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File 140407039740.jpg - (142.75KB, 1174x852, Light at end of Tunnel.jpg) [iqdb]
When a person has lived a long and (not so) prosper lifetime of kicking ass and drinking tea, what a recently deceased spirit desires most is to move onto the next stage of the cycle of reincarnation. It took an ungodly amount of time wasted on paperwork -- why cannot those shinigami bureaucrats keep it simple? -- but finally, the spirit was ready to leave Higan and take on her new incarnation.

How would her new life unravel, she wondered. Will she become a rich lady living in a mansion? A carefree boy living and playing in the village? Perhaps she will take up the broom and wand and become a magician? But knowing her luck and karma, she probably won't even be a human. She sure hoped she wouldn't turn into a fox. She already had experienced a taste of that in her previous life, and it sucked big time.

"Nice try, but it won't be that easy."

But before the spirit could float down the tunnel of light that leaded to her new life, she felt a sudden gut-twisting wrenching -- despite not having a body yet. Everything went pitch black, while the spirit heard a dry voice chuckle in her ear -- if she still had an ear.

"You thought you'd take on a fresh, uncorrupted mortal form? A fresh-faced young girl, strong and vital, ready to exterminate my undead hordes and ruin my plans? Ahahahahaha!" The voice cackled. "That won't do. That won't do at all. I have a much better idea."

Uh-oh, thought the spirit, as the darkness swirled around her head -- again, if she had one. She felt the very fabric of her soul getting yanked violently against her will, which filled her with an intense, excruciating, indescribable pain that threatened to tear her essence apart.

Somehow, the spirit knew this was not the way reincarnation should go at all.

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After what seemed like a short eternity, she felt her soul finally enter a body. The sensation was very familiar, and yet… oh so very wrong. Her head pounded, and a deep gnawing ache grew in the pit of her stomach. She strained her eyes to see, but everything was still pitch black.

"Welcome home," the voice in her ears said mockingly, then chuckled again. "I'm afraid you'll find, however, that things aren't quite as you left them. Time takes its toll, after all."

The woman thrust her hands out in front of her, and met immediate resistance. A rough wooden... wall? Door? She pushed at it, but her muscles felt so much weaker than she remembered. Was she always this feeble, the woman thought. The ache in her stomach continued to swell, and as she slowly regained her memories of bodily sensations, she recognized that feeling as hunger. But she'd never been that hungry before, the woman pondered. She began to pound and claw at the wall, hunger and claustrophobia giving rise to panic.

"It's been a long time, you know," the voice commented, as wood splintered and cracked beneath her fingers. Dry grit rained into the woman's face, and she coughed and spluttered as it filled her mouth. "Just imagine how surprised everyone will be to see you again!" The woman thrashed and clawed and forced her way through the dirt. "Won't it be fun to see the expressions on their faces, when they realize that not even the Shrine Maiden of Paradise is free from my curse? Ahahahahahahaha!"

The painfully evil laughter ringed in her ears and then faded as she broke free of her confinement. She forced her way into open air, dragging her weak body out of that damp black hole and into the moonlight. As the woman climbed to her feet, slowly and unsteadily, panting for breath that suddenly seemed oddly unnecessary, her gaze fell on a small stone monument:


"What," Reimu Hakurei exclaimed blankly, her voice drier and scratchier than she remembered.

The newly resurrected shrine maiden stared at the familiar scenery -- familiar, that is, except for the gravestones. Someone buried her at her shrine's yard? That… that was nice of him. Or her. It's a nice gravestone, too. Reimu read it again, trying to calm herself and not to completely freak out.

"Ohhhhhhhh, I'm hungry," she whined, clutching her unbelievably famished belly. "Never been so hungry. Never imagined being so hungry."

"Who goes there!?"

An acute, childish voice rang loudly behind Reimu. The shrine maiden spun around to face a small green-haired girl peering at her in the darkness with a broom, sporting a pair of cute brown dog ears and dressed in a plain salmon dress. An intuition ingrained deep in her soul immediately tipped Reimu off that this girl was not normal -- she was, in fact, a youkai. A yamabiko, to be precise. However, she sensed no hostility from the dog-eared sweeper, so she guessed it was okay to let her come closer.

"Come to visit one of the graves? Friend of yours?" The yamabiko asked, pointing at Reimu's tombstone.

"Who--" Reimu croaked, then coughed and cleared her throat. "Who are you?"

"Me? My name's Kyouko Kasodani, but please call me Kyouko," the youkai performed a cutesy little bow. "I'm paid to keep the weeds off the gravestones and make them look all pretty and clean!" She added, puffing her modest chest with pride.

"I see..." the miko muttered. "I'm not paying a visit to a friend. I suddenly wo--urk!"

