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The Magician’s Apprentice Exchanged Cups with an Oni, Thread 3 | THP - The destination for Touhou Project fans
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File 151996121478.jpg - (413.91KB, 2000x1404, his warm mistress.jpg) [iqdb]
65922 No. 65922
A theme fitting for the tale ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BooDupEyp84

Winter is here, but Spring will come soon, right?

THREAD 1 >>65260
THREAD 2 >>65548
Expand all images
>> No. 65926
yo i just caught up with this story and it was fucking invigorating, keep it up! You've got a follower in me
>> No. 65950
File 15205571123.jpg - (251.19KB, 700x700, cold weather rematch.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] “Then, may I have this dance?”

And Alice put her hands to the table to push herself up, giving the answer: “Oh, absolutely.

I won’t go hard on you, but I won’t go easy either.”


“Aagh, I shouldn’t have done this. Jeez, it’s cold. Damn it’s cold.”

Gen was in the skies above the home of Alice Margatroid, shivering and complaining. His posture was weak and spoke nothing of confidence.

“You’re all bundled up like that and have a woman’s length of hair and you’re still cold?” Alice asked, also flying, but seemingly hardly cold.

“I’m flying while it’s snowing, Alice. First time, too. I’m not used to this.”

“Get used to it, it’ll toughen you up.”

“Hold on—”

He spoke magic into his hands, and pulling them away from his face fire was born. It poured down and over his fingers, swirling around them, his thighs and his feet. Flame ran a course above his body, draping his shoulders too and altogether warming him, but not burning in the slightest. He closed his eyes, his eyebrows graciously bending. With a sigh, he gave an evaluation: “Nice...”

“What’s that?” his opponent asked, flexing the digits of one hand and using the other to trace over the body of one of her dolls in examination.

He answered: “A little experiment. Master Patchouli ordinarily refrains from using it but the elements of Western magic include ‘air’, unlike those of Eastern. Coating that over the element of flame, I can feel like I’m before a fireplace, even out here. I’m sure it only really works on these winter days, though. Changing temperature with raw magic is not too simple.”

Alice remarked on this with a sound of vague interest. Then, she commented on his choice: “That won’t help you get used to being out in the cold.”

“It’ll help me now. Hey, just for you, I’ll fly to the Hakurei Shrine after this.” Now warm, Gen brought himself to a better stance, pinching one of his thumbs and smiling behind his scarf.

“You can just call it ‘the Shrine’,” Alice informed him. She let go her doll and hid all her puppets behind her back. Folding her arms again, she said, “So, you’re going to the Shrine are you?”

“Master’s orders.”

Her smile became sympathetic. “It’s too bad I’ll be sending you to meet the Shrine Maiden in tatters.”

His became smug. “It’s convenient you’re right here to tailor your clothes after I’m done with you.”

Alice looked proud, readying her arms and fingers. “Gen...” she said, “I like that confidence.”

“Thank you,” he replied with a hand out to her. Next opening his coat to display his tomes he proclaimed: “Let me show you why it’s deserved.”

[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaoHZIW3MfA ]

Thus the play began.

The true spirit of danmaku, and the full breadth of its qualities, could only be known on a battlefield utilizing all axes. Gen somewhat knew this before his flight training from just watching duels, and could always feel something missing from duels brought to ground. Ascending for him brought epiphany as well. Patterns came to him much more easily.

Tangential to that, he was a little disappointed that his natural airborne movement couldn’t be categorized as “fast”. Like his Master, he was a bit gentle to turn and bank, and his pursuit speed was just slightly more sluggish than the average. Patchouli told him: in regards to flight and the speed of it, innate ability often took the highest precedence. Speed and maneuverability could be improved, but beyond discovery and basic mastery, upgrading one’s capabilities of flight was a numbingly tall order. At the very least, someone in the air almost always beat out one on foot; even the Library and her Apprentice were so capable.

And so, he faced Alice’s first, familiar, undeclared spell. First she scattered what looked like ice, then she fired two kinds of red rings in fours, and with all these varieties Gen had no trouble. He saw where they would go and steadily moved out their way. And, with a grimoire he’d detached from his belt floating behind him, he fired a steady and rapid stream of black and white diamonds in couples, drawing from his own magic to empower them. Alice received his counterattack with satisfaction.

“I’m glad to see you’ve improved,” she mentioned when he pushed her into another round. Finding a card in her pockets, she announced: “Now, a better spell.”

She once again showed him “Benevolent French Dolls”, however the maneuver included two more dolls than he remembered. Bullets were again fired and again multiplied twice, ending in a colossal and crimson sphere around the other magician. Back during his first spell card duel, this one had surprised him, and he’d failed it in an embarrassing manner. Furthermore it had been essentially flat... This was different.

It was fun.

From underfoot, overhead, and his front Alice’s magic ascended, descended, and charged. While it was nothing to avoid, it still felt almost like dodging red rain flying every which way, and slipping past it all built a whimsical flurry in his chest. With an open grin, he pointed at Alice, his shadow and light assault following through while bullets past his ears, under his arms, and missed his calves. He laid into her. He captured the spell, and began to incant.

Gen crafted a pattern he had practiced, next. He couldn’t use it to its full extent just yet, as its full extent was a bit complex, but he could try something similar for a lower degree of skill.

Four great, shining, beams of sun and spirit, turning in a half circle around you, and then four more turning opposite. Force your enemy into a hallway of light, and then... Right! With your hand like a gun, send a circle from your fingertip! Another! And another! Keep moving... And fire! Fire!

He made to glide while filling the sky with scarlet fireworks, and he gave a “Yeah!” to cheer.

Alice slipped through the sorcery, keeping close to his lasers and waving between the bullets. Watching him, she mumbled, “Hmph... familiar, isn’t it?” She directed her dolls to stop the mirthful magician and wondered aloud “Will you show me a familiar card, too?”

And he did, not hearing her commentary. “Fire Sign!” he called, “‘Agni Shine’!”

It was the standard version of the advanced spell his Master had used to try to kill him when they’d met. Frankly, he could not get enough of its use.

Patchouli had told him that his affinity for magic was heroic, and on telling him that she’d made a very bitter face. Essentially, he would naturally excel with “triumphant” spells of light, love, and the vanquishing of evil (which meant Marisa might be jealous of him should she ever find this out). He did not feel heroic, but according to his Master his affinity likely had to do with whatever the reason was that his family name contained the kanji for “wisteria”, a flower symbolic of such virtues. She found it ironic that a soul inclined to nobility would be used for dark arts. She was right; he glowed in experiencing this powerful feeling, fire spreading from a book at his hip.

