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File 140254679795.jpg - (312.32KB, 1000x1000, pretty girls including ms has not appeared yet.jpg) [iqdb]
The excess and vainglory of youth.

Previous thread >>58010
Character blurbs: www.touhou-project.com/others/theater


Blood pressure dropping. The patient was about to crash and crash hard. If he didn't get help right away, he would be a goner.

“Dammit man, I'm a doctor not a miracle worker,” I whispered to myself as I continued to play out the ER fantasy. Anything to keep my mind off dark thoughts as I weaved through corridors and took the stairs to the nurse's office. It was too late though, the patient had gone into cardiac arrest. Things were dire.

Eirin was sweeping her own office with an old bamboo-handled broom. “And what's the matter with you today?” she asked with tried and true cynicism. It wasn't that she wasn't glad to see me, I felt. It was just that she likely dealt with more than her fair share of hypochondriacs and malingerers. Doubly understandable since I was a likely candidate for the latter category.

“I'm really feeling sick,” I told her, “have some sympathy.”

“Oh,” she feigned concern. “Don't tell me, let me guess – either your heart is beating really fast every time you see me or you're worried about how stiff a certain part of your body becomes when you look at pretty girls. Am I right?”

“Well, that's just offensive,” I shook my head. Her deep clear eyes twinkled with the same enigmatic energy as always. She wasn't manipulative like Big Sis was but shared many of her qualities nonetheless. Mainly being able to cut right through any bullcrap. “You should expect better from me.”

“Let's hear it then. What are you feeling?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Now you've just ruined it,” I pouted, “forget it, I guess I just came by to see you for a bit. Hope you're not too surly to chew the fat a little with one of your most beloved students.”

“Fine, fine,” she acquiesced to my idiocy. “I'll get the kettle on and we can chat for a bit if you wish. It's not like they pay me to do anything else.”

“File this under 'healing the spirit of a student',” I told her, helping her out by grabbing the empty kettle. She motioned towards the tap and I filled up before she got everything else ready. It would take a few minutes for the hot plate to heat the water up. “Though I guess I should begin by asking how you've been,” I took a seat in an empty chair. Eirin sat down opposite of me, crossing her legs.

The black three quarters skirt she wore was a tiny bit on the conservative side. As was her simple light blue top. She wore stockings as usual but there was little of her to admire with how long the skirt was. As per usual, she wore a white coat over it all, which now draped off either side of her seat. The only saving grace was the she had chosen to clip a pen to her front blouse pocket. It game a sense of dimension to what lay on the other side of the material, as it jiggled ever so slightly when she breathed of moved.

“Simply put – overworked,” she said bluntly. “You wouldn't imagine what it's like having to deal day in and day out with people coming to me for love advice. Or boys that confess their undying love to me because they figure I'll turn them down and it'll give them an excuse to believe that it wouldn't work on their classmates either. It's a major bother, don't you know,” she sighed. “I have feelings too and don't appreciate being used as a crutch.”

“Would it make you feel better if I declared my undying love for you and meant it?” I asked, trying to cheer her up.

“I'd rather have you do it when you think you're really ready,” she smiled, presumably recalling that conversation we had weeks ago. I wasn't sure how serious I had been at the moment but it seemed to have made some sort of impression on her. Even if it was just pity. But I wasn't sure it was that either. “For now, I'd rather you students would be a bit more considerate of your poor health professional. And, at the very least not use the beds in here for indecent purposes. Can you believe that I had to change the sheets the other day because someone decided that this office was a love hotel?”

“I couldn't imagine what could possibly make someone think that sort of thing is acceptable,” I nodded. I felt like she knew but, if she did, she putting on a poker face and saying nothing more specific. Well, it was best to change the subject. “You shouldn't let yourself get stressed out. I could offer you a back rub if you liked.”

“Well, I'll at least give it to you that you have courage to offer,” she smiled, getting up to turn off the hot plate. The kettle whistled as steam rose from an opening. As she poured out two cups, she added, “I'll bet that plenty of students think dirty thoughts when they're with me. Not just the boys, mind. I can't blame you. You're in such a sexually charged time of your lives. I would be surprised if I wasn't the same at your age.”

“You say that like it was long ago,” I said, accepting the cup as she offered it to me. “Couldn't have been more than a few years, tops.”

“Flattery isn't going to get you anywhere,” she chuckled, the sound coming out as a throaty vibrato. “Now, tell me, what's on your mind? Why come to me when you're cutting class? I'm sure going into town or hanging out with the other students behind the gym is more fun than this.”

[] Tell her about the feelings of anxiety provoked by those two missing blonde classmates.
[] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.
Expand all images
[X] Tell her about the feelings of anxiety provoked by those two missing blonde classmates.

I'd rather see this. I'm worried about Alice and Marisa.
[x] Tell her about the feelings of anxiety provoked by those two missing blonde classmates.

Eirin can be hit on later.
[x] Tell her about the feelings of anxiety provoked by those two missing blonde classmates.

Well if it were times of greater ease, listening her stories would be a great, though just talking to her might help Arc be more at ease.

Not to say the other isn't a nice idea as that could be relaxing in itself.
[X] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.

Poor form, anon. Did Eirin not just say she was tired of all that sort of talk?

I'm more interested in hearing about her time as a student. Surely I can't be the only one.
No you can't be the only one. Thinking about it again you are right.

[x] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.
[X] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.

Well, we did come here to talk and relax...
[X] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.

I'll have to agree with this, upon rereading. Eirin is tired of being used as a crutch. What will happen after school will happen, so we can only relax while waiting.
[] It'd be better, instead, to hear more about her time when she was a student too.

Eh, not much she can so to help. At least not now.

Might as well work some more in getting the eientei crew in Arc's pants.
It is kind too late to say this now but the choice to Go out behind the gym would have been Mokou.

We should try to get some more points with her so that this will lead to a Kaguya/Mokou threesome hatesex.

I know it would lead to Mokou, I evne said that much.

But noooo, we need to avoid her in order to progress with her, hmm.
[x] Tell her about the feelings of anxiety provoked by those two missing blonde classmates.

Anxiety is a hard thing to deal with on your own.
File 140261845042.jpg - (203.20KB, 505x557, such thoughts.jpg) [iqdb]
“There's quite a bit on my mind,” I told her. I sipped on my cup of tea, enjoying the mellow and slightly sweet taste. When I was around Eirin, time seemed to slow down. Or, at the very least, there seemed to be no real need to rush. Perhaps that was what made her seem so trustworthy. Girls could talk about their love problems because she seemed like a good listener, patiently waiting for people to think things through before speaking. Like she said, it was unfair to her, but it was practically a natural gift. Not to mention an occupational hazard.

Eirin played her part. She waited patiently for me to say something, a look of calm interest on her face. She took a slow, deliberate sip from her cup and brushed aside a bit of hair that had come across her face. That small sweep of her hand was strangely more calming than staring up at the sky on the roof. I felt that I was dangerously close to blushing.

“I think that it's best if I don't talk about my worries,” I said. Coolly, with a well-practiced smile on my face, I explained, “realistically speaking, there's not much you can do about my more pressing concerns. If you wouldn't mind, I'd rather talk about something else. I think that a distraction would be the best thing for me right now.”

“I certainly don't mind,” she said politely. Well, I didn't expect her to turn me down after all the effort. Still, I was a bit wary of what I was about to ask her.

“I'd like to hear more about your time as a student, if you wouldn't mind sharing, of course. I'm curious to know how much has changed since then.”

“There's not much to tell,” she held her cup with both hands, her gaze dropping to the darkened liquid inside. It was a distant look, one that reached out straight into the past. “I'm an alumna of this very institution. The campus was very much as it is now. I guess that the only real difference was that the old annex building was still in room. A lot of club rooms operated there.”

“What club were you in?” I asked.

“Hm, I was never one for the the creative pursuits,” she sighed. The pen wiggled about as a result. “I was part of the chess club for a while though I was never a permanent member. To be truthful I was too busy working after school to be full time in any club.”

“You worked? Isn't that against the rules?' She didn't strike me the type to flaunt the rules.

“It was more like an internship,” she explained, “I was always interested in chemistry and medical science so it was an opportunity to broaden my horizons. Not to mention,” she winked, “an opportunity to embellish my curriculum.”

“Sounds like you were ambitious.” Something didn't add up. I asked the obvious, “why work here though? By the sound of it you probably were on the fast track to do research in a multinational. Uh, no disrespect intended.”

“There are some things in life more important than money and prestige,” she chuckled. She didn't offer any more explanation. I thought it best to avoid inquiring further.

“Were any of the same teachers around back then?”

“Some. Not many,” she shook her head, “most of the current crop are alumni like I am. I was in the same class as Hoshiguma and your homeroom teacher, for example.”

“Mima?” I smiled, “what was she like back then?”

“A bit like you actually,” Eirin said before finishing off her cup of tea. She gestured as if to offer me more and when I shook my head she placed her empty cup on a nearby desk. “Believe it or not she was often late and loved to slack off in class. She was in one of those weird clubs if I recall correctly... and was into fortune telling and the occult. Was constantly getting chewed out by the teachers for skipping class to laze around on the roof.”

“Pfhahaha!” I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing. Mima a no-good delinquent! That was too much for me to bear. And maybe it explained why, despite everything, she still cut me some slack.

“I hear she still has trouble getting up in the morning,” Eirin confided, “she once came by asking for something that would give her energy at the start of the day.”

“Anyone else?” I couldn't help but prod further.

“Well, Yuyu was in another class and I only knew her for her popularity with the boys from other schools. She had her own best friend and crowd back then. Then there's... a few others but I'm afraid that they would kill me if they knew I was talking about their past.”

“What about you, then? I bet you were popular with the boys,” I expected it to be the case.

“I mostly kept to myself,” she said, “I'm afraid that my experiences with love and life will likely be a disappointment to you.”

“Really? No cute boy in your grade that you had a crush on?”

“That would have been quite impossible,” she stated.

“Eh? Why? Surely-”

With a toothy grin, she interrupted me, “we were an all-girl's school back then. We only became coed the year after I left. Well there was one trial all-boy class the last year but it was just a dozen boys. They probably felt intimidated being surrounded by so many girls.”

“Ah, I didn't know that.”

The bell rang, signaling the start of lunch. Eirin would be busy again real soon. As much as I wanted to continue to ask her about her past, it was time to move on.

“One last thing, I know I should go but...” I started. Some things had to be asked, “what was the uniform like back then?”

“Oh, you know. All-girl's school. Elaborate ribbons and thigh high socks with pleated skirts. The kind of things that drive boys wild. At least that was the case with the boys from the other schools,” she showed a nostalgic smile that was obviously meant for some long-lost scene, “they used to wait by our gates until when classes let out. Quite the daring pack.”

“If only I could have been there too...”

A knock at the door prevented any further wishful thinking. Eirin was back in business. I left, still smiling at the notion of Eirin dressed in a pleated skirt and white blouse. Wasn't an image that was going to leave my mind anytime soon.

Well, I still had an afternoon to kill before it was time.

[] Go back to my homeroom
[] Pick a classroom to visit (see list at top of thread for which girls are where)
[x] Pick a classroom to visit
[x] II-D

Lots of interesting girls here.
>>Become a teacher.

I can only see that ending horribly.
He will do it like GTO.
Are guys even sure that Reimu would even be glad to see us?

Boy if the push was this strong elsewhere, /shrine/ wouldn't be so dead.
>2 votes
>one of them on a whim in order to break a 5 way tie

Yeah this is one incredible push I tell you. the gushing outpour of love for Reimu is just palpable.
she's one of the girls regularly gone for in this story. Sort of disapointing that when a chance is given to meet another girl outside the usual circle that people go for Reimu.

But if that's what you guys are truly set on, not much I can say to that.
this game is styled after old school VN's so faffing about willy nilly isn't recommended. WE might lock ourselves out of an event later on down the line.

We aready do that by staying on target. It won't really matter, in the long run.

Besides, interacting with new chracters opens more than closes events.
[X] Class 2-b

Let's go visit Tenshi
[X] Class II-B

Alright, Tenshi it is. The closest girl to Arc now and she hasn't had any action for some time.
[x] Pick a classroom to visit
[x] II-B


I want to visit the cute nearly girlfriend of my heart. She needs a bit of cool off time with the man she loves. And Arc needs to free his mind of dark thoughts until he meets up with Big Sis to search for Marisa.

And no one mentioned Mima so yeah there is only one path: Become a teacher.
You must be new to the story as you missed a bunch of that, even at some bad times. This is clearly a chance to go and look at otherwise unexplored corners of the school due to some task or scrambling to repair Arc's big three friendships.
Hmmm... Aya, Patchouli, Remilia and Mokou are all in II-D, so I guess I'll pick them. Hopefully we can make up for the missed options with Mokou by going there.

[x] Pick a classroom to visit (see list at top of thread for which girls are where)
-[x] II-D

I would've picked II-B for Tenshi, but she and Nitori are the only ones we know there, so I went for a class where we know a lot of people and can make up for lost time with Mokou.
[x] Pick a classroom to visit
-[x] II-D

Mokou is here - let's see if she's willing to talk to us!
[x] Pick a classroom to visit
-[x] II-B

Between two people that think lowly of Arc and one person that thinks a nice deal, I'm going with the latter.
[x] II-D

I'd like to talk to touhous we don't normally interact with.

We aren't going to interact with all girls in the classes, only one. How many are there is irelevant, only one matters.
Okay. Coin flip time because I think we've gone back and forth enough. Don't despair because either alternative is more than fine, as you shall see.
As always, the corridors were full at lunchtime. In the first five minutes, the best bread would be completely sold out. I didn't envy the people fighting at the front of the line. Bruises were not uncommon if you were in the thick of it. Though I was a bit hungry, I was in no rush to get stuck in the melee.

The classrooms were half-empty. On a lovely day most people would eat outside, under the shade of a tree or looking at the soon-to-bloom flowers. Some of those, especially the ones that bought the school bread and other snacks, would take walks and eat. That was particularly common around the track where there was a sense of openness and freedom mixed with grassy slopes and a few old trees nearby. Some of those people even went further, to the small hill with the large tree for which the school was named. You'd get a good view over parts of the city from there not to mention way less noise from the rest of the student body.

II-D was no exception to the usual pattern. There were only a few people in the classroom. A few girls sitting around together for lunch were the largest group. Other than that, there were a couple of boys standing by a desk out back. Ah, a closer look solved that mystery. They were buying something from Shameimaru. No doubt business was booming given the proliferation of the shorter summer uniforms. I caught her eye momentarily and she smiled at me. No doubt she would have yet another proposition 'of interest' if I approached her. It had been a while and she was usually on the level. Well, enough so as to not worry about getting cheated for any effort I put in.

I looked around for Patchy. She wasn't around. Maybe she was in the library? I wouldn't be at all surprised if she spent most of her lunch breaks reading, avoiding noise and excitement. For the most part, she seemed to be a loner. Not really the type to sit around and have lunch with friends. And yet... I kind of wished that she was that sort of girl. If only because it could give me a chance to see if she cooked for herself and, if so, if it was any good. I tried not to think too much about that idea, as the chances were that I would be grinning like an idiot if I started picturing her trying to feed me with chopsticks.

Fujiwara wasn't around either. Not really a shocker. She was probably the last person who would want to stick around and have lunch in a noisy classroom. I imagined that she would likely be somewhere quiet, maybe up by the tree or off in some forgotten corner of campus.

The last person, or more accurately persons, of note were sitting off by the side of the classroom by the windows. They were sharing a packed lunch, chatting about happily and laughing every once in a while. I wasn't sure if I had ever talked to them before. But I had most definitely seen them at their most intimate. After talking to Patchy, I was a little curious to see what they were really like. Then again, I wasn't too sure that they would care much for me interrupting their meal.