A sharp pain in her mind interrupted Reimu's sentence, and she fell to her knees, clutching her stomach and her head. Something inside her was welling up; a feral urge that was taking over her whole body alarmingly fast, and Reimu didn't like it one bit. She could barely see Kyouko rushing to her side amidst her blurry vision.

"You all right, miss?" Kyouko's voice reached her ears muffled. "You don't look so good. Should I bring you something?"

"Actually, I'm really starving," Reimu managed to say between pants. "Do you... do you have some food? Anything?"

"Well now, I got a half a meat bun left over from my luAAAIIIIEEEEEE!"



When she came back to her senses, Reimu leaped backwards in shock, letting go of Kyouko, who slumped to the ground with blood pouring from her neck. The shrine maiden put her hands to her face, and she was surprised to see them come back red. Swallowing convulsively, she felt a warmth flow down her throat. The overpowering hunger abated, ever so slightly.

But the urge to completely freak out came back, rather stronger than before.

"Oh god."

File 140407061732.jpg - (12.83KB, 128x256, 1191777_SEKRLNDCYPFSHGB.jpg) [iqdb]
Reimu flew.

No particular direction, no particular destination, just away. Away from the shrine, away from the gravestone, away from the young youkai. The young youkai's body.

After a time, Reimu landed and collapsed to her knees again, atop a small hill overlooking the Human Village. She could see it much more clearly than she would have expected to be able to, in the dim moonlight. It probably had to do with the conspicuous lack of trees that used to grow around the village.

The town itself was a complete mess. The surrounding walls were completely ruined, no lights were on, and most of the windows and doors were boarded up -- those that weren't were smashed open. What was the impressive Hieda Mansion before was now a pile of smoking wreckage.

And shuffling through the streets -- stumbling, shambling -- Reimu saw zombies. Walking, reanimated, stinking corpses by the score, and not a single sign of normal life.

"What in the seven circles of Hell is going on here!?" The undead miko shouted to the skies.


Clearly surprised to hear someone answering her, Reimu turned to see Kyouko shuffling toward her, in a similar manner to the undead people ahead. What's more, her skin was pale and her eyes glazed over in a sickly yellow. The spurting wound in her neck had slowed to a trickle; if the state of her clothing was anything to judge by, it's because there was nothing left inside her body to spurt.

"Oh god," Reimu said, horrified. She fought her instinct to run away and tried to sound as calm and nonchalant as possible: "... Hi, Kyouko. You're a zombie too now, huh?"


"I'm so, so sorry."

Kyouku stared at the shrine maiden for a moment, with no particular expression on her quickly decaying face. Then she sort of shrugged, raising her shoulders as much as her stiffening joints allowed her.

"Graaaaagh," she groaned again.

"… Can you not talk?" Reimu asked.


"How come I can talk, and you can't?"


"Huh. Okay, well, I guess I'd better try and figure out what happened and if there's any way to fix it," the shrine maiden explained, although she didn't believe Kyouko could understand her. "And see if... See if I can do anything about this hunger... Ugh."

Reimu started walking down the hill, and Kyouko shuffled after her. The shrine maiden was mildly surprised at the yamabiko's unusually loyal behavior, considering she was the one who turned her into... that.

"Are you coming too?"


And although she couldn't talk, Reimu felt a slight touch, a faintly-sensed emotional bond -- a bond such as a wild dog might have to the leader of its pack.

"Well, alright then," Reimu said, picking up the broom that Kyouko dragged along with her. "Let's go."


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"Man, this place is totally ruined," said Reimu aloud, feeling the irrational need to state the obvious to cope with her situation.

"Graaaaaagh," responded Kyouko.

The undead duo could see the destruction of the Human Village in more detail once they crossed the crumbled walls. There was not a single building left untouched by the zombie attack and the ensuing mass panic -- all of them displayed evident signs of damage of variable degree. Most of the wooden cottages had partially crumbled down due to damage, fire, rot or any combination of the three; the rest had completely turned to ashes or splinters. The houses that were still somewhat inhabitable had all their windows and doors walled with sturdy planks, which only served to prolong the inevitable.

Evidently, the inevitable resulted in the crowd of walking corpses shuffling aimlessly on the streets, occasionally stopping to sniff the air, groan and sometimes grab a bite off the rotting piles of bones and flesh that littered the ground. Variety was the key to taste(lessness): there were zombies of every age, gender and constitution imaginable. Not even the children were spared from the apocalypse. It was a sight that broke Reimu's heart. Figuratively, of course. Her literal one had already rotten away long ago.

"At least we don't need to fight our way through," commented the miko. "Being a zombie has its perks, I guess."

"Graaaaagh," Kyouko nodded in agreement, which almost made her head fall off her neck like a grotesque imitation of a rokurokubi.

