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A song of youth and hope.

Previous thread >>57210
Character blurbs: www.touhou-project.com/others/theater


I ignored the prodding for the moment. Suika was certain to try to bait me into saying or doing something stupid. If I knew her well, and I thought I did, she'd probably try to bring Alice into the mix and have a laugh while I was in a tight spot. Not giving her the satisfaction of playing along was worth the risk of getting pelted with spitballs later on. I'd hold off from any preemptive strikes for the foreseeable future as well.

“Hey, Kaguya,” I called out to her softly, trying to avoid attracting Mima's attention. Last thing I needed was another one of her acerbic remarks. The transfer student was clearly new at the whole stealth game in class as she turned around to face me. I decided not to comment on it, instead hoping to get the message out before anyone noticed. “Would you like to have lunch with me today? I kind of want to talk to you about a couple of things.”

“Sure thing,” she replied with a smile, “I'll look forward to it.”

“Ms. Hoursaisan,” Mima interrupted our little interaction. “I know it's difficult being a new student and you don't really know anyone yet, but I would recommend you avoid associating yourself with chronic malingers and petty troublemakers like the young man that sits behind you. Nothing good will come of giving him any attention.”

“Thank you very much for your concern,” Kaguya replied with a completely straight expression of affability, “but I do not believe that the young man in question could be even a fraction of a bad influence as you claim him to be. He, has in fact, comported himself in a most chivalrous manner. Not only did he escort me the other day when I was disoriented in town but he maintained his generous vigil throughout the required administrative process at the school. In short, he has earned my admiration for his selfless behavior.”

“Wow... just wow...” Mima was left dumbfounded at her unrestrained defense of me.

I was, naturally enough, beaming radiantly. It was the greatest rebuke that I could have ever hoped for. Eloquent and concise. Envious leers came from the boys and softened gazes from the girls fell upon me. It was only natural. After all if a well-spoken and beautiful new arrival sang my praises couldn't it be possible that their perception of me was wrong? That's what I guessed was going through their minds. I looked Mima in the eye with smug satisfaction. It was rare to score such a complete victory over her.

The teacher, after a pause, cleared her throat and changed the topic. We moved on. Classes went on as normal for the rest of the morning. I tried to concentrate for once, alternating between the back of Kaguya's head and the chalkboard with some regularity. For me, that was about as studious as I ever got. Later on, during the breaks, people swarmed in front of me. They all were curious to know more about Kaguya, her likes, where she lived, who did her hair, what her type was and all of the other usual student nonsense. She looked a little overwhelmed but held her own, giving vague answers when the questions got too specific or creepy. Occasionally she'd steal a glance at me and smile, even as she talked to the other students.

Yeah, she was definitely stronger-willed than first impressions might have led me to believe.

When lunchtime came around she dismissed the cohort around her with an apologetically phrase and said that she already had plans. Though I felt that I might be stabbed in the back sometime soon by a jealous guy, I was a little happy at how she publicly came to me and asked if I was ready to eat with her.

I led her out of the classroom, ignoring the assembly of mixed emotions on everyone's face. My stocks were on the definite rise lately.

There was only one place to go where we'd have any privacy at all. I took her to the roof, unlocking the door with my key. “It's my secret spot,” I told her with a smile, “no one will bother us up here. Must be a bit overwhelming to get that much attention on your first day.”

“It's a little daunting,” she confessed, “but not entirely disagreeable.”

I dusted off a spot near the edge of the roof. There was a good view of the rest of the city. A perfect backdrop for a meal.

“If you'll give me a moment... I'll be right back. I need to go buy my lunch.”

“Oh, there's no need,” she stopped me. “If you would like, I would be happy to share my food with you.”

“I couldn't really impose on you like that,” I said with some sincerity. Truthfully, I was happy to eat home cooking any time. But that didn't mean I wanted to inconvenience her.

“It's fine. I don't eat much at meals,” she said, “besides, I'm afraid that I was packed an abundance of food anyhow. It'll easily feed two.” Kaguya showed me the neatly tied bundle that contained her lunch. Sure enough, the pair of boxes seemed to contain more food than a normal person could eat in a single sitting.

“Alright, thank you very much.” Luck was on my side.

“You said earlier that you wanted to talk about something?” she asked as she divided a generous portion of fancy-looking rice and fish for me.

[] Jump right to it. Talk to her about performing at the cultural festival.
[] Business can wait a few days. Get to know her better first.
[x] Business can wait a few days. Get to know her better first.

The other is too straight forward to me. Get to know her better before doing that.
[x] Business can wait a few days. Get to know her better first.

Kaguya is a saint.That scene was golden.

As for the vote, I think that jumping straight into the subject is extremely forward. It does have the potential to work, seeing as "forward" has been Arc's approach all along.

I would certainly choose the former option if I wasn't interested in learning more about Kaguya.
Heh, thanks for backing Arc up there, Kaguya

[X] Business can wait a few days. Get to know her better first.
[x] Business can wait a few days. Get to know her better first.

I'd rather have a friend than a 'means to an end'
[x] Jump right to it. Talk to her about performing at the cultural festival.

I think this would be a fine thing to talk about. What better way to segue into a conversation than by talking about school festivals? There's no reason why we can't have a pleasant conversation about the cultural festival, after all.
“Well...” I began, unceremoniously shoving a bit of food into my mouth first. “This is really good,” I said, distracted. Tasted like one of those fancy lunch boxes they had at the sort of restaurants executives frequented. Or so I imagined. It wasn't like I could afford to buy one of those. “You didn't make this, did you?”

“I did not,” she said, “it was prepared for me.”

“My compliments to whomever did,” I nodded, indulging in another mouthful. The thought that maybe I was acting like too much of a pig crossed my mind. I slowed down and instead observed her for a while. She handled her chopsticks gracefully, making no superfluous movements in pinching a piece of fish along with a small clump of rice. Her lips parted slightly to take in the food and then closed as she began to chew the food gently. Truthfully, part of me was embarrassed at how I ate. She was savoring every last grain of rice whereas I was some sort of ravenous black hole.

“Is there something on my face?” she asked, reaching for a cloth napkin.

“No, nothing. Sorry, I was just appreciating how you ate,” I admitted. “I know that's a bit weird to hear someone say.”

“Oh, I see,” she showed a polite smile. If I was creeping her out, she was doing a good job of hiding how she really felt. Regardless of what the truth may have been, the smile put me at ease.

“I wanted to get to know you a little bit better,” I said with a little bit of modest embarrassment. I wasn't quite sure if I was feigning it or not. I found that my tricks were being disarmed naturally by the mood. “It's a bit hard to get to know someone when half the school is hovering around their desk. I'm sorry if my pretext sounded a bit misleading.”

I didn't know why I was apologizing. It was completely opposite to the well-polished confidence I tried to project.

“It was not misleading in the least,” she said. “What is talk if not an opportunity to get to know other people better? I am especially contented to talk to you after all that you've done for me.”

“You give me too much credit,” I laughed nervously. I was letting her flattery go to my head.

“You give yourself too little,” Kaguya said with a little innocent giggle. It was like music to my ears. Someone had once said that happiness was a good meal and a healthy bank account. I agreed with the first part but had to amend it to seeing a pretty girl enjoy herself earnestly.

“Um...” I struggled to jump start my brain. Took me a few moments to return activity to nominal levels. “Yeah, I may as well ask you: what do you make of the school thus far?”

“It's a bit soon to conclude firmly, but there's a lively and positive atmosphere about. It's like a cool breeze on a hot summer's day. The environment is a refreshing change from more authoritarian institutions.”

“I take it your previous school was strict?”

“It was a very exclusive all-girl's boarding school. Every day was dull and lifeless. The only saving grace was the latitude given to the students in choosing extracurricular activities.”

“Oh?” I pressed her a little, “and what sort of activities did you do?”

“It's... not very important,” she shyly deflected. I didn't think she was acting coy but the tinge of reluctance in her eyes made me want to press even harder.

“Come now, since you listed the freedom as a positive aspect then surely you did something fun with your time,” I said. “Or maybe you didn't enjoy yourself, after all and were only speaking generally?”

“No, I did enjoy myself,” a hue of subdued red spread across her cheeks. On her pale light skin it had an intense effect, amplifying her feelings by an order of magnitude. “There was a lot that happened and it is a little difficult to talk about without boring you.”

“Just try me, I promise I won't be bored,” I told her.

“More importantly...” she averted her gaze, “would you promise not to jape at my expensive? Nor jeer?”

“I won't make fun of you,” I reassured her.

“Very well...” she seemed to accept my promise reluctantly. Taking a deep breath to still her nerves, she lifted up her chin, proudly. “I was part of a performing arts group. I have a fascination with traditional stories and poetry. And so, to disseminate this joy with the world, I took to reciting it.”

I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle.

“You promised you would not laugh!” she protested futilely, looking ever more red while a look of betrayed shock came over her face.

“You misunderstand,” I stopped her from getting more worked up. “I think it's marvelous. It suits you perfectly,” I nodded. “I laughed at how perfect the universe could be sometimes.”

Kaguya didn't look too convinced.

I reassured her some more, “no really. I think it's wonderful that you recited poetry. It brings history and art to life. Your voice is lovely so I bet that you attracted quite a following.”

“I did, but it was not only because of that,” she added, still a little flustered, “as time went on our performances became more musical in nature. It became less about art and more about attracting crowds. And then several incidents occurred and the club disbanded. It- It was not how I envisioned things would turn out.”

“There's no need to be embarrassed about that,” I told her. “Things don't always work out. Besides, now I'm eager to hear you read something to me.”

“Some other time,” she said evasively, “I am sure my level of diction has decayed severely.”

“Whenever you want to,” I said, helping myself to another mouthful of food. We finished eating and put the empty boxes away. A large part of the break had gone by in a flash. The perils of having too much fun, I supposed.

[] Ask her about her relationship with Eirin. They left together the other day.
[] Talk about love and her outlook on it. Maybe try to find out what sort of guy she likes...
[] Chat a little about the school and myself instead.
[x] Talk about love and her outlook on it. Maybe try to find out what sort of guy she likes...

I am interested in it. She was in an strict all girls school before.
[x] Talk about love and her outlook on it. Maybe try to find out what sort of guy she likes...

Prim and proper. I'm interested in her answer, or even a lack of an answer. Either one suits me. I already have an idea about her and Eirin's relationship so that leaves the last option. I'd rather keep the conversation on her.
[x] Ask her about her relationship with Eirin. They left together the other day.

This is the only option that interests me - I want to know their history.
[X] Talk about love and her outlook on it. Maybe try to find out what sort of guy she likes...

Less about art and more about attracting crowds, huh...wonder how Mokou factors into this.
[] Ask her about her relationship with Eirin. They left together the other day.

Well, Eirin's pants aren't gonna drop spontaneously. Need to work on it, and information is key!

And might also open another way to work on this task. Eirin probably know a lot about Kaguya and Mokou.
“Hmm...” I changed the subject a little abruptly. “I don't think I'd do too well at an all-boys school. I'd probably get into fistfights and get expelled.”

“Are you saying Ms. Mima was right, after all?” she asked, looking at me with a playful smile. “Appearances aren't everything, you know.”

“Oh? Am I the target of a jape?” I chuckled. Sure, my day-to-day appearance was anything but perfect. My shirt was crinkled and wasn't tucked into my trousers and whenever I wore a coat, it sloppily hanged from my shoulders. I didn't bother buttoning up my collar either and all insignias and markings were poorly maintained. In short, I had no pride in my uniform. I could easily be mistaken for an edgier and rougher sort of fellow. The kind that would get into fights with his fellow students over some stupid argument. “I'll have you know that I only look like this because it's my way of fighting the system. I look much nicer in my civilian clothes. I'll show you sometime.”

“I'll look forward to it,” she said.

“In all seriousness,” I told her, “it must have been boring dealing with girls day in and day out. I mean, from my perspective, it sounds lovely, but I'm a guy. I imagine it'd be the same as an all-boys school for me. You're constantly competing with one another with no release.”

“What sort of release do you mean?” she asked, creasing her brow slightly. It was only natural she didn't follow my line of thought.

“Having friends that are different from you. Or to put it more bluntly, being able to have a lover.”

“Oh...” she nodded a bit reluctantly. It looked like she understood what I was getting at.

“The main thing about this school is that romance is always a possibility. You can have fun with your peers. I mean, unless you're inclined to prefer the company of your same gender, in which case I guess a single-sex school is fine.”

“I suppose there were some girls who had those sorts of tastes,” Kaguya mused. “Some of the most tragic stories I've read involved that sort of forbidden love.”

“It's a running theme,” I stated. “I take it you read a lot of love stories, then?”

“It's a common theme in literature. In the classics it's not unusual to find ardent love that moves both heaven and earth.”

“And what do you make of stories like that? I guess what I'm asking is if you're a romantic.”

Kaguya collected herself before replying. She seemed to mull a response over, staring off into the far distance. “I believe that there may be things which are truly eternal. I am not sure if love can be one of these things but for the parties involved it may often seem like it is.”

“So you're waiting for it to happen to you before you can offer comment?” I teased her a little.

“Personal experience would... be the swiftest way to settle the doubt,” she agreed. She wasn't as shy about the subject as she had been in admitting her artistic pursuits. It emboldened me to go further.

“So tell me, what's your type? A shining prince that comes galloping into your life atop a majestic steed to sweep you off your feet?”

“No, nothing like that,” she shook her head. “I do not need to be rescued from my dreary existence.” Once again, she adopted that distant far-off look before replying. “As trite as it may sound, I would appreciate someone kind and honest. Someone who saw me as a person, above all, and accepted imperfection as I would accept his. In the end so long as we're happy, the rest doesn't really matter.”

That was a rather idealistic reply. I was about to prod a little further when the first signaling the end of lunch rang. We'd have a few minutes to get back to our seats before classes began again. As a result, I wasn't able to ask her anything else for the moment. I walked her back down to class, quite aware that she turned heads as she walked along with me. I didn't think she really noticed herself as she occasionally smiled at me instead of looking at her surroundings.

“Oh, I believe we have to go to the gym for our afternoon classes,” Kaguya remarked as we reached the classroom door. The girls would be using the space to get changed. I only had a few moments to go in and grab my stuff before I would get yelled at and shooed away.

[] Ditch class and go see Yuyuko
[] PE isn't that bad, after all.
Hmmm... On one side, Yuyuko. On the other, leaving would leave a bad impression on Kaguya.
[x] PE isn't that bad, after all.

Allright time to play it nice for a change and enjoy school life.
[X] PE isn't that bad, after all.

It's only Monday, Yuyuko will probably need more time to look into matters. Might as well focus on the business at hand.
[x] Ditch class and go see Yuyuko

As fun as it is spending time with Kaguya, I'm honestly more concerned about Marisa right now. Let's go see if Big Sis was able to find anything out.
[] PE isn't that bad, after all.

Keep bonding. Need to (really) befriend her, and she is not a bad company.
[x] PE isn't that bad, after all.

Can we see Yuyuko after school? She said she would have something at the earliest on Monday. If she had all the info she needed now, she would probably have called for us too.

Sooo... Going to see her for info she likely may not have and hurting a task she asked of us is probably not a great idea.

Still, gotta remember that if we're too friendly with Kaguya, Mokou may want nothing to do with us.
Agreed. It might be a little soon, but this option is there for a reason.

[x] Ditch class and go see Yuyuko
[x] PE isn't that bad, after all.

I think going right away might be too soon. There'll be a time for Yuyuko.
PE wasn't the funnest way to spend my time at school. It often meant running around without much of a sense of purpose. Despite my tendency to skip classes, I preferred some of them over PE. Especially when it was nearing summer. The afternoon sun didn't pull any punches when it came to blasting Earth with its heat. Not listening to the teacher talk in a classroom with an open window was nicer than standing around waiting for a pass from a teammate.

It could have been worse but it also could have been much better. Splitting the students by sex was just another annoying thing I had to deal with.

After getting changed, we assembled by the gym. Yuugi was in high spirits, taking charge of the boys for a change. She dumped the girls onto a student teacher I had never seen before. The tall, copper-haired, woman seemed to be highly excited and gesticulated happily as she talked, encouraging them to partner up for calisthenics.

“You lot, run a few laps until I tell you to stop,” Yuugi instructed, giving us no quarter from the get go. A few students groaned but none openly rebelled.

We ran about half a dozen laps around the track. Yuugi cheered us on by joining us and jogging along those students that were lagging behind. Theirs was an especially harsh hell. After all, if we had a normal PE teacher that read a magazine or something while we ran, they'd be able to slow down to catch their breaths.

