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File 133817682596.jpg - (132.25KB , 850x435 , Genericscenerymightaswellbephotoshopblur.jpg ) [iqdb]
44310 No. 44310
You and your two camping buddies have been heading East for a while now! The sun is almost at the top of the sky, so most people would think it's the afternoon.

Most people would think that, sure. Thing is, you aren't like most people! Judging by the sun's position in the sky and the shadows cast by the trees... It's exactly four minutes and 33 seconds until afternoon. No! 32 seconds.

Your gaze shifts to your companions. One of them is huffing and puffing, struggling with the lightest bag you brought on this trip- the emergency bag. You almost feel bad, just seeing how much they struggle to do the simplest jobs. Still, everyone has to carry an additional bag, no exceptions.
You'll call this companion... Water Girl.

Your other companion is marching on, a determined look on her face. The bag you gave this friend is the second heaviest of the additional bags- the food bag! She's unaffected by the bag's weight, the determined gleam in her eye showing a will to march on.
You'll call this companion... Mulder? Mulberry? No, Patty.

What? There's nothing wrong with giving your friends new nicknames. What if some unknown third party peeped on your brain waves for some darker purposes? As unlikely as that may be, you choose to hide your friends identities with nicknames. You never know, friend. You never know.

"H-hey, can we slow down for a second?" Water Girl pants, patting their backpack in a search for a canteen. "We've been at this for, what, three hours now? Couldn't we all use a break?"

"Oh come on, we do not need to stop yet. I mean, the campsite should not even be that far!" Patty looks at you. "It is not that far, right?"

You usually jump at the chance to flaunt your navigational skills, but this time you hesitate.

"Just check the map. I mean, we all have one, don't we? You didn't leave it at home or something stupid like that."

Patty comes to a stop, and Water Girl stops not far behind her. Searching your surroundings, you find a tree to lean against. Once again direct your attention to Patty, who obviously isn't amused.

"Really? You know as well as I do that you do not even need a map! The whole map of the forest might as well be printed on your face, you know it so well!"

You give her a heavy shrug. It's true, you know this forest pretty well. It's also true that you know the whole area pretty well. It's not easy to forget your roots, especially with a mind like an atlas.

Turning your gaze skyward, the position of the sun and the clear blue sky around it tell you all you need to know. She's right, the campsite isn't very far from here. Still, Water Girl looks really beat. Poor thing's found a rock to sit on and is slumped over, wiping away sweat every few seconds.

You pat the back of your neck and take a moment to think.

[ ] Lie, then take them on a longer route to the campsite after a break.
[ ] Lie, then take them straight to the campsite after a break.
[ ] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.
[ ] Tell the truth and go straight to camp, no more breaks.

>> No. 44312
[X] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.

Gotta be a friend.
>> No. 44313
[x] Lie, then take them straight to the campsite after a break.
>> No. 44315
[x] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.

This is unexpected.
>> No. 44320
File 133819389686.jpg - (62.58KB , 466x738 , water girl.jpg ) [iqdb]
44320
[x] Lie, then take them straight to the campsite after a break.
>> No. 44321
[x] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.
>> No. 44322
[x] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.

Renko, Maribel and who?
>> No. 44323
[x] Lie, then take them straight to the campsite after a break.

A little teasing never hurt anyone, did it?
>> No. 44325
[X] Tell the truth, but suggest taking a break anyway.

>>44322
Renko, Maribel, and OC protag, looks like.

Well, between this and HY's, there goes my vague idea to start a Renko/Maribel story. Ah well.
>> No. 44326
>>44325

Sorry to hear it! I was a little hesitant to do a Renko & Mary story as well given HY's new story, but I figured it wouldn't be so bad if I did a board other than /border/.

Also, update in about one or two hours.
>> No. 44327
>>44325


She (He?) has Renko's time-telling ability, though. Unless it's that plus mapping, but that kinda steals Renko's thunder
>> No. 44328
"It's not that far, but can't we just take a breather? We didn't actually plan to get there so quick, anyway."

Patty frowns but murmurs her assent. Water Girl smiles your way before taking another swig of their canteen. You take off your hat and give yourself a moment to think.

Your fingers explore the brim of the hat, and lightly touch the ribbon that's around it. How long have you been wearing this, anyway? It's been years now, and you can't remember a single day you spent with Patty where you weren't wearing this old thing.

You met Patty a long time ago, and you've both been studying in Kyoto for the majority of that time. Water Girl showed up one day, and you decided to drag them along with you for Patty's adventures. The way you all came together isn't anything special, actually. Nothing like those fated encounters in the comics Water Girl reads.

"So then, your family was expecting us back in the city at what time?"

Patty snaps you out of your train of thought. Once again donning your old hat, you take a second to think before answering her.

"About noon tomorrow, I think." You pause to take a drink from your own canteen. "Is that enough time to check out that spot?"

"I guess so." Patty shrugs. She looks more than a little anxious to get going. "I just do not want to explore that place at night. That would be horrible."

"Where are we going again?"

You look at Water Girl with disbelief. Really? Did they already forget where this trip was taking you?

"A graveyard a ways into the forest. She-" You gesture towards Patty. "said it'd be a place with a 'weak boundary'."

Patty nods, and Water Girl looks a little let down. You can't blame them, a graveyard doesn't sound like a very fun place to be. The point of this trip isn't just hiking and camping, though.

You want to see firsthand how real Patty's "powers" are. She's explained them to you before, and told you stories about another world she's seen, but... It all sounds too fantastical. You can encourage her all you want, but you feel like you'll never be able to believe in something so farfetched.

Reaching to your backpack, you whip out a journal and pencil. A few lines of text, written in the cleanest handwriting you can manage... and there. Mere seconds after getting it out, you put the journal away.

"So then, are we about ready to move? It feels like we are wasting our time sitting around."

That's Patty for you. When it comes to trips like this, she's always so eager to get things started. Water Girl still looks a little exhausted, though.

[ ] Tell Water Girl to get up; It's time to go.
[ ] Help Water Girl up; It's time to go.
[ ] Have lunch before leaving.
>> No. 44329
>>44327

Uh, what? Renko is the viewpoint character. Water Girl is the OC.
>> No. 44330
[X] Help Water Girl up; It's time to go.

Lean on me.
>> No. 44331
[x] Help Water Girl to get up; It's time to go.

We should treat our emergency rations well.
>> No. 44332
Update coming in a few minutes.
>> No. 44333
File 133823089633.jpg - (558.98KB , 850x637 , Gottalovelandscapes.jpg ) [iqdb]
44333
Well, there's no time like the present!

Grabbing Water Girl's hand, you help them up. They groan while Patty grins, and soon the three of you are hiking once again. It doesn't take long to reach camp, only seven minutes of walking.

Water Girl find a large, flat rock to put their bags on, and you do the same. Patty rushes over to help you take your backpack off, but pays more attention to the tent bag. She looks around the small camp area afterwards, and you do the same.

It's a modest clearing near the heart of the woods, only about twenty feet in diameter. There's a couple of rocks partially buried in the earth along one side of the camp, and a small rise in the land near the center.

You grab Water Girl by the arm and drag them towards the center of the clearing.

"Wait, what? Can't we just take a break?"

"Haha, no way! This spot won't clear itself, and we don't want to get caught in the rain with no tent."

They groan, but decide to help anyway. As you move leaves and rocks from the central mound, you can't help but think of your good luck. You knew there was a clearing here, but you had no idea it'd be a spot like this!

"Why are you talking about rain, though?" Water Girl gets the ground mat out of the pack, still complaining. "The weather report said 'nothing but clear skies', right?"

"Better safe than sorry!"

A roll of the eyes and a chuckle later, the two of you almost have the tent set up. It's not a small one by any means, but it doesn't dominate the mound you've set it on. With a little team work the two of you get the poles in place and soon the roof of the tent is up. You toss Water Girl a hammer and drive in the stakes, nearly finished.

Another trip to the pack and you've got the rain cover out and ready to set up.

"Hey, could you give us some help with the cover?"

You toss one end over the tent to Water Girl, and the two of you start getting it set up. It takes a moment before you notice that you're the only two working on the tent.

"Hey, we could use some help! Come on Ma-"

You look around the site, but Patty's nowhere to be seen. You shake your head, figuring that she's wandered off to "search for boundaries". She gets waaay too excited about these things.

The two of you manage on your own, and you tell Water Girl to take a break while you see where Patty's run off to. They're more than happy to oblige, sprawling out on one of the large rocks nearby.

It doesn't take long to find Patty. She was right outside the clearing, staring at the woods with hazy eyes. You watch her for a second before tapping her on the shoulder.

"Oh- What? Did you need help with the tent?"

"Nah, we set it up without you. I did call out for you a minute ago, though."

"Oh, I am sorry. I was just distracted by..."

Patty looks at the woods again, seemingly surprised to see... nothing? You shrug. She's always a little strange like this.

[ ] Go check out the graveyard.
[ ] Take a break for lunch.
[ ] Check Inventories.
>> No. 44334
[X] Check Inventories.
[X] Go check out the graveyard.
>> No. 44335
[x] Take a break for lunch.
[x] Check Inventories.

I hope something starts up soon and the MC stops being an asshole who can't be bothered with names.
>> No. 44336
[x] Take a break for lunch.
[x] Check Inventories.
>> No. 44338
[X] Take a break for lunch.
[X] Check Inventories.

No good investigating on an empty stomach.
>> No. 44342
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44342
"Anyway, it's time for lunch. Come on."

Patty follows you back into the clearing and goes over to Water Girl. You decide to leave the two of them alone for now so you can check your collective inventorie- Wait, what the fuck? Who says collective inventories? You're rummaging through your bags.

BACKPACK [x1]

Canteen (x0)
Flashlight (x1)
Map of Woods (x1)
Air pillow (x1)
Sleeping Bag (x1)
Blanket (x1)
Change of Clothes (x2)
Camp Shoes (x1)
Journal (x1)
Pen (x1)
Compass(x1)

TOILETRY BAG [x1]

Toothpaste (x1)
Toothbrush (x1)
Hair Brush (x1)
Dry Shampoo (x1)
Biodeg Soap (x1)
Aspirin (x1)
Biodeg Toilet Paper (x1)
Towel (x1)

TENT BAG [x1]

Large Tent (x0)
Large Ground Mat (x0)
Rain Cover (x0)
Electric Lantern (x2)

Oh, right. You should probably grab lunch while you're at it. You did say it was time.

FOOD BAG[x1]

Roll of Paper Towels (x1)
Sporks (x5)
Bag of Granola (x3)
Energy Bar (x5)
Bag of Rice (x2)
Vacuum Sealed Fish (x2)
Curry Mix(x2)
Biscuits (x6)
Cheese Wedge (x1)
Sausage (x2)
Water Container (full) (x1)

That's weird, an energy bar's missing. Patty must've taken it; she had the bag, afterall.

You take three (3) biscuits, one (1) cheese wedge and one (1) sausage from the bag. A quick look over your shoulder lets you see your friends staring at you, waiting for their lunch.


"Does either of you have the knife?"

You close up the bag and turn around, instantly seeing Water Girl with the tool out. Taking it in one hand, you carve three chunks out of the cheese wedge and cut the sausage up into six pieces. You return the cheese wedge to the bag, rub the knife with a paper towel and then return it to Water Girl.

Both of them take their lunch before you get back, typical. You take your meat and cheese biscuit and sit beside Patty. Seems like they're done talking for now, and content with just eating. You look up at the sky and observe the edges of the sun. It's fifteen past one.

"Well, that was good. Are we going to go to the site now?" Patty stretches her arms as she gets up, then lets out a yawn. "I figure we should check it out now and then check it out once the sun sets, to see if there is anything different between now and then."

"Sure, why not. Let's go."

[ ] Continue being you.
[ ] Become Patty.
[ ] Become Water Girl.
>> No. 44344
File 133826064589.jpg - (43.86KB , 160x144 , coobie.jpg ) [iqdb]
44344
[x] become Meguca

[x] Become Water Girl.
>> No. 44346
[x] Become Water Girl.

If only to find out more about who we are.
>> No. 44349
[X] Become Water Girl.

Oh yes.
>> No. 44351
[x] Become Patty.

Tide.
>> No. 44360
Update will (hopefully) be up in a few hours. I'm going to go ahead and write it, but decided I wanted a visual aid for Water Girl last minute and asked a drawfag to make one. As a result, the update will be up whenever our wonderful resident drawfag finishes drawing or tells me that they won't finish the drawing. Sorry for the inconvenience.
>> No. 44379
File 133835401182.jpg - (66.07KB , 412x850 , WaterGirl.jpg ) [iqdb]
44379
You suddenly become yourself.

Wait, what does that mean? You don't feel or look any different, but for a split second something felt... off. Not wrong, just slightly different.

"Sure, why not. Let's go."

Renko and Maribel grab their bags and toss them into the tent. You do the same and stay a few steps behind the two as you leave the clearing.

"How'd you find this place, again?" Renko puts her arms up behind her head as she walks. "It's about as out of the way as it gets. It's not like there's a billboard at the outskirts of the woods advertising its dusty old graveyard."

"I saw it in a dream, and when I woke up I wrote myself a reminder. After an hour or two of research I found a spot that sounded similar, and here we are."

It's always a dream with her, isn't it? You honestly don't know why Renko encourages her all the time, going on trips and doing research based off of a dream some college girl had. Maybe you're a bit cynical, but you think her dreams are too fantastical to be true.

"Research? What do you mean, research?"

"It shouldn't be that hard to find places like this, right?" You move up towards the other two, finding a place to walk between them. "Abandoned graveyards are what those urban explorer types eat up, right?"

"Aha, I guess so. It'd be funny if we bumped into one out here."

"Yeah..."

Silence follows, giving you time to observe your surroundings. The woods are uniform in their nonuniformity, with no tree looking quite the same as the last. As far as woods go, it's about average. The only thing that really catches your attention are dead trees here and there. Old, rotted, and showing just a hint of unnatural damage. Almost like someone beat them.

A breeze rustles the treetops, making leaves fall here and there. Renko takes her hat off again and feels the ribbon around it, blankly staring ahead as she does. Now that you think about it, that's also a little off. It's not like that's a thing she always does... though it's also not all that strange for someone to take their hat off now and then. Maybe you're just getting anxious.

"You know, we are urban explorers if you think about it. We have gone on trips like this all the time, exploring old buildings and big, empty fields."

"Haha, soon we can add graveyards to that list! I always thought we were just kids screwing around where we didn't need to be, but I guess we are just like them."

Renko and Maribel share a laugh, and you toss in a chuckle here or there. It's times like these that you feel like a third wheel, you know? As if you're just getting in the way.

"Oh hey, we're here!"

...And then there's times like these, where you start to enjoy these silly adventures.

The graveyard's a lot more interesting than you expected it to be. Where you expected a bunch of dirty, crumbling rocks... Well, there are a bunch of dirty, crumbling rocks. That's what a graveyard is though, right? At least some of these rocks are still fully intact, and most of them have unfaded text. There's even a few mausoleums, which you really didn't expect to see. The best part is, it's still light out so it's not the least bit creepy!

...Okay, maybe it's a little bit creepy.

[ ] Watch Maribel and see how she reacts.
[ ] Go explore the mausoleums.
[ ] Try to find tombstones with funny names.
>> No. 44380
Art courtesy of the lovely PygmyLion, who I should ask about art favors in advance next time.
>> No. 44381
>>44380
>PygmyLion

Now, that's someone I've missed for a long time. I always like his drawings of the CYOAs.
>> No. 44382
[x] Go explore the mausoleums.
>> No. 44383
[x] Try to find tombstones with funny names.
>> No. 44384
[X] Try to find tombstones with funny names.

"Here lies Andy. Peperony and chease."
>> No. 44385
[x] Go explore the mausoleums.

Mausoleums are fun. There’s usually cool graffiti inside, and we might even meet a homeless person or a stray dog.
>> No. 44387
[X] Go explore the mausoleums.

>>44385
>Peperony and chease.

Welp I know what I'm having for lunch now.
>> No. 44391
Mausoleums it is, expect an update in just a bit.
>> No. 44399
Creepy or not, you're curious! The first thing you do is make your way to the closest mausoleum and have a look inside.

It's dark, dusty, and empty. A hole's been made near the back of the structure, though it's only big enough for a small animal to squeeze through. You step out and search for a name or some indication of who's buried here but find nothing. After another look inside you move on to the next one.

Immediately you notice a place for a name on the second mausoleum, though somebody cut through the wood and made the name illegible. There's four large cuts through the name, with a fifth, smaller gouge starting further down. You shrug this off and take a look inside.

The first thing that catches your attention is a hunched over child. You step into the mausoleum and cautiously approach it, then tap its leg with your foot.

"A... Are you alright? Hello?"

You nudge them harder, until their head falls off and rolls to one side, spilling roots and flowers on the floor. A closer inspection shows that it and the rest of the "body" were a pile of bags. You pick up one of the flowers and examine it in the sunlight. It's still full of color and has yet to wilt.

After replacing the bag and its contents you explore the rest of the room. The center of the floor is torn up, revealing a dug out grave beneath it. It's too dark in the grave for you to see anything, and you'd rather not stick your hand down into who knows what.

You back out of this room and close it behind you. Those bags mean someone's still nearby, right? That or they left their things behind. You decide to keep this to yourself for the time being.

The third and final mausoleum is in the worst shape, with wall panels and parts of the roof falling off or missing. The name of the person buried here has mostly faded, and any part of it that could be read has been painted over with English letters. The only word you can understand is "lives".

A quick peek inside proves it to be much brighter than the last two. Missing bits of the roof have let sunlight in, giving you much more light to work with.

Like the last grave, the floor covering this one is mostly bashed in. The grave itself is undisturbed, save a few weeds and a sapling growing in the center. The rest of the room is empty and has nothing worth noting.

You close the door and head back towards Renko and Maribel, who are investigating a large tombstone at the other end of the graveyard.

"What's so special about this one?"

"It is not especially interesting on its own. I just recognize it from the dream I had."

"Yeah, she says it's proof we're in the right place. So now what, are you just gonna stare at a grave until it gets dark?"

"No, there is no need. I can not feel a boundary nearby, so we can try again when the moon is up."

"We're heading back then. Come on."

[ ] Tell Renko and Maribel about the bags in the second mausoleum.
[ ] Tell Maribel about the English writing on the third mausoleum.
[ ] Stop Renko and suggest exploring the area.
>> No. 44400
[X] Tell Maribel about the English writing on the third mausoleum.
>> No. 44402
[x] Tell Maribel about the English writing on the third mausoleum.

We're helping!
>> No. 44405
[Q] Tell Maribel about the English writing on the third mausoleum.
>> No. 44416
"Wait a second!" Renko and Mary stop and face you. "I saw something in English on one of the mausoleums and couldn't understand what it meant. You speak English, right Mary?"

Maribel shrugs. Apparently English letters aren't supernatural enough to get her excited. Too bad! You lead her and Renko to the mausoleum anyway, and point to the letters painted over the deceased's name.

"What does it mean? Is it someone saying they're alive, or what?"

"It says 'Dopefish lives!'"

You and Renko exchange confused looks, unsure of what that means. Is it some kind of urban legend? Is it supposed to be cryptic and frighten people? You really have no clue.

"It does not mean anything, as far as I can tell. Just two random words someone thought was funny."

Funny? That has to be the second dumbest joke in the universe. That and a major waste of your time.

