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File 154109548071.jpg - (1.41MB, 1600x1200, __yakumo_yukari_touhou_drawn_by_kaibu222__a1647039.jpg) [iqdb]
67033 No. 67033
The trepidation of a speeding train coming through with no destination in sight. Anyone riding the abandoned line between reality and fantasy could feel the pervasive foreboding: something awaited at the end of the track, wherever and whenever the train would eventually stop. The eerie violet glow seeping through the windows, obscured by thick, embroidered curtains of velvety touch. Creak after creak of uncertainty. Flickering neon lights, a small rocking, the interior going dark for a fraction of a moment, alone with the things outside. Shadows flashed over the rusting handlebars and adverts for discontinued products. Old scratches and damp spots and shrivelled filling littered out of seats unkempt for decades. And the drone and hiccup of the wagons’ wheels rolling on unending rails, the smell of the incense which Yukari Yakumo had lit to get rid of the stench of mold.

The youkai of boundaries had always had a soft spot for what could only be conceivably called a rust bucket on rails. As long as it suited its purpose, there was no need to spend effort in restoring the train to its former glory, and she had other more convenient methods to travel to the Outside. The velvet curtains were the only concession Yukari had made to making the interior more hospitable, and it was only because, for the first time in years, the Purple Express was carrying a passenger other than her.

The clack of her heels echoed through the train as the youkai slowly made her way across the endless cars. In normal circumstances, there would have been no-one riding this train at all. After all, it had been out of commission for years when she took possession of it, left to rust at an abandoned station. The way Yukari saw it, nobody would miss it, and she was doing everyone a favour by giving the old machine a second life—and for years it had run without stops, across the endless expanse of the boundaries between worlds, until she commanded otherwise. But these were not normal circumstances, and even the Yakumo Express had to reach a station some time.

Eventually, Yukari reached the car where the first passenger of the Express sat by their lonesome:

[]A stout, aloof woman, exiled in expiation for a crime with no absolution.
[]A gaunt, sharp-eyed man, looking for the answers of questions he didn’t know.


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/02(Fri)18:00


--------------------------

Still very rusty after years of not picking up my notepad. I'll try to stick to short, daily updates over longer posts, but I make no promises about the quality or consistency of my writing and/or plot. Apologies in advance.
166posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 67274
[x]… Wait, there really was someone else in there. Was she speaking to him?

>>67273
I imagine it's more like it was flimsy to begin with and when she gives it a firm push, it falls.
>> No. 67275
[x]… Wait, there really was someone else in there. Was she speaking to him?

it is time for best god
>> No. 67276
[x]… Wait, there really was someone else in there. Was she speaking to him?

Into the pit of Acheron we go!
>> No. 67278
[x]Going there had been a waste of time. The morgue and the victim’s corpse awaited him.

Would be hilarious if he solved the case while being completely unaware of all the youkai around him.
>> No. 67280
File 15430691328.jpg - (245.38KB, 1000x1400, __hecatia_lapislazuli_touhou_drawn_by_oshiaki__da4.jpg) [iqdb]
67280
[x]… Wait, there really was someone else in there. Was she speaking to him?

“Is… is someone there?”

He could have sworn it was his imagination, but the detective kept seeing blurred, confusing visions of a woman standing in front of him, talking to him. But he had not been alone when he came up there, he was sure of it. What was he doing, addressing people that weren’t there? Perhaps fatigue was catching up to him. Yes, that was it, he just imagined it because he was too tired. And all the other times? Was that just fatigue too? The headache grew stronger still, and dizziness assaulted him. Shin lost his balance for a moment and crashed against the wall, supporting his back against it while clutching his head in pain. His sight was hazy, and he could no longer tell what he thought was seeing and what he was really seeing.

“Ah, poor man! I understand your struggle!” The woman brought a hand to her face in a pensive, dramatic pose. Shin couldn’t discern if she was mocking him or not. “Torn between the safety of your closed mind, and the truth behind the illogical reality. Yet one cannot remain in the boundary for long without going mad,” she cupped his head between her soft hands, and ran her thumbs across his eyes, obscuring his vision. “Don’t worry. I’ll ease the torment you inflict upon yourself.”

Shin felt the cold, uncomfortable touch of someone’s fingers on his eyelids, keeping him still. Part of him wanted nothing more than to swat that feeling away and run. [s]The other welcomed the small comfort of her frigid caress, soothing his splitting ache.
His legs didn’t obey him, instead wobbling in indecision vulnerability.