Soon after we were finished running, we were given a five minute water break and then told to divide into teams. We were holding some sort of quick tournament of some sport or another. I knew how those went and wasn't very interested. The more athletic students all were champing at the bit, picking teams and forming strategies while Yuugi watched on with satisfaction. She was happy enough at their effort to ignore the efforts of the rest of the students. So, as it usually turned out every time we divided into teams, a group of lazier and less inspired students slunk off into the shade to stare at the girls and 'wait their turn' (it was never their turn to play).

There was a nice grassy spot under a tree off by the side of the track that suited me just fine.

“Hey, Arc, are you sure it's okay for you to be here with us mere mortals?” a student from another class asked me. Hiroaki was his name if I wasn't mistaken. A real wise ass who just because he dated a girl from another school thinks he's cock of the walk. He was a bit of a pretty boy, impartially speaking. His type always had some demand, sadly enough. “You're Yuugi's pet, aren't you? Won't she miss having you compete for her amusement?”

“She'll survive,” I replied, not really interested in having a conversation with him.

“Forget Yuugi,” another student piped in, “what's the deal with you and Houraisan? You better not be leading her astray, you bastard.”

“Didn't you hear her? She stood up for him in class and everything, man was I jealous!” a third student chimed in. “You're hot shit as far as the girls are concerned. If you're good enough for A beauty like her, you're good enough for everyone.

“Big deal,” Hiroaki interjected dismissively, “sure, the new transfer student is a looker, I'll grant you that. But she's probably a vapid over-privileged girl. I like my women to have more substance to them. Like the other transfer student that arrived.”

“You mean, Fujiwara?” the second student asked.

“Yeah,” Hiroaki said with a happy little nod. His curly hair swayed up and down smoothly. “Now there's someone with a little mystery to her.”

“Not very friendly though,” yet another student joined the conversation. “I'm in her class. She didn't bother with her introduction and sat all the way in the back of the class, by the window. A few of us tried talking to her but she didn't bother making conversation. I'd forget about her, if I were you.”

“You moron,” Hiroaki seemed to get a little mad at the other student, “you just don't get it. She's cool and aloof because she's been hurt before. Girls like those need someone firm but gentle to bring them out of their shells. That's what's fun about her type. Besides, haven't you seen her delicate features and soulful eyes? It's definitely high grade material.”

“You might want to listen to him,” I couldn't help but speak up. “I think you've got her all wrong. She's definitely a bit rough around the edges. And she chooses to act that way.”

“What would you know? You're all about the dainty girly types,” he said, getting worked up. “You're all bark and no bite, so you couldn't handle a real woman like her. Last I checked you're still horribly whipped by that blonde wife of yours. Only real men like me know how to deal with her type.”

“Hey, the way I see it the two of you aren't going to get anywhere like this,” the other student that had been talked down to joined in, “how about the two of you settle this like gentlemen.”

“I would if my tasteless friend here were a gentleman,” Hiroaki used both his neurons to pretend he had any wit.

“What do you have in mind?” I asked, not wanting to stoop to his level.

“Fujiwara is standing right there,” the student pointed out. Indeed she was. She was sitting out classes like we were, idling by the front of the gym. There were a few girls with her but most of them were watching the gallant matches occurring between our peers. I could tell that Fujiwara was trying to keep to herself, looking absolutely bored. “How about the two of you go up to her one at a time. Whomever can get her to talk or promise to do something with him is recognized as the better man.”

A chorus of encouraging voices weighed in on the situation, telling us that we should go for it.

[] Put the jerk in his place.
[] Fujiwara looks like she wants to be left alone.
[] Put the jerk in his place.

Plot hooks! At least it should create a topic to talk about with kaguya, and/or Mokou.
[X] Put the jerk in his place.

We'll have to talk to her anyway, might as well try now.
[x] Put the jerk in his place.

I vote for this not for wanting to shut that asshole up, but because I'm interested in what Mokou thinks of the school. This is a good a time as any, right? As long as we're not making a bet on who can ask her out first, that would be idiotic.
[X] Put the jerk in his place.

Time to do this. Well the other guys already said it.
[x] Fujiwara looks like she wants to be left alone.

She's gonna shoot both of em down. This is where the "favor" from earlier in the story would come in handy. If you don't have it, don't go for it.
File 139390025428.jpg - (155.12KB, 744x1053, and so it is.jpg) [iqdb]
Like all great feats attempted by men, ours began with a coin flip.

“Guess I'm up to bat,” Hiroaki said with unnecessary pride. “Too bad you won't even get to try. By the time I'm done, we'll be thicker than thieves.”

I said nothing, letting him enjoy his overconfidence. Needless to say, in the spirit of manly competition, I wished him to trip and break his nose. Alas, the Gods didn't favor me enough to make my wish come true.

We watched from a distance. His body language told the story perfectly. His firm, wide steps showed that he really did believe that all that tripe about himself. None of the girls really paid him any mind, they were all fixated on the sports spectacle. He paused in front of Fujiwara and presumably said something. No reaction.

“No reaction. She's ice cold,” some guy said what I was thinking.

Some other guy piped in, “yeah I'd say he's screwed.”

That was a pretty accurate assessment.

Hiroaki stood in front of her for a wild longer, evidently trying different lines in order to elicit a reaction. He moved his hands back and forth and engaged in a few sweeping motions with his arms, possibly inviting her to contemplate the moon and stars with him. How unrealistic. It pissed me off a little. He could at least do with a little more self-respect. Hitting on girls after talking to them for the first time... that's something only a true scoundrel would do.

After another minute of awkward lack of progress, he gave up. He turned back and slowly began to make his way towards us. He still walked with the same idiotic pride he had at the beginning of the experience.

“Way to flop, man,” some student B welcome him back.

“Flop? What flop?” Hiroaki asked as if things had gone swimmingly.

“She turned you down. We all saw.,” some student A added.

“She told me to 'buzz off'!” Hiroaki exclaimed happily. We all laughed but it seemed that he didn't see it as a defeat at all. “A complex and moody type like her can't be dominated in just one encounter. I would say I made considerable progress.”

“Yeah, yeah, let me show you how it's done,” I said. It was my turn to shine.

I approached Mokou like I would anyone else. I didn't need any of that ridiculous posturing to be successful.

“Yo,” I greeted her. “Remember me?” That at least got her to look at me. Progress. She gave me a critical stare, as if scanning me from head to toe. Ice cold indeed. It didn't seem to spark any recognition on her end. “I bought you a pack of smokes. At the park a while back.”

“Don't got money on me,” she said patting her gym clothes for emphasis. They were pocketless.

“I don't care about that. I just wanted to talk a bit.”

“Leave me alone. Tell your friends to leave me alone. I don't care about anyone here,” she pronounced. And, without wasting a moment, she turned and walked into the gym building.

That was that.

I wasn't even able to boast about the (sad) fact that I had gotten more words out of her. Yuugi saw our group of idlers and drafted us into for the next match. Of course, in order to continue my streak of good luck, we were pressed into service for quite a while. The bell that signaled the end of classes rang and we were still running back and forth on a court like chumps. We were only set free when everyone else had already gotten changed and gone either home or to club activities.

Man, was I sore. I managed to hobble back home somehow. I wasn't able to do much else for the day. Even the next morning I was still feeling it. I slumped down on my desk before classes began. I felt a little sorry for myself. Both my body and mind (well, ego) were bruised. What I needed was a bit of sympathy.

I'd feel better if I talked to even one person who would smile kindly at me. I had to turn to the right person, I figured.

[] Reimu
[] Alice
[] Suika
[] Patchy
[] Kaenbyou
[] Kaguya
[] Tenshi
[x] Patchy

I'm torn between her and Reimu, if only because Arc seemed to have good chemistry with both and we haven't seen much of either.

The deciding factor being that while Reimu seems to have good friends in the form of Marisa and Alice, Patchy probably has to deal with the sex maniac duo of Remi and Sakuya all the time and she might want a break from that.
[] Tenshi

Hard choice. I really, really wanted to see Orin again, but Tenshi is ideal for this. No doubt she brings happyness to Arc.
[x] Tenshi

She would be the perfect person for this. He already talked to her about Marisa and the last time they met they had much fun. Much much fun.
[x] Tenshi

I'd pick Alice, but I'm not sure how much smiling she's in the mood for right now. Tenshi wouldn't require much of an explanation, and a smile ain't that hard to get from her nowadays, especially when Arc is around.
You people sicken me. Not writing in '[x]Reisen', not reflecting on recent events and, most of all, not stopping to think about the significance and context of the vote. Settling for second best instead of who you really want is unacceptable. It's like you've learned nothing about youthful love.

Also, more importantly, not checking in more often. I'll try to push tomorrow (that is 12 hours from now minimum site time) with even faster updates. So there's your warning. Until then, vote with your heart and with the understanding of how interacting with the character may affect a whole bunch of things.
I know that you want us to vote for Patchy.
[x] Tenshi

Honestly, I feel that a smile from her would mean much more and that it'd be her turn to support Arc.

That and out of the girls she's grown on me the most.

Though the main galpal of his that would fill in the smile spot, well....
[X] Tenshi

Not only is she perfect for a smile, I kind of feel like it's a good idea to check up on her now and then.
[x] Kaenbyou.

Tide pissin
The amount of effort needed to get myself out of my chair and to another classroom was colossal. Both my body and mind were stuck in a negative feedback loop. My brain told me that I was tired and my sore joints acted up as a result, telling my brain that I was even more tired than it originally thought. I didn't feel too bad about the fact that I was out of shape, however. I wasn't star athlete material but I could normally do gym class and run around in town without the slightest of difficulties.

I knew that, if it came to it, I'd curse Yuugi with my dying breath.

“G'morning,” I grumbled a greeting. Tenshi was at her seat already, checking through her bag for a notebook.

“Hello,” she smiled, pleased to see me. That was precisely what I needed. An electrifying jolt of purity, untainted by expectations. “I didn't expect to see you in my class.”

“I just stopped by to see you,' I said, “I've had a rough start to the day.”

“Hmm... if I didn't know any better, I'd say that you're becoming addicted to me. I'm not sure how that makes me feel.” She stood up and urged me towards the back of the classroom. We stopped at the seat furthest back from the door and closest to the rear wall. There were still plenty of empty seats but more students were arriving with each passing moment. “Say,” she said, pressing her hand to my chest, “I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I even thought of inviting you home one of these days.”

“I'm not sure your father would appreciate us being together,” I said.

“Papa doesn't have to know,” she smiled again. “You can come in through a window. That sort of thing is supposed to be exciting, isn't it? Clandestine encounters. My, you'd have to hide under the bed if he came in to check in on me. And there's not much room under there.”

“Oh yeah?” I had to admit, the scenario did have its appeal. Enough to make me forget that it hurt whenever I raised my arm above shoulder level. Tenshi began to rub my chest. Even if we were in the back of the classroom, she was still being really conspicuous. “We shouldn't do this in public, we'll get into trouble.”

“I don't care,” she said,”I don't think anyone who sees us is going to tell.”

“But there might be gossip.”

“So what?” she traced a path over my chest with an errant finger, stopping when she was just shy of my trousers. “Isn't this a good way to fix a rough start to a day?” her face was dangerously close to mine as she spoke. All it would have taken for us to kiss would have been for either of us to move a scant few centimeters closer.

“Excuse me,” a voice interrupted us, “could I please be allowed to take my seat?”

“Oh sure,” I pushed Tenshi away from me gently, pretending that nothing had been going on. “Sorry about that.”

Tenshi shrugged and went back to her seat. The student didn't say anything else but gave us a look that told me exactly what he was thinking. I could feel his eyes follow me back.

“I hope you perk up,” Tenshi said, shifting gears.

“I think I'll manage,” I said, stealing a glance at the back. The student was talking to someone else and I couldn't help but shake the feeling that they were talking about us. “I'll talk to you later, classes are about to start.”

“See you,” she said, returning to whatever it was that she was doing with her bag before.

I had a sinking feeling that I was soon to be the target of rumors. Lovely.

Well, at least I had the energy to get through morning classes without falling asleep at my desk. By the time lunch break came around I was in better shape than I thought. Part of me wanted to simply forget

[] Try to forget about everything for a change and take it easy.
[] See what Fujiwara is up to.


Sorry for lateness but let's try to go fast all the same. Two hour windows before calling and writing max. Or until the majority of people have voted. Whichever comes first.
[X] See what Fujiwara is up to.

Let's focus on the matter at hand for now - getting closer to Kaguya and Mokou.
Damn, missed the last boat.

[x] Try to forget about everything for a change and take it easy.

I don't think a direct approach is going to work with her. Bugging her constantly is a good way to make her hate us.
[x] Try to forget about everything for a change and take it easy.

Sure why not. Taking it easy is what he is best at.
Alright, writing.
Everything required way too much effort. The best course of action was, therefore, to just sit still and take it easy. I could skip lunch no problem. I didn't want to deal with the crowd in the cafeteria, anyhow. Too much aggravation for little reward. I instead leaned back, slumped in my chair and stared out the window. It was a nice day. Slightly overcast in the morning but it had cleared up. Going up to the roof for a nap might be swell if I got bored of the classroom.

The problem with trying to take it easy was that the universe conspired against me.

“Leave me alone, I'm trying to forget that the world exists,” I said as soon as I felt her move her chair up next to me. I fully expected her not to respect my personal space. I was right.

“That's funny, the world tries to forget that you exist all the time as well,” she said with an annoying little 'nyahaha'.”Too bad for you that I still remember. Even if you try to pretend I don't exist, I'll still be there.”

“My, how touching,” I said sarcastically. I tried my damnedest to avoid eye contact, pining for the fjords. “Don't you have anyone else to bother?”

“You're the most fun to bother,” she said, not bothering to mask her cruel happiness. “Besides, you owe it to me after all the time you're spending trying to play kissy time with your little girlfriends.”

Kissy time?” I asked, feeling that that was a term more appropriately said by a middleschooler. That said, Suika was pretty much as mature as a kid at times. That could be both a source of amusement and really annoying. And, well, most middleschoolers weren't so quick to get into fistfights.

“No doubt that's what you were doing with the transfer student yesterday. Also the word is that you were making out with another girl in II-B this morning.”

“Since when do you gossip?”

“Since my best friend won't even give me the time of day,” she grumbled.

“Eh, sorry about that Suika. Guess I have been taking you a little for granted, ” I felt guilty enough to turn and face her. I fell right into her trap.

“Pfft, please. Spare me all that girly, touchy-feely crap,” she flicked her finger at my forehead. “Stop being a tool and we'll be square. Grow a pair.”

“I'll take your input under advisement,” I said dryly.

“I'm bored of classes, let's ditch.”

“It's lunch, there are no classes.”

“That's why,” she said enthusiastically, “no one will notice us slipping out if we leave now. Come on, we can grab a bite to eat and hit the arcade. They're going to start getting ready for the cultural festival this afternoon anyways. And making posters and helping to build stuff is boring.”

“Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about that,” I said. It'd take place on Saturday. Just a few more days. “What's our class doing, anyhow?”

“Something stupid. A ghost-maid-stuffedanimal-western-traditional-haunted-cafe-mansion-play-fairytale-musical-tournament thing. Probably.”

“Oh, the usual,” I shrugged. She didn't care either. The only ones that tended to care were the class rep and the diligent types. Everyone else thought of it as a day without classes and the chance to eat fried foods and cake at the inevitable restaurant-style class setups.

“Come on, let's split before it gets too late to avoid the teachers,” she insisted. “I've been meaning to kick your ass at that new racing game.”

[] Blow school off with Suika.
[] It's a drag, but stay to help out.
[] It's a drag, but stay to help out.

Sorry Suika, but I'm still butthurt about that time.

And we need to keep the facade of being reliable to Kaguya.
[x] Blow school off with Suika.

Actually, I have a better idea. What if we got Suika's help with Mokou? I think she'd be the perfect partner to help get through. Let's indulge the oni ask for her help on this one.
[x] Blow school off with Suika.

I have nothing witty to say so yeah I want this please.
[x] Blow school off with Suika.

Hey, if we're lucky, we might find Reisen at the arcade again!
Reisen's a good girl that wouldn't usually skip class. Sure, sometimes she might wish to get away from it all but she knows that she has to work hard to get ahead.

In other news, writing.
“Fine, let's go,” I relented, much to the delight of my annoying friend.

