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File 138853456939.jpg - (1.03MB , 2270x2870 , sweet smiles from sweet bunnies.jpg ) [iqdb]
57210 No. 57210
A howitzer of youth and love.

Previous thread >>53576
Character blurbs: www.touhou-project.com/others/theater

New Year, New thread edition!
-

“Yeah a real good reason,” I drew it out for longer. It would be hard to fault me for wanting to spend even an extra millisecond with her, I felt. Still, I didn't want to seem like a braindead creep. A regular creep would do just fine. “You look really cute when you're giving it your all,” I told her. “I could barely take my eyes off you when we were playing.”

“Ahaha,” Reisen laughed nervously. “You're just saying that because you want me to feel self-conscious when I play with you. In the end all that matters is winning and not how you win.”

“That's not it at all!” I exclaimed. My evil ways ahd caught up with me at last. I may have been on the receiving end of the teasing but at least she was leaving the door open.

“Nah. I don't believe you!” she stuck out her tongue, showing playful confidence that was quite welcome in my opinion. Maybe playing around in the arcade gave her the confidence she normally lacked. “I'm not going to fall for your tricks. Next time we play I'm going to kick your butt!”

“And when will 'next time' be?” I asked, trying to get a straight answer from the now spunky Reisen.

“Who knows?” she shrugged. “I'm never afraid of taking on a challenge but I do have a lot to do after school. So I guess whenever the time is right we'll play again.”

“I'll look forward to it,” I smiled bitterly. Getting the brush off was never nice. Even if it wasn't a direct rejection it still sucked to be strung along and toyed with. No matter how pure her intentions may have been.

With a cheery little wave she left the arcade. She didn't even give me a chance to offer to walk her home. It was a shame, too, because things were going well.

All's well that ends well, I supposed.

I didn't really feel like doing another all-nighter so soon after the last one. Even if last time I had ended up having a wonderful time. Tenshi was still fresh on my mind and if I closed my eyes and held out my hand I felt as if I could almost touch her. But of course I wouldn't do something so weird in a public place. People would stare and it might even get the attention of a meddlesome cop. I wasn't exactly in their good graces either.

The only real choice was going home. No telling if Suika was in the mood to just hang out. That was another powder keg I didn't really feel like dealing with.

Auntie wasn't home. She'd be in the store until late, probably.

That limited my options. How to best alleviate boredom?

[] Go see what Alice is up to.
[] Go on the internet. Those chat sites are supposed to be fun.

--
Underwhelming new thread but we don't need to get off to a running start just yet.\
Expand all images
>> No. 57211
So what was the last vote in the previous thread all about?
>> No. 57213
>>57211
[x] Go see what Alice is up to.

We will see soon enough I guess.
>> No. 57214
[x]chat option
I remember the last time we took a chance! And, uh, the first one. He won't get mugged this time no?
>> No. 57215
[X] Go on the internet. Those chat sites are supposed to be fun.

Time to see what fellow young people on the Interwebs do.
>> No. 57216
[] Go see what Alice is up to.
>> No. 57217
[] Go on the internet. Those chat sites are supposed to be fun.

Tenshi
>> No. 57218
[x] Go see what Alice is up to.

While the chat option is interesting, but my gut tells me to vote for this, that and Alice's one of Arc's best friends
>> No. 57219
[x] Go see what Alice is up to.

We should spend more time with our friends instead.
>> No. 57226
[x] Go see what Alice is up to.

Haven't seen her in a while.
>> No. 57230
[X] Go on the internet. Those chat sites are supposed to be fun.

Why not?
>> No. 57233
[x] Go see what Alice is up to.

More Alice is an excuse for possible Shinki.
>> No. 57236
I shuffled on over to my neighbor's house. The internet was full of losers anyways. Losers that regularly sexualized inanimate objects, like ships, tanks and rifles. They, additionally, got into flame wars over which cartoon girl was the best. It was sad. That said, it was still a rung above those who made their own wish-fulfillment games, drew their own comics or even wrote fanfiction.

“Anybody home?” I called out, knocking softly on the front door. To my delight, it seemed that Alice was home.

“Yeah?” she asked, opening the door, “what do you need?”

“How cold,” I frowned. “Your lovable neighbor comes on over to check up on you and you're giving him the cold shoulder? Why, if your mom were here...” I tried to glance over her shoulder and inside the house.

“She's not here,” Alice said.

“Oh,” I couldn't hide my disappointment. “Well, you should be nicer to me regardless. I don't brush you off like you were a complete stranger.”

“Actually, you do it all the time,” she said, sounding more annoyed than before. “Just today in the morning, for instance.”

“Well, a man is entitled to keeping a few secrets from the world,” I told her.

“I don't see any men here, just an annoying little neighbor boy.” I had touched a nerve apparently. But well, what did she expect me to say? That I had spent a whole night and day out on the town with Tenshi? I'd sooner charge into a river full of hungry crocodiles. Being evasive was the only card I could play. And not just for my sake. “Look, I'm kind of busy here,” she said. “If you don't need anything then please go.”

“Busy? Doing what?” I had seen a second pair of shoes at the door but I hadn't the faintest who it could be.

“Just let him in Alice,” the guest said with a laugh, “he's just going to keep annoying you if you tell him to go away.”

“Fine,” Alice relented, granting me entry. Sweet, delicious victory.

“If you'll excuse me~” I made myself at home. “Heya Reimu!” The mystery guest was non other than the class pres. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“It's a little comforting to see that your disruptive behavior isn't limited to just school. At least you've proven consistent,” she said with a smirk.

I wasn't one to let a compliment slide by, even if it was backhanded. “Consistency is my middle name. I'm an equal-opportunity offender. Some would say that it's a breath of fresh air to meet someone as honest as me.”

“More like a breath of raw sewage,” Reimu was merciless. I enjoyed seeing her act feisty. It beat her acting tired all the time.

“Hey Alice,” I called out to my peeved childhood friend, “you're not going to offer me tea? I mean, I can see that you girls have been having a few cups.” The nearby table had a pair of half-empty cups.

“You really are hopeless,” she shook her head. But she went all the same to get me a cup. “It'll be a while, I have to put the kettle on again.”

“I'm sorry if I'm disrupting something important,” I said in a hushed tone to Reimu, “I just get hell if I act any differently with Alice.”

“I don't think that's how it works...” Reimu said. “We were just discussing school activities anyhow.”

“Could it have anything to do with the end of the school year and your imminent ascent to student body president?”

“Hah!” Reimu seemed to be genuinely surprised. “Maybe you do only pretend to be stupid,” she complimented me affectionately again.

“I'm just full of surprises,” I winked. “This is why you should give me a chance to-”

“But yes,” she cut me off, “we were discussing that. I want her to be on the council. I'm not sure if she'll accept being VP but at least as treasurer or secretary she could still do a lot of good.”

“Mm, backroom politics...” I said with an unnecessarily long pause, “how dull!”

“It's nothing like that. Just two friends talking.”

“Well then perhaps the rest of the school wouldn't mind knowing who you have in mind to run with you...”

“Alright. So maybe it's a little bit more than just friends talking,” Reimu relented. “Don't tell anyone just yet please. Rumor mills are distracting before an election.”

“You're pretty much running unopposed,” I told her.

“You never know what might happen between now and the election. Even though we're just a school there's still interest groups that might interfere.”

“I hate politics,” I said decisively, “don't worry, I won't mess with your campaign.”

“That's good to know,” she sighed with relief.

“Anything for my dear leader.”

Reimu smiled at that line and shook her head. “Incorrigible,” she said. “Though if you want, you could help me out.”

“Anything for my beloved leader.”

“You could help me convince Alice to join the student council. She'd have to leave all other clubs because of the workload... but she doesn't seem that attached to her extracurricular activities anyhow.”

“Hm, I think I could convince her...” I said, “but I'm not sure I want to.”

“Oh come on,” Reimu pouted, “I'll make it worth your while... being friends with the student council president and having her owe you one could be very advantageous.”

How utterly corrupt. Influence peddling was something I'd never expect from the prim and proper, yet overworked, Reimu. I loved it.

“I already sort of have good connections at school...” I mused out loud, “but another get out of jail card could be even better...”

“What's that?” Reimu asked, tilting her head in confusion.

“Nothing. Nothing at all.”

“Besides,” she said,” it's for a good cause. The greater good. It'd make my life easier to have an effective team. And of course that translates to a better school experience for the students.”

“Yeah but maybe she should choose this out of her own free will,” I said. “I don't think I would be okay with being pressured to do something.” Of course, it turned out that I was more or less okay with just that. Sure, I grumbled, but in the end I ended up doing what Big Sis told me to because it was the right thing to do.

“Pretty please...” Reimu begged. It wasn't her feminine charm that was getting to me so much as the bags that were under her eyes. She was always so busy and always so tired. Everyone depended on her and just assumed that she would do the job. “Just telling her how you feel about it is enough,” she said. “You don't have to force her to do anything. She'll listen to you.”

Alice came back with a teapot and an extra cup. We sat down to enjoy the tea.

[] Talk to Alice about the student council
[] Leave well enough alone
>> No. 57238
[X] Talk to Alice about the student council.
-[X] Convincer her to yell WA HA HA~ after everything Reimu says.

Win-win-win situation. We get a major Get out of jail free card, Raymoo gets a competent lacky, and Alice gets to ditch whatever useless crap she usually does after school. Student council is the only thing that actually looks good on a college application.
>> No. 57239
[] Talk to Alice about the student council

I don't think she was a very big fan of gymnastics to begin with
>> No. 57240
[x] Talk to Alice about the student council.

I'm hoping Talking doesn't mean forcing.
>> No. 57241
>>57240
Context. Arc clearly feels it would be a form of pressuring her.

Also voting open for a good while yet because I'm being very inefficient at getting things done.
>> No. 57242
>>57241
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

[x] Talk to Alice about the student council.
>>57238
I like the way you think. Not everything but the Reimu part.
>> No. 57244
[x] Leave well enough alone

I'd rather leave the choice to whether join or not to Alice herself.
>> No. 57245
>>57240 Here
Shifting to
[x] Leave well enough alone

I don't want to pressure her.
>> No. 57246
[X] Talk to Alice about the student council.

On one hand this might mean that we see less of Alice, but I think Alice will end up enjoying it.
>> No. 57247
[x] Leave well enough alone

We need time to go about this, that and trying to do that now would come off as heavy pressuring.

That and the useless stuff might not be so useless to Alice.
>> No. 57255
Tie breaker?
>> No. 57259
“...What?” I asked, sipping my tea leisurely. Alice was staring at me with one of her oh-so-scary stern looks of disapproval. I rated it at a comfortable level 3 of annoyance. Pretty much on the same level as bugging her to help me with my homework late at night.

“Why are you here?” she asked bluntly. “We were in the middle of an important private discussion.”

“Geez, what ever happened to the good old fashioned neighborly spirit? Can't I make a social call to my neighbor anymore without being treated like a leper?”

“You've had your tea, what else do you want?”

“Oh, you know what I was thinking about just earlier?” I changed the subject abruptly. It was a move about as subtle as carrying around a camcorder in a lingerie shop. Well, it didn't matter how transparent I was. “The school year is ending soon and it'll be our turn to be seniors. That means new uniforms, privileges and responsibilities. And, uh, also we'll be part of the student council. A lot of enforcement of arbitrary rules and organizing of school events. Loads of fun, that.”

And, as expected, Alice picked up on what I was driving at. “Thinking of running for president? I'm sure you'll do a great job,” she said with unfettered sarcasm. I had to admit, it kind of was neat to see her react so strongly.

“I don't think even I would vote for myself,” I said with a wry grin, “I'd probably be too busy cutting class to vote. And, well, I'd be way stressed out if I couldn't just up and go home whenever I felt like it after school.”

“So just what exactly are you trying to say?” she asked as if she didn't know.

“Oh, just that two out of three of the people present would do a good job at running things. Getting the trains to run on time, bread and circus. You know, the real nitty-gritty of governance.” I tilted my head towards Reimu, “this one here will be a great president. I mean she's popular and responsible. And can handle even the rowdiest of louts. I don't think I have to name names here. And, yeah, well, as awesome as she's going to be at the job I think that having good people around her will certainly help things. Again, not to compare myself to the gold standard, but I think you do a good job of dealing with me, Alice. I mean, let's be honest, I'm sometimes not the easiest person in the world to deal with. And if you can handle me, you can handle any job.”

Alice sighed. “You really shouldn't have put him up to this,” she said to Reimu. “I'm still trying to figure out whether you asked him to help you out of desperation or because you actually thought he could influence me.”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” Reimu said with a shrug. Sly, real sly. As expected of a pseudo-politician. “I do believe that this gentleman here is just speaking his mind. If we happen to agree on this one issue then perhaps there's grounds to believe that it's a popular notion.”

“Or that you really are insane,” Alice fired back. “Look, I told you, I'm just not interested.”

“Can't you at least give me a satisfying explanation as to why?” Reimu asked.

“I don't think I'm suited to working for the student body. I like to keep to myself have enough responsibilities already in my life.”

“That's a weak excuse and you know it,” Reimu told her. “You could be doing something that helps out all students and I know that you're the type of person that deep down wants to see everyone happy.”

“I wonder...” Alice said grimly, “I think I'm actually rather selfish.”

“The person that knows you best is telling you that you'd be great at it,” Reimu said, “that has to count for something.”

“I don't know why Arc is saying what he's saying. It's a bit unfair to try to use him and our history against me,” Alice said. “You probably promised him something in return which just makes things worse.”

I couldn't really say anything in my defense. Even if my motives were pure I knew full well that my identity as neighbor and longtime friend was a very active form of pressure.

“At least tell me that you'll think about it,” Reimu sighed. “There's still some time before the inscription period is over I don't know what's making you act so stubborn but I hope that you'll change your mind in the coming days.”

'Stubborn' was Alice's middle name. Not that I dared say that aloud. But it was very present in my thoughts. She must have been a bit pissed off at me for even bringing up the subject. Getting ganged up on was never fun.

“No promises,” Alice said with a dramatic sense of finality.

“Thank you for the tea,” Reimu changed the subject abruptly. “I'm sorry for imposing on you like this and then having to go but I have other business I have to take care of today.”

“I'll see you out then,” Alice said.

I got up as well, figuring that I might be kicked out at any moment anyhow.

“Oh yeah, “ Reimu turned to me after putting her shoes back on, “you're coming with me to the thing now, aren't you my accomplice?”

That was new. Not only was she admitting to having asked me to nag Alice but she was also asking me to go with her somewhere else. Alice stood by politely, as a good host should, but still exhibited trace signs of annoyance. She was definitely pissed off at me. I couldn't really blame her.

[] Go with Reimu.
[] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.
>> No. 57260
[x] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.

Sorry Reimu, we might be willing to play along for a while but when the chips are down our loyalty isn't with you. At least, not yet anyway.
>> No. 57261
File 138871641287.jpg - (216.84KB , 850x1250 , sample_f1aaae5e05fd4506b836adb36b9972d5.jpg ) [iqdb]
57261
[x] Go with Reimu.

The first opening for Reimu eh? I'll take that all the way to the bank.
>> No. 57263
[] Go with Reimu.

This promises to be... Interesting.
>> No. 57264
[x] Go with Reimu.

I like Alice a lot, but I really want to see more of Reimu, so here we go.
>> No. 57265
[x] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.
>> No. 57266
[x] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.

I'd rather put out the fire before it burns the bridge.
>> No. 57267
>>57266
Their relationship is much stronger than it was in the past, and I dont think that staying would have much of an effect either. Leaving now wouldn't burn down any bridges with Alice and it means seeing a girl we really haven't had much chances to interact with.
>> No. 57269
>>57267
you forgot the time Arc basically left those bridges to rot in his persuit of other things (either be it yuyuko's 'quests' or Arc's tendency to chase skirts)

And I personally rather fix things now than later. I mean Arc butted into something Alice's business then tried to 'persuade' her to take up Reimu's idea in a method so transparent, Alice saw through it right away.
>> No. 57274
[X] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.

This is perfect. I'm pretty sure rāmū Wants us to stay. Intentionally widening the gap between her and Arc before leaving would help to put Alice at ease, and help facilitate negotiations.

This school could really use her on the council, I say we go for a "you do something for me, I'll do something for you" type of deal next time if staying with Alice wins.
>> No. 57275
>she was pissed at me. I couldn't blame her
>option to go away
Yeah no. I lost in the previous vote, thus failing to prevent this; an option to backtrack is a gift from the heavens.

[x] stay with Alice and smooth (you criminal) things over.
>> No. 57280
[x] Stay with Alice and smooth things over.

Thank you but I would rather be with Alice. For now.
>> No. 57283
Reimu stared at me for a moment 'Are you coming or not?' she asked silently with her eyes.

“Sorry but something's come up,” I told her. Whatever it was that she wanted would have to wait. Reimu didn't insist, instead just nodding silently and leaving. “You don't mind if I stay a little while longer?” I asked Alice.

“I'd rather be left alone,” Alice said. It seemed to me like she was holding back a sigh. That was my fault.

“Come on, we've known each other for years. We're basically like brother and sister,” I told her. “If you can't rely on family, what's left?”

“I guess I would be the older sister to an insufferable younger brother,” she said with a bit of venom. Then came the sigh. It finally revealed itself as she shook her head disapprovingly. “Well, I don't know what you expect from me now. I'm not really in a talkative mood.”

“We could always play something together.”

“I'm not very good at those video games you like so much,” she confessed.

“I meant something more along the lines of having ourselves a fancy tea party. Or hide and seek!”

“What are you, 8?” Alice was bewildered by my suggestions. I simply shrugged in reply. “Like I said, I just want to be left alone.”

“And I'm trying to cheer you up, dummy,” I said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “If you're by yourself you're likelier to stew over stupid stuff and then your mood will never get any better.”

“This is rich!” Alice directed some of that frustration outward. She glared at me with a huffy little look that generally meant that she was about to dress me down. While a drag it at least meant that she was going through the usual steps of dealing with my idiocy. “You're partly responsible for my foul mood and you're now telling me that you want to cheer me up? I guess it shouldn't surprise me that you're so utterly shameless.”

“I didn't mean to upset you,” I told her. “I mean, I know you well enough to know that it was going to be extra pressure but I'd rather you be happy with your own decisions. So, I don't know. I mean, I guess I owe you an apology. I probably should have kept my opinion to myself. Sorry about that.”

“It's fine,” she sighed again. “I know you weren't being a jerk just for the sake of being a jerk.” With the beginnings of a smile on her lips, she added, “unlike most of the time.”

“Ouch, right in the heart...” I mimed getting stabbed with a dagger. Slowly collapsing onto the floor for extra dramatic effect, I raised a hand to the heavens and proclaimed, “with my dying breath, I curse Alice Margatroid for all eternity!”

“What a ham,” she shook her head. It looked like she was starting to feel a little better. The earlier signs of hostility had evaporated. While I felt that she was still feeling bothered about what happened earlier, she was at least not showing it outwardly.