Like Marisa, who was inclined toward water and yet played with love and stars, he knew inclinations were not fates. While in theory he could become a shining champion of justice with some ease, doing so would mean treading the sea rather than diving deep into the ocean that was sorcery. So he moved slow through the sky, bringing flames out his noble soul and having them encircle him in conic shape before encroaching on his opponent, measured but overwhelming. To dodge this as well was an enjoyable thing thanks to his Master’s good sense, but he was eager for the day he could advance this spell to its limits.

Alice had a fair look on her face, thinking about the mimicking magician in front of her, as she made her way through the pattern’s gaps. She captured his spell, saw him mimic another pattern of his master’s (red lights, fast and blue bullets) and “captured” that too. The Library’s Apprentice wore a trembling closed smile, very apparently giddy. Alice smirked, and finally her enemy called for something original.

“Fire Sign: The Furnace in Logi’s Stomach!”

In the air between them bloomed a small bonfire. Alice looked at it, Gen smiled at it, and it gave birth to three more. Each of those bore six, and each of those bore six again, and with each proliferation the flames all grew. Alice frowned at the result: a broiling mass of fire in front of her. She was severely disappointed.

“What part of this is danmaku...?” she chastised, thinking it would explode into a pattern after her saying that. It didn’t.

She tested shooting through the fires, noting that her dolls’ bullets fizzled out on contact with the flames. She looked askance. Perhaps she could simply go around it and throw bullets in his face instead...? But looking, it seemed like his attack spread wide enough that it nearly touched the boundary of their decided field of play. Alice concluded: this was a gimmick card.

She thought to call out and confirm, but instead decided to both wait and see. She squinted at the fireball and tried to see if there was a path through it, and without warning the ball suddenly expanded.

With a sound of surprise Alice backed away, fire almost licking her nose tip. She stopped to see the thing held open, “bullets” crawling so slightly through the air, and she saw Gen crossing his arms out ahead of her. She next spotted a wisp of smoke arise quite randomly in a space between the excessive fires, and then they all closed again, rejoining once more into an impenetrable mass.

She figured it out.

“Despicable move, Gen,” she said with faint disgust.

“Pull those dolls close,” she heard him say from across the fire, “I wouldn’t want them burned.”

When the mass opened again she realized it was unpredictable where the bullets would go out, and so the safest bet was actually to charge forward rather than wait for openings to shoot through. She flew toward him slowly and carefully, concentrating her attacks and her movements while his magic surrounded her, and keeping an eye out for another wisp of smoke. When it came, she rushed to where it was fading, and as she expected the fire closed over her, but did not touch.

She was pleased to note the fire was, interestingly enough, not terribly hot on the inside like it felt on the outside. Perhaps this was Gen’s way of intimidation? He’d also made it so, somehow, breathing and oxygen came easily while you waited for the mass to part again. Fingers on her temple, she judged it thus: while definitely irritating, this was a kindly mindful spell.

And so she waited for fire orbs to hang about her again, made risky approaches to better her damage, retreated at the sight of smoke, and gradually brought Gen down for a capture.

Thus she began her next round, increasing bullet density.

“How was it?” Gen asked. Pride was clear in his cheeks, and his movements were thoughtless, as though the sky were clear.

“Yes, yes,” said Alice as she was pelted by his counterattack, “it was a very interesting spell. It’s unlike your Master.”

“Master specializes in variety, power, and thoughtfulness. She knows such a wide breath of magic that she—”

Alice tuned the young man out.

He continued to prattle with enthusiasm, explaining as if she cared Patchouli’s strengths and weaknesses, her mastery over all elements, how she took to the spell card system like a fish to water, how he liked trickiness because he could never compare to her otherwise...

He was a student who was smart due to his master, and so stupid for her.

[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVZBHTN_ZuU ]

When Alice pulled her next card, she did so while thinking about her own, lonely process of learning the arts. Of course, not all Magicians were like her and Patchouli, learning much as they could on their own. Marisa was more insidious about her voracious appetite for learning, taking whatever she could quietly and then brazenly applying what she’d learned to her own or stolen spells. Gen had so much praise for his sources... In either case, Alice thought they were cute children.

“Did I ask for a Patchouli Knowledge lecture?” she mused. She held up her card, “‘The Phantom of the Grand Guignol’.”

Huh? thought Gen with an eyebrow lifted, I don’t recognize that one.

And so, Alice brought out a disgusting puppet from behind her back, sized like a diminutive person.

Gen’s skin crawled at its appearance: a sad and long-faced head rocked betwixt knobby shoulders, and it was clothed in a single, inelegant, pitch-black rag which began to end before its thighs. Its scalp was bare save a few odd red strands, and inexplicably its eyes were closed. It had fingernails... and they were digging into its chin and “lips”... and Gen swore for a moment that it seemed to be breathing. There was a small sigil representing flowers drawn onto its forehead in charcoal. Alice wiped the mark away with her thumb, and leisurely crossed her arms. Thus, the doll began to laugh without ever opening its mouth, and from Alice’s reticence he wagered she was not compelling it to do so.

Deep rubicund hair fell down over its body, bled from its skull torrential. Water ran down its face from under its lashes. It shook, those long and narrow limbs snapping with uncomfortable noise. It began to open its clouded eyes, and stare at him.

Vomit rolled up from his stomach.

The so-called phantom was the source of Alice’s next range of danmaku, but he was made so nauseous by its granted sensations that he hardly noticed the fading mauve circles it had made float in the air, and that Alice was no longer playing around.

Danmaku could often be described in terms of flowers’ waxing and waning. The pattern would bloom open, close up, twist, et cetera. Alice’s spell now was no exception, and by the time Gen realized it had completely opened up, he judged that it was without a doubt the most absurd collection of bullets he’d faced since Yuuka had stared him down. Weaving pink magic and flushed diamonds, a kaleidoscopic madness blossomed before him, fluctuating, wherever he could see. This psychedelic flower was not, however, hard to deal with. Gen realized this because he had been paralyzed with fear from both the doll and the spell, and so noticed bullets were easily grazing just under his shoulders repeatedly. He needed only move back and forth only a bit to avoid some strange, orbiting shots that came his way. He kept this up, thinking himself safe, and noticed too late a pair of bullets gunning for his gut.

Bwff—!” He spat with the impact of a punch-like hit, and instantly he became confused under the light of this slow and fast danmaku, repeatedly sounding “Ah? Huh? Eh! Uhh...” and so on. Then came the roar of bitter, florid violet, its shots moving faster than any he’d seen before and making straight for him. With instinctual but jerky movements he went right in the sky to keep just barely away, feeling too similar to diving out the way of an avalanche, and came to a depressing understanding as he narrowly lurched beyond another red bullet:

Presently, he had no idea what to do.