“That's the spirit!” she slapped me on the back cheerfully. No restraint at all. Stung like hell. Just what my sore muscles needed.

As we left the classroom, I could see that several people noticed and said nothing. Not that I really cared. Reimu was way past scolding me anymore and Alice would probably use it at a later date. The brief eye contact with Kaguya was a bit hard to stomach. Hers was an unspoiled and trusting look that in no way suspected that I was about break school rules. Ah well. We slipped out the usual way with practiced efficiency.

I wasn't picky when it came to choosing fast food. We got a cheap beef bowl on the way into town. Went down easy and didn't strain the wallet.

The fresh air helped me feel a little better as well. I convinced myself easily enough that it was too nice of a day to be cooped up in classes. Yeah, that's right. This was a learning experience in a way too. We learned to enjoy the little pleasures in life. Getting extra scallion in a beef bowl, walking down the street without a care in the world and trash talking with a good friend about playing games. That was stuff that people took for granted most of the time. The fact that we were doing it in the middle of a school day just made more... special, I supposed.

“Hey, stop spacing out already!” Suika elbowed me in the ribs. Her tenderness was always so refreshing. “I know you're a big shot with a million different problems these days but at least try not to be an asshole when we're spending time together. At least not more than usual.”

“I hate you. But you already knew that, didn't you?” I retaliated by punching her shoulder. Mostly playfully.

“Ass,” she concluded with a grin.

“Bastard,” I retaliated weakly. Didn't really matter if she got the upper hand for the moment. I didn't really feel like a pissing contest.

“Oh hey,” she veered off to one side of the street as we approached the urban core of the city. Something in a display shop window had caught her eye.

“Ah, it's out already,” I joined her in staring at the storefront window. The newest home console version of our favorite fighting game.

“Man, this one has two special new characters created just for it,” she quipped excitedly. “Hear they worked on the balance. Also got rid of that stupid glitch with the infinite combos. No more spamming that crap on me, Arc.”

“Programming oversights are legit for schooling you.” She had it coming every time. I only used that character when she was spamming that cheap back forward punch cannonball attack. Now that was broken.

“Wish I had the cash for it,” she said, “I really want to give it a go. Wanna go halfsies? I'll play it for a bit, you play it for a bit and then we can have a tourney.”

“It'd pretty much destroy my budget,” I said.

“Don't be stupid,” she said, kindly, “you can always ask your aunt for money. With all the money you spend on girls it'll do you some good to spend some money with a friend. Or are you afraid I'm going to destroy you completely when we play?”

[] Buy the game. It's a nice thing to do for her.
[] Tell her to forget about it. Use those free movie tickets instead to watch something together.

Probably won't be anything else this evening unless an unlikely flurry of vote comes in the next few hours.
[x] Buy the game. It's a nice thing to do for her.

Let's be a bro here and play the game with her.
[x] Buy the game. It's a nice thing to do for her.

She is a long time friend and well those tickets may be be better served elsewhere.
[X] Buy the game. It's a nice thing to do for her.

Yeah, let's buy it. Friends are important.
[x] Buy the game. It's a nice thing to do for her.

I think Arc really needs to loosen up after all the stress recently. I hope Suika's got the same idea. She might even refrain from being a move spamming scrub.
...Oh god, who am I trying to kid. Prepare for move spamming, gentleanon.
[] Tell her to forget about it. Use those free movie tickets instead to watch something together.

Hey, we will need the money to ask Kaguya out! Or to pay a hotel room, at least~.

[x] Tell her to forget about it. Use those free movie tickets instead to watch something together.

I'm not too worried about ditching with Suika, but this will leave our cash reserves seriously drained.
“Fine, guess we're in for a change of plans,” I told her with a smile, “prepare to know the bitter taste of defeat. Bet it tastes like ash and tears.”

“Whatever nerd,” she rolled her eyes. “Here's my half,” she got a few bills from a pocket. “Go get the game and leave the trash-talking to me. You suck at it.”

And, just like that, we were on course for a completely different sort of afternoon. I used virtually all of my hard-earned cash to complete my half of the game. We changed course. Instead of heading further into town, we went by to her place. That sort of decision wasn't the made after lengthy discussion. When you hung out with someone for long enough you got a feel for how they thought and felt. We both knew that her place was closest and, therefore, the better option.

Her place was comparatively less messy than the last time I had stopped by. Most of the garbage was in garbage bags, for one. That said, the floor was still mostly covered by clothes and random assortments of objects. Seeing all that clutter was a stark contrast to the empty space I had visited a few days ago. As messy as things were, the whole environment oozed character. It looked lived in, to put it kindly. It was definitely Suika's happy little habitat.

“Hey, don't just stand there and space out,” Suika called from inside. It snapped me out of my “I need help setting things up.”

I brushed aside the nascent thoughts I had about Marisa and ventured in. Suika was digging through a pile of cables in the center of the room. “What's with the helmet?” I pointed at the discarded white helmet in a corner. It was the type used by a foreman at a construction site.

Suika shrugged, opting to ignore my question like she ignored most of the junk that just sat around her room. She dove behind her TV to deal with the mess of wires. I looked for the controllers in the meantime. One was under a pillow and another was atop a pile of empty takeaway boxes. “This stupid tv doesn't work right half of the time,” she complained, “I have to make sure the cables are nice and snug back here.”

She eventually had everything in working order and we sat down to play a couple of rounds. It wasn't anything serious at first. The new characters were fun to mess around with. Eventually, however, we started going at it in earnest. Old characters faced one another as we tried to beat one another into submission. I tried different styles and strategies to get the upper hand. I could tell that she was getting frustrated since she started to spam a few cheap moves over and over again. To be fair, I was doing the same. Elegance didn't trump practicality.

Eventually we had to take a break before we started attacking one another in real life.

“I would have had you that last time if you weren't abusing cancels,” she said.

“Yeah, yeah, you're one to talk with all those cheap combos.”

“I'm going to train hard and kick your ass so badly that you'll never play with me again,” Suika boasted.

“Wouldn't that be a little boring?” I asked, “I mean the whole of playing together is that we each have our moments.”

“Bah, that's loser talk, since when did you become such a soft-hearted loser?”

“I've always been the sensitive type. At least underneath,” I joked, “the ladies love a rough exterior with just the slightest of hints of underlying vulnerability. Makes them feel both safe and fulfills their nurturing instinct.”

“Well, at least we can confirm that your head is still lodged firmly up your ass,” she chortled. It was true enough. I couldn't project that much confidence without being just a little bit full of myself. Something about it not being a lie if you really believed it.

“It's not like you're any better,” I pointed out, “you still think you're top dog anywhere you go.”

“And I am. As evidenced by the thorough thrashing you just received.”

“You lost pretty much as often as you won,” I tried to deflate her. I knew it'd be no use. So I instead opted to change the topic.

[] Ask her what she makes of the transfer students
[] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

Sorry about no updates. Rough day and a lot of distractions. Better late than never.
[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

Let this be about her and only her.
[] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.
[X] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

Let's try to make up with her properly.
[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

This is about her after all and trying to ask about our current.... task would be insulting to put it lightly.
[] Ask her what she makes of the transfer students

Why not ask her? She might have some kind of input about them. Besides, gossiping about classmates is fun.
Why is everyone afraid of pissing her off? We just ditched school and spent all of our cash on helping her buy a video game. She is not going to get pissed off.

[x] Ask her what she makes of the transfer students.

This is the smarter option. We need help getting through to Mokou. Suika is indeed the right oni for the job. This will transition the conversation properly and if Suika starts up again, she can just change the subject or make a pithy comment.
The voting logic in this story escapes me.

In what way?
[x] Ask her what she makes of the transfer students.
What is wrong with spending some time with Suika? Being Arc's friend is not easy for her, seeing as he does not spend much time with her.
[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

It has been a decent while since we actually spent anytime with Suika and last time it was party hard then immediately leave without talking about it. Then promptly ignore her for the week to chase after pretty much anything else. There are approximately two weeks before the festival to get Mokou and Kaguya to work together. No need to rush this, especially if we want to get Suika to help out. Spending one day without saying anything about it will at least make it seem like we aren't just dropping by to use her.
A lot of things have been going on. I'm not sure it's worth going into details. As a result there likely won't be updates until tomorrow at the earliest. I don't want to lose the little momentum that can be exploited.

As an aside, I guess it's not worth waiting around for votes in general. Four or so votes seem to be the majority so that's the general guidline for me to call votes for now. The readerbase is small enough that waiting longer out of principle is a matter of diminishing returns. There's no sign that, in that extra time, you are liable to change your votes, minds or discuss with one another even when I intervene. So that's something I also have to try to deal with one way or another when planning ahead. Reality is a bitch.
Im willing to make one last appeal for this vote.

Does no else think Arc is going to have a hard time getting through to Mokou? Go read that update again. She`s not going to give him the time of day.

Right now, I think Suika`s his best bet.
Sorry, but >>58146 is far more convincing than you here.

[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.
[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

Let's just have Suika time. Maybe this time we'll be able to stick around afterwards.
[x] Don't risk pissing her off. Talk a little more about her and what she's been up to.

Suika hasn't exactly been the most supportive of our little "missions", so let's not risk ruining the day by bringing it up. We can ask her for help later if we have to.


I've been voting rather sporadically recently due to illness, so don't expect me to chime in on every vote. I'll do my best though. As I said in your other story, you often have more readers than you do voters, so don't get so down Teruyo; it makes my heart hurt a little.
Exactly and some time actually spent being friendly without any agendas would be good. Sort of wished we did this with marisa sooner.
Sorry been having a hard time concentrating lately and have been otherwise too tired to write as well. I'm going to push things back until tomorrow and no later.

>There are approximately two weeks before the festival to get Mokou and Kaguya to work together.
I fucked up the consistency since that was stated. Recently stated in >>58099 it takes place on Saturday. So less time.
> We can ask her for help later if we have to.
Given the fast-paced nature of the story I wouldn't expect another chance right away to ask Suika about anything. Not at least until more stuff happens. Three choices in a row involving a single character is plenty for the standards of the story before we move on. That's the way it's been with everything else.
We chatted for a while. I didn't force any particular topic, instead letting the conversation develop naturally.

“Yeah, that okonomiyaki place that just opened up is worth going to,” she talked about food enthusiastically, “All sorts of toppings too though it does feel a bit pricey. Still better than that burger place we went to last year. Remember that? The bread was all soggy and the meat was too greasy.””

“Definitely could have used a bit of quality control,” I agreed. The tomatoes were sliced too thickly as well which made the whole thing bland and a little watery.

“There's all sorts of food and stalls nowadays. It's pretty cool if you think about it,” Suika said, changing the topic. “This city is quickly becoming the sort of place that never sleeps, you know. So much growth. I mean, I'm not from here originally but even I'm impressed at how much has changed in the few years I've been around.”

“Can't be helped,” I said with a shrug, “ever since that big conglomerate decided to headquarter itself here, bringing thousands of staff with it, all sorts of businesses and people have followed suit.”

“That glass building they built sure is massive,” she said. “and they also helped build a couple of schools to train future talent as well.”

“When I was a kid, things were way more peaceful. Less megacorps and more greenery.”

“Pfft,” Suika rolled her eyes, “get a load of you. As if you're nature boy all of a sudden.”

“Just stating facts,” I let the insult go. “There used to be a small patch of woods where we are now. Used to divide the city proper with the small houses where I lived. If you go further west, like towards the mountains, you'll see what it used to be like. Lots of big plots of lands, hills and trees.”

“There's still parks,” Suika said with a shrug, showing that she wasn't really interested in talking about nature. “At any rate, I wonder if things will change even more in the next few years. It'd be nice to be able to have fun 24 hours a day.”

“You can if you know where to look,” I stated what we already both knew. “Even when you're broke there's still fun to be had.”

“I like where this is going,” a toothy grin erupted on her face. “You've been all lame lately so it's good to know that you haven't become a total woman yet . I was afraid that, at this rate, I'd have to get you a box of heavy-duty tampons for your next birthday.” She let out a chortle, amused by her incredible wit.

“I'm not the one bitching here,” I struck back with a little more subtlety. I wasn't really interested into getting into another pissing contest with her so soon after playing. “Let's put aside the issue for the moment.”

“Yeah, well, I kinda have to,” Suika said.”We can pick up where we left off some other time.” She checked her phone quickly. “I've got somewhere I have to be later.”

“Got a part-time job, huh? Good on you. Figured you'd sooner die than do work.”

She flipped me off casually. Not that I didn't see it coming. I smiled at her and blew her a patronizing kiss. It was just the way we were. An outsider wouldn't get it if they saw us behave like that. They'd think we hated each other when nothing could be further than the truth. Well... perhaps there was a little hate mixed in but it was definitely drowned out by all the good stuff.

“My old man is back in town so I have to go see him,” Suika was surprisingly forthright about what she had to do. She wasn't exactly the sharing type.

“When do I get to meet him?” I asked.

“Way to confirm that you're the girl in this relationship,” she teased, “I'm not going to expose you to all of that crap. For both our sakes.”

“I bet daddy would like me, I have a way with parents.”

“Oh, he'd like you, no problem,” she smiled, “you just wouldn't be able to keep up with him. If you think I'm bad, he's a million times worse. He lives large and doesn't sweat the small stuff. I'm probably going to end up having fatty tuna sushi tonight.”

“I hate you.”

“I hate you more.”

We played a couple of more rounds of the fighting game while talking about pointless things. Not that there was anything wrong with that. Quite the contrary - it relaxed me and dissolved most of the tension I was carrying around. At the end of our bouts I was in a pretty good mood. By the time that I got home in the late afternoon, I had managed to push aside the unpleasant worries that had been hounding me recently. I fixed myself a light dinner and drew a bath. Auntie was probably going to be working late again so I was all alone.

I didn't feel like going out again but I didn't feel like wasting time by myself either. Making time until it was late enough for me to sleep wasn't as easy as it might have first seemed.

[] Tap on Alice's window.
[] Phone a classmate instead.
Is it safe to assume we can call anyone? I don't remember if we have everyone's phone number.
[x] Tap on Alice's window.

I just feel this matches the flow.
Phone a classmate has a broad definition. Can we pick someone or will it be random? Will wait with my vote until it is made clear.
[x] Tap on Alice's window.

Time to bother Alice.
People whom it would make sense to call given the circumstances. Definitely not people like Rumia or Remilia. More familiar people.
Could tell you but it's broadly the same as voting for things like going to town or staying at school. There's broad categories for people you might see/run in those cases. Usually there's subsequently more narrowly-defined choices as well. I hope that helps even if it doesn't directly answer the question.
[x] Phone a classmate instead.
I guess it makes more sense now.

Allright there are only a few people who he would call anyway.
[X] Phone a classmate instead.

Catching up with other friends might be worthwhile.
[x] Tap on Alice's window.

No real reason, I just feel like interacting with Alice at the moment. I suppose we could use this as a chance to talk to her about Marisa if we wanted to, but I don't know if it's a good idea.
I didn't need a phone to call on Alice.

I fetched my summoning stick. A few gentle pokes at her window across the divide between our homes was sure to get Alice to show up. I stretched my arm and tapped away, pretending I was a woodpecker. If she was in, she'd be sure to reply.

“What!?” she opened the window in a hurry, immediately showing off a truly fearsome glare. It looked like she was done for the day as well, wearing a cute pajama top with a stripe pattern.

“Hiya,” I greeted her with the usual aplomb. No doubt she found it extremely irritating. “What's shaking?'

“Don't tell me that you've bothered me for no reason again,” she intensified her glare. If I were a lesser man, I'd fear for my life.

I smiled and nodded, “pretty much yeah. I sort of missed seeing your face. As scary as it might currently be.”

“You really don't give me enough credit, you know, “ she sighed, “I'm not a naïve little schoolgirl you might meet on the street, I can see through your tactics with ease. Don't think you'll get on my good side just like that. Especially after skipping class again.”

“I wouldn't dream of fooling you, ma'am,” I flashed my award-winning smile. “I'm just checking in on my dear childhood friend. Is that so wrong?”

“It's not, but it's never quite that simple with you, now is it?”

“It hurts me that you think I might have some sort of ulterior motive for wanting to talk to you,” I frowned. A good sulky look was one of the cornerstones of a heartthrob. Too bad that the effort was wasted on Alice. As she said, she was way too used to me to fall for my tricks.

“I take it you're bored?” she asked with yet another sigh.

“How could I be? I'm talking to you! That's always fun.” I may have overstated things a little. She was sure to see right through my feelings. Well, that wasn't such a big deal.