As they walked down the streets looking for something interesting, Reimu noticed a strange phenomena. Sometimes, whenever she walked close to a zombie, that undead person started to follow her, much like Kyouko. And like the yamabiko, she sensed no hostility from them. Continuing her previous simile, it's as if Reimu was the alpha dog, forming a pack by picking up stray puppies. Stinking, rotten, stray puppies, who wanted nothing but to eat brains.

Despite the disgusting imagery, Reimu found herself seriously considering the idea of amassing her own personal undead horde, and seeing how many zombies was she able to rack up. Perhaps she could even order them around to do her biding! How cool would that be?

"... Nah, that sounds way too far-fetched to be true," Reimu sighed, dispelling those wild fantasies from her mind. "Besides, I don't want to be confused for a necromancer or a wicked hermit. That'd be terrible! Don't you agree, Kyouko?"


"True that. This whole situation is far-fetched to begin with," the miko shot a glance at the growing parade of zombies tailing her. "We'd better get going."


Eventually, the miko, the yamabiko and the zombikos arrived at the town hall, the second largest building after the now ruined Hieda Mansion. Reimu didn't know exactly why her steps lead them that way, but if there was something she trusted above all else, that was her intuition. No matter how long, strange, nonsensical and off-track the path was, the Hakurei's intuition eventually and inevitably guided her towards her objective, even if Reimu herself didn't know what was that objective. It had helped her in countless ocassions, and Reimu trusted this time it'd be no different. If her intuition showed her to the town hall, then something important must be there.


Kyouko raised a trembling arm to point at one of the building windows. At first, Reimu didn't know what caught the undead youkai's attention, but when she squinted her eyes to see better, she caught a glimpse of light seeping out the slim cracks between the wooden tables covering it. And it was not the abrasive glint of wildfire; no, it was definitely coming from one of those modern electric light-bulbs. And that meant...

"There's an un-undead person inside?" Reimu wondered aloud. "That's the first good news I've gotten ever since I woke up! Good catch, Kyouko!"

Forgetting for a moment the state of decay Kyouko was in, Reimu mindlessly petted the yamabiko's head, who instinctively let out a cute pleased growl - or at least, as cute a zombie could possibly be.

"Okay, I'm going in," the shrine maiden said. "You guys wait for me here and do... whatever you undead guys usually do, I guess. I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Hopefully."

Kyouko and the other dozen zombies seemingly understood Reimu's orders, because they just limited themselves to groan and shuffle in their places. In the end, her fantasy about directing an undead horde might actually be real, after all! The miko could not contain an excited giggle, which came out as an improper, undignified gurgle from her damaged throat. A reminder that, despite all, she was still a zombie like them too.

Reimu floated and flew past the walls, landing in front of the town hall's doors. With a blow to the hinges with Kyouko's broom and a strong push, the semi-rotten doors fell down with a loud crack, granting the miko access to the building.

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Reimu entered the town hall, and was unsurprised to find the meeting room empty -- and a little disappointed, because the sight of a bunch of mindless zombies sitting around the major's table would have been pretty amusing. On second thought, most members of the council weren't exactly the brightest of the bunch, so there would probably be no difference after all.

Since most of the building was off-limits to the public under more normal circumstances, Reimu took the opportunity to explore a bit. It turned out she wasn't really missing anything interesting, unless she was a big fan of deserted offices and totaled file rooms -- which she wasn't, not in this life, not in her previous one, and probably not in any of the future ones. She even left the "office clerk" box unchecked in the Higan bureau's papers, that's how much of an office fan she was not.

Then, down in the basement, the shrine maiden discovered a heavy iron door. A dim light shone from underneath it, and she heard a faint mutter of voices.

"Could this be the council's panic room?" Reimu wondered aloud, and then started banging on the door. "Hello! Hello in there? Is someone still alive inside?"

The hushing voices suddenly stopped, and Reimu imagined the startled expression the people inside were surely doing right now. After a few seconds of silence, a familiar female voice responded from behind the door:

"Who's there? This area of the building is not open to the public!"

"Keine, is that you?" Reimu redoubled her banging when she recognized the woman speaking. "It's me, Reimu!"

The voices flared up in hurried gasps and whispers after the miko mentioned her name, but the former teacher made them shut up with a loud hiss.

"... Reimu Hakurei? For real?"

"Yes, for real! Let me in, I want to help put a stop to the zombie apocalypse!"

"And how do we know you're actually her, and not an undead who's merely pretending?" Keine asked, still mistrusting. "Zombies can go to great lengths to have a bite of fresh human brains."

"Well, I..." Reimu paused. "...Are they really delicious?"


"Your brains, how delicious are they?"

"Hah, I knew it!" Keine shouted. "You're an impostor zombie, aren't you?"

"No! No, I'm not a zombie, and definitely not an impostor!" Exclaimed Reimu, cursing herself for that slip-up. "I was only joking, that's all!"