When I miraculously revived from being stabbed in the heart, I suggested that we do something together. With video games out of the question and her not really being in a open and chatty mood, that left only a few viable options. Luckily, our good friend television held the answer. A marathon of bad B karate movies was on. It was the perfect excuse to clown around and forget about the earlier unpleasantness. The popcorn we made also helped a lot.

All good things eventually come to an end. I was kicked out in the middle of the evening under the pretext that she needed to take a bath and do her homework. Apparently I wasn't allowed to lounge around while she did either for some reason. I was some sort of potential distraction. Fortunately I was tired enough to go to bed soon after.

Alice was in better spirits in the morning. She barely even hassled me for sleeping in yet again. Our walk to school was uneventful.

There was some trouble in paradise. Right as we arrived to class our homeroom teacher came looking for me.

“What's the matter, Mima?” I asked, not too happy to be the center of attention even before the day started properly.

“I was given a memo that you were to report to the school counselor as soon as possible. It's urgent, apparently, so move.”

Grumbling as I always did when authority figures asked me to do something, I ignored Suika's hooting and got a move on. Big Sis was waiting with me with a million-yen smile. And not much else. She sat on the edge of the desk, facing the door. My jaw almost dropped. “Are teachers allowed to wear clothes like those?” I tried to play it cool, acting sassy.

“Oh, sure I can,” Big Sis said with a lovely little smile. “We live in a modern society, women are allowed to wear whatever they want. That said, there's nothing wrong with a miniskirt and a short-sleeved blouse.”

“A semi-transparent blouse,” I added. I could see the straps of her bra through the thin material. Scratch that, I could see a whole lot of cleavage with that sharp 'V' cut that stretched from her neck to her chest. “Not to mention the unnecessary stockings and... more seductive lip gloss,” I remarked, fixating on her cherry-pink lips. “If I didn't know any better,” I said, pausing to help myself to the sight of those crossed legs and plump thighs, “I'd say you called me up here to seduce me. I've seen this happen before in movies.”

That made Yuyuko giggle. “Oh please!”she exclaimed. “You're no Dustin Hoffman. You are quite a bit handsome but not really my type. So don't get the wrong idea.”

“So what's with the getup then?”

“Oh, I don't know,” she explained vaguely, “it felt so warm today that I just felt like a change in attire was needed. I'm cooped up in my office most of the day as well so it's not like the students will see me like this. Consider yourself lucky.”

I was staring at how her short skirt managed to do a good job at leaving so many vital areas to the imagination whilst simultaneously exposing so much. “Well, you're certainly pulling off the light top and black bottom look pretty well. Though the stockings may be a little too much. It's, like too many distractions, you know.”

“I think that it's working just fine,” she chuckled enigmatically. “I'm getting to see exactly I want to see.”

“Oh, how evil!” I grumbled with a stupid grin on my face.

“Now, you know why I've called you here, right?” she asked.

[] It was to extort me to do more of her bidding, surely.
[] Clearly Big Sis was a bit of an exhibitionist. She wanted the attention whether she admitted it or not.

-
Let's go for broke with fast updates today.
>> No. 57284
[] Clearly Big Sis was a bit of an exhibitionist. She wanted the attention whether she admitted it or not.

Welp. Fuck everything.
>> No. 57287
>Reimu didn't insist, instead just nodding silently and leaving.
Somehow I feel bad. But not enough to feel really bad about this. Good thing that that the events with Alice worked out good in the end. She is a pillar of support for Arc so he needs her.

[x] Clearly Big Sis was a bit of an exhibitionist. She wanted the attention whether she admitted it or not.

You know Arc, he always dances around the subject and would joke around here. We all know what she wants. Another job done.
>> No. 57289
>>57287
I agree. I'm satisfied with the result.

[x] It was to extort me to do more of her bidding, surely.
She had her fun, now let's just cut to the chase. Gotta show her we can still mean business.
>> No. 57291
[x] It was to extort me to do more of her bidding, surely.

Let's get this done with.
>> No. 57292
[x] Clearly Big Sis was a bit of an exhibitionist. She wanted the attention whether she admitted it or not.

I really don't see why not.
>> No. 57293
[x] Clearly Big Sis was a bit of an exhibitionist. She wanted the attention whether she admitted it or not.

Poor Reimu, but she'll be fine. Leaving Alice in a better mood probably helped Reimu's chance of convincing her.
>> No. 57294
“You clearly wanted attention from the opposite sex,” I told her. “If this were a bar, you'd be relishing all of the pickup lines and offers to buy you drinks.”

“Mm, I take it you have plenty of experience on how such scenarios play out?” She tried to turn it around on me.

“This isn't about me,” I didn't rise to the bait. “This about you and your indecent ways. No self-respecting educator would dress like this to work. That one time the home ec teacher accidentally wore that white blouse with no bra there was nearly a riot among the males.”

“Ah, perhaps you're right,” she said, “maybe I should get changed.” Big sis reached behind into her desk, twisting her torso and exposing her armpits. “Good thing I keep a change of clothes back here...”

“I still don't get why you called me here,” I said, “I mean you obviously want to do something but I don't get why the clothes. I really don't. I'm moderately convinced that you really did want to show off. Maybe you've been reading trashy romance novels... forbidden love between educator and student and the like.”

“Those affairs seldom end well,” she dumped her spare clothes onto her lap and once again faced me directly. “Did you know that the previous counselor departed the school under very scandalous circumstances?”

“I didn't even know we had a counselor until I met you,” I said with a shrug.

“Pregnancy is hard to explain away,” she said all she needed to say about the situation.

“...well, you probably have a boyfriend anyways. This is just another one of your stupid mind games,” I said, indicating that I wanted to let the subject rest.

“Hah!” she laughed, resting two idle fingers on her cheek.”I think that whether or not I'm seeing anyone is immaterial. I suspect that it wouldn't affect your interactions with me.”

“No comment.”

Yuyuko gave me a knowing look. Damn her for being able to see right through me. She didn't dwell on it, however. “You know that the cultural festival is coming up, right?” she asked.

“Yeah, my class is doing a haunted cosplay stuffed animal tsundere maid cafe. Or maybe it was something else, I took a nap during the discussion and voting,” I shrugged. I didn't really care what the class did. I never really participated anyhow.

“Well, our headmistress wants two of our new students to put on a show.”

“...why would she force transfer students to do something like that?”

“She's the entire reason they transferred to our school, apparently,” Yuyuko said with a mischievous wink. It sent a chill down my spine. Somehow I got the feeling that the headmistress was someone that I never wanted to meet. Nor did I ever want to get on her bad side. I might up and disappear one day. “It so happens that they're very talented and would put on a spectacular show.”

“But...?” There was always a catch.

“But for various reasons they're not very comfortable performing anymore. They each have a complicated past.”

“So let me guess,” I sighed preemptively, “I have to help them get their issues sorted so the headmistress can have her little show?”

“Wow,” Big Sis said with what definitely felt like a condescending tone, “you've really gotten the hang of how my requests work.”

“Do I at least get anything out of this?”

“Besides the satisfaction of spending time with two cute girls and helping out your fellow students?”

“Besides the obvious,” I rolled my eyes.

“I'm sure that we'll be able to find a suitable reward for all your hard work,” she winked again.

“I want an advance for once, these things are usually headaches for me.”

“My, and here I thought that you felt plenty rewarded after the night you spent in the hotel district with another student,” Yuyuko finally revealed her hand. So she knew about Tenshi. “Don't worry,” she laughed, “I won't say anything. I'm all for stories of redemption and young love.”

“That explains the blood drive lie,” I said.

“Well, there's more that I think that you should do further down the line... but let's take a few smaller steps first. Solve this little cultural festival fiasco and you'll be set for a while.”

“So that's 'no' on the advance?”

Yuyuko giggled. “You never give up, do you?” she asked, already knowing full well what sort of person I was. “Fine,” she acquiesced, “you can have a little advance.”

She got up and walked around her desk. Somehow I felt that she moved slower than normal so as to give me a good view of how her well-formed and plump thighs moved with ever step she took. She rooted around in that drawer of hers for a while. The choices in advance payment were self explanatory.

[] A free pair of movie tickets good until the end of the month. Redeemable for any weekday daytime function.
[] A packet of 'mood-enhancing' incense. “For lovers of all ages!”
>> No. 57295
As much as I want the incense but I think that the tickets will come to a greater use. Or I could be wrong? Most important thing is to actually have a start. And the tickets might be a good way to get that.


[x] A free pair of movie tickets good until the end of the month. Redeemable for any weekday daytime function.

And goddamn, big sis is really tempting.
>> No. 57296
[] A free pair of movie tickets good until the end of the month. Redeemable for any weekday daytime function.

Time to make out with some touhou in a dark movie theater
>> No. 57298
[x] A free pair of movie tickets good until the end of the month. Redeemable for any weekday daytime function.

Something rather innocent, the latter may invite more trouble than it's worth.

I wonder who these two students are and how difficult this is going to bed.
>> No. 57300
[x] A free pair of movie tickets good until the end of the month. Redeemable for any weekday daytime function.

Big Sis should keep those incense for her eventual date with us.
>> No. 57301
[x] A packet of 'mood-enhancing' incense. “For lovers of all ages!”

Incense folks. Do it. Everyone knows how the movie will turn out. It's boring and predictable.

I say we live a little.
>> No. 57302
>>57298
Whoa. Sex on the first date? Now that's ballsy. I
>> No. 57303
Man, you people are boring. I half expected someone to mention quality time with Tenshi, Alice or even Rin powered by the scent of love. Truly you disappoint me.

That said, 30 minutes until votes are closed. Because I want to write.
>> No. 57304
>>57303
You know, you're right. Even if I have different targets in mind.

[x] A packet of 'mood-enhancing' incense. “For lovers of all ages!”
>> No. 57305
>>57303
>No Marisa

Disgusting
>> No. 57306
[x] A packet of 'mood-enhancing' incense. “For lovers of all ages!”
>> No. 57307
>>57303
What about the next morning? That's the thing I'm worried about.
>> No. 57308
>>57301

I agree with this dude, I say we go for the unpredictable.

[X] A packet of 'mood-enhancing' incense. “For lovers of all ages!”
>> No. 57310
“And so you have your advance,” Yuyuko said with another one of her blanket smiles. “Though I'm not sure why you didn't choose to consolidate first. I guess I have a different set of priorities.”

“Well, get to it,” I said, stowing the tickets away in my pocket.

“Always so impatient,” she chuckled. Big Sis really loved to drive the conversation forwards at her own tempo. “It seems that you forget that you're free to class so long as you're with me. But I suppose that eagerness is one of your many qualities.” Popping open another one of her drawers, she got out a manila envelope. “Here's everything you need to know, forwarded by the headmistress herself.”

I took the envelope and undid the strap. Inside there were a pair of files, each with a headshot of a girl. I recognized them both. Fujiwara and Houraisan. The names were also familiar. “So these are the transfer students?” I asked.

“Yeah, both of them start next week. So you'll have roughly two weeks before the festival to get them to perform.”

I scanned through the file on each one. They had both been in prestigious private academies in another city until recently. They had been in the same class since childhood, until the previous year. Something happened and Fujiwara transferred out to some faraway school. A few months later Kaguya left as well and came to our city. That wasn't their only link either. Both of them had been active singers. Appeared on TV, even did a few small concerts. They had worked together as a duo on occasion too. Their popularity was on the rise when suddenly they both stopped. Again at around the same time that Fujiwara transferred out. It wasn't clear how Fujiwara ended up here but I suspected that the headmistress had something to do with hit. The laconic “invited to join Tokimeki Academy” said everything that needed to be said.

Clearly something had happened between them. Or involving the both of them. Fujiwara had left first. Maybe she was the one who had a problem. In which case it'd be if I only had to speak to one person.

“How do you feel about students smoking on campus?” I asked Big Sis.

“You better not be thinking of doing it, it's a disgusting habit,” she said.

“I may need a space where smoking is tolerated. In order to get anywhere with this one,” I told her.

“Behind the old annex facing the gym,” Big Sis said, “no one ever goes there. If you must, do it there. I f you want to quit I can get you nicotine gum.”

“It's not me,” I said.

“So you know them both, I take it?” she reached the obvious conclusion.

“I've made both of their acquaintances. You saw me with Kaguya but I met Fujiwara elsewhere.”

“They're both living by themselves so you don't need to worry about their guardians missing them if you stay out late together,” she told me with a sly smile. Her implication rubbed me the wrong way. I wasn't always stuck in single-track mode. “Expect the nurse to see Ms. Hourainsan a lot, they have a history together. That could be a bit inconvenient if you want exclusivity for a period of time.”

“The extra information is useful, thanks. But I don't know how I'm going to approach this one yet. I guess I have to talk to each one first.”

“Well, you have your work cut out for you come Monday.”

“I get the hint, I'll go now,” I grabbed the doorknob.

“Wait, there's one last thing,” Big Sis stopped me from leaving. “How close are you to the Kirisame girl?”

“That's hard to answer. Close but not close,” I gave her a vague answer, “I haven't seen her much lately, she's been away a lot.”

“Well alright,” Yuyuko said, “that's all I wanted to know.”

“Anything wrong with her?”

“It's nothing,” she replied with yet another of her practiced smiles. I wasn't going to get anywhere if I pressed the issue.

“Hey, really do get changed,” I told her, “otherwise no student is going to take you seriously.”

“You take me seriously,” she reminded me playfully.

“That's because you have my nuts in a vice,” I replied.

“How vulgar,” she laughed. “Somehow I get the impression that you would enjoy that sort of situation. You know that lunch date I had with your aunt was really enlightening. I have a much better idea of what sort of thing you're into now. Or, rather I can explain why you're into it.”

“Yeah, yeah, keep telling yourself that,” I dismissed her attempts to get inside my head. She only led me around because I let her. It would just be a pain to have to deal the fallout of my actions. That was all.

“Well, do please remember that I'm always here for you if you ever need anything.”

“See you later then,” I waved her goodbye with zero sincerity. I didn't really want to return to class just yet. As far as the teacher was concerned, I was still busy with the overzealous school counselor.

[] Ditch school altogether.
[] Go laze around the nurse's office.
[] Go back to class.
>> No. 57311
[x] Go back to class.

Wow... I'm really starting to wonder if Marisa's bridge is irrepably burnt or not. We should see what's going on with her as I think Yuyuko's remark is a sign that something is not right.

I'm hoping that advance doesn't backfire.
>> No. 57314
[X] Go laze around the nurse's office.

I think we need some love advice. Mokou is lookin to be a tough cookie to crack.
>> No. 57316
[] Go back to class.

We Mima now.
>> No. 57320
[x] Go laze around the nurse's office.

Yep she deserves some attention.
>> No. 57321
>>57314
Nurse is Kaguya, Rooftop is Mokou, and class is Mima/Alice/Marisa/Reimu and the others
>> No. 57328
[x] Go laze around the nurse's office.

I wasn't sure what to pick now. Then I remembered what I voted for at the end of last thread.
>> No. 57329
File 138885652544.png - (302.02KB , 776x976 , Does this look like a lunatic to you.png ) [iqdb]
57329
[x] Go laze around the nurse's office.

I'd say that the best approach is begin with the easier of the two personalities. I believe that starting with Kaguya is best since we already have something of a rapport with her.

I'm going to return to our earlier encounter with Kaguya and read up. Continuing with the same approach concerning her might be best.

With Mokou, I'd say that Arc is going to have to play up the delinquent angle. He's not exactly off to a good start with her. It might be worth recruiting Suika's help.
>> No. 57330
...Guys? You remember that Yuyuko said they start next week?

Sure, Kaguya may be here. But the one we should expect there is Eirin.
>> No. 57332
Let's try to do as many updates as possible today guys. Starting to write now. Check often and vote quickly.
>> No. 57337
It had been a while since I last saw Eirin. The odds were that the nurse's office was going to be empty during morning classes. Sports was usually held in the afternoon and only the most dedicated malingerers like myself would bother to feign illness before third period. I walked down the hallways with a song in my heart and a spring in my step. Just imaging all those suckers listening to some boring lesson while I was free to do as I pleased was enough to bring a smile to my lips.

Truth be told, I was a little anxious going to the nurse's office. I didn't think things went as well as they could have the last time we spoke. Not to mention that I since learned that she had some relation with Kaguya. It meant that she might just know something that I could use in resolving the situation. The thing was that I had no idea if she would talk about it or otherwise help me. If it turned out that there was something that Kaguya would rather remain a secret I suspected that Eirin would be reluctant to tell me about it. Come to think about it, she probably knew Fujiwara as well. She could potentially help me with her as well.

In either case I felt that it might take some convincing and smooth talking. I wasn't going to open with the subject, at any rate. Instead, I put on my best smile as I knocked first and then slid the door open.

There was no one at the nurse's desk. No files nor documents were laid out for processing. An empty mug with coffee residue was the only proof that she had come in to work at all. Perhaps she had gone to a meeting, I thought to myself. In which case it was strange that the door was unlocked and that there was no sign telling the students when she would be back.

Oh, right. The obvious dawned upon me.

I went to check behind the curtain where the beds where. For all I knew she could have been taking a nap. In which case I'd have something that I could tease her about. And some leverage to boot.

“Oh, hiya,” she greeted me with half-closed eyes. “Is this a dream or are you really here?”

“I'm really here,” I told her. “What are you doing here? I imagined that you'd maybe take the rest of the week off.”

“Life goes on, you know. I spoke to Papa and a lot of things were said. There was crying, hugging and all of that. But I can't keep missing school forever.”

“And yet you're here in the nurse's office,” I smirked. “It's a little too early in the day for a nap I think.”

“You're skipping class too,” she pointed out. Patting a spot next to her on the bed she invited me to come over and sit. I was happy to oblige her. “No one expects me to be in class today anyways, so what's the point?”

“That's my logic too,” I said. “no point in rushing back to class if no one expects me to be there.”

“Come here...” she sat up on the bed and kissed me on the cheek. “I've been thinking about you all day and all night, you know. I missed seeing you.”

“It's only been a day,” I reminded her. “And a day before that you didn't really care if you ever saw me again.”

“For all your confidence you sometimes miss the really obvious...” she whispered into my ear, “I'm telling you that I'm happy to see you here and now.” She grabbed one of my hands and placed it on her chest. “Can't you tell just by touching me?”

“Tenshi...” I said softly just before she kissed me again, going for the lips instead of my cheek. It was a quick peck but still made my sense of reason flounder. The scent of her fruity shampoo tickled my nostrils.

“Come on,” she said, undoing the top button of my shirt, “we can continue where we left off at the park.”

“What if the nurse comes back?” I asked her, offering token resistance as I returned the favor. I undid the ribbon on her blouse and started to undo the top button.

“She's been gone all morning,” she said, smiling as she worked faster to remove my shirt. “When I got here she was already gone. I think she's out for the day. Besides, it's kind of exciting to think that she could walk in at any moment, don't you agree?”