“Well, are you getting enough rest?” she changed the topic, “you seem to be sleeping less in class lately.”

“Sheesh, and I thought Mima was bad enough. You've been watching me during class?”

“It's hard not to when you're drooling all over your notebooks,” she teased. Though I was sure that had actually happened more than once. Mostly the byproduct of staying out late with Suika.

“Man, there's just no winning with you,” I laughed. “I guess I'm a bit lucky to have someone there who cares about what I'm doing.”

“No one else will ever bother,” she forced a sigh but a twinkle in her eyes betrayed a more positive emotional response. “It's my cross to bear.”

“I know I should feel insulted,” I said with tongue firmly in cheek, “but somehow I feel a little honored. If I had to choose, I don't think I'd rather have anyone else constantly watching and nagging me.”

“What a lovely backhanded compliment,” Alice shook her head.

“Well, if you like I can do a real compliment,” I said, “it'll take a lot of effort but I'll show you that I'm not a complete tool.”

“That I have to hear to believe,” she countered, predictably enough.
[] Without her headband and in her pajamas, she looks different and almost... kinda cute.
[] Someone who is capable of making such cute dolls can't be all bad.

So more fast updates tonight depending on votes/my drinking.
[x] Without her headband and in her pajamas, she looks different and almost... kinda cute.

This sounds like the better of the two. She probably wants to hear that she is cute.
[x] Without her headband and in her pajamas, she looks different and almost... kinda cute.

This is like asking me if Alice is cute.
Well, of course she is!
[x] Someone who is capable of making such cute dolls can't be all bad.

Not sure how well the "kinda cute" would work and I think this is a more revelevant point.
[x] Without her headband and in her pajamas, she looks different and almost... kinda cute.

This is good. The other option lacks power.
[X] Without her headband and in her pajamas, she looks different and almost... kinda cute.

I'll agree with people saying it sounds better than the doll option.
“You're really rubbish at this, you know,” Alice sighed. “I mean, it's nice that you noticed what I'm wearing but coming from you... that sort of comment sounds insincere.”

“Aw, that hurts,” I went back to my glum face, actually feeling a little down for real. It wasn't like there was a lot I could compliment Alice for without it sounding forced. I saw her every day; Alice was often the first person I saw in the morning. She was always there, for better or worse. She was 'the usual' and so nothing she did really stood out. I couldn't be held responsible for the effects of overexposure.

...that was a really bad excuse, even for my standards.

I tried restating what I thought in a slightly different way. “I'm lucky that I get to see the different sides of you, is what I guess is what I really want to say.” It was a bit awkward to spit out but the more competitive part of me wasn't satisfied that Alice had simply deflected my original compliment. I was proving a point, so I told myself.

“Mm, that sounded a little bit more heartfelt,” Alice said after a pause. She sighed again but smiled all the same as she leaned out the window. “Too bad that effort doesn't trump the final result. Maybe some day I'll believe that you're capable of being thoughtful and spontaneous. But I think we're a long way off from that.”

“Well, I tried,” I shook my head. It would be unreasonable to expect to ingratiate myself easily. “Maybe some day you'll be learn how to take an honest compliment.”

“Well see,” she rolled her eyes. “Are you planning on staying up late and getting into trouble?”

“Not tonight,” I winked as I gave her a reply, “you're the most exciting thing I have planned for the evening.”

“I wonder sometimes if you're not some sort of masochist,” Alice yet again shook her head, “you really keep trying to force me to scold you for being a clod. If I ever were to stop calling you out for the stupid things you do, I think you might die.”

“Maybe,” I admitted reluctantly, “when you're mad at me I can't but feel really alive.”

“What an unreasonably troublesome idiot you are,” Alice said of the cross she had to bear.

We talked for a little while longer, sort of going back and forth with our usual thing but also not taking things too seriously. I learned that she was all alone again, her mom was out on business for a while. She must have been as bored or as lonely as I was, since she didn't bring up her usual go to excuses about homework or needing to rest. Though it was inconvenient at times to have someone so close to me live so near and be so involved, moments like those sort of made it all worth it. Like with Suika, we didn't really care about the rest of the world, having our private little conversation over the gap between our homes.

Things ended without much ceremony. We were both tired of talking and so we said our respective goodbyes and closed our windows. Last thing at night, first thing in the morning. I walked to school with Alice thinking of how unique our situation was. As loathe as I might have been to admit it, I could see why it was easy to paint us as a married couple. At times it seemed like our existences were hopelessly intertwined.

Morning classes came and went. It was the same as always. Lunch break came up and provided relative freedom of action.

[] Approach Kaguya about the cultural festival
[] Bluntly mention it to Fujiwara.

This is it for me for now. Tomorrow starting hopefully much earlier.
[x] Approach Kaguya about the cultural festival

Seems like the lesser evil to me.
[X] Approach Kaguya about the cultural festival

I really don't think the blunt approach would work at this time.
[x] Approach Kaguya about the cultural festival

"better than the doll option" yeah right. And I predicted what would happen with the non-doll option (it'd come off as insincere) At this rate I don't think we'll make any real progress.

I think it'll be easier to approach Kaguya.
[] Bluntly mention it to Fujiwara.

Has to get her attention about it somehow.
Kaguaya was no less popular on her third day than her first. A group of girls formed a ring around her, all moving their desks and chairs to have lunch together. A guy would have to be either completely socially inept or foolhardy to disrupt the circle.

I thrust into the group without a care in the world. Ignoring the evil eyes and deadly glares, I focused on my objective. “Heya,” I greeted Kaguya casually. “Got a moment?”

She smiled at me, a torch of human warmth in increasingly frigid environs. Unlike the girls that had flocked to her, she did mind my presence in the least. “Would you like to share my lunch again?” she asked with almost provocative naivety. I wanted to look away, see if the others were hissing with disapproval.

“I'd like to talk to you again about something important, it can wait a bit. I'd just like to make sure we have some space first,” I said with a devilish little smile intended for the disdainful eavesdroppers. I was definitely getting a kick from being antagonistic.

“Then let's go now if it's important,” Kaguya said with a nod and got up from her seat. She apologized to the assembled group and excused herself. On the surface her words were welcomed with understanding approval but the looks I saw as she turned away told another story entirely. I smirked, telling them quietly what they could do with themselves.

The roof was the only real place where we could get guaranteed privacy. In a repeat from Monday we sat as before, lunchbox carefully unwrapped and shared. I had a clear objective but that didn't mean I couldn't enjoy a bit of tasty food first.

“How have your first few days been?” I made a bit of small talk while we ate.

“No complaints,” she said, “I'm glad that people are accepting me.”

Being pretty and well-spoken went a long way in helping someone fit in. Though if I said that aloud, I feared maybe she'd feel I was making fun of her. “You know, the cultural festival is coming up,” I moved the conversation up, “Have you gotten up to speed with our class' plans?”

“I've been trying my best to help with the decorations but I'm not sure that I'll be able to do much more.”

“Why's that?”

“It just seems that all the important roles have been given out already,” she said. “Oh, but I'm not complaining. That would be rather unfair of me. It's to be expected that they wouldn't account for a transfer student a mere week before the event.”

“Hm, well, if you were given a bigger role for the festival, would you be up to it?”

“If it's something within my meager abilities, I do not think it would be a problem,” she said a little bashfully. She avoided my gaze modestly like a court lady being asked about her talents. She would fit right in a production of a period drama, I thought. “I shouldn't expect that there's anything else I could do properly, however. Making posters and decorations is not that onerous a job.”

“How would you feel about performing for a crowd again?” I asked, my heart skipping a beat. I scanned her face for any signs of annoyance and waited.

“I very much doubt anyone would like to see me.” Instead of being reluctant or upset, she laughed. It was a short and unmistakably self-deprecating laugh. “I fear that poetry has a limited audience even at an all-girls school.”

“Perhaps not poetry, but what if you were singing? I bet people would turn up for that.”

“Ah, I see,” she nodded. “You must have been a fan, after all.”

“A fan?”

“Of the act, of course,” she stated firmly.

“I'm not sure I follow here,” I told her. She creased her brow, looking slightly at a loss. “I honestly don't know what you're talking about.”

“I've been too hasty with my conclusions, it seems,” she sighed. 'But now it would be unfair of me to leave things as they are. The club I've mentioned before was managed commercially for a brief period. There was a pair of albums and a special. In short, I was part of what you might know as an idol group.”

“Somehow that's not surprising,” I said without really thinking. It would make sense for the headmistress to want someone like that to be in our school. And for them to perform publicly. It would attract media attention and reflect positively on the school and its administration. No doubt there'd be an upsurge in enrollments and, therefore, tuition collected.

“I'm a little surprised that no one has recognized me yet,” she laughed once again. I realized that it probably made her a little uncomfortable to be carrying around a secret like that. “I suppose I wasn't very famous in the end. The stage costumes probably made me look like a different person.”

“I don't really follow that sort of stuff. Real life is more than enough with me without being enamored of girls I'll never meet,” I said. Quickly with a wink, I added, “though I guess in this case I'm living the dream. Being alone with an idol on the rooftop is something straight out of a romance manga. All that's missing is the setting sun in the background and...” I let my voice trail off. No need to confuse the mood by bringing in love confessions. “Well, your secret is safe with me at any rate. I gather that you don't want this sort of thing to get around the school.”

“I was never really comfortable with all the attention,” she said, looking increasingly flustered. Once again she averted her eyes. Kaguya fidgeted a little, tugging at the cuffs of her uniform. “I'd be grateful to you if you kept this to yourself.”

“Hm, no chance of you wanting to perfom at the cultural festival, then?” I asked her. Had nothing to lose. “If you wanted to I could arrange it.”

“I've retired,” she said. “And besides, I was one half of a duo. And if I am perfectly honest, I do not think I was the main attraction. I just let myself get swept up in all that craziness.”

“What if we reunited the duo?”

“Simply impossible,” she said. “The ways things ended precludes that. I doubt she'd speak to me, let alone sing with me.” Laughing again, she said rather succinctly, “I wouldn't talk to her again either.”

Well, that severely limited my options.

[] Tell her the truth. The school expects her to make the cultural festival a hit.
[] Leave her alone. She's happy as she is. Big Sis and the headmistress are on their own.
Didn't we ask for advance payment for this? This will annoy Yuyuko if we give up.
[X] Tell her the truth. The school expects her to make the cultural festival a hit.

No point in giving up so fast, as our previous cases have shown.
It's a bit too depressing to update with a single vote so sleeping on it, Not even sure if the time matters anymore when it comes to posting stuff.
[x] Tell her the truth. The school expects her to make the cultural festival a hit.

I hope it includes Arc saying he really likes her as a friend and that he's being honest as not to insult her.
[x] Leave her alone. She's happy as she is. Big Sis and the headmistress are on their own.

I care what Big Sis thinks but sometimes it is not right to force someone to do something just because.
[x] Leave her alone. She's happy as she is. Big Sis and the headmistress are on their own.

Even if it's a failure, pressuring her here feels wrong somehow.
[x] Tell her the truth. The school expects her to make the cultural festival a hit.

If the other option wasn't giving up completely, I would take it but as it is, giving up so fast on the task feels wrong to me.
I tried to comment on stuff that would soften the reality as I'd figured that Arc admitting it would be more a show of respect than not.

That and if we keep her in the dark, it'll be worse when Kaguya finds out from someone else.
This has a strong potential to ruin the friendship. All the pieces are going to fall into place with this.
She'll connect the dots. We missed the chance to bond at the afterschool prep event when we ditched with Suika. I can see little chance for success at this point, the best we can do is salvage a friendship with her. That's not a terrible takeaway if you ask me.

Regardless, that vote is a manipulative lie. I cannot support it. If you continue down that path, you best be prepared for the aftermath.
And keeping her in the dark won't work because sooner or later it will be revealed. I wouldn't put it past Yuyuko to suddenly reveal it at the worst time just to 'punish' Arc for blowing off the task.

That and the author said our comments could affect how the choice plays out, hence my attempt at softening the blow associated with this. Maybe things might get easier if we actually remembered that instead of assuming they're completely set in stone.
Well, it's not like we did it out of a malicious intent. Yeah, kinda dickish that the school expect her and Mokou to do this. And I suppose we'll take part of the blame for it. But hey, it's not like we spent time with her just for that.

Anyway, if she truly doesn't feel like it and not because of anything we can help out with, then that's it. Kind of a shame, but her doing it without actually wanting to enjoy doing it would be even worse.

The specific wording of that vote is a bold-faced lie. There is nothing you can say to soften that blow.

There is exactly one person expecting her to perform and that is the headmaster. By her own words, she said that most people don't recognize her because she's out of costume.

How do you even say something like this after she clearly just accused him of having an ulterior motive? At least wait until we've had time to actually build up her trust again.

I'm not usually one to harp on worst case scenarios, but I really believe this one is a ticking time bomb.
[x] Tell her the truth. The school expects her to make the cultural festival a hit.

I hope Arc makes note that she doesn't have to do anything if she doesn't want to. Tell her she has his full support, whatever decision she makes. I don't want to force her into anything if she's happy the way she is. If she actually wants to perform though, we'd be happy to help out if she tells us how.


>The specific wording of that vote is a bold-faced lie.
>There is exactly one person expecting her to perform and that is the headmaster. By her own words, she said that most people don't recognize her because she's out of costume.

If you take the vote in context, "The School" refers to the schools faculty, rather than the entire school. It's like when someone says the school called their parents; they don't mean that all the students decided to call up their parents to bitch about them cutting class.
In case it wasn't clear this choice is between pursuing the idea of having them perform and having an out. This is why the second choice is phrased the way it is. If you think it's worth the effort to keep on pushing the idea tell her what the school expects. There's definitely implicit pressure there. Telling her the truth is the only way Arc thinks he might get her to do it. Whether you think that's good or bad is your call. And naturally you'll have to deal with Mokou as well, despite the fact that you keep ignoring choices with her or haven't agreed on a strategy to deal with her. I don't mean to discourage you, just clearly stating what you should expect. The choice is there because railroading should only be a thing when it comes to sexy times. Also I guess it does sort of affect your relationship with Kaguya and Yuyuko. So convenient relationship development as well.

Also I've been busy/hoping that you'd discuss this among yourselves. Hence not writing despite wanting to. I dunno if this post changes things but I'm going to wait a while longer.

We could always hand back the tickets, considering we haven't used them yet.


>hoping that you'd discuss this among yourselves

Not sure how much there is left to discuss, besides planning to deal with Mokou. I can't think of anything more relevent to say at this juncture.

Also, bump so people can see Teruyo's post.
Not sure how to approach Mokou as I'd think she'd take things worse than Kaguya.

Seems like a sadistic choice:

Tell the truth and possibly hurt Kaguya's feelings or not tell it and likely invoke Yuyuko's wrath.

>Not sure how to approach Mokou as I'd think she'd take things worse than Kaguya.

...We could offer her a couple of free movie tickets, I guess? I dunno, I'm not a very social person.

I suppose we should start by asking Kaguya about why they split up and what happened to put them on such bad terms. Once we have more information we can figure out how to tailor our approach. That's all I've got anyway, any other ideas?

Maybe Kaguya and Mokou could get over their issues by going to the movies together and remembering how much fun they had before whatever happened happened, or something.
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Two groups of choices that cover the various potentials of the multifaceted choice. Choose only one choice from either A or B, choosing what you would like to emphasize from within either group. Any (or all) of these options in the group may come to pass if the majority choose options within a group. These outcomes should have been covered by previous discussion in more detail and speculation. There is probably something I am skipping over too when writing these out but I think it presents both the pros and cons of either previous choice. At any rate, implications have been implied.

Group A:
[] Admit outright the ulterior motives and directly pressure Kaguya (and eventually Mokou) to perform.
[] Keep helping Yuyuko and the school.
[] For better or worse whatever happened in the past will have to be dealt with perhaps forcibly and will likely involve both girls directly interacting.
[] Possibly completely change how Kaguya views Arc in the short term by exposing his ulterior motives for hanging around with her but perhaps later change the nature of future interactions.

Group B:
[] Spare her the anxiety and tension.
[] Stop being so beholden to the school's interests.
[] The relationship started before even meeting Yuyuko so it should be fine to continue on its present course.
[] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.

Vote as would be usual since this is also a very obvious headcount.
Do you mean choose one group, or cherry-pick from each group? Just want to be clear.
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>[x] Possibly completely change how Kaguya views Arc in the short term by exposing his ulterior motives for hanging around with her but perhaps later change the nature of future interactions.

