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“Got into a fight?” the nurse asked with some disinterest, barely lifting up her gaze as she drank from her mug. “It's too early in the day to be dealing with your brand of troublemaking,” she teased.
Marisa stood wordlessly, taken aback at how cruel Eirin's sounded. Couldn't blame her. My relationship with authority figures was a mixed bag and she probably saw Eirin as someone sober and not at all charming and capable of playful ribbing. Girls went to her for advice, after all, while boys tended to idolize her because of her profession and appearance.
I broke the ice with a smile, “yeah, took on about a half dozen bikers on my way here. I defended Marisa here from being harassed and abducted.”
“Oh how noble,” Eirin said flatly, again showing no real interest in us. She sighed and pushed away a pile of papers on her desk. “Well, looks like you're not faking your injury for once, so go ahead and sit down.”
“Eirin's a big softie,” I whispered to Marisa, who still looked unsure of how to handle the situation, “don't worry, she'll patch me up just fine.”
“It's rude to whisper when someone else is in the room,” Eirin remarked with an ambiguous smile. “Very unmanly too.”
“I'm not really try to impress you today,” I chuckled, “I'm just trying to put Marisa's mind at ease. I tripped and fell and she was worried about me because I passed out for a few moments.”
“It's sweet of you to try to make your girlfriend feel better,” Eirin said with a chuckle of her own as she approached to take a look at me. With a practiced touch she examined my head, asked a few questions about how I was feeling and then made me do a few quick tests to see if my balance had been compromised.
“Is he alright?” Marisa asked.
“Didn't even really bruise,” Eirin concluded with a satisfied smile. “He's harder than he looks, or just luckier. He should wash up to get the flakes of blood off but other than that, your boyfriend is in good condition.”
“We're not really a couple,” Marisa explained shyly. I couldn't tell if it was her worry for me or just the subject matter in general that made her more reserved than usual. She was still forthright but her usual energy was subdued. “I care for him a lot but we're simply childhood friends right now.”
“Right now?” Eirin slapped me on the back, as if to say 'way to go'. “I certainly appreciate boldness in a woman. Don't get too hung up on this boy here, though, I'm sure you can do better.”
“Geez thanks Eirin,” I said with a roll of my eyes, “way to act like an adult.”
“See what I mean? No honorifics or titles, he just uses my given name casually,” she ignored me and winked at Marisa, “not exactly a catch.”
The school bell rang, indicating the start of homeroom.
“Oh, we better get going,” Marisa said.
“You go ahead, dear,” Eirin told her, “I still have a few more things I'd like to check on your would-be boyfriend. Wouldn't want something small to snowball into something bigger just because I didn't catch it the first time around.”
“Okay, thank you very much for your help,” Marisa nodded and stood up. Compared to earlier, she looked at lot more at ease. Maybe Eirin's casual disinterest was more calculated than I gave it credit for.
With a polite nod, Eirin said her goodbye.
She sighed again when we were alone, clearly meaning to express her exasperation with me. Her body language changed and she became a little more casual and less business-like, asking, “what am I going to do with you?”
“Heal my body and soul with love, surely,” I joked.
“Yes, yes,” she laughed, going over to her drawer and producing a paper pad and pen. “I do need you to a favor for me now. So no more joking since I need to assess your mental capacity.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Write about a few recent events. Be detailed if possible. I want to see if your memory has been affected at all. It's always a concern after passing out due to a blow on the head.”
I sat down at her desk and looked at the blank piece of paper.
 Write in detail about what's been going on in my life.
 A few bullet points about the most recent stuff is good enough.
 Memory's fine, no need for this.
Secret Eirin romantic scene instead
The above is a choice regarding a recap of recent events that I'll do for the readers since it's been a very long time since we've dealt with this story and its characters. It has zero impact on events and characters (so don't worry about what Eirin thinks, for instance). The longer the recap, the more time it'll take me since I have to reread stuff in the story myself and I hate reading my own writing.
