems. So Meiling should tear them apart! She does not. The insides of her violent mind are scraped for things to say besides ‘die.’ She will run out soon, but for now: “Humans sometimes live together. We can live together.”

The sky growls. That is until it is made to shut up by the monster. The world holds its breath, rain pauses, and lightning freezes mid strike, but not for long: “Good idea!”

Lightning, unfrozen, meanders in the sky before dissipating with hardly a whimper. It takes a lot to render the sky lost for words. Too, the kneeling Meiling is at a loss. Meiling should use fists! No. No she shouldn’t. She says the first thing that comes to mind, “Obviously.”

\ Meiling /

Schutz wonders what it would be like to be torn into shreds. He dreads more being forced back together by Sister - again. There is no doubt he would survive, however. “I . . .”

For the act of opening his mouth to speak, he invites Elly to lean in with anticipation.

He does the logical thing, and spits on her face. “There?”

“Sch-schut~z##!” A choir of birds and rusted blades intersects for a massacre of noise.

The man is jettisoned to the ground with her descent. He presses against her with all the force of her arm strength around his back. Maybe he would shout if much air were left in his lungs. Though the wheezing sound he can summon is more equivalent to laughter than shock - victorious laughter, at that. Expending the rest of the air left in his lungs is not the most intelligent act. Elly will not, and if like him, cannot, let go. The difference is she is stronger than him on a scale between here and the sun behind the clouds. She twitches beneath him like a crushed insect. Her smile made of vague nightmares clenches as a globule of his spit dribbles from her nose, and down through her infinitely spanning and self-consuming rows of teeth.

There exists a lady, his lady, beneath him. He made her very, very happy, he sees. That is truly something I can do now. When did this happen? Does it matter? More thoughts clink down the well.

He does the logical thing - he unfastens a hand pleasantly sandwiched between her ass and the relatively less soft ground, moves it to her head, and strokes her hair. Why this is logical he is not completely sure, but his body has given good advice so far.

Her breathing is hushed and quaking. “Sch~utz.”

There is also the matter of fact he can hardly breath at all. “egg - hy”

She huffs, and tries to speak. “I wanted to say Schutz. Schutz.” Every time she says it, she fidgets beneath him a little more. “Schutz.” She reaches behind his head, and shoves him into her breast. By mysterious consequence, more saliva slobbers from him. He mumbles nothings into the softness, which succeeds only in spreading fluids. ‘But this isn’t food?’ he notes. Saliva flows uncaring. Is my body trying to tell me something again? He does not get it, but Elly gets his saliva. She fidgets below him, shallowly gasping. “(schutz~schutz~schutz~)” The cycle continues. Luckily he is breathing to survive it.

/ Meiling \

Meiling and Yuuka watch the couple do what couples their age ought to do - flail around in an awkward, vaguely pleasant way. Still lost for exact words, the youkai speaks because it got her this far: “What’s your favorite tea?”

“Mm, whichever one Schutz likes.”

“Troglodyte hasn’t tried any. Doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.”

“So ~ How does a youkai like tea?”

“Herbal.”

“I tried eating plants, but-” Yuuka pauses, and turns to meet Meiling. For the first time, the monster shows genuine concern in the form of a furrowed brow. “I couldn’t judge whether cannibalism was inhuman or not.”

“Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.”

The earth gives birth to a flower, which is immediately plucked and eaten by the monster. “What about now?”

“Were you starving?” Meiling asks.

“Nope.”

“Was it your sworn enemy?”

“Nope.”

“Are you insane?”

“Nope~”

Meiling shrugs. “Ehh. Might still be a human thing to do anyway.” She looks back to the mansion, obscured by rain and wind. “Ask Patchouli. She would have a book on it. Set aside about. .” Meiling thinks back to Sakuya’s bitchings regarding the librarian. “Eight hours for the explanation. Nodding along won’t make her go faster. . If you manipulate time she will account for it. . If you don’t notice the smell of rotten egg at first, you will within eight hours.”

“I shall!”

“She lives in the house.”

“Could she talk for longer than eight hours?”

“Do you have more than one open ended question?” Meiling asks.

“Yes.” “Hm~” It makes an exaggerated show of pondering. Did it just copy me? “Why don’t humans eat themselves when they’re starving?”

Meiling blinks, then nods to affirm the original question. “Patchouli can talk.” This is one of the absolutes in the world.

“Wonderful.” On that note, the destroyer returns to watching the foreplay.

. . .

“So we’re going to live together?”

“Certainly.”

I was wrong. How convenient. Miracles are performed by gods and Remilia, not Meiling. Yet here Meiling is, convincing the earth to spin the other way. “. . Good idea,” she says. “My lady will be here soon. She will be delighted. All according to her plan - maybe - probably.” Meiling has done her job. She freely lets go of her body, and crumples backward into the mud. Through upside-down eyes she sees her home. It doesn’t seem so far away now. This is what I get for acting like a stubborn little girl rather than stubborn man eating beast? Not bad. Meiling is the best! Sometimes, maybe. Such as right now. Lightning crackles in the distance, and booms thunder reminiscent of laughter.

Fear Meiling! Meiling is unstoppable! They say Meiling survived Death; they say her will moulds the earth itself!

Shut up. The sky laughs at her. Meiling groans into the mud.

\ Meiling /

One hand on the ass, the other in her hair, and his persistently drooling mouth sidelong against her breast. This is not precisely how Schutz imagined spending time with Elly. He wonders what happened to boats and dresses and staring sessions. The important thing is he is not complaining, not one bit. I like this? I think. Philosophy is stilted by the twitchings and gaspings of his lovely eyesore, Elly. He is making her happy. I like this. . I like this.

A stab at the back of his mind tells him he has a message. It is ignored. Still, it remains an annoying reminder of there being a world outside the cryptically pleasant feeling of Elly’s ass.

The dazed man lets his eyes wander away from the indents in Elly’s dress, and towards his Sister and the green beast, Meiling. They both look happy - if a dumpy green bag of darkness can be in a state comparable to happy. And it’s no longer leaking. Sister healed it. Everything is fine. Everything is fine!

“Sch~utz.”