You turn around to look at the second mausoleum you visited. The door is still shut, and there's still no sign of the person who owns those bags. Whatever the case, you hope they get them back.

"So, you're ready to head back now?"

It takes you a moment to realize that Renko was talking to you. You nod and wonder why she doesn't just say your name when she wants to get your attention.

The walk back is largely uneventful. Renko and Maribel talk about the dopefish thing for a few minutes and what it might mean, but decide that it really is just some stupid nonsense. You hear the whole conversation but don't pay too much attention to it.

Your group makes it back to the clearing, and you take a step back after seeing your tent.

"What the hell? Is this some sort of prank?"

While you were gone somebody covered the tent in leaves. Renko bolts for the tent to check it out, climbing inside as quickly as she can.

"Looks like all our stuff's okay." You can hear zippers being pulled as she talks. "Nothing's missing from our bags and there's no damage to the tent."

"There's no way the trees just dumped a bunch of leaves onto the tent, right?"

"Uh, I don't think so?" She comes out of the tent and closes it up. "It's only like that here and nowhere else. Someone else must be out here, and thought it'd be funny to mess with us."

"I guess we might have a run in with one of those explorers after all." Maribel lets a thin smile creep onto her face as she speaks. "I am actually kind of excited. Things were getting pretty dull, and there isn't much to do until the sun goes down anyway."

"What, you want us to look for this guy?" Renko crosses her arms. "I doubt he'd be happy to see us. If he wanted to meet us he'd probably have stuck around until we got back."

[ ] Mary's right, things have been dull. It's time to look for this guy's camp.
[ ] Renko's right, this guy doesn't want anything to do with you. Best to stay here.
[ ] Suggest going back to the graveyard and looking for him there.
>> No. 44417
Sorry about the really slow introduction, by the way. Each time I write something it starts the same way, and I've never really found it to be a big enough problem to need correcting.
>> No. 44422
[x] Renko's right, this guy doesn't want anything to do with you. Best to stay here.
- [x] Suggest arming everyone with long sharpened sticks.

Just in case we’ll need to lift something heavy, or the leaf spreader guy turns out to be a little bit crazy.
>> No. 44437
Probably something I should have mentioned before: Anytime you think it'd be a good idea to switch to Renko or Mary's PoV, you're welcome to vote for that. You aren't locked in as Water Girl or anything.
>> No. 44443
[Q] Suggest going back to the graveyard and looking for him there.

Because of course he(?)'s totally a zombie. Or a ghost.

That's how camping trips go right?
>> No. 44447
[X] Mary's right, things have been dull. It's time to look for this guy's camp.

Leaves on our tent?

Sir.

The prank war is on.
>> No. 44459
Rolled a d6 to decide the winner and it landed on 3. As a result I'll be writing "[X] Mary's right, things have been dull. It's time to look for this guy's camp." for the next update.
>> No. 44506
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44506
"No, I think Mary's right. Maybe he played that joke on us as an invitation?"

"Well... I guess that's possible." Renko looks thoughtful, holding her face with one hand. "If you and Mary want to go look for him, that's fine with me. I think I'll stay here and make dinner."

You look at Maribel and she shrugs. You're not too sure about leaving Renko here by herself, but when was the last time just you and Maribel spent time together? Never, you think.

"Alright. You think we'll be fine without your sense of direction, though?"

"You're not kids! Take your maps, keep track of where our camp is, and also of where you are. You'll be fine."

Renko shoos you away as she makes her way to the tent, probably to get what she needs to prepare dinner. You follow her to get your canteen, map, and flashlight. You decide to get Maribel's things, too.

You take one last look at the campsite before leaving the clearing with Maribel. You figure that you'll be fine so long as you set some landmarks for yourself, although there isn't a whole lot to pick up on out here. Hopefully Maribel is better at this than you.

A few minutes pass by with you and her just walking, not saying a word to eachother. You can tell by the way she checks her map and examines your surroundings that she's keeping track of where you two are. Feeling a little more at ease, you decide to take it upon yourself to break the ice.

"So, that graveyard's the one you dreamt about, right?"

She nods, still paying more attention to her map than she does to you.

"Was there anything special about it or the area in your dream? Maybe a zombie? Or a ghost?"

That's how dreams go, right?

Maribel slows down for a moment and looks straight at you. Her expression's blank at first, but a moment later she smiles.

"Yes, there was a long road in my dream. That and a village lost in the woods, that I could not find my way back to."

"Anything else?"

"Well..." She looks off to the left and crinkles the map a little. "I remember something following me around. It was too fast to get a good look at, though."

A stalker?

"It did not seem malicious. It almost seemed like it was being playful, if that makes any sense?"

You shrug.

"So you thought we might find that road or village if we came out here?"

"Well... No, actually." Maribel checks her map again, slowing down. She nods and picks up her pace. "I was kind of surprised when we found the right graveyard, rea-"

She cuts off mid sentence and stares straight ahead. You look the same way, and instantly you feel a weight in your gut.

The two of you move into the new clearing, where the tattered remains of a tent lie.

You look at Maribel, who's busy inspecting the tent. She seems to study it and the ground around it carefully before turning to look at you.

"...So? Did you figure anything out?"

"It does not seem recent." She picks the fabric of the tent up and turns it, revealing a crusty underside. "Whatever caused this, it left blood behind. I doubt this hardened between the time we set up camp and us finding this tent."

You take a closer look. It's dry enough that your finger can't peel it off, so it probably is old.

"...Wait, 'whatever'? You don't think it was a person?"

"It probably was not. Someone probably got scared and left their tent behind. After that an animal must have climbed in, had the tent fall on it, and then struggled out."

Maribel pats your shoulder reassuringly. That's right, an animal! Nothing to be worried about, it all makes perfect sense. Except...

"Why do you think they left their tent behind?"

"A tent takes a long time to take down and pack. Longer than it takes to grab your bags and run, at least."

You guess that explanation works. You still have some doubt, but her explanation works for now.

"Should we go back and tell Renko?"

"No, no. It would only make her worry."

She's probably right. You take one last look at the tent before getting up to follow Maribel out of the clearing.

You get a little lost on the way back, but the two of you manage to find your way. Renko's built a fire and made a dinner of curry and rice.

"Hey! You two find anyone out there?"

Maribel shrugs, then looks at you. She probably wants you to do the same.

[ ] Tell Renko about the tent.
[ ] Keep it to yourself.
>> No. 44508
[x] Tell Renko about the tent.
-[x] ...Later.
>> No. 44514
[x] Tell Renko about the tent.
[x] Be Mary.

I wish to be the border-girl.
>> No. 44525
[X] Tell Renko about the tent.
[X] Be Mary.

You know, why not? We've been everyone else. Besides, I like Mary.
>> No. 44526
[x] Keep it to yourself.
[x] Be Mary.

Parallel to the tide.
>> No. 44527
>Dopefish lives!
o u

[x] Keep it to yourself
[x] Be Mary

I guess the pov switch vote only applies if the writefag is down with us voting for it on our own, unless he say otherwise. You could just ignore it if you want, is all I'm saying mr. writefag sir.
>> No. 44533
Going off of the first vote and the last two, I'll be writing [x] Keep it to yourself
[x] Be Mary. Expect an update in an hour or so.
>> No. 44536
File 133866073188.jpg - (263.55KB , 691x953 , Pattycake.jpg ) [iqdb]
44536
You suddenly become yourself.

To most people this would probably sound more than a little strange, but you're used to it. Most nights you stop being yourself and become someone else, only to become yourself again when you wake up. It's nothing new.

You look over at Watako, expecting the same reaction you gave Renko. They shrug, much to your relief.

"We did not find anything."

Renko gives you a skeptical look at first, but she eventually nods her head and goes back to preparing dinner. It really is a relief, keeping Watako's mouth shut. You don't want to abandon this trip just yet. Besides, there's no way that tent meant anything, right? It probably was just a wild animal that did that. Definitely.

"Anyway, dinner's ready. Come on."

Renko loads three plates up with the curry and rice, then says a short blessing. You skip the blessing and start eating, trying to finish as quickly as possible. The moon should be up any time soon, and you want to get back to the graveyard as soon as possible.

The food's pretty bland. About all you could expect from a cheap store-bought mix, really. You force yourself to eat it all, knowing that Renko won't let you go until it's all gone.

A few minutes pass by in silence. You look at the map of the woods blankly for the rest of dinner, eager to get going.

Renko takes everyone's plates and utensils and goes off towards the woods with a container of water. A minute later she's back, the plates put up and a flashlight in her hand.

"Looks like the moon's up." Renko points at the sky. "Should we go check the place out again, Mary?"

"Yes, let us."

You get up to go, and the other two follow. Renko ends up leading the group through the woods, and you soon find yourself back at the graveyard. You walk over to the gravestone from before and examine it. It hasn't changed in the slightest, much like the rest of the graveyard.

It dawns on you that you're a little too excited, and not thinking very clearly. Taking a breath and closing your eyes, you try to calm yourself down.

You clear your mind for a minute, pushing away the events from earlier. The only things left are this graveyard and the dream you saw it in before.

Running through the woods at night, you had no idea where you were. There had been a road earlier, but you left it behind. Something was following you around, hiding itself but letting you know it was there. While running you found this graveyard, which had the same tombstone that's now in front of you. You examined it and saw nothing special, and then you woke up.

Your eyes open. The grave is unchanged, but there's something past it. A short way into the woods you can see something... a beaten path, and something to the right of it. The path ends abruptly at that point, becoming a mess of trees and bushes. You move a little closer to get a better look, but there's nothing else noteworthy.

Looking around, you spot the other two. Renko's examining some graves nearby with a very bored expression. It doesn't seem like she's noticed the path that just appeared. Watako's over by the mausoleums again, about to enter one of them.

[ ] Approach the boundary alone.
[ ] Tell them about the road and the boundary.
[ ] Go find out what Renko is doing.
[ ] Go find out what Watako is doing.
>> No. 44537
[x] Approach the boundary alone.

Party split, party split!

>Watako
Oh you.
>> No. 44538
File 133866547626.jpg - (31.98KB , 849x402 , it's so beautiful.jpg ) [iqdb]
44538
[x] Approach the boundary alone.
>> No. 44541
[X] Tell them about the road and the boundary.

All for one, and one for all. Besides, they had the decency to come out here with Mary, and are interested. Best not hog all the fun.
>> No. 44547
[x] Tell them about the road and the boundary.

Never, ever, split the party. Also I find Watako interesting.
>> No. 44559
[x] Tell them about the road and the boundary.

Mary's awful horror-movie-logic decision-making skills can only be outvoted by her enthusiasm.
>> No. 44560
Alright, gonna start writing soon. Should have an update up in the next two hours.
>> No. 44570
The first thing you think to do is yell at them to come over, but that might not be the best idea with a strange boundary nearby and a mystery person roaming the woods. You instead gesture for Renko to come over and try to do the same for Watako, only to realize they've gone into the mausoleum.

You walk over, keeping an eye on the small path the whole time. You peek into the mausoleum and see Watako shining their flashlight down a hole in the center. They turn their light to look at a pile of bags before you open the door.

"Mary, what're y-"

"Shhhhh."

You hold a finger to your lips and gesture for them to follow you out. The two of you leave the mausoleum and close the door behind you, then making your way to the edge of the graveyard nearest the boundary. It's as you approach that you stop both of them.

Someone appears out of thin air and walks to the end of the path. A short, blonde haired girl dressed mostly in black. A moment later a few other girls follow her, all wearing showy dresses with frills and lace. You watch dumbfounded as they march through the woods, cutting bushes and grass out of their way with their bare hands.

One last girl comes out of the same air the others emerged from and runs after them, shouting obnoxiously about forgetting something.

The three of you sit there for a few minutes, not sure what to make of what you've seen. A bunch of small girls in frilly clothing suddenly appeared in the heart of the woods, and ran off hacking their way ahead with their bare hands. You can't make any sense of it, but... It really makes you excited. Something this bizarre is just too great!

"...Oh, uh." Watako looks at you, finally coming back to their senses. "I, uh, found something in that mausoleum. Something you'd probably want to see for yourself, I think."

"What was it? A bunch of elementary school girls hiding out in a grave? If not, there are bigger things to look into."

"Just, um... Trust me, you'll want to see it."

[ ] See what Watako wants to show you.
[ ] Pursue the strange girls.
[ ] Try to pass through where those girls came from.
>> No. 44571
[x] See what Watako wants to show you.

Watako thinks it's more important than pursuing, so. Besides, it should be easy to track them, if they don't end up coming back.
>> No. 44592
[x] See what Watako wants to show you.

Could it be that Watako found a secret passage leading to jade burial chambers of the boundary empress? Only one way to find out!
>> No. 44608
[X] See what Watako wants to show you.

Show me, Watako.

Show me everything.
>> No. 44625
Not feeling it tonight, so I'll try to get at least two updates done tomorrow to make up for it.
>> No. 44658
"Well, sure. Make it quick."

The three of you get up, but Watako stops Renko.

"This is, uh... Just between me and Mary. Could you stay here and keep an eye out?"

"Oh, uh, sure!" Renko looks more than a little surprised. "Sure, I can keep an eye out."

Watako turns to go to the mausoleum. You offer Renko a shrug, and she motions for you to go ahead. She doesn't look upset, you guess. Whatever it is just became a lot more interesting by being for your eyes alone.

The two of you walk up to the mausoleum from earlier. You step in and turn on your flashlight, getting a good look at the place. Not much to be seen, really. It's as dark as it was before, and the hole in the floor is still there.

Watako turns on their flashlight and points it around at your feet. You step out of the way and hear Watako take in a deep breath as you do.

"Something is wrong?"

You point your flashlight just below their face. They sigh and nod, looking defeated.

"There was a pile of bags here a few minutes ago, but they aren't there anymore."

They take a look in the hole and shake their head.

"I guess the owner must've taken them ba-" Watako stops and looks thoughtful.

"Wait, that means they are still here, right?"

Without another word, the two of you rush out and look for Renko. She's still near the path, watching you two as you step out of the mausoleum. She quickly looks back at the path, whistling quietly as she does so.

"Well, in any case, there were bags there. A backpack, a shoulder bag, and what I'm pretty sure was a tent bag."

"I know, I saw them earlier when I came to get you."

Watako nods. You look at the path and then move your flashlight to point around the woods. There's nobody to be seen nearby, but you have the feeling that the owner of those bags must still be nearby.

[ ] Go to the boundary.
[ ] Follow after the girls.
[ ] Explore the woods for the mystery person.
>> No. 44666
Read update, forget to vote for hours. Whoops.

[x] Follow after the girls.
[x] Be Renko.

I want to see what she thinks of this "for Mary's eyes only" bullshit. You think you're so sly, Watako. She's surely on to you.
>> No. 44672
[x] Follow after the girls.
>> No. 44699
[x] Follow after the girls.
[x] Be Renko.

I concur.
>> No. 44706
Follow the girls and bodyhop, right! I'll try to have an update up in one or two hours.
>> No. 44718
You suddenly become yourself.

Patty and Water Gi... No, that bit's tired. Mary and Watako come your way, back from the mausoleum they were just in. Mary touches your shoulder and then leans in close to whisper in your ear.

"Up for following those girls for a while?" You nod, then get a little distance. You could feel her breath going into your ear! "Okay, let us go."

Mary leads the way, doing her best job to be sneaky while tromping through the bushes. You and Watako follow a few feet behind her, keeping an eye out behind your group.

"Oh, hey." You look back at Watako. "What was that about earlier, in that building? Are you two dating behind my back?"

Watako's cheeks turn pink in one second flat.

"N-no! Nothing like that, I jus-"

"Shhhhh!"

Mary holds a finger to her lips, glaring back at you and Watako. She continues moving forward, a little more quietly this time.

"Um, anyway. There were some bags in there, and I wanted to show her."

"Nice excuse. You two were getting busy in there, right? Kissing, feeling eachother u-"

"Shhhhh!"

Mary doesn't look back at you this time. She keeps moving forward, her eyes locked on the path ahead. Watako mouths a "no way" your way.

"Stop."

Mary comes to a stop in front of you. You slow down and look ahead, seeing the girls from earlier on their way back.

"Come on, pick your end up! Stop sticking your arms out like that and pick it up! Come on, that looks stupid!"

"Is that so?"

"Pick it up!"

They're carrying a heavy sack with them. The blonde girl picks one end up while a girl with brown hair and a messy shirt holds the other end. They pass by the three of you without noticing a thing, and continue down the path towards the graveyard.

You let them get about ten meters ahead before patting Watako's butt. They start inching forward, slowly following after the girls in frilly dresses.

They eventually get back to the graveyard and pass it by. The path now continues in the other direction, apparently leading out of the woods? Mary and Watako keep following the girls.

[ ] Stop them and run back to see where the path went to.
[ ] Follow them down the path.
>> No. 44721
[x] Follow them down the path.

That was much better than the suspicion I was expecting.
>> No. 44743
[x] Follow them down the path.

Stalking is fun!
>> No. 44768
Just gonna call it to be safe. Update should be up in the next couple hours.
>> No. 44769
File 133903673097.jpg - (119.81KB , 850x595 , Sealing Club Du-er Trio.jpg ) [iqdb]
44769
You decide to go with the group on this one. The three of you still keep your distance from the girls, not wanting to catch their attention. By the time you reach the end of the path, the girls have vanished from sight.

Looking around, you suddenly feel very confused. A small road cuts through the woods. Flowers that aren't in bloom and small, dome-shaped rocks line the road, and overall it doesn't seem that strange. You move to walk out onto the road, but Watako grabs your sleeve and pulls you back towards them.

"What is it?"

"Shh!" Watako looks past you, a frightened look on their face. "Something feels really wrong here. I don't think we should go into the open."

You would laugh, but they look sincere. Mary then gestures towards the sky, and you decide to take a look up.

The first thing you notice is the time; It's two hours later than it should be. The second thing to catch your attention is your location. Going with your instinct you should be right next to the graveyard, but... That's impossible! You followed that path at least twenty more feet before reaching this road, there's just no way.

It's then that you notice something in the sky. What looks like a group of small people flying through the air, carrying something heavy between them. You blink and they're gone, but you're sure they were there just a second ago.

Watako takes the lead, creeping through the bushes that follow the road. You and Mary follow, keeping an eye on the road and the woods on the other side. The three of you continue this way for a while, until Watako notices something in the woods and moves towards it. You and Mary follow, and soon find yourselves in a familiar place.

It's the graveyard, you think? The same one from before, but you should've passed it by a long time ago. Looking up, you confirm that you should still be right next to the graveyard, not in it.

There's now a small, stone road where there wasn't one before. You also notice that most of the graves are in a better condition than you remember them being in.

"What is going on, exactly? We should have passed by here a while ago, right?"

"Hell if I know." Saying that, you realize just how out of your element you are. "We should've passed the graveyard, but it also shouldn't look years younger than when we left it."

Mary looks confused, then looks around the area. Realization dawns on her face, and she nods.

"What should we do, then? We lost track of those girls, and now we're not sure we're where we are?"

You shrug. The other two sigh and decide to look around the graveyard, leaving you standing by yourself.

It's then that a strange feeling comes over you, and you spin around. You can't see in anything in the woods, but you could have sworn you felt like somebody was watching you just now.

[ ] Go back to the road and keep following it.
[ ] Follow the stone path and see where it leads.
[ ] Head back to the path in the woods. You need to get out of here.
>> No. 44770
Either this story needs work, or we are currently The Most Unflappable Character. Possibly both. Maybe body hopping so often has thrown Noner off? he says as he votes for another body hop

[x] Go back to the road and keep following it.
[x] Be Watako, the properly scared girl.

