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No matter how often you find yourself in a situation like this, you can’t help but wonder why you always tend to end up doing these things at night. True, the darkness does give you good cover, but unfortunately this gift isn’t exclusive only to yourself. And as much as you like hitting your shin every few feet, the lack of any real means to perceive your surroundings does tend to leave moving around after dark with something to be desired.

Keeping your ears open, you creep closer to the back entrance of the warehouse, hoping that these girls were dumb enough to not cover all of their exits. As you open the door a crack and glance inside, you begin to wonder to yourself if there is even any actual need to go through with this. It’s not like you won’t be able to scrounge up enough money within the next few days, and you get the feeling that the old hag won’t mind waiting that long. Hell, she’s put up with your shenanigans enough times to know that you’re always good on your word in the end, so why is it that you’re out here an hour or so before dawn, tracking down a lead that might not pay off whatsoever?

…who are you kidding? Even if you didn’t follow this lead tonight, you would probably get wrapped up in something just as convoluted tomorrow. Odd jobs seem to abound in this city, and oddly enough you seem to be the kind of guy who can sniff them out. It makes keeping yourself clothed and fed a bit more of a challenge, but from your experience you can definitely say that it beats out your experience in retail.

Deciding that you’re probably good to go, you push the door open a bit more and slip inside. As you do you can hear the door creaking slightly, but fortunately it doesn’t seem to catch anyone’s notice. Hiding behind some nearby boxes, you orient yourself to your surroundings. It would seem that like most warehouses in the area, this one is currently being used to house some sort of inventory. Multiple shelving units split up the large area, with various boxes of inventory spread out among them. On one side of the area is a stairway that leads up to solitary room constructed of sheet metal and glass, the sole means of entry being a single wooden door. Considering that most of the light seems to be coming from there, it’s a safe bet that your target is probably somewhere up there.

Just as you reach that conclusion the door opens up, and a bundle of teenage looking girls start coming out. Keeping hidden, you watch as they descend down the stairway. In particular, you keep an eye on four girls in particular, who seem to be moving down the stairs at their own measured pace.

“Aw geez, I can’t believe you guys!” The one wearing all blue says. “I was all excited when you told me about this stash you found, but now it turns out that you can’t even open it up!” You cringe internally as you hear the large, childish voice bounce around the entire warehouse. You were hoping that you wouldn’t have to deal with Cirno tonight, but considering that she was the one blathering about this stash out on the street in the first place, you guess that was hoping for a bit too much.

“Don’t blame us!” The orange-blond haired girl next to Cirno lets out as she puts her hands on her hips. “We told you that we couldn’t open it before we brought you here. You were the one who got all exited and started demanding that we bring you to it so that you could ‘bust it open’ yourself!”

“Aw whatever.” Cirno retorts as she puffs up her cheeks. “I almost had it there, you know! I just… think I need a second opinion on how to get it open, that’s all.” She quickly looks away from the others as she reaches the bottom of the stairs. “Dai would definitely agree with me on this one.”

“Dai pretty much agrees with anything you say, Cirno,” Says the one with long, black hair. “She’s afraid that you would bully her otherwise.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Cirno says as she moves away from the stairs, thankfully towards the other side of the warehouse. “Ima go and get her anyways. She’s usually good at figuring out things like this.”

“Hey, Cirno,” says the one with the blond drill-like hairstyle. “Shouldn’t we, y’know, tell Lily Mama about this first?”

Cirno actually takes a minute to consider this before giving her head a shake. “Naw, if we tell Lily about this now she’ll probably get upset that we couldn’t get it on our own. Better to see if Dai can do anything about this before going to bug the boss about it.”

“If you say so.” The blond drops her head a bit as her advice is disregarded, and begins shuffling her feet as Cirno begins to consider something else. By this point there are a total of seven girls hanging around the stairs, consisting of the four girls mentioned previously and three other grunts. “Alright,” the blue-haired girl says, “here’s how it’s gonna work. It’s gonna take me a little time to pick Dai up, so in the meantime you guys need to keep things in order around here. You two,” Cirno says as she points to two of the grunts. “Keep an eye on the back of this place, just in case someone ended up following us.” The two nod, and start heading towards your general area. You maneuver yourself to attempt to stay hidden, and keep listening. “Star,” Cirno says as she gestures towards the one with long black hair, “take the other girl here and do a light patrol around the main floor. If anything does sneak past, they won’t be able to get past you.” Star nods, and gestures to the remaining grunt to follow her out into the bookshelves. “Sunny, take up a post near the front entrance to make sure nothing comes barging through.” The orange-blond nods as she heads back towards the front, with Cirno tagging along.

“Ah,” the drill-haired blond stutters, causing Cirno to stop and look back. “What should I do, then?”

Cirno considers this for a moment. “Hm. Everything’s pretty much covered, so… why don’t you head back up the stairs and keep a lookout, Luna? You know, just in case.” This seems to cause Luna to perk up a bit as she makes her way back up the stairs and re-enters the room. Cirno rolls her eyes for a bit before turning back to Sunny. “Hopefully she can handle at least that much.”

“Aw come on Cirno, don’t be so hard on her. You know she tries her best…” The rest of the conversation fades out as the two of them exit near the front. Around this time the two grunts reach the back exit, but you are hidden well enough to not catch their attention as the two make their way outside. (It probably helps that they probably aren’t that bright, either.)

You take a moment to consider how things are progressing. All things considered, this is a pretty good situation you’ve found yourself in. Of all the groups who are vying for power around the city, the Fairies are probably one of the weakest. Aside from Cirno, the group doesn’t really have that much of a reputation for their strength, relying instead on bringing in as many weaklings to their cause as possible, giving them a reputation of striking with quantity over quality.

Still, even with Cirno out of the way it’s probably best not to act too rashly. If it came down to it, you aren’t sure if you could take on six of their members at once and come out completely unscathed, or even worse, without the prize that seems to have caught their interest. Best to take things one step at a time.

From your understanding of how things are currently laid out, there are only two exits from this area, and both of them are now blocked by fairies on either side. Getting out probably won’t be an issue, but unless you get really lucky you probably will have to burst your way out of one of the exits. Still, that’s the least of your concerns right now. The girl with the long black hair seems to have positioned the other grunt in such a way that they both have a good view of the staircase, if not each other. And there is still that drill-hair girl waiting up inside the room in question. Small chance of taking her by surprise, you’ll have to figure out a way to distract her somehow when you get up there.

Still, first things first, you’re going to have to subdue the two girls watching the stairs before you can head on up. Both of them are in positions that keep them from seeing one another, so as long as you are careful you should be able to take them out fairly easily.

Something on one of the shelves catches your eye. Moving closer, you find some items that may prove themselves useful, but only if you can manage to get close to the girls in question and subdue them somehow. Now, what way would be most suitable to your talents?

Physical Attributes:

[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is you specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.
[STR] Better to just take them out as quickly as possible, all tact aside. They seem pretty weak, so as long as you are quick you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
[STMN] Climbing up these shelves would allow you to get the jump on them without them expecting a thing. It might take some effort to get up there, but fortunately something like this is right up your alley.


Note that the more you use a given attribute, the more likely you will succeed with it in future endeavors. Also note that until you leave the warehouse area things area you won’t have to worry about your plans falling apart around you, so feel free to choose whichever attribute you like the most during this time.
[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is you specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.

We want to use Dex and a little Stam while we have the chance.
[STMN] Climbing up these shelves would allow you to get the jump on them without them expecting a thing. It might take some effort to get up there, but fortunately something like this is right up your alley.

Are you this fond of using gimicky choices?
[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is you specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.

Being quick enough to run and dodge is a good thing in Gensokyo.
So we're working for Yukari? Or is she his landlord?

[STMN] Climbing up these shelves would allow you to get the jump on them without them expecting a thing. It might take some effort to get up there, but fortunately something like this is right up your alley.

Fuck yeah platforming. Not getting spotted is nowhere near as fun as not getting caught.
Running and dodging is a stamina thing, man. Stealthy types shouldn't reach that point.
Not >>47425, but having more Dex would presumably mean we're more nimble, which does benefit dodging. It's dodging for extended periods which requires Stamina (which is why we'll need both). Strength can go to hell.
Strength is useful for fisticuffs, something I'd hope our hero engages in frequently. But that's looking unlikely.
[STR] Better to just take them out as quickly as possible, all tact aside. They seem pretty weak, so as long as you are quick you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Strength is important for such things, true, but I would personally prefer to solve problems with somewhat less brute force. To each his own, I suppose. Of course, don't forget that we're in Gensokyo, where the name of the game is OH GOD ALL OF THE BULLETS-

Anyway, perhaps we should discuss which attributes we would prioritize in this tutorial of sorts, while we still have the safety to do so with relatively little fear of failure, so that we can reach easier consensus later on? Physical attributes are apparently Dexterity, Strength and Stamina. We can probably assume mental attributes to be some analogue of Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma until told otherwise.
>we're in Gensokyo
Are we? I'm not sure where we are, but it certainly doesn't seem like the standard Gensokyo.
[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is you specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.

Brute-forcing things is bad. Be stealthy!
They cover my insecurities as a writer. Also, I like to try experimenting with different things, to see how they work in terms of changing the story flow, and giving you guys different ways of pushing the story around aside from me just giving you choices. Even if they don't work out in the end, I'd prefer to try them and see what happens instead on leaving them to the side and never knowing.

That and, you know, too many RPGs and D&D sessions.

I'm not going to throw the entire setting at you all at once, but let's just say that you have the right idea here.

Man, only one post and you guys are picking up on this stuff really quickly. Yeah, there are other attributes, for a total of nine. I ended up simplifying them down to three categories of three attributes each. The three that you see here are the physical attributes, and I'll introduce the other two sets in the next few posts or so. The big thing to remember here is that these attributes won't be locked out if you choose one over the other; you can use any attribute any time you feel it is appropriate or useful. Just keep in mind that the more you use an attribute, the more proficient you grow in it. You've got the right idea in terms of experimentation as well; this first part is basically a chance for you guys to get oriented in the weird experiment of mine, and to have fun without worrying about everything coming down on top of you all at once.

On a side note, I'm seeing some confusion on what the attributes actually stand for. Don't think so much in terms of combat potential, but instead of how you interact with the world as a whole:

Strength: Obviously good for punching things with as much force as possible, but in actuality most combat situations won't be making that much use of it unless you, you know, punch things with as much force as possible. Rather, it's more a measure of how much physical exertion you can apply at any given time, i.e. Can you lift something heavy, can you hold a door closed, can you grapple effectively, etc.

Dexterity: Good for stealthy, nimble and delicate tasks. Obviously hiding is the first one that comes to mind, but it also includes things like losing someone in a crowd, moving quickly and efficiently, reflexes, etc.

Stamina: Gives you a greater reserve of energy, allowing you to take on long term tasks with greater ease. Things like climbing, running, and continuous dodging, and carrying heavy things a long way would be included here.


In short, I think I'm basically ripping off Skyrim's system, with a bit of D&D mixed in for good measure. For now, let's just see if it can work and change things up as we go if we need to.
>nine attributes
Oh, of course, how silly of me. If you were directly using D&D's system, we would have had Constitution rather than Stamina.

>ripping off Skyrim's system
You sure you're not actually ripping off White Wolf's Storyteller system?

Nitpicky, aren't we? Well considering the fact that this story is essentially fan fiction, if we start going through every thing I'm ripping off of, we'll probably be here a while.

Anyways, writing now, new post should be up soon.

(...alright, so maybe I've also been playing Vampire: The Masquerade recently. But it's so gooooood!)
My apologies, I was mainly contemplating what system of attributes you're going to be using - it wasn't intended to come off as griping.

>Vampire: The Masquerade
...practically called that one, though.

[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is you specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.

Will also be useful when we eventually get more powerful foes.
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No problem. I actually appreciate the input; anything that can help me improve my writing is greatly appreciated.


[DEX] This kind of situation is probably best left to stealth, which fortunately is your specialty. Those girls will never see you coming.

You probably aren’t the stealthiest person in the world, but at the same time you know how to move around quickly and quietly when the need arises. Grabbing a few things off the nearby shelf, you start sneaking your way around the area, heading in the general direction of the stairway. About halfway to the point you pause to consider which of the two patrolling fairies to take out first. In the end, you decide it would be most effective to go after the one named Star first. Cirno seemed to feel that she would be very effective as a spotter, so chances are that she has some sort of talent for keeping watch. If you can get her out of the way, taking down the other grunt should be a cakewalk.

You move on, attempting to get close enough to Star to bring her down without too much fuss. Things go pretty smoothly for a few bit, but suddenly Star twirls around, staring intently at your location. Well, your general location at least; your reflexes were good enough to allow you to jump behind a covered area before she was able to spot you. Keeping still, you keep an eye on her as she scans the area before giving a small shrug and turning back towards the stairs. A close call, but hopefully her spotting you was just a fluke.

You make to move out of cover again, only for the girl to turn around once more, this time with a look of suspicion on her face. Crap, she must have some sort of sense that lets her detect you within a certain range. There is no way you are going to be able to sneak up on her, no matter how stealthy you are. You consider rethinking your approach, but before you get the chance the girl begins to move towards you, scanning the shelves as she moves along them. You can feel the tension in the air rise as she moves with purpose, every step making you sweat another bead, every second making you dread her inevitable shout as she summons her comrades. Your only hope is to take her down right as she shouts, in the hope that you can minimize her voice as much as possible. It’s unlikely to work, but it’s better than nothing. You tense yourself as the girl comes within a foot from your hiding space; you brace yourself for the inevitable…

…and you watch as the girl manages to overlook you completely, passing you by as if you weren’t even there. Watching her take another step past, you let out your breath. Not exactly the most observant person, is she? Considering that she seems to have some sort of added sense in her arsenal, though, you suppose it would only make sense that she takes the other ones she has for granted.

Well, no point in letting the opportunity she just gave you go to waste. Before she moves out of range, you leap out of your hiding spot. To her credit she seems to sense you moving and tries to turn around, but unfortunately for her your reflexes are quicker still. Before she can let out a shout you grapple her, stuffing one of the rags you picked up on the shelf into her mouth. From there it doesn’t take much to overpower her and bring her down. Taking out one of the length of twine that you picked up as well, you do your best to restrain her, first by securing her wrists behind her back, then by using another piece of rag to secure her gag before she can spit it out. After that, you do your best to secure her ankles to where you tied her wrist up, effectively hogtying her.

Looking over your knots, you give a small nod and move on, leaving the girl to try and struggle out of your improvised restraint. You consider for a moment moving her to a location that would make her harder to find, but ultimately dismiss it. Rope work isn’t exactly a specialty of yours, so you have no idea how long those knots may or may not hold. Additionally, you have no idea how long Cirno will be gone for, and you aren’t planning to stick around for long in any case. Best to keep moving as quickly as possible and hope that you can keep one step ahead of things while you are still in the lead. Keeping that in mind, you maneuver to get behind the grunt, who is still staring intently at the stairs as if her life depended on it.


Compared to taking out Star, subduing the grunt was a breeze. You took her completely by surprise, and her reaction was a good deal slower than Star’s was. Leaving her restrained at the foot of the stairs, you make your way up to the room at the top, doing your best to crouch under the glass areas and make your way to the door. As you near the portal that leads inside, you sneak a peek to try and gauge the difficulty of subduing the drill hair that was posted inside. As it stands, she seems to be taking her role very seriously, alternating between looking at the door and the safe in turn. She would probably have better luck just watching the door, but you aren’t going to complain if she is going to make your job that much easier.

Easing your way to the door, you attempt to open it as quietly as possible and let yourself in as the girl is fixated on the safe. As you step inside, though, you accidentally cause the door to creak slightly. Cursing, you try to catch the door before it makes any more noise, but by then the girl has already caught on and turned to face you.

“W-what? Who are you? What are you doing here?”

Darn. It looks like you won’t be able to take her down stealthily. Caught off guard, you end up saying the first words that come to your mind in an attempt to throw her off guard somehow.

[PRSD] “Are you Luna? Some girl named Cirno asked me to come and find you.”
[INTMDT] “If you don’t want to be hurt, you’ll keep your mouth shut.”
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”


Social Attributes:

Persuasion: Very situational based dialog; success depends on your current situation, what you know about the other person and subject manner, and your ability to fake it. The downside is that it might take a while to convince the other party, if you are able to do it at all.
Intimidation: Inducing fear based motivation; Good for dealing with people who perceive you as strong and violent, less effective when dealing with those who don’t see you as a threat. Good at making others act or react quickly, though this is generally (though not always) frowned upon as a means of conversation.
Seduction; Hormone based manipulation; Effective when dealing with parties who are attracted with you, but will put off anyone who has no attraction, or else isn’t or doesn’t feel the mood. Useful for keeping someone’s attention, though overuse may lead to unintended (or completely intended) consequences.
Huh. So it looks like we're going Physical/Social/Mental, but not Power/Finesse/Resistance.

I am so tempted to put all our points in seduction simply to see what hilarity ensues...

Alas, prudence forbids:
[PRSD] “Are you Luna? Some girl named Cirno asked me to come and find you.”
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”

Fairy seducin' games. Only the cheesiest of lines, please. We're still in tutorial mode, things will go fine~
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”

It just fits the setting
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”

Sorry, couldn't resist.
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”

What other choices?
[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”
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[SDCT] “I’m here for you, Luna. I just couldn’t stay away.”

“W…what? M-me?”

You falter for a second as confusion comes over her face. Not only did you just belt out some of the cheesiest lines that you could have possibly come up with, but in hindsight they make you seem like a stalker. Oh well, nothing to do put press on at this point and hope that her romantic sense is greater than her self-preservation instincts.

“Yes you, Luna. I’ve been trying to keep my distance all this time in order to not alarm you, but I can’t hold it back anymore.” You begin moving towards her as you say this, and she in turn slowly moves back until she hits the wall. “You’ve ensnared me with your charms, and now you are all I can think about! I can’t stay long, that blue one might be back any second, but I need to get my feelings across to you while I have the chance!”

“Who are… what are… I-I don’t even…” At the very least, it seems that you’ve successfully managed to take her off guard. As you close in on her, however, it seems that her sense of self-preservation begins to take over, and puts a hand out in an attempt to keep you back. “No wait, stop! Stay back!” It sounds like she is about to yell out to one of her friends; you aren’t sure if the orange-blond one or the other grunts would be able to hear her from here, but it really isn’t a chance you would prefer to take. Thinking quickly, you grab her outstretched arm.

As she begins to let out a yell of protest, you pull her in close to you, wrap your other arm around her shoulders, and effectively cut off her shout with your lips. You can feel her struggle against you and attempt to disengage, but you keep a firm hold on her as you increase the intensity of the kiss, sealing off her lips even further as you begin to lift her off the ground. After a few moments you can feel her struggles become weaker, her shouts beginning to peter out. Taking the opportunity, you push your tongue into her mouth, teasing her in the hopes that she will succumb to the passion of the moment. At first she resists, but soon enough she begins to her lower her defenses and attempt to entwine her tongue with yours as well. Her sloppiness gives away her inexperience, but you aren’t here to judge.

This is certainly enjoyable, but you can’t really take too much longer here. As you disengage from the young girl you lower her back onto the ground, searching her face to see how she fares. She is breathing heavily and her eyes are half closed, all in all showing a face mainly of befuddlement, partially of amazement, and with a glimmer of hope shining from her eyes. For a moment, you hesitate to go any further, not wanting to shatter the play of emotions moving across her face. But you don’t have time to spare here, and it probably won’t be long until this girl begins questioning the absurdity of the situation. As she opens her mouth to speak, you break the illusion, and her voice, with one of your two remaining rags.

At first, she is completely stunned by this action, allowing you to tie her wrists behind her without effort. By the time she realizes what’s going on it’s already too late, as you manage to secure her legs together in front of her and complete her gag with your last rag. You don’t have enough twine remaining to hogtie her like you did with Star, but with her hands behind her the door itself should keep her from leaving the area before you take notice.

“Sorry about this, but I can’t have you getting the attention of the others.” As the words leave your mouth you berate yourself for your stupidity and can only watch as horror rolls over the young girl’s face. As fear of what you might do to her takes over, she begins to use her bound feet to push herself away from you, terrified of what you might do next. “Sorry, sorry!” You say as you back off, waving your hands in front of you. “That’s not what I meant at all! I just can’t have you going after your friends until I’ve managed to get to whatever is inside of that safe.”

Luna freezes in place, a look of shock overtaking her features once more. Blinking once, she turns to look at the safe, and then back to you. After a second or two the realization falls upon her, and tears begin to well up in her eyes. As she stares at you, you swear you can feel the feelings of loss, betrayal and failure emanating from her whole being. In a way, this is much, much worse than watching her repulse herself away from you in fear.

“I’m sorry,” you mutter once more as you turn away from her, unable to stand the sight of those tears rolling down her face. It takes a moment for you to steel yourself against the impulse of throwing this chance away just for the sake of a single kiss, but ultimately you turn your attention back towards your main objective.

Standing next to the wall opposite the door is a large safe. Black, large and bolted down to the ground, you can’t help but notice that the entire thing feels cool to the touch, as well as a few chunks of ice stuck on the front and sides. Clear evidence of Cirno’s work, that’s for sure. Aside from that, the only things of notice of the safe’s door are a combination dial, a keyhole, and the logo of the manufacturer, SafeDart.
As you lay your eyes upon the logo, it’s all you can do to suppress your laughter. SafeDart is notorious for producing very low quality merchandise, and safes that are notoriously easy to crack. Whoever wanted to make sure their valuables were secure either didn’t do their research or else didn’t have a lot left to invest. For a moment you consider whether that last thought should deter you from what ultimately might be considered theft, but in the end you decide that a few missing cash or cash equivalents missing from a single, insecure safe in a place like this probably won’t cause too much stress to whatever entity they currently belong to. Besides, the Fairies were planning to case the safe anyways, so whatever is in there would be gone by the end of the night no matter what happens. And as much as you’d like to consider collecting a reward from heroically defending a single safe from a bunch of teenage girls, chances are that whoever owns the warehouse wouldn’t be too happy with you moving around in here without their permission. Better to take what you can while you still have the chance.

As you run a hand along the front of the safe, you consider your options. Even if the safe itself is a piece of crap, you can’t actually celebrate until you manage to get it open. Fortunately, this is easier than it sounds, as due to a poor design choices this line of safe was made so that one only needs to enter the combination or get the keyed portion unlocked in order to get the door to swing wide open. You wrack your brain as you try to decide the optimal way of making whatever is in there your own.

[INT] Wasn’t there a piece of news on how all SafeDart safes have an inherent flaw in their metalwork? If you can exploit that, you should be able to make a hole to circumvent the door altogether.

[WIS] This wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had to fool a combination lock. So long as you keep a keen ear on it, you should be able to figure out the combination without a sweat.

[WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.


Mental Attributes:

Intelligence: AKA book smarts, this stat builds on the information you gather from outside sources. Note that this doesn’t include only texts; things like news, rumors, stock prices and the state of the city are included in here too.

Wisdom: AKA knowledge from experience. This stat builds based on your own direct experiences with the world and what they have learned from them. I.E. if you face off against an opponent and learn one of their weak points, you can attempt to exploit it the next time you meet up with them in battle.

Wits: AKA street smarts or intuition. This stat builds not on what you have learned, but on things like luck and your ability to deal with stress. Things like feeling your way through a sticky situation, finding the path of least resistance, and keeping a cool head as things go from bad to worse.

These stats build like the others; the more you use them, the more likely you are to be able to pull some sort of fact/ability/self control out of your ass from nowhere and say it’s something you learned “off screen”. Note, however, that you can also use these attributes as a write in if you can remember a previous situation that would give insight to your current one. For example, if a character told you some obscure fact that seemed irrelevant at the time, but would be useful here and now, feel free to write in a knowledge check with it even if the option isn’t given to you. If the writefag agrees with your assessment, chances are that you’ll get a bonus to your ultimate success. (In other words, if you catch me making a mistake or overlooking something, I’ll make sure that your insight doesn’t go unrewarded)
>all the seduction
In hindsight, I suppose it was inevitable. Anyway:

[WIS] This wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had to fool a combination lock. So long as you keep a keen ear on it, you should be able to figure out the combination without a sweat.

I think this would be the stat for cold reading and picking up on subtle body language - correct me if I'm wrong.
Heart breakin' games. As expected, the third options are to my taste.

[WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.

We probably shouldn't go all-in on.. well. Any of these stats. But especially these mental ones. No matter how intriguing a full-WIT guy would be...
Is this guy going to have a personality? This continuous character-defining has me worried.
I imagine that we're developing his personality with these initial choices.

[INT] Wasn’t there a piece of news on how all SafeDart safes have an inherent flaw in their metalwork? If you can exploit that, you should be able to make a hole to circumvent the door altogether.
[WIS] This wouldn’t be the first time you’ve had to fool a combination lock. So long as you keep a keen ear on it, you should be able to figure out the combination without a sweat.