He attacks Elly with a nuzzle into her soft chest. Everything is fine. Everything will be fine. Schutz is one who invites all his thoughts and beliefs to criticism. It is the nature of paranoia - the kind tempered from birth to an inflexible, mind ruling state at maturity. Nothing goes unchecked, least not the raw stupidity it took for him to excrete ‘everything will be fine’ from his mind. That cannot do, his paranoia, his oldest companion, would know. ‘Reimu,’ it starts strong, then twists the knife, ‘Sister. Doomed. Fish. Ice. Ran. Curse.’

“Schutz.”

“Elly?”

“What’s wrong?”

He looks to see a twisted, wide-eyed monster look back at him. Nothing has changed. As long as he lives everything is going to die. She promised she would remember, remember? Convincing himself that she knows anything of the weight she promises is another matter. Overwhelmed, he buries himself further into her body.

“Schutz? Schutz? Schutz?”

“Mpghmhh--” he groans.

/ ~<O>~ \

The worst possible inevitability happens at the worst possible time. He feels the warm body latched to him lose its mass, and turn cold as the grave. His face falls into hard sticks beneath cloth. His hand grabs nothing but cloth. The hair he strokes feels more like frozen straw.

“My brother, you smell of fear. You’re supposed to smell of lust and boyhood,” Sister overhead alerts him. “Remember to imagine it’s not Elly. Imagine ~ ‘human female with breedable proportions.’ That will help,” she tells him. He can feel her well-meaning smile.

“Schutz? Schutz?” Elly continues.

Coldly, through crumbling hope and optimism, he unlatches. Shivers rock his body, shivers of cold, shivers of something less physical. “A-h,” is the sound wind makes through his throat. “It,” he spits out to himself only. “Happened.” At last, doubt becomes regret. Sorry Reimu. I am so sorry.

“Schutz?”

“Ell-y.” Two dead eyes in his sockets are shocked periodically to align themself back to his best friend, what should be his best friend - the girl he is kneeling on top of. He cannot feel it because only her stick runs between his legs. There is no flesh or warmth. “Oh. Hello. Elly.” He knows just enough of what is happening to hate it, but not enough to know what to do.

“Hello Schutz.”

His gaze shifts to his Sister. He promised himself and her she would never be involved. This is his problem, despite the fact it hurts everyone else. “I-” Words fail.

“Hm~?”

“I broke it.”

“What’s it?” Elly asks.

“It - is . . is . . .” Muscles in his face break so to force something of a smile. “Hello. Elly.”

“Yuuka.”

“Hm~?”

“There’s a nugget of bile on my dress, and why do I want it there? Did you scramble my mind for a joke again? Is it funny?” Elly laughs mechanical birdsong through proxy of snake.“It’s funny.”

She doesn’t remember, or - or what? She promised to remember by his browbeating. Why would the curse preserve a promise? It kills everyone. The man stares into Elly’s lack of eyes. He slides his hand from her hair, around an empty eye socket, and down to her triangular nose. It is smooth, cold, and broad. Slowly, he pushes the pyramid in, then relaxes. That is not a nose he remembers.

“Not at all,” says Sister. “Ask Schutz.”

“Schutz.”

“Elly?” he responds airily.

“Did you scramble my mind for a joke as the mudpile would?”

The serpent eaks in with curiosity. He considers touching it, but suicide is as commonly thought as it is rejected for him.

“. . No.”

“Then Elly enjoys being ravaged by sewage of the form of Schutz. I should have become not-invisible to him sooner, the one who is useless and does not know what Elly is.”

Useless.

“What-” he starts. “Do you think you are?”

“Elly. Lady injustice, and the one Yuuka finds hilarious, and the one humans find at the end of their lives, and the one who now seems to like being physically violated by the ignorant one ‘He who is useless and does not know what Elly is.’”

Useless. A number of events happen at once. It is the sort of miracle that inspires beautiful things in the right people. Schutz is anything but the right person. This spark of inspiration within him, a miracle fusion of accidents and mistakes, rises from the deep, rotting well of his mind. Its body is darkness, and its will entirely selfish. In the books Sister gave him, he remembers the image of the dragon, a worm of selfish evil. This ‘dragon’ inside him gives him the reckless will to continue, so he uses it. Be useful, moron. Fix it, moron. Moron. Moron. Moron.

{VOTE NULLIFIED. RECKLESS PATH SET.}

“Wrong.”

“#?”

“You - you do not remember, but -”

“I remember yesterday, and the yesterdays before yesterday, and the yesterdays before those. I am Elly,” she tells him. It is all static to him.

“Ha - ha . . haha,” dead and carved-out laughter escapes the wilful boy. “Wrong - incomplete. Again.”

“Schutz.”

“Elly.”

“Are you going to tell me a lie? Humans make interesting lies, and I will believe it if it’s interesting.”

“Believe me. Elly is my best friend. She is good. Nothing else,” he tells her.

“But I am —” Elly stops abruptly. “I am - I am —” She tries again. The rest of the words simply do not come.

“Good,” he tells her.

The monster brings its two poles up to its nonexistent eyes, moves it closer, and closer, and closer - until, the end of a pole fits inside. “I am-” She feels for breasts that do not exist. “I a-am -” She notices the snake that speaks for her.

“Elly - do you — do you remember?”

“Schutz, Schutz, I-” Elly freezes, staring petrified at her own writhing, mechanical, screeching organ. “I remember - I am, I. . am?”

“Elly - it is fine, Elly. If you remember, then -” He strokes her icy straw hair for comfort. A smile is forced, partially true, and partially because it should be true. “Everything is fine.”

Except, not. “##I. AM. I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - I am - ####””##I am? #”####I - AAA###A”####m?” The leviathan knots into itself, over and over and over until it falls into the ground. The sea serpent drowns in its own ocean.

Schutz has made a mistake. The reckless will inside him flees, avoiding all responsibility. The scream inside his mind is not his own, but he feels its budding pain like it was.

“Schu#tz,” a knotted, twisted leviathan whines.

“. . E - ll - y?” The sound is in his teeth, it flows through his blood, it melts his eyes from the inside, and eats the marrow within bones.

“Put me back in the flesh, and blood, and fluids, and warmth, and softness, and pretty gold eyes, and stupor, and goodness, and specialness - and - put me back, and put me back, and put me baAA###A#”#”#”#”#”#”””##”“AAAAAAAAAAA##AAA###############A##################A###”
No, no, no - “no - elly, i-”
“#####################################################################################################################################################
##################A###################################################################################################################################
######################################################################################################################################################
####################################################################################,” a monster pleads and cries. The world proceeds to explode.