On the plus side, there's a nice sense of mystery going on here. I like that.
>> No. 44771
[x] Go back to the road and keep following it.
[x] Be all three. Or just Watako.

Road equals civilization equals not getting eaten by wolves, no matter how far in the past one is.
>> No. 44796
[x] Go back to the road and keep following it.
[x] Remain Renko.
>> No. 44825
Calling the votes, expect an update before the sun's up.
>> No. 44828
You suddenly become yourself.

...It makes even less sense the second time. You can't help but wonder why you keep thinking that.

"Alright, let's head back to the road. It'll probably be a lot better than hanging around some dingy old graveyard."

Renko gestures for you and Maribel to follow, which you both do. You make sure to be between them, where you'll feel the most secure. As you look out at the road you're creeping beside, you try to forget the cold that surrounds you.

Renko and Maribel haven't noticed yet, it seems. Ever since you followed those girls to this road, you've felt a stinging chill coming at you from all directions. Something's not right here, you just know it.

While you look at the road, you think you can make out a human-shaped silhouette in the woods behind it. It doesn't seem to move at all, but it's unsettling all the same.

You bump into Renko before realizing that she stopped. Backing up, you look ahead to see another graveyard at the end of the road. Cautiously, Renko stands at full height and walks out to it. After waiting ten seconds you do the same, and Maribel follows.

There are no mausoleums like the ones you saw at the last two graveyards. Here there are only tombstones, all unnamed and untidy. You look around but can't see anything else. Just graves, trees, and the road behind you.

"So, what are we going to do now? I am actually getting tired of all the graveyards we have been seeing on this trip, you know. It is just a little depressing."

"I dunno, the road just ends here. It's not like we have another path to follow this time."

You decide to sit this conversation out. The intense cold surrounding you is almost too much to stand now. From all sides, though coldest at yo... your back?

You turn around, only to see something lunging at you from the woods. Falling on your back, you watch a flash of red and white pass over your head and back into the woods, gone sooner than it had appeared.

"W-what the hell was that? Hey, are you okay?"

Renko comes to your aid, picking you up by the shoulder. Once you're back on your feet you look around, wondering where that thing's gone to. The chill that's surrounded you has gotten more intense, as if something was closing in from all sides! The only warmth you feel is directly opposite of the road, into the darkness of the woods.

As you stand there wondering what to do, the sound of footsteps grows louder on all sides.

[ ] Run back down the road as quickly as you can.
[ ] Take the only path through the cold, straight into the woods.
[ ] Huddle together with Renko and Mary and hope for the best.
>> No. 44829
[x] Huddle together with Renko and Mary and hope for the best.

Fuck this road, and fuck being herded.
>> No. 44830
[x] CHAAAAAARGE

Man up, so to speak.
>> No. 44831
>>44830
Which way? Footsteps on all sides, bro. This reeks of illusion.
>> No. 44837
[x] Huddle together with Renko and Mary and hope for the best.
- [x] Pull out the knife. If the lunging thing returns, stab it.

Welcome to the Hotel California Gensokyo.
>> No. 44842
[x] Start singing hotel california.
[x] Take out knife.
>> No. 44843
[x] Huddle together with Renko and Mary and hope for the best.
- [x] Pull out the knife. If the lunging thing returns, stab it.
>> No. 44844
>>44837

You have no idea how much I love you right now.
>> No. 44870
Calling the vote now. Expect an update within the next two hours.
>> No. 44872
File 133921894018.jpg - (142.20KB , 412x800 , Why are they so happy this is bad stop being happy.jpg ) [iqdb]
44872
Not knowing what to do, you grab Renko and Maribel. They're more confused than scared right now, but they have no problems with getting together as a group.

You reach into your jacket and pull the knife out. Flicking it open, you hold it with two shaking hands while waiting to see what happens.

The footsteps get louder and louder, but you notice something off about them. They're getting louder but not closer. You look around and see nothing in the area, even though you can feel a bitter chill coming at you from all directions.

The red and white flash flies at you once more, and you raise the knife in defense. Your eyes clench automatically while your hands shake wildly out of fright. A rush of wind goes past you and you hear tearing sound. When you open your eyes, a small piece of red fabric is all you can find on the knife.

"That's it, come on!"

Renko grabs both yours and Maribel's hands, yanking the two of you along as she bolts for the road. Fear swells up in your heart as you approach it, but you notice something odd. The bitter cold from before seems to part ways for you, letting you pass.

The red and white blur darts around the graveyard, never stopping. You're still holding the knife in one sweaty hand, watching as the blur moves at rapid speeds. It eventually starts to come after you and your friends.

"Aaaahhh..."

An sense of impending doom comes over your being. You quickly fold the knife, return it to your inner jacket pocket, and then push Renko and Maribel as hard as you can. Your feet are moving on their own, doing the best job they can to carry you far, far away from here.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"

You just can't find the words to express yourself! The most you can manage is a long, continuous scream that comes across much sillier than your current state of terror would lead you to believe. You don't bother looking back and just keep pushing Renko and Maribel, hoping to get out of this nightmarish place as soon as possible.

The three of you turn at the path back to the graveyard. To the original graveyard, not one of those phony graveyards that litter this place! It ends in you running straight into a mess of bushes and trees. Renko grabs your arm and pulls you along, leading your group into the darkness of the woods.

You just run for a while, leaving the thinking to Renko and Maribel. They keep looking all around, probably trying to find the path or the graveyard from before. They can't find them after five minutes of trying, and without a word exchanged decide to just keep booking it.

The trees grow thicker and thicker as you run, eventually blocking out the sky entirely. You fumble for your flashlight and flick it on, not wanting to trip over anything.

You swallow hard, then look back. You can't see a thing behind you, only trees and darkness. Your breathing starts to slow, but your running doesn't. Before you know it you're laying on top of Maribel, having run her over while distracted.

"Augh, watch where you are going!"

She tries to roll over, but only manages to rub against you. It takes a moment for the fear to fade and for you to realize that you should probably get off of her. Which you do, of course!

She stands up and pats herself off, letting bits of dirt fall all around her.

"Ah... Sorry. You're okay, right? I didn't hurt you or anything?"

"No, I am fine." She huffs while wiping dirt off her top. "What about you?"

"Um, yeah. I'm fine. You kind of, uh, cushioned my fall I guess?"

She ignores that and turns to look at Renko, who's staring off in one direction. You look the same way and spot the last thing you expected to see.

There's a clearing up ahead, and light! The three of you approach to get a better look.

It seems to be an old village, like the kind you've seen in history books. The lights are out in all the houses except a big one near the center of the village, which has lights on in a few rooms near the front.

You can hear a young girl's laughter somewhere in the distance.

[ ] Go to the large, well lit house.
[ ] See if any of the other houses are unoccupied, and if so hide in one.
[ ] Try to find another place to hide.
>> No. 44879
[x] Go towards the laughter.
[x] Go to the large, well lit house.
>> No. 44881
[x] Go to the large, well lit house.
>> No. 44906
[x] Go to the large, well lit house.

This kind of thing is what led directly to the events of Resident Evil, but what else are they supposed to do?
>> No. 44911
Calling the vote now, expect an update in the next 2 hours.
>> No. 44917
File 133930544943.jpg - (74.83KB , 600x600 , Well hey its totally not obvious who they are or w.jpg ) [iqdb]
44917
You move towards the large, well lit house. Renko grabs your shoulder as you do.

"What are you doing? We can't go in there, it's the first place anybody would think to look!"

"But there's lights, so someone must be in there, right? If they live out here, shouldn't they be able to deal with what's out here?"

Renko doesn't look convinced. She motions towards a small, dark house and starts to push you in its direction. You turn around and stop her.

"Come on, even if it's the first place you'd look, it's also our best chance at getting some help. Right? I doubt anybody can help us in one of these dark old houses."

"I think that it is our best bet." Maribel speaks up, still wiping her clothes now and then. "That thing moves so swiftly that it would check all these houses in no time. So why not go to the house we might get help from?"

Renko seems to struggle with the options, but eventually lets out a loud sigh and walks towards the large house.

While walking you notice something strange about the village. At first you had a suspicion in the back of your mind that there were little eyes in the darkness, staring at you from all directions. It's only as you look around, though, that you realize there really are little eyes in the darkness. The village seems to be home to a large number of cats, all of which are hiding in the darkness and watching you and your friends.

You tense up, put off by the creepy felines. Doing your best to ignore them, you continue walking towards the house.

Maribel opens the front door and peeks inside. She goes in and motions for you and Renko to follow, which you do.

The house isn't especially nice or awful. For the most part it seems normal for an older house. The kind of house built one hundred or more years ago.

You, Renko, and Maribel enter what seems to be a sitting room. Paper lanterns hang around the room, lighting it up more than the rest of the house.

A tall woman enters the room from another direction, and looks surprised to see you here. She folds her arms into the giant sleeves of her strange dress and looks each of you over.

"Who are you three, and why are you here? You're not from this place, right?"

"Ah, uh..."

You try to speak up, but you're still taking this woman's presence in. In addition to her weird dress she has a strange hat with two large, and what looks like a bunch of tails stuck to the back of her outfit. The tails are blonde, like her hair, and occasionally seem to move.

"We're not from here, I don't think?" Renko speaks up, seeming more unsure of herself than you've ever seen her before. "I've never seen this place before, and I don't know where this place is. I know where every place is, though, so... I don't know!"

The woman chuckles. You're just about to add your own two cents when you hear a door open behind you.

"Aha! Found ya, finally!"

You turn around, and see the second most oddly dressed person you've seen today. A girl stands at the door, a proud gleam in her eyes. She's wearing a red dress with gold trimming and pinkish-white frills at the bottom. Her sleeves are also pinkish white. She has brown hair and a green mob cap. Sticking out from under the cap are two black cat ears, one which has a gold earring in it. She turns slightly, and you notice two black tails on the back of her dress.

"You thought you could hide, but I found you!" She point one finger in your direction, giving you a good look at her long, hot pink fingernails. "This is where I play, so you need to go find your own place! Get lost! Scram!"

"Down girl."

The blonde woman pulls a hand out of her sleeve and tosses some flakes at the brown haired girl. The girl's pupils dilate to an amazing size as she lowers herself to the ground and then sprawls out on her back.

"Now then, tell me more about yourselves."

[ ] Introduce yourself.
[ ] Tell her about your camping trip.
[ ] Tell her about the group of girls in the woods.
>> No. 44918
Feel free to get creative with your own questions and answers here. The two questions as votes at the end of the update are meant as more of a format guide than anything else.
>> No. 44933
[x] Hi! We are, um, nothing special. Just three very experienced hikers on a camping trip, armed and fully capable of defending ourselves.
[x] Nice... cosplay. Preparing for a convention?
>> No. 44952
[x] Introduce yourself and your friends.
[x] "We were hiking, and then went exploring a cemetary, and after that, things got sort of weird."
[x] "And then something started chasing us, so we ran here."
[x] "Sorry if that's not too helpful. I'm still kind of shook up from everything."

Who is this Watako, anyway?
>> No. 44953
[X] Introduce yourself and your friends.
[X] Explain how you came out here to investigate the cemetery. And how you did not expect to encounter a bunch of living things out here. And how you did not expect anything to try to put you into the cemetery.
[X] Apologize for intruding on this home, but humbly request some assistance.
[X] ... and maybe some tea.

Need to sit down and get our bearings. Make sure that all of us are safe and in one piece.
>> No. 44955
>>44952
She's Water (Wata) Girl (ko). Is she supposed to be someone else?
>> No. 44957
I really like the votes here, and didn't want to make any of you feel like your votes wouldn't matter. So I mixed them all together! Hope you don't mind. The end result looks a little something like this.

[x] Introduce yourself and your friends.
[X] Explain how you came out here to investigate the cemetery. And how you did not expect to encounter a bunch of living things out here. And how you did not expect anything to try to put you into the cemetery.
[x] "Sorry if that's not too helpful. I'm still kind of shook up from everything."
[X] Apologize for intruding on this home, but humbly request some assistance.
[X] ... and maybe some tea.
[x] Make a smartass remark about her silly outfit at some point, but be subtle about it.

So, I'll be writing that! Expect an update in one or two hours.
>> No. 44959
File 133940040691.png - (161.97KB , 534x648 , You dig your hole I build a wall.png ) [iqdb]
44959
First, you clear your mind. Second, you take a deep breath. It's only then that you feel prepared to speak for both yourself and your friends.

"We're students from Kyoto. My friend with the hat is Usami Renko. The girl with the blonde hair is Maribel Hearn. My name is Aoi Wa t a .. ko."

Renko and Maribel both look at you funny, and you can't blame them. You had no problem telling this stranger their real names, but then you got nervous and lied about your own? What kind of awful friend are you?

"We took a trip to Tokyo and decided to go camping while we were in the area. We then set up a camp out in the woods and explored a graveyard, which Mary says she's seen in a dream."

You gesture towards Maribel, who nods.

"A bunch of girls in frilly outfits appeared out of nowhere and we followed them! We eventually found a road that led us to two other graveyards, and then something attacked us. I'm guessing it was that girl there?"

You point at the brown haired girl who's now busy taking a cat nap. The tall woman half-shrugs while nodding.

"She chased us around until we found your house, and here we. I-in any case, we're very sorry for intruding on your home like this, but if you could help us find our camp, we'd be very thankful."

"Chen." The blonde woman snaps her fingers, and the brown haired girl instantly sits up. "Prepare some tea for me and my guests."

"Yes ma'am Ran ma'am! Right away!"

The girl opens the door she came in through and trots off, leaving the door open behind her. It's after she leaves that the tall woman takes off her hat, revealing two large animal ears beneath it.

"So you three are humans from modern day Japan who got lost and found yourselves in this unfamiliar place, and now you want me to help you find your way back after breaking into a house that you assume is mine. This is correct?"

Humans? Modern day Japan? House you assume hers? This lady is beyond strange, but it's best not to make her mad. You silently nod your head.

"Well, I would let you know that this isn't my home. You've stumbled across the lost Mayohiga in the woods, and I just happened to come here to check up on my familiar. You're very lucky that someone like me found you, and not a less civilized creature."

This lady is really, really strange. On the bright side, she's willing to help you! You think!

The brown haired girl, "Chen", returns with a serving tray. On it is a teapot, five cups, and a bowl of sugars. She sets these down on a table for the tall woman, who you think you can call "Ran".

Ran examines the cups for a moment, then smiles at Chen.

"You're a spoiled one. I'll let you have some, but only since we have company. What about you three, how would you like your tea?"

"Two sugars!"

"No sugars in mine."

"Uh, I'll have three sugars, if that's okay?"

The woman prepares the cups and hands them out. You sip yours and taste more sugar than tea... You made a poor choice.

"Let me properly introduce myself. My name is Ran Yakumo, and I patrol this area from time to time, as my master sees fit."

She puts three sugars in another cup of tea and hands it to Chen.

"And I'm Chen! I'm the Black Cat of Bad Omens, and I run this place! So you better show some respe-"

"Chen, I'm being lenient already. Don't push your luck."

"Mmm..."

Chen sits down and takes a huge sip of her tea, looking defeated. Miss Yakumo takes a more polite sip of tea before continuing.

"In any case, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'd be more than happy to guide you out of this place, though first I want to apologize for my familiar's rude behavior in the forest. She's feral when she's off her leash."

Chen pouts, puffing one check out and making a groaning sound. Is this tiny girl really the one who was stalking you through the woods earlier?

"She really gave us a scare, didn't she!"

Renko elbows Maribel while laughing. Maribel doesn't join in. Miss Yakumo shows a faint smile, and her tails twitch briefly.

"...Oh! I've been meaning to ask, actually. What are the tails and ears about? Are you two going to Comiket or something?"

"I'm sorry I don't know what that is."

Huh. Weird, usually people who put so much work into an outfit and get so into their roles know all about events like that.

"In any case, let me treat you three. There's any number of places I could take you here, but you can choose from... Hmm. There's a never ending festival, a grilled eel stand in the woods, and a ship sailing through the sky above. Take your pick."

Well then! That sounds more than a little farfetched!

[ ] Choose the never ending festival.
[ ] Choose the grilled eel stand.
[ ] Humor her and choose the ship in the sky.
[ ] Politely decline and ask to be lead to your tent.
>> No. 44960
[x] Choose the grilled eel stand.

I'll take the vaguely normal option, thanks. No endless parties or flying ships for me.

Why are Aoi's friends thinking a lie? Or is Aoi the lie?
>> No. 44961
[x] Choose the grilled eel stand.
>> No. 44962
[x] Choose the grilled eel stand.
>> No. 44963
[X ] Humor her and choose the ship in the sky.
>> No. 44982
[x] Choose the grilled eel stand.

So presumably these guys know the legend of Mayohiga, right? Have to, really, they're in the club about the occult. Get some loot, for goodness's sake!
>> No. 45006
Eel stand it is! Expect an update in 1-2 hours, as per usual.
>> No. 45008
File 133948859668.jpg - (144.54KB , 800x600 , Just pretend its dark.jpg ) [iqdb]
45008
While the first and last options sound too intense and unbelievable, you can't turn down free food!

"The flying ship! It sounds like it would be wonderful!"

Maribel claps her hands together, a smile forming on her lips. You hesitate for a moment before speaking up.

"Could we go to the eel stand instead? I could use a break from the bizarre."

"Yeah, Aoi's right. We should just take it easy and have a bite to eat."

Maribel looks let down, but her stomach growls at the suggestion. She turns and covers her face, embarrassed. Miss Yakumo smiles, placing her empty cup back on the tray.

"Miss Ran, I wanna go too! I'm starving, please!"

Chen grabs Miss Yakumo's dress, looking up at her with wide eyes. The woman sighs and pats the girl's head.

"Of course, I can't carry them all on my own."

"...Carry?"

Fewer than five minutes later, the five of you are standing outside the large house and discussing how to get to the stand.

"Like I said, it's simple. Mary and Renko will climb on my back, and Watako will ride on Chen's back. We'll get there in no time if we fly."

You're starting to feel uncomfortable. Flying? Really? This lady is either really into her role or she's completely lost it.

"Well, whatever. Show me what you've got!"

Renko hops on to Miss Yakumo's back, and Maribel does the same. You take a skeptical look at the young girl in front of you, who has her arms out to support you.

"Hurry up! It's enough for my master to make me do this, don't make it worse by taking forever!"

You shrug and slowly climb onto Chen's back. She continues standing, much to your surprise. Also surprising is how she holds you up with no problems whatsoever.

You blink, and as you do you feel a strange motion and a blast of air to your face. When you open your eyes you can only see the night sky and the trees below.

You clench your eyes shut until the motion stops, and when you open your eyes you can see a small road before you. You get off Chen's back and reunite with Renko and Maribel, who seem just as confused as you are.

"Follow me. Her stand's this way."

Miss Yakumo leads you down the road, towards what looks like a faint light in the distance. As you get closer, you think you can hear someone... singing?

"Night bird, night song~ Humans shall turn off the light in the darkness~"

You start to walk slower, feeling uneasy about the strange song.

"Dream in the night, red in the night~ Humans will be crucified in the darkness~"

Your vision starts to fail. Darkness surrounds you on all sides, and the only thing you can see is the red light up ahead. It's not far now, but you don't feel safe moving in this darkness.