Is this the option where we tell her the truth, but also tell her she doesn't have to do anything if she doesn't want to? Because if so, then I'll pick this one. If not, pic related.
[x] Possibly completely change how Kaguya views Arc in the short term by exposing his ulterior motives for hanging around with her but perhaps later change the nature of future interactions.

We are being honest and making friendship at the same time. Works for me.

Also glad you're posting again. Thank you.
If I understood the wording correctly, you said to only choose one, so:
[x] Keep helping Yuyuko (and the school).
Big Sis is my favorite character of the ones relevant and overall one of my favorites in the entire story, so it's only natural that I want to help her. As a bonus, what she wants in this situation is the most interesting path.

With that said, a few thoughts on these choices:
>[] Admit outright the ulterior motives and directly pressure Kaguya (and eventually Mokou) to perform.
>[] For better or worse whatever happened in the past will have to be dealt with perhaps forcibly and will likely involve both girls directly interacting.
This is the only way forward that I can see. We need to get the two to perform and Kaguya just stated that it would not happen under normal circumstances, so we have to be blunt about it. These choices would be the first step toward that change, so I can agree with them.

>[] The relationship started before even meeting Yuyuko so it should be fine to continue on its present course.
>[] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.
These choices I disagree with. I'm obviously biased toward getting them to perform together, but even so, the status quo is not good. Other than not rocking the boat or maybe not pissing off the two girls in question, I do not see any benefit toward choosing these options.

From a story standpoint, we have much to gain yet not as much to lose in this situation. We can gain support from Big Sis and the school and if it goes well, with a lot of effort, we might even improve the relations between the two girls (and with Arc too, hopefully). Naturally, this can also go horribly wrong and we might lose trust/friendship with Kaguya/Mokou and maybe some other people too. However, Arc has shown that he really doesn't give a toss about what most people think of him, and while it might hurt for a while if we fail, I think we can come out for the better. Plus, Arc is pretty bullheaded stubborn and strikes me as the type who will not leave an issue well-enough alone, so not trying to help them (in his own bullheaded way) would gnaw at him until he learns the truth of what's going on between the two.

In a meta sense, leaving things as they are is boring. I have no doubt that Teruyo can (and will, if it comes to that) continue to make this story interesting, but call me nosy, I want to know the history between these two and try to see if we can fix it. It might end poorly for us, but it will provide a great conflict for us to focus on all the same. Who wouldn't want to see more of Kaguya and Mokou, anyway?

>[] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.
I expressly disagree with this choice, as I want to know their pasts and everything else about them too!

Cheers for the update, Teruyo. Hope to see more of them.
Add me to the headcount. I'm at work so I can't really vote yet but I'm here.
[x] For better or worse whatever happened in the past will have to be dealt with perhaps forcibly and will likely involve both girls directly interacting.

[x] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.

Count me in Teruyo, pleased to see you writing again and sorry for realizing so late that you are writing again. Don't check the site more than ocne per day because of Keymaster.
It was my way of doing a recap post based on what people were saying earlier. And a few of my dramatic liberties sprinkled in. Choose only one option but all the choices in either group are that 'option' potentially because it's what you can deduce about the previous choice. Sorry if it wasn't clear. Just wanted to give the people a clear picture while trying to pick up where we left off myself.

Makes me feel bad if you apologize. No sweat. This is just me feeling the waters with no real time limit or expectations. Either more time will pass and no one else will say anything and I'll have my headcount or we'll exceed the rough number I had decided beforehand warranted immediate updates. Former case means I update a bit later, latter sooner and hope people notice updates anyhow.

And yeah, it should go without saying that I feel bad about the gap. As tired as it may sound coming from me, sorry guys.
[x] For better or worse whatever happened in the past will have to be dealt with perhaps forcibly and will likely involve both girls directly interacting.

Kaguya's a good girl. Very likable, possibly my favorite so far. At this point, I want to see the two reconcile. At this point, the performance is a secondary concern for me. This is going to be an uphill battle. I just hope I can read the subtle hints in each update correctly.

It's been a while though, getting into the groove again will be difficult.
>[] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.

I'm picking this, because ther eis no way that forcing them to sing together will work. Not only will it leave a bad impession on Kaguya, Mokou will also never accept to it.

So, in my opinion, building a relationship with them first, specially Mokou since she's the tough nut, is the better way. The past will come up when it comes up (or when one sees the Arc with the other or he decides to have a date with both at the same time.)
[X The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.

I choose this because ultimately Arc has to build a relationship with them before he can get them to work together. Forcing them to work together will not be beneficial.
Oh totally forgot to reply to this
No it isn't. Either you tell the truth and keep at helping Yuyuko or you don't. The options are implications stemming from each one you guys were arguing about earlier. So I'm guessing I shouldn't count your vote? I'm not sure but leaning towards not. Tell me if you're still around either way please.

At any rate, I think I have my rough headcount now. If you happen to stumble upon this, the voting is still open. Until later today or maybe as late as tomorrow. I'll let you know when I actually get to writing as it depends on my schedule/unlazying myself (I know, I know see previous image vis a vis me being a fag).

Clearly the answer is dating Kaguya to make Mokou jealous and then turning it around on her for delicious hatesex
[x] The past is relevant only insofar however Arc chooses to interact with either girl in the future when building upon his relationship with them.


Rather just get to know them without any pressure.

>So I'm guessing I shouldn't count your vote? I'm not sure but leaning towards not. Tell me if you're still around either way please.

Yeah, go ahead and ignore my vote. It's better if the vote is decided by people who actually prefer one option over another. Thanks for clarifying, Teruyo.
I guess I'm with >>58609 as the drawbacks to the choices got me pretty indecisive.
I agree with all but one of your points here. There is much to be lost at this juncture.

Choosing to move forward with the plan without telling Kaguya here is very risky. If she learns of Arc's ulterior motives later on, their relationship is sunk. Permanently.

Telling her now may be the best option if we want a chance at making the duo perform together.

I say, don't do it for the school, do it for Kaguya. I say full disclosure would work well. I honestly like >>58597's idea. That's probably how I'd put it. Then again, I'm true-blue sort of guy.
Well, you have about an hour or so to make up your mind. My advice? Go with your heart.
Ok, calling it now. Don't expect full speed just yet. The update will come 'soon' as I try to ease back into things (and voting will be open for at least half a day to get people back so don't worry about f5ing francticaly if you see this post).
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“It seems like it really is a bit of a sore subject,” I told her with a playful smile. “Even though you're trying not to show it, there's a certain sharpness to your eyes when you talk about the past.”

“How embarrassing,” she lamented, “I wouldn't want you to think me obsessed, let alone bitter.”

I completely denied her assessment. “It's nearly imperceptible. And besides, I kind of like seeing you a little bit focused. Adds an air of mystery. And a guy like me is a sucker for a girl with some sort of mystery about them.”

“Is that how it is?” she asked, looking uncertain. Her eyes softened and her eyebrow twitched upward ever so slightly as the rest of her face threatened a pout. It seemed like she wanted to ask me to explain my logic some more but ultimately decided against it.

It made me want to play with her a little.

“Don't worry, I won't pry any further,” I said. Then, I followed with a spirited addendum, “if in the course of getting to know you better some of those mysteries were to slowly be revealed to me I certainly wouldn't complain. In fact, I'd relish it. True beauties always have such interesting back stories.”

“You flatter me,” she said, affected by my words. Kaguya moved to cover her mouth modestly, looking tantalizingly close to blushing. What man in my position wouldn't want to take it further?

“Not at all,” I said a little coyly, “I told you that this was almost like a scene out of a romance manga. I mean what I said. I would have to be dead for a decade for me not to feel lucky at being able to see you up this close. I took a gamble on coming on too strong, “in short, you're breathtaking.”

“And you leave me breathless,” she said, trying her best not to lose her composure. It was a delightful sight to see her smile at the compliment and try to hide it, for fear of coming off as too conceited. “Or, at the very least,” she said, “tongue-tied. I'm afraid I don't know how to reply to your excessive compliments.”

“You don't have to,” I told her with a chuckle, “it's just whatever silly thought passes through my mind. I don't wish to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“I must admit that exaggerated flattery, taken to the level of the theatrical, does make me feel uncomfortable. Something about you makes me believe that it's somewhat believable and genuine coming from you. Though, perhaps, it is my own vanity that wishes for it to be so.”

Maybe I had laid it upon her a little thick.



The realization of what she had actually said hit me slowly but with the force of a hurricane. My heart pumped hard, as if to chastise my slow-witted brain for not reacting properly, sarcastically sending excess blood to nourish the rest of my dumb body.

“Are you,” the words escaped my lips slowly and my voice nearly cracked, “-are you saying that it's because you like me?”

Now it was her turn to tease. With a reserved smile, or maybe more of a sly grin in truth, she sad, “I believe you said that you preferred girls with something of a mystery in them. And answering you, I feel, would be quite the opposite of being mysterious.”

She had me there. I didn't have a convincing excuse or followup. And I loved it.

At any rate, I had tried my best. I wasn't looking forward to telling Big Sis about how things went down but it was just something I would have to live with. There wasn't much else to do but to spend the rest of the break happily chatting about this and that.

We parted when the first bell rang. Kaguya excused herself, claiming that she wished to wash her hands before class started. “I do not know if what we talked about was very important but I would not mind repeating the experience in the future,” she said playfully before leaving. Well, I couldn't complain with a conclusion like that.

I was about to return to class when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Against the current of students returning to class, a figure walked towards the stairs. A feeling of unease washed over me as my mind contemplated the obvious. Then again, I didn't really need to talk to her anymore and she probably would be none to happy to see me either. Last time I had tried to talk to her, I had seriously ticked her off. Quite probably would cause me more trouble than she was worth.

[] Follow Fujiwara
[] Karma can be a bitch. It's best to lay low in class.
Updates hooray.

And there actually is a girl who can turn the tables on Arc. She looked right through him and teased him back so I am not sure how much she actually likes him. Would be kind of early.

[x] Karma can be a bitch. It's best to lay low in class.

Might not wish to push your luck there. At least I get the impression that it might be best to wait for now but I am not sure if we get a good chance later on? If someone else has a better idea or plan?
[x] Karma can be a bitch. It's best to lay low in class.

Going after Mokou right after leaving Kaguya could lead to some bad rumors.
[X] Karma can be a bitch. It's best to lay low in class.

Would be best for Mokou to approach Arc herself. Hopefully she'll do so soon.

Sadly, I think odds are that she would be here to trash-talk Kaguya and telling us her true self is not how she was so far. Maybe. We'll see.
[] Follow Fujiwara

Keep trying, sooner or later she will give up adn accept him.
[x] Karma can be a bitch. It's best to lay low in class.

>>58616 You mean more bad rumors? Though by now it might be expected by the rest of the school.
[x] Follow Fujiwara

She still owes Arc, why not collect now?
Writing now. Expect an increase in speed.
I had been playing with fire all too much as of late. It made me happy. But I know at the same time that it wasn't wise to keep at it. Taking too many risks just made it likelier that it would come back and bite me in the ass.

Everyone in class was in their seat by the time the second bell rang. The teacher was punctual and began to dutifully drone on about this or that while I started to daydream. I only paid enough attention to know roughly where we were in the textbook. Getting called upon to provide and answer was rare but I didn't want to get caught out that easily. Being chewed out was such a chore.

One time Suika asked me how I kept getting decent grades despite skipping class all the time. Her theory was that I studied at home like a good little boy. Of course, the smirk on her face was easy to recall. I retaliated by calling her stupid and giving her a noogie. I may have gotten punched in the stomach as a result. Or maybe that was the time I stole her bread and slobbered all over it before handing it back. Events like those blurred together at times. At any rate, the truth of me being an okay student was simply that I retained information easily. A quick glance at the textbook and I already could remember most of the concepts described. Not like everything. But just enough to do ok on quizzes and most tests. Maybe it was also luck. They usually asked about the few bits I remembered.

I'd sooner die than admit that I enjoyed school. But I didn't really mind sitting around and letting myself unwind for a few hours. Sure, didn't beat a massage given by a beautiful woman but then again, I had to have realistic expectations.

Class was over before I knew it. `

“Hey, are you busy today?” To my surprise, Alice pulled me aside after class. There was a poorly-hidden sense of anxiety showing in her eyes. Like she had been wrestling with her own thoughts for a while.

“Why, what's up?” I asked, casually. One would think that after a few days of calling us a couple the rest of the class would quit it, but I could tell that everyone that passed us was smirking at us. “I'm going to go ahead and say that I don't feel like going to practice. I told you that I'm not the manager of the club anymore.”

“It's not that,” she said softly, “I just wanted to talk to you about something... privately if possible.”

I tried to read her further. I had no clue what it was she was thinking. It was unlike her to be so soft-spoken with me. In public, she tended to be much more assertive.

“Do you want to walk home together and talk?” I asked.

She shook her head,”no. Let's wait until we're back home.”

“Is there any rush?”

“No, not really...” she trailed off, looking at me as if trying to guess what I was thinking. “So long as it's some point today, it should be fine.”

I was unexpectedly popular, it seemed. Standing by her desk, surrounded by chatty girls making plans for the afternoon, Kaguya silently stole a glance in my direction. She deliberately let her gaze rest on me for a moment, smiling politely at the other girls. There definitely was something on her mind as well. And there she was, getting caught up in the interminable plans of the other students.

A lone figure stood by the classroom door. She looked in my direction quietly, displaying a perfect poker face. I hadn't seen her in a while either. Last time she had run away, telling the stupidest excuses to get away from me. Somehow it felt like a rare thing to see Patchy waiting for me. She had her book bag with her and seemed willing to wait for me for as long as it took. Her lips moved slowly, mouthing a deliberate invitation. “Arc,” they silently said.

[] Go with Alice right away.
[] Throw Patchy a bone.
[] Rescue Kaguya from being the center of attention.
Alice said that she can wait until later so it is not that important right now. But that does not mean that spending time with her would be good right now. Just from a viewpoint who can wait and who not.

Then again he had a good time with Kaguya and it could possible be a way to solve the problem with her more easily. Conversation, getting closer, finding out more, etc. It might be a fund way to spend more time like before with her.

>Her lips moved slowly, mouthing a deliberate invitation. “Arc,” they silently said.

Yeah sorry but I can't not not choose this. Let's bon- I mean I am ready to accept the invitation of hers.

[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

[] Rescue Kaguya from being the center of attention.

For the same reasons >>58623 stated to help Kaguya. Getting her more and more dependant on arc is also...appealing.
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

Alice said she can wait and Kaguya wouldn't take it tooo badly I think.
Patchouli didn't get enough attention from us!
[x] Rescue Kaguya from being the center of attention.

A princess needs her knight to save her.
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

Curious to see what she wants, for her to go out of her way like that.
Like >>58623 said, Alice can wait a bit, so its a toss up between Kaguya and Patchy.

[x] Throw Patchy a bone.
I'll vote for Patchy, hopefully Kaguya doesn't get pissed.
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

It must be fairly important for Patchy of all people to seek us out! The curiosity is eating at me!
I want to change my vote from Patchy to

[x] Rescue Kaguya from being the center of attention.

Because I want to have hatesex with Kaguya/Mokou in the shed. Patchy is great but I am feeling a thing for Kaguya, she is just great and could be a Mistre- I mean a real counterpart for Arc. And this could lead to Mokou and lots of other fun.
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

Curious that we'd hear from her again. Well we should see Alice after this as I think there's some serious concern, that and we should limit how big of a splash we should make with Kaguya lest we drown in rumors.
[X] Rescue Kaguya from being the center of attention.

I am convinced that this is the best course of action at the present time.

Patchouli fans are the worst
[x] Throw Patchy a bone.

Kaguya isn't going to die if we let her hang this time. Plus I want to see why Patchy is looking for us.
ok. Writing nowish.

It disgust me to my very core that people aren't going for the possibility of hatesex. Truly THP is the worst. Back in the day they would never have passed up the chance. What's next? Ignoring Yuuka for some other floozy? But most of all, not voting for a childhood friend is unforgivable.
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I left the classroom with my book bag slung over my shoulders. Patchy studied me carefully as I approached, her thoughts completely invisible to me. Not that that was anything new.

“Yo, “I greeted her casually, “didn't expect you to drop in. A bit of a surprise to see you here. Come to ask me out on a date?” The was no point in not playing my strengths – mainly acting confident and nonplussed.