“A little,” I said. “But going somewhere a little more private might pay off.”

“There's a bed here,” she argued, kissing me again, a little more passionately than the last time. Tenshi was clearly getting worked up the more we undressed. I was too. “Look,” she said, showing off a spot near her collarbone. There was a dark little mark on her otherwise clear skin. “Some of your love bites are still visible. I had to use a lot of concealer at home so that Papa wouldn't see them. He'd completely flip out if he knew what you did to me.”

“Or what you want me to do to you now,” I smiled, feeling an odd sense of satisfaction.

“Yeah,” she giggled, “it's nice to have our little secret. No one else at school would ever suspect that the quiet Hinanawi girl from II-B and the delinquent playboy from II-C would be doing this during class hours in the nurse's office.”

[] Carry on.
[] Take Tenshi to the roof and lock the door.
>> No. 57338
[] Take Tenshi to the roof and lock the door.

Risk running into another girl but better than risking Eiren.
>> No. 57339
[x] Carry on.

I know that one option will royally screw us over. The question is which one?
>> No. 57340
File 138886950612.png - (473.23KB , 850x633 , sample_bfb1227937148b3df71ddd9ae7a7b8e3.png ) [iqdb]
57340
[x] Carry on.

There are so many things that could go wrong.

If Eirin has been out all morning, chances are that she's out with Kaguya. Just a hunch, mind you.

Nonetheless, I agree with Tenshi, the bed is better than the hard ground on on the roof.
>> No. 57341
>>57340
This post nearly made me change my mind for roof.
>> No. 57342
[X] Carry on.

If memory serves, several threads ago Arc saw two girls getting busy up on the rooftop. Not sure we want to run into that (or have them come up to us) right now. He also just mentioned that the nurse's isn't likely to be visited this time of day.
>> No. 57344
>>57341

The worst case scenario here includes Eirin AND Kaguya walking in. Eirin alone walking in wouldn't be too bad, I think. It might even be beneficial.

The roof has a lot more that could go wrong, I feel. The security of a locked door disappears if the intruder has a key.
>> No. 57347
Writing now.
>> No. 57349
File 13888798115.jpg - (236.89KB , 1200x1350 , images hats and life.jpg ) [iqdb]
57349
Tenshi finally managed to get the last button on my shirt undone. Meanwhile, I was struggling with doing the same for her. It wasn't my fault. As a man, I was wired to appreciate nature's bounty and the sight of her bra and enticing little expression slowed me down considerably.

Out of frustration, however, good things may arise. I gave up for the moment on unclothing her. Instead, I launched a barrage of kisses, targeting all the more important spots; I sucked on her neck, chest and even ventured down to her navel.

“You're like a big kid,” Tenshi laughed, “doing as you like without thinking of the consequences. What if you leave a hickey on my neck? I can't really hide it for the rest of the day, you know.”

“Don't you lecture me about not thinking of the consequences,” I shut her up by kissing her square on the lips. She relented, all to happy, and got into it as much as me. I stoked the side of her head as we kissed, my fingers lingering along her long and perfumed strands of hair. “You're wearing lip gloss, that's new,” I remarked as I broke away. It definitely tasted nice.

“Would you believe it if I told you I put it on in case I ran into you?”

“How incredibly naughty of you,” I complimented her, kissing her again as her reward. “What, were you planning to throw yourself into my arms if we ran into each other into the hall?”

“I wouldn't want to make life difficult for you,” she said, “what we're doing isn't exactly going to be understood by the powers that be. Instead,” Tenshi confided with a confident little smile, “I thought that maybe I'd pull you aside, perhaps go behind a corner and just kiss you when no one was looking. In public but hidden away from view.”

“I take it the possibility of getting caught gets you all excited?” I asked a question I already knew the answer to. Not letting the moment get away, I made one final attempt to unbutton her top. My nimble fingers managed to secure a glorious victory in record time.

“You tell me,” she played around, letting me take the lead for a bit. I teased and circled around her breasts with my hands, not quite touching her bra but coming as close as possible. Tenshi responded positively, looking impatient and eager for me to do what I deep down wanted to do. I was all too happy to oblige. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her up from the bed. She felt so small and defenseless. Her head rested on my chest as I unhooked her bra.

“It makes me real happy to know you're as excited as I am,” she said. “I can hear your heartbeat right now. I thought that it was only my heart that was about to explode.

“Anyone would be excited to be with you, Tenshi,” I kissed her again after I got the blasted bra off. I held up her chin with my hand and slowly pulled away, letting a small strand of saliva briefly form between our tongues.

Now that her chest was exposed, I went to town. I knew that her nipples were one of her biggest weak spots and acted accordingly; I rolled a finger around, rubbing and gently pinching either one happily. “Geez, last time you also focused a lot on my boobs,” Tenshi said with a very reddened face. “I'm starting to wish that they were a bit bigger so that you'd have more to play with.”

“Don't say that,” I told her, then shutting her up by kissing her again. “You may not be the biggest, objectively speaking, but I'm happy with you as you are. You're so adorable I just want to eat you all up.”

Wrapping her arms around my neck, she was the one that shut me up by kissing me. She got the message loud and clear. Tenshi undid the clasp on her skirt, letting it slide down to her knees. I continued to get to work, easing her down onto the bed. My fingers moved to do what they had to do, rubbing over the cloth.

Tenshi decided to take the lead. She turned to her side and brought me down so we were facing each other. The top button of my trousers were already undone so it was easy for her to unzip me and bring both them and my underwear down. Boldly, she grabbed on to me with a single hand and stared me right in the eye as she began to move up and down. I wasted no time on continuing to work with my fingers. We kissed again, enjoying the mutual stimulation.

A knock on the door interrupted us. Both of our hearts were racing like mad. I placed a finger on her lips, indicating that she should try to keep it down. Tenshi began to lick my finger like a lollipop, all the while still working away with her hands.

“She doesn't seem to be in,” A female voice in the hallway said.

“Forget it then,” a second chimed in.

“Wait, the door is unlocked,” the first voice said. I heard the door slide open. Followed by footsteps. “Mm... not at her desk.”

“Come on, let's go smoke until break. No way I'm going back to class.”

“I really needed her advice though.”

“Get a better boyfriend.”

“Oh shut the hell up already,” the first girl snapped back. I stared at Tenshi through all of this. She stared back, a look of lustful desire in her unflinching gaze. Her hands continued to relentlessly move back and forth, bringing me ever closer to bursting point. She was about as excited as I was. I moved my fingers carefully so as to not make any obscene squelching noises. “Wait, maybe she's taking a nap.”

“The nurse wouldn't sleep on the job,” the other girl said. “Let's go already.”

“Just give me a second.”

I could feel eyes staring right at the curtain, unknowingly staring right where we were. Tenshi wasn't panicked in the least. On the contrary she was beyond reason. She was sucking down on my finger like it was a popsicle, completely uncaring of the possibility of getting found out.

[] Stay put.
[] Hide somewhere! Tenshi can pretend she's taking a nap.
>> No. 57350
[] Stay put.

Hiding is for wusses
>> No. 57351
[x] Do nothing. Let Tenshi have her way.
>>57350
Because this. Just let Tenshi enjoy it and do not care what may or may not happen.
>> No. 57352
[x] Stay put.

Sure, let's do this.
>> No. 57353
If we try to move, we'll make noise anyway.

Gah, we should just have returned to class.
>> No. 57354
[x] Stay put.

Fucks given: 0. Tenshi doesn't seem to care either.

As for the fallout? Well, Arc could do without unhelpful rumors. Problem is, he's already got quite the reputation.
>> No. 57357
[x] Hide somewhere! Tenshi can pretend she's taking a nap.

Token resistance vote
>> No. 57358
>>57354
Please give more of a fuck. If we're caught, I expect word of it to reach her father. This will not be a pretty end.
>> No. 57359
>>57358
I'm actually less worried about that happening than I perhaps should be.

As it stands, Arc isn't really known to be in a relationship. If this goes down, that'll change.

Rumors spread like wildfire. Giving these girls an eyeful like this is bound to double the impression. The real question is how much fallout that situation would create. It would most certainly affect the girls closest to Arc. Who would care most? Probably Alice.

So then anon, are you ready to deal with that?
>> No. 57361
>>57359
Just saying, but moving can be dangerous by itself. Can we even hope to do so silently AND for Tenshi to make no noise?

If there are abnormal noises, the girl will most definitely pull the curtain.
>> No. 57364
[x] Stay put.

>>57361
So we're kinda boned either way, huh.
>> No. 57366
>>57364
So's Arc.
>> No. 57378
My heartbeat quickened. It was all I could hear, really. There was nothing to do but stay put and hope for the best. Tenshi didn't seem to care, still doing what she wanted to do. And while she was concentrating on me, I thought that I was better off concentrating on her. I tried to lose myself with the feelings that would have been derived from her. The intoxicatingly pleasant smell of her hair, the warmth from her body and the look of racy desire in her eyes all contributed to feelings of arousal and bliss. I wasn't able to forget the outside world completely at first. My eyes darted back and forth from Tenshi's enraptured expression to that static and boring curtain. Just a peek from someone on the other side would be enough to expose us.

I moved my face closer to hers to stop myself from checking. Whatever was going to happen, would happen. Our excitement neared its climax. Warm, ragged breath overlapped even as selfish tongues sought out each other, mindless of the noise they might produce. We pressed together like snakes mating, our bodies touching and rubbing together ceaselessly. We reveled in our warmth, both her and I perspiring lightly, our skin flush with a vital shade of red. We wiggled and slithered together, touched and contorted in response to each other, completely lost in our private little world. In the space of a minute we acted out the passion of an eternity.

“Forget this. I'm going to go ahead without you!” one of the voices yelled out, somewhere far off in the distance.

“Wait up Seija!” the other voice called after, footsteps hurridly following away.

We didn't really care at that point. As if on cue, however, we let our lips smack together and generally were unafraid to make noise. Greedily we carried on until we reached the inevitable conclusion. Our bodies, as if attuned to each other by proximity and lust, convulsed and released the product of our pleasure onto one another. We kissed passionately as our minds slowly worked themselves from their blank state into a more coherent framework.

“Want... to go for round two?” Tenshi asked exactly what I was thinking.

“I'm not a machine,” I told her with a smile. “I need to rest up for a bit first.”

“Hm...” she wasn't too troubled by my statement. “I guess girls have it easier when comes to getting off. You made a mess all over my panties and belly.” Tenshi took off her knickers and used the dry rear side to wipe herself clean. My brain woke up again, determining the act to be sublimely erotic. Too bad that the flesh was weak. “It feels all sticky, maybe I should go home to take a shower.”

“You also made a mess of me. Or at the very least the sheets,” I pointed out. “You're going to walk home in a skirt without wearing any underwear?”

“There's PE today so I brought my gym clothes. I'll just wear the spare pair I brought.”

“Good thinking, “ I said, admittedly a little disappointed. I would have followed her like an overeager puppy home, in case there was a bit of a breeze. Sure, I could see her privates in all their glory with relative clarity at the moment but it just wasn't the same as seeing them unintentionally. A cute girl walking down the street who is suddenly exposed... it was divinely lewd. And yet, it was a fantasy that only men would really understand.

“You have a lecherous look on your face,” Tenshi pointed out.

I rolled over onto my back. “Damn,” I noticed the time, “it's almost break time. There'll definitely be people coming in to see the nurse then. We can't stay here.”

“I guess it's just as well,” Tenshi placed an arm over my chest, resting her head on my shoulders. Her soft hair tickled me as it brushed my neck.

“We probably should clean up as well. Change the sheets at least.”

“In a minute,” she said. “I want to stay like this for a little longer.”

“I'm not sure when I'll have time to see you again,” I told her, after hesitating for a bit. “I'm going to be really busy all the way through the cultural festival.”

“Saving more girls from themselves?” she asked, sounding completely unsurprising.

“Kind of. They have issues but the headmistress wants them to perform at the festival as well. So it's up to me to get to the bottom of things.”

“Good luck with that,” she used the arm across my chest to squeeze me reassuringly.

“You don't mind that I'm going to be spending time nearly exclusively with other girls?”

“The feelings that we have towards each other are our own,” she said. “We do not live in a vacuum and thus we are forced to deal with others. It is unreasonable to expect for everything to revolve around ourselves.”

“Hm... that sounds awfully grownup, “I told her. “A week ago I might have told you that you were just saying that to hide away your true feelings. Now I think that's no longer the case.”

“I hope it isn't,” she confided softly, gently nuzzling my cheek with her nose. “Besides, what right do I have to get jealous if we are not in a formal relationship? I am not your wife nor your girlfriend.”

“Do you desire to be?” I asked out of curiosity.

“I think that I would like to enjoy this for what it is without over-thinking things. You've shown me that it's okay to enjoy myself in the moment without having to conform to anyone's expectations – including my own. If it becomes something else down the line, so be it. But there's no rush to force things so far as I'm concerned.”

“Hm, if you say so,” I told her, a little skeptical. “I think I'd be jealous if I saw you spending a lot of time with another guy.”

“Maybe that would be a nice experiment to try one day,” Tenshi teased me with a mischievous light in her eyes. “Do whatever your conscience tells you is right,” she returned to the more sober tone to make a point, “we can always sort things out later to see if we're okay with where we've gotten.”

“Somehow I can't help but think of Marisa,” I sighed.

“Who?”

“A classmate of mine. She's a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen for years. She claims that she's my fiancee because we made a promise when we were kids. Anyhow, she doesn't mind me talking to or even being intimate with other women. In fact, she even kind of encouraged it once.” I thought of Kaenbyou's blushing face. “She's ultimately confident that our bond will work out no matter what.”

“I guess it's your lot in life to be surrounded by weird girls,” Tenshi giggled.

I didn't really have a followup to that. We stayed together, lying mostly naked on the bed for a few minutes longer. It was calming to just spend time like that together, completely disregarding the outside world. Eventually we got up and got dressed. I threw the sheets into a bag of used sheets and pillows and got a clean set from a nearby closet. It was the last spare set too, which was lucky.

“So you're going home now?” I asked her.

“I don't really feel like classes anymore,” she said. “There's still a lot going on in my head that I feel I need to sort out in a quiet place. Good thing that tomorrow's Sunday.”

“Yeah, it's good to have a day off.”

“Goodbye,” she kissed me on the cheek. “I'll be seeing you around.”

“Yeah...” I smiled as I watched her walk away. There were a lot of things that I wanted to say. A lot of thoughts I wanted to process too. But I determined not to overthink things. If she was fine with living in the moment, then so was I. With the break only a few minutes away the halls would be full of students and lively chatter. If I wanted to do anything without being seen, I would have to get a move on.

[] Leave school.
[] Search for Eirin.
-
2 things: 1) Likely to be the only update for most of the day as I'm busy for the next few hours. 2) >>57359 doesn't even point out the more serious consequences. Like suspension/expulsion and the fallout from the teachers. For shame.
>> No. 57380
[X] Search for Eirin.

May as well. No reason to skip school just like that. Skipping too much will bring trouble by itself.
>> No. 57381
[X] Leave school.

What are the odds that we smell like sex? That the Nurse's room smells like sex? I think Eirin is smart enough to connect the dots. Let's approach her later.
>> No. 57382
[x] Search for Eirin.
We really should search for her.
>> No. 57383
>>57381
Kind of have a point here. But we really should return later.

[X] Leave school.
>> No. 57384
>>57381

Yeah, I suggest we avoid Eirin until we at least get cleaned up.

[X] Leave school.

It's a bit early to be leaving, but I'd rather head out and possibly head home for a shower.
>> No. 57386
>>57384
I think Arc'll take care of that himself before searching for her.

[x] Search for Eirin.

I wouldn't mind some more Eirin time and it'd be helpful for our latest 'quest'
>> No. 57387
Leave school.

Forever. Elope with Tenshi and live life selling Ramen bowls in Tokyo.

Seriously though, you just defiled her nurses office. Eirin's shown that she's wise and clever. Only idiots would return to the scene of the crime. Flee the scene for a while.
>> No. 57388
[X] Leave school.

School is for nerds.
>> No. 57389
Cool. I'm free now so updates soonish.
>> No. 57390
I ditched school altogether. I didn't really want to be around teachers and students anymore.

I should have walked Tenshi home, it would have been a perfect excuse to spend more time together. There was always the risk that her father might see us but it was a risk well worth taking. I was happy with how far she had come out of her shell. Her transformation had been more radical than I expected and I was sure that she had a decently prominent exhibitionist streak. It wouldn't surprise me if one day she really did walk around all day wearing no underwear. Just on the odd chance I might catch her.

Home was the only logical place to go. I was sweaty, my clothes were dirty and wrinkled and I definitely smelled. I needed a nice long bath to relax and unwind. I wasn't likely to be missed in class, anyhow. And Auntie, ever the workaholic, would work until mid afternoon. I was already looking forward to cutting loose and playing around at home.

Someone completely unexpected sat on my front step, looking up towards the sky.

“Aren't you supposed to be in school?” It was a dumb first question. But, in my defense, she was wearing the school uniform. Oddly enough, the long-sleeved variant. Nearly every girl had switched to the short-sleeved uniform as soon as the days got warmer.

“Oh, hi,” she panned her head slowly towards me. It seemed like it took a moment for her to register that I was the one talking to her. “I'm sorry Arc,” she said, “I didn't really want to skip school. But I needed some time to think.”

“I'm skipping school too, don't feel too bad about it,” I took a softer line towards her, feeling that something was amiss. “Is something the matter, Marisa?”

“It's nothing,” she said with a forced smile, getting up. “I didn't mean to be here when you showed up. Sorry.”

“Don't apologize. It's not a bother to have you here,” I told her.

“But it is,” she said quietly, “you must have other plans for the day. I don't want to take up your time needlessly.” Marisa began to slowly walk away. “Buhbye.”

I figured out what it was that was amiss. Marisa had none of her usual pep and energy about it. Something was definitely wrong with her.

“Wait up,” I intercepted her, blocking her from going out on the street. “If you want to come in for a while to talk, I'd appreciate it.”

“Hah,” she remarked weakly, wrinkling her nose, “you really smell Arc.”

“Uhh... yeah, sorry,” I took half a step back, embarrassed. “I was heading home to take a bath. But if you like you can help yourself to some tea and snacks while I wash up quickly.”

“I wouldn't want to impose...” she said, casting a look downward.

“I insist,” I told her, ushering her into my living room. She didn't seem entirely comfortable with the idea, sitting in a corner, looking uneasy. I went into the kitchen and put the kettle on and got out some snacks.

“Hey Arc.” she called out from the living room.

“Yeah?”

“I'm sorry if I seem weird today. I've just had a lot going on lately.”

“It's okay,” I told her, emerging from the kitchen with a small tray of sweets and a cup. “We can talk about it if you like later.”

“I-” her voice trailed off. It returned as a barely audible whisper, “I don't think I'll have time later.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have someplace I have to be later.”