A hand nudges you from behind, urging you to keep moving. The light is in your face before you know it, and next to it you notice a shop curtain. You pass through and see grilled lamprey and an empty seat.

"Eh? You brought humans with you? Why is that, I wonder?"

A pink haired girl stands behind a grill, looking you over with some level of interest. You do the same for her, noticing her the blue handkerchief on her head, the thick apron over her chest, and the strange ears and wings she's sporting.

"My familiar was harassing them, so I'm compensating for their trauma." Looking to your left, you see Miss Yakumo set some coins down on the counter. "Their food will be on me."

The pink haired girl counts the coins and nods. She stuffs some grilled lamprey into a newspaper and shoves it in your face. You take it and look it over a few times before taking a bite. The darkness around you begins to fade as you eat.

"Night bird, night song~"

The pink haired girl keeps singing her strange song while you eat. When you look to your left you see Miss Yakumo, Chen, Maribel and Renko, seated in that order from right to left. Your friends seem as confused as you are, but they're stuffing their faces with the lamprey.

[ ] Look at the newspaper.
[ ] Try talking to the pink haired girl.
[ ] Try talking to Ran Yakumo.
>> No. 45009
[x] Be silently shocked, as your mundane worldview just shattered against the incomprehensible unreality of mythical faerie magick.
[x] Be Maribel.
[x] Try talking to Ran Yakumo.
>> No. 45010
[x] Try talking to the pink haired girl.
[x] Be yourself.
>> No. 45013
[x] Try talking to the pink haired girl.
[x] Be yourself.
>> No. 45015
[ X] Look at the newspaper.
>> No. 45024
[X] Try talking to the pink haired girl.

I'm tempted to have Maribel talk to Ran, but I can't bring myself to pass up Mystia.
>> No. 45038
Gonna call the vote now! As usual, expect an update some time in the next one or two hours.
>> No. 45048
File 133957117627.jpg - (245.78KB , 620x877 , Night bird~ Night song~.jpg ) [iqdb]
45048
"Um, miss?"

"Yes miss~? I trust everything is sublime~"

"Well, yes, it's perfectly fine."

You take another bite of the lamprey, not sure how else you could've responded. This girl has a very friendly face and an upbeat attitude, which both kind of intimidate you.

"Uh, my name is Aoi Wata k o."

You catch yourself on that one. Have to keep the lie up, Miss Yakumo's next to you.

"Watako you say~? They call me Mystia Lorelei~"

"Ah, that's a nice name!" Miss Lorelei smiles, much to your relief. "I was just curious, why are you selling lamprey in the middle of nowhere?"

"Dark in the night, a light alone~ Humans struggle to reach my stand~"

Wait, does this imply that she knew your vision faded on your way here? So she uses that for her business, somehow?

"Just a bite, a chunk of lamprey~ Night blindness will leave the humans alone~"

"Night blindness? What is that?"

A curious look appears on Miss Lorelei's face. She tends to her grill, flipping the eels and lampreys on it and letting the smell of their cooked flesh fill the air. She puts a grilled eel on your newspaper plate.

"So, you don't know what night blindness is?" You shake your head, and Miss Lorelei grins. "Wow! Most humans have at least heard of it before! You aren't from around here, are you?"

"She is, she's just sheltered." Miss Yakumo speaks up on your behalf, telling lies to Miss Lorelei. "Would you mind telling her about it, then?"

"Not at all~ It's simple, actually. When humans hear the song of a certain bird youkai, their vision fades and they can only see a few things around them! They can see my lanterns regardless of distance, though. So they wander over here, and I sell them lamprey! Then their night blindness goes away!"

That... Doesn't really explain anything. It actually just raises more questions, like how can a song affect someone's vision? What's a bird youkai? How can lamprey give someone their vision back?

"...Oh, wait a second." You look straight at Miss Lorelei, suspicious. "You keep saying 'humans' over and over again. So you aren't a human?"

"A sparrow of the night~ Singing in the night, luring humans in the night~"

"That's a legend or something, right?" Renko sets her lamprey down to talk. "That a bird called a night sparrow will follow you at night, and if you catch it you'll go night blind?"

"Yes, it is. The myth also says that if it is following you, you will run across a wolf soon!"

"And they're bony! Not as meaty as a fish!"

Having said that, Chen finishes what appears to be her fourth eel. So if Miss Lorelei is a night sparrow, then this gluttonous girl really is a cat?

"Night bird, night song~ Humans don't know the darkness~"

So what are you then? You're human, obviously. You're just yourself.

[ ] Be Mary.
[ ] Be Renko.
>> No. 45050
[x] Be Marenko.
[x] Be Mary.

Tilde tilde tilde Watanabe. My god, I forgot how annoying Mystia was in PoFV.
>> No. 45052
[X] Be Mary.

Mary, Mary, let's not tarry.
>> No. 45053
[x] Be Renry.
>> No. 45094
Calling the vote now! As usual, expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45104
You suddenly become yourself.

With only food to eat and no amazing flying ship to explore, you've mostly been thinking about the night and loose ends that don't add up.

While looking for a prankster out in the woods, you and Aoi stumbled across a ruined tent. It was obvious that something awful happened to the tent and its owner, and that whatever did that wasn't human. The missing bags were evidence enough of that.

Those girls that cut a path through the woods didn't appear until after that, right? While it's possible they did that to the tent and its owner, they couldn't have dumped leaves on your tent. That happened before the girls had appeared from this strange world.

So where is the person who pranked your tent? Is it possible that they followed you to this strange place?

You think the situation over a few more times but make no sense of it. It's like slamming your head against a brick wall that will never crack.

"Chen, did you notice anything while playing earlier?"

"Like what Miss Ran? I saw these girls and spooked them!"

"Nothing else? I only ask because a little bird just told me there's been some suspicious activity on the border."

"I did what~?"

"Not you."

The border... She must mean the boundary that keeps this world separate from your own! You perk up and pay full attention, more interested than ever now.

Ran quickly finishes off her lamprey and stands, scanning the surrounding area as she does. She then lets out a sigh and folds her arms into her sleeves.

"My apologies, it seems I have an errand to take care of before I can help you find your way back."

"No problems! We're happy to tag along a little longer, right you two?"

You and Watako both nod. While Watako's probably just going with the flow, you're really interested now. You've got a lot of questions for Ran after this.

The five of you get up and take your flying positions just like before. You wave goodbye to the sparrow person, and she waves back. Ran lifts off of the ground just like she did before, flying up and across the sky at an amazing speed. You can't help but grin while riding on her back. Flying, really! You knew these sort of things could happen, and you just can't wait to rub this in Renko's and Watako's faces later on.

Ran slows down and starts to descend. She lands where you and your friends entered this world, where the path once was... And once again is! If that "hole" in their "border" is back, then that might mean... Those girls must have be the suspicious activity!

You and Renko climb down from Ran's back and follow her down the path. A short ways down it you see the graveyard once again, the same as it was earlier in the night.

"It looks like they could have gone one of two ways." Ran gestures towards the path through the woods and the graveyard. "Chen, I'll trust you to patrol the area around this graveyard and to protect these girls. Keep an eye out while I search the path."

Ran turns to leave the four of you here.

[ ] Ask if you can follow Ran instead.
- [ ] Alone.
- [ ] With your friends.
[ ] Stay with Chen.
>> No. 45106
[x] Ask if you can follow Ran instead.
- [x] Alone.

It is time to split the party.
>> No. 45132
[X] Ask if you can follow Ran instead.
- [X] Alone.

I'm torn, but no second guessing! Let's do it!
>> No. 45137
[X] Ask if you can follow Ran instead.
- [X] Alone.

Cheerful suicidal Maribel is the best Maribel.
>> No. 45140
Calling the vote. Hoping to get two updates out today! Not as usual, expect an update in anywhere from 1-3 hours.
>> No. 45150
File 133971464054.jpg - (172.26KB , 850x637 , no dumb comment here this time just ran.jpg ) [iqdb]
45150
"Wait, Miss Ran." You touch the woman's shoulder. "Is it fine if I go with you?"

She turns around and looks at you. It takes a few seconds before she shows a faint smile and nods.

"Fine then, you can come with me." She looks past you and gestures towards her feline familiar. "Chen, you just have to watch these two now."

"Yes Miss Ran!"

The girl gives her master a thumbs-up and a confident grin. You also grin, still excited that you've met three real youkai today.

You walk next to Ran for a while, just following the path through the woods. It twists and turns every once in a while, never staying straight for long.

"Oh, Miss Ran." The woman turns her head slightly in your direction. "You are one of those fox people, are you not? Around eight hundred or so years old?"

She smiles and bobs her head once. The two of you continue walking down the path, not finding any trace of those girls from before. A minute of silence passes by before you decide to speak again.

"You know, as strange as it may sound, this is not the first time I have seen you!"

"This isn't the first time I've seen you either, Maribel Hearn. I've actually met you once before."

She pulls her arms out of her sleeves and takes off her hat. The large fox ears on her head twitch and move to face different directions, eventually standing perfectly still.

"This way."

She picks up the pace, moving more swiftly down the path. You jog after her, trying your absolute best to not fall behind.

"Wait, you said you have met me before? That is not possible! The only time I have seen you was when I was asleep!"

Ran slows down and touches your shoulder. You look up at her, to see a pained look in her eyes.

"You need to understand something. I have met you before, and I met your friend as well. I did not, however, meet the other one. I've never seen them before."

Your heart starts to beat faster, and a weight grows in your throat. What in the world is she talking about?

"Who is that, Mary? Can you tell me?"

Your throat is dry, and you aren't sure how to respond. The only thing you can think of is some kind of distraction. Like the kind behind Ran.

"Ran, loo-"

In the blink of an eye she's grabbed her assailant by the collar and lifted them a foot off the ground. She looks down at the brown haired girl in the dull shirt, and breathes.

"I'd like to ask why you're leaving Gensokyo and sneaking through the woods in the outside world. I really would like to ask that, but I already know the answer." She drops the girl onto her butt. "How is the human hunting? Also, where are your friends?"

"T-t-they weeeaaaahhh..." The girl points back the way you came, and swallows. "They went through a graveyard, while I explored this way. W-we were looking for a human who escaped us."

Ran picks the girl up and holds her under one arm. She gives you the same treatment before rushing back down the path, her feet moving at incredible speeds. You get back to the graveyard just in time to see Chen, Renko, and Watako... Sitting around, doing nothing. Ran sighs her relief and sets you down.

"Miss Ran!" Chen waves to her master, skipping over to her at the same time. "Who's that?"

"Someone who shouldn't be out here."

Chen examines the girl's face for a moment before the girl hides her face against Ran's dress. Ran calmly walks to the end of the path and plucks another girl out of the bushes, this time one with blonde hair and a red ribbon.

"What are you doing here, then?"

"I came back for her!" The blonde haired girl points at the girl under Ran's arm. "The others already went back and told me to get her!"

"Is that so."

"It is so!"

Ran picks the other girl and puts her under the other arm. She turns to face you and your friends.

"You three should probably leave this place and go home. Try to forget what took place here tonight, if you can."

You nod, unsure of how to take what Ran said. She walks down the path, passing through the boundary with Chen behind her. She turns and waves at you with one hand before vanishing into thin air. The boundary, and the world beyond it, vanish with her.

A moment of silence follows. You look over at Renko and Watako, who are speechless.

[ ] Say "I told you so" and brag about how the supernatural is real.
- [ ] Get in Renko's face about it.
[ ] Tell them what Ran told you on the path.
[ ] Ask them what happened while you were gone.
>> No. 45151
[x] Ask them what happened while you were gone.
[x] You don't need to brag about it the whole supernatural thing.
-[x] ...Okay, maybe look a little smug. You've earned it.
[x] Save the Ran-mentioning for later tonight.
>> No. 45162
[x] Ask them what happened while you were gone.
[x] You don't need to brag about it the whole supernatural thing.
-[x] ...Okay, maybe look a little smug. You've earned it.
[x] Save the Ran-mentioning for later tonight.
>> No. 45165
[x] Ask them what happened while you were gone.
[x] You don't need to brag about it the whole supernatural thing.
-[x] ...Okay, maybe look a little smug. You've earned it.

Aoi is a spy. Sent by Gensokyo's enemies, to locate a point of entry for their invasion.
>> No. 45176
Alright, calling the vote! Will update in 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45178
File 133973411134.jpg - (943.85KB , 600x800 , hahaha okay this looks creepy but what can you do.jpg ) [iqdb]
45178
"...Well, that was a thing that happened."

Having said that, Renko takes off her hat and looks up at the sky. A smile creeps its way onto her face, and she looks relieved.

"In any case, what happened while Ran and I were going down that trail? Anything important?"

"Nope, nothing at all." Renko waves her hand dismissively in front of her face. "Me, Aoi, and Chen just sat around and talked about the lamprey we ate earlier."

"Well, Chen did show us a map she made. I think she said it marked animal trails around a mountain she lives on?"

"Oooh, yeah, that's right! I also asked her if that was really Mayohiga we saw. I'm glad it was."

Oh? Why would that be, you wonder. Just as you're thinking about it, you see Renko pull a fork out from behind her.

"Aha, see? I took one while we were leaving to get food! This should bring us good luck like the legend says, shouldn't it?"

"Oh, I suppose."

You smile and reflect on how tricky Renko is. Even an observant lady like Ran couldn't catch her smuggling that out with her.

"Wait a second... So you admit it! That was the real Mayohiga, and you know it!"

"Ah... Hahaha! Yeah, I guess so! Of course after flying around like that and meeting strange characters like Ran and Chen, it's hard to deny that anything supernatural happened!"

"I..." Watako coughs into their hand, looking more than a little tired. "I think I've had my fill of the supernatural for now. It takes a lot out of you, you know?"

"Nope! I do not understand in the least, I feel great!"

You're probably just beaming now. Renko and Watako grin, not looking nearly as enthused as you must look. With all that said and done, you decide to save what Ran told you for later on in the night. It should make for an interesting conversation on your way home!

"In any case, I think we should pack up and head home. After what all's happened, I'm willing to take that Ran lady's advice and beat it."

[ ] Be Mary.
[ ] Be Renko.
[ ] Be Aoi.
>> No. 45179
Just a quick explanation of the vote!

The next update should be the closing action for this part of the story, and then I'll fit in one voteless update in after that one before we move on to part 2, which should probably start on Monday or Tuesday next week.

The reason the vote is like this is because whoever you control during the closing actions will be who you control at the start of Part 2. This will be a thing I try to maintain between each section of the story from now on, so please keep it in mind in future updates!
>> No. 45180
you can not post creepy pictures is what you can do

[x] Be Aoi.

Aoi was the first body switch.
>> No. 45181
>>45180
But I like the picture!
>> No. 45187
[x] Be Renko.

It all comes full circle.
>> No. 45188
[x] Be Renko.
>> No. 45215
Sorry guys, looks like I won't be able to update this weekend afterall. A friend and I are at a hotel, and I was going to use their laptop for writing but it's about $25 for 12 hours of Internet. If I can find an unsecured network to use I will, but don't expect anything until Sunday.

Again, I'm really sorry about this.
>> No. 45340
Okay, back and rested. I'll be writing the update in the next 1-2 hours, with a vote related to the next chapter of the story.

Also, since I feel like the story so far has taken too much time to tell, I'll post a recap of what happened after the intermission update between chapter one and chapter two.
>> No. 45342
You suddenly become yourself.

Aoi and Mary nod at your suggestion, and the three of you slowly walk back in the general direction of your tent. The other two are quiet for the moment, leaving you to think about what happened tonight.

When the three of you crossed that path, you found yourself in an impossible place. A place where you couldn't navigate your way around and couldn't understand where you actually were. Even worse, you had an undeniable brush with the supernatural when you met that Ran woman and Chen. No matter how far technology's come, there's no way to just kick off the ground like they did and fly like that.

A small part of you is actually satisfied. After all the times that Mary's gone on and on about these things and the places she sees in her dreams, you've actually found a way through to one! As a physics major, the world you saw and its inhabitants is both very worrying and confusing. As Mary's friend, though? You couldn't be happier that Gensokyo exists.

"I can't wait to get back and get a shower." Aoi holds their arms and shudders. "I had a cold sweat for the longest time, and now I feel gross."

"I do not think I will be able to sleep at all! Now that we know that there is a way to that place, I can not wait to go back!"

"Count me out! That was way too much for me to handle."

"You are too weak, Watako. What about you, Renko?"

You take a moment to consider what all happened, and the stories Mary's told you. It would probably be dangerous to go back, but you can't let Mary go alone and get herself killed. There's no way to stop her when she gets like this.

"Sure, I'll tag along. We need to pack some defense, though. Never know what will happen in uncharted territory like that."

"Ehe!"

Mary reaches over and grabs your arm, giving it a squeeze. You brush your free hand through your hair and look away slightly, a little embarrassed by her acting like this in front of Aoi.

"Ah." Aoi stops walking, their mouth agape. "Uh, what the hell?"

Mary's not being that bad, is she? You look at your other friend and follow their eyes to the clearing, where your tent is in a pile. You slip out of Mary's grasp and run for the wreckage, finding that the poles have been cut perfectly through, and the fabrics have all been sliced as well. You also notice red splotches on part of the fabric and a few holes spaced out like fingers.

It's been a long night, and you were planning to get out of here anyway. You notice that the bags are thrown across the ground, a little dirty but undamaged. You calmly pack what remains of the tent up, taking some of the residue from a red splotch into a container while you're at it.

The others watch silently as you pack everything up. By the time you've finished, they've also calmed down.

"Alright, let's go home."

The three of you set out on the quickest route out of the woods. It'll put you a ways away from where you're staying, but it should be better to get out of this place as quickly as possible.

"So, since you said you were going with me when I go back-" Mary taps your shoulder, making sure she has your attention. "-I was thinking! What do you think we'll find when we go?"

"No clue. It'll probably be fantastic, whatever it is."

Aoi doesn't join the conversation, and actually seems distant. You shrug and wonder what kind of place you'll visit next time.

[ ] Youkai Mountain
[ ] Forest of Magic
[ ] Hakugyokurou
[ ] The Palanquin Ship
[ ] The Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 45343
Shouldn't really need explaining, but just to make sure I will explain it! This vote determines where the next chapter of the story will take place. The vote would've been there no matter which character you chose to be, but this doesn't mean that Renko knows what any of those places are.
>> No. 45344
File 134009201813.jpg - (142.15KB , 620x450 , because airships.jpg ) [iqdb]
45344
[x] The Palanquin Ship.
>> No. 45347
[x] The Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 45351
[x] Forest of Magic

Forest of Magic is normal at first glance but has all sorts of crazy stuff deep within it.
>> No. 45354
>>45351
It has those girls we met before and delicious magicians in it~

[x] Forest of Magic

Dunno what's up with tent-slaughterer. Really weird, a bleeding tent.
>> No. 45361
[X] The Palanquin Ship

Mary was so excited by the flying ship. I wouldn't want to disappoint her.
>> No. 45362
[x] Hakugyokurou

In before bead-tails.
>> No. 45451
Since there were six votes, I rolled a d6 to see what would be written. I assigned each vote in order to its corresponding number(1,2,3,etc.). After that, whichever got rolled twice won. Here's the results!

