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File 154761937043.png - (2.37MB , 1754x1240 , the witch in the devil's mansion.png ) [iqdb]
67429 No. 67429
♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG4a4ittWVg
[紅の魂 ~ 赤より紅い夢 - 幻想少女大戦紅 オリジナルサウンドトラック (さんぼん堂)]

・-・・ --- ・・・- ・

Music Collection: https://mega.nz/#F!1BdBzIKZ!bhLzijfM3iyphpueDOKf0g

Histories of Yatsugatake, a Suika backstory short: >>>/shorts/2180
THREAD 1 >>65260
THREAD 2 >>65548
THREAD 3 >>65922
THREAD 4 >>66462
THREAD 5 >>66845
97 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 67554
[x] and complied.

I think we've been far too cheeky lately. He trusts his master and so should we.

Besides, Gen has been getting his ass kicked lately. She blinded Suika not 24 hours ago.
>> No. 67555
[x] and complied.
That's probably just Marisa.
>> No. 67556
[x] and complied.

If we leave, Marisa will come in a swipe the iPod, I guarantee it.
>> No. 67560
[x] and complied.

Going to agree with the others. Gen has no real reason to fight right now, especially when Patchouli is telling him not to bother.
>> No. 67562
File 155980406266.jpg - (766.98KB , 1473x1677 , high energy thief.jpg ) [iqdb]
[X] and complied.


In a little time, he found himself seated deep into the library with his ankle at rest on his knee, meanwhile having breakfast and reading to the sounds of battle and the occasional cannon of light firing over distant furniture. While finishing his tea, Marisa fell to the floor next to him, tumbling past the table he was sitting at until her bottom stopped her at a row of books. Upside-down, she looked at the tea-sipping human.

[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=f8rQzDmCO80 ]
[夢じゃない何か - 縁 (Buta-Otome)]

“Gen, help me out here,” she bid.

He brought his gaze from the tome on the table up to her and, taking the cup from his lips, lifted his left hand palm-up, beginning to mumble foreign words.

Recognizing them, Marisa scrambled onto her knees. “Come on!” she snapped, barely keeping her hat on in her attempt to escape. “Help your fellow man!”

He stopped his spell to ask, “Woman?”

“Girl!” she yelled, breathing out afterward in exhaustion. At the end of her breath, her eyes went wide and she looked up over his head.

“Isn’t that enough?” Hearing his Master’s voice, Gen looked up to see the greater Magician floating high above the floor, positioned over one of the library’s taller shelves. She continued, asking, “Or, should I keep going until I’ve rendered you unconscious?”

Marisa ground her teeth together. Gen lifted his cup again and turned back to the book he was reading. “Why can’t you ever be friendly, huh!?” the girl shouted. Patchouli Knowledge spoke a long string of archaic words and threw at the girl a hail of fire. Below it, Itou Gen ducked a bit.

“Now get out!” bellowed Patchouli, pointing at the fleeing, younger magician. “If you want to come in here, use the front gate!”

“I do!” Marisa yelled in return, picking up her broom which had gotten out of her grasp in her earlier crash. Patchouli didn’t like this answer.

“Out! Get out!” Patchouli insisted, landing next to her apprentice while firing at a now-flying Marisa. When the thief turned toward her original point of entry (where, sadly, the two of them would have to fix again), the librarian stopped pursuing in order to breathe heavily. Gen looked up from his book.

“Are you alright, Master? Take your asthma medication.”

“I’ll be fine,” Patchouli answered, taking out a vial, shaking it, and heeding him.

His breakfast all done, Gen bookmarked the tome before him and stood from his seat, hands planted on the table as he looked toward his Master. “I’m feeling good, now. I’ll go check that she’s definitely gone, and without any contraband in tow.”

Swallowing the solution inside the vial, Patchouli looked narrow-eyed at her student. She steadied her breathing, and then with the vial removed told him, “Alright. I’ll eat and then get back to research. We’ll check on the music device in a few hours.”

“Got it,” he said with a nod, and he took off to where he’d first heard that explosion.

He followed the scent of burning cloth and mushrooms to more strictly adhere to the invader’s path of escape. Marisa wasn’t a constant threat, per se, but regularly irregular? One could be sure she’d show up to “borrow” books from the Scarlet Devil Library eventually. Meiling couldn’t be relied on to stop her (the guard either wouldn’t notice (due to a lack of attention or, at times, consciousness) or would be defeated at the gate), and Sakuya tended to let her in and secret her away at that. This only left the Magician and her apprentice to reliably defend the library. Unfortunately, both tended to be preoccupied, and the trespasser tended to sneak in and out rather than making an entrance with a bang. He thought, she must be rather zealous today.

After a minute or two of searching, his ear caught a peculiar and repetitive sound that brought to mind flapping clothing. Searching the vicinity, he found Marisa seated against a shelf, legs out, and hat off to be used as an improvised fan. Her cheeks were red, her eyes were shut, and she was obviously sweating. Approaching, he chose to ask, “Are you hot? That’s a shame. You should be on fire.”

“Shut uuup...” she groaned, pulling on the color of her shirt and not looking his way.

He turned his eyes to the hole that had been blasted through a wall and earth, the light of the sun bleeding into the room just a little. He stepped over to Marisa and grabbed her at the back of her shirt. “Alright, up you go,” he said, and he lifted the tiny magician from the ground, sort of dangling her out in front of himself. She was too tired and beaten to protest, let alone to resist. He began to fly toward the almost eight meter wide tunnel she’d made—the one presumably blown out by a master spark, and spoke to her. “Too bad, huh?” he began, eyes forward and on the destination before them. “You’re coming up empty-handed today.”

“I’ll just show up later,” she grumbled.

“No, don’t,” he said seriously, glancing her way. “What were you so excited about, anyway? You usually don’t blast your way into here. At most, you’ll kick open a door.”

“Actually, I just wanted to see if I could beat up Patchouli today. I was feelin’ confident, y’know?”

“What are you, a hippo?” he asked.

“It’s not like I wanted the whole library for myself, or somethin’.”

“An idiot, then,” he judged.

“That pun...” she wheezed, referring to the closeness of the two words in Japanese. “Gen, don’t make me take more damage.”

“Bah, I don’t want to hear that from you.”

“I don’t make puns,” she lied.

“Don’t lie.”