A sharp pain stabbed his eyes, worming its way through his brain. A wordless, soundless howl stuck in his throat.

His body thrashed and shivered. The cold from the deepest pits of Hell seeped through his body, freezing his bones.

Light swallowed his sight. Something, deep inside his consciousness, clicked. And for the first time in years, he saw clarity.

Shin exhaled a breath he didn’t realize was holding, and slowly opened his eyes. His migraine had mostly subsided, and the haziness was finally gone. The goddess woman with red blue hair stood right in front of him—too close for his comfort—, beaming a proud smile of satisfaction for a work well done.

“Who—wh—what did you just do to me?” Shin managed to stutter out of his clattering teeth—Why does it feel so cold all of a sudden?—and blurted the first complete question that formed in his scrambled mind.

“I gave your stubborn head a kick in its butt to get it going,” she answered. Her jovial voice sounded much clearer now to his ears. “It was the best I could do under the circumstances.”

“Right...”

That did not really answer his question. The detective pushed the girl away gently and struggled to take a couple of steps towards the railing. With his legs wobbling like pudding, it was all he could do to not topple over. He felt the woman’s hand on his back, supporting him in case he really did fall—almost expecting him to do so.

“Not even a ‘thanks’, mister?” She chided him, as her rosy cheeks pouted slightly. “It’s not everyday you can get a blessing from a goddess as a freebie, y’know?”

A ‘goddess’, she says. Some mighty weirdo he had stumbled upon, Shin uttered in his head. But it was obvious she had done something to his eyes and his head. How much of her claim held truth? The detective reached the railing’s handle and grasped it tightly in his grip, leaning all his weight into it.

“I didn’t quite catch your name, miss…?”

“Hecatia Lapislazuli, at your service!” With a wink and a twirl, she raised her plaided skirt in a curtsy befitting of a king’s court. “But if you find it as unpronounceable as my friends do, you may call me just Heca.”

‘Lapislazuli’. A name even weirder than her attire, and more than capable of twisting Shin’s tongue. Now that he could stare at her without having a headache, he took better notice of her exotic features. Her rounded, pale face, framed eyes as big and shiny as sapphires, staring back at him with bemusement. Taller than the average Japanese woman, and yet despite only reaching to his own eye level, the way she carried herself made her look like she stood higher than anyone in her surroundings. A slender figure, filled in all the right places, accentuated her otherworldly beauty.

Shin hawked when he noticed Hecatia grinning back at him. He had let himself get caught ogling, and she knew it. Damn it, I’m better than this. Focus!

[]“So what exactly did you do to my head right now?”
[]“You’re not from this country, are you? What are you doing here?”
[]“Do you know anything about this… incident? Anything could help.”
[]“Are you really a… ‘goddess’?”
[]Write-in.


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/25(Sun)08:30

>> No. 67281
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE WE GO!
>> No. 67283
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?

IT IS TIME
>> No. 67284
[x] That sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt.
boulli
>> No. 67285
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'? Because that sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt, and none of my mythology classes mentioned such a thing."

See also: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
>> No. 67286
[x] That sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt.
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?

He's beginning to believe.
>> No. 67287
[x] That sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt.
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?

SUBMIT
>> No. 67288
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'? Because that sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt, and none of my mythology classes mentioned such a thing."
Just gonna note that we shouldn't do a leap off into crazy town right away, but we can always banter.
>> No. 67289
[x] That sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt.
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?
>> No. 67292
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?

I'm not mentioning the T shirt. I don't want a BAD END.
>> No. 67297
File 15431536625.jpg - (153.54KB, 721x792, you bullies you.jpg) [iqdb]
67297
You guys are terrible people.

---------------------------------------------

[x] That sure is a weird goddamn t-shirt.
[x] "Are you really a... 'goddess'?


“So, miss Lapirusa… Lapisa… Hecatia,” Shin said, fumbling over her foreign surname. He figured it was better to deal with the proverbial elephant in the room as soon as possible, but that didn’t even make it any less strange to think about, “you said you were a goddess? Did I hear that right?”