She stared right into my eyes, unflinching. Perhaps trying to determine if I was done talking. I cracked a smile and winked. Seemingly unimpressed, she finally spoke, “I want to take you somewhere.”

“Yes ma'am,” I chirped happily, “I'll go with you to hell and back if need be.”

“Just a short distance will do,” she replied, quite unfazed.

No point in fighting her. She led and I followed. All the way up a flight of stairs. And then to an empty science lab. It was where we usually had chemistry. Rows of filled flasks and suspensions lined the back of the room and bunsen burners and clamps of all sizes ran along the side near the windows. A small door near the back led to a storage room where the more volatile substances were kept.

Patchy closed the door behind us and sat on a stool at a nearby workstations, turning to face me. She crossed her legs , hiking up her skirt (perhaps inadvertently) and exposing a tantalizing amount of soft-looking inner thigh. If I were to pretend to drop something and looked at her, I'd probably see her knickers. Uh, but even I wasn't that brazen. Usually.

“You may want to take a seat,” Patchy advised, still not letting her intentions show through her neutral expression. “I apologize if I'm disrupting your plans,” she began.

“I'm happy to be disrupted by you,” I said. “What's up?”

“I need a little advice,” she said, “regarding relationships,” I watched as she carefully enunciated her words, pronouncing every syllable deliberately. Maybe I was weird, but I found it a bit... alluring. Like she was savoring the moment fully somehow.

“Oh? I thought you weren't really prepared or even desired one?” I found myself a little surprised at her request. “Could it be that you miss me that much already?” It was cause for celebration. My inexhaustible charms had won the day.

“Regarding that,” she continued, her pace still slow and meticulous, “there has been no change in the situation. And, in fact, I seriously doubt our compatibility is very high to begin with.

“This is the sort of thing that you won't know until you try. Love isn't an equation, you know.” I said with a wink. “Give me a chance and I'm sure I'll exceed your expectations.

“Let's leave that aside for some other time,” Patchy shot me down firmly. “I wish to use your experience and knowledge and apply it to another situation. Regarding a third party.”

“In short you're asking about a friend,” I nodded knowingly. I would play along if needed.

“That's correct,” she continued to play her role. The possibility that she was seriously asking about a friend could not be entirely discarded, however. It was hard to tell just where her poker face ended and her naivety began. “This friend of mine is in a very... intense relationship. Engaging in the most carnal displays of affection imaginable.”

“Sounds like she's having fun,” I smiled. “Nothing like being intimate with someone you care about.”

“Perhaps...” she trailed off for a moment, “it is not the acts themselves that concern me but their brazen nature. And sometimes very public character. This is an old acquaintance of mine and I would hate it if she had to suffer negative repercussions due to her controversial love life.”

“It's kind of hard to control people who are like that. They just seek an ever-increasing thrill until they get caught some day,” I said.

“Yes, but they should not partake in sexual congress at the school, I'm sure you'll agree,” she said dourly. “If two students are caught in intimate acts on the school grounds they may suffer harsh penalties. And it is not easy to dissuade them from being so... proactive. As my friends partner also enables her a little too much. Incidentally, she is also a friend and I care about her well-being.”

“A couple of girls? Oh, so it's like that...” the coin dropped. “I guess it would be extra scandalous if two girls were seen together.” At least with a man involved, he'd be lauded as a hero by all of the male student body. The two girls would be shunned more.

“At any rate, I'm not sure what I can do to keep them from ruining themselves. I know they would react negatively if they knew that they had actually been caught in the act.”

“.,..these girls... they wouldn't happen to be in your homeroom, would they?” I had a strong suspicion that they had already been seen.

“I cannot say, sorry,” she said, perhaps betraying the truth by answering a little quicker than usual.

[] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.
[] Reassure her in a general way. She'll only worry herself sick if she begins to obsess about their relationship. It's their choice, after all.
[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

Well it's true and Patchy deserves enough respect for the truth.
So what does Patchy really want from Arc? Does she want the truth or does she want a general lie? And would telling the truth help those two at all? Would it not make them go out even more because they were seen? Or would it make them stop?

Those are some hard questions to answer and too many ifs here. We can only assume that Patchy would want to hear the truth here and nothing else. Either you talk her out of this, what I don't think will work, or you will agree to something that she already wants to hear/happen.

She did come to Arc for help so let us be honest with her. Not sure if the truth might hurt her or help those two but at least we tried. It is in their hands now.

[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.
[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

As awkward as this is going to be, she should probably know before someone less scrupulous finds out.
[X] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

Better for her to know now than to discover it at a worse time.
[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

Might as well be honest. Then Arc and Patchy can figure out what to do. If anything can be done.
[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

Considering we've seen them together already, the second option would be flat out lying about our assessment of the situation.
[x] Tell Patchy that you've seen them together already. They're not being subtle at all. And at this rate things might end poorly.

I've been waiting since forever for that little incident to become important again. At the time, it felt completely out of left field and was never touched on again!
[x] Reassure her in a general way. She'll only worry herself sick if she begins to obsess about their relationship. It's their choice, after all.

Guys, this is most likely their fetish. They want to be discovered and seen, and to come out of the closet this way.

Let them continue, at least they will keep giving good shows.
I confirmed her fears by telling her what I had seen.

“I suspect you are neither the first nor last,” Patchy said after a pause. I didn't have to name any names for either of us to be sure we were talking about the same pair.

“What will you do?” I asked.

“I am not sure that there is anything to be done,” she sighed. “Telling me what you have told me is really the only thing that can realistically be done. If the wish to pay me no heed, that will be that.”

“Is there anything that I can do?”

Patchy chuckled. It was a cold, nearly-sarcastic chuckle. It showed sardonic amusement. “Any further involvement on your behalf would simply be hypocritical.”

“I don't follow,” I felt a little thrown off. I was slowly coming to the realization that she had a less-than-stellar idea of what I was like.

“Simply put,” she said without hesitation, “you are the last person who could lecture on discretion.”

“I guess that's what you get for kissing a girl in public,” I tried to laugh off her comment. No use getting too soured up about it.

“If only that were the extent of the whispering regarding you and your love life,” she said fatalistically, “then there would be some leeway for us to work with.”

“What else have you heard about me?” I was at once concerned. I tried to not let too much crap stick to my name if at all possible. It wasn't good for my easy-going life to be a center of amusement and attention.

“Idle talk,” Patchy said, seeming completely uncaring of the subject. It seemed like the subject didn't interest her. “Enough to completely invalidate you as a voice of restraint and chastity.”

“So why come to me for advice if I can't get my own life in order?” I asked, annoyed and going heavy on the sarcasm. The bluntness of her judgment was irritating. Her incisive and analytic nature had been useful when she was on my side. Now that it was turned against me, it seemed cruel and rigid.

“There was a chance that you would have known about the particular case,” she said, not at all rising to the emotional bait. “Other classmates may know of rumors but you were my best bet for confirmation of what I suspected.”

“So you used me for information about your friend, not really caring what I had to think about the subject matter? Because I couldn't possibly be sensible giving my own lifestyle? Do I have that right?” I said with a raised eyebrow.

“It was manipulative on my behalf,” she confessed, looking as steady as always. Was her poker face in fact a real lack of caring for how I felt, I wondered. “I thought you of all people would understand how being incisive was the most desirable course of action. Or was all that business with those girls I assisted with just an aberration for you?”

“You could have been honest with me upfront. Let me know more about what you were thinking first.”

“If you had known nothing about my friends then letting you be privy to my thoughts could have inflamed the situation further. For you may have taken it upon yourself to find out more regarding the subject,” she explained calmly. Getting up, she added, “now, if you'll excuse me, I have business elsewhere to take care of. Thank you for your time.”

I couldn't believe it. After all that she was just going to get up and go on her way.

“This isn't how friends treat one another,” I complained, unsure of what else I could say.

“I apologize if I have offended you,” she said, stopping just short of the door. “It wasn't my intention to insult you or your sensibilities. It is because we had a previous relationship that I thought this would be acceptable. I have noted your reluctance to collaborate and in the future I shall avoid imposing on you.”

“That's not it at all!” I exclaimed, feeling exasperated. “It wasn't that you imposed on me but how you did it.”

“We may discuss the subject some other time, if you wish,” she said uninterested. “Now if you'll excuse me...”

[] The conversation isn't over! Chew her out for her attitude.
[] Let her go. She won't listen if the subject is pressed further.
[x] Let her go. She won't listen if the subject is pressed further.

Binary choice B, come on down. Too bad there isn't an option to tell Patchy that he wasn't being hypocritical, but concerned. Oh well.
[x] Let her go. She won't listen if the subject is pressed further.

Well she won't understand the reason behind this and I doubt that pressing on would help much at all. She is a real dick about this whole thing.

[] Let her go. She won't listen if the subject is pressed further.

Ah, well, nothing that can be done right now. better let them get this off their head for now and discuss it better later.
[x] Let her go. She won't listen if the subject is pressed further.

She's getting defensive, doing anymore would only backfire. That and there's more important things to worry about.

But for shame, Patchy.
[x] The conversation isn't over! Chew her out for her attitude.

Backfire my ass. She was a total dick just then and no matter what Arc may be, he is definitely not a dick!
that isn't true at all, is it?
Sorry buddy, you were completely outgunned. If it makes you feel any better, I would have voted with you. Being hotblooded in moderation works. Arc isn't the type to stay quiet about this sort of thing especially when it comes to his friends. But that's my opinion as just a guy and not as the all-knowing author. So don't get your panties in a wad, people. Though, as an author I'll meekly add, it would be nice if you guys thought more about context of characters and cause and effect. Patchy's reaction shouldn't have been a surprise at all and I hope that isn't a problem with me expressing ideas in the updates. If it is, let me know.

With that all said, I was originally going to say that I'm writing nowish.
She left me with a final little nod of goodbye. I breathed out as if I wanted to completely get rid of all the air in my lungs. Then I took in air, filling myself to capacity. I exhaled again and began to collect myself.

With the cultural festival so close, most club activities were temporarily halted. So the majority of students either stayed in their own classes and helped to build props and decorations for the festival or simply went home. That meant that the school felt less lively almost as soon as classes ended. Looking out through a window overlooking the track, a few die-hard athletes were stretching and doing a few warm up exercises. But they were a minority.

I passed by my classroom again on my way down. Only Reimu was still around, putting up a few notices on the message board up front. I couldn't pass the chance to at least say hello.

“Need any help?” I asked.

“I've got this,” she said quietly, not bothering to look at me.

“You shouldn't work yourself so hard, class rep,” I told her, picking up a few fliers announcing the upcoming club exhibitions and displays for the cultural festival. Seemed like it was the same as every year. Haunted houses, cosplay cafes, the occasional play or series of skit (including amateur hour stand up – best avoided) and a few contests and competitions (usually in the form of quizzes or bingo). Boring stuff. I had half a mind to stay home.

“I do what I have to do,” she scowled, clearly not in the mood for my usual attitude.

“Come on, at least show me a smile,” I teased, ignoring the warning signs of the potential hazard. “Class rep, I often think to myself that you'd be the most popular girl in school if you just smiled some more. I know I'd be a slave to your charms.”

“The last thing I need,” she said as she slammed a stapler against the wall to fix a flier in place, “is for you to start following me around like a lost puppy. I wouldn't manage to get any work done.”

“So harsh!” I exclaimed with a laugh. “It's alright though - your fiery side entrances me as well.”

“I only wish that it would inspire you to be more responsible and stop clowning around all the time.”

“Who's a clown?” I pointed at myself with comic exaggeration, “this bozo? If I had a horn with me, I'd be honking mad!”

Reimu sighed, my high-concept humor failing to charm her. She picked up a stack of extra fliers and tried to leave while ignoring me. My shadowing her like a cute little puppy wagging his tail also failed to impress her. “Don't you have anything more important to do than follow me around and be a nuisance?” she asked after she realized I wasn't going to go away.

“Probably. But I have a rare congenital condition you see.... I have to follow cute but uptight girls around until they smile. Or I'll literally die.”

“I'll make sure to eulogize you properly,” Reimu rolled her eyes, “'he wasn't a great man, or a good man. Some would say he was little more than a walking libido. He never even bothered to spend a whole day without making an ass of himself. A real medical mystery.”

“Oh, that sounds good!” I chucked. “It's boring to good and predictable.”

“Stop now please before you rot my brain further,” she said, stopping at the counselor's office. “What, are you really going to follow me in?” she asked, calling my bluff.

[] She needs to smile. Big Sis will help on that front. Maybe.
[] Turn tail and run. This isn't worth the trouble.
Likely the last update for at least a few hours. Probably but not definitely. Because being busy sucks, that's why.
[x] Turn tail and run. This isn't worth the trouble.

If Alice wasn't waiting and dealing with Yuyuko didn't dig the hole deeper, I'd think about the other choice.
[x] She needs to smile. Big Sis will help on that front. Maybe.

Big Sis~

Also, I feel that we should have pressed Patchy in that last vote. It's really bugging me to think that we just let her walk all over us like that. I also want to see her out of her comfort zone, to see what she's _really_ thinking.

Alice mentioned that she'd be fine if we at least spoke to her today. It's barely been a few minutes since we left Patchy, so time isn't an issue, I believe.
[x] Turn tail and run. This isn't worth the trouble.

Oh no, we've asked far too much from big sis as it is. Reimu will just have to turn that frown upside down on her own.
[x] Turn tail and run. This isn't worth the trouble.

Let's go see what Alice wants.
infamous last words as things can quicky grow out of Arc's control ESPECIALLY if Yuyuko's involved.
>Not worth the trouble

Am I seriously reading what I think I am reading?

How far the mighty have fallen.
[Z] She needs to smile. Big Sis will help on that front. Maybe.

Reimu IS worth the trouble.
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[x] She needs to smile. Big Sis will help on that front. Maybe.

A wise man said "what we do is dick all the 2hus"

I hope that I can one day be as wise as him.
Changing my vote.

[x] She needs to smile. Big Sis will help on that front. Maybe.

Mostly because I realized what the other anon said was true. We aren't in danger of missing our talk with Alice since it's after school
you haven't read these stories have you? Things have a way of snowballing. Look what happened when we choose to hang out with Suika: Arc wakes up next AFTERNOON hungover, fouling up the last part of the Orin and Okuu arc.

Futher more, I wouldn't put it past Yuyuko to tack on 2-3 more tasks that may take up the day.
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“After you,” I smiled, doubling down. If she thought I was going to blink first, she had another thing coming. She rolled her eyes and knocked on the door, clearly impressed by my manly tenacity. Patience was an integral part of the hunt, any hunter worth his salt would tell you.

“Ah, Reimu,” Big Sis wore a welcoming smile, “nice of you to drop by.” Spotting me hovering about, she added, “I see that you're under the escort of a gentleman today. How unusual.”

Reimu looked around, as if looking for something that was missing. “I'm sorry but I don't see any gentlemen around, so I fail to get what you mean.”

“Hear that Arc?” Big Sis teased, “yet another girl who thinks little of you. You sure do have a knack for picking them.”

“Beyond that hard shell I know there's a gooey center, so it's quite alright,” I said with a shrug. “Besides, I've always liked a challenge. If life were easy, it would be boring.”

Yuyuko chuckled, amused as always with my ways. Of course, it may well have been just a front. It was hard to tell what she may have been really thinking. “Alright my cute little Reimu,” she teased her as well, “I assume you're here about the thing we were talking about earlier?”

“Eh, no,” Reimu clammed up all of a sudden, “I just came to drop off these extra printouts. And discuss the preparations for the cultural festival.”

“Oh, I get it,” Big Sis winked at her, “so he's the one you were talking about? Sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you or anything.”

“I'm not embarrassed!” Reimu raised her voice. It came as a surprise to me. I couldn't follow what was going on. Big Sis' loving smile widened. I pictured a happy little spider playing with the fly caught in its web before ripping it apart. It was rare to be a spectator, I was usually the fly. “Jeez, what is with the people at this school? It's like you're all touched in the head.”

“Now now,” Yuyuko acted hurt. It was an academy award-winning performance. The look of pained surprise on her face could fool a seasoned detective. “I only want what's best for my precious students. You may have misunderstood me, sweet Reimu, but really I only want you to come out of your shell a little. A fine upstanding young lady such as yourself deserves happiness.”

Reimu seemed to falter. She was still ticked off but I observed in real time as her outrage began to crumble. “It's just that what we talked about I assumed was in confidence. And it's not like I mind discussing it... you just caught me off-guard, that's all.”