Roll 1) 6 (Hakugyokurou)
Roll 2) 1 (The Palanquin Ship)
Roll 3) 2 (The Hakurei Shrine)
Roll 4) 6 (Hakugyokurou)

So the next chapter of the story will focus on Hakugyokurou! Expect the intermission post in the next 2-3 hours.
>> No. 45461
File 134025743539.jpg - (304.09KB , 600x800 , No flavor text no voting.jpg ) [iqdb]
45461
ONE  MONTH  LATER

You fly past the door to your room, immediately sitting down in front of your computer and setting down a clear container. You tab through a few windows until you find the right one, then check your friends and their statuses. LFCD is... online. You pull up the IM screen and send a message.

╔══════════════════════════════

║USMM  Hey! You around?                        11:32

║LFCD  I am. Just having some tea before lunch.         11:35

║USMM  Sounds good. Wish I was there!               11:35
║      Anyway, I meant to talk to you about
║      something.

║LFCD  Oh? Go on.                            11:36
║       ...Are you still there? Hello?

║USMM  Sorry about that, mail just showed up.           11:36
║      Anyway, hmm. How was your weekend?

║LFCD  Oh, it was wonderful. Do you mind            11:37
║      if we just talk? I hate this IM thing.

║USMM  Fine, fine, whatever.                     11:37
╚══════════════════════════════

Geez, you don't know what's with her. It's much more convenient to send messages like this, isn't it? Talking means having to sit down, stop what you're doing... It's just such a hassle. As soon as you put your headset on, you hear the familiar call noise in your ears. You answer.

"Hello. In any case, what were we talking about? Oh right, how my weekend was. I went shopping on Saturday and got a lot of supplies for out next trip!"

"Haha, supplies? What'd you get, a gun and some bullets?"

"No, no. It is much better than that. I got some catnip and tofu!"

"...Mary, are you okay? Have you been getting enough sleep?"

"Oh, sorry. When we went to that world and met Chen and Miss Ran, did you notice anything about them?"

"They looked like they were doing that cosplay thing."

"Yes! Only they are actually a nekomata and kitsune respectively. So I figured we might need something to pacify them."

You can't help but grin. She really gets into these occult things, doing so much research on legends about these things that might not really exist.

"Oh, my laundry just dinged at me. I will be back in a few minutes."

You can hear her set her headset down and exit the room through a door. You open your browser, only to get messaged by another one of your contacts.

╔══════════════════════════════

║WTRS  Hey, are you there? Hello?                  11:46

║USMM  Yup, I'm here. What's up?                   11:46

║WTRS  Remember how I said I didn't want to           11:46
║      go on the next trip? Well, I really
║      meant that. Still, can you promise me
║      you'll keep yourself and Mary safe?

║USSM  Yeah, no worries. I'm not gonna let             11:48
║      anything happen to us.

║WTRS  That's a relief. So, you really are              11:49
║      going back?

║USSM  Yeah. Mary would go with or without            11:49
║      me, so I'd rather keep her safe than
║      let her go get herself killed.

║WTRS  Aww, you're a great friend. I wish I            11:50
║      had the courage to do the same.

║USSM  Don't talk like that! You're a great             11:50
║      friend. Besides, there's no way I'd
║      let you go if you were scared.

║WTRS  Thanks. Anyway, gonna go get lunch.           11:52
║      Maybe we can go together some time?

║USSM  Sounds good to me. It's a date!               11:53

║               WTRS has logged off.           11:54

╚══════════════════════════════

Not long after Aoi logs off, Mary comes back and puts her headset on.

"Sorry about that, I had another load to put in after I finished folding."

"No problem. Anyway, I did some packing too! Nothing like catnip, but I think it'll help."

You take a key out of your pocket and unlock a drawer on your desk. Opening it, you get a good look at a pistol and box of bullets inside.

"That is good to hear! I am glad you are actually putting some thought into this. It should be a big trip, afterall."

A moment of silence passes between the two of you. You click around in your browser, checking up to see if anybody commented on your blog post about the last trip. There's a new comment, but it's just like the last one; Calling the story a load and telling you to take a creative writing class.

"Oh, you said that you had something to tell me earlier. What was it?"

"Oh yeah. Aoi said no to going. Apparently the last time was too much."

"What a shame. Well, I will see you later! Off to make lunch for now!"

"Okay, bye."

╔══════════════════════════════

║               LFCD has logged off.           12:09

╚══════════════════════════════

You take the headset off and sigh. In the end, you didn't have the heart to tell her. She's going to be going out there regardless of what you say, right? So there's no need to give her more to worry about.

The plastic container reflects sunlight into your eyes. Picking it up, you examine the contents. A red residue, coagulated blood. You turn it in your hand and read the label out loud.

"Maribel Hearn."
>> No. 45462
Editing for that took about an hour, and of course the picture sets the top line of the first conversation off to the side unless you expand the image.

In any case, I'll be back at some point in the next 2-3 days to start up Chapter 2. Please wait warmly until then.
>> No. 45464
>>45451

Wow, “Hakugyokurou” wins on a 3% chance. Random Number God, I hate you so much right now.
>> No. 45469
Why would you label some random blood with Mary's name? Renko is weird.
>> No. 45470
Alright, hoping to get the summary post up later today! After that I'll need another day or two to work out the final details for the next chapter's plot, and then we can start back up with Chapter 2.

>>45464

Don't worry, I'm going to do my absolute best to make it interesting despite the (typically) dull location. This isn't some slice of life CYOA.

>>45469

I know, right? That girl's got some serious issues.
>> No. 45527
File 134050880937.jpg - (135.07KB , 900x675 , 3 friends go into the woods no punchline.jpg ) [iqdb]
45527
The story opens with three friends entering the woods. Their names are Mary, Renko, and Aoi. They've come to these woods from Tokyo, searching for a graveyard Mary claims to have seen in her dreams.


Events are first observed through Renko's point of view.

Her and her two friends are hiking through the woods, on their way to a clearing that Renko is able to pinpoint without the assistance of a GPS. Mary remarks that she doesn't want to explore the graveyard at night.

After a short break they arrive at a clearing and clear leaves away from where their tent will be. Renko and Aoi set the tent up. Renko notices that Mary isn't in the clearing and looks around the edge for her, finding her staring blankly into the woods.

Renko rummages through the food bag until she finds supplies for lunch. She borrows a knife from Aoi and returns it when she's finished with it. Her and her friends head to the graveyard after they finish eating.


The story continues from Aoi's point of view.

Aoi makes small talk with the others as they walk through the woods, all the while observing the surroundings. They arrive at the graveyard, where a group of mausoleums catches Aoi's attention.

The first mausoleum is dark and empty. The only thing worth note is a hole near the back, which is "big enough for a small animal to squeeze through."

The second mausoleum has what appears to be a hunched over child inside, but it turns out to be a pile of bags. There's a dug out grave in the center of the mausoleum, but it's too dark for Aoi to see inside.

The third mausoleum is in poor shape but has nothing interesting inside. Aoi walks over to Renko and Mary, who are investigating a tombstone Mary claims to have seen in a dream. Mary mentions returning to the graveyard when it gets dark.

After an uninteresting discovery at the third mausoleum, the three head back. Their tent has been covered in leaves they cleared earlier in the day. Mary suggests looking for who did this, and Aoi backs her up.

Aoi and Mary walk through the woods and find a tent that's been completely destroyed. There's traces of dried blood on the tent, which Mary claims must have come from a wild animal. Aoi decides to go along with this and not tell Renko(for now).


The story shifts to Mary's point of view.

The three friends have a dinner of curry and rice before returning to the graveyard. Mary stops after arriving and recalls her dream, where something stalked her through the woods. She got to the graveyard and found the tombstone from earlier before waking up.

It's then that Mary notices a path in the woods that wasn't there before. She beckons Renko over to examine the path. After getting Aoi from the third mausoleum (which they had returned to out of curiousity), Mary goes back to examine the path with her companions.

A short girl with blonde hair and a black dress appears out of thin air, and a procession of girls in frilly dresses follows her out of the emptiness. The girls cut a path through the woods, and Aoi takes Mary to the side before she can follow.

Aoi tells Mary about the bags that were in the second mausoleum just a moment ago. After realizing their owner must be nearby, they both look out to see Renko watching for them to return.


The story jumps back to Renko's point of view.

The three friends creep through the bushes, following the path the girls took. They eventually stop when the girls come back. Two of the girls are now carrying a heavy sack between themselves. Renko and company follow, eventually losing track of them.

Renko notices that it's two hours later than it should be. She also notices that they're in an impossible space. While they should be right next to the graveyard, they're a short ways away from it, looking at a road that wasn't there before.

The three find another graveyard, like the previous one but in much better condition.


The story shifts to Aoi's point of view.

The three friends return to the main road and creep alongside it, while Aoi tries to ignore a cold sensation coming at them from all sides. While doing so, they notice a humanoid shape in the woods.

They arrive at yet another graveyard. Unlike the previous two, this one has no mausoleums and the tombstones are all nameless.

Noticing a distinct coldness at their back, Aoi dodges a red and white blur that flies at them. The cold sensation starts to close in from all sides, while the sound of footsteps can be heard.

Aoi grabs Renko and Mary so they can huddle together. They then retrieve the knife from their jacket and hold it up, waiting for the red and white flash to return. It does, and a strip of red fabric is caught on the knife.

Renko leads Aoi and Mary out of the graveyard as quickly as she can. The red and white blur chases after them, causing Aoi to scream while rushing their friends down the road and back into the woods, where the path should be. The path is no longer present.

They come upon an old village with a large, lit house in the center of the village. Rushing towards it, they find shelter and a mysterious woman inside.

The woman- who introduces herself as Ran- restrains their assumed stalker- a girl in a red dress who calls herself Chen.

All five of them have tea while discussing who they are and where Aoi and company came from. Ran insists on taking the three somewhere to apologize for Chen's behavior. Aoi and Renko decide on an eel stand.

Ran and Chen fly the three to the eel stand, where they temporarily become night blind. Their vision comes back after eating some lamprey at the stand. The girl running the stand then introduces herself as Mystia Lorelei, a night sparrow youkai.


The story goes back to Mary's point of view.

They leave their dinner abruptly and return to the path from before. Ran leads Mary and her friends back to their own world, claiming that something is going on at the "border", and that someone could have gone one of two ways.

Mary chooses to follow Ran down the path cut through the woods, leaving Aoi and Renko with Chen. Mary tells Ran that she's met her before, and Ran says that she's seen Mary, though not with one of her friends.

A girl comes at Ran from behind but is quickly apprehended. She claims her friends went through the graveyard in pursuit of a human they had captured. Ran and Mary rush back, finding the others unharmed. Ran plucks the blonde haired girl out of a nearby bush.

The girl explains that she was coming back for her friend Ran caught. Ran takes the girl who jumped her, the blonde haired girl, and Chen with her through the border. All four vanish, along with the road and the impossible space associated with it.

Mary discusses the supernatural events that took place that night with Aoi and Renko. Renko admits that she suspected the supernatural, revealing a fork she stole from the house in the village after being told that it was Mayohiga.


The story shifts back to Renko's perspective.

Renko and her friends head back to their campsite, set on heading home without spending the night in the woods. They find their tent sliced open, with traces of blood on the fabric. Renko scoops some of this up into a container before packing the tent up, then leads the way out of the woods.

A month later, Renko talks to Mary over a chat client. They discuss Mary's weekend and touch on the issue of protecting themselves when they return to the strange world they had visited. Aoi also messages Renko, telling her that they won't be going on the next trip.

Renko holds up a container of some red residue, marked "Maribel Hearn".

>> No. 45528
Art once again provided by Pygmalion! Thanks again for the picture, Pyg. It's lovely.

Also, I apologize for the extended hiatus. While I actually think a week's break is a lot better than just a few days, it does feel like it's been forever since I wrote an update. Expect the first post of Chapter 2 on either Sunday night or Monday morning.
>> No. 45616
File 134068507394.jpg - (75.95KB , 850x765 , I know I said morning but shit happens.jpg ) [iqdb]
45616
Earlier in the day you arrived in Tokyo, and even earlier than that you rode a train to Tokyo. After arriving, you and Mary made your way back to the woods you had explored before in an attempt to once again reach that world you saw nearly a month ago.

The two of you have been hiking for about two hours now, and it's still only five past twelve and thirty-eight seconds. You breathe a sigh of relief upon reaching the graveyard and path you had left behind.

"Hmm..." Mary looks around, her eyes bright and piercing. "I know it was around here, but it is hard to see. That Yakumo lady did a really good job covering her trail."

You open your canteen and take a swig. While you wouldn't consider yourself an expert on boundaries and their existence, you'd assume that the way would only open at night, like it did before.

"So, wanna set our tent up inside or outside?"

"If we get inside, there will be no need to set the tent up!"

Saying that, Mary makes her way over to the familiar gravestone. She runs her hand over its surface and clenches her eyes shut, giving off an air of concentration. A minute passes before she opens her eyes, glaring over at what remains of the path.

"There!"

She rushes over, and you follow close behind. While following her you check the condition of the path through the woods. The grass has grown back since you left it, and there's no sign of anybody having been here. Despite the time its had to grow back, you can still make out the edges of the trail and see how it leads through the trees to... wherever it goes.

"Oh. Oh my." Mary raises a hand to her mouth in surprise. "It is open! Come on Renko, let us go!"

She grabs your hand and pulls you along. All at once you notice the graveyard vanish from sight, only to be replaced by overabundant greenery. You can still see the path behind you, but you can't see this "boundary" that separates it from the world you just entered.

"H-hey, slow down! We've got time to burn, it's still early! Mary, hey!"

She goes from a run to a jog, and then to a fast walk. You can see her biting her lip, wanting to see all she can see of this strange new world. She really does get too excited about these things.

Just to make sure, you look up. Your sense tell you that you should be right next to the graveyard now, but all you see are trees and bushes. Not even the road you saw before.

It's when you look where you're walking that you notice a familiar place. An old fashioned village that looks to be abandoned. Cats meandering about, mewing at each other and lounging on roofs. A large house in the center of the village with a door left ajar. Mayohiga, again?

[ ] Approach the large house.
[ ] Continue walking through the woods.
[ ] Call out for Chen.
>> No. 45621
[X] Call out for Chen.
>> No. 45625
[x] Call out to Chen.

{insert meme reference here}
>> No. 45626
[x] Continue walking through the woods.

>Mayohiga, again?
What, was she expecting a border in the same spot to open up somewhere else? That's silly Renko. You're so silly.
>> No. 45628
[X] Approach the large house.

Sneaking mission, etc.
>> No. 45648
Calling the vote for calling for Chen! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45651
File 134077512751.jpg - (420.24KB , 900x700 , This picture is great but shes so easy to beat.jpg ) [iqdb]
45651
"Cheeen? Hey, you here? Cheeen?"

There's no response. It was worth a try though, definitely!

You and Mary start to walk around the village aimlessly. The cats occupying the place keep their distance from you, but ultimately seem to pay you little mind. They're all in their own world, where humans don't matter.

"There you are!"

Something red darts out from behind a house and stops a few meters in front of you. When she's not moving, she's a lot easier to recognize.

"Ran told me to stop last time so I had to, but this time I mean it! This is my village, so get lost!"

"Aha, we were just passing through, but somehow we came here again! You would not mind if we used this place as a base of operations, would you?"

"Yeah I would! Scram!"

Chen lunges at Mary, and you try to react in time. Fumbling for the gun on your leg takes too long, but Mary was quicker to react. She's opened her canteen and thrown the contents all over Chen's dress.

The girl falls to the ground with a whimper. Mary caps her canteen and walks over to Chen, offering her a hand as she stands up. Chen hesitantly takes her hand as she gets on her feet.

"You're gonna regret that, y'know."

"I am sure you think so! In any case, I wanted to use this village as a base of operations. You do not mind, do you?"

As she says that, Mary reaches towards her canteen. Chen cringes before nodding, obviously not happy with this arrangement.

The three of you make your way to the house known as Mayohiga. You and Mary find an empty room near the center and set your sleeping bags and supplies up in it. It's a shame you packed a new tent, seeing how you won't need it.

[ ] Check your Inventory.
[ ] Ask Chen where her master is.
[ ] Ask Mary how she knew water would stop Chen.
>> No. 45654
[X] Ask Mary how she knew water would stop Chen.

Mary, you magnificent woman.
>> No. 45655
[X] Ask Mary how she knew water would stop Chen.
>> No. 45658
[x] Ask Mary how she knew water would stop Chen.

Shouldn’t the gun be reserved for truly desperate situations? Chen is a cute catgirl, the worst that could have happened is that she would cutely bat Renko on the head, or maybe lightly scratch her. Hardly anything to warrant the use of deadly force.
>> No. 45673
Dude have you seen her offical art.

She is creepy as fuck.

Also shes a cat that's human sized. So basicly like a puma or something with magical powers..I mean yes she was a house cat..
>> No. 45706
Calling the vote! As usual, expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45710
Throwing your own bag over your shoulder, you turn to inspect Mary. She's happily sorting her things, putting some things in different pockets of her bag and others on her sleeping bag.

"Say, Mary. How'd you know water would stop Chen like that?"

"I did not!"

She hums as she puts her canteen back on the bag.

"Truth be told, I just thought it was a good idea. Catnip would take a while to distract her, but water is one thing cats are famous for hating! So it only made sense to douse her completely."

"Flawless logic..."

The two of you leave the room and find your way outside. Chen follows close behind, getting close but not close enough to be splashed again.

"You two are lucky! If Ran told me to, I could have you both face down in the dirt!"

"Is that so? Where is Miss Ran, anyway? Was she not with you last time we met?"

"She's at some party. Lots of sitting around and listening to music, but no games! It sounded super boring so I stayed here."

Mary nods, then looks out at the woods. It's still early afternoon, so you think you'll be fine. The look on her face doesn't suggest her thinking any differently.

You look back as the two of you leave Mayohiga. Chen pulls down on her cheeks and sticks her tongue out at you before running off into the village surrounding Mayohiga. Looking back to the forest, you can only wonder what to expect.

...

After an hour of wandering, you and Mary happen upon a staircase that reaches up into the sky with no supports. Mary runs up a few steps before turning back to look at you.

"What are you doing down there? Come on, adventure!"

You're not too sure how to feel about this, though. The staircase looks solid enough when you look at it dead on, but it's a wonder it stays up when you see the lack of support. You don't see any good coming out of climbing this staircase.

[ ] Ask Mary if she can wait a minute before going up.
[ ] Go ahead and climb the staircase.
>> No. 45734
[X] Be Mary
[X] Just grab that slowpoke Renko, and pull her up the stairs! Adventure time!

Adventure time.
>> No. 45739
[x] Be Mary
[x] Just grab that slowpoke Renko, and pull her up the stairs! Adventure time!

They're magical stairs. What need have they of such trifles as "support" or "some kind of rational construction"?
>> No. 45758
You suddenly become yourself.

Renko looks at the staircase with a hint of unease in her expression. Not wanting to wait, you take her hand and pull her up the stairs. She waits a second before following you up, still not looking too happy about this magic staircase.

You're on cloud nine, though! There's no way something like this should be able to exist and not collapse instantly, so you're thrilled- of course- that it's real! You're actually thrilled about anything out of the norm being real, really!

"So, what do you think's at the top? A glass elevator back down?"

"No, that is silly. I think there should be something amazing at the top, like a castle in the sky! Or maybe even just a big garden in the sky."

Renko shrugs before looking over the edge. She rushes back to the center of the staircase, visibly shaken by how high you two are climbing. The stairs just keep going higher and higher with no end in sight, and you start to feel a little dizzy trying to see where they end.