“You heard me right,” she nodded, beaming an audacious smirk, “but I understand your confusion. I am not one of the myriad deities you Japanese denizens are familiar with,” the woman floated stepped away from the detective and stretched out her arms. “I hail from the far West, the cradle of civilization and philosophy. I rule over earth, sea and sky, and bestow my blessing and my protection to all who worship me, whether on the household or on the road. I am Hekate Chthonia, Holder of Keys, Nurse of Children, Bearer of Light!” For a single moment, Hell and Moon shone brightly over her hands, and her whole being radiated a divine aura that almost brought Shin to his knees in prostration. Then the goddess shrugged, and gave him a light-hearted wink. “But like I said, you can just call me Heca, if that’s too grandiose for you.”

The investigator blinked once, twice, processing her whole spiel. He didn’t really understand much of what she said, especially towards the end, but apparently she was a big shot at the place she came from—Rome? Greece? Mesopotamia? He was not too familiar with foreign mythology—and she had had a straight, serious face when she made her outrageous claim, which meant she truly believed herself to be a goddess. A classic sign of megalomania, or perhaps that new thing people called… “chuumi” syndrome, or something? Still, though part of him believed her it was hard for Shin to take Heca’s self-proclaimed divinity seriously when she looked like she had come out from a reject designer’s warehouse.

“I’ll be honest with you, ‘Heca’,” the detective said slowly, “I find that hard to believe when you barely look the part.”

“E-excuse me?” The young woman’s brow twitched, and her smile curdled in her face.

“I imagined gods wore classier attire like togas and mantles and the full regalia, not… that.”

Under his pointed stare, Hecatia crossed her arms over her chest, defensively covering her t-shirt almost in reflex. She had had her “peculiar” choice of clothing criticized before, Shin realized, and it was still a sore point for her.

“W-w-what’s wrong with my shirt!?” Hecatia stuttered, flushing. “Can’t a goddess dress fashionably in the modern times?”

“It’s goddamn weird, that’s what’s wrong.”

“L-like you’re one to talk!” The girl was pouting now, on the verge of tears. It was kind of adorable, in a mean, twisted way, Shin thought. “I mean, look at that lame suit! I’ve seen funeral tuxedos more colourful than yours! Do you expect to bore the culprit to death when you find him or what?”

“Whether I look boring or not doesn’t have anything to do with—hold on,” Shin stopped, “how did you know I’m investigating a crime?”

“Because I saw you working down there, dummy,” she answered, waving a hand at the alley below them. “After all, I’ve been standing here all this time.”

“And what reason would you have to stay here all by your yourself?”

The goddess tried to maintain a facade of serenity, but Shin could spot a pitiful grimace cracking through her stiffened lips. She slowly leaned into the alleyway, and stared melancholically at the crime scene below—no, specifically at the chalk outline.

“I heard Hiroji calling for me,” she sighed, “but… I was too late. Some protection I grant, huh?”

Hiroji. The victim’s name. Did this weird goddess know him? And if she said she had been there all the time, could she have seen what had happened? A mighty peculiar witness I’ve stumbled upon, the detective thought.

[]“What was your relation to the victim?”
[]“How did he contact you?”
[]“You were supposed to... protect him?”
[]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[]Write-in


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/26(Mon)19:00


-------------------------------------

Remind myself to always preview the posts before I screw up the formatting like I did yesterday.
>> No. 67299
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“What was your relation to the victim?”
>> No. 67300
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“What was your relation to the victim
>> No. 67301
[x]“What was your relation to the victim?”
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“Why do you think he was killed?”

Seems weird for the victim to be protected by a foreign goddess. Probably pissed off the Japanese youkai mafia. Or they kill everyone who sees them.
>> No. 67302
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“What was your relation to the victim?”

She's about as bulli-able as Aqua.
>> No. 67303
[x] “What was your relation to the victim?”
[x] “Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x] “Why do you think he was killed?”
Asking the real questions now.
>> No. 67306
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“What was your relation to the victim?”
>> No. 67308
[x]“Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x]“What was your relation to the victim?”
>> No. 67315
File 154332053171.png - (453.90KB, 707x1000, __hecatia_lapislazuli_touhou_drawn_by_koissa__75c6.png) [iqdb]
67315
[x] “What was your relation to the victim?”
[x] “Did you manage to see his assailant?”
[x] “Why do you think he was killed?”


“Then you knew the victim?”

“Oh yes, I knew him well, mister,” Hecatia nodded wistfully, “he was my most devout worshipper, after all.”

“Your… worshipper,” Shin chewed on that word. For some reason, it left a bad taste in his mouth. “What, you got a cult of yourself or something?”