“I don’t do that, either,” she fibbed again. Gen rolled his eyes, This child...

He soon enough found open air, exiting the uncommissioned tunnel and tossing the human who had dug it out onto part of the stone path winding through the Mansion’s gardens.

He then crossed his arms.

“I guess I’ll stand here until you leave.”

Marisa pushed herself up to sit in a cross-legged position, then took off her headwear and started smacking dirt from her clothing with it, pouting all the while. Beside her, her bamboo broom rolled a bit away.

After dusting herself off, the little witch started fanning herself with the hat again, staring off to the side.

“... Well? Are you going to go or what?” he asked.

“Hey, Gen are ya busy?” she asked, still not looking his way.

“Of course I’m busy,” he said, flatly.

“Y’see,” she continued, ignoring him, “I’ve been thinking about going up Youkai Mountain.”

He noticed now that she was looking toward that distinct landmark.

She turned her golden eyes on him. “You’ve been up there, right? Take me up there,”

“I haven’t. I’m not exactly allowed to go there,” he said.

“Eh? Aren’t you a kappa’s friend?” asked Marisa, cocking her head to the side.

He explained, “The kappa don’t live ‘on the mountain’, exactly, and I’m only friends with one kappa. The rest don’t know about me, Marisa.”

“Gen! Just go with me!” she whined. He frowned.

Annoying... he thought, narrowing his eyes. Then, he glanced in another direction, and closed them. But...

have been thinking about going up there to see if I could find a piece of Hinokagutsuchi for the shawl. If I went with Miss Suika, Miss Keine made it sound like that would be an awful idea...

He looked toward the sky.

I know a pair of tengu now, so I don’t need someone with me necessarily... Eh, well... but...

He looked at the child, who was looking at him intensely, and his frown began to ebb away.

Would Marisa be a decent tagalong? Or rather, if I tagged along with her, would that be good...? She can’t be harmed mortally by Gensokyo’s youkai, and she’s definitely powerful anyway...

His grimace returned.

But it’s Marisa.

After a minute of hemming and hawing, he told her,

[] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”

[] “No, girl. Now scram.”
>> No. 67563
[x] “No, girl. Now scram.”
>> No. 67564
[x] “No, girl. Now scram.”
>> No. 67565
[X] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”

Let's find that shawl piece. What could go wrong?

The thought of facing dangers and survival tone is exciting.
>> No. 67566
[x] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”

It's a golden opportunity that has fallen in our lap just like that. We know we can't take Suika there, and Shishou doesn't move so...
>> No. 67567
[X] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”

Might as well give her a chance.
>> No. 67568
[x] “No, girl. Now scram.”

This isn't even largely because I'm opposed to it, but I don't want to reward her for breaking into the Library by then immediately doing something she suggests.
>> No. 67569
[x] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”
>> No. 67577
File 156085195814.png - (473.26KB , 1105x1173 , stars.png ) [iqdb]
[X] “Fine, but we have to be careful.”

Yesss!!” the child cried, jumping onto her feet with her fist in the air.

Yesss, let’s be careful,” he said dully. “And remember, I’m being nice here. Nicer than you deserve for this damn hole and these constant raids...” He looked behind himself at the mentioned damage, his face showing his displeasure. Shaking his head, he returned his gaze to Marisa and proposed, “I’ll meet you between the Forest and the Lake in about two hours then. Alright?”

“Alright, Gen. I’ll be waitin’ for ya!” Marisa agreed, pointing at him and beaming. She got onto her broom next, and after a wave sped off toward, he had to assume, her home.

Thus, he descended the way he came.

“... There you are. That took you long enough.”

His Master was quick to criticize his return. Still in the air, he looked back at Marisa’s tunnel, then at Patchouli standing on the floor in front of it. Pointing at the scar he asked, “Can I help at all with this?”

“You can, but I don’t need your help.” With this refusal, she began to cast something, and the words she was using told him it was, of course, an earth-based spell.

He watched as she summoned solid earth from thin air in great chunks and replaced the earth that had been vaporized, stuffing it forward all the way to, he had to imagine, the surface. When she was done the results were rather unsightly. There was now an unsmooth, large, circle of dirt left in the wall. But, it was definitely better than a hole.

“I’ll have Sakuya handle further repairs...” she said. “We wouldn’t be much help with rebuilding to Remi’s specifications. Magic in construction is quite bothersome when it comes to precision.” She sighed, she shrugged. He didn’t like the idea of Sakuya fixing things on her own, but had to admit: if his Master didn’t know easy “architecture” magic, he most certainly didn’t. The head maid would be done quickly, at least. He’d think about getting her something, or doing something for her, for her trouble.

“Gen,” his Master addressed him, pulling him out of his thoughts, “go fix the books and shelves that thief knocked over. When you’re done, you can go out to continue trying to complete your task. While you’re out, if you go out, be sure to visit the outside world shop run by that half-breed, or Muenzuka otherwise. I’ll make sure Remi doesn’t find her gift. Let’s try to get it all together by nightfall, hm?”

“You got it!” he made his affirmation with a salute and a smile. Patchouli “hmph”ed with plain acknowledgement, and they went their separate ways. He would spend the next hour repairing and organizing, and when he left for Gensokyo once more he wished his Master luck with the device that was soon to be awakened.


His first order of business outside of the mansion was to go to the area where he’d told Marisa they would meet, and for this business he would stroll. He found the tyke by the Lake’s shore, sitting ordinarily, just waiting while watching the water’s surface. Yawning, he waved at her as he approached on the dirt road beside her.

“What’re you tired for?” Marisa asked after noticing him and his widened mouth.

Hm, right, I didn’t go that long last night, he thought to himself, rubbing his chin and looking toward the Human Village for no reason in particular. Suika definitely got as much as she could from me in the time I gave though...

“... Smiling? Something good happen?” Marisa asked, looking into his face

“I’ve been busy from before sunrise messing with something,” he smoothly hid the truth from her as he continued down the path he was walking. He shrugged and said, “... Won’t tell you what it is; don’t want you getting any ideas.”

“I already know. Kourin said you bought that white music box off of him. I guess you know how to use it?”

Marisa got up from the grass, dusting off the back of her dress, He eyed her strangely.

“‘Kourin’...? You mean Mister Rinnosuke?” he asked.