“You did break ‘it,’” Sisters’ chiding voice supersedes all.

“#####################################################################################################################################################
######################################################################################################################################################
######################################################################################################################################################
######################################################################################################################################################
######################################################################################################################################################
######”

‘Fix it, moron.’ One last thought.

“################## ### # # #”
\ ~~~ /

Violet falls from the sky at his command, and covers all in purple ice.

“—” Schutz would talk, but it does not happen. He would hear, but that also does not happen. He would think, but his brain melted. He would die, but Sister will not let him.
>> No. 31119
what the fuck
>> No. 31120
After that, I'd wish I could die too.
>> No. 31121
I must leave you all here for a while. I'm busy.
>> No. 31122
Off to an island to do research stuff. May actually be able to do a bit of writing there!
>> No. 31123
Man, what hot foreplay. I wasn't expecting the explosive finish, but knowing Schutz, I guess I should have.

So, no vote, huh? How ominous, this route lock. If only we screwed Elly instead of up. Or made a boat. I was looking forward to that boat.

Honestly, I've nothing much to comment on. Not for lack of thing happening, but that the happening was very... well, it felt unfinished. Like being given half a puzzle.
>> No. 31125
While on the island doing research I got job offer to work for the government. All is well.
>> No. 31126
Home, etc. Will be working on it now. Have three scientific reports to write in a short period of time, but I can do it.
>> No. 31128
I have read the entirety of the story over a few days. It is enjoyable, though somewhat confusing. I am quite dense, so I am not sure I get everything through Schütz's unique perspective, but I still enjoy reading it. However, I am somewhat disappointed previous voters did not make asking what a conversational partner looked like into a running thing. I would have enjoyed that, I think, as I enjoyed Elly's and Meiling's reactions.

Fucking phone autocorrect fuck off.
>> No. 31129
Ayo. Consistently surprised new people even find this given it has fermented on the site for a while now, and there's no advertisement/publicity whatsoever. Glad ya like it. As long as people enjoy it and vote with a functioning, non-myopic brain (or at least don't drag others down with em) I'm happy.

Not understanding things is the set standard. You're fine.
>> No. 31130
This update is proving particularly difficult to write. I would not say this if it were not to the point of being irksome. Several hours with little to show for it.
>> No. 31132
5k. Posting tomorrow after I go over it and such. Delay is well-justified by workload and other factors, though it is a shame it happened.
>> No. 31133
/ his personal hell \

“. . That kid -” “That child -” “His son is -” “- his mother -” “Poor kid.” “what a-” “Kid. Child. Son. Idiot. Burden. Retard -”

The kid knocks the back of his head against a tree. The forest is a place where bad things go. Worrying about being bad makes no sense here. He is in bad company. That being the case, he is always happy here - relatively, at least.

It is that time of day.

That girl arrives.

“Hey,” she greets.

He considers for longer than her patience, then speaks. “. . You.”

“Yep. Me.” And he knows she isn’t going anywhere unless she gets what she wants.

The boy gets off the stiff corpse he was sitting on. It bleeds dryly out of the wound in its heart. “. . Meat. I caught a . . meat.”

“It’s a boar.”

“I caught a .. boar?” He dispels confusion with certainty. “You want it.”

She nods, and digs around inside her dress to pull out a mass of paper. She counts five seals slowly by finger. He takes them. She tears off a leg from the ‘boar.’ It’s too much for a little girl, but evidently not too much for her. The boy’s clothing is slowly being eaten by seals.

This is when she should leave - but before that, he has something he should do. She’s too thin. “Take it.”

“Wah?”

He nudges the corpse.

That girl looks at him weirdly, like he just insulted her intelligence. He sees little to insult. She is dumb to come here, and dumb to talk to him. She’s hungry. He frowns, then nudges the corpse again. It does not budge in the least.

The girl locks hands together. The look on her face is that of one facing a potential predator, though she is not scared. If anything, she looks annoyed. “Not giving you more seals.”

“Okay. Take it.”

Her face scrunches from cynical curiosity to earnest befuddlement.

He considers saying something, but realizes he has nothing to say.

Slowly, the girl’s resistance whittles away until all there is left for her to do is shrug. She marches forward, and takes the mass of boar behind her, dragging it like a sack of air. The look she gives him is inquisitive, as if he might at any moment charge to take it away.

He waves. Go away.

That girl does not leave like she should. She stands there looking weird at him with a ‘boar’ on her back, what little of it can fit.

“Bye,” he orders her.

She shakes her head, but it does little to help. She gets purple hair all over her eyes. “. . Bye.” That girl leaves. The confusion never left her face.

She should not be here. That thought ends when he catches sight of the true prize in his little hands. Colored paper - slips of safety. The youkai do not like it. He thinks about where to add to add the new seals. Having a choice makes him happy. Forcing poison fruit and flesh down his throat is something to worry about later.

=====

The purple sky is covered by trees. He likes that about the forest. It has been seven nights. So it is the usual time of day.

She arrives.

“Hey.”

“Hey,” he mirrors, then adds his usual greeting, “You.”

She looks at him weirdly. “Hakurei.”

She said her name. Nothing else registers to him.

Lost, he points to dead meat

“I got a . .” He waits.

“Bear.”

“I got a bear.” The boy nods to himself, satisfied. “A bear. Another bear.”

The usual, wordless transaction is made, or it would be if she did not keep insisting he take half. A mutilated, half-corpse is left like a cat’s prize at his feet. He pokes it, grumbling silently. Trying to make her take it is pointless.

The girl sits down near him. Her teeth are red with blood. He wonders, not for the first time, why she is not retching from a sore stomach. Maybe this meat is fine? These type of questions are the ones that make potential poison appetizing. All he has concluded is that hunger is annoying. He eats ‘enough,’ and precisely that. He knows because he is not dead yet.

He watches the girl take another bite of the poisonous bear flesh.

He tries some himself. His hunger is wrong, again. The meat is not fine; it tastes like pain, but if he eats it slowly he knows he will not spit it up, maybe.

Looking at the dumb girl, and containing the ball of sickness in his throat, he realizes something. “You look less dead.”

The girl’s brow scrunches, which is then hidden as she buries her teeth in for another bite.