“Of sorts. Nothing compared to what I had in Lagina back in my heyday, but in these hard times I take what I can get,” she shrugged. “It makes losing a follower even more painful. He was a good kid, you know? Headstrong, iron-willed, with firm convictions. Always ready to fight for what he believed.”

“… You?”

“Hah! I wish,” the goddess snorted. “No, he had a goal of his own; a dream he would’ve gladly sold his soul to fulfill.” Hecatia looked aside and mouthed a few silent words, clearly not meant for Shin. <<He did.>> “He merely asked me for a small blessing to help him see it through.”

“And you granted it?”

“Well, I always had a soft spot for the offscourings of society,” she chuckled to herself, “and it was a beneficial deal for both parties. Gods need belief as much as humans want gods, and he was willing to become my staunch believer if it meant he could reach...”

Hecatia’s words trailed off, and her somber eyes darted back to the chalk outline as she shook her head mournfully. The detective was skeptical. The whole goddess-and-worshipper business sounded too outlandish for Shin, who only believed in rational, grounded reality. What he could understand Hecatia and Hiroji had had history together. But as curious as he was about the details of their “deal”, there were more pressing questions to ask.

“Did you manage to see the person who assailed him?”

“Like I said, it was already too late by the time I got here,” she said, “but it was no person, that’s for sure.”

“Then what?”

Hecatia turned around to face Shin, frowning. “Can’t you feel it? The impurity seeping from the back alley? The spiritual dregs? It’s obvious this was the work of a youkai.”

Not this shit again. Shin let out an exasperated groan. First that shrine maiden, and now this t-shirt weirdo with delusions of godhood? Why did he get all the oddballs? It was starting to get irritating.

“Alright, look, ‘Heca’,” he said, “youkai do not exist. I’ve been putting up with your charade, but I need you to take this seriously, understood?”

To which the woman responded with a flat look: “No, it’s you who doesn’t understand! I can only help you open your eyes, but it’s no use if you refuse to look. Open your mind and take it all in before you cast your aspersions.”

“Tch, fine,” Shin threw up his arms, “I’ll humor you for a while longer. If it really was a youkai—which I still don’t believe, by the way—why would it want to kill Hiroji?”

“Why wouldn’t it? Youkai feed on people’s fears, and this one took its sweet time stalking its prey,” Hecatia explained. “I felt his despair all the while, you know? How uneasy he first was when it found him. How he feared for his life as he was being chased down those alleys, until it finally cornered him, down there. How the slow realization that he was going to die right there and then filled him with dread. How desperately he cried for me when it sunk its fangs and sucked the life out of him.” The woman let out another forlorn sigh, but in her azure eyes burned a slow, simmering fury that sent a shiver down the detective’s spine. “And now he’ll never reach the promised land. I can only hope I don’t meet him back in Hell after letting him down so.”

Shin stood there in silence, taking in her disturbing narration. Hecatia seemed to be telling the truth, but her recounting was based on outlandish assumptions that would not hold in a testimony at any court. There was no way the detective could put “a youkai did it” in the case report as a legitimate reason. On the other hand, even if her story was unbelievable when taking it as a whole, she could have made a few good points. Disregarding whether it was a youkai or not, it was not unusual for murderers to kill people just to spread fear among the population. Chiyo said something very similar back in the police station, too. Whoever did this was trying to spread rumours about a youkai on the loose, she had told him. But what could the murderer gain with that? Would he continue killing people to feed them? Or was Shin still missing some piece of the puzzle?

The detective looked back at the oddly dressed woman. The progress of his investigation would steer drastically depending on how far he was willing to believe the self-proclaimed goddess’ claims.

[] “I’m sorry, but I don’t—I cannot believe a word of what you say.”
[] “I’m not entirely sure about all this, but I know I have to stop the culprit fast.”
[] “If there really is a youkai on the loose, then I’ll need all the help I can get.”
[] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/27(Tue)21:00


---------------------------

I'm very sorry for the lateness of this update, but I had a really busy day yesterday and was too tired to complete this part in time. I'll make up for it with another, shorter update later today.
>> No. 67316
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?