“Kourindou’s Kourin!” answered the girl with pluck, grinning, winking, and pointing halfway to the sky.

“Huh. So he told you? Somehow, I didn’t peg him for the type to talk about what his customers bought.”

“Oh, yeah, ‘cause he didn’t,” Marisa answered casually, and he shot her a narrow look. “I noticed he didn’t have it,” explained the shorty as she moved to intercept Gen on the path, “and I figured if anyone woulda taken it, it’d be an Outsider who knows how it works. A little box of music doesn’t seem that useful so don’t worry: I’m not gonna try ta take it.”

“I... guess I could see that not being of interest to you,” he replied, shaking his head and trying to ignore how she’d just tricked information out of him. “Well, you better not. I’ll step on you if you mess with it. It’s a gift for the Mistress.”

Reacting somewhat over-the-top to his threat, Marisa suddenly jerked away from him with her arms raised in fear. “Step on me!?” she cried. “What am I, a bug!?”

“Some sort of pest, for sure,” he said, stopping now and putting his hands in the pockets of his robes. “Anyway, are you ready? Let’s start heading up the Mountain.”

“Oh, awesome! You’re pumped up too, huh!?” answered Marisa excitedly, her hands that had been opened from “shock” now closing with zeal.

“I... no, not really,” he told her. “I wasn’t kidding: we have to be careful as can be, Marisa. You can survive no matter what happens; I, on the other hand, am screwed if we run into a bad situation and I can’t convince people I’m a native. Master doesn’t know I’m going here, either, and I’m pretty sure she’d chew me out if she knew...”

“Don’t worry! You can leave everything to me!” said the girl, hitting her fist into her chest.

“I really can’t,” said the young man.

As a matter of fact,

[] I’m going to have to be at the very top of my game here.

[] maybe I should touch base with Aomu.

[] maybe I should contact Hatate.

>> No. 67578

all three of those are very good and intelligent options and I kinda want to do them all
>> No. 67579
[X] I’m going to have to be at the very top of my game here.
>> No. 67580
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.

It's her home territory, the presence of her will likely allay other suspicions if she vouches for Gen, she maybe shouldn't write on him directly but Marisa will definitely be a chatterbox and that might be good for her personality to follow along with.
>> No. 67581
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.

I felt bad for her last time.
>> No. 67582
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.

gib birb
>> No. 67583
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.

Yeah she deserves a story of some sort, or an interview or whatever.
>> No. 67584
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.
>> No. 67585
[x] maybe I should contact Hatate.
>> No. 67586
[X] maybe I should contact Hatate.
>> No. 67611
File 156265581535.png - (666.07KB , 637x900 , scare crow.png ) [iqdb]
[X] maybe I should contact someone.

Aomu? No. She’s already warned me a bunch about palling around with her too much out in the open, and I think I still need to recharge my good will points lost from having her help me out with the Spring Snow Incident.

Beside him, Marisa whined that he needed to hurry up, and what was he doing? She started pushing at him, at the left of his hips, while he stared at the sky at a rather fluffy, rather large cloud, and continued to think.

... Considering everyone in the mansion figured out what I was doing around the mountain last time, maybe I should limit the amount of people who’ll know about this... Well, then again: this will seriously be dangerous.

How about that other tengu? Hm.... she’s probably watching me now, right?

Marisa had her back against him, her shoes’ heels digging into the earth as she tried to push him on with the meager weight of her pint-sized body. Still hardly jostling, Gen fished a certain scroll from one of the inner pockets of his robes, and made to unfurl it.

“Wait, wait, what are you thinking!? Don’t put that in writing!”

The pair of humans looked up to find a short-skirted, twin-tailed tengu. Himekaido Hatate had her hands raised, palms toward Gen, and she was panicking.

Below, Marisa blinked at the youkai after staring at her with her mouth slightly agape. She promptly shoved her hand under her hat, withdrew her signature magical furnace, and aimed it fast at the crow.

“MASTER SPARK!!” she shouted. The device glowed, whined, and wasted no time firing off a gigantic, sustained beam of ice-colored magic, absurd in power. Gen almost fell from the force of the blast’s initial eruption, and he had to squint to the light it produced, His clothes rippled as if he’d been caught in too-strong a wind, and his ears nearly deafened from the bassy hum of the spell. When the laser had finally shrunk to a thin line, he looked up again, spotting a large hole in the cloud he’d been watching before. Hatate was nowhere to be found.

“AAAAAHHH!!” There was a scream. He looked toward one of the small rivers flowing into the Lake, noting:

Ah, there she is.

Down in a heap of her knees, thighs, and calves, Hatate was shaking as if an earthquake was going on. She was looking at the damage the cloud had received. “Eeeek!” she screeched. In her hands, her “camera” (phone) was out and extended toward the sky, and her hold on it was as unstable as the rest of her body. “NO NO NO!!” she refused the situation. “ISN’T THAT WAY TOO FAST!? D-D-D-D-Don’t DO that!!!”

“She dodged it, huh,” Marisa said with cool delivery. She tossed up her mini-Hakkero once and caught it with a swipe as it fell, aiming it again. “This time I’ll use Stardust Reverie...”

Gen, wearing a severe and somewhat bothered expression, punched down on the top of her head before she could fire. She dropped her aim.

“Gwah! Gen!? What are ya—!?” she complained. When she lifted her head, he grabbed her face, pinching and stretching out both of her cheeks. She continued to protest, breathily saying, “Gen! Shtop thaht!”

He heard Hatate shouting. “Stop that wildling child! She’s a menace!”

“Tenghu chalking abouch menashe. Don maegh me laugh.” Having said this, Marisa held up her mini-Hakkero again.

Rambunctious... he thought, and he let go of her face to grab her around the sides of her torso.

“Haha!!” she laughed from the feeling; he lifted her up and chucked her over his right shoulder, patting her butt over her skirt twice.

“Thank you, Marisa, but I was actually going to call this tengu,” he explained.

“Huh! You know a tengu too, dude?” He was surprised at how readily she accepted this. He felt her hand on his back as she contorted a bit to speak partway toward him. He turned his neck to respond. She said, “Don’t you get around!”

He replied, “Hmmm... kind of, huh?”

“Gen, you really shouldn’t have tried to write to me...” Hatate chastised him at a distance. He looked at her while readjusting Marisa. She recognized the scroll fast... he observed.