It was always the intention to have the first choice following 'waking up' be a recap thing. The nurse's office lets me focus more on the past in an update than having Alice, Reimu and other classmates be involved and I decided that I didn't want to overload the reader with too much new information while getting this sorted out. Coupled with the low turnout, this led to the decision to ignore the votes.
I'll be weighing how much I do in the above choice more on what you're saying rather than number of votes by themselves. So if I feel like people are okay with things, I'll just soldier on but if I feel like people are lost I'll give the option of the more detailed summaries more weight.
What follows are a few thoughts of my own on the story and writing that, while not essential, I think are central to future activity. I'm including this for the sake of transparency and it's definitely blog-y but hopefully still worth your while.
I stopped writing in the first place because I was busy with stuff and then a little turned off creatively. No one was asking me to get back to it either and inertia begat inertia as I stopped checking the site that often. Hence it was harder to care the longer I wasn't writing. It's definitely my fault overall but the way both the site and irc tend to stay silent about most authors and stories and don't ask what's up or really discuss things very often. This compounded my feelings of detachment.
I wrote the post a few days ago in order to motivate someone else. He was having a hard time getting motivated to actually write and so after talking to him I agreed to update if he just sat down and actually wrote something. This is with zero expectations of the reception on the site. In fact, I had envisioned maybe waiting until the next weekend before following up, since it seemed unlikely to me that there would be anyone besides maybe him and someone else that would bother to vote. I didn't really have a plan for continuing the story in earnest, since I didn't think there would be any demand.
There was a bigger response than what I expected to my post, so much so that I waited much less to do the follow up post. With this last one, however, I've gotten what I expected would be the norm. And so that leaves me wondering about what comes next. The story format would have to change drastically if I was doing only a few updates a week and with a smaller audience. I would, in fact, try to prematurely wrap things up in a short period of time since the story misses its point without short fast updates and a fair number of quickish voters. I always felt that part of the charm of ToY was how it juggled so many characters and events quickly and didn't put that much weight on any one choice because there was probably going to be another opportunity to trigger a flag. It's simply not possible to do that as effectively if the updates are fewer and farther in between and have a lot more 'plot' happening in each one. The pace of things and mood are central to the story's soul.
So really the only reasonable thing to maintain the tone and enjoyment of the story is to carry on in its preestablished format. Too much of the story has been written out and voted on for me to suddenly change things.
To top it all off the site is quite dead in general. Depressingly so. I think that even people who, in the past, claimed that things were fine and the site wasn't dying would be hard pressed to make that argument now. Though I'm sure they'd still continue to call me names if the subject came up again ;)
I still very much care about the site and stories but I'm also a little tired of tilting at windmills. I'm open to ideas and suggestions as always but I think we're really at a do or die moment in regards to activity. After a lot of thought I think I made up my mind on what I can do as both a writer and site owner. I can't force others to vote and write (tried individual appeals in the past but as the saying goes you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink). So the only thing I can do is write for a while, as the votes come in. I'm going to try my best in the coming days, or maybe even weeks depending on my latent masochism, and hope things pick up. If they don't, however, I don't think there's anything else that I can do.
I'm therefore making the selfish request that you please check in on the site regularly, vote regularly and please tell your friends to do so as well. The last bit might be the most important one, since we need manpower above all. I can't force others to update but I can control what I write and I promise to not go without a fight. It's easy to be cynical about touhou fanfiction but this has been an overall joyful thing for me and I would really love to steal away time from real life and serious things once again in order to read and write things on the site every day.
I'm open to ideas and suggestions or just general thoughts about what I've said or the story. If you feel that you have something to add or say, go ahead, I'd be happy to see it. Just don't deny that the site is in bad shape, I don't really want to have that argument when even /th/ doesn't get posts every day anymore and hasn't for a long time. It's not a seasonal thing if it's been like that for at least half a year.
Thanks for taking the time to read the above. Will hopefully have faster and regular updates after the next one (giving this some time so that people see it/get the recap ball rolling) if you guys help me out. Le'ts keep the dream of youthful fun alive together.
Yours with love, the eternal idiot Teruyo