“Then let's talk now,” I said. “A bath can wait.”

“...”

“I'm not going to force you, but you're worrying me. You're normally so upbeat and bright-eyed.”

“I guess you'd prefer me to be full of life, huh?” she sighed. “Sorry about that.”

“Don't apologize, I just want to know what's going on with you. If there's anything I can do to help, please tell me.”

Marisa stared at her cup of tea silently.

“Hey Arc...” she spoke again after a few moments of silence. “Were you just with your girlfriend?”

“...what makes you say that?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“...just a feeling I have, it doesn't really matter. I was just curious. I won't press further if you don't want.”

[] Tell the truth
[] Change the subject back to her
>> No. 57391
[x] Change the subject back to her

mainly because I'm that worried about her with all the odd signs shown in this update, once we settle that matter then we can tell her the truth about tenshi (though it's not techinically boyfriend/girlfriend)
>> No. 57393
[x] Tell the truth

I don't really see a reason not to tell her. Tenshi isn't our girlfriend and Marisa has always been more concerned with bonds than who Arc's attracted to. Plus changing the subject will pretty much confirm it anyway as well as telling Marisa we don't trust her.

As long as we don't let Marisa distract us from her own issues I prefer this option.
>> No. 57394
[] Tell the truth

She already knows about Yuyuko, and we've seen her be... perceptive, in the past. We have nothing to gain by lying.

Say Tenshi isn't our girlfriend. Only another assignment from the counselor.
>> No. 57396
[X] Tell the truth

No point in dancing around it, not at this juncture. Besides, if Arc's open with her she might return the favor.
>> No. 57397
>>57393
>>57394
>>57396
Aren't you guys worried about it causing Marisa to run off never to be seen again? That sort of thing has happened in old school VNs.
>> No. 57398
>>57397

In which case changing the subject now is likely to be too little too late. Might as well go all in and trust Marisa not to overeact. As long we tell her the total truth, including the stuff about fixing Tenshi's issues, then we'll probably be fine.

...Maybe.
>> No. 57399
[X] Tell the truth

Like >>57398 said, the best we can do is just be honest with her and hope she doesn't freak out.

Or go yandere.
>> No. 57400
>>57398
I hope so as something is clearly up and I don't think we'd have much leeway to screw up on this path before something awful happens to her.

Let's see the signs:
Absent from school
Failed to change into the right uniform
Acting dodgy about whatever it is she has to do.

It's almost as if she's the "starring role" in some forced sex/etc doujin
>> No. 57401
[x] check her arms
If VNs taught me anything, is that there's always a reason (ranging from bad to terrible) to wear long sleeves on spring/summer
>> No. 57402
File 138901772340.png - (223.85KB , 720x400 , ofcourseyoudidnt.png ) [iqdb]
57402
>>57401
>> No. 57411
[x] Change the subject back to her
Telling the truth? Really Guys?
>> No. 57412
>>57401
Not an option, so...

[x] Change the subject back to her
Close enough.
>> No. 57414
Changing from >>57399

[x] Change the subject back to her

>>57413
Alright, got me convinced.
>> No. 57415
>>57394
I don't see the other option a lying. She is the one who changed the subject, not Arc. She's hiding something from Arc.

>>57393
You're right, telling the truth here isn't necessarily going to hurt us, this is more about staying in control of the conversation. *That* is why I'm voting to change the subject back to her.

[x] Change the subject back to her

Marisa is really out of it. This looks bad. Long-sleeves, distant attitude, etc. This is similar to a textbook abuse case.

We can tell her the truth or whatever she wants once she's back to normal. Yes she seemed like she was okay with multiple lovers or whatever before. No that is not what she needs to hear right now.

The bottom line: Stay in control of the conversation. Stay focused.
>> No. 57416
>>57414
Sorry about that, I tried to ninja-edit my post. I was too slow.
>> No. 57417
Updates soonish. Been a long day and so I need to get in a writing sort of mood first.
>> No. 57418
File 138905420734.jpg - (79.11KB , 300x341 , il pleut.jpg ) [iqdb]
57418
“I want to talk about you,” I steered the topic back to her. “I'm your friend and I'm here for you. I'll help you out however I can because I care about you. But I can't help if you don't open up first.” I said a few things that needed to be said, as cliché as they might have been. I donned what I hoped was a comforting smile as I spoke and tried to engage her in eye contact as much as possible. I covered all of my bases, “if it's, uh, lady stuff that's embarrassing to talk about with a guy, we can always wait until Alice gets back from school. It's just a half day today.”

“It's nothing like that,” Marisa said softly. “I don't really want to talk now, sorry.”

“If we never talk, we'll never be able to solve anything,” I told her.

“I don't think it's something you can help me with anyways.”

“Come on,” I said, “this is logic 101: we can never know whether or not I can help if you don't tell me what the problem is. For your information I've become something of a troubleshooter these past few weeks. Results guaranteed or your money back.”

“I didn't come here to talk about my problems,” she laughed sardonically, “I didn't come here to argue and fight either. I didn't even think you would be home. I mean, school is on.”

“I have one hell of a sense of timing,” I told her with a smile. “Well, if you didn't come for all of that, then why did you come?”

“I... just needed to get away for a while,” she said. “Oh, sorry, I'm letting the tea get cold.” She took a big sip from her cup. “I just came over because I guess I've been thinking a lot about the past lately. Say, do you remember what it was like when we were kids?”

“I'm sorry, I don't remember much. Just bits and pieces.”

“That's so like you,” she smiled. “Well, I seem to remember a lot. And those carefree days were the most fun I've ever had. I was probably a big drag for you to have around. I followed you everywhere, never ever letting up. I copied everything you did. When we got ice cream, I'd get the same flavors. You were loud and constantly complained about me doing everything you did but at the end of the day you still looked out for me. Even though at the time there was a lot going on in your family life you never once let your sadness show. You even spent a whole afternoon cheering me up when my parents told me that we had to move away. I was a big brat about it too.” Marisa paused, her eyes focused on some unseen distant object.

“I bet you don't even remember how I became your fiance, right?” She asked rhetorically. “It was the final week before I had to move away. I was in a funk about leaving school and you behind. I kept pestering you in a thousand different ways to promise that you wouldn't forget me. I guess I must have driven you insane because you out of nowhere told me that you'd never forget me and that to prove it you'd give me a ring. We were at the park and you went to the old lady's kiosk and got one of those pacifier-like hard candies. You know the kind that you suck on for a long time before it dissolves. And well, the bottom half is shaped like a ring so you can keep it on your finger so it doesn't get dirty. 'A big ring like this means that one day we'll get married' you said and that finally got me to shut up and stop whining. Of course, you forgot me. It was over ten years ago, after all.”

“I'm sorry,” I apologized even though I knew that it was no good.

“It's fine. I probably would have forgotten too if I was in your shoes,” she said. “I really didn't expect you to remember me when I showed up at school. And I didn't expect you to like me either. But somehow, you know, I always hoped that you'd remember. We'd be in a wide open field, with the wind blowing across it. I'd run across it and you'd swoop me up into your arms while some love song played in the background. Guess that's how part of me always secretly hoped it would actually be. Sometimes us girls are silly and irrational like that.”

“So you came over to think about the past?” I asked.

“Something like that, I guess,” she smiled, tears welling up in her eyes. “Ahaha,” she wiped her eyes, “I'm sorry, I don't mean to cry. This is so uncool of me.”

“It's ok,” I told her, “just let it out if you feel like it.”

She sniffled a little but laughed again, “you probably get to see girls cry a lot, you heart breaker you.”

[] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.
[] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.
>> No. 57419
[X] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.

Other choice is just too big to say now. It definitely would be something we couldn't take back.
>> No. 57420
[x] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.
The other option is true, but it seems to imply a compromise I don't think he should take. Err, again.
>> No. 57421
[x] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.

The thought is completely true. First we reassure her, then we find the reason behind all this and kick the culprit's arse into next week.

Pretty simple, all told. Then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for cheesy romance lines.
>> No. 57423
>>57422
>sex seems to be not the best method to heal her heart here
>sex
...what? Where did that come from?
>> No. 57424
>>57423
The same as with Tenshi could happen here. Just leaning far out of the window.
>> No. 57426
>>57424
Come back in becasue I think you're about to fall. In no way is either choice predicated on the possibility of sex. And, even if they were (which again: they're not) any hypothetical consumation of a relationship would be choice later on because it's a relatively big deal. You know, at the end of an update and whatnot.
>> No. 57427
[] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.

>Cute girl crying before you
>Not hugging her back
I don't have the heart not do this.
>> No. 57428
[x] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.

In a shitty mood today, so I'm not really up for talking about why I'm choosing this. Just voting with my heart.
>> No. 57429
[x] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.

The other one is too serious to say now. You guys have any idea how Marisa will react to it?
>> No. 57430
[x] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.

Voting this as it's partially true as Arc has gotten pretty concerned about some of the cases he's worked, particularly Tenshi's.
>> No. 57431
>>57430
Except this isn't a "case" from Yuyuko. We're talking about someone who's helped us in the past without any real benefit for herself. We really should be repaying her.
>> No. 57441
>>57429
>>57430

Think about cause and effect here. Which option is most likely to get Marisa to open up? A joke that makes light of the situation might make her feel marginally less embarrassed, I'll give you that. However that is not the desired effect. She needs to know that Arc cares about her. This whole update is about her somehow letting him off the hook for outright forgetting her.

She really is a tender-hearted girl. Crying out of sadness/loneliness does not suit her one bit.

If you want to help her, this is how we start.
>> No. 57442
>>57441
>This whole update is about her somehow letting him off the hook for outright forgetting her.
He shouldn't be left out of the hook. He's guilty and I think that even he realizes that.

Anyway, your 'solution' is making him take the same bow that, as he realized 5 seconds ago, he already broke once before. And in a situation where he will, inevitably, break it again. And with obvious, on-your-face, romantic undertones he doesn't seem to share.
I honestly don't think it's a good idea.

>>57431
He was talking about the 'normally it's girls that make me cry' part.
>> No. 57446
>>57441
I'm with this guy. Marisa needs to be comforted and the best way to do that is to let her know that we care. The other choice is just not serious enough and it's not going to make her feel better. She's going through a tough time for crying out loud.

[X]If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.
>> No. 57447
>If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.

Just checking, whose fault is it that Marisa is crying?

[x] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.
>> No. 57448
>>57442
I honestly don't think it's the same vow. The previous one was concerning the whole ring deal.

As for the romantic undertones, I think you're projecting that onto the situation. I'm not saying that is not Marisa's intention. She is quite clearly interested in Arc.

Where do you think the conversation is going to go with that vote? Sure, it'll lighten the mood, but will anything else more serious get discussed? Probably not.

Which vote will let us help her more?
>> No. 57449
I think I'm going to leave this open for a while longer because I'm lazy you guys seem to be in the middle of arguing about something which I guess is pretty important. I'm not sure if people will change their minds seeing as that the guy who was using sex as a reason for his vote didn't change his mind when I pointed out he was mistaken. But I guess there's always hope others might.

I'm going to weigh in briefly on a couple of things here:

>>57448
I don't think it's unreasonable to see romantic undertones in the choice you're defending. If I, personally, were just a reader and wanted to sow the seeds for romantic possibilities down the line, I'd definitely go with that. But like I told the sex guy it would also be something that you'd have to follow up on anyhow. You could also make a platonic case as well about friends wanting friends to be happy. This is why I insist on the comments and the discussion, so that if there's a majority opinion and it's doable I can incorporate elements such as tone and intent into updates.

>>57447
Not necessarily Arc, if that's what you're implying.

>>57442
While there's some symmetry to the past I wouldn't say the current choice is a vow of any sort. More like a wish. If it said "I'll make sure" or something like that, then sure, you'd be right about that.

>>57428
:<
>> No. 57451
File 138912100457.jpg - (25.74KB , 350x263 , welcome home!.jpg ) [iqdb]
57451
>>57448
Deleted my previous post because Teruyo came and showed me why I sucked:

The symmetry I found between the two 'promises' was big enough to defeat a flat out refusal like 'I don't think it is the same thing' but not enough to beat a 'There's a symmetry without a sense of obligation - it is just a wish'

The romantic undertones weren't projections, they are your (and a few voters) pure intentions. But I was so focused in outing out your 'playing dumb' act that I failed to consider that 'I don't want you to be unhappy' is something that friends too can say.

Don't take it the wrong way: I don't disagree with what you're trying to do. The idea of a girl with such innocence that believed completely in a children's promise only to find out that he doesn't even remember it is devastating. A 'you-forgot-about-the-ribbon-level' tragedy.
I want nothing more than fulfilling his expectations-I just don't think Arc's quite the right person for her.

That's basically it: we may be able to influence him somewhat but he's still a fully fledged character (a womanizer, to put it bluntly) Marisa's romantic intentions are doomed because she trapped in the wrong story; but we can, at least, push him to be a better friend.
>> No. 57453
>>57451
I'm confused, are we good or do we need to hash this out some more?
>> No. 57455
>>57442
Yeah I was referring to the fact that Arc finds himself concerned more about girls than exactly breaking their hearts. The cloest thing is how Arc's attempt to spend some time with Suika wound up causing him to miss the resolution of the Rin/Okuu case.
>> No. 57462
>>I just don't think Arc's quite the right person for her.

Is this really the predominant thought process behind the winning vote?

I'm curious.
>> No. 57463
>>57453
We good.

[x] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.
>> No. 57469
[x] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.
>> No. 57477
>>57462
Nope, my process behind making a light remark was a mix of truth and trying to cheer her up. Trying to go for someting heavy now may backfire.
>> No. 57480
[x] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong - normally it's girls that make me cry.

Not getting why people vote for the others. Those words WILL be misunderstood in this mood. And can we honestly say we'll never take an action that will make her sad?
>> No. 57481
File 138923475053.jpg - (545.84KB , 754x1128 , left or right.jpg ) [iqdb]
57481
Sorry about no updates. I've had a really crappy last day or two and haven't really felt like doing anything writing-related. Honestly speaking I need to improve my mood otherwise anything I write will take forever and be shittier than usual. Marisa definitely deserves better than that. I'll let you know when I'm ready to get back to it in earnest. More time for arguing, I guess.

>>57477
>backfire
Come on wiseman, this hasn't really been a concern in this story. For every door that closes another opens somewhere else. Fear of failure should never keep you from trying.

>>57480
Personally, I thought that people like >>57441 and >>57421 explained pretty why they would vote for that option. It's okay to disagree and go with your own thing but I think the discussion in this thread (and additionally my own clarifications) have been honest and insightful.

Also,
>Those words WILL be misunderstood in this mood.
See previous comment about reader intent influencing and confirmation of stuff via later choices. Gotta have faith in your fellow readers and your beloved writefag.
>And can we honestly say we'll never take an action that will make her sad?
That's not at all what Arc would be saying. He's saying that he would like to see her happy. Not that he promises to never make her sad.

>>57469
In case you look at the thread again or forgot: I really can't help myself here but just a reminder that I won't count this vote. You need to say something. Sorry.
>> No. 57482
>>57469
You're killin' me here, Smalls.
>> No. 57483
>>57469
Duuuuude, come on. Don't bail out on us here. Reply to your post and give some inane sentence at the least.
>> No. 57484
[x] If it were up to me, Marisa would never be sad enough to cry again.

Well, allright I read the comments and think those are way better than mine. My reason being shitty now that I think about it.
>> No. 57485
So, is it just me or do I sense bias from Teruyo on this vote? As much as he's shooting down the arguments against the second vote, I would like to point out the arguments are not without merit.
>> No. 57486
>>57485
Hahaha. If I wanted to sway the story one way or the other I'd do it with the text before the choices. Or write the ensuring update to still favor my desired outcome. Not that any self-respecting writer would ever do that! Seriously though, I'm just pointing out things that are blatantly incorrect. Like the sex guy or the guy who interpreted the wording to mean something it doesn't. It just happens that the 'other side' hasn't had anyone say something wildly speculative or incorrect about the intent of the choice. You can't really contradict someone who talks about his feelings now. Also note that I've said that it's okay to disagree as well. The rest is just pretty much me playing the devil's advocate to both stimulate dialog between you guys or explanations of how your comments/desires can and will influence the outcome anyhow. It's pretty much what I always do when I'm not actively writing. I'm crazy like that because I honestly believe that the story experience is richer for it when everyone is expressing themselves openly.

I'm feeling a bit better now by the way. Probably won't be able to write until I'm done with stuff in like 12 hours from now at the earliest. I'll make an effort but no promises. Sorry about this again. I really do want to get the whole fast updates thing going again. The site really needs activity and fun. I'll keep you guys posted.
>> No. 57488
>>57486
>Like the sex guy or the guy who interpreted the wording to mean something it doesn't.
Yeah that was pretty stupid of me. My argument was pretty much no to Marisa. I just felt that this was a repeat of what happened to Tenshi.
>> No. 57538
Fuuuuuuck, Teruyo's back again! Goddamnit, missing all these updates (again) hurts like hell man. Time to tell everyone again!

[] Try to lighten up the mood. She's got it all wrong – normally it's girls that make me cry.

That said. I'd rather not mess with Marisa right now. Let her sort herself up first and talk to her when the mood's a little better.

But since it's either improving the mood or giving false hopes to her (which will have a severe consequence later and irreparably fuck thigns up), then the choice is clear.
>> No. 57541
“You'd think that I'd be used to it,” I told her with some levity, “but truth is most of the time I'm the one that feels like crying. It's not easy being me. Having a broken heart is just about normal.” I wasn't sure how true the statement was. Sure, it felt like the truth at times, but it was easy to lose perspective when it came to matters of the heart. Well, as long as I was alive, there was always hope. Cruel, indifferent hope. The worst goddess of them all.

“It really doesn't seem that way,” she sighed. “You seem to bounce back quite easily. I'm almost jealous of that trait.”

“Life's too short to be dwelling on the setbacks, “ I told her. “I may move on but you know, getting rejected always sucks. Even if I'm joking around it's nice to get positive feedback. Even if it's just a stupid little smile. That makes all the difference in the world at times.” I purposefully forced a smile. “Not too bad, wouldn't you agree?”

“I... don't really know,” she shook her head, wiping her eyes with a sleeve.

“In any case,” I felt that I was losing her, “don't worry about all this difficult stuff. I mean, I like spending time with you and I guess it's mutual. So instead of feeling sad we should just laugh at all of the absurd stuff. It's more fun that way. Have I ever told you that I once got shot down by a blind girl?” I grinned. It was a true enough story. “I only got a single sentence in before she told me that 'she wasn't interested and was waiting for a friend.' Ouch, right? Didn't even feel my face or anything. Almost cried into my pillow that night.”

“Hmm...” she seemed disinterested in my embarrassing anecdote. Was I forcing things a little too much?