“That’s what you were saying before Marisa tried to hit you with a magic cannon,” replied the novice magician. “Why?”

“‘Cause I’ll get in trouble, stupid human! Stupid human! Humans aren’t allowed on the Mountain, you know!!” she cried.

Wait, that attitude isn’t kappa exclusive? I mean, I know I’m not allowed on the mountain, but tengu get in trouble for helping humans on the mountain, too?

He sighed, and lowered his bushy brows while staring, exasperated, at the Sun’s reflection on the Lake. Like this, he muttered, “... I should’ve just gone to Aomu. Guess you’re useless, then?”

“What the hell!?” squawked the crow.

Marisa caught his attention with a comment, saying, “Oh? You were gonna try to use her to help us up the Mountain?”

“Aye, ‘were’.”

“Human, quit making fun of me,” Hatate said with her arms folded and eyes closed, still ingloriously sat in the river. The pair of humans put their attention on her. “Aoumu... Aomu... Is that a kappa!? Sounds like a kappa name... Tengu! Tengu, Gen! It’s TENGU that are good at sneaking around, you know!”

“Oh, so you’re gonna help?” the pair queried in unison. At the sync, Hatate flinched, and leaned back.

“Of course I’m gonna help, you blockheads! I’m not gonna let Gen die when I just got him to make a deal with me!” was her fervent answer.

“Super. I guess you were listening in so I don’t have to explain anything,” Gen said as he walked toward her, his eyes set on Youkai Mountain; over his shoulder, Marisa seemed to have gotten comfortable. As he neared the tengu, he looked to see her red-faced and plainly ashamed.

“I mean, I don’t like listening in or anything, I prefer being upfront, and if I get any pictures with thoughtography I consult the people in the images for consent of use and...” she muttered a stream of apologia, unable to meet his eyes.

“Thought-what?” was his only reply. She flinched, met his confused eyes, and shook her head. Her hands were raised strangely—as if she was not sure what to do with them.

“O-Ohh? You don’t knoww? Theeen, I-I’ll have to tell you later!” she stammered. Gen’s concern became more obvious.

“... Is this some sort of perverted voyeurism?” he voiced his concern. “... Though, I suppose that description is redundant.”

“There’re children preseeent,” sang Marisa at his back.

“It’s not usually perverted!” snapped Hatate. The pair of humans weren’t pleased with this answer, and put on worried faces. “Stop worrying about it! Trust me unequivocally, you know-nothing humans! I’ll be your guide, okay!? Now shut up, s-sit down, and take my lead!”

Gen sat down.

“Stand up!!” Hatate screeched while doing so herself, her arms straight and down at her sides, hands in fists and almost ninety-degrees out. Gen sneered with light provocation, and chuckled. On his shoulder, Marisa sniggered.

“I hate you two. I’m going to go back up the mountain and die,” said Hatate with a hollow voice and empty expression. Gen stood and bid her not to worry.

“Enough teasing,” he told her, patting her on the head with his free hand. He pointed to the mountain once called Yatsugatake. “There! Let’s start our journey emboldened!”

Marisa cheered a vigorous “Oohhh!!” and rose a fist. Hatate, meanwhile, also rose a fist. Weakly. Not even above her head. The crow tengu girl gave an apprehensive “O-Oohh...”, while her wings drooped toward the ground, and her posture slouched.


[ ♫: https://picosong.com/wKfCg/ ]
[Suddenly Refreshing - Atelier Ayesha ~Alchemist of the Ground of Dusk~ Original Soundtrack (Daisuke Achiwa)]

“And what Mister Bear, had to tell me
Was ‘Young lady please, don’t run off now!’”

Sutakora sa~ssa~ssa~no saa~!
Sutakora sa~ssa~ssa~no saa~!

“You two, you realize you’ll have to stop singing when we get up to the foot of the mountain, right?”

While the humans laughed at the absurdity of their choice of song, the tengu guiding them looked tired. They were walking through the preamble forest that separated Misty Lake from the foot of Youkai Mountain, Gen still carrying Marisa over his shoulder.

“You should drop the little human, too,” noted Hatate, slouching and pointing. “Why are you carrying her, anyway?”

“Hm, I got used to it,” said Gen. He turned his head to look toward the little girl in question. “How about it? Should I drop you?”

Marisa shrugged.


[] put her down.

[] kept her on.


image sources: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2962785
That song is real. It's called Mori no Kuma-san (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwatp0BlvLM), and it's a translation of an American song called The Other Day I Met a Bear.
>> No. 67612
[x] put her down.
>> No. 67613
[x] kept her on.

>> No. 67614
[x] kept her on.

>> No. 67615
[x] kept her on.
>> No. 67616
[x] kept her on.

Of course.
>> No. 67617
[x] kept her on.
>> No. 67618
[x] kept her on.
>> No. 67619
[x] kept her on.

Illusion of choice.
>> No. 67620
File 156349526768.jpg - (226.54KB , 850x1555 , __ibuki_suika_touhou_drawn_by_sparrow_xici9527__sa.jpg ) [iqdb]
full image, way late

I'll be updating stuff soonly
>> No. 67621
this track
>27. ぽるた~がいすとの暇つぶし.mp3
from Thread 2 had a weird pop at the start. Reuploaded. Has a few fizzly sounds in it too for some reason, but I can't do much about that so f it.
>> No. 67622
File 156385414834.jpg - (576.03KB , 1650x1994 , humans; not even once.jpg ) [iqdb]
[X] kept her on.

[ ♫ keep it up]

“Haaahhhh...” the Tengu sighed. “Why are you trying to go up the Mountain anyway, Mister Itou?”

“I’m—” he started, but realized hiding the truth from Marisa might be better, and stopped himself. If Marisa thought he was merely being kind, then she could feel like she owed him something. To make his sudden cutoff seem a bit more natural, he changed the relevant child’s position on his shoulder a bit and muttered a generic, Japanese grunt, following with, “I’m helping the brat.”


“The thief.”


“The...” he thought for a moment, tilting his head, “... general belligerent.”

“The heck?” was Marisa’s last reply.

“Then, Miss Kirisame, what is your business?” the crow asked next.

From behind Gen’s head, Marisa responded, “You kiddin’? Gen might trust you, but I just met you eight minutes ago. You think I’m gonna tell a Tengu what I’m planning? So you can spread it all over through your nasty papers?”