Furthermore, when Alice was readying the rush of purple, she’d move from her centered position, shifting the patterns of the phantom completely. This was no help.

To survive this blasted card without losing the battle entirely, Gen resorted to clear-spells three—three desperate times, emptying his soul excessively with “Five Seasons”, a spell his Master had taught him that utilized the elements of quarterly nature, and the elements of Eastern magic in imagining a fifth, to summon wide and Venn-intersecting circle-barriers for protection. They dealt no damage unless he was close, but Gen was too put off by Alice’s shots and doll to approach her. He got through the round without losing, as he wanted, but left with his turn to cast he only remained stunned, not pulling any cards.

“How was it?” Alice echoed him, hiding away her revolting doll.

For a moment, he simply watched his summoned fires swirling around him in a daze, looking up after to ask, “Did you just use on me an ultimate attack?”

“Ah, yes,” Alice replied glibly, a cattish smile forming on her lips while she looked away.

Fiddling with one of the bows on his cuffs, glaring, he reminded her “What happened to not going hard!?”

“I thought twice.”

“Then I will as well,” he removed his fingers from his bow and now dipped his hand into his sleeve, pulling out a slip of paper. Holding it up, he told her: “I’ll win with this. Water Sign ‘Midgard Serpent, Release Your Tail’.”

Alice sighed and shook her head. “Again with something Norse?” she asked, “And the water sign... Can you really spare any more energy for creating water?”

Gen did not answer beyond a smile as his card became vapor, the air shook, and water erupted from the earth and trees.

Alice shot away at once, shock evident in her eyes and brow. She quickly took stock of the situation by reassessing their environment. Certainly snow was water, but to convert it so fast to another state should’ve been beyond Gen’s—

“Ah...” Alice bemoaned her lack of thinking: of course he had water to use, had this boy not cast fire before?

Alice could now see her bare roof and freed lawn, and the branches of the surrounding woods openly showing their bark. Melted snow was being gathered from columns into the sky, and though Gen still summoned water on his own, it was much less than this spell would ordinarily ask for. Upon amassing all he needed into a helical shape between them, Gen directed the water to wholly wrap their playing field in a coiled and closed, light-shimmering rondure. Staring close Alice could see he’d made the water into a snake’s shape—undoubtedly to resemble Jörmungandr who the spell was named after. When she saw the point where this ouroboros had its end within its “bite”, the maw was opened, and a storm broke loose.

At his current level, Gen’s spell was one he could ordinarily only use above Misty Lake and furthermore with as much concentration as his mind would allow. It forged a bullet curtain within the snake-sphere that replicated rains so harsh as to flood a dry land. Water fast swept throughout the air, cresting and crashing and scattering without pity. It turned in a set way, and left little room for freedom, but AS it was set it was not an impossible spell card. Rather, like Alice’s Grand Guignol, it needed the opponent to not be overwhelmed and instead understand the pattern calmly to see where movement was safe.

Alice was not fully able to do this.

She got as much that following the curves and sweeps of water worked best, but the “rains” that didn’t join within the greater waves proved massively irritating to keep in mind. Again like her own powerful spell, these seemingly unpredictable bullets were quick on their paths, and so demanded almost immediately reactive avoidance. While she did not fall apart like a clumsy fool as Gen had to this demand, she nonetheless suffered a miss, and another, and another, and even when she drew upon a spell to clear some of the water unrelenting, she had soon suffered too much, was driven to the wall of water, and then thoroughly soaked. As Gen had declared, it was his win, and her loss.

The Magician’s Apprentice descended toward the Seven-Colored Puppeteer; she dressed for winter yet sodden with water, he with both hands over his mouth to cover his smile. Alice offered him misery in her face, and Gen offered her the repeated question:

“So? How was it?”
>> No. 65951
This update brought a smile to my face.

I guess he has unlocked Lunatic difficulty now. Oh, how much he'll regret, I just know it
>> No. 65952
It's Lunatic Tiiime~
>> No. 65953
File 152057054450.jpg - (174.13KB, 478x540, ragnarok'd.jpg) [iqdb]
[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8dsSe21npk ]

Alice Margatroid sat in front of her fireplace, drying herself, while her guest allowed himself to read one of her books. She was of two minds on Itou Gen’s forthrightness: not liking his brazen attitude like the thing in his hands was the spoils of victory, but quietly happy he’d taken some interest in her magic regardless of the context. Although she was still shivering wet, she allowed herself a small smile.

“Really, why cast magic from a puppet when a circle would do just the same?” Gen blankly pondered. “And these adroit demands for even basic actions... What’s the point?”

Alice’s eyebrows lowered and she thought: Never mind, he’s a troglodyte.

“When are you going to leave?” she asked him in a terse fashion from over her shoulder.

Gen continued to leaf through her copy of Fingers and Strings languidly, telling her without a glance, “I need to stay to make sure you’re alright.”

Her eyebrow’s lifted for a moment and she began to chew a little on the lower left side of her inner lip, not looking at him. Much a fool as he was, Gen’s sudden earnestness was disarming. To turn back the mood, Alice spoke again.

“R-Right,” she stammered, “again you leave me like the unfortunate victim of a carnival game. Is this going to be a trend?”

Gen looked up from his reading to look instead at her and say, “Only in the summer from now on, Alice. That’s a promise.”

“Please don’t promise that...” she whimpered.

“Autumn it is!” he declared with a point.

“Were you always like this!?”

Gen gave the loser a bright smile. They’d both overdone it with their last words, but he was glad he’d overdone it and won. He’d be sure to brag to Patchouli about it later. And thinking on his Master, he had accomplished one of his tasks, and now it was time for him to go to Reimu’s place and properly meet her. Although, beyond that he, wasn’t completely certain what his Master wanted of their meeting. He had some ideas, but...

Well, what he was thinking was: regardless, he wouldn’t spend much time at the Shrine now would he? Sure, Master had said to head immediately to the shrine once he was done but... she knew him, he wasn’t always obedient Why not put off seeing the Hakurei girl for a little while?

[] I’ll meet Youmu first and touch base with her about her progress.

[] I’ll go find Aomu... I should probably tell her I’m human.

[] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.


Thank you~
>> No. 65954
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

I mean, I'd be happy for either of the other option's as well, but Patchy was pretty serious that we head there as soon as possible, so it's probably important we do so.
>> No. 65956
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65957
[X] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

Why drag our feet on following orders? Besides, we haven't met Reimu yet. I'm sure she'll be just delighted if she finds out some of what Gen's been up to~
>> No. 65958
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

I'd love to meet Kappa, but I guess Patchy wants Gen to meet Reimu ASAP for good reason.
>> No. 65959
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

Patchy doesn't strike me as the type to demand haste without reason.