[x] [WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.

Sure, the whole 'street thief' thing is overdone as hell. Doesn't make it less interesting though.
[WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.

Poor Luna, it just wasnt meant to be.
[INT/STR] Already weakened by Cirno's ice, this shoddy metalwork safe will stand no chance against a well-placed Flying Tiger Palm strike.

Just wondering how you feel about combination write-ins.

My thoughts were less on "Street Thief" and more on "Guy who seems to need to get through locked doors more often then he probably should", but then again he's kinda stealing from a safe so I can't actually refute you're point. Still, we'll see how things develop.


Normally I'd be more receptive to write-ins like this, but until this "tutorial" is over, I'll be sticking to the choices that are provided. After it's over you can go nuts with write-ins if you want, but note that I'm likely to disregard any posts that seemingly pull new skills and abilities out of thin air without some justification as to why you should know them in the first place. I'm not going to let our guys know martial arts unless you can provide me a good reason that he should know martial arts. (A good tip is to be either be vague in your proposed skills and abilities,or use stuff that has already been established; You were right on in considering the effects that Cirno's ice could have, but I'd probably be more willing to let you use a "palm strike" or a "hit" over a "Flying Tiger Palm Strike" as it lets me write around the suggestion better.)

To answer the other part of the question, if you can manage to justify using two attributes at once, you'll probably be more successful at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Just try to keep things reasonable, alright?

ANYWHO, writing has begun once more, so keep on your toes.
While the options so far seem to list what stat would predominantly be used, lockpicking, for instance, does also require a fair amount of Dex.

On a mostly unrelated note, I can't say I feel the Seduction check back there can really be described as such. It wasn't an entirely deliberate attempt. It was more of a failed Bluff check (Persuasion?) which was salvaged via a (barely-passed) Dex check to give a bonus for the ensuing Str to grapple. Was this the intention, or was it actually supposed to be a flat-out success?
[WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.

When in doubt, always pick the option that makes you sound the most awesome.
With only nine general attributes, there’s bound to be some overlap here and there. I’ll try to put forward the attribute that I think is most appropriate in a given situation, but if you think another attribute that you are better in could work just as well feel free to write it in and see if I buy it. (Please hold them until we’re done with the tutorial though. I promise we’ve only got a little ways to go). From my experience, doing any actual work with a lock usually relies more on a good amount of focus and a steady hand rather than delicate finger movements, so I felt that I was somewhat justified in attributing it to wits. (Also, I still needed a way to introduce the WIT attribute while DEX was already known to you.)

Same thing for the Seduction choice. With only three social-based attributes, there is going to be a good amount of overlap in what each can do. Bluffing isn’t something that only applies to situations where you are trying to convince someone of a certain viewpoint, as in persuasion. When you attempt to intimidate someone, there may be times when you try to bluff your own strength, in order to fool the other person that you are stronger than you really are. And when seducing someone, there could be cases where you are trying to bluff another person into thinking you are more trustworthy that you really are. (Though in hindsight “charm” might have been a better term to use for that attribute. Oh well, that’s what I get for ripping something from another source)

Basically, don’t sweat the details too much. You only really have to consider what might be the best overall action to take at the moment of a presented choice; I’ll fill in the results based on either what I think is appropriate or whatever makes me break out into evil maniacal laughter. If I had to stop you at every point where there might be a potential chance to use an attribute, the story would take forever to progress.

Alright, I’ve ranted enough on this for now. Story post incoming.
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[WIT] It’s a good thing that you carry a picklock on your keychain, isn’t it? So long as you are a bit lucky, opening the lock hole shouldn’t be a problem.

Reaching into your pocket, you pull out your keychain, grabbing the small Swiss army knife that’s attached. Now, most people probably wouldn’t call such a thing a lock pick per se, but you find that with enough concentration a small blade and a modified metal toothpick can work wonders on most everyday keyholes.

You slide the small blade into the keyhole and begin prodding the inner pins with the toothpick. The trick is to keep your focus on where the lock gives and takes, maneuvering the pick while you turn the blade in an attempt to open the lock one cylinder at a time. The maneuvers themselves are simple, but it takes a lot of focus to keep a delicate touch on the whole thing. One wrong move and you might accidentally break the pick, or else jam the lock badly enough so that it won’t open whatsoever.

Fortunately, this is a SafeDart lock that you’re talking about here. If this were a Nitori brand, you’d probably have a lot more trouble, but after only a minute or two you can feel the lock give way and begin to fully turn. A smile creeps on your face as you turn the lock, opening it with a small clunk.

with a small clunk.

Well that’s weird. Normally you’d expect there to hear some sort of small clunk or click as the lock fully turns open. Actually, now that you think on it, you’d expect to be able to hear more of your surroundings altogether. You didn’t notice as you were unlocking the safe, but the entire office has gone completely silent. The more you take your surroundings in, the more you begin to freak out; there’s no way things should be this quiet. At the very least, you should be able to hear Luna as she struggles to open the door OH CRAP!

Rushing over to the door, you grab Luna by the torso just as she manages to get a handle on the doorknob. She sees you coming, but her restraints prevent her from doing anything other than struggle wildly as you pull her back. Oddly enough, it seems like she isn’t alarmed whatsoever by the unusual silence that seems to be surrounding you. Or rather…

“Aaah, I see now,” you say as the insight comes upon you. “This is you’re doing, isn’t it?” The words never actually leave your mouth, and if it weren’t for the fact that you can still feel the vibrations of your voice through your body you would swear that you’ve gone deaf. As you set her down next to the safe Luna only glares at you, an incriminating look in her eyes. She seems to realize that the same trick won’t work twice though, and drops whatever field of silence she had put up. A wave of relief comes over you just from being able to hear her breathing.

“Interesting trick you have there. Nearly pulled one over on me, didn’t you?” She only glares more at you in response; looks like she went from depression to anger pretty quickly, which is kind of relieving to you in its own way. It’s better than having to watch her cry, that’s for sure. “Well in any case, let’s see what we’ve got here, shall we?” You grab the now unlocked safe door and swing it open, peering inside to see what you can find.

For the most part it seems like you’ve lucked out; there’s a decent amount of cash stashed away in here, enough to make this whole fiasco at least somewhat worthwhile. You collect the money and give it a quick count, finding the total to be around $3,000, much more than you were actually expecting, or need for that matter. Aside from the money the safe doesn’t seem to hold anything else, but before you close it you notice a sparkle coming from one of the corners. Reaching inside, you lay your hands on something small, spherical and cold to the touch. Pulling it out, you open your hand to find…

A miniature disco ball. At least, that’s what it looks like to you. You can only begin to wonder what this thing might actually do, but that’s a question best saved for when you are safely away from here. Pocketing the ball, you shut the safe’s door and return the lock to its original position, not only so that you can safely extract your blade and pick, but also so that there is as little evidence of your picking as possible. Once you are satisfied that everything seems normal to the casual eye, you turn your attention away from the safe, half expecting Cirno to be staring you down from the doorway.

As it turns out, you still seem to be ahead of the game for now. Peering out of the office windows, you think you can make out Star and the grunt wriggling around on the floor. Looks like their bindings are holding for now, so that’s at least two less fewer distractions to worry about. Now the only thing to consider is how to best get out of here. For a moment you consider leaving as stealthily as you came in, but discard that idea as you recall that both exits are currently guarded. Chances are that you will only be able to subdue one of the two out back before the other raises the alarm, which means that no matter what you do leaving the way you came in probably isn’t feasible. As for the one out front, Cirno seemed to be somewhat confident in putting her there, so she probably won’t be as easily taken out as the others. Not to mention the fact that there could be other fairies waiting outside the front that you don’t know about. It’s probably best that you utilize the element of surprise to the fullest and focus on bursting out the front as quickly as possible over any attempt to be stealthy.

As you decide on the best way to accomplish this plan of action, your eyes fall onto Luna once more. An idea begins to form in your mind on a way that she might be of use in this situation, but you wonder it’s worth considering…

[ ] The other Fairies wouldn’t dare try to hurt one of their own, would they? Maybe if you kept her in front of you, the others would hesitate to attack long enough for you to get past them.
[ ] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

Regardless of what you choose, you’re should probably be prepared to fight just in case. You reach to your side as you prepare your current weapon of choice:

[ ] Knife
[ ] Gun
[ ] Whip
[ ] Wand
[ ] Bat
[ ] Boomerang
[ ] Who needs weapons when you have the FLYING TIGER PALM STRIKE! Unarmed
[ ] <Write-in>


The flow of combat can change depending on the weapon you wield. While your attributes may be able to help you in a fight, being properly equipped can often be half the battle. Choose carefully!
[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[x] Knife
I was kinda hoping he'd turn around and see Dai silently slow-clapping with Luna beside her.

[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[x] Unarmed

I'd write-in blackjack or cosh if I thought it had a chance of winning. Unarmed is cooler anyway~

What the hell, might as well make a write-in for generosity.

[x] You found more money than you need. Why not leave a tip? No hard feelings, right?
[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[x] Unarmed
[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn't consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

[x] Unarmed

Things aren't lookin so good for Luna...what with the way Cirno and Sunny were discussing her previous track record back in the first post. I think i'll agree with Mr. 47470 and leave a small tip, just in case she gets kicked out or something.

[x] You found more money than you need. Why not leave a tip? No hard feelings, right?
Even though I voted for unarmed, gun or wand should be getting more votes. Ranged weapons. Two of these things (three if we count boomerang) are not like the others.
[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[x] Unarmed

I'm still feeling like a bastard over what happened with Luna.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn't consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

[X] You found more money than you need. Why not leave a tip? No hard feelings, right?

I still want to be a gentleman thief, if possible (though it's likely not given our track record).

A weapon, hmm? polearmpolearmpolearm-
Remember that we seem to be Dex-based for now. So stealthy weapons will be better than bigass mauls. I'd say we should carry a light primary weapon, plus the Swiss Army for utility, plus a hidden bootknife for emergencies, and a garrote for stealth kills. They'd all not weigh too much.

But we go [X] Unarmed for now out of deference to the fact that we're up against fairies. Primary could be decided later.

No ranged weapons. They leave evidence.
Leaving a tip is a bad idea.

Luna's mob boss might think she was an accomplice.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn't consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

[X] Unarmed

Question for the OP, are we actually going to be able to see our stats at one point?
If we do see our stats, please don't let people game whatever system you have set up.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

>[X] Bat
>[X] Boomerang
Combine those to get a [X] Batarang!

Jokes aside, if we want to keep the whole dextrous stealthy seducter personality, we need some fitting dex-based weapons. Classics are shooting weapons (bows, crossbows, guns), throwing weapons to a degree (mostly tied with strength) and light melee weapons (knives and smallswords). Personally I like carrying a whole arsenal for flexibility, but that is probably out of the question. I would advocate having about 3-4 weapons though: one main weapon, one small sidearm/backup, one ranged weapon and maybe one blunt weapon for optionally nonlethal attacks.
My personal preference here for dex-based fighting is:
[X] Smallsword/Rapier
[X] Knife
[X] (Pistol-)Crossbow (Small and silent shooting-type weapon, lower profile than a bow)
[X] Club or wand to knock people out, or maybe (halfway trained) unarmed fighting.

Feel free to argue or disregard, I just like talking old weapons.
We should walk around with an axe. When people point this out, pretend to be a lumberjack.
That depends whether we're doing the whole bold-as-brass dashing swashbuckler walk-right-in-and-seduce-your-wife shtick, in which case a longsword or rapier would be the archetypal weapon of choice, or a more pragmatic stealthy rogue (who may or may not also sneak in to make off with your wife - just not in broad daylight) which is more of the impression I've been getting so far, in which case concealed weapons are the way to go. Knives are the obvious, though I'd like to see an MC who uses something unusual like a chain whip.

Of course, remember that every additional weapons we carry is extra weight we might have to escape with. It's impractical to carry multiple heavy weapons which serve the same purpose.

I admit to having a somewhat irrational aversion to the obvious evidence left behind by ranged weaponry (I blame Favors Owed), but carrying around a gun or crossbow seems to be a) prohibitively expensive in time and money in terms of maintenance, and b) working under the assumption that we've been actively killing people. Though it's hard to say at this point, I'd guess that we're just a thief right now, not an assassin. If anything, I'd say we should just have a cheap set of replaceable throwing knives, or a main weapon with some degree of reach, as a whip or polearm.
[ ] The other Fairies wouldn’t dare try to hurt one of their own, would they? Maybe if you kept her in front of you, the others would hesitate to attack long enough for you to get past them.
[x] Whip

47479 here. As noted I was assuming a full dex-based build for the physical department and complimenting a stealth build because some comments seemed to favour that.
I opted for those weapons not only because of their being dex-based but also because of their low weight. A smallsword/rapier weighs much less than a "full" long or broadsword (while not being as str-based), a knife weighs just about nothing and a pistol crossbow is small as well. Note how a smallsword/rapier is not only useful for cliche dueling or swashbucklers, but also effective at either not-quite-lethally slashing an unarmoured opponent or lethally stabbing an armoured opponent through the weakpoints in his armour. And a knife/dual wielding knives is only really good when specialised, for straight up fighting (which can always happen) you want to have a somewhat bigger weapon.
I do understand your argument about the ranged weapons but those are always useful to have, not just for assassins. Think e.g. sleepy poison bolts to take out a guard at range or just having a higher threat range. I am a bit against throwing weapons here for 1) being high profile (throwing a knife while prone or hiding in a difficult pose is less than effective) and 2) demanding a certain strength for power and range.
Whips are in my opinion more of an archaeologist's, vampire hunter's or mistress' weapon, not as much a thief's. And polearms are just too large and heavy to carry around while doing thief-ey stunts, leave those to army soldiers in formation or maybe martial artists.

Sage for no vote and rambling too much.

(Forgot to mention it before, but I also like talking much.)
>You found more money than you need. Why not leave a tip? No hard feelings, right?

...are you guys mind readers?

I mean, uh, no write ins guys. (Phew, totally saved myself there)

Nope, sorry. I've got my reasons, though >>47478 touched on part of it.
[x] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.

[x]Hidden BladeKnife

Will we ever be able to yoink weapons from others?
>assuming a full dex-based build
Whoa, now. Overspecialization is for people trying to win competitions. We want to go for overall physical fitness here, and that means not completely neglecting any stat.

Which shouldn't be difficult, if we take advantage of circumstances (for example, not using stealth against Star outside the tutorial).
Not saying we should never use any other stat, but unless we go full average there will be differences. Seeing as str was kind of disregarded in favour of dex and later stmn for endurance, and stmn being more for defense than offense, dex-based weapons are still a better choice.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[X] Unarmed

Lets not kill anyone if we can help it. A technical pacifist can be badass as well.

On a side note, I'm very curious about the setting. I find my diet rather lacking in Cyberpunk. A mixture of Touhou, Deus Ex, and Shadowrun would be one of the best things ever.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[X] Unarmed

A true gentleman settles all his quarrels with GOOD OLD FISTICUFFS.

That, and I'm assuming we're going for the "charming pickpocket / conman" archetype, for whom it just wouldn't do to carry weapons. Too messy, bad for business, and too vulgar.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[X] Unarmed
-[x] Knife in case things get out of hands.

Poor, poor, Luna.
Also, giving an outright "seduction" option will almost assure anon will vote for that. Should've named it "charm" or something.
[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[X] Unarmed

You're supposed to be a stealthy thief, not some murderous criminal! Bringing weapons would only incite the fury of the local shrine maiden.
>A true gentleman settles all his quarrels with GOOD OLD FISTICUFFS

Convinced me.

Changing to unarmed. Going to box some heads in
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Writing has started, but at this point any focus that I might have is more or less shot. Next post will probably be up sometime tomorrow.
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[X] No. You’ve already traumatized this poor girl enough for one night. Besides, even if there are a lot of them, you really wouldn’t consider getting past Fairies to be any sort of a challenge.
[X] Unarmed

You reach to your side as you prepare your current weapon of choice… and grab empty air.

Oh, right. You decided against going back to get anything from your place before heading over here. You really weren’t expecting something like this to pop up, in all honesty. One minute you’re taking an impromptu walk around the city brought due to a slight case of insomnia, (which was, in turn, brought on by the old hag. Can’t she keep things down for even one night?) the next you overhear that loudmouth ice-head blathering on about this place. You figured it probably wasn’t worth it to make the entire trip back to your place just to equip yourself for a small trip like this.

And, to be fair, that assessment still seems to be holding true. You objective here is to get out of this place in one piece, not strike down every fairy that gets in your way. Even if Cirno manages to make it back in time, she shouldn’t be that difficult to get away from. Besides, it’s not like brawling is an unfamiliar concept to you; more than once you’ve found yourself in situations where the only weapons you had on hand were your actual hands. Taking down a couple of Fairy grunts shouldn’t be that difficult for you as you make a dash for-

The floor vibrates slightly as you realize that you once again can’t hear anything. You turn your attention back to Luna once more to find her sprawled on the ground. Seems like she figured it would be easier to get the door open if she had her hands in front of her, and while her small body frame and apparently very flexible limbs allowed her to do that (one leg at a time, you figure), it looks like she accidently tripped herself while doing so. As such, she is currently lying face down on the floor, attempting to get her bearings back.

Poor girl. You honestly feel kind of sorry for what you’ve put her through. It’s not like you had any ill intent, but at the same time you probably have gotten around her with a little more tact. Not only that, but considering what you overheard Cirno saying before she left, it seems like she’s not exactly thought of as the most competent of the group. Finding out that she let herself get distracted and subdued like this probably won’t win her any credit either. You begin to wonder if there isn’t anything you can do for her.

A small flash of insight flashes in your mind; the amount of money that you have found is way more than you might actually need. (Not that more money is a bad thing, but still…) Perhaps if you were to give her a portion of it, then…

No, paying off someone for the fact that you kissed and bound them doesn’t exactly sound like the most tactful thing to do. Aside from the fact that it would probably give her an even worse impression of you, chances are that the other fairies wouldn’t look kindly on her for accepting a pity bribe like that. What if you hid it on her person without her knowing… no, that wouldn’t work either. Putting aside the fact that you aren’t sure how you would do that without her notice, you figure that when she ultimately finds it her confusion on how it got there would probably put her under just as much suspicion as if you had given it to her in the first place. The best thing to do would be to have her somehow take it under her own skill, but it’s not like you would expect her to catch onto an opportunity like that unless it was made really obvious to her.

With that thought, another flash of insight comes to you. While Luna is still distracted from her tumble, you take out your wallet and start going over the bills that you stashed there. Counting out a portion that you believe is more than reasonable, you remove a certain number of the bills from your wallet, which you then return to one of your front pockets. After that, you stash the removed bills into your right-rear pocket, making sure that they are standing up out of the pocket and in plain view.

By this point Luna has recovered and is attempting to get herself onto her feet, but you’ll have none of that. Grabbing her by her torso once more, you fling her onto your right shoulder as she lets out a small squeak of surprise.

“Can’t have you tripping over the stairs and hurting yourself on the way down, now can I?” You ask in an amused tone as you open the door to the office. Luna attempts to struggle a bit as you head back down the stairs, but when you reach halfway they seem to die down. You hope that it means she’s seen the bait, as you don’t think you’ll be able to give her more than one chance to do this. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, you pass by the restrained grunt and head on over to where you left Star.

From what you can tell, the black-haired girl has been attempting to escape in her own fashion. Unfortunately for her, the way you tied her up doesn’t really give her many options in mobility, so it seems that she’s only been able to move a few feet since you’ve left her.

“Come on, then.” You say as you approach her, “I should probably get you girls in one place so that the can find you more easily when the time comes.” You crouch down as you reach for Star, intentionally letting Luna slide down your back a bit as you make to reach for her comrade. Come on little fishy, take the bait…

You try to hide a smile as you feel the contents of your rear pocket empty themselves. Pretending not to notice, you tuck star under your left arm (despite her protests) and stand back up, bringing Luna back up to her original position. Making your way back to the stairs, you leave both girls next to the grunt, who still seems amazed that you were able to catch her off guard. Star only glares at you as you set her down, but Luna seemingly tries to avoid looking at you, looking as though she’s been subdued in both mind and spirit. It’s pretty obvious that she’s faking it in order try avoiding any more attention from you.

“Well ladies it’s been fun, but I should probably run before your boss gets back. Try not to hold any of this against me if we meet again, alright?” The continued glare from Star is your only response. “Oh, and Luna? One more thing.” Surprise register’s on the blonde girl’s face as you lean down next to the blonde’s ear so that only she can hear, “The next kiss is on you, alright?”

The girl’s face flushes red as you get up to leave, and she can only stare as you stand up and walk towards the entrance with a large smile on your face. As soon as you are out of their sight, you check your back pocket just for confirmation. Empty, just as planned. You can’t help but to continue smiling right up until you reach the front of the warehouse.

You pause for a moment to collect your nerves as you prepare your escape. The goal here is to leave as quickly as possible, which means not engaging anyone for a fight unless it is absolutely necessary. Should be fairly simple, considering no one outside should know you are even in here at all. Hopefully they will be too shocked to see you bursting out from inside the warehouse in the first place to mount any sort of resistance whatsoever. Taking a deep breath, you brace yourself as you kick the front door open and begin to run for it.

The first thing you notice is that Sunny was not the only Fairy waiting out here. There are at least a good dozen of them mulling about the place, seemingly waiting for Cirno to get back. One of them was supposedly guarding the door, and is now sprawled in front of it in a daze. Hopping over her, you begin running towards the path that will lead you back to the city district. You manage to get halfway there before the surprise wears off, and by that point most of the Fairies are too far to do anything to you. A few of them attempt to block your path, but it only takes a few shoves, throws and light jabs to force them out of your way. Before too long, however, you can hear a shout coming from behind you.

“Light me!”

Turning around, you see that three of the Fairies are pointing flashlights at the one called Sunny, who is holding her hand above her head. Amazingly, the light from the flashlights condenses into a small ball, which Sunny holds out in front of her.


The ball suddenly becomes a ray of light as it flashes towards you. Letting your reflexes take over, you leap to the side in a roll as the ray passes by, striking against a nearby wall. From the scorch marks that it left, you get the feeling that while it probably wouldn’t kill you if one of those hit you, it probably wouldn’t be that enjoyable either. Fortunately, from this distance you seem to be able to easily predict where they will go, making them fairly easy to dodge.


Sunny fires another beam at you, which you manage to dodge easily enough. Her third attempt ends up going past you altogether, and for a moment you think that you are out of range before the ray recollects itself into a ball in front of you and comes back from a different trajectory. You are barely able to move out of the way in time, and even then it still manages to graze you slightly, causing you to cringe as you feel a burning sensation on your left leg. Still, it’s nowhere near enough to cripple you, as you continue running the blasts stop altogether. You think you can still hear angry yelling back from whence you came, though.

At this point you feel you’ve more or less made it home free, but just as you are about to congratulate yourself for a job well done you end up turning a corner and coming face to face with Cirno and her entourage. Aside from the usual grunts, there is also a timid looking green-haired girl standing among them as well. You end up taking each other by surprise, and for a second you hope that Cirno is enough of an idiot to not remember who you are. Unfortunately it seems that you’ve had one scrape too many with her, as recognition soon falls upon her face. With a wild grin, she throws her hand in front of her, causing the air in the vicinity to chill significantly. A spiked icicle begins to form in front of her, growing to the size of her arm within a few seconds. As she orients it towards you, the only thing that you can think of is that you hope above all else that she can at least manage to keep herself from yelling out-


Groaning internally, you jump to the side as the bolt of ice flies past you. Unlike Sunny’s attack, you know for a fact that Cirno can’t control her spells once she releases them, but at the same time you also know from experience that these ice blasts will contain a much larger payload if they manage to connect. Dammit, you almost made it out in time. If you were a few moments earlier you would already be halfway to your place, Cirno none the wiser.

No point on dwelling on that now, you suppose. While Cirno’s blasts aren’t exactly difficult to dodge, you can’t really find an opportunity to go on the offensive. The trouble is that you’re unarmed; the only options you really have involve landing a punch of the girl currently flinging chunks of ice at you. While you might be able to get up close and personal if you have to, it would most definitely give Cirno the opportunity to score a few clean hits, which as was just mentioned is something best avoided.

Fortunately for you, there is at least one more trick up your sleeve that Cirno doesn’t know about.


Choose your special skill:

[ ] Berserker’s Rage (Damage goes up, control goes down)
[ ] Magical Proficiency (Able to cast spells without wands or tools)
[ ] Elemental Control (A single element heeds your command. Write in a specific element if you choose this)
[ ] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)
[ ] Psychic Power (Your mind really is your greatest weapon)
[ ] Portals (You can open them in the air, but getting anything more than yourself through them takes some extreme effort)
[ ] FUS! (Let your voice roar…)
[ ] <Write-in> (Try to keep it reasonable)

Note that unlike attributes (which can be used as desired) and weapons (which can be swapped out for any others that you may obtain), you only get ONE special skill inherent to yourself, and it cannot be changed after this point. CHOOSE WISELY!
[ ] Elemental Control (Ice) would be so hilarious right now, but ultimately less than optimal in the long run.