“I’m the shrine maiden of Hakurei. Dying isn’t allowed.”

“Of . . course.” He thinks very hard. “You just pretended for . . more food, yeah.”

Her eyes visibly widen behind a chunk of bear flesh. “What?”

He has nothing else worth saying, so he stares into nothing in particular.

“I never pretended,” she pushes.

“Then.” “I — sorry. Sorry.” The ground is nice to look at. If he waits long enough he can imagine himself inside it.

“Yep.”

He hears her go back to eating.

“Long as you have my seals you won’t die either,” she continues. “Follower.”

He frowns at dirt.

“What is - that?” the question worms out of him.

He cannot see her face, though he can imagine that quizzically patronizing look of hers. Coming to terms with the sorry fact not everyone is savvy as her, she speaks. “You offered me . . stuff. I give you protection. That’s how it’s supposed to work.” She holds up a chunk of flesh. “You get it?”

“. . Yeah.”

She nods. “So you’re a follower.”

“Oh.”

The girl nods, uncontested and therefore absolutely correct.

Silence passes. He looks at the seals eating his tattering sleeves like tape. They make him feel safe. Then he looks at the girl. She makes him feel weird. Now she stares back at him, a perplexed, expectant look on her face.

“Your hair is ugly,” he tells her, not sure what to say but the obvious.

The girl takes a liking to staring at the flesh in her hands. He wishes it stayed that way, as a look as ugly as her hair is directed at him. Blood dribbles down her chin, and stains her face. Then, all at once, she relaxes. She is no less terrifying, and also no less terrifying than most monsters in the forest. “S’ a dumb thing to say.”

“W-why?”

“Because it’s not true. Moron.”

“O - oh.” The child would relent, if only he were not himself. “But it is purple,” he counters, emboldened by an absolute truth. Is it? That notion is enough to make him want to vomit. Then, as memories flow, want becomes need, and need becomes a puddle in front of him. It is filled with little black pellets.

“Ah,” the little boy notes to himself. “This bad - thing. Again.”

“Hey.”

He stares at wet dirt.

“Hey, hey!”

The girl shakes the shoulder of the kid-made-statue.

“Hey,” he replies with cadence like wind escaping a bag.

The girl remains quiet. She does not leave like she should. Telling her to leave feels like a bad idea to him. Bad ideas are what he has. “You can go,” he reminds her.

“You just vomited blood.”

Stating the obvious must be her hobby, too.

“You need help.”

“I . .” Where? Who? Vague faces stare down at him from above. He shies from their judging gazes.

The girl is quiet.

“Am I going to die?” he asks. It has been on his mind for a long time. That should be an answer itself, but it is not enough for the kid in constant, living terror.

Time passes slowly before she replies, “Nope.”

He nods, not satisfied, but accepting the fact she has an opinion.

She senses something, and it makes her displeased. “I can do it,” she tells him. “I can help.”

Time passes ineffectually to him.

The girl rises to the challenge. “Really. I’ve beat up heaps of stuff worse than - sickness.” She pauses, and flicks her hair. “An . . . evil big blue freak with wings. An evil green witch. An evil green ghost. Another . . green . . person.” She points at him resolutely. “Don’t trust the green freaks.”

“W. . what?”

“Greenheads.” She smiles for what might be the first time he has ever seen. “Well - it’s not that you’re lucky to not see them. Since I beat them up.”

“Why?”

The blank look on her face tells him ‘why’ is not something she thinks about often. “They kept bugging me,” she improvises, nodding in agreement with her own conclusion.

“Ah.”

“If they bug me they could’ve bugged anyone.”

“Are they - greenheads - scary?”

“Pft. I don’t get scared.” She pauses, makes an evaluation, then continues, “You’d have been so scared though.”

“Oh.” “I . . would not like that.”

“One of them . . Yuckuza - yakuza?” She flicks her fringe. “Yep. Yakuza. Kept running away.”

“Why?”

She is prepared this time. “Since I kept trying to beat it up. It was really frustrating.”

“Yeah - yeah,” he nods empathetically, and grasps this opportunity to say something even slightly pertinent, “I hate it when prey runs away.”

“I know right!” Reimu exclaims. “And when I finally got it - it - it turned to dirt.”

“How?”

“I - kept hitting it in the head with my gohei - then it just —” She holds her bloody ams out. “Poofed?"

“. . Into dirt?”

“Ayep.”

The boy shakes his head, knowing the struggle. Dirt. He tried eating that once. He also tried eating that twice. “Useless.”

“Yep! Greenheads are just - useless.”

“It sounds like it.”

“I got them all though.” Pride shines brilliantly through a blood-tinged smirk.

“Thank you. I - think?”

The little girl is quiet for a bit. Thoughts visibly bounce around in her head through the little tics in her brow. “You’re welcome!?” The words exit abruptly and awkwardly, which she covers with a cough, “So - if a greenhead is around, just . . shout really loud until I come and deal with it.”

He needs no more convincing. “I will.”

“Bring an offering though. I don't — shouldn't - do this for free.”

“Okay.”

“Good.” Her eyes widen. “Wait.”

“What?”

“You distracted me.”

“. . Uh.”

“You’re still sick,” she accuses.

“It is . . fine.”

“Hmm-” She looks him in the eyes, persistent despite his aversiveness. Her face contorts, then goes stony. “Are - you?” — “Beh,” she dismisses, then recedes.

“. . Beh?”

“B - e - h,” she accentuates. “I’ll solve it alright. I’ll do something about - this.” She extends her arms out to show how big whatever ‘this’ is. 

He opens his mouth, closes it, thinks, then mumbles, “. u - h.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll do something about it.”

He nods, slowly, accepting the fact those were, in fact, words. The meaning remains lost to him. Do what? Die.

“Thank you,” he says anyway.

She meditates on what ought to be a simple phrase, then returns, “You’re welcome.”

“You’re welcome,” he mirrors, not sure what to say.

Her look tells him that was not it.

He shrugs.

The boy knocks his head against the tree behind him, wondering what just happened. The girl does the same.

\ his personal hell /
>> No. 31134
It hurts. He hears something because Sister decided his ears had to stop being mush.

“Schütz, Schütz! Why am I crying? Is it because this feels good?” His newborn ears are defiled on delivery.