“Uh, let's see...” I searched deep for more juicy stories. The kind that made me seem absolutely worthless and vulnerable. “Girls are tougher than you might believe,” I told her, “tougher than me anyways. One time I was lab partners with...” I checked myself, “for the purposes of this story a certain cute unnamed classmate. Well, she didn't take me seriously at all. I wasn't really flirting with her on anything, just complimenting her on her cute head accessory. Would you believe that she told me to stop being a lech out loud in the middle of class and that made the teacher yell at me? I know, hard to believe. Times like that,” I sighed, “make me wish that life was a little easier.”

Wow. It seemed like I was falling completely flat. I was just about to bring out an even more humiliating story when she changed the topic. Thankfully. “Well, I'm sorry about worrying you.”

“I don't mind. What are friends for, after all?”

“I'm not sure,” she said with a resigned little smile. The glum look didn't suit her at all. I kind of wanted to reach out and move her braid from her face, wiping off the tears from her cheek. It just seemed like the right thing to do. There wasn't a normal guy on the face of the planet that would disagree. But self-control trumped instinct.

“Come on, you know that you can take it easy when I'm around,” I said. “If you want to relax and behave however you want to behave, you'll hear no complaints from me. Me and Suika act like complete animals when we're together. If we were a band we'd be the kind that completely wrecks hotel rooms. It's not like we want to, mind you, but it sort of just happens. We're comfortable with each other. Late nights, heavy drinking, impromptu video game tournies... yeah, so what if we occasionally lose control? I mean, friends should be comfortable with their friends.”

“...you're blushing,” she pointed out. Marisa was right. For some reason, I was.

“Heh,” I shook my head in a sort of 'can't be helped' motion. “Embarrassing things happen when you're with friends. Stuff that you'll carry to the grave. But, you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Marisa made a difficult expression with her face. A bit of the wrinkled brow and lack of focus on her eyes. She didn't quite understand what I meant. Or didn't want to understand. I wasn't sure if the barrier was artificial, created by her, or if it was essentially just a cultural problem. She didn't really grow up with me, after all. I couldn't expect her to understand my worldview. At least not wholly. I wasn't where where to go next.

[] Underscore that she's a buddy and buddies trust each other to talk about anything. Keeping sad stuff to herself is bad.
[] Some things are best understood by action. Rope into unwinding like I would with Suika. Forget reality for a while.
>> No. 57543
[] Some things are best understood by action. Rope into unwinding like I would with Suika. Forget reality for a while.

I feel that she's responds more to actions than she does to words.
>> No. 57544
[x] Underscore that she's a buddy and buddies trust each other to talk about anything. Keeping sad stuff to herself is bad.

I feel a show of support would be better than just blowing it off with booze.
>> No. 57547
>>57541
[] Some things are best understood by action. Rope into unwinding like I would with Suika. Forget reality for a while.

I have no idea what to vote for this time. Each gives a different vibe, and it confuses me.
>> No. 57548
[X] Some things are best understood by action. Rope into unwinding like I would with Suika. Forget reality for a while.

After some consideration, I picked action over talking. Hope I'm not wrong.
>> No. 57549
Unless there's more votes, roughly 30 minutes until coinflip and writing.
>> No. 57550
Yeah, writing now. I miscounted earlier and thought we had a tie so disregard the coinflip part.
>> No. 57551
“What do you say we forget about all this mess for a while?” I asked her with a smile. Deeds, not words was the way forward. “Let's just play a few games together or watch a movie or something,” I suggested. “Let's live a little, have fun.”

“I'm not sure I can,” she said with a frown.

“What do you mean? Don't worry if you're not good at games, I mean no one is born being good at them.” I said something that Suika would violently object to. Her talents for playing were nothing less than a gift from the gods. She had been good from the moment she was born, she would contend, and would be good until the moment she died. At least when compared to me. For obvious reasons I steered clear of the normal trash talking that went along with those sorts of invitations. I added, “there's plenty of coop stuff to play as well if you're not comfortable with competing with me just yet.”

“That's not what I mean.”

“Well, if you don't feel like it, there's always TV and movies,” I said. Plenty of distractions from reality to be had there. “I can show you my movie collection if you like and we can watch whatever you feel like.”

“It's a nice offer,” she said, “but I can't really afford to take the time to mindlessly play or watch something with you.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“I have somewhere where I have to be soon,” she explained. “I told you as much earlier.”

“...oh. Would you like company then? Or if you like we can set out now and take a detour along the way. Grab a beef bowl or something.”

“Thanks, but no,” Marisa stated with some firmness. She had regained some of her composure, her tears were all but gone.

“Well, if you change your mind and need moral support...”

“I'll be fine,” she deflected my concern. “Let's just forget that we ever ran into each other, okay?”

“Marisa...” I started what was obviously going to be a 'I can't do that'.

“You've been saying all along that it's ok to forget about the harshness of reality,” she interrupted. “So this is just that. Instead of joking about things and trying to play video games to escape, I'd rather we just pretend like all of this just didn't happen.”

“I can't make myself un-worry, you know.”

Please,” she insisted. “It's easier that way. And we don't have to tiptoe around our past and the definition of friendship that way,” Marisa forced a smile. She looked to me to be mentally exhausted but the sentiment seemed sincere enough.

There wasn't much I could say without contradicting my earlier statements and attitudes. I was sure if I reversed course that it'd just seem like I was just saying what was expedient at the time. And somehow, looking at how she was handling the situation, it seemed like that would be a particularly bad idea. “I can't forget,” I told her, “but I'll drop talking about it any more if that's what you would like.”

Marisa nodded. “That's the most realistic compromise,” she said. “I'm sorry for taking up so much of your time. I really should get going.” That fake smile of hers intensified as she continued to thank me for my hospitality, complimenting me on the tea in particular. On the surface, save for the somewhat reddened eyes, it was still the same Marisa as always. She adopted many of her usual mannerisms, playfully telling me that she'd return the favor for the hospitality some day. “I'm not confident enough in my skills to make you a proper homecooked meal...” she trailed off for a moment, as if she was about to sigh but then caught herself, “well, I should be able to manage the tea at least.”

“Don't worry about it,” I said meekly. I walked her to the door and searched for something else to say to her. I was drawing a blank.

She stood there silently for a moment. The distance in her eyes returned briefly before she forced another smile. With decisive levity, she leaned in close to me, pecking me on the cheek. “Goodbye, Arc,” she said before walking away.

And that was that. I watched Marisa walk away as if in a daze. Even after she disappeared I stared in the general direction for a while before sighing and closing my front door. I took a long bath after that. Bathing cleaned both the mind and soul, or so I'd been told. I felt myself melt away in the hot water while thinking about nothing in particular.

I came out of the bath a changed man. I didn't really want to think about anything else so instead of going back out again I decided to stay in. Playing games and watching movies were indeed effective ways of stop myself from thinking about the harshness of reality. I only really stopped to make myself a cup of instant noodles. Auntie came back home at some point but I didn't bother leaving my room to greet her. And then, before I knew it, it was time for bed.

Sunday was a day off, which meant that I could do whatever I wanted without worrying about things. I was sure that there was some sort of difference between that premise and my average day. Not that I could immediately think of anything.

[] Head into town for a little fun.
[] See how Tenshi is managing at home.
[] Check if Suika is free and up for something.
[] Get a headstart on tomorrow's fun. Call up Big Sis for the home addresses of the would-be idols.
-
I heard you like choices.
>> No. 57552
[X] Check if Suika is free and up for something.

Alright, I'll take this choice, let's see what our friend is up to.
>> No. 57553
[X] Get a headstart on tomorrow's fun. Call up Big Sis for the home addresses of the would-be idols.

Might as well earn those tickets.
>> No. 57554
>>57551
>I heard you like choices

This feels...new. Refreshing and unusual.

[] See how Tenshi is managing at home.

I wonder how her talk with her father went. Maybe even set up a date~
>> No. 57557
[X] Head into town for a little fun.

Four-way tie!

More seriously, I want to see who we could meet like this.
>> No. 57558
[X] Head into town for a little fun.

Lets see who else is there.
>> No. 57559
[X] Head into town for a little fun.

way to blow it guys now we'll never find out what's bugging her. And I KNEW something like this was going to happen.
>> No. 57560
File 138992046855.png - (557.17KB , 874x700 , i wish I was as high as her.png ) [iqdb]
57560
Ok, so this is important. There was votespam in the joke/not crying vote. I didn't realize it earlier because I don't obsessively votespam check most stories on the site. But by coincidence I was scrolling through the thread to read up on a detail while logged in and I noticed that there were multiple votes from the same IP. There also appears to be a suspicious vote for the other option but, when you tally them up subtracting both the three votes from the spammer and the other vote the not wanting Marisa to be sad comes out ahead regardless. Normally I'd just ban the vote spammer and move on but, as luck would have it, that was a relatively important vote which frames a lot of issues to come.

So, unfortunately, I'm going to have to retcon the last day of updates. Which frustrates me because essentially both my and the voter's time was wasted. I'll try to get the alternative update out soon. Might have a drink or two first.
>> No. 57561
“Marisa...” I mouthed quietly. To be honest, I didn't really know what to say. Or, well, express what I felt at that moment Her tears flowed from her eyes, rolling lazily down her cheeks. It struck me as an utterly sincere expression of what she was feeling at that moment. Even though she was trying to make it seem like it was no big deal, I felt that I shouldn't believe everything that she was saying.

The pause in the conversation unsettled Marisa. She stared at me uncomfortably, realizing that her little joke had fallen completely flat. It no doubt made her feel awkward about crying. “...please don't stare at me so much,” she said weakly. “I don't know what else to say.”

I still was unable to find the ideal words for the situation. But I knew that I had to do something. More importantly, that I needed to show her that I was there for her. Without saying a single word, I stood up and made my way to her. There was a slight look of panic on Marisa's face since she had no idea what I was about to do. It didn't matter. I wrapped my arms around her from behind, letting her head rest up against my frame.

She sat still, small and insecure in my embrace. Her head tilted back and upwards as she made no attempt to hide the fact that the tears were streaming unabashedly from her eyes. I stroked her hair as she sniffled, looking like a little girl whose world was ending because she had dropped her ice cream. I didn't know if words would have been as good as just hugging her to let her know that she wasn't alone in the world and that I cared about her.

“You... really smell,” she laughed, sobbing all the while. It was an unrestricted display of emotion.

“I'm sorry,” I said, smiling, “I haven't had a chance to take a bath yet You're just going to have to deal with it, though. I'm not letting go anytime soon.”

“It's okay,” she said, her emotions still flowing out like an open faucet, “I don't mind it at all.”

“Good girl,” I said with a smile. I stroked her hair gently, thinking that a physical touch was the most important thing I could do at that moment. The warm feeling in my chest had finally helped me find the words that I had been looking for; “I don't want to see you cry ever again if possible.”

“I'm sorry...” she apologized.

“I don't mean it like that. I just don't want you to be sad,” I told her gently. “It's normal to feel that way about the people that we care about. Even if we've been apart all these years, you're still a precious friend.”

“That's...” she laughed, nearly choking on her own tears, “really cheesy. But it makes me happy to hear it.” She gave up on wiping her face altogether, realizing that all she was doing was getting everything else wet. I let go of her to go get some tissues. “Thanks,” she said, drying her eyes, “I feel a lot better now. Though I'm embarrassed that you saw all of that.”

“Don't be,” I reassured her. “There's not a guy in the world that wouldn't react to a crying girl and want to make her feel better. And doubly so if she's a friend.”

“Alright, I got it,” she said bashfully, looking away from me as she tried to get her composure back. I couldn't help but laugh. “...what?” she asked, sounding increasingly self-conscious.

“Nothing,” I said.

“Weirdo,” she grumbled, obviously unsatisfied with my reply. The truth was that I was happy. Even if we hadn't gotten to the core of the issue, I felt that we had made some progress. There was something hard-wired in my brain, all of our brains maybe, that made me feel good when I hugged her when she was crying. It was like a universal gesture that transcended all cultural barriers. Not that I dared tell her exactly what I was thinking. It might make her feel even more uncomfortable than she already was.

“Won't you stay the rest of the day?” I asked her. “I'll go up and take a bath and then we can just hang out for a while.”

“You're not going to ask your fiancee to wash your back?” she laughed, forcing the playfulness just a little. I could tell she was avoiding looking at me directly.

“I wouldn't dare impose,” I replied. “It'd be ungentlemanly of me to just assume that she'd be willing to drop everything to help clean me.”

“You never know unless you ask...” she said softly.

Part of me was curious to know if she was just kidding around. But there had definitely been too much drama and excitement concerning her for a single day. I preferred to keep focused on the big things. “There's a bathroom under the stairs in case you want to wash your face,” I told her.

“I must look horrible,” she laughed sardonically. “I know that my cheeks and eyes puff up when I cry. I end up looking a bit like a pig.”

I wasn't about to get in the way of her self-depreciation. It'd only make her feel more awkward if I commented. “Seriously though, “ I asked, “if I go take a bath, will you stick around and wait for me?”

“I will,” she said meekly.

“Really?” I felt that maybe she might run away if I left her alone.

“I promise,” she looked me straight into the eye. That was good enough for me.

I still wasn't sure how things were going. Marisa was hard to read and I felt woefully unequipped to deal with her sorrow. I was focusing on taking a bath, truthfully, to buy some time for me to think a little. My shirt certainly smelled. Reeked of sweat when I took it off. Luckily I hadn't been aware of just how bad I smelled otherwise I would have driven myself mad.

I sighed as I drew the bath .I wasn't sure exactly why. There were too many things going through my head to narrow the reason down to anything specific. I went through all the usual motions before finally allowing myself to soak placidly in the tub. The hot water felt good against my skin. Made me believe that all my troubles could simply be washed away.

“Hey Arc,” a call at the bathroom door interrupted my bliss. Marisa was trying to reach me, “can you hear me?”

“Yeah, I can hear you,” I raised my voice, trying to make sure I would be heard over the distance. “Is anything the matter?” Each one of my words echoed, making it seem like my voice was of a higher pitch than it really was.

“Arc...” she called out, I could see her silhouette on the other side of the screen door. She stood close to it, like she was contemplating opening the door at any moment. “Um, would you like me to wash your back?”

“What?”

“I said, would you like me to wash your back?” she repeated, louder than before.

“I was just joking earlier,” I fired back .”Just me being stupid.”

“I know,” she said. “But I want to do it anyways. It'd... be a thank you of sorts...”Marisa then mumbled a little too loudly to herself, “that's a terrible excuse to go in there.”

“I don't want to take advantage of you,” I said, feeling a bit uncomfortable. “We're friends, and friends help each other out when they're in a jam. I don't need a thank you.”

“I'll keep my underwear on and wear a towel,” she said, “it won't be like you're exploiting me or anything...” She added with a nervous chuckle, “besides, I am your fiancee. This sort of thing shouldn't be a problem.”

“Even so,” I told her, “don't feel obligated.”

“But I want to...” she paused for a moment. “Ok, I'm sorry I asked. I'm not sure how much longer I can stay though. I have to go soon.”
I could tell that she was ready to be evasive again if I didn't deal with her properly.

[] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.
[] Tell her to wait downstairs for a while longer. Engaging her will be easier in a proper setting.

-
Fuck me this took forever to write. Hard to get into the groove after retconing.
>> No. 57562
>>57561
>Fuck me this took forever to write. Hard to get into the groove after retconing.

You could jsut have let it as it was~ I wouldn't bother with rewriting two or three updates tha tbig. But then again, I'm a lazy fuck.


[] Tell her to wait downstairs for a while longer. Engaging her will be easier in a proper setting.

No Marisa. This is gonna make things hella awkward, even more than they already are. Stay there while Tenshi's scent disappears and avoid any sexual tension.
>> No. 57563
[x] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.

I feel this might get her to loosen up and be willing to take as opposed to being made to wait. That and Considering what's happened already, this is quite harmless.
>> No. 57564
[x] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.

I don't think Marisa wants to be alone right now. If it's a little embarassing then so be it, it's worth a little embarassment to stop her being so sad. Besides, we did things far more embarassing already today, so what's one more?

>Fuck me this took forever to write. Hard to get into the groove after retconing

We appreciate all your hard work Teruyo, thanks for everything. I'm sorry that some people are being faggots and ruining your day.
>> No. 57565
[X] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.

She's not asking this lightly. Even if she doesn't open up to Arc immediately, or even in the near future, I feel like these little things will help build her trust in the long run.
>> No. 57567
[x] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.

She deserves at least that much.
>> No. 57568
[] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me

Go with the flow and guide her into what we want, while letting her have her choice.
>> No. 57569
[x] Let her in. It might be a bit more awkward to talk to her but at least she'll be with me.

Feels like she's gonna bolt if we don't let her in.
>> No. 57573
“Yeah, okay, you can come in,” I relented, “just give me a minute first.” I wasn't sure what it was exactly that she expected from me. I erred on the side of caution, wrapping a towel around my bottom half. If she felt like talking, it'd probably be easier if I wasn't flaunting my privates. I sat down on the bath stool and called her in.

“Right...” she slid open the door sheepishly, looking around like she was in an alien world. True to her word, she was wrapped tightly in a towel, no trace of her clothes in sight. She was more slender than I thought. Her legs were skinny and her shoulders narrow and delicate. “Could you please not stare?” she asked modestly.

“Sorry,” I looked away, facing the wall. “Can't be helped,” I cracked wise, “it's not every day that a girl is in the bathroom the same time as me.”

Ignoring the joke, Marisa moved closer to me taking slow, tepid steps. She squatted behind me. “I can't believe how long it's been since I've been in the bath with you.”

“Oh,” I gathered her meaning, “I take it as kids we bathed together.”

“Just one time,” she said, “I don't remember much, to be honest. Just that it was one time I stayed over while my parents were gone for a bit.”

“I'm not going to lie,” I said, “I don't remember that at all.”

“It's fine,“ she said, “I only remember because it was the first time I was apart from my folks.”

I felt soft touch of a wet sponge on my back. Marisa wasted no time in lathering me up. I still felt awkward with the whole situation. I couldn't see her face and so I couldn't even begin to guess what she was feeling. She didn't really say anything else either, making the silent scrubbing all the harder to endure.

“So, you do this kind of thing a lot?” I couldn't resist asking. What was I thinking? My brain was merciless in reminding me of my stupidity. It wasn't my fault, the silence was killing me.

“You're not my first, no,” she said quietly.

“Hm, I'm a bit jealous then,” I once again put my proverbial foot in my mouth.

“You shouldn't be. It would be unfair of you to compare yourself to my father.”

“Guess that's one of the perks of fatherhood,” I said, “having your daughter wash your back. Though it's the kind of thing that I'd rather have my wife do.” Things could escalate quickly in such a scenario. My lewd fantasies weren't really worth getting into detail at that moment. Not with only a single towel between my excitable bits and the world.

“I guess...”

“You're doing a good job,” I told her, trying to make conversation. “But you shouldn't spoil me like this, you know. Otherwise I'll start expecting you to show up more frequently.”