Let’s see how far down the rabbit hole we can go
>> No. 67317
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?"
[x] "Do you think the culprit's M.O. is that of a vampire?"
>> No. 67318
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”

He can't humor the idea of it being a youkai attack but there are still clues that suggest the attack wasn't indiscriminate. From Hecatia's testimony, we know he wasn't a gang member or a mugger. So the reason he had a knife could be because he knew he was being targeted. Probably something to do with Yukari's train.
>> No. 67319
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”
sure
>> No. 67320
Unfortunately I couldn't finish the double update today either, so I'll reopen this vote for a few hours more and try to catch up tomorrow.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/28(Wed)09:30


By the way, I hate college tests.
>> No. 67321
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”
>> No. 67322
[x] “What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”

All in.
>> No. 67325
File 154341431933.jpg - (137.99KB, 720x960, __hecatia_lapislazuli_touhou_drawn_by_nikorashi_ka.jpg) [iqdb]
67325
[x]“What if the culprit isn’t attacking people indiscriminately? What if the victim was targeted singularly?”

Something didn’t sit right. Hecatia believed the victim was killed at random to spread rumours of a rampaging monsters and feed on fear—however the hell that worked. But the evidence he had collected so far seemed to hint at another reason altogether.

First, the knife the victim had in his right hand when he was first found. Although it was very common for gang members to carry weapons, Maeko testified that all the violent bands in town had been either driven out or absorbed by the masked delinquent crew, which so far hadn’t been involved in any violent altercation and favored running away from trouble. Even if the police hadn’t caught any of its members yet, it was a safe assumption that they wouldn’t wield weapons. And supposing the victim was part of the masked gang, it could mean one thing:

“Hiroji… I think he was expecting to be assaulted,” he pondered aloud.

“Huh?”

Hecatia looked at him in surprise, brows furrowed. The detective ignored her inquiring gaze and paced around the rooftop, deep in thought. It all came down to the “why” of it. If only he could figure out why the victim felt the need to arm himself, he’d find the thread that would eventually lead him to the culprit. What did the young man do to put himself on a killer’s sights? Spook the wrong person? Threats? Blackmail? Stealing something too important? Trying to get someplace he shouldn’t be?

Abruptly Shin realized he was fumbling with the small plastic bag he had inside his coat’s inner pocket. Right, the torn ticket he found inside the dumpster beside the body, with the victim’s name on it. That it belonged to the victim was a pretty safe bet, but what really bothered the detective was the state it was in. Who tore it in half, the culprit or the killer? Why was only one half of it inside the dumpster? Where was the other half? Could it be the reason why the victim was killed? Just what is this ticket?

“Wait a second, you can’t just say something like that and walk off like I’m not even here!” Hecatia suddenly appeared from thin air stepped in front of him, stopping Shin in his tracks and pulling him out of his introspection. She looked irritated enough to give him an angry rant for ignoring her, but then she noticed his hand surreptitiously reaching inside his coat. “Hm? What’s that you got in there?”

[]Show it.
[]Hide it.


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/28(Wed)20:30


---------------------------------------

If nothing goes wrong today like it did yesterday, I should have the next update up in about nine hours. Whether it'll have a vote or not, I can't say until I start writing it.
>> No. 67326
[x] Call her out on it, then take a look at it.
-[x]Cave in and show it to her.
>> No. 67327
[x]Show it.
>> No. 67328
[x]Show it.
>> No. 67329
[x]Show it.

She could be useful to the investigation since she's not affiliated with any of the local youkai.
>> No. 67330
[x]Show it.
>> No. 67331
File 154345007752.jpg - (65.30KB, 500x667, __hecatia_lapislazuli_touhou_drawn_by_inuno_rakuga.jpg) [iqdb]
67331
[x]Show it.

The detective was reticent to show important evidence to someone not affiliated with the police. He was still not sure Hecatia was innocent—not until he found proof of it, or she provided a convincing alibi—but so far she had been fairly cooperative, even if her allegations were frankly ridiculous. Still, she was his only witness at the moment, and he suspected she knew more than she was letting on. As clueless as he was at the moment, perhaps the best course of action was to take a risk with her.

“This,” Shin explained as he took the bag with the ticket from his coat and showed it to Hecatia, “was found near the body at the crime scene. Does it ring any bells?”

The goddess grabbed the plastic with dainty fingers and leaned closer to see what was inside. Her eyelids opened wide in shock for the shortest of moments before she squinted, so quickly that Shin could have sworn he imagined it.

“Well I’ll be damned,” she murmured after a while, “he actually did it, the absolute...”

“You know what this is?”

Hecatia kept ogling at the ticket, as if she could bore a hole in it with her stare. Her face ran all the gamut of expressions from awe to concern to contemplation, and Shin could practically see the gears in her head turning. Eventually she opened her mouth to speak, but her words took a moment longer to come out.