His first forcefully regenerated eye tells him a significant portion of his body has melted. He sees what might be an eye. It is hideous, so hideous he has to look away. Water gushes down from above out of what must be a sick weather god. The earth is a brown slosh. Lightning tears across the land and sky, and shakes the liquefying earth with sound and fury that can scarcely be captured in essence through words alone.

“Haaaaaaah,” he groans out through remade throat. It hurts. Before he thinks he was screaming. He is lucky that he was not capable of thinking then. “-waaaaaaaahhhhh.”

“Schütz! Schütz! Sch---” Prattles a personalized symphony of twisted metal. “Schütz! Schütz! Schütz---”

“Haaaah - haaaaah - haah - haaaah -” Breathing is not difficult, physically, yet he still has trouble. What a moron. “Waaaaaaaaa-”

“Schütz?” drones a terrible voice.

“Schütz?” prods a supernal voice.

The boy cries meaninglessly. The rain stops mid air, incapable of hiding his tears.

“Is Schütz happy too?” Elly asks.

“What’s wrong?”

“Schütz? Schütz?”

“Brother?”

Schütz. Brother. Moron. Schütz. Brother. Moron. Schütz. Brother. Moron. Schütz. Brother. Moron. Schütz. Brother. Moron. Schütz. Brother. Moron. “SHUT UP.” His shouts are lost to rain and thunder. Yet, he can hear the pounding of his own heart like a storm god’s drumbeat. He tells that to shut up too. It does not, so he curses it. Die. He blinks. Blinking reminds him of sleep, and sleep reminds him of failure. This sensation is not new to him, and he hates it from the bottom of his soul. “Raaaah--- haaah -- haaah --”

‘Criik ik ik’ a girl impulsively criks below him.

He mumbles a greeting eaten by the enraged sky. His heartbeat is louder still.

The boy looks around, lost and looking for nothing. He sees his Sister. She is teaching the corpse of a green bag how to scream, again. Meiling is hurt. Sister is already fixing it.

“Haah - haaah - haah,” he breathes, and cries, and sniffles. Moron.

“Schütz? Schütz? Are you okay? Schütz? Are you -” the wretched scarecrow drones below him a painful litany.

“Hhhaaah - haaah - haaaaah,” no reply comes from in.

Elly, ‘his’ Elly, is below him, coated in a thick film of what can only be described as filth. His former body still twitches in places. She twitches along with it.

“So - loud - I cannot think. . .” he mumbles words he can barely hear to the tune of thoughts he cannot understand.

“Schütz? Schütz? Schütz -”

The boy jerks his arm up, then lets it rest on Elly’s mouth. Her face is soft, and her breath is hot and moist. This is how it should be, before he broke everything. “Sorry.”

“Schütz?”

He falls down from kneeling unto the wet carcass of his former body and Elly. “Elly.” She should hear it now, beside him. He should not be here, but he cannot bring himself to move.

“Schütz!” she joyfully hurts his ears.

“I am so sorry, Elly. I - am sorry - I —” The sorries spill out like blood from his wounded mind.

“Why would Schütz be sorry when I am happy? Is it because he did not explode on top of me sooner? It is good and fine and I forgive him - and please do this whenever he wants,” she prattles on, beautifully ignorant.

He sobs into the mud beside her face. The girl twitches underneath him in the unconstrained throes of pleasure. Dying here would suit him. I hurt Elly. I killed Elly. Nothing can make that an-untruth. He thought he could live on if Elly was happy about it. Except, now he has to live on anyway, and Elly is going to suffer no matter what. Because - because . .? Because I exist? What can I do? His thoughts actively stab him in the head.

The boy lies here a while. Elly is warm. He wonders how long that will be the truth, until she breaks again.

“Hmm~?”

The worlds demands he revolves his neck, and behold the being above him. Sister is like the sun: radiant, merciless, unchanging. Absolutely nothing has changed since the day they met, no matter how much he begged or cried, nothing ever changed, so he learnt to accept it. What she thinks and says is absolute, so calling it perfect is the only way to cope. These are thoughts usually locked tight, but now they leak out like acid into his head. “Shut . . up,” he tells his leaking thoughts.

“Sis - ter?” Why? There is no point asking, and there never was. “Why?” He does anyway. His voice is muted by storm, but she smiles as if she heard. That says nothing of her care.

“My Brother, you -” She gestures at Elly. “Forgot something?”

The boy forces his eyes away from the sun to look at Elly. He wishes to think she is smiling back, but all her face is really doing is fidgeting madly. “Elly,” he identifies.

“Schütz~!” Elly identifies.

“You were about to do something, hm?” Sister prods.

The boy thinks. It hurts, so he stops. He looks at the radiant Sun blankly.

“You were going to make me more friends~!” She beams.

“Ha aaah?”

“Procreate.” He can tell this is a big hint because she leans closer, nearly exploding with personal radiance.

“What is - that again — I - I cannot think. Apologies - sorry.”

Sister tilts her head, then giggles. “You do not need to think to procreate, Schütz,” she tells him. “Just imagine you are an Escherichia coli laden with the fertility factor, and Elly is anything except Elly.”

“Ah.” He nods. “W-what?”

“It was in a book I read.”

“Ah.” . . . “What?”

“Hm~ It will be easier if you read it yourself. I’ll go get the book! Hold your lust until my return, Brother!”

In a flash of reality-smashing indifference Sister is gone. Her old body slops into mud. There is the matter of fact she was the only force stopping the downpour - so now the lesser of nature’s furies takes back its reigns, and beats him into the earth with fistlike raindrops. The boy feels a ton lighter. Now he only must endure the weight of his head, which, tragically, still leaves him pinned on the ground like a toddler. “Haaaah. .” he sighs with relief. The loss of a minor burden is a burden lost still. Sister is - Sister is what? The mental connection happens without consent. A burden.

“Schütz.”

“. . Elly?”

“If Schütz is crying can he cry inside my mouth?”

“I - suppose - yes, I can, I think?” Only, it is raining so hard he might drown if he keeps lying down. “We - we should get up. Yeah.”

His legs are not one to follow his advice. The boy slides around quite a bit, not sure how to operate his body amidst the storm of other thoughts in his head.

“Schütz - my disturbed friend,” echoes a different voice from above. It is grainy, heavy, and rumbling.