Can we go with
[X] Time manipulation (presumably starting near Kiritsugu level, slowly developing towards Sakuya tier as we use it more)?

Otherwise, either
[X] Magical Proficiency
[X] Psychic Power
because, y'know, casters. Though, can I ask what the practical (mechanical?) difference between the two is? Different spell lists? Also, can we simultaneously dual-wield psionics and magics if we later choose a wand or other arcane focus as our main weapon?

In my opinion, none of the powers listed really truly fit the gentleman rogue, with the possible exception of Battle Meditation.

>Can we go with Time manipulation?
Never thought about how I would incorporate time manipulation into the story, but it's certainly a valid option if you want to go for it.

>can I ask what the practical (mechanical?) difference between the two is?
The practical difference between Magical Proficiency and Psychic Powers is that they are more or less two completely different things. The rule here is that unless a person has some sort of innate talent for it, they are generally incapable of casting spells on their own. Society worked around this by creating tools that would allow non-proficient people to use preset magic, i.e. wands. If you select Magical Proficiency, you will be able to learn and cast spells from multiple sources without needing a tool to help you do it.

Psychic Power, on the other hand, would be an innate ability that would give you, well, psychic powers. It's actually more similar to Elemental Control than Magical Proficiency. You have a set field that you are proficient in; anything related to that field is something you can work on developing, anything that isn't part of that field is not really something that you would be able to learn.

One more note about magical proficiency: the assumption with this choice is that you are going to be reducing the quality of your spells for quantity. Or to put it differently, learning and utilizing a whole bunch of spells means that unless you specialize in only one particular field of magic, you are going to find it difficult to work your way up to higher levels of spells. It might be useful in terms of being able to react to a large number of situations, but you won't be able to hit people with as much magical force.

>Also, can we simultaneously dual-wield psionics and magics if we later choose a wand or other arcane focus as our main weapon?
Sure, I don't see a problem with that.

>none of the powers listed really truly fit the gentleman rogue
You people and your gentlemen rogues. If you guys can think of a power that fits you can write it in, but in my mind being a gentleman rogue is more about sheer force of personality rather than a certain power. (And no, just in case somebody tries is, I will not accept "Insult Dueling" as a choice.)
>gentleman rogue

...actually, that reminds me. From looking at the comments I find myself agreeing that the Seduction attribute is somewhat misleading. I'm going to go ahead and change the name of the attribute to Charm/Charisma [CHRM]. Everything else about the attribute will more or less stay the same.

>Psychic Power explanation
Ah, I see. So we'd have to pick one of telekinesis or telepathy or shaping and so on, and only develop that power, sort of like a specialized wizard. Except, of course, that we're a psion.

>Magical proficiency
And to clarify my understanding of this, quantity over quality and casting without a focus implies to me that this is somewhat more instinctive casting, as opposed to the practiced casting that anyone who actually has a focus would be using. So basically the difference between a sorcerer and a wizard. But your comment on learning a whole bunch of spells seems to indicate differently.
will find a way to punch you over the internet.

Sorry boyo, but there can only be one.

>So basically the difference between a sorcerer and a wizard.

You're thinking too much in terms of D&D magic. Think more along the lines of Skyrim magic; you can learn spells from books, or you can find items that can do the same things as those spells but with limited charges. In our case, you could only do the former if you had magical proficiency, but the latter would always be open to you so long as you could find the right item.

As for the quality/quantity thing, I did that because if I allowed you the opportunity to learn EVERY SPELL EVER, not only would there be no reason to pick any of the other categories, but also the story would probably end up becoming one in which a all-powerful wizard wrecks meddles in everything, and while that would probably be awesome Demetrious already has dibs on that.
[x] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)

Sometimes subtle is best as for one such things don't have counter measures made for them.
[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)

Time Alter: Triple Accel
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>can't into Remilia tier
We can try damn it.

Actually, come to think about it, we're starting to encompass most of the traits of a certain blood tinted mansion. Or at least its inhabitants.

But seriously, hard choice between Time Manipulation, Portals, Battle Meditation, and Dragon Shouts.

In the end, I'm going with [X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy) because time hax is best hax.
>“Oh, and Luna? One more thing.” Surprise register’s on the blonde girl’s face as you lean down next to the blonde’s ear so that only she can hear, “The next kiss is on you, alright?”

Nice. Now I'm definitely hoping they run into each other again, to see what happens next. And tsundere Luna would just be incredibly cute, too.

[X] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)

"Did you know... there are three kinds of aces?" Alright, we aren't flying any kind of aircraft in this, but you get my point.
[X] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)

Subtle is nice. Not too keen on time hax.
[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)

Our first trick will be preventing all the time paradoxes that our past self will make.
[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)

Seems the most useful for non-combat applications.
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[X] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)

Time hax is fine too. Battle Meditation sounds cooler though... and there are lots of uses for meditation.
I'm not ready to rule that out yet. We've got magic and technology in this setting, there could be aircraft. Chances of us using one look like zero.
[ ]Discipline: Celerity

Wait, that's not right...

[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)

Though choice between this one and the Battle Meditation,but being able to increase your speed / slow down everything else seems more flexible outside of combat.
[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)
[x] Battle meditation

Because magic is for pussies.
[x] Elemental Control (Funk)
Guess my hopes of a MC becoming the Avatar of Funk will be denied yet again.

[x] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)
>"Did you know... there are three kinds of aces?"
So will we be a Mercenary, Soldier, or Knight? I'm hoping for the last one.
Ah geez, I should have paid closer attention to the actual vote in >>47502.

Sorry to do this to you guys, but I'm not going to allow the [X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy) vote, for a few reasons. For one, I think some misleading wordage ended up causing you guys to think that you could use Magical proficiency to specialize in a single field of magic, which wasn't my intent at all. If you chose this ability, I would basically give you a few basic spells from various fields to start out with, and you would have to work your way up from there. While you would be able to learn new spells, and maybe focus on a single type if you liked, the real intent of this choice was that would would sacrifice focus in return for better flexibility. In short, this ability is supposed to be along the lines of "Jack of all Trades" rather than "Focused practitioner of Magic". I know that I may have said otherwise, but from my perspective allowing you both access to magic and the ability to hone into a certain field of the start just goes against the intent of the option, and moreover would force me to write a different kind of story than I am planning. Sorry to say this, but I just can't let you take a specialization should you choose "Magical Proficiency".

"Time Manipulation" is still a valid choice from my perspective, however, as it is focused enough to allow me better insight on how you would build up. You wouldn't be able to learn spells, but as the story progresses you would gain new abilities to manipulate the flow of time to your advantage.

Considering how often I saw the term "time hax" in your votes, I feel like this ability is more or less what you guys want anyways. As such, I'm going to count all "[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)" votes towards one of "Time manipulation". Feel free to change your vote if this isn't what you want, though.

I'm going to leave this up for a few days before starting the next part in the hopes of letting everyone who voted see this and voice their complaints before moving on. I'll try and keep an eye on the thread for any stray responses, but hopefully we can move past this fairly smoothly. Again, sorry for the inconvenience, but I'd rather deal with this now rather than twenty posts from now.

Time Manipulation by itself is perfectly OK. Using Chronomancy in place of convectional magic to solve our everyday problems is an even better outcome anyway, due to the fact that it's new and exciting compared to using generic magic. Just go ahead and write the update and let the complainers complain after it's done.
Well, if that's how it is, it can't be helped. Though if I may ask, could you clarify your interpretations of the two leading choices?
What level of time manipulation would we start with, and what abilities would we eventually gain?
For instance, indefinite time stopping? Time travel? Suspending the flow of time in a specific area to hold it in stasis? Aging or deaging people or items as an offensive weapon? Suspending our own aging process (as Sakuya is sometimes said to do)? Healing wounds by reversing their flow of time? Precognition?

And for the other, I'm not really sure what battle meditation is exactly. A sort of trance-like state that expands our awareness and improves our intuition in combat? Does it have any use out of combat, or if it's literally just battle meditation?

You make a good argument, but I'd still prefer to wait for a bit. This is a choice that is going to more or less affect the flow of the entire story from this point, so I want to make sure that people are given the chance to change their mind, especially considering that I am at least partially (if not completely) at fault for the confusion that has arisen.

>What level of time manipulation would we start with, and what abilities would we eventually gain?

You would start with an ability or two that would allow you to get past Cirno (in other words, don't expect too much). As for what you might eventually gain, I haven't really planned that far out yet, due to the CYOA nature of the story. And just to head of any potential questions, pretty much all abilities will end up working like this, starting off fairly limited and working our way up as we go along.

I will say, however, that time travel as part of your ability set is probably straight out.

>I'm not really sure what battle meditation is exactly.

Ah.. yeah, this one is probably a somewhat more obscure choice. Probably should give you at least a little more insight on where I plucked this from. You can find a basic idea of what this ability can do for you here:


The development for this skill could probably go two ways. On the one hand, this ability has more than enough depth on its own that I could build an entire "skill tree" on specific ways that one can influence oneself, one's allies and/or one's enemies. On the other hand, this particular ability comes from a very well defined (force) power set already, and it would be very tempting to let you build up along that instead...

After reading the article, I'm willing to admit battle meditation isn't as useless as I originally thought it to be, especially if we are given access to both the light and dark side in terms of skill upgrades.

I'm not going to change my vote for Chronomancy, but I wouldn't be disappointed if battle meditation wins either.
[x] Elemental Control (fairies hearts)

[X] Magical proficiency (Specialization: Chronomancy)
Fuck, I wish you hadn't explained battle meditation. That's exactly what I was hoping it was.

time manipulation is cool too, but man, it feels like every other protagonist has the power. Oh well.
Change this to Battle Manipulation

Bloke has a point about having a unique protagonist.
While battle manipulation is obviously a rarer ability, being limited to one series and all, I don't see where you get the idea that time manipulation is a common protagonist power.
I really don't want to derail the thread, so I'll just say one thing. Bullet time. Fuck bullet time. If we manage to get through this entire story with this powerset without developing some form of bullet time, I'll be shocked.
I still stick my vote for Time Manipulation, but that's only because I don't really much uses for Battle Manipulation outside of combat. Unless there is some application of it that I am missing entirely?
From the linked wiki page:
>With a mere touch, Yoda was able to saturate Palleus Chuff with feelings of hope and mission success, while simultaneously eliminating feelings of doubt and despair from the little man's spirit.
That's just one example of how "influencing yourself or others" could be used outside combat, if we choose to develop that way.

Basically, it would help social tasks. Time manipulation would be useful for physical tasks. I'm not sure if either could help with mental tasks...

>[ ] FUS! (Let your voice roar…)
The fuck is this supposed to be? Yelling really loud? How could that develop?

FUS RO DAH is one of 20 shouts used in Skyrim. I could try to explain it more, but you would probably understand what it does faster if you just type it into youtube.
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How long exactly before you call the votes?

Kinda already called it, actually. I'll probably keep myself open to a potential miracle for another day or so, but right now I'm running under the assumption that "Time Manipulation" is the winner here. (Note that if you're wondering why I'm not calling it chronomancy, you obviously didn't read my earlier posts) That said, it's going to take me a bit to tweak this choice into the plans I have on my end, so I'll have to ask you to be patient a little while longer as I get things set up. The next post will probably be here by the end of Monday at the latest, and if not I'll be sure to let you guys know.
[⌚] Let's do the time warp again.

>divining the future by looking at clocks
You know, that'd actually be a pretty neat power.

Of more direct relevance, it'd be a plausible extension of Time Manipulation to dabble in the Wikipedia definition of chronomancy -- "divination of the best time to do something".

"Best time" could theoretically apply to any moment in time. Past, present or future.

As an example in this particular context: the "best time" to punch Cirno in the face would probably be when she was an infant, only mere seconds old, or perhaps at the exact moment she sneezes 7 years from now.

Also, even knowing the "Best time" to do a particular action well in advance doesn't necessarily mean we posses the skill, speed, strength, or time to capitalize on that exact moment.

An amusing power perhaps, but not at all suited for a CYoA.

Have a bit of pointless rambling while we wait for the update.
Oh how I wish I'd found this sooner so I could have voted for Elemental Proficiency: Tsundere.
I'd like to reference some contents of my earlier post inquiring on potential upper limits to our powers:
>For instance, indefinite time stopping? Time travel? Suspending the flow of time in a specific area to hold it in stasis? Aging or deaging people or items as an offensive weapon? Suspending our own aging process (as Sakuya is sometimes said to do)? Healing wounds by reversing their flow of time? Precognition?
Time travel got outright vetoed (even split-second oh-shit-I-should-have-dodged-the-other-way time rewinds?), but it seems the others are still in the air.

Mayhaps we could pass the time discussing the powers we could have taken? While time manipulation is one of the more accessible of the broken-tier powers, it's hardly the only thing we could have chosen. I myself am also rather partial to shapeshifting.

Also, I realize Elemental Control (Kinetic Energy) would have been hilarious.
>time stop
Ugh. Do not want to become Sakuya-lite.
Here, was gonna change my vote for:
[x] Battle meditation.

Because force shenanigans kind of top time shenanigans, but if it's too late there's no problem, win-win situation I guess.
After time travel, mind reading is probably the most story-destroying power. I'd go for that.
Seconding this.

And actually, I found a way we could combine both of the front-runners, sort of: Rather than controlling time itself, we could manipulate people's frame of reference, throwing their actions off because it seems like whenever they try something, it always seems to take too long or happen too quickly compared to what they're used to, or because suddenly things seem like they're stuck in "fast forward" to them and they can't react fast enough.

Also could be useful for creating an almost-literal "night that lasts forever." Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Well, that's true as far as it goes; but some times are clearly better than others. Also, I was thinking less along the lines of I SEE THROUGH TIME and more like "never missing your bus" -- or, at higher levels than beginner, pulling off the clap-your-hands-and-catch-the-sword trick. Not sideways omniscience, just really good timing.

>Elemental Control (Kinetic Energy) would have been hilarious
... how is that different from plain old TK?
Alright, at this point both battle meditation and time manipulation are more or less tied (plus or minus one vote), but I'm going to go ahead and call it for battle meditation in any case since I'm not really for writing a story where you could basically timehax everything to death near the start. There are other reasons, but it would involve giving a bit too much away right at the start, so I'm just going to stay silent for now and let the story try to fill things in.

On the plus side, this means that writing has begun again. This one's gonna be a bit of a doozy though, so while there is a good chance of it being ready by tomorrow I'm going to stick to my original schedule of Monday night.

Oh, and guys? Could you either stop reading my mind over the internet, or else teach me how to do it? It's seriously starting to freak me out. (I'm looking at you, >>47557)
Maybe this sort of ability isn't common but people tend to go for the seemingly OP stuff without thinking or say "Shrooms for bigger booms"
...can't be helped, I suppose.

Though to all be people complaining about time manipulation automatically condemning us to become Sakuya-lite, I'll just say that's about as true as battle meditation necessarily making us Koishi-lite.

It isn't.

On a side note, timehaxxing everything to death isn't likely if you sufficiently limit the power. What most people don't realize is that time manipulation is, in general, a force multiplier. Barring unconventional applications, its function is basically "stall so I have time to use something that works". But it's only at higher levels of complete time stoppage that the character actually has time to stroll around and steal battleships and artillery to use; at lower levels, he has to make do with whatever is presently on hand.

While manipulating frame of reference might work for sentient objects, you should be aware that the perspective of a flying arrow can hardly be changed.
Seems we Jedi now. Can't be helped I suppose.

So choosing Battle Meditation also potentially gives us access to the force further along the line?
A point against timehaxery: Gensokyo already has a couple of people with similar abilities thus residents would know counter measures.
I'll concede that. Still, you could think of that as one of the limitations you were talking about in the first half of the post.

And you could still use it to throw off the wielder's aim before the arrow is released, of course.
You mean we could have had the power to make people ragdoll by shouting at them, and we PASSED IT UP? This is a tragedy.
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[ ] Battle Meditation (Control the ebb and flow of battle, your opponents none the wiser)

You keep on dodging Cirno’s blasts, waiting for the opportunity you need to bring the tides to your side. It shouldn’t take too long; this girl is known for both her impatience and rather large ego, so as long as you are able to wait her out a bit…

“Ha!” Cirno yells out as she lets off one more blast. “Can’t fight back, can you? See guys, I’m just that good!” Crossing her arms, she turns her head slightly to the entourage of girls following her. “There’s no way that this doofus could…”

There we go. You tune the blue idiot out as you close your eyes and begin evening out your breath. Soon enough you’ve calmed your mind down, clearing it of stray thoughts until only what you need to focus on the enemy in front of you remains. Opening your eyes again, you find yourself taking the situation in front of you in a different light. The majority of your attention still rests on the biggest threat, Cirno, but at the same time you find yourself taking in your surroundings, thinking on whether or not you might be able to use them to your advantage. You see the crowd of fairies shifting around, a potential threat if they were to attack all at once and yet bridled down by the sheer force of Cirno’s will. You see that the green haired girl has noticed that something has changed in you, and is attempting to alert Cirno to it. Hm, sharp mind on that one for a Fairy.

In the end the green-haired one manages to get Cirno to glare at her in annoyance, but a single point causes her to reorient back towards you as she sees you advance. Wasting no time, she lets off another ice blast directly towards you. This time, however, you are able to keep track of the projectile’s trajectory from the moment it leaves her hands. While you couldn’t call your movement catlike in avoiding it, you don’t feel the need to give it as wide a berth as you were before, simply sliding out of its way in order to let it pass you by. Cirno doesn’t seem to notice, but you are able to slowly advance towards her as you dodge, and soon enough you have reduced the distance between you by about half.

Still, even if you are able to dodge her shots somewhat better, you can feel that getting up close to her would be a fool’s move. You’ve tangled with Cirno enough to know that if she can lay a single hand on you she could freeze half of your body in an instant. If that happens… well it’s probably not worth it to dwell on the possible consequences. What you need is an opportunity to land a clean hit on her in such a way that she can’t hit back, but since you can’t approach her said opportunity would probably have to come from Cirno herself. And while normally you might have to play the waiting game, you still have one more trick up your sleeve that you can try.

You focus your mind towards the enemy in front of you, feeling her out as you dance around her attacks. You can see the sheer confidence radiating from her entire being, the thrill she is having in fighting you with a clear advantage and the support she feels from the girls standing around her. But more importantly, you see the focus that she is putting on this battle, the concentration that she is giving to the conflict between you. That is what you can work with, though you suspect that you’ll need her to be fully on the offensive in order to obtain the greatest effect.

It’s not likely that Cirno will drop her current strategy until she knows for a fact that she has a clear advantage. So far she’s been pretty cautious in actually approaching you, so you’re probably going to have to goad her a bit in order to get her into the proper state. Unfortunately, the only thing you can currently think of that would manage that is probably going to sting a bit.

As Cirno fires the next blast at you, you make to dodge out of the way once more. This time, however, you let the projectile graze you in the arm slightly, causing it to tear into your clothing and cut against your arm. The actual pain isn’t really that great, but you’re going to need to play this up a bit if you want to push her into attacking. Dropping to one knee with a wince of pain, you grab your barely injured arm with your other hand, looking as though that attack took its toll on you.

“Aha!” Cirno says with a cry of triumph, “Time to finish this!” She begins to walk in your direction, intent on freezing you in place so that her cronies can have no fear of joining in. As she closes in, however, you reset your mind back onto Cirno’s focus. Just before she reaches you, you grab onto it with your mind, and give it a little bend, scattering her concentration long enough to cause Cirno to literally trip over her own feet. As she falls towards you, hands wind milling at her sides in an attempt to regain her balance, you pounce from your crouched position and throw a heavy punch right in the center of her abdomen.

Cirno drops to her knees, clutching her stomach as she gasps for air. Standing up, you begin walking away, intent on leaving this area once and for all. While the others might have gotten in your way if Cirno were still standing, the loss of their leader causes the other Fairies to clear out of the way as you pass.

“Sorry Cirno, but I’m kind of in a hurry right now. I’ll play with you another time, ok?” Having cleared the others, you break into a slight run as you do your best to leave the area as quickly as possible.


“Aaauugghhh, d-damn.” It took a while for Cirno to catch her breath from the punch, but soon enough she was able to pull herself back to her feet with Dai’s help. As she looked around, she realized that her opponent had already taken off. “Dammit! Where did he go? Did any of you keep track of where he went?” Her entourage wouldn’t answer, instead shuffling their feet and trying to avoid direct contact with her. “Of course not,” Cirno said as she let out a sigh, “Am I the only one who is actually competent around here? Well whatever,” she says as she brushed away Dai’s support, “It’s not like we’ve actually got any time to fight that stupid head right now anyways. We can pay him back the next time we seem him.” With that, Cirno began moving towards the warehouse, the crowd following suit behind her.

Of course, once they actually got to the warehouse the folly of letting that man go became apparent. Sunny, Star and Luna were all waiting by the front entrance instead of their posts, which was a poor sign in and of itself, but added to that was the fact that the whole group looked downtrodden over something that had happened. To top it all off, a part of the group was working to get one of the grunts out of some rope bindings.

Why did she have to work with these idiots all the time? Palming her forehead as she approached, Cirno stopped in front of Star. “So,” she said as she prepared for the worst, “Tell me what happened.”

Hesitating for only a moment, Star began to regale Cirno on the strange man who had managed to subdue both her and the grunt on the floor, using confusing tactics to throw off her tracking abilities. After that, he had made his way to the safe, subduing Luna with ease so that he could crack the safe without interference. (At this point Luna was blushing and looking away from the others, clearly embarrassed over the incompetence brought on by her failure.) After taking the time to humiliatingly dump the three that he had subdued in one spot, he cowardly made a dash for the exit. Sunny chimed in at this point, regaling Cirno on how she did her best to keep the coward from running away. While she managed to tag him on the leg, he was still able to escape while he had the upper hand.

Sunny’s story drifted to a halt as Cirno remained in her facepalm position. Nothing was said for a whole half-minute, causing the girls to shift nervously about as they waited for their leader to speak. Finally, Cirno let out a heavy, drama filled sigh as she put her hand down. A look of steel came into her eyes as she spoke. “So what you are basically telling me is that someone managed to get past my best tracker, steal the loot in the safe, and then make his way past my best fighter and escape. Did I manage to get all of that correctly?”

Star and Sunny nod, causing Cirno to let out another sigh. “Unbelievable. You had all the advantage in the world, and yet you managed to let a single weakling get past all of you.” Her own recent failure of a fight put out of her mind, Cirno began marching back and forth in front of the three girls.


“I can understand Luna failing to do anything to stop this guy, but it is simply embarrassing that he managed to get past all of you! I mean, he’s just one person! How could all of you put together not be enough?!”

“Excuse me…”

“It’s a good thing that we didn’t tell Lily about this place before coming here, otherwise who knows what kind of punishment she might give us for messing up-”


“WHAT?!?” Cirno yelled out as she lunged towards Luna, shocking her into taking a step back. “What could be so important that you feel the need to interrupt me, little miss failure?”

“U-um…” Luna didn’t answer her back, but instead reached into one of her sleeves. At first Cirno could only think of what punishment would be suitable for such insubordination, but when she saw what Luna was pulling out she could only stand there in shock along with all the other girls.

Luna held out the money at arm’s length towards Cirno. “Um, well, y’see, this guy, he um, I guess he must not have been very attentive, and, um…”

“Spit it out!” Cirno yelled out.

Luna gave a small squeak in response, shielding her face from Cirno’s with the money. “Y-yes, well, it seems like he wasn’t very careful with putting away the money he took from the safe, and it was in his back pocket, and then after I tried to get away he threw me over his shoulder to put me with the others, and then I saw the money sticking out, and then he went to pick up Star, and when he was crouching down his pocket came in reach, so I… I took the money.”

Cirno could not believe her ears. “You…what?”

“I…I took the money from his pocket, while he wasn’t noticing what I was doing.” Luna’s face blanched as she closed her eyes and tried to avert her face away from Cirno, who was still in shock. “I’m sorry, it was all I could think of, and I was all tied up, and-”

Luna stopped as she heard something from Cirno’s direction. Cracking one eye open, she saw Cirno laughing to herself softly. As the seconds passed the laughter grew louder and louder, other Fairies joining in to try and match their leader’s mood, until the whole area in front of the warehouse was filled to the brim with the laughter of young girls.

“Luna!” Cirno said as she slapped her hands on the blonde girl’s shoulders. “I can’t believe it, but I have to say that I’m impressed. Even when you were down and out, you managed to stick it to the enemy where it hurts the most!” Taking the currency into her own hands, Cirno began counting through it, unable to stop giggling. “I wish I could see the look on his face when he realizes that you, you of all people, managed to steal all this from right under his nose! Oh man, he’s going to be pissed!”