[] Talk to Aya
[] Speak to Remilia and her lover
[x] Talk to Aya

It would be awkwardly to talk to the two of them because they are so happy together they would probably think "who is that idiot and why does he interrupt us". Or maybe not? It is hard to say.

But yeah, some people said we shouled meet new touhous so let's do that.
[x] Talk to Aya

Not sure if i care to touch that hornet's nest.
File 140263574763.jpg - (306.00KB, 800x800, tengu are terrible.jpg) [iqdb]
Aya's not new though.
[x] Talk to Aya

Tengu are wonderful.
Not new in the sense of new but in the sense of someone new to talk to. Someone who we have not yet met and talked to. Or if you wish, someone to talk more to.
[X] Talk to Aya

Let's check out what she has to offer.
No buying overpriced pantyshots though.
>[] Speak to Remilia and her lover
How the fuck is that conversation supposed to go down? What do we have to talk about beyond "Hi, I'm Arc, nice to meet you but please stop fucking on the roof, that's my turf. Find somewhere else to be your love nest."
No, I think I'd be perfectly happy not pissing off another group of girls.

[x] Talk to Aya
Aya has had more appearances than both Sanae and Yukari combined. A fair bit of interaction with the protagonist too. More of a friend than casual acquaintance. Not to mention been present in several choices that were explicitly about her. Definitely not new by any measure. Reread the story if you don't believe me.

If anything the argument about meeting new people can only be applied to the other choice.

Wonderfully terrible.

Not sure about you but I generally don't bring up people's sex lives the first time I meet them. It's mostly small talk, seeing if you can establish and common ground/connections and generally getting to know what the other party is like. You know, the kind of stuff that falls under the category of basic social skills. I think it's safe to assume that it's the same for Arc.

Not that there's anything wrong with Aya, but you people are being awfully silly about this. If you can more or less deal with Yuyuko and Eirin then simpler choices should be less of an effort to think through. Voting for Aya because she's neat and friendly is fine, voting for her because you think the protagonist is incapable of talking to new people without tripping all over himself or because you can't remember all the past stuff with Aya is not fine.
[X] Talk to Aya

I vote for her because I really don't give two fucks about Remilia, Sakuya or their relationship.
I believe that's a valid reason of opinion.
[x] Talk to Aya

I was disappointed that we missed more Aya earlier on in the story.
File 140270662132.png - (149.70KB, 600x800, hat is not part of the dress code.png) [iqdb]
I waited before the boys cleared away before I approached Shameimaru. She was stuffing a few loose bills into a small envelope.

“Business is good?” I asked.

“It'll be better in the summer. More sweating, more rolled up sleeves and less spats,” she said in a business-like fashion. It was as if she was talking more about prize animals than people, “you'll even get the occasional open blouse if it's hot enough. This is just the pre-season.”

“I'm surprised you haven't been run out of school yet.”

“Eh, well, they'd need evidence first,” she said with a satisfied smile as she put away her money. “I only do dead drops these days. Give me money, I'll give you a time and location.”

Well, for the town's sake, I hoped that she never became a drug dealer. The thought was scary. It wasn't something I'd say to her face, lest I give her any ideas.

“So...” she looked up at me,”do you want to get yourself something nice or is this a social visit?”

“Just a social visit, Aya,” I told her. “Though, out of curiosity, what do you have on special?”

“Ah, you know, just this and that. New students are popular. A couple of long distance shots with your classmate smiling, a few of her blouse looking ambiguously translucent – you can almost make out the bra underneath. Rubbish shots but they still sell.” With a sly smile, she added, “not that you would want any of those, am I right?”

“Good to see that someone thinks I'm not just a helpless hornog,” I said with an approving nod. That it came from a questionable source was immaterial.

“I just meant that you've spent quite a bit of time alone with her,” she chuckled, “as for the horndog bit – I'm not one to pass judgment on my peers. I'm just a businesswoman.”

“Doing what she has to to get by, is that it?” I scowled, feeling a little dejected. I had forgotten that I was probably being watched by her too whenever I talked to popular girls.

“You betcha,” she reached into her desk for something and then got up. “Say, take a walk with me, wontcha? I'll split some of my bread with you.”

“Yeah, sure. Don't have anything better to do.” She handed me a half of one of the most popular sweet breads. “Where'd you get this anyways?” I asked. They were usually sold out within minutes. And it looked like she had been at her seat all lunch break.

“Partial payment from someone who was a few cents short.”

Good enough for me.

We left the class and took a casual stroll together outside. She had her camera wrapped around her wrist with a strap and seemed to be on a permanent lookout for opportunities. Didn't do much talking though, just casually asking if I was doing alright and making similar small talk. We eventually went all the way around to a side of the track, by a few benches under the shade of a tree.

“You know,” she said quite without hesitation, “I kinda had a thing for you when we were freshmen.” She focused her camera carefully, looking through the viewfinder. at a trio of girls lounging about on a grassy bank

That was highly unexpected.

“Oh, I didn't know,” I said, not really knowing how to react. It didn't really feel like much of a love confession when the other person wasn't even looking at you.

“Yeah, it was your smile, you know. Really came out good in pictures. Not to mention that you're way pervy. Natural gifts those. Means you can get close to people and then take advantage of them for a good shot.”

“Figures it was something like that,” I couldn't help but sound a little disappointed. She was just thinking about business. Even when it came to matters of the heart.

“Don't get upset. I think we both know that deep down you know it to be true,” she said while snapping a trio of images. “I shouldn't have left my zoom lens in class,” she griped. “Well, I'm sure that these'll sell anyhow.” Aya put her camera away and leaned up against the tree. She gave me her full attention now. She continued, “I really wish you had joined the photography club. I really felt like jumping your bones more than once and that would have been a perfect excuse. We could have made a great team both on and off club activities.”

“I think that's the first time I've been told by a girl that they wanted to jump my bones,” I laughed. It was just way too direct for it to be anything but humorous. “What's keeping you from doing that now?”

“Well, you're clearly focused on other people and work keeps me busy,” she shrugged. “It was more of a fling sort of feeling you know, a crush I guess.”

“Why tell me all this then?”

“Because I think that we should be honest to people that are like ourselves. Also because I'm hoping to get some sympathy,” she stuck out her tongue, mischievously.

“Sympathy for what?”

“You keep ignoring my requests so I thought that maybe if I leveled with you, you'd help me out.”

“Let me guess – you want me to take pictures of someone.”

“See? We do understand one another,” she nodded happily.

“Not sure I can take pictures on the sly. That's more your style.”

“Doesn't have to be on the sly. I just got an order for a few... particular tastes and I figured that if you asked nicely you'd be able to get the subjects to cooperate.”

“I don't think anyone I know will go for cheesecake pictures,” I told her.

“I just need a normal picture. With a bit of neck showing. No nudity, no suggestiveness needed. But if you can get that, it'd be a bonus.”

“...sounds like the kind of thing you could get yourself.”

“I've got a backlog of requests and, besides, if you asked them I think you'd get permission. If you do it, I'll give you 50% of the cut. Sounds fair, right?”

“I don't know.”

“Fine, 60%, but that's my last offer.”

“It's not about that, I'd have to know who it is first,” I explained. Couldn't just roll up to just anyone and ask for a picture with exposed neck. Too weird.

“Oh, ok. It's the guidance counselor and the gym teacher.”

“Yuugi and Yuyuko?” I was surprised.

“Yeah, this guy likes them old and with pretty necks. So, think you're up to it?”

Well, it was a weird request. But sounded doable. I knew both of them well enough to take the images. Aya was right about that. Still wasn't sure if it was a good idea.

[] Help Aya out.
[] Too bizarre for me.

It was meant for the other people. Because their reasoning was unreasonable and silly.
[X] Too bizarre for me.

Yyyyyyyeah, I don't think we want anything to do with this. Even if he takes the most chaste photo in the world, the high school rumor mill would take all of five minutes to spin it out of control, and I wouldn't be surprised if Murphy comes calling as he's taking the shot.

Arc's reputation is colorful enough without adding "paparazzi".
[x] Help Aya out.

Let's go all in. Who cares about Arc's reputation. It's already bad, what's adding some more fuel to the fire and having some fun? Plus I hope the options for taking Yuyuko and Yuugi's pictures wind up up being blunt admissions of the 'let me take a picture of you. some kid finds you hot. isn't that great?' sort.
[x] Help Aya out.

Oh man, this sounds fun as fuck. We better do this.
[x] Help Aya out.

This should be really fun.
Fuck yeah, capitalism.
[X] Too bizarre for me.

I love Aya but there's no way this wouldn't backfire on us with the force of an atomic bomb.

On a different note, I think we should spend some time with Mima if we get the chance. See what a reformed delinquent is like and find out why she chose to be a teacher of all things.
[x] Help Aya out.

No problem with Yuyuko and Yuugi should be willing enough.
File 140271814946.jpg - (623.51KB, 703x910, semi related image - why the hell not.jpg) [iqdb]
“You better hand over your camera,” I said, “I don't really have one of my own.”

“So you'll do it?” she smiled happily. “And to think that I was about to show you a bit of thigh to try to convince you.”


“Ah, what the heck!” she interrupted me. With a quick flick of her her wrist, she flipped her own skirt upwards. My eyes instinctively followed the motion. All of her left outer thigh was in full display for me to appreciate, if only for a moment. As an added bonus I got to see all the way to the edge of where her panties were. Baby blue. The color was hard to miss even if what I saw probably lasted about a single second. Gravity waited for no man. “Consider that a freebie,” she laughed. “Somehow it's exciting to know that someone is watching. Not that everyone might appreciate being exposed.”

“You won't hear me complaining anytime soon about that,” I regained my composure.

“Take the camera I have now. Should be plenty of film left, so go wild,” she said as she undid the strap around her wrist. She handed over the smaller, more portable camera and tapped me on the side of my arm. “Keep it safe,” she said, “it's more expensive than it looks.”

“I'll be careful,” I promised, wrapping the strap around my own wrist. It'd take an act of God for it to be knocked away from me.

“i've go get my backup now, so talk to you later,” she said with a quick little wave. “When you're done just come find me. Try to get them before the end of the day. Developing them takes a while when you have a backlog like I do.”

And that was that.

No time like the present. I decided to get right to it.

Yuugi was the obvious first choice. The gym was nearby and she was generally in her office.

“Hey Yuugi,” I called out as I knocked on her open door. Her office was more like her home away from home. Posters of star athletes of every sport adorned the walls and there were tons of magazines and sports manga lying around everywhere. Not to mention all of the empty instant noodle containers. The space was definitely up there when it came to competing with Suika's level of chaos. Smelled a bit of pickled onions. And, in the thick of it, Yuugi sat behind a messing desk full of papers and junk, her chair swiveled towards a small TV set in a corner. Seemed like it was some sort of golf tournament.

“Come on you bastard!” Yuugi cursed at the television as a golfer took a swing. The ball fell into the rough. “You stupid son of a-” she checked herself when she noticed that I was hovering about. “Whaddya want?” she asked curtly.

“Nice to see you too,” I said with a smile. “I take it that you bet on the results of this game?”

“Yeah, the home ec teacher and I have a little friendly wager going on. But, eh,” she turned off the set with a button, “I guess I've lost. That's the last hole and he's down a few strokes.”

“Sorry to hear it,” I said. “I'm sure you'll win next time.”

“You never know with these things. Of course if I were playing, I'd never lose,” she bragged with perhaps undo reason. I didn't even know she played golf. With a self-satisfied smile she reached for an open bag of crisps and helped herself to a bunch. One of them fell on her polo shirt and she unceremoniously wiped it off, smearing a bit of the white fabric. “So, what brings ya here?” she asked again, “come for my infamous fitness regimen? Looking to bulk up and play sports like a pro, or maybe, in your case, look like a total beefcake for the ladies?”

The last idea seemed to amuse her. She guffawed crudely and loudly, in a completely unladylike manner.

“Nah, I'm here on business,” I pointed to the camera, “here to take a picture or two of you.”

“Yeah? What for? Going to try to show my mug to a hitman or something?” she laughed again. “I didn't know I had powerful enemies like that.”

[] Bend the truth a little - it's favor for the photography club for some sort of faculty roster image. The world deserves to see how beautiful our teachers are.
[] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.
[x] Bend the truth a little - it's favor for the photography club for some sort of faculty roster image. The world deserves to see how beautiful our teachers are.

It'd be a good way of winging it even if it ends up making some extra work.
[x] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.

I'm following the path I set down.
[x] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.

Yuugi would see through the other option in an instant.

Which path is that?

I did say I'd vote for being blunt just to see the reactions. Just following what I said.
Everyone really thinks that Arc is someone who has one girl for every day of the week.

[x] Bend the truth a little - it's favor for the photography club for some sort of faculty roster image. The world deserves to see how beautiful our teachers are.

She is open and does not hold back but even she would not want some creep to have a picture of herself to hug and kiss.
[x] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.

I need to see this. Besides, I've always believed honesty to be the best policy, especially when it's hilarious or catches someone off guard. I suspect this approach might work better on Yuyuko though.
[x] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.

Yuugi's pretty chill, probably wouldn't really mind.
See, what if we actually made that the truth? It would be an great way to meet all of the school's lovely faculty. Going above and beyond the call of duty. What say ye

[x] Some weirdo has a crush on her and wants to see a bit of her neck and face in a picture. Kinda flattering, I'm sure she'd agree.

Her type appreciates bold-faced honesty. If it really bothers her, offer a cut of the profit.
File 140275709115.jpg - (316.49KB, 1200x732, it is a pretty nice neck ya gotta admit.jpg) [iqdb]
“I think you'd be better off not knowing,” I said with a shrug, “but I guess I'll tell you anyhow. Someone out there has a neck fetish. In particular your neck. They asked for pictures for whatever reason and I've been asked to take them. So here I am.”

“You're joking, right?” she laughed. I couldn't tell if it was because of disbelief or just her finding the absurd humor of the situation.

“I'm not,” I told her, reaffirming that I was being honest. “I just need a picture or two of your head and shoulders, preferably with your neck exposed. That's it.”

“Man, the guy that asked for the pictures is messed up,” Yuugi said with a disapproving shake of her head. But not for the reason that I suspected. “It's a man's duty to be honest and upfront. If he likes my neck and wants to rub one out while looking at it or lick it or whatever - he should ask me directly. This piddling around stuff pisses me off,” she complained, looking genuinely upset.

“Will you let me take a picture, anyways? You'd be doing me a solid.”

“Eh, I don't know,” Yuugi still looked a bit mad. It wasn't particularly frightening but I suspected that it was because I was me. If she had any clue who the person who asked for the image was, I had the feeling that she would tear them a new one.

“Rock-paper-scissors?” I suggested helpfully.

“Fine. Best two out of three. I win, you help me track down this insect.”

Easy enough.

Went with scissors first. Tie. Then Paper. Loss. Good old rock netted me a win and, finally a repeat of rock won me the competition. The moral was that rock is the best move.

“This'll do, right?” Yuugi opened up the collar of her shirt a little, like the good sport that she was. She didn't try to pose or do anything special for the image, instead looking slightly bored as I adjusted the focus.

“Nice neck,” I joked as I snapped a picture. “You've got bbq powder from the crisps on there, you know,” I informed her as I took a second from a slightly different angle. That'd do it. “I've got what I need, so catch you later.”

“Yeah, sure,” Yuugi became uninterested in me when I won the rock-paper-scissors competition. Muttering a half-hearted “goodbye”, she turned the television back on and went back to watching some other sporting event.