Gen thought that was rather fair. Ahead of him, Hatate looked like she was fuming.

“I don’t wanna get in trouble over you two! Why would I let on details that only I would know!?” the crow shot back in a shrill whisper, red-faced with fists balled at her side and her shoulders raised. “You! You should be ESPECIALLY careful! You’re, like, totally delicious-looking! Between the two of you humans, you’re the one the others on the Mountain would want to eat first!”

“You too?” Marisa asked, looking (or so she seemed to be, from the movements Gen felt).

Himekaido Hatate, slouched now, turned her head a bit quickly, revealing her agape mouth and the drop of drool now falling from it. With a disturbing, desperate, and almost exhausted kind of eagerness, she answered, “Yes!”

“Well, you wouldn’t be wrong; I’m real tasty,” answered Marisa without missing a beat. Gen, still not used to the idea of humans being eaten by other intelligent creatures, could feel his face going pale. He still trusted this Tengu, as he believed her when she said she wanted to report on him—as if he were her pet project—but the thought of her eating people... children, especially, was disquieting to put it lightly.

The youkai wiped off her lips with the back of her hand. “Then again... though we could get away with kidnapping you since you’re not a villager, but it might still cause trouble so maybe it really is Mister Itou who’s in more danger.”

Gen’s mood soured further.

Hatate straightened her back and turned her upper body somewhat toward him, thumping her chest and smiling as she declared, “But I’ll protect you!”

“Protect the child, too...” he insisted. The child started absently hitting the end of her broom against the back of his pants.

“We’re just about there, so you two be quiet,” the tengu commanded, putting on a stern face before she turned back to the mountain. Gen glanced at Marisa’s back.

“Keep your eyes peeled,” he said, quietly.

The way her body moved, he could tell she’d nodded.

They were approaching the Great Youkai Forest now, and so the bright morning sky was being threatened more and more into hiding by the packed-together trees. He’d always avoided it... Even with Suika, he hadn’t braved the place. Though he didn’t want to, he began to become worried.

Aaagh... Which is better? To calm down, or keep myself on high alert...?


I wonder what Marisa wants to do here... Probably find rare ingredients? I don’t think even she’d barge in on a youkai’s home to steal from them...

Man... Maaan, I’m getting nervous...

I wish Miss Suika was here.

“Oi, quit squeezing my side so hard,” Marisa whispered, and he realized he was indeed grabbing at the side of her shirt. He relaxed his grip. “Nervous?” asked Marisa.

He nodded. The forest grew darker, and the soundscape... unique. He was beginning to hear things he hadn’t heard before, things which sounded less animal and more alien. As a bead of sweat crawled down his forehead, he tried to focus on the sounds of his and Hatate’s footsteps, trudging through the leaves.

“Try not to let it slip,” Marisa urged, and he was surprised to hear that. He lifted his eyebrows, and for a moment he stopped. “More than anything else, what a youkai wants from a human is their fear. Hide that, and you’ll piss them off. They won’t notice you either.” She pat his back with her left hand. “You’re a magician. You know what that means, right? Now, show it.”

Gen indeed knew what that meant. He continued forward, after the tengu guide.

The guide stopped shortly after, however.

He listened to the wind make a vain effort to pierce the forest canopy. It was dark, now.

“It’s hard to hear,” Hatate mumbled, and in the next moment a turning gust was left in her place, violently casting aside twigs and other fallen things. He narrowly avoided the mess and, looking up, saw that she must have gone above the trees.

“Tengu can hear things on the wind,” Marisa explained with a hushed voice. He knew that, actually.

He waited for a while after, until Hatate returned with a report.

“So like, there’s nobody around straight ahead, or to the left from here. Like, West?” With one hand on her hip, the crow pointed her other hand where she meant: his left. She dropped that hand to its respective hip and lifted her left leg, standing perfectly still on her one-toothed geta. “But to the straight ahead is—”

“The Untrodden Valley,” Gen completed the sentence. Around there was one of the main living spaces of the kappa.

“Oh yeah, you’ve got a kappa friend,” Hatate noted with recollection, lifting her chin slightly. “Of course, it’s just one friend, so... Well, we’d stop before getting anywhere close, and change direction.”

Yeah, I’m not the most eager to risk myself there again.

“I don’t know about to the west, though. I don’t know everything about the mountain, and nobody’s talking about it right now.”

He thought about it.

“... Well, let’s—Mh!?”

He made a noise of discomfort as Marisa prodded his butt with her broom, making him leap for a brief moment.

“Hey. It’s my call, you’re just the taxi aren’tcha?” Marisa reminded him. He grit his teeth, glaring at her bottom. Marisa wiggled, thinking. “Kappa straight ahead, right? And somethin’ unknown to the west, hm...”

The two older persons present waited for her call. It eventually came as she silently “snapped” her fingers (only doing near the motion for it, but producing no click).

“Aight, I’ve got it!” she said in a more excited whisper.

[] “To the west!”

[] “Straight ahead!”

[] “To the east!”
>> No. 67623
[x] “To the east!”

The youkai will never expect it
>> No. 67624
oh yeah,
image source: https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=72638005
>> No. 67625
[x] “Straight ahead!”

Marisa did get along with Nitori. At least before they changed the kappa from shy youkai who wanted to be friends with humans to haughty technocrats.
>> No. 67626
[x] “To the east!”
>> No. 67630
File 156506917492.png - (355.90KB , 800x945 , hm hm taking charge.png ) [iqdb]
[X] “To the east!”

The two young adults answered in unison:


“Weren’t you listening?”

“Are you stupid?”

“If you know a kappa, Mister Itou, we should just go that way for the safest option.”

“Aomu lives in the Genbu Ravine, though, so...”

“To protect her rep, should we go west?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Then let’s go west.”

“Hey, hey!”

Marisa had had enough.

“The heck aren’t you listening to me for!?”

They looked at her with concern.

“Oh, come on!” she snapped, lifting her right hand, palm to the skies. “What’s the problem?”

“We’re trying to avoid other youkai,” Gen said.

“Let me stay ahead, ‘kay?” bid the Tengu, and he nodded. Marisa grumbled with irritation, mentioning a sad lack of spontaneity, but they moved on despite her complaint.


[♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_YyPsGp3tM ]
[Limited Time - Final Fantasy IX OST (Uematsu Nobuo)

Gen’s objective was the mountaintop. More than anything else, that was his primary concern. Thus, while carrying the little magician girl over his shoulder, he mainly stayed in his thoughts, ignoring much of what was around him. There was opportunity all around, of course: for magic-potent ingredients. However, if he was going to go all the way to the top of Youkai Mountain to see about getting a piece of a god... he couldn’t just wander up. He needed a plan. Plans.

That said, he was carrying that girl. As he was doing so, she nudged the side of his skull with her elbow. He turned his head, and she directed his line of sight to a lush, green, vaguely warped... root(?) emerging from wet-looking soil. He withdrew his gathering knife, knelt before it, and set about extracting the plant.

Regardless of his intentions, he was following Marisa’s cues to collect ingredients. It worked out for the both of them, at least; he had no doubt they would share and examine the items after their business was done. If she wasn’t planning that, he’d simply challenge her to a spell card duel and beat her down for his share. Hopefully. Really, the only issue he had with this system was that Marisa, with her eyes aimed behind, usually had him returning to where he’d already walked when she spotted something to find. This said, he wasn’t planning to gather ingredients today, so at the least he lacked a sizable limit.

... He could imagine that Marisa had brought a sack. Hopefully not. Hindrance wasn’t what either of them needed on this mountain.

Hatate kept an appreciable distance out ahead of them, often checking her phone (camera), though he didn’t know why. “Thoughtography”, was it? He didn’t know the word, nensha. Maybe it took pictures of people’s thoughts...? That could be a convenient second way of gathering information, and possibly more accurate and less colored by rumor as well. Then again, that device had been made by kappa, not satori. Come to think of it, were there satori on the Mountain...?

... Ah! I’m getting distracted...

He pulled out the strange plant and put it in a brown pouch on his belt. Marisa, satisfied, rested her chin against his back. She was too comfortable... He may have been singing before, but that was on the outskirts. He was serious, now; the Mountain wasn’t a joke.

... Well, he wasn’t serious enough to put her down, though.

While he stood, he spotted Hatate rushing above the trees into the sky again. It was thoroughly dark at this point, as if night had fallenm but... of course it hadn’t. This wasn’t the Forest of the Lost, it wasn’t so easy to lose a sense of time and place. After a few seconds, Hatate returned, looked their way, and pointed down some sort-of path.

All in all this was proving to be a good choice. Aomu might have been able to help, but that kappa map-device she had only detected the presence of other kappa. Maybe she knew of a different device for different lifeforms, but as it stood a tengu was probably more reliable.

They trudged along for a while longer, until Gen’s storage spaces were full. They could all hear a river close by... There, they stopped, and Gen sat on a fallen tree while Hatate stood close by, fiddling with her camera-phone and occasionally heading top-side to get the lay of the land.

“Wanna come down yet?” he asked Marisa.

“Put me on your shoulders later.”

Really?” he asked, smiling with disbelief.

“Yeah,” she answered, and with this she wiggled off of him, patting her stomach of warmth and wrinkles. He thought her cute, which bothered him. The little brat was charming; perhaps that was a big reason she hadn’t been grievously injured, kidnapped, or slain in Gensokyo despite not living in the Human Village. She’d told him that she’d left it when she was even younger than now, to live all her own in the poisonous Forest of Magic. He could imagine charm serving her well, especially to more intelligent youkai. For the more violent types, that furnace of hers would serve anyone well.

“Let’s see what we’ve got so far,” Marisa continued, squatting down in front of him.

“Nah, this isn’t the place,” said Gen, slouching and brushing warmth and wrinkles from his shoulder and sleeve.
“We’ve still got a long way to go.”

“Oh? How far were ya plannin’ ta go, Gen?”

Ah, shit.

“Well, if I’m here with two strong companions, I may as well make the best of it,” he responded smoothly.

“Pf, that’s how you lie Gen.”


Wait, what?

Gen blinked, attempting to not make it apparent that Marisa’s callout had affected him. He slowly started a response with, “... I don’t know what you’re—”

“Patchouli wouldn’t let you onto the Mountain this early, you decided to go with me despite that? Sakuya is Remilia’s dog, and Gen is Patchouli’s. You’d have to have some big reason to head up Youkai Mountain if that’s the case—not for ingredients or anything.” Marisa pointed at him, a casually smug look worn upon her face. “Prolly, the reason’s something like: Patchouli herself. She gave you a job to do, and you think doing it means you need the Mountain.”

Gen couldn’t prevent a cold bead of sweat from crawling down his cheek as he sat like a statue, staring sternly at Marisa.

“If you need to get up the Mountain, then you need someone like me to help, right?” With her evaluation complete, she delivered to the older boy a powerfully sly grin. In a quieter voice than even before, she whispered to him: “You: you’re too obvious, Gen.”

“Sh!” Hatate shushed them.

Gen was annoyed by Marisa’s deduction. Was he indeed that obvious? Even if he tried to refute her at this point, the point was that that was what Marisa thought: that the two were on this Mountain out of mutual benefit. She had no reason to feel as if she owed him a favor, in that case. At the very least, if he asked for something then compliance was fairly unlikely, and in either case that killed some of his plans outright,

He slouched further, and held his head with one hand. Meanwhile, Marisa looked up at him, still with deeply pleased self-satisfaction.

“... I think there’s something nearby, but I don’t think he or she’s a youkai,” said Hatate. Gen gave her his attention. “What do you think? I’m not sure what to do, uh... I haven’t actually talked with many youkai or anything outside of the Tengu Village either or, well... I haven’t talked to many Tengu much... More like, I don’t... communicate.” With these words finished, she looked absolutely dejected.

Slowly, she started up again, “... We can start to ascend up a road full of flowers most youkai don’t like, soon. But, if this other person is still around that won’t matter.”

Gen answered:

[] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”

[] “Let’s wait until they leave.”