Also, you're damaging my facial muscles, you know that? I'm grinning like an idiot again, and I can't stop.
>> No. 65960
[X] I’ll meet Youmu first and touch base with her about her progress.
>> No. 65961
[X] I’ll meet Youmu first and touch base with her about her progress.

Want to see Youmu being a total doofus some more.
>> No. 65962
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

If this doesn't take time he can go visit others after. Something time sensitive seems afoot and Patchouli just didn't tell him why.
>> No. 65963
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65964
We can meet the thief now that we learned of his love affinity... If she hasn't been "pacified" by Marisa Already
>> No. 65965
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65966
[X] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

We can find Aomu after that to tell her the truth, and it's not like we can't otherwise see Youmu.
Also, I like the norse theme of our last cards. Reminds me of a book we found.
>> No. 65967
[X] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65968
[X] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65970
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65972
[x] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.
>> No. 65976
File 152094686698.jpg - (634.67KB, 1000x1000, red and white-black and white.jpg) [iqdb]
Look at all these good kids.

Also >>65953
forgot, image source is: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/316457


[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=4AogtBw7Bvo
oh wait, that’s broken so—
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AogtBw7Bvo ↻]

[X] ... On second thought, defying Master might be a bad idea today. She doesn’t usually steer me from distractions.

The last thing I want is for her to actually be watching through Miss Sakuya or some such. I can’t be getting too courageous while I’m still here. Mistress Flandre did remind me: every day I live in Gensokyo is a risk... even in that house.

He looked at Alice’s back, her shirt slowly becoming opaque as water was warmed out of it.

Alright, he decided, I’ll do as I was told and go straight to the Shrine. To think of playing it safe, seeing Aomu would mean seeing other kappa on their turf, and I’d be a human walking right up to that. As for Youmu... if Master’s really keeping an eye on me, she’ll figure out why I was so pleased to learn “Five Seasons”. Not ideal.

He waited patiently for the doll-using magician to heat up to normalcy. Though age and hunger couldn’t kill her, illness still could. He wouldn’t want that from a prank, or anything else. With some well wishes and japes, he left when it was still morning, and he knew her to be safe.


It really was cold flying through Gensokyo’s winter skies, even with a cloak of flames to warm you. On one hand, he regretted making that promise to Alice before their fight, but on the other he would at least get to the Shrine much faster this way, perhaps even with some time for his side endeavors after whatever business awaited him concluded.

At least the sun came out, he thought, that’s certainly nice.

He went beyond the forest, and then over the village which he still had yet to step foot in, and finally woods appeared again, hiding a trail that led to what seemed to be a long flight of steps. As far as he recalled, this tucked-away thing led to the Hakurei Shrine. He looked at it, and then decided to land to climb it, dispelling his fire enchantment as he began. He thought, that might be better than an unceremonious landing in front of her house. The child was a firecracker, or so she seemed from all he knew about her. The last thing he wanted was her throwing needles quite suddenly in his face.

He climbed while surrounded by the soft sounds of winter, and rare animal steps and leaps as small things foraged under the trees. It seemed like the Shrine sat on a very tall hill, height perhaps just before a mountain. The staircase leading to it was not as well-traveled as he’d have wagered given how old he knew it to be, but it hadn’t entirely been cleared of snow and ice so it was not as if visitors were expected. Rather, most of the snow seemed to have simply been caught by the high branches of the forest. Master Patchouli, Miss Sakuya, Mistress Remilia, Mistress Flandre, and even Wakasagihime had all said the same thing: the Shrine Maiden was the only human that youkai paradoxically feared, and toward youkai was paradoxically fearless, and so they all loved her so greatly that they left her shrine barren. While she refused non-human guests, she never did so so strongly that any were honestly discouraged or rebuffed. She would even still have their company, and spend her free (or even busy) time with them. Although she protected Gensokyo’s humans from monsters, she’d gained a reputation for being surrounded by them, and thus humans rarely ventured up this hill.

He thought it was a little sad, but the few times he’d seen her at the Mansion, she’d only ever given off a quality of nirvana, almost. Like that was that, and she was free. He wondered again why his Master was having him meet her.

It took quite a while to summit the hill; when he saw the familiar red of a torii gate he knew he was finally close. After taking the last steps, he gazed upon the Hakurei Shrine with a growing frown.


The grounds were completely covered in snow.

He wasn’t sure exactly, but it felt like it had been an hour since snow had stopped falling. This snow looked like it had been piled to its utmost, however, and there was no one here taking care of it.

“Is there an Incident?” he wondered aloud, recalling Reimu’s position. Nothing seemed unusual about today, however.

Looking around more he could see that the shrine itself, the surrounding trees, and some sort of shed near the back were all piled high with white. Nothing at all seemed to have been touched by human hands, and he couldn’t even tell if the shrine lived up to its poor and old reputation with how obfuscating the results of weather were. He began to wonder if Reimu had just slept in, and then, he saw it:

A snowman.

“Hah?” Gen’s face twisted in incredulity at the thought that someone hadn’t even bothered to shovel the stairs, but had made time to slack off and build a snowman. When he was about to head toward the shrine’s porch to chastise its maiden, he involuntarily squinted to a frigid sensation above his eyes. It seemed snow dust had blown into his face.

... Although that didn’t make much sense: surely it would have touched his cheeks first. Looking into the sky, he saw two figures playing.


A small girl wearing black and white was hurling snowball danmaku at another girl in red and white, who was not using danmaku but instead had a large amount of ammunition for their fight in her arms. Gen squinted... and realized the former was Marisa without her hat. He looked back at the snowman and saw that it was wearing something on its head. That hadn’t registered to him at first.

“Dream Sign!” came a call from above, causing him to return his gaze to the sky, “‘Snow-Sealing Circle!’”

“You wouldn’t...!” shouted the girl in black.

The girl in red threw a snowball in her face.

“Aaagh!!” cried Marisa through frozen water, “Ya got meeee!”

“Ha ha ha!” laughed Reimu in a mock boasting tone, “Behold the power of a yuki-onna!”

“Don’t think I’ll lose here, ya dirty youkai!”

“It doesn’t matter how dumb, smelly, and stupid us youkai are, we’re still stronger than humans!” Reimu threw another snowball.

“Nngh!” with a grunt, Marisa steered herself out the way, a wave of snow following behind her. Gen was impressed by her again (he often was, whenever she came to steal from the Library). Manipulating elements outside of their base states was rather difficult.