“So, uh, remember when I told you that Hiroji asked me to grant him a small blessing? Well, this is it,” the goddess said, giving the piece of evidence back. “Apparently this is where he poured my divine power into.”

“Come again?”

The goddess pinched her nasal bridge and groaned in frustration. For her, it was the most obvious thing in the world, and she didn’t appreciate having to explain it to the detective like he were an infant.

“Look, he wanted to leave this place behind, yes? So he decided to traverse to an Otherworld, and he asked me for help, so I gave him a small part of my power so that he could use it for his own ends. And this,” she pointed at the ticket, “this is what he used my power for. He somehow managed to make a key to enter the Eastern Wonderland! Quite an unorthodox key, I must say, but it should work if he found the proper entrance... At least before it got torn off like this,” she added with a grimace. “Until it’s put back together, it’s as good as the scrap of paper it looks like.”

“Alright, hold up a minute there!” Shin said, gesturing with his hands to slow down. “You lost me at ‘Otherworld’. You’re saying this train ticket is a key to another world? An… ‘Eastern Wonderland’?”

“Ohh, right, I forgot. You’re absolutely clueless, ain’t cha?” the woman chuckled, eyeing him with an amused smirk. “The short answer is yes, there exist other worlds besides this one. But I suppose you want the long answer, am I wrong?”

Shin could only shake his head in disbelief. Just when he thought she couldn’t say anything less bizarre, she kept on talking. And now she casually dropped him the mother of all bombs by revealing the existence of other worlds. The mere thought was enough to make his headache return.

“To be completely honest with you, Hecatia,” he sighed, “I’m not even sure I want to hear it.”

“Aw, don’t be such a sourpuss!” She punched his shoulder with enough force to make the detective reel back a pace. “Tell you what, I’ll explain it to you over dinner with all the details you’ll ever want, nice and easy. As long as you invite me, of course.”

“You… want me to invite you for dinner?” Shin repeated back, incredulously.

“Yup! I haven’t eaten anything since last night and I’m starving! Just think of it as an offering for my invaluable teachings,” Hecatia said, giving him a playful wink. “I know a good quiet spot, with decent meals for a decent price, if you’re worried about footing the bill. Trust me, you’ll love it.”

[]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”
[]“Sorry, but I’m still on the job. I have much left to do.”


Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2018/11/29(Thu)17:00


---------------------------------------

And we're back on schedule. For the third time. I sure hope I don't fall behind in these last two days.
>> No. 67332
[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

This is the final stretch!
>> No. 67333
[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

Goddess claims aside, she's still the only lead we got right now. We can still visit the morgue afterwards.
>> No. 67334
[X]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

Welp, we've come this far.
>> No. 67335
[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”
>> No. 67336
[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”
>> No. 67337
[x] Dinner date with Heck
never wanted to take the bait more
>> No. 67338
[]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

Be agressive, get left in jail. Be cooperative, get invited out to dinner.
>> No. 67339
>[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

Don't be disraught just yet detective, it's pretty clear the Chuunibyou has the biggest leads in whatever fucked up criminal underworld did Hiroji in.
It's pretty clear Otherworld and Eastern Wonderland are simply codes here.
>> No. 67343
File 154360951829.jpg - (575.81KB, 720x960, __hecatia_lapislazuli_touhou_drawn_by_ys_fall__c13.jpg) [iqdb]
67343
[x]“Alright, fine, but your info better be good.”

The detective looked up to the darkening sky. There he was, about to accept an invitation to a casual dinner date with a total stranger he had just met, when he was still on the job, with a killer on the loose and much work to do to catch him. It didn’t sit right by him, no matter how easy on the eyes the blue-haired girl was (if he ignored for a second her peculiar choice of garments). But the matter of fact was, he reminded himself again, that she was her only promising lead. As long as she talked, he could consider it part of the job.

“What the hell, fine! I’ll take you out if that’s what you want. I was also getting somewhat hungry, anyway.”

“That’s the spirit, mister!”

The goddess giggled like a highschool student, and she boldly looped her arm around the detective’s, clinging to him. Shin felt his cheeks starting to heat up, and he looked away in embarrasment. Were all (self-proclaimed!) deities like that, or was it a case of foreign culture clash? Either way, it was getting rather uncomfortable, but he hadn’t the heart to push her away.

“Oh, right,” Hecatia said, “I think I didn’t catch your name, mister…?”

“Shin, you there?”