“I wouldn't mind,” she said. “So long as it doesn't seem like I'm forcing my way into your life.”

“You're not,” I said. “And even if you were, I wouldn't mind it. It's ok for friends to be a little selfish at times. So if you ever want to just hang out, talk or even wash my back again, you're welcome to show up. Any and all hours, both night and day.”

Cool water dripped down my back as she rinsed off the lather. It seemed like she didn't have much else to say. I felt uncomfortable again.

“Hey-
“Arc-”

We both spoke at the same time.

“Go ahead,” I encouraged her to speak.

“Well, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for worrying you. I didn't really come on over to fish for sympathy.”

“Not this again,” I sighed.”Friends look out for each other. If our roles were reversed, you'd do the same for me, right?”

“I guess,” she agreed reluctantly. I turned my head around to show her my smile. “Don't look!” she blurted out, leaning towards the other side of my back.

“I didn't expect you to be this embarrassed,” I joked, “I mean, you were the one who insisted on coming in. I'm sure you show off my skin at the beach.”

“Um... not it's, well... okay,” she didn't seem to be able to decide on what to say. “I just don't want you looking at me too closely right now, that's all. My face is probably still puffed up. Girls are sensitive about their looks, you know.”

“I really don't care about any of that,” I laughed. I turned around suddenly, hoping to catch her by surprise. I did. She scrambled back in a panic, ultimately pressing against the far wall with her back, her arms behind her.

“...” she stared down at the ground, as if that would somehow make her invisible to me. Though normally I would have been perfectly happy to stare at how the towel was snugly matching her natural contours, something else the focus of my attention. “You saw, right?” she asked.

“I can still see it,” I told her. It caused her to flinch. She tried to move her arms further behind her back. It'd be impossible for anyone to do that without dislocating them.

“I didn't want you to see, because I knew you'd worry,” she explained, standing still like a deer caught in the glare of headlights.

“Anyone would,” I said, “arms don't just bruise themselves.”

“I-it's complicated,” she defended herself weakly, “I don't expect you to understand.”

“Explain then, I'll try to understand.” I said.

“It's just... work and me being careless, that's all.” she said evasively, “it's not a big deal.”

“Somehow I don't see you hurting yourself waiting tables,” I said.

“I have another part time job...” she claimed. “It's where I have to go now, actually. I can't afford to be late. Or I'll get laid off. I should really get dressed now.”

I stood up and blocked the door. “Don't lie to me please, Marisa. I'm your friend. And I'm worried about you.” With inappropriate timing, my towel began to slip down my thighs. I held it up with one hand but couldn't help but feel that my appearance was undermining my perceived sincerity.

“I... can't tell you right now,” she said, a streak of stubbornness in her voice. She no longer attempted to hide her arms. I could see that it was mainly her forearm that had painful-looking discolorations but there were a few smaller bruises all the way up to her armpit. “I really have to go now,” she said again, looking skittish.

“I don't think you should. I think we need to sit down and have a proper talk.”

“I know how this might seem to you, but I'll hate you forever if you don't let me go right now!” she yelled out, desperation saturating her words. “When it's over,” she said, “next week... next Sunday I can tell you about it all. I promise I will. Just, not now. Please, I don't want to mess things up any further by being late.”

[] Let her go. Marisa will tell the truth when she's ready.
[] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.
>> No. 57574
[x] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

>"You're not my first, no,” she said quietly.
>“You shouldn't be. It would be unfair of you to compare yourself to my father.”

This is some bad vibes all around. I hope this isn't all connected the way I think it is.
>> No. 57575
[x] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

I can't help but whatever she's stuck in won't end that simply and I too have a bad feeling about this.
>> No. 57577
[x] Let her go. Marisa will tell the truth when she's ready.

I'd say that we have enough information. If her job causes her to get those bruises, then she's probably some sort of hostess in a shady nightclub or something.

Holding her further is tempting, but I don't think it'd do her any good. Why is she still working there? She needs the money. It might be to support her family, if so, holding her here and getting her fired is only going to exacerbate the problem. She might turn to something even worse.

Let her go, gain more information and then make a decisive move. We should pump Yuuka and Yuyu for info.
>> No. 57578
>>57577
You assume that she would be able to quit without a problem... something which doesn't come up with things like this. I fear if we let her go, the next time we'd see her is at her funeral.
>> No. 57579
[] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

What kind of heartless monster would let go
>> No. 57580
>>57578
If she survived this far, is not likely she'd die right now.

That said, I know where you're coming from.... but I feel like forcing her won't lead us to anything. it took some effort for her to open up and she seems ready to shut herself in at the slighest provocation.

[x] Let her go
>> No. 57582
>>57580
In most things whenever someone says "i'll get out of it by this time" something awful happens by then without fail. It's a low grade "death/unpleasent fate" flag.
>> No. 57583
[X] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

My opinion: textbook case of someone in over their head. I think she doesn't want to drag anyone else in, much less her good friend. At the same time, sudden and conspicuous injuries are very worrying. That combined with "I can't tell you yet, wait a week" is bad juju.

Nothing about this rings any kind of right to me.
>> No. 57586
[x] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

Like the Anon above said, that's a big ol' classic death/unpleasant fate flag. I'm not one for the arranged fiancee thing (unless her name happens to be Mitsurugi Meiya of course) but I'm not going to leave her to a crappy end.
>> No. 57587
[] Let her go. Marisa will tell the truth when she's ready.

Let her go. Forcing her will only makes things worse, and she will suffer mroe for being late. Any punishment she receives for being late will be worse than whatever normally happens.

>>57582

You exagerate, Anon.
>> No. 57591
[X] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

No, I don't see how we could let her go in this whole situation. So, even if she ends up hating us...
>> No. 57598
Anon, what is Arc gonna do if (when) she clams up again? We already now, thanks to the fake out choice, he isn't able to take a word out of Marisa if age doesn't want to. And now? She REALLY doesn't want to. You're gonna damage a friendship for no result.
>> No. 57600
>>57598
it's a preferable risk than letting her go and never seeing her alive again.
>> No. 57603
>>57598
I'm with you. Holding her here is going to accomplish what exactly?

Enough of this "flag" bullshit. Think about the situation carefully. If she does not consent to stay here, we will loose her. So what if she looses this job? She'll find another one and it'll probably be even worse. What then? Arc will be alienated and there will no one else to intervene.

Why is she working at this job in the first place? What could cause her to undergo this level of emotional and physical duress? Deal with that core motivation and we can save her.

We have one standard week in-story to resolve this and save our friend. Please do not screw it up at this critical juncture.

[Edited for formatting]
>> No. 57604
[] Even if she ends up hating me, I can't let her go.

I disagree with the people wanting to let her go. Just like with the last choice, being timid about this is just going to lead to it getting screwed up. Keep her nearby until we find out what's going on.
>> No. 57606
>>57603
we're mentioning flags as this story is based on a genre that has them. If it was some other story not based on older VNs, I'd say your arguement would have more merit.
>> No. 57607
File 139011792243.png - (407.93KB , 707x1000 , i would her club.png ) [iqdb]
57607
Sorry for not updating. Or doing the fast update schedule this kind of story needs. It's been hard to motivate myself to write during my free time the past few days. I'm going to be rather busy in the next day or so but I'll see if I can't squeeze in time somewhere to write if I'm motivated enough during downtime. So unless you see me state that I'm writing, voting remains open.

>>57606
I wouldn't obsess too much about 'flags'. I've talked about my system before and it's not quite that mechanical. Missing an event or making any one single choice will almost never doom you. On the flipside you won't necessarily succeed because of any one choice. When it comes to people and situations one thing leads to another organically. My advice is that you should focus on how you deal with situations/characters generally when thinking about a choice. And how that choice would be adding or taking away stuff in regard to the overall pattern. Not to say that the immediate consequences aren't important either. Just, like, you know, know that there's more to doing it with Tenshi in the infirmary other than flavor. For example.

>>57577
speaking from experience generally you want people working in the 'entertainment' industry to be as presentable as possible while showing off a lot of skin. Then again, I guess long gloves are a thing. A very delicious thing.

>We should pump Yuuka and Yuyu [...]
I agree in more ways than one.

>>57578
If it makes you feel any better, there is virtually no possibility that any character will die. But, yeah, messed up realities are a thing even in what people expected to be stupid little dating sims.
>> No. 57612
>>57607
>We should pump Yuuka and Yuyu [...]

Big Sis Yuyu Special, when?
>> No. 57655
Mind giving us any sign of life, Teruyo?
>> No. 57657
>>57655
I, like, updated stuff just yesterday. And am on IRC.
>> No. 57658
>>57657
Oh, right, forgot you have others stories going too. My bad!
>> No. 57836
File 139238838137.jpg - (130.56KB , 800x1067 , your fault for not sticking with the best.jpg ) [iqdb]
57836
As a rule, getting a lot of attention before the start of the school day proper is not generally a good thing. After changing my shoes at the entrance I found that I was getting a lot of glares and half-smiles from my fellow pupils. Flattering stuff, all in all. Still, not an auspicious start for someone who liked to keep a low profile. Attention was potential trouble and, in this case, it likely meant they knew something I didn't know.

“Oh, it's him-?” I caught an underclassmate saying to her friend before she realized I was close enough to overhear her. A little embarrassed smile was all she managed before clamming up. Not missing the chance to avoid me, her friend grabbed her sleeve and muttered something about class starting up soon. Another huge red flag triggered in my mind.

I was left smiling and waving a little meek goodbye, each passing second wondering if I should simply ditch school before it was too late. Whatever it was it was big and that made me nervous. Not enough to make it show on my face but enough to make me hesitate climbing the stairs to class just a little.

Ah well, whatever. I'd just have to deal with it. Surely Big Sis would bail me out if it was something too hairy. I'd be more confident if she owed me a favor that I could cash in. Sadly, I owed her enough for a lifetime instead.

With my usual charming flippancy I slid open the door to my classroom, making it seem like all was right with the world. “G'morning,” I greeted. It seemed like everyone had arrived before me. The already excited buzzing of students turned into an almost deafening blast as all eyes came to rest upon me.

Fly.

Escape.

This is your last chance, moron.


The primitive part of my brain needed to learn to shut up.

I looked at Suika, trying to make sense of the situation. The little troublemaker met my gaze with a wide grin. How disgusting. She said with her eyes that I was in for a world of hurt.

Still, that wasn't enough to get me to turn and run. I had an image to maintain and I wasn't about to blow my cool and aloof persona on what was likely some petty drama. I could deal with being called out to the counselor's office or getting slapped. Wouldn't be the first time it happened either.

“'sup Alice?” I greeted the surly-looking blonde as I made my way to my seat. Looked like she was in an absolutely foul mood. I had briefly wondered why she hadn't been there in the morning but had just thought she was in a hurry for club activities or something. “Eh, it's that time of the month I guess,” I said with a shrug as I walked by. Veins were popping in her forehead so I made sure I was clear of striking range quickly.

“Heya Marisa,” I greeted my neighbor hoping for at least some normalcy from her.

“Oh hey,” she actually replied in a normal way. Thankfully enough.

“What's with everyone?” I asked. “I've been getting looks ever since I set foot in the building.

“I guess they're just amused at the unusual spectacle,” she shrugged, almost mischievously. Not you too, Marisa.

“And what spectacle would that be?” I asked, sounding absolutely naïve in the process.

“Why don't you lift the top of your desk?” she suggested helpfully. “I'm sure you'll see what's up right away.”

Not really comfortable with being the center of attention under strange conditions but also not wanting to back out, I was left with no choice; I opened the top of my desk, finding that the desk's contents were not my usual mess of papers and books. Fancy and delicate patterns, little bows and strings all adorned the series of different-sized bags, boxes and envelopes that occupied the space. Little nametags or notes all indicated different owners – no, senders – and they all had another name in common: my name.

The other shoe finally dropped. I huddled over the desk, as if to shield the contents from prying eyes and carefully began to unwrap one of the boxes (a heart-shaped one). The contents were a brown block of sweet confectionery.

Sweet, blissfully sweet confectionery. The kind that was lovingly prepared by maidens for the special people in their lives and distributed on a particular day. But a single bundle would make any boy happy – let alone a veritable mountain like I apparently had inside my desk.

“That's mine,” Marisa whispered into my ear, I could practically see the smile on her face, “and it's definitely not an obligation one.”

“Thank you very much,” I inflected a little dryly. I couldn't risk showing any more emotion than that.

In a single instant the classroom had become a minefield. If I was right (and looking at the number of boxes gave me reason to believe that I was) then I had received what was a once-in-a-lifetime haul of chocolates from most of the female student body. At least most of my grade, anyhow. Oh, and an expensive-looking box from Big Sis too apparently. With a card. Which, using all of her usual levity, summed up my predicament neatly; “It must be hard being so popular. Breaking hearts is a normal part of being young – XOXO Yuyu-nee”

There was another item that stood out. A small note with a packet of wasabi stapled on to it caught my eye. “This is the sweetest thing you deserve. I'm going to enjoy watching them tear into you. Get bent, dumbass!!” the note said politely. I looked behind me knowingly and caught Suika's bemused and evil gaze in full. What a lovely gesture from her. She hadn't forgotten the day, at least.

“Oh my,” I looked up to my captive audience, thinking of my next few words carefully. “It sure is a nice day today, right guys?”

“Cut the bull!” One of my male classmates interjected loudly, “we should hang you from the flagpole for being such a shameless playboy!”

“Hey, just because you can't even get an obligation chocolate-” I immediately stuck my foot in my mouth . All hell broke loose as the classmate pounced clear over his desk and charged towards me. I was nimble enough to dodge and managed to avoid some of the other guys who had joined the fray and make it all the way over to the door.

“Class! What's the meaning of this?!” With perfect timing, Mima materialized at the door. “Uchida, sit yourself down this instant!” They all recoiled like kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar. “I'm not really in the mood for horseplay today.” Mima acknowledged my presence, changing her tone almost immediately, “The one I left you burned a little but it should still be good.”

“...eh?”

“I made you some chocolate. Obligation of course,” she dropped the bombshell while avoiding my gaze coyly. Like it was nothing. The class was once again in an uproar. I understood perfectly how terrible it must have been for someone about to be guillotined in front of a large crowd. “Hey, settle down,” she tried to regain control by explaining her reasoning, “you can't always use the stick, sometimes you need to give problem students a little candy, that's all....”

Cries of “where's my chocolate!?” and “off with the playboy's head!” added to the fevered excitement in the classroom.

To hell with dignity and appearances. I wasn't about to tempt fate for a moment longer. I slipped out of the room and ran as fast as I could. I knew I had only a few moments before the pursuit began in earnest.

Being this popular was beyond my wildest dreams. And I'd probably pay dearly for it. I couldn't run forever and I couldn't avoid school either.

Still....

“Hey, he went that way!” cries of indignant anger resounded down the hallway.

If I had to be honest....

“Let's try to cut him off at the first floor!”

It was kind of nice to know I had the attention of so many girls.

“I got him!” came a cry from right in front of me.

Never a dull moment...
>> No. 57842
Even chocolate from Mima. He is truly blessed/cursed.
>> No. 57860
>Friendship chocolate
>burned out by mistake

Yeah Mima, sure.

Anyway, lovely update.
>> No. 57876
That was a pleasant update.


[spoiler][x] Eat Yuyu-nee's chocolate.[spoiler]
>> No. 57880
Wait a second! I've seen this before. You sly dog.
>> No. 57907
Teruyo needs your support now. Whoever is a reader and isn't on IRC, please join now and convince him to write more. And I am not saying that because I am wishing for more Big Sis time. Or hoping for more mature women to show up. Like promised.
>> No. 57910
>>57907
Bollocks. Its dead.
I can keep voting, but why bother if Teru is going to shut himself down at moments notice, and then shove the blame on the voters?

I have no confidence left in him to keep this story going without throwing a fit every three months like clockwork.
>> No. 57913
>>57907

You must be new here.
>> No. 57914
>>57910
And that is exactly why we can't have nice things. With a little bit effort this story could be so much better. The point is not to antagonize you but ask to help.
>>57913
Wish I could say that but I've been here since Deluge of a Lunar Fantasy thread one.
>> No. 57916
>>57910
The story is dead? I'm throwing a fit? I'm blaming readers?

...the hell are you smoking? That's all news to me. If you haven't noticed, there was an update of sorts a week ago. If I had a problem with the story or the readers I'd state as much. Also, sage goes in the email field.

>>57907 kind of has a point. It helps to have people at least occasionally talk or ask about stories. I can't speak for every writer on the site but spending a long time without anyone mentioning anything sucks. Worse still is when you're looking for a little push or feedback on something and no one bothers to go along with it. It doesn't help with lack of motivation. Which is why I try to encourage people whenver they say they'd like to write or try something different.

But I'm digressing from the main point of this post.

The previous scene was meant to ease people back in/check how many people were still around. Since, you know, all's quiet otherwise (see above). It'd be stupid and unfair of me to go full throttle when no one is bothering to check for updates. Given the rate of response it's made me reluctant to jump back in just yet. Especially given the sensitive nature of the ongoing scene with Marisa. It's somewhat important for a suitable number of readers to be around in order to validate the votes and the eventual outcome of the scene. Wouldn't want anyone complaining that they missed the chance to influence the outcome of things. That said, update soonish. When either enough time has passed and I'm confident that enough people have seen this and the previous post or when enough people speak up and state that they're around/are going to be checking for updates. The latter is faster but not a demand by any means.
>> No. 57918
>>57916
It's a bit of a tall order to have readers comment all the time, you know? I understand you don't want to focus to much on writing for this if no one bothers reading it, but there's only so much to talk about. And in cases like we have currently, you'll get voters afraid to commit because the consequences can get ugly.

No matter how many times you say to not think too hard about it, people will fear screwing over relationships they have.

And in some others cases, people are just waiting for you to update before starting to comment again.
>> No. 57943
The way she looked at me, eyes pleading and desperate, was turning my insides into jelly. My own anxiety was welling up to near bursting point. It wasn't cool to admit, but I probably looked vulnerable and conflicted. A far cry from the cool and collected persona I liked to project. Marisa stood silently for a moment, hopeful that I would let her do as she please.

I shattered her hopes in an instant. “Sorry, I can't let you go,” I said firmly, “I'm sorry that you'll hate me but I guess it's unavoidable. Maybe after you calm down and we talk some-”

I was interrupted before I could say any more.

“No-!” Marisa screeched, charging towards me recklessly. The result of running on a wet floor was sadly predictable. I managed to catch her as she fell, falling in turn flat on my butt. “Let go of me!” she didn't waste a breath, flailing her arms at my chest. The whip-like movements stung a little but were drowned out by the pain coming from my tailbone. I tried to hold her hands back but it was hard to keep her from standing up and running off when she was the one atop of me.

“Settle down,” I tried to say soothingly, all of the while trying to stand back up using only a leg and part of an arm. “Come on, trust me a little. I'm going to help you out no matter what.”