It's only natural, don't worry,” Yuyuko reassured her with a calm adult tone. Then she looked in my direction and, for but a microsecond, she showed the most impish expression I'd ever seen. The energy in her eyes was created by a source endless mischief. Turning back to her, she twisted the proverbial knife without any hesitation, “I'm sure Arc will love to hear that you were angry at him for not wanting to go out with you the other day. Men do love to hear that they're important. I mean, after all that acting you went through at Alice's he chose to stay with her! He's a naughty little monkey. But has a good heart. I'm sure if you tell him straight you'll capture his heart.”

“Wait... what!?” Reimu cycled through a range of emotions in an instant. Surprise, uncertainty, anger, denial, more anger and finally even more anger. “Oh that does it! I'm leaving!” she puffed and prepared to storm out.

“Now!” Yuyuko commanded. That was my cue.

I stood in front of Reimu, blocking her exit. She hesitated a moment, trying to decide what to do with me.

[] I'd get her to lighten up yet! Confess my undying love for her!
[] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!
[x] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!

Yes this will surely work! Perfect, I like this.
[Z] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!

After weighing the options I feel this is the best path forward. The other option seems like it would be making light of a serious situation too much.

and I'll always choose "[X] Run Away with Reimu" every time
[x] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!

Kidnap the miko.

[x] I'd get her to lighten up yet! Confess my undying love for her!

Oh, great, Reimu. As if we needed her, of all people, to want Arc.
[x] Call for Tewi

Welp there goes any chance of seeing Alice today.
you imply having touhous being attracted to you is a bad thing.

calm down, we'll get to alice.
[x] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!

I'm pretty sure the 'idiot' part is just part of the act.
Reimu probably wouldn't like the declaration of love thing very much - she'd see it for the joke that it is.
However, if we take advantage of Big Sis' opening, we can really get to know the miko better!
Thanks Big Sis!
[x] Call Big Sis an idiot, grab her hand and run away together!

I do not like the idea of a joke now, since she's been apparently pissed at us for a longer time.
Talk about Genre blindness. The more things that happen after making a promise to stop by that day, the dramatically lower the chances are of actually fulfilling it.
There seem to be no brakes on the writing train tonight. Hold on to your hats, updates coming soon!
I grabbed a hold of Reimu's hand. It came as a surprise to her. She didn't even have enough time to recoil and react negatively. Just as planned. I tugged her towards me.

“Big Sis, you're a huge idiot!” I bellowed at the top of my lungs as we took flight. I don't know if it was because the development was so unexpected or what, but Reimu just kind of went along with it, letting herself be led away by me. We cleared the door, went down the hallway at full speed and scrambled up several flights of stairs. There wasn't even time to get winded. We tore out of there like a bat out of hell, an idiotic grin plastered on my face.

I could only imagine what was going on in Reimu's mind as we ran. I couldn't well and stop to turn around and look at her without ruining our momentum. So instead I just focused on the path ahead while firmly holding her hand. It was a little sweaty, but I didn't mind at all.

I only dared to face the class rep when we reached our ultimate destination – my good old friend, the roof. It was later than I thought, apparently. The sun was low in the sky, the daily display of orange melancholy beginning to transform the world. The shadow from the stairwell extended halfway across the rooftop. We were at one edge, looking out over the city.

“So... that was fun,” I said flippantly, trying to catch my breath. The sudden sprint had winded us both. Reimu was a bit red in the face, obviously not having been prepared to go up several flights of stairs so quickly.

“What...” she began in between breaths, “was that... all about?”

“Seemed like you could use an excuse to get away in style,” I said with a wink. “Yuyuko was getting real personal.”

“Hardly,” she said, shaking her head. I watched her chest rise and fall intently as she finished catching her breath. The white blouse let me see the contours of her bra underneath if the light caught it just right. “I was on my way out anyhow.”

I looked up at her face, wary of not getting caught leering like an old man, “she's always soo full of crap. You got to fight insanity with insanity to make a difference sometimes.”

“I'm not really one for irreverence and insanity,” she frowned. “This sort of idiocy makes my head hurt.”

“Man, class rep,” I forced a sigh, “you really need to learn to relax. Even when we went to karaoke that one time you never seemed to really cut loose.”

“I can't let my guard down around the likes of you,” she grumbled.

“Or what? What's the worst that can happen?”

“You could try something stupid!” she snapped. “I really have a busy schedule. I don't have time to be caught up in stupidity.”

“Afraid you might like it?” I teased, about to spring the trap I had prepared.

“As if! Frankly I wish you were more of a proper young man. I don't know how Alice deals with you.”

“I'm no good for you, huh?” I chuckled. “Then tell me, oh my wonderfully judgmental class rep, why are you still holding on to my hand so tightly?”

She immediately let go. “I!” she began passionately but then caught herself. Using a more normal voice, she explained, “I simply forgot to let go. You got me caught up in the moment, that's all.”

“And was that really so bad? I mean, I could tell you were kind of nervous, but I bet you enjoyed the thrill of running away with me.”

“I'm going to say nothing else,” she said, “you're just going to keep twisting my words until you think you've won.”

“Fine, fine, no need to scowl so much. I just wanted to make you smile a bit. You really have to learn to take it easy. You'll burn out at this rate.”

“I'm quite fine, thank you very much. Now will you please leave me alone? I have to finish up a few things and head up home.”

“I still want to see you smile a bit,” I said firmly. “You'll look way cuter smiling than frowning.”

“You really are an airhead. Fine, I'll smile for you. If it means you'll leave me alone. We got a deal?”

[] Deal! Maybe it'll make her realize how silly she's being.
[] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.
[X] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

Want to see a real, genuine Reimu smile. a smile I can protect

after this we can go hunt an Alice
[x] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

The first option just doesn't seem right.
[x] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

That was fun.
[X] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

Reimu's genuine smile, the rarest of treasures.
[X] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

[x] Forcing it is no good. Swear to get her to smile for real one of these days.

Then Alice
I shook my head.

Reimu shot me a look of utter contempt. “What, not good enough?” asked, full of snark.

“Not good enough,” I said. “It's like a copy of a famous painting. If it isn't natural, if it isn't spontaneous and if it isn't original, then it's worthless.” I wasn't sure that I was being too clear with my analogy but she was probably smart enough to figure out what I really meant. “I'm not going to force you and I'm not going to accept a fake smile. I do promise, however, to make you smile for real one of these days. And I'll enjoy it and you'll enjoy it. You'll see.”

With an annoyed look that seemed to say, 'yeah whatever', she asked, “so you're going to leave me alone for now?”

“The thought of sticking by you like white on rice has crossed my mind,” I told her, “but yeah, I guess you can go along with your business just fine. There's still more battles to fight in the future.”

“Focus your energy on something productive, like studying. You'll flunk out if you keep getting grades like in the last math test.”

“Well, the one before I got top marks, so it evens out,” I said with a shrug. “What are you doing checking out my grades anyhow?”

“As class rep I'm the liaison between the students and teachers. It's only natural for me to keep an eye out on the problem students,” she said smugly. Well, she certainly took pride in her role at least.

“Yeah, don't fret over over me,” I said. “Frown lines will be the end of you. I think we've safely established that I prefer my girls to smile.”

“First of all, I'm not one of you girls,” she emphasized, now going into full-lecture mode. “Secondly, I am not 'fretting over you'. I am simply worried about your future in a purely academic sense. You wouldn't want to be a garbageman in the future instead of having a high-paying job, would you?”

“Garbageman sounds kinda nice actually. A lot of time to myself in the afternoons. Not too stressful. Enough to live on by,” I nodded as if it was a serous suggestion. “Who needs success and money when you have a loving partner and a decent job. You shouldn't look down on our dedicated trash collectors just because they deal with rubbish. It's a vital job to keep society running smoothly.”

“That's not my point at all!” she huffed. And puffed up. “Well, you know what, whatever. It's not my place to nag you.” Adding a parting shot with what she thought was cleverness, she said, “you already probably have more than enough on your plate with your wife nagging you constantly.”

Reimu began to walk away.

“Jealousy really doesn't become you, class rep!” I called out after her, all the while waving goodbye. “You don't need to compete for my attention with other girls, you've already got it whenever you wish it!”

She lazily waved goodbye without turning back, as if to say 'yeah yeah'.

I gave her some grace time to get down the stairs and then followed on and left the school. Walking home alone was boring but, well, it beat never making it back in the first place. I sent a message to Alice, telling her that I was on my way if she still wanted to talk. I got a reply a few moments back.

“sry busy, had 2 go out. Ttyl.” it said.

Well, that was a shame. I didn't really feel like going elsewhere though. I sent another message, telling her that I'd be home if she needed me. She never did get back to me. And the next morning, I was on my own.

I checked in on her at her home and found that she was out and her mom was in.

“She stayed over at a friend's,” she said with a yawn. Part of me wanted to stick around and chat her up, especially given the rare appearance of the two piece pajamas she was wearing. It was every man's dream, after all, to catch a glimpse of the good underneath a tight-fitting buttoned top that had gotten messed up during the course of the night. But I was going to be late for school if I dallied any longer. I couldn't think of a good excuse to bother Alice's mother either.

Homeroom began with two seats being conspicuously empty. One, was the long-absent Maria's and the other was Alice's. Mima didn't really seem to care about either absence, just noting that it was rare for Alice to be out. She didn't even bother to ask me if I knew anything. Kaguya turned around and smiled at me at some point, clearly meaning that I was likely letting my feelings of unease show on my face.

[] Signal Suika that it's time to ditch. There's more important things to do than sit in class.
[] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.
Welp, got ditched by Alice.

[x] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.

Let's go bother Yuyuko, see if shes gotten anywhere with Marisa.
[x] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.

Well, shit, we lost the time because of flirting around with Reimu. How useful this would be in the future is yet to see but hey it was kind of fun. And garbageman is a high paying job.

Time for Big Sis to help we now have two girls to worry about. Which is shit.
[X] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.

Well, there goes that conversation with Alice. Oh well, at least we got some time with Reimu to make up for it.
[x] Signal Suika that it's time to ditch. There's more important things to do than sit in class.

I wonder if this happened because we choose to dwaddle about with Patchy and Reimu. I know it likely has something to do with Marisa.

Not sure if going to Yuyuko is a good idea, she'd just make Arc's 'debt' worse and it's the fault of her tasks that certain things have become difficult.

I do wonder if we have any chance of actually helping Marisa with the seeming ADHD Arc has.
Seriously? We missed Alice's topic like this? Fucking hell.
[x] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.

Arc wouldn't forget to ask about Marisa.

Also, fuck, we need to focus on one person at a time.
This feels like some kind of downward spiral where we focus on one, ditch the other, focus on the other and ditch another one.
>helping Marisa
hahahhaa no. If you guys don't get your shit together then Marisa will be somewhere paying off her debts the hard way.

Here goes nothing guys, seriously decide on what to do now or we will get nowhere. I am all for helping Marisa and nothing else at the moment.
[X] Signal Suika that it's time to ditch. There's more important things to do than sit in class.

We can do better on our own I think rather than accruing debt.

[x] Go talk to Yuyuko. It's time for her to be useful.

Alice's abscence really worries me. I hope she is not in trouble. If there is a moment for Yuyuko to help (at least more directly), then it's now.
You really trust Yuyuko, the schemer with her own interests in mind, to lend us any aid whatsoever without a huge string attached? It's time to free ourselves of her web of deceit.
It okay dude she will help us. I know it just don't be paranoid here.
She's done nothing but get Arc into trouble and investing in her schemes has not paid off at all.

Name one time she came through for us. Have we ever came out on top in our dealings with her? We'd be better off trusting our streetwise friend who's had our back every single time.
The bell rang, ending homeroom. No one thought twice at the sight of me getting up from my desk and slipping away from the classroom. Probably too used to seeing me cut class to care. I made eye contact with Mima as she left but she didn't even bother to ask where I was going. It was both nice and depressing that the staff had given up on me.

I made my way, unchallenged, to Big Sis' office. A light rap on the door announcing my presence was all that was needed before I was let in.

She sat at her desk, a sizable stack of papers laid in front of her. A red pen in one hand and a mug of steaming hot coffee in the other, she was absorbed in her work.

“I thought only actual teachers had to mark papers,” I said, not really caring if she was actually trying to concentrate.

There was a pause. She circled a few items on a page and put her pen down. Taking a sip from her mug, she looked up at me. “Vocational aptitude tests,” she explained without much ceremony. “Not that you would ever appreciate the importance of choosing the right vocation.”

“Sounds like that would be the fault of my guidance counselor. It's their job to inspire their students to do their best, right?” I halfheartedly bantered, taking a seat without bothering to ask her.

“Yes, I suppose,” she conceded with a shrug, moving past our normal formalities. “ Here with bad news?” she asked.

“It's Thursday and you haven't gotten back to me about Marisa, for starters. And, uh, I was wondering if you knew where Alice was as well.”

“Ah, you sure are interesting,” she said with a sly smile, “when she's there, you don't really pay attention to her. But when she's gone, even for a day, you start acting like she's the most important thing in the world.”

“Hardly,” I replied, not amused. She wasn't about to turn the tables on me that easily. “Now are you going to answer my question or not?”

“Maybe your precious Alice has gotten herself another man. One that appreciates all that she'll do for him,” Big Sis winked, inappropriately. “Young girls these days are so forward with their affections, you know. Who knows what the unintended consequences may be? They tend to only become obvious a few months later,” she shook her head.“Yes, yes, you'll say that your relationship isn't like that but then I'll fire back that you're the only one who doesn't think so and yadda yadda we don't get anything done in the end.”

“Fine, we'll put Alice aside for the moment. What about Marisa?” I asked, following her lead and adopting a more acerbic tone. “Surely the great and resourceful Big Sis has managed to get something relevant by now. What with all your contacts and resources at your disposal.”

“I may have heard something interesting,” she said. “But it's nothing concrete and I'm not sure it's worth going into much detail about. What I'm more interested to know, is how go the preparations for the cultural festival? Do we have our two lovely performers all ready to go? They are the crown piece of the festivities, after all. And the headmistress would be all too disappointed if they were to fail to perform. She went to great lengths to recruit them to our school.”

I saw through her game. The sly fox of a counselor was working me over real good. I bet that she would try to keep me at arm's length unless I had good news to report. I had to hand it to her, she always was good at incentivizing people to listen to her.

[] The headmistress will have to be disappointed alright. Be aggressive in trying to find out about Marisa.
[] Lie and tell her it's a work in progress. A softer touch is needed.
[x] The headmistress will have to be disappointed alright. Be aggressive in trying to find out about Marisa.

Yeah as if Arc could lie to her and she would not outright see the lie. Either she is of help or of no help, there is really no time for games right now, I will gladly play this with her another time.

Maybe this plays into her hand but trying to show that you won't get pushed is a good thing. Or something like that.
She'll just keep attaching more and more strings to you until you are nothing more than her wooden puppet boy led by the nose with her feminine wiles.
Then she can just fuck off for all I care. It is fine and dandy to play her games and "help" girls but if she is just outright an asshole she can just sod off. We came to help to her and if she just does not help and wants something else than hey, I don't care. That is not how the world works. The point is that we need someone who can get informations and she can do that but it is not like she was very interested in helping the time that we went to her with that problem.

Big Sis is a pivot plot point of this story so she is relevant at all times because she helps us meet new girls etc etc. She just drives the story on and helps to improve whatever. Well, have faith in the writer I would say? Dunno.
[] Lie and tell her it's a work in progress. A softer touch is needed.

No, Teruyo, stop! No boyfriends for Alice, you cruel person.

Also, lie and deny, Arc is fucked in this assingment. Bettertry to delay the consequences, until we can solve what's troubling Alice.
[x] Lie and tell her it's a work in progress. A softer touch is needed.

Honestly not sure if it could be fixed but well generally if an Idol goes to a normal school, it means she's not interested in idol stuff.
[X] The headmistress will have to be disappointed alright. Be aggressive in trying to find out about Marisa.

You aren't going to get what you want by giving into her. You need to defy her a little and press her to deliver on past promises.
Half hour to break the tie. Otherwise coinflip. Got to keep at a constant pace.
File 140236262132.jpg - (376.95KB, 650x894, MalteseMagician.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] The headmistress will have to be disappointed alright. Be aggressive in trying to find out about Marisa.

Consequences be damned, we're gonna cut straight to the core. No more neglecting the people who matter.
Alright fine. Writing and whatnot.
“We're talking about someone that's important to me,” I told her. “I don't really feel like doing tit for tat right now. She's a student in this school and her well-being should be a top priority.”