Marisa slipped her hand under her collar and pulled a spell card out of it. She showed it to Reimu, who gasped with an exaggerated pose of recoil. “How can it be!?” said the Shrine Maiden yuki-onna. “You still have MORE!?”

“You got it. Magic Sign! ‘Snow Dust Reverie’!”

“That’s so stupid,” Gen remarked with a smile. This was the card Marisa had used to defeat the younger Mistress. Or, it was a silly variation on it. When she declared it, the snow behind her spread into a familiar pattern, and Reimu was swept up into it.

Aaaaaghh! I’ve been defeateeed!! Aaaahh!” Reimu threw her stock of snow into the air and was now spinning in the sky with hands over her face. Soon she dropped out of it onto the grounds below in a burst of cold, laughing. With her came tiny diamonds of snow all over, settling in Gen’s hair and on his shoulders, and Marisa was close to follow. They landed near to one another and were loud with cheer. Leaning against the gate with his hands in his pockets, Gen watched as they made snow angels.

The girls broke into a traditional snowball fight next, tussling lightly as well, and full of joy. His irritation over the Shrine Maiden’s laziness vanished without his notice while he observed. Seeing them like this, he had some old memories in mind...

“Whoa, it’s Gen!”

Hearing Marisa’s voice, he was withdrawn from recollections of snow-filled neighborhoods. He looked at her, and a chestnut head of hair popped up from behind her with eyes to match.

“It really is!” said the second child. Then, she squinted and looked at the other little girl, asking “Eh, is it?”

“Ain’t you seen him before?”

“I see a lot of things but that doesn’t mean I remember them.”

“Like Rumia?”

Reimu’s squint deepened. “Who the heck?”

“Hello,” Gen interjected. “Yes, I’m Itou Gen, the Library’s Apprentice.”

Reimu pushed Marisa’s head down to lift herself up, shoving the tiny magician into a pile of ice. She was beaming as she said, “Great! The shovel’s in the storehouse!”

A small pile of snow fell from the torii and dropped onto his coat with a thump.

“Come again?” he asked.

Marisa, who had been struggling against Reimu’s strength since she’d been pushed down, managed to free her hands and get her face out of that mess. With an eye closed and a toothy grin she addressed the young man happily with a “‘Sup, Gen!”

“Uh...” was all he managed.

“Didn’t Patchouli tell you?” she continued, “You’re helping out Reimu today.”

“Why am I helping out Reimu?” he asked, looking at the girl in question, who was praying to a small jizou of snow she’d crafted.

“That magician-playing-hermit wants a favor out of me,” explained the Hakurei without looking at him, chopping the jizou on the head, “so she offered me a favor: she’d lend me you for the approaching snowstorm, and I’d do... something. She hasn’t said, but if it’s anything bad I’ll just punish her again.” Reimu tightened the bow on her head and now met his eyes, still clearly in great spirits. While Marisa created another jizou behind her with whispers of magic, Reimu thanked him, “Seriously,” she said, “you’re a real lifesaver. The snow was really bad this year so I wasn’t looking forward to it. Thanks for your help! Go get the shovel while we’ve still got the sun out, okay?”


Gen thought back to his Master.

He delivered a short sigh, levitated above the snow, and went for the storehouse while Reimu descended on Marisa’s jizou, prayed to it, and chopped it, too, on the head.
>> No. 65977
Oh hey, I like this Reimu. It's a bit rare to see Reimu that's just enjoying life like any other kid.
>> No. 65978
You got PLAYED son.

Well, snow is still water, right? A good student sees lessons everywhere.
>> No. 65979
Hahahahaha. This story is awesome.
>> No. 65991
File 152152255146.jpg - (197.63KB, 917x625, keep it up Gen.jpg) [iqdb]
Full image: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1058885


[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw0ouubfEWU ↻]

He didn’t have much experience shoveling snow.

Back home, he was sometimes chosen instead of his father to clear the walkway to their front door, but it was never anything serious.

The Hakurei Shrine grounds were a significant leap in difficulty. While the grounds themselves weren’t ENORMOUS, they weren’t small or average in size either. Due to his inexperience he wasn’t able to manipulate the snow with magic, even with The Simplest Manual of Materials for Starting Magicians that he still never left without (it was explicitly stated in the text that unusual states were outlined in The Advanced Manual of Materials for Adept Magicians, a book he’d used before that was so large carrying it outdoors even by magic was simply unfeasible). Several times during his hours-long task of manual labor with a push shovel he considered melting away the snow with fire... but there were problems preventing him from going down that route. What if the shrine was engulfed in flames and burned down? What would he do about the water on the floor? If he missed any—any at all that would just be ice for another day, and plucking water from earth or stone wasn’t very... possible. Even if he melted the snow only a bit, he had recollections of trouble dealing with slush rather than its more frozen counterpart. While he was fairly certain it wasn’t any heavier, it was messy, awful stuff, and gods forbid any get in his shoes and absorbed by his socks. With that in mind, although his shoes had a ward against water enchanted on them, he still had regrets over not taking out a pair of boots for the damnable cold. He trudged through the snow, pushing it off into the forests and grasses around the shrine, and kept in mind the miserable reality that after all this he had the stairs to get through.

Reimu and Marisa, on the other hand, were simply having fun today and relaxing. Although they’d reminded him of the fair folk when he’d first seen them today, they had little of that distinct mischievousness, which he appreciated. They left him alone to his snow and his thoughts while they frolicked in their snow and lazed about interchangeably.

At one moment earlier in the day while they’d been beside each other in work and play respectively, Gen had asked Marisa how it had worked out with Miss Sakuya in the morning.

“She fought me!” Marisa had answered while sitting on Reimu’s shoulders.

“Did she lose?” he’d asked.

“I left her in the dust,” the little magician had bragged. However, Reimu next chimed in with a key piece of information:

“As in, you left her because Sakuya was trouncing you.”

Marisa nearly fell from her position then, a blush entering her cheeks. She gave an “Ahm...” and an “eh,” and after coughing explained, “I mean, Sakuya’s pretty scary when she’s serious.”

“She did look pretty driven this morning,” he’d replied, thinking Probably because Master asked her directly.

“Yeah, it was like she was possessed or somethin’. I was like, ‘come on, you never got a problem with me other days’, but she just wasn’t havin’ it, I tell ya. I got outta there, like my hair was on fire.”

Miss Sakuya didn’t give chase, Gen noted, She’s being like that again.

What Marisa had referred to by the Head Maid not having a problem with her was part of what Gen meant when he thought of Sakuya being “like that”. When she was “like that” she played dumb with the Mistress. When she was “like that” she put strange flowers in tea. When she was “like that” she would keep quiet when a certain rat invaded the Library, and would even feed it like she was keeping a hidden pet.