Lunchtime was ending, but that didn't bother me. Cutting another class wasn't going to be the end of me. I didn't really waste much time. I paid a visit to Yuyuko right after. I found her still busy with paperwork, albeit with empty fast food wrappers on her work. By the looks of it she had barely stopped to eat.

“Sorry to bother you again,” I started, “but I want to take a few pictures of you.”

“Pardon?” Big Sis was surprised at my request. She looked up from her paperwork with uncertainty in her eyes and previously unseen bashfulness.

“In particular your neck. I want a picture with your exposed neck. And maybe a smile on your face,” I said as I made a square with either index finger and thumb as if I was framing the shot already. “Yeah, you've got good skin, I can see how this shot will work now,” I muttered to myself.

“I'm not sure why you want a picture of me,” Big Sis looked genuinely confused. More than that, there was something girlish about her reaction. She fidgeted uneasily with her hair and avoided eye contact. It was the type of behavior more consistent with one of my shyer classmates than the wily counselor. It felt like she was on the verge of blushing. Or maybe that was my wishful thinking. At any rate, it made me take pause.

“I just need your cooperation a little bit, it's nothing you have to worry about,” I insisted.

“I'm not sure that this is alright,” Yuyuko said hesitantly. “I mean, I know that you're at that sort of age and have needs but I didn't think that you'd be so open about it.”

“Uh, sorry?” It was my turn to be a little confused.

“I suppose I'm flattered,” she said with a nervous smile. It was unfairly... well, cute. At once part of my mind rebelled against the rest, telling me that I should forget about taking a picture and analyze the situation carefully. “It is a bit strange that you're content with just my neck and smile... but that's also a little sweet. I can't say that I look forward to being a creased up and wrinkled photograph hidden under your mattress, but...”

“Um... I think that maybe there's been a misunderstanding here...” I interjected but found that my mind wasn't exactly cooperating. It wanted to silence the fool from wasting a golden opportunity. I still didn't know how things would turn out but it kept insisting that I should try to find out.

“You don't need to explain anymore,” Big Sis said softly. She used a finger to tug her already unbuttoned collar looser, exposing more of her clear pale skin. She showed a deep smile, one that seemed almost strangely appreciative. It seemed to say, “it's okay, I'll be gentle.”

I gulped hard, drowning in conflicting messages everywhere. What was supposed to be a simple quick photo shoot had become something weird. Heavily charged air, almost electrical in its intensity, with a very agreeable subtext existed between us. I wasn't sure if to reach for my camera or do... something else entirely.

[] Snap out of it. Tell her the pictures are for someone else and take the pics without letting things get any weirder.
[] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.
[x] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.

Rank up the Yuyuko points.

(keep a copy for yourself)
I think we may want to tell Aya to make sure that whatever happens with the picture, Yuyuko must never find out about it, ever.
[x] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.

Let's do this thing. inb4 it is a trap by Big Sis but somehow I doubt that those feelings are not genuine. Seems good enough.
[x] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.

On one hand, this could be some sort of weird test about telling the truth and she's going to come out and berate us for not being honest.
On the other hand, Yuyuko is delicious.

I think we all know what's the right choice here.
[x] Snap out of it. Tell her the pictures are for someone else and take the pics without letting things get any weirder.

This might actually achieve the opposite. Can you imagine Arc stammering this out?

"Er, the picture isn't for me. It's ... for a friend. Yeah, a friend wanted me to take these for him. I'm not like I'm interested in you like that or anything!"

Yuyuko might just eat Arc right up.

It could happen.
[x] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.

Y'know. We don't have to give this pic to Aya. Just say we couldn't get it.

Also, Are you a bad enough dude to ask Yuugi for a fap pic?
[x] Don't say anything. Let Big Sis think whatever she wants during the photo shoot.

If she's complaining afterwards, just say she started.
File 140278958499.jpg - (954.05KB, 1400x1000, wish there were more causal clothes images.jpg) [iqdb]
I fumbled for the camera even as the suddenly sultry atmosphere threatened to paralyze me. Truthfully, my body temperature felt hotter than normal and I had an urge to at least roll up my sleeves or undo a button or two on my shirt. There were too many variables to consider when thinking for potential repercussions. Big Sis waited patiently as I began to position myself for a picture, her eyes following me around with an alluringly undecipherable energy. As usual, I couldn't get a reliable read on what she was thinking or trying to do. But it left a far different impression than usual on me.

With her eyes firmly focused on me, I adjusted the camera settings and took my first image. It captured her womanly charm perfectly, I felt. An empowered and resolute look mixed in with soft features and a unmistakably coy charm. She both dictated the pace of my actions and submitted to the mechanical action of the camera shutter. For a second picture, she tilted her head to one side, showing off the long and delicately crafted nature of her neck. She smiled earnestly as I took a third, this time with her leaning a bit forward in her chair and adopting a hint of a pout on her lips.

Maybe I should have asked for more film.

“Arc?” she called out my name.It was a gentle wake up call to reality. I could only wish that I was woken up in the mornings like that.

“Uh, yeah?” I found it hard to think straight.

“You stopped taking pictures,” she said quietly. And she was right. At some point I had stopped focusing and manipulating the shutter and just kind of... began staring.

“Oh, sorry,” I said, tripping all over myself, “I think I got more than I need. I mean want, err... well, at any rate we're done I think.”

“Finished so quickly?” she sounded a bit disappointed. “I was just getting into it. I didn't even do anything special,” she complained. “I could try different poses or undoing another button or two if you like.”

“No, no, that won't be necessary,” I tried to show some self-control. The offer was tempting but in the back of my mind, I didn't really dare escalate things any further. I somehow got the feeling that if I really wanted I could take even more candid shots. We both didn't seem to care much about modesty. The mood made it easy to get lost in the process.

“Well alright,” Big Sis nodded. “I guess I was getting caught up in the moment as well. I have to say, it was a little bit exciting to let you take pictures of me. There's a sort of intensity to being a model, it feels like you're the only thing the person on the other side of the lens cares about. It was like we shared our own little universe for a while. But, well, I guess I'm sounding like some sort of bimbo right about now,” she laughed softly.

She didn't really. But I couldn't bring myself to say anything. My heartbeat was still accelerated when I managed to get over my stupefaction long enough to actually get around to leaving. I thanked her for her time and told her that I'd see her later. She nodded and blew me a playful little kiss. It would have been like a scene like any other with her save for the fact that I felt my face burn up and my eyes lock on her full and delicate-looking lips. I turned away so that she wouldn't see my face but then briefly saw something entirely unexpected. Big Sis was reddening as well, as if regretting the little parting action.

I walked away without looking back, closing the door behind me.

I returned to the roof again and waited until the next break before I returned to class. Once again I was feeling restless and anxious but it was for an entirely different reason than in the morning. I looked at the camera every so often and remembered the subject it had captured on its film.

The bell rang and I barely heard it. I shook my head, calling myself an idiot and returned to II-D.

“Yo!” Aya greeted cheerfully. She was reviewing a few images by herself as I approached. There were a few piles on her desk with different kind of images in every pile. Probably filtering out the images and separating them into price tiers. “I'm guessing that you're here because you're done already?”

“I am,” I said. “Both subjects. More than enough pictures, I think they should be good.”

“I trust that they will,” she nodded her head, “once I sell them, I'll give you your cut.” Shameimaru stretched out her hand, expecting me to return the camera.

[] She'll be able to sell the more suggestive images at a premium. Ask for a bonus.
[] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.
File 140278984359.jpg - (14.98KB, 400x442, thesepictures.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

These Yuyu pictures must be kept to ourselves. No one else may have them.
[x] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

Yeah don't do that. Those are too important than to just sell them off. Even if Aya might be disappointed here. Do not betray Big Sis trust here.
[X] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

Yeah...let's keep the negatives, in my opinion.
[x] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

Big Sis belongs to us. No one else.
She can take the Yuugi ones, or any less personal Yuyuko ones, if we have any.
[x] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

Oh man, was that actually for real? Yuyuko wasn't acting it up? Shoot.

Hold these close.
[x] Change the deal. Those Yuyuko images were too intimate to be sold off. Keep the negatives.

She's going to remember this and one day someone else will see these.
Gonna do it anyway.
“What's wrong?” Aya asked, blinking her eyes in rapid succession. I probably had a completely different expression than usual on my face. If I had to guess, it was a difficult frown-like one.

I scratched my head, trying of to think of the best way to put what I wanted to say. “I'm sorry I know I promised that I'd help you out but I have to ask that we change our deal.”

“Oh? Getting greedy?” she chuckled, “I guess you guessed how much these will really sell for by now. Or maybe you want me to show you more of myself?” she then added with a dangerously seductive wink. “I shouldn't enable you but I'm open to renegotiating.

“It's not that. I just don't feel comfortable sharing some of these images. They were... intimate. Feels wrong to sell them off.”

“Intimate was the point,” Aya shook her head, “though I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you have a thing for our teachers too.”

“Eh but it's not like that,” I argued. “I'd still give you some of the images-”

“but not all. You want to keep the rest.” Shameimaru bit her lip and seemed to think for a minute. She was likely running through calculations of profit margins and trying to maximize her returns anyways. “Tell you what, I can't just give you the film without asking for compensation for the film used as well as for breaking a deal. But, like I said, I'm not closed to renegotiating. So we can develop the film together, you separate the ones you don't want to sell and I'll calculate how much that comes out of your share. Oh and as a penalty we'll do 40-60, my way. Sound alright to you?”

There was no use in arguing with her. It was a fairly reasonable deal all things considered. “Alright,” I said, “let's do that.”

“Then it's a date,” she affirmed, “come to the photography club either today or tomorrow and we'll use the darkroom I have there.”

“Can't make it today, it'll have to be tomorrow,” I told her.

“So long as it's before the festival. I'll be very busy after that,” she concluded, letting me off the hook more or less.

I just sat in class like a good little boy for the rest of the school day. Classes let out and I killed a bit of more time before heading back to Yuyuko's office. I opened the door without thinking.

Pink with a simple hook in the middle, it wrapped around firmly across her back and to a tantalizingly hidden front. Big Sis was shirtless in the middle of the room, I had caught her changing tops accidentally. Not bad. Normally I didn't get to see her curves due to her clothes and her usually being seated when we spoke. But there was a very real femininity to them. The small of her back gave way to a plump little rump and the depression on either side hinted at a generous front as well. The clear skin looked almost like wax paper and seemed to probably feel about as smooth to the touch.

She didn't notice me at first, her arms and head both wrapped in the new shirt she was putting on. When she finally noticed that she wasn't alone, she turned around with a scowl. It softened slightly when she noticed it was me but she clearly wasn't too thrilled to be spied upon. “It's only common courtesy to knock,” she chastised me, “I hope you're not like this everywhere you go.”

“Sorry, but I didn't see much if it matters. You have a nice back, that's all I learned.”

“That's not the point,” she scolded me, “it's about respect. I don't care if you saw my back and my bra strap at all.”

“Then may I seem them again?” I asked with an award-winning smile.

Big Sis shook her head. “Let's get going,” she changed the subject. “I already called your home and let them know about this.”

“Uh, why?”

“This is the last train that goes all the way to that address. So you'll be gone overnight. It's only common sense to contact your guardian. Besides,” she smirked, “she didn't even ask for a reason. Seems like I'm in your guardian's good graces.”

That was a dangerous situation. Couldn't have Auntie trusting Big Sis. It could lead to my ruin. Especially if she started to make suggestions on how to make me a better student. But I kept my concerns to myself.

We left school and walked to the station. A few students we saw on the way recognized either me or Big Sis and occasionally said hello or waved. Heaven knew what they were thinking about the fact that we were together. Surely that I was in serious trouble. At any rate, we made it to the station with time to spare. Big Sis paid for the ticket and we got on the train as soon as it arrived.

“Should take about two and a half hours, including counting stops,” she told me. It was two or three towns over. We weren't on a bullet train either so it was understandable that it'd take a while.

We were also, obviously, in the middle of rush hour. No seats available when the train came around. We were packed in like canned sardines, with us making our way eventually to a small spot by a window. We were hemmed in by salary men and office workers going home after a long day of work. We couldn't really speak to one another either, the background noise of the train and general murmur of people making communication difficult.

I spaced out for a good while, watching the terrain roll by. The city became denser as we passed near the center but eventually began to think out again. And, all of a sudden, it seemed to disappear entirely. Things became rural fast. Trees and fields occasionally peppered by the odd patch of small rural settlements. As the sun began to hang low in the sky, the landscape became a golden preserve of wilderness.

I caught something from the corner in my eye. A salary man with very obvious intentions was trying to get closer to Yuyuko. His hand hovered around his midsection, looking through an opportunity to grope her bottom. She had changed into more casual clothes before we left, ostensibly to look less like an office worker and more like a normal woman.

[] Push through people to stop him.
[] Big Sis would want to handle it herself.
[x] Push through people to stop him.

I hope it doesn't cause a scene but we can't just stand around and watch her get groped.
[x] Push through people to stop him.

No one touches Yuyuko but us. We shouldn't cause a scene, but if we physically stand in such a way as to block him, that might dissuade any would-be perverts except Arc himself
[x] Big Sis would want to handle it herself.

Yuyu is a big girl. She can handle herself just fine.
[x] Push through people to stop him.

It'd be a nice way to earn points, and I'd think she'd be flattered by the action.
[x] Push through people to stop him.

She'll surely be charmed to know we are so protective. Maybe she'll feel young again.

Besides, would Arc really, really just fucking watch.

Brilliant. Big Sis will beat the shit out of him. It would be better than either helping her or leaving her to do that.

This is great. It helps protect Yuyuko without the chance for Arc to unexpectedly go overboard and start an actual fight on the train.
Nah guys, write-ins aren't accepted unless he asks for them.
It is allowed. You can vote for it if you want to.
It's okay. Because the choice is basically between intervening and letting Yuyuko handle it on her own. The specifics don't really affect the outcome that much this time.
Sorry for not updating yesterday but stuff and reasons prevented me from concentrating/having time. I'll try to get back into the swing of things but likely no earlier than several hours from now. Don't want to be too specific but at least 8 hours, likely more. Should be fine for the rest of the week though.
Good luck with whatevers troubling you.
In the busy, crowded environment, my voice was drowned out by the sheer concentration of bodies in close proximity. The sound of the wheels on rail was all that was clearly audible. Still, I spoke, even shouted as I pushed and jostled around to do something about the would-be groper. He wasn't discouraged and, though the people around me stole furtive glances in my direction as I squeezed through them, they weren't interested at all in getting involved.

In the end, I closed the distance between me and Yuyuko. The end result was that I somehow got her attention and, before anything could really happen, she turned around to face me and the man that had been standing behind her. He wore a poker face and disappeared into the crowd, swallowed up by the sea of bodies easily enough. I didn't even get to chew him out or do anything real to him. And Yuyuko just looked at me like I was simply messing around. I tried to explain what had been about to happen but she didn't seem to hear my words properly. Instead she just nodded and told me that we were still an hour or so away from our destination.

And that was that. Anti-climactic as hell. I thought that maybe Big Sis had noticed more than she let on but she either didn't care or didn't want me to worry. Either way she returned to looking out through the window blankly as we continued to travel.

As the train began to make its stops, it emptied out. Quite noticeably and quite quickly. By about an hour into our journey there were only a handful of people in our wagon. There was nothing to do but to stare out into the dark landscape outside. The sun had set and the moon was new and small. Besides the occasional station lit up with artificial light, most of the scenery was draped in a darkness only found way beyond city limits. The outlines of trees and the occasional appearance of a road or house was not enough to keep me watching diligently.