"You're an awful liar, even for undead standards. And even if you really are the person you purport to be, Reimu Hakurei died forty years ago," the teacher posited somberly. "The only way she'd ever talk again is if she rose up from her grave, and that would technically make her a zombie as well, don't you think?"


Typical of Kamishirasawa: never passing the opportunity to lay down some hard logic, even if it's someone offering to help. No matter they're all in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, some things never change, thought Reimu. But how could she convince the stubborn teacher to believe her? As much as she hated to admit it, Keine was technically correct -- the best kind of correct.

"Are you done with the tasteless jests?" Keine said. "Then please leave at once. We don't want brain-eating corpses roaming free in this place."

"Hey, you were the one who brought up how delicious your brains are!" Protested the zombie miko. "I admit I'm not exactly alive, but I do have some restraint! I swear I won't bite, by my honor as a shrine maiden."

"Honor isn't worth a damn in this crapsack land. We're not letting a zombie in and risk getting us turned as well."

Oh, not the cynical card again, groaned Reimu mentally. She hated when people got that obtuse and edgy, and refused to cooperate. It usually took a good beating with homing amulets on the side to snap them out of it and make them open up to her, but this time things were completely different. Specifically, there was a huge metal door between Keine and her, and she was all out of amulets -- or any ammunition for that matter. No, she had to try a different approach; one she wasn't used to take:

"Listen to me, Keine! I'm truly Reimu of the Hakurei bloodline, honest to god!" Exasperated, the pleading miko banged at the door. "I just want to help save Gensokyo! Or what's left of it, at the very least. Listen to my voice and tell me I'm lying again, I dare you, I double dare you! You've got to believe me, please!"

The shrine maiden heard the voices muttering to each other for a moment for a third time, engrossed in a heated discussion about whether to trust her or not. A long, tense moment passed, until she heard the teacher's neutral voice again:

"Alright, the council has voted to permit you to aid us, with the proviso that you won't actually be permitted into the room until your identity is thoroughly verified," she explained. Then, she added sotto voce: "Frankly, given the levels of paranoia that some of us are showing lately, you'd better get used to shouting through this door."

"Okay, fine, I'll take it," Reimu sighed. "So what can I do to help?"

"We have a list of places pending a general reconnoiter. We happen to have one of our scientific advisers in here with us, Professor Okazaki..."

"Hi~~~!" Called a second woman with a definitely chirpier voice.

"...And she thinks there's a fair possibility of devising an antidote, if we can figure out where the plague actually originated. Find the virus' vector, trace it back to its source, and bring us a sample so that we can start developing a vaccine. Since you're already a zombie, there's no need for you to worry about the ludicrous risk of infection on this mission."

"Hmhm, sounds sensible," the miko nodded, not paying much mind to what Keine was saying. She could never withstand the teacher's lengthy and verbose lectures, and she had a feeling this was on its way to become one of them. "But do you really think it's likely that the zombie plague started that way? It seems like there's probably a more... I dunno, magical source."

"What are you saying, Reimu? Templates like that are forbidden!" chastised Keine.

"Templates? What templ--?"

"Now go out there and live up to your family name. Good luck and godspeed to you."

The teacher slid a paper down the door's slit. Reimu crouched to pick it up, but before she could retort, she heard the sound of another metal door closing behind the first one. With that, the conversation was over abruptly.

"Aye aye, miss Kamishirasawa, I won't disappoint you! Sheesh..." Reimu quipped sarcastically, although there was noone to hear her. "Now let's have a look..."

The paper was actually a detailed map of Gensokyo, with several circles of a semi-transparent orange painted all over different areas, each one of different sizes. If she had to guess, Reimu'd say those were the areas of major zombie outbreaks; the bigger ones being the places with most concentration of infected. Inside those big circles, there were several landmarks with a red X drawn over them. Those were probably the places Keine and the Human Council wanted her to investigate.

"And of course, they had to be on the most dangerous areas," sighed Reimu.

But complaining aloud won't solve the problem. She knew that better than anyone, for she had practiced that method extensively in her previous life -- and it only worked one time out of sixty. On the other hand, Reimu felt particularly like kicking zombie butts that night, and if she could find some tasty nourishment on the way, all the better. Like brains. Big, fresh, meaty brains. Hmmmmm...

"Gah, what am I thinking!?" The miko shook her head to dispel those disgusting yet terribly appetizing thoughts out of her mind. But her stomach kept making the rumblies nonetheless. "Keep yourself together, girl!"

She focused her undivided attention on the map, the orange circles and the red Xs, and picked one location:

[]The Forest of Magic.
[]The Myouren Temple.
[]The Kappa Village.
[]Follow your instinct and go to another unmarked place on your own (Write-in).


So, um, yeah, hi. My pen-name's Satzibeli, but you can call me Satz, Satzs, Satzi, Alioli or whatever you wish. I've written my share of mediocre fanfiction before under a different, shameful name, but this is my first foray into the world of CYOA, mostly thanks to a certain author here who wouldn't shut up unless I tried.