Here’s a theory, he’d thought at the time, smirking, I’ll get home, and Master will tell me that Miss Sakuya let Marisa get away, but didn’t break into her house to retrieve the stolen property because “that’s what criminals do, not maids”. And Master Patchouli will glower, furrow her brow, and say “Seriously, Sakuya is a lousy cat”.

And presently, as he pushed the last of the snow from the stone walkways, he thought this as well: I should remind her that cats aren’t known for their obedience... Though I have heard Miss Sakuya being called a dog before, come to think of it.

He was fairly exhausted now, and guessed it was perhaps three in the afternoon. He decided to request a break before he went down the hill, otherwise he was sure he’d collapse. He strode over to the girls sitting on Reimu’s porch, drinking tea and eating dango, and hailed them.

“Gum wohrk,” said Reimu, with dumpling in her mouth.

“Good work,” said Marisa, without.

“Yeah, but now I feel like I’m gonna fall apart,” he admitted. “I’m going to rest before I do the stairs, alright?” He took a seat before them with his knees up and his forearms on those.

“Yeah, you look pretty weak, and magicians already usually are ‘cause of what we do, ya know,” said Marisa, chomping down on her skewer.

“Yeah” agreed Reimu, “at least that first one.” While he sat offended, thinking about his daily training with Meiling, she stood and walked into her house.

He looked to Marisa. “So, how’ve you been?” he asked.

“Oh yeah, seeing ya reminded me!” she began with excitement. “I’m cookin’ up some magic usin’ that master of yours for reference. We ain’t never fought, have we? You wanna see the work in progress? I’m nearly done with it!”

“No,” he answered, eyes closed, “I already told you I’m pretty low on energy right now. That besides, I already had a spell card duel today.”

“What? You can only do one a day or something?” questioned Marisa in disappointment.

“Rather, I’d still like to restrict casual play a bit. I think I can do it – perhaps I even have seven or eight fights in me – but if I can avoid it, well... I need that spare strength, you see. We’re both humans, Marisa, but not of the same category.”

“Oh yeah, you’re not from here,” Reimu recalled, returning to the pair with a cup of tea and another skewer of dango. She offered both to Gen as if this was a matter of course, and the gesture struck him as rather disarmingly kind. He took the offerings, she sat back down on her knees, and he watched her thinking Goodness, it’s like hosting is just a part of her.

“Yes, I’m an outsider,” he eventually confirmed.

“Want me to send you home?”

“Huh?” sounded Gen in slight surprise, “Oh... no. No thank you.”

“Gen’s gonna become a Magician,” chimed in Marisa.

“Hmmm? Really?” Reimu asked, absently rotating the cup in her hands. “Well do what you want, but if you ever move to the Human Village don’t even think about it.”

“Hey, I’ve never said I’ll become a blood-Magician,” shot Gen at the tiny blond before biting into one of his dumplings. In response both children looked at him with mouths diagonal and eyebrows cocked. In response to that he complained, “What?”

“He says that even though he spends most of his days down in the basement of Scarlet Devil Mansion with Patchouli,” noted Marisa.

“He smells like Patchouli, too,” noted Reimu.

“He’s learning magic and he’s even used a forbidden grimoire for dark powers already.”

“That flower youkai said she let him live ‘cause she figured he wanted to live forever.”

“Remilia gave him some of her blood.”

“Oh yeah, yeah; she told me he started an incident in her house once. In the first month, too.”

“Listen up, Reimu, Marisa.” Gen halted their comments. “My humanity is very important to me. I’ve indeed brushed with death and feared it, but I still have too much appreciation for the wheel of life to just up and leave it.”

“Getting really scared of death,” said Reimu, “is the first bad sign. It’s one almost everyone has, but when you’re a student of magic too...”

“Come now, I don’t even have a reason to live forever!”

“Ah, so, when you find one...” Marisa began, sneering at Reimu.

“Like, a nice girl?” the Shrine Maiden continued, smirking in return.

The two of them bent back and clashed the single dango each had left together between them, calling in unison: “Marriage!”

“Death won’t let ‘em part, though!” Marisa remarked, grinning with her eyes closed.

“That’s romantic!” Reimu declared, doing the same.

The two of them then finished off their last sweet, and squealed together at the thought of Gen finding a special someone.

Gen finished his own dango and placed his skewer among theirs on the plate between them. Drinking more tea, he commented sourly, “For two strange people, you say some surprisingly typically girlish things, don’t you?”

“I’m a girl, you know,” said Reimu.

“Yeah, same,” said Marisa.

“Hmph,” he grumbled. He didn’t want to think about such things, mainly because, naturally, due to the day’s events, Mistress Flandre readily came to mind where these matters were concerned. This was all too large a can of worms.

... But, he knew he was being miserable for the sake of it. Reimu and Marisa were in good spirits and seemed to want him in good spirits as well. Feeling rested now, he decided to accept that sentiment (assuming that was their intent, and they weren’t simply being, well, children) and stand to get back to his task. He downed the rest of the tea in his cup and returned it to Reimu. “You know what? Perhaps you’re right,” he said, slightly turning from them and slipping his hands into his pockets. “It’s true this young man has yet to fall in love.”

“Old man,” they said, almost at once, following with “old man? Old man? Mm, old, yeah.”

“... Early twenties.” He shook his head. “I’m getting back to shoveling.”

“Best of luck!” said Reimu cheerfully, and he made his way to the stairs. The two of them steadily became quiet, Marisa on her back and almost sleeping as Reimu counted the clouds in the sky.
>> No. 65992
File 152152455192.jpg - (357.95KB, 1050x900, shuran yurari.jpg) [iqdb]
The stairs, while awkward to contend with, were not as bad as Reimu’s tiled grounds. Those were uneven and so he regularly had to reposition the pusher, miss a large amount, and go find a better variety of shovel for the problem. Back and forth, crouching to look for ice, picking away at more packed up snow, all of that tiresome work and more was involved in making the shrine grounds fit for walking. He expected the strange angles of the stairs to be plain agony, but really all he needed to do was shove relatively thin layers off of each step into the wild grasses and over roots of trees. He had them clear in what felt like an hour.

When he took care of the last step and looked back up at his handiwork with a blend of misery and pride, he took flight and decided to deal with the snow on the overhanging branches as well. A few times some melting snow from above him would slip off and force him to return to a previous step to get rid of it. Here, he would use magic.

Being very careful, the Magician’s Apprentice set up a system like he’d done during his Skyfall Incident at the Mansion, though now his circles and spellweaving were significantly improved of course. He directed fire wrapped in air above the trees for melting, and any falling water was caught in a floating stream over the staircase. This made short work of the piles above, and when he landed a strange kind of shoreless river awaited him below, leading up to the shrine and undulating eerily gorgeous. He walked up the stairs again after collecting the trio of elemental scrolls he’d placed, gathering the water into a ball above his fingers using soft and dark whispers.