I sat down and looked around at my fellow passengers. An elderly lady, a gruff-looking man dressed in work overalls and Big Sis. Not a group that had much in common. Save for Yuyuko who sat two seats down from me and was reading a magazine she found somewhere, everyone else was off in their own corner of the wagon. Minding their own business, I supposed. Made the time pass by slowly, however. It was hard to know how close we were to our destination.

“Now's a good as time as any to have a talk,” Big Sis roused me from my bored daze sometime later. She skipped recent events and instead was all business. “I hope you realize what we may encounter once we get there. It's possible that we won't even get a real chance to talk to either Marisa or her guardian. The door might be slammed on our faces. Or perhaps they won't even answer the door. There's no guarantee anyone will be around, after all.”

“I realize,” I told her, “but it beats the alternative of doing nothing and waiting around. We'll try.”

“Yes we will. But do you even know how you're going to approach this?” she asked.

“Talk to Marisa, try to get the truth from her and then see what I can do to help.”

“Don't you think that maybe you risk cornering her mentally?”

“It's a bit too late to worry about that when we're already on a train to see her. I Just have to hope that I'll be able to get through to her.”

“What about her guardian? If he's part of the problem then there's little you can do about it.”

“That's too hypothetical at the moment,” I said. “We don't know much. So let's not close doors before we even get there.”

Yuyuko sighed, “I'm just telling you to be realistic. Goodwill and positive intentions will only get you so far. If there's some sort of family problem then I'm not sure that you'll be able to solve or mediate. Because, frankly, any one of the affected parties can shut you down by reminding you that it's their won private affairs. If Marisa didn't want to tell you about her problems earlier, then what has changed to make her want to tell you now?”

“You never know until you try,” I repeated my point about playing it by ear. I wasn't too confident about it myself, truthfully.

“Perhaps you should think about your position relative to her before you try to convince her of anything,” Yuyuko suggested. She explained what she meant before I even asked, “sometimes people who have lost their way need to be reminded of what they have and what they wanted before they find themselves again. For example, you can remind her of how she is important to you and others or how she should be working towards fulfilling her own dreams in life. Just arguing for argument's sake isn't liable to get you anywhere.”

There was a clinical quality to her advice. She was definitely speaking as a counselor and not as a taskmaster and general foil to my antics. I didn't know if she was completely right but I at least thought about it. Maybe it would b e to approach her with a clear base or narrative in place. That was I would be consistent and hopefully get through to her instead of just throwing everything I had an seeing what stuck.

[] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.
[] Running away and bearing everything by herself wasn't going to solve anything. She wasn't going to be happy if she never shared her problems nor tried to deal with the root issues.
[x] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.

This pretty much is on the same level as what big sis said. Remind her of what is important to her, being in school and being around arc cause you know she likes him.
[x] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.

From our earlier interactions with her, she does not seem to want to make this be about herself. Rather than pointing out how things could change for her if she does something, instead point out how she has already made a change in other people (like Arc) and how she can continue to be that positive presence. Let her know that there are people, true friends, who need her just as much as she needs them.
[X] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.
[x] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.

he may have taken her for granted but the moemnt she vanished he felt it. That and even despite Arc's less than stellar attention span (no thanks to us), she's one of his three main friends.
Teruyo does not count votes without comment. Just write a short line like "I think Marisa deserves saving cause she is so cute" or something.

[x] Running away and bearing everything by herself wasn't going to solve anything. She wasn't going to be happy if she never shared her problems nor tried to deal with the root issues.

We want to help her, she's a dear friend and makes life more fun. Every friend does, yeah.

But she's not that much. There are other girls to fill Arc's heart.
So we meet again, my nemesis. You've been the one undermining our efforts to romance Marisa, haven't you?

[x] I wanted her in my life. She made my school life a little less boring and I think I had a positive impact on her life as well. I wanted to help her because I wanted her back in my life.

In all seriousness, I want to see more of her.
[x] Running away and bearing everything by herself wasn't going to solve anything. She wasn't going to be happy if she never shared her problems nor tried to deal with the root issues.

I don't want to romance her, I just want her to be safe and happy.
the other choice doesn't imply romance as general concern for her. There is such a thing as platonic affection at worse.
I've been taking it easy busy but updates tomorrow at some point. Probably. Sorry for not following through.
Less playing Civ/being lazy and more updates. Think about all the touhous that need to be sexualized.
We were the last ones left in our compartment when our stop finally came up. Big Sis recognized it as the correct place and urged me up and out. I was lost in thought. What she had told me made me think about all sorts of difficult things, things I'd rather not face. No use worrying too much about life, I tried to tell myself. But with Marisa, with our trip and with our soon-to-come confrontation, I was forced to think long and hard about what might happen. And why it might happen. And, most importantly, how it came to be.

I didn't really take much stock of the station as the train departed again. I just let Yuyuko guide me off the platform and out towards what looked like a small hamlet. Maybe I was being too self-absorbed. I shouldn't worry so much, a voice in my head told me. But I had reached a conclusion sometime on that train ride. No matter how sudden and unexpectedly our relationship had been rekindled, I wanted Marisa back in my life. I enjoyed her company and she made school more fun.

Big Sis said something.

“...it helps that she's cute too,” I was grumbling to myself.

“Come on, focus,” Big sis chided. “You can't be spacing out if you want to get anything done here.”

...I slowly snapped out of it. “Yeah, sorry,” I said. I looked around and saw that we were in something like a town square. There were a few small shops here that were all closed. Off to the distance there were a few houses with plenty of space in between them, even a few multi-storied tenements. I wasn't sure just how rural it was supposed to be. It certainly wasn't a major population center, and it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, but it could have just as easily been a suburb like where I lived. “Where's the address supposed to be?” I asked.

“I think a little ways in that direction,” she said. And led on. There wasn't much light on the street. The streetlamps were spaced far apart and the glow from the homes we passed barely made it out to the street. That, along with a stretch of trees in the distance reinforced the sensation of remoteness.

The address turned out to be a small house off the main street leading to the station. A faded nameplate with “Kirisame” on it confirmed that it was the correct place. Looked absolutely normal. Maybe could have used a coat of newer paint but then again that might have just been the night playing tricks on my eyes. There was no gate and so we simply walked up to the door and rang the bell.

Despite my efforts to remain focused, my heart was at my throat.

There was no reply. Big Sis rang again.

“Well, what now?” I asked. Didn't seem anyone was home.

“I'm not sure,” she said, looking around. “Divine inspiration seems to be more your specialty.”

“You mean, improvisation?” I started to look around as well. Any signs of activity would be nice. Maybe the neighbors? They would know.

“We could book a room at an inn for the evening and check tomorrow,” she suggested, “there's no train back until the morning anyhow.”

[] Spend a night alone with Yuyuko at the inn, where they likely only have a single futon.
[] Go check out the-

There wasn't any need for that.

We both looked at the door at the same time. It was opening. Someone was home, after all.

I couldn't help but smile. “Heya,” I greeted, “how's it going?”

She seemed surprised. Naturally enough .I'd be surprised to see her if our places were swapped. “What are you-?” Marisa barely managed to get out. Though her eyes briefly went questioningly towards Yuyuko, they quickly focused squarely on me.

I reached out to embrace her.

[] With a chuckle, I added, “I don't want you running away on me again. You had me worried.”
[] “I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered.

Don't invite me to play civ together and then complain about me playing the game with you.
[x] “I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered.

I feel this is closer to Arc than the other answer.
[] With a chuckle, I added, “I don't want you running away on me again. You had me worried.”

Assertiveness and showing that she can't run this time. Speak loud and clear, faggot.
[x] With a chuckle, I added, “I don't want you running away on me again. You had me worried.”

If you think about it, he hugs her and tells her that he pretty much has her now and will look that she does not run away again. Or something like that is my take on this.
dunno it sounds a bit too impersonal, and in light of Arc's neglect it might not end well.

I'd think something more personal might work to reassure her that she's still Arc's friend.

I'm willing to hear whatever counter arguements you have.
>Spend a night alone with Yuyuko at the inn, where they likely only have a single futon.

This please.
I already stated everything that I have to say in my vote above. Those are my reasons. It just sounds more personal to me given the situation.

They're friends, and he is being friednly. In my opinion, she needs a stronger and supportive presence, than a loveydovey one.
[x] “I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered.

>[] Spend a night alone with Yuyuko at the inn, where they likely only have a single futon.
Don't tease me like that!
[x] “I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered.

Because he did miss her. Or at least we voted down that path.
[x] “I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered.
The other option is a little too impersonal I feel. I guess I feel this choice shows Marisa that Arc does value her as a friend.
She slipped easily into my arms, her back feeling small as I pressed her against my chest. Felt right.

“I missed you a whole lot, you troublemaker,” I whispered. She didn't resist, her body meekly accepting being close to mine.

It seemed like she forgot how to speak. We silently stood there, as if time were suspended, for longer than either of us probably expected. But there were no complaints. We finally parted after I decided to let go when I remembered that Big Sis was probably watching with a stupid smile on her face. Giving her more ammunition was not a wise idea.

“Are you alright?” I asked her, not daring to check on Big Sis' facial expression.

“I'm fine,” Marisa replied quietly, her eyes full of questions. She wanted to know why we were there. Or so I guessed.

“I needed to know how you were doing,” I said, “suddenly disappearing like that – couldn't stop thinking about you.” That was mostly true. I tried not to worry and I tried to distract myself with other things but things kept coming back to her. “Your seat in class has been empty for far too long.”

“Sorry,” she said, her eyes darting downwards as she avoided making eye contact. “I didn't want to make you feel bad.”

“Can we come in to talk?” I asked her.

“I... suppose that would be alright,” there was some hesitation in her voice. But she led us in all the same.

The layout was simple and very much traditional. Her room was likely upstairs but the main parts of the house were all stuck together near the entrance. A living room with tatami mats led to a small cramped kitchen was what took most of the ground floor. We sat at a small table and waited as she brewed a bit of tea. The decorations were sparse, a flower arrangement that had seen better days to one side and a few basic knicknacks and a small tv. It wasn't much but it definitely looked more cozy than the barren apartment I had found.

Big Sis didn't say a word in the meanwhile, letting Marisa and me do all the talking. Not that there was much of that. When she brought the tea, she sat down across from me and said nothing. I hadn't noticed before but she was wearing well-worn and comfortable looking clothes, a sweatshirt with several patches covering up where the fabric had given way and baggy pants. Her usual braid was only half-done as well and her hair sort of dangled in a carefree manner off the side of her face.

As for the person herself, she looked skittish but healthy. There was no trace of that sadness that had marked our last encounter. Whether it was hidden under the surface or dispelled for good, I wasn't so sure. I had been fearing the worse and so seeing her in one piece was a relief.

“Um,” I felt like I had to get the conversation going. “How have you been?” Weak as an opening but it would have to do.

“I'm managing,” she answered softly but evasively.

“Are you feeling alright?”

“I am.”


I wasn't really making much progress.

[] Look to Big Sis to get the ball rolling.
[] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too. Maybe that'll break the ice.

Might be it for today. Not sure. Depends what happens in the next few hours.
Tough choice, this one.

On one hand, I think that hitting on her right now would be wildly inappropriate and just make things even more awkward. On the other, it might just be the perfect way to get her to open up and break the ice.

As for the other choice, it can be seen as a sign that we really don't know what we're doing if we turn to Big Sis or it could be that we value any insight she might have as a school counselor.

However, Marisa didn't seem to have any sort of reaction to the hug earlier; from the description, it looked like she just went completely stiff. It could be that Arc's coming on too strong here.

[x] Look to Big Sis to get the ball rolling.

Yuyuko knows more about her situation than we do. I believe she can lead the conversation in such a way as to address the issues we're concerned with.
[X] Look to Big Sis to get the ball rolling.

Agreeing with this. Arc doesn't seem to have much effect by himself.
[x] Look to Big Sis to get the ball rolling.

This is why we brought Big Sis along, to help get things moving.
[x] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too. Maybe that'll break the ice.

Clearly this is the only path that Arc can take. He needs to tell ehr how cute she looks.
[x] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too. Maybe that'll break the ice.

This is all Arc. Let him do what he does best.
Yeah I don't think Arc can break through alone, hence Big sis to get to the heart of the matter.

Eh he has a hit/miss record in this area.
[X] Look to Big Sis to get the ball rolling.

I'd have no clue what to do in this situation either,
Yuyu is there to intervene if things escalate further. I see no reason to defer to her right now. If that was the plan in the first place, why not just send her in alone and spend more time with the delicious Tenshi or Kaguya?

Take a chance and get your hands dirty. The option is there, ripe for the taking. It's not going to screw anything up. The previous option was a set-up for our approach, if we were taking the hands-off deal, we should have just chosen the "worried classmate" option.

Instead, we chose the more familiar "childhood friend" approach. Avoid the non-sequitur.
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A mixture of being unwell/busyish has made me not feel much like writing lately. That, coupled with the slower turnout has put a damper on trying to force myself to write anyhow. Today is not looking good either and I feel like I need to recharge a bit before getting back to it. Sorry about that. I'll try tomorrow, hopefully feeling less bleh.

>Yuyuko knows more about her situation than we do.
I wouldn't count on it. She seemingly shared everything she knew already with Arc. See: the conversations with her last thread. Other than that, the logic of deferring to her experience certainly has merit.

>good cop/bad cop
This really isn't supposed to be a choice about interrogating a friend in trouble.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with letting Yuyuko do what she thinks is best but I somehow suspect that some people wouldn't want to lose the initiative or play second fiddle, which may happen by letting someone else deal with Marisa. Once floodgates are open it's hard to control the deluge unless you prepared beforehand. Going by what I see in the comments, it doesn't seem that people mind just going along for the ride but I have to make sure because, honestly, hearing people bitch about picking one choice over another later on is annoying. And that happens often when people bandwagon without considering the alternative.

In conclusion, voting for hatesex or shrine maidens seems like a good general policy. Even I'm not sure how serious I'm being right now.
I concur with this as our new voting plan, clearly all roads should lead to hatesexing shrine maidens.

>>58912 here, I'd like to change my vote after reading >>58917 to [x] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too. Maybe that'll break the ice.

I think choosing this option is fitting for Arc, and considering it, i find it a more suitable direction for him to take after reviewing his general role being at the forefront most of the time. We're here now, we should play a stronger role.
Good man. I wish that some more people here would show more Marisa love. Just tell her how cute she is, guys!
[x] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too.

What >>58917 said.

If it doesn't end up breaking the ice, we'll know for sure and can still just have Yuyuko take over afterwards.
assuming it doesn't cause a shut down in communications or something worse.
Again, Yuyuko is here for that exact contingency.

Think about it from Marisa's point of view. She's already on guard, especially after seeing Yusuke with Arc. Choosing this option will go a long way towards defusing the situation a little bit and catching Marisa off guard.
Counting... The vote is tied right now, 4-4.

Nope, >>58919 changed his vote, so it's 3-4 for handling it ourselves
Count again. You missed a vote.


>>58912 that changed

How did I miss the first big ass one...
[x] Tell her she looks cute outside of a uniform too. Maybe that'll break the ice.

Hopefully this will workout well, and that YUyuko'd be able to salvage things if they go south.
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It was probably only the second or so time I had ever seen her wear something besides her uniform. It was a second skin for us students, truth be told. Outside of a narrow window of opportunity during the weekend and on break, we were mostly wearing the same old thing. Well, save for the naughtier good-for-nothings like me that often got changed to go into town. Couldn't well expect any grown-up fun looking like a student.

“Ya know,” I started in my usual carefree, if a bit loutish, way, “I just have to say, those clothes really suit you. It's very informal and makes you look really cute. Kind of makes me want to get as comfortable.”