At this rate you might even reach the cloud layer below where planes fly, or even get a free trip to the moon! You'd probably need a helmet, though. Unless the moon's surrounded by air in addition to being different from all the pictures you see of it.

"Ah." Renko looks dead ahead, her eyes locked on something. "Wh... what the hell?"

You take a look forward and see something else unusual! Watako is standing further up on the staircase, looking out at the land below. Despite being unexpected, this doesn't get you nearly as excited as the staircase and Gensokyo do.

"Hey! Aoi, down here!" Renko waves at them, gaining their attention. "What're you doing here?"

Watako rushes down the steps, nearly tripping. They stop a few steps above you before examining both of your faces thoroughly.

"Where'd you two run off to? I was all alone up here, and I couldn't find you anywhere?"

"Where'd we run off to? Why are you all the way out here in who knows where on this weird staircase? I thought you were sitting this trip out!"

Watako gives Renko a concerned look, but ultimately shrugs her off. You gesture for your group to keep climbing the steps, which you all do. As you do Renko and Watako seem to look at each other perplexedly every now and again.

"Well, anyway, I guess it's good that we found each other. It can't be good to wander out here alone."

Watako nods in agreement. You offer the two a shrug, not terribly interested in their conversation. You're more interested in the structure you can see in the distance, at what looks to be the top of the staircase. From this place you can see someone darting down the steps, agile as a cat.

A rather short girl with dark eyes and white hair jumps down the steps, with some kind of floaty toy behind her. She's wearing a green dress and sporting two swords on her back. She eventually reaches your group, stopping a few steps ahead of you.

"Who are you, and what business do you have here? Are you here for the festivities?"

[ ] Introduce yourself and the others.
[ ] Who are you? Who is she!
[ ] Tell her you're here for the festivities.
[ ] Ask her about the festivities.
>> No. 45768
[x] Introduce yourself and the others.
>> No. 45770
File 134100171866.png - (29.93KB , 361x482 , just like in my video games.png ) [iqdb]
45770
[x] Tell her you're here for the festivities.
Well, we are now.

I'm more than a little concerned about surprise Aoi, and the fact that nobody seems too bothered about how in the fuck that happened. Mary should be the only one who can do the border thing, and everybody's just kind of ignoring that. Add to that the fact that Aoi's memory of events seems to be very different from Renko and Mary's. And all of this gets brushed off with merely a weird look and a shrug. None of them have anything to say on this? Nobody is alarmed or perturbed?

Really?

For a group of people who go around looking into weird, unusual things, they seem oddly uncaring about something so obviously strange. Something is very wrong here, both in what's happening, and in everyone's reaction to it, or lack thereof.

>You're on cloud nine, though!
>The stairs just keep going higher and higher with no end in sight, and you start to feel a little dizzy trying to see where they end.
>At this rate you might even reach the cloud layer below where planes fly, or even get a free trip to the moon!
Pic related.
>> No. 45771
>>45770

Remember, you're only seeing things through Mary's perspective right now. And frankly, she couldn't give a damn.
>> No. 45774
[x] Tell her you're here for the festivities.
>> No. 45775
[X] Tell her you're here for the festivities.

Hmm... we just swapped to Mary, but I almost want to swap to Aoi just to clear things up a bit...
>> No. 45777
Sorry about the delay, kind of passed out while writing last night. Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45779
File 134107835450.jpg - (102.99KB , 600x303 , I should update earlier so this doesnt happen agai.jpg ) [iqdb]
45779
"Oh, we are here for the festivities! We have been looking forward to them the whole climb up!"

"All two hours of it, yeah!"

You look back at Renko, a shocked look on your face. Have two hours really passed since you started ascending that staircase? You know time flies when you're having fun, but that's ridiculous!

"Very well. Please follow me."

The girl bows. She then turns around and starts ascending the staircase, her weird floaty toy following after her. You can't help but wonder how it stays by her with no visible strings. Is it magic?

"Oh, my name is Maribel Hearn. My friends are Usami Renko and Wata k o Aoi."

You struggle, making sure to keep up Watako's ruse. They better be thankful for that later!

"That is all fine and well. There's no guest list, however. Anybody can come and go as they please."

You look at the girl leading you up the steps, or rather, at the back of her head. It's a little rude to not introduce herself, too! Maybe that's just the customs in this place, though. Can't expect every magical parallel world to have the same standards you do!

Looking back, you can see Renko whispering to Watako. You shrug this off as the two of them being weird. It's not until you reach the top of the stairs that you realize just how weird things are, though.

The structure at the top of the stairs is a sprawling mansion, with an impossibly huge tree towering in the distance. All around the mansion is a garden, reaching out beyond your vision. There's also an innumerable amount of wisps floating around, seemingly mingling with each other.

You rush up to the mansion, probably leaving Renko and Watako behind. As you do, you can hear a faint racket coming from the center of the courtyard. Getting closer and closer, you start to recognize the racket as music.

Three girls float near the center of the courtyard- One with brown hair, one with blonde hair, and one with ghastly blue hair. The brown haired girl wears a red outfit and is banging on a keyboard. The blonde haired one has a black outfit and is playing a violin. Finally, the girl with ghastly blue hair is blowing into a trumpet.

The three of them start to form patterns, doing some kind of synchronized floating. The whole display has you really mystified.

A flash of yellow appears at the corner of your eye. Turning your attention, you can see Ran sitting down at the edge of the mansion. Another blonde haired woman and the girl from the stairs sit beside her, all watching the show.

[ ] Where'd Renko and Watako go?
[ ] Approach the performers.
[ ] Approach Ran and her companions.
>> No. 45780
[x] Approach the performers.

Time to go insane and become depressed!
>> No. 45781
[x] Where'd Renko and Watako go?
- [x] Become Watako

It's time.
>> No. 45782
[X] Where'd Renko and Watako go?
[X] Be Aoi

Let us unravel the mystery.
>> No. 45783
[x] Approach Ran and her companions.

Let's meet Yukari!
>> No. 45784
[x] Approach Ran and her companions.
>> No. 45796
Alrighty, flipped a coin for the top two options. Heads for Renko+Watako, tails for Ran.

Flip 1: Tails (Ran)
Flip 2: Heads (Renko+Watako)
Flip 3: Heads (Renko+Watako)

So "[x] Where'd Renko and Watako go? [x] Become Watako" wins. The PoV swap is really sudden, but it'll happen anyway! Expect an update in the next 1-3 hours.
>> No. 45802
File 134118505441.jpg - (88.21KB , 640x512 , This ones short Ill try to update later.jpg ) [iqdb]
45802
You suddenly become yourself.

"I think there's something really wrong, anyway." Renko takes her hat off and runs her fingers over it. "Your story doesn't make any sense, Aoi. Are you sure you're alright?"

"Yes, I'm sure! There's nothing wrong with me."

Truth be told, you feel like something might be wrong with you. The feeling that you've forgotten something very important has been lingering in your mind for the past one or two hours now, and you just can't shake it.

Though really, what's wrong with your story? You, Renko, and Mary were camping in the woods last night. The three of you followed a group of strangers in and you got separated. After walking around for a while you blacked out, and somehow found yourself on those flying stairs in the morning.

If anything, her story's wrong! Right?

Mary comes running over, her eyes wide and sparkling. She grabs Renko's hand and points at the three girls at the center of the courtyard.

"Renko, look! They are all floating around and using flying instruments! Is it not wonderful?"

"Ah, uh, I guess." Renko puts her hat back on after giving you a curious look. "Anyway, Mary. Aoi was sa-"

There's a loud bang, and colors fly everywhere. The three girls floating in the center start playing louder as strange things fly around them and up into the air, bursting into many colors. Are they fireworks?

Renko and Mary just stare in admiration, slowly moving closer to the girls. While they do you take a look around and notice Miss Yakumo from the other night sitting next to the girl from the staircase.

[ ] Go with Renko and Mary towards the performers.
[ ] Go see Ran and the girl from earlier.
- [ ] Get Renko and Mary's attention.
- [ ] Leave Renko and Mary where they are.
>> No. 45804
[X] Go see Ran and the girl from earlier.
- [X] Get Renko and Mary's attention.

Is this Aoi... dead?
>> No. 45817
[x] Go see Ran and the girl from earlier.
- [x] Get Renko and Mary's attention.
-- [x] Goose them.
--- [x] What? Me? Of course not. Must have been the guys behind you.
>> No. 45821
[x] Go see Ran and the girl from earlier.
- [x] Get Renko and Mary's attention.
>> No. 45853
File 134129571613.jpg - (204.38KB , 700x988 , Didnt announce I was writing but no big loss.jpg ) [iqdb]
45853
"Ah." At first your voice is low, as if you're only talking to yourself. It gets higher when you look at your friends, though. "Renko, Mary, over here!"

They look at you and then look where you're pointing. You take the initiative and start to walk over to Miss Yakumo, looking back just to make sure Renko and Mary are following you.

The woman turns her attention to you. Where you expect a warm smile, there's just a small frown. What's wrong with her?

"Hello!" Renko runs up, waving a hand at shoulder height. "It's been a while! Over a month now, right? How's life been?"

"I've been fine, thank you. Usami, was it? And these two are Hearn and Watako?" Miss Yakumo points at you and Mary. "It has been a while. I thought I told you to forget what happened that night."

"How could I? It was wonderful, everything we saw! I would sooner forget my name than forget seeing you fly and this strange world!"

Miss Yakumo sighs, letting her head rest on one hand. She gives Mary a sideways glare that very clearly shows her irritation before continuing.

"It seems you aren't the type to forget and move on with your life. How very, very unfortunate." She stands up, folding her arms into her sleeves as she does. "I supposed I should explain some things, then. The place you now stand in is Hakugyokurou. It exists in the afterlife, but humans like yourselves are able to come here due to a rowdy girl and a lazy old woman."

You can hear a quick thwap, and for a second you can see a hand hitting Miss Yakumo with a closed fan. The hand vanishes from sight as quickly as it had appeared.

"Truth be told, I shouldn't be the one telling you all about this place when there's someone more qualified sitting behind me."

She gestures to the girl from the staircase. The girl stands up and offers a quick bow before looking straight at you and your friends.

"I assume that would be me? Let me introduce myself. My name is Konpaku Youmu, gardener and bodyguard of..."

She trails off, gesturing to thin air. Trying to regain her composure, she coughs once into her hand before continuing.

"It appears she's run off again. If you happen to see a woman in a blue kimono floating around, it's probably her."

She takes another look around before shaking her head. You can only think back to the word "again", though. How good of a bodyguard can she claim to be if she regularly loses track of the person she's guarding?

"In any case, we should head inside if you want to talk. There's too many potential eavesdroppers out here."

She gestures towards the wisps floating around the courtyard. You didn't really think of them as being sentient until she said that, to tell the truth.

"Yes, there's quite a bit to discuss." Miss Yakumo looks at you, a slightly concerned look on her face. "I have a nagging suspicion that not everything is right here."

[ ] Inside is fine. The wisps are actually starting to creep you out.
[ ] You'd rather talk while listening to the music and watching the light show out here.
[ ] This mansion has a vast garden! Maybe you could find an area of it that isn't swarming with wisps to talk in?
>> No. 45858
[x] Inside is fine. The wisps everything is actually starting to creep you out.
>> No. 45860
[X] Inside is fine. The wisps are actually starting to creep you out.
>> No. 45883
You look between Renko and Mary, who both shrug. The three of you follow Miss Yakumo and Youmu inside the mansion, closing the door after you get in.

The inside of the mansion is remarkably ancient. Doors line the hallways, leading into many different rooms which can all just as easily be opened to the outside. Youmu leads you through the mansion, passing many open and closed rooms on your way. At one point you catch a glimpse of the garden through an open screen. You can also see the towering tree in the distance, which seems to be slowly blooming.

Youmu stops at a sitting room. She checks all around, investigating the area with keen eyes. She eventually lets out a sigh, looking defeated.

"I must apologize for not introducing you to Lady Yuyuko. I thought she'd be nearby earlier, but she's been off somewhere else all day today."

"Yo, Miss Gardener." Renko addresses Youmu, who gives her a raised brow in reply. "Uh, I mean Miss Konpaku. If you're supposed to be this person's bodyguard, shouldn't you be more concerned if she's missing?"

'Miss Gardener' seems to think this over for a moment before nodding.

"I suppose you're right. I'm just used to her running off to cause mischief, so it's become a part of the job."

She leads you into the sitting room, and takes a seat at the heated table in the center. Miss Yakumo sits opposite of her, taking up a whole side to herself. Renko and Mary sit together facing the screen. Seeing this, Youmu stands and opens it, letting the garden come into view. She takes her seat once again, and you reluctantly move to sit facing away from the garden.

"Ah, wait a moment." Stopping you, Youmu scoots to one side and pats the spot next to her. "It wouldn't be fair to leave you out, so you can sit here."

"Oh, uh... Thanks!"

You sit next to her, more than a little hesitantly. Something about her behavior disturbs you, though you're not sure what it may be. She seems a little too... friendly? Is it even possible to be too friendly?

"In any case, I've already introduce myself. Who were you three, again?"

"Oh, my name is Maribel Hearn!" Mary offers a light bow. "And this is-"

"Usami Renko! Pleased to meet you, Miss Konpaku! You keep a very nice garden."

"Thank you very much. So that's Usami, Hearn, and Watar-"

"Ah, I'm Watako. Watako Aoi."

It's almost become natural for you to say that, now. To be honest, you kind of like this fake, shorter name more than your real name.

"I... I see." Youmu gives you a strange look before continuing. "As I had said before, I am Konpaku Youmu. I am the gardener and a bodyguard to Lady Yuyuko, who is the lady of this mansion. I must once again apologize for her absence."

"Ahaha, It's fine. We aren't exactly royal guests, right guys?"

Mary rolls her eyes and grins, letting out a soft hum in response. You let your eyes roll to look at the garden, doing your best to not make a goofy grin.

"That's quite fine, Miss Usami." Getting up, Youmu grabs a pot and heads into the next room. She leaves the screen partially open behind her so she can keep talking. "I'm making some tea now. In any case, if there's anything you wish to know about this mansion and its inhabitants, feel free to ask me."

[ ] Ask Youmu a question.
- [ ] As Renko.
- [ ] As Mary.
- [ ] As Aoi.
- - [ ] Ask her about the mansion's history.
- - [ ] Ask her about the mansion's "lady".
- - [ ] Ask her about the mansion's garden.
[ ] Ask Ran a question.
- [ ] As Renko.
- - [ ] Concerning Aoi and how she looked at them earlier.
- [ ] As Mary.
- - [ ] Concerning her fluffy tails and whether or not you could lay on them.
- [ ] As Aoi.
- - [ ] That lady's too scary, you can't talk to her.
>> No. 45884
Sorry for the uninteresting choices on this one. The questions for Youmu can be asked by any of the three main characters, meanwhile questions directed at Ran aren't that open. Feel free to form write-ins as you see fit, and even have one of the main three ask another one of the main three about something.
>> No. 45885
File 13413770827.png - (147.28KB , 450x340 , ao_oni_by_emptycrate-d306c4s.png ) [iqdb]
45885
[x] Ask Ran a question.
- [x] As Renko.
- - [x] Concerning Aoi and how she looked at them earlier.

There are only two letters missing.
>> No. 45888
File 134140206780.jpg - (3.11KB , 180x131 , myon.jpg ) [iqdb]
45888
[x] Ask Youmu a question.
- [x] As Mary.
- - [x] Ask her about the strange floaty toy.

[x] Ask Ran a question.
- [x] As Renko.
- - [x] Concerning Aoi and how she looked at them earlier.
>> No. 45897
[X] Ask Youmu a question.
-[X] As Mary.
--[X] Ask her about the strange floaty toy.

[X] Ask Ran a question.
-[X] As Renko.
--[X] Concerning Aoi and how she looked at them earlier.

We need to get that plot information, but I can't resist the chance for Mary goodness.
>> No. 45901
Calling the vote! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45902
File 134147106644.jpg - (495.98KB , 626x885 , Its so hard to find fitting pictures for this.jpg ) [iqdb]
45902
"Oh, I have a question for you!" Mary waves one hand in Youmu's direction as she speaks. "What is that floating puffball that follows you around? I thought it might be a small kite at first, but it stayed up and floating around even indoors!"

"Ah, well, that's my... How should I put this?" Youmu walks back into the room and sits down next to you. She puts one elbow on the table and props her head against her hand as she speaks. "Do you know what it means to be half of one species and half of another?"

Mary brings one hand to her mouth and looks down, her eyes staring intensely at the table. Personally, you don't know what Youmu's on about. What does a species have to do with that odd toy?

"I suppose not. I'm half human, and at the same time half ghost. The wisp you see following me around is my ghost."

"So, you are..." Mary cocks her head to one side. "Are you dead?"

Your vision gets fuzzy for a moment, and there's a sharp sting that travels along the bridge of your nose and into your brain. You pinch your nose and try to focus on the conversation at hand, but find it difficult.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

While Mary rambles on about Youmu and her apparent condition of being partially dead, you take the opportunity to move a little closer to Ran.

As you do, you look to your right once more to see what's going on. Mary and Youmu are examining that floating blob and yammering on, while Aoi is clenching their nose with their eyes shut. If you want to do this unnoticed, now is probably a good time.

"Pssst, Ran. Mind if I ask you a question?"

"It goes without saying that you already have. Why are we whispering, then? Is it about one of your friends?"

It kind of pisses you off, the whole 'you already asked a question' routine. It's also a little annoying how she has the general idea of what you're going to ask before you even ask it.

"Yeah. You gave Aoi a weird look earlier when you said you felt like not everything was right. What's up with that?"

"You noticed it too, I take it. Your friend is acting a little strange, and their presence isn't the same as it was when we met before. If you look closely enough, their feet never touch the ground when they walk. They hover just slightly above it."

"What's that mean? Is it some side effect of eating a weird plant from this place? Or did you do something to them?"

Ran grabs one of the tails that comes from the back of her dress and strokes it, looking across the table. You look over to where Aoi is and notice the pained expression on their face.

"I don't think that's the same person you introduced me to before. Despite looking the same, there's something about them that doesn't sit right with me. Something that's wrong."

"So, if that's not Aoi then who is it?"

"I didn't say that's not 'Watako'. They are, I just don't think that's the same person I met before."

Ran turns her head from you to look out at the garden. You try to get her attention again, until you notice Aoi blinking their eyes. You move to look as if you're focusing on Mary and Youmu's conversation instead.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

You breathe in once, deeply. Letting that breath out, you turn to observer the others. Miss Yakumo is staring out at the garden, obviously not interested in the conversation. Meanwhile, Mary, Renko, and Youmu are all taking part in the back-and-forth you stopped listening to a minute ago.

"So that's how it is. My father was in the same line of work as me, instructed me, and is the same half-ghost half-human sort of being that I am."

"So, you said that you live longer than normal humans because of this? Just how old are you, Miss Konpaku?"

"That, Miss Hearn, is a secret!"

Renko pats Mary's shoulder, grinning in a slightly strange way.

"Yeah, it's rude to ask questions like that! What'll you ask her next, her weight?"

"Oh, no! I would not, I was just curious!" Mary waves her hands dismissively and turns back to Youmu. "I'm sorry, Miss Konpaku, if I've offended you."

"Oh, it's fine."

Youmu stands up and walks back into the other room. You hear her lifting something up and setting it back down, and a moment later she's returned with a tray and all the necessities for tea.