“Meil - ing. Meiling. It is - Meiling,” he tells himself repeatedly, affirming the difference between thought and reality. The boy squints at the green colossus, still not sure

He notices much later the beast has offered him an arm. After much thought, most of them unrelated to the current situation, he takes it. Meiling pulls him up with surprising gentleness.

He stands, dazed. Standing up is phase one of his plan. The other phases remain in arrested development.

“It’s raining,” says Meiling. Its voice does not supersede the storm, rather, it feels part of it as if a series of raindrops fell in just the right order to make those words possible.

Stating the obvious calms him, especially if there is someone else to tell him what the obvious is. “Yeah. It is.”

“I don’t know why, but I know this is my fault.” Meiling’s gormless, void-like mouth gapes skyward.

“Ah.” His friend is correct. The youkai exploded, and rain fell out. “S - sorry,” he automatically blurts out.

The beast sighs in tune with the wind.“And, you know, it’s easier to blame myself than . . you.” It shrugs. “You — whatever you did - Remilia can mend it. Remilia can mend anything.”

He mutters vaguely, nothing.

“Do you prefer to sleep outside, flower?”

“Ahh - I - yeah - yeah.”

“I will arrange it. Otherwise my lady will force you into one of those cots.”

“Oh.”

“In the garden the grass is soft . . the trees cast shade . . the maid brings food . . . sometimes dumb people die, but that it what dumb people do.”

“Sometimes,” he, the living proof, repeats.

“Sometimes dumb people live long enough to realize they’re dumb.” Meiling drifts on through thought. “I will be there too. I can teach you how to . . not much. Meiling has little worth teaching,” the youkai rambles on. “They say Meiling survived death - but only because a bigger tyrant decided she should.”

The boy shoves aside his raging thoughts for a moment. “Meiling - are you - are you fine?”

The youkai looks from the sky to him. “I could eat a nation, I would eat a nation. . . I won’t eat a nation,” it answers. “So long, friend. I . . am going to force a maid to turn this lake to tea.” The green beast waves vaguely at the lake, then waddles off like a baby bird. The rain soon obscures its huge image.

“Bye,” he mumbles at the sheets of rain.

“Schütz,” calls a terrible voice from below. It could be mistaken as a demon from a hell, had he not looked down and confirmed it to also be Elly.

“Elly?”

“I didn’t destroy your friend!” she proudly proclaims.

“Ah.”

“And I really wanted to, and I really didn’t!”

“Ah.” He frowns, shaking away the flies that are his thoughts again. “Elly - that is good. Thank you.”

She creaks with contentment at his words. The viscera coating her body shimmers with the lightning spiralling above.

“Oh - Elly . . why are you still down there?” The boy stretches out his arm to the scarecrow before he realizes why that is such a dumb idea.

The girl takes his hand, hoists herself up, and does not, nor will she ever, let go. He feels the warmth of her skin like a countdown until inevitable cold.

“Schütz.”

“. . Elly?”

“You said Elly could do this,” she preempts. Elly bends forward, pressing into him deeply. The boy feels something hot and wet on his cheek. Desperately, he closes his eyes, not wanting to see what is. Up and down, the girl savors his tears. “It tastes so disgusting, and I can’t stop drinking,” she says.

“A - ah,” he mumbles out. That is a mistake.

The curious bird spots a worm. That worm is his tongue, and she strikes. It cannot be called a kiss, it is more like a siphon, and though she is not violent she is not soft either. She sucks and stirs. Her tongue explores his mouth for traces of filth, and it happens that is all the boy is made from in her eyes.

“GLEGH!!!” he sputters, and by consequence coughs more of what she wants into her greedy mouth. Escape is impossible, though he admits, somewhere in his tired head, that this is not entirely unpleasant. She tastes like cool, fresh water.

She releases. He coughs and gags.

Both of them are made dumbstruck.

“I##” her words are eaten by an ear-tearing moan. “I like Schütz. I like Schütz!” She hugs him.

“. . I like Elly.” I hurt Elly. On cue, she nuzzles up to lick his budding tears. His insane laughter mixes with harsh breath.

Like Meiling would say: ‘it is raining.’ Muddy water begins to lick at his ankles. Dazed as ever, the boy gathers his belongings. He notices the sake gourd, and swiftly makes it just an ordinary gourd. Flesh coated arrows are left along with a knife. The bow is the only thing that can fit on him. He stands there in the rain with Elly fawning over him like a honeyeater. The question of what do next is followed by a dozen voices in his head murmuring in unison: ’you should die.’

At some point, Sister returns. The rain ceases to fall on him, but now the weight of her presence shoves his mind into the dirt. Her radiance blinds him, even if he hides.

She offers him a book with a smile. “Found it.”

His hands are soaked with blood, gore, and water. “It is raining,” he says.

‘Genetics - French, 2nd Edition’

“Hm~” Sister takes his wrist. He flinches away, but no force on earth can match the exact force of earth.

“Behold and listen, brother!” She grandiosely gestures skyward. “Humans call this ‘a rainy day.’ It is when they pretend to be scared of water ~ despite being made of it ~ stay inside, and procreate.” She hums merrily at her recollection. “~ Let’s explore our new home ~ then you can explore it alone in a dark, sealed room with Elly.”

The boy blinks, helpless. His arm is stuck in the Sun’s gravity well. There is no escape. Sister begins pulling, therefore he must follow, therefore he must call it ‘perfect.’ His mind, laid out plain to see, disgusts him. Why am I like this. Because Sister loves me? Because I exist? Sickness runs riot in his gut.

“Schütz.”

“. . Elly?”

“Let’s make a boat.”

“Ah.” . . “Sister. Elly wants me to make a boat.”

“Humans don’t do things on ‘rainy days’ Schütz.” The phrase ‘rainy day’ is accentuated like a mystical spell.

“Ah.”

He trots along with Sister, incapable of resisting — that is until her arm falls off.

“Ow,” Sister is the first to react - but only because Schütz’ head is elsewhere, and Elly could not conceivably care less. “OW! OW! OW!” she cries out in desperately acted pain.

“Ah.” - “Sister - are you - you are okay,” he answers his own question as he speaks.

“Hmm ~ No, I’m really hurt, see!” To emphasize, Sister holds up her severed arm. It is still attached to Schütz’ hand.

“Ah.” The boy turns to Elly.

“Let’s make a boat,” is her insight on the situation.