She reacted sharply, getting flustered almost immediately. Marisa likely forgot she what she was wearing. There was a dose of embarrassment as well as an undisguised splash of happiness at being complimented. It made for a satisfying cocktail of mixed emotions. I drank it up, all too happily, enjoying every second of her reaction.

“Oh, well, this is just an old useless thing I put on because of laundry-” she began reacting with excuses, the embarrassment being in a stronger concentration.

“It's fine. I like seeing you like this. It's informal and it feels like we're really intimate somehow. About to have a family meal together or something.”

“Ah-!” she didn't quite know what to say to that. She looked a bit distant and scatterbrained, with a tinge of melancholia in her eyes but a steady smile was the bottom line. The way I interpreted it, she agreed with my assessment. Good enough.

“Well, you're probably wondering why we're here,” I said with a chuckle, “as much as I want to say that it's because I wanted to see you again after that preview in the bath, I think we all know that it's something else.”

“Oh-!” she exclaimed, once again not sure what to say to another embarrassing comment that I had piled on. Marisa remember it about as clearly as I did. And likely felt as awkward as I did about that whole scene and it's aftermath. It was written on her face; the way she wrinkled her brow with traces of worry said all that had to be said.

I didn't want to make it all about that. I wanted to move on.

“I'm here because I want to help you. And I'm tired of being sidelined. This undependable-looking counselor is here to help in any way she can as well,” I explained. I turned to look at Big Sis, she wore a comfortably polite but somewhat sober smile. In other words, she was affable but dependable. “Don't worry, she may not look like much, but she's good at what she does.”

“If you need to talk to me, anything you say will be in confidence,” Yuyuko said softly, in a reassuring manner. Had to hand it to her, she sure knew how to act like a professional when she needed to.

“I don't want to press you, badger you or otherwise corner you,” I told Marisa. “I'm here because I care about you and I want you back in my life again. You had me worried and I'm sure you can understand why.”

“You really need to learn how to give up,” she sighed. “Though I guess I saw this coming when we were dealing with that redhead and you were relentless.”

“We made a hell of a team,” I said with a chuckle, “Kaenbyou didn't know what hit her.”

“Rather, kissed her,” she said with a smile. It seemed forced. I wanted her to unburden herself.

“I'm all ears, you know. Whatever you want to say, no matter how difficult I'll listen. And I'll try to help you out as best you can. I promise to respect your feelings as best I can. I want you back in uniform and sitting next to me as soon as humanly possible. It's dull being ganged up upon by Alice and Suika.”

That was my solemn vow.

“Would it be too much to ask you to respect my feelings now?” she said unhelpfully, “if I were to ask you to leave and let me sort everything out, would you be fine with that? You ignored me the first time, after all. But maybe that was because I was crying and you're a sucker for crying girls.”

That was true, I was a sucker for crying girls. But that wasn't the important part! I stared into her eyes. She was unreadable; A look of quiet determination replaced everything else. Was she seriously asking me to butt out again? I wasn't so sure. It was as unfair of a question to me as tracking her down had probably been to her. In short, she was putting me on the spot.

[] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.
[] Nah, she was right. If she seriously wanted me to, I'd respect her feelings no matter what.
[] Nah, she was right. If she seriously wanted me to, I'd respect her feelings no matter what.

Remember the last time we tried to force her to say something? The way she ran away?

Let's not repeat that. Letting her know Arc is here and really, really cares, should be enough, for now. She needs to accept help out of her own will.
[x] Nah, she was right. If she seriously wanted me to, I'd respect her feelings no matter what.

I can only hope we can also tell Marisa that we're willing to help. "I'll do it on my own" are infamous last words.
[x] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.

I see two ways to do this: Either she actually has a plan on how to do this and just wants him to trust caue it will work.
Or she thinks that she has it covered, but does not, and would need his help to handle this.

Remember the bruises and how she lived until now? She HAS a problem and I doubt that she can do this alone. Trusting her is one thing but sometimes you just have to step in and do the right thing because situations can get too much for a single person to handle.

I am not saying that this will be easy and she probably won't take it well but it is better that she can live a normal life and not live in a dump. Hence the greater good is her greater good and not arcs.
[Z] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.

I'm changing my vote to this because it's a better sentiment. Everyone knows arc would dive into a freezing river to save a puppy. This is the more genuine option that Arc would pick, and it seems Marisa might be in over her head and not even realize it.

I think it's terribly worded though. "for the greater good" sounds like we have some sort of meddling quota we have to meet for the glory of Arztoka because comrade Marissa hasn't been productive. We're doing this for her benefit, because we like HER.
[x] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.

Even if she ends up hating him forever, if it ends up saving her life or something similar, it'll be worth it.

This goes beyond paying lip-service to the "respect her wishes" spiel. She is a precious friend that Arc cannot afford to lose. The warning signs are too strong. Missing school, showing up with bruises, and the emotional distress. She is in over her head. At this point, we're gonna help her no matter what. It might get messy, I hope everyone has the stomach for it.
Guys, this is not an intervention. "For her own good?" This isn't a drug addiction problem, she is not self destructing, or refusing to acknowledge the problem. Damnit, she knows she's in trouble!

She knows very well her situation. She's having some difficulty now, but it's not something that asks for a forced intervention like this.

We're not sure what exactly is going on, but we can trust her to make the right decision when the best time for it comes. She is perfectly sane and in control of her own mind, she will recognize that opportunity when it shows up.

The thing is, it's Marisa who needs to be the one to make the first step towards asking for help. Knowing that there are people who are really worried and have the means to help her is good and all, but she is the one who needs to ask for it.
>We're not sure what exactly is going on, but we can trust her to make the right decision when the best time for it comes.
Like how she did the right things all that time without telling anyone. Might sound harsh but it is the reality. The moment we stepped up is the moment that we decided to do something, why else are we here? Just a few good words and trust won't do the job here.

She may know that she got the problems but she thinks that she can do this alone on her own and her pride or whatever is keeping her from accepting the help of the person she loves. Knowing your problems and being able to do something against them are two different things altogether.

She was in despair then. You can't just force things on people in such situation, they don't react well to that. She probably knows she can't do it alone as well...and that's why we need to trust her and wait for her.

To force unwanted help will only damage things, and weaken the trust. It might also cause her to act in a deeper despair. Run away when Arc is not looking, or deny everything, these kind of things.

That she is not refusing her reality is a good thing. It might take a while longer for her to step out and take the offer of help, but it will surely happen, and her trust in Arc will only be strenghtned this way.
[x] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.

Because I want to force help on her.
[x] It would be too much to ask. If need be, her feelings needed to be ignored for the greater good.

This sounds wrong...
but yeah, he probably rolls that way
[x] Nah, she was right. If she seriously wanted me to, I'd respect her feelings no matter what.
“You know I can't just ignore you,” I told her, “even if you ask nicely.” With a chuckle, I added, “I wouldn't have chased after you and come all this way just for you to convince me that I should keep my distance after all. I care about you and for better or worse, you're stuck with me. If I didn't care that you might hate me that day I tried to stop you from running away, I sure don't really care now.

“I'm not really good with junk like this,” I said with a scratch on my head. “I mean, I'm sure we could talk all day whether or not it's just me being stubborn or a promise from the past actually matters or not. Or maybe it's like you said, I'm just a sucker for crying girls. And I don't want you to cry. Or suffer any more. Which is why I can't let your feelings trump what I think is the right thing to do here in this situation. That is, helping you.”

I made a mess of that, surely. I sounded lame and wasn't very logical. But, well, as clumsy as the execution may have been, the message came from the heart. I hoped she'd realize that.

...I completely forgot that Big Sis also heard all of that. As my senses returned to me, I realized that that was a terrible mistake. I was liable to be manipulated by her now that she knew a little bit more about my personality. Or relationships. Both, really.

“I guess it was stupid of me to even ask, even if it was just hypothetical,” Marisa said quietly. It seemed like she was determined to not let her feelings get the better of her again. Or maybe not. With a soft sigh, she then added, “I like that stubborn side of you too. I can't be upset at what I know is really a sense of justice and kindness either. Which is why I've liked you since we were kids. You'd always help out someone even if it was unreasonable.”

“Sorry if it feels like I've cornered you,” I said.

“I just needed time to think,” she said, “put things into perspective. Neither you nor Alice could leave that alone though.”

“Alice talked to you?” I asked. Somehow that made me glad. It might have helped her realize that there were other people who cared about her too. Besides which, I couldn't offer the same feminine perspective that Alice was sure to provide.

“A little bit,” Marisa explained, “she decided to respect my space when I asked her to just trust me.”

“She's too accepting of other people,” I remarked. That had always been her weakness. Unless she was dealing with me, she adopted a very live and let live attitude. “For better or worse, I'm the kind of idiot that she isn't. And so here we are.”

“And so here we are,” she repeated.

There was no more room to dance around the subject.

Marisa told me about her situation.

It was, at first, only reluctantly. I was patient enough not to interrupt her and respected her enough to not prod in the obvious pauses where she decided to skip over some incident or detail. There was a bit of sadness and pain in her voice as she talked and surprisingly little anger, especially considering what she had gone through. What surprised me most, however, is how she openly talked about things that others might consider too shameful or embarrassing without breaking eye contact. Even though she was usually a young girl with a lovely smile, there was an aura of maturity to her that belied her age. Big Sis' presence didn't seem to bother her either when she entered into a few more lurid details – that I had vouched for her was sign enough of her trustworthiness.

The actual pertinent crisis didn't take too long to explain but, due to the nature of the problem, Marisa spent a lot of time describing the years since she had moved away. It was a long time before she quieted down and let me digest the story more fully.

Essentially, the problem was very simple.

Marisa's father was unwell. Emotionally, he had grown distant in the year or so since his wife passed to the point where he had trouble relating with his own daughter. Financially, he had squandered money on both drink and games of chance as he tried to forget his pain. And physically, he had recently been diagnosed with a very serious medical condition. This made his self-loathing and regrets amplify his sorrow.

Marisa herself had been left to fend on her own. Not being able to take the daily despair any more, she had run away. Come back to where I was, in a vain hope to forget her misery and troubles. She had forged paperwork that gave her father's consent for her to enroll at school and rent an apartment. The money was the hard part. All of her possessions were sold before she left. She had worked for a few months before running away to save up money for tuition and supplemented it with her part time job. There seemed to be an implication that she worked more than one job but I didn't press her on it.

Her recent disappearance of school was because her father, in a moment of lucidity, had hired a detective to track his daughter down. The investigator found her and then he traveled into the city and confronted his daughter. He told her that he was sick and fell into a momentary rage over the pent up feelings of helplessness and frustration. That explained the bruising. Marisa had emphasized that her father, while desperate, had never struck her before. I didn't know she was lying out of any remnant affection or was telling the truth. And so Marisa had come back home to sort out affairs and try to decide what to do.

In the worst case scenario, she would have to drop out of school to support her father full time. He was, after all, her only family. And she felt guilty for leaving him. She didn't say as much but it was clear in the way she talked about him that she loved him very much.

I understood why she couldn't share any of that. She had come back into my life under false pretenses. There were no adults for her to turn to without the house of cards falling over. And there wasn't anything any of her peers could do either. It was quite the burden.

Worst of all, it didn't seem like she was closer to an answer. I could see in her eyes which way she was leaning towards. The pain she must have felt at being torn apart from her normal school life and her friends was hard to imagine.

I didn't know if I was deluding myself with the thoughts that came to mind. Did it matter? What Marisa thought seemed more important.

[] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.
[] Moral support was the most important thing I could offer. I couldn't dismiss her sense of duty even if I really wanted to now that I understood the situation. If she really thought it best, I had to live with her choice.
[x] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.

She is a young girl and the burden she has to bear is a heavy one. Taking care of her father and keeping her away from school and all her friends it just too much to ask of her. In the long run she might not be able to bear it all alone. And alone she is not. She has Arc and her friends to help her in this hard time.

Now that she has opened up and is ready to accept help we can try to find a way to do this. Due to the distance it might not be easy but there are weekends and some days of the week can be choosen to be with her father. It might not be perfect but it sure as hell can work out for her.

I really like that the choices has so many "together" in it, cause it is shit to have to bear everything alone. Besides, Big Sis is there and might have some good input in this. So she can be a good adult or something. My only fear is that anon might forget the promise here and not help her later on.
[X] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.

If there's anything DW8 has taught me, it's that relying on others is infinitely more effective than trying to lone wolf it. There ends up being a lot of oversight and inefficiency when you're trying to carry the weight of all your burdens alone. Surely, something could be alleviated with our aid.
[X] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.

Teaming up with people tends to have better results as opposed to doing everything by yourself.
...just one of the valuable lessons video games have taught me.
[] Moral support was the most important thing I could offer. I couldn't dismiss her sense of duty even if I really wanted to now that I understood the situation. If she really thought it best, I had to live with her choice.

Oh, it's not as abd as I thought it would be. She should stay and work with her father to recover the happy family she once had.
[X] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.

Just stopping here somehow feels wrong.

We should stop if it hurts her relationship with her father though.
[X] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.

If there's a way to help, I'm willing to find it. That's just too much weight for a single girl to carry. Not to mention she'd be ultimately spending who knows how long paying for sins that are not hers.
[X] With imagination and some help, all of her problems could be solved. Yuyuko could help with school and together we could figure out how to deal with everything else. Together, there was no need for so much sacrifice.
With everything out in the open, the results were pretty obvious. Well, my reaction probably seemed downright predictable to Marisa. Still, she smiled – ambiguously but I still took it as a good sign.

“I'll trust you,” she said with a refreshing lack of resistance. It remained to be seen if her unburdening would pay off but I wanted to do everything in my power to help. That was more of a matter of actions not words, however. Of more immediate concern was figuring out what to do until morning. “Father's not home,” she said quietly. I assumed he was out drinking. “You can stay here until morning, there's a few spare futons I can bring out.”

Big Sis thanked her for the gesture but declined, “I have a few things to take care of,” she said softly. “I won't be back until morning.”

“There are no more trains at this hour,” I told her. “Nothing to do here either.”

“You let me worry about that,” she said with that polished smile I had seen a million times before. Turning towards Marisa, she added, “I'd very much like to talk to you some time soon. I think there are things we should sort chat about.”

“I- well, I will,” Marisa nodded softly, looking dubious at the prospect. But there was some hope in her expression, I could tell. Without us, she'd really have nowhere else to turn.

“Perfect,” Yuyuko said. She stood up and turned to leave. Clearly she thought it was necessary to add one last thing. With a knowing smile, she added with some informality, “don't you kids have too much fun tonight. Tomorrow will be an important day.”

The implication shut both of us up long enough for her to leave. I should have expected that from her but Marisa clearly didn't. Once again she looked bashful and unsure of herself, seeming like she'd rather pretend she didn't hear Big Sis say what she said.

“You're really going to struggle catching up with classes when we get back,” I shifted the subject away from the obvious. “I'm afraid I can't really help you study. Not my strong point.”

“Oh, it's fine,” she said, as if still not convinced that she'd be back at school.

“Think Alice'd be good for the student council?” I asked and told her about Reimu showing up at her place some time ago.

“I don't think she'll join.”

“Oh, why's that?” I asked, not expecting to walk into a trap.

“She probably sees taking care of you as a full-time job,” Marisa cracked a smile at my expense. Not bad, insofar jokes went. It was a tiny step towards returning to form. After all, she was at her best when she was bursting with energy.

“I surrender,” I laughed. “Please don't gang up with Alice, you'd make my life a living hell!”

“I wouldn't want to ever inconvenience you, don't worry,” she giggled. There was an earnestness to her voice that made me trust the sentiment. Yeah, I could rely on her to be a positive force in my life. That's why I wanted her back. It'd only be right if I tried to make her smile more.