I should have seen her next move coming. With the tumble my towel was floating generously around my lap, leaving very little to her imagination. I just barely had time push her slightly off the side and dodge before her knee occupied the space where my groin was only moments before. To hell with appearances, I thought. She struggled against me but she couldn't get away easily with her back against the wall.

“Marisa!” I yelled, “I'm not going to let go until you stop acting out!”

“I'm sorry, I'm sorry!” she said with tears in her eyes, “I just really have to go! I'll do anything you like afterwards but I can't stay now!”

There was no getting across to her with words. I regretted the unfortunate visuals of the scene. I was virtually naked and she had lost her main covering as well. The towel she was wrapped around had come loose and dangled near her feet, exposing her undergarments. The sight of bra and panties with a stamped star pattern would been a cute reminder of how girlish she could be under any other circumstances. Instead, it evoked uneasy helplessness.

I let her hit me a bit as I let go of her hands and I wrapped my hands around her back. It was a loose hug but I hoped she'd understand that I only wanted what was best for her.

She sobbed quietly, the energy draining away from her arms. They flopped uselessly to her side. Seemed like she had finally given up.

“I'm going to get dressed now,” I told her, “and you can get dressed too. Then we can sit down and just take it easy for a while. If you want to talk about things then, so be it. Otherwise we can just relax for as long as you like.”

She stayed slumped up against the wall, gazing dejectedly at the ground even after I got up and went for my clothes. The fact that I hadn't quite finished taking a bath was the least of my worries. I found her clothes in a pile nearby and tossed them to her, leaving her to change in the bathroom itself. Marisa got changed without saying a word, leaning up against the door frame silently when she was done.

“Come on, let's go to my room. You look tired so you can lie down for a while if you don't feel like doing anything.”

Marisa didn't say anything, instead quietly following me down the hallways. She looked battered and broken, resigned to her fate. It made my heart sink to see someone normally so upbeat look like they were completely devoid of energy. She sat down on my bed without prompt from me, like she was running out of fuel completely.

“Lie down, “ I told her, “I'll draw the curtain and you can nap for a bit if you like. We'll talk after if you like.”

“No,” she said quietly, “I don't want to sleep. I can't sleep right now. It's too late now...”

“Then do you want to do something besides just sit around? I don't want to force you to talk, but...”

“I guess I'm running out of options,” Marisa smiled weakly, her eyes red and puffy. At least she had stopped actively crying. She sighed and looked up at the ceiling.

“There's always videogames, “ I said, “I've got the last Buddy Roar.”

“It's fine...” she said with a pathetic, defeated smile. “Since I can't run away, I guess I'll tell you the truth. I hate you for it, but you already know that. I guess though that I need a bit of tea first though. Or water. Hah. I feel dehydrated after crying so much.” Marisa let out a small, scornful laugh.

“Alright,” I nodded. “I can make tea. Feel free to flip through my magazines in the meanwhile. Except for the ones behind the – you know what, just stick to the ones on the shelf there.”

I was quick to get everything ready. When I came back, however, Marisa was nowhere to be found. She couldn't have run out through the front or the back, I had my eyes open on both doors all the while I was downstairs. Moreover, I would have heard her footsteps on the hardwood floor of the hallways if she tried to sneak away.

It only left one other possibility.

I stared out the window, knowing that the fact that it was open was confirmation of how she had gotten away. I had never expected her to go that far especially since the drop, while doable, was liable to be painful if you landed wrong. I only had done it twice or so in all my years, when there was no way to sneak passed Auntie downstairs.

A small part of me wanted to let her just go. But I had committed to having her hate me. Giving chase was pointless, I wasn't going to be able to find her by myself.

[] Wait for Alice to get home and fill her in on the situation. She's also Marisa's friend, after all.
[] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.
>> No. 57944
I think this is a pretty tough decision. Whatever it is Marisa is going through, she obviously doesn't want us or her peers to know. Normally I'd prefer to talk to Alice about this, seeing as they're friendly and she might be of more use, but I think that just might make things worse. She already proved that she doesn't want Arc to know, so another contemporary of hers probably will face the same issue, except now she has to hide things from two of her friends.

On the other hand, Big Sis is a respectable adult and is supposed to be able to deal with teenagers - it's her job, after all. I don't really like involving someone entirely unrelated to the situation, but if anything, it's probably better to get professional(?) help.

I also just really like Yuyuko.

[x] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.

Good to see an update. I only finished reading this story up to now a few days ago, and I'm certainly glad I did. I'll be looking forward to what happens next.
>> No. 57948
>>57944
There might be some truth in that. Big Sis probably knows better how to handle that situation. And messing up would be a wrong thing to do here.

[x] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.

A rational and adult mind is needed here. And it does not say that you won't get Alice to help later on.
>> No. 57949
[] Wait for Alice to get home and fill her in on the situation. She's also Marisa's friend, after all.

>Trusting big sis
>Ever
ishygddy diggidy
>> No. 57950
[x] Wait for Alice to get home and fill her in on the situation. She's also Marisa's friend, after all.

Alice would have more insight on things and I'm very iffy about asking Yuyuko about this as things might escalate.
>> No. 57953
>>57943

[] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.

Maybe the counsels of a mature and assumedly responsible adult could help. If Marisa doesn't want the help of friends, then maybe someone bigger? I just want more Yuyu-nee, actually.

Also
>"I don't want to force you to talk, but...”

The best way to tell someone this is to force them to talk. It's brilliant!
>> No. 57955
Here's my take on the situation. I think Marisa's father may have gotten into bad debt with an unsavory crowd. Marisa is working somewhere rather seedy to help him out.

This explains her dogged resistance to asking for help and her unshakable determination to show up for "work".

Big Sis is aware of the situation and she is going to be the fastest and most reliable way to resolve it properly. The flip side is that Arc is probably going to owe her and also miss out on any Alice/Marisa that might be waiting in the wings.

[x] Wait for Alice to get home and fill her in on the situation. She's also Marisa's friend, after all.

In the end, I feel like going straight to Yuyu would betray Marisa's trust, more so than getting Alice involved. Getting into more debt with Yuyu is not an ideal situation either.
>> No. 57957
Who the hell care about debts when there's something serious going on? I would rather go to someone who may have actual info than involve someone else in this that may not be able to help.

[x] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.
>> No. 57958
[x] Wait for Alice to get home and fill her in on the situation. She's also Marisa's friend, after all.

Don't wanna get the school involved. Could make things harder for Marisa.
>> No. 57959
File 139354316249.png - (390.95KB , 907x539 , magical kind of witch.png ) [iqdb]
57959
Yeah, you lot have an hour or so to sort things out because I want to return to a more normalized pace of updates.

>>57944
Glad you enjoyed yourself. If you can, check in often and tell people that might be interested to do the same. More, faster votes = more updates generally if you noticed from previous threads.
>> No. 57960
[x] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.

Going with >>57944 's logic, adding more friends with make it worse for Marisa.

Big Sis is a 'Neutral' party who seems to have a great amount of connections and a noted desire to help others, even by proxy.
>> No. 57961
[X] Rely on Big Sis instead. Becoming beholden to her even more didn't matter.

I don't know if Marisa would be any more willing to tell Alice than Arc. They're both friends and classmates, people she doesn't want to get involved in this. Besides, Yuyu's so stupid good at knowing everything about everything that it's probably better to bite the bullet and ask for her help.
>> No. 57962
Writing nowish and update soonish, hampered only by real life distractions.
>> No. 57963
File 139355013748.jpg - (211.69KB , 850x1133 , foxy phone.jpg ) [iqdb]
57963
I paced around my room for a while. It wasn't really a habit of mine but it just felt appropriate to weigh my choices for a while longer. There wasn't much I could do but enlist the help of other people. And, in the end, the promise of effective action outweighed the loathing I had for my puppet master.

I rang her up, sort of hoping she wouldn't pick up the phone. No doubt she knew my number in advance.

“You shouldn't call during the middle of a school day,” sure she answered with chastisement. “Nor, for that matter, should you skip classes.”

“I'll keep that in mind, mom,” I imbued my words with as much youthful rebellion as I could, “I called because you might finally be useful for once.”

I could tell that she was already smiling on the other end. “I'm always happy to help out one of my more troubled students,” she said. And then retaliated with playful condescension. “What can I do you for, sweetie?”

She knew me too well. It was annoying.

I filled her in on the situation. The need to know stuff. Marisa was acting strange, she showed up at my place and had been missing classes. And, most importantly, that she had bruises on her arms.

“I see...” she said like she was not surprised.

“You knew about this?” I asked, in turn feeling only half-surprised.

“There was a reason she was assigned to your class and more importantly to the seat beside you,” Yuyuko said and confirmed that she had been playing me for a very long time indeed. “There was cause for suspicion but not action. You have taken longer than I expected to expose things but I suppose better late than never.”

“You-” I paused and took a deep breath. A barrage of expletives wasn't going to get me anywhere. “Is there anything you can tell me about her situation that I may not already know?”

“No, not really,” she said with a sigh. “There is nothing on her permanent record to indicate any signs of behavioral problems at school. That's the kind of flag that gets me to scrutinize a student closer. I could give you her home address. But something tells me that her contact information isn't legitimate.”

“What makes you say that? A guardian has to sign off on applications first, right?” I recalled having to get Auntie to sign a mountain of paperwork in order to get into school.

“The school from where she transferred from doesn't exist. I am inclined to believe that the signature on the forms is forged.”

“So, what? Do we call the police?”

“Not unless you can prove her life is in immediate danger. The proper step to take now would be to call social services and see what they think...”

“That's not a good idea,” I said.

“It is a permanent mark on her record,” Yuyuko said what I was thinking. “There's a lot of stigma attached to having even a fake crises in your file. The school would have to intervene and, depending on her activities, disciplinary action could be taken.”

“Do you have anything at all I can use?”

“I'll look into it a bit more but don't expect any miracles,” Yuyuko said. “Let me do a little more digging around off the record and see what I can find.”

“Any advice on what I should do?”

“Leave it alone for a while,” she said. “The less people know the better it will be to her. Even if she's not in real trouble, she's still a young girl. And it's clear that she is desperate to keep things a secret.”

“...”

“Don't do anything stupid,” Yuyuko concluded with a serious tone that I hadn't heard her use before. “You're not going to accomplish anything if you don't play it cool. Give me some time.”

“I'm not sure she has much time,” I said. Potentially every second could count.

“I need to go now. I have a meeting in a few minutes,” Yuyuko stated dryly. She had made her point and didn't see the need to repeat herself.

I hung up and threw myself on the bed. Even though I knew it was my mind playing tricks on me, I could swear that my sheets smelled strongly like Marisa.

[] Back off for a while until Yuyuko comes through.
[] Don't waste time and keep pressing by myself.
>> No. 57965
>The less people know the better it will be to her

That's good to know.
I'm interested to see what Big Sis can do. So far she's done nothing but sic Arc on every problem student. Let's see her do her job for once so that maybe Arc will gain some respect for her.

Plus, the tone of the other option makes it seem like Arc is going to make some rash decision that, while it might provide us with immediate knowledge into the situation, will undoubtedly come back to bite us in the ass somehow.

[x] Back off for a while until Yuyuko comes through.
>> No. 57966
[x] Back off for a while until Yuyuko comes through.

I can only hope this ends well considering one of the reasons the Yuyuko option won is because people wanted to see more of her, not the matter of it was the right choice or not.

I'm going along as I feel deviating now would do more harm than good.
>> No. 57968
>>57965
I'd say closer to trying his best to sleuth rather than acting brashly. Think about it: what can Arc possibly do, realistically speaking? His choices are limited and any future action can probably be deduced. The choice is part affirming or rejecting the importance of time an equal part as it is deciding whether or not to reky purely on Yuyuko's disposition and agenda.
>> No. 57970
>>57968
Would it be unreasonable to assume that we'd still get to see Yuyuko's results if we chose this?

Like I mentioned, my reason boils down to wanting to see Big Sis do her job for once - to prove that we can rely on her as much as she seems to rely on us (to do her job, I might argue).
I'd prefer to see Arc be more proactive than passive by waiting around on Big Sis to come through for us, but I don't want this option to exclude seeing just what our lovely counselor can do.
>> No. 57972
>>57970
Wouldn't be unreasonable. But who knows if they'll be relevant as priorities change.

Also theoretically another update sometime later. Playing it by ear. Waiting an hour or two to see if there's votes and discussion and if there's not much going on might just press ahead.
>> No. 57973
>>57963
[] Don't waste time and keep pressing by myself.

No time to waste, No time at all.

At least try to get some clues? Doesn't Arc know where she lives? Heck, ALice could be a help too, maybe Orin would help- ah fuck, nevermind Orin, after that fiasco...
>> No. 57974
] Don't waste time and keep pressing by myself.

Waiting and doing nothing isn't helping Marisa.
>> No. 57975
[x] Don't waste time and keep pressing by myself.

I don't want to waste time and just do this. Even if it does not help I just want to help her.

Big Sis will still do her thing so we can rely on that if things go wrong now.
>> No. 57976
If running in the streets like a crazed madman promised to accomplish anything, I would have done it. Sitting tight was the last thing I wanted to do. It made me feel restless and, well... impotent. So naturally I needed to do something to feel useful. Not that I wanted to completely disregard Yuyuko – far from it. She was still the best shot I had.

Lying in bed wasn't going to get anything done.

Classmates were unreliable. Besides myself and Alice, I didn't really see Marisa interacting much with anyone else. I didn't think that anyone could tell me something I didn't know. Maybe the class rep, but Reimu was liable to start asking questions. I didn't want to cause others to worry without first making sure I understood the situation well enough. There was also the chance that I could inadvertently start gossip and rumors at the school if I started questioning classmates. And not the mildly inoffensive kind about me. But the kind that could hurt Marisa.

Truth was, I didn't really know much about Marisa. Sure, she sat next to me, but I had no idea about her tastes or aspirations. She always made things about me; The problems I was trying to solve, the food I liked to eat and the kind of music I liked were the topics we shared. Guess I took her a little for granted. Maybe it was because I didn't quite know how to act with someone who claimed to be my fiancee but didn't act possessive in the least. Come to think of it, I didn't even know what she did for fun outside of school.

I sprang from bed and hurriedly left home. I had one tentative lead I could follow.

“Oh, it's you kid,” she greeted me with a half smile as she served out a couple of espressos on the counter. Business was good, with the cafe apparently enjoying a surge because of the weekend. There were customers sitting at every table and a pair of waitresses zoomed back and forth to the counter, and occasionally to the back, picking up orders as soon as they were ready.

“It's Arc, I told you last time,” I said.

“Sure, I remember, “ Yuuka said, maintaining an aloof distance in her words. “Come here for your date? I don't see anyone with you.”

“No, it's not about that, “I sat down at an empty stool. “You wouldn't have happened to have seen Marisa lately by any chance?”

“Not for a while,” Yuuka told me, while moving back and forth between different pieces of equipment. She poured out several hot beverages in the space of a few seconds, adding little flourishes like designs on the surface with cream with practiced movements of her hands. “There's more millfeuille in the back,” she told a waitress.

I watched her quietly for a little while. I didn't really want to interrupt her when she was dealing with steam and hot liquids. Once again she wore a white blouse that was almost tantalizingly see-through. The simple apron she wore blocked me view of anything too stimulating, however. Her etiquette towards customers was rather better than I expected. She smiled at every customer that came in through the door, frustratingly giving them a kinder look than I had received. She also treated staff well and, while her tone was commanding, her words weren't needlessly harsh and blunt. In short, it was entirely fair to compare her to one of the many flowers in bloom in the cafe. Yuuka looked vibrant and like she belonged.

“Yeah,” I tried talking to her again when she came by me to work a sandwich press, “has she seemed strange to you lately?”

“You mean besides telling me that she would quit working afternoons?” Yuuka asked, removing a piping hot cheese and tomato sandwich from the device and serving it on a plate.

“She stopped working?” That was news to me. Things weren't making much sense so far as I could see it.

“Said she had a lot of school work to deal with lately and so she couldn't reliably take shifts. Refused a small bonus I threw in for all her hard work too. Didn't expect that from a kid these days,” she mumbled as she eyed one of the waitresses. The girl was a few years older than me by the looks of it and, judging by the intense look Yuuka was giving her, didn't have the same values as Marisa.

“Anything else you could tell me?”

“Is something the matter with her?” Yuuka asked, stopping her work. “She's a good kid, but probably not used to dealing with trouble.”

“Tell you the truth, we had a little fight,” I kept things vague, “I wanted to see if you had any contact information because she isn't returning my calls. An address would be good. I'm sure if I see her in person we can make up.”

“...you better not be stalking her,” Yuuka teased inappropriately. I figured she was just breaking the ice. “Wait a half hour until things slow down and then I'll pop around back and look in my files.”

While I waited, I had a coffee. Nothing fancy, plain black and strong. Sipping the liquid and mindlessly looking at the rest of the customers eat cakes and drink teas while chatting happily with their friends made the time pass by quickly. As Yuuka predicted, things died down before too long and only one or two customers lingered. True to her word she went into a back room and returned after a few minutes.

“Here,” she handed me a slip of paper, “here's a home address. Not sure it'll be of much use. If she doesn't want to see you, she'll find a way to push you away.”

“Thanks, I owe you one,” I told her.

“Make sure she's alright, Arc,” Yuuka said seriously, “I enjoyed having her around.”

[] Be honest about the current situation. Maybe she can help more if she knows.
[] Respect Marisa's privacy and keep Yuuka out of the loop.
>> No. 57977
[x] Be honest about the current situation. Maybe she can help more if she knows.

She seems sincerely fond of Marisa and I'd think she'd be willing to help and something is not adding up.

Though hopefully this vote isn't going to in vain.
>> No. 57978
[x] Respect Marisa's privacy and keep Yuuka out of the loop.

This is something that he has to do alone. I am not sure if it is the best to ask for her help here.
>> No. 57979
[X] Respect Marisa's privacy and keep Yuuka out of the loop.

It's probably not a good idea to spread information we're not even sure about. All we have to go on right now is Marisa's behavior and suspicions. Taking a closer look first is in order.
>> No. 57980
Remember,
>The less people know the better it will be to her

Besides, what can we really tell to Yuuka that would actually be useful? We don't even know what's going on ourselves - it'd only make it that much harder for Marisa when she has to explain herself to not only Arc and possibly Yuyuko, but Yuuka as well.
[x] Respect Marisa's privacy and keep Yuuka out of the loop.
>> No. 57983
[] Be honest about the current situation. Maybe she can help more if she knows.

Yuuka seems to care somewhat about her, and the point about responsible adults still stands.
>> No. 57984
[] Be honest about the current situation. Maybe she can help more if she knows.

she cares about her so she might be able to help more if she knows it's serious
>> No. 57985
Giving this another half hour or so otherwise coinflip and writing time.
>> No. 57987
[X] Respect Marisa's privacy and keep Yuuka out of the loop.