“It very much is,” she deflected the criticism with indifference. “The thing is, however, it's none of your concern.”

“What?” I get getting a little hot under the collar. I tried not to lose my cool, knowing that I'd probably just be playing into her hands. “She's my friend, of course it's my concern.”

“Yes but strictly speaking,” Yuyuko said dryly, “any information I may have falls under the category of privileged information between myself and the student in question. In short, you have no right to know about her private life.”

“That's bull,” I tried my hardest to keep from yelling at her. “We've talked about her before without you raising any objections. You're just trying to manipulate me to do your own dirty work. I have half a mind to complain to the school board.”

“And tell them what? That you've been joining clubs to hit on girls?” she shook her head, “even if I don't say anything to contradict you that's how it's going to seem given your reputation. No one will believe you if you tell them I've been using you to help other students. And even if they did, they'd probably only believe that I was encouraging you to be more sociable. Given that you're a problem student and all.”

What she said made way too much sense. I wanted to counter it with some sort of appropriate argument but I didn't really have any good retort that wasn't either emotional or speculation. I felt like sighing. Well, at least I could make it clear to her that I wasn't going to play her game anymore. “I'm not going to help you force those two girls to perform. Thought you should know. Not because of this.” I then added with a wry but defeated smile, “but because I think it'd be cruel to interrupt their lives.”

Yuyuko laughed. It caught me completely by surprise. It was an earnest, completely nonthreatening laugh full of what appeared to be genuine gentleness. For a change. “I should have figured that you would fall for one of them,” shaking her head with a smile, she added, “or perhaps it's both of them. I suppose it's fine. If you feel you can help them out more this way then there's no problem.”

“You're not upset? After all that with the headmistress?”

“She'll just have to deal with it.” Big Sis took another sip from her coffee mug and leaned back in her chair. Her eyes drifted upwards as she tilted her head. She rubbed her neck with her free hand, loosening the top button of her blouse. “Hmm...” she said nothing for a minute or two, as if trying to decide something. “I suppose part of the problem is that you don't trust my motivations. Understandable but regrettable.” Placing her mug down she sat up straight and looked me in the eye, “insofar I am concerned about the welfare of my students, I don't care how they come out of their shells and deal with their issues, so long as they do it. A head-on confrontation between those two was risky, anyhow.” Big Sis laughed again, “I suppose we put quite a bit of stock in your abilities.”

“So you never really cared if Kaenbyou and Reiuji went back to the team either?”

“I wouldn't say that. They're happiest there,” she said with a sigh, “it's more like killing a couple of birds with a single stone. If they're happy and productive then everybody wins. If they're just happy and moved on, then it's still a win.”

“I guess I'm involved because I'm easy to push around and manipulate, right?” I asked the obvious.

“That's not it,” she denied it, “not that you'd likely believe me. I am concerned about your welfare as well. And hope that you'll find your path while you're helping others.”

“How noble of us. A self-sacrificing idiot who goes around helping people and the other idiot that twists his arm for him to do it.” Well that warranted a dry chuckle. It wasn't particularly funny, however.

“I'm not sure that telling you what I know will bring you much happiness,” Yuyuko said somberly. “If I had a definite answer or solution I would tell you but... well, I suppose it might be tough to hear but you simply need to trust your friends to do the right thing in the end. I'm not sure you should get involved any further.”

“I made my choice,” I told her, “I want to know.”

Yuyuko sighed and opened up a nearby drawer. She withdrew a slip of folded paper and passed it on to me. There was an address as well as the name “Kirisame” scribbled under it. “She'll likely be there. At least at some point. There's no phone listing either. But I'm fairly sure that it's her home.”

“This isn't the apartment that I went to,” I remarked after checking the address. It was, in fact, not even in town. It was a train ride away, at the very least.

“I would venture a guess that she has a very complicated domestic life. And that she needs her space to sort things out. I tried to find out more from social services but they told me that nothing verifiable had ever happened so there was no record as such. But, well, the neighbors painted an unkind picture of that household. Now, what you do with this information is up to you. I can't tell you what to do, I can only offer you a bit of perspective.”

“Alright,” I said. “Thank you.”

“Don't thank me yet,” she looked troubled. Even she didn't know how things would turn out, it seemed.

...was I feeling sorry for her? Or maybe at least, appreciative.

[] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.
[] She'll pull through. Best not to let my guard down again so soon.
[x] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.

Going with my gut here for better or for worse, though she does have a point of Arc lacking a real path. She took this better than I expected.
[x] She'll pull through. Best not to let my guard down again so soon.

The job here is done I would say.
[X] She'll pull through. Best not to let my guard down again so soon.

She's a big girl. she'll be fine. Besides we have other business to attend to than the needs of an overly manipulative guidance counsellor
[x] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.

Well despite my distrust of her, Yuyu is just doing her best. That and I'm just weak against troubled women.
you two weren't moved by that in the slightest? I was and I'm someone normally suspicious of her. It doesn't seem like a ploy to me. If it was, Yuyuko'd vamp it up more than she incidentally did.
>“That's not it,” she denied it, “not that you'd likely believe me. I am concerned about your welfare as well. And hope that you'll find your path while you're helping others.”

I can understand Big Sis's perspective here. It reminds me of this pic: http://www.funnyjunk.com/Iroh/funny-gifs/5040959/
File size is too big to attach

[x] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.

I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt in regards to her intentions. I think she really is just trying to help people, even if her methods are rather manipulative.

On a slightly related note, should we hand back the tickets we got as payment? I feel it's the right thing to do here, since we kinda decided to not go through with the job.
falling for the vulnerability act? All we saw was a shift in tactics. The unbuttoning of the blouse, the sighs, the laughs. The only thing she didn't use to try and seduce us is physical contact. Yet.

I think we're placing our trust in the wrong person here, Yuyuko is a schemer and doesn't have our best interests at heart.
it wasn't really a full vamp move though, and for a seductive thing it's rather half-hearted if it was the case.

I wouldn't be against it.
[x] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.

She very clearly didn't want to give us this information - what would she have to gain by trying to manipulate us even now?
I believe that she's being honest right now, and so I think we should repay honesty with kindness.
[x] Try to cheer up Big Sis. She's not so bad, after all.

She truly isn't after all. She could easily screw us over worse.
Ah come on guys just walk away just this once. Nothing good will come out of this if you talk to her now.
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“You know,” I told her, “you don't look half-bad as you are now. The whole serious-almost-pouting thing you have going on is interesting. I'd be tempted to buy you a drink if we were at a bar.”

“You shouldn't be going to bars,” she frowned, “but you never do listen to what others tell you, do you?”

“Nope!” I affirmed with a grin. “But the point I was trying to make is that you look even lovelier with a smile. So don't worry, if you're worried that a bad boy heartthrob like me is out of your league, I'm not really. I'm not even cross with you anymore. So I'll be coming to see you again some time, don't worry.”

She laughed. As I thought she would. “You're flirting with me in order to make me smile? Your ego is even bigger than I thought.”

“Hey, stupidity is one of my strongest points. I don't really know how else to cheer you up without sounding all fake and contrived.” I shrugged, adding, “but you already knew that, didn't you?”

“Maybe..” she smiled. “It's sweet to hear you admit it so openly. My heart is beating really fast now, going all 'thump-thump',” she said averting her gaze with impeccable timing. No doubt Big Sis was taking the piss out of me but I didn't mind. It was a role that suited her well. “Oh my, oh my, whatever should I do?!~”

“Perhaps I should grab your hand and make a run for it too?”

“Nice work, by the way” she chuckled, “I imagine you had quite the lovely private scene on the rooftop?”

“Don't tell me that you were watching?”

“Hit the nail on the head, did I?” She shook her head, “no, it was merely an educated guess. That said, I like my men to be assertive. So you're halfway there.”

“Halfway?” I asked. “What am I missing?”

“Don't sound too disappointed,” she teased, “finding that out on your own is part of the fun. I'll be looking forward to it~”

“Oh, someone's overconfident,” I fired back. “Surrounded by my peers in their short skirts, how could I even begin to have eyes for anyone else?”

“Ahaha, maybe I should one day show up wearing the school uniform and try to blend in? I think I could pull it off. It wasn't that long ago I would have been at home wearing one.”

“That might cause an uproar,” I said. But whether it was because she'd be outed as the counselor or because she'd successfully pass off as a student and be instantly popular, I wasn't sure. As she said, she did have the skin for it. With a more girly haircut instead of something so grown up, she could pass as a senior. Not that I would tell her that for fear of encouraging madness.

“Per~vert~” she winked at me. “You were probably picturing me in a uniform a size too small, weren't you?”

“Uh...” well, I was after she mentioned it. Just a little tight around the chest and a centimeter too high on her thigh. Her blouse might be even a little too short, exposing accidentally a little of her navel. Any sudden movement might expose something else down below if she wasn't careful... I cleared my throat, “at any rate, it seems that you're more than cheered up so I'll move on. And leave and...”

“-go to that address?” Yuyuko interrupted. “Only two trains make it out there per day. One left an hour ago and the other leaves at five. So there's no need for you to skip class.”

“Oh, I see. I wouldn't dream of skipping class, don't worry,” I lied through my teeth.

“I'll bet,” Yuyuko rolled her eyes. “I wonder if I should take that train myself?”

“You would come with me?” I asked.

“It would be irresponsible for me as an educator to not check up on my students. But then again, my presence may complicate things. If only an emotional appeal is needed then showing up by yourself will have a much greater impact. But well, I do have all this work to attend to in any case, so maybe I'll just tend to it instead of complicating things.”

[] It's best to go alone.
[] Take her along.
[X] It's best to go alone.

Seems to me that having Yuyuko along will just complicate things.
[x] It's best to go alone.

As much as I fucking love Big Sis and as much as I thoroughly enjoyed that scene, I don't think her presence would help any in this situation. Showing up at Marisa's doorstep with the school counselor makes it seem like some kind of intervention instead of just a friend who cares about her trying to help.

With that said, if Yuyuko is that desperate to go on a date with us we'll have to oblige her someday~
[] Take her along.

Marisa would react poorly to Arc alone. Remember their last scene together? Yeah...at least Yuyuko has some authority and real means of helping.
True but Marisa wants to keep whatever's happening a secret. Bringing in an outside authority figure would probably ruin our chances of her trusting us.
>Vote for cheering up Big Sis
>It worked and you get to the part where she DOES actually WANT to help
>Vote AGAINST wanting her help
Come on guys don't do this. Remember when we took Yuuka with us? Yeah it did actually help so that is what should be done here too.

[x] Take her along.

>Ahaha, maybe I should one day show up wearing the school uniform and try to blend in
I want to see that. It will be done.
Okay guys, realistic speaking Arc alone has not that many chances to actually get something done here alone. He is just only one man and there is always her father to worry about. Plus, it IS Big Sis job to do this kind of thing. She would be a valuable person to bring along for this kind of thing. Preperation is needed and not just blindly storm off, Big Sis is adult enough to offer her help for this kind of thing because she knows.
Fair enough changing vote.

[x] Take her along.
[x] Take her along.

Let's hope for the genre-defying best

Gotta say, the mental image of Yuyuko in an undersized school uniform is going to stick for a decent bit.
>Ahaha, maybe I should one day show up wearing the school uniform and try to blend in

Okay guys we should not forget that she said that. The next time that she makes Arc do something we should add our own clause here and ask her to wear a school uniform if he were to suceed with his job. Just think about this, it would be grand.
“If you promise to behave and be helpful, it would be alright for you to come,” I said. I put it in mildly dickish terms.

“I'm guessing I should swoon for your rebellious bad boy persona now?” Big Sis asked with a roll of her eyes. “I'll go,” she said, “but only if you try to be serious when the time comes.”

“Alright but the same goes for you too,” I told her. “None of this air-headed bimbo with a lovely smile act that you put on all the time. At least not when the time comes to be serious. I want you to behave like an adult when it's needed.”

“Little ol' me? Put on an act?” She pouted and in an annoyingly cutesy voice added, “it's tewwible of you to accuse me of sometwing so howwible.”

“Okay, okay, point taken. Now please shut up.”

“We'll have time on the train to talk about any sort of strategy if you wish,” she brought the conversation along towards a conclusion. Her ability to switch between serious and silly was as confusing as it was impressive. “I'll wait for you here after classes end and we'll go together to the station. I'll try to get all of my business squared away before then.”

“I guess it's time to nap all day on the roof again,” I said as I got up from my chair. I didn't really mean it but I figured it was worth seeing if it got a rise out of Big Sis.

“Say, how would you like to become the manager of the men's wrestling team?” she asked without looking up from her stack of papers, “I could arrange it for you since you seem to have so much free time.”

“Just kidding. Don't get your panties in a wad now. I'll be a good boy until later.”

“I'm sure,” she said, unimpressed with my turnaround. “For me to get them in a wad I'd have to be wear-”

“What's that?” I asked, “you seem to be mumbling about something.”

“It's nothing,” she said firmly, “dismissed.”

I left her office and went to the roof regardless. Not because I wanted to spite Big Sis or anything but because I hadn't bothered getting a note from her and I wasn't about to interrupt class and draw attention to myself. So, at least for a period or two, I would lounge around like a big fat cat, enjoying the sun. The day was perfect for that too. Only a few scattered clouds in an otherwise blue spring sky.

I tried not to think about much as I lay staring up but found that my thoughts turned to Marisa nonetheless. The scrap of paper with the address was secure in my breast pocket. It was hard to guess what I would encounter later. There was no part of her situation that I was comfortable with. Those bruises on her arms were still vividly swollen and dark in my memory. Perhaps I should have talked to her more. Then perhaps I could have done something about it before it got out of hand. Before she had to leave all of a sudden. The mellow scent of her golden hair was fresh in my nose, as if carried by the lazy breeze blowing across the rooftop. The mind was a cruel, inexplicable thing. Though I didn't really want to obsess, I couldn't help but run the past few weeks over and over in my head, pouring over my memories to see if there was anything too obvious that I had perhaps missed.

There wasn't anything logical in my thought process, I knew. It was regret mixed with anxiety – a powerful cocktail made more potent by the lack of distractions. Without the noise of other people and without the clamor of daily life, I was rehashing every bad scenario I could imagine over and over. Having to drop out of school was one thing but being dragged into the underworld was something no one really deserved.

Damn Alice. Why did she have to pick a moment like that to go missing too? I hadn't the faintest what she might be up to but she could be helping me. Even if she didn't know about all the worries in my head she could at least calm me down by being herself. Her calm, slightly pushy and concerned self. Maybe I relied on her more than I realized. Nah, couldn't be. She was just the girl next door. A bit bossy and full of herself. Might be considered cute if it wasn't for her toxic personality.

I was getting nowhere. I just knew that I didn't want to be left alone with my thoughts for the foreseeable future.

[] Go out behind the gym, where all the cool kids/loners theoretically go to cut class.
[] Develop a sudden acute onset of a mystery illness. The only cure is a visit to the school nurse.

I kept reading your post as
>As much as I love fucking Big Sis [...]
and smiled every time.
[x] Develop a sudden acute onset of a mystery illness. The only cure is a visit to the school nurse.

Just like in the old VN's guys, let's visit the school nurse. Time is never wasted with them.
>I'd have to be wear-”
Oh Yuyuko

[X] Develop a sudden acute onset of a mystery illness. The only cure is a visit to the school nurse.

Sure, why not visit the infirmary. Maybe we can ask Eirin about Kaguya or something.

[x] Go out behind the gym, where all the cool kids/loners theoretically go to cut class.

I bet Mokou is there. We still have to deal with her and Kaguya, while we wait for the time to help Alice.
[x Develop a sudden acute onset of a mystery illness. The only cure is a visit to the school nurse.

I believe she isn't too unused to Arc stopping by, though I do hope that she hasn't figured out it was him and Tenshi that made a mess in one of the beds.
[x] Go out behind the gym, where all the cool kids/loners theoretically go to cut class.

Let's give it a try, we might run into Mokou. We abandoned ship on getting her and Kaguya to team up, but let's see if we can at least find out what caused them to fall apart. Or at least just hang out with her.
And we might run into someone who'd rather not have Arc be there or feel that his work for Yuyuko is becoming a snitch/turn coat/etc.
[x] Develop a sudden acute onset of a mystery illness. The only cure is a visit to the school nurse.

Despite my voting to go without Yuyuko, I am still intensely pleased by this outcome.
New thread >>58743

Can the fabled hatesex scene be achieved? Likely not if all you do is ignore Mokou and/or Kaguya.
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