Luna could only smile as the girls around her congratulated her on her quick thinking. Star and Sunny had drawn her into a big hug, and all around her the other girls excitedly talked about what they might be able to do with all this money.

“Whoa, whoa guys, hold your horses!” Cirno yelled out as her overheard some of the commentary. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. First we need to show this cash to Lily, see how much she needs to keep things going, right?” There were a couple of moans, but a quick glare from Cirno brought everyone into agreement. “Also, Luna, are you sure that this was all that was in the safe? Did he take anything else? Was there anything left at all?”

“Um,” Luna said as she scrunched her forehead, “I’m not sure. I didn’t really get a good look at what that guy did while he was in the safe, though I think maybe he took something out of there? I tried seeing whether or not there was anything left, but he closed it and locked it back up before I could get a good look.”

“He locked it, huh?” Cirno could only grin upon hearing this. “That means that there might still be something in there! C’mon, Dai, help me pop that safe back open so that we can get a closer look inside.”

The green-haired girl gave a small nod as both her and Cirno walked back into the warehouse, with Cirno’s contingent following along. Luna let out a deep breath as she watched her go, relieved that she actually managed to come out on top for once.

“By the way, Luna,” Star said as she turned to her friend, “That guy said something to you before he left the warehouse, didn’t he?”

“What? He did?” Star nodded towards Sunny, who also turned towards Luna with anticipation in her eyes. “Well then tell us what he said! Was it something important?”

Luna could feel her face grow hot as she turned away from her friend’s stares. “U-um…” Looking around she saw quite a few of the other girls had turned towards her as well, curious as to what the three might be talking about. “Not right now, ok? I’ll tell you later when we’re alone.”

“Oh come on, Luna, what was it?” Sunny said, lowering her voice so that only the three of them could hear. “What, did he accidently tell you the secrets of the universe or something? C’mon, you can tell us.”

“I said later, ok!” Luna said in a whisper, though louder than she would have liked. Walking away from her two best friends, it was all she could do to cover her hands in embarrassment from the other girls that were staring at her. Sunny and Star gave each other a worried glance, but ultimately the two of them shrugged and ran off to follow their friend, trusting that she would tell them when she was ready.


Even though you didn’t see any of those girls following you, you keep up your quick pace until you are sure that you weren’t tailed. As you allow yourself to slow down and rest for a bit, you notice that you managed to make your way back into the city proper during your escape. After catching your breath, you do your best to orient yourself to your surroundings and begin moving in the direction of your home. Taking out your wallet, you count out the money you were able to make from that little escapade. Now that the whole thing is behind you, you are starting to regret being so generous with the loot. Making Luna look good is one thing, but you can’t really imagine that it would require a whole $2,000 to do so.

Oh well, you think to yourself with a sigh as you put your wallet back. The $1,000 you picked up is still more than enough for what you need. Along with the $50 that you already had in there, it more or less puts you at twice what you will need to tie the old hag over for the next month or so. A smile come onto your face as you realize that you might be able to treat yourself to a nice meal or two over the next few days, though another part of you argues that it would be better to save that money for later. As you wrestle over the best way to manage your finances, you set your gaze towards the skyline. It looks like you managed to stay out late enough that morning is coming upon you. The east side of the sky is begging to light up with color, bringing a smile to your face. It’s not often that you’re up this early, so you take in the view of the sky for all its worthwhile you have the chance.

Of course, looking up at the sky inevitably causes your gaze to be drawn to where the mountain sits. You watch as the sunrise from the east begins to light up the monolith from the ground up, first brightening the skyscrapers that sit near the base, and then slowly rising to cover the smaller houses that sit like nests higher up. Soon enough, the houses give way to natural forest, with small streams visible even from where you are by the light shimmering off of them. As the light continues to rise, the trees themselves seem to stay back as rock and snow take over. From there, only the Lunarian embassy makes itself known, gleaming white and gold as the sun falls upon it. After that, the light continues on its path until it hits the fog near the mountains peak, obscuring it enough to prevent you from seeing any further.

It’s hard to say exactly how the city managed to build itself around an entire mountain, but from your perspective it’s nothing to really complain about. While it might be near impossible to traverse the entire circumference of the base and back on foot in a single day, the trains and buses allow for quick movement when needed. And while the mountain might seem imposing to those who are new to the city, one generally becomes accustomed to it fairly quickly, assuming they can survive its streets long enough to do so. The city itself is a fairly ordinary one (at least from your perspective), consisting of crime, markets, high end estates, dirt poor slums, factions, wonders and people. Some people might say that the city also has some peculiar quirks to it, but then again what city doesn’t? All in all, it’s not a bad place to live, especially for a guy like you.

You shake your way out of your introspection as you discover that you are about a block or so away from your building. As you head towards it you let out a yawn; seems that this little night prowl has cured that insomnia of yours. The old hag probably won’t be up for a while anyways, considering how much noise she was making last night, so you might as well get a few hours of sleep while you have the chance. (One of the benefits of being self-employed, you think to yourself) Hopefully you’ll be able to catch her before she heads out in the evening. You reach your building and use your key to let yourself in, marching yourself up to your room to get the rest that you need.


Choose a nickname?
[ ] Ace
[ ] Let’s let the name generator decide!
[ ] Wait, wait, let’s let the STAR WARS name generator decide!
[ ] <Write-in>
[ ] Nah, let’s just play this by Anon rules


Battle Meditation, Current Skill Set:

[ ] Self-Meditation (Passive): You take a few moments to focus your mind on the current conflict. Doing so will slightly increase your battle prowess and give you subtle insights on the current battlefield, allowing you a better chance to move the flow of battle more to your favor. Note that this ability can only be activated while in or preparing for combat; it cannot be used when you are not engaging an opponent. Once combat has ended, so too will this ability. This ability will automatically attempt to activate once battle has begun, but until you have conditioned your mind to using this skill you will need to consciously re-activate itself every time a new combat situation arises.

[ ] Fumble (Active): You reach out to your opponent’s mind, breaking their focus for a split second. This in turn will cause them to trip over themselves, possibly causing havoc on whatever activity they may currently be performing. Useful for tripping up an engaged opponent, but can also be used for subtler things, such as causing a person to lose his or her train of thought. You can only use this ability on one target at a time, and said target must be capable of sentient thought. Strong wills or odd minds might be able to resist or nullify this ability.

Unless otherwise noted by the story, there is no limit to using these abilities.


Alright guys, that’s the end of the tutorial. Let’s go over one or two more things before moving on.

You can use attributes choices whenever you face something that impedes your progress, even if I don’t provide one, so long as you can provide a reasonable course of action to go along with it. Note that there is a factor of greater risk and reward when you use an attribute choice as opposed to non-attribute ones; success with one will generally have you accomplishing things in an awesome manner, while failure will usually put you further behind then you were before. Keep in mind, though, that even failures will build on how good you become with a particular attribute.

Your Battle Meditation skills can be used at any time during a vote, either on their own or alongside another choice so long as there is a sense of compatibility with the situation and/or choices in question. Also, keep in mind what I said about developing this ability at the end of post >>47526, as things might not end up developing the way you might be expecting.
[x] Connor

Not too flashy, not too common.
> Fumble
Unless someone comes up with a sufficiently awesome write-in, I'll have to say
[X] Nah, let’s just play this by Anon rules.

That said, I'm throwing this out there:
[ ] Henderson.
Yeah, you heard me.

When will we be able to pick up some tools and weapons? Our power can't function well on its own, so they're pretty important.
>Gave her 2/3 of the loot
Right then. Where's the nearest lake?

As far as nicknames go I don't really care.
[x] Wait, wait, let’s let the STAR WARS name generator decide!
someone help
[x] Connor

Because the whole "Anon" thing is kinda silly when you actually have to interact with people for your main power to work.
Eh, if we get allies, we're probably going to want to funnel most of the money to them anyway. We'd be too busy strategizing to do much fighting ourselves. And I'd like them as allies.

I don't care about names.
[X] Connor
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this story. I suppose I'll just keep reading until I make up my mind. I think I may stick it out to the end though.
Why are you ambivalent?
What kind of nickname is connor?

[x] Nickname? What nickname?
I thought it was a "choose how you'll be called in-story" option.
Also names can be nicknames too.
I just don't like the idea of "numerical stats" in a story. That said it's Realmhopper's story and he can do it however he wants and I'll simply try to enjoy the ride.

Numerical stats? I'm...not quite sure we're reading the same story broski.

I'm going to throw some inventory your way in the next post, and soon after you'll be able to visit places where you can pick up what you need.


Yeah, I understand what you mean by numerical statistics. That said, I'm going to do my best to ensure that the numbers stay entirely on my side of the table. (It's a large part of the reason that I said no to actually showing you any statistical numbers.) I'm glad that you're giving me the benefit of the doubt and sticking around. Hopefully I won't disappoint.


Not sure if I understand this vote. Are you against giving him a nickname entirely, or are you just trying to give him an actual name?
Hmmm, maybe I screwed up somewhere. I was responding to this other anon that "Connor" (since I was the one to first vote for that name) was as good nickname as any other. Sorry if my attempt at discussion misled you or something.
That post >>47584 isn't mine.

Whoops, I was actually referring to post >>47584 too. Sorry for the confusion!
Small quibble:

>>You watch as the sunrise from the east begins to light up the monolith from the ground up,...

Sunrise actually lights things from the top down, due to that whole "curvature of the earth" thing. It's exactly the same reason you can see farther out when you're standing on top of something.

Then again, this is Gensokyo, where the laws of physics have been known to take a holiday at the caprice of the gods (or Yukari).

As for votes:

[X] Fumble (Active)
[X] Connor (My creative-thinker-brain-piece isn't working at this late hour)

Active seems like it'd be more useful day-to-day.
I think we get both of those powers. OP was just listing them out for us.

And goddamnit, what kind of a nickname is Connor? Is it supposed to be some kind of pun on "con"? OP, can you just pick a name for us? It seems like most people are just having trouble thinking of one. We can use Connor for our proper name.
Maybe our surname is Macleod and Connor is our nickname because of Highlander.
Alright, I'm calling it so that I can start the next part. Don't worry too much about the nickname, it's not really going to affect anything other than what people call you.


Critical research fail. Thanks for pointing it out.

Also, I could argue that the city isn't actually Gensokyo, but on the other hand I never was able to come up with a good name for it, and considering that everyone who inhabits it are generally considered Gensokyo residents...meh, if it looks like a duck, I suppose. I'm just going to keep calling it "The City" for now, though in my mind the name of the city is much like the nickname Conner, in that it's not something that's really going to affect things too much.


Probably shouldn't have used the choice boxes with the ability set, huh? Both skills are yours, no need to choose between them.
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[X] Conner


A loud buzzing noise begins to sound off next to you. Opening your eyes, you shut off your alarm and stare at the clock, which is displaying 11:05 AM. You’re still tired, but any more sleep than this will probably switch your days and night around. You force yourself up out of bed and get yourself ready to face another day.

Your apartment is a one room suite, with a small bathroom attachment on the side. It’s pretty tiny; there wasn’t much space to move around in it even before you managed to shove your mattress and drawer set in here, but considering what you have to pay for it you can’t really complain. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t prefer a place with more space, but that would require a more regular source of income that isn’t currently available to you.

Soon after a quick rinse, you throw on a basic denim and sweatshirt deal, and then poke around your place to gather your things. After making sure that there are no new messages on your laptop you take your wallet from its place on top of the drawers, after which you grab your bag and throw it on the bed, tossing things you might need. It’s not like you’re not really expecting anything to happen today, but at the same time you were most definitely unprepared for the last few jobs that you managed to pick up. Now, what should you bring?



[ ] Side Bag – 10 Inventory slots. Due to its convenient positioning, you can grab what you need from it at any time.
[ ] Backpack – 15 Inventory slots. More space, but you’ll have to swing it around to access its contents, causing a slight delay in pulling something out, especially if you are on the move.

Stuff currently lying around your apartment:

[ ] Utility Knife <1 slot, can be holstered>
[ ] Wand of Shock <1 slot, can be holstered>
[ ] Weird silver disco ball thing you found yesterday <1 slot>
[ ] Laptop, Fully charged <2 slots>
[ ] Laptop charger <1 slot>
[ ] Cell Phone Charger <1 slot>
[ ] Notepad and pencils <1 slot>
[ ] Rope (Why are you keeping a length of rope in here again?) <1 slot>
[ ] Hook for the rope (Oh right, from when the old hag accidentally smashed the entryway in.) <2 slots>
[ ] Screwdriver kit <1 slot>

Note: You will always be carrying your cell phone, wallet (Currently containing $1,050) and key ring (currently holding only your apartment key) with you in your pockets. You can also choose to holster a weapon, letting you keep it at the ready and freeing up some of your inventory.


After zipping your bag up, you grab it and head down the stairs. Your mailbox was empty when you came in this morning, which mean that the only thing to do now is to give the old hag what you owe her. In theory this should be simple, so long as she’s awake and sober. Taking into consideration her usual nature, coupled with the fact that she was rowdy enough last night to rouse you from your apartment two stories up, you conclude that this is probably going to be anything but simple.

You approach the manager’s room, and just as you suspected you can hear loud snoring coming from within. With a small sigh, you begin banging on the door.

“Old hag! Hey, old hag! Get up; I’ve got what I owe you for this month!”

No answer, as expected. Letting out a larger sigh, you consider whether it’s even worth it to deal with her right now. Well it’s not like she locks her door when she’s in, and she’d probably track you down later tonight when she finds that she’s short on cash again. It would probably be best to at least try and rouse her for a few seconds so you can get this out of the way. With a third sigh, you open the door and step inside, finding exactly the scene you were expecting.

Bottles of booze are scattered all over the table and floor alongside people who are, most likely, sleeping off the previous contents of said bottles. You do your best to maneuver around as many people you can without disturbing them. Let’s see, there’s that Suika chick, old friend of the old hag’s who always seems to be floating in and out of here depending on the building’s current level of booze. It also looks like they managed to draw in poor Ms. Kurodani again, though it looks like her daughter snuck in and tossed a blanket over her before she left for school. (‘Atta girl, Kisume.) And of course there’s Parsee, curled up in the corner and muttering in her sleep again. Who knows what that girl is thinking?

There are other faces that you don’t recognize in here, but you’re really only interested in one person, who is currently lying on her back with a large grin on her face, snoring as though she doesn’t have a care in the world. (Which, to be fair, she probably doesn’t.) Wearing her customary white shirt and colored long skirt, she could easily pass for just another large-breasted blonde at first sight were it not for the large horn sticking out of her forehead. (Well that and the chains, but you always figured that those were more of a fashion statement.) Despite looking like she’s in her early twenties, you’ve always suspected that her real age is probably more than almost everyone in this room’s combined, which is what led to you calling her old hag in the first place. (Not that she seems to mind being called that, for whatever reason.) Waking her up from her current drunken state is probably going to be near impossible, but since you’re already here…

“Hey, old hag, wake up.”

Nothing. You lean down and start shaking her by the shoulder, hoping that it might help to rouse her.

“Oy, Yuugi! I’ve got your booze money ready to go, but I can’t give it to you until you’re awake!”

Damn, not even that worked. (Though you think you saw Suika twitch out of the corner of your eye.) She’s probably not going to respond at all to your voice and shaking alone. If you want to get her up, you’ll probably have to go one step further.

[STR] There’s a pond near the back of the building that could help, assuming that you can manage to carry her all the way over there.
[ ] Let’s just give her a little kick. Not like there’s any chance you could actually injure her.
[ ] Looks like Suika might be easier to rouse. She’ll probably spend all of the money on booze instead of giving it to Yuugi, but at least you’ll be able to say that you tried.
[ ] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note along with the money we owe. So long as we make sure she finds it when she wakes up there shouldn’t be any problems.
[ ] Screw it, Yuugi can come to you if she wants the money that badly, you’ve got other things you could be spending your time on.
>Kisume, Yamame's daughter
What. That's novel. I'm liking this living situation.

[x] Looks like Suika might be easier to rouse. She’ll probably spend all of the money on booze instead of giving it to Yuugi, but at least you’ll be able to say that you tried.

Must resist urge to add CHRM to this. The only part of our loadout I care about is our mysterious sphere thingie.

[x] Weird silver disco ball thing you found yesterday <1 slot>
[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note along with the money we owe. So long as we make sure she finds it when she wakes up there shouldn’t be any problems.
Tape. It. To. Her. Horn.
Also I mildly object to calling Yuugi an old hag. I was expecting Yukari or Mima.

As for inventory stuff:
[x] Backpack because sidebags are for hipsters.
[x] Everything except the laptop and charger, holster the wand.
[PRSD] Attempt to rouse Suika and ask her to wake Yuugi. You'd try, but you'd probably fail, or get killed by her when she wakes up.
-[X] No, Suika, I'm not giving the money to you. Stop trying.
[X] If that fails, grab a glass of water from the kitchen and splash it on her face.
[X] If that fails... then we'll probably need a new set of choices for more drastic measures.

[X] Sidebag (for quick retrieval of items)
-[X] Utility Knife (holstered - no slots)
-[X] Disco ball (1 slot)
-[X] Wand of shock (1 slot - do we only have 1 holster?)
-[X] Notepad and pens (1 slot)
-[X] Laptop and charger (3 slots)
-[X] Rope (NEED MORE ROPE. 1 slot. FOR NOW.)

[X] Leave a couple hundred dollars stashed somewhere safe in the apartment.

That's 7 slots, leaving 3 for anything we pick up. Leaving phone charger because what kind of phone can't last a day? Leaving hook because we can hopefully tie a lasso. Shouldn't the knife have a screwdriver function?

Where are we even going after this anyway?

Also, you might want to look at >>47475 and >>47479 for some other items we might want. Lastly, why do we not have more pockets? We need to get some clothing with as many pockets as humanly possible.
>where are we going?
To someone who can tell us what the fuck that ball is, I hope.
[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note along with the money we owe. So long as we make sure she finds it when she wakes up there shouldn't be any problems.

[X] Sidebag
[x] Everything except the laptop and charger, holster the wand.

Bonus vote because the prologue was hard!

[X] Score! Looks like Luna keeps her cell phone on automatic friend exchange mode as well.
[X] Text her: So how did it feel to have your first kiss stolen by a common street thug?

Because Mr. Realmhopper confirmed we always have our cell phone, and I don't think it should just be another boring plot device.
[x] Side Bag – 10 Inventory slots. Due to its convenient positioning, you can grab what you need from it at any time.

[x] Utility Knife <1 slot, can be holstered>
[x] Weird silver disco ball thing you found yesterday <1 slot>
[x] Laptop, Fully charged <2 slots>
[x] Screwdriver kit <1 slot>
[x] Rope (Why are you keeping a length of rope in here again?) <1 slot>
[x] Hook for the rope (Oh right, from when the old hag accidentally smashed the entryway in.) <2 slots>

[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note with a notice about the money so she can pick it up herself.

>Bonus vote because the prologue was hard!
>Cellphone stuff!

Nope. I understand the bit about the cellphone being a boring plot device, but I mean come on, there's no way I'm going to let you make things that easy.
[x] Side Bag – 10 Inventory slots. Due to its convenient positioning, you can grab what you need from it at any time.

[x] Utility Knife <1 slot, can be holstered>
[x] Weird silver disco ball thing you found yesterday <1 slot>
[x] Laptop, Fully charged <2 slots>
[x] Screwdriver kit <1 slot>
[x] Rope (Why are you keeping a length of rope in here again?) <1 slot>
[x] Hook for the rope (Oh right, from when the old hag accidentally smashed the entryway in.) <2 slots>

[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note with a notice about the money so she can pick it up herself.

That bonus stuff, is that "friend exchange mode" even a thing? And why would the thief have it active just waiting for a victim get his personal number?
[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note along with the money we owe. So long as we make sure she finds it when she wakes up there shouldn’t be any problems.

As for inventory:
[x] Rope <1 slot>
[x] Hook for the rope <2 slots>
[x] Screwdriver kit <1 slot>
[x] Utility Knife <1 slot, can be holstered>
[Holster] Wand of Shock <1 slot, can be holstered>
[x] Weird silver disco ball thing you found yesterday <1 slot>
[x] Laptop, Fully charged <2 slots>
[x] Laptop charger <1 slot>
[x] Notepad and pencils <1 slot>

Is there universal internet access?
I hope you don't make the mechanics any heavier as it might alienate some people past a certain point.
No update until next week guys, I had to go out of town for some urgent business and I probably won't be back/able to write until around Tuesday.
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I was able to get a lot of planning for the story done on my way back, so hopefully this will help me write the story posts quicker in the future. That said, I'm more or less collapsing from exhaustion here, so the next post will probably be up sometime tomorrow.

>is that "friend exchange mode" even a thing? And why would the thief have it active just waiting for a victim get his personal number?

I think some phones can exchange personal info, but you have to initiate the transfer manually. Otherwise, there might be some apps that could transfer minimal data while passing other people, but I can't imagine anyone who would want to make their phone number available to everyone they pass on the street.

>Is there universal internet access?

You mean like a phone-based internet service that can connect no matter where you are or something like that? I'm sure it exists in story, but it's not something you currently have access to. At the same time, you will generally have access to a public WiFi connection of one sort or another so long as you are wandering public areas of the city, and it will probably be easy to piggyback off of the signals of people you know.

>I hope you don't make the mechanics any heavier as it might alienate some people past a certain point.

I don't really have any plans on making things more complicated past this point, but at the same time I'm not going to limit myself based solely on the fact that I might not please everyone with the way that I'm working through this story. If I find that the complex system in inhibiting my writing process then I might pull things back, but I mostly write on here to have fun, and for me having certain elements of complexity and uncertainty tend to make things more interesting. Not everyone is going to like the added complexity, but I'm hoping that over time it will make things more interesting in the long run.

As a side note, I notice that the post you were referring to didn't really have to do much with the mechanics, and more-so had to with the fact that I didn't let you have insta-Luna access. This confused me slightly, as I wasn't sure whether you were saying not to make the story more convoluted with additional cell phone mechanics (Which I'm not planning on doing) or whether you were complaining about lack of insta-Luna access. (Which I still won't let you have. There has to be at least some challenge in the chase, after all!)
I did that as a way to answer your question in an admittedly half-assed fashion. I said that because you can't have a story on purely or mostly mechanics. Honestly your merchant story would have worked pretty well still even without the mechanics in it.
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[X] Sidebag (9/10 slots occupied)
-[X] Utility Knife (holstered)
-[X] Disco ball thingy (1 slot)
-[X] Wand of shock (1 slot - do we only have 1 holster? Answer: For now, yes)
-[X] Notepad and pens (1 slot)
-[X] Laptop (2 slots)
-[X] Rope (1 slot)
-[X] Rope hook (2 slots)
-[x] Screwdriver kit <1 slot>
[X] Wallet (Pocketed, $550)
[X] Cell phone (Pocketed)
[X] Key Ring <Key to your apartment> (Pocketed)

[x] You know what, forget it. Let’s just leave her a note along with the money we owe. So long as we make sure she finds it when she wakes up there shouldn’t be any problems.

You take out a piece of paper from your sidebag and start scribbling a note to leave for Yuugi.

“Hey old hag: couldn’t wake you up, but here’s this month’s rent. Also, try not to kill Ms. Kurodani through alcohol poisoning, she and Kisume have things tough enough as it is. –C”

You take out the $500 that you owe and fold the note around it in a manner that will keep the cash from falling out. After you are satisfied that gravity alone won’t separate the pieces of paper from each other, you consider the best place to leave it. After all, if Yuugi isn’t able to find it when she wakes up it’s doubtful that she will believe that you paid it at all. Yuugi is the trusting sort, but for some reason she always holds people to higher standards than most. (What that reason might actually be is something that still eludes you to this day.)

For a moment you consider just placing it next to her, or sticking it in the neck of her shirt, but then your eyes fall onto her horn; that weird, red, pointy thing with the silly yellow star on it. You never could grasp why she has that grotesque thing on her head; did she lose a bet and have to get it grafted on as a penalty game? It doesn’t seem likely; she never seems to think about the fact that it’s there. Not to mention the fact that Suika is sporting a pair of antlers of her own. It’s just another part of the weird mystery behind these two women, but in this case it presents an opportunity. If you are careful enough, you should be able to stab your note onto the sharp end of Yuugi’s horn. There would be no way for her to miss it that way, and you would get the satisfaction of giving Yuugi her rent in a humiliating and stupid way! (Stupid for you, that is) It’s brilliant. BRILLIANT!

Or at least it would be if it weren’t for the fact that Suika is just pretending to be asleep at this point, waiting for you to set the money down and leave. You are positive that the moment you turn your back that the money would suddenly vanish into one of her little hands and convert itself from rent money into booze money. Not the most horrible of situations since Suika would most definitely tell Yuugi of what she did (and since that’s probably going to be the end result no matter what happens), but Yuugi would still probably frown upon the fact that you had to rely on someone else to get this money to her. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem.