You can't help but admire her skill as she serves the tea. While holding a cup in one hand, she holds the tea pot a few inches over it and lets the tea fall, making a bit of a show from the whole thing. You could swear you heard Renko say something under her breath while watching, though you aren't sure what. The only words you could make out were 'such a height'.

"Miss Ran, Miss Usami, Miss Hearn..." While passing teacups to everyone, Youmu says their names. "For me, and then one for Aoi."

You take the cup from her and look at its contents. It smells like a black tea, much to your dismay. Not wanting to be rude, you take a heavy sip and swallow before setting the cup down.

Youmu looks out at the garden, frowning. She sets her tea down and gets to her feet, adjusting the straps that hold her swords as she does.

"You'll have to excuse me, but I'm getting more than a little concerned over Lady Yuyuko. I'll be taking my leave to find her."

"That is unlike her, I must admit. She's usually all over any guests this mansion gets, is she not?"

"Yes, and that's what scares me."

Making her way to the hall, Youmu doesn't let the worry appear on her face. She looks as collected as she did pouring the tea, though the tone of her voice makes it obvious just how concerned she is.

"I think I'll take my tea to the gardens, then."

Miss Yakumo gets up, brushing her tails off at the same time. Renko and Mary move to follow her, while you're left watching as the four others get ready to go their separate ways.

[ ] Follow Youmu.
- [ ] With your friends.
- [ ] Without your friends.
[ ] Follow Miss Yakumo.
[ ] Wait for everyone else to leave before going to explore on your own.
>> No. 45903
[x] Follow Youmu.
- [x] Without your friends.

Like always, the dead had all the answers.
>> No. 45905
[x] Follow Youmu.
- [x] Without your friends.
>> No. 45909
[X] Follow Youmu.
- [X] Without your friends.

Let's find Yuyuko.
>> No. 45921
Calling the vote! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 45922
File 134155449971.jpg - (339.94KB , 939x842 , Thats 5 updates time to swap thems the rules.jpg ) [iqdb]
45922
You watch as Renko and Mary chase after Miss Yakumo, deciding not to stop them. Once they're on their way you go into the hallway and run after Youmu, who turns to look at you as you get close.

"Ah, sorry. You don't mind if I tag along, do you?"

"No, it's fine. She might be more willing to show herself if she sees a new face."

Youmu turns around once more, and continues walking. She holds one hand to her chin and the other to her chest as she thinks, slowing down at a gradual pace all the while. She eventually enters one of the rooms and slides the panel open, revealing the courtyard on the other side.

With a small 'hup' she jumps out of the room. You follow her and close the panel before turning your attention to the courtyard. The three girls from before have stopped playing and are now all reclining in the center. You follow Youmu as she walks over to them.

"Lunasa, have you seen Lady Yuyuko? I haven't been able to find her all day."

"Mm? Oh, right. Merlin said she was all over the place once you left, talking about the shrine maiden and the tree."

The blonde haired girl points up and into the distance, at the tree towering in the distance. While you follow her pointing, you notice the tree blooming even more than it was earlier. Youmu doesn't bother turning to look at it.

"Which way did she go, then?"

The blonde girl, who you assume you can call Lunasa, points towards the stair case. Youmu grabs you by the wrist and makes a mad dash for the stairs.

"Hey, what are you doing? If you go this fast we're gonna fall! Do you wanna die on that staircase? Youmu? Come on!"

You try to slow her down, but she won't have any of it. She keeps running faster and faster until the two of you are practically flying over the side of the stair case. You clench your eyes shut and hold your breath, expecting the worst.

You can feel one arm wrap around you. It's small but firm, and gives you enough confidence to open your eyes.

"...Oh. We're flying?"

You look down at the staircase below. You're a little to the left of it, and about seven feet above. It takes a moment for you to realize there's nothing but air beneath you, and you grab on to the first thing you can find.

"Hey! Don't grab me like that!"

Youmu pulls your hand off from wherever it was and places it around her torso. You hug on to her, unable to take your eyes off of the ground so far below.

"Geez, I don't need distractions like that. I just need to find-" There's a brief pause, and a sigh of relief from Youmu. "Lady Yuyuko!"

The two of you slow down instantly and float over to the staircase. Youmu lets you go, and you do your best to not fall to your death. While close to losing your balance and tumbling over the side, you decide it's best to just lay on the stairs and shut your eyes.

"Youmu! Where were you?" You hear a new voice somewhere behind you. It's a lot more energetic than Youmu's voice. "I was looking all over but you were nowhere to be found!"

"Lady Yuyuko, I was at the mansion! I was listening to the Prismrivers with Ran when three people came up and intr-"

"People? As in real, living people?" Yuyuko waits a moment before continuing. "In Hakugyokurou? Since when?"

"...Lady Yuyuko, this isn't anything new. It's been so many years since the barrier went down, and... Well, you're used to guests from the world of the living. Right?"

There's a long pause. You open your eyes and slowly roll over to get a look at this Yuyuko girl.

The first thing you notice about her is her pink hair and blue kimono. She also has a blue mob cap on, which has a white triangle on it. The only other thing you notice is her apparent age. She looks a little older than you, though not by much. The biggest hint at her age is her figure, not her face. While her face looks soft and innocent, her body has curves that are easily noticeable, even with her kimono on.

She turns to look at you, sprawled out on the stairs. The look on her face is of pure shock.

"This person... Then, the barrier's broken? It's been broken for years?"

Youmu nods, one eyebrow lifted higher than the other. She seems just as confused as this Yuyuko character.

"That's not possible! It was broken hardly any time ago, and I was just about to unseal..."

Her voice trails off. All she can manage is to hold her head with one hand and stare at Youmu.

"Um..." Doing your best to scoot forward without taking a tumble, you wave a shaking hand at the girl. "H-hi! I'm Watako Aoi, and you must be Lady Yuyuko?"

The girl looks at you, her mouth slightly agape. She looks like a tourist who got lost in the city, or a kid lost at a theme park.

[ ] Be Renko.
[ ] Be Mary.
>> No. 45924
[x] Be Renko
>> No. 45925
[X] Be Mary.

Damn. What a place to be forced to switch.
>> No. 45926
[x] Be Mary.

We need to be Mary to be able to take an option [ ] Hug the beautiful blooming cherry tree. next update.
>> No. 45928
[x] Be Renko.

Time shenanigans?
>> No. 45929
[x] Be Renko.
>> No. 45937
[x] Be Renko

The best choice for dealing with flighty broads.
>> No. 45938
Calling the vote now! Being Renko won, in case you couldn't tell. Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours!
>> No. 45940
File 134164307781.png - (356.64KB , 497x481 , Isnt she lovely isnt she wonderful.png ) [iqdb]
45940
You suddenly become yourself.

Doing your best to keep up, you jog as quickly as you can after Mary and Ran. The two of them make a beeline for the strange character wandering the garden, ignoring everything else in the process.

"Miss Ran! Slow down! Who is she, a friend of yours? Is she also an animal spirit? Please Miss Ran, wait!"

So, Mary is actually too busy badgering Ran about the girl to pay any attention to her. Looking ahead, you take your time to observe her before you approach.

She's around your height, and looks to also be around your age. Her hair's a lighter brown than yours, with a bit of a different hue to it. It's about the same length, though. The only other thing that stands out about her is her light pink... kimono? That's a kimono, isn't it?

The three of you draw nearer to her, gradually slowing down as you get close. The girl doesn't pay you any mind, but instead watches a butterfly as it flies towards her. Her hazy eyes seem a little out of focus as they follow the bug, watching as it starts to fly up over her head.

"Excuse me, miss." Ran approaches the girl, her back straight and arms folded into their sleeves. "Are you lost? This is a garden for the dead, and you-"

"Oh... Hello!" The girl cuts Ran off, smiling as she approaches her. "My, you have such lovely tails! I know someone with tails like yours, but she doesn't have as many as you do!"

The girl puts her arms behind her back and starts to walk in a half-circle around Ran, observing her. She hums and waves her head around as she does, coming across as both cheerful and ever so slightly unsettling.

"My, you really do look a lot like her! Do you know her? Or-!" The girl gasps, holding both hands to her mouth. "You couldn't be her mother, could you?"

"I... No, I've never had children." Ran says this as she watches the girl's every move, her tails starting to turn bushy. "Who might you be, then?"

"Oh! I'm terribly sorry!" The girl offers a short bow. "You can call me 'Yuyu'!"

"Um, excuse me, Yuyu?" You approach the girl slowly, unsure what to make of her. "Has anybody ever called you 'Lady Yuyuko'?"

"Eugh, yes. It's too formal though, don't you think? It makes me sound all stuffy and proud!"

You look at Ran to see her reaction. Her face is frozen in a look of concern, and you can see a single bead of sweat travel down her cheek. She swallows once and partially covers her eyes with one hand.

"Miss Usami, Miss Hearn. Please cover your eyes and don't look up."

It's a... strange request, but not an impossible one. You comply, making sure that Mary shuts her eyes before you close your own. Despite Ran's warning, you keep one eye slightly open to watch your friend.

A moment later, Ran speaks.

"It's just as I thought." She touches your arm and gestures for you to turn around. "Please don't look this way."

"Why not? Is it something that will attack my eyes?"

"In a way, yes. That's why you shouldn't look at it, Miss Hearn."

Mary doesn't look too happy about it, but she nods anyway. She can be reckless sometimes, but she knows her boundaries. The two of you turn around to face in the direction of the mansion.

"I want you two to keep an eye on this girl for me. I need to find the gardener and get her assistance." Ran pauses, then pulls Yuyuko over to where you can see her. "Yuyu, please wait here until I get back. These two will keep you company."

"Ah, where are you going? Could you get me some water while you're out? I'm very thirsty!"

Ran ignores her and turns to go. She darts off at a surprising speed, resembling a fox in the way she touches her feet to the ground. This is actually the first time you've seen her feet, isn't it?

"Aha, look at him!" Yuyuko reaches up into the air, gesturing towards a butterfly overhead. "So graceful! You can't help but envy their freedom and grace, can you?"

She stumbles a bit as she jumps and reaches up, trying to pluck it from the air. Something tells you she's either not all there or half asleep.

[ ] Follow after Ran.
[ ] Suggest that Mary follows Ran.
[ ] Try talking to this Yuyuko girl.
[ ] Offer Yuyuko a drink from your canteen.
[ ] Turn around and see what it was Ran warned you about.
>> No. 45942
[x] Offer Yuyuko a drink from your canteen.
>> No. 45945
File 134165980670.png - (593.36KB , 805x632 , Unfathomable.png ) [iqdb]
45945
[x] Offer Yuyuko a drink from your canteen.
[x] Try talking to this Yuyuko girl.
[x] Distract Maribel and ensure she doesn’t do anything stupid.

Current goal: not going insane from looking at temporal and spatial anomalies.
>> No. 45958
[x] Turn around and see what it was Ran warned you about.

THIS DEFINITELY WON'T HARM US
>> No. 45960
[X] Offer Yuyuko a drink from your canteen.

Renko knows well enough to listen when warned, and to keep the party together. Let's just take care of our flighty new friend.
>> No. 45962
Calling the vote now! Going for the canteen option, most likely with the longer canteen vote included. Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours, as usual.
>> No. 45964
You watch her a moment longer as she jumps for her butterfly, never getting close to reaching it. While watching her you remember her request for water, and a decent icebreaker comes to mind.

"Hey, Yuyuko." She turns to look at you with her foggy eyes. "You said you're thirsty, right? Help yourself."

You go to toss her the canteen and then decide against it. She's stumbling around in a dream-like state with her eyes out of focus. This is girl's in no condition to catch anything other than some "z"s.

A second passes before you cringe at that last thought. What a lame phrase. Yuyuko's eyes light up a little, and she holds one hand out expectantly. You pass the canteen to her, and she swiftly opens it and starts to drink.

"Ahh! That's much better!" She closes the canteen and hands it back to you. "Thank you very much, um.. Usami?"

"Usami Renko."

"Ren, then! Like I told that other lady, I don't like being called Lady Yuyuko. You can call me Yuyu."

You nod slowly. This girl may look around your age, but the way she's acting right now is really immature. You decide to blame it on her being tired and move on to some small talk.

"So, La- uh, Yuyu. What're you doing around here?"

"Oh, I was admiring this lovely garden. Whoever's taking care of it now does a very good job, especially with that big tree! Getting something to grow that huge is one thing, but now it's all pink and fluffy too!"

She points up in the direction Ran told you not to look. Swallowing hard, you look to Mary who's already started to turn her head. You stop her in one motion and shake your head to say "no".

"I wonder where everyone is, though? The garden's so empty! Other than us and that one lady, all I see are a bunch of floating blobs."

That remark brings your attention back to the wisps that have been wandering around the garden and courtyard. They're spread out all over the place, congregating in small groups here and there. Yuyuko watches them with a new interest shining in her eyes, a single sleeve wiping at her mouth.

"They make me think of meat buns, actually! When they stay still they start to look round like one, and..."

It's then that you hear the most embarrassing stomach growl you've heard in your entire life. Yuyuko blushes and covers her face as she turns away.

"Oh, thinking about meat buns has made me hungry. I wish I knew where everyone was, so I could ask for something to eat..."

Taking your eyes off her for a moment, you decide to pay a little more attention to Mary. She's had her arms crossed for a while now and has just been looking around the area, watching the wisps as they float around. You thought she'd be a little more excited to just watch them, seeing how they're supernatural.

"Oh, hey." You give Mary a slight nudge with your elbow. "You should introduce yourself too! You've been standing there quiet this whole time!"

"Ah, yes." She snaps out of her wisp watching trance and looks over at an expectant Yuyuko. "My name is Maribel Hearn, pleased to meet you."

"Merry berry?"

"No no no, it is Maribel. That is three syllables, not four."

"Merry be...?"

Mary lets out a sigh as you let loose a chuckle. It's remarkably similar to when you met her, actually! Just a back and forth about her strange name.

"I suppose it is fine if you call me Mary instead."

"It's nice to meet you, Mary. You can call me Yuyu."

Yuyuko giggles and a silly spreads over her face. Mary is polite enough to smile back, though you can tell she's not really interested in talking to this girl.

"Oh wait! He's back!"

Yuyuko gets on her tiptoes and reaches up towards the sky once more. The butterfly is flying in nearly circular patterns a few feet over her head.

You feel a slight rumble in your stomach. It might not hurt to have a snack soon, actually.

"Well, Yuyu. Do you have any hobbies, or maybe special talents?"

"Ah, just one."

She reaches up towards the butterfly again, though instead of grasping for it she makes a flat surface with her hands. The butterfly stops flapping its wings and spirals down towards her, eventually landing in her hands.

"Tada! I can focus on things like him, and they just fall over!"

She smiles at the two of you, her eyes still dim like the eyes of someone who's half asleep. While it's kind of cute how she caught the butterfly, you get the feeling that he might not get up again.

It seems Mary suspects the same. Her eyes light up with interest, and she moves to get a closer look at the butterfly.

[ ] Let Mary take over for now.
[ ] Take Yuyuko with you and go look for Ran.
[ ] Suggest sharing some of your snacks with Yuyuko.
>> No. 45965
[x] Let Mary take over for now.

>"Merry berry?"
Oh you.
>> No. 45967
[x] Take Yuyuko with you and go look for Ran.
>> No. 45968
[x] Let Mary take over for now.
>> No. 45969
[x] Suggest sharing some of your snacks with Yuyuko.
[x] Let Mary do the talking for now.
>> No. 45974
[x] Suggest sharing some of your snacks with Yuyuko. [x] Let Mary do the talking for now.
Don't want death touch girl getting low blood sugar.
>> No. 45979
Calling the vote now! The winner is letting Mary take over, but there's no real reason snack sharing can't be included in that. Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours!
>> No. 45982
File 134181500215.jpg - (730.62KB , 630x881 , Mr Tree is the best touhou ever.jpg ) [iqdb]
45982
"Ah, right." You hold a hand out to Mary. "You packed some snacks, right? Why not share them with our new friend?"

"Ah, that is right!" She hands her bag to you while unzipping the main pouch. "The snacks are in there! Get them out and pick whichever one you want."

Oho, variety? You didn't expect her to care enough to pack more than one kind of snack! Reaching into her bag, you find a few clear containers, each filled to the brim.

You pull one container out and take a look at it. It's filled with round pastries, each with a small hole hiding some red substance. You get out another container and examine it, and find long pastries with a dark icing over the top. The final container has ring-shaped pastries, whose strange design impresses you.

Donuts. She packed nothing but donuts. On a camping trip.

"Ah, there is a blanket in here too."

She reaches into the pack and pulls out a red and white blanket. After both unfolding and shaking it, Mary lets the blanket settle on the ground. The three of you sit on it, and you set the three containers on it as well.

"Ah, these are my favorite." Mary reaches for the stranger donuts, taking off the lid and grabbing the first one. "Crullers have the most interesting shape, do they not?"

"Mhm." You look at the other two and decide to go for the round donuts. "What flavor are these, then? Custard filled?"

You take one from the container and bite into it. A none-too-familiar taste lingers on your tongue, and it takes you a minute to identify it. Artificial strawberry flavoring, huh?

"So, Yuyu. How exactly does your power work? Can you just use it whenever you want?"

"Power?" Yuyuko tilts her head to one side as she reaches for an eclair. "You mean what I did to the butterfly? Um, I don't know! I just focus on something and it falls over!"

Mary reaches for an eclair and sets it up on one end. She gestures towards it twice before Yuyuko seems to get the message.

She just smiles at the pastry for a moment. Her unblinking gaze locks on it, but nothing happens. She eventually blinks and tilts her head to one side.

"Hmm. What about this?"

Mary reaches into her bag again and pulls out a book titled "Kwaidan". She stands it up on the blanket and looks at Yuyuko expectantly. Again, Yuyuko completely fails to tip the item over. She looks down while finishing her second eclair.

"No good? Hmm." Mary looks at you, a gleam in her eyes. "Maybe it is not a power to make things fall over, but to paralyze! That could explain why it will not work on inanimate objects!"

"Y...Yes?" You smile nervously, not sure if you like where this is going. "So that means?"

"That means she just needs a living subject!" Mary stands up and spreads her arms out to either side. "Try to take it easy, okay Yuyu?"

"Yes! I'll do my best to do my worst!"

"Hey, wait a second! Mary, this is dangerous! What if you fall and hit your head, or it's permanent paralysis? The risk is too big!"

"It's fine! Yuyu is a good girl, so I doubt she'd do anything bad to me!"

You choke up, unsure of how to respond to that. Mary smiles and looks back to Yuyu. Just as she does, someone steps out in front of her.

"Stop right this instant!" The girl looks up in the direction Ran warned you about, then at Yuyu. "Forget whatever you were trying to do!"

You let out a sigh of relief and take a moment to observe your new friend. She has cheery pink hair that falls down to the base of her neck. The only other thing worth note from your angle is her blue kimono.

"Ah, you look familiar. Who are you?"

"You. You need to go back to sleep, right now."

Youmu runs up to the two, Ran and Aoi close behind her.

"Please, Lady Yuyuko. You're sleepwalking and need to go back to sleep, for your own good."

"Why? I just met Ren and Mary, it'd be rude to just walk off after they shared their food with me!"

It's now that you notice her eyes. Yuyu's eyes have started to focus a little bit more than earlier.

"You're dead, Lady Yuyuko. You need to take your body back to the Saigyou Ayakashi and reseal it."