[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIJrZVbuIAc ↻]

When he reached the Shrine itself again, the ball had become immense—larger than himself, held over his head, and somewhat unstable without the firm support of a rune or glyph. It was unabashedly one of the more bizarre pictures he’d come across: that of a man carrying a veritable pool of water like this. He wandered over to Reimu (still on her porch) with the shimmering, shifting thing and informed her: “This is the snow from the trees. What do you think I should do with it?”

Reimu, who was having tea again and about to take another sip, nearly spat at the oddity he was carrying. Eyes wide, she opened her mouth about to ask “what is that thing?” and realized that question had been answered before she needed to speak it. She relaxed considerably after that, accepting the reality of this strange object, and told Gen simply “Put it over there.”

She pointed to her snow-covered lawn that he had, of course, not shoveled at all and followed with “I want to see if it can freeze overnight.”

He nodded with a “Roger,” and, with his left hand, prepared a seal so that the globe would remain congealed while floating in front of the Shrine Maiden’s home. He set it and the water there, looking like a very strange art piece from fantasy. Perhaps it was, really. It remained aloft a warped mirror and lens that he thought wasn’t likely to freeze over, but might contain some ice later, and he imagined Reimu could at least have some fun throwing things into it at any rate. “Careful when you remove this seal,” he told her from over his shoulder while crouching before the thing, “the water will just collapse immediately. I’d suggest getting a fairy to do it.”

“That’s a good idea,” Reimu agreed plainly, and Gen walked up to her again.

He glanced down at her and saw that Marisa was fast asleep, draped in a blanket now and drooling. “How’d she sleep in this cold?” he asked, incredulous.

Reimu shrugged and said matter-of-factly “She’s asking for a cold.” Next the child smiled at him. “Thanks again,” she offered, “I know how annoying it is to have to do something because you have to do it, even if you really don’t want to. Whether or not I think it’s a good or bad thing, that magician youkai is your Master. You have to listen to her. Here, don’t sit there, get up on the porch, I’ll bring out some sake.” Reimu stopped him from sitting back down on stone, patted the place beside her, and re-entered her home for the aforementioned alcohol.

Gen accepted the invitation graciously, but as he waited for her to get back while listening to Marisa’s snoring, he thought Wait, sake?

Reimu did indeed return with booze, a set of cups and flask, and a smile. He looked at her and asked outright, “Aren’t you a child? Are you even past ten?”

She looked confused and asked “Are you an adult? I don’t get the question.”

“Alcohol is for men and women,” he told her, “not boys and girls.”

“Alcohol is for people. And drinking.” The child was emphatic. “You get a cup, and you drink it. It’s not poison.”

“It is a poison, absolutely.”

“It’s a cure, Gen,” Reimu said with a sigh, shaking her head and setting her things down, “poisons cure poisons, and this cures the poison of a tired soul.”

“You just said it wasn’t a poison.”

Reimu sat down and, looked into his eyes, and with conviction told him, “I never said that.”

I can’t even tell if she’s lying, he commented in his head, eyebrows twisting as he considered the audacity of her denial. Without missing a beat she prepared two cups and soon they had performed a toast and were drinking together. He thought it was strange to be a man carrying a globe of snow water, but this—being a man drinking liquor with a child while seated at a shrine—was far more difficult to grasp. At least the sake was delicious: tasting of plums and not being strong in its body. He wanted to relax now as evening twilight hours approached, so he decided he would.

“By the way, we’ve never actually introduced ourselves properly have we?” Reimu mentioned, her cheeks already becoming rosily tinged.

“No, I suppose we haven’t,” he said in accord. “We don’t meet often either, nor during any particular times.”

Reimu pulled her knees to her chest and, comfortable, hugged her legs, pointing at the man beside her with the same hand that held her sakazuki (what skill!). “I think you were there when I went to stop that other devil. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t remember this one. Should I hit him too?’”

“Not one to recognize faces though, eh?”

“After that I definitely remembered that there was another human in the Mansion other than Sakuya, and though it never really stuck what you looked like I definitely noticed that there was always a butler among the maids whenever I happened to visit.”


“Hard to believe two humans would willingly live there, though.”

She was right about that.

For a while after they sat drinking without speaking, Reimu quickly becoming inebriated. While the plum sake wasn’t a hard drink, that made it rather devious, as imbibing copious amounts of it was easy, and encouraged by the taste. When the shrine maiden was tipsy, Gen brought up something he’d been reminded of tens of minutes earlier.

“Hey, Reimu, Miss Sakuya is an outsider as well, isn’t she?” he asked. “How come she doesn’t have to worry about being eaten?”

She raised two fingers to this, mouth turning pleasantly and nose flushed. “There are two reasons for that,” she said airily, “the first one is, she moved here officially rather than falling or being pulled in. The youkai are more lenient to those sorts of humans. It’s not easy getting through the Barrier, after all. Even if they got help doing it, the youkai think it’s impressive and lay off.” She went to drink from her cup now, frowned horribly upon seeing that it was empty, lifted the tokkuri and felt that it was the same with a light shake, and then leaned far back while putting both down. The girl reached for a purple bottle (that, really, seemed to be a third of her height), and brought it into her lap. “The second reason,” she continued as she unscrewed the top, “is the more important one. Her powers make her a being of fantasy even though she’s a human.” The bottle was opened, she licked her lips, and she drank from the thing, holding it with both her hands. Gen was rapt in his attention toward her act, and took another sip from his cup while watching in awe.

“Pah!” Reimu made a noise after pulling the drink from her lips. “Basically...” she slowly began, looking at him while she gripped the bottle’s neck, “she can stop time, right? That’s not normal, right? Here in Gensokyo we accept the abnormal. We protect it. It also depends a little on the Outside World, I guess. Like, ESP or something, or psychics or something... I think youkai might eat those guys anyway.” Seeing that his cup was empty, she lifted the bottle again and tipped it toward him, offering. He accepted, taking it into his hand.

While he drank from the bottle, she went on, “But yeah, say you had what you could only call a... what you,” she clarified this was not a general “you”, nodding at him, “would call fiction. No science behind it. No theory. Nobody believes in it, or if there are any believers, it’s not widely accepted as truth. It’s not wholly accepted. It’s fantasy. It’s here... Sakuya.” Having proved her drunken coherence was at a master’s level of competency, Reimu’s explanation was concluded and she proudly huffed warm air out her reddened nose.