[] “Let’s just go, we’ll just stay quiet. I think it’s better to not risk others showing up while we know only one is around.”
>> No. 67631
[x] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”
>> No. 67633
[X] “Let’s wait until they leave.”
>> No. 67634
[X] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”

She's practically the leader of this exploration party and she should feel proud of herself for that.
>> No. 67636
[X] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”

She's our guide, so she has to be the one to deal with encounters like this.
>> No. 67639
[X] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”
>ywn have Marisa ask you to carry her on your shoulders
Feels bad, man.
>> No. 67641

sorry, no excuse really. I actually was on vacation last week, even. I guess I work best when I'm not in my house? That ain't good. Update soon
>> No. 67642
File 156637679019.jpg - (1.66MB , 1000x1500 , ara.jpg ) [iqdb]
You can open this image when the song is linked. Otherwise, you'll spoil it!


[X] “Go check it out a little closer, tell us what it is.”

“Geh.” With this noise, she made an appropriately upset face to match. She slowly turned her gaze to where, presumably, the other in the forest was, and muttered, “Fine...”

She vanished, leaving a flurry of leaves spiraling upward from where she’d stood.

Marisa began to speak up, and he looked her way as she did. She said, “What do you think it i—”

Hatate returned with a panicked stare, standing before both of them pale-faced and shaken. Gen already knew her to be a jumpy youkai, so he was not particularly concerned by this appearance. Marisa, on the other hand, was simply bolder and so was similarly unconcerned.

Hatate parted her lips, her jaw trembling slightly. In a wispy, whispered voice, she said, “It’s a god of misfortune!”

Marisa stood up. Gen froze.

“Y-You saw it!?” Gen hissed, trying to keep his voice low. He got up as well, though kept down to Marisa’s height.

Hatate, with a sorrowful face, nodded.

“For now, go over to the Shrine Maiden and have her bless you,” Gen instructed, giving his potions, papers, and poultices a once-over. “You’re fast, aren’t you? Go! Don’t waste time! She’ll listen to you, especially if you pay her!”

Hatate disappeared once again.

“Dang, just what we don’t need...” muttered Marisa, checking her things in her hat and dress as well.

“I have a way to contact the tengu, but...” he trailed off, frowning. She didn’t want him to use that means to contact her concerning the Mountain. Would she be able to find them again...? He closed his eyes and thought. Most likely, she’d wager where they were given where people weren’t, and it wouldn’t take her long to search for them at least. It was risky to move on without their guide, but it was more risky to have a cursed guide guiding them.

A god of misfortune... huh?

Sometimes benevolent, sometimes malicious, in either case inherently dangerous through mere presence; it was in the name, gods such as these brought on ill fates. Disaster, plague, accident, folly, tragedy of any kind could be caused by witnessing them or being too near to them. Obviously, humans sneaking up a mountain of youkai wouldn’t want any encounters with gods such as that.

We need to be able to hear if anyone’s coming so... let’s keep away from that river, enough that its noise is gone.

He looked at Marisa, who looked back, and he moved his head toward the direction he thought best. She nodded in agreement, and spread her arms. Gen slanted his mouth and drew his eyebrows together. Lifting her up from her waist would be cute, surely, but they’d make too much noise as he tried to maneuver her onto his shoulders. It wasn’t a bad idea to carry her, however: there’d be fewer footsteps, and Marisa was light enough that the weight of his steps wouldn’t change much from having her on top of him. He slouched and pointed his thumb at his back. Getting the message, Marisa moved onto him, he secured one of her legs, and they rose—slightly taller and ready to continue.

He carefully made his way, though irritatingly he had no way of knowing where this way would lead. That was what a Mountain-bred companion would have been for... In fact, maybe he could head back and toward the Genbu Ravine...? It could work, but the knowledge that it could not work (via stumbling across some youkai wandering what paths they’d taken to get here) gave him pause. For now, he’d take a page from Marisa’s book and be a little brash. Hatate wouldn’t be away long, he was sure of that.

To speak of Marisa though, she was now entirely at the ready. Her broom was firm in her left hand and her magical furnace was poised in her right. Though Gen could not see it, she was keeping an eye on wherever he wasn’t (or at least, she made her best guess based on where his head turned). Gen continued to keep the child sat against his neck safe with his hold, while his free hand was ready over the latch of his most versatile spell book.

They did as he’d planned, Gen walked on an incline, keeping quiet and keeping aware. Keeping an eye out, hoping to avoid any unfortunate surprises.

Just once, he thought, let me have an outing somewhere new without encountering something mad.

He smirked to himself.

Well, my first outing to the Forest of Magic largely went well, though.

... Hm? Something smells nice... It’s not Marisa is it?
The girl usually just smelled like wild grass and the Forest.

Before he entertained the notion of checking, something lightly pushed into his face. And Marisa’s. They both scrunched up said faces, and flinched.

It’s too damn dark in here! How’d I miss uh—whatever this is?

He put his hand to whatever it was from beneath and tried to examine it. It felt weak, loose: quite strange indeed. He could tell at least that it was definitely a plant of some kind.

... Willow? No, that doesn’t make sense, not the right biome.

Is’t wis... wisteria...?

He pushed ahead, moving aside the foliage, and he stepped onto what seemed to be an actual path, trodden very well into a soft floor of patted earth, crushed twigs, and mashed leaves. Though he still found it rather difficult to perceive much in the dark forest, he was able to discern that there indeed seemed to be wisteria here, and quite a lot of it at that. Mauve, and hanging all throughout the place, nary a spot without a vine. It formed what seemed to be a natural tunnel... assuming it wasn’t being maintained by a youkai.

Then again, Gen was quite certain that this road was what the tengu had been referring to earlier: the road of flowers youkai did not care for. Thinking about that, he stood still and simply looked the place over. Marisa didn’t bother him to hurry on, and he imagined it was for the same reason he had stopped:

The applications.

To explain: wisteria wasn’t the most classic of wards against youkai, but by association with a certain legend, there was some faith in the plant as a sort of “evil’s” bane. The flowering vine, from which his family took part of its name, was used to defeat a god of curses in ancient times. A single branch of it instantly rusted the iron weapons of that wicked god’s army, and they were forced to surrender. Now, particular if used in certain spells, the flower could be effective against “malicious” entities. Indeed, with the right magic and mixture, wicked hearts would find the plant to be pure anathema.

Gen found it very hard to not start gabbing on and on about this to Marisa. Little did he know, Marisa was also eager to speak of the plant’s benefits to him. Thus, in silent excitement, they waited and wondered if they should gather some of this now, or if there were any landmarks close-by to identify this spot quickly for later. During flowering season for instance.

During flowering season...


... was not in September.

With this realization, a chill ran up Gen’s spine.