The door to the building’s stairs swung open, and a familiar petite police officer with her distinctive round glasses stepped out. Maeko froze when she spotted Shin—or was it Hecatia?—, but if she had been surprised by it, she managed to smoothly hide it as she saluted him.

“I’ve been looking for you, sir,” the officer explained, pointedly not looking at him, “I thought I heard you talking to someone, but I guess I was wrong…?”

Shin scrambled to detach himself from Hecatia’s grip, who let him go with a wry half-smile while she eyed the new arrival. The detective could not tell at first whether Maeko didn’t see her, or she was making a considerate effort to ignore her completely, but knowing his former colleague, he leaned towards the former.

“No, uh, I was… I was talking to the phone,” he lied. “Do you need something, Maeko?”

“Oh, n-no, I just wanted to… Nevermind,” she shook her head energetically, as if masking her unusual skittishness. She stretched her arms behind her back and stifled a yawn, “I was about to go back to the station, so I came to check up on you, see if you wanted me to deliver something… Like that bag, for example?” She pointed at the evidence bag with the ticket that Shin still held in his hand.

“Ah, no, that won’t be necessary,” Shin hurried to put the bag back in his pocket. Wait, why am I being so secretive? “I’ll take it from here, thank you. You go home and get some well deserved rest.”

“Huh? I-i’m fine, really!” Contrary to Shin’s expectations, Maeko was not only not glad for being relieved from her post, but she looked disappointed—or sad, even. “I can still keep going, sir! I won’t rest until we put that bastard in jail!”

“It’s precisely because of that that you should,” the detective shook his head, “the investigation still has ways to go before getting a lead on the culprit, and I’ll need you in top shape for when we finally find him.”

“B-but—”

“I’ll give you a call when I need you,” the detective cut her off. “Now if you excuse me, I have work to do.”

Leaving the dumbfounded Maeko behind, he made his way down the buildings stairs. Hecatia followed close behind, taking the chance to turn around and mockingly stick out her tongue to Maeko, who was none the wiser. As he climbed down the stairs, the guilt of what he had done began weighting on Shin. Why was he being so cold to the poor girl? She was working her ass off and tried her best to keep her usual peppiness, and he kept mistreating her. She really doesn’t deserve this, he berated himself. He wondered if the fifteen years since he left her and his hometown behind had created an irreparable rift between them. Or was he trying to avoid her instinctively?

“Hoo boy, you really shut her down hard,” Hecatia whistled behind him, as if reading his thoughts. “Did she do something to piss you off, or are you just that eager to go out with me?”

“What? I meant what I said to her,” Shin retorted defensively, “she’s been standing guard at the scene all day long. You saw how bad of a shape she was in, right? She really does need to catch a rest.”

Hecatia only gave a quiet chortle at that, and Shin could hear her mutter something about <<blind fools>> just loud enough for him to overhear. The detective grumbled; sure he might be a bit of a fool at socializing, but at least he wasn’t the one wearing a stupid t-shirt and proclaiming to be a god! Shin exhaled and bit his tongue; he wasn’t about to lose a lead over a childish taunt.

“Anyway, where’s the place you wanted to go?”

“It’s an izakaya at the outskirts of town,” said Hecatia, “not very frequented, but they serve good food. And I happen to know the cook too, so he’ll give us the best stuff. Come on!”

The goddess took Shin by the hand and started to lead him across the streets, with a spry pace on her bare feet and a grin that made the detective skip a heartbeat. And yet, he could not help but wonder with apprehension just what the hell was this weird woman dragging him into...

----------------------------------

It just is like me to fall sick on the very last day of Nanowrimo.

Expect another short-ish update in two or three hours. Hopefully before the deadline hits. Writing while sick sucks big time.
>> No. 67344
File 154361886188.jpg - (437.18KB, 707x1000, __sendai_hakurei_no_miko_m_u_g_e_n_and_etc_drawn_b.jpg) [iqdb]
67344
In a cell at the basement of the police station, Chino meditated the hours away. She had grown weary of the dull gray walls of her prison by the first couple of hours, and the jailer, napping as he was, had proven to be a terrible conversational partner. Although it was not like she had much to talk about to their ilk. Half a day in the Outside had been enough to prove it was inhabited by ignorant, near-sighted fools. Just having that stray thought was enough for the miko to feel anger and impatience seeping at the fringes of her void. Concentrate.