Armed with his advice and tips, I intend to make this first story of mine leaning more towards the short side, but if things develop, it may stretch further and further. I do want to avoid the fate of many long runners here, as my comrade warned me repeatedly, and I'll try my earnest to keep a regular schedule and be done before summer ends.

So yeah, that's it. Please enjoy and comment, and all that.
[x]The Kappa Village.

This is weird and I don't know how to feel about this. Good luck anyhow.
[X]The Kappa Village.
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[x]The Kappa Village.

"Now that's a weird place for a zombie outbreak," muttered Reimu when she saw the red cross over the Kappa Village.

As far as she knew, the kappa were more prone to creating death rays with stock self-destruct switches, manufacturing giant mechas with tendency to go berserk, and building dams that break down a flood an entire valley. In general, bigger, technical, inorganic stuff. The shrine maiden had difficulties to picture those turtleheads devising and spreading a plague that turned people into walking corpses, especially considering they fancied themselves the most friendly youkai towards humankind. If anything, there was a different faction in the Youkai Mountain that could be crazy and desperate enough to resort to unleashing an undead apocalypse in Gensokyo if that brought them faith -- although that assumption was based on Reimu's own bias rather than any evidence.

On the other hand, the kappa's insatiable curiosity and their disregard for basic safety rules might have lead to an involuntary accident -- knowing how air-headed most kappa were, it was a very real possibility. Nobody knew what could result from their experiments, sometimes not even the kappa themselves. They possibly didn't even want to create the plague in the first place, and they were just aiming to make a pesticide for their cucumber fields or something.

All in all, Reimu guessed the Kappa Village was a good place to start her search, if only because she might find some kind of strange gadget there to help her in her next adventures.

The miko folded the map and put it inside her tattered skirt's pocket. For some reason, she felt that something was lacking before she could set off on her mission... Ah, a witty one-liner!

"Well then, time to go on a tour... toise."

There were a few jubilant whistles in the audience, interspersed with an applause for Reimu's humorous antic... all inside her head. She should've done that in front of her zombie posse, she thought. And probably get herself a pair of sunglasses to look cool, too.

Wasting no more time in dilly-dallying, Reimu exited the town hall and returned to where she left Kyouko and the other zombies waiting. The miko was pleased to see none of them had wandered off on their own while she was away; in fact, she believed there were a couple more that had joined the posse. After practically solving every incident by herself in her previous life, karma had decided to throw her a bone by giving her an army of loyal servants -- as loyal as a reanimated corpse could be. It would be a crime not to take advantage of this "gift" from Hell, thought Reimu.

"Alright, guys, gals!" The miko called to her undead minions, filled with an enthusiasm uncommon of her. "We're going to have a nice trip to the Youkai Village! Who's with me?"


She was met by an appallingly disheartened response from the undead mob, which roughly translated to several different ways of saying "I don't wanna". It was at that moment when Reimu remembered that, even after death, they were still humans in spirit. And normal humans were often apprehensive about anything related to youkai. Asking a bunch of ex-villagers to willingly come with her to where youkai tread was perhaps a bit too much.

"Uh, okay, look," the shrine maiden began to explain. "I know most of you are not really excited at the idea, but please understand it's for your own good. Don't you wish to be rid of this curse and return to your normal lives?"

Her sound reasoning only elicited a few confused head-tilts. If appealing to humanity gave no results, then she had to resort to appeal to unlife. What could possibly convince a bunch of brain-eating zombies to leave their comfort zone?

"Come on, don't you get bored of standing around the same place for... I dunno, forty years? I know I was not one to talk in life, but even I felt the need to have an exciting adventure once in a while. It's going to be fun, I promise!"


Still no positive reaction. Appeal to the most basic instincts, then: "Maybe you want to put a little variety on your diet? There are delicious youkai brains there too, you know."

At the mere mention of "brains", the mob finally perked up and groaned in delight, Kyouko included -- and deep inside, Reimu was also hoping to help herself to some meaty cortexes once they arrived there.

"Gggguuuuuuh?" One of the male zombies from the back rows groaned inquisitively.


"Ggggggggguuuuh, gggguh..."

"Uh, yeah, and manga books too. Probably." Quite an odd request from a mindless undead, thought Reimu, but whatever. Everyone needs a hobby.


This time it was Kyouko the one who groaned, but there was a hint of alarm in her scratchy voice that worried the miko. The undead yamabiko was pointing at something again, and Reimu followed the direction with her eyes until her gaze met...

"... A skeleton," she muttered.

One of the many bodies littering the street, after being stripped of all fleshy matter by the hungry zombies, had become possessed by its vengeful spirit and became reanimated on its own. Its bones rattled with each step it took, defying the laws of physics that stated that without flesh and muscles, a skeleton wouldn't be able to stand and walk on its own. Then again, so would zombies.