Let's not spread around anything when we don't even know what's going on besides "Marisa's being evasive about her situation".
>> No. 57988
File 139363269854.png - (1.09MB , 1300x1200 , urban flower.png ) [iqdb]
57988
“Tell you the truth...” I started a bit reluctantly. I was only half sure that I wanted to tell her anything.

Yuuka seemed to know immediately the sort of thing I wanted to tell her. “Come on back for a bit,” she said softly. I nodded, thankful for her intuition. Not everyone was capable of being discreet. She motioned one of the waitresses to cover for her and left the bar. I followed her to the back room beyond the kitchen where there were a few staff lockers and storage bins. Yuuka closed the door behind us, saying with a knowing smile, “I get the feeling that you want to talk about something that's not for everyone's eyes and ears.”

“I usually pride myself in not letting my feelings show much when things are serious,” I said, a little upset at myself for dropping that mask. “You're right. The thing about having a fight with her is a half-truth at best. I'm concerned about what she might be doing.”

I didn't get too specific about my encounter with her. I just told Yuuka about her general attitude and the disturbing bruises on her arms. And how she basically ran away.

“My, that sounds serious,” she said quietly, “I thought her absentmindedness was due to lovesickness. I assumed she was at that age.”

“Was there anything specific she might have confided in you that could be useful to know?” I asked.

“She mostly talked about you whenever I brought up her personal life. I got the impression that school was fun for her for the first time in her life,” Yuuka said with a sigh. “She did seem eager to want to earn her keep in life. I didn't think much of it, just thought it was her earnest nature shining through. She's a hard worker, you know. Only called in sick once before quitting. Come to think of it, the schoolwork excuse seemed a little flimsy.”

“Guess there's nothing else you can help me with,” I concluded. “Thanks for taking the time.”

“Hold up,” she said, taking off her apron and grabbing a nearby jacket, “if you're going to her home, I'll go with you. She might run away again if she sees you.”

“Thanks,” I nodded, “she might react differently if she sees you instead of me.”

“A hard-working girl like her deserves support from her friends,” Yuuka stated. “I take it that none of your classmates know about this?”

“It's just you, me and another confidant.”

“I'll let you keep your little mysteries,” she said, “at least none of the schoolgirls that have come from your school have been talking about her. That's good.”

“The flyer campaign worked out, I take it?”

“You could say that. You're a topic of gossip, you know,” she said with a smile and opened the door back up again.

“How so?”

“Plenty of talk of a bold student with a complicated and sometimes very public love life,” Yuuka led the way, casually telling a staff member that she'd be gone for a while before leaving by a rear exit. “No names, but a fairly consistent description of his attitude.”

We walked down a small alleyway and to the street and towards the direction written down.

“What makes you say it's me, then?” I asked, making conversation.

“There's a point of contention as to whether this individual is a smooth operation or just a feckless lech but it's agreed upon that he can't help himself when around girls.”

“That could be any guy at school.”

“Yes, but I've observed you myself. I caught you staring at my chest more than once and I bet that today you were wondering what I was wearing underneath the apron. Or, rather blouse.”

“Black is a bold choice when wearing a white blouse,” I told her with a 'can't be helped' sort of shrug. Though it was sufficiently opaque, I could just barely make out the outlines of her bra underneath the blouse. “The pants too are sort of 'modern city woman' sort of thing, a bit at odds with the image your carefully cultivated cafe.”

“It can't always be silk stockings and skirts,” Yuuka said with a laugh. Looked like I amused her with how I quickly dropped the pretenses when she had me cornered. “I'm afraid that you will have to put in a considerable amount of work in if you want another feel.”

“Don't encourage me,” I warned her playfully, “I'm already surprisingly weak to the charm of beautiful flowers.”

“My oh my, “ Yuuka grinned, her eyes sparkling with mischievous energy. “If I didn't know any better, I'd say that you're hitting on me. But that can't be, we're on our way to investigate if your girlfriend is in a nasty predicament or not.”

“That is that, this is this,” I told her, “I'm not going to let myself be consumed with worry before exhausting all of my options.”

“Lucky for you, I find your somewhat carefree attitude refreshing,” she said. “A cool head in a crisis is a valuable thing. Even if it is expressed in terms of juvenile flirtation.”

We didn't really make much small talk for the rest of the way.

The address was in a sketchy part of town. A lot of rough-looking bars and clubs of questionable repute dominated the street front. It was the sort of area that the less wealthy patrons looking for cheap thrills might frequent. There were a few failed business here and there, probably put out of business by an oversaturation of the market. I avoided making eye contact with anyone, mindful that the rough types didn't need much of an excuse to pick a fight. Our target was one of the many apartment blocks on the upper levels of these businesses. A small stairwell off the side gave us access upstairs.

There was no need to buzz upstairs, the small gate had a broken lock. Bashed in by the looks of it.

Compared to the part of town I lived in, things were an absolute mess. There were empty cans and old ads strewn all over the corridor. Not to mention that the hallway light buzzed loudly and dimmed every few seconds, casting shadows on the doors. We found the right number apartment but it had no nameplate. The mail slot was filled to the brim with junk mail so there was nothing useful that would indicate who lived there.

Yuuka knocked while I stood a couple of doors back, out of sight. There was no reply.

“Looks like she's out,” Yuuka said, double checking the number on the piece of paper. That was, if she even lived there to begin with.

“We can ask the neighbors about her,” I suggested.

“I doubt you'll get much but impatience and hostility,” Yuuka stated, reaching into a pocket. She produced a hairpin and started to bend it out of shape.

“Are you-?”

“I can try, no guarantees. This is probably the most surefire way to find evidence that she's in trouble.”

[] Try to get something from the neighbors.
[] Break into the apartment.
>> No. 57989
>this individual is a smooth operation
I believe you meant operator, there.

[x] Break into the apartment.
This place seems sketchy - if we're lucky, no one will look twice at two people picking the lock on an apartment door.
Plus, talking to people just makes more witnesses, savvy?
>> No. 57990
[x] Break into the apartment.

Putting our trust in the flower lady and hoping to god the police don't see us.
>> No. 57991
File 139363874947.jpg - (732.82KB , 850x1133 , sample_53573a8822674a7ba7da59db542063e10d8cf466.jpg ) [iqdb]
57991
[x] Break into the apartment.

It's a very large intrusion into her privacy. Even in the name of helping her out, I can barely justify it. We need information though. The kind that you can't get from just asking the neighbors. He was willing to risk her hating him forever before, might as well go whole hog.

>>57990
I honestly wouldn't mind if they locked us up with Yuuka and threw away the keys~
>> No. 57992
[X] Break into the apartment.

Might as well try. Doesn't look like a break-in would be too noticeable in this part of town. It's probably a fake address, anyway.
>> No. 57993
Guess there's no point in waiting, so writing now.
>> No. 57994
>>57990
I like the way this guy puts it. What more could I possible add than he already said?

[x] Break into the apartment.
>> No. 57995
“Where'd you learn to to pick locks? I whispered as Yuuka worked on getting the door open.

“A lady is entitled to a few mysteries,” she replied, eyes focused on the task. “You would do well not to assume a pretty face is a wallflower.”

“I'll keep that in mind,” I said, nervously looking around. I didn't expect any neighbors to be curious enough to pop their heads out, given the kind of neighborhood it was, but I wanted to avoid trouble if possible.

“There we are,” Yuuka proclaimed, “it's such a crummy lock it practically picked itself.” She turned the doorknob triumphantly and opened the door. “Hm...” she had no comment as she walked in.

I was close behind. And I could see why there wasn't much of a reaction.

Suika's place was a mess but it at least looked lived-in. The apartment, if it could even be called that, was virtually barren. It was a single space with no carpeting, wallpaper and just a single dirty window that let in precious little light. It dirt had probably become impossible to remove from years of neglect. And there wasn't a single piece of furniture to be found either. There was just a rolled up futon next to a small pile of clothes. There was just the bare minimum signs of human habitation. A black bag full of empty cup noodles, a book bag and a few scattered papers were the only other things in the room.

Frankly, it was depressingly spartan living space.

“I'd say this is the right place,” Yuuka said quietly. “Look over there. That's your school's uniform at the top of the clothes pile.”

“Yeah...” I agreed. The chances of anyone else from my school living under conditions like these were unimaginable.

“There's not much in the way of clues here,” she said.

I took a closer look at things nonetheless. Some of the papers lying around were printouts from school. A few weeks old, most of them. The trash had nothing but empty styrofoam noodle boxes. The book bag yielded confirmation that it was Marisa's place; I rummaged through it and found a pair of pictures among the notebooks. One was a class picture we took a few weeks back. I was in the back row and Marisa was two rows in front of me, smiling bashfully. The other was a well-worn and folded picture. I recognized a younger version of myself, at age five or six. Mostly because I remembered that superhero shirt I was wearing. Next to me stood a little blonde girl with a happy smile on her face, holding up a half-eaten ice cream.

“You were a cute kid,” Yuuka said. She was hovering over my shoulder. “So I guess the part where you're her childhood crush is true after all.”

“...”

“It's okay, you don't have to say anything,” she said solemnly. If she was going to tease me, it would be later. After things were settled. Yuuka could read the mood well enough.

I put the image back in the bag carefully and continued to look around. Not wanting to leave any metaphorical stones unturned, I checked both the clothing pile and under the futon. As luck would have it, I found exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

“There's a letter addressed to her,” I told Yuuka,reading the contents, “doesn't look like the sender is very nice.” I read an extract aloud, “The detective that I hired managed to track you down. Come back at once. You won't like what happens if I have to drag you out myself. I expect payment in full for the money you stole. Even if you do not have it you will work for me instead until I am satisfied. I will stand no more nonsense and promise lenient treatment if you end this foolishness by the next Sunday. You know where to find me.”

“Does it say whom it's from?”

“No name but the date on top is recent.”

“It does sound like she's in trouble,” Yuuka remarked. “I'm not sure with whom but it's clear that it's money trouble. If she had just talked to me, I would have happily given her an advance...”

“She's keeping things to herself,” I told her, “I doubt she'd want to impose on you. She didn't want to impose on me, after all.”

“Don't beat yourself up,” Yuuka said what I was about to say.

“I'm not sure what to do next. Somehow I doubt she'll be coming back here anytime soon. Just a hunch.” The way she had run away made me believe that she had gone somewhere far away.

“Not sure the authorities would do anything based on a single letter,” Yuuka sighed. “This is a real pickle.”

“I don't want to sound too dramatic, but do you think she's in trouble with the mob? Or in debt to shady characters?”

“Could be, no way of knowing for sure. I doubt that letter was from the bank.”

“I guess the next step is to ask around town after her.”

“I'm guessing at places where I can't really be following you around to,” Yuuka guessed correctly. “Don't get too swept up in this, kid. The owners of these businesses don't like people who come in asking questions.”

“I'm not a kid,” I told her with perhaps groundless confidence, “I can handle myself in the adult world.”

“I'm sorry Arc,” she smiled and shook her head. “If anything happens to you I'd rather not have it on my conscience.”

“Don't worry,” I said “if you promise me that you'll wear silk stockings for me again, I'll keep out of trouble. Can't very well enjoy your long legs if I'm dead, now can I?”

“I suppose not,” Yuuka laughed. It somehow made me feel better about my odds to see her react favorably to my indecent proposal. “I promise that I'll wear something extra nice just for you if you manage to stay out of trouble.”

“I'm definitely going to hold you to it,” I warned her.

There was nothing else to do at Marisa's apartment. We walked together for a while until we cleared the seedy neighborhood. Yuuka had to go back to the cafe otherwise “those waitresses were liable to steal all of my pastries for themselves” and so that left me alone in the middle of the city.

Looking for Marisa was like looking for a needle in the middle of an urban haystack.

[] Start asking around the more popular clubs for Marisa.
[] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.
>> No. 57996
[X] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.

Asking around is bound to attract unwanted attention. Furthermore, what can we do by ourselves even if we find Marisa?

There's only one choice that will work. At least Yuyuko should know better than to delay things once we fill her in. The problem will be what we can do...
>> No. 57997
Wow, she's be living in squalor like this all along? Good heavens.

[x] Start asking around the more popular clubs for Marisa.

I'd recommend hitting up the original club that we went to. I can't remember if we left Koakuma on good terms or not though. Regardless, it's a start.
>> No. 57998
[x] Start asking around the more popular clubs for Marisa.

Jesus christ that was depressing. Time to get to work and search until the feet hurt.
>> No. 57999
[x] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.

Yuyu will be mad that we were snooping around, but the more info she has the better she can help.
>> No. 58000
[x] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.

I think we made good progress, but as Yuuka warned, the next steps can be potentially dangerous. We'd best not get in over our heads here.

Plus I can never vote against Big Sis!
>> No. 58001
[X] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.

Recklessly charging in isn't a good idea and the info could be useful to her.

I wished there was more stuff with this Yuuka, but oh well.
>> No. 58002
>>58001
Who knows? Maybe if things calm down, we'll be able to spend time with the lovely flower.
>> No. 58003
[X] Fill in Yuyuko on the details and hold off on doing anything else until she says so.

Spending time just asking around in popular clubs doesn't seem like a good move to me.
>> No. 58004
I left the area before making a call. Partially because I wanted to avoid having anyone potentially eavesdropping on the conversation and partially because I wanted to sit down for a bit. The solution was one of the city's many small parks. The crowd on a Saturday evening was mostly what one would expect. I didn't really need to worry much about accidentally picking a fight with a cast of more mature people.

“Hey, we need to talk,” I opened the call with no niceties.

Yuyuko didn't seem to mind. “Give me a moment,” she said, lowering her voice. I heard her speak to someone else, saying something I couldn't quite make out. She was probably covering the mouthpiece with her hand. A few moments later, she addressed me again, “go ahead.”

I told her what I had been up to. I didn't mention Yuuka because her presence wasn't really relevant to what I found.

“There's not much else to go on,” I concluded.

“All the more reason to proceed cautiously,” she said.

“You mean, do nothing?”

“That letter you found doesn't say anything about her possible whereabouts and activities. Deciding that she's working here or there for this or that reason is pure speculation at this stage,” Yuyuko reasoned dryly. For once I couldn't imagine her smiling as she talked.

“Have you found anything out?” I asked, changing the focus rapidly. I didn't call her to fuss over details.

“It's the weekend. It was a half day and tomorrow nothing is open,” she explained, “I'm constrained by that reality. Don't expect anything until Monday at the earliest. Perhaps even Tuesday. Being discreet when digging for information can take time.”

“And here I thought that you were the kind of person that was firmly in control of every situation.”

“I'm not God,” she sighed. “At any rate, wait until I get back at you. I think you've exhausted your options for the time being. Go to school come Monday, look normal. Focus on the other thing in the meanwhile. The headmistress will be counting on you.”

I didn't feel like adding in any of the usual banter. So giving her a non-committal grunt I got off the phone and went back home. It wasn't like I was particularly discouraged by what she said but there wasn't much else I could do just wandering around town. I couldn't shake the image of the younger me in that picture either. His carefree smile complemented the young girl's look of blissful satisfaction.

Auntie was home for a change. We had dinner together but I wasn't very talkative. She probably knew me well enough not to ask what was the matter and I silently thanked her for her consideration. A few hours of games later and I forced myself into bed. The foreign scent still lingered on my sheets.

The next day I didn't do much either. I hadn't made plans with anyone so I didn't have any particular reason to go outside. I spent most of the day playing older games I hadn't played in a while. Something about simple storylines about collecting the elemental orbs and rescuing the princess resonated with me at the moment.

I was up by the time Alice came to fetch me on Monday. She acted like it was some sort of miracle and I let her have her fun for a while. The walk to school was peacefully uneventful.

There was predictable commotion at the start of homeroom.

“We've got a new student with us today,” Mima announced, indicating the politely smiling girl standing next to her. “I know it's uncommon to get transfer students so late into the term so that's why you lot better treat her extra nicely.” Turning to the girl, she added, “introduce yourself please and take a seat at the empty desk over there.”

“That's Inui's seat, teach,” a student interrupted.

“He's not here so his seat is forfeit. I'll requisition another desk later but it's either his seat or Kirisame's,” Mima shut the student down with her usual indifference.

Kaguya waited for her to finish before introducing herself. “It is my pleasure to be entrusted to your care,” she concluded with a polite bow at the end of all the usual stuff. Somehow it only seemed natural for half of the class to bow in return. It was hard not to act on your best behavior around her.

Already I could tell that she was an absolute hit with the male students as she made her way to her seat.

“Yo,” I greeted as she recognized me. She'd be sitting right in front of me. I wouldn't miss Inui's broad shoulders and dyed hair at all.

“My, how fortuitous,” she showed an unguarded smile that would make anyone's heart skip a beat. “It would seem that we will be in the same class Mr. Arc.”

“It's just Arc, Kaguya” I reminded her.

“Of course,” she looked a little embarrassed as she bowed her head apologetically. “I'm a bit scattered-brained at times so please forgive me, Arc.”

“No worries,” I said with a wink, disregarding the fact that all eyes were on me. She took her seat without further incident as Mima began to take roll call.

It didn't take long for a few notes to be passed around to my desk. “u knw her dood? fck u.” and “hands of my beautiful princess, creep!” were some of the nicer messages I got. I defaulted to a look of smug satisfaction as a general reply to the throng of observing boys. It said, without using any words, that they just had to deal with it.

There was no doubt in my mind that Yuyuko had something to do with Kaguya's class assignment. She was trying to force my hand to deal with things with the high price of the hatred of my peers. They weren't likely to do much about it except pick me last for teams in gym class. So long as I didn't wake up with severed horse's head in my bed, I didn't really mind it that much.

I was more worried with the almost constant poking at my back. Suika was no doubt going to give me hell for no good reason. And I didn't even want to know how Alice was reacting to the situation.

[] Mess with Suika. Tell her she's prettier. She's the only girl worth making a fuss about in class. Brace for impact.
[] Ignore the haters. Ask Kaguya to have lunch together later. It'll be a good chance to talk in private.
>> No. 58005
File 139369702888.jpg - (34.07KB , 300x300 , jack-links-original-beef-jerky.jpg ) [iqdb]
58005
[x] Mess with Suika. Tell her she's prettier. She's the only girl worth making a fuss about in class. Brace for impact.

Messing with Suika.
>> No. 58006
[x] Ignore the haters. Ask Kaguya to have lunch together later. It'll be a good chance to talk in private.

Tease the oni? Tempting, but I'll pass this time.
>> No. 58007
[] Ignore the haters. Ask Kaguya to have lunch together later. It'll be a good chance to talk in private.

too much work dealing with suika
>> No. 58008
Guess that's enough waiting. New thread soon.
>> No. 58009
[x] Ignore the haters. Ask Kaguya to have lunch together later. It'll be a good chance to talk in private.

We got work to do. Why not mix business with pleasure.
>> No. 58011
new thread >>58010
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