Gen stared at Reimu severe, brought the bottle down into his own lap, and told her “That made perfect sense,” with all honesty.

“Right?” Reimu asked, grinning and pleased.

He looked out over the shrine grounds. Like he was now, he was an ordinary man with interesting tools. He, personally, could improve his efficacy with those tools (through study, training, and honing of his spirit) but none of this made him truly “special”. Any other human in his position could do the same. So, that was why if he no longer wanted his life at risk (and didn’t want to settle for the life of a villager), he had to transform... become something Gensokyo felt was worth keeping.

... I don’t have to extend my life, I suppose. When Master Patchouli was born as a Magician, alongside natural magical prowess she only had the abandonment of food, not the abandonment of temper. She and all Magicians have to choose to become immortal thems—

Wait, what am I

Maybe it was because he’d become a bit warm-headed himself; he found himself rationalizing becoming a youkai. First his Lolita complex, now this perhaps-subconscious ambition; this place was a hell, and corrupting him.

While thinking this over, Gen sank into himself, choking the bottle.

Reimu, who was leaning back on her hands, glanced over at him and made the observation: “Whoa, you look depressed all of a sudden.”

He looked up at her and pouted, saying, “Outsiders have a raw deal, here.”

Reimu, with a careless expression, told him “That’s how it is,” followed by, “if you want to live, you have to fight for it.

Long ago, almost every human here could fight for themselves, but over time we realized that the Hakurei Shrine Maiden was the only human needed to protect everyone in Gensokyo. Before I put the spell card rules in play it wasn’t ideal, and even now there are still a few exterminators to help in the village, but we maidens can trounce even youkai and gods if they’re causing any trouble. And if they’re causing trouble, we’re quick!”

She hardened her eyes to deliver a look that spoke “I am absolute”, and he was compelled to believe it despite coming from a child. This gaze of determination sobered after a moment, though. With solemn eyes and solemn voice, she informed the young man, Itou Gen: “But if you’re in trouble, and I’m not already there, I will have neither obligation nor motivation to save you.”

He grimaced under her stare. He had already heard this before, but hearing it from the shrine maiden herself sent throughout him a very cold and soaking feeling, even given the weather now. Without waiting for him to say anything in response, Reimu continued.

“Youkai terrorize and eat humans, and humans do what any other animal would do when faced with something dangerous: they fight, or they run away.” And, to his surprise given the seriousness of this line of conversation, Reimu gave him a smile. Very nicely she told him, “I think it’s better and safer to fight, so I hope that book-witch has been teaching you.”

“Oh she has,” he replied. “And since I’m not bound by the spell card rules, she’s taught me quite a lot for my survival. I’ve been pretty stubborn about neglecting materials in my magic, though.”

“Ah, like mushrooms or something? Like Marisa.”

“Yes, like the book-thief,” he confirmed, glancing at the snoozing girl in question. With a smile of embarrassment he explained, “They’d increase the power and variety of my spells, but Master rarely uses materials, and I like to imitate her the most.”

“Gross.” Reimu’s reply was immediate. He frowned. “Anyway that sounds pretty dumb..,” the shrine maiden continued, repositioning herself into a very mannish posture (chin on her fist, left hand on her knee, cross-legged, and slouching), “... you should probably use whatever you can. You’re just a human after all.”

“And what are you?”

“I’m a human Shrine Maiden.”

He laughed involuntarily, recalling his meeting with Marisa. Reimu asked “What?” before speaking further.

“Honestly...” she said, “you should be more worried. How about it? Want me to take you on for a bit? I’ll judge you.” In her smirk, smugness, boast, and pride were there. “I’m in a real good mood,” she admitted. “I don’t normally do that, you know? I’ll fight anyone, but I don’t bother evaluating, ‘cause when everyone else is so poor at it there’s no point right? Anyway, whaddya say?”


He thought about it this way: Reimu was essentially, as far as he knew, the pinnacle of humanity here in Gensokyo when it came to fighting, and even ranked highly when measured against the greatest powers this land had to offer. But, she was the creator of the rules, and knew the “game” best as a result. A fight with her, at least under the rules, would probably be very helpful... ordinarily. She was drunk, and although that obviously that didn’t overall impair her much he had to imagine it must reduce her combat proficiency to a significant degree. Thus, fighting this muddled shrine maiden could end up being a silly waste of time. Plus, if he fought with her he might lose the opportunity to see the kappa or half-phantom before heading home for the day. He really wasn’t so free to wander Gensokyo yet, after all, and so meetings like that were difficult to have. He still wanted to do meet them, even if he was now tipsy.

Which was another thing, he was definitely a bit inebriated, and he didn’t have Youmu’s second sword to clear his head right now.

Agh, but, I don’t think I’ll get many chances to fight Reimu...


[] decided to fight her.

[] decided to refuse.
>> No. 65993
[x] decided to fight her.

really like the Reimu, want to see more of her, and if fighting her is all it takes, go for it
>> No. 65994
[x] decided to fight her.

Lose gloriously and with pride!
>> No. 65995
[x] decided to fight her.

Maybe getting the shit kicked out of him will knock some sense into him. Better Reimu than, say, Rumia.
>> No. 65996
[x] decided to refuse

He shouldn't need Reimu to realize he still sucks. I mean, he collapsed the second Alice got serious and only won because he could afford to go 3x1 on spell cards at that point.

Being underestimated by the shrine maiden would be embarrassing to our master... Unless there are other advantages I failed to notice?
>> No. 65997
[x] decided to fight her.
>> No. 65998
[X] decided to refuse.

>> No. 65999
[X] decided to refuse.

Okotowari Shimasu~
I want some kappa.
>> No. 66000
Man, your Reimu is really good too.
She hasn't shown an iotta of interest, but she'd make a good friend.
>> No. 66001
[X] decided to fight her

Nothing to lose, it's not like Gensokyo isn't choke full of small fry.
>> No. 66002
[X] decided to fight her

Absolutely. We're here to learn and this is possibly the best life lesson, something that might shake him a little into growing out of Patchy's shadow.
>> No. 66003
[X] decided to refuse.

We could get our drunken ass judged by Reimu's drunken ass, or we could realise we already know we need more non-drunk training (and then go meet a kappa).
>> No. 66004
[X] decided to fight her

Makes sense to get as much practice as possible when it comes to a skill vital to preserving his life.
>> No. 66005
[X] decided to fight her.

An opportunity to fight Reimu when she's not in maim-burn-kill mode? Sign me up!
>> No. 66007
File 152169519952.jpg - (190.36KB, 1000x1500, eternally cute maiden of paradise.jpg) [iqdb]
Writing from "decided to fight her" now unless something changes.
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