[] Tell her all about having to deal with Big Sis' unreasonable nature with colorful embellishments here and there.
[] Keep it focused on her. All the chaos would have been more manageable if she had been sitting next to me every day.
[X] Keep it focused on her. All the chaos would have been more manageable if she had been sitting next to me every day.

We need to keep the topics focused on her for now, as I believe that it's more relevant as well as more likely to give Marisa positive attention.

Telling stories about having to deal with someone else reminds me too much of what happened with that update back in thread 10 where it didn't really work out when we tried to engage Marisa with talk of our antics with being rejected by other girls.

Hence, I think this is the more suitable option to begin with, and hell, maybe she'll smile some more.
[] Tell her all about having to deal with Big Sis' unreasonable nature with colorful embellishments here and there.

Should help her come tot rust Yuyuko more easily. Because she should. Big Sis wouldn't screw up in this situation.
[x] Keep it focused on her. All the chaos would have been more manageable if she had been sitting next to me every day.

I see the other choice as risking reminding her of the unwitting neglect Arc's done ('thanks' to us, anon) and making her doubt Arc's sincerity as she might assume she's just another case for Yuyuko.

It also shows how Arc'd appreciate her company and showing how important she is to him.
[x] Keep it focused on her.

Because I do not like the last part of that vote. It sounds more like telling her why the hell was she not there to help. So yeah take this from me with love.
[X] Keep it focused on her. All the chaos would have been more manageable if she had been sitting next to me every day.

This is about Marisa and helping her work through a hell of a tough time. The funny anecdotes can wait till later.
[x] Tell her all about having to deal with Big Sis' unreasonable nature with colorful embellishments here and there.
Sorry for no updates, haven't been doing too well. But if everything goes to plan I'll make up for it by posting updates this afternoon (site time) and hopefully we can do multiple ones in quick succession. So look forward to that.
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There was a nervous energy to Marisa. Couldn't blame her, I felt much the same way. Because of everything that had happened, I supposed that it was only natural that things were at least a bit awkward.

Still, I tried to work past that.

“You know, I've come to get used to you sitting next to me. It's easier to deal with Suika's aggression and Alice's disapproval with a friendly face there. You're a welcome relief. One look and it's easier to forget about all the noise and distraction that otherwise makes life harder,” I said with a confident nod.

What I said seemed to provoke mixed feelings in Marisa. A nascent smile was hidden behind darker emotions on her face. I could guess why.

“It's not your fault, you know,” I told her, “and you shouldn't worry about it. I'm a jackass as well so forgive my clumsy way of phrasing things. All I mean is that you are a positive thing in my life. Classes are better because you're there.”

“I'm not worried about your clumsiness,” she shook her head gently. “I know it's just your way of expressing kindness. You're not good with sounding, um, tender I guess.”

That sounded too convenient. I tried to be a lovable rogue and all but being accepted so easily was somehow disappointing. Maybe the truth was that I thrived on being misunderstood. If only a little. Couldn't well make fun of everything if people saw right through me.

“Just leave it to childhood friends to be accepting of faults,” I said, intending to come off as tongue in cheek.

“I trust you, I think you know that,” she said. “If anything, all the stuff that's happened has made it hard to ignore the good side of you.” With a smile, she added, “I guess the bad as well. I don't mind you seeing me dressed like this but most girls would be screaming bloody murder.”

“I haven't really tried going to their homes late at night, maybe I should start,” I joked, “I think it's more or less worked out here.”

“You won't get anywhere with them like that,” Marisa stated with weird confidence. “It took my help to get you anywhere with that feisty redhead.'

Oh, her logic made some sort of sense. I grinned and told her what happened afterwards. I hadn't really seen or spoken to Kaenbyou since. Conflicting schedule mostly. “So yeah, it was just a momentary victory,” I concluded.

“I was right not to worry then,” she laughed. It didn't hurt to be made of by her. I was just happy that she was enjoying herself.

“Some fiancee you are,” I joked some more, “you'd expect more jealousy and cattiness under the circumstances.”

“Hm, does it bother you that I'm not pressuring you?” she asked, looking genuinely curious. By then, her excuse of showing up because she was betrothed to me made sense. It was a way to explain her presence when she had actually ran away. She could have just as easily said nothing and just been another transfer student but then she wouldn't have gotten to close to me, so quickly. It was a mystery how seriously she took the whole business.

“Can't say it really bothers me either way,” I told her. “It's just weird from an outsider's perspective, I guess.”

“Since when do you care what outsiders think?” she asked with a playfully raised eyebrow. It was all in good fun.

“Since they can make my life a living hell if there's too many rumors and gossip. Getting told I'm married to Alice every day is harmless but getting death threats from jealous boys isn't all that fun.”

“Alice sure is popular, huh?” Marisa seemed to tense up a little at the prospect. I wasn't sure why.

“No, it's not her. Just me talking to more popular girls that generally gets me the hateful looks and the odd message in my shoe cupboard.” Once I had even gotten a message for being too 'familiar' with Mima. That was by far the weirdest one. But Marisa didn't need to know that. It was just interesting to know that there were people with those kinds of taste out there. Took all kinds to make the world go around.

“Maybe I should be more clingy then,” she giggled, “then it'll start to get more attention and start up rumors. Might be fun to be the center of attention.”

“I'd rather you help me counter my other two oldest friends in class when they're being relentless.”

“Hm,” Marisa bit her lower lip softly, as if she was deep in thought. With a naughty little smile, she said, “I'll take it under consideration. A case by case sort of deal.”

“Oh great,” I sighed dramatically.

Before the subject changed too much there was one last thing I was curious about.

[] How serious was she about the fiancee thing?
[] Was she really cool with helping me out in dealing with other girls?

Yeah, hopefully quick votes and quick updates today. Going to be more strict about the time limit.
[x] How serious was she about the fiancee thing?

She talked about the second question at Rin's house, so I want to ask this.
[x] How serious was she about the fiancee thing?

Curious about his as well, and the second choice is a tad loaded for my tastes.
[x] Was she really cool with helping me out in dealing with other girls?

I feel that the other option might insult her.
[x] How serious was she about the fiancee thing?

We can deduce the answer to both of these questions from our past interactions. Given that, I'd rather hear her answer to this question over the other one.
[x] Was she really cool with helping me out in dealing with other girls?

I'm not sure why, but the other option sets off my danger alarm. I don't want to make her think we haven't been taking her seriously all this time.
>I don't want to make her think we haven't been taking her seriously all this time.
This. Thank you for saying what was on my mind but which I could not put into words. The situation seems to be not going perfectly for arc cause he is kind of stupid but Marisa overlooks it cause she knows him and that he cares for her.
Cool, so yeah. 10-15 more minutes and writing commences, the winner being whatever is in the majority then.
[x] Was she really cool with helping me out in dealing with other girls?

Fuck it, I don't want to give her hopes about the fiancee stuff.
[x] How serious was she about the fiancee thing?

The other option sounds like they are together already, and that Arc needs permission to see the other girls.

Also, 'helping' is not the same as 'dating', so it could also imply that dating/marrying is only for marisa. Hmm...
“You know,” I started up again, unsure if it was such a good idea to even bring it up. But there wouldn't be another opportunity to bring it up, I felt. Not unless I wanted to seem like an inconsiderate jerk. I had no idea how honest Marisa was about some of the more basic things.

“Yes?” Marisa picked up on my hesitation almost immediately. She asked, “what's the matter?”

I must have been making a difficult expression because she looked at me nervously. Hesitating any more would be a bad thing. “You being my fiancee,” I said, not really explaining my point. I sighed and took a deep breath. What was I getting worked up about anyhow? I hadn't let it affect me before. “I don't want you to take it the wrong way or anything... but how serious are you about that?”

“Oh,” she understood that I was being serious almost all at once. I expected a nervous joke from her or a bashful aversion of her eyes. She was resolute and didn't hesitate in answering truthfully, “I don't want to burden you with any of that. I don't think you can force people to like each other or anything so I'm not going to use it unfairly to hold you back. It's not fair to the others, for starters,” she smiled, probably of thinking of the others' faces. “It doesn't mean that I'm just going to give up, though. Nor that I'm not going to do my best regardless.”

“Do your best?” I couldn't help but ask.

“Well, let's worry about that later!” she said energetically. It seemed that Marisa, too, possessed that feminine wile and vagueness that made my life hell. Our eyes met and for a moment nothing happened.

We both laughed simultaneously as if something hilarious had been said. It was as good a result as any.

When the topic changed again, we spent some time talking about the old days. I couldn't remember much but Marisa filled in a lot of the half-remembered gaps in my memory. Seemed like I was quite the little rascal and the de facto king of the playground. Nothing happened without my approval and I regularly got into fights with other kids who tried to be pushy. I reddened a little when she mentioned a show I was obsessed with and tried to emulate. Screaming “taste my burning fist of justice” as I got into a fight was very lame, in retrospect. But, well, kids will be kids.

It got late enough for us to sleep. I helped her clear the immediate area so I would have somewhere to rest. As promised, Marisa brought out a futon and laid it out for me. It wasn't that late but somehow I was completely exhausted. I fell asleep soon after she retired upstairs to her bedroom.

Early in the morning, before the sun came up, a knock on the door woke me up. Marisa came scrambling down the stairs in a hurry – a clear reminder that she was still worried about her father. I barely had time to stretch and get up when I saw the polished smile at the door.

“Come on Arc, we'll be late for school,” Big Sis greeted, waving cheerfully for me to hurry up.


“No time for that,” she laughed, “we'll miss our train. Now hurry up.”

“What about Marisa?” I asked.

“She has a few loose ends to take care of here,” Yuyuko explained, “I had a bit of a chat with her old man last night. Perfectly charming fellow as well.” For a moment I thought that maybe she was being sarcastic. Then she placed a hand on her cheek and gushed, “he's a violinist you know, musicians sure are an interesting breed. Such deep mournfulness and expressiveness. We were at it all night. Barely got any sleep.”


“Oh, I didn't mean it like that silly!” she giggled happily. It was the strangest mood I had seen her in ever. I was left blown away and confused. “I almost regret spending money on that inn. They only had a small room and a single old futon that was way too hot to sleep in anyhow.” Big Sis turned to Marisa, who was just sort of standing there, unsure of what to say, “there are a few things you need to talk to your father about first but I expect to see you tomorrow for our little chat. And to sort out a few details. Is that alright?”

“Yes,” Marisa nodded, looking as confused as I probably did. With more confidence she added, “thank you.”

“Don't thank me yet. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.” And that was our cue to leave. I said my goodbyes and followed Yuyuko quickly down the street towards the train station. We barely made it before the doors closed.

The landscape was starkly different than it was the evening before. With the sun peering over the mountains in the distance, everything seemed to be coming back to life suddenly. The thick forests seemed less foreboding and more natural and friendly – the kind of place good for short hikes or to go mushroom-picking. The small hamlets we passed were charming and full of people starting their days by tending to livestock or walking towards the fields. In the far off distance the city loomed, still half-shrouded in darkness and with lights blinking steadily.

We had our pick of the seats and by the time the train got full, we were enjoying a comfortable ride. The trip felt much shorter as well and, when it was about a half hour before the time I woke up to go to school we had already arrived at our stop.

“Get changed if you want and come to class,” Yuyuko instructed, “we'll talk later. Perhaps even tomorrow. We're done for now. Good job helping your friend out.”

“Thanks for everything,” I told her, “you're somewhat useful sometimes.”

Her reply was a bright smile and a quick wave as she disappeared into a crowd going in the direction of the school.

A sense of hopefulness swelled in my chest.

[] Rush home to get ready for school.
[] Take the day off to celebrate.
[x] Rush home to get ready for school.

Stay in school. More Kazuya, Alice and Patchy.
[x] Rush home to get ready for school.

Not like we do much at school anyways. That and telling Alice the good news
>We were at it all night. Barely got any sleep
What have we done!?! Don't take Big Sis away from Arc oh god I do not want this. I curse you Teruyo I curse you.

[x] Take the day off to celebrate.

Fuck it just take the day off and just be merry or something. Maybe plan on how to win back Big Sis and how to send pictures of Arc and her together to Marisa's dad. Yeah things like that. Easy stuff.
[] Rush home to get ready for school.

Time to see the other girls
[X] Rush home to get ready for school.

That went well I think.
[y] Rush home to get ready for school.

Home is boring.
Probably good enough on votes, so writing soonish. Looks like no hitting on older women or going out on dates.

Oh, and guys, read the other stories on the site and vote too. They could use your support.
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Just getting home proved to be somewhat of an odyssey. Most people were coming in from the residential neighborhoods towards the center and so I had to fight through the crowds for most of the way. Construction crews forced me to divert from the most straightforward path and a burst water pipe somewhere else made me take an even longer detour. What should have been a comfortable walk turned into a dash as I tried to make it in time.

“Yo!” I greeted Alice as I arrived home. She was already on her way out towards the school. Seemed like she had found me missing and had decided to go on ahead. I didn't have time to chat. “I'll just be a minute and then we can walk together!” I yelled out as I passed by and bolted into my home and up the stairs.

I took a deep breath when I reached the bathroom. I washed my face and took care of a few basic things quickly as I discarded my dirty uniform. I took a minute or two longer than I thought I would as I hunted down a missing clean sock but I was otherwise dressed and ready in no time at all. I rushed back out where I found Alice waiting patiently by the door.

“Sorry about that,” I said with a wink, “hope I didn't make you wait too long.”

“Less than usual,” she checked her wristwatch, “Normally we're here five minutes later because you take so long to get out of bed.”

“Oh, great,” I sighed with relief, letting my shoulders slump. Got a bit lost with the high-energy antics. Apparently Alice found my new found concern with punctuality amusing as she laughed softly to herself.

“We can take our time if you've exhausted yourself already,” she teased, taking off ahead of me with a wink. Served me right. Shrugging, I began to walk at a leisurely pace next to her. “You seem to be in a good mood,” she remarked .The lack of complaining from my end tipped her off.

“It's just that a few things I had been worried about seem to have worked out, that's all,” I told her. “And, what, is it so weird for me to be happy?”

“In the mornings it is,” she jabbed at me the way only she was able to. In other words, somewhat prodding but well-intentioned. “Wouldn't have to do with the fact that you were away all night, would it?”

“Oh, you noticed? I didn't expect for you to come looking for me.”

“I didn't,” she shook her head, “you left your curtains open.”


“Don't sound so disappointed,” she said, “it's weird coming from you.”


“You really aren't being yourself,” she sighed. She looked up at the sky and then all around us. “Nope, doesn't look like the end of the world.”

“Well excuse me for not being so one-dimensional. I'm a man of complexity and variable moods, you know.” I turned it around on her, “besides, you were gone for a whole day too. I should be grilling you on where you were.”

“Usually it's me that is the one asking the questions. You don't really care what I do,” she fired back using the pesky tactic of using the truth. “You were probably off chasing skirts all night if I had to guess. Probably unsuccessfully too.”

“Well, if you must know, I went to see Marisa,” I said haughtily, she could bite me for thinking me so shallow.

It gave her some pause. “Oh?” she asked, “and how is she?”

“She's fine, thanks to me!” I proclaimed proudly, “she'll be back in school tomorrow probably. Not to brag or anything but it went swimmingly well. Just had to apply some of my smarts and dedication to help her out of a jam. No biggie.”

“My, how impressive,” Alice giggled. The news delighted her. And wouldn't it? Marisa was her friend as well. But she was also making fun of me – that was intolerable!

“What about you then?” I turned it back on her, “I told you what I was up to, where were you?”

“I don't recall promising to tell you if you told me where you were,” she shut me down with more of that odious thing called logic. “Don't look so upset,” she teased, “maybe I simply took a page of your book and was out having a little fun of my own. Staying out all night sure was interesting.”