In any case, a skeleton companion would be a nice addition to her growing horde of undead, Reimu thought.

"Hey there! Come to join us in our little excur-- Wait, what are you doing?"

The skeleton was pulling one of its ribs out without much effort, snapping with a loud crack. Reimu's instincts suddenly flared up when she saw it clenching its bony fists, sensing its hostile intents -- but before her deteriorated body could react, the skeleton had already thrown its rib at her as a makeshift boomerang. The undead miko could only lift her arm in vain, waiting for the certainly painful impact...


... But in an impressive display of reflexes, Kyouko ran from behind her, leaped through the air and caught the rib in midair with her strong jaws! The yamabiko did that three-point landing that looked so cool in the books... And immediately ran to the nearest back alley to munch on her prize in peace.

"Well, she is a dog after all," muttered Reimu, then remembered the aggressive skeleton was still there. "And you there! I don't appreciate people throwing surprise attacks at me unannounced! Now prepare to have your bones rattled, fiend!"

The skeleton did not reply back, by virtue of lacking a tongue and vocal chords to talk, and moved menacingly towards the miko like in cheap stop-motion.

[]Give it a couple of limp-wristed smacks, followed with some firm-wristed punches.
[]Do a low sweep with the broom and knock its legs out from the ground.
[]Bombard it with a barrage of Homing Amulets and send it back home.
[]Persuade it against attacking you with a couple of Persuasion Needles.
[]Invoke the Hakurei Orbs and blast it to orbit.


This is supposed to be a parody of the zombie genre, not to be taken too seriously, with lots of comedy (especially the black kind). Though the tone might shift towards drama if the plot (or you readers) demands it.
[x] Bombard it with a barrage of Homing Amulets and send it back home.

>"Well, she is a dog after all," muttered Reimu,
Comedy protip: resist the urge to explain a joke after making it.
Actually, I didn't get it until that part. Then again, maybe I would have realised it a minute later.

[X]Do a low sweep with the broom and knock its legs out from the ground.

Did not Reimu explain earlier that she wouldn't have been able to breach the council door, due to a lack of shrine maiden ammunition/amulets?
In that case, it'd be better to go for the broom rather than try to throw an amulet and realise that there are none.
[X]Bombard it with a barrage of Homing Amulets and send it back home.
[X]Do a low sweep with the broom and knock its legs out from the ground.

Shaun of the Dead Touhou edition?
[X] Invoke the Hakurei Orbs and blast it to orbit.

Let's check if she can still do this. Otherwise, she's down to the broom, kicks, punches and harsh language.
Hmm... Kingdom of Loathing much?
[X]Do a low sweep with the broom and knock its legs out from the ground.

Better start practicing with the broom.
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Sorry, but I already had this update half-written when I got your vote.


[x]Bombard it with a barrage of Homing Amulets and send it back home.

It was a rare occurrence to see skeletons in Gensokyo -- youkai, demons and vampires were far more common in the Eastern Paradise --, but certainly not unheard of. Thankfully, shrine maidens like Reimu were purposely trained to exterminate and send away all kinds of harmful spirits, and a reanimated skeleton fell squarely into that category. Thus, mikos were proficient in using a select arsenal of purifying tools and talismans to deal with them swiftly: their chief weapon was the all-purpose ofuda, the sturdy gohei... gohei and ofuda-- Their two weapons were the ofuda, the gohei, and the luck-bringing omamori-- Three, three main weapons were ofuda, gohei, omamori and--

In short, shrine maidens had a crapton of obscure items with weird names amongst her weaponry. The assortment was so varied, sometimes it was harder to pick the best tool for the job than actually executing said job. But when it came down to laying waste to pesky enemies, Reimu had a clear favorite.

As the reanimated bones slowly, spookily shuffled towards her, the miko slid her hand inside the pocket of her skirt, in a calculated move that had become second nature to her. She pulled a rectangular piece of paper and whipped her arm swiftly, as if to imprint more momentum to the soon-to-be flying amulet.

Her expectations crashed down to the ground when the paper in question refused to take flight and remained hanging limply from her pale hand. They sank six feet under after she realized that the paper was, in fact, not an amulet.

"Wait, this is the map... Whoops," Reimu mumbled, putting the paper back in her pocket.

The skeleton, oblivious to her predicament, inched closer and closer by the second, almost at arm's reach. And that was way too close for Reimu's comfort, who only preferred her skeletons a couple thousand miles away from her.

[X]Do a low sweep with the broom and knock its legs out from the ground.

Luckily for her, even after the amulet fiasco, she still wasn't completely defenseless. Those martial combat lessons she was taught as a rookie were finally going to pay off!

"Not so fast!" She shouted to her opponent. "Let's see how you like this!"