He took a step back with his right foot, and looked to the right as well.

To the right...

... were they not near kappa now?

No. What was the layout?


Who cares!?

These flowers are out of season! Hell, these are flowers in the first place! No youkai around, but one misfortune god is—Get the hell out of here, Gen!

He stepped left, holding on now to Marisa’s other leg and ready to run. She finally noticed his urgency.

Some bane or ward wouldn’t matter, not if Kazami Yuuka is here—!

“Oh my, as I thought” spoke a terribly pretty voice. Hearing it, Gen froze. “You shouldn’t be here, but if you’re here here, then here isn’t so bad a place to be.”

Gen looked upward, meeting the eyes of the green-haired girl before him. She spoke again, the sound of her words strangely evocative of wind chimes:

“All things considered,” she said.

[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=94_nslnEhHQ ]
[厄神様の通り道 ~ Dark Road - フォーチュン・ライン (xi-on)]

A plate-pale girl, festooned with bows and wrapped with ribbons—over her hair, over her arm, and over her dress—was floating, draped all in crimson and lined with white lace, beyond the wisteria veil.

Looking into her eyes, their color a misted green bright beside the lush forest hue of her well-groomed hair, somehow he knew at once what this person was. Knowing that, he decided to do something uncharacteristically Japanese for him.

Slowly, he took his hands from Marisa’s knees. He put his index fingers below their middle neighbors. He opened his mouth cautiously, and he shouted.


Marisa hopped with surprise on his shoulders, exclaiming, “Gen!?”

Pass this curse to her...! he thought, with his fellow magician in mind. It was merely superstition to do this in the outside world, and ancient superstition at that. But here, to be superstitious paid dividends.


Marisa had followed suit, skillfully managing the same hand positions while keeping her broom and Mini-Hakkero in the three fingers that remained to each.

He was quick to respond with, “Engacho!”




“Please cut that out,” the plainly more mature amidst the three said. The misfortune god, the one wearing a sympathetic face before them, slowly landed on the path to their right—where Gen had meant to head before he chose to turn another direction. With this, he noticed that she was wearing very distinct, very tall, black-leather and red-laced boots. “So, you know what I am?” she continued, standing now with her hands politely rested on the front of her dress. Their placement had Gen notice the peculiarly large green spiral sewn onto the left side of the skirt. “Well, that doesn’t matter. You should leave the Mountain.”

“I’ve got something to do here,” said Gen, no longer hiding his motivations. His finger remained crossed. “I guess I could try again another day, but this is a bit of an aligned-stars moment, ironically enough. Despite the current circumstances, this was my most fortunate day to try until now.”

“You’re hoping to continue on after coming face to face with a god of misfortune? That’s foolish.” The woman was right, this was foolish. He already knew, however: he was a fool for his Master. This assignment of hers wouldn’t be finished with inaction. “Sorry,” the girl kindly apologized, explaining, “I may be a god of misfortunate, but I’m still a god. I am a friend of humans. As a friend, I cannot allow you two to wander into danger.”

... Hm?

That, Gen found, was rather an odd thing to say.

As he thought so, Marisa promptly voiced that thought.

“Oh yeah? Yeah... then, why would you come out in front of us like that? A god of misfortune... You’ve screwed us over just by showing up.”

“Were you two not ‘screwed over’ the moment you stepped onto this mountain?” asked the misfortune god, tilting her head as she asked.

Gen uncrossed his fingers and lowered his hands back onto Marisa’s legs. “A lying god, huh...?” he said, finding enough confidence to smirk now as he winced, looking aside. “No matter how you try to spin it, there’s no way you’re making sense. You’re either our enemy, willfully subjecting us to danger or...” he met her eyes, “you’re no danger at all.”

“Hm...” was the only “answer” she deigned to give.

“I’m not taking that last engacho back,” Marisa informed him. His lips turned down.

“Keep it,” he replied. “We can probably move on from here without any trouble. Watch... our guide will come back soon and prove that the superstition is just that.”

“You’re too confident. Lemme just beat the hell out of her just in case.”

The goddess frowned, lowering her brow with motherly disappointment. She judged Marisa, in a word, “Barbaric.”

“Well if she’s our enemy like she says she isn’t, she wouldn’t care whether we were on the mountain or not, and would have cursed us deliberately besides—no need to even show herself. If she’s our friend like she says she is, then she wouldn’t want to expose us to any more problems, especially not the misfortunate sort that she should be very familiar with.” Gen allowed himself some smugness now. “Did you notice?” he asked Marisa. “When we ran into this goddess, she said ‘like I thought’. She knew humans were here, and still chose to contact them on her own.”

“I said, ‘as I thought’,” corrected the divinity, “You;re a human with a quick wit. hm. For faith reasons, I choose to remain mysterious and neither confirm nor deny your proposition.”

“Sounds like you’re spot on, Gen,” Marisa determined. He was rather sure that this was the truth. Well, if it wasn’t, then they were on Youkai Mountain while cursed. Escaping even from here, from the foot, while under curses meant terrible incident would likely meet with them regardless. He preferred to have faith in something hopeful.

“If you won’t be afraid,” said the woman, lifting her ribbon-wrapped left arm toward them, “I will share your barbarism, and force your fear.”

“Sounds youkai-like...” said Gen a bit quietly, and with a dry laugh. Grinning, Marisa brazenly aimed her furnace.

[] Fight.

[] Ask what she was up to.

[] Explain your quest.

[] Flatter.
>> No. 67645
File 156638259213.jpg - (237.35KB , 618x558 , __kijin_seija_and_sukuna_shinmyoumaru_touhou_drawn.jpg ) [iqdb]
Every picosong song will die a few months from now. Alas. Other direct links, seeing as mega can play files in the browser now



>> No. 67646
[x] Fight.
There's too much talking, we should've become violent and unreasonable the second she showed up. Her showing up at all is an act of aggression.
>> No. 67647
[X] Fight.
Feels like we're not gonna get off scot-free from this though.
She probably just want us to get off this mountain.
>> No. 67648
[x] Explain your quest.
[x] Faith reasons...? Why don't you try an honest prayer? You had to no reason to do so on the outside, but it's not exactly hard to have faith in something in front of you.

Faith is free and it seems to help. He doesn't have a god he favors, as far as I remember, so why not try it?
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