“Tell Yuugi that my rent is in her mailbox, alright?” You say to Suika as you make your way back to the room’s entrance. You aren’t sure why you didn’t think of this before; it’s what any normal person would do, right? The temptation of the horn must have been greater than you thought.

“Nuuuuuuuuu!” Suika groans as she turns herself over so that she faces you. “Y’shld leef th’ mahney here, w’th meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Despite saying this, the small girl makes no effort to leave her current space on the floor, instead choosing to keep her eyes closed alongside her sloppy, drunken grin. “Ishalright, Ima make sure Yuugshi knowsh th’boosh isfrm you.”

“Sorry Suika, but it’s my hide on the line here. Gotta make sure it gets to her directly, you know?”

If she does know, then Suika decides not to say, choosing instead to fall back to sleep. As it stands, you are amazed that she is able to even speak at all at this point; most of the bottles seem to be congregated around where she is laying down, suggesting that she must have somehow consumed at least her body weight in alcohol last night. Shaking your head, you exit the room and walk over to the entrance hall. Next to the resident mailboxes stands Yuugi’s box, locked up and secure/Suika proof. (Previous observation has shown this to be a fact). Tossing the note and rent inside, you hoist your bag onto your shoulder and head out the door.

You probably packed a bit more than you needed today, but it never really hurts to be prepared. Besides, it’s not like you are planning on picking up random things from the ground. (Not today, at least) Instead, it would probably be best to head over to the job board again and see if anything new was posted. The extra cash flow from last night was nice, but you can already feel it burning a hole in your pocket, and you can never be sure when a good paying job may or may not be posted.

On the other hand, the extra $500 also means that you are in no particular hurry to get on over there. Considering that you haven’t had a decent meal in days, it would probably be worth it to head on over to the restaurant and grab something to eat before trying to do anything else. And that weird disco ball thing you found is picking at your curiosity; you should probably head on over to the shop to see if you can’t make heads or tails on what it might be for.

[ ] Let’s grab a bite to eat first.
[ ] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.
[ ] Let’s head on over to the job board first.
[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.

Food would be nice, but let's focus on the disco ball.
[x] Let’s grab a bite to eat first.

I believe eating out is probably a luxury for us.
[x] Let’s grab a bite to eat first.
[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.

>the others
Ooh. Tell me more. We can eat with these "others," whoever they are.
[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.
[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.
[ ] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.

Disco ball! DIIISCO BAAAALLLL! This needs to be identified soon, so take it to Rinnosuke!
[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.

You can't just allude to 'others' and expect it not to be picked.
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Anyways, writing has started, but I'll probably be posting it tomorrow. Take it easy until then, alright?
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[x] Let’s go and see the others at the shop first.

It takes about a half-hour by foot from your place, but soon enough you are opening the front door to the shop, causing the small bell hanging to ring as you walk inside. The shop itself is relatively normal for a resale shop; a few shelves along the walls holding various knickknacks, while tables scattered along the floor hold familiar brick-a-brak. The items aren’t really of any concern to you though; you’re more interested in the people that should be hanging around.

“Oy, are you guys around?” Considering the door wasn’t locked the assumption is that at least one of them is here, but it never hurts to check.

“Near the back, Conner.” You head towards the source of the voice, opening the door behind the counter and stepping into the storage room, where anything actually worth anything is kept. It only takes you a second to locate your targets and head on over to them.

“Hey Suke, Naz, how’re things?”

“I told you not to call me that, Conner.” Rinnosuke is currently seated at an appraisers table, examining what appears to be some sort of small gem. He is dressed in his normal semi-formal wear, which today seems to consist of a buttoned down blue shirt along with a pair of corduroys. Despite the annoyance in his voice over your chosen nickname for him, he doesn’t bother to look up from what he is doing to greet you.

“You know he only does it to pick at you, Rin. You shouldn’t let it get to you so much.” Nazrin is leaning against the appraisal counter from the front, a small smirk on her face. She is dressed in her usual grey shirt and a pair of jeans, her gray hair standing out in stark contrast to Rinnosuke’s white. “So tell us Conner, what sort of trouble have you gotten into this time?”

“Geez Naz,” you reply, faking a hurt sounding voice. “I’m not always in trouble, you know. Sometimes I just want you guys to do something for me.”

“That’s what you say every time, Conner.” Rinnosuke retorts. “And yet for some reason, trouble always seems to knock on my door every time you visit. Care to tell me why that is?”

“Maybe it’s because I actually go out and do things, rather than sit at a table and gawk at shiny things instead?” You try not to let the sarcasm drip too heavily from your voice; after all, these two are the closest thing to a family you have.

As far as you can recall, these two were always by your side during childhood. There is no obvious blood relation between the three of you, and you can’t exactly recall when it was that the three of you actually met up (or what happened to any of your parents, for that matter), but you guys stuck together nonetheless.

All your life, you can remember moving from one home or orphanage to another. There was never a definitive adult caretaker in your life, so the three of you relied on each other to ensure that things would end up alright from a young age. Nazrin had a knack for finding things of worth, which she used to bring in items that others might but. Rinnosuke was the innovator and entrepreneur, thanks to his ability to discern the true value of the items Naz brought in, and figuring out who might benefit or want it the most. And you? You were the one who interacted with people outside your little group of three, persuading people to listen to a couple of dumb kids, and getting violent to protect the other two when the need arose. Together, the three of you were able to get over many of the hurdles that your childhoods threw at you.

Of course, things changed as the three of you grew older. When he was old enough, Rinnosuke entered the corporate world in order to provide more to your little group. His ability to appraise true value, as well as the skills that he had gained from his harder-than-most childhood, allowed him to quickly rise up to the top of the corporate structure. As time went on, however, he hated the lack of freedom that said structure gave him, as well as the fact that it kept distancing him more and more from you and Naz. (He never actually admitted any of that, but Naz said she could tell.) As soon as he found the opportunity to do so, he used the money he had earned to buy this little shop and resign from his corporate position. It was a huge semi-scandal at the time, but by now things have settled down, and he seems content to be where he is now.

Around the same time Rinnosuke started moving up, Nazrin began a business of her own, mainly centered on finding lost objects and such. Most of her income came from finding lost pets, which tended to annoy her, but at the same time she made enough to get by on her own. When Rinnosuke bought his shop, she moved her business location there in order to try and emphasize that she specializes in finding objects, not animals.

You never quite found your stride like these two. After jumping around from retail job to retail job, you eventually settled on doing odd jobs posted on the local board. In all honesty you never really expected to last this long on your own, thinking that at some point you might just default to assisting Suke in his shop, but for some reason you manage to just scrape by on food and rent every month so far.

“Oy, Conner, you there?”

You blink as Naz shoves you gently, bringing you out of your recollection. “Sorry, I just got lost in thought for a moment.”

“Pay more attention, will you?” Rinnosuke says with annoyance. “Now are you tell us why you decided to grace us with your company, or are you just going to stand around all day?”

“Oh right, sorry.” You reach into your bag and pull out the disco ball thing that you found, handing it to Rinnosuke. “Mind taking a look at this? I picked it up yesterday and have no idea what it might do.”

“‘Picked something up’, huh?” Nazrin says with a small grin, “It seems like you’re starting to pick up some bad habits there, Conner.”

“For your information, Naz, I didn’t take this from another person, thank you very much.” The fact that you picked it up from a locked safe isn’t information that she needs to know, now is it?

Rinnosuke turns the item over in his hands a few times before holding it above his head and giving it a critical stare. “Let’s see here…” He mutters as his eyes pry into the object, skimming the surface as his ability deciphers the mysterious object’s purpose. “Name… Ball of Fever. Purpose… Upon activation, pull all in range into a terrible…uncontrollable… fever?”

The three of you stare at each other, and then Rinnosuke gently sets the ball down on the counter. “Conner, answer me honestly here mate, do you have any idea if this thing has been activated?”

“Not that I can tell.” You say as you take the ball, rolling it around your hand. “I’ve had it since yesterday, and I feel just as good as ever.”

“You should throw it away,” Nazrin says, backing away from where you are standing. “Something like that can’t be any good Conner, throw it away.”

“Hmm… I don’t know…”

“Look, Conner, I know you like taking risks, but at the same time I agree with Naz, we don’t know how sick any of us could get if that thing activated.”

You think on it a moment before answering. “I still want to think on it, but at the very least I should make sure that I find somewhere safe to dispose of it instead of just throwing it in the trash.

Suke and Naz look wary, but at the same time they agree with your plan of action. “Hang on, though.” Rinnosuke says as he gets up from his desk to move to the small kitchenette, set up for break times. Rummaging around in one of the drawers, he pulls out a small plastic zip-lock bag. “Put it in here for now. I have no idea if it would be effective if the thing actually activates, but it’s better than nothing for now.”

You give a small nod and deposit the ball into the bag. You get the feeling that this thing isn’t really that bad, but at the same time you agree that it never hurts to take one or two precautions, just in case. After making sure that the zip-lock is sealed tight, you deposit it back in your bag.

“Alright,” you say as you turn back to your companions, “That more or less takes care of what I wanted.”

“That’s it?” Rinnosuke says with a sarcastic grin. “Are you sure that you don’t want to stay and take a look at my fine leather jackets?”

“Do you have any fine leather jackets?” you retort.

“Um… well no, not right now.” Rinnosuke rubs the back of his head in embarrassment. “Sorry about that.”

“No worries, mate.” You say as you give him a pat on the shoulder. “I’m sure that one day you will have a great jacket to show me, one that will knock me off my socks, and cause me to fall to your feet exclaiming, ‘Oh great Lord Rinnosuke, forgive this humble peasant for doubting that you might indeed, on this day, bring onto me the leather jacket that I’-“

“Alright, knock it off.” Rinnosuke says as he gently shoves you away, a grin coming back to his face. “Honestly though, it feels like we hardly know what you’re up to anymore. Can’t you spare a quick moment to hang out and chat?”

[ ] “Sorry guys, but I’ve got plans for today. Maybe another time?”
-[ ] Head to the restaurant
-[ ] Head to the job board
[ ] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[ ] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
-[ ] “Wanna head on over to the Job board and help me pick out something good?

[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…
[X] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[X] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”

No need to be dicks to them, and eating lunch solo would be kind of sad.

I'd like to check out that ball, but that's not something that should be messed with while they're still potentially in the blast radius.
[x] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[x] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”

Hmm. That disco ball causes fever? Maybe we can find someone to pawn it off on. Our INT tells us that thing is creepy.
[X] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[X] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”

[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…
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brik-a-brak. or bric-a-brac. whichever.

[x] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[x] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…

You guys worry too much. Toss that shit in the air! let's have a dance party right now!
Oh yeah.
>sis Naz and bro Rinnosuke
>You guys worry too much. Toss that shit in the air! let's have a dance party right now!

You know, instead of having a huge reaction on your mind reading capabilities, I think I'm just going to keep a tally of the number of times you guys have read my mind.

Internet mind reading tally: 3
[x] “Sorry guys, but I’ve got plans for today. Maybe another time?”
-[x] Head to the job board
[INT] etc
[x] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[x] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…
[x] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[x] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…
-[X] Activate it in the restaurant. No way that could go wrong, right?
>Upon activation, pull all in range into a terrible…uncontrollable… fever?
I'm guessing the Saturday Night variety.

[X] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[X] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
Nothing's wrong with a little socializing.

[INT] Something about that ball is still bothering you. Maybe you can figure it out on the way to your next destination…

I just hope that last choice won't backfire in the middle of the road and turn the whole street into one big disco party.
Eesh, busy week. No idea when I'll be posting next, but the good news is that writing has started.
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[X] “I kind of want to keep moving, but you guys can tag along if you’d like.”
-[X] “Let’s go get something to eat first, I’m starving.”
[INT:SUCCESS] Doesn’t “fever” have another meaning in the context of a disco ball?

“Would you please put that thing away, Conner?” Naz asks as the three of you walk down the street towards the restaurant. “You’re giving me the creeps.”

“I’m telling you guys, I’m almost positive that the word “fever” is context sensitive here.” You are holding the bagged ball over your head, watching it gleam in the sunlight. Naz and Suke are following behind you, albeit at a distance. “Besides, there are easier ways to describe an object that causes disease than “pull all in range into a terrible, uncontrollable fever”.

“It’s the ‘terrible’ part that has me worried, Conner.” Rinnosuke says from where he is. “It doesn’t exactly suggest that the effects of this ball are meant to be enjoyed. Look,” he says as he catches up to you and grabs your arm, “even if it does what you say, we still have no idea what might manifest if we attempt to activate it. If you have a compulsion to test it out, fine, but at least do it where others won’t get hurt.”

“Alright, alright.” You grumble as you stuff it back into your bag. “I’m too hungry to argue over something like this right now. C’mon, let’s get a move on!” You put a smile on your face as you increase your pace, hoping to get some food in front of you within the next few minutes. You can feel Naz and Suke rolling their eyes behind you, but they end up keeping pace.


Soon enough you find yourself in front of Bountiful Harvest, your favorite restaurant. The food here is both delicious and on the relatively cheap side, so you find yourself coming here whenever you have a few dollars to spare for a good meal out. You can already feel your mouth watering as you step inside the front door.

“Well, if it isn’t Conner! It’s great to see you again, especially since it’s been so long since you last popped in!” The blonde restaurant owner, Minoriko Aki greets you with a smile as you walk on in. Looking to be in her early thirties, Minoriko is short, plump and extraordinarily cheerful. Dressed in the restaurant’s uniform dress of a yellow shirt and a red dress bordered by black, she ushers you inside before noticing the two following you. “And my word, you brought Nazrin and Rinnosuke along with you! There some kind of celebration today?”

“Nah, nothing like that,” You say, feeling Minoriko’s cheerfulness infect you. “We just realized that it’s been a while since we caught up, so I offered to let them tag along for lunch.”

“Aw, how sweet of you to treat them. Well I’ll get you set up with a table. Just follow me, alright?” Grabbing a few menus, Minoriko leads you to a preset table and sits the three of you down. “Now I’ll see if I can’t get Shizuha over here to take your orders, so just give me a second, alright?”

“Here that, Conner?” Nazrin says as Minoriko heads over to the kitchen counter. “Looks like this is your treat today. So gracious of you to offer.”

“Haha,” you say in a flat tone, “We’ll talk about that after we eat, ok? For now, what have the two of you been up to?”

“Same old, same old, mostly.” Nazrin says as she leans over the table. “As you could probably guess, our glorious shop is still barely breaking even. Mr. Shopkeeper over here still has his knack for selling people things that they don’t need, but he’s still hoarding the things of any real value in the back, like you saw before.”

“Hey, I’ve explained this,” Rinnosuke says as he gives a small glare to Naz, “One must let certain items appreciate in value before giving them up, otherwise you might end up losing out on potential profits!”

“Be honest, Rinn,” Naz says, “you just want to hang on to as much cool stuff as you can, just in case it might ‘come in handy’ later. Value has nothing to do with it.” Putting her menu down, she turns to Rinnosuke with a grin on her face, to which he can only sputter in response.

“A kind of figured that was the case,” you say with a grin of your own. “So how goes your end of the business, Naz.”

The grin fades as Nazrin lets out a small sigh. “It could be better, but I suppose I can’t complain. I still wish most of my requests weren’t for lost animals, though. Way trickier for me to find one of those than to locate a watch or ring or something like that.”

“Yeah, you never explained to me why that is,” you say as you lean forward on the table. “Why is it that much harder to find a living object than a non-living one?”

“I’m still not completely sure,” Nazrin responds, “but I think it’s a matter of what most people would consider the item’s value to be. To be sure, most pet owners see whatever animal they have as one of their most precious treasures, but most people who look at that specific animal probably wouldn’t see them the same way. The more people who might put a value on the item in question that I’m looking for, the more likely it is that I’ll be able to hone in on it. Of course, if the animal has something like a jeweled collar it makes it that much easier for me but,” She lets out another sigh as she lays her head down on the table in front of her. “Most of the people that come to me tell me that there is nothing of the sort on them, so I’m forced to use…alternative methods to find them.”

“Still talking to the street mice, I see.” You say with a smile. “I thought you had issues about how unsanitary they are these days.

“Hey, shut up!” Nazrin says as she turns her gaze from you in anger, muttering under her breath something about mice size bathtubs. “It’s still better than you’re situation, Conner. Haven’t you found some stable work yet?”

“I’d like to,” you reply, “but so far I haven’t found anything that I would be willing to stick with long term, you know?”

Nazrin lets out a sigh, while Rinnosuke gives you a concerned look. “You know Conner, even if a job is shit, at least it would give you a stable income. The way you are living now, you have no idea whether or not you are going to survive from month to month. You should really consider looking for a job that would let you plan out your future a little better. We aren’t going to be young forever, you know.”

“I know, I know,” you say, waving him off, “but for right now I’m fine with my current situation. I’m sure that someday I might have to end up going with something that I’m not fond of, but right now I’m doing fine, so don’t worry about me alright?” The other two still look concerned, but they let the matter drop.

“Are you guys ordering or what?” A rude voice calls out from next to you. Turning, you see Shizuha Aki looking down at the three of you. Dressed fully in a black from her shirt to her skirt, and with her blond hair dyed black in vertical stripes at various intervals, she stares down at the three of you with boredom in her eyes, her expression showing that she would rather be almost anywhere than here right now.

“Cheerful as usual I see, Shizuha,” You say in response. “How go things with you and your sister’s family?”

“It’s as painful and fleeting as the rest of my life,” Shizuha retorts with a scowl, “Now are you ordering or what?”

“Shizuha!” Minoriko says as she rounds over to your table, “You know you have to treat our customers better than that, especially those who come here often.”

Shizuha rolls her eyes. “Whatever, it’s your place, not mine.” With that she walks away in a huff, leaving her sister behind with you.”

“Sorry about that, dears.” Minoriko says with concern on her face, “I honestly have no idea what's gotten into her lately. She used to be so happy all of the time…”

“No worries Minoriko, we’re used to it.” You say, “How fares the rest of your family?”

“Oh, they’re all doing well.” Minoriko says with a smile, “The husband is out getting some supplies for the restaurant, and the little one is doing well in school. When all is said and done, we’re holding up pretty well. Now then,” she says as she brings out a small writing pad, “are you all ready to order over here?”


Around fourth-five minutes later you’re fuller than you have been in days. After a large amount of griping, you were able to convince the other two to pay for their share of the bill. All in all your portion came to around $20, a generous tip included.

“Alrighty then,” you say as you push yourself away from the table, “I’m going to head on over to the board to see if anything new has been posted. What about you two?”

“I’d better head back to the shop, just in case,” Rinnosuke says, “I posted an out to lunch sign, but you never know if there is someone waiting for you regardless.” With that, he gets up and with a wave heads outside.

Nazrin gives a small laugh as she watches Suke go. “I’m sure that they are all just lining up out there, waiting for him to get back.” Looking over at you, she continues, “I should probably do the responsible thing and head on back as well, but if you’re still lonely I could make a detour and walk part of the way with you. That sound all right to you?”

“Fine by me,” You say as you get up as well. You say your goodbyes to Minoriko and try to ignore Shizuha’s glowering as the two of your follow Rinnosuke’s path out.

The two of you walk in relative silence for about ten minutes, just enjoying each other’s company. It’s a beautiful afternoon, and you can’t really remember the last time the two of you were able to just hang out like this.

“We both worry about you, you know?” Nazrin suddenly says in a small voice.

“I know.” You reply, “But you shouldn’t. You know I can take care of myself, right?”

“Yes, but that will never be enough to keep us from worrying.” Nazrin turns to you, a small frown on her face. “You always seem to get yourself in over your head, and honestly the two of us are worried that one day we might end up hearing that your dead body was found in an alley, riddled with bullet holes or something.”

You give a small chortle at the thought of that. “No way I would let someone fill me with bullets without trying to take them down with me.”

“It’s not funny, Conner!” Nazrin cries out, causing a few people to look over your way. Calming herself a bit, she still continues in a worried tone. “Do you have any idea how much stress you cause us, always going off and getting yourself into who-knows-what? Can’t you at least just come and work at the shop with us? I’m sure that the two of us together could convince that idiot to sell off some of his ‘treasures’ to get you a paycheck, and-”

“Naz,” you say as you put a hand on her shoulder, bringing her in for a hug. You stay that way for a few seconds before pulling away, Naz’s face on the verge of tears. “Come on Naz, you know that I’m not ready to throw myself at your mercy quite yet, right?”

“It’s not mercy!” She yells out again, a few tears beginning to leak out. “The three of us are like family! You know that we’d do anything to help you out!”

“And I’d do anything for the two of you, and right now I don’t want to put any more of a burden on the two of you than I already am.”

“But-!” You silence Naz’s next outburst by placing a shushing finger on her mouth. “I’m happy with where I am now, and like I said before, I can still take care of myself. Look, you know that if anything happens, I’ll come running over to you for help, right?”

Naz lets out a little giggle through her tears. “Just like in the old days, huh?”

“Exactly,” you say. “I know that I can’t handle everything by myself, and you know that I would ask for help if I really needed it, right?” Naz gives a small nod. “So don’t be such a worry-wart, alright? If anything happens, I’ll make sure the two of you know right away.”

“You’ve still got our numbers, right?” Naz’s face still shown some concern, but at least she’s stopped crying. You pull out your phone and push a few buttons until your contacts list comes up. “Right here, see?” Right now, you only have Suke’s and Naz’s numbers entered in your phone’s memory, but it’s enough to satisfy Nazrin.

“Alright,” Nazrin says as she wipes her face, “I suppose that I overreacted a bit, huh?”

“Just a bit,” you say with a smile. “But you know that I’ll always be here if you need a shoulder to cry on, right?”

“I know, I know.” Nazrin says, her smile coming back. “But shame on you for making a girl cry in the first place!”

“Aw geez,” you say as you mockingly roll your head back in pain, “How in the world can I ever make up for such an awful thing!”

“Next time we eat out it’s your treat, alright?” Nazrin grins as she leans over into your face.

“Fine, fine. It’s on me next time.” You push her away, rolling your eyes as you do. “Will you be alright heading back from here?”

“Yeah, it’s only a short jaunt to the shop from where we are, I’ll be fine.” She lets out a small sigh as she pulls you into a hug once again. “Seriously, take care of yourself, alright?”

“You know I always do.” You break off the hug and begin heading in the direction of the job board, waving to Nazrin as you do. “Just make sure that you do the same, alright?”

“Hey, who do you think I am, you? I’ll see you later, alright?” Naz gives a wave as she heads back towards the shop.

“Later!” You give one last wave before you turn around and start heading towards the board in earnest. It’s good to know that they worry about you, but at the same time you didn’t think it was this bad. Still, you aren’t ready to settle down quite yet; it just isn’t in your nature to sit still at a counter or desk for any period of time. You need to be out there, actually doing things and getting your hands dirty. Though it probably wouldn’t hurt to try and start weeding out some of the odder jobs that you always find yourself in.

Your though process is interrupted as you notice a couple of girls walking along the opposite side of the street from you. From the looks of it, a couple of the Fairy grunts are taking a walk, heavily engaged in some conversation. If you wanted to, you could probably sneak over and listen in to what they are saying. Who knows, you might hear about the aftermath of the whole warehouse incident and whether or not things went along the lines that you expected. On the other hand, you aren’t likely to hear anything other than gossip from a group like that, so it might not be worth the time it takes to sneak on over there.

[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.
[ ] It’s not worth our time; let’s just keep on heading towards the board.
This doesn't suit her. At all. I figure the season's to blame?
>worrying Naz
Feels bad man.

[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

Stat-boost, gossip, and maybe a quest hook? Sign me up. With all the thiefy thief thief posts, I'll be amazed if this doesn't win.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

Can't really think of much of a reason NOT to do this.

Oh, but make sure our cash is secure and well-hidden, okay? After last time, they might look at us and think we're an easy mark. This means something like $10 in our wallet and $1000 in hidden pockets or on the bottom of our shoe.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

Why bother going to the job board when we might find one here?
[dex] option. Could always use +1 stealth
[x] It’s not worth our time; let’s just keep on heading towards the board.

I think Shizuha's upset about her lot in life compared to her more successful sister. (Much like popularity among fans)

I think we should avoid fairies for now and see about something that doesn't always involve stealing.
Why are you assuming fairies mean stealing? Are they nothing but an easy mark to you? That's thinking like a thief.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

We need to know if the fairies are going to take their revenge.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

I don't see why not.
[X] [DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.
Let's go find another way to annoy Cirno.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

It's a known fact that fairies have lousy spot checks. Also thiefy thiefs doing thiefy things.
Emo/Goth-Shizuha that's new.
More along the lines of a shared quest tree. Have you forgotten that these fairies are thieves as well? Realmhopper's fondness of mechanics generally means he'd use such a structure for events.
The fairies aren't thieves. Yes, they're okay with stealing from a poorly-guarded safe. In theory. In practice, they sucked shit. That was a Big Deal to them.
[DEX] It’s not like we’re in a hurry. Let’s see if we can’t eavesdrop on them.