He would resist, except even the most reckless beasts do not resist gravity. “Later.”

‘cr. . . ik.’

“How did it sound?” Sister asks.

The boy watches his Sister, and can feel himself slowly going blind.

“How did my pain sound?” she reiterates excitedly.

“. . Bad.”

“Wonderful~”

The sun and her little planetoids march along. “Ow ~ ow ~ ow,” Sister hums a song of victory to herself.

His head hurts. A message.

/ ~<O>~ \

>[WELCOME: AMETHYST]
>[MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM: CITRINE | T:7:13]
>>[OPEN: [Y]/N]
>...
>[YOU “BROKE” THE “ICE”.]
>[GOOD JOB.]
>[NOW I HAVE TO KILL YOU AGAIN.]
>[LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY.]
>[I WILL BRING SAKE!]
>[I WILL BRING CAT!]
>[YOU WILL BRING THE ICEPICK!]
>[DID YOU FORGET TO NAME MY CAT?]
>[NAME MY CAT.]
>[START THINKING OR I WILL RECONSIDER MY APPROACH TO AIMING!]
>[ELLIPSES.]
>[NOW IMAGINE MY LAUGHTER.]
>[IT IS LIKE SO |TEE HEE HEE|]
>[BECAUSE THAT IS A JOKE.]
>[NOW YOU LAUGH.]
>[DO IT LIKE SO |MWAH HAH HAH|]
>[I WILL BRING MORE GOOD JOKES.]
>[YOU SHOULD TRY TO PULL YOUR WEIGHT.]
>[WHAT ELSE CAN YOU OFFER THIS PARTY?]
>[-CITRINE.]
>...
>[GIRLS ARE PREPARING. PLEASE WAIT WARMLY.]

\ ~~~ /

Ran. The name falls into his tangle of thoughts, never to return. He marches on through the mud.

“Schütz.”

“Elly.”

“I wanted to say Schütz.”

“Oh — yes — yes,” he mumbles.

Sister stops. That means little to him, as he stumbles forward, Sisters’ de-armed arm still attached to his wrist. The man comes to some form of realization as the raindrops begin to pelt him. “Ah.” He turns around, and bumbled towards Sister.

“Our new home,” she declares.

“Ah.” Indeed, they are before the big red house. His memories of it are mostly negative. Good for him that remembering is a task, not a given, at the moment.

“Oh, look, Schütz! A friend!”

Sister moves, so does her sphere of influence. He is left in the rain, dazed.

The boy watches as his Sister eagerly shakes the hand of a little pink bird creature. Rem - rem ..? Remilia. That one. Inedible . . vampire? The one that can fix things. It wanted to - wanted to what? Fix me?

“This is my brother -” All of a sudden Sister grabs his wrist which holds her severed arm. “- Schütz! He likes human things like eating, sleeping ~ and I think he’s going to procreate soon. Isn’t that wonderful? I hope you have enough space for the tide of spawn. Oh~~! And - since we are in the same house you can watch them procreate if you wish. It’s his first time trying to breed with a sentient-like object. How exciting~!” she goes on and on.

“Hello. Remilia. . girl,” he says to Remilia. It - she - enjoyed pretending to be a girl, some vagrant memory tells him. It is difficult to make out expression of the bird-snake ‘vampire’ beneath its her ludicrous visor. Regardless, the youkai looks mortified.

“This boy is in critical condition,” the chimera says bluntly to Sister. There is no flair to her words.

“He’s very ‘pent up.’ ‘Pent up’ meaning the human phrase of desiring to breed due to -”

“If I don’t cure this poor boy he and everyone around him will suffer,” Remilia interrupts coldly.

“‘Pent up’ meaning the human phrase of desiring to breed due to having no reproductive outlet for a prolonged period of time,” Sister continues, caring not for the bird’s whiny song.

Remilia steps forward, just a bit closer to the all-consuming flames of the sun that is Sister. “IF you must vent under my roof so be it, but I simply must take this patient under my care.”

“Schütz.”

“. . . . Elly?”

“Is that noisy wad of filth a friend of his?” A serpent that arbitrates the line between life and death points at Remilia.

“Remilia.”

The little-girl-bird-creature acknowledges him with a sharp look.

“Are - you a friend?”

“I’m going to fix you,” it declares.

It sounds like someone he knew. I hate it. “Moron. Idea. - That is. . an idea for m-morons.”

“There’s no time to correct your opinions. Come. Now.” Remilia takes another step towards the sun. Rather than cease to exist, Remilia is poked back.

“Worry not, strange creature, when my brother breaks I can put him back together,” chides Sister.

“Is this wad of filth a friend, Schütz? Schütz? Schütz? Schütz -”

The boy stares into nothing. Elly stops talking so to drink his tears.

“The one condition you live under my roof is that you submit to my treatment - no matter who or what you are.” It cannot be said Remilia is ‘pushing,’ it is more comparable to a dust particle scraping against a mountain.

“Kazami, Yuuka - Flower Master of the Four Seasons.” Sister makes introductions with a smile. Several flower grow about for effect.

“And what do you think you are?” Remilia prods.

“Schütz’ sister.”

“No - actually you’re a obtrusive dope and terrible sibling. Now let me fix your dying brother so we can have a nice breakfast and talk about our favorite cakes over tea.”

The rain stops. The wind stops. The clouds stop moving. Lighting pauses mid-strike. “How -” Sisters’ voice cracks. The earth beneath her imitates like a child. “How could you say that! I’m a wonderful sister.” There is no doubt. Doubt does not exist in an entity like Sister.

. . .


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

. . .

She is - Sister is - YUUKA is a . . .

[complete the thought]

{must be in character. I allow leeway in that I will adjust votes to be more in-character but remain in the same ‘spirit,’ though I will outright dismiss utterly out-of-character votes}

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

Items:
Bow (Heavily Anti-Youkai Seal Fitted, Hakurei Brand, Blood Coated ‘Kitsune’)
Seal Hairtie (Unknown Properties)

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

Curse: ~~~

Moon Phase: <o “last quarter”

Time: Early Night

\o==================8875===================o/
>> No. 31135
>She is - Sister is - YUUKA is a . . .
>must be in character.
Damn that's a hard one.
Not going to vote here, just listing possibilities.

[]YUUKA is Sister
Safest answer, she's always been described as some sort of indescribable absolute.