She forgot about the cell and the lawmen, about the youkai and that gap hag, about her mission and her troubles. She left all behind in pursuit of her inner tranquillity. Instead she focused on the delicate interrelation between her breath, the impulse to control it and the impulse to release it. Breathing, which seemed so mundane and uninteresting at first glance, was actually an enormously complex and fascinating procedure. It was full of small but different variations, if one knew where to look—inhalation and exhalation, long breath and short breath, deep breath, shallow breath, smooth breath and ragged breath. Every breath has a beginning, middle and end. Every inhalation goes through a process of birth, growth and death and every exhalation does the same. The depth and speed of her breathing changed according to her emotional state, the thought that flowed through her mind and the sounds she heard. If one wanted to reach the void, all of those things had to be left behind, until her breathing went along naturally, instinctively. And with the void, the impulse to manipulate it also went away.

The sound of something rattling against the cell put Chino off her centre, and the void flickered again. But she would not let distractions break her focus. She returned her attention to her breath again, to the simple physical sensation of air filling her chest, again, and again, and again, for as long as it took until it the racket sounded worlds away.

Somewhere in this process, she came face-to-face with the sudden and shocking realization that she was completely crazy. Her mind was a shrieking, gibbering madhouse on wheels barrelling down the stairs, utterly out of control and hopeless. No problem. She was not crazier than she was yesterday. She had always been this way. She was no crazier than everybody else in this weird, mad world. The only real difference is that she had confronted the situation and they had not, so they still felt relatively comfortable. That did not mean that they were better off—ignorance may be bliss, but it does not lead to liberation. Chino didn’t let this realization unsettle her. Coming to terms with it was a milestone, a sign of real progress. The very fact that she had looked at the problem straight in the eye meant that she was on her way up and out of it. One step closer to the void.

The minutes ticked by as the miko continued her meditation—breathe in and breathe out. Her breathing slowed down, and the screech of her cell opening was far detached from her to not distract her at all. She experienced a state of great calm in which she enjoyed complete freedom from her senses and thoughts. No greed, lust, envy, rage or hatred. Agitation went away. Fear fleed. Such a beautiful, clear, blissful states of mind. It was not liberation, but these were stepping stones on the path that lead in that direction. But she knew all too well that it was all temporary. Duty waited for nobody.

Letting out the air in her lungs, Chino stood up and walked out of the cell. Somewhere down the rows of cells, at the end of the hallway, a small, blonde silhouette disappeared through the slim cracks of the wall. The shrine maiden smiled wryly. Not even here she was free of that hag’s meddling. She’d just have to accept it and deal with it, but it didn’t mean she liked it.

“Zzzzzz—wha, huh?”

Behind her, the jailer was starting to shrug off his post-sleep drowsiness. With a single leap, Chino dashed towards him, grabbed him by the back of his head and slammed it against the table he had been napping on. The ‘thud’ echoed through the empty basement, and Chino held her breath, expecting someone else to inspect the loud sound. Fortunately, noone else had heard it. Chino sighed in relief, and carefully put the limp body of the police officer resting on the table, making it look like he was still sleeping.

They had delayed her for too long. The Shrine Maiden of Paradise cracked her knuckles. There was an incident to solve.
>> No. 67345
And with the 30th and final update of Nanowrimo, here ends Part 1 of this story.

I'll keep writing for it, but I'll definitely be slowing down the frequency of the updates to one every 2-3 days. This update a day has been hellish to keep—and I did fall off the schedule three or four times—, to the point it has had an effect on my health and probably my academic results. By slowing down I think I can keep a healthier pace while improving on the overall quality and lenght of each update. That said, if I end up relapsing in my laziness and not write anything in a week, please kick me in the butt either here or in THP's Discord, where I'll very likely be shitposting instead of writing.

I've seen some criticism about the pacing of the story, and they're absolutely right. Nanowrimo's format doesn't lend itself well to proper pacing for a murder mystery, especially for someone as rusty as me, and I admit at first I had very little idea of where my story was going. Suffice to say, the current choice of sidekick is far from what I initially had planned. That we ended with Hecatia instead of "Chino" was something that only came about as I adapted to your votes. But that's the magic of CYOAs, isn't it?

I hope you're liking my humble story so far. Expect Part 2 to begin next Thursday or Wednesday. The train has quite a few stops left in the line...
>> No. 67346
Heca is best sidekick (and hey, if we keep hanging out with Heca we'll eventually meet the Junky)
>> No. 67427
Bumping to summon the writer, hope this story isn't forgotten. If you're busy, that's cool.
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