Stat grindiiiing!
Just caught up in some stuff. Will resume when I can.
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Waiting warmly.
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[DEX:SUCCESS] Nothing wrong with a little stalking of exposition Faries on the way to our destination.

You slow yourself down a bit in order to get a little bit of distance between you and girl group. At the next intersection, you cross the street and pick up your pace until you are close enough to hear what they are talking about. Now all you have to do is try and avoid looking like you are stalking a group of girls who look like they should be in high school.

“Man, last night was a blast, wasn’t it?” One of the girls speaks up. Looks like you conveniently started snooping in just as the topic turned to the night before.

“Speak for yourself,” one of the girls grumps, “you weren’t the one who ended up getting ambushed and tied up like a slab of meat.” As the girl rubs her wrist you realize that she was that grunt that you tied up last night. You probably wouldn’t have noticed on your own, since most of the fairies look pretty similar in your eyes. Still, probably best to make sure you’re out of sight if they decide to turn around.

“Aw come on, it’s couldn’t have been for more than 20 minutes.” The original outburster says, “Besides, you didn’t have it nearly as bad as Star or Luna. They were the ones in charge, and they still managed to get brought down by that loser.”

“I know, right?” The third and final girl chirped in, “I mean I can understand Luna getting brought down, but Star? How in the world didn’t she feel him coming?”

“The loser probably just got lucky and stood still as she passed by or something.” The second replies, “Otherwise there is no way she couldn’t have shouted out a warning to me.” Ah, so that’s what let you slip by her radar; something to keep in mind in case you need to give her the slip again in the future.

“Speaking of lucky, can you believe that Luna managed to pinch that much change from him? When she was tied up, even!” The third girl bounces on her feet a bit as she says this. “Of all the people whom I would expect to pull that off, Luna is the least likely!”

“Still, we have to give her credit for pulling it off, even if the idiot was too dull to realize that he was being stolen from.” Geez lay off the insults already, would you? “I mean at first I almost thought she was lying about how she got her hands on that cash, but she never broke down like she usually does when we catch her lying, huh?”

“She still seemed kind of weird, though.” The third continues, “I mean, she was staring into space more than usual, and remember when she said that guy told her something? I wish I knew what it was that he actually said.”

“Probably something perverted, considering he’s someone who’s willing to tie up innocent girls.” The first retorts.

Grrr… well accusations of your perversity aside, there’s some good news at least. Looks like your little ruse managed to go off just as planned, even if it cost you more change than you would normally be comfortable with.

“The boss was happy, at the very least. We didn’t find anything else in that safe, but we still managed to bring something back to make Lily happy, right?”

“Yeah…” The other two respond, lapsing into silence. For a moment you think that’s about all you’re going to be able to get from this little eavesdropping session, but as you prepare to back off the third one pipes up again. “Hey guys? Don’t you think that Lily momma has been acting a little… weird, lately?”

“What do you mean weird?” The second one says, “She the same nice and kind Lily like always, isn’t she?”

“Yeah, but… how do I say this?” The third one thinks to herself for a few seconds before continuing on, “She’s still really nice and really kind, but lately doesn’t it seem like the stuff she’s having us do is kind of… odd?”

“Yeah,” the first one chimes in quietly, “I know what you mean. She’s always asked us older gals to try and help find money to help support the younger ones, but it kinda seems like she’s really pushing us harder on that point, like asking us not to go to school so that we can try picking up some more money on the side.”

“Yeah, exactly!” The third replies, “And also, doesn’t it seem like she’s caring less about where the stuff we get these days comes from? Before, she was always very critical about anything that she thought might have been stolen, but nowadays she doesn’t really seem to press into where the stuff we picked up comes from, only asking if that’s all we managed to find.”

“It’s weird, yeah, but she probably has a reason.” The second one says as she steps forward and turns around to face the other two. “Maybe…maybe we’re not doing as well as Lily says we are, and what we are bringing in just isn’t enough to support everyone anymore, so she has to turn a blind eye in order to keep us all fed or something!”

“That’s kinda sad to think about, actually.” The third one says. “Why doesn’t she tell us any of this, though?”

“’Cuz she’s Lily!” The second retorts, “You know how kind and nice she is all the time! She doesn’t want us to think that anything is wrong, so she just keeps it to herself.”

“But that’s terrible!” The first says, looking somewhat miserable herself, “Isn’t there anything we can do to help her?”

“Bring in more stuff, I think.” The second one says with a shrug, “If we are able to bring in more things that Lily momma could sell, then things would definitely get better. And if we do it while keeping quiet, we wouldn’t have to stress her out by having her know what we are doing!”

“Brilliant!” The first one says with a clap of her hands, “We should tell this plan to the boss as soon as we get back!”

“Yeah! I’m sure that she’d-” Whatever the second one was going to say next is cut off as she lays her eyes on you. Oops, looks like you shouldn’t have been so engaged in what they were saying. Feeling a little embarrassed, you shuffle your feet and try to look away. When it’s obvious that isn’t working, you decide to give a small wave instead.


“IT’S THE PERVERT!” The second one says with a shriek as she grabs her two friends and makes off down the road, sprinting as fast as she can. You consider going after them to clear the misunderstanding up, but you figure that chasing them down would probably give an even worse impression. And to be fair, you were kind of stalking them; you’re already getting stares from some of the other passersby, no reason to give off an even worse impression.

Besides, it looks like you’ve reached your destination. Well, almost. Every time you come here, you wish that there were an easier way to get onto the premises, or that there was an easier way to find jobs for that matter. You could always try to find some online, but for some reason the ones with any promise always seem to pop up here.

With a sigh, you begin walking up the steps, hoping that this time you won’t be half-exhausted by the time you reached the top.


Well, so much for that wish. By the time you reach the shrine at top your legs are as cramped as usual, and you have to rest your hands on your knees to catch your breath. Who thought it was a good idea to build a shrine on one of the tallest hills in the city, anyways?

Well, whatever, no sense in complaining about it. Picking yourself up, you follow the stone path that the stairs turn into and take a good view of the Hakurei shrine. Sparsely surrounded by trees, the shrine in and of itself does not look that remarkable. Made of simple brown wood and grey shingles, it stands with a single rope hanging across its entrance, a couple of charms hanging from it being the only things that made it stand out. The donation box stands near the entrance as usual, ready to accept any and all donations that might be offered. All in all, it’s not what one would probably consider the most extravagant shrine in the city.

Despite that, it seems to be doing alright for itself. You aren’t the only visitor today, as there are a few people in the area admiring the scenery or making a small prayer. Despite the stairs, it’s still one of the more popular destinations for the pious, for reasons that you never really cared to fully delve into. Something about sending prayers off or something, you really aren’t too sure since religion isn’t really you’re thing. Your destination is the board standing slightly next to the shrine, covered in various pieces of paper.

“Ah, Conner! I didn’t realize that you had arrived. How have you been?”

Turning around, you find that the main caretaker of the shrine has approached you. Dressed in the shrine’s odd garb of a red dress with detached white sleeves, her long hair is black with a blue tinged, falling about halfway to her waist. She has a gentle smile on her face, and along with the broom she is carrying she seems to radiate a field of calm around her.

“Hello, Mrs. Hakurei, I’ve been fine-”

“Please, Conner,” she says with a small frown, “Call me Tamiko, no need for the formality.”

“…alright, Tamiko.” It doesn’t really feel right for you to call her that, though she insists that you do so every time. “Anyways, I’m doing fine, like I said. How are you and the girls?”

“We’re doing fine, thank you. The two of them should be back from school soon, I’m sure they’ll be glad to see you again.”

Maybe the older one, you think. The younger one… eesh, it’s probably best if you try to finish up before she gets back.

“We’ll see.” You respond. “In the meantime, do you mind if I take a look at the board?”

“Oh my, you know you don’t need my permission for that.” Tamiko says with a radiant smile, “It’s there for everyone to use, after all.”

“Ah, right. Sorry about that. I’ll just…yeah.” You make your way over to the board, slightly embarrassed, as Mrs. Hakurei lets out a small giggle. That woman just radiates purity, and you always feel slightly disarmed when talking to her. You aren’t really sure that you like the implications of that, so you try not to think about it too hard.

You reach the board and begin mulling over the various postings that have been put up. Most of the listings are things that you would normally expect to be on a board like this; community announcements, requests to buy or sell certain items, roommate requests, and the like. There is only a smattering of postings for actual work, but you manage to find three of them that get your interest.

The first posting makes you groan internally when you first set eyes on it. It looks like your favorite neighborhood reporter is trying to get someone to help her out with her fieldwork. You honestly consider just chucking the notice the moment you lay your eyes on it, but at the same time you know that she always compensates you fairly for any work you do, and never goes back on her word. At the very least, you know that whatever she might want would be reliable in its payment, if not in its safety.

The second one seems to be a job testing out certain experimental technology. It doesn’t really go into detail on what that technology might be, and in truth it seems to be a bit shady, but at the same time the pay seems fairly decent, and you can’t say that you haven’t heard of the company that’s offering the job. You still find it hard to believe that the Nitori group would be looking for help on a board like this, but then again it isn’t the first time that you’ve run into a posting like this.

And the third… well the third one is really odd, actually. The job itself seems to be a babysitting one with a promise of high compensation, but the address listed on it not only seem to be on the outskirts of the city itself, but also requests that any applicants wanting to apply should come after dark. The real clincher, however, is that the request asks for people who are quick on their feet and fairly tough, as opposed to something normal like good with kids. In all honesty your “weird job” alarm is going off on this one, but at the same time you doubt it would hurt to at least check it out.

So there you stand, with three potential jobs in your hands. Honestly, you aren’t really fond of any of them, but you don’t really think you should be choosy. It’s probably best to check out all three of these before you go writing them off and bum around your house for a week. Checking your phone, you find that it’s currently around 3:00 PM. The babysitting job won’t really apply until after sunset, so you’ve probably got time to check out one of the other two jobs first, and which one to leave off until tomorrow. The question then becomes which of the other two sounds the least unappealing.

[ ] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
[ ] ...<Sigh>. Let’s go see what Aya wants…
[X] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
Here's hoping we get free Kappatech samples. Legally.

>that third job
Yeah, nope.
>we seem to be getting gently railroaded towards it
Oh dear god.
[X] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
[X] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
So, Lily White has been replaced by Lily Black an evil twin? Interesting.
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>Oh dear god.

There is no escape.

...darn it, why can't I find a pic of Remilia doing the "Gendo" pose?
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Would this be adequate?

[X] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.

Time to choose the somewhat less shady of the two.
[x] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
-[x] Ponder leaving the knife and other 'dangerous' or 'dubious' things somewhere safe before going to the building.

Should we be worried we're still in possession of the 'fever ball' and the knife while going to some kind of big company? I mean, they would search people or have some kind of scanner at the entrance right?
I was hoping he'd get caught. Best of both worlds! I'm a bit concerned about Lily... Grunt speculation is never true.

Shady? I'm sure Aya just wants some help doing photography. Nothing but pure and honest work there, a few candid photos never hurt anyone. Perfect for our skillset, too.

[x] Aya thing that will hopefully happen eventually regardless of the obvious outcome of this vote.
>a few candid photos never hurt anyone.
Clearly, getting blackmail material on people will not be detrimental to our safety in any way.
Then again, we don't know what this story's Aya is like yet.
Oh well, here's to hoping for later Aya options.

You actually are familiar with Aya in story, so I'd be willing to make a short post about how Conner views her if you think it would assist in your decision.
I'd like to take you up on that offer
Aya is, like you might expect, a local reporter for a small time newspaper that...well, we'll get to that later. Most of the work she offers you involves helping her investigate various things that she might need help looking into. Essentially a fieldwork assistant position, if you will.

The thing about Aya is that she's not actually that bad of a person, at least if your previous interactions have anything to say about her. She is pretty much completely honest in everything she says and does, and she doesn't really do anything that might be seen as malicious. She is always straightforward with you, and never goes back on her word. You find yourself going back to her time and again just because you know that if she says she'll pay you for a job, she will come through in the end.

Your hesitancy on taking the job doesn't really come from her personality, though. Rather, it's the fact that she always seems to get in over her head when she goes out to investigate. The girl has a tendency to leap before she looks, and she doesn't really seem to understand when she's walking into a dangerous situation. Pretty much every time you've gone to work with her in the past, you've either found yourself intercepting some goons from the local organized crime unit, or else covered in some sort of sludge that you'd rather not think about again. You're beginning to wonder if it's worth it to keep taking these jobs from her, since the pattern so far shows that humiliating pain awaits you at the end of each one.


To put it another way, she's like a more friendly version of Lois Lane; always sticking her nose into things even if it becomes apparent that she's in way over her head. Note: that does not make you Superman. Sorry.

One more thing: all three jobs are going to be checked out in short succession. (Hooray for railroading!) All you are doing right now is choosing which one you will go to first. Technically, I should have given you the choice to just mull around for a while until sunset and head straight to the babysitting job, but I figured that it would be more productive if you checked out one other job in the meantime. If you disagree, feel free to post the "wait until evening" option yourself.
>Not Superman

Great! Being allergic to almost all the flavours of kryptonite is stupid anyway.
Also, we're already some kind of jedi.
[X] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.
[X] Let’s go see what Aya wants. In an enthusiastic and upbeat manner.

Because if you can't enjoy a job you're not trying hard enough.
[x] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.

Tempted to go with Aya but this does offer the prospect of a potentially lucrative job. Especially since they want testers reasonably often.
[ ] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.

Do we like cucumbers?
[X] ...<Sigh>. Let’s go see what Aya wants…

Pissing against the tide here but I want to see where this is going.
[x] ...<Sigh>. Let’s go see what Aya wants…
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[x] The Nitori notice sounds somewhat shady, but it’s still a major company, so it’s likely that they will have to give you full disclosure before you actually sign anything. Better go with them first.

The Nitori job seems like the better choice here. Sure, it’s shady and suspicious, but you know that whatever Aya has lined up for you is probably going to drive you crazy in the end. Besides, her job will most likely be available tomorrow, since she only posts these jobs to contact you. (You “conveniently” keep forgetting to give her your number so that she can’t contact you directly at all hours of the night) Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You pull off all three notices and pocket them to make sure that no one else tries to steal the jobs from you before you can get to them.

“What do you think you are doing?”

You flinch inwardly at the harsh tone coming from behind you. Turning around slightly, you confirm that the two Hakurei girls have returned from school. Chatting with her mother a little bit away from where you are is Mitzki, the older of the two. Her long purple hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and she is wearing a standard looking high-school uniform, with a black jacket, skirt and tie accompanying a white shirt.

You only spare a second on the oldest, however, before you turn your attention to the younger of the two sisters. Reimu, in all her twelve year old glory, is glaring up at you. Dressed in a middle school uniform of blue and brown, and with her hair pulled into pigtails by pieces of fabric that vaguely look like charms. The young girl barely reaches your chest, and yet the aura she is giving off reminds you that she is not to be trifled with.

“Ah, Reimu! Didn’t see you come back. How’ve you been?”

“You do know,” Reimu says, as she points to the board, “That we more or less depend on that board for a good portion of our income, right?”

“Well yes, I-”

“And you also know,” she says as she leans towards you, her voice getting sterner “That donations are not nearly enough to support an entire family in this day and age, correct?”

“I, uh, I mean-”

“And yet what do I see?” Reimu says as she leans in, murder in her eyes, “I see you pulling down not one, but three notices that someone else could see and, in the course of doing so, perhaps thank the shrine with a small donation of their own. Do you really think that I’d let you get away with doing something like that?”

Oh man, you’re going to have to head this thing off at the source, aren’t you? You dash away from the girl, who immediately starts pulling something from one of her sleeves (not the needles, not the needles) and grab for your wallet. As you count out the amount that you think will suffice and reach the box, you can feel Reimu “move” from where she was and come after you. She reaches you just as you reach the box, and you groan internally as you see that she did indeed choose the needles, stabbing one towards you. Noticing what you are doing, however, she freezes, hanging the needle only inches from your eye.

There the two of you stand in a deadlock; her with her needles, and you with your $50 hanging over the donation box. Neither of you move as you wait to see what the other will do. Then, trying to be as subtle as you can, you open your hand and let the money fall down through the slots and into the box.

Almost as if a switch was flipped, you can see the fires of vengeance die in Reimu’s eyes as she pulls her needle back. “Thank you for your patronage.” She says as she moves back to pick up the schoolbag that she dropped, your existence falling out of her mind.

“Reimu!” Tamiko says as she moves towards her daughter to chastise her. “I’ve told you, you need to treat the guests with respect! How do you expect to inherit the shrine if you keep scaring everyone off?”

“Our apologies, Conner,” Mitzki says as she approaches you, giving a small bow of apology as she does. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, fine. She never actually touched me.” You wonder to yourself if she actually would have; Reimu is usually one to threaten rather than lash out. You’re guessing that she probably though you were going to try and get away without giving a donation in return for the jobs when you dashed off like that. “I suppose that the power of the Hakurei clan still isn’t something to be trifled with, though.”

“Perhaps,” Mitski says as a sad smile comes on her face. Oh crap, you forgot about that little minefield. Unlike her mother and sister, Mitzki never really manifested any of the abilities of the clan. You aren’t really sure of the details, but from what you understand this caused a bit of tension with her family up until Reimu was born. She never shows anything other than love towards her sister, but bringing up the powers of the Hakurei clan is still something of a sore spot with her.

“Ah, sorry, I forgot.” You say, sheepishly rubbing the back of your head as you look away. “I-in any case, you’ve been doing alright, then.”

“Oh yes, fine.” Mitzki says, taking your cue to move away from the subject. “School has been going well, and all in all the shrine has too.”

“That’s good to hear.” You say with a smile. You exchange a few more pieces of small talk with the high school girl, but before long you get the urge to head off. “Well if you don’t mind, I’ve got somewhere to be. Tell your mom I said goodbye, alright?”

“Will do!” Mitzki says with a bright smile. As you head towards the stairs she gives you a cheerful wave of farewell, and soon enough you begin your decent to the street below. What a nice girl; it’s too bad that her sister doesn’t take after her, huh? You do your best to shake off the image of that needle as you head on towards your next destination.


Soon enough, you find yourself in the downtown area of the city, close to the point where the mountain begins to rise. Though there are a few skyscrapers clashing with the mountain in a futile contest of height, most of the buildings in the area are no taller than 10 stories or so. Your specific destination is a campus that has nested itself in the downtown area, a cluster of buildings all belonging to one specific organization: Nitori.

As you make your way over, you try and wrack your mind over what you know about this corporation. The company itself is in the field of engineering, both in the research and development and development of new products. You’re vague on the details, but you somehow remember that the company itself has been around for a while, only it ended up changing its name a few years ago after they picked up their star engineer, Nitori Kawashiro. You know even less about her than you do on the company, since they seem to keep any information on what she’s really like out of the public eye. A few people have complained about this, but the company insists that it’s for her own protection. All that you can recall is that she is some sort of engineering genius, singlehandedly saving the company from ruin with the amazing products they were able to make from her designs.

From that, you try to derive why on earth the company would be looking to hire people from the bulletin board of a local shrine. Well to be fair, the notice does look photocopied, so they probably put this up in more than one place. Still, you would expect something like this to be posted on their corporate website or something, not distributed around the city via flyers. Then again, it’s how you found out about the job in the first place, so you suppose you shouldn’t complain.

Speaking of the flyer, you take it out in order to give it another glance. From what you can tell, the company is interested in hiring people for testing “experimental technology”. The notice doesn’t really go that much further on exactly what you will be testing though. Instead, all that you can see is that there is some sort of selection process for those who apply. Great, just what you needed, more competition.

Soon enough, you find yourself on the Nitori campus, and using the instructions on the flyer you head towards the specific address that is listed. Soon enough, you spot a door with a couple more flyers surrounding it, sporting the address you are looking for.

As you walk inside, you are directed by the girl sitting up front to go through a side door. Upon entering, you find yourself amidst a few other people in what looks to be a lobby. Another woman is sitting behind a windowed counter, and upon seeing you arrive she gets your attention.

“Welcome to the Nitori Corporation! Are you here about the job posting?” You give a small nod. “Alright, I’ll need you to fill these out if you are interested in applying, then.”

She hands you a small stack of paper on a clipboard with a pen. You take a seat and start going through the paperwork, taking in as much as you can. From what you can tell, most of this stuff is the kind of thing you would expect from a job like this. Statements that you won’t divulge any company information that you learn through the course of the job for a small period of time, statements that you can stop working for them at any time, statements saying that they aren’t responsible for any injuries that…

No, wait, this actually says that they will compensate you for any injuries sustained on the job. Now that isn’t something that you would normally expect; most employers wouldn’t put themselves in such a position of responsibility. It’s kind of reassuring, but at the same time it doesn’t exactly sound like this is the safest job in the world here.

Oh well, it’s not like you aren’t used to danger. You go through the rest of the documents to make sure they aren’t binding you to anything stupid. The only thing that you take note of is that as part of the application process, there is a good amount of physical testing to make sure you are capable of performing the job. Nothing too crazy from what you can tell, just some running on a treadmill and the like. After making sure there are no other surprises, you put your signature down and hand the paperwork back to the woman at the counter.

“Thank you,” she says as she takes the papers. “Now then, please have a seat; you will be called when it’s your turn for the physical examination.”

You sit for around 15 minutes before your name is called and you are led to the back to a room full of equipment, as well as a young lady in what appears to be a labcoat. For the most part, the interview is what they told you it would be. A few short questions about your health, and then you are put through your paces on various machines. After making sure that you weren’t lying about your running and weight lifting capabilities, the young lady says that the next test if for testing your reflexes and response time. It’s a standard catch-the-ruler test, where you have to catch the ruler as quickly as you can after the other person drops it. You smirk internally when you realize what kind of test it is; you’ve always been incredible at doing this one.

The young girl has you stand in a certain position, and holds a ruler as high up as she can. She has you place your fingers just below the ruler, and tells you to catch it as quickly as you can when she drops it.

“Ready?” She asks, and you nod. After a few moments, she lets go of the ruler. The moment that she does, you grab onto the very end. She blinks a few times, and then a look of irritation comes on her face. “Sir, please don’t grab on to the ruler until after I drop it.”

“I didn’t.”

“Please, sir, that would indicate that you would have reaction times that have been documented as near impossible. Next time, please don’t grab the ruler until after I let go.”

The experiment is repeated, with the same results. The instant that she lets go, you grab on. You found that when you were a kid you could get Naz and Suke irritated to no end when you played this game with them. Unfortunately, this seems to be having the same effect on the interviewer, which isn’t the impression you want to give.

“Didn’t you hear me the first time?! I told you, don’t grab it until I let go!”

“And I’m telling you, I’m not! You saw that I wasn’t grabbing onto it before you let go, it’s just that I’m really, really good at doing this!” You would consider sabotaging yourself to get past this, but you don’t really have control over when you can grab it. Your body just reacts when it feels like she is about to drop it.

The interviewer looks more irritated than before, but all of a sudden it seems like something comes to mind for her, and an evil grin comes upon her face. “Alright, you say that you aren’t lying? Well lucky for you, we have just the way to prove it.”

She gets up, and leads you to a covered machine that is sitting in the corner. Throwing off the cover, she unveils a stand taller than you. On the side are a few buttons, dials and output screens, but the main draw is the metal yardstick hanging down from where the stand juts out above you.

“This machine,” the girl says as her evil grin continues, “Can measure your reflex speed to the millisecond. And not only that; if you grab it too early, even one millisecond, you’ll feel an electric shock throughout your entire body! What do you think of that, huh?”

You can only stare at the machine. “I can’t imagine this being useful in everyday life.”

The smile on her face falters. “Admittedly, the one who invented this didn’t exactly have day-to-day efficiency in mind. It’s actually much easier to just do the test by hand, normally. BUT!” She says, causing you to jump slightly as you turn back towards her, “It’s exactly what we need here to prove that you are lying.”

“…do we really need to go through all this? I’d be willing to take a bad score, we don’t have to get this machine out and-”

“No way. You’ve insulted my intelligence as an engineer, and even if I’m only at the lowest level of this company, I still have my pride as a member of the Nitori Corporation. Now prepare yourself!”

You let out a sigh. You knew that thinking this job could be simple was too good to be true. You place your fingers below the ruler and prepare for the test to start. A small beep comes out of the machine at you do.

“Raise your hand a little bit more,” the girl says as she fiddles with the controls. “It isn’t in the appropriate testing position yet.”