[]YUUKA is good sister
I guess it will put his mindset into "God can do no wrong" as far as she's concerned.

[]YUUKA is a God
He's been offering beasts at her feet for years.
Makes him her follower.

[]YUUKA is a Sun
Because one god among many isn't a bright enough spot in his mind.

[]YUUKA is a burden
Her mere presence is uncomfortably crushing, does anyone want her gone for good ?

[]YUUKA is dirt
Let's check if this story allows MC permadeath lol
>> No. 31136
Yuuka is many things.

Yuuka is a greenhead, but Reimu can't do anything about it now.

Yuuka is a good sister who healed our friend at our request and seeks to give us all the things a human wants.

Yuuka is a terror that removes those who stand in her way without hesitation.

Yuuka is a burden that won't let us live or die how we desire.

I really don't know what to pick here, but I'll tentatively go with the same answer Schütz reached in this update, [X] Burden, and likely change my decision as more discussion flows in.

On a totally different note, our inventory has dropped to nearly nothing, yet that seal hairtie has stuck with us since the beginning. I'm starting to get pretty curious what its unknown properties are and if we've had any hint to them yet.

Also I still want to name the cat Rascal although I understand Schütz probably isn't in the right mindset to think about cat names right now, even with Ran's threat.
>> No. 31137
Man, this whole thing has been so bloody opaque its just inane to me, whatever.
>> No. 31138
>>31137
What did you like enough about the story to get this far? - Assuming you arent reading this out of sheer directionless boredom.
>> No. 31139
[X] Burden
[X] Sister

Seems like a good choice. It doesn't let him die after all.

She is also a greenhead, an idiot, dirt and a living god. But above all, he would say that 'Sister is sister' so I added that too.
>> No. 31140
>>31138

Well, the story's plenty fun enough, walking that line between creepy and charming and all. but there's really no real way to understand what consequences our choices are going to have. The various warnings we've been given have been uniformly unhelpful and whenever something bad DOES happen, I don't actually understand WHAT happened or WHY its bad.

Schutz's peculiar way of perceiving the world doesn't help much either. The guy's such an alien to me I don't know whether the things he worries about are even worth paying attention to or not.

And then there's the curse, of course. I still don't know what supposedly triggers it, what it does, whether it kills people around us, or changes them, or what. We apparently destroyed Reimu with it, or something?

And now there's this choice. Should i even try to predict how Schutz is going to react to any input we give? Is he going to help, or is he just going to magically unexistalize someone again? Is that even what happened last time? I don't know. I had fun up to a point, but now its kinda like playing Zork, only not as straightforward.

I know this isn't what you asked me for, but it just sorta turned into this tangent.
>> No. 31141
Not >>31140 But I'd like to add that you do horror really well. That eerie and uncanny feeling that you experience when you see what should be a familiar sight transformed into something not quite right is present here and I didn't think it was a feeling that could be translated to writing at all.
>> No. 31142
Sister is [a burden that tries too hard]

Cat is [Cat]

I felt such a name is the most Schutz, and such an answer is the most justifiable, given his recent admittance of her being a burden.
>> No. 31143
Vote will be called early tomorrow.

>>31140
Delay in replying due to me being busy/preoccupied.

I am satisfied with the way this story functions. Your complaints appear to stem from your distaste with aspects I consider fine, therefore all I can do is clarify the nature of this story.

a) this story is mystery oriented. if you want a hand in events, it is expected that you take the time to find out what is happening and why
b) votes generally inform events much later than current events
c) votes are as much about the mindset as the action. prediction of Schutz is vital. shaping his way of approaching things is vital. this vote is a good example.

TO CLARIFY: recklessness is an intended element of 'unpredictability' in the story. you brought this entirely upon yourself, if you voted recklessness.

The complexity of this story is it's most notable aspect, and a spur in my side for reasons one might expect. It takes a very long time to write updates due to the sheer quantity of variables surrounding characters and the overarching plot. Nothing is arbitrary. This isn't a random story in the least - and for that it takes ages to write.

Clarification: complexity =/ quality of writing. I am saying this story is complex, not 'a good story.' Though I personally enjoy my own story.

Nothing will change besides, possibly, an improvement in my writing abilities to portray such a complex narrative. Knowing this, it is your decision whether this story is to your tastes. Thanks for reading. I appreciate feedback that isn't mean spirited.

>>31141
Neato patito
>> No. 31144
>>31143

Oh well, you do you. At least you're all having fun.
>> No. 31145
>>31143
Wait -

>>31135
Did you end up voting? It would not be kind to shut you off.
>> No. 31146
>>31145
He did said he wouldn't vote. No idea why.
>> No. 31147
[X] Yuuka is good.
[] Cat is 🐈
See if we can bean the messaging system with emoji
No wait that's stupid
[X] Cat is Kitty
>> No. 31148
>>31147
That was supposed to be break, not bean, fucking phone
>> No. 31149
>>31145
>Did you end up voting? It would not be kind to shut you off.
Guess I will.
[X]YUUKA is a Sun
I feel like it fits, you don't stare into the sun otherwise you turn blind, you can only get glimpses of its true form. And staying in its vicinity for too long sets you on fire. But you need the Sun. The world needs the Sun.
>> No. 31150
Vote will be left open for one more day.

>>31147
🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱

>Yuuka is good
Oh boy that would be 'something' to write. Poor Elly. This is not an endorsement.
>> No. 31151
>>31150
No. Do not.

CEASE.
>> No. 31152
Vote set. 'Burden' being the most pervasive sentiment.
>> No. 31153
But what about the more important choice, naming the cat?
>> No. 31154
>>31153

This does seem like the most vital of the two.
>> No. 31155
NO CONSENSUS REACHED ON CAT NAME BEFORE DEADLINE.

THE VERDICT IS DEATH.

>> No. 31156
Death sounds likea name for a good cat though, a really cool one.
>> No. 31157
>>31155
[X] Cat is Kitty
>> No. 31158
>>31157
You have the audacity to vote past certain death? You dare knock on the iron gates of Dis?

Cool. Fine.

cat = kitty
>> No. 31172
I've been working on a project both publicly unpublished and utterly unrelated to this story and site. Now I'm working on this. The split between the two usually is not so severe, as I typically use my other project to occupy the downtime between (long) writing sessions.
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