Reimu deftly pranced a couple of steps away from the skeleton and brandished Kyouko's broom with a few twirls. The cleaning tool was perhaps a bit short for the miko's liking, but it was made of surprisingly sturdy bamboo, so it could make for an improvised staff in a dire situation, like the one she was in right now. And God knew how dusty those bones were! A good ol' brushing wouldn't hurt it, thought Reimu, although she was supposed to aim for the opposite.

The shrine maiden spun, flapped and milled the broom around, displaying her slick martial arts partly in an attempt to intimidate the skeleton away, partly for mere show-off. It was a relief to see that even after becoming a zombie, she still got her moves.

"What's the matter, you chicken?" Taunted Reimu with a haughty smile. "I don't even need a stone to break your bones, you freaky-- Ah."

It was one thing to remember how to wield a staff; another completely different matter was retaining the necessary mind-muscle coordination to actually pull off those moves. Reimu became painfully aware of how really uncoordinated were her rotten muscles when the bamboo broom slipped out of her hands and fell to the ground a few feet away from her. The skeleton ground its yellow teeth after witnessing the shrine maiden's embarrassing mistake, as if mocking her.

"Sh-sh-shut up! That doesn't count!" Exclaimed Reimu, who would've blushed like a tomato if she still had blood inside her.

The shrine maiden quickly rolled towards the broom, grabbed it mid-vault, and delivered a swift blow to the skeleton's ankles. The undead monster promptly crashed to the ground with such force that its left arm dislocated cleanly from its shoulder socket, producing a cringeworthy "clack" sound.

"That's more like it," Reimu muttered to herself as she stood up.

The skeleton blankly stared at its own dislodged extremity with its empty eye sockets, more annoyed than pained or furious -- brooms aren't designed for dealing pain, after all. Although with how limited a skeleton's facial expressions are, it might as well have been gleefully smiling for all Reimu knew. After a short while, it finally decided to pick the arm and stand up as well. Under Reimu's vigilant watch, the skeleton made the feint of placing the arm back in its place...

But at the last second, it decided to simply lunge forward and club Reimu with it. This time the miko was properly prepared, and managed to meet its attack with broom in hand. Since she didn't find the prospect of being clubbed to un-undeath with a bony arm particularly humerus, Reimu focused on blocking and parrying every blow the skeleton delivered from above, below, hither and fro. Eventually, both combatants found themselves locking their "weapons" in a contest of pure strength and tenacity.

Reimu, who still had enough brains left in her to think outside the box, shifted her balance to divert the skeleton's arm-club to the ground, and threw a quick jab with her broom once she found an opening. The skeleton, winded, relented in his assault and took a few steps backs -- which the shrine maiden mentally appreciated. Why was she feeling so tired, she thought. Was it because her rotting body wasn't able to function properly, meaning she had to overexert herself to retain the same speed?

She knew she had to defeat the skeleton before she completely ran out of energy, but if she couldn't stand toe to toe against her foe, and she was out of ammo, what other option did she have?

[X]Invoke the Hakurei Orbs and blast it to orbit.

Ah, of course! Her own option: the Hakurei Orbs! Why didn't she think of that sooner?

Perfect spheres of crystal stored with spiritual power, the Yin-Yang Orbs were the greatest treasure of the Hakurei Shrine. They were powerful weapons against non-humans (particularly youkai), but only a properly trained blood member of the Hakurei clan could use them effectively. The orbs' power worked by constantly absorbing the power of its user over time; once they'd been filled with the user's power, they could release all the stored energy at once in the form of amulets or needles at high speed, and then start the cycle over again. Sort of like a little hovering Cuisinart that hated all non-humans.

Since she was the last heir of the Hakurei line, Reimu possessed the power to summon and control the Yin-Yang Orbs at will. Once she got them rolling, that skeleton would become nothing more than a pushover. And frankly, this battle was taking way too long for a measly abomination.

"I'll end this thus!"

The shrine maiden clasped her hands and focused, drawing her inner energy and reciting mystic prayers in her mind, like she had done thousands of times before. The moment she tried to materialize the Orbs in the physical realm, she immediately noticed something was fundamentally wrong. She had no time to stop, though, for the skeleton was drawing closer. Reimu kept repeating the ritual to summon her options, but every time she tried to focus, there was a strange external force that blocked her spiritual power and impeded it from taking form. Or rather, it was like the final piece on the pipeline system was missing, preventing the water from reaching its destination.

"Tch, this is definitely not my day. Why can't I...?" Reimu practically choked in her own disbelief and exasperation. "Is it because I'm a zombie? I'm no longer alive, therefore I'm not a Hakurei? Or maybe there's someone else-"

Her musings were interrupted by another loud crack -- the skeleton had apparently decided Reimu had wasted her turn away and was making its move already. The monster brought its hand to its skull, and with an utterly shrilling noise, unhinged it from its spine. Then it threw the skull at Reimu like a fastball, who had already readied her brown and was aiming to score a home run. To her surprise, the skull suddenly changed trajectory in midair, catching her completely by surprise.