Blast her, that made me even more curious. I was getting whipped in our verbal match.

[] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.
[] I wouldn't give her the satisfaction of playing along.
Might be busy for a few hours but I'll try to be around to write more regardless.
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

I figure this'd get her to relax some as isn't this Arc being his usual self?
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

Dang it, now I'm curious.
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

Well okay sure why not play along with her game then.

[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

She had something important to talk with him, but she left when Arc was waiting for her. And she skipped a school day even!
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

This sounds like the fun option.
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

We have ways of making you talk.
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.

No reason not to purchase new information.
[x] Get her to spill the truth, fair's fair.
“You know, I'm just going to keep bothering you until you tell me now,” I threatened.

“I'd expect that sort of childishness from you,” Alice deflected, playing it cool Laughing to herself, she picked up the pace, “we're going to be late if we slow down to talk.”

I matched her pace, undaunted by her evasiveness. “You're not getting rid of me that easily,” I said, mindful of not walking into the other groups of students we were beginning to encounter. Being annoying and pushy was a challenge when you had limited sidewalk to work with. Made circling around her like a buzzard harder, for one. “If you don't tell me, I'll maybe start poking you. Poke, poke, poke – right in the soft spot under your ribs. Annoying innit?”

“If you do, I'll just ask Suika to return the favor during class,” she once again dismissed me with a laugh, “I'm sure she'd be all too happy to oblige. That's the upside to having her sit behind you.”

“Y-you wouldn't,” I frowned, finding myself checked at every turn. Blast. “Ok!” I switched strategy, “what if I just start begging and making a big deal out of it. Don't call my bluff – I'll totally genuflect in public. I swear.”

“You'd be drawing attention to yourself and you hate that,” more of her faultless logic shut that idea down. “People would misunderstand and they'd joke about about you being a worthless husband apologizing or some such.”

“Eh,” I sighed, “they totally would. But I won't give up that easily! I'll keep that as my trump card. Making you feel uncomfortable is sure to work. C'mon just tell me already.”

“Why do you care anyhow?”

“Because you're the straightest arrow I know, save for the class rep. You'd never miss a day of school if you could help it. I mean, you even had your mom fooled. If that doesn't scream suspicious and interesting, then I don't know what does.”

“You talked to mama?” she frowned,” hope you didn't say something stupid to her again. Asking women about where they get their lingerie is not acceptable.”

“I was just curious,,” I re-explained myself. It wasn't that I was picturing her in her unmentionables. Well, it wasn't just that. I was hoping for a tip if ever I was forced to buy underwear for a female friend. Completely normal, as I had told Alice when she got mad at me last time. “At any rate, no, I just asked about you. You wanted to talk to me the day before. So I was curious about that.”

“It's not important anymore,” Alice told me with annoying evasiveness. Double blast.

“Come on, you wouldn't hide anything important from your bestest most oldest neighbor, would you?” I made an appeal to our long relationship.

“When it's none of his business, I would,” she said with no hesitation.

“Oh, I know what it was,” I took a wild swing, “I bet you were seeing a doctor about your lady parts and you're embarrassed to tell me.”

“...idiot,” she shook her head, not dignifying my statement with a proper response.

“Taking a day off for an eating contest then?”

“...you got to be kidding.”

“Illegal street racing?”

“That's more you than me.”

“Kaiju movie marathon – showing for one day only?”

“Not a chance.”

“Ugh,” I was becoming exasperated. She was clammed up right and proper. I took another wild shot, “out on a date with a mysterious stranger from some far-off land?”

“...” she said nothing but her eyes darted away from my face nervously in a telling manner.

“Seriously!? Where would you even have met- I mean, in the middle of the day? Do you li-” I wasn't sure what question was the most important to ask first.

“Forget it, even if I had gone out to see someone, it's none of your concern,” she pushed me away again.

“I swore to your mom that I'd look out for you always until the end of my days.”

“You definitely haven't, idiot,” she shrugged my declaration off.

“B-but come on. If you're going out with some dude it's my duty as your closest male acquaintance to prepare you for the evils of the opposite gender.”

“One would think that I was prepared already from years of watching you.”

Well played, dear Alice, but I wasn't going to let something as trivial as the truth get in the way of my overreaction. “If he tried to touch you inappropriately you should let me know at once – I'll sort the cur out with an old one-two punch. On the other hand it's good that Alice is showing an interest in boys,” I hung my head like a concerned parent and stroked my chin, “still, it's too easy to get deceived in this cruel world! And I don't approve of some foreign bastard just galloping on his white steed and corrupting the innocent maidens of this country!”

“That's your job, right?”

“Damn right!” I blurted out without thinking. “Wait, no, I mean...” I tried to compose myself as Alice simply laughed her head off. Triple blast!

“Don't worry dad,” Alice teased with a hurtful smirk, “if ever there's a time where you advice is applicable, I'll make sure to ignore it.”

“Children these days... so ungrateful.”

“You're assuming too much,” she shook her head as we finally reached the school gates. “Besides, what do you care what I do or with whom anyhow? Most of the time you ignore me and run off to do whatever it is pleases you at that moment. You're not my keeper.”

[] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.
[] Alice was right. I wasn't her keeper. Drop the subject, maybe sulk through morning classes but leave her alone.
[x] Alice was right. I wasn't her keeper. Drop the subject, maybe sulk through morning classes but leave her alone.

Well, if we're dropping it anyway, we might as well preserve our dignity doing it.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

Despite all of Arc's shortcomings, caring is definitely one of his positive traits. He does care about his friends.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

What, not going to press the issue this time? Hmm, I see how it is.

But no, she made it seem fairly important then. Even it isn't now, Arc still cares about her.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

He does care. And no one wants to see her run off with another guy. First big sis and now Alice. The world is coming to an end I swear.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

Something about this option makes me smile. I don't know what.

Regardless, I want to see what Alice is up to.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

Hopefully the lesson of always keeping in contract with the big 3 friends is being driven into your skulls.
[x] I cared... because I cared! Storm off in a huff.

Tsun-tsun Arc. Our moe~ will pierce her heart.
“Alice you idiot!” I blurted out in a dramatic fashion. It looked like she was taken aback, not quite sure what to make of my outburst. “I care because I care... you just don't understand!”

“I-what?” she didn't quite know how to react.

“You dummy!” I yelled at her and stuck out my tongue and wrinkled my brow and nose in a complete display of childish rage.

Before she could say anything else, I dashed away into the school building. It was surprisingly difficult to get my shoes when acting all huffed up but I managed to get them on with enough time to clear the area before anyone else intervened. Naturally, going to class would be too lame so I continued to bolt up[ the stairs until I reached the comfort of the rooftop.

It was a great place to throw a tantrum. Or make it seem like you're throwing one. I was pretty sure that no one was going to disturb me for a while.

I was as wrong about that as I was about getting Alice to spill the beans.

“You're not even crying!” Suika exclaimed, sounding more upset than I was.

“Why would I be?” I didn't really feel like dealing with her, truth be told.

“Something about you being a pansy, I'd say.”

“Nice,” I showed her a gesture of appreciation, “now scram and leave me alone, you're blocking my sun.”

“No can do,” Suika kicked me in the sides. “Come on, get up, I'm not going to let you be useless all day again.”

“Quit it,” I struck back and, with a whip-like motion of my wrist, hit her leg. “I don't want to go back to class. I've earned a break from all of this junk.”

“What am I? Your wife?” Suika chortled. “I don't care about your dreams, aspirations or your feelings. Unless it means that we can have fun and mess around. You should know better. I'm here because I'm a good friend.”

“There's a laugh!”

“Fine, then, I totally won't help you out if you're going to be a prick about it,” Suika kicked me again, hitting me in the thigh. I moved to retaliated but she had already taken two steps back and so I missed.

If it got her to stop being so annoying, I was willing to tone it down a bit. “What's up then? Tell me before I die of boredom.” I didn't want to tone it down too much either.

“I was right behind you when you came in this morning. You didn't notice with your whole overacting and running away like a frightened babe.” She grinned, savoring putting me down. At least she wasn't hitting me again. “At any rate,” she continued, “in your rush to get your shoes sorted you didn't notice that an envelope fell out of the cupboard.” She produced a small envelope with a heart-shaped seal on the back from a pocket.

“Is that-?”

“I wonder what it is? It's addressed to you in delicate handwriting,” she waved it around deliberately with a stupidly annoying grin. Suika then brought it up to her nose and took a whiff, “mmm it's perfumed too. Smells good.”

“Just give me the letter,” I told her.

“You're no fun,” she handed it over without lording it over me any longer. Maybe she was as curious as I was to know what it said. I ripped open the envelope eagerly and began to read the letter. “What's it say?” she asked.

The exquisite handwriting, complete with long delicate loops on the letters, soon made my heart sink. What a cruel trick to play on a sensitive young boy like myself. “Suika...” I said with a sigh, “this isn't a love letter.”

“Thank goodness,” she sighed as well. I looked at her with confusion. “What? I don't need you getting all head over heels and full of yourself yet again. Moron.” Right, she did have a point. That sometimes did happen. Only occasionally.

“ It's from the headmistress. I've been summoned to her office tomorrow morning. It says that attendance is mandatory and for me not to even begin to think about skipping school that day or that my school life will be over.”

“Gah, what the hell did you do this time!?” Suika was as taken aback as I was.

“No clue,” I scratched my head, trying to figure out if I had recently been caught doing anything particularly bad. Nothing came to mind.

“Tomorrow is the culture festival as well, so I guess there's your excuse not to attend.”

“Hooray,” I said half-heartedly. The small note in my hands did, in fact, smell of perfume. Smelled good. But that was little consolation. I re-read the letter carefully. My guardian would be contacted as well, which meant that there was really no getting out of it. Did Yuyuko sell me out in order to cover her own butt? That was the only explanation that I thought remotely plausible.

So much for it being a good day.

[] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder.
[] Big boys don't cry, they go to their Big Sis for answers.
[x] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder.

Don't worry, there's a big strong class rep there to listen to all of our problems with a kind, honest, and open heart.
[x] Big boys don't cry, they go to their Big Sis for answers.

Because more Big Sis is always welcome! Also because forewarned is forearmed, and I'd rather not be caught unprepared when we visit the principal.
[x] Big boys don't cry, they go to their Big Sis for answers.

Sounds reasonable. Not sure why you can't do both options, though. Get to cry to someone (Kaguya?) and then go see Big Sis in the next period.
Because otherwise we're stuck forever on just one day. Got a schedule to more or less follow when I'm not writing filler. Also I guess officially the reason is that it's supposed to be a choice between ingratiating yourself to girls or going to see Yuyuko to see what the deal is and they're different mindsets. As always go with your heart and vote for Reimu, Mokou or Kaguya whatever sounds more fun. Good enough bs, right?
[x] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder.

First choice is for meeting girls you said? I vote for Reimu because Reimu needs loving. Point.
[x] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder.

Big sis is how we started having problems with the big 3 friends.
[x] Big boys don't cry, they go to their Big Si-

>Reimu, Kaguya, Mokou

[x] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder

Voting for this choice because in all honesty, I prefer any of them to Yuyuko in general, not that there's anything bad, but with further thought, classmates are the superior entertainment.
[x] There's a silver lining there. Go back to class to (figuratively?) cry on someone's welcoming and comfortable shoulder.

It's time to bother Mima. Surely as a former delinquent she'll understand the terror of being sent to the headmistress.
[x] Big boys don't cry, they go to their Big Sis for answers.

Go for answers, not for losing more face to our classmates.
It was too late to go back to class right away. The bell had gone off sometime in between Suika razzing me and my reading of the letter. It meant that we had a period of lying around on the roof and doing nothing.

Naturally, I was getting harassed nonstop as Suika continued to speculate why I was being singled out. I was unfairly accused of the crimes of peeping, flipping up skirts, doing lewd things in the nurse's office (I kept mum about that charge), urinating in public and otherwise being a fiend in general. My patience held out in the face of her torment and I felt that I was one step closer to enlightenment for it.

I ran into Reimu in the hallway. I tried my luck with her first.

“Class rep, why do I get punished even when I try my best to be good?” I donned my best set of puppy eyes, “all I want to do is be left in peace.”

Obviously, she would have none of it. With a 'can't you see I'm busy?' look she barely gave me the time of the day. “I don't know what you're complaining about now but you probably deserve it for goofing off so much. At least make it to homeroom.”

“B-but I got a letter from the headmistress that sounds like a threat and-”

“Sounds like your chickens have come home to roost,” she said with a a clear lack of interest.”If I had to guess, you're being called in to be suspended for truancy.” How cruel. I could see that I would get no sympathy from her.

Somewhere behind me, eavesdropping, I could tell that Suika was having a laugh.

There was no choice but to move on.

With Marisa not around, there was only one friendly face I could turn to and expect some sympathy.

“Hey there,” I greeted Kaguya casually. Her popularity had not waned a week in, with groups of admirers still hovering about her every break.

“Hello,” she greeted me with a smile, “I thought that maybe you would be absent today as well.”

“I wish I was,” I said with a dramatic sigh, “I got some really bad news today.”

“Whatever is the matter?” she asked politely, legitimate worry translating into a slight creasing of her brow. Ah, it was exactly the sort of thing that I wanted. The people around us were now giving me evil stares, having been shut out so suddenly.

“I have to go see the headmistress for some reason tomorrow and I haven't done anything wrong,” I said weakly, trying to seem vulnerable. “I've been doing good things instead of bad lately as well so I don't deserve to be singled out like this.”

“I can speak for you, if you like,” she said with stern conviction. “It is unacceptable that they think you a delinquent when nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Ah, no,” I couldn't help but smile. I'd forgotten about her somewhat embarrassing defense of me in class because of recent events. “I appreciate the thought,” I told her, “but if I'm honest I'm just looking for a kind and sympathetic soul to talk to.”

“I am not sure that I can be described as such,” Kaguya stated modestly, “but I am glad to talk to you whenever you feel like it. If I am able to ease your burden, then I am the more glad.”

In a show of sympathy, she had placed her hand on my arm. Whatever real feelings of anxiety I was actually feeling, they were wiped away by that act of reassurance. It was altogether too easy to read too much into the simple and gentle gesture. Ah, I was on the verge of blushing.

I coughed and tried to get a grip on myself, hoping that none of our classmates had noticed. My eyes met briefly with Alice's cool gaze. She was half-watching out of the corner of her eye, from a distance, while chatting with a girl from another class.

[] Go to her as well for sympathy. Ignore earlier events.
[] Ignore that dummy for the rest of the day, she can watch all she likes instead.
[x] Go to her as well for sympathy. Ignore earlier events.

We must go back to the rock of our life and plead for sympathy there. Our arguments are nothing more than waves upon the shore!
[x] Go to her as well for sympathy. Ignore earlier events.

Or at least get her talking to Arc again, though I'm not sure how it'll go. But ignoring her likely won't help things.
[x] Go to her as well for sympathy. Ignore earlier events.

We must take more care of Alice. Sure there were events but Arc is really not someone who would just dwell on it.
[x] Ignore that dummy for the rest of the day, she can watch all she likes instead.

Don't make it too obvious though you're just ignoring her.
[x] Ignore that dummy for the rest of the day, she can watch all she likes instead.

Make her jealous, stay with Kaguya.
[y] Ignore that dummy for the rest of the day, she can watch all she likes instead.

She didn't fess up now she gets to be jealous. New hatesex target detected.
[x] Ignore that dummy for the rest of the day, she can watch all she likes instead.

I'm still not sure what's going on, but I do know that the sudden tsun-tsun Arc caught Alice off-guard. I say play it a bit longer and see what happens.
You guys do know that if Arc decides to not take more care of Alice then some other guy will just take her away? It is not so much about hatesex as about no chance to get it on with Alice. In old VN there were always douchebags who stole the girls away and often bad ends and other not nice shit. Just think about Yu-No and Desire.