Letting out another sigh, you follow her directions until she is satisfied. Soon enough, she announces that the test has begun, and a few moments later you find yourself holding a metal yardstick between your fingers and your thumb, with no shock coursing through your body at all.

The girl looks dumbstruck. She stares at the output meters for a few moments before declaring the last test a fluke, and demanding that you go through it again. You do, and her shock only increases. You admit that it’s kind of fun watching her reactions to all of this, but at the same time you’d rather not be here all day if you can help it.

After the second test, the girl walks over to a phone and places a call. A few minutes later, another girl in a lab coat walks in, a look of irritation on her face. She asks the first one to explain, who in turn asks the other to just watch as you perform the experiment again. Soon enough, the second girl finds herself dumbstruck as well, and another call is placed.

This continues a few more times until there are about five young women standing in the room together, watching you catch a metal ruler. After performing the tests for what you think is the twenty-fifth time, your fingers are starting to get tired. But hey, it’s not every day that you manage to garner this much interest from a group of young women. (Fairies not included) Better enjoy it while you can.

The group mutters among itself for a while, and then the last girl to be called in picks up the phone and dials once more. The group seems to become nervous when they hear that someone called “Ms. Hina” is coming down to visit. After a few tense moments, there is a knock on the door, and one final woman walks inside.

The woman has a chilling presence. She is wearing business casual attire consisting of a red shirt and a burgundy skirt, and you notice that instead of heels she is wearing a pair of black boots that look like they were made for stomping. Her hair is an odd shade of aquamarine, tied up somewhat oddly under her chin with a red ribbon, giving half an impression of an aquamarine Santa’s beard. Her face shows that she would rather not be here right now, and that there are other things that she could be doing that would be a better use of her time.

“I assume that this is something important, then?”

The girl who called her down fumbles to explain the situation as the original tester directs your attention back to the machine. Despite the fact that “Ms. Hina’s” presence has more pressure than the other girls, you still perform the test with the same results as before. As you look up, you notice that the chilling aura has disappeared from the face of authority, instead being replaced by one of mild surprise. “Ms. Hina” has you repeat the experiment once more, and then after confirming a few things with the other girls she asks you to follow her.

“Mr. Conner, was it?” She says as she leads you down the halls of the building, the gaggle of lab coat girls following along. “My name is Hina Kagiyama, and you have shown us some very interesting test results. The girls are saying that what you are doing should be physically impossible for a human to perform. Tell me, is there some secret that you’ve been hiding from us about yourself.”

“No secret that I know of,” you say with a small shrug, “I’ve just always been really good at this game since I was young.”

“And yet, Mr. Conner, you seem to be anticipating the ruler dropping before it actually does. Can you explain to me how this is possible?”

You give another shrug. “I’m just reacting, ma’am. I don’t really put any though into it, I just sort of let my body take control.”

“Interesting.” Ms. Hina stays silent as she leads on. “Does this apply to only ruler based tests, or have you found that your reflexes are that good in general?”

“In general? I don’t really keep track of everything that my body has ever reacted to, ma’am. Not exactly something that I’m interested in doing.”

“I see.” Ms. Hina stops in front of a door and turn to you with a smile on your face. “Then would you be interested in putting your reflexes to the test?”


“Behind this door,” Hina says, indicating the (rather large, now that you notice it) door behind her, “Is one of our testing facilities here at Nitori labs. With your permission, we’d like to see just how good your overall reflexes really are.”

“Wait, what?” You aren’t exactly sure where she is going with this…

“In here, we can perform a series of test to determine just how good you are at reacting to your environment. If your results are good enough, we might be able to let you handle a couple of pieces of… equipment that others may not be able to handle.”

“And let me guess,” you say as a general sense of doom comes over you. “There is a certain element of danger that goes along with these tests, correct?”

“Certainly not,” Hina says, a look of admonishment coming over her face. “Everything in here has been fully tested; while injury is always a possibility, nothing in here can really be considered ‘dangerous’ per say.”

“Huh.” That wasn’t exactly the answer you were expecting. Still, there is one other factor that needs to be addressed here. “What happens if I say no? Will I be forfeiting the job?”

“No, we can’t require you to take this test, and you technically more than meet all of our requirements for our basic testing. But if you were to make it to the end of the gauntlet-”

“Gauntlet?” You ask, raising your eyebrow.

“Just a nickname the girls have given it.” Hina says quickly. “If you make it through, you will be eligible to test more… experimental technology, which in turn would include a raise in pay from what we normally give.” A small smile appears on her face. “I, for one, think that you would be throwing away a perfectly good opportunity if you say no.”

You glance at the lab coat group, noticing that they seem very enthusiastic about this whole chain of event. As opposed to that, Hina is showing her best poker face, that small not wavering an inch. Your weird job alarm is blaring at full capacity in your mind, and part of you wants to just say no and walk away from this whole thing. On the other hand, if what they are saying is true, it might be a good way to learn just how much you are actually capable of.

[ ] Ok, I’ll do it.
[ ] I’m sorry; this isn’t really something that I would want to do. Can you just give me the normal jobs instead?
[ ] Forget this; I’m not getting wrapped up in another fiasco if I can help it.

If you can’t make a decision right now, and would like more time to decide…
[PRSD] I wouldn’t mind, but this is all really short notice, and I kind of already have other plans coming up today. Can we schedule this for another time?
[X] Ok, I’ll do it.

First of all; excellent update good sir.

Second of all, I can't imagine why we wouldn't take this opportunity. all the job postings are in Connors pocket, so there's no chance of someone else doing them.
Access to experimental technology if we succeed? Just what I wanted...

[X] "It does sound too good to pass up."
-[X] "But does anything happen if I fail? I can still go back to the normal jobs, right?"
[x] Ok, I’ll do it.

Don't see why we wouldn't

Read the last part of the update again.
>young Reimu
Oh, good. This isn't a horrible future Gensokyo where the non-humans have completely forgotten the human characters.
>she's still a miser
Cute! And recognizable!

[PRSD] I wouldn’t mind, but this is all really short notice, and I kind of already have other plans coming up today. Can we schedule this for another time?

Stat check for the stat boost.
[X] "It does sound too good to pass up."
-[X] "But does anything happen if I fail? I can still go back to the normal jobs, right?"
[X] "It does sound too good to pass up."
-[X] "But does anything happen if I fail? I can still go back to the normal jobs, right?"
[X] Ok, I’ll do it.
[X] "It does sound too good to pass up."
-[X] "But does anything happen if I fail? I can still go back to the normal jobs, right?"

Gotta have a backup plan
[x] Ok, I’ll do it.

It might help improve them as well.
[X] Forget this; I’m not getting wrapped up in another fiasco if I can help it.

This is just the type of thing that causes people to start weird rumors. Rumors that lead to dangerous encounters. Let's avoid attracting people who want to the "guy who's reflexes are super natural" to join their cause.
Why do you want to avoid danger? There will be conflict, and in this genre, that means danger. It's inevitable. Given that, shouldn't we be doing our absolute best to get paid for it? Danger without compensation is what we should be trying to avoid.
[X] "It does sound too good to pass up. Ok, I'll do it."

Too tempted to pass the grind stats option, but anything that makes us miss the possible flan appointment.
[X] Ok, I’ll do it.

I would normally go for the stat check, but might as well get this out of the way now.
[PRSD] I wouldn’t mind, but this is all really short notice, and I kind of already have other plans coming up today. Can we schedule this for another time?

And if that fails:

[X] "It does sound too good to pass up. Ok, I'll do it."

At the very least, it's a fairly risk-free opportunity to train our stats, even if it does fail.
Writing has begun, though I seem to be fighting against a potential cold while I write this. I'll do my best to have the next part posted tonight, but just so you know there is a chance of delay. Please watch warmly until it is ready.
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[X] "It does sound too good to pass up. Ok, I'll do it."

A part of you is gesturing frantically at the odd jobs alarm, frantically trying to convince you that something unpleasant is waiting for you behind that door, but it’s more or less completely overshadowed by the opportunity potential. If you can get in good with the company, you might be able to kill two birds with one stone by getting work that is both steady and well paying. And even if you can’t, there doesn’t seem to be any downside to going through with the test; even if you fail you can still take the original job. It’s more or less a win-win situation in your eyes, assuming that Ms. Hina isn’t hiding something from you. And since she doesn’t seem like the type of person to lie…

“It does sound too good to pass up.” You say with a nod. “Ok, I'll do it.”

“Excellent.” Hina says with a smile. Your affirmation has also caused the lab coat mob to go atwitter with excitement. Hina presses a few buttons near the side of the door, and with a groan it begins to slide open. “Please head on inside the waiting room then. Feel free to leave your belongings in one of the bins inside. We can also provide you with clothing that allows for free movement if you are unprepared in that respect.”

“No, I think I’m alright.” You say. Your normal clothes should be good enough, and it’s probably better to take this test in clothing that you are familiar with.

“Very well then. I’ll let you know when we are ready to begin through the intercom.” Ms. Hina and the group head off down the hallway as you enter through the door. Sure enough, you find a small room with a few lockers and holding bins, with one door leading to what you find to be a bathroom, and another which is locked. Placing your bag into one of them, you sit down and wait for your signal, wondering what the upcoming test might actually be.

After about 15 minutes, you hear a voice coming from overhead. “Alright, Mr. Conner, please proceed into the testing chambers.” You see the locked door on the other side of the room open, and you move to go through it.

The brightly lit chamber itself doesn’t really seem that spectacular. The floor is covered in a white material that seems to give a little when you push down on it. You also notice that the floor is slightly slanted from the center in such a way that it is always downhill to the nearest wall, where there seems to be something of a gap between where the floor and walls meet. The material from the floor crawls up from there to about halfway up all 4 walls, at which point it cuts off to a grey painted upper boundary. On one of the walls, a set of two-way mirrors are installed. You can sort of see a few silhouettes moving around from the other side, but for the most part your view of what is behind the glass is obscured. Still, it’s pretty obvious that’s where Hina and the lab coats are right now.

“Alright Mr. Conner, are you ready?” The voice is Ms. Hina’s, though the exact source isn’t very clear.

“Are you going to explain what I need to do first?” You ask. While you might understand if they need to keep it a surprise for testing purposes, you’d still like an idea of what it is you are supposed to do.

A few moments of silence follow, and then Ms. Hina’s voice can be heard again. “A set of obstacles will appear at set intervals. Your job is to avoid these obstacles as best as possible. You should also note that the intervals and difficulty might change at random, so do your best to adapt as they do.”

It sounds like this is going to be you against an automated system, which puts you at more of a disadvantage. If there was someone at the controls, your meditation would probably kick in, giving you that much more of an edge. Still, you’ve always been pretty good at dodging stuff, so there’s no need for you to worry at this point.

“Alright, I think I’m good with that. Ready when you are.”

“Very well.” You can hear some mechanical clunking moving around you, and you tense yourself in preparation of whatever might come. “We are going to be starting out on the easiest mode, but you should expect the difficulty to increase in a short span of time. Get ready, here comes stage 1.”

On the wall farthest away from you, a portion of the wall seems to flip over, revealing what appears to be a launcher of some sort. Indeed, after about a second the launcher seems to orient towards you and begins launching bright yellow balls in your direction. As it stands, it’s fairly easy to avoid them simply by walking in a given direction. Since the balls can’t change their trajectory once launched, they end up hitting where you were a few moments ago.

“Increasing difficulty.”

As the voice rings out four more launchers appear and begin firing. Unlike the first launcher, these fire blue balls at a much higher velocity, but they don’t move to follow you. It limits your ability to walk all over when dodging the yellow balls, but at the same time it isn’t limiting enough to really impede your movement. You are noticing that once the balls have lost their launching velocity they end up rolling down the floor into the gaps, where you figure they must be sorted out to launch at you again. All it really means to you is that you also have to watch where you step in order not to trip and fall.

“Hey, do I need to be worried about touching the balls that have touched the ground?” You call out.

“No.” It looks like someone else has taken over intercom duty, since the voice that answers back isn’t Ms. Hina’s. “Once a ball has touched the ground, it is considered out of play. Additionally, any balls you catch do not count against you.”

You give a nod of understanding as you continue dodging. As time goes on the number of launchers increases until you find yourself dancing through a veritable streams of balls as four separate launchers follow you around with their yellow shots. It’s starting to look a little dicey, but hopefully this won’t last for too much longer.

After another minute or so the balls stop coming, and you find yourself panting as the balls drain off to the sides. “That’s stage one.” The new voice calls out. “Please head back to the waiting room as we prepare stage two.

You make your way back to the small antechamber, where you find a small towel and a water bottle waiting for you. Gotta admit, these girls know how to take care of their test subjects. You more or less down the entire bottle, after which you let yourself catch your breath and prepare for the next set. After around ten minutes, you are called back in. Getting up, you prepare yourself for whatever might be coming next, a slight spring of optimism in your step. After all, while the first stage wasn’t easy, it wasn’t exactly something that pushed you to your limits, either. All in all, you have a pretty good feeling that you will be able to breeze through this test pretty easily.



In stage two, various poles of different raised themselves out of the ground, after which they split apart at the top, revealing padded “blades” that ranged from two to five per pole. Soon after they raised themselves they started to spin, and your goal was to keep yourself from being hit. In the end, there had to be at least fifty of them spinning around at one time, but since the poles themselves couldn’t move the stage was pretty easy to handle once you got the hang of it.

In stage three, water jets were employed. Much like the balls from stage one, specialized nozzles had appeared on the walls that sent streams of water at you. While they were definitely faster than the balls, each stream seemingly needed to align itself with its intended target with some sort of laser sight, and after a few initial shots enough water mist had collected in the air that you could see the beams of light before the water went off. (You aren’t sure whether or not this was intentional, but it gave you an advantage that you didn’t feel the need to point out) Once you realized that, it was fairly easy to move on through.

Stage four is where things got complicated. It seems like stages one through three were there to help you understand the basics, as in stage four you started to see combinations. Balls coming at you as you had to dodge through the dancing blades, water streaming forth among a hurricane of balls. The combination of water and poles wasn’t actually too bad, but your shirt ended up sucking in too much of the water that had bounced off the poles, making you wonder if it would have been worth it to take Hina up on her offer of spare clothing. In the end, you abandoned your top to dry in the waiting room before heading inside for stage five, where you find yourself now.

Stage five ended up being a combination of all three elements together. While the guided streams seem to have been removed, you are amazed that you have managed to last this long. Balls are coming at you from every direction, and all the while you have to make sure that you aren’t stepping into one of the padded blades, as well as keep an eye out for the small laser indicating an incoming stream. You find that you can’t even dodge every single one of the balls anymore; you have to deflect them with two other balls that you picked up somewhere along the way. In your mind, this is starting to look more like an American Gladiator event rather than a test chamber, which is what led to your outburst. What practical use could a chamber like this have in an engineering company?


“So, how is he doing?”

Hina was watching the test chamber with interest amongst the lab-coat group, which had gone up in size to around 30 or so people by this point, with more looking in through the camera system. (The fact that Mr. Conner had ended up taking his shirt off was probably not entirely unrelated to the sudden increase in size)

“The results he’s showing at this point are top notch, ma’am.” The technician monitoring the system said. “Only a few people have ever managed to make it to stage 5 at all, and those were some of the top athletes in the world! How is he doing so well?”

“How indeed.” Hina said as she continued to watch with interest. For all intents and purposes, the man handling the course below her didn’t give off the impression of being so extraordinary when she first set her eyes on him. Sure, his posture and build put him as above average, but plenty of people like that came in every week or so. What made this one special enough to make it this far?

“So hey, I hear a newcomer has gotten all the way to stage 5. Is that true?”

Everyone in the office turned their head to the appearance of the newcomer. While everyone had gotten a glimpse of her at some point or another, it was rare for the head engineer of the company to come out and observe something that she wasn’t directly related to.

“Ms. Kawashiro? What are you doing down here?” Ms. Hina asked with a look of surprise on her face. Even though she was the one who interacted with the head engineer most often, she hadn’t expected this turn of events to draw her attention away from her normal projects.

“Like I said, I came down here to check this guy out.” As she headed over to the controls most of the lab coats scattered in order to give her some room. Even the main technician looked as if she wanted to move out of the way with respect, though with a wave of her hand the head engineer bid her to stay. A few seconds after looking at the control panel, Ms. Kawashiro’s face burst into a grin. “Well, I’ll be. Hina, did we scout this guy out?”

“No, Ms. Kawashiro. He came to us, oddly enough.”

“Man, where could he have come from? The only people who have ever gotten to stage 5 before are people we guessed probably could beforehand. Kinda amazing that someone like this could stay out of the limelight for so long, huh? What’s this guy’s name again?”

“Conner, ma’am.” Ms. Hina replies.

“Conner, huh? Well then, let’s see how far we can push this guy past his limits, shall we?” With a grin, the newcomer asks the main technician to move out of her seat, who does so as fast as she possibly can.


All of a sudden the machines stop, and after you make sure that there are no more surprises coming, you drop to your knees, panting. This whole experience has pushed you to your limit, and even with a break you aren’t sure if you can handle whatever they throw at you next.

“Hey there! Howzit going?” You look up as another new voice comes on the intercom. Looks like they are switching technicians on you again.

“Gotta say, you really know how to put a guy through his paces.” You have to gasp a bit as you say this, but you still manage to get the words out. “I’m still trying to figure out what possible use a room like this could be for an engineering company.”

“Eh, I wasn’t really concerned with functionality when I designed this chamber. Hm? Oh, ok. Hina says that we mostly rent it out to other researchers doing stuff like kinesiology studies when we aren’t putting applicants through the wringer.”

“Oho. I’m guessing that I have the room’s designer on the phone, then? It’s an honor to meet you, though I don’t think my body shares the same sentiments as my mind.” You stretch out your back as you say this, just in case they are going to throw any more surprises at you without any warning.

“You got it, and a pleasure to meet you too, in that order.” You can hear her honest amusement as she says that. “Anyways, sorry for ending stage five early like that. It’s just that I didn’t really expect someone to get this far without prior notice, so I kinda had to leave a few things on the burner when I came down here. You understand, right?”

“Well I know the feeling, but I will admit to being kind of curious as to why you needed to come down in the first place. I seem to be getting a lot more attention than I was first expecting here.”

“You have no idea.” Well that’s an odd statement. “Anyways, let’s keep moving ahead, shall we? You’re coming up to the last stage here, which unlike the other ones involves manual direction of the obstacles. So long as you aren’t ready to quit now, I’ll be the one taking over from here, ‘kay?”


“Ms. Kawashiro, are you sure? There is no reason for you to-”

“Hina, do you really think I would let this guy just waltz on in here and clear all six stages of one of the most challenging tests I have ever created just like that?” A crazed grin had settled in on the head engineer’s face, and Hina could feel it affect everyone in the room. “At the very least, I need to make sure that this guy faces a challenge that he will never forget; our pride wouldn’t allow anything less!”

Cheers go up from the girls situated around the room as they let themselves get pulled into the head engineer’s spirit. Hina can only smile and bow her head. “As you wish, ma’am.”

“So what you are saying,” a voice from the intercom jolts in, “is that I’ll basically be going up against you in the upcoming final stage?”


“That’s right!” The voice from the intercom says. “So go ahead and take a few minutes to rest up and get ready, alright? I’m going to get everything on my side ready to go while you do.”

You return to the waiting room, trying your best to conceal a smile. If someone is going to be manually handling the machines against you, you’ll technically be in conflict with them. And if you are going to be in conflict with them, that means…

Upon reentering the room you quickly towel off and gulp down some water before you sit down on one of the benches to concentrate. You begin to clear your mind of the stray thoughts that will not help you in the upcoming battle. You focus on the layout of the room, try to remember where each of the obstacles lay, and begin working to focus your mind on what might come. Since an actual person will be at the controls this time around, you cannot rely on the patterns you have come to know. Instead, you must act as the threats arrive. No, due to the sheer number of things that will be coming at you must act before they arrive, which means that reading your opponent will be crucial. It will be difficult due to the fact that she won’t actually be before you as this pans out, but you should still be able to manage nonetheless.

You keep your meditation going right up through the point where you are called back in. You let as little emotion as possible flow through you, channeling all of your concentration to what might be coming.

“So, you ready to go?”

You give a small nod showing that you are, and wait for the signal.


“Hey,” one of the researchers calls out, “Is it just me, or does he seem kinda… different now?”

“Eh, whatever. Let’s see how well he does with a surprise attack!”


There is no signal. Behind you, a panel flips over to reveal a ball launcher, which after a single second launches a green ball at you at a velocity higher than any of the launchers you had encountered before. From the time it is launched, it takes exactly a tenth of a second for it to reach where you are.

By that point, you had already moved out of the way .05 seconds ago as you reacted to the turning panel.

You can feel the silence around you. The shock. You know that they weren’t being serious when they launched their attack, and that no one expected you to move out of its way. You can sense that a part of your opponent is trying to figure out exactly how you managed to do that. It only takes a few seconds, however, before the voice rings out again.

“So you were holding back before, huh?” You can feel both annoyance and amusement coming from your opponent as she says that. “Good to know. That means that I don’t have to hold back either.”

From there, everything descends into chaos. It seems like every possible obstacle is being used against you all at once. Balls are literally clogging up the air, poles are swinging their blades like madness, and the streams never stop once they begin. And yet you find yourself dancing through them all, picking out the small pockets that exist only for half a second as you make your way around the room. You tune your feelings out, and put your faith that your instinct will guide you right.


“Holy crap!” one of the techs yells out, starting a few of the others from their own amazement. “I know I said this before, but how in the world in he doing that?”

Hina said nothing, but she was silently asking herself the same question. She felt like she was watching an interpretive dance from looking at the scene below her. Conner always seemed to know where he needed to be, and his body moved fluidly from one position to the next as he avoided everything that was coming his way.

Turning slightly, she saw that the head engineer gave the exact opposite impression. Rather than a dance, she could see the raw power of calculation going into every button push and dial twist. She knew that at every point this young girl was thinking at least three moves ahead, trying to determine what the best course of action would be from where she was now.

But more than anything, Hina could still see that crazed smile of enjoyment coming from having a challenge worthy of her intellect.

At first, the one who seemed to be sweating the most was the head engineer. The man seemed to predict pretty much everything that was thrown at him before it actually happened, which made things very difficult for the girl at the controls. But as time passed and she got used to how the man reacted, Hina could see that the tide was slowly flowing against Conner. Incredible though his physical feats might be, it soon became obvious that he could not keep this up forever. His reactions were getting ever so slower, and while he never let anything touch him, the close calls were coming on more and more.

Hina knew that just watching the man fall from exhaustion wouldn’t be enough for the head engineer, though. If that were to happen, Hina was sure that the first words out of her mouth would be, “It just doesn’t seem fair to leave things like that.” Hina could see that the girl was already calculating the point of victory, the point where she could say for sure that she had “got him”.

Indeed, it only took another minute or so before the girl leaned forward with the largest and most insane looking grin Hina had ever seen, and with a small evil sounding laugh declared her victory.



You’ve gone above and beyond your limits. You’ve pushed yourself harder than you think you ever have. But no matter how you look at it, there is no way to “win” here. No victory condition was ever set, no timer was ever given; the contest will keep on going until either your opponent is satisfied or else you collapse from exhaustion. And in all honesty, you feel that it might be best just to let yourself get hit; at this point you have more than proven your capabilities, and there would be no penalties from bowing out.

Just as you are about to throw in the towel, however, you can feel it. Your opponent has launched their final blow against you, and you find that you are trapped.

Two separate blades are coming at you from different directions, one aimed for your upper body and the other for your lower. The water streams are blocking any potential path that you might take to avoid the blades and if even if you were somehow able to move out of the way in time, you would be intercepted by the wall of balls that is heading your way.

There is no way around the fact that you have been trapped, and that there is no way out. No matter which way you look at it, you cannot avoid getting hit.

[STR] If you know that you will lose no matter what, dodging isn’t the answer.
[ ] No reason to keep this up; be the better person here and take the fall

[spoiler][???] Yes, you CAN[/spoiler

This has got to be some wicked-difficult stat-check that you know we'd never pick. But that's okay! The harder a stat check is, the more stats we'll train, right?

Do the impossible dodge the undodgable row row fight the powah!
[???] Yes, you CAN
Ok, I'm really curious about this...though somewhat reserved, too. Looks to me like Nitori's going to hound Connor for a while if he manages to 'win' (and with no set victory conditions...yeah).
Before the voting progresses too far, I'd like to point out that displaying good judgment by knowing when you're beaten is a very desirable quality. Especially for an experimental device tester.
[dex/int/stamina] Catch the closest and biggest ball(s) that you can, toss it to block stream of water to open a suitable window and cross through the blades.

Using fairy wars / double spoiler logic here, or something close. If the write in is even more physically retarded than the mistery option, then:

[x] No reason to keep this up; be the better person here and take the fall

We're human after all and solid wall danmaku is cheating anyway.