"Curve ball!?" Reimu exclaimed. "Ah, just a floating skull-- Gah!"

Taking advantage of her moment of distraction, the skull opened its jaws wide and loomed closer to the maiden's left shoulder.

"No no no, don't you da-- Ouch!" The skull sank its dirty teeth on its target, attempting to rip a good chunk of rotten miko flesh. "That hurts! Ouchouchouchouch! Who the hell do you think you- Eek! I'm the zombie here! Agh! Let go already!"

Eventually, Reimu managed to push the skull away and throw it to the ground. To her utter disgust, some of the skeletal fangs -- which were exactly the same as human fangs, but somehow hurt more -- were stuck on her flesh. It was to be expected considering skeletons have no gums to hold them in place. In fact, Reimu should've thanked God she still had hers in good condition when she bit Kyouko. There were few things as ridiculous as a toothless zombie.

"Speaking of Kyouko, where is she?" Reimu looked at her surroundings, trying to spot the yamabiko among the group of zombies. "I could use a little help here..."

Reimu was sure Kyouko would make short work of those pesky bones, and not only because she was a dog youkai. Unlike her, the youkai seemed to retain most of her natural agility and strength. If only she could get to her and ask her for help... The miko recalled she went to a dark alley; the one alley the skeleton was blocking, unfortunately. She had to get past it somehow, but seeing as her enemy was still looking for its skull, it shouldn't be too difficult. Unless that was what the skeleton wanted, and was just baiting her to throw a third surprise attack.

On second thought, it didn't need to be Kyouko specifically, Reimu thought. Any of those zombie villagers could aid her in the fight, instead of standing around doing nothing. They were willing to go with her, so they should follow her orders, right? Of course, that's assuming they understood complex instructions such as "pin it while I circle behind him". Otherwise, they might make good bait at the very very least.

Whichever course of action she picked, the miko had to pick it fast. The skeleton would be distracted only for so long, and Reimu was not confident she would withstand another vicious assault in her current condition...

[]Take the chance and strike the skeleton while it isn't paying attention to you.
--[]Realize you're never going to survive unless you get a little crazy, so go crazily bash it with your fists of fury.
--[]Speak softly, then clobber it with the big stick until it bites the dust.
--[]There has to be something useful buried among the wreckage. Or at least something better than a broom.
[]Sneak past the skeleton and get Kyouko's attention.
[]Order your zombie posse around. (Write-in)


Sorry for not delivering yesterday. I had some college paperwork to deal with last afternoon and didn't have time to write. Anyway...

If you're going to boss your undead horde around, remember that zombies aren't known for being too bright. Simple, short orders will have a better chance of working well than overly complicated ones. Keep this in mind from now on.

That's one of my main inspirations for this story. You'll very likely find some references to it in the future...

A fellow adventurer? Why, yes, the beginning is practically the same as the Zombie Slayer challenge path, but that's where the similarities end. Though I guess the humor is also very KoL style.
[x] Order your zombie posse around.
-[x] dogpile the skeleton

Its 50 zombies vs one skeleton. Even the stupidest of zombie hordes should be able to pile on top of one opponent en masse.
[x]Take the chance and strike the skeleton while it isn't paying attention to you.
--[x]Realize you're never going to survive unless you get a little crazy, so go crazily bash it with your fists of fury.
Since you sorta asked for it in the rage thread, I'm going to keep a running commentary about how I feel about the story.

Monty python reference Not funny. It just doesn't work when written down.

Six feet under joke Somewhat amusing wordplay here.

couple thousand miles away If this is a joke, it's a bad one since it abruptly breaks up a logical though process.

broom fight scene I liked it. Reimu's shounen-anime-level monologues were kinda distracting though.

particularly humerus Nice timing on that one. I giggled.

hovering Cuisinart that hated all non-humans I had to google this to piece together what your were going for. Word of advice; don't make your readers google things.

Overall, I liked the update. Mostly because I'm a fan of this particular narrative style. In regards to the comedy; Though somewhat "hit or miss" I find myself curious as to the next joke your going to try.

[X]Speak softly, then clobber it with the big stick until it bites the dust.

The last of the purifying tools. Might as well try it.
Reverse zombie apocalypse is an interesting premise. And the humour is good. I approve.

[x] Order your zombie posse around.
-[x] dogpile the skeleton

They will not acompany us to the mountain so the utilitarian in me sees no reason not to use them
I'm going to drop this story in favor to the one I'm beginning at the general board: >>/th/180784. Since this story has received mixed reactions at best, I've decided to recycle the ideas of this story for that one.

I apologize those who were expecting this story to continue. I promise I won't let you down at the other one.
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