Or in short: If you want more Alice then you need to vote for her.
not to mention it's the whole "distracted by the nearest other girl" that resulted in this mess in the first place.
Well the distractions by other girls we can't do anything about that right now but the "warning signs" are all there about Alice. How much longer do you want to wait until you realize that something needs to be done now or it will be too late later on.
If we act like that then nothing will be done as it's the majority that usually goes for the distraction heedless of the long term effects.

Seriously people are you willing to ruin one of Arc's big three friendships for a fleeting moment you might not even get?
[x] Go to her as well for sympathy. Ignore earlier events.

I don't think we should ignore her.
It was easier to focus on the warm hand on my arm than the icy stare I was getting from across the room. Naturally, being the object of a cute girl's attention made me more than happy. I talked to Kaguya some more and she was more than glad to chat and offer her sympathies.

“If you wish to unburden yourself further and enter into more detail, I will be glad to listen for however long you wish.

“Oh?” I must have missed something that she said earlier. “What do you mean?”

“The bell just went off,” Kaguya said with a smile, “ the teacher will be here any moment. We can continue this conversation over lunch if you wish.”

“I’d be glad to, “ I answered, only too happy to be invited.

I went happily back to my seat, with a stupid smile on my face. It disappointed Suika to no end and that made it all the more awesome. I made sure to stare her down as she walked past to take her seat. She flicked my ear on her way past but I let it go. I had won the battle and there was nothing she could do to ruin that.

Lunch came around and we went to the roof as had become our custom. Once again Kaguya didn't seem to mind sharing her delicious packed lunch while we talked. I didn't want to come off as too whiny so I didn't overemphasize my recent bad luck. Instead, I tried to turn the subject towards the near future.

“After the cultural festival it'll be the start of exam season. A few weeks of revision and then finals,” I said. “Do you think that you'll be able to manage with all that pressure?”

“I believe so,” Kaguya said with a nod. “The curriculum at my old school was far stricter. The schedule was more rigorous as well so I believe I am slightly ahead overall.”

“Booksmarts too, huh? Are you an alien by any chance? There's no way you can be so perfect otherwise.”

“Perish the thought!” she exclaimed with a laugh. Her modesty would have made her the cutest alien I knew. “I may have come off as overly confident there and for that I apologize. I don't have very good retention for the sciences and maths so I need to study those subjects lest I forget them.”

Not so perfect then. Better than me, if I had to guess.

“I don't know how much help I might be but if I could even help you study, then I humbly offer my services,” I made the proposition, hoping that she wouldn't see right through to my ulterior motive.

“That may be pleasant to do one of these days,” she nodded again, “I wouldn't want to inconvenience you. With all the stressful things that you have alluded have happened to you lately, I should hope that I would not be imposing upon you.”

“It wouldn't be an imposition at all,” I chuckled, “if anything you might end up helping me more than I would you.”

With our makeshift plans made, we continued to chat about this and that until the first bell. I tried not to look at either Suika or Alice as we returned together, letting my expression of self-satisfaction do all the communication for me. I behaved like a good little boy for the rest of the day. I didn't skip classes or otherwise act out, instead using the breaks to socialize and generally look happy.

Classes ended on a high note. No assignments due for the next week. Nothing more that a student could ask for than a worry-free weekend. Everyone would be enjoying the cultural festival before starting their cramming for exams. I got my book bag and got ready to leave.

[] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.
[] Walking home alongside Alice, saying nothing, but acting smug was the final necessary act of revenge.
[x] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.

As much as I'd like to mend bridges with Alice, trying the other choice would just end badly, no thanks to certain people who seem to be distracted by hollow promises.

It's just knowing what you want and following through.

[x] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.

Finishing this side thread.
You speak as if we don't have sizable groups of people easily lead astray by their dicks. And the only reason I'm voting for the Aya option is because the other choice sounds counter productive to my goal.

It's like they LEARNED NOTHING from the whole Marisa thing.
[x] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.

Seems like our last chance to see Aya for a bit.
[x] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.

I voted for ignoring because that's what I would do and I could see Arc doing both choices. I don't particularly care about romancing someone.
Btw, I'm confused. Which group thought with their dicks? The ones who voted for ignoring or the ones who wanted to go to her? It should be the second case but that doesn't really make sense looking at the discussion
[x] Walking home alongside Alice, saying nothing, but acting smug was the final necessary act of revenge.

I want to see what will happen. We might as well follow through since the last few choices lead up to this.

Consistency is rewarded. Changing halfway through because someone gets cold feet has been the source of our problems.
>Are you an alien by any chance?
Okay I laughed.

[x] Walking home alongside Alice, saying nothing, but acting smug was the final necessary act of revenge.

This is the 2nd choice that is given to care for Alice. You guys voted against the first so don't be stupid now and vote against the 2nd. Who knows if you will get a 3rd or 4th at this rate. Remember: It will be too late later on if you miss this now so please for gods sake just vote for this.
[X] Walking home alongside Alice, saying nothing, but acting smug was the final necessary act of revenge.
it doesn't sound like caring it sounds more like rubbing whatever in her face, likely worsening her mood. Had we gone and talked with Alice the previous update, I'd be more inclined to vote for this.

Except that due to Arc's being an ass, trying to walk home would just backfire at this point.
[X] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.

No point in aggravating Alice further.

Don't forget to say something, we need every vote we can get.
5 to 2 for Aya. No one wants more Alice at this rate. The wording may sound kind of shitty but it won't be that bad like you guys actually think.
You're making up your own conclusions, most of us think that Pissing Alice off more today is a bad idea, which the Alice vote would do.

Now if they tried going to Alice for sympathy, things might be on a good enough foot to take teh Alice choice here.

this story's readers shouldn't be outdoing /tg/ in social retardation.
Here's my problem with this vote: Wasn't Alice with Marisa for that absence? I feel like that makes this whole situation stupid and pointless. The sooner we move away from it, the better.

I don't think anyone has sufficiently explained why pissing Alice off is a good idea.
[X] Meet up with Aya to develop those intimate pictures. It was a date.
I agree, its time to let Alice off Mr Arc's Wild Ride. No one should be subject to the NTR machine that is Arc in his current form. How many different girls did Alice have to watch Arc flirt with constantly that weren't her? Orin in her club, Marisa in her class, I forget if she ever saw us interacting with Tenshi, Kaguya now and who knows who else in the future.

If you aren't going to settle down and make Alice happy then cut her loose so she can find happiness on her own.

If this was AA2 Alice would be the high virtue girl you chase for a while until you get fed up with hard mode and ride the school bicycle for a while.
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Students spilled out of the classrooms and towards the clubs and front gate. There was electricity in the air -by and large there was a palatable excitement over the upcoming cultural festival. Weeks of planning and hard work would finally pay off. At least for students that cared about that sort of thing. For my part, I didn't really have anything to look forward to.

“Yo,” I greeted Aya casually, “I'm here to develop the images.”

“Sure, just a sec,” she replied, a light smile on her lips, stuffing her bag full of folders and equipment. I believed her when she had said that she would be busy with the cultural festival. So it made sense that she was trying to clear as much of her backlog as possible.

When she was done stuffing her bag, she led me out of the class to her club room. “Nice digs,” I said, just a little bit sarcastically. The old annex building was in a state of absolute disrepair. Every club that could get another room assigned to them, had done so long ago. I guessed that the quiet atmosphere suited her though. So what if the old wooden floors creaked with every step? It really didn't matter much when you were in a dark room dipping negatives into chemicals and developing images.

The club room wasn't much to look at. Stacks of bulletins and newspapers cluttered the area. A few empty instant noodle boxes and instant coffee packs put things into perspective. It was clear that the only one that really used the club room was Aya.

“Right this way,” Aya led me to a small storage area that she had reclaimed as a darkroom. A dim red light was the only source of illumination in there after she closed the door. She put her bag down and took out several rolls of film. “I'll guide you through the development process. No funny business just because we're in the dark alone, got it?”

I couldn't say that I learned much, but I was able to develop the images that I wanted properly. Aya took the images that I set aside for her and let me keep the ones that I thought were too inappropriate to share. “That's about it,” I concluded, stuffing the remaining negatives into my pocket.

Leaving the darkroom, she examined the pictures carefully. Nodding with some satisfaction, she then went for her wallet. “This is your cut,” she handed me a few bills. I didn't have to check, I trusted her to give me the 40-60 split we had agreed upon.

“Pleasure doing business with you,” she said dryly, her mind probably already on a thousand and one future ventures.

“Thanks for letting me keep these,” I said.

“Hey, maybe you'd be interested in this latest batch I got!' she exclaimed suddenly, identifying me as a prospective customer. Shoving a few pictures into my face, she made her pitch, “you won't find pictures of these quality anywhere else. These candid shots weave a rich narrative of an innocent yet sensuous schoolgirl. Look her,” she pointed at an image where a gust of wind had blown the hem of a skirt just above the inner thigh, “there's magic captured here, don't you think? Even more importantly this is the beautiful skin of one of the most popular girls in our grade. You may know here as a divine angel, I simply will refer to her as Kochiya from II-B.”

“I'm not really interested,” I told her with a nervous smile. The images she showed me certainly were... stimulating, especially those see-through shots of the white blouses. “Sorry Aya, but you'll have to try some other bloke.”

She shrugged, “well, that's fine too. I guess you're the type to only care about nip slips or panty shots.”

“Err...” I couldn't well confirm or deny that. I was a red-blooded male after all. “Let's forget about business for a bit.

“And so what else is there to talk about?” she asked, clearly disinterested at my change of subject.

[] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.
[] There wasn't anything else, it was time to get home. If she had any future business opportunities, I would be glad to hear her out.
Teru a drunk/trying to get over stuff so that's why not much in the way of updates in the last day. Tomorrow will hopefully be better.
[] There wasn't anything else, it was time to get home. If she had any future business opportunities, I would be glad to hear her out.

Go away, bird person. I don't like you.


I still bleed for never mee-wait, we did meet her once before. What happened since then?
[X] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.

I like Aya a lot, and we should be honest here with Aya. It wouldn't hurt to have an ally at our back.
[x] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.

Yeah I am curious about this. She brought it up back then and well I want to know where this leads to.
[x] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.

Considering the damage wrought by anon being stupid in this 'day' might as well focus on something we can do something about. That and I'm curious about this as well.

But next time can we attempt not to royally piss off Alice.
>But next time can we attempt not to royally piss off Alice.
Not in this story, anon.

>"bomb" feature, where neglected, infrequently-dated girls would eventually become angry and gossip to their friends, severely reducing love meters across the board.

Just imagine that if Teruyo would have really made the bomb system from Tokimeki Memorial.
[X] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.

One of my favorite three, didn't even need to think about it.

Despair. Despair everywhere.
[X] She admitted she used to have a thing for me. Truth was that I kind of had one for her back then if I was perfectly honest.

I really, really liked the post prior to now with Kaguya, felt nice in a generally shitty day. Arc didn't even act like a delinquent.
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“How about this?” I swept my hand across the air dramatically, hoping to draw her attention. It worked. Aya showed a puzzled look. “The other day you said that you used to have a thing for me.”

“Yeah, and?” she asked impatiently, her hand flicking through a stack of photographs she clearly was eager to get back to.

“You're not making this easy for me, you know,” I complained.

“Bashfulness doesn't suit you,” she said with a roll of her eyes, “I like my guys to be incisive and decisive. Seize what you want, forcefully if you have to.”

“Are you telling me to seize you?” I asked with a chuckle.

“I take it that that's your clumsy way of telling me that you liked me too,” she winked, correctly guessing what I was getting at. “Doesn't surprise me in the least. I'm quite the catch. Really nice legs and cute face. I'm also told that my ears are just to die for.” Brushing her short hair aside, she revealed an ear, adding, “don't you just want to nibble on them?”

“The thought hadn't crossed my mind,” I told her. It was all I could think about at the moment, truth be told. Hadn't realized it before but maybe they were worth teasing tenderly... yes. I could just imagine the pleasurable little yelps she'd emit. I didn't let myself get sucked into the fantasy too much, stating, “at any rate, just letting my thoughts be known.”

“Hmm...” she gazed into my face intently. I wasn't sure what she was doing that for. I smiled all the same. “I suppose it might be worth reopening that file. Let's see what happens.”

“Are you saying I have a chance with you?”

“Figure it out yourself,” she stuck out her tongue as she winked again. Clearly that wasn't a no. “Maybe I'll call you up to help me out with something else in the future. And maybe money won't be the focus.”

“I'll look forward to that,” I told her, “but maybe I'll get impatient and start seizing things left and right. Classmates and voyeuristic photographers alike.”

“That'd be interesting to see,” she joked, “and photograph. Tabloids are a high-margin business you know.”

Ok maybe she wasn't joking. At least I entertained her and, at worst, I was a solid business opportunity. I didn't think that I could ask anything else from her. Aya was very much a rare bird.

There wasn't much reason to stick around school and so, with our business concluded, I said my goodbyes and went on back home. It wasn't very long until Auntie got back from work. She didn't seem to be in a particularly foul mood, luckily. Maybe it was Big Sis' general contact with her, but she wasn't really concerned with my exploits at school. I'd expect to get a dressing down for being called to the headmistress' office normally but she seemed to be under the impression that it was some sort of clerical matter and just complained of the fact that she would have to close the store in the morning to make it to school.

With all the ups and downs of the day, I wasn't really in a mood to go out and so I just stayed in and had a quiet evening. The usual message boards were flooded with net idol talk and there was a lot of new fan art for the latest big game. Easy enough to flit away the hours going through all of that original content.

I half expected Alice to appear at her window at some point and so I left my curtains open. She never did. I went to bed not too late, hoping to be rested up for the upcoming day.

“Hey, wake up,” a voice said as my shoulders were rocked back and forth. Morning had come quicker than I expected. My internal clock told me that it wasn't yet the same time I was bothered every day. “Come on sleepyhead, it's time to get up.”

It was way too early. I didn't want to open my eyes. Only light and annoyances awaited out there. It was warm and nice under the sheets. I never wanted to leave. Maybe if I tried harder, I would be left alone.

“Mmm, he's like a big baby,” the voice sounded so distant. It was getting easier to ignore it. There was something different than usual going on which made my body want to relax more than usual. “Let me try again,” the voice said and annoyingly started to shake my shoulder. After a sigh, it changed tactics. I felt a soft touch somewhere far off, maybe running through what was probably my hair. Ah, it was easier to keep on sleeping with the gentle stroking. “That doesn't seem to be working either.”

They were different, less effective, tactics. My body could keep running on autopilot with that kind of effort.

[] Give up and wake up already.
[] Pull them into bed – it's still much too early to get up.

I thought about it. There's no way in hell anonymous strangers could keep a disciplined schedule though. So as hilarious as it would be for me, it was a non-starter. Also Shiori and Mira best girls

He only acts like that when people expect him to act like that anyhow. Easier to wear a mask than show the true self. That said, he still kinda hit on her.
[x] Pull them into bed – it's still much too early to get up.

Let sleeping Arcs lie.
[x] Give up and wake up already.

YEah do this please.
[x] Pull them into bed – it's still much too early to get up.

I can't resist the adorable. My money is on this being Marisa trying to wake us up. Maybe she stayed over at Alice's?
[] Give up and wake up already.

If it's not Alice, then I'd rather not risk it. Doubt it's Tenshi too, she wouldn't that with someone else present.
[x] Pull them into bed – it's still much too early to get up.

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Alright, I guess that's long enough. Writing nowish and there'll be a new thread.
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