[STR/DEX/STMN] Grab onto the upper of the rotating blades and use its momentum along with your own to fling yourself out of the way.

After all, any that you catch don't count against you...
He wants a write-in, not a repeat of the question marks.

[STR/DEX/WIT/Every ounce of bullshit Jedi powers you have]

[X] Flip sideways, catching both padded blades out if the air and, continuing with your momentum, slam them into the ground and brace your shoulder against them, blocking the wall of balls while staying in between the streams of water.
-[X] "Next."

Not one to toot my own horn, but I can't get over how amazingly cool this would look to a spectator.
I might be wrong in this impression, but the blades are mounted on poles, and are not particularly snatchable, unless you intend to rip the entire contraption out of the floor.

>Every ounce of bullshit Jedi powers you have

>Flip sideways, catching both padded blades out if the air and, continuing with your momentum, slam them into the ground and brace your shoulder against them, blocking the wall of balls while staying in between the streams of water.

...damn it.

Internet mind reading tally: 4

Next time, I'll just replace ??? with FORCE and save us all some confusion. I can't surprise you guys with anything, now can I?
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[dex/int/stamina] Catch the closest and biggest ball(s) that you can, toss it to block stream of water.
[STR/DEX/STMN] Grab onto the upper of the rotating blades and use its momentum along with your own to fling yourself out of the way.
Like A Boss.
[STR/DEX/WIT/Every ounce of bullshit Jedi powers you have] Flip sideways, catching both padded blades out if the air and, continuing with your momentum, slam them into the ground and brace your shoulder against them, blocking the wall of balls while staying in between the streams of water.
-[X] "Next."
-[X] Promptly pass out.

That's where STR comes in. Even if they are attached to a pole in some manor, the fact that they are also freely flying around the room(in some manor) give the impression that they aren't attached to some immovable block of metal, and can(hopefully) be manipulated by some human measure of strength.


Oh jeez i'm not sure even where to begin with this one...OK Anon, first of all, the blades come first. We have to deal with those before turning our attention to the streams/wall.

second of all, we aren't going to be able to pick ONE ball out of the wall, and then take any sort of meaningful action before the rest of the damn wall hits us.

Third of all; just...I dunno...think for a second whats going to happen if Connor THROWS a ball at a stream of water. Is it going to stop the stream? Of course not.
[???] Yes, you CAN

I hope you guys know that all those wordy write ins rarely work out.
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That simply isn't true. Even with the most Spartan of authors, well thought-out write-ins rarely fail. Wordy or not.
Alright, I'm calling it. Mystery option wins due to the fact that most of the write-in votes correlated with what I was planning in any case. I'll hopefully have something ready for you by the weekend's end.


Actually, I was looking for the question marks, not a write in. This was mostly an oversight on my part, though, since I now realize it could be taken either way.


I will say that I will always prefer well thought out write-ins over a standard vote, especially if they take things in a direction that I didn't think of. That said, I'll probably try to consolidate those that are a bit wordy down to something more manageable.

As for the term "work out", I'm not sure if you mean that in terms of winning by votes or having more success in-story.
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[FORCE] Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them.

…no, there’s no reason to think that. You can still get out of this. Even if your senses are screaming at you that you can’t escape, it doesn’t mean that you cannot diffuse the situation. And if you can’t think of a way out, you just need to clear your mind and let your instincts take over. All of this flashes through your head in a fraction of a second, and in that instant you drop whatever thought might be left in your head and let your wits and instinct take complete control.

First come the two blades. One is rotating towards your chest, the other towards your knees. The water streams are preventing you from dodging out of their radius, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way for you to avoid them. Just before they reach you, you make a controlled leap, forcing yourself into a horizontal position parallel to the blades as they pass you as you spin opposite from how the blades are passing you by. You are only able to maintain your position for about a second, but that’s more than enough time for the two hazards to pass you from above and below. Still, that in itself is not enough. Without even thinking about it, you disengage your arms from your sides in order to reach out and grab the passing padded blades.

From what you have seen, the blades are attached to the poles in such a way as to ensure that they will not be able to come off with conventional strength. While they seem to be able to pivot up and down on what appear to be hinges, they are not meant to be able to move horizontally unless the pole that they are attached to rotates. Additionally, there seems to be some sort of locking mechanism that keeps them in place once they are deployed. Add onto that the fact that their maintenance is more or less spotless, one would normally come to the conclusion that trying to remove the blades from their poles through conventional strength alone should be impossible, and that someone trying to remove them like you are should either be flung aside or ripped apart.

Such thoughts don’t even pass through your mind. All you know is that your instincts are telling you that they want you to pull, so you do. You use the momentum you gained through your spinning, the movement of the machines themselves, and every ounce of strength you have to pull.

For a moment, you feel a momentous resistance, but soon enough the force you are putting out overwhelms it, and you can feel the metal ripping from its hinges. Just before you remove them completely, you use the blades to rebalance yourself back into a vertical position. When they are finally free of their metal bindings, you land on your feet in a ready pose, holding a padded blade in each hand.

Since you managed to deal with the blades without having to dodge out of their path, the water streams are no longer a concern. In fact, they end up subsiding in order to not impede on the wall of colored balls coming at you from every angle. The balls are being launched in such a pattern that no matter which way you dodge, it will be impossible not to intercept at least one of them.

It’s a good thing that dodging isn’t your only option anymore, then. While you still move to avoid the balls when you can, most of your focus is now on intercepting the projectiles as they come at you with your new impromptu weapons. The blades twirl around you as you let them become an extension of yourself, putting them in the path of the balls with the highest velocity as you step around the slower ones. In this manner, you break the wall apart in order to give yourself an avenue of escape.

The deluge of ball-bullets only lasts for around ten seconds or so, at which point the launchers cut off and fall silent. The ground poles have stopped their movement as well, and it doesn’t look like any of the streams are in play anymore. The only thing you can hear is the movement of the balls and water as they drain off towards the sides of the room. Even though you don’t hear a voice telling you such, you know for a fact that your opponent isn’t going to throw anything else your way. It’s over.

You let out a breath as you toss the blades away from yourself, ensuring they fall a good distance from where you are. As you feel yourself slip out of your meditation, you ensure that your back is facing a portion of the floor that is uphill from your position. You know for a fact that you pushed yourself way beyond your conventional limits with what you just did, and you more or less know what is coming. With the last of your strength, you ensure that you collapse backwards in an attempt to keep yourself from rolling downhill face first. Aside from that, there is not much more that you can do as your body forces a self-inflicted shut down.


Nobody could say a word.

What had just occurred was physically impossible. By physical standards alone, the man should have been thrown across the room, or completely drenched, or bruised beyond compare from the barrage of balls. The padded blades should have kept their position, either flipping the man over or else ripping his arms out. And yet the blades had come out. The balls had been intercepted.

A freaking miracle had occurred.

Hina had no idea what to think. By all rights, the head engineer’s move should have put the situation entirely in her favor, and yet things had somehow gone in a completely different direction. Even worse, she had no idea how the head engineer was going to react. Right now the girl had her head turned away, staring at the young man down below as the reality of the situation came upon her. Hina had no way to predict what she was going to do next, as she had never seen the head engineer lose in a matter such as this. Was she going to fall into a fit of rage, declaring the contest invalid due to Conner’s breach of conduct and demanding a proper rematch? That seemed like the most obvious course of action, considering the fact that rationality and reason were her strongest tools. Hina knew that she had to prepare herself for the long road of revenge, which wouldn’t until the head engineer had made things right in her mind.


Ah, here it comes. She will laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation to gain a small bit of catharsis, before beginning to plot out how she could get back at the man who brought her down.


…eh? Something seems off here...


Hina had expected laughter, but what she was seeing only confused her more. The head engineer was cracking up, laughing so hard that she had to support her stomach with her arms in order to keep herself from falling over. She was laughing to the point that Hina suspected she could see tears coming from the young girl’s eyes, but instead of hidden anguish Hina could swear that the tears felt like they were of amusement.

“Oh man, that was great!” The head engineer grabbed onto one of the chairs near the console in an effort to not collapse on the ground. “He totally got me! How in the world did he do that, anyways? Well I can probably ask him another time, though I wonder if even he knows? Doesn’t really seem that thought was the major factor in his decisions here. Hm, how would you even test for something like that…?”

“Um… Ms. Kawashiro?”

The head engineer looked up as Hina called for her. “What’s up, Hina?”

Hina was unsure on whether it was proper to ask this, but her curiosity ended up winning out. “You aren’t… mad that he was the one who came up on top?”

The young girl blinked, and then raised an eyebrow in confusion. “Is there a reason that I should be?”

Hina faltered for a moment, but continued. “Well, he did end up beating you at your own game, so to speak. It’s a bit surprising that you don’t seem that distressed about it.”

The young girl gave a small shrug. “Games are meant to be beaten, Hina. It’s more productive to look at the results as a whole than to only focus on who was the ultimate winner.” Walking over to the mirrored glass, Hina could see the usual cheerful smile in the head engineer’s reflection as she looked down on Conner once more. “This guy is just who I’ve been looking for, Hina. I wouldn’t let this opportunity pass me by, even if I was seething in rage.”

“…I see.” Hina could see that the other girls were nodding in consent with what the head engineer was saying, and even she herself could feel a small smile coming on. Different minds indeed…

“Anyways, we’ve got to be quick and careful with this one.” The head engineer said as she turned to address anyone. “First things first, I’m putting a notice of confidentiality on this whole incident, so no word of what has happened here should leave the company, alright?” Nods of ascent came from all around the small lab, and Hina made a mental note to release an official notice on that as soon as she got back to her desk. Theoretically only lab staff would have been able to view what was occurring through the camera system, so while it wasn’t an absolutely perfect solution to keeping the incident to leaking to the public, it would still be pretty effective.

“Next, we should probably get the medical team to see if he’s still breathing down there.” One of the girls gave a little squeak of recognition, and she began rushing towards the door. “Don’t worry; from here it just looks like he’s exhausted himself. Take him to the clinic to recover, alright?” The head engineer called out after the running girl.

“We’ll need a crew to repair those broken poles, but aside from that I think that’s all I have to say for now.” The head engineer said with a wave of her hands, dismissing the group. “Remember, keep quiet about what we saw here, alright? We don’t want someone else snatching this guy away from us.”

Hina stood by as the group dispersed from whence they came. Soon enough, the head engineer gestured for her to follow and the two of them made their way out of the room.

“He’s an odd one, so we’ll have to be careful about how we word our offer to him.” The head engineer said as she walked down the halls, with Hina making sure to follow at a brisk pace.

“Oh?” Hina said. To her, seeing the head engineer call someone odd seemed a bit hypocritical, but she kept that to herself.

“Most people who could do stuff like that would probably try to make a name for themselves first and foremost; it says a lot that this guy only came in for a small time position.”

“What do you think it means?”

“If I had to guess? A dislike of the limelight seems like the most likely reason, but it could also suggest a strong dislike of commitment. He’s probably got his reasons for keeping a low profile though, so we should respect that when we ask him to sign on with us.”

Hina gave a small nod. “Anything else?”

The head engineer tilted her head in thought. “Don’t force him to make a decision today if he doesn’t want to. I want this guy to be with us willingly, not because you locked him in an unfair contract while he was getting over a blackout. If he says no for whatever reason, tell him to come back in a day or two so that we can renegotiate.”

Hina gave another nod. “I’ll start putting his credentials together, then. Should I alert you when he regains consciousness?”

The crazy grin returned to the young girl’s face. “Nah, I’ve got to head back to the lab and start getting things ready.” The head engineer rubbed her hands together with glee. “If we can convince this guy to stick around, then I’ll be able to test out some of the good stuff.”

Hina could only watch as the young girl kept on walking, a crazed giggle of happiness coming from her direction. Letting out a held breath, Hina ignored the diminishing impulse to flee while she had the chance and began walking back to her desk.


You feel yourself coming to, discovering that it feels like you are laying on a soft surface of some kind. Before you open your eyes, you decide to give yourself a small check to make sure that you made it out in one piece.

Alright, check complete. Your everything hurts, but at the same time the fact that you can feel your everything probably means that they didn’t decide to dissect you in your sleep. Probably.

Cracking your eyes open, you groan as you try to move around. Not surprisingly, your arm sockets seem to be shouting at you the most, although the rest of your body is also complaining about how much you’ve abused it. You ask yourself if it was really worth it to go so far past your limits just so that you could “win” at something where victory didn’t matter. You aren’t able to come up with a satisfying answer.

“Um…you probably shouldn’t be moving…”

As your eyes adjust, you can see a face peering down at you. After a few moments your mind recalibrates your vision, and you can see a bespectacled young female face staring down at you. It looks like she’s part of some sort of medical staff, as she is wearing pink scrubs that clash horribly with her blue hair.

You can’t help but crack a smile. “Yeah, but then again I probably shouldn’t be awake right now either, huh?”

“U-um, I’m not sure, I don’t have you medical records and-”

“Ok, ok, I understand,” you interrupt as you attempt to sit up on your bed. Your body protests like nothing else, but you are still able to prop yourself up despite your discomfort. A small tug at your arms brings your attention to a small IV that has been stuck in there, and you also notice that you are wearing what appears to be a t-shirt and sweatpants that bear the Nitori logo. “I’m guessing from my appearance that wasn’t relocated to a hospital, then?”

“Y-yes, you’re still on the Nitori campus. The doctor didn’t think we needed to transfer you over, so we just kept you here at the clinic we maintain.”

“Alright, that more or less makes sense.” You say with a nod and a smile. Well in reality, it doesn’t. You’re pretty sure that when a blackout occurs for any reason, normal protocol would be to ensure that person gets to a hospital for treatment. Still, you aren’t going to complain about not getting sent over, since getting admitted would probably both put a hold on the rest of your plans for the week, as well as costing you a small fortune. Hopefully, the Nitori Corporation will be less stingy on the care that they gave you.

You suddenly feel your body assault you with its need for energy. With a small smile, you direct the nurse’s attention to the attached IV. “While this is nice,” you say, “I think that I can handle some real food. Got anything lying around?”

Around half an hour later you find yourself finishing off a bowl of pasta at one of the nearby tables in the room. While the nurse had insisted you stay in bed to rest, you ended up getting up in order to find where your things had been stashed, as well as to get some of your blood flowing. The nurse was a little cross when she had come back with your food only to discover you going through your bag (it was stashed under your bed) but when she saw that you could move around with little discomfort she let the issue drop. (Well, it was either that or the fact that she wasn’t able to do much more than blush after you asked her who it was that changed your clothes)

“I see that you’re up.”

Looking up from your food, you see Ms. Hina walking in the door. You had overheard the nurse calling her down after she gave you your food, so it wasn’t really that much of a surprise to see the stoic woman walk over to your table and take a seat.”

“That I am,” you say as you swallow your pasta and push your tray aside. “Thanks for bringing me here, by the way. I’m glad I didn’t wake up only to find myself tossed out on the street.”

“It’s our pleasure, Mr. Conner.” Hina replies. “Would you mind if I kept this meeting quick and got straight to business, or should I come back later when you are more rested? There is a lot that still needs to be done, and we honestly weren’t expecting you to wake up so soon.”

“No, now is fine.” You say as you lean back from the table with a smile. “I’m guessing that I passed then?”

“Oh, you more than passed, Mr. Conner. You excelled.” Hina pulled out a folder and placed it on the table, going through some papers as she talked to you. “We were honestly astonished by what we saw. I have to say, it’s fairly surprising that we haven’t heard of you before now.”

Oh crap, you let yourself get too caught up in the moment. “Ah, about that-”

Hina raises her hand to stop you from continuing. “No worries, Mr. Conner. We understand that you probably have your reasons, and as such we’ve issued a notice of confidentiality on what occurred in the test room. It should keep word of what transpired in there inside the company.”

“Oh. Uh, thanks.” You were honestly not expecting that. While it is somewhat comforting that word won’t get out, at the same time you begin wondering whether or not they might have an angle in all of this.

“Furthermore, don’t worry about the machine you broke or the clinic fees; the company will be covering both of those.” Oh man, you didn’t even think about the fact that they might have you pay to replace what you broke. Confidentiality might be one thing, but covering the expenses of someone who isn’t an employee? It’s time to figure out where she is going with all this.

“Pretty generous,” you say, making sure that your smile doesn’t slide off your face. “Mind if I ask why you’re going so far for someone like me.

As a reply, Ms. Hina slides a packet of paper across the table. Picking it up, you are shocked to find that it’s a full job offer.

“Like I said, Mr. Conner, you really impressed us. We are prepared to offer you a full position with the company, one which we are hoping that you will accept.”

Whoa. This is going way over your head right now. A full job offer? This wasn’t what you were expecting at all. Usually people want additional favors, things that they think you can handle with discretion in exchange for a little more cash. To get something like this has led you to a short circuit. You have no idea on how you should respond to this.

“I…uh, I-”

Again, Ms. Hina raises her hand. “I understand this is a lot to take in all at once. You don’t have to make a decision right now.” She hands you a business card with her name on it. “Should you come to a decision either way, please give us a call and set up an appointment with us. If the contract isn’t to your liking, we are willing to renegotiate.”


“Please feel free to use our facilities as long as you need.” Hina says as she rises and gathers her papers. “We do want to make sure that you are suffering no ill effects from the test, after all.”

“Eh? Ah, yeah, sure.” You do your best to re-circuit yourself as you see Hina get up to leave.

“Very good,” Hina says with a small smile as she makes for the doorway. “Remember, let us know if you have any questions or come to a decision.” Before she walks out, Hina pauses before turning to you once more. “You made a great effort to impress us, Mr. Conner. We hope that you won’t let that effort be for nothing.”


You walk out of the building, staring at the job offer in your hands. You are back in the clothes that you came in with at this point, having put them back on when they were finished drying out, though at the insistence of a couple of the techs you now have a Nitori brand sweatshirt tied around your waist. The nurse was fairly concerned that you opted to leave, but despite the fact that your body is still aching all over you didn’t think it was reason enough to make you stay the night.

You’re still floored by the fact that they ended up giving you a job offer. From what you can tell by the description, it’s basically a formalized testing position like the one you were first trying for, but instead of being paid by the job you would be paid by the hour. It figures that the same day you ended up talking about finding some more steady work with Suke and Naz, a job offer like this would fall into your lap.

That said, you can feel your hesitation in accepting it outright. You’ve always valued the freedom you have in being able to choose what it is that you do and how you go about choosing to do it. Signing on with a company, especially a large one like Nitori, would probably end up taking that freedom away. There are other factors, of course, but your mind seems to be going back on the choice between freedom and stability.

…well whatever, you’ve got a bit of time to figure out where you stand on this. It’s probably best that you let the shock settle down before coming to a decision. You slip the job offer into your pack as you move out, trying to ignore your body’s protests as you move along.

It looks like it’s pretty close to sundown right now, which means that if you are going to head on over to the after-dark lead you should probably get a move on now to ensure that you’ll be able to catch the last bus back home when you are finished. Of course, the question then becomes whether or not it would even be worth it to head over there now in the condition you are currently in.

[ ] Might as well get this out of the way tonight. We can rest while we take the bus over there.
[ ] TOMORROW NIGHT. Even if you don’t feel like staying in the clinic, you pushed yourself past your limits today. The job can wait for a time when you are not aching all over.


[x] Nitori Job Offer <0 Slots>


[ ] Force Dodge (Active/Passive): Sometimes, even if you know that danger is coming, you might not see a chance to get out of its way. But a true force user knows that your eyes can deceive you, and by letting your instincts take over you can use the force to move your body in ways others might not think possible. This ability will let you dodge attacks that might otherwise hit you, albeit with some increased strain to your body. Note that there might be cases where this might not be possible, as you still need room to maneuver in order to use this skill. For example, you wouldn’t be able to use this skill if one of your limbs was somehow anchored to the floor. This skill is enhanced by battle meditation. Keep in mind that this ability will always put a certain amount of strain on your body depending on how much energy it takes to dodge out of the way. This strain will stay with you until let yourself rest it off and high levels of strain might give you an adverse penalty to your attribute choices.


Alright guys, I’ll be taking off for a week or so as I head out of town. Considering my current update cycle I’m not sure if this will actually be noticeable, but just keep in mind that I probably won’t be writing anything until I get back. I might post a few comments here and there if I get the chance, though. Until then, make sure to take it easy, ok?
[x] TOMORROW NIGHT. Even if you don’t feel like staying in the clinic, you pushed yourself past your limits today. The job can wait for a time when you are not aching all over.

Shady night only job offers must be handled while properly rested.
You might wanna calm down with the whole Mary Sue deal you got going on right now. Just a friendly heads up.

This is a CYoA. The author is going to write whatever choice the readers pick. Which is exactly what happened.

So...either you have no idea what a Mary Sue is, have no idea what website you're on, or you're an idiot. Just a friendly heads up, bro.

[x] Might as well get this out of the way tonight. We can rest while we take the bus over there.

Let's get this out of the way. Gotta be sleep-deprived while meeting Ayayayaya.

Eh. If he's actually rolling, we're sure to hit a string of bad luck sooner or later.

I don't mind Conner being powerful and a girl magnet, to be honest.
[x] Might as well get this out of the way tonight. We can rest while we take the bus over there.

Because entertainment option
Aya? I read it as the SDM option. If it's Aya, I suppose we could go and see what the wants, but tell her that we're pretty shagged and can we do it tomorrow instead. If our relationship with her is as friendly as I think it is, she probably wouldn't mind too much, and who the hell puts jobs that need to be done immediately on a notice board that hardly anyone ever checks anyway.

If it is, in fact, the SDM option, then
-[X] Also, go meet Nazrin and Rinnosuke to discuss recent developments.
Aya should be in the morning regardless of whether we visit the SDM now or tomorrow night. That's how the railroading should work out, anyway. Kappaployment might derail that train.
Because a meeting with Flandre can wait untill we're rested enough.
Goddammit. We spent all of today flipping n' shit for dem science bitches, and didn't even get paid for it! Hina's number is on the bussiness card she gave us. I say we text her and demand a least a lunch date.

I was originally going to have you get a cash reward for doing this, albeit severely reduced due to the fact that you ended up breaking some of the equipment. But in the end I ended up doing a re-write, since I figured making someone pay for something they broke isn't the best way to ensure they take up your job offer.

Also, you didn't technically actually do any work for them that they were obligated to pay you for. Legal shenanigans and all that. Conner would have probably brought it up on his own were he not completely bowled over by the job offer.
>Nods of ascent came from all around the small lab
Nitpicking here, but it's "assent," not "ascent."

[ ] TOMORROW NIGHT. Even if you don’t feel like staying in the clinic, you pushed yourself past your limits today. The job can wait for a time when you are not aching all over.

Gotta stay fully rested so we can use that nifty force dodge we've unlocked.

>Nitpicking here, but it's "assent," not "ascent."

Not only that, I now realize that I used the word "momentous" when I should have used "monumental" near the beginning. I always tend to find more grammar mistakes after I make a post, rather than when I'm checking it for errors beforehand, which tends to bug me to no end. That said, feel free to nitpick away; hopefully I'll get better as we go along. Hopefully.

(Fun fact: I ended up editing this note after I posted it when I found a grammatical error in the very first line.)
[x] TOMORROW NIGHT. Even if you don’t feel like staying in the clinic, you pushed yourself past your limits today. The job can wait for a time when you are not aching all over.

I presume it's with the SDM as I doubt he'd be so mindful of whatever job Aya has. That and Flandre is hardly ever to be taken lightly.

I'm not sure why people are always so eager to jump on the "Flandre is crazy" fanon train. She is quite well-mannered and calm in canon.

In my opinion, Yukari fooling around again with Eirin's shady new drug and accidentally turning the SDM cast into babies who need to be baby-sat is just as likely as finding out Flandre isn't capable of taking care of herself for whatever reason.
Fanon aside, the guy just completed something akin a 1-cc medium or above difficulty, 6 level danmaku course and got a new power (at a price), let him rest for now.
It wasn't just a 6-stage normal (or harder) 1-cc; it was a 6-stage no-bomb (except for the one during that last part) perfect pacifist run. That's gotta be worth some respect.
>The real clincher, however, is that the request asks for people who are quick on their feet and fairly tough.
This line makes me think the job doesn't involve telling bedtime stories. And it's not like Flandre needs to be crazy, she might just be playful and not know her own strength.
[x] TOMORROW NIGHT. Even if you don’t feel like staying in the clinic, you pushed yourself past your limits today. The job can wait for a time when you are not aching all over.

I think we should rest up a bit before taking on more jobs.
canon lists dealing with Flandre as being risky, to the point of Marisa "gives no fucks" Kirisame AVOIDS her.

That too, that alone is enough sign it's not something to be taken lightly.
No one noticed Pc 98 reimu?
Back in town after a fairly relaxing weekend. Looks like the thread has begun to autosage as well. I won't be able to start writing right away, but hopefully I'll be able to get a new thread going by the end of the week.
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A new thread is upon us!


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