"I'm not dead, and I'm not sealing anything!" Yuyu pumps her fists angrily as she speaks. "Who are you, and why are you saying these things to me?"

This is starting to get out of hand. Nobody will make any sense if they're just yelling at each other like this!

[ ] Try to talk Yuyu into listening to Yuyuko and Youmu.
[ ] Try to talk Yuyuko and Youmu into listening to Yuyu.
[ ] Ask both sides to be quiet and explain what's happening.
>> No. 45985
[x] How annoying. Yuyu, make them fall over, would you kindly?

But actually:

[x] Ask both sides to be quiet and explain what's happening.
>> No. 45987
[x] Ask both sides to be quiet and explain what's happening.
>> No. 45997
[X] Ask both sides to be quiet and explain what's happening.

Let's do that thing that Touhou characters never do, and actually have a reasonable discussion.
>> No. 46005
Calling the vote! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours!
>> No. 46007
File 134190443517.jpg - (133.87KB , 878x953 , Isnt it sad Yuyu ;_;.jpg ) [iqdb]
46007
"Ah, hold it for a moment." You hold one hand up as you stand, demanding everyone's attention. "How about you all explain what exactly is going on instead of telling the poor girl she's dead?"

Youmu holds one hand to her face and sighs. Yuyuko rolls her eyes. Ran steps up and unfolds her arms.

"For some reason, there's two Yuyukos here. One is still a ghost, while the other one has possessed her body and is nearly resurrected. Her resurrection is a bad thing, since it means the Saigyou Ayakashi will be completely free from the seal she bound to it."

"What is that, then? The thing you told me and Mary to not look at?"

Ran nods while she folds her arms back into her sleeves.

"It's an evil tree. When it blooms, it's so beautiful that anybody who observes it would be lured into sleeping beneath it, where they would die."

"...An evil tree? Seriously?" You shake your head, disappointed with this development. "Trees aren't even alive. I don't see how it could kill someone."

"It's already claimed one life since the seal started to come loose. If Yuyuko doesn't take back her role as the seal, the tree will go into full bloom and kill anybody who ever looks at it."

The whole group falls silent. You can see it on everyone's faces now; They're all looking down. Even Aoi, despite being as new to this thing as you are, has turned around completely.

"...So, I'm the same person as this girl with pink hair?"

Yuyu looks around at everyone, her eyes wide. Yuyuko nods, her face contorting into a pained frown.

"So I'm a ghost too, but I'm only dragging my body around? And if I don't die again, then that tree will take the lives of everyone who looks at it?"

Yuyu's face gets more pathetic with every word that leaves her mouth. Her lower lip is raised and trembling, and her eyes have started to leak tears from their sides. Yuyuko nods again, doing her best to not look at Yuyu's face.

"You aren't playing a trick on me? That'd be a really mean joke, you know. I'd hate you if you're lying."

"I'm not lying. If I could seal myself instead, I would. You're the one who has our body, though. That means only you can make the decision."

Yuyu looks at you, the tears now falling down her cheeks in full force. You avert your eyes, but it doesn't take long for you to hear a low whimper coming from her direction. The whimper quickly escalates into bawling. Everyone looks away from Yuyu at once.

"W-why do I have to die? C... can't we find some other way? There h-has to be another w-way to seal it, right? Right?"

Ran shakes her head. Negative. You continue to do your best to look away from Yuyu, but her crying is starting to get to you. Part of you wishes you could just be somewhere else right now.

"...Okay, I'll do it." Between the sobs, she manages to get her point across. "Can someone come with me, though? I don't want to die alone."

Yuyuko slowly steps forward, her hands crossed in front of her. She slowly lifts her head to look at her double, and that's all you can manage to look at before reverting your gaze.

[ ] This isn't right! Don't let Yuyu do this.
[ ] There's no other way. You might as well stay quiet.
[ ] There's no other way. Offer to escort her instead.
>> No. 46008
[x] “Wait, what? You are seriously going to sacrifice a girl to a tree? It’s a fucking tree! Just set it on fire, chop it down, close your eyes, use a mirrored shield, destroy it!”
- [x] If they keep making excuses or say there is no other way, they are all clearly evil people, slaves to the evil tree. Draw your gun, round up your friends and Yuyu, and get the hell out of there.
>> No. 46011
[x] “Wait, what? You are seriously going to sacrifice a girl to a tree? It’s a fucking tree! Just set it on fire, chop it down, close your eyes, use a mirrored shield, destroy it!”
- [x] If they keep making excuses or say there is no other way, they are all clearly evil people, slaves to the evil tree. Draw your gun, round up your friends and Yuyu, and get the hell out of there.
>> No. 46013
[X] There's no other way. You might as well stay quiet.
>> No. 46014
[x] “Wait, what? You are seriously going to sacrifice a girl to a tree? It’s a fucking tree! Just set it on fire, chop it down, close your eyes, use a mirrored shield, destroy it!”
- [x] If they keep making excuses or say there is no other way, they are all clearly evil people, slaves to the evil tree. Draw your gun, round up your friends and Yuyu, and get the hell out of there
>> No. 46015
>>46008

So... You're voting to threaten Ran, an ancient and powerful nine-tailed fox youkai, a kind of being whose power could rival those of gods, Yuyuko, a freaking ghost who could just go 'yeah... no' to bullet wounds, and Youmu, who even if you could shoot her, you'd have the other two tear you apart in retribution... With a handgun.

Not even something like a revolver. Just a plain, ordinary handgun. Stupid vote is stupid.

[X]There's no other way. Offer to escort her instead.
>> No. 46016
Just a note- the reason I usually avoid including dialogue in the votes is because I don't like dialogue in write-ins. It's not very common for write-in dialogue to be in-character(from my experience), so I like to think it's best to avoid it.

That said, if that option did win Renko wouldn't say exactly what that vote says, because it doesn't exactly fit her character to a T.
>> No. 46018
[x] There's no other way. Offer to escort her instead.

The more mature option. I'd say manly, but, well. Renko.
>> No. 46020
[X]There's no other way. Offer to escort her instead.
>> No. 46021
[X] There's no other way. Offer to escort her instead.

You gotta do what you gotta do.
>> No. 46033
Calling it for the escort vote! As usual, expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 46036
File 134199067440.jpg - (97.67KB , 850x544 , Safe for work just spoilered.jpg ) [iqdb]
46036
You hesitantly return your gaze to the two. Yuyu's stopped sobbing, though Yuyuko is still looking down with a dark expression. Something moves inside you and spurs you forward. You tap Yuyuko's shoulder and motion for her to move back.

"Yuyu, I'll be accompanying you." You manage a thin smile as you look at her. "You don't mind, do you?"

She just looks at you with a surprised expression for a moment before speaking.

"Mhm. It's fine."

The two of you walk towards the mansion, leaving the others behind. You can't so much as glance back at them; You'd hate to see their faces right now.

"Why are we going this way, Yuyu? Shouldn't you be walk... Uh."

You can't finish that thought. It'd be too cruel to tell her she should be walking to her death.

"I just need to fetch something to prepare. I hope you don't mind."

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

It doesn't take too long to reach the tree they had all been going on about. Yuyu has no problem finding her way to it, despite being unable to look at it. She sits down and scoots backward toward the tree's trunk. You continue standing, facing the same way as her.

"Are you really okay with this? You seem a little too calm."

"It's not the first time I've done this, Ren! I've actually started to remember what happened to me before, and who I became after dying!"

You shuffle your feet. It's a little uncomfortable talking about this, so you stay quiet for a moment.

Looking forward, you can see the sun dipping down over the horizon. The sky is tinged orange where it's setting, along with the entire garden. You take a deep breath and try to clear your mind.

"So hey, Yuyu. What do you think the others are doing right now? Drinking tea while looking all gloomy?"

"Ahaha, yes! That sounds about right, I think. I'll see them soon, though, so it's fine!"

"Oh, that's right. You said you'll become a ghost 'again' if you die like this, right?"

"Mhm. Just like that other Yuyuko."

The two of you fall silent once more. It's kind of hard to find a topic with someone who's about to die. It's not like you can ask her when she's gonna do it.

"Oh, what's the deal with her anyway? Some weird magic thing that I wouldn't understand, right?"

"Probably." Yuyu pauses, and you can only imagine her giving an exaggerated shrug as she does. "I'm not sure myself."

"Wow, so not even a ghost can understand this world. Awesome." You put your hands behind your head and look up. "Just earlier this day I was following Mary to this place. I knew something awful would happen, and I was right."

"You aren't from this world?"

"Ah, aha, no. Where I'm from, we have no ghosts or evil monster trees. Just regular humans doing human things."

"That sounds boring, Ren."

"Hmm. I guess so."

You never really thought about it, but this place is pretty interesting, isn't it? Even though people get kidnapped and die here, it's not so bad. Tokyo probably has a higher death rate.

It's then that you notice something in the sky. A blurry figure spins overhead, letting colorful objects fly out in all directions. While you can't make out the form of this figure, you can see the person opposing them.

The woman facing the figure looks to be quite a bit older than you, though you can't really figure out her age. She has long black hair and a red and white outfit, and seems to be showering the figure with her own colorful lights.

"Ah, look!"

You point up for a brief moment. The black haired woman zips through the colorful objects with ease, though she doesn't seem to be advancing towards the figure.

A few more moments pass this way, then all at once the shady figure and the colorful lights vanish. The woman floats there a moment before flying off in another direction.

Minutes pass by in pure silence. There's not much else to say, and you get the impression that Yuyu might want a little time to rest before she does her thing.

A petal from a cherry blossom falls in front of you. A few more follow it, all landing gently on the ground. The wind picks up and starts to carry them towards the sunset, twirling them into a spiral as it does. The whole thing looks pretty romantic.

It's been a bit too long since she talked, which has made you curious. You turn to see Yuyu with her kimono open and her hands clutching some white paper. It takes you a moment to realize that the white paper is covering a handle, which is attached a blade she's driven into her stomach.

"...Yuyu?"

She doesn't respond. Blood has formed a pool around her, where the cherry blossoms float like tiny pink boats on a red lake. Your eyes move up to stare at her face, which is frozen in a peaceful smile.

[ ] Be Watako.
[ ] Be Mary.
>> No. 46040
[X]Be Watako

...Damn. I don't know why, but that made me feel like I got stabbed myself.
>> No. 46041
[X] Be Mary.
>> No. 46042
[X] Be Watako.

Poor Yuyuko...
>> No. 46062
Calling the vote! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 46063
You suddenly become yourself.

"Here you go."

Youmu passes a cup of tea your way. You grab it and take a large sip, sloshing it around in your mouth a little before swallowing. After everything that's happened today you could use something with a little caffeine to wake you up.

"So, you aren't sure why there's two of her or why that tree was blooming like that in the summer?"

"No, unfortunately." Miss Ran says that through half-shut eyes, the day obviously getting to her as well. "I'll have to take it up with my employer and see what she has to say about it."

"Ah, you gonna show her that when you get there?"

The odd woman points at a ball sitting in front of Miss Ran. It glows pink and you can see something swirling inside every now and then.

"Yes. This essence of Spring is out of place, and I hope to return it to where it belongs."

Miss Ran spins the ball and watches it spin. You turn your attention back to the odd woman and take a moment to observer her.

She's a bit taller than you, and looks to be in her 30's or 40's. Her hair is long and black, and she's wearing an outfit that's usually reserved for a shrine maiden. All in all, she looks like something that stepped out of a fetish video.

"Ah, Miss Hakurei." You lift your hand slightly as you speak. "What was your relation to Yuyuko and the others, again?"

"Acquaintances." She takes a long sip of her tea before continuing. "Not much else, really. It was a long time ago that I had to solve an incident they were behind."

"Maybe for you, Reimu. The rest of us have much longer lifespans, though. So for us it's been no time at all since that event."

"Well, except for Youmu, maybe."

Yuyuko pats the gardener's shoulder. Youmu smiles, but you can tell it's forced. She's thoroughly convinced that this Yuyuko isn't 'hers'.

It's at that moment that Renko enters the room. A familiar face follows behind her.

"Ah." Youmu stands up, her eyes flying open. "Lady Yuyuko!"

"Ah, Youmu. Did you save some tea for us?"

Youmu nods and immediately pours cups for Renko and Yuyuko. The two of them showing up has made the entire room quiet.

A few minutes pass by where everyone just sips their tea in silence. It's getting to you, and you can't stand it much longer.

[ ] Ask Miss Ran what'll become of the 'duplicate' Yuyuko.
[ ] Ask Renko if she's alright.
[ ] Ask Renko if she's ready to leave; You're tired.
>> No. 46066
[X] Ask Miss Ran what'll become of the 'duplicate' Yuyuko. You won't allow them to do anything worse to her after what she's gone through.

[X] Ask Renko if she's alright.

Time to provide some much needed comfort.
>> No. 46068
I think if Yuyu’s fate was anything of comfort they would’ve mentioned it already, and Renko’s facial expression speaks for itself.

[x] Ask Renko if she's ready to leave; you're tired.
>> No. 46069
[X] Ask Miss Ran what'll become of the 'duplicate' Yuyuko.
[X] Ask Renko if she's alright.
>> No. 46080
Calling the vote now! Expect an update in the next 1-2 hours, and... Oh! Looks like tomorrow we'll be getting the second thread!

>>46066
Just a note, the "duplicate" Yuyuko is the one who was talking like she just fell through time. Yuyu is the Yuyuko who's assumed to be up-to-date on the current Gensokyo.
>> No. 46082
"Oh, Renko! You're fine, right? Nothing weird happened?"

"Ah, ahaha. Yeah, I'm great!" She gives you a peace sign and a grin. Even you can tell she's putting up a front. "So, what do we have here. Tea? Looks delicious!"

Renko takes her tea and drinks the whole cup in one gulp. She sets it back down with some force and wipes her mouth. You notice her brushing a sleeve against her face during the wipe.

"This is great, Miss Konpaku! I'll have some more!"

"Oh, uh... Yes. Thank you."

Youmu pours more tea for Renko, who then goes to chug it just like her first cup. Yuyuko... No, Yuyu. Yuyu taps Renko's shoulder and shakes her head, looking deflated.

"Don't force yourself, Ren. You've already been kind enough."

Renko sets her tea down and nods. The look on her face shows how this has all gotten to her. Maybe she shouldn't have gone with Yuyu before? Oh well, there's no changing things now.

"Everyone, I appreciate how seriously you're taking this." Yuyu looks around at everyone, a bittersweet smile on her lips. "I'd like it if you weren't so gloomy, though! I couldn't understand what was going on while I was in my body, and I'm happy to have the Saigyou Ayakashi sealed and my days in this mansion secured!"

"Miss Yuyuko..." Your lip trembles as you speak. You've got to keep it together! Don't let this break you! "That's really nice to say, but aren't you a little sad?"

"Of course I am. If I wasn't sad about what happened, I'd have no humanity left in me." Yuyu folds her arms and looks to one side. "Still. That thing is almost impossible to kill with the power it gained through the years, so there's no other way."

Miss Ran twirls the ball with the 'essence of spring' inside of it. She lets it roll onto her hand and grabs it. She pulls it into her sleeve as she folds her arms together.

"I'm sure my employer would be sad to see you go back to the way you were, too. The years you spent with her in life are miniscule compared to your friendship in death."

"Ah, true! I wonder where Yukari is right now? It's been a week or so since I last saw her, and I wanted to see if she had any new tricks to show me!"

While Yuyu rambles on, you turn your attention to the other Yuyuko. Despite not having said a thing, she's smiling. It almost seems like she's content to just watch everyone else go on and on about their lives. Does a dead person have a life, actually? Would it be called a death?

"Um, excuse me." You wave one hand towards Miss Ran. "Sorry to butt in, but what's going to happen to this Yuyuko?"

"That's a good question, actually." She looks up thoughtfully as she unfolds her arms. The ball is gone. "I guess I'll have to take her to my employer and ask. There's no real way for me to know what will happen."

"Aha, I'm fine with that." The other Yuyuko tilts her head to one side and grins. "She may not be my Yukari now, but years from now she could be."

Yuyu smiles. It's a genuine smile, unlike Renko's forced attempt earlier.

"In any case, you don't get many opportunities like this! What should we do? Comb each other's hair? Try on each other's clothes?"

"Oh! Oh!" The other Yuyuko clenches her fists with excitement. "Maybe we could try on Youmu's clothes! We could see who fits better!"

"Ah, wait a minute! I'd rather you not do that, Lady Yuyuko!" Youmu pauses to look between the two girls. "And... Lady Yuyuko?"

The two of them laugh, looking like the two sides of a mirror. It's really a little weird, when you think about it. Hopefully you'll never have to meet a double of your own.

"Well, I think you can count me out." Renko waves a hand dismissively at the two girls, grinning slightly as she does. "I'm beat. I think I'll head back to Mayohiga now. Aoi, Mary, what about yo-"

The two of you turn to look at Mary, only to discover that she's been asleep for a while now. Her back rises and falls with her breathing, and her tea looks almost untouched.

"Ah, I can't let you do that!" Yuyu speaks up, a concerned look on her face. "If you go to Mayohiga now, you'll probably be attacked! Or worse, eaten!"

"It's fine, I'm sure we can get a flight there. Right, Ra-"

You and Renko both turn to look at Ran. She's gone, a small note left in her place. Renko picks it up and reads it out loud.

"Sorry to take off like that. Urgent business. Will be back tomorrow for the second Yuyuko."

Yuyu and Yuyuko both grin, giggling between each other.

"Since she's gone, you should just stay here!" The other Yuyuko snaps her fingers and points between you, Renko, and Mary. "And don't try to get us to fly you back! Mayohiga's hard to find if you haven't been there recently!"

Renko lets out a sigh and shrugs. It doesn't look like she has many problems with it. Mary can't really complain either, since she's not even awake.

[ ] That's fine, you can stay here.
[ ] You doubt you'll be attacked. Might as well walk to that Mayohiga place now.
- [ ] Go find a place to sleep with Renko.
- [ ] See if you can spend some time with Youmu.
>> No. 46085
[X] That's fine, you can stay here.

Attacked or not resting here is probably not a bad idea before setting out. Glad to see everything seems to have turned out quite ok.
>> No. 46087
[x] That's fine, you can stay here.

As of the last two updates, I am having serious trouble figuring out what the hell is going on.
Where did the third Yuyuko come from?
Why is Renko so glib (falsely or otherwise) for someone who just got a nice good look at a dead body?
Why is Reimu an adult, now?
What's going to happen when Alternate-Aoi meets this timeline's Aoi?
What is the source of all this time-chicanery?

I don't have enough psyduck.jpg to express my current level of confus.
>> No. 46088
[x] That's fine, you can stay here.
- [x] Go find a place to sleep with Renko.

Mary is one step ahead.

>>46087

This is what I understood so far:

-There's two Yuyukos: "Yuyu", who got back in her body somehow and is now again a ghost, and Yuyuko, who was trying to revive the Saigyou Ayakashi since that seems to be the last thing she remembers doing.
-Renko IS shaken, and even crying a bit at least. But I guess seeing Yuyuko walk around lessens the impact of seeing her dead.
-Renko and Mary are from the future.
-It is a mystery.
-I'm as confused as you are.
>> No. 46092
Calling the vote! I should've put those secondary options under the first option, thinking about it. I'll count the votes as all being to go find somewhere to sleep, though.

The next update will put us in thread 2! As usual, expect to see it in the next 1-2 hours.
>> No. 46095
Thread 2 